Opening Day 2011: YAY!

Have I ever mentioned how LONG the off-season is?? It feels like forever to a baseball-loving family. Forever and a day, actually. And the first week and a half of baseball season was kind of torturous for Pirates fans, too. Although we saw lots of baseball on Root Sports, our first two series were on the road. So, while all of my baseball-loving friends in various parts of the country were celebrating and posting pics of THEIR Opening Days, I was still anxiously awaiting ours here in Pittsburgh! Finally, yesterday was the day!!

We weren’t supposed to go to the game… because Nick recently started a new job, and he wasn’t sure he’d be able to get the day off from work. So, last week I bought four tickets to this Sunday’s game… the first Kids’ Day at PNC Park, and we’ve been counting the days ’til then! However, at the last minute, Nick managed to get the day off yesterday. So, we arranged for the kids to stay with a friend after school for a few hours… and Nick and I headed to PNC Park on our own! Of course, the stadium was sold out, standing room only… so I paid a small fortune for tickets on StubHub (like four times what I paid for Sunday’s tickets, in almost the exact same section). But Nick and I were really excited about going to our very first Opening Day… we figured the money would be well worth it.

We watched the first game against the Colorado Rockies from here… Section 25, Row C (i.e., 3 rows off the grass on the 3rd-base line… i.e., AWESOME seats!):

 I think the most exciting part of the day was when the Pirates were all introduced out on the field. The crowd was especially pumped when the starting players were announced. In those few moments, it was great to be back at PNC Park!!

After the introductions, and national anthem, and dedications, etc., the boys took the field to warm-up.

Here are starting pitcher Paul Maholm and catcher Ryan Doumit, returning to the dugout from the bullpen. Ready to play ball!!

I actually didn’t take TONS of pictures during the game. I know that’s rather shocking. But, honestly, it was hot and very crowded (the word sardines comes to mind!)… and I just couldn’t deal with the camera all day. Here are a few of my favorite that I did manage to snap, though:

It was my goal for the day to get some good pictures of our closer, Joel Hanrahan, pitching. When we met him at the Winter Caravan back in January, he gave Nick a hard time because we didn’t have HIS photo hanging on our Pirates Wall. But, unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to get his picture yesterday, either. We were so far behind in the final inning (the Rockies were ahead 7 to 1) that Joel never made an appearance on the mound. Huge bummer… not only for HIS fans, but for all Pirates fans because losing that horribly at the home opener just sucks!!

Because they didn’t play very well and because there weren’t really any “big excitement” moments (like balls in the river… or homerun balls of any kind, actually!), the home opener was a little on the disappointing side for us. Nick and I were really looking forward to the excitement of just BEING there, the charged feeling of being 2 of almost 40,000 people… but it really wasn’t that “charged.” To me, it felt like any home game. I didn’t think there was much special about the fact that it was the home opener. Not sure what I was expecting, but… more.

Also, parking in downtown Pittsburgh for an afternoon opening game?? Nightmare city. We have NEVER had trouble parking for games. We always park in the same garage, walk across the Clemente bridge, drop some cash in the Sax Man’s case, and head into the Park with no issues. Yesterday, we took a nice, lengthy tour through the city… searching for parking. Every garage was full and leaseholders only. All of the lots were presold. We finally found ONE garage on the North Shore that had parking available. At least now we know in the future where to head (that was our first time parking on that side of the bridge, so we had NO clue!!!). Luckily w,e got to Pittsburgh super early, so we had plenty of time for the parking adventure.

One more gripe… this:

I took this picture when we got home last night. Today, it’s at least four shades darker. And I don’t think I’ve ever had such a painful sunburn. Yesterday’s weather was supposed to be 60 degrees and partly cloudy. I was excited to wear my new Pirates hoodie all day. Uh, yeah. No, that didn’t happen!! I think the official temperature WAS in the 60s, but there were no clouds to be found… and we were sitting in direct sunlight the entire game. So it felt like it was 90 degrees and my skin was sizzling! Totally not prepared for that! I’ll never go to a game without sunscreen again… no matter what the forecast says!

I’m glad we experienced a home opener… but now I know that, next year, I won’t go out of my way to attend. I certainly won’t spend such a ridiculous amount of money on tickets just because it’s Opening Day!!

However, it wasn’t a total downer of a day. It was WONDERFUL to be back at PNC Park again. We’ve definitely missed it! The kids were a little put out that we went to a game without them, of course. And, as much fun as it was for Nick and I to spend the day together without them, it didn’t feel quite right! Baseball is something that all four of us love… that’s something that Nick and I appreciate, being able to share that with our kids and knowing that we’re all having a great time. So, honestly, I’m looking forward to this Sunday’s game even more! I think it will feel more like “opening day” for us… when the kids get to see the Buccos take the field for the first time this season!

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2 Responses to Opening Day 2011: YAY!

  1. Uncle Eddie says:

    And I thought I WAS a baseball fan (emphasis on WAS)!!!

  2. Uncle Eddie says:

    WHAAAT?!! I’ve been DEMOTED to UNCLE??!!

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