Andrew McCutchen has come home to the Pittsburgh Pirates and he made it abundantly clear on Friday that he could not be happier to be home, and Pirate fans should be happy too.
"I'm not here on a farewell tour. You know? I'm here to play, and I'm here to help this ball club win." That quote from Andrew McCutchen in his press conference as he officially re-joined the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday afternoon resonated.
Say what you want about the Pittsburgh Pirates. There are plenty of negative things that can be said and the franchise has brought it on himself.
"In my mind I always wanted to come back," McCutchen told reporters on Friday. Pittsburgh has become home to Cutch. This city, this fanbase, has embraced McCutchen and he's embraced us back every step of the way.
That is part of what makes his return so special.
McCutchen wants to do every and anything he can to help bring winning baseball back to Pittsburgh, a city that is yearning for winning baseball. Hmm. Bringing winning baseball back to Pittsburgh when the city is yearning for winning baseball? That is one of the many items on the long list of things McCutchen accomplished in his first nine seasons with the Bucs.
One thing McCutchen kept going back to during his press conference on Friday is his belief that this Pirate club does have a lot talent. He believes in this team's young core, mentioning that he believes there is more talent on the team, and on its horizon, now than there was during the early years of his MLB career.
McCutchen did not hide that he knows what it's like to lose in Pittsburgh. He also stated that if he felt this team could not win baseball games he would not have returned to Pittsburgh. Young talent such as Oneil Cruz who McCutchen referred to as a "freak." If one of the best players in franchise history believes in this group, then maybe we should too.
The former NL MVP also talked about his children, who have lived in Pittsburgh their entire lives, being able to watch him play for the Pirates and not just hear stories about. This is where things become bigger than baseball, and it's bigger than baseball for more than just the McCutchen family.
It's bigger than baseball for Pirate fans all over, myself included. My oldest son is 13. He remembers watching Cutch with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He understands what he means to Pittsburgh. For my youngest son, however, he now gets his Cutch moments. Now when he hears his dad and pappy talk about Cutch he's no longer just some sort of myth, he's a real player and person. When he hears us talk about the 2013 Wild Card Game, the 2015 team that won 98 games, and everything else from that incredible three-year run, when the soon-to-be 6-year-old wasn't even a twinkle in his dad's eye yet, he can put a player and a face with the myth that is Cutch that he hears so much about.
"It's a great, great feeling for myself and for my family," McCutchen added about his return to the Pirates. It's a great, great feeling for Pirate fans too, Cutch. We're happy you're home and we can not wait to watch you play in black and gold again.
It's ok to be excited about McCutchen being back. In the world of the Pittsburgh Pirates it's long seemed that being excited is not alright. Right now, feeling excited is just fine. Pirate fans should be excited.
Will the 2023 Pittsburgh Pirates compete for a postseason berth? Probably not. That said, man, this isn't the time for anything other than positivity. One of the greatest players in franchise history has returned to the Pirates, to a Pirate club with plenty of young talent with more on the horizon in the high minors.
For now, let's just soak it all in and feel good about Cutch returnign, ok?