Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Visit to PNC Park

So, last Tuesday, I was lucky enough to see a Pirates game at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. (I know. You wondered why it was so quiet around here while the Red Sox were sweeping up at the stadium.) I know what you are all wondering. What did I think of the park? Well, I'm going to be undecided on it. I really want to see it in a playoff type atmosphere. I know, it could be a while. But, the park has TONS of potential. Unfortunately, on Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, it just felt a little stale. After all, it's been at least ten years since I've been to a game that wasn't sold out. The "family and friends" crowd really threw me. In fact, of the ten or so people around me, there were four visiting Diamondback fans, a pair of St Louis fans who were visiting their fourth park in four days, a pair of Yankees fans who were also on a park tour, and a pair of actual Pitates fans. It was a whole new atmosphere for me at a game. Heck, even when I went to Montreal the visiting Boston fans filled the place.

The outside of the park is set up to be a lot of fun. It has plenty of statues, which I love. Here's the one of Roberto Clemente.

The Clemente statue, and Clemete Bridge
 The street coming off the bridge, and flowing along the park is closed for gametime. The park has a few cafe/pub type establishments along that street with sidewalk seating. I can only imagine how that place would be during a World Series game.

Here's the gate I entered the park through:

Home Plate entrance, with another statue.
The entrance is nice and all, but then it got odd. Everything in the park is above the seats. That's nice since it means you don't go under the seats for bathrooms or food like you do in Fenway. It lets you see the game while you're in line. But, it also means that the first thing you need to do is go up. So, after entering the gate, you're in a concrete lobby with a set of stairs. It was almost empty other than that. I can't imagine the Red Sox letting that space go without an "Autograph Alley" or museuem display filling it up.

Once you get in the park, though, it looks pretty impressive. Unfortunately, there's no section 36 at PNC (an obvious flaw). But, I got to be in section 116. Close. Here's a view from my seat during batting practice.

My view. Too bad the batting eye has to stick up in the middle there.
Once the game started, there were some obvious differences between PNC and Fenway. The sounds and animation during the inning were startling. And, with so few fans at the game the vendors circled quite often. The mid-inning entertainment was never ending as well. There were chances to vote on which song will be played, trivia, high-low, hot dog guns, t-shirt guns, and pierogi races. That's a lot going on that's not baseball.

The vote for which song to play later

Hot dog gun
Pierogi race
Oh, and try this one at Fenway sometime. I went to the bathroom in the sixth inning and was the ONLY one there. I mean, I know the Pirates were up. But really?

Where is everyone?
Even when getting food, you can still see the game.
Overall, it was a great time. It's easily behind only Fenway as the favorite park I've been to. Granted, that means it only beat out Olympic Stadium and Veterans Stadium. But, still. The home team ended up winning in a comeback, and everyone left happy. (Well, everyone except the four D-Back fans near me, and the Yankees fans since the Sox were crushing them on the scoreboard.) It's definitely worth the visit. Especially if you're lucky enough to be there for the Sox at the end of the month.

Oh, and I did end up wearing the Nashua Pirates hat you all suggested I should. It worked out well to pretend I was on the winning side.

Nobody asked me what the "N" was for though.


  1. Fenway seems like one of the few parks that doesn't have races and contests and the like.

    You got some nice pictures, though!

  2. I guess I always thought the Fenway treatment was less the exception, and more the rule.

    PNC does certainly photograph well.


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