- As with all PSSBL teams, the GM is the official league contact for each team. All GM’s should have e-mail access or regular communication with a designated player with e-mail access for the communication of league information.
- Each GM is expected to pass along league and division information to all players on his/her team (usually via e-mail).
- GM’s are expected to attend league General Meetings on the second Monday (or Tuesday) of seven of the twelve months of the year(or when scheduled) December’s in addition to any special (very rare) divisional meetings. If a GM is unable to attend a meeting, a representative (usually the Assistant GM) can be designated to attend instead. Each team MUST be represented at the General Meetings. Representatives will only have voting authority for division issues if notification is sent by the GM to the Division Commissioner prior to the meeting. Attendance by a designated representative constitutes ‘official’ attendance for league and division purposes. If a team is not represented at a General Meeting, it is the team and/or General Manager who face potential consequences, not the player who failed to show up in your absence.
- GM’s are expected to be aware of, assist with the enforcement of, and pass along (to each team member) all league and division rules.
- Field Managers (not General Managers) determine the batting order and defensive positions during all regular season and playoff games. Often the General Manager and Field Manager are one in the same. The batting order and beginning defensive positions are exchanged at the beginning of each game in the presence of the umpire(s).
- It is the General Manager who is responsible to the League to make sure all players are paid in full, with complete registration forms submitted in a timely fashion to prevent any potential late penalty. This can be done via online registration or to have a hard copy of the registration form submitted.
- General Managers must prevent all forfeits, without exception. The League generally has over 60 active players available through the Taxi Pool which can fill in for those injured or on vacation. If you have players who routinely don’t show up for games without advising you before hand, this is something that needs to be dealt with. Contact Player Agent Tom Krause or President Jeff Kyger for players if you know you’ll be short at least 48 hours in advance.
- Communicate with your players on ALL League issues. The General Manager is responsible for making sure all players know all rules (Game Rules, Player Conduct Rules, special Divisional Rules, etc.). Contact your new draft picks the day you draft them. They have paid their money, have been to multiple practices and have been waiting for that call. If you will be cutting a player, do all you can do to make sure that player knows his options for joining another club.
In addition, GM’s typically arrange practices and required equipment purchases for their teams. Attendance at team practices does NOT affect the minimum playing-time rule (if your Division has such a rule).
Following are contributions from League General Managers, and their interpretations of their roles:
Submitted by David Mahler, GM / Smoky Division Sugar Kings
Some thoughts about running a ball team in the PSSBL
Don’t confuse a baseball team with a democracy. Take charge from day one. Make decisions. Take the consequences. If you took a GM job because you want to bat cleanup and play shortstop, reconsider. Your primary role is to serve your teammates.
Help each player have success. For one player this might mean pitching a complete game. For another it might mean just having one good inning on the mound. Different players will contribute in different ways depending on their abilities and experience.
Be a conduit between your players and the league. Listen to both. Talk to both. Insist that your players communicate with you directly, and not through another player or by word of mouth or rumor. Do the same – communicate directly.
You are the only one who should take on any discussions with umpires regarding rules and umpires decisions. Same for discussions with opposing managers regarding any part of the game. Same for league officers, schedule maker, etc. Make sure your players know that arguing with umpires, other managers, and those who run the league is off limits.
Plan. Know what you are going to do before you get to the ball park. This applies to games and practices alike. Place high expectations on your players. At the very least, expect them to communicate their availability for every game and expect them to be punctual. Insist that they give you good concentration for three hours at a time, whether they playing or sitting.
Expect injuries and absences. (This is especially true for players who are new to the league.) I tend to carry eighteen players on my roster. Every year our average attendance per game is between thirteen and fourteen.
The goal for me at the beginning of each season is to create a team that does justice to the game of baseball. We try to play the game correctly. If we do that, two things follow: we have fun and we tend to win ball games.
