Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was a gracious first stop on our journey to see all 30 baseball stadiums in the next two years aka “The Great Baseball Stadium Journey”. PNC Park home of the Pirates with its majestic views and thriving nightlife surrounding the ball park area make it a premiere spot for entertainment. Though PNC park holds only about 38,000 fans this intimate setting lends to great baseball game atmosphere. You never feel far from the action, and no matter where you sit you have a great view. Though the best seats are facing the outfield gazing upon the Allegheny river as pictured below. If baseball isn’t your thing make sure to check out our other article series in “The Great Baseball Stadium Journey”. We have a link below to “One thing you must do in each city” with “One thing you must eat in each city” coming later tonight.
There are great options to choose from when deciding what to eat in the ballpark from Primanti bros to Manny’s BBQ. My personal favorite were the bucket of wings. But there are so many choices that you’ll find something for everyone. Be warned as with all ballparks the cost of food is pricey. Though the bucket of wings was not a bad deal. Around $23 dollars for 20 wings. At a little more than a dollar a wing it wasn’t bad considering most stadium concession pricing.
Where Pittsburgh and PNC park truly shine are in its fans and game atmosphere. Even though the day Dinosaur Spaceship attended the game (June 25th 2016) the Pirates were 13 games back in the NL Central. Fans we spoke with were holding out hope for a wild card berth, though they stated would attend the games regardless to support their team. From the cannon blast on the outfield scoreboard after every strike out to the jolly roger PNC park exudes charm. A very nice guest assistant by the name of Alicia F. told me a little of history of the stadium and its attractions. How it was purposefully built to enjoy the mentioned Allegheny river and views of the city, the Pittsburgh Brewing company (Iron City Beer), Primanti Bros and some special members only section of the stadium that show off Pirates memorabilia. You won’t find long selfie sessions here. I learned Pittsburgh fans love their teams and this city enjoys that benefit which not all can say they do. You also can’t forget about the Pierogi race.
Lastly we would like to thank you, our readers, we know there are a lot of stadium journey sites and e-books out there, but with all we do at Dinosaur Spaceship we aim to put that classic unique touch on our journey. We will never charge for the information we give and are not sponsored by MLB, the cities or teams we visit or any source that would benefit from our endeavor. We started this journey because we love baseball and wanted to guide those who follow the same path, enjoy the trip.
After three back to back post season appearances the Pittsburgh Pirates had a lot expectations going into this year, which they have not been living up to. The Pirates needed to atone for last years early exit in the playoffs to the Chicago Cubs in the Wild Card round. Star players are not performing like star players (Andrew McCutchen .239, Francisco Liriano 4-8 5.33) and the little bit of luck needed in a long baseball season have not been happening for them. The Pirates have not advanced to the next round in the post season since 2013. The most disappointing was the previously stated loss to the Cubs. Pitching has really let the Pirates down this year ranking in the bottom half of the league. Though they do rank 9th overall in the majors in hitting. The Pirates inability to combine both pitching and hitting has led to their below .500 record.
Though the season is not lost for the Pirates. Thanks to other teams struggles in the National League, Wild Card spots are wide open. The current leaders the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins have their issues and the Dodgers just lost Clayton Kershaw to the 15 day DL with a herniated disk. The Pirates are only 3.5 games back ahead of them the New York Mets (40-37) and the St. Louis Cardinals (40-37). The Cardinals are pretty solid overall and should start hitting their stride. As a team they are 9th in the MLB in pitching and 12th in hitting. The Mets have the 3rd ranked pitching staff in the majors led by Noah Syndergaard (8-3 2.49) struggles this year though rank dead last in hitting. If the Mets can find a bat or two before the all star break it’ll be tough for the Pirates to make up ground.
That’s not to say there have not been high points for the Pirates, sweeping the Dodgers last weekend was a great start to righting the ship. Especially since the Dodgers had been riding a 6 game winning streak having won 8 of 10. Notable players who have excelled this year are Starling Marte (.331 6 HR), Gregory Polanco (.299 10 HR) and Matt Joyce (.292 8HR). On the pitching side Mark Melancon ( 0-1 1.48 22 SV) has done an outstanding job shutting down games. The young Gerrit Cole with a small sample size of 12 games this year looks promising and is 5-4 with a 2.77 era.
If Pittsburgh keeps hitting the way they have been and get players like Liriano and McCutchen get back on track they’ll have a real shot at the Wild Card. Great offense is being wasted with bad pitching performances and have made it hard for the Pirates to get on a roll through the first half of the season. Look for them to try and add an extra bat (because you can’t ever have too many) and some help for their pitching staff. If the front office can make these additions the ol’ jolly roger may be raised come post season and they’ll have a good chance advancing in the playoffs.
Starting June 25th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Dinosaur Spaceship will embark on an epic quest to see all 30 major league baseball stadiums in the next couple years. We’ll share our thoughts of the overall stadium experience along with companion articles. Our companion articles will be split into two segments. “One thing to do in each baseball city” and the other “One thing you must eat in each city”.
After kicking things off in Pittsburgh we’re on our way to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to see what the Phillies have to offer. We then head to New York City to check out Citi Field and Yankee Stadium. With our east coast leg ending in Boston to see Fenway Park. If you have suggestions of what we should “see” or “eat” while visiting each city please leave it in the comments and if we end up choosing your suggestions we’ll be sure to give you a shout out.
The Chicago Cubs hype machine is in full effect a quarter of the way through the season. They dominate National baseball headlines carrying the hopes of a city looking to rid itself of the infamous Billy goat curse. The Cubs are getting it done with solid pitching led by Jake Arrieta (10-1, 1.86 era) and overall best in the majors at 2.62. The pitching staff has picked up the slack when the offense has failed to get it done. The last time the Cubs won the World Series you’d have to go back to 1908 when they defeated the Detroit Tigers. Their last World Series appearance was in 1945 ironically enough against the Tigers. Though if you’re a Cubs fan don’t start RSVP’ing to the World Series quite yet.
There are areas of need just like all clubs have. They rank 12 of 30 in overall batting average and 13th in fielding percentage. But key players like Miguel Montero and David Ross are doing an outstanding job behind the plate but batting at .210 and .236 respectively, is not getting the job done. Montero’s health is also at doubt with return trips to the disabled list. To make matters worst Jorge Soler their young left fielder was also put on the DL. Though Soler was only hitting .223, the last 15 games was hitting .303. Another disappointment this year has been Jayson Heyward who is batting .240 and was one of their big offseason acquisitions. Heyward a notorious slow starter will need to prove it has been just that to justify the 186-million-dollar contract if the Cubs hope to win it all. In Heyward’s defense in the last 7 games he is batting .375 and last 15 .304. For the Cubs it’s one thing to dominate during the regular season but postseason baseball is a different beast. Lest we forget the 1906 Chicago Cubs and the 2001 Seattle Mariners neither of which won the World Series. Both teams hold the record for most wins in a regular season at 116. A pace the current Cubs team is set to match. Regular season accolades are great but if you’re not out there come October celebrating a World Series title it’s a mute point.
Look for the Cubs to continue relying on their outstanding pitching and timely hitting to continue their winning ways. Keep an eye out on the Washington Nationals, New York Mets and of course those pesky San Francisco Giants to challenge the Cubs for the National League title. If the Cubs can find some offensive help before the trade deadline and some of their star players start hitting the way they’re capable of; maybe, just maybe this will be the year Cubs fans can party like it’s 1908.