Poll Question: Did you agree with the Pirate bringing Barry Bonds back to present the MVP award to Andrew McCutchen on Opening Day? Answer #1: Yes (52%) Answer #2: No (48%)
Jerry Micco: Hello everyone and welcome to the weekly all-sports chat. I'll officially open things at noon, but feel free to vote in our poll and to submit your early questions. See you soon!
Guest: Jerry - Do you see Tabata or Snider getting more playing time than the other, despite Hurdle's admission that he will play the best matchup that day? Do either have value long-term to the Pirates or have more trade value than the other?
Jerry Micco: I see Snider getting more time because you likely will see more righthanders facing the Bucs than lefties. I also think they want to take a longer look at Snider to see if he can produce the gap power, and maybe HR power that might be lurking in him. I think Tabata will get his shots, though. All that said, if Polanco does well down at Indy, he'll be here in June. Unless Tabata and Snider are tearing it up. And if that latter is the case, then you could see one of them being traded, likely for some low-level prospects.
Chunkles: Why Jerry Why? Bring back Bonds when the getting is good? Where was Bariod Bonds a couple years ago? He came back to grab the spotlight. The jerk admitted he doesn't follow the Pirates. What a dumb move on the Pirates part! What next, Michael Keaton Bobblehead Night! Come on guys, lets enjoy this ride, not ruin it!
Jerry Micco: I wasn't here when Bonds played here, but I don't know why he was such a polarizing figure? I know he and Leyland had the publicized blow up. I know he was a jerk, but he was that way when I was a Bay Area sports editor and we covered him daily for my 7 seasons there. But he was a tremendous ball player. He juiced some of those years, no question. But while here, he won 2 MVPs and they won 3 division titles. He did nothing in the playoffs, but a lot of Pirates did nothing in the playoffs in those years. But, he's such a polarizing figure, fans and media are right to question the club's motives to bring him back on such a special day.
Richy: If the Steelers are looking for that infamous "Tall WR" does Robinson from PSU make sense in the 2nd or 3rd round after a CB in round 1?
Jerry Micco: Allen Robinson is a very good WR who likely will go in round 2. So if the Steelers do not go WR in round 1, he could be a very good choice in round 2. He is not a speed guy, so you have to wonder about separation ability. But he's big and strong, and he has the ability to win ball battles. We'll see where he lands eventually, and it's possible he could be gone before the Steelers pick in round 2.
JackLambert58: Hi Jerry, any chance Mike Evans is there for the Steelers at 15?
Jerry Micco: I think that's highly doubtful. The Bills, Lions and Rams, who all pick ahead of the Steelers, need WR help. I don't think he falls that far.
Ron Shanklin: What's the harm in signing Heyward-Bey to a 1 year deal? A veteran WR with great speed at a position with great need.
Jerry Micco: A guy with very good speed who has never lived up to his billing. I'll never forget the year when the Raiders picked him and Mike Mitchell 1-2 in the draft, Bey being No. 7 overall. I blog the draft yearly for our paper, and I was stunned at both picks. Now, the Steelers could wind up with both guys. Bey would be a nice depth move. A No. 3 or 4 guy.
Guest: Did the Pirates have to pay Bonds an appearance fee for showing up Monday?
Jerry Micco: I am not sure that they paid him a fee, but I'm sure they paid transportation and lodging as they would for anyone they asked to come in to do something for them. Remember, the Pirates approached Bonds.
Guest: I said it before Tiger will never reach Jack. Now it seems impossible. Do you think Tiger used HGH and his body is now breaking down?
Jerry Micco: I'm not quite ready yet to say Woods will not catch Nicklaus. He's only 38 and Nicklaus was 46 when he won his last major. And if the surgery helps him, then who knows how many more majors he cold win. Mickelson won the British Open at 42. And I think he's got at least one more major in him. As for HGH, there have been rumors. Tiger got very big very quickly. That can come from a number of things, but nothing has been proven.
