PNC Park is often noted for its physical beauty. The low, open-air outfield stands offer a
wide, breathtaking view of the downtown Pittsburgh skyline across the Allegheny River.
The exterior walls and backstop behind home plate are made of limestone, a departure
from the red-brick walls present in most of today's newer ballparks. The limestone
captures the city's trademark "gold" color while also representing the rugged local
landscape. Also prevalent throughout the ballpark is the use of steel construction, a
tribute to Pittsburgh's history in the steel industry. The spiraling rotunda in left-field,
which allows access to the various concourse levels via escalators and stairs, employs
this the best. All of the concourses are open-air, as well, meaning fans can still watch
the game and even enjoy the riverfront view when standing in line at concessions
stands. A 2003 ESPN study gave the park a 95 rating (out of 100), making it "the best
stadium in baseball."
The ballpark is notable for being built on the Allegheny River, which runs directly behind
the ballpark. A well-struck ball hit beyond the right-field wall may find its way into the
water. Because of the ballpark's geography, many fans choose to travel to the park by
riverboat. Behind the ballpark, between the river and the bleachers is a waterfront
promenade called the River Walk, complete with concessions stands found throughout
the rest of the ballpark. It is open on off-days to the general public. River Walk also
serves as an entrance/exit from/to the Roberto Clemente Bridge, located on the
left-field side of the ballpark. The bridge, named for Pirates' Hall of Fame right fielder
Roberto Clemente, is closed to vehicular traffic on game days, allowing easy access to
the park by pedestrians.
The river is approximately 440 feet from home plate. Only one player has hit a homerun
into the river on the fly in regular season play: Daryle Ward of the Houston Astros in
2002, off Pirates pitcher Kip Wells. Lance Berkman, Ryan Howard and David Ortiz,
however, each hit homeruns into the river on the fly during the 2006 Home Run Derby.
PNC Park is also notable for having some of the best food of any Major League venue.
The ballpark features an extensive selection of local specialities and favorites, including
pierogies, Primanti Brothers sandwiches (serving meat, cole slaw, and french fries within
the sandwich), Quaker Steak and Lube, Benkovitz Fish, Smorgasburgh, Pop's Plaza
(named for Willie Stargell), a barbeque run by former catcher Manny Sanguillen (who
signs autographs while fans wait in line), as well as "Outback in the Outfield," an
Outback Steakhouse at the top of the left-field bleachers.
The right-field wall is 21 feet high, an homage to Roberto Clemente, who wore #21 as a
Pirate. The wall features one of the most extensive out-of-town scoreboards of any
Major League ballpark. It shows not only the score for every game, but the inning,
count, number of outs, and baserunners, as well. The scoreboard is automatically
updated via wire services. Special indoor, front row seats are built directly into the wall;
these seats are primarily reserved for handicapped accessible guests.
Fans can have messages engraved in bricks in the sidewalk surrounding statues of
Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Honus Wagner outside the ballpark for $75 or
$150, depending on the size of the brick.
Games usually feature a "Pierogie Race" between the 5th and 6th innings of most
games. Fans dress up in giant, oversized pierogie costumes and run the length of the
field, an idea borrowed from the Milwaukee Brewers and their famous "Sausage Races"