Renovations at McKechnie Field, the spring home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, could be completed in time for 2013 spring training if Bradenton and Manatee County approve $8 million in spending.
The redesign of the classic ballpark calls for a reconfiguration of the seating bowl, with two distinctive seating areas replaced by seating extended from the grandstand and press box, which would be retained. The area under the new expanded grandstand would be enclosed, while a Walk of Fame would honor important figures in Bradenton baseball history. Canopies similar to the existing canopies would be built on top of the new grandstand, with group areas slated for the top row. The area beyond the home-run fence would be renovated: an SRO concourse and Pirate’s Cove concession area/Tiki bar would be located beyond right field, all connected via 360-degree wraparound. Some of the work is necessary: last season two Marauders games were moved after inspectors determined the canopies over the first-base and third-base sections were unsafe.
The city and the county are expected to approve $8 million in spending on the renovations.
McKechnie Field opened in 1923 as the spring home of the St. Louis Cardinals and was renovated in 1993 and 2007. The Boston/Milwaukee Braves trained there in 1938-1940 and 1948-1962. The Pirates have been training in Bradenton since 1969.