Blockbuster movie season is upon us, and with it, a deluge of remakes. Some of these franchise revivals will satisfy both new and old fans alike. Others will feel like Hollywood’s trying to ride a wave of nostalgia all the way to the bank, trudging out familiar brands simply because they’ll put butts in seats. Rarely do these sequels, prequels and spin-offs reach the heights of the original masterpiece.
Don’t tell that to A.J. Burnett, though. The unabashed Batman aficionado — he occasionally suits up as the Dark Knight in the offseason and inked the crime-fighter’s emblem on his forearm — is crafting an Oscar-worthy sequel in Pittsburgh. Ostracized in New York, Burnett revived his career with the Pirates in 2013 and helped them reach the postseason for the first time in 21 years. Now, after a lost 2014 season in Philly, Batman has returned to combat the Cardinals and Cubs for NL Central supremacy. Armed with one of the game’s best sinkers and displaying much-improved control (2.8 walks per nine innings, compared to 4 BB/9 last year), Burnett might just get another crack at a World Series and garner Cy Young consideration during his final MLB season. How’s that for a feel-good ending?