The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced the reopening of an enhanced McKechnie Field following the completion of the first major renovation of the historic ballpark since 1993. Pirates Chairman of the Board, Bob Nutting was joined by several Front Office executives and local government officials Wednesday morning as they unveiled the improvements to the ballpark that has hosted Pirates Spring Training home games since 1969.
The centerpiece of the renovations is a 19,000 square foot boardwalk spanning the outfield. Updates also include new group areas with enhanced sight lines to the field, expanded restroom facilities, new concessions locations and an enlarged Fan Plaza. Massive palm trees dot the landscape, with 18 towering in the fan plaza and 24 encircling the outfield, augmenting the charm of the 90-year-old stadium.
The Boardwalk Barbeque Area, located on the boardwalk in the right field area, gives groups of 25 or more the chance to enjoy an all-you-can eat pregame picnic in full view of the field. On the opposite side of the ballpark, the new Left Field Party Deck features a high-end catering menu and a unique vantagepoint to watch the game.
“Fans will see a dramatically enhanced fan experience, all while maintaining that old time ballpark charm that we all love about McKechnie Field,” said Nutting. “This project speaks to the strength of our partnership with Bradenton and Manatee County. It is a partnership of that, I believe, is the strongest in Major League Baseball. The continued support of the local community is the real reason why we are about to embark on our 45th season here in Bradenton.”
Every individual reserved seat was removed from the park, and 4,600 new, more comfortable seats were installed. The seats that were removed were sold to raise money for Pirates Charities, generating more than $2,000 for the Pirates’ official philanthropic arm.
The new covered bleachers in left field added an additional 570 seats to the ballpark as the renovationhas expanded McKechnie Field’s capacity to more than 8,500 seats.
The 2013 Grapefruit League schedule features 16 games in Bradenton, beginning Sunday, February 24 at 1:00 p.m. when the Pirates host the Atlanta Braves. That day, gates open at 11:00 a.m. for Pirates Spring Training season ticket holders and at 11:30 a.m. for the general public.
For more information about the Pittsburgh Pirates, McKechnie Field, or Spring Training tickets, visit www.Pirates.com.
Follow me at Twitter.com@sarasotaradio