I’m not much of a baseball fan, but this seems really weird to me. It’s an article explaining how a minor league team from the Chicago area is planning to allow fans to manage the team for the entire second half of their season. There are caveats, such as not allowing players to play positions they aren’t suited for (no catchers in centerfield, for instance). Otherwise, the team is allowing fans to make the decisions about trades, batting lineup, pitching roster, etc. The whole deal will be recorded as a reality-tv sort of thing, complete with a website with up-to-date info.
A major driver of the initiative is pure publicity. The owner is hoping that the scheme will transform his team into the first national minor league team, with the players being as famous as some major league players.
I’m kinda leery of the whole thing. I don’t have any idea about how seriously minor league players take their jobs, but I’ll hazard a guess that they’re pretty serious. It makes me wonder if they’ll be resentful of being managed by non-professional managers, or if they’ll be good sports and just shrug off any obvious miscalculations.
Truely great teams are hard to build. I’ve no idea whether this team is great, mediocre or lousy. Regardless, I’m very skeptical about the ability of a faceless group of fans to create and maintain a true team. The actual players themselves will always be a team, of course, and their old manager will still be around (as a backup?). So maybe it won’t be all that interruptive, but I’ve got my doubts.
I guess my concern hinges on publicity vs effectiveness. The idea will gain the team publicity, for sure. But at what expense? Hopefully everything will work out great, and the fans will do a fine job of managing the team and the team will do better than ever. But there still has to be a face to the “manager” and the fans can’t offer that–they just exist as a faceless Big Brother figure that calls the shots, but has no real accountability and fears no consequences. Okay, maybe they fear the consequence of losing, but those losses won’t be on the fan’s permanent records.
If my boss told me that our customers were going to start managing my department via a voting process, I don’t think I’d be very pleased–even if I had executive oversight and could cancel out any bad ideas. There’s just too much nuance to the aspect of teams and teamwork that customers/fans will never see or experience.