Worst Owners in Sports

How hard is it to be the owner of a professional sports team? Well... that's a tricky question. Owning the team and running the team are two different things. Strangely enough... owners who keep their mitts off their teams are generally well liked. Go figure!

Lets look at some of the recent WORST owners from major market teams...

Al Davis, Oakland Raiders (R.I.P.) - Al Davis likes upsetting grown men who like to dress up like they are members of the band KISS. Davis made a habit of moving his franchise up and down the coast of California over his tenure. That... I can't speak to. Trying to find the best market for your club is definitely in the realm of an owners purview. Drafting players and making trades is not. Al Davis made moves that have kept the Raiders from being a threat for years. Now that they have Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden (Not to mention a defense that isn't a COMPLETE joke...) they can crawl out of the cellar. That is if Al Davis doesn't insist on making decisions from beyond the grave.

Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles - What do Derek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada and Cal Ripken Jr. have in common? They all played for the Orioles past their prime. Unlike Cal Ripken Jr.: Lee, Tejada and Guerrero all were into their declining years when they arrived. Most people point to Peter Angelos. Now... I sorta feel for Mr. Angelos as he's in the AL East and it is just about the hardest division in all of sports to be relevant without being from Boston or wearing pin-stripes. So... in an effort to be relevant he's gone out and made questionable signings of players past their primes.

Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins - Virginia is Redskins country. They are a much loved team who's ownership seems dedicated to making life difficult. There is a long string of names of players brought in who had issues or question marks and a very small list of players who managed success in Washington. There is also more than one case where things became a media circus because of the WAY the ownership handled things.

James Dolan, New York Knicks/New York Rangers - Dolan is probably my pick for worst owner in sports. He's been the reason the Knicks went from the hottest ticket in New York to a ticket you couldn't give away. However, recently... he seems to have figured out that he needs to keep out of things. The Knicks have Amare and Carmello... the Rangers have Lundquist and fans care. I still think that Dolan is too concerned with hiring his friends and not concerned enough with making his teams win.

Charles Wang, New York Islanders - So... hitching your team to the star of a great goalie isn't the worst idea in hockey. HOWEVER!!! Rick DiPietro is not a great goalie and has spent most of his time being hurt. Beyond that... a 15 YEAR DEAL?!? What? Really? I'm sorry but that is just CRAZY!

Frank McCourt, Los Angeles Dodgers - McCourt's biggest issue is his divorce which financially sank the Dodgers. In terms of managing the team, they haven't done SUCH an awful job. They haven't done such a good job either.

Now Consider the Wilpon's Crimes...
  • They're Dodger Fans
  • They've Cut Payroll Below New York Standards
  • They've Disparaged Their Own Players
  • They've Alienated Fans
  • They've Bungled Media Relations
  • They Were Fooled by a Swindler
  • Or They ARE Swindlers
  • They're Seen as Cheap
  • They Are in REAL Jeopardy of Losing Their Marquee Players
The Interesting Case of Jeffrey Loria, Florida Marlins - Now... a guy who makes the WORST owner lists in almost every internet article is also a guy who I believe knows how to make a team win championships. Jeffrey Loria builds a team from the ground up. When he sees an opening, he takes it, and aggressively goes after free agents to drive at a World Series. Look at this coming season. He's got some major talent on the field: Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton, Gaby Sanchez etc... He's got some serious talent in the rotation with: Josh Johnson and Anibal Sanchez. Now... he's courting players like Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols and others to try and win another ring. Should he get his targets he probably will. AND... with a new stadium... maybe he won't have to start rebuilding the season after.


David Groveman said...

So much for my job with SNY...

Mack Ade said...

you're in good company...

Anonymous said...

Wilpon's Crimes? Most of these are how YOU see it. Your perception and, granted, a lot of other people's too, but let's take a look at a few:

They're Dodger Fans? Ridiculous. It's not a "crime" to grow up a Dodger fan. Lot of good people did. You better believe Wilpon is a Met fans now – he’s got everything riding on it.

