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Morning Java: Viva o Brasil!

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Morning, Lunatics …

>> The main event begins today in Brazil. All else, even the Olympics, is no better than second. That’s not opinion. That’s fact, at least as it applies to popularity. If not a solitary soul in the United States watched, it would still be fact.  Every nation on every continent and every island larger than a pebble has a team. Everyone competes. And yes, most everyone watches.

I’m not making any kind of case here. Unlike an unfortunately large chunk of the soccer community, I don’t care to spread the gospel. I don’t see it as a religion to grow. It’s a game I enjoy watching, and it’s a game I appreciate for its overwhelming scope, and that’s that.

If you don’t like it, I don’t care.

Really, that’s my main point. Because it always seems to be the case that, when the subject of soccer arises, it’s never enough to just let slide that you don’t care or don’t watch. It’s got to be brought up. And it’s got to be brought up, often with a peculiar bite, something like: I hate soccer!

I get these pretty much every time I tweet, type or breathe a word about the Hounds, and my response invariably is this: Who asked?

No, seriously. I mean, I don’t watch the NBA, but I also don’t rip it or say I hate it. Because I don’t. I just happen to not watch. I have choices in my life about what to watch or not, and I choose to spend my free time doing things other than watching the NBA. And big whoop. In Pittsburgh, I hardly stand out in that regard.

So why is soccer different?

Why the anger, especially among older sports fans?

What is that, like some Cold War remnant where we’re worried that if we say we like soccer, we’re secretly inviting the Commies to come and take over our schools?

Why not just relax and let those who want to enjoy it do so?

Here’s something that’s universally fun, maybe the best commercial of any kind I’ve seen in years, a beauty for McDonald’s that’s showing the world over right now:

I plan to watch Brazil v. Croatia today — 4 p.m., ESPN — in what promises to be an entertaining match between two creative sides, each characteristically built with personalities to match their nations, the host nation particularly blessed with the brilliant Neymar. And I’ll enjoy it. And I won’t knock on doors around my neighborhood urging others to join me.

If you do likewise, I’d love to hear from you. If not, no biggie.

Collins John and the rest of the Riverhounds have their own connections to the World Cup, by beat man Matt Grubba at Highmark Stadium.

The Riverhounds still can’t connect on much else in losing again to Harrisburg, by Grubba.

Here’s TribLIVE’s Riverhounds page.

Here’s the official World Cup 2014 page.

Here’s official U.S. Soccer page.

>> The Pirates overcame some boneheaded baserunning and the Cubs, by beat man Rob Biertempfel at PNC Park.

Bob Nutting talks about all the hype for Gregory Polanco, by Bob Cohn.

Francisco Liriano to the DL, by Karen Price.

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

Here’s Cubs news from the Chicago Tribune.

Here are official game highlights on MLB.com.

>> Jim Rutherford already has heard trade offers for some of the Penguins’ players at the NHL’s GM meetings in New York, by beat man Rob Rossi.

Columnist Joe Starkey rewinds on the five-year anniversary of the Penguins’ triumph in Detroit.

Twenty-five questions facing the Penguins, by Josh Yohe.

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

Here are official Stanley Cup final highlights on NHL.com, including the Rangers barely avoiding a sweep in Game 4 last night at the Garden.

>> Ryan Shazier is lighting up the Steelers’ OTAs, by beat man Alan Robinson.

Mike Mitchell is eager to hook up with Troy Polamalu, by Mark Kaboly.

The full training camp schedule is released.

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

>> I’ll be with the football team today for the final OTA session, aiming toward a Friday column. Thank you, as always, for reading.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

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

Comments

  1. The Bucs finally got it in last night, McCutchen homered, and they won. The Rangers finally won so there’ll be more hockey on Friday night. And Neal Huntington admitted he wished that Polanco could’ve stayed longer in the minors.

  2. Evan says:

    Beyond excited for the Cup. I happened to be living in Germany when the cup was there in 2006. I was at PNC for the NLDS, and if you can imagine that atmosphere across a whole country sustained for a month, that’s close to what it was like. Made me a huge World Cup fan. Can’t wait.

  3. I’m just curious about the title. Why “Viva Brasília”?

  4. Anyway. I loved the text above. In fact, I’ve never met an American (in person) that said he hated soccer. I mean, some of them, maybe most didn’t care about the sport, but because they were in Brazil they were playing good sports. And I guarantee I have never even asked about it — in the occasions I asked, I went with baseball and hockey.

    But over the Internet, that’s very different, and it’s exactly as Dejan described. The “shield” provided by a keyboard makes some people think it’s ok for them to lash out their frustration in any sort of way, like they want to control what the journalist/columnist/blogger say.

    And of course THIS topic was raised by (some) Americans regarding soccer, but I’ve seen it with any other subject in any other popular blog in any language by any nationality. “Oh, I hate your team,” “Don’t talk about that sport,” etc. The words change, the unrest of mind doesn’t.

    As for the World Cup itself, I wish I was prouder of it happening on home soil. I wish I was happier that some of the games will be played in my city. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for the World Cup and, as opposed to more than a few friends, I will root for the Seleção. But it bothers me that billions and billions of dollars were spent with stadiums in places that don’t have teams even in the THIRD division and that here in São Paulo almost half a billion dollars in public funding was spent on a PRIVATE stadium.

    Some will say most of this has to be paid, but it won’t, pure and simple. The “big” clubs all have six- or seven-figure debts that keep rolling up for decades and only grow.

    But enough with bad news. The World Cup is something I’ve enjoyed since 1986 (in 1982, I hated soccer — see, even I couldn’t resist saying it hehehehehehe), and no bad administration, bad government or anything is gonna take THAT away from me. Yesterday, while I walked home through Paulista Avenue, it was very nice seeing many fans from around the world knowing my city, having fun and interacting with each other and with the “regular” inhabitants, like myself.

    The World Cup instigates habits like sticker albums, which were always popular here during past editions, but this one is unlike any other, with the Cup here and also the social media impact. And I also can say I was proud of the facilities the US has been using for training, because they belong to my team (and were not public-funded) and they have been lauded by American Media. Even Sports Illustrated spent a full minute of a three-minute video applauding it. São-paulinos (those who root for São Paulo FC) are very proud of this.

    I just wish I could have gotten a ticket to one of the games in Rio de Janeiro, Curitiba or Belo Horizonte — not in São Paulo, because my “protest” is that I will never, ever set foot at the Itaquerão Stadium. I didn’t manage to buy one, but I’ll keep trying.

    Well, this is the World Cup to me. It’s the biggest tournament. Even though I can safely say I care more about São Paulo FC than about the Seleção, that doesn’t mean I don’t care for the latter. And, during the World Cup, it’s the most important thing to care. Unless, of course, the Penguins were playing for the Stanley Cup. ;)

  5. Brandie says:

    My guess is because Brazil is the host country.

    Hello Big Al.

  6. But Brasília is the capital. :) My guess is that what he meant was “Viva o Brasil”.

  7. JAL says:

    JAL’s Stray Cat Strut Morning Links

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYiwxM_RVEI

    Stray Cat Strut The Stray Cats

    GENERAL DAILY UPDATED BASEBALL SITES

    1- MLB Transactions

    http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/transactions

    2-MLB Trade Rumors-Pirates

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/pittsburgh_pirates/

    3 BFFL’s 2014 Pirates Stats Spreadsheet

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AsjN0zO-DxI0dDNkaWxFNWIwNDVUQzEwYXp5SlpGNkE&usp=drive_web#gid=0

    4 Pirates Prospects

    2014 Pittsburgh Pirates Draft Pick Signing Tracker

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014draft

    BLOGS and such

    5—Pirates Prospects

    First Pitch: Evaluating the Pirates Farm System at the Half Way Mark

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/first-pitch-evaluating-the-pirates-farm-system-at-the-half-way-mark.html

    Pittsburgh Pirates Mid-Season Top 20 Prospects, Minus Gregory Polanco

    http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/06/pittsburgh-pirates-mid-season-top-20-prospects-minus-gregory-polanco.html

    6 Bucs Dugout

    Andrew McCutchen, Pirates bullpen key 4-2 victory

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/6/12/5802996/andrew-mccutchen-pirates-bullpen-key-4-2-victory

    Postgame: Brandon Cumpton goes five solid innings, Andrew McCutchen stays hot in 4-2 win

    http://www.bucsdugout.com/2014/6/12/5802756/postgame-brandon-cumpton-goes-five-strong-innings-andrew-mccutchen

    7 WHYGAVS

    GAME 65: PIRATES 4 CUBS 2

    http://whygavs.com/june-2014/game-65-pirates-4-cubs-2.html

    IT’S NOT TOO EARLY FOR THE PIRATES TO ADDRESS THEIR PITCHING WOES

    http://whygavs.com/june-2014/its-not-too-early-for-the-pirates-to-address-their-pitching-woes.html

    8 Green Weenie

    Base Running Brutal, Bullpen Brilliant In 4-2 Bucco Victory

    http://oldbucs.blogspot.com/2014/06/base-running-brutal-bullpen-brilliant.html

    9 Rumbunter

    Pirates Master Plan Study Announced.

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/06/11/pirates-master-plan-announced/

    Pirates Trade Possibilities: Another Van Slyke in Pittsburgh?

    http://rumbunter.com/2014/06/11/pirates-trade-possibilities-another-van-slyke-pittsburgh/?utm_source=FanSided&utm_medium=Network&utm_campaign=Trending%20on%20FS

    10 City of Champions

    Francisco Liriano Injury Latest Blow To Hobbled Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Staff

    http://cityofchampionssports.com/2014/06/11/francisco-liriano-injury-latest-blow-hobbled-pittsburgh-pirates-pitching-staff/

  8. JAL says:

    NEWSPAPERS and MAGAZINES and Other Media

    11 Rant Sports

    Pittsburgh Pirates’ Tony Watson Deserves All-Star Consideration

    http://www.rantsports.com/mlb/2014/06/11/pittsburgh-pirates-tony-watson-deserves-all-star-consideration/

    12 ESPN

    Cubs Pirates Game Preview

    http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/preview?id=340612123

    13 Chicago Sun Times

    Reliable Hammel labors in Cubs’ 4-2 loss to Pirates

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/28027182-573/reliable-hammel-labors-in-cubs-4-2-loss-to-pirates.html#.U5mF_dREPv8

    14 Fox Sports

    Has the first-pitch take become a losing strategy?

