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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: It all starts here

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column sets up the Pirates’ start with a look at their starters … and whether or not they can finish. I’ll cover the game today, as well, for an extra Tuesday column.

I’ll also join TribLIVE Radio at 11:30 a.m. as part of an all-day setup for the opener on our station that also includes Frank Coonelly at 9:30 a.m. and Neal Huntington at 10:05 a.m. Ken Laird and Guy Junker are the hosts.

Gaby Sanchez is on the hot seat, by beat man Rob Biertempfel.

Andrew McCutchen keeps raising his profile, by Travis Sawchik. Here’s the actual ESPN commercial if you’re interested.

I’ll also call attention to our 2014 Baseball Preview section that ran yesterday, including the Sunday column on the Pirates’ new generation.

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

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on

>> The Penguins let it all hang out to beat the Blackhawks, as reported by Rob Rossi at Consol.

Here are both of the first-period goals, both really pretty:

Here’s a bit of what Brooks Orpik had to say afterward:

Random bloggery from the scene: I try to be open-minded. I really do. But anyone even remotely critical of Orpik’s hit on Jonathan Toews last night is either willfully ignorant or unwillingly ignorant. Either way, same result. Let’s hope Toews is OK. One of the game’s top five players, in this view. But let’s also not deliberately distort what is and isn’t a clean hit. … So, if all Robert Bortuzzo does is drive other teams to the point of distraction and draw hatred away from the Penguins’ stars and play at least decent defense … nah, never mind. Scratch him when playoffs start. … Mike Milbury’s an idiot. … That’s as good an all-around hockey game as James Neal has played in a spell. Jussi Jokinen, too. Skated with purpose. … Funny, but Sidney Crosby didn’t exactly have his best overall game, and none of that mattered when he buried that wrister on the two-on-one late. The great players always have that escape hatch. … I asked Dan Bylsma about the Penguins’ uptick in physical play the past two-plus games: Bylsma: “I thought this was one of our most physical games of the year, one of our most hard-fought.” … Orpik, with a possible explanation: “There’s been a lot of negativity about us outside the locker room. We just try to stick together no matter what anyone says about us.” … Marc-Andre Fleury is playing so, so much better than most seem to realize right now. And yeah, I know why. … See this picture below? That’s photographer’s gold right there. Our Chaz Palla just happened to be in the right corner at the right moment — there’s an assigned rotation — for the big hit. Chaz, who had the best view of anyone anywhere, told me he couldn’t believe Toews wasn’t reacting and that Toews never did until actual contact. Amazing for a player so highly skilled, as they’re generally super-aware of their surroundings. Anyway, give it up for our guy for nailing the shot.


Brandon Saad comes home to the place where he should have been drafted, by Josh Yohe.

Olli Maatta appreciated his game off, by Yohe.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page.

Here’s Blackhawks news from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus, a fellow Sochi survivor.

Here’s Hurricanes news from the Raleigh News & Observer.

Here are official game highlights on

>> The NFL’s expanded replay draws mixed reviews, by Alan Robinson.

>> Our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word last night tackled — with no small amount of gusto — the Pirates’ opener, Barry Bonds’ participation, the Penguins’ big W, the Steelers’ signings and the unionization of college football.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading. See you at the yard.

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. tdb1977 says:

    Happy Opening Day everyone! Really looking towards the festivities down on Federal Street. Last game last year for me was the Wild Card game. Time to get the 2014 season rolling.

  2. That’s an awesome pic. I hope Palla wasn’t hurt! :)

  3. Stuart says:

    Kudos to all from the Trib for the print edition baseball special.

    Beat ‘em Bucs.


    DK: Thanks, Stu, from one very, very small contributor to that project.

  4. JohninOshkosh says:

    128th Opener.

    That just blows my mind. The first opener was played in the 19th century before almost everything we take for granted was invented or in widespread use. Never mind the iPhone. I’m referring to things like cars and indoor plumbing. The first fans went to the game via horses! Unbelievable. I really like how Dejan incorporates that remarkable number every year in his opening day pieces about the club. Goes back to his beat days.

    I looked at the archives. Last season I predicted 82-80. This year I’ll go with 81-81 and hope that I am terribly wrong on the low side of wins again.

    Welcome back, baseball. A nation turns its wintery eyes to you.

  5. Mike Vee says:

    Only the NHL would employ the most inept moron to ever be involved in the league. There are few with the track record of Milbury. Where was the mention of Shaw barreling into Fluery? I’m glad to see the spark back into 44 and maybe this is the game that starts a little momentum in the right direction. I agree Bortuzzo has turned into a giant Matt Cooke and annoys the heck out of people, he needs to stay in the lineup now AND work on the skating this summer.

  6. Mizery says:

    Opening day. One of my favorite reminders that spring is here. Can’t wait for the season. I don’t know how to act now that the Pirates are entering it as winners.

    Great game by the Penguins. I agree with Dejan on Bortuzzo. They really need his toughness. On a side note it is a shame Saad is not in a penguins sweater.

  7. Reading says:

    I’ve posted this numerous times before, but here goes one last time:

    The Pirates have never gone longer than 35 years between World Series Championships. This is the 35th year. Schedule the Parade!

  8. Bizrow says:


  9. For once, the Pens beat the Blackhawks at home. And now, it’ll hopefully be the Pirates over the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park this afternoon so they can start the baseball season off right this time.

  10. Well, I’m not forgetting that the Bucs started out last season losing 2 of three in Wrigley Field, so let’s start off the season right this time!

  11. radio wave says:

    Plus 100.

