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Mellon Arena: My time has passed

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By Mellon Arena As Told To Kevin Gorman
Sunday, Oct. 4, 2009
 

The end is near. I can feel it in my beams.

How am I doing• Don't ask. I'm old.

Back in the day, I sparkled in stainless steel. I was the world's biggest dome. I was the first arena with a retractable roof. Ooh-la-la.

But my time has passed. I'm ancient. I smell like stale beer. I've got nacho cheese stuck in places you couldn't even imagine.

You can only do so many versions of the Ice Capades or Disney on Ice. You can only take so many visits from the circus, whether it's Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey or the World Wrestling Federation. What, they changed it to World Wrestling Entertainment• What else don't I know• Did they come up with some fancy-pants name for monster trucks, too?

Look, I get the same thing in my Christmas stocking every year.

You guessed it: Harlem Globetrotters tickets.

I could bore you with tales of yesteryear, but I'm nothing more than a bit actor in B-movies. Have you seen Sudden Death! Blow me up• I'll be Jean-Claude Van Dammed! (Between you and me, I still don't trust this Iceburgh character.)

I gave Mario Lemieux the best years of my life, and what do I get in return• He uses me as a bargaining chip to build his baby across Centre Avenue. Consol Energy Center• It took 38 years to get someone to pay for my naming rights! And he has an atrium• I would have LOVED an atrium! I haven't even been able to open this roof for 15 years.

Don't they make a pill for that• I'd give Gate Three ...

Seriously, though, I shouldn't complain.

I've hosted the best of them: The Beatles. Sinatra. Elvis. The Rolling Stones. The Grateful Dead. Springsteen. My favorite• Bob Marley. Won't you help me sing ... Sorry, I get carried away. Love the live recording of Redemption Song. Don't forget that I was built to hold only 10,500. Page and Plant drew 17,776 in '95! I almost burst with 18,150 for the WWF in '99.

And the sporting events ... Don't get me emotional.

Sugar Ray Robinson. Muhammad Ali. Larry Holmes. The City Game. The NCAA Tournament. Coppin-freaking-State! Fang Mitchell still drops a note every now and then. (Haven't heard from Ben Howland lately, though). Connie Hawkins and the Rens and Pipers and Condors. Whatever they were called, he was good. So was the Living Legend, Bru-no Sam-mar-tino! Got a kick out of Paul Child and the Spirit. Who can forget Vitas Gerulaitis and the Triangles• The Gladiators• I think they played here.

But they call me the Igloo for a reason. They built me to be a world-class opera house for the Civic Light Opera, but let's be honest here: I'm a hockey arena. My parents might be eternally disappointed, but the Penguins are my first love, from the top of my dome to The Blue Line club. Michel Briere. Lucky Pierre. Mario. Jaromir. Ronnie. Ulf! Kaspar. Sid. Geno. Flower. Jordy.

Five different NHL scoring champions — sacre bleu to you, Montreal! — three Stanley Cup championships and countless memories. How do you like my new banner• It's a great day for hockey. Every day.

There, I've said my peace. I'm old. My time has passed.

I have only one last request: one more Cup, this time on home ice.

If I gotta go, let me go out a winner.

What they're saying about Mellon Arena ...

Three Rivers Stadium: "They tell you implosion doesn't hurt. They lie."

Heinz Field: "What is TRS complaining about now• Try playing host to the WPIAL football finals, Pitt and Steelers on the same weekend!"

Forbes Field: "Don't feel bad. I gave Pittsburgh its greatest sports moment, and they hit me with the wrecking ball. All that's left is Maz's wall."

Pitt Stadium: "Not only did they tear me down, they became a basketball school!"

Fitzgerald Field House: "What, I didn't count?"

PNC Park: "For a fond farewell, we're sending you off with a bobble dome, a throwback night and fireworks. Hope some people show (sigh)."

Petersen Events Center: "Thanks for always making me look good, and for holding the Ice Capades ... and especially the circus. Any chance I could have the Harlem Globetrotters when you're gone• Sorry, poor timing."

Palumbo Center: "As a going-away gift, you can have one last City Game."

Consol Energy Center: "I know it's not a popular opinion within the organization, but I think you deserve better than this. We're talking about my idol here, and he's going to be reduced to rubble."

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