You're out, smokers: Pirates to enforce no-smoking policy everywhere at PNC Park
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The only smoking this year inside PNC Park will come via fastballs and hot bats.
Beginning Opening Day, smoking will be prohibited anywhere in the ballpark.
Brian Warecki, the Pirates' senior director of business communications, said Allegheny County's anti-smoking ordinance prompted the ban.
That means elimination of all designated smoking areas, and a complete smoking ban in all clubs inside PNC Park.
Smoking has been banned in the grandstands since the park opened, Mr. Warecki said, and that policy will continue.
He said past practice provided smokers one warning, then ejection from the ballpark if they refuse to quit smoking or are caught a second time. That will continue. "The ultimate reaction is that they will be asked to leave," he said of any smokers inside PNC Park.
The ban has put an end to the Montecristo Club, the cigar and martini bar in the park. That space has been transformed into Club 21, a smoke-free sports bar that will honor Roberto Clemente and feature arcade games and large-screen TVs.
The club will be open to all Pittsburgh Baseball Club, suite and Lexus Club ticket holders for the upcoming season. No club inside PNC Park will permit smoking, Mr. Warecki said.
Allegheny County passed a smoke-free ordinance last year that prohibits smoking inside any businesses or public buildings. The ordinance took effect Jan. 2, but an appeal prompted delay of its implementation inside bars and restaurants until May 1.
"I think some fans will be inconvenienced, but like everywhere else in the county, every business had to make necessary adjustments and that's why we did it," Mr. Warecki said.
He said the team will communicate the no-smoking policy to fans and hand out cards explaining the policy at entrances. Customer service staff has undergone training to make them aware of the new policy and how to implement it in the ballpark.
"Our staff is fully trained how to react to fans," Mr. Warecki said. "Some fans will like it and some won't."
At least seven other Major League Baseball parks ban smoking anywhere inside the ballpark. They are Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium, the Toronto Blue Jays' Rogers Centre, Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field, Cincinnati Reds' Great American Ballpark, San Diego Padres' Petco Park, and Boston Red Sox's Fenway Park.
Jacobs Field in Cleveland, home of the Indians, also will be smoke-free starting this season, the team said in December.
In 2006, smoking was allowed only in designated areas at Heinz Field for Steelers games.
Jay Roberts, general manager of Mellon Arena, said he is waiting for the new ordinance to take effect May 1 before any changes are made at Mellon Arena and its Igloo Club, a private club for members and premium seat holders, where smoking is permitted.
While smoking is banned inside the arena, smokers can go outdoors on the terrace to smoke before and during games.
"We're waiting to find out what the ordinance is before making any drastic changes," he said. "Once we get the word, we will react."
First Published March 20, 2007 12:00 am