Blogs | Sports | News
Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Morning Java: All systems go?

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The weekly chat will move to Tuesdays a week from today, with a new start time of 1 p.m.

There are a bunch of scheduling reasons for this, but the principal reason — as with just about everything I prioritize — is Steelers. The chat will almost immediately follow the Mike Tomlin press conference, providing a forum for football fans to air out right away.

The chat this week will still be Friday at noon.

>> Dan Bylsma’s system will be scrutinized more closely than ever this spring, reports Josh Yohe.

The biggest issue I’ve got with the Penguins’ style — and I’ll get into this more once the playoffs start — is the 1-3-1 formation in the neutral zone. The left defenseman is often left on an island, and that can create for some ugly scenes. We saw a few late in the season, even with a terrific skater like Olli Maatta. It just isn’t easy stopping an NHL forward with a full head of steam one-on-one. Moreover, Maatta specifically is the one left defenseman required to stay back. Anyone who saw his forays into the rush this season will know why that’s hardly ideal.

Who will man the third and fourth lines? Rob Rossi has answers.

Who needs to step up? Rossi again.

The Penguins are asking fans for a ‘Gold-out’ Wednesday, which is obviously an improvement over the Whiteout they’d been using that belongs to the hockey fans of Winnipeg.

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

Here’s Blue Jackets news from the team’s official site.

Here are official game highlights on

>> The Pirates and Reds combined for 10 homers and still aren’t done. Travis Sawchik reports from Great American Band Box on the suspended game.

Clint Hurdle on Gregory Polanco’s ridiculous start, by Sawchik.

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

Here’s Reds news from the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Our panel on WPXI-TV’s Subway Final Word assessed the Pirates through their first dozen:

>> 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. Jandy says:

    Where’s Miz to be here and say “first!”???

  2. Thundercrack says:

    Just watched the Final Word video. Thanks for setting MM straight about the Pirates DK.
    And next week please teach him how to pronounce Melancon

  3. DJ says:

    Ryan Ludwick is turning into Aramis Ramirez.

  4. JAL says:

    JAL’s Sugar Town 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: Why I’m Not Worried About the Pirates Offense

    Prospect Watch: Willy Garcia Hits His Third Homer in Altoona

    Injury Updates: Tyler Glasnow, Harold Ramirez, Barrett Barnes

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Bizarre Pirates-Reds homerfest suspended until Tuesday

    7 Rumbunter

    Gregory Polanco Video Highlights Are Fun

    8 Green Weenie

    Home Run Derby Suspended; 7-7 Game Will Be Completed Tomorrow

    4/14: Bucs Christen WGN, Roberto & Maz, Jim Bunning, Nate the Great, The Fort and More…

    9 Saber Bucs

    Pirate Record vs. Pirate Performance . . . through 12 games

    10 Pirates 101

    A Look Ahead at the Pittsburgh Pirates Week

  5. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 CBS Sports

    Pirates vs Reds Game Preview

    12 Chicago Sun Times

    Where Cards mine gold, Cubs find failure

    13 KY Forward

    Local Boys: The one that got away, Tannehill had a stellar career, but only one Reds win

    14 Pirates Site

    Rain suspends Bucs’ power display in Cincinnati

    15 SB Nation

    The 10 most valuable pitchers in baseball

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Heisey’s slam caps needed offensive showing for Reds

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Cardinals snap Brewers’ win streak

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Lynn needs little help in halting Brewers

    19 Fangraphs

    Jose Abreu’s First and Worst

    20 Bloomburg Stats Insight

    Confidence In Early-Season XFIP

  6. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers should remember Emmanuel Sanders when weighing decision on Maurkice Pouncey

    Steelers $386,934 under the 2014 salary cap


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Serie A Column: Udinese vs Juventus

    23 BBC Football

    Hillsborough was behind Steven Gerrard’s emotions at Anfield

    24 World Soccer

    The Kop pays it’s respects and tops our images from the weekend


    25 Pensburgh

    Penguins Playoffs 2014: One Big “If”

  7. DJ says:

    If Olli is consistently getting stranded in the 1-3-1, what does that say about the play of the four other Pens?

  8. Jandy says:

    not a whole lot!

  9. So the old 1-3-1 is under fire from the boss this morning?

    It had to come.


  10. Jandy says:

    You betcha, Spunky! ;)

  11. Wild Bill says:

    I guess the NHL is not open to a 2 – 3 – 2 for the playoffs?

  12. JohninOshkosh says:

    Can’t for the life of me figure out your musical theme this week, JAL.

    That video of Nancy Sinatra, though, is priceless. The colors and wardrobe is pure late 1960’s.

  13. theplanisworking says:

    Great column, DK.
    The Pens will be fine as long as their system works. But when it doesn’t work, yeesh.

    Now is the time when we see what this team is made of. Yes, there were injuries, and a lot of them. Yes, the team still got 109 points. Yes, they had a great regular season. But since the Olympic break, the team has played below .500 hockey. And, Sid has lost his mind a few times down the stretch.

    Now we can see what good all the ‘help’ for Fleury this past offseason has done. We will see if this team can overcome so many past playoff failures. We will see if the Pens can ‘flip the switch’ and convert from fire-wagon hockey to playoff hockey. We will see if AFLAC will match lines.

    A key will be to see how the pens react to the ‘Flyers style’ of hockey that teams will employ against them. Columbus has already stated that they will attempt this. If the Pens don’t concentrate, this could be their early undoing. They can’t afford that again this year.

  14. scapper says:

    Ever notice how many Pens fans seem like they will probably derive more joy out of an early playoff exit than a deep run? (Not aimed at any posters so far this morning.) Seems a lot of fans want to be “right” about Bylsma and Shero more than they want to see another Finals in Pittsburgh. Just seems a strange way to enjoy being a fan, but hey, to each his own, I guess.

    This bizzaro Pens fan is going to enjoy the playoffs as long as they last for the Pens. If/When they get eliminated? Then I’ll gnash my teeth for a few days and pop off with my largely uninformed criticisms and suggestions, and then I’ll move on and enjoy the hell out of next season, just like I thoroughly enjoyed the way this wonderful season provided so many wonderful moments during this long, miserable winter.

  15. scapper says:

    Pens tried something like that for an extended shift in the ’09 Finals, if you remember!

  16. theplanisworking says:

    Nice to see the occasional softball game break out last night in Cincinnati. I don’t know if the wind was blowing out, or the pitchers were really that bad.

    The teams should have just set up kegs by the dugouts, and went to it. ;)

    Now, we get to see the rare ‘almost’ DH tonight.
    Here is hoping for better pitching.

  17. theplanisworking says:

    Erm, this was supposed to be a seperate post.
    I have no idea why it ended up here.

  18. Jandy says:

    Well said, scapper! +++++++++++++++++

  19. Jandy says:

    It’s that switch to the Purple Bear that did it ;)

  20. Jandy says:

    You gotta change your avatar!

  21. theplanisworking says:

    ” Ever notice how many Pens fans seem like they will probably derive more joy out of an early playoff exit than a deep run? (Not aimed at any posters so far this morning.) ”

    ^^^ This is a constant head-scratcher for me. A fan should be allowed to cheer/boo/criticize/love his or her team as they see fit. Just because someone doesn’t cheer/root for a team in a particular way, he/she is wrong. I don’t know of anyone who is openly rooting for the Pens to fail. I don’t know of anyone who is hoping they are right about Shero and Bylsma at the expense of the Pens being bounced early. Not one person.

    This strange phenomenom also appear when discussing the Pirates. People say that certain fans want to see the team fail, because they don’t cheer for the team a certain way. I do not know of anyone that wants to see the Pirates fail either.

    I don’t know if this criticism of fans is a Pittsburgh thing, or if it goes on elsewhere. (Disclaimer: I don’t follow other cities’ teams, so I don’t know what goes on with their fans). I know I am just a little tired of people slamming other fans, because they wrongly think that anyone wants to see the team fail, all because they don’t cheer the ‘correct’ way.

    End rant.

  22. Wild Bill says:


  23. theplanisworking says:

    Jandy, I cannot agree.
    Please see my post right below.

    Please point out one single fans that wants to see the Pens fail, just so they can crow about Shero and Bylsma being wrong.

    Oh, and Good Morning! :D

  24. Brandon says:

    It looks like January and is snowing with great gusto in the Akron area….good teams need to be able to adapt their systems to the opponent to take advantage of specific weaknesses and protect their own issues. Bylsma has not shown the inclination to do this in extended playoff series, stubbornly applying his “system” against coaches who have to be amazed that he doesn’t adapt well.

    This year the Pens have glaring weaknesses in their bottom 6 – the puck possession metrics suggest this is one of the worst bottom 6 outfits in the league, not just in the playoffs. Are they really talking about playing Chuck Kobasew & Taylor Pyatt? Other than Columbus, each of the remaining playoff teams will take advantage of this weakness to get their top puck possession forwards matched against these guys who seem incapable of moving out of their own zone – Bylsma’s system attempts to get the defensemen to quickly pass to these forwards in the neutral zone – the 3rd line will really need to step up.

