On July 4, the Pirates were pleased to present Military Appreciation Day. All veterans and active military personnel were eligible to receive up to four free tickets for the game against the Houston Astros that day, and the ballclub gave away more than 10,000 tickets as a result. That same day, Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton and his wife Cindy hosted 40 members of the military -- from Operation Troop Appreciation and the Wounded Warrior Project -- and their families. Along with tickets to the game, the Mortons provided each soldier with $50 in Aramark money, a Pirates Camo jersey, a Pirates Phiten Camo necklace/bracelet, an autographed baseball and other items in appreciation of their service to our country.
A group of more than 1,200 -- including people with all types of disabilities and their friends and family members -- came together at PNC Park on July 6 for a Disability Awareness Celebration. In addition to taking in the Pirates-Giants contest that night, participants attended a pre-game fair on Federal Street where more than 20 vendors shared information about disability-related organizations and their products and services.
On July 7, Pirates players and coaches took part in the third annual Miracle League Fantasy Baseball Camp at the Pirates Charities Miracle League Field of the South Hills. During the event -- which was sponsored by the Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids non-profit organization -- the participants rotated through five stations and learned fundamentals of the game from Pirates such as Manager Clint Hurdle, Bench Coach Jeff Banister, infielder Casey McGehee, catcher Michael McKenry and pitcher Jared Hughes. They also received personalized Pirates jerseys and were treated to a catered lunch. Currently, four local Miracle League programs take part in the annual fantasy camp -- the Miracle Leagues of the South Hills (located in Upper St. Clair), Southwestern Pennsylvania (Cranberry), Ohio Valley (Wheeling, WV) and Western Pennsylvania (Murrysville).
Prior to their game against the San Francisco Giants on July 8, the Pirates recognized the ALS Association of Western PA, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the ALS Therapy Development Institute during a special on-field group salute. Individuals from all three organizations attended the game that afternoon as guests of the ballclub in connection with the 4ALS program, which is designed to create awareness about the impact that ALS has on individuals who battle the disease and their families. ALS-related public service announcements were also shared with everyone in attendance at PNC Park that day as part of an MLB-wide effort.
On July 21, nearly 3,000 people joined the Pirates for the Family Fun Run/Walk to benefit friends and neighbors with epilepsy and seizure disorders. The fundraiser has been a cornerstone event for the Epilepsy Foundation of Western/Central Pennsylvania for more than 20 years. This time around, Pirates pitcher Tony Watson and the Pirate Parrot helped to lead the festivities along with WTAE-TV's Andrew Stockey and local radio personality and comedian Jim Krenn. The 5K run/2 mile walk course wound through the North Shore and participants were treated to a tailgate party afterwards. In addition, prizes were awarded to the teams and individuals that raised the most money.
More than 120 local youngsters received free vision and dental screening at PNC Park on July 25, courtesy of the Pirates, Highmark, Davis Vision, United Concordia Dental and Tickets For Kids Charities. The kids also received goodie bags and tickets to the Pirates-Cubs game that afternoon.
The Pirates game against the San Diego Padres at PNC Park on August 10 was designated as Stand Up 2 Cancer Night. Ticket packages were $30 and $10 from each one sold went directly to Major League Baseball's Stand Up 2 Cancer effort. The packages included a ticket in the Stand Up 2 Cancer section in the Pirates Cove, a Stand Up 2 Cancer cap, and an "I Stand Up For ____ sign to honor a loved one affected by cancer. In addition, participants had the opportunity to sign a special Stand Up 2 Cancer banner that will be displayed for the remainder of the season at PNC Park inside the West Penn Allegheny Health Systems Rotunda. Before the game that night, fans were invited to a block party on Federal Street that featured live entertainment and concessions stands, plus they had a chance to hear from local cancer advocates -- including Pirates Bench Coach Jeff Banister, who has battled bone cancer. Stand Up 2 Cancer t-shirts and wristbands were also available for purchase with the proceeds going to the Stand Up 2 Cancer effort.