Andrew McCutchen on What You Don’t Know About that ESPN Commercial

The ESPN commercial featuring Andrew McCutchen and pirate mascots is well known, but there's a story behind the famous ad that can be shared.

Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park.
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 22: Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after hitting a two run home run in the fifth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park on August 22, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

DENVER — “The lox. Plunder the lox.”

The phrase still makes Andrew McCutchen smile to this day. Even though the ESPN ad where he uttered those five words as his only line is now 10 years old, his order to a group of Pirate mascots is still something that is uttered by fans any time McCutchen is within range.

Additionally, the #PlunderTheLox hashtag is still alive and well on social media whenever the Pittsburgh Pirates record a win (or when someone apparently needs to understand what lox really is).

McCutchen and his Pirate gang invading the ESPN offices in Bristol, Conn., is still considered one of the best in the series of “This is SportsCenter” ads that included ESPN anchors interacting with famous athletes.

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With veteran ESPN anchor John Anderson retiring at the end of June, McCutchen’s decade-old commercial featuring Anderson is back en vogue. However, the 37-year-old outfielder says there’s something about the famous ad that isn’t well known outside of those who were there that day to film the segment.

“We had to cut that one short because one of the mascots hit one of the sports analysts with the chart board,” McCutchen recalled. “It knocked her out cold. No one really knows about that one unless you talk about it.

“You just hear, ‘Cut. We need a medic.'”

With that in mind, it’s a good thing that ESPN got what it needed in the “few takes” that McCutchen said it took to shoot the 30-second spot. After all, that incident involving the chart board (not surprisingly) didn’t make the final cut.

“It wasn’t because of me,” McCutchen smiled when asked about the multiple takes. “It was because of the mascots. Honestly, all I had to say was, ‘Plunder the lox.’ It was a pretty simple line.”

If you notice in the ad, one of the mascots in the room was the Pittsburgh mascot, the Pirate Parrot, who was perfectly positioned over McCutchen’s shoulder much like a real parrot might be on a pirate’s shoulder.

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While McCutchen was talking about the past before the game, he looked like the Cutch of old during Pittsburgh’s 5-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night. He went 2-for-4 with a double and a 448-foot home run to straightaway center field, the longest home run he has hit in the Statcast era (since 2015).

While McCutchen’s ad is now a part of history with ESPN halting the series of ads, McCutchen said he still reflects on the creativity that was shown in those commercials.

“It was a lot of fun. I miss those commercials. I wish they still did them,” McCutchen said. “It’s cool to look back on them. Sometimes I go down the rabbit hole on YouTube watching them.”

In case you want to join McCutchen in reminiscing, here is one compilation of the top 40 “This is SportsCenter” commercials (with the Pirates coming in at, ironically, number 13).