Hurdle intent on becoming a Pittsburgher
Among the first thing manager Clint Hurdle plans to do this offseason is head down the road to the local DMV. There, he’ll trade in his Colorado driver’s license in exchange for a Pennsylvania one. He’ll be putting Pennsylvania plates on his vehicle, too.
It’s all a part of the assimilation process, said Hurdle, who will be spending the winter living in Pittsburgh. He and his wife recently purchased a house just outside the city and their children began the school year in a local school. While moving for a job is certainly not unusual for the rest of us, it is somewhat in baseball. Most players do not spend the offseason in the city where they play. It’s the same for most MLB manager, too.
Hurdle never considered that to be an option. And on Monday, he spent some time explaining why he has been so passionate and so intent upon permanently relocating his family to Western Pennsylvania.
“I believe that in a position of leadership, that’s how you lead,” he said. “That’s one of the greatest steps that you can take to lead. That’s just my personal conviction. We’re making our home there. We’re committing. We’re going to spend the winter there. You say hello to people. You’re at the supermarket. You’re hanging out with your family and growing them up in Pennsylvania. We’ll have the [Troy] Polamalu jersey on. We’ll have the [Sidney] Crosby jersey on.
“I feel strongly about that. If you’re going to tell people you’re all in, you need to be all in. Living in Colorado and working in Pittsburgh is not all in.”
Hurdle was also touched by the response he received from fans in Sunday’s home finale. For those of you who were not at PNC Park, there were several innings breaks yesterday where players appeared on the video board and announced a seat location. The person in that seat then won the jersey off that player’s back after the game. Players also used the forum to express their gratitude for the fan support all season.
After all the players had given their messages, it was Hurdle’s turn. Midway through his message the applause got louder, and by the time Hurdle finished his few sentences, he had a near full ovation. When he realized the recognition was directed toward him, Hurdle tipped his cap.
“That completely ambushed me,” he said. “As I told my folks, if there was any part of me that wasn’t in, after that seventh inning it was all in. How can you not live where you work when the fans at least show that kind of appreciation? I felt like that was a big step forward to becoming a yinzer, that maybe they’re going to give me an opportunity to put a foot in the door this winter.”
I’m guessing that door will be wide open.
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