Let's Play MFK With Contracts: Clint Hurdle's, Mike Tomlin's & Neal Huntington's To Be Exact
Two Pittsburgh coaches and one Pittsburgh GM: all three received arguably suspect contract extensions within the past 30 days and at least two of these guys used to be sports sexy in their own right: Clint Hurdle being a former World Series manager with the Rockies & Manager of the Year for your "finally above .500" 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates and Mike Tomlin was the Super Bowl XLIII winning coach when the Steelers got "one for the thumb". As for Neal Huntington, was he ever considered sports sexy at any one point? For his first five seasons as GM, the Pirates had their core philosophy of penny-pinching and mediocre play strongly intact until Clint Hurdle's music hit and gave the norm of losing a couple of RKOs outta nowhere.
Now after two more seasons of that philosophy apparently back in the heart of lineup, the Pittsburgh Pirates pull a Neal Huntington-like move in signing Neal Huntington to a contract extension through 2021. Same goes for Hurdle:
"There will be no changing of the guard at 115 Federal Street. The Pirates plan to stay the course, a decision revealed in a fell swoop Tuesday when the baseball club announced four-year extensions for manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington. Their partnership, which began in 2011, now is set to remain in place through the 2021 season.
“While we all know that there is still much work to be done and goals to accomplish, we have made a tremendous amount of progress under their tenures,” owner Bob Nutting said in a statement released by the Pirates. “I believe that Neal and Clint continue to be the right leaders to push us forward in our goal of bringing postseason baseball back to Pittsburgh.”
Nutting, you unlovable nut, you. Let's give Jon Niese another go while we're at it too, eh? Hell, can we somehow sign Joaquin Benoit a second time? While we're at it, can we also keep with the theme of not calling up any future prospects to take some major league at-bats? I'm by no means qualified for the GM or managerial job, but these choices - a little counter productive can we agree?
Which brings me to Tomlin - I believe a total under achiever by Black & Gold standards: three playoff wins in the last two years and one blown AFC Championship Game. Plus, you have a disgruntled, "threatening to retire" face of the franchise due to lacking "discipline and accountability" - a clear implication to Tomlin and his decision making. Here's a comparison I made to Tomlin and Pete Carroll last month when CBS's Colin Dunlap stated Tomlin was better than the Seahawks "WOOOOOO" man:
Total underachievement if you ask this unbiased, lowly Jets fan. Yeah, two Super Bowl appearances is impressive when you're talking about 28 of the other teams, but this is the Steelers we're talking, who acquire Super Bowl rings like they're slugging a grocery store vending machine with quarters (especially when they have a future Canton bound signal-caller). They can do better and they should be doing better.
Which leads me to presenting these three contracts to the time-old tradition of a game that only the highest of society plays with monocles in eyes, wine glasses in hand and pinky fingers extended: that's right, we're playing "Marry Fuck Kill" with pieces of paper, folks. Whose contract would you wed, whose contract would you bed and who’s contract would you make dead? Here's are my picks:
Kill The Contract of Neal Huntington
This one was the most obvious for me. Huntington GM’ed the Pirates from being shitty to being "hey, we're good, we're contending and we have a chance of staying that way" back to almost shitty (but with potential) again. I absolutely love the majority of the players that we have on this team and throughout the past four years, they've been really fun to follow, but it's hard to escape the horribly counterproductive decisions Huntington has made that is pretty evident to save moolah on what’s overall been a profitable franchise. Maybe this is string pulling coming from “The Nut” himself, but the GM is the one putting the puzzle together and he’s spilled water on the pieces. Contract murdered.
"Sweet Love Make" The Contract of Clint Hurdle
The F word really dirties this viewpoint down so I took the liberty of changing the vocabulary to something a little more...comfortable. Despite these past couple seasons, I've been woo-ed by the Handsome Hurd. I don't want to think that it's just some one-night stand of making the headboards shake. What Hurdle has done with with this Pirates franchise is something expected of a manager that took his team to a World Series in 2007 and put a renowned losing franchise in what was a very tight NL playoff race in 2015. However, life carries on and what has gone down after has been the problems that happen with a lot of these seductive flings: they fizzle out and start to show their boils. At least it seemed to on Clint’s end. Pirates fan are still blinded by the appeal of what he’s done for us in the past, and we still want to make this thing work out despite what our eyes are seeing. Is his heart still in it? Time will tell, but dang it, Clint, you rugged piece of manager. Consider me seduced.
Marry The Contract of Mike Tomlin
Now as positive as this headline seems, this matrimony is about as legit as a Tom Cruise wedding. It's really just until the kids graduate and by kids graduating, I mean when Large Benjamin decides to hang it up, because really that’s what’s only keeping this relationship together on the surface (that and daddy Rooney really likes him). However, behind that pristine picket fence and riding lawnmower that Tomlin’s all been bestowed, once that door closes he sits in front of the TV and doesn’t ask how work was for us or tells us how pretty we are. Nor does he surprise us with flowers or a night out at the Benedum. He’s not an awful husband, but he wasn’t who Steelers fans thought he was when we were first introduced. Sure, he says all the right things when they need to be said but he lacks in the the key fundamentals of making a marriage work: time management and follow through. We’ll wear the current ring for now, Mike, but believe me, I’m not expecting another one.