How many times have you been to your home ballpark and wished something would be different? Since I started ballhawking regularly in 2008, I was always bothered by the fact that PNC Park opened its gates at 5:00PM. I would get to see a small portion of Pirates batting practice, usually ranging from one minute to ten minutes, but typically around five minutes.
In those five minutes, I would usually see players like Luis Cruz, Josh Phelps, Robinzon Diaz, Raul Chavez, Chris Gomez, Luis Rivas, Brian Bixler and Delwyn Young. These were some of the Pirates bench players from the past few years, and watching them take batting practice wasn’t much of an attraction.
Privately, myself along with my fellow ballhawks and season ticket holders grumbled about how it wasn’t right that we weren’t getting to interact with or see the Pirates take batting practice. However, we never did much about it. In August of 2011, Zac Weiss wrote a letter to the Pirates brass. He brought it to PNC Park and I signed it along with other season ticket holders. We would only hope that our pleas would be considered and not fall on deaf ears.
I wrote about changing the gate times on January 24th, and posted Zac’s letter there.
Zac had heard from his contact that the Pirates brass were in discussions about opening the gates earlier throughout the winter. Well, today Zac finally found out about the verdict. He called me today while I was at work to break the good news.
The Pirates will be opening their gates at 4:30PM for all evening games from Monday-Saturday to season ticket holders only. Previously, it was 5:00 PM for Monday-Friday and 4:30 for Saturdays only. (You can read Zac’s new breaking blog post here.)
This is wonderful news for all Pirates fans, and especially ballhawks. Its an extra half an hour of ballhawking per day! By my count, that’s 45 evening Monday-Friday games, or 22.5 more hours of time inside the ballpark for us PNC ballhawks, which is almost like attending 22 extra BP’s!
It wasn’t always bad though. Here’s the top 3 ballhawks from PNC Park last year, possibly discussing strategy:
There will be less frustrated looks when the Pirates run off the field at 5:03:
More of this: (numbering snagged balls)
And NO MORE OF THIS:
Staring blankly at the sky behind the right center field wall of PNC Park, hoping for a ball to generously take a hop out of the stadium from 4:15-4:53PM. Also, no more answering the same three questions from every fifth passerby. 1) Do you ever get any out here? 2) What are you doing? 3) Are they playing right now?
How awesome are the Pittsburgh Pirates for actually listening to, considering, and executing a fans request? Huge kudos to them. And a big thank you to Zac Weiss for having the initiative to write the letter.
How many of you wanted someone about your club or stadium to change? What would you want changed? Have you ever tried asking?
2012 tickets from my season ticket holder pre-sale. These are just a bunch of Opening Day tickets and tickets to see Daughtry and the Skyblast dates and such.
It wasn’t the season tickets that I’ve been anxiously awaiting, but tickets from the box office. I made a wheel:
Much better than last year.
There’s only 56 more days until Opening Day, 9 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training, and 4 days to win this Brandon Phillips jersey Tshirt.