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Morning Java: 87 reasons to applaud

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Friday column celebrates one of the great regular seasons by any athlete in the history of Pittsburgh sports.

And here’s some of my talk with Sidney Crosby:

The Penguins want the D to create some O, by Josh Yohe.

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

Here’s Flyers news from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Pedro Alvarez gets big hits. Really big hitsRob Biertempfel reports from Wrigley.

Tony Sanchez was miffed about that play at the plate, by Biertempfel.

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

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here’s Brewers news from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Because the House of Horrors is up next, and the Crew is coming off a 6-0 road trip.

Here are official game highlights on

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

>> The weekly chat starts at noon, right here on this blog. You can submit entries as soon as you see the post, but please be sure to put them in the chat field and not the blog comments.

>> I’ll split the coming weekend between the Riverhounds’ home opener and the Penguins’ regular-season closer. Each will get a column. 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. Pucknutz says:

    “And we aren’t talking about any of this why, exactly?” (DK today’s column )

    I have to admit that prior to reading the column I really had not thought much about what a great season Sid has had. Sure I knew he was running away with the scoring title, MVP should be in the bag etc. etc. I guess I have just taken it for granted that Sid is going to do it. Spoiled rotten I am.
    Maybe Mario set the bar for Pgh hockey, we just have become blase about having such a fantastic talent on the team.
    Maybe its just human nature to say ” Ya, Sids great but what about…..( fill in the blanks here, Fire Bylsma etc, ect,) ”
    Congrats Sid on another fantastic season !

  2. Pucknutz says:

    By the way, the great 8 is minus 36! :)

  3. BillyBaduka says:


  4. Sam says:

    Thanks for the great column. It’s easy to take consistency for granted. I hope pens fans don’t fall into that trap and truly appreciate and recognize what he brings and how he has has done it, this year in particular.

  5. DJ says:

    Jussi: “I think a lot of people are looking at what Sid is doing and saying, ‘Well, of course, it’s Sid.’ But for me, I see the best player in the world every day, and I watch and learn from the best. It’s been a great experience for me to see what he does, to see how hard he works, how consistent he is.”

    Both Sid and Jussi are total class acts. Hope Ray can get Jussi done for two more years at a reasonable hit.

  6. DJ says:

    Best thing about Pedro’s massive shot was him being ready on the first pitch.

    Turned around in a hurry a ho-hum game for the Bucs.

  7. kr70 says:

    It’s kinda sad to think we take greatness for granted….. but I think we do.

  8. Jandy says:


  9. cherokee23 says:

    I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to Crosby being taken for granted. It’s almost like he is both “best player in world” and “most underrated” at the same time. Not sure if underrated is the right term….unsung, unappreciated? Maybe just “taken for granted”

  10. DJ says:

    If Pedro skips town, it will be like watching Bonds all those years with the Giants.

    Except only Boras’ head will the one growing.

  11. JAL says:

    JAL’s Good Thing 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: What Do the Pirates Have in Their Rotation?

    Prospect Watch: Three Hits For Alen Hanson, Gregory Polanco and Stetson Allie

    What Should You Expect From Each Rotation Spot?

    Is There a Spot in the Majors For Jeff Locke?

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Alvarez, Snider power comeback as Bucs win, 5-4
    An early look at the Pirates’ approach at the plate

    7 Rumbunter

    Wandy Rodriguez: Are You Buying or Selling?

    Charlie Morton: Two Very Different Outings

    8 Green Weenie

    Bucs Blast Their Way Back To Salvage Series 5-4

    9 Saber Bucs

    Did Bucs Dodge a Bullet with Burnett?

    10 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pedro Alvarez Will Lead NL in Home Runs Again in 2014

  12. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Brewers Game Preview

    12 Chicago Tribune

    Cubs try to regroup after another 1-run loss,0,5179425.story

    13 Cubbies Crib

    Cubs lose heartbreaker in series finale to Pirates

    14 Pirates Site

    Snider, Alvarez power Bucs in comeback win

    15 Chicago Daily Herald

    Pen implodes, Cubs fall 5-4 to Pirates

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Chapman has competition for hardest-throwing pitcher

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Brewers complete 6-0 road trip

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Bernie: Cards’ record could be better, could be worse

    19 Fangraphs

    Some Early-Season Macro Trends and Observations

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    What Scouts Are Saying

  13. Jandy says:

    Dejan, this column is awesome. As Penguins fans, we are so spoiled, it’s sad. I include myself in that description. What Sid does day in and day out is truly special. You’re right, we DO need to absorb it, feel the wonder, celebrate it. We’ll have him for some more years, then what? Who will be the next hero?

    Also, thanks so much for including Dupuis in this tribute to Sid.
    “He’ll have done all of the above despite losing his longtime right winger, Pascal Dupuis, a player and friend who understands him like few others, to a knee injury in December. ”
    Few appreciate just what Duper has brought to the table, how unassuming he is, how hard he works, all because he’s trying to keep up with the best player in the world.

    Everyone, appreciate and savor every moment of Sid’s playing time.

  14. Jandy says:

    if Pedro skips town, I can still root for him as long as he’s not playing against the Buccos. Could never do that for friggin Bonds.

  15. Karen22 says:

    Exactly. We are so accustomed to Sid, we’re all guilty of taking his talent for granted. For us, Sid being Sid is simply “normal.” He makes us easily forget that his “normal” is actually exceptional. And so we don’t talk about it…except for today.

    Thanks, Sid, for being exceptionally ABnormal!! :)

  16. DJ says:

    Well stated, Jandhi.

    You and I both love Duper. Arguably the worst player loss we’ve suffered this year.

  17. AL says:

    Agreed…..but that’s human nature. This franchise has had Lemieux, Jagr, Malkin and Sid. All the way back to 1984 when Mario was drafted. Are you kidding me? Some franchises go forever without landing a single player of that caliber!!
    From what I’ve been reading, the “next one” is a kid named Connor McDavid in next years draft. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get him too?
    Thanks for the article DK….good job.

