MESA, Ariz. – Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …
>> My Friday column covers my day here with Gerrit Cole, the Pirates’ $8 million arm. You’ll also find a video I shot of the young man pitching, as well as our interview.
>> Above is a shot I took of Cole signing autographs yesterday. Signed forever, too.
>> The Pirates have a bunch of highly promising arms, to their credit. But they haven’t exactly hit many home runs in drafting position players. If not for Robbie Grossman and Starling Marte, the system would be awful in that area. That’s inexcusable, and it’s something Neal Huntington and Greg Smith must address.
Back to those arms, though. Cole had a chance to see a few in the Pirates’ recent Instructional League sessions in Florida, and he sounded genuinely impressed: “We are just super-deep in pitchers. There were times there when he felt like every single guy we ran out on the mound was better than every single hitter we faced. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of that.”
>> Grossman looks great, too, and I’m not ignoring him. He’ll get his own feature in tomorrow’s paper, as well as a photo, video and all that.
>> I hear from three time zones away that James Neal scored yet another goal on yet another low shot. That’s 7 for 7, if you’re scoring from home.
Neal thinks I’m nuts, by the way, on this issue. We’ll see.
>> Heading over to see the Cardinals today, and not the ones missing cutoff throws in the World Series. These Cards have lost four in a row, their new QB is having trouble hooking up with the world’s best wide receiver and … aw, come on, am I the only one that sees this game as little more than a tuneup for the Steelers before New England and Baltimore?
>> Here is our chat transcript from yesterday.