BRADENTON — It’s raining harder now, and someone just told me that they’ve issued a tornado watch for the area. Yet they still haven’t banged the game. Crazy, but it’s their ballpark. They can do what they want.
The Pirates did, however, open their clubhouse to the media at 11am, maybe because everyone knows that there won’t be a postgame session today. I didn’t have anyone specific I wanted to talk to on the Pirates, so I went over. I didn’t talk to anyone, but man, I’m sure glad I did.
Why? Because on the wall of Clint Hurdle’s office is a poster with a painting of Roddy Piper from “They Live” on it, and the words “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” It’s all stylized to look like a Big League Chew package. I searched for it desperately online a bit ago, but I couldn’t find it. I assume it’s a custom job. Whatever it is, it is the single best thing I’ve seen in a manager’s office, bar none. I wish Clint was made available for the press, because I wanted to hug him more than anything in the world just now.
UPDATE: Reader dremmel69 found it. Here it is. This is where it came from.
Otherwise? A lot of ballplayers playing cards, eating lunch and clearly waiting for them to call this game. Even if I wanted to talk to them I couldn’t do so easily, as someone had country music blaring louder than you’ve ever heard. Really, you could hardly hear yourself think. I don’t know who it is, but I have this feeling that he’s buddies with the guy who parked this thing outside of the Pirate City complex this morning:
It’s not Grant Balfour’s ride, but it’s pretty impressive.
That’s all I got from Bradenton today. As soon as this game is called, I’m getting on the road to Ft. Myers for tomorrow’s Red Sox game at Jet Blue Park. Here’s hoping we get sun.
Pirates minor leaguers Gift Ngoepe and Dovydas Neverauskas (pictured) were arrested on Sunday morning in Toledo, Ohio after a bar brawl, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, citing documents provided by the Toledo Municipal Court.
Ngoepe was charged with one count of simple assault and two counts of resisting arrest. Neverauskas was charged with two outs of resisting arrest and one count of misconduct. Tigers minor leaguer Warwick Saupold was involved as well and was arrested for simple assault.
Saupold allegedly punched Andrey Goncharuk (not a player for either teams’ affiliates) in the face outside of the Bronze Boar bar, which is across from the Toledo Mud Hens’ ballpark. Ngoepe allegedly wrapped his arms around the police officer who was attempting to arrest Saupold. Ngoepe allegedly twisted free from the officer and walked away. Neverauskas allegedly interfered with an officer and yelled, “What are you going to do, shoot me?” after being ordered to stand on the sidewalk.
Ngoepe, 26, is in his second season with Triple-A Indianapolis. The shortstop has put up a meager .644 OPS in 373 plate appearances.
Neverauskas, 23, was promoted to Indianapolis in mid-June. In 25 relief appearances, he posted a 3.60 ERA with a 24/11 K/BB ratio in 30 innings. The right-hander, who appeared in the 2016 Futures Game last month, is rated as the Pirates’ 25th-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Saupold, 26, has appeared briefly in the majors for the Tigers this season, yielding eight runs on 17 hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. He made five appearances from May 14 to 31 and one more on August 12 before returning to Triple-A Toledo.
Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reports that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been claimed on waivers by an as-yet unknown team. The Dodgers can now attempt to work out a trade with the claiming team, or simply give that team Puig. In that case, the claiming team would assume the responsibility for the remainder of Puig’s seven-year, $42 million contract, which has two years and $14 million left. The Dodgers can also pull him back from waivers if they can’t work out a deal, but that would mean Puig would be ineligible to be traded for the rest of the season.
August 31 is the deadline for teams to acquire players on waivers and still have them become eligible for the postseason roster.
Puig’s relationship with the Dodgers has hit the skids as of late. He’s had a letdown of a season both in terms of injuries and production. In 303 plate appearances, he has a .260/.320/.386 triple-slash line with seven home runs and 34 RBI.
The Dodgers demoted him to Triple-A Oklahoma City in early August. Shortly after arriving, Puig celebrated a win with his teammates that included some profane language and was broadcast on Snapchat. The Dodgers were not very happy about that. Since then, the Dodgers were reportedly “trying to give away Puig” but didn’t find a taker.