Baby, It’s Chili (Davis) Outside
Things I learned at PirateFest:
- Got a kick out of learning Michael McKenry and I have something — rather, someone — in common: Chili Davis. I covered the A’s current hitting coach as a player with the Angels, a great guy I consider a good friend. Davis was McKenry’s batting coach at Pawtucket in 2011, and still regularly calls him with tips, encouragement.
- All you need to know about A.J. Burnett: For all the highs he enjoyed last season, he considers his highlight the July 3 night the Astros knocked him around for 12 hits and six runs in five-plus innings. Why? Because as he walked off the mound, the 21,516 in PNC Park still gave him a standing ovation. “That meant a lot,” A.J. said.
- Jeff Locke’s favorite player? “Clayton Kershaw. He’s a beast.”
- Pedro Alvarez’s? “Scott Rolen. I grew up watching him.”
- Give him an audience, and Clint Hurdle turns into Tony Robbins.
- The Pirates, as all teams, can look forward to an additional $25 million of annual revenue in 2014 as a slice of MLB’s national TV pie. Club president Frank Coonelly: “We intend to invest all of that back into the team, much of it in the Major League payroll.”
- A.J. Burnett may be able to toss his fastball over a dime 60 feet, 6 inches away, but he can’t toss a bean-bag into a 6-inch hole 10 feet away.
- Jared Hughes makes a pretty good Howie Mandel.
- Spring Training can’t get here fast enough.