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Blunt Talk from Ownership

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#61 JB_Iowa

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 07:34 AM

I'm going from memory here, but I think, over the years since the Pohlads bought the team, the Presidents of the organization were from different businesses with the first baseball grown President being Dave St. Peter.


Perhaps I wasn't clear enough here. I acknowledged that on the non-baseball side of the organization, there has been some outside talent brought in. I'm not going to look at it now but I have looked in the past and I think they did bring in some people at fairly high levels when you look at the names on the roster in "administration".

http://minnesota.twi...ce.jsp?c_id=min


What concerns me most is that when you look at the names in "baseball operations", they were almost all hired as interns or scouts and then moved up.

That's where I feel like an injection of fresh talent and ideas are needed. Not necessarily to change everything but to allow for meaningful re-thinking and updating of the organization's strategies.

#62 drjim

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 07:37 AM

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough here. I acknowledged that on the non-baseball side of the organization, there has been some outside talent brought in. I'm not going to look at it now but I have looked in the past and I think they did bring in some people at fairly high levels when you look at the names on the roster in "administration".

http://minnesota.twi...ce.jsp?c_id=min


What concerns me most is that when you look at the names in "baseball operations", they were almost all hired as interns or scouts and then moved up.

That's where I feel like an injection of fresh talent and ideas are needed. Not necessarily to change everything but to allow for meaningful re-thinking and updating of the organization's strategies.


I'm curious why it is assumed that promoting from within doesn't lead to new ideas? If people took over the job from their boss, would it go the same way?

I think it is quite clear that Steil is quite different than Rantz (and for the better). Would it really have been better to bring a different farm director from outside the organization? To name one example.
Papers...business papers.

#63 jokin

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 09:27 AM

1) I'm curious why it is assumed that promoting from within doesn't lead to new ideas? If people took over the job from their boss, would it go the same way?

2) I think it is quite clear that Steil is quite different than Rantz (and for the better). Would it really have been better to bring a different farm director from outside the organization? To name one example.


1) I'd encourage all to read this article: http://www.beyondthe...tion-and-scouts First question. The article states that the downsizing of scouting staffs across the league has been fairly universal...how many scouts have the Twins cut in recent years? And how much has the baseball analytics budget increased and how many tech employees have been added? Are they at league average...ahead...or behind?

Economist Joseph Schumpeter developed the theory of creative destruction, prophetically anticipating the high tech revolution and the nature of an ultra-competitive, overnight-obsolescence, market-based, informationally-driven economy by about 50 years. Simply put, rapid and repeated innovation and response, both to change, and the acceleration of change, in systems, are the key to survival and success in a competitive and generally free market...." innovation makes certain activities and skills obsolete that previous were highly valued."

It is reported that nearly 2/3rds of Apple's revenues come from products that are less than 4 years out of development and rollout. This is obviously the hyper-example from the cutting-edge end of the innovative spectrum, but it's highly likely that internal creative destruction at Apple happens on a near-daily basis at such a wildly successful and innovative company. Don Tapscott argues that a direct by-product of the information revolution means the good ol' boy, promote only from within, the "way we've always done things", command-and-control style of management is quickly going the way of the dinosaur, in favor of "self-organizing networks" that readily seek and find available solutions outside the closed-system organizational model. Too often, I feel like the Twins idea of game-theory within the MLB oligopoly is akin to playing Space Invaders on an Atari- classic old favorites well within the comfort zone of the Twins' culture....meanwhile, the leaders in the industry keep moving upward and onward to bigger and better gadgetry.....which leads to more "outside the box" thinking, resulting in more efficiencies and imaginative solutions.

As very successful business operators, I would presume that the Pohlad's employ elements of Schumpeter's philosophy relative to information-age capitalism in other areas of their portfolio, surely new creative lifeblood doesn't solely come from within in their other businesses.

2) Though Steil might be a breath of fresh air, before he was named farm director, he spent 12 years within the Twins organizational culture, working his way up. To me, this would imply that working well within the system is his greatest asset, not innovative thinking. I would have looked hard at someone from within the St Louis, Boston or Tampa Bay organizations. They have historically been drafting from the back of the pack and consistently struck gold through picking the right guys and then developing them at a quick pace.

#64 Lakeside

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 10:55 AM

1) I'd encourage all to read this article: http://www.beyondthe...tion-and-scouts First question. The article states that the downsizing of scouting staffs across the league has been fairly universal...how many scouts have the Twins cut in recent years? And how much has the baseball analytics budget increased and how many tech employees have been added? Are they at league average...ahead...or behind?

