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Morning Java: Football in shorts

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The Monday column covers football. And I mean actual football. As in what impact Ryan Shazier – at center in the pic above – and Stephon Tuitt will have immediately on the defense as a whole, as in Xs and Os, as in personnel, even a Tomlin-ism or two from the Steelers’ rookie camp over the weekend. As a result, we’re going to go heavy with the topic this morning.

Here’s a blog-exclusive talk with Shazier, the first-round pick:

As well as the question and answer with the head coach that’s described in the column:

There’s no waiting on the rookies this time, by Alan Robinson.

Dri Archer might get a shot, too, by Robinson.

Every camp has at least one surprise, by Robinson.

A breakdown of the Steelers’ history with defensive rookies, by Mark Kaboly.

Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 12.57.24 AM

Blogginess from the scene: As the column’s lede stresses — and you can see it up there on the fine Page 2 design this morning by our Brent Wasko — there’s next to nothing to be culled from the drills at a rookie camp. But next to nothing still leaves something, right? Archer is amazingly fast. Has to be seen to be believed. And he’s not as slight as I’d imagined for someone 5-7. Seems to have a stocky enough build to be able to handle … well, more than one NFL hit. We’ll see. These types always look best in the no-contact drills. … It’s strange watching Shazier move, if only because he’s got a) Larry Foote’s old number (sorry) and b) because he really does have a legit inside linebacker’s frame that makes you do a double-take once you see him get around the field. Especially laterally. Exceptional quickness for the position. That’s not everything, obviously. We’ll see if he’s got Lawrence Timmons’ explosiveness — not many do — or the strength and endurance to make plays with his upper body in fourth quarters, given that he isn’t as wide in the shoulders as Timmons. But this was neat in and of itself. … One player a lot of folks were talking about was, of all positions, quarterback Brendon Kay, a free agent. Throws a tight spiral, threads the needle and … can’t get much going downfield. Saw him badly underthrow an open receiver down the left sideline. Twisted the poor guy into a pretzel. … I’ll remind: It’s rookie camp. Quick observations. … What’s downright stupid — and Tomlin appeared to agree — was watching in action the NFL’s silly prohibition on first-year players like Landry Jones from participating. Jones never took a snap in a game last season. Actually, he was never even active. Both the team and the player had everything to gain from his participation. “I’m always in favor of offseason work,” came Tomlin’s diplomatic answer to a question on that topic. … Hearing lots of good things about Mike Munchak’s potential impact on offensive linemen. Don’t underestimate that. … Tomlin wants no part of pushing Troy Polamalu to attend OTAs, even though he’s pushed Polamalu hard behind the scenes in recent years. “It’s voluntary,” Tomlin said. Yeah, it is, but Polamalu has to break in a new safety this year in Mike Mitchell. It won’t feel voluntary this year. … This year’s OTA’s begin May 27, just eight days away.

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

>> The Pirates split at Yankee Stadium. Travis Sawchik reports from the Bronx.

A Dominican family within the organization, by Rob Biertempfel.

Don’t forget about Josh Bell as a hitting prospect, by John Lembo in Bradenton.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Pirates page, our Bucco Blog and our photo gallery.

Here’s Yankees news from the New York Post.

Here’s Orioles news from the Baltimore Sun.

Here are official game highlights on

>> Derrick Pouliot, the Penguins’ No. 1 prospect, has a significant shoulder injury, by Rob Rossi. That stinks for any hockey player. It’s especially tough on defensemen.

The challenges facing the new GM, by Rossi.

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

Here are official game highlights on

>> The Riverhounds aren’t very good. In fact, they’re the only USL Pro team without a win to this point, through seven games. They’re flat-out bad. Beat man Matt Grubba sums up the latest loss from Highmark Stadium.

I’ll add here that Justin Evans needs to come up with answers soon. Not because this is his fault. I don’t believe it is. But I do believe that he’ll have to show the initiative to sit some of these lifeless mercenaries brought in during the offseason. Last year’s team had heart. This one’s got a quarter of the roster cashing paychecks, another quarter wishing they were in Houston.

It’s going to be Evans or those guys before long. I vote Evans.

>> In case you missed it, here’s last night’s Subway Final Word on WPXI-TV. I was joined by Rossi, Mark Madden and Alby Oxenreiter. Lots of pucks, a bit of Steelers.

>> I’ll check in with the WDVE Morning Show at 9:15 a.m.

>> I’ll visit Ken Laird and Guy Junker in the TribLIVE Radio studio at 11:30 a.m.

>> Thank you, as always, for reading.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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


  1. Reading says:

    “[T]ackles rushing passer fast is half the defense against passes.” Coaching — The Way of the Winner, at p. 82. By Knute K. Rockne (1931) (New Revised Edition)

  2. Reading says:

    Also: “Half of the effectiveness against lies in having your strong side end and tackle go in a mile a minute to put pressure on the passer. This makes him throw hurriedly and inaccurately and does not give the receiver time to get to where he is supposed to. The weak side tackle should also hold his end and the strong side tackle should knock off balance those offensive backs coming out. Incidentally he will keep driving in to put pressure on the passer. The defensive tackle goes at the passer high, with arms in the air and does not leave his feet. He grabs the passer if he can. The defensive end goes at the passer from the outside low and leaves his feet unless the passer shall have thrown the ball before he has left his feet.” Rockne, Coaching at pp. 80-81.

  3. bpn8pitt says:

    I’m not sure I want see Polamalu in coverage anymore, Dejan. At least not by himself…If I remember correctly, Timmons issues as a young player was covering the TE or Rb on pass plays. Even his speed didn’t always make up for missing an assignment.

  4. JoeyBats says:

    BUCCOS — Down on the Farm
    (We’ll keep you apprised of how some of the top prospects are doing; …..this week the position players. Games played through May 18).

    RF — Gregory “the Great” Polanco — Triple A – Indy – Bats : L
    .389/ .453 / .623 … HR 5, RBI 38… G 28 , AB 111, R 22, H 42, K 22, BB 6, SB…10
    1B/OF – Andrew Lambo – Triple A – Indy – Bats: L ….on the DL
    .344 / .430/ .570 … HR 2, RBI 19… G 26, AB 93, R 18, H 32, K 22, BB 13, SB 3
    3B – Stetson Allie – Double A – Altoona – Bats: R
    .231 / .340 / .478 …HR 8, RBI 23, ….G 37, AB 134, R 19, H 31, K 43, BB 20, SB 2
    SS – Alan Hanson – Double A – Altoona – Bats: S
    .270/ .306/ .447 … HR 4, RBI 19,… G 38, AB 159, R 23, H 43, K 33, BB 7, SB 10
    OF – Josh Bell – Single A – Bradenton – Bats: S
    .297 / .339 / .449…. HR 3, RBI 23…. G 41, AB 158, R 14, H 47, K 27, BB 10, SB…3
    3B -Wyatt Mathisen – Single A – West Virginia – Bats: R
    .264 / .329 / .361….. HR 3 RBI 15,… G 41, AB 144, R 12, H 38, K 20, BB 14, SB 2
    C – Reese McGuire – Single A – West Virginia – Bats : L
    .280 / .331 / .317 …..HR 0, RBI 14 ,…. G 28 , AB 107, R 13, H 30, K 12, BB 8, SB 0
    OF – Austin Meadows –XXXXXXXXX – Bats: L (Injured…rehabbing)


  5. bpn8pitt says:

    Might want to start including fielding pct ;)

  6. Jandy says:

    The Curve beat themselves last night with their horrible fielding. Better get he coaches on that….yikes.

  7. JAL says:

    JAL’s Daydream Believer Morning Links

    Big hit by the Monkees and also a hit by Anne Murray. Written by John Stewart


    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

    Prospect Watch: A Good Report on the Defense From JaCoby Jones

    Prospect Highlights: Double From Gregory Polanco, Home Run By Stetson Allie

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Josh Harrison helps Pirates to 5-3 win as Bucs split doubleheader but lose outfielders

    7 Rumbunter

    Neal Huntington Show Lacks Answers

    8 Green Weenie

    Yankees Ride Big Opening Frame To 4-3 Win

    Game #2: Bucs Chip Away For 5-3 Twinbill Split

    9 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Gaby Sanchez Continues to Fly Under the Radar

    10 Raise the Jolly Roger

    Series Wrap Up: At least they got one

  8. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 New York Times

    Teams Split, as Do Many Fans

    12 CBS Sports

    Harrison’s heroics help Pirates earn DH split with Yankees

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Anthony Rizzo showing maturity at the plate

    14 NY Daily News

    Pirates Gerrit Cole, who grew up Yankees fan and was drafted by Bombers, downplays start in Bronx.

