By Matt Popchock

PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — For a long time, he certainly wasn’t the most well-received pro sports executive in town, but the patience of Bob Nutting seems to be paying off in his team’s surprisingly successful 2013 season.

As the owner of Pirates caught up with 93.7 The Fan, his team was just ten wins shy of clinching one year of winning baseball for the first time in two decades, and trying to hold off the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds for its first divisional title in that span.

“This is exactly what we set out at the beginning of the season to do,” Nutting told 93.7 The Fan’s Dan Zangrilli in an exclusive interview originally heard on “Pirates Preview” Saturday afternoon. “This is the fruition of a lot of work that’s been done over the past three years, four years, five years, as we began to put that plan in place to build talent in the organization. It’s been extremely fun and satisfying to see the performance on the field.”

Listen to the entirety of what the Pirates’ Chairman of the Board had to say, including his rationale for not shaking up the front office despite a disastrous finish to each of the last two seasons:

He went on to say he respects Neal Huntington’s willingness to do, as the Bucs’ GM lightheartedly put it, “something stupid, but not something insane” at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The team was rumored to be a candidate to land one of a number of top MLB outfielders, including Giancarlo Stanton, Alex Rios, and Marlon Byrd, to try and help an inconsistent offense. Instead, they have made minor moves for depth purposes, acquiring infielder Robert Andino, catcher Kelly Shoppach, and reliever Kyle Farnsworth.

“It was a colorful comment, but it did illustrate that we had a tremendous amount of pressure and desire to improve this ballclub. Neal explored all those opportunities. Fundamentally, though, the decision really didn’t come down to a few dollars, but what we would have had to give up in terms of future prospects.” Nutting explained.

“I really believe Neal explored every opportunity. If we could have done a deal, even if it was a stretch, it would have been appropriate. There just wasn’t something that jelled. But together, we’re all on the same page, and, frankly, I’m very enthusiastic about the team we have.

“We’re going to have very exciting baseball here the rest of the year.”

Nutting added the franchise is on solid financial footing in terms of dollars from corporate sponsors, and that it will continue to invest in the on-field product as those dollars keep rolling in, and as home attendance continues to reach franchise-record levels.

The Pirates conclude their series with the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday at 1:35 at PNC Park, with “Pirates Preview” beginning at 12:15 with “The Neal Huntington Show,” on your flagship home for Pirates baseball, SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.


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