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Andrew McCutchen Inspires More Than Baseball Stats

Pittsburgh Pirates all-star fielder Andrew McCutchen proves to be an inspiration beyond baseball stats.

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Here is Edward Grinnan’s Editor’s Note for the June 2016 issue of Guideposts. If you’d like to subscribe, click here.

Seems to be a spring tradition to have a ballplayer on our cover, going back to the days of Dr. Peale, who liked nothing better than to spend a sunny afternoon at the ballpark hobnobbing with the players and the coaches.

We get a lot of suggestions about what ballplayer we should have, usually on the basis of this person or that person’s faith.

All-Star center-fielder Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates on the cover of the June 2016 edition of Guideposts magazineBut just hearing someone thank God for having a high batting average isn’t very convincing. I don’t think God really cares about stats, do you?

So why Pittsburgh Pirates all-star center fielder Andrew McCutchen? I was watching last year’s All-Star Game when one of the announcers mentioned a conversation with Andrew. That previous Saturday night, well into the wee hours, Andrew had hit a dramatic 14th-inning walk-off home run against his team’s archrivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. Fans went crazy.

There was an early game the next day, the last game before the break. The announcer wanted to know how Andrew calmed down and got some rest before coming right back to the park. “Man,” Andrew replied, “I was just lying there in bed thinking, I have to be in church in a couple of hours!”

That sounded genuine to me. Andrew has a great story, especially about the role his father played as both pastor and coach.

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Like Andrew, I learned to play ball from my dad, an old catcher. On chilly spring Michigan evenings with Little League right around the corner, we’d
 go out in the backyard with our gloves, his an ancient mitt that looked more like a pillow. He’d wince a little getting down in a crouch, his creaky knees
 and stiff back making a fuss. I’d try to burn them in, and he’d call the pitches. He was a man of few words and strike wasn’t generally one of them. But when he said it, low and soft, it made me happy.

Thanks, Dad. And thanks, Pastor McCutchen, for coaching a great Guideposts cover story.

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