McKechnie Field renovations help Pirates set spring attendance record

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MANATEE COUNTY - The spring training baseball season is drawing to a close, and Wednesday Pirates fans wrapped up a record setting season at the last 2013 spring game at McKechnie Field.

It was long lines and a packed house at the Pittsburgh Pirates last spring training game and the event came with a milestone.  "Our all time record was 88,000, and we're going to pass that today with actually even less games than we've placed before.  So, we're about to set our all-time attendance record, which is great, " said Trever Gooby the head of Pirates Florida operations.

But the record attendance isn't the only high point of the 2013 spring training season. The organization also debuted a $10 million stadium renovation, adding about 2,000 new seats in the process.  "We were are able keep the look of McKechnie Field, but add some brand new fan amenities, the boardwalk in the outfield, new seats, new concessions stands and its just been really tremendous, fans have loved it," said Gooby.

Zack Cacpo is one of those fans.  "In general its a good place to be;, it looks nice and a lot of fun games and stuff to play", said Cacpo.

And he isn't alone in his thoughts.  "It was very beautiful, very nice," said Ruth Hanna.

"It's a really great experience I've never been here before, it's a really great experience," added Kyle Wagner.

That experience Wednesday included several home runs.  And even though the Pirates lost the game 7-4, officials say they had a great season.  "Its been a really huge success for us as well as Manatee County and the City of Bradenton," said Gooby.

The final attendance count for the spring season was 93,433, which was achieved in only 15 home games, one fewer than last season.

The Pirates have one spring game remaining Thursday afternoon against the Yankees in Tampa.  They open their 2013 regular season April 1st in Pittsburgh.