Rob Manfred was elected the tenth commissioner in MLB history on Thursday, winning a three-man race to succeed Bud Selig, who has held that title since 1992.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle knew that piece of information, but he really hasn’t had much time to think about it – and understandably so. Pittsburgh, 64-57 entering play Aug. 15, trails Milwaukee by two-and-a-half games in the NL Central and has a half-game lead on San Francisco in the Wild Card standings.
“Truthfully, I’ve got a little bit more on my plate right now,” Hurdle said on The Morning Show. “I am very confident that the search group – the committee that was put together – did their due diligence, did their work, had their interviews and (have) chosen a man that they feel can continue to push this game forward.”
Of course, that’s not to say Selig didn’t push the game forward. In fact, if anyone thinks that, they might need to have their head examined.
“I have a different viewpoint than a lot of people,” Hurdle said. “I don’t spend a lot of time on talk radio, but this whole Bud Selig transition thing – it’s amazing how many unqualified people . . . comment about the job he did or didn’t do as we move forward. Feelings aren’t facts. If you look at the facts of the game, it’s never been more vibrant, it’s never been more economically solvent and it’s never been more global.”
Take the Wild Card for example. No, not the second one. The first one.
“The first time they reached for the Wild Card, (people said), ‘Oh my gosh, it’s going to ruin the game,’” Hurdle recalled. “Well, it truly reinvigorated the game. The second Wild Card was another stroke of genius. I do believe Bud has . . . helped the game move forward.”
Hurdle doesn’t know what Manfred’s first move as commissioner should be, but if the fans had their say, it would probably be improving the pace of play. Simply put, it shouldn’t take four hours to play a baseball game, especially a low-scoring one.
“I do know there are some challenges that are coming with the game, and I think things need to be reexamined,” Hurdle said. “(But) we’ve made so many positive strides. I’m sure we’re going to continue to try to maintain that (success). I shouldn’t even say maintain. We’re trying to push this thing forward. We’re not trying to sustain anything in our industry. We’re trying to get better each and every day.”
The same can be said for the Pirates, who have been without Andrew McCutchen (fractured rib) for almost two weeks. Pittsburgh has gone 5-5 without the reigning NL MVP, who is eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday.
“It’s next man up,” Hurdle said of his team’s mindset. “It’s not like you hope that (the next) guy’s going to (produce). Every man in that locker room looks at the next man up and expects him to carry his lunchbox to work and get things done. That next man up also expects to get things done.”
The Pirates have endured numerous injuries this season, both in the rotation and in the field. Still, they have a chance to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season – this after missing the postseason every year for two decades.
“We have a good team, and we’re confident in each other’s abilities,” Hurdle said. “You just go out and you play. You respect everything, you fear nothing and you figure out a way to meet the demands of the game.”