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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

FIELDS OF DREAMS - PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
alpineinc under CC-BY license

And now we have it...the best stadium in Major League baseball. An absolute beauty in every way, although they could have a better team. Admittedly, this could change as we still have seven stadiums left to visit but ,as it stands, this is number one...

PNC Park is the home of Pittsburgh’s Pirates of the National League. It is located across the Allegheny River from downtown Pittsburgh. It's one of baseballs newest and smallest stadiums with the ability to seat just over 38,000 fans...the second smallest in the majors. It only has two decks and wheelchair seating is sprinkled throughout the stadium. You could have just about any kind of accessible seat you want, the view is spectacular from anywhere in the stadium, including the front row.

The only bad thing about the stadium is that the Pirates are an historically terrible team,  but that's all changed this year as they are pretty much unstoppable and are in first place by 2.5 games, tied with St. Louis close to the end of the season behind the phenomenal play of Andrew McCutchen. The team also has some great history. This was the team that brought us the great, late Roberto Clemente. It’s one of the oldest franchises in baseball, dating back to 1887. They played in the first World Series and another one in 1909 behind the pitching of Honus Wagner. Other Hall of Famers to play here include Willie Stargell, Bill Mazeroski, and Ralph Kiner. Besides 1909, the Pirates took the World Series in 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979.

Maybe, just maybe, this might be their year.

Here are the stats:

Year opened: 2001
Surface: Grass
Construction cost: $216 million
Capacity: 38,496
Field dimensions: Left field – 325 ft.; left center – 410 ft.; Center field – 399 ft.; right center – 375 ft.; Right field – 320 ft.
Home team: Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB National League) 2001 – present
Events attended: One game

The first thing anyone notices at PNC Park is the view. The most spectacular of any stadium I’ve ever seen. The park is situated to take in the view of Pittsburgh’s skyline over the Allegheny River with the bright yellow Roberto Clement Bridge thrown in for contrast. It takes your breath away when you see it in person.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Donball09 under CC-BY license

Taking your eyes off of the view, you then notice the cozy feel of the park. Only two decks with the suites all but hidden. It’s one of the smallest parks in the majors and the placement of the press box on top of the stadium makes even the nose bleed seats seem close to the action.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Adam Stone under CC-BY-SA license

Next comes the food. The famous (or infamous) Primanti Sandwich is served here along with 15 inch kosher dogs and Italian sausages festooned with peppers and onions. The stadium used to have an Outback restaurant that anyone could access. Then access was restricted to premium ticket holders, now it’s the Hall of Fame Club where all ticket holders can go on game days and the general public can go to the rest of the time.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia
Banco under CC-BY licens

Another couple of cool features are the circular rotunda ramps that eliminate the need for huge ramps to mar the outside of stadium and the out of town scoreboard that not only shows you the score, what inning (top or bottom) but also a diagram of the diamond to see how many men are on base and where they're standing.

There are plenty of parking lots next to the stadium and public transit can get you close. Pittsburgh’s downtown subway will drop you off at one end of Roberto Clemente Bridge, you can walk or roll the rest of the way over it (the bridge is closed to traffic at game times). Buses go right to the stadium.

Tickets are easy to come by and range from $7 in the bleachers to $255 behind home plate in the Lexus club. Wheelchairs can sit in the front row along the left field foul line for $35-40 (depending on who they're playing).  Dynamic pricing is the name of the game for grandstand and bleacher seating.

If you’re in the Iron City, be sure to stop by and take in a game in baseball’s best stadium.

Copyright 2010 – Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved
Updated for 2013

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