Last Saturday was a big day for 500 Level Fan. Finally, after many years of dreaming about it, thinking about it, and coming so close to actually pulling the trigger, I finally made it to another big league stadium.
Mrs. 500 Level Fan and I made the trip to Pittsburgh to visit friends, and just so happened to time the trip to coincide with a Pirates homestand against Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds.
We arrived on Friday and watched most of that night’s game at a bar. The atmosphere was electric, with fans cheering for every Pirate hit, run, and out recorded. Playoff fever is definitely back in Pittsburgh, and more than anything it made me miss that feeling in Toronto. Luckily we left before the Pirates blew a 3-run lead in the ninth.
The game on Saturday almost didn’t happen. It rained all day, and didn’t stop until literally the final hour – about 6:05 for a 7:00 start.
PNC Park was amazing, not least of which was the location. It was set right in the middle of the city. Just walk up a sidewalk and you’re in. The best part was that the streets around the stadium were closed, open only to pedestrian traffic. People were walking on the roads, drinking beer out of red solo cups. Imagine how much better Jays games would be if Bremner was fully shut down?
The field itself was great too. Nothing beats watching baseball on a natural grass surface. The stadium offered great views of the city and the Clemente bridge.
Our seats were fantastic, giving
us a great view of a dominant AJ Burnett, and even a Travis Snider pinch hitting appearance:
The beer situation was a bit of a disappointment. There were no craft beers, at least from what I could see – only Miller and Bud Lite, and of course Pennsylvania’s own Yuengling. But the beer vendors were great. Most were old men with great slogans like “HEY……Miller Lite” over and over and over. There was also a vendor wearing the classic all yellow 1970’s Pirate uniform. Classic.
For the most part, the fans were educated (though the wave was prevalent) and also nuts. Take, for example, The Nerd:
Or Crazy Van Slyke, a guy in an Andy Van Slyke jersey who, from the looks of him has been drinking since 1992:
After the game the Pirates run a Saturday night concert and fireworks series.
I typically don’t care about these things, especially when the band is Neon Trees, but I must say that the light show was pretty cool. Even after we
left the park you could still see it all over downtown.
If you get a chance to get to Pittsburgh, PNC Park is a must visit.