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'KDKA Morning News' Spring Training Notes: March 25, 2015

BRADENTON (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The "KDKA Morning News" is in Bradenton this week broadcasting from McKechnie Field – the Spring Training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates – getting you ready for the 2015 season.

On Tuesday, Greg Brown offered to let Larry Richert and John Shumway call an inning of a game.

Later in the day, they took him up on his offer and called the fourth inning of the Pirates-Orioles game.

Larry handled play-by-play duties, while John covered color commentary.

Listen to a sample of it here:

While it was probably the last time Larry and John will call a Pirates game, Steve Blass is an old pro. He has been a part of the organization for over 50 years as a player and broadcaster.

Blass talked about the new rules being implemented to try to speed up the pace of the game.

He says that he has heard from out of town fans that travel to Pittsburgh they don't mind the game being long because they want to enjoy themselves and get their money's worth.

"I have no problem with the game speeding up if it doesn't affect the actual nuts and bolts and mechanics of the game itself. So, I've got no problem with (the) two-and-a-half minute (break) between innings," Blass said.

Another new rule being implemented this season states that the batter has to keep at least one foot inside the batter's box between pitches.

Blass says he agrees that batters shouldn't be able to spend a lot of time outside the batter's box fixing their gloves and other things after every pitch.

Pittsburgh has become home to Blass after spending so many years here, but Neil Walker is a born and bred Pine Richland graduate, who knows how special this 2015 Pirates team is.

He talked about the expectations he and his teammates have for the 2015 season.

"The group that we have in here now is probably the most talented I've ever seen in this organization and it's an exciting time to be a Pirate, particularly for someone like myself that's from the city and understands the significance and understands where the organization has been over the course of the last 20 years," Walker said.

Frank Coonelly, the president of the club, knows when he was hired in 2007 that frustrations with the team were at an all-time high. While he is pleased with the direction the team has gone in the past two seasons, he isn't satisfied.

When asked if anything less than a playoff spot is acceptable Coonelly says, "No, the goal every year is to win the division, make the playoffs and go as far as you possibly can."

"As an organization, we're chasing greatness here and greatness isn't anything short of winning the whole thing."

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