By Brad VanFossan
I had been to PNC Park before this past Sunday, but it was before I started putting a pen to paper, or clickity clacking on keys to screen to express my thoughts on sports. Being an Indians fan, I've always been a bit partial to the artist formerly known as the Jake, but I gotta say, PNC Park is the nicest stadium I've been to. I still love Progressive Field and always will, but I must throw my Cleveland sports stubborness out the window for a minute.
For starters, the view of downtown Pittsburgh from the park is amazing, as well as the iconic yellow bridges that are scattered throughout the city. This view at night is even better, even during the day you find your mind wondering off of the game and focusing on the visuals behind the outfield. With how the Pirates have played for years now, this isn't very hard, but even if they were a playoff team, it wouldn't be hard to get distracted from the action on the field.
The pre-game opening video is even awe-inspiring. It's pretty realistic, in that it's almost a fantasy that the Pirates would be winning a war vs another team as displayed in the video. The statues surrounding PNC Park of Bill Mazeroski, Roberto Clemente, and Honus Wagner come to life to take aim at the opposing team's (whoever the Pirates are playing that day) ship.
Overall, the park is cozy, clean, the view is awesome, and the overall experience is worth every penny of the price of your ticket, especially when they are purchased from scalpers at less than face value! Oh, and not to mention you can get a Pittsburgh famous Primanti Brothers sandwich in the concourse. Steak and cheese was the weapon of choice for me.
Unfortunately for Pirates fans, the things that make the stadium so great are some of the same things that make the team so bad. PNC Park is almost as much of a draw, if not more than going to watch the Pirates play. Why would owner Bob Nutting care about putting a winning team on the field when the stadium sells itself and the team turns a profit?
Fortunately for Pirates fans some of the drafting and trades within the last few years are showing signs of near future dividends, i.e. Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, and Jose Tabata, so the lack of being able to sign free agents can somewhat be countered by these moves, if said moves are correct of course. But no matter how frustrated fans are and get, I can't think of a single reason to not check out this gem of a ballpark, it's more than worth the hour drive for me, and chances are, it's worth the distance from wherever you're reading this as well.