Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones, right, receives a commemorative base from Pittsburgh Pirates' Andrew McCutchen during ceremony honoring his career before a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
ALBANY --- Had Buster Posey won, PlayStation's "MLB13 The Show" video game likely would've flown off the shelves in Florida, Georgia and California.
Instead, it will be Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates' All-Star outfielder, on the cover of the popular game following a five-day worldwide vote at mlb.com that ended late Friday night.
McCutchen reacted to the news just after midnight via Twitter.
"Wooowww! The front cover of a video game?!?!!!!! Still cant believe it! Prob not going to sleep tonight," he wrote.
McCutchen finished with a staggering 108,148 votes ---- nearly 20,000 more than second place C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees ---- and 75,000 more than Posey, the San Francisco Giants' two-time World Series winning catcher who finished sixth out of seven candidates with 31,508 votes.
The Leesburg native and former Florida State star, who is in is third season with the Giants, told The Herald earlier in the week that he was both humbled and excited to even be in the running for the cover. He also said that he's been a fan of the game since he was young.
“I was excited (when I found out I was one of the seven). For a baseball player, having the opportunity to be on MLB13 The Show is really special,” he said Tuesday in a text to The Herald. “I did play the game growing up. I never really imagined having a chance to be on the cover, but it definitely doesn’t take away from the experience. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to play now — 17-month old twins keep me busy! But my brothers (Jess and Jack) still play the game. Actually saw them playing MLB12 The Show just the other day.”
And while Posey may have seemed like a slam dunk for the honor given the season he recently finished --- one that ended with his second ring, the NL MVP award, the NL batting title, Comeback Player of the Year and the Hank Award award for the league's top offensive player ---- it was McCutchen who ran away with the cover.
Finishing third was reigning AL MVP and the first Triple Crown winner in 40 years, Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers (76,740 votes), while Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp was fourth with 72,467 votes.
Nationals phenom Bryce Harper, the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year, finished fifth with 42,452 votes, followed by Posey and then finally the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun, who was allowed to keep the 2011 NL MVP award after his positive doping test was overturned in arbitration. Braun received just 13,153 votes.
Last year’s winner was Boston Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez. Other recent cover winners include Ryan Howard (Phillies, 2008), Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox, 2009) and Joe Mauer (Twins, 2010 and 2011).
McCutchen is certainly worthy.
The 5-foot-10 speedster from Fort Meade, Fla., batted .327 this past season with 31 home runs and 96 RBI, making the woeful Pirates once again relevant for a good portion of the season before a late slide caused them to miss the playoffs. Nonetheless, McCutchen is one of the most popular and well-liked players in the majors and the Pirates' sole representative in last season's All-Star game.
Posey, McCutchen and the other five candidates all did work for their character on the game, and Posey told ESPN in an interview Thursday that he was amazed at all that went in to making the finished product after putting in a full day with the crew in Tampa, Fla.
“The big thing is these guys are just constantly trying to soak in information and absorb knowledge in any way they can,” Posey told ESPN.com's Jon Robinson. “I think a lot of the ways they do this is by looking at statistics. One of the more interesting things for me: I was pitching as Matt Cain and it was a 3-1 count, so on beginner mode, they’ll highlight the fastball for me because that’s the highest probability, his highest-percentage pitch, and his most effective in that situation. Depending on the situation, they’ll call for that curveball in the dirt or that slider or changeup, and I think it’s a great way for kids and people who might not understand baseball to learn along the way.”
Posey added that no matter who won the cover, just taking part in the process had "been really run."
“First and foremost, looking at all the guys who are in the running, any of them are going to be great cover athletes for the game,” Posey said. “The whole process has been really fun for me. Going down and getting to hang out with some of the guys who helped make the game, and getting to see what goes into it, and seeing just how complex and detailed they’re getting with this game has really been interesting for me. The way they made the game this year with the beginner mode, anybody can pick it up and play, whether you’re somebody like me who doesn’t play too many video games or somebody who plays a lot. There are different levels, and it teaches you as well, so finally you can sit down and play the game at your own speed instead of just jumping right into the fire.”
Posey said he hopes when the game comes out in March, fans will choose to play with the Giants.
"We’re the reigning World Series champs, and that’s pretty good in itself. When you play as the Giants, we’re putting a pretty good team out there, and you have to like your chances. If you want to win, I think we’re a pretty good team to go with," he told the website.