Summer is here, as we enter into the month of July. Independence day is coming up, people are firing up their grills, and baseball season is in full swing. Not only is baseball season entering its busiest and most enjoyable days, but the Pirates are playing out of their minds this season, and are the best team in baseball. Good teams tend to draw bigger crowds, and this is true of Pittsburgh as well. Over the last seven home games, the Pirates have had at least 30,000 fans in attendance per game. That attendance number is great, but it’s sure to include some folks who haven’t been to the park in a while, and this guide is to help them with the basics of ballpark etiquette, including some things specific to PNC Park.
Rule number one: Thou shalt not do the wave. I sent out a tweet earlier asking for suggestions for things to place in this guide, and no wave was number one. The wave is the only thing at a Pirates game that I hate to see more than I hate to see them lose. Seriously, it’s that awful. It’s not fun, it gets in people’s way of getting a proper view of the game, and it always seems to start at the most inopportune times.
Rule number two: When doing the “Zoltan” hand sign, the left hand goes on top. If you place your right hand on top, do you know what the person across from you sees? That’s right, an S. What that S stands for is for you to determine on a case by case basis.
Rule number three: Thou shalt not get up from or return to thy seats during an action sequence in the game. This is quite simple. If you waited ten minutes in line to get a Primanti’s sandwich, you can wait another two or three until a pause in the action happens so you can return to your seat. Other attendees who came to watch the game paid money to watch the Pirates play, not you awkwardly shuffle down a row of seats, food in hand, unfortunately you are NOT transparent
Rule number four: Thou shalt not woo. This is baseball, not WWE wrestling, and there need not be any Ric Flair style “wooing” during the game. Deadspin has a good writeup on the origin of “the woo” at PNC Park which you can view here.Â Please refrain from making unnecessary woo noises, even if you’re doing it ironically. Nobody likes a hipster at a baseball game.
Rule number five: Thou shalt not bring thy vuvuzela into the stadium, for any reason. This one should be pretty clear, this is baseball, not soccer. Soccer has its place, and international matches are tons of fun to watch, but ask yourself this question: does the world really need more vuvuzela noises? The answer is always no.
Rule number six: Thou shalt cheer exceedingly loudly when Pirates players are introduced, and boo lustily when visiting opponents are introduced. When appropriate (i.e. not during the national anthem, seventh inning stretch, first pitch), a chant of “Let’s go Bucs” is always a sure bet. Remember the girl at the Jerry Meals game screaming “Let’s go Pirates” so loudly the whole stadium could hear it?
Rule number seven: Thou shalt do whatever it takes to disrupt an opposing player trying to catch a ball that is out of play, whether it be a foul pop-up, or a home run that an opponent is attempting to rob. If you are in the first few rows, and don’t interfere with the player coming into the stands, you are the Bizzarro World version of Steve Bartman, and deserve any public shaming you receive. If you do receive public shaming, own up to it, like this guy.
Rule number eight: Thou shalt only come to the game in appropriate attire. This means no Steelers or Penguins gear, no gear for other MLB teams that are uninvolved in the game, etc. Avoid St. Patrick’s day sports apparel at all costs. If you are an away fan, feel free to wear your team’s colors, but do so classily. No showing up with a Joe Mauer chest and back hair jersey(click the link at your own risk, you have been warned).
Rule number nine: Thou shalt not wave around or hold anything that obstructs the view of your fellow attendees. This one is almost a sub-rule of number three, but it’s important enough for its own slot. There is nothing worse than somebody holding up a “clever” sign to get noticed on TV and blocking your view. As for Jolly Roger waving, it’s a good thing, but only after a game, or when it’s not distracting someone else from the game.
Rule number ten: Thou shalt root for thy Buccos with all of your might. This is a genuinely good Pirates team, with tons of depth, and a lot of great personalities. The least you can do is pull for them just like you do the Penguins and Steelers.
It’s been a long time since the Pirates have been anywhere near this good, so if you want to come aboard the ship and root for the team, that’s great. Just be sure to follow these simple rules to have a great time during your next trip to PNC Park, and you’ll have a great time, while simultaneously enhancing the experience of other Pirates fans.