February 4, 2009

Huntington Interview on Stern and Kennedy - Part 2

This is the second part if Neal Huntington’s interview on Stern and Kennedy. Stern and Kennedy can be heard on XM 175 (Sirius 210) MLB Home Plate. The interview was recorded Friday, January 30th.

The first part of the interview can be read here.

Neal, you talk about the fans, obviously Kevin and I, and anyone who works in talk radio, we feel the pulse from the fans as well as anybody. And Pirate fans are certainly alive and well. Between that stadium and that city, a ton of passion and a lot of reasons to want to get excited and get behind the team. When you first came onboard and you started to feel the pulse of this city. How much of this is about wanting to bring a winner back to the city of Pittsburgh?

Well, it is why we do this. We do this to build a winner. To win championships. To work with great people. And to work towards that common goal of winning. As I got more familiar with the people of Pittsburgh, I knew from the outside looking in that it was a passionate sports town. But I had no idea. You look at Pitt basketball, the Steelers and Penguins. And there's three teams here in one city being very successful and the support for them each individually is tremendous. If we go back to a couple series over the course of the summer, we were playing well. The place was packed for the Yankees series. Which I know it is packed everywhere for the Yankees series. But you feel the electricity. We're playing relatively, unfortunately for us right now, meaningless games in September. And we spark a rally and we come from behind 4-2. And the people in the stands are cheering. And they are excited about the game.

So, the passion is still here. They want to win, and they tell me every single day that it is time for a winner. And that is what we work towards. That is why we wake up and we are definitely moving in that direction.

What is the pulse of the fans...with what you have done this winter?

They have really liked that we have gotten Ryan Doumit and Paul Maholm signed to multi-year deals that put us in a position to build around them. We know what that is going to cost us. So now we can put pieces in place around them to make us a better and deeper organization.
Obviously we want the same thing with Nate McLouth. We are working hard, but we have three more years with Nate even if he chooses to leave via free agency at the end.
They are excited about the direction we are going in. They do understand, but at the same time they are frustrated. They don't feel we have done enough this offseason. They wanted us to go play in the big free agent market and to try and turn this thing around overnight.
Kevin, you know as well as I do, there is no miracle cure for a franchise that has been losing for a long time.

Yes. Yes. Right.

We are building. We added up our level of talent. We do feel it can happen sooner than later. You look at what the Twins did last year. We have a ways to go talent wise. We do have some good talent here.
Joe Kerrington coming in to help our young pitchers. We think that will help make us better on the mound.
Perry Hill's going to make us better defensively.
Donnie Long, in his second year, is going to make us better.
We have some young players that are learning and developing. Our veteran players need to go out and do what they are capable of. They need to not be tough in April and May. We need to come out of the gates and we need to swing the bats and play the game well with our veterans. And the guys who broke out last year we need to keep moving and getting better.

BTW Take:

“Our veteran players need to go out and do what they are capable of. They need to not be tough in April and May.”

I think this sentence was a message to a certain first baseman.

Overall, there are quite a few comments I like, maybe none more than the one I have already mentioned. I think NH is calling out the players as well as putting the pressure on the coaching staff to turn this around. He wants to see actual improvements in the team, not the perceived improvements the last regime imagined.

Huntington’s comments stay consistent with the accountability stance ownership and management has been preaching. However, I fear they are putting too much faith in coaching to improve a recognized lack of talent.

I will work on getting more scribbled down and post it as I get it completed, it will likely be 4 parts. Check back tomorrow, hopefully I will have some more of the transcription completed. Unless I get a message from XM to cease and desist.

By no means do I claim this transcript is absolutely accurate. Anyone who has listened to a radio interview knows many sentences run together and the words “and” and “um” are often used.

There is a good discussion started over at The Buccos Forum. Here is a link:



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