PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — There is no question benching Andrew McCutchen for the Atlanta Braves series was the right move.
Heck, I wrote as much before it happened — jotted down a column that a finite period of time (this Braves series, to be exact) might just be the remedy to snap him from what has turned into a season-long lull.READ MORE: PPG Paints Arena Welcomes Back Pittsburgh Penguins Fans
Who knows if it will work? But as manager Clint Hurdle pointed out before Wednesday’s middle game of the Braves series, it was about the last-ditch effort remaining to jumpstart the superstar.
There is also no question that, in my opinion at least, the tenor of this city has taken a bit too sharp of a tone with McCutchen.
Yes, that’s right — go ahead and criticize all you want. You should.
Go ahead and crush McCutchen for his shortcomings this season. You should.
Stand right up and yell as loud as you can that McCutchen has underachieved this 2016 campaign and you’d be right to do so. Heck, you should.
But it is the “run him out of town” mentality that is seemingly growing with some in the fanbase that seems so far off-base.
Will Andrew McCutchen most likely don a different uniform in the next few years; traded away when the intersection of his contract coming to a close and the development of outfielder Austin Meadows collides? Yes. That definitely seems the case.
But, so too does the fact that the jeers McCutchen is receiving right now from a faction of the fanbase have turned sharp and personal, have slanted unappreciative for a man who helped dig this franchise from the bottoms collectively and individually won the MVP, Gold Glove, is a five-time all-star and also Roberto Clemente Award winner.READ MORE: 2 Flown To Hospital After Multi-Vehicle Crash In Westmoreland County
It’s one thing to get on him for underperforming this season; quite another for acting like this guy is all washed up, is some kind of bum and will never have success again. To me, too many people have knee-jerked with a tinge of the latter or full-blown case of it.
He doesn’t deserve a free pass by any stretch, however a dose of full assessment is probably due right now.
You see, it seems that just one year ago at this time, McCutchen was the Prince of Pittsburgh; he was the guy everyone adored and idolized, the baseball player your kids wanted to be and regal presence you didn’t think bad thoughts about let alone say a negative word about.
McCutchen was the man many talked about as fodder for a “lifetime contract” with the Pirates, a guy the phone lines to our show lit up with proclaiming the management team should extend to him a long term deal that would, essentially, make him a Pirate for life.
Man has that changed.
This is probably exaggeration, but it seems like now, just about everyone I talk to is so down on the guy for his current form that they don’t appreciate what he has been in this past to the franchise and, more important, the talent he could have left as he’s yet to turn 30.
So all that said, as Andrew McCutchen is definitively going through the toughest stretch of his career — so much so he’s been benched this week — it seems a little perspective is in order. It seems maybe we all should all take a moment to think about what he’s truly meant to this franchise.
Go ahead and criticize. You should. But keep it all in perspective.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.MORE NEWS: As People Struggle To Secure Unemployment Benefits, Prosecutors Say Fraud Is Widespread