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/has-the-first-pitch-take-become-a-losing-strategy-061114

    15 Pirates Site

    Pirates wait out the rain before downing Cubs

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_06_11_chnmlb_pitmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=pit

    Harrison day to day with sore left ankle

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140611&content_id=79287164&notebook_id=79329746&vkey=notebook_pit&c_id=pit

    16 Cincinnati Enquirer

    Offense picks up as Cueto, Reds blank Dodgers

    http://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2014/06/11/offense-picks-up-reds-cueto-shut-out-dodgers/10356059/

    17 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

    Wily Peralta back on track with quality start

    http://www.jsonline.com/sports/brewers/wily-peralta-back-on-track-with-quality-start-b99289081z1-262810001.html

    18 St. Louis Post Dispatch

    Wacha on the wild side in Cards’ loss

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/wacha-on-the-wild-side-in-cards-loss/article_8d82716f-0dab-55bf-9742-0b995d88c121.html

    Wainwright has sore elbow but no ligament damage

    http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinal-beat/wainwright-has-sore-elbow-but-no-ligament-damage/article_aa2e3cc2-a5dd-5a91-a3c9-3efb5e755696.html

    19 Fangraphs

    Reminder: Stephen Strasburg Is Still Really, Really Good

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/reminder-stephen-strasburg-is-still-really-really-good/

    20 Baseball Prospectus

    9 Unexpected Storylines of the Season to Date

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23853

  9. JAL says:

    Steelers Blogs

    21 Behind the Steel Curtain

    Steelers OTAs: Justin Brown share first team reps Wednesday

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-otas/2014/6/11/5800726/steelers-otas-practice-news-updates-report

    Multiple players needed to pull Cameron Heyward off rookie Wesley Johnson at practice

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-steelers-otas/2014/6/11/5800646/steelers-otas-fight-cameron-heyward-wesley-johnson

    Steelers rookie LB Ryan Shazier covers WR Antonio Brown

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014/6/11/5800886/steelers-otas-ryan-shazier-pass-coverage-speed

    Soccer(football)

    22 Bloomberg Stats Insight

    World Cup Bracket Projections

    https://www.bsports.com/world-cup#.U5jT8tREPv8

    23 BBC Football

    World Cup Scrapbook

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-27762024

    24 World Soccer

    World Cup stars speak of the moments that can change lives

    http://www.worldsoccer.com/world-cup-3/world-cup-stars-speak-moments-can-change-lives

    25 CNN

    New technology aims to rid World Cup of ‘ghost goals’

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/11/tech/innovation/goal-line-technology-brazil/

    26 Wall Street Journal

    Soccer, Made in America

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/with-his-eye-on-the-world-cup-soccer-coach-jurgen-klinsmann-overhauls-team-usa-1401899734?mod=WSJ_article_EditorsPicks

    PENGUIN BLOGS and NHL Links

    27 Pensburgh

    2013-14 Season In Review: Jussi Jokinen

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/6/11/5800026/2013-14-season-in-review-jussi-jokinen

  10. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++++

  11. Jandy says:

    Hello Alexandre! I hope you have success getting the tickets you wish for and enjoy the World Cup! Happy to see you here this morning :)

  12. I’m always here. It’s just that on weekdays I usually have just the time to read the text and a few of the comments. But, because of the World Cup overtura, today is a holiday in São Paulo, so… :)

  13. AL says:

    I have to admit that I never really cared for or ever watched soccer on TV. My “born again” soccer moment was when I went to watch my nieces play down in Virginia Beach. ( I think it’s really big in that area.)
    Yuh know….it was actually pretty cool to watch!
    For whatever reason, it’ll never catch on in this country but at least now when I channel surf and stumble across a game, I’ll watch for awhile.
    Just sayin’.

  14. Pucknutz says:

    Nice perspective on it from the host country Alexandre. Hoping that hosting it turns out to be a good thing for Brazil.

    Just curious, how the heck did you become a Pens Fan ????

  15. John Lease says:

    I’ll watch the world cup when the united states plays, Unless the Pirates are on.

  16. The Bucs finally got it in last night, McCutchen homered, and they won. The Rangers finally won so there’ll be more hockey on Friday night. And Neil Huntington admitted he wished that Polanco could’ve stayed longer in the minors.

  17. Jandy says:

    Sweet!

  18. BillyBaduka says:

    Thanks for the insights, Alexandre. Good stuff.

  19. BillyBaduka says:

    Maybe DK should consult with you on the next World Cup blog headline. ;)

  20. BillyBaduka says:

    Drew71
    Drew71
    Drew71

  21. BillyBaduka says:

    Hoping it’s like Beetlejuice and he’ll have to show up…

  22. That was 22 years ago, when I got the NHL HOCKEY game for Sega Genesis. I had to pick a team, and I picked the Penguins by chance. That led me to following the NHL on ESPN, then over the Internet, then the Pirates… it’s not very rational, I know, but it’s heartfelt.

  23. And, hopefully, J Hey’s ankle injury isn’t too serious since, under the circumstances, that’s the last thing the Pirates need.

  24. hahahahahaha If it is in Portuguese, then I’m qualified!

  25. Bryan says:

    Hey DK,

    I have always thought that the American sports fan was stats driven. We are fed so many stats and numbers, many of which i still do not comprehend, from which we are to dissect the performance of an individual or team. It’s just not there in soccer. There is no +/-, WAR, etc…..It’s a game of strategy and execution at the highest level. I have always been a soccer fan, mostly around the World Cup, but now that the US networks have jumped on the the Euro leagues it has given us access to the best players in the world.

  26. Pucknutz says:

    This blog is just one example of the fact it is not a requirement to be rational to be a fan!!! LOL :)

  27. Dom says:

    I hope Cam Heyward and Wesley Johnson can bury the hatchet.

  28. My prayer is you’re aren’t holding your breath.

  29. tdb1977 says:

    Depending on what time I get home from work this afternoon, I’ll probably put the game on between Brazil and Croatia. And with being on vacation next week, I’ll probably watch a couple of the American matches, depending on what I am doing with the family.

    For the Bucs, its good to get a victory. Wish Cumpton was able to go longer then 5 innings, but the bullpen came in and shut down door on the Cubs. Marte is turning into a liability on the base pads and that’s no good. Really hope a day or two day for J-Hay will get that bum wheel better. Going for the series win tonight against the Cubs but it wont be an easy matchup with Jeff S. pitching against us.

  30. pattonbb says:

    I was 17 or 18 years old when I found out soccer balls weren’t made just for kickball.

    In my little area of western PA that I grew up in, none of the schools even had soccer teams. I don’t care about soccer. I don’t watch soccer. I certainly don’t hate soccer. It’s just not my cup of tea. I also don’t watch cricket or rugby, but for some reason, I’ve never felt compelled to explain why I don’t watch those sports.

    I did attend a soccer game in Spain several years ago. Real Madrid. That was a lot of fun, but I don’t know the game well enough to even tell anyone if it was a good game. I just stood there with my newly purchased scarf wrapped around my neck chanting, “Ole, ole, ole, ole….Oooleee, Oooleee….”. I didn’t know anything about the team. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did know of Ronaldo.

    Oh, and I did go to a Tampa Bay Rowdies game when I was 8 or 9. I don’t remember it, but I do remember their ads on the radio, “The Rowdies are….a kick in the grass!”

  31. bpn8pitt says:

    I’m gonna try to catch as much Cup as possible. Actually thinking about joining a soccer league to supplement running. Its getting boring…

    Far as the Buccos go, just want them to get back over .500 and make the Cards, Brewers, and Reds work.
    Glad to see the MVP rake.

    Take it easy. Got a lot of work to do today.

  32. The Gunner says:

    A win is a win is a win.

    The starting pitching was somewhat adequate; Volquez needs to go deeper into tonight’s game. As far as J-Hey, his injury needs to be minor for this team to stay in the race.

  33. Jandy says:

    +++

  34. Jandy says:

    +++++

  35. Jandy says:

    Don’t overdo ;)

  36. Cobra39 says:

    I HATE soccer. Why would you write a column about SOCCER? Communist!

    Serious question for DK: Does the USMNT get out of group play?

  37. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Wow…I’m usually a Rumbunter supporter, but the second half of link #9 is pretty suspect today. Fiction can be fun, and if you want it, this piece will give you all you can handle….

    Van Slyke and Haren for Alvarez and Marte

    Where’s the restroom?

  38. Sean says:

    JAL – You missed my World Cup post which included a picture of one of the greatest soccer teams of all time, the Pittsburgh Spirit! http://seanramblings.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-greatest-2014-world-cup-preview.html

  39. Tom P. says:

    Thanks, Alexandre. Enjoy the World Cup. Thanks for sharing your perspective. We Americans can get caught up in thinking that the world revolves around us, so it’s good to hear from someone else.

  40. Jim S. says:

    None of us are very rational, so you fit right in. :-)

  41. Nate83 says:

    It’s silly to even comment but this totally disregards the Van Slyke has put his numbers up primarily against left handed pitchers. It also disregards the fact that Haren is a perfectly fine pitcher if you only play 120 games. He falls apart at the end of the year almost every year. Marte doesn’t belong in any such trade discussion. His contract is team friendly even if he doesn’t reach his potential. Plus how often do two teams that are involved in the playoff chase swap 4 players that all are currently contributing to the team.

  42. chethejet1 says:

    I am not a soccer fan, but I believe the game as played by so many is a good thing and has many benefits individually and collectively.

  43. Jim S. says:

    It was an unfortunate 5th inning for Cumpton, I thought, tdb. Pedro’s ridiculous throw and Davis’ inability to catch a line drive right at him probably added 10 pitches to his total and finished him off. Fortunately, he got the 5 outs he needed that inning.

  44. Naje says:

    Anyone have a solution to Marte’s awful antics on the basepaths? Dude is Cedeno-G.Jones-Milledge on their worst days all rolled into one. Airhead of all airheads on the bases.

  45. Tom P. says:

    They certainly have a challenge to advance. They lost to Ghana in OT four years ago, and Germany and Portugal are really good. If they beat Ghana Monday, they have a chance. Otherwise, it’s three and done.

    I am not a big soccer fan, but once I figured out the offside rule, the game made more sense. My kids play rec league soccer in the summer, and each girl has a game tonight, so I will have to watch the highlights of the Brazil match.

  46. Jim S. says:

    I wouldn’t call myself a huge soccer fan, necessarily. But, I have grown to like the sport through my daughter playing at a high level for so many years. I was like many Americans at first. I didn’t like the game, and it seemed boring and uneventful. But, I grew to appreciate the strategy, the athleticism and even the beauty of well played soccer. I learned that I had judged it harshly once I gave it a chance.

    So, I will watch quite a bit of the matches, occasionally recording an important match that might be on while I’m out. And, as we get closer to the end, I’m sure I’ll watch more and more of it. I’m actually pretty excited for it. But, it won’t displace baseball, football or hockey at the top of my list. Nothing wrong with that.

