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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

Perspectives: No Decisions Are BAD Decisions

by Paul Semendinger

August 10, 2023

***

The Yankees keep giving me TONS to write about....


In my career, I have mentored many teachers and school administrators. One of the lessons I teach them is that as a leader (and, to be clear, teachers are also leaders) when you don't make decisions, you are making a decision. When the time comes to act decisively, you either act, or you don't, but by not acting, you send a very clear message and by not making a decision, you are, in fact, also making a decision.


Often times the message you send by not acting is one of weakness. This does not help one when he or she is running a district, a school, or a classroom. Weakness is not celebrated. Weakness is often something that others take advantage of.

***

Bob Klapisch had an article yesterday that makes Hal Steinbrenner look weak. The article, linked HERE, demonstrates, clearly, what is wrong with the Yankees. I speculated on this the other day, and it seems that my thoughts are being proven correct - Mr. Steinbrenner does not hold all his employees accountable.


In short, Brian Cashman can feel free to make decisions knowing there will be no repercussions. He knows that bad decisions do not threaten his job. And, unfortunately, over the last few years, Brian Cashman has made a host of bad decisions. The problem is, he is not held accountable for any of them.


(As I write this, the Yankees are in sole possession of last place in the American League East. They have won one series since July 1. They are 5.5 games out of the final wild card spot.)


It matters little that the Yankees are going in the wrong direction. The Boss does not want to hold his employees accountable for the poor work they have done over the last several years. That is not going to make things better for the Yankees. It is going to lead to the team continuing going in the wrong direction.


Brian Cashman has not been doing a good job. Aaron Boone has not been doing a good job. But, my take after reading Kalpisch's article, is that the person doing the worse job, unfortunately, is Hal Steinbrenner.


If Yankees fans are expecting the Yankees to turn this all around next year, there is little hope without a change of leadership and accountability. Neither seems likely at this point.


Here are some key quotes from the article:


"The idea (of firing Cashman) isn’t even on the table. It’s not up for discussion.”


"The Young Boss is loathe to make a managerial change unless absolutely necessary. And even then a sacking isn’t guaranteed. Boone apparently will be given every opportunity to resuscitate the Yankees over the final 48 games. Although they’ve essentially been a .500 team (89-84) since August 1, 2022, Steinbrenner continues to hold out hope for a winning streak that’ll erase a summer of mediocrity."


"The safety net, according to another voice in Steinbrenner’s orbit, is the owner’s wish to avoid tough choices and stay out of the spotlight."


“Firing people is not in Hal’s nature,” the person said. “To this point, he’s been content to let Cashman make the decisions. He trusts him. And he happens to like Boone personally, too.”


They key phrase in all of that is this one, "...is the owner’s wish to avoid tough choices."


I have news for Mr. Steinbrenner. It's his job to make tough choices.


Leaders have to make tough decisions. It seems that Hal Steinbrenner would rather make no decision than to hold Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone accountable for the disaster that the Yankees have become.


The other key phrase, is this one, which I did not quote above because it needs its own focus:


"The Yankees still lead the American League in attendance. The YES ratings are equally strong. And the Bombers still have a mathematical chance at the third wild card spot. Meanwhile, they’ve withstood crosstown owner Steve Cohen’s challenge to make the Mets the No. 1 team in this market. Those successes all weigh heavily in Cashman’s favor."


When fans complain that all Steinbrenner cares about is the money (and not winning) that perspective seems to have some truth to it.


The Yankees used to be about winning. That philosophy started way before George Steinbrenner. It's been part of the Yankee way since the arrival of Babe Ruth. Or, at least it was.


Today, it seems everything about the Yankees has changed. If the attendance is good, if the TV revenue remains high, (if the Starr Insurance patch helps the bottom line), it seems that the owner will be content to stay the course.


The Yankees philosophy now seems to be, "Who needs championships?"


As I have warned, though, once a brand is destroyed, it is very difficult to bring it back. The fans might be coming right now, but many of those people are ones that grew up with championships or who shared those experiences with their own children. As for the fans of tomorrow, well, they might not be there.


Let's put it this way, if you were nine years old, would you fall in love with this team?


The Yankees, as a franchise, are at a crossroads. This is a critical time not for the 2023 Yankees, or the 2024 Yankees, but for the long term health of the franchise.


Young fans today don't care about Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera or championships in the 1990s and before. All of that is as relevant to them as Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio or Babe Ruth. It's all ancient history. Fans want to see their team win. They want to see their players with the trophies. And there is generation of fans growing up that have never seen the Yankees win a World Series. In the last 20 years, the Yankees have been to one World Series. The era of Yankees greatness is over. Without big changes, it isn't coming back soon. A brand can only live on its past for so long, and I fear, for the Yankees, that day is coming soon.


It is time for Hal Steinbrenner to make the decisions he is loathe to make...

10 Comments


jjw49
Aug 10, 2023

The Klapisch article imo is a direct result of the Yankees PR team trying to stem the tide of public sentiment that is building around firing Brian Cashman. At some point Hal will have to "meet the press" and either fire Cashman or offer the fans his support for the GM. The irony is either way he will be forced to make a decision. Sad times down in Tampa and worse times for Yankee faithful!

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Unknown member
Aug 11, 2023
Replying to

Well, of course it's a planted story. They called Klapisch. And in IMHO it's to tamp down early on any expectations that there's going to be any change from Cashman. If they finish in last place, OK, they'll throw Boone off the ship and let Cash hire someone else he works well with. I'm just buckling my seatbelt for these (likely) outcomes, and just saying "whatever." I can't control this stuff. For some context, you can look up comments made by passionate fans in other cities which have disappointing teams--Chicago, the White Sox (fire Hahn, their GM, he's an idiot!), to the Red Sox (so little quality starting pitching, poorly constructed roster- fire the GM, and sell the team)....

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grossilaw
Aug 10, 2023

Amen. I am SO tired of talking about 1998 and 27 titles. If this is the product, I'll not go to games or buy the merchandise. Maybe at 73 years old they couldn't care less about my views. But when you lose the old Faithfuls and then the younger fans. it portends trouble I find myself turning off the games earlier and earlier each night...

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Unknown member
Aug 10, 2023

Paul, you know you are citing quotes Klapisch recited from "voices in Steinbrenner’s orbit". Blind sources. OK, it is what it is. But basically your blog post today is five words, "Hal, please sell the team."


Yes, he's a budget guy, and the Yankees are worth several billion dollars. He's not going to be Steve Cohen.


Since you worked in public education, you certainly know the frustrations of trying to produce first rate outcomes and yet dealing with taxpayers who vote on size of public school budgets that may not permit educators to achieve the outcomes desired. The Board of Finance approves an annual budget, gives a sack of change to the Superintendent and basically says, deal with it. M…

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yankeerudy
Aug 10, 2023

Also, beware preseason declarations of having the best rotation is baseball. When was the last time anybody described thusly actually ended up having even a top five rotation? Was Gregg Maddux on that team?

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jerrymccarty07
Aug 10, 2023

Paul, thank you for expressing so well what a lot of fans are feeling. We can accept having a bad team, but it is hard to be a fan with no hope. Hal consistently takes that hope away. I believe it was Cary who said, “Hal is not a baseball man”. Years ago, I believe he made the statement that he is not a baseball fan. His interests are elsewhere. That is ok, but not good for a baseball owner. I believe he would be lost without Cashman. He wouldn’t have a clue, because he isn’t involved in baseball. He could fire a financial manager. He isn’t that weak. But he isn’t comfortable replacing someone in a fi…


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