McCutchen trade creates roller coaster emotions for Pirates fans

by Nick Archacki, staff writer

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Nick Archacki, staff writer

As a Pirates fan, I believe it is time to touch on what has been a very tough start to the year for Pirates fans around the world with the trade of five time MLB All-Star and 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen’s trade to the San Francisco Giants on Jan. 15 created anger amongst Pirates fans as their star player and the face of the Pirates franchise was traded away. The Pirates received a disappointing and unfair trade deal from the Giants, receiving two low profile players along with a low amount of cash, for the amount of love, talent, and pride McCutchen gave to Pirates fans as well as fans having the same connections to McCutchen. In addition, just three days prior to the McCutchen trade, Pirates ace pitcher Gerritt Cole was traded to the Houston Astros, making Pirate fans ever more frustrated.

McCutchen was drafted by the Pirates in 2005 as a first round pick and had a successful as an Indianapolis Indian, the AAA Pittsburgh Pirates farm team, prior to starting in the MLB. The 5’10” rookie started his first game as a Pirate on June 4, 2009 with a hit in his first at bat in the big leagues, brought in an RBI and scored three runs in their victory against the New York Mets. McCutchen’s performance gave Pittsburgh hope that their team might have a rising star who would bring their team out of the dust and into the spotlight. Five years later, the Pirates and their fans were able to see that dream come true as McCutchen led the Bucs to the playoffs in 2013, 2014, and 2015 after a twenty year playoff drought.

McCutchen was the biggest star for the team ever since Willie Stargel, changing the team from being one of the worst in the MLB for many years to one the best in the National League. As McCutchen will be starting a new career and life in San Francisco, he has been very excited and emotional about his new life and how much he cares for the city of Pittsburgh and his Pirate fans. The day the trade was announced, McCutchen wrote a touching tweet to his fans on Twitter: “Pittsburgh. My Home. My Fans. My City. The place that raised me and helped mold me into the man I am today. You will 4ever be in my heart. A tip of the cap to all who have been on this journey with me. With Love and respect, Cutch.”

McCutchen also wrote an emotional article to Pittsburgh for The Players Tribune saying, “It’s just a trade. It’s not an eraser to my time as a Pirate, and it’s definitely not a goodbye to the city of Pittsburgh. My time playing for this team… it doesn’t go away, just because I’m going to play for another. If you see me, say hey and maybe throw a “Cutch!” in if you’re in the mood. I’ll be the guy who looks familiar, walking around like he knows the place with a few fresh tears, and a big ol’ smile with San Francisco on his shirt, and Pittsburgh in his heart.”

As the years went on, McCutchen created many memories for Pittsburgh Pirates fans to cherish for the rest of their lives including his performance in his first ever game as a Pirate, his fantastic walk-off home run against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park in 2015, and his first ever grand-slam in his career in 2017.  Us Pirates fans will remember these moments forever, but sadly we will most likely never see him again evolve as a player in a Pirates uniform and all we have to share now with friends, family, and fellow Bucco fans are McCutchen’s memories as a Pirate, which is going to be more than difficult to see him not at PNC Park playing in center field or building our inner excitement as McCutchen would be coming up to bat.  For Pirate fans all around, it’ll especially be hard to see Cutch at PNC Park this year playing the game he loves in the city he loves, wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey. Just remember these words from McCutchen: “Pittsburgh…It’s Home. It Will Always Be Home.”

 

Super Bowl LII satisfies local fans

by Autumn Jones, marketing director

There’s one game which is so highly anticipated throughout the football season and rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars. This game is an annual tradition in the NFL and is the goal for every single team in the league as they play their hearts out in the sixteen regular season games. This year’s Super Bowl LII was held at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4.

Leading up to the game, the Super Bowl Host Committee hosted a ten day festival called Super Bowl LIVE. The festival featured free concerts, ice sculptures, food, and other attractions. The activities were all held at Nicollet Mall, a twelve block portion of Nicollet Ave running through downtown Minneapolis. Super Bowl LIVE was presented by Verizon Wireless and ran from Jan. 26 to Feb. 4. Concerts included many smaller name acts, as well as a few larger name acts such as Rae Sremmurd and X Ambassadors. All activities were free of charge to those who attended.

To open the highly anticipated game, well-known pop singer P!nk sang the National Anthem rather beautifully, despite battling the flu the week before. She refused to give up what she considers one of the biggest honors and a dream of hers since watching Whitney Houston perform at the Super Bowl. P!nk gave a stellar performance, only struggling a little towards the end of the anthem.

The AFC champion New England Patriots faced the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, with the Eagles winning 41-33. Going into the game, fans were skeptical of who would win. Mrs. Melissa Statman said,  “It depends on which team shows up for the Philadelphia Eagles.”

The Super Bowl LII win was chalked up as a first for the Eagle’s throughout the entire franchise’s history, despite this being their third trip. Third time’s a charm, right? The Patriots’ returned to the Super Bowl for the tenth time, being the first team in NFL history to return with that record. As for records, the combined total yardage between the Eagles and Patriots set a new record throughout both regular season and playoff season in NFL history at 1,150 total yards.

How about we talk money? Want to purchase a 30 second commercial to be aired and seen by millions between plays during the game? You’ll have to shell out 7.7 million dollars. What about the tickets? An average Super Bowl LII ticket cost in the range of $2,500 to $3,000. Think that’s a lot of money? That wasn’t anywhere close to the most expensive tickets sold for the game. The most expensive tickets, costing a whopping $20,500, were for a pair of seats near the 50-yard line.

Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance included a tribute to Minnesota native Prince. He started the show with his song “Filthy,” from his new album which released on Feb. 2. The new release was followed by throwbacks such as “Rock Your Body” and “Sexy Back.” The entire performance was filled with energy, dancing, lights, and many transitions.  He then wrapped up the performance with the tribute to Prince, which featured a projection of Prince singing “I Would Die 4 You” while Timberlake performed on the piano and sang alongside the projection. Deadline.com called the tribute a “botched performance,” however; senior Dominic Steiger said, “I enjoyed the tribute to Prince towards the end. It was a good performance by Justin.”

Many believe the fate of the game was sealed in the fourth quarter when Tom Brady was sacked by defensive end Brandon Graham and was recovered by the Eagles, giving them possession of the ball. Steiger said, “When I saw the fumble happen, I was singing the Eagles’ Fight Song for the next two hours and into the next day at school.” He added, “Overall it was a good game. We (Eagles) just wanted it more and deserved it more. The Patriots couldn’t match the intensity throughout the game.”

Coach Greg Molnar takes technical for Iroquois teen

By Bailey Kozalla, Kaity Gage, and Stevie Siple, Editor-in-Chief, Design Editor, Staff Writer

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Coach Greg Molnar

Doing the right thing when the opportunity presents itself is one of the unspoken rules of being a coach. That is exactly what Saegertown boys basketball coach Greg Molnar did on Dec. 22 at Iroquois High School.

With a definite loss in sight for the Panthers, Iroquois basketball coach Brad Breese substituted physically challenged junior Jared Anderson into the game, hoping he could score his first points in his varsity career.

With less than two minutes left on the clock, and the score 71-32, Molnar told Breese to call a timeout. He knew that Anderson’s best chance at scoring was to shoot from the foul line.

Molnar spoke to the official, “If he misses the shot, and we get the rebound, then give me a technical.”

Working according to plan, Saegertown recovered the ball, and the referee blew his whistle signaling a technical foul. Anderson went to the foul line.

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Iroquois player Jared Anderson takes his first of two shots at the line after Saegertown Coach Greg Molnar receives a technical foul.

At this moment, the atmosphere of competition in the gym transitioned to one of emotional camaraderie. After Anderson missed the first free throw, the gym fell silent for his final shot. Once the ball left Anderson’s hand, it banked off the backboard, and swished.

Before the ball even hit the floor, the crowd erupted in cheers that lasted for what seemed like minutes.

Anderson also scored the final shot in the game, taking his total points for the evening to three. 

Coach Molnar described the moment with characteristic humility:  “It was an opportunity to provide a memory and normalcy for a kid who obviously loved basketball but faces challenges no one of us can understand.”

Anderson has been playing the game since he was four years old. Thirteen years later, all of his hard work paid off. “I felt awesome. I’d like to thank your coach and your players being so nice about it. It was a Christmas present for being able to get in and score a basket.”

Anderson plans to attend Edinboro University for either sports medicine or management while also playing on a wheelchair basketball team.

A devoted fan, Charles Curtis expressed his viewpoint in a letter to Principal Tom Baker: “I was very impressed by the way your coach allowed a disabled boy on our Iroquois team to take a shot following a requested technical on Molnar’s part. It was a very emotional moment for me and the people in the gym went wild.”

Curtis has followed local basketball teams for many years, and has never witnessed anything like it. “The young man will remember this moment for the rest of his life. This is what high school sports is all about. Your coach should be recognized for his courtesy.”

Iroquois Assistant Principal Jeannene Willow was also impressed by Saegertown’s sportsmanship. “That was certainly my favorite game of the season this year. I really thought it showed a lot of class on Saegertown’s part. I’m going to remember that game for a long time,” Willow said. 

