After we lunched, we dropped off the car and the luggage at our hotel which was just across the Allegheny River from PNC Park. We walked across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to arrive outside of PNC Park on a gorgeous 80-degree Pittsburgh day for a 4:05 PM Pirates game.
As we arrived to the stadium, the Pirates were hosting a Saturday Block Party outside of the stadium where they closed off roads, had a live band, and were serving beers which could be drank on the streets and areas outside of the ballpark.
After grabbing a tall boy of Miller Lite, we did a full lap around the park to see the different entrances and the waterfront walk just outside of the outfield.
We entered the stadium early enough to get our Josh Harrison bobblehead on giveaway day and made out way to our seats - pretty much behind home plate about 20 row up. When buying tickets, I knew I wanted to get seats in this area since the stadiums is supposed to have some great views.
Whenever I read reviews on MLB ballparks, all of the list/articles seem to include AT&T Park and PNC Park in the top. I had high expectations about this stop and it really did not disappoint (I think the weather helped out) - the layout was great, the neighborhood amenities were top notch, the views were amazing, and the fan energy level was high and they were all fully engaged. A top stadium to watch MLB, but I think AT&T edges it out as the best spot in the country!
A few other things to note in the stadium.... Starting with the ramp rotunda - the ramps leading to all levels of the stadium down the third base line also serves as a standing room area only area should anyone not want to sit in their seat but rather stand from this view.
Above the left field bleachers, they have their Hall of Fame Club which is open to all ticket holders - there is an indoor bar with a fully-seated restaurant should you choose to eat there, and a few rows of standing room only areas to watch the game from this area.
The beer of choice for the ballpark is their custom Pirate-logo'd IC Light (IC stands for Iron City).
Now, for the most exciting part of the whole game (maybe even the whole trip) - on the scoreboard popped up an advertisement for Chickie's & Pete's Crab Fries!!! For all of you die-hard blog readers, you will remember this is my favorite concession item from Philadelphia that I had 5 years ago. Needless to say, I jumped out of my seat and waited in the long line - worth it, they were amazing (sorry there is only a photo of the empty container, too focused on eating and not thinking of photos):
The Pirates put a beating on the visiting New York Mets (a lot of Mets fans in the crowd for this game). After the victory, the Pirates play a song called "Raise the Jolly Roger" and raise a Jolly Roger Flag out in the center field - a unique and fun tradition.
After the game, we ventured back to the hotel to get cleaned up a bit, walked down to the confluence of three rivers (more on that from the next blog post), and then made our way to Jerome Bettis' restaurant (PNC Park and Heinz Field are about 4 blocks from each other and this restaurant is right in the middle). Let's just say Jerome knows football better than he knows food. Tomorrow is an off day before a Memorial Day game in Cincinnati, more to come......