June 30, 2008
I am headed to the NW states.
I left Baltimore on Saturday. After a whopping 30 minutes of driving, I just had to stop and walk around. So, am unsure how long it will take me to get to the NW.
I am in Pittsburgh. I really like it here. The few times these last 2 years that I have driven from Baltimore to Michigan, I have gone by Pittsburgh, but never stopped in. When I was in Houston, I re-connected with a guy who travels around the states with his boys to go to baseball games and to check out all the stadiums. By far, his favorite stadium is in Pittsburgh. He said the team colors are black and yellow [maybe gold], and they used materials and paint that are those colors. So, it is really nice how the stadium matches the uniforms. Also nice is the layout/setting where you can lookout and see downtown in the outfield.
So, I had planned on coming to Pittsburgh and spending at least Saturday nite…and seeing a game. I had my mind set on this. So of course for the entire 5 hour drive, it is raining and then not.
Once in Pittsburgh, as I’m driving downtown, it’s not raining, but it sure looks like it’s brewing up a big one.
Pittsburgh was settled on 3 rivers. I’m not sure if one would call them big hills or baby mountains, but that is all around. So, you have tunnels, lots of bridges [over the rivers, and also “regular” streets], and houses built on the side of the mountains/hills. Looks really pretty.
I walked over the Roberto Clemente pedestrian bridge [just on game nites] and talked to some guys who were selling souvenirs re buying a ticket on the street. They told me the guy to buy from…and got my $8 ticket in the bleachers [$9 at the window].
They have several tall bronze statues – probably 12’ high, outside the stadium. Roberto Clemente. Willie Stargell. Some Homer or Honer guy… When I talked to people, I asked the statues were life size, but people didn’t get my joke.
Inside they had the very stereotypic ballpark food. Nothing new or interesting. They have helpful people working there and a guy told me to go to the Hall of Fame Club, which is open to the public and they have better food up there. So, I went there and the moment I got inside, the skies opened up and the wind and the rain came pouring down. I didn’t care, cuz I was inside, and had my greek salad, which was unusually tasty.
After about 45 minutes, the rain stopped and they announced the game would start in 15 minutes. I went and found a seat under the awning/whatever it’s called.
After the game started, it started to rain again, and rained the entire game. Unsure when they call it [I’m sure some of my readers know], but thought it interesting that they never called it, and there were all these people sitting out in the open [NOT under an awning].
As mentioned above, they have regular food stands, except …they sell pierogies. They even have a cartoon with pierogie characters that plays between innings and then people dressed as pierogies come onto the field and run around.
Chili pie = bucco pie
People here call the team the bucs, not the pirates. Lots of bucs or bucco mentioned.
Now, the layout of the stadium is spectacular…you can see downtown and a bridge just above the outfield. However, contrary to what I was told, the stadium isn’t black and yellow. The back/outfield area is painted all green. The stadium seats are midnite blue [per my childhood box of 64 crayola crayons]. Everything else is cement color. And then the coolest thing happened, at one point, it was as though someone flipped a switch…at a certain point the sun was setting and the reflection off all the downtown buildings was this yellow/gold color. AND a rainbow. Unbelievable. It seemed surreal. I have attached a photo. Doesn’t do it justice.
You know how in between innings some stadiums will “shoot” t-shirts out of the gun-like thing? Well, here they shoot hot dogs.
Minimal signs/adverts along the outfield wall.
On my way to the game, I went thru a little run down area and then a really nice area – big beautiful older houses. The whole time everyone I saw had dark skin. Of course, no big deal…just what I noticed. Then, around the 5th inning, I looked around me…and the crowd seemed 100% Anglo. I then searched the stands for people of color. I found 4 [not together].
The lady at my hotel says NO ONE goes to the games. I think the stadium was probably 40% full. Of course, the threat of rain probably kept a lot of people away.
The game tied up in the 8th inning. Still tied at the bottom of the 9th. I was cold so I left. It went for 13 innings, with the pirates/bucs winning.
I like Pittsburgh enough to spend another nite here.