Mark Melancon pitches in the ninth inning Oct. 4 against the Reds.
Michael Sanserino: I'll start posting questions and insults at noon, but you can start lobbing them at any time.
Michael Sanserino: And here... we... go.
Ralph LA: Can you explain the contract situation with Melancon. Is he in Pittsburgh for just one last season?
Michael Sanserino: Mark Melancon is in his final year of arbitration, so he will become a free agent after this season. Unless, of course, the Pirates sign him to a long-term deal. But that doesn't appear likely.
Jimmy McNulty: Who will win the Pro Bowl?
Michael Sanserino: I don't know who will win, but I know who will lose: The television viewing public of America.
Kevin: Who will win the NHL All-Star game?
Michael Sanserino: The fans*
Michael Sanserino: *That's a lie. An equal waste of time as the Pro Bowl.
Kelvin: How 'bout that Indiana game vs. Wisconsin on Tuesday night?
Michael Sanserino: Somewhere, Nigel Hayes just made another free throw.
Nebby Ned: Hi Michael, do you think the Pirates are a better team today than they were at this time last year? From rotation to infield to outfield ...
Michael Sanserino: No, I don't. I think the outfield is better. I think the bullpen is better. I think the infield is worse, and I think the starting rotation is worse. It's close, but I'd give the edge to the 2015 team.
Randy: If you could be one piece of sports equipment, what would you be?
Michael Sanserino: I've always considered myself an athletic supporter.
Peter: Would you rather Pittsburgh got an MLS team or an NBA team?
Michael Sanserino: I'd rather Pittsburgh get an NBA team because I think the Association is really exciting these days. Compelling young stars. Competitive games. I'd rather have the best basketball players in the world coming to Pittsburgh than the MLS, which only gets the best soccer players past their prime.
Kelvin: Broncos or Panthers?
Michael Sanserino: Panthers. The Broncos won't have as much success stopping an offense with an athletic quarterback and a functioning run game.
Yoenis: Apart from the Steelers, which Pittsburgh team is most likely to win a championship first?
Michael Sanserino: I think the Pirates are closest. Despite criticisms of this offseason, they are still trending up. The division is getting harder, but the Pirates should continue to get better as talent develops. Hard to count out the Penguins with the top-level talent they have, but their postseason production doesn't inspire confidence.
Guest: Should pro sports do away with all-star games and just have some type of skills competition?
Michael Sanserino: I think in the NHL and NFL, they should at least consider it. The games are so physical that when you take that element away or diminish it, it's a joke. I actually enjoy the NBA and MLB all-star games, but I'm probably in the minority there.
Stefan: Speaking of the Pirates, with Neil Walker gone, what letter grade would you give this infield?
Michael Sanserino: I think the letter grade changes depending on Jung Ho Kang's availability. Probably from a C- to a B-.
Keef: Chances Khaleke Hudson from McKeesport commits to Pitt today?
Barry: Thoughts on where Khaleke Hudson decides to go today?
Michael Sanserino: I'll defer to our Mike White here, and he says all signs point to Michigan. https://twitter.com/mwhiteb...
Neil Walker: How can Neal Huntington think the Pirates will contend in the NL Central with this rotation?
Michael Sanserino: Because people have asked this same question for the past several years, and the Pirates continue to contend in the NL Central. I understand the criticism, but the Pirates continue to outperform expectations. I'm willing to give Neal Huntington some benefit of the doubt considering his recent track record.
Ralph LA: Jared Hughes used to work with little leaguers in LA so several of us routinely follow him. If he had been in someone else's farm system, is it likely that his career would be over by now, or do other teams have 8th inning bridge pitchers that allow the ball to get hit?
Michael Sanserino: I don't think his career would be over. He might not be a late-innings leverage kind of guy, but he still is pretty good at what he does as a sinkerballer. Other teams would find a use for him.
I remember when he made his first call-up in September a few years back -- a lot of us were pretty surprised to see him because he wasn't on our radar. The Pirates deserve credit for taking a bit of a chance on him.
And, as an aside, Jared Hughes is one of the nicest guys in the clubhouse.
Peyton Manning: Thomas Davis tore his ACL three times and plans to play in the Super Bowl despite a broken arm. Is he bionic? Is that fair?
Michael Sanserino: I've been working the past week with a mild cough, so you tell me who's tougher.
Stefan: What are your thoughts on the Pitt-PSU recruiting wars that have heated up with signing day right around the corner, and just generally how the media should handle coverage of something like that?
Michael Sanserino: I've enjoyed the sparring between Narduzzi and Franklin for the past year. It's a story we've covered in the past (http://www.post-gazette.com...) and will continue to do so in the future. For me, it comes down to results. Each coach could claim wins in their 2015 classes. It seems Narduzzi might have an edge this year, but we'll know more a week from today.
Steve in Blawnox: why didn't the PIRATES try for Sesspedes they coulda put him in right POlancos a bum
Michael Sanserino: I like you, Steve.
John: Which Pirates prospect makes the biggest impact in 2016?
Michael Sanserino: Glasnow. I think. Will he have enough innings to be able to pitch big games late in the season? That's the question.
Rust Never Sleeps: When you watch the Panthers up front with big strong pass rushers in a 4-3 isn't this what it takes to win in the NFL in the goal of pressuring a QB? the Steelers Blitzburgh days should be put away. Agree?
Michael Sanserino: My, My, Hey, Hey there. The Steelers nearly beat the AFC champions on the road without their top WR and their top two RBs. There Comes A Time for change now and then, but their Old Ways might just work.
Hoosier Daddy: Greates Indianan Ever, Larry Bird, David Letterman or John Cougar Mellencamp?
Michael Sanserino: I think I need to create a bracket for this. Bird, Letterman, Michael Jackson and Orville Redenbacher are No. 1 seeds. Rod Woodson gets a 2 in the athlete's region.
Ralph LA: Last year you ran a story of Tomlin visiting Brandenton during Spring training. Is that the kind story that you cringe at having to cover (although I will admit I read it with interest).
Michael Sanserino: No, that one wasn't one. There are stories I cringe that we have to cover, but you'll have to buy me several more beers to get that answer out of me.
The Chief: Michael, welcome to the chat. Your thoughts on what type of suspension Blake Griffin should get.
Michael Sanserino: Come on, Chief. There were rules! https://twitter.com/msanser...
Gus from Polish Hill: Is Cam Newton showboating good for the game or is it disrespectful to his opponent?
Michael Sanserino: It's good for the game. It's supposed to be fun, right?
jim: Why isn't more attention being paid to the potential liabilities (ethical and financial) that are assumed by football teams who send their players out against players who intentionally try to inflict career or life threatening injuries (VB). Heaven forbid, what if someone is killed ?
Michael Sanserino: I think the response to the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal shows how seriously the NFL views the issue. The problem with imposing penalties is you need to have proof of intent -- proof that is good enough to stand up to an NFLPA challenge. That is hard to find.
Michael Sanserino: OK, time for the lightning round.
The Chief: Ok Michael, you are GM JR of the Penguins, what move are you gonna make at the trade deadline?
Michael Sanserino: Try to get the cap number down while improving the defense. Easier written in this chat than accomplished.
Hoosier Daddy: Better Indiana Sports movie, 'Hoosiers' or "Breaking Away'?
Michael Sanserino: Breaking Away > Hoosiers > Rudy
Yoenis: Who socks a dinger farther - a lumberjack with a metal bat or a robot with a wooden bat?
Michael Sanserino: Kyle Schwarber
Michael Sanserino: That's all I've got today. Thanks for taking the time to join me. Hopefully I'll see you all next week.
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