Making their pitch for Pikachu

April 22nd, 2023

This story was excerpted from Justice delos Santos’ Pirates Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The Pirates don’t just have a home run sword; they have a Pokémon, too.

Following their 4-3 win over the Reds on Thursday,  unveiled the team’s pitcher of the game trophy: a stuffed Pikachu donning a miniature black Pirates t-shirt.

“That’s the trophy,” Contreras said through team interpreter Stephen Morales. “Every time you do good after the game, you get the Pikachu.

The Pirates received the Pikachu, shirt included, from a fan in St. Louis. Coincidentally, the Pirates received their sword from a fan, too.

Typically, the Pirates hand out a trophy for their pitcher of the game (they do the same for the hitters), but by the time they got to Busch Stadium, their original trophy was lost in transition. Instead of replacing the original trophy, the Pirates Pikachu took its place.

didn’t think the Pikachu was going to catch on in the manner it did, but when his teammates started clamoring for the stuffed animal during their recent road trip, he realized Pikachu was here to stay.

“I think we’re having more fun throwing around the Pikachu than we did the other trophy,” Crowe said.

“Winning is obviously fun, but it brings that added element to it,” closer  said. “It fires a lot of people up and I think it just brings us all closer as a group.”

In the past week-and-a-half, Pittsburgh’s starters have essentially taken turns owning the Pikachu for a day. The Pirates’ rotation -- Contreras, , , and  -- have churned out 11 consecutive quality starts, the team’s longest stretch since 2015.