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Dunlap: What One Fan Would Get In An Otherwise Empty PNC Park?

On Wednesday afternoon, the most rare occurrence --- as in it has never happened before --- was taking place in Major League Baseball. The Baltimore Orioles were hosting the Chicago White Sox in an empty stadium at Camden Yards because of the unrest in the city.

It has been reported that it is the first MLB game on record to be played in front of no fans.

It got me to thinking, however. Most definitely --- because of social unrest --- I hope this never happens in Pittsburgh.

But what if, for some reason, the Pirates were faced with a similar situation albeit with one caveat: Just one fan could make their way in.

That's right, only one person would be granted the right to take in that game at PNC Park.

In this hypothetical, the person needs to be someone currently alive.

That said, I would love to know who you think that person would be, but here are some of the people who quickly rolled off my tongue as candidates …

+ TC The Beer Vendor -- Now, he wouldn't have anyone to vend his beer to, but it is almost-impossible to imagine a game being played at PNC Park without seeing TC swing his hat in the air and scream and holler really loud. On top of that, part of the ambiance of any game at PNC Park --- whether you are there in person, listening on radio or watching on TV --- is hearing that distinct, quick and loud sharp whistle from TC as he makes more noise than some whole sections.

+ The Lady Who Got Hit In The Head With a Foul Ball Not Long Ago – Granted, she shouldn't have been standing that close to the screen while action was happening. Totally her fault that she wore one home that night. But, that said, it might be nice for the club to let her be the lone one at PNC Park. I do know something, however: She should probably sit in the second (not first) row, just to be safe.

+ Fake Pedro – Through the ups and downs, throwing errors, strikeouts, tough times and boos, this guy has been there for his man Pedro Alvarez. I never have thought he looked much (or really, at all) like the Real Pedro, but that's his thing and some people have latched on. Good for him for gaining some traction. One thing that hasn't been solidified --- does he sit on the first base side every game now that Real Pedro has been shifted to first base?

+ Robby In The Seats - That's what I have dubbed Robby Incmikoski from ROOT Sports because it seems just about every one of his in-game reports comes from somewhere in the seats. That said, an empty stadium would be his dream --- or maybe his nightmare, I can't figure it out. Anyway, he'd be more than at home amongst, well, thousands and thousands of seats.

+ Mayor Luke – You just know he'd try like hell to finagle his way in there somehow.

+ Ross Morgan, The Left Field Loonies Guy – The stories are endless. No one, apparently, parties like this guy. Whether it is in the left field bleachers during games, out on a boat pregame or in and around the North Shore before or after a game, Morgan is a legend of a fan. It is that kind of dedication why this guy should be considered in this scenario where just one person would be admitted.

+ Joe Klimchak – You know him, Scoreboard Joe. As an aside, he might be the nicest man in the history of the world. If everyone were like Joe Klimchak, we wouldn't need to have a Pentagon. Anyhow, as far as letting him into the stadium as that solitary being during a game, he's a guy who would have earned it. Sure, facilitating the Box Of Mystery game at PNC Park during the high times is fun, but what about all those Tuesday nights early in the season when it is 38 degrees, a 6-run game and there are just 6,000 people left in the place? That can't be fun. And dealing with some of the people who really can't "Spot The Cow" … I couldn't even begin to imagine. The guy deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his services as he shepherds and entertains Yinzers. The least that could happen is he could be the one guy inside an otherwise-empty stadium during a game.

+ Phil Coyne – What is Mr. Coyne now? Something like 117 years old? And he is still working as an usher at the ballpark. What a man.
He started his ushering days way back at Forbes Field and still gets it done each night. For all the miles those shoes have logged and all the times that trusty towel (we call it a worshcloth here) wiped a seat as he folded it down with his other hand in one motion, Mr. Coyne would be the perfect candidate for the honor of seeing this game. After all, for the guy who has been there and served so many people, it would be a perfect payback to have that stadium all to himself and allow him to watch a game, and not have to work it.

+ The Vendor Guy Who Wears All Those Old Uniforms And Has The Mustache – I don't know the guy. I think his name is Ricky or something like that. But he hustles, I know that. You will see him in the Lexus Club tossing peanuts and snacks to fans and quickly making his way up the steps to grab more stuff at their command. On top of that, he has a glorious mustache, is one of those characters around ballparks that give it a special feel and is, from what I heard, a really good guy. And, lastly, he has all those uniforms --- the guy must have 50 Pirates uniforms. I don't know about you, but when I watch a Pirates game on TV, my eyes invariably find him and follow him behind home plate for awhile. He's just fascinating.

+ Ron Florian – What happened to this man who was an unmatched Yinzer? He had a superb mustache, an incredible Pittsburgh accent, unbuttoned his Hawaiian shirt in Tom Selleck form (down to at least the third button) and rooted with all he had for the Pirates? You remember him, right? He was at the center of the 2007 marketing campaign for the club and became a cult figure before, well, he just kind of vanished. If there's one guy who suffered through all the bad and should get to be the lone soul in a stadium during the good times, it might be Ron Florian. Where is he, anyway? What ever happened to him?

+ Seventh Inning Stretch Thumbs Up Guy – I don't like him much because I think he jumps in front of little kids to make his way onto television, but I have to admit this: He is there all the time. And I mean all this time. I don't think the guy misses a game from his seats along the third-base dugout. That said, I'm really happy ROOT Sports has been showing him less and less and less during the Seventh Inning Stretch doing his patented "thumbs up" into the camera. But if he's anything, he's loyal. Perhaps he'd be the person awarded the honor of admission into a stadium of one. I'd vote against him if someone gave me a vote, but he must be on the ballot.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 "The Fan." You can e-mail him at Check out his bio here.

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