Heading into Tuesday night's game, a 9-4 win against the Rockies that improved the Pirates' record to 12-9, Andrew McCutchen had decided he'd had enough.
"Before tonight, we had a .378 OBP, but fewer homers than any team but the Braves and Marlins," he said. "That's just stupid. John Jaso, his dreads are way worse than mine were. I mean, he looks like he hasn't taken a shower in months. It's disgusting, even though he doesn't actually smell that bad. But he's on base constantly. [Gregory] Polanco, too. And Francisco Cervelli. And we couldn't cash 'em in. That went for me, too. I only had two home runs in 89 plate appearances. What's that about?
"I'd had enough of that nonsense, so I had to address it," he added, and he did, smashing a solo home run in the first inning off Jorge De La Rosa.
"And then [David] Freese homered right after me," McCutchen continued. "It was good. I mean, think about it. We're playing at Coors Field last night, and yeah, we got six runs despite a strike zone bigger than a Tokyo hotel room, but we only hit one homer. That's crazy. Why do we even come here?"
The Pirates added another run in the first on a Josh Harrison single, and headed into the second inning with a 3-0 lead. McCutchen could have stopped there.
"It was going fine, but then in the second inning I was standing in the on-deck circle," McCutchen said. "And this silly-looking bro in the front row with a backwards Rockies hat was telling his girlfriend, 'Anchorman 2 was significantly better than the original.'
"No. Just, no," McCutchen said. "Anchorman 2 is, like, a nine-hour series of non-sequiturs disguised as jokes. People don't even try in comedies anymore. If I wanted to watch some offensively dumb junk like that, I'd just put Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 or Jack and Jill on repeat and take a sleeping pill. So when [De La Rosa] threw some silly changeup or whatever that was, I had to smash it."
The Pirates weren't even two full innings into the game, and McCutchen already had two home runs. The Rockies battled back with runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings, with the fifth ending in dramatic fashion as Starling Marte threw Gerardo Parra out at home on a play that was challenged and upheld. But it was the Rockies' fourth-inning run, on a homer by Nolan Arenado, that proved more crucial to the outcome of the game.
"Arenado hits that home run, and he's psyched. I get it," McCutchen said. "But then the inning ends, and I'm jogging in from center, and Arenado has his glove on and he's coming back out to play third.
"And as I'm jogging past him, he grabs my shoulder and whispers in my ear. He goes, 'A hot dog is a sandwich.' I mean, come on," said McCutchen.
"I didn't get to come up until the sixth, but I had to show him."
Polanco led off the sixth with a double, and Jordy Mercer followed with a walk. Christian Bergman then threw a fastball that McCutchen hit for a line-drive, opposite-field three-run homer. For the second time in his career, and the first since his rookie season in 2009, McCutchen had a three-homer game. Marte then celebrated his teammate's big night with a solo shot of his own later in the inning, Polanco added an RBI single in the ninth, and the Pirates cruised to a 9-4 victory.
"I mean, a hot dog is a sandwich," McCutchen added when pressed about why Arenado's comment bothered him. "You have a piece of processed meat between two pieces of bread, which is pretty much the Platonic ideal of a sandwich."
Suddenly, the reporters surrounding McCutchen began buzzing with confusion.
"It doesn't matter that the two pieces of bread are connected," McCutchen added, over a reporter's objection. "Are you saying a cheesesteak isn't a sandwich? Are you saying a sub isn't a sandwich? That's ridiculous.
"What does it matter that a hot dog isn't sliced like deli meat is?" McCutchen erupted, losing his cool after reporters continued to press him on the issue. "Whatever goes in between the bread doesn't have to be sliced! Do you slice peanut butter and jelly? Come on, man."
Reporters weren't convinced, however.
"Just think about it for like three seconds and you'll agree," McCutchen added. "Pretty much all my teammates did. But this is what got me. We settled this debate years ago. We don't need to talk about it anymore. Arenado was just trying to stir the pot. That's what bothered me."
McCutchen removed his cap and put it in his locker as reporters continued to fire questions.
"It doesn't matter how you cook it! A hot dog is a sandwich! It's a sandwich! You can make a grilled chicken sandwich, and you can cook that on the barbecue too. Are you saying a grilled chicken sandwich isn't a sandwich? Look, a hot dog is a sandwich. It's pretty simple," he said, waving his arms for emphasis.
"You all need to cut out this silliness, or you won't believe what I'll do tomorrow."
Hopefully you didn't need to be told that this was satirical and that McCutchen didn't actually say any of this stuff.