Catch a Game of America’s Favorite Pastime in The Bradenton Area
If you’ve ever been to Downtown Bradenton in the spring months you may have found yourself surrounded by an awful lot of black and gold paraphernalia. Don’t be alarmed – you’re only surrounded by hundreds of Pittsburgh Pirates fans who have come to the Bradenton Area to cheer on their beloved Bucs ahead of their regular season.
Just south of Downtown Bradenton you’ll find LECOM Park – the spring home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates have trained in the park since 1969 but that is not the beginning of the stadium’s story. In fact, LECOM Park (originally named McKechnie Field, named for Bradenton resident and Baseball Hall of Fame great Bill McKechnie) is one of the oldest operating ballparks in the entire United States. Originally built in 1923, the park is the third oldest stadium still being used by a major league team after only Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, respectively.
LECOM Park is considered by ballpark enthusiasts to be “Florida’s Fenway” and many people attend games here just to experience the park itself. And from the time you enter the gate through the Florida Spanish Mission style façade you’ll understand why.
LECOM has undergone significant renovations over the last three decades to provide fans modern amenities without losing the feeling of being in a classic ballpark. A 2013 renovation added a 19,000 square foot boardwalk spanning the outfield to give fans a 360 degree view of the game along with better seats, new concessions locations, an enlarged Fan Plaza and more.
And it’s not just the park that makes your Spring Training experience special – the city of Bradenton has embraced its role as the southern home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and welcomes baseball enthusiasts all year long. The park is home to the Bradenton Marauders and frequently has fan nights, fireworks, festivals and more. And with its proximity to the sugar-white sands of Anna Maria Island, we think it’s the perfect way for a baseball fan to take a much-needed vacation.
So whether you’re here as an all-time Bucs fan or just a fan of the casual fan of America’s Pastime, we think you’re going to love your experience in the Bradenton Area’s own crown jewel of baseball.