Thursday, May 22, 2008

Shot at Team Spirit Ricochets off Crossbar of Law

"I didn't feel comfortable unilaterally making that decision" to permit the Penguins banners, he said. (P-G, Rich Lord)

A breakthrough! We are on the road to healthy living.

It's all moot now. Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan said the team abandoned the banner idea over the weekend, even before the meeting. "We decided that it just wasn't practical," he said.

Obviously the Penguins were playing politics, pulling the plug on their own sign before Monday's nonexistent city hall showdown.

Penguins fans expressed disgust over the flap.

"I have never heard of anything so absurd," said Joseph Lettrich, who has a home in New Kensington but moved to Lake Worth, Fla., three years ago. "One of the few things Pittsburgh has left is (its) pride for its sports teams and again, as usual, the politicians are ruining it."

Mary Anne Kramer, a Penguins fan from the South Side, guessed that if the Steelers wanted the banners, they would be put up without a problem.

"Sometimes this city really disappoints me," she said. (Trib, Jeremy Boren)

And now, a special comment. What is it with you people.

It's not enough that we handed over $350 million and 28 acres of prime Downtown real estate because the franchise brazenly bluffed one weekend that it might move to -- snicker -- Kansas City or Las Vegas.

It's not enough that we sell out Mellon Arena every single home game, pack sports bars during every game of every kind, send television and radio ratings clear through the roof and wear, hang or eat all the merchandise the team can produce.

No. Although no one ever heard of giant building-sized banners before yesterday, and although the Steelers won five Superbowls and the Penguins won two Stanley Cups and the Pirates, legend has it, enjoyed some kind of success in the past, all without giant superbanners, and although during those years and many others we have been assured, and rightly so, that Pittsburgh has the best and most supportive (and most pliant) sports fans in all Christendom, all of a sudden -- outrage! Scandal! Horror! Humanity!

The things we did not know existed until yesterday must go up, or else it will ruin -- somehow ruin -- the Stanley Cup Finals!!!

Seriously, news gatherers. Did not one of your interview subjects say, "Banners? Huh? Whatever. Just bring home the Cup, and I'll be happy."

Find and print some of those, and next week, we'll work on reporting upon the activity of a sports team without riddling your lede paragraphs with incessant sports puns. Loose puck? Who are you, Mark Belko?


  1. Good one Bram.

    In other remarks....

    I check, (or is it chech?) your remark on the call elsewhere that the 'logo' from the sneaker company made the banner an ad.

    The banner(s), even without the logo, is still an ad.

    There is great news, in the global sense, concerning these conversations.

    At least the folly on Grant Street is now entering the realm of 'vapor ware' matters.

    The banners are vapor-ware. They never were real products/materials. in a carbon-based world.

    Let's hope the Grant Street folly (of those Ds) can be confined to only the pretend and mythical elements of our landscape in the weeks and months to come.

    That would be a great victory and lead to a raising of the bar for next season -- the elimination of all folly.

  2. that dude from New Ken is a tool

  3. Actually, I am sure Council would have passed a resolution double quick asking the Zoning board for a temporary, one-time exception to the rules for any Pens banners. But they never got the chance. Meanwhile, it is clear the Ravenstahl administration is still interested in punishing City Council, either just for the fun of it or to make them more compliant in the future.

  4. Where does the idea that the Pens were bluffing come from? I don't think there's any evidence to support this. Posturing and bluffing aren't synonymous. Sure, Mario wasn't going to be the one to physically move the team, sure. That's why he was selling it. And the team was as good as sold! Had Balsillie not backed out of his purchase, they were gone.

    Plus, while I'm defending the team: the deal they could've gotten in KC was generally viewed as far more lucrative than the one they took here. This did not seem to be a purely bottom-line decision.

  5. I think we can safely blame the Pens' loss last night on Luke.