Former Pirates skipper Russell will always cherish time in Pittsburgh
Former Bucs Manager John Russell spent six years in Pittsburgh . He endured some of the worst seasons in Pirates history, including a 105-loss 2010 season. He made coaching gaffe’s that sometimes made you scratch your head. He was often criticized for his lack of emotions both on the field and with the players. But despite the blowouts and the base running mistakes, Russell has no regrets.
“I’ll never forget my (six) years in Pittsburgh as a coach and manager. It’s a great city with great fans. I’ll never regret it. I wish I could still be there as a manager. But I’m very happy where I am now. I’m looking forward to this season and what the future holds for me.”
“I thought the last quarter of the (2010) season we played pretty good baseball,” Russell said. “Guys started to come on a little bit. I thought it was very much headed the right way. But you can’t negate the losses.”
Just three weeks after being fired by the Pirates, Russell was hired by the Baltimore Orioles as their third base coach and catching instructor.
The Bucs and Orioles face each other five times during spring training, as well as a interleague series this season.
“People say to me, ‘Oh, you probably don’t want to go back there,’ ” Russell said. “It doesn’t affect me. It was a part of my career that I’ll always remember and cherish. I have a lot of friends over there.”
Russell also believes the Pirates can turn thing around and end those consecutive losing seasons.
“There’s hope for any franchise,” Russell said. “The biggest thing is patience, and that’s tough in Pittsburgh because of the number of years they haven’t won.”
If he could do it all over again, would he second guess anything?
“You can always second-guess,” he said. “But you have to believe in what you do. That’s the way I tried to approach it every day in Pittsburgh. I tried to do what’s right not only for the players but for the organization to make sure we stayed on track with the major plan. We knew it was going to be tough. We knew we were going to have to be patient to make it work. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me.”