Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bradenton Marauders Season Tickets

I just returned a bit ago from venerable old McKechnie Field in Bradenton, the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the summer home of the new Bradenton Marauders. The Marauders are a Class A affiliate of the Pirates and with the departure of the Sarasota Reds, they are now the closest minor league team to Sarasota.

I went to McKechnie Field this frigid rainy Saturday morning to pick out my seat for my season tickets to all Marauders home games. A season ticket is a huge bargain. I paid $210 for tickets to all 70 home games (simple math says that is $3.00 a game). Along with that comes two huge benefits. One is free parking (any parking is at a premium near this ball park). The other huge benefit is a pass identifying me as a Florida State League season ticket holder. That pass allows me to show up at any stadium in the Florida State League and I get free admission. When they made that promotion they probably didn't factor in people like me. Its going to be a money-losing proposition for many Florida State League teams!

The official time for selecting seats was 10:00 a.m. but I arrived at 9:20 fully prepared to stand in line in the freezing rain to get the prime seat in the ball park. On getting to the ticket window I learned that the Marauders had already placed me in a general area given the preference that I provided when I signed up for season tickets in January.

Before my arrival they had blocked out Sections 1, 2, or 3 for me directly behind home plate. As it turned out I was the only season ticket holder who wanted seats back there! Apparently everyone else wants seats behind the dugout which makes no sense to me. Maybe they all weren't catchers? To me there is no other seat on the field as good as the seat directly behind the catcher.

As my luck would have it, looking at the seating chart I was able to select Section 1, Row 1, Seat 1, and that is where I will be for every Marauders home game this summer! Life is good.

Opening day for the Florida State League is April 8, just 40 long days away from now. The Marauders first game will be against the Fort Myers Miracle. I'll have to check their roster to see if Chris Cates, the 5'3" shortstop from last year will be back. Chris played with more heart and more gusto than almost any other player I saw in the FSL last summer. For that reason, and out of respect for his determination, I refused to heckle him any time I watched Fort Myers play Sarasota.

So, despite the miserable rainy weather today there is one bright spot. I have, for me, the best seat in the house at McKechnie Field and I have it for all summer long. The only other thing I need is for the Marauders to not be nearly as abysmal as the Sarasota Reds were!

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