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Morning Java: The Sochi Flu

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column is about James Neal. It’s based on an interview we did in Winnipeg late last week, one I’m fairly sure offers the most forthcoming answers he’s offered on all the recent damage done to his reputation.

Call it coincidence or what have you, but Neal and I have had one of these every time the Penguins are in Manitoba. Those guys can be pretty superstitious, so maybe that’s it.

The Penguins beat the Avs without Sidney Crosby and a bunch of other key players clearly being rested, but with Jussi Jokinen finishing a devastating shootout move. Beat man Rob Rossi reports from Denver.

But never mind that. What really mattered was that Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma clearly stepped up preparation for the games that really matter. Unless, of course, you buy that it was all a coincidence that Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Olli Maatta and Brooks Orpik — all of whom were Olympians — were scratched with what the team acknowledged were minor injuries. And this the night after Jussi Jokinen, another Olympian, was scratched in Minnesota.

Call it the Sochi Flu.

I’m not saying the Penguins are lying. There’s no need to lie. Every player at this time of season is playing through some sort of injury. They can be completely truthful in saying upper body or lower body and leaving it at that.

But I am saying that this is not only glaringly obvious but also very much worth applauding. I wrote in the March 27 column that, given all that’s gone wrong in the playoffs for a while, management should consider resting any and all players. Even Crosby. The benefits infinitely outweigh the drawbacks.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page and our Chipped Ice blog.

Here’s Avalanche news from the Denver Post.

Here’s Red Wings news from the Detroit Free Press.

Here are official game highlights on


>> Edinson Volquez renders moot all future spring training fusses, by Travis Sawchik at PNC Park.

He doesn’t, of course. For all we know, Volquez could still wind up one of the National League’s worst starters, as he was last season in San Diego. But I’d say his strong work yesterday — especially in commanding the four-seam, his key to everything — at least diminishes the concept of momentum out of the spring. Or lack thereof.

Jameson Taillon will have Tommy John surgery, by Sawchik.

And that will test the Pirates’ pitching depth, also by Sawchik.

If you missed it, the Sunday column offered an inside look back at how Frank Coonelly fought for his front office in the infamous fall of 2012.

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

Here’s Cardinals news from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, including a column you might enjoy from my friend Bernie Miklasz on the Pirates becoming a worthy rival.

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Here’s TribLIVE’s Steelers page and our Steel Mill blog.

>> Our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word addressed all kinds of lively topics, not least of which was the Penguins’ inconsistent play of late.

>> I’ll check in with TribLIVE Radio today at 11:30 a.m.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Stuart says:

    Very good Neal column. He did look like he was turning over a new leaf last night. He, like most of the forwards last night, played a very disruptive forecheck against the Avs. Cooke is the poster boy for the ability to self-improve his game. Here’s hoping the real deal does the same.

    Last night was an entertaining game (the first in quite a while). Some of the younger non-smurfs showed promise.

    Volquez was a big surprise. According to Searage, his control was improved by an observation he made in watching the other starters,mand how they coordinated their glove-hand arms in the pitch delivery. He sure had it yesterday.


  2. Jandy says:

    I’m looking for Neal to play hockey, not retaliation games. He’s needed desperately to play well for the upcoming playoffs. And if he can’t, then the bench is prolly the best place for him.

  3. JAL says:

    JAL’s Karate Morning Links


    1- MLB Transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    4 Pirates Prospects

    Pittsburgh Pirates Organizational Probable Pitching Chart

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: You Can’t Stop Pitching Injuries, You Can Only Hope to Contain Them

    Prospect Watch: Gregory Polanco Homers, Nick Kingham Throws Six Shutout Innings

    Looking at the Pirates Pitching Depth With Jameson Taillon Out For the Year

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Cards ease to 6-1 win over Pirates

    Postgame reaction from the Pirates and Cards

    7 Rumbunter

    Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show: Jameson Taillon To Have Tommy John

    8 Green Weenie

    Bucs Win Game 2-1, But Lose Taillon

    9 Rant Sports

    Tony Sanchez Making Case for Himself to Stay With Pittsburgh Pirates When Chris Stewart Returns

    10 Pirates 101

    Edinson Volquez Tosses Gem, Leads Pittsburgh Pirates Over St. Louis Cardinals

  4. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 KDKA

    Colin Dunlap: Taillon’s Injury Allows Chance For Others

    12 Beaver County Times

    Volquez impressive in first start

    13 SB Nation

    The not-so-terrible, not-so-horrible, not-so-bad, pretty good Pirates

    14 Pirates Site

    Pirates forced to rethink pitching options

    Volquez takes strong step in series-clinching start

    15 Chicago Tribune

    Villanueva’s solid outing helps prevent sweep by Phillies,0,5292303.story

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Cingrani, Wacha to duel again

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Wei-Chung Wang still waiting for debut

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Pirates are too shifty for Cards

    Bernie: Feel like a kid again

    19 Fangraphs

    Identify Can’t-Miss Prospects Using This One Weird Trick


    When losing Jameson Taillon hurts worst

  5. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Weekend Checkdown: the top stories of the week

    Antonio Brown may always have to fight to stay on top


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Can Arsenal Still Win the League Under Wenger? – Football Dynamics

    23 BBC Football

    Everton 3 Arsenal 0

    24 World Soccer

    Sir Alex Ferguson set for new career teaching at Harvard


    25 Pensburgh

    Taxi Squad Steals One in the Skills Comp. Penguins 3, Avalanche 2 (Recap)

  6. Jandy says:

    What moves Jussi put on Varlamov the woman beater in the shoot out last night.

    Loved it!

  7. DJ says:

    Sutter looked great last night.

    Still would like to see what a summer of intense conditioning — with the Kesler talk lighting the fire — and decent wingers would do for his game.

  8. Jandy says:

    The Pens Organ-I-zation should send him home with instructions and/or a personal coach to make it happen.

  9. Thundercrack says:

    Who writes the sports headlines at the other paper?

    ‘Taillon finished, will have surgery’


  10. DJ says:

    He should be rooming with Gary Roberts, Jands.

    And Ray should pay the freight.

  11. Jandy says:

    H*ll yeah!

  12. Jandy says:




  13. Wild Bill says:

    Wouldn’t care right now if the Pens rested everybody and brought up the whole S-WB team to play these last few. Job One is to get ready to win in the playoffs now that all is settled for our regular season.

    Although it’s always fun to beat the Flyers.

  14. AL says:

    Didn’t they send Nisky home a few years ago with the same message? It worked!

  15. Wild Bill says:

    Heartfelt condolences to our pal John as Wisconsin lost at the buzzer. What a great year, though, and a lot to be proud of.

    I’m thinking Kentucky wins it all.

  16. Wild Bill says:

    Pirates win with our newest reclamation project over Wainwright. Another “man bites dog” story.

    Holding the Cards heart of the order to 0 for 13 helps a lot. Hoorah Tony Sanchez!

  17. DJ says:

    Every time I see the Tommy John consulting physician’s name, I think he was destined for his life’s work.

    Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Couple letters away from Dr. Neal El(bow)Reattache´.

  18. Jandy says:


  19. Jandy says:


  20. DJ says:

    I know they did it with Jordan Staal one year.

  21. Jandy says:


  22. All I really hope for now is that the Pens will continue to do as well as they did last night since they’ll definitely need to if they’re going to do anything in the playoffs. And, hopefully, they won’t be this short handed in the playoffs.

  23. Wild Bill says:

    Mark Emmert REALLY dislikes the idea of unionized college athletes. That’s almost enough right there to make me REALLY like the idea.

    Emmert does know who’s paying his 1.7 million salary.

  24. DJ says:

    I’m pulling for Kevin Ollie and UConn.

    If Calhoun were still there I wouldn’t watch the game since I’d have no one to root for.

  25. Wild Bill says:

    Good one, DJ!

  26. 21sthebest says:

    That jumped out at me too.

  27. DJ says:

    I’m sure there are a load of examples where we’ve seen someone’s name and immediately thought “Wow, how appropriate.”

    Feel free to add to the list!

  28. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t like the idea either. I’m thinking maybe you build your program using two types of players – traditional scholarship athletes and paid players not required to go to school. Not really sure. The whole thing is a mess, IMO.

  29. Wild Bill says:

    Long way to go on all of it, 21. The current action by Northwestern will probably – if not overturned on appeal – act as a can opener for some revisions that will work in the short term.

    The average Northwestern students, by the way, fall out of bed at 4 a.m. smarter than Mark Emmert will be on the beat day of his life.

  30. NMR says:

    -Kudos to Clint Hurdle on his bullpen usage yesterday. Continuation of last spring’s strategy of getting questionable starters out of the game early instead of pushing them to traditional inning marks.

    -Kudos to Pirate scouts and Ray Searage. There WILL be bumps in the road, probably many. Maybe even a big giant Erik Bedard-sized cliff. But Pirate fans now see why it’s easy to dream on the guy that pitched yesterday.

