Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, March 29, 2019

MLB Advanced Media Made Billions For Baseball, Chewed Up Its Employees, And Spit Them Out

Deadspin reviewed internal communications from MLB Network and MLBAM and spoke to more than a dozen current and former MLBAM employees from a number of departments within the company, all of whom were granted anonymity so as not to jeopardize employment or severance. Those conversations revealed a common thread: Under MLBAM’s vice president of multimedia Mike Siano and his right-hand man, MLBAM’s director of multimedia Brett Kaplan, MLBAM fostered an unhealthy and overly demanding culture in which people worked in fear of being berated and insulted for small mistakes and were disastrously managed, resulting in the aforementioned wage suppression lawsuit that was settled earlier this year for $1.3 million. The February layoffs may have been what broke the seal on MLBAM’s workplace culture, but the problems have existed for years, and continue, sources say, to this day.

Kaplan, whom sources describe as the bulldog enforcer to Siano’s clueless, removed boss type, is said to be especially capricious. He would demand that employees stay and work well past their shifts’ ends and through the night, sometimes insisting on the completion of various time-consuming projects on a whim; knew little about the technology and operations that his employees used; and was quick to upbraid his subordinates. Siano, on the other hand, once famously sent an email to staff that read: “Your all idiots.”

*-You’re

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 11:15 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mlb advanced media

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Rally Posted: March 29, 2019 at 11:43 AM (#5826664)
I've definitely gone about this whole career thing all wrong. I kind of thought you had to know your stuff to move up in the world.

I'd be interested in learning how to go about becoming the clueless jackass who gets to be in charge, makes a ton of money, and somehow gets more talented people to do great work.

Edit: One way is to be born into it, but my parents failed me on that path.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5826666)
I've definitely gone about this whole career thing all wrong. I kind of thought you had to know your stuff to move up in the world.

I'd be interested in learning how to go about becoming the clueless jackass who gets to be in charge, makes a ton of money, and somehow gets more talented people to do great work.


From my experience it seems mostly to be about writing glossy powerpoint decks that tell the CEO/CFO exactly what he wants to hear, even though it's totally unachievable, or makes no sense.
   3. DL from MN Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5826669)
I'd be interested in learning how to go about becoming the clueless jackass who gets to be in charge


Be good enough at golf to help the owner in a scramble but know enough not to beat him in a regular foursome.
   4. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5826670)
100% true snapper. I have seen dozens (underestimate) of guys get ahead in my industry through great powerpoint and presentation skills. It also really helps if you have a book published, even a crappy book no one buys or reads. But somehow having a book makes you an instant expert.
   5. Belfry Bob Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5826678)
The COO of the company I just retired from is the clueless jackass, but he doesn't even let more talented people do great work, because that would make him look bad. Being the owner's buddy is enough to keep things status quo.
   6. Greg Pope Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5826679)
If you can get into any sort of management position, even a small group, then yelling can work. Terrify the people under you so that they work hard and get promoted before you burn out your group. I know a guy who got up to CIO of a decent size company and the only thing he ever did was have meetings and yell.
   7. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:36 PM (#5826680)
Is his name Michael Scott?
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:39 PM (#5826681)
I work in a much saner environment now- and what I learned is how great it can be when middle management is minimized. You know, the guys/gals who tell you, "I know this is a stupid idea, but we got orders from above. So just do it."

If "above" actually respects and communicates with the rank and file, that mess gets avoided. If they come up with a stupid idea, one can tactfully explain the issues - and win them over with actual logic, so a different approach is made.

It is SO refreshing. I don't interact with any idiots at work anymore.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:48 PM (#5826683)
I work in a much saner environment now- and what I learned is how great it can be when middle management is minimized. You know, the guys/gals who tell you, "I know this is a stupid idea, but we got orders from above. So just do it."

If "above" actually respects and communicates with the rank and file, that mess gets avoided. If they come up with a stupid idea, one can tactfully explain the issues - and win them over with actual logic, so a different approach is made.

It is SO refreshing. I don't interact with any idiots at work anymore.


