Highlighting the changes at PNC Park this season is the new playing surface. The entire field was torn up last fall in order to install new grass, new infield dirt and a new warning track, which will be a crushed lava rock surface. New benches have been installed in the dugouts, and the pitching mound has been replaced.
While the players will benefit from the on-field changes, fans will enjoy additional services and amenities on game days. The popularity of the All-You-Can-Eat section prompted the Pirates to continue to offer the $35-40 seats and expand the section into other areas. On a related culinary note, a number of new food items will be available on all levels this year. Gluten-free food will also be sold at the ballpark.
The Riverwalk outside of PNC Park is now home to a rebuilt portion of the old Forbes Field outfield wall. This portion of the wall, over which Bill Mazeroski's storied home run landed in 1960, had been housed at Three Rivers Stadium's Allegheny Club previously.
Other fan-friendly additions for the '09 season include: free wireless Internet access in all 65 of PNC Park's suites, a service center for season-ticket holders, canopies over the Trib Total Media Hall of Fame Club in center field, and fresh coats of paint in various areas in the park.
The Pirates also used Monday's open house to continue to market their value ticket plans and promotions. Fridays will again be Dollar Dog nights at the park, and the Pirates have scheduled April 15 to be "Buc Night," where select tickets and food items will all be sold for $1.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.