Richy: If Snider shows some power is there a chance they try and move him to 1st after Polanco moves to the majors?
Jerry Micco: There is always a possibility, but I don't know if Snider can play first. If Snider shows power, they may try to move him to another team if Polanco can play at this level. Pirates will continue to try to re-stock the minors so they have a steady stream of talent coming through the system.
Ralph The Plumber: Ryan Braun gets a standing ovation for cheating. Don't opposing teams owe it to the fans and the rest of MLB players to throw at this guy at some point. Where is the justice??
Jerry Micco: Well, let's not end a guy's career just because he lies and cheats. As for fans cheering, let's go back to Bonds. In the Bay Area, among Giants fans, he's a sports hero. He's beloved out there, and everyone there knows the stories of what kind of guy he was off the field. But he led them to a World Series and made them one of the best teams in baseball for many years. And he hit 73 HRs in one season. Fans will always support their own, especially if he's a very good player.
Mel Jr.: My sources say the Steelers trade down to get Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks if Denard and Mike Evans is gone. Aren't you glad the NFL moved the draft to May so you can get another Month of these scenarios?
Jerry Micco: I love draft talk, so I say bring it. Problem with trading down in a deep draft is everyone's trying to do it. And when everyone's trying to do it, then it's hard to find trading partners. If Denard and Evans are gone, maybe Ebron the TE for UNC will be someone they look at. He's the best TE in the draft. Or a WR like Marquise Lee from USC. That position, like CB, is deep. You could even see them go DL in the first round if they like what's out there.
JamesinNYC: Worriesome that the Steelers are rebuilding the Raiders east?
Jerry Micco: I like the Mitchell signing based on his year in Carolina with a really good defense. And Bey hasn't signed yet. Again, he's a depth guy, much like the CB McCain they signed yesterday. I think McCain will compete for a roster spot in camp depending on how many CBs they draft. I think the Steelers will take 2 CBs in this draft.
Richy: Any update on Tallion's elbow?
Jerry Micco: Not yet. When we get it, we'll get that information out right away, though.
Jason K.: Do you see any upcoming moves at 1B? The Pirates can't honestly think that Gaby and Travis are the answers this season, acn hey?
Jerry Micco: Well, so far they are going in that direction. Hey, Ishikawa had 2 hits in Monday's game, the only Pirate to do so. He looked like Morneau, soft liner to left and a liner to right. Problem is, there isn't much out there for the Pirates to get. No one's going to hand them a power-hitting first baseman. Not without giving up a very good pitcher.
Guest: Johnny Manziel a bust or Superstar, what say you Jerry?
Jerry Micco: You have only given me 2 extremes, and I think Manziel is somewhere in the middle. I'm thinking more an Alex Smith type player who can do more damage with his legs, but may never beat you with his arm. I know some draft services now say he's the No. 1 QB on the board. But if I'm Houston, I take Clowney and let the others figure out the QB stuff.
Guest: The Steelers have been very active (by their standards) in the FA this year, is this a subtle acknowledgement that their drafting over the past years has been more miss than hit?
Jerry Micco: I think it is a not-so-subtle acknowledgement that they have a lot of holes to fill because they drafted poorly, as well as not being very active in free agency. Their depth has been shot, so this is one way to try to solve that issue. I think a lot of their signings are depth signings, which is fine. Aside from Mitchell, none of those guys may start. The draft is where you really find the guys you hope will be your starters.
JeanPronovost: Jerry, The Pens might be able to beat the Red Wings, Blue Jackets and/or Rangers. They have zero chance in 7 games against the Flyers and Bruins. How has this team sunk so far, so fast?
Jerry Micco: I still think they can take the Flyers, even though they have not beaten them this season. It may take 7, but the Flyers can be had. The Bruins, I would not argue that point. Boston is very good, very complete and knows how to play playoff hockey. The Penguins are going to have to step above and beyond if they get a chance to play the Bruins.
