View Full Version : Black & Gold mettle: Pittsburgh is Best Sports City

10-07-2009, 07:01 AM
Black & Gold mettle: Pittsburgh is Best Sports City
Bob Hille

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009 - 1:40 p.m. ET

It was, as a famous Pittsburgher liked to say, a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

The world champion Steelers were kicking off their title defense against the Titans. The world champion Penguins were down in D.C., Stanley Cup in tow, to meet the president. Native son Dave Wannstedt was at practice on the South Side, preparing his unbeaten Pitt football team for the weekend's win at Buffalo.

That was September 10, 2009, and here's how beautiful it was in this year's Best Sports City: Pittsburgh's Pirates did not—repeat, did not—lose that day. (So it was an off-day. Beauty is in the eye of the long-suffering beholder, OK?)

"It's been quite a year in Pittsburgh, with the Steelers winning the Super Bowl, the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup and our local college football and basketball teams having successful seasons as well," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl says. "Sports fans in Western Pennsylvania have had a lot to be proud of these last 12 months. Pittsburgh truly is the City of Champions once again."

In fact, it may always be sunny in that other city across the state, but citizens there can lay claim to only one title team during the past 12 months. Over here—where an elected official changed his name temporarily to "Steelerstahl," just so, y'know, there was no question of which team he supported when Baltimore came to town for an NFL playoff beatdown in January—you've got two titles, basketball tournament teams aplenty, and a bowl-bound and Backyard Brawl-winning football team.

Oh, and fans like no other.

"We thank them," Super Bowl 43 MVP Santonio Holmes says, "for being our 12th man."

It's been a great year, indeed. Twelve months like no other city experienced or could expect to experience. Unless one of Pittsburgh's adopted sons has his way.

"You're born into the Steeler Nation. People get into hockey, and they love the Penguins," says Steelers receiver Hines Ward, who in his 12th season in Pittsburgh could count as a naturalized citizen. "The Pirates were great back in the day, and hopefully they can be again. If they can get back on track, they'll have the whole trifecta—football, hockey and baseball."

And wouldn't that be a beautiful day.

10-07-2009, 07:56 AM
Fantastic read mesa - thanks much! :applaudit::thumbsup:

Having lived here almost all of my life, I can wholeheartedly agree with the author! :drink: Though some Pittsburghers tend to be a bit FW'd at times with their sports teams, I can't deny that the Burgh is one helluva great sports town all the way around. :thumbsup::hatsoff:

The Lakelander
10-07-2009, 09:54 AM
... back in the day! ...








10-07-2009, 12:31 PM

Penguins Ring (Woo Hoo!)


Steelers Ring (WooEffin'Hoo!!)


Pirates Ring (umm....pass the ketchup?)


In all seriousness, Back in the day---

Wilbur Dornell Stargell (Chicken on the Hill with Will....), Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennent, Bob Robertson, Al Oliver, Parker and all the Rest----
and who can forget The Great One #21---I have his autograph. One of my most prized possessions. Can you imagine what he would have done if he had stayed off of that plane?

Galax Steeler
10-08-2009, 04:04 AM
City named No. 1 by Sporting News
Thursday, October 08, 2009
By Timothy McNulty, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It took 16 years, but on-a-roll Pittsburgh has finally been named the No. 1 sports city by Sporting News magazine, beating out 398 other towns in the United States and Canada.

The city was so anointed largely on the backs of the dual 2009 Steelers and Penguins championships, but don't tell that to the former Luke Steelerstahl.

"I don't know how we don't win this every year," Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said at the announcement, held in his City-County Building conference room with Sporting News publisher Ed Baker.

The magazine's cover pairs Sidney Crosby and Ben Roethlisberger, and the 29-year-old mayor noted its resemblance to an iconic Sports Illustrated cover with Willie Stargell and Terry Bradshaw from 1979.

Times are a little bit better now, and the Sporting News designation gave Mr. Ravenstahl a chance to crow again about good publicity for the city. Keep in mind Mr. Ravenstahl is a sports nut who ceremoniously changed his name in January, walked a Super Bowl red carpet in Tampa and is in a charity fantasy football league with other mayors this fall.

"We are in many ways in the national and international spotlight right now because of the G-20 and the economic revitalization of this town. ... It's a great day for Pittsburgh and a great day for sports fans," Mr. Ravenstahl said.

Philadelphia was second in the magazine's ratings and Boston third. Last year Boston won the honor and in 2007, Detroit.

Mr. Baker said the selection incorporates the number of teams in each city (which hurts Pittsburgh, due to the lack of pro basketball), team won-lost records (where the Pirates hurt the ranking), and a lot of things that go in the city's favor, such as playoff records, attendance and fan ferocity.

"There's some science, some math and some subjectivity attached to it," Mr. Baker said.

The issue hits newsstands this week. It contains an eight-page spread on Pittsburgh sports, with stories on Western Pennsylvania quarterbacks, Pitt versus West Virginia, Steelers Super Bowl rings and tips from ex-Pirates on making the team a winner again.

"I think it's a great time to reflect on how lucky we are as Pittsburghers and how lucky we are to have the great fans we have, not only in the city of Pittsburgh but around the world. I hope our fans realize this is a great tribute to them as well," Steelers spokesman Dave Lockett said.

Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan -- wearing a giant Stanley Cup championship ring on his right hand -- noted that Penguins, Steelers and Pirates players routinely attend each other's games. "That is really unique. That doesn't happen in most cities," he said.

Pittsburgh has piled up similar awards to the Sporting News one lately -- Forbes said the Penguins were the fastest-growing brand in hockey this year, and last year's Turnkey Team Brand Index rated the Steelers third in overall brand loyalty after the Packers and Red Sox.

Mr. Baker, the magazine publisher, gave the mayor a Tiffany vase to mark the honor. Mr. Ravenstahl's ornate office already has a number of sports items in it, including a framed football jersey and Tiffany football given to late Mayor Bob O'Connor to mark the Steelers Super Bowl win in 2006.

The mayor -- who after the news conference talked to reporters about the city's perspective on the cash-strapped Carnegie Library system -- talked about the escape Pittsburgh's sports fandom supplies.

"People find comfort and unity in sports and it's an escape for them. ... On a Monday morning, you don't have to pick up the newspaper to know if the Steelers won or not. You just have to walk around town and get the sense of people. ... That really speaks volumes to the intensity of fans here and how much we interact with the teams," he said.