Experiencing the emotion of the crowd, Willow said, “There weren’t too many dry eyes in the gym that night.”

Karen Anderson, Jared’s mother and biggest fan, was speechless. “I was holding my breath. He’s played wheelchair basketball before. That’s been basically all he could do. He managed last year, and I convinced him to play this year.”

Mrs. Anderson has been anticipating his first moments of playing, “When they put him in finally, it was the greatest thing I have ever seen. He works hard at everything he does.”

She described her emotions while watching her son: “When I saw him out on the floor, I wanted to cry and I wanted to scream and I wanted to cheer all at the same time.”

Mrs. Anderson expressed her gratitude to Saegertown as a whole. “I thank the coach, I thank the fans, and I thank the players. I appreciate your school and how they reacted. The sportsmanship they showed means so much.”

(This story was originally published in the Feb. 14 issue of The Panther Press.)

 

Send your heartfelt wishes to homebound students

by Hannah Myers, Photo editor

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Boxes to donate Valentine cards for junior Jared Kula and Dakota Price.

For Valentines Day, student council will be coordinating two big boxes of Valentine cards and other goodies to send to junior Jared Kula and senior Dakota Price who are currently on medical leave from school. Some teachers will be making these in class; however, if your class is not, you may drop your items off in the two boxes in the cafeteria from February 6 – 9. Student council adviser Mrs. Nicole Keller said, “Thanks to Mrs. Houck for coming up with this idea.” She noted that response to the project has been enthusiastic so far.

The Student Council is coordinating two big boxes of Valentines (cards or other goodies if you wish) to send home with both Jared Kula (a junior who had major surgery) and Dakota Price.  (Thanks to Debbie Houck for coming up with this idea!)

With extension period this week and shortened classes on Friday, I thought this might be a good time to have your students make a card for these young men.

On Wednesday I will have some blank Valentines, heart cutouts, paper, etc. in the Library during PLC that you could use to do this project with your classes if you would like.

On Friday during Activity period the Student Council Officers will come around to collect anything you would like to donate to the boxes.

I will send the boxes home to the boys the end of the week of February 9th so if you need a bit more time that will work too.

Thanks!

‘#MeToo’ movement needs to keep moving forward

by Hillary Twiford, news editor

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Hillary Twiford, news editor

A revolutionary movement sparked a conversation in 2017 about sexual harassment and appropriate behavior towards other people. A group of individuals, called the Silence Breakers by Time magazine, are those who have dealt with sexual assault/harassment and have stepped forward to hold their attackers responsible. A recent issue of Time details accounts of courageous men and women who decided to share their stories of experiencing sexual assault and harassment.

Sexual misconduct is a serious problem that prominently resurfaced in 2017. The “#MeToo” movement began with activist Tarana Burke in 2006, but the phrase was popularized by actress Alyssa Milano with her tweet, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
Over 68,000 people replied to the tweet in over three months. The enormous number of people who have come forward and keep coming forward exposes a pressing problem with today’s society. Over 80 women have accused film producer Harvey Weinstein alone of assault. Weinstein was one of the first men to fall due to accusations, many other powerful men going down after him. Even though some accusations have come from the past, they should still be considered seriously.

“I think there would be a lot of guilt and shame of “what did I do?” I think it’s good no matter how far from the the past,” said junior high social studies teacher Mrs. Kara Bechtel.

Finally, people are being held accountable for their own actions. Admittedly, some will not change their ways and will continue to neglect the consequences. However, it should be society’s duty to hold them to the same standards as everyone else, with no regard for status or wealth. This inexcusable behavior cannot continue. Men and women do not deserve to suffer because of sexual misconduct, so we should no longer discourage them from sharing their stories.

“The #MeToo movement, I think that one makes me the most sad,” said science teacher Mrs. Melissa Statman. “Victims of of sexual assault in the past did not have the support they need to heal from that tragic situation.”

Similarly, on Jan. 20, one year after Donald Trump was elected president and the first anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March, people flooded the streets of hundreds of cities, such as New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, and more. The protests were spawned from Trump and his administration’s policies on controversial issues, including immigration and healthcare. Others took to the streets to protest civil and women’s rights, as well as sexual harassment and assault.

“I agree with the women marching and I believe they should be speaking out about how they should be treated. I hope the men that aren’t acting appropriately are paying attention,”  said business and technology teacher Mr. Tim Houck.

In 2017, the world was reminded that sexual assault and harassment is a frequent, yet devastating occurrence. The Silence Breakers shaped the movement that began a serious discussion of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and the common workplace. In 2018, we have to keep moving forward as a society and hope the movement does not stop until sexual assault does.