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The Pirate Article No One Wants To Write About Cutch

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.

He was dead to rights. Just get tagged out and don’t hurt yourself or the catcher showing off.

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.

Michael is a Pirates contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh. Michael is former submarine officer and Naval Academy grad. He now runs a small consulting firm and does veteran related job fairs. He is a SABR member and regularly attends Altoona Curve games to scout the Pirate prospects.

38 Comments on The Pirate Article No One Wants To Write About Cutch

  1. Eugene J. Bienia // February 27, 2018 at 9:48 AM //

    Good move to get rid of him and hot head Cole. Cutch screwed up the clubhouse with his antics, weak arm, challenging management on playing in, fear of stealing a base. Stardom went to his head. Harrison is another one , if he wants traded grant him his wish. Undisciplined at the plate.

  2. Robert ewing // February 27, 2018 at 12:34 PM //

    Then why did you write this article

  3. iheartbuccos // February 27, 2018 at 1:11 PM //

    This article lacks honesty. You haven’t liked Cutch. Ever. In fact, long before anyone had the goofy notion of calling Cutch a diva, you argued – vehemently and incorrectly – on OBN that the Pirates should NOT extend him. So, let’s start there – you never liked Cutch, in spite of what you wrote in this article.

    Since you can wildly speculate that ‘Maybe the teammates who are complaining about the clubhouse environment are including him in the mix.’ Then, I’ll speculate that your dislike of Cutch stems from your massive love of Neal Huntington. Huntington has not and will not draft someone who produces the way Cutch has in a Pirates uniform and that drives you criticize the best player this franchise has produced in 30 years. It’s shameful.

    Had you written an honest article, it would’ve ended with ‘I still love you, Neal!’

  4. Cutch did everything asked of this organization. Not until management gave up on this team after the 98 win season, did you see some of the things you are mentioning. Hey he is human and smart. He knew the organization gave up on them.

  5. Daquido Bazzini // February 27, 2018 at 5:19 PM //

    Pro-Nutting propaganda piece that gives no facts as to why Cutch was a diva in the clubhouse.
    What big-time player isn’t a diva in the club house in one way or another?

    Pirate fans don’t want to have a scapegoat in Nutting, Huntington, etc. They have been forced to deal with that worthless, cheapskate of a Regime for a couple decades or so now.
    Anybody that has been a Pirate fan for a long time knows that this franchise needs new ownership.
    Until it happens, we will continue to get vomit on the field with a sprinkling of propaganda pieces such as the one above.

  6. Article summary:

    Cutch…much like Roethlisberger…petulant reactions……temper tantrums, etc…

    Nutting and Huntington…Pirates fans scapegoats
    Michael Bradley…your article is trash. Pure kool-aid inspired Nutter drivel for which you should be ashamed.

  7. I guess the players union is just maliciously smearing Nutting with their recent claims. Poor old scapegoat Nutting. Everyone just has it out for the man. Why can’t they just let him in peace as he works his scam.

    Nutting must just feel like he’s tied to the whipping post.

  8. Kevin Schafer // February 27, 2018 at 10:30 PM //

    Not that I disagree with this article, I would swear that Mark Madden had written it. He’s been saying pretty much the same thing for the last couple of years. According to Madden’s sources inside the Pirates organization, this and much more negative stuff about Cutch is sadly true.

  9. Daquido Bazzini // February 28, 2018 at 1:29 PM //

    If Cutch is that bad of a person (and by the way, no one is perfect)….Imagine how bad Bob Nutting and Neal Huntington are?

  10. Bob Stover // March 1, 2018 at 10:22 AM //

    I’m not sure that I have enough information to decide whether or not Cutch was a good or bad presence in the clubhouse during his last two years. He was surely frustrated with himself in 2016, and with the team in 2017. Frustration usually breeds discontent, and discontent is a cancer in a clubhouse, especially with the younger guys just coming up and trying to make their mark in the major leagues. He’s gone now and I wish him well with his new team.

  11. This is the first time I ever heard of this site (it was linked by an account I follow). This will be my first and only visit here. To call this article garbage does a terrible disservice… to garbage.

  12. I’m not here to debate whether or not “Cutch” is or isn’t a diva, or the quality of your work, but I must ask why in the hell are you looking to pro athletes for role models for your kids? As Charles Barkley once opined, athletes are not role models. Parents, teachers,faith leaders,et al,are role models – not baseball players. If you’re looking to a pro athlete to be a role model, then you’re barking up the wrong tree my friend.You need to be their role model!

  13. We can ALL use less toxicity (System of a Down song excluded)

  14. Kevin K. // March 4, 2018 at 8:09 AM //

    I have personally seen Cutch act somewhat like a diva and a couple Pirates CHARITY events. Again, my statement isn’t a case of “my cousin’s brother in law saw this”. I personally witnessed it. Also, the first time was a few years before his becoming “Cutch”.

    • haven’t you been to other charity events where celebrities act like divas? I think it is pretty common (I’ve had to make sure to have a certain brand of cigarettes on hand for some celebrities).

  15. I ?m one of the most cynical baseball fans on earth but this was in poor taste. However, from a journalism standpoint, I do like that you rolled the dice and penned an article on what you knew would catch a lot of crap.

  16. JustDaDamaja // March 4, 2018 at 9:20 AM //

    “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).”

    Petualnt = childishly sulky or bad-tempered.