  12. TJA says:

    Happy Opening Day, Everyone! These quotes are from 1911…and are still so true all these 103 years later:

    * “The baseball fan awoke from a long Winter’s sleep, stretched his arms, yawned and frightened the neighborhood trying out the rusty pipes of his vocal cords” – – – New York Times

    * “It seems that a brilliant and prosperous season for baseball is impending” – – – Thomas Lynch, National League President – – – Pittsburgh Press

    * “The high watermark in baseball will probably be far eclisped in the season that began today” – – – B.B. Johnson, American League President – – – Pittsburgh Press

    * “The mortality rate among grandmothers took an alarming jump if the office boy’s doeful plea for an afternoon off could be accepted as a statement of fact” – – – Newburgh (NY) Journal

    Man, it is so good to have the old game back today! Enjoy the season, Everyone and Beat ‘em Bucs!!!!

  13. TJA says:

    Just beautiful, John! Thanks. And, many congrats to your University of Wisconsin Badgers for advancing to the Final Four! Continued best next weekend.

  14. TJA says:

    Oh, I have never been very good at predictions and such, but, here is what I would like to see this year: The Pirates chasing more pitchers “to the showers” earlier in the game….which means they are a better hitting club. Chasing Cueto from the WC game was a beautiful thing. I’d like to see more of that this season. Beat the heck out of the ball more!

    Ok…for fun….84 wins.

  15. TJA says:

    Indeed…it was a great section. Very enjoyable.

  16. Eric from G'burg says:

    DK, you said you know why Fleury is playing so much better than people realize right now? Why is it? Just because of the looming SCP?

  17. JoeyBats says:

    Happy Opening Day to everyone. :-)

    …, let’s go BASH those lil’ Cubbies heads in…and get the season off on the right foot!


  18. bpn8pitt says:

    To those of you going to game, have fun. It will be very memorable.

  19. Jandy says:

    “Mike Milbury’s an idiot”


    As far as Brooksie’s hit, I thought it was questionable…le left his skates. But…I wasn’t upset over it :)

  20. Jandy says:

    My brother is going…I’m so jealous!

  21. Jandy says:

    New Goaltender coach.

  22. Jandy says:

    Saad not being a Penguins really p*sses me off!

  23. cherokee23 says:

    I thought Engblom gave a great rebuttal to Milbury as soon as he had a chance. Milbury was the only negative response I’ve heard yet

  24. tdb1977 says:

    Let’s send a message to the rest of the NL Central, h**l the rest of the NL, that last years Bucs were not a fluke. Lets go out there today and stream roll the Cubbies and put a major butt whooping on them. I cannot wait to get down to PNC Park today for the opener.

  25. scapper says:

    With you on this one, Jandy. Certainly clean but also questionable.

    As Pens fans dismiss yet another Orpik cruncher as just another devastating but “clean hit that’s all part of the game,” ask yourself how you’d feel about 44’s body of work if he were a Flyer, Bruin, Capital, etc., and he was doling out that type of hit to the likes of 87 and 71.

    I love Orpik and have been a fan of the hard, clean hits he’s thrown over his wonderful career, but he does go into that gray area a lot where he levels guys with hits that border on excessive and, yeah…I’ll say it…cheap.

    If that were Sid instead of Toews, Pens Nation would not be dismissing the hit as a simple hockey play and just moving on. It was within the rules but that doesn’t mean the hit had to be delivered with such a vengeance.

  26. JAL says:

    JAL’s Music to Watch Girls By 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: 21 Reasons Why the Pirates Are Going to Have Another Good Season in 2014

    The Pirates Have a Bench That Can’t Hit Right-Handers

    The Pirates are Returning a Bullpen That Was One of the Best in Baseball

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Bucs Dugout Podcast: Previewing the season

    7 Rumbunter

    My Barry Bonds Dream

    MLB Opening Day: Pirates Owe Cubs for Stealing Parrot

    8 Green Weenie

    Your 2014 Pirates…

    9 SaberBucs

    Estimating Future Pirate Contract Extensions

    10 WHYGAVS

    The 2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Season Preview

  27. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Viva El Birdos

    2014 MLB Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates featuring a Bucs Dugout Q&A

    12 USA Today

    Cubs, Pirates ready to start anew

    13 Chicago Tribune

    Cubs hoping division victories add up in 2014,0,2295958.story

    14 Pirates Site

    Pirates face Cubs for second straight Opening Day

    15 Pirates 101

    10 Predictions for Pittsburgh Pirates’ Season

    16 Go Erie

    John Dudley: Much has changed, despite few changes, for Pirates

    17 Beaver County Times

    Predictions for a new Pirates’ season

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Staying on top is Cards’ new challenge

    19 Fangraphs

    Status Update: Phil Irwin’s Luminous Curveball

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

  28. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers special teams must improve along with the rest of the team in 2014.

    Weekend Checkdown: the top stories of the week


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Football Dynamics: Milan’s Demise & Man Utd, Chelsea in the Champions League

    23 BBC Football

    Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League as they humiliated a woeful Tottenham side at Anfield.

    24 World Soccer

    Luigi Riva and the miracle of Cagliari’s scudetto success


    25 Pensburgh

    Pens down Chicago 4-1

  29. Dom says:

    World Series predictions?

    I’m thinking the Nationals over the A’s.

    I’m pessimistic about the Bucs so I will say 80 wins for the year.

  30. JoeyBats says:

    PS: last season I predicted 76 wins….this year … predicting 80 victories .

    LOL….hopefully, I will be just as accurate…and we s/b then playing for World Series !!!

  31. theplanisworking says:

    ” You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” ——- JOE DIMAGGIO

    ” Baseball is an American icon. It is the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle, “In God We Trust,” Mount Rushmore, ice cream, apple pie, hot dogs, and rally monkeys. BASEBALL IS AMERICA. ” —– VICTOR ALEXANDER BALTOV, JR., Baseball Is America

    PLAY BALL !! :D

  32. Jandy says:


  33. theplanisworking says:

    Pens on a 2 game winning streak, and have played probably their 2 most physical games of the season. Wonder if they are reading the press clippings about their recent play? Doesn’t matter, this is the type of play they have to exhibit every single game to have any chance in the playoffs. Pens would play Detroit if the season ended today.

