By John Perrotto
Many Pirates fans wanted general manager Neal Huntington to be fired and assistant GMs Kyle Stark and Greg Smith to go with him.
Some Pirates fans called for manager Clint Hurdle and coaching staff to be fired.
And those on the lunatic fringe of Pirates fandom, wanted everyone gone, even longtime clubhouse attendant Jimmy Welsh.
Well, all the above are staying, club president Frank Coonelly announced Wednesday and that hardly comes as a surprise to Pirates’ insiders.
They insist that owner Bob Nutting never gave any serious thought to firing any of the key people in the organization, regardless of how bad the Pirates’ second straight late-season collapse has been and how much the their minor-league training methods have been brought into question in recent weeks.
“The one thing about Bob that you have to understand is that he doesn’t put a lot of stock in outside influences,” said a source close to Nutting, who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak about Pirates’ matters publicly.
“He doesn’t really care what people in media write or say and he doesn’t really care what the fans think when it comes to personnel matters. He hires people he firmly believes in, puts total faith in trust and them and has a fierce loyalty toward them if they show loyalty to him.”
Nutting said earlier this month that it was “unacceptable” how quickly the Pirates fell out of the pennant race for a second straight season. They are a combined 33-73 in August and September the last two seasons.
However, the source said the owner firmly believes the Pirates are making progress.
“They’ll have a better record for the second straight season and, to Bob, that’s the biggest sign of progress,” the source said. “Bob is a bottom-line guy. It’s how he runs his businesses. The bottom line for him is that the team is winning more games. The other stuff doesn’t matter.”
The Pirates are 76-79 going into today’s game against the Mets at New York after posting a 72-90 record last season following a 57-105 campaign in 2010.
The bottom line also figures to be good on the Pirates’ ledger sheet. Improved attendance and a significant chunk of money from Major League Baseball’s revenue-sharing plan will help the franchise clear a profit of “around $20 million” this season, according to the source.
“The team is winning more games and being profitable,” the source said. “Bob is happy with that.”
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