The Pittsburgh Pirates
Since the inception of the Pirates in 1887, they have won five World Series championships. They also played in the very first World Series in 1903. The team's most famous moment is probably Bill Mazeroski's game-winning, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of game 7 in the 1960 World Series against the Yankees (the only World Series even to end in a walk-off home run).
Throughout their history, the Pirates have been fortunate to have many great players. Pirates Hall of Famers include Roberto Clemente, Ralph Kiner, Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargell, Honus Wagner, and brothers Lloyd and Paul Waner.
The Pirates have set a few baseball firsts. In 1921 a Pirates game was the first baseball game ever to be broadcast on the radio, on KDKA radio, America's first commercial radio station. The Pirates have twice overcome 3 games to 1 deficits in the World Series to win, both in 1925 and 1979. The Pirates also had the first starting lineup of all minorities in MLB history in 1971. And of course, the Pirates have set an American professional sports record by compiling 18 (soon to be 19 in 2011) consecutive losing season.
The Pirates minor league teams are the Indianapolis Indians (AAA), the Altoona Curve (AA), the Bradenton Marauders (High A), the West Virginia Power (A), the State College Spikes (Low A), the Gulf Coast League Pirates (Rookie), the Venezuelan Summer League Pirates (Summer Rookie) and the Dominican Summer League Pirates (Summer Rookie).
I have been fortunate to see the Pittsburgh Pirates, Indianapolis Indians, the Bradenton Marauders (when they were the Lynchburg Hellcats), and GCL Pirates play in person.
PNC Park is the beautiful new home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It sits in downtown, right along the Allegheny River, overlooking the city. The stadium, completed in 2001, seats 38,362 fans and cost $262 million to construct. This is the fifth stadium the Pirates have played in since the team was established in 1887. Down the right field line, it is 456 feet from home plate to the Allegheny River, meaning that an occasional ball bounces into the river during games.
I have attended a handful of games here since the stadium was built, most recently in August 2011 when the Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. On this fine day, local native Neil Walker went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs, Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored, and trade deadline acquisition Ryan Ludwick was 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. On the mound, Charlie Morton pitched 6 great innings while giving up only 2 runs, and Joel Hanrahan pitched a perfect ninth inning to get his 31st save of the year.
Tickets range from $9 to $52 as of 2011, with a slight increase expected in 2012. As you can imagine, food and drink are expensive, with hotdogs priced at around $7 and beer somewhere in the $8 or $9 realm. Be sure to eat at Primantis, located behind section 110; they have the best sandwiches in Pittsburgh which are topped with tomatoes and french fries.
Do not be confused by the name... It's "PNC Park", not "pee and see park" -- there are no TVs or windows in the restrooms to allow you to see the game while you pee.
An Extreme Sports Club is founded in Pittsburgh
The D4DR Club is a social club like no other.
Geared at those individuals that are willing to go on vacation to that far flung, war torn country or the guy who is wiling to risk his life by bungee jumping inside a cave....
They come from all walks of life. Men and women of all denominations and races, their common denominator is an elongated D4DR gene.
The D4DR is a gene at the end of chromosome 11. We all have it, but when it is mutant or elongated, it causes that person to seekout high stimulation via adventure travel or extreme sports.
For the first time, we have managed to bring together a unique niche within our society, filling a vacuum which laid dormant for years.
Just weeks after our site was launched it had already seen an amazing response. Over 2500 visitors and 100 email requests came in soon after its launch.
Why do people join the club? Some join to have a forum where they can interact with others like them, others want to take advantage of the club benefits and some want to advance the research on the D4DR gene.
According to a 1999 Time Magazine article, people living today do not encounter danger on a daily basis as they did centuries ago. This has caused people to search out and take risks on their own to satisfy this urge.
Either way, the club has definitely tapped into something which many of us could just not put our finger on previously.
As the site's home page states, "if you've got the D4DR gene, no need to do genetic testing, you probably know it!"
Also check out this recently published article:
- Mountain Climbing
- Sky Diving
- Bungy Jumping
The Youghiogheny River has exciting whitewater boating for all experience levels. Only sturdily constructed rubber rafts, kayaks and closed-deck canoes may be used in the river. River levels can change the difficulty of rapids. The are both independent and guided trips. Ohiopyle is a Pennsylvania State Park and offeres many other activities such as hiking, camping, bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, firearms and hunting, and various winter sports.
Equipment: You can bring your own, or rent. Guided trips provide equipment.
- Hiking and Walking
Site of Three Rivers Stadium
Three Rivers Stadiumk was home to both the Pirates and Steelers from its completion in 1970 until its demolition in 2001. The stadium only survived 31 sports seasons, but it was home to many great games and 6 championship teams. The stadium only cost $55 million to build, meaning that its construction costs averaged out to $1.7 million a year over the life of the venue. For comparison, Dallas Cowboys' new $1.3 billion stadium would have to remain in use for almost 765 years to have the same average cost per year.
