PRESS RELEASE – The Pittsburgh Pirates and Altoona Curve have extended their Player Development Contract (PDC) through the 2018 season, the two sides announced today prior to the Pirates-Curve Exhibition Game in Altoona. The announcement was made by Curve owner Bob Lozinak, Curve General Manager Rob Egan, Pirates President Frank Coonelly and Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington in front of a standing-room only, capacity-crowd at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Altoona, which at the end of its previous agreement would have already become the longest-standing Pirates affiliate in the modern era, will strengthen its hold on that mark having been affiliated with the Pirates for 20 consecutive seasons at the end of the newest agreement (1999-2018). When the newest extension reaches its 20th season, the Curve will join an exclusive club of minor league teams that have been affiliated with their parent organization for 20 or more consecutive seasons. Of the 160 affiliated teams in MiLB., 26 teams currently have an affiliation with their parent club that is 20 or more years.
“We’re excited to extended our affiliation with the Major League club the fans of our region have been passionate about long before the Curve came into being,” said Curve Owner Bob Lozinak. “Beginning our 15th season, the roots of the Pirates-Curve relationship are stronger than ever and we’re so pleased to see so many of our former players making an impact in Pittsburgh. We’re grateful to the Pirates’ ownership and management for their commitment to the Curve as further evidenced by their participation in today’s exhibition game in Altoona. We look forward to many, many more years as a proud affiliate.”
Prior to the Curve-Pirates affiliation, the longest affiliation the Pirates ever had with a minor league affiliate since 1950 was 15 seasons with the High-A Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League from 1995-2009. Coming in a close third was the 14-year run between the Bucs and the Triple-A Columbus Jets from 1957-1970.
“We are extremely pleased to continue our terrific, long-term partnership with the Curve,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “The Curve represent what we feel is the perfect minor league affiliation for the Pirates in many ways, including the strong ownership group, excellent management team, a great ballpark and, most importantly, the best fans in all of minor league baseball.”
Altoona opens up its regular season at 6:35 p.m. on April 4 in Erie where they will take on the SeaWolves (AA – Detroit) in the first of four games. The Curve open the home portion of their schedule at 6:30 p.m. on BOpening Night, April 11 at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Altoona will honor the life of beloved bat boy Bo Forney, who passed away earlier this year, during its home opener. Game-used memorabilia from today’s Pirates-Curve Exhibition, along with other items, will be auctioned off during BOpening Night with all proceeds benefitting the American Heart Association.
The first 5,000 fans into the ballpark on BOpening Night will receive a 2013 Magnet Schedule courtesy of Capital Contractors. It’s also a Thirsty ThursdayTM presented by Rocky 104.9 with $2 16 oz. Bud Light drafts and half-priced 22 oz. sodas. Members of the Silver Steamers Club presented by Homewood Retirement Centers in Martinsburg & Everett will enjoy their first game of the season on April 11 as well.
For tickets and more information on the 2013 Curve season, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the box office windows at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
PRESS RELEASE – The Altoona Curve have been selected to host the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game, the Curve and Eastern League announced today. The announcement was made by Altoona Curve General Manager Rob Egan and Eastern League President Joe McEacharn in front of a standing-room only crowd at Peoples Natural Gas Field during the fifth inning of the Pirates-Curve Exhibition Game. It is the second time in franchise history that the Curve will have hosted the Eastern League’s version of the midsummer classic and the first time since the 2006 season. The game is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 16, 2014.
The 2014 Eastern League All-Star Game will feature the premier players from the top Major League Baseball organizations in the Eastern League and will be a centerpiece to the activities that will take place across the two-day Eastern League All-Star Break, which runs from July 15-16, 2014. Some of the current major league stars who have played in previous Eastern League All-Star games are Ryan Howard (2004), Jose Bautista (2005), Hanley Ramirez (2005), and Matt Garza (2006). Current Buccos Jeff Locke and Starling Marte were both named Eastern League All-Stars during the 2011 season while playing with Altoona.
As with the previous All-Star Game hosted in Altoona, there will be several ballpark and community events leading up to and surrounding the game on July 16th, including an event the night before the game at the ballpark on the 15th. Specific details about events leading up to the game will be announced closer to the 2014 season.
“We’re excited to showcase the best talent in the Eastern League to the fans of our region,” said Egan. “We’re also looking forward to showcasing Altoona, Blair County, and Central Pennsylvania to the players, coaches, team executives, and fans from throughout the Northeast with the various activities we will plan.”
Prior to today’s exhibition with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 2006 E.L. All-Star Game held the record for the highest attended game in franchise history with 9,308 fans packing the ballpark. Curve hometown favorite Brett Roneberg grabbed the All-Star Game MVP honors back in ’06 as the South division bested the North, 5-3. Kip Bouknight, who at the time of the game was pitching for Harrisburg but joined the Curve team later in the season, was named the Pitcher of the Game with three scoreless innings.
“It is with a great deal of excitement that we announce plans to bring the Eastern League’s showcase event back to Altoona in 2014,” McEacharn said. “The relationship between the Curve and the Altoona community exemplifies all that is good about Minor League Baseball. The opportunity to put the spotlight on this relationship, the opportunity to reward Curve fans and supporters, and the knowledge that the Curve will put on a first rate show for players and fans alike makes this an easy decision.
“To announce on a very special day like this reinforces the commitment this franchise has made to the community.”
General public ticket information for the 2014 All-Star Game will come at a later date while tickets for the game itself will be included in all 2014 Altoona Curve full-season ticket holder packages. Fans in the general public will be given an opportunity to place themselves on a presale list for All-Star Game tickets simply by attending this year’s Curve regular-season home opener on April 11 with the Harrisburg Senators. Those in attendance that night for the 6:30 p.m. game with Harrisburg can place themselves on the presale list by signing up at the Laurel Eye Clinic Customer Service Booth, located behind home plate on the main concourse at Peoples Natural Gas Field or at the other sign-up station located in the Curve Stockyard store on the upper concourse.
The 2013 Eastern League All-Star Game will be held at New Britain Stadium, home of the New Britain Rock Cats, on July 10, 2013.
Altoona officially opens up its 15th season of baseball on the road at 6:35 p.m. on April 4 at Jerry Uht Park in Erie where it will take on the Erie SeaWolves (AA – Detroit). After a weeklong road-trip, the Curve return to Peoples Natural Gas Field to open their home schedule on Thursday, April 11 vs. Harrisburg at 6:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the box offices at Peoples Natural Gas Field.