Ah, owners. We love to bash them, and we love to blame them for all our team’s ills. It’s true, it is their money, unless it comes to building new stadiums, then it’s usually our money.
There have been some great owners in sports through the years. We’ve just not heard much about them. That’s the rub. The good owners work behind the scenes, letting people who know how to run teams do their jobs. Most of the bad owners are in the spotlight, making public decisions. Again, it is their money, after all.
So, here’s to the bad sports owners! They do make it fun being sports fans. If not for them, we’d have to just boo someone else.
5.) Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys
Okay, so I’m a Redskins fan. Even though, this one is not an easy decision. Jones has certainly brought the Cowboys into the new era. However, his stand against revenue sharing has not made him popular with other owners, and the fact he was also involved in having Bobby Petrino jumping from the Falcons to Arkansas, probably does not make him a favorite with Arthur Blank. Although, in hindsight, having Petrino leave the Falcons was a good thing. Let face it, “America’s Team” has won only three Super Bowls since he bought the team, and two of those were against the Buffalo Bills, for crying out loud. Plus, and this should seal the deal, he fired Tom Landry and Tex Schramm!
4.) James Dolan, New York Knicks
The Cablevision and MSG boss also has plundered his Knicks into mediocrity. His great decisions have included hiring Isaiah Thomas and Larry Brown as head coaches, signing Alan Henderson to a mega-flop deal and letting Jeremy Lin, the most popular and visible player in decades, be traded to the Houston Rockets. According to New York Magazine, he was even in a battle with his own father on business deals. Dolan does not speak to the media often. He let’s his press releases do his talking, and that, of course, has made him hated among those honorable people known as the New York media. Will the Knicks ever return to glory under Dolan? Odds are, no. When Dolan was involved in a 2007 sexual harassment lawsuit, former NBA Commissioner David Stern told ESPN, “They’re [the Knicks] not a model of intelligent management. There were many checkpoints along the way where more decisive action would have eliminated this issue.”
3.) Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins
One of my dream jobs is becoming the radio play-by-play guy of the Redskins. I guess by listing Snyder here, I’ve taken myself out of the running. However, the Redskins have never been the same since the death of Jack Kent Cooke, and every Redskins fan knows it. They have had eight head coaches in 16 seasons, including a failed Steve Spurrier experiment. Ouch! Many die-hard Redskins fans (count me in) feel that the popularity of the team has declined under his leadership. However, I do applaud Snyder for defending the team’s nickname. He has defended the name against the phony, silly outcry from leftists everywhere by telling USA Today: “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple.” Boy, do I long for the 80’s when it comes to my team.
2.) Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles
Angelos, a long-time ambulance-chasing lawyer in Maryland, bought the team in 1993. Since that time the Orioles, one of the most successful teams in the American League during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, have done…nothing. Tom Verducci wrote a scathing article about the management style of Angelos for Sports Illustrated way back in 2001. Although the team’s fortunes have improved since then, the fact that he and his sons ran the club like a fantasy league baseball team early on is still weighing heavy on this once proud franchise. However, letting baseball people run the club, like GM Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter has led to a turn around in Baltimore. Why has Cal Ripken never been offered a job by the Orioles, and why did the team lose Jon Miller, one of the best radio broadcasters in the game? All reports and signs point to Angelos. Here’s a note for you: reports says Angelos beat out Jeffrey Loria to buy the Orioles back in 1993. Which leads us to number one….
1.) Jeffrey Loria, Miami Marlins
Loria is an art dealer who first bought a minor league team. By 1993, he became the sole owner of the Montreal Expos. When he battled the city to build a new stadium (and lost), he worked out a deal to have MLB buy the Expos and then he bought the Florida Marlins! His meddling has been legendary in South Florida. In 2013, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that Loria demanded that the Marlins flip-flop pitchers in a doubleheader because of weather. The switch of Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco went against the set rotation and got quite a few people ticked off. He also hired Ozzie Guillen and that alone should put him on this list. Loria did get a new stadium built in Miami, which is a great upgrade from Joe Robbie/Pro Player/Dolphins/Land Shark/Sun Life Stadium. (Did I miss a name of the stadium?) However, no one comes to the games at the new Marlins Park, and seemingly never will. Get ready for Loria to work a deal for the Marlins to move elsewhere… if he can swing it.
So there you have it. I am sure you have a few names to add to the list.
But here’s the good news. The best owner in sports is still to come. When I win the Powerball, I am going to buy the Atlanta Braves from Liberty Media. Then, let the winning begin! ;D