  47. Jim S. says:

    Cutch last 10 games:

    .421
    7 2b
    6 HR

    And, they are pitching around him in key situations. I hope we are all taking note of how special a hitter this guy is.

    HR to RF over Clemente wall on Monday.

    Bomb to CF on Tuesday.

    Shot to LF, for good measure, on Wednesday

    Very special player.

  48. Naje says:

    Been a soccer fan since the mid-90’s following Ajax and Juventus club teams to the UEFA final. Visited family in northern Italy and they were huge Juve fans and caught the bug.

    Watch Italy’s Andrea Pirlo and tell me he’s not one of the most brilliant facilitators in sport… or Spain’s Iniesta or our own Michael Bradley (Pirlo-lite). Going to be a fun month…that is, if the teams can actually make it to the stadiums.

  49. DJ says:

    Slow day so here goes. How come no high socks look for Polanco?

    Loved that at his size.

  50. Botherhood of the Redus says:

    Honestly….there was no need for that rundown to happen yesterday…it’s a heads up play, but not one that has to happen with the top of your lineup coming up…Mercer may have been able to take 2nd just as easily, and I understand manufacturing a run, or “stealing” a run, but there are better ways to add on after Snider wastes and AB like that…..

  51. Jim S. says:

    Well said, Tom. Absolutely brutal draw.

  52. 21sthebest says:

    I’ve seen trade suggestions on blogs, in articles, different web sites, but I can’t recall if any of them actually happened. I don’t think so.

  53. DJ says:

    Glad to see fan alter glove path of LF Coghlan or I think he catches Cutch’s HR.

  54. Jim S. says:

    Clint said it was a designed play, where Marte takes off as soon as the catcher throws it and hopefully beats the return throw at home. Marte’s head continues to be somewhere else on the base paths.

  55. Jim S. says:

    Both of our players are better than both of their players.

  56. NMR says:

    Man, Petey…

  57. 21sthebest says:

    16 hits in June. 13 of them are extra base hits.

  58. NMR says:

    Tom Smith is great, but man does he have a rough time finding other writers for his site.

  59. Jim S. says:

    The last couple of weeks, Cutch has looked a bit like Cutch from 2 years ago around this time and up to the AS Break. He went nuts almost every game for what seemed like 6 weeks, destroying nearly every pitch near the strike zone. I said at the time that I had never remembered a Pirates hitter in my life being that hot for that long. I’d like to see this go on for several more weeks.

  60. Jim S. says:

    I like that look on a tall guy like him also, DJ.

  61. Jandy says:

    Nice to have one go our way :)

  62. Dom says:

    Everyone knows soccer is a byproduct of communism.

  63. Dom says:

    Could be worse

  64. NMR says:

    Soriano in his early days.

  65. Jim S. says:

    Hunter Pence, too.

  66. NMR says:

    Thought it was telling to hear Cutch talk about not thinking so much last night.

  67. Nate83 says:

    He really looks comfortable up at the plate right now. If I was the other team I wouldn’t pitch to him right now. Besides maybe Cabrera and Votto I don’t know if there are many players that square the ball up as often as Cutch does when he is going good.

  68. JAL says:

    very good

  69. Nate83 says:

    Coach him up and hope he learns from these mistakes. I think he’s a little amped up on the basepaths right now. Maybe pushing a little. He’s never been a great baserunner in terms of fundamentals but he had over 200 games coming into this year and was never this bad. That leads me to believe it won’t continue.

  70. Wild Bill says:

    Something hard to translate to tv was the moon ball home run last night. It was about as high as it was far, and the wind out of left field almost blew it back into play for the left fielder, who made a heck of a try on it. With no wind, or a supporting wind, that ball was way, way gone.

  71. Nate83 says:

    So only overrated players wear their socks high.

  72. JAL says:

    First game is the Key for the US, If they beat Ghana they have a chance, if they lose or draw that game their chance to advance is close to 0

  73. Jim S. says:

    I hate the glove tap with the ball, and sometimes he does it 2x as he gathers his feet and gets his balance while moving toward his target. I think that eats up the extra time he has to throw, and then he has to throw very hard. He often handcuffs Walker on DP throws also.

    The guy has a cannon. There’s no reason they can’t fix this. I just think he is making it a lot more complicated than it has to be.

    And, it seems to me, he has actually gotten very good going to his left for balls. He has good quickness and range, and very soft hands. Every throw is becoming an adventure, though.

  74. ChefAutomatic says:

    i think one of the reasons that people tend to express their dislike of soccer is because soccer fans, instead of saying that Croatia-Brazil ‘looks to be a good game between two good teams,’ say things like, it will be ‘an entertaining match between two creative sides.’ the pretentiousness grows tiresome.

  75. NMR says:

    Ike Davis and his 0-72 streak clearly putting TEH FEAR in opposing pitchers that Pedro couldn’t.

  76. DJ says:

    You and NMR just ruined the visual for me with the Pence and Soriano references.

    Ha!

  77. Arriba Wilver says:

    I thought it was the Nazis.

  78. Pete in Dayton says:

    I personally got the “soccer bug” after the 2002 World Cup and the USMNT’s run. Thanks to the internet and cable TV, I’ve been able to follow the English league(s) from afar. Like DK, I’ve never understood the “soccer is STUPID!!!!” rants on the internet or even in person. I’ve seen the growth of soccer over the past 10 or so years, but I’ve never understood why people viewed it as a threat to American sport or why people feel the need to insult it.
    The two sports I follow the most are hockey and soccer, and everything else is pretty much secondary for me. I’ve attended games in England, Canada and the US, and the atmosphere at a “football” match is usually way better in person than on TV- I loved seeing DC United and feeling the stands bounce as everyone was cheering/singing. The closest I’ve come to experiencing it was watching the Pens in the ECF against Carolina when Malkin scored the hat trick, or when Gonchar scored from the blueline against Montreal when he came back from injury during the regular season (I think it was that same season).
    The US will be very, very had pressed to make it out of the group. Portugal is very good team, Germany is almost always a contender for the title, and Ghana can be argued to be the top team from Africa. It seems like the only hope that the US team has is that everyone else beats each other up and we squeak through by drawing instead of losing against Germany and/or Portugal.

  79. DJ says:

    #freethestirrups

  80. Pete in Dayton says:

    I fail to see how describing two teams as creative is “pretentious”. Would it be pretentious to describe the Stanley Cup finals as a match-up between a team with a hot goalie and good team speed that rolls 4 lines vs a team that dominated position stats during the regular season and has mounted a great comeback already in these playoffs?

  81. Naje says:

    Like every sport, soccer has its own language. Pretentious to a U.S. fan is exacting and clear to a European fan. You understand the language of the game when you watch and listen to the call and when you read about it. The best sports reporting, to me, often comes from soccer. They call it the beautiful game for a reason… whatever style your side employs, when it’s done properly is a beautiful thing to watch. And even when it’s not done well, you see what the other team is doing to counter your approach and it results in a back-and-forth chess match for possession and control.

    But hey, I’m not here to convert anyone… enjoy the sights and sounds without the vuvuzuela’s humming….

  82. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t understand why the throws have become such an adventure, either. Must be in the head.

    Maybe he watched T. Sanchez too much. ;-)

  83. AL says:

    Anyone else notice that the topic of soccer all of a sudden brings out a few new posters?
    Love it!
    I think DK needs to do this a little more often…..but no WWE wrestling please. ( yes, I used to think it was real when I was a kid ).

  84. Baywatch says:

    Didn’t Elvis record that up-to-this-point non-marketable track of “Viva Brasilia” sung to the tune “Viva Las Vegas?”

  85. Dom says:

    That’s exactly what the communists want you to think. ;)

  86. ChefAutomatic says:

    does your example have to do with hockey? i can’t tell because i don’t follow the sport and so i can’t respond intelligently….anyway, you’re focusing on ‘creative,’ whereas my beef had more to do with the use of the word ‘sides’ instead of ‘teams.’ it seems to me that all sports are played by teams, except soccer, which is apparently played by sides. a bit pretentious, it seems to me.

  87. Nate83 says:

    During my much younger and dumber days in High School our 4×400 relay team decided to wear stirrups pulled up to our knees. I’m not sure who’s idea it was but we sure looked stupid so even when we won we still lost.

  88. Nate83 says:

    What???? It’s not real………that makes me so mad!!!!!!!!!

  89. Nate83 says:

    Since the 4 hole hitter can never hit on this team I say we just put Barmes in that spot. No use wasting a player they may have contributed otherwise. Maybe bat the pitcher 4th.

  90. Jim S. says:

    Chef:

    I would say most likely occurs because the game does not have its roots in America. Therefore, they don’t use American terminology.

    I am in agreement that there are more than a few pretentious soccer fans. But, there are more than a few pretentious pretentious fans of every sport, I would say. Some people just like us to think they are in on something that outsiders could not possibly appreciate or comprehend. I think that says more about those few people for any sport than for the larger group of a sport’s fans. JMO.

  91. Jim S. says:

    That’s how they get you. :-)

  92. Jim S. says:

    Puig is absolutely in that category. It’s a good category to be in.

  93. Nate83 says:

    Pirates pitching in June (NL Rank).

    6-4
    ERA 3.34 (4th)
    BAA .201 (1st)
    OBP .290 (3rd)
    SLG .286 (1st)
    Total Bases 91 (1st)

    91 Total bases in 10 games. That is very impressive. They lost a game 1-0 and another game 3-2 while only giving up a bunt single.

    Amazing production and a good sign of where this team may have been heading. Hopefully Cole can get back while only missing two starts and Walker will have a minimum stay on the DL. Considering how Liriano was pitching they should be able to find somebody to equal that production. Hopefully when he comes back in 30-45 days he will be closer to 2013 then 2014 version.

  94. Jandy says:

    Bring on the MMA!!

  95. Nate83 says:

    Good catch. He definately is a pure hitter. His hype is much more valid then Bryce Harper’s even if it is overblown. I’m sure Trout may be in the catagory as well but I just don’t get to see him play very much.

  96. Jandy says:

    haha!

  97. AL says:

    and women’s roller derby!!

  98. Jandy says:

    Woah ;)

  99. Sisyphus says:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that soccer will never catch on in this country. I remember walking up to the Civic Arena after work and paying $3 to watch the Penguins 38 times in 1978-79, with never a worry about ticket availability.

  100. Jim S. says:

    Sorry for the typos.

  101. Naterosboro says:

    #beauty

  102. Arriba Wilver says:

    There was a a really good special on Root during the rain delay about Ralph Kiner last night.
    Narrated by Rob King.

