An Andrew McCutchen Triple: One of Baseball’s Greatest Joys

On Friday night, I made my way down to PNC Park to take in a Pirates game with some family and friends. Barry Zito was on the hill for the opposing Giants, and I salivated before the game at the thought of seeing Andrew McCutchen face him. McCutchen has been scorching hot, hitting .401/.447/.730 since June 1 and .362/.414/.625 on the year. He has been particularly unstoppable against left-handed pitchers, hitting .455/.494/.792 in 85 plate appearances against southpaws in 2012. Zito is a hittable left-handed pitcher who struggles to miss bats, and I could just envision McCutchen teeing off on him all evening.

I was not disappointed in the first inning. With two on and nobody out, McCutchen stroked an 0-1 pitch into left field to bring home a run and give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

However, in the 3rd inning, I had the opportunity to witness the event I had daydreamed about witnessing. McCutchen stepped in with Josh Harrison at first and one out. He patiently watched the first three pitches, taking a curveball for a strike and then two pitches outside the zone. With the count sitting at 2-1, Zito hurled his trademark curveball. I was sitting about 400-500 feet from home plate, but as the baseball floated toward its destination, I knew immediately what was about to occur. I sat forward ever so slightly in my seat as the ball arrived at home plate. McCutchen paused his body’s movements for a split-second as he recognized an off-speed pitch, then, in an instant, attacked.

I tracked the ball as it rocketed out toward the left-center field gap, thoroughly enjoying the perfectly placed line drive. After a few seconds, it settled into the deepest part of the ballpark.

At this point, I suddenly realized that I was about to miss the best part of this moment and quickly turned my gaze back toward the infield. McCutchen had just touched first base and was quickly transitioning to a special level of athletic performance. I cannot think of anything in baseball that is currently more enjoyable to watch than Andrew McCutchen legging out a triple. The way he goes from first to third is so aesthetically pleasing, so perfect. Its beauty simply cannot be captured by a low-grade, 12-second GIF file. (You can watch video of it at the 0:50 mark here.)

I went to the ballpark on this evening in hopes of seeing the Pirates’ superstar do something special. He did not hit a walk-off home run or make a spectacular catch in center field. All he did was go 3 for 5 with two RBI’s, and leave me with a little moment that I will not soon forget. He did not disappoint.

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About Matt Bandi

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.
  • http://twitter.com/dsjoberg23 Duane Sjoberg

    I am old enough to remember Clemente legging out triples…he was as exciting, but completely different…Roberto was elegant..but every part of his body was somehow going in a different direction. ‘Cutch is as exciting but with a compact completely efficient motion. Both were/are incrdeible!