Monday, February 27, 2012

Could I be a GM?

Um, no. But after Joel Zumaya was deemed out for the season, many were quick to jump on the Twins and Terry Ryan for even signing him. A rightfully exasperated Phil Mackey from ESPN1500 here in the Twin Cities said that it seemed that many fans and bloggers seemed to genuinely believe that they would be better General Managers than Ryan.
My immediate thought was.. how zany an idea is that, really? Naturally, I asked Mackey that via Twitter as clumsily as possible, so I came across as doubting Terry Ryan was a good GM (definitely good, grew a little stale late in his career, and I like what he has done since he has been back. The time off has him quite refreshed, and me quite positive) or stating that the Zumaya deal was a bad one (I liked it, even now, and the army of pitchers in camp is bound to produce a couple of pleasant surprises). Naturally, and again rightfully, Mackey essentially gave me a WTF? and sent me to his followers to be picked apart.
What I was really driving at wasn't a take down of TR, but rather in support of fans (albeit a specific subset of fans). Aren't there a lot of fans that really could be General Managers? Successful general managers? Think about what it takes to be a good GM. First off, there is the business sense, running a profitable team based on revenue and salary, something that isn't too different from a typical business type, right? I think this, the business end, has always been the "easy" part for finding general managers. The problem is finding a businessman who knows more about baseball than "Take me out to the Ballgame".
Nowadays, in a land of Fangraphs and Sabrmetrics, the average fan has access to a wealth of information that we never used to. And with the internet, there is a constant stream of information, so the average Joe should know what a teams financial limitations are. Adding that, a General Manager doesn't work in a vacuum, but with a staff of advisers and scouts.
The real issue is that baseball, as with all sports, is generally insular. If you want to reach the top in baseball, you have to get there by paying your dues and working your way up the chain, something that a lot of capable people wouldn't be comfortable doing.
So, do I believe that, of all the people in the state, Terry Ryan is the best GM? Statistically improbable. But he is the only one who has set his mind to taking that role. And for the record, those fans that stated that the Twins erred in signing Joel Zumaya? Those aren't among the fans that would be better at the job than Terry Ryan.

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