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Pirates & Fans Excited For Opening Day

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Pirates are scheduled to play their 2017 home opener at PNC Park this afternoon.

Despite some Friday morning precipitation, Pirates President Frank Coonelly said fans will hear the words "Play Ball" today.

"I'm confident we're going to play baseball today. This is the sign that spring is here, it may not look it right now, but I'm confident we're going to play ball," Coonelly said.

Coonelly said the team has been monitoring the forecast for days because they know how important this day is to fans.

"The home opener is a big deal. People are coming to PNC Park from all over our region. There are many groups that are coming here with bus trips coming, very difficult to try to reschedule that. So, we wanted to get this game in if it could be done safely for our fans and for our players," Coonelly said. "It's going to be cool, but we're Pittsburghers. We can handle this."

As for some of the new things at PNC Park this season, Coonelly said the new out-of-town scoreboard will allow the Pirates to enhance the in-game entertainment.

"During the play of the game, it will look like the old school out-of-town scoreboard that we're used to seeing at PNC Park. Between innings and during replays, we can show replays on the board for fans who can't see replays on the main board and we can also have in-game features shown on that big, beautiful board in right field," Coonelly said.

There will also be a bunch of new food items at PNC Park this season. For example, the Rivertowne HOF Club's new items include the Ultimate Vegan Burger and the One Spicy Burger.

There are also tons of desert items in the suite level where 34 suites have been completely remodeled, and there are plenty more choices throughout the park.

"Give the folks the opportunity to grab some neat new salads, some neat new sandwiches, and give us the ability to change them from homestand-to-homestand," said Steve Musciano, of Aramark Corporation.

Coonelly is looking forward to trying out as many of the new food items as he can on Opening Day.

"I'm looking forward to trying it all today. I've done some tastings, but I want to make sure I do it on Opening Day," Coonelly said.

As for the team on the field, they are still waiting for updates on the status of infielder Jung Ho Kang.

"No new developments, unfortunately. [We're still] working with his representatives to try to submit the appropriate materials to get him a work visa to return to the United States," Coonelly said.

Today's game against the Atlanta Braves is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

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