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Morning Java: It’s the draft, silly

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Thursday column is the first I’ve done on the Penguins,  Sochi notwithstanding, in a couple months. This team has lost its edge. There will be more to say on this, too, in the days and weeks ahead, barring some significant change.

That said, I’d like to stress here that one can end just about any argument related to a professional sports team by discussing the draft.

Why is a team good?

The draft.

Why is it bad?

The draft.

Maybe the one exception would be Major League Baseball, where the lack of a salary cap still allows teams to buy up what they don’t have, but even there, the draft can be something of a tiebreaker. In the NFL and NHL, it’s close to everything.

The Penguins’ drafts have been lousy. And I’ll call special attention this morning to a recent exhaustive study by the guys at Pensblog about Ray Shero’s history of player acquisition. It takes some time to digest, in more ways than one.

Fatigue is a real factor for the Penguins, beat man Josh Yohe writes.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page.

Here’s Kings news from the Los Angeles Times.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Starling Marte is set to sign a deal that would keep him with the Pirates for a very long time. Rob Biertempfel reports from Bradenton.

We might never know details of the Pirates’ original offer to Marte, the one that was summarily rejected, but this one wound up in the range of a very similar deal between the Braves and pitcher Julio Teheran. People who don’t understand the progression of Major League Baseball contracts will look at Marte’s deal and call it a bargain because they’ll compare his figures to those of veterans. Fact is, this deal is market value, no more, no less.

So good for the Pirates for paying market value to keep a highly skilled player into his free-agent years, and good for the player for hanging on until the deal was a fair one.

Francisco Liriano had a good day, by Biertempfel.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page.

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on

>> The Steelers’ staff has impeccable credentials. Alan Robinson reports from the NFL owners’ meetings in Orlando.

Longer extra points will get a look, by Robinson.

A 3-4 defense is seldom what it appears, by Robinson.

I opened my TribLIVE Radio show yesterday with a phone call about the Steelers’ signings:

Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page.

>> The ACC basketball tournament will move to Brooklyn in a couple years, and Jamie Dixon is fine with that. John Harris reports.

>> Cody Wydo is setting the standard for the NCAA Tournament-bound Robert Morris hockey team, by Joe Sager.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Robert Morris hockey page.

>> I’ll be with the hockey team all day, including for the game with the Kings tonight, and write a Friday column from Consol. I’ll also check in with TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. from the teams’ morning skates.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. Bizrow says:

    Here’s one thing I’d like to talk about:

    Got a bill from the Trib, $45 or so for six months of daily papers.

    Got a bill from the local paper, $57 for only Sunday (Beaver County Times).

    And we get the best blogs to boot.

    DK: Thanks for subscribing, Biz. Means everything to our, um, biz.

  2. Ghost says:

    Since you put it that way, I suppose Marte’s deal then is at market value. He’s pre-arb and that takes away almost all his leverage. On the other hand, if we were to go out on the true open market and try and find a player with his skill set, that kind of player would cost us more than $31 mil for six years. If Marte’s bat develops even slightly more power, he easily sails into nine-figure territory. He’s probably there already if just keeps doing what he did last year and stays healthy.

    DK: Yeah, but that’s a false hypothetical. A player can’t test the open market until after six full years in the majors. That’s the market. Ask Mike Trout.

  3. Ghost says:

    I acknowledge that Marte (and Trout) won’t be rewarded as if he were a free agent. The negotiated system in place is the system in place. And I’m hardly complaining about it. Nonetheless, barring a rash of injuries Marte is going to yeild far more than the average player earning $31 mil over the next six years.

  4. Bizrow says:

    Just don’t go to the NY Times ;-)

    Else I will follow

  5. Ghost says:

    So if Liriano can’t go, Brandon Cumpton is our Opening Day starting pitcher? Wow, talk about a Rocky Balboa-like shot. But if Ron Villone could do the honors once, why not Cumpton, I guess.

  6. Pucknutz says:

    Just finished reading the Tribs latest Pens coverage….ya DK I read yours first. lol
    DK,,,, I agree w/ya that DB needs to bench some of these guys if the continue taking bonehead penalties (including Geno and maybe even sit Sid for a shift or two just to send a message). If players look tired – scratch em, which segues nicely to Yohe’s fatigue article. Rossi has the one to really think about though…..

    ” My working theory on the Penguins is that some of these players, ones that have won the Cup, have looked at this particular squad and assessed that the goods are not there to win it again. Basically, the former champions among this group sense this is not a title team.”

    Sadly that thought has been poking around in my little mind for the last 4-5 wks. Been trying too keep that thought contained but now it is out, Hmmmm…..

  7. The Czar says:

    What a deal for the Buccos! The future looks awesome in the OF. Marte-Cutch-Polanco might be the best OF in baseball for years! Now if we could just do something about the infield… Lol.

  8. d says:


    FINALLY! Your article on the Pens was spot on! You echoed what a very small minority of people on this blog have been saying for a while now. But you neglected to bring Mario to task as well. He is not blind to what has been taking place and should also take responsibility for this circus. Or, maybe he is just too busy counting the gate receipts??? I hope the Pens make yet another early exit from the playoffs this year because contrary to what you might say, that is the only way change is going to happen. Much like giving a player a fresh start with a new team, it is definitely time for Disco Dani to get a fresh start somewhere else. He lost this team after that Flyer playoff dismantling.

  9. DJ says:

    Nice column on the Pens today.

    You’ve captured my sentiments on this team exactly. While I would prefer emphasizing positives rather than dwelling on negatives, there is something different about this year, this team and where the organization appears headed that has me very discouraged. For every surface positive one may cite (first place in division, number of wins, PP%, PK%) there are a host of underbelly negatives in reply (absence of 3rd and 4th line contributions, deployment of personnel, undisciplined play without repercussion, shortage of grit — no Guerin or Roberts-type leaders, two well-past-their-prime D-men).

    There is no doubt that this team has lost its edge — at many levels — just as you say.

    The Pensblog in-depth study on drafting was also revealing, particularly this analogy: “Trading draft picks year after year is like not paying your credit-card bill but still taking out more credit. It is going to catch up to you, and we’re beginning to see it with Ray Shero. Wasting third-round picks on third-line potential rent-a-players just doesn’t seem logical.”

    This was one reason I was glad that they did not pull the trigger on the Kesler trade considering the reported asking price — parting with our best minor league talent as well as multiple draft picks. While the impression generally is that Ray is a good GM, founded principally on his high profile deadline deals, the study certainly shines light on the longer term, less visible, but equally important aspects of his position — drafting and developing talent to fill out an NHL roster. Ray’s quandary is that there is little, if any, room for error now in fashioning a championship roster given the career stages of our offensive talent.

    We’ll see exactly where we are this spring (count me as very pessimistic) and whether Ray is then up to the challenge this off season. A turning point spring and summer for the Pens.

  10. JAL says:

    JAL’s Knock on Wood Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Why Gregory Polanco Should Be the Next Extension Candidate

    The Pirates Could Get a Huge Value From Starling Marte’s Extension

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Starling Marte, Pirates agree to 6-year deal

    7 Rumbunter

    Umm…Pittsburgh Pirates Poor Team Chemistry ? Wha?

    Starling Marte Will Be Another Bargain for Pittsburgh Pirates

    8 Green Weenie

    3/26: Jack McCarthy, Chuck Klein, Mackey Sasser, Matt Herges…

    9 SaberBucs

    Still not Sold on Starling, Part II . . But . . .

    10 WHYGAVS

    The status quo: Pitchers

    The status quo: Position players

  11. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Athlon Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Preview

    12 Sports Illustrated

    2014 Season Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates

    13 WTAE

    Bill Mazeroski’s uniform, bat from Game 7 of 1960 World Series on display in Pittsburgh

    14 Pirates Site

    Pirates broadcaster Brown excited for 2014 season

    15 Beaver County Times

    Perrotto: Marte’s deal a bargain for Pirates

    16 Huffington Post

    MLB for Women? Only at Pittsburgh Pirates’ Spring Training!

