When this stadium first opened up, they saw a return of an old friend in the Pittsburgh Pirates who had utilized the old Rockpile from 1979 to 1982 as their Double-A Eastern League franchise. Now they were coming back here to this "new baseball park" in 1988 as the Pirates' Triple-A American Association franchise. (The American Association was one of 3 Triple-A systems that existed up until 1997 when the AA was disbanded and the teams in that league were dispersed to the two remaining Triple-A organizations ... the Pacific Coast League or the International League which is where they Bisons would land). The Pittsburgh Pirates got to see this stadium first hand with the Bisons being their Triple-A affiliate and how much nicer it was then their hideous "cookie cutter" arena "Three Rivers Stadium" (which in our opinion was one of the top two worst facilities ever used for Major League Baseball). The Pirates signed a 6 year Player Development Contract for the Bisons' "new" stadium, giving them the edge on being the team to move there and turn it into a Major League Stadium.