    -Now about bunting in front of McCutchen…SMH.

  31. Wild Bill says:

    “Best day”. Jandy typo.

  32. Jandy says:


    I didn’t see the game. Hubby was texting me the score update and a few tidbits while I was grocery shopping and running errands.

    I gotta make more time for baseball!

  33. Thundercrack says:

    You’re in my group 21

  34. DJ says:

    I had zero problem with pulling Volquez yesterday.

    Leaves confident and we’ve got the back end covered. Watson, in particular, was filthy.

  35. Wild Bill says:

    We do what we must, right Janderissima?

  36. Pucknutz says:

    Yes ++++

  37. Jandy says:

    Indeed, Wil Bill! But to think, 3 years ago, hubby said he couldn’t stand baseball because it’s “too slow”. Now I have HIM watching the game and texting me with updates.
    Dayum, I’m good!

  38. brendan says:

    Unionization isn’t simply about paying players.

    Among other things but at the top of the list is medical coverage for the “student athletes”.

    The designation was created so universities would bear no responsibility for injuries the athletes suffered while playing for them. As it stands now a kid can endure a really severe injury, lose his scholarship, and be on the hook for a mountain of medical bills that his family may not be able to pay or may drive them into bankruptcy.

    We can debate whether these guys should be paid, how they should be paid, and how much they should be paid. But I think we’d all agree that these kids should be covered in case of a catastrophic injury. Hopefully unionization achieves that, if nothing else.

  39. Wild Bill says:

    You’ll know you are Really good when you’ve got him doing the shopping and you text him with the updates!

  40. Wild Bill says:

    Like where you’re going, Brendan!

  41. Thundercrack says:

    As someone noted yesterday, Volquez also pitched 2 innings earlier in the week.
    ( I had forgotten about that)

  42. 21sthebest says:

    Brendan, wouldn’t the student-athlete be covered under Obamacare?

  43. 21sthebest says:

    I guess our group is up to 2 now.

  44. Brandon says:

    DK – good article and insights from Neal…..discipline against the teams like Detroit, NY, Boston & Flithy combined with solid defensive play and consistent goaltending will be the foundation. Defense was reasonably good in a warm-up game last night – it was good to see how they played a faster team without Orpik getting beaten on almost every shift. Fleury was outstanding. Sutter was outstanding.

    Appreciate the link to the Milasz article – interesting to see the view of the Pirates compared to the best run organization in baseball – maybe the key difference not called out in his article is ownership’s ability/willingness to sign occasional/needed big contracts to keep the foundation in place so that the minor league development can augment it. The recent years’ additions by the Cards of Beltran, Holliday and Peralta were significant and not viewed as 2nd/3rd tier free agents. Really great to see Volquez pitch well and certainly hope it continues, but the BMTIB has its hands tied relative to the Cards if it can’t afford to sign those types of contracts when needed. With the expiring contracts of Liriano, Rodriguez & Volquez after this season, they will almost certainly have holes to fill with Taillon out for most of ’15 and the next round of top notch prospects not scheduled to arrive until late ’15/’16….looking forward to this year!

  45. Wild Bill says:

    Don’t recall the details, but the Cards as a “regional” fan base, have a very big tv income. That has to help with those top shelf free agents they buy when needed.

  46. Wild Bill says:

    Should have been a reply to Brandon.

  47. scapper says:

    Even the city’s “real” newspaper can goof up at times.

  48. scapper says:

    Oh, is that what it was Tabata was attempting? I noticed him doing some strange stuff with his bat, but it wasn’t the basic, proper bunting technique you learn in your teens. How so many players can be so fundamentally unsound…

  49. Thundercrack says:

    Not according to some.

  50. Jim S. says:

    I’ve thought from the time we got him that he’s a lot better than he was given credit for. Hopefully, the fire is lit under him to take it to the next level next year.

  51. Jim S. says:

    Can I be in your group? I’m not really in a group. It jumped out at me, too.

    I guess having a surgery with a very high success rate qualifies as finishing a guy.

  52. Sarah says:

    So Peeps…..
    Why is it that Disco seems to get so much more out of the team when it’s missing most of its star players? We threw our JV out there vs a quality team in the West and snuck out w 2 pts.


  53. Jim S. says:

    That was an amazing game of swings back and forth. I really wanted that last banker to go in. It was about as close to going in off the glass as possible while bouncing out. Really tough one there.

  54. Jim S. says:

    How good has Watson been, btw?

    Two years ago, I thought he turned a corner in terms of location of his pitches. He was already showing the great arm and was a pretty good reliever. But, a little too often, I thought he would catch the heart of the plate and get whacked pretty good.

    Last year he started kind of slow, but then got in a groove. The groove has continued this year. I think he’s a great story in how continuing to work at your craft as a pitcher can really pay off. Just being a little bit sharper has made him so good since the middle of last year.

    He might be the best guy out of the pen right now.

  55. Jandy says:

    hell would freeze over first, Wild One LOL!

  56. Jandy says:


  57. Dom says:

    Taillon to have tommy john?

    All the more reasone we should have resigned AJ.

  58. Jandy says:

    One comment, because they’re not following his “system”


  59. Jandy says:


  60. I heard on ESPN that not all the Northwestern players, especially the seniors, are that keen on unionization, and that unionization may not carry the day after all. But then, there’s always some other college or colleges that might eventually take up the banner.

  61. Jim S. says:

    I read an article about 10 days ago that said the Cards were the most profitable team in MLB last year at $65M-ish. Their revenues are just out of the top 5 in MLB, I believe, and of course they are very well run. They have a great market to the south (Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Misssissippi). They have some nice advantages, but are a model franchise. No doubt about it.

  62. And now, the Pirates will be on the road for the first time this season, a 9 game affair starting with the Cubs tomorrow, and, hopefully, they’ll start that off right.

  63. I hope not, Bill. It’s almost impossible to be at work today, let alone tomorrow if they win. If they lose, everyone will be pouting and quiet and maybe get some work done.

    Never thought I’d root for UConn in anything.

  64. Jim S. says:

    Clint and NH have both hinted that he has shown flashes of being at his best in the spring, but also flashes of his worst during the spring. They said it can happen not only from outing to outing, but sometimes from inning to inning. So, I think you are right, DJ. The guy had pitched brilliantly, and they wanted him to leave feeling good. But, most importantly, they are not 100% confident in him just yet, and did not want everything to possibly disintegrate in a very close game. If he keeps pitching well, I think we’ll see him get more and more rope as time goes on. Excellent first start yeserday, following a very good 2 inning relief stint.

  65. Wild Bill says:

    Didn’t see the game, Sarah. Don’t know what was done differently.

  66. Jim S. says:

    I’m not pro or anti-UCONN. But, I am amazed at how often they make deep runs in the tourney. That team was not expected by anyone outside of itself to compete for a national title.

  67. AJ had a horrid outing yesterday losing to the Cubs 8-3. He walked 6 and gave up 4 unearned runs in the first and 4 earned in the 6th and got hit but good. And so, we’ll see just how much the Bucs will really miss him as this season progresses.

  68. Brandon says:

    WB – no question – their TV contract is probably quite a bit higher than the Pirates, despite Mr. Coonelly’s claims. When you combine the additional revenue from the local TV and the gate, the Cards advantage is significant. The Pirate’s have both of those true economic realities to overcome, but the Pirates don’t wish to be open to the fanbase about the real comparisons of their revenue stream – since Coonelly & Nutting wish to avoid this discussion, I will continue to distrust them. Regardless of the total shortfall, the national revenue from TV should allow them to offer 1-2 $100M+ contracts (assumes the right player and years) to augment their improving organizational management. My reality is to enjoy it while the Pirates can put a competitive team on the field – this should be a great year to be a Pirates fan!

  69. Thundercrack says:

    $65 million of profit?

  70. Jim S. says:

    What does that sigh mean, Jandy? Am I in your group? I really need to get these group assignments. For all I know, my group has been having meetings, parties etc. and I don’t even find out about them. :-)

  71. Brandon says:

    Discipline was better – helped not having Orpik on the ice made them a better match to the Colorado speed (although Scuds was still noticeably slow). 3rd/4th lines were not overmatched by Colorado….so line matching was not a big issue. Most important thing for this game was Flower – he was absolutely great – if he wasn’t, this could have been a 5-2 Avalanche win in regulation.

  72. Jim S. says:

    You might be right, 21 – about the whole thing being a mess part.

  73. Nate83 says:

    He is the best guy out of the pen in my opinion. I’m very comfortable about where this bullpen is right now. The guys I worry most about are at the backend. The 3 men getting them the ball (Morris, Watson and Wilson) are about as strong as you will find on any team in the majors. I’m confident if Melancon or Grille start to struggle those guys can step up and give elite late inning pitching.

  74. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, that’s what it said. I don’t know how accurate those things are, but the Cards spend similarly to Milwaukee on payroll and I think they bring in a whole lot more money. If those #’s are to be believed.

