UPDATE 12-11-13: Andrew McCutchen proposed to girlfriend Maria Hanslovan on Ellen this morning. Check out the YouTube clip of Andrew McCutchen proposing to his future wife Maria Hanslovan in action.
Andrew McCutchen is the best baseball player you probably don't know and the leader of arguably the best story in baseball this year, the unlikely 1st place Pittsburgh Pirates. McCutchen is arguably one of the best 5 players in the league, and has put a franchise with a lackluster recent history on his back. While there was no doubt that he'd be headed to Kansas City to take part in the annual All Star game, people were very surprised to see him as a late replacement for the injured Giancarlo Stanton in the Home Run Derby.
The Home Run Derby is becoming an increasingly polarizing event. The exhibition has its fans and supporters, but there are plenty on the other side of the fence arguing that it actually hinders a players second half performance. While empirical data has indicated that a player taking part in the derby is equally as likely to meet or exceed his first half performance in the second half as he is to drop off the table, plenty of fans only those that fall off the table. They argue that the derby messes with a player's rhythm and changes his swing as he attempts to put on a show for his fans. They are quick to cite examples like Bobby Abreu's 2005 derby championship when he dropped from 18 home runs in the first half to 6 in the second.
So where the hell are we headed with all this?
Andrew McCutchen was ready to say no to competing the derby when captain Matt Kemp tapped the Pirates star to take part, but was only convinced into it at the coaxing of his girlfriend. Andrew McCutchen's girlfriend, Maria Hanslovan, talked him into it by reminding him it's a once in a lifetime opportunity, something he admits he never expected to be a part of. McCutchen talked to WPXI in Pittsburgh:
“You look at the guys who are in the Home Run Derby, and they’re guys who hit 40, 50 home runs. They’re big guys. They’re guys that can drive the ball 500 feet. I’m not the person who’s going to hit a ball 500 feet. It’s just not going to happen. I can hit some home runs, just not that far. I never thought I’d be in a Home Run Derby. Ever.”
It's an admittedly tough position for Hanslovan to be placed in, as rabid fans longing for success may be quick to point the finger in the unlikely event that McCutchen goes all Abreu on us. She's already faced an admittedly difficult time in Pittsburgh after riling up the Steel City following Steelers 2012 loss to the Tebow led Broncos in the playoffs. The crowd got so worked up that McCutchen had to step in on Twitter to ask for them to chill out:
@TheCUTCH22: and so much animosity towards @MariaHanslovan.She meant no harm towards the Steelers.she is a fan n God fearing christian.simmer down folks.
I suppose if things go awry in the second half, McCutchen won't be shy to step in a second time if need be. For her sake, for his fantasy owner's sake, for the fans sake, and for Andre McCutchen's sake.... let;s hope there's no need.Andrew McCutchen's girlfriend Maria Hanslovan,