Pittsburgh Pirates most popular player Andrew McCutchen was recently moved to right field and according to McCutcheon, the Pirates didn’t exactly ask the 8-year veteran about the move prior to making the decision to make the move.
“It wasn’t an ‘ask,'” McCutchen said Friday morning (h/t ESPN). “It was more of a ‘say.’ It was, ‘I have to move there.'”
“That was one of the first times that that was something I wanted to go against,” McCutchen said.
“It wasn’t something I was ready for or I wanted to do. But as I keep saying that, I’m talking about myself. So I just had to not be as selfish and just accept that that’s what I had to do and move over to right.”
McCutchen has played only one game in right, when he was in Double-A Altoona back in 2006.
“I’ve always been in center,” McCutchen said, “since I came up. Since my first game here, that’s where I’ve always played.”
McCutchen still feels he can play center field.
“It’s more difficult because I feel I can still play it,” he said. “I don’t feel like I’m at the end of my career. You know, people like to say, ‘Torii Hunter moved to right.’ Uh, also, Torii Hunter was 35 years old when he moved to right. So at the same time, I’m 30 and I feel like I can still play it.”
Although it took some time, McCutcheon says he accepts the team’s decision to move from center to right.
“Once I got over the fact that I had to move,” McCutchen said, “the more I started to look at it and get some positivity out of it. And that’s one way to look at it. I’m playing at a position and a spot of a guy that you idolize — Clemente. He set the standard for someone that I would love to be like even half that guy. So it’s an honor to be out there playing that position.”
“I don’t think about that,” he said. “I’m trying to focus on right now. If I start thinking about everything else, I’m not going to focus on what’s in front of me. … Who knows what’s going to happen and transpire? We don’t know.”
McCutcheon is likely taking part in his last spring training with the Pirates. He was linked to numerous trade rumors during the offseason and his name will likely pop up again around the time of the MLB trade deadline.
“I don’t think about that,” he said. “I’m trying to focus on right now. If I start thinking about everything else, I’m not going to focus on what’s in front of me. … Who knows what’s going to happen and transpire? We don’t know.” said. “I’m trying to focus on right now. If I start thinking about everything else, I’m not going to focus on what’s in front of me. … Who knows what’s going to happen and transpire? We don’t know.”
McCutcheon will be trying to bounce back from a disappointing season in 2016 which saw his numbers drastically dip to career lows such as a .256 average, a .336 on-base percentage and posting a .766 OPS.
“Just looking forward to getting out on the field and playing,” he said, “because I’m sure, as you guys know, you’re all sick of hearing about it and I am too, just about everything that’s happened. I’m just ready to get my feet out there, ready to show that this is just the beginning, of some good stuff.”
Flyers Remove Statue of Kate Smith
The Philadelphia Flyers have joined the New York Yankees in the removal of ties to singer Kate Smith, whose famous rendition of “God Bless America” was played at both Flyers and Yankees games.
Earlier this week, the Yankees decided to suspend the use of Smith’s rendition, which was played during the seventh-inning stretch, while they investigated allegations of racism against the later singer.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” which
originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire but includes racist language, including the line;
“Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.”
The song was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, who was black.
The Flyers put out the following statement on Sunday (h/t ESPN):
“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation.
“But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”
Smith, who was popular during the WWII era, recorded the offensive jingle, “Pickaninny Heaven,” which she directed at “colored children” who should fantasize about an amazing place with “great big watermelons,” among various other treats.
Smith also endorsed the “Mammy Doll” back in 1939 which was based on a racist caricature of a black woman similar to Aunt Jemima.
“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a club spokesman said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”
The odds aren’t good that Smith’s songs will return to their prominent places during sporting events such as they were with the Yankees and the Flyers.
There is a lot of cleaning up to do when it comes to racism in sports, and weeding out songs attached to artists with questionable, and controversial, backgrounds such as Smith’s, is important in pushing forward towards the future.
MLB Investigating Racist Social Media Messages Sent to Cubs’ Carl Edwards Jr.
Major League Baseball is investigating racial messages sent, via social media, to Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. prior to his demotion to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs back on April 6th.
According to The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney, the messages have caught the attention of both the Cubs and the MLB Players Association, leading to the launch of the investigation.
Mooney had been a solid bullpen option during the last few seasons, but had a nightmare start to the 2019 season posting a terrible 32.40 ERA in just 1.2 innings of work over four appearances.
Carlos Zambrano Attempting Comeback, Signs with Indy Team
Former MLB pitcher Carlos Zambrano is attempting a comeback and has signed with the American Association’s Chicago Dogs, according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer.
Zambrano last pitched in the majors back in 2012 with the Miami Marlins, but earlier in his career he finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in the National League three times as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Zambrano started his comeback bid last fall when he took the mound for 7 starts in the Mexican League, pitching to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, and performing even worse during a short stint in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Given his recent lack of production, it is a longshot to believe that Zambrano will return to the MLB level, but stranger things have happened.
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