  18. Jandy says:

    LOL ABnormal, well said!

  19. Jandy says:

    Isn’t that the truth, DJ? it amazes me that people can’t see that.

    Ahh well….we got the Friggin Phlyers tomorrow, gotta take this game!

  20. Pucknutz says:

    DJ & Jandy +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  21. Jandy says:

    Petey….man, what a great start to this season.
    I was reading 24/7’s article that Dejan linked and got to the part where his 446 foot blast was the second-longest at Wrigley. Then went on to read that the longest was a 449 foot blast….by Alvarez! Gotta love it :)

  22. Wild Bill says:

    DK is, as all of you have been saying, is right on the mark. That Sid does this with the instability on right wing is amazing.

    Heading to DC soon, not for the Nats, but for the WW II memorial and the cherry blossoms, etc.

  23. Jandy says:

    Enjoy the day, Wild One!

  24. Skip says:

    I’m really kind of shocked no one on this blog is talking about the blown call at the plate in yesterday’s game, and Clint Hurdle’s bizarre decision not to challenge. (I know it was discussed during the game, but more info came out after the game).
    Very disappointed with Hurdle’s comments after the game too. I’m dismayed by his lame explanation as well. That almost cost them the game.

  25. Jandy says:

    If you read on further, you’d see that even Tony admitted he would have been called for being in the path of the runner and thus the runner being safe.
    Smart call by Hurdle.

  26. Jandy says:

    This is in reply to Skip. New rule, Skip.

  27. Jim S. says:

    He’s a strong man.

  28. Dom says:

    Looks like the Brewers are for real.

  29. Tom P. says:

    ++ on both points, DJ. About the sixth inning, I was thinking that this game was just one of the 54 that every team is destined to lose, no matter what. All of a sudden, it was one of the other 54, the kind that either team had a chance to win. (And I had to go into the grocery store with two outs and one strike on Barney. I did not know the result until I came out.)

  30. scapper says:

    It’s hard for people to appreciate Sid when they’re putting all their thought and energy into ripping the coach, the GM and the rest of the team for subjecting us to this horrific 51-win, 107-point (and counting) season. I’ve never seen more people derive less enjoyment out of a wonderful season by one of the local teams.

    And no, that doesn’t make me a “Cubs fan.” I just think a lot of people are not able to enjoy one of the great eras in Pittsburgh sports history, namely these last seven years of Penguins hockey. The dark ages will return some day and people will wonder why they spent so much time suffering Penguin angst while watching this team.

  31. Skip says:

    I saw Tony Sanchez’s comment on that. He’s simply wrong. It wasn’t obstruction by Sanchez and the home plate umpire said so after the game, which was also verified by Clint Hurdle.

    Hurdle said he simply chose not to challenge. Horrible decision that he fortunately got away with.

  32. Jim S. says:

    I think maybe because I don’t live in Pittsburgh these days, and don’t see all 82 games, and don’t have Sid talk and Sid highlights all of the time I never forget how special he is. I maybe get to see 1/3 of their games on NHL Network and/or NBC Sports. But, when I watch the Pens, I find myself looking for him whenever he is on the ice. I know at any moment something might happen that no one else in the world can do.

    It really bothers me that jack*sses in other cities – Philly, NYC, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, national media, etc. – give this guy a hard time. Was he maybe a bit of a pain in the butt for awhile as a rookie? Yeah, maybe, but so are a lot of guys. All he is now is a great player, a great leader, and a stand up guy. Anyone who doesn’t see that is just blinded by jealousy or has no idea what they are watching.

    And, I haven’t even said one word yet about all the things he does in the community. Or, the fact that he never has been anythng but a source of pride to the Penguins and his family. Sid was raised right, and that is an important thing to me. I get really sick of entitled athletes who have no understanding of how fortunate they are. My take is Sid understands and is thankful every single day for the life he has. He knows his impact on people. When athletes say, “I’m not a role model” that’s fine because it is their choice. They don’t HAVE to be role models, if they are not up to the challenge. But, they CAN be. I think Sid is everyting a parent should want in a son.

  33. Arriba Wilver says:

    He said he wasn’t going to give his reason(s) for not challenging because it would cause 10 more questions.
    At least in the post game interview.

  34. Jandy says:

    El Toro!!!!!

  35. Jandy says:

    if it wasn’t obstruction, then why did Sanchez way it was? Anyone?
    (Not diagreeing with you SKip, just wondering why you’d say that if you were the catcher involved)

  36. Jandy says:


  37. Milo Hamilton says:

    You’re 100% right Skip. I think there was some sort of breakdown in the Pirates’ communication system & Hurdle just chose not to throw Jeff Bannister or whoever is in the other end of that phone under the bus.

  38. Jim S. says:

    This whole thing confuses the heck out of me. I still have no idea what happened on the Sanchez play, whether it was reviewable, etc.

    I didn’t watch live, but saw the replays last night. I have heard all of these things:

    * I thought if a catcher had the ball before the runner got to the plate, he could block the plate. Does this play fit in that category?

    * I heard the umpire supposedly said Castro slid under the tag of Sanchez. Didn’t look that way to me.

    * I heard the play was not reviewable by Hurdle. Is that actually the case?

    * Harold Reynolds was saying Castro was safe because Sanchez put the ball in his bare hand and tagged him with the glove. It looked like he slid into both hands to me.

    I am so confused by this replay system. I know they will work out a lot of these kinks, as the NFL and NHL have. But, to me, there have been so many plays where even after the review I shake my head and wonder what these umps are seeing.

    Last night, Buster Posey tried to throw out a guy on AZ stealing. The umpire at 2nd called him out. The replay showed pretty clearly, I thought, that the guy was safe. AZ challenged. The umps reviewed it, and somehow still called him out. It was exactly what replay was supposed to fix, and they still got it wrong IMO.

