November 15, 2010
A chill went down my spine when reading about Clint Hurdle deciding to take the Pittsburgh Pirates managing job.
And it had nothing to do with the Bucs losing for 18 straight seasons, either.
Hurdle had his reasons for turning down a chance to be part of Sandy Alderson's exciting rebuilding project with the Mets to instead work for an organization that hasn't recovered from Sid Bream sliding into home in Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS.
One of Hurdle's most important reasons for going to Pittsburgh is personal.
John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times reports that Hurdle's world view is shaped, partly, by the life-threatening condition his 8-year-old daughter lives with:
[M]adison was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome. The disease, which affects about one in every 12,000 people, is a chromosomal disorder that typically causes low muscle tone, short stature if not treated with growth hormone and an insatiable appetite that can lead to life-threatening obesity.
The Children's Institute, located [in the] Squirrel Hill [neighborhood], is one of the nation's foremost providers of care for those affected with Prader-Willi. Hurdle serves as the national spokesman for the Prader-Willi Foundation.
They say things happen for a reason, but even if you don't believe in a higher power, it's at least an amazing stroke of luck that Hurdle would find a major league managing job in a place that could provide such care and comfort to his family.
Even better for Hurdle, he says Madison is growing up strong. From 9News.com in Denver:
"She's been the model for a lot of things as far as figuring some things out," says Clint. "Maddie is figuring things out in her own way, she's writing her own book one day at a time."
The Hurdles were lucky to live in Denver with its renowned Children's Hospital. But treatment for Prader-Willi has to be consistently relentless. And even then...
"Will she go to the Prom? I don't know," Clint ponders. "Will she get married? I don't know. Kids? I don't know. There are a lot of unknowns in front of us because there's a lot of uncharted territory."
It's so scary for the parents — much less for a little girl (and her younger brother, Christian).
Hurdle's career arc as a manager rose high in 2007 when the Colorado Rockies went to the World Series. By 2009, he had been fired. Life changes quickly in his industry.
But if being so close to Pittsburgh's unrivaled medical facilities helps to make a better life for Madison, then Hurdle made the only call he could. Why mess around and then get shut out?
Someone else can manage the Mets.
Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave