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A Brief Guide to PiratesFest 2018

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Opening Ceremonies for All-Star Fan Fest Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

This year’s edition of PiratesFest, a seasonal affective disorder light of baseball marketing for us to turn on for a few hours in the wintertime, takes place on Saturday. The official rundown is here.

The unofficial rundown is here:

They added an s.

The biggest news here, by far, is that the Pirates changed the name to “PiratesFest.” It had previously been known as the singular “PirateFest.” This feels appropriate, at least in print. I’m not a big fan of using the singular in this case; it’s almost always the same or better in the plural. The name “Yankee Stadium” only looks normal because you’ve gotten used to it. “Yankees Stadium” would convey the same idea, but not look dumb. I’m down.

That said, verbally, saying “PirateFest” will be a hard habit to break.

It’s been moved to PNC Park.

Held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for several years, PiratesFest has been moved to PNC Park. I’m sure there will be pluses and minuses with this. Some activities will be taking place outdoors, and the forecast is calling for weather that might not be the most pleasant for standing in lines. However, there’s potential for some cool stuff, with the batting cages, club level and Hall of Fame Club in use. Plus, you’re at a ballpark in the winter, and that’s kind of fun.

One day only

Previously a multi-day affair, PiratesFest will be limited to just Saturday. A season-ticket-holder-only session will run from 9 a.m. to noon. The general public is welcome from noon to 6 p.m.

Will any news come from PiratesFest?

Nothing big, I imagine. There will be interviews and people may say some interesting things. Also, if the Pirates make uniform tweaks or add an alternate, that’s usually unveiled at PiratesFest. But it’s not like they’ve got Shohei Ohtani hidden in the Pirate Parrot’s locker room, ready to unveil him to the suddenly placated masses. The Pirates aren’t the type of team to sign a big free agent, let alone be concerned with timing the announcement with their fan fest.

Approach the management Q&A with caution.

The Ask Pirates Management sessions (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.) can be entertaining in the same way a tire fire is. They’re also not a great source of useful baseball talk, and the outrage gets tiresome. If you have a good sense of humor about it, by all means, check this out. If you’re easily bothered by recycled McClatchy-era talking points or hot-take talk radio, I suggest steering clear.