PNC Park Pittsburgh Pirates #1

In The Washington Post‘s just-published comprehensive guide to America’s ballparks, Pittsburgh’s PNC Park lands right at the top. Sports columnist Thomas Boswell sums up his case for making PNC Park his #1 pick like this:

“Spectacular skyline. Intimate. Feels like PNC Park has been there forever. Clemente Bridge from downtown is a unique experience, walking in from downtown. Maybe most important: Every seat is a ‘best seat in the house,’ and a higher percentage of seats have a breathtaking view than any park.”

A total of five of The Post’s “most knowledgeable baseball folks” created a composite ranking of 30 major league baseball ballparks. With the whole team of writers weighing in, PNC Park was #2 overall behind San Francisco’s AT&T Park, but ahead of icons like Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The Post describes its article, “How many ballparks have you visited?” as “part interactive checklist, part travel guide and part ranking—because, let’s be honest, sports fans love disagreeing with rankings.”

“Ballparks aren’t just settings for the game. They are unique temples that evoke a feeling from fans, local or otherwise,” states the introduction.

PNC Park. Photo by Tom O'Connor.
PNC Park. Photo by Tom O’Connor.
PNC Park. Photo by Tom O’Connor.

The feature drills down into the details behind the rankings including sightlines, backdrops, things to eat and drink in and around each park, along with a few players offering their own perspective of what it’s like to play at the different locations.

A companion article goes behind the scenes with Thomas Boswell explaining how he ranked all 30 MLB ballparks, grouping them into four tiers, and how he picked PNC Park as his #1 choice.

PNC Park gets credit for putting the spectators close to the action, with the article noting that the highest seat in the yard is only 88 feet from the field.

“The concessions are solid,” says the article adding, “you just won’t want to leave your seat to fetch them.”

Online readers can check off which of the 30 parks they’ve visited along with the option of sorting ballpark stats by division, date opened, capacity and overall ranking.

Sure, the Pirates could be having a better season, but it ain’t over. So, in the meantime, enjoy seeing Pittsburgh perched at the very top of the rankings, even if for now it’s just the park that got us there. Let’s go Bucs!

Tom O'Connor is a photographer and writer currently based in Pittsburgh.