Friday, July 22, 2011

The Silence is Broken

It's been way to hot to post anything.

Somehow, the Pittsburgh Pirates have been hotter.

In what seems like a two-month fever dream, the Pirates have re-kindled a passion for baseball that hasn't existed for a long time in Pittsburgh. Since Memorial Day, the Pirates are 27-17. Their 51st win of the season came on July 19th. Last year, their 51st win came on September 19th. There are more mind-boggling statistics, but as the great Dodgers Announcer Vin Scully once said, "Statistics are used like a drunk uses a lamp post, for support, not illumination".

So allow me to waylay statistics, and tell you why I really think the Pirates are winning.

^This guy.

Hurdle isn't running away with the Manager of the Year award. He's taking what we used to know as the Manager of the Year, and kicking it in the balls. Hurdle and his staff (Pitching coach Ray Searage deserves his own award for making Jeff Karstens look like Greg Maddux) have marched their way into Pittsburgh and completely changed the atmosphere and attitude of this organization. Ever since Jim Leyland, every manager from Gene Lamont to John Russell looked as if they would rather be managing a Taco Bell. Simply going through the motions like a 16 year old doing chores.

Not Clint Hurdle though.

He's been the breath of fresh air that hasn't existed in Pittsburgh since the early 90s. He's an intense, yet jovial and portly guy who talks fast and chews his gum with such tenacity that you become legitimately concerned about his well-being. Hurdle is exactly the tonic that a young team needs: wielding an incessantly positive attitude while also refusing to except failure. Seriously, when was the last time you remember a Pirate team that has been so fundamentally sound? Talent is one thing, but fundamentals are directly derived from good coaching.

Hurdle is the sole reason why I don't buy into people that say that the Pirates will fade as the season goes on. Yes, the schedule is tough. We play the Brewers about 8,000 times. We play Atlanta, we play Philly, whatever. This is a team that will succeed because Hurdle has them believing that they should. The Buccos see no reason why they can't go up to Miller Park now and take 2 of 3 games. They couldn't care less about how good the Phillies pitching staff is. They only care about playing the best baseball they can.

And in 2011, their best may be good enough.

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