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Old 07-11-2007, 12:02 PM   #1
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Default Curve owner a possible McClatchy replacement


Curve owner a possible McClatchy replacement

By Cory Giger, cgiger@altoonamirror.com

The next chief executive officer of the Pirates could be Curve managing partner Chuck Greenberg.

A number of potential candidates to fill the job have been mentioned in the Pittsburgh media since Kevin McClatchy announced last week he?s stepping down after the season.

Greenberg?s name surfaced in newspaper and TV speculation this past weekend, and the Pittsburgh-based attorney would appear to be a viable choice because of his background.

??It certainly is flattering to be mentioned for the Pirates? position,?? Greenberg said Tuesday. ??Right now all of my focus and attention is on the Curve, [State College] Spikes and [Myrtle Beach] Pelicans and my duties with Pepper Hamilton [law firm].

??If the opportunity arises, it would be a very exciting thing to consider. But in the meantime, I?m concentrating on the many duties on my plate today.??

If Greenberg were to get the Pirates? job, it?s doubtful he would remain managing partner of the Curve.

It?s unclear if baseball?s rules even allow a major league CEO to own a minor league team. Calls for clarification to several organizations were not returned Tuesday. Even if it were possible, the duties for both jobs would seem too demanding for one person.

Many local people know Greenberg only as the Curve?s principle owner, but he also has established himself as a key player in the Western Pennsylvania sports scene.

He?s hockey star Mario Lemieux?s attorney, for starters, and helped broker the deal when Lemieux purchased the Penguins in 1999. He also represented Lemieux and the Penguins during this year?s negotiations with the state concerning a new arena.

Greenberg has bolstered his reputation with the tremendous success of the Curve since he bought the franchise in 2002. And he?s a Pittsburgh native and lifelong Pirates fan, which could play into his favor.

Whether Greenberg would be capable of filling the Bucs? CEO post could depend largely on the expectations placed on that position by Bob Nutting, the team?s chairman of the board.

In most companies, the CEO is responsible for every aspect of the business? day-to-day operations. It?s not so cut and dried in baseball, though, and particularly with the Pirates.

In baseball, many teams utilize the CEO as the face of the franchise and the person who makes all key business decisions. But in the Pirates? case, Nutting has assumed those responsibilities.

If Nutting wants a person with broad knowledge, a strong business background and some baseball experience, then Greenberg could be a leading CEO candidate.

??I think he?s phenomenal at dealing with people and the public,?? said former Curve player Josh Bonifay, who knows Greenberg well personally and understands how a major league front office works because his father, Cam, used to be the Pirates? general manager.

??[Greenberg] gets the community involved, and he does everything possible to bring the fans out and make it a very profitable organization.??

There?s been an outcry among some Pirates fans, though, for the organization to fill the CEO position with what?s known inside the industry as a ??baseball guy,?? someone with extensive knowledge of player evaluation. That type of person would have input that can help the team improve on the field as well as off it.

The Bucs are in the midst of their 15th consecutive losing season, and many fans and media have argued that another businessman wouldn?t be a good fit as CEO.

As much as he respects Greenberg, even Josh Bonifay said the organization may need someone with an extensive baseball background.

??I am partial to baseball guys,?? Bonifay said. ??I think the more baseball people you have in the organization being able to make baseball decisions [the better].

??I wouldn?t say that a business guy can?t do it. But just growing up in a baseball background, if you?re dealing with baseball, you want more baseball people around.??

More recognizable names than Greenberg are bound to surface for the CEO job in the coming weeks, so the Pirates should be able to choose from an eclectic pool of candidates. What kind of background Nutting wants from the new hire could determine if Greenberg has any shot at the position.

??I really don?t want to limit the search in any way,?? Nutting told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. ??We need to find the right person. Beyond that commitment, I really don?t want to draw any kind of limitation or box around the process.??

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