PNC Park Seating Guide: Best Pittsburgh Pirates Seats

PNC Park

PNC Park Seating Guide: Best Pittsburgh Pirates Seats

Posted by Kurt Smith

“Where are the best seats in PNC Park?” I get asked this by many fans planning a trip to Pittsburgh to see a Pirates game in one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball. I’m happy to help…this complete PNC Park seating guide will tell you everything you need to know about every seating area!

Everyone’s taste is different, and everyone has different budget levels, so there isn’t one right answer to where the best seats are in PNC Park are. I’ll help you find the best option for your budget, from the most expensive to the cheap seats, including standing room spots and ideal places for shade.


PNC Park Seating Guide pittsburgh pirates

Yes, they’re all good. But I’ll help you find the one with your name on it!

PNC Park Seating Guide – Table of Contents

Here is the breakdown, from premium to cheap seats at PNC Park:

PNC Park Layout
Luxury Suites
Club Seats, Part 1: The Home Plate Club
Club Seats, Part 2: Club Cambria
Club Seats, Part 3: Pittsburgh Baseball Club Level
Field Level Seating
Upper Level Seating
All You Can Eat Seats
Outfield Seats
Bleacher Sections
PNC Park Standing Room
A Few More PNC Park Seating Tips

OK, lots of useful information here…so we’ll get right to it after this message! (Thanks for supporting our sponsors!)

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Pittsburgh Pirates ballpark directory

I took this picture so I know how to find seats near food.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #1: Ballpark Layout. PNC Park abuts the Allegheny River in the outfield, with home plate in the northwest corner, which in turn causes the setting sun to blind people in the left field stands and the third base side rather than in right field like most ballparks.

There are technically two tiers and those extend generally from foul pole to foul pole; the luxury suites are neatly tucked underneath the upper tier. You need to use a stairway, elevator or rotunda to get to the main level concourse, which is elevated above the bleachers level in the outfield.


pnc park seating rotunda ramps

Easy to navigate ramps to get to another level with great views.

There are two rotunda ramps that fans can use to get to the main and upper levels; one is plainly visible in left field, the other is behind home plate at the main entrance.

The concourses are open on the lower level, enabling fans to see the action. There is a River Walk behind the outfield seats, where people can take in the Allegheny and a stunning view of the Roberto Clemente Bridge, and try the fancier concessions like Manny’s.

Here is the Pirates’ useful PNC Park seating chart with views from each section; the total seating capacity is 38,362 as of 2023. Rows are lettered rather than numbered, and there is no Row I. Facing the field, seat numbers start with 1 on the right.

Here’s the score on all of the seating areas, from most to least expensive:

Pittsburgh pirates premium seating

Add a bed and you could make this a seriously lucrative hotel room.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #2: Luxury Suites. The suites at PNC Park come in two forms, Luxury and World Series Suites. The luxury suites hold about 15 people and are built for indoor and outdoor game watching, with a full-service bar, leather couch, TVs, and catering options (costs extra) from a diverse menu. And a private restroom of course.

The World Series suites are for larger groups of up to 100 and are located down the left field line (beyond Club Cambria) of the suite level, making for a better view of the skyline. They are named for championship years in Pirates history, 1960, 1971, 1979, etc. Suites closer to home plate are more expensive than those in the outfield.


PNC Park seating world series suites

Bill Mazeroski earned his place in the Hall the moment he swung.

Both types of suites include VIP parking passes, Wi-Fi and access to the PBC Clubs. Again, premium suites cost less than at most ballparks; for a World Series suite you could pay less than $100 a person with parking passes to boot, although you need to chip in for the food. Probably still better for corporate types, but they’re within range of middle class groups.

Pittsburgh Pirates Home Plate Club seats

You work hard. At least be as comfortable at the game as you would on an airplane.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #3: Home Plate Club Seats. The six sections of Home Plate Club seats are the finest and most expensive seats at PNC Park. They are located behind home plate (making them aptly named), with seats closer to the batter than the pitcher who worked much harder to get there.

The seats are wide and comfortably padded. The front row is the most expensive, Rows B through J are slightly less; Rows K through M are for cheapskates.

Home Plate Club seats include a private entrance, access to a complimentary chef-prepared high end buffet through the third inning and in seat service, and entry into the luxurious Home Plate Club and any exclusive club on the Club level.

(Cool fan experience tidbit: The Home Plate Club has a “candy wall” with candies from each World Series winning year for the Bucs, like Bit-O-Honey from 1925.)


best seats at pnc park pittsburgh pirates home plate

Heck yes. This is how baseball should be watched.

Home Plate Club seats are sold on a season package basis, or as individual games for season ticket holders of other seats in the ballpark. Keep this in mind if you know a season ticket holder.

As these types of seats go, ticket prices here are more affordable than at most ballparks. You can sometimes find these on third party sites for $150 or less.

club cambria pnc park seating

A fine view of the city, but you’ll really appreciate the air conditioning.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #4: Club Cambria. In response to lackluster suite sales in lean years, the Pirates knocked out a few walls on the third base side and created Club Cambria. It’s on the second deck with the rest of the private club areas.

Club Cambria is for those who aren’t interested enough in the game to spring for Home Plate Club seats but still want to appear well-off at Pirates games. Tickets are sold in season packages or as individual games to season ticket holders.


pittsburgh pirates club seats

Oh and being out of the rain too.

Again, you have access to a fine upscale climate-controlled club to entertain clients with a nice write-off, padded and comfortable seating, a full bar and high end buffet (alcoholic drinks cost extra), a private street-level entrance, and best of all a fine view of the Pittsburgh skyline.

As with the Home Plate Club, Rows A and B costs more than Row C, etc. For Row C, the price isn’t bad at all for everything that is included.

PNC Park seating club

Club membership is all about having a place to rest your drink.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #5: Pittsburgh Baseball Club Seats. The wide and padded Club seats, though possibly short on the view of the game and the comfort that Home Plate Club seats offer or the view of the skyline in Club Cambria, may be the best bang for the buck if you’re willing to spring a bit for premium seats.

The Pittsburgh Baseball Club, or PBC, sections are in the 200 lower section of the upper level, out to just past the bases.

With the suites placed under the upper level, the PBC seats are much closer to being on top of the action than at most ballparks. There are about ten rows in most sections; the first three rows are slightly more expensive.


PNC Park seating gunner's lounge

They’ll turn the lights on when you get there. At least I’m pretty sure they will.

PBC tickets include access to three climate controlled clubs on the private concourse: Club 3000 (named for a hit milestone passed by three Pirates), Gunner’s, and the Keystone Corner.

