PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pirates are packing the stands this baseball season, even for a weekday afternoon game, like Thursday’s, PNC Park was full.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to PNC Park, the home of the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates. The best team in all of Major League Baseball.”

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It’s been a long time since Pirates’ fans heard anything like that, so the excitement around the ballpark is one reason why attendance figures are very close to and may soon surpass last year’s attendance figures.

Consider that Thursday’s crowd, a day game, totaled more than 33,000 fans. It’s the second largest 12:35 p.m. day game crowd in the history of PNC Park.

They came in part based on nostalgia.

“I remember my parents took me to the games in the ‘60s when they won the World Series,” said John Wisniewski, of McCandless. “I grew up on the North Side, was here for the ‘71 and ‘79 World Series, and I got that feeling.”

Others think they won’t be let down this August like they were last August.

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“I think it’s the pitching and the hitting,” said Bernie Rattay, of Polish Hill.

“I don’t think they’re going to go down. October – when its October season – they’re going to just hit those home runs,” added Brandon Potts, of McKeesport. “That’s where it’s going, right out the park.”

And for future games, you’d better buy your tickets early.

For the next critical St. Louis Cardinals home series at the end of August, the Saturday and Sunday game tickets available are already standing room only.

Of course, the all-time attendance record was set in 2001. That’s the year PNC Park opened.

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