Last night I made my first trip in over a year to see the ‘dem Buccos play at PNC Park. It was a special night for me since I was taking my 5 year old son to his first big league game. Halcyon moments, right?
I’ve probably only been to PNC Park a couple dozen times over the years. Lots of times sitting in a luxury box and frankly not paying a lot of attention to the game. I’ve always had trouble being a spectator at sporting events — 12 years of working in that field and I have trouble relaxing and just enjoying the game without thinking “there’s something I should be doing” or “gee, why didn’t that light fire when it was supposed to”. So it was nice to have that out of my system and just enjoy it for what it was.
Off the top – we had a great time. Other than the super long lines at every food vendor in the place, there’s really nothing about the experience that wasn’t enjoyable. It was a great game with lead-changes, drama, and a big finish. My son had a blast, and we can’t wait to go back again. I think he slept in his new Pirates hat and hasn’t taken it off yet today.
From the techie side though, couple things:
– It’s time to upgrade to HD. The Pirates still have their original control room, and it’s way out of date. They have a nice big newish Daktronics screen, but their video doesn’t do it justice. It’s not a HD screen, but there’s lots of pixels there and it’s still a high-quality board. I’ve watched some of the clips that their game presentation has uploaded to You Tube, and it’s really high quality stuff. Seeing it at the park last night left me, well, underwhelmed. When you see the graphics on the sides of the video portion in contrast to what comes out of the control room, it stands out like a sore thumb.
– Sound is bad, but it is what it is for an outdoor venue. I was also in a less-than-ideal place so I’m not going to harp on this.
– Would love to see more action and color shots on the scoreboard between pitches. We were sitting in the Pirates Cove in the upper deck down the right field line, and I really didn’t see anything that brought me closer to the players. I wanted to see closeups and iso shots between pitches, but there was none of it and only occasional replays.
– The game presentation itself is very family oriented, and I think they do a superb job of this. High production value and they keep it upbeat. However, as the team is climbing into legitimacy from a baseball perspective, and you are now drawing more fans interested in the competitiveness of the game, I’m wondering if this will change a bit.
Overall, it was a fun night. Great vibe. The people in this town are so hungry for this team to be successful that you can feel the pride and buzz in the atmosphere as soon as you get out of your car. We’ve been dying for this for years, and it’s nice to see this team on the up. I truly believe that the Bucs need to capitalize on those that are now coming to see a winning, competitive team and maybe add a little more vinegar to the show to help make that better connection between players and fans. They do a good job of it in their marketing in and around the park, and I’d love to see it on their video board as well.