There’s something special happening in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this summer. A city that’s become accustomed to the sports summer being nothing but an extended punishment for being so dominant in the winter is getting its gifts early this year. A record-setting losing streak is nearly a thing of the past, and finally, there is the light of day.
Baseball in Pittsburgh has been bad for a while. Barry Bonds leaving town back in ’93 was basically the real-life equivalent of Bane destroying the field that hosted the faux-Steelers home in the summer movie of the moment (that was not-so-ironically shot in the Burgh). Since then the team has been locked in a perpetual cycle of losing without a bit of light shining on it: a run of 18 straight losing seasons. Forget just baseball; that’s the worst consecutive losing streak in North American sports history.
That seminal moment of citywide destruction in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” leading to hopelessness that could only be stopped by the greatest champion the city had, isn’t too far from the truth of the real Pittsburgh. It took the efforts of one, regular yet uniquely skilled man to come back and take on immense odds.
Enter Andrew McCutchen.
The ice cracked back in 2009 when a 22-year-old centerfielder broke in and donned the Pittsburgh “P” fitted, out to make his way. After less than two years into the task, he confirmed this commitment to the cause by signing on to stay until at least 2018. And now, just three years after setting foot in baseball’s biggest pile of rubble, he’s the unchallenged leader of the biggest turnaround in baseball history.
For three-fourths of last summer, the Pirates sat in as the shock of the baseball world, rising back to first place in the second half of the year for the first time in nearly 20 summers. However, their leader faltered for the first time in his career, hitting only .216 in the season’s last three months … and the Pirates fell from top of the division back toward the bottom again. There was more work to do, and it started with Andrew…
To peep the rest of how Pittsburgh is being reborn and pushing for long lost lands, head over to the next section of the CHEAP SEATS at The Sports Fan Journal here: