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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Looking ahead to ‘Subway Final Word’

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media


The joint venture between WPXI-TV and Trib Total Media continues Sunday night at 11:35 p.m. — right after the Channel 11 News — with a live edition of The Subway Final Word.

>> Who’s on the panel: I’ll join Alan Robinson, the Trib’s Steelers beat man, and Mark Madden, top-rated radio host of 105.9 the X. The host will be WPXI-TV’s Alby Oxenreiter.

>> What we’re talking about: Pirates, Penguins, Steelers, you name it.

>> How to participate: Each week, we also take comments that viewers submit to The Final Word’s Facebook page and Twitter account.

>> Where to watch: In addition to the broadcast on WPXI-TV (811 on Comcast), we have WPXI’s online stream for Pittsburgh’s many out-of-town sports fans.

Here’s last week’s full episode.

Really hope to have you along, not only watching but also joining in!

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:

    The grass is always greener. Reading the Cardinals’ article on the promotion of their new phenom. No mention of Super 2, how much it will cost, etc. Just how great the player is, how the GM and Manager are ready for him to contribute on a daily basis.

  2. Ghost says:

    A peculiar move by the Cards, actually. True, Matt Adams was put on the DL to heal his calf. But the Cards are in 2nd place only 4 games back. For what amounts to getting Tavares to the Bigs about 1 week early, they’re going to pay ten digits for that week, down the line.

  3. Ghost says:

    Whoops! Ten digits would be nice. Meant “eight” digits. A lot for a little more than a week of service, no matter how you slice it.

  4. Tom P. says:

    The Pirates have played 54 games. Their records during each 18-game segment have been 8-10, 8-10, and 9-9. To get to 90 wins, a team has to average 10-8 during each of the nine 18-game segments of a season. To get to 90 wins this year, the Pirates would have to go 65-43 the rest of the season.

    Another observation, the Pirates are now 4 games below .500. They have reached that level three times in the last three weeks, then lost to St. Louis May 11, Washington on Sunday and the Mets on Tuesday. I don’t want to over-emphasize Cumpton’s start tonight, but it would be nice to break through this ceiling.

  5. TJA says:

    Tom – On national television to boot – tonight on FOX and tomorrow on ESPN. Thanks for the interesting breakdowns.

  6. cherokee23 says:

    Just read game recap by biertempal. Said Cutch was upset about striking out on a foul tip, claiming he never touched the ball. I didn’t watch the game, so what am I missing? If he didn’t touch the ball on strike 3, he just plain struck out, right?

  7. Brandie says:

    Good to see the Buccos take another one in LA. I will not talk about taking the measure of the series as I do not want to hind a good thing. Too much feast or famine with this team right now. Oh well…here’s to .500 and beyond.

  8. Hind a good thing?


  9. Fine Girl,

    Is the job working out?
    Are all your dreams being fulfilled?
    Can I borrow 10 bucks?

  10. Brandie says:

    Jinx. Stupid tablet. Good morning Revvie. :)


    {because NOW is never as important as 6-7 seasons from NOW}

  12. Brandie says:

    Going to start on the sales end and really kick customer service into high gear. Really earning my way and feel quite hopeful Groats n Honey. And yes…you can borrow 10 bucks and with it a truck full of hugs that never have to be returned…my gifts to you. :)

  13. Tom P. says:

    Cherokee, I didn’t see the game either, but maybe he thought he checked his swing on a ball, but the umpire ruled it a foul tip strike 3?

  14. Here a great quote from Mr. Librarian on last night’s game thread:

    May 31, 2014 at 12:04 AM
    If only the Dodgers had kept Puig in AA instead of calling him up last year, this AB wouldn’t be happening.

    Bravo, Library Man!!!

  15. You are truly a fine girl, FINE GIRL!

    I KNOW you will succeed!

  16. Brandie says:

    DJ Groats N Honey with the hot prospect countdown!!!!! ;)

  17. Brandie says:

    Aww Groats! (Blushing, which is hard for a black woman.)

  18. Ball almost hit Cutch on a 3-2 pitch. Cutch shook his hand and took a step toward 1st base. The catcher Butura turned toward ump showing his glove, claiming he caught a foul tip. After a short delay, ump gave the foul tip signal and called McCutch out.

    McCutch argued more than I’ve ever seen him complain. Lengthy. Hurdle stepped between to keep him in game. McCutch not angry, just unbelieving.

  19. cherokee23 says:

    Thanks, Groat!

  20. Brandie says:

    Good cogent take Ghostavo.