When "middle management" is doing their job, they are the ones who question the stupid ideas, protect the rank and file, and push back against the higher ups. Usually, the "rank and file" don't have the experience or confidence to push back against senior management.
   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 29, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5826695)
I'd be interested in learning how to go about becoming the clueless jackass who gets to be in charge, makes a ton of money, and somehow gets more talented people to do great work.


Read about Steve Jobs.

   11. base ball chick Posted: March 29, 2019 at 01:30 PM (#5826697)
Greg Pope Posted: March 29, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5826679)

If you can get into any sort of management position, even a small group, then yelling can work. Terrify the people under you so that they work hard and get promoted before you burn out your group. I know a guy who got up to CIO of a decent size company and the only thing he ever did was have meetings and yell


- this doesn't work if you're female

and this sounds like the modern - turn the millenials into slaves if they aren't already rich - horse***t
   12. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 29, 2019 at 02:02 PM (#5826715)
I spent about seven years at a place where upper management showed every day that "your office is exactly the same distance from mine as mine is from yours." I got out because the lesson learned by everyone in the next generation was that his or her office was the center of the universe.
   13. Lassus Posted: March 29, 2019 at 02:22 PM (#5826724)
I worked on the floor at MLBAM for seasons 2008 - 2010. This story is accurate. It was a real watch-your-back place, and I did not. No errors, actual successes, but booted out in favor of a kid who brought his GF into the replay booth for the late West Coast games. Very annoying, but C'est la vie. Everyone thinks they've been wronged, so. Hopefully I wasn't incompetent. The place was booming, so there was a certain fear of newcomers who might take YOUR gig. Some were nice and proper, but too many were paranoid and power-hungry.
   14. Man o' Schwar Posted: March 29, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5826735)
From my experience it seems mostly to be about writing glossy powerpoint decks that tell the CEO/CFO exactly what he wants to hear, even though it's totally unachievable, or makes no sense.

I work with these people, and you are exactly right. The ones who kowtow and brown-nose and say all the right things move up, even if by doing so they are making the lives of the people under them miserable. People who point out problems and suggest that doing 3 months worth of work in 2 weeks is probably not feasible, tend to get left below.

In my next life, I want to be reincarnated as a project manager. Best possible job in the corporate world.
   15. Man o' Schwar Posted: March 29, 2019 at 02:42 PM (#5826737)
When "middle management" is doing their job, they are the ones who question the stupid ideas, protect the rank and file, and push back against the higher ups. Usually, the "rank and file" don't have the experience or confidence to push back against senior management.

That's 90% of my job as a manager. I think of myself as a sponge - I soak up all the grimy water and dirt and crap that's constantly being dripped out by management, so that it doesn't get on my folks. That way they're free to just do their jobs.

It's the only part of my job I really like. I have a happy team with good work-life balance, and it thrills me.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 02:57 PM (#5826743)
That's 90% of my job as a manager. I think of myself as a sponge - I soak up all the grimy water and dirt and crap that's constantly being dripped out by management, so that it doesn't get on my folks. That way they're free to just do their jobs.

Yup. I always tell my team the trade-off is that #### flow downs hill (I get to give them work to do) but blame flows uphill (if they screw up, I get the heat).
   17. TDF, trained monkey Posted: March 29, 2019 at 03:38 PM (#5826770)
I have nothing to add to this discussion, other than the fact a year or so ago I stumbled upon the fact my college roommate is now a larger-than-average-wig at MLBAM.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 03:41 PM (#5826773)
I have nothing to add to this discussion, other than the fact a year or so ago I stumbled upon the fact my college roommate is now a larger-than-average-wig at MLBAM.

Is he an ass****?
   19. villageidiom Posted: March 29, 2019 at 04:09 PM (#5826783)
In my next life, I want to be reincarnated as a project manager. Best possible job in the corporate world.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh wait you're serious.

Some of the worst jobs in the corporate world are those where if you do your job exceptionally well people will say "well of course it went perfectly, why wouldn't it?" and anything short of that is considered a disaster. That's every project manager, on every project. Project managers have responsibility without authority - which is a bad mix to begin with - and get to apply it in a highly-visible fashion.

Don't get me wrong; they're often the lone voice of sanity, and I've loved any project that had an engaged, competent project manager. But I wouldn't want to trade places with any of them.
   20. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 29, 2019 at 04:14 PM (#5826785)
In my next life, I want to be reincarnated as a project manager. Best possible job in the corporate world.

