By John Perrotto
July 13, 2015
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, left, holds the jersey for Gerrit Cole alongside the other Pirates All Stars, Mark Melancon, Andrew McCutchen and A.J. Burnett as they show their jerseys before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday, in Pittsburgh. (Keith Srakocic/AP)
CINCINNATI — Andrew McCutchen would seemingly be past being star struck at the All-Star Game.
The Pittsburgh Pirates' center fielder will be competing in his fifth straight Midsummer Classic on Tuesday night at the Great American Ball Park. However, he said Monday during media day that the thrill never wears off.
“It’s always fun,” McCutchen said. “It’s great to be around all of the best players in the game, get a chance to talk to as many as you can.”
McCutchen will start in center field for the National League and bat leadoff.
McCutchen is undoubtedly one of the game’s best players and knows he does not have to take a backseat to anyone. However, he admits looking forward to seeing Los Angeles Angels' center fielder Mike Trout and Washington Nationals' right fielder Bryce Harper play.
“Those guys are on another planet from everyone else now, they are in their own galaxy,” McCutchen said. “They are great players. The best part is that they are so young that they’re only scratching the surface of what they might do.”
No one seems to be enjoying himself more than Pirates' right-hander A.J. Burnett, who is finally taking part in his first All-Star Game at 38 in what he says will be the final season of his 17-year career.
Burnett plans to wear Batman-themed black-and-gold spikes during the game as a tribute to Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh is my Gotham,” he said. “Pirates fans, the people in the city, everyone there accepts me as one of them and that’s really cool. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to pitch and make everyone back in Pittsburgh proud. I wouldn’t be here without their support.”
Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole is at his first All-Star Game at the tender age of 24. He is already hoping that it's the first of many.
“It’s just an awesome feeling to be here around all the great players,” Cole said. “I’m really going to enjoy this and I know I’m going want to keep coming back again and again. It definitely gives me motivation to want to keep performing at an All-Star level.”
There had been some thought that Cole, who leads the major leagues with 13 wins, would start for the NL, but manager Bruce Bochy, of the San Francisco Giants, tabbed Los Angeles Dodgers' left-hander Zack Greinke for the honor.