Dear Pittsburgh Penguins Fan
My name is AJ, and I’m a Kansas City native and avid hockey fan still living in the Midwest. Like you, I am a sports fan who loves my hometown team. I live and die with every Mike Sweeney strikeout. My heart gets crushed every time Larry Johnson runs into the pile on 3rd and 20. Whether it’s the Chiefs, the Royals, Wizards, Brigade, Tom Watson, UMKC or even that lame ass team-tennis thing we have, I will root for any of them with my last breath because they represent my town.
I understand that you are in a slight bit of panic right now over the potential loss of one of your favorite teams, the NHL’s Penguins. I understand that this process is not fair and that the whole thing has been drawn out and tedious. I completely understand that no fan base (except for Husker fan..and let’s face it..they’re not going to lose their team anytime soon) deserves the pain of possibly losing their team. So for that, I feel bad for you, and I share in your anxiety.
However, in reading your dozens, if not hundreds of statements about the current situation between your team and their possible move to my hometown, I have become somewhat agitated by your constant pissing and moaning that emanates from your rusted out motor home. With that being said, I’m going to cut to the chase, and ask you what a lot of us Midwest hockey fans have been thinking:
Who the hell do you think you are?
You people act like you’re fans of the 27 Yankees. You didn't even get your team until the late 60's. You speak online and in newspaper letters to the editor as if you are doing the NHL a favor by going to games every night the past couple of seasons. I’m not sure if you know this or not, but the NHL is pretty much screwed with our without you. So you’ve sold out a few games this year? I’m pretty sure I could put the Penguins in Des Moines or Little Rock and people would come out to see the wealth of young talent you people have on your (or is it “our” team yet?). Where the hell were you after Mario retired? Where the hell were you when various owners asked for new arenas back in the day?
Speaking of new arenas, did you know that besides Kansas City, Des Moines, Oklahoma City, Omaha and even Council Bluffs Iowa have new arenas? You make it sound like building an arena is some sort of difficult task. Out here in cow country, they do grow on trees. Hell, within 15 miles of where I sit and type this letter, there are three arenas that hold over 7,000 fans. Not one. Not two. Three.
So you see, it’s hard for the rest of us to feel sorry for you when you turned your back on your team not so long ago. ANYBODY can root for a team full of young stars. Anybody can root for a team that has a 19 year old phenom. Hell, just THREE years ago you were DEAD LAST in attendance.
But what’s that? The Royals can’t draw anybody without the help of the Famous Chicken or Friday Night Fireworks? That’s fine, but what about the new-fangled arena football team that plays in a rat-infested toilet and still sells out? What about that little NFL team that has been in the top 3 in attendance every year since 1991? (That’s 78,000+ in case you were wondering).. Speaking of which..how many of you have even been to Kansas City? I’m guessing next to zero, unless you count that time you drove to Vegas when you heard that Johhny Cash tribute band was playing.
“But Kansas City already had a chance at the NHL, and they lost them.” Uhhh…so did Denver and Minneapolis and last time I checked, they seemed to be doing pretty well with their brand new arenas.
But the number one reason I don’t feel sorry for you is the simple way of the world. Teams up and moving are a way of life. Did anybody feel sorry for me when I was 13 years old and the Kings left town for a crappy nothing town in the middle of nowhere California? No. Did anybody feel sorry for Cleveland when the Browns left? Well..OK..they did, so that’s a bad example.
The point is..this is the way the world works. You might think bringing a sign to a game or bitching at local politicians may help you, but in fact it’s completely hopeless. You are at the mercy of men in suits who have been jerked around for a very very long time. I’m sorry it has to come down to this, but contrary to what you believe, there ARE people who will follow the Pens here and there ARE people who are praying at night that they make it here. So stop with your whining. Stop with your pissing and moaning, and face the fact that you are an inevitable pawn in a giant game.
I don’t know if the Pens are coming to Kansas City, it’s not up to me. However, if they do come to KC, I won’t shed a tear as I watch Sidney fly around the ice at a jewel of an arena in downtown KC. For you see, I’m still waiting for Joe Axelson to say he’s sorry for breaking my heart when I was just a kid. Well I got over it and you will too, if and when the time comes.
Til that time does come, stop making idiotic comments about towns you know nothing about and just sit back and wait for the inevitable. Hey, at least you have IC beer. It’s not Boulevard, but it’s not half bad.
AJ – Future Kansas City Pens fan
PS - If you feel as I do, please contact the NHL and tell them you can't wait to see hockey back in Kansas City.
National Hockey League
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020