    I have seen two plays this week where guys caught a ball for an out, and then dropped it on the transfer to throw. One was Hamilton on a catch in CF, and the other was a force out at 2nd. Both times, the umps initially ruled safe. They reviewed the plays, which both appeared to be outs, and upheld the safe calls each time.

  39. Jim S. says:

    Could be, Dom. They have some explosiveness in that lineup. I wonder how well they will catch the ball over time, and I wonder how their bullpen will hold up. But, right now, they look to be a playoff contender to me.

  40. theplanisworking says:


    You might have hit upon something, Jim.
    Being most of us see Sid all the time, we maybe do become spoiled. We see him rack up so many points, even with scrubs for wingers, we just expect it. Doesn’t in any way diminish his accomplishments.

    As for fans/media in other cities ….. they are jealous, and they don’t know what they are watching. When the Mike Milbury Clown Car rips on Crosby, that just validates Sid’s greatness. When the Philthy announcers rip him, you just know jealousy is the culprit ……….. because they know their boy Giroux isn’t in the same category as Sid, and it eats at them.

    PS – The Mike Milbury Clown Car is definitely NOT a Subaru.

  41. Jandy says:

    No wonder I’m confused! You are too!

    maybe this should just go away….the whole replay thing?

  42. Jandy says:

    lol on the Subaru!

  43. Jandy says:

    Good insight Milo, thanks.
    I’m trying hard to understand this mess.
    It’s not easy!

  44. Lad 9 says:

    + many to Jim and Scapper. We hear a lot about the idiot athletes out there that have an inflated sense of self worth and think that they can do whatever the want, but Sid is the kind of person you can actually point to and tell your kids “hey, if you ever make it big, this is how you act”.

    Great column DK. You are having a pretty good 2014 yourself!

  45. theplanisworking says:

    So the Pirates head into Milwaukee this weekend to face the steroids ….. errr Brewers. Proof that cheating DOES pay ………. Braun having a good year so far, Brewers have the best record in baseball (small sample size alert). Can’t wait to see Brewer fans cheer a man who threw everyone, and everything under the bus. Willingly, I might add.

    I think a great thing would be to see Bud there with a pee cup in the 3rd inning or so, telling Braun to test. Sorry, I just don’t subscribe that he isn’t juicing again. Oh well, here is hoping to a Pirate sweep this weekend. That would be a great thing, both for the Bucs, and Cryin Fraud. :)

  46. Jim S. says:

    We should enjoy Pedro while he’s here, because it won’t be that much longer. This new and improved Pedro looks to be a huge upgrade over the one that was already hitting 36 HR and driving in 100 runs last year. That is a scary proposition for the rest of the NL.

    He’s eligible for arbitration in 2015 & 2016, and will be a free agent in 2017 as it stands now. And, as much as I’d love to, I can’t even blame his eventual leaving on his agent, Scot Boras. Pedro is simply pricing himself out of our market. If he keeps this up, he is headed for a long contract at $20+ million per season. He’d be foolish to sign an extension with the Pirates for what they would likely offer now and pass up $150 million or thereabouts.

    Sad, but true. He’ll be playing in the Bronx or LA, most likely. The only question is, will the Pirates move him before he becomes a free agent?

    I hope this improvement is real. The Bucs need his big bat.

  47. Andrew says:

    I think this is right. The idea that the Sanchez held the ball in his hand and not glove is shown on replay but it appeared that Castro slid into both, additionally there is no way the umpire could see this based on his position.

    Castro said he thought he was out after seeing the replay. The call was wrong, and the decision not to challenge was wrong, however this doesn’t mean it would have been overturned as Jim talks about below.

  48. Andrew says:

    Sorry, no depth, baseball is a game of attrition.

  49. Pitchfork says:

    The biggest question I have for the call at home is the location of the umpire. He is standing behind Sanchez so how can he even see if/when Castro touches the plate with his left foot (which I’m not sure it ever does given Sanchez’ position at the plate with his own left leg.) And even if Sanchez was transferring the ball to his right hand (as Harold Reynolds suggests), the replay shows Castro’s leg going into the glove then rising in the air, where it makes contact with Sanchez’ right hand and ball. Lastly, umpires allow for the neighborhood play at second base to protect the middle-infielder from the runner sliding into the bag – here it almost appeared to me that Sanchez was trying to keep his throwing hand away from Castro’s spikes to avoid injury. When the ball arrives at home ahead of the runner in that situation, it only makes sense that catchers should be afforded a similar type of protection.

  50. DJ says:

    Love it when Sid plays a little pissed off, just like Mario back in the day.

    Sid hunkering down lower on his skates, making his base even wider, free arm keeping defenders at bay, carving impossible 18″ circles on his skates, making it nearly impossible for one player to get the puck off him.

    One of the most beautiful visuals of the sport. Like watching a McCutchen triple to the right-center field gap.

  51. Arriba Wilver says:


  52. Patrick(ri) says:

    Looks to me like the Pirates have perfected a new strategy for winning: everybody strikes out in the first six innings, the opposing pitcher’s arm goes dead, and then youjump on the middle relievers. Brilliant!

  53. Kentuck Knob,

    A few days ago a number of folks here had here a garrulous and sometimes surprisingly (foolishly?) testy discussion about the merits of Clint Hurdle having Gaby Sanchez bunt in the 9th inning against a righthanded pitcher, to move the tying run into scoring position and stay away from the double-play. [We might recall that Gaby popped the bunt up, failing to sacrifice, and Tony Sanchez promptly hit into a double-play!]

    I read a number of periodicals during the course of the week (I brought the Sports Illustrated picture of Neil Walker to our attention last week), in addition to my daily forays into the Post-Gazette and Trib. A couple days ago I came across an article on the sacrifice bunt in baseball in, of all mags, The Christian Century. It’s in the April 2nd issue, entitled “Laying One Down” by John Bowlin, a prof at Princeton.

    This would be an interesting article for anyone here to engage . . . . . . but especially you, Kentuck Knob, as you approach next week in your called profession! Next week is truly the “week of sacrifice.”

