Pittsburgh Pirates: PNC Park – Buzzntheburgh.com




  • The Ballpark

    PNC Park, which opened in spring 2001, is a classic-style ballpark, an intimate facility that embraces the progressiveness of Pittsburgh while saluting the spirit of early ballpark originals such as Forbes Field, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates since their inception in 1887.

    This riverfront facility combines the best features of yesterday’s ballparks – rhythmic archways, steel trusswork and a natural grass playing field – with the latest in fan and player amenities and comfort.

  • Location

    PNC Park
    115 Federal Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15212

    PNC Park’s prime location along the shore of the Allegheny River and adjacent to Federal Street takes advantage of scenic vistas of the downtown skyline and riverfront, as well as pedestrian and riverboat access, creating an exciting and dramatic urban sports venue. It also provides easy access for pedestrians crossing the Roberto Clemente bridge from downtown, as well as those arriving from the riverwalk. On game days, the bridge is closed off to vehicular traffic and spectators are met by a dynamic interactive retail/restaurant and sports pavilion beyond right field, with attractions for all ages.

  • Design

    The facility was designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK), Inc. out of Kansas City, MO. The design and construction management team consisted of a joint venture between Pittsburgh-based Dick Corporation and Barton Malow with offices in Baltimore, MD. The Architect of Record was L.D. Astorino & Associates of Pittsburgh.

    PNC Park is the first ballpark with a two-deck design to be built in the United States since Milwaukee’s County Stadium was completed in 1953. Because of its intimate design, the highest seat is just 88 feet from the field, giving every fan in the park an ideal sight line.

    PNC Park is approachable and pedestrian in scale. Designed to fit within the existing city grid, it is also orientated to allow a great majority of spectators a spectacular view of the Clemente Bridge and the downtown skyline beyond.

    The home of the Pirates is instantly recognizable as a ballpark, with architectural flourishes of Forbes Field lending a touch of nostalgia. The series of masonry archways extending along the entry level facade and decorative terra cotta tiled pilasters exude the charm of the club’s former home of 61 years.

  • Features

    Among the features of the beautiful facility are 69 suites with their own concourse level, club seating at both the field and mezzanine levels with their own respective lounges, an outfield barbecue run by former Pirate Manny Sanguillen, an outdoor river terrace and river walk. PNC Park also features the Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club, offering a casual dining and sports bar atmosphere with wait service before, during and after every game for all ticket holders. The ballpark houses retail areas along the Federal Street and General Robinson Street corridor, including Atria’s Restaurant, Diamond Pizza, a merchandise shop, PNC Bank and the Pirates administrative and ticket offices.

  • Playing Field

    The irregularly shaped, natural grass playing field measures 325 feet down the left foul line and 389 feet through the left field power alley. The park reaches its greatest distance of 410 feet at a nook located just left of center field. The distance down the right field foul line is 320 feet, 375 feet down the power alley, and 399 feet to center field. The outfield wall rises up to 21 feet behind right field (in honor of the Pirates legendary right fielder #21, Roberto Clemente) and drops down to just six feet in front of the left field bleachers. From home plate to the Allegheny River is 443 feet, 4 inches.

  • The Pirates and the Park

    Perhaps the strongest inspiration for PNC Park’s design is the legacy of the Pirates themselves. Few cities can boast of a 115-year relationship with the same Major League ballclub. Pittsburgh deserves nothing less than a ballpark classic that will enthrall fans for generations to come.

PNC Park is a baseball park located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the city’s Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise.[7][8] It opened during the 2001 MLB season, after the controlled implosion of the Pirates’ previous home, Three Rivers Stadium. The ballpark is sponsored by PNC Financial Services, which purchased the naming rights in 1998.[9] PNC Park features a natural grass playing surface and seats 38,362 people for baseball.

Funded in conjunction with Heinz Field and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the $216 million park stands along the Allegheny River, on the North Shore of Pittsburgh with a view of Downtown Pittsburgh. Plans to build a new stadium for the Pirates originated in 1991, but did not come to fruition for five years. Built in the style of “classic” stadiums, such as Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, PNC Park also introduced unique features, such as the use of limestone in the building’s facade.[7] The park also features a riverside concourse, steel truss work, an extensive out-of-town scoreboard, and many local eateries. Constructed faster than most modern stadiums, PNC Park was built in a 24-month span.

Parking and Directions

  • Driving Directions

    The Pirates provide you with comprehensive information for getting to PNC Park by car from all directions.



  • Parking Information

    Discover your best parking choices on the North Shore and Downtown when driving to the ballpark.

