It won't affect the 2013 standings, but the Pirates scored a minor victory on Friday when Andrew McCutchen was named the winner of a fan vote to grace the cover of the MLB '13: The Show video game.
The vote, which was conducted this past week over Twitter and Facebook, is by no means important, but it is nonetheless impressive that McCutchen was able to defeat big-market players like C.C. Sabathia and Miguel Cabrera in the contest.
The event serves as a reminder of McCutchen's growing popularity and his status as an ambassador of the game. McCutchen's exciting play and vibrant personality have both contributed to this rise.
Indeed, McCutchen spent the entire week engaging with fans as he encouraged them to vote for him. Yes, at times this was clearly self-promotional, but McCutchen was also joking with fans on Twitter all week and gave away multiple items to supporters, including a game-used baseball glove. As evidenced by this thank-you post, McCutchen was both humbled by and grateful for the support he received.
It was also nice to see a Pirate fanbase that has become rather divided come together to support its most beloved player.
Recent regular-season collapses and arguments over development practices have left the pro- and anti-management factions at stark odds with each other, with both sides often failing to see the other's point of view.
Clearly, a video game contest is not nearly the most important issue the fanbase, management or overall organization will face this year. But it is a nice perk that will bring some more attention to a fully deserving player and give Pirate fans a quick smile whenever they see the cover.
After 20 straight losing seasons, there's nothing wrong with small victories.