The Media’s Team

Books, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Podcasts

HBO Zone is showing Oz every night at 11:00 and last night’s episode centered around a prison riot in which the inmates took command. Naturally, it degenerated into a battle for control and some semblance of a government had to be formed. The same things that caused many of the characters’ incarcerations cropped up as they had neither the aptitude nor capacity to cope with inevitable issues of running any entity.

They thought they could run things, but couldn’t.

It led me to wonder what would happen if the the experts in the media were given a team to run.

Would their self-proclaimed expertise expressed in the newspapers, on the radio and television and online extend to being able to handle running an organization?

I’d love to find out.

I’d love it if MLB expanded with one more team—owned by MLB—with a reasonable payroll of $80-100 million; a farm system put in place three years before the big league club began playing; and some of the more abusive cheap shot artists and faux experts the media has to offer were placed in charge—real charge, not just as gimmickry.

I’m talking about Mike Francesa; Joel Sherman; Keith Law; Rob Neyer; Jon Heyman; Tim McCarver—I’m sure you have favorites of your own to add to the list.

What would happen?

I’ll tell you what would happen: reality would set in for the likes of Francesa and Sherman that they can’t say whatever they want and espouse their theories of baseball as if they have this innate knowledge that could be implemented and suddenly inspire the players to perform.

Both would be abused by their players and the other big league organizations.

Law’s regurgitation of scouting terminology and shaky in-the-trenches baseball knowledge would manifest itself quickly. Neyer’s obnoxious tone and laziness would last maybe five seconds.

I’m not saying this as an April Fool’s joke either. I’m serious. They’d have a budget; they’d have a GM, scouts—all media members—and one of them would have to manage the team. I’d make Sherman manage just to see him, with his deer in the headlights countenance and pompous condescension, be picked apart by the players. I guarantee he’d wouldn’t have the faintest clue how to handle people—one of the more important and undermentioned attributes a manager must have.

This wouldn’t be a “Ted Turner decides to manage” scenario as the former Braves owner pulled in 1977 when he sat in the dugout in uniform for one game, but didn’t really manage the team. The selected manager would have to manage the team. The coaches would be real, major league qualified coaches, but the manager is the manager.

So how would it go?

Would Francesa be able to navigate his way around the players and media like he does a case of Diet Coke and his callers?

Would Sherman, Heyman, Neyer, Law, McCarver (the only former athlete on my list—one who’s forgotten what it is to be a player) have any chance at all?

I think we know the answer, don’t we?

It’d be a train wreck of epic proportions. In fact, it’d be a nightmare. They wouldn’t know what to do; how to handle the players; the media; the lower levels of running a club like ticket sales and fan relations; they’d be at a loss with the humanity.

Would they learn a lesson?

I doubt it, but it’d be hilarious to watch.

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My podcast appearance with SportsFanBuzz previewing the season is posted. You can listen here The SportsFan Buzz: March 30, 2011 or on iTunes.

I was on with Mike at NYBaseballDigest and his preview as well. You can listen here.

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I’ll be hosting a forum on TheCopia.com. I’ll give the details on Twitter and Facebook. Click on the links at the top of the page for my Twitter/Facebook accounts.

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Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.

Now it’s also out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.


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