Day 19: Farrelll matches The Quail … kind of

I was able to share with Bill Virdon — a regular at camp — a cool nugget from the Red Sox notes for today’s Grapefruit League game with the Bucs:

When John Farrell led the Sox to a 97-65 record last season, he became the first manager in his first year with a team to at least tie for the Majors’ best record (the Cardinals also had 97 regular-season wins) since … Virdon with the 1972 Bucs.

Virdon’s reaction?

“Thanks for letting me know that … but did I have more wins than he did?”

Sorry, Quail — your ’72 Pirates only did 96-59. But you did have the better winning percentage — .619 to Farrell’s .599 — in a schedule shorted to 155 games by a brief players’ strike.

* * *

Another former Pirates skipper was known as Harry (The Hat) Walker.

I’m not sure why he was called that — as one story goes, it came from his habit of constantly adjusting his cap during at-bats, but then why wouldn’t he have been known as Harry (The Cap) Walker?

Anyway, apparently there is some guy in Pirates camp channeling Harry Walker. I’ve become known as Tom (The Hat) Singer. Must be because when I shopped for a lid to shield me from the hot Florida sun, this is the best I could come up with:

* * *
If you’re looking for an early reason to get really excited about the Pirates, Pedro Alvarez’s  hitting out of the Spring Training gate is a good one.
This is a notoriously slow starter. Not only is he a career .193 hitter in April, not only did he not get his average above .200 for good last season until June 7, but he was hitting .080 through his first 10 exhibitions a year ago.
So here is Pedro, four games into this Grapefruit League action, batting .500 with an OBP of 1.571 and as many RBIs (3) as he had after 15 exhibitions a years ago.
Those are the numbers. But just seeing the confidence with which Alvarez is attacking each at-bats says volumes about how prepared he is to continue the vibe he set in last fall’s playoffs.

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