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Sunday column: A new Pirates generation

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Sunday column surveys several sides of a new generation for baseball in Pittsburgh, on and off the PNC Park diamond.

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The column is but one small slice of the Trib’s 12-page 2014 Baseball Preview section that hits newsstands this morning. Really hope you have a chance to check this out in print. We’re pretty happy with it as a whole.

Bryan Morris isn’t the only one bringing more heat than ever. It’s become a baseball-wide phenomenon, per this analysis by Travis Sawchik in Philadelphia.

Gerrit Cole’s secondary pitch might be a primary weapon for the Pirates this summer, by Rob Biertempfel.

The roster is finished, and it doesn’t include Vin Mazzaro, by Sawchik.

Season-ticket sales rise 40 percent, by Sawchik.

Opening-day plans include Barry Bonds and Jim Leyland, by Sawchik.

An exhaustive review of all 2014 predictions related to the Pirates, by Sawchik.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page and our Bucco Blog.

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> I’ll be part of the panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word tonight, with a special live edition at 11:35 because of the Penguins-Blackhawks game preceding it. I’ll be joined by Biertempfel, 105.9 the X host Mark Madden and WPXI’s Bill Phillips.

>> 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.

Comments

  1. JohninOshkosh says:

    4.

  2. JRay3 says:

    Really enjoyed the column DK, especially capturing a lot of quotes from the guys inside the clubhouse describing the feel to embarking on 2014 and to the whole leadership topic. The Jeff Locke bit was great for the honesty of his words, as was Grilli for the undertone he left of the overall clubhouse dynamic almost attempting to minimize giving AJ too much credit in the leadership department.

    Excited to hear the progress the team has made in terms of ticket sales, having been inside PNC for those October playoff games against St. Louis, feeling that energy it really showcased the baseball city Pittsburgh is capable of being. Hope for many energetic nights in the spring and summer ahead.

    Just nice to be a Pirates fan and go into the season with some sort of expectations, and hope for what could be in the season ahead, been far too long. So really appreciate how the column ended with Clint Hurdle speaking about this being the start of something and not resting on last seasons laurels.

  3. JRay3 says:

    Congrats, I know out this way there are a lot of heartbroken Wildcats tonight. Very happy for Bo Ryan.

    DK: Seconded. Wonderful all-around game.

    But man, T.J. McConnell left Duquesne exactly for that look, that shot there at the end. And it was never a threat to fall.

  4. Bizrow says:

    • • Welcome Lunatics, if you don’t see your current location below, please add a reply to this post

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation

    Pittsburgh – Sochi – Moscow – New York – Fort Myers – Port Charlotte – Bradenton – Sarasota – Clearwater – Tampa – Orlando – Charlotte – Pittsburgh
    Afghanistan – skeetermc*
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix, Sunnyslope, Davis-Monthan AFB*, Lake Havasu City
    • Argentina, Buenos Aries
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Alaska – Anchorage
    Australia – Mackay, Gold Coast, Geelong, Sydney
    Brazil – Vitoria, São Paulo
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City, Solana Beach, Yorba Linda, Yuba City*, Edwards*, Long Beach, Modesto, Davis, Santa Monica, Solana Beach, Canyon Country, Burbank, West Hills, Encino, Clovis
    Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg, Moncton – New Brunswick, Ontario – Muskoka, Perth – home of the Ottowa RedBlacks, Perth – Ontario
    China – Beijing
    Crete – Vlites
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park*, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford, Norwalk, NEWTOWN
    Costa Rica
    Czech Republic
    Delaware – Newark
    Denmark – Greenland – Thule*
    District of Columbia
    England – London
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Coco Beach (Major Nelson and Mary Ann), Niceville (Red Neck Rivera) and a*, St Petersburg, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, W Melbourne, Melbourne, St Johns, Wesley Chapel, Fort Pierce, Lakeland
    France – Strasbourg,
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Acworth, Savanna, Hoschton, Grayson, Newnan, Macon
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne, Ramstein*
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline, Mountain Home AFB*
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Algonquin, Chicago, Naperville
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend, Bicknell, Ft Wayne, Westfield, Munster, Jasper
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt, Maquoketa, Urbandale
    Ireland – Dublin
    • Israel – Ginot Shomron
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington, Georgetown
    Kuwait – Relyks76*
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maine – Bangor
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf, Hagerstown, Chevy Chase, Hampstead, Elkridge, Frederick, Bowie, Sykesville, Columbia
    Massachusetts – Boston, Tyngsboro, East Gloucester*, 617 Strong*, Medford
    Mecca – Slienmann*
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Mason, Battle Creek
    Minnesota – Yinzer, St Paul
    Mississippi – Biloxi, Ocean Springs
    Missouri – St Peters***
    Montana
    Nebraska – Omaha, Lincoln
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon, Lincoln Park, Berkeley Heights, Somerville, Hammock, Barrington, Delran, Pennsville, Hammonton, Mullica Hills, JERSEY SHORE, Montclair, Monmouth Beach, Flemington
    New Mexico – Mike, Albequeque, blazer
    New York – New York, Smithtown, Manhattan, Long Island, Nyack, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Lewistown, Stony Point
    Nevada, Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, High Point, Winston Salem
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township, Warren, Oregon, Wintersville, Austintown, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base*, New Philadelphia, Powell, Canton, Salem, New Albany, Bloomingdale, Powell, Howland, Grafton, Northwood, Middletown, Dayton, Cambridge, Martins Ferry, Akron
    Oklahoma – Tulsa – OKLAHOMA CITY/MOORE ,,
    Oregon – Roseburg, Eugene
    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Du Bois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradford Woods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilkes-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Danny’s Hoagies, Baldwin, Economy, Sharpsville, North Huntington, Bellfonte, West Mifflin, Kennywood, Pleasant Hills, Beechview (Mad Turk, No 200), Macgunie, Mechanicsburg, Uptown, Cambria County, Mon Valley, Salisbury, Coraopolis, Emsworth, Cranberry Twp, Garrett, O’Hara Township, McCandless Township, 115 Federal Street, Bethel Park, Harrison City, Penn Hills, Kittanning, Dover, Upper St Clair, Rennerdale, Oakland, Scranton, Moon (RMU), State College, Erie, Penn Twp, Stowe, Elizabeth, Hermitage, Easton, Carlisle, Finleyville, Belle Vernon, Madison, Sellersville, Waynesburg, Warren, Beaver Falls, Chambersburg, Green Castle, East Freedom, Leechburg, Banksville City, Ellwood City, Hollidaysburg, Bethlehem, Mars, Verona, Philipsburg, Phoenixville, Hippos Pond, Oil City, Verona, Hookstown, Squirrel Hill, Natrona, Charleroi, FREEDOM, Denver, Midland (the home of good food and many bars), Selinsgrove, Dormont, Scott Township, Blawnox, Arnold, Ligonier, Wells Tannery, Swoyersville, St Mary’s, Titusville, Shippingsburg, Sharpsville, Brookville, Mountain Top, Mt Joy, Bloomsburg, Portage, Carnegie, Homer City, Allepo Township, Irwin, Claridge, Downington
    The Philippines
    Rhode Island
    Serbia – Subotica
    Singapore
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia, Bluffton, Greensville, Charleston, North Charleston, Sumter
    South Korea – Seoul, Mike
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton, Houston, Katy, Plano, El Paso, Cedar Park, Pleasanton
    United Kingdom – Haslemere
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Uzbekistan
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield*, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie, Manassas, Newport News, Clifton, Glen Allen, Roanoke, Vienna, Alexandria, Lynchburg
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Mt Olivet, Huntington, Parkersburg, Clarksburg*, Grafton
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville
    Wyoming – Caspar, Lander
    Unknown – killa_cam7*
    456 confirmed locations represented in the blog, and a couple of strange places
    Lunatic Nation Hall of Fame, people that have, in our opinion, made a difference, either thru talent or character or deeds.
    Nominations are always welcome
    Any Allegheny, Pirate, Crawford, Gray, Steeler or Penguin player in the League’s Hall of Fame, although if Jagr makes it some day, we gotta talk
    Stan “The Man”, from Donora
    Beano
    Lemonade Guy
    The Gunner, Mr Bob Prince
    The Great One, he stays regardless
    Mike Lange
    Myron Cope
    The Honorable Mayor Richard Caliguiri
    Kevin Mcclachety
    Mike Emerick
    Commander Hadfield, courtesy of the Space Station
    Fred Rogers
    Mario Lemieux, ditto to the Great One, he stays as an owner
    Chuck Noll
    Eddie Johnston, aka EJ
    Badger Bob
    Chuck Tanner
    Dick Groat, the best darn multi-athelete and announcer from Wilkinsburg/Swissvale
    Steve Blass
    Danny Murtaugh*
    Rocky Bleier*
    John Challis – Courage + Belief = Life
    All Servicemen and women that have been in battle, ever
    Sgt Doug Vitale
    Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band
    Barney Dreyfuss
    George Benson
    Phil Coyne
    • Tony Dorsett
    • Vince Lascheide
    • John Barbaro
    • Art McKennan
    • Steve Dirt Denardo*
    • K9***, Rocco
    First Responders***
    27 countries
    46 states, plus the District of Columbia, missing 4 states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alabama, and Kansas
    Three planets, at least confirmed, and the Space Station
    Then there was that Cold day in Hell place
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    “Terrorists will always lose in America, the sooner they figure that out, the better”- truer words have never been spoken
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s of any species, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    • 3/29/2014 5:48 PM

