After the longtime franchise player and fan favorite Andrew McCutchen returned to the PNC Park to visit his former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, now as a member of the San Francisco Giants, the player was received with a warm welcome from his former fans in a nice and classy touch from them.
But the wound that McCutchen left on the Pittsburgh's organization was deep and team's general manager, Neal Huntington, is aware that it would be a difficult one to erase from the collective memory of the fans, as he spoke with MLB Network Radio about the way things went for the Pirates and McCutchen:
I hope it's the hardest decision I'll have to make, the hardest decision we'll ever have to make as an organization because it was. It was gut-wrenching. We knew the emotional attachment our fan base had with Andrew because we felt it, our players felt it, and our front office felt it
Pirates' front office was heavily criticized after they let go team stars like McCutchen himself and their rotation's ace, Gerrit Cole, who is now enjoying a great spell with the World Series Chapions, the Houston Astros, but Huntington felt that it was the right thing to do:
The reality is, in these markets, teams have choices to make as players near free agenc. Do you pay them what they're probably going to get in free agency ... and how do you build a team around them? That became our challenging point. We could have afforded Andrew, but how do you build around him? We felt that the right step for the organization moving forward