    I’ll try to dig up the article. I mentioned it about 10 days ago. I saw it in a tweet from a Cards reporter, I believe.

  75. Jandy says:

    Most enlightening thing you’ve posted, James. Kudos.

  76. Sarah says:

    Yeah MAF seemed to be the diff!
    But they were actually establishing a FC/cycle at times…..something notably missing lately…..
    The new guy Payerl generated some opps too.

    Hope Sutter hasn’t used up his Goal Quotient thru July LOL!!!

  77. Arriba Wilver says:

    I agree Brendan.

  78. Sarah says:

    I’m just reminded of when Letang and Orpik and Malkin were almost,and they were half WBS, and looked very disciplined and played really well.

  79. Jim S. says:

    Good stuff, NMR.

  80. Jandy says:

    ahhhh Jim, there you go, being the nicest guy on the blog again :)

  81. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m more concerned about next year without Taillon than this year. With all these guys leaving.

  82. Jim S. says:

    Operating income of $65.2M last year, per Forbes. I think it helps quite a bit that they drew $3.3 million fans, and have drawn 3 million+ a bunch of times. Plus, their local cable TV ratings were 2nd highest in MLB.

  83. NMR says:

    There is no doubt what-so-ever that these students deserve a right to representation.

    The NCAA has bastardized the recruitment and punishment processes to the point that this has become terribly obvious.

  84. Dom says:

    Beyond Cumpton, Sadler, and maybe Kinghim, would the Buccos have anyone else who could replenish the rotation if someone goes down to injury?

  85. Rico says:

    That was a very good, but rather painful interview with Nealer. Since they got him from Dallas, he’s been a favorite of mine because of his combination of skill and aggressiveness, but more of the former and the latter channeled less foolishly would be an excellent thing to see in this year’s playoffs. And who’d a thunk it that Matt Cooke of all people would be quoted in a story such as this as the voice of wisdom and reason? That’s a real testament to the work that he did to turn his game and life around. (I still love the fact that the Steelers Aaron Smith played such an instrumental role in that turnaround.) Also, am I the only one that hates the upper and lower body injury thing in hockey? And then for the first time recently, I saw mid-body injury to describe what ails Joe Vitale. What the heck is that, a strained waist?? I get that they don’t want opposing players to know the exact nature of the injury because we know how opposing players are, but the whole thing just seems silly to me.

  86. 21sthebest says:

    Charlie made his first start almost a year to the day so I have my fingers crossed.

  87. Nate83 says:

    I agree. AJ should regress a little just because of ballpark and defensive philosophy. He is no spring chicken and the Phillies gave a contract I don’t think the Pirates should have matched. I think they wanted AJ back but I also think they knew his upside was what he was doing already. He could only regress and with each passing year it becomes more likely. Too much risk.

    Money’s now left on the table. I’m interested to see what they add during the year. Only then will we know if not overreaching on AJ was a good or bad move.

  88. Poole says:

    DK – Going back to your column on the Pens bottom 6, I like what I’ve seen of Adam Payerl. Add him to the mix of guys (Sill especially) you mentioned to who I’d rather see than Adams or Pyatt.

    Oh and Pyatt needs to stop having 1 good shift per game. I just vision Dan B sitting in his office watching film with Tony G and saying “See I told you! Look at that hustle! This is the big body we need!”

  89. theplanisworking says:

    I have seen that map from time to time.

    Everyone keeps saying how “regional” the Cardinals fanbase is.
    Keep in mind, the Cardinals were the westernmost, and southernmost franchise until 1955, when the A’s move to Kansas City, and 1958, when the Dodgers and Giants moved to California. That set the seeds for many fans in the midwest to be Cards fans.

  90. Jim S. says:

    A lot of people seem to be concerned about Melancon, and I am not quite sure I understand why. He put up a sub-1.0 WHIP last year, struck out a batter an inning, walked almost no one, and gave up 1 HR all season. If you like traditional metrics, he had a 1.39 ERA. He was definitely one of the top few set-up guys last year.

    Maybe it was the fact that his only bad spell all season happened in a clump of games over a week or so?

    I don’t expect him to have another season like last year, but he can still be very good w/o quite doing that.

  91. 21sthebest says:

    Gomez, Pimentel, and Locke.

  92. NMR says:

    Two weeks out from spring training, too.

    I just don’t understand what you accomplish in that situation. Give up an out and open up 1B. STL pitches around Cutch and then brings in a LHP to get Pedro and Walker.

    Not hard to figure how that’ll work out.

  93. NMR says:

    People associate regression with a drop in skill, which is incorrect.

  94. Jim S. says:

    Good post, Nate.

  95. Jim S. says:

    Even Irwin. There are arms. They have to pick the right one or two. I get the feeling Locke will get a shot near the top of the list, going by what I am reading.

  96. Poole says:

    Neal looks to be playing more disciplined since his last fine. Not that the fine worked as a deterrent but I’m guessing the Pens had a closed door meeting with him. Unforunately, he has to sleep in the bed he’s made and is going to get called for EVERY minor thing he does that refs would otherwise let go. And of course, his reputation as a diver hinders his ability to draw calls. It reminds me a lot of Cooke even after he refined his game, he got many penalties for “being Matt Cooke”.

    That said, props to Neal for trying. Now, regarding his hockey abilities, we should talk about his reliance on Malkin. James simply isn’t that effective when he isn’t scoring and he is again showing he has trouble scoring without Geno.

  97. NMR says:

    No reason he can’t be in Pittsburgh by the All Star break.

    That obviously is not a prediction nor is it necessarilly a probability, but a twelve month rehabilition schedule still would leave him 2 1/2 months of AAA seasoning.

  98. 21sthebest says:

    I would think that’s a best case scenario.

  99. Nate83 says:

    Yes but Taillon still has work to do in AAA. Kingham had a nice start yesterday. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets moved to AAA pretty quickly. K and Walk rates are really good and he’s seems pretty efficient. I could see him getting close to 100 innings this year at that level and having a schedule that moves ahead of Taillon.

    I agree with AW there will be some holes next year especially early in the year. If the Pirates are competitive like we think they will be you can’t go into the year at starting pitching saying we only have to make it to 80-90 games and then help will be on the way. Right now it looks as if they only have Cole and Morton as starters and that is if they are healthy. Locke and Stolmy are options but hardly locks at this point.

    They will need 1 or 2 guys on one or two year deals. Problem is all of those guys are signing short deals because they are trying to reestablish their value. Good luck finding the 2015 version of Liriano. Those are rare finds. As much as I like Searage and NH I don’t believe they have any magic fairy dust they sprinkle on pitchers to fix them. I still think some luck is involved with a signing like Liriano.

  100. NMR says:

    It’s obviously only two games, but AJ’s fastball has been about a mile per hour slower than his average last year.

    With that atrocious Philly defense, he won’t able to be a sinkerballer. He’ll HAVE to be a strikeout guy. Definitely something to watch.

  101. Nate83 says:

    It felt like everyone became a slap hitter against him at the end of the year with a high success rate. It felt like I was watching a replay of the same hit over and over. I would like to see him move around the plate more. It feels like the league adjusted to him and now it’s time for him to adjust to them. He could regress and still have a really good year. For goodness sake didn’t he still end up with something like 1.38 ERA. That should not be expected of anybody.

  102. NMR says:

    Considering the Pirates development strategy, I’d agree.

    Wouldn’t surprise me at all, though, if he could get Big Leaguers out by June if he had to.

  103. Sarah says:

    Bottom six would improve via subtraction of Gladams.
    Saw some stats recently that has Adams out there for a goal Against about every 12-13 mins of TOI.
    That’s astonishingly bad. Like, worst in the NHL bad.

    Yet we gotta keep his Ironman streak going, I guess…..

  104. Sarah says:

    Agree. Malkin is Neal’s woobie. Without Geno he struggles. I’d actually move him up with Sid if only to light a fire under his azz…..

  105. 21sthebest says:

    But what benefits or right to additional compensation do they deserve?

  106. Brandon says:


  107. Jim S. says:

    * I’ve been very impressed with Pedro’s approach so far this spring. Most here have commented that when he uses the whole field he is very dangerous. He has been very dangerous of late, with a long HR the other way on Friday and 2 other balls (one each vs. Cubs and Cards) to the Notch that would have been HR in a lot of parks. Plus, he has been taking walks when teams don’t want to pitch to him.

    * El Coffee continues making noise like he wants to help the big club in the next couple of months.

    * Nick Kingham continues to just do what he needs to do to get ready for the show. If I knew what a jib was, I’d say I like the cut of his. :-)

  108. War_Horse says:

    During yesterday’s game, Bob Walk explained in his discursive way, how Ray Searage has tried to modify Volquez’s delivery. He said that Volquez had been turning his body toward the plate too early in his delivery and “opening up” too much before he threw the ball. The solution, Walk said, was to tell him to keep his right hand in his glove in the wind-up longer to keep his left shoulder aimed at the plate as he prepared to throw. The close-up, slow motion video showed how hard Volquez throws the ball, directly overhead. The location of his left shoulder as he winds up, Walk said, is the key. If he’s keeping it closed until the last moment, he gets better accuracy with his pitch. It was cool to hear a thoughtful pitcher explain one of the mechanics of pitching well. And Volquez was pitching especially well. As well (1 run, 3 hits) if not as long as Wainwright.

