For the Red Sox, they took the two hour bus ride from Winter Haven to get here by 10:30. This, after a night game.
In part becuase of Red Sox Nation, the press box was packed to capacity and Bobby Valentine spent much of the pre-game period with the Boston press. If he looked weary, it was understandable. But despite the late night, early morning and long bus ride, Bobby V answered the same questions over and over again to the media, signed autographs (twice), and then threw batting practice. Say what you will about Bobby, but the guy loves the whole baseball environment.
The Pirates would win this game 6-5. Nate McClouth is back with the Bucs and hit a magestic homerun way up the right field foul pole in what turned out to be the game winning hit. Half the crowd cheered, half the crowd remained silent. Those Red Sox fans follow their club everywhere, making up at least half the crowd.
I spoke with Pirates Club President Frank Coonelly and GM Neal Huntington. Both look forward to the upcoming book I wrote with Steve Blass, A Pirate For Life, and the prospects for the upcoming Buccos season. They made some moves in the off-season, particularly in the pitching department, that they hope will solve the August-September swoon after their pitchers went down last year.
I hope so. Their fans proved last summer that they will sell out beautiful PNC Park when they're in a pennant race. After 20 years of subpar baseball, they deserve a contender.
By the way, the Steve Blass interview on Tim McCarver's Show will be shown this Saturday at 10 AM across the nation. It will be re-aired later in the spring.