  54. Jim S. says:

    I will also say, Lad, that I don’t think by any means the majority of athletes are bad guys or have an entitlement mentality. That is far from the case, IMO. A lot of guys remain grounded and do not allow their success to go to their heads.

    As I said, they don’t have to accept the responsibility of being role models. The best player on both the Pens and Pirates do try to set a good example, IMO.

  55. Jandy says:

    well said Pitchfork. Give this blogger some tar and feathers to go with his pitchfork :)

  56. Jandy says:

    hey hey LADDIE!!!!

  57. Jandy says:


  58. Jandy says:

    How poetic, DJ :)

  59. Jim S. says:

    Do you mean if starting pitchers get injured, Andrew? On that one, I agree. They don’t have much, from what I can tell, in the upper minors to plug in and win games.

  60. JohninOshkosh says:


    Palm Sunday this Sunday. Easily one of the longest Masses of the year. I do not want to sit and hear a sermon about the merits of bunting on top of all the rest of the stuff!

    Even God was shaking his head at Sanchez bunting.

  61. Jim S. says:

    I think they can get better at it, but the plays at home seem to be a problem to me. I thought there were a lot of gray areas with those plays going into this whole thing.

    At some point, maybe they will just say catchers can never be in the runner’s path and can only make swipe tags. ???

  62. Nate83 says:

    Just to add some clarification and my two cents. My understanding is that it shouldn’t have been catcher interference. The rule states the catcher can not block the plate before he has possession of the ball. He obviously set up in a manner that gave the runner a path to the plate. The throw which was text book pulled him in front of the plate. He received the ball and had it secured before the runner arrived.

    The umpire may have called it catcher interference but it wouldn’t have been the right call. Everything Marte and Sanchez did was how they have been taught from a young age. The Pirates did everything right on that play and had nothing to show for it.

  63. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m really going to miss the Brendan Shanahan videos.

  64. Jandy says:

    Yes, She was!


  65. Jandy says:

    is he moving on, Milo?

  66. However, right now———Brewers’ starting rotation is better than Pirates’ starting rotation.

    And, right now—————Brewers hit better than the Pirates.

  67. Jandy says:

    Ah! tHE leAFS…WOW.

  68. Nate83 says:

    It was reviewable. After the game the umpire said the call had nothing to do with the catcher obstruction rule. As far as the ball being in his hand he only brought it out of the glove briefly and then started putting it back in while applying the tag. I would think at some point during the tag the ball was touching his glove before the runners foot hit home plate.

  69. Here is the official strategy to take on Palm Sunday church service . . . . . arrive at the 3rd inning!!!!!!!!

  70. scapper says:

    Awesome, Jim!

  71. JohninOshkosh says:

    Few teams have depth so the unspoken caveat is that “if they stay healthy.”

    Plus, Melvin is a very aggressive GM. He’ll be active if they are contending. Always has been.

  72. Milo Hamilton says:

    When I was a kid on Steeler Sundays my dad & I would sneak out the side door after communion.

  73. Arriba Wilver says:

    Milo may very well be right.

    I’m a simple man, and my interpretation of Hurdle’s “it’ll just cause 10 more questions” comment is that his team just won a game in pretty dramatic come from behind fashion, also had a nail biting, but ultimately successful 9th, and he didn’t think the post game should all be about whether he called for a replay.

  74. TJA says:

    Happy Friday Loonies! Haven’t been visiting for a few days and maybe someone mentioned this, but, just studying the schedule and the next 14 games for the Bucs are vs. the Brewers and Reds. Then they get 3 more with the Cardinals. Wow. So, what do the Bucs need to come out of April with. That kind of a schedule could potentially lift a team in the standings or drop them down. Bucs playing pretty well. So are the Brew Crew. My thoughts: Yes, it is early April, but I say beating the Brewers in the “House of Horrors” is important, but I would REALLY like to see the Pirates “bury” the disliked Reds in their 7 games they play. Have a great weekend to one and all!

  75. 21sthebest says:

    Plate collision plays are not subject to challenges by the manager. They are reviewable by the umpires at any time. I swear that’s what I read yesterday but I can’t find it now.

    The play yesterday was not considered to be a plate collision play. The ump ruled safe. The announcers kept talking about the plate collision play but that was nuts to me because the ump never indicated that Sanchez blocked the plate.

  76. I’ll look at it. Thanks, Groaty.

  77. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think Lad was just saying there’s more coverage, you hear more about, the azz wipes.

  78. “Wow, I could have had a V-8!” article by Dejan. Thanks!

  79. JohninOshkosh says:

    Heidi Watney said it wasn’t reviewable on “Quick Pitch” this morning. That is all she said. “The play was not reviewable.” With, amazingly, no further elaboration (my guess is that the copy writers for “Quick Pitch” have no idea what was correct in that situation-apparently like most folks.

    In Heidi I trust.

  80. Arriba Wilver says:

    Good thing you capitalized “She.”


  81. Baywatch says:

    Hey, Milo!

  82. Jandy says:

    yeah friggin azzmunches!

  83. Jim S. says:

    Absolutely agree with Lad on that, Arriba.

    I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t giving the impression that I think all of the players but Sid and Cutch are entitled jerks. I just think guys like those two, and Walker, and Polamalu (and I’m missing many more) take a sincere interest in their communities.

  84. Thundercrack says:

    I took Clint’s response as “I don’t want 10 more questions…and I have a plane to catch”

  85. Baywatch says:

    Morning, Y’all! DK! If I were in Trib-Review management, I’d nominate the “SEVENTH HEAVEN” headline for an award! Nice touch! And, Gang, with the way the Brew Crew has been playing, I want to pull the ol’ Butch Cassidy “Who Are Those Guys” reference out! But I guess the same could be said about our “Wild Bunch!”

  86. Oshkosh b’Gosh,

    It’s Satan who makes you doubt the wisdom of Gaby Sanchez bunting.

