Reporting Rick Dayton
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle is known to have some choice words for players and umpires from time to time, but it’s his words of wisdom off the field that are really hitting home.
You may know Clint Hurdle as the emotionally-charged skipper of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He’s the one chewing a half dozen pieces of bubble gum as he watches his club’s every move. But there is much more to this man than Double Bubble and double plays.
“It was in Colorado that I started sharing some thoughts or quotes,” he says. “I would put them on a chalkboard or if I felt there was a need, I would leave an index card for somebody. It could be players, coaches and it turned into employees.”
Yet despite those encouraging words, Hurdle’s Rockies sputtered out of the gate in 2009 and he was fired in May.
But a week later, people from the Rockies started asking if he would still send his inspirational thoughts.
“I just got asked to leave the building, you know? I’m… and then I caught myself and said, ‘You know what? I think it’s making a difference,’” said Hurdle.
That’s his goal.
At the end of every encouraging note, he signs off by saying: “Make a difference today. Love, Clint.”
What started as a group text message to about 50 now goes out via email every day.
“Now we are up over 1,000 people that are one the list who have actively asked to be on it,” said Hurdle. “I don’t usually put people on it because I think they need some encouragement. I will reach out them and say, ‘I’ve got this thought of the day that I pass around. Would you have any desire to check one out?’”
The messages are rarely his own. It could be a series of quotes. And some days it’s quite brief. A sentence, perhaps a paragraph.
Other days, whether in the middle of winter or the middle of a pennant race, Hurdle reaches out to share and hope.
“Every time in my life I have been in a tough spot, something or someone has shown up, whether it is an individual — man, woman, sometimes it has been a dog, sometimes it has been a group,” says Hurdle. “You know, I have found some help, and that’s all I am trying to provide – not in a pushy way, but in a way to let people know that when they don’t think somebody cares, somebody does care.”
Hurdle reads everything he can get his hands on, hoping to find something that might help someone else.
“I just continue to go and look,” he says. “It’s one way I continue to refresh myself by using my eyes and my ears and trying to learn.”