Apologies that this blog went dormant for most of the season but we’re back and the offseason has already begun. It’s hard to believe that 141 games are gone and done in 2011 and 2012 is on the horizon. As you may or may not have known, each season the Pirates recognize one outstanding individual from each affiliate in their Pirates Community Commitment Program and the recipient for this year’s Curve club was RHP Aaron Pribanic. Aaron, along with Community Relations Director Elsie Gibney and myself (Mike) went out to PNC Park yesterday where Aaron received his award prior to the Pirates-Cardinals game.
All the award winners and their liaisons from their clubs were present at the game and were actually brought into town the night before to take a VIP tour of PNC Park, go down into the locker room and meet the club, as well as spend the game on Tuesday night in a suite.
Elsie and I drove out on Wednesday morning to meet Aaron along with the other winners, some of which could be in a Curve uniform in the very near future. The other award winners were: Matt Skirving (State College ), Tyler Waldron (West Virginia), Adalberto Santos (Bradenton), Brian Burres (Indianapolis) and Jeff Karstens took home the Clemente Award for the Pirates.
After arriving on time, we met up with the rest of the award winners (some parents included) and headed on down to the field at 11:30 to await the on-field ceremony. Pirates President Frank Coonelly, Director of Player Development Kyle Stark and GM Neal Huntington among others were all on hand at the ceremony to congratulate the award winners.
Also on hand to help hand out the awards were members of the Clemente family including Roberto’s wife and two sons.
The ceremony began a little after noon and ended with Karstens receiving the Clemente Award. Each Major League team awards their own individual Clemente Award winner with one overall winner being selected and honored during the MLB Playoffs.
Once the on-field ceremonies were complete, we were all ushered back through the tunnels and to our suite, where we were able to stay for the duration of the game. Our suite was outfitted with its own bathroom, bar, flat-screen televisions and a plethora of food options for the day, which included hamburgers, crab cakes, shrimp, pierogies, fruit, hot dogs, fine cheese and also various chip and dip options.
I’ll go out on a limb and say the consensus favorite of everyone in the suite was the dessert cart that came around sometime during the sixth inning. Think of any kind of dessert or dessert combination you’d wand and this thing had it. From Jelly Bellys and Gummy Bears to exotic cakes and cookies, you had your picking from this cavity-ensuring device. My choice of an Oatmeal Cookie topped with vanilla ice cream (which I commonly refer to as a pazookie (west-coast thing)) inspired Aaron to grab one of his own, although I’m pretty sure he went chocolate chip.
The game itself ended up being quite close but the Buccos came up on the short side, 3-2. Alex Presley did have a pair of hits and drove in a run as he continues to rake at the MLB level. We also got to watch former Curve players Jared Hughes and Tony Watson throw in relief after Charlie Morton went the first seven frames.
Once again, congratulations to Aaron and all the award winners and a big thank you to the Pirates for their hospitality. Not a bad way to start of the offseason, eh?
That’s all for now, next up on the blog will be our planning for our Yuengling Oktoberfest 2011, which if you didn’t know takes place here at BCB on Saturday, October 1st from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.