You Asked!Posted: August 19, 2010
Just some questions and some thoughts.
How come the myth of small market teams is perpetuated? Aren’t all owners billionaires and able to buy players if they want, regardless of the revenues they take in for their market?
How come most 3B coaches are clueless when it comes to deciding whether or not to send runners to the plate? If there are less than two outs and the top of the order is coming up and your team is down by four runs, is that the time to gamble?
1. You are right that most owners are wealthy beyond imagination. But most owners are experts in other types of business. What is needed are people in the front office who understand how to put a team together. You can’t just throw money at the problem.
To your second point about revenues. Running a team is expensive and mistakes cost tons. Not thousands….millions. If a team decides not to sign draft picks or identify good players then the fans won’t come. Maybe we can say that it is like a small leak in your house. In the grand scheme of running the house, the leak is not a major problem. However, if it is left unfixed then it will continue to grow and in the end could cost a lot more that being responsible and fixing the leak when you see it. Dumb example but that’s what came to mind.
2. Coaching third base is hard. I would love to tell you that it is about outs and runs. But it is about humans who are running those bases. I would say that decisions are made based on the runner. If the runner does his job then it is easy for the coach to do his. If not, then the coach has to make low percentage decisions that may look bad.
By the way, “is it time to gamble” is a good point. Understanding when to take a chance is vital.
Now that the draft deadline has past, young men will now see a side of baseball that they haven’t experienced before. Professional baseball is unlike anything that they have played in so far. It is a blessing to get paid to do something you love, but you also realize that you are playing a very high stakes game that could set you up for life, or set you back depending on your performance.
In 1998, I stepped on the field in Auburn, NY as a player for the Astros NY/Penn League. When I saw the field I was impressed. It was a nice stadium that didn’t look anything like the “dumps” I had expected. But something was different and I noticed it immediately. The newly signed players were joking around, but those who had played for a few years were much quieter.
I realized that my teammates were not teammates with the goal of winning. We were now individual athletes where winning to a distinct second to personal performance. This was mind-bending for me. I had been blessed with great coaches and taught that one will only be great if they are able to play within the concept of team. That meant sacrificing personal performance for the win. That was gone and I didn’t like it.
In the end I decided that winning would probably be more valuable than my personal play. It was a gamble and many times I thought I was hurting myself. But I went for it anyway. That brings me to another point.
Statistics are the biggest mis-indicator (I don’t even think that is a word) of play. I’m over traditional stats. In fact, I will take a page out of Warren Buffet’s book for my take. He says, “Accounting is the language of business.” Well, that doesn’t mean that P/E ratios, PEG ratios, Debt/Equity, Price/Sales, or Price/Book are individual stats that can tell you if a company is healthy. Same holds for baseball. ERA, Wins, BA, HR’s, SLG, and a billion others are not sole indicators of great play. It is only when someone who can look at a player’s performance in the context of a win that they understand a player’s contribution.
Who knows what I am saying, but the point is that young men are about to jump in the shark tank with the rest of us. We who have been working for years know how dangerous it can be out here. Lets hope that those players have great coaches and mentors who can help protect them from the negatives and show them an honest path to playing their personal best!!!!!!!
GO GET ‘EM!