Ugh. I would retire and wait for UBI to kick in. I'd rather do work than spend all day bothering people to talk about doing work, but that's just me.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: March 29, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5826798)
Nobody's yet mentioned: leverage any short-term superficial success into a promotion/new job and get out before everything turns to crap.

And its corollary: promise annual 5% productivity gains for an injection of cash now, get out before it's obvious the money has been wasted.
   22. Brian C Posted: March 29, 2019 at 05:43 PM (#5826816)
I got a job a couple years ago where I work from home, with set hours. I was told by my boss that, while some people like setting up their work email on their phones, it was frowned upon in my department. I was told that I was expected to be available during my work hours but that outside of my work hours I should be doing things other that work. I rarely hear from my bosses. It's also the best paying job I've ever had, although that's not saying much.

All in all, as someone who works to live instead of lives to work, I read threads like this and just thank my lucky stars and hope that my current job lasts.
   23. TDF, trained monkey Posted: March 29, 2019 at 05:57 PM (#5826819)
Is he an ass****?
I haven't talked to him since college - 35 years ago. But at the time, he was ok for a spoiled rich kid.
   24. John Reynard Posted: March 29, 2019 at 06:50 PM (#5826823)
Nobody's yet mentioned: leverage any short-term superficial success into a promotion/new job and get out before everything turns to crap.

And its corollary: promise annual 5% productivity gains for an injection of cash now, get out before it's obvious the money has been wasted.


I'm a consultant known for fixing these messes after the fact. A few of my mid-sized corporate clients now have claw-back provisions in some upper and middle managers compensation to try to combat this. And yeah, I'm an agency alignment consultant as one of the things I do (basically how do you get people to do what is good for shareholders)

I do actually try to make perma solutions unlike many consultants (I'm looking at you SAP). But, there are always more messes to clean up so I'm not worried. Anyhow, if all the messes get cleaned up, the world would be enough better place it would be worth looking for a new line of income on that part of my business. I'd still have the wealth management side and the college placement side to pay the bills.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
James Kannengieser
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogRyan Thibs’ Hall of Fame Tracker
(125 - 9:34pm, Nov 20)
Last: bobm

NewsblogBobby Abreu has a better Hall of Fame case than you think
(46 - 9:26pm, Nov 20)
Last: bobm

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread, Start of the 2019-2020 Season
(959 - 9:16pm, Nov 20)
Last: Tin Angel

Sox TherapyGumbo Limbo, Mookie Betts and “Not My Money”
(62 - 9:04pm, Nov 20)
Last: Jose is an Absurd Time Cube

NewsblogWhitewash: Rob Manfred says he doesn’t think sign stealing extends beyond the Astros
(24 - 8:57pm, Nov 20)
Last: Baldrick

Gonfalon CubsRegrets
(115 - 8:41pm, Nov 20)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogRob Manfred’s plan to destroy minor league baseball
(126 - 8:18pm, Nov 20)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogPirates pitcher Felipe Vazquez faces 21 new child sex-related charges
(33 - 7:47pm, Nov 20)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

NewsblogOT- Soccer Thread- October 2019
(527 - 7:24pm, Nov 20)
Last: Biff, highly-regarded young guy

NewsblogFormer NBA executive wants to bring MLB to Orlando
(12 - 7:09pm, Nov 20)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogBrewers returning to ball-in-glove logo for 2020, unveil new uniform designs for 50th anniversary ce
(3 - 7:03pm, Nov 20)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogGerardo Parra Signs With Japan’s Yomiuri Giants
(12 - 6:39pm, Nov 20)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogMLB isn’t confident it can produce a consistent ball, leaving GMs to adapt
(9 - 6:19pm, Nov 20)
Last: Zach

NewsblogTwins’ Max Kepler retraces steps in trip back to Germany
(1 - 5:58pm, Nov 20)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogColorado School of Mines Talk – Bauer Outage
(20 - 5:12pm, Nov 20)
Last: Der-K: at 10% emotional investment

Page rendered in 0.3548 seconds
46 querie(s) executed