    LETS GO BUCS

  5. JD says:

    Congrats OshKosh, I’m happy for you. Enjoy!!

  6. JD says:

    Great article DK. I’m fired up for Opening Day now. I asked my sister who lives in Cranberry to buy me a copy & FedEx it to me so I can read the entire print edition too.

    Let’s Go Bucs!!

    DK: Thanks on both counts, JD.

  7. Thundercrack says:

    Excellent article DK.

    DK: Thanks, TC.

  8. Jason81 says:

    I think that qualified as a home run in your first at bat of the year. Well done, DK.

  9. Thundercrack says:

    Last week I posted how I witnessed AJ Burnett pitch against the Bucs at McKechnie and how he had that run-in with the fan. I also saw him interact with Hurdle. It was a nice exchange between the two of them.
    I noticed that AJ didn’t go into the clubhouse. I can understand it: it was the Pirate clubhouse and he is no longer a Pirate. But I also noticed that he wasn’t invited in and no player except Jared Hughes came out to greet him. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe a lot of them talked to him last time he pitched against the Bucs. Just something I noticed.

  10. Stuart says:

    Terrific column DK!

    I’m even more stoked for the start of the season after reading it.

    Now if we can just get some decent weather…

    Beat ‘em Bucs.

    Stuart

  11. Well, the final exhibition with the Phillies was rained out yesterday. Not that I’d really care since now, the Bucs have more time to prepare for Monday when they play the Cubs in the official opener at PNC Park in hopefully better weather, since the forecast is for partly cloudy with the high around 60. And, hopefully, the Pirates will beat them but good!

  12. And in the meantime, hopefully, the Pens can beat the Chicago Blackhawks tonight.

  13. JoeyBats says:

    DK….great work!

    I wish you would have added another section to article though.

    THE MANAGEMENT TEAM

    ….they should have given The Manager more talented “toys” to play with this season, instead of sitting on their wallets all off season …. ;-)

  14. kr70 says:

    notice the byline “by Sawchik” quit a few times, turning into the Pittsburgh Pirate version of Sneelock (Dr Seus) and he is doing a very good job!

  15. Pucknutz says:

    Good column DK.
    I think you covered all the bases quite well,
    Another section needed….
    Management Team …. keep movin people, nothing to see here. :)

  16. Eric Bowser says:

    Last year, I predicted 75 wins, Pirates won 94. This year, I’m going with 85 wins.

    * Opening Day Roster
    Lineup: Marte, Walker, McCutchen, Alvarez, Sanchez, Snider, Martin, Mercer
    Bench: Sanchez, Tabata, Barmes, Harrison, Ishikawa
    Rotation: Liriano, Morton, Rodriguez, Cole, Volquez
    Bullpen: Grilli, Melancon, Morris, Watson, Wilson, Gomez, Pimental

    * Concerns
    1. First Base – A gap about a country mile wide
    2. Bench Power – No power off the bench
    3. Right Field – Can Snider or Tabata do anything to keep the seat warm for Polanco?
    4. Rotation – Not confident about Rodriguez or Volquez pitching that well
    5. Melancon – Was late season collapse just being tired or signs of something worse?
    6. Grilli – his fastball has dropped 1-2 mph, not a good sign.

