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Less than a minute into the Penguins’ game against Philadelphia at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday, the chants began. Loudly.
“LET’S GO PENS!”
“TRICK OR TREAT!”
They all came within the first minute and a half of play, from section 120 – which was the 96.1 Kiss Morning ‘Freak Show’ section, hosted by DJs Mikey and Big Bob.
“It’s funny because I was telling Bob before we got here, should we maybe have a list of our notes?” Mikey said. “But then spur of the moment is always the best because it’s not even us starting a chant, it’s a listener once they realize, ‘All right, we can get a chant going here about just about anything.’ So no preplanning. We just wing it.”
However, it wasn’t just the chants – which also included “WE WANT MEATBALLS!” – that made the section unique. With Tuesday being the Penguins’ “Halloween Theme Night,” the section was filled with Pens fans decked out in costumes. Which, according to Mikey (a rainbow panda with a Mexican wrestling mask) and Bob (Batman), is the best part of the evening.
“I love the costumes because our section just sticks out,” Mikey said. “It kind of looks like a rainbow because there’s just a bunch of differently colored costumes and then of course, the chants and the loud noises. It’s almost like a playoff atmosphere that spreads from our section throughout the building.”
They certainly set the tone for the night, and the Penguins responded – scoring four first-period goals en route to a 7-1 victory over the Flyers.
“Being here and being able to see four goals in the first period was amazing, so the Penguins didn’t disappoint,” said Ned Rolsma, who was sitting in the ‘Freak Show’ section for the first time. “It’s like a perfect storm. I feel like we’re taking the lead for the entire building as sort of the unofficial pep squad. I’m honored. It’s been so much fun.”
Rolsma saw Mikey and Bob tweeting about the ‘Freak Show’ section on social media and decided that he wanted to be part of the fun, dressing up as Superman – one of the many action hero costumes in the section.
Overall, the costumes spanned a wide spectrum, with one of the favorites being an avocado costume worn by John Hood, a ‘veteran’ of the ‘Freak Show’ section.
“I love it because I come to a lot of games and I enjoy the games, but the crowd, this section, is overwhelming,” Hood said. “I absolutely love it. All of the people get weird and have a fun time. It’s a great time.”
The response from the listeners has been tremendous, with Bob saying they probably could have filled half of the arena. And they hope it only keeps growing.
“I think since we’ve done it a few times people know what to expect now, so it keeps getting bigger and bigger every time,” Mikey said. “People know what it’s like when they come to one of our Freak Show sections, so they get a little bit more excited knowing what they’re getting into.”
This is the third time that Mikey and Bob have hosted a ‘Freak Show’ section on a Halloween theme night.
They tweeted at the Penguins last week asking if they could come, and not only did the team respond in the affirmative – they provided a number of giant head signs for them to hold, including Mikey and Bob themselves, Guy Fieri, Mister Rogers, Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist, Dan Potash, Mike Lange, Phil Bourque and Dwight Schrute.
. @penguins heard it’s the Halloween theme game next Tuesday against the Flyers… if we can round up around 100 loud/crazy friends with costumes can we come over and play? #FSPensSection
4:18 AM – Oct 23, 2019
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“I think just the fact that a good professional sports team takes us and our listeners and says, ‘We’re going to give you a hundred tickets in the lower bowl for a game’ – versus the Flyers too – says so much about the organization that they realize what the atmosphere is and we can come and bring our listeners,” Mikey said. “We have fun, they have fun. The fans who have no idea what’s happening have fun too. It’s a good time.”