First night game at McKechnie is March 7

Pirates' spring schedule includes two visits from Yankees

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The Pirates' first night game at 85-year-old McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., the last spring-training stadium in Major League Baseball to install lights, will be March 7 against the Cincinnati Reds.

The team's Grapefruit League schedule, released yesterday, includes another home night game, March 19 against the New York Yankees. Each will begin at 7:05 p.m.

The eight light poles installed this offseason -- two along each of the baselines and four beyond the outfield fences -- were part of an $18 million renovation of McKechnie Field and the nearby Pirate City complex, most of that paid by a Florida government grant. The renovation influenced the Pirates last year to sign a 30-year lease to remain in Bradenton.

Since 1988, when Chicago's Wrigley Field added lights, McKechnie was the only park used by a major-league team that had none.

Other highlights:

• The Pirates' first game action, as usual, will come against Manatee Community College Feb. 27 at McKechnie. The first Grapefruit League game will be Feb. 28 against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.

• The World Series champion Boston Red Sox will visit March 16.

• The Yankees will visit again March 23.

• The schedule will close with a March 29 home game against the Minnesota Twins. Two days later, the Pirates will open the 2008 season in Atlanta.

Pitchers and catchers are required to report for spring training Feb. 14, with their first workout the following day at noon. The first full-squad workout will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 20. All workouts until the Grapefruit League schedule opens will be at Pirate City.

The Pirates announced that individual game tickets for most Grapefruit League games will rise by $1. A box seat will cost $16, reserved $15 and the right-field grandstand $9. Games against the Red Sox, Yankees and Detroit Tigers, which tend to draw sellouts, will run $18 for box, $17 for reserved and $10 for grandstand.

Season tickets for the Pirates' spring schedule are on sale now. Individual tickets go on sale Jan. 26.


Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com .


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