As much as I miss my family and friends back home, I'm growing to love the city of Pittsburgh. The people are awesome, the city is beautiful, and the Pirates are once again making this city come alive.
Up until yesterday, the 2nd, I hadn't had a chance to go to PNC yet, even though I drive by it virtually everyday on my commute to work. So when my lovely wife offered up the chance to get tickets for the Rockies series I jumped out of my chair with excitement.
One of the things I love most about the city is, we live right down the street from a "T" station (think light-rail) and that runs straight down to PNC - makes it super easy for us to jump on the train and arrive literally across the street from the ballpark.
The very first thing I noticed was the energy. We arrived well ahead of 1st pitch, and the stadium was already buzzing with folks. The park had the energy of a team that is playing meaningful baseball - and this sports crazed town is falling in love with the buccos.
We quickly found our way to our seats, and were escorted by a very helpful attendant - and every single person who he showed to their seats, he personally made sure it was clean, and rubbed the seats down with a cloth before leaving us to go.
We had great seats - 3rd base side, unfortunately we had wanted to sit above the visitors dugout but did not know that PNC has the dugouts reverse of what Coors is set up like. That being said, 3rd base side is the place to sit. The view of the dahntahn skyline was beautiful. Lovely open background to the park that makes you remember that you are in the heart of downtown for the game.
I hadn't been to a ballgame in over a year, and I couldn't stop smiling once we got to our seats. I was really impressed with the look and feel of the park once inside the stadium. The thing that kept jumping out to me was how small it felt compared to Coors. According to Petro, PNC is 30% smaller than Coors, and once the stadium filled to capacity it felt very intimate to watch a game there.
The hot dog was very good. Wished there was more toppings available outside of the traditional onions, relish, ketchup and mustard. This dog would have been perfect with some spicy brown mustard and a crisp dill pickle spear. Alas I settled for the ketchup and mustard, and found myself pleased with the result. I would go as far to say that the dog at PNC is better than the dog at Coors field.
After getting an earful all day from my co-workers about wearing my Rockies shirt, I expected a bit of harassment at the park. However true to Pittsburgh fashion, everyone was super friendly with us during the game. Outside of the friendly teasing, and the occasional dirty look when I stood up to cheer when Tulo hit his homerun, nobody was treating us poorly for rooting for the Rockies.
Chacin pitched extremely well - I really think he could have had a complete game, and would have closed better than Brothers did. He was really good at getting that 1st pitch strike called, and stayed ahead in the count. The Rockies were extremely patient at the plate last night, forcing Cole to hit 107 pitches very quickly in the game. I think it was key to get to the tired bulpen (i know, Hurdle over work a bullpen...never!) and was the key to success. I will say that the Rockies are very much missing Cuddy and CarGo in the lineup. Outside of Tulo there just seems to be a lack of power at the plate, and had a lot of missed opportunities that could have really blown the game wide open.
PNC was just as beautiful at night - with the lit up cityscape in the background it made for an excellent view as the Rockies went to work. While the stadium is small - whoever designed it for sound did a fantastic job. The bottom of the 9th was possibly the loudest baseball game I've ever been to, and that includes sell-outs during the Rockies playoffs. When Cutch hit that long double off the top of the CF wall, that stadium erupted, Pirate flags were waving, and chants of "LET'S GO BUCS!" rang through downtown Pittsburgh that could be heard from blocks away.
Overall I found PNC park a great place to catch a ballgame at. Friendly service, clean bathrooms, good food and the Pirates are playing the best baseball in the league right now. They have captured the imagination of this football and hockey obsessed town.
While I am excited that the Rockies won last night, I will be cheering my heart out for the Pirates to make it to the playoffs.
LET'S GO BUCS!