|Shapiro on the Way Out?|
Written by Justin Zeth (Contact & Archive) on August 12, 2009
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer is mongering rumors today that Mark Shapiro's tenure as the Indians' General Manager is nearing its end. (Link via the always excellent Baseball Think Factory.) Shapiro, the rumors say, is going to be kicked upstairs and the Robin to his Batman, Chris Antonelli, will take over the GM duties. That kind of thing could go either way; sometimes it means Shapiro is retaining the real power while Antonetti is becoming the media front man, and sometimes it means Shapiro is given an office and no important duties to set him aside. Time will tell, and that's assuming there's even anything to the rumors.
We'll save evaluating Shapiro's tenure for a future article--it certainly has been an interesting one--but the real good quote in the linked article was:
The Indians are calling this season an organizational failure. [Team president Paul] Dolan said the organization will be reviewed piece by piece at the end of the season. That includes manager Eric Wedge and his coaching staff.
Anybody named 'Dolan' starts out with zero respect and heaping piles of suspicion by default, just from the family's association with the putrid, detestable New York Knicks, the Pirates of the NBA--except in New York! Imagine if the Yankees were the Pirates. Yeah.
Now, Dolan isn't actually quoted here. He's paraphrased, so maybe this is Hoynes' wording and not his. But the phraseology 'reviewed piece by piece' is disturbing--it gives off 'management doesn't know how to manage' vibes. Can you smell the micromanagement? Cubicle dwellers all over the land groan in unison.
Yeah, maybe I'm reading too much into an innocuous sentence that isn't even in quotes. But, I don't trust any Dolan, and neither should you, and that's a cringe-inducing sentence. It implies that ownership will personally investigate everyone in the organization and personally evaluate how well each person is doing his/her job, maybe make some replacements here and there.
Ownership - you're doing it wrong.
This is not how an efficient organization operates. In an efficient organization--and you'll find this in most of the strong front offices in sports as well as in the business world--ownership worries only about the very small group of people directly under it. They're the ones personally responsible for the entire company's performance. And they handle that by paying direct attention to the performance of the few people who work directly under them. The captain is absolutely and personally responsible for everything that happens on board his ship--that's why the effective captain puts in place a first mate he trusts, and officers on down from there.
If the organization is underperforming--and it's fair to say the Indians are--personally grilling everyone in the organization and deciding what the problem is, that's the Wrong Thing, and it will create three more problems while solving none. If the organization is underperforming, the man in charge (Shapiro in the Indians' case) is responsible for it. You study Shapiro's process in detail, and if you decide the results are unacceptable, you fire him and find a man you trust to put in charge. And you don't meddle with his underlings and undermine his authority, unless your idea of a successful sports operation is the 2000s-era Dallas Cowboys.