Perspectives: Process And Not Results
by Paul Semendinger
November 9, 2022
I have written, often, that I believe that Brian Cashman has done an overall excellent job as the Yankees General Manager. I have also written that after a lengthy career, and after his five-year plan (which included the hiring of Aaron Boone as the manager) did not result in a World Series appearance, let along a World Series Championship, that it is time for the Yankees to seek a new direction and get some new thinking into the organization.
One World Series victory since 2001 is just not good enough. Not nearly. It's not even close. And as good of a GM as Cashman might be, or might have been, this is his team, and the end results have not been there for the better part now of more than two decades.
Again, we're talking about the New York Yankees. This is franchise that defines itself on World Series appearances and victories and they have not been present for the great majority of seasons under Brian Cashman's tenure.
Since 1921, the following, in chronological order are the seasons the Yankees in relation to World Series Appearances. (Longest Streaks in BOLD):
1921-23 - Three Consecutive World Series
1924-25 - Two Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
1926-28 - Three Consecutive World Series
1929-31 - Three Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
1932 - World Series
1933-35 - Three Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
1936-39 - Four Consecutive World Series
1940 - No World Series
1941-43 - Three Consecutive World Series
1944-46 - Three Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
1947 - World Series
1948 - No World Series
1949-53 - Five Consecutive World Series
1954 - No World Series
1955-58 -Four Consecutive World Series
1959 - No World Series
1960-64 - Five Consecutive World Series
1965-75 - Eleven Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
1976-78 - Three Consecutive World Series
1979-80 - Two Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
1981 - World Series
1982-95 - Fourteen Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
1996 - World Series
1997 - No World Series
1998-2001 - Four Consecutive World Series
2002- No World Series
2003 - World Series
2004-08 - Five Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
2009 - World Series
2010-22 - Thirteen Consecutive Seasons With No World Series
Of note, in 18 of the last 19 seasons, the Yankees have not been to the World Series. This cannot be ignored.
Since 1921, this is the worst period, as measured by World Series appearances in the history of the Yankees.
If the Yankees are going to be defined by greatness, that is just not good enough.
If the Yankees are going to be defined by World Series, they are in the worst period of their history since Babe Ruth arrived.
There was only one other time, in the franchise's entire history where they had only one World Series appearance in 19 years, and that was from 1903 (when the franchise was born) until 1921.
The General Manager for this entire period has been Brian Cashman.
With this in mind, I was taken back at the press conference the other day when Mr. Cashman said,
"People don't get let go because of results. If they have a good process, and they're doing the job well, that's taken into account."
"It's not about results." That's basically Mr. Cashman's philosophy.
To Mr. Cashman, and the Yankees, since he basically speaks for the franchise, it's not the results that matter, it's the process.
In this, I think the Yankees are completely wrong and misguided. I disagree with their philosophy completely.
I believe that a good process leads to good results, but, in the end, it's the results that matter. Now, on a year-to-year basis, the end results might not be there. No team wins every year. That happens in sports. But, again, when a team with the resources of the New York Yankees only reaches one World Series in 19 years, then there is something is wrong.
A process that does not yield positive results is a flawed process.
On Sunday, I ran the New York City Marathon. It was my 9th New York City Marathon and my 23rd marathon overall.
My process was sound, in fact, it was excellent. Among other things, I did the following to prepare for the event:
In my 16-week training period, I logged more miles leading up to the marathon than I ever did for any previous marathon I ran
I am eating healthier than I ever have
I have good equipment (clothes, running shoes)
I trained on different surfaces, at different speeds, and ran many hills to replicate the New York City course
I go to physical therapy and visit my chiropractor once a month to keep me limber and as a way to hopefully stay ahead of injuries and treat minor pains before they become problematic.
I follow a stretching program each time before I run
I am getting plenty of rest
All of my gear was laid out the night before
The morning of the race was stress free
I ate my normal pre-race breakfast that I eat before any marathon or long training run
The night before, I ate the same meal I often eat the night before a marathon
I was at the start area hours before the start of the race so there was no pressure there
During the race, I hydrated well
I was focused on the task at hand...
In short, as I consider every aspect of my training and preparation up to and including the day of the race, the process was sound.
The process was excellent. Knowing myself and the way I prepared for this marathon, my process couldn't have been better.
The process, in fact, was so sound that I'm writing this, I feel better than I ever had on the day after and the days after a marathon. I'm in my mid-50's and I feel less sore and stiff than ever before after running 26.2 miles.
Again, by all measures, my process was sound. It was great, in fact.
But, on the course, on Sunday, in the high miles, I went through a period where I didn't feel well. At all. I had some great discomfort in my stomach that slowed me down considerably. The temperatures were also much warmer and with higher humidity than in any of my previous NYC Marathons. As I went through some difficult miles, although I would never quit a marathon, I have to admit that the thought crossed my mind.
I eventually finished in a respectable time of 4:38:44. I was in the top 45.6% of all finishers. Again, not bad for a guy my age. I'm glad that the quitting was just a passing thought...
But, I have to wonder, if I had quit, would my name be in the New York Times?
Of course not. The NY Times doesn't publish a list of the runners who had a good process. It cares only about their end results.
The NY Times only prints the names of the finishers - the people who overcame and got the job done. I assume most of them had a good process to get there, but, as always, it is about more than just process.
It is also about results.
In fact, on the NYC Marathon site, they use only one word...
The finishers get listed on a page called RESULTS.
This is the problem with the Yankees' philosophy.
Process matters. Of course it does. Teams need to have a plan. But that plan, that process, has to have a positive end result.
I am a big believer in process.
But I am also a big believer in results.
When it comes to professional athletics, especially for a team like the Yankees, process is only part of the equation. If the process doesn't lead to the ultimate result, the World Series, and if that process hasn't worked for one of the longest periods in the franchise's entire history, the system is flawed. The process, in short, isn't working.
In short, the Yankees' system is flawed. Focusing on just the process is not leading to the positive end results.
We know that because the positive end results have not been there.