  109. A seven and eight-seed in the final. It’s been that kind of strange year in college hoops.

  110. Poole says:

    Ha…Yikes! Correct me if I’m wrong but I think he was wearing an ‘A’ yesterday too.

    I feel bad for Megna. Poor kid will never get to show his potential playing with the “non-Robert-Downey-Jr” Iron Man.

  111. NMR says:

    I won’t even try to pretend I’m smart enough to know that answer, 21.

  112. Jandy says:

    Megna has TONS of potential! I love the kid.

  113. Jim S. says:

    Joe Magraine provided an analysis on MLB Network in describing both Liriano and Volquez yesterday after the game. He was highly complimentary of Searage, talking about how Ray communicates with the players in a way that they understand and can implement his recommendations quickly. He and Eric Byrnes were gushing about Searage.

  114. Nate83 says:

    It’s amazing how many arms there are that are options. None are high upside but most I am comfortable saying would be adequate back end rotation type guys. So the question then becomes who are they replacing and for how long. If it’s Cole or Liriano there is some drop off. If Volquez is the man they are replacing then this team moves forward with no issues. It’s really no different the almost every other team in the majors. All teams have trouble replacing number 1 or 2 type guys. Most have fewer options then the Pirates to replace any starter.

  115. AL says:

    My take is that on your first day on the job, you’re young, excited, pumped-up and realize that the game is going to be won or lost by your own hard work. No superstars out there to bail you out.
    I’m not surprised at all by the win last night. Fresh blood once in awhile does amazing things. Even makes the veterans pick it up a notch so as not to look bad in front of the WBS guys.
    This is just human nature. The hard part is going to be if they can maintain this throughout the playoffs.

  116. Sarah says:

    Yup Adams had the A.
    Really Disco just is in love with these vets to the point where it negatively affects the lineup on a nightly basis. We just do not put the best players out there. Adams/Glass/Orpik/Scuderi regularly get pinned in their own end night after night.
    Then stats like hits or blocked shots get pointed to, to show how great Glass is or whatever. Never mind the fact that when you’re hitting and blocking , you generally DON’T have the puck….and it’s actually a negative statistic a lot of the time.

    We have a number of guys who could comprise a decent bottom 6….but Bylsma won’t play them.

    The biggest indictment of him as a coach IMO…..inability to get the best players on the ice, in the best matchups, to give them the best chance to succeed. A big Fail.

  117. Jandy says:

    Tell Magraine and Eric to keep their hands off, Uncle Ray is OURS!


  118. Jandy says:

    Most of the newbies won’t see the playoffs. Or if they do, it’s very limited time.

  119. Jandy says:

    A shout out to Brandie, hoping she’s doing well. I miss her!

  120. NMR says:

    Basically, I support just about any means of taking power away from the NCAA and Universities, and money equals power to them.

  121. Dom says:

    Is she with Drew?

  122. Jandy says:

    LOL Dom, You’re so cute :)

  123. Jandy says:

    She’s working, Dom. On a new job. Wish her well :)

  124. Dom says:

    Anyone out there running on Windows XP? If so, tomorrow’s the big day.

  125. Dom says:

    She should still be able to post in evening games.

  126. Thundercrack says:

    But they’ll have him on such a strict innings/pitch count that he’ll be shut down in August.


  127. Thundercrack says:

    NH was gushing about Locke yesterday on his radio show.

    And NH doesn’t gush much.

  128. Thundercrack says:

    So I guess we’re going to critique every one of AJ’s start this year :-)

    Yesterday I looked up G. I Jones’ stats and told my wife that he was off to a slow start and only hitting .192. Her reply was “Did you tell me that so I would quit pining for him and hoping he was still our first baseman?”

    I didn’t dare tell her that Adam LaRoche has gotten off to a good start. (she’s not a fan)

  129. Thundercrack says:

    Jim, you don’t want to be in our group.
    And if you were in it, you would have known by now.

  130. Jim S. says:

    Thanks, TC.

  131. Nate83 says:

    That is nice to hear. I really like Locke and think he can contribute. He seems to be the forgotten man by many. I’m not sure he will ever be a 200 inning man, but if he can get his control issues figured out there is a good middle rotation pitcher in there somewhere.

  132. Andrew says:

    Sutter’s main fault is he is not Jordon Staal. Giving up defensive prospects to get Kelser doesn’t do anything when the Pens lack quality 3rd line forwards. Sutter plus quality forwards would make a perfectly acceptable 3rd line.

  133. Jim S. says:

    He had an amazing season last year. I would sign up for anything close to how good he was last year in a heartbeat.

  134. Jim S. says:

    That would be great if he were back close to full strength by next June. Charlie seemed to take awhile longer, after being healthy, to get his sharpness back.

    Realistically, I’m hoping Taillon can be pitching again by June, and if he can help down the stretch (Aug-Sept), I think that would be encouraging.

    Each arm is different, so we’ll see I guess.

  135. Bizrow says:

    Maybe someone will come out of the woodwork

  136. Jim S. says:

    Coonelly, too, on the broadcast on ROOT.

  137. Patrick(ri) says:

    Re: unionizing college athletes. I thought Bill Bradley, the former Senator, Princeton & Knick star, had a great idea years ago. He wanted colleges to admit they were running minor leagues and set up a program which would allow a “student” athlete to quit pretending, get paid a stipend and also receive training in managing money, learning to speak, read and write a bit in English. At the end they would get a certificate indicating they might be prepared to succeed in life in the likely event a pro career would not pan out. Of course, if they chose, they could enroll as a regular student and suffer the consequences(going to class, term papers, etc). Think of the embarrassment this would have spared UNC and countless other universities. As Dollar Bill used to argue, it would do wonders for the athletes, too.

  138. Andrew says:

    While this is not the best way to evaluate the sacrifice, have the Pirates put a bunt down, advanced the runner then scored him once this year?

  139. Nate83 says:

    That is true. If there is one thing about baseball we should all know it’s not to predict the future because so much can happen. I knew almost nothing about Gomez, Melancon, Stolmy and Cumpton at this time last year.

  140. Jim S. says:

    The weird thing about Locke is that control wasn’t a big problem in the minors. 219 BB in 799 innings. But, it soared in Pittsbugh (84 in 166 innings last yr).

    I think he just needs to trust his stuff (and our shifts and defense) and pitch to contact more. My take last year was that he pitched around a lot of hitters, rather than go after them. It worked for the 1st half of the year when he had that famously unsustainable strand rate. But, it caught up to him in the 2nd half. I look for him to be better when he returns. He has had time to work out some kinks.

  141. Andrew says:

    That LaRoche start is a mirage he doesn’t starting playing until May.

  142. Poole says:

    It’s certainly a fair assessment. The guys that have been called up (Sill, Harry Z, Payerl) even if it’s a small sample have not played poorly. I think that makes the argument even more compelling. I think ultimately Dan has a soft spot for the guys that play the way he used to play as a player. That said, there are 3 other smart assistant coaches leading the way for the Pens, I know Dan has final say but any of those guys could step up at any time and raise the argument.

    As a side note – interactions with the media should never be taken too seriously. But Dan has changed a lot over the years. When he first came in he was very energetic and enthusiastic. Now he takes 20 second pauses before he will answer a question. There’s a difference between a long pause for dramatic effect and doing it for every single question. If that’s any indication of his day to day charisma, one would think he’s not much of a motivator anymore.

  143. NMR says:

    Not that I can remember…

  144. Jandy says:

    Geno also has trouble scoring without James. I guess that makes them the Woobie Brothers.

  145. NMR says:

    FWIW, I set out to show that AJ was still AJ and NOT to bother looking at every start.

    It’s too early to say anything at all definitive, but at this point, AJ does not seem to be AJ.

  146. 21sthebest says:

    I support what’s right and what the law says.

  147. Wild Bill says:

    Regarding the map of fan allegiances that NMR posted a while ago, I’d say that a lot of Central Pa, shown as Phillies territory, is a lot closer to being Pirates territory these days. The south-central portion does have more Orioles fans than one would believe possible.

  148. Jim S. says:

    I didn’t find the article about the Cardinals that I had read a few weeks ago, but I was able to find one from the St. Louis Dispatch from 12/4/13 with some interesting info. Some things I pulled from the article:

    * Cards TV deal with FoxSports MW runs through 2017, with the Cards holding an option for 2018. It is believed to provide $27-$28 million per year currently, with escalators taking it up to $30 million. The article cited a new TV deal by the Indians taking them from $30 million to the $40 million range per season.