    * Excitement
    1. McCutchen – He’s a top five player in baseball and guess what, he could be better.
    2. Alvarez – Imagine if he could cut down on a few strikeouts and turn those into HRs
    3. Cole – A full season of this hard throwing pitcher is badly needed.
    4. Polanco – June cannot come fast enough for this soon to be star.
    5. Marte – contract is done, hope the injury is healed, stay healthy & he’ll be big boost.
    6. Wilson – looking for another leap in his maturation as a reliever, closer mentality.

    * How the Pirates can win more than 85 games?
    1. Uncle Ray Searage works his magic and turns Edinson Volquez into an average pitcher
    2. Gaby Sanchez hits like he did in 2011 (19 HR, 78 RBI, .779 OPS)
    3. Gregory Polanco arrives in June and plays like Daryl Strawberry and stirs the drink!
    4. Andrew McCutchen produces more like 2012 (31 HR, 96 RBI, .953 OPS)
    5. Francisco Liriano stays healthy and pitches like he did last season.
    6. Gerrit Cole uses more of that high heat and buckles the batter w/ his slider
    7. Bullpen stays healthy, returns to mid-season form
    8. Starling Marte increase his OBP above .350, hits for more power (15+)

  17. JAL says:

    JAL’s A Place in the Sun Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDjO7F60wiY

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects Spring Training Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/st2014

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    The Pirates Won’t Have to Wait For Gregory Polanco to Have a Top Outfield

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/the-pirates-wont-have-to-wait-for-gregory-polanco-to-have-a-top-outfield.html

    Pirates Will Once Again Have Strong Infield Defense and Offensive Questions

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/pirates-will-once-again-have-strong-infield-defense-and-offensive-questions.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Pirates designate Vin Mazzaro for assignment, outright Oliver

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/3/29/5561352/pirates-designate-vin-mazzaro-for-assignment

    7 Rumbunter

    Barry Bonds Returns to Celebrate Andrew McCutchen MVP Award

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/03/28/andrew-mccutchen-barry-bonds-together-opening-day/
    8 Green Weenie

    Pirates Set Roster, Notes

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/03/pirates-set-roster-notes.html

    9 SaberBucs

    A Skinny Young Pirate

    http://saberbucs.net/2014/03/29/when-he-was-skinny/

    10 WHYGAVS

    Vin Mazzaro is the odd man out in the bullpen

    http://whygavs.com/march-2014/vin-mazzaro-is-the-odd-man-out-in-the-bullpen.html

  18. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Beaver County Times

    Pirates 2014: Recalling Bing Crosby’s ownership of the team

    http://www.timesonline.com/sports/pirates/pirates-recalling-bing-crosby-s-ownership-of-the-team/article_7e558775-9c88-575a-8acd-837139421883.html

    12 NY Times

    Same Old Cardinals, With New Look

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/sports/baseball/same-old-cardinals-with-new-look.html?_r=0

    13 KDKA

    Jack Wilson: Hard Work Resonated With Fans

    http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2014/03/29/jack-wilson-hard-work-resonated-with-fans/

    14 Pirates Site

    Pirates designate Mazzaro to finalize ‘pen

    http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140329&content_id=70415044&notebook_id=70423400&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    15 Bradenton Herald

    Pittsburgh Pirates | Next goal is to start winning streak

    http://www.bradenton.com/2014/03/30/5075627/pittsburgh-pirates-next-goal-is.html?sp=/99/217/

    16 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    National League: 10 things to watch

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/national-league-10-things-to-watch-b99229563z1-252987251.html

    17 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates Rumors: Team Expects to Trade Vin Mazzaro

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/03/29/pittsburgh-pirates-rumors-team-expects-to-trade-vin-mazzaro/

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: It’s the Way to play

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/bernie-it-s-the-way-to-play/article_62ee14a9-be30-5531-b586-5a16f6fb9bc2.html

    19 Fangraphs

    Miguel Cabrera’s Terrible and Understandable Contract

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/miguel-cabreras-terrible-and-understandable-contract/

    20 SB Nation

    These Are the Times to Remember (Sorry)

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2014/3/27/5555874/2014-mlb-season-preview-mike-trout-bryce-harper-manny-machado

  19. Nate83 says:

    Eric that was a great rundown of the team and summary of your thoughts. Most of which are on point. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Ditto. On Wisconsin!

  21. hockeymonster says:

    With a lot of you guys caught up on NCAA round ball thought I’d give an update on the Pens draft picks playing in the Real March Madness :)

    Got my 1st look at Blueger from MN State-Mankato and came away very impressed by his smooth skating and speed to go with good hands, skill and instinct. Kind of reminds me of Boedker from PHX.

    Scott Wilson from UML and Bryan Rust from Notre Dame look like they’ve both accomplished quite a bit in college and are ready to test themselves at the next level. I view Wilson as having higher upside once he improves his shot but hard to tell for now.

    As far as potential free agents, MN state Mankato has some impressive prospects. For starters their Goalie Cole Huggins passed the eye test with flying colors while matching Hellebuyck’s brilliance save for save. His anticipation and quickness in net definitely makes him worth a look in prospect camp.

    Brett Stern, is a stout stay at home dman for them who looks like a strong skater and isn’t shy when it comes to dropping the hammer. His presence and skating ability makes him intriguing and worth a look. Casey Nelson is another dman worth keeping an eye on as well due to him being RH and 6’2 with mobility.

    Dylan Margonari, is a kid from Greensburg with wheels and grit but didn’t get a great look at him other than a few shifts. From what i saw he looks a strong skater with grit and the size to be a bottom 6 player. Probably worth a look too.

    UML is loaded. Besides players like Wilson and Arnold who are drafted they have several undrafted players that are definitely worth a look. Pendenza is one of the most underrated players in the entire NCAA. Not the biggest center being listed at 5’11 but is a stout 190lbs and is a very smooth, fast and strong skater with great instincts up and down the ice.

