Friday, January 29, 2010

PirateFest 2010: Day One

I became a season ticket holder in 2006. I attended my first PirateFest in 2007, and have gone at least twice a year for every year since. It is sort of my kick-off to the new baseball season. Last year, I documented my experience on this very blog. And while I was able to get some cool things such as a Bobby Hill BP jersey and the scorecard from the night my wife and I had a wedding rehearsal party at PNC Park, there really wasn't a lot of excitement in the air or for me personally.

This year was totally different. Maybe it was the appearances of members of the 1960 World Series Championship team. Maybe it was the recent acquisitions and trades of the front office, bringing legitimate talent on to the team. Who knows for sure what it was that electrified and brought out thousands to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center for the kick-off of the 2010 PirateFest.

I arrived to the Convention Center around 3pm, one hour before doors were to open to season ticket holders. Already there were probably 75-125 people in line. So I waited and had the opportunity to strike up some small talk with the folks around me. As soon as I walked into the main hall of the Convention Center, I got myself in line for the opportunity to meet and get an autograph from the legendary Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski......and Steve Peacre and Joel Hanranhan??? Not exactly sure why these two were paired with Maz. Why not stick a Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, or Ross Ohlendorf with Maz? Or, even better, how about guys like Dick Groat, Bob Friend, or Elroy Face, all of who were in attendance for the day. I mean, I like Hanrahan and all, but maybe the Pirates assumed he and Pearce, who will be lucky to even make it on the 25 man roster this year, would only draw autographs if paired with Maz. To shake the hand of Bill Mazeroski was great. I can tell, that despite it being 50 years since his historic home run, Maz is still strong like an ox.

Anyhow, after getting those autographs, I headed over to the Lost Treasures booth to look for a Ross Ohlendorf jersey. No such luck. However, I did find a Jason Bay jersey going for about half of his recent contract with the Mets.

After my brief stay in the Lost Treasures booth, I walked around a bit, checking out Collector's Row, and then heading into the MVP Section for season ticket holders. It would be here that I spend a majority of my day. I basically got in line, got my baseball signed by members of the current roster, then looped back around to get in line again for the next set of players. While doing this, I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Paul Maholm, whom my wife and I bowled with last year at Bowling with the Bucs. He autographed a picture the three of us took together, as well as my team ball.

The night would end in some disappointment. As I was sporting my orange Princeton t-shirt, I was hoping to get the opportunity to meet Ross Ohlendorf, get a few pictures signed, and get my ball signed. No such luck. I'm hoping to go up tomorrow or Sunday and to have a little more luck. For now, the countdown is on to Monday, April 5, 2010.

Let's Go Bucs!

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