Monday, June 1, 2009

Early Observations From Pittsburgh

After two delayed flights and a lousy layover in Chicago, I made it to Pittsburgh. Driving through the hills of PA to get to the city left me with a pang of nostalgia for my college years in upstate NY but really, you don't care about that. So here are a few odds and ends that you might be interested in:

*Every public bus in Pittsburgh has Let's Go Pens on the electric readouts on the front above the windshield and many of the gates at the airport were plastered with Pens paraphernalia. Local talk radio was only talking Pens hockey. This is borderline city obsession - rivaling the playoff madness for the Sabres up in Buffalo, back when they made the playoffs (haha).

*I'm pretty sure I saw Victor Hedman checking into the same hotel as me. The oversized Swede and future Tampa defenseman is hard to miss but I was just checking in as well and, after all the travel, very easily could have been seeing things.

*The hotel here in Pittsburgh that the NHL is using as it's headquarters is quite the contrast to that in Detroit. In Detroit it was a modern architectural masterpiece of glass and concrete; here the place feels like it dates back 100 years (I wouldn't be surprised if my mattress was that old, ugh!).

*Former Daily News writer John Dellapina is here, of course. Working in his role as Director of Media Relations, he is kept quite busy. I managed to grab a second with him and let him know that Dolan raised prices again. He was less than surprised to say the least. I have to say that I really miss his writings - him and Sam Weinman really seemed to humanize the team and the game while relating with us fans (likely because they were fans as well). Their replacements have done the job, but it just isn't the same.

*For the baseball fans out there - and I don't know why anyone would be - you gotta come here. PNC Park is simply an amazing place to watch a game. As you could see from the pics I caught Mets/Bucs tonight and, thanks to baseball being such a slow, boring sport, was able to explore the park and sit in numerous sections to get a feel for it. The view is spectacular with the bridge and city backdrop. Behind the ballpark are some train tracks, and the squeal of the steel wheels was the only reminder that you were watching the game in a rust belt burgh. The park is tremendously clean with almost a minor league feel to it that is very fan friendly. I highly recommend it for baseball people - a smart August swing would be Citizen's Park in Philly, Lamade Stadium in Williamsport for the Little League World Series and here. There's no hockey in August, so what else will you do?

But there is hockey tomorrow so I'll catch y'all then!


jamestobrien said...

I've never had the chance to visit Pittsburgh, so I'm definitely enjoying your take. The more the better.

(Also, I'm quite jealous.)

Canyon of Blueshirts said...

a 'minor league feel'.. well that's because they have a minor league team playing there for the past 14 years or so. one of the few teams run worse than the Rangers.. the Pittsburgh Pirates