I was incredibly bummed to miss the roundtable the Pirates put together at Piratefest as a chance for bloggers to speak with Neal Huntington, Frank Coonelly, and Paul Maholm, but the Pirates came through on their promise at the time to make it up to me while I was in Bradenton for spring training by giving me a chance to talk to Neal Huntington at Pirate City on Tuesday during the afternoon’s minor league games. Huntington was happy to answer any question I had and talked to me for more than 20 minutes when I was told that I might get 15 if I was lucky and he wasn’t busy. Between the roundtable, this interview, Pirates Prospects’ follow-up with Frank Coonelly, and Bucs Dugout’s interview with Kyle Stark, I think it’s obvious that the Pirates are making a real commitment to the great blogging community that’s formed around this team and that’s great news.
The interview itself is very long, so I’m going to break it up into four or five different posts. Tentatively, I’m planning on running one part today, two parts on Monday, and one or two on Tuesday depending on how I decide to break it up. Because I think there’s some very interesting stuff here, I’d rather run it as four 800-word pieces than two 1600-word pieces or one 3200-word piece (I’m making those lengths up. I have no idea how long this will end up being, it’s only partially transcribed, which is another reason I’m breaking it up). There’s also some time-sensitive stuff that I want to get posted as close to the interview as possible, so that’s part of what’s going up today.
Thanks are very much due to Matt Nordby for helping me get an audience with Huntington, and of course to Neal Huntington for taking the time to talk to me and for over-looking my generally poor and amateurish interviewing skills I’m a scientist-slash-blogger, dammit! Everything is about letting ideas marinate and way over-thinking things before anything gets written or done. Thinking on your feet during an interview is hard!. But enough excuses, let’s get to the good stuff. I hope you all enjoy it.
Part 1: Roster decisions and the draft
Part 2: The Big Picture and Brad Lincoln
Part 3: Clint Hurdle and Pitching vs. Defense