While Vlad and Charlie were doing a fabulous job getting some answers about the team's future, I spent a glorious week reveling in its past. I could go on and on, but spending a week playing baseball every day with some terrific guys and meeting the heroes of my youth was one of the most enriching experiences I have ever had. In fact, my absence was due to work, travel and a serious workout regimen and batting cage time. By the end of the week, I had an OBP just shy of .700, some key hits, a ton of walks and some pretty bruises, which were well attended to by Brad Henderson, Mike Sandoval and the training staff. The Pirates, especially Kent Tekulve and Joe Billetdeaux, and the team at Pirate City, run a first class operation. From the clubhouse guys, the trainers and the former players, they make the experience something to remember. The players could not have been more gracious, more fun or more hilarious. We spent a heck of a lot of time with them, and in several cases developed some potential friendships. This is something that, if you have the money or a wonderful wife looking for a serious gift opportunity, I would recommend in a heartbeat. Chatting with Maz and Bill Virdon and listening to stories into the night was just sublime.
Be prepared to be sore, and for some late nights imbibing and listening to unforgettable stories. Above all, be prepared to be a kid again. I came back with two full uniforms, a bat engraved with my name on it, a photo of me with my terrific teammates and our 1971 player/coaches, a photo with the 1971 players, Teke, Candy and Grant Jackson, autographed by them all, baseball cards of me to come, along with photos and my highlight video. Can't beat it. They had what seemed to be a record turnout of 97 players, divided into eight teams. Some guys have come for ten years running, many for five and more--one of the ten year "men" was a lady, and a terrific player.
Happy to answer questions, as I cannot possibly do justice to a week like this has been. Next year's theme is the 1992 team, and I plan to return.