No. 54: Pittsburgh Pirates

Ultimate Standings 2012

Updated: September 6, 2012, 5:53 PM ET
By Doug Mittler | ESPN The Magazine

Last year's rank: 70
Title track: 109
Ownership: 116
Coaching: 71
Players: 90
Fan relations: 89
Affordability: 18
Stadium experience: 3
Bang for the buck: 4

Decades ago, U. of Oklahoma president George Lynn Cross quipped that he wanted "to build a University of which the football team could be proud." You might apply that same principle to Pittsburgh Pirates fans, who finally have a team worthy of their home digs. This is the 12th season at PNC Park, and it's hasn't lost any of its luster. The Pirates rank third in stadium experience, the fourth time in six years they have ranked in the top 10. The stadium that already offers a fantastic view of the Pittsburgh skyline added the Budweiser Bowtie Bar in the right field area as well as 90 feet of drink rail space off of left field and the bleachers. Available space along the rail is tougher to find -- average attendance is more than 26,000 a game, the highest since PNC's first season, and for good reason. The 2012 Pirates are on pace to end a North American professional sports record of 19 straight losing seasons and could make their first postseason appearance since Barry Bonds roamed left field. The Pirates' $16.11 average ticket price is the third lowest in the majors (18th in affordability). Combine that with an exciting product that features MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen and you get a 14-point jump in bang for the buck, the best bang of any MLB team. That's a real source of Steel City Pride.

Doug Mittler

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