Since it's Spring Training time and the weather is certainly more like spring than it is winter, I thought I would share this great article that I read on the Player's Tribune from Andrew McCutchen.
As everyone knows, I am a huge fan of all things Pittsburgh, especially the sports teams! I have been fortunate to have gone to a lot of sporting events in my life and Pirates games were some of my first memories. This may surprise a lot of you who know of my passion for the Steelers and Penguins, but it's true. Growing up playing little league baseball lead me to follow the Pirates first and foremost. It didn't hurt that the Pirates had Bonds, Bonilla, and Van Slyke!
Before the recent heartbreaks of Steelers losses to the Patriots in AFC Championship games, I first had the heartbreak of watching the Pirates lose in the playoffs to the Braves. We were lucky though that the Penguins had some good players as well and were able to bring the Stanley Cup to the city in 91 and 92! That certainly helped take the sting off of the Pirates losses...
Of course, we all know that the Pirates would never be the same after that fateful loss to the Braves. After Bonds left, it would be 20 odd years until they had another winning season. Throw in the 94-95 lockout and my focus was shifting away from baseball. The Steelers were starting to rise to the top again, making it to the Superbowl in the 95 season. Eventually, I stopped following the Pirates as closely as I used to.
To bring this back to my original point, it was one Andrew McCutchen who brought my attention back to the Pirates. There was a buzz about him as he came up through the minors and was eventually called up the big leagues. I knew that he could be a game changer for the team and end the futility, so I began to watch and read about the Pirates more regularly. It didn't hurt that the Nationals had relocated to DC and I could go watch the Pirates play them!
When I heard the trade rumors this past off season and I saw the news that Cutch wasn't willing to move from centerfield, I began to get really concerned. For everything that he has done for the organization, as the face of the turn-around, the Pirates owe it to him to be upfront and honest about what they intend to do. I thought Cutch was very forthcoming in his article and I really appreciated what he wrote.
He truly means so much to the city and the franchise that I could not imagine him playing anywhere else. (think Sidney Crosby or Mario Lemieux) I really hope that ownership takes the high road and doesn't offend all of the fans who Cutch has brought to the park or like me, brought back to the park. Here's hoping that Cutch turns it around and has a killer year at the plate and in right field. And here's to seeing him retire in the black and gold!!