Posted on 08 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
Pittsburgh – Although the baseball in PNC Park in the early days was far from ideal, this community benefited more than any other in baseball from its stadium upgrade. The urban backdrop of this gem at the confluence of the Allegany, Ohio and Monangehela sets it apart among all of the other new parks. You feel like you can reach out and touch the city and the big yellow Clemente Bridge in the outfield. The park is nestled into a small space and the rich tradition of Bill Mazerowski, Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente and even all of the Steelers glory feels a part of this place that many call their favorite MLB park. Normally, I don’t recommend any visit to Pittsburgh but this place makes the trip worthwhile. Hard for even a diehard Steelers, Penguins and Pirates hater to hold any animosity toward this gem. And over the past few years, the team on the field has finally played up to the stadium it calls home.
Posted on 24 July 2012 by scottzolotorow
I arrived home late last night from Cleveland and Pittsburgh. I took in Friday and Saturday night’s Oriole wins at Progressive Field and a game at the beautiful PNC Park Sunday afternoon. These were two more stadiums on my journey to see an official game at every MLB park, numbers 17 and 18 respectively. But Cleveland was all business, with my Orange gear on I was there to see the Orioles play. The second night we actually sat with 5 Orioles fans and were louder than the Indians fans in our section which was in the bleachers. The Indians have some interesting traditions, none more unique then the drum guy. This guy plays his little bass drum all night long when the Indians have a runner in scoring position and everyone in return claps along.
In my last blog, i deemed this series against the Indians as the most important series of the season up to this point. I was right with the Orioles taking 3 of 4 and the Yankees getting swept in Oakland. The O’s are now just 6.5 games back of the Yankees and tied for the Wildcard lead with a huge two week period ahead with Tampa, Oakland, and the Yankees. Its now or never and the two games I saw in Cleveland along with Sunday’s was the start! But back to the trip, I was pleasantly surprised that my party of three wasn’t the only Orioles fans at Progressive Field. The fans in Cleveland were also very welcoming towards us Orioles fans. I did make the classic mistake of asking the woman next to me who was more hated, Model or Lebron. She got over it!
The highlight of the two games in Cleveland besides the obvious two wins that I got to see on the road, was hearing the roar of the crowd when Jim Thome took his first steps towards the plate of his first at bat Friday night. He went on to double, Homer, and single that night! Thus they didn’t cheer for him very much the 2nd night! His home run in Friday nights game put him alone at 6th all-time, passing short time Oriole, Sammy Sosa. This was the first significant home run that I had seen in person since Manny Ramirez’s 500th which took place May 31st of 2008 off of the submariner, Chad Bradford, at Camden Yards. The Orioles lost that game 6-3. Thome of course homered in the 2nd game of the trip on a solo shot off Zach McAllister. His first two home runs as an Oriole, in my first two games seeing him play in an Oriole uniform.
The MVPs of the trip are Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez who shut down the Indians in front of two gigantic Cleveland crowds. Both nights after the games the Indians put on an incredible firework show called “Rock N Blast.” This is a once in a year extravangza sponsored by the the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was the only reason fans stuck around throughout the Orioles 10-2 beatdown of the Indians. Big round of applause to Ryan Flaherty as well for homering in back to back nights along with Thome. The Indians are getting ready to install a Jim Thome statue in center field already and he hasn’t even retired yet! I’ll be back Cleveland for the Ravens-Browns game in November!