Thursday, December 3, 2009

Nepotism

I just read five articles about the Nationals' hiring of Phil Rizzo, and none of them included that word. So consider the subject broached.

This kind of thing is never a good idea. Unless Phil Rizzo is head and shoulders above any other baseball man available to advise his boy Mike, he should be working for some other team. The appearance of corruption if nothing else is not good. The real world potential for conflicted loyalties only compound the problem.

This is the kind of move that a good organization would veto before it ever got close to happening. I'm disappointed that Mike wanted to do this, and I'm more disappointed that the Nationals organization let it happen.

22 comments:

The Rural Juror said...

oh, shut up

sid bluntley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sid bluntley said...

You're kidding, right? It would be a bad idea if his dad didn't have the resume he has as a baseball scout.
According to the Post, they worked together for the Diamondbacks when they went to the World Series. So if that isn't a 'good' baseball organization to you, fine.

Other Marc with a C said...

I really expected you to be joking with the nepotism post. Come on Steven, they worked together in Arizona, the guy has decades in baseball and all they are doing is formalizing what Mike made clear already happens, which is that he goes to his dad for advice. They did not put his dad in as manager, or heading of scouting, or name him the first basemen for goodness sake.

You are just wrong on this one.

Anonymous said...

Where's the conflict of interest here? This is not government here, this is business. And in business it's the bottom line that matters. In the business of baseball, the bottom line is winning. If Mike Rizzo believes that his father is the best man for this job, he should be allowed to hire him. Because if they don't meet the bottom line, they'll both be fired.

And really, there would be more conflict of interest if Rizzo's father was on the payroll of some other team. Or if he's giving unpaid advice to the GM that might possibly be in conflict with what his paid assistants are saying.

And finally, the guy is 80 years old and has a lifetime of experience. He's hardly unqualified for this job, which is no doubt part time and not highly paid. If it's s way to give an old guy health insurance and unfettered access to the clubhouse, why not? He's basically going to be for the Nats what Don Zimmer is for the Rays or Johnny Pesky for the Red Sox.

Steven said...

why do you think government is at greater risk of conflicts of interest than the private sector?

Harper said...

Up next, hitting coach Ratso.

Steven said...

There are worse things he could do.

James Bjork said...

I really don't see what the big deal is here. The elder Rizzo is eminently qualified, and if the Nats continue to flounder, they shall surely "hang" together....

Anonymous said...

Just curious, which generation of Steinbrenner would have vetoed the move for the Yankees?

Google the McPhails sometime.

Steven said...

@James--It's not that big of a deal. It's a little deal. But I would prefer if this kind of thing didn't happen.

@anon--you're right. Nepotism and cronyism are rampant in MLB. It's a monopoly for crum's sake. That doesn't mean it's right, and it doesn't mean we shouldn't comment on it when we see it. And I do kind of have higher hopes for Rizzo in this regard, since he was the rare up-through-the-ranks guy who was never college roomies with an owner's kid.

flippin said...

Monte Kiffin works for his son and it seems to be working out fine. Now, I would never hire my dad, but that's a different story. Nepotism is generally a bad idea, but there are exceptions and I think this is one of them.

Ben said...

Frankly Steven I agree, I would never hire my Father. He's wonderful and I look up to him but it would be inappropriate.

But then my Father isn't Phil Freaking Rizzo!

If this is nepotism then I think we are looking at it the wrong way around. We could never get a senior adviser of the stature and repute of Phil Rizzo unless his son was GM.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Or better yet- how does this hurt the organization in any way? It is a minor role for a guy with a lifetime of baseball experience and likely just formalizes a role that he has played for his son throughout his career. Get over it man.

Steven said...

The damage that could happen is:
--suppose papa Rizzo actually isn't as good as assumed. Is Mike going to be as willing to fire his father as he would anyone else?

--cliques.

--suppose there's a difference in judgment. Is Mike going to be able to separate out his normal feelings for his dad from the professional judgments that need to be made?

--suppose Mike's budget gets cut, and his dad's having unforeseen financial problems and needing to borrow money from his son. Will Mike be able to separate out his own personal financial obligations when deciding whom to lay off or salary to freeze?

Steven said...

Oh, and even if Mike and Phil don't cross any of those lines, can they avoid the perception among coworkers and fans that these issues are coming up?

Berndaddy said...

Steven you make me laugh ! Stick to your convictions... BTW the elder Rizzo is a Hall of Fame scout. It makes the little red pill go down that much more faster, eh.

Basil said...

On the positive side, at least Rizzo didn't recruit his son to play QB. That would be embarrassing if he sucked.

Ben said...

I wonder if there are any Rizzo's out there who can field properly at short stop?

Steven said...

Maybe a Boone or a Galbreath or a Lerner?

The Rural Juror said...

if that boone or galbreath or lerner was in the hall of fame for their area of focus, then i'd say yeah, let's give it a try

Steven said...

You realize he's in the SCOUTS hall of fame, right? Which has only existed for like a year. Not THE hall of fame, ie the baseball hall of fame.

Not to take anything away from a long and fine career, but let's not get crazy, and let's try not to confuse people.

BTW--Ray Boone is in the San Diego sports hall of fame.

Ted Lerner is in the Washington Business Hall of Fame and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington Sports Hall of Fame.

Dan Galbreath isn't in any halls of fame, but he was director of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.

So don't take anything away from those HOF-ers!!