    * Bill DeWitt, Cards Pres., said their revenue model continues to be heavily dependant on attendance. They drew 3.3 million fans in 2013, their 9th straight year of 3 million+.

    * St. Louis ranks #23 of 30 MLB terms in market size, according to the article. Forbes listed St. Louis as a 2.8 million person market.

    * Cardinals are able to draw fans from long distances, due to their historical success.

    * The article listed the Cardinals revenue at approximately #10 in MLB. DeWitt said they try to maintain payroll in that ranking range.

  149. Jim S. says:


    Unfortunately, though, I think our secret is out.

  150. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Nice effort from the Pirates yesterday on a day when on paper (Wainwright vs Volquez) things looked futile.
    They’re off to a good start.
    If only they had received helped from their recently extended GM……..Oh well.

  151. Naterosboro says:

    They’d be 6-0 or 5-1?

  152. Jandy says:

    Well, they can still keep their hands off ;)

  153. NMR says:

    What’s right?

    Boy, awfully tough to side with the NCAA in that case…

  154. NMR says:

    Who was it that signed the starting pitcher yesterday? ;)

  155. DemonDachshund says:

    Oddly enough, the 1B and RF spots have been reasonably productive, so I’d say it’s equally likely they’d be 3-3.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the current state of either position, but the small sample sizes provided in the first week were ok.

  156. Naterosboro says:

    Don’t forget about Vance Worley either. Acquired by the Pirates from the twins for cash, he could certainly make a spot start if needed.

    Obviously, if any of these guys make 20-30 starts, something has gone wrong.

  157. JAL says:

    The myth lives April 2010 .296 with 4 HR and 17 RBI

  158. Thundercrack says:

    I wonder if the GM can get a decent bunt down

  159. Naterosboro says:

    Absolutely. And I know Daquido was just throwing that last line in there (for the narrative), but it was odd to me. They’ve started 4-2, and have won both of the serieseseses.

    Maybe they would’ve caused the rest of the MLB just to forego the season and give us the WS trophy had the GM helped this team in the offseason?

    It just kind of doesn’t make any sense, especially with the way the team has started this season (basically a continuation of last).

  160. Naterosboro says:

    JT was always viewed as a mid-season callup (ala G. Cole last year). How do the 2 coincide?

    Hopefully you were just being a little snarky with that thought Dom.

  161. I would say look more at his next start. The games he got shelled for us, he usually made a few adjustments and bounced right back. I’d be hard-pressed to remember him having 2 really lousy games in a row when he was with the Bucs.

    I believe he’ll be alright. Hopefully not against us if he gets in one of those few games we play them.

  162. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I didn’t know MLB reduced their full schedule from 162 games to 6………?!?!?!?!?!?!

  163. Jim S. says:

    Oh, Nate. With another GM, I think they could be at least 8-0 by now. :-)

  164. 21sthebest says:

    Maybe you could finish this sentence:

    “If only they had received helped from their recently extended GM……..

  165. JohninOshkosh says:

    Here’s an idea. Stop giving out athletic scholarships entirely. Start sending more kids to school on grants and academic scholarships (academics is the main purpose of universities, right ?). See if the players are so keen on unionization when football players, like I had to do, are filling out their student loan applications.

    Friggin’ crybabies. I wish my education had been paid for. I didn’t finish off paying student loans until I was in my thirties. I just don’t get the exploitation argument. Universities are minor leagues for a small percentage of athletes in four sports-football, basketball, hockey and baseball. Even with those sports, only a few of the hundreds playing them go on to the professional level. The vast majority end up getting their degrees and working in non sports fields. Hardly think that constitutes exploitation and a farm system. I mean how is this going to work ? Only the football and basketball players are unionized and getting pay and benefits ? Not sure I would support that if I was a golfer or field hockey player. If I’m the Board of Regents and have to incur the costs of paying male football players and basketball players, then I might start thinking non revenue sports-both male and female are a good place to start cutting costs. Title IX stands on the shoulders of the revenue sports. I don’t think the system needs to be changed to accommodate a few athletes in a few sports who may or may not get to play the sport professionally.

    Look, this just gets to me. I paid for college with loans that took years to pay off. I was, in effect, in the minor league system for American business. Why wasn’t I in a union ? During college I worked 30 hours plus a week. Why? Because I wanted to go to college and get an education. These players have the opportunity to get a four year degree and start life without any student debt. It they waste that opportunity, then they need to only look in the mirror at whose fault it was.

  166. 21sthebest says:

    Mark Trumbo is just crushing it and the D’backs are 2-7. But hey, that’s baseball!

  167. Jim S. says:

    Small sample size. ;-)

  168. Naterosboro says:

    It can be a drop in skill, however, as in if a player ages (not as fast as they used to be, don’t throw as hard, etc.)

  169. NMR says:

    Good addition. It is frankly amazing that the entire Indy rotation projects as capable big league starters.

  170. Jandy says:

    Only if he doesn’t blink…

  171. 21sthebest says:

    I bet he thinks he’s the best bunter in the room.

  172. NMR says:


  173. Andrew says:

    Its no myth JAL, Career wRC+ by month

    March/April: 88
    May: 107
    June: 101
    July: 112
    August: 132
    Sept/Oct: 128

    I would gladly take LaRoche on this team tomorrow, I just have an irrational dislike for him from his time with the Pirates, I always found his explanations for his slow starts asinine, but I’ll admit my memory is certainly biased.

  174. Jim S. says:

    Interesting question coming, I think. I don’t think the Bucs will blink, but I think it might stoke some debate.

    Tony Sanchez has already had 2 game-winning hits, and his offense appeared to have taken a turn for the better at Indy last season. He certainly doesn’t look overmatched to me offensively in Pgh so far. To me, he is not looking like a defense-only catcher. In fact, it would not surprise me if he ended up being above average offensively.

    Chris Stewart, pitch-framer extraordinaire, seems to be quickly getting back in game shape. It’s amazing what a rookie taking over for you and getting big hits can do for your recovery timetable. I’m just kidding on that part. I’m glad Stewart is coming back on a fast track.

    So, the question is, although we probably all know what the Bucs will do with Sanchez when Stewart returns, is sending him back to Indy for reps the best course of action for the team this year? Or, would you send JHay back? I don’t know whether Tony can handle 1b defensively or not. Do we need a 2nd utility infielder?

  175. NMR says:

    You mean stink? ;)

  176. Jandy says:


  177. Jandy says:

    Can we change a few consonants in there? ;X

  178. NMR says:

    If Hurdle makes it a habit of resting Martin for every day game then Sanchez better darn well be staying.

  179. 21sthebest says:

    Totally agree with you but I do believe the medical care needs to be addressed for athletes sustaining career ending injuries.

    A couple of months ago on the radio, Larry Foote said that during the summers he was in college and during breaks during the school year, he shoveled, cleaned garages, cut grass, did anything he could do to make a few bucks. Even as a scholarship athlete.

  180. Jim S. says:

    Who signed him?

    Oh, that’s right. He just showed up one day.

  181. Naterosboro says:

    I don’t think anyone has the Pirates penciled in as WS winners, but it’s odd that you complement the start they’ve gotten out to, yet then backhand the GM for not doing more to help the team in the offseason. It stands to reason, then, they shouldn’t be off to this start. Are they doing it in spite of management? Was a 94-68 record last year a mirage (especially in the fashion in which it was accomplished)? Do you not see how the logic doesn’t flow?

    I think all posters here are pretty much in agreement that the team could’ve been improved more than it was. But how many other major league teams could have the same said for them? I’d say more than just the Pirates.

    The Pirates started 1-5 last season, then went on to win 94 games (total). We certainly have to let it play out, but it looks like they’ll be competitive again. They pitch pretty well, and hit just enough (for the most part).

    If you can find me 1 ballclub that doesn’t have an area of need, then I will happily join your narrative.

  182. Jandy says:

    I can wrap my head around keeping Tony up, and sending Jhay down. But does that keep Tony sharp enough if he’s not playing every or enough games?

  183. I’d like to see him work out at first. But that would probably have to be at Indy, too. Hard to platoon 2 right-handed bats, like he and Gabby or Ishi or someone could split time there with him eventually. Meanwhile, Lambo has no hits at Indy yet. K’d 3 times the other day. Things seem to be getting worse not better for the kid right now.

  184. Jim S. says:

    I have also always read that since it was mostly radio broadcasts that brought fans into the fold, the Cards benefited from a huge chunk of real estate listening to their games years ago. My guess is since the team has pretty much continued to be competitive almost every season, they have maintained a lot of the loyalty.

  185. Nate83 says:

    That really is the biggest contribution he could make right now. As far as I see it he has two options. Hire a bunting specialist to teach these guys how to do it or tell them to stop fricken’ bunting. You only get 3 outs an inning stop giving them away.

  186. Andrew says:

    Payerl has nine points in 38 AHL games this year.

