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Pirates vs Hated Manatees Preview

Today at McKechnie Field, the Pirates take the field for the first time this year but this is of course no ordinary Spring Training game. Every year around this time Pirates fans take off one day from the arguments over ownership, spending, 5th starter questions, etc, and they join forces to unite against the one team we all agree to hate, the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota Hated Manatees.

This will be the 12th meeting between the two teams to kick off the Spring Training schedule. Last year the Pirates soundly crushed them 6-1 with back-to-back-to-back homers by Steven Pearce, Brandon Moss and Eric Kratz. Yes, it would’ve been nice to shut them out but the only run was given up by Jeff Sues who would eventually be released. A harsh lesson to learn but one that needs to be taught, never let the Hated Manatees walk away with any sense of moral victory such as scoring a run.

The first ten meetings between these two teams were fairly lopsided as well with the Pirates scoring 101 runs and allowing the Hated Lancers as they were then known, to score 24 runs, mostly with help from the umpires I’d imagine. The final scores of these games are as follows

1999: Pirates won 5-3
2000: Pirates won 7-2
2001: Pirates won 22-5…wish I saw this game!
2002: Pirates won 13-7
2003: Pirates won 14-1
2004: Pirates won 8-3
2005: Pirates won 12-0
2006: Pirates won 8-1
2007: Pirates won  8-1
2008: Pirates won 5-0

It should be noted that in 2009 the two teams played a charity exhibition game at the end of spring training. It’s nice they could set aside their differences in the name of charity for one season but by 2010 it was obviously back to business.

So here we are now in 2011, the rivalry keeps growing stronger and Pirates fans everywhere know that this is THE most important game of the season because if you lose this battle the whole season is lost and you have to sit around for an entire year before you get to make things right in the world. So at noon today, when Clint Hurdle marches out his black and gold troops into battle Pirates fans know there is only one suitable outcome for this game, to defeat the Hated Manatees so badly that even their own parents refuse to acknowledge them after the game, instead hurrying to town hall to change their name,to the phone company for a new number, then on to a locksmith to change the locks on their house which now has no numbers.

The lineup for the Pirates:

Corey Wimberly 2B
Chase d’Arnaud SS
Steve Pearce 1B
John Bowker LF
Josh Fields DH
Andy Marte 3B
Andrew Lambo RF
Gorkys Hernandez CF
Wyatt Toregas C

Pitchers: Aaron Thompson, Tyler Yates, Jeff Locke, Michael Crotta, Justin Wilson, Kyle McPherson, Rudy Owens

The hated Manatee lineup and pitchers:

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John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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