    Even Gabriel was blowing his horn calling for the sacrifice bunt!!!

  87. Jandy says:

    Darn right! Have to be politically correct, ya know ;)

  88. Baywatch says:


  89. Jim S. says:

    It’s all clear as mud in my mind.

  90. JohninOshkosh says:

    They take a plane from Chicago to Milwaukee ?

  91. +++++++++++++++++++
    It needs to go far away.

  92. Jandy says:

    are you sure that’s not pudding???

  93. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, in the big scheme of things, they won the game. Fight those replay battles another time.

  94. JohninOshkosh says:

    My ninth grade Algebra teacher always said, “Clear as mud and twice as muddy on test day.”

    Always remembered that. He landed at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, by the way.

  95. Andrew says:

    I think better teams have depth to make up for injuries, I do not see that kind of depth on the Brewers, their farm system is one of the worst in baseball. Loshe, Gallardo, Graza are all good pitchers but none of them have the upside of Cole, Liriano, and the Brewers’ 6th 7th guys Thornberg and Fiers are interesting but underwhelming, Miller park is not very forgiving to pitchers. And the I think the Brewers lineup has as many holes as the Pirates.

    Huge caveat, I’m biased, I hate the Brewers.

  96. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hey Bay !

  97. Jim S. says:

    I’ve been known to pull that maneuver with my son … but only on weeks where my wife has to go to a different Mass, of course. He is always, of course, sworn to secrecy as well.

    I better get to Confession this week. ;-)

  98. JohninOshkosh says:

    Understood, Andrew.

    Huge caveat for me: I use prospect ratings and minor league systems ratings as paper kindling for my fireplace.

  99. Lad 9 says:

    JANDYYYYYY! Hope all is well. I have done some some drive by lurking lately but haven’t been able to post much. But it is my season now. Go Bucs!

    Really miss the Playoffs pool btw….. :( I was hoping to contend for the low score this year

  100. Jandy says:

    Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned…

  101. Jandy says:

    Yeah we all miss Playoffs. :(

  102. Milo Hamilton says:

    Exactly. We only pulled that one at Sunday noon mass when my mother wasn’t there.

  103. Nate83 says:

    The ump said after the game it was not ruled a plate collision play. He just simply thought he got his foot in under the tag. His positioning was horrible. I have no idea how that is the best view for him to make the call.

  104. Jim S. says:

    But, why do I have the feeling that the now 7-2 Brewers will be 9-3 (or, possibly even 10-2) after this weekend? There’s something about that park that generally brings out the worst in the Bucs. I know last year was a bit different, but I still don’t have confidence.

    I have driven up from Chicago multiple times over the years and never have come back with a W intact. Close games with bizarre finishes, flat out blowouts, you name it. I have never seen the Bucs win there.

    Once, when my oldest daughter was about 10, any my other daughter was 8 and my son was 5, my wife and I took the kids to a game at Miller Park vs. the Bucs. They were having some sort of a fan promotion where they were deciding which Brewers logo was best – the old one or the new one. So, they gave t-shirts to the kids, and you could have your choice of the new blue one or the old yellowish one. I remember the ticket taker asking my daughter which one she wanted, and she said no thanks. The very kind man said, “But, honey, they’re free. You can have either one.” She said, “Keep it. I’m not rooting for them and I don’t want their shirt.” Since he was a Wisconsite, though, he politely respected her decision. I believe the Bucs lost in extra innings in heartbreaking fashion.

  105. Lad 9 says:

    Absolutely agree Jim. As Otter said in Animal House, “What a shame that a few bad apples have to spoil a good time for everyone by breaking the rules.” :) (Never pass up a chance for an Animal House quote)

    Most athletes are good citizens and people, and in Pittsburgh I think at present that we are exceptionally blessed in that regard. Didn’t mean to imply that it was a 100% jerk population. I would reserve that for the attorneys! Juuuuust kidding any of you counselers out there…

  106. Andrew says:

    Fair enough, honestly I think the Brewers will be competitive in a model similar to the Angles/Diamondbacks last year.

    Those ranking are lottery tickets, make sure to scratch them off before throwing them into the fire.

  107. Jim S. says:

    Ugh! Mike Freakin’ Milbury! I think that really is his middle name.

  108. Jim S. says:

    :-), Lad.

  109. Jim S. says:

    Mom’s don’t care what time the Steelers game starts on Sunday.

  110. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think he’d have been happy to answer 10 more questions about what his players were doing.

  111. 21sthebest says:

    Agree. And those plays are reviewable. They’re just not challengeable.

  112. 21sthebest says:

    This is another reason why I don’t like replay and for MLB to institute before any bugs are worked out is just awful, IMO. Really poor job of anticipating any problems. They needed to work on this for another year to improve the process. But I’d rather not have it at all.

    And it’s really silly of me for a manager to come out to talk to the ump just to wait for a coach to give the thumbs up or down who’s talking to someone who’s watching the play. Just seems really disconnected and unnatural.

  113. Jandy says:

    Attorneys? I reserve that class for Architects ;)

  114. Milo Hamilton says:

    Bengals QB Andy Dalton is working on his throwing mechanics during the off season. Recently he spent 5 days with noted quarterback guru Tom House. Tom House ? Yes, that Tom House.

    Tom was in the news recently because he was the pitcher in the Braves bullpen lucky enough to catch Hank Aaron’s 715th home run 40 years ago this week. That’s right folks, Tom House was a baseball player. He later became a pitching coach of some note in Texas mostly known for, wait for it, having his pitchers throw footballs. Not in the game of course. Oh, and he had Nolan Ryan there. Maybe we’re all missing the boat here. James McDonald should have gotten in touch with Dan Marino.

    I love the Bengals.

  115. Jandy says:

    I really hope we take the series! Keep on blastin’ ‘em, Petey!

