Fans linger around the statue of Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski outside PNC Park. The statue immortalizes Mazeroski’s 1960 home run to win the World Series. (Keith Srakocic/AP)

My baseball fanatic friends and I always close the bar at the Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club after Pirates games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. We linger for as long as they let us, enjoying the great view of the field and reduced postgame drinks prices. We’re usually the last ones out the door before they turn off the lights. It’s just one of many reasons why we love coming to PNC Park and hate leaving.

If you go to Pittsburgh

Talk to any traveling baseball fan or ballpark aficionado about PNC Park, and they’ll speak in reverent tones about the panoramic view of the Pittsburgh skyline beyond the outfield wall. In its 14-year existence, the visually stunning chiseled-limestone ballpark has become one of professional baseball’s most highly regarded cathedrals, sitting at the center of a historic sports mecca.

Whenever I visit Pittsburgh, I feel jealous that I’m not a native fan of the city’s sports teams. Some of the most dramatic and memorable moments in professional sports history have taken place in Pittsburgh: Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off home run in the seventh game of the 1960 World Series; Roberto Clemente’s outstanding performance in the 1971 series and his 3,000th and final hit the next year, just three months before he died in a plane crash while flying relief supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Clemente passed the torch as team leader to Willie “Pops” Stargell, who led the Pirates to their next World Series victory in 1979.

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