Three Rivers Stadium
Major League Baseball Park #25 out of 39
Wednesday, August 4, 1999
Pittsburgh 3, Atlanta 2
W– Todd Ritchie
L – John Smoltz
Attendance – 17,625
Three Rivers Stadium, just like Seattle's Kingdome, Veterans' Stadium (Philadelphia), and Riverfront/Cinergy (Cincinnati), was built in the 70s and demolished approximately 30 years later. The multi-purpose building in Pittsburgh, however, was home to a better football team than a baseball team. My first favorite NFL team was the Steelers because Seattle didn't have a team when I first started following the sport in 1975. Anyone who has studied pro-football history for any length of time knows about the Steelers' storied past. Sure, the Pirates have been around longer, but they haven't had any success since the 1979 World Series.
Three Rivers Stadium opened July 16, 1970, at the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers. A cookie-cutter building, almost perfectly round inside and out (335 feet from home plate to both the left- and right-field foul poles), three or four levels of seating all the way around, and AstroTurf. Pittsburgh has a very interesting skyline, but you'd never know it from inside the stadium. In fact, it is such a beautiful spot that, at the present, there are new parks for both the football and baseball teams on either side of the area where the original stadium once stood. Even Exposition Park (home of the Pirates from 1891 to 1909) was located in the same vicinity way back when.
The Pirates, like most franchises that have been around for over 100 years, are well-represented in Cooperstown. However, only three of them (Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, and Willie Stargell) stepped into the stadium as a player and the way things are going with the team right now, those three won't have any company anytime soon.
During our first visit, we stopped by the Carnegie Science Museum (within walking distance) and that was a fun way to kill some time before the gates opened. When I can find my scorebook from the 1999 trip, I should have more things to say about the place, but the game wasn't very exciting and we felt kinda lost inside the place. Championship banners were visible from our seat which commemorated great seasons of the Steelers and Pirates, but the banners were used to cover large sections of empty seats. The scene was like looking at a giant neon sign that told visitors, "We used to be really good, but not any time recently."
The pictures below are (from left to right) the view from our seats, the outside of the Carnegie Museum, the scoreboard with a billboard above it that used a large Band-Aid to send get-well wishes to catcher Jason Kendall, the view from center field, and the skyline as seen from just across the street from the stadium.
The Pirates' new place, PNC Park, is an incredible place to watch a baseball game. I just hope the fans get to see a good team someday.
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