  116. Mizery says:

    I give Hurdle a pass on that one Skip because we still won. If we had lost which it surely looked like we were going to at that moment, more people would have been appalled and would be ranting on here about it.

  117. Andrew says:

    That is where my irrational hate stems from, before last year, from 07-12 the Pirates were 7-44 at Miller Playground and 17-25 at PNC, when the Pirates were bad there was always some hope they might win a given game but not against the Brewers.

  118. Van Slick,

    I completely understand your disdain for the Brewers.

    However, don’t use the word “upside” with me: that’s a prospect term, and I want to know what the players are doing HERE AND NOW, not what they might do.

    Lohse is an excellent pitcher and will win more games than Gerrit Cole this year. Yovani Gallardo has been a better pitcher than Francisco Liriano his whole career (check the stats) except for last season. And Liriano has NEVER had 2 straight good seasons.

    This last time through the rotation——against the weak Cubs——the Bucs’ rotation to a man was weak, giving up 4 runs each and leaving extra bullpen innings. Cole gave up 4 yesterday. Now Bucs look to Volquez to save them!!!!! Good grief! Pirates strength is their bullpen, but if they have to keep pitching extra innings, they will wear out.

    Don’t count your eagles before they hatch!

  119. Jim S. says:

    “Forgive me, Father, but the Steelers game was starting in 5 minutes and I live 10 minutes from Church.”

  120. JohninOshkosh says:

    I agree, 21.

    I have to say it has so far detracted from my enjoyment of the game. Thank goodness for DVR’s. I just FF through all that nonsense. But, watching the stuff live ? Brutal.

    It reminds me when the NFL started their flag challenge system. All of sudden sports bars were filled with the sounds of idiots yelling “Throw the flag!” or ‘Challenge!” after every questionable play.

    Just let them play the game and let refs be human. That Wisconsin Arizona basketball tournament game was tremendous until the last minute when the refs spent 5 minutes looking at a monitor.

    I can just imaging Thompson hitting his home run and Russ Hodges screaming “The umps are going to review it! The umps are going to review it! The umps are going to review it!” Or Milo Hamilton saying, “There’s a new home run champion of all time but first the review.”

  121. Skip says:

    I agree – he gets a pass. Lucky for him, they won.

    But I still can’t believe he didn’t challenge. And why won’t he just admit, “I should have challenged, I made a mistake but we’re all just trying to get used to the challenge system”. Something like that..

  122. Damon says:

    Todd McShay’s recent mock draft has the Texans taking at the top of the 2nd round:

    33. Houston Texans: Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh
    This pick is made based on the premise that the Texans wouldn’t need him to play right away. Savage has very good arm strength, but Bill O’Brien would need to work with him on getting the ball out quicker and improving his footwork.

    Did I miss something?

  123. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think the conversation here proved the wisdom of Hurdle taking the stance he did. JMO

  124. Dom says:

    You and I both must have missed something. I check multiple mocks almost daily and I have never seen one that included Savage.

    According to drafttek’s top 400, Savage is listed as #396.

    Drafttek has a seven round mock and omitted savage.

  125. Dom says:

    Who does he have the Steelers taking at #15?

  126. Damon says:

    15. Pittsburgh Steelers: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
    The Steelers’ No. 1 need is cornerback, and while Dennard isn’t as fast as Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert or Ohio State’s Bradley Roby — and doesn’t have Gilbert’s ball skills — he is the best pure man-to-man cover corner in this draft. He’s much more physical than Gilbert, which makes him a better fit in Pittsburgh’s defense than those other two. Wide receiver and 3-4 defensive end are the Steelers’ next-biggest needs, but there aren’t great values at either position in this scenario.

    46. Pittsburgh Steelers: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
    The Steelers have bigger needs, but Amaro has a higher grade than the prospects at other need areas, and as much as I love Heath Miller, they need to get younger at tight end.

  127. Jandy says:

    hey, it’s Miz :)

  128. Dom says:


    The Steelers’ selections look solid to me.

  129. Damon says:

    I was thinking more along the 5th or 6th round for him.

  130. Damon says:

    Here is more from McShay:

    Who in this QB class is a late-round sleeper to keep an eye on?
    Todd McShay: Jimmy Garoppolo is no longer under the radar, so I’ll go with Tom Savage. He played behind a very poor offensive line at Pittsburgh, and didn’t get much help from his pass-catchers, either, but he was the most impressive pure thrower of the football at the combine, according to different people I’ve talked to from around the league. His arm strength is just a notch below elite. Another guy to keep an eye on is Merrimack’s Joe Clancey, who could get a shot in a training camp as an undrafted free agent.

  131. Thundercrack says:

    Who’s hosting the CHAT today? The real DK or the double secret special guest host from last week?

  132. 21sthebest says:

    Lucroy, Ramirez, and Gomez are all hitting .371 – .390. I see them coming back down to earth. I’m really surprised at all of the love for the Brewers based on 9 games.


  133. 21sthebest says:

    Happy to take questions TC. I’m not an award winning journalist but I am a lifelong Pittsburgher who was the City League’s Student-Athlete of the Year in 1981. :-)

  134. Jandy says:

    I watched this hit, and had to laugh at Munchkin Briere trying to get at Doug Murray. Hilarious.
    That said, it’s a brutal hit, but I’m not sure it’s a suspension, even though Murray was thrown out.
    This was his first game back after a 3 game suspension to boot.

  135. Jandy says:


  136. Arriba Wilver says:

    Interesting, Damon.

  137. Jandy says:

    Oh my, this ought to be a good answer:

    Dejan, don’t you think it’s flawed to judge our team’s popularity based on nothing but TV ratings? Aren’t there a number of other objective and subjective factors

  138. Andrew says:


    I care not for what have you done, but are you likely to do. Don’t disparage “upside,” when you are seeing only the Brewer’s upside and not the seedy underbelly.

    Loshe has a 4.32 career ERA and is a low strikeout guy. Loshe = Bronso Arroyo, and at this point I would rather have Morton than either.