    Columbus is definitely going to provide a test, but the Pens should pull the series out in 5 or 6 games. Luckily Orpik and Scuderi will not be as exposed against this team for their slow, turnover prone play. The biggest match-up should be the special teams due to the Pens average play in the 5 on 5 – their Kill should be competent against Columbus, but they will need to be efficient and really prevent turnovers from rusty Letang and Malkin when in the offensive zone. Letang may be the offensive difference in the series. BOB could steal this series for Columbus, but I think they will wear him down if they focus on the top 2 lines getting the shot totals up….luckily, line matches won’t be an issue.

  25. Wild Bill says:

    The playoffs in all sports come down to two things. We want to maximize what we do best while taking away what the other guys do best. Everybody knows what the Pens like to do, and a team whose strength is forcing turnovers and counter attacking is a problem for us.

    Who adjusts best? That’s what it comes down to, like chess on ice. We haven’t had the best approach to this for a while now, and I hope we can change that this playoffs.

  26. Wild Bill says:

    Didn’t see this, Brandon, while composing mine below. I think they are similar.

  27. hockeymonster says:

    1-3-1??? Hmmm….

    System under scrutiny? What makes you say that?

    Yohe’s column is a good read. Although he doesn’t seem to mention the changes we made offensively. He mentions the NZ play being better but the quotes from lovejoy and morrow refer to the disco stretch and “chip to retrieve” offense that they weren’t suited for. The close puck support system we run now is different than what we’ve seen in seasons past. When we do make long stretch passes they’re tape to tape to spring a forward after opposing D counters our close support rushes by gaping up.

    Still a good read…just sayin.

  28. Jandy says:

    Good Morning, Oh Purple Bear!

    I won’t name names, else I start a blog war! :X

  29. David says:

    Not at all a fan of the Gold-out. Let me participate in my own clothes. Who owns Vegas gold shirts besides Oakland Zoo members? The Pens Store contains more GREEN shirts than it does gold ones. Don’t make me pick between becoming a One-Size-Fits-All walking billboard for whatever corporate sponsor or being accosted by some superfan who has appointed himself the arbiter of fandom.

  30. Jandy says:

    Wow, such joy :)

    Don’t wear Gold. You going to the game? wear your jersey. Don’t have a jersey? Wear whatever you want.
    Just root for our boys.

  31. scapper says:

    Seriously? Man, I guess we just read these posts differently. And like I said, if people enjoy being so miserable about being a fan, that’s cool. But sometimes when I scroll these posts for the first time in the afternoon, it’s like some people are made happier by their theories being correct than they are by actual wins. Just makes me shake my head is all.

  32. JohninOshkosh says:

    Exactly, Scapper.

    I’m staying away from the Pens playoff game threads.

    I’m just not in the mood for the Shero/Bylsma/Mario/Rossi etc etc bashiing.

  33. scapper says:

    Didn’t say it wasn’t “correct.” It just puzzles me that so many fans seem nothing but miserable. If that’s what makes them “happy” [Paradox alert!], good for them.

  34. scapper says:

    And Fleury and Orpik and Scuderi and the P.A. guy and the promotions guys and the trainer and that one vendor and anything NBC-related and…

  35. scapper says:

    Excellent read is right. Yohe is one solid beat guy.

  36. 21sthebest says:

    Does anybody else think that Frazier was incorrectly awarded second base when Snider tried to catch that ball with his face? If not awarded second, then maybe Bruce ends up grounding into a double play.

  37. scapper says:

    Haha, so true. Something tells me there will be lot of gold t-shirts for sale on Consol tonight. And people will fork over the cash to “participate.”

  38. David says:

    I am going and I will cheer hard. Like, attending-my-first-playoff-game hard. I just don’t like the gold and I grow tired of the same stuff mentioned above by theplanisworking

  39. JohninOshkosh says:

    Plus, since when does Winnipeg own the white out. I’ve seen that done in the NBA and college venues for years.

    It’s like saying other venues can’t play House of Pain’s “Jump Around” because Madison owns it.

    Good way to sell Gold shirts, though.

  40. Arriba Wilver says:

    For white outs in the playoffs they gave you the shirts as you walk in. I think I heard they were going to be doing the same with the gold shirts. They WILL have a corporate logo on them, maybe more than one. Welcome to the 21st Century.

  41. JohninOshkosh says:

    NASCAR world, for sure. Surprised my kids elementary school is not named Arby’s Elementary School.

  42. cherokee23 says:

    You refer to the “mental coaching” fleury received this past off season. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to have Neal & Malkin receive some of the same as they seem to be so easily baited into retaliating. Perhaps even Crosby.

  43. Brandon says:

    +++ I agree this was a big play which may determine the winner of this game as the Bucs would have won a shortened game had they gotten out of the inning

  44. scapper says:

    Went to a t-shirt Friday Pirate game a couple of summers ago. Forget what was on the front, but the sponsor on the back? Cottonelle toilet paper. So appropriate at the time.

  45. Sarah says:

    Wild Bill and Brandon, wading right in after Scapper threw down the gauntlet!!!

  46. NMR says:

    Umpires have somehow managed to look even worse with the benefit of replay.

  47. Jandy says:

    hahahahahahaah! someone wizzed in your Cheerios this morning…welcome to the Lunatic’s Asylum, David. If you post your hometown, Biz will make sure it’s on the Luantic’s List :)

  48. JohnS says:

    So will they be Century 21 gold/yellow? Market, market, market.

    I do fond it interesting that losing in the Conference Finals was considered a disastrous season. It’s great to want to win championships, but when reflecting on a season you have to look at what was accomplished. This years team is flawed and everyone has said all year that this is not a Stanley Cup caliber team. It really seems as though the conference finals are probably this teams ceiling unless 87, 71, 18, and 14 just go crazy.

  49. Jandy says:

    I follow ya scapper. I’ve also posted my displeasure with all the negativity. If you’re so miserable, don’t friggin watch it! :)

  50. Jandy says:

    yes. I was all in favor of replay, I’ve since changed my mind.

  51. Arriba Wilver says:

    That seemed to happen in football.

  52. Nate83 says:

    They have to figure out the home plate catcher interference play. Intent has to be part of it but once you add that back in it’s never clear if you are actually getting it correct. You are back to it being a judgment call. Tony Sanchez obviously wasn’t trying to gain any advantage by blocking the plate on his play. The throw just simply took him to that spot.

    A catcher will eventually get hurt trying to avoid blocking the plate. His leg will be taken out by a slide because it’s not like sliding into other bases. The runner is coming in full speed and slides right through and over the plate.

  53. Sarah says:

    I’d carefully separate accomplishment/achievement from performance.
    ECF is a great achievement.
    The Pens under-performed significantly once there.

    And apparently, I was delighted to see it!!!

  54. Jim S. says:

    I’m thinking it was a bit of both, plan. Wandy could not have placed the balls any better for Ludwick and Frazier.

    On the other hand, even Hamilton hit one almost to the warning track. The ball had to be flying.

  55. Jandy says:

    the best coaching Neal and Malkin could get is a benching when they do the boneheaded stuff!

  56. NMR says:

    But is replay the problem?

    Or are the umpires the problem?

  57. Thundercrack says:

    And don’t forget mentioning the streak of sellouts at Consol!

    I agree with you scapper. Seems like a lot of people want to be proven right that Shero screwed up the cap and didn’t draft enough forwards, and that Bylsma’s system stinks and he can’t adapt during the game.

    But that’s just my opinion based on glancing at the Penguin posts here and listening to some sports talk radio.

  58. Jandy says:

    Good question. With history being a guideline, I’d say it’s the umpires.

  59. NMR says:

    I remember being dumbfounded by that call on Polamolu’s interception in the Colts-Steelers AFC Championship game years ago.

    Had that feeling at least twice already this year.

    The umpires union has to go.

  60. Jim S. says:

    Exactly, 21. First of all, where was the definitive proof that it was a fair ball? Did they have some other view that we didn’t see? Ok, so they called it fair. Then, they decided he would be on 2nd?

    Later, the pinch hitter for Bailey hits a fairly high bouncer past 3b so foul that I don’t know how the ump looking right at it called it fair. But, he did. And, we don’t get to ask for a review on that one?

    It just gets worse every day with this replay right now.

    Pirates should have won the game when they stopped it. The Reds may have gotten 4 extra runs there. I think the umps were relieved that the game got tied at the end of an inning, so they could finally stop it. The playing conditions were bad.

  61. scapper says:

    And my brother. He’s the worst offender. Salivates at the thought of a Disco canning.

  62. Jim S. says:

    So true.

  63. Nate83 says:

    I think the baseball umpires could be the problem. They seem to be an arrogant group that more often then not would like to be part of the experience instead of just going unnoticed. It is shocking how out of position some of these guys seem to be while making certain calls.

    NBA officials will sometimes explain to the coaches why a call is being changed before they actually change it. Maybe baseball needs to do the same thing. There was a call changed in the Texas game last night and Ron Washington got thrown out of the game the second he came out of the dugout to argue.

    What is amazing is how unnoticed hockey officials go despite the speed of the game and the chance for them to accidentally interfere with the play.

  64. Jim S. says:

    I wonder if the real problem is the mysterious “people in NY” that are helping the umps decide.

