The Off-Season- Part One: Time to relax… right?

Once the season ends, life regains some normalcy for an employee of a Minor League Baseball team.  The Power were eliminated from playoff contention late in the second half, so that allows staff members to start planning their early off-season schedule.  Looking back on the season for a year-end review was certainly interesting.  Feel free to read the official recap here:

http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20140911&content_id=94184934&fext=.jsp&vkey=news_t525&sid=t525

On September 16 and 17, I had my first opportunity of the year to go to PNC Park and watch the Pirates play.  Every season, the Minor League players in the Pirates system participate in the club’s Community Committment Program, which is a fancy title for community service.  On those two days in September, the big league club brings all the affiliates’ award winners (most community service time… usually) to Pittsburgh and honor those players.  The Pirates require all of their Minor League players to perform at least ten hours per season.  Our 2014 award winner was Kawika Emsley-Pai, who led all Power players with over 27 hours of service.  Each farm team also can send a front office representative.  I had the good fortune of representing the Power for the festivities.

PNC Park from the club level.

PNC Park from the club level.

Tuesday was just a simple trip to the ballpark to watch the Buccos knock of the Boston Red Sox 4-0.  On Wednesday, however, the day was packed.  It started with a school visit for all of Pittsburgh’s Major League roster, coaches, several front office staff members, Minor League award winners and affiliate liaisons.

Former Power outfielder Starling Marte during Q&A with the students.

Former Power outfielder Starling Marte during Q&A with the students (2009 alum).

The Pirates donated over $40,000 in school supplies to Banksville Elementary.  It was a very cool event to see and help with.

Big time now... Former Power outfielder Gregory Polanco (2012).

Big time now… Former Power outfielder Gregory Polanco (2012).

After the visit and after lunch (on my own at Atria’s along Federal Street), we got a stadium tour and the chance to watch batting practice on the field.  The best part of the tour was seeing the Pirates indoor batting cage.  I know that sounds strange, but here is the kicker.  The turf in the batting cage is actual turf from Three Rivers Stadium.  Apparently there is still some out there that is not for sale on eBay.

Pretty sure Bubby Brister was sacked a few times in this general vicinity.

Pretty sure Bubby Brister was sacked a few times in this general vicinity.

I took my parents with me to the game that night and took my mother onto the field with me.  She was blown away by the experience and was ready to brag that she shook Clint Hurdle’s hand when they met in the dugout.  The Pirates went on to shell the Sox 9-1.

Our 2014 award winner between Josh Bell and Jon Schwind (all three played for the Power in 2013).

Our 2014 award winner between Josh Bell and Jon Schwind (all three played for the Power in 2013).

My off-season has also included a trip to Florida for a wedding.  We went down to Destin early so we could have one day to relax.  I golfed and my wife went to the spa.  I played a second round on Friday as well.  Nice courses, fast greens and unforgiving rough.

FORE!  Because there was a slim chance it was a four on the scorecard.

FORE! Because there was a slim chance it was a four on the scorecard.

One other perk of the off-season: MLB playoff games.  In 2012, we took a staff field trip to Cincinnati for game five of the National League Division Series.  Last year, six of us went to PNC for the Wild Card game.  A fellow staff member and I drove to PNC for the Wild Card game this season.  Unfortunately the Buccos lost, but lessons will be learned I think (WIN THE DIVISION!).

Walking over the Clemente Bridge towards PNC Park prior to the 2014 NL Wild Card game.

Walking over the Clemente Bridge towards PNC Park prior to the 2014 NL Wild Card game.

Coming soon to a Minor League Kerouac blog near you… Planning for 2015 and what you can expect in year 11 of the West Virginia Power franchise.

If you like relaxing and that sort of thing...

If you like relaxing and that sort of thing…

I’ll never have another bad day.

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