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McKechnie Field

McKechnie Fieldis a charming ballpark shoehorned into a Bradenton neighborhood, where it has stood on the same ground since opening in 1923.

The words that come to mind to describe McKechnie are cozy, classic and intimate. Its distinct look and location make it a throwback to a bygone era, when Spring Training wasn’t the big business that it is today.

Southern home of the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1969, McKechnie Field exudes postcard charm thanks to a gorgeous Spanish Mission-style exterior. This white stucco facade was part of the major renovations the ballpark underwent in 1993, when capacity increased from approximately 4,200 seats to the current total of 6,602.

Even with the seating additions, McKechnie Field is still one of the smallest ballparks in the Grapefruit League. Its seating sections are split into three main covered grandstands and two bleacher sections, all of which are separated by spacious gaps. These gaps give the ballpark a very open feel while serving as aisles to the main concourse located behind the grandstands.

 The ballpark experience itself is very welcoming for fans, thanks in large part to the Bradenton Boosters. This volunteer club of local residents not only raises funds for ballpark improvements, they operate McKechnie Field on game day! The pleasantness of their personal touch is evident for anyone attending a game in Bradenton, which refers to itself as the “Friendly City.”

Fittingly, the ushers are more friendly and sociable than at other Florida ballparks, and will even encourage you to sit in their sections. At the very least, they won’t shoo you away when you want to take pictures from their section.

The friendliness even extends to the vendors, who seem happier at McKechnie than at most places. Food choices are pretty good as the concession stands are manned by local restaurants, which is a nice refrain from the normal concessionaire conglomerates, like Aramark.

Bradenton is a Mecca for autograph seekers, as players are happy to oblige the fans that line the walkway next to the bullpens. The bullpens – the Pirates' in right field, visitors' in left - are next to the players’ clubhouse. This is one of the more accessible set-ups in the Grapefruit League for fan and player interaction, and many players from the Pirates and visiting teams will sign autographs during the game.

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