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    For your Holiday weekend viewing: The 8 Man Rotation's favorite sports movies

    We're heading into a long holiday weekend, at least in the USA, and it is quite possibly the greatest holiday of them all - Thanksgiving. Eating, drinking, sleeping, eating some more, taking in some sports on TV or in person, shopping - it is the quintessential American holiday no doubt.

    Since you will likey spend large parts of the next four or five days in turkey/stuffing/mashed potato coma, and will be for long stretches glued to your sofa and/or La-Z-Boy chairs, you need something to keep you passively entertained. But fear not gentle readers, The 8 Man Rotation crew, (Kris Dunn, Lance Haun, Tim Sackett, Matt 'akaBruno' Stollak, and yours truly), have you covered.

    Because what you really want to do this holiday weekend is catch up on some of the greatest sports movies ever made and we at The 8 Man Rotation take sports, and sports movies very seriously. So seriously that we spent a collective 17 emails and 37 minutes coming up with our favorites which we wanted to share. So fire up your Netflix and have fun with these selections this weekend:

    The 8 Man Rotation's Favorite Sports Movies.

    Tim Sackett:

    Any Given Sunday: All you have to say is “Pacino’s Speech” - maybe the best movie coach speech of all time! "The inches we need are everywhere around us.  They are in ever break of the game every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches that's going to make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING."

    Hoosiers: Jimmy Motherf$%&!&ing Chitwood. When Coach Dale calls the play in the huddle to win the game, using Jimmy as a decoy and Jimmy says just pass the ball to me, I’ll make the shot.  Every basketball kids fantasy. Classic over-coaching as well. Just give the ball to your best player and win or lose knowing you gave it your best shot with your best talent. 

    White Man Can’t Jump: The beginning of main stream trash talking! Before this movie you only talked trash if you could back it up. After this movie, trash talking became an art form on the court and off.  The movie also addressed, and made fun, so many stereotypes as well. This wasn’t the norm in 1992, which made it somewhat shocking to watch at the time. 

    Bonus sports movie footage for the, underrated, Tom Cruise fans. Top three Tom Cruise sports movies:

    1. All The Right Moves. It was 1983 and I was in Love with Tom’s co-star in the movie, a young Lea Thompson. Coming of age football. Friday Night Lights, twenty years before it became cool.
    2. Days of Thunder. Cole Trickle might be the best Nascar name that isn’t a real Nascar name! Nicole Kidman, pre-Mrs. Cruise, as a co-star, I’m still wondering how they made him taller than her!
    3. Jerry Maguire.  The best non-sports, sport movie of all time.  NFL, Agents and the line I say to my wife almost daily, “Don’t Ever Stop F$%&$% Me” to lead the movie off!

    VIDEO - Hoosiers, 'I'll make it':

    Lance Haun:

    My two favorite sports movies, Major League and Caddyshack, are two sports I absolutely hate watching and playing. Neither are really critically acclaimed but if I see one of these come on cable, I'm watching them until the end. Caddyshack gets the nod because it's infinitely quotable, has unnecessary nudity, and includes Bill Murray and an actually funny Chevy Chase. My favorite quote that I plan to use as a father: "You'll get nothing, and like it!"

    VIDEO: Caddyshack, 'Right in the lumberyard'

    Matt 'The Professor' Stollak:

    As I said in one of the HR Happy Hour #8ManRotation shows, we blog about sports and HR because we are looking to connect with our fathers.  That same theme carries out in movies about sports:

    Field of Dreams - That movie is one long play so that Kevin Costner can have one last catch with his dad

    Breaking Away - Four townies trying to make it in Bloomington, IN and win the Little 500 bike race.  Hard to beat the exhilaration when Dave races against the semi-trucks on the highway.  But, all Dave really wants to do is be accepted by his dad, and he takes some pride when he sees his father try bike riding at the end of the film.

    VIDEO - Breaking Away trailer:

    Kris Dunn:

    He Got Game: Denzel, Spike Lee, a backdrop of hoops and Ray Allen starring as “Jesus Shuttlesworth”.  I love the story of a complicated father/son relationship as Denzel tries to parlay his way out of prison by encouraging his son (Jesus) to play at Big State U, which just happens to be the school of choice for the governor.  Great music spanning a lot of tastes from dramatic orchestra scores to Public Enemy.  Spike Lee perspective in Camera shots.  Fun fact: One of my sons got asked at church at a young age what the last name of Jesus (son of god, not Ray Allen) was.  That’s a trick question in a church setting.  My young son didn’t miss a beat – he raised his hand like Horseshack in Welcome Back Kotter and enthusiastically said, “Shuttlesworth”.  Welcome to the Dunn family, where everything has a hoops influence.

