Ned Colletti Jr.: The Role and Impact of Sports in American Society

November 14, 2018 1:38:00
Kaltura Video

Ned Colletti Jr. talks the business of college sports, the economic impact of sports on local communities, the health and well-being of athletes, the role of athletes in politics and society, and more.


Very pleased to partner today with the
Sports Management Program of the school

of kinesiology and the baseball team of
the University of Michigan in having this

conversation about the role and
impact of sports in an American society

in many respects I think we're overdue to
have a conversation about sports and for

that matter baseball at the ford school
it comes up a lot in conversation here.

Both the particulars the latest ups and
downs of the tigers and so forth but

also links to larger issues
of public policy and

it seems to me the last time we have
had a Ford school event that had a deep

baseball focus to it was in a very
early moment in the life of

the Ford school in this building some
of you recall in the year of 2007

after the passing of Ned Graham like
the 1st dean of the school as many of

you know Ned was a distinguished economist
was a model scholar an exemplary citizen

who used his work as a social scientist to
advance the public good in many areas of

public policy that included an extended
term on the Federal Reserve Board

he chaired a commission to look
at air safety after $911.00

worked on issues like housing
school reform Social Security.

And then was also a great baseball fan and
one thing he was particularly proud

of his serving as the research
director the staff director

on the economic study commission for
Major League Baseball in the 1990 S..

Professor Carette you were here for

Ned's memorial service I want
to ask you to revisit it but

was striking on that day when the faculty
the staff and the students were here and

fall and we talked a lot about Ned but
baseball just punctuated the conversation.

And I'll never remember I'll never
forget the very end of the service where

we all stood as a forward
school community and for

the 1st I think the last time in my career
sang a song it was Take Me Out to the bog

was not a dry eye in the house I'm not
going to ask anyone to sing today but

this is a day we're not only sports is
back but baseball is back in the Ford

school and to think about that and
all the senses of that term I thought for

some time certainly during the time
I've been directing close up that.

This is an issue we really should
explore and show why I enjoin but

I wasn't quite sure how to do it and

then on the evening of October 26th 2016

I was doing something a great many of you
were doing and certainly if you're like me

your from the Chicago area were doing and
that is watching Game 6 of the greatest

National League Championship Series of all
time involving Yes the Los Angeles Dodgers

but also the Chicago Cubs and
an interesting clip or

didn't bring moment came up on
the screen that we found for you to see.


Look you can use.

As a gentle nature of.

The finger to hang the 1st one.

To hold the light the light
the sun was going on but.


Was never going to close to my whole
soul is it stronger here let me look

closer is a lot Well look there's an
article in the Ganges River with a tough

sun one morning light is on
fire was well good father and

mother gave the World Series
of the talk right now and

said they were going with long
legs it was good next time.

Friend List it really
is where one lives and.

Listening he moves this year

Collishaw Seeger Chunder a Greek
salad just years ago as you know we.



See what you see on the list for the.

God Here's what's on the front.

Of the list of what we're going to fund.


Thank you God.

So upon watching that I
knew he should bring.

It wasn't Chris Bryant it wasn't Clayton
Kershaw it was Uncle Frank's nephew and

for me part of the attraction was
I actually met Uncle Frank once

I met his brother that's Dad once because
I used to work for net collecting

actually signed to one year contracts for
that and I wish I could say they were for

we met in the early arena for

me anyway of sports journalism
in suburban Chicago Ned Colletti

has had a remarkable career trajectory and

much of this is now reflected in a really
terrific book called The Big Chair

it's a lot of books on baseball so
interesting piece and take on his life

his observations and in a moment we're
going to talk about that book but

also his broader reflections on the World
us for what to say one thing you know

I have stood behind this lectern many many
times and introduced a great great many

people none who have ever been my boss
number no one who I've ever known for

over 30 some years and someone I had sat
in the same room with until just a few

hours ago after over 25 years.

Or ever you go in the world of
sport this man has an extraordinary

reputation I truly truly wish we could
somehow engage a conversation between

the 2 nets crammer Clytie that
have a lot to talk about but

I'm really really glad that we are joined
today by Ned Colletti and please

join me in welcoming him to this campus as
we begin a conversation about sport and

society up of our.

These are they fired.

So much has been written about baseball

by players by managers.

Different journalists but one of the
things that's striking about this net and

it's think it's true for other
professional franchises is that for all of

your colleagues who have been in the role
of general manager in this new territory

why do you think that is and what tell us
about the vantage point that you tried to

bring as a general manager the give us
a little different view on professional

sport than any of the other books that are
out there well I I love the G.M. job and

the G.M. job and anybody who plays fantasy
sports you know you are kind your own G.M.

a little bit different in Venice
you land that is real life and

I suddenly have a lot of time because
a G.M. job will take about 18 hours

of you that pretty much over the year
pretty much every year that you do.

And I needed a way to spend my time and

I just thought you know what it's be good
for me to get a disciplined work and

write down some of the things I had seen
some of the things I had traversed some of

the challenges I had gone through so
I overcame some I didn't and

some of the celebrations and
some of the people I've met and

I didn't write it to publish I wrote
it just to kind of get it out of them.

And one thing led to another and
I am not going to Random House and

they end up liking it and buying it and

publishing it but
I think I wanted to give a view that is a.

Rare view I think fantasy
sports has giving everybody

a chance to move their team around and
to be an app position which

many people try to get to but
I thought I would take it a.

Respecting that you also on the show
the picture of the reality of

how the personalities of the ownerships
how so many different things affect

the game and affect people inside
the game and people outside the game and

people who follow it get that that's what
I try to do I try to also pay homage to my

parents who were simple people who
if they were alive today they would

be as I am the some extent shocked that
I'm sitting at the University of Michigan

you know talking about baseball and
that I'm here today it's been a very

humble I'm very humbled to tell you
it's been an amazing career and

life that I've been able to have through
the blessings of God has been amazing

so you do in many ways explore
the realities of baseball.

I want to talk a little bit about the
future of the care there are several years

recently that I thought baseball
was really on a rebound on a roll

moving forward and really constructive
force poster Arts Post lots of others.

