moral compass: Bob, your silence is deafening on the Sandusky case. I realize you would invite some heated comments by posting anything, but don't you think it is important enough to merit discussion? Or how about post an editorial and disable comments?
Bob Smizik: I wrote frequently about the Sandusky/Penn State/Paterno situation when the story broke and for weeks afterwards. As far as I'm concerned, it is no longer a sports story. What's left to say is pretty obvious. The guy was a monster. I will, however, address it later in the week.
genelamont: Can the Pirates keep it up?
Bob Smizik: If I knew that, I'd be a rich man. Pushing aside emotion, my original thought on the current team was that it simply was not good enough to compete for a title. That remains my stance, but I must admit I am less convinced today than I was a month ago.
FreddyDubs: Where does Verlander rank on your list of top pitchers from the last 25 years?
Bob Smizik: I'd have to sit down and think about all the good pitchers over that span and time does not permit that. He certainly would be near the top of the list. Off the top of my head, the best two I can remember from the era you specified were Maddux and Pedro Martinez. I do not yet have Verlander in their league.
Exciting: How were your seats for the NHL draft?
Bob Smizik: Couldn't make it. I had a soccer game to watch.
inevitable: It is a shame, but after last year (and the past 20), the Pirates will most likely have to clinch a wild card spot before anyone truly believes this will last, right?
Bob Smizik: I think that's only fair. When a team has the history of the Pirates, fans have a right to take a 'show-me' attitude. That said, attendance indicates a lot of people are becoming believers.
Chris Saunders: Hi Bob...do you think that upper magement now regrets that contract they gave Jose Tabata? Personally I would have rather seen them give that money to Neil.
Bob Smizik: I can assure you, Neil Walker would have laughed at such an offer. At the moment, the contract does not look good. But six months ago it was viewed as highly favorable for the team. Let's allow time to play out before we make a definitive ruling on this deal.
JamesinNYC: Fun weekend for PGH sports. Staal trade as close to win win as you can get? Would you agree it was a pretty amazing return considering Shero had no leverage?
Bob Smizik: I believe Shero had leverage. Other teams were interested in Staal. It wasn't like he had to make a deal with Carolina. He also could have kept him for another year. That said, I thought he made a good deal.
Pure: Not sure how much you watched, but the athleticism in the Miami-OKC NBA Finals was off the charts. It is almost a different sport that is being played.
Bob Smizik: The best athletes are in the NBA. There's no question about that in my mind. But they are so good they make the sport look too easy. I love basketball but I find myself not enjoying the NBA as much as I should. It is the equivalent of every baseball team having three .400 hitters.
USAUSAUSA: Discounting the obvious choice (Taekwondo), what is your favorite Summer Olympic sport?
Bob Smizik: My son swam in high school and college and I became a big fan. It is No. 1 with me, track is No. 2. I really don't care for most of the other sports.
caution: Because of Joey Bats' rise to stardom late in his career, do you think treat Pirates the likes of Alvarez, Tabata, Lincoln any different?
Bob Smizik: The Pirates have a much larger investment on many fronts in Alvarez than they did in Bautista. Pedro is not even had a full season in MLB. I don't think the limits of their patience have begun to be tested with him. I don't believe they are treating Tabata and Lincoln any differently because of Bautista. Both are where they are on merit -- and a significant lack of competition in Tabata's case.
Cody Ross: Will I be playing RF for the Pirates soon?
Bob Smizik: You are ruining your chances by playing so well, Cody. You need to slip under the radar. It's unlikely a team in contention would trade a player of your ability. And if it did, they'd want a King's ransom in return.
SonnyVaccaro: What happened to the Big 33 game? Did that not used to be a marquee event?
Bob Smizik: It did but it no longer serves a purpose and has deservedly fallen in prestige. I am strongly opposed to all-star football games. They serve no benefit to the players. Yes, they might be for a good cause, but I don't think raising money on the backs of high school football players is fair. At one time, they provided exposure for the players. That's no longer the case. The players have too much exposure.
DwayneWayne: When you first started in the media business, did you ever think there would be a day that reporters would be real time reporting high school 7-on-7 football passing camps in June?
Bob Smizik: I must admit I was flabbergasted to see coverage of that in today's paper. I see no reason for it. To answer your question, media coverage has gone beyond anything I might have imagined, and understandably so. The public has an appetite for sports that I find astonishing. I think ESPN is responsible for much of that.
Cody Ross: Last season there was a lot of talk about attendance being up, to the point where it was reported the Bucs made $10 million above expectation.....I believe that was used on Lee and Ludwick...
Bob Smizik: I don't believe the increased attendance was a large factor in the Pirates signing those players.
WildBill: Maybe there were different factors not reported, but with the White Sox only paying Youkilis $2 mil, could the PBC moved McGehee and Locke or Owens and got him instead?
Bob Smizik: I am not a big fan of Youkilis at this stage of his career. He probably could have helped the Pirates. I doubt he would have been happy with a part-time role, which is all he might have had with the Pirates.
Bill: It appears all the Pirates success on the field has put talk of Mark Appel on the backburner......A nice trend to not be so focused on draft picks and prospects??
Bob Smizik: I am sure the Pirates are very focused on Appel.
Kenman: Are you satisfied with Andrew McCutcheon's play in the field this year? I've seen several catchable balls go off his glove, badly misjudge some flyballs hit right at him and throw to the wrong base a few times.
Bob Smizik: He's not Willie Mays but I am quite satisfied with his performance.
BlueSinSav: Hey Bob, I just read your most recent blog entry and you stated that it is highly unlikely the Pirates will collapse the rest of the way. Why do you think that? If the pitching slips at all, that may spell the end.
Bob Smizik: I don't think the team will 'collapse.' That does not preclude them playing at a lesser level.
JamesinNYC: Better to try and trade now with a thin market for hitters or wait until the deadline? We suffered through what looks to be the worste of it so I am not upset to wait.
Bob Smizik: No question.
MM: Has the high school football coverage increased so much because the higher ups believe that sells more newspapers?
Bob Smizik: I've seen no great increase in high school sports coverage. If you are alluding to the coverage of seven-on-seven competition, that was a one-time thing. I think the high school coverage has been pretty even over the years.
Bob Smizik: Thanks to all. Lots of good questions today and they are appreciated. I will be back next Monday at noon.
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