By Rick Dayton

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Every team draws a big crowd on Opening Day and many professional sports teams like the Pirates use promotional items to get them to come back.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are back and so are free shirt Fridays and bobble-heads also return this season.

Andrew McCutchen’s bobble-head shows off his Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards. The A.J. Burnett bobble-head is decked out in camaflouge and is complete with forearm tattoos.

The players say they feel the buzz.

“It’s [going to] be a fun year. We are going to have a lot of fun. We are a team that is going to be relentless all year long – just be the Battling Buccos,” catcher Michael McHenry said.

“The interest is certainly back within this organization from the fans’ standpoint. More than that, I think people are understanding the talent we have in this room and what we have going on, but this is an exciting time for us,” second baseman Neil Walker said.

“We have a tremendous asset in our fan base. They care about the team deeply and there are guys like Neil that are so important in keeping that connection with our city,” Pirates Owner Bob Nutting said.

Coming up this season, there will be more than three dozen home dates when the promotions department is giving things away as a way to try to get fans in the stands.

The players in the locker room say it is up to them to make sure there are lots of fannies in the seats at PNC Park.

“We also want to be the team to go out there and turn things around so they can have something to remember now and I think we are capable of doing that and just look forward to going out there,” centerfielder Andrew McCutchen said.

There are five fireworks nights and two Skyblast concerts with Third Eye Blind and the Neon Trees. Sundays will be special this summer, too.

“On Sundays, the team will be wearing at home, their throwback jerseys. It’s a 1970s jersey. Roberto Clemente and the 70s Pirates wore it. In addition to that, there is a throwback hat,” Aramark General Manager Steve Musciano said.

Promotions aside, the 2013 Pirates hope this year’s team gives fans plenty to cheer about.


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