Friday, August 09, 2002

Head spinning, Rockies' Hurdle eager for challenges

AP Sports Writer

        DENVER — Clint Hurdle thought the experience was “kind of surreal.” He was made permanent manager of the Colorado Rockies and attended the birth of his second child on the same day.

        “All of this is too good to be true, but it is true,” he said Thursday, a day after receiving a two-year contract extension, a deal that gave the Rockies options for 2005 and 2006.

        Hurdle couldn't be at a news conference Wednesday because he left Coors Field to be with his wife, Karla, for the birth of their first child, daughter Madison Reilly.

        “Karla and I were trying to get pregnant,” said Hurdle, who has a child from a previous marriage. “We went through an egg-donor system to get pregnant. We got the eggs from her sister.”

        Hurdle, 45, has led the Rockies to a 46-45 record since replacing Buddy Bell as manager on April 26. At first, Hurdle was only given the manager's job on an interim basis.

        He is in his ninth year with the organization, spending the previous six as hitting coach.

        “When I came here to Colorado in October of 1993, I basically showed up on the doorstep more or less as an orphan. I knew only one person in the organization,” he said, a reference to player development director Dick Balderson.

        “Obviously, a lot has happened since then,” Hurdle said. “For whatever reason, I've been chosen. I feel very humble and very blessed.”

        General manager Dan O'Dowd said Hurdle has shown exemplary leadership.

        “He has tremendous passion for the game, he's well organized, he deals with confrontation extremely well, he handles adversity,” O'Dowd said. “He's made difficult decisions. He took a starter making umpteen millions of dollars who wasn't performing (Denny Neagle) and put him in the bullpen. That doesn't happen very often in our game.”

        Most importantly, said O'Dowd, “Since Clint has taken over, the club has played much better.”

        Hurdle called the Rockies “a team in transition, but we have some core pieces intact. I'm very excited about this opportunity. Karla is excited. Madison is excited.”


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