|McKechnie Field / Pittsburgh Pirates / Bradenton Marauders|
|Page 2: Concessions and More|
Year Opened: 1923; last renovated in 1993 and 2007
Dimensions: 335L, 375LC, 400C, 375RC, 335R
Playing Surface: Grass
League: Florida State League
Parent: Pittsburgh Pirates
Parking: Local street parking.
Address/Directions: From St. Petersburg, take I-275 South across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Take I-75 South exit. Take Exit 220 for FL-64 toward Bradenton. Keep right at fork and merge onto Manatee Avenue East. Continue for approximately 6 miles. Turn left at Ninth Street West. McKechnie Field will be on your right.
It is authentically old, without the faux sheen of retro features so prevalent in new spring-training complexes these days. Built in 1923 for the St. Louis Cardinals and still known by many oldtimers as the former spring home of the Milwaukee Braves and Atlanta Braves, McKechnie Field is basically the same ballpark where Roberto Clemente gracefully patrolled the outfield, where Willie Stargell engaged the fans, and where Henry Aaron awed onlookers with his sheer power and determination. It's not the gaudiest of ballparks and the Pittsburgh Pirates aren't exactly crammed with superstars these days, but spring-training aficionados know McKechnie Field is a throwback to how spring training used to be: an intimate affair played in a neighborhood ballpark.
Still, McKechnie Field isn't exactly the same as it was 20 years ago. For starters: there are now lights in the place. McKechnie Field was the last spring-training facility to sport lights, and this season will see the return of Florida State League baseball in the form of the Bradenton Maurauders. But it's the sort of intimate place where the regulars know one another, and beer vendor Kevin Beauregard still leads the cheers on a slow afternoon.