PITTSBURGH - If you're headed for today's giant playoff game at PNC Park, kindly keep these guidelines in mind:
1. Wear black.
2. Make noise.
3. Try to avoid fighting with the wives of visiting players.
Amid Tuesday night's wild card madness there was apparently a dust-up between some Pirates fans and Dallas Latos, whose husband Mat pitches for the Cincinnati Reds.
Dallas Latos tweeted that her hair was pulled and she was then punched in the head when she visited the Bowtie Bar in the right field stands.
Pittsburgh police investigated and filed no charges. They reported it was a larger confrontation between Pirates fans and Reds fans, all of whom had apparently sampled the stock at the Bowtie Bar.
At most, police said, it was a case of harassment. They dismissed it as a "he slurred/she slurred" dispute between well-lubricated fans, the sort of thing that can be handled by ejecting the offenders.
It's not clear exactly why Dallas Latos was in town for Tuesday's game. The Reds were barely here for 48 hours, hardly enough time to sample the local cuisine ("Hey, they put the fries and slaw right on the sandwich!"), absorb the local culture ("That Andy Warhol had a profitable scam, didn't he?") or even explore downtown shopping (Rite Aid had a sweet buy one/get one sale on vitamins).
Beyond that, Mat Latos was supposed to start, but didn't pitch because of an injury. So Dallas was apparently the only Latos getting exercise at PNC Park.
There was a time when taking wives on the road was taboo. The Pirates had a rule against wives joining their husbands, even if the spouse traveled on her own.
Part of that is the belief a team is on a business trip and needs to focus.
Another factor is a variation on the "What happens in Vegas...." mindset that's part of sports. Some married players have been known to deal with their separation anxiety by making new friends in strange towns.
The last thing a team needs is a wife spotting Joe Pitcher getting on the hotel elevator with Friendly Local Blonde, and reporting back to Mrs. Pitcher, who is handling the diapers and bedtime stories at home.
Times change. Wives travel. Be civil. No hair pulling.
Different black out
Incredible that Major League Baseball wouldn't find a way to get the second game on the current playoff series on local television.
It was broadcast on the MLB Network, which misses a lot of homes either because it's not offered or else it's on a premium level. The latter is the case with Comcast, where the mission statement is, "Everything's an up-sell."
Pittsburgh finally goes baseball crazy, and people have to huddle around radios to keep up with a playoff game.
The NFL has provisions to allow a local station to carry a Steelers game that's otherwise exclusive to the NFL Network.
Maybe MLB thinks the strategy will gain more customers for MLB Network. But maybe it just makes customers angry.
The way some Steelers fans are whining, you'd think the team hadn't had a winning season in 20 years.
Poor Mike Adams. Here's hoping he at least yells, "Hey! Stop!" when pass rushers breeze past him.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org