Waaaay back in September of 2007 Frank Coonelly had a vision. (Or at the very least a fair idea). The Pirates president was searching for the man who could lead his team to the promised land. Coonelly desired a GM with a vision of success and the tenacity to accomplish it. The new GM was to be a baseball-minded executive, with strong leadership skills. Coonelly also wanted someone with an unwavering passion for baseball and for the city of Pittsburgh. After a two week search that winded through the scouting trails and dirty areas of baseball development, he settled on Neal Huntington.
"We are going to utilize several objective measures of player performance to evaluate and develop players. We'll rely on the more traditional objective evaluations: OPS, WHIP, Runs Created, ERC, GB/FB, K/9, K/BB, BB%, etc., but we'll also look to rely on some of the more recent variations: VORP, Relative Performance, EqAve, EqOBP, EqSLG, BIP%, wOBA, Range Factor, PMR and Zone Rating. That said, we will continue to stress the importance of our subjective evaluations. Succinctly stated, we believe that a combination of quality objective and subjective analysis will allow us to maximize our probability of success and to make the best possible decisions."
Flash forward to the present. Baseball in Pittsburgh is in the midst of a renaissance. Andrew McCutchen is being viewed as legitmate superstar by peers and pundits alike. With every homerun chants of MVP echo around the ballpark and fireworks night is no longer just a way to get fans into the stadium, they are a celebration of sorts, a booming chorus of triumphs several years in the making.
So hats off to you Mr. Huntington, you stuck to your guns, got bloodied as the first man over the wall always is. Yet you have given this city a summer nearly 20 years in the making. A dream like spectacle that no one can ever take away from you. What makes this even sweeter is that as enjoyable as this thing, this foray into the realm that is competitive baseball, might be... the future is even brighter... because of you.