Especially as professional football
the National Football League deeply

struggle with concerns about the health
and well being of athletes and

concussions other controversies
was baseball going to rebound if

not to become the pure national pastime of
the dominant one much more significant.

And yet after another season
of games of extreme length

late starts that make it impossible for
school kids to ever see post-season play

Tera downs that take franchises
out of competition by early June

this idea of constantly changing pitchers
and adjustments intriguing at one level.

Is adding to the length of the game and
time is baseball blowing

an opportunity to really move back
to the center of American attention

I think that baseball is trying to
do too difficult things at once

I think they're trying to maintain
the tradition of the sport but

they're also trying to keep pace
with the ways of the world.

Life is much faster than it
was 10203040 years ago and

I don't I think patients is much thinner
I think also that the opportunities

people have to spend their time to
spend their disposable income is far

Vess are than it was I think baseball
struggles I think it struggles

to so maybe at this point I'm almost
find its niche in all of this.

Game time job or 3 hours for

the 1st time in the history of the sports
you have more strikeouts and it's

attendance went down a bit this year again
maybe 5 in the last 6 years it's dipped

not as much as the past year people at the
headquarters will tell you as to whether.

Maybe the weather might also be the length
of game might also be it's either

a strikeout a walk or a homerun it may
be a lot of young people are going

to something else and figuring out
where they want to spend their time and

what sport they want to play baseball one
of the few sports you cannot necessarily

practice on your own if you love
basketball you can go and find a hoop and

you can shoot all day long you will know
who baseball is not built like that and

also the ride to the big leagues
is like none other sport

you have a great university here with
a very famous football team that

when the players get drafted here they're
not going to the minor leagues for 5 or

there is an I.T.V. right Monday night T.V.

So I think baseball fights a lot of
issues that in a different period of time

were probably easier to overcome and I
think now is a time that I'm not sure that

they're blowing the opportunity as much
as to try to keep pace with society and

what about the role of analytics and

strategy versus other variables you talk
a lot about this question in the book and

if I understand it correctly when
you move back from Philadelphia and

energy occur in journalism basically
to deal with the family health issues

that the ultimately the death of your dad.

You worked into what would now be called
an earlier area of kind of sabermetrics

what the Chicago cops did you are you ran
the numbers you put those together and

yet you always in the book talk
a lot about having to go back and

forth between what
the numbers tell you and

other factors what what can you tell us
our view today is like an old time skull

unit somebody who will look at a player
and make a decision based on seeing

them play in finding out who they are
versus looking at the analytics and making

a decision that way 1st off I think that
the media will put you in one category or

another I don't think anybody does one
category or the other I think they should

say as a leader you're always looking for
as much information as possible but

as you just said ironically I began my
career my career started to take off in

a positive direction because of my use
of what would today be prehistoric

analytics it was before computers
it was before companies that would

would look into different spread charts
and and different ways pitchers pitch and

spin rates of launch angles and
example Ozzy's I kept track by hand

of a lot of different things runners in
scoring position of the how hitters in

a concerted pitchers so
I was always respectful but

if I had to sort it out it's tough for

me to take the human
being of the uniform and

not value that I think the analytics can
help you with some strategy from time

to time I think can be overdone I think
get yourself in trouble as a team

I think how you manage in the postseason
with Haven't starting pitchers go for

a couple of minutes regular season you
would need so many players to pull that

off you couldn't do it and the team that
actually won the World Series I think

used to starting pitching pretty much as
dominantly as they could possibly use so

I do think that it is different I
think the analytics is the resume.

I think anybody who has ever had to
hire anybody or has been hired by

anybody if all you needed to do was
look at a resume to hire somebody or

while you had to do to get a job was sent
a resume and I never talk to anybody

I think both cases are rare I think
the resume gets interesting resume able

as a supervisor will entice you to call
somebody in the talk to somebody and

get to know where their strengths
are where their weaknesses are where their

vulnerabilities were there where they
could really help impact the company or

the people around the to
do that on a piece of paper

like to turn to business and
sport issues and we live in an era where

to secure new investment new manufacturing
plants what have you state and

local governments will compete and invest
in some cases extraordinary amounts of

money was constant putting nearly
$5000000000.00 into a package to lure

a Foxconn development in
Racine County Detroit joining a great

many communities in the aggressive
pursuit through all kinds of tax and

other kinds of incentives to draw one
of the new Amazon headquarters and

on it goes but this also spoofed
us into the area of sport

stadia drawing franchise
retaining franchises and

with it common questions of net
value that a franchise presents

to a community and from a public policy
standpoint how far a state or local

government should go we're not that far
from the Little Caesars arena in Detroit

hundreds of millions of dollars
invested not to create a cross state

relocation of a franchise but to bring the
Detroit Pistons from suburban Auburn Hills

back downtown into Detroit
to keep the Red Wings there.

The initial understanding
was that the support and

subsidies from local governments
would run about $200000000.00 but

as the project kept going up we are now
pushing into the zone of about 350000000

dollars and
stadium that's an intriguing stadium but

has some challenges because
the 2 teams are performing so

poorly There's a now a need to spend a few
$1000000.00 to take out all the red seats

because there are people filling in
those seats and looks bad on T.V.

How do you think about these kinds of
issues having been in the business of

a professional sports franchise what
professional sports realistically should

expect state and local governments to do
to draw them in or provide facilities for

them to play in the case of baseball
$81.00 games a year or the N.F.L. 8 or

a tremendous question I think it's a very.

It contains many answers and difficult
answers I think sometimes at the pens and

the era you're in and I think the era of
that's just my opinion the era were in.

As a as I left the G.M.
chair a few years ago I've been able to

kind of slow my mind down and
look more globally at what's going on and

how the world is and again this is my
opinion I think that you see many and

I've traveled this land for decades I've
seen many inner cities crumble I've seen

homeless everywhere I've
seen school systems fracture

they see young people and
unsure of what's coming next and

how to get there and
I think I would have to if I was in a role

to have to make that type of
decision I think I'd struggle to say

let's spend hundreds of millions of
dollars out of what a facility that.

