Chris Archer is endearing himself to fans in his new home before he's even thrown a pitch in a Pirates uniform. Archer, the club's prized acquisition at the non-waiver trade deadline, arrived at PNC Park Wednesday afternoon wearing an Antonio Brown Steelers jersey and spoke fondly of the "blue collar city."
A 29-year-old starting pitcher and two-time All-Star, he won't step onto the mound here until Friday night, when he'll start the first of a three-game series against the division-rival Cardinals. He'll do so wearing No. 24, rather than 22, the number he's worn his entire career, out of "respect" for Andrew McCutchen.
"He's what I aspire to be," Archer said fondly during his introductory news conference. While he warms up, "Black and Yellow," a song by Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa, will play over the ballpark's sound system, and his mother, Sonya, a Steelers fan, will be in attendance. After three years of trade rumors and uncertainty, Archer hopes to have finally found stability and a long-term home.
"Having your name floated around is tough, but from hearing the way these guys talk about me and what they’ve told me, this is for now and for the future," Archer said, while wearing a Pirates bandana to hold back his dreadlocks. "The future looks very, very bright here. I’m excited to be a part of it, and I’m excited to be playing meaningful baseball again."