BRADENTON, Fla. (KDKA) — Spring Training has ended and the Pirates are headed north for Opening Day.
It was the Bradenton dawn the Pirates have been waiting for; time to leave behind the competition for positions, the endless hours of drilling on the basics, and pack the final belongings for the trip north.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Andrew McCutchen, Pirates’ centerfielder. “Not so much looking forward to the weather, but I think Florida kind of prepped us up for it this year. But we’re looking forward to it and ready to go.”
“It’s good getting back to our normal procedure of things with the night games and the big league atmosphere. I think everybody was ready to go,” second baseman Neil Walker added.
But the trip is even more special when it’s your first.
“It’s always that special time of the year no matter what club you are breaking to,” said Jeff Locke, Pirates’ pitcher. “The first experience with a major league team, I can’t wait to head north and get this thing underway.”
Reliever Justin Wilson, 25, got the word he made the club on Wednesday.
“This is great. It’s a dream come true; extremely excited for the season and opening day especially,” said Wilson. “I’m sure getting into Pittsburgh and getting on that field there will be some nerves; right now, [it’s] just getting everything together to go north.”
But Walker says no matter how many times you’ve gotten on the bus, you can bet the butterflies will come.
“If you don’t have butterflies coming into Opening Day in Pittsburgh April 1, 2013, you have something wrong with you,” Walker says.
The first stop on the trip to Pittsburgh was at Legends Field for a final spring game against the Yankees. By tonight, the team will be back in Pittsburgh. The guys get Friday to get settled in before heading to Altoona Saturday, then a public workout at PNC Park Sunday and Opening Day Monday.