Loving all things Pittsburgh
A view of PNC Park from the Roberto Clemente Bridge. PHOTO BY: BILL POTRECZ
As a lapsed catholic, I have a confession to make.
I have a new favourite ballpark to visit.
Now, that may not sound like that big a deal, but trust me, it is more than big. It’s monumental.
I have always been partial to visiting Cleveland for a trip to the old ballpark. The love affair with the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dates back decades when my late father Al and I took trips to the old Municipal Stadium.
Now, that place was a dump. The Mistake by the Lake. It was big and dirty and cavernous, cold in the spring and fall, and generally not much to look at and I loved every minute I ever spent there.
My dad and I took about a dozen trips to Cleveland, including some visits to the then-new Jacobs Field which was born in 1994. Holy cow, talk about an upgrade.
Yep, Cleveland was the place to be. As an unabashed fan of the Los Angeles Angels of course a trip to Anaheim would be the ultimate and I have been there a half-dozen times. But on a yearly basis, it was feasible and a heck of a lot cheaper to head four hours down the 1-90 and visit Cleveland.
So Cleveland was my go-to destination for a baseball trip.
All the changed this summer.
Another trip to Cleveland was made and a fine time was had by all watching a couple of games versus the Boston Red Sox. The requisite trip to the Hall of Fame was also made and everyone left satisfied.
But just before those two games at Progressive Field (hate these corporate names for ball parks), my son Ryan and I stopped to see the Dodgers at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
It was love at first site for the both of us.
From the park itself, to the setting by the Allegheny River, to the downtown area of the city, this place had it all.
In one short game, PNC had become our new go-to destination.
In fact, so enjoyable was the trip we immediately hatched plans for another visit and last weekend spent two days watching the Pirates put a dent in the playoff hopes of the St. Louis Cardinals.
It was steaming hot, a gorgeous farewell to summer at a destination that will now become what is hoped to be an annual trip.
It also didn’t hurt we came home with a suitcase full of swag, courtesy of the Pirates who featured a t-shirt and jacket giveaway that weekend. As well, we got in on some goodies given out to season ticket holders. That’s a good story for another time!
Toss in a stay at a great downtown hotel that featured a free buffet at both breakfast and supper, and, well, you get the idea.
Fun, food and baseball. That’s tough to beat.
Plans are already in the works for a trip next season to Detroit and Chicago, but there’s no way PNC isn’t going to be on the list somewhere in 2018.
Now, if only the Pirates played in the American League so I could see my Angels there!