Pirates Community Night a family event

STEUBENVILLE – Jim Emmerling remembers as a child enjoying family outings to Pittsburgh Pirates games and, as a father, bringing his own family to the games, and he hopes many families will join him for the upcoming Steubenville/Weirton Community Night with the Pirates hosted by the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times on July 13.

Emmerling is president and founder of Em-Media, one of several business sponsors for the annual event, which includes limited bus transportation to PNC Park, a Roberto Clemente jersey, fireworks, prizes and great seats for the game between the Pirates and the New York Mets.

He said Em-Media, Trinity Health System and the Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley have been sponsors since the event began.

“It’s just a way to give back to the community, to make attending a Pirates game more affordable to families and other baseball fans,” Emmerling said.

Other sponsors include Iron City Distributing, Choice Brands of Ohio and Wine and Beverage Merchants of West Virginia, Hancock County Savings Bank and the Fort Steuben Mall, according to Cindy Kotsch, director of marketing and special events of the newspapers.

The game begins at 7:05 p.m., and buses will leave the Herald-Star parking lot at 401 Herald Square, Steubenville, at about 4:30 p.m., according to Kotsch. Six buses will transport those who have purchased a ticket that includes transportation, but people are welcome to drive themselves, she added.

Emmerling can often be found at the community night, as well as many other Pirates games, with Dave Mathieu, vice president of marketing for the Health Plan, and Keith Murdock, director of communications and development for Trinity.

He joked that the three “have been Pirates fans since birth” and have attended games at home and away, including as far as San Francisco.

With tongue in cheek, Emmerling said Murdock has stayed away a little more in recent years, concerned that his attendance brought “bad karma” to the Pirates, but is thinking of returning now that his favorite team is seeing brighter days.

“But, I’m not sure if I will let him because I don’t want him to ruin my good karma,” he joked.

On a more serious note, Emmerling said area families and baseball fans should take advantage of the opportunity to attend community night.

“It’s a great ball park and a really nice evening,” he said.

Patrons for the event will be seated in the all-you-can-eat section of the stadium, according to Kotsch. Food at the park includes hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, soda drinks, peanuts, pretzels, popcorn, ice cream sandwiches and more, she added. The evening will include fireworks, prizes between innings including autographed items and Pirates promotional materials and the opportunity for lucky patrons to get the chance to change bases between innings, added Kotsch.

Ticket prices are $65 for those who elect to take a bus, while those who drive themselves will pay $55, said Kotsch. All tickets can be charged by phone or are available at the newspaper offices. To purchase tickets, call (740) 283-4711 and ask for Diana Brown, said Kotsch.

For information, call (740) 283-4711 or go online to www.heraldstaronline.com.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)