I had the honor of interviewing Pirates 24-year-old centerfielder Andrew McCutchen. Here is our conversation about the Pepsi Max Program, his success in his brief major league career, the Pirates organization and Jerry Meals.
Here is a link to the contest.
PG: Andrew, you have partnered up with the Pepsi Max program. Tell us what you are working on with them at this moment?
AM: Right now we are involved with the Pepsi Max “Field of Dreams” program. It allows fans to go and make up your own team using all the great legends from the past. You can go online to mlb.com/pepsiMAX to submit your team. Voting will end on Aug. 31.
PG: At only 24-years-old, you have been labeled as the future of the franchise by many people, how do you handle the pressure?
AM: I don’t really put the pressure on myself. We have a good team, and I can count on my teammates to step up. I just like to go out there and have fun and help my team win anyway I can.
PG: What is the one part of your game that you thrive on the most?
AM: I really admire my speed. I like going out there and stealing bases, running out infield hits and making plays in the outfield.
PG: With you admiring your speed, how did it feel to get your 400th hit last week on a bunt single?
AM: I don’t bunt that much but it helped. The team was struggling at that point and I was struggling a little and I just wanted to get something started. It was pretty cool.
PG: Over the past three years, the Pirates front office has made tremendous strides towards the future. This year they brought in manager Clint Hurdle. How has he changed the team?
AM: He keeps everyone positive. He tells us to take it one day at a time. He really keeps us going and always gives us something to think about. He talks about how we can control our effort and stresses that we take it day-by-day.
PG: The team has battled all year through injuries and guys continue to step up. What do you contribute that to?
AM: The guys that came up and filled in have really done a great job in keeping us competitive. They have done what they needed to help us win. Jeff Karstens and Michael McKenry have really done a tremendous job with the opportunity they were given.
PG: The team was hovering around first place the whole first half of the season. What has been the difference in the second half?
AM: Obviously we are not winning (laughs). People are expecting us to do well. We are a wanted team. Teams a bringing their A-game when they come to play us.
PG: What was it like this year for the team to be in a position to be buyers instead of sellers?
AM: It was the first time I have been a part of that. It felt really good. The organization hasn’t been in that position for awhile. It shows we are going in the right direction.
PG: On July 26, you were involved in the 19-inning game against the Braves with the infamous safe call by Jerry Meals. What are your thoughts on that game and did it have an effect on the team moving forward?
AM: The little bit that we had left in us was all drained out. That was a great game, but unfortunately we ended up on the wrong side. We have to wash that off and keep moving forward.