Monday, October 15, 2012

The Business of Winning

Guest post by Joe Crispin

As you may have heard, the Washington Nationals made the difficult decision to shut down their star pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, about a month ago. Though I applaud them for respecting limits and certainly wish more professional sports teams would do the same, I do wonder why they didn't seem to consider the option of giving him various 'breaks' during the season. They probably know better than I.

Either way, the reason why this decision (or any like it) was a difficult one is primarily because in sitting Strasburg, they obviously decreased their chances of winning the World Series. And, as you may have guessed, winning the World Series usually translates into big dollars.

ESPN's Darren Rovell offers a short article explaining why and how much the Nationals may have lost financially by failing to reach the Series.

It's an interesting article and an important one, because we often seem to forget the primary driving force behind this business of sports and thus, why it is so rare that a team would choose to shut down their star picture - risk or not. Fans often get sick and tired of 'business' decisions. And yet, there we are, constantly dealing with dollars and cents.

I don't think there is any real way around this problem. Then again, I often point out that the money itself isn't the real problem. Instead, it's the premium we place on money. It's wanting money too much. As is the case for most things in life, our problem isn't wanting bad things as much as wanting good things too much.

The same obviously can be said about winning. And in the business of professional sports, wins and big dollars go hand-in-hand. So in light of that, I believe we should be applauding the Nationals for their decision to sit Strasburg. For they not only resisted the over-desire to win, but they also resisted the tendency to risk the well-being of their pitcher in pursuit of more money.

Of course, I suppose you could make a case that they are planning on making more money by having a healthy Strasburg for more years. And you might be right. But even then, it's worth applauding, for few clubs today are willing to risk the wait. And though we might not realize it, we would all be better off if more clubs were willing to do just that. For they would help us all see that winning and dollars aren't as important as we make them out to be.

Check out the article here.

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