Pittsburgh Pirates spend day at Painting With a Twist, prepare for PiratesFest |

Pittsburgh Pirates spend day at Painting With a Twist, prepare for PiratesFest

Megan Tomasic

PiratesFest autograph schedule: Fifteen players are expected to appear at the 2019 PiratesFest, spread into five sessions. Admission to the event is free to the public, but tickets to each autograph session will be available for a $20 donation to the City of Pittsburgh’s Fraternal Order of Police Injured Officers Fund and the newly formed local Public Safety Support Trust Fund. Sessions are limited to 125 people.

  • 9:30 to 11 a.m. – Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski, with left fielder Corey Dickerson and pitcher Steven Brault
  • 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. – Pitchers Kyle Crick and Jordan Lyles, with third baseman Jung Ho Kang
  • 12:30 to 2 p.m. – First baseman Josh Bell, shortstop Kevin Newman and pitcher Clay Holmes
  • 2 to 3:30 p.m. – Pitchers Jameson Taillon, Nick Kingham and J.T. Brubaker
  • 3:30 to 5 p.m. – Outfielders Starling Marte and Lonnie Chisenhall and shortstop Cole Tucker

Several members of the Pittsburgh Pirates put down their bats, stepped off the field and picked up a paint brush Thursday afternoon.

Working with Passavant Memorial Homes children’s programs, the players and coaches helped kids with intellectual disabilities, autism and behavioral health issues paint a picture at Greensburg’s Painting With a Twist .

The end game: A baseball-themed picture reading “Play ball.”

“It’s a lot of fun,” first baseman Josh Bell said. “It’s my first time painting in 12 years.”

Players J.T. Brubaker, Cole Tucker and Joey Cora joined Bell, working with kids to make it a day they would never forget.

“They have such limited experiences based on their lives,” said Kelly McCreary, assistant executive director at Passavant Memorial Homes. “It’s just good to get them exposed to the community.”

The 16 participating kids live in group settings as part of Passavant Memorial Homes, an organization that works to empower people with disabilities, helping them to live successfully in the community.

McCreary said the kids were excited for the day, and the smiles on their faces proved her right.

The Greensburg visit was part of the Pirate’s annual CARE-a-van program, which takes players on a three-day trip to the surrounding area to participate in charity events, as they prepare for the 2019 PiratesFest.

PiratesFest, set for Saturday at PNC Park, gives fans a chance to meet players and get autographs, play games and purchase Pirates merchandise. The event starts at 9 a.m. for season ticket owners and at noon for the public.

So far, players have visited RBI Baseball Academy in Altoona, the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill and other Pittsburgh-area organizations.

“It was definitely a dark experience,” Bell said about visiting the synagogue after the shooting that claimed the lives of 11 people in October.

The Pirates have one more day of visiting charities in the area before PiratesFest and training for the season, which kicks off with the April 1 home opener.

“I kind of just hop on the bus and see where we go,” Bell said, laughing.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter @MeganTomasic.

The Pirate Parrot walks into the room during the Pittsburgh Pirates CARE-A-Van tour visit with children from Passavant Memorial Homes, at Greensburg’s Painting with a Twist, on Thursday, on Jan. 24, 2019.
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell (left), works his canvas beside Malaja Doria, 12, from Passavant Memorial Homes, during the Pittsburgh Pirates CARE-A-Van tour stop at Greensburg’s Painting with a Twist, on Thursday, on Jan. 24, 2019.