If you will use those that have its
benefits no doubt will the owner

of that franchise be able to sell their
team at some point in time instead of for.

$20000000.00 which is the team that I
started with the Cubs had just been sold

for $20000001.00 day perhaps to
Ricketts family who who bought it for

$850000000.00 maybe one day
they'll sell it for 3000000000

they happen to be a privately owned
baseball stadium but when I see

the areas in this in this country in the
world that and again just in my opinion.

Of should be of great value
education school systems

infrastructure and
hundreds of millions of dollars are going

into a facility that not everybody will
use or everybody will be entertained and

still pay for the right to be entertained
and no doubt they'll be entertained may or

may not be it I find that to
be a question that needs great

scrutiny to be able to continue down that
path I just it concerns me that that's

that's the choices people make
another area involving money and

sport involves athlete compensation
you spend a lot of time

in the book talking about what it's like
to deal with agents like Scott Boras and

others deal with players how do you
assess value it's interesting to note

that Boras has just said he's going to get
a $400000000.00 contract for Bryce Harper

the athletes I see on a more regular
basis are not professional athletes but

they're student athletes and one of the
things that struck me during my time on

this campus is the extraordinary
sacrifices they make and

the enormous amounts of time they
put into their work as athletes.

And it strikes me over the years that I
hear from athletes more and more about

so-called voluntary practices travel
commitments special meetings and

even in cases where a season
is maybe a few months

it's a year around commitment and so

I think of the Bryce Harper as perhaps
signing contracts for $400000000.00

The inevitable question is raised
how do we treat student athletes

when we are asking them to try to pack in
a full academic experience during their

years of eligibility while performing
at a very very very high level and

year round activity how do we think about
those issues how do we properly compensate

those athletes thoughts about that
side of the game since you've been so

heavily involved in recruiting players who
either come directly out of high school or

an equivalent experience or
the college level it is a.

It is a red hot topic and
it's been one for years and

I teach at Pepperdine University in
Malibu for the last couple of seasons and

we have division one programs there but
we don't have 105000 people watching.

Them and I think it's a it's a very

it's a very difficult issue to manage.

Because I think I have applets to
play in front of their parents and

their friends in a Division one and

their workload is the same I have tennis
players that are not in season or

miss after classes because they're on 2 or
they're trying.

To get better at their sport and
in a word do you draw the line and

if you do decide to compensate athletes
who are you compensated are you

compensating just your big division one
programs and in the sports that generate

great revenue while the people who don't
necessarily generate great revenue but

have as much time and
balance of life that they need to to learn

as those that are in sports or
to produce the gravity and who do you pay

the a page just the name players
we're going to pay the often hard or

the 12th man on the basketball
team you know I think it's.

It is such a big question and I and I see
it from a few different sides all the time

and I get it and I think you know
a football player the 1st prosperous

university that they have a a great
effect on the bottom line

you know if you take the players out
of the stadium who shows up you know

if you do if you don't have a chance
to play it is at a facility of great

note do you have a career in the N.F.L.
You know there's a there's such a give and

take to it but I think if I can wife
who are the things I struggled with and

Charlie in my life is balance and
figuring out what the right

balance is and I think that that's
that's one of these questions.

I have student athletes of Pepperdine
that crushed the vision one volleyball

champions but they're playing in front
of mom and dad and some friends.

Cut them out to cut out the programs of
the school that don't draw in a word or

draw the line and I think a tiny solution
perhaps would give those athletes that

are in revenue producing sports somebody
wanting months to use their like this for

a game or for a teacher or for something
might that they're that good yeah they

should be definitely compensated for
that without ruining their eligibility but

I think the rest of it it gets
to be a very dicey situation and

I I don't know did I don't know that it
would be as pure as people would make it

out to be there I think that would give
them a CD of who's getting paid and

how much they're getting paid will not
clean up the college game as far as any

teams that may be cheating and
maybe paying players under the table or

whatever I just think it's
just expounds a problem and

moves it to another level I think it's
one of the great issues that are.


Sports in America and
I don't have an answer for

I have a solution for
I just I cringe when I think about it and

I don't think it's balanced
I don't think it's fair but

I don't necessarily have
the magic answer to it as well.

Not there's a magic answer to this one but
I'll still pose the question

one thing that really struck
struck me about the book

is the frequency with which
you discuss the physical and

mental health of professional
athletes particularly in baseball so

on the one hand we have an era
of more trainers nutritionists

strength coaches mental health experts
on Entourage that I assume was not.

Available to players in decades gone
by and yet you talk about a rate and

intensity and frequency of injury
including measurement in time on the day

disabled list the moves in what would
seem to be the exact opposite direction

now within this issue are questions
that are raised by agents

potential parents who is acting in
the best interests of the athlete but

on the one hand we might assume the
discussion of the health and well being

of athletes is going to be primarily
focused on issues like say football and

concussions tell us about the health
physical and mental well being of baseball

players these days well in a professional
sport it's difficult to play it at that

level it takes a lot of dedication
a lot of time a lot of sacrifice

the baseball says and I spoke at the end
of a speak to the baseball team members of

it this afternoon and you know I get in
the stand what they're up against and

baseball particularly there's no
way to full season there's no quote

Cinderella teams that make it to the Fall
Classic or make it into the postseason so

the grind is their teams have taken
great steps as you point out to assure

mental health and physical conditioning
when I 1st started there was one trainer

major league team prior to that there
was one person who was the trainer and

also the travel coordinator there were
one in the set and players would play

day in day out there were less jobs the
money was not as lucrative all the money

in professional sports has always been
higher than that in other professions.

As people try to protect their investments
and their players stabs grew deeper and

deeper and deeper into the psychological
piece of it into the conditioning piece

of it into the rehabilitation piece of it
far different than it's ever been you have

name orthopedic surgeons that take
clientele from all over the country

that will fly coast to coast
to have their knee looked at.

So it's drastically changed and that that
baseball in particular would have so

many players on the disabled
list year after year after year

to me speaks to so many things that.

