PITTSBURGH - Andrew McCutchen has written an emotional thank you letter to Pittsburgh, one week after the star outfielder was traded by the Pirates to the San Francisco Giants.
“I forgot to say goodbye,” McCutchen’s letter, published in The Players Tribune, starts out. He goes on to talk about wanting to have savored his last game as a Pirate.
“It’s always funny, how you picture something happening in your head, versus how it happens in real life. In my head, I pictured myself savoring every moment of my last game as a Pirate: This is my last time making that drive to the ballpark, as I’d come up on Sixth Street, by the Clemente Bridge, like a thousand times before. This is my last time putting on that black and yellow, as I’d fix up in the clubhouse mirror and make sure my hat looked just right. This is my last time poking my head out of that dugout … stepping into that batter’s box … swinging that bat … hitting that ball … running those bases…. for the only fans I’ve ever known.
But despite trade rumors, McCutchen said it never sank in during the Sept. 27 game against the Baltimore Orioles that it might be -- and was -- his last home game with the Pirates.
What he does vividly remember, however, is the fans’ reaction when his name was called and he stepped into the batter’s box.
“I’ve gotten cheered loudly before … but this was out of that world, and into another,” McCutchen said. “They gave me the thank you that, now, I’m ready to give them.”
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Fast-forward to January and learning that his time in Pittsburgh was up. He said he “found out about it in pretty much the same way as everyone else.”
McCutchen and his wife were putting their son, Steel, down for a nap.
“And so by the time Steel was napping, it had already been a while since either of us had checked our phones. But when I finally checked mine … well, there it was: A bunch of missed calls, a bunch of texts -- and a news alert about how, The Pirates are set to trade Andrew McCutchen to the Giants,” McCutchen recalled. “About an hour later, Neal called back to tell me that the trade had officially gone through. I can’t even explain what a wild feeling that was, and still is. It’s like, one minute I was just hanging out … and my biggest worry was if my son would fall asleep for his afternoon nap. And then the next, it was like, my life as I knew it wouldn’t ever be the same.”
The letter continues with his admiration for Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle, how the fact that he won’t be wearing one cap for his entire baseball career “stings a little,” his personal and professional journeys and his excitement for what’s next.
McCutchen then reassures Pirates fans that Pittsburgh is his home.
“It’s just a trade. It’s not an eraser to my time as a Pirate, and it’s definitely not a goodbye to the city of Pittsburgh. My time playing for this team … it doesn’t go away, just because I’m about to go play for another. And my time living in this city -- man, I don’t even have to finish that sentence. I’m not even leaving!! Come on, guys. I’m never leaving Pittsburgh. Maybe when I’m 100, they’ll drag my butt back down to Florida, snowbird-style … but until then? We’ve got a beautiful house here, and we plan on using it. Pittsburgh … it’s home. It will always be home.”
“So I might be shipping out for the season -- and I might be excited about this new beginning -- but I’m not leaving. And I might be closing the door on this stage of my life … but it’s a glass door, I promise. I’m going to look back through it, fondly and often. And I’m going to walk back through it, when the time is right. This team will always mean a lot to me.”
“With San Francisco on his shirt. And Pittsburgh in his heart,” McCutchen signs off.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.