  21. Puig called up on June 2nd last season. Super Two?

  22. Maz in Iowa says:

    Then Polanco could be playing against the hated Brewers next weekend

  23. Andrew says:

    Free agent out of Cuba, he is not on a entry level contract.

  24. They’ll be careful. Probably about 3 weeks. But the Tavarez call-up will help, if I understand it correctly, and I’m sure I don’t.

  25. Maz in Iowa says:

    You mean so they can say it wasn’t about money?? smh

  26. All is not necessarily lost. And yet, the Pirates have to start playing 2013 ball day in and day out and quit taking a couple of steps forward and then a couple of steps backward. Also, they’ve got to recognize that while Polanco may well give them a big lift if he’s called up in June, he’s no Yashiel Puig and he won’t likely be the whole answer in any case, since baseball’s a team sport and everyone involved has to pull his weight.

  27. National Mart of Records,

    Great find on the stats through May 30 on Pedro the last 3 years! Excellent!
    Your find does not make me happy . . . . it just makes me a little bit less unhappy!

    Also I haven’t had the chance to congratulate you: Just as I insisted all off-season from the November GM meetings (when AJ’s agent attended the last 2 days) that AJ Burnett was not retiring and that BMTIB needed to negotiate seriously, you insisted all off-season that Wandy would not be up to snuff and would be gone by June.

    Bye-bye Wandy! You prescient little Stat-Head!!!

    Maybe we could be Co-General Managers! I’ll even go get your coffee———what d’you take in it?

  28. Gerritt Cole called up June 11 last year. Season starts and ends a little earlier this year. Opening Day in March.
    Also more rooks already on 25-man rosters this season.

    I’m sticking to my June 6th date.

  29. Van Slick,

    I meant that “tongue-in-cheek.” Sorry my tongue wasn’t visible.

    I think he originally signed a 7 year contract, didn’t he?

  30. Andrew says:

    I figured that wasn’t sure, the blog lacks a sarcasm font.

    $42 million over 7 years, the Dodgers’ cheapest outfielder.

  31. The Gunner says:


    That certainly was great work by NMR putting Pedro’s stats together – it will surely quiet me down about the possibility of trading Pedro before he opts for free agency.

  32. If he’s up by June 6th, I’ll eat my head and yours, too.

  33. Yesterday——Braves bring up 2nd base phenom Tommy LaStella
    Tody——Cardinals bring up outfielder Oscar Tavarez

    Release the bulls!!! Let the post-Super Two call-ups begin!

    From MLB Rumors: “If May 31, Taveras could accrue as many as 121 days of service in 2014. Over the last five seasons, the Super Two cutoff has never fallen below 2.122 days of service. Whether or not Taveras is able to earn a fourth year of arbitration, the Cardinals will control his rights through at least 2020.”

    FYI: Last season Gerrit Cole received 111 days of Major League Service coming up on June 11.

  34. JohninOshkosh says:

    I am not a better human being for having heard of Super 2. That stuff is for the realm of bean counters, lawyers and agents.

    Not a overly nostalgic person by nature, but I certainly miss the days when you simply played your best nine.

  35. Arriba Wilver says:

    Using the last 5 seasons is one of those probably true statements that could be, and probably is, misleading. As most here know, the last CBA increased the percentage of players subject to Super 2. And that started last year.

  36. Those last 5 seasons mentioned were calculated at the 22 % rate for true comparison.

  37. Baywatch says:


  38. JohninOshkosh says:

    Make it stop! You all are killing me! It burns! It burns!


  39. 21sthebest says:

    According to Jim Bowden today, these players should be called up and sent back in September to save service time if you’re out of the race, or start next season in Triple A.

  40. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  41. 22% sounds like some of the mortgages I put on the books during the Jimmy Carter administration. Needless to say, we re-wrote them when a certain actor/governor/president was elected.

    Disclaimer: This is a sports post, not a political one.

    I don’t like the number 22%.


  42. Yeah, let’s start next season like we did this one. Thanks, Jim for that wisdom.

  43. Thundercrack says:


  44. Arriba Wilver says:


  45. Thundercrack says:

    LaStella is the Braves #7 ranked prospect. And wasn’t he brought up because of injury to the regular second baseman and the didn’t want to go with Dan Uggla

  46. 21sthebest says:

    And he supports small markets for saving the money which is why he wants to demote them later on. Kind of a head scratcher.

  47. Thundercrack says:

    He used Michael Wacha as an example of how the Cards brought him up and sent him back down

    What Bowden failed to mention was that they sent Wacha back down because he was struggling

  48. 21sthebest says:

    I would argue that we’ve had Presidents more recent than Reagan who were better actors than he was. :-)

  49. 21sthebest says:

  50. Thundercrack says:

    My wife & I recite lines from that clip at least once a week.