    Gallrado is a good pitcher, but he lost over a mile per hour on his fastball last year and was not getting swing and misses, his strikeout rate collapsed. He has always walked a lot of batters, which is fine if you get Ks, but if not the ERA will climb.

    Graza has been about a league average pitcher, but he has some issues with the long ball, Miller Park won’t help that.

    Pirates starters inning/start 6.0, Brew Crew 6.1.

  139. Arriba Wilver says:

    And even if they don’t stink, they still suck.

  140. Jandy says:

    A very diplomatic answer:
    Dejan Kovacevic: There are many variables, and they’re all studied as part of “branding,” per companies that publicly — but usually privately — commission. Those can involve actual polling in which people are asked how committed they are to a team, whether they buy something or not. The Penguins do extremely well with the younger demographic. Nothing about that changed since last year. They’re an incredibly popular team in every category that’s out there.

  141. Jandy says:

    AW, that’s my definition of “stink” in this particular instance…how astute of you to see that :D

  142. Wilver Dornel,

    One of my favorite observations you have ever made!!!

  143. 21sthebest says:

    But do you feel that he answered my question Jandy? Which I think was a reasonable question.

    Frankly, I find this whole topic to be pointless. I don’t know which team is more popular, if one is more popular than the other, or how you measure it. But if you’re going to use TV ratings on a particular night, you might as well use attendance.

  144. Jandy says:

    You can’t really use attendance as a gauge, as the baseball stadium holds so many more people.

    Myself, I was watching hockey, and didn’t even switch to the baseball game, which I will do from time to time, but not when we’re playing the Wings. So, there is where myvote lies. SO I’m not really a good person to judge that, when I admit I’m biased toward hockey, 21.

  145. Jandy says:

    Also, 1, I’ve gotten probably upwards of a half dozen polls via e-mail in the past year…and they touch on al sports, and how much you watch each one, and what is your favorite etc.

    I’m sure those polls play a part of how popular each sport is.

  146. 21sthebest says:

    “You can’t really use attendance as a gauge, as the baseball stadium holds so many more people. ”

    And why is that?

  147. Jandy says:

    maybe because they’re built that way lol.

    you still can’t compare apples to oranges.

    Need to use a comparative gauge.

  148. 21sthebest says:

    I mean, why does a baseball stadium hold many more people?

    I think to look at attendance is flawed. Just like looking at TV ratings only. If someone wrote a paper on which sport is the most popular in Pittsburgh and supported it by citing TV ratings, I’d give them an F.

  149. Jandy says:

    ” There are many variables, and they’re all studied as part of “branding,” per companies that publicly — but usually privately — commission. Those can involve actual polling in which people are asked how committed they are to a team, whether they buy something or not. ”

    Many variables, with polling cited is not just using tv ratings to support a position. That “ZF” would be undeserved.

    And I love baseball :)

  150. 21sthebest says:

    I know Jandy. I thought this answer conflicted with how he answered the original question.

  151. toochca says:

    Heidi Watney also thinks “Ties go to the runner”!! Heidi, although nice to look at, is not that intelligent when it comes to baseball.

  152. Jandy says:

    Dejans’ good at that, 21.

    I just happen to agree with him about the Penguins.

  153. 21sthebest says:

    Well you admitted your bias. :-)

  154. Jandy says:

    I always do. I won’t lie, my friend :)

  155. bpn8pitt says:

    Osh, going this weekend?

  156. JandyGirl,

    Who made the chat!! Good push on the Washington Craps!

  157. Jandy says:


    Thanks, Groat!

  158. bpn8pitt says:

    I know Matt Williamson was projecting Savage as a 2nd rounder. I may be mistaken.

    Personally I would rather take Savage rounds 2-7, than any of the high rated qbs top ten overall.

    All flawed IMO.

  159. toochca says:

    There was a discussion either here or on Travis’s blog about what causes a pitcher to have Tommy John surgery.

    Here is a link

    I was unable to listen to the audio portion, so hopefully some if not all of you are. They were also discussing it while I was listening to the Indians radio broadcast last night.

  160. Always wondered that myself.

  161. 21sthebest says:

    Locke reinstated from DL. Optioned to AAA.

  162. Nastynate82 says:

    Too early to say that.

  163. Jandy says:

    That’s good news.

  164. Van Slick,

    Kyle Lohse has 3 consecutive seasons of 3.39, 2.86, and 3.35 ERA. Seasons previous to that he was hurt.

    Kyle Lohse is 41 — 21 over those three seasons, 20 games over .500. There is no comparison with Bronson Arroyo at all. Lohse even had a winning record with last season’s pathetic Brewers team.

    Now if you want to talk about the possibility of injury . . . .

    I’m not trying to disagree with you. I’m just saying that the Brewers may be a team to be feared this season. Their rotation appears RIGHT NOW deeper and stronger than Pirates’. I am not yet a believer in Cy Young Volquez.

  165. Nastynate82 says:

    Lohse was never excellent, ever. He’s a solid innings eater. And you should think about upside, it’s how you can tell if a player is improving. Maybe Marte and Alvarez are showing more plate discipline. Lots of hand-wringing already and they’re 6-3

  166. Nastynate82 says:

    Agreed. Being from NYC, he’s about certain to go to the Yankees. If I were the bucs, I dunno if I’d trade him before he got to free agency. Prolly wouldn’t get what he’s worth to begin with.

  167. Nastynate82 says:

    Surprised he didn’t move on sooner. Disciplinarian is the most thankless job

  168. Dom says:

    Who is the greatest short stop of all time?

  169. Nate83 says:

    If we don’t see him all year in the majors something went really well for the Pirates. It’s nice to have him as one of 2 or 3 quality options to step into the rotations when bad performance or injuries require it. I’m glad to hear he is back throwing pitches in actual games.

  170. Arriba Wilver says:

    Jack Wilson.

  171. JohninOshkosh says:

    I have a ticket for tomorrow night with my boss. But, flu is going through my family right now so it is uncertain. JRay is going.

