Lots of good stuff from this afternoon's press scrum with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle:
Pirates fan in aisle five
Hurdle kicked-off this afternoon's press scrum with an entertaining anecdote about an interaction he had with a Pirates' fan at the local Giant Eagle this morning. This is the second press scrum that has opened with such a story. Yesterday he described the standing ovation he received at a Starbucks the morning after the doubleheader sweep. I hope this translates to text, because it was pretty good live:
I'm at the Giant Eagle with my daughter, aisle five, and we see an older gentlemen with a Pittsburgh hat. We make eye contact. Boom! Here he comes. (Laughter.) You never know what you're going to get.
So I say, "Hi sir, how you doing?"
He says, "I got one thing to say! That Marte kid we've got to get him closed up. We got to get," this and that.
I go, "Whoa! Whoa, whoa, with everything that is going on, Marte is at the top of your hit list?! What'd we got here?" (Laughter.)
He says (loudly), "No I'm telling you!"
I say (calmly), "Okay, you know what? I think we're going to let him work out a couple more days. We'll keep things in place, if that'll work out for you." (Laughter.)
Chatting it up in public
Hurdle said that chatting with fans when he is out is part of the job and he doesn't mind. "More often than not, it's people with good intentions who want to share thoughts that they've been carrying in their pocket and feel a need to get out. That they think could be helpful. And I'm good with that."
The Pirates manager added that his interactions with fans have been consistent since he's come to town because Pittsburgh is a "passionate town for baseball."
Opposing general managers gave the Pirates advice
Hurdle shared that some general managers across the league advised the Pirates to do things "properly," which, based on Hurdle's disposition and comments, I took to mean that they were reminding the Pirates that they had to win this year, they could not afford another collapse, that they needed to pay whatever cost to upgrade the team:
"There were some general managers that wanted to remind us that we'd lost 20 years in a row." Leaning over and speaking quietly and smiling sheepishly, Hurdle added, "That we might have overlooked that. That we might want to rethink how much we're willing to spend on players."
"Wow, attaboy," Neal
Neal Huntington's comment yesterday that the Pirates were willing to do something "stupid" but "not insane" has received a lot of attention the past 24 hours. Hurdle, apparently, was impressed with and approved of his GM's aggressiveness.
I will tell you this, once we started digging into this, some of the names that were coming up, I was like, "Wow! Attaboy!" He definitely opened up our farm system. He said, "We'll always retain the right to say no." But he was willing to open things up to see where it goes. ... He did say he was willing to do something stupid, not insane (chuckling). I said, "That's a fine line, isn't it?
Reconciling the williness to do something "stupid" with being "confident" in the team they have
An interesting pair of themes emerged yesterday which, perhaps on their face, appear to be in tension. Huntington emphasized that he was willing to do something "stupid" to improve the team, while at the same time expressing complete confidence in the current roster. Asked today to reconcile those two mindsets, Hurdle said the following:
I think you look at it from the vein that you're going to gamble. And point being, we have a safety net. And the safety net is the existing players that are out there. And that's why you don't have to be insane.