Pittsburgh — As Derek Shelton sat on the podium in the interview room at PNC Park, he couldn’t help but notice that nearly all of his staff had temporarily let go of their pre-emptive responsibilities and huddled on the other side of the room, wanting to be there for their moment manager.
Shilton had already processed the news that he and the club had reached an extension beyond the 2023 season. But as he looked down at his stick, he couldn’t stop the tears in his eyes, the trembling in his voice, the tremors in his speech. At that moment, I realized what all this meant.
“I went in, and they’re all back there,” Shelton said. “It’s for your family. You work for you.” [butt] off to get this job. Yes, he is emotional. “
A moment like this is never guaranteed for a manager. There is no shortage of cases where a manager leads a team during the rebuilding process only to be let go before they have had a chance to see the product of their struggle. However, Shelton had no doubts that this day would come.
“I think the positivity that we tried to portray as staff and the consistency that we tried to portray as a crew was really important,” Shelton said. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are moving in the right direction, and that is really important to me.”
Pirates general manager Ben Chirrington, who announced the news ahead of Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Reds, did not disclose details of Shelton’s extension, nor share whether anything is brewing in regards to his potential extension. What Cherington shared, however, was his enthusiasm.
“He has worked tirelessly for over three years now to help get us in a stronger position to win,” said Cherington. “All the work that goes into building our culture — the way we prepare for the Games, the way we relate to each other, the relationships that are built — I think we’re starting to see the fruits of that work.”
The timing of this extension coincides with the Bucs’ 15-7 start, their best start to a season in decades. However, the early success had no effect on the deal. Sherrington said extension talks began during spring training. About a week ago, an agreement was reached. With pen to paper, Shelton can continue the process of keeping the good vibes going.
Chilton and the Pirates have, without a doubt, fallen on hard times. They lost 100 games in back-to-back seasons in 2021 and 22. The roster ripple was, at times, astounding. They have made headlines on several occasions for nonchalant reasons. Amidst those struggles, Shilton maintained a composure at the club. On Saturday, Brian Reynolds reiterated sentiments shared by many on the team.
“He’s the right guy to lead us,” Reynolds said. “He was the same guy even though we were losing 100 games a year. There was no panic. There was no personality switch, which can’t be easy. I know that as a player, it’s hard to appear and be the same guy, but he did.” that “.
“I think we knew there were going to be tough days, but it doesn’t make it any easier when you get into them,” said Cherington. “Surely part of my faith and trust in him was watching how he responds to that. Hopefully we helped each other through that a little bit. He always responded with determination, with a positive, fresh outlook, with an eye on controlling what we can control in the future. I’ve learned We hope he learned from me and we continue to learn from each other.”
Shilton’s mission extends beyond the formations he creates and the decisions he makes. Cherington reiterated that Shelton is not only a manager for a major league team, but an important leader in baseball operations, describing the captain as an “elite interlocutor”. After the breaking news on Saturday, coaches and players unhesitatingly praised Shilton, not just as a manager, but as a person.
“I think he knows his players really well,” said third baseman Ky Brian Hayes. “he knows [who] He can flirt with him and who he should keep it short and sweet with. For me, it’s been great, whether it’s something I’ve been doing off the field or on the field, we always check it out.”
For Shelton, Pittsburgh has become a second home for the past three years. He wouldn’t incorporate “yinzer” into his slang lest it anger All-Star coach David Bednar and bench coach Don Kelly, both of whom hail from the area. He expressed his love for the city. He expressed his love for the community. Now, he would have the opportunity to continue to call this place home.
“I’m so proud to be here,” Shelton said. “And [I’m] Very proud that I will continue to be here.”
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