    17 Star Tribune

    Pittsburgh 2, Twins 1: Mauer’s two-run error helps Pirates prevail

    18 St Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Cardinals are fighting the hype

    19 Fangraphs

    2014 Positional Power Rankings: Starting Pitchers (#1-#15)

    2014 Positional Power Rankings: Starting Pitchers (#16-#30)

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    NL Central 2014 Preseason Preview

  12. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    The no crossbar dunk just the latest example of too many rules

    Report: Dolphins allegedly looking to trade WR Mike Wallace


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Bayern Munich finally confirmed as Bundesliga Champions

    23 BBC Football

    Man Utd fans losing patience after Man City embarrassment

    24 World Soccer

    Arsene Wenger has reached the end of the road at Arsenal


    25 Pensburgh

    No physical limitations for Kris Letang

    Is Dan Bylsma Trying To Get Himself Fired?

  13. Nastynate82 says:

    As a fan of another hockey team, Pens fans and their first-place problems make me chuckle.

  14. DJ says:

    Mind telling us the team?

    We’ll see if we can have a good chuckle then as well.

  15. BillyBaduka says:

    Excellent article on the Pens DK. Thanks.

    The drafts and lack of player development are certianly a large part of the Penguins problems.

    Lack of discipline is another one. Thank you for putting that squarely on the coach too.

    Malkin and Neal need to sit to contemplate their retaliation and cheap shots respectively. Letang should sit a shift or two also when he’s pressing and turning pucks over. Even Crosby should not be above sitting an occasional shift if warranted.

    This team is so frustrating, so good, so close yet so, so far away.

  16. hockeymonster says:

    If only someone could’ve spent past couple seasons predicting and warning of lack of depth in bottom 6…Too bad pens didn’t have anyone in the room pounding the table for bottom 6 depth last couple off seasons.

    Caught up on phx game…and 1st things 1st…how much net does adams need to score?


    PHX did something similar to what Philly did in the playoffs on our puck retrievals. They know we like to have both dmen go into same corner and go D to D with a quick lil reverse, so they flooded the corner with a 2nd forechecker making it impossible for us to move the puck out the way we normally do. When teams start to do that we’ll need to have dman move the puck hard up the boards to the wingers instead of counting on the normal retrieval plays with both dmen in the same corner. And having the dmen spread out behind the net could keep the forecheckers spread out too.

    5 PP’s for phx to our 1? What up with that…any doubt that pens lost benefit of doubt with refs? Stempy wasn’t much of a factor and more or less confirmed that he’ll have trouble against teams with big mobile dmen.

    Too bad Pens didn’t have someone in the room pounding the table to get Sid some beef.

  17. Karen22 says:

    Wow, if I could formulate into words what’s been running around in my head for a LONG time about the Pens, I would have written this spot-on article! My blood pressure spikes with each stupid penalty and careless turnover. It goes through the roof when no one is held accountable for such irresponsible play game after game after game. If something doesn’t change real soon, I’m not sure I’ll vest even a minute of interest in the playoffs – because that’s about how long these Penguins will last.

    Incredibly frustrating!! And despite all of the devastating injuries, the guys ON the ice are still pros, no?? NO EXCUSES!!

  18. Jandy says:

    Better buy a new hat :)

  19. Jandy says:


  20. Jandy says:

    Just a guess…Buffalo?

  21. hockeymonster says:

    Oh and didn’t realize PHX went to OT the night before. But somehow they were the ones to come out and smell blood…disappointing but there’s always the next game….till there isn’t…

    And Dejan, I really hope Sid didn’t sit back and watch his teammates speak up about discipline. If there ever was a time for the polite Canadian kid to vent…well I guess that time was before last playoffs…but now is a good time too.

  22. theplanisworking says:

    Wow, great stuff as always, DK.

    The Pensblog piece was certainly an eye-opener for many, but if Sarah is out there this morning, she and i (along with a minority of others) have been saying these things for a while. Ray Shero helped win a SC, for that Pens fans should always be grateful. However, with both Crosby and Malkin, multiple Cups should have been achieved……….. and their window of opportunity is closing fast.

    This team has been decimated by injuries, but things that aren’t affected by injuries, such as stupid penalties, lack of effort, lack of focus cannot be overlooked. Also spot on, DK, about the lack of anything happening to AFLAC, Shero and others. Just keep counting the sellouts. Go into press conferences looking lost, and giving no real answers. Keep fitting square pegs into round holes. Don’t use Jacques Martin for his knowledge. Use a system that predicates being perfect, and when that doesn’t work, dont have a Plan B.

    I, along with a small amount of others said changes were needed last offseason after that epic failure/meltdown against the Broons. Then we all saw the last 2 games in Sochi. Unless a miracle happens, and I certainly hope it does happen, but if a miracle doesn’t happen, Pens with another early exit from the playoffs, more mumbling from the coach/GM, and the beat will go on.

  23. hockeymonster says:


  24. AL says:

    The thing that struck me most about DK’s article on the Pens today was that the voice behind closed doors should have been Sid since he’s the one wearing the “C” on the jersey. I know Brooksie is the most tenured and Scuds has been here before and they’re both older so maybe Sid felt it better to let the older guys take the lead, “C” be damned. This reminds me of an older guy at work having a younger boss who’s afraid of offending the older guy by criticizing him. It’s OK to be sensitive to that situation but the bottom line is the guy in charge needs to take control of the meeting and speak-up without worrying if people are going to like you for it or not.
    Just ask any manager.
    Good job, DK.

  25. Wild Bill says:

    Been thinking about DKs article. The drafts are an issue now and going forward. But I keep coming back to two things, injuries and the Olympics. The injuries mess with us not only by losing the players’ contribution, but also by putting guys on the ice who haven’t earned it by their play. Then we cover for some of the injuries with trading away more draft assets. All of this is likely obvious.

    The Olympics clearly took a toll on our stars, and when over, continues to do so by causing too many games in too short a time. And if you are Sid, and you get to go home and look at a gold medal every night, how further motivated can you be? He is a human being after all.

    Here’s hoping that guys returning from injury give the team a shot in the arm before it’s too late. Discipline by the coaching staff in the meantime is crucial.

  26. DJ says:

    Then I wouldn’t laugh, only feel sorry, and then offer that there is hope for their future.

  27. Wild Bill says:

    Wow, six sizable reactions on the Pens in 30 minutes. DK stirred an already simmering pot here.

  28. Jandy says:


    But I don’t know. it was just a guess…

  29. Jandy says:

    it’s been simmering for some time…

  30. BillyBaduka says:

    Philly? I live near Philly and get this response any time I lament Pens predicament.

    Like many fans here on the blog they point to the Pens at the top of the standings, Crosby and Malkin and say cry me a river. I get it, Pens could be a lot worse.

    But they could be a lot better too.

    Forget better or worse, at this point I just want to see something different. Tired of watching mental and emotional melt downs.

    I’m fine with losing with heart, effort and desire. I’m not fine with the entire team (blaming Crosby, Dan, and all of them here) losing composure resembling toddlers in temper tantrums more than professional athletes.

  31. DJ says:

    Only problem with the Olympics argument, WB, is that a lot of teams had multiple players on Olympic teams as well. I don’t have any data to back it up without researching but the top teams I’m thinking about right now have not really suffered.

    I see it more as a depth problem (some portion of which is injuries, as you note) with our top two lines being required to shoulder too much of the load. That can wear you out both physically and mentally.

  32. BillyBaduka says:

    Baby, it’s boiling!

