Thursday, October 25, 2007

So ... What's with the Yankees?

I followed the Joe Torre story with great relish. He's gone now, but the Yankee baseball team promises to be a melodramatic tear-jerker for years to come. I'm an ex-Yankee-hater. I got used to the Yankees during the few years that the Mets baseball team was actually repellent, and I sometimes even root for the Yanks. Now I just want to see what will happen.

All my career in software development, I've been fascinated by how hard it is to MANAGE anything. The Yanks will give me a treat in studying management problems. Every bit of the saga will be played out in my favorite daily papers. Oh, the humanity!

The bottom line is that the Yankees have to have a year or two of "rebuilding." I'm amazed that the sports columnists haven't focused on the rebuilding issue. The Yanks are losing free agents and aging stars. They have some great young talent, but not enough, and their young players are YOUNG. Any sane management would realize this and give the new talent time to develop. It's SO unlikely that the Yanks will do that!

The Yanks are controlled in an unusual way. It's quite normal to have an ownership that is not skilled in baseball. The owners give the GM, the general manager, a budget to work with. The GM, an experienced baseball person with some ability to control an organization, makes the personnel decisions, and leaves player development to the field manager. The Yanks used to be controlled by one highly competitive, rich martinet owner. Right now, that aging martinet wants decisions to be made with both his sons -- who know little of baseball -- in agreement. They could leave the GM, Brian Cashman, in charge, but they won't. And they obviously feel that their feeble Yanks are almost as good as the powerhouse Red Sox.

So we have a recipe for disaster here. Will they luck out? Will they come to appreciate how lucky they were to have Joe Torre run the club in past seasons?

Oh I almost forgot to mention, they have to hire a new manager, and they may in fact hire a Newbie Manager. Suppose the team does badly next year and the owners decide it's the manager's fault. They probably won't fire him, but neither will they realize -- still -- that the team isn't that good, and has to rebuild.

While writing this item, I corrected a misspelling, but in the future I may continue to use it. The team we're talking about here is: The Ynaks.

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