Careful with that Dream Team

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So Mayor Bob Duffy adds Carlos Carballada to his administration. Put that name next to Tom Richards and Patty Malgieri.

Duffy says that sews up an impressive line-up – what he has no problem calling his "dream team."

That’s a sports analogy. The original derivation of "Dream Team" comes from the first summer Olympic Games that allowed professionals. The year was 1992. The sport was basketball. The U.S. put a team on the court with players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley. They beat teams by an average of 44 points a game. They lived up to the hype.

The term "Dream Team" continued as a moniker for the U.S. basketball team in subsequent Olympic Games. But by 2004 and the Athens Olympics – the star-studded lineup wasn’t blowing away the opposition. In fact, they lost three games and took home a Bronze Medal. The performance failed to measure up to the talent on paper.

Looking great on paper has been the downfall of a great many sports teams hyped as "dream teams." Look at the Yankees over the past few years – trotting out big names like Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Randy Johnson. They haven’t won it all in six years. I’m a New York Mets fan. I remember in 2002, the Mets brought big name players such as Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn and Tom Glavine to a team that had been slumping. This was a going to be a big boost. Instead they were a bust. Some of these players were hurt. Some had seemingly lost their skills. Some had lost a desire.

So when Mayor Duffy tells us that he’s assembled a "dream team" for Rochester. That’s a better analogy than he might have thought.

On paper – the names look great. But Rochester has a great many hurdles to overcome. The city has to make tough choices and sell them. The city has to take some chances – and be smart enough to know which risks are worth the gamble. 

It’s great to look at a locker room full of proven stars before the game starts.

Of course, what matters is what they do on the field. That’s where "Dream Teams" live up to the billing – or become nightmares.