In the Pittsburgh Pirates record 17th consecutive losing season, to the average fan it looks like there is nothing that can salvage their season. With GM Neil Huntington trading away six of the nine opening day starters, most fans are unfamiliar with the players on the field now but the one thing all Pirates fans can enjoy is up and coming center fielder Andrew McCutchen.
Only 22 years of age, McCutchen has been the Pirates best player since he was called up on June 3, replacing the 2008 All-Star Nate McClouth, who was dealt to Atlanta. Batting .296 with 7 HR’s and 32 RBI’s, the five tool outfielder looks to be a lock for Rookie of the Year. When the Pirates management called up the 5’11” 175 lb McCutchen, they expected him to be good but not great this early on in his career.
For the native of Fort Myers, Florida, Andrew McCutchen realizes what he has done for the city of Pittsburgh just in his two months on the team. Upset by the trades Huntington has made and the performance on the field, the fans needed something good to talk about. When #22 hit the field, there was already a buzz going around PNC Park that had been missed with the departure of Barry Bonds in 1992. In his first game, McCutchen went 3-4, with a double and two singles, remarkable for a debut.
Only in 54 games, McCutchen has five triples, good enough for first in the league along with former Pirate Nyjer Morgan who was traded earlier this season also to the Washington Nationals. It’s a game against the Nationals that will live on for McCutchen’s career. On August 1st, the last place Pirates squared off against the last place Nationals. For the fans at the game, all they expected was bad baseball with two teams that deserved to be playing AAA ball. The rookie stepped up and had the stadium rocking. On that night, Andrew belted three home runs and drove in six RBI’s in an 11-6 win for the Bucos. McCutchen became the 10th Pirate to hit three bombs in one game and the first to do so in their rookie year. Even when the Pirates are down a few runs and have positioned themselves far behind the Cubs for first place, when McCutchen steps in, the fans around the stadium give off a playoff like buzz because when Huntington talks of a “youth movement,” it starts with Andrew and for most Pirate fans, that’s a great start for a team that seems to not know how to finish.
Following David Ortiz’s positive steroid test in 2003, the Boston Red Sox have enjoyed the luxury of playing at home for the past six games. With nobody bashing the Boston slugger, the Sox have performed well positioning themselves for a run at the Yankees for first place. Continue reading
In his ninth season in the MLB, Cardinals do it all 1B Albert Pujols is having arguably his best season in an almost perfect career. Coming into the major leagues in 2001, Pujols, a 13th round selection, was reletively unknown and nobody even Tony LaRussa knew what he would do in his next nine years. Continue reading
In a 3-0 win over the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees first in the series, Melky Cabrera had arguably his best game of his career. Going 4-5 with a single, double, triple and a home run, Cabrera became the 15th Yankee to hit for the cycle. In a game where CC Sabathia threw eight innings, the Yankee bats came threw to help Sabathia record his 11th win of the season while ending Mark Buerhle’s two game winning streak, which one of those games was a perfect game. With Cabrera collecting four of the eight runs, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Jerry Hairston Jr and Jose Molina drove in the other four runs as the Yankees as a team had 14 hits and 12 of them coming in Buerhle’s 4.1 innings pitched, as terrible performance for Buerhle who broke the Major League record for consecutive batters set down with 45. Continue reading
When Mike Demark came out of Penn-Trafford High School near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the pitcher-middle infielder, had a rocket arm with a fastball clocked consistently around 88 MPH and one of the best attitudes a coach could ask for. Demark hustled on and off the field, and gave his all with each pitch. Going 7-2 his senior year, Demark, who threw a nasty knuckleball, a curveball that broke three and a half feet and a changeup that fooled the best of hiters, Demark was headed to Marietta College to pitch. Demark’s success through high school wasn’t exactly scripted the way most people expect. While pitching lights out ball, Demark battled something much more dangerous than any hitter he ever faced. During high school, Demark helped his dad through a bone marrow transplant that eventually saved his life and he dedicated every game on the mound to his father. The hardwork and competitiveness payed off and eventually led to where he is today. Continue reading
Behind the bats of roid users Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, the 2004 Boston Red Sox completed a journey including defeating the 2002 World Series Champs Anaheim Angels, coming back from the most improbable deficits to triumph the arch rival New York Yankees in the ALCS, then take down the St. Louis Cardinals in four games. This title was the first for the Red Sox since 1918, and is a gut wrencher for any New York fan to date. When the playoff run was in full swing, to the average fan it looked like a magic filled cinderella story with characters like David Ortiz, being the no name player from Minnesota who magically came to life and fit the magic slipper on the bloody sock of longtime pitcher Curt Schilling. Manny Ramirez was the goofy carriage driver that seemed to back up Cinderella wherever she went and eventually led to the ring. Continue reading
After a hot streak to start the second half of the season, AJ Burnett and the Yankees dropped their second game in a row in a 14-4 loss to Ozzie Guillen’s Chicago White Sox. After a rough second inning where Burnett allowed six runs, the White Sox jumped out to an early lead 6-0 lead. Burnett who had won his last five decisions, had trouble spotting his fastball and when he did the White Sox jumped on it. Continue reading