Thursday, June 15, 2006

Can I Get Next?
By Ben Valentine

Apparently a journalism degree is good for more than just the right to work at a McDonald’s these days.

So, a 24 year old sports writer who had two high profile beats for two major papers, an oddity in itself, now is helping to run a professional organization on the highest level. When I showed this story to David and Zach, their response was both “Holy &@#*!”, which was pretty much the same as mine.

So this lends to idle speculation; why couldn’t I run a franchise? I’m not talking about becoming G.M. of the Mets or Yankees or anything like that. Those teams don’t like to play young players, so you can forget about young G.M.s, even if the Yankees’ guy just has to sit there and wait for missives from the Boss.

But let’s say the Pirates or the Royals for example. Those teams are small markets who go with young, unproven talent with high upside because they don’t want to pay players anymore than beans. Therefore, why couldn’t the same principle apply for their management? I’d work for a mere 50,000 grand a year if I got full health benefits.

So how would this work? I think my cover letter would go something like this:

Dear Mr. Glass/Loria/etc..

I came across your help wanted ad recently in New York Newsday. Well it wasn’t posted explicitly, but your team’s record told me you would be hiring soon. I feel as though I have the credentials you are looking for in a potential general manager. For starters, I am a relatively recent graduate of New York University, so I will work for next to nothing. I hear that is a major point of contention for your employees. Make no mistake, I know that you multi millionaires are strapped for cash nowadays and don’t need some guy in a suit who doesn’t wear a glove siphoning off all your hard earned luxury box dollars.

Secondly, I have a strange affinity for prospects. Therefore, I have no problem dealing high priced proven players to acquire the next big thing. Delmon Young suspended for 50 games? An excellent buy low candidate. Besides, that just means he’ll be well rested. What do you think the Phillies will want for Cole Hamels? I figure Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis would get it done. Maybe we could pull back Ryan Howard too, if we floated them Josh Willingham to catch. Mr. Glass, Mike Sweeney is eating up half of your payroll. I’ll send him and his decaying body to the Yankees for Phillip Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Scott Proctor. Then Royals will have an outside chance at competing in 2008, which is better than their current chances.

Third, did I mention I’ll work cheap?

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to building the future with you.

Benjamin Valentine

But what a resume? The experience thing could be a factor right? Well mine isn’t extensive:

-Stats analysis for the SportsBlog Sportszilla and the Jabber Jocks

-In MLB 06 “The Show” managed to acquire cheap young players Joe Mauer, Jonny Gomes, Dan Haren, John Lackey, John Patterson, Scott Kazmir and Chase Utley in one season while also dumping high priced veterans like Tom Glavine, Victor Zambrano, Steve Trachsel, Paul LoDuca and Kaz Matsui. Then since I had a surplus of outfielders because of Lastings Milledge, I sent Gomes to the Mariners for Felix Hernandez.

-I also have built many Madden dynasties, including taking the Arizona Cardinals from 1-15 to 15-1 and Super Bowl Champions in one season.

Sure video physics don’t apply to real life, but since video games are becoming more and more a part of mainstream life, then why use them as an experience booster? Besides, I think the ability for a G.M. to beat his players in Madden and MLB 06’ would be huge for player/management relations.

Finally perhaps the most compelling argument for my appointment to these franchises; could I seriously do any worse than what’s currently in charge there? I mean the Royals were batting Terrance Long 3rd last year! He of the .699 OPS, from a corner outfield spot! I guarantee you that I can find a player somewhere in baseball who’s more productive and would probably have cost less money. Same goes for Cristian Guzman who had a .219/.260/.314/.574 line last year.

I won’t guarantee you I can do better. But ladies and gentlemen it would take a monumental effort for me to do worse. Remember Steve Phillips ran a baseball organization. Jim Duquette got paid to trade Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano (and is back running a team again, mind you). Brian Sabean, one of the “best G.M.s” in baseball, traded away Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan while getting back the legend that is AJ Pierzynski. Come on, I couldn’t do better than that?

It’s time for someone in baseball to take a chance. The Wild have done it with young Chris Snow. Someone needs to one up them, and hire a blogger to run his team. At least it would guarantee they get some press for a day. Actually, for quite a few. People would follow the team with more interest just to see how I did.

So I put it out there; Ben Valentine, Major League Baseball G.M.

Yeah, and maybe the Soca Warriors will beat England today.

A guy can dream, can’t he?


Blogger David Arnott said...

In all seriousness, it's a common fallacy that experience alone is a good indicator of how well someone will do a job. The Wild GM is taking the enlightened approach and choosing his people based on general abilities to think and analyze, and, I assume, how well they work with others, instead of taking the lazy way out by choosing guys based on how long they've worked in hockey front offices. Now, for your cover letter, think of the leverage you would have in contract negotiations if your salary was fifty grand: "F--- you, Ryan Howard! I drive a leased Corolla! This contract I'm offering will allow you to buy two Hummers and a Bentley tomorrow. Don't talk to ME about being underpaid!" Second, on your resume, you forgot to mention your drafting acumen. After all, you did select Reggie Bush first overall, and he proceeded to average 2,500 yards and 45 touchdowns rushing over the next five seasons.

11:43 AM  
Blogger AwfulAnnouncing said...

"I always have believed that you get really talented people and put them in the right environment and don't constrict it -- see what you get from it," team president and general manager Doug Risebrough said. "Where he came from is really academic."

Can something be "Really Academic". Can I get an answer fromt the Journalism Manager?

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sadly, the Asst. GM of the Braves just beat you to the K.C. job. in something of a coup, he even got Glass to cede control of baseball operations. it may take a few years, but the royals are on their way back to respectability.

this story seems to imply that the best way to get hired is to become the beat writer of one of these teams & schmooze the owner.

oh, and bavasi's moves may be a little questionable at times, but he'd never trade felix straight-up for gomes.

1:00 PM  
Blogger Ben Valentine said...

Drafted Reggie Bush 1st overall? Hah! David, I never drafted Bush 1st overall. Both times I got him in a trade following the draft. That allowed me to use my first rounder on someone good and then work out something else down the road.

Experience itself doesn't necessarily mean a thing, I just found it interesting to see a true journalist, and a young one at that, get a front office position. This isn't Larry Dierker coming down from the broadcast booth here; this is a guy who it appears basically has had the same schooling that you and I have.

I thought he had to mean college; he couldn't have meant the newspapers he worked at. I've never heard a daily called academic; maybe a magazine like the New Yorker, but not the Boston Globe. No offense to any Globe readers (or by an off chance, Globe writers) Of course, NYU is pretty high level nowadays; so does that mean the Sportszilla crew is qualified to run a team? How about GM by committee?

I was aware of the Royals job situation, but I love how people think the Royals will get better just because a guy from the Braves organization is running it now. If only it were that simple. However the fact he got Glass to give up control is a huge step, so maybe there is hope.

If the Mariners traded King Felix for anything short of say David Wright, Jose Reyes and Lastings Milledge, together (since I'm a Mets fan), then they should be contracted.

12:29 AM  
Blogger David Arnott said...

I believe he means "academic" in the sense that it doesn't matter where he came from or how old he is since his abilities and intelligence are what they are. "Academic" is often used to describe information with the connotation that there's no practical application for it. So, the GM means that his being a beat reporter "actually has no practical bearing on why we hired him".

Academic achievement is a good indicator for how well someone adapts to following directions and works within mainstream white America's conventions. However, from most resumes, you can't tell if the candidates possess creativity, analytical skills, or just about any desirable attribute because resumes usually list jobs held and how long they were held; there's nothing about how well the person did those jobs or reliable descriptions of what actual skills they possess. It's very difficult to glean that information, but in order to get the best employees, you have to make an effort to dig it out and get over the intuition that exerience alone is valuable information. Experience only matters if it results in better abilities.

And finally Ben, you know as well as I do that, in Madden, trading for first round players after the draft and before trading camp, when you can see all the detailed ratings and the teams value them about as much as any other player rated 81 overall, is the competitive equivalent of playing checkers against a two year old. I shake my finger at you, Dikembe-style.

1:54 AM  

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