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Friday, September 27, 2019

Manager Clint Hurdle hopes to return to Pirates in 2020

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Clint Hurdle hopes to return for what would be his 10th season as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ manager in 2020.

Hurdle has two more years remaining on a deal that started with the 2018 season.

Pittsburgh began Thursday 67-91, its most losses since 2010. The second half of the season included several clubhouse incidents, including a fight between relief pitchers Felipe Vazquez and Kyle Crick.

 

 

QLE Posted: September 27, 2019 at 01:09 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: clint hurdle, manager, pirates

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   1. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5883607)
They're only second in hit batsman this year.
   2. jmurph Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:14 AM (#5883608)
How embarrassing that they're even considering bringing him back.
   3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5883665)
They're only second in hit batsman this year.


And they were fourth in HBP last year, and tenth the year before that. And their HBP rate tracks fairly closely with their walk and wild pitch rates, suggesting that it's primarily driven by pitcher quality rather than anything else. And the guys who led the Pirates in HBP during the seasons where the team led the NL generally also had high HBP totals before coming to the team and after leaving it (e.g. Morton, Volquez, Burnett, etc.). But hey, narratives gonna narrate, I guess.

(And yeah, I hate all the "fun police" bullshit they've been doing this year, and it seems like Hurdle has lost control of the clubhouse, and they could score some easy points with the fan base by dropping him, so he should probably go. But the image of Hurdle as a headhunter is stupid and unfair.)
   4. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5883690)
I hope this ends the way George's run at Play Now ended on Seinfeld.
   5. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 27, 2019 at 04:07 PM (#5883782)
You would think it's time to move on from Hurdle, and possibly from the entire front office while you're about it. But ownership probably isn't keen on paying two managers if they don't have to.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 04:22 PM (#5883787)
How embarrassing that they're even considering bringing him back.

Yeah. If a team has ever quit on a season, this is it.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: September 27, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5883788)
In a keen strategic move, the Cubs did their best to save Hurdle's job.
   8. RoyalFlush Posted: September 27, 2019 at 05:15 PM (#5883813)
Pirates and Steelers coaches/managers are hard to get rid of.
   9. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 27, 2019 at 07:37 PM (#5883842)
2019 is shaping up to be the worst sports year in Pittsburgh in... I don't know, probably decades. The Pirates are back to being the Pirates, the Steelers are going to go 4-12 (the Steelers are truly terrible for the first time since the Nixon Administration, they were, uh, overdue) and just traded away their first round pick, and the Penguins puked all over themselves in the first round last year and might or might not reach the playoffs this year.

There's a decent chance all three teams will have new managers/head coaches in 2020.

e: the last time the Pittsburgh sports scene was this bad was the early 2000s, when the Pirates were the Pirates, the Penguins were the Pirates of the NHL, bankrupt, and about to leave town, and the Steelers were posting records of 10-5-1 and 6-10, which is a really bad two year stretch for the Steelers.

Then the Steelers jumped to 15-1, the Penguins got Crosby and Malkin, and Pittsburgh fans have been living high on the hog ever since. Even the Pirates won three playoff games that one year!
   10. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 27, 2019 at 07:54 PM (#5883844)
The nadir of Pittsburgh sports during my lifetime was probably 2003, when the Penguins were the worst team in the NHL (2003-2004), the Steelers were 6-10, and the Pirates were 75-87--but that 75 win season was actually the best the Pirates would do for a 12 year stretch 2003 was near the middle of. Pirates fans were actually feeling optimistic at the time, whereas Steelers fans were calling for Bill Cowher's head on a plate and there were no Penguins fans.

2019 might not turn out quite as bad, depending how the Penguins do and whether the Steelers can at least get three wins from their four games against the Browns and Bengals.
   11. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 07:58 PM (#5883846)
Is there any evidence that Clint Hurdle is now, or ever has been, a good manager?
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: September 27, 2019 at 08:01 PM (#5883847)
Hurdle's 2007 Rockies went on a 13-1 rampage down the stretch to reach the playoffs, then they went 7-0 vs ARI and PHI to reach the World Series. the narrative then was on how Hurdle got his team to believe in the impossible, etc.

of course, that was 12 years ago. but that's one piece of evidence, perhaps.
   13. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 27, 2019 at 08:01 PM (#5883848)
He was the right kind of manager for where the Pirates were when they hired him: totally lost and apathetic after 20 years in the wilderness, with plenty of young talent in need of a major positive-attitude infusion.