    Bull DurhamYou haven’t lived until you’ve had a son who’s played baseball and coached with another guy who knows all the lines to this movie.  The game in front of you actually becomes secondary.  You sit down next to a 10 year old in the dugout and say, “get a notepad, because it’s time to practice your cliches.”  Two minutes later, the kid is repeating the wisdom of Crash Davis - “I just hope I can help the team” and “It’s a simple game – you throw the ball, you catch the ball”.  After he has the cliches down, you bring the kid inside for senior level Crash Davis: “Anything that travels that far should have a stewardess” as an example.  Then, the fun is suddenly over when he commits two errors in the field and you resume screaming at him to "man up”.  Sports movies can only take you so far.

    Any Given Sunday:  A must for any sports fan who wants to think about talent from the lens of sports.  While I agree with Tim Sackett that the Pacino speech is classic, I’m going deep in this movie and tell you that hall of famer Jim Brown is the hidden gem.  Playing the role of Defensive Coordinator, he steals the movie from Pacino and Jamie Foxx with two scenes that are coaching classics.  The first scene involves Brown going on a sidelines diatribe towards his defense and a player encouraging him to calm down before he has a stroke, to which Brown replies, “I don’t get strokes Mother#######, I GIVE THEM”.   The second scene involves Brown addressing the team at halftime and using a chalkboard diagraming X’s and O’s, with the following gem: “Now you’re dumb enough, so we made it simple enough.  We made this #### real ####ing simple (as he pounds the chalk against the board)”.  Who among us couldn’t use that line at times in corporate America?

    VIDEO: Bull Durham, 'Cliches'

    Steve Boese:

    I am going to break this down a little differently - going with my favorite movie from each of the 'major' sports, then tossing in one more as a wild-card. Here goes:

    Basketball - Hoop Dreams. While there have been many more entertaining and funny basketballs movies made, (Fast Break, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, Semi-Pro), there has never been a basketball movie as gripping as the 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams. Following the exploits of then high school stars William Gates and Arthur Agee and their struggles to escape their tough upbringing through basketball, Hoop Dreams is an essential sports drama, except it is all too real.  

    Baseball - Moneyball. Sure, by now you are sick of Moneyball. You probably have even seen the real-life protagonists of Moneyball, Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta, (the Jonah Hill character in the movie), on the HR conference speaking circuit, maybe even more than once. But that doesn't take away from the story, and just how innovative and influential that Moneyball has been not only in baseball, but in sports (and business) overall. Also, a highly re-watchable movie. If you catch this one on F/X on a random Tuesday night, you are locked in. Honorable mention to Pride of the Yankees and The Natural.

    Football - The Longest Yard, the original from 1974, not that Adam Sandler nonsense. Peak Burt Reynolds leading a team of prison inmates in a brutal game against the guards? Sign me up. Plus, great performances from Richard Kiel and NFL legend Ray Nitschke. Honorable mention to North Dallas Forty and Friday Night Lights.

    Hockey - Youngblood. Hockey is a terrible, ridiculous sport, and consequently almost every movie about hockey is also terrible and ridiculous. Youngblood is the exception to that rule. A very young Rob Lowe, the underrated Patrick Swayze playing the quintessential Patrick Swayze-type role, and 'Why didn't she become a bigger star?' Cyntiha Gibb as the love interest for Lowe's Dean Youngblood character. Will Dean learn how to survive on the ice? Will dating the coaches daughter ruin his chances to make the big time? Is that Ed Lauter in another movie? Who cares - just doze off back on the sofa, you can snooze through long stretches of this movie and not miss anything. Honorable mention to Slap Shot.

    Wild Card - Going with another documentary here, this time the 1977 bodybuilding epic Pumping Iron. Featuring Arnold before he was ARNOLD, Lou Ferrigno before he was The HULK, and a slew of other bodybuilders from the Venice, California scene in the late 70s, Pumping Iron is a fantastically entertaining film. Watching Arnold mentally toy with his chief Mr. Olympia rival Ferrigno in the run up to the competition is like watching a master of manipulation and mind games at his absolute peak. Just a great, gripping watch even if you are not a fan of bodybuilding. Looking back you can see signs in the 1977 Arnold that he had designs on much, much more than just winning bodybuilding contests.

