The Stadium Tour Continues

Last weekend I did my solo road trip to Pittsburgh, another stop in the grand tour of baseball stadiums. 500 miles each way, give or take a bit. I left around Friday noon, looking forward to a sunshine filled afternoon drive to Cleveland. Unfortunately, the weather gods decided to toy with me. It rained on and off, every 45 minutes to an hour, with intermittent sunshine along the way. Every time I stopped to put the top down, the clouds would roll back in and it would begin to rain. Finally, after 3 or 4 times raising and lowering the top, I gave up. Of course, it was then beautiful and sunny for the rest of the day’s drive.

I stayed overnight near the Cleveland airport, got up and did the quick 2.5-hour drive to Pittsburgh and arrived around lunch. The Steelers and the Pirates’ stadiums (stadia?) are in one section of town, and once Josh arrived, we wandered over there for lunch.  We found Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 (not surprisingly it is near Heinz Field) and had a decent lunch.  The one weird/scary/funny thing about the place is that men’s room is separated from the bar area by a one-way mirror that starts about chest high and goes to the ceiling.  Yes, the mirror side is the side facing the bar, but still, it is somewhat weird to be in the bathroom and look out over the bar.PNC

We went to PNC Park, the Pirates’ stadium, around 6 p.m. to get ready for the Cubs v. Bucs.  We had pretty cool seats.  They were behind home plate, front row on the second deck, above the safety netting.  The game itself was kind of dull. The teams were pitching their fourth and fifth starters, so we weren’t expecting a pitching duel.  The Bucs jumped out to a three-run lead in the second and then held on to win 3-1 behind 7 strong innings from their pitcher, Joe Musgrove.  All in all, it was an unexciting game, but they did have great beer (Souther Tier 2X IPA on draft) and excellent fireworks afterwards.

De Luca'sSunday morning, we decided to go to Deluca’s Diner for brunch.  It is apparently a Pittsburgh tradition and I am pretty sure that the last time it was remodeled was during the Nixon Administration (maybe before that).  I valeted my car down the street and when the guy asked how long I would be; I replied, “Not sure, going to Deluca’s.”

He said, “No problem…figure 4-6 hours.” Eek!  We waited for only about 20 minutes, but the food was worth it. (What, no food porn? What kind of blog is this?)

We were done with brunch by noon and we both hit the road for home.  Josh had a 4 hour drive and mine was about 7.5.  The drive home was beautiful.  Sun was out almost the whole way and temperatures were in the mid-80s.  Perfect weather for driving with the top down.

We have hit the halfway point in the stadiums tour.

Going Solo

….around the world in a rowboat.  Ok, maybe not that far, but I am taking a solo weekend trip (I am so sad –as far as Steven knows) to Pittsburgh in a couple of weeks.  It is part of the baseball stadium tour that I am doing with my son and we’re meeting there for a Cubs v. Pirates game.

My plan is drive out there (about 7 1/2 hour drive) on Saturday morning; catch the game Saturday night, then turn around and drive home on Sunday.   I usually like to be in the city around lunch time, so it might be a very early departure.  The Saab needs a little bit of care before I go.  An oil change (we have done 6,500 miles or so since the last one in June) and I think the wheels need to be aligned as I feel a slight tug on them when traveling on the highways (of course never more than the speed limit–note the part about the New Mexico State Trooper).  I will probably take care of those this week.

I haven’t picked up tickets yet, but I will do that this week.  I want to avoid sitting near the visitors dugout because Cubs fans travel so well.  We made that mistake when we went to Miami earlier this year and saw the Cubs play the Marlins.  Everyone around us was from Chicago,  I will look for seats on the Pirates side of the stadium this time.  I am hoping we will see Jon Lester and Chris Archer pitch; we haven’t been to a real pitcher’s duel in a while.

Usually our plan is to find a nice place for lunch, get to the game early to see batting practice and the pre-game presentations and then hang out for the game.  Since we are both driving, I expect we will have a nice breakfast Sunday morning then hit the road.  If anyone has suggestions for lunch and breakfast places near the stadium, please let me know.