By Jim Sullivan
Another warm and windy day today, which did not affect the last Major League workout at Pirate City this Spring.
The weather is supposed to take a significant downturn tonight with heavy thunderstorms, and high's the next couple days only in the low sixties. The weekend is supposed to return to the mid to upper seventy's though.
And when I say "It rains it pours" not only pertains to the weather, but in this instance, it also refers to the baseball drills.
I believe just yesterday I lamented about the inability to watch infield practice. Somebody must have been listening (or reading).
While I showed up this morning before the official starting time, lo and behold, right in front of me was an infield drill. As I feverishly wrote down the participants, I was surprised at a couple missing parts. Then I glanced over at the adjoining field, and there were the missing parts.
No infield drills for eleven days, (that I could observe), and then two drills on adjoining fields at the same time.
On Field One were:
1B Steve Pearce;
2B Freddy Sanchez, and Jose Macias;
SS Jack Wilson, Brian Bixler, & Jorge Velandia;
3B Chris Gomez, and Neil Walker.
Where is LaRoche and Bautista?
As I moved over to Field Two, the infielders began walking off the field.
AND I WAS EARLY !
On Field Two were:
1B Adam LaRoche, and ?;
3B Jose Bautista, and ?.
So watching infield drills today turned out to be a bummer.
I then found a copy of today's schedule, and it became obvious why everything started early. Because the last entry for today was:
11:15 Pack Gray Tub For Move to McKechnie.
Yesterday's workout was the shortest, ending at 12:00 Noon, and today's was even shorter, scheduled ending at 11:15.
This gives me an opportunity to relate a story that Lorenzo McCutchen told me yesterday about a conversation between him and his son, Andrew.
I should have told this story yesterday, because it fit better, but I needed to attend a non-baseball meeting last evening that was scheduled to last at least two hours, and therefore I produced a rather skimpy report yesterday.
Now back to the McCutchen tale:
I was complimenting Mr. McCutchen on the level-headed composure of his son, Andrew, with all the pressure that a "top twenty" prospect must feel when the Altoona Curve visits a new city for the first time.
Lorenzo McCutchen then related a phone call he had with Andrew, where he asked his son "how he was handling the pressure".
Andrew then replied "that pressure is nothing compared with the pressure I feel from you, Dad".
Lorenzo then chuckled to me:
"At that point, Jim, I decided to back off !"
I was talking today with an unnamed beat reporter about the bullpen candidates. He asked me what I thought about Casey Fossum. I said "If Fossum has anything else besides that devastating round-house curve, then he has a shot".
I then asked him what he thought about Jaret Wright's chances (if he could remain healthy).
He responded "I walked past him this morning, and my eyes started to burn from all the Ben-Gay he has on!"
Would you believe that Larry Corrigan stopped by for a brief chat this morning? That's the same Larry Corrigan who barked at me last week "You don't even know who I am". So progress is definitely being made, though it's important to remember that "Rome wasn't built in a day".
As I stated in yesterday's report, with all major league functions moving to McKechnie Field, I am effectively "out of business". The Security Guards at McKechnie only permits you to enter if you have "media credentials" provided by the ballclub.
Last year an attempt was made by some "die-hard" fans to pressure the Director of Media Relations, Jim Trdinich, into providing me a partial pass.
I am not asking for access to the clubhouse, nor do I want access to the ballplayers.
I just want to observe "practice".
Just as I have been doing at Pirate City. Pure and Simple.
While Trdinich was clearly irritated by the increased E-mails, he did not relent.
This effort may have a better chance of success by contacting Pirate President Frank Coonelly, who has an office at Mckechnie Field / Pirate City. Under new management, public relations may have a higher priority. But I believe this is still a long shot.
This will be the last report in a series titled "Spring Training Reports".
As such, I need to thank some individuals who have been indispensable in producing these reports.
At "OnlyBucs", Gunner and WTM have kept long hours waiting for me to ship them these reports, and at Pirate City, I have been ably assisted by an individual who prefers to be nameless, so we'll just call him "Paul".
At the Pirates "listserv", Mike E. has given me a wide berth, and I am most appreciative.
In my absence, there is an individual writing for MLB through the Pirates web site, who is continually producing quality reports. Her name is Jenifer Langosch.
Though my daily "Spring Training Reports" are finished for this year, I will still pop up from time to time.
I hope to have a report tomorrow (from the stands only), on the Manatee CC game.
Until next year, Thanks for listening.