PITTSBURGH (KDKA)– They were the pivotal figures of the 2013 season. Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Burnett and they could not have had more contrasting off seasons; Burnett into seclusion and National League MVP Andrew McCutchen delivering the highest profile proposal of the year.
“I have some perks to where I could use them, had some ammo that I could use to be able to do that,” said McCutchen. “It’s something the you’re going to be able to remember for the rest of your life.”
RAW VIDEO: Watch the full Burnett interview:
No pirate has been in a brighter spotlight and yet facing Maria that day, he was like any guy.
“Oh yeah, I’d much rather play in front of 50,000 people any day. That was really nerve-racking,” said McCutchen.
Now it’s back to his comfort zone.
Meanwhile, when No. 34 took the mound at McKechnie Field on Saturday, the player was the same, the colors very different, but the affection from Pirates fans the same.
“To hear that from the fans, that means a lot they know what I’m about,” said Burnett.
But even Burnett expects the attitude of Pirate fans will change soon enough.
“But I think they realize what I did give to Pittsburgh while I was there and what I meant and that means a lot because I left it all out for those guys,” he said. “I don’t want to be arrogant or cocky but I rubbed off on ’em the right way and for me to leave on that note is more important to me.”
The affection goes both ways.
“I was very fortunate that he took me under his wing the way he did. We all learned a lot from him and we all took what we could from him,” said pitcher Jeff Locke.
“He’s a good man, a great teammate and a great baseball player,” said pitcher Charlie Morton.