    And as you guys know, signing Christian Folin once UML’s season is over is still a must for the Pens and will hopefully be priority #1!

  22. bpn8pitt says:

    Great point about the bench, Eric.

    Tabata, Snider, and Gabykawa had 18 Hrs total in 2013. 19 with Lambo. Didn’t tally up the XBH but I imagine its equally underwhelming.

    Somebody there MUST play well. And it would be better if a few them did…If all 5 “stink” ? Yikes. Then, the pitching better be as good or better than last year. And that’s a tall task, considering where some of those guys were, early in the year as opposed to late.

  23. theplanisworking says:

    Eric, this is really spot on, and balanced.
    Thank You for the mini-column. :)

    Just be careful……… the Pirate “experts” on here don’t think there are any concerns.
    In the past offseason, it has been said the 1B really doesn’t matter, the bench stunk last year yet the team won 94 games, RF doesn’t matter, because Polanco is on the way (forget the fact he has to prove he can do it at AAA and stay healthy)………. The rotation will be fine, AJ’s loss is overrated because other pitchers can make up the innings, Volquez is a non-issue, etc.

    When others bring up those same concerns, they are told that it is worrying about nothing. All is well. Thanks for putting this to paper, Eric. Lets some people know that they aren’t as crazy as they are made out to be. ;)

  24. Eric Bowser says:

    Follin might be a nice prospect but he plays defense… Pens need help at forward.

  25. hockeymonster says:

    Eric, he’s RH and the swedish shea weber. Need i go on?

  26. theplanisworking says:

    I sense HM has some “prospect love”.

    You his agent? ;)
    “The Swedish Shea Weber” is awful high praise, no?

    Eric is right, Shero needs to draft/develop Forwards.

    Unless the Pens can convert Follin to LW ……….

  27. hockeymonster says:

    Hippster, i think you know i dish out praise like that only after careful consideration.

    Other than tanger and bortuzzo we dont have any RH dmen in our pipeline. Engo is a UFA, nisky and orpik will probably be priced out and PM will be a UFA after next season. We’ll have room on the right side in short order.

    Kamrass is another quality dman for UML but he’s LH and not as big as Folin. As far as other intriguing forwards go, Cory Kane for Ferris State looks like a player too, and not just cuz he scored last night.

  28. theplanisworking says:

    Eh, when you put it like that, I guess I can see the need.
    Does not do anything for the F situation, however.

    Also, I know you comrade……… you are prone to drink dee vodka that Moose and Squirrel don’t steal. I thought your original praise was “helped along” in that regard. ;)

  29. hockeymonster says:

    Oh no, i’ve developed years of tolerance towards dee vood-ka.

  30. Jim S. says:

    Congrats, Osh! I wish my team had been there to join you, but it was not to be. I hope WI can finish this thing, as I’ve taken a liking to them. Always liked Bo Ryan.

  31. Eric Bowser says:

    I don’t have a problem signing him, just would have been nice to see Shero get one of the forwards that were out there.

  32. theplanisworking says:

    If the Pens flame out early again, I don’t think Mr. Shero will be around to do the drafting. Just a hunch.

  33. Eric Bowser says:

    I think Bylsma will be toast but Shero is going to get the Craig Patrick treatment and stick around for at least 2-3 years under the new head coach.

  34. theplanisworking says:

    That’s possible also.
    But the Pensblog article DK linked last week was pretty convincing……….

  35. Jim S. says:

    Right there with you, JRay. It is nice for me to have the Bucs going into a season knowing they are capable of winning and expecting them to do that, as opposed to thinking they have a chance to be good and hoping it happens.

  36. theplanisworking says:

    DK, very nice, hopeful article on the Pirates.
    I was one of the many that feared the Pirates 20 year streak of ineptitude cost the team an entire generation of fans. Reading today, interest seems to be back, which is great.

    Still not convinced the Pirates will come close to matching last year’s win total due to subtracting this offseason. But for one day at least……….. there are no losses, the sun is shining, and Hope Springs Eternal.

    (Maybe I should have put Hope Winters Eternal ). ;)

  37. Jim S. says:

    +++, Joey.

  38. Sarah says:

    I guess.
    But I’m actually at the point where I blame Shero for a lot.
    He brought back DB, so any of our frustrations re the coaching go back to Ray at this point. And the Letang decision was huge and tied our hands re getting wingers….

    I’m just afraid if he does can BYlsma, we’ll get Trotz.

    Just based on the interview yesterday w Pompeani, I’d be willing to give Tocchet a try. His remarks show how much he understands the issues with this particular group, and the subtext was obvious re Bylsma and his decision making.

  39. Jim S. says:

    I thought at the time you posted those comments that it was astute on your part, TC.

    My take is a lot of the players liked AJ, a lot of them were helped by AJ, maybe not all of them liked AJ, but all of them know it is now time to move on w/o AJ. I thought Martin has as much as said that many times this spring.

    I think they want to prove that maybe AJ got a bit too much credit for the last 2 years. It is not intended as a slight at AJ, just that there were a lot of contributors on the team and the players knew that. He was important, but they are still a pretty confident bunch.

    I also thought Locke’s description of AJ this weekend was pretty good – making the distinction between AJ (the positive influence) and JA (the not so positive influence).

  40. Thundercrack says:

    I’m not an expert,
    But I agree that it will be nice to see what Polanco will do in AAA. I don’t get the impression that he is injury prone or has had trouble staying healthy. All I could find was an ankle injury in August of 2012. (which may have been reinjured/aggravated in the navy seals style training).

    I read this blog just about everyday and I haven’t seen anyone post that 1B doesn’t really matter. They haven’t said RF doesn’t matter either – it just seems that people are a little more comfortable with the idea of Tabata & Snider to start…and hope that Polanco is everything (or even close) to what has been advertised.

    And I certainly haven’t seen anyome say that Volquez is a non-issue (maybe I’m not sure what the definition of ‘non-issue is)

    People have posted that the other pitchers (full seasons from Morton, Cole, Wandy and Liriano) can make up for the loss of innings from AJ. But I don’t recall people making a big deal that AJ’s loss is overrated.

  41. theplanisworking says:

    Sarah, due to Tocchet’s guilty plea in that gambling ring case, do you think the Pens would really bring him in as a coach?

    I know he and Mario are friends.
    Just askin’.

  42. Sarah says:

    Plan that is a great point, I definitively wonder about that and suspect you’re spot on, that Tocchets background may keep him off this roster….

    It’s pretty clear Mario wants this team to be a “clean” team, and actually after the NYI fiasco I’ve sensed they lost their compass and have never been the same gritty hard-to-play group since then……

    Remember when the Pens had like the most PIM in the league? They were much more like BOS, in your face,borderline (or over the borderline !!) dirty…..HARD to play against.

    All those sand paper guys have been steadily removed ….we are soft and small and easy to play against now.

    And you’re right, I dunno if Mario wants Tocchet in the org.
    However – Rick is in the box frequently with Lemieux lately…so who knows.

  43. chethejet1 says:

    Not sure what the fall out is if the Pens don’t go to the eastern finals. I suggest Mario may have taken lessons from Patrick that a coach is just a guy behind the bench. Ivan Helinka was maybe the most bizarre hire in sports history. But my hope is the Pens see what many on here see. A coach who is not a good fit. A GM who strongly believes he is a great fit. If Shero is all in on Bylsma, then his judgment has to be linked to that decision. When someone like Shero is called on that it is not enough to admit that didn’t “work out” or I hoped it wold have. The issue is Shero’s track record here. Simply put, the playoff performance has been shaky based on the game situations or talent at his disposal. He needs to go is the Pens don;t meet their goal.

  44. scapper says:

    That’s the magic of spring and Opening Day. I’m reading your last section and I start getting so pumped up. It’s not like any of those are far-fetched possibilities either. Go Bucs!!!

  45. theplanisworking says:

    Sarah, great points about the lack of sandpaper players on the team. I was hoping AFLAC would be replaced by Lindy Ruff last summer, but it wasn’t to be.

    These upcoming playoffs worry me for many reasons.
    If another early exit happens, Mario HAS to do something (besides count the sellout $$$$).

  46. theplanisworking says:

    Well, my Sixers went and blew it last night.
    They won a game !!
    So, instead of having the all-time stink record for consecutive losses in a row, they now share it with a few other teams. If you are going to stink, STINK BIG !!

    Congrats to Osh for his Badgers!

    Bad news to Osh for his Bucks………………….. looks like Milwaukee is now a lock to get the worst overall record in the NBA. The team with the worst record hasn’t gotten the overall number 1 pick since 2003 — LeBron to the Cavs.

  47. NMR says:

    I was amazed at how empowered Locke was with that quote, and that fact alone should be a credit to AJ.

    You don’t call your MLB veteran mentor a jackass in the press as a 26 year old now back in AAA without having been empowered with confidence from that mentor in the first place.

  48. NMR says:

    Gabykawa!

    Love it!

  49. NMR says:

    Ya gotta learn to just ignore it, man. Guy is always going to read what he wants to read.

  50. bpn8pitt says:

    TC, plenty have people have thrown ” Volquez is just #5 starter” around.

    Not only does he not have the AL to NL thing going for him, St Louis historically hits him decent. The Reds may know him better than any pitcher on the Pirates staff.

    Signing him, trading for Stewart, and platooning Lambo with Gaby. Those were the significant offseason decisions, right? Other than letting AJ Burnett, 20 War player go…

    Gotta long way to go, but so far its more than fair to question them IMO.

  51. bpn8pitt says:

    Don’t know much about hockey, but I think Shero gets to hire another coach if they go that route.

    They should look around too. Not just consider internal. Shaking things up might be what the organization needs.

  52. Brotherhood of the Redus says:

    Dk column in my eyes, fantastic planet in my ears, coffee in my mouth hole….see you back on earth in an hour or so.

    Great column

  53. Brandie says:

    Tomorrow we begin play for all of the marbles. In keeping with a personal theme I started last year, I will not make any Pirate win or loss predictions. (Hey, in my mind that may have had something to do with the beyond stellar record, play offset appearance, and shattering the streak.)

    I am intrigued, especially after reading the piece on Cole and his nasty secondary pitch, just how much of an upside this kid has. I am also eager to see how the Gabykawa experiment works out and what Vin Mazzaro might be able to fetch in the open market. (I will definitely miss Vin-satiable for the grit and competence he brought. Maybe the Pens could use him.)

    Getting a bit weary of the saga that is the Pittsburgh Penguins. They are the living embodiment of the saying “A house divided against itself will not
    stand.” A thorough house cleaning g needs to take place.

  54. theplanisworking says:

    You, and everyone else is guilty of the exact same thing, NMR.

    Pot. Kettle.

  55. Brandie says:

    Congratulations to JohninOshKosh for his Badgers going to the Final Four.

    Marvelous column DK.

  56. theplanisworking says:

    Good Luck tomorrow, Brandie!

  57. Brandie says:

    Thanks loads Plan Hrdina!

  58. bpn8pitt says:

    60 starts and almost 400 IP, in two years, Jim.

    They are gonna miss him.

  59. theplanisworking says:

    :D

  60. Thundercrack says:

    bpn,
    I agree with you. People have said that Volquez just needs to be the #5 start and people have questioned his skills and why they signed him. But I don’t recall seeing anyone saying his is a ‘non factor’.

    And I agree that it is fair to question the Pirates’ FO. I just don’t think what was laid out by the poster as being fact. I didn’t see that on this blog.

  61. Brandie says:

    I think it is a part of an over all house cleaning. Make no mistake, the 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates are a team with a chip on their shoulder. It is incumbent upon them to prove that 2013 was no fluke, that they belong with the more elite teams, and that this team is neither made nor broken with AJ (or JA). They will miss the 400 innings, but what’s done is done.

    We want winners, not whiners!

  62. Thundercrack says:

    You’re probably right NMR. I can usually when people give an opinion that I don’t agree with. It’s a little more difficult for me to ignore when people try to present them as ‘facts’ – and I don’t agree with those ‘facts’

  63. theplanisworking says:

    100% false.

    You disagree with certain posters. Facts/opinions dont matter.
    You have come after me specifically when I post opinions, rendering your first sentence moot.