Are maybe the softening of
the approach not that you would

push somebody to a limit that they
couldn't sustain or put up with but

to have those numbers that I quote
in the book have them rise so

dramatically perhaps like
a lot of things in life

in baseball it was a shock against you.

If you went on that the civil
list I began my career begging

players to go on of the sable
this because they were I finished

my career begging players to stay off
the disabled list because they were.

And they just needed the break and
they needed the time off or

if they were a if you only had so
many innings in your arm is a pitcher and

you could figure out a way to
have 50 last a year does that add

over 4 years 200 innings to your career
which might mean another $20000000.00.

You know it's a fine players it
will play one hurt and some do but

many don't and many in my opinion
don't play when they're not heard

I think it's become an easy way to do
it a player in a club policy years ago

again it's balance not saying it was right
years ago but a player who will go one

of the several list years ago
would be scorned by this team.

Now it's not their big deal
people are going on it every day

you can watch a mill being
that worker here S.P.N. or

anything that's got a lot of baseball news
on it and their bottom line will scroll

during the baseball season count
the days count the days and

any 3 days count the days you don't

see some name come across they're the one
on the sable list and they count the days

that it's not somebody a prominence
that is going on the civil list.

It's a $1000000000.00 industry
multibillion dollar industry and

probably a 1000000000 of it a spine and
people who are playing a particular day

so again it's a changing of culture
such a inching of what is acceptable.

Was a right to be the way it was in the
past where people played I know you guys

are play through busted me caps
doubly collapsed on the field

not saying that's right either but
somewhere in there there's a balance and

I think we've shifted into an area
that it's OK not to play but

you will get paid if you're
good you will get paid

player makes $18000000.00 in
the big leagues the lot of them

today today was in seasons on
$100000.00 data it's a pretty good day.

That's YOUR they have their cable bill on
their refrigerator without the stamp with

a magnet on the electric bill with
a date on there where they don't

have enough money to a checking account to
put the bill in the mail I guess in that.

So when we 1st met in the Chicago area
the sport names were figures like

Ernie Banks Ron Santo Billy
Williams All Hall of Famers

then and now I have no idea
what their politics were

they may well have found ways to
give back to their community but

they were public figures essentially
because of what they did on the field it's

a very interesting question that always
emerges in sports but as we kind of move

beyond that model or even the model of
Michael Jordan really really concerned or

cautious in that case about damaging
possible investments and the like

we're now in an era where names
emerge like column Caprona

and other figures in one case someone
who may have lost ability to work

in professional sport because
they took a political position

what as you see going forward
is the appropriate role of

high visibility professional
athletes on the public stage

what should we expect what should we
encourage what should we call for

them to do in these roles I think it's
unclear what to expect from I think it's.

Anybody have access to him that
you know right now it's only do we

have a look up at Le Bron James and
how many would have followers he's got


It's more more than you and me combined
it's that's that's about a half and

half a 1000000 more than that but
it is about $42000000.00 more the blood

but you think of the impact
the athlete has.

People think.

And that is happiness I think social media
has changed the way people look at so

many different aspects of life right or
wrong it's.

An education is such value
information is of such value

but the source of it
is also of great value

or maybe not and
I do think that the world is so different.

And bad things have been going around
since Adam and Eve but it seems

like today perhaps because of social media
and all and things of that nature it is so

much faster and so much more probably you
know I don't you know I can remember.

I think John Smith and.

I made the names wrong Carlos and
Smith in the Olympics in Mexico City

in the 60 raising their fist for
for equal rights and

black in the black world you know and
I remember things like that I mean

they stood out in my mind that this was
a a sign of and years went by I remember

cashless player who became a Hama Ali and
wouldn't go to Vietnam and

stood up for his right but these are like
decades apart these things were.

And now it's it's obviously more prevalent
and you know the the the benefit of it

is that the social issues that need
to be brought to the fore can and

the value of that is immense
when a sports figure does it and

it's for the good of a community
the community the world community amen

because it's got huge breach the Bron
James can probably influence more people

almost anybody in this country
probably top 10 who plays basketball.

But he's got he's got a stance and
a platform that provides him

with a not only a platform but I also
think it was sponsibility that would and

would meld with with having
the opportunity to reach that many people

and I think that it's worth the world
is gone and I do think it's

in this again nothing to do it with James
and now as a Laker in the way I have

a chance to see more regularly than I do
when it was it the Cavs or the heat but

I think and this is not him but I think
that we have to be careful with and

we have to be wise with were we catch
our information and what we believe and

what we decide to follow and

I think that is probably again
nothing to do with Le Bron James but

just the world itself social media
can change the course of history

without any fact and
I'm not sure that's good but

I know this so when we met we used
to do this whole fashion thing

called File newspaper stories and
have a lot of time to develop it but

there's usually a 2 or 3 day period
between papers you could think of through

nothing like what we're talking about
now and say more about your experience

in dealing with social media which I
know from your experience you've seen it

used in very vicious and on constructive
ways but perhaps also in constructive ways

say more about the role of social
media and baseball both by players but

basically taking over the traditional role
of journalism yet it happened so fast

you know of obviously I'm on the back not
alive but I can remember going to Florida

to see my grandparents and

I couldn't get a cup score till
the next day in the newspaper

there were almost done playing the next
game before I got the score Dyleski Now

you can get pitch by pitch you can watch
a game on your phone right here right now.

Totally different and I think that.

In the right way as it has great
positive value in my last years or

social media the started to become more
and more popular was used more and more so

we would bring people in the spring
training experts and teaching

social media and the pros and the cons
of the pluses of the minuses of it and

we would show a video for 3 or

or maybe they were in
a bar clown around and

somebody took a movie of them on their
phone and sent them worldwide and

we would show 3 or 4 minutes of this and
I have 6070 players in this

room some minor league players in the
measure league roster to 40 man roster and

they would be laughing hysterically that
the left wing of what their peers in other

sports and other teams had done on social
media thinking how stupid they were and

how how embarrassing it would be for
them and their family and their team and

their coaches and their teammates
then the last $3040.00 seconds

we would show our own guys in the room
went from the greatest comedian

who could ever perform lighten
up a room to complete silence

so I'm sure they're still teaching that
I'm sure they're still going through it

because the media used to
be as you as you alluded to

some people had trouble with the media
because the media wouldn't get out

the story that they wanted out wouldn't
tell who the true character of

the player was and they get agitated and
they'd stop talking to the media or

social media has allowed players and
anybody to really tell their own story.