These clubs have pool tables, arcade games, full service bars and outdoor patios to see the game, and Gunner’s has a porch behind home plate for the best view on the Club Level. All of the clubs have lounge areas and TVs to watch the game; they’re a great place to wait out a rain delay.

You can buy PBC Club tickets for individual games. The food isn’t included in the ticket, unfortunately, and neither is in-seat service. But the price is very good for all that is included, and you can save a bundle bringing a group.

Again, try TickPick on a low demand night and you might find a great deal.

pnc park seating lower level pirates

Even with so many amazing seats available, some folks prefer to stand. But hey, your preference.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #6: Field Level. The lower level seating at PNC Park is broken down into seven pricing levels now. Seats drop in price past the bases and at the foul lines, and the back rows cost less than the front rows.

Baseline Box (lowest level in the corners) is cheaper than Lower Infield Box (behind the Home Plate Club seats), so you can figure that in if you like being closer to the field. Seats are angled towards second base as you get past the bases.

With the best lower level seats, you’re usually better off buying through the Pirates in advance than through a third party.

Most of these seats aren’t backbreakers as far as your wallet, and honestly, none of the seats are bad, although you should avoid seating down the right field corner or outfield if you want a nice view of the city or fireworks (third base side sells out first on fireworks nights).

There isn’t a lot of foul territory, so you don’t have to spring for the most expensive seats.


padded seats pirates

Not AS padded, but more comfortable than most.

The Dugout Box seats on either side of the Home Plate Club seats are also padded, but they are nowhere near as large and don’t include the amenities (or the additional $100 in price).

If you’re in a section directly behind the dugout, the first seven rows or so are skipped, so if you have Row H you’re right on top of everything and can lean on the dugout.

Behind the Dugout Box seats are the Infield Box seats; these are priced the same all the way out to the bases, so the ones behind home plate are in high demand.

PNC is one of the best ballparks when it comes to overhang problems; even if you’re in Row JJ (which is row 35 or so, and the last in most sections), you’ll still be able to see pretty much everything, which is not often the case at ballparks.


PNC Park seating walkways

As long as someone over seven feet tall doesn’t stand in front of you, you should be fine.

One caveat to be aware of is that there is a walkway in between the first ten rows or so and the seats behind them; the seats are raised but there may still be a foot traffic view problem in the first couple of rows.

The only other issue is that the concourse does get crowded about an hour from game time; if you would like to get your grub then you may be waiting in line a bit. The food court with the best selection is in the left field corner, if a short walk to cool food items matters to you when choosing your seat.


Never Drive To PNC Park Without A Plan…

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pittsburgh baseball upper level seats

Some Pirates fans like to sit where they can be reminded of years when ownership put a good team on the field.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #7: Upper Level. Behind the Club seating on the upper level are the Grandstand and Upper Grandstand sections.

There is no Upper grandstand behind home plate, this being the location of the press box, behind the grandstand (another thing the PNC designers got right). Just about all upper deck seats have a sweet view of the city.

The upper level is close to the action here (the Pirates brag that the highest seat is just 88 feet from the field), and there’s nothing wrong with the panoramic view of the whole ballpark from just about anywhere.

These seats are a relative bargain; Upper Outfield Grandstand seats are especially a great deal. You can’t see the Clemente Bridge as well from left field, although there is still a great view of the Pittsburgh city skyline.


PNC park seating pittsburgh pirates obstructed views

“Oh come on ump, he swung at that!”

Beware, though. Some of the seats on this level may have a bit of an obstructed view, with glass stairway landings placed between Club and Grandstand seating. The problem is nowhere near as bad as it is at Citi Field in New York, but in sections with landings like 313, 315, etc. (you can see them on the Pirates’ 3-D seating map), it can be annoying.

Just avoid low numbered seats in Rows H-K on the third base side, and high numbered seats in those rows on the first base side.


Pittsburgh Pirates seats obstructed view

The Pirates made the most of their limited space for seats.

Behind home plate there are support poles holding up the press box, which can (but won’t likely) cause you a problem in Sections 315-317. Avoid the highest row (R, usually) if you can. Also, down the left field line, some sections miss the scoreboard to the rotunda ramp in left.


what seats are covered at PNC park pirates

With helpful lamps in case you’d like to read.

There is a roof covering the highest rows; Rows Q and higher are under the roof if you’re interested in shade.

Finally, the upper concourse at PNC is also fairly tight, and on big attendance nights it can get congested. Best to get your dog and beer before the game.

all you can eat seats PNC Park

Imagine working at a job where you make hungry people happy.

All You Can Eat Seats at PNC Park: The club level sections of seats down the left field line used to be called the Cove; the Pirates now just all them All You Can Eat seats to avoid confusion.

For a decent price you get a wristband and can grub on all of the hot dogs, burgers, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, and non-alcoholic beverages you can handle in seven innings. There is a separate North Shore stand set up for this.


pittsburgh pirates all you can eat

Unlimited hot dogs + this view = a pretty good life.

The view of the game is just okay here, but the view of the river, bridge and Riverwalk area is still terrific. If the game isn’t keeping you interested you can watch boats go by on the Allegheny.

It’s just my opinion but I’m not big on all you can eat at a ballgame; lines get long and food sometimes doesn’t get fully cooked, or the dogs are kid-sized portions, and from what I’ve read PNC is no exception.

But it’s a good deal if you’re hungry and don’t need anything fancy like a sandwich with French fries and slaw stuffed into it. One fan suggested wearing cargo shorts to put extra bags of peanuts in your pockets. I love the way baseball fans think.

PNC Park seating outfield seats pittsburgh pirates

You can’t see the skyline or what other teams are doing. This section is for people who came to see Bucs baseball!

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #8: Outfield Seats. The Outfield Reserved seating in right and center field costs a bit less than the sections down the right field line; however, if you would like a good view of the game these might actually be better, at least in terms of not requiring a neck twist to watch the game.

Lesser view of Pittsburgh from here though, and it gets more direct sun than the right field line seating in foul territory.

The right field seats are raised over the out-of-town scoreboard in the right field wall, and the wall is 21 feet high in honor of Roberto Clemente’s number 21. So these seats could miss some of the action on balls hit to right field, which isn’t a big deal.


Pittsburgh Pirates center field seats

Hyundai, Xfinity, and the Pittsburgh Pirates…two beloved institutions in Pittsburgh.

The sections in center field are lower; they are a bit further out but are closer to the field for the same price. Section 139 could miss some of left field if you’re close to the fence, so avoid low-numbered seats there if possible which are closest.

On a hot sunny day you will definitely bake sitting in the outfield seats (I speak from experience); I would be sure to bring water, a hat and sunscreen.

