PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Pirates staff is busy over at PNC Park today as they pack up their gear and get it ready to be shipped down south for the start of Spring Training.

For now, just the gear is headed to Florida. The players will report later this month.

There’s a hush over PNC Park with the start of the regular season still several weeks away, but inside the ballpark there’s anxiousness and readiness as the team prepares for Spring Training.

“I never even went to bed,” said Scott Bonnett, the Pirates equipment manager. “I just stayed up the whole night, anxious.”

It’s the day that everything they need for Spring Training is packed and loaded, heading to sunny Bradenton, Fla.

“Bats, balls, hats, helmets, we have personal luggage, we have fishing poles,” said Bonnett.

But among all the baseball equipment and players luggage, there were also family items, like two pink bikes for Bob Walk’s grandchildren.

“They’ll come down and ride their bikes on the beach,” Bonnett said.

It’ll be no walk on the beach for the players though. With only two days off for next six weeks, they’ll be hard at work preparing for the 2012 season.

“Getting there at six o’clock in the morning, they’ll be doing early work, hitting, fielding, sidlines,” said Bonnett. “Then, after that, we move over to field and start the games in March.”

There’s a lot of anticipation for this season, given how well the Pirates did last year, middle of July and the Pirates were in first place. And that excitement has returned this year.

“I think there’s even more excitement,” Bonnett added. “I think Clint [Hurdle] just scratched the surface. He’s unbelievable with people, personnel. He knows how to ignite people and get things from them. So, I’m excited.”

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