CURVE, Pa. - 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.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.