PNC Park seating bleacher sections

Because nothing is more baseball than rubbing cheeks with your fellow fan.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #9: Bleachers. Yep, most of the hard metal benches in left field in front of the scoreboard are reserved seating. But they are cheap, costing about the same as the Grandstand seating and less than the reserved seating in right field. And they have backs, so it’s not all bad.

Behind the Bleachers is the General Admission bleachers section. The Pirates sell more tickets for this than there are seats, so you should get there early or be a large person if you have a GA ticket. This isn’t the best area to be, but the Bucs did add a drink rail for standing patrons, so it’s not awful if it gets you into the ballpark.


PNC Park seating left field

Not to worry if you can’t see the scoreboard…you won’t be allowed to forget who sponsored this nice ballpark.

Keep in mind these seats are in front of the Big Board, so you’d need to crane your neck to see the pre-game cartoon (I kid; the PNC Park scoreboard is actually quite impressive). There are two tiers, and the lower tier is probably your best chance to catch home runs (it’s a good spot during batting practice).

The Pirates won’t let you throw an opposing team’s home run ball back on the field, but if you catch one hit by a Pirate, they’ll have him autograph it for you.

One nice thing about the bleachers is the proximity to the new bar under the rotunda and the Left Field Lounge, so you have a place to get a craft brew or duck out of the elements. Which you may need to with the sun bearing down.

pirates game standing room

Not the best heckling spot, unless you want to heckle the groundskeeper. Which can be fun.

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #10: Standing Room. The Pirates have millennial-friendly standing room space now; the Left Field Terrace behind the bleachers is a nice spot to stand, lean and rest your drink, and it’s close to the Left Field Lounge for shelter if needed.

There is an outdoor bar at the entrance to the lounge on the center field side, if it gets too hot for you.


Pittsburgh Pirates ballpark pass

Remember when you ordered baseball tickets with your phone? Ah, the good old days.


The Pirates offer a standing room Ballpark Pass for just $29.99 a month (you can upgrade it for actual seats). This can be great if you’re in town to see a few high demand games (i.e. weekends against the Yankees). Well worth it with just 3-4 visits.

At the bottom of the rotunda is a full bar with craft beers. The Pirates sell it as a gathering spot to watch the game, but most of the area, including the bar and tables and drink rail, doesn’t have a view of the action on the field. It’s in an odd spot, truthfully, so it’s really more of a place to get a brew or wait out a rain delay watching something on the ginormous TV.


PNC Park seating standing room

“Hey, lean over and tell me if the Mets are winning, will ya?”

You may have noticed the people watching from a covered area below the outfield seats in right field; this is standing room and handicapped space and you can hang out there if you want.

If you’re there, check out “Baseball Joe” Vogel, the world’s #1 Pirates fan, who’s been to over 2,500 games. I find Baseball Joe and hang out with him whenever I visit Pittsburgh…he’s great.


Pittsburgh Pirates SRO rotunda

Offering shade and cover from the rain as well.

You can also watch from anywhere in the left field rotunda, which is a popular spot for standing room fans; they know they may get on TV there.

If you want a standing spot in the lower level, especially in the infield, you should stake it out early; the arrangement of concessions and handicapped seating makes the space for standing small in the main concourse. I had an usher kick me off of the handicapped platform in one visit. (He was polite though.)

Best seats for shade at PNC Park

This picture has been brought to you by Coppertone!

PNC Park Seating Tips, Part #11: A Few More Tips. Because of the orientation of home plate, the setting sun affects those on the third base side and in the left field bleachers. The seats on the third base side have better views of the downtown Pittsburgh skyline, but that’s the trade-off. You’d do well to have sunglasses and sunscreen on the third base side in the early evening.

PNC has some seats on the end of certain rows with no armrests for handicapped or oversized among us. You can order these by phone or at the box office.


pnc park seating front gate

It’s a great place to be.

The best entrance to use will be marked on your ticket, and this can come in handy in a quirky ballpark with a lot of nooks in it. Besides, it’s pretty neat to look at on the outside too.

Even with all of the details I shared here, the good news if you don’t remember it all is that PNC Park has very, very few bad seats. Some are better than others, but as you can see that depends on your taste. You’ll probably be happy wherever you sit, but hopefully this helps!


pnc park seating model club level

Love models like this. It makes me want to be a tiny person.

Thanks for reading this complete guide to PNC Park seating! I hope you enjoyed it and that it helps you make the most of your next visit to this superb ballpark. Happy to share more PNC Park tips here, and please support this website’s sponsors!


Planning a trip to Pittsburgh? Save a bunch of money on hotels, flights and rental cars…book your trip with my friends at Hotwire! (It’s still Kurt’s favorite!)

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Click here to start booking your trip to Pittsburgh and PNC Park today!

3 More PNC Park Food Options

Posted by Kurt Smith

Like most ballparks these days, PNC Park in Pittsburgh has some great samples of local flavors…I’ve talked about the Primanti Bros. sandwich and BRGR stuff here and PNC has several attached restaurants too. But they’re hardly your only choices…here’s a few more great PNC Park food options:


pnc park food options mannys

BBQ sliders, beans, slaw, and a handshake from a Pirates great.

PNC Park Food Options, #1) Manny’s BBQ Platters. Longtime Bucs fans of course remember Manny Sanguillen, the star catcher of the great 1970s Pirates teams. Today Manny sits behind the counter and signs autographs for people patronizing his BBQ stand, like Boog Powell does in Baltimore.

Manny’s is located in the Riverwalk area in center field. Their burgers are grilled on smokers in full view behind the counter and across the aisle. You’ll love the smell. Loaded burgers especially get good reviews, and the platters with beans and slaw offer decent bang for your ballpark buck.

best ballpark in baseball pulled pork pierogi stacker

Anyone want my extra pierogi?

PNC Park Food Options, #2) The Pulled Pork Pierogi Stacker. Manny’s (and the Familee BBQ stand in Pops Plaza) is also home to the Pierogi Stacker, which was pulled pork with onion relish, barbecue sauce and pierogies—yes, pierogies—piled on it and sandwiched between two soft pretzel rolls. It’s vintage Pittsburgh.

Such a sandwich would probably require a fork and napkins to eat, and it’s probably not the healthiest thing, but who cares. At least you’re not likely to be hungry afterward.

pnc park food options menchies yogurt

Well worth the sugar crash afterward.

PNC Park Food Options, #3) Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt. Menchie’s frozen yogurt is pretty popular; the chain has locations all over the world. And one in PNC Park.

The PNC outpost almost looks like you can help yourself (but no, it’s not free); pick a cone or a cup, fill it with vanilla or chocolate yogurt and then top it with a great selection of toppings including Reese’s pieces and crushed Oreos.

