After two decades of losing seasons, the fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates finally have something to cheer about: All-Star Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen will grace the cover of MLB 13: The Show.
In today’s age of media and social networking, popular video game franchises have begun turning the decision making over to the fans.
For a few years now, the popular NFL franchise Madden has been creating a bracket of NFL athletes and having the fans vote on who wins each round, and the eventual champion.
This year, the most popular baseball franchise for PlayStation 3 has done the same thing. MLB 13: The Show submitted a list of finalists; those finalists were Matt Kemp, CC Sabathia, Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, Buster Posey, Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera.
Voting took place exclusively through Facebook and Twitter, with the majority of votes coming through twitter.
For the week of January 7 through January 11, any tweet that contained the hashtag “#MLB13Cutch” counted as one vote for the face of the Pirates franchise.
McCutchen campaigned through the use of Twitter by doing giveaways and through the help of other athletes and pop culture icons.
Every day or so, McCutchen would post a tweet offering a chance to win a signed piece of memorabilia (baseball, baseball card, bat, glove, etc.) if anyone who follows him would “retweet” that tweet.
McCutchen received endorsements from some of the sporting world’s biggest stars, including Ryan Clark, Antonio Brown, Adrian Peterson, and Russell Wilson, as well as gaining support from the Twitter accounts of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins and even Robert Morris University.
Cutch also received support from Pittsburgh based rappers Wiz Khalifa, Chevy Woods, and Mac Miller.
After a weeks worth of voting, McCutchen finished in first place with 108,148 votes, nearly 20,000 more votes than 2nd place CC Sabathia.
Pirate fans shouldn’t worry about any sort of “cover curse” that is believed to exist with the Madden franchise; they can just hope their young star can continue the play that has helped him earn the respect of fans nationwide.
McCutchen released the following statement shortly after learning of his victory.
“I am humbled and thrilled that you, the fans, have voted me as the cover athlete for MLB 13: The Show. It really is a dream come true for me to be on the cover of a video game, but even more, I wanted this for Pittsburgh, a city that has supported us through some rough times. You deserved this.
Seeing how the fans came out in full force for this all week long overwhelmed me. You voted non-stop at all hours of the day, and I cannot thank enough for that kind of support. Many of you lost Twitter followers, deprived yourselves of sleep and spent every free moment of your day voting on Twitter and Facebook.#MLB13Cutch became more than a hashtag – it became a movement. I owe that to all of you.
This vote showed me the sense of pride that the people of Pittsburgh have, along with all the other fans that supported me.
I cannot express enough how appreciative I am of your support, and how thankful I am that you chose me for this.
I can only promise all of you that I am going to continue to work my hardest to prove that you made the right choice and help bring the World Series trophy back to Pittsburgh.