    Saw Orpik’s hit on Toews. Clean hit. That being said, Pens fans would be losing their minds if Sid was the recipient of a clean hit like that.

    “Milburt is an idiot”. Wrong — that is an insult to idiots everywhere. Some of Milbury’s “highlights” ……… as a player, attacked a fan at MSG with his shoe… after he had already gone top the dressing room. That bastion of restraint came back from the dressing room to do this. Called Bob Johnson the “Professor of Goonism”. Attacked a 12 year old over a hockey tournament his son was in. After a “lengthy meeting”, all charges were dropped. And, ruined 2 franchises as coach/GM. I suggest an apology to idiots everywhere is in order. ;)

  34. BFD says:

    The Nutting’s payroll is 27th out of 30 MLB teams, despite promises of increased payrolls when attendance went up. Despite reworked sponsorship (switching from Coke to Pepsi brought in over a million more for example), phenomenal fan attendance last season, playoff revenue, and a lucrative TV deal, Nutting has refused to spend and reward the fans.
    They signed Marte which was a no brainer (just like signing Cutch) and fans are back slapping the regime as if that was some grand gesture rather than what every other team does.
    20 of 21 losing seasons (18 with Nutting attached) taught us that if one player signs for a ‘big’ contract, the regime makes up for it by being stingy at another position(s) in order to keep payroll in the bottom 5. AGAIN….. 27TH. Pitiful and shameful, yet so many fans will line up at the gate, buying into this shame like the bunch of mindless suckers.
    Enjoy the corndogs.

    Prediction – 79-83

  35. JohninOshkosh says:

    I know you going the game, radio wave. Hope you have a great time and, to everyone going, bring us home a win and know your blog brothers and sisters are with you in spirit!

  36. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks, friend. Happy Opening Day! Always enjoy your quotes about the national past time.

  37. AL says:

    The thing that really impressed me last night after the hit was the way the Hawks responded. Did they turn the game into a bar room brawl with retaliatory penalties? Nope. The responded by coming out and pressing the attack in the offensive zone. Kept the Pens bottled up in their own end shift after shift….and they almost got the tying goal. That to me is a well coached; well disciplined team. Kudos to them.
    Think the Islanders, Flyers and yes I do say the Penguins, would have been disciplined enough to respond that way?

  38. Jandy says:

    this endless story being rehashed over and over again is getting really old and stale.

    I’ll go and enjoy a beer, screw the corndogs


  39. Jandy says:

    all good points, AL.

  40. theplanisworking says:

    But Jandy, everything said here, except for the TV contract, is true.
    And since I can’t drink, I will enjoy a corndog. Well, they don’t serve those at the ballpark, so I guess that grilled cheese bacon death thing will have to do.


  41. theplanisworking says:

    BFD with the first HR of the season!
    Good to see you pop in here.

  42. theplanisworking says:

    AL, you already know the answer to your last question.
    Very good points here.
    Just glad the pens got the W against a better team.

  43. JohninOshkosh says:

    Nothing like Opening Day in baseball. You can feel the excitement of everyone through the computer. Not a day for me to pile on the club’s problems. I”m just going to enjoy.

    APB for Patton. I don’t recall seeing him on the blog lately. One of the blog’s baseball fans.

  44. Thundercrack says:

    Viva la Regime!

  45. NMR says:

    God I love baseball.

  46. hockeymonster says:

    I know it’s opening day n’ at…but i need to know one thing:

    Have the pens signed my boye Folin yet? If not why? It’s been 12 whole hours since UML’s season ended.

  47. NMR says:

    But the A’s don’t have a first baseman! ;)

  48. scapper says:

    Agreed, BFD. Hard to read on Opening Day, but can’t take issue with anything you wrote.

  49. NMR says:


  50. TJA says:

    Thanks, John.

  51. NMR says:


  52. scapper says:

    So true, Al, so true.

    I’m getting Astute Comment Overload today. Not even 8:00 a.m. and all kinds of good stuff on here.

  53. TJA says:

    Amen, NMR! THAT says it all.

  54. Jandy says:

    It may be true, but it’s the first day, for crying out loud. WHy start the season with negative vibes and hate?
    It’s all regurgitated crap. And about as appetizing as vomit for breakfast.

  55. Jandy says:

    How many boyes you have, HM? ;)

    Seriously though, I do hope they sign him. He’s awesome.

  56. theplanisworking says:

    Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln? ;)

  57. Jandy says:

    Zactly Oshie. how about some more good vibes for the Bucs today?

  58. Jandy says:

    The Horror!!!!

  59. Jandy says:

    And God loves you and baseball, too :)

  60. Jandy says:

    radio! I’m jealous! Enjoy ;)

  61. The Gunner says:

    That doesn’t say much for Brandon Moss.

    I am going to go out on a limb and predict 96 wins for the Bucs this year – yeah, I know, you guys are going to bash me & make fun of me etc.

    FWIW, I watched the Cleveland-San Diego game on MLB over the weekend; it was played on the campus of the University of San Diego. The San Diego announcer (I didn’t catch his name) came up with a description for a home run I have never heard and I have been listening to baseball since 1957. Apparently, Cleveland has this catcher named Yan Gomes & the San Diego announcer mentions that Gomes is the first Brazilian-born player in major league history. Then, Gomes proceeds to hit a prolific home run to right center that just about hits one of the dorms on campus. This announcer exclaims something like, “Wow, now that was a real Brazilian wax job!!!”

    Gotta love it – ha ha!!

