PNC Park a big league bargain

PNC Park a big league bargain

PITTSBURGH -- Paul Sharkey, his wife Renea and 6-year-old son Robert know how to attend a Major League Baseball game in a fun, yet cost effective way.

The Sharkey family said goodbye to high gas prices and caught a 20-minute bus ride from their home in Brighton Heights, Pa., to PNC Park on the North Shores of Pittsburgh.

At the ticket window, Sharkey eyed general admission seats in the left-field bleachers, where tickets begin at $9. They go up as far as $14 for bleacher reserved tickets that are a few rows behind the left-field wall.

"Not bad seats," Sharkey said as he watched Pirates left fielder Jason Bay trot along the foul line. "You get good sun rays [and] hope to get a home run ball."

Sharkey, a Pirates follower for 35 years, is among thousands of Pittsburgh fans who enjoy some of the cheapest tickets in the big leagues.

In March, Major League Baseball's Team Marketing Report said the Pirates have the third cheapest tickets with an average of $17.07. Only the Diamondbacks ($15.96) and Braves ($17.05) have a lower average.

Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay ($17.23) were the only teams with no increase in their average in 2008, according to the report.

If fans drive to a Pirates game, the sixth-street parking garage on Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, across the Allegheny River, costs only $5 -- as opposed to $10 to $20 lots around the stadium. From there, fans should travel across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and take in the beautiful scenery of Three Rivers Point.

Along with the bleacher seat tickets, there are several fan-friendly deals the Pirates offer.

The 2008 season marked the first time the Pirates offered "All You Can Eat" seats. Ticket price is $35 per seat and are placed in the outfield reserved section in right field. This allows fans to get all the hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts, salads, ice cream and soda they can eat and drink.

Every Tuesday night game is Giant Eagle Advantage night, where fans present their Giant Eagle Advantage Card at PNC Park ticket windows to receive $4 off any reserved seat for that night's game, based on availability.

PNC Bank Check Card nights allow fans to present their PNC Bank check card at the ticket windows and receive half off outfield box seats, regularly $20 for $10 each or grandstand seats, regularly $16 for $8 each, based on availability.

The Bucaroos Kids Club allows children to receive several benefits in addition to those on Kids Days for just $15 for the entire year. Kids receive a t-shirt, two free vouchers to any Sunday through Thursday Pirates home game, pre-game autograph sessions with the players, and more.

This option allows Bucaroos Kids Club Kids to get $1 hot dogs, french fries, chicken nuggets, candy and more at the Bucaroos concession stand during every home game.

And then there are College Cove Nights. Show a colled I.D., pay $20, and you get a ticket, a T-shirt and food and drink credits.

Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.