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Clint Hurdle And Pirates Aren't Ready To Go 'All In'

The Pirates' hire of Clint Hurdle has certain corners of the internet buzzing with a new catchphrase: "all in."

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"I'm all in," Hurdle said. "This wasn't about taking a job because it was a sure thing. This was about taking an opportunity that felt sure and fit right. It felt comfortable with the people I was going to get after the job with."

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"All in" was a phrase he used often, as well as a characteristic he said he looked for when speaking with the Pirates' front office.

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"I wanted to look them in the eyes and ask them, 'Are you in?' " he said. "And to a man they looked me in the eye and said 'We're in.' "

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The phrase "all in," as you know, comes from poker, and if nothing else, The Rivers Casino just opened its table games, so maybe there are some cross-promotional opportunities here if the Pirates are interested in reaching the late-night card-player demographic (of which I am certainly a part).

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But - and without intending to put too fine a point on it - it's a very strange catchphrase for the Pirates to have. In poker, if you go all in, three things can happen, and two of them are good: you can win when everyone folds, or you can win when your hand turns out to be best. In baseball, nobody folds, and the Pirates usually hold 7-3 offsuit.

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If we think of the Pirates as poker players, we need them to pursue more deepstacked strategies - playing speculative hands, semi-bluffing with draws, things like that. The Bucs don't have a made hand yet, so they need to capitalize on their opponents' weaknesses, and hope they get lucky with straights and flushes. And then, if they do, they can get all their chips in the middle.

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It's possible I've already analyzed this little phrase too much, but believe me, when the Pirates don't throw $100 million at Cliff Lee this offseason, a certain segment of their fanbase is going to demand to know why they didn't go "all in." What Hurdle is really saying is that he believes the Pirates are going to take themselves seriously, which I think is true, but like a poker dealer, the Pirates' fanbase always takes phrases like "all in" at face value.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.