Sports Illustrated released Top 5 best/worst owners lists for all the major sports. Our town’s fabulously represented, though only on the dark side.
First off: Ted Leonsis somehow wasn’t included among hockey’s best. If there’s ever been a more beloved sports owner in this town than Leonsis circa 2009, I can’t remember him.
Hard to believe it’s only been five years since Leonsis was brawling with home fans at Caps game, eh?
But he was. Days after he unloaded Jaromir Jagr and his $11 million salary to the Rangers in January 2004 in the midst of a talent purge, a 20-year-old season ticket holder named Jason Hammer brought a sign to the then-MCI Center that said “Caps Hockey, AOL Stock — See a Pattern?”
Hammer sat among a group of fans heckling the owner, and waved the placard at Leonsis throughout the game. Leonsis got so incited he went after the kid in the concourse after the final horn. The account of the incident in the Washington Post said Leonsis “grabbed [Hammer] by the neck and threw him to the ground.”
The only things wounded during the melee, however, were Leonsis’ public image and his wallet. Leonsis was fined $100,000 and suspended for a week by the NHL, made up quickly with the kid (without any litigation), and the talent purge worked out fabulously for his team: The Capitals went to the bottom of the league gave them the draft pick used to get Alex Ovechkin.
And, once again, Leonsis is beloved. The diehardest New York Rangers fan I know around here has become a Caps fan after, he, too, fell for Leonsis.
How could Sports Illustrated leave Leonsis off the list?
Now to the other side: Dan Snyder came in at No. 3 on roster of bad football owners. Nothing man-bites-dog about that. Snyder is to these shitlists like Meryl Streep is to Oscar nominations. Of COURSE he’s gonna be named! But it’s gotta burn Snyder that Steve Bisciotti from just up I-95 made the “best” list. Kinda mutes the “Give Mr. Snyder time to learn how to be a good owner!” defense.
The Lerners came in at No. 5 among baseball’s worst, but only because they’re new owners. With the non-rent paying, non-draft-pick-signing brilliance they flaunted last season, the Lerners clearly have what it takes to supplant the No. 1 bad guy, Peter Angelos, on future SI polls.
If soccer was considered a major enough sport by Sports Illustrated, DC would have been a cinch for that sport’s lousy owner list, too.
It’s clear now that DC United‘s Victor MacFarlane, a San Francisco-based developer, only bought into the holding group that controls the team so he could get some building deals here.
That ain’t happened yet, and looks like it won’t ever. And United management’s public whining is getting really irksome. Take it inside, guys.
One last SI List bit: Mark Cuban came in as the third best basketball owner in the land. If the SI issue had been published a week later, given what happened in the Dallas/Denver game a few days ago, no way the Mavericks boss makes the cut.
Awesome Trivia about Mark Cuban: He was a massive stockholder in Six Flags, and promoted Snyder’s takeover of the company.
This from BusinessWeek in early 2006, shortly after Snyder’s Six Flags coup:
Another investor, tech billionaire Mark Cuban, is cheering Six Flags almost as loudly as he does his Dallas Mavericks. “They’ve shown they know how to create great entertainment,” Cuban writes about Snyder and [CEO Mark] Shapiro in an e-mail.
Buh huh huh huh…
Happy 30th to Ryan Zimmerman. When you’re chasing DiMaggio, life begins at 30…
Cheerios are in trouble with the federal government. The feds sent General Mills a letter telling them to stop saying in advertising that the cereal “can Lower Your Cholesterol” and can cure cancer.
So how long before The Man goes after Snyder for his latest direct mail campaign to sell tickets? Snyder’s marketing mailer claims season ticket holders can “Resell your tickets at a profit via StubHub for any game you are unable to attend!”
Bah. Not with 91,000 seats and an average of less than 8 wins since Snyder took over in 1999.
Snyder’s ads also say buying season tickets for the Redskins is a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Sure it is…in Opposite Land!
But in the real world, given how demand for Skins tickets has sunk, the only way it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity is if you don’t eat enough Cheerios and your cholesterol level and/or cancer prevent you from sticking around till next season.
The Wizards (remember them?) left an impression on somebody. Or maybe a bruise. An Akron paper praises the noble way Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are winning, while putting forth the Washington Wizards as Goofus to James’ Gallant. James gets kudos for “never resorting” to the roughhouse tactics opponents tried last year, “when DeShawn Stevenson took a vicious swing at James’ head as he went for a layup.”
At least somebody’s talking about the Wizards. Just not around here.
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