It’s no secret that we love the Buccos. Our horrible lovely baseball team was one of the things that brought Michael and me together when we first met. How many bottles of cheap wine did we go through, watching the Bucs get clobbered in the summer of 2006?? And how many Tuesday evenings did we spend at the Squirrel Cage, watching the losses over a few games of Yahtzee? The Buccos were even the reason we eventually decided to purchase a cable TV package for our house! Each year, when our schedules allow, we try to make it to the home opener.
And two weeks ago, I am pleased to announce that we finally fulfilled our dream of becoming season ticket holders!! We started with a ten-game pack to accommodate our crazy upcoming summer schedule, but we got this nifty free tour of the ballpark (and we got to stand in the Pirates’ dugout and everything!).
However, long before we’d even gotten a phone call from our personal ticket sales dude (who has some official title that I can’t remember), we had decided to accompany our friend Jim to his first Buccos home opener.
You see, we feel bad for Jim because he’s a Yankees fan, and we thought it was only polite that we show him how *real* baseball starts the season.
We couldn’t have picked a prettier day for the home opener. It was sunny and lovely, and aside from the fact that our seats were in the shade and in the line of a direct cold breeze off the Allegheny River, the weather was perfect. And PNC Park was PACKED!
The little ‘view from your seat’ function on the PNC Park website showed our seats to be closer to first base, but in actuality, we were in the right field corner. While we didn’t get the grand view of the city, we had an excellent view of the action on the field, and with such a tightly-played game, that was for the best.
While the guys went off to grab snacks, I headed down to our seats to catch the opening ceremonies. Lots of cheering going on as the players were announced, especially for my favorite, Andrew McCutchen (you can almost see him running down the line of his teammates – right field was not the best vantage point for this part of the day).
After the players were announced, it was time for the anthem. The US Army’s Field Band Men’s Ensemble came out to sing the anthem. I thought they did a really unique version, and I liked it a lot although the sound mix seemed to be a little off.
Then came the ceremonial first pitch. This year, the Buccos brought in Iraq war veteran Jeremy Feldbusch, who lost his eyesight in a bombing on his tour of duty. You can watch the pitch here, and I think you’ll find it pretty dang inspiring.
From that point, I’d typically say that things got less inspiring as the Buccos continued to play, but our Pirates were in pretty decent form this home opener. We didn’t come away with the win, but we lost only 1-0, and the run was sooooooo close that it almost didn’t happen.
Probably the biggest disappointment for me was the early sellout of the new ‘exotic nachos’ stand. There had been all this talk on Twitter and Pittsburgh blogs in the past week about these fabulous new food stands at the ballpark that featured fancy salsa and hot dogs with mini pierogies on them. Apparently all that talk led to everyone getting a serving immediately upon arriving at the game, because they were entirely sold out by the 2nd inning (which was well before Michael finally found the stand). We settled for these ‘crab fries,’ which were really just crinkle fries with Old Bay seasoning. Not bad, but certainly not ‘exotic’ enough to warrant a $9 price tag!
We may not have won the game, and Cheese Chester may have won the pierogie race (I’m always rooting for Oliver Onion, the pierogie who most resembles my husband), but I had a great time. The Buccos showed some real promise, and our new starting pitcher Erik Bedard pitched a pretty decent game. In fact, ALL of our pitchers looked pretty good, which is a real rarity in this city!
I think it goes without saying that I’m really looking forward to those next ten games. The Quest for 500 begins!!