The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a winning season, their fans were high-fiving to the top three singles of the year, which were by, in order: Boyz II Men, Sir Mix-A-lot and Kris Kross. That was 1992. Nineteen years and more than 1,650 losses later, it seems they've come to the end of the road for 100-loss seasons.
One silver lining for Pirates fans, though, is PNC Park, which opened 10 years ago on the shores of the Allegheny River and is regarded as one of the most beautiful ballparks, with the yellow Roberto Clemente Bridge rising behind the outfield. The park is also one of the most affordable in baseball, with a Fan Cost Index of $127.71 -- the third-lowest in the league.
The average regular ticket price of $15.30 to start the season beat out every other team.
In a vacuum, attendance would not be an issue at a great ballpark in a big sports town. Alas, the Pirates ranked 27th in the majors in attendance last year, more than 10,000 per game below the league average.
There is more optimism than in recent seasons with the progression of the Pirates as a team, but PNC is a good major league deal regardless of records, with some of the lowest average prices for hot dogs ($2.75), soda ($2.75) and beer ($5). And speaking of records, the Pirates own one with the most consecutive losing seasons, which reached 18 last year.