AUBREY BRUCE

There is a Roy Ayers song titled, “Running Away” that seems to define the 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates realistically and ambiguously. It goes something like this: “Dippy doo, run, run, run…Dippy doo, run, run, run…Hey, I’m taking my bag and I’m running away now. Cause you’ve been mean to me, and I’ve been good to you, and I’ve been oh so strong…”

All of the murmurings about the status of one Andrew McCutchen, the All-Star center fielder for the Pirates, is getting to be tiring, more tiring and even redundant. As the cartoon character “Snagglepuss” himself might point out, it may be time to, “Exit stage left” with all the when, where and how in regards to the future of McCutchen. Hey, “Heavens to Murgatroyd,” enough already,” “Cause you’ve been mean to me, and I’ve been good to you, and I’ve been oh so strong…”

The bat of McCutchen is beginning to heat up again, but this is no accident. Why? Because for years, NL Central pitchers pitched around McCutchen, and when that appeared to be taking more of a risk than was necessary, they began to throw at him.

See, walking him was not good enough and I’ll tell you why.

When you walk a player intentionally or pitch around a player, the key is to make that individual as uncomfortable as possible. Pitchers were throwing at his head, ankles, knees or whatever body part was available and it appeared that most of the time umpires turned a blind eye in regards to him being “assaulted” at the plate, and viewed those tactics as just a part of baseball. On June 28, 2015, before the All-Star break, McCutchen had already been plunked 40 times. At that point he was quoted by Dave Brown in a piece written and posted on CBSSports.com that, “Maybe I need to dropkick a pitcher. Maybe that will scare them into not throwing at me.”

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