Pittsburgh Pirates Take New Approach With PirateFest


Feb 13, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; A freshly painted logo adorns at wall at Pirate City before the Pittsburgh Pirates first spring training workout. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

PirateFest traditionally has been a gathering of fans that serves as the Pittsburgh Pirates way of saying thank you for all of the support it has received. This year’s event which will be held Dec. 13-14 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center has a different twist to it.

Admission to PirateFest will be free for all fans instead of the very youngest of Pirates fans as it has been in the past. Before unless you were a season ticket holder you would have to pay for a ticket to the event.

The other change this year is a $20 donation to Pirates Charities which will allow you entry to receive a total of three autographs from a combination of current and former Pirates.

For fans who are complaining about the price it is worth noting that each session will cut off after 200 tickets are sold. Fans who pay would be ensured an autograph instead of having to wait in an endless line which when you finally get to the front have three completely different people.

Determining whether this switch is good or not depends on your interests. If you are going strictly for autographs, it will be worth more to enjoy the basic amenities of PirateFest, especially if you do multiple autograph sessions.

Many fans won’t mind paying and all power to them for their support of Pirates Charities and also to likely get a more personal experience with a player or coach. Before fans pretty much were a number as the long lines had to be moved in a quick manner. Now the line will be much more controlled which is a great thing and not the eye sore it once was.

The other fans have plenty of opportunities as they will get in free for the first time and have a chance to buy merchandise, meet current and former players, potentially play games, view new promotions and remember how much you miss baseball among other things.

Personally I likely will attend the Sunday session. I was disappointed with last year’s PirateFest as I felt it was dumbed down to the average fan who is either being introduced or re-acquainted with the team. I doubt this year will be different but even so, how can you beat that price point? I expect to see another record attendance and why wouldn’t you go, all you have to do is walk in. I would advise to buy food in advance or bring food in advance if that is still allowed as the concessions are quite pricey.

Regardless the main concept behind PirateFest is to build excitement for the season and satisfy baseball hangovers and every year fans of all ages are satisfied.