c. David Grim (taken 6/26/11)
Even though I have little to no interest in baseball, my friends recently talked me into going to a Pirates game. I grew up with a father and brother that venerated sports, and I spent time collecting baseball cards and following the exploits of my favorite players. But after college I lost any interest in spectator sports that I had once had. Although I'm generally aware of updates to The Philadelphia Flyers (hockey), I find watching the stuff tiresome.
But my friends were going to PNC park with "Standing Room Only" tickets. This prospect appealed to me because I'd get the chance to walk around and explore the stadium with my camera. And the added benefit of this option was the price ($12 after fees). For awhile I tried to help claim the space in front of a rail in Section 130 with my physical presence, but I got bored and didn't really want to watch the game. I took a few action shots of the players and moved on in search of interesting ballpark food. Good luck with that.
There are lots of concessions throughout the stadium, but most of them offer conventional fare that you'd expect, and thus it's not very enticing. I selected one of the contenders for the "hometown sandwich"-- pulled pork on a roll with two boiled pierogies situated on top. There was some brown substance adhering to the top bun in the hands of the consumer in front of me, and I requested mine without the mystery sauce (I later found out it was a "mushroom marmalade", and discovered that I'm not nearly as adventurous as I believe myself to be).
I spent more than an hour wandering around snapping photos. The crowd was extremely homogenous- white, suburban, and wearing the trappings of athletic activity. When I got tired I sat out in an open air concrete section with picnic tables overlooking the river and the bike path that runs along the north bank of the Allegheny. The lax security guy (middle aged and slumped) was keeping an eye on me. I guess it's not so common to see a man sitting out there taking the sun alone.
My friends wanted to stay until the last pitch was thrown. I prayed to avoid extra innings (Ok... that's an exaggeration- I don't pray, I beseech the fates). And then it was over and things were as they should be. I was walking in the city with the anticipation of seeing my shots from the day, and enjoying being away from the madding crowds.