I found this quote some time during the summer and put it in my “blog” file and there it sat until today…not that it has any less of an impact today…in fact, today, it really speaks to me! Maybe it’s our mantra for the New Year? I know I will hope for a moment like this…and a moment soon!
“Baseball players say they don’t have to look to see if they hit a home run, they can feel it. So I wish for you a moment —a moment soon— when you really put the bat on the ball, when you really get a hold of one and drive it into the upper deck, when you feel it.”
Aaron Sorkin, Playwright, screenwriter, producer, Syracuse University, May 13
One more stop on this trek…off to see the Houston Astron on September 14th – stay tuned!
The travel stars realigned, and I arrived in Pittsburgh with time to spare..and that was a good thing as PNC Park (http://tinyurl.com/8235qcq) was the perfect ballpark to explore from top to bottom! Like with Detroit, I hadn’t placed Pittsburgh very high on those cities I had longed to visit, and just like with Comerica Park (http://tinyurl.com/cav4ek8), I was pleasantly surprised.
At the onset…the arrival itself is impressive. Crossing over the Roberto Clemente (http://tinyurl.com/ofhqk) Bridge, you get to see the park “come into view” and it’s spectacular. Immediately, I was reminded of AT&T Park (http://tinyurl.com/c49qzxu) in San Francisco – one of my all-time favorite parks – with its glorious water views.
Once I crossed the bridge, I was welcomed by a vibrant street scene (closed off to car traffic) that was teeming with vendors, games for the kids and music. If you have been to Fenway Park (http://tinyurl.com/d9tunah), Wrigley Field (http://tinyurl.com/cj4n2zl) and/or Camden Yards (http://tinyurl.com/d93x6y3), you know what to expect! It was the perfect way to gear up for the game inside the park!
I made my way into the park and tended to the business of getting my Pass-Port (http://tinyurl.com/7v2ut3k) book stamped, only to be told at the Guest Relations office that they didn’t have the official stamp. Instead, I settled for a signature “P” stamp that they dated. (Later, while purchasing my souvenir magnet, I found that they had the stamp in the main retail shop, and passed that along to Guest Relations for future reference.)
Before I headed to my seat, I strolled into an indoor/outdoor full-service bar that mixed and exceptional margarita and provided sweeping views of the bridge and surrounding waterways. From this vantage, views of the small playground area were also visible – another nice touch to help entertain the kids and very much unlike the forced, circus-like ambience that you see/get at The Trop (http://tinyurl.com/cn2h4kl).
The purest in me enjoyed the wide concourse and plentiful food offerings…I like to see diversity in food options, despite the fact that I usually always have a hot dog! I was directed to a “side” elevator that lead me to the Club Level. As I stepped beyond the doors, the thrust of air conditioning swept over me, and it was a good thing because it was hot…I’m talking HOT! The rest of the “haves” were enjoying games of pool, upgraded food offerings, lots of cold drinks, and snow and ice cream cones as far as the eye could see.
I made it to my seat, a few rows behind home plate, and sent a silent thank you to the “seat gods” for placing me next to the cutest, single lawyer who was also trying to get to all the parks in the league (but only when his beloved/beleaguered Cubs were playing the home team). His name was David, and we chatted from first pitch to about the bottom of the second inning when we literally were about to melt. I retreated back to the confines of the Club so that I could “re-energize” with a soft serve cone. David had his own ballpark rituals that included photos…five outside the park, five inside the park, five from his seat and five during game play. At first, he seemed hesitant to share his routine, but, really, who am I to judge? I’ve got all kinds of pre-game and game time rituals!
After his photo shoot was complete, he joined me in the Club and we watched the game from the “AC” seats and chatted until I left for the airport. We swapped contact information and agreed to stay in touch (which we did/do)! There may be no crying in baseball, but no one said anything about flirting, right? 😉
Here are some pictures that simply do not do the park justice…Pittsburgh may not be high on your “must see” cities, but if you love baseball, it should be!
Without question, this park ranks in my Top #5…and, I can’t wait to return (when it’s much cooler)!
This was the ballpark that nearly wasn’t…thanks to Delta Airlines.
On May 26th, and after a multitude of human and aeronautical failings, I arrived in Minneapolis more than two hours after the start of the game. The Twins were playing Detroit, and I caught the action at the top of the 6th inning. To say I was exasperated was an understatement. Thankfully, Mother Nature was playing for my team, and the skies opened up to create a rain delay at the top of the 7th inning, giving me time to sort of breathe and explore the park during the game delay.
I had, for some odd reason, less than desirable seats, but they were covered, so I was able to sit down and take in the views for a bit even while the rain delay suspended play – for the first time all season, I was thankful that I didn’t have seats behind home plate!
I made my way to guest services to get my Passport Book (http://tinyurl.com/7v2ut3k) stamped. Like with several parks before this one, they had no idea where their stamp was, or if they even had one. I waited for Chuck to call Patrick who was the person “in the know.” While I waited, Chuck took pity on me and my crazy travel day and prepared a “swag bag” as a good will gesture! I have to say, he did lift my spirits…just because he cared enough to try! Patrick finally arrived only to tell me that he didn’t have the stamp, but would be happy to take my page and send it back to me. I looked at him with great hesitency…but he PROMISED that he would return it with the needed stamp. How could I question him…he had an honest and sincere face? (Note: After a few weeks, he did, in fact, send it back with the stamp, just as he promised.)
The rain finally let up, and I grabbed bite and retreated to my seat just in time to enjoy “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” followed by “Proud to be an American,” by Lee Greenwood…a nice “two-fer” I thought!
This wasn’t a good day for the Twins, as they fell to the Tigers with a score of 3-6, but the game ended on a sunnier note and clear skies. Though this was the shortest time I had spent at a park, and the first time I had missed the National anthem and other usual ballpark rituals, I felt that I was still able to get a good look around (thanks to the rain delay).
I was impressed with the special room set aside for mother’s to breast feed, a nice touch (not that I’ve ever needed one, but, this was the first park that had it readily visible and heavily utilized). There was a brick building out way past the right field that reminded me of Camden Yards, I liked that touch, but wasn’t much a fan of the buildings that were closer to the field that seemed plain and a bit unattractive.
I left, still feeling a bit cheated (still wished I had seen the Kirby Puckett statue), but glad I got to see, what I saw. The next day, I would head to Pittsburgh and hope for better travel and a full day at PNC Park!