  • Public Transportation

    The Port Authority offers convenient transportation options with regular bus service, the West Busway and the “T”.

  • Other Ways to get to PNC Park

    Get to PNC Park using Gateway Clipper shuttle boats from Station Square or Water Limo Service from the Strip District.

    Other Options


Planning and funding

On September 5, 1991, Pittsburgh mayor Sophie Masloff proposed a new 44,000-seat stadium for the Pittsburgh Pirates on the city’s North side. Three Rivers Stadium, the Pirates’ home at the time, had been designed for functionality rather than “architecture and aesthetics”.[10] The location of Three Rivers Stadium came to be criticized for being in a hard-to-access portion of the city, where traffic congestion occurred before and after games. Discussions about a new ballpark took place, but were never seriously considered until entrepreneur Kevin McClatchy purchased the team in February 1996. Until McClatchy’s purchase, plans about the team remaining in Pittsburgh were uncertain.In 1996, Masloff’s successor, Tom Murphy, created the “Forbes Field II Task Force”. Made up of 29 political and business leaders, the team studied the challenges of constructing a new ballpark. Their final report, published on June 26, 1996, evaluated 13 possible locations. The “North Side site” was recommended due to its affordable cost, potential to develop the surrounding area, and opportunity to incorporate the city skyline into the stadium’s design. The site selected for the ballpark is just upriver from the site of early Pirates home field Exposition Park.


After a political debate, public money was used to fund PNC Park. Originally, a sales tax increase was proposed to fund three projects: PNC Park, Heinz Field, and an expansion of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. However, after the proposal was soundly rejected in a referendum, the city developed Plan B.Similarly controversial, the alternative proposal was labeled Scam B by opponents. Some members of the Allegheny Regional Asset District felt that the Pirates’ pledge of $40 million toward the new stadium was too little, while others criticized the amount of public money allocated for Plan B. One member of the Allegheny Regional Asset District board called the use of tax dollars “corporate welfare.” The plan, totaling $809 million, was approved by the Allegheny Regional Asset District board on July 9, 1998—with $228 million allotted for PNC Park.Shortly after Plan B was approved, the Pirates made a deal with Pittsburgh city officials to remain in the city until at least 2031.


There was popular sentiment by fans for the Pirates to name the stadium after former outfielder Roberto Clemente. However, locally-based PNC Financial Services purchased the stadium’s naming rights in August 1998. As per the agreement, PNC Bank will pay the Pirates approximately $2 million each year through 2020, and also has a full-service PNC branch at the stadium. The total cost of PNC Park was $216 million. Shortly after the naming rights deal was announced, the city of Pittsburgh renamed the Sixth Street Bridge near the southeast corner of the site of the park the Roberto Clemente Bridge as a compromise to fans who had wanted the park named after Clemente.

Design and construction

Kansas City-based HOK Sport, which is considered to be the “leading stadium design firm in the [United States],” designed the ballpark. The design and construction management team consisted of the Dick Corporation and Barton Malow. An effort was made in the design of PNC Park to salute other “classic style” ballparks, such as Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field; the design of the ballpark’s archways, steel truss work, and light standards are results of this goal.PNC Park was the first two-deck ballpark to be built in the United States since Milwaukee County Stadium opened in 1953. The park features a 24 by 42 foot (7.3 by 12.8 m) Sony JumboTron, which is accompanied by the first-ever LED video boards in an outdoor MLB stadium. PNC Park is the first stadium to feature an out-of-town scoreboard with the score, inning, count, number of outs, and base runners for every other game being played around the league.



The 6th Street Bridge was renamed the Roberto Clemente Bridge in honor of the former Pirate.

Ground was broken for PNC Park on April 7, 1999, after a ceremony to rename the Sixth Street Bridge as the “Roberto Clemente Bridge” in honor of the late Pirate Roberto Clemente. As part of original plans to create an enjoyable experience for fans, the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic on game days to allow spectators to park in Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle and walk across the bridge to the stadium.[29][30] PNC Park was built with Kasota limestone shipped from a Minnesota river valley, to contrast the brick bases of other modern stadiums. The stadium was constructed over a 24-month span—at the time of construction, three months faster than any other modern major league ballpark—and the Pirates played their first game less than two years after groundbreaking. The quick construction was accomplished with the use of special computers, which relayed building plans to builders 24 hours per day.In addition, all 23 labor unions involved in the construction signed a pact that they would not strike during the building process. As a result of union involvement and attention to safety regulations, the construction manager, the Dick Corporation, received a merit award for its safety practices from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.[33] PNC Park is inspected yearly, along with Heinz Field, by Chronicle Consulting, LLC, for structural defects and maintenance.