    The biggest upgrades that can be made is dropping Pyatt, by on-ice goal stats he is the worst forward in the league, just edging Rinaldo. For me next Glass should go, he bring nothing, played every game last year and had two points. I understand people detest Adams, but he is mainly there to kill penalties, spends a great percentage of ice time shorthanded than almost any forward in the league and the Penguins penalty kill has been near the top of the league. I think it is a little suspect to suggest that the penalty kill has succeed in spite of Adams.

    Blysma, rightly or wrongly, sends Adams over the board in key defensive situations, last night in the 3-4 to end OT. I do not really care for Adams, I just think that the dead weight getting more ice time should be removed first, and the Penguins should divorce themselves from Scuderi’s sentimental value and realize has been awful.

  187. Dom says:

    Good Post.

    I’ll be lucky if I finish paying off my student loans before I hit 40.

    IMO, college wasn’t worth it. I would much rather trade in my degree in order to avoid paying off the rest of my loans.

  188. NMR says:

    I definitely don’t think you keep three catchers.

  189. Jim S. says:

    I believe their logic of wanting Sanchez in Indy has been to catch everyday. I don’t think they will sway from that.

    But, I really like his approach at the plate and would like to see what he could do with a couple of hundred at bats this season. I liked what he did with Wainwright a lot yesterday.

    I honestly don’t know what the right decision is. I can see both sides.

  190. Nate83 says:

    He would have to move to first and I’m not sure if that is a good answer despite suggesting it during the off season. I don’t see any scenario where him and Stewart both are on the team. It is nice to see him get some big moments during his few weeks up here so he can go back down with some confidence and build on it for next year. He will come up when rosters expand and could offer a nice bench bat. Plus the chances of Stewart and Martin staying healthy all year are slim. He easily could be back up at some point.

  191. Jim S. says:

    I guess Chris Webber ruined it for all future MI athletes. :-)

  192. Naterosboro says:


    I was going to post on this topic today, but since you already opined……

    I think Sanchez needs to stay. At this point, what do the “reps” do for him in Indianapolis? He doesn’t look overmatched at the plate at all (hasn’t since he was called up last September).

    Do they need him to go back to Indy to work on his defense? That’s looked Ok to me as well.

    Maybe try and flip Chris Stewart for an arm or something because it looks like T. Sanchez belings on this 25-man roster.

  193. Nate83 says:

    Would you say that his approach at the plate is professional :)

    That was for NMR.

  194. Jim S. says:

    Your hair looks nice now that you are growing it out, Osh.

  195. 21sthebest says:

    I’m thinking Tony will go back to Indy and about 1/3 to 1/2 way through the year, Stewart is release.

  196. 21sthebest says:


  197. Jim S. says:

    I think you and NMR are right, Nate. Sanchez just doesn’t have enough positional flexibility (did I just coin a new phrase?) to warrant keeping him and Stewart.

  198. Jim S. says:

    I can’t remember Stewart’s contract sicheeation. Was that a 2 year deal he signed?

  199. JAL says:

    Disagree, the myth part is is “he doesn’t start playing until May” but in 2010 he had a very good April.

    I agree that over his career April has not been a good month but in 2010 it was.

  200. Naterosboro says:

    I posted this over on the Bucco Blog, but wanted to get thoughts of the looneys over here in the Asylum…

    This is Re: Arm Injuries

    This is just my own observations (no actual scientific data to backup my thoughts)….

    but I feel that the “evolution” of little league is causing these arm injuries. Add to the fact that coaches (at lower levels) place winning above all, kids are bigger, stronger & faster than they were yesteryear, and I think you have a recipe for these arm injuries manifesting later in careers.

    By this I mean, a lot of these kids (especially when they get to the HS level) are starting their seasons in January, and not putting a baseball down until October or November (with “Fall Ball”). They start their training in January to get ready for tryouts in March (this is at least how we do it in Southern New Jersey). They then play a HS season. They then play a summer season (I’ll use American Legion ball as the example here), and then they move on to a fall season (if they don’t play another sport). They take 1-2 months off, and then start the whole process again. That’s a lot of stress to be putting on ligaments/tendons/muscles that are still growing.

    When you add in that a coach may “overuse” a kid in order to get a W, that’s added stress to that individual. Usually, coaches are “overusing” the better kids, who are the ones that will continue their careers to high levels of the game, those are the arms that are then flaming out (getting injured) in the minor and major leagues.

    Add to this that kids are differentiating earlier. By this I mean, when I played little league, we all just about played all the positions. I played 3B, SS, 2B, 1B (in a pinch; which is ironic b/c that’s where I made my bones in HS) and pitched. Some kids played all the positions, not really settling into a specific position until HS or college (or even as a pro in some cases). Now you see situational leftys on little league teams (that’s hyperbole of course, and I hope that isn’t happening, but I think it illustrates my point…). All adding to stress put on these arms more and more at younger ages.

    All thoughts are welcome.

  201. Jim S. says:

    21 made a similar suggestion above, Nate. I do think Stewart is worth something in trade at some point.

    I’m still convinced, though, that we’ll have one less Sanchez on the roster in a week or two.

  202. Nate83 says:

    I know this is crazy thinking but why make Stewart the guy we trade. If it is decided T. Sanchez is worthy of a 25 man spot and our catcher of the future why not trade Martin who is leaving at the end of this year anyway. He will never be worth more then he is now. If Stewart enjoys his time here this year he would be the perfect back up catcher going forward and may be willing to sign with the Pirates again.

    Honestly I don’t think you make it through the season with two catchers and the Pirates have very little depth at catching after their initial 3 which are all good players. Trading any of the top 3 leaves them very thin at catcher and could be a huge mistake if injuries happen. The drop off is severe after Sanchez.

  203. Jim S. says:

    Buy more wins and less new ski lifts!!

  204. 21sthebest says:

    It’s a 1/$1M.

  205. NMR says:

    That little revolver/holster schtick sure as hell wasn’t!

  206. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha! Thanks.

  207. NMR says:

    Dejan’s sources seem to still be saying the organization is worried about his throwing.

    Not gonna question that, but it has been pretty telling, IMO, that opposing teams don’t seem to share this view.

    If Tony’s throwing was a liability, I’d like to believe in this day of scouting and technology that big league teams would be testing him often.

  208. Jim S. says:

    I think you raise a lot of good points, Nate. Kids often play for multiple teams during a year, and they often play for a big chunk of the year in warm weather states.

    I’m quite sure there are a lot of coaches who are abusing young arms with over-work and allowing young pitchers to throw a lot of curve balls at too young of an age. But, I also don’t think it is universal. My experience is a lot of coaches are responsible and careful about protecting arms. I think it is a mixed bag all the way up through college.

    I also think parents should know better than to have their kids doing so much pitching.

  209. NMR says:

    Pretty sure he was a Littlefield guy. ;)

  210. Jim S. says:

    I don’t think the Cards lineup is built to run all that much. The Cubs have some guys who can run a little. Maybe he hasn’t been tested much yet because it has just worked out that the opportunities have not presented themselves.

    I’d say the Reds and Billy Hamilton would really test him, but young Billy has not been able to figure out how to steal 1b just yet. I thought I saw him get gunned the other day, too.

  211. Nate83 says:

    We are almost two years removed from his yips problem and as far as I can tell he didn’t have any problems before that. He was drafted as a plus defense catcher. It seems odd that this would still be a concern. Yes he may not be Martin behind the plate but he hardly looks like 2012 Barajas.

  212. Jim S. says:

    Martin is one of the most important guys on the team, I think. I don’t think they are entertaining him right now.

  213. Jim S. says:

    Oops. I meant “entertaining trading him right now.”

  214. Nate83 says:

    He did and the ball was there well before him. I didn’t see if he slipped when he broke for second but it seemed odd how much he was out by. He was being used as a pinch runner in that game. Tough start for him and the Reds. I would like to say I feel bad for them but I don’t. I hope they get buried before the all star break.

  215. NMR says:

    Then maybe I don’t have the right idea about Tony’s problem, Jim.

    From what I’ve read, you and I could steal on Sanchez because he couldn’t get the ball to the base, thus the “yips”.

  216. Naterosboro says:

    And yet teams are still keeping Travis Snider “honest” when he reaches 1B.

    Petey did steal a base against the Cards though, so maybe they’re within their rights to think LunchBoxHero will try and swipe 1?

  217. Jandy says:


  218. Nate83 says:

    You lost me. I don’t know what that means.

  219. Sarah says:

    In fact Adams is currently the worst player in the NHL 4 on 5 Corsi.
    But Bylsma gonna Bylsma.

  220. 21sthebest says:

    Our lack of depth at catching is exactly why I had no problem drafting Sanchez in a year when I thought there wasn’t a no brainer or close to it to draft with the No. 4 pick.

  221. Nate83 says:

    Agree completely. It wasn’t a strong draft and it looks as if he will become an everyday player in the major leagues. Considering fail rates even for draft picks that high nobody should be upset with any first round pick becoming a contributing player.

