The Cost of Doing Business
Published on September 25th, 2019
by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
I’m a passionate baseball follower of the San Diego Padres…not an easy task. They haven’t seen the play-offs since 2006, their last winning season was in 2010, and this year was no different. But a new ownership group has a turnaround plan, and while there were no miracles expected in 2019, I remain optimistic for the future.
However, that wasn’t enough to save Andy Green who was fired as their manager with seven games left in the 2019 season. The players felt bad… Andy doesn’t swing the bat or throw the ball. It was on them to perform, and while this squad wasn’t expected to contend for the title, ownership expected more progress and it cost Andy his job.
Kind of like the US Olympic Sailing Team. Nobody paying attention anticipated the team to be a strong contender at the Tokyo 2020 Games. The one medal earned in Rio 2016 was unexpected, with several strong campaigners retiring afterwards. In the absence of depth, new efforts now fill the void.
The view had always been toward Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028, but progress was needed to reach that goal, and progress during this quad has been mixed. When there is renewed interest and effort to elevate the USA program, with energetic and competitive people committing time and resources to the goal, progress was expected.
This lack of progress led to the release of Malcolm Page as the Chief of Olympic Sailing. It was a shocker announcement, not merely because Mal is a friend and widely liked and respected, he is a double gold medalist after all, but such a move is not typical during an Olympic cycle. With ten months before the Games, it was a bold decision to make a change.
However, the decision was based on the road to Tokyo being already paved, and by peeling the roof off the building, the view would allow the US Olympic Sailing Committee to better understand why the gears were grinding. While full focus remains on supporting the sailors, the mission now is on improving the machine.
The Padres have the top ranked farm system, which means there is a bounty of talent that will soon move up to the Major League roster. This gives me hope, just as there is optimism that success by the USA at the Youth Sailing World Championships along with several other international youth events will soon strengthen the Olympic program.
While leadership remains vital, it can’t conduct the orchestra without musicians. The top youth sailors must keep smartly climbing the mountain, and the athletes now pushing toward Tokyo must continue onward to Paris. Being the best means starting sooner and focusing longer. In the absence of that, it doesn’t matter who is holding the baton.