And some of them they probably wish there
was the right to tell them their story

from years ago than today because
it's it's not necessary flattery

it's really flattering and
I've been grafting players for decades and

the advent of Facebook and
Instagram and Twitter and a few others

I would have our scouts as we got nearer
the draft check their social media

because if you think I'm going to draft
an 18 year old kid that at 17 years old is

putting up a video of him getting
hammered at some some bar

in somebodies backyard smokin some grass
and and drinkin some Jack Daniels and

taking his clothes off and acting like
you think I'm going to draft a kid and

Pam a couple 1000000 I don't
think I want to do that and

they want to do that so
it's there is a good evening

in life there's a good there's a bad
there's a positive and there's a negative.

You know a try to get the players we're
playing for us to understand that this

isn't going away this
isn't going to go away and

you better be wise in how you use it
it can become a tremendous benefit for

you in your career or
that can be the last thing

anybody remembers or
the only thing anybody has

technology also expands

the ability to do something that used to
be difficult that's betting on games.

That's true professionally critically
true as we move into college territory

how does the possibility of betting
at an instant on an at bat or

on the next pitching change or
you name it change the game

this one I may have the toughest time
with just from a social position.

I think it's going to change.

Sports dramatically I think it.

I think it tells me we're the quest for
more finance

is at a furious pace I think it

will jeopardize some parts of the sport.

And I think when you think about
some sports think the N.B.A.

because you're going to
be able to sit this close

if you've got money on that game and
somebody is at their free throw line and

you've maybe you've had too much
to drink maybe you haven't and

something goes haywire to your
pulp your personal interest and

you know out of the right character of
the right personality what happens.

In the I'm sad to see that this
isn't a good it's just an opinion

because I think it.

I think it changes I think
it changes where we go

I think it changes
the sports innocent now but

is it there's a change where we go
I think it changes where we go and.

I'm sad I'm more a new
thing I'm kind of sad.

And saddened by that you're going to
be able to legally but on a sporting

event that you can attend the probably
sit in the front row on your phone and

some point in time and
see what's going on and bet the next play

I think it being illegal
in most places except for

the Vadra I'm not sure about a lot of
city but I know that it was the sole

place where you could do that without a
professional team until hockey a year ago

is still had scandal even a point
shaving scandal basketball.

You bet an official in the N.B.A.

from that mistake and
that's what it was a little so

now you're going to make it legal and
you're not going to have any problem.

Too many factors involved are made
to not have any problem or

think that you're not going to have any
problem you have too many people involved

there's an old saying that
money is the root of all evil.

There are good and
when I asked one question but

I also want to note that we
want to give you an opportunity

to raise questions in a few moments and
so when we finish this last

question will be an opportunity for
you to raise your hand be called upon and

we will get microphones to you to
pose that question the final thought

here and actually reflects some things
you're turning to next in your writing

I often say to my students one of
the hardest things to do in public policy

is to do something well through political
action that works in the short term but

alas over a longer stretch of
time conversation we often have

in these halls is one of the really great
things we can do through government and

political action and
maintain that across the changes and

political leadership hard to do and
hard to do with any field

in sports so competitive so

many teams so many players so
many folks wanting to get to the top

to sustain performance since forte for
more than a short period of

time flukey season in a championship and
to do that at

a high level of performance
with a high level of integrity

has to be staggeringly difficult and
I know you've begun to think about this

question of excellence not just in who
gets the championship next year but

how you mean tain or sustain that over
a period of time it's taking you into new

areas and arenas though I don't know much
of the particulars how do you think about

sustained excellence in an area like
athletics I think it's still hard.

And I think the.

I think it gets harder and I'm I'm

studying those that have
been able to do it and

when I look at the things that I have
seen and probably 40 years now of

being intimately involved in
sports from one end over another

it's hard to play it's hard
to play at this level and

I could name $100.00 players that I
signed or that I intially acquired

that started off kind of in a humble
place I sang kids in Latin America

that their father may have made a dollar
a month cutting down sugar cane who was

I've seen.

Work hard be hungry fight through so
much versus.

Get to the highest level of a school or
get paid and

pretty much shut it down
Congar is not a bad thing

hunger for those that are for
all is that but I'm looking.

Because there are some players that
no matter what their bank accounts or

what their lifestyle looks like or
the number of houses cars or

exotic vacations they can take still play
it like it's the last day of their career

and they refuse to give in they refuse to
give up and they refuse to be satisfied

I'm pretty sure Kobe Bryant and L.A. of
somebody challenge him of note to a game

of horse with not a nickel on the line
would try to kick this guy's head.


My study is really on those who
are like that we can like or

dislike the New England Patriots
you know they

took the air out of the ball they put
too much air in a ball that a coach and

a scout in the seats
doubting whatever you know.

I'm not condoning cheating but
in a look at their franchise of

the last 1718 years of have one owner one
coach and one quarterback players come and

go they want a lot of games and
they do that L.A.

Lakers for

Kareem all the way up through Colby when
a lot of championships the Boston Celtics

won a lot of championships baseball
the Yankees for a long time

hockey the Montreal Canadiens won 5 in
a row your crown is 140 How do you do that

how do you do that how do you do that
today when when it's so hard to play but

the money is so great and the disabled
list is so easy how do you do it

how do you do it and that's that's what
I'm that's what I'm looking into how do we

do it how do those do it no matter what
their make of it don't make any difference

they will compete to
the end they will try and

make something better
than it is always and

I think that list gets smaller as time
goes on I spend some time the summer.

Mention everybody one of them was probably
a dash to the fall here at Michigan

as a basketball coach in Indiana maybe
remember that I want to have to mention

his name but I also spent some time
with a Detroit hero Joe do moms.