    15 Pirates Site

    Harrison’s late heroics earn DH split for Pirates

    Tabata, Marte exit Game 2 with leg injuries

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Doc: Reds’ momentum epitome of a hamster wheel

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Light-hitting Brewers lose series to Cubs

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Garcia shines, but ninth goes dark for Cards

    Bernie: La Russa is fired up to do battle

    19 Fangraphs

    Can We Predict Decline Before Fastball Speed Drops?

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    The Week In Quotes

  9. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Hopefully, Martavis Bryant can break the Steelers tall receivers curse

    An expectation for a lot of playing time for Steelers rookies in 2014

    Steelers rookies Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt could be rare Week 1 starters


    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    Is Michael Jackson to blame for Fulham’s relegation from the Premier League?

    23 BBC Football

    Richard Scudamore: Premier League response to Rabbatts

    24 World Soccer

    Béla Guttmann and the curse of Benfica


    25 Pensburgh

    Sunday Pens Points: Babcock on Future, Crosby Roasted

  10. JoeyBats says:

    apologies…updated line on Polanco

    RF — Gregory “the Great” Polanco — Triple A – Indy – Bats : L
    .389/ .453 / .623 … HR 5, RBI 38… G 41 , AB 162, R 30, H 63, K 30, BB 18, SB…10

  11. Jandy says:

    Ovechkin knows how it feels now:

  12. Jandy says:

    A good article by Jesse Marshall, writer extraordinaire from FaceoffFactor:

  13. BillyBaduka says:

    It is a good article.

    I read it a few days ago and posted a link here. It was buried in a conversation. So I don’t think many saw it.

  14. Jandy says:

    I didn’t, but if you posted on the weekend, I was really busy and wouldn’t have noticed lol
    Glad we both enjoyed it :)

  15. DJ says:

    Mentioned 3 times in playoffs we’d forgotten where the center of the ice is. Rare did we see the occasion where Sid, Geno and others drove to the goal mouth. Kane, Toews and rest of Hawks do it all the time.

    For years now, “the book” has been to force us wide. We’ve had no answer because, depending upon the game/series, we make zero to poor use of slot.

  16. DJ says:

    DK: If an NHL coach is under contract, is another team permitted to solicit that coach for its GM, similar to the NFL?

    If so, was wondering if Pens might be contemplating Babcock as GM, with any coaching component / option coming later.

  17. Sarah says:

    My understanding us YES….basically if it is a promotion, it’s allowed, HC for GM, Asst for HC.
    I wonder if they might go after the Wings AHL guy, Babs heir apparent….? But I also heard Detroit was blocking that somehow.

  18. BillyBaduka says:

    I agree with you but I think the difference is even more pronounced defensively.

    There were 2 games in the CBJ series where the Pens back-checked aggressively and took away the middle. The Pens were dominant in those games.

    Pens need to realize the best way to create opportunities fir odd man breaks and pretty tic-tac-toe passes in the playoffs is from turnovers created by sound defense.

    Trying to create that space through stretch passes only only creates odd man rushes going the other way and frustration. Sound familiar?

  19. DJ says:

    Good hockey buddy in Detroit says minor league assistant is heir as coach.

    Hire Babcock as GM. Babs won’t extend this summer. Detroit decides not to wait another year with Babs as lame duck coach so let’s Babs out. Pens get their man.


  20. DJ says:

    Well the stretch pass is out unless executed to perfection. It fails and you lose possession, often with odd man breaks the other way.

    Move in packs and you’ve got built-in puck support.

  21. Milo Hamilton says:

    Jerry Vale … RIP.

  22. Jim S. says:

    Thanks for this info., Joey!

    McGuire, Mathisen and even Bell seem to be doing a good job of putting the ball in play. The strikeout totals are pretty low.

    I got some different Games/AB/K/BB #’s for Polanco off They show him with 41 games, 162 AB, 30 K, 18 BB. But, everything else is the same.

    He has 13 doubles, 5 triples, 5 HR in 162 AB. That’s an extra base hit every 7 ABs – outstanding!

    I don’t know if anyone else out there has taken note of anything this kid, Polanco, is doing or not. But, he looks pretty good to me for a 22 year old. I think he has a chance. I’m surprised more people are not clamoring to see him in Pittsburgh. ;-)

    I also have noticed that Alen Hanson is heating up at Altoona. He still makes too many errors, and a lot of people question whether he can stick at SS. But, he’s more than a year younger than Polanco, and won’t turn 22 until October. It sure looks like his bat will play in the middle infield. 6 doubles, 5 triples, 4 HR already. He doesn’t seem to be as patient at the plate as he was in the low minors, but he’s pretty young for his league and batting against some pitchers that are not very far from MLB.

  23. NMR says:

    Hey bpn and Milo – saw you asked separate questions about next year’s Pirate catcher and this year’s trade deadline…

    What’d you think of the kid who caught the second game for the Yanks yesterday?

    That’s my 2014 Pittsburgh Pirate catcher, JR Murphy.

    Bucs aren’t gonna pay Martin, and the Yanks are gonna move at the deadline. Murphy has nowhere to go with McCann signed long term, and has the chops to be a legit big league catcher.

    Probably makes too much sense to work out.

  24. Jim S. says:

    Oops! Sorry, Joey! I see you already corrected Polanco’s info.

  25. NMR says:

    sorry, what year is it again? You get the point.

  26. Dom says:


  27. Jim S. says:

    I like that kid as well, NMR. He seems like a pretty valuable commodity to me. I wonder what we’d have to part with to get him.

    Let me rephrase that … I wonder how much young pitching we’d have to part with to get him. The guys the Yankees throw out as starting pitchers … sheesh! Of course, they managed to beat our lineup 2 of 3.

  28. Milo Hamilton says:

    First of all, if you don’t call him John Ryan Murphy his mother will hit you over the head with a spatula. :)

    I like him & the Yankees do too. I think they have a better chance of getting Cervelli, they’d really like to move him. Of course nothing can happen with him until he comes off the 60 day DL. The first ever 60 day DL for a hamstring injury. He’s also a biogenesis guy. He’d fit in perfectly. That’s who they’ll end up with.

  29. Jandy says:

    Hanson looks good, but flied out most every at bat, hitting right to the outfielder. He’s shaky at SS, but I’m hoping he can figure it out. I remember Hanson looking better last season. Overall, the infielding and left field was atrocious. Stetson also flied out to either the right fielder or center fielder almost every time up. I was hoping to see him knock one out…maybe next time. Stetson Allie is a BIG boy…broad shouldered and thick neck muscles. One can see where his power comes from. Can’t wait to go back.

  30. bpn8pitt says:

    Although Stewart had a good game yesterday, a platoon of him and Sanchez just doesnt work for me, whether thats now or 2015.

    Who currently catches at AAA and AA now?

  31. Jandy says:


  32. NMR says:

    My Stetson Allie man-crush continues.

  33. hockeymonster says:



  34. Jandy says:

    Move over NMR, I like him too ;)

  35. Bizrow says:

    A couple of days ago, Dejan tweeted on where we could send $$ to help the flooding in South East Europe. I lost the tweet, does anyone remember where he said was a good place to help the folks over there?

  36. Jim S. says:

    After that bad game when he first came off the DL with the miniscus surgery or whatever it was, Stewart has shown himself to be one of the better back-up catchers around IMO. He has picked off 2 guys now in limited action, including Gardner yesterday when I didn’t think Gardner had wandered that far. That throw to 3rd was a thing of beauty. And, he threw Hamilton of Cincy out by a mile on a pitchout. He gets rid of the ball in a hurry. He looks pretty athletic behind the plate to me, too. I liked the way he quickly snared a high pitch to his right yesterday in Game 2 that looked like a sure wild pitch. There’s more to catching than what you can see on TV, but he looks like a great back-up.

    Now, his hitting is another matter. I don’t think he has much pop, and that is a tough combo for a low batting average guy. But, he has had some key hits & a sac fly late yesterday. I think the bat keeps him in a reserve role, but he seems solid defensively.

    Sanchez found a bit of a power stroke finally the last few days. But, 1 walk, 26 strikeouts and 3 total XBH in 72 plate appearances is horrible. He needs to get his bat back in form or he has no chance to be a starter with his suspect defense. I can’t recall such a bad strikeout to walk ratio, but it’s early.

  37. hockeymonster says:

    Posted this before but here’s the updated version:

    Oh and yesterday peeps were tossing around alternate theories about sid and such…well i have an alternate theory about what could’ve been the final straw for Mr. Shero. And it has nothing to do with the playoffs or disco but i can’t prove it. So if you guys want some speculative stew…let me know ;)

  38. Milo Hamilton says:

    Career minor leaguer Gregory Polanco has been named International League player of the week.

