A New #1?
August 20, 2022
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds
BY: Matthew Preslar
The argument has a new contender. Yes, we have seen only a limited number of MLB parks, but Wrigley Field and Camden Yards rank highly on any list of best MLB stadiums. Another that ranks up there is PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Saturday started with an early arrival to the city. Coming from a stop in West Virginia, we continued through the Appalachian Mountains in to western Pennsylvania. The first destination in Pittsburgh was a boat tour on the Gateway Clipper. The city is built around and between three rivers: the Allegheny and the Monongahela, which combine to form the Ohio River. From the water we saw many of the skyscrapers, the mountain inclines, the bridges, and, yes, the sports stadiums.
We already knew Pittsburgh is well known for the metal industry (duh, the Steelers) and the glass industry (PPG Arena, Pittsburgh Penguins NHL hockey). I have extensive work experience in these fields, all which makes this city and its inhabitants so relatable. We saw headquarters for these entities from the water of Pittsburgh. We also saw so many beautiful bridges, all black and yellow.
Up next, the Duquesne Incline, one of only two remaining inclines used for public transit up the mountain to the highest elevation of the city; yes a city on top of the city. From atop the mountain one could see amazing overhead views of the rivers and all the sections of the city. It’s extremely breath taking. I’m thankful I have people in my life who make me take the time to see these parts of the world.
AND NOW FOR THE MAIN EVENT:
We headed into the North Shore area in preparation for the baseball game. We parked in a surprisingly affordable parking deck right beside Rally House North Shore. This is an all encompassing Pittsburgh sports merchandise store. Being honest, the Pirates rank well behind the other teams in the city. Pirates items total a very small percentage of the store, even in baseball season. We came out with some generic “P” style shirts. They’re obviously black and yellow…which would play anywhere and anytime in the Steel City.
On to the restaurant side of North Shore, places were getting packed even three hours before the game that night. We stumbled into Burgatory, which features milkshakes, burgers, wings with vegan and gluten free options available in all. We were extremely “food happy” walking to PNC Park... AND HERE WE GO!
Replacing the famous Three Rivers Stadium (Pirates and Steelers), PNC Park opened in 2001. While baseball times have been mostly lean since the early 90’s, PNC Park is anything but. We entered the main gate behind home plate and got to field view as soon as possible. OH MY GOD! Any picture I have ever seen didn’t do it justice. It’s hard to put in words. It’s like a premium lego set with backdrop on the box. It’s like the best graphic designer made a stadium on a computer or MLB the Show. I cant imagine a stadium that represents a city any more than PNC represents Pittsburgh. A breathtaking view of the skyscrapers that fuel the city’s economy. A view of iconic yellow bridges in which you navigate the city. And that’s just on the field level.
We bought in the cheap seats up top the 3rd base side. From the higher views you see more of the same: more tall buildings, more yellow bridges, more river used for business and pleasure, more mountains… all things PITTSBURGH. There’s so much depth and consistency. These are traits I love so much, and I truly felt connected to this city.