Statues of Pirates’ Hall of Famers Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Bill Mazeroski are positioned at various points outside of PNC Park. Wagner and Clemente’s statues were previously located outside of Three Rivers Stadium, and after the venue was imploded, the two statues were removed from their locations, refurbished, and relocated outside PNC Park. Wagner’s statue was originally unveiled at Forbes Field in 1955. The base of Clemente’s statue is shaped like a baseball diamond, with dirt from three of the fields Clemente played at—Santurce Field in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Forbes Field, and Three Rivers Stadium—at each base. On October 1, 2000, after the final game at Three Rivers Stadium, Stargell threw out the ceremonial last pitch. He was presented with a model of a statue that was to be erected in his honor outside of PNC Park.The statue was officially unveiled on April 7, 2001; however, Stargell did not attend due to health problems and died of a stroke two days later. A statue for Bill Mazeroski was added at the right field entrance, at the south end of Mazeroski Way, during the 2010 season. This was the 50th anniversary of the Pirates’ 1960 World Series championship, which Mazeroski clinched with a Game 7 walk-off home run at Forbes Field. The statue itself was designed based on that event.

Opening and reception


A view of PNC Park from Downtown Pittsburgh across the Allegheny River

The Pirates opened PNC Park with two pre-season games against the New York Mets—the first of which was played on March 31, 2001.The first official baseball game played in PNC Park was between the Cincinnati Reds and the Pirates, on April 9, 2001. The Reds won the game by the final score of 8–2. The first pitch—a ball—was thrown from Pittsburgh’s Todd Ritchie to Barry Larkin. In the top of the first inning, Sean Casey‘s two-run home run was the first hit in the park. The first Pirates’ batter, Adrian Brown, struck out; however, later in the inning Jason Kendall singled—the first hit by a Pirate in their new stadium.


PNC Park had an average attendance of 30,742 people per game throughout its inaugural season, though it would drop approximately 27% the following season to 22,594 spectators per game.Throughout the 2001 season, businesses in downtown and on the Northside of Pittsburgh showed a 20–25% increase in business on Pirate game days.


Pirates’ vice-president Steve Greenberg said, “We said when construction began that we would build the best ballpark in baseball, and we believe we’ve done that.” Major League Baseball executive Paul Beeston said the park was “the best he’s seen so far in baseball.” Many of the workers who built the park said that it was the nicest that they had seen. Jason Kendall, Pittsburgh’s catcher at the opening of the park, called PNC Park “the most beautiful ballpark in the game.” Different elements of PNC Park were used in the design of New York’s Citi Field.


The bordering street Mazeroski Way is named for former Pirate Bill Mazeroski.

Upon opening in 2001, PNC Park was praised by fans and media alike. ESPN.com writer Jim Caple ranked PNC Park as the best stadium in Major League Baseball, with a score of 95 out of 100.Caple compared the park to Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Fallingwater, calling the stadium itself “perfect”, and citing high ticket prices as the only negative aspect of visiting the park. Jay Ahjua, author of Fields of Dreams: A Guide to Visiting and Enjoying All 30 Major League Ballparks, called PNC Park one of the “top ten places to watch the game.”[52] Eric Enders, author of Ballparks Then and Now and co-author of Big League Ballparks: The Complete Illustrated History, said it was “everything a baseball stadium could hope to be” and “an immediate contender for the title of best baseball park ever built.” [53] In 2008, Men’s Fitness named the park one of “10 big league parks worth seeing this summer.”[54][55] A 2010 unranked list of “America’s 7 Best Ballparks” published by ABC News noted that PNC Park “combines the best features of yesterday’s ballparks—rhythmic archways, steel trusswork and a natural grass playing field—with the latest in fan and player amenities and comfort.”


In 2007, Allegheny County passed a ban on smoking in most public places, thus making PNC Park completely smoke-free.[57] Prior to the 2008 season, the Pirates made multiple alterations to PNC Park.[58] The biggest change was removing the Outback Steakhouse located underneath the scoreboard, and adding a new restaurant known as The Hall of Fame Club.[59] Unlike its predecessor, The Hall of Fame Club is open to all ticket-holders on game days; it includes an outdoor patio with a bar and seats with a view of the field.[59] The Pirates feature bands in The Hall of Fame Club after the completion of select games—the first performance was by Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers.[58][59] The Pirates also announced a program to make the park more environmentally friendly, by integrating “greening initiatives, sustainable business practices and educational outreach.”[60] In addition, club and suite sections were outfitted with high-definition televisions.[59] In 2012 a new area called the Budweiser Bow Tie will be a 5,000 square foot bar and lounge located in the right field corner of the ballpark. The section will include ticketed seats along with areas for groups and the general public. This addition is expected to cost about $1,000,000.

