My friend Baboo was in town to play baseball with a group called “Play at the Plate.”  This offered me the opportunity to visit Pirate City, which houses the Florida headquarters of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  I had passed by on more occasions than I can count, and have seen it transform from a scary-looking dump to a world-class operation worthy of being the headquarters of a major-league ball club. The weather was so much more pleasant than it was at Port St. Lucie last month, and a fine time was had by all, players and spectators alike.  And, speaking of Port St. Lucie, there were a lot of Mets fans at the tournament; there were 8 teams, and it looked as if each team had at least one man dressed in the blue-and-orange.

Here is the main entrance to the Pirate City complex:

The complex pays homage to 100+ years of Pirate history.  Pretty much everything is named for a famous Pirate.  Such as

Pie Traynor Field:

and Willie Stargell Field

and Roberto Clemente Field

and Honus Wagner Field

and Bill Mazeroski Field

My personal favorite was, of course the Ralph Kiner batting cage.  Here’s the sign:

and here is the best picture of the interior that I could get:

When I saw this, I thought that maybe they’d gone a bit overboard on the Pirates décor:

It’s a faucet in the ladies’ room next to the fields.

As for the games themselves, Baboo played for the appropriately named Pirates. The Pirates ended up being the oldest team in the entire tournament, and they finished smack in the middle — 4th of 8.

In case you don’t believe me that he is indeed called Baboo, here he is in his custom-made Mets BP jersey:

And here he is, on the mound in his Pirates gear:

As always, just click on the pictures to enlarge them.

After the tournament ended, every one went their separate ways, and I ended the day at my neighbors’ house watching the Super Bowl.  They are Patriots fans (as were most of the guests), and I was pulling for the Giants (there were a grand total of 3 guests who were rooting for the G-men).  But it was a great game, regardless of who you were rooting for.  We were all on the edge of our respective seats for the entire time.  This was one Super Bowl where the ads were not better than the game.