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For Sports Fans
All diaries going forward will be organized alphabetically by neighborhood, so that you can more easily cross-reference food/culture/outdoors, etc... when you are planning an activity.

Today’s diary will be fairly straightforward as I’m going to focus on the city’s professional sports teams and a couple related sites.  If anyone is interested in playing sports, I’ll be covering area parks under the diary “Outdoor Activities.”  If you need a gym, you can check the YMCA.  

Intro

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Downtown
Downtown Pittsburgh, where the convention center and likely your hotels are located, is home to all three of the city's stadiums/arenas.  The excursion I described in Part Three will take you past both PNC Park and Heinz Field.  But Mellon Arena is not that far off from the convention center itself.

Heinz Field: This is the stadium for the six-time Superbowl champs, the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It is also where the Pittsburgh Panthers (of the University of Pittsburgh) play.  There is still a piece of the wall of the old field, Three Rivers Stadium, standing across the street from the new field.  You can reach it via the riverwalk.

As it turns out, the Steelers have a preseason game against the Cardinals at 8pm on Thursday, August 13th.  I’ve no idea if tickets are still available or what they might cost, but if anyone is eager to see a game, there’s one happening.

PNC Park: PNC Park is home to the Pittsburgh Pirates MLB team.  It’s a thing of beauty, really – or at least the view of the city from inside is.  Unfortunately, the Pirates are playing away games the entire week of the conference.  If you happen to be arriving early or staying late, they do have home games on August 8th-9th & August 17th – 19th.  Even if you don’t get to go inside, definitely walk past.

PNC Park at Night
PNC Park at Night

Mellon Arena: This is where the Stanley Cup Champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins play.  It’s a big dome, not much to see really.  And unfortunately, you’ll be a little early for hockey.  But it is scheduled for demolition in 2010 as a new arena, the Consol Energy Center, is being built right down the street. So you might at least swing by to pay your respects.

Oakland

Forbes Field: Forbes Field is long gone, but one of its outfield walls remains on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh.  This field has had quite a history. For example:

Roberto Clemente's first hit and Babe Ruth's parting shot occurred within the confines of the most spacious ballpark any major league baseball team called home.
Read the linked article for more sports history milestones that Forbes Field can claim for its own, and then swing by for a visit or photo op.

Outside of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp (in Latrobe): Thanks to DKos member 4httr for pointing this out in the comments of a previous diary.

The Summer home of the Pittsburgh Steelers is St. Vincent College in Latrobe Pa.which is about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh. Training camp will be underway and watching practice is free. The beauty of the Laurel Highlands of Westmoreland county is a bonus as well.
Strip District
Western PA Sports Museum: Tons of great interactive exhibits covering well known and lesser known teams and competitors.  Check out the website and if you like what you see, check out the museum as well.  It’s housed in the Heinz History Center, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian.  So if some in your entourage aren’t sports-inclined, there are plenty of other exhibits to see there (and also shopping just down the street in the heart of the Strip District).

General Resources
This isn’t a sports related link, but this WQED site has a lot of great info on Pittsburgh, including walking tours of some of the neighborhoods and articles about the city’s history.  It’s worthwhile for casual browsing or for research.

Past and Future Diaries (Posted Mondays and Wednesdays)

Part 1: Introduction  
Part 2A: Pgh History through 1800
Part 2B: (Soon) Pgh History 1800 through 1900
Part 2C: (Soon) Pgh History 1900 through the Present Day
Part 3: If You Do Nothing Else, Do This ...  
Part 4: Cool Things Close to Pittsburgh    
Part 5: ---Today’s Diary---
Part 6: (Wed 7/29) Museums & Cultural Activities
Part 7: For the Kids
Part 8: Culinary Delights
Part 9: Outdoor Activities
Part 10: (Optional) Anything forgotten or that doesn’t fit above

Pittsburgh Point of Interest #5:
Pittsburgh has some pretty steep hills, one of which may even be the steepest in the world.  Daunting for some, this inspires others such as the cyclists in the annual Dirty Dozen race who tackle 13 of Pittsburgh’s steepest hills; or Kurt Angle, the Olympic gold medalist wrestler, who sprinted up them while carrying a friend on his back as part of his training regimen.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to jdn74 on Mon Jul 27, 2009 at 03:57 AM PDT.

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