Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen wasn’t holding back on Major League Baseball’s decision to play Thursday despite ongoing air quality issues related to raging Canadian wildfires. 

The Pirates’ 5-4 win over the Padres in the teams’ series finale was delayed 45 minutes because of visibility issues and air quality concerns as the fires still rage north of the border.

McCutchen, who wore a mask on the field and before things started, took MLB to task for the decision to play. 

“I feel like there’s not enough concern,” McCutchen told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I don’t feel like there’s enough awareness. We’re just out there in it. Gotta get the game in, right? We don’t have to. We don’t have to get the game in.

“Let’s meet as a whole and make a decision. It’s more like, ‘Chicago played in it, so you guys are fine.’ That’s what we’ve come to? They played in it, so we’re fine? I’m sure if we had a health expert coming in here, they’d be saying we’re crazy.”

Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates comes around to score on a RBI single by Henry Davis.
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The outfielder, who still went 2-for-4 in the win, was referencing a game two days prior in Chicago between the Cubs and Phillies that dealt with similar air quality problems.

The game was played despite an Air Quality Index of 255, or “very unhealthy,” according to AirNow.

A game between the Yankees and Chicago White Sox earlier in June had to be postponed because of poor air quality because of the wildfires. 

Pittsburgh catcher Austin Hedges was also among those on Thursday that voiced their concern. 

“The amount I was sweating [Wednesday] and having a tough time breathing, it was too many things impacting the situation,” Hedges said.

“Plus the possibility of what could be happening that we have no idea. 

Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is seen wearing a mask in the dugout
Andrew McCutchen wears a mask in the dugout.
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“I think that’s the scariest thing. Is this really nothing? Or is this way more? It’s one of ’em. I wish we knew a little bit more about it.”

Hedges added later that he felt the decision to play the game was being made by the league’s wallet and not by its head. 

“That’s one of the things that stinks,” Hedges said. “It seems like getting the money in takes precedent over health.

“That’s too bad. … It’s pretty frustrating.”

What likely played a part in the decision to play the game was that this was the only time the Padres would be visiting Pittsburgh this season, and making up the game at a later date would be complicated.

Despite the complaints, the Pirates did win and completed a three-game sweep.

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