In the bottom of the ninth, Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals hit a ball to left field that was subsequently mishandled by Juan Perez of the San Francisco Giants. It was off to the races for Gordon as he rounded first, headed for second, and then turned and made it to third base easily. It was so easy, in fact, that USA Today and other news outlets have commented on the idea of Gordon being sent home to try to score the game tying run and potentially send the game to extra innings. Unfortunately for the Royals – and small-market teams – it never came to fruition, and Kansas City saw their improbable run ended.
Pirates’ fans need to recognize – after watching Gordon make his way to third – that true value in their MVP, Andrew McCutcheon.
Their simply would have been no way for Alex Gordon to have scored if he was sent to the plate. Assuming there were no errors, he would have been out by a mile. If it was McCutcheon in Gordon’s shoes, however, it would not have been close either.
He would have been safe by a mile.
McCutcheon is arguably the only player in Major League Baseball capable of turning an outfield blunder like the one committed by Perez into a run. Earlier in the season, he did so against Philadelphia – without any errors being committed – as he scored his first ever inside-the-park home run. Sure that hit had a high bounce off an outfield wall, but does it matter too much if it’s an outfield carom, a fielding bobble or a bad angle? With McCutcheon’s speed and his baseball intelligence, Pirates fans wouldn’t be crazy homers if they imagined seeing Andrew turn that hit into an game-typing bottom-of-the-ninth legendary moment. He likely would have run full speed to start and shifted into that second gear rounding second base, using that smart speed Pirates fans must make sure never to take for granted.
Had it been McCutcheon instead of Gordon, the Royals would have tied the game, and they may have been World Series Champions.For Pirates fans, thankfully he’s here with this team for many seasons to come, giving every fan game after game of hope that someday he might be batting in the bottom of the ninth, ready to show exactly why he’s earned the awards and fame he deserves.