  222. Jim S. says:

    Well, if that is what the Pirates think, I believe they should keep it to themselves because you’re right that other teams are not taking advantage.

  223. Naterosboro says:

    Please also sign a player who can hit a sacrifice fly.


    A fan who hates watching runners get to 3rd with less than 2 outs and get stranded.

  224. Jim S. says:

    Oh, just 1 year. Thanks for clarifying, 21. I thought maybe it was a 2 year deal.

  225. 21sthebest says:

    I have had two orthopedic surgeons tell me exactly the same thing Nate. They attribute today’s arm injuries to kids throwing curveballs before puberty, and Fall baseball. They thought baseball should be played between say January and July or August with several months off. Starting and stopping a couple of times during the year seemed risky,

  226. Andrew says:

    I can accept that, and my phrasing was somewhat harsh. LaRoche was also productive early in 2012. I wonder if off-season workouts changed because he was on one year contracts or on competitive teams, but this is the realm of the unknowable.

    It is just frustrating because if he was more productive in April those Pirates teams could have cracked the 70 win barrier.

  227. scapper says:

    Brooks Orpik quote about possibly coming back too soon from a concussion: ” I felt a lot of pressure because of the Olympics coming up.”

    Yet another reason to be happy about NHL players in the Olympics. Unreal.

  228. Naterosboro says:

    I think that’s what gets lost sometimes. Most of the guys that take the hill every 5th day don’t need to be world beaters. They need to put up 4.50ERAs (6IP, 3ER). The Pirates have a few guys who can fill that bill if needed.

    On a related-but-unrelated note…

    who decided a quality start could include 6IP, 3ER. As I reference, that’s a 4.50ERA. Would anyone consider a pitcher “quality” if he finished the year with a 4.50ERA?

    Maybe we have different definitions of the word? Or maybe I’m putting too much weight on “quality”…..

    I don’t know.

  229. Jandy says:

    This just blows the mind…are we as a nation so impervious to other humans, that this is acceptable????

  230. Nate83 says:

    Never mind. I just got it. I forgot Sanchez did that after his RBI. Yes that was not professional. He may get one high and tight next time Wainwright pitches against them if he is playing.

  231. Jag7 says:

    Couldn’t help but notice the “dream on” phrase every Pirate scout uses. Odd phrase, a little strange, and it takes me back to the Hoka Hey days.

  232. Dan Bylsma is a candidate for NHL Coach of the Year, whether or not we would agree with that, due, naturally, to the amazing overall success of the Penguins this season. At least that is what I just heard on 93-7 the fan.

  233. Jandy says:

    Wainwright just then may get what Aroldis Chapman got…

  234. Andrew says:

    I would care more about just Corsi against or even better Fenwick against (block shots are good SH) for shorthanded time, I do not view scoring shorthanded/generating shots as a best goal SH because if your pressuring the points for turnovers there will be gaps and shooting lanes. Looking at other measures gives a different story, mainly what does Glass do, and thank you Paul Martin for coming back and decreasing Scuderi’s ice time.

    My opinion is I can live with Adams SH and 7 minutes of 5v5 if better players than Pyatt or Glass are getting their 10 minutes/game. Most teams have someone like Adams on the roster, Babcock keeps running Drew Miller over the boards shorthanded and his goal numbers are worse than Adams. I am hoping for realistic upgrades, I do not think realistic that Adams will be sat down. But the Penguins have enough frustrating players that everyone can have a favorite.

  235. Shaking Jandy’s Head.

  236. Nate83 says:

    He actually has to be. Like you said even if nobody agrees the national perception is he has led a very injury depleted team to the second most points in the Eastern Conference. That is a good first bullet point to put on a resume for coach of the year.

  237. bradthedad says:

    Don’t think the yips are done. He got the start with Wandy the other day – he one hopped the throw on the only steal attempt. Not to read too much of body language but Wandy spun around to Sanchez like he was saying ‘What the heck was that?’ I think Tony has some work to do to become an every day catcher.

  238. Jandy says:

    Don’t get that work in sittin on the bench…

  239. NMR says:

    The guy is 26. If he can’t get the ball to 2nd now, it ain’t happening.

  240. bradthedad says:

    Probably right, NMR. Precisely why he can’t be the backup and, heaven forbid, the starter.

  241. Nate83 says:

    But do we know he can’t get it to second? I thought I heard a few fans that went to a handful of Indy games last year say he is fine. I’m not judging him from one throw in the Majors.

  242. NMR says:

    I’ll be honest, if I saw my neighbors gardening in masks I’d probably stay the f away as well…

  243. Jandy says:

    But honestly, 3 years???? No one saw them? no one checked???


  244. Oshkosh b’Gosh,

    If you’re here:

    I died a little bit with you Saturday night. Sorry, man!

    I know I will be over it long before you are over it. Great run!!!!

  245. Jim S. says:

    I think sometimes people get so caught up in their own lives, their own families, that they often don’t get to know their neighbors. But, if they moved, someone would remember a moving van. If nothing happened for so long, you think someone would check.

    I don’t get the part about the lawn being mowed. Someone must have been really nice to keep doing that. But, I would think that person would check on them at some point.

  246. Jandy says:

    Yeah Jim, the lawn being mowed threw me off. Weird indeed.

  247. Naterosboro says:


    I definitely think “Fall Ball” should be scrapped. And my coaches wouldn’t let me start throwing a curveball until I was 13 years old. When I watch the Little League WS (which isn’t a whole lot anymore; I can’t really watch 11/12yr olds play the game) I cringe.


    I think a part of the problem is the business that professional sports has become. Parents think their kid can be the next star and earn millions of dollars. Also, the incentive for coaches to win and climb the ladder (so to speak) is at an all time high due to the money behind that. And that’s the problem, the kid gets lost in “all that could be….”

  248. 21sthebest says:

    I stopped watching the LL World Series a couple of years ago because ESPN’s coverage bothered me.

    But I think the problem mostly is that many parents think their kid is going to get a college scholarship. Little do they know how few scholarships are given out for baseball and those usually get diced up. But to me, that’s the reality of today’s economics and cost of education. Parents are stressed out about it in a lot of cases and rightfully so, IMO.

  249. bradthedad says:

    We shall see soon enough. No days off for 3 weeks – if Martin gets days off, our eyes will tell us; if he doesn’t, that’ll tell you what mgmt thinks of Tony.

  250. Nate83 says:

    How does nobody know how the lawn got mowed? Also how is nobody collecting money from these guys and why did the mail stop? I know one thing I’m not moving to that town anytime soon. That is very twilight zone like.

  251. 21sthebest says:

    Despise the QS “stat.”

  252. Naterosboro says:

    Now that I’m thinking about it, seems like it was invented to get average players more money to drive up salaries. While maybe that wasn’t the sole thought behind it, I think it’s being used that way.

    And for fans to spout non-sense about average players to make them sound better…”but 65% of his starts were QUALITY!”


  253. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think Neal’s going to ask for royalties on that phrase. ;-)

  254. Naterosboro says:

    I’ve been seeing them all do that. I saw Neil Walker do it. I saw Andrew McCutchen do it. I think it’s this year’s Zoltan.

  255. Jandy says:

    haha Jandy typo disease ;)

  256. Bizrow says:

    Any one know why the Phillies game today was cancelled yesterday?

    Just thought it was odd

  257. Jandy says:


  258. theplanisworking says:

    I read somewhere that “considerable” rain was due there last night, today, and tonight. They moved the game to tomorrow.

  259. Jim S. says:

    Bingo on the curveballs, 21. The guy who manages my son’s team made that exact point yesterday. He had 2 older sons, and a doctor told him a few years ago that no kid should be throwing curveballs ever before puberty. It seemed pretty logical to me. And, what game could be so important at that age that risking something like that seems reasonable? Even if it turns out some kids are ready to throw curveballs before puberty, which I tend to doubt, what is the harm in waiting another couple of years?

  260. Jim S. says:

    I think Stewart is planning on being back pretty soon, Brad. It should not take him 3 weeks from now.

  261. Jandy says:

    90% chance of rain after 2pm and into the night. With Thunderstorms expected also.

  262. Jim S. says:

    So, NH beat me to it? I probably got it from him, then misremembered.

  263. 21sthebest says:

    I think it is the new Zoltan nate. T. Sanchez said yesterday they held a team meeting and that’s what they came up with.

  264. Jim S. says:

    All the kids are doing it now. Cutch may have introduced it, because he does it.

  265. Jandy says:

    RIP John Pinette,,20803860,00.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl24%7Csec3_lnk3%26pLid%3D461848

  266. Jim S. says:

    Whoever said Wainwright won’t like it is probably right.

    If LaRussa were still manager, it would have probably prompted a teachable moment from him after the game on Friday.

  267. Jim S. says:

    +++ on QS stat.

  268. Bizrow says:

    Thanks, just don’t think I’ve seen a club do that before, but thinking about it, it might be their Opening Day

  269. Dom says:

    I thought that was tragic. A very funny and likable man. He passed away at the Sheraton at Station Square.

