By Jimmy Jacks
With spring training in the books and the young baseball season underway, hope springs eternal for the 30 clubs in Major League Baseball.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have kicked off their season already in Boston at Fenway Park, but will launch their home campaign on Friday, April 7 against the Atlanta Braves. Ivan Nova takes the mound for the first time since ending last season on a tear, and will face Atlanta’s R.A. Dickey.
Here are four reasons to get out and enjoy the atmosphere in and around the North Shore of Pittsburgh as the Pirates finally return home to PNC Park.
- PNC Park is gorgeous
Many baseball pundits and fans alike have concluded that PNC Park is as well-constructed and scenic as any ballpark in the country. With the Pittsburgh skyline as its backdrop, no seat being more than 88 feet from the field of play, and a small park atmosphere, PNC Park fits the personality and style of contemporary Pittsburgh, and offers an enjoyable view and experience that few parks can dare compare to theirs.
- Pittsburgh is known for food
Zagat named Pittsburgh its top food city in regards to its restaurant scene in 2015, with much of that ranking being attributed to the city having the most bars per 10,000 residents and pizza places abounding throughout the city. While Primanti Brother’s is always a go-to in and out of the ballpark with locations in PNC Park and nearby Market Square, Pittsburgh offers incredible cuisine throughout the North Shore. I personally recommend Rivertowne North Shore, Tequila Cowboy, and Max’s Allegheny Tavern.
- The Pirates are poised to have a breakout year
While the club is not getting an incredible amount of media attention from baseball’s top forecasters, the Pirates are still in a position to make a push this year for the National League playoffs. The Pirates return arguably the most athletic outfield in baseball with Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen, and Gregory Polanco, and will look to see a rebound from their ace Gerrit Cole, as well as their normally stellar bullpen.
- It’s a perfect first date or guys/girls day out
Whether or not you’re a big baseball fan, going downtown during any Pirate’s game is a perfect option to get out with a special someone or your crew. Baseball is perfect in the aspect that while it demands you pay attention to the action, there are enough breaks coupled with a slower pace than its counterparts that allows you to catch all the action and hold a conversation. Outside of the park, Downtown Pittsburgh has continued to make itself a destination for people to gather and be entertained.