  65. Wild Bill says:

    That was a touchy call, 21. No doubt Frazier stopped running; did he only do so because he saw a foul call? Would he have been thrown out on a fair call if he tried for second? A tricky matter for MLB, and replay ironically brought it into play.

  66. Jandy says:

    That last line..I notice it all the time, and yell at them to get the &^%$ out of the way! lol

  67. Brandon says:

    The Preds released Barry Trotz today after 15 seasons…..get ready for the rumors as the Pens continue to try to build Nashville-north….all will be forgotten if 2014 is the year that Bylsma outcoaches and overachieves.

  68. Jim S. says:

    Overturning that call, whether it was originally called fair or foul, seemed like a mistake. I don’t know how they could tell for sure, and I thought that meant sticking with the original call.

  69. Jandy says:

    Your brother?

  70. Wild Bill says:

    Scapper has a point, but I’m certainly not one rooting for anything but a Cup.

  71. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t think this problem is an umpire union problem. It’s more of a human nature problem. Some are going to be thinking “I don’t want to get overturned” instead of “just make the call.” Which would be distracting.
    Way early to make a judgment overall, though. There seems to be a bit of a feeling that replay means all calls will be made right. That’s not going to happen in any system. And there will always be some judgment calls.
    There are going to be tweaks. For me, it’s probably worked out better than I expected this early.

    And it’s another thing to complain about the managers–calling for a replay or not. What’s not to like? ;-)

  72. JD says:

    Good call OshKosh. Those game threads quickly turn south when we’re not up 4-0.

  73. DJ says:

    Very funny last line, Sarah.

    Everyone here telling everyone else what they should be thinking. And then how certain reactions are not appropriate. Crazy.

    You gotta love the blog world.

  74. JD says:

    +++ Scrapper. There are a few miserable fans out there.

  75. Jim S. says:

    Looking at the positives, Wandy was pretty efficient last night. I think he may have gotten through 5 in under 70 pitches. Plus, he was in line for the win until Morris screwed everything up. ;-)

    – Glass 3/4 full Guy

  76. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s in the replay rules, Nate. A manager is not allowed to argue once replay is accepted. Can you imagine what it would be like if you could get replay and still argue? Talk about long games.

  77. DJ says:

    Road sign: Welcome to Winnipeg, Home of the White-Out!

    And the Whopper.

  78. Wild Bill says:

    Here’s hoping that Malkin is just about ready to come back. The way the Pens are constructed, if Crosby or Malkin are out, things are not good at all. We miss Geno terribly.

  79. Wild Bill says:

    Glass overflowing guy, Jim! And with something pretty interesting in it, maybe.

  80. Milo Hamilton says:

    One big issue with replay so far is that they’re overturning too many calls without clear evidence. Look no further than Lunchbox’s attempt to catch the ball with his face last night. Was that a fair ball ? Probably. But where was the definitive camera angle ? I never saw one. And then they arbitrarily put him on 2nd base when he stopped on 1st. This is where the NFL gets it right. Unless it’s 100 % clear, don’t change it.

  81. DJ says:

    They’re NHL video review applicants who got rejected.

  82. JohninOshkosh says:

    That’s funny.

    Always thought it was presumptuous of Green Bay to refer to itself as “Titletown” when there are several other cities that could claim that (Pittsburgh, for example). I guess if you are the first to label it, then you claim it. But, such ideas, once put out there, belong to the world in my opinion. Unless, it is disgusting like throwing out dead octopi carcasses onto the ice.

  83. Thundercrack says:

    I hope Wandy took last night’s performance as a learning experience. Since he doesn’t have much of a fastball I think he’s still trying to figure out what works & what doesn’t…and when to throw what works & what doesn’t work.

  84. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree with that, Milo. I’ve noticed in college football even the announcers will say “just get it right” even without clear and convincing evidence. But that’s not the standard.

  85. Wild Bill says:

    I remember the broadcast crew saying that the league had more camera angles than Root did, Milo. Have to hope one of them was more definitive than what we saw.

  86. Kinda like Matt Morris, TC?

  87. NMR says:

    I’d be shocked if these we not umpires also, Jim.

    Think about what you know of union rules.

  88. DJ says:

    Who’s the avi, JiO?

  89. Jim S. says:

    That’s proprietary info., Wild Bill.

  90. Arriba Wilver says:

    Bite your tongue, Lucky. ;-)

  91. NMR says:

    Ha! Oh I’m certainly in favor of replay, and generally speaking I think the innitial role out has been fine.

    Just like you said, though, it all comes down to human nature. For better or worse.

  92. Milo Hamilton says:

    And it shouldn’t take any more than two looks at the play. You get a look, OK he was safe, then one more time to make sure. That should be it. And that should be done before the umpires even put the headsets on. If you have to look over & over then you probably shouldn’t be changing it.

  93. Wild Bill says:

    A digression: is that seriously sleet and snow I see on the radar, coming my way from western Pa. folks??

  94. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, they probably are.

  95. I will. I seriously doubt anyone in their right mind wants the same results as that.

  96. Milo Hamilton says:

    He’s playing. Write it down.

  97. Jim S. says:

    We got about an inch last night, Wild Bill.

  98. Jandy says:

    Indeed, Wild One. Temps to be in the low 20’s tonight, with wind chills in the single digits. &%^$!!!!

  99. Jandy says:


  100. Jim S. says:

    Does anyone know the rules for instant replay enough to explain why they decided to leave out grounders past the base, such as the one that got the Reds PH for Bailey a gift 2 out double, only to score when Ludwick hit his HR?

  101. NMR says:

    Same guys he’s been for three years, TC.

    He’s still trying to find his command. He could spot his curveball as well as Cole could spot his fastball before injury. We’ll see if he can find the feel once again after the long layoff.

  102. Milo Hamilton says:

    Yes. Snowing here right now.

  103. JohninOshkosh says:

    We got snow two nights ago after heavy, flooding rain for two days. My yard is a frozen swimming pool and my basement flooded two days in row.

    Sometimes, depending on the jet stream, you guys get my weather a day or two after me. Have fun, Bill!

  104. Jim S. says:

    Morning, Ms. Garage League!

  105. Nate83 says:

    I know it’s in the rules they can’t argue. I’m saying a simple explanation wouldn’t hurt. These umpires can’t have such ego’s that they can’t tell the manager that is coming out on the short end of the decision why the decision was made especially if it getting overturned.

    I don’t know if you saw the Texas play but I think they go it wrong and it shouldn’t have been overturned and Ron Washington deserved an explanation of why it was.

  106. DJ says:

    Road sign: Welcome to Pittsburgh, Home of the Gold-Out!*

    *Hey, all the cool colors were already taken.

  107. Thundercrack says:

    I think he used to have a few more mph on his fastball. But he was/is much more of a finesse-type pitcher than Matt Morris. So when Morris lost the fastball – he was done.

    And thanks for bringing that up Lucky. (sarcasm)

  108. Jandy says:

    :D Happy fackin’ Tuesday, Jimster!

  109. Jandy says:

    Dang Oshie, that sucks!

  110. theplanisworking says:

    And, JD, you will be first in line to attack those people.
    Goody for you.

  111. cmat0829 says:

    my guess on this, and its just a guess, is that angles can be deceptive in analyzing this over the base fair/foul thing…. it isn’t where the ball lands it is where it crossed the base in the air.

  112. Arriba Wilver says:


  113. 21sthebest says:

    I think both are the problem NMR.

  114. Jim S. says:

    Does anyone think the umps were going to stop play if the Reds didn’t tie it 7-7 after 6? I think they were so relieved that they were able to help orchestrate that game back to Even Steven, then they turned off the lights and sent everyone home.


    – Maybe the grounds crew ran out of the stuff that turns puddles into dirt;
    – They were running low on balls, since fans in the OF seats had most of them;
    – All of the relievers were suddenly coming up with mysterious ailments that they claimed precluded them from pitching

  115. cmat0829 says:

    I think there is MUCH too much grousing about replay. I’m all for making it better and I agree it has been a bit sloppy in the rollout, but think about it… if a call was missed in the past, you came out to argue but NOTHING changed. You lived with the wrong call. This at least gives teams recourse or an option… I don’t think teams should get too charged up about a call here or there that may be overturned or not incorrectly…. think about the big plays, like the infamous perfect game-ruining call at 1B a few years back and of course the Pirates-Braves ridiculous call at home plate in extra innings…. when those calls are righted, replay will do its job. I’m far less concerned about a double off Snider’s face in the 3rd inning or whenever it was. For what it’s worth, I think the conclusive part of that replay was where Snider’s body and face had to be positioned given the dimensions of that corner… i.e the way he slid and the skid mark means he was in fair territory when the ball hit his face.

  116. Jim S. says:

    Probably right, cmat. And, I guess they don’t expect umps to miss calls that seem so obvious when it goes outside the line. I thought that was ridiculous. Didn’t look close to fair to me. But, the Pirates didn’t seem to argue much. Maybe Clint is getting out of practice with instant replay taking most of his arguments away.

  117. 21sthebest says:

    I’m not sure what you mean Nate. Seems like they have it figured out to me unless there have been some blown home plate collision plays. And why does intent have to be part of it.