  39. NMR says:

    That’s a tough one, Jim. Catchers are always valuable, but I also think that makes them easy to over-value. Murphy looks to have what it takes, but fact still remains he’s never been a top 100 prospect.

    You just don’t get a big haul for guys that aren’t top 100 prospects. Somebody like a Nick Kingham would seem to be a decent fit.

  40. Jim S. says:

    One of his tweets said:

    “@NovakFoundation will go to flood relief. It’s to be trusted. @Penguins owner Ron Burkle manages Novak Djokovic affairs.”

    Probably a good place to start, Biz.

    BTW, what are you doing up already?

  41. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s kinda like predicting foreign policy without knowing who the President is going to be.

  42. Jim S. says:

    I’m sure he’ll cherish that award forever. You take what you can get in his position.

  43. I just heard that Gregory Polanco is the International League’s Player of the Week. Which makes it more disgusting that he hasn’t been called up by the Bucs right now.

  44. NMR says:

    Ah, my bad. Should’ve never missed the chance to state a great baseball name like John Ryan Murphy!

    Boy, if that’s what they consider starting catcher material for 2015 then I have an incredibly hard time picturing what else would’ve happened to get them there. As is, they’ll struggle to even get up to this years payroll with the guys they have coming back, and they’re going to have a boatload saved and/or banked from what they’ve left on the table. Only a fool would sink more money into this team at the deadline with the way they’re currently playing.

  45. Dom says:

    And people were doubting the wisdom to keep him in the minors!

    If he was promoted weeks ago, he’d never of won this award.

  46. Jim S. says:

    That’s about what I was thinking regarding what we’d have to give up. You know me and prospects. They are all going to be superstars. :-) So, Kingham is a lot to give up. But, if it gets us a kid with a shot to be a starting catcher, I’m all for it.

  47. hockeymonster says:

    I have a crystal ball for foreign policy too. :)

    Let me put it this way. I’ve examined the options, and unless there are trade scenarios available to us involving kuni or duper, these are our options. Obviously Neal and PM could end up somewhere other than MN but we all know that exploring trades for them and Piece will be on the to do list.

    We need to build with a 4 line concept so sid and geno can stay around 20 minutes per game. Dmen market if slim so Bill James approves of Fayne and/or Belov.

  48. Jim S. says:

    What did Groat say about him after his ST visit? Something along the lines of him being a big kid with a bad Cleveland haircut?

    They challenged him this year with the promotion, and I think he’s held his own.

  49. NMR says:

    I can’t see any situation right now where Tony Sanchez is the Pirates starting catcher next season, even in a platoon role. We know the FO has been suspicious, even when we wondered why. Well, now we know. Guy has a long, long way to go to being a big leaguer.

    bpn, the only guys at Indy or Altoona worth knowing is Carlos Paulino (AAA), but only for his plus defense. Tony Sanchez busting would/does really, really hurt.

  50. Jandy says:

    and what day is it, anyway???? ;)

  51. Dom says:

    Is it solely his defense?

  52. Jandy says:

    You tell ‘im Dom!

  53. Jandy says:

    His hair rivals Letang’s LOL. Take that anyway you want to ;)

  54. Jandy says:

    There are many options out there (most of them pointed out my HM himself lol) that I feel there is hope for the Pens going forward :)

  55. Jim S. says:

    I don’t think so, Dom. Striking out 36% of the time and walking less than 2% of the time is not a recipe for hitting success. Maybe the 2 bombs he hit on this trip means he’s showing signs of snapping out of hit, but I thought he hit very few balls with any sort of authority this year before that. I know he has hit .271, but if he doesn’t make better contact the average will plummet. But, he’s hit before so maybe this was just a bad spell.

  56. bpn8pitt says:

    Thank you gentlemen. Something to watch, good or bad.

  57. hockeymonster says:

    There’s hope…unless Millhouse…oops i mean Morehouse and botterill EFF it up. Which is a definite possibility. If there really was a power struggle with Sawyer that Morehouse won, then Mario and Mr. Burkle bet on the wrong horse once. So who’s to say they won’t bet on the wrong horse again?

    So with that said i can save them all and us a lot of time and suspense. If Don Maloney from PHX is available, getting him to be GM is as much a no brainer as hiring Babs. But obviously they know better so you can expect sid’s caddy…oops i mean agent to get the gig.

  58. Milo Hamilton says:

    It’s not much of a stretch to see the payroll on the 60’s next year. I think it will surely go down.

  59. Dom says:

    The Steelers wasted no time in signing two draft picks:

    7th rounder TE Rob Blanchflower and Daniel McCullers are now both officially Steelers.

    I’m a big fan of McCullers, who is now the biggest Steeler ever on record. The NT is 352 LBS. He might have to move over to DE as he is 6-7.

  60. Jim S. says:

    I think we all know how to take that.

  61. NMR says:

    I’d say more than held his own, Jim. I like looking at wRC+ for minor leaguers because it measures their offensive production against the rest of the league, with 100 being average and each point above or below representing once percent.

    Allie has a wRC+ of 127, meaning he’s been well above average overall. The k’s are still there, and that’s what everyone will point to. But it should be noted that he’s now moved up three levels without his strikeouts increasing. THAT is the real worry. Not the k’s in and of themselves, but how they will or won’t increase against higher levels of competitions.

  62. NMR says:

    Ha, please, you’re very practical with your prospects, Jim.

  63. NMR says:

    It should be incredibly easy to refute that statement. And yet I’ve got nothing. Sad.

  64. Second week for him already. Can’t imagine why.

  65. Or the first one, either. What wisdom!

  66. Milo Hamilton says:

    We already know what they won’t pay for a starting pitcher & at most they go out and get one. Presumably someone that will make a little more than Morton. Wandy & Liriano come off the books. Grilli comes off the books & we know how they build their bullpen. Other than shortstop the players in the field are set. You see where I’m going.

  67. Bizrow says:

    Both very good questions ;-)

    As per usual, I am clueless on both counts

  68. 21sthebest says:

    For me it would have to be a position player if we’re just talking about a prospect for prospect deal for Murphy.

  69. 21sthebest says:

    Let me correct that. Or a pitcher who doesn’t appear to have the potential that Kingham does.

  70. bpn8pitt says:

    Im glad they have added fresh blood to this group. Not sure whether Ziggy was in the wrong system or just plain sucked but either way, glad they got some new people all across the line.

    Hope Heyward takes the next step.

  71. Jim S. says:

    Classic Tim Neverett yesterday on Stewart’s sac fly to RF for the Bucs final run in Game 2. Soriano made a really nice throw to the plate to make it close. Neverett called the play and said, “Here’s the throw, Mercer slides, and he’s safe.” Only problem was Mercer never slid. Otherwise, it was a great call. I think Tim got a bit over-excited on that call.

  72. Milo Hamilton says:

    As we’ve been discussing, catcher is the only place where they may spend some money.

  73. Milo Hamilton says:

    Hooray for the Blanchflower !

  74. NMR says:

    Absolutely, Milo.

    The situation, abstractly, sets up perfectly to bring Martin back. Ton of money available, ton of need at the position, and they have the ability to handicap his value by using the QO.

    Nothing is as easy as it seems, as we know.

  75. Jim S. says:

    I was thinking the Yankees would insist on pitching help, since they are sorely lacking there, 21. I don’t know if there are any more $175 million pitchers on the international free agent market next off-season.

    I can’t say I really know how good Murphy is, but I have caught a few of their TV games so far this year, and their announcers seem to rave about him. I checked out his hitting stats. Offensively, at least, he seems pretty good. I’m taking their word that he is as good defensively as they say.

  76. Jandy says:

    He looked good, NMR. He didn’t strike out that I remember, just flied out. I think he reached once on an error. His fielding is excellent.

  77. Jandy says:

    it’s long and lanky, and he throws it back over his head, then keeps it in place with his cap lol

  78. Dom says:

    Are you a fan?

  79. 21sthebest says:

    Scherzer and Lester seem to be the best free agent pitchers after this season.

  80. Jim S. says:

    + many. You’re right. Most people I heard said that they expected his K’s to jump dramatically, and they really haven’t so far. What seems to have jumped is his walk rate.

  81. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ve heard good things. From draft guys on Draft Day & from Sean who got glowing reports from some with the WMU football staff. But he’s a 7th round pick & he’s never met the Oprah. Time will tell.

  82. Dom says:

    I noticed that too.

    I wonder why Mercer didn’t slide. If the catcher caught that thing, he could have very well been out.

