what would you do?   4 comments

let’s play make believe …

you own a baseball team.  you recently bought it and got a good price on it, but truth be told, you’re extremely wealthy and the price was a non-issue (think Mark Cuban without the dancing). the team is mired in mediocrity, but has a solid fan base (think Cubs).  year after year they’ve been close to turning that corner and yet one thing or another upends the team and they finish with the “also-rans”.

one of the first things you do is start tossing money at your farm system.  you realize that while you may be able to get some players in the free agent market, you also realize that you need to start developing your own talent.

next you re-evaluate your front office staff and decide if they were hamstrung by the previous ownership or if their approach to developing a winner doesn’t fit with yours.  most often, overhauls occur, but you’ll take your time and decide if changes are warranted.

then the on field manager … is he getting the best efforts out of your players?  if not, what change needs to be made?  a more aggressive manager?  a player’s manager?

lastly, your players.  which ones do you need to dump and which ones to keep.  what decisions you make will affect whether you can land certain free agents because while they like money, they also want to contribute to winning (most often, anyway).

with money as a non-issue what do you do when it comes to signing contracts with free agents?  do you make sure you land the ones you want or do you consider all your opposition and help keep salary structures in line with what others can afford?  i.e. if you could afford to “buy” a pennant, would you?

i started this blog to help explain why i don’t think the Yankees are the evil empire, and to a great degree, i think that’s still an accurate view.  if you had unlimited funds and wanted to win now, what’s wrong with making sure you get the players you want.  almost anyone with a hugely competitive drive would do just that.  your concern wouldn’t be about how your signing player A for a million more than team B is going to affect his bottom line budget.

but now that i’ve written this much, i just want to have the opportunity to buy a team.  now to come up with a billion dollar idea …

-chief

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Posted 08/31/2010 by rick in Baseball

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4 responses to “what would you do?

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  1. Chief – I think you miss the point as to why most of us (myself included) think of the Yankees as the evil empire. It’s not that the organization (even including their late owner) is filled with demons. It is a combination of envy (can’t deny their success) and the lack of an even playing field. I don’t fault the Yankees for shelling out the bucks (and out-bidding the competition) for seemingly every free agent worth anything, but it is frustrating for small to middle-market fans, knowing that they start the season at a disadvantage and can do nothing about it. The age of free agency has done that and, in my opinion, has made the sport a little less fun than it used to be. I understand the success stories of the Twins and Rays but, overall, the Yankees (at least over the last 30+ years) always start the season as the team to beat because they are loaded. Actually, in my opinion, if they had some smarter front office folks (I don’t give Cashman a lot of credit), if you combine the allure of putting on the pin stripes with a fatter bank account, they ought to be clobbering the competition every year. The fact that they don’t is a credit to some pretty sharp front offices of other clubs – again, Tampa Bay and Minnesota come to mind.

    That’s my two cents worth. Yankee fans will hate it and most everyone else will probably agree. I’m sure it’s not the first, nor the last, time you, as a Yankee fan, will hear it.

    —Randy

    P.S. – I’ll go halfsies with you if you can come up with 500 million : )

    Randy Skrimager
    • ROFL … oh, how i wish i could go halfsies!

      i AM a yankee fan and have been since the very early 70s (i played tee-ball on a team named the yankees and that was “it”). and while i’m a yankee fan, i’m a bigger baseball fan, much to the chagrin of my son. and in the business sense for baseball, i agree with you. the fact that teams like the yankees, red sox, dodgers, and now the phillies continue to increase their payroll substantially, in comparison to the rest of mlb, hurts baseball overall. but again, the question was, IF you were in a situation where money was no object, would you approach it the way the yankees have or like the pirates?

      in regards to the playing field of mlb … i am a firm believer in revenue sharing. the owners have got to learn to think of the bigger picture. i don’t want a marxist type of regime where everyone gets the exact same amount of money, but i do want the owners to be accountable to the rest of the owners. i.e. take a look at the recent release of information. there are owners that are currently getting some revenue and it’s more than their payroll before they ever play a game. that sucks. there should be a minimum payroll requirement along with the high end tax level that’s currently in place. it should apply to gate revenue and a portion of tv and radio revenue. revenue sharing and minimum salary spending would both help immensely in leveling the playing field. but while owners like the steinbrenners continue to make money hand over fist, others (re: PIRATES) continue to hoard money, pay very little, and continue to take money from other owners without any accountability to anyone else. they’re as much crooks as the rich are greedy.

      -chief

  2. If money were no object, I’d buy a small market team like the Pirates and build them into winners. The problem is you can’t treat a sports team like a regular business. For example, if you own a donut shop franchise your goal is to put all the other donut shops out of business. If you do that in the sporting world you won’t have any teams to play against and your product becomes worthless.

    • and i don’t think that’s the goal of these teams … i think they are trying to win, not put the other guys out of business. they, more than anyone else, may know exactly how much money CAN be made and even in a small market (where we’re finding they’ve been pocketing loot like crazy), have the opportunity to win if they choose to. so how is it wrong, under the current market system, to have a payroll of 200M if other ball clubs keep theirs at 40M and are pocketing 45M before the season even starts? THEY are the ones that are destroying baseball for their own greed. and the fans are the ones that suffer. so you wouldn’t want to be a big time owner, eh? just a small club? well, a small club can be a very lucrative position. especially if the big boys keep paying the luxury tax.

      -chief

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