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Prepping for 2022: PNC Park, Pittsburgh Pirates

New social and group spaces, upgraded concessions, an emphasis on team history and new kids areas are on tap for fans attending Pittsburgh Pirates games this season at PNC Park.

As PNC Park enters its 22nd season of play, the team engaged with Janet Marie Smith to explore different ways in which to improve the ballpark experience. Smith, who served as a lead designer in the creation of Oriole Park, has spearheaded similar fan experience projects at some of the most iconic ballparks in the country, including Fenway Park and Dodger Stadium.

“It was clear from the first time I walked the ballpark with Bob (Nutting) that the vision was to evolve the experience and enhance the very best things about the ballpark. There is a keen awareness that fan habits have changed, and the way ballparks are experienced has changed,” Smith said via press release. “Every improvement was designed to bring the fans closer to the game by removing walls, barriers, and even some seats to be sure that fans are enjoying the new spaces while being intimately connected to the field. It was important to add something for every fan, including cool displays for baseball historians, play areas for kids, craft beer and new food concepts for friends to enjoy together.”

“As we work hard to build our team on the field, we are also focused on the continued evolution of the experience at PNC Park,” said Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting via press release. “We need to ensure that PNC Park is a welcoming and fun place for every fan, build off what is best about PNC Park and improve the gameday experience to meet the changing needs of our fans. The evolution will also include new displays that showcase and share with our fans the incredibly rich and inspiring history of the Pirates and baseball in Pittsburgh.”

Some of the new elements, which have been privately funded by the Pirates and will be unveiled at the Home Opener on April 12, include:  

THE BULLPEN – Replacing the former gameday security building, the creation of this new gathering space above the center field bullpens will include two rows of drink rails, comfortable seating, televisions and more. Like all of the new spaces, The Bullpen offers a great view of the action on the field, so fans won’t miss a minute of the game while enjoying a craft beer on the riverwalk. The rendering is at the top of the page.

KIDS PLAY AREAS – The kids play area in right field has been refreshed and is now expanded to flow along the Riverwalk into the center field area. The expansion features life-sized bobbleheads, a Lucky Climber shaped like a pirate ship, as well as an accessible kid’s play bridge inspired by the nearby Roberto Clemente Bridge. The evolution of the play area allows families to enjoy the play elements while remaining connected to the action on the field.

THE LANDING – Located just above the Center Field fenceline, The Landing offers a fantastic view of the action on the field, as well as the perfect view back to the Roberto Clemente Bridge and downtown cityscape. The new social gathering space features new drink rails, tables and high-top seating creating a relaxed environment for all fans.

NEW FOOD CONCEPTS – Together with Aramark, the Pirates have partnered with local Pittsburgh chefs to create new food concepts and specialty offerings. The new concepts will be featured throughout the Riverwalk and in the arcade under the left field bleachers. Included in the new offering: Burgh Katsu (cucumber kimchi, mini pierogies, bread fried ham and hoisin aioli on a toasted roll), the Ranch Burger (double patty, pub cheese, house pickles, shredded iceberg lettuce, and ranch dressing), Adobo Beef Nachos (corn tortilla chips, queso sauce, black beans, jalapeños, scallions, cilantro lime crema, and salsa).

THE PATIO – Located between the Upper and Lower Bleacher seating areas in left field, The Patio is a newly widened and leveled area that extends from the bullpens to the Left Field Rotunda. The expansion of this platform and new furniture will allow for a comfortable gathering space overlooking left field. 

PICNIC PARK – Always a fantastic place to host groups, The Picnic Park will now feature upgraded furnishings, enhanced lighting and landscaping, as well as additional access points for greater connection to the new fan enhancements along the Riverwalk. 

CELEBRATING HISTORY – The Pirates will introduce several new curated displays throughout the ballpark that will commemorate and celebrate the rich history of the Pirates and baseball in Pittsburgh. These elements, which will be unveiled throughout the season, will include additional displays along the Upper Riverwalk, retired numbers in the landscape and oversized baseballs placed along the entire span of the Lower Riverwalk.

Renderings courtesy Pittsburgh Pirates.

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