Valley League Baseball in Florida and Free Beer

Members of the Baseball Industry Network gather at McKechnie Field.

Today took us to McKechnie Field here in Brandenton for the Baseball Industry Network gathering, which was followed by the Pirates’ opening exhibition game against the Blue Jays. The Baseball Industry Network, started by Tyrone Brooks, Pittsburgh’s Director of Player Personnel has over 12,000 members, approximately 50 of whom gathered on a very blustery day by the Pirates’ clubhouse. We took some New Market Rebel programs to give out and naturally, “Scorecard Al” distributed every one.

The gathering included lunch, the eating of which was rather problematic. If you didn’t hold down everything on your plate it wasn’t going to be there when you went to take a bite. Lettuce was literally flying off my cheeseburger and at one point potato chips were flying about like confetti at a New Year’s Eve party.

Toronto won the ballgame 8-5. Erik Bedard started for the Pirates and in the fashion that I remember from his days with the Orioles, the Blue Jays had runners at 2nd and 3rd four pitches into the game. He did not have his best game, so much so that as we watched him warm up, I had to stop Al from grabbing a bat and taking a few swings off the lefty.

Erik Bedard warms for Pittsburgh.

Former Valley Leaguer Brian Bocock played several innings at third for Toronto, drawing two walks and getting caught trying to steal second. It’s always nice to see Valley League boys in the professional ranks and tomorrow we hope to see a couple more at the Orioles’ minor league complex.

During the game, we were given coupons that said we would receive 23 ounces of free beer by bringing in our game-day ticket. That was fairly appealing. Oh, and the restaurant was Hooters. That was doubly appealing. And the beer was to be served in a souvenir Hooters calendar cup. We thought it over, weighed our options, and decided to take up Hooters’ offer.

Aww, who am I kidding? We didn’t think at all and went straight to Hooters after the game.

Don’t forget that the Orioles will be on MASN tomorrow night at 7:00. Look for us and if you see us, call us on our cells. We want to make sure that our shirts were not worn in vain.

About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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