  62. Jandy says:

    ALEXANDRE!!!! Hello friend :)

  63. Jandy says:


    My weekend was ok. Friggin relatives dont’ know when to go home tho. had some over Saturday around 4….and aunt and uncle didn’t leave till 10pm…sheesh!

  64. BFD says:

    by endless story, i assume you mean the fleecing of the fans by the nutting propaganda machine?

  65. chethejet1 says:

    Pirates payroll of approx 74 million is what it is. People expecting them to just throw money away are not looking at the facts. They did offer Loney 2 year deal with more money than TB. They did value AJ at 12 million. He took 16 from Phillies. There were simply either question marks or just not someone who was a clear fit. They will add some to play first is my guess. Pirates spent the last five years rebuilding the farm system with prospects. From here it about drafting well and keeping the talent flow coming.
    They are never going to be a big market spending franchise but I do expect them to close the gap on the Reds and Brewers over the next two years.

  66. BFD says:

    ”Our TV contract places us in the top half of all Major League” – FC

  67. hockeymonster says:

    Very few get that special designation. You gotta be good, attainable and pass the monster eye ball test. In this case Folin checks all the boxes and then some. So in honor of Queen B and Consol Dome on her special day I say:

    Bring Me Folin!!! :)

  68. Jandy says:

    No an I’m not singling you out or picking on you, BFD. I’m just sick of the constant harping and whining about it all. It’s opening day. Let’s support the Bucs with positive vibes. :)

  69. Jandy says:

    YES! Special vibes for Queen B today :)

  70. Jandy says:

    No vomit for brerakfast, please ;)

  71. Jandy says:

    You ready for opening day????

  72. AL says:

    How can people attend opening day without playing hookey from school or calling in sick from work?
    I’d call in sick but just my luck the TV camera would capture me on the big screen and the 6:00 PM news.
    Guess I could just take a vacation day….is that how it’s done?
    Any other ideas would be welcome!

  73. Jandy says:

    If I were going, I’d take a vacation or personal day. It’s allowed here.
    Not sure about others…

  74. theplanisworking says:

    And YOU believe Frank?

    WHAT ???

  75. theplanisworking says:

    If I could go, I would just bill anything to Franks card.
    He is good like that. ;)

  76. JAL says:

    Opening day last season payroll was a bit over $66 million, this year a bit over $78 million. That is a $12 million increase. Pirates are paying max at catcher, 2b, 3b, LF, CF, pen, and 4 of the starting pitchers. By max I mean those players would not be replaced by signings. This is a young team with many players still pre-arb or arb.

    Who could they have signed in the offseason to push them out of the bottom 5? Take away Volquez at $5 million and sign AJ at $12 million and they still would be 25th.

    Phils at 3rd and if i had to bet a team to make playoffs I would pick the Pirates before the Phils.

  77. Thundercrack says:

    Good stuff JAL.


  78. theplanisworking says:

    Joe, I don’t think anyone is questioning your statement here.
    What the issue is for me is Frank opening his yap and saying “we will increase payroll”, etc. The PBC got extra money from the national TV deal, raising ticket prices, increased attendance last year, and sure to be increased attendance this year. So, an increased payroll of $12MM, is not really that much, considering arbitration award increases.

    Frank should just shut up. It is Opening Day.
    GO BUCS !!

  79. Jandy says:

    That’s the spirit, Planimal :)

  80. Dom says:

    No first baseman???

    Doesnt Daric Barton ring any bells?

  81. Jandy says:

    That was Lincecum’s knee, not his bells ;)

  82. DJ says:

    Well, after the long winter’s wait the big day finally arrived.

    Yes, Orpik actually looked decent last night.

  83. NMR says:

    Exactly. Anyone who thinks Daric Barton is a legit 1B should be tickled pink to have Gaby.

  84. Jandy says:

    So did Scuderi :)

  85. Sarah says:

    Perfectly clean hit. Could not believe a player of Toewes caliber was not looking the entire time.

    All our Squirts PeeWees and even beer leaguers like myself, KEEP YOUR HEAD UP!!!

  86. Jandy says:

    hey, I really like Gaby :)

  87. Sarah says:

    And can anyone tell me what Gladams brings to this team? Really? I believe our Eric B counted Adams for at least 5 turnovers….

    In 10 mins of ice time, they never had to start in the D zone, and were outshot 8-2.

    Starting in neutral or O zone every shift, that is nearly impossible.
    Seriously it is almost impossible to be THAT bad.

    I cannot believe these guys get jerseys every night. Get important late game minutes. Get nbr 1 PK for gods sake.

    We are supposed to be a possession team spending much of the time in the opponents end, and these guys are NEVER there.

  88. Nate83 says:

    They have left money on the table. They have admitted as much by offering AJ the money and then saying afterwards they have flexibility going forward. It’s not good to leave money on the table when you have a competitive team. Every game it’s not spent is a lost opportunity to maximize this teams overall talent. I’m confident moves will be made during the year and the money will not be pocketed. They have added pieces all three of the previous years.

    I’m not angry the money wasn’t spent. I’m disappointed but understand at the same time. The available free agents didn’t really fit their needs. They didn’t need to lock a pitcher up for 3 or 4 years. Loney seemed like a good fit and they made a run at him. By all accounts they made a nice offer. Going 3 years probably wouldn’t have gotten it done unless they did something like 10 or 11 per year because he was comfortable with Tampa Bay. He isn’t worth that much per year.

    I’m ready to move on and root for the Pirates. What is done is done and it can’t be changed. Some good things happened this off season including Polanco having an awesome Winter League season, Wandy looking good, Morton looking good, Gabby and Snider showing up healthy looking like they are ready to contribute. Morris and Stolmy looking like improvements on an already great bullpen. I know they didn’t add much but they didn’t lose much either compared to other teams.

  89. Jandy says:

    well said, Nate. Love the last paragraph :)

  90. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m with you, Nate! lol.

