2010 Reds / Baseball - General / Behind Enemy Baselines / Photoblogging

My Impressions of PNC Park

OK, over the past couple of days I read about how many of you rated PNC Park either at the top of your list or near the top of your list of top stadiums in the game.  After going to Monday’s Reds-Pirates game in Pittsburgh, you can add me to the list who feel PNC Park is on top of the list of Top Ballparks in Baseball.

It took my son and I a little over 6 hours to make the drive from Virginia to Pennsylvania.  This was one of the first long road trips I have made with my 6 year-old and that alone made this trip pretty special.  We arrived in Pittsburgh around 4 o’clock, a full hour and a half before the gates opened up which allowed us plenty of time to tour the outside of the park.  We parked across the river and walked over the Roberto Clemente Bridge as some of you suggested.  The view of the park from across the river was magnificent.  I was blown away from the first impression I got of the park and the rest was not a let down.

We toured the outside of the park, photographed the Clemente statue, purchased our tickets, viewed the main entrance to the ballpark, then entered through the outfield gate between the river and ballpark.  I never had a view I did not like as I walked around. We waited another 25 minutes for the main gates to open up to watch the Reds take batting practice.  After the gates opened, it took my son all of 5 minutes before Jonny Gomes tossed him a baseball.  This event alone made everything about the trip worth it.  Seeing my son’s face after Gomes gave him the ball was great!  We toured the Negro League statues after batting practice, walked around the interior of the stadium, and then took our seats up near the top row behind home plate.  The view of the skyline, bridges, river, and ball park from up there was magnificent.  I can not imagine another ball park matching that view.  We moved around every third inning to a new seat to get the full experience, finally sitting down the left field line in the corner beside the foul pole in the lower section.

In honesty, the game became secondary to getting the full experience of the field.  Obviously having the Reds win the game 4-0, topped off by a great pitching performance by Wood and the inside-the-park homerun by Heisey added to the experience.  My only complaints would be not getting to see Votto play that night and having the usher not let me sit in the lower section at the start of the game (but since they weren’t my seats, I guess that would be my fault!).

All in all, if you have not been to PNC Park, you need to make an effort to to see this place.  Just ignore the home team that plays there and enjoy the stadium.  I’m thinking Nationals Park is our stop for next summer.

There are some photos I took during the evening below the fold.

PNC Park

15 thoughts on “My Impressions of PNC Park

  1. I can’t speak for the whole city as I only saw the stuff between the parking garage and the stadium. I was definitely impressed by the stadium. There is so much more I could have said but didn’t want to turn this into a book.

    I liked the fact that they gave out free mini programs, with a scorecard included, when you arrived at the game. Everything that I saw on the road between the parking garage and the stadium definitely looked nice. It was a nice view looking from the city to the stadium, and vice versa. Pittsburgh definitely built the ballpark in the best location from that perspective.

    I did not partake in any of the specialty food items. I was trying not to spend a ton of money on this trip and thus only ate a hot-dog (which wasn’t very good btw) thus I didn’t try a pierogi nor one of those Primanti sandwiches. Maybe if and when I make the return trip, I’ll try one of those.

  2. I went to a game at PNC last year, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the food there but everything else was nice. It was a 1979 reunion night so it was pretty crowded and a lot of nostalgia. (People always talk about the Reds hanging on to the past, but the Pirates are much worse, imo)

    Watched batting practice from the LF bleachers, and I was about 10 ft from Carlos Fisher, Kip Wells and Homer Bailey. Homer tried to throw a ball to my dad and I, but overthrew us. (go figure) The Reds lost pretty bad so we just roamed the stadium for a while. We watched a couple innings from that giant spiral ramp, that was really nice.

    • I went to a game at PNC last year, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the food there but everything else was nice. It was a 1979 reunion night so it was pretty crowded and a lot of nostalgia. (People always talk about the Reds hanging on to the past, but the Pirates are much worse, imo)
      Watched batting practice from the LF bleachers, and I was about 10 ft from Carlos Fisher, Kip Wells and Homer Bailey. Homer tried to throw a ball to my dad and I, but overthrew us. (go figure) The Reds lost pretty bad so we just roamed the stadium for a while. We watched a couple innings from that giant spiral ramp, that was really nice.

