Pittsburgh Pirates: Francisco Cervelli Gives a Heart Felt Goodbye

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The Pittsburgh Pirates recently released their longtime catcher.  The new Atlanta Braves catcher gave a heartfelt goodbye to his now-former city.

The Pittsburgh Pirates recently made a roster move that surprised many of their fans, though It should not have come as a surprise with the way Francisco Cervelli‘s last few months have gone.  However, he will be sorely missed not only by the team, but by the city.  Just a few days ago, the Pittsburgh Pirates requested release waivers on the veteran catcher.  By doing so, this allowed the Atlanta Braves to sign Cervelli as they make their playoff push.

For Pittsburgh Pirates fans there is a lot to reflect on with Francisco Cervelli.  The veteran catcher replaced Russell Martin – who was an important piece to the Pittsburgh Pirates playoff teams in 2013 and 2014 – and right a way he fit in with the city much like Martin did.  The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Cervelli from the New York Yankees in exchange for left-handed reliever Justin Wilson during the 2014-2015 off-season.

Beyond his numbers and impact on the field, Francisco Cervelli made an even bigger impact off the field.  The veteran player always took time out to make sure that he participated in charity events and activities throughout the city, and he always was one of the first players to greet the kids in the stadium.

Cervelli also gave people lots to laugh about.  He brought a certain type of energy and animation to his craft and was very entertaining when he was not on the field.  Cervelli did many funny commercials and even gave love advice on a Pirates feature at the ballpark.  Furthermore, at one point Cervelli had his own salsa being sold in stores with his face right on the front of the label.

Unfortunately, Cervelli often had trouble staying on the field, especially the last few years.  The now former Pittsburgh Pirates catcher suffered multiple concussions throughout the last two seasons, promptly putting his playing career and future in question after a false report came out that Cervelli was giving up catching.  Over about the last month, he started rehabbing in the minors in hopes of rejoining the team.  Now that he is ready to come back up to the Majors, the Bucs decided to allow Cervelli an opportunity to not only play, but play on a contender.  The Pirates are completely out of it so keeping him wouldn’t do them or him any good.

The Atlanta Braves must have been given permission by the Pittsburgh Pirates to speak with him and his agent.  After it was announced the Bucs were releasing him, it was quickly reported that he would sign with the Braves.  It became official and Cervelli decided to write an open letter to the city which he grew to love and which loved him back.  Here is what Cervelli posted on his Instagram account:

"“A letter to the city of Pittsburgh (my YINZ)… The city that captivated my heart.When I think about you and try to express how I feel about you, I can’t help but describe you as my home, my love, and my family. I have never felt so much love and respect as I have felt in this city.I remember the first time I encountered you in 2015, you made me a bit nervous, and I surely didn’t know how to approach you, however, little by little you opened up your doors and taught me to embrace my passion, and connected me with the pure adrenaline and pride of the city of Pittsburgh.You saw me at my highest high and my lowest lows. You were always my safety net, protecting me from any falls… you are my one, the only… a city full of love.Pittsburgh, wearing your shirt made me feel like a super hero and you impacted me in ways you won’t ever understand, but the greatest impact you had on me was shaping me and loving me the way I am. You make me a true PIRATE .For that, I am forever grateful. I love you Pittsburgh. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, please don’t change. Stay passionate and full of love.Thank you to my teammates, you guys are special to me , and warriors no matter what. I love you all.Thank you to my coaches and management for the best time of my life. #412forever”"

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One thing is for sure, Francisco Cervelli became one of the most recognizable athletes in the city of Pittsburgh.  He was everything a fan could want, an energetic, fun, passionate, and funny person who also had a few really good years here.  Pittsburgh will always welcome you back Cervi.