San Diego Padres @ Pittsburgh Pirates
2010 Regular Season at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates host the San Diego Padres for the second of a three-game series. Adrian Gonzalez was still holding first base down for the San Diego Padres. The team recently swept the Pirates in the six previous games they played in. Andrew McCutchen was in his sophomore year. Pirates were in the process of rebuilding the team around him. Though the Pittsburgh Pirates finished last in the NL Central Division with a 57-105 record, these “Bucs” would manage to win their first post season berth in 2013, 2014, and 2015. In 2013, the Pirates advanced to a best of five NL Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, a hard-fought matchup that they lost. The next two seasons ended abruptly as the Pirates would lose each of the single elimination wild card games. These were the first play-off hopes since 1992 when Barry Bonds and crew were so close but yet so far from the World Series. But the Pirates faithful never forgets the Iconic Honus Wagner of the early years, Willie Stargell in the “Family” of the 1970’s, and of course the greatness of Roberto Clemente. There is a statute of each one out side PNC Park as a reminder. A memorial from Forbes Field was relocated in PNC Park and can be found in the hallway behind home plate.
Founded in 1882, this Pittsburgh National League ball club has won five World Series Championships (1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, & 1979). PNC Park opened in 2001 and is the sixth MLB field in Pittsburgh. The two more popular and recent ones are Three Rivers Stadium (1970-2000) and Forbes Field (1909-1970). Ball Parks were originally made of wood. They easily caught fire. The first stadiums built of wrought iron, concrete, and steel were Forbes Field and Connie Mack Stadium. That was no coincidence. The steel mills of the early 20th Century were here in the State of Pennsylvania. They helped usher in the Industrial Revolution, building the Brooklyn Bridge and the first sky scrapers. Hence, the “Steel City.” This is a blue-collar town.
The memory of Roberto Clemente is ever present in the Steel City. Since 2002, the official Roberto Clemente Day in all 30 MLB Parks is always on September 21. But, on any given day of the week, it’s hard to forget “The Great One’ when you’re here, signs of him everywhere, from the number 21 jerseys worn by countless fans in the stands, to the statue, to the bridge named after him, to the signs and memorials. Then there is the Roberto Clemente Museum on Penn Avenue. As I walked around PNC Park, the feel was like that of Jackie Robinson Day.
The colors black & gold is synonymous with Pittsburgh. They are used by Hockey’s Penguins, Football’s Steelers, and Baseball’s Pirates. The pride near the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny rivers run deep. They meet in the downtown area just as its citizens do during game day. PPG Paints Arena, Heinz Field, and PNC Park are all walking distance from each other.
You can take the Duquesne Incline up to the South Side neighborhood to get a view of the entire Downtown Pittsburgh where the Sixth Street Bridge, the Roberto Clemente Bridge, and the Andy Worhal Bridge come into perspective. During the day, the view of Downtown from up there is a must see. You can almost reach out and touch the metropolitan microcosm. At night, the view is magical. PNC Park is considered one of, if not the best, stadiums in Major League Baseball, and rightfully so.