Reporting Rick Dayton
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Some people look for daffodils, others say that robins are the tell-tale sign. However, die-hard baseball fans said there is another clue that spring is just around the corner.
There are several ways to tell that spring is near, including the Pirates packing up to head south to Spring Training.
“Everything has a name, a number, a box, a section where it’s [going to] go. If it is going to go to Pirate City, if it is going to go to McKechnie Field, offices, if it is going, it is all systematically done,” Pirates’ Equipment/Clubhouse Manager Scott Bonnett said.
The equipment managers have packed everything the team needs in Bradenton.
“Stuff from the weight room, stuff from the training room, my stuff. Personal luggage from people upstairs who go down there for the next two months,” Bonnett said.
In addition to all the baseball gear, they haul all the players’ luggage, which includes everything from sunglasses to strollers.
“There’s guys who will bring their fishing rods. There’s bikes, there’s strollers for all the kids down there and they have like beach-wear. Stuff like that. Little itemized things. Me? I bring my PlayStation,” Bonnett said.
Scott shared a secret about the Pittsburgh kid Neil Walker.
“Neil Walker likes to take his favorite pillow. He can’t be away with that, so we have that packed up in a special case,” Bonnett said.
All the gear is loaded onto a huge truck that will be in Florida long before pitchers and catchers report next Tuesday.
“It’s very exciting. New hope. New year. Past couple of years we have been building on it. I know the end of last year was kind of disappointing, but we did progress and I think going into this season I got a lot more good hopes for us,” Bonnett said.
The Pirates’ faithful certainly hope he is right.