PITTSBURGH – I thought he was a Smurf.
From the press box, Patrick Englert was a bright blue blob with an even brighter pink hat. And pajama pants. Pink pajama pants.
This ensemble would have been fitting for a slumber party, but this was Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, and Englert was one pane of glass away from Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, in the front row of Section 107.
So I went down to the concourse and waited. And waited. And then, as the second period between the Penguins and the Predators got underway in Pittsburgh, I saw a blue blur walking briskly to his seat. So I stopped him, and let him know that I had to … understand what all of this was.
“Can I explain it to you real quick?” he asked.
Englert took out his phone, and scrolled to a photo of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
“You’re familiar with the Super Bowl, right? That’s me on the field after the Super Bowl game, while they’re interviewing Robert Kraft. That’s me in the back,” he said, pointing to a bright blue shirt that was transformed into a Miami Dolphins “Ray Finkle” jersey, a reference to the infamous place kicker from “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”
So, uh, what brings you to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final?
“I’m a huge Penguins fan,” he said. “I do the Lemieux Fantasy Camp.”
(If you want to know the lengths of his Penguins fanaticism, check out the time he sued Topps over Jaromir Jagr cards.)
Turns out he was at the Final last year, behind the goal as well.
How did he settle on this ensemble? Well, a daughter of a friend of his made his pants, which were pink and had Hello Kitty on them. “And obviously the Ray Finkle shirt’s awesome,” he said. “The only way that Super Bowl would have been any better would have been if the Dolphins lost on a missed field goal, right?”
And with that, the bright pink hat walked down the stairs to take in the second period.
The Stanley Cup Final is expected to attract a number of stars when the action shifts to Nashville, from country music sensations to pro wrestlers.
Here in Pittsburgh, we had Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, this guy in pajamas and, of course, Marlins Man, seated at the opposite end of the ice from Englert.
Marlins Man is here, and he sitting directly behind the goal. pic.twitter.com/3A4U2ZthBP
— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) May 30, 2017
That would be Laurence Levy, the ubiquitous superfan who wears his bright orange Marlins jersey to a variety of sporting events. Alas, his harem, which he’s using to “bring sex back to Major League Baseball,” apparently did not attend Game 1.
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