  103. Arriba Wilver says:

    I did the same thing with the Pirates for 20 some years. ;-)

  104. Arriba Wilver says:

    I don’t like it when PNC is called a “baseball stadium.” It’s a Ball Park. Three Rivers was a “stadium.”

  105. Arriba Wilver says:

    Might sound pretentious to some.

  106. JRay3 says:

    A by product of the Bucs dipping deep into the pitching down at Indy? Nick Kingham is being promoted from Altoona to the Indians.

    Kingham a top 5 prospect for the Bucs with a good showing at AAA could be fast tracked a little. Certainly puts himself in that position.

    Great to see that the Bucs not only locked up Keller for slightly above slot but they also have agreed to terms with Trey Supak, so the best two arms the team drafted are sealed up and can begin their development.

  107. Arriba Wilver says:

    To me it’s just accurate.

  108. JRay3 says:

    Great info. If Cole reports no setbacks in his bullpen tomorrow it probably puts him on pace to make start next week and return to rotation.

    Cumpton and Locke are being given a great opportunity to potentially cement their names in the ’15 rotation with Cole and Morton over the next few weeks.

    Not really down on Cumpton’s start last night, had the one bad inning and also dealt with some shoddy defense forcing him to get more than 3 outs in two of his innings. Really was able to bear down in high leverage situations last night. Other than the LA start he continues to put team in a position to win in his starts.

  109. Baywatch says:

    +++

  110. Jim S. says:

    He doesn’t have great secondary stuff, but he generally throws strikes and he throws ground balls. Some days more of them are hit right at defenders than other days.

  111. Baywatch says:

    On a distantly-related note, ADub: Yesterday I found MLB’s 43-minute video on the 1960 World Series highlights, narrated by Bob Prince! I never heard The Gunner before, so looking forward to watching this.

  112. Excellent news, JRay. I look for Josh Bell to be promoted soon from Bradenton to Altoona. He’s a little behind because of his injury, so a bump in mid-season will help him and the Bucs.

  113. Jim S. says:

    Baseball snobs. Sheesh! ;-)

  114. GAWTS2009 says:

    Anny one semi concerned rutherford doesn’t have th correctphone numbers of players?

  115. Maz in Iowa says:

    A little surprised that Ric Flair has never made an announcement that he would be attending a Pirate game.The “wooo” seems to be a part of some(more than others) games.My sister(the Cubs fan)absolutely hates the sound!!Of course I don’t like the Cubs…..so I kinda snicker to myself. :) :)

  116. Naterosboro says:

    I’ve posted on this blog many times about The Arsenal. They are my club. I’ve supported them for about 8-9 years now (I’m sorry, I’m American and was late to the club soccer “game” and had to discover it on my own).

    Today, a few players from my club get set to play for their national teams.

    Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – England (I posted his goal against Norwich City from this past season above.)
    Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker – Germany
    Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny – France
    Santi Cazorla – Spain
    Joel Campbell – Costa Rica
    Thomas Vermaelen – Belgium

    Usually, I have an extreme disdain for international soccer because they play friendlies or WC/Euro qualifiers during the club season. All these games do is serve to injure and tire the club players. But all of that is forgotten. THe club season is over (to start again in August), and it’s all about the world’s biggest sport on the biggest stage. Doesn’t get much better than that.

    I’ll have the Red, White & Blue flying for at least 3 games (really don’t see them making it out of the group, but you never know…)

    Until the tourney starts, enjoy some BEAUTIFUL Arsenal goals, and I invite everyone who has reservations with the sport to put them on hold for a month. Enjoy the beautiful game. The World’s game. Even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, the Untied States is a part of it ;-)

  117. Maz in Iowa says:

    Yes that is great news.Whenever someone gets bumped up to the Bucs I have to look around for somebody new to follow in MILB.Last year it was Taillon/Cole/Polanco.This year it was GP/Josh Bell and to a lesser extent Kingham/Glasnow.

  118. 21sthebest says:

    I’ve noticed that some hockey commentators on TV seem to refer to hockey as “our sport.” That fits my pretentious criteria.

  119. Nate83 says:

    I’m concerned he will be making decisions on a number of players without talking to Crosby and what his thoughts on the team are. Hopefully these two fella’s figure out a way to talk to each other soon. I know it’s difficult to reach somebody in todays day in age. Maybe he can get a messanger horse there in time to get some feedback from Crosby on what he feels could be missing or what needs to change.

  120. Pete in Dayton says:

    I honestly didn’t even notice that DK called them “sides” instead of “teams”. As Jim S. pointed out, it’s the difference between the English spoken here in America vs the English spoken in Britain. They have a whole different vocabulary for sports than we do, and referring to the teams in a “match” (vs game) as “sides” (vs teams) is something they do for all sports, not just soccer.
    Pretentious would be “correcting” everyone to call the sport “football”, etc. I get it- some people who like soccer get that way. Most don’t, and I honestly don’t think that DK was trying to be “pretentious” by calling them “sides”. It’s just the “lingo” of the sport.

    Although, I’m not going to lie, people calling the English Premier League the “EPL” or (worse yet, because of sponsorship) the “BPL” (for Barclays Premier League) drives me insane. But I keep that (mostly) to myself.

  121. Nate83 says:

    It’s super annoying. Hopefully those horns are not at the world cup this year.

  122. Did everyone see Ruggiano, playing center, slide on the warning track on Jordy’s double rather than take the chance of running into the wall? The ball didn’t even hit the wall and Ruggiano could have caught the fly and still pulled up or just glanced off the wall. No heart! No guts!

    I said, “No heart!” out loud immediately when I saw the play. Probably unfair. Also unfair was that immediately I thought of a certain Penguin center. I still lay all this Coach and GM continuing confusion on his doorstep. 1 goal in his last 18 playoff games. I still wish I could hear that he was injured. “No heart.”

  123. Nate83 says:

    Do you think they go with Stolmy for a few spot starts or bring Worley up since he is stretched out a little more and they need to conserve bullpen innings?

  124. 21sthebest says:

    Based on Kingham’s minor league career and how they seem to handle other starting pitchers in the minors, I anticipate him making in the neighborhood of 25 starts in Indy before he comes North.

  125. Maz in Iowa says:

    Surprised to see Alexandre Giesbrecht is still around.I recall him being around the blog years ago.Nice to see a sense of loyalty from all around the world.Hope his son will become a fan too.

  126. Jandy says:

    A well-deserved promotion for Kingham.

  127. Nate83 says:

    Some of the better prospects in the system got of to rough starts but have starting heating up over the last month or so. It’s really nice to see Bell doing all things well at the plate. I thought I saw somewhere that he reduced his K rate and increased his power numbers while moving up a level.

    Glasnow is now up and running and Kingham has recovered from a slow start. Now if they can just get Meadows playing soon so it isn’t a lost year. Although there really isn’t any rush to get him to the majors if he does indeed live up to his hype.

  128. Pete in Dayton says:

    The volley on the #7 goal was FAAAAAAAANTASTIC. The Walcott goal and the Rosicky goals were also pretty awesome. Some of the rest seemed to be a result of some rather shockingly bad defending, but I guess Arsenal do have a habit of making players look silly at times.

  129. AL says:

    One of the things on my bucket list is to live long enough to see Charlie Brown actually kick that football.

  130. Nate83 says:

    He may reach the majors before Taillon. This puts him on track for a June call up next year with Taillon being maybe August at the soonest.

  131. ChefAutomatic says:

    but as far as i can tell, dejan writes most of his columns/blogs in american english. so why was he talking about ‘sides’?….this reminds me of something else: on occasion when i’m at a public place that is unfortunately broadcasting a penguins game on the television and i can’t ignore the sound, i’ve heard paul steigerwald say, ‘MUNtreal canadiens’ instead of ‘MONtreal.’ it is not pronounced MUNtreal in american english. i don’t know if pretentious is the right word to describe that though. more like downright silly.

  132. Nate83 says:

    Well unfortunately for you Charles Shulz didn’t live long enough to make that happen. You will have to make a new bucket list if you want to finish it.

  133. Vinny Giardina says:

    Yeah, but Pence looks stupid doing it. He pulls them up over his knees.

  134. Wilver Dornel,

    Saw it. You are right: it was great!

  135. Dom says:

    Pouncey inks a five year deal with the Steelers. I assume they wanted to sign him long term now that his stock is down.

    http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11070695/maurkice-pouncey-pittsburgh-steelers-signs-44-million-deal

  136. Jandy says:

    Biz, if you’re lurking, when are you posting the Lunatics’ List? I see new names, and would like to get some to add their hometown to the list.

    Attention, new posters or those who usully lurk, please post your hometown, and Biz will add it to the list of Dejan’s Lunatics’ Asylum. Don’t be shy!

  137. Vinny Giardina says:

    What also drives me crazy is when announcers pluralize the team name, i.e., Manchester United are winning…

    That just doesn’t make grammatical sense in American English.

  138. Interesting the lede Dejan chose for the Pirate game story above. He focused on boneheaded baserunning.

    I would think a more appropriate negative focus, if that’s what we’re doing, would be the throw airmailed on the fly into the stands by Pedro. How many errors does he have now? That error eventually led to a bases loaded situation and at least 15 extra pitches thrown by Cumpton, who departed after 5 innings.

    My personal lede would have been: McCutch Stays Hot With HR, Six Hits From Dream Outfield, In Win”

  139. JRay3 says:

    At first I thought it would be Worley, but now I am not so sure. First is the item of options to deal with. Second if Cole reports all is good tomorrow than you really only need to make one spot start this weekend in Miami.

    If that is the case, I now believe they could use Stolmy and Saddler in a quasi split start as Stolmy is built up to about 65-70 pitches and Cam could throw a couple of innings to bridge to the rest of the bullpen.

  140. Nate83 says:

    Starting June 20th the Pirates play 5 consecutive series against the 5 teams with the worse winning percentage in all of baseball (Cubs, Tampa, Mets, Diamondbacks and Philly). Even before those series they play the struggling Reds at home. We will know a lot after those 19 games.

  141. NMR says:

    So singling out one throwing error vs three base running errors is more appropriate.

    Sure. Makes sense.

  142. NMR says:

    Unless he’s turned a corner in these last few outings, kid still has a lot to work on.

    Generally not a good thing when your strikeouts decrease and walks increase as you move up levels. I think the organization pushed this move a lot faster than normal.

  143. Nate83 says:

    Hopefully he stays healthy. I think it’s a risk they had to take. When he plays he is really good and changes the team completely. When people talk about the Steelers chances this year hardly nobody mentions a healthy Pouncey and Miller making a huge difference.

