Short of announcing he was going to sell the team or commit seppuku, there probably isn't an interview Bob Nutting could give that wouldn't infuriate a lot of Pirates fans. But for whatever it's worth, I think he comes off really well in this one, although some fans might think all the stuff about how much he hates losing pours it on a little thick. I liked Nutting's explanation of the difference between patience -- which Nutting claims not to have -- and "realistic expectation":
Patience is not a virtue in baseball. Realistic expectation is very different than patience ...
I'll use the Dominican academy as an example. Relentless approach is the only way that was going to work. I took several trips down (in 2007), and Frank and I agreed we needed to build the best academy, and we got that done very quickly. There was no patience. But in the real world we are dealing with 16-, 17-year-old players. Letting them develop, that takes patience. But were we getting the flow of talent into our system before the academy? No, so there was no patience in building the academy. That had to be built, built the right way, and that flow had to start happening right away.
This is a real and crucial distinction, particularly where the last few years have been concerned. I'm not sure if Nutting said something like this in 2008 or 2009, but I think I would have been pretty happy to hear him say something like that then.
Ultimately, though, we're approaching a point where the distinction between "patience" and "realistic expectation" matters less than it used to, because the Pirates' management team has now had four years to remake the organization. Four years isn't enough time to completely fix the situation Neal Huntington inherited, but we should be reaching a point where there's a bright light at the end of the tunnel. I'm not sure it's there yet, but I'll watch with interest to see how the 2012 season unfolds, especially at the minor-league level. If there isn't a lot of really exciting stuff happening there this year, any further time Huntington gets will cease to fall into the category of "reasonable expectation," and will instead become "patience."