Reporting Rick Dayton
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They have been one of baseball’s biggest surprises.
The upstart Pittsburgh Pirates have one of the best records in baseball right now, and a lot of the credit is heaped on the shoulders of Andrew McCutchen.
On Friday, the Pittsburgh favorite – who many are touting as the National League MVP – hosted his very own baseball camp for local kids.
A total of 300 boys and girls attended “Camp Cutch.”
”It was pretty awesome,” said camper Jelena Winowoch, of Baldwin. “I just couldn’t really believe it.”
They got a chance to spend half a day with one of baseball’s best.
When it comes to hitting, McCutchen is Major League Baseball’s best. The pro and high school coaches who helped run the camp deferred to him.
“What you do is, you sit back and let him do what’s best. Let him teach the kids,” said John Cappa, an assistant coach for Shady Side Academy. “He knows what he’s doing.”
And boy, did they have fun.
“I like to interact with the kids, have fun, laugh with them, and it makes them a little more comfortable as the day goes on,” said McCutchen.
The camp brought back memories to when the Pirates’ centerfield was 14-years-old and became inspired while learning from a minor league player.
The Pirates’ centerfielder thought back to when he was 14 and got inspired by working out with a minor leaguer player.
“I went there for two days and after two days he was like, ‘I got nothing else for you kid,’” said McCutchen. “He was like, ‘you’re pretty good; your hands are quicker than mine already, so if you want to keep coming you can, but I really got nothing for you.’ So, that was probably my first experience with someone that played professionally in baseball.”
And play is the key word at McCutchen’s camp.
“Just how to do everything the right way – like how to throw the ball the right way, and hold the bat the right way and field the right way,” said one camper.
Yet as good as McCutchen is, he is quick to acknowledge how he got here.
“To be where I am right now, I couldn’t have done it without the help of coaches in the past, without the coaches that we have now,” said McCutchen. “I couldn’t have done it without them, without the team that I have, this is a team game so it takes a whole team for me to be able to have the success that I am having.”