    The Sanchez play wasn’t ruled a home plate collision play.

  118. JohnS says:

    I have never supported replay in baseball. Use it for HR’s and I can support it. Other plays have too many variables. The fact that baseball admits that on most double plays the SS or 2B are not making the out at second but they are given it is crazy to me. I will add that the biggest problem I see is the calling of balls and strikes. If a pitcher is getting strike calls 4 inches off the plate it completely changes the game. It also puts Tom Glavine in the Hall of Fame.

  119. JohninOshkosh says:

    Actress Julie Benz.

    This baseball season I am going to have avatars celebrating Pittsburgh area celebrities. There are a lot to choose from, but I always have a fondness for the “almost famous” ones.

    For years, my wife and I had a contest to secure the best quasi-celebrity autograph. My wife’s best one is Barry Melrose (he, in fact, sent a very nice card with his autographed photo). My best is swimmer Summer Sanders. I have it hanging in my basement.

    It was more fun pre-internet and e-bay days. I used to write to agents with SASE’s. Got one from an actor named Courtney Gains in the late 80’s. He said I was one of the few people who had ever requested his autograph. Good times. Got some Playmate autographs at fishing and boat shows. And a slew of local TV personalities more than happy to sign a head shot! All worthless, of course, in terms of value. But, great fun, if not a little delightfully embarrassing.

  120. 21sthebest says:

    I thought calling it fair was fair Jim because it looked fair to me. I don’t really care about there not being definitive proof because the guy on the field made a call one way or the other. If you have the benefit of replay to make the call, then decide what happened even if there isn’t definitive proof.

  121. Brandon says:

    I agree – I am absolutely rooting as hard as any fan for the Pens…just think that objective analysis makes a reasonable discussion. The analysis can be very short and done with in any series – if my goaltender outshines yours, we win…..really hoping Fleury gets it going as it was so fun in 2008/09.

  122. Jim S. says:

    Funny that you mention the octopi, Osh, since they do that in Hockeytown. So, it sort of dovetails with your original point.

  123. 21sthebest says:

    Wandy’s 4 seam averaged 89 against the Cubs and he 90+ last night at least a few times.

  124. cmat0829 says:

    The whole game was mismanaged by the umps in my opinion… they could have tarped the field in the 4th and when the window came later where the rain let up, resumed the game and got it in.

    I did get the feeling that once we got to the 5th, the Bucs-Reds were playing on borrowed time…. the Bucs took the lead in the 5th, which was key as if they were retired the game would have been official…. then Votto hits a ‘could-have-been-a-rain-shortened-walkoff’ in the bottom half… only to see the Bucs go ahead again (I had the feeling if the Bucs didn’t score in the 6th to tie, the umps would have called it)… then of course Mesoroco makes a mess of the plan again in the bottom half…..

    I think the umps feared, due to the back-and-forth nature of the game, calling it and having the ire of the team that was behind at that point. I get it, but them’s the rules… I was pleasantly surprised the game wasn’t stopped after Votto’s HR in the 5th.

  125. cmat0829 says:

    i agree, felt it was foul, and surprised clint didn’t argue. but again, the rain was coming down and field getting worse, so maybe he just wanted to get the inning in.

  126. 21sthebest says:

    It’s my fault. I took my shovels down to the basement on Sunday.

  127. Milo Hamilton says:

    By the way, April 11th was the day you could promote someone from the minors and not have this season count as one year of major league service.

    As an example, if you have a player that hasn’t yet played in the major leagues & you brought him up today you would have his services for the remainder of this year plus the next 6 years to follow. Waiting until June for instance has nothing to do with service time and everything to do with money (Super Two Arbitration status). Assuming you feel your player is ready for the major leagues.

    I’m not thinking of anyone specific of course. ;)

  128. JohninOshkosh says:

    Oh, I’m a happy man with a squeegee and wet dry vac!

    My wife says I’m like the Dad in “A Christmas Story” that derives pleasure from changing tires!

    It’s like the words “Some Assembly Required.”

    Gets my mouth salivating!

  129. Jandy says:

    Blast it, 21! I’m holding you personally responsible! :P

  130. Jandy says:


  131. Jandy says:

    that’s not too shabby!

  132. Lad 9 says:

    I stopped going on the Pens game threads a while back. Not only was the negativity unrelenting, it was the same points made over and over again. I didn’t always disagree, but I couldn’t stand it any more.

  133. theplanisworking says:

    Jim, I thought they would suspend the game before the bottom of the 6th. It was raining pretty good, but I think you are right ……….. the game got tied, and they were ‘off the hook’ so to speak.

    Next question is, what would the umps have done if the Reds hadn’t tied the score? Would they have played the game in a monsoon?

  134. Arriba Wilver says:

    Yeah, it would have been insane to bring up you know who before April 11 and lose a year of control. Now, it’s only money.

  135. theplanisworking says:

    Stetson Allie. ;)

  136. Jandy says:

    :( come back Lad, I miss you!

  137. Lad 9 says:

    They are definitely umpires in the replay room in New York. Each crew has to rotate through there. Not sure how many times a year.

  138. Lad 9 says:

    For you Jandy, I will. :)

  139. NMR says:


    He’s been around 1 mph less than he’s averaged for the last decade or so.

    Location, location, location.

  140. Jandy says:

    :doin’ a happy dance:

    yee-haw! :D

  141. Jandy says:

    Kinda like real estate, eh? ;)

  142. Leo Walter says:

    No different than what I see from a lot of people ( fans ? ) in the Western Pa. area when discussing the Pirates.

  143. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t think two looks is necessarily enough for a lot of plays. Fan interference over an outfield wall can be a tough one, that play at the plate when Sanchez was catching, even the play yesterday with Snider. Even some tag plays when the tag is high. Sometimes it takes one look to even get a feel for what issues you’re dealing with.

  144. chethejet1 says:

    Pens need the passion of Crosby to do something in the playoffs. Not sure Sid the kid buys in anymore. This is a meh series. I was hoping for the wings to determine the state of the union for the Pens. But we will see what happens as anything can happen in the playoffs. Pens look like the Broncos to me. Great numbers, lots of skill but when the stars are hit in the face they lose focus and the stars look ordinary. Shero/Bylsma just won’t protect Crosby and that is such a joke.

  145. NMR says:

    Still don’t see how it makes any sense unless in absolutely extreme situations.

  146. Leo Walter says:

    Jim, I always respect your comments ,but that is a real stretch. I thought I was watching one of the dumbest displays of pitch selection and command I had seen in quite some time.

  147. NMR says:

    won and lost many men millions of dollars in both!

  148. Leo Walter says:

    And +++ from me also Milo.

  149. 21sthebest says:

    I thought those were reviewable Jim.

  150. Arriba Wilver says:

    If there’s not definitive proof, how do you know the guy on the field was wrong? ‘Cause it kinda looked like it?

  151. JohninOshkosh says:

    Thanks. On rare occasions, there is an elegance to my posts.

  152. cmat0829 says:

    personally i’m content with seeing if snider can continue at a good pace… if he can, we have something of value… if not for us, for trade. the polanco era will start soon enough and what a great era it can and hopefully will be…..

  153. tdb1977 says:

    Also my fault as I finally washed the winter grime off of both cars this past weekend.

  154. Nate83 says:

    You are correct the Sanchez play was not ruled a collision play. I was incorrect to include that as an example. The night the Shancez play happened they showed two previous plays this year that where collision play reviews at the plate on MLB Network. The analyst and myself thought they got both calls incorrect. In fact one of the managers got thrown out of the game the next day before the first pitch because he was trying to get an explanation.

    I brought up Sanchez because in his case he was not intentionally trying to gain any competitive advantage by blocking the plate and he wasn’t trying to cause any harm to the base runner. The throw which was text book brought him in front of the plate. If he doesn’t go down to a sitting position he is standing straight up and his ankle gets slid into and he breaks his leg.

  155. cmat0829 says:

    exactly…. out here in Phoenix, news was made when the agent for Archie Bradley called out Kevin Towers for not calling his client up by now… the Dbacks are struggling (cue Joe Namath) and their pitching is atrocious but calling Bradley up to this mess would be exactly the WRONG move. The Dbacks aren’t gonna contend this year so it’s even more reason for them to keep Bradley down until Super 2 is cleared…why spend the future money on a lost cause of a season?

  156. Jandy says:

    Both of you, pick a corner!


  157. Jandy says:


  158. Mike says:

    Just want to say I think a pens black out would be better than gold. The black out feels very Pittsburgh and looked awesome in the pirates playoff games!

  159. tdb1977 says:

    My rooms are all round, so I don’t have to pick a corner.

  160. Jandy says:

    Don’t be so modest, Oshie, most of your posts are rare AND elegant ;)

  161. Arriba Wilver says:

    I wasn’t making a judgment on that one way or another. Just that the decision now is money, not years of control.

    There were a lot of arguments before about taking the ” best 25″ right out of Spring Training.

  162. Jandy says:

    then lay on the floor :P


  163. 21sthebest says:

    I would if I were you or anybody.

  164. Nate83 says:

    +++ Well stated Cmat. Agree completely.

  165. NMR says:

    Sorry, wasn’t trying to insinuate you that you were.

