Thursday was the final full day at Pirates camp for the Curve crew. It was another delightful day in the Bradenton sunshine with temperatures topping out around 86 degrees. Skies were partly cloudy and there was a firm breeze to keep the air just right for a comfortable day of criss-crossing town between the major and minor league complexes.
Action for me started at LECOM Park to get promotional material with Kevin Newman, Kevin Kramer and Adam Frazier. Two of those guys had big games in the major league game against the Phillies that afternoon. We’ll touch on that soon.
I arrived at Pirate City around 10 a.m. to grab additional material of the minor league workouts and set up afternoon interviews with Curve hitting coach Jon Nunnally and pitching coach Joel Hanrahan. Manager Michael Ryan worked in a taped interview just at BP was getting started.
During batting practice, I was able to capture a great 360-degree view of the grounds.
This shot is looking east. Pie Traynor Field is to the left (northeast diamond) and Honus Wagner Field is on the right (southeast diamond).
Now looking west, Willie Stargell Field sits on the left (southwest field) and Roberto Clemente Field (northwest field) is on the right. The bullpens lie between the northern fields and the collection of buildings off in the distance serve as the offices, dorms, weight room, batting cages and much more.
I jetted back to LECOM in time to see the start of the major league game between the Pirates and the Phillies at 1 p.m.
Philadelphia did not send their $330 million dollar man, Bryce Harper, or former Curve outfielder and NL MVP Andrew McCutchen. On the flip side, Pittsburgh rolled with a lineup that could look similar to their opening day lineup against Jake Arrieta.
Long story short, the Pirates pounded the Phillies, 11-2, and did so with the long ball.
Frazier slugged an opposite-field, lead-off homer to get things started. Corey Dickerson broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run blast to straightaway center field. Newman and Starling Marte each connected for RBI doubles in the fourth and each homered later in the contest.
Overall, it was a good day to hit. Six different players hit homers under the warm sun at LECOM.
With the Bucs leading 8-1 after a three-run homer by Colin Moran during the fifth, I went back to Pirate City to catch the end of the Triple-A game against the Yankees.
The Baby Bombers held a 5-4 lead over the Young Bucs through seven innings and that score held up through nine.
After both games had ended, I completed my interviews with Hanrahan and Nunnally.
Keep an eye out for those interviews next week once Curve Digital Productions gets their hands on ’em!
After departing Pirate City for the last time on the trip, it was time for a quick bite to eat.
From there, the sun set on our trip for the last time. This was my view:
Derek and I fly home in the morning, departing St. Petersburg/Clearwater around 6:30 a.m. When we get back, there will be 20 days left before Minor League Baseball’s opening night and 27 days until the Curve home opener.
Single-game tickets are on sale now at the PNG Field box office, over the phone at 877.99.CURVE or online at AltoonaCurve.com. The Stockyard team store is also open during business hours and 24/7/365 at AltoonaCurve.com.