National audience gets a look at McCutchen's impact

National audience gets a look at McCutchen's impact

SAN DIEGO -- Andrew McCutchen didn't exactly come out of hiding on Sunday night. If he's been a secret, it hasn't been a well-kept one.

After all, he had already hit for the popularity cycle. A vote of the fans put him on the cover of the 2013 edition of the video game, MLB The Show. Peers awarded him the Players Choice Award as the National League's Outstanding Player of 2012. The media stepped up to vote him the NL's Most Valuable Player last year.

Still, have a game like McCutchen did against the Dodgers on ESPN's national telecast, and appreciation and admiration of his talents have to grow.

"I guess it makes a lot of other people feel good," is the way Pirates manager Clint Hurdle put it, meaning people who do not share McCutchen's uniform. "I see him every day. So he doesn't have to do it on national TV to impress me."

McCutchen sandwiched two ringing doubles around a home run -- all three extra-base hits coming off Zack Greinke, a contender for a second Cy Young Award -- and also made a fabulous sliding catch to take a hit away.

"I do think it's an opportunity, with the market in which we play, for him to have an unveiling from time to time," Hurdle said. "A 'show' game like that is good for Pittsburgh, good for our organization, good for our city."

Also good for All-Star votes? Time will tell. McCutchen, campaigning to become only the seventh Pirates player elected to start an All-Star Game, was running second in votes among NL outfielders in last week's voting update.

Another update on the NL vote is coming on Tuesday, too soon to see whatever impact McCutchen's "show" game had on fans' balloting. However, there is a month remaining in the voting.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.