The Pirates' fourth-year manager is one of the most quotable in the recent history of the franchise. But sometimes, what he's saying doesn't always come across to the casual fan. With that in mind, Post-Gazette baseball writer Jenn Menendez translates some common Hurdle-isms.
Backing up bases
TRANSLATION: Refers to a pitcher who gives up a ton of hits and, as a result, spends lots of time backing up throws from the outfield to third base and home plate.
TRANSLATION: This phrase may get uttered about Gerrit Cole or another pitcher whose velocity reaches 100 mph. Rather than use the traditional 100 mph distinction, Hurdle prefers 90-10. Cole once hit 90-11.
TRANSLATION: For Hurdle, this phrase explains the value of an at-bat that might not result in a hit or walk. Examples are a sacrifice bunt, a sacrifice fly, a ground-ball out that moves the lead runner up, or even a long at-bat stretching to eight, nine or 10 pitches. All are more productive than a first pitch popup.
Home runs are thrown more than they are hit.
TRANSLATION: This, translated loosely, means cool your jets at the plate. Not every pitch can be driven out of the ballpark, so not every swing should be trying to do so.
A slow heartbeat
TRANSLATION: No, this doesn't mean the paramedics are on the way. This describes a player who is calm in the heat of the battle. When the stakes are high, he's as cool as a cucumber.
The game doesn't know the game is important
TRANSLATION: Hurdle might pull this saying out of his sleeve in moments when the stakes are high. He does not recognize that one game is bigger than another.
Play every pitch.
TRANSLATION: Each pitch is a game within the larger game. This is Hurdle's way of telling his players to never take a pitch off.
There are two types of players.
TRANSLATION: As Hurdle would say, there are those who are humble, and those who are about to be. He believes there is always something to learn in the game of baseball no matter how special a player is.
Don't overcook things
TRANSLATION: This is a quality Hurdle values in his team. There's no agonizing after a loss, no beating themselves up. Players should objectively evaluate, make adjustments, and move on.
Meet the demands of the game.
TRANSLATION: This oft-used Hurdle phrase is simple. The team that wins the game has met the demands of it. The team that loses has not.