Other events

PNC Park hosted the 77th Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 11, 2006. The American League defeated the National League by a score of 3–2, with 38,904 spectators in attendance.The first All-Star Game in PNC Park, it was the fifth All-Star Game hosted in Pittsburgh, and the first since 1994. During the game, late Pirate Roberto Clemente was honored with the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award; his wife, Vera, accepted on his behalf. The stadium hosted the Century 21 Home Run Derby the previous evening; Ryan Howard, of the Philadelphia Phillies, won the title. During the Derby, Howard and David Ortiz hit home runs into the Allegheny River.

PNC Park has hosted various evacuation and response drills, which would be used in the event of a terrorist attack. Members of the United States Department of Homeland Security laid out the groundwork for the initial drill in February 2004.[68] In May 2005, 5,000 volunteers participated in the $1 million evacuation drill, which included mock explosions. A goal of the drill was to test the response of 49 western Pennsylvania emergency agencies. In April 2006, the Department of Homeland Security worked in conjunction with the United States Coast Guard to develop a plan of response for the 2006 All-Star Game. Similar exercises were conducted on the Allegheny River in 2007.

The first collegiate baseball game at PNC Park was played on May 6, 2003, between the Pitt Panthers and the Duquesne Dukes, a rivalry that was referred to as the City Game. Duquesne won the game by a score of 2–1.However, due to Duquesne’s decision to disband their baseball program following the 2010 season, the series between the two schools came to an end.[75] The PNC Park City Game series ended in Pitt’s favor, four games to two, with the 2007 game canceled because of poor field conditions.

PNC Park has also hosted various concerts, including The Rolling Stones[79] and Pearl Jam on September 28, 2005, Jimmy Buffett on June 26, 2005 and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes on August 24, 2006 and Dave Matthews Band with opening act, Zac Brown Band, on July 10, 2010. The park also served as one of the locations for the 2010 film She’s Out of My League and the 2011 film Abduction.

On September 28, 2012 PNC Park saw its first no-hitter when Reds pitcher Homer Bailey no-hit the Pirates 1–0. PNC Park has yet to see a no-hitter and/or perfect game thrown by a Pirate.


  • Opening and Previous Homes

    PNC Park, which opened on April 9, 2001, is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates since their inception in 1887.

    The fledgling National League franchise first began play at Recreation Park, located at the corners of Grant and Pennsylvania Avenues along the Fort Wayne railroad tracks on the North Side. The club then moved to Exposition Park in 1891, which was situated along the Allegheny River between the PNC Park site and where Three Rivers Stadium formerly stood. After 18 years at Exposition, including hosting the first World Series in 1903, the Bucs moved to Forbes Field in Oakland on June 30, 1909. The club spent 61 seasons at Forbes, its longest tenure at any facility, before returning to the North Shore with a move to Three Rivers Stadium on July 16, 1970.

  • Details

    • PNC Park
    Capacity: 38,362
    Cost: $262 million (includes land acquisition)
    Design Architect: HOK Sport, Architect of Record: L.D. Astorino
    Concessionaire: Aramark Corp., Premium-Seat Caterer: Levy Restaurants
    Construction Consortium: Barton Malow; Dick Corporation
    Landscaping/Irrigation/Seeding: Landscape by Design
    Distance from seats behind home plate to home plate: 51 feet
    Shortest distance from home plate to Allegheny River: 456 feet (RF line)
    Bullpens: Located beyond left-center field wall (visitors up front, Pirates in rear)
    Playing Surface: 96,750 square feet of Kentucky bluegrass (2.2 acres)
    Lighting: 7 light towers with approximately 672 bulbs
    TV Monitors: Approximately 645 Sony monitors
    Suites: 65, plus four owner suites
    Lexus Club: 400 member private dinner club located behind home plate
    Club Seats: 2,900
  • Outfield Distances and Wall

    Outfield Distances
    Left Field Foul Line: 325 feet
    Left Field Power Alley: 389 feet
    Left Center Field: 410 feet
    Center Field: 399 feet
    Right Field Power Alley: 375 feet
    Right Field Foul Line: 320 feet
    Outfield Wall Heights
    Left Field to Left Center Field: 6 feet
    Center Field: 10 feet
    Right Field: 21 feet

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