Hurdle's not a bad manager, nor a good one. He's a super high positive energy guy--or was, at that time. I honestly don't think I'd hire him now even under the circumstances of the Pirates in 2011, because he's nearly a decade older and doesn't have as much positive energy now as he did then. At the time it was a good hire IMO. But they should have moved on from him two years ago. (But it wouldn't shock me if the Padres subscribed to this line of thought and hired him after Joe Maddon inevitably turns them down.)

What the Pirates need now, though, is a hardass. If I were the Pirates my first call would be to Buck Showalter, probably. But in all honestly it probably isn't going to matter, because the talent isn't really there anymore. The pitching staff is a catastrophe and that's not likely to improve soon.
   14. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 08:01 PM (#5883849)
Also, you remember that hilarious period when the utterly ordinary manager Jim Tracy was supposedly an advocate of something called Tracyball? Or am I imagining that?
   15. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 08:02 PM (#5883850)
Hurdle's 2007 Rockies went on a 13-1 rampage to reach the playoffs, then they went 7-0 vs ARI and PHI to reach the World Series.


And then went 0-4 against the Red Sox, as I recall.
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: September 27, 2019 at 08:06 PM (#5883852)
I'm a glass half-full kind of guy
   17. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 27, 2019 at 08:18 PM (#5883854)
11. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 07:58 PM (#5883846)
Is there any evidence that Clint Hurdle is now, or ever has been, a good manager?


Yeah. He comes off really well in the book "Big Data Baseball" about how the Pirates transformed their team. Hurdle arguably comes off as the most important piece in the Pirate revitalization. During his time in the baseball media, he got into fangraphs & all the sabermetric stuff, so when he came to the Pirates, he was aggressive in supporting it. He and the GM made a deliberate decision - go all-in on some of the most recent stuff out there: catcher pitch framing and defensive alignment. They got the best pitch framer they could in Russell Martin, but aggressively implemented defensive shifting in the minors and majors. The parts on the book on what Hurdle did was pretty interesting. It wasn't just making the decision, but getting players to buy into it. Hurdle just kept the lines of communication open, and while some pitchers chafed at it, he made the adjustment much smoother than it would've been. In fact, Hurdle had his players talk directly to the analysts. Early in his days as Pirates manager, he formed a bond with head Pirate numbers cruncher Dan Fox, and Hurdle believed that open communication would help. It helped the player & it also helped the numbers guy figure out better ways of explaining their ideas to the players. Hurdle also championed the Pirates creating the first ever travelling sabermetrician (not Fox, an underling of Fox) - he went with the teams on road trips and was in the clubhouse often enough that when the Pirates clinched a postseason birth, some of the guys poured booze on the stathead's head.

Years ago, a SABR member named Jeff Angus wrote a book called "Management by Baseball." Angus is a real-life business management consultant/expert/whatever and he used sports to make his points. One chapter on managing change said that it's often the most difficult thing for a manager to successfully do. That book's point was always on my mind when I read "Big Data Baseball" because it sure sounded like Hurdle was doing as good a job as one could do managing change with the Pirates.

In short, "Big Data Baseball" is an excellent book and you should all read it. And Hurdle comes off fantastic in it.
   18. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: September 27, 2019 at 08:43 PM (#5883858)
2019 is shaping up to be the worst sports year in Pittsburgh in... I don't know, probably decades. The Pirates are back to being the Pirates, the Steelers are going to go 4-12 (the Steelers are truly terrible for the first time since the Nixon Administration, they were, uh, overdue) and just traded away their first round pick, and the Penguins puked all over themselves in the first round last year and might or might not reach the playoffs this year.

Kinda hard to top the mid-1980s.

