Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"The sun is shining, the air is warm. Oh, yes."

The NYT's Joe Lapointe has a very favorable impression of the Pirates' ballpark:
. . . a model of intelligent design. The seats in the corners of the field, by the foul poles, are tilted toward the infield. In the left field corner, there are four standing tiers where people can watch the game as if on balconies.

Beyond the outfield fences, the background vista is breathtaking, with the Roberto Clemente Bridge behind center field spanning the flowing water and the downtown skyline above and behind it . . .

. . . As I write these words, 45 minutes before the first pitch, the fans are filing in and the speakers are playing, at low volume, a song by Bruce Springsteen called “The Girls in Their Summer Clothes.'’ The sun is shining, the air is warm. Oh, yes.

I was underwhelmed the first time I went, probably because I was expecting so much based on all of the hype. Contributing factors, no doubt, were (1) a less than ideal beer-waffle ratio based on some poor pre-game dining decisions and (2) a promotion gone wrong. I really need to give that place a second chance, so a road trip is definitely in order.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Craig, you must give it a second shot. I don't go to many big league games, and I suppose that my short list of parks visited (SkyDome, Yankee Stadium, Three Rivers, PNC and a handful of minor league parks... what do you want, I live near Buffalo!) makes my argument pretty weak, but that was a beautiful place to see a game. I was there four years ago this month, and saw Barry Bonds do his thing (k, BB, HR) while the Pirates came back twice to win in the bottom of the 9th. I also became a fan of Yuengling lager on that trip.

Great place for a ballgame, give it another shot.

mooseinohio said...

I agree you need to give it another chance as I found PNC to be one of the better parks to see a game at and I think it has incorporated itself well with the city (Clemente bridge lit up at night looks great) and I'd love to be able to work in downtown and walk to a game after work - you'll enjoy that soon with the new Huntington Park.

I grew up going to Fenway and while I loved the experience as an adult I've changed my mind somewhat as I find the prices ridiculous and Fenway was never designed for my 6'3" and 230 lbs frame. In college I watched most games from the bleachers as the ticket used to be affordable ($10 +/-)and bench sitting was more comfortable to sit in for nine innings (plus the occasional fights made boring games more enjoyable). While the Sox have certainly improved the atmosphere around Fenway and I love taking the subway to games it is harder to enjoy after going to games in Pittsburgh or Detroit and getting a good, moderately comfortable seat for a reasonable amount of money and not having to see a chiropractor immediately after the game to stand up straight again.

Levi Stahl said...

It really is a nice ballpark, and it makes downtown Pittsburgh look beautiful. My only real complaint (aside from the product on offer on the field) is the way the desire to avoid pillars keeps the upper deck far, far away; combined with the wider aisles, bigger seats, and gentle rake that nearly all the newer ballparks share, it makes all but the front rows seem far from the field.

I say that, however, as someone who sees 30+ games each year at Wrigley Field, so I realize my expectation of a good, relatively close view from the upper deck is largely due to being spoiled.

DG Lewis said...

When you go back, make sure you get a Primanti Bros. sandwich.

Justin Zeth said...

Let me know when you go. I'll be happy to join in and further expound my loony Pirates theories while Zach Duke's getting lit up like a Christmas tree. ;)

nickolai said...

I'll join the dogpile in saying PNC deserves a second shot. Definitely the best ballpark (of 12 or so MLB parks) I've been to: great sight-lines all around, beautiful view of downtown and bridges, friendly fans...

I'd also recommend the ballpark tour. It's pretty basic, but only $10, and you get to see the clubhouse, the dugout, press boxes, luxury suites, batting cages. The highlight was seeing Freddy Sanchez's bat on the wall, mounted next to all the other Pirates batting champs: Honus Wagner, Arky Vaughan, Clemente, Paul Waner.

I could go for a Primanti Bros sandwich right about now.

matt said...

I've only been to three ballparks (and one of those was the Vet), but I think I slightly prefer PNC to Citizens Bank. I think what really sets the two apart is the view: While Citizen's Bank Park has an unobstructed view of a distant Philadelphia skyline if you're sitting in the exact right seats, downtown Pittsburgh and its bridges sits right next to PNC Park. Also, it's pretty cool to watch a game from inside the rightfield fence.

I've been to the Phillies Park close to 100 times and PNC Park maybe five or six times, so it could be the newness factor. I'll check back in about a year since I'm in the middle of moving from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh for law school. First year isn't that bad, right? I'm sure I'll have plenty of time for baseball games....

Craig Calcaterra said...

My Braves won the World Series the fall of my first year of law school, and I watched every single televised game between the time I moved to DC in July and the final out of Game 6. So basically, first year is a breeze. At least if you're like me and you slack like mad.

I'll say, though, I would have regretted missing any of that run that year far more than I regret the random B's which coulda been A's if I had studied more.