BRADENTON, Fla. -- Manager Clint Hurdle invited a speaker to address his team in the clubhouse at McKechnie Field on Monday morning. The guest of honor was a familiar face to the Pirates and just about anyone in Pittsburgh: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin stood just behind the cage and took in a few rounds of batting practice, trading his black Steelers hat for the Pirates' green St. Patrick's Day cap, and spoke to the Pirates at Hurdle's request.
"I'm a big fan of Clint's and what he's doing with the baseball team, so it's great to have an opportunity to come down and spend a day with them," Tomlin said. "It was humbling, really. ... It's an honor to be here."
Hurdle didn't provide any talking points for Tomlin, telling him, simply, to "go give them what you've got."
As it turns out, Tomlin touched on one topic near and dear to Hurdle's heart.
"The one thing he brought to the table today that was impactful was finding ways to acknowledge things that can't be measured," Hurdle said. "That's one of the things that we do talk about here. Everything that can be counted doesn't always count. There's a lot of times that things that you can't count matter as well. He touched on that in front of that group today. It was very impactful."
Tomlin admitted that he doesn't know too much about baseball, but he wanted to challenge the Pirates to embrace the things they can't measure, whether it's the skill level of a teammate or the value of camaraderie in the clubhouse.
Hurdle appreciated not only Tomlin's visit but the bond they've formed over the years.
"There's only a few people you can go to and talk about being a manager or head coach and can say, 'I know what you mean,' and they know what you mean," Hurdle said. "We're like-minded in the fact that we feel to best honor the game, respect the game, you've got to trust the players, you've got to trust the coaches. You make sure that they do understand what's important to you. I think that's always important, that the message is clear, clean, accurate. We know that we're very fortunate to do what we do. I don't think either one of us takes one day for granted. And we're best served being servants, and I truly believe Mike is of that same mind-set.
"We talk about it all the time. His job is to continue to help push that organization forward in his role -- knowing that he's accountable and responsible for a lot of different things that happen at the end of the day. He's no-nonsense. He's up front. He doesn't make excuses. There's a lot to admire in the way he goes about his business professionally and the man that he is personally."