So you think Target Field is pretty cool, huh? Imagine that park on riverfront property.
That’s why I named PNC Park the best of the
13 active ballparks 11 newer ballparks that I’ve been to. There are a lot of great stadiums that make the most of every square inch. But not many of them have the remarkable surroundings of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ stadium.
We went to PNC Park on the third leg of a vacation that myself and two friends from high school took a couple weeks ago, attending the Aug. 8 game between the Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks.
It’s an amazing scene that unfolds with every step toward the stadium, as fans funnel to and from the park via the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which is closed to car traffic for games. You can see right into the stadium from the bridge, with the river crossing directly behind the right-field wall.
Once you get across the bridge, there stands the statue of Clemente himself. At seemingly every gate, fans are greeted by a statue of a former Pirates great, whether it be Willie Stargell or Honus Wagner or Bill Mazeroski.
My buddies and I walked inside the stadium and quickly made our ascent to the third level of the park behind home plate. And what a view for 300-level seating price! Our seats were in the 100 level behind the plate, but we had to go to the top to take a look. Completely worth it.
And the stadium is impressive even when you’re leaving. It’s really something to walk alongside all of those fans cross that river via the Clemente Bridge.
No stop to Pittsburgh would be complete without a meal at Primanti Bros., which is famous for its “Pittsburgher” sandwich loaded with steak, french fries and cole slaw piled in the sandwich. We stopped at Primanti Bros. for lunch. My meal at the game was the chicken nachos in Pop’s Plaza. I HIGHLY recommend them. A heckuva deal, and a nice change of pace from the usual bratwurst that I order at the ballpark.
As for the game, the Pirates hung on for a one-run victory. The real fireworks were provided by Arizona’s Chris Young and Justin Upton, who were ejected from the game after Young argued balls and strikes with the home-plate umpire.
The city of Pittsburgh was very sharp. I had read that the city had put a lot of work into revamping its downtown district. And it really showed.
The fourth and final stop on the tour would send us to Toronto with the knowledge that we had just completed a visit to one of baseball’s great venues. A must-see for the diehard baseball fan.