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.
The first stop on “The Great Baseball Stadium Journey” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was a rounding success. PNC park was majestic and the site lines from our seats were incredible. We’ll be posting our article tomorrow afternoon along with the companion pieces and a mid season review of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the meantime here are some pictures from our trip.