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The Sports Daily > The Pensblog
Policing the Fan Police

Don’t come late.

Don’t leave early.

Don’t forget to stand up robotically with every precontrived “get loud” that comes across the scoreboard, Pens Fans.
Forget that! At what point are we going to stop telling Penguins fans how to be Penguins fans?

I feel like every year around mid-winter just after the Steelers season ends and just before the Pirates season begins the same complaints emerge. People leaving the games early should feel shame. People who miss anthems and puck drop should be flogged. People who don’t show up at all despite having bought their ticket are the worst.

Newsflash: this isn’t Los Angeles or New York.

What do I mean? I mean that people in L.A. or N.Y.C. can decide on a whim to leave work early, can stay in the city and not go home. People in NYC can take the subway to LITERALLY UNDER Madison Square Garden. People in L.A. are Californians and normal work schedules don’t exist for them. Most of the people in Pittsburgh who are sports fans are middle-class citizens. They don’t drive Ferraris, they don’t have three houses and the most elegant meal that they usually get comes from the Olive Garden.

Now look, I’m not dumping on Pittsburgh sports fans. There is nothing wrong with this but when ticket prices are what they are you know what you’re going to get. The people in the lower bowl are usually businessmen wearing suits instead of jerseys. They might be the biggest Penguins fan you know but they have tickets from work and have clients there they can’t afford to be loud and raucous.

Would you rather the team not sell tickets at all and end up in Kansas City? No.

As for people being late or early. The late thing is a work issue. A lot of people going to Pens games right from work hit the worst of the rush hour traffic going through the obstacle course of tunnels and bridges around the city. Some people can hop on the T or walk over but that’s a relatively small number.

And leaving early is a Pittsburgh epidemic not isolated to the Penguins. I used to work at PNC Park and once worked a game where the Buccos were down by a run in the 6th so everyone left. In the 8th Polanco hit a two-run homer and won the game. Most of the crowd had missed it.

I get it, it’s disheartening for people who arrive prior to warm-ups and stay up until the three-star announcements are finished to see this. It’s hard to watch people sitting stiff-backed in their seats when Party Hard is raining down on them and Malkin’s just scored a hat trick. It’s not fun at all.

But that’s that person’s business. They paid money for their seat. And if a fan has never seen a game live that doesn’t make them any less of a fan. It doesn’t matter how many shirts or jerseys or ticket stubs you have what matters is that you like the team and really – no one should fault anyone for how they choose to like something.

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