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Sunday, February 09, 2014

Perrotto: Q&A with Clint Hurdle

Clint Hurdle just moved ahead of Jewel Winklemeyer Ens in my book.

Q. You played in the 1970s and 1980s and are more of an “old school” baseball person while the Pirates use advanced statistics and quantitative analysis to help in much of their decision making. How have you been able to adjust?

A: You break down the employees and I’m one of the older men in the building. Tradition can be wonderful, but it can also be a vision killer. I was kind of that guy.

As I explain it to my players just so they understand what I’m trying to become to help them, I played in an era where a hard groundball up the middle was a base hit nine out of 10 times. Now it might be a base hit two out of 10 times (because of defensive shifting). So if the information is there, it’s real, it plays out, you’re really not doing the best job you can to help your team win if you’re not paying attention to it.

We have some very gifted people on that third floor at PNC Park that do some remarkable work and tactically give us a very competitive edge as far as I’m concerned. I need to listen to them.”

Q: It was 36 years ago this month that you were on the cover of Sports Illustrated and labeled as “this year’s phenom” prior to your rookie season with the Kansas City Royals. What do you think when you see that cover?

“To get past just the initial shock at how young I looked and how long my hair was, I think it’s nice to take a step back. If you can take a step back and look at the picture and realize where you are now. It’s gap analysis. What was I thinking there? What am I thinking now? Where am I now? And look at the space and time that’s been covered.

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had people in my life that have really helped me along that journey. It’s been a heck of a ride. I am the same guy in some respects, but I’m not even close to being the same guy in a lot of others. We all look to get better and improve.

From that standpoint, I probably get reminded of it more than most because I’m still asked to sign three or four of those covers about every week. They keep showing up. I don’t know if they keep making them or they just keep showing up.”

Repoz Posted: February 09, 2014 at 06:39 AM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pirates, sabermetrics

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   1. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 09, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4653902)
Clint Hurdle comes off extremely well in that interview. In addition to the excerpt, at one point he says, "If I'm the smartest man in the room, I need to look for a new room or a new staff." That's a great attitude to take. We like to mock those old-school guys who seemingly refuse to learn and grow. It's very refreshing to see a guy who knows that he doesn't know it all and is open to learning and adapting to it. Good for Hurdle and good for the Pirates. I wish them well (at least until Theo Epstein finishes his 37-year rebuilding project and the Cubs are ready to crush them and the rest of the NL Central until the end of time).
   2. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2014 at 05:59 PM (#4653959)
(at least until Theo Epstein finishes his 37-year rebuilding project

You can't expect miracles Kiko!

Good words but ... I played in an era where a hard groundball up the middle was a base hit nine out of 10 times. Now it might be a base hit two out of 10 times (because of defensive shifting) suggests he still has a bit to learn. :-)

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