Nellie Briles: Got any great stories of how big a jerk Bonds was in San Francisco when you covered him? Like refusing to sign an autograph for a kid with cancer until he finished his post game snack
Jerry Micco: Some were out in the open. He got into a shoving match with Jeff Kent, not exactly a prize himself, in the dugout. In the clubhouse, he had his own area of 7-8 lockers with a big, vibrating lounge chair and big-screen TV in front of it, while his teammates had one locker apiece. That did not endear him to his teammates. They all loved it when he was crushing the ball, but when it was all over, no one was asking him out to dinner.
Ross in Erie: Hi Jerry, Sure would like to see the Steelers sign both Harrison and Kiesel (maybe after 6/2)for one more year. I think they would be cheap money especially for the return (leadership nad play) even in back-up roles. Your thoughts?
Jerry Micco: If they can sign them for minimum or near minimum, I think it would be a smart move. One-year deals for both would really solidify them depth wise. Would give a chance for any rookies drafted to learn for a season on defense and play special teams, which I think is important. Timmons played a couple of years of special teams before playing regularly. I think it helped him greatly.
Chub Feeney: The Pirates got Cutch locked up at a great price. I can't imagine he'll be happy with that deal in a few years. Are the days of players holding out for a better re-worked contract over in the MLB?
Jerry Micco: I don't think they are over, but most players today pretty much get what they want. McCutchen's deal is a good one for the Pirates. The biggest deals, like the ones for Trout and Cabrera, are going to big power guys. I don't see Cutch as that kind of hitter, but certainly as an MVP type player, he's an all-around great ballplayer. I think the HR hitters are getting the big bucks. And some are saying the Cabrera contract has really thrown baseball into a tizzy. Not to mention Kershaw's deal in Los Angeles. And he only plays every fifth day...when he's healthy.
Bill: Why no news on Vin Mazzaro? Tough break for a good player and teammate. Victim of numbers game and nothing performance related. Could the Pirates luck out and keep him in Indy for depth?
Jerry Micco: I think he has to be on waivers for a week before it's announced if he's been claimed. We'll have that information when it comes available. Mazzaro was certainly very good for the Pirates last year, but you are right. He lost out in a numbers game.
JeanPronovost: Jerry: I don't understand the Bonds defenders. The guy is a convicted liar who spent a career aggressively undermining a sport that made him and his father rich. Now he is faking being a normal human being to try to weasel his way into the Hall of Fame. Exactly what must a scoundrel do to earn he justified disgust of decent people?
Jerry Micco: Actually, he was convicted of obstruction of justice, not perjury (lying). As for his faking the whole nice-guy thing, I don't know him well enough to say if he's doing that or not. I always believe people can change, I guess I just have that kind of faith in people. But if you go on his track record, I can see why you'd think the way you do.
Guest: Who gets a statue built first, Bonds outside PNC Park or JoePa (again) at Penn State?
Jerry Micco: Well, the Giants may put up a Bonds statue. Wonder where the Paterno statue is? It's somewhere at Penn State. I don't think it'll ever go back up, but it's somewhere up there.
Guest: Why do you think people are so focused on if someone is a jerk rather than their accomplishments? I'm in the camp that no athlete should be a role model, they are paid to play a game.
Jerry Micco: Charles Barkley would agree with you. Athletes, like all of us, are human. With all the traits of a normal person. That includes sometimes being a jerk and sometimes being a great person. We see the athlete perform. We see it when the team wants us to see him helping kids at a charity function or doing something in the community. That's not phony, but it's put out there for us to see for his/her image. But we do not see him at home with his family. And we all know that pressures come at all of us in life, and things good and bad can happen. So we shouldn't be surprised when someone does something wrong who is in the public eye. People do bad things every day. Just like people do good things every day. It's what we all do.
Gus from Dormont: I just read the NFL to allow visits from Cheerleaders to fans in their seats. As a Steeler season ticket holder ain't I getting ripped off by that cause we ain't got no cheerleaders!
