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April 4, 2012

The Last Baltimore Orioles World Series Title

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The power of relationships can’t be overlooked.  If you want to do business more than once, relationships make all the difference.  Of course you can be a hit-and-run negotiator by making one deal with somebody that squeezes them for all their worth, but then they will never want to come back and make another deal.  If you make WIN-win negotiations and build bonds, great things can happen in the future.

With baseball’s Opening Day beginning tomorrow, we thought it would be a good idea to share a story about the hometown Orioles and their last World Series championship.  Hopefully they’ll be able to bring another championship back to Baltimore in the near future.

The following is an excerpt from the book “The Power of NICE” by Ron Shapiro, Mark Jankowski, and Jim Dale.  Ron’s story shows how special relationships and bonds between players and management in 1979 helped the Baltimore Orioles win the World Series four years later.

The Orioles fell one game short of winning the World Series in 1979.  It was a team that had all the makings of a World Series winner, if the players could be kept together.  But keeping a team of that caliber together during the dawning of free agency was a real challenge.  Hometown heroes were leaving daily for big bucks in other markets.  It so happened, in the rarest of situations, I represented 15 members of that team.  We had negotiated very hard for every one of them, but we and our clients, also tried to understand the other side, the team.

So, when it came time to renegotiate contracts, how many of the players opted to leave Baltimore for greener pastures?  How many did the Orioles decide just weren’t worth the price?  None.  Eddie Murray, Ken Singleton, Rich Dauer, Scott McGregor, Doug DeCinces, Rick Dempsey, Dennis Martinez, among others, all stayed.  They each achieved WIN-win.  They stayed with the team and in the town they wanted and got paid market or near-market value.  That was, and is, unprecedented in modern sports.  It wasn’t because one side caved into the other.  It was because bonds had been made, relationships had been built and deals had been made that lead to more deals.

In 1983, the heart of the team was there and that team won the World Series.  It was a long-term dividend of the Power of Nice.

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