This is probably the fanciest dessert item outside of the Club areas; and the yogurt is kosher and gluten-free as they point out. I’ve tried Menchie’s and it’s awesome, especially for the price…highly recommended for dessert at PNC.


There you go…now you have more of an idea what you can eat at the Pirates game. Stay tuned, I’ll share more…

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The Best Way To Get To PNC Park (Without A Car)

Posted by Kurt Smith

One very cool thing about PNC Park in Pittsburgh is that because of its location, you have a choice of not just the free downtown buses and light rail (I talk a little bit about that here), but also some fun, romantic and greener ways to arrive at a Pirates game. For the best way to get to PNC Park without a car, check out one of these choices…

My friends at TickPick have Pirates tickets…they offer a best price guarantee, a buyer’s trust guarantee, and NO service fees. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

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best way to get to pnc park gateway clipper

“And folks, if you look to your left, you’ll see…oh wait, here we are!”

Best way to get to PNC Park, #1) The Gateway Clipper. The Gateway Clipper folks have a fleet of inland riverboats that run folks from Station Square to the outfield entrance of PNC Park. The fee is reasonable and free for kids under 6. You can usually park in the West Lot at Station Square cheaply, so long as there isn’t a special event going on.

Clippers begin carrying passengers over two hours before the game starts, and begins return trips in the 7th inning until a half hour after the game (or ½ hour after postgame fireworks or kids running bases). The lines for the return trip can get long afterwards, so be prepared.

The Clipper is a fun and novel way to get to or from a ballgame; it’s also a cool romantic thing if you’re so inclined. Station Square is a happening spot, with stores, restaurants and hotels and a railroad car that can take you up the Monongahela Incline for a spectacular view of Pittsburgh.

Just try to get on the earliest boat, because they’ll sometimes wait until a boat is full before sending it, and this has made people late for games in the past.

best way to get to pnc park pittsburgh water limo

Marketing fail: website address should always be dockside!

Best way to get to PNC Park, #2) Pittsburgh Water Limo. Coming from the Strip District area (east of the ballpark on the North Shore), Pittsburgh Luxury Cruises rows boatfuls of fans to Pirates games on weekends.

Prices are reasonable, and you can park for free or inexpensively at the Lockwall One Marina. Reservations are recommended; it only holds 49.

Three boat rides run a half hour apart starting 65 minutes before each game; boats start returning passengers to the marina starting at the 7th inning stretch and continuing a half hour after the game. They’ll also run boats after fireworks or a concert.

As if all that wasn’t cool enough, you can buy a beer or glass of wine on the boat, and probably cheaper than it would be inside the ballpark.

The Strip District is another happening part of Pittsburgh with eateries and nightlife. If you’re doing the whole ‘Burgh experience you can have breakfast at Deluca’s, ride a boat on the Allegheny and take in a Pirates game. Great for romantic outings if your other can stand baseball (and even my wife can do that in Pittsburgh).

Never Drive To PNC Park Without A Plan…

Book Your Parking Spot NOW With My Friends at SpotHero!

Book Your Parking Spot NOW With My Friends at SpotHero!

best way to get to pnc park bicycle

Featuring a solar-powered station, for further carbon footprint reduction with your baseball!

Best way to get to PNC Park, #3) Ride your bicycle (or rent one). PNC Park isn’t a bad ballpark to two-wheel it; there are bicycle paths near the park, including a scenic route along the waterfront. Cyclists can use any of the bridges that connect the North Shore to Everywhere Else in Pittsburgh except for the I-579 Veterans Bridge. There are ample bicycle racks on Federal Street on the east side of the ballpark.

An organization called Bike Pittsburgh features a map of trails and dedicated bicycle lanes in the city on their website. If you’re using a car/bicycle combination, Bike Pittsburgh suggests parking for free at Washington’s Landing north in the Allegheny and using the North Shore Trail straight to the park.

You also have bicycle rental options in Pittsburgh; for a small fee, Healthy Ride bikeshare members can take a bike from various stations throughout the city and return it to another station.

Healthy Ride a few stations close to PNC; one is right at the ballpark at Federal and Isabella. You could also use the station on the North Shore Trail, a very pleasant ride along the waterfront, or Fort Duquesne and 7th if you’d like to walk across the Clemente Bridge for the amazing view.

From what I’ve read in reviews of Healthy Ride, which weren’t always flattering, it’s definitely a good idea to get everything set up as far as accounts and such before trying this.


best way to get to pnc park pedicab

Nothing like having the right of way in downtown.

Best way to get to PNC Park, #4) Take a rickshaw. For a novel way to avoid traffic, save gas, and be eco-friendly, Green Gears Pedicabs will pedal you in a bicycle rickshaw to PNC Park and back from most downtown locations. Just call them and tell them where you are, and they’ll send one.

You can even bring a reasonable amount of cargo, and the nice part is that you don’t have to wait for the driver on the phone in front of you to get moving.

Up to three can ride in a Pedicab, and the price is fairly reasonable for the experience (parking would be cheaper, but just saying), although they would probably like you to tip.


Baseball fans talk glowingly about the view in PNC Park, and rightly so, but I consider the multiple ways to arrive at the place a great plus too. For your next visit to PNC, try an unusual way to get there and experience more of a great city.

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

Planning a trip to Pittsburgh? Save a bunch of money on hotels, flights and rental cars…book your trip with my friends at Hotwire! (It’s still Kurt’s favorite!)

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Click here to start booking your trip to Pittsburgh and PNC Park today!

3 Ways To Score Cheap Pirates Tickets

Posted by Kurt Smith

Every baseball fan should make the trip to visit PNC Park, but it’s also a second home to thousands of Bucs fans…at least the ones remaining following the trades of Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole. But it’s still baseball, and we’re all looking for cheap Pirates tickets, right?

Here are just three tips for saving money on Pirates tickets from Ballpark E-Guides, but of course read this and this to help pick your seats.  And remember, there’s plenty more where that came from…

My friends at TickPick have Pirates tickets…they offer a best price guarantee, a buyer’s trust guarantee, and NO service fees. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

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Get $10 off your first purchase with email sign-up!

cheap pirates tickets newsletter

You can get this info without actually coming to the ballpark.

Cheap Pirates Tickets, Tip #1) Subscribe to Ticket Alerts. The Pirates e-mail newsletter contains a lot of great ticket offers, and on occasion the Pirates will waive ticket fees, saving you a trip to the box office. You’ll also know about giveaways, concert nights and fireworks nights, and the fireworks nights are popular enough to get your tickets well in advance.