  144. Nate83 says:

    I think his K/BB numbers are deceiving because of his first 3 or 4 starts this year. I thought he had turned it around since then and been in line with last year. Although the walk number from last year is really hard to maintain.

  145. Maz in Iowa says:

    My avatar is an analogy of my frustration with Pirates management.These last 22 years are a microcosm of…”what were they thinking”????

  146. Kentuck Knob,

    Here’s some stats comparing Polanco and Josh Bell that I gathered a couple days ago for the Baseball Blog.
    Enjoy!

    Digest the following:

    2013 — .312 BA — 57 G — 218 AB — 29 R — 68 H — 17 2B — 0 3B — 6 HR — 30 RBI — 37 K — 16 BB — .836 OPS

    2014 — .311 BA — 58 G — 229 AB — 27 R — 71 H — 13 2B — 3 3B — 6 HR — 37 RBI — 35 K — 17 BB — .830 OPS

    2013 numbers are for Gregory Polanco at high A ball. 2014 numbers are for Josh Bell at high A ball.

  147. NMR says:

    Not sure that’s true, Nate.

    via PP: “This year he struggled with walks early in the season, with a 4.4 BB/9 in 43 innings over his first eight starts of the season.”

    Really only has picked things up in his last two outings.

    And last year he saw his walk rate jump 5% while his strikeout rate simultaneously dropped 5% once he moved up to AA. Not a good trend.

    He’s still limitting runs, which of course is all that matters.

  148. NMR says:

    Unless they’re grooming Stolmy for a late inning role, I really see no reason Jeanmar Gomez is still rostered.

    Ok, regardless of Stolmy Pimentel, I really see no reason Jeanmar Gomez is still rostered.

  149. Pedro’s error led to the early departure of Cumpton and the usage of 4 relievers in a quickly becoming overworked bullpen. The bullpen usage and the continuing quantity of errors are not only alarming for this ballgame but alarming for the season.

    I only remember Marte’s tag out on the exotic play Hurdle attempted with Jordy at 1st. Maybe I was on the phone and missed the other two. Maybe I was daydreaming about Polanco. Maybe I was foraging through the fridge too long. If there were 3 baserunning blunders, I bow to your wisdom.

    I still prefer the positive lede after a win.

  150. Andrew says:

    Have you heard of Opta and Expected Goals?

  151. cmat0829 says:

    It’s one thing to throw a few low here and there, maybe a touch high or wide once in a while.. but what’s with throwing it into the middle of the stands? That isn’t even close and most laypeople, let alone major league players, wouldn’t throw balls that far off target. I don’t care what the issue is, but he just can’t air mail them THAT BAD ever again. Or he gets fitted for a 1B glove and his time at 3B will be over.

  152. cmat0829 says:

    Thats a HORSE SHIT trade proposal, I’m sorry but that’s about as bad as it gets. Zero credibility, I guess anyone can get crap like that posted, linked to and discussed. By the way, the Dodgers need another young outfielder LIKE A HOLE IN THE HEAD. So, um, yea there’s that.

    And Haren? Picking up Brandon McCarthy or Trevor Cahill has as much upside. ANd they would be cheap. Or even Maholm.

  153. Maz in Iowa says:

    Pirates now have signed 14 draft picks with 8 of the top 12 being inked(Dejan speak for being signed :) )

  154. 21sthebest says:

    Do you think there’s anything to be concerned about though NMR? His numbers still look pretty good. WHIP is eh and I realize strikeouts are down, but when you’re striking out 9-10 per 9 innings at lower levels, tough to keep that up. Walk rate still looks good. Just from looking at this stats, I don’t see any reason not to promote him. And he has plenty of starts in A and AA.
    We’re so accustomed to wanting to see a player’s stats improve at each level in the minors. Obviously teams are looking at a lot of stats and other areas when they promote players, but in the majors we seem to accept that players from year to year might be all over the place. Great one year, not as good the next, better, worse, etc. Why wouldn’t this be a common trend in the minors too? And would that be a reason not to promote a player? I don’t think it is if you’re evaluating their overall talent accurately.
    By the way, do I have a point in here somewhere? I guess I’m saying that I think we tend to look at progression in the minors differently than we do in the majors and I’m not sure we should be.

  155. cmat0829 says:

    Well plenty of blame on the baserunning disasters, both players AND COACHES. Pretty clear that the Pirates are not capable of advanced plays like the draw a throw and then go home strategy that Hurdle described… maybe we just lay off that stuff for a while and see if Marte and others can just get around the bases without looking like a little leaguer. Let’s simplify the playbook.

  156. toochca says:

    Maybe he should consult Steve Sax!!

  157. Nate83 says:

    I wasn’t sure and that is why I said I thought. I did just look at his game log and he did walk 9 in his first 17 innings this year. In his last 4 starts he has walked 4 in 28 innings. Right before that he did have two bad outings with 7 walks in 11 innings. I agree a nice stretch of 4 games doesn’t exactly mean he figured it out. I think circumstanced have dictated moving up maybe earlier then they would have preferred.

  158. Andrew says:

    That is how British English, handles collective nouns.

  159. Nate83 says:

    Because the enjoy messing around with Vin and making him feel like a yo-yo.

  160. cmat0829 says:

    yes good to get Keller signed, seems like just last week that “the buzz” was that the Pirates hadn’t even ‘reached out to Keller” to sign him and speculation was that they drafted him to save money by letting him sign with UNC.

    Guess the buzz was BS, as is most buzz we hear from the ‘locals’.

  161. Naterosboro says:

    I’m a little torn. Wales didn’t make the WC, so Aaron Ramsey (and Gareth Bale for that matter, although he [Bale] plays for Real Madrid) won’t be on display for the next month. But it does allow Aaron to have a full offseason to rest and get ready for the season in August.

    Some goals left off that video above that are criminal…

    Aaron Ramsey v. Liverpool in the league back in November https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsLIUA30VW0
    Santi Cazorla v. Hull in the FA Cup final https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXZwicYSkB8

    Their [Arsenal] passing and movement are second to only a few sides in the world (Barcelona & Bayern Munich come to mind).

    My rooting interests in this world cup are as follows:

    1. United States (LET’S GO BOYS! USA! USA! USA! USA!)
    2. Germany (heritage plus have family there)
    3. Arsenal players
    4. Bosnia & Herzegovina(they’re my feel good story; pretty good team but playing in their 1st WC when it’s not been Yugoslavia)

    3-4pm can’t get here soon enough…

    I’M SO PUMPED! :-)

  162. I am concerned that Rutherford is making any decisions at all.

    And I’m so down on Sid’s not-show-up performance in the Playoffs for two straight years that I would not consult him at all!!

    Rutherford would not be here if Sid just did his job.

  163. cmat0829 says:

    no issue the how the bullpen was used last night… main guys have actually been pretty rested the past 10 days or so, not overused at all.

    Yes, the starters need to go deeper, but not at the expense of Ws right now. We are not in position to do that. Morton and Locke went 7 back to back Sunday and Monday…

  164. Well, the Bucs are assured of at least a split with the last place Cubs this time. Actually, I intend to watch tonight’s game on WGN Chicago down here in Florida if the weather allows them to get it in this time.

  165. Nate83 says:

    That really is an odd speculation when you think about it. The Pirates a team that consistantly paid large signing bonuses to not only their first round draft picks but later round players that were considered hard to sign when there wasn’t a slotting system suddenly decides they will try and save a few dollars that in comparison is very small to the sums they paid 2009-2012 after the system is changed.

    Some people just see what they want to see. I’m guilty of it myself sometimes.

  166. Andrew says:

    Walks are death for Cumpton, because it is not only base runners, but it means he will be turning over the order quicker. He is never going to pitch deep into games without some work on the slider and change up.

  167. cmat0829 says:

    I found Nutting’s comments interesting in the column yesterday… net being that with all the injuries, it is still NH’s and the organizations job to make moves to deal with the injuries and not let this be an excuse (I’m paraphrasing liberally)… I see Jayson Stark today posted that other major league execs ‘expect the Pirates to trade for starting pitching help’… it is VERY VERY hard to get good pitchers this time of year, so not sure what to make of that. I DO think the pressure is on NH to not just let the injuries consume the season, but also not sure who they can actually get in a trade that would be more reliable than who they are plugging in…..

    Thoughts anyone on possible JUNE available starting pitching options? Don’t tell me Price, Samardija, etc because that is not a JUNE realistic proposition…. not wondering about the Trade Deadline list but June rotation options…. anyone?

  168. Arriba Wilver says:

    +++

  169. Nate83 says:

    Agree and it’s hard to argue Sid hasn’t disappointed and been part of the problem but he is the captian and the face of the franchise. I’m not a fan of players in any sport making any decisions but when somebody is as talented and entrenched with the team as Sid I think it’s important to at least get a pulse of what he thinks could be the problem. Rutherford couldn’t possible no anything about this locker room and what problems may or may not exist.

    I’m not happy with the Rutherford hire either. All they did was just kick the can down the street for 2 or 3 more years while wasting prime years of two elite players. However he isn’t going anywhere so hopefully he pushes some of the right buttons.

  170. Arriba Wilver says:

    Just a nit—I think that was this week. ;-)

  171. NMR says:

    I’ll get the explanation of my original post out of the early because I think your topic is really interesting…

    My comment really wasn’t based on what I personally think they should’ve done – I never think it’s good to scout only a stat line – it was based on what I perceive to be the team’s history with promotions. Judging by reports and stats to back them up, it didn’t seem like he was adjusting to the level until his last few starts. Maybe that’s all the needed to see. And either way, I don’t think a jump to AAA will doom him.

    But as to your point, I personally don’t think the two situations are applicable because of the progression in talent level. Once you’ve hit the majors, league-wide talent level is more or less the same year to year. In the minors, moving up a level corresponds with a significant increase in overall talent. You’re certainly correct that a prospect may just have a down year, but if that corresponds with moving up a level I think it’s much more likely the increase in league talent is to blame, historically speaking.

  172. We used the bullpen exactly right last night. I have no problems with that. Always go for the win today!!!

    I just think it is foreboding that 4 relievers had to be used to secure the win, when errors made the starter increase his pitches by 15-20 %. We have some possible shaky starters going to be throwing for the Buccos in the next 10 days, and the bullpen may be heading for overwork.

    How long can Stolmy work if he starts? How long can Sadler go if he starts? How can Bucs keep Jeanmar Gomez from pitching? These thoughts lead me to have future concerns for the bullpen, and extra usage last night because of errors did not ease my mind.

