Tagged: PNC Park

The Primanti Bros. Sandwich at PNC Park

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One of the many things that make the baseball experience
much better today than 20 years ago is the food.

I still get a hot dog at almost every game I go to. I guess
it’s a matter of making sure that I’m doing my part to ensure that hot dogs are
always available at ballgames, and protecting a tradition in a sport whose
charm lies in its history.

But of late I’ve been much more eager to try the local
offerings at a ballpark, whether it is the Tony Luke’s cheesesteak at Citizens
Bank Park in Philly, the Ben’s All-The-Way Chili Dog at Nationals Park in Washington,
or the Shackburger at Citi Field in New York. As I detail in Ballpark E-Guides,
there are many, many food choices at nearly all ballparks these days, and many
of them have that signature item that reflects the local flavor.

Well at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, that item happens to be a
Primanti Bros. sandwich. I have yet to have one at the park itself, but I have
tried it in one of their restaurants. A Primanti Bros. meal includes the
sandwich on Italian white bread with fresh-cut fries and coleslaw. Nothing
unusual, until you see that the fries and cole slaw are actually piled onto the
sandwich! Hey, it all ends up in the same place, right?

The legend I originally heard was that truckers would
frequent the restaurant but often did not have time to eat the fries and slaw
with their sandwich, so they were all packed together. Well, that’s not quite
right, as the Primanti Bros. website describes here.

Still, a popular and unusual food item in a city is always
worth checking out, and if it’s available in a gorgeous ballpark, hey, triple
play.

I have read opinions of people that suggest getting your
Primanti Bros. sandwich elsewhere at any of the many locations in greater
Pittsburgh, since it’s less expensive, the portions are slightly bigger, and
reportedly it’s just a higher quality sandwich elsewhere.  But if you want to spare yourself the trouble
of finding another place and make a Primanti Bros. sandwich your meal of choice
at the ballpark, it’s perfectly adequate.

And if you spend some time sitting with a Primanti and an
Iron City beer (more on that in a future post) at beautiful PNC Park, this
Pittsburgh place will really grow on you.

How To Get Ticket Alerts From Your Favorite Team

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One thing that I always suggest in my Ballpark E-Guides is
to sign up for the ticket alert newsletter from your favorite team, or any team
whose ballpark you plan to visit. All teams offer all kinds of ticket deals
that they will alert you to in newsletter e-mails. Some more so than others,
depending of the quality of the baseball the team is playing. You can clean up
going to Pirates games these days.

However, I don’t quite make it clear how to do it, and while
I’m sure most people could figure it out, I’m just going to go over the steps
quick-like:

1) Go to Major League Baseball’s website:  www.mlb.com

2) In the upper right corner, click on that tiny little
“Register” button. Select “I don’t have an MLB.com account”, enter your
information, and enter a password that you won’t have any problem remembering.
Also, uncheck the box that says “I would like to receive newsletters…” unless
you want to be deluged with newsletters.

3) Login to your account. It will take you to your profile
page. On the left click on “My Newsletters”. On the new screen click on
“Update”.

4) On the newsletters page, all off the teams will be
listed. Click on your team (or whatever team whose home ballpark you plan to
visit) and check the box next to “Ticket Alert”. Click on “Save Subscriptions”.

There you go. Every Tuesday you should get an e-mail
informing you of upcoming deals. Keep in mind you’re going to get them every
Tuesday night for every team whose ticket alert you select. Just delete the ones
you don’t need.

Trust me, this is worth the trouble. For example, the most
recent one I received from the Pirates advertises: a coupon code for upcoming
games; the “Pepsi Max Pack” that includes an Outfield Box ticket, a hot dog, a
pretzel and a Pepsi for $20; all-you-can-eat seats for $35; and a Beer
Passport, which I don’t have the space to explain here. (It’ll be in the PNC
Park E-Guide, I promise!) And that is just one e-mail.

Like I said, teams offer a lot more deals than most people
realize. Just a little effort can save you a lotta dough.

On “All You Can Eat” Seats

In researching different ballparks, I’ve found that many of them these days, particularly the ones that host mediocre teams, offer “all you can eat” seats. Some of them, like Baltimore’s Camden Yards or Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, make this option available every night, while others, like Toronto’s Rogers Centre, make them available on certain nights of the week.

 

Sports Illustrated, in their new role as social critic, has taken issue with this, questioning whether it’s a good idea to be encouraging people to gorge on ballpark food in a nation with an obesity problem. (Included in their article is a link to the top ten minor league ballpark foods. Click on the link and the first thing you see is a huge photo of a four-pound burger smothered in chili, cheese and chips. I am not making this up.)

 

Baseball owners can’t win. They’re constantly criticized for the prices of everything, by the same people who criticize them for not spending money on top players. Now they’re giving fans too much food!

 

Still, with that said, I don’t recommend the all-you-can-eat sections, for different reasons. I sympathize with the health aspect of it, although I believe people are responsible for their own selves and if they keep this sort of thing in moderation they should be fine.

 

First off, count on all-you-can-eat seats being the worst in the park. In Baltimore, they’re the left field club seats; in Toronto and Atlanta they’re deep in the outfield; in Pittsburgh they’re in right field. In Baltimore and Pittsburgh particularly, these seats preclude a great view that makes the place special. Part of the reason this deal is offered is precisely because teams can’t sell these seats, especially to watch a bad team.

 

Second, it isn’t all that much of a bargain. Say you pay $17 extra for an all-you-can-eat seat (in Toronto, a 200-level outfield seat costs $22, on all-you-can-eat nights it’s $39). You’re essentially paying $17 for a low-level buffet of hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, and popcorn. Would you pay that much at a Golden Corral for such a limited menu? I wouldn’t pay that much at a Golden Corral period, but that’s not the point. Buffets in restaurants rarely feature anything gourmet-level; this is doubly true at the ballgame.

 

Third, none of the ballpark all-you-can-eat sections include local favorites that are featured in ballparks these days. Almost all ballparks feature a popular local delicacy, and if you don’t mind spending the money you’d be remiss to miss out on some of the civic pride of a town. It’s ultimately cheaper (see my second point), and it’s part of the ballgame experience. You should have a Primanti Bros. sandwich at PNC Park, or Boog’s Barbecue in Camden Yards, or a Georgia hot dog from the “Frankly My Dear” stand at Turner Field. Don’t waste $17 on the low-end unexciting grub because you get more of it.

 

This isn’t to say I don’t think people shouldn’t ever take advantage of the deal. If you don’t have time for dinner before the game, and you don’t care where you sit, you can have a couple of dogs, peanuts, some popcorn and a soda without worrying about how much extra it costs. It’s fine if you’ve been to the ballpark before and are just going to the game.

 

But SI’s social concern notwithstanding, it’s Dr. Ballgame’s opinion that you’re shorting yourself of the best possible ballpark experience with the all you can eat seats. And even health reasons aside, it really isn’t worth it.

 

Stick with me; there’s other ways to save money on food at the game.