I was in Pittsburgh recently, and more than the prevalence of Italian Americans, the palpable racial tension via gentrification, and the fact that their baseball team recently got no hit by Lucas Giolito, the most striking thing about the city was its commitment to its color scheme. Pittsburgh is all about the black and yellow, and I think that’s an admirable thing that more cities should strive for.
All of Pittsburgh’s major sports teams’ color palettes prominently feature black and yellow: the Steelers, the Penguins, and the city’s AAA team, the Pirates. The city’s bridges (of which there are several!) are painted yellow. Even the college team (Pitt, not Carnegie Mellon, presumably because nobody from Pittsburgh made it through high school trig so they could get into Carnegie Mellon) has yellow golden hues, or straight-up yellow at its most glorious. And let’s not forget the national anthem of partying in early-Obama-era frat basements, which beats Coldplay by a yinzer mile for the title of the greatest ode to yellow.
What’s shocking to me is that there aren’t more cities who have committed to a color scheme. They’re great! They give a city a better sense of unity. They forge an aesthetic and cultural connection between the city, its residents, and its sports teams. And they help define the vibe of a city—Pittsburgh’s black and yellow is brawny and industrial, while Seattle’s wild collection of blue and neon green is pacific and alt.
But besides Pittsburgh and Seattle, I can’t think of a team with anywhere close to a cohesive color scheme. D.C. comes the closest—it has a strong affinity for red and blue, but the Washington Professional Football Team’s burgundy and gold is nowhere close to the color schemes of the Nats, Capitals, Washington Professional Men’s Basketball Team, or Mystics. And, honestly, red and blue for the nation’s capital? A little uninspired if you ask me.
L.A. has too diverse a sports scene to be anywhere close to unified, but I do appreciate the hues of gold, blue, and purple among teams like the Lakers, Rams, Chargers, Galaxy, Sparks, and UCLA Once-Relevants. Atlanta also does a good job with its red and black vibes (Braves, Falcons, Atlanta United, and the Hawks whenever their jerseys aren’t create-a-jerseys designed by a 4th grader).
But come on. How have more cities not committed to this? How have Chicago’s sports teams not done more to incorporate the Chicago flag that half the city has tattooed on its calves? How come only the Coyotes and sometimes the Diamondbacks commit to Arizona’s desert hues? And why can’t Denver get its shit together and organize a cohesive take on its truly spectacular flag and/or Nuggets throwbacks?
If a city like Pittsburgh is able to figure this out, then surely Houston can hire somebody to get the Rockets and Texans on the same page as the Astros and Dash (or just return the Rockets to either of these throwbacks, please). Or, for a very reasonable fee, I’m willing to consult with Las Vegas and encourage them to change their colors to “all reds.”
Thank you for your time.