      We watched batting practice out in LF as well. Love how it feels like you are right on the field out there. We had Jonny Gomes and a coach hovering around LF for most of BP. Logan Ondrusek came over halfway through and tossed a few balls into the seats. Bronson and Arthur hovered around centerfield and left center near us but that was pretty much it.

      There were plenty of Reds fans around during BP, so my son was pretty lucky to get a ball from Jonny early on. Of course he was the youngest kid around, and being decked out in Reds stuff probably didn’t hurt his chances.

      I loved that ramp out in LF also. I took a few photos from that perspective as I walked to my seats.

  3. I saw the Reds at Nationals Park when they were there this year and was disappointed. It was totally nondescript… nothing interesting or unique about it at all, that I could see. It’s located right on a river, just like GABP or PNC, but you’d never know it from inside. Plus the game I saw was awful (the one loss in the series).

    On the other hand, I ran into Aaron Harang, Chris Heisey and Micah Owings walking around the National Mall on the off-day before, so that was cool.

    I agree PNC is the best park by far. Pittsburgh’s skyline and downtown area are highly underrated. One of the prettiest skylines in the country for sure.

  4. PNC is the nicest of the “new parks” I’ve been to. Too bad they will never have any positive baseball history there anytime soon.

  5. When I was growing up the Pirates were a force to be reckoned with. “The Lumber Company”.

  6. Hey! My son and I drove 6 hours from Lexington to go to the game on Monday as well. We also got a ball signed by Gomes, so I wonder if we were right near each other?

    We got tickets from Stub Hub and were 20 rows behind home plate. Not bad for $15 each. I agree that PNC is a great park. If anyone gets the chance, they should go see a Reds game there. The last few summers my son and I have gone to Milwaukee, Washington, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh to see Reds games. PNC Park ranks right up there with the best stadiums, and I agree with an earlier post (DenL42) that Washington’s stadium is nothing for which to make a special trip.

    Great stadium…… bad team. They have no hope for at least the next 5 years.

  7. Great pictures, Chris. Thanks.

    Based soley on the picture from inside the park, it looks like PNC Park is a similar setup as GAPB, minus the riverboat.

  8. Chris

    I have never been to PNC Park… the pics look amazing. I just PCSed (military) from Beale AFB, which is out by Sacramento, CA. I have to put a plug in for the Giants stadium as the best stadium in baseball. It is gorgeous, the temp is always cool enough to enjoy the game, and well you just can’t beat San Francisco as a city.

    Just my $0.02.

    Great blog!

    GB

  9. I’ve been to PNC and most food prices are under $7. I didn’t make it to the rib smoker to checkout the prices. You can get a 16oz or true imperial pint 20oz beer of a local microbrew for $7. I know those prices are high for a family but overall not bad.

    The Friday night atmosphere is very lively. A lot of games, trivia and music going on inbetween innings. The ball doesn’t seem to carry at all even if hit directly to left. You can stay at the Marriot which is across the street from the ballpark. The Marriot has a street level pub and there are several more watering holes right there. Also there’s $20 parking adjacent to the Marriot and PNC.

    I like GABP better. The view isn’t the same as PNC but I like the red seats. Plus the concourse is painted that light grey which gives the inside area a cleaner look. Also PNC isn’t closed off so when the cool wind blows in man it’s cold until the sun comes out. PNC concession area can be like a wind tunnel. Outside GABP there’s a big league atmospere to it (when the crowd is big). You feel like you are walking to a bigger event. Sorry Pittsburg but walking to PNC and entering is like a minor league stadium.

    There’s newer downtown minor league stadiums that has the downtown skyline in view. Not like PNC but still adds to the feel of the park. Frontier Field in Rochester has the trains going by the stadium and of course they blow the whistle. There’s the Kodak tower in left where Falcons nest and fly around the tower all day. Plus another tall building in right where people watch from the rooftop.

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