The mayor's PR "Hail Mary" | Blogh

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The mayor's PR "Hail Mary"

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Just when you thought Pittsburgh's sports fans couldn't get any more devoted -- and that its politicians couldn't get any more shameless -- we just received a mayoral press release with the following header:

Yes, that's right -- according to the release, "Mayor Luke Ravenstahl announced today that he will be ceremonially changing his last name from RAVENStahl to 'STEELERStahl'" until the AFC Championship game this weekend.

The STEELERS, you see, are playing the RAVENS this Sunday. And the mayor is concerned that people may be confused about where he stands. (Though, actually, if you look closely at that banner, you can see there's a trademark after the Steerlers logo. So unless the team is waiving its copyright, presumably the mayor's correct name is "STEELERSTMTAHL.")

So this morning, Ravenstahl went to the county's court-records office and adopted his new name. Immediately after that, he went up to the Elections department, where he ceremonially deposited a $50,000 check -- mysteriously drawn from an account in his newly adopted name -- into his political campaign.

OK, I made the last part of that up. 

In any case, the mayor said: "From now until Sunday, all references to my name will reflect Pittsburgh's love and support for our Steelers."

Well, maybe not all references, Mayor Ravenstahl. As the release points out, "stahl" already means steel in German --  a fact the mayor attributes to "a strange coincidence." (But is it really?) Which means his name would be the awkwadly redundant "Steelersteel."

But who am I to judge? The press release enlists a German professor at Pitt to assert that the mayor's new "name change [is] even more appropriate" because of its German root. 

The professor's name, incidentally, is John Lyon. Must be a closet Detroit fan. (Is there any other kind?) 

I started wearying of this whole Steelers-in-politics thing earlier this week, when -- during a press conference about campaign-finance reform -- a reporter asked Ravenstahl if he'd been able to collect on his earlier "bet" with the mayor of San Diego. But it's too much to hope that any Pittsburgh politician, Ravenstahl least of all, would pass up a PR "gimme" like this one.

So, if the Steelers go on to the Super Bowl, I'm expecting Yarone Zober to change his first name to "Frenchy." And start maybe promenading around in a pair of platform shoes with live goldfish inside.

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