Are Philly and Pittsburgh rivals? (Philadelphia, Allentown: casinos, live in, vs)
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My goodness, just goes to show how heated up people can get, and how little aware of history people have become.
I grew up in Philly, lived there over 20 years, never gave Pittsburgh a thought.
I married a guy from the Pittsburgh area, and lived for 20 years in a small city about 30 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Other than sports, most of the people I knew there didn't think all that much of Pittsburgh, or Philly. Actually, many hated Philly because they saw it as a big city full of people living on welfare and sucking up their tax dollars.
There's the Philly metro area, the Pittsburgh metro area, and then there's the rest of the state, mostly still woods. It's a long drive between the Burgh & Philly, and most of it is through woods, woods, woods.
Say a little more. What is the nature of the rivalry? Is it a sports rivalry or more between the cities themselves.
It's a city rivalry that is expressed through sports, I'd say. They each like to trash each other in different ways... usually with off-the-cuff and subtle remarks (note the amount of Philly people here comparing the size of Philly metro with Pitt)
I grew up in eastern PA (Lehigh Valley - i.e. Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton area), went to college in central PA and graduate school in western PA (about 50 miles east of Pittsburgh in the latter case), and lived for almost 8 years in Harrisburg. IMO, the rivalry between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is a one-way rivalry, with Pittsburgh considering Philadelphia a rival to a much greater degree than the other way around. People in Pittsburgh/western PA (and to some degree central PA, especially rural central PA) IMO have a resentment towards Philadelphia, I think because there is a perception that Philly takes a lot of the state's money. Another factor with the resentment IMO is the lack of reciprocity in terms of perceiving that there is a rivalry; many Pittsburgh area natives perceive there is a rivalry but most Philadelphia area natives generally don't think about Pittsburgh, which miffs Pittsburgh natives (and contributes further to the one-way nature of the rivalry). The reason for the "rivalry perception imbalance" has to do with 1) geography and 2) size of the cities. Pittsburgh, by East Coast standards, is a pretty isolated city, far from other large cities except Cleveland. From Pittsburgh's point of view, Philadelphia, being in the same state, would be a natural rival, probably second only to Cleveland. However, from Philadelphia's point of view, Pittsburgh is really, really far away, at least compared to Baltimore, Washington, and especially New York. (Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are just over 300 miles apart; by contrast, Philadelphia is about 90 miles from New York, just under 100 miles from Baltimore, and about 140 miles from Washington.) Furthermore, not only are New York, Baltimore, and Washington much closer to Philadelphia than Pittsburgh is, but New York and Washington are larger than Pittsburgh is too (and obviously New York is much, much larger). Furthermore, Philadelphia is also about 3X larger than Pittsburgh, so there is also a "smaller city/larger city" rivalry dynamic going on, where the smaller city is more likely to perceive the larger city as a rival than the other way around. All of these factors, IMO, make the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh "rivalry" a one-way rivalry for the most part.
I'll also address the question in another way, based on my own personal experiences as a sports fan. Growing up in eastern PA, I became (and still am) a Philadelphia sports fan in most sports. Before I went to college in rural central PA and had had very limited exposure to people from western and rural central PA, I casually rooted for Pittsburgh teams most of the time, not against every opponent (and obviously not against Philadelphia teams I supported) but against the many of them. I figured Pittsburgh was in the same state, so it made sense to casually root for Pittsburgh teams. I think this way of thinking is very common among eastern PA natives who are Philly sports fans. However, when I went to college and got exposed to people who were Steelers fans (who IMO have a tendency to think their team is wonderful, regardless how good they actually are), I quickly got turned off by them (and this was in 1991/1992, when the Steelers were only mediocre). I think one of the big reasons I got turned off was because I felt a degree of anti-Eagles bias among some (though not all) Steelers fans. Still, when I was in college, I didn't mind the Penguins or Pirates (both of whom had some very successful years during part of my time as an undergraduate). Then in 1997 I went to graduate school in western PA. It was there that I got exposed to what IMO is ridiculous chest-beating by Pittsburgh/western PA natives about how wonderful Pittsburgh is in every way (even though metro Pittsburgh's population has been in decline in absolute terms, due to people moving away and dying off), along with what I perceived as an even stronger anti-Philadelphia bias. I quickly went from strongly disliking the Steelers and only the Steelers to hating every Pittsburgh team in every sport. So to answer the originally-posted question, I think many/most, though not all, Pittsburgh area natives, regardless of where they've lived, perceive Philadelphia as a rival. With Philadelphia area natives however, how they perceive Pittsburgh depends significantly on whether they've lived in central PA and/or western PA at some point in their lives (including college). Philadelphia area natives who have never lived in central/western PA don't perceive Pittsburgh as a rival and in fact are likely to casually root for Pittsburgh teams (though probably not in hockey due to the Flyers and Penguins being in the same division). By contrast, Philadelphia area natives who lived in central PA but not western PA are likely to perceive the Steelers as somewhat of a rival, but do not perceive the other Pittsburgh teams that aren't in the same division as Philadelphia teams as rivals. Finally, Philadelphia area natives who lived in western PA are quite likely to perceive Pittsburgh as a rival, for the reasons I mentioned above.
Incidentally, part of the reason why the Port of Baltimore is larger than the Delaware River ports (Philadelphia, Chester, Wilmington) combined is that A) it has a deeper draft (i.e. it can handle larger ships) and B) it is further inland, reducing the distance to markets further west. Also, in a local sense, the Port of Baltimore serves both Baltimore and Washington, which combined are a little larger than Philadelphia, so that's a factor too.
Also, for what its worth - it's Milwaukee, WI that says soda instead of pop - not Detroit. I have no idea what the historical explanation for that is. Especially since they appear to say pop in Chicago, which has practically swallowed Milwaukee into its Metro Area. It's interesting though.
Also, for what its worth, Milwaukee has not even begun to be "swallowed" by Chicago, nor will it ever be. Milwaukee, and WI, has its own unique culture and certainly will stand on its own merits. As we say, Chicago is our largest suburb, not the other way around. Furthermore, Soda, is the proper reference to the soft drink; soda being a carbonated drink, which WI would know, as we have the most perfect dialect in the country. After living in Jenkintown for a couple of months, it does not surprise me that you don't give any consideration to your counterpart in the West. If its one thing I learned from you bluebloods, you don't think there much anything past the North East Coast until you hit California. By the way, do you guys have bubblers in PA?
Last edited by MrBeluksee; 02-14-2011 at 11:14 PM..
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