Pittsburgh Pirates listen to their fans

I am typing this entry to break some major news to Pittsburgh Pirates fans, especially season ticket holders:

On Saturday’s PirateFest session back in December I met with Dennis DaPra, who is charge of PNC Park. Myself as well as fellow season ticket holders Erik Jabs and Nick Pelescak have all thought opening the gates at 4:30 during weekday nights was the way to go instead of the 5:00 gate time which has been the way PNC Park has operated in recent memory and our idea gained support from many Pirates season ticket holders. Dennis seemed very receptive of the idea at PirateFest and we left it there that I would email a letter I had written to him and he would discuss it with others at the ballpark.

I sent this letter to him and he replied the very next day that he appreciated me following up and would review it and then contact me as soon as possible.

I had not heard back as of earlier this week, so I sent an email this past Monday just to see if everything was going ok and if there was any progress that was made. I received an email almost instantly which said they were discussing the possibility and that he hoped to respond back to me as soon as possible. This got me very excited, as I knew that they were indeed seriously considering it.

To my surprise, I got a phone call from Pittsburgh Pirates, and I quickly realized that today was the moment of truth as I found out that it was Dennis on the other line. He said that he had discussed the possibility and told me that Mondays thru Saturdays the gates would open at 4:30, my letter was successful.

I can confirm that this is 100% true and was told that season ticket holders will receive something in the mail and this change will be advertised on the Pirates website and twitter feed.

Now the gates opening at 4:30 changes things for the weeknight games but not Saturday as this is the same time as before. Tradionally as I had said before, the gates would open at 5. Now remember, this is for night games only, so if a game is at Wednesday at 12:35 PM, then obviously the gates will not open at 4:30. Here is some more info on this change:

. The only gate that will open at 4:30 at these times (weekdays and Saturday afternoons) is the Clemente Gate which for those who do not know is right off of the Clemente Bridge and is the Center Field Entrance.

. Everything in terms of getting in is the exact same. You will go in and if you are a season ticket holder be allowed to go in for batting practice. If you are not, then you will have to wait until you are allowed in.

The only two things I do not know are:

1. Will you have to show your season ticket ID card (other team’s fans try to buy season tickets off of Stubhub so that they can get in early)? This could be very important.

2. At 5:00 will everyone be allowed into left field, or will they have to wait until 5:30?

This news is very huge as now fans will be able to witness an almost complete Pirates batting practice. Usually when us season ticket holders are getting in, the Pirates are running off of the field. Part of the season ticket benefits are a chance to see your Pirates hit and seeing them for two minutes is not suffice.

This also will allow children to experience their first memory with a Pirate.

With so many rained out BP sessions, last season was a bummer for many, however this change definitely makes me even more excited for the upcoming season.

All in all this enhances the season ticket experience, and I am glad that I wrote the letter. Hopefully this will boost the Pirates season ticket sales, and allow many to have an even more enjoyable experience.

A huge thanks definitely goes to Dennis and everyone at PNC Park for making this change happen.

I will update with any info if necessary on any uncertainties I posted above, but it is a great day to be a Pirates season ticket holder and only 10 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Update: I got one of my questions answered, and to get in for the season ticket holder portion of BP, you have to have either a season ticket or a season ticket holder ID card which will be mailed to you before the start of the season. This is the same policy as in seasons past.

Kudos to the Pittsburgh Pirates and PNC Park for listening to their fans!



  1. Mateo Fischer

    I really think this is great on both your parts. On your part, because you actually had the courage to write the letter. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but when I saw the entry in which you published the letter, I thought it was for personal cathartical reasons, just because I would have been terrified as an individual fan to send a letter asking a storied franchise to change it’s policies for me. Here in New York, even the season ticket holders are little more than a number to both franchises. With one team, trhe gates times actually went in the opposite direction. With the other, people get kicked out of the seats soon after the Yankees stop hitting. On the part of the Pirates, because they actually listened to you. I could NEVER have imagined that happening with a New York ballhawk. First of all, neither team has a Fan Fest, so the encounter you had would have never happened. Secondly, none of us are season ticket holders because the cheapest season ticket plan is around $1,000, which comes with little to no perks. Thirdly, the new York teams don’t really need to do things for the fans to break even, which explains most of this comment. Anyway, it is TRULY remarkable what you have done here and I cannot express enough admiration. As for the whole season ticket thing, it appears that Ballhawk Fest is June 9th. So, I was wondering what your reccomendation for getting season tickets is as a season ticket holder. What is you suggestion? Ihave a feeling the window of opportunity may be closing now that the date has been announced.

  2. mlblogswewill1992pirates

    While I obviously have some reasons for myself (assuming I get season tickets) to get in early, I really did mean that kids can get their first impression. Pirates BP is brief and when you are promised a chance to see your team hit and they consistently leave after three minutes, it is frustrating and in a sense you feel as though you have been decieved.

    Regarding Ballhawkfest, things will depend as if I get the internship, things will become harder to do. If I don’t then I will be attending 50 plus games. My recommendations would be to talk to a PGH ballhawk and see if they can get you a ticket.

    The game itself likely will be sold out, so you will have to act fast. Boyz II Men are going to perform after the game and concerts are the only time there is a sellout. This was why I told Alan to avoid this game and go with the Saturday game in August against the Marlins.

  3. Mateo Fischer

    Yeah, I really couldn’t imagine being a kid, or parent thereof looking to connect with my home team and then seeing them walk off the field as we came into the ballpark. I just wonder how many kids and parents have season tickets, because they wouldn’t be able to go to bp/games while school is session, so the incentive to get season tickets might be low for most cases. What have you noticed?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s