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Coming to You From PNC Park

Fixing the Pittsburgh Pirates

From the desk of Zachary M. Weiss

August 26, 2011

Dear Pittsburgh Pirates Organization,

I write to you today to make a very simple request, please fix the PNC Park experience for those of us who have been faithful to you. You brag about being the 'best ballpark in America' but in order to achieve this status you need to treat those fans that have been loyal for all of these years with some more respect; the season ticket holders.

There is a reason why us season ticket holders pay for our tickets, some of which are quite expensive and that is to watch the team, however, we also love meeting the players and getting to know them. Every weekday, the gates open at precisely 5 O'Clock and this is a problem. By the time us season ticket holders get into left field to watch the team hit, they are off the field. We are lucky to even see our team hit for three minutes, and it is a true shame.

It is my belief that opening the gates at 4:30 on weekday and Saturday games is very reasonable. It would allow for season ticket holders to experience an almost entire batting practice. This allows for us season ticket holders to enjoy a more complete experience each game. By allowing people such as myself see our players, whom children consider heroes, get some signatures or even try to catch a baseball or two, we would be very grateful. Us season ticket holders are a family, and these 81 home games are all we have together because of various things going on in our lives.

Another issue are the ushers that come in early. Many of them come into left field and pocket the baseballs. First and foremost, Major League Baseball prohibits ushers from collecting baseballs. Secondly, it would be nice to see us season ticket holders get at least some of them. I mean, I can understand the occasional baseball being picked up for the intention of giving it to a child, but there is a fine line. It also looks even worse when you are trying to go for a baseball, and ushers are running for the ball and stealing it as you clearly see them doing it. For many, it is a thrill to get a baseball, and my thrill in getting each baseball is raising money for The Children's Institute, a great organization that does a lot of great things for some amazing children.

Each baseball they pocket is a potential $4.50 out the window and also excludes children. Also something to consider is that some season ticket holders support my initiative by pledging money towards my cause. Just think about it, ushers may have one baseball to give to a child, but that excludes the thousands of other kids that come to each game. Let's keep it fair for everyone and make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

One final issue I have that is worth mentioning, is something that was brought up by a staffer that us season ticket holders run into on a semi-regular to regular basis. To get in to early batting practice, a season ticket holder must present their season ticket holder ID card or ticket; however this is where the problem arises.

Many season ticket holders cannot make it to certain games, and thus place their tickets to ticket re-sellers such as Stubhub. Out of town people, fans of opposing teams and others then acquire these tickets and then pass the scanner to get season ticket holder BP time. It is my belief that in order to get in early for this time, that you must present your season ticket ID in order to get into left field. In the end, we all want the Pirates to succeed; we are all season ticket holders and furthermore fans of the team. We all just want our experiences to be more enjoyable each game and to make new memories that we can tell our co-workers, friends and families about. The more word spreads, the more excitement will build over the Pirates and even more business for the team. Think about it, the choice is yours.

Sincerely,

Zachary M. Weiss

Erik Jabs

Nick Pelescak

Ian Weir

And the rest of the Pittsburgh Pirates season ticket holder family

Zac Weiss is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.

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