Ballpark Review with Tight PP – PNC Park
Wow, Pittsburgh was a nice change. After road trips to Detroit and Cleveland, Pittsburgh was a breath of fresh air…and if you have been near the lake in Cleveland you will appreciate some fresh air.
Pittsburgh has turned its image around, anyone who says Hamilton is the Pittsburgh of the north is insulting Pittsburgh. The steel mills are a thing of the past, there are no Hamiltonesque eyesores in the metro area. I am surprised at the beauty of Pittsburgh since this was my third trip, albeit the first outside of December.
The drive from Toronto area was about 5 hours, and again much nicer then in December. Downtown Pittsburgh is very different then Toronto. There is no Apartment/Condos, nor is there any retail which to speak of. It is also very compact, from the point at the three rivers to the Melon arena, the Golden Triangle, would be a 10-15 min walk. While walking around you may stumble into a Gay Pride Festival and see a 6 foot 6 cross dresser…one of many memorable moments of Pittsburgh.
PNC Park and Heinz Field, home of the Steelers, are located across the Alleghany River, which is spanned by at least 6 bridges in the Golden Triangle area. The bridge closest to PNC Park has been christened the Roberto Clemente Bridge, in honour of the Pirate great. The next bridge away is the Andy Warhol bridge, which leads to his museum. The Roberto Clemente closes to vehicular traffic on game day. Everything on the North Side looks new. The parking garages with bars on the street level, the riverfront apartments, the 2 stadiums, and other buildings in the area looks as though they went up since 2001 along with the 2 park that’s replaced Three Rivers. Even though not in the heart of the city like Prog Field or Skydome the short walk from downtown makes it seem in town, and the bars that have sprung up around the park are numerous, including the patio bars run out of the stadium($4.50 pints).
I won’t go into game reviews, as the Blue Jays again disappointed on the road, but was happy to see the return of Cito. The park is “retro” but is very similar to Prog Field. The new unique parks are looking some what cookie cutter if you ask me. The out side is yellow limestone blocks, with the arches and iron gates. The inside has many levels and ramps. The food in the concourses was standard, however there is a food court area in left field which has Pizza, Gyros, Fried Chicken, Philly Cheese Steak. There is also Earlys Pittsburgh favourite Primanti Bros in the stadium. My recommendation is Manny’s BBQ located in center field, specialising in Pulled Beef/Pork. There is a large beer selection around the park. Over all the concessions were above average.
The sight lings in all 3 seats were great, and comfortable. The upper-deck-right-field-foul-line seemed farther back then Skydome but not as high, and only a small piece of foul territory was blocked out. Centerfield was even better, but the smell of BBQ from Manny’s was tempting at all times. Behind the plate was as close as I’ve ever sat to the plate and tickets were only $27. It is a great place to watch baseball.
The scoreboard was good, with fun things between innings. Personal favourite was the Pirate Q&A, were they ask the Pirates personal questions. We saw “What Celebrity do you have a crush on?” “What’s your favourite smell?” And “What candy do you give out at Halloween?”. A weird fan favourite was the Pierogy race…much like the airplane race at Skydome, but with no prizes.
There was not really a hall of fame area, but there was statues of Clamente, Stargell and Wagner outside the stadium, and a handful of Negro League players from Pittsburgh inside.
The fans in Pittsburgh were very quiet, and passive. There was no bickering at the decent Torontonian turn out. Even thought Pittsburgh has not had a winning season in more then a decade the fans still turned out, with more then 22 000 each game. Also the mechanise sales looks strong. Most fans had Pirate hats, jerseys or t-shirts. The big names on jersey were Clamente, Mazeroski, Stargell, Sanchez and Bay.
I would recommend Pittsburgh for a road trip. A nice city, and a great ball park