Monday, November 15, 2010

Pirates Pick Hurdle

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced that Clint Hurdle has been hired as the team’s 39th manager. The 53-year old Hurdle was the Hitting Coach for the American League champion Texas Rangers last year. He says Pittsburgh is a “wonderful and perfect fit” for him. “A challenge, oh its there. The opportunity, its there,” says Hurdle, “I am very much aware of the accountability and the responsibility that comes with a job and the opportunity to have the job as a Major League manager.”

Prior to joining the Rangers for the 2010 campaign, Hurdle spent more than 15 years in the Colorado organization, serving as a minor league hitting coordinator, Major League hitting coach and the team’s manager, from April 2002 until May 2009. “Clint Hurdle is an extremely intelligent, passionate, knowledgeable baseball man with proven leadership skills and ability to move this team forward,” says Pirate General Manager Neil Huntington. “We are very pleased to hire such a quality man who will make an immediate and lasting impact on this organization.”

Hurdle would not promise a winning season in 2011 but he says his goal is to bring championship baseball back to Pittsburgh. “We’re always going to feel we’re closer than a lot of people think.” On the specifics… “We’ve got to pitch… and you’ve got to play 27 outs on the other side of the ball.” Hurdle is also looking for a ‘team’ attitude, “I spent some time in Colorado where we sent three or four guys to the All-Star game and finished up in third or fourth place. That’s not championship ball.”

“The one thing I will promise you I will bring, I’m all in,” says Hurdle. The Michigan native says he asked the team management tough questions to make sure they were also, ‘all in.’ “I wanted to look them in the eyes and ask them, 'Are you in?'" he said. "And to a man they looked me in the eye and said 'We're in.' "

As for the Pirates record setting streak of consecutive losing seasons, Hurdle says, ”this is going to turn. There’s not a doubt in my mind that this is eventually going to turn.”

Hurdle says he plans to move his wife and two daughters to Pittsburgh from the home in Colorado as soon as possible. His daughter Madison suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome. Pittsburgh is the home of the nation’s only in-patient clinic for the syndrome. He says that was a factor in his decision to come to Pittsburgh.

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