McKechnie Field, which is named after Pittsburgh native, former Bradenton resident and Hall of Fame manager Bill McKechnie, was originally built in 1923. It has been renovated several times over the years, including major upgrades in 2013, to become one of baseball's finest facilities.
The centerpiece of the 2013 renovations was a 19,000 square foot boardwalk spanning the outfield. Updates also included new group areas with enhanced sight lines to the field, expanded restroom facilities, new concessions locations and an enlarged Fan Plaza. Massive palm trees now dot the landscape, augmenting the charm of the 90-year-old stadium. The Boardwalk Barbeque Area, located on the boardwalk in the right field area, gives groups of 25 or more the chance to enjoy an all-you-can eat pregame picnic in full view of the field. On the opposite side of the ballpark, the Left Field Party Deck features a high-end catering menu and an incredible vantage point to watch the game. In addition, every individual reserved seat was removed from the park, and 4,600 new, more comfortable seats were installed. And new covered bleachers with 570 seats were added in left field, expanding McKechnie Field's capacity to more than 8,500.
"This project speaks to the strength of our partnership with Bradenton and Manatee County," said Pirates Chairman of the Board Bob Nutting. "It is a partnership of that, I believe, is the strongest in Major League Baseball thanks to the local leadership of Mayor Poston, the City Council, the County Commission, Tourist Development Council, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority and, most importantly, the support of the Bradenton community."
In 2006, the city of Bradenton received a grant from the state of Florida to upgrade the Pirates' Spring Training facilities. The upgrades include lights and a new visitor's clubhouse at McKechnie Field and new offices, dormitories, renovations to the minor league clubhouse and a fifth practice field at the minor league complex.
McKechnie Field renovations from 1991-93 included new grounds, wide access ramps, concession stands, kiosks and improved sight lines, all while maintaining a ballpark's classic ambiance. The palm-tree lined park was integrated into the already 1920s Spanish-mission style by using masonry, stucco and structural steel materials. McKechnie Field was even pulled back from the street, allowing for the creation of a public plaza and walkway around the park. Inside McKechnie, fans moved closer to the field by expanding seating capacity from approximately 4,200 seats to more than 6,500 seats.
Bradenton is the 16th different training site used by the Pirates since 1900:
Selma, AL - 1900; Thomasville, GA - 1900; Hot Springs, AR - 1901-14; Dawson Springs, KY - 1915-17; Jacksonville, FL - 1918; Birmingham, AL - 1919; Hot Springs, AR - 1920-23; Paso Robles, CA - 1924-34; San Bernardino, CA - 1935; San Antonio, TX - 1936; San Bernardino, CA - 1937-42; Muncie, IN - 1943-45; San Bernardino, CA - 1946; Miami Beach, FL - 1947; Hollywood, CA - 1948; San Bernardino, CA - 1949-52; Havana, Cuba - 1953; Fort Pierce, FL - 1954; Fort Myers, FL - 1955-68; Bradenton, FL 1969-present
Nestled between the tropical blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Tampa Bay to the North, the Bradenton Area -- and Florida's Gulf Islands of Anna Maria and Longboat Key -- is a great place to explore historic attractions, fishing adventures, golf and shopping.
Bisected by the Manatee River, the small city of Bradenton lies on the river's southern shore with the municipalities of Palmetto and Ellenton to the north.
Located 1/2 mile West of Highway 41 on 9th Street West at 17th Ave. West.
From North (St. Petersburg): Go over Skyway Bridge to Exit 5 (US19 South). Continue on 41 South (Bradenton/Sarasota). Make a right turn onto 17th Avenue West and continue to McKechnie Field.
From South (Sarasota): Take Route 41 North to Cortez Road, go straight onto Business 41 and turn right onto 17th Ave. West. Ballpark is located at intersection of 17th Avenue West and 9th Street West.
From Interstate 75: Exit I-75 at S.R. 64 West (exit 220 if traveling south, exit 220B if traveling north). Go west on Route 64 to 9th Street West and turn left to the ballpark.
From Interstate 75: Exit I-75 at S.R. 64 West (exit 220 if traveling south, exit 220B if traveling north). Proceed west towards Bradenton and make a left on 27th Street East. Pirate City is approx. a mile on the left.
From McKechnie Field: Head west on 17th Ave. West and make a right onto U.S. 41. At first stoplight, make a left onto 26th Ave. East. Follow until 27th St. East, make left. Pass Mixon Fruit Farms -- Pirate City is on the right.
From South (Sarasota): Travel North on US 301. Cross S.R. 70 and make a right onto 38th Ave. East. Make first left onto 27th St. E. and Pirate City is a mile up the road.
From North (St. Petersburg): Travel south on I-275 over Skyway Bridge to Exit 5 (US19 South) and continue on US41. Cross Manatee River and follow signs for SR64 East. Take 64 East and make a right onto 27th St. East. Pirate City is a mile down on left.
Day-of-game parking is available at several recommended locations. The Boys and Girls Club of Manatee County offers limited parking in the lot behind their building and in a lot accessible from 6th Street West. Both lots cost $10, with all proceeds benefitting the Boys and Girls Club. A $10 parking lot is also available at 800 17th Avenue West, on the site of the former Fogartyville Cafeé.
Parking is also available at the Bradenton Wastewater Treatment facility, located one-half mile east of the ballpark on 17th Avenue. Parking in this lot costs $5, with all proceeds donated to the Boys and Girls Club. Parking is available at Renaissance on 9th for $5, with proceeds benefitting Meals on Wheels PLUS and the Food Bank of Manatee. Overflow parking is available in a lot located at 14th Street West between 12th Avenue and 14th Avenue, approximately one-third of a mile northwest of McKechnie Field. The lot is available for Spring Training only, and is unpaved and not staffed by the Pirates.