I came across an article on mlb.com the other day that I really enjoyed. It was talking about new Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle and how he is embracing the history of the team to push for the future. In all of professional sports I don't think anyone can name a more beleaguered franchise than the current Pittsburgh Pirates, 18 consecutive losing seasons and last year losing more than 100 games again.
Clint Hurdle, like all team managers, is simply the middle man. His job is to take what the upper management gives him and get the most from the players. Middle management means you have to assume many jobs and many faces. One of the most important is the ability to get your employees to put forth their best effort and to believe they can succeed. Getting that message across can't be more difficult than it is in Pittsburgh right now. He has the daunting task of getting a young group of players to not just believe in themselves and their ability to perform at the major league level but to believe in the team, and the franchise behind them. Hurdle has to make them believe that the franchise will help them to become competitive.
Many of the players on the current roster were not even in grade school the last time the Pirates had a winning season. For them the team has been in the basement their whole lives. By taking the effort to not just learn the impressive history himself but forming a plan to show the players that history, Hurdle hopes to inspire hope and pride into the team. Showing them some of the great moments of the past to show them how great it can be for them and then telling them that he will lead them there. If the message sinks in I still feel the Pirates are a few years away from contention, but they may surprise some people.