  64. 21sthebest says:

    +++++ @ NMR

  65. Brandie says:

    Thank Mei-lowe for that one.

  66. Sarah says:

    To be fair, Chet , I think DB was a good fit at first…..
    He was able to take MTs VERY defensively responsible group, and release the Hounds in a more aggressive forecheck, and heaven knows those young legs were ready to fly…..

    But for sure he is no longer a fit…and not sure he has been one for awhile. (When I am at my most cynical I think it began as early as the 2009-2010 season….loss of discipline…..). But It really does not seem like he has the ear of this group now, at all. Time to go IMO.

    He will probably be a fine fit for some other team…..for awhile.

  67. Thundercrack says:

    You’re right Plan.

    When you recently posted your opinion that the Pirates have ignored & didn’t care about the first base position for the past 30 years, I did disagree with you.

    Like I said, usually.

  68. Sarah says:

    B we will ALL be thinking of you tomorrow and wishing you the BEST.
    You GO GIRL!!!!

  69. NMR says:

    plan, I feel you and I have attained somewhat of an understanding in our differences of opinion, but I simply cannot fathom how one could read this Blog everyday since October and come away with a belief that ANYONE believes there aren’t any concerns.

    That is simply not accurate. You cannot find a single poster who doesn’t believe the Pirates have a single concern. Saying something like that cannot add anything productive to the conversation, and I gotta imagine you know that very well at this point.

  70. theplanisworking says:

    In the past you have come after me for posting opinions. Fact.
    And, I forgot your “usually” definitetly does not include me…………. being you come after me for everything Pirate related. So, you just like to start crap with me, my opinion doesnt matter, because you will disagree with it just to start trouble.

    Enjoy.

  71. Sarah says:

    Anyone see the RMU v Minn game? RMU put up an excellent fight despite the score and had the gophers on their heels with a surprise late goal in the second to make it 4-2.
    Their freshman G Dalton Izyk was outstanding and kept them in it. Bright future for that young man.

    In my beer leagues I’ve played v a couple of these guys! Hope they stay out at the Island lol!!!!

  72. bpn8pitt says:

    Yes, hope Milo’s term catches on.

  73. Sarah says:

    Trouble is Bylsma is Ray’s guy (unlike Therrian).
    Firing him would be an admission that the extension was a mistake. That is on Shero.

    I think Bylsma stays unless there’s an absolute debacle like a 1st round exit in 4-5.

    Disco wins a round, I bet he’s here next year. Ugh.

  74. theplanisworking says:

    “but I simply cannot fathom how one could read this Blog everyday since October and come away with a belief that ANYONE believes there aren’t any concerns. ”

    So when I said Volquez was an awful signing, and I was told that Ray would fix him, and there was really nothing to worry about, ………. that never occurred?

    When I said that the Lambo experiment was doomed from the start, I was told that lambo would be fine, and even if he wasnt, Gaby would be as an everyday 1B………… that never occurred?

    When I raise concerns that Polanco and Taillon could not be “locks”, that I was just over-reacting…………. that never occurred?

    Then you guys have the nerve to say I read only what I want to read. Whatever. I know what was said, I know the disagreements that posters (other than I) had.

  75. scapper says:

    This post was supposed to be a reply to Bowser’s good stuff about the Bucs.

  76. NMR says:

    Couldn’t sleep last this morning and pulled up “Pelotaro” on Netflix. Brought back fond memories seeing the screen shot of Dejan’s name and the PBC Blog.

    A few hours later I read the Trib’s suite of Pirate articles highlighting Opening Day and all I can say is, wow. It is amazing how far Dejan has pulled their coverage in a few short years (possibly feeling like many more), now with the very competant help of beat writers and production staff. I even made it a point to pick up a paper on my ride into work.

    As a subscriber to the other paper, there really isn’t even close to a competition in terms of sports section quality right now. Trib is truly superior.

  77. bpn8pitt says:

    ➕➕➕

  78. NMR says:

    plan, your comment shows that you for some reason concoct this me against them battle in your head where individual comments from different people are combined into one antogonistic narrative.

    I don’t have any doubt that certain people have told you something similar to those things you listed. But we all absolutely know for a fact that not EVERY PERSON that has disagreed with you said EVERY ONE of those things. Simply didn’t happen, and that is inarguable.

    So when you write statements calling out EVERY person that has disagreed with you about SOMETHING, of course you’re going to end up in arguments like this.

  79. bpn8pitt says:

    Agree. Learned a lot from Travis’s posts as well.

    Good or bad this year, Pirate coverage and information will be top notch.

    The hockey coverage is first rate as well.

  80. bpn8pitt says:

    WWSD?

    Are you a fan of the 3 center model?

  81. theplanisworking says:

    Agree 100% .

    The 2 papers aren’t even close, in terms of reporting, and opinion for the sports department. DK seems to work 9 days a week sometimes, but we are all better for his efforts.

  82. Karen22 says:

    ++++++++++!!

  83. Karen22 says:

    DITTO!! :)

  84. Karen22 says:

    Excellent observation, Ms Animal.

  85. Brandie says:

    Thank you very much Sarahpova!

  86. Brandie says:

    I am learning much as time marches on. Thank you for the compliment Temptress!

  87. Sarah says:

    Not really. I am a fan of building your team around two generational talents at C. Which means getting them elite, complimentary wingers. Hasn’t happened under Rs’s tenure except for a year with Hossa…..

    But let’s extend Adams Duper bring in Scuderi and give the farm to Letang at 7mil a year.

    Oh and let the HOF RW go.

    Much of this is on Shero IMO.

  88. NMR says:

    The Texas Rangers acquired two $100m+ hitters this winter, and have named former Pirate draft picks Tanner Scheppers as their Opening Day starter (his first start of any kind) and Daniel McCutchen as the last man in their bullpen.

  89. Karen22 says:

    I believe Spring will be in the air tomorrow – at least that’s what the weatherfrauds say. It will arrive right on schedule – Opening Day.

  90. bpn8pitt says:

    Many posters, beside yourself, have suggested the Pirates and Searage could “fix” Volquez. That they should have given Lambo ” a shot”.

