PNC Park, which opened in spring 2001, is a classic-style ballpark, an intimate facility that embraces the progressiveness of Pittsburgh while saluting the spirit of early ballpark originals such as Forbes Field, Wrigley Field and Fenway Park. It is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates since their inception in 1887.
This riverfront facility combines the best features of yesterday's ballparks - rhythmic archways, steel trusswork and a natural grass playing field - with the latest in fan and player amenities and comfort.
PNC Park's prime location along the shore of the Allegheny River and adjacent to Federal Street takes advantage of scenic vistas of the downtown skyline and riverfront, as well as pedestrian and riverboat access, creating an exciting and dramatic urban sports venue. It also provides easy access for pedestrians crossing the Roberto Clemente bridge from downtown, as well as those arriving from the riverwalk. On game days, the bridge is closed off to vehicular traffic and spectators are met by a dynamic interactive retail/restaurant and sports pavilion beyond right field, with attractions for all ages.
The facility was designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK), Inc. out of Kansas City, MO. The design and construction management team consisted of a joint venture between Pittsburgh-based Dick Corporation and Barton Malow with offices in Baltimore, MD. The Architect of Record was L.D. Astorino & Associates of Pittsburgh.
PNC Park is the first ballpark with a two-deck design to be built in the United States since Milwaukee's County Stadium was completed in 1953. Because of its intimate design, the highest seat is just 88 feet from the field, giving every fan in the park an ideal sight line.
PNC Park is approachable and pedestrian in scale. Designed to fit within the existing city grid, it is also orientated to allow a great majority of spectators a spectacular view of the Clemente Bridge and the downtown skyline beyond.
The home of the Pirates is instantly recognizable as a ballpark, with architectural flourishes of Forbes Field lending a touch of nostalgia. The series of masonry archways extending along the entry level facade and decorative terra cotta tiled pilasters exude the charm of the club's former home of 61 years.
Among the features of the beautiful facility are 69 suites with their own concourse level, club seating at both the field and mezzanine levels with their own respective lounges, an outfield barbecue run by former Pirate Manny Sanguillen, an outdoor river terrace and river walk. PNC Park also features the Jim Beam Left Field Lounge & Jim Beam Porch, offering a casual dining and sports bar atmosphere with wait service before, during and after every game for all ticket holders. The ballpark houses retail areas along the Federal Street and General Robinson Street corridor, including Slice on Broadway, the Pirates Clubhouse Store, PNC Bank and the Pirates administrative and ticket offices.
The irregularly shaped, natural grass playing field measures 325 feet down the left foul line and 389 feet through the left field power alley. The park reaches its greatest distance of 410 feet at a nook located just left of center field. The distance down the right field foul line is 320 feet, 375 feet down the power alley, and 399 feet to center field. The outfield wall rises up to 21 feet behind right field (in honor of the Pirates legendary right fielder #21, Roberto Clemente) and drops down to just six feet in front of the left field bleachers. From home plate to the Allegheny River is 443 feet, 4 inches.
The Pirates and the Park
Perhaps the strongest inspiration for PNC Park's design is the legacy of the Pirates themselves. Few cities can boast of a 115-year relationship with the same Major League ballclub. Pittsburgh deserves nothing less than a ballpark classic that will enthrall fans for generations to come.