How expensive is stadium parking? FREE: 3% $5-$10: 5% $10-$15: 39% $15-$20: 7% More than $20: 3%
Is public transportation a viable option? Never: 16% Worth it if you have a lot of time and patience: 23% A good option to avoid rush hour: 19% Pretty easy if you know the system well: 35% The only way to go: 3%
How would you rate traffic getting to and from the game? To the game: A slow-moving parking lot: 1% Slow, but usually steady: 10% Moves well outside of rush hour: 36% Aside from the occasional bottleneck, it's good: 33% A smooth ride at all times: 16%
From the game: A slow-moving parking lot: 4% Slow, but usually steady: 26% Moves well outside of rush hour: 21% Aside from the occasional bottleneck, it's good: 33% A smooth ride at all times: 11%
How would you rate the number of restrooms for men and women? Bring a map: 1% It depends on the section: 2% Never more than a short walk away: 12% A satisfactory amount: 15% Plenty: 58%
How long is the wait to use a bathroom? Always available: 75% 1-5 minutes: 17% 5-10 minutes: 2% More than 10 minutes: 0%
How would you rate the variety of food/beer concession options? Limp hot dogs, bland peanuts, even blander beer: 0% Nothing fancy, but the staple foods are tasty: 2% A little variety of food and drinks available at specific locations: 4% A nice variety but locations are spread out: 30% You name it, they have it around almost every corner: 59%
How much will a meal at the ballpark cost you? $5-$10: 20% $10-$20: 64% $20-$30: 10% $30-$40: 1% More than $40: 1%
How would you rate the entertainment options aside from the game? Nonexistent: 1% So many games/promotions and scoreboard highlights that the game is lost in the background: 5% Typical mascot antics/scoreboard quizzes and fun music: 26% Some unique promotions/antics, but it sometimes distracts from the game: 14% A nice balance that draws your attention when the game is stopped but doesn't distract from the action on the field: 48%
"Although the park is new, it has more of a historic feel to it than Three Rivers." That sense is apparent not only in the obvious, such as statues of Honus Wagner, Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente, but in more subtle ways, such as the 21-foot-tall right field wall, a tribute to Clemente's number 21. The team has also dedicated an area in tribute to the Negro leagues. With the Pirates' not having produced a winning record since moving into the park in 2001, the focus for most fans is off the field -- the limestone-and-blue-steel structure, the "great views from any seat in the house," the playground area for children and, most notably, the "breathtaking" view of downtown Pittsburgh. Admirably, the Pirates try to keep most seats affordable. "Front-row seats on the first base line go for between $25-$30." Even more admirably, the team has made sure to instill a lot of "nice local flavor" in concession options. Primanti Brothers sandwiches (meat, fries, cole slaw) and Benkovitz's fish sandwiches are both "a must." Wisely, the team also caters to the luxury-box crowd with a cigar club in right field and a handful of theme bars and lounges. In other words, PNC offers something for everyone, a neat feat.
The area around PNC is "can't miss," from the popular "but crowded" Hi-Tops bar across the street from the park to Atria's "amazing Italian food." If you're up for seeing some more of the city, cross the Roberto Clemente Bridge and stop off at the Warhol Museum or continue on to the newly hip Strip neighborhood, where "you've got to go to the original Primanti Brothers" (for oversized grilled meat and cole slaw sandwiches) or any number of funky food and arts-and-crafts shops.
2006 record: 58-86 (all statistics through Sept. 10) Players worth the price of admission: Freddy Sanchez (.340 Avg., 76 RBIs, 78 runs), Jason Bay (.282 Avg., 32 HRs, 101 RBIs)
From the standpoint of baseball as an experience, PNC is as close to perfect as the game has: comfortable seating, good sightlines, a wide variety of food and beer, family-friendly sections, a gorgeous view of the city and easy access to a hip neighborhood before or after the game. From the standpoint of baseball as a competitive sport, PNC is a silk purse filled with a sow's ear. Thankfully, the Pirates don't play themselves, allowing the Pittsburgh fans a chance to see at least one team playing for something beyond the opening week of the season. Too bad the park can't do what the Pirates won't and cast about for a free agent ... team, that is.