By Mark Powell
The Pittsburgh Pirates success has brought baseball fever back to the Steel City, bringing fans to bars and restaurants all over the Northside to watch their beloved Buccos.
The last 20 years have been miserable for Pirate fans across the city. The team hasn’t had a winning record since the 1992 season, which ended in a playoff defeat.
Even as the city commissioned a new ballpark in 2001, Northside restaurants and bars weren’t benefiting from the Pirates this late in the season. The last few years have brought early season hope to local residents, but only to fall in a late season collapse.
This year the Pirates got off to another fast start. Fans seemingly waited for their collapse late this season, but it never came.
The Pirates cinched their playoff spot September 23, and brought an end to the negativity that has surrounded the team for more than two decades.
Local restaurants and bars in the Northside have seen a benefit in the Pirates’ successful season.
“We’ve had customers come in and ask to put the game on,” said Modern Café owner Irene Zotis. “And we’re not even that close to the stadium.”
The chains near the ballpark will always benefit from Pirates’ sellouts. Modern Café is an original establishment and is located almost a mile from PNC Park on the Northside. It is still a popular spot for locals to catch their favorite teams on the Northside.
The Pirates’ winning ways have brought Yinzers out to the ballpark in record numbers. The Pirates surpassed their season attendance record with 2,256,862 people flocking to PNC Park. Increased attendance numbers have had a big impact on beer distributors such as Penn Brewery.
“It’s done great for our beer sales at PNC Park, as well as helped our beer sales at restaurants around the park that serve our beer,” said Penn Brewery CEO Sandy Cindrich.
Penn Brewery is a Pittsburgh company located in Troy Hill. Their beer is distributed in and around PNC Park.
A potential deep playoff run should also help restaurants in the area. Playoff games are almost always sellouts, and those that can’t get tickets will try to be as close to the action as they can.
The Pirates won the Wild Card play-in game against Cincinnati on October 1 in Pittsburgh. They will now play St. Louis in a best-of-five series.