  33. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, help me out here……… when exactly did I start echoing these comments? My memory is fading fast………

  34. DJ says:

    I’m with you, BB.

    And this is shaping up as the year when more dramatic changes will need to be made.

  35. Ron says:

    Ray Shero is following script he brought from Nashville. Stability first. Defensive corp second. That’s why Bylsma remains safe. Problem with Preds script, they have not won.

  36. Jandy says:

    I loved your column, Dejan. Blunt and to the point. Concise. Not whiny. I like facts, not whining.

    Anyway…my guess is that Sid is extremely frustrated. I don’t know that he hasn’t or hasn’t spoken up to management. But the time is definitely now. BE HEARD. Don’t mope like a child. Take charge. Bring that passion and let it be contagious.

    You mentioned a first round flameout to maybe the Blue jackets. That wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Those guys WANT to win and it shows. The Pens could watch and learn.

    The next game or two will say a lot about the heart of this team. Either it’s there or it isn’t. If it isn’t, there won’t be much of a post-season.

  37. Jandy says:

    For some time, Plan. I haven’t had a problem with anyone echoing these sentiments.
    What I have a problem with is constant whining and harping on the subject till everyone is sick and tired of hearing about it. And I’m not pointing fingers, my friend. Just saying what bothers me.

  38. DJ says:

    A month after they won the Cup?

  39. Jandy says:

    Well, like Dejan pointed out, there is a solution if someone is tired. Let them sit a game or three…there’s no crime in that…

  40. theplanisworking says:

    Why do you think I have scaled back?
    I don’t want the 9 wides flying in my direction. ;)

    But, as fans, and as DK’s Lunatics, our voice does not count. Just a way to blow off steam, and solve the world’s problems for another day……….

  41. Jandy says:

    if it’s Philly, then all credibility is lost. Philly laughs at everyone, when they should just look in the mirror and cry.

  42. Jandy says:

    Oh, forgot this:


  43. theplanisworking says:

    LOL !!!

    No, not that far back……… I think it was after the Philthy playoff fiasco.

  44. BillyBaduka says:

    Dude, you been on this from the get go. Many here have.

    I notice most of “the so called experts” have held back this season. I certainly have and Erik hasn’t posted much this year. Sarah, the most vocal has even relented over the last month.

    Don’t want to spoil things for the “Regular Rosie’s” (those that view the Pens through the rosy glasses of the regular season – hey if the other side is going to label ones that criticize, I think it’s time they get a nice little nickname too.)

    Mostly, I refrain because it makes my blood boil and I’ve got enough real problems to focus that energy on.

  45. Jandy says:

    All true, my friend, all true.

    It’s nice to vent sometimes, I agree.

  46. Jandy says:

    LOL, so I’m a Rosy Bich, love it :)

  47. BillyBaduka says:

    Yep and that was the time to do it.

    They imploded and have never fully recovered.

  48. BillyBaduka says:

    Nah, you’re a hardcore loyal fan that sees both sides.

  49. BillyBaduka says:

    Well said.

  50. BillyBaduka says:


  51. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, I think I am going to sign up ther AFLAC duck as the Lunatic mascot.

    Thoughts? ;)

  52. Jandy says:

    LOL! Go for it ;)

  53. Nastynate82 says:

    Haha you will laugh. I’m from NY, a Rangers fan. So the Dark Lord Sather has a lifetime GM contract, which is just…perfect.

  54. BillyBaduka says:

    I’d been holding on to that term for months. I’d like to think I’m above name calling, but I’m not.

    And I think I’ve figured out why Pens meltdowns bother me so much. They cause my blood to boil and I have meltdowns. 3/4 of my frustration is really with me, not them.

    Wow, this is a productive morning.

  55. Jandy says:

    ahhhh…condolences ;)

  56. Nastynate82 says:

    Haha no thankfully I wasn’t born near Philly. However if there’s one thing Rags and Pens fans can agree on is that Philly sucks.

  57. BillyBaduka says:

    Where is Drew?

    I miss that acerbic wit.

  58. Jandy says:

    Billy, I yell at the TV and scare my PITT BULL! Poor dog lol

  59. DJ says:

    Right now, every move the Pens make through the end of the season — both in-game and between games — should be dictated solely by how they get the team in the best position for the playoffs. Nothing else matters. Forget about the points, winning the division, Dan picking Sid for the Hart Trophy, PK%’s, PP %’s. Who cares? Rest whoever needs to be rested. Discipline those who need to be disciplined. Shake out and then settle on your line combinations and D pairings.

    I’d rather have one less home game in EVERY series than worrying about any of the other stuff.

  60. Jandy says:

    he’s on a self-imposed sabbatical :)

  61. DJ says:

    I’ve actually got you down as a moment after that Briere off sides, if memory serves.

  62. Jandy says:


  63. theplanisworking says:

    Nate, I hereby take back my “1940 forever” chant.

  64. theplanisworking says:

    Yes, I was livid at that to be sure………. :D

  65. chethejet1 says:

    Sid is the cash cow and he ultimately has the juice to effect the direction of things. Tell Mario this is not working. I am not talking drafts or player development, it is Shero and Bylsma not feeling the pressure to win with top talent. Now they should as they see a team that is not anywhere close to a cup contender presently. If they don’t things are worse than I thought. Letang and martin bring More of the same. Passive stick on puck mentality that is on of many methods that Bylsma insists on and is useless.

  66. DJ says:


    Friggin’ arrogant organization and their friggin’ stars.

  67. Nastynate82 says:

    Haha thanks. Rags are kind of perpetually stuck in neutral: don’t have the skill to hang with Pittsburgh nor the physicality to compete with Boston. Good enough to make the playoffs and win a round, but not much beyond that. And Sather is reverting to his mercenary ways in efforts to get more scoring.
    As an outsider it looks like the Pens just…kind of coast thru some games, kind of disinterested. Almost like they’re bored and ready for the playoffs to start.

  68. Jandy says:

    LOL…they can HAVE Marty St. Loius ;)

  69. Jandy says:


  70. DJ says:

    Of course, anything beyond one series I will consider a bonus this year.

  71. Thundercrack says:

    From the Pittsburgh Business Times this morning:

    Two days before the start of the 2014 soccer season, the owners of Highmark Stadium and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds Professional Soccer Club announced they have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

  72. DJ says:

    Yeah, they’ll rue that trade unless they have a lengthy run this year.

  73. theplanisworking says:

    GO RIVERPUPPIES !!!!!!!!!

  74. Jandy says:


    just wow

  75. theplanisworking says:

    I read an article, this won’t affect the 2014 season.
    Going forward, who knows?

  76. JohninOshkosh says:

    Wow. The coach didn’t mention that! Hold onto your MSL season ticket fund.

    Thanks, TC.

  77. JohninOshkosh says:


  78. Nate83 says:

    Regarding the Marte deal how do we know it was “summarily rejected”. Without knowing what the deal was or hearing anybody actually say it was insulting we have no way of knowing. It very well may have been the same deal with more team friendly option years. Maybe there is some inside information that hasn’t been reported but I find it odd that it was made to sound like the original offer was a joke and then less then 2 days later they sign. They couldn’t have been that far apart for it to happen this quickly.

    Did the Pirates really start at something ridiculous like 19 million and in the course of 48 hours increase it by 60% to 31 million? I’m pretty confident that isn’t the case. For the second deal to be accepted this quickly after the first offer I can’t imagine the first offer was much different. I honestly thought based on comments made Tuesday that there was no way the Pirates and Marte would find common ground anytime soon if ever.

  79. Nate83 says:

    Ghost I’m not positive but I think the plan is to move everyone up a day and have Cumpton pitch the 4th or 5th game. I would imagine Cole would get the nod to pitch the opening game.

  80. Karen22 says:


  81. DJ says:

    Pens ready for the playoffs?

    Yeah, I guess you could say that if they’re looking for the same outcome as the last 4 years.

  82. Jandy says:

    Wow, I didn’t get the notion that there was no way an agreement could be reached in a decent time.

    I did read a lot about racism, tho.


  83. Jandy says:

    Temptress !!!!

  84. Jandy says:

    He said ready for them to START, not ready for them ;)

  85. NMR says:

    Excellent point about Marte’s contract, Dejan. Hypothetical free agent contracts being thrown around are absolutely a false comparison.

    The only part of this extension that should be, dare I say, LAUDED, is that they got two team options. That could turn into having Marte for three would-be free agent years, pretty much through the end of his prime.

    Otherwise, doubtful this is much of a money savings at all compared to arbitration.

  86. Jandy says:

    Nice article from the Altoona Mirror regarding Nick Kingham…including some of his thoughts:

  87. hockeymonster says:

    They’re not allowed to lose more than one game to Columbus. That one’s personal for me. No way are they going to lose the Columbus.

  88. Jandy says:

    I hope not! But like I said, it wouldn’t be surprised.

  89. Arriba Wilver says:

    I apologize to TC. ;-)

  90. Nate83 says:

    If you look up the definition of summarily you will not get a warm fuzzy feeling that two sides are close to making a deal. Giving Marte infinite credit for rejecting the offer makes it sound like it wasn’t a fair offer which nobody knows except for the Pirates, Marte, his agent and a few others. Mentioning Jose Tabata’s brain dead agent the sentence before saying or are only Latin American players being approached also doesn’t make you feel like it was fair offer.

    All of this portrays that the original offer was bad but the fact that something was signed shortly after would suggest that the original offer wasn’t far off.

  91. NMR says:

    Seems to be a bit nit-picky, Nate.

    Marte rejected the initial offer(s). That’s a fact.

    I guess objecting to Dejan throwing an adverb in front of that is your right, but man…

  92. hockeymonster says:

    No one…I mean NO ONE will be spared if they lose more than one game to Columbus!!!

  93. NMR says:

    I suggest you go back and read Dejan’s explanation.

  94. Jandy says:

    Yeah…and I really don’t wanna rehash all that chit again anyway…

  95. Jandy says:

    They better get the Secret Service for protection then…oh wait…they’re usually drunk anyway…so I guess it’s personal bodyguards ;)

  96. hockeymonster says:

    Lets call Ebbett back up…monster sources indicate he’s skating well now that he’s back from injury.

  97. Jandy says:

    He’s not a Hobbit, so that will work with me. What’s wrong with Harry Z or Zack Sill?

  98. Damon says:

    Well that just puts a damper on things. That can’t look good on your resume to the MLS…..

  99. Thundercrack says:

    Ha! Apology accepted AW. Not needed though….and I think I went back and agreed with you.

    But in regards to arbitration, doesn’t the player’s agent use the salaries of other players who play the same position and have similar production?

    So if Marte really does blossom and becomes a super star – or even near super star his arbitration number could be significant. (if that is they way they determine those numbers). So the Bucs would be getting a good deal with this contract.

  100. Damon says:

    Would expect Columbus to test the Pens like the Isles did last year…well maybe not as much, but a test. And a test is EXACTLY what the Pens need in the 1st round. I think they got real cocky after the Ottawa series. 2nd round would present a test as well probably meeting the Flyers….

  101. hockeymonster says:

    I think Sill just got back from that injury and harry z could only play if Gladams is scratched…which is unlikely. But Ebbett can give us some offensive depth and he had something cookin with sutter.

  102. Nastynate82 says:

    Not really. Callahan wanted wayyyyy too much money and while I love the way he plays, his style means broken bones and missing about 20 games a year. When the alternative is to let Callahan walk for nothing or sign him to a stupid deal, I think they did ok.
    The draft picks…I’m a bit leery of giving them up but you have to give to get. Cynically speaking, Sather would draft someone crappy anyways so it doesn’t matter, haha

  103. Damon says:

    I like Dejan’s idea of Kotsopolous-Sill-Harry Z, or at least interject some of those players here and there to provide some competition for Glass, Adams, etc. Look what putting Sutter on the 4th line did – he has been busting his tail and playing as good as he has since he’s been with the Pens.

  104. NMR says:

    You’re correct on the arbitration process, but think about the type of player Marte is and most likely will continue to be. Guy is never gonna hit .300, drive in 100 RBI, or knock 30 homeruns. So much of his value is all speed and defense. The track record of THOSE types of players in arbitration has been undervalued, relative to the big counting stats.

  105. Thundercrack says:

    True NMR. Plus he is not going to be compared to center fielders.

    But I do think as he matures and if he moves down in the order he may get close to those RBI and HR totals. I don’t think he’ll hit .300

  106. Brandie says:

    Doing things a bit backward as I wait for news on the job front. It has just dawned on me what frustrates me most about the Pens. It is the lack of discipline, urgency, and consequences. Lunatics, I lost my last job because I could not keep up with the paperwork for a job that I actually did for 6 months out of the last three years. I was the one who got the consequences, not the management for their lack of training me or lack of planning. As an adult, I will eat that sandwich and admit what went wrong.

    Sports is not like that. Sports is the ultimate FUMU (Eft Up Move Up) culture. Lack of discipline, boneheaded plays, – attitude? No problem. You won’t get fired or have your life turned upside down. You will still get paid and, perhaps traded do your agent can negotiate a better deal with a better team later. There is nothing to light a fire under this team’s collective azz to get them to do any better. That has to be addressed by Bylsma, Shero, Crosby, and the rest all here on Gilligan’s Island!

    What was I talking about?

    Oh yeah…we have come to a fork in the road…either play or be fired! It is waaaaaay past time!

  107. Brandie says:

    Stellar work DK!

  108. NMR says:

    Good point about the RBI’s. I shouldn’t have been as dismissive about that. Really doesn’t have as much to do with Marte as it does with the hitters in front of him.

  109. Hopefully he doesn’t lead off his entire career and he can drive in some runs. His speed should get him some points on that BA but improved plate discipline might get him more.

  110. hockeymonster says:

    Except for fact that TK lost a step without actually having one to begin with and Sill is still recovering from that injury. Other than that, that line would be aces :)

  111. NMR says:

    “The owners said the restructuring was necessary because current operating and revenue models could not support continued debt obligations that were largely incurred during the stadium’s construction in 2012 and 2013.”

    Why were they ever allowed to build the damn thing in the first place?

    An empty white elephant is the last thing Pittsburgh needs while trying to develop Station Square.

  112. Jim S. says:

    Marte definitely has his significant plate discipline issues, and as NMR says they are going to keep him from being an elite hitter. I think he’ll be lucky to hit .270 on a regular basis with his k/BB rates.

    But, I will say that he has some pop. If a hitter can average 1 XBH per 10 ABs, that is pretty good. He’s been a bit below that, but not all that much. 62 XBH in 677 ABs.

    I think he should keep 3b honest by laying more bunts down that way this year. He was successful with that when he tried last year, but there’s no reason he can’t do it even more as a leadoff hitter with blazing speed.

  113. 21sthebest says:

    I look at player like Yadier Molina who didn’t hit very well the first 3 years of his career and didn’t walk much. And look at him now. I don’t know if this is a good comparison but there’s a long way to go with Marte and I could see him becoming a .300 hitter.

  114. Jim S. says:

    I like Kingham’s chances to be a solid starter for the Bucs in the middle of the rotation for several years. He’s a horse.

  115. Jandy says:

    Sistah…love your thoughts on the Pens…

    On YOUR paperwork issue…ugh…I HATE paperwork..but it’s a HUGE part of my job, so I know where you’re coming from. Eff up, learn from it, and move on…and move up!

    Good vibes on the job hunt… <3

  116. Jandy says:

    I remember seeing him in Altoona, he’s a big guy…(tall) and he was impressive. I’m already bugging hubby to go to several Curve games this season :)

  117. Jim S. says:

    Good point on Molina. He’s become a really solid hitter. I wonder if he became a better hitter as he became a better catcher. I mean, as he learned along with his pitchers how to get hitters out, it may have made him a better hitter. He seems really smart in how he approaches both defense and his hitting.

  118. Jandy says:

    I’m sure NMR wouldn’t mind being proven wrong on that one…


  119. Damon says:

    The idea of using Kotsopolous would be a motivator rather than a permanent solution. Put that guy in for a few games to light a fire under others from the way he plays as well as those who would sit in his place.

    I didn’t realize Sill was still hurt, but I thought before he was playing well, just not adding any offense whatsoever.

  120. Nate83 says:

    That’s fair enough NMR and maybe I’m seeing something where nothing exist but I still don’t know anything about the original contract or how it was received. Why are we giving credit to a player for turning something down when we don’t even know what he turned down. Furthermore why are we assuming the Pirates tried to lowball him by saying he waited for a fair deal.

    Imagine if Max Scherzer was given credit for rejecting his contract and we didn’t even know what was offered. It would be assumed that the offer wasn’t fair by most people. We know better in that case because we know the offer was 6 years 144 million. I thought the original comments on Monday unfairly painted the Pirates of being foolish and offering something that wasn’t close to market value but I didn’t say anything then because there was already plenty of conversation about the topic that was in a different direction.

  121. Brandie says:

    Thank you for the linkage Jandy kakes!

  122. JohninOshkosh says:

    My understanding is that, although the soccer team got some favorable corporate welfare in terms of tax breaks, no public financing was used on the stadium’s construction project that is now the source of the Chapter 11 filing.

    At least creditor-taxpayers aren’t getting screwed by the filing. Can’t say the same for the lending financial institutions, though.

  123. Jandy says:

    Glad you enjoyed Brandie Cakes :)

  124. DJ says:

    Check back on this after this year.

    I’d tell you his propensity for broken bones left when Torts left town.

  125. Jandy says:


  126. Jandy says:

    Good assumption, DJ

  127. Nate83 says:

    I don’t know if this helps TC but the link below is estimated arbitration figure for players on each team. If you click on the team it gives each players years of major league experience so you can see which year of arbitration they are in. Maybe you can find similar players. I’m not sure but I could definitely see within the next couple of years WAR being used more often to determine these arb. salaries. If that is the case Marte’s value would go up.

  128. JohnnyC says:

    Any idea if Bennett will be back for the game tonight?

  129. NMR says:

    Absolutely, John.

    But I really don’t see much of a market for that stadium to be anything other than a soccer stadium.

    Becomes a significant long-term liability for the City.

  130. Milo Hamilton says:

    My first blush reaction to all this talk about the Penguins being tired is that it’s complete & utter hogwash. But giving it some more thought, maybe there is something to it. I know I’m getting really tired watching them.

  131. Nate83 says:

    For what it’s worth Jon Jay received 3.4 million in his first year of arbitration. I have to imagine most of that value would be his defense which isn’t even as good as the numbers suggest. I would think Marte projects to have considerable more value then Jon Jay.

  132. Jandy says:

    I’ve been wondering that myself, JohnnyC. Waiting for the Pens site to post something…

    Welcome to Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum. Chat a spell.

    If you list your hometown, Biz will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum :)

  133. Deb says:

    Mike Babcock, who I consider one of the best coaches in hockey, talked about the need to manage his star players ice time back in 2010. He said [with the Olympic workload] ” I can’t be playing the guys 20, 21 minutes, I will have to get it around 18 or 19 minutes.” Sid and Kuni played HARD Olympic minutes. So did Jussi and Olli. Yet what is Dan doing? Playing Sid 23-24 minutes a game most nights. Of course 87 is TIRED. I don’t care how well conditioned you are, playing your top guys till they drop is not a recipe for success, and Dan Bylsma is once again, a coach without a plan or ideas. Against the Blues, Sid and Geno lead the team (all F and D) in ice time with over 24 minutes. Orpik skated around 18 minutes Scuds 17. The night before, against Tampa, Sid had skated over 23 minutes, Malkin around 19. Against the Coyotes, Sid lead all Penguins players in ice time skating over 23 minutes again. NO ONE CAN KEEP UP THAT PACE. Especially given the way Sid plays when he is effective.

    Bylsma and the other coaches have to figure this our quick.

    Also, if Orpik and Scuds think a public thrashing is the way to motivate the team they need to start with a long look in the mirror. They are both minus players and have been guilty of some of the worse play on the team. There are several photos floating around the blogs of the two of them looking like statues as the Pens are giving up the game winning goal against the Blues.

    While they may be veterans, they are in no position to be calling anyone out. They should be standing up in the room, owning their own transgressions, and setting an example by vowing to do better.

    I have not liked Orpik since the attempted locker room coup reported here at the Trib. His latest antics reaffirm that he is more what is wrong with the Pens than part of the solution.

  134. Jandy says:


  135. hockeymonster says:

    Mye-Lough, thoughts on Maatta down the stretch? :)

  136. Jordan White says:


  137. Milo Hamilton says:

    He needs to play better, like the rest of them.

  138. hockeymonster says:

    Might be time to give Dumoulin and maybe even Harrington a look.

  139. Thundercrack says:

    Someone told me that at the beginning of last season (their first) if you wanted to buy season tickets you had to buy a seat license. I don’t know if that is the case now, but that seems like a really really bad idea. Especially for soccer.

  140. Nate83 says:

    Austin Jackson went from 3.5 in his first year of arbitration to 5.3 in his second year after having a down year for him. Marte probably ends up being a comparable hitter to him with slightly more power and considerable more speed.

  141. Milo Hamilton says:

    You know what Olli Maata is going to do the minute the Penguins are eliminated from the playoffs ? He’s going to get on the 1st plane to Minsk to play for Finland in the World Championships. He’s 19 freaking years old. Somehow I think he’ll survive.

  142. DJ says:

    On resting or lowering TOI for certain players, I’m with you and see my comments on the objective down the stretch below.

    On Orpik, Scuds and the magic mirror, Jandhi made the exact comment after the Coyotes game. No argument there.

  143. Milo Hamilton says:

    For the love of God.

  144. Jordan White says:

    And this is kind of relevant and kind of not,

    But didn’t Marte win a batting title at Altoona? Hit like .330 I think, right?

    The pedigree is there. But is AA batting title a true indicator? Who knows.

  145. Jandy says:

    God likes the Pens too :)

  146. Joey Mellons says:

    I don’t know if I’m more excited for Buccos opening day or to make my first “wager” unit. “Let’s open The Window…What’ll ya have? What’ll ya have?”
    I missed those line all winter long.

  147. NMR says:

    Boy are you right on that, Jandy!

    I don’t think the Molina comparison is very relevant because Molina never had strikeout issues. It’s really, reallllyyy difficult to hit near .300 when a quarter of your attempts end without putting the ball in play. Molina never had that to overcome.

  148. hockeymonster says:

    Survival is the goal…but only after you get the 1st 15 W’s.

  149. Milo Hamilton says:

    That avatar kills me every time. :)

  150. hockeymonster says:

    Cuddly pootin? :)

    You can thank brandiskaya! :)

  151. Stuart says:

    Me also Milo. It has been really tiring to watch them lately. I blame part of it on the start of the defense-first style that is adopted for playoff hockey.

    If everyone is just going through the motions, I would much rather watch a 5-3 game. If everyone is playing like there’s no tomorrow, then 1-0 can be a fine exciting game.

    In the end, it is the intensity that counts, and that is missing right now.


  152. DJ says:

    If God loves the Pens, tell him to send us some 3rd and 4th liners.

