|McClendon brings 'attitude' to Pirates... Spring 2001 |
Pirates' new manager plans to shake up a franchise that has been losing for too long
Spring Training/Pittsburgh Pirates:
Newspaper Clipping - from the "Bradenton Herald-Tribune by Tom Balog, Staff Writer... February 21, 2001
"When Lloyd McClendon was growing up n Gary, Indiana in the late 1960s, he heard the sounds of a neighborhood family of young musicians rehearsing their earliest songs in a nearby home.
"we played baseball on a particular field and the 'Jackson Five' were always in a house behind our baseball field doing their thing and working out," McClendon said. "I won't call Michael Jackson a personal friend, but we knew each other."
"It was very exciting for everybody in the city to realize what they had accomplished. As youngsters, you don't really realize the realm of it, now when you look back and say, "These people were unbelievable."
The same could be said for McClendon, the Pirates 41-year-old first-year manager, one of 13 children of a factory worker who scrapped his way to the major leagues where he spent parts of eight seasons, the last five of those with Pittsburgh.
As a bench player for the Pirates, McClendon began preparing himself for his future as a manager.
"the combination of being a bench player and coming up as a catcher, you tend to understand the entire game a little bit more," said McClendon, who served as the Pirates hitting coach for the past four seasons."
"You understand every facet of defense, pitching, the running game. The latter years of my playing career, I really felt that managing was going to be my true calling."
The players supported McClendon's candidacy as a refreshing change from the easy-going style of his predecessor, Gene Lamont, which contributed to his firing after a 93-loss season in 2000.
"He going to bring attitude to our team, he's someone who is going to kick and cuss and throw stuff and get mad and we need that," said reliever Scott Sauerbeck. "We need somebody that's fiery that's going to stand up for us."
"Nothing against Gene Lamont, not that he was a bad manager, but his personality didn't fit our team. Lloyd McClendon's personality fits our team. He cheats at cards, he wants to win at any cost and we need that."
The clubhouse was a wreck as the team limped to 93 loses last year. It was not the season the team wanted as it prepares to move into PNC Park. In fact, it was a public relations disaster.
"When you start to lose, there's built-in excuses, it festers. It became a cancer. I'm going to be hands on and ensure that everybody is moving in the fashion I want to move in. We've been getting our butts kicked for eight years now. We're moving into a new ballpark. We have to have a new attitude." Baseballhistorian.com - Newspaper Clipping