BRADENTON -- The gear is here.
All the Pittsburgh Pirates need now are players and coaches to fill out the uniforms, helmets and equipment a team of about 20 employees unloaded from a tractor trailer on Saturday morning at Pirate City.
The crew started unloading the packed trailer at about 7 a.m. Saturday and was finished by 8:30 a.m.
The Pirates sent down everything from uniforms, helmets and catching equipment to players' personal items like golf clubs and kids bicycles. Forklifts also unloaded three skids of Gatorade.
Equipment manager Scott Bonnett said it took between two and three hours to load the truck in Pittsburgh earlier this week.
"The unloading part is the easy part," said Bonnett, who is in his 14th year with the Pirates. "Now we have to put everything where it belongs. We should have it in good shape by the end of the day."
Joe Zallo, a 57-year-old trucking company owner from Fombell, Pa., north of Pittsburgh, said it was an honor to drive one of his trucks down to Bradenton for the Pirates. He left Pittsburgh at about noon Wednesday after several inches of ice and snow fell on the Steel City and arrived Friday.
Zallo's truck sports a "Pirates of the Burgh" logo and the famous phrase "We Are Family," the motto of the 1979 world champion Pirates, on the hood.
"This is my hobby," he said as he watched his truck being unloaded. "I take my vacation for this."
Pitchers and catchers report Wednesday, and the first workout is Thursday. The full squad reports Feb. 17.