    I just think that for teams with salary constraints such as the Pirates, Super 2 very well does mean one less year that a given player is with the team.

    That’s a lot to lose from a player in his prime for two months as a rookie.

  166. 21sthebest says:

    Well I think Sanchez just did what the play required him to do. Really tough for me to say he would have broken something if he was standing.

    One flaw on these home plate collision rules that I realized over the weekend, at least to me it’s a flaw, was that one play where Marte scored on a close play. Had the catcher been able to use his leg to block the plate, he might have been able to tag Marte before he gets to the plate. Seems reasonable to me to at least allow the catcher to block the plate using a shin guard.

  167. Arriba Wilver says:

    The Pirates beat ‘em to it! And they had plenty of chances. ;-)

    It could be worse, they could have gone with the blue out.

  168. Milo Hamilton says:

    The good news about the weather is that I didn’t need an allergy pill today. Hey, it’s something.

  169. NMR says:

    Location, that is. Not me. I have however given a couple men thousands in real estate. ;)

  170. Arriba Wilver says:

    That’s always the call. I actually thought they risked Super 2 with Cole last year because they needed him, but it looks now like he won’t be eligible. It’s definitely a big difference monetarily.

    But once you mention money and the Pirates, some (not you) have their sphincter pucker up. It is money.

  171. Thundercrack says:

    struggling (cue Joe Namath)

    Love that. I say that at least once a week.

    And my wife says ” I want to kiss you” at least once a week too. Not always to me, though.

  172. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah. I want the people that are reviewing the replays to make the call regardless of what the on field ump says, unless when they’re talking the on field ump says he saw something that the guys viewing the replays can’t pick up. Also from what I’ve read, the replay guys are seeing more angles than what we’re seeing so maybe they saw something definitive last night? For example, if the on field ump says that it just looked foul to him, then make the replay guys make the definitive call.

    One of the reasons why I don’t like replay in the NFL is that I feel like the refs are hesitant sometimes to make a call knowing that a replay can be reviewed. Sometimes I think they get lazy on the field. Seems to me like there are a number of instances when the on field refs don’t make a call and just look at each other knowing that replay can fix it. I don’t remember that being the case before replay. Could be a 21 memory issue. But I’m also concerned that baseball umps will do the same thing.

  173. Nate83 says:

    So I lost my son to the Broncos and Peyton Manning a few years back. He actually dropped the Steelers to 3rd behind Peyton’s previous team the Colts. I’ve been holding out hope I can keep him as a Pirate fan.

    Last year helped the cause but last night may have helped a lot more. After one of the home runs I saw in the dugout the Pirate players all raising their hands up and down at the same time with one finger in the air. My son saw it and said they are doing the Danial Bryant “Yes,Yes,Yes” chant. He is the WWE wrestling champion and my son’s favorite wrestler. That should get me at least another 2 or 3 years of us having a common team to cheer for.

  174. Thundercrack says:

    What does NH always say about bringing up a young player from the minors: You bring them up because they are ready and you want to, not because you have to.

    or something like that……………..

  175. Jim S. says:

    I think so, plan. It kept see-sawing back and forth, and I believe the umps knew there was a really good chance once it got stopped that was it. I think they were thrilled that it was tied after the 6th.

  176. bpn8pitt says:

    Agree. I look at it as a work in progress. And Im okay with that.

    Im just waiting to see what the unintended side effects will be.

    FWIW though, umpiring Little League games was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Couldnt imagine what it would be like with television/replay, thousands of people in the stands, with millions at home and billions of dollars at stake.

  177. Thundercrack says:

    And by bringing up Cole last year they showed they wanted to win – and would worry about Super 2 later on.

  178. Jandy says:

    Those mothers are vicious, I tell you!

  179. cmat0829 says:

    agree… it is just the right and best strategy for teams with constraints (and that is 95% of the league really)… I just wish they’d negotiate this out of the next CBA one way or the other… align the clocks either way… either FA moves to Super 2 time frame or Super 2 moves to FA time frame…. that would avoid teams having to embarrassingly double speak on this topic.

    To me it is no different than NFL teams mortgaging the future with salary cap restructures… the price for the short-term focus will always be paid, question is when. I don’t think a short-term focus really ever gets you where you need to go. This team should be a contender. If they are, a June callup of Polanco will be just fine. If the team is not, then it’s a moot point and I don’t wanna optimize this year at the cost of a future year.

  180. Jandy says:

    Glad you clarified that, NMR lol

  181. Jim S. says:

    Great avatar, 21!!

    If that grounder was, in fact, reviewable, then the Pirates have some ‘splaining to do. You just can’t let a guy have a free double in a game like that. Of course, maybe they had a bad angle. But, shouldn’t someone have been watching the monitors?

  182. JohninOshkosh says:

    Don’t have to mow either!

  183. Jandy says:

    Yes! the avatar rocks!

  184. 21sthebest says:


  185. Jandy says:

    And there’s your silver lining!

    (I miss Brandie)

  186. theplanisworking says:

    Yeah, where is Brandie?
    Probably shoveling snow at her new job ………

  187. Lad 9 says:

    I wonder if Lunchbox could play first base after Polanco comes up…. Although he might need a faceguard based on last night!

  188. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah, Clint doesn’t seem to be using those challenges much lately.

  189. Arriba Wilver says:

    I think the intent is like what we were talking about below with Milo. It’s not to try to make every call perfect, it’s to correct the obvious mistakes. And that’s a compromise between the time constraints and having a technically perfectly called game. (Which in my view is impossible anyway). I’m fine with the balance struck with the clear and convincing proof standard.

    Disclaimer: I am not telling anyone how to be a fan of any particular sport.

  190. NMR says:

    Amen, buddy!

    I’d give umpires a lot more respect if they weren’t so damn insufferable.

  191. Jim S. says:

    Funny tweet last night from @JohnDreker of Pirates Prospects.

    “The Little League World Series has announced they are moving from Williamsport to Great American Ballpark. Easier than moving in fences.”

  192. Andrew says:

    Hockey I have seen so many different critiques of the Blysma and the Penguins system I honestly do not know what the Penguins system is anymore.

    I definitely agree the big issue the Penguins had was breakouts and mainly being reliant on a D-Man firing the puck up the side wall for a tip in by the forward at the red line. Last year and especially this year the breakouts have been much more varied, with better puck support from the forwards. The other big systematic concern was when the Penguins would use favor 2-3 forecheck with a lead and two forwards would be deep and force the puck wide but no one would pinch and the three high skaters would just skate backwards and cede the neutral zone. I have not seen this much since 2011-12.

    I agree with what you said yesterday about being optimistic, there seems to be a much more varied tactical approach, hopefully the Penguins are healthy enough to put quality personnel on the ice.

  193. 21sthebest says:

    I don’t disagree with that at all. And I just said something that I hate when others say it. Why not just say I agree? I just think this stuff is a little muddy and grey.

    I always speculated that the NFL instituted replay because they were afraid that a playoff game would be won by a team as a result of a blown call at or near the end of a game. Honestly, I really don’t care that much because obviously one team is going to win and even though I’m not concerned about the time replay takes up, I don’t like disrupting the flow of a game. And the manager coming out to stall until he gets the sign from the guy who’s talking to the guys reviewing the play for the team just seems really silly to me. I’d get rid of that part. Make the manager make the call based on what he saw and the players involved.

  194. The Post Gazette says that the Pens aren’t favored to win the playoffs this time. And I don’t favor them either for obvious reasons.

  195. JD says:

    Ha ha. It seems this topic has struck a nerve with you. I guess it’s all a part of preparing to be underwhelmed. Have a fun day pal!

  196. JAL says:

    Counting down the January 9-15 1967 KDKA top 50. Been doing that for weeks, today’s song was number 6.

  197. Arriba Wilver says:

    He learned from Pedro. But he DID leave out the money part (which I think is what Cmat was saying about the system).

  198. Nate83 says:

    Thanks plan. It truly is a strange phenomenon. It’s such a simple saying and he just chants it over and over. My son and his friends love it. They start chanting along.

  199. Jim S. says:

    And a step stool.

  200. Jim S. says:

    But, it pays pretty well.

  201. cberry88 says:

    Anyone know if Root Sports is showing the postponed game at 5:30?

  202. Milo Hamilton says:



  203. NMR says:

    I agree. Still skeptical, but everything he’s done in two weeks of play is completely sustainable in nature, except for the homeruns.

    Swinging at less pitches out of the zone, more pitches in the zone, more contact, less k’s, even distribution of batter ball types.

    Whether he can continue over a half season or so is the big gigantic question.

  204. Milo Hamilton says:

    That’s how they’re lining up at practice.

  205. tdb1977 says:

    They are. Going right into the regular scheduled game for tonight.

  206. The Pens are naturally heavily favored to beat Columbus, but that’s about it.

  207. cmat0829 says:

    I should have typed it “schhruggalinggg”

  208. Jim S. says:

    I’m ok if I think the original call was wrong, but I know that it was a tough call, and they don’t overturn it.

    When I get frustrated is when they overturn a call when I can’t see definitive evidence that it was wrong in the first place.