    VIDEO: Moneyball, 'What is the problem?'

    Good stuff, right? Of course.

    Thanks to the 8 Man crew for the contributions. And please chime in in the comments with your top sports movies that we should have queued up this weekend.

    Happy Thanksgiving!



    Grantland, Simmons, and how talent (still) is hard to hold on to

    Last week media giant ESPN decided to abruptly shutter the website Grantland, the sports and pop culture site, (and which was  pretty literary for a sports and pop culture site), that had been founded and led by Bill Simmons. Simmons was let go, (or more accurately, informed his contract would not be extended), in the spring, following a series of clashes with ESPN management over Simmons' comments about the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell.

    After a few months of muddling along, Grantland, now devoid of Simmons (and many other talented writers and editors who left Grantland after Simmons), has now been shuttered for good by ESPN, who in a statement indicated they have 'decided to direct our time and energy going forward to projects that we believe will have a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.'

    Without Simmons, there really could be no Grantland, and certainly ESPN doesn't need a Grantland wihout the founder, leader, and most popular personality on board anyway. The 'core' site of ESPN.com is one of the web's most visited properties after all. Any Grantland talent that remains with ESPN can be absorbed by ESPN.com.

    But despite the demise of Grantland, it is still worth making a couple of observations about what happened with Grantland/Simmons, and how this episode in Talent Management / Employee Relations might offer a couple of lessons or things for the average HR and Talent pro to consider.

    1. No succession plan, no future

    While Grantland had dozens of staff, including some acclaimed, award-winning writers, the face, inspiration, and key to the entire endeavor was Simmons. There was simply no other, singular, talent that emerged over Grantland's four year run that could rival/replace Simmons in this role. It could be argued that once ESPN released Simmons from his duties earlier in the year, that they always knew Grantland would be closed soon after. But if they had developed or at least identified a plausible candidate to assume Simmons' place as the leader of Grantland they would have had more options. Simmons dominated Grantland to an extent that it made no sense to continue it without him, regardless of if ESPN would have like to see it continue.

    2. The best managers understand the role and importance of the best talent

    The job of leadership is to get talent to produce and create, and this does not work by threatening with rules or by levying discipline. And managing the very best talent is probably the hardest challenge for the manager, even harder than managing out poor performers. How much leeway do you give the best talent? How many rules do you allow them to dodge or break? How much freedom do you give top talent to create, unencumbered by roadblocks and rules? 

    What for organizations is next in importance after finding and hiring the best talent? Finding and hiring the right managers that can confidently, carefully, and diplomatically get the best work out of these talented folks while at the same time keep the other 95% of the workforce from hating them.

    3. The best talent, brand-building talent, is very hard to find and keep

    ESPN certainly helped build Simmons into the star media personality he has become. But ESPN also certainly had underestimated the value and power of Simmons popularity. Over the years ESPN seemed almost as interested in controlling and keeping Simmons toeing the company line as they were in supporting and positioning Grantland for success. That attitude might be effective (and needed), for the 95% of the staff who are just good to very good, but it almost never works or sits well for that 5% of employees who are really elite.

    There are very few talents like Simmons out there. And the more that management tries to tell these talented people what to do and how to act the more they are going to be alienated and look to move on.

    Talent still runs the world. Even if leaders like to think otherwise sometimes.

    Have a great weekend!


    10 reasons why you should quit the NFL for the Premier League

    I am up early on a Saturday taking in Barclays Premier League match between my beloved Liverpool Reds and Chelsea, the defending Premier League champions currently mired in a slow start to the new season. I watch a fair bit of sports on TV, (I have pretty much no life), but after many years of increasing interest and appreciation of top-level soccer, I have mostly given over my Fall and Winter weekends to the Premier League, and have pretty much lost interest in the much more popular, (here in the US anyway), American football games (both college and in the NFL).

    Why is that? Why have I basically given up on American football, with only a passing interest in the country's most popular sport? Here are 10 reasons, just off of the top of my head. And if you are saying to yourself, 'Who cares what sports Steve likes?', I would answer, 'Probably no one. But it is my blog. And I am up early on a Saturday and this is what I feel like writing about.' So there.

