If you’d been following along on social media anytime over the last couple of days, you might have noticed we’ve flown south for a little Spring Training action this season! We’re down here in beautiful Bradenton, Fla., Spring Training home of our parents, the Pittsburgh Pirates and we’ll be posting here the next few days as to the comings and goings of former Curve stars as well as a few hopefuls in the making.
We arrived down in The Sunshine State yesterday afternoon to..well..not as much sun as we would have liked but hey we’ll take it!
After waiting on a few shuttles to get the rent-a-car and a pit stop for food, we motored down to Bradenton to settle in for the night. But not before a stop by the digs….
With a good night’s sleep, we headed over to McKechnie Field bright and early so we could get into the clubhouse to start talking to some of our former alumni. The clubhouse opens at 7:30 and, we must say we were taken aback by how awesome McKechnie Field is. We saw pictures of the new clubhouse wing online a few weeks ago but man is it awesome in person. First class all the way. Pictured below is a pretty cool wall that’s done in infographic-style that lays out the entire history of the Buccos to this point.
One of the main reasons we came down this week was to talk with some of our former players who get to take advantage of these awesome new clubhouse facilities. You’ll see some of the content on here and on social over the next three days but you’ll also be seeing some of it at Peoples Natural Gas Field when we open up the season on April 16 vs. Akron.
It was gorgeous out at the home ball field this morning…
First day in we got to speak to a few of the fellas. You might have seen this posted a bit earlier on facebook but nonetheless it was good to catch up with Jared Hughes, who’s always willing to talk about the fun times he had in Altoona…(click below to watch interview)
We also got the chance to show Jordy Mercer one of the first mocks of his Jordy Mercer “Lloyd Christmas” bobblehead (pre-paint) and we’ll get you his reaction in tomorrow’s blog.
After catching up with Jared, Jordy and of course Big John Holdzkom…it was time for part of the big team to begin their bus trip to Dunedin to take on the Blue Jays for today’s exhibition game.
We hung around McKechnie for the AM hours to watch the guys that were staying back go through a light workout (since it was a Sunday). Jordy, J-Hay, Pedro Alvarez, Cutch, Neil Walker, Gerrit Cole, Tony Watson and many others stayed back to workout at the home facilities.
Pedro made a nasty-good pick at first during some on-field work. It looks even cooler thanks to this slow-motion camera….
Cutch, J-Hay and others took some hacks in the cage…some BP will look awesome with that slow-mo camera..we’ll see if we can’t get that tomorrow….
After practice was over, we were able to catch up with last year’s Curve Pitcher of the Year Adrian Sampson about his first Spring Training in big league camp….
Once most everyone cleared out of McKechnie to enjoy their Sunday, we took a quick field trip over to Pirate City where we ran into our old pal Ryan Beckman as soon as we walked in the door. We’ll have more on Pirate City in a few days when we dive into more of what minor league camp is like. Most of the minor league guys are still trickling in to Pirate City and the first full squad workout isn’t until Tuesday morning.
We did get to meet Curve skipper Tom Prince and we’ll see if we can’t get him on camera here over the next few days…
With not much going on at either place after 12:45, we decided to book it up to Dunedin to catch what we could of the Pirates-Jays game, figuring that it’d only take about an hour to get there and we’d maybe miss the first three innings. Well…….that wasn’t exactly the case as the two clubs had a combined four hits and one run (Bucs led 1-0) when we arrived a shade after 2:15 in the top of the sixth. Nonetheless we got to take in the final four innings and see a bunch of familiar faces. Gift Ngoepe, Keon Broxton, Kelson Brown, Holdzkom, Andrew Lambo, Mel Rojas, Jr., Alen Hanson and Willy Garcia all saw action in the game.
Honestly….Florida Auto Exchange Stadium….not nearly on the same level as McKechnie Field.
The Bucs won…and…Gift Ngoepe did this…
And then we headed back to Bradenton to call it a day. We’ll be back tomorrow with more from Spring Training! We’ll try and make your Monday less miserable with updates throughout the day on our social channels so be sure to follow along. Also…we’re now on Snapchat and we’ve been snapping our way across Florida! Open Snapchat and hover over the picture below to add us!