Cut Payroll below NY Stds? Don't know what that standard is - but the payroll was and is inflated with huge, bad contracts they wrote to bring “marquee” players to the NY market. Which brings us to the "cheap" thing you mention. What's "cheap" about a $140 million payroll? They’re “seen” as “cheap”.
Again, a perception, one I don’t “see” at all. What they got is a problem with their books that needs to be fixed. It’s not a character issue.

They're in jeopardy of losing their Marquee players? So are the Cardinals, Phillies, Brewers, Rangers etc. Are their owners criminal too?

I know these comments will piss off a lot of folks in Met world. I’ve been a fan since ’62 – and I pay close attention to what goes on in that world. I don't love the Wilpons, but I think (my perception) they get slammed more than they deserve.

Fire away.

Mack Ade said...

how do you fire away at an anonymous person?


Anonymous said...

Biggest pussy around.

Charles said...

anonymous people are pussies that are not aloud to have opinions, or at least share them. Get a name, then an opinion!

Michael S. said...

Being a Dodger fan isn't a crime, but trying to change the franchise you currently own INTO the Dodgers is. The Wilpons' handling of the Mets as their Baby Dodgers is a slap in the face to Mets fans and provides the rest of the league ANOTHER reason to look at them as a joke.

I don't think that the Wilpons are cheap, I think they're LAZY. They provide the money to sign one big name and think the job is finished. No effort is made to invest in scouting and development. They're pound foolish, thats their real mistake, not being cheap.

Michael S. said...

Also, Phlavio said "REAL" jeopardy of losing their players...he even put the word in all caps to make sure the difference was noted. Other teams are always in some jeopardy of losing their marquee players, however it's usually because their payroll is already high and they have to make tough decisions. The Mets' payroll is already low by big-market standards and they likely can't keep Reyes and maybe not Wright. The other teams have tough decisions to make; in this case, the Mets are a JOKE.

Mack Ade said...

The Mets will not be in the financial position to make any hard decisions for at least the enxt three years, or when a new owner comes in.

Othr than that... steak knives.

Michael S. said...

Mark Cuban

IEB said...

The name is Ira and I live in White Plains, NY. Ask around if you really want to find me. I'll buy you a beer.

I get it - the disgust with the Mets as a franchise. I'm disgusted too - but there's lots of reasons other then the Wilpons why they suck. I think they HAVE tried to put a product out there - but failed and now it's a mess that needs to be cleaned up.

But, I'm also really optimistic about the talent they have....

David Groveman said...


I think Mack, Charles and Michael S defended me pretty well. I would have responded but I was in transit to upstate NY.

Dodger Fans: Is it a crime to have an owner be a fan of another team? No. The Wilpons aren't fans of the L.A. Dodgers anyway, but they ARE fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers and it felt to ME that they were trying to make the team feel more like the Dodgers with the new stadium, and the Jackie Robinson rotunda.

FYI: If all of the Wilpon's eggs were with the Mets, the league would have taken the team away. An owner needs more investment property than a team alone to hold a team in this league.

I consider $100 Mil to be the poverty line for major market teams. If your payroll is below $100 Mil and you are in New York, Boston, Philly or L.A. you are doing something WRONG. I'll be thrilled with a $140 Mil payroll as that would ENSURE Reyes and others had been signed.

The Mets are in REAL Jeopardy of losing their players for several reasons:

1) They are at or nearing free agency. (Not ownership's fault)

2) The team lacks funds because the owners invested in a ponzi scheme.

3) The owners went on the public record bad mouthing their own stars.

There is a bit of a difference between the Mets losing Reyes and the Cardinals losing Pujols.

Now, I respect what you've said and how long you've been a fan but I think I've adequately refuted your points.

IEB said...

Phlavio - Yes, you have adequately refuted my points and I respect what you've said as well (and will continue to follow your posts).

If we were all in 100% agreement
on everything the world would probably end, or something.

Mack's Mets © 2012