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Old 07-06-2009, 12:43 AM   #1
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Default Times good for Pittsburgh fans

http://www.publicopiniononline.com/hssports/ci_12660168
Times good for Pittsburgh fans
By FRANK BODANI

Daily Record/Sunday News

It's cool to be a Pittsburgh sports fan now.

Even cooler than it was 30 years ago when the city and its followers enjoyed another amazing dose of success, even more substantial than this one.

But times were different then, the city was different, the perception of Pittsburgh was different.

Thirty years ago?

The city, just emerging from the decline of the steel industry and its terrible smoky, dirty image, was given a tremendous gift: two major sports championship only three months apart, including a stirring World Series rally by the Pirates.

The Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl a bit later, and even Pitt football was in the middle of its greatest run in years.

The city needed it bad. And so did its fans.

Thirty years ago?

I remember my strange allegiance to all of Pittsburgh's teams, strange because I was born in Maryland and was growing up in southern York County - suffocated, still, by Baltimore fans.

I remember proudly wearing a light blue "Title Town" T-shirt.

And I remember not having much to brag about for years after, when the Steelers suddenly dove into mediocrity, the Pirates crashed, Penn State blew past Pitt and the Penguins weren't even relevant.

But the great thing about sports is how they always provide hope, how they break your heart but often mend it better than it was
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before.

Twenty-five years ago?

I went to Pittsburgh for the first time, a dream trip to Three Rivers Stadium. I remember my ever-resourceful grandmother smuggling food into the stadium so we wouldn't have to "waste" money inside, though the bananas didn't hold up well on a summer Sunday afternoon.

I remember screaming for pitcher Bert Blyleven, though I don't think the Pirates won. It didn't matter.

Twenty years ago?

I ended up living in Pittsburgh for four years while attending college and grew to love it, all of it. The small-town feel. The confusing bridges and god-awful hills and the Western Pennsylvania accents and, of course, ice hockey.

I never was a hockey fan before, but this was easy. Mario Lemieux was in his prime, front-row tickets were available and cheap and the team exploded in front of a city that went mad for it.

I was there when they won their second Stanley Cup and got the privilege of yelling myself voiceless in the middle of thousands of others who were jumping on the back of welcoming, slow-moving trucks in a makeshift midnight parade through the South Side.

Now?

It seems like it's almost all come together for Pittsburgh.

The city's revitalization is a model to all. That's why President Barack Obama and world leaders will be meeting there in September for the G-20 Summit.

The Steelers' popularity continues to surge everywhere. The Penguins won another Stanley Cup and may even build excitement for the entire sport with two of the world's best young talents. And Pitt basketball is on the biggest roll in school history.

This is how good it is for this small "big city:" This is the first time Stanley Cup and Super Bowl winners have come from the same town in the same year.

And though multi-sport titles such as this are rare (Boston did it most recently with the Red Sox and Patriots in 2004), Pittsburgh has done it twice in my lifetime, which makes most of the other sports heartbreaks melt away.

Even as the Pirates try, against odds, to rebuild yet again.

Even that is bearable, in a sense.

That's how good everything else is going.

Frank Bodani is a sportswriter for the Daily Record/Sunday News. Reach him at 771-2104 or fbodani@ydr.com.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

Nice read Mesa. I cannot think of a city I would rather live in then Pittsburgh. The people are friendly and down to earth. That is why I have been a Steeler fan for 39 years. I will go to my grave being a Steeler fan.
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Old 07-06-2009, 06:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

Nice article. Lived in the Burgh from 71 to 74. Needles to say I was hooked. My wife grew up in Pleasant hills and we get back whenever possible. I'm having a blast being a Burghfan right now being that I am surrounded by Eagle and Flyer fans. My recently completed City of Champions banner will be hanging proudly on gamedays.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
Penn State blew past Pitt
and they haven't looked back since

Pitt is $hit
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:50 AM   #5
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

Awesome read mesa - thanks!

I dunno - for me, it has ALWAYS been cool to be a Pittsburgh fan. Over the years, I 've sailed through the highs and lows of all of our sports franchises and college teams because I realized early on that every team was eventually going to have its time in the sun and time in the shade. We have been very fortunate as Steelers fans because of the winning tradition the Rooney family committed to over 3 decades ago and since Mario first set skate in the Burgh over 25 years ago, I knew in my heart that the Pens would turn it around and they did.

The Pirates had their days in the sun, but they've been in the shade for what seems like forever.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

Quote:
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and they haven't looked back since

Pitt is $hit
I'm sorry, does State Penn even play basketball?
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:02 AM   #7
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

he had to go and mention the Pirates and RUIN a good story didn't he?

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After reading the idiotic threads over the past couple of weeks, I ask the question - "Who is worse...Steeler fans or Eagles fans?" Keep in mind that Eagle fans do not know what it's like to win a SB much less 6 and 2 this decade.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

Thought Id post this.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:50 AM   #9
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steel Head View Post
and they haven't looked back since

Pitt is $hit



Yeah, Penn State's been rattling off BCS Championships the past few years, haven't they...and boy, what a basketball program they have!

Without Pitt, the city wouldn't be seeing its much-heralded economic rebound. Granted, the football team is frustrating at times, but it's still a great school with a great history and promising future---on and off the field.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: Times good for Pittsburgh fans

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_WARDen View Post
he had to go and mention the Pirates and RUIN a good story didn't he?

but of course... no one or nothing... or in this case.... no CITY is PERFECT.

sure one city can be champions in two different sports at one single time... but THREE!??!?? cmon ppl get real

haha
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