Pirates tickets sell briskly |

Pirates tickets sell briskly

Randy Thompson spent Friday night huddled in his sleeping bag on a concrete parking lot outside PNC Park and was first in line to buy tickets at the new ballfield early Saturday.

That devotion wasn’t enough to get the O’Hara Township man the dugout box seats he wanted for the Pirates’ April 9 opener against Cincinnati.

‘When I got to the window, I told her I wanted the best seats available,’ said Thompson, 40. ‘I imagine (dugouts) were sold to season-ticket holders.’

At 10 a.m., a security officer cut a yellow ribbon and the throng of fans dashed across General Robinson Street for the ticket line.

Ticket-sellers dispensed 57,000 tickets yesterday for the inaugural season at the North Shore ballpark, said Vic Gregovits, Pirates vice president of marketing and broadcasting.

Sold out were opening day, two exhibition games against the New York Mets, fireworks night, the first night game and three regular-season games against the Cleveland Indians.

Thompson bought eight tickets – four right-field box seats for Opening Day and four for a June 28 game against the Florida Marlins. He plans to attend Opening Day with his mother, father and brother. He will take in the Marlins’ game with friends from Unisource, a paper distributor where he works.

‘I went for the right-field box because I wanted to get a good view of the city,’ Thompson said. ‘It’s supposed to give you a better sight line to the city and the scoreboard.’

Thompson camped out overnight on a whim. He was out with friends Friday night and drove by the stadium at midnight to see if a crowd was forming. None was. Since he had his sleeping bag in the car, he decided to stay.

‘Since the weather was nice, I said, why drive home• I just camped out. I just wanted to have an opportunity to get some tickets for Opening Day.’

Fans had their pick of 83 home games yesterday. Prices started at $9 for seats in the left and right outfield grandstands. Infield boxes cost $25. Dugout box seats cost $35.

Spirits were high among the morning crowd of about 1,800. Several fans predicted a return to the playoffs this year. Others remarked that the new ballpark might help the club attract a power-hitter.

The Pirates attempted to create a festive atmosphere, although no one was allowed inside the $228 million stadium. A swing band performed on General Robinson Street. A clown juggled bowling pins. And a Pirate figure on stilts walked about.

Beaver Falls resident Mike Yoho said he arrived at 4 a.m.

‘We had to get a good spot in line,’ said Yoho, 20, pumping his fist and predicting a postseason appearance by the club. ‘We slept for an hour. We got up and came down here and got in line. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’

Apollo resident Jeff Stewart, 43, said he recently moved back home from Arizona and wanted to begin following the team again.

‘I’m here to buy tickets for my 13-year-old son,’ he said.

Dale Morgan, 44, of Baldwin bought tickets for the second regular-season game, also against the Reds. He said he waited in line 15 minutes.

‘It’s going to be a beautiful place to watch baseball,’ Morgan said.

While the Pirates remain in spring training in Florida, some fans said they could feel their presence.

‘The Bucs are back,’ shouted Fran Dady, 52, of Baldwin.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.