    Plan and I are probably part of the contingent that says, why deal with the unknown? Spend the money or the prospects to acquire a guy in his prime.

  91. Thundercrack says:

    bpn,
    Don’t you think that saying that you suggesting Searage could fix Voquez and that you believe they should give Lambo a shot ( I said that too) are quite different than people are saying:

    1B really doesn’t matter & Volquez is a non-issue.

    I certainly understand with your stance of ‘why deal with the unknown’. But that wasn’t exactly what we were debating.

  92. NMR says:

    And those are completely legitimate opinions you and plan share. No, those are opinnions, without a doubt, that are most likely to actually turn out to be true.

    But that has absolutely nothing to do with what plan claimed in his original post, that “experts” are running around the Blog telling people the Pirates have no worries at all.

    Do you at least understand that? You can feel free to continue trolling AW and I, we’re more than capable of dishing it back as you know. But I can I at least get you to acknowledge what you’re actually doing?

  93. Thundercrack says:

    That is amazing NMR. How many of their starters got hurt in ST and how many were hurt (or had injury questions) going in to ST?

    That division will be interesting to watch.

  94. Sarah says:

    You deserve all the support. Go get’em!!

  95. NMR says:

    I’m certainly no Rangers expert, but my memory is that Derek Holland hurt himself over the winter and Matt Harrison was never expected to be ready to start the season. Only one ST injury, Yu Darvish.

    Shows how difficult it is to cultivate and maintain big league starter depth.

  96. NMR says:

    To me, it feels like we are seeing teams start to understand the relative importance, or un-importance, of certain roles. Or at least BELIEVE they understand.

    The Tigers just added an outfield who has never taken an at-bat above AA to pair with newly acquired Rajai Davis, who hasn’t been a big league regular since 2010. All this in the same week they committed $300m to one guy.

    The World Champion Red Sox are have an Opening Day centerfielder who hasn’t played baseball what-so-ever in two seasons.

    The Yankees are rostering a kid named Yangervis.

    The Oakland A’s, lauded(!) for their amazing depth, are starting Daric Barton at 1B, who has been inferior to Gaby Sanchez over the course of his career.

    The list goes on and on.

  97. bpn8pitt says:

    I don’t want to speak for Plan, but I feel like there is some backtracking going on now.

    Had Lambo made the team with a decent Winter Ball and Spring, and Volquez pitched well, different story all together.

    1b has been an issue for awhile now. I guess I’m tired of them trotting out Matt Hagues, Lyle Overbays, Jeff Clements, Jones, Gaby, Ishikawa, Lambo, even Morneaus short tenure. And people telling me to withhold judgment in the Spring…Its time to quit nickeling and diming it.

  98. chethejet1 says:

    Nice guy coaches who follow a coach who demands accountability is always a fit for a while. But then it comes down to actual coaching and Bylsma after the Flyer series was so bad it was freighting. Yet he was brought back after playoff record of not so being impressive. Shero was given the keys to a Bentley and gave it to the neighborhood kid mechanic to maintain. Not with standing this year, Shero made a big bet and was so wrong that he has to go.

  99. Barb says:

    I will be thinking about you tomorrow Brandecita. Have a great first day and I wished I had a new lunch box to send your way:).

  100. NMR says:

    Backtracking only in your mind, buddy. Only in your mind.

    And after admitting earlier in this offseason that your were wrong before about AJ and Liriano, shouldn’t you start taking a look at your own views on Spring Training?

  101. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree, NMR. I may have shared this before, but when DK left The PG had a conversation with a friend from the PBC Blog who was a journalist for an out of town paper, and she said she wasn’t surprised because there was some convention or something similar that was where papers in sports sent people on a yearly basis. And the previous one, she was told, the Trib had something like 6 people there, and the PG 1, maybe 2.

    And, I suspect his work ethic raised all ships.

  102. Sarah says:

    Completely agree the PHL series was awful and I’m on record saying DB should have been gone then.

    In some ways the writing was on the wall when they got Halak’d by 8th seed MTL….

    Extending Bylsma 2 yrs after the last debacle makes me want Shero gone too.

    But who’s out there for Gm?

  103. Brandie says:

    With you on my side I can guarantee the day will be BODACIOUS!!!!

  104. Nate83 says:

    Easy solution. Everyone put the simple words of “in my opinion” or “I personally think” in front of their comments and nobody will think they are stating fact or telling people how they should feel.

    In the mean time can we all agree that maybe just maybe these polarizing debates such as Volquez and Lambo may end up being something in the middle when it is all said and done.

    We can all hate the front office together when we miss the playoffs by 2 games because of no first baseman or 5th starter. Or maybe they will find answers for those problems or maybe they won’t or maybe Lambo and Volquez are the answers. My point is the book isn’t written yet so let’s continue debating it as opinions and not fact and enjoy it.

  105. Nate83 says:

    Wait…. you are blowing my mind!!!! Other teams have issues or big question marks? Even the really good teams. Well I’ve heard a lot of crazy things but that takes the cake. Did you drink to much Sunday wine?

  106. Bizrow says:

    ++++++++++

  107. Brandie says:

    +++++++

    Let us all remember…the season is not a sprint. The baseball season, like many of these blog debates is a marathon.

  108. bpn8pitt says:

    So if the Rangers needed pitching, why didn’t they sign Volquez, Nate83?

  109. theplanisworking says:

    ++++++ Post of the Year nominee, and its not April yet.

    You are wasting your time, bpn. They are going to read what they want to read, how they want to read it. Already you have been accused of trolling multiple times by their group………….. for daring to have a different opinion. That’s how it is.

    Just let the season unfold. See how well Volquez does. How well Lambo does……….. I hope they both have All-Star years, then I will be proven wrong, and the Pirates will be better for it.

    But as you so astutely described above……… if they stink, let the backtracking begin.

    Hang in there, and don’t let that group bully you.

  110. bpn8pitt says:

    just hoping they get back to june/july with their heads above water and a chance to add.

    I’ll just go ahead and say now, I will not write off Gabykawa with their first 0-4, or Volquez’s first shelling.

    I’ll let it play out awhile.

    Thanks plan.

  111. Arriba Wilver says:

    Nate! Nate! Nate? You still there? Or do you need smelling salts? You and me are apparently in the same “group.”