  153. JohninOshkosh says:

    My guess, is that Riverhounds management sold the lenders on the idea of future inclusion in MLS to help secure the loan. I hope I am wrong about that. The consequences of that sales job are threefold: 1. Future lenders for any expansion to make the stadium MLS ready would be fools to buy their lines of argument again. 2. Appeals for future public financing will face Herculean efforts and 3. The managing interests in MLS ought to be hesitant about awarding a franchise to an entity with a questionable business plan and model at this young stage in its development.

  154. DJ says:

    I was thinking that Scuds’ performance this year may be attributable to the lack of Hal Gill.

    That’s a joke, Ray.

  155. Milo Hamilton says:

    He’s tired from sitting around doing nothing for 3 weeks.

  156. 21sthebest says:

    I totally agree with you NMR on the strikeout issues but Marte hit .280 last year. 10 hits away from batting .300. 2 hits a month.

  157. Jordan White says:

    Don’t post often, but felt compelled to on 3 fronts;

    1. Really enjoyed the Pens article today. Thought it was one of DK’s best. I love the suggestion about bringing up the AHL guys. We played our best this season (literally when we had the winning streak) when we had half of an AHL roster.

    2. The initial reporting/columnizing/tweeting of DK about Marte’s contract situation rubbed me the wrong way. The verbiage used in today’s blog was much more balanced and better illustrated the author’s thoughts. I appreciate the clarifiation and give credit to DK for doing so.

    3. I think a lot of the Pens problems would go away if they big time embraced the youth on D. This team doesn’t need Letang, Scuderi, Orpik, or Engo. If you are worried about vets, keep Martin and Niskie and fill in with Maata, Despres, Pouliot, Doumilin, Harrington, Samuelssen. You can throw Bortuzzo in there if you like. Those last 6-7 guys will be cheap for a short window. Use that window to sign actual NHLers for the 3rd & 4th line. This shouldn’t be that hard.

  158. Milo Hamilton says:

    Your lips to … you know.

  159. DJ says:

    Ray, Scuds or Hal?

    I thought I heard recently that Gill may be approaching the record for consecutive healthy scratches with the Flyers. Then again, some of our guys have played and been just as effective.

  160. Jordan White says:

    Clarification on #3. I’m obviously talking about moving forward, not this season. This season, just hustle and pray. We got what we got. I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed and keep expectations tempered for now. Hey maybe we’ll peak at the right time this year instead of a month early like last year, right? …… Right?……….. RIGHT??? :)

  161. NMR says:

    That is crazy when you think about it, 21. 10 hits. That’s it.

    Man do I love baseball.

  162. Milo Hamilton says:


    Just read your column. Outstanding work. The country club lives.

  163. DJ says:

    #3. I take it you’re referring to moving forward next year with Pouliot, Harrington and Dumoulin. If so, there’s exactly where I am. The little I’ve seen of Samuelsson tells me he’s not going to be an NHL player, but we’ll see.

  164. hockeymonster says:

    Country club? Don’t most country clubs expel members for misbehaving? Country club would represent a step up in discipline.

  165. Arriba Wilver says:

    Don’t forget the Pittsburgh Passion. ;-)

  166. DJ says:

    You must have been typing while I was responding below.

    I’m a slow typist (6 minute gap).

  167. Jandy says:

    Milo, whose avatar? Mine or Monsters? ;)

    DJ, shhhh! Don’t call God a He, SHE gets upset :X

  168. Milo Hamilton says:

    Fleetwood Mac is reuniting & going out on tour. Guess that was Stevie Nicks I saw walking into Curves the other day after all.

  169. Nate83 says:

    I’m not even sure why this made me laugh but it did so well done.

  170. Jandy says:

    OOohhhhOOhhh…the Monster is angry!

  171. DJ says:

    Speaking of country clubs, the country club scene in The Wolf of Wall Street was one of the funniest I’ve ever seen.

    Tears in my eyes I was laughing so hard and non-stop.

  172. DJ says:

    Was she meeting Ann Wilson for Zumba?

  173. Jim S. says:

    Great article, DK. Took me awhile to get to it today, but it was worth the wait.

  174. Jim S. says:

    Those 10 hits probably saved the Bucs $20 million. ;-)

  175. Ghost says:

    Nate, what you propose would be what I would expect, too. However, in the Rob Biertempfel story linked to by DK was this passage: “If the discomfort flares up again then, Liriano could go on the disabled list and right-hander Brandon Cumpton likely would pitch Monday’s opener against the Chicago Cubs.”

  176. Andrew says:

    The problem with that Pensblog piece is far from exhaustive and there is no normalizations. Look at the spreadsheets they created. The teams that top their charts are getting the production from one or two players. These one or two forwards were overwhelming drafted from the second, and maybe the early 3rd rounder, Wayne Simmons. Putting some in chart form does not make it analytic.

    So the takeaway is do not trade 2nd round draft picks and draft forwards in the second round and hope, because drafting in all sports is a lottery environment, outside making the wrong decision in the first 15 or so picks there is an absurd amount of luck, and no team/GM has shown a sustained skill to draft above the mean.

    There are criticism to be made about the Shero’s regime I think he has possibly traded too many draft picks, but if this team is truly in a win now mode how valuable are 3rd round picks, when those picks yield players with uncertain and long development time frames. A better critic would look at why Shero consistently drafts college forwards.

  177. Poole says:

    Lot’s of critcism of Dan Bylsma to which I agree. My question is, what about Jaques Martin? I feel these are the types of issues he can help with. Dan has assistant coaches who should be helping to match lines and to discipline players.

  178. cmat0829 says:

    DK: Right on the money that Marte’s contract is market value…surprised the headline in the Trib print edition shouted “Bucs-Friendly Deal”…. like any long-term contracts, it is yet to be determined if this is Bucs-friendly or not. If Marte continues his arc of progression, then yes, in the out years there is a very good chance this contract yields significant value to the Pirates. If he gets hurt or regresses, then it is much less friendly.

    I do think this is a “low risk”/”high reward” scenario, so if that is what the headline writer meant by Buc friendly than so be it. I say low risk because it is clear that Marte’s skillset plays to high value at the major league level…the odds of regression are low in my opinion, but it is not no risk, just lower risk for the Pirates.

    I do find it impossible to believe that 48 hours ago, Marte rejected an ‘insulting’ offer and now it is signed, sealed and delivered. Things don’t move that fast. I do think he rejected whatever offer was there but the sides must have — had to have been — close together conceptually to ink this fast.

  179. Milo Hamilton says:

    Haven’t seen it yet but it is on our list. I’m moving it up on your recommendation.

  180. Milo Hamilton says:

    The Marte contract:

    $2 million signing bonus

    2014 – $500,000
    2015 – $1 million
    2016 – $3 million
    2017 – $5 million
    2018 – $7.5 million
    2019 – $10 million
    2020 – club option – $12.5 million
    2021 – club option – $13.5 million

    $2 million buyout.

  181. Jim S. says:


    I agree with you that “low risk/high reward” is a good way to describe it from the standpoint of the Bucs. If Marte falls off a performance cliff completely, which is unlikely, they can get burned with this contract – but, likely not too badly no matter what. He should be expected to provide a nice bargain for the next 6 years.

  182. DJ says:

    I love this deal and structuring.

  183. Damon says:

    A couple DK tweets I thought were interesting:

    Bylsma, asked why he benched Jokinen but never an elite player like Neal: ‘It’s different.’ Says benchings are shorter for stars.

    Bylsma: Shero had ‘pretty glowing’ reports about Bennett at WBS. ‘Hopefully, we’ll see him back here in Pittsburgh soon.’

  184. NMR says:

    Well the Trib reported that Marte turned down those offers last winter, so I’m not sure where this 48 hour business is coming from.