All that remains of three Rivers Stadium are the original sign post marking the former Gate D entrance and a historic marker next to Heinz Field that reads:
Three Rivers Stadium
Opened in July 16, 1970. Home to the
Pirates, who won two World Series, and the
Steelers, who won four Super Bowl Cham-
pionships, creating Pittsburgh's "City of
Champions" identity. It was the site of
Roberto Clemente's 3,000th hit, September
30, 1972, and Franco Harris's legendary
"Immaculate Reception," December 23, 1972.
A multi-use facility, it also hosted many
concerts and special events prior to demo-
lition on February 11, 2001.
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission 2006.
See the Pittsburgh Steelers
Watching a Steelers victory is one of the best things to do in Pittsburgh.
We saw the Steelers crush the Carolina Panthers on a freezing Thursday December 23rd night game. We sat high in the upper deck on the south side of the stadium, luckily the stands themselves blocked the wind and kept us reasonably warm, despite temps around 20 degrees.
The Steelers won the game 27-3, behind Ben Roethlisberger's 320 yards and 1 touchdown and Mike Wallace's big night with 104 yard receiving. Panthers QB Jimmy Clausen struggled with just 72 yards passing and an interception. Perhaps the highlight of the night for most Pittsburghers was the Penguins winning their game against the Captials in a shootout on the seventh shooter.
Consol Energy Center
Consol Energy Center was completed in summer 2010 to replace Mellon Arena in downtown Pittsburgh. Completed on schedule, in time for the 2010 NHL hockey season, the arena is the permanent home for the Pittsburgh Penguins and a new Arena Football League team. More than a dozen buildings, including the old St Francis Hospital, were demolished to make room for the arena, but luckily the historic Epiphany Church was able to be saved. The arena has 18,087 seats for hockey games, which recognizes superstar Sidney Crosby's uniform number 87. The facility was designed by HOK, now called Populous, which also constructed Heinz Field and PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Originally known as the Civic Arena, Mellon Arena is the home of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, who won 2 Stanley Cups in the 1991 & 1992. Built in 1961, it has been the home of the Penguins since they were established in 1967 and it holds about 18,000 people. The Arena has the world's largest retractable stainless steel dome which can open or close in just 2 minutes...it is made of 2,950 tons of Pittsburgh's own steel. Penguins fans have long known this facility by its nickname...the "Igloo".
At almost 46 years old, this is by far the oldest arena in the NHL and is long overdue for replacement. Why is the Civic Arena so old and outdated? As Guy Junker, local sports writer said, the politicians were too busy to think about an arena because they were wasting taxpayer money "building a second convention center because the first one was so poorly planned. Two convention centers in 22 years, one public auditorium suitable for professional hockey in 45 years. Now that's urban planning at it's best." -- Thanks, Guy.
Luckily in 2007 the city, county, state, Penguins and Pittsburgh's new casino owner agreed on a $290 million plan to build a new arena next to the old Igloo. It should be ready for the start of the 2010 season.
Homestead Grays Negro League Baseball Team
The Homestead Grays were a Negro League baseball team from 1912 until 1950. The team's best player was Josh Gibson, a talented power-hitting catcher ofter referred to as the "black Babe Ruth." He played for the Homestead Grays in 1930-1931, 1937-1939, and 1942-1946 (he played for the nearby Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1932 to 1936). Gibson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972, and he has been joined by 11 other Homestead Grays players.
While the team was from Homestead, just up the Monongahela River from Pittsburgh, the team played most of its home games at Forbes Field, which was also home to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the teams later years, they adopted Washington DC as their second home, and the Washington Nationals still celebrate the Grays as part of the Washington baseball heritage.
I have loved the Pittsburgh Pirates for nearly 2 decades now, so when I got the chance to go see a Pirates game I jumped at the chance. I have to admit that PNC is nothing great in itself, but for a Pirates fan it was a moment in heaven. I think we paid $10 for our seats. The stadium wasn't even close to being full, in fact if it was at 50% I would be surprised. I really enjoyed browsing the gift store and almost bought a Pittsburgh Pirates thong.
Equipment: sunglasses, sunscreen, poncho
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
The Mellon Arena is home to the Pittspurgh Penguins. The dome shape of the arena has caused it to have the nickname of the "Igloo". Other sporting events and concerts are held in the arena in addition to hockey.
We were in town during the Penguins/Rangers game and the place was a sea of Penguins fans wearing their jerseys. The fans in Pittsburgh are definitely die hard and supportive of their team.
Home of the six time World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers!!! Congratulations Steelers for winning your record sixth Super Bowl, and second in four years!
Heinz Field opened in 2001 after 2 years of construction replacing worn & outdated Three Rivers Stadium. It has seating for 65,000 fans and was constructed at a total cost of $230 million, much of which was privately funded by the team. Local ketchup manufacturer H.J. Heinz Company (of "57 Varieties" fame) paid $57 million for stadium naming rights. Heinz Field is also home to the Pittsburgh Panthers college football team as well as concerts and other events.
