Fans Return To PNC Park For Pirates Home Opener

KDKA's Rich Walsh is at PNC Park with a preview of the Pirates home opener. It's the first time since 2019 that fans are getting to see the Pirates play in person.

Video Transcript

LINDSAY WARD: We're about an hour and a half away from the first pitch at PNC Park for the Pirates home opener. Sports reporter Rich Walsh is live for us at PNC Park with a game preview. And Rich, this is the first time since 2019 that fans are getting to see the Pirates play in person. And really, we need a win.

RICH WALSH: Yeah, this is the first time in a long time. The Pirates aren't off to the best of starts, one in five. But records really don't matter because it's opening day, and baseball is back, and fans are back for the first time since 2019. Actually, gates just opened here at noon for the 1:35 first pitch. Now, there will be about 7,500 fans here for today's game, which is about 25% capacity.

Concessions are open again. Ushers are back to work. The Pirates are following all safety protocols and had to make some adjustments to make this work, like all cashless payments are accepted. Now, according to team president Travis Williams, they are basically sold out for this weekend's series against the Cubs. And for Williams, he's happy to see some excitement and fans back at the ballpark again.

TRAVIS WILLIAMS: Long time coming, but we're-- we're extremely excited about being able to get fans back into PNC Park. I think it's a signal of many things, right? This is an opener unlike any other. This really signals that-- hopefully that we're coming out of the pandemic, getting back to a sense of normalcy, and really hoping that we can reconnect family and friends around the traditions of Pirates baseball during the summertime.

RICH WALSH: So some fans have made their way into the ballpark. We see a few here so far. But one thing I want to show you that you might not see on TV for today's game are these strings right here. They help control the social distancing and help people figure out where they are going to sit for today's game because there's only 7,500 fans. So this will block off some seats so people know where to sit.

And speaking of social distancing requirements, that's why the Pirates are at 25% capacity right now. And they're hoping to get to 50% capacity soon, but Williams told me the governor has to lift the social distance 6 feet requirements. And he's hoping that happens by the end of this month. Reporting live from PNC Park, Rich Walsh, KDKA News.