All the analysis, the trades, the invites, the suppositions come to life today at 1:05 in Sarasota, Florida. The game will be available on the radio at 93.7 the Fan and fans will be able to attend at a 25% clip. Today we’ll have to rely on the announcers to paint a picture.
For some this is the official end of Winter, I mean, technically this is the last day meteorologically speaking too. For others this is the beginning of a year they’d rather just skip over on the path to competitiveness.
No matter where you fall, there is something undeniably special about seeing the boys stop talking about baseball and start playing the game. Rumors about position battles turn into who gets the first crack. Poor performance in 2020 hasn’t been wiped away entirely, but somehow the slate still clears every year.
You’re only defined by what you’ve done until you do something else. Every player understands that, and this is the first opportunity to start writing a different level of expectation fans should have.
The Pirates aren’t blind to what people think of their ball club or many of them individually. Many of them somewhere in the back of their head have many of the same questions about what’s here and who’ll do what this season. Some of them no doubt wonder why they’re still here, cough, Adam Frazier.
Some want nothing more than to prove those 60 games were the outlier, not the 162 they put on tape a year prior. Hell, they probably think they can do better still.
We shouldn’t fool ourselves, some players lace up the cleats today feeling nothing is really going to happen for them this year, at least not here.
The weeding of this roster will in many ways be different than what we’ve seen in quite some time in Pittsburgh. The final cuts will undoubtedly be players many believed could contribute or deserved a shot. There are options, and that’s more than we could say in many years past.
Even during the Wild Card run the starting rotation was pretty clear with nothing of note close. This season the Pirates are 8 or 9 deep with potential starters. All young, all hungry. Injury bit the club and just about every other club but the Pirates simply had nothing to turn to beyond scouring the waiver wire for help.
This season, good pitchers won’t make this club, and that is a GOOD thing, very good in fact. This season, capable position players won’t make this club out of Spring, again, this is a very good thing.
Depth and options will create the competition they desperately need to start building into, and insurance that injury alone won’t turn a young roster into a rudderless mess.
Today, it’ll be a nice mix of players who we expect to make the club with a few fringe guys tossed in. We immediately get to see that the short stop competition is kicking off with the pre-season favorite starting at 2B. We get our first eyes on what Tony Wolters can do behind the plate and we get to see Chad Kuhl begin to put his recovery in the past and put his stamp on the future of his career.
The Mound alone will be fun to watch today.
Craig would love you to pay special attention to Spitzbarth, and I’ll stick with my guy Clay Holmes, but it’ll be great to get eyes on Wil Crowe and to see why the Pirates have continued to have Carson Fulmer survive the 40-man shuffle.
Yep, baseball is back, and here’s to a season of growth and hopefully the beginning of looking like the ship is finally back on the correct bearing.
Welcome back Pirates.