During the brief time I lived in Florida, one of the few highlights was being within reasonable driving distance of a lot of MLB spring training parks. Much like PNC Park, LECOM Park is known for its beauty; it’s been called spring training’s Fenway Park. Having been to both, I have to agree. March in Florida is excellent weather-wise, the last pleasant lull before the swamp that exists most of the year arrives, and if you’re a baseball fan, getting in a couple of spring training games makes for a great winter getaway.
Tear yourself away from travel websites for a moment and check your answers on this week’s quiz.
Which city was never a Pirates spring training site?
A. San Antonio, TX B. San Bernadino, CA C. Orlando, FL D. Thomasville, GA
It wasn’t until 1968 that the Pirates made Bradenton their permanent spring home, so they bounced around quite a bit between Florida and the southwest. In the meantime, five other MLB teams used the park as their spring base: the Cardinals, the Phillies, the Red Sox, the Boston Braves and the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics.
What distinction does the Pirates’ spring training home, LECOM Field, hold?
A. Fourth oldest facility used by an MLB team B. Only facility to currently host two MLB teams C. Northernmost spring training field in Florida D. Oldest park still used for spring training
Then known as City Park, it opened in 1923. In addition to being the oldest spring training park, it’s also the third-oldest park used by an MLB team, behind Fenway and Wrigley Field, which were built in 1912 and 1914 respectively.
Before becoming LECOM Field, the stadium was named for which former Pirate?
A. Bill McKechnie B. Bill Mazeroski C. Roberto Clemente D. Willie Stargell
McKechnie was a Bradenton native, and in 1962, the year he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, City Park was named McKechnie Field. It’s pretty much just a coincidence that his old team plays there now. When the Pirates allowed Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to buy the naming rights in 2017, claiming that they had tried to contact McKechnie’s surviving relatives, his daughter Carol Montgomery countered that she’d never heard from the team. Bradenton locals still call it McKechnie Field in protest.
What cult baseball movie was filmed at LECOM Field?
A. Bang the Drum Slowly B. Long Gone C. The Slugger’s Wife D. A League of Their Own
Today, HBO is known as the juggernaut that launched The Sopranos and Game of Thrones, but back in the eighties its main original programming claim to fame was the football sitcom 1st and Ten, which was a middling show highlighted by occasional naked people and f-bombs. However, in 1987 it released Long Gone, about a struggling Class D minor league team in the late 1950s, and gained a bit of respectibility. It stars William Petersen and Virginia Madsen, who were both fairly big at the time, and has a lot of elements of great sports comedies like Slap Shot. It used to be next to impossible to find, but YouTube changed that.
What was significant about the game played on March nineteenth, 2008?
A. Andrew McCutchen’s first spring training game B. First night game C. First game played after the stadium was renamed D. Last reunion of the 1960 World Series team
McKechnie Field was the last park used by an MLB team to get lights. Previously, the Pirates hadn’t minded; they liked to get everything done during the day and then chill out at night. The city of Bradenton got a grant from the state of Florida to renovate facilities so that teams would stop going to the Cactus League in Arizona, and since without lights the field just basically sat there for the majority of the year, it would be able to host other events. The game was originally scheduled for March seventh, but got rained out.
As always, if you have an idea for Trivia Tuesday, make a comment here or tweet @BucsDugout!