  51. JohninOshkosh says:

    The beautiful game or the beautiful fix ?

    Oh, and just for kicks, pun intended, Google some articles about how many laborers will die constructing event sites for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Projected to be much more than perished in the September 11 attacks.

  52. Doesn’t matter why. Matters that they did.

    Tavares for Cards coming up because Adams goes on DL.

  53. Kentuck Knob,

    How dare you not like #22. McCutch wears #22!!

  54. Drew,

    Please come back. I’m the only insane one left without YOU!!!

  55. Fortunately that would never happen in a real sport.

    For example, take National Basketball Association. No team would throw a whole season just to get a better draft pick.

  56. By the way, I HATE it that the “Buy a Championship” Heat won last night.

    Come on Spurs!!

    Greg Popovich is the best coach in NBA, but he LOST the Championship last year by having Tim Duncan on the bench in the last 90 seconds!

    I HATE teams that buy Championships!!!!

  57. Thundercrack says:

    I don’t agree with you that ‘why’ doesn’t matter.

    Plus those other teams don’t have Brent Morel to bring up

  58. Thundercrack says:

    Pedro is not in the lineup tonight.

    I’m just so happy that his stats for the last three seasons (at this point in the season) are similar

  59. 21sthebest says:

    I try to kiss my wife at least once a week.

  60. Cmat0829 says:

    I think we will see Pedro benched for lhps most of the time.

  61. Cmat0829 says:

    June 13

  62. Brent Morel. Got me there!

    Braves and Cards felt “safe” to start the clocks on Tommy and Oscar.

    What is the safe word (date) for Neal and Frankie? Rutabaga! (June 6th?)

  63. Who is playing 3rd———Willie Mays Hayes Harrison?

  64. JohninOshkosh says:

    Good stuff, Groat. Message received. But, the more I read about international soccer-the corruption, the deplorable racism, the frighteningly violent segments of various fan bases, the more I question whether I should even care. I will watch the World Cup, but it will be with an informed eye.

  65. I hope not. Substituting a Punch ‘n Judy for a Pop hitter is not a recipe for success.


    That so-called sport is planning on holding the World Cup after this one in the desert!!! Qatar.

  67. Cmat0829 says:

    Watching Pedro go ofer against a good lhp is a recipe for insanity.

  68. It’s 22% I don’t like, Groaty, not the number 22. Unless that’s a return on investment, then it sounds pretty good.


  69. What we Pirate fans have to get through our thick skulls is that Pedro plays for 4 weeks like a doof to reach that 10 day stretch that he dominates like Albert—don’t call me Joey—Belle for the Indians.

    Then he’s back to being Pedro Cirraco for 4 weeks! Jobu!

  70. JohninOshkosh says:

    2018 World Cup in imperialist Russia. 2022 in the desert in stadiums effectively built by slave laborers under next to zero work safety regulation.

    Lovely organization, that FIFA. Sure know how to award competition sites.

  71. Arriba Wilver says:

    I like that description “Imperialist Russia.” I like it a lot.

  72. Maz in Iowa says:

    Travis Snider prolly has an ad listing his home for sale/rent in the next couple weeks

  73. Thundercrack says:

    My wife is usually talking to the dog

  74. Maz in Iowa says:

    BTW Taveras homered in his 2nd AB

  75. Thundercrack says:

    He was ready

  76. Maz in Iowa says:

    Of course as Huntington told us Polanco isn’t.*sigh*

  77. Polanco’s numbers are higher except HR’s. Taveras had 7 in AAA. Polanco has 45 RBI to 40 for Taveras. BA is 20+ points higher than Taveras. OPS is higher than Taveras. Plus, he’s a better fielder and baserunner IMHO.

    I hope Groat or CMat are right, but I don’t look to see him until the third week of June.

  78. Sunday lineup on Saturday. No Pedro. Mercer, Tabata and Stewart in.


  79. Arriba Wilver says:

    16th at the earliest.

  80. Arriba Wilver says:

    Taveras must have known how to tuck his shirt tail in.

  81. Lad 9 says:

    Game thread is up. Lunatic migration time!

  82. Patrick(ri) says:

    Hate to bring this up, but it seems CH is managing more like Tony L. these days. Full use of his roster, w/o slavish adherance to routine(glaring exception being 7-9 inning pitching order). iMHO, this was one of Tony’s attributes as a Mgr, right up there. With do no throw at heads.

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