PNC Park (Pittsburgh Pirates)

A seat behind home plate at PNC Park affords one of the best views in all of baseball. Situated just across the Allegheny from Pittsburgh’s downtown core, the park has a surreal backdrop made up of the city skyline and the bright yellow Roberto Clemente Bridge. Settle into your seat, enjoy the view, and in short order you won’t even care who is winning. Sadly, that’s a good thing (the Pirates have had 19 consecutive losing seasons through 2011).

Though the setting is stunning, one can’t limit the appeal of PNC Park to its surroundings. The park itself is well designed and very attractive. The outfield seating keeps a low profile, allowing for views in from the bridge and the before-mentioned view out. The use of two levels (as opposed to the now customary three or four) adds to the park’s intimate feel and helps it fit into – rather than dominate – its surroundings. The grand entrance behind home plate is also well done, featuring beautiful sandstone and blue lettering as well as a statue of Pirates’ legend Honus Wagner.

Inside, concourses are wide, the food is good, and the seats are comfortable. I can’t come up with anything the architects could have done to make PNC Park any better. The only way the experience could improve is if the seats were consistently full, but the Pirates’ long run of losing has put somewhat of a damper on attendance.

A Tip of the Cap

  • The beautiful setting in downtown Pittsburgh.
  • Use of the Roberto Clemente Bridge as a pedestrian-only walkway on game day.
  • Statues of Clemente and Honus Wagner that offer photo opportunities and pay homage to the Pirates’ rich tradition. Yes, for those of you born after 1990, the Pirates were once quite good.
  • Excellent food options, including local institutions like Primanti Brothers’ (try the sandwich with fries in it) that further tie the park to the community. I had a shrimp basket that was huge and well-priced.
  • The ramps in the left field corner where fans can go to stretch out, catch some breeze, and watch the action from up high.

Swing and a Miss

The Pirates! Though not a Pirates’ fan, I left wishing they were more competitive – if for no other reason than to have this terrific park filled up on a regular basis.

Trip to the Mound

Grab seats behind home plate for the best view…and go up as high as you want. Higher seats provide an even more panoramic view. Arrive early to walk along the river and view the stadium’s statues as well as nearby Heinz Field (home of the NFL’s Steelers). Try the local concession options for terrific food.

Overall Rating: A+

  • Setting (A+): As described above, good luck finding a better view in a ballpark, or almost anywhere else for that matter.
  • External Appearance (A): The home plate entrance is beautiful and the sandstone used throughout the park looks great. Blue lettering contrasts nicely with the sandstone.
  • Internal Appearance (A): The blue seats are different than the customary green for ballparks built in the same period. The outfield seating sections look nice from behind home plate and were kept low enough to preserve the view of the river and skyline.
  • Atmosphere (B+): Fans were appreciative and patient with a young team. This grade would likely go up after attending a game with a larger crowd.

Additional Photos

View of the Steel City

Looking In

Across the Allegheny

View of Right Field

Left Field Scoreboard

Scoreboard

Third-Base Line

Lineup Card Exchange

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