Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Back From Bradenton

I got back late last night from a trip to Bradenton, Florida with 2 friends of mine. It was weird not taking DB~ along on the trip, but this was a ton of baseball and golf packed into 5 days. She would have soldiered through all the baseball, but I'm afraid she would have been really bored.

We got down there on Friday 3/16 at 10 am and were already raring to go to McKechnie Field for the 1 p.m. major-league level Spring Training game against the Phillies. It was great to see one of my favorite prospects, Starling Marte, homer off of Cliff Lee to start the bottom of the 1st for the Pirates in the eventual 3-2 win.

The 3 of us went back the next day to see another game at McKechnie, this time a 2-1 loss to the Rays. McKechnie is an older park, but they've kept up on it with some renovations. The seats are tight and don't fold up, which led to many a time of 1/2 a row exiting the row to allow someone to go to the bathroom or concessions.

McKechnie itself is in an area of Bradenton that is, to be polite, socio-economically challenged. I've never seen so many used car dealers, auto body shops, detailing businesses, and car parts sales units in a concentrated area. Bradenton is a microcosm of the woes of Florida. There are nice areas that are coming back around, but albeit at much lower property values. These nice areas may be right next to an abandoned condominium complex or an office park with tumbleweeds rolling through it. But there are still plenty of boats in the marina, even if some of them have For Sale signs on them.

Downtown Bradenton has a 2 block area known as Old Main Street that has some fun bars and decent restaurants. The area skews older, as does most of Florida I presume, but there are still enough younger people floating around to keep the town somewhat lively.

I'll be posting some more posts talking about Pirate City (the minor league complex for the Pirates), plus our adventures in Tampa one night, and a great hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the side of the road I went to my last day.


  1. That may be the only time I have ever, or will ever, hear Bradenton referred to as "somewhat lively."

    Did they slip some caffeine into the public Ensure supply that day?

  2. I was told that there was a branch of University of South Florida a few miles away. I think they all came down to Bradenton for St. Patrick's Night.