Pittsburgh Is Catching Baseball Fever

Pittsburgh Is Catching Baseball Fever

A mid-summer trip to PNC Park might be more crowded and expensive than you bargained for. After two consecutive decades of nothing but sub-.500 and often last-place teams, the Pirates suddenly find themselves with the best record in baseball at this season’s midway point – and fans are responding.

The Pirates recently enjoyed a fifth-straight home sellout, which believe it or not is the longest streak since they opened their new ballpark in 2001, and may be the longest such streak in franchise history. That run was broken up with the help of some inclement weather, but with the club’s record 51-30, and optimism that these Bucs won’t fall apart down the stretch, you can expect the trend of packed houses to continue in Pittsburgh.

Forbes.com’s Kurt Badenhausen writes about how the organization’s resurgence on the field has led to a dramatic increase at the box office. Needless to say, Phillies fans heading west this week may have to shell out more dough for tickets than they are used to.

The team’s success on the field and off has been building for a couple of years. The Pirates started hot the past two seasons only to see second half fades on the diamond. But fans turned out with attendance up 30% between 2010 and 2012. Last year represented the second highest attendance in the franchise’s history with 2.1 million fans. This year is going to be better.

“With the club’s strong performance, (ticket) sales have picked up at a brisk pace the past two or three weeks,” says Pirates president Frank Coonelly. Sunday was the largest single day of ticket sales in the franchise’s history. Total tickets already sold for the season (including games still to be played) are up 11% versus last year. Per-game attendance is still running slightly behind last year, but Coonelly says that is a function of scheduling and the season starting on a Monday instead of near the weekend. Connelly expects final 2013 attendance to trail only 2001 when PNC opened and 2.4 million fans came through the turnstiles.

The landscape is quite a bit different than it is here, where the greatest era Phillies baseball appears to be approaching its end, and attendance is down markedly.

While we’re not fans of Pittsburgh sports to say the least, it’s still nice to see a down-on-its-luck organization with a history and tradition like the Pirates turn things around and become relevant again. You can’t really blame the fans there for not being more loyal to a team that racked up nine last-place finishes in the last 20 years.

Although if you were hoping a July 4 trip to Pitt would be a cheap way to catch the Phillies at a beautiful ballpark on the river, sorry. Hope you bought your tickets in advance.

>> The Pittsburgh Pirates Are Baseball’s Best And Business Is Thriving [Forbes]

Watch every single minute of Joel Embiid's super fun NBA debut against OKC

Watch every single minute of Joel Embiid's super fun NBA debut against OKC

Oh, man. Remember that time Joel Embiid did the Dream Shake?!? And then that time he did the crossover. And when he was pumping the crowd up on his way back down the court after drilling a three ball?!?

Well now you don't have to just remember it. You can watch it all again.

Our friendly video team cut together a video featuring every single minute of JoJo's action in his NBA debut. Sadly, he was on a 20-minute restriction, but that didn't stop Brett Brown from getting him out there for a couple of extra minutes.

Enjoy. And as Dario Saric would say, "I love him so much."

If reading is more your thing, check out Jess Camerato on Embiid's debut and Andrew Unterberger on The Process being secured.


Report: Sixers anthem singer Sevyn had contract barring political statements

Report: Sixers anthem singer Sevyn had contract barring political statements

Sevyn Streeter, the performing artist who claimed Wednesday that the Sixers replaced her for the national anthem because of her intent to wear a jersey with the words "We Matter," signed a contract that prohibited political statements, according to CBS3's Jan Carabeo.

Per the report, Streeter was offered an alternate shirt and told she could wear her own shirt in the stands after the performance.

"I was angry, extremely, extremely angry and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart," Streeter told The Associated Press. "Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that."

The Sixers didn't directly confirm or deny the allegation but responded with the following statement:

"The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community."

This statement is consistent with efforts being made throughout the NBA calling for action over gestures, as detailed in a feature in B/R Mag. 

“I’m past the gestures,” Carmelo Anthony told B/R Mag. “I’m past that. It’s all about creating things now and putting things in motion. So, that’s what I’m on. I’m trying to get guys on board with that and help them understand that — enough of the gesturing and talking and all of that stuff — we need to start putting things in place.”