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 Post subject: Game Report: March 14, 2009
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:12 am 
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My folks are in town and we headed to Bradenton for the game against the Yankees yesterday. Due to the recent unpaid furloughs at work and my declining interest in the Bucs, this was my first trip to Bradenton this year. Some thoughts:

1. Despite the team's poor record over the last 17 years, there is always some magic associated with Spring Training in Bradenton. It is almost magical to sit under the Florida sun and watch meaningless games while sitting in the McKechnie bleachers drinking a cold one.

2. Olendorf had some magic of his own yesterday while pitching 4 innings of no hit and no walk ball. He made a strong bid today to be a part of our rotation when the season starts.

3. To my surprise, many of the Yankee regulars were in the lineup in Bradenton yesterday. I found this surprising since it was a split squad game for the Bronx Bombers and the other players were playing in a home game versus Houston. On the other side, almost all of the Bucco regulars were in the starting lineup.

4. Hansen had some real control issues, as did Chavez, Batista and Bootcheck. Several runs were walked in and several balls were hit hard. I hope Hansen has some options left because he did not pitch like he belonged on a major league roster yesterday.

5. Nyjer Morgan played well yesterday and made his best case for a starting spot. He made some great plays in the field and hit the ball hard. The same argument could be made for Salazar, who made a great diving catch in the first inning.

6. It could be a long season if Steve Larud is our backup catcher. There were several wild pitches and passed balls during his few innings. Some of the trouble could be attributed to our pitchers, but he looked lost behind the plate. Is it too late to see if Neil Walker remembers how to catch?

7. Donnie Veal made a strong argument to make the team as a Rule 5 player based on his scoreless inning of work yesterday.

8. The homeplate umpire had a very questionable strike zone on both teams. Freddy and JR were correct to get angry, although I am surprised that they were tossed. The crowd gave both of them a nice ovation as they jogged towards the clubhouse after the ejections. I just read a little while ago that the ump is a minor league ump. He should be returned to the minors, IMO.

9. In the later innings, Tabata, McCutchen and Alvarez were all inserted into the lineup. It was an exciting view of the future and none of them disappointed. Alvarez smoked the ball on his double and the crack of his bat was as loud as a sonic boom. All three of them got hits in limited play while Tabata and Alvarez both got two each.

10. I think that Monroe was the only player who played all nine innings today.

11. Spotted in the crowd today were NH, Chuck Tanner and Brian Cashman. I also passed Steve Blass on the concourse, so I am assuming that the game was not broadcast in Pittsburgh.

12. I picked up the 2009 media guide yesterday. The cover is very plain, however the inside contains color pictures and far more information than any previous edition. It is probably the best media guide that they have ever produced.

13. The hotdogs at McKechnie seem to have slipped a little over last season. They are still good (is there really a bad ballpark frank?) but might not hold the title as best hotdog in the Grapefruit League.

14. The seagulls were present in the later innings again, but not as many as in years past. Maybe they think the hotdogs have slipped as well or they are also losing interest in the Bucs? Even with less gulls, it still resembles a scene out of a Hitchcock movie.

15. The game went for about 3.5 hours. It may be the longest Spring Training game I have ever attended, and I have quite a suntan/sunburn to prove it.

That's all I can think of for now. I'm off to Port Charlotte in a little while to catch my two favorite teams (Bucs and Rays of course) in an epic Grapefruit League battle. Of course, a game report will follow.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: March 14, 2009
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:19 am 
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Thanks for the report, PoP. In regards to Hansen, he is out of options and will be on the big league roster, for better or worse. As for Steve Lerud, he is probably #5 on the backup catcher depth chart. Either Robinzon Diaz or Jason Jaramillo will have that spot.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: March 14, 2009
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:32 pm 
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Nice report.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: March 14, 2009
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 1:10 pm 
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Great report, PoP.

I've only been to Bradenton once for Spring Training and one thing I'll always remember is the smell that came from the Orange plant. I still have never smelled anything like that since. It wasn't a bad smell but it was so unique that it has always been with me since. Weird.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: March 14, 2009
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 3:13 pm 
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You can relax, it's unlikely that we'll be seeing Lerud in Pittsburgh soon, if ever. As for Walker, if he ever showed any sign that he could catch he'd still be behind the plate.

Have fun on the rest of your trip, and thanks for the report.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: March 14, 2009
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:10 am 
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Thanks for the information on Hansen and Larud.

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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: March 14, 2009
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:18 am 
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Hey PoP! Thanks for the report.

I think Hansen will always be one of those guys who one day looks electric and the next seems like he should be out of the game. Ever since he was drafted by the Sox, he's been running into trouble.


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 Post subject: Re: Game Report: March 14, 2009
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:45 am 
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Good report.

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