Penguins give back to community

PITTSBURGH – The local pro teams do a lot of good deeds in the community. You know this because they usually alert the media to their philanthropy.

Rarely does a good deed go unpublicized. There isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with that. Image buffing is reality in corporate America. Back when Jerry Lewis was running a telethon, certain sponsors showed up every couple of hours with another check presentation. They could have written one check and dropped it off quietly, but things don’t work that way.

Still, it reminds of Catfish Hunter’s famous line about teammate Reggie Jackson: “He’ll give you the shirt off his back. Of course, he’ll call a press conference to announce it.”

That climate makes it even more impressive that Pittsburgh Penguins players Beau Bennett and Robert Bortuzzo took it upon themselves to visit victims of the knife attacks at Franklin Regional High School. Bennett and Bortuzzo showed up at the hospital on their own, delivering some autographed gear and good wishes after practice on Friday.

Nobody sent them, it was their own initiative. Friday was the only day that worked in the schedule because of the playoffs looming. So there they were, trying to cheer up some kids who had endured a horrific experience.

Spies at the Penguins report this generosity isn’t uncommon. Bennett and Bortuzzo frequently make quiet hospital visits. Bennett is from California and Bortuzzo is from Thunder Bay, Ontario, but they feel a connection to the community.

Now they’re getting publicity for this, which they didn’t seek. They did it just because it felt like the right thing to do, and that makes their effort even more impressive.

Hanging on

Joe Beimel is pitching in relief for Seattle, his first major league work since the Pirates released him on Aug. 30, 2011.

The Pirates dropped him, coincidentally, just a week after he said he wanted to be like former teammate Jesse Orosco, who pitched until he was 46.

Between Pittsburgh and Seattle, Beimel kicked around the Texas and Atlanta organizations without getting to the majors. Now he’s back, pitching for his seventh team in 12 years at age 37 and making $850,000.

As long as a lefthanded pitcher still has a pulse, he has a chance to be in someone’s bullpen.

Ready for prime time?

The NFL schedule is supposed to be released this week, which is worth a tailgate party somewhere.

The NFL has always loved the Steelers in prime time because they’ve consistently been a contending team loaded with big recognizable personalities. Does the NFL still want to showcase the Steelers after two 8-8 seasons?

Mehno can be reached at