The Pittsburgh Pirates will open the doors to their 24th Annual PirateFest on Saturday. The crowds of the Caravan have been replaced by private events on the CAREavan and if you’re feeling like me, this PirateFest feels different than any in recent history.
The Pirates ended the longest losing streak in North American team sports history by grabbing a National League wild-card berth, and Pittsburgh was set on fire by a Cinderella story. Frank Coonelly challenged fans to support the team and Pittsburgh did just that.
The turnstiles turned to the tune of 2.25 million fans with a franchise-record 23 sellouts. Season ticket holders have a crazy value added ‘trade your unused ticket for a game ticket you can attend benefit’ so if those could have counted, the sellouts really were probably closer to 30.
The attendance wasn’t simply at PNC Park, TV ratings were through the stratosphere as well. With all the buzz of the season, the offseason has been very quiet and it should be interesting to see the turnout at The Convention Center this weekend. I’m sure it will be rocking.
In the past year, the Bucs have made great strides in new media and it’s made a huge impact on the interaction among the team and their fans, especially the younger demographics.
We are fans of the December PirateFest dates the Bucs selected two winters ago. Some of you hate it and your reasons make perfect sense. The event will be Saturday and Sunday. If you want to see the complete schedule, or need tickets, click those links to the Bucs site.
Tickets remain $12 for adults (no change over last year) and $6 for kids under 14 (no increase over last season.) Doors open at noon on Saturday and Sunday. PirateFest will receive a 2014 Pirates wall calendar, 2014 pocket schedule and PirateFest program upon entrance.
DO: Say hello to some of your favorite Buccos like Neil Walker, Justin Wilson, Starling Marte and others.
DON’T: Forget to hit me up on Twitter. It looks like we will be in the brand new Bucs Social VIP area some of the time.
BucSocial VIP Area
Followers of the Pirates social media sites were given an opportunity to win passes to the Pirates exclusive BucSocial VIP area simply by following the Pirates on Twitter. A special meet and greet with Pirates players, coaches and celebrities in the #BucSocial VIP Area, a chance to create content for our social media channels, and interact with other fans.
The list of players available is below:
- 2 p.m. – Tony Sanchez
- 4 p.m. – Jose Tabata
- 5 p.m. – Bryan Morris
- 12:30 p.m. – Jeff Locke
- 1:30 p.m. – Jeff Banister
- 2 p.m. – Gaby Sanchez
- 2:30 p.m. – Neil Walker
DON’T: Forget to pay attention to 93.7 The Fan, the radio home of the Pirates. They have been doing ticket giveaways and will be on site throughout the weekend.
DO: Make sure your phone, cameras, video cameras, etc are charged up.
DO: SEND US PICTURES on Twitter to be eligible to win great prizes in RumBunters Third Annual PirateFest Carnival of the Insane
DO: Follow the event on twitter to see if the Pirates do anything cool like giveaways. And it’s a great way to catch up with your twitter friends too.
DON’T: Park near the Convention Center. Cheaper alternatives are available a few blocks away. Follow the ParkPgh link for some suggestions, or utilize GPS.
DO: Park at the Convenion Center if you enjoy the convenience of simply jumping on the garage elevator, and riding the escalator up to the show. You will be walking and standing a lot so wear fresh kicks.
DO: Be certain you bring something to do while standing in line, and the lines are always long, Make sure you have the kids bring their DS so they don’t drive you crazy while you wait. Autograph schedules are below if you’re into that sort of thing.
12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
- Neil Walker, Justin Wilson, Jeff Banister
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Jeff Locke, John Candelaria, Dave Parker
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Grant Jackson, Omar Moreno, Kent Tekulve
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- Clint Hurdle, Gaby Sanchez, Chris Stewart
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
- Jaff Decker, Jose Tabata
12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
- Starling Marte, Bryan Morris, Charlie Morton, Tony Sanchez
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
- Jaff Decker, Chris Stewart, Tony Watson, Grant Jackson
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Josh Harrison, Neil Walker, Dave Parker
DON’T: Miss out on the Pirates Authentics, along with Hunt Auctions, those booths have the cool memorabila. Hunt will also be offering appraisal services at no charge upon paid admission to Piratefest with categories including autographs, cards, bats, tickets, programs, and game-used items. Fans who wish to arrange for a specific timed appointment or need assistance in the handling of their items may contact [email protected] for more details.
DO: Dress the kids for action. There will be the KDKA Field where Pirates coaches give some very good instruction along with the batting cages.
DON’T: Drink like a madman the night before you go. The Central Blood Bank will be there and the holidays are a great time to donate blood.
DO: Dig around for some old Pirates memorabila this week. The Pirates veterans on hand are quite impressive including members of the 1979 Champions. Wear that Me and the Boys Will Be Boppin Dave Parker shirt!
If you forget or can’t find any, there is a table that sells pictures, but often they run out so be sure to grab them up quick.
DON’T: Eat anything inside the Convention Center unless you are starved. Here is a link to a map with tons of great alternatives within a ten minute walk from PirateFest. Unfortunately, the event doesn’t even have a cool place to just relax. (Unless youre a season ticket holder) So if you want to eat some real food or catch sports you’re out of luck. What you will have to do is plan an escape downtown. Be sure you pick a good break time and go check out some of our favorite establishments. (If you have any other places to check out that might be a bit closer, be sure to leave it in the comments for others)
6 Penn Kitchen (Sixth and Pennsylvania, 412-566-PENN) has an open kitchen, cocktails and craft beer. Caribbean Fusion and veggie delights that always get grea reviews. Hit em up on Four Squarea or here’s a link.
Brillobox (4104 Penn Avenue, 412-621-4900) is not in the Strip, but it’s rather easy to get over there. Brillobox has absolutely great beer selection, cocktails, and of course a very cool scene.
Eleven is with the bigburrito company. I’ve never been inside when sober, so I didn’t partake in the food, but have heard great things.
DON’T: Forget your iPod, earplugs, or Sony Walkman. The Bucs are holding a singing contest once again this year for an opportunity to sing the National Anthem. A panel of judges including Pirates Tony Watson and Gaby Sanchez and Pirates alumni Kent Tekulve and Steve Blass, will select one winner to sing the Star Spangled Banner at a Pirates home game in 2014.
DO: Pay close attention to the schedule. If you manage your time wisely, it’s impossible not to see everybody you want to see. It might be necessary to prioritize, but it can be done.
DON’T: Forget to bring a bag to take home all of the merch you will accumulate. This is especially true if you don’t park inside the Convention Center. Walking back and forth to your vehicle a few blocks away will get tiresome.
Let’s Go Bucs!