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Pittsburgh Fans and the Sports Bog

(Reminder: chatting at 11. Submit your questions here.)

Melissa Finney took her 11-year old son Carter to the Pens-Caps game on Sunday. Melissa likes the Penguins. Carter favors the Caps. They had a "no-trash-talk" rule, but that didn't cover three-dimensional objects. Hence, this poster, which Carter proudly displayed. "Mother and son, rival teams," Melissa told me with a laugh.

See, that's great. That's why we eagerly anticipate the arrival of any Pittsburgh professional sports team--or even the Pirates--in D.C.

And say what you want about Pittsburgh fans, but you have to admire their devotion. For all the accusations of Western Pennsylvania bangwagonism, their people did a pretty nice job filling up FedEx this fall, and while the numbers may have been down this year, there were still plenty of Pittsburghers in Verizon Center on Sunday.

This is a good thing, because it seems to elicit a certain level of interesting behavior from the locals. Passion is interesting, right? Fans from different parts of the country, coming together to playfully express mutual dislike? That's the stuff of blogs. Also, Penguins fans dress differently while going to hockey games than to the locals, as evidenced below. Camo? Football jerseys? Bandanas? That's different, and different is also good.

Well, some Pens fans appeared not to have appreciated my admiration for this sort of regional passion, the type that leads fans to make signs, create shirts, and employ borderline distasteful language in a afternoon stew of happy hockey hostility.

"Your lack of creativity is only surpassed by your poor choice of subjects," one obvious admirer e-mailed me. "It is really a shame that the Post actually lets you on-line. Try picking up your game and doing some insightful and well written stuff. Just a tip, but based in your track record I am doubtful."

And deservedly so. Another was more direct: "Hi, I canceled my subscription to the Washington Post today becuase of Daniel Stienberg's lousy article about Crosby," he or she wrote me. My next paystub will no doubt be 50 cents lighter.

Like I've said before, if D.C. residents showed an interest in their sports teams to the same per-capita degree that Pittsburghers do, I'd probably be a bigger hit 'round here. Six of the top 10 most-read stories on the Tribune-Review site right now are Pittsburgh sports-related. That's tremendous.

Seriously, Western Pennsylvanians, I love you, and what you bring out among my people. Like this guy named Justin, pictured below, who ought to cost The Washington Post at least three or four subscriptions by himself. So let's be friends. Deal?

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 24, 2009; 10:37 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Morning Look , Redskins  
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It's true. The only things the Pittsburghers love more than jobs in DC and a half-off sale at Old Navy are their black-and-gold clad warriors.

The passion feeds a delusion that is unsurpassed anywhere else. For the Steelers, it is warranted. They are truly the top dogs and cannot be touched. For the Penguins, well...most of us have changed in the last 15-20 years. Your average Pens fan hasn't. He's still living on past glory...he's rocking the '89 Camaro with racing stripes, blasting some Donnie Iris, and talking to anybody within earshot about how he threw four touchdown passes in the state championship game. Good for you, guy.

Posted by: Zornado | February 24, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

There fans are trash. They dont travel from Pittsburgh to see the game, they travel from Damascus MD, Frederick MD and parts of VA where they currently live. No jobs in Pittsburgh means moving to the DC suburbs. Its actually sad.

"I love Pittsburgh, however, not enough to live there anymore."

Posted by: capsfansince74 | February 24, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Steinberg: stop kissing their sorry asses. The reason there are so many Pissburgh fans around here is because they all have to leave that dump and they come here, among other places. Their fans ARE trash. Pure trash.

Posted by: poguesmahone | February 24, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

“My next paystub will no doubt be 50 cents lighter.”

Classic! LOL!

Posted by: cj658 | February 24, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I love rivalries, but your Crosby post was beyond that. Those people got personal and vindictive. That has no place in a major newspaper's blog. The 16 year old with her mom and the rude Crosby sign was way over the top. My 2 teenage girls wouldn't get out of the house with that sign....much less would I be "proud" of them. I try to teach my kids to respect people. Those postings belong on one of the trash-talking sites. I don't think you want to be put in the category of the Pens blog that dished on Cooley.

Posted by: hockey23 | February 24, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

BTW....most "exiled" Pittsburghers would go back to the 'Burgh in a heartbeat. You're right, this area has the jobs (thanks to the govt), so we stay. There is little pity here for the heartland's economic problems. But we'll always be proud to be from the 'Burgh and loyal to our teams. I can't ever see that happening in this transient area.

Posted by: hockey23 | February 24, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Don't bash Damascus... they come from Hagerstown

Posted by: trolly_time | February 24, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that you are saying most things in jest but let me give you a little tip. People who say that they are going to "cancel" their newspaper subscription are the last people on earth who are really going to do it. People who say "I am going to sue you" are the least likely to really do it.

Pittsburgh people wear football jerseys to hockey games because they either cannot afford a hockey jersey or they are too stupid to know the difference. They wear camo because that is how they dress seven days a week.

Posted by: MKadyman | February 25, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

hockey23 = cryin' crosby.

Shut up you tool and go back to sh**sburgh

Posted by: skinzfan4 | February 25, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

If DC teams (outside DC United) had any success over the last 15 years, maybe they would have converted some of the transplanted Pittsburghers. The Question in my mind is not "why do Pittsburghers cling to their black and gold?" but "why are DC teams collectively so mismanaged?"

Posted by: jvdc | February 25, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Such an upstanding citizen and a good example of all that is "great" about this area. Definitely keeping my teenage daughters away from you.

Posted by: hockey23 | February 25, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

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