Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The 10 Best Things About Pittsburgh: #1

#1 PNC Park. When I was a kid, I saw my first big league game in Three Rivers Stadium. It was the stadium of the future; a giant mass of concrete with the fans kept far away from the playing field. But I loved it. For less than $10, I could ride the bus there and back, get a ticket, a coke and a hot dog. Three Rivers was cold and sterile. I went to other horrid stadiums and parks too; the Kingdome in Seattle (Like watching baseball in a bomb shelter), Exhibition Stadium in Toronto (called the Mistake By The Lake), and Municipal Stadium in Baltimore (I think the filth and rust held the iron girders together). I thought this was how baseball was supposed to be.

I must admit that that changed after a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Let me make this clear, I never was an Orioles fan, but I liked Cal Ripken and it was the only game in town). It's a really nice park an the first of the "new' parks. It has personality. After the Nationals came to DC, it was back to the giant concrete monstrosity, RFK Stadium, to watch baseball. It had the architecture of Three Rivers, the cold impersonality of the Kingdome, and the distance from the field of Exhibition Stadium. But at least we had baseball in DC.

It seemed that every summer that we travelled back to Pittsburgh, the Pirates were out of town that week, plus I don't think that Nancy thought that sitting at a ball game for three hours was high on the priority list. Since living in Pittsburgh, I end up driving by PNC Park a couple of times a week. All winter, I'd sneak peeks into it as I drove by trying to get a feel for the place. I was determined to take our older son to a few games this year.

Last week we along with a friend went to our first game. It was beautiful! Our seats were just past 3rd base, probably about 170 feet back from the foul line. The first thing you notice is the view of downtown Pittsburgh laid out behind the outfield wall. Then you notice the light towers which are based on the towers from old Forbes Field, a unique feature of PNC Park. And the players were right there. You are so close, you fell as though you are part of the game. I felt like Robert Redford might walk out of the dugout in his New York Knights uniform at any moment. I imagine that this was how baseball was meant to be watched.

And the Pirates won the game; which I must admit, was a pleasant surprise.

1 comment:

Ed said...

I thought Cleveland was the "mistake by the lake?" And I mean the city, not the ballpark!

You have to come back and see a game at the new Nationals Park. It's pretty awesome - and I caught the first foul ball of my life last week!