No one can deny Citizens Bank Park is one of the top fan experiences in baseball. Yet, every time the Philadelphia Phillies visit the Pittsburgh Pirates as they did this weekend, PNC Park reminds them how much better CBP could have been.
From a ballpark standpoint, CBP is every bit the equal of PNC, but the Pirates have one advantage over the Phillies that cannot be duplicated. No stadium is plunked down in a better atmosphere than the beautiful PNC Park with the skyline of Pittsburgh framed in the background. The skyline feature sets PNC apart not only from CBP, but from most of the other new stadiums. Add to that the fact that the stadium is right in the heart of town and it has been and continues to be a major catalyst in the economic development of downtown Pittsburgh.
The Phillies could have had the same thing as both Pennsylvania stadiums were built around the same time and indeed wanted to build the stadium in downtown Philadelphia. However, in Philadelphia — unlike Pittsburgh — there exists a provincial “not in my neighborhood” mentality that dictated the stadium could only be built where the other prior stadiums existed, at the South Philadelphia complex five miles away from Center City. You can still see the skyline, but you need binoculars.
A certain community restaurant group fought successfully against a downtown stadium despite the fact that a downtown stadium would have driven unprecedented economic gains for those same citizens who opposed it. In addition, the image of the city of Philadelphia — a skyline which is more spectacular than Pittsburgh’s — would have been enhanced by the project.
Now, while the Phillies have a nice little ballpark themselves, every trip to Pittsburgh reminds them how much better it could have been.
Check out ScoreBig.com for Pirates tickets during the 2014 season to see just how beautiful a ballpark PNC really is.