Part 9: Pittsburgh Pirates
As mentioned, I haven’t been to all that many of the parks on this list. I have been to PNC, on the back end of a double dip with Cleveland the day before. While Jacobs Field was a really nice place to watch a ballgame, it was truly overshadowed by its rival 100 miles to the southeast.
I can honestly say I can’t imagine how you can make a park any better than this one. The setting is wonderful, the views are spectacular, and it just feels like Pittsburgh the moment you walk through the gate. It’s the gold standard for future ballparks, and I’ll be surprised if anyone tops it.
Still, with apologies to all the fine associates or teammates or whatever silly name they give the employees at PNC Financial Services, the name could use an upgrade. An initialed bank name – and who besides Vlad knows what the P or the N or the C stand for, if anything? – just isn’t good enough for this gem.
Name: PNC Park 2001-present.
Other ballparks used by club in its current city: Three Rivers Stadium, 1970-2000; Forbes Field, 1909-1970; Exposition Park III 1891-1909; Recreation Park 1884-1890; Exposition Park 1, II (1882-1883)
Distinctive Features: Limestone façade’ steel girders in left; spectacular views of downtown from much of the park; statues honoring Pirate greats Wagner, Maz, Clemente and Pops; Clemente Bridge outside park closed to vehicular traffic on game days; exhibit on city’s strong Negro League history; Allegheny River in reach for strong poke from lefthanded batters.
In 2001, Jason Kendall became the first Pirate to get a hit in PNC Park, and later the first Pirate to get hit by a pitch there, equally fitting feats for the former catcher. Also equally fitting for the turn of the century Bucs, opponents managed both feats first.
In 2006, a two-out, two-run triple in the ninth inning by Michael Young off future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman led the American League to a 3-2 victory in the All-Star Game, extending the AL’s win streak to four games and its unbeaten streak to 10.
In 2013, the Pirates knocked off the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 in the NL wild card game in the club’s first playoff game in 21 years.
In 2015, Andrew McCutchen starred in a video I never tire of watching.