CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Call it subtraction by addition.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have encountered their share of hurdles during the organization's current run of 18 consecutive losing seasons in Major League Baseball.
To overcome them, they added a Hurdle.
Pittsburgh brass got the manager it coveted this offseason in Clint Hurdle, a bespectacled 53-year-old with spiky salt-and-pepper hair you won't see when he dons a black Pirates cap once spring training commences Feb. 14 in Bradenton, Fla.
Hurdle was hired to replace the fired John Russell on Nov. 15, and has since been acquainting himself with players at all levels of the organization, meeting with front office officials and scouts, and getting to know fans. The latter brought him to Charleston on Sunday for the Pirates Winter Caravan.
Hurdle isn't intimidated by the Pirates' streak of futility, or the 57-105 record that resulted in his predecessor's dismissal.
"The one point that I continue to share with everybody here is that as an outsider looking in, this organization has always intrigued me," Hurdle said.
"For 10 years in the '70s the Pirates franchise was one of the jewels of Major League Baseball. I got to see a lot of Pirates baseball, a lot of Pirates players.
"Knowing the history that's gone on the last 18 seasons, there's not a greater coaching opportunity in all of professional sport than there is in Pittsburgh right now."
Hurdle batted .259 with 32 home runs and 193 runs batted in during an 11-year Major League career (1977-87) that included stops with the Royals, Reds, Mets and Cardinals.
He received his first managing gig with the Colorado Rockies in 2002. By 2007, the Rockies finished 90-73 and reached the World Series.
"There's a lot of common fabric here," Hurdle said. "The Pirates stage is similar to where the Rockies were in 2005. We had a core group, we had to improve off the mound, we had to catch it.
"This is a fan base that's so hungry like they were in Colorado, but with so much more tradition."