Pittsburgh Pirates

LECOM Park

Bradenton , FL

Year Opened: 1923 (1993 and 2013 renovations)

Capacity: 8,500

Grade: 86.5 Ranking: FL: #6(t)/14; Overall: #10(t)/24*

Note: A full, in-depth review will come out in 2017-2018. The following bullet points consist of quick opening thoughts. Likes and dislikes will be extensively qualified in subsequent reviews. They also don’t contain detailed architectural or aesthetic observations.  

March 16th 2008: Infield Reserve
March 16th 2009: Infield Box
March 10th 2010: Infield Reserve
March 13th 2013: Infield Box
March 18th 2015: Infield Box

Photo Gallery at bottom of page

*Note: There are 23 spring training ballparks, as 7 complexes are shared by two teams.  For the “Fan Support” score, I usually just split the difference, as differences in fan support don’t fundamentally alter the ballpark experience.  I found only one exception: Roger Dean Stadium, where the Cardinals (arguably possessing the best fanbase) and the Marlins (some would say the worst) play.  Thus, I split those two scores, which is why there are 24 different ballparks graded overall.
  • This is the one park where people are saying it feels like it should be higher on the list; fans usually rank the Pirates spring training facility near the top
  • Subjectively, I feel like it should be way higher, too
  • As with classic parks like Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, perhaps the ratings aren’t properly recognizing LECOM Park’s (its going to take a while to get used to that) simple splendor, while punishing it for lacking amenities or having poor functionality
  • This is why I don’t rank or rate the two classic major league ballparks
  • So take this score and rank with a grain of salt, if you wish
  • In my opinion, despite obviously merits, the renovations probably didn’t go far enough, even if the fan experience was dramatically improved
  • Just looking at comparative cost, $10 million here vs. $30-$50 million with others, they didn’t
  • Don’t get me wrong; the renovations did an excellent job preserving and enhancing the ballparks aesthetics, but functionally they didn’t do enough
  • Taken individually, the new amenities are great, especially the fun-filled fan plaza and the boardwalk, but overall, they’re probably lacking in comparison to other new or renovated parks
  • Adding a new videoboard in 2017-2018 helped

 

Likes and Dislikes

Things I like:

  • Vintage interior and exterior design
  • Neighborhood setting
  • Fun filled fan plaza concourse
  • 360-degree experience with multiple bars
  • Classic atmosphere
  • New videoboard

Things I don’t like:

  • Too many bleacher seats down the lines
  • Narrow concourse around home plate and 3rd base
  • For a renovated park, they didn’t significantly enhance the concessions
  • General lack of amenities (other than bars/sitting areas) for renovated park
NEXT - Setting

Gallery

Scorecard:

Setting: 8.5/10

Location/Access: 8.5/10

Architecture & Aesthetics: 23/28

Exterior Design: 8/10

Interior Aesthetics: 13/15

Concourses: 2/3

Functionality: 18/25

Sightlines: 7.5/10

Seat Comfort: 3/5

Concourses: 4.5/7

Scoreboard: 3/3

Atmosphere: 15/17

Ballpark Personality: 9.5/10

Fan Support: 3.5/5

Ballpark Policies: 2/2

Amenities: 13/20

Concessions: 7.5/10

Premium Seats: 1.5/4

Sitting Areas: 3/4

Entertainment: 1/2

Conclusion

Bonus: 9

Final Score: 86.5