Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pittsburgh Pirates

The prodigal son comes home. Pittsburgh was the city where I attended my first MLB game. It was like ‘71 or ‘72 when my dad took us up from WV to see guys like Stargell, Sanguillen, Ellis, Blass and others that made up one of the two powerhouse teams of the National League. The other was the Big Red Machine in Cincinnati with Rose, Bench and company. Those were the days. Players played for one team most of their career, no video replays, no interleague play and players earned less than the GDP of Romania.

It was also the heyday of Three Rivers Stadium. The multi-purpose cookie cutter behemoth that was as ugly as it was useful. To an around 10 year old it was a concrete wonder. And it was new. In case you are wondering how old I am, someone had the foresight to blow up Three Rivers Stadium about….say...10 years ago and build a baseball only gem now called PNC Park. Oh….baseball stadiums last about 30-40 years. You do the math.

Situated near the confluence where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers form the Ohio River, PNC is one of the best I have visited yet. The navy blue steel girders support a stone and brick beauty. It sports an out of town scoreboard built into the right field wall in throwback fashion and a great skyline view of downtown Pittsburgh, which is just across the Allegheny River, over the outfield wall.

Bun-absolutely the best bun I have had to date.
Taste-the Sugardale frank I had in Cleveland was not that great, but the same brand tasted much better in Pittsburgh.
Toppings-good selection that included jalapenos, onions, relish and mustard.
Price-you can’t beat $3.50 for a hot dog at a MLB venue.
Portability-not an efficient use of resources for the Pirates but still rates top score by putting a partial paper wrapper over the dog in a cardboard boat. Why not just a wrapper Pittsburgh?
It Factor-lots of food choices in PNC Park. But not a many hot dog choices to rate top score. Very close though.

Location-just across the river from downtown Pittsburgh, but close enough to call it downtown.
Access-really, really good. The city closes Clemente bridge to traffic other than pedestrian on game days. That bridge links downtown Pittsburgh to the ballpark. That kind of access commitment rates top score.
GA Ticket Price-a bleacher seat cost $13. Not bad but not cheap enough for the top prize.
Cleanliness-neat and clean.
Fans-super turnout and ardent support, despite the poor showing. PIttsburgh is a sports town.
Ambiance-it is tough to give a newer ballpark the ambiance of an old stadium. But PNC Park does it. An absolutely fabulous place to plant your keyster and down a dog.

DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price4
It Factor4.5Fans5

It was great to see the Bucs again. Even better to meet up with my cousin Dana at the game. I had not see her in a long time, and what better place to catch up than in the bleachers. Even if it was watching our beloved Pirates get trounced. It was also a road trip first. A storm rolled through around the 7th inning and dumped enough rain to cause a delay. We left at that point. With a hot dog in my gut it was tough the stomach the Pirates’ performance in the 11-4 slaughter.


  1. 57.5 has to be the best score so far? That seems like quite the place.

  2. Nate,
    Diamondbacks are also 57.5 but the Rockies still have the lead with 58.