The Pirates invited several bloggers for roundtable sessions with Paul Maholm, Neal Huntington, and Frank Coonelly at Piratefest last night. I wasn’t able to attend since I live in North Carolina and this all came together pretty late (I asked about maybe setting something up when I’m back down in Bradenton in a couple months and wasn’t immediately shut down, so I’ll remain hopeful for that), but I still think it’s a very cool gesture by the Pirates. Combined with the way they reached out to me to get me into Pirate City when I was in Bradenton last year, I’m both very happy and amazed with how far Pirate/Pirate blogger relations have come since I started doing this in 2005.
Charlie from Bucs Dugout has a detailed post about some of the issues that were discussed. It’s a great read including some stuff that doesn’t often get asked of the front office about things like hard slotting, prospect rankings, Wil Ledezma, market inefficiencies, draft strategies, etc. Also, Frank Coonelly really likes Rudy Owens, comparing him to Kyle Drabek. Man, I hope he’s right about that. The post is long, but it’s definitely worth your time to read the whole thing. From Twitter chatter and Charlie’s post, I can gather that at least Matt from PLC, Kristy from Pirate Booty, Kevin from Pirates Prospects, and Tom from Rum Bunter were there. They don’t have posts up yet, but I’m sure they will and so all their sites are worth keeping an eye on. Tom especially deserves a lot of credit for this, because I know he pushed the Pirates quite a bit for this and got something to happen, even though the Pirates may not have been exactly happy to go along with it at first.
In the realm of other cool things the Pirates are doing, Pirates Charities is organizing a 5 K on April 9th that will end at home plate in PNC Park.
And in the real of other cool things other people are doing, Jen Langosch was just in India volunteering at an orphanage and helping set up a library for them. If you’re interested in donating books, her contact information is in the comments of her post (or at the bottom of any MLB.com story that she writes).
UPDATE: Kevin from Pirates Prospects has posts up about both the Q&A with the general audience (which included Clint Hurdle) and the blogger Q&A. Vlad has a supplement to Charlie’s post at Bucs Dugout.