PITTSBURGH - The Pirates reached another milepost Friday on their road back to respectability.
Pittsburgh began mailing out instructions to their season ticketholders on how to buy tickets for postseason games. Also included in the mailing will be news of a price increase for 2013 tickets - the cost of business for a winning team.
The Pirates haven't been to the postseason since 1992 - which also was their last winning season - or been in contention this late in the season since 1997 when they eventually finished second in the National League Central to Houston.
Pittsburgh trailed Cincinnati by six games in the NL Central going into Friday's play. However, they held a one-game lead over St. Louis and San Francisco for the second NL wild card.
"We're very, very happy to be in position to present our fans with the opportunity to purchase postseason tickets," Pirates team president Frank Coonelly said. "Our players and coaching staff have been working hard since the first day of spring training to get into this position. We still have a lot of work to do but it's exciting to be in this position at this time of year and I know it's especially exciting for our fans.
"They've been waiting a long time."
Coonelly and senior executive VP and chief marketing officer Lou DiPaoli both stressed that the Pirates' prices for any potential wild card, division or championship series games at PNC Park will be among the lowest in baseball.
Tickets will cost from $17-$280 for the wild card and division series rounds, and $39-$315 for the NLCS for the general public, while season ticket holders will be able to purchase tickets at a discount.
World Series ticket prices - set by Major League Baseball and the other rounds by the individual host clubs - are in the $125-$440 range.
"We've tried to make postseason tickets accessible," DiPaoli said, "because our fans have been so loyal."
The Pirates also announced that ticket prices will go up for a second straight regular season, and for those 2013 games, they will become the latest major-league team to use a form of premium pricing. Tickets for opening day and Saturday games will cost from $2-$15 more, an increase of 10-17 percent over other games.
The Pirates anticipate they will sell out 19 of their 23 Saturday home dates this season and Coonelly said the team's research shows that tickets for those games sell for 61 percent over face value on the secondary market.
According to the team, the average ticket for a game next season will cost $17.21, up from $16.11 this season.
Pittsburgh had gone 10 years without increasing ticket prices until doing so this season. The Pirates received a great amount negative publicity in 2001 when they raised prices on the heels of a 100-loss season during their first season at PNC Park.