    I know it is all up to interpretation in most cases. As I said, maybe they had an angle on the Snider face ball that we didn’t get to see. From what I saw, I would say it was “probably” fair. To me, that is not enough to reverse it.

  209. Jandy says:

    From the Pen’s website:

    The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-assigned defenseman Simon Despres and forwards Chuck Kobasew and Harry Zolnierczyk to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League (AHL), it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Ray Shero.

    All three players dressed for the Penguins in Sunday’s season-finale against the Ottawa Senators at CONSOL Energy Center.

  210. Milo Hamilton says:

    Did you see that in the Post Gazette ?

  211. Sarah says:

    Despres back to WBS, at least he will get to play.

  212. Sarah says:

    I think we’re under a No Negativity caution today!!! Be careful!

  213. Wild Bill says:

    Sounds like Engelland is playing, one place or another. And I’m counting on Milo’s Geno guarantee.

  214. Sarah says:

    Totally agree, black would be awesome! Everybody is going to have different shade of yellow or gold… best!

  215. hockeymonster says:

    Yup. Actually I think i read about this recently:

    I think the game that signified the pens evolution to a more varied tactical approach came during that Capitals game in november. You may recall the possession metrics being off the charts that game. And i recall the 3rd period in anaheim game at home prior to capitals game being much more puck support oriented. I said this at the time but the pens season can be summed up with B.C. and A.C. Before capitals game and after capitals game.

    They started the season minding the NZ and facing the rush more often instead of chasing it by not over committing forecheckers when opposing D established possession. And lately we’ve done a good job of recognizing when we have speed and support going thru NZ which allows us to ‘release the hounds’ and send multiple forecheckers to regain possession if we have to dump it in. Puck support breakouts allow for this and if we don’t have speed and numbers going thru NZ we’ve done a good job of defending NZ and passing lanes up ice.

    Best part about having forwards support dmen down low on breakouts is that opposing teams end up on their heals. They have to choose between forechecking hard to prevent our speed from generating and getting burned. Or backing up in NZ and allowing for our speed and skill to burn them. You may have noticed forwards being sprung on odd man rushes when defenders need to move their pressure up ice to counter our close support breakouts.

  216. Sarah says:

    Sure hope it’s 4L RW!!

  217. Gotcha. Missed the memo earlier this year. :)

    Anytime you want to throw up a Nancy Sinatra vid, that’s okey dokey with me! Before my time but, please…

    The filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick, was marvelous at blending music and cinematography into iconic cinematic moments. His use of Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking” in the Vietnamese establishing shot after Vincent D’Onofrio’s dramatic suicide in 1987’s “Full Metal Jacket” is one such moment. I always thought “Sugar Town” would have worked there too. But, I think US soldiers had an attachment to “Boots” especially after Nancy visited the region.

  218. Wild Bill says:

    Smizik had a blog column today about the Polanco call up discussion. Thought his points were well said, although he didn’t give the kid any credit for his accomplishments in winter ball.

    The best way for that discussion to simmer down is if Snider hits like he never has before. As I said yesterday, I don’t expect it, and I hope he proves me wrong.

  219. radio wave says:

    I would like to know folks cup predictions. And if the Pens don’t make it, who does?

  220. hockeymonster says:


  221. Wild Bill says:

    Heart says Ducks-Pens, and Pens win. Brain says Ducks-Bruins, and Bruins win.

  222. Hahahahaha!

    Now, that is humor.

  223. cberry88 says:

    Excellent. Thanks!

  224. Jandy says:


  225. Jandy says:


  226. NMR says:

    I wonder what the guys over at the Pot-Gazette think about the Penguins chances v. Columbus?

  227. Jim S. says:

    I’m with you, Walter. I was just being facetious.

  228. @radio:


    1991 Rematch.

    Campbell Conference winners Minnesota vs. Prince of Wales, Patrick Division winners Pittsburgh.

    Stanley Cup Champions: Pittsburgh

    I’m not kidding, either.

  229. 21sthebest says:

    I like cutting the grass! But I can get all of my done in about an hour.

  230. Jim S. says:

    “And, apparently, I was delighted to see it!!!”

    Great line, Sarah.

  231. Jandy says:

    NHL Draft Lottery this evening:

  232. Jandy says:

    lol She popped on the Bucs thread last night..then disappeared…

  233. Wild Bill says:

    Flyers sign Andy MacDonald to a 6 year, $30 million contract. Seems like a lot for him.

  234. Jim S. says:

    I think AJ is going to have a tough time pitching through that there iguana hernia thingy.

    I predict he won’t need to pitch through it much past about July 4, since wins and losses for the Phils may not matter by then.

  235. Wild Bill says:

    Mother eagle looks none too happy today, while protecting the chicks from the weather out there!

  236. cmat0829 says:

    To me it boils down to this: go ahead and call Polanco up now if you think he is ready. And if that results in his price tag through arbitration in the future year Super2 allows him to be arbitration eligible being too much for the Pirates to bear, and they have to trade him one year sooner than they would otherwise, then I will scour the future blog for any and all comments about this. And I will remind you that this was all for about 5 weeks of Polanco learning how to hit big-league pitching… when his WAR as compared to Snider was probably not all that significant.

    But I get it, armchair GMs only have to worry about today, and future money is unlimited (because either Nutting gets Ebenezer Scrooged into spending his money or a new owner swoops in and saves the day)….

  237. tdb1977 says:

    I just hope he comes to Pittsburgh, pitches on the 4th of July, and the Bucs come out swinging hot bats.

  238. Wild Bill says:

    Yup, a superbly fortunate front office call on that one.

  239. cmat0829 says:

    I think the injury might just ruin the master plan… get the Phils to pony up (even though they have zero chance of competing this year) and get traded at the deadline to a real contender, maybe even the Pirates, for the stretch run.

  240. cmat0829 says:

    I think our Travis Sawchik had an excellent article about the risk of 37-year-old pitchers if memory serves…..

  241. cmat0829 says:

    exactly. there is no reason for them to be so defensive and obnoxious when close calls are challenged…. i think they must be trained the the best response when challenged is to be a total ***hole, otherwise you admit you might be wrong and lose command of things…. I don’t agree with that, prefer the NBA way of doing it where they do often times go up to the coach and say they missed a call, but I have to think it is part of their training.

  242. 21sthebest says:

    If the hernia messes with his mechanics, could be a big problem for him.

  243. Jim S. says:

    OMG, that is priceless! I had to watch it a couple of times, so that I could focus on a couple of different guys each time. I can’t decide which was my favorite reaction – chubby guy in the red shirt, or goatee guy in the gray shirt. Might have to watch again.

  244. Jim S. says:

    “I couldn’t agree more.”

    – Pitcher’s Wins Are Mostly A Meaningless Stat Guy

  245. Andrew says:

    Yeah that is just dumb.

  246. Arriba Wilver says:

    Please do a spreadsheet. Memory has a way of remembering what you want to remember. Don’t forget to include if the Bucs miss the playoffs this year by a game or 2.


  247. NMR says:

    Goatee guy in the grey shirt is sooooo Philadelphia. You can just picture him taunting Ugla and then turning around to tell anyone who listens how the Phillies are bums and he knew they’d lose all along.

    Chubby kid in the red shirt is my favorite though. Looks like a fun guy to buy a beer.

  248. Nate83 says:

    I agree completely and it’s all relative to how their current right fielders are playing. They are doing just fine. There is no reason to add a year of arbitration and possible harm the ability to makes some moves in future years to add 40-45 games of Polanco which may or may not amount to a +0.5 WAR over that amount of games.

    Now if he was a shortstop not calling him up would be a tougher pill to swallow but I’m still not sure it would make sense in the grand scheme of things.

  249. Jim S. says:

    Chubby kid is so crestfallen! The double hands on face is classic. He does look like a good guy, though.

  250. Arriba Wilver says:

    You guys seem to be assuming that there could be no reason to bring him up pre-Super 2 date. I’m not intelligent enough to know today if that will be true between now and whatever that date is. No one has even said yet to bring him up today.

  251. Jim S. says:

    I found this interview/article about Polanco a great read. He seems content that he is learning a great deal right now in Indy.

  252. Nate83 says:

    Show me a spreadsheet that shows Polanco adds 1 or 2 wins over the course of 45 games compared to Snider. Even the most positive projections wouldn’t have him adding even 1 win over Snider in that amount of time.

    I am a huge Polanco fan and as I’ve stated many times I’ve soured quickly on Snider but I can’t ignore simple facts. Snider has not been a problem this year. Until he becomes a problem why start Polanco’s clock for no reason except the argument that Snider will eventually stink again (I’m not saying that is your exact argument). Polanco has not had nearly enough AAA at bats to know what they are seeing is real and he is ready for sure. Once you bring him up your not sending him back so you better be sure.

    This doesn’t have to be a yes/no discussion. They can evaluate the situation on a week by week basis. If Snider begins to regress quickly and Polanco continues to look good you continue to weigh the pro’s and con’s but as of right now I just don’t see the added value being enough to compensate for the downside of bringing him up.

  253. Sarah says:

    Good bye, Nisky. Ugh…..

  254. Sarah says:

    So Martin’s off the #1 PP, replaced by Letang.

