Pirates fans line up for chance at playoff tickets
By Margaret Harding
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 12:45 p.m.
Tim Ging raised his arms in victory as he led the line of Pittsburgh Pirates fans up to the ticket windows Wednesday morning at PNC Park on the North Shore.
The Bethel Park resident picked up a numbered playoff ticket bracelet earlier this week, but was shocked when his number was randomly chosen at 9 a.m. to be first in line.
“They called my number and it took me five minutes to figure out it was really me,” Ging, 61, said. “I couldn't believe how fortunate and lucky I was.”
Sales for a possible Wild Card game and three possible Division Series games opened to the general public at 10 a.m. The Pirates handed out numbered wristbands Monday, Tuesday and early Wednesday to fans who then gathered to find out what numbered wristband would start the line. Fans lined up by number after Ging, and cheered when an announcer said, “Ladies and gentlemen, ticket windows are now open.”
Ging bought the maximum of four tickets for four games, and said he plans to take his son, who recently moved from Boston to Pittsburgh to attend graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University.
“My son was jumping up and down,” Ging said. “The fact that he's here this year, he's able to go.”
Pirates spokesman Brian Warecki said the club held back a few thousand tickets for each game for Wednesday's sale event. He said more than 100 fans took advantage of the wristband system, and the available tickets sold out in minutes. He said there was a heavy volume of online and phone sales.
“We have seen an extremely high demand for potential postseason tickets unlike any previous game or event held at PNC Park,” Warecki said. “Our goal was to release those tickets in the fairest way possible to ensure all of our fans have an equal opportunity to secure tickets.”
More than 120,000 fans registered in a lottery that would give winners a chance to purchase tickets to the potential Wild Card and National League Division Series games, Warecki said.
Season-ticket holders had the first opportunity to buy tickets to potential playoff games. The Pirates in August mailed order forms for playoff game ticket strips to its current full-season, 20-game and 10-game ticket holders. Buyers had to submit orders for the 11 potential games at PNC Park by Sept. 6.
John Paravati, a season ticket holder for 14 years, said he splits his tickets among a group of friends, but has “a lot more friends” now that the Pirates have their first winning season since 1992. He picked up two tickets Wednesday for two games he would have otherwise missed as his group divvied up potential playoff tickets.
“I plan on going to all the games,” said Paravati, 48, of Baldwin Township. “I've been waiting a long time for this.”
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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