The Pirates also make pre-sales available to subscribers, giving you a chance to land tickets for face value when high value opponents like the Cubs come to town.


cheap pirates tickets port authority

See what they did there with the two baseball references?

Cheap Pirates Tickets, Tip #2) Check Out Local Institutions. There are quite a few chains and businesses in Pittsburgh that offer ticket deals for Pirates fans.

As this is written, PNC Bank cardholders get discounts on tickets and fan club memberships; Giant Eagle cardholders get discounts for weeknight games; and Slice offers a family pack with tickets and pizza (and it’s great pizza…take it from a South Jersey pizza snob) at a discounted price. These things are all listed on the Pirates website.


cheap pirates tickets

As opposed to using “jiu jitsu” to get your Pirates tickets…

Cheap Pirates Tickets, Tip #3) Get The Spring Pass. This one’s for locals who can go to a bunch of games. The Pirates offer a pass that you download on your phone that gives you access to every home game in a certain month, in this case April and May, for a fantastic price. If you’d like to see all of the Cubs games in a certain month, that alone will almost pay for this.

These passes sell out fast, so make sure that you’re subscribed to the Pirates newsletter to jump on it when it’s available.


There’s a few ways to save a few bucks on Pirates tickets; there are, of course, many other ways to enjoy a Pirates game at PNC Park without striking out your wallet buying tickets, parking or food. Stay tuned.

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)



PNC Park Restaurants On Federal Street

Posted by Kurt Smith

There are four PNC Park restaurants…and when I say “PNC Park restaurants”, I don’t mean restaurants near PNC Park, I mean that there are actually four eateries attached to the ballpark, with entrances on Federal Street.

These are bona fide grub stops that are popular on game days, and with overall food quality inside the otherwise spectacular Pittsburgh ballpark (it’s not that bad, but it could be better), they make a good choice for a pre- or post-game meal, with the outdoor dining and all that.

Here are your Federal Street choices…


pnc park restaurants left field lounge

You have to step outside for this view, but at least there’s a drink rail.

PNC Park Restaurants, #1) The Left Field Club. It changes sponsors frequently…it’s the Jim Beam Left Field Lounge as I write this…but it has an entrance on Federal Street and the indoor sit-down restaurant sits behind the right field bleachers. Unfortunately with the new standing room space added there isn’t much of view of the field these days, but it’s still a pleasant atmosphere.

Menu items include Pittsburgh-style salads, the “pulled pork pierogie hoagie” with pork, potato and cheese pierogies with crispy onions on a bun, and for health nuts a vegan burger with secret sauce. Lots of vegan and gluten-free choices here in fact…it’s a good place to get your healthy grub on.

There’s great brews and Jim Beam drinks available, and best of all, drink prices drop significantly after the game.

pnc park restaurants atrias

It may get crowded, but hey…Iron City beer.

PNC Park Restaurants, #2) Atria’s. Atria’s is a sports bar with several locations in Pittsburgh; their PNC outpost is a small tavern inside but has tables and bartenders on the Federal Street sidewalk. Before games you can get a beer on Federal Street that is not cheap but cheaper than it will be during the game.

Atria’s menu is tavern-style grub; burgers, steak and seafood entrees, etc. Most people in the online universe are happy with the size of the burgers. There are TVs in the bar if you’d like to watch the game from there.

Pro tip! The Pirates give out a free program called “Inside Pitch”…check your program for coupons for Atria’s or other nearby joints.

NOTE FROM KURT: I’ve recently learned that Atria’s has departed from their PNC Park location, I don’t yet know what is replacing it. Will update this when I can…


pnc park restaurants slice on broadway

Is there a food on earth that looks more enticing on display?

PNC Park Restaurants, #3) Slice On Broadway. South Hills-based Slice replaced Diamond as the PNC Park pizza shop in 2016; and it was a good choice. Slice’s New York-style pizza has been voted Best Pizza in Pittsburgh by several periodicals, including Pittsburgh Magazine.

It looks just like any pizza shop, but the slices are large and tasty, and they have other terrific menu items like strombolis and hoagies. If you go before the ballpark’s gates open, it’s priced very reasonably, but with an entrance into the ballpark, you can go there for a slice during the game in a ballpark strangely devoid of a pizza stand. (They serve Fox’s pizza den inside, but it isn’t heavily advertised.)

Unfortunately prices rise after the ballpark gates open, but Slice is well worth a visit if you’re a pizza fan.

pnc park restaurants steel cactus

If you get it to go, skip the salsa…

PNC Park Restaurants, #4) Steel Cactus. Didn’t mean to put Steel Cactus last, since they’re perfectly good. Steel Cactus gives baseball fans what they need at PNC; a burritos and tacos option. The Federal Street entrance leads to a full restaurant and bar, and you have a choice of burritos and tacos with an impressive selection of stuffings.

It’s probably not a place to go if you’re looking for the most authentic Mexican food experience, but for a pre- or post-game meal it’s more than adequate. Burritos are nicely sized and reasonably priced and they have tasty salsas.

Steel Cactus is mostly a sit-down restaurant, but they do have a window in Highmark Legacy Square where you can order a burrito.

There’s some of what you need to know about the Federal Street restaurants at PNC Park, a lesser known part of the Pittsburgh baseball experience. Of course, they have food inside the ballpark too…

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

3 Tips For Visiting PNC Park With Kids | Pittsburgh Pirates

Posted by Kurt Smith

Doing PNC Park with kids? Great idea…it’s a great time to expose them to baseball in one of the planet’s most beautiful settings for it. When the Pirates are competitive, it’s plenty exciting, but it’s a pretty fun experience (and cheaper) even when the Bucs linger near the bottom of the NL Central.

If you’re bringing the kids to PNC Park, here are a few things you should know about.


pnc park with kids sundays

Oh no, this isn’t nightmare fuel…yeesh.

PNC Park With Kids, Tip #1) Go on Sunday. Sunday is by far the best day of the week for kids at PNC. Federal Street north of the ballpark is already closed to traffic, and on Sunday it becomes the Giant Eagle Fan Zone, with inflatable rides, face painting and a bunch of other stuff for the kids.

Sundays are also kids run the bases days, where the little ones can run around the infield after the game. This is a very popular promotion, which brings me to PNC Park With Kids Tip #2…

pnc park with kids club

I’m so proud of my little Bucaroo…

PNC Park With Kids, Tip #2) Join the Bucaroos. By all means have your kid enrolled in the Pirates Bucaroos fan club. There are free memberships that include tickets and buy-one-get-one offers, but the paid membership is well worth the few extra bucks: four tickets and front of the line privileges on run the bases days.