  173. cmat0829 says:

    yep, this is ‘put up or shut up’ time… two ways to look at this… you can be bummed the spate of injuries comes at a critical time OR you can ‘silver lining’ this in terms of best time to have this, if you have to have this, is when you get a break in the schedule…. there is still a lot of talent on this team and the bullpen appears to be back to being a game changer for us…. offense, if we can avoid a JayHey DL stint, is getting stronger… key is if Locke/Cumpton continue to take advantage of this opportunity to become major league dependable starting pitchers… if they can, we can get in this race… we will see….

  174. Arriba Wilver says:

    I am enjoying the “beautiful game”—Pirate baseball.

  175. NMR says:

    *crickets*

  176. Arriba Wilver says:

    Great comeback. :-)

  177. Andrew says:

    Do they have working on certain pitch types, because his K rate has really fallen against RHH this year. Could just be quality of the league.

  178. Naterosboro says:

    Fair enough. Although this year’s team has an interesting take on the word “beautiful”…. ;-)

  179. Flbucco says:

    Cutch is streaky – he collapsed pretty badly at the end of that season…

    I do think he is a better hitter now – even though the stats might not be as impressive overall.

    It would be nice to have someone behind him who could hit.

    I wonder why the great Ike Davis is getting a pass from posters here when Marte gets bashed regularly – and unfairly IMHO – the rundown was a play called by the coaches – and A BAD CALL since the Cubs called a pitch out anticipating it – Marte’s speed is a great asset – the Bucs MANAGER needs to be smarter in using him.

  180. Arriba Wilver says:

    So whether soccer is “beautiful” is based on how your team is doing? ;-)

  181. Hey, can I ask you guys a small favor?

    I heeded your request and turned off the autoplay on the CineSport videos. But since this site is free, we do try to make money in other ways, and this is one of them. Even if you absolutely hate what I have to say or my bobbleheads or whatever, if you can still please give these things a click, it will help keep this blog and our site free to the user.

    Thanks in advance.

  182. Nate83 says:

    Trades just don’t happen in June very often. It’s nice to think they can add a significant starting arm in a trade at this point of the year but truthfully the only thing they can get is probably comparable to what they already have in Cumpton and Locke. Maybe 3 or 4 teams can be considered out of it at this point and a few of them are too stubborn to admit it at this point. Do we really want somebody like McCarthy? What would he cost? How much of a real improvement is he? Is he even good enough to make our rotation when everyone is healthy?

  183. The next hockey game I cover, I’ll refer to the periods as innings. That about right?

  184. Soccer’s loaded with advanced stats, much more precise, actually, than those currently in use for hockey.

  185. NMR says:

    So the “extra usage” amounted to one reliever, right?

  186. Nate83 says:

    Just did it. Very fair request. I will do it first thing when I log on every morning.

  187. I bow to your wisdom . . . .

  188. Changed it! Where were you when I needed you last night? We’ve got one Brazil reader on this forum, and you skip out on me on World Cup eve?

    Get it together, Alex!

  189. Alex, I wish you and your nation the most blessed of fortune for this World Cup and for the Olympics just two years away. I’ve enjoyed having you here as a reader for all these years.

  190. Nate83 says:

    We looked stupid as well Vinny. Not in the moment so much because everything we did was cool, but in retrospect for sure. No track team even wears stirrups. I guess maybe I was just jealous because I had to give up baseball at the age of 14 because I couldn’t hit a curveball or for that matter even recogonize one.

  191. ChefAutomatic says:

    ha. defensive much?

  192. Nate83 says:

    “How can we keep Jeanmar Gomez from pitching?”

    Trade him (I know he has no value). It worked with Morris. I haven’t been watching. How has Morris been doing with the fish?

  193. Andrew says:

    Groat, in addition to whatever that double steal was, the Pirates sent Polanco on contact, with runners on 2nd and 3rd, no outs, and infield in and was doubled off.

    Martin after stealing second, had an aggressive lead on a ground ball to the left side of the infield but behind him and made the first out of the inning at 3rd base.

    Also, Harrison was almost doubled off on a flyout to center.

    There were penalty of opportunities to score more runs and thus allow Cumpton to throw with a bigger lead or use the lesser pitchers in the bullpen.

  194. Time for me to leave today. I fear today’s site is an exercise in dodging white balls with spots . . .

    . . . . plus I have meetings to attend where it will be discussed why “we’re secretly inviting the Commies to come and take over our schools?”

  195. Really, you ARE aware that different sports, including American sports, operate with different terminologies?

    Or has that news not filtered its way down to your fallout shelter?

    THE COMMIES ARE COMING! THE COMMIES ARE COMING! Hide the baseballs and the Johnny Carson VHS tapes! They’re coming to ruin us all with their soccer sides!

  196. Flbucco says:

    Cubs are a better team at home – and have quality starters – better than the Bucs….
    Tampa will also trot out an impressive group of starters – they can’t hit – but same applies to the bucs at times
    Diamondbacks are playing much better lately
    Mets beat the Bucs 2 out of 3 recently

    Point is – play well and it does not matter who you play – play badly and ditto

  197. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah, I don’t think a jump in a level would ever doom anyone. Maybe they’ll end up staying at that next level a little longer if need be. Not a horrible outcome, IMO.

    I don’t know that moving up in the minors always means a significant increase in talent. I’ve often heard about how organizations look at how hitters perform in Double A more critically than at any other level because that’s where the best pitchers in the minors are, and that the tendency is to stick the career minor league pitchers in Triple A.

  198. Jim S. says:

    That’s a very fair request, and I’ve been watching them, enjoying them even. It did not pop up for me today. I just got the WC brackets and a McDonald’s commercial that says it had an error while loading.

  199. ChefAutomatic says:

    i don’t understand the fallout shelter reference…..anyway, i was simply responding to the issue raised by you above regarding why some people seem openly hostile toward soccer and feel the need to share those feelings at every opportunity. (by the way, i’m not one of those people. i can take or leave the sport in general, but i do enjoy the world cup. i’m rooting for the italians.) i think that one of the reasons that people do this is because of the haughtiness exhibited by many soccer proponents, a haughtiness that one would think should be reserved for championing some sort of human endeavor greater than running around and kicking a ball.

  200. Arriba Wilver says:

    Agree with you here Flbucco.

  201. Patrick(ri) says:

    Agreed. I kinda liked the one I watched. Should we give it a Yelp rating?

  202. Should have been to NMR, but it fits with Nate’s, too.

  203. Nate83 says:

    Nice observation Andrew. There is almost always more then one cause to the way a manager reacts. If the Pirates are up 6-2 they absolutely allow Cumpton to start the 6th inning. Hurdle has had a quick hook this year but there is no room for error. Every win is needed and you can figure out the rest later. The bullpen has been lights out so a 2 run lead and a starting pitcher over 75-80 pitches isn’t the worse move in the world.

  204. Patrick(ri) says:

    Won’t happen. Too many guns.

  205. Following the sport’s universally accepted terminology isn’t haughtiness. It’s common bleeping sense.

    One thing I strive to achieve at every Olympics I cover is to learn as much as I can about each sport’s terminology, even something you’d think would be as basic as race-walking. All have their nuances. All deserve to be treated with respect.

  206. Mercy. Need to get that kid rollin to The Curve.

  207. Sisyphus says:

    I did it to watch a lot of very good Pirate teams back in the 70’s. I know that Three Rivers totally sucked for baseball, but you shouldn’t be able to walk up and buy a World Series game ticket 20 minutes before the first pitch, like I did in 1979.

  208. Jordan White says:

    Your posts come across as harsh but I really do love/enjoy/agree with some of your perspectives. You, Foo, and Drew always made/make me laugh.

    I don’t lay everything at 87’s doorstep, but an interesting perspective for sure. The guy’s got to shoulder at least some of the blame. You can fill in whatever % best suits you.

  209. You have no idea how to pronounce Montreal in the French, apparently. Everything you wrote up there is incorrect.

    Also, what in the blue hell is ‘American English?’

    English is English, albeit with dialects that vary in the countless countries across the globe where it’s spoken. The U.S. just happens to be one of those countless countries.

  210. Patrick(ri) says:

    Ditto.

  211. Jim S. says:

    I would say there were plenty of errors on fundamentals last night – both in the field and on the base paths. This team just doesn’t play a lot of clean games lately. The base running errors are so obvious, and so annoying.

    I can’t remember if they screwed up any ill-advised bunts last night.

  212. Tom P. says:

    OK. Done.

  213. Nate83 says:

    I don’t disagree and that is why I didn’t put anything like they should be able to win 12 or 13 of the those 19. However those teams are winning at a .446 rate for a reason and that is because they are flawed more then other teams. We will find a lot out about the Pirates during this stretch.

  214. Naterosboro says:

    Nope. The Arsenal (under Arsene Wenger) always play the beautiful way. Fast, slick, ticky-tacka, one touch build up. In fact, they often get criticism for trying to score the “perfect” or “pretty” goal all the time.

    And I wasn’t necessarily referring to their [Pirates] record for why they haven’t exactly been “beautiful”…

    Starting pitching. Throwing & fielding errors. Baserunning blunders. Inability to score a runner from 2nd or 3rd with less than 2 outs….

    But hey, if that looks “beautiful” to you…to each their own.

    Andrew McCutchen on the other hand, is beauty, joy, and excitement all wrapped up in 1 gorgeous, black-and-gold, number 22 wearing package. Truly special baseball player that is probably worth the price of admission alone.

    #Cutch4President2016

  215. Thanks, Andrew, for explaining. I thought I must have checked out mentally last night.

    Gregory Polanco going on contact certainly is NOT a baserunning blunder. It was a conscious decision by the Manager/Coach. Just like a guy thrown out stealing on a swing-and-miss hit & run is not a baserunning blunder. Some thing are tried and fail. That’s baseball. Yet not a “blunder.”

    When Russell Martin was on 2nd, the general rule is, “if the ball goes behind you, take 3rd.” The ball was hit hard behind Martin and he took off for 3rd. However, Castro was shifted up the middle and the ball got to Castro so fast he still had time to throw to 3rd for the out on Martin.

    Neither of those were “baserunning blunders.”

    The Pirates had more errors than “baserunning blunders.” I stand by my claim that the above lede by Dejan is misleading or not indicative of the game.

  216. Jim S. says:

    I don’t know about that, Nate. Wasn’t he mid-90’s pitches?

    I do think the 2 errors in the 5th added about 10 pitches for Cumpton. I think that played a big part in him not getting to 6 innings.

    The baserunning gaffes kept the Cubs in the game, but I don’t think they did anything to have Cumpton pulled.

  217. cmat0829 says:

    Yes it does make grammatical sense… United are winning is just like the Pirates are winning… not sure why that bothers you as it is correct. In the NBA, I’m pretty sure ESPN says the HEAT ARE WINNING or ARE losing, so are does that bother you too?

