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Inside Scoop: Pens take Stanley Cup to PNC Park

Crosby throws first pitch to Hainsey

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

A while back, Sidney Crosby hit a home run during a batting practice at PNC Park. On Tuesday night, he took the mound instead.

Crosby and the rest of the Penguins brought the Stanley Cup to the ballpark for the Pirates' game against the Colorado Rockies.

The team got a tour of the clubhouse before taking the field, where Crosby threw the first pitch. He was grateful for the chance to bring the chalice this year, as the Pirates had been on a long road trip this time last year.

"This is an unbelievable stadium and to be able to bring the Stanley Cup here and do all this is a great experience," Crosby told PensTV. "Pretty cool to be able to throw out the first pitch and share it with all the guys."

When the team arrived, they took the Stanley Cup straight to the clubhouse, where the players marveled at the setup of the room. They put the trophy on a table next to the Pirates logo (people are allowed to step on it here) and then mingled with their fellow athletes.

It was a really cool scene that included Marc-Andre Fleury chatting with his fellow No. 29, catcher Francisco Cervelli - who gave him a jersey that the goalie immediately put on - and Phil Kessel sitting on the back of a couch deep in conversation with Andrew McCutchen.

While that was going on, Ron Hainsey donned full catcher's gear - with help from Matt Cullen's three boys - and went to the bullpen with Crosby to take a few warmup throws. They spent a lot of time in the bullpen - where Josh Bell was taking practice swings next to them - with their teammates assembled in the media room waiting to take the field.

The Cullen kids, along with Chris Kunitz's son Zachary, provided the entertainment, as they had a blast playing with the mic that was set up on the table on the stage for press conferences. "Sing us a song up there, guys!" Cullen called out. "Give us something! How about Bruno Mars?" Instead, the boys giggled through a few one-liners before horsing around with Ian Cole and Carl Hagelin.

Once Crosby and Hainsey were ready, they and the rest of the team then went into the dugout, where they stood as a congratulatory video played before the national anthem. Once all of that finished, it was time. Crosby headed out to the mound, with all of the boys following him - except for Hainsey, who split off to go behind home plate - and Fleury bringing up the rear with the Cup.

They then gathered behind Crosby as he wound up and delivered the pitch, and certainly didn't quiet down as he threw - hooting and hollering and taking more videos with their phones.

"I was a little nervous because there were a lot of guys heckling me behind there," Crosby laughed. "But it's fun."

When I asked Crosby if he and Hainsey had worked out a signal, he laughed and said, "He asked me, 'Do you want me to throw a 1 or a 2?' I was like, 'a fastball that's not fast, No. 1. So let's see what I can do.'"

Crosby went out and threw a pitch that was in the strike zone, but going a little slow at 45 mph.

"(Hainsey) might have bailed me out there, I might have hit the dirt if he didn't get it," Crosby smiled. "Pretty cool that he could catch. I don't know if that's typically how they do it, but it was cool to see him suit up there and wear the catcher's gear."

While Crosby may have gotten chirps from his teammates, he certainly got plenty of cheers from the fans in the crowd.

"Pittsburgh's just a great sports town," he said. "I think we all understand that and I think we all pull for the other teams who are a part of the city. It's no different with the Pirates. So to be able to come to their stadium, for them to have us here and to do this, it's really cool to see some of the guys and see the reaction of seeing the Stanley Cup. It doesn't get old."

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