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ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you missed my Talkin’ Baseball segment earlier today on Sports Radio KJR with host Mitch Levy, you can listen to it by clicking the box above.
There has been this myth prevailing the past decade or so after some successful playoff seasons by the Oakland Athletics, Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays that “going young” is the key to solving a team’s problems. Proponents of the strategy suggest that “the right way” to rebuild consists of spending years of building up a young core of players and then — and only then — using resources to shore-up that foundation and move on to the next level.
It’s all so Cinderella — until, of course, the pumpkin seeds start to chaffe.
I mean, I hate to sound so gauche, but has anybody noticed that those A’s, Rays and Twins squads have never actually won a World Series? Oh, you have? OK. How about that Brian Sabean and his Giants, or Kenny Williams and his White Sox actually did win one or two? Heck, even Steve Phillips, a radio voice you can hear locally when I’m not filling the Sports Radio KJR airwaves, matched the Rays in getting his Mets to the World Series in 2000. Sorry, Steve. I’m merely including you among the list of general managers reviled by the right-thinking crowd who have actually won a pennant.
Look, the really smart folk know there is more than one way to win in baseball.
For some, the “going young” approach might work. Not that they always have a choice. The A’s, Rays and Twins didn’t want to spend money back in the day when their stuff worked to a degree. And that’s the one thing “going young” does guarantee: that you won’t have to spend as much money as other teams “going good” in their bid to win. “Going good” — the act of paying for players who have performed well in the past — also doesn’t always work: as witnessed by this year’s Toronto Blue Jays and a GM who today appears to have been a tad overrated.
Hey, it isn’t easy to spend big money either. A’s GM Billy Beane never had to do it. In fact, he ducked at the chance of doing it in Boston. Thus, he gets to keep playing the role of small market miracle worker without ever putting himself in the position of blowing a big payroll.
Brian Cashman of the Yankees has shown he can spend and put playoff teams on the field year after year. Dave Dombrowski in Detroit as well. Sabean of late.
So, what does that teach us? Well, not a whole lot we didn’t already know. Major League Baseball isn’t a classroom, it’s a game where grown men get paid to hit baseballs around.
But for those who like to argue that Team X, or Team Y, or, let’s just say, the “Mariners” are spending enough money, I think there is a lesson to be learned.
The lesson being: you are spending enough money when you are spending enough money.
If the name of the game is to win and put people in the stands (and in front of TV sets), then you are clearly not spending enough money if you fail to accomplish those goals.More
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