    Bet THAT hit you like a left hook. :-D

  112. Nate83 says:

    You really are reading what you want. That’s OK I’ve done that before and made a bigger deal out of something then needed to be. I didn’t even mention the Rangers in my post but you can ask the Dodgers who made the playoffs last year why they picked him up as well as Pirate whipping boy Jonathan Sanchez. Why would they waste time with those guys? They have a 250 million dollar payroll.

  113. Nate83 says:

    Yes, it’s crazy world when we exist in the same group.

  114. Arriba Wilver says:

    ;-)

  115. Thundercrack says:

    Opinions are fine to have.

    Groups and bullying. Right.

  116. Nate83 says:

    Plan, My post was not aimed at anybody except NMR for pointing out not a single team in the major league’s has a solid 25 man roster top to bottom which is something I agree with completely. I can’t speak for NMR but I don’t think his original post was aimed at anyone he was just pointing out some interesting things.

    I don’t think anyone is bullying. I honestly think everyone has been trying to have civilized discussion about these topics. I’m sorry if you or bpn have felt that way. I can’t speak for the others but it seems like almost all the people you are having this debate with have not said they do not think Volquez will fail. Most actually probably think it is more likely he will fail then he won’t. The only difference in opinion seems to be how much time the guy should get to turn it around. I don’t even think anyone is arguing if it was a good signing. Hi is on the team and that can’t be changed. From my view the Volquez topic has come up 90% of the time because of bpn or yourself bringing it up. Only then do others state their side of the debate. If you don’t want to hear their opinion stop bringing up the topic.

    It’s doesn’t make sense to post Volquez sucks he should have never been signed and needs to be released immediately everyday and then say if you disagree with me I don’t want to hear your opinion and stop picking on me. Actually NMR and my post didn’t even bring up Volquez’s name. Let’s continue having fun rooting and debating the Pirates without the angst. Life’s too short and sports are supposed to be fun and entertaining.

  117. JohninOshkosh says:

    Happy Opening Day Eve, everyone. At our house we have shrimp for our Opening Day Eve dinner and open our presents tonight as well.

    So, who is going to the game tomorrow? Wasn’t it last year that Biz, 21 and Wilver went together and froze their giblets off ? I recall some funny posts about it. I’m going into work at 4:00AM so I can get 8 hours in before the game. The boss invited me to go to Drunker Park with him to see the Crew’s opener, but I’d rather be at home watching the Bucs. I just hope WGN is kind enough to show the OD ceremonies.

    I plan on watching ESPN’s Baseball Tonight to see how their analysts see the season playing out. On a whole, I think I prefer ESPN’s Baseball people over MLBN.

  118. Nate83 says:

    Interesting you prefer ESPN over MLBN. I actually prefer the other mostly because they seem to give more even coverage across the entire league and if you weed out the Mitch Williams types I feel like they give better information and have guys that come from different parts of the game.

  119. JohninOshkosh says:

    I have a hard time listening to Billy Ripkin and Kevin Millar. I agree their coverage is more thorough. I was referring simply to on air personalities.

  120. Thundercrack says:

    I can’t stand Millar. I like Billy Ripkin And he cohosts a great show with his brother on MLB XM.

    I’ve mentioned this before when Mitch Williams talks about pitching – I think he is very good.

  121. Nate83 says:

    Those are two of my least favorite. I don’t think Kevin does their evening shows anymore but Ripkin is hard to listen to.

  122. Arriba Wilver says:

    To buttress DK’s column, John, I am going with my son tomorrow. I’ve asked him for the last several years if he wanted to go, and his answer was he didn’t want to miss school. I kind of had to pressure him to go to the Wildcard game last year, but that definitely got his attention. As DK and others have said, he’d go with me sometimes just for me in the past. He actually has a day off school this year, but that isn’t why he agreed to go. He was going before he realized he was off . . . And he still wanted to go.

  123. JohninOshkosh says:

    TC, you have solid, persuasive opinions that give me cause to think, but you risk your credibility by admitting you like that dreadful Ripkin show. That show is death. :)

  124. JohninOshkosh says:

    That’s terrific, AW. It will be a lasting memory for your son, I’m sure.

  125. JohninOshkosh says:

    Enviable week for Dejan. Tonight, the Pens against the terrific Hawks. Tomorrow, Opening Day for the Bucs. Later in the week a visit to his beloved Winnipeg.

  126. bpn8pitt says:

    A great day with great weather. Glad you both get to see what will be a memorable day.

  127. Thundercrack says:

    Ha!

    I think the Ripkin brothers offer a lot of insight and ask good questions when they interview players/coaches/ FO.

    And Billy has a pretty good sense of humor.

    With any former athlete that goes on to become an analyst on those type of shows I always wondered if they really watched the games (see Kruk). I think the guys on the MLB Network do a good job.

  128. Jandy says:

    That’s awesome AW :)

  129. Jandy says:

    Winnipeg being the highlight ;)

  130. Arriba Wilver says:

    One other thing, John. Congrats on your team. They are now my favorite for the rest of the tournament. ;-)

  131. Arriba Wilver says:

    Thanks, guys. I’m looking forward to it.

  132. Arriba Wilver says:

    And I appreciate it.

  133. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks, AW, and thanks to everyone else who mentioned it.

    Steve Kerr made an interesting point. Teams lose in the regional finals and fans may or may not remember a good run in the tournament as the years pass. But, you make the Final Four and they hang banners and have reunions for years to come.

    For the team’s I bleed for, I have very little experience with them winning, especially in the postseason. Now, the Badgers have made the Final Four and the Bucs are coming off a playoff run. I think I’m in bizarro world!

  134. 21sthebest says:

    Going with my wife John. And I hope you enjoy Final Four week.

  135. Jandy says:

    woo hoo Nealer!

  136. Jandy says:

    oops wrong thread!!!

  137. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks, 21. Enjoy. Sounds like the weather we’ll be OK.

  138. JohninOshkosh says:

    *will

    Kindles blow!

  139. Thundercrack says:

    +1 AW

  140. Jim S. says:

    Never said they wouldn’t, bpn. Just saying that once he’s gone it’s time to take care of things yourself.

 
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