Take Us Out To the Ballgame!

Hey, we don't need an excuse from the boss to show up at PNC Park this Thursday to root for the Pirates on Opening Day 2012. After all, it's sort of our job to attend important events around town. Still, if you're looking for a reason to watch the Buccos start the season: 1. America's best ball park, 2. some really gorgeous spring weather, and 3. those Phillies deserve a lesson! But before you cross the Allegheny to buy some peanuts and Cracker Jack, we want to make sure you touch all the bases with a little Opening Day primer.

Okay, this much you should already know: PNC Park will be packed with fans, which means parking spaces and rates on the North Shore will be at a premium. We'll talk a little inside baseball and suggest that public transportation might be the best bet for getting to first base, so to speak. Now, if you do decide to drive, here's a tip that we're only sharing with our faithful followers...park on the outskirts of Downtown. That's where spaces will be more plentiful and sometimes cheaper than garages and lots in the heart of the Golden Triangle. To locate a space on the fringes — or in the thick of it all — just click here.

Since Pittsburgh's such a compact city, most Downtown garages are a leisurely stroll away from PNC Park. But if you're looking for a sweet ride to the field, then jump on the T at any of the four Downtown stations for a free trip to the new North Side station (it's a short fly ball away from the home plate entrance of the ball park!). On your way into the stadium, take a short detour over to Gold Lot #4 for a family-friendly tail-gate, courtesy of Market Square's own DiBella's Subs. When you're done cheering on the Pirates, hop on the train for a return trip under the Allegheny and back to Downtown. Whatever the outcome of the game, there's plenty of reasons to stick around the city, especially if you're heading to Market Square.

If you're a fan of the game, you might want to think of the Square as your club house. After all, it's the place where you can prep for the big day with a pre-game warm-up sweet treat from Prantl's, Mattiniero (a nifty takeout spot at Vallozzi's) or your choice of coffee shop. And, if the Bucs don't win— it's a shame. But when you return to the Square — with the free T service, of course — you can enjoy a post-game wrap-up over a burger, gyro, enchilada, bowl of noodles, or a perennial Pittsburgh grand-slam sandwich at Primanti's. It's an all-star dining lineup, worthy of the hall of fame.

Just remember, everyone starts in first place on Opening Day. And here's hoping it stays that way as the Pirates "Raise the Jolly Roger" over PNC Park many times during 2012.

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