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Pirates have top CEO candidate in Western Pa.

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By Mike Prisuta
Thursday, July 19, 2007

In assessing the worthiness of their CEO candidates, the Pirates need not insist upon their man having ties to Western Pennsylvania.

Not unless they remember that the current CEO is from California.

Mercifully, Kevin McClatchy's reign of error is at long last nearing its bitter end. But merely scraping his name off the office door will solve nothing if the next occupant is as ill-prepared and ill-suited to occupy the office.

Fixing this mess requires someone who is interested in more than making a buck, making a name for himself or playing sports mogul.

It demands a dedication to the cause that only someone who truly understands the passion the franchise once instilled in the region can appreciate.

And it necessitates someone who is initially willing to commit 24-7 to the cause.

Someone who has a clue about business as well as baseball.

Such parameters figure to narrow the field considerably.

The list might begin and end with Chuck Greenberg.

An attorney by trade, Greenberg's association with high-profile athletes goes back to the early days of Mario Lemieux.

Most recently, he's been in the news as one of the lead negotiators on the Penguins' arena deal.

In between, Greenberg has gleaned invaluable experience over the past 15 or so years as an advocate for those who buy, sell and run professional franchises and has turned the Double-A Altoona Curve (a Pirates affiliate) into a model operation.

Greenberg also is the owner/president/managing partner of the Single-A State College Spikes (another Pirates affiliate) and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Although he's not technically a native, Greenberg grew up in Scott Township and graduated from Upper St. Clair High School (Class of '78).

So in that respect, he's about as Western Pennsylvania as Sean Casey.

More significant, Greenberg understands the market, the organization and the gravity of the challenge.

The keys to moving forward are diversity and uniformity.

The new man must be diverse enough to recognize signing the ghost of Terry Mulholland is as bad an idea as denying the paying customers bottled water.

At the same time, he must promote a uniformity of thought that flows throughout all aspects of the organization, a standard that applies to all in the pursuit of nothing less than excellence.

A grizzled baseball lifer, someone who's already made his bones in the major leagues, isn't going to have the passion to unfailingly dot every 'i' and cross every 't.'

And a boardroom novice, particularly one from somewhere else, will lack the local knowledge necessary to navigate what figures to be a more difficult course than Oakmont.

Greenberg, 46, is neither.

The right man for the job is a much more apt description.

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