Andrew McCutchen is the gold-standard of how to interact with kids as an athlete

Andrew McCutchen closing out his career where it began is beautiful, and on Sunday the Pirates legend hit his 300th career home run in front of the Pittsburgh crowd.

It’s tough to know how a fan will react after catching an iconic ball like this, knowing it would be worth a ton of money in the sports memorabilia market — but McCutchen proved what a special player his is off the field in this interaction with the young fan who caught the ball.

McCutchen is genuinely, and truly interested to talk to this kid about the ball. He doesn’t just say “thanks for bringing it back,” takes a perfunctory photo and moves on. Instead he’s really interested to meet these fans. From looking over the ball with the boy to find the mark where he hit it, to telling the kid that he’ll remember his name forever — it all only took a few seconds out of McCutchen’s day, but you know it’s the kind of things that will be remembered by a family for a lifetime.

Just look at the boy’s smile in their photo together. It says it all.

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All signs are pointing to McCutchen retiring soon. After signing a contract with the Pirates in 2023 he said he wanted to play two more years, then retire in Pittsburgh. When that happens he deserves to immediately have a statue and recognized forever as one of the greatest players to wear a Pirates jersey.

What a legend.

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