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This week in City Paper History

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After a fast start, the 2016 Pirates have cooled off a little. But remember, everything’s going to be fine. Or at least, it won’t be as horrible as the bad ol’ days between 1992 and 2013. To remind you of that, we go back to April 17, 1997, and a story written by John Enrietto, a regular guru of Pirates baseball, about the team’s new strategy. Unfortunately, the plan had little to nothing to do with improving the baseball team. The club had a $9 million payroll ($7 million less than the next lowest franchise) and a bunch of names — except maybe Jason Kendall and Al Martin — that few could recall at this point. Despite the Pirates marketing director’s claims that the team was “selling baseball, not gimmicks,” it was obvious that the focus was on non-baseball premiums instead of actual players. That year, the team gave away fishing rods, mouse pads and dog tags, and held events like senior bingo day. Hell, it even introduced a fancy red-billed cap. If only they would have introduced a starting pitcher who we could remember today.

Outgunned (April 21, 2004)

Writer Marty Levine did a post-mortem, no pun intended, on the National Rifle Association Convention that took place in Pittsburgh the week before. While it was the first conference in years not to feature actor and NRA President Charlton Heston shouting about somebody taking his gun “from my cold dead hands,” plenty of celebrities, from rocker/moron Ted Nugent to Vice President/moron Dick Cheney were there. It also featured “four acres of guns and gear.” Included in that gear were T-shirts targeted at children and others that were just plain scary: “My pistol and my rifle are only tools. I am the weapon.” See, even the T-shirt says that guns don’t kill people.

Last Call (April 20, 2005)

Chiodo’s Tavern, located at the end of the bridge in Homestead, was closing its doors after 58 years. The tavern was known for its Mystery Sandwich and countless pieces of memorabilia hanging from the ceiling and otherwise displayed in the small establishment. A few days after this story ran, several hundred people would show up for an auction of the bar’s contents, including the recipe to that sandwich, which sold for $450. The heartburn that followed … priceless.

Ray of Hope (April 19, 2006)

Staff writer Brentin Mock takes a look at the struggles of African-American males trying to reconcile their homosexuality with the stigma that the church places on those in the LGBT community. The story focuses on Raymond Smith, a devout Christian looking for acceptance from the church. “Sexual desires don’t come from somebody else,” says the Rev. Deryck Tines, who is also gay. “They come from God.”

Lifelong Fight (April 22, 2010)

Staff writer Lauren Daley (who still gets calls to the office from sources, by the way) does her first CP cover story on Lauren Fisher, a female boxer living and training in Indiana County. While the story dealt with Fisher’s athletic career, it was more a story about a woman coming to grips with her sexuality in the face of strong familial objections. Daley deftly took readers on a journey through Fisher’s struggle with her family, her romantic relationships and, most importantly, her sexuality, which had led to thoughts of suicide. At the time of the story, Fisher was working on her boxing career and trying to get to the Olympics. But, as Daley wrote, that was nothing compared to the battle she’d already gone through: “She’s fought for something that big before, but it was when her identity — not a title belt or medal — lay on the line.”


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