I suppose I should've mentioned this earlier, but if any WHYGAVS readers are in Bradenton at any point this spring and have pictures, stories, etc. that you want to share, I'd love for you to either post them in the forum (I'd actually prefer this, register for the forum here), or send them along to me. I can't be in Bradenton this spring and I know a lot of fans are in the same boat, so I'd be happy to be an outlet for first hand stories from camp.
I got an e-mail from reader Jeff Bobek yesterday who took in the 2-1 win over the Reds a few days ago and he had a few interesting observations:
First of all, nothing was more interesting that watching Kerrigan get Zack Duke warmed up. Kerrigan stood by the plate with a bat in his hand, calling out pitch counts to Duke and moving a 4-inch wide stripe to different parts of the plate as a target. Every single out-ball-strike count had a strategy and a placement. Duke was clearly a model pupil - when the game began, he was terrific through three and was hitting the spots that Kerrigan had him working on before the game.
The other pitcher who impressed was Evan Meek. While he was taking his warmup tosses, my wife turned to me and said "who's that guy, he has the easiest motion ever." He had great control and was sharp in getting the save.
While it didn't show up in the box score, the one pitcher who looked overmatched was Dan McCutchen. Every ball put in play on him went more than 300 feet (including a homer, a double off the wall, and all three outs). Seriously, he gave up about 1800 feet on five pitches, all of which easily could have been home runs.
McLouth and the other McCutcheon made two insane plays in the outfield, McLouth stretching out for a catch and A-Cutch gunning down a runner at the plate with a one-hop perfect throw. Having watched McCutcheon play a few games for Altoona, I still have yet to see him put a ball in play with any authority, but this was the best Pirate throw I have ever seen in person. in 40 years of attending games. (Sorry, I didn't see Clemente's throw in person in '71.) And Jason Jaramillo gunned down two runners, he appears to have the quickest home to 2nd time of any recent catcher.He also gave me two great pictures to share. One is of Pedro Alvarez, which Jeff gave to me with this caption, "Pedro was greatly accomodating with the fans after the game; he has a million-watt smile and my guess is the fans will soon forget the post-draft debacle."
And the other is a nice shot of three Pirate legends, Bill Mazeroski, Kent Tekulve, and Bill Virdon.
A big thanks to Jeff for sharing the report and pictures!