I’m usually not a big fan of the football mindset infiltrating baseball, probably because I’m not a football guy by nature. But Peter Gammons has an anecdote involving Bill Parcells in his latest column that hit the spot:
When Parcells’ daughter married now-Kansas City Chiefs general
manager Scott Pioli, the best man was Indians GM Mark Shapiro, then the
club’s farm director. At the rehearsal dinner, Parcells asked Shapiro
about the Indians, and Shapiro began his response with an explanation
of a rash of injuries that had hit the team.
“Son,” Parcells interrupted, “Let me tell you something. Nobody [cares]. Just win.”
In the receiving line, when Parcells reached Shapiro, he said, “Remember what I told you. Nobody [cares]. Just win.”
And when they found themselves in adjoining stalls in the men’s room at the reception, Parcells repeated, “Son …
Injuries matter if you’re trying to assess performance, value players and do projections and stuff, but I am totally turned off, as a fan, when I hear the GM or the manager overdo it with the injury talk. We all know about the injuries. They’re heavily reported. Most of us aren’t going to demand your job if your team is beset by injuries. But when talking about how the team is doing, don’t go there. At least not too often. There is no column for “injury losses” in the standings and they just sound like excuses.
Of course I seem to remember Shapiro going on about injuries a lot in recent years, so I guess that means he doesn’t follow the advice given to him by his best friend’s father in law while sitting next to him in the john. But kudos to Parcells for trying anyway.