  185. Damon says:

    Another tweet from earlier:

    Those asking about @PghRiverhounds and Chapter 11, it’s reorganization of debt. No operations affected. Paid for $10M stadium out of pocket.

  186. Jim S. says:

    I know it is always better to push the bulk of the money out into the future because of its increasing value. But, I hope they are putting some of the money they seem to be saving now aside for 2018/2019, because by then they will be paying significantly more for several of these young guys than they are paying anyone right now.

  187. 21sthebest says:

    I keep hearing reviews of a pretty wide range. But apparently, the F bomb is used 506 times over the course of the movie. Previously, the record for a non-documentary was Spike Lee’s 1999 film “Summer of Sam” with 435.

  188. NMR says:

    Pretty much confirms what Dejan said this morning.

    Marte, as of now, would not be getting much more than that without the extension.

  189. 21sthebest says:

    Looks like he’ll be traded before exceeding the Nutting cap.

    Viva la regime!

  190. Milo Hamilton says:

    Beau Bennett is Travis Snider. As the great Roseanne Roseannadanna so aptly put it, “It’s always something.”

  191. But who’s counting?

    That movie about the fighter with Bale and Wahlberg in it in Lowell, MA, would give them a good run number-wise.

  192. DJ says:

    I really enjoyed it, but then I’m a Scorcese fan.

    For me, the movie was worth the price of admission for the county club scene alone.

  193. Brandie says:

    Very telling. Dude is causing dissent in that locker room by not holding everyone to the same over all level of accountability.

  194. 21sthebest says:

    I understand that they’re trying to calm any concerns but I don’t know how they can say operations won’t be affected until the bankruptcy court approves the plan.

  195. Jim S. says:

    It does not seem like the Bucs to step up so much over 48 hours. But, I guess anything is possible.

    NH: “Mr. Nutting, Marte and his agent said we could shove the $19 million we offered yesterday.”

    BN: “Ok, then offer them $31 million tomorrow.”

  196. :D

    Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.

    Forgive me, Lord, and bless all the pygmies in New Guinnea.

  197. DJ says:

    With the escalation in salaries, by those years, I believe he’ll be considered a bargain.

  198. JohninOshkosh says:

    “Reorganization of debt” means paying pennies on the dollars to creditors. It’s still a screw job on the creditors and a terrible business plan. I know many view reorganization under Bankruptcy as a legitimate business plan. I do not. No way in heck I would lend them money again, If I was a lending institution.

  199. Jandy says:


  200. Wild Bill says:

    Different subject, folks. The national sports media is all over the Northwestern collegiate players unionization case, and its consequences for college sports. It sounds like, if upheld on appeal, it’s gonna be a sea change for all involved.

    Mark Emmert’s going to have a lot more to do than kick my alma mater in the groin. I philosophically agree with the players, as in football and basketball, college sports is a virtual minor league for the professionals – with some coaches and schools making huge money. But I worry about what it can mean for the smaller places. I’d hate to see some sports getting eliminated.

  201. Jandy says:

    They can’t if they aren’t given the authority to do so.

  202. Jim S. says:

    Love me some LTCG, Lucky.

  203. Thundercrack says:

    Crap! You beat me to it 21

  204. Jim S. says:

    But, it’s only a minor league for a very small amount of players, isn’t it Untamed William – even in football and hoops?

    I agree with you that this could be a huge mess.

    Some players don’t want to be in school, don’t need to be in school, and shouldn’t be in school. The vast majority of scholarship athletes get great benefit.

  205. NMR says:

    Gone by 2017!

  206. Jim S. says:

    :-), 26.2.

  207. One of a kind, Jim.

  208. Jim S. says:

    How ironic it would be if the Bucs ended up needing to eat a portion of Marte’s deal in a trade to make room for Austin Meadows.

  209. So ironic that it’s Northwestern. Like NMR said yesterday, why even play football in you’re smart enough to go there? (He didn’t use those exact words, but I believe that’s what he meant).

  210. Wild Bill says:

    In the short run, Jim, I think there will be bargaining agreements that will work a lot of places. In the long run, I wonder if we might see a whole new division of athletics emerge that only the very biggest schools and players will be a part of, and where the athletes will be paid, regardless of the education they choose to pursue.

  211. NMR says:


    This may make them viable as their operations currently stand, but also probably makes it pretty damn hard for them to grow.

  212. NMR says:


  213. Arriba Wilver says:

    I read yesterday that this ruling would only apply to private schools, if upheld. (Don’t know if that’s true) Although it didn’t draw the line for NLRB purposes for private and public schools. Even though it’s a different agency, it kind of reminds me of the EEOC going after Hooters for sex discrimination. And that went the way of converting to the metric system in the 80’s. Quoting Emily Litella, “Nevermind.”

  214. Brandie says:

    GIT ER DONE!!!!!!

  215. Jordan White says:

    I dont understand how they can say that they are employees of the university. Because they receive a scholarship? Does that make others on academic scholarship employees of the university? Does receving a free education (or any product for that matter) based on some type of merit qualify somebody as an employee?


  216. NMR says:

    That sounds like a beautiful situation to me.

    Using college athletics as cash cows has terribly eroded the purpose of higher education in the first place. The day that a University no longer has the monetary carrot at the end of the stick cannot come soon enough.

  217. Arriba Wilver says:

    Re-organizations don’t always end up paying pennies on the dollar. Depends on what happens. Liquidations many times do. But, yeah, it isn’t a great business plan. Worked out OK for the Pens, though.

  218. NMR says:

    They can say they are employees of the University because they makes the University millions of dollars.

  219. NMR says:

    And they are absolutely, unquestionably correct.

  220. Brandie says:

    Loving the Gilds Earner blasts on the blog.

    All kidding aside, this ruling will definitely change the landscape of college athletics, with smaller, less revenue generating sports paying the ultimate price. It’s like pay to play, accept it is now incumbent on the colleges to pay.

  221. Andrew says:

    That ruling is a power grab by NLRB, it is hard to see that holding up on appeal if it goes to Federal Court. Jim is correct outside 6-8 big time football programs, no athletic departments turn a profit and the vast majority require subsidies from the general student tuition. The athletic revenue goes to the AD and coaches salaries and constructing first rate training facilities for the entire department.

    I absolutely detest the NCAA, but most of the discussion around paying athletes from revenue sports is overly simplistic, a little more than moral grandstanding. If college have to truly compensate athletes for the revenue they create non-revenue sports and women’s athletics will wither away as a consequence I am not sure this is the result many of the advocates want.

  222. Wild Bill says:

    There’s a pretty interesting article by Andy Staples at about this situation and its effects.

  223. Abso-Brandie-lutely!

  224. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah but Mario isn’t coming out of retirement to play for the Riverhounds.

    Just imagine if you were a financial institution that the Penguins owed money to. How would you feel about financial projections with Mario coming back as opposed to staying retired? Pretty big difference, IMO.

    So I’m very skeptical that he came out of retirement for little Austin. Especially when they bought the old St. Francis Medical Center property for $8M right after they came out of bankruptcy too. I’m not sure how else they get the financing for that.

  225. Andrew says:

    This is not actually true, the NLRB disregard its own prior precedent and Supreme Courts rulings are relevant issues. The Northwestern players legal costs are being paid by the Steelworkers union, the NLRB is looking for a way to stay relevant in the face of a declining unionization of the workforce, and their ruling lies on shaky grounds.

    That said I completely agree there has always been a corrupting influence of big time athletics and college education and at this point almost anything that challenges the status quo is progress.

  226. 21sthebest says:

    John, without protection under Chapter 11 available to businesses, don’t you think a lot of creditors could be worse off?

  227. Nate83 says:

    So 36 million for 3 free agent years with only 12 of it being guaranteed. There is no guarantee that Marte ends up being the player many project him to be but by the year 2019, 3 years 36 million wouldn’t even get you a player that puts up Marte’s 2013 stats.

