Reporting Paul Martino
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pirates return to PNC Park this weekend for the first time in 12 days, since before the All-Star Break.
They head into Friday night’s game against the Miami Marlins in a tie for first place in the National League Central. The Bucs are also back to 11 games over .500.
It’s the hottest ticket in town. The red-hot Bucs aren’t just winning on the field; they’re big winners at the ticket window, too.
At mid-day at the Pirates ticket window, the fans just keep on coming. But if they want to get a ticket for this weekend, forget about it.
That’s right; it’s standing room only for the whole weekend. It’s not what Pirates’ fans have come to expect the past 20 years.
“It’s crazy. I’ve never seen a line this long,” said Jonathan Meck, of Dormont. “It’s never been this difficult to get tickets before. We usually wait till the day of and just come down and tailgate and have fun there.”
With stars like Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Burnett, the Pirates are one of the top teams in the National League Central division. And the fans are starved for winning baseball.
“It’s good. Finally we have a team that plays and everybody wants to see them,” said Michael Thompson, of Beltzhoover.
And in the Pirates’ front office, they’re counting the wins and the dollars.
“It’s exciting to see everybody walking around town wearing Bucco shirts, Pirates hats, and just bringing additional tourism dollars downtown,” said Lou DiPaoli, of the Pittsburgh Pirates. “It’s a no-lose situation for everybody involved.”
The Pirates are now on pace to sell two-million tickets this season.
It remains to be seen if they’ll break the record of the 2.4 million they sold in 2001, the year this ballpark opened.