  83. Arriba Wilver says:

    You may have wondered, NMR, but if you’ll recall, EYE knew what the problem was because I had used my forensic skills, along with a computer, to translate what Neal was saying. And it was no easy task. They were scared s*$tless about his defense.


  84. Jim S. says:

    And, they’ll probably grab one of them.

  85. Dom says:

    How about my man Josh Harrison?

    Not only did he hit the go ahead homer but also made an amazing diving catch in the 8th keep the Yanks intact.

    He gave us our first win in Yankee Stadium in the last fifty years!

  86. NMR says:

    Certainly appreciate your opinion, 21.

    I’m of the opinion that they should stick to their plan. All along the plan has been to draft and develope pitching to then be used to obtain hitters when necessary.

    Nick Kingham is a fine prospect, but just about everyone outside of Tim Williams pegs him as a mid-rotation starter. If they’re not gonna give guys like that up, then they’re also not getting anything worthwhile back.

  87. hockeymonster says:

    We heard about tanger’s broken hand but just heard he had a broken foot too. That blocked shot did look like it stung. Dude’s a warrior…hope we don’t trade one of the few we have.

  88. NMR says:

    Certainly nailed that one, didn’t you! Yikes.

    BTW, fourth runner to advance on a pitch in the dirt that bounced off Sanchez like it was shot out of a cannon yesterday.

    But his blocking skills are plus, apparently.

  89. Jandy says:


  90. Arriba Wilver says:

    Milo–James almost scooped you. ;-)

  91. Jandy says:

    Oh Lord. These hockey dudes are tough!

  92. Arriba Wilver says:

    I’m a fan of his name.

  93. Thundercrack says:

    They only way he would be called up now is if he had a clause in his contract that paid him a bonus every time he won the International League Player of the Week Award.

  94. Arriba Wilver says:

    That was a tremendous catch in left, especially for an infielder.

  95. Thundercrack says:

    Nothing about Tony Sanchez’s defense has impressed me. Too many balls get by him. Too many balls clank off his glove ( ala Doumit) and his throwing stinks.

  96. Arriba Wilver says:

    It’s so rare, I had to mention it. ;-)

  97. What’s more important? Polanco winning an award in the minors or the Pirates not being in contention partly because they have yet to call him up?

  98. hockeymonster says:


    And who does Millhouse…i mean Morehouse think he is making fun of Rossi on his Bday like that? We all have our fun with Rossi cuz he chases trial balloons and misinformation like a lost lil puppy, but damn it, he’s OUR lost lil puppy! If Millhouse, i mean Morehouse wants to make fun of him, he needs to join the asylum and notify Comrade Bizrovsky like everyone else!


    I had the weekend to digest the Penguins announcement on Friday and I keep coming back to the same conclusion: ownership lacks the resolve to follow through on their instincts. There is no reason why Dan Bylsma is still head coach of the Penguins. After everything that’s happened, after everything that’s been said, I just can’t envision a scenario where ownership entrusts Dan Bylsma with executing the new blueprint for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

  100. Thundercrack says:

    How much longer is McCann going to catch?

  101. Milo Hamilton says:

    Wouldn’t be the first time. :)

  102. Thundercrack says:

    Interesting. I wonder what the Pirates’ record would be if Polanco was up here from the beginning.

    How much of an effect would have had on the batting order….and maybe even on the pitching. (more runs, more leads, etc…)

  103. NMR says:

    He’s only 30 and one of the best defenders in baseball.

  104. Arriba Wilver says:

    His contract is through 2018, with a team option for 2019.

  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    Even Groat doesn’t want him called up now. ;-(

  106. Jim S. says:

    Maybe he was surprised at how quick and accurate of a throw Sori made.

  107. NMR says:

    I can’t wait for all the hilarious “what’s wrong with Gregory Polanco” posts when he comes up and performs exactly how anyone should be reasonably expecting him to.

  108. Jim S. says:

    POTM, TC.

  109. Jim S. says:

    We can’t say Tabby isn’t doing his part. I wonder if he moved the timing of his first leg injury of 2014 specifically to put more pressure on the organization to bring up Polanco. Tabby remains the most brittle young man I can think of.

  110. 21sthebest says:

    It’s not that I wouldn’t give him or anybody up. That’s just not the return I’d want for him.

    “Kingham currently profiles as a strong number three who can throw 200 innings per year due to his strong frame. He has shown improvements each year, so it wouldn’t be out of the question to see him continue to develop and become a number two starter in the majors.” -Tim Williams

  111. JohninOshkosh says:

    1. Mitch Williams put on indefinite leave by MLBN following Milburyesque behavior at a little league tournament. Among other things, he called a 10 year old (10!) a pussy. Nice. Also, viewers complained to the network last week that he appeared to be impaired. Thought the same thing about Dejan last night. :)

    2. A potential series for the ages commences in San Antonio tonight. Can’t wait. Go Supersonics! The Milwaukee Bucks play their most important game of the 2013-14 season tomorrow night.

    Interesting, the new owners of the Bucks have said a new arena in Milwaukee may facilitate NHL expansion to Wisconsin. Probably bunk, but maybe Shero and Bylsma can get a job there!

    3. Farewell to the Bronx. At least a “W” was had on the way out of town.

    4. Thinking about going to a lawyer’s office to amend my will to prohibit anyone from hologramming me.

  112. 21sthebest says:

    Yes, he has replaced who I used to refer to as Glass and Glass, Jr. Doumit and Pearce.

  113. Jim S. says:

    So, we have photographic evidence that the Foote and Abercrombie/Mendenhall jersey numbers are not being retired.

  114. Thundercrack says:

    “They kept in AAA too long” will probably be on of those post NMR

  115. Thundercrack says:

    I noticed that too. Always an adventure with Nevrett.

  116. Jim S. says:

    Glass and Glass, Jr. I love it! I remember Doumit was always down with some nagging injury.

  117. As bad a defender as Soriano was in Chicago all those years, he probably was surprised he even got the ball to the plate.

  118. Andrew says:

    Bob McKenzie: Agent Pat Brisson has decided to remain in the agent business and will not be pursuing the PIT GM job.

    That is a relief.

  119. NMR says:

    Good call, Dom. I think Harrison would be one of those stories that gets a lot of attention if the team was winning, which says more about narratives than it does about Harrison.

  120. JohninOshkosh says:

    Anybody complete the Rubik’s cube on Google today?

    Apparently, if you do, it explodes and Google sends you a certificate.

  121. NMR says:

    re: 1) ONLY last week?

  122. bpn8pitt says:

    Two weeks without a Pedro bomb…

  123. Jim S. says:

    Apparently, there is video of the incident, right? I haven’t seen it, but I would like to.

    I think Mitch is disputing the events of that day. But, if he really called a kid that word … wow! That’s awful.

  124. hockeymonster says:

    I gave up on that effin thing :)

  125. JohninOshkosh says:

    Me too!

    Never could do ‘em.

  126. bpn8pitt says:

    I dont know if anyone saw but Victor Martinez has more homeruns (10) than strikeouts (9). Its interesting to note that he and Alvarez have the same amount of career strikeouts (604)…Martinez has played 13 years, Alvarez 5 years including 2014. :(

  127. hockeymonster says:

    I bet Van Slyke can do it.

  128. NMR says:

    Well, to be fair, Jim, the kid DID blow a two run lead in the bottom of the 6th. Clearly not closer material. Had it coming to him.

  129. NMR says:

    No clue what to make of Pedro this year. Everything he’s doing points to him have a breakout season. Drastically cut his k’s, improved his walks, and top 10 in the league in batted ball distance.

    I don’t think anyone here would guess the results are what they are if you told them those three facts about Pedro’s 2014 performance at the quarter point of the season.

    I just don’t get it.

  130. JohninOshkosh says:

    Yet another story that makes me pleased as punch that my kids have shown little to no interest in organized youth sports.

  131. Jandy says:

    1) re: Dejan….what penalty does being impaired on Starbucks bring????

  132. Jandy says:

    haha, wonder what the kids called Williams after that?

  133. Jandy says:

    According to our fearless leader, there will be no such scenario.

  134. bpn8pitt says:

    Me too, man.

    I hoping for some reverse psychology here, and he goes ballistic the next few weeks.

    I respect Joe Girardi as a manager. Played a lot shifts, ran on Sanchez, ran on Cole, bunted against the Pirates shifts.

    Brett Gardner is a hell of a player too.

  135. Jandy says:

    Send him a certified letter….that’s it, Millhouse…errr…Morehouse is on notice!

  136. JohninOshkosh says:

    Dejan must be going apoplectic about that coffee fungus.