The kids also get cool Pirates stuff like a bedroom sign and parrot blanket with the paid membership. They’ll treasure it forever.

pnc park with kids play area

It’s more popular than it looks. I was early.

PNC Park With Kids, Tip #3) The Kids Play Area. The Pirates have built a respectable kids play area in the right field corner of the ballpark (keep this in mind choosing seats, incidentally). There’s a wiffle ball field and slides and such, and it’s a place where the kids can burn off energy before the game. If you want to be the first ones there, try going in through the much lesser used right field gate.

Oh, one other thing…don’t forget that there’s a Bucaroos food stand in the left field corner, with smaller portions and prices for kids. Bonus tip at no extra charge!

There you go…some helpful things to know for your next Pirates game with the little ones. Stay tuned for more tips, I got a million of ’em.

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

5 PNC Park Tips For Newbies

Posted by Kurt Smith

If you’re visiting PNC Park for the first time, there are, as with every ballpark, some things you need to know. PNC Park is one of the best ballparks in America and a popular ballpark chaser destination, so here are some ways to save yourself time, money and aggravation when you go.


visiting pnc park box office

Lady, no need to use the phone, the ticket window is right next to you.

Visiting PNC Park, Tip #1: Consider the demand for tickets. The Pirates draw pretty well when they have a decent team on the field. And PNC is a pretty decent draw even when the Pirates aren’t that great.

For midsummer weekend games, you’ll probably be better off buying through the team (sign up for the Pirates’ ticket alert newsletter and keep an eye out for no-fee days, the Pirates do have them), but during the week against a team other than the Cubs, you should be able to find a deal on TickPick.

There is a “scalp-free zone” at PNC Park, but I’ve never seen anyone selling tickets there, so you would probably have to patronize the legitimate scalpers (joke) if you are out of luck at the box office.


visiting pnc park view from infield

The people in the outfield seats miss this…

Visiting PNC Park, Tip #2: Stay in the infield. The outfield seats are OK at PNC; there’s a nice view of the river and bridges if you turn your head, and it’s close to Manny’s and other cool eats.

But you’ll definitely want to be in the infield here, between the bases if at all possible, because of the stellar view of the Clemente Bridge and downtown Pittsburgh. I know you’re not at a ballgame to see a nice view, but it’s worth it, trust me. Pictures do not do the scene justice. Lower or upper level doesn’t really matter, the view from the infield is stellar.

visiting pnc park parking downtown

Well worth the extra walk.

Visiting PNC Park, Tip #3: Park your car downtown. If you don’t mind a short walk, the parking lots in the “Point” section of Pittsburgh are cheaper than the lots on the North Shore closer to the ballpark.

The lot at Fort Duquesne and Sixth is right at the foot of the Clemente Bridge, and usually has spots if you’re early enough. Again, it’s a bit of a walk, but the view of the inside of PNC Park from the bridge is utterly spectacular, the best ballpark approach I can think of. It’s equally stunning at night, with the blue “PNC Park” letters reflecting on the water. Extra bonus: there are cheap vendors of peanuts, water and T-shirts at the foot of the bridge as well.


PNC park tips steel cactus

We covered this burrito with green salsa just in case you were thinking of using your hands.

Visiting PNC Park, Tip #4: Try the connected restaurants. Primanti Bros. sandwiches are great, but they tend to be better and cheaper at various Primanti locations in the city, so only get that if it’s your only opportunity to do it in the Burgh. Chickie’s and Pete’s fries are popular too, but leave that for Philly.

In the restaurant under the scoreboard (currently the Jim Beam Left Field Lounge as I write this), you have some great choices of Pittsburgh-themed foods like the “Burgh Style Greens” salad, and less expensive drinks after the game.

But there are other restaurants attached to the ballpark on Federal Street, and they’re all good…the pizza from Slice On Broadway is excellent and Steel Cactus makes a great and hefty burrito. And you get a little more bang for your buck, except during the game when the price at Slice goes up.

visiting pnc park baseball joe

The biggest baseball fan you’ll ever meet.

Visiting PNC Park, Tip #5: Check out Baseball Joe. I promise you, you’ve never met a bigger Pirates or even baseball fan than “Baseball Joe” Vogel. Despite being rendered deaf and mute from three strokes, he still manages to attend every Pirates home game, as he has since he was a young boy.

Baseball Joe sits in the covered section just above the out-of-town scoreboard in right field, and communicates with fans through a small keyboard he carries around. He is the biggest baseball fan anywhere…don’t even mention other sports to him. Joe loves to meet other baseball fans…you can tell him I sent you. Read more about Baseball Joe here.

There you go, five tips for visiting PNC Park in Pittsburgh. There’s other things to know about, like the free subway ride from downtown or the BRGR Abso-Bac’n-Lutely burger, and the statues of Pops and Maz.

One thing you probably do know is that PNC is one of the best ballparks in America…you probably won’t argue the point when you go.

3 Cheap and Smart PNC Park Parking Spots | Pittsburgh Pirates

Posted by Kurt Smith

When you’re headed to a Pirates game and are searching for PNC Park parking, you have an abundance of choices, but most of the lots near the ballpark aren’t cheap and/or are set aside for pre-paid parking and season ticket holders.

Fortunately, if you want to go for cheap PNC Park parking, Ballpark E-Guides has a few cool suggestions for you.


pnc park parking view from bridge

You should see this in person.

1) The Fort Duquesne and Sixth Garage. It’s relatively cheap, it’s the closest garage in the downtown “Point” section of the city, and you can enjoy an absolutely stunning view of a beautiful ballpark walking across the Clemente Bridge (which is closed off to vehicular traffic on game days).

And you can get cheap peanuts, drinks and souvenirs from vendors right at the foot of the Bridge.

pnc park parking first avenue garage

Hint: North Shore features PNC Park!

2) The First Avenue Garage. I discovered this one recently and noticed quite a few Pirates employees using it, so I know it’s a smart choice. It’s a small few bucks to park here, and you can use an elevator to get dropped off right at the platform of the First Avenue Port Authority “T” station…from which you can ride for free to North Shore, literally across the street from the PNC front gate.

Low price, very little walking, and a super easy out after the game back on the highway.

pnc park parking rivers casino

Gamble on a cheap spot!

3) The Rivers Casino. I’ve heard differing accounts on whether it costs anything to park here for a Pirates game. According to the casino’s website you pay the event rate four hours before the game, but it’s reimbursed to you if you dine or gamble there. But I’ve also heard plenty of people say they’ve parked for free here; I presume it would be free before the game rate kicks in.

There’s nothing wrong with the walk from here, with a nice waterfront pathway that goes past several great eateries like Burgatory. But if you’re tired you can hop on the free T from Allegheny Station to North Shore.

