Pirates Spring Training
|2014 First Practice Dates
|Pitchers & Catchers:
|Year ||Total ||Average
Spring Training Info
| Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training
||Area Info - Bradenton
Spring Training home of the Pirates since 1969
1611 9th Street West
Bradenton, FL 34205
Renovated: 1993 & 2013
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McKechnie Field is shoehorned into a Bradenton neighborhood, where it's bordered by homes and businesses in a setting appropriate for the era in which it was originally built. The ballpark is at the intersections of 17th Avenue West and 9th Street West.
Directions From the North or South on I-75:
Take the Route 64 exit (220 from the South; 220B from the North) and travel west to 9th Street West. Turn left and proceed to the stadium.
From St. Petersburg (North):
Take the Sunshine Skyway Bridge ($1.25 toll) to the 19 South exit. Continue on 41 South towards Bradenton/Sarasota until 17th Avenue West, where you turn right. The stadium is a short distance ahead.
This had been the only stadium in the Grapefruit League without an official parking lot but that changed in 2014, when space was created behind left field following the demolition of a building that had long housed the Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County. In its place now rests a smallish grass field filled with parking spaces, which is designated as "outfield parking." While the price is highest there and spaces are quite limited, you can pick and choose from plenty of places to park elsewhere thanks to local businesses and homeowners. Among the closest to the ballpark options is the lot that fronts the Renaissance on 9th community center, and there are plenty of other choices on 9th Street and 13th and 17th Avenues, which are the three main roads that border McKechnie Field.
Cost: Varies, from $10 (stadium lot) to $4-$10 (neighborhood) to Free (curbside on 17 Ave. W just past the 5 St. W intersection and Rogers Garden Elementary School)
Baseball has been played on the grounds of McKechnie Field since 1923, making it the granddaddy of spring training ballparks. Completely remodeled in 1993, the classically styled ballpark exudes charm, starting with its Spanish Mission-style exterior. The ballpark maintains its distinct look on the inside, where the main grandstand is split into three covered sections. Prior to 2008 there were no lights, but thanks to a $15 million grant from the state of Florida they were finally installed and McKechnie Field hosted its first ever night game on March 19, 2008. All games are played on the most lush coat of green grass that you'll ever see while the zany and green garmented Pirate Parrot mascot is seemingly omnipresent in the stands. Real birds are often frequent visitors too, as seagulls flock from the nearby coastal waterway to the grandstand in search of scraps near the end of games. During them breezes rustle the Pirates pennants and palm trees beyond the outfield fence. In 2013, a faux wood boardwalk was placed directly behind the outfield fence, adding bleachers (in left field) and a bar (in right-center) to the amenities mix. The $10 million spent on upgrades also rid the grandstand of its bucket-style seats, replacing them with the flip-up kind long found just about everywhere else. The Pirates' spring stadium had numerous names until 1962, when it was named after Bradenton's Bill McKechnie in honor of his induction that year into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager. Mr. McKechnie lead the Pirates to a World Series victory in 1925 and won 1,896 regular season games in his 25-year managerial career.
Fast Facts Fans enter the ballpark at street level. Most use the main entrance near home plate. A much lesser used gate is down the left field line.
Ticket windows are in the building next to the main entrance gate. The ticket office building is also where Will Call pick ups are done.
The main concourse is behind the stadium and is covered by the home plate and third base grandstands but is completely open-air on the first base side.
The new elevated outfield boardwalk gives fans the opportunity to completely walk around the ballpark, as it connects to the main concourse in the outfield corners via a ramp (left field) and stairs/elevator (right field).
Access to seating sections is slightly elevated from the concourse. Seven small steps must be climbed at the walkways on either side of the home plate box seats. Ramps with a slight incline are used at the stadium's other four entry walkways.
The bullpens are at field level behind the outfield fence in right field (Pirates) and left field (visiting team), where fans can look down into them from the boardwalk.
