Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You don't own me; A Ridiculously inconsistent poll

Tampa Bay has been the home of champions as well as some of the all time, bottom-of-the-toilet worst teams in the history of sports. That second part doesn't happen without some terribly inept people in charge. With the latest squabble over the fastest way to destroy a hockey team between the knuckleheads who bought the Lightning a mere year ago turning into a tawdry reality show ("Oren & Len Minus Brain"), now seems like as good a time as any to evaluate just who the worst of the worst is. We're only concentrating on the three major league franchises that currently exist in Tampa Bay. The Rowdies and Mutiny and every fly-by-night minor league basketball, hockey, softball, senior league baseball or roller hockey gimmick that passed through here are all long gone, so their sins are absolved. The Bucs, Lightning and Rays are still around to figure out new ways to torment us. While most organizations are owned by groups or consortiums, we'll be voting on their primary figureheads. Because it's easier and more fun to pick on individuals. You'll find the poll itself in the side bar over there to the right. Vote early, vote often. Here are your candidates...


The Dark - The 0-26 start which was the cornerstone in establishing a new standard of shitty was just an opening act. He also ran Doug Williams out of town, drafted Bo Jackson after Bo said he'd never sign (he didn't), drafted a whole bunch of guys who should have never signed an NFL contract (they did) and hired Leeman Bennett and Ray Perkins, going so far as to dub Perkins "my Lombardi".
The Bright - The orange uniforms. My oh my, talk about bright.


The Dark - Threatened to move the team as a negotiating ploy to get a new stadium with a lease that ensures that virtually every penny that enters that stadium at least passes through his fingers if not winding up in his pocket. That lease makes it extremely difficult for other stadium tenants (like the now departed Mutiny and the University of South Florida) to generate any revenue.
The Bright - For all his penny pinching, he's never been reluctant to spend money on the team. As a result, the Bucs are usually at least competitive and won Superbowl XXXVII in 2003.


The Dark - The Kaiser Söze of professional sports owners, he might not even exist. In spite of being the principal owner of an NHL franchise, not one person in the NHL head office, including a league president and commissioner, ever met him. Another of Okubo's enterprises was Kokusai Green, a company that manages golf courses in Japan, although an investigative report by Sports Illustrated revealed that nobody had ever heard of them, including the Japanese Pro Golf Association.
The Bright - $50 million in cash up front and voila! NHL hockey in Tampa Bay!


The Dark - Had no clue what he was getting himself into...until he was neck deep in it, which resulted in him selling the team (for $2 million less than he paid for it) only nine months after he bought it. King of the catchphrase, he might not have been the first person to rhyme "stud" with "dud", but he seemed to think he was.
The Bright - He infused the franchise with enough cash to keep it from sinking forever and was at the helm when Vincent Lecavalier was drafted and signed.


The Dark - Choosing to operate almost exclusively from way up in Detroit, he never showed much interest in the Tampa Bay community or the team itself as anything other than an investment, which didn't give fans a warm and fuzzy feeling...
The Bright - However, winning the Stanley Cup in 2004 sure did.


The Dark - Pulling a Doug Williams on all star defenseman Dan Boyle was the first step in putting together an expensive roster comprised almost entirely of forwards who couldn't score. He followed up that brilliance when he hired Barry Melrose after 13 years away from coaching, fired him after 16 games back, charged employees to park and then fired over 60 of those employees after a season that produced the fewest wins in the NHL, including the team mascot.
The Bright - Hasn't traded Lecavalier...yet. Also, has nice hair.


The Dark - Hoo boy. Just about everything the Devil Rays did under Naimoli's regime was a massive failure, either through bad luck (freak injuries that derailed the careers of promising players like Tony Saunders and Josh Hamilton) or bad planning (The Hit Show). The team finished last every year. A walking PR nightmare, his gruff manner put off fans, sponsors and media alike. People hated almost everything about this team, including the name.
The Bright - How about the fact that he succeeded where many, many, many had failed before in that he got Tampa Bay a damn team, and by extension, the whitest elephant St. Petersburg had ever seen, now known as Tropicana Field, a viable tenant?


The Dark - It's only a matter of time, and the clock is ticking, before he REALLY starts squawking about wanting a new ballpark, for which we (fans, residents, taxpayers) are going to have to pay a sizable chunk.
The Bright - The 2008 American League Championship was an emphatic exclamation point on a makeover that saw one of the worst franchises in all of professional sports become a model organization.


Ruprecht said...


You scared the living crap outta Rupe!

CLOWNS ... !!!

(.... when Rupe can breathe again, he'll go back and see if he can read the post without hyperventilating ...)

JPFDeuce said...

Gotta defend Davidson.

He got that cup in the 5th year of a 5 year plan initiated in 1999. Also, it would only come to light after his death that Davidson couldn't even get around that well... Thus part of why he rarely attended games in Tampa.

Also: Art Williams did sink a load of capital into the Lightning and saved the team, but lets not forget WHO helped sink Williams -- Phil Esposito. Yeah, Phil went out and bought a bunch of mediocre free agents, looking to contend immediately and went well over his budget signing Ives Racine and Bill Ranford and other cast offs, has beens and never-were's.

Gail said...

Too much sports stuff! Clark! Just be funny without the sports stuff.

The Mayor said...

I'm voting for Oren...well just because it makes me feel better.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing that we've had so many goofball owners in this one medium-sized market? Good roundup