That’s just three cool PNC Park parking options, but you can arrive at PNC almost any way you want…by bus, by boat, or even a bicycle…stay tuned.

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

PNC Park Food: 3 Things To Try

Posted by Kurt Smith

The PNC Park food menu, like at most ballparks, reflects its hometown. There is something special about the way Pittsburghers do sandwiches, for example. There are no rules.

I’m not sure why this is some sort of thing that is somewhat unique to Pittsburgh, but the home of the Pirates is starting to reflect this in a big way, and like at most ballparks these days, fans can sample great local favorites without leaving the venue.


pnc park food primanti bros

Want fries with that?

PNC Park Food Tip #1: The Primanti Bros. Sandwich. Some locals will tell you that the iconic Primanti Bros. sandwich is not as great at the ballpark as it is at the several Primanti locations around the Burgh. Less food for your dollar and the slaw is less tasty, I’ve read. If you believe that, by all means try a Primanti Bros. location elsewhere.

But if you don’t have that option, the Primanti sandwich is a classic taste of Pittsburgh at the game.

I’ll describe the sandwich for you. At PNC Park you have a choice of steak, capicola or roast beef, covered with cheese and on airy Italian bread. French fries and Cole slaw are included, and they just happen to be piled into the sandwich.

It is indeed a unique and delicious sandwich. I do recommend sitting down at a nearby picnic table to eat one though. If you eat it at your seat you’ll be picking fries out of your lap, and that just isn’t baseball.

pnc park food quaker steak

Why doesn’t Quaker State offer these at their oil change locations? Actually, scratch that idea.

PNC Park Food Tip #2: Quaker Steak Boneless Wings. Quaker Steak’s logo is similar to Quaker State Motor Oil’s, big and green with white lettering, so you can’t miss it. I’m fairly sure they don’t use Quaker State oil for cooking wings though, or their wings might not be as popular.

Quaker Steak has boneless wings in any of several flavors; last I checked the flavors were “Louisiana Lickers”, “Arizona Ranch”, “BBQ”, in hot or medium. You can get a large bucket of them to share, although at ballpark prices you may think it costs an awful lot for wings.

The bleu cheese sauces aren’t included and cost a tiny bit extra, so if you like bleu cheese keep this in mind, because the cup of cheese is fairly small and you may need more than one.

Quaker Steak & Lube is in Smorgasburgh near Primanti Bros., and there’s an outdoor picnic area nearby where you can reduce the risk of wing sauce on your Pirates jersey.

pnc park food brgr


PNC Park Food Tip #3: The Abso-Bac’N-Lutely Burger. The fine folks at BRGR have a couple of popular burger joints in Eastside and Cranberry, and they’ll sometimes have a food truck on Federal Street before games with cheaper eats than inside.

This burger isn’t the type of goofball burger with froot loops or whatever that you see at ballparks these days. It’s simple and necessary…a fresh patty with bacon, lettuce, tomato and your choice of cheese. It’s also a nice-sized thing, and messy enough to sit at a nearby table to finish.

Best of all, BRGR has great milkshakes to go with it. Like McDonald’s but without the suspicious dollar menu.

That’s just a few food items in PNC Park; but there’s also the Angus burgers at Manny’s, the Pierogi Stacker, the Reuben dog and much much more…think ahead.

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

Best Ballpark In Baseball – PNC Park?

Posted by Kurt Smith

Calling PNC Park in Pittsburgh the best ballpark in baseball doesn’t offend too many people. At the gorgeous home of the Pirates, you will often see signs around the ballpark proclaiming it to be “The Best Ballpark in America”. As far as I know, there’s no outrage about this from fans of other ballparks.

What if the Cubs put such signs around the outside of Wrigley Field? Might Red Sox fans sneer a little bit? And vice versa, if signs appeared around Fenway Park proclaiming it to be the best ballpark in the country, would that not get a reaction from Cubs fans? Just a thought.

As someone who has visited a few ballparks but not all of them, I can say that while the question of whether PNC Park is the “best ballpark in baseball” may be debatable, one wouldn’t have too much trouble making the case.

There’s a lot of obvious things to love about PNC. The view, for one.


best ballpark in baseball pnc view

It’s the bridge. The bridge makes it.

From almost any section in the ballpark there is the stunning vista of the downtown Point area of Pittsburgh, linked to the ballpark itself by the Roberto Clemente Bridge painted in Pirates/Steelers/Penguins gold, crossing the Allegheny River.

And the approach to the ballpark from downtown is as classic baseball as it gets—a walk across the Clemente Bridge past vendors hawking snacks and apparel, with the open air and dark blue seats in full view while crossing the Allegheny River by foot. Few ballparks if any could match that.

best ballpark in baseball clemente bridge

I would pay for this view, but don’t tell the city that.

Then there’s the ballpark itself—Kasota limestone on the outside; the statues of Bucs greats Clemente, Stargell, Wagner and Maz; the rotunda in left field with views of the ballpark and the city; and the intimacy of just 38,000 seats, painted dark blue in homage to Forbes Field.

And there are some not so obvious things too. There’s the matter of the price of tickets, which may not be a fair attribute to discuss given that the Bucs didn’t secure a winning season there until 2013.

best ballpark in baseball pnc

Best ballpark in baseball? Not even a discussion? Wrigley? AT&T?

But poor performance on the field didn’t stop the Cubs from charging a chunk of change to get into the ballpark for many years. From the most to least expensive seats, Pirates games are competitive in price with any team in baseball.

The architects of PNC Park did a tremendous job building intimacy into the place. The ballpark was not only built with a small amount of seats, it was done without raising the upper level to nosebleed height as it is in many new ballparks. The Pirates brag that the highest seat is only 88 feet from the field, and there’s no question that you’re still on top of the action even in the upper deck. This is something that no ballpark built since has achieved, at least none of the ones that I have visited.

best ballpark in baseball pulled pork pierogi stacker

Sure, you could have thought of pierogies in a pulled pork sandwich. But you didn’t.

There’s food selections of all kinds, from the venerable Pittsburgh favorite Primanti Bros. to Chickie’s and Pete’s fries to the new BRGR burger joint. You may not necessarily love the idea of a pulled pork sandwich with pierogies on it, but you can’t deny the Pittsburgh-ness of that. And there’s Iron City beer…nothing makes a ballpark like a bad local beer.

Finally, I’ve been to ballparks with better food and better access. But PNC is pretty easy to get to by car, and you have the option of using a bus, train or even a boat. Heck, you could ride a bicycle there along the Riverwalk and that would be pretty cool.