1984 Pirates went 75-87, which is bad, but not terrible.

OK, so the Penguins were terrible in the 84-85 season, going 24-51-5 -- but at least the Steerls had a winning season: Barely, 9-7.

Then came 1985.

Pirates went 57-104. Yeah, that's bad. And the Steelers went 7-9. Not terrible, but not good. And the 1985-86 Penguins were 34-38-8. Two middling teams & one horrible team. So why's that the worst?

Because, 1985 was the year of the Pittsburgh drug trials. They made national headlines in September 1985. How's that for a cherry on top?

In 1986, the Pirates improved to 64-98, the Steelers lost 10 games in a season for the first time in 17 years, and the Penguins went 30-38-12.

Everyone had a bad season for two years in a row, one of them terrible - with some horrible off-field stuff thrown in.
   19. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: September 27, 2019 at 09:47 PM (#5883871)
Yeah, but you have to remember that that 57-104 season yielded the #1 pick, with which the Pirates set themselves up for success by drafting Jeff King, who openly said during his career that he doesn't like baseball and it's just a job, and retired midseason on the day he hit ten years' service time.
   20. puck Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:44 PM (#5883911)
Dag's post in 18 was very good and a much better summary than the one was figuring out how to post. I agree Big Data Baseball is a good read.

Hurdle seems like a positive and high energy guy, that type of rah rah manager.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: September 28, 2019 at 07:47 PM (#5884112)
I hadn't heard that King story before. He was also having back problems, had been on the IL once that season already ... and by that time was a sillyball-era 1B posting a mid-700s OPS that was nothing but walks (236/385/389). His career wasn't going to last much longer either way -- I'd walk away from a job I didn't like under those circumstances too.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: September 28, 2019 at 11:48 PM (#5884251)
And they were fourth in HBP last year, and tenth the year before that. And their HBP rate tracks fairly closely with their walk and wild pitch rates, suggesting that it's primarily driven by pitcher quality rather than anything else. And the guys who led the Pirates in HBP during the seasons where the team led the NL generally also had high HBP totals before coming to the team and after leaving it (e.g. Morton, Volquez, Burnett, etc.). But hey, narratives gonna narrate, I guess.


From 2002-2019(Hurdle's tenure as manager) in the NL the Pirates are first in hit by pitches in the NL with 1170... Philly is second with 1136, Cubs 1122, Reds 1119, Cards with 1078.... The argument of his team being headhunters isn't true, but the argument of his team being encouraged to not avoid hit by pitches is absolutely true. His philosophy has been to pitch inside, regardless of the quality of control his pitchers have at avoiding hitting players...

This is a real issue, it's a document-able issue, it's a fact... don't give him a pass because his pitchers weren't good at avoiding hitting people for whatever reason, the simple fact is that he didn't care... he pushed for a style that encouraged pitching inside regardless of the quality of control his pitchers had.
   23. Sweatpants Posted: September 29, 2019 at 12:18 AM (#5884261)
From 2002-2019(Hurdle's tenure as manager) in the NL the Pirates are first in hit by pitches in the NL with 1170... Philly is second with 1136, Cubs 1122, Reds 1119, Cards with 1078.... The argument of his team being headhunters isn't true, but the argument of his team being encouraged to not avoid hit by pitches is absolutely true. His philosophy has been to pitch inside, regardless of the quality of control his pitchers have at avoiding hitting players...
During that same timeframe, the Pirates also led the majors in taking first base out of the ground and bringing it back to the dugout with them.* I don't think you can pin that one on Hurdle.

From 2011-2019, the Pirates led the majors in HBP with 618. They're second in the majors in offensive HBP with 631.
From 2002-2009 (this includes two partial seasons for Hurdle), Rockies pitchers were fourth in the majors in HBP with 527.
It wouldn't surprise me if owning the inside of the plate were something that Hurdle does stress.

*Nah, that actually happened in 2001. I decided to say it anyway.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: September 29, 2019 at 12:34 AM (#5884263)
damnit... drunk me doesn't fully do the research... I forgot he managed two teams.... ugh..

Purely my fault... no ifs, and's or butts about it...

As 23 pointed out, the Pirates led the majors in hbp from 2011-now.. with 618...that's 50+ more than the second place nl team, the Reds(Cubs and Cardinals are third and fourth, so the NL central is a hbp division.)

It wouldn't surprise me if owning the inside of the plate were something that Hurdle does stress.


As I said.. it's something that he's stressed, the issue is that he's also had young arms who can't control themselves, but he doesn't seem to care if a guy with a 98 mph fastball can't hit the side of the barn, he's going to continue to encourage them to throw inside.. that is the strategy he teaches, and he'll live with the consequences... ultimately though he has to accept that his teams reputation as people who hit batters is a direct reflection of the manager...

And I like Hurdle... I think he's a good manager and will continue to find work whether he's employed by the Pirates or not going forward.
   25. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: September 29, 2019 at 01:46 AM (#5884270)
21--Per joe posnanski King retired once he confirmed that his pension was vested. In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette (tried to find but the link is dead) King said he did baseball because he was good at it but that he really didn't enjoy playing or being around the other players.
   26. Rennie's Tenet Posted: September 29, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5884288)
Just tossing in: Pirate pitchers have hit Red batters 8 times this season (one game left). Red pitchers have hit Pirate batters 10 times. When the Reds pitcher charged the Pirate dugout in July, the tally was Red pitchers 6, Pirate pitchers 3. In Hurdle's full tenure, it's Red pitchers 88, Pirate pitchers 78.
   27. bunyon Posted: September 29, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5884289)
and retired midseason on the day he hit ten years' service time.

I've always thought that, if I had this mindset - and it doesn't seem odd to me - I'd finish the season and get about ten legal opinions to confirm it had vested. Cutting it close sounds good but is risky.

I LOVED playing baseball. But I never played as much as these guys nor did I work as hard as they work to stay on top. Plus, from what I've seen, I, too, wouldn't much care to be around most of them. I'm sure far more MLB players (and NFL, and NBA, actors, etc.) feel the same about their jobs.
   28. Rennie's Tenet Posted: September 29, 2019 at 03:02 PM (#5884368)
Hurdle has been let go.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 29, 2019 at 03:09 PM (#5884370)

As I said.. it's something that he's stressed, the issue is that he's also had young arms who can't control themselves, but he doesn't seem to care if a guy with a 98 mph fastball can't hit the side of the barn, he's going to continue to encourage them to throw inside.. that is the strategy he teaches, and he'll live with the consequences... ultimately though he has to accept that his teams reputation as people who hit batters is a direct reflection of the manager...


If he thinks throwing inside is the best route to success for his pitchers, doing anything else would be malpractice. At the end of the day, his pitchers' success is his responsibility; he's not paid to worry about the other team's guys getting hurt.

It's cold, but business is cold.
   30. Omineca Greg Posted: September 29, 2019 at 03:15 PM (#5884374)
Ever since I saw this thread, I've been searching and searching for just the right quote. Finally, I got it.

There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.

" Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, 'Wait and Hope.”

― Alexandre Dumas


"Wait and hope", Clint. "Wait and hope".

What?

Just right now?

What a waste of ####### time that was.
   31. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 29, 2019 at 03:25 PM (#5884376)
What's the point in firing a manager on the morning of the last game of the season? Even if the decision had been made, wouldn't it be classier to let him manage the game today and then let him go?
   32. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 29, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5884392)
Also, you remember that hilarious period when the utterly ordinary manager Jim Tracy was supposedly an advocate of something called Tracyball? Or am I imagining that?


From what I recall, “Tracyball” mostly involved bringing in shitty ex-Dodgers and using them in place of superior alternatives.

Good riddance. I think the most memorable moment of the Tracy era was him telling one of his players that he wasn’t allowed to go visit his nearly-ready-to-give-birth wife, who was experiencing pregnancy complications, because it was important for the Pirates to preserve the integrity of the pennant race by putting the strongest possible team on the field.
   33. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 29, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5884394)
From 2011-2019, the Pirates led the majors in HBP with 618.


And they also led the league in HBP in 2010, the year before he was hired.

It ain’t on Hurdle.

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