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.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.