My Pittsburgh vacation

Pittsburgh is nice this time of year. There are few cities in the U.S. with an entrance as breathtaking as that from the Fort Pitt tunnel. It’s called the City of Bridges and I can see why. With three rivers intersecting, it’s a lot of water.

On day one we arrived around 1:30. The mass transit system in Pittsburgh is kind of strange. Depending on which direction you’re heading you pay entering or leaving the bus. It only took us three days to figure it out. We stayed at the Hilton, which was where the Steeler players stay the night before the game. I hope they got a bigger room than we did. The room was about the size of Ted Washington.

We went to the The Church Brew Works for lunch. It was another long bus ride down Liberty Avenue. Yes, it’s a brewery inside what used to be a church. It’s a spectacular view, although the food was decent at best. I thought a cheesesteak with Kobe beef would be otherworldly but it wasn’t too flavorful. I liked the Pipe Organ Pale Ale even though I’m more of a brown ale kind of guy.

After a short intermission at the room my wife and I gussied up and headed for Mount Washington. There are two inclines that head up the mountain and we took the Monongahela one. This is a near-vertical climb that leads to a spectacular view of the city skyline. Heinz Field (even blue-collar Pittsburgh has a corporate pimp) was to the far left. We walked along the top of the mountain and wondered about the real-estate market. Every house up there is different. It’s nice, along with the scores of old churches. Due to our late lunch we ate at a Chinese place inside Station Square.

On Sunday morning we wore neutral colors because our safety couldn’t be ensured with the blue and blue of the Titans. Anyone not wearing Steeler gear was suspect. I can’t imagine another NFL city spending more per capita on team gear. We gathered with my parents and various other relatives. One second cousin to my dad hadn’t seen me since I refused to take off my Cookie Monster jacket at my aunt’s wedding. Talk about the memories. Since we didn’t have the cabbage to get in the stadium ($100 for nosebleed seats), we settled in at the Outback Steakhouse inside PNC Park. The park is nice. It’s too bad that they don’t have a team. The Outback was a perfect base of operations because most of the pre-game clientele left to go to the game.

The game was good for seven minutes. I had high hopes while McNair guided the Titans to a score. Seeing Ben Troupe make plays after his playing time was in question was nice. After that, the game was a blur of missed tackles and Titan mistakes. Rob Bironas doinked a field goal attempt, as I predicted. McNair threw a slant to Drew Bennett inside the ten-yard-line that Bennett bobbled directly to Troy Polamalu. Travis Henry put one on the ground. Willie Parker looked like Franco Harris and Barry Sanders put together. After the first drive the patchwork offensive line fell apart.

The relatives scattered, and after a short rest we went to a fondue place for dinner. Cheese, salad, and chocolate. Just what every growing boy needs.

My three main fantasy teams sucked eggs this weekend. I had a noticeable lack of playmakers. All three of my quarterbacks (Delhomme, Plummer, Green) performed poorly at best. I lost by 59 points in the AUFL, and ‘earned’ the top waiver spot for my troubles. Week One is not indicative of an entire season, but I’m a little peeved anyway. I’m supposed to be an expert. Ironically the only NFL fantasy game I won was against my editor at xpertsports who started Troy Fleming and Mewelde Moore at running back.

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