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‘What Happens When You’re Negative?’: Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen Doesn’t See Value in a Pessimistic Attitude



Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

OAKLAND — Pittsburgh Pirates manager Derek Shelton wasn’t in the best of moods following the first of what turned out to be three straight losses in Oakland.

He didn’t want his players to be in the best of moods, either.

“No, we shouldn’t be in better spirits afterwards,” Shelton told reporters after Monday’s 5-1 loss. “We’ve got to get better. This is a situation where we need to focus and we need to get better.”

The Pirates’ offense didn’t get much the following night, losing 5–2.

Thus, the spirits weren’t high that night, either.

“This is frustrating,” Connor Joe said after the game. “I don’t think too many people in here are happy.”

But Joe, a 31-year-old who’s been in the majors since 2019, knows that too much frustration is a negative.

“I don’t think, like, emotions of frustration are beneficial, especially in a game like baseball,” Joe said. “We’re not playing a physical game like football where, you know, you get mad and just go out and hit someone harder. It’s not like that.

“So, at the end of the day, we have to make sure we’re prepared for each series, make sure we know the scouting reports. Prepare our tails off, build confidence from that preparation and go into the games loose, not pressing, right? That’s what’s going to win us baseball games.”

No Pirate has played in more games that Andrew McCutchen.

The 15-year vet has been on plenty of winning and losing teams, and he doesn’t seem much value in a negative mindset.

“That’s everyday life,” McCutchen told reporters after the Pirates latest loss, a 4-0 loss to the A’s Wednesday afternoon. “I could ask you the same question. You have to just do your best to be that way because what happens when you’re negative, you know?

“What happens when everything’s about negativity? Your mind follows that. Your body follows that as well. How are you going to succeed when you’re thinking negatively, right? So, you have to do your best to stay positive.”

At 37, McCutchen’s certainly looked at as a leader on this Pirates team, and he knows his experience can be invaluable.

He also feels that he and his teammates can’t rely on others to instill a positive mindset.

“That’s more of a personal thing than it is somebody depending on someone else to get your positive,” McCutchen said. “You can only do that yourself. So that starts with you, and everyone needs to look at themselves first before they can look at anything else, and that’s what we have to do as a ball club, and, you know, focus on what we can control and not what we can’t control. The one thing we can control is the way we think. So, yeah. It’s just a part of it. It’s tough.”

At the end of the day, baseball’s a sport where people who don’t succeed in seven of every 10 end up making it to the Hall of Fame, so setbacks are to be expected.

It’s the response to those setbacks that determines how things go in the long run.

“It’s a game of failure,” McCutchen said. “You have to learn how to deal with that and come out in the winning side of it.”

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