But to this observer that isn’t all that important. It’s not easy to get to Wrigley Field, but I don’t care once I see the ivy and ancient scoreboard. And when in Fenway Park, a Fenway Frank tastes as good as any gourmet meal anywhere else.

I have yet to see AT&T Park, Safeco Field, Target Field or Coors Field, all of which have been touted as the best in America. Of the ballparks I have visited, I’m partial to Camden Yards, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park—and without doubt, PNC Park in Pittsburgh. On almost every level, PNC is as good as or better than all of them.

So if you ask the writer of Ballpark E-Guides whether PNC Park is the Best Ballpark in Baseball, my answer is: if you think so, I won’t argue with you.

(Note: this article contains affiliate links. If you use an affiliate link to make a purchase, Ballpark E-Guides earns a commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

3 Odd Games At PNC Park

Posted by Kurt Smith

I’ve seen three games at PNC Park, and I’ve seen unusual things at all three of them.

I first visited PNC Park in the year of its opening, August of 2001. Five years later, I would take my then girlfriend (now wife) on our first date anniversary, and five years later I would visit again for the fact-finding mission of the PNC Park E-Guide.


games at pnc park front gate

Pittsburgh Kasota limestone.

My first game saw the Pirates against the Arizona Diamondbacks, August 23, 2001. Pitching for the D-Backs was none other than Randy Johnson, one of the most dominant pitchers of his or any era. Johnson and the Diamondbacks would become the World Champions that year in one of the greatest World Series ever played; he and Curt Schilling would be named co-MVPs.

At the time Johnson was on the verge of history. He needed 13 strikeouts to become the first pitcher in history to record 300 strikeouts for four straight seasons. 13 is a lot in one game though, so I imagined the odds of my witnessing this were slim.

Well The Big Unit struck out the side in the first, recorded one in the second, and struck out the side again in the third. After five innings he was up to ten, and in the sixth he sealed the deal, striking out the side again to reach the magic 13. He would record three more in the seventh to make it 16—but he also surrendered four runs that inning.

What’s unusual wasn’t so much that he struck out 16—although that is extremely impressive—but that he lost doing it. Only Mark Prior has equaled that number of Ks in a game that I have been present to witness. (Prior ended up with a no decision in a Cubs defeat.)


games at pnc park clemente bridge

Didn’t have All-Star tickets, unfortunately. But Pittsburgh dressed nice for the occasion.

In June of 2006 I presented my now-wife Suzanne with our dating-for-one-year anniversary gift—a trip to Pittsburgh with a stop at Hershey Park on the way.

Despite her not being the slightest bit of a baseball fan, I thought she would enjoy a game at PNC Park if I added a view from the top of the Duquesne Incline. I was right. This was the year that the All-Star Game was in Pittsburgh, and we visited the week before the game, so banners were everywhere celebrating baseball’s showcase coming to Steel City.

We sat behind home plate on July 1, 2006, for an interleague matchup between the Pirates and Detroit Tigers. The Pirates were dead last with a 27-54 record…a frustrating .333 winning percentage. The Tigers on the other hand were just the opposite: 55-25 and in first place in the AL Central going into the game.

Tom Gorzelanny for the Bucs and Jeremy Bonderman for the Tigers battled effectively for five innings; both were pulled with the score 2-2. Then after the 7th-inning stretch, the weirdness started. Here is the play-by-play of the bottom of the seventh inning from Baseball Reference:

N. McClouth – ground ball single to center.
J. Bautista – ground ball single to left, McClouth to third.
J. Wilson – strikeout, swinging.
S. Casey – line drive single to center, McClouth scores, Bautista to third.
J. Bay – fielder’s choice, Bautista scores on E5, Casey to second.
F. Sanchez – Reached on E3, Casey to third, Bay to second.
J. Burnitz – Reached on E4, Casey scores, Bay scores, Sanchez to third.
J. Castillo – Doubled to center, Sanchez scores, Burnitz to third.
R. Paulino – Ground ball single to left, Burnitz scores, Castillo scores.
N. McClouth – Flied out to left.
J. Bautista – Popped out to first

Now, I was there. The Pirates batted around and scored seven runs in the inning, and I can tell you that the only hard hit ball of all eleven at-bats was Castillo’s double.


games at pnc park detroit

What kind of Mickey Mouse defense is this?

Seven runs on four hits and three Tiger errors…six of the runs unearned. It was undoubtedly the strangest half-inning I’d ever seen. The Pirates fans sure didn’t seem to mind, but the few Tigers fans I saw there had to be shaking their heads at that one.

That would be the final: Pirates 9, Tigers 2.

In September of last year I visited Pittsburgh with the wife again, this time on the fact-finding mission for the PNC Park E-Guide. The wife, despite being four months pregnant, was quite the sport about joining me in Pittsburgh and for the tour of PNC Park we did in the morning. She wasn’t up to the game, which was just as well, since I spent much of it roaming the ballpark taking photos.

I managed to get the needed photos early, and was able to sit and enjoy the contest, which I don’t often get to do on these missions. It was Saturday, September 10, and the Pirates took on the Marlins in front of a crowd of 34,000.

Jeff Locke performed fairly admirably for the Pirates, allowing five hits and giving up a three-spot in the third with a couple of walks and a base hit. For the rest of the game, Chris Leroux, Chris Resop and Jose Veras would blank the Marlins.


games at pnc park pierogi race

Glad to see they’ve achieved parity in the Pierogi Race.

Unfortunately, only Neil Walker could manage a hit against Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who pitched a one-hitter and walked only three.

Sanchez had pitched a no-hitter before, in 2006 against the Diamondbacks, so despite his nearly .500 lifetime record as a pitcher, he is prone to instances of single game brilliance. In this game he struck out 11, and was more or less untouchable after Walker’s double in the second. Final score: Marlins 3, Pirates zip.

Pirates fans, as I remember, did not celebrate his performance as opposing fans sometimes do for high achievement, perhaps partly because the loss dropped the Bucs to a 66-79 record after a promising first half of the season. There was also a post-game fireworks show, so perhaps they had other things on their mind, like finding a better seat for the show.

So in three games at PNC Park, I’ve seen a strikeout record get broken, a one-hitter, and seven runs scored in one inning through nearly zero offensive might. And a very cool fireworks display.

I guess something about my presence at PNC Park delights the baseball gods. Far be it for me to complain.

Keeping Up With Baseball Joe

Posted by Kurt Smith

This post has moved!!


Sorry for the inconvenience, but I’m in the process of moving the content on this excellent website to an even more excellent one, a collection of musings called “A Great Number of Things“.


You can read about the amazing Baseball Joe here, in all its original and highly entertaining glory. Enjoy!



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