The stadium's main and biggest scoreboard is in left-center field, where it's at field level and looks like it is a part of the outfield fence, and features a line score and a panel that lists the name and number of the player at bat. Basic mini scoreboards -- the guest/home kind you see at most youth ballfields -- are on the far end facades of the first and third base grandstands, placed there primarily for the folks on the boardwalk.
The Pirates Clubhouse Store is next to the ticket office and close to the main entrance. Three small souvenir stands are set up elsewhere -- two on the main concourse under the home plate and third base grandstands, while one is on the boardwalk, just to the left of the center field batter's background.
Practice Fields All practice fields are located at Pirate City, which is five miles to the east of McKechnie Field at 1701 27th Street East.
There are four full-sized practice fields at the Pirate City complex and each one is named for a Pirates legend and Hall of Famer. In numerical order, fields 1 through 4 are named after Roberto Clemente, Pie Traynor, Honus Wagner and Willie Stargell.
To get to Pirate City from McKechnie Field, go west on 17th Avenue. Turn right onto US 41. At the first light, turn left onto 26th Avenue East. Follow it to 27th Street East and turn left. Go past Mixon Fruit Farms and the complex will be on the right, next to a public golf course called the River Run Golf Links, which is where you park.
Types of Seating Stadium seats: Sold as Box or Reserve.
Bleachers: Sold as Grandstand or Left Field Bleachers (10 total sections).
All fixed seats in the grandstands are now stadium-style, as the not so nice bucket-style seats that had long been present were removed after the 2012 season. There are large sections of bleachers down each outfield line. Those bleachers do not have seat backs and are made of hard plastic instead of aluminum. The bleachers on the outfield boardwalk are the opposite: they're aluminum and have backs.
Notes about the seating The Pirates dugout is on the first base side. To make sure you're on the home side of the stadium, buy your tickets in any even numbered section.
An interior aisle runs the length of the stadium's grandstand. Most Box seats are below the aisle, all Reserved and Grandstand seats are above it.
All fixed seats have cup holders.
Handicap accessible seating is available on the aisle between sections 1-2, 9-10, 15-16.
The protective screen behind home plate extends from sections 1-6 and attaches to the facade of the press box. The netting is very thin so that it doesn't obstruct views.
The tarp is stationed in front of seats 1-18 in row 1 of Baseline Box section 15, but is a non-issue for those sitting in the seats which are directly behind it.
Behind the first base stands, a partly grassy area with places to lounge or linger runs the length of the uncovered concourse, which is dubbed the Fan Plaza.
Although the stadium has a wide open design throughout, there are no dedicated standing room areas within the main stadium structure. However, there is plenty of room to stand on the outfield boardwalk, as such space is available along its entire expanse.
Sections and rows Rows for sections with stadium seats below the aisle range as follows:
1 to 5 in sections 1-2; 1 to 6 in sections 3-4; 1 to 3 in sections 5-8; 1 to 2 in sections 9-10; 1 to 6 in sections 11-14; 1 to 5 in sections 15-16; 1 to 6 in sections 17-20 and 22
Rows for sections with stadium seats above the aisle range as follows:
7 to 22 in sections 1-4; 1 to 16 in sections 7-12; 8 to 16 in sections 13-14
Rows for sections with bleacher seats range as follows:
1 to 16 in sections 15-20 and 22; 1 to 10 in sections 21, 23 and 25
Tickets Sections 1-6 are sold as Infield Box, as are all seats in sections 7-14 that are below the interior aisle.
Infield Reserve seats are those in sections 7-14 that are above the interior aisle.
Baseline Box seats are those in sections 15-20 & 22 that are below the interior aisle.
Grandstand seats are the bleachers in sections 15-20 & 22 that are above the interior aisle.
Left Field Bleachers are the sections (21, 23 & 25) that are on the boardwalk in left-center field.
Children 30 inches or taller require a ticket. The stadium policy also mentions that "children two years old or younger can receive complimentary admission."
Seats to avoid
Some seats in the covered portion of the grandstand have views that are partially obstructed by the poles that support the roofs which provide cover. Those sitting in the first row of seats in the three separate covered grandstands (that's row 7 in sections 1-4 and row 1 in sections 7-12) have to deal with a peripheral vision annoyance as fans walking on the cross aisle in front of them do so at only a little below eye level. The grandstand's lower level end sections (Baseline Box 19 & 22) can be a pain in the neck, as you really have to crane your neck towards the infield to watch the game from well down the outfield line seats.