Jerry Micco: The Steelers had cheerleaders in the early 60s. We'll find those folks and send them your way.
Rick Reuschel: I booed Leyland at the Opener. He left Pittsburgh for more money and a better team in Florida. And smoking is no example to set for kids.
Jerry Micco: On the smoking thing, I agree 100 percent. I used to smoke myself, and it's one bad habit I kicked years ago. Now if I can just stay on this diet...As for leaving for more money and greener pastures. Can't criticize him because we've all done that. At least I have, many times in my career.
Guest: Who you got winning the NCAA tourney now? I say Florida v Kentucky with a Gator win.
Jerry Micco: Well, I had Louisville winning it all, so I'll stay in-state and say Kentucky beats Florida in the final. Of course, you know who the last team was to beat the Gators, don't you? That's right, Connecticut.
Buccofan: Any word on why Ishikawa is hitting so much better than his history? Any technical changes or approach? Is this sustainable?
Jerry Micco: I don't know if the Pirates have seen something and worked with him or what, but he's looked solid at the plate all spring and in his one game this year. A key may be to platoon him so he isn't too exposed. I don't think he could do this over 450 at-bats.
Tship: Hi Jerry thanks for you time again today. I know it has been one game but why should we be optimistic that 1st base will produce any kind of consistent offense
Jerry Micco: Always happy to do this chat with everyone. As i said above, let's see how the first month goes. If Sanchez can be consistent, and Ishikawa can fill in as needed, maybe no big worries. I think Sanchez is the key. He has to be able to provide a bit of power, at least some gap power, when he plays.
Jared: Is Heyward-Bey a realistic and good choice for the right price?
Jerry Micco: Sure, he's a realistic choice as a possible no. 3 or No. 4 receiver. No question.
JeanPronovost: Jerry, This sounds like a crazy question but -- I absolutley do not understand how today's butterfly NHL goalies can bend and crash their knees SIDEWAYS onto the ice without destroying their joints. Do youngsters who have that abilty become goalies, or are goalies trained to stretch their knees to bend in ways God never intented?
Jerry Micco: It takes a lot of practice and working with a good goalie coach. And making sure you work up to that type of thing, not trying to do it all in one day. Kids are more flexible when they are young, but they have to learn how to play angles, how to go down on shots properly, etc. There's a lot to learn for budding goalies. Tough position to play.
Jerry Micco: Ed Bouchette is saying on Twitter that there is no truth to the rumors that Rice will visit the Steelers this week. And it would not hurt to add another WR. You may draft a couple more, too.
Guest: Sidney Rice visit the Steelers? Don't we need 1 more F/A WR?
Jerry Micco: I posted out of order...so question followed my answer.
Guest: Any chance of a rainout tonight at PNC?
Jerry Micco: I think there is a slight chance. AccuWeather says cloudy as the night goes on.
Guest: Gomez and Mazzaro for Ike Davis? Can we get it done?
Jerry Micco: I'd not give up Jeanmar Gomez for Ike Davis.
JeanPronovost: Jerry -- Any chance Scuderi sits when Martin gets back?
Jerry Micco: Let me see: Orpik, Martin, Maata, Bortuzzo, Niskanen, Engelland. So in your scenario, Despres and Scuderi are out. I'd rather see Despres play, but I like Martin for Scuderi. So yes, good possibility that Scuderi could sit. Now do I think Bylsma sits him? No.
The Bear: Who's you Masters Pick? I have Adam Scott repeating
Jerry Micco: I'm going to wait until next Wednesday, the eve of the tournament, to pick my winner. But you are on the record, sir.
Jerry Micco: OK folks, time to get back to some other stuff. Great chat, excellent questions everyone. Thanks for taking the time to join me. I'll be back at noon next Wednesday and we'll do this again. Until then, enjoy your sports week and the Final Four, and we'll meet again next time. Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco