PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When the Pirates return to PNC Park on Monday, fans will see new food, new merchandise and, for many, a new possibility of betting on the ballgame.
Take one step inside the Pirates Clubhouse store and you can’t miss all the “New Arrival” stickers.
It’s an explosion of new merchandise says Jason Hill, of Fanatics.
“We have something for every fan that walks into the building,” he said.
There are retro shirts and a ship load of hats.
“You are probably going to see 400 to 500 different styles represented,” Hill said.
There’s an emphasis on kids.
“Dragons and unicorns, as silly as they sound, are really popular with the kids,” Hill said.
Women’s Pirates fashions are dramatically expanded.
“It’s a neglected piece of business and that’s unfortunate, so this year we’ve really made an attempt to hit that fan. No longer do you need to buy a men’s small,” Hill said.
You’ll notice the bullpen has been painted purple and carries the Guardian logo, and Chevron has worked with the Children’s Museum to expand the Chevron STEMzone. A virtual home run derby, pitching cage, and kidscast booth are all about interaction.
“You sit here with your kids, you let them throw a pitch, you start letting them think about statistics. They’re in there making calls, they’re doing critical thinking, they’re working on soft skills, public speaking,” Leann Wainwright with Chevron said.
The lush green surface of the ballpark is all new sod.
“This checkerboard pattern that you see here today is going to be our opening day pattern,” head groundskeeper Matt Brown said.
Brown says the grass gets a lot of wear and tear during the season. The tobacco stains from the players wash out but…
“The biggest pain is the sunflower seeds. We spend a lot of time during the day picking those up,” he said.
Pittsburgh Pirates Unveil New Items On The PNC Park Menu In 2019 —
Along the concourses, there are new food offers all over the place. Aramark’s Keith Petrie says they are most proud of the Pittsburgh Cone.
“So we’ve got kielbasa, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing so it’s pretty much a deconstructed kielbasa sandwich in a waffle cone. We are very proud to have this eccentric item for this season,” Petrie said.
Then there is the Shipwreck Sundae served in a small Pirates helmet.
“You have two jumbo marshmallows dipped in chocolate and rolled in gram crackers, put on a pretzel rod and served on Rivendale ice-cream,” Petrie said.
There is a massive Jolly Roger S’mores made and served in an iron skillet, and the Cinnamon Chipotle Loaded Totchos.
“It’s a little out there. Every year we like to have some over the top items. This is a sharable item, tater tots cinnamon spice pulled pork, grilled red and green onions and a Chipotle Maple Syrup Glaze,” Petrie said.
Also new this year is legal sports betting on baseball at the Rivers Casino. While you won’t be able to bet at PNC Park Pirates President Frank Coonelly says they have a great partnership with Rivers Casino.
“They’ll be promoting betting here through the Pirates. If it can increase the interest of fans who weren’t otherwise the best baseball fans, then that’s best for all of us. If sports betting can enhance someone’s enjoyment of what goes on in the field, we’re going to help promote that,” Coonelly said.
But Coonelly emphasizes it must be done while always protecting the integrity of the game on the field.
All the new changes will be in place for the Pirates home opener next Monday. Gates open at 11 a.m.