PITTSBURGH - Nobody has enough money.
This conclusion is drawn from an overview of the news pages, not just the momentary avalanche of post-holiday bills.
School districts are hurting. Roads and bridges are crumbling. People who have jobs may not have transit service to get to them.
Times are tough.
Yet you'd never know that by looking at the turnstile count for the local pro teams.
Aside from a time when a labor stoppage forced replacement teams for a few weeks in 1987, the Steelers have been sold out since 1972.
Saturday's home game against New Jersey was the Penguins' 229th consecutive sellout.
The prices are steep: A prime seat for a Penguins' game costs at least $225. It's at least $60 for a seat at the back of the upper deck.
The few Steelers tickets that are available each year are either $64 or $68.
Once you're in the building, you start peeling off $10 bills for beer, more for food.
The ubiquitous officially-licensed team gear isn't cheap. The Steelers offer an authentic jersey with your choice of name and number for $275.
The Penguins have authentic jerseys for $329.99.
Somehow people come up with this.
Nobody has enough money except when it comes to sports.
Time to go
The Steelers' Aaron Smith suggested last week that he might still try to play.
His desire to come back from neck surgery at age 35 is admirable, but ultimately impractical for the Steelers.
Smith has been sidelined for big parts of the past three seasons. The Steelers can't afford the roster spot or the cap room for a player who's unavailable that much.
It's sad if they have to tell him, but it's time to end an outstanding career.
West Virginia's football team scored 70 points in its Orange Bowl victory over Clemson.
The WVU basketball team has failed to reach 70 points in three games this season.
A producer at Root Sports was given a suspension when the channel's "all access" broadcast of a Penguins game included a profanity in Dan Byslma's taped pre-game speech.
It's not like it was difficult to catch: It was the first (expletive) word Bylsma spoke in the clip.
Mehno can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org