    Sounds like coffee prices will be going up. Starbucks may have to raise their prices, if that is even humanly possible.

  137. Jandy says:

    Wow…Arabica…my favorite blend..dang.

  138. Thundercrack says:

    What I liked about Girardi is that he brought his closer in to get 4 outs.
    And he wasn’t afraid to burn his DH position. (not sure if it was a smart move, but it worked and it was gutsy)

  139. Andrew says:

    Baseball Reference, has payroll dropping to $55 million next year then shooting back up 80s because of a lot of 3rd arbitration years, in 2016, some of whom won’t be around, Snider.

    My one concern with Martin is he is not far from being a eight hole hitter, Ruiz and McCann commanded so much money because offensively they have been much better than Martin. I have seen is suggested that Martin could command 3 years/$40 million, it is a big over-payment if Martin becomes a great defensive catcher with little offensive skill.

  140. bpn8pitt says:


    All in all, for as much as they have spent it leaves a lot to be desired but I think they are well coached anyway.

  141. hockeymonster says:

    Nah…if they wanted to hear from me about anything i’m sure DK, yohe or rossi would’ve let me know by now.

  142. Andrew says:

    I don’t think Harrison will continue to hit this well, but he is certainly a very good bench player, much better than what the Pirates had last year.

  143. NMR says:

    Really good observation on Girardi, buddy. Glad you mentioned it. Seems like the Yanks clearly had a plan of attack going into the series. Can’t think of ever being able to say that about the Pirates.

    Not to belabor my point of general confusion on Pedro, but I found two things this morning that really put his whole season in perspective…

    -To this date, Pedro has a .225 batting average on balls he’s put in play. Pirate pitchers, as a whole, have a .222 batting average on balls they’ve put in play. Even the biggest Alvarez critics would have to admit that he’s better than those results, if for no other reason that the pitcher comparison.

    -In all of 2013, Pedro hit 14 groundballs to the left of second base, away from the shift. He’s already hit 10 groundballs to the left of second base in 2014. And only one of them has gone for a base hit.

  144. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, Victor Martinez is something special. Almost as many walks in his career as strikeouts. 2008 was the last year he didn’t hit .300.

  145. Sarah says:

    I dunno. I think they have to trade Letang. Doesn’t mean they will, or even can. It’s a bit late now with the stroke horse out of the barn and all.

  146. 21sthebest says:

    I should add that there was a time when I referred to Wilson and Sanchez as Blue Shield and Blue Cross.

  147. Sarah says:

    Since there is no obvious reason why they kept Bylsma, there is likely a reason less obvious.

  148. lupesanchez says:

    it does partially explain Ike’s drop off from ’12 to ’13. He is getting old but having no pass rush does not help.

  149. Thundercrack says:

    I am a Pedro fan. But over the past week or so I have changed my opinion of what they should do. I was for them trying to make a serious run at resigning him. But now I am in favor of trading him.

    Of course I’ll change my mind the next time he hits a homer to left center….or on Saturday when I get the Pedro bobblehead

  150. Sarah says:

    I eventually figured it out…..then I’d have contests w my brother re who could do it fastest…..he was faster than me! About 2 mins I think….but I’m the dumb jock of the family lol!!

  151. NMR says:

    over-payment, in what context?

  152. 21sthebest says:

    You can’t predict baseball.

  153. JohninOshkosh says:


  154. Andrew says:

    One negative of Alvarez, while we aren’t talking about a lot of balls in play, he has pounded balls into the ground on his pull side, and he is not putting much in the air. That will hurt the power numbers and average, because of the shift.

  155. bpn8pitt says:

    I honestly could go either way, TC.

    Some weeks I wonder where they would be without him. Right now, I wonder what we could get for him. His next tear, I’ll be back in the Pedro Camp.


  156. hockeymonster says:

    Nice! Good job sarahpova! I’m better at Sudoku. Awesome way to kill time on a plane.

  157. Arriba Wilver says:

    What, you don’t consider barrel the ball and wait for your pitch a plan?

  158. Jim S. says:

    “Not everyone can get those last 3 outs, Harold.”

    – M. Williams

  159. NMR says:

    Career high fly ball rate, Andrew.

  160. NMR says:

    Haha, awesome AW.

  161. Jandy says:


  162. Jim S. says:

    Blue Cross and Blue Shield might be even better.

    Some guys just can’t stay on the field.

  163. 21sthebest says:

    I think it’s possible that there has been a conscious effort to get Pedro to hit more balls the other way and as I’ve felt in the past and said here, I think that’s the wrong approach with players like Pedro.

  164. hockeymonster says:

    Gene Collier about to do an interview with Stan on 970 stream

  165. NMR says:

    Starting to wonder this myself, 21. Especially playing half his games in PNC. I’ve already counted three ball that would’ve been home runs in any other park in the Division.

  166. 21sthebest says:

    I think that although he’s making more contact this year, it’s not always solid contact because he’s trying to go the other way more and I don’t think he’s built that way.

  167. GAWTS2009 says:

    WOW! No iternet access in over a week and the Pens blow up??? Here I thought I may only miss a game or two. Looks like I need to check up on what I just heard. I’m still in shock

  168. Jim S. says:

    Isn’t that the Matt Adams conundrum? Seems to be having success going the other way, but simultaneously sacrificing power in the process. A lot of people say that is the intent of at least a portion of these shifts. Just get a power hitter to become a singles hitter. I think most of the evidence so far suggests that batting averages are not really dropping as a result of the shifts. But, if you can take much of the danger of the HR away from a guy, maybe you’ve done your job as a defense by reducing slugging %’s. I thnk this still has a ways to play out, both for the defense and the hitter.

  169. Jandy says:

    Haha Hap, you missed all the fun!

  170. hockeymonster says:

    Make sure you read the transcripts.

  171. SeanAY says:

    The exact same flip-flopping happened with Marte and Alvarez. Particularly with Alvarez, as I recall.

  172. Andrew says:

    In that $13.3 million/year is a lot for a 32 yo catcher who is transitioning from defense first with some power to defense only. The Rays didn’t exactly give up top prospects to get Ryan Hanigan, who has a similar defensive skills to Martin, lacks power but has been better at getting on base.

    Trying to value catchers is hard, I just have concerns. I think in 2015 the Pirates will need an upgrade a short or someone on a Barmes like deal, and at least two veteran starting pitchers. I like Martin but I think $13.3 million/year is past the point where he is a valuable player for the Pirates. This is all speculative, but 18-25 will do that.

  173. Naterosboro says:

    Josh Harrison was on the Pirates bench last year…


  174. hockeymonster says:

    Let me ask you guys something….if the Bucs are trying to sign polanco to a long term deal anyway, why are they concerned about 6 years from? Maybe he struggles when they call him up and he’ll be more inclined to sign at their number and term? Who’s to say he’ll hit the ground running? If he wants more money, call him up and tell him to show them why they should up their offer?!?!

  175. 21sthebest says:

    Yup. Matt Adams has 2 homeruns. Batting average so far is 25 points higher than last year but OPS is down 63 points. And OBP is down 13 points.

  176. Andrew says:

    Yes, but they seem to have come at the cost of line drives. I was mainly referring to his splits when pulling the ball, that production looks like 2011.

    Also look at his flyball splits, he doesn’t seem to be hitting productive flyballs. Obviously none of this is predictive or say much about ability, but it does help understand why he hasn’t been productive to this point.

    Really like the K%/BB% and he is just a great week away from being on last year’s pace production wise.

  177. Wild Bill says:

    Hm, they are terribly afraid that he will turn out to be all that everyone says he is and they will have to pay so much more so much sooner.

  178. NMR says:

    I think we have different opinions on Martin’s offense, Andrew, especially to even mention Hannigan in that regard.

    Hannigan is a fine player and a good get for the Rays, but the guy has never even held a full-time job.

    If your goal is only value, then Hannigan is the guy. If your goal is to get the better baseball player, then give me Russell Martin at $13m all day.

    Huntington’s biggest fault, IMO, is trying to outsmart the situation. Letting Martin go in hopes of finding a Hannigan has that written all over it.

  179. They’ve been observing the Pens’ long-term signings and trying to keep up with them, only with young, unproven players as opposed to aging vets, HM.


  180. NMR says:

    Haha, yeah, I was hoping Andrew’s comment was sarcastic.

  181. Wild Bill says:

    So the Steelers have signed McCullers. Can’t wait to see how a man child that big plays.

    If he doesn’t work out, the Steelers could cut him in half and get two more Dri Archers.