Submitted by Bill Doerrfeld, GM / Sierra Division Tigers
I feel the general manager’s top responsibility is to ensure everyone has a good time. Guys our age are paying to play, and everyone wants to feel like they’re contributing. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone gets the same amount of playing time and gets to play all the positions they want. The GM should ensure the team maintains a professional atmosphere and that everyone treats one another with respect. Constant and clear communications are essential. It is advisable that the GM drafts team rules and guidelines which are presented to the team in advance of the start of the season.
The GM should get to know each player individually and take the time to speak with them on a regularly basis regarding how things are going. The GM should be open to criticism of his/her performance and should openly ask for suggestions. People love to criticize, and, they love to know their viewpoints are seriously considered. The GM should be very careful to treat him/herself the same way the players are treated. If the GM is also the field manager, this particularly applies to playing time and allotted positions on the field.
While getting input from players is important, remember that as the GM, it is your responsibility to make decisions and to lead the team. You can’t lead if all you’re doing is collecting feedback and passing it along. Lastly, be PATIENT and understand that the primary thing you’ll need to deal with as a GM are rampant emotions—that is, if you lose touch with the "ensure everyone has a good time" top responsibility indicated above.
Submitted by Ben Castrogiovanni, GM / Cascade Division Rockies
My personal experience as a GM in the PSSBL began 2 years ago. In two season in the Cascade Division (48 games not including playoffs), my team has won a total of roughly 10 games. Fortunately, 2 of them came in the playoffs last year, so the team is on a ‘relative’ high note. Most of team is coming back for the 2004 season. The point of this is that it is not about winning – it is about having fun and treating your teammates, the other players and the people involved organizing and running the league with respect (including of course, the umpires). We are all adults, averaging in age somewhere in our mid-30s (some younger, some older) and this is a venue which allows us for a reasonable price and commitment to run around (on VERY good baseball fields) and act like children for a few months a year, trying to reclaim our youth. It doesn’t take but a few people that don’t understand that to mess it up for everybody else.
I feel that the most important role of the GM, other than the obvious one of making sure you field a team, is to recognize this last point. You must recognize when there are players on your roster that don’t get it. You must further realize that if there are these types of players in your midst, that you must deal with them in a way that either convinces them to act with respect to the others in the league or that you must ask them to leave. The league has very little patience in this area.
On the mechanics of running the team, my advice is that each GM should enlist the help of a coaching ‘staff’. It is a big commitment to try and do everything single handedly. There will be times when you cannot perform your duties and you need a responsible party to step in and, most importantly, field a team for each and every game. The league provides resources to help in this area, so there is really no excuse for forfeits. Forfeits waste everybody’s time and in most cases, cost the league (i.e, each of us) money.
Success in this league, in my opinion, is based on the following criteria (in order):
- Fielding (for every game) a responsible (competitive, if applicable for your league) team that doesn’t violate the league rules with respect to conduct.
- Your players having fun
- Winning (a distant third)
• The best way to ensure your success is to make sure ALL your players understand that the list goes in the order listed above and not the other way around.
Submitted by Forrest Newton, GM / Smoky Division Tugs
8 Rules for Successful General Management of a Team of Semi-Adult Baseball Players:
- Communicate. Yes, you told everybody the league rules, policies & proceedures, but do it again. Forward League information e-mails along, or paraphrase, if more appropriate.
- Communicate. Make certain everyone on the team knows the team’s philosophy and approach to the season. (esp re: playing time and roles)
- Communicate. Encourage players to give you feedback- and listen to them when they do so.
- Deligate. As much as possible. Practice fields need to be found, uniform providers obtained, players recruited and coached. Scorebook and stats maintained. Equipment and ball bags lugged around. Get as many guys as possible involved.
- Attitude. Stay Positve!!
- GM Meetings. Make these. And be early; it’s a great time to get to know your fellow divisional GMs and share ideas or get help.
- Communicate. If you have a problem with a league policy, go to your division head first.
- And lastly- "Keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided" (the ol’ professor).