EDITORIAL - Asides for March 29, 2009

Written by Susan Mannella on .

PITTSBURGH'S TRUE colors as a sports town were on display last week at the NCAA and NIT tournaments, but some of the best action came away from the fields of play. The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to the top of the National Football League with wins in two of the last four Super Bowls, and now a Hall of Famer from the 1970s championship roster is rejoining the team, so to speak. John Stallworth, 56, who played at wide receiver with the team for 14 years, will be a part owner. The NFL last week approved his stake, along with Bruce V. Rauner, chairman of GTCR Golder Rauner LLC, and the Varischetti family of Brockway, Jefferson County. Six partners have been OK'd in a realignment of Steelers ownership under Dan and Art Rooney II, good moves that should keep the team on a solid foundation well into the future.

BUILDING FOR the future of the Pittsburgh Penguins is well beyond the foundation at this point, with girders in place as the Consol Energy Center takes shape in the lower Hill District. Players Pascal Dupuis, Tyler Kennedy, Max Talbot and Jordan Staal stepped off the ice to thank construction crews with a free pizza lunch, autographs of their hard hats and a group photo. The Penguins, who may have the best PR operation in Pittsburgh sports, keep showing they're serious about being part of the Pittsburgh community.

BRADENTON, the Florida home of the pre-season Pirates, was the scene of a sad incident Tuesday involving the wife of one of the team's prospects, Jose Tabata, 20. Amalia Tabata Pereira, 43, was charged with false imprisonment and interfering with child custody. Mr. Tabata, who later said his wife had been pretending to be pregnant, was not implicated and cooperated fully. Police said Ms. Pereira had approached a farm worker at a health clinic, told her she was an immigration official and said the woman and her husband would be deported unless they handed over their 2-month-old baby. After police had issued an Amber Alert, Ms. Pereira, who has used numerous aliases and has a criminal record, surrendered the child, who was not harmed. The incident was a momentary distraction from the Pirates' hopeful spring, including a 14-10 record through Friday afternoon. Opening day, in St. Louis, is only eight days away. Color us happy about that.


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