Andrew McCutchen is the best player in the National League. Not a bold statement. When you win the MVP Award in the league you are playing in you are given that accolade usually. Is Cutch the best player in the game? I still give that nod to Mike Trout. Even being the 2nd best player in the business is a terrific honor yet I think McCutchen is lacking in one area that other stars of the past (Barry Bonds) never lacked. He doesn’t put fanny’s in the seats. He doesn’t move the needle.
Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout are draws. Same goes for Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard – two players who are way past their primes. AM22, as great of an all-around athlete as he is, doesn’t make people come to PNC Park to see him. It took the team winning and not collapsing in August for the fans to finally show up last season. The local ratings for Pirates games in Pittsburgh are better than they used to be, but still are behind the hockey team. Name another market in America where that’s the case? Even in hockeytown, USA the Tigers still get higher ratings than the Red Wings. The reason for this is because the Penguins have the most marketable player in the NHL in Sidney Crosby and he equals ratings. Eight years ago when Crosby was still in Junior and the star player on the Pens was Ryan Malone, you couldn’t get 10,000 people to attend a Penguins game if the tickets were free. So Pittsburgh isn’t this great hockey town people say it is, they just have the “it” performer in the sport. They have hockey’s Mike Trout.
The 2nd best player in the NHL is New York Islanders Center John Tavares (no, not Frank Taveras’s son). Alex Ovechkin doesn’t make anyone else around him better and Geno Malkin is lucky he plays where he plays. Put him on the Florida Panthers and he’s a scrub. Tavares is on a team full of scrubs and he took them to the playoffs last season. But Johnny T doesn’t draw. Nobody watches Islanders games even in the New York market and you can have archery practice at the Nassau Coliseum. Does this sound familiar? World class player, young, great teammate and better person – zero drawing power whatsoever. Yes, Andrew McCutchen and John Tavares are the same dude.
I love Cutch – don’t get me wrong. I just don’t believe when the time comes he should get that huge 200+ million dollar contract from the Pirates. Some team will give it to him if he hits free agency. Some team gave Robinson Cano 200+ Mill and he stinks. But for the Buccos, who are bargain hunters and thrift shop shoppers, they shouldn’t be the team to overpay for Andrew.
This isn’t Barry Bonds we’re talking about!