  182. hockeymonster says:

    Untamed Bill and Lucky, then whats the point of drafting and signing amateur talent? They should hire millhouse, oops i mean morehouse to be a marketing guru for polanco. Maybe he can get a return on their investment…

  183. I was just pulling your leg, Monstro. Good article the other day, BTW.

  184. Andrew says:

    Very true, I was thinking more of, why sign MacDonald and give Inge more PAs.

  185. hockeymonster says:

    Thanks Lucky!

    And this is my way of telling the bucs that if they want someone like me to show more than a passing interest they’re gonna need call up legit talent. Calling up Cole got me to watch last season. Just sayin…

  186. Wild Bill says:

    Hm, as opposed to the Pens: The Pirates would love to be successful. They just love being profitable more.

  187. We’ve been peckin at em all season on here, but to no avail. Neal let his subscription to the Trib blogs slip. Now Frank, he’s a different story.

  188. Or more profitable.


  189. Andrew says:

    Super two’s extra arbitration year would significantly raise the floor and thus the starting point of any contract negotiation, regardless of performance.

  190. hockeymonster says:


  191. hockeymonster says:

    Isn’t that what the long term deal would alleviate?

  192. Jim S. says:

    Umm … Need I remind you, Brandon Inge was on that bench last year.


  193. Jandy says:


  194. Jandy says:

    Please don’t!!!

  195. NMR says:

    Not if the player’s agent is factoring that into his negotiation.

  196. NMR says:

    I’m always reading about how you aren’t supposed to care about LD% because it is such an inexact measurement. Do we really think he’s been that bad?

  197. 21sthebest says:

    Cole made his first start on June 11.

  198. Jim S. says:

    Polanco has 14 infield hits this year. MLB leader is Jose Altuve, with 11.

    His exploits are starting to become Chuck Norris-like.

  199. Andrew says:

    Fair points, I just worry about Martin’s trends in contact.

  200. hockeymonster says:

    I heard he can throw a runner out from RF while also tagging him out at the plate? That true?

  201. hockeymonster says:

    I know they waited with Cole but pitchers are different. And we had pitching depth last season. What do we have in RF?

  202. NMR says:

    I agree there, Andrew, and don’t feel he’s a particularly good fit in PNC given his pull tendencies.

  203. Andrew says:

    Certainly not predictive or accurate measure of ability, but I think it is correct to note it has been bad so far this year.

  204. Milo Hamilton says:

    Any good agent goes into that negotiation assuming year three is a super 2 year. I’d be willing to bet that’s why it’s not already done. Year three is the sticking point.

  205. Andrew says:

    And if we are going to put stock in anything at this point it is his K and BB rates.

  206. 21sthebest says:

    I give up.

  207. Jandy says:

    dang 21, you’re a pushover for Monster Mash!

  208. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Babcock adamant he isn’t leaving. Seems moot.

  209. bpn8pitt says:

    Marte had nice throw to second from the foul pool, yesterday.

  210. JohninOshkosh says:

    Make sure you read my posts.

    Brilliant. Visionary.

  211. hockeymonster says:


  212. hockeymonster says:

    HAHA!!! ++++ :)

  213. BillyBaduka says:

    Nice analysis HM.

    I spent a little time on cap geek this weekend.

    There are a lot of moving parts but it left me thinking that the Pens adding speed, grit and character is doable.

  214. hockeymonster says:

    Thanks Milo. Knew i could count on you. Why cant the rest of you guys be more like milo? :)

  215. Dom says:

    That’s not ethical.

  216. Wild Bill says:


  217. Thundercrack says:

    Some felt Starkey was implying that Crosby was leading a mutiny / revolt.


  218. BillyBaduka says:


  219. NMR says:

    What, and give you the answer you’re looking for?

  220. Jandy says:

    Dom, you’re sooo cute :*

  221. Jandy says:

    is it on fire????

    I said Sid tanked it, too. I didn’t go as far as a mutiny.

  222. Jandy says:

    ” ”
    0 0


    {because NOW is not nearly as important as 6 years from NOW}

    We’ve waited this long———leave him there for 2 1/2 more weeks and save your dang crap $$$, BMTIB!!

  224. 21sthebest says:

    Marlins sign Miguel Tejada to a minor league contract.

  225. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’ve seen that word used.

  226. Nate83 says:

    Julio Franco not available???

  227. Didn’t sign up for Obamacare like Tejada.

  228. JohninOshkosh says:

    Found him by getting his address from papers out of Biogenesis dumpster.

  229. Jandy says:

    Oh I don’t doubt it, not a bit, Milo.

  230. Wild Bill says:

    Groat, it just occurred to me that my wife and I are coming to the ‘burgh in the second week of June to see the arts festival and at least one Pirate game. I could end up accidentally stumbling into the debut of He Who Must Not Be Named!

  231. NMR says:

    Flip flopper!

  232. 21sthebest says:

    Nope. 55 year old Julio Franco signed last Friday with the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United League as a player-coach.

  233. Milo Hamilton says:

    Something I can say with 100% certitude, if the Penguins had beaten the Rangers Carey Price would still be upright.

  234. Wild Bill says:

    What is he instead, Milo? Wha’d I miss?

  235. toochca says:

    Out with a lower body injury for the whole series.

  236. Wild Bill says:

    Really?!?! That’s a killer for the Habs.

  237. Jim S. says:

    I just saw him throwing out the first pitch somewhere yesterday. Still looks to be in phenomenal shape.

  238. Dom says:

    Did ya catch Josh Harrison’s big game yesterday?

    Pretty sure your butcher never single handedly defeat the greatest baseball franchise of all time.


  239. Jim S. says:

    Yes. And, he can turn off the lights and be under the covers before it gets dark.

  240. JohninOshkosh says:

    I thought something might be going on after the Habs gave up a touchdown.

  241. hockeymonster says:

    Thanks BB! And yes there are options if we have the right vision.

  242. hockeymonster says:

    No, i meant he mentioned the specific about the 3rd year. I thought they were worried about year 5 or 6.

  243. Marshall Hickok,

    I hope you get to catch Gregory Polanco’s first Homerun!!!

  244. Sarah says:

    Starkly basically said Sid orchestrated a mutiny and used the term “blood on his hands”.
    This is the guy that blamed the CROWD at CEC a month or two ago.
    Look a lot of guys in the local media have been defending RS and DB for a long time, and got scooped by the likes of Buccigross or McKenzie on the locker room dissension and general train wreck.

    The world found out in Sochi about RS and DB and now guys like Starkey are looking for someone to blame so they don’t look quite so stupid for missing what has been under their noses for maybe years.

    Look, Sid had an awful playoffs. No excuses. (Still not sure he wasn’t injured but whatever…he was awful for all but about 2 games….)

    But when a guy as ferociously driven and competitive as he is starts mailing it in, that should set off alarm bells all the way up the line.

    His play was the SYMPTOM, not the problem.

  245. hockeymonster says:

    NYR defense better not touch and Habs by the net cuz they’re gonna be flying into lundqvist more often than Sid passes up chances to shoot.

  246. Sarah says:

    He got run over on the NYR second goal and stayed in for 2 more then got yanked.

    I guess the Rags are gonna have the privilege of getting mulched on natl teebee by Hawks or Kings.

    Actually, I don’t even know who the Rangers backup G even is….?

  247. ANY time a so-called great player “mails it in”, HE is the problem!

    For one game, it’s the problem. For a whole series, He’s a catastrophe!

  248. Sarah says:

    Erm,sorry, the HABS backup. Yeeps.

  249. Sarah says:

    Oh Henry will he run. Multiple times.
    Though the Habs have to go through 5 guys outside his crease to get near him.

  250. Sarah says:

    My Lord, when was the last time we had a weaker possible finalist than the NYR?
    Panthers maybe? Like 1997 or so?…..

  251. hockeymonster says:

    Groat, the coaching was that bad. Not for one series or one playoff but a couple months into the 2011-12 season it was clear that our system was gonna carved up like thanksgiving turkey. Shero and Bylsma were warned about this…in shero’s case he was warned in no uncertain terms, in disco’s case he came around to agreeing, but it was too late. They thought they knew better. They were wrong. And the players knew it…a long time ago.

    I would go into personnel decisions and ideology but that’s a different story.

  252. Jandy says:

    that’s TOOOOO fast ;)

  253. hockeymonster says:

    He’s gonna need a water cannon instead of bottle.

  254. Pucknutz says:

    “ANY time a so-called great player “mails it in”, HE is the problem”

    Absolutely !

  255. Sarah says:

    Ditto HM.
    The coaching was THAT bad.
    Sid isn’t Ovechkin with a long history of half-assing it. On the contrary.

    When OV mails it in, he’s the problem.

    When Sid does, something much deeper is happening.

