School is about to start for many youngsters in western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh Pirates are still leading their division. This has not happened in most of those students’ lives unless they are endeavoring for a masters degree.
That’s right, almost every year for the past 20, whenever football season arrives the Pirates are out of the race for the division – except the 1997 “Freak Show” season, when they contended in a weak National League Central.
This season has been different. The last two years were good until around August, but those were previews to what was to come for the Pirates. Clint Hurdle started as the Pirates’ manager on Nov. 15, 2010. During his first three seasons at the helm of the ballclub they have improved every season, peaking with what appears to be a playoff berth this year.
We all know that not every manager is perfect and they all have their skeptics but Hurdle has done a marvelous job this season. He works well with the numerous young players on his team. He handles the pitching staff terrifically, especially the bullpen that is the best in the majors this year.
Of course, Hurdle has a terrific coaching staff that have also helped, but in my opinion his tremendous coaching has given a boost to an organization that not too long ago was the laughingstock of MLB.
The Steelers usually receive the headlines during this time of year in these parts, and with good reason, but 2013 is different. The future headlines should reveal many awards for the Pirates, hopefully culminating in a World Series title.
One such prize that most should agree on is NL manager of the year for Hurdle.