It was four years ago when I first realized what the plan would be for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The thought as Neal Huntington called it, made a lot of sense to me.
Huntington has always had his mind on the future, not just focusing on the team in Pittsburgh, but developing young talent and investing large sums of money at drafting high school and collegiate talent.
During this video from a luncheon in Pittsburgh four years ago, it’s evident that the Pirates GM had his eyes on building a winner. A consistent winner.
Way back in 2009, you can hear Huntington’s plan in my poorly recorded video.
"A year ago it was a thought, a plan. I stand here a year later, more committed to that, more committed to building a consistent championship caliber organization. not just a winning team in Pittsburgh, because if we focus only on the team in Pittsburgh…..we might win once, I dont think anyone in this room only wants to win once."
Huntington is right about that. A consistent winner is a wonderful goal. It seems the lack of moves at the trade deadline not only in Pittsburgh, but also throughout the NL Central, back up the importance of prospects to teams like the Cardinals and Reds.
The elephant in the room was also walked around when Huntington said,
"We also don’t want to win only 82 games…."
The Bucs GM touched on the subject of breaking the streak on his radio show a couple of days ago. Huntington said he respects the fans that will celebrate when the Bucs reach the magical plateau.
For me, it will personally mean a great deal. Having a winning baseball team is a cool thing for Pittsburgh, for you and most importantly–for me. Kidding. But do you really think we enjoy being the first one to write the wildly popular, yet amazingly frustrating Pirates season recaps for Big League Stew?
Back in our season recap from 2010, we went first because the team was so poor. BLS loved the photoshops and asked us to contribute a couple times–those aren’t easy to write. The frustration of the collapses, the horrid play and bungled moves all come out in one post. A number of people think it gives us joy to do those. It didn’t.
The fact was, Huntington’s plan hadn’t developed quite yet.
How times have changed.
Huntington mentioned that Neil Walker understands what breaking the streak will mean and could appreciate it, but Huntington said he expects Walker to be more focused on bringing a World Series Championship to Pittsburgh.
And speaking of a World Series Championship…Huntington addressed that as well four years ago. At the time, we chuckled. Now, it’s at the very least, a possibility. The Bucs have one of the best records in the game despite playing about .500 baseball in August, .
"We want to have a parade through the streets of Pittsburgh, much like the Steelers experienced this past year because we are celebrating a World Series championship, but on the day that happens, we wake up the next morning and are ready to defend."
So now take a look at the Pirates roster. The core is in place to follow up on this 2013 success just like Huntington said four years ago. There are young, elite and above average players that can help this team in 2014 and 2015.
"Its not about mediocrity. We are here to pursue excellence and thats why we do, what we do."
We love it when a plan comes together.