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Baseball Isn't Just Entertainment, It's Also A Business

Aug 17, 2007
George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, is spot on by calling out his management team and players for their poor performance thus far this season. He's also correct in pointing out that the season is still relatively young. There is still a lot of playing left for the boys of summer.

Perhaps understandably, many New York fans have started to demand the firing of team manager Joe Torre.

Many others complain that the true responsibility for this baseball season's terrible play rest on General Manager Brian Cashman's shoulders, as he's the one who put together such a high-salaried and poor-performing team.

And then there are the fans who look to the field, and rightly or wrongly, declare that the Yankees simply don't have enough pitching.

Whatever the cause, the darkest sign is that online sportsbooks are starting to pitch the Yankees as the heavy underdogs, given their poor win-loss results to date.

Unfortunately, what so many people are missing is that, although sports is a highly emotional undertaking, it's also a business. And that means it is important to bring a high level of reason to the field.

It's amazing that, no matter how strategic or rational individual might be, when you shift to the sports arena, an immediate drop in IQ seems inevitable. Why? Because emotion inevitably intrudes on decision-making.

Fortunately, and despite many of his past follies, Steinbrenner is absolutely correct in standing behind his management team and the New York Yankee baseball players under them. He's not betting on sports, he's investing in a sports franchise. That means being strategic, making his player picks and management picks carefully.

Steinbrenner didn't let the team off the hook; far from it. In a recent statement, he told the world he is demanding better results. Better results from his GM, from his team manager, and most certainly, better from his players.

And you can bet that a sports team owner understands the importance of performance.

Much as in the business world, Steinbrenner is saying his sports team is directly responsible for the results on the field. And I would wager that the odds are high that if performance doesn't improve substantially very soon, we are going to see a big change to the team's future.

As Steinbrenner points out: "It is time to see if people are ready to step up and accept their responsibilities. Let's get going."

Another similarity between sports and business is that that managers tend to get too much credit when things are good and too much blame when they aren't. They of course have a large roll to play; but they are not the only pieces of the puzzle.

Finally, my argument comes down to one point: it really is still a very young season. And that makes all the difference in the sports world.

So for all you New York Yankee fans out there, remember: it is much too early to panic. Although the Yankees are currently in last place, there is still more that 80 percent of the season left to be played. While the desire to pin the blame on someone is understandably quite high, keep in mind that decisions should be made on a rational, not emotional, basis. There's simply too much at risk to bet the whole season on a few misplayed games.
About the Author
Michael Lee-Smith enjoys watching football, hockey and basketball, and particularly enjoys online sports betting at sites such as the Bodog Sportsbook.
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