|Greediest owners in sports|
From the Page 2 mailbag
Earlier this week, Page 2 listed the 10 greediest owners in sports, and we asked you to send us your choices.
We received more than 1,500 e-mails, and here is how Page 2 readers ranked sports' owners who act the most miserly. Be sure to vote in the poll at right to crown the greediest of them all.
1. George Steinbrenner, New York Yankees (189 letters)
Once a big name is up for grabs, the Yankees come calling, then the asking price doubles or triples, and of course, the Yankees are the only team that can afford the new tag. Many argue that the Yankees' perennial success is due to their home-grown players and a talent pool that is head and shoulders above the rest of the league. Please!
Roger Clemens, Orlando Hernandez, Mike Mussina, Mike Stanton, Jeff Weaver, David Wells, Jason Giambi, Robin Ventura, Raul Mondesi, Rondell White, David Cone, Kenny Rogers, Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez, Darryl Strawberry, David Justice, Jeff Nelson, Scott Brosius, Chuck Knoblauch, Jim Leyritz, and John Vander Wal -- I don't think these players qualify as home grown.
I recall a scene in the movie "Independence Day" where Bill Pullman, playing the president, after being attacked by the alien creature says, "They're like locusts. They travel from planet to planet, their whole civilization. After they've consumed every natural resource they move on. And we're next." That's exactly what the Boss and his Yanks are doing! They travel from team to team, consume every ounce of talent and move on. And we're next!
Steinbrenner's spending habits are extravagant with his own club ... that spending (and subsequent winning) is made possible by his refusal to support league revenue sharing.
Yes, he's done a brilliant job resurrecting the Yankees, and re-establishing them as the pre-eminent sports franchise in the world, but he's winning the battles and losing the war if he winds up with no competition. The game will soon be destroyed or demeaned because others can't compete with his megamillions from YES, adidas, radio rights, etc.
Do the right thing, George. Make it a level playing field and help take this great game back.
While trying to find Steinbrenner's name amongst Page 2's list of greedy sports owners, I noticed that your list is composed primarily of owners who leave their own hometown fans victimized. "The Boss" is of a different greed. He leaves everyone in his wake while he and the Yankee fan-nation continue their selfish desire to acquire more and more -- All-Stars, TV deals, championship banners, you name it.
Wearing four of the last six World Series rings and continuing to demand a world championship year after year, at any expense, puts King George atop any greed list. ... ahhh, I love being a Yankees fan, I wouldn't want any of those selfish owners in charge of my team.
2. Art Modell, Baltimore Ravens (175 letters)
Here in Canton, Ohio, we almost want to see him get elected to the Hall of Fame, just to see what will happen. He could be the first person to get booed off the stage while giving his induction speech -- and he will deserve every bit of it.
The Steelers-Browns rivalry was one of the fiercest in NFL history. Here in Pittsburgh, we absolutely hate Cleveland.
How bad is Art Modell? When the (original) Cleveland Brownies played our Steelers in their last game of existence, I can remember seeing thousands of signs absoultely degrading old Art ... however, that game was played in Pittsburgh, and those weren't Browns fans holding those signs. The man didn't just kill his team and his city, he killed one of the best rivalries in sports. Thanks to him the Steelers-Browns feud is dead.
3. Carl Pohlad, Minnesota Twins (148 letters)
New Hope, Minn.
Pohlad takes the cake. Here's a man who claims poverty and then turns around and buys out a national banking chain for hundreds of millions of dollars. Here's a guy doing everything he can to singlehandedly remove baseball from Minnesota so he can walk with a nice $150 million, contraction profit check from Major League Baseball.
He has tons of money and probably less than five years of life left. The man could help build a stadium and be the hero of Minnesota sports history, but he chooses to keep his money to his decrepit self. What a waste!
4. Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins (143 letters)
To add insult to injury, he spends most of the season at his home offices in Buffalo ... a division rival!!
His apathy not only toward the fans who make him richer, but especially to his players, shows his selfishness at the expense of an upper-echelon team. All this, yet he was able to make contributions to members of both political parties when he was acquiring the concession contracts for various national parks.
It won't be soon enough when he no longer darkens Boston's door and we get an owner more dedicated to winning than ripping us off.
There is this wicked dive bar called "The Penalty Box" across the street from the Fleet Center (Jacobs' boring facility). If he would only go sit there for a few beers (which he probably wouldn't pay for), and listen to what the real people of Boston think of him, he might be persuaded to put a winner on the ice.
If those sticks and stones don't work, maybe the pictures on the walls of the old Boston hockey scene will spark his interest in rekindling a winner ... if neither of these two ideas help -- he isn't human.
5. Bill Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks (99 letters)
South Bend, Ind.
I'm biased, but "Dollar" Bill Wirtz is still the greediest owner. The Tony Amonte situation is the latest example.
Granted, Wirtz built his own stadium without fleecing taxpayers, but he also has control of all the concessions and parking. Yet no money seems to go back into the product fans are there for.
With the Bulls being in decline, Chicago was ripe for the 'Hawks to become more dominant in the sports landscape. Instead nothing has been done to put a better product on the ice, not to mention more exposure (i.e. home telecasts).
The fact that for every home game against Detroit more Red Wing fans are in attendance than 'Hawk fans shows how disinfranchised fans have become.
It can only be Bill Wirtz. I grew up in Chicago, yet never became a hockey fan until I was old enough to go to the bars and watch the games (broadcast through the "other" team's network, of course).
Why? Because the Blackhawks, one of the Original Six and one of the most storied sports franchises ever, did not have a local television deal (and still don't). Being young and untraveled, I assumed that hockey was not very popular and wasn't televised anywhere south of Canada.
Was I naive? Probably. Is Wirtz a jerk for preventing one of the best sports cities in the world from seeing their team? Definitely.
It's because of him that I have no memories nor loyalty to the Blackhawks. I'm still loyal to the Bears and the Cubs, but when it comes to my now-favorite sport, I live and die with the Tampa Bay Lightning ... Wirtz and his Blackhawks can bite me.
6. Bud Selig, Milwaukee Brewers (94 letters)
The Expos, are the biggest joke in baseball. Rather than spending his own millions on making a team out of the ol' brew-crew, Selig is spending baseball's millions to turn the Expos into the neo-Marlins (notice the retro-styled Cliff Floyd deals). Here's a radical idea, move the Brewers to Montreal, maybe even contract them (no loss there) and move the Expos into Milwaukee. No one goes to Brewers games anyway, so they'll be well suited in Olympic Stadium. The suddenly not sucking Expos would have a new park and a larger fan base (people who go to baseball games, not people who live in the city) in Milwaukee, so baseball would make millions on the Expos.
Because even with all his extra cash he still can't buy himself a decent hairpiece.
Bud Selig stars in: "The Grinch who Stole Baseball."
7. The Chicago Tribune Co., Chicago Cubs (77 letters)
The Cubs' 30,000-plus average attendance, coupled with the second best TV revenue in baseball, exorbitant ticket, food and beverage prices aren't enough to satisfy the "suits" at the Tribune Tower who cry "poor," meddle in everyday baseball operations, alienate their absurdly loyal fans and field the cheapest team possible every year.
Where have you gone, Greg Maddux?
8. Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles (58 letters)
Angelos' greed isn't for money -- he's got plenty of that. Instead, he overrules his baseball staff. Look at the free agents who've chosen not to re-sign with the O's since he acquired the team: Mike Mussina, Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, Charles Johnson, Arthur Rhodes ... not to mention play-by-play man Jon Miller and world-class manager Davey Johnson.
He has no partners in his law firm, and obviously feels that he needs no help running a baseball team.
This guy makes Art Modell and Daniel Snyder look like altar boys!
He's given us a new park for the city's beloved Birds (Oriole Park at Camden Yards), but has refused to give money well earned to Robbie Alomar, Rafael Palmeiro and Brady Anderson. ... But he did give Bobby Bonilla tons to sit on his fat patootie and add in no production! Jeez ... just because you made money in the asbestos biz doesn't mean you can't burn your public!
9. Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls (46 letters)
Additionally, he has owned the Chicago White Sox for more than 15 years and has never won anything with them. Many people partially blame his greediness for the 1994 strike that ruined the World Series with his team in first place, and perhaps the best team in baseball that year.
Reinsdorf only gets nominated for the Bulls? What about the magic he's done with the White Sox? He's managed to make two good teams disappear.
Wirtz is definitely a close second, if not an outright tie. And the Tribune Co.?
Well, at least the McCaskey family makes an effort to put a winning team on the field. And here in Chicago, we only care about the Bears anyway. The rest is just filler between seasons.
10. Al Davis, Oakland Raiders (39 letters)
He's moved twice, threatened to move a dozen other times and, amidst everything, he's locked up in ongoing lawsuits against Los Angeles and Oakland-Alameda counties, the Oakland Coliseum Arena Board, the City of Oakland and the NFL which cost those entities hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And the idiot Raider Nation fans have blind allegiance to Big Al's cast of usual suspects in the silver and black. Little do these gang-banging (pun intended given Darrell Russell's "s"excapades) thugs, I mean fans, realize how Al plays with their tax dollars and their hearts cause he has zero allegiance to them and won't bat an eyelash when he decides to increase ticket prices or move the team yet again.
Al's greed is all about his ego and his wallet.
Without a doubt, Al Davis takes the cake. Time and again, he only looks out for the best interests of his team, and forgets about the welfare of the rest of the NFL. While a Jerry Reinsdorf or George Steinbrenner may be greedy, I can't imagine either of them suing their respective leagues in a feeble attempt to put more money in their pockets.
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