I’m a dad and I have no shame so here goes…
Is the Pirates clubhouse attitude better without Cutch?
Am I going to pretend I didn’t love Cutch while he was here? Of course not. I watched him in Altoona as a promising young outfielder. I called into talk radio after the Nate McLouth trade and stated that McCutchen will make us forget McLouth.
I loved Cutch’s story. Not many know he was a nerdy recluse as a youth who spent most of his time drawing… often nerdy anime drawing. Not something you’d expect of a MLB superstar.
Also, not many realize he was dirt poor growing up. He probably didn’t have to harass his parents about a new pair of “J’s” because he knew they weren’t even a remote possibility. This made his drafting and contract extension much more poignant later, knowing where he came from.
Also, let’s not go light on his commitment to his religion. He is a devout Christian and was always a mainstay at Faith Night. His mom, the occasional national anthem singer, converted his dad to living a faith filled life when Cutch was young. The McCutchen family spent many Sundays at church and he considers his faith one of the main points of his life.
Let’s not forget the fact that he’s a stand up athlete in a time that it is solely needed. With Pittsburgh full of athletes that are bad examples (Le’Veon Bell, Joey Porter, Martavis Bryant), it’s great to have an athlete to show my sons as a role model.
Finally….. Cutch was a STAR. He was a “sure” HOF’er three years ago. Based on similar players sabermetrically through his 29-year old season that came before him, (Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Carlos Beltran, etc. ) most, if not all, are Hall of Famers. His drop to an OK player has kind of been unprecedented.
So much like being a good friend/parent/spouse, you have to bring up faults sometimes. With all of the good McCutchen since 2009, over the past couple years he had become a diva. Much like Ben Roethisberger with the Steelers, the cautious approach to media and mannerisms that they observed over their first few years in Pittsburgh are gone. The last few years had shown some petulant reactions to the game: temper tantrums, rolling eyes at umps, showing off in public venues (pregame dance routines, pushups after brushbacks, electric slides at 2B, etc). Add in the famous “this is my spot” exclamation in center field after Marte’s suspension (Cutch you’ve been graded the worst center fielder defensively basically EVERY year).
I know this “tween” “diva” “millennial” ….whatever type of attitude you want to call it, drove ME crazy. I’m sure as heck it drove McCutchen’s teammates crazy. Maybe the teammates who are complaining about the clubhouse environment are including him in the mix.
The Pirates’ fans have a great scapegoat in Nutting, Huntington, etc. where the players usually are given a free pass in criticism in public sphere. While I’m not throwing my McCutchen jersey away, I think we need to give our ex-star part of the blame in the current Pirate negativity that is popular now.