retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

If there is a deadly sin in the world of retailing - or in any business - it is uttering the phrase, "Because we've always done it that way."

Well, the Wall Street Journal has a piece this morning about the New York Yankees - ordinarily, a team that I would only reference with the kind of derision and grudging respect for decades of achievement that can come from a dedicated and longtime New York Mets fan - that illustrates fresh and original thinking.

The Yankees, you see, have adopted an unusual approach to spring training - players are told not to be on the field until 11:30 am, hours later than pretty much every other team. Players are told to stay in bed, to get more sleep. "Scott Kutscher, a clinical assistant professor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, led a study, presented in 2013, that found that players’ plate discipline generally declines over the course of the season, a fact he and his colleagues attributed to fatigue," the Journal writes. "He said that the traditional early-morning spring-training regimen makes little sense, since it ostensibly exists to help players prepare for a season in which a majority of games take place at night. From a physiological standpoint, players can be expected to peak both mentally and physically later in the day rather than earlier, meaning teams should practice accordingly."

And yet, the Yankees are the only team adopting this adjusted schedule. Other teams do things the way they've always been done ... apparently for no other reason than that's the way things always have been done.

It is a great example of original thinking. It isn't necessarily a big thing, but it may be an important thing ... baseball has a long season, and as Crash Davis says in Bull Durham, the difference between good and great can be found in the little things, the ground ball that one runs out and turns into an infield hit. Perhaps, the Yankees think, that will be because one had a few hours extra sleep months earlier.

It is an Eye-Opener.
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