When today's San Francisco Giants outfielder hit the plate in the first inning of the Friday match at PNC Park, he was showered with love. The game was delayed by almost two minutes when McCutchen received a standing ovation and acknowledged the fan base that supported him for nine years and never let him go.
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McCutchen would go on strike during his at-bat strike on a hit three. The pirate fans even had their backs and directed boos at the referees. McCutchen finished the game 1 in 5 with two strikeouts. His only goal was a seven-inning double against Michael Feliz. The Giants would lose the game 11-2, but McCutchen felt like a loser after the reception.
When an All-Star player returns to the city where he or she became a star, it's not always good. Many times they are greeted by Buhs because it was often their decision to leave. That was not the case for McCutchen. His association with Pittsburgh was one of the strongest between athletes and community in sports. This was evident in the affection shown by both sides on Friday and will undoubtedly last throughout the weekend.
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After disappointing seasons in 2016 and 2017, the pirates decided early that 2018 would not be a year either. That's at least one reason why they exchanged aces Gerrit Cole for the Houston Astros on January 14th and then exchanged McCutchen for San Francisco a day later.
The other part is of course money. It always depends on a Pirates franchise that has never been a big publisher. McCutchen went into the final season of a team-friendly seven-year, $ 65.25-million extension before the 2012 season. In the eyes of the pirates, it would be unrealistic to put together another expansion that would make McCutchen stay there.
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In the middle of the first innings, the pirates broadcast a special video homage to McCutchen on the PNC Park scoreboard.
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"You can not predict how you'll feel," McCutchen said. "I will go there and be in the moment and leave the emotions as they are, you are ready to come here, but at the same time you try to live in the moment."
"When I cry, I cry, big whoop, you should do it, and if I do not, I will not do that. "
There may have been some tears in there. It was hard to say. It was definitely a special moment.
How did McCutchen feel after returning to PNC Park?
Overwhelmed and overjoyed.
"It shows you what this fanbase is all about," said McCutchen Kevin Gorman of TribLive . "They drive or die, and they rode with me, and it seems they are going on with me."
McCutchen also had good things to say about pirate fan Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli extended the ovation, hesitating for time.
"Cervelli did a good job, giving me this moment and giving me the time, telling him that I was ready to go, but he did not shake his head so I could step back and stay in that moment. He gave it to me and I appreciated it, that's something you do not want to rush through. "
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McCutchen has one year on his contract before becoming a freelance agent, the Giants had imagined He would give her line-up a jolt, but his performance has not been overwhelming so far, when he entered the game on Friday, scoring .250 / .377 / .379 with two homers and 14 RBIs in 36 games Giants are currently 19-20 and will prove to be a wildcard contender if they can recover, so McCutchen is likely to end the season in San Francisco.
The pirates are rebuilding on the fly and have had surprising success so far It will not be easy to hold, but perhaps the immediate future will be brighter than anyone expects.
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