  256. Jandy says:

    I also said that too, that Sid wasn’t THE problem, but simply part of a larger problem that wasn’t identified. I remember getting harped on about that…just forget who. And it doesn’t matter now anyway.
    But like you said, when a player of Sid’s caliber and drive is just going thru motions and not really trying, something is very wrong.

  257. Jandy says:


  258. SeanAY says:

    Sidney Crosby: Beyond Reproach Since 2005!

  259. Jandy says:



  260. Jandy says:

    hey hey SeanAY :)

  261. Sarah says:

    Who said he was beyond reproach?

  262. hockeymonster says:

    Pucknutz, sarah and I agree with you. But it’s not ONE thing that caused this. It was a smorgasbord of issues. Starting with coaching, involving drafting, scouting and development…Kobasew over Mason Raymond last off season??? Please….sarah and i could go on and on…

    I know pens say they like D. Pouliot. But look at link below for 2012 draft. Look at players taken behind pouliot who was projected to go 15-21 and no higher than 11.

    Specifically take note of Picks 9 and 16-20. My speculative theory regarding why Mr. Shero was shown the door so unceremoniously is that Mario saw D. Pouliot play recently when Portland games were televised here locally. They tell me Mario was a decent forward so I GUARANTEE that he saw the same flaws that i saw and smelled the same blood in the water while watching him defend. I know it was more than one factor, but I GUARANTEE that was one of them.

    If i’m wrong I dare Mario to say publicly that Pouliot will be ready to help pens win a cup in next season or 2. Double Dare You Mario! :)

  263. Dom says:

    Did ya hear the Habs goalie is out for the remainder of the series?

    I think the Rangers are the favorites, now.

  264. Pucknutz says:

    Well, Sid swears that he was not hurt…I still don’t really believe that…
    Sid has no history whatsoever of mailing it in…..
    But it sure looked like it in playoffs….if indeed he was just half a$$ ing it and not hurt I have lost all respect for him and I have a lot.
    Even if the system and coaching suck you still play all out. Sid certainly has enough smoke to go right up the line (DB, RS, and Mario if need be) and make his displeasure known. Ya don’t quit on the ice.
    I still do believe something physical was the problem. If not shame, shame on you Sid.

  265. Sarah says:

    What I’m sayin.
    When did we have a weaker finalist than NYR? ( assuming the beat the price-less Habs, of course….)

    I’m thinking FL maybe 96 or 97?

    This could be a fast and ugly Final whoever comes out of the West.

    Henry can’t win by himself at that level I fear.

  266. Sarah says:

    Ok it’s Budaj as the Habs backup…..he’s actually pretty solid at least the couple times I have seen him.
    I hope the Habs make this a series!

    And I hope someone crushes Kreider into next week……

  267. hockeymonster says:

    Well im not making excuses for him but i do recall a slash he took late in reg season. Not sure if that was issue but he didn’t look right to me after that slash. But i could be wrong.

    Either way players didn’t want disco back and they acted accordingly. If Mario and Mr. Burkle let Mr. Shero take them on a ride on Team USA’s behalf cuz he wanted disco in sochi, then Mario and Burkle are accomplices to shero’s blunders. To their credit they owned up to that, took responsibility and acted accordingly. Hopefully sid does the same going into next season. Cuz now, there are no excuses.

  268. hockeymonster says:

    Washington had a putrid team in finals against detroit one year.

  269. SeanAY says:

    Hey hey Jandy!

    I just think the comparison Sarah made to Ovechkin was pretty funny, and was in fact Starkey’s point.

    If Ovechkin – or Malkin, for that matter – loafs, they’re “moody, lazy Russians.”

    If Crosby doesn’t play to his potential, then he must have a legitimate reason – and in fact, he may be justified!

    It gave me a chuckle, is all.

  270. Jandy says:

    Yes I’ve seen Budaj and I remember him being decent.
    Kreider? At least into next season ;)

  271. Jim S. says:

    West (most likely Chicago) 4-0.

  272. Dom says:

    There one person and only one person who we can blame for losing three straight to the Rangers and that is Sidney Crosby. ;)

  273. Milo Hamilton says:

    They’re not going to play Budaj.

  274. Jandy says:

    Sarah usually makes me chuckle, SeanAY, and in a good way most of the time. lol

  275. Sarah says:

    Yeah PN I dunno.
    Maybe he did go up the line and make his displeasure known. I cannot believe Bylsma had this team after Philly.
    Maybe he did ask and nothing got done, and he finally was human and just showed it.

    I’m more forgiving than you guys are, only because for me, Sid earned it with his competitiveness on ice his whole career up until this season.

    Opinions vary of course, and everyone has a right to theirs, and crucify Sid if you will.

    I’d actually point out that it WASN’T just the playoffs…Sid has been un Sid-like quite a lot this season…..where we have shaken our heads and said “what’s up w Sid? Is he hurt?” Or whatever, after he’s had a lot of turnovers or a lousy faceoff night, or -5 or whatever…..

    It has been happening this year more and more, and MORE after the Olympics, and then the playoffs it was just a disaster. Likely fatigue a factor…..but this didn’t just start 2-3 weeks ago, far from it.

    The signs have been out there for awhile.

    Crucify him if you will, but he is no OV. Something has been seriously wrong for longer than we probably know.

  276. Milo Hamilton says:

    Dustin Tokarski. Couldn’t remember his name, had to look him up.

  277. Jandy says:

    really? Then who?

  278. Jandy says:

    I don’t remember him at all…

  279. Jim S. says:

    Like I said last week, I’d be extremely disappointed if it turned out Sid mailed it in (not that he cares whether I am disappointed or not). That’s unprofessional and childish. I don’t care if you like your coach or GM, or not. You’re representing a lot of people, and then just letting them down like that? I would lose a ton of respect for him, and I don’t see how anyone else wouldn’t feel the same way.

  280. Jandy says:

    OK change of subject…
    Oshie .. did you see the rules are changed? California Chrome can wear his breathing strips for the final race???

    I am really pulling for this horse to take the triple crown!

  281. Pucknutz says:

    Monster, Sarah,
    I have no problem whatsoever firing Shero and DB.
    There are hundreds of valid arguments out there to make the case for it. I don’t buy them all but there is plenty enough smoke to indicate something is burning.
    That said I believe the players need to take a long hard look in the mirror and explain the almost total lack of passion, effort, and determination they showed in the PLAYOFFS.

  282. Jim S. says:

    Yup, but he’s that fast.

  283. JohninOshkosh says:


    Speaking as a fan outside PA. A lot of fans out here lump Ovi and Malkin together in some xenophobic loafer category.

    And just today my hockey guy at Subway said Crosby disappears in the late rounds! He works at Subway so he knows what he’s talking about.

  284. Sarah says:

    Milo do they have another option?

  285. Jandy says:

    I can see where Sid finally had enough…after now many years? And after getting clobbered in the head repeatedly with no one doing anything about it. I’m sure the way he felt after his concussion(s) haunts him.
    He’s human.

  286. hockeymonster says:

    Been meaning to write about this for a while. Just posted this on another blog so here it is again:

    What Crosby Needs in Playoffs

    He needs players with size and reach. Why? Since time and space is at a premium in playoffs, sid needs passing lanes to be manufactured. Sid isn’t 6’4 with reach. He’s 5’10 with speed, power and skill. Therefore if he’s out there with other 5’10 players like kuni or stempy, there aren’t any passing lanes for him to locate or anticipate. If he’s out there with a power forward who can eat the puck and protect it on the boards, that will buy time for sid to get open. Then when he gets the puck against a top 4 dman who is 6’2 with reach, he’ll have passing lanes available to him cuz the bigger players will have better reach. Sid doesn’t need to see passing lanes. He just needs to be able to anticipate them. Only way he can do that is if he has bigger players with reach out there with him against big dmen. Getting players with REACH and power needs to be top priority.

  287. hockeymonster says:

    Tokarski has moxy and will battle. But if montreal loses their cool, he’ll get overwhelmed.

  288. Sarah says:

    I see Milo made to before we did, Jandy. Tokarski bailed out Budaj after the Olympics.
    Interesting choice.

  289. JohninOshkosh says:

    Me too.

    I knew they would allow it. Most in the industry don’t think the nasal strips do a darn thing.

    I laugh picturing my dad putting nasal strips on our livestock and horse when I was a kid. Would never happen!

  290. Pucknutz says:

    I am not out to crucify the guy. Sid certainly has earned a little bit of slack for his recent poor play. I really do not want to believe that he just started mailing it in. There is probably a lot more to this story and until it all comes out I am withholding judgement on it.
    I hope Starkey is wrong,,,, but….

