The Pirates have been training in Bradenton and playing games at McKechnie Park for 34 years. Though there has been baseball played at McKechnie Field since 1923, it's actually one of the newer stadiums in Florida spring training, as the facility was completely rebuilt in 1993. It's built in a Florida Spanish Mission style, with white stucco on the main grandstand. The design is like most spring-training facilities: there are box seats on the field side of a wide concourse, and bleacher seats on the other side of the concourse. The Pirates sell box, reserved bleachers, and general-admission seats. The reserved bleachers seats are shaded, which is an important consideration for all games.
McKechnie Field is a very basic park in other ways: it doesn't have a parking lot (all the available parking is street parking in the surrounding neighborhood), but as of this spring it has lights, so the Pirates can host night games. If you arrive at the ballpark early enough, you'll want to eat at Popi's, which is known for its Belgian waffles. Team officials and announcers have been seen at Popi's before home games.
The Florida State League's Bradenton Marauders play in McKechnie Field the rest of the season.
Be warned the Pirates don't actually train at McKechnie Field: the team trains at Pirate City, five miles away from McKechnie Field.
Spring Training History
The Pirates have been training in Bradenton and playing games at McKechnie Park since 1969; before that the Pirates trained in Ft. Myers from 1955 to 1968. Other spring-training homes of the Pirates over the years: Selma, Ala. (1900); Thomasville, Ga. (1900); Hot Springs, Ark. (1901-14; 1920-1923); Dawson Springs, Ky. (1915-17); Jacksonville, Fl. (1918); Birmingham, Ala. (1919); Paso Robles, Cal. (1924-34); San Bernardino, Cal. (1935; 1937-1942; 1946; 1949-52); San Antonio (1936); Muncie, Ind. (1943-45); Miami Beach, Fla. (1947); Hollywood, Cal (1948); Havana, Cuba (1953); and Fort Pierce, Fla (1954). The Bradenton Growers of the Florida State League played there in the 1923, 1924 and 1926 seasons.
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