Seats in the shade
The main grandstand is split into three sections and each has its own roof, making this a very shady ballpark (meant in a good way). The sun is above the first base grandstand so all of its Reserved seats (sections 8, 10, 12) are shaded. Rows 7 & up of Box seats in sections 1, 2 & 4 behind home plate are shaded, while shade is cast upon rows 12 & up in Box section 3. On the third base side of the park, rows 5 & up of Reserved seats in sections 7, 9 & 11 are shaded. By 1:30 or 2:30 (Daylight Saving Time) all covered seats are shaded in the sections just mentioned, with a sliver of sunlight making seat numbers 1-6 in section 7 an exception.
Note: The price you pay for guaranteed shade throughout an afternoon game is limited leg room in seats which are on an aluminum based portion of the grandstand. Leg room is normal below the cross aisle, where the flooring is concrete...and the sun generally makes its presence felt.
The new Left Field Bleachers are also covered but they face the sun. So the first seven rows in each of the three sections can be sun-in-your-eyes sunny on a clear day. The top three rows generally remain shaded by the canopy above them, so if you want to sit in the shade in the outfield make sure to buy your seats in rows 8 to 10 of sections 21, 23 & 25.
McKechnie Field has just one suite, an at the far end of the press box (third base side) one that is more reminiscent of the sky boxes of yesteryear than the luxury suites with balcony seats that are today's norm. The single second-level suite in Bradenton has a capacity of 20 people, all of whom sit or stand within the confines of the suite that has a small outdoor patio to compliment its much bulkier indoor seating area. New for 2013 is the Left Field Party Deck, a two-tiered group-only area that's between the grandstand and left field foul pole. Forty people are needed to reserve either the upper or lower deck. Both party decks are covered and catered.
Gates open at 11 AM for day games and 5 PM for night games. The ticket office opens at 9 AM.
Food, drink and bag policy Water bottles up to 24 ounces can be brought inside. Soft-sided coolers are permitted.
Outside food is prohibited.
Bags that are 16" x 16" x 8" or smaller can be brought into the ballpark.
This is a good (visiting team) to great (Pirates) ballpark to get autographs inside of. The black wrought iron fence on the concourse in the right field corner is a great spot to get signatures from Pirates players, especially before and during the game (once players have been removed). The fence is next to the Pittsburgh clubhouse, so every player and coach will walk by the fans gathered there, with many stopping to sign. The visiting team's clubhouse is down the left field line, just past the end of the grandstand and behind the Left Field Party Deck. The concrete ramp alongside the grandstand and the beginning of the wooden boardwalk behind the lower party deck are where to station yourself for the best opportunities. You don't want to be too far up the boardwalk, as it becomes elevated and thus out of the reach from players. The best spot for postgame autographs is the end of the grandstands - section 22 for Pirates players and section 19 for the visiting team.
Unique ballpark fare
Until 2013, most concession stands were manned by local restaurants, so pizza, ice cream, pulled pork and cheese steaks had a local flavor. That's no longer the case, but all are still available. Most concession stands sell the standard stuff -- you'll have no problem finding peanuts and cracker jacks -- with the best assortment of meal food sold behind home plate while the carnival fare is found in center field (head there for corn dogs, kettle corn and funnel cakes). Pepsi is served at all stands and the variety of beer available on tap has greatly expanded thanks to the new big bar on the boardwalk in right-center and the also new plaza bar at the far end of the first base side concourse. Bud and Bud Light can be found on draft just about everywhere, while Hawaii-brewed beers (Kona) are featured on the boardwalk bar and a few Yuengling offerings are the main draw at the Plaza Bar. The cart next to it is one of a few places where you'll find Pittsburgh's Iron City beer being sold (albeit in cans). One of those places is the Pitt-Stop, and fans stopping by there (underneath the home plate grandstand) will find a large selection of bottled and canned beer. Lastly, even after the game's over you can drink for a little while longer, as either the bar on the boardwalk or the plaza bar (they alternate) remains open postgame for at least a half-hour.
