As it got closer, I arranged to get the King a car rental for a week a few days before that weekend started. He always needs to see as many games as humanly possible. Since there were a few minor league games within driving distance that he could get to, he told me to make him a reservation. I checked out the rates online. I was able to get a really good deal from Dollar Rent A Car by LaGuardia Airport so I went ahead & booked it for him. He wound up getting a Ford Focus which sufficed. While I was working & home relaxing for a few nights, the King was driving around. He wound up going to Baltimore that Friday night to see the Orioles play the Athletics at Camden Yards. Since I was really busy that week at work, I couldn't take off that Friday to join him. He told me that he would be willing to drive back home to pick me up. As crazy as it sounds, he did indeed.
I got up early Saturday morning & I got ready to hit the road. We wound up leaving the house around 8:30AM. We drove 400 miles before we arrived in Pittsburgh just before 3PM that afternoon. We made a stop for gas & some made to order food at Sheetz in Brookville, Pennsylvania. We then continued on Route 28 for another 80 miles until we arrived at Cedar Avenue which is where that road ends in Pittsburgh. We went up a few blocks & we turned the car around & we parked on the street. We fed the pay by license plate multi space meter that they recently installed there which replaced the old meters they used to use. We locked the car & we proceeded to take the short walk over to the ballpark.
|Collage of my latest PNC Park visit|
When we got inside I told the King I'll meet behind home plate on the lower level around game time. By doing so, I was able to wander around. I went downstairs so I could take a picture then I went to the team store behind home plate so I could get my brand new 25 game MLB Pass-Port book stamped before it got too crowded. After that, I walked out to the area on the concourse behind right field. As a result, I got to see former Pirate Manny Sanguillen who played for them back in the '70's. He has his own barbecue stand called Manny's BBQ.
After a brief stop there, I made my way to the Pirate bullpen out in left field. I went there to see my pal Jason Grilli aka Grill Cheese who was still a Pirate at the time. A few weeks ago he got traded to the Angels. I told Jason I hope to see him pitch. Thanks to a lady I know, JeanAnn Harrison, I've gotten to meet Jason on a number of occasions. She's a business partner of his. Jason is a preserver. He has fought back from numerous injuries to get back to the major leagues. He loves the game. Despite his setbacks & poor performances of late, I hope Jason continues to be successful. He has the motivation to overcome the adversity. Now that's he an Angel I hope things change for the better for him. He had a nice run when he was in Pittsburgh. In fact, in May his own book called Just My Game was released. It details his rocky road to success in the big leagues.
When I got back to the area behind home plate in section 116, I saw the King standing back there. I decided when the usher walked down to escort some people to their seats that I would attempt to give myself a royal upgrade from the standing room tickets we had. I was successful. I wound up going down five rows or so & I sat down. Quite amazingly, I had two seats to myself. It was rather crowded but luck was on my side. As a result, I got to see the game from a great vantage point.
As for the game we saw, the first batter of the game reached on three errors which set the tone for an odd day at the ballpark. The Brewers took an early 1-0 lead. The Pirates fought back to go ahead 2-1in the bottom of the third inning but they immediately gave it back as the Brewers went ahead, 4-2 with three runs in the top of the fourth inning. The Pirates got within a run at 4-3 in the sixth inning but they blew a golden opportunity to get more. As a result, they couldn't overcome the deficit as the Brewers scored four runs in the eighth inning & one more in the ninth inning to win going away, 9-3. Matt Garza of the Brewers got a quality start as he allowed three runs in six innings of work to earn the victory despite walking five in the process. By doing so, I wasn't able to see Jason Grilli pitch that day. Regardless I still had a good time. PNC Park is one of the best modern ballparks. With that being said, if you haven't been there yet, you should make some time to get there so you can see for yourself.
Stay tuned as I plan to write some more special posts that will recap this adventurous weekend.
Thank you for reading & following along.