    Promised not to be too negative today, so I will have to leave it at that.

  255. Milo Hamilton says:

    Just saw in the Post Gazette that Sunday is Easter.

  256. Jandy says:

    He Lives!

  257. 21sthebest says:

    Did they have that today is the first day of Passover?

  258. Arriba Wilver says:

    For obvious reasons.

  259. Arriba Wilver says:

    No, it was in the late editions yesterday around sundown. ;-)

  260. Nate83 says:

    Thanks for sharing Jim. It sounds like the kid has a high baseball IQ and has a plan when he comes tot he plate. It also sounds as if he has the talent to execute the plan. I’m excited to see him playing daily for the Pirates sometime this year.

  261. Milo Hamilton says:

    Every time I see people seriously cite a made up nothing stat like WAR in a baseball argument it makes me supremely confident my stance is right.

  262. stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    And Marte’s looked like it was off the end of the bat……..balls sure do carry at that ballpark, maybe Cinncy moved to Colorado.

  263. stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    It’s not just about the Pens.

    You see it all the time with the Pirates and Steelers as well.

  264. Jim S. says:

    He did come off well in that article, I thought.

  265. Thundercrack says:

    ‘Player X had not been a problem yet this year’

    ‘Player X has been a problem this year’

    I try to remind myself that we are 12 2/3 games into the season.

    #itsearly. #snapshots

  266. Nate83 says:

    If someone brings up the Pirates missing the playoffs by 1 or 2 games how else would you debate that topic? Not to mention my exact statement was “which may or may not amount to a +0.5 WAR”. That clearly is not using that stat to support anything. It is dismissing that stat as useless in the case of comparing a prospect who we have no idea how he will do and a failed prospect who has shown early signs of being better.

  267. Sarah says:

    Prediction, BOS over Wings though it may go 6 or 7.
    NYR over PHL. Could be short if Rangers take one of the first 2 in Philly. Bullies have had no luck in NY winning on the road. Else 7 games. Did I cover enough bases LOL?
    Pens handle Col in 5 close games. Bob steals one.

    Dunno the west well … throwin spaghetti v the wall but –
    Ducks, Hawks, Avs, and…..hmm Fins Kings a tough one!!! Gonna go with the Fins cos LAK have been lackluster second half….
    Not sure how much pasta stuck there lol!!!!

  268. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  269. Arriba Wilver says:

    Who you arguing with, Nate? My spreadsheet comment had to do with Cmat saying he was going to come back in a few years and tell the ” armchair GM’s” how wrong they were. As I’ve said before everybody but Neal is an armchair GM regarding their views of the Pirates.

    And, as I said below a minute before you posted this, no one has even said yet that he should be brought up today. I am definitely included in that no one.

  270. Sarah says:

    Ok that is some BOLD stuff Osh!!!!

  271. Baywatch says:

    Afternoon, Y’all! Will anyone remember all the bombs if we lose this game?

  272. Baywatch says:

    Up here, Janj!

  273. That train track is to Milo’s 1:14 PM post.

    Of course, talking about dismissing, I wanted Huntington dismissed after the Hoka Hey fiasco, so what do I know? Glad to be wrong sometimes.

  274. Baywatch says:

    Hey, Milo! For all you and your Dad’s slipping out during communion, you learned something!

  275. Arriba Wilver says:

    Uh, you wait and see how it plays out. That was the context of my comment Nate.

    You don’t seriously think I was saying that if they don’t bring up Polanco now they will miss the playoffs by one or 2 games? I wasn’t even saying bring him up.

  276. Nate83 says:

    Your last sentence about missing the playoffs by 1 or 2 games obviously puts you on the side of the debate that thinks every game Polanco isn’t up here is a missed opportunity to be better. I don’t agree with that so I was commenting to you. I also responded I agreed with cmat completely so your reply also disagreed with me (which is perfectly fine). So I added my two cents.

  277. Milo Hamilton says:

    I really like that one. A fraction of a win. How do they calculate that, with an abacus ? Sometimes these things are very simple. If you have a guy in the minors & you think he’s better than the guy you currently have playing his position, you should bring him up.

  278. Arriba Wilver says:


  279. Arriba Wilver says:

    “If” is a very important word, Nate. Plus context. Cmat was talking about coming back years down the road and scolding people. I was just trying to help out with the mechanics. ;-)

  280. Wild Bill says:

    All the pitchers are disgusted that it became an official game; all the batters are thrilled for the same.

  281. Jandy says:


  282. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hey Bay !

  283. Arriba Wilver says:

    Oh, and I definitely am not on the side of the debate that says every day he isn’t brought up is a missed opportunity. You must have missed my posts defending Snider.

  284. Nate83 says:

    Honestly I did AW because you did say it. Why did you respond to Cmat that way if you kind of agreed with him on how they are handling the Polanco situation? To add the other side of the argument to the end of your comment would lead one to believe that is the side you are taking. If you didn’t mean why did you say it? Are you a defense lawyer for those that want Polanco brought up before Super 2.

  285. Andrew says:

    I think that is a fairly accurate characterization of season. I am of the opinion that bigger adjustment started last year, I tie it to the loss of Staal and the breakup of one best 3rd lines in the NHL. I remember the Penguins significantly adjusting their breakouts in both the Islanders and Boston series, one had an effect the other not so much. I remember minor tweaks before, like the Tampa series but this year has been a different animal.

    I never really had issues with the Penguins offensive zone strategy, as long as they are judicious is use of the 2-3 with the aggressive pinch, which they have been the last two year I have seen more 1-2-2 and some 1-3-1 this year, (they are not Boucher’s Lightening). I think the D-Zone has been fine even though it seems to be constantly changing. The issue has always been the breakouts.

    The biggest issue for the playoff will be if they have to chase a game and need to generate scoring opportunities against a packed house defense, but this is not a unique problem, every trailing team with have these issues. I like the Pensburgh stuff, I frequently read the stuff there, don’t comment because if I had an account I’d get nothing done.

  286. Baywatch says:

    Pretty cool being able to blog with yinz out here on my walk! I mean, would Bob Veale have ever thought this possible? Maybe Dock Ellis on LSD!

  287. NMR says:

    Ignorance will always be bliss for some.

  288. Andrew says:

    That contract is so dumb I do not think it will set the market for anything, of course it could all depend on where the cap ends up.

  289. Nate83 says:

    I don’t keep track of all your comments and I don’t care whether you used the word if or when in that sentence. Your comment seemed less about the use of a spreadsheet and more about thinking he was wrong to think Polanco should not be brought up until after Super 2 which was the main point made in his post.

    Adding the shaking my head part at the end to me didn’t imply you simply where trying to help him with his spreadsheet or making a lighthearted comment but that you disagree with his overall comment.

  290. Pants-n-at says:

    Been there—done that. Parents wanted to kill me!! (well, parents of the losing team) I’ll never do that again.

  291. Andrew says:

    Martin less time on the PP means more time on the kill, which should mean less of Scuderi on the PK, so it could be tradeoff of sorts.

  292. Arriba Wilver says:

    You obviously aren’t listening (reading) Nate. No point to the discussion anymore, if there was to begin with.

  293. Nate83 says:

    I was at that point in the discussion as well. My next post would have been similar because you obviously aren’t listening (reading) either.

  294. Wild Bill says:

    Reading that the Nittany Lions are going hard after Sterling Jenkins of Baldwin. Is he a really good one?

    Lions now rated #1 in 2015 verbal commitments.

  295. Sarah says:

    I hope you are right!

  296. Sarah says:

    I guess. Of course this proceeds on the assumption that Scuderi should go anywhere near the PK.
    Oops, negative !!

  297. hockeymonster says:


    And yes i agree during the NYI series we made some breakout and NZ adjustments before game 5, just in time. And in boston series after being down 2-0 we looked better on the road but it was too late. NZ play was changed before season but breakouts really started to look good and consistent A.C. game.

    And i think our D have always pinched under bylsma to keep the puck in the ozone and our F3 would always try to squeeze off the puck with our dmen. But this can only done when the forwards are backtracking to give dmen a chance to step up. Overall i think we’ve been consistent at this with disco.

    And we covered what we need to do against packed houses. High slot and center point will need to be our friend.

  298. Arriba Wilver says:

    Cool. Just remind Cmat about that spreadsheet in a few years.

  299. Arriba Wilver says:

    I have no idea (even though I graduated from Baldwin). But it does remind me that I was wondering if the apparent prominence of Savage in the draft will help Pitt in recruiting. I know he was a really special case, but going to Pitt last year surely didn’t hurt him.

  300. Wild Bill says:

    In what round is he expected to be taken, AW? I don’t look at most mock drafts.

  301. stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    So negative this morning…………

  302. Andrew says:

    However I should add that Niskanen is already out of the price range of where a deal makes senses for the Penguins, younger defenseman with a career year that can play top four minutes, these guys get paid well. If the Penguins truly have a pipeline full of defense I think they should commit resources elsewhere.

  303. Ha!

    What’s the old expression about everyone has an opinion and they all stink! Or is that excuses? lol.

