Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What's wrong with the Yankees? The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in our masthead.

Relard. That should be a word, as in...

"The Yankee front office, they're a bunch of relards."

"Relarding" would describe the annual churning of professional sports executives, who bounce among teams like hookers on laps in Sons of Anarchy. When somebody jumps, he (yeah, it's generally a him) is quickly replaced by a drinking buddy from the last GM convention. Make your bones in this gated community, and you'll never go hungry.

The Evil Empire is ready to hire Omar Minaya, the former Met front office bivalve, to the brain trust, according to Murdoch's fish wrap of record, The NY Post.  Omar - said to be a chum of Brian Cashman - will soon turn 57 - 10 years older than Cash. Thus, Omar's hiring would mean a) this is his pre-retirement pension drive and b) he is no threat to his boss.

Listen: I have no truck with Omar Minaya. Ten years ago, he helped build the Mets, and he then helped wreck them. Surely, he is a solid "baseball man," as the Gammonites put it. He's supposed to be an "expert" in international scouting, whatever that means. I say, "Oh, hell, why not!" He can't do worse than what he we had!

But when mulling the Yankee brain trust, now and then, maybe we should read the masthead.

Cashman - the Senior Vice President/General Manager - is the 10th name on the list, after the owners (who still list George, which I didn't count), Randy "Seventies Hair" Levine (President, Godfather), Lonn Trost (Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel/Consiglieri), Felix Lopez (Executive Vice President, Chief International Officer/ In-law) and Anthony Bruno (Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer/ official money launderer.)

Minaya would land two slots below Cashman, replacing Mark Newman, who is retiring. Newman's job title is a chuck-wagon of words: Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations.

I believe you can chart the downfall of any organization by the number of vice presidents. The more VPs you have, the worse off you'll be.

In the Yankee front office, there are 15 vice presidents: one executive VP, eight senior VPs and six regular, miserable, garden variety VPs.

In the "Senior Administration," the next tier, I count 19 "directors;" six executive directors, three senior directors, and 10 directors. Overall, it's a list of 44 names.

I claim no grand knowledge of what makes a good baseball executive. But here's a thought: A few baseball organizations do stand out for their success. So what do their mastheads look like?

The St. Louis Cardinals' masthead has 33 names. It has two vice presidents. (That's not a misprint: Just TWO!) The GM is sixth name from the top. Most significantly, the ninth slot is comprised of six special assistants - all of them ex-ballplayers. Go through the top 20 names, and you see a bunch of former players.

OK, so much for St. Louis. How about the San Francisco Giants, who are leading them in the NLCS. They've won two rings in recent years. The masthead is more complicated. At the top, it has 30 "associates," because the ownership is an LLC. If one assumes that the associates are the ownership board, and thus don't directly interfere with the front office, then it starts to scale down. The top 11 names - the administration - are mostly ex-ballplayers. There are 50 names under "Baseball Operations," and most you've heard before: They're old players.

The Yankee front office? There's not an ex-major leaguer on the list. (Could it be relevant that the last regime to build a Yankee team was lead by Gene Michael and Bob Watson?)

The Yankees farm system has endured a miserable last four years. Over that period, Hal Steinbrenner barely changed a nameplate. Now, with Newman retiring, it's worth asking one simple question:

Are we changing the way the Yankees do business, or are we merely relarding the bloat?


Kevin Long said...

All, all honorable men

JM said...

Obviously, we're relarding the boat. We'll probably add a few new execs to oversee the farm system. Hal's manicurist, Jennifer's manicurist, Levine's moil, Tony Bruno's favorite pizza topping...

Omar is a chum of Cashman? I didn't even know Cashman liked chum.

Oh, wait, I forgot about Kevin Long.

Bada boom.