Jerry Micco's sports chat transcript: 7.11.12
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Handy: You said in past that you don't listen to much talk radio, but who do you like when you do? Do you like the older guys like Cook and Pompeani and Starkey or the newer more brash guys like Mueller and Dunlap and Filliponi?
Jerry Micco: First of all, it's good to be back and thanks for coming by to chat. After three weeks, I'm read to go. I like all different types, but I don't listen to much unless I'm in the car. Usually that's for the morning drive show and the evening drive show, which these days is the Bucs pregame show. Andrew and Chris have been on our PG Round Table show many times, and I think they are guys with good takes who know how to make a point. I hear Colin some on weekends when I'm out and about and he does a good job. All in all, no one really rubs me the wrong way on The Fan.
James Pittsburgh: Have you read R.A. Dickey's book "Wherever I Wind Up"? I just stared reading it and it is a real page turner. And welcome back from your vacation and conference.
Jerry Micco: Thanks. No, I've not read it, but Ron Cook did a column on Dickey when the Mets were in town and talked to him about the book and his life. It was, like most of Ron's work, a terrific read.
James Pittsburgh: Since you were gone, I discovered that Clint Barmes' career average on the road is .227 and his OPS is .629. For comparisons sake Ronny Cedeno has a career .641 OPS. I am not saying that the Pirates should have kept Cedeno, but it seems like picking up Barmes wasn't a bright idea either due to his Coors Field inflated stats.
Jerry Micco: The only thing Barmes brings that Cedeno didn't is a better glove. I was at last Saturday's game and Barmes' plays in the 9th helped win that game for the Bucs. I agree, he's not hit with the consistency I'd like to see, but he's made up for it with more solid defense at short. Could they do better? Sure. But that guy isn't in their system as of yet.
DNY: The P-G's coverage of the Penn State scandal--arguably the biggest sports story in a generation, and in your own backyard--is sorely lacking. Instead Ron Cook chooses to lecture Andrew McCutchen about a jokey tweet.
What gives? Is there a fear of losing a certain segment of readers to the Trib if there is too much coverage/discussion?
(Additionally, the comments are turned off. I don't get that. Either you allow for a forum on you site or you don't. I know there are concerns about being able to handle it all, but if the Patriot-News can, certainly the P-G can.)
Jerry Micco: We are the final determinants on what stories we allow comments on. Trials and the Sandusky/PSU scandal we have not allowed comments from the beginning, and that's not going to change. As for coverage, I have no idea what you are talking about. Gene Collier and Ron have written many columns on this story throughout. We've had sports front and A1 stories by the dozens since it has started. I'd say what more do you want, but if you didn't see all that, I'm not sure you're qualified to give me your opinion on that.
moral_compass: Jerry, the silence is deafening from the sports department on the whole sordid Sandusky affair. Smizik refuses to blog about it, and not a peep from Ron Cook. If the Freeh report implicates Jopa, will your official position finally change and remove him from sainthood?
Jerry Micco: My official position? Maybe that's yours, but it has never been mine. Read my answer above. We've had plenty and people have written quite a bit about it during the entire scandal. If you choose not to read it, or don't think it fits your agenda, then maybe you need to read it somewhere else.
The Chief: Welcome back Jerry, hope you had a good three weeks off! Would you describe the Pirates failure to sign Mark Appel a calculated gamble, that if it di not come to fruition would save a team with many young 1st round arms 3.8 million?
Jerry Micco: Thanks, Chief. Actually, was back last week, but didn't work on the 4th, which was a Wednesday. I'm happy to be back. I think the Pirates were sitting pretty in the Appel situation. If you lose him, you get some money back, and you get the No. 9 pick in the much deeper 2013 draft. I think the Pirates would like to sign him, but don't see it as an absolute necessity.
James Pittsburgh: What supposedly available player would you like to see the Pirates acquire? (Quentin, Cody Ross, Justin Upton(.744 career OPS outside of Arizona), etc).
Jerry Micco: I'm not a big Upton fan, so maybe Quentin. Or Josh Willingham.
Zack: Amy real chance we can get Upton without giving up top prospects?
Jerry Micco: You'll have to give up a couple of prospects but I'd not give up Marte, Cole or Taillon to get him. I don't think he's worth it.
James Pittsburgh: How much longer do you think we will see Erik Bedard in the rotation? I was dead wrong. Two months ago, I thought the Pirates should resign him and now they may dump him.
Jerry Micco: I think he'll get two more starts to show if he can be the kind of guy he was early in the season. Who knows, the break may help him. I'm not sure they think any of the three starters in Indy are worth bringing up here and inserting into the rotation in a pennant race. I think they'd like Bedard to figure it out and ride him the rest of the way. But we'll see.
The Chief: Jerry, do belive the Pirates should add a pitcher or hitter at the deadline, assuming they continue their excellent play the next three weeks?
Jerry Micco: I'm always in favor of more pitching if you can get it. I don't know if they want a rental like Cole Hamels, who will cost you one of the big 3 guys in your minor league system. I'd be in favor of a guy who is a solid starter and can give you some innings. Now they do have a need for an outfielder, but you can wait closer to the deadline to make a deal. They have that luxury.
moral_compass: Jerry, too much love for the Pirates in this town. The collapse is inevitable. Only a matter of time. I predict August 1, what say you?
Jerry Micco: I think you're a little early on the collapse time. IF the collapse time even comes about.
The Chief: Your thoughts on the Jordan Staal trade.
Jerry Micco: Sorry to see a talented guy like Staal go, but I think it was the right move. I'd want to keep Crosby and Malkin around for as long as possible, and Letang is a top-flight defenseman. I think Sutter is more the classic third-line center and will be a nice addition. All in all, the Pens did what they had to because as much as I liked Staal, he wasn't going to play here as a No. 3. so you might as well get something for him.
Frank: I, along with about 95% of readers leaving comments, thought Cook's piece on Andrew's all-star tweet to be worthless. A made-up non-story. Your thoughts?
Jerry Micco: It drew a ton of interest from a lot of readers. The most-read story on our site. I'd say Ron did his job very well with that column. People read it and reacted to it. That's what a columnist does. I also thought he handled it well. We did talk to McCutchen about it and put his quotes into the column. I think if Cutch could redo that Tweet, he'd not say it the way he said it. But it's commentary and opinions on all sides are welcomed.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, I don't believe Josh Willingham is on the market.
Jerry Micco: Not yet. But I think he will be. Remember, we're still 2-plus weeks from the trade deadline. A lot can happen between now and then.
The Chief: Jerry looks like the followin AL pitchers may be available: Millwood, McCarthy (hurt) and Liriano. Not much help in that group although Liriano has pitched pretty good since he cam back in late May.
Jerry Micco: None of those guys excites me, but then again, a guy like Millwood (or Liriano) could be that No. 5 guy especially if you think Bedard can't recover his game.
James Pittsburgh: Justin Upton's OPS outside of Arizona is .744. That is an alarming statistic. He seems have the attitude of Jose Tabata with more talent. That is not worth Marte, Cole, or Tallion in my opinion.
Jerry Micco: I think the Pirates front office would agree with you. I just don't see him here, I don't know that I'm close to correct nor do I have any inside knowledge, but I don't think he's the answer.
Satisfied Burgher: Why do our local fans seem to reach near-panic when trade/free agent deadlines near? I don't think that Suter, Semin, Doan, Upton, or Hamels should end up in Pittsburgh, and both our baseball and hockey teams are pretty credible without them.
Jerry Micco: You could be right about both teams, but I think you always have to see if there's a guy out there that's affordable and who can help your team. Steve Sullivan was that guy last year. I think Derreck Lee would have been that guy for the Bucs last year if he'd not gotten injured. That said, Shane Doan would look great in a Pens sweater. Just my opinion. Love the way he plays.
The Chief: Jerry, the way the four major sports are going does one have to say that Bud Selig is the best commissioner out of Goodell, Sterne and Bateman?
Jerry Micco: Selig's sport seems to have the least problems, at least for now. But where was he during the steroid era? All sports have their ups and downs. I always thought Stern did the best job of all with the NBA, and I still think that. But over the past few years, that league has had some issues and he's not been on top of them. So right now, I'd agree and say Selig is on top. But that can change quickly.
James Pittsburgh: If the Pirates beat up on the Cubs, Astros, and Brewers this month, will we even need to discuss whether the Pirates will win 82 on August 12. It seems like by then the Pirates would have to be really terrible over the final month to not finish with 82 wins or more.
Jerry Micco: I think this team is better than last year's team. I think this team can break the streak. Notice I'm saying "I think" a lot. That's what 19 years of losing does to you. If they keep playing the way they did, and clean up on the weak teams, they can make the playoffs. But there are still 75 games left. And to highlight our poll: For them to win 90, they need to go 42-33 in the second half. Nine games over .500. And 90 likely gets you a wild card. You'd need to win, probably, 94-97 to win a division.
yinzer in va: Jerry, Hope you had a great vacation. Is Gene Collier as funny around the office as he is on camera and in print? His 2 minute warning is hilarious. If it was on Mondays, I might look forward to Mondays more than Fridays. And I've always looked forward to his Trite Trophy every year since I was a kid still living in the area. It's as much a part of the Christmas Season as exchanging gifts.
Jerry Micco: Gene is a naturally funny person, probably the most humorous guy I've ever worked with. What comes across in his writing, videos, etc., come across in person and when he's doing his stand-up act on stage. If you're ever back here and Gene's performing, go see his show. Well worth the price of admission.
