Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 10- Bradenton Marauders

When I picked this hat up I knew little to nothing about it. I did know that it was a Bradenton Marauders hat, but hadn’t the foggiest about its use on the field, let alone when it came out. Like a lot of Minor League hats I picked it up because I thought it was awesome; you know, one of those hats which should have made its way up to the Major League level. There have been of number of logos that have cycled throughout the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise, and this is by far one of the best ones ever created. This particular hat debuted in December of 2011, and served as an alternate hat for the 2012 season. The Marauders have only been around since the 2010 season; however, Bradenton itself has been the home of the Pirates spring training facility since 1969. Kind of an interesting fact when considering that most teams usually have a Minor League affiliate in the state in which they hold spring training.

Today is only the second time I’ve worn this hat, as it was hard to match the rugged manliness that was the first day in which I threw it on.


Since the hat has only been around for one full season it made it extremely difficult to pull some stats or numbers worth talking about, unless of course you’re a die-hard Pirates/Marauders fan. Sadly, I am not. With that I took to the old interwebs for some research. I think the choices I made speak for themselves.

#13- Carlos Garcia has been the manager for the Marauders since 2011, but has been a fixture of the Pirates organization since 1990. Garcia played for the Pirates from 1990-1996 before moving on to the Toronto Blue Jays, Anaheim Angels (not Los Angeles of Anaheim) and San Diego Padres over the last three seasons of his professional career. During his time with the Pirates he went .278/30/174 while finishing ninth in the Rookie of the Year vote in 1993, and made his one and only All-Star appearance in 1994. Garcia wore the #13 from ’93-’96, which were arguably his best years in the bigs. Having not spoken to him directly, I can only assume he kept the #13 when he took over as manager of the Marauders.

#64- Remember the first day of batting practice for the Pirates in 2012? If you don’t, then you totally forgot about AJ Burnett stepping into the cage and fouling, what was supposed to be a bunt, a ball off the bat and into his eye, fracturing his orbital. Burnett was out for almost two months, but made his triumphant return from surgery, and the DL, to make two starts for the Marauders in early April wearing this number. Now, after the New York Yankees shook Burnett loose during the offseason to the Pirates, I had actually projected Burnett to finish in the Top 5 of the Cy Young ballot in 2012… it sadly didn’t happen, but he was certainly on pace. Lame. Anyway, Burnett made two starts for the Marauders and got shelled in both appearances, hard! He went 0-2 with nine strikeouts and an 8.53 ERA in 6.1 innings pitched. Yikes! But, as I’ve learned in my 30 years on this planet, rehab starts in the Minors don’t mean much, as long as you can deal in the Show. But it still makes for a good razzing from your teammates.

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