Fifty members and guests of the Forbes Field Pittsburgh Chapter had a positively fun evening at PNC Park on May 21 as guests of the Pirates. A pre-game program included a Q&A session with GM Neal Huntington, a look at Pirates history from their second-longest-tenured employee, Patti Mistick, and a review of the statistical analysis the team does from its statistical analysis guru, Dan Fox.
Before he began, Huntington asked for assurances that what was said in the room stayed in the room so that he could be as frank as possible with us. To that end, I will respect that requested confidence and not go into in depth detail of his answers to our questions. I will say that his answers were more straight-forward and honest than the rambling sound bites we often hear from him when quoted in the papers or in radio sound bites. While I have been critical in the past (and he did answer a point that I have often been critical of when discussing him), I have to say that he came across as very honest and open with the group. So, kudos to Neal.
Dan Fox discussed the process of data collection and collation when scouting players on the major league, minor league, and amateur levels. It makes your head spin. Trust me, no matter how much you think you know when you watch a guy play baseball, you can't even begin to imagine all that these guys look at. Yet, as I have often said, and Huntington agreed, it is still an inexact science. Which is why so many first-round draft picks wash out.
Anyway, it was a delightful evening, and the Pirates gave us first-class treatment all the way, including the buffet spread they laid out for us!
And then the team itself put the cherry on the sundae with that great 6-2 win before a sellout crowd on a gorgeous night.
(Reposted from Bob Sproule's blog The Grandstander).