By Dan Williams @Dan_Wi11iams on April 5, 2014
Professional sports owners have a tough gig -- put together a winning team, or fans will call for your head. While it may be tough, there is a certain science that goes into running a successful sports franchise.
Here is a look at those owners who are failing their fans and giving themselves a bad rap.
The Buss siblings have tough shoes to fill after the passing of their father, Jerry Buss. However, the pair has been inconsistent in carrying out their father's legacy. If the two were smart, they would rely on either the symbol of the franchise, Kobe Bryant, or Jeanie's fiancé, Phil Jackson (even though he's with the New York Knicks) to come up with personnel decisions.
The Baseball Club of Seattle has been running operations for the Seattle Mariners since 1992, but to say ownership has been hands-off since then would be an understatement. Former majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi was notorious for his absenteeism during his tenure; it was reported that before his death in 2013, Yamauchi never attended a game. New CEO Howard Lincoln vowed to turn around the franchise, especially with the signing of Robinson Cano.
Fred Wilpon has been at least partial owner of the New York Mets since 1980. He became majority owner in 2002, but his reign as the head of the Mets has been marred by controversy. Wilpon was involved in multiple ponzi schemes, including Bernie Madoff's. Under Wilpon's ownership, the Mets have only managed one playoff appearance in 2006. Since that time, Wilpon's financials have been closely watched by the MLB.
The Houston Astros have been a staple of futility in MLB the past three seasons, totaling over 100 losses each. Unfortunately for Astros fans, there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency. Jim Crane has stated his belief that TV deals will play a large part in Houston's success. It's sad when an owner believes TV will boost revenue for a team and create success on the field when the key is to have a mixture of entertainment and skill.
Daniel Snyder is no stranger to controversy. He's been the subject of much negativity and Washington Redskins fans have consistently questioned his leadership abilities. In 2008, Snyder alienated fans when he sued season ticket holders for their inability to pay during the recession. Snyder's ways have been widely discussed, and when he vowed to never change the Redskins' name, it was taken as an act of defiance toward Native American heritage.
Unlike other owners on this list, Jim Irsay has done a great job building a winner. Unlike the others, Irsay's non-sports related activities earned him a spot. When you're a billionaire, living life in the fast lane is to be expected, but it also shouldn't be abused. When Irsay was arrested in March for DUI and drug possession, his credibility took a huge hit. Hopefully for the Indianapolis Colts, his illegal acts won't affect their performance.
Cincinnati Bengals fans have been suffering under owner Mike Brown. He has been despised for many issues, including a threat to move the team, his necessity to run football operations, and his loyalty to coaches. Brown has been known to hang onto coaches, even during times of what would be perceived as subpar. Bizarrely, in 2000, Brown instituted a "Loyalty Clause" in which players could be fined for speaking negatively about the franchise.
Although the New York Knicks have a rich history, their recent seasons have been less than stellar. The team posted losing seasons from 2002-10 and made a variety of rash decisions, from the hiring/firing of Larry Brown to sticking with Isaiah Thomas. During this time, former commissioner David Stern denounced the Knicks organization stating "they're not a model of intelligent management."
One quote sums up Charles Wang's ownership of the New York Islanders: "If I had the chance I wouldn't do it again." Wang's ownership has consisted of lucrative television contracts and attempts of building a new stadium and/or selling the team. The team will move into the Barclays Center in 2015, but a change in scenery doesn't guarantee future wins for a team that was sub-.500. It must be hard playing for an owner who doesn't seem committed.
If there were a definition of "awful owner" in the dictionary, Jeffrey JLoria would pose as the picture. In 2012, the Miami Marlins were a new-look team with their own stadium and a plethora of players including Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez. After an unsuccessful 2012, Loria got rid of the All-Stars and it was believed he gave up on the roster. Since then Loria has been known to meddle in Marlins' roster moves and game decisions.
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