    Ok, here are 10 reasons why I, (and maybe you too), should quit the NFL for the Premier League:

    1. Soccer has about 3 rules you need to understand in order to appreciate the action. Sure, there are more rules than that, but the essential ones are very few, they are pretty simple, (we teach 4 year olds how to play using these rules), and you can grasp them in about the first 15 minutes of watching a game. American football, and the NFL in particular, has about 3,593 rules, many if not most of them are incredibly complex, vary in their application, and even 'experts' of the game often fail to understand them. NFL football is akin to the worst of governmental or corporate bureaucracies - hopelessly dense, complex, and often unexplainable.

    2. Because of this complexity in the rules, NFL games are interrupted dozens of times (and on EVERY punt or kickoff it seems), by penalty flags, interminable on-field conferences amongst the numerous game officials, and delays in the game for video reviews, often frame-by-frame, of controversial plays. Again, the NFL resembles the worst in big corporations in that the games are really just a few seconds of actual things happening that are interrupted by meetings of paunchy, middle-aged men discussing and attempting to explain what just happened. 

    3. Let's talk about the actual game action then. A Premier League game consists of two 45 minute halves with the clock running constantly, with a few minutes of 'extra' time usually added for injuries and other delays. Add in a 15 minute halftime break, and the normal (meaning EVERY one), Premier League game takes a bit under 2 hours to complete, start to finish. It is a perfect amount of time to dedicate to a sporting event, a movie, a dinner with your in-laws  - pretty much anything. NFL and especially college football games regularly require 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. And for the amount of actual action that occurs in a game, (see Point 4), 3.5 hours for a sporting event is just insane.

    4. It has been estimated that the average NFL game, the game that takes about 3.5 hours to complete, and has 60 minutes of official game time, actually has only between 7 - 8 minutes of action, i.e., where the players are actually PLAYING football. The rest of the time consists of players walking back to the huddle, standing in the huddle, walking back to the ball from the huddle, and waiting for the quarterback to scream a series of incomprehensible commands and making wild gesticulations. The ball is then put into play for a few seconds, (the average NFL play lasts about 7 seconds), and the entire process is repeated. Unless it is interrupted by a penalty flag and a corporate board meeting by the aforementioned old men. Football is 3.5 hours of almost nothing happening.

    5. Premier League soccer (and all soccer really), consists of 90 minutes of almost constant action. There are no 'time outs', there are fewer delays for penalties and fouls. When there is a foul the one on-field referee in charge makes the decision, and the ball is put back into play quickly. There are no meetings to talk about the fouls, there are no lengthy delays to 'check the video replay', and there are no 'coaches challenges' like in American football. Soccer realizes, correctly, that it is a GAME, and not every tiny decision needs to be examined under a electron microscope.

    6. While the rest of this post is a little cheeky, this point is pretty serious. While injuries happen in all sports, and sometimes they are serious injuries, for the most part soccer at all levels is much, much safer than football. Despite all the advances in protective equipment, the nature of football leaves almost EVERY player injured at some point. While NFL players are grown men, and are compensated well to accept these risks, the culture of American football extends much further into society, where the participants are neither grown men or compensated at all for these risks. This season alone 7 high school football players have died from direct football related injuries. Read that again. SEVEN high school kids have DIED from playing football. I find it incredible that 99.9% of American society is ok with that. 

    7. In the US, Premier League games (that last a total of 2 hours like I mentioned), are played in the morning across all US time zones. That means you can wake up early, take in a couple of matches, and still be free by Noon or so to do whatever it is you SHOULD be doing on the weekend instead of sitting on the sofa watching sports. You can get your fill of game action and still not be a jerk to your family or friends who don't care about your fantasy team and want you to be an actual contributing member of society on Saturdays and Sundays, and not some loser who is constantly checking his phone to see how many receiving yards Odell Beckham Jr. has racked up. 

    8. The match commentators for the Premier League games are exceedingly better and more entertaining than their NFL counterparts. Premier League commentators use words like 'comprehensive' and 'beguiling' and describe players with phrases like 'He is a wily campaigner'. NFL game analysts mostly like to talk about what team coaches said to them in meetings the day before the game. When NFL commentators try to move past the obvious 'The team that makes the least mistakes will win today', and get into the intricacies of the game action, 'Tampa rolled their high safety over to the weakside to guard against the naked bootleg action from Seattle', almost no one watching the game has any idea what they are talking about.

