BRADENTON - Renovations on a nearly 90-year old piece of baseball history in Bradenton are nearing completion. And if you plan on heading to watch a spring training game later this month, managers say it will be a completely different experience.
"It's going to be 90 years old this year," said Pirates senior director of operations Trevor Gooby. "There was a major renovation in 1991 and then in 2006 we added lights to the stadium."
But this recent $10 million upgrade will bring something different to McKechnie Field: a historic stadium with a modern twist.
"A boardwalk in the outfield, you're going to see brand new seats, you're going to see new restrooms, new concession stands, and just a whole new way to see the stadium," Gooby said.
Gooby added baseball won't be the only sight to see here. The organization plans to book the stadium for other things, such as concerts.
"One of the things that we're really going to try to do is have a facility that is used not just for baseball events, but for a lot of different community events," said Gooby.
For those who have had businesses by the stadium for years, like Popi's Place I, managers feel the improvements will help add a boost to the local economy.
"They're going from 6,500 seats to 9,000 seats, that's just added people to the area where they're spending money in restaurants or hotels, it's just absolutely great," said owner Gus Johnson.
What else is great? Gooby said the ticket prices will be pretty consistent from previous years unless you buy them last minute.
"There is an up-charge if you just wait until the day of the game to buy those tickets," Gooby said.
The first preview you can get of the brand new field will be on February 22 for an intra-squad game.