Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

McKechnie Hosts All-Star Game

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

McKechnie Hosts All-Star Game

Article excerpt

BRADENTON

BASEBALL: The stadium, opened in 1923, gets its first all-star game tonight

The Bradenton Marauders applied a little extra polish on their crown jewel Friday in preparation for tonight's 2014 Florida State League All-Star Game.

McKechnie Field, which opened to professional baseball in 1923, will host the 53rd edition of the FSL's All-Star contest for the first time.

The Marauders, the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, began calling McKechnie home during their inaugural season in 2010. The Pirates have played their major league spring training home games at the grand old ballpark since 1969.

About 35 workers were on hand throughout the day to put on the finishing touches Friday.

"We want to do our best to really showcase this stadium," Marauders GM A.J. Grant said as he pitched in. "We want to show what we have here with this gem of McKechnie Field.

"We've brought in everyone we normally would and kind of set it up the way we would for a spring training game. The Marauders games are a little bit more laid back, more casual. But this will be very similar to a spring training game as far as the number of people we have on hand and the atmosphere."

The game, slated for a 7:05 p.m. start, will feature a team of North Division players facing players from the South Division.

The Marauders and Charlotte Stone Crabs, the Advanced Class-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, are both members of the South Division.

The Stone Crabs play their home games at Charlotte County Stadium, where the Rays play their spring training games.

The Marauders will be represented by outfielder Josh Bell and left-handed pitcher Orlando Castro.

The Pirates drafted Bell, 21, in the second round of the 2011 First Year Player Draft and gave him a $1 million signing bonus. The 6-foot-3 switch-hitter is batting .318 with nine home runs and 42 RBI. …

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