- Road Trip
- Adventure Travel
- Family Travel
Back before 1967, the National Hockey League consisted of the Original Six - a mere six team league. Pittsburgh did have a team in the NHL back in the 20’s - the Pirates - but the longtime success of the American League local franchise, the Hornets, gave Pittsburgh one of the franchises in the big expansion in 1967 when the NHL doubled to twelve teams. They have played their home games in he Pittsburgh Civic Arena - now the Mellon Arena - which is better known as the Igloo - the shape makes the name obvious. The original team had a real penguin mascot that was trained to prance across the ice. Alas, as a harbinger of things to come, the penguin caught a cold and died shortly before the opening of the initial season. In similar fashion, maybe a result of an extra-long mourning period, success eluded the Penguins for many years until, at last - and here, I should also make mention of a childhood hero of mine, Jean Pronovost - the advent of the Marvelous Mario. Mario Lemieux is one of the two best players ever to play in the NHL and when the team acquired enough talent to complement his skills, the Pens broke through to win back-to-back Stanley Cups in the early 1990’s. Mario has returned to save the Penguins again - the Pens like to intersperse their great seasons with seasons of horrible futility which almost sent the franchise out of town - can you say “Portland Penguins”? - but also gave the team the anchors for their present successes - Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Success begets success and by pushing themselves into last year’s Stanley Cup finals, the Penguins have made themselves very relevant on the Pittsburgh sports scene. Relevant enough for a new sports arena to be erected across the street from the present Mellon Arena to be opened next season.
The Pens have always been my favorite NHL team - I think the name and the scarf on the original mascot had something to do with it. I haven’t had the privilege of seeing them play at home, but did catch them once, in person, at the old Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto where Mario showed some of his magic. I must admit to having added another team to my stable of favorites, but it is good to remain a Pen fan for the short run, at least, because the Los Angeles Kings aren’t going anywhere for awhile ;-[
- Historical Travel
Founded in 1933, the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the American Football Conference of the National Football League - the National Football Conference has older members, including charter members dating to 1920, the Arizona Cardinals (originally, the Chicago Cardinals) and the Chicago Bears (originally, the Decatur Staleys), the Green Bay Packers - 1921, the New York Giants - 1925, and the Detroit Lions - 1930 (originally, the Portsmouth Spartans), Washington Redskins - 1932. The Philadelphia Eagles made their first appearance the same year as the Steelers. The Steelers are number one in the hearts of Pittsburghers and have a fan base covering a wide area of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, western Maryland, southeastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky and beyond. It is Pittsburgh’s first team thanks to some five Super Bowls and many more division and conference titles to its record. Everyone loves a winner and Steelers transformed themselves from doormat to perennial player in the late 1970’s. The Steelers have one of the most rabid fan bases in the NFL as a result of their success and the rugged way in which they have went about gaining it. Adopting the city colors of black and gold - black for the coal and steel industries (and maybe the smoke) and gold for the money brought in by those industries; though some note that black and gold also form a major part of the coat-of-arms for the William Pitt family for which the city was named - the Steelers are Pittsburgh. Catch a game at the gorgeous Heinz Field, just across from the Fountain - that is, if you can find a ticket.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
- Luxury Travel
The Pittsburgh Pirates are one of the oldest major league baseball franchises dating back to 1882 when as the Alleghenys, they were a founding member of the American Association - known as the ‘Beer and Whiskey League’ as opposed to the puritan-minded National League. The team then jumped to the older National League as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1887. The ‘Pirate’ moniker was earned when the team successfully stole a star player away from the now-rival American Association in 1890. Their former league denounced the move as ‘piratical’, something that the ball club made fun of by renaming themselves as the Pirates, for the 1891 season.
The Pirates have five titles to their history - 1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, 1979 - winning the National League pennant four additional times. Not the strongest National League franchise, for sure, but then the Chicago Cubs, which has been in the National League 17 years longer than the Pirates, have only two World Series titles to their credit. On the other side of the State, the Philadelphia Phillies, dating to 1883 as the Quakers, have one lone World Series title and six National League pennants to their credit, though it appears their second World Series is very close at hand. That said, the pirates are not a very competitive team presently. They single-handedly were responsible for this year’s Milwaukee Brewers reaching into the post-season playoffs by winning only one of 14 games against the Brewers and getting outscored 94 to 41 - I had the privilege of watching the Pirates go down in one of those 13 games, 11-2. Pittsburghers were heard to say that they get tired of out-of-towners tell them about what a nice ballpark PNC is, because they know they are not talking about the exciting play of the Pirates but the view of downtown. And they are right. Sit in the upper deck of the park along the left field line and watch out over the skyline and the river, bringing you attention back occasionally as the Pirates attempt another belated rally.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits