Friday, November 26, 2010

Team Management = Relationships. Dead Serious.

I guess you're wondering why I'm making this comparison.
First off, I'm a girl. We see things in this way sometimes.

I've had my share of relationships (when I mean "share" I only really mean one or two) and while watching sports on the telly, I can only imagine what goes on behind the scenes with team management. Sure, you read, listen, and watch about team transactions and financial issues, but what else do they really talk about behind closed doors? In an instant, what comes to mind is a huge round table with these high-top men in pinstripe suits all talking like Marlon Brando.

"You talk about draft picks. Are draft picks going to bring your fans back to you or my dignity to me? I forgo the draft picks from last year. But my previous transactions had to leave this franchise because of this salary capping. So now I have to make arraignments to bring players back safely cleared of all these false charges. But I'm a superstitious man. And if some unlucky accident should befall us, if we should be fired by the commissioner, or if we should shoot ourselves in the foot, or if we're verbally struck by a bolt of lightning--then I'm going to blame some of the people in this room--and that, I do not forgive. But, that aside, let say that I swear, on the souls of my grandchildren, that I will not be the one to break the peace we have made here today."

(DISCLAIMER: Marlon Brando never said this. He said something relatively close to this, but not this.)

It sounds like the mental conflicts that every guy experiences in his life when he approaches "the hot chick" and weighs out the options. He goes: "are my bros gonna give the thumbs up," and "I hope my female friends don't think she's trashy." Hold up, I'm not a guy, so I can't speak on any guy's behalf. Scratch this whole thing that I just said.

Anyway, the relationship between a manager and his players is like one of those relationships we constantly experience without the PDA's (public displays of affection, in case if you've never heard of the reference). There are going to be some disagreements, there are going to be some inside jokes, and there are going to be some "meeting of the parents and family" business. Oh, and don't forget, the manager ultimately "wears the pants" in this said relationship because he pays for everything.

But aside from the goofiness of this concept, you have to dig deep in thinking of why this is a big form of a relationship. There are team managers out there that fight for their boys even to the point of ejection. There are agents that will fight for the affection of their clients by negotiating for the best contract possible. Then in both cases the financial issues come along, and then the family problems and the relationship with the guy friends and how they might not be able to stand your significant other pile on too. Funny how that all works out, right?

Sure, the way to make it to the top is not just through skill, but also through gaining good relationships and uhh... "get around" I guess would be the way of putting it effectively. It's a real shame on how that's the truth, but relationships are the way you learn things; you, in the words of the great Ms. Frizzle:

"You need to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"
(God, I love this woman. Words of a prophet.)

When I read about the contract disputes of players like Derek Jeter, he almost takes the feminine role. No, I'm not knocking the guy. Let me make my point: if he wants something, the agent and/or manager will fight for it, and they will do the best they can to satisfy the player. If you can compare this to a real relationship, a girl would want love and care--and if they're real women, no material things--and the man will pretty much give an arm or a leg (or move a mountain, as some guy would say) for this lady.

Even in big executive meetings the "bro-mance" grows and intensifies, especially when it comes to big moves and big plans that are brewing in the franchise. In many cases, this is kind of like the big group of guys or girls that basically talk about the happenings in their respective relationships (without the juicy details, of course) and in return, each of them get a lot of advice and forecasts of what may come. Ever since the pairing of Adam and Eve, we've been paired with many people and need some guidance and advice on strengths and weaknesses along the way. We just hope that the people we're paired with are ready for us, right?

In conclusion, management doesn't mean parenting, it really means the "ball and chain" or the "sunshine and rainbows" of what you may deal with in high school. It takes real dedication and real wit to manage a team and maintain the relationship that you hold with oh so many people. You have to do a good job; otherwise, you're going to hear it from people other than your client or teammate. Three cheers for lack of independence! (ha ha)


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