Here's a recap of our Sunday at PirateFest as told by Evan. He's posted once here before.
We entered the Fest about an hour after it started, and my initial reaction was, "Wow, there are a ton of people here!" Usually it seems like there isn't a huge fan base for our Buccos, but there were a lot more people than I had first expected. There are probably a few exceptions like autograph seekers and little kids who just want to play the games and win last year's promotions. Even if you subtract them, there was still a good amount. The official attendance for the weekend was down from last year but still the 3rd largest in Fest history. Anyway, on to the basic recap of what we saw.
Other than my only complaint of way too high food prices ($3.50 for a crappy hot dog), the Fest had improved from last year. There were your usual games, the hour long autograph lines, batting cages, pitch speed booths, and advertising booths. But, it also had a few exciting player-to-fan interaction sessions (if you'd like to call it that). There was Pirates Deal or No Deal, We are Fam-a-lee Feud, and trivia sessions with the announcers. Deal or No Deal (in which contestants could win anything from a pocket schedule to a 20-pack of tickets) wasn't as funny or exciting as last year, but Xavier Nady did a decent job as banker (not as funny as Zach Duke). His perennial favorite add on to the end of each offer was, "...and I'll sign a ball." Don't really know if you'd really want that considering that he signed for 20 minutes after, but it was still kind of funny. Next was the trivia session, where Jesse won tickets thanks to Bob Walk's bad hearing. He asked what position Rob King (FSN studio host) played in high school for his football team, offering 2 tickets to anyone who guessed correctly. Jesse replied, "Cornerback," and Bob (thinking that Jesse had said "Quarterback") gave Jesse the tickets. Brian and I had also won tickets from a grab bag we received earlier. So, we will definitely be headed to at least one game this year. (Last year's total was north of 20) . Still, my favorite show was We Are Fam-a-lee Feud, which was up next. The Cannonball Crew picked random fans out of the seating area to compete against the "player family" of Bill Madlock, John Grabow, Tom Gorzelanny, Paul Maholm, and up and coming SS Brian Bixler. This was by far the most entertaining event of the day. They had your regular Family Feud setup with sports based questions (answered by 100 Pirate Fans). Since we had front-row seats, we could suggest answers and basically talk to the players, and as a result, Bill Madlock now officially hates me. The question "Name a famous baseball movie" came up and I shouted out, "The Rookie", they guessed it, and it was wrong. All the Buccos were wondering who suggested it and Mad Dog pointed me out. Oh well. The funniest reaction was when the question was, "Name a famous sports mascot". Jesse shouted "Steely McBeam" a.k.a. the new Steeler Mascot never seen at any of the games. All the players gave Jesse a look saying, "What are you smoking?" Well, when nobody could get any more questions right, they revealed the answer, and low and behold, Steely was #4. The players got a good laugh at Jesse's expense for that. That basically shows the way you get to just hang out with the Bucs at Piratefest.
Well, we didn't really come home with any new expectations or high-valued prizes, just a few hours hanging with the Bucs. We shall see how the season goes (16 days till Spring Training).