PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The entire city is embracing the Penguins as they continue their quest for the Stanley Cup; and now, even the Pirates are getting involved.
After wrapping up a three-game series with a win against the Chicago Cubs Thursday afternoon, the Pirates departed PNC Park in style.
Neil Walker, Pirates’ infielder and Pittsburgh native, decided as a show of support that he’d get his teammates to dress in Penguins’ jerseys.
“We’re showing our support. This is obviously an exciting time of year for them, and we know a lot of those guys. We get along with them great,” said Walker. “They come over here a lot, we send guys over there. It’s just our way of wishing them good luck in the playoffs.”
“The guys got the Pirates’ game on in the room right now, so it’s pretty cool,” said Penguins’ forward James Neal. “And it’s funny to see those guys wearing Penguins’ jerseys. But in our position, we’d do the same thing for them.”
Many of the Pirates chose to wear the jersey of whichever player shares their uniform number.
So, Walker – No. 18 for the Bucs – was sporting Neal’s No. 18 Pens’ jersey.
“I got a text this morning of a picture with Pedro [Alvarez] with my jersey on, so it’s pretty funny,” added Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke. “But it’s just a neat thing to see. And I think in the fall, when we’re back here, we’ll be wearing Pirates’ jerseys.”
Cooke and Alvarez both wear No. 24.
“It’s just a good way that we can support them,” added Pirates’ pitcher Jason Grilli. “You know, we’re rooting for them; and it’s just a fun away… another unifying thing for this ball club.”
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Pirates’ catcher Michael McKenry: “I like the camo, to be honest with you. I didn’t want to pick a favorite; I just like the jersey. I think the whole team is worth wearing; so since I got this one in camo, I had to go with it.”
As the Pirates boarded the buses Thursday evening to head for the airport, they were all wearing hockey jerseys. It’s a point of mutual respect for their friends at the CONSOL Energy Center.
And this is not just for the trip to Milwaukee. The Pirates plan to wear them all weekend long.