Douglas Battista grew up as a fan of his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since his teen years, Battista has attended opening day every year with his father. The Pirates were formerly known as the Pittsburgh Alleghenys. The team acquired their current moniker after being accused of piratical actions when they picked up Lou Bierbauer from the Philadelphia Athletics in what many considered a rather shady transaction. Douglas Battista says despite this and the fact that the Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992, he remains a loyal fan. Growing up, one of his fondest memories was attending the games in the inexpensive seats at Three Rivers Stadium.
Along with his father, Douglas Battista devotedly watched the Pirates during their strong run of the late 80s and early 1990s. This time, also known as the Leyland Era since they were managed by Jim Leyland starting in 1986, saw the Pirates advanced to three consecutive playoffs with major names like Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla leading the way, recalls Douglas Battista. There were down times during this era too, admits Douglas Battista, as multiple players were injured during the 1989 season. And after a few decent years, things took a terrible turn for Douglas Battista’s beloved team. After a heartbreaking loss in game seven on the 1992 playoff series, the Pittsburgh Pirates set a course for what is today a nearly 20 year-long losing streak, says Douglas Battista.
Douglas Battista remembers that in 2001, the Pirates opened their season in an extraordinary new baseball park on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. PNC Park is often touted as the most well planned design in stadium history, notes Douglas Battista, because of its simplistic design and ingenious positioning, which showcases Pittsburgh’s downtown skyline. The park, which has a capacity of 38,362 baseball fans, cost $216 million and was built over the course of two years, says Douglas Battista. PNC Park is the fifth home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Douglas Battista hasn’t missed an opening day with his father since he was a teenager, and has no plans to break the streak anytime soon. He has proven his devotion to this family tradition time and again despite moving to Connecticut, Texas, and now California. According to Douglas Battista, regardless of the team’s performance, they have always offered something more valuable than even watching them win the World Series. They have given Douglas Battista and his father a time to bond and a time to connect, and have given the Battista men memories that will last a lifetime.