Originally written November 06, 2012 on Raise the Jolly Roger!:
Well, it shouldn’t surprise you one bit that this news just so happened to break on the one day people are least likely to think about sports. Bob Nutting met with the media on Tuesday and announced that nobody in the Pirates’ front office will be fired, but also said that the much-discussed military-style training drills in the Bucs’ minor league system will come to an end. I’ve stayed mostly silent on this topic lately, mostly just waiting to see what Nutting would do. The first result does not surprise me one bit; we already speculated that Neal Huntington would not be fired, and Huntington has expressed his confidence in everyone below him. There are plenty of good arguments for and against Neal Huntington keeping his job, and both of them are pretty valid. He has undoubtedly improved the state of the organization and the major league club quite a bit over the last few years, and has also undoubtedly made plenty of mis-steps along the way that have prevented him from getting the team over the hump. I think he deserves another year based on the Pirates’ upward overall trend the last two seasons (despite the roller-coaster path), but if the trend stops going up (read: under .500 again next season), his leash is awfully short. As for the military stuff, I’m not a fan of Nutting’s reaction. It’s been clearly established that the “Hoka Hey” training is a big part of Kyle Stark’s program and mentality. If Nutting found reason to end that stuff, why keep Stark and his crew around? He may not be terrible at developing talent, but it’s pretty clear that he isn’t great at it–so it’s not as if his general track record warrants keeping him around.  I’d actually be more pleased if he simply announced they were sticking with Stark and the military stuff (assuming he gave a good reason). Instead, this comes across as wishy-washy and almost like he’s trying to throw a bone to the media and the fans. Nutting also said some other stuff about how the payroll will increase, the collapse made him angry, yadda yadda yadda. While I think it’s still very possible that he’s making the right decisions, I’d like to see him be more up front about them. Barring an incredibly unlikely blockbuster offseason addition, he’s going to continue to lose fans’ trust–fair or not–and today’s update doesn’t change that one bit.
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