(Andrew McCutchen in an Evgeni Malkin jersey)
Pittsburgh’s three professional sports teams share the same black and gold colors. It’s a metaphorical bonding point that unites all Pittsburgh sports fans to their teams.
But the players and coaches that wear those colors also feel a connection to their peers.
The Penguins, Pirates and Steelers have formed strong bonds and friendships over the past few years.
|Brandon Inge wearing full Pens gear in Pirates club house |
(Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Pirates)
“I’ve always said in this city with the Steelers and Pirates and Penguins you want everyone to enjoy in the fruits of winning and it’s what this city is really about,” Matt Cooke said.
The most recent example comes from the Pirates, who are showing their support for the Penguins’ postseason run by wearing Penguins jersey on their upcoming road trips to Milwaukee and Detroit.
“Love the support. I thought it was awesome,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “The guys were pretty jacked up about the Pirates wearing the Pens jerseys.”
“That’s pretty cool,” said James Neal, whose jersey is being worn by Pirates second baseman Neil Walker. “The first thing I noticed when I got to Pittsburgh was how big of a sports town it is and how much they love their sports here. It goes for us. The guys have the Pirates’ game on in the (locker) room right now. It’s pretty cool. It’s funny to see those guys wearing Penguins jerseys. In our position we would do the same thing for them.”
Pirates third baseman Brandon Inge went the extra mile, arriving at the team’s clubhouse Thursday morning prior to their afternoon game against the Chicago Cubs wearing full Penguins gear, equipped with a Mario Lemieux jersey, gloves, stick, helmet and roller blades.
“Brandon Inge was at the game in Long Island, Game 6,” Bylsma said. “He came down after their afternoon game and saw us play. They put up a net and (Pens) jersey in the locker room last week.”
The Penguins players are regular attendees at PNC Park to watch the Pirates play ball and many of the Pirates can be found at CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins hope that they can repay the Pirates by showing their own support during the fall.
“In the fall when we’re back here we’ll be wearing Pirates jerseys,” said Cooke, who received a text with a picture of Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez wearing his jersey.
Bylsma hopes his team can show their support for the Pirates this October.
He said: “You can definitely see a reciprocation when the Pirates are in their postseason run later this year.”
Neil Walker wears No. 18 James Neal
Russell Martin (left); Clint Barmes (right)
Photos courtesy of the Pittsburgh Pirates