Over the past few years I have had the pleasure of watching team after team from the West turn their franchise around and become true contenders. In today’s sports world of multi-million dollar contracts, free agency, social media, and player branding, its easy to see how the term “team” can get lost under all that noise. But, in my opinions this lost concept of team, is what has given teams out here their competitive advantage.
Lets first look at the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s. Ive been a fan of both teams my whole life and have gone through some pretty tough years. Back in the early and mid 2000’s, the Giants and A’s had huge payrolls with player like Barry Bond, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito. Today, both teams operate on a much leaner payroll budget, yet they are producing more wins then in the 2000’s. Why is this?
For one thing, these teams have made it about the coaches and players. Both teams now have great managers in Bruce Bochey and Bob Melvin—who have both had success in the past. What sets these managers apart is the focus and attention they place on team goals. NOT the goals of a few individuals, but goals that the whole teams can wrap their heads around. Bochey and Melvin also focus on comrade and take time during the seasons to build team chemistry. Last seasons, the A’s had a less talented team then the Texas Rangers, but surprised everyone by taking the AL West. As for the Giants, they went on to become world champions.
This team focus phenomenon isn’t limited to just baseball—football has shifted in this regard as well. With coaches like Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll—both with collegiate backgrounds—the NFC West has seen a huge shift in they way they build their teams. Now, team building is all about filling the role that’s is specifically needed for your team, not just who is the best available player while your in the market. Both the San Fransisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks are young, team oriented franchises, which have seen recent success, and will continue to see more in the future.
The point here is this, (take note Dallas, New York, and Philadelphia), kids today are too talented and there is too much parity in both the MLB and NFL to simply buy a championship. Building championship teams starts by getting the right GM and the right head coach—obviously you need an owner willing to bare through the aches and pains expected with this type of team building process. After that, it’s up to these guys to install the right players and the right mentality in order to become successful. I think this model for team building will continue to gain traction as it already has. Huge payrolls teams around the country are starting to take note of the West receipt for success and I anticipate more teams will eventually follow this model.
What do you guys think? What’s been the West receipt for success in recent years? Feel free to commenst below and until next time, see me on Twitter @JCConway1