Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bat Signal a Thrill for Burnett

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bat Signal a Thrill for Burnett

Article excerpt

As A.J. Burnett walked off the mound after the third inning Thursday night, his first start since an elbow injury derailed his All-Star season in July, a bat signal appeared behind him, glowing green above the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel's iconic arch.

It was a theatrical moment dozens at PNC Park had anxiously anticipated, a secretly planned show of support three days in the making. When Burnett, 38, a Batman enthusiast, took the field again in the fourth, he saw smaller bat signals lighting up the Gulf Tower and Penn Avenue Place.

"That's by far the coolest thing that's happened to me in my career," said Burnett, who plans to retire after this season.

The idea was hatched in Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto's office Tuesday, the morning news of Burnett's return was plastered in print. Peduto already had discussed projecting the bat signal on buildings Downtown during the playoffs, but this seemed an even better time.

Plus, the inaugural Wizard World Comic Con is in town this weekend.

"The stars aligned for us in Gotham City," said Katie O'Malley, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office.

Tuesday, with a go-ahead from the Pirates, Peduto's office contacted Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures, which produced "The Dark Knight" trilogy that was partially shot in Pittsburgh. Tull offered to cover the cost of the project - "We don't really have a bat-signal budget," O'Malley said, laughing - and Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara gave permission for the trademarked bat signal to be used.

Next, Peduto's office phoned Rob Long, creative director of Clear Story, a Pittsburgh-based creative services firm specializing in architectural lighting design. Long, in turn, called up fellow Washington, Pa., native George Dodworth, CEO of Lightwave International, which has put on laser shows across the globe. …

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