  172. bpn8pitt says:

    Get well. I don’t want to see Bernie Brewer going down the slide. But hope they “roll out barrel” for you and JRay. 2 verses.

  173. JohninOshkosh says:

    I wish I could putt like Bubba Watson. Guy avoids three putts like I tend to invite them.

  174. 21sthebest says:

    I’m going to say Honus gives him a run for his money.

  175. JohninOshkosh says:

    Ha! Tomorrow night they are giving Carlos “Chuckles” Gomez his Gold Glove. He is the first Brewer to win a Gold Glove in, I think, 33 years.

    It won’t be very comfortable wearing the Pirates colors when Braun is introduced and gets all that adoration showered on him.

    My kids and wife are Brewers fans. I’ve told this story before. We were going into the park. I was wearing my Pirates stuff and the rest of the family was wearing their Brewers shirts (probably the freebies Jim’s daughter declined) and the usher said, “I see Mom is raising the kids right.”

  176. Karen22 says:

    NOPE…new rule clearly states that the catcher is guilty of obstruction ONLY if he is not in possession of the ball. Sanchez clearly caught the ball and the runner then clearly slid into the tag. Ump apparently stated he slid under the tag?? Ump was wrong, and so was Hurdle for not challenging. Ridiculous!

  177. Dom says:

    Ha ha ha.

    no. Seriously.

  178. Dom says:

    Wilson’s got nothing on Mercer.

  179. Skip says:

    Totally agree with you.

  180. Arriba Wilver says:

    Holy cow. He’s having a Tiger-esq tournament today. -5? Good for him. I like Bubba.

  181. 21sthebest says:

    I’m going with Honus, Don. But I didn’t see him play.

  182. 21sthebest says:


  183. buggee says:

    I don’t…
    I remember the lean pre-Sid years when Yags kvetched about pretty much anything and everything. Losing Lang. Losing Stratka. Losing Yags for a bag of pucks. Going back further…
    1983 when the Pens tanked it to get that all-important first pick (some really big French-Canadian guy). 15 wins in an entire season and I was one of the 3,000 (on a good night) to watch them get pummeled, night in and night out. Going back further…
    That first time the team made it to the playoffs only to lose as only the Pens could; the endless losses to the hated Flyers, the mocking and derision from Flyer’s fans who more than doubled regular attendence at the Igloo when the teams played; the brilliance of Syl Apps…
    So no, I don’t take anything this team does for granted because I was there from the first puck-drop.

    Every banner that goes up in the rafters is like personal vindication for all the angst of rooting for a team that seemed overwhelmed and shellshocked and was regarded as the underdog for the majority of their 47 years of existence. Nothing the Pirates or Steelers do evokes the level of passion that the Pens do for me. (maybe I need to get a life or something).

    ETCH IT SID. Because it’s the CUP and because… well hell, just because. Thanks for your brilliance good sir.

    Thanks for the great read Dejan.

  184. Arriba Wilver says:

    I was trying to get TC to lose his lunch. ;-)

  185. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    I’m not real big on either of those picks in the 1st and 2nd Round.
    Dennard is ok….But he lacks the speed that they sorely need in that secondary at CB.

    Amaro in the 2nd is a flat out no to me.
    As Dejan said in his chat, one would assume the Steelers extended Heath Miller because they are confident in his knee.
    They have too many other pressing needs (WR, CB, DL) to worry about TE early in the draft right now.

  186. JohninOshkosh says:

    My brother put $20 down on him for me when he was in Vegas a few months ago. I got the odds before Tiger withdrew. Now he has favorite odds but mine are set up for a pretty good payday.

  187. Jandy says:


    ++++++++++++ well said, and from the heart!

  188. Jandy says:

    wanna try again?


  189. Daquido_Bazzini says:

    “We should enjoy Pedro while he’s here, because it won’t be that much longer.”

    lol….Gotta love this quote because it sums up what the Nutting Regime has taught their fans to expect through the years.
    Weened and dined on a menu of cheapness.

    I love how the Pirates came back yesterday and won in Chicago.
    If they stay competitive, somebody is going to have to write a check (for a couple months)….But apparently not till late July.

  190. JohninOshkosh says:

    OMG, look at his scores on 14-17. Is that right ? I’m not watching. Two snowmen in a row!

  191. 21sthebest says:


  192. Dom says:

    I do agree about Dennard’s speed being a concern.

    IMO, he is credible #1 and might be gone before we even have a chance to pick. He did win the award for college defensive backs last year. He’s a hard hitter and has decent size. I would prefer Justin Gilbert but I’m sure McShay has him off the board when the Steelers pick.

    I assume the logic for selecting Amaro is because he would be the best player available in the second round. I have seen mocks that had him going in the first round. Amaro is the type of guy we could tweak our offensive scheme over. I agree, I’d rather have someone like Jordan Mathews or Ra’Shede Hageman but Amaro would be a great consolation prize if they’re both gone.

  193. JohninOshkosh says:

    My bad. I was looking at his under par score by holes through the round. lol.

    Nevermind!! :)

  194. 21sthebest says:

    Wait. That doesn’t look to be right.

  195. JohninOshkosh says:

    Not an 8 scored on the hole. But rather -8 through 17. I was looking at website and did not read it correctly.

    I need a drink.

  196. 21sthebest says:


  197. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, I looked and he’s still 5 under for the day at 17. :-)

    Gotta hand it to Fred Couples. -2

  198. Arriba Wilver says:

    Lost 1, ended the day at -7, still 3 up. Certainly not an insurmountable lead, especially in the Masters.

    Should be a good weekend.

  199. buggee says:

    I’m wiping my EYEs at all the sadness

  200. buggee says:

    Awwww, TANKS Jandydandygal! happy weekend to ya lady

  201. Jandy says:

    Here buggee, have a tissue! :P

  202. Jandy says:

    You too buggee, my friend!

  203. theplanisworking says:


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