Bucs prideful on eve of first pitch with dads
Fifteen set for Friday's ceremony, an idea conceived by Hurdle
DETROIT -- The Bucs' annual "Take your father to work" week will have a special and heart-tugging conclusion on Friday night, when the Pirates will open a 10-game homestand and an Independence Day weekend of ball at PNC Park.
The 15 dads who have spent the last three days here with their sons are traveling with them back to Pittsburgh. Prior to the series opener against the Indians, they will deliver 15 simulatenous first pitches to their sons.
"They've all been loosening up. We don't want anyone to bounce it or overshoot it," said manager Clint Hurdle, whose dad, Clint, has once again been along for the ride.
Your game-opening batteries for Friday night, and let your imagination take you back to when these games of catch were occuring at sunset in the backyard:
• Pedro Alvarez Sr. and Pedro Jr.
• Mark and Gerrit Cole
• Vince and Josh Harrison
• Lorenzo and Andrew McCutchen
• Rick and Jordy Mercer
• Chip and Charlie Morton
• Joe and Rob Scahill
• Tom and Neil Walker
• Steve and Tony Watson
• Clint Hurdle Sr. and Clint Jr.
• Tom and Todd Tomczyk
• Jim and Scott Bonnett
• Joe and Kevin Roach
• Rod and Brendon Huttmann
• Ramon and Starling Marte
That ceremony will culminate a special week, a unique and informative bonding occasion between generations.
"Their dads have a much better understanding of what their sons go through on a daily basis," said Hurdle, who came up with this idea three years ago. "We had 'em involved in our [pre-series] scout meeting the other day, and they go, 'That's what you guys do all the time?' 'Yeah, it's what we do and how we do it.'
"These memories will last a lifetime. They're very precious. Any time you can get a father and son together for a meaningful couple days, you've got to take advantage of it. It's fun to hang out. The kids out there feel the same way."
"Kids" like 31-year-old Charlie Morton and 28-year-old Andrew McCutchen. And isn't that what it's all about?