Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Training Question

We’re in the middle of the NCAA Tournament’s first round with Pitt and Robert Morris both playing today and the Penguins are continuing their hot streak trying to make the NHL playoffs. So today seems to be a perfect time to write about the Pittsburgh Pirates! I’m heading to Bradenton, Florida on Sunday for my first ever Spring Training, and I figured I would ask a few people what I should look for while I’m there. Here are some serious and not-so-serious responses:

Nick of Decibel Magazine and of the defunct McClendon's Folly:

Dejan Kovacevic has suggested that the Pirates may open the season with Craig Monroe in RF and Erik Hinske in LF. I seem to recall that Monroe is a below-average defender and Hinske is on a one year deal. Add in Nyjer Morgan and the Pirates could have one of the worst starting outfields in the major leagues. With Brandon Moss' ongoing injury woes and Tabata reassigned to the minors, is there any hope for this outfield? Also: is there anywhere in Bradenton to get a Primanti's sandwich? Considering the added value of fries + slaw, I could see the oldsters actually lining up for an early-bird special.

Ryan of Three River Sports:

Serious - What are your impressions of Andrew McCutchen and does he look comfortable and like he can play in the majors just yet. Does he look comfortable at the plate and in the field? Like a guy who is just about ready to come up to the majors as soon as the arbitration date passes? Or does he still look raw like a guy who needs more time in AAA and shouldn't be rushed?

Non-serious - First of all, who in the hell is Virgil Vasquez? I'd never heard of the guy and now all of a sudden he is one of the final 6 or so guys competing for a spot in the starting rotation and is evidently better than Tom Gorzelanny! Did he come from the California Penal League or something? And if you happen to see him, is he any good? His lofty status really confuses me.

My other question: Does anyone down there resemble the infamous Jimmy Anderson picture from two years ago? Now that my leading candidate, Gorzelanny, is gone I doubt it, but I'd be curious all the same. If you can't remember what I'm talking about, here's the picture:

Don of Mondesi's House:

-Check to see if Jack Wilson still has a pulse. 2 for 28 this spring?

-Who's taking time to sign autographs and who seems to be less interested in that part of spring training?

Brian of Raise the Jolly Roger:

Serious thing to look for: Andrew McCutchen has been playing nearly every day this spring, even though the club insists he will not be on the Opening Day roster. Look to see how he handles the tough major league starting pitchers (who only pitch for the first half of the game, or less, then minor league scrubs come in). Is he ready (or close to being ready) to face these guys on a regular basis?

Not so serious thing: This seems like a perfect place for a Rinku and Dinesh (the new Indian pitchers) reference, but their story has been beat to death. So, see if you can find out if they Raise a Jolly Roger at McKechnie when the Bucs win. Oh, and since we're in the mix this spring, are there any "Grapefruit League Champs" banners around from past years?

Messiah of White Nerdy Wonks (I hope the site isn't done):

For serious, I'd focus more on the economy and baseball rather than the Pirates themselves, namely: Are there any fans at the park? And does anyone really care?

For less serious, I'd go with: Which pierogi had the best off-season workouts?

Dave of Bucs Trade Winds:

Donnie Veal, how does he look? Does the velocity seem to be there? Sues, I hear he is throwing some serious gas. I'd like to know how his control is and if his other stuff is as MLB caliber as his heater?

(Sean’s note: Pitcher Jeff Sues was reassigned to Altoona after I received Dave's email.)

Last question. Does the local Pizza Hut close at 6:00 like it does in Homosassa?

Brad of This Is Getting Old:

I haven't been to Bradenton in years. Instead of focusing on the Pirates, I would love to see pics of Pirate City, the field, and and the city. You must go to this orange grove called Mixion's. It will be the highlight of the trip (and I want pics). Also if you are in Tampa, go to eat at BD's Mongolian Grill. You will not be disappointed. Florida in March, you lucky bastard. I'll still have my Snuggie on here in Scranton.

Thanks to everyone who responded! Happy first day of Spring and Go Pitt!

Photo from Deadspin.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Next time come to Arizona's spring training!!!