Stadium Name: PNC Park
Stadium Rating: A
First Game: July 13, 2008
St. Louis Cardinals v. Pittsburgh Pirates
Final Score: Cardinals win 11-6
While on a family road-trip, I was more excited to stop by the ultimate baseball shrine 400 miles to the northwest – the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But more on that in another post.
The Game: For the game itself I was excited to see one of baseballs’ all-time great players, Albert Pujols, in his prime. Pujols was in the midst of his second of three MVP seasons, where he hit 37 home runs and raked in 116 ribbies, not to mention batting .357 on the season. On this sunny Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh Albert was not on his game, but the Cards still easily swept past the Pirates.
The Park: Pittsburgh’s gem of a ballpark received an A, and is currently #2 on my list of the 9 I’ve been to. PNC Park is situated right across the Allegheny River in downtown Pittsburgh. My dad and I walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to get to PNC, and bought dirt cheap tickets for the 4th row of the left field bleachers. $14 a ticket will barely get you into a stadium nowadays, but it put us in prime home-run catching territory.
While the Pirates were in the midst of a 20 year streak of mediocrity, their new stadium could not have been further from that. Normally, situating the park right in downtown – especially so close to a lot of commercial property – is not my favorite and would detract from the rating that I’d give a ballpark.
That being said, the nice sunny day with the skyline of Pittsburgh in the background, the cozy feel of a smaller, intimate field and the river rushing beyond the outfield walls made for a perfect Sunday afternoon. If given the opportunity to get another game in at PNC, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Current Stadium Rankings
2. PNC Park