    9. And speaking of TV coverage, in the US anyone with a decent cable sports package has access to EVERY SINGLE Premier League game on LIVE. Every game is on TV. In the NFL, America's most popular sport, the only way you can get access to every game live on TV is to subscribe to the satellite TV provider DirectTV and order a premium NFL package to get access to all the games live. There are a couple of ways to get access to streams of NFL games as well. But in 2015 the fact that I as a subscriber of Time Warner Cable, one of the largest cable companies in the US, can't order up or subscribe to any NFL game that I would like to see on my TV is absolutely insane.

    10. (I promise this is the last one. If you have made it this far well, bless your heart). The pinnacle of the NFL season, the Super Bowl, is primarily enjoyed by millions not for the actual game, 'Who is playing again?', but for the TV commercials. The actual game is just a side note for the commercials, the halftime show, the endless tweets and columns about which big corporation 'won' the game by having the best TV spot, and the discussions of what kind of plausible excuse can you come up with to call in sick to work the next morning. Aside for the fans of the two teams playing, and the people who have bet on the game, no one really cares which team wins the game. Let's talk more about that Doritos spot instead.

    That is it. I am out. Thanks for indulging me. 

    And by the way, Liverpool 3 - Chelsea 1 - Full Time. Go Reds.

    Happy Halloween.


    Wearable tech at work: Three lessons from the NBA

    The NBA season starts tomorrow!  

    It could not have come soon enough for this NBA junkie. While my beloved Mets have made things interesting with a surprising run to baseball's World Series, I live and breathe for NBA basketball. This is for two reasons primarily. One, the NBA is simply the best, most exciting, most watchable sport there is. And two, basketball provides a tremendous source of insights for all things HR and the workplace - leadership, recruiting, talent management, assessment, compensation, and increasingly - the use of advanced performance analytics for evaluation, talent management, and strategy development.

    Case in point, the increased use of player movement and performance tracking technology to better understand patterns, tendencies, and importantly, fatigue and diminished output/effort in a player. Check this excerpt from a recent piece on the topic from Grantland, From BMI to TMI: The NBA Is Leaning Toward Wearable Tech, then some comments from me after the quote:

    The NBA is putting its own money into the study of wearable GPS devices, with the likely end goal of outfitting players during games, according to several league sources. The league is funding a study, at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, of products from two leading device-makers: Catapult and STATSports.

    The league declined comment on the study. Most teams already use the gadgets during practices, and Catapult alone expects to have about 20 NBA team clients by the start of the 2015-16 season. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants wore Catapult monitors during D-League games last season in an obvious trial run for potential use at the parent league.

    Weighing less than an ounce, these devices are worn underneath a player’s jersey. They track basic movement data, including distance traveled and running speed, but the real value comes from the health- and fatigue-related information they spit out. The monitors track the power behind a player’s accelerations and decelerations (i.e., cuts), the force-based impact of jumping and landing, and other data points. Team sports science experts scour the data for any indication a player might be on the verge of injury — or already suffering from one that hasn’t manifested itself in any obvious way.

    The piece goes on to make some interesting points about how teams can use the devices in a practice setting in order to make decisions about player rest and practice strategy. But since the NBA player's are represented by a union, in-game use of these devices will have to be collectively bargained according to the piece. What can we extrapolate to 'normal' workplaces from the NBA's experiments and experiences with these kinds of wearables?

    I can think of three main things:

    1. Union shop or not, organizations are going to have to take data privacy, usage, and access issues very seriously and head-on. Players that are angling to secure their next contract might not want widespread access to their performance data if it begins to show some performance degradation that might not be apparent to the naked eye. If you want any employee to wear a tracking tool like this, you have got to ensure the 'right' level of privacy and control for your situation.

    2. Your primary use case for wearable tech should be a positive one. And probably your secondary use case as well. If wearables are going to be used to prevent injuries, help workers find efficiencies, or better align tasks to workers, (and even to a specific day or time), then it is likely you will have a better chance at employee adoption of this kind of tech. If employees think your primary goal of these devices is to identify the 'weak links' in the organization in order to apply discipline, (or to weed them out), then the reaction is going to be less-than-enthusiastic. There is already a pretty large 'Big Brother is watching' inherent bias you need to overcome, don't make it worse by treating wearable tech at work like some kind of house arrest ankle bracelet.

