AmeriCorps Day at the Park

Kim Garafola

Months in advance, AmeriCorps members decided they wanted to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates in action.  As the day approached, July 3rd, the weather looked like any other typical Pittsburgh day, rain.  Fortunately there was a small storm in the afternoon and the weather passed.

Tickets had been handed out the previous month, so I made sure that I had mine at the ready, grabbed a fellow corps member and jumped in my car.  Since parking tends to cost anywhere from $5-$10, I decided to ask other members where to park for free.  Luckily, one of our members had a special spot for us, and we were able to walk to the stadium free of charge.

Although I had already been to a few games this summer, and many over the past few years, it was my fellow corps member’s first Buccos game.  We got to our seats about 45 minutes early and the AmeriCorps section seemed to be nearly empty, along with the rest of the stadium.

The section (107), an area I would normally sit in, was in foul ball territory, or if you’ve been to a game, Toss a Hotdog or T-Shirt territory.  I was definitely hoping one would be tossed our way.  It was also under the overhang, so in the case of rain we would remain dry.

As game time approached the section filled up, making the cool night air become sticky and with it, game time chatter.  AmeriCorps members from all over Pittsburgh were in attendance.  Anyone who has other AmeriCorps members at their service site or happens to know someone from a different corps had the chance to see their friends.  It was a chance to meet new people, while having “a ball” at the game.

Half way through the game, I realized I hadn’t eaten dinner and didn’t want to see what ballpark prices were.  I convinced a fellow member to get a Primanti’s sandwich with me, since I had been carving one anyway.  We would be able to split the costs and fight off the hunger.  We split a Pitts-Burgher Cheese Steak.  This had been everything I was looking for!  French-fries on top of my cheese steak with coleslaw thrown on top of that, delicious.

We went back to our seats, and after the Pirates had hit a few homeruns (Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones) the Buccos were in the lead.  Members began to leave as the night drew on and the win looked secure.  But at the top of the 9th, the Astros tied the game 7-7.  I was already tired and didn’t want to stay at the park for extra innings.  I could only hope for a miracle from the Pirates to let me go to bed at a decent hour.

At the bottom of the 9th, Drew Sutton, the new guy on the team, hit a home-run to center field.  A walk off home run to win!  A fellow corps member told me at the end of the game that it was fun and he would definitely come back to PNC Park.   Raise the Jolly Roger!

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