When the rosters for the 2011 MLB All-Star Game were announced, Pittsburgh fans couldn't help but feel robbed.
Sure, Joel Hanrahan got in. He's been one of the game's best closers this year with 26 saves and zero blown saves. His ERA is phenomenal, and his fastball reaches blistering speeds. If the Bucs have a lead going into the 9th inning, we all know it's "Hammer Time."
However, when the team's young star and leader got left out, it was a blow to the Pirates and their fans.
For years, the Pirates have been the joke of the league. Everyone always expected a fire sale in July. Fans were always told to "wait until next year. We'll be better next year." That time is now.
With Pittsburgh fighting for first place and getting a bit of attention throughout the league, fans expected to be represented by the young superstar in the making. Pittsburgh wanted to finally be respected and get their biggest name out on the biggest stage.
Everyone else around the league didn't feel the same way. They felt other outfielders, such as Matt Kemp and Shane Victorino, deserved it a little bit more. Even when the Pirates had turned the ship around, they still were not respected enough around the league.
And then, a little bit of magic happened.
Ryan Braun, the star outfielder of the rival Milwaukee Brewers, decided that he wasn't ready to play in the game. He would have to be replaced. And Andrew McCutchen finally got the call.
Today, Kevin Correia got named as a replacement as well. In two days, the Pirates fans went from feeling snubbed to overjoyed.
So what does McCutchen's spot in the All-Star game mean to fans?
He represents faith in the rest of the season. He represents respect throughout the league. He represents the young, small-market teams who are tired of being walked over. He represents the relief of Pirates' fans throughout the country.
But over everything else, he represents hope.