MLB Owner Review
May 17th, 2004
Who is the best baseball owner? Who is the worst? Do corporate
ownerships work best? Does a strong ownership group triumph over a one
man show? These are some of the questions I will try to answer over the
next few months as I review the ownership groups of all thirty major league
Not having done a lot of research, I'll start by categorizing the owners
with what I know.
Atlanta Braves - AOL Time Warner/Ted Turner.
Turner recently turned over the Braves to then AOL Time Warner, which
is now Time Warner. However, twelve consecutive division titles says that
Turner/Time at least hired the right man (John Schuerholtz) and stuck
with him. Through most of the '90s they also gave the team a large enough
budget to field a consistent winner, re-sign key free agents, and build
a ball club.
New York Yankees - George Steinbrenner. The
Boss owns the most successful and profitable franchise in baseball. The
Yanks have not always been the profit machine they are now. Steinbrenner
isn't the best owner in baseball, but I'll trade him teams.
Montreal Expos - Major League Baseball. The
worst ownