An open letter to John Steigerwald

Dear John Steigerwald,

Can I call you ‘Stash?

I bet you’ve been getting lots of mean letters and emails and maybe flaming bags of poo left on your doorstep lately because of what you wrote recently, basically blaming a beating victim, Bryan Stow of California, who rests in a coma after the trauma he suffered at the hands of irate Dodgers fans because he dared wear a Giants jersey to a Dodgers game.

I mean really, who did this paramedic father of two think he was, buying a ticket to go see his team play their first game of the season and having the gross audacity to wear a Giants jersey? That’s begging for a beating! That’s basically walking into a stadium and saying, “Please. Fracture my skull. Take your foot and slam it again and again into my face while I’m on the ground. I deserve it for wearing this devil’s cloak in your place of holy worship. Punish me, for I have sinned. ”

What Bryan should have done was not gone to the game, but since he did choose to go to the game, he should have worn a Target outfit or something. You know, khaki pants and a red shirt.  Because Dodgers fans see a Giants jersey and they can’t help themselves. Like an angry, drunk bull seeing red, they just charge. It’s in their nature. They have no choice whatsoever in the matter. They must act swiftly to mete out justice on behalf of their team.

Mr. Stow should have sat there in his khakis and when his Giants did something good, he should have remained stone-faced, not betraying even the slightest hint that he was cheering on the inside. At most, he could have cracked a half-smile and then pretended the smile was directed toward his delicious stadium hotdog. And if the Dodgers did something good, he should have stood up and cheered and heartily shouted, “Well done, good sirs!” so as not to draw further attention to himself.

So, bravo, John. Bravo for putting the blame where it really lies. On the “victim.”

And another thing, I can’t thank you enough for informing us that purchasing and wearing team jerseys does not in fact make us a member of the team.

I threw on my Polamalu jersey one game last year and they could not escort me out of the locker room fast enough when all I was doing was slapping my teammates’ naked butts with joyous, stinging abandon. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when you join the team? It was a hard lesson to learn. If only you had written your column before that, I could have saved myself the bail money.

And my husband. Oh, man. I bought him a Pirates jersey that has Montanez emblazoned across the back. The day after I gave it to him, I found a note that said he had gone to batting practice, and a receipt from Dick’s Sporting Goods for hundreds of dollars in baseball gear. I knew then that I needed to sit him down and gently break the news to him that just because I bought him that jersey, it didn’t actually make him a professional baseball player for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I will never forget the sound of his gentle, heartbroken sobs as he clutched his newly-purchased athletic cup to his chest. “But … the jersey has my name on it.  It … HAS MY NAME ON IT,” he wept.

Thank you, John. Thank you for giving it to us straight. We’re better people now that we know that wearing a Steelers jersey to a Browns game means we deserve whatever hell we receive, even if it comes in the form of a beating that puts us in a coma. We’re better people now that we know that just because we own a Penguins jersey we can’t start using the team entrance at the CONSOL.

We’re better people now, John. But we’ll never be as good a person as you.

Yours,

Me.

[This has been satire. I have learned my lesson about writing satire without informing you it’s satire. THIS IS SATIRE.]





106 Comments


  1. Nancy White
    April 14, 2011 8:35 pm

    On a completely related but not entirely note John Steigerwald was quite crabby to my son and a playmate at the South Hills Eat ‘n Park. I eventually said, “If you don’t like kids, don’t eat at an Eat ‘n Park at 5:00 on a Friday.” The little old lady in the next booth said to me, “Good for you honey. That guy is being a jerk”. True story.



  2. Mary
    April 14, 2011 8:37 pm

    Just what I need … fashion advice from a guy who wore those eighties Bill Cosby sweaters longer than Bill Cowher.



  3. Aileen
    April 14, 2011 8:46 pm

    @BurghBird – your last sentence says it all.

    I’m surprised the Rooneys and Lemieux Group haven’t beaten Steigerwald to a bloody pulp (or at least tasered him)for the jersey comments.

    Every time I go to Heinz Field or watch the Pens play and you see the crowd and what its wearing, $$$$$$ comes to my mind, wishing I got a fraction of a % of the merchandising revenue.

    By the way, I’m waiting for him to blame Garrett Jones for getting beer dumped on his head at Wrigley Field about 10 days ago. After all, no one in their right mind would play RF for the Pirates.



  4. mindymin
    April 14, 2011 8:46 pm

    May I present the Jersey Foul. Those who think its wrong to wear a team jersey w team member name I feel you got it backwards. Wearing a team jersey w YOUR name = Jersey Foul

    I will happily wear my Blue Fleury, black Malkin & throwback Borque jerseys to any games I am lucky enough to go to. Granted, I get a girl pass…but the idea that is wrong for adult men to wear team jerseys because it is demasculating? Oh honey if wearing a jersey is enough to make you question your manhood you have more issues than a magazine stand. At over $100 a pop jerseys are far far far from kids clothes.

    http://www.jerseyfoul.com/jerseyfoul



  5. MadMax
    April 14, 2011 9:01 pm

    LOL @ Ginny’s Dad “snap” :-)



  6. Moxie Bestos
    April 14, 2011 9:19 pm

    In 1989, I bought a blank Penguins game jersey and had a double zero and the name LA MEILLEUR ironed on the back. It was supposed to be a play on LEMIEUX in my pathetic, high school French-learning mind. I also had a small crush on Zarley Zalapski. Yeah, FAIL on both accounts.



  7. MiamiShyner
    April 14, 2011 10:07 pm

    A little ray of light in this whole mess is that Lincecum donated a nice chunk of change to Mr. Stow’s fund. Noble.
    Steigerwald, not so much.



  8. spoon
    April 14, 2011 10:13 pm

    Hey Steigerwald, apparently you forgot filming this gem

    http://youtu.be/uDWAOkTK5l4

    You know each of these are in his collection still.



  9. northside15212
    April 14, 2011 10:56 pm

    @spoon –Thanks for posting that awesome link of the Stash. Seeing him in a football uni is like seeing Mike Dukakis in a tank. Steigerwald is a weak writer and I agree with Virginia’s dad –he has some sort of angry chip on his shoulder, like he was the last kid picked at recess or something.



  10. kevin
    April 14, 2011 10:56 pm

    Stupidity at it’s highest level. Ans what a poor excuse for an apology. “I don’t apologize for the Column”? Really? That is how you begin an apology? What a complete bufoon and unfortunately, those people who paint with a broad brush will link Pittsburgh to this moronic statement. Hey Steigerwald, move to Philly where that type of garbage is tolerated.



  11. gunnlino
    April 14, 2011 11:20 pm

    @ Ginny’s Dad; You said it with class and style sir. None of us is perfect,… well except may Mr Stiegerwald but then again he already knows that.

    I was gonna say “snap”,but I’m too old for that .



  12. Elmer Fudd
    April 14, 2011 11:52 pm

    The clothes..The ‘stash..The attitude..Could someone please tell Mr. Steigerwald it is not 1972 anymore??



  13. bucdaddy
    April 15, 2011 1:03 am

    DPUTiger, I’m hearing that from serious baseball fans, that the Dodger Stadium bleachers have become a gang-infested nightmare, and we know about gangs’ allegiance to colors, don’t we?

    Seriously, I know this is America and you should be able to wear whatever you want wherever you want whenever you want without fear of risking a beating, or worse. You should be able to sneak into that Georgia frat bar with your fake ID and your “DTF” or whatever T-shirt and get blotto drunk and not end up in a restroom with a 250-pound pro football player. Yeah, and I should have the right to put on my Armani suit and strap on my Rolex watch and stuff my wallet with $100s and drive my Benz into the worst part of Pittsburgh at midnight and get out and have a stroll around. But I don’t think the law and the Bill of Rights are going to protect my sorry ass from a beatdown, and I doubt suing the thugs for violation of my rights is going to make me feel better in my hospital bed.

    With rights come responsibilities, with the first responsibility to yourself, to not make yourself a target. To not be an idiot. Because bad shit happens to enough people who DON’T walk around in sports jerseys that maybe fans should think twice before they fly enemy colors on enemy turf. (Anybody want to take up my offer of $50 if you’ll wear full Steelers regalia in the Dawg Pound, or the worst parts of the Oakland Coliseum or Philly? Going once …)

    No, I do not think this unfortunate Giants fan is an idiot. I think they cannot come up with a harsh enough punishment short of a Turkish prison for the guys who did this to him. But, you know, this is a crazy world sometimes, and there are a lot of nutcases in it, even in (perhaps especially in) ballparks. Sometimes they need little provocation to go off. (That fool who got tasered at PNC last weekend could have caused a lot of damage, for instance.)

    So I’m making a plea here for common sense. You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask of an old Lone Ranger and you apparently do not wear a Giants jersey to Dodger Stadium.



  14. Dan (Not Onorato)
    April 15, 2011 9:10 am

    @ 50. Ginnys dad FTW Well done!

    I own one jersey (Kevin Greene) that I “earned” from doing a keg stand with a punch of strangers. Never wear it though. My wife will wear it from time to time.

    Never really got into wearing jerseys, just wasnt my thing.

    @ 63 Bucdaddy …well said



  15. Pghgirl
    April 15, 2011 9:10 am

    “jerseys and autographs are for kids”

    well someone please tell Dicks Sporting Goods & the NHL that license the jerseys b/c its impossible to find a kids jersey but the racks are overflowing with mens sizes L, XL and XXL.



  16. Pghgirl
    April 15, 2011 9:16 am

    ETA:

    I used to think John Steigerwald was just a sexist jerk and now I’ll just add on idiot. Didn’t read the article & don’t plan to but heard him on DVE’ and was a bit annoyed that Randy & Jim backed off on disagreeing with his statements and then let him plug his book. Guy is just searching for blog hits & book sales. Maybe he can salvage himself by donating whatever $$ and notoriety he gets from all the attention to the guy’s medical fund.



  17. Dave
    April 15, 2011 9:28 am

    I have about thirty jerseys of the Pens, Pirates, Steelers, and Pitt ilk. I wear them to all the games I attend and make frequent trips to other venues when we are the away team. I get grief but if I didn’t want it I wouldn’t wear the jersey.

    To the commenter who said I should have my man card revoked for wearing someone elses jersey: Come get it whenever you’d like



  18. Scott
    April 15, 2011 9:49 am

    Congratulations, Dave. You’re exactly what I’m talking about. No need for me to come get your Man Card, you already handed it in. As you stated, you’re proactively looking for grief.



  19. Robin
    April 15, 2011 10:10 am

    Disagree with the jersey thing, but Hell Yeah to autographs. I was lucky enough to be able to take my two nephews to training camp. They were almost trampled by grown men trying to get autographs. Ugh. Disgusting.



  20. Dan (Not Onorato)
    April 15, 2011 10:18 am

    This kind of reminds me of the time I had a friend want to get in a fight at a Pirate game in the early 90’s because a Mets fan was cheering and bad mouthing the Pirates a little too loud.

    It got me thinking…who are you to get mad because a guy cheers for the other team? Who are you to defend the entire organization?

    Also saw a 70 year old guy go after a 30 year old guy at a Pitt WVU football game one time. The 30 year old was too vocal about “his” Mountaineers and the 70 year old was defending “his” Panthers, so he decided to crawl over 3 rows of seats to go after him. When he tried to get me and buddy worked up we both said we didnt graduate from either school. We just like football.



  21. bucdaddy
    April 15, 2011 10:22 am

    Dave:

    Dawg Pound. Steelers jersey. $50. You’d be Da Man!

    Might have to wait till 2012, tho …



  22. empirechick
    April 15, 2011 10:49 am

    I had no idea there were so few ‘real men’ (by Scott’s and others’ definition) at football and hockey games, what with 2/3 of the crowd being men and better than half those wearing jerseys. I agree that autographs are for kids, but jerseys?? I guess none of the ‘real men’ here ever wore a t-shirt in the 80’s with their favorite band on it, and all those Brett Keisel shirts were only sold to women.

    It’s a shirt, people – not a jock strap.



  23. bucdaddy
    April 15, 2011 10:51 am

    At Kennywood one Sunday I saw a bald guy wearing a Polamalu jersey. I didn’t know whether to think he was being ironic or idiotic.



  24. Cassie
    April 15, 2011 10:58 am

    @bucdaddy. You nailed it. Well said.



  25. Me
    April 15, 2011 11:05 am

    @empirechick —

    I’m with you!

    Men who judge other men’s masculinity by their clothing? I find that very Tim Gunn-like.



  26. PensFan024
    April 15, 2011 11:12 am

    @Scott

    “The faux pas only applies to men wearing another man’s jersey. That’s not only weird, it is emasculating. Women are excused. As are generic jerseys or custom ones like Cassie’s or Ginny’s husbands.”

    Actually, the faux pas is you telling me what I can and can’t wear. I’m glad you feel that your jersey rules are the correct ones. Personally, I don’t wear jerseys but I also don’t tell others how to dress. I guess that’s just how I roll. But, if you must insist, according to the actual “jersey fouls” you are the one committing the faux pas.



  27. Butcher's Dog
    April 15, 2011 11:13 am

    I’m thinking some of the autographs sought by grown men appear on e-bay shortly after the ink dries. And here’s a question for those making up the Man Rules: if I get an autograph when I’m a kid, how long can I keep it before having my masculinity credentials questioned? I’m 63 and have a baseball autographed by the 1959 National League All Star team. Should I ditch it? (he asked sarcastically) And no, bucdaddy, it’s not for sale!



  28. Julie
    April 15, 2011 11:19 am

    If you were secure in yourself, you wouldn’t need to belittle other people’s choices. There is nothing wrong with a guy supporting his team by wearing a jersey. I think my husband looks pretty damn good in his Steeler jersey.

    Maybe those who think its “emasculating” are worried about their own masculinity.



  29. SysCruncher
    April 15, 2011 11:35 am

    @54 nicely stated “more issues that a magazine stand.”

    @68 not just you, but at anyone that goes in for the “man card” or other nonsensical “masculine” typing, doesn’t need to grow up, they need to try to evolve to a modern human being,

    It is sad that a person would need to pay attention to what they are wearing because others may feel the need to inflict harm on them, but there are lowlifes everywhere, and people need to take responsibility to keep order in their lives. If you think that wearing an article of clothing will cause you grief, what’s the point in wearing it? Sounds foolish to me…

    Guys shouldn’t wear jerseys with player names on them? Again, sounds foolish. However you choose to support your team, as long it falls within established laws, and socitial morals, is just fine. If someone thinks that it makes you less of a person, then that’s turmoil that they are going to need to endure alone.



  30. Asl87
    April 15, 2011 11:43 am

    I feel like I’ve be thrust into some bizarre parallel universe. When did men stop wearing player’s jerseys (especially in Pittsburgh)?!

    To whichever Scott thinks doing so is emasculating: clearly you have some insecurity issues that have everything to do with you and nothing to do people being fans. Seriously, just stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.



  31. red pen mama
    April 15, 2011 11:43 am

    You had me at “can I call you ‘Stash?”

    Brilliant satire.

    What a douche he is.

    Now off to read the other comments, and get properly enraged I’m sure.



  32. tokenintexas
    April 15, 2011 11:54 am

    what twaddle to blame the victim for their assault. as for judging a man by what he wears, he paid for it, leave him alone. am i supposed to judge my cousin’s husband by his mean joe greene jersey? nope, the spouse is a jagoff, and mean joe was the SHIT!



  33. red pen mama
    April 15, 2011 11:57 am

    Not enraged at all. as a matter of fact, @burghbaby at #29 had me snorting water at my computer. (You owe me a new keyboard.) And I like Ginny’s Dad. He sounds pretty fierce!



  34. Bulldog
    April 15, 2011 12:08 pm

    Asl87, Julie and several others – you hit the nail exactly on the head.

    Why does today everyone feel that they have to express a judgement on someone else’s choices? I don’t get it. It’s outrageous that Steigerwald or anyone else sees fit to to judge someone else based on their choice of attire.

    What happened to live and let live? Who has the right to say that a grown man can’t wear an article of clothing that was OBVIOUSLY made and marketed for the express purpose of being worn to show support for a team/player? Tens of MILLIONS of adult jerseys are made, sold and worn by fans of various sports across the country.

    To say it’s “emasculating” or somehow or another “wrong” is one of the mind-numbingly dumbest arguments I’ve ever seen. If you don’t like it, don’t wear it, but don’t presume that your choice makes you any better than anyone else.



  35. Lee
    April 15, 2011 12:08 pm

    This whole ‘man card’ argument is ridiculous and reeks of someone who is more insecure about his own masculinity than he would ever want anyone to know about.
    Scott, do you think that wearing the jersey with another man’s name on it is the same as creeping into a player’s dirty clothes hamper to wear his still-sweaty jersey — is that where you’re coming from? The, you know, I’m too much of a man to wear another man’s clothes thing?
    Because you can set your mind at ease by realizing that the jerseys sold to fans never actually belonged to any of the players.
    It’s not like going commando in another man’s fatigues, so you can eliminate that worry from your pretty little head.



  36. kayaker
    April 15, 2011 12:23 pm

    Jerseys are only for kids? OK, I’ll buy that but at what point do you say to your son “sorry honey you are just too old to wear a jersey anymore”. Aren’t most men just big kids?
    I visit AZ for spring training games because I can take the kids and it is a fantastic relaxed fun experience. I never know what fans will be next to us, but it doesn’t matter, a Cubs fan is never far away, there is always a Dogers or Angels fan so we talk about our teams and players like they are family. I mostly want the kids to know that going to a baseball game is what we do for fun(it helps that the parents are in AZ). We have had our share of fans that are yelling like their life depended on the outcome of that game. It is spring training, buddy, the game doesn’t count for anything. The kids are very put off by it, I don’t have to say anything to them they already know.

    For my fathers 80th birthday we all went to a DiamondBacks game they got beat by the Mets but WTH the kids had a blast, they got to see Randy Johnson pitch, they saw a t-shirt shooter for the first time too(that was big time for them)!

    My point is I’m trying to teach the kids to make it a fun thing so that they will always love the sport, if they want to continue wearing a jersey that is their choice as an adult, as long as they respect the game and other fans I feel I have done my part.



  37. Butcher's Dog
    April 15, 2011 12:24 pm

    Ginny’s dad rocks, no doubt about it. Acorn doesn’t seem to have fallen too far from the tree, either.



  38. CC
    April 15, 2011 12:28 pm

    You hit the nail on the head with John Steigerwald, he is a miserable son of a gun. As for the other Steigerwalds I do not know how they have jobs. Paul is a pitiful on his own but when compared to Mike Lange…….

    As an adult male, I do find it kind of strange that a grown man would wear the jersey of twenty something kid though. And many of them hang out at the arena and stadiums begging for their autographs. I think the adults should stick with a Steeler or Penguins Tee or sweatshirt and leave the player jersey to the kids. Just because thousands of folks do it at the venues does not make it any less odd. But to each his or her own.

    Either way it does not condone violence. Remember back in the eighties or nineties a Steeler fan was actually beaten to death at Raiders game. I think it was when they played in LA.

    I have attended several Steeler and Penguins games (in Philadelphia no less) and have never been bothered. In fact, I attended a game at the Ravens stadium and was invited to a Baltimore tailgate party. I guess I should consider myself lucky.



  39. Lee
    April 15, 2011 12:29 pm

    The man-card argument is insane. It reeks of male insecurity.
    Scott, do you equate buying your favorite player’s jersey to creeping through a player’s dirty-clothes hamper so you can wear his still-sweaty jersey?
    Because you don’t have to worry about that, here’s the thing: Those jerseys sold for $100+ at Dick’s haven’t actually been worn by any players. So it’s not like going commando in another man’s fatigues.
    I agree with whoever said the jersey foul is actually in writing your name on a jersey, that is ridiculous. I think the entire point of wearing a jersey is that you’re showing support for the team and a specific player.



  40. Baba Wawa
    April 15, 2011 12:40 pm

    i got some shit from some guys at a beach for wearing my yankees cap one day…i had no clue they were bitching about me until someone pointed out the hat i was wearing…i had a bunch at that time and just grabbed one…only bought it because i needed a blue one!



  41. JD
    April 15, 2011 1:35 pm

    I was at Lane Stadium last fall at Virginia Tech when the Hokies lost the worst football game in school history to James Madison.

    Amonst the Hokies where I was sitting were a scattering of purple JMU jerseys.

    And visitors were treated with RESPECT. No taunts, no slurs, no shoving.

    It can be done.



  42. SC 'Burger
    April 15, 2011 1:50 pm

    I just wonder what Steigerwald would have written if the victim had been wearing a golf shirt with the Giant’s logo on it. Would that “adult” style of clothing made the beating more brutal, or less?



  43. Scott
    April 15, 2011 3:05 pm

    *sigh*

    Guys….you’re acting as though I’m the first person to have this perspective on grown men wearing another man’s jersey. Say that out loud…

    This opinion is widely held. If you want to walk around wearing one, by all means….have at it. I’m not going to argue with you about it. You know where I stand.

    GO PENS!



  44. unsatisfied
    April 15, 2011 3:29 pm

    thank god we have scott here to act as fashion editor at “that’s church”.

    and, what he says must be true. after all, he said it. and, it’s an “opinion that is widely held”.

    though, I have to wonder….is he really lamont jones in disguise?



  45. Scott
    April 15, 2011 5:24 pm

    We mock what we don’t understand.



  46. mmppgh
    April 15, 2011 7:36 pm

    #29 burghbaby — Those were my EXACT THOUGHTS as I was reading this post. (Though mine were not nearly as witty as yours!)



  47. Sam's Dog
    April 15, 2011 9:33 pm

    Scott, I guess then by your own admission you don’t understand a large majority of fans at any sporting event. Maybe, just maybe, they want to show their support for their team? What’s wrong with that? Why does the wearing of any particular jersey have to have some kind of deep meaning attached?



  48. unsatisfied
    April 15, 2011 11:22 pm

    who says I was mocking?



  49. Aileen
    April 16, 2011 12:16 pm

    @Bucdaddy – you are the reasonable man. Please keep on posting.



  50. Ginny's Dad
    April 16, 2011 1:56 pm

    Gin

    I’m sending another comment because I am now the 100th comment. Do I get a prize? Free burrito when Las Velas reopens? Or a flaming dessert and a margarita … I’m not picky.