The Pittsburgh Pirates will play 54 more baseball games this season. Exactly one-third of the schedule remains.
If you’re like me, you could use a breather—maybe a week’s worth of rainouts, or a few Steelers games—to break up the monotony. I’m just not that excited watching games right now.
Rather than write another halfhearted post about a miserable offense or an overpriced starting pitcher, let me go off the field this morning—or, actually, to the field.
I received an e-mail I could use your help in answering:
A couple of friends and I are heading off for a baseball trip August 18th. We’re starting things off that night in Pittsburgh vs. Philly.
I’ve been to Pitt several times and almost went to college there, but I’ve never made it to PNC Park and have wanted to since it was built. I was wondering if you have any recommendations; like what bars are great for game day, and/or where’s a good cost-effective place to grab a bite.
Help a brother out: What’s your PNC Park routine?
- As a creature of habit, I’ll park in one of two places. There’s a church not more than a 10-minute walk from the left-field gate that I appreciate for its price. (You can’t beat free.) On occasion—usually when heading to a game straight from class—I’ve parked in a downtown garage and walked across the Clemente Bridge. That view of the ballpark is worth the $10. Never will I pay $20 to park in a stadium lot.
- A stop at Primanti Bros. is a must—either in the stadium or after the game. The Pittsburgher cheesesteak is one of the best ballpark values in America, and the original restaurant in the Strip is one of my favorite places to eat. As a yinzer gourmet, I know that I.C. Light is the perfect beverage to serve with any Primanti’s sandwich.
- Best seats in the park: Directly behind home plate, maybe 100 rows back. Close second: Left-field reserved bleachers (the ones right behind the fence next to the bullpens). The first give you a view of the city, the field, the scoreboard—the whole shebang. The bleachers are cost effective, let you interact a bit with the players during batting practice and heckle the opposing relievers in-game.
- I’m ashamed to say that in the two months I’ve been legal, I’ve yet to booze on the North Shore after a game. I do have a friend, though, whose sister met Wily Mo Pena at Hi-Tops while he was playing for Cincinnati. Just putting it out there that Wily might like ’em a little young.
- If I’m in the mood to impress, taking a round-trip ride on the Gateway Clipper Fleet is a great way to get to and from the park. You can fully appreciate the city from her rivers, I think, and Station Square is fun, if expensive.
Any hidden gems I’ve missed? Great place to eat within a reasonable distance of the ballpark? Best bar for the Pittsburgh experience on a Saturday night?
As always, your feedback is appreciated.