John: I believe our outfield bat can come from the addition of Marte and the pitching help could be found in Chicago in Ryan dempster. He would not cost us more than a starter from AAA and maybe a AA player. What do you think?
Jerry Micco: I like Dempster and I'm sure the Pirates see him as a guy who's affordable. And sometimes, you can pick up salary from a club and give up very little as far as players. Remember that is an option, too. The only concern I have for Marte is bringing him up to start in a pennant race. That's a lot to ask. I think the Pirates want to get Presley healthy and see how Tabata is doing in AAA to see if he gets it and can contribute.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, if the Pirates can get Willingham I am all for it. That would give them Starling Marte in left, McCutchen in center, and Willingham in right for 2013 and 2014. Add Ryan Demster or Liriano and the Pirates look like a contender.
Jerry Micco: If all the other guys continue to hit and pitch as well as they have to date, I'd agree. You have to keep growing the team and getting stronger. As we all know, year over year things can change drastically.
Bubba: Can u tell me why the PG is not writing about the Penn State football coach, AD, VP & President covering up sexual abuse of children? Why is Penn State still ahead of local teams on the upper right green links on the main page?
Jerry Micco: We've written dozens of stories on this. And will write dozens more. Penn State is considered a local team, and always has been, by the PG. I'll see about getting that green tab moved for ya, if that'll make you feel better.
Zack: When do the bucs call up Marte? I am totally with you on Willingham. Imagine an OF of Cutch, Marte, and Willingham.
Jerry Micco: As I said earlier, I'm not sure they do until September. I know there's a rush to get him here, but putting a rookie into a pennant race isn't always the best thing to do. But I guess if the Pirates think he's ready, then he'll be here. And I hope when he gets here, we see the potential come out. My understanding is, and I've never seen him play, he's a terrific ballplayer.
The Chief: Do you think the expectations of Pirate fan base has changed from simply finishing the season over .500 to making the playoffs?
Jerry Micco: Oh, absolutely. I think the expectation is much higher.
James Pittsburgh: As for Satisfied Burgher's comments, a solid defensive mined defensemen to play with Orpik would be nice too. Maybe Simon Depres can develop into Letang's skating partner. But I think the Penguins need to find a Rod Scuderi type shut down defenseman now or at the trade deadline. I don't see Marrow or Depres as that type of player.
Jerry Micco: I think you are right about Morrow and Despres. Not shut-down types. The Pens have a lot of defensemen in their system, so perhaps a Bortuzzo or Brian Strait can develop into that player. And as you point out, there are still guys out there in free agency who might help.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry 90 wins may win the NL Central. I don't see the Reds doing nay better than 42-33 the rest of the way unless they pick up Cole Hamels. Maybe the Cardinals will get some players back and start rolling.
Jerry Micco: In the last few years, it has taken 88-92 wins to take a wild card. Doesn't mean in this division a team with 90 wins can't win it all, but I think it's going to take 2-4 wins more to take the division. And I'd not count out the Cardinals. They have a way of making a run when you least expect it.
new fan: Mr. Micco, I've just starting following hockey this year. what do coaches like on each of their lines. why should jordon staal be on a different line.
Jerry Micco: Well, that's a broad question, but simply, your hockey lines are usually done where the first two lines have your top forwards and your third and fourth lines are more for defense, with a little scoring thrown in. Staal, if he wanted to play just center, wasn't going to play ahead of Crosby (first line) or Malkin (second line).
Jerry Micco: To Joe D: I'm not going to answer any personnel questions here. If you were a regular chatter and not a troll, you'd know that.
Guest: The Bucs need a leadoff guy. Marte doesn't take walks. Leave him in AAA.
Jerry Micco: That may be some of the sentiment among the Pirates front office, too. And he's just now playing RF, which is where they'd probably put him up here. He's a centerfielder by trade, and a guy wearing No. 22 for the big club is probably going to have that piece of real estate for some time to come.
greg: Sorry, but don't the Pirates have 77 games left?
Jerry Micco: Now you know why I went into journalism and not engineering. You are right. The Bucs have 77 games left, not 75. Oops!
Guest: The Pens can make the playoffs with the young defensemen. So, wait for the trade deadline to make a move. I really want to see 87 and 71 on the same line for a year, also
Jerry Micco: I like Crosby and Malkin split up, with an occasional pairing of the two. Means you can't concentrate your defense on just one line for the Pens. I think the Pens can make the playoffs with they guys they have on defense, but Martin and Orpik will have to step up more. As much as Orpik has been terrific for this team, I thought he slowed down a lot at the end of last season.
