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Curve manager Forbes shows passion, excitement in great teaching moment after McCutchen hit

June 9, 2011 - Cory Giger
I've covered the minor leagues for 15 years, and there was a great scene that played out after Wednesday night's Curve game that was one of the best coaching moments I've seen in the minors.

It's a subtle thing, but I love these kind of subtle aspects of baseball.

This little sequence, as I point out in the story, is a great reason why the Pirates like Curve manager P.J. Forbes so much.

From my game story:


A big-screen TV hangs on the wall in the Curve clubhouse at Blair County Ballpark, and when they finish their game, the players usually can be found watching the end of the Pirates contest.

It was in that setting -- after a tough 7-6 loss to Erie -- that Curve manager P.J. Forbes was able to show his Double-A hitters who dream of getting to the major leagues just what it takes to be successful there.

"Did you see that? Did you see that?" Forbes, in a raised voice, exclaimed as he darted out of his office to where the players were gathered watching the Buccos.

It was a fantastic teaching moment, and it epitomized minor league baseball.

Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen had just doubled to the opposite field in the 10th inning against Arizona's J.J. Putz in a tie game. What had Forbes so excited was seeing McCutchen do exactly what the coaches in the organization preach to all the hitters.

"He's not gonna let you beat him pull side," Forbes said of the Diamondbacks pitcher.

To be an effective hitter -- like McCutchen, who later won the game with a home run -- one has to use the entire field and drive the ball the opposite way.

The Curve hitters probably noticed that on their own watching the Pirates game, but if they didn't, Forbes made sure to call their attention to it.

That's what being an effective teacher of the game is all about, and in that 30 seconds, it became more evident than ever before why the Pirates like Forbes so much as a minor league manager.

Interestingly enough, the scene played out only a minute after Forbes had been asked several questions about how Wednesday's game provided several good teaching moments for his team.

The Curve made a few fundamental mistakes, such as failing to get down a sacrifice bunt, not getting a huge run in from third with less than two outs and a baserunning error that took the tying run off the basepaths and killed a rally.

"We talk about failure to execute will cost you," Forbes said. "That's just a motto in baseball. You get guys in position to have those situations.

"You learn from your mistakes, that's part of it and you get better tomorrow."

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