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Once again, we're looking at a busy weekend in the Pittsburgh sports world. Two Pens games, including a big one tonight for all you Brent Johnson fans; a little matchup on Sunday between the Steelers and Vikings; and in the college world, tomorrow's Pitt-South Florida showdown, at Heinz Field, featuring the school's first-ever "Blue Out".

The idea to coordinate the clothing of everyone in attendance is certainly not a new one in sports, lest we forget the numerous white-outs which have populated Penguin and Nittany Lion games, among others. But at Pitt, it's a new concept, one that AD Steve Pederson has fully embraced:
"A couple of weeks ago I got a letter from some of our students who said they thought it would be fun to turn the stadium blue," Pederson said. "And so we'll ask not only all the students, but all of our fans to come in blue to the game and celebrate and have fun together, and homecoming is a good time to do that."
As a part of the athletic department's target-audience-based initiatives, Pederson cites other recently-implemented suggestions, such as "a Fanfest-like atmosphere outside the stadium, a student tailgate on the Great Lawn and, among other things, the singing of "Sweet Caroline" at the end of the third quarter."

Pederson's a smart dude. He knows that he's competing with two extremely successful fall/winter sports teams for the ever-competitive Pittsburgh dollar. If playing "Sweet Caroline" brings more people to the game or enhances their experience, he's all for it. I don't get the particular connection between Pitt and that song, but that's beside the point. Pederson's listening to his customers, and that is usually good for business (as long as you're also winning in this particular business). Now if he listens to the faction of Panther fans that's been clamoring for the return of the script logo, he'll really be making a lot of customers happy, even more than hearing "Sweet Caroline".

Pitt Notebook: Panthers' fans feeling 'blue' [PG]

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LeeTunnel said...

They should make it a "Gold Out", so all the empty seats and blend in.

Anonymous said...

That's my LEAST favorite part about going to Pitt games - the Sweet Caroline thing. It's stupid and I really don't think the fans who are all about it understand that we ripped it off from the Red Sox.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

it is stupid but hilarious at the same time. i am personally surprised by how many people partake.

LeeTunnel said...

Went for a Pens roadie last year and they sang it at a Madison Square Garden during a Ranger's game time-out. Ugh.

Unknown said...

the Sweet Caroline is stupid. Script-Pitt with mustard yellow and royal blue would be great.

Unknown said...

I'd accept Script Pitt with current colors. All they have to do is change the helmet.

Adam said...

For this to work, Pitt has to, you know, fill the stadium. Otherwise, it'll be really stupid.

FYI Penn State tried a "blue out" type of thing called "Code Blue" and it didn't show very well and I mean, if we couldn't pull it off...well...

AJ said...

Penn State can't even pull off having a legit rival.

Sweet Caroline is horrible in any stadium... not as horrible as Cotton Eyed Joe... but still horrible.

At least WVU has that whole John Denver thing going for them. That I can respect.

JW said...

Everything that is forced into being a "tradition" is kind of lame. The best part about the Oakland Zoo is that it started small and turned into a groundswell, for example. Even PSU's zombie nation crap didn't seem forced. (But having an extra 60,000 people into it makes anything seem legit, I must admit.)

And there is nothing respectable about WVU.

BURGH08 said...

I would lump the so called 'rivalry' games in there as well. The 'River City' and 'Land Grant' hardware nobody cares about.

As for the 'yellow seats', would I love to see Heinz filled on Saturdays? Sure. Do I lose a wink a sleep over it or feel validated or not based on attendance? No.

I don't really understand fans that brag about attendance. I've had Steeler tickets for years, Pitt basketball, and go to many Pens games. I never really went to the 'at least we sell out our stadium' well for a chest thump.

To each their own I guess.