PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Despite the snowflakes and cold temperatures, fans from near and far came out to PNC Park Friday afternoon to cheer on the Pittsburgh Pirates in their Home Opener.
It felt more like football weather than baseball season, with fans dressed in layers – heavy coats, tossle caps, winter gloves and blankets. Instead of the traditional baseball jerseys, hats and gloves.
But the hearty arrived undaunted with a steady snow falling on the North Shore.
“We’re all from Pittsburgh,” said Ryan Mitchell, a fan from Monroeville. “It doesn’t matter to us; we’re here to support our team.”
“It’s not bad at all,” said Lauren Nyalka, also of Monroeville. “At first it was freezing, now it’s good.”
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But fans in the stands did do their quite a bit of shivering. There was a lot of warm-up purchasing going on as fans made their way to the ballpark gates. One vendor said she was selling a lot of gloves.
And it didn’t get any more comfortable inside PNC Park as the wind whipped through the main concourse.
“We really shouldn’t be here,” said Dennis Hottel, a fan from Bethel Park. “It’s 29 degrees, they should have played tomorrow or Sunday.”
In fact, the Pirates did consider moving the game to noon on Saturday, but the logistics were daunting.
“People are coming to PNC Park from all over our region,” said Pirates President Frank Coonelly. “Many groups are coming here with bus trips coming, it’s very difficult to try to reschedule that. So, we wanted to get this game in if it could be done safely for our fans and for our players.”
So, the fans hunkered down, doing all they could to stay warm, enduring the spits of snow as the game began.
The cold forced some practical choices, leaving some vendors a bit lonely in favor of a bit of liquid warmth instead.
“Hot chocolate is going to hopefully keep us warm, hopefully, said fan Ryan Prokopovich.
“It’s so cold out, you need hot chocolate today. Hot chocolate and some nachos, I think would be good for the day,” added Stacy Batovsky, a fan from Uniontown.