    Here is how I have always viewed the playoffs. Every game in them is gravy to me. In all sports, I am first a fan of the day to day routine of the regular season. How it measures and paces my everyday life. I love looking at standings and match ups etc. About turning the page on each new day. Baseball and hockey are best at that. Don’t get me wrong, I love championships but, as the old expression goes, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

    The NHL playoffs are especially gravy. Every team has its strengths and weaknesses. No perfect teams. No teams clearly superior to another. That is why you have the Ottawas of the world making it one year and not the next. So, there are really no upsets to me. It never shocks me to see the President Trophy winner go out in the first round. Or a team come out of nowhere to run deep on the shoulders of a hot goalie. So, even if my teams wave good bye in the first round, it doesn’t bother me too much for too long. Happens every year to some team or another in the SC playoffs. That’s why it’s such a wonderful event.

  304. Andrew says:

    Fair point, I just hope for marginal changes, so less Scuderi ice time is an improvement.

  305. Jim S. says:

    I think so. But, mostly I’ll probably remember the replays and non-replays.

  306. Arriba Wilver says:

    I saw today in the Trib that he may go as high as the 2nd round. Also someone said he may have the strongest arm in the draft.

  307. buggee says:

    here here Jandywumba!

  308. Jim S. says:

    Why does it always seem Philly has cap space?

  309. Andrew says:

    Do not get me wrong the 2-3 with the that proverbial F3 high is the preferred system, it just seems the Penguins have being willing to gone away from it more so of late.

    My preferred tactic against the packed house is don’t fall behind.

  310. buggee says:

    this is a tremendous post scapper!!!

  311. Jim S. says:

    As with Russell Wilson flipping to WI and Chryst his last year.

    I would have thought HS QBs would flock to him. But, they really haven’t so far, have they?

  312. Jim S. says:

    I’m with you, Bill, although I will say Ducks beat Brunes.

  313. Andrew says:

    Not sure, I don’t follow other teams as closely in hockey as I do baseball, but I know Philadelphia got out of the Bryzgalov contract with a compliance buyout, post last lockout which removed any cap hit. And Pronger has been on injured reserved for eternity.

  314. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t know about that, Jim. It was just a question I had. And Savage has apparently risen because of his performance in the combines, etc., not because of his play at Pitt. But it certainly can’t hurt, at least with the less than consensus “can’t miss” quarterback recruits.

  315. buggee says:

    yep, that’s my mom to a tee. I was overjoyed when she siad that we were going to have an “early spring”, and then we were bombed with frigid temps and snowfalls. Dumb thing to get happy about, but there you go.

    ETCH IT and stick an octopus in it

  316. Jim S. says:

    I’ve never pitched with a hernia. Or, done anything with one, for that matter. But, it seems like it will be very difficult for him to keep pitching for very long.

  317. theplanisworking says:


    I see Boston coming out of the East.
    I see Chicago coming out of the West. You have to beat the reigning champs. Boudreau’s teams have a history of folding.

    I see Chicago over Boston again.

    I seriously hope I am wrong with these picks.

  318. Jim S. says:

    I agree with you, AW. Thanks for clarifying. Savage has great size, pretty good mobility, and a cannon. It doesn’t surprise me that he would rise in the draft.

    I thought you were linking Savage’s rise to Chryst being the “QB Whisperer.” I actually thought that was going to lead to more top QB recruits coming to Pitt, since Russell Wilson did so well. Maybe it still will. But, so far, they have not attracted the HS QB recruits I thought they would from Chryst’s reputation.

  319. stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    May I jump in on this?

    I can’t wait to see Polanco in a Pirate uniform, however, the current RF situation isn’t in need of his calling, just yet.

    I’m glad GP is tearing the cover off the ball right now, but we need some perspective here. He’s 11 games into the season.

    We can play the “what if” game all day long about these stats, but what if he goes into a weeklong slump? Those numbers won’t be so hot.

    Let him learn how to hit (which it seems like he’s doing) off of other former or prospective MLB ready pitchers so he’ll be as ready as possible when he comes up.

    Yes,this is a matter of finances, no matter how much we all hate that, it’s a fact. It comes down to saving millions in the long run, something the Pirates will ALWAYS need to be cautious of.

  320. theplanisworking says:

    Is an iguana hernia related to the animal in any way?

  321. theplanisworking says:

    No JD the Troublemaker, no nerve struck.
    It’s just another attempt to squash discussion, and tell others how to cheer their teams………. which I have no use for.

    You have a fun day too, troublemaker. :D

  322. Sarah says:

    Beautifully said, Sir!

  323. buggee says:

    i thought i’d recognized her. She’s pretty good in Dexter…

  324. theplanisworking says:

    Thank You David.
    I get tired of people trying to squash any different discussion from theirs. Happens on this blog all the time, and then people deny it.

  325. Sarah says:

    I dunno Plan, I’d be fine with the Hawks winning it all. They play they way I want the Pens to play, with a roster I wish we had…..speed, skill, depth. Great D.

    Enough toughness not to get rattled or overwhelmed, without being punks. They could be stronger in goal, but Crawfish got it done when it counted.

    I’m OK with Chi winning it……

  326. Nate83 says:

    That is a great summary of the situation Ryan. Very well put.

  327. scapper says:

    D*** you for being so eloquent and putting my exact sentiments so clearly.

  328. NMR says:


    Only one thing matters. Whether or not Polanco is better than Snider.

    And you’re stupid if you use actual data to say otherwise.

    This is what I learned on the blog today.

  329. theplanisworking says:

    Why was this discussion even brought up at all?

    I thought most people realized that keeping Polanco in Indy until mid-June was a smart, prudent thing, regardless of what happens on the Pirates in RF. I just got lost with all the back and forth, over what I feel is nothing.

    At least there wasn’t any attempts to squash discussion, and tell others how to cheer for the team, like this morning, and happens frequently on here. That is what I don’t like.

  330. Nate83 says:

    Pot stirrer and might I say you are using a very large spoon today.

  331. theplanisworking says:

    I don’t think I even learned that much today.

    Now, if Tabata, and Snider both are stinking up the joint in late May, and Polanco is still being all-universe in Indy, let’s re-visit the discussion then.

    But, don’t many people on here say ‘it’s early’ on this blog all the time? It’s way too early for any Polanco talk.


  332. theplanisworking says:

    But Sarah, if you are ok with Chicago winning, YOU ARE HATING THE PENS, AND WILL DERIVE GREAT JOY OUT OF THAT FACT!!!!!!


    Sorry, just had to. ;)

  333. My only thing with the Polanco discussion (this may make NMR come out of his giving up arguing with me for lent) is the old ways die hard for me.

    I’m a “batting average, ERA, W/L, clutch hit, screw-the-DH, let the umps call it on the field in this and every other sport, non-saber geek” type of person. Probably due to age more than anything. And I miss Bob Hasis and his opinions, too.

    I understand he’s not ready and the Super 2 stuff. Just my feelings. I don’t expect anyone else to think that way or agree. I don’t care about WAR and xFIP or Flop. Hit it, field it, throw it, etc.

  334. theplanisworking says:

    Lucky, your post is funny and truthful at the same time.
    But, I am reserving my judgements until late May. ;)

  335. Jim S. says:

    Cuonzo Martin is in Berkeley, and is expected to leave Tennessee for the Cal Berkeley HC job.

  336. NMR says:

    Excellent response, Lucky.

    Note the one thing you didn’t do was tell anybody else they’re wrong for not agreeing with you.

    Regardless, everyone that reads Milo knows he’s better than that. He knows darn well there’s more to Major League Baseball decision making than what he said. For whatever reason, he chose now to play dumb and get on his soapbox. And that is fine.

  337. Nate83 says:

    Agree plan. I don’t think anyone increased their IQ by being on this blog today. They may have moved closer to Pryor’s Wonderlic score then to Andrew Lucks.

  338. Jim S. says:

    Thanks. Those are two of the deals I would have been considering when I asked that.

  339. theplanisworking says:

    Thanks Nate.

    I am all for learning, but the blog was pretty worthless today. Between all the back and forth over Polanco, to the attempt AGAIN of telling people how to root/think, just had me shaking my head.

    I do appreciate people’s passion most times on here, but sometimes I don’t.

    But, I am always thankful for DK giving us this forum. I never lose sight of that.

  340. Ha! Good one, Nate.

  341. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know. But I g-wanna find out for sure.

  342. theplanisworking says:

    Now that the Polanco and ‘correct way to be a fan’ talk has subsided for today, I woulkd like to point out one thing here on Tax day:

    Boston is observing the anniversary of the tragedy last year. I think that should be the appropriate thing to focus on today. Glad to see the spirit of the people of Boston in full force today. Hope to see it again next Monday, when the actual marathon is run.

    End speech. :)

  343. Nate83 says:

    Me and AW have to do that at least 3 or 4 times a year to get it out of our system. Just try to ignore us and hopefully it won’t happen for another month or two :)

    Funny thing is AW and myself agree on a lot more Pirate related things then most. I think we sometimes are just debating about what degree we agree.

  344. NMR says:

    At least I dind’t insert myself between you this time, Nate.


Other blogs
Sports: Rob Rossi | Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: This Just In | Trib List | ICycle | Flow Back | Stories Behind Trib Stories  

» Top Sports
» Top News
» Top Breaking News