BRADENTON (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The “KDKA Morning News” is in Bradenton this week broadcasting from McKechnie Field – the Spring Training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates – getting you ready for the 2015 season.
Expectations are high and some national journalists even have the Bucs going to the World Series.
Pirates MVP and All-Star Andrew McCutchen is the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates and he joined Larry Richert and John Shumway to talk about married life, being hurt, and the expectations the team has this year.
McCutchen has missed over a dozen games this spring and says not being on the field is pretty boring.
“You don’t really have a whole lot to do. You want to be out there on the field,” he said.
McCutchen also says he knows that fans have high expectations after two consecutive playoff appearances and starting pitcher Gerrit Cole knows it too.
“The fans are feisty. I think that’s the best way to describe it. They got a little bitterness to them, they got a little edge,” says Cole. He adds the team tries to represent the fans by playing with an edge of their own.
Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has become known as the “pitching whisperer.” He has helped rejuvenate the careers of pitchers like Francisco Liriano and says a big part of the process is mental.
“[Pitchers] think they have to do more to make up for what happened in the last outing or the last pitch and before you know it, is snowballs. You try to keep it simple, you stay positive,” says Searage.
One of the new coaches joining Searage on Clint Hurdle’s staff is former Pirate Kevin Young.
“Coming back has been a big time blessing for me to see where the organization has come,” says Young. “It’s really amazing to be back in black and gold.”
One of Young’s jobs is to help Pedro Alverez adjust to his move to first base. While Young knows it takes a lot of time spent in the field, he feels Alverez has an advantage.
“He’s embraced (first base), he took ownership of it almost immediately,” says Young.
Young was here for a large part of the Pirates’ 20 years of losing and says he was moved when he returned during for the last home series against the Milwaukee Brewers last season.
“Tears really did come down my eyes. It was amazing to see, that late in the year, a packed house like that. I hadn’t seen that since opening day at PNC Park,” says Young.
Another person who saw 20 years of losing Pirates baseball is the voice of the Pirates, Greg Brown.
He told Larry and John that a lot of people come up to him to congratulate him on the team’s success, but he says it’s the fans that deserve the congratulations.
Brown then surprised Larry and John with an offer Tuesday morning.
“I’d like both of you to sit in for John Wehner and me for an inning of play-by-play. We’re going to be on the webcast (at) Pirates.com,” says Brown.