The Chief: I understand your thoughts on Doan, would be alot like the Bill Guerin addition in 2009. I do belive Aleander Semin is the guy, playing beside Crosby he is a top 10 player in the NHL. Sure he has issues, but sometime a change in scenery is all a guy needs. lookk at his play in this past years World Championships!
Jerry Micco: But his reputation is as a coach-killer. And he's never been anything but critical of Sid. I don't know, I think talent-wise, he'd be a terrific addition. And would be an outstanding winger for Crosby. But you are going to get some baggage with him, too.
The Chief: Better MLB storyline this year, the Pirates or Washington National's season?
Jerry Micco: Pirates, because no one saw this coming. Some preseason prognosticators thought the Nationals might be one of the best teams in the NL East.
James Pittsburgh: Jerry, if the Pirates add Quentin or Willmingham, who leads off for the team?
Jerry Micco: Well, I'd say either Sutton or Presley, who will be the other outfielder if you put Jones at first and McGehee on the bench. If you play both Jones and McGehee, maybe Quentin or Willingham leads off. That's why I think it's important to try to get either Tabata or Presley right. They can lead off.
James Pittsburgh: I am not sure that you are right. McCutchen may be moved to left field, but it won't be done until next spring training. Putting Marte in center won't happen during the pennant race.
Jerry Micco: I doubt they'd move McCutchen. I could see them putting Marte in left because of the size of the ballpark out there. It has always been said the Pirates need 2 center fielders because of the configuration of PNC Park.
Frank: Rather than looking for an expensive (in prospects required to acquire) thumper in the OF.....how about Juan Pierre in LF?
Jerry Micco: Natural lead off guy, but a liability with his arm. And he's also wildly inconsistent. However, your point about not giving up much is a valid and good one.
Pittsburgher in Texas: Its a bad year when the Steelers and Pens both lose in first round of playoffs but the Pirates are making fans very happy. Its been a long time since Pittsburgh fans weren't just waiting for Steeler camp to start.
Jerry Micco: I think it's great that Pittsburgh now has three teams to excite fans. I've never seen fanbases attack each other like I do here. I do not understand that. If you're a fan of Pittsburgh sports, then I would think the Pens, Pirates and Steelers would be your favorite teams (pro teams, anyway). So when they are going well, our city and region is touted and it gives fans something to get excited about. Fans of any of those teams should be psyched about the others' success.
Frank: Pierre still has most of his speed.....gets on base and can steal.....plays very smart defense and can still cover the ground. As for his throwing arm.......we'll survive.
Jerry Micco: I think if they want a leadoff guy who can play some defense, but has no arm, then Pierre is a nice pickup. And that may be exactly where they go if they think that is the missing ingredient. That's why Presley and Tabata have to be kicking themselves that they can't provide what this team needs.
The Chief: My only downside of watching the All Star game and it's related festivities was seeing Matt Weiters as an All Star cather. That coupled with Moskos release really poured some salt into the wound!
Jerry Micco: Made that draft choice one of the worst of all time for the Bucs. I saw Ted Simmons when I saw Wieters. I did think Moskos had a chance to be a good lefty starting pitcher when they drafted him, but didn't think he had Wieter's upside. Well, I guess a lot of folks saw the same thing. And it is tough to think you throw away a high pick, a la Bullington, VanBenschoten, etc., and then see the guy you passed on as an all-star.
The Chief: OK the MLB is July 31, @ 4:00 PM EDT. What are the headline in the PG Sports section on August 1?
Jerry Micco: Bucs add Willingham, for (pick you AAA pitcher) and Robbie Grossman.
DE Burger: Any news on Wallace. I'm starting to get nervous.
Jerry Micco: None yet. Camp starts on July 25 and it'll heat up more then. On and off the field. But I think it's going to take some time to resolve that situation.
The Chief: Jerry, thanks again. its great to have you back chatting!!!!
Jerry Micco: Thanks, Chief. It's terrific to be back. It is, as you all know, my favorite hour of the week.
yinzer in va: You are right. Be a fan of all 3 teams. Bleed Black n Gold all the way through. Remember when the Pens changed their colors to be like the Pirates and Steelers right after they won championships in the 70's. Be all in for Pittsburgh. Living out of the area now for years, you really appreciate having winning teams.
Jerry Micco: I lived away from here for 25 years, so I know what you are saying. When you grow up here, you are a fan of the teams. Now as a journalist, I watch and follow the teams through a different lense. A more critical lense. But I still enjoy seeing the games and hearing from the fans. Just now, I get paid to watch them. I have a great job!
Jerry Micco: OK folks, I need to rush off to a meeting. Thanks for taking the time to chat this week, and thanks for coming back after the hiatus. I appreciate that very much. I'll be back next Wednesday at noon for another chat. Have a terrific week and we'll talk soon! Follow me on Twitter: @PG_JerryMicco
First Published July 11, 2012 1:46 pm
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