Day 5: So much practice, so little retention

You fans who routinely mock Major League pitchers for their inability to bunt would be amazed to see how much Spring Training time is spent on that art, particularly in the first week before position players report.

Must be a lot tougher to lay down a heater out of, say, Jeff Samardzija’s hand than out of a well-aimed pitching machine.

* * *

The early days of the Bucs’ Spring Training have been a big draw for national media, most of them venturing to Pirate City for the first time. In past years, they’d stumble across the Pirates at McKechnie Field, once Grapefruit League play starts.

Winning — and the intrigue it fuels — is a magnet. So the big media guns are discovering Pirate City — eventually, after numerous wrong turns trying to locate the camp site secluded in the midst of a quiet residential neighborhood of Bradenton.

Manager Clint Hurdle has noticed.

“It’s another tangible sign of us making progress as an organization,” Hurdle said. “We’ve had [media] guys in who normally aren’t here this early. You’re one of 10 teams to get in the playoffs, people want to see what you’re going to throw out there, and what you’re looking like coming in the door.”

* * *

Wonder if ole Dallas [the 209] Braden knows there is a Braden in the 941? I’m not talking Bradenton — a neighboring town simply goes by “Braden.”

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