  218. TK says:

    1 W, 0 L, 5 GP, 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HLD, 0.00 ERA

  219. 21sthebest says:

    I’ll give them a click if you promise to never ever let me watch a Suckmeter Suck of the Week as I did yesterday.

  220. cmat0829 says:

    DK, no problem… least we can do in exchange for all the value we get for free!!! As an aside, can you ask IT if there is a way to launch Cinesport video upon FIRST entry into a site, but then not launching it upon every refresh? Would think there’d be a way to do that, with cookies and all…. mmmmm, cookies!! Sorry, can’t resist a Sesame Street call out…..

  221. Naterosboro says:

    DK,

    Just went to watch the Cinesport vid (which was available on my browser (Firefox) earlier), but after multiple page refreshes, it’s not coming up for me above.

    Any thoughts from anyone? Usually I have no problem with the Cinesport?

  222. Sisyphus says:

    Intriguing idea. Get something out of the four spot defensively, since getting offense out of it seems to be hopeless. :-)

  223. cmat0829 says:

    Phillies have to look in the mirror and besides seeing a bunch of gray hair, they should also see a team that is out of it. Do the Phils have any starting pitching we’d be interested in? lol.

    Dbacks will deal but their pitching is atrocious. Cahill has been waived and McCarthy can be had also, but um….. Padres should also be realistic….. Mets too… just don’t know what mid-level options are out there….

  224. Patrick(ri) says:

    Favorite headlines from the “main event”: “England Squad Excites Rooney,” and “Croatia Vows to Attack Brazil.” This soccer stuff may be more exciting than I thought!

  225. ChefAutomatic says:

    where did i say anything about the french pronunciation of montreal?

  226. Sisyphus says:

    It does sound awkward to us, but it does have the advantage of being grammatically correct. Generally speaking, the English have English pretty well figured out, slang and dialects aside.

  227. Maz in Iowa says:

    Cole threw from 90 feet Tuesday and Wednesday and is planning to throw a bullpen session off the mound Friday, Hurdle said. … Hurdle said Polanco will continue to get early work in right field to get used to some of the angles at PNC Park.

  228. Jordan,

    I appreciate the comment and perspective.

    I will try to sandpaper down some of my harshness. I don’t want that. (I am aware this one was harsh.)

  229. Sisyphus says:

    +++ for the Carson VHS tapes.

  230. ChefAutomatic says:

    i’m not a sports journalist. are you saying that, writing about the U.S national soccer squad in a pittsburgh newspaper, it would be incorrect to call the collection of players a ‘team’? they can only be referred to as a ‘side’?

  231. Domske,

    Hard to consider his stock is “down” when he just signed the largest contract for a Center in NFL history.

  232. Bizrow says:

    +++++++

  233. 21sthebest says:

    Hey well there was a Pittsburgher to be covered in race walking in the last Olympics! But the question is, did you learn the terminology for synchronized swimming?

  234. 21sthebest says:

    Absolutely. The guy was a genius.

  235. Jim S. says:

    Great stuff, Patrick.

  236. Nate83 says:

    He was up to 91. My 75-80 comment was more of a general comment. It seems like he has pulled a number of pitchers arguably an inning early this year with 1 or 2 run leads when their pitch counts had been low. Especially if they didn’t have a clean inning in the 5th or 6th and their batting position came up with runners on. I don’t disgree with it although at some point you have to get some 7 inning outings or even an 8 inning. Got 2 of them last week and it was needed badly.

  237. Patrick(ri) says:

    Thanks, Jim. Blame it on the third cup pf.coffee.

  238. NMR says:

    You bring up a good point.

    I don’t think there is any doubt at all that the talent level jumps with each level up to AA, but I’ve also heard the same thing regarding AA/AAA.

    However, I think what AAA may lack in pure talent it may make up in polish, if that makes sense. In AAA you have a lot of guys who’ve been around for a while, have major league experience, and really know how to hit/pitch.

  239. Dejan,

    I’m taking your daily to the loo to peruse. I trust there will be no queue at the water closet.

  240. NMR says:

    Intuitively, it seems that the loss in command could also at least partially explain the loss in strikeouts.

    Never seemed like Kingham got K’s by pure stuff alone.

  241. hehehehehe If you’d sent me a direct message, I’d probably have answered it right away, even if i were asleep (beep would have awaken me).

    But I think there’s at least another Brazilian here: Vitória is named on Bizrow’s list.

  242. I hope to see you here in 2016!

  243. NMR says:

    Hahaha, oh Groat…

  244. Jim S. says:

    I don’t have the exact splits in front of me, but my understanding is Bell is mashing from one side of the plate but not so much from the other.

  245. DJ,

    The Pirates require their Minor Leaguers to ALL wear high socks/stirrups. No such rule in Majors.

    When the Minor Leaguers get here, it’s like moving the tassel to wear the low pants. Like moving to the back seats of the bus when you get in 6th grade!

  246. 21sthebest says:

    Yeah that makes sense. The polish thing.

  247. Jim S. says:

    I know I read a few weeks back that his velocity was down a few MPH in the first bunch of starts, but had recently risen back to where it was late last year.

    Last night … or, was it the night before … he was back to sitting 93-95, and touching as high as 97.

    I believe he was sitting more 91-93 consistently, early on.

    Now, he’s throwing harder and he’s pitching better. The two things may be connected, at least to some degree.

  248. Jim S. says:

    What does nationality have to do with it, 26.2? ;-)

  249. Jim S. says:

    Figures it was on one of the nights I was forced to watch the local broadcast (Comcast; Chicago).

  250. Dom says:

    I’m happy to help! No problem whatsoever.

  251. hockeymonster says:

    In case you want a break from DK’s bobbleheads or this riveting futball…oops i mean soccer discussion, feel free to read this impostor’s latest post:

    http://www.pensburgh.com/2014/6/12/5803954/rfa-madness

  252. Dom says:

    Actually there is a problem.

    I don’t see any advertisements. Can anyone direct me where and/or when they see these?

  253. I would trade Jim Rutherford today straight up for Ray Shero!

    I’d even throw in one of the Penguins’ extremely valuable draft picks.

  254. Dom says:

    But Rutherford is older and I thought that with age came wisdom?

  255. Jim S. says:

    Ok, it was said way up above that Cutch slumped badly at the end of last year. Umm … sorry, no. That can’t go unaddressed.

    July 2013: .327/.402/.592
    Aug 2013: .384/.483/.535
    Sep/Oct 2013: .318/.453/.541

    Just for the heck of it, here’s what he has done for the last 3 years in total:

    2012: .327/.400/.553
    2013: .317/.404/.508
    2014: .318/.431/.542

    He’s not perfect, but I want someone to name more than 5 guys in MLB who are consistently better hitters.

  256. hockeymonster says:

    Not Pierre?

  257. NMR says:

    Not to nit-pick, Nate, but I think the specific point to drive home is the QUALITY of players traded in June.

    The Pirates themselves have already made a trade this year for a Major League player, so it can happen.

    But I highly, highly doubt people are talking about the starting pitcher equivalent of Ike Davis when recommending an improvement to the Pirates rotation.

  258. JohninOshkosh says:

    Who does the camera work on the Cinesport vids, Dejan ? Working on a timer, or is Ms. Kovacevic producing ?

    Need to get some shiny Merv Griiffin curtains as a backdrop. Retro is in now on production. BTW, saw Jack White perform on Fallon the other night, coolest light package ever!

    I think I got a “C+” in college Intro to Linguistics. Thanks for the tutorials, all!

  259. Jim S. says:

    I believe Cosmo Kramer may still be in possession of the old Merv Griffin set.

  260. Jandy says:

    O’Reilly and Sobotka are my two favs from your list.

    Love the last line lol

  261. Dom says:

    If you’re referring to Pierre Desir, then I wouldn’t mind the Steelers trading for him.

  262. Jim S. says:

    Sorry, Nate. I was responding to your comment that Cumpton absolutely goes out for the 6th if it is 6-2. I actually agree that Clint has been pulling guys a tad early. Charlie the other night, Cole a few times, etc.

    In light of that, with Cumpton at 91, and given his dramatic declining performance once batters have seen him earlier, I don’t think Clint was going to send him out in the 6th. Now, if not for the 2 errors in the 5th (yes, Davis committed an error, regardless of what the scorer – possibly related to Valbuena – thought), Cumpton might have been at 80 pitches. Then, I think he goes back out even with a 4-2 lead.

  263. Nate83 says:

    Jim, I’m starting to think you could be Cutch’s MVP campaign manager :)

    I agree completely and have said I don’t think we appreciate him enough not only as a player but as a person. I think above we named his 3 or 4 piers that are equal hitters. I will say that what Bautista is doing when healthy has been very impressive. Add his solid defense and power along with Cutch I think he is underrated nationally. MLB radio today went through a list of AL MVP candidates and mentioned 7 or 8 guys without Bautista’s name coming up. I think they did the same for the NL but I missed it.

  264. Nate83 says:

    Seinfield was the Spurs of Network TV comedies. Collectively much better then the sum of it’s parts. Still watch it when ever I’m flipping through the channels and see one of the better episodes.

  265. Jim S. says:

    What about calling them a squad?

  266. Nate83 says:

    That’s why I said truthfully the only thing they can get is something comparable to what they already have.

  267. Vinny Giardina says:

    My reply was not a reply to your reply. It was just a reply. :)

  268. Nate83 says:

    I heard they just draft Brandon Weeden since his quick failed NFL career still leaves him young by their standards.

  269. Nate83 says:

    Jim, that’s fair I guess I did say that. I stand corrected. To be honest I thought he was in the 80’s for pitch count until I looked it up after your first response.

  270. Jim S. says:

    Well said, cmat. I said that to somebody on Tuesday. Clint needs to stop with the cute stuff, small ball stuff, etc so often. It blows up in his face almost every time. They only give you 27 outs. We should stop squandering them. They’re precious.

  271. NMR says:

    Sad but true.

  272. Vinny Giardina says:

    Look on any computer dictionary and you’ll see American English and British English. Yes they’re dialects, but they’re distinct in spelling and grammar. That’s what I meant by American English.

    And my example of Manchester United was flawed. I meant to make the point about using the city name, i.e., “Manchester are moving…” or “Pittsburgh are winning the…”

    There’s nothing incorrect about it, but that’s not the way it’s said in any other sport. Nobody says “Pittsburgh have scored a touchdown.”

    When American announcers say it in soccer games, it sounds weird.

  273. Jim S. says:

    You’re at the top of that list …. right below where I am on the list. :-)

  274. NMR says:

    Funny how that works, right Jim? ;)

    Hey, I think it’s great that they pushed him. Saw a change, saw an opportunity, told him to go out and get it.

