Spring Training 2012: Thursday 3/22 Recap

The Pirates played a sloppy game and lost 8-6 to the Rays. Pirates Prospects has the down and dirty. MLB.com has the box score.

Good: Yamaico Navarro went 3-4 with a HR and 3 RBI and looked pretty good in the field. Nate McLouth and Alex Presley pulled off a nice double steal.

Up and Down: Rod Barajas hit a solo homer but was easily thrown out at second earlier in the game when he hit a high fly off the left field wall. Matt Hague was 1-1 after his pop-up to short was obscured by a flock of seagulls crossing from the right field grandstand to the left field grandstand.

Bad: Pedro Alvarez. Oh, Pedro. 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. He also had a foul ball go off his glove. It was a tough play, but it just looks like the confidence isn’t there.

After the game, Clint Hurdle names Erik Bedard as the opening day starter.

Some pics from today:

Lineups

Players warm up under a beautiful sky.

Karstens makes a face while warming up...

...to Rod Barajas

Cutch is good people.

Taking the field

Gearhard line: One beer, one Pepsi, one sausage.

Dinner at Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus, featuring a wonderful Oktoberfest brew.

Pirates Spring Training Guide

Good morning from the road! I’m at the airport, headed down to Bradenton to catch a few Pirates games. If you’ll be at the ballpark Thursday, Friday or Saturday, send me a message and we can meet up.

I’ve been going to spring training for most of the last 15 years and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Hopefully they can be helpful to you if you decide to take the trip for yourself.

1. Pirate City: There’s always something going on at Pirate City unless its raining hard. Usually you can see minor leaguers doing drills from 9-11ish. They play their games around 1, but if the afternoon looks like rain they can move those earlier.
2. At the Game: McKechnie Field opens an hour before the game. Pirates BP will be over by that point but the other team will be hitting. The Pirates have a batting cage and bullpen down the RF line where you can see guys get some extra swings and that day’s starter warm up. If you are an autograph hound, this is where you want to make camp. (Its also a good area for foul balls, so keep your head up.)
3. Breakfast at Popi’s Place right outside the stadium is always fun and they have lots of 90′s era Pirate’s memorabilia on the walls. I’ve heard good things about Mixon’s Fruit Farm and will check it out this year. And if you’re feeling adventurous there’s a place called the Old Hamburg Schnitzelhaus out on Anna Maria Island which is incredible. You’ll need reservations be the beer is cold and the potato pancakes are delicious.

Weekend recap coming… maybe

I had a really great time watching baseball with my Dad over the weekend. I meant to gets a few posts up here but timing just wouldn’t allow it. If possible I’ll post some things tonight before its all too out of date.

Bradenton, Here I Come

I’m headed down to Spring Training for a few games this weekend. The schedule:

Thursday night vs. Bal @ Bradenton
Friday vs. TB @ Port Charlotte
Saturday vs. Phi @ Bradenton

I’ll be at Pirate City either Friday or Saturday morning and Popi’s for breakfast on Saturday.

Stay tuned here and on twitter for pictures, thoughts and notes. If you’re going to be around too then drop me a line so we can say meet up.

Begin Countdown

Baseball is coming.

Three days until Pitchers and Catchers report. Fifteen days until exhibition games begin. Fifty days until Opening Day.

But only 28 days before I’m in Florida myself. Four short weeks before I soak in the sun, splendor and hope of a new season.

While the games are nice (and are your only chance to see the major leaguers in action) the real fun for this fan is

Pedro hits vs Zach Duke at Pirate City

down the road at Pirate City. Get there between 10 and 11- maybe earlier if it looks like there will be afternoon rain. You’ll be immersed in baseball action, with four fields of hitting, pitching and fielding all withing sight of one another. Bring a media guide, or Tim’s book, because the players won’t have names on their jerseys. Also keep your eyes up and your ears open because you could be watching one field and get hit by a foul ball hit from another one.

The picture above was taken with my phone, standing right at the backstop. This is how close you get to the action at Pirate City. Closer than at the exhibition games, and way closer than a regular season game.

So if you’re a fan and have never been to Spring Training for your team, do yourself a big favor and book it. But while you’re there, don’t just see the big leaguers. Stop by the practice field while the minor leaguers are playing too. Its totally worth it.

 

Editor’s note: After some feedback I rewrote parts of this post for clarity.

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