There are a lot of great Penguin blogs on the Internet. Over the summer we're asking some of those blogs to guest post over here. It's a great way to discover a new blog you may not be reading and it's easier than having to come up with our own material...
I grew up a poor kid in Southwest PA. I started out sharing a bedroom with my two older sisters in a small two-bedroom place in the Christy Park district on the southern end of McKeesport. A lot of the guys who passed over college to take jobs in the Duquesne Works lived in that area, and my dad was one of 'em. Until the mills shut down.
So as a young sports fan, it was a bit of a struggle to adequately express team support on shirts and such, cos official team gear has never been and never will be considered low-cost. Most of the sports shirts I got then were from World of Values, the Strip District and Gabes.
I started the Great Moments In Unlicensed Pittsburgh Sports Merch series in late August 2009 to highlight the highs and lows of these very same generic local sports shirts. I was heading to North Carolina to vacation by hiking the tallest mountain in Eastern North America (say somethin'...) and needed something to autopublish on PSAMP in my absence. The site is pushing 3 and a half years now, and I can count on 2 hands the amount of weekdays without new content, so I wasn't about to leave my readers hangin'. I thought of potential posts, but ended up settling on a huge pile of unlicensed shirts and stuff that were cluttering up my apartment.
Living and working in NYC now (and missing the Burgh with all of my heart), these unlicensed pieces represent a tie to home and my life in PA...and it keeps me grounded. I wanted to use my time here on Pensblog to highlight a few of my favorite generic Pens pieces that've published on PSAMP as well as a sneak peak at one that'll post later today. They're an important part of the local sports fabric for me, and I hope that even the ugliest and most hilarious ones hold some soft spot with you.
Thanks to Cotter for this, the banner pic for the series. That's a plush mini horse wearing what's clearly a ripoff 1960s-era Pens shirt (full-sized pic here). As someone who features generic pro sports merchandise on a humor website about Pittsburgh sports and dwarf ponies, this is the all-encompassing piece to date.
This is my own earliest unlicensed piece. I got it at the Norwin Hills World of Values after the Pens first got a young Mario Jr. Jaromir Jagr. It was huge on me as a kid, and I can almost kinda still squeeze it on now. But the catchphrase. Either way you spell it, he's too hot to stop. That shirt didn't even know how right it was.
This one was everywhere last year. When both the Steelers and Pens won championships in 2009, it felt like we were on top of the world. And then the weird dual-championship generic shirts started to appear everywhere. I have this one (birthday gift), as does my friend Heather, a former Pittsburgher who now lives near me in Astoria, Queens. If two former Pittsburghers living in one little area of NYC have this shirt, then I can only imagine how many of you back home do, too.
HAHA here's the first non-Pittsburgh piece sent in, via our Bloguin buds at D4L. That one just hit all the right notes. What happens in Detroit...leaves there and heads to Pittsburgh as quickly as possible.
This hat came from reader Karissa, who made a cameo in that City of Champions cereal commercial with Maxie and Hines Ward. Keeping on the Pens/Steelers theme, this one reverses into Steelers colors with a number 7. That's the staple of the unlicensed vendor...use team-specific colors and numbers (or the name of the city) rather than the officially-licensed names and logos. Clever.
Player characatures work, too.
That's a tiny-ass pic, but Crosby's last name is replaced with PITTSBURGH. Ugh.
Were there any players from Finland or Slovakia on the 2010 roster?
Now here's one from awesome Pens fan Wayne. I've yet to use this one on PSAMP, and it'll publish later today, so check out the full post on it then. Frankly, I'm more of a fan of Stephen S's muscle Penguin logo.
Thanks to Adam, Derek and Rick for having me. Be sure to check out these and all the Pens, Pirates and Steelers ones so far in the library (and the Pensblog "unlicensed" store is pretty damn good itself, cough cough). And hope you hate and love these things as much as I do.