Though I don’t do it so much these days, I’ve spent the better part of my professional career as a book editor, making illustrated books about architecture and design. Though it seems unlikely, the job has a lot in common with a baseball general manager. The job is to bring in a steady stream of talent, and to make sure that talent performs to expectations. You’re accountable to an authority that expects positive results every season. You’re judged both by the public, the press, and your bosses based largely on the end product of your work. Not too many people understand how difficult it is to get your metaphorical meat stuffed into your metaphorical saussage. Everyone thinks they can do your job better than you. But lining up a prize free-agent or unheralded rookie (player or author) is just the beginning of what is a largely invisible process. You need a grand vision, but an ability to manage logistics, to see ahead, to plan effectively, is equally important. This is what struck me, after the initial indignation, about the botched firing of Willie Randolph. He was fired at 3 am! On the wrong coast! Outrage. It was bad. I’m not defending Omar Minaya. But it’s easy to see how the situation snowballed on him. Firing a guy isn’t simply a matter of walking into a hotel room and doing the dirty deed. You need a contingency plan. If you’re promoting from within, you create a massive snowball effect throughout your organization. Replacements may be required on 3 or 4 teams. Is their a line of sucession in place? Who gets informed, by whom, and when? How do they get from where they are to where they need to be? What’s it all going to cost? A bad decision or hesitation at the beginning of this process, and you’re screwed. I’ve made mistakes like that in the past—though nothing on Minaya’s scale—and suffered the consequences. It was a part of my professional learning process. You would think, at this stage of his own career, Omar Minaya would be beyond such mistakes. It’s a sad fact that he isn’t, for everyone involved.

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  • I find this Mets season depressing on many levels. Not the most depressing season in my life, which is just one more level at which to find it depressing.
    And yet I enjoyed myself immensely at Sunday’s double-header. The trick seems to be to avoid thinking about all the effed-up, obnoxious, ludicrous off-the-field stuff, and just show up at the park and hope that things go mostly okay, even if it’s a loss. This only works at the stadium though, not watching on TV.

    FenSheaParkway June 20, 2008, 7:00 pm

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