  91. Jandy says:


  92. bpn8pitt says:

    Anyone see the Trib stat on page C3?

    Bonds left the Pirates for 6 years/43.75. Adjusted for inflation, that number in 2014 would be (only!) 73 million…In todays market, Barry probably would 3-4 times that…Baseball economics. Gotta love em.

  93. TJA says:

    And God loves you, too, Mother T! :) :)

  94. The Gunner says:


    I am with you……………..96 wins here we come!

  95. 21sthebest says:

    Funny. I can’t find that quote of Frank’s anywhere. But in any event, Frank should choose his words more carefully, IMO. I guess that’s obvious.

  96. 21sthebest says:

    Amen Nate!

  97. Baywatch says:

    Morning, All! Put me in, Coach. I’m ready to play … TODAY!

  98. Thundercrack says:

    I think the payroll should be higher – and will be higher.
    In today’s MLB it just isn’t about what your payroll is on Opening Day. What you may end up paying at the end of the year seems just as important. The trading deadline is so important now.

    At least that is what the local propaganda machine may want us to think.


  99. Dom says:

    Just kidding around. I believe Moss is their 1Bman

  100. Karen22 says:

    AMEN, Brother!! :)

  101. Jandy says:

    We’ll forgive you, Dom.

    Your man, Fleury is hot, hot, hot right now, Dom. Hope he stays that way!

  102. Thundercrack says:

    Looking at the transactions listed in today’s paper, it looks like the Reds have a lot of injuries going into the season.

    Broxton and Chapman are starting on the DL.

  103. Jandy says:

    Happy opening day, Karen :)

  104. 21sthebest says:

    I prefer Viva La Vida to Viva La Regime.

    Just sayin’.

  105. Jandy says:

    I’m NOT gonna say it ;X

  106. Thundercrack says:

    I applaud your restraint Jandy.

  107. Dom says:

    Indeed. He single-handedly defeated Chicago last night.

  108. 21sthebest says:

    Kershaw on the DL too. And Darvish.

  109. Jandy says:

    LOL! I so , so, despise that POS, it’s hard, TC ;)

  110. BillyBaduka says:

    Take a vaca or PTO day.

  111. TJA says:

    There is the first game or start of the season for Football and Hockey and Basketball…but only Baseball has “Opening Day” . It just has a nice rung to it…does it not?

  112. Karen22 says:

    Top o’ the mornin’, Loonies!! And right on cue, SPRING has arrived on Opening Day! No predictions here…I’m going to enjoy them ONE game at a time, just like last season.

    And for the record, this truism: “Beisbol has been beddy, beddy good to me!”

    PLAY BALL!! :D

  113. TJA says:

    By the way…for a second…anyone have any thoughts on the weekend’s NCAA’s? UConn and Kentucky got on a roll at the right time it appears. For me…I like the Badgers to win it all next week. (John….you can send the check anytime you’d like, Friend!) I think they are the best team…even with Florida as the top seed.

  114. Arriba Wilver says:

    Gotta give a shout out to the much maligned Mark Madden on the Final Word last night. Rob B was on with them and DK, and when asked about the Steelers he said he really didn’t know enough to comment and would defer to DK. Mark interrupted and said to Rob never talk about your shortcomings, and something along the line of “I don’t know anything about half the stuff I comment on.”

    Let’s go Bucs!

  115. TJA says:


  116. Thundercrack says:

    I just saw a rerun of an episode of Parks & Recreation.

    Fred Armisen played a military diplomat from Venezuela who was giving a check to Pawnee.

    He kept trying to get Leslie Knope to say “Viva Venezuela” and “Viva Chavez” on camera.
    I was laughing so hard I almost fell off the couch. My wife thought it was very funny…but couldn’t understand why I was laughing SO hard.

  117. Bizrow says:


  118. Karen22 says:

    Love it, Bay! Last July our Mom-Groom dance morphed from mushy “Baby Mine” right into “Centerfield,” complete with baseball choreography! It was a grand slam!

  119. JohninOshkosh says:

    Biggest OD question for me:

    Will Playoffs return with his addictive game lines or has he forsaken the blog?

    Can’t blame him if he disappeared because that must be a tremendous amount of work but I hope he comes back to comment at least.

  120. 21sthebest says:

    Snider batting second.

  121. cmat0829 says:

    last year we also started at PNC Park, not Wrigley Field. The Cubs did indeed take 2 of 3, then the Pirates went to LA and Arizona. Was a very tough start for the Bucs, they were swept in LA before bouncing back in AZ on the way home.

  122. Nate83 says:

    I think they had like 6 guys start on the DL. I know Latos is also starting the year injured. I’m not sure how some media outlets are still picking them to finish with like 88 wins. They lost a lot with Choo and Arroyo gave them a lot of innings. Phillips isn’t happy. I don’t like their depth.

    MLB Network last night had some nice things to say about the Pirates. All 4 guys picked the Cards to win the division and I really can’t blame them. 3 of the 4 didn’t see as much regression for the Pirates that many are predicting. Most of them thought they would finish in the high 80’s for wins and second in the division. They picked Polanco as rookie of the year despite not coming up until later. Cutch didn’t even finish top 4 in their MVP vote. I was surprised because he didn’t even have his best year last year. 2012 was actually better in my opinion.

  123. Tom P. says:

    Hi everyone. The sun is out, the snow is gone (mostly), and we have 162 games of baseball to look forward to. My prediction is 88 wins. Looking forward to all of your observations again this year. If you disagree with me, that’s probably good because Nostradamus I am not. 10 days ago, I suggested that Pitt had a chance to beat Florida in the NCAA tournament because the Southeastern Conference had down year. Well, Pitt lost and the SEC put 2 teams in the Final Four.

  124. Jandy says:

    Yes! Just come back Playoffs, we miss you!

