The accolades are going to be pouring on top of the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates. The Oakland A’s of the National League have done something special. We think the focus is, and always should be on the General Manager.
The Bucs have a very good one in Neal Huntington.
1. Huntington joined the RumBunter Podcasts and interviewed for blog posts over ten times during the past four seasons. Name another GM that has done that. He embraced how blogs could grow the Pirates brand.
2. Huntington has never dodged questions and when the heat was on last winter, he seemed destined to go down with the ship. From the outside, the pressure was on for Huntington’s head to roll.
If [owner] Bob [Nutting] or [team president] Frank [Coonelly] decide to make a change and they bring in a new general manager, that’s their call,” Huntington said. “I sure hope they don’t because I believe in the people we’re working with. I believe in what we’re doing, and I believe in how we’re doing it.”
3. Instead of stabbing his staff in the back as the losses mounted, he promoted them. Now that’s a boss.
4. I wonder what the American League scout who said the Pirates development methods were ‘the laughingstock of baseball,’ thinks today?
5. Huntington’s assistant Kyle Stark sent out an email (full email here) (a portion of it below) that seemed crazy at the time, but now looks, well still crazy, but suddenly crazy is cool. Winning Cures All.
1. Dream like a Hippie — PASSION — Elite people have big dreams, are driven by those dreams, and believe that they can achieve them.
2. Prepare like a Boy Scout — RELENTLESS — Elite people have extreme work ethic, train exhaustively to get better, and prepare fully so they can be their best when their best is needed.
3. Trust like a Hell’s Angel — OWNERSHIP — Elite people trust their preparation, own their strengths and weaknesses, know what they do best and build conviction around it, and compete with reckless abandon.
6. The hiring of more experienced baseball guys. More eyes have meant the Bucs have a very talented team….that hasn’t even stepped between the lines for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Look at the talent in the system. Power arms. Power bats.
7. For a long time, the criticism was that the Pirates just didn’t do enough to match up with the elite small market teams. The truth really is that they were–Fox and Fitzy might not have had enough of a voice.
8. Huntington lives where the hell he wants to live. Let’s trust that the job he has done this season allows him the comfort of getting a shack around the Burgh to rest his head.
9. During interviews, he always says ‘no question.’ He’s an upbeat interview. He speaks openly about wanting to turn around the franchise faster. He also says that he is really enjoying the ride. Because if he didn’t enjoy it, why is he doing it?
10. But perhaps the biggest thing that Huntington did was just stick to his plan to develop more Hells Angels. Outside of Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker, Huntington inherited shit. The ‘leaked’ Stark email laid out the plan.
“The biggest impact we can have is developing more Hells Angels. We are really good at working before games. We excel at developing Boy Scouts. However, men play in the Big Leagues and that requires the reckless abandon of a Hells Angel. They’re not consumed or swayed by what others think. They sell out to their purpose and live life fully and in-the-moment (‘this pitch’).”
Yeh, it’s crazy shit isn’t it? But remember when Apple sold like fifty different computers and then suddenly they just sold out to selling one basic premise. Remember Southwest Airlines not assigning seats, buying enough fuel for years, and only handing out nuts on their flights?
To be a successful business, to be successful at anything, you must sell out to your plan.
Neal Huntington did that. Kudos to him.
Now let’s trust the war cry of clutch performers comes through in the playoffs.