Pirates Q&A with Dejan Kovacevic

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Pirates Q&A with Dejan Kovacevic

June 26, 2007

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Much anger out there, and no half-hour chat yesterday was going to contain it all.

To the Qs ...

Q: Pathetic. Because you can't fire owners, has Kevin McClatchy or Bob Nutting given any indication that Dave Littlefield or Jim Tracy are going to lose their jobs?

Untill someone at the carnival gets fired, I refuse to watch another show. Ever.

Dave Yochum of Scott Township

KOVACEVIC: There has been no indication that anyone at any level of the organization has a job in jeopardy, Dave.

Littlefield and Tracy have contracts only through 2008, though, so the lame-duck year is coming next. Rarely do you see GMs or managers enter a lame-duck year without a new extension, so a decision one way or the other, one would imagine, is coming after the season.

Q: It is about time someone shows some emotion on this ball club. Good for Ian Snell! If the team fines him, let the fans know and we will pay it for him.

Anthony Pirrello of Erie

KOVACEVIC: Snell will not be fined, Jay. Actually, he really did not say all that much to incur anyone's wrath if you look at the quotes closely.

But I am sure he would appreciate your gesture, anyway.

Q: DK, Ian Snell's comments got me thinking back to the game at Yankee Stadium where Tom Gorzelanny looked extremely frustrated with Jack Wilson for not reacting to a ball.

Have you seen any disagreements lately in the locker room? Or for that matter, have you sensed Tracy is losing control of the chemistry of this team?

Jay Yovanovich of Raleigh, N.C.

KOVACEVIC: First, Jay, as I wrote in the article from Yankee Stadium that day, the Gorzelanny-Wilson matter was cleared up on the spot between the two. There is no issue there whatsoever.

To your question, no, I have not seen disagreements. But then, you have to understand that such things are extremely rare when the clubhouse is open to reporters. So, in good times or bad, that would be difficult to know with any certainty.

What I can say is this: The clubhouse was a pretty tense place Saturday in Anaheim, before and after the game, and very little of that had to do with Snell. Players spoke of having discussions related to finger-pointing, nitpicking about specific plays, second-guessing decisions, the whole lot. And they made no secret of the fact that it was a problem.

Now, that said, all seemed to be somewhat OK Sunday, even though a players-only meeting that a few players had thought about calling never was called. (Logistics, I think, had more to do with that than anything. The team bus came late to the park, and the game started at 12:30 Ducks Time.) In a general sense, everything seemed good, perhaps because the team had experienced quite a good moment together with Xavier Nady's clutch hit in the ninth.

We will see. Losing grates on anyone, and there are some in this clubhouse who take it pretty hard. Trust me on that.

Q: Dejan, Dave Littlefield says the Pirates' basics are "better" than last year, which is like saying a Category 4 hurricane is better than a Category 5, and we are supposed to believe him?

I am trying to figure out if he is that dumb or just that arrogant or a little of both? Is he watching what the rest of us are or is he in some Bizzaro world where the Pirates are actually good?

If he is in Bizzaro world where they are good, how do I get there too?

Chris Rossetti of Shippenville

KOVACEVIC: Me no am appreciate Bizzaro reference, Chris, as untrue comic-book geek!

Littlefield's primary point was that the Pirates' fundamental lapses get blown up more when they are losing.

Well, that is true without question.

But I can say, speaking strictly from my vantage point, that I have invested more time in observing, asking about and, ultimately, describing fundamental lapses over the course of this season -- including in victories -- than I did in my first two years combined on this beat.

I also have addressed the matter of effort more in the past month than I had in the first two years combined.

Take that from someone who is not a trained, multi-decade professional in examining baseball fundamentals, but I am sharing, anyway.

And I can add here that it is becoming almost routine to hear writers and broadcasters from other city lament the Pirates' poor play in the field and on the basepaths. These are people who see the team quite rarely in some cases, not to mention people who are paid to observe their own team more closely than the opponent. And they still notice. And still write about it or describe it on the air.

Me am fairly certain fundamentals are more of an issue in 2007 than 2006.

Q: Dejan, this is totaly unacceptable. How can Jim Tracy possibly defend Ronny now? He says that Paulino just standing there watching a throw from left field go by without even trying is justified by an injury to his foot? Either he needs to be on the bench if he is too hurt to play or suck it up and get that ball.

Kevin Strafalace of Troy Hill, Pittsburgh

KOVACEVIC: I write this again and again as it relates to Paulino: Never underestimate how much the manager values the game-calling ability of the catcher. There seems to be almost no shortcoming great enough to dwarf that.

Thing No. 41 that makes Pittsburgh great: It is not in Florida.

Well, actually, the real reason I flew home yesterday -- rather than go straight from L.A. to Miami -- was for the Little Man's third birthday, not to avoid a day in Florida. But it makes such an easy target.

And admit it: Reading Q&A cheap shots aimed at the Sunshine State brings back at least some of those warm, fuzzy feelings you had about your baseball club back in spring training?

At least one or two?

Until tomorrow ...


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