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Cut4 Spring Training Road Trip, Day 8: Scheduling problems, manatees and Pankakes

Some of the Cut4 staff has traveled south for spring, taking shelter in beautiful sunny Florida to enjoy the sights, sounds, foods and fans of MLB's Spring Training. As we venture through the many stadia of the Grapefruit League, we'll keep you updated on what it's really like to check out 15 MLB teams, explore the backroads of the Sunshine State and watch a whole lot of baseball. Past recaps: Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6, Day 7

Today's lineup: Pirates

Team Visited: Pirates

Ballpark: McKechnie Field

Miles Driven: 48 miles

By Michael Clair

And here we are, at the end. And what better way to close it all out than forgetting to check your schedule. I woke up at 5 a.m. EST, forced myself out of bed and raced to Bradenton -- pouring coffee down my throat as I did. I rushed to the stadium, pulled up and ... nothing. It was empty, the way one would be during a zombie apocalypse. 

It was because I was an idiot. The game was an evening tilt. The lone parking attendant and myself were the only ones around. Fortunately, Bradenton is a charming little town. 

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I drove down to the historic main street and wandered over to the Riverwalk. It's a beautiful path along the city's riverfront, and every block includes a new piece of art like an outdoor living room or these majestic manatees:

With more time to kill, I hung out at Pirate City where Pittsburgh's Minor Leaguers were training. While there I was treated to a real, live bunting competition. While my excitement may sound facetious, I assure you, it is not. I love a well-placed bunt. It's baseball's silent assassin -- a dagger left three feet in front of home plate. 

Bunt

(This is the requisite blurry Spring Training photo every writer is required to take.)

Once at the game proper, I made sure to live it up. I ate ice cream. I talked about Batman with Corey Hart. And I fully embraced the wonder and beauty inherent in Joey Pankake's name being prounced, yep, pancake. 

But sadly, the Cut4 Spring Break is now over. We must return to our homes and watch Spring Training games on TV. At least, until the season starts in just two weeks time.