  291. Sarah says:

    Actually SeanAY since my point escaped you, was Sid has a career of playing one way, and OV a career of playing the other. They make a nice comparison coming into the league at the same time and developing <or stagnating in the case of Ovechkin) rather differently, which makes the example illustrative.

    When a player continues in his same mode, that is not as meaningful as a player deviating quite dramatically.

    That's quite a bit different than saying "russia player LAZY, NOrth America player NOT"

    But maybe that was too nuanced for you.

    Good grief.

  292. Sarah says:

    You guys are WAY too invested in whether Sid mailed it in or not. I believe Groat said that he’d never be able to respect Crosby again or some such, therefore it just couldn’t be true!…… Seriously? Good lord, they’re human.

    For all we know Sid has put his face to the grindstone with a coach setting him up to fail for years. For all we know he asked for a change years ago and nothing was done.

    We have no idea.

    He’s been a superhuman competitor his whole career until this year.

    Flush him if you want, but I think there have been reasons enough that I’ll give him another shot with a different coach.

    And not just because he isn’t Russian.

  293. SeanAY says:

    For the record, I’m not interested in burying Sidney Crosby. Shero and Bylsma should have been fired.

    And I feel like I understood your point, and it doesn’t break into the “Russian vs. North American player” stereotype, per se. I just think you’re using Ovechkin and Crosby as shorthand.

    Please tell me, am I wrong in characterizing and interpreting your stance as, “Since Ovechkin has always been lazy, if he mails it in it is his fault. Since Crosby is diligent, if he mails it in it’s Dan Bylsma’s fault.”

    I agree with Jim. If Crosby was mailing it in because he didn’t like Bylsma or Shero, then he’s no better than the player you accuse Ovechkin of being. Ovechkin, by the way, still being a hyper-talented, accomplished, star-caliber player.

    I see it being the same as erasing “The Steelers Way” myth.

  294. Sarah says:

    Hmm. Agree with much.

    I’d simplify it to saying both Sid and Geno need wings who can create enough on their own, whether that be reach, power, puck retrieval, that they can be freed up to find open space. Geno at his best is predatory finding open space if only someone can dig and get the puck to him, which neither Neal nor JJ can do.

    Sid as you say, needs lanes to open up for passing.

    Neither guy has had complimentary wingers to enable them since about 2009, when Kunitz did some work for Sid and Talbot for Geno.

    Since then, nothing much.

  295. SeanAY says:


    I’m not talking about flushing the guy. I’m saying if he hypothetically mailed it in, at least in part to affect change – and since there is no real proof of that, I think we can agree to keeping everything hypothetical at this point – then doesn’t he have culpability in all of this?

    What I’m saying is, “yes.”

    What you’re saying is, “who cares?”

  296. hockeymonster says:

    If Pat Brisson wants to help sid the best thing he can do is help facilitate a trade with buffalo for evil stewie.

    But it is worth noting that lately Sid seems to get more stymied in playoffs than geno. Geno is bigger and combined with Neal’s reach they can play give n go up and down the ice. Sid needs time and space to be manufactured at times precisely cuz he doesn’t have the same reach. And when you’re ALWAYS facing top Dmen, reach is important cuz the dmen all have reach. If stempy goes to the net sid has to force a pass. If a bigger winger with reach goes to the net, he can anticipate the passing lane sooner. Cuz it actually exists.

  297. SeanAY says:

    I’ve clearly turned into a bitter, cynical person upon my blog return.

    My apologies, all. Especially Sarah.

  298. JohninOshkosh says:

    I’ve lost track of this thread and all its indentations and who’s talking to who!

  299. hockeymonster says:

    Was that a reply to sean?

  300. NMR says:

    You got engaged, right?

  301. TK says:

    Budaj. Used to play for the Avs.

  302. Thundercrack says:

    Funny. My wife asks me to put those nasal strips on before I get into bed….because apparently I snore like a race horse.

  303. Sarah says:

    No Sean you missed it again.
    While you were busy Strawmanning “Crosby is beyond reproach!”

    I think I’ve been saying repeatedly, in several ways,

    “If Sid is mailing it in, with his history, it is likely a symptom of a MUCH DEEPER AND MORE PERVASIVE PROBLEM. And this not to excuse Sid.”

    Check the archives for the multi faceted problems many posters like myself, HM, DJ, Eric B, Plan and others have put up, which are a teensy bit more nuanced than “Crosby is beyond Reproach” or “Crosby is the WHOLE problem” .

    In short, after a career of being an exemplary competitor, if Crosby finally gets fed up, that does not make him the same as another player who has never been an exemplary competitor.

    It was never as simple as he just doesn’t like Bylsma, he’s not 8 yrs old, and I’m amazed at how much people want to Simplify.

    Your shorthand is like, “if anyone ever sucks, for any reason, even after a career of the opposite, they are the same as anyone who sucks”

    If that kind of thinking makes your life easier, have at it, but I do not think it describes the situation here.

  304. Jim S. says:


  305. NMR says:

    Sorry monster, now I see what you’re saying.

    You’re absolutely right that they’re worried about years 5 and 6, as far as salaries go. But those worries only come if arb in year three happens first. This is what Andrew was saying about significantly raising the floor.

  306. Sarah says:

    Yup, don’t disagree at all….
    And really I do worry about Sid.

    The Peyton Manning thing is perilously close to coming true, isn’t it?
    Man I hope they turn this team around and we see a different Crosby.

    It’s funny, we used to beyotch about Geno going into funks. He’s brung it in playoffs with consistency, and Sid has not, thou admittedly Crosby often was dealing with worse matchups…..

  307. Sarah says:

    Sean I have matched you for bitterness!!!
    Please forgive….

  308. hockeymonster says:

    Got it, thanks. Don’t know enough to say if he would’ve added W’s this season but apparently Bucs think he’s ready to play. Only couple weeks left to avoid super 2…so i guess they might as well wait now.

  309. JohninOshkosh says:

    No. Just a general observation about my small crappy phone, really.

  310. hockeymonster says:

    Group hug everyone…

  311. JohninOshkosh says:

    Next step is CPAP, my friend.

  312. hockeymonster says:

    I wanna see this team with a properly assembled roster and master tactician behind the bench before we judge any of them.

  313. hockeymonster says:

    Anyone else wonder what Tomas Hertl would’ve look like in black n gold?

  314. NMR says:

    Hands ABOVE the waist, Jim!

  315. Wild Bill says:

    Been there. Done that. Best choice I could have made.

  316. Thundercrack says:

    What is CPAP?

    That isn’t some acronym for separate bedrooms is it?

  317. Jim S. says:

    A virtual hug is all I seek.

  318. AJS says:

    You know what concerns me about every single one of those hitters? Jus tlook at the K/BB ratio. Yikes!

  319. Wild Bill says:

    A breathing assistance machine, Thunder. Pushes air through a nasal mask into your sinuses and throat, keeping your breathing from being interrupted. Heavy snorers often have obstruction in the airways and stop breathing. It was happening to me an average of 39 times/hour.

  320. JohninOshkosh says:

    No. You get to sleep like you are a jet pilot.

    Stops snoring. And keeps you breathing. Which is always nice. Look around an airport sometime. Every other middle age dude or older has one slung around his shoulder.

  321. AJS says:

    What’s interesting is people still think not having polanco on teh roster is what’s causing the stink o meter to hit such high levels. Pitching folks. 10 count them 10 blown saves. Edison Volquez was the brightspot until his last few starts and now h e is well…edison volquez. Liriano has regressed. Chaz Mo is just Chaz mo. With better defense maybe he fares better.

    The least of this teams worries is offesne. Defense and piching are what ails them.

    Polanco doesn’t add that many tallys in the win column.

    If you contest wins and losses souldn’t matter and Polanco should be here on merit alone then you grossly misunderstand the economics of baseball.

  322. AJS says:

    He’s not actually young. Wasn’t his wife like 40? International ages are fun@

  323. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:


    Never heard of him

  324. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:


  325. Bizrow says:

    The NovakFoundation is a very secure and easy way to send donations to our friends in Serbia that are fighting the flooding. They got 3 months of rain in 3 days. The article I read in the paper (Trib) is quite sobering. One concern is that land mines planted in the 90’s may have been washed away, at worst, and their locations if not washed away are no longer marked. Estimate is over 120,000 land mines, wow

    If you don’t mind, could someone please cut and paste this in tomorrows thread? I have to go to the Drs in the am


  326. Bizrow says:

    The donations go thru PayPal

  327. Stlrfanrc (Ryan) says:

    Butter cup!!!

  328. Jandy says:

    LOL, just caught this, this morning. Made me laugh ;)

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