By Jim Sankey
ALTHOUGH IT it surprisingly hasn’t been publicized much, the Pittsburgh Pirates are now selling individual game tickets for the 2013 season.
While the “official” date for the public sale date is “Black Friday”—November 23 starting at 10 a.m., the team is already in the midst of special pre-sale dates.
Those fans who are full- or half-season ticket holders were able to buy tickets starting Monday; those with 20- or 10-game plans could buy tickets yesterday, while those who are registered users on pirates.com or social media followers can order today. Fans without ticket plans may visit pirates.com and sign up as a registered user for e-mail alerts and discounts to be able to purchase tickets today, before they go on sale to the general public.
Just go to pirates.com, select the tickets tab, provide the info to receive the E-Bucs Newsletter, and click to register.
Fans may also follow the Pirates' social media via Twitter (@Pirates) and Facebook (facebook.com/PittsburghPirates) to qualify for the early sale.
Those who do not fall into any of the above methods may buy tickets starting at 10 .m. Friday in four ways: going on-line at pirates.com/tickets, calling 877-893-2827 to use a credit card, stopping at PNC Park’s box office, or visiting Pirates ticket kiosks at South Hills Village or Ross Park Mall.
A press release touts Pirates individual game tickets as “an incredible family value.” The release says that a family of four can sit in the upper grandstand between the bases for $50 for one of 14 premium games ($15 per adult ticket, $10 per kid ticket). Premium games are all Saturdays and opening day.
The same seats for any one of 67 regular games is $38 ($12 for each adult ticket, $7 for each kid ticket).
What they don’t tell you is that those same seats this past season cost $32 dollars, which translates into a 19 percent increase for the regular games and a 56 percent hike for premium games.
And if you’re buying single tickets, you’ll pay 20 percent more than last year ($12 instead of $10) for non-Saturday and non-opening day games and 50 percent more than last year ($15 instead of $10) for the home opener and all Saturday games.
Not as “incredible” as it seems, no?
Still, Pirates tickets are a good deal when compared with other sporting events. For example, full-season ticket plans start at $449 ($5.54 a game). Even some high school and college games can cost more than that.
Fans also now can purchase tickets for PirateFest from noon-7 p.m. on Saturday, December 15 and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday, December 16. A season ticket-only Fest will be on December 14. The events are at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
ä JUAN THAT GOT AWAY: Going into 2012, the Pirates had to feel good about their supposed outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Jose Tabata, and Alex Presley. But when Tabata proved to be a complete bust and Presley unable to come close to his 2011 performance, the Bucs tried Nate McLouth, Drew Sutton, Gorkys Hernandez, and Travis Snyder. Only mid-season call-up Starling Marte is a sure bet to join Cutch in the 2013 Pirates outfield.
Lacking a leadoff hitter with base-stealing ability last year, the Bucs missed an opportunity to sign a possible solution or at least a better bench player than we’ve had recently, when outfielder Juan Pierre signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Marlins.
The 35-year-old hit .307 with 37 stolen bases in 130 games with the 2012 Phillies. In his 13 big league seasons, Pierre is a career .297 hitter who has 2,141 hits and 591 stolen bases.
Generally regarded as one of the hardest workers in the game and known as a quiet leader, he certainly would have looked good in black and gold this year. After the Bucs spent $15.4 million last winter to sign free agents Rod Barajas, Clint Barmes, Erik Bedard, and McLouth, Pierre would have been a bargain.
Jim Sankey is a baseball columnist for Allied News.