Rockies manager credits Bucs' front office
DENVER - Rockies manager Jim Tracy looks at the Pirates dugout and sees only a handful of players he recognizes.
It hasn't been a full two years since Tracy was fired as the Pirates manager after two in a long run of losing seasons.
But Tracy said he gives Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and president Frank Coonelly credit for their bold moves in trading the vast majority of players he knew.
"When things have gone about in the manner in which they've gone about the last 17 years in a row, one thing you can't do is continue to feel like you can patch it, put a Band-Aid on it and think that's going to magically fix it," Tracy said. "I give them an awful lot of credit for having the boldness to recognize that not only do they want to become good, but they want to stay good and have the opportunity to remain good for a number of years in a row. I tip my cap to their courage and boldness."
The Rockies are 46-23 since Tracy replaced Clint Hurdle at the end of May. They started the season 18-28 and were 14 1⁄2 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West at the time of the change. Going into Thursday they were second in the division, 5 1⁄2 games behind the Dodgers.
To be back in a winning environment and to be part of such a big turnaround is a marvelous opportunity, Tracy said.
"To believe in what you're doing and to see it working again like it was working an awful lot in the early years, yeah, that part's really gratifying," Tracy said.
Tracy said he holds no grudge against the Pirates organization, and despite being part of the string of losing seasons he's still proud of some of the things the team accomplished, such as a winning record in the second half of 2006.
"The biggest disappointment I had was toward the latter part of my second year after (former general manager Dave) Littlefield was let go," Tracy said. "We had an interim situation above me (in Brian Graham) and ... I really felt like there was a period of time there toward the latter part of the second year I was trying to steer a ship with no rudder.
"When it gets to that point you know there are things you'd like to do that aren't going to happen. And it becomes an element of frustration. I'll readily admit I got to that point and it hurt because I felt like there were some kids in that dugout that I was letting down on a day-to-day basis. And that killed me."