The Pittsburgh Pirates have trained in Bradenton, Florida since 1969. The ballpark in which they train, which has been around since 1923, has been known as McKechnie Field for the past 55 years. Now it’s getting a new name: LECOM Park, named after Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Bill McKechnie has an argument for being one of the best managers in baseball history and is very likely one of the most underrated. He’s a legend and people have invoked his name to refer to that charming old park in Bradenton since 1962. The odds that anyone who isn’t on the Pirates’ payroll calling it LECOM Park on a regular basis is pretty darn low, I reckon.
Which is how it should be. The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine isn’t paying you or me any money, are they? What’s more, calling it LECOM Park is more likely to confuse people than enlighten them, at least for many, many years. Unless and until it becomes more misleading and confusing to refer to it as McKechnie Field than LECOM Park, people should still call it McKechnie Field.
Technical accuracy has its virtues, but clear communication and useful and identifiable nouns are more important.
Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.
While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.
Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:
Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.
Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.
Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.
Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.
The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.