BRADENTON, Fla. -- In Spring Training, players prepare for the regular season by working on all aspects of the game, physical as well as mental. You can also include elemental, at least for the Pirates and Blue Jays in their first two Grapefruit League games.
Saturday's high winds in Dunedin accelerated to 25-mile gusts for Sunday's rematch in McKechnie Park and were compounded by a 25-degree temperature drop all the way to 62 -- not that anyone in Pittsburgh will want to hear about that.
The conditions certainly added another element -- excitement -- to a drill that had already been on the agenda: Infield popups, ejected from a pitching machine, with infielders taking turns circling under them. You've never seen so many poppers caught by fielders running in.
To their credit, the Pirates "didn't drop any," noted Chase d'Arnaud. "A couple of times, I did have to go from having my glove up to doing the old basket-catch maneuver."
So the Bucs already seem ready for Wrigley Field. Or for Candlestick Park's unlikely comeback.