  275. JRay3 says:

    Polanco to lead off tonight, no Harrison in the lineup….Marte bumps up to the 2 hole.

  276. Jim S. says:

    Yeah, it’s one of the few shows where I can flip by, see an episode I’ve already seen 10x, and still stop and watch it.

  277. Nate83 says:

    Jim I just went back up and saw the post you are referring to and I think it was referring to his 2012 season which may or may not have been that bad. If I remember correctly he was up at like .360 at one point and backed his way out of the batting title. I’m not sure but I think he hit a bad stretch in Aug. and early Sept. and then found his stroke again. He hit .327 for the year so it’s hard to find any fault and the entire team fell apart that year so he wasn’t exactly getting much to hit probably.

  278. NMR says:

    Tape a baseball bat to the front hooves of a three day old giraffe and ask him to swing.

    That’ll give you a decent approximation of Josh Bell’s right handed stroke.

  279. Nate83 says:

    Outfield trio at the top of the order. Should be interesting. They may leave the basepaths all worn out if they all get hits.

  280. toochca says:

    Is Pedro in charge of the video? It states “An Error has occurred”!

  281. hockeymonster says:

    ‘Girl next door’ is a great flick :)

  282. Sean says:

    Glad you liked it. A Pittsburgh Spirit picture and bonus references to Landry Jones and Edgar Snyder.

  283. Jim S. says:

    There’s the frustrating throwing errors, but …

    Last 7 days: .368/.455/.579
    Last 14 days: .333/.409/.513
    Last 28 days: .282/.330/.459

    The big man certainly seems to be heating up, as usual at this time of year. Consistently a 30% of P/A strikeout guy in his career, but still at 22.1% this year. His walk % remains on a career best pace of 10.7%. HR% of P/A and HR% of flyballs remain unusually low. I think El Toro may have a big 2nd half.

  284. Andrew says:

    I going to have to disagree with this characterization. I think there is more money being poured into tracking systems in soccer than hockey, much of that is opportunity based. So a lot of data is being cranked out, but its value is questionable.

    I think the available stats for hockey are much further along, in fact many of the concepts used in soccer stats came from the work done on hockey. In hockey is it easier to isolate performance and soccer suffers from a paucity of events, the sample size will always be an issue.

  285. 21sthebest says:

    Sounds like a Tina Turner song.

  286. Pucknutz says:

    Fair enough.
    Those bobbleheads actually have like an evil voo-doo fascination for me.

  287. Vinny Giardina says:

    It appears as if the link is incomplete.

  288. NMR says:

    Hahaha.

  289. NMR says:

    44 years ago today Dock Ellis turned on, tuned in, and dropped a no-hitter on the Padres.

    Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

  290. NMR says:

    Honestly didn’t even write that directly to you as much as I did as a pre-emptive strike for the usual replies when somebody says trade don’t happen in June.

  291. Jim S. says:

    You’re correct, Nate. It did say “that season” and I thought originally it said “last season. I apologize. I think it may have been FL Bucco that wrote that. I didn’t mean to misquote. Mistake on my part. Sorry.

    Cutch did fall into the .250s with .350/.360 OB% that year for the last couple of months, after hitting .446 in July with a slugging % of well over .700.

    But, my larger point stands that he is consistently pretty d*mn good almost every month, every year. There are no hitters that avoid bad months. Someone might do it for a year, and they end up hitting .360 or something crazy like that.

    Sometimes, though, it seems like people (and I’m not referrring to FL Bucco here) are picking the pepper out of the fly sh*t if they want to rip that guy for anything as a hitter. As I said earlier this week, if he keeps this up for several more years, he is going to be a HOF candidate.

  292. Andrew says:

    Are we arguing over subjective labels?

    I have no idea why you send a runner on contact with the infield in and no outs and no double play to prevent, for me that was the weirdest thing I saw last night. Just because something is approved by the manager does not mean it is intelligent, that was pure idiocy.

    I haven’t read up on the baseball commandments, not sure were, ” advance if the ball is behind you,” falls relative to, “don’t make the first out at third.” On the Martin play, yes the breakeven point is low but based on the speed of the ball and Castro’s position the chance of success was lower, therefore that is a dumb play.

  293. Jim S. says:

    I believe it was an “AJ Burnett” no hitter, right? Bunch of BBs.

  294. Nate83 says:

    No biggie, I like pre-emptive strikes especially when they protect me.

  295. Nate83 says:

    I’ve never heard that pepper saying. I like that a lot. Overall I’m definately in agreement with you on Cutch. You won’t see me complaining about him any time soon. I’m going to enjoy the at least 4.5 more years we have with him on our team and be thankful.

  296. Vinny Giardina says:

    Here’s one way to think about it…if the Pirates game was being announced in England, would the English announcers call them a team or a side?

  297. 21sthebest says:

    On the errors, 13 throwing and 1 on a grounder. Last year, 12 throwing errors for the whole year.

  298. Nate83 says:

    I have had zero issues with Pedro at the plate this year. I have liked his approach all year except for a 10 game stretch in late April / early May where he was getting sloppy. His errors don’t bother me as much as some others on this blog. I agree they have to come down and some are routine plays but he continues to make some really nice non-routine plays that balance that out a little.

  299. Arriba Wilver says:

    Still have a headache, DK? ;-)

  300. TK says:

    Tonight’s lineups per ESPN.com

    Cubs:

    E Bonifacio CF
    J Lake LF
    A Rizzo 1B
    S Castro SS
    L Valbuena 3B
    N Schierholtz RF
    J Baker C
    D Barney 2B
    J Samardzija P

    Pirates:

    G Polanco RF
    S Marte LF
    A McCutchen CF
    I Davis 1B
    R Martin C
    P Alvarez 3B
    J Mercer SS
    C Barmes 2B
    E Volquez P

  301. pattonbb says:

    +++

  302. I take it from your Twitter tweets you aren’t really a soccer buff, John.

  303. Sisyphus says:

    I just tuned in for the start of the Brazil/Croatia match in time for the singing of the national anthems. I saw one guy from the Croatian team proudly belting out his national anthem with one of the worst singing voices I’ve ever heard, and a Brazilian player in tears for his national anthem. Whatever you may think about soccer, there’s no denying that the World Cup is a very Big Deal.

  304. Sisyphus says:

    When Sid starts signing his paychecks, that’s when Rutherford should start consulting him on players.

  305. NMR says:

    It is pretty clear that “mistakes” are much different than “blunders”, Andrew.

    There’s also the little part where both local and papers and ESPN referenced the Pirates bad baserunning in their games stories.

    But sure, rail on Dejan.

  306. Sisyphus says:

    P.S. – You’ve got to love the phrase “own goal”. Says it all. Croatia up 1-0.

    Normally I’d be rooting for the host team in a game like this, but Croatia’s red and white checkered jerseys have won me over.

  307. Nate83 says:

    It is probably the biggest sporting spectacle in the world except for maybe the Olympics but you may even be able to debate that. I admittingly follow the sport sparingly but I watch the final 3 games of the World Cup every time they happen because you just can’t beat the passion, celebration and anguish that is part of those events.

  308. NMR says:

    14 errors…and somehow still +3 Defensive Runs Saved.

    Gets really, really difficult to trust fielding metrics sometimes.

  309. Sisyphus says:

    Brazil ties it up, and I have a feeling that Croatia is in for a long day from here on out.

  310. Jim S. says:

    The feet are quick and nimble.

  311. hockeymonster says:

    Ok so just read the latest column from Rossi and I’m really not liking what I’m reading. At the very least, i dont like the way it sounds as it’s being presented. If they’re about to do what i think they’re about to do, the phrase ‘tail wags dog’ comes to mind.

    I’m willing to give the front office expansion a chance but it’s starting to come off of some sort of over compensation for the previous…ummm…how shall i say…mistakes.

  312. You’re gonna have a hard time trying to find a World Cup game in which Brazil was “robbed” by the refs (hint: 1978). I will celebrate, though, despite the clear help the ref gave us today. It won’t be the last time the home team at that stadium is going to be helped — the team that claims it “owns” the stadium is known for being helped a lot by referees.

    Heard on Twitter: Brazil winning on a robbed penalty at the Itaquerão, with President Dilma watching… talk about a fittin end!

  313. BillyBaduka says:

    Nope, but I’d give it a shot if It meant Drew came back.

    Funny, quick wit that hasn’t even come close to being replaced here.

  314. Arriba Wilver says:

    Hey, the refs value their safety. ;-)

  315. BillyBaduka says:

    I still miss Carson.

  316. DJ says:

    Well then, let’s make it mandatory only for Polanco.

    Some guys don’t look good doing it. He looks great.

  317. Andrew says:

    The officiating was scandalous, I expect that from referees from the Oceania and African federations, Slovenia vs US comes to mind but, this official was fairly well rated. It was not just penalty call, every challenge went Brazil’s way. And during the penalty call he immediately went off the field, which technically means the players cannot approach him, but they did anyway, he looked out of his depth.

  318. There was some pressure on him, because he was awful during the first half of Brazil’s elimination game in 2010.

    What bothered me was that the moment Fred went down I criticized him for diving. I was pretty sure it was nothing (replays would confirm that), and he did what most Brazilian players do: Went for the penalty, instead of the scoring chance. Luckily for him, the ref was gullible (to say the least).

    Plus, the coach dismissed the call during the postgame interview. I can understand why Fred would say something like that — the two players I recall saying there was no penalty after a game were scolded —, but not the coach. He could at the very least say something like “Refs sometimes are mistaken,” but he didn’t bother. The last time he coached the Seleção in a World Cup (2002), Brazil also had a come-from-behind victory in the opening game, with a non-existent penalty call. :/

  319. Andrew says:

    I had no recollection of that, I didn’t realize it was the same official that sent off Felipe Melo for a stamp on Arjen Robben when Brazil lost to the Netherlands in the quarterfinal in 2010.

    I’ve come to accept diving and remonstrations that have become come in modern football, I put it on the referee. They need to understand what a foul is and when players are selling it, no one falls with their arms flailing in the air.

    There is definitely a situational ethics when diving is discussed, the British press reactions to British players diving is always interesting to watch.

  320. His problem in 2010 was all in the first half — Felipe Melo’s red card was merited. He disallowed a Kaká goal and didn’t see a penalty for Brazil (maybe because he thought there was diving involved).

    It’s difficult enough to be a ref without players diving; the way it is, it’s just nearly impossible to be a good ref. Plus, Brazilian players dive a lot more than European ones, because refs whistle fouls in Brazil like they breathe.

 
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