Baseball season brings tasty treats, new gear
Baseball is a game that prides itself on the glorious history of its players and statistics that are as vital today as they were in the time of Ty Cobb.
But Dennis DaPra, executive vice president and general manager of PNC Park, said it is almost as important to make a ballpark “an exciting entertainment venue” as it is a home for baseball games.
As days tick down to the April 1 season opener, DaPra and other officials of the ballpark and the Pittsburgh Pirates led a tour and tasting March 28 of some of the new features offered to fans this season.
“We want you to feel like a kid,” said Adam Holt, executive sous chef of Levy Restaurants, which handles the food on the Pittsburgh Baseball Club level. “That's the best way to enjoy a game.”
He was talking about that attitude as he showed off one of the new food items, Po'Taters, or “Tater Tots, as they are better known.”
Besides a variety of toppings for hot dogs and a Sausage Stand on Riverwalk, fans will be able to indulge themselves in new flavors in food, beer and clothing.
• On the club level, Bridge Burgers and Barbecue Pitt will offer burgers and spicy sandwiches of pulled pork, brisket and chicken — along with Po'Taters — in the $10 range.
• Rivertowne Brewing of Murrysville has become a chow partner, taking over the site that now is called the Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club in left field. The brewery will sell six beers at games, ranging from Belgian white-type ales to deeper-toned lagers, Brewery founder Christian Fyke said.
• The team itself will reflect one of the new pieces of gear sold in the Majestic Clubhouse Store along Federal Street. Steve Musciano, general manager PNC Park/Aramark, said the Pirates will use a replica of the 1971 uniform as their Sunday alternate. For those who want to join in, the jerseys are available for $190.
• Food items in the Hall of Fame Club and elsewhere in the ballpark will have some dramatic offerings, too, including a tomato-watermelon salad ($8.50) at the health-oriented Just for You stand and Scotch Eggs ($7.50), a hard-boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, breaded and deep-fried.
• Brunch Burgers ($7.50) will provide a taste temptation even if “the calories are off the chart,” said Rich Montini, executive chef of Aramark. Brunch Burgers are made from beef and are 40 percent ground bacon with an egg yolk mixed in, topped with cheese and served on a bagel-like roll.
• Sausage offerings will include a buffalo-chicken sausage, which is “just like chicken wings” without the little bones, Musciano said.
In the gear and clothing offerings, Musciano said one of the more popular items from last year had been revised with the players' suggestions. What is called the Authentic Collection Hoodie ($80) has been given a smaller zipper at the neck instead the eight-inch one from 2012.
Amid the collection of jerseys and hats that fill the store, he called attention to something he called “great family room items”: Bobble-heads of players and the Parrot standing about 3 feet high for $300.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.