  228. Nastynate82 says:

    Sorry I didn’t put this reply below. Callahan may not have broken bones this year, but he still missed 4-6 weeks with injury. You don’t sign guys who play like that if they miss significant time with injury every year

  229. Arriba Wilver says:

    Just emphasizing that the pennies on the dollar scenario in a Chapter 11 isn’t the only one. A lot of it depends on what the problems are and who’s on the Creditors’ Committee.

  230. Nastynate82 says:

    Except when they made the Ecf the next year

  231. 21sthebest says:

    I read the same and that the ruling does not apply to state run institutions.

  232. Arriba Wilver says:

    IF it’s upheld. This is an agency decision at this point, with a lot of conservative courts around the country.

  233. 21sthebest says:

    Less than a third of D-I football teams and less than a quarter of D-I basketball teams make money. And these ratios have held fairly steady for close to a decade. In all, only 23 D-I athletic departments out of 340 ended in the black in 2012. Nearly all of the ones that do make money compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but the FBS, in fact, has the biggest losers of them all: in , in 2011 had 53 unprofitable football teams, and the median one flushed away $3.4 million. That team’s losses alone could, based on median costs, support four FBS-level men’s running programs.

  234. Nastynate82 says:

    They won’t lose to Columbus because the Caps will nab that 4th spot

  235. Jandy says:

    Don’t hold your breath.

  236. Arriba Wilver says:

    Absolutely, unquestionably?

    Little strong, I would say.

    So, to put it another way, you “laud” this ruling? ;-)

  237. Arriba Wilver says:

    Or are you referring to the fact they make the university money, which you are right. I thought you were saying they were definitely employees,

  238. Jandy says:

    eh…get a good lawyer on it, the university would win…dayum lawyers.

  239. 21sthebest says:

    Do the players make the university money or does the “business” model itself make the money?

  240. 21sthebest says:

    It didn’t come across but I was agreeing with you. And this one too.

  241. Arriba Wilver says:

    There was an interesting report on 60 Minutes last Sunday night, too. At least from that, it struck me that the unions and media were making this a pay issue. The guy they had on for the players though seemed like their interest was more in trying to protect players. They gave an example of a guy who got a nice scholarship, had a career ending injury, so not only lost the scholarship, but also medical coverage for the injury. That isn’t right.

  242. JohninOshkosh says:

    I understand it’s a part of business. There are winners and losers in capitalism and apparently the Riverhounds are losers. All this loss in interest income and chunks of principal income gets passed on by lenders to other businesses and individuals though-those who secure loans and are able to pay their obligations. Look at what people pay for credit card interest and what they might be paying if people didn’t default.

    I think the Rangers and Penguins entered into bankruptcy with knowledge that the trustee would likely approve the sale of the franchise to other interests who were financially capable of running the team. Maybe, that is the case here but I haven’t read that.

    To answer your question, the laws are on the books and the Riverhounds management can certainly take advantage of them. In theory, I support the bankruptcy laws. I’m just not fond of how the consequences that fall are different for individuals and businesses. Individuals file and many of them are ruined for years. They also have to bear a stigma that I think that businesses apparently do not. It means no loans and often foreclosure and moving into apartments rather than houses. Most small business owners lose the business. But bigger businesses and sporting interests move on and eventually secure loans. I find that irritating. If you lost the capitalistic game then you should lose. I guess If I was running a lending institution I would be far more conservative in my lending operations.

  243. Arriba Wilver says:

    The business model requires players. You could argue they are the labor that makes the business model work. Same as a steel mill. But I’m talking philosophically.

  244. 21sthebest says:

    “dayum lawyers”

    Bastards. Every single one of them.

  245. Jandy says:

    LOL! I was waiting for that ;)

  246. 21sthebest says:

    I can’t believe I missed that and I caught the piece on the Boston Marathon tragedy.

  247. Jim S. says:

    Interesting theory, Wild Bill. I’m not sure how this will play out, but I believe there could be unwanted consequences for a very high % of the athletes who are not pursuing this.

  248. Arriba Wilver says:

    I may be misremembering where I saw it or when. I definitely saw it. It was before the Regional Director’s ruling came out.

  249. Jim S. says:

    Thanks. I’m going to find that article.

  250. 21sthebest says:

    Agree Arriba. I just think this is going to be a very complicated appeal process.

  251. Jim S. says:

    Very good post, Osh.

  252. Jim S. says:

    Could be the final game tonight for my fighting Dayton Flyers vs. Stanford, but I’m hoping not. Following is a link to a story about their coach, Pittsburgh’s own Archie (little brother to Sean) Miller and his path to this point.

    I also copied a picture of the popularity of Dayton mentions on Facebook this week across the US compared to other Sweet 16 teams. When you haven’t been there in a long time, I guess you create a little bit of a buzz.

    I’m hoping their run goes at least until Saturday.

  253. NMR says:


  254. Wild Bill says:

    They’re the only Flyers I could ever root for!

  255. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m with ya there, John, on the difference with businesses and personal.

  256. NMR says:

    Good stuff, 21.

  257. No. 9 says:

    The term “summarily rejected” is needed to ensure that the previously used phrase “infinite credit” wasn’t misplaced. But . . . when you admit not knowing what was offered, counter-offered, etc, I don’t get the use of the descriptive terms. Awfully hard to refer to a decision as deserving “infinite credit” or that an offer was “summarily rejected” without knowing more about the offer, counter-offer, etc. Descriptive terms such as “infinite” and “summarily” are inserted for a reason; the writer uses them for a purpose.

  258. Jim S. says:


  259. 21sthebest says:

    And I didn’t just make it up!

  260. Very well put, John, and spot on. I spent 9 years in the S&L business when there was such a thing and would be in it still if it weren’t for the Call of God on our lives. Everything you said above is true and accurately stated, especially the stigma part. Our institution was ultra-conservative in every way.

    Can’t speak much for the corporate end, as we dealt with families not corporations or even small businesses.

  261. Jandy says:

    is that Love Potion No. 9?

  262. 21sthebest says:

    It’s apples and oranges to me. And many big businesses have been forced to fold.

  263. Thundercrack says:

    Alex Presley waived by the Twins. Picked up by the Astros.


    Interesting to look back at that Morneau trade

  264. Jordan White says:

    I’m not sure that making the university millions of dollars = players are employees. There is a lot of employment law that is not applied to players (others receiving scholarships) because they are students.

    If they are employees, should a starting senior quarterback get paid more than a sophomore backup DL? It would be pretty obvious that the QB is contributing more to the success of the program and ipso facto (fancy, right?) the school.

    I don’t want to sound like I’m definitively on one side of this, because I think the salary of those at the NCAA level is not equivalent to the value they are giving university athletics in general. (The non-PC version of that sentence is: the NCAA heads are practically stealing money by being unnecessary go-betweens) But does unionizing the players fix anything? Maybe if the parameters are set up correctly, but I just don’t have a vision of what that looks like.

  265. BillyBaduka says:


  266. BillyBaduka says:

    Spot on John!

  267. Patrick(RI) says:

    Speaking of paid players, I am looking forward to the bb games upcoming. The real silver lining, for me, is that only one of the two worst creeps in the coaching ranks can advance!

  268. Patrick(RI) says:

    a little positive nuance on “one and done.”

  269. Nate83 says:

    That is all I was saying. The way things are worded definitely effects how the reader perceives the situation. In this case I do not think it was an accurate description of the events that happened and painted an inaccurate portrayal of the two parties involved. I honestly think they where only a few million off and maybe the signing bonus being raised a little from getting it done. I do not believe the Pirates moved that much on their offer in the span of 3 days. It was T crossing and I dotting. Not throw away and start over.

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