Amy, Olivia and I headed down to the David L Lawrence Convention Center on Friday for the season ticket holder only portion of Piratefest.
The general public would have to wait until Saturday and Sunday to attend. As an added perk, since I had paid for my three season tickets in full, I was granted early access at 4 PM, two and a half hours before the rest of the season ticket holders are allowed in.
Therefore, when 4PM came, we walked in, and the few season ticket holders that were paid in full flocked to the autograph lines and the clubhouse store to take advantage of their 40% off coupons. It made the hall eerily empty.
By the way, Jeff Karstens was working scanning our tickets:
And Andrew McCutchen, James McDonald, and Neil Walker were working passing out the calendars to fans:
Our first stop was the Pirates Clubhouse store.
There I purchased a Pirates 2011 style BP hat for $14 with the VIP shopping coupon that was sent to me. The second stop was the authenticated merchandise area. There were lots of game used jerseys, balls, bats, line up cards, etc there.
Some of the merchandise was rather pricey. An Andrew McCutchen game used road jersey?
I considered buying a Herbie Andrade game used jersey to hopefully get the guy to like me again after seeing me switch shirts to the visiting team, but $125 seemed too expensive.
I did end up buying some game used merchandise. First, I bought a bag of four game used baseballs:
The balls were in a grab bag. Each ball was game used and has an authentication sticker on it with a hologram. I got a ball from Opening Day 2008 in Atlanta, a ball from the 2008 home opener, a ball from 2011 when Joel Hanrahan set a save record, and a Garrett Jones RBI base hit baseball from June 20 2011 vs Indians. Pretty cool, they’ve got to be worth more than the $5 each that I paid. At worst I was planning on peeling off the stickers and giving them away as decoy balls throughout the 2012 season.
Also, there were lineup cards from every game from the 2011 season. They were all in chronological order, so I flipped through and bought one from the day Olivia was born. She was actually born as the game was going on!
So, it will get framed and hang in her bedroom. It was only $25 by the way, not too bad.
There was a large Christmas tree in the middle of the convention center, but besides that, there weren’t many Christmas decorations. It was all black and gold everywhere.
We took advantage of the low crowds to head over to the MVP zone, which is a season ticket holder only area with short lines. There we got autographs from:
Daniel McCutchen and Michael McKenry.
McCutchen recognized me and asked how many balls McKenry had thrown me. I told him ‘none.’ I also told him he threw one to me in 2011, albeit by accident, as it was a random flip up into the stands in Cleveland.
There was Alex Presley and Kevin Correia:
and Clint Barmes, Jose Tabata and Chris Resop. Joel Hanrahan was at the table too, but bailed about two minutes before I got up to the table.
We also stopped by the 2012 Promotional booth, where many of the give aways from the coming year are on display. There was a wall of shirts from Free Shirt Fridays:
And a closer look at the 12 shirts that will be given away:
First is a plain looking white tee shirt that’s kind of boring, followed by a rather sharp black shirt.
There is a camo Pirates logo shirt and a generic gray shirt.
Two weird design shirts, one of silhouettes of Pirates players past and present, and another silhouette of Andrew McCutchen on a white shirt:
A gold Pirates shirt, which is great for ballhawking because it makes you stand out, and a gray shirt with the Pittsburgh skyline on it, as seen from PNC Park:
Two really weird shirts for rappers:
And a Roberto Clemente shirt along with a snazzy gold Pirates shirt to conclude the season:
Other items were a Pirate Parrot doll and Pirates bowls:
A Joel Hanrahan bobblehead and Neil Walker mom and kid jerseys:
A Pirates umbrella:
A Pirates floatation device, sunglasses, and hat:
A kids necklace, visor, cooler bag, and gym bag:
The promotions didn’t get me very excited. It seemed to be the same old stuff except with a different design. The Pirates gym bag and a couple of the shirts are the only promotions that I would be interested in actually keeping for myself.
Piratefest also features game shows that fans can participate in. There was deal or no deal, which is so boring because its old and the prizes have been the same for years:
And Jeopardy, which was painful to watch,
mainly because the three contestants were idiots.
The kid on the left didn’t know Andrew McCutchen’s number. I missed one question: Bob Friend let the league in what category in 1955? There was one other question I didn’t know: What is the Minnesota Twins’ mascot? Every other question I answered aloud to Amy correctly.
Before leaving at 6:40 pm, I played three games. I ended up winning free tickets on two of them. Not bad.
Piratefest is always something I look forward to every year, and its usually the same stuff every year, but it still breaks up the offseason a little bit and gets me looking forward to baseball again.