  125. Milo Hamilton says:

    Sub head on Trib Sports Section – “Gaby Sanchez eager for fresh start”. Not today, he’s not playing.

  126. Jandy says:

    G’mornin, Tom P. I’m not making predictions, but I will enjoy the season. PLAY BALL! :)

  127. Jandy says:

    Well, POOP!

  128. Nate83 says:

    Congrats Osh on your Badgers getting to the final 4. Exciting stuff. It will be a long week waiting for the game. When the Buckeyes have made it I found it worse then waiting for the Steelers to play in a Super Bowl.

  129. JohninOshkosh says:

    Unlike Pens fans, I’m proud and ecstatic that my beloved team made it to the penultimate stage. I hope they win, but am happy they made it this far. Every Team but three would be thrilled to be in their position.

    My heart says UW, of course, but pesky reason points to the Gators. Historically, teams with exceptional backcourts carry the day in college hoops.

  130. Karen22 says:

    I was thinking about Playoffs & his game this morning…that’s about the only “gambling” I’ve ever done – so much fun & nothing to lose but one’s pride. Come back, Playoffs!

  131. Jandy says:


    hey now! I DO NOT resemble that remark >:<

  132. JohninOshkosh says:

    Twice in my lifetime, Nate. Three times for anyone 73 years or older!

    I’m going to enjoy every moment.

  133. Dom says:

    Has DK been on MMs show as of late?

  134. theplanisworking says:

    What is this I see here, Thunder?

    Conversing with friends? Not sports-related?
    Isn’t this what you started a mini-firestorm over the other day?

    Nah, you and your group would never do that. Never.

    Enjoy Opening Day, and help cheer on a Buc victory!

  135. Nate83 says:

    Personally I like it. I think he can have a higher OBP then Walker if he going right. Walker can hit for a little more power back in the 6 hole.

    Gabby not starting is shocking to me. They said it wouldn’t be a strict platoon. I would have thought the best 8 would be placed on the field for opening day. I don’t get too hung up on starting line ups because Clint has a lot of information available to him that we don’t. Who am I to question the NL manger of the year. Just found it surprising.

  136. Nate83 says:

    That is my 5 year olds password to get on his Ipod. Capital letters and all. Ironically he goes around telling everyone because he thinks it’s so funny so it’s not much of a password. Not that I’m comparing you to a 5 year old Jandy but that is a word they use a lot.

  137. Dom says:

    Anyone want Barry Bonds to get booed today?

    I certainly don’t but am curious to know if anyone wants him to.

  138. NMR says:

    Crazy, right?!

  139. Jandy says:

    Nate, LOL! I hope I stay that young at heart forever. I commend your son on his password. It’s hilarious :)

  140. Jandy says:

    nah…classless. Let’s be better than he is :D

  141. Karen22 says:

    Right back atcha, Jandy! :D

  142. Nate83 says:

    He came to me one day to ask me if he could use a certain word as his password. I asked what it was and he whispered it in my ear and then backed away and anxiously awaited my answer. I looked at him and saw how excited he was. I said to him “really that’s what you want your password to be” he replied definitely and then said please. I said sure, whatever. Instant joy and happiness ensued. To be that young and entertained by simple things.

  143. Karen22 says:

    WOW, folks crawling out of their igloos! Hello, Alexandre!


  144. Jandy says:

    Indeed, Nate. And, you’re a wise father not to make a big deal of it .

  145. NMR says:

    I’ve said it before, Clint Hurdle knows a hell of a lot more about baseball than I do. I’m going on the assumption that he’s seen some big transformation in Snider and Ishikawa.

    But man, I don’t think I’ve ever seen two players more unworthy of an Opening Day start given one due to a couple weeks of decent spring training baseball.

  146. NMR says:

    Pisses me off that management even set up this sharade.

  147. Jandy says:

    You and me both, NMR. it’s unconscionable!

  148. Actually, it was opening night last night when the Padres beat the Dodgers in San Diego 3-2, 8 days after opening day in Sidney, Australia when the Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks. Also, the Dodgers are 6-1 favorites to become world champions this year, while the Cardinals are 7-1 favorites along with 3 other teams, and the defending champion Bosox are 12-1.

  149. Jandy says:

    Opening day in DaBurgh is TODAY! That’s all that matters to us.

  150. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’m not sure. Did Dejan say it is OK or not OK to boo Bonds ?

  151. theplanisworking says:

    Since there wasn’t a column about it, we will never know.

  152. JohninOshkosh says:

    ESPN doesn’t dictate to me when OD is! I LAUD today as the one and true Opening Day!

  153. Actually, I’m curious about Barry Bonds being invited to Pittsburgh to give Andrew McCutcheon his award and also as to why Andrew invited him.

  154. radio wave says:

    plus 1000 forever

  155. Dom says:

    Why are you upset about it?

  156. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, I don’t know if I would Boo Bonds.

    On the one hand, he richly deserves it.
    On the other hand, it would be sinking to his level, which is very, very low.

    The Pirates “braintrust” deserves heaping amounts of scorn for bringing him back. What an insult to Mr. Groat, and Cutch.

    Hopefully, it won’t distract from the Opening Day ceremonies.

  157. 21sthebest says:

    They wanted to bring back former MVP’s and former Managers of the Year. I wish Barry wasn’t coming back but it’s a tough situation, IMO. And it’s probably what, a 5 minute ceremony?

  158. Jandy says:

    Who said Andrew invited him?

  159. Milo Hamilton says:

    When has Frank Coonelly ever shown he has his finger in the pulse of Pittsburgh ?

  160. Jandy says:

    yeah I don’t approve of Bonds either, but to Boo would only mar Cutch’s and Hurdle’s Day. SO, please refrain, fans

  161. 21sthebest says:

    NMR, if Bonds had never left Pittsburgh, don’t you think we’d cheer him jus like they continued to do in San Francisco?

