Pirates Caravan-Morgantown, WV

caravan.jpgIt was the moment I have been waiting for since the date was announced back in December. The Pirates Caravan rolled into Morgantown West Virginia to appease the 125 fans waiting for them at Damons. On top of having a great selection of barbecued items, Damons was gracious enough to host the Morgantown stop for the caravan.

The event began at noon, perfect timing for my 19 credit hour semester. I had a class at 9:30-11 and my next was not until 2:30. There was nothing greater than having my normal lunch break along side some of my favorite players. Manager John Russell, relievers Evan Meek and Kevin Hart, center fielder Andrew McCutchen and broadcasters Greg Brown and Bob Walk and the Pirate Parrot came to the event.

My buddy Andrew and I arrived at the restaurant ten minutes before noon and took our seats. We scouted the crowd and realized we were the only two college students among the fans. Weird considering Morgantown is a full fledged college town, but also understandable because this generation of Pirate fans really ceases to exist. I am of a rare breed and even Andrew (who is a die-hard Orioles fan) considers himself a bigger Pirate fan than most baseball fans in this area. I agree with him whole heartedly.

 

piratescaravan 007.jpgAs we dined on our pulled pork sandwiches we were joined by two familiar faces, fellow WVU students in the journalism school. Although I give them credit for being at the event they were self proclaimed “not Pirates fans.” However, they had a good time and admitted that they would follow along because they do support the Penguins and Steelers.

piratescaravan 008.jpgGreg Brown got the festivities under way by taking the mic and adressing those in attendance.

“Look at this sell out crowd!” he said in a joyous tone. I turned to Andrew and said, “He doesn’t get to say that very often” A reference to the infamous spotty crowds that PNC Park is accustomed to.

However, he got the ball rolling introducing Meek, Hart, McCutchen, Russell and Walk to us all. Each Bucco member gave a minute long introduction and expressed their gratitude along with aspirations for the coming season.

While everyone pretty much sugar coated how great the upcoming season is going to be it did give me up. Hearing John Russell speak is not the most exciting thing in the world. He speaks softly with a monotone voice and it really could put you to sleep. However, he did seem excited with an intimate group of fans in front of him, but still maintained the montotone clarity, or lack there of.

The crowd cheered the loudest for this guy.

 

piratescaravan 013.jpgNo, not Andrew, o wait, yes Andrew. McCutchen that is, not Schuerholz. When his name was announced there were hoops and hollers. Many questions were directed his way including one of my own. I asked a question opened to all on the panel but only Cutch answered. I asked, “Who was the most missed player traded last season?” A genral question without getting too in depth. I was more interested in what Russell had to say, but he did not answer. Meek was hurt most of last season and Hart came to Pittsburgh mid season by way of the Tom Gorzelanny/John Grabow to the Cubs trade. I did not expect them to form too tight of a relationship with the current Bucs. It was obvious that McCutchen said Nyjer Morgan, I knew it was coming. It was well documented back in Spring Training of 2009 that the duo were best buds and forming great chemistry that rubbed off on the rest of the team. I was happy when a large smile grew on Cutch’s face when talking about Morgan.

I ended up collecting many autographs which are displayed below.

 

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Evan Meek, Kevin Hart, Andrew McCutchen, Bob Walk, Greg Brown and John Russell all signed these beautiful picture cards. Each year I have been a Pirate fan these cards are passed out throughout the year. Usually they are just headshots of the players on a small sized card. This year has one of the best sets of these cards I have seen. The McCutchen pose is one of my favorites. He is thrusting his arm towards the air in celebration after one of his home runs.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thumbnail image for piratescaravan 019.jpgThe shrine dedicated to McCutchen is one of my favorite. I had him autograph a ball on the sweet spot a picture card that was provided and the November issue of Baseball America which features Andrew on the cover, I had the card signed during a game at PNC Park earlier this year. 

It was an awesome hour and a half, we had a great time. This weekend I have another Pirates event coming my away. Pirates Fest is taking place in Pittsburgh, my WV buddies plan on going up Sunday. The event begins Friday night and concludes Sunday. Talk about an awesome Pirates week!

Here are some more photos from the day:

Thumbnail image for piratescaravan 011.jpg

 

 

 

The autograph line

 

 

 

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Andrew McCutchen and me. Too bad Andrew Schuerholz couldn’t have taken a better pitcture from a better angle.

piratescaravan 014.jpg

 

Announcer Greg Brown and myself posing for the camera. I explained to him about my journalism aspirations and that I hope to take his job someday. He was very encouraging and a down to earth fellow.

 

 

piratescaravan 017.jpg

 

 

The Pirate Parrot made an appearance and brought laughter to the party.

Thank you all for letting me share this experience with you all!

13 Comments

Nice
Always great karma to get a head bite by the Parrot.
Seriously, looking forward to seeing AC in centerfield again in 2010. Really love the way he plays the game and is always squared to the ball in the outfield.
Evan Meek seems like he is going to be a great reliever, and might just need a dose of pure joy to push himself to that next level.
I know that happened with the Rays J P Howell, and when the team showed confidence, Howell exploded and became a better teammate and player.
Hope Meeks meets the same great fate in 2010.

Rays Renegade

http://raysrenegade.mlblogs.com

That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!! That’s a hell of a day and a nice long post. 19 credits? that’s tough.

Sounds like fun! I wish I could go to one of my Fan Fest things. Strangely enough neither the Indians or the cardinals make a stop at Clemson. Hmmmmm…
Melissa
Indians, Cardinals, and Tigers! Oh my!

Wow. What a fantastic time you must have had! I have to admit, you had me at the pulled pork sandwiches, but the rest of the caravan sounds terrific too. Great pix!

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

The Pirates will be in my area tomorrow, but i have class.. That does look like fun though. Thanks for commenting! I think Orlando is headed to Washington. We have a young 2b (luis valbuena) who needs AB’s and already saw significant time last year, and showed signs of brilliance at times..
http://clevelandbaseball.mlblogs.com/

AWESOME event Matt!
See, by being the only two College students, you two stood out! I like the pic with Greg Brown. Our event is next week!
.
Did you see that George Shuba has a website?
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

:D Glad you had a great time! Thanks for sharing all those photos! Ahh Andrew McCutchen! What a great promising player! He’s gonna be the face soon if he isn’t already.

http://mimi.mlblogs.com

What a cool experience! I’m glad you got to enjoy it… you might just be the coolest Pirate fan I know. I look up to your steadfast support. No matter what you’ll always have 1960 and 1979 though. That’s for sure!
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

Yo man…that’s awesome. I think that reading your blogs is turning me into some sort of closet Pirates fan. I love the passion. I will adopt them as my NL Central team. Keep up the good work.

Penguins/Steelers fans? (But not Pirates)
Is that a bandwagon I smell?
It sounds like a really cool event, though…it was really nice of all the guys to come and do this for the fans. I like the picture of the parrot at the end, too!

What a fun caravan! I love your pictures. You are getting a nice collection of baseball cards.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Looks like a fun event! McCutchen is going to be an exciting player to watch this year. A Phillies-Pirates game in Bradenton is one of the ST games I’m going to in March – hope he plays in that one, I’ll be armed with my camera!
Sue
Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts

Good group that you got to meet with. Met Hart at an STH event this winter, hes a very good guy, and well Cutch is just simply the man. Im not a fan of Evan Meek. The fact he was openly complaining about the trades to fans the day after the McLouth trade struck me as very unprofessional. I got to hope that I can make one of these Caravan stops when im at Ohio U next year.
http://section316.mlblogs.com

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