Bob Smizik: Good morning! The room is open for questions. I will begin answering around noon.Smoltz: Bob - Clearly the Pirates trouble all these years is that the team did not have enough catchy marketing phrases. Look at the Nationals and their "Natitude". Lets get this ship turned around
Bob Smizik: How fast they forget: In fact, maybe I've forgotten but didn't the Pirates have the memorable, ``We Can,'' as their slogan not for one but two years? The only good one I remember is ``Let's go to work.'' Natitude is excellent.Rick: Mr. Nutting has said in the past he will never sell the Pirates and will have his children eventually take over the team in years to come. With the help of revenue sharing, the Nuttings will be content with making a steady profit every year. The only way the Pirates will ever be competitve is if a billionaire like Mark Cuban buys the team and spends money to build a winner. Otherwise, I see another 20 years of losing. Any chance you all at the Post can put some serious heat on Mr. Nutting in the next few years to open the checkbook?
Bob Smizik: The Post-Gazette called for him to sell the team a year or so ago. I don't see the paper going on a crusade against Nutting. That's not journalism. I
Golf Doc: As a long time, big-time Bucs fan, I'm NOT surprised in the least about their lack of success this year. Can anybody out there be fooled anymore?
Bob Smizik: Oh, there are plenty of people. When I had people pick the Pirates record on my blog near Opening Day at least several predicted a winning record.Smoltz: Is Pedro Alvarez's start the real deal? Or is he surging just as Pujols has been slumping?
Bob Smizik: It all depends on what you think ``the real dea;'' is. I think Alvarez is going have a long MLB career and hit a lot of HRs. He'll never be a Pujols of a Teixiera.Smoltz: What is more interesting to you, playoff hockey without the Penguins or the NBA playoffs?
Bob Smizik: I still keep an eye on the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs but I'm spending more time now with the NBA.RosieRuiz: Bob, how did you do in the Pittsburgh marathon yesterday?
Bob Smizik: Hey, don't be smart. I used to run. Never did the marathon but I wasn't bad.Smoltz: Bob - Roger Goodell would suspend Cole Hammels for half the year for admitting to throwing at the league's new prize possession (Bryce Harper). What will MLB do? What should they do?
Bob Smizik: I am posting a blog about this later today. I think he should be suspended long enough to miss two starts.Notconcerned: Does it really matter if the Steelers have a decent running game in 2012 and beyond? The NFL is a passing league.
Bob Smizik: It's always good to be the best you can be at every position. But RBs are, as you suggest, becoming less important on teams with great quarterbacks. You still need several, but, as the Steelers are about to find out in 2012, you probably don't need an all-pro.Itmakessense: Bob Smizik for Big East Commissioner
Bob Smizik: If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.Excitement: Why does the Pittsburgh Power have their games on live television? Don't they need all the behinds possible in seats?
Bob Smizik: Most sports teams look at TV as a promotional tool to selling tickets. That's why virtually every baseball game is on TV although the Pirates average only about 65 percent capacity. The strategy is for everyone to see how great the sport is on TV and rush out and buy a ticket.Kenman: As some in the local sports media like to do every year, the P-G’s Shelly Anderson yesterday took another shot at Pirate fans for turning out in big numbers at a fireworks game, but in underwhelming numbers for other games surrounding it. I see it mostly as fans who intend to attend a game choosing the one with the most popular promotion on the most popular night (Saturday). How do you see it?
Bob Smizik: For myself, I would go to the game in the series that did NOT have fireworks, which I did by going Friday night. But it is, as you say, perfectly understandable that the game with the best extra attraction would draw the most attendance.Jjvt: is there anything the Pirates can do to generate more offense with the team they have or do they need to trade for another bat?
Bob Smizik: About their only option now, and it's at least a month away, is recalling Starling Marte from the minors -- although he is not hitting especially well at the moment. He is, though, by far their best option. They have next to nothing to trade and it is rare for trades at this time of the year.James_Pittsburgh: Bob, the fact that the best hitters that the Pirates traded for are Jose Tabata, Chris Snyder, Ronny Cedeno, Lastings Milledge, Josh Harrison really doesn't prove whether the Pirates can trade for hitter. It is more indicative of Neal Hunington's trading ability. The Pirates did acquire Adam LaRoche and Brian Giles for relief pitchers. I would love to see the Pirates add someone as good as LaRoche to the line up (the 20 something LaRoche that the Pirates acquired).
