Pittsburgh Pirates: Clint Hurdle should not be brought back next year

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 13: Manager Clint Hurdle #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the dugout during a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 13, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 13: Manager Clint Hurdle #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the dugout during a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 13, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

While the success is littered throughout Clint Hurdle’s resume, the failure to adapt to the baseball world around him should result in the Pittsburgh Pirates firing him.

After the Cincinnati Reds’ Derek Dietrich nearly sent a pitch from Pittsburgh Pirates righty Chris Archer into the Allegheny River, Dietrich took some time to admire his work.

That didn’t sit too well with Archer; who then promptly in his next AB threw a fastball behind Dietrich’s back.

This ignited a brawl famously known for painting the lone Red – Yasiel Puig – facing the yellow army of the Pirates players at home plate.

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Dietrich would continue to make work of the Pirates pitching, smacking seven of his career-high 19 home runs against the Buccos. The highlight came in the form of a three-homerun performance in Great American Ballpark.

It was because of the work that Dietrich had done that invited a Keone Kela fastball near the temple of Dietrich in a game on July 29th.

This resulted in another brawl ignited by Reds’ lefty Amir Garrett who, like Puig, took on the Pirates as a one man army before his teammates added in.

These are the headlining occurrences that force people to point fingers, and it is easy to assume that a lot of fingers are pointed towards either Archer or Kela, but in most part towards Pirates manager Clint Hurdle.

Hurdle has had put together a most impressive coaching career; highlighted by a 2007 trip to the World Series with the Colorado Rockies. He collected another bit of hardware when he was named NL Manager of the Year in 2013 with his current Pittsburgh Pirates.

This year, and for the past couple years, the records have not gone his way. The NL Central has become more and more competitive with the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals dogging out for the division crown for the past few seasons.

Hurdle doesn’t lose hope however and neither do his bosses. The front office rewarded Hurdle’s work with a four year contract last year that will end in 2021.

Given the results of the last few seasons, will he make it till then? He shouldn’t be brought back after this season, but it isn’t because of the team’s end-of-season result.

There is a culture problem with the Pirates, and it is one that is infuriating the rest of the league.

With the increased danger of the baseball in the past couple seasons, intentionally throwing at batters is starting to become a way of the past. Unfortunately, the memo only got so far across the league.

Hurdle is one of few managers left who has managed since the early 2000’s – 11 current managers and soon to be 10 with Bruce Bochy retiring at the end of this season.

Hurdle has had a knack for sticking with a retaliation method as a form of sending a message; grasping tightly to the unwritten rule book just in case a player like Dietrich takes a bit too long to admire his home run from home plate or takes to long to travel the bases.

The Pirates’ staff has hit batters 73 times this season and it would have been more if Archer instead decided to hit the Reds’ slugger as opposed to whizzing it behind his back, and the same case for Kela.

It isn’t outrageously high for the league’s sake but it is the 4th most among the other 30 and plenty of them came with intent.

More often than not, pitchers make their own decisions in regards to retaliation but the installation of said ideas start with the manager; the person who encourages said behavior given the number of occasions it has become a subject of discussion this year.

And now, it has spread within their own clubhouse and with each other. While in the clubhouse during their series in San Francisco, pitchers Felipe Vasquez and Kyle Crick got into an altercation that resulted in punches and punches that have landed Crick on the IL. Crick required season-ending tendon surgery to repair his right index finger.

Players getting into arguments is nothing out of the ordinary and sometimes it is even in the same uniform, but the amount of negative spotlight on the Pittsburgh Pirates has made it difficult for the man who is at the center of many media scrums; Hurdle.

There is just too much negative press, a piss-poor 64-82 record entering Thursday night, and not enough good reason to keep Hurdle around much longer.

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Influence carries from Hurdle and as a result, it isn’t helping the team nor the situation. It is time to move on, move forward, and move as far away from the inside part of the plate as possible.