Pirates apologize to fans for long lines entering PNC Park
Gerrit Cole delivered the first pitch of his major league career on Tuesday at 96 mph.
Most of the ones that followed stoned the San Francisco Giants and wowed a PNC Park crowd as the rookie pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning.
And oh, yeah, he whipped up a single to drive in the Bucs' first two runs as they coasted to a victory.
Some fans who had planned to witness the top prospect's debut missed the early pitches while they stood outside in line, tickets in hand, waiting to be screened with metal-detecting wands.
Such security measures aren't uncommon at sports venues — the NFL began requiring wanding at its stadiums in 2012 — but it was the first night using the devices at the ballpark.
It just happened to coincide with 30,614 fans arriving to witness history. Thousands of fans ended up in lines that stretched from the home plate entrance to Federal Street and from the right-field gate down the block past the Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse.
“On behalf of the Pirates organization, I apologize to our fans who experienced long lines at the gates prior to tonight's game,” team president Frank Coonelly said in a prepared statement released during the seventh inning. “We made the decision several weeks ago to enhance the security at the gates beginning with tonight's game, but unfortunately we failed in our preparation and execution. We stopped the wanding procedure at the start of the game and were able to clear the lines at the gates by the end of first inning.
“The experience was simply unacceptable, and we will ensure this does not happen again. We appreciate the support and patience of our fans.”
Fans who still were lined up on West General Robinson Street at 7:15 p.m. weren't shy in expressing their anger and frustration, calling the lines ridiculous. Some said they wanted their money back. One man said it was his grandson's birthday and that they would be lucky to make it in by the third inning.
Season-ticket holders Bruce Antonoff, 67, of Plum and Randy Boswell, 65, of Monroeville said they'd been standing in line for at least 40 minutes.
“I hope (Cole) is still pitching when we get there,” Boswell said.
“I'm sad I missed the first part of the game,” said 6-year-old Christian Risinger of the North Side.
Christian's mother, Michelle Lynch, said her son had the tickets to the game hanging on his door for weeks and started to cry when the game started and they still were standing outside.
“He's pretty upset,” she said. “He wanted to see the whole game.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Pirates notebook: Decker leaves game with calf injury
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 4, Braves 2
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Pirates pitchers finding success with expanded strike zone
- Pirates notebook: Polanco’s power outburst a matter of timing
- Pirates notebook: Locke makes bid for final rotation spot, Tabata cut
- Hair Cutch: Pirates superstar lops off his locks for charity
- Starting 9: As franchise values soar, do owners hold or sell?
- About face: Pirates’ Burnett now digging the shifts
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 8, Blue Jays 3