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Ask the Pirates Hour is highlight of PirateFest

PITTSBURGH -- PirateFest is an offseason baseball-palooza, turning the David L. Lawrence Convention Center into a mall-midway-arcade mashup. Fans can rig out their black-and-gold wardrobe, throw beanbags, hit baseballs, scratch their baseball itch and play games. Lots of games.

But on the same stage which for two days has hosted such audience-participation fare as Buccos-themed Deal or no Deal, Card Sharks and We Are Fam-A-Lee Feud, the most entertaining bit was Saturday's Ask The Pirates Hour.

Each of the 15 players attending the event answered questions from an overflow audience, most of them by adorable younger fans. Some of the questions were even borderline serious. The majority were just clever and fun, setting up a laugh party.


• As Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown introduced the players walking on stage, the loudest cheers, by far, were for Michael McKenry. The Fort owns Pittsburgh.

• The most questions went to A.J. Burnett, whose tattooed persona -- and pitching -- clearly has connected with his adopted city.

• Asked who among the players was best at dancing Gangnam style, everyone quickly pointed to Jared Hughes, forced to rise and show off some moves while he pleaded, "I really don't know what I'm doing."

• Hughes, the 6-foot-7 no-longer-rookie right-hander, was repeatedly picked on because of his size and on-mound ferocity. Samples: "If you fought a bear, who would win?" "What would you rather fight, a duck-sized horse or a horse-sized duck?"

• The players were asked to identify their favorite NFL team, and when the microphone reached Josh Harrison he said, "I'm from Cincinnati, therefore I do not have a favorite team." The Bengals and the Steelers have a showdown upcoming next Sunday at Heinz Field.

• Kid to A.J.: "My 11th birthday is coming up Christmas Eve and I want to get a tattoo. What should I get?" A.J. to kid: "Get one of those you put on with a napkin and can wipe off a half hour later."