Bob Smizik: LaRoche got nothing but criticism while he was here but he'd sure look good at first base for the Pirates right now. It is not easy to trade for good hitters. In the cases you mentioned, the Pirates trade partners had specific needs that the Pirates could meet. In the case of Giles, Cleveland was so overrun with talent that it would accept a player of Rincon's stature in return.. Such circumstances are rare.BobGullickson: I am having a hard time trying to gauge the relevancy of the NHL regular season? Is there a longer, more meaningless pro season? They need to play less games or cut the playoffs down.
Bob Smizik: The NHL regular season is played to cut the field of 30 to 16 and get started with the important season. For teams like the Penguins, the regular season is virtually meaningless -- but good entertainment -- since they are near locks to make the playoffs. For teams like the Penguins, the regular season determins playoff seeding -- but, as we've seen -- seeding is not very important. The Penguins have lost three straight years to lower-seeded teams.DougFrobel: How much better of a quarterback has Big Ben become since obtaining his college degree?
Bob Smizik: I think Todd Haley has turned over all game planning to Ben.James_Pittsburgh: Why do so many people on your blog clamor for the Pirates to sign free agents? The only free agents that he Pirates can sign are guys whose only options are Pittsburgh, Japan, or retirement. The Pirates need to stop wasting money on guys like Rod Barajas and Clint Barmes.
Bob Smizik: I think they are clamoring for the Pirates to sign good free agents -- although they never come with guarantees.Ken: I think the Suggs injury helps the Steeklers enourmously. Agree?
Bob Smizik: Any time a rival loses one of its best players, its chance for success are increased. I would not, however, say they've increased ''enormously.''Will: I think Cutch is slightly overratrated in every aspect of the game except for base running/speed, where he excels and fielding, where he'll never be a gold glover candidate. Do you think he'll ever be top 10 in hitting?
Smoltz: What do you think of the NFL potentially doing away with the kickoff? Is it really about head injuries? Or is it about removing one of the most unfootball portions of the game?Bob Smizik: Cutch is turning into a riddle wrapped in an enigma. He's very fast but not a great baserunner. I think he will win a Gold Glove some day. I'm not sure he'll ever live up to the high expectations some fans have placed on him.
Bob Smizik: The above answer is for the question two slots above from Will. Here's the answer to Smoltz questionBob Smizik: Wouldn't bother me a bit, although I'm sure the traditionalists and the blood-thirsty would be offended. Start on the 20 after every score. People would complain for a couple of years and they forget about it. I remember when people complained about in inception of the 3-point field goal in basketball. Now it is fully accepted.
SteveJ: Bob, why does every 30 something, middle of the road free agent that the Pirates acquire turn into an abject failure? You would think--luck of the draw--that a guy like Barajas could hit .240 with a chance of 15 or so homeruns.Bob Smizik: I think the Pirates, but virtue of the standing they have in MLB, can only get bottom-of-the-barrel free agents. By virtue of that, they run a good chance of getting players who will fail. And it has happened pretty much every time.
Brad: 1972 Pirates--beat Pittsburgh team to not win a championship?Bob Smizik: The 72 Pirates and the 93 Penguins would run pretty even on that.
Jjvt: Dont you think the wise choice would have been to trade Cutch and play Marte? I also believe that Cutch is overrated.Bob Smizik: It depends on what they could get for McCutchen. I would not trade him. You don't need to trade McCutchen to find a place for Marte.
James_Pittsburgh: No good free agents want to play for the Pirates. Roy Oswalt's agent wouldn't even return the Pirates call. The only option is to spend more money on international players until the Pirates are over .500 on a regular basis.Bob Smizik: Acquiring free agents is a problem. They need to do better in the draft and trade wisely. I'm not sure the current management team is up to that.
Bob Smizik: Thanks to everyone for all the good questions today. I will be back next Monday at noon.
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