David Finer, 36, lives a three-hour drive from Boston and describes himself as a “die-hard, fourth-generation Red Sox fan.” And, even though his wife Bryna is a Pitt grad from Squirrel Hill, Finer admits the only thing he knows about the Pirates are the names Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker.
So, the last thing Finer expected to find in his e-mail inbox this week was a thank-you note from the Pirates. Yet, there is was — a message thanking him for buying tickets to the June 24-26 BoSox-Bucs interleague series at PNC Park. Included was an offer for a 50 percent discount on tickets to any Pirates home game between April 9 and May 25.
“I was stunned,” Finer told me by phone from his snowed-in home in Bennington, Vt. “I’m so used to the … well, the ego of the Red Sox. They know they’ll fill (Fenway Park), no matter what kind of product they put on the field.”
Finer realizes why the Pirates made the offer — “I know they’re not drawing well,” he said. “No offense, but I consider PNC Park a major league park for a minor league team.” — but he still was pleasantly surprised that a big league franchise would use such a personal touch.
Finer has seen games at more than 20 MLB stadiums. He’s already has been to PNC Park a couple of times, and said it’s one of his favorite venues. “If people in Boston knew how cheap and easy it is to get to Pittsburgh to see a game, more would come,” he said. “And they wouldn’t come just to see the Red Sox. They’d come to see PNC Park and any baseball game.”
I rang Pirates marketing director Lou DiPaoli to ask if the thank-you program is something new the team is doing, but so far he has not returned my call. Attendance and marketing are two areas the Pirates don’t like to discuss with the media, even when it’s good news.
Will Finer use his discount? “I’m not sure how many times we’ll be going to Pittsburgh this summer,” he said. “Nothing against the Pirates. Let’s say it’s a definite maybe.”
Finer’s wife is expecting their first child in early June, and he plans to bring his whole family to PNC Park for the interleague series. “My son’s first Red Sox game will be in Pittsburgh,” Finer said. “That’s pretty cool.”