Pirates Fans Return To PNC Park For First Time In Over A Year

The streets on the North Shore were full, at least when it comes to COVID standards; KDKA's Nicole Ford reports.

Video Transcript

- It's time to play ball on the North Shore. The first home game for the Pittsburgh Pirates went off successfully, at least from the fans side of things. Nicole Ford's live with reaction from the thousands of Pittsburghers who got to see a live sports game at PNC Park for the first time in more than a year. Nicole?

NICOLE FORD: Yeah, Kristin. The game just wrapping up. Those fans now filing out of PNC Park heading back to their cars. We can tell you earlier on those parking lots, packed lines at the gate as people were getting ready to head back inside PNC Park for the first time since 2019. And this is just the beginning. The streets are full.

- Let's go Bucs!

NICOLE FORD: At least, when it comes to COVID standards.

CHRISTINA MAYE: I work in the medical profession. So I come home, and some bad nights, sometimes, and you can't do nothing to relax. And you're just always tight-wound.

NICOLE FORD: Christina Maye is one of the many Pirates fans lining Federal Street continuing on a tradition of attending each and every home opener. She's ecstatic for a break from reality.

CHRISTINA MAYE: Just to be in the seats again. Left field loonies, that's where we are. So just to sit out there and them bleachers and enjoy the game.

NICOLE FORD: While tickets are hard to come by, only 8,000 allowed inside, some fans didn't care and came to the North Shore anyway to cheer on the team.

- It does beat work. That's for sure. So, yeah, I just got to keep it going. Got to keep the tradition alive. Go Bucs!

NICOLE FORD: This is the first time since 2019 where fans have passed through the gates of PNC Park. While many are in high spirits, Tim Hopey is here for a reason.

TIM HOPEY: My brother and I have been coming to-- I think we did 16 straight home openers. We came here. I think the park opened in 2000. We started coming to home openers in 2003. He passed away two years ago, and I am here in his honor.

NICOLE FORD: He tells me not being able to come for his brother last year was heartbreaking. But nothing was stopping him from stepping foot inside the ballpark on this Thursday.

TIM HOPEY: This is my brother's shirt. He's right here with me.

NICOLE FORD: If you really think about it, without fans here last year, there was a lot less foot traffic here on the North Shore, those businesses around here really taking a hit. All new at 6:00, we sit down with one of those restaurant workers on how she's hoping baseball will be the comeback story. Reporting live outside PNC Park, Nicole Ford "KDKA News."