Woo wee. This weekend has been a pivital one for the Pirates. After the firesale of the week before, the Pirates had a big target on their backs. People have been doubting the moves and mentality of the Pittsburgh organization and the Bucs needed to step up and show what they were really made of.
Andrew McCutchen got the memo and delievered. In a big way. In Friday’s 5-4 win over the Nationals Cutch collected 2 key hits. On Saturday he definetly rose to the occasion. Number 22 belted 3, count em 3 homeruns! It was truly a sight to behold. All 3 dingers sailed over the left field wall in about the same location. He hit one in the first, to lead it off, one in the fourth and one in the seventh. However, he did’nt stop there. McCutchen showcased his outstanding speed and laid down a bunt towards the third base line. He zoomed down to first and was in there with a key single. He ended up 4-5 in the game with a total of 6 RBI and 4 runs scored.
Andrew earned his first curtain call at PNC Park. Now I love a good curtain call. The player just completed an aswesome feat and it is so impressive to me that the fans recognize what went down and pay their respects to the player in a very loyal way. I for one think its filled with pagentry that can’t be touched in any way. I take curtain calls very seriously and fondly remember two that took place at PNC Park that I was a part of.
Remember Derek Bell? If not he was a player for the Mets who was a solid big leaguer. He had some good seasons and was signe dby the Bucs one offseason. He started off the year slow and was booed for a good part of the first half. But one fateful Saturday night he belted his first dinger of the season and the crowd went nuts. I’m not sure if it was for his HR or that it put the Pirates up by one against the Astros in the 8th inning. Nonetheless, the corwd remained on their feet for a few minutes after he had touched home. Bell came out of the dugout after high fiving teammates and tipped his cap to the adoring Pittsburghers.
Just this year former Buc Craig Monroe followed in the similar footsteps of Bell. He was an off season acquistion and just getting used to the new club. He was a solid bench player and a likeable guy (the polar opposite of Bell in terms of personality). In a game against the Braves on a Saturday in April Monroe went haywire. He smashed 2 homeruns to starighaway center field that landed in the bullpen. It was great for Monroe to show his raw power and get his name out to the fans. After the second homerun I remember remianing standing and yelling “Hey Craigger” I was sitting behind homeplate close to the field but still a long shot if he actually heard me. Others around me began to stand and cheer loud and even louder than I was. It caught fire and the entire stadium was up and booming, the Craig came to the top step and showed his appreciation. I kind of take pride in the fact that I was kind of the firestarter.
McCutchen’s big night was the number 7 top play on Sportscenter from the night. Sportscenter really did the game justice with about 5 minutes of coverage, honestly the most I have seen given to the Pirates in quite some time. It was awesome sitting on my couch watching the most famous sports show paying all this homage to Cutch and the Pirates. After the 3 minute long highlight the hosts talked about famous Pirates that hit 3 homeruns in one game. Willie Stargell did it as well as Roberto Clemente. Just seeing Andrew’s face among these two MLB legends was inspiring. Even though he is so young Andrew has already left his mark and gotten the attention of everyone in the baseball world. It would feel like a dream if only Cutch can do the things “Pops” and “The Great One” did in a Pirates uniform.
Watching the national attention of the game made me want to laugh and say hey…I told ya so. Earlier in the week ESPN was bashing the Pirates left and right. Reporters on “Around the Horn” was harsh with the Pittsburgh ownership suggesting the MLB step in and kick out the owners. On “Pardon the Interruption” Tony and Michael were also tough and just plain rude. The Pirates won 2 games since the trade dealine and won them impressively. Although they lost 5-3 on Sunday they are still in good shape and poised to finish off the season competitively.
Picture credit: postgazette.com, AP