  270. Baywatch says:

    Checking in here about the 8-minute mark of Rare Earth’s cover of “I Know I’m Losing You.” Big HOWDY to all. And no, Brandi, I never sang in Bayre Earth! LOL!

  271. Baywatch says:

    +++ Up here! :-)

  272. 21sthebest says:

    I spent my wedding night at the Sheraton at Station Square. Really miss Drew. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere.

    DK: Nobody chased him away, that’s for sure.

  273. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks, Groat.

    It will reside forever in the painful area of my sporting soul alongside October 1992.

  274. theplanisworking says:

    Loved him.
    He always had weight problems, and used that as a big part of his routine. I saw him on TV once, and he said that he lost all his money at a casino. Then, he saw the buffet. He went over and kept screaming “HIT ME” on the steaks. They gave him all his money back and told him to leave.

    Saddest part of his death, is he lost a tremendous amount of weight, and was looking better than ever. But ll those years of being over 400 pounds must have caught up with his heart.

  275. Dom says:

    Mickey Rooney also passed away at the age of 93.

  276. JohninOshkosh says:

    RIP Peaches Geldof as well.

    Twenty-five year old daughter of Boomtown Rats and Live Aid organizer, Bob Geldof.

    Bob has suffered a lot since he organized one of the most significant charity events in history.

  277. theplanisworking says:

    Good Grief!

    Take a look at some of these ballpark foods. (One of which can score you season tickets).

  278. Dom says:

    Who is that in your avatar?

  279. Dom says:

    I like to get sushi at PNC park.

  280. Nate83 says:

    One of my favorites. I just showed my 11 year old a 1 hour show he did a couple years ago in Montreal on Netflix. He laughed non-stop. The guy really enjoyed life and brought laughter to a lot of people. I will never forget his water park stories he told. “I say nah-nah” “I told the judge it was a medium sized tube at best”. Just classic along with his “Sono Affmato” Italian restaurant bit.

  281. JohninOshkosh says:

    Former Pittsburgh television personality/broadcaster and Wisconsin native, Trenni Kusnierck. Currently, works in Boston.

    Will be honoring quasi notable Pittsburgh personalities throughout this year’s baseball season.

  282. Jim S. says:

    I saw that yesterday, Nate. I thought it was good, too. They sort of take a committee approach to working with these guys. I think we have a tendency to give Searage all the credit when a guy like Liriano has a turnaround. And, I assume he’s the main guy at the major league level. But, these guys have to do a lot of work in spring training, and sometimes extended spring training before they are ready to show improvement in games in Pittsburghh. It can’t be all Ray.

    You don’t suppose the GM hired more than 1 smart guy, do you? Nah, couldn’t be.

  283. Arriba Wilver says:

    Rev—that was beautiful.

  284. theplanisworking says:

    I posted this yesterday.

    Come on, Nate, get with it !!!

  285. Arriba Wilver says:

    That is really sad. I always liked him, too. Oddly enough, I saw him live at whatever the outdoor theater at Station Square was called at the time. It was probably early 90’s. The headliner was Howie Mandel, but they were equally funny that night.

    One of my favorite bits was his description of walking into an All You Can Eat Chinese restaurant, and the reaction of the owner.

  286. theplanisworking says:

    And of course I forgot the link.
    Priceless ……….

    Sometimes my oldzheimer’s …..

  287. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jim Benedict has always gotten a lot of credit, too. I was really glad he didn’t end up in Philly (?) this offseason.

  288. Nate83 says:

    Sorry I was busy yesterday. My boys had a wrestlemania 30 party at our house. Man did that bring memories back.

  289. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    After reading some of the comments by a faction of Nutting Regime cadets, I’ve learned I don’t have to worry about the Pirates 2014 campaign.
    It’s all but over after six games.
    Edinson Volquez is in the running for the Cy Young Award, and the Pirates are “at least” in the World Series.
    Let’s just go ahead and extend Neal Huntington for life.
    I won’t call it strange and unusual…..Because it’s “more of the usual”….

  290. theplanisworking says:

    Oh yeah, the big Wrasslin’ event.
    Charge people $75 for seeing it ………… but I heard this year people could sign up for something that allows them to watch unlimited stuff for $9.99 a month.

    Hope you guys had fun.

  291. theplanisworking says:

    I would rather read about ballpark food (in my link above), than think about extending Huntington for life.

    the 4-2 start is much better than last year’s 1-5 start.
    I just am not ready to hand the Bucs the Crown after 6 games.

    Nutting Regime cadets …………… LOL !!!

  292. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Don’t plan the parade.
    Apparently….The parade is already planned!!!!

  293. Thundercrack says:

    In a few months when you post ‘many on here called for NH be extended for like’, just remember who that one person was

  294. 21sthebest says:

    DK, I’ll be happy to cover that topic during my weekly chat on Friday.

  295. theplanisworking says:

    When it comes to anything about the FO, I can count on you for being part of the “many”.

    Bonseur Nutting ! :)

  296. cmat0829 says:

    Steve Blass and I think Bob Walk have opined many, many, many times that QS is not the right description of 6IP, 3ER. I think it is best described as ‘giving his team a chance to win the game’… and to me, it all depends on WHO is putting up that line. For the Pirates, I’d pretty much take that line every time out of Volquez… but for Cole or Liriano, we have big problems.

  297. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Yeah…It was this simple statement here (“at least” 98% positive) that caused many a sermon by Regime-ites.

    Nice effort from the Pirates yesterday on a day when on paper (Wainwright vs Volquez) things looked futile.
    They’re off to a good start.
    If only they had received helped from their recently extended GM……..Oh well.

    Wow…..Big deal!
    Don’t insinuate that Huntington is anything but an extended saint!

  298. cmat0829 says:

    Searage is plenty fine, but come one, he’s no Perry Hill….

  299. cmat0829 says:

    Dbacks can’t pitch or play defense to save their life.

  300. cmat0829 says:

    I COMPLETELY AGREE that athletes should have their medical needs COMPLETELY COVERED.. AND I think that players should benefit ($) from merchandise sales that use their likeness…..that said, beyond that, I think this can only go in 1 of 2 directions:

    1) Give up the farce that football and basketball players in division 1 are “student-athletes”.. if they want to be employees, then make them employees. NO more scholarship, full coverage of room / board, etc. They can get a salary for playing and that’s it.

    2) Return this to ‘student-athlete’ the way it was designed. Yes basketball and football draws a ton of money to the universities, but there is no doubt in my mind that if ‘unionized players’ are locked out and ‘replacement players’ donned the uniforms of Penn State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, etc the stadiums would still be full, the tv ratings would still be high. These sports are ‘institutionally-driven’ not individual player driven.

  301. cmat0829 says:

    Not even a debate. Stewart is backup catcher, Sanchez back to Indy. It’s great he is contributing while he is here, he did so last year also when given opportunity… he will catch every day in Indy, continue to improve his defense and throwing and be the Bucs starter next year.

    You just don’t start throwing people around the diamond like this is drunken fantasy baseball.

    I do think that Clint can be creative and get Martin in some games at 1B or 3B if he wants to rest his knees but keep his bat in the lineup but it’s Martin that can do that, not Sanchez.

  302. cmat0829 says:

    I prefer Martin be rested more this season to try to keep the bat fresher, he really wilted last year at the plate in August/September…. not sure this is a reason to bash Hurdle, pretty standard pattern for starting catchers, especially ones Martin’s age.

  303. cmat0829 says:

    Neal Huntington , by all objective data, is an average to above average MLB GM. Is he the second coming? NO. Is he in the ‘worst GMS’ in baseball grouping? Not even close.

    It’s been a looooong time since this team has seen something above average and to me that deserves an extension. I also think Neal is improving (the last 2 years way better than the first 2). My druthers? A 2 year extension , but I wasn’t in the room and my vote doesn’t count.

    I think you can both be OK with Neal manning the ship for this team AND criticize him for not being more aggressive in filling need at 1B this offseason. That, to me, is not a fireable offense.

  304. Arriba Wilver says:


    Are you talking about the posts here, on this site? If you are, you need to get glasses. If you are talking about Wilmoth, et al, I have no idea if you’re making stuff up. But you are if you’re talking about here.

  305. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    It’s not even close to a fireable offense because it was requested by the top dollar man…..Bob Nutting.
    Top dollar as in keep your wallet in your pocket.

  306. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    Arriba….What’s the deal with you?
    You know, we have a common friend better known as Jose Pagan.
    I suggest you ask that guy what he thinks of me (we met in person).
    I’d be surprised if he had anything even close to bad to say about me.
    Ask him….

  307. Arriba Wilver says:

    Ask him what, Daq? He doesn’t have a bad thing to say about you. I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about these couple of posts which I don’t agree are accurate. I thought that was fair game? Doesn’t make you a bad person.

    You got to admit they were provocative. Can’t I disagree?

  308. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    They were roughly as provocative as what was said to my original post.

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