One of the big differences between MLB Spring Training and the actual season is getting to watch the coaches work. During the season you only seem to see the pitching coach when he comes to the mound to stall the game while a reliever warms up in the bullpen. However during the spring training they have much less restraint.
At McKechnie Field in Bradenton Florida there is a small bleacher next to the dugout and all the coaches sit on the bench during the game and between innings they scramble to deliver their wisdom. This is an image of Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Coach David Jauss talking to a fielder as he left the field of play between innings. Usually pitching coaches only talk to pitchers but in spring training there are a lot of coaches and they work with all the players.
People may argue that the job of baseball pitcher, quarterback or hockey goalie are the hardest sports jobs. I disagree it has to be a MLB catcher. Unlike pitchers and quarterbacks they play every day, every play and unlike goalies they perform many functions.
They need intelligence and teamwork to be able to call the game and work as a unit with a variety of pitchers. They get beat up physically on almost every play and need to squat for long periods of time. They get hit by balls and bats and have the umpire breathing down their neck. Oh and they should be able to hit. I don’t see how they can walk after a game. It’s a tough job, tell this guy he’s not as tough as a goalie.
We have a great room in our house so while we are making dinner we frequently are listening to Spotify over Apple TV. The Apple TV screen saver is linked to my computer where we have at least 5000 images that march across the screen while we cook. The other night I noticed this one which was from spring training which I have never published. You have got to pay a lot of money to get this angle in an MLP park. In Bradenton, they let you wander around so you get multiple angles to the field.
There are a lot of wonderful things about the Grapefruit League. Watching baseball in February in shorts and a t-shirt while the rest of the country is freezing is certainly high on the list. Watching major leaguers play in a small venue is like watching your favorite band perform in a small club instead of a stadium.
You also get to see your favorite players relaxed and stress free as they seem to be playing just for the love of the game. But also you see players that you may never see again. Who is Thornton? I don’t know. He didn’t make the team, isn’t on the Pirates roster. But we watched him pitch two innings in Bradenton and he certainly looked good doing it. Hope he makes it to the show some day, just because.
No player has done more to help raise the Pittsburgh Pirates from the cellar than #22 Andrew McCutchen. Roberto Clemente wore number 21 and that number has been retired. I remember when Clemente was young and he lived next door to my parents in the Chatham West Garden Apartments in Pittsburgh. Clemente had this beautiful swing, even watching him hit foul balls was fun. Well, maybe not so much for the pitchers. McCutchen is the same. He looks beautiful hitting foul balls or in this case a home run as he did here against the Yankees in February.
This is part of a series of three images taken during the Black and Gold Game in Bradenton Florida last month.It was great to see the expressions change during this short discussion about a missed catch in right field. It and some other sequences that I have captured have made me think of a potential book or gallery project called “Trips”. It would be an odd size book so maybe better as a gallery installation but I am way ahead of myself. I am still editing my novel and no other book project will happen ahead of “DreamMap”
Spring comes early in Central Florida. Flowers bloom, temperature rise and trees leaf out. However, the real harbinger of Spring is when the boys start to play baseball.
The Black and Gold game is a seven inning inter squad exhibition game. It was a little confusing because both teams wore the same uniforms. McKechnie Field in Bradenton is a cute little stadium and being so close to the action was thrilling.