The Pirates' charter flight from Detroit had finally landed at 1:30 a.m. Monday, this following an unscheduled day-night doubleheader, two rainouts, a mess of additional mayhem over the three games that eventually got played and ... oh, yeah, they'd all have to report to PNC Park in a few hours.
For the home opener.
"Crazy, man. Just crazy," Sean Rodriguez would tell me after that opener, one his team took from the Twins, 5-4. "All of us were kind of out of it. I'm still kind of out of it."
So try to picture the collective state of mind upon the team bus motoring from Pittsburgh International Airport to the ballpark, about a half-hour later. It was 2 a.m. now, and players were still required to check in at the home clubhouse, a place they hadn't seen since last season, before heading home for a handful of hours of sleep.
Rodriguez was met at the clubhouse door by Scott Bonnett, the equipment manager, sporting a serious expression. Both of which were strange. Understand that Bonnett's nickname is 'Bones.' A ton of people don't even know his real name. He's just 'Bones,' habitually grinning and goofing.
"There might be a switch in lockers," was all Bones would say.