Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Matter of Trust

We're sure you've seen Chuck Finder's piece in the Post Gazette that says Perry Hill, contrary to the Pirates' statement, does want to coach in 2010, just not at Pittsburgh.

That's no surprise; otherwise the Buc suits wouldn't have held him to his option year, which basically means that Hill has to get their OK to take another job next season.

No one can harp on the ramifications of a business decision, which both parties came to last week after a messy, finger-pointing negotiation. But what is clear is that the relationship between the suits and the uniformed staff are not exactly lovey-dovey.

The Coonelly/Huntington era has been marked by a series of dust-ups that would have ended in PFAs if they were domestic instead of baseball-related. And we think the franchise will be better off in the future if the management end of the operation took a little more human approach into the business decisions and relationships they enter.

Listen, we understand they had to break up the Bucs, and that's not an easy process. But they oftentimes seem to be operating a cold fantasy baseball world of sabermetrics and predicted values rather than what at heart is a people business.

They could fill a Hollywood celeb blog with their dealings with Pedro Alvarez and Scott Boras, Miguel Sano and Rob Plummer, Nate McLouth, Freddy Sanchez, Jack Splat, Ian Snell, and writer John Perrotto, not to mention the Pirate nation as a a whole.

We're not debating their business model. Time will tell if they're on the right track or not. But we think it's about time that they lost the attitude, took the chip off their shoulder, maybe invest in a Dale Carnegie book or two, and realize that business relationships are built on personal relationships; they are not and have never been mutually exclusive.

Moves have to be made, and not all are popular. But honest communication with the players and coaches would make the whole tear down-build up phase they're currently working on a lot more bearable on both sides of the equation.

As the Pirates grow as an organization, we hope that their people skills sprout, too. Eventually, the trust they build - or lose - will have an effect on players now in the system signing on with contracts after arbitration has run its course, or on bringing in hired guns from the free agent market. And the product they put on the field will be the measuring stick for Pittsburgh fans.

Hey, all they have to do is look at Heinz Field or the Igloo. The Steelers and Pens are widely praised for having organizations people eagerly line up to join. Partially, that's because they win. Just as importantly, it's because of how they treat their hired hands.

After all, when's the last time an ex-player from the Rooney or Lemieux clubs called their old team a "laughingstock?" Create a professional atmosphere that treats the people in the locker room like family instead of chattel, and it shouldn't happen again.

1 comment:

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