Economist Joseph Schumpeter developed the theory of creative destruction, prophetically anticipating the high tech revolution and the nature of an ultra-competitive, overnight-obsolescence, market-based, informationally-driven economy by about 50 years. Simply put, rapid and repeated innovation and response, both to change, and the acceleration of change, in systems, are the key to survival and success in a competitive and generally free market...." innovation makes certain activities and skills obsolete that previous were highly valued."

It is reported that nearly 2/3rds of Apple's revenues come from products that are less than 4 years out of development and rollout. This is obviously the hyper-example from the cutting-edge end of the innovative spectrum, but it's highly likely that internal creative destruction at Apple happens on a near-daily basis at such a wildly successful and innovative company. Don Tapscott argues that a direct by-product of the information revolution means the good ol' boy, promote only from within, the "way we've always done things", command-and-control style of management is quickly going the way of the dinosaur, in favor of "self-organizing networks" that readily seek and find available solutions outside the closed-system organizational model. Too often, I feel like the Twins idea of game-theory within the MLB oligopoly is akin to playing Space Invaders on an Atari- classic old favorites well within the comfort zone of the Twins' culture....meanwhile, the leaders in the industry keep moving upward and onward to bigger and better gadgetry.....which leads to more "outside the box" thinking, resulting in more efficiencies and imaginative solutions.

As very successful business operators, I would presume that the Pohlad's employ elements of Schumpeter's philosophy relative to information-age capitalism in other areas of their portfolio, surely new creative lifeblood doesn't solely come from within in their other businesses.

2) Though Steil might be a breath of fresh air, before he was named farm director, he spent 12 years within the Twins organizational culture, working his way up. To me, this would imply that working well within the system is his greatest asset, not innovative thinking. I would have looked hard at someone from within the St Louis, Boston or Tampa Bay organizations. They have historically been drafting from the back of the pack and consistently struck gold through picking the right guys and then developing them at a quick pace.


Totally agree with Jokin on the "pace of change" in all industries. . . You have to be nimble now to survive.

In fairness to the Pohlad's and the Twins organizations, and I cannot comment on technical analytics and scouting changes because I don't have knowledge of such, but I can say I can say that the Pohlads have been pretty aggressive in some aspects of driving, in baseball terms - cutting edge changes. . i.e. they were among the first to build academies in Venezuela and the Dominican and they were among the first to scout Australia and are now large proponents of the Australian Baseball League.

They were also right on the heels of the Yankees in trying to build their own network for television -- Victory Sports. Baseball drives regional cable operators, because of the 162 game schedule, and if you are a regional cable operator it is hard to be profitable if you don't control the MLB team in your market. For various reasons, they dropped Victory for a larger rights fee from Fox. IMO not a great long term decison.

Its conceivable that Victory, if operating today, would bring in $100M in revenues. . the Pohlads, have generally stated, that they will bring players salaries up to about 53% of revenue. People, who I believe would know, beleive that if Victory had been successful the Twins would have about another $30-35M (the revenue % as compared to Fox rights fees)to spend on payroll.

I do, on another topic, believe that maybe they have let the course run too far with current baseball related field management. . .Gardenhire/Anderson. I feel that Gardenhire's loyalty to Anderson has not helped the pitching staff.

#65 drjim

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:06 PM

I don't know exactly how Apple runs their administration, but do they constantly hire upper level management from outside the company? Or do they constantly hire people to middle and lower level positions, let them show their talent and then promote appropriately?

Apple is also an interesting example/parallel relative to the Twins. It will be interesting to see how they respond to losing their leader and if they can continue to stay in the same leading position. I'm not a huge follower of new technology, but I seem to recall some hits and some misses since Jobs passed away. Will they remain in their dominant position?

Also, while th article is interesting, baseball is a unique industry. There is a set number of firms (30 franchises) that produces an unchanging product (baseball teams) under very controlled regulations (CBA). In this circumstance I think there is potential value to be gained from being a stable organization that promotes from within, as sort of a counter to other models.

There are things I would like to see different from the Twins, but some of the losses that occur from those practices can be made up for by gains realized from their current model. I also think that they Twins are more flexible than people give them credit for, they just don't go out of their way to tell everyone about it.
Papers...business papers.