2. PNC Park, Pittsburgh. OPENED: 2001. SEATS: 38,496.
PNC at No. 2? It has to be the setting, the views and the amenities because it sure ain't the team. The architects of the 'Burgh's beauty of a ballyard chose specific designs and materials to reflect the Steel City's past, like back when the Pirates were good. All around you are homages to the home team's history. Grab an Iron City beer, a Primanti Brothers sandwich and a seat, then conjure up images of Pops Stargell, Roberto Clemente and Honus Wagner while taking in the best view of the Allegheny River, Clemente Bridge and the city's skyline. Is this heaven? No, it's Pittsburgh.
3 REASONS WE LOVE PNC
1. The ghost of Clemente. A statue in his likeness. A bridge that bears his name. Even the outfield wall in right field at PNC Park—21 feet tall—pays tribute to Pittsburgh legend Roberto Clemente, who wore No. 21. Almost 37 years after his death, he is very much a part of the Pirates.
NYJER MORGAN, Nationals center fielder, speaking when he was still a Pirate: "I walk to PNC Park every day we have a home game and always walk by the big No. 21. His statue is right there, and on those days I need a little lift, I ask Roberto for a little extra mojo. It's definitely great playing for a club that has had so many great players in the past, guys like Clemente, Stargell, Maz (Bill Mazeroski) and all the other Hall of Famers. How can that not inspire a player?"
2. The Allegheny River. Seven years after he did it, Daryle Ward remains the only player to hit a home run that landed in the Allegheny on the fly. With the Astros in 2002, he belted a first-pitch grand slam off the Pirates' Kip Wells.
DARYLE WARD, first baseman for the Class AAA Charlotte Knights: "I hit the ball, and it just took off. The only reason it made it into the river is it was down the line. In the gap area, the river goes out a little more. As the ball was in flight, I looked at it and thought, 'That's struck pretty well.' I knew it went in the water because everybody in the top row was looking over, then they jumped in the air as I was running to first base."
3. The quirky left-center field fence. The outfield reaches its deepest point in a notch in left-center field, 410 feet from home plate. That's a long way but not as far, a Pittsburgh old-timer can tell you, as the deepest part of old Forbes Field: 457 feet.
STEVE BLASS, Pirates radio/TV analyst and former Pittsburgh starting pitcher: "The section of Pittsburgh where the ballpark is located is called the North Side. So we've named it "the North Side Notch." It's a quirky little thing, but it's really become a signature of our ballpark. What's unusual is that it is next to the doors to the bullpen. So if balls are getting hit out there, you are probably going to have some action behind those doors."
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