    3. Wearable data has to be interpreted in context. Every basketball game is unique. The opponent, the combinations of players on the court, the external conditions, (travel, amount of sleep, diet, etc,), all vary from day-to-day and game-to-game no matter how hard coaches try to have things consistent. Careful analysis of player tracking data and performance has to include and attempt to understand how external factors impact performance. Player tracking data is going to create tremendous amounts of data for team management to analyze - on top of the pretty large data sets they already have been crunching. And when this kind of data is available to every team, the competitive advantage ceases to be simply having the data - the advantage shifts to the organization that is the best and extracting insight from the data.

    I am sure there will be more to unpack as player movement and tracking data becomes more of a mainstream form of analysis, but for now, these are the big takeaways for me.

    I love the NBA. You should too. Everything you need to know about HR an Talent can be learned in 48 minutes a night.

    Trust me... it will be a great season!


    Should you ask for a 1200% raise?

    Hey it's October!  The best month of the year by far. If you don't believe me, check out Months, ranked and get up to speed.

    So happy October. 

    Hey question for you career-minded folks or for those of you who might sit on the other side of the compensation table, making decisions about comp offers, raises, and bonuses for your teams.

    Should you (or anyone) ever have the gumption to ask for a 1200% raise?

    Sounds kind of ridiculous in the land of 3% annual salary increases, (maybe 4% if you are a 'top performer'), and with organizations continuing to do everything they can to resist the inevitable upward pressure on wages that an improving economy with falling unemployment will drive.

    But 1200% of a pop? You would have to be really confident to make that kind of a salary demand.

    Why is that particular figure on my mind?

    From reading recent piece on Business Insider, Vikings part ways with their mascot after he demanded a 1200% raise.

    From the piece:

    Ragnar, the Vikings' unofficial mascot, and his motorcycle have been a fixture at Minnesota Vikings games for over two decades, but that appears to be over as the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on a new contract.

    Ragnar, whose real name is Joe Juranitch, was seeking a new contract that would pay him $20,000 per game, according to Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. That would translate to an annual salary of $200,000 for eight regular season and two preseason games, and an increase of more than 1,200% from his previous pay of "about $1,500 per game" last season.

    I have never been to a Vikings home game, so I am really not too sure what exactly Ragnar brought to the table, and particularly what he thought would be worth about $5,000/hour (game lasts about 3 hours, add 1 hour for pre and post game work). But it is pretty clear from the way the Vikings basically responded to this demand with a 'Thanks Ragnar, it's been really nice working with you. Good luck!' that Ragnar had severely overestimated his value and his leverage.

    What can us normals take away from this little viking adventure, even if we are just trying to secure a reasonable bump, say 10% or so?

    1. Have some idea of how much actual value, (revenue, increased customer retention, tangible cost savings, etc.), we are directly responsible for creating. 

    2. Have some idea how painful it would be to the company if we actually walked out when our crazy demands were not met.

    3. Have some idea of the market more generally for folks who do what we do.

    Our pal Ragnar pretty much failed on all accounts. He likely did not generate any appreciable revenue for the team. Even though his Facebook page was full of comments from fans expressing support and anger towards the team, it would take an enormous stretch of believability to conclude that any actual fans would refuse to attend games due to his absence. 

    He also didn't really grasp that the games would carry on pretty much unaffected once he was no longer a part of the show. The team preparation certainly would not be affected. His absence actually would create less work not more for the game day operations staff. In fact, other than the small number of fans who missed his performance at the game, everyone else lives got a little bit easier.

    Finally, there is almost no chance that Ragnar surveyed the landscape of professional sports mascots to come up with market comparables that led him to make a $20K per game demand. If team mascots were really pulling down anywhere near that kind of scratch, there would be line hundreds of people long to try out for those gigs. More than likely, one of Ragnar's buddies got into his head that he was somehow underpaid and under appreciated, (and that he was WAY more important to the product than he was).

    Look, I get wanting to make every last dollar you can. We are probably all underpaid for the amount of crap we have to put up with. But the key question is knowing just how much you are really underpaid, and making sure you are honest about your value, how replaceable you are, and your ego.

    Happy October.