BRADENTON (93-7 The Fan) – Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer sat down with “The Fan Morning Show” at McKechnie Field on Wednesday to talk about preparations for the 2016 season, with Grapefruit League play already underway.
Mercer acknowledged that his last two seasons have gotten off to disappointing starts. He identified his primary goal for this season as preventing another rough start.
“First of all, to stay consistent,” Mercer said. “I mean, not going in the valleys and the peaks like I do. I think my valleys are more like death valleys, and then my peaks are really good. When I get hot, I get really hot. I think it’s just, first of all, to stay consistent throughout, and not get in those huge valleys I go through.”
Mercer knows that Pirates fans would like to see the team pony up for a big-time free agent to help put them over the top, but he’s a fan of the way the Pirates do business now.
“Everybody wants to get that big splash free agent,” Mercer said. “But, what fits us is, you add these little key pieces, and that’s what, I think, Neal [Huntington] has done really well, and our front office has done really well, we’ve added these key pieces that fit in with our core group of guys – not only guys that are [good] on the field, but guys that blend in in the clubhouse really well…When you’ve got guys in the clubhouse that mesh and really get along, you take off as a team, and you play better as a team when those guys jump on board. The guys that we got are very good clubhouse guys.”
It’s easy to understand why Mercer feels that way, given that he’s been part of a tight-knit group of home-grown players that have helped bring the Pirates back to prominence. Mercer said that those guys knew they could bring excitement back to PNC Park long before they stepped within its confines.
“We knew we could bring it,” Mercer said. “We did. Honestly, we did, because in the minor leagues, we won two championships…and we knew that if we could all come up together, and bring the same [thing that] we’re bringing down here, that we could create that buzz…We knew that we were doing something special, and we wanted to bring it up to PNC and to Pittsburgh. We knew that it was a sports town. We knew that the fans love their sports teams, and they would come out if we would put a good product on the field and play well, and man, they’ve shown up more than we could ever imagine.”
The interview can be heard here:
“The Fan Morning Show” will be broadcasting live from Pirates spring training in Bradenton all week long.