    1 – temper tantrums – you mean like Pete Rose or Paul O Neil ?
    2 – rolling eyes at umps – seriously?
    3 – showing off in public venues
    (a)(pregame dance routines,
    (b) pushups after brushbacks – I guess if he stared at the ground stoic like, that would make u feel better
    (c) electric slides at 2B, etc). – sounds like someone having fun

    this is another “get off my lawn” piece written by someone who wants the game played a particular way.

    wont get into the whole culture issues here. i think its pretty self-evident

  17. Boy if I could only write what I really feel about this article. Pure trash. Cutch was the classiest Pirates player in a long, long time. Find another job you suck at this one!

  18. I read a lot of Pirates message boards haven’t seen anything like this. The denials complete with McCarthy accusations mean you’re on to something.

  19. this article doesn’t explain how Cutch is different than other players. I see no evidence presented that morale will improve because he is gone. Just seems like wishful thinking that morale will improve and because of that team will be better.

  20. Man, these comments are BRUTAL. LOL… The article brings up some things to think about. Chill out, y’all.

  21. Make Pittsburgh White Again?

  22. I usually find when someone has to go all “fun police” on someone else, they live a really boring and often drama filled life. No thank you.

  23. David E Coonce // March 4, 2018 at 3:40 PM //

    How come you never post about the Steelers Quarterback who sexually assaulted women? There must be some difference between him and McCutchen….I’m trying to figure out what that difference might be….I’ll try to think about it for a while.

    • Kevin Creagh // March 4, 2018 at 7:39 PM //

      Hi. Here’s one I wrote defending Mike Tomlin haters who don’t like him because he’s black. I’ve also referenced Ben’s “misconducts” in various posts over our 3 years.

      This article by Michael is not tinged with racism, just honesty.

      • iheartbuccos // March 4, 2018 at 10:04 PM //

        That’s ridiculous, Kevin. Calling this article honest is an insult to anyone who has read what Michael has written in the past about Cutch. You know it since you posted at OBN for a long time. I don’t know if Michael is racist or not. I don’t know him personally. But this is a completely dishonest article. This is a guy who has never liked Cutch leaping to conclusions about clubhouse chemistry and looking to shift blame from his favorite Pirate (the GM) now that Cutch is no longer on the team. He should’ve started the article stating he never liked Cutch and gone on from there. That would’ve been honest.

  24. Kevin Creagh // March 4, 2018 at 8:34 PM //

    If Bryce Harper (white) were a Pirate, this exact same article would be written. Harper is also a diva and I’m pretty sure a variation of this will be written after he leaves the Nationals this winter.

    This has nothing to do with skin tone, just selfish behavior. Pure and simple.

    • Kellen Nebelski // March 6, 2018 at 7:56 AM //

      Agreed! Harper is the worst. McCutchen isn’t even in the same stratosphere as Harper. I get where Michael is coming from, but probably mostly discount what he is saying. I believe it’s overblown. I wasn’t happy about a couple of things Cutch did, but the guy is a great guy. To nitpick everything he does is just unfair. We always do that to people in the spotlight, and it stinks. He’s not a perfect man, big surprise.

      Some of these comments are way over the top, though. Very unnecessary. I don’t believe they are race-related or Cutch-hating.

      • Harper – exactly why the Nats are trying like mad to trade him this spring. They know his attitude is poisoning the franchise and they can’t win a playoff series with him on the team. The biggest mistake the Nats have ever made was not trading Harper right after his 2015 MVP season.

  25. diva players, that is why some did not like Clemente. I just don’t think being a diva is bad and that having diva players (since they are some of the better players on a team) is bad for morale.

  26. haven’t you been to other charity events where celebrities act like divas? I think it is pretty common (I’ve had to make sure to have a certain brand of cigarettes on hand for some celebrities).

  27. Tom Reynolds // March 5, 2018 at 12:20 PM //

    In support of your article, check out the first grand-slam homerun hit by Josh Bell. McCutchen was prominent in the photograph showing Bell after he rounded the bases and returned to the dugout. What a weird expression on McCutcheon’s face; like he didn’t appreciate not being the center of attention.

    • iheartbuccos // March 5, 2018 at 9:09 PM //

      So, if Cutch had danced and back slapped and made sure he was draping himself all over Bell after his dinger, then he would’ve been tabbed an attention hogging diva by Michael. But, because he backed off and let Bell have the spotlight, he is accused of sulking by you. Great. I’m not sure why I’m surprised a portion of this fan base has turned on Cutch. I’m horrified by it, but I shouldn’t be surprised.

  28. hermitfool // March 6, 2018 at 11:58 AM //

    McCutchen has been the #1 reason we’ve attended Pirate games ever since he showed up. I expect we’ll be going to more Rockies games when the Giants are in town. But took some guts to publish this well-reasoned and thought provoking article. Why shoot the messenger?

    Impossible to know, but I wonder about the effect the failure to extend had on McCutchen’s performance the past two years. It would be easy to understand if looking around the league at what other teams were doing he thought he’d earned an extension and a longer term contract. Maybe he really believed the Pirates would regard him as the franchise. Maybe he began pressing, got into some bad habits at the plate, maybe he wasn’t at his most attentive when the coaches suggested he make changes on defense. Not saying what the Pirates should have done, just wondering about the effects.

  29. Good grief this post was terrible. I mean literally one of the worst posts on a legitimate site I’ve ever read. Congrats

  30. Basically a troll article. But I don’t have a problem with the trade. Its tough to win a division when your best player doesn’t show up until around say June.

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