BEN CHERINGTON We try to get to know the players as best we can, but really our job is to put the best infrastructure around them and give them the support that they need.
GAMMONS How many people go into the decisions about creating that infrastructure?
CHERINGTON It depends on the area. Certainly if it's a major-league player, the manager's a huge part of it. His coaching staff, the medical staff, the support staff. Whenever you play the Yankees, when they take the field, there's a certain look to them and I'm sure that's a lot because of the players, but it's probably a lot because of the coaching staff and the manager and the way they present themselves, so the manager has a huge influence on the atmosphere in the clubhouse, the expectations in the clubhouse, not just X's and O's and when we're putting bunt plays on and who's in the lineup, but what the expectations are.
EPSTEIN Yeah, the entire player development department plays a big role in that, too. There are literally dozens of dozens, probably 40 or 50 people during the course of a young player's development that will touch him in some way to help get him ready for that extra standard, not just to be able to come up and play, but to be able to come up and thrive in a pennant race with 35,000 people every night watching, and the 35 writers at his locker and that burden of responsibility that comes with the high expectations that Sean described. So there are countless people that touch the player, by the time he gets up here ultimately it's on him supported by the organization.
GAMMONS Neal, how different is it in a smaller market? You're now in Pittsburgh, you were in Cleveland — is it easier to be able to just judge a player based on talent than have to worry about all the extraneous things you worry about in Boston, New York, someplace like that?
NEAL HUNTINGTON You know Peter, in some ways it is, but at the root of our player-evaluation process is the exact same that Boston goes through, and we're trying to build to where we get 37,000 people in the stands at night, we're trying to build a World Series expectation. Our goal every year is to win the division, but there are nights when we look out and we're overmatched, and our job is to find the right players who are going to show up and fight, pitch by pitch, to win that game, and so while our development people are focused on creating championship-caliber people. That's our foundation, championship-caliber people, and then we develop championship-caliber skills, tools, on top of that where we have the advantages, we can take a player that's maybe has had a bad year in Boston, maybe has had a bad year in New York, and we can kind of plug him in, try to rehab him, try to rebuild his value, try to rebuild his confidence. That's part of the process for us, at the same time, the most important part of our process is we're trying to develop the same players Boston or New York is, because that's how we're gonna be successful in Pittsburgh.