2014 Pirates Spring Training Schedule
(only home games at McKechnie Field are listed)
* Single game tickets went on sale Saturday, January 25. Links in calendar are to TicketsNow inventory.
See the full 2014 Pirates Spring Training schedule
Ballpark Area Info
The area surrounding McKechnie Field is a mix of light industrial, public utility and civic buildings, plus some residences. A string of auto body shops are across the street from the ballpark and the S. Earl Crawley Public Works building is behind the small left field-based parking lot. A slew of small homes and apartments make up the residential portion. Long noted for being aside the venerable Popi's Place, a restaurant open only for breakfast and lunch until it closed in February 2014, the ballpark and the ballgame are the main reason to be in this part of town, which is in the process of being redeveloped into an arts and entertainment district. About a mile north of the ballpark is the mile-wide Manatee River. Downtown Bradenton resides along the river's southern bank while the city of Palmetto is reached by driving across the river on the Green (Ninth Street West) Bridge.
Travelers' notes The closest Interstate, I-75, is more than 10 miles away.
The neighborhood that McKechnie Field resides in has never been considered one of the nicer ones in Bradenton, but that's changing thanks to the establishment of a "Village of the Arts" and the additional repurposing of other old and formerly run-down structures. An example is the recent opening of the Motorworks brewery, which features a tap room and beer garden on a nearly nine decades-old site that started as an automobile dealership. Such changes and additions to the ballpark's environs are making the neighborhood more and more the hip type of place where you want to hang out after the game, when for so long the opposite has been true.
Although no public tours are available, the Tropicana factory is nearby. Bradenton has been the home of Tropicana Orange Juice since 1949 and the company's juice plant, which is North America's largest and where all of Tropicana's production is done, is about 1½ miles from McKechnie Field.
Hotels close to McKechnie Field
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|Distance ||Hotel ||Street Address ||City/Zip ||Phone
|0.3 miles ||Blue Boy Motel ||1839 14th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34205 ||941-748-6909
|0.65 ||Siesta Inn & Suites ||2303 1st St E ||Bradenton, FL 34208 ||941-747-6465
|1.2 ||Days Inn ||3506 1st St W ||Bradenton, FL 34208 ||941-746-1141
|2.8 ||Holiday Inn Express ||4450 47th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34210 ||941-795-4633
|4.2 ||Howard Johnson ||6511 14th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34207 ||941-756-8399
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Restaurants close to McKechnie Field
|Distance ||Restaurant ||Street Address ||City/Zip ||Phone
|0.1 miles ||Ball Park Deli & Sub Shop ||1720 9th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34205 ||941-749-0345
|0.35 ||San Remo Pizza & Pasta ||1914 14th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34205 ||941-749-0105
|0.35 ||Taqueria y Tortilleria ||2209 9th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34205 ||941-747-6061
|0.4 ||Motorworks Brewing ||1014 9th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34205 ||941-896-9892
|0.5 ||Hot Rodd Cafe ||1707 1st St ||Bradenton, FL 34208 ||941-708-9590
|0.55 ||J & J Bar-B-Que ||2620 9th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34205 ||941-746-6683
|0.6 ||Villa Sorrento Italian Cafe ||2604 14th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34205 ||941-744-9272
|0.7 ||China City Express ||810 1st St ||Bradenton, FL 34208 ||941-708-9388
|1.7 ||Joey Dís Pizzeria ||4304 14th St W ||Bradenton, FL 34205 ||941-753-8900
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Airports close to McKechnie Field
|Distance ||Airport ||Airport Code
| 7.2 miles ||Sarasota Bradenton International ||SRQ
|29.9 ||St. Petersburg-Clearwater International ||PIE
|34.2 ||Tampa International ||TPA
|81.2 ||Southwest Florida International (Fort Myers) ||RSW
|99.2 ||Orlando International ||MCO
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