Recently, my wife, newborn son and I traveled from Minneapolis to Sarasota, Florida for a friend’s wedding. We're all big Minnesota Twins fans, so it worked out perfectly that the Twins were playing the Pirates at McKechnie Field, Pittsburgh’s spring training stadium in Bradenton, Florida, located only 14 miles from Sarasota.
Pirate City, the Pirates modern training complex, sits three miles east of McKechnie Field, which is used mostly for the club’s Grapefruit League games.
McKechnie is an older stadium, but it has a very intimate feel to it. Originally built in 1923, the venue was completely rebuilt in 1993 and renovated once again in 2008. It almost takes on more of the look of a minor league park, as opposed to a spring training facility.
The city of Bradenton has hosted Pirates spring training since 1969.
As the above picture shows, we had great seats right behind the Twins dugout. Manager Ron Gardenhire and some of the other coaches were right in front of us. As a bonus, we got to see a good amount of the Twins main players that afternoon, with the exception of Joe Mauer.
The Twins did pull off the victory that day 4-2, with Jared Burton getting the win.
Our experience in Bradenton had a different feel than previous visits to the Twins facility in Fort Myers, which possesses more of an all-inclusive feel, as compared to the spread out setup of the Pirates.
Here is the story we posted on iFolloSports.com last year, after checking out the Twins complex.