Words can’t describe how weird it is for me to look at that picture and accept the fact that Nate McLouth is no longer a Pittsburgh Pirate. After 10 years with the Pirates organization, McLouth is now playing centerfield for the Atlanta Braves.
I wish Nate all the best in his tenure in Atlanta, chances are he will be there for quite some time. He is under contract for the next 3 years and when the ATL front office realizes how important he is to their team, they should lock him up for an additional 3 or so years. McLouth has the ability to remain a Brave and become quite the legend. He may never be the best of teh best, but keeping up with his solid all-around style of gameplay he will surely never be forgotten when wearing the Blue and Red.
I might be getting a little ahead of myself here just a bit. It is still very tough to swallow after seeing and getting used to this
for the better part of the last 4 years. His boyish face, sheepish grin, and bleach blonde hair have been a staple in the Pirates clubhouse and Pittsburgh community for nearly half a decade. Nate had a program he ran at every game called “Nate’s Lucky 13” He would bring in 13 underpriveleged kids from the urban areas of the Burgh and allow them to take part in the baseball experience. These kids normally would not have a chance to go see a live MLB game so Nate would take it upon himself to show these youths a good time. He took them behind the scenes at PNC Park and down on the field for pre-game warmups. They also recieved good seats and custom T-shirts. Nate is a great guy and a player that the Atlanta community should warm up to as well.
Well enough is enough, he’s gone and he ain’t coming back. Instead of visiting Western, PA, the Pirates trekked to Georgia to take on the Braves in a 4 game series. The opening game of the series was very thrilling going 15 innings. The Pirates wound up losing the game 7-6 in the bottom of the 15th but nonetheless, they stuck in there and never backed down.
The Pirates-McLouth reunion was overshadowed by the fact that Braves manager Bobby Cox earned his 2,000 win as a Brave. McLouth took advantage of his old team by ripping three hits including his first homerun in Atlanta, his tenth of the year.
For Pittsburgh, McLouth’s replacement Andrew McCutchen had quite the noteworthy game as well. Cutch had 4 hits, 2 of which were doubles. In my last entry I vented about how important he needs to be in regard to the future of the Pirates organization. He showed last night that he can be looked to as a form of support and he will carry the torch. Although the Bucs lost he put up them numbers that should have put them in a position to win. It was pretty fitting that McCutchen went off like he did playing against McLouth.
PHOTO CREDITS: ap photos off espn.com