What a couple titles supplier one of
the titles of general manager comes from

a small town of the easy an OK his

dead rigged up on a bicycle tire on
a post to get all the spokes and

I was his 1st festival I love Joe Dumars
and I talk to him all the time inside and

he is going to be part of the book because
he couldn't shut it down the points

are and that have been an executive
in the city for 14 years I think and

one another title and continues to drive
in that direction with everything he does

every time I see him is in
Beverly Hills So he's doing pretty good

thing continues to drive forward to
try and be as great as he can be and

I moderate that so much and I look for

people like that the young people I teach
I try to make sure that they understand

that they understand the value of it
they understand the difficulty in it and

they understand the changes
that they can make for

other people's good along the way
if they do thank you well

thank you let's give you a chance
to pose questions as well

we have mikes ready to go would
you like to call on folks and

they are that's true however
you want to do all right yes.

Sorry works for you sorry.

I'm hearing a somber tone as you reflect
on these many dilemma is whether

to professional sports or in college
sports What are you optimistic about life.

Life is great.

Maybe I'm a perfectionist you know maybe I
don't want to get to the point where it's

all about money and maybe it's
always always been about money but

I'm trying to maybe continue to have
a little bit of the purest part of it but.

You know a lot.

Of Life is great.

But I'm delighted that it's tremendous for
you I but

I really would like your
reflection on the sports world and

whether the course that you've described
is is inevitably downward I mean I was

absolutely surprised by your lecture to
hear somebody who is more somber than I am

he asked about what state of sports I
think for many of the reasons that would

that you know that you've described I
think the compromises that have been made

in university athletics the conflict of
interest between success on the field and

the academic mission of the university I
mean that's been sullied beyond belief

you know I come from the years in North
Carolina 20 years of a fake you know fake

classes to enable athletes
to be to be eligible and

the leadership at the universities you
know is accepting of it and the N.C.

double layer you know refuted in
the university said we made a typo in our

you know in our in our self reflection and
so I'm I'm you know I'm somber for

the I'm pessimistic for that reason I'm
pessimistic about professional sports

you know baseball as you've described to.

All of the super specialisation the
instant replays my God let's get rid of

the answer replays in every sport
I think to this is my lecture but

I think the answer replays
are linked to gambling right I mean

I think I think there is a need to
assure that the decision is correct

because a lot of people have a lot
of money on the line but but so

I'd like to hear what you're optimistic
about in the world of sports I mean

extraordinary athletes to be sure but
you know we're harming them as well.

I had thought about the gambling.


The ensemble part is I think
it's a tremendous way to.

Participate and to compete and there's
all sorts of ways to compete the way

I found of the most gratifying to
me is to compete through ethics.

I think it teaches you a lot about
life that you teaches you a so much so

many less life lessons come out of sports
and I'm not sure which imitates which but

so much of life that I
have experienced the same

with a baseball team and
I don't mean to be that somber about it.

I do love it I hope it I hope
it can maintain the status

all sports that is a as it began
to become popular in the 1920 S.

and thirty's in this country
when the pression hit and

people found that as an outlet for
everything else that they were going

through I would love it to continue
to have that power to it but

I think it's a healthy power and as long
as long as your man some form of balance

I think it's got a chance to be that but
I guess my somberness or my my.

My concern is that there are days when
I don't think there is a balanced.

So if I run into that.

Question over here.

Out of Here in Michigan on the athletic
department we kind of have a saying like

the team the team the team and
we really emphasize like playing for

the team do you find that as
players move on to professional and

especially now and nowadays is
the salaries are getting bigger and

bigger that the focus is shifting towards
just being an individual playing for

money versus just
the passion of the game and

playing for you know the team and winning
when you are a very somber person and.

That's a great question and
I do think that the what you just laid out

is accurate in case I think players
are not necessarily attracted to their

teammates or their team as much as they
are to how much money they can make why.

I do think I've seen that more and
more and more it's a rarity

in the olden days it was a rarity to
have a player go to a different game

now the rarity is the player
staying with the team.

And I do think that sometimes it's how
much can you make I know players who have

told their agents It doesn't
matter were you place me so

long as I can get the most money so

I think it is part of I don't
think they will go and so

you have to get a 2nd part your
question is so worst of value point is

it in your bank statement or is it in
what you've accomplished as a team.


The pace of play in baseball what
what it what are they considering

doing well what are what's on
the table 1st speeding it up

I don't know everything that's on the
table I'm not in those meetings anymore.

But I think would speed it up would be
a strike zone there be a little bit

larger pitchers who could throw strikes.

At the grid speed it up then if you
had more activity and guys out and

not wait out Townson run pitch counts up
which leads your book down management

relates to your changing pitchers really
the so many different things if you had

better pitching guys who could throw
strikes it wouldn't have that much time to

figure it out that the put
the ball in play a little bit more

I think that would speed it up but I I
think it's also just the way the world is

if you were going to go to a movie and
they said this movie might be

the best movie I've ever seen one of
the best it's going to be a classic

movie when you say it was going to be 2
hours and 30 minutes if it was 2 hours and

it's a 10 minutes I'm not sure it's

the time a game that agitates people
I think it's the pace of the game.

I think if there's activity I think people
will watch it if it's 3 and a half hours

there's a lot of stand on Iran a lot of
walking around a lot of this conversation

I don't mean this I think that some people
start to look at their watch the Yankees

and the Red Sox used to be on E.S.P.N.
some then a baseball seemingly every week

and those games were never 3 hours long
there were 3 and a half 4 hours long but

they were exciting people would watch
him because it was a lot of activity so

I don't think it's the time at the end at
the in the bottom of a box score where

it says 3 hours and 18 minutes or 3 hours
and one minute I don't think that's what

people go up too much I think it's when
they when they don't see activity and

they see mom visits or
they see her stepping out of the box or

to see a pitcher to can command a fastball
so it's ball one ball to fall ball ball

on base color Bopanna I think that's

what drives people crazy.

This point about replays you know what
if you bring up an interesting point

about the replay of the gambling I had and
I hadn't really looked at it that way

I figured that it was really
a benefit to the fans in the stadium

because so many times that there was
a close play in baseball before replay.

It less or sitting up in a suite would
have television you just sit there go

would have been a tag of the not tag then
you missed the point it was would have

Fair Ball Foul Ball I don't know if we
thought at all My guess so your but

you went to the game and
you don't even know what really transpired

now at least you get to see
the replay does it take extra time

yeah it does take some expert and maybe
they can shorten it a little bit but and

I hadn't thought about your perspective
with the with the money on the line but

I do think it's better for the fans in
that way because they do get to see what

only goes at Matt Hall where those sit in
a suite with a television set can sit.

Thank you for coming today a question
concerning the Tigers when they play

the San Francisco Giants in that
World Series the Tigers a one of the best

pitching stance in baseball
that year in how come

none of the players the pitchers nobody
really volunteered to go to the bull pin

to secure that win when
the booking was struggling and

never quite understood how commencement
didn't say hey look we want to win this at

all costs so I know you contract me state
that you are a starting pitcher but

you know for the sake of
the team let's go to the bullpen.

Well had I been one of the Detroit Tigers
and I could probably give you the answer

but on that I don't know exactly I can
tell you a contract does not specify what

a player will do it doesn't
say you can only start or

you can only pitch of a Patrick and
only play 2nd base or only that

I think that a lot of times in
any sport we always don't know

what's really transpiring behind
the scenes and I don't know what specific

to your your question with that Siri that
remember the series very well I think

there was a guy named Pavel's and the ball
may have hit a homerun or 2 or maybe 3.

Happened at the.

But sometimes somebody is not available
sometimes of a manager war wait for

a different opportunity and
that opportunity never shows up and so

he's left with somebody in a spot
that he wishes he had somebody else

a lot of things that do happen that.

We're not aware of and

now you know there's probably different
things that went on the gym really

when manager Tim where was at the gym Well
I know Jimmy if that summer went into.

I may ask what the heck.

So but there's a lot of things that
happens when our work you know how can

this guy's not plan for a person so they
all went by we're seeing a 4th quarter we

don't know if he didn't feel well if you
like tweak the muscle if if is something

he shouldn't we you know there's the so
much we don't know that does go on and

then we try to do the best we can as
fans try to make sense of it all.

So before asked my question I
just wanted to say thank you for

taking time to speak with the city and
also for mentioning

what you feel your weakness was which is
something that we don't always hear and

that's something that we can
all learn from so thank you for

my question specifically release a player
contracts it's funny because last year

the Kansas City Royals were attacked from
both sides they were attacked because of

their presence contract up the dishes pay
more because they signed for too little

and they were stuck and they were attacked
for not signing Hosmer again because he

didn't even want to give him another
year of contract when it comes to those

dealings the negotiations what does that
tell you about a player's character and

we value the Nowadays in baseball and
other sports as well the players character

their ethics the person they are what does
that tell you when a player is not willing

to sang with you for that additional year
which they have all the right in the world

to not do they have that right they are in
that but as a general manager as somebody

running an organization what does
it tell you that the player and

their future in the organization if
they're not willing to go that extra year

or take $2000000.00 for example are they
part of your team already Yes and

she is looking for an extension Yes.

But in that case or not yeah well.

This might be old school you know but

I would always obviously talk to players
all the time to find out how they saw

how their mom worked what was going to
be important to them at the end and

if it's the extra year or
the extra money or

whatever it would it would
give me an indication as to.

What I want to do and sometimes you
don't necessarily want somebody

around no matter what walk of
life it is that it's all about

how much they can make doing something
we understand the value of it but

again it you know I always take a lot of
different things in the consideration of

making decisions on who I put on teams or
what I put my life and

you know it's a different a lot
of different things go into that

it's kind of the same someone is to say
matches a lot of things we don't know.

And a lot of things we don't know
about everybody involved and

we also sometimes don't know how much
information is being shared back and

forth that you do have somebody
in between sometimes as

information that is 100 percent pure and
clean and clear and sometimes it's should

so you're well from the ones.

Parlance fan club is very very
courageous to make you know.

A lot of people would say the.

Good man.

Over here is some show you get all
the time how do you think spaceball bust

pacifically I believe that baseball is
a regional problem you see in the N.B.A.

in the N.F.L. that there are areas like
Oklahoma City they have superstars

in these small market
areas where it is and

will be I'm sure you know you have
to go to New York City or L.A.

It's become a superstar and he's out with
much out of this year so how big do you

believe this problem is and how do you fix
this problem well I don't know that it's

the biggest problem as you think it might
be I mean the Detroit Tigers have a guy in

them could burrow that's a definite
superstar they had a pitcher here for

a long time they Verlander who would
pick as a probably a superstar.

I think the markets
are different I think when

the main difference I don't I don't
see is a superstar issue I see it as

a market size consideration how
many games they play in the N.B.A.

I'm going to play at home I'm going
to play Major League Baseball.

How many home.

So you have a difference right
there you know you have and

you know the salaries of baseball the
perils of baseball are far greater than

they are in any other sport in this
country you have more games and

you have you have a bigger
wheel to turn all the time so

if you're going to put a major league
franchise in a city my 1st question is

going to be from a business perspective
how many companies do we have

that are going to buy sweets with their
season ticket base going to be how we're

going to fill 80 suites not
$41.00 times a year but

$162.00 times a year are we going to do
that and how are we going to do it in

the summertime when people are out of
school out of occasion and traveling how

are we going to do that so I think Major
League Baseball has a tougher criteria and

a tough a bigger hurdle to go over there
or the side what city is good franchises

I don't I don't think every city could
support it the way other cities can.

With the firm's ID leaving for

the Giants Where do you see the future
of the Dodgers from office going and

do you personally think that the perceived
like overmanaging of your Freeman and

Dave Roberts will lead to a new direction
for the Dodgers or to think they'll stick

to the Course is actually well I don't
know if we really know how much managing

comes from up stairs and how much money
because of balances I think it's a gun

there's a lot of things that we we surmise
that we don't necessarily know I think

that you know their quest no doubt you
get the World Series 2 years in a row and

you don't win it if they're not winning
as this 1988 I mean that's painful

Nobody is trying to experiment with see
if this will work and if it doesn't so

what we made it you know I think that it's
the best intention of everybody to be able

to figure out how is the best way to do it
and they give us some things we don't know

that do go on inside a clubhouse and
set a dugout moment to moment I

think foreign Zite is here to do a great
job in San Francisco is a very smart guy

I've known him a few years it's got
tremendous tremendous thought process

way way out there and he's been around
good organizations that are around

organizations that have big payrolls
little payrolls and he knows how to manage

it I think he'll do 5 and you know what
he's also got a sense of humor and

I think sometimes in these jobs you've
got to have a sense of humor so

you're not always somber You
know you have a little bit

of a sense of humor to get you
through some of the days when

all you want to do would be so.


Time for 2 more questions over here.

Thank you for coming you talk about
both of you researching sustained

excellence and dynasties and also you
know seeing complacency when players

get big contracts and they stop working
as hard have you noticed or seen any link

between it being harder in there
might be with a lack of salary cap or

a increased payroll to sustain excellence
because of this increasing complacency or

is there another factor that you think
it's harder to sustain excellence in

majorly the major leagues.

Good question I think as I watch other
sports I think those with hard salary caps

had the toughest time sustaining
ourselves I mean huge hockey fan and

I watched the team I grew up following the
Chicago Blackhawks went 3 cups and 5 or

last year to probably have a difficult

time this year the spire or Hall of Fame
coach they can't go any further with their

finances they had to sign
the players they signed Kane today's

kid so you brought it there with the
Crawford So I think that is where it is

more difficult to do it I think and those
sports that do not have that the hard sell

he kept I think then it's really the poor
the persistence of the individual.

The young lady's point over there in
the early questioning I think that's where

they can get a little bit softer with
the worse it's going to happen but

to go home with 20000000 OK you know and

you know what a player ever met
that never in a 1000 years but

does it happen I sense it happens so
I think that when you have the cap and

makes it tougher to sustain that that may
be also why the New England Patriots kind

of stand out to me and the San Antonio
Spurs a little bit of late to stand out to

me that they're able to do this
with a ceiling on what they do and

when you change the characters
in the play every year and

you still have an award winning play
somebody wrote a pretty good play.

Final question.

So I will amend for 2 questions OK.

I think that's what's being
signaled please go right ahead.

OK so speaking to your.

Theme on balance I feel like especially
based both outside our cap you have.

An obligation from the front office to

you know handle the business
side of things but also.

Try and produce a team that
people want to watch so

I always wrestle with the idea of like
front offices and specifically tanking

and and I understand that like sometimes
especially when you're in a smaller market

like it's it might be your only way to
compete with the big payroll teams but

at the same point how do you feel that
Major League Baseball is kind of OK with

purposefully being bad for years and
years accumulating no one picks and

then you know hoping that you know
looking shore up enough like cheap free

agents to make a good you know post-season
push I think it's a perilous path.

I think it's I think you're running
a great risk as an organization by doing.

The most seasons long and so

if you're really telling people either
by what you've done or not done.

If you ever say a burble there but
you would not have to say

that you were really kind of shut down for
the next 3 or 4 years.

To do it because you have no guarantee
in 3 or 4 years it's going to be 0.

And so the teams that I see do that
there were 8 teams that lost 95 or

more games in baseball this year 3 of them
all in the American League last 100 or

more in NO I WAS WITH A comes along
to my favorite thing Rob We never

you know when I work with or even when
we struggle we were never like that and

I find that I find that a difficult
path to walk and continue to maintain.

A great fan base in
every market you're in.

They get stuff to tell
people come on watch us play

you know we're not we're hoping
we get the number one pick.

The good stuff to do the.

Number one pick a guarantee that you know
that the gets the biggest one of the you

know you brought the question of Barry
you know about where the sports are read

different things like that I find that to
be a very perilous path to be walking and

I would never ever work for a team
that the sight of the do it that way.

I don't have that much time
I've never had that much time.

To say you know.

I don't know the process will produce the
result there's no guarantee there's a lot

of teams that are going to quote tanks
that are worth their style tatty they've

been standing for 4 or 5 years they're
still tanking in the style trying to when

he won games the try to finish 51
of the trying to do it now I just

you know losing to losing to me was so
painful and one of the things

one of the things that the greatest G.M.'s
I've been around and we all agree that.

The wins don't feel as
good as the losses hurt so

to go through a year with

You know what with the talk
about stretching it up.

Now that I have it here interested.

And I think on any challenge anywhere but

there's one thing I need to take
on any challenge it's a chance.

You know one more quick question here
about contract signings which one was

what was the biggest one you
were ever involved with.

The work to didn't work.

Bogus what was Clayton Kershaw

The best one might have been Zack Greinke.

Who I signed for 6 years but
I gave him a chance to leave after 3 and

in those 3 he was 5115 I think
in the 2nd the area in the SO

YOUNG It may have been the best
I have a long list of the worst

to find them either over the hall or
on my tombstone.

Thank you very good.

On that cheery note.

And want to note that the conversation
actually can continue

out of the great hall where among other
things there will be books available for

purchase and signing but before we
close I want to thank everyone for

joining us on this afternoon or
how our particular knowledge the Norma

separates that body Roberts has put
forth to pull together this of that with

characteristic grace and
good cheer by particularly want to

add to that by asking you to join me
in thanking that Cody for coming and

spending some time with us and
sharing sharing his very thoughtful and

candid reflection I say so of course I
want to thank you I want to thank you for

having an interest I want to thank you for

coming out I want to echo of those
thoughts on Bonnie who made this save

us with as much as I love this guy would
have been here if she would make it easy.

But thank you and thank you for
cared about sport and thank you for

coming out here today and it's truly
an honor people say this all the time and

mean it it's an honor to be at
the campus of the universe in this

thank you thank you a.