    IMO for example, if Ray Lewis had been a Steeler, we’d love him through and through.

  162. radio wave says:

    Heading out to the ballyard shortly. In my ten years here in Pittsburgh, I have never met anyone who has anything good to say about Bonds. I have lived in nine states, large cities, small towns. I have never found a unanimous opinion among sports fans about anyone, or anything, until I got here and asked about Bonds. I’m shaking my head why he was invited to participate today. They will probably bring him out with other heros the fans want to cheer, so he won’t have to hear the boo’s.

  163. Jandy says:

    Really, Dom, you have to ask?

  164. NMR says:

    “we” as the collective, maybe. But I promise not me, personally.

    To this day I can’t get myself to root for Ben.

  165. Jandy says:


  166. Jandy says:

    C’mon yunz guys, you know darn well Dejan doesn’t approve of booing. Period.


  167. 21sthebest says:

    I can’t stand Ben and I couldn’t before the scandal. But I root for the team to win.

  168. Jandy says:

    Ha! We agree on Ben too :)
    I KNEW I liked you, NMR :D

  169. Jandy says:

    AND you, too, 21! :D

  170. JohninOshkosh says:

    Just wait for the thunderous ovation Braun gets today at Miller Park.

    I’m with you, NMR, but Seinfeld was spot on: fans cheer for laundry.

  171. 21sthebest says:

    Andrew didn’t invite him but he was asked and was okay with it.

  172. Jandy says:

    What’s he going to say? No?

    He isn’t that classless, either :)

  173. Thundercrack says:

    The braintrust thought it would be a good idea to have former Pirates that won the MVP award to present the award to Cutch today. ( Dave Parker has some kind of scheduling conflict).

    The braintrust ran the idea past Cutch. Cutch gave his blessing.

  174. Thundercrack says:

    I’m still not OK with the MLB season not starting on ‘American soil’

  175. Jandy says:

    That braintrust needs some practicing “thinking”


  176. Nate83 says:

    Did you see how the Dodgers lost? 3 runs given up by Brian Wilson. They gave him a lot of money (2 years/19 million) for someone who hasn’t really proven he’s worth much of anything since his injury. Spending money doesn’t guarantee anything. I hope they implode this year but unfortunately I think they will be pretty good. The team does have holes and if Kershaw has an extended injury and Puig becomes more of a distraction then a talent you never know. We can dream can’t we.

  177. Jandy says:

    That’s another “braintrust” that needs practice “thinking”! ;)

  178. Jandy says:

    Glad I won’t be there to hear it. I’d lose my corndogs ;)

  179. theplanisworking says:

    And Cutch would look bad if he nixed the idea.
    Should have never, ever been brought up for discussion.

    More poor decision making from those who should know better.

    Like I said above, I hope this awful decision does not take away from Cutch, or the Opening Day ceremonies.

  180. 21sthebest says:

    I agree Jandy. I was just relaying the fact pattern as I heard it.

  181. theplanisworking says:

    Put them on a leash. ;)

  182. NMR says:

    Can we get an over/under going on the number of at-bats it will take for Hurdle to realize Snider still stinks?

  183. Jandy says:

    No worries, 21 :)

  184. Nate83 says:

    He is getting an award from the last man who got that same award in ta Pirate uniform. He will then go out and destroy all of Barry Bonds Pirate numbers. I’m OK with it. Like it or not Bonds was the face of those teams and Cutch will be the much better face of these teams that stays loyal and leads by example with humility. Look at today as out with the old and in with the new.

  185. Jandy says:

    I’m pulling for Snider to figure it out this season.

  186. JohninOshkosh says:

    My boss bleeds Brewers hops. He says he is going to stand mute when Braun is introduced.

  187. 21sthebest says:

    I somehow get the feeling TC, that if they hadn’t invited Bonds when they invited other former MVP’s, some my criticize the front office for that too.

    In any event, I’m guessing that over half of the crowd that will be there for the ceremony didn’t hear that Bonds will be there.

  188. Thundercrack says:

    I didn’t start a firestorm. I made an observation. And if me and my “friends” conversed about non-sports related things every single day, then you would have reason to complain. (BTW, I do have my ‘friends’ email addresses to converse about other things). (and who said 21 was my friend?)

    And now should I tell you to stop acting like God or the Lord & Master of the blog? Should I tell you to take your own advice and put on your big-boy pants?

    No. I’ll just do my best to ignore you.

  189. Jandy says:

    Gotta get some heavy paperwork done. Catch yinz loonies in a bit.
    Play nice now, hear :)

  190. NMR says:

    I think Cutch would give his blessing to somebody taking the last dollar he had to his name if it would help them.

    Just not in his nature to turn down something like this.

    Should’ve never put him in the situation to begin with (obviosly all just my opinion).

  191. Jandy says:

    Your boss is a smart man, Oshie.

  192. Thundercrack says:

    If Cutch says no to the idea, no one knows about it. And do you really, really think they would make Cutch look bad by saying “We wanted to have Bonds here today but Andrew said no”

  193. NMR says:

    You’re looking at his biggest fan, going all the way back to the trade.

    But losing a couple pounds and hitting well in a couple weeks of exhibition games shouldn’t earn you a starting job over a guy who has been far superior throughout his career.

    That being said, I’ll certainly be cheering for him from Section 117!

  194. Thundercrack says:

    I thought I heard the announcer say that Wilson didn’t have his slider working yet this early in the season and that he was just relying on his fastball.

  195. cosmo says:

    nice avitar

  196. theplanisworking says:

    Didn’t cause a firestorm….. ok, whatever.

    Well, Thunder, you could say those things to me, but they wouldn’t be accurate. I was just showing your huge hypocrisy, as usual. Trust me, I do not think I am Lord and Master here, the way you do……….. and my big boy pants are already on.

    But thanks for the concern.
    And I could only hope you would ignore me, instead of arguing and causing the trouble you have for me.

    Again, enjoy Opening Day.

  197. NMR says:

    You know, it’s a bit ironic.

    I’m know I was critical of Dejan a year ago for claiming that Snider did nothing to earn his job as the primary right fielder.

    Now this year DK hasn’t made a peep and yet here I am…

  198. Thundercrack says:

    If the beginning of ST you told me that Travis Ishikawa will be the Pirates’ starting first baseman for the Home Opener, I would have laughed in your face and bet you a beer that that would not be the case.

  199. NMR says:

    Pirate Bloggers.

  200. NMR says:

    I tried to look up his record against Samardijza but the last time Ish made a big league roster the Shark was still catching touchdowns in South Bend.

  201. NMR says:

    P.S. May not be 100% accurate.

  202. Wild Bill says:

    Been fun reading all your excited comments. Out here in Central Pa. I will be dvring the game to watch later after work.

    Only once went to a home opener, when I was a hs senior. Came in the next morning and did not lie to the home room teacher about where I was the day before. He was a complete azz about it; asked me how old I was and when I said “eighteen”, he said “You’re lucky, if you weren’t 18, I’d see to it that you wouldn’t graduate.”

    Jealousy is an ugly thing. Go Bucs, and you all have fun if you get to be there!

  203. Thundercrack says:

    That is a joke, isnt’t it NMR?

  204. cosmo says:

    Let’s go Bucs !!!!

    Wish I could be there today, but I’m looking forward to Friday.
    prediction 85 wins.

    To everyone in Biz’s fantasy leagues Good Luck and have fun.

    And to Biz, thanks for setting up all of your leagues.

  205. NMR says:

    Barely. ;)

  206. Skip says:

    Re Ishikawa, I agree, but not Tabata. He’s brutal.

  207. Dom says:

    Why does Barry Bonds have a bad rep in Pittsburgh?

    I’m not saying it isn’t justified, I just cant remember why he does.

  208. Andrew says:

    It was frustrating to watch and realize well the Pens will get a change when Fluery freezes the puck. I sort of expected it, Blackhawks are one of best puck possession teams, Pens haven’t been good since the loss of Staal/good NHL quality bottom six forwards.

    Adams with 10 minutes of even strength time is not a formula for success, the numbers for the 4th line were about as bad as gets possession/shot wise.

  209. bpn8pitt says:

    Never saw a guy go from underpaid to overpaid, as quickly as Wilson has, Nate. I know he was good for them down the stretch. But that money for a reliever who’s had Tommy John, twice? Yikes.

    I think they already have bullpen issues, injury wise.

  210. Jandy says:


  211. hockeymonster says:

    Ok its been 15 hours since UML’s season ended and we still haven’t signed Folin?!?!? Monster sources indicate that Philly is hot on his trail. And with the depth they have at forward the last thing i want is for us to be pinned in by them only have them pass it to Folin for a Shea Weber-ish Haamma from the point. Promise you that Gladams or whoever replaces them next season don’t want that either.

  212. 21sthebest says:

    Because he left Pittsburgh and Jose Lind made an error.

  213. scapper says:

    Mostly mindless groupthink, same as with Jagr.

  214. Jandy says:

    That teacher should not be allowed in a classroom.

  215. Dom says:

    But drabek left Pittsburgh and didn’t get booed…

  216. 21sthebest says:

    Lots of players left Pittsburgh and didn’t get booed.

  217. theplanisworking says:

    Because Drabek didn’t try to extort extra $$$ from the Pirates.

    Bonds, before the 1991 arbitration hearings, said that if the Pirates didn’t offer him a multi-year extension — which the Pirates did for no one with 2 years of arb remaining — he wouldn’t re-sign for even a $100MM dollars.

    He wanted out in the worst way, and that is why he is booed.
    Drabek and Van Slyke didn’t act that way.

  218. Scott says:

    Geez, I disagree totally. If you’re the Hawks, you have to come out and be physical in the third period. That doesn’t mean turning the game into a brawl and taking stupid penalties, like the Flyers would do, but at least finish your checks and hit somebody. They did nothing. I was really surprised by their lack of passion.

  219. TJA says:

    227 posts so far today. Think we’ll hit a 1000 on Opening Day?

  220. Scott says:

    I’ll put my Pirates prediction on the record: 78-84. But hoping for better.

  221. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Bonsoir Nutting!!

  222. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    JAL – Pure and simple….Not near enough.
    Not NEAR enough.

  223. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Right on BFD!

    Oh…It’s an endless story alright.
    One that the Nutting family sees too stingy to change.

  224. Dom says:

    Well that is not fair. Maybe we should all sign an e-card as a letter of apology for what he went through. I;m sure someone on this blog is going to the game and can deliver it for us.

  225. Jandy says:

    Bonds has a holier-than-thou, I’m better-than-you attitude. He’s classless.
    That’s the bottom line for me.

  226. Jandy says:

    I’m sure I’ll invite Bonds to kiss my rosy *ZZ ;)

  227. Baywatch says:


  228. Baywatch says:

    My prediction for today is also the title of my next children’s book: “Two Bombs For Ishikawa!”

  229. Jandy says:

    Yes, it is, Revvie..very nice!

  230. TJA says:

    T-Minus one hour and counting!

  231. Baywatch says:

    A FB friend just posted to me he felt more applause than boos for Bonds. I like that. I’m a big fan of Good Sportsmanship.

  232. hap2009 says:

    agree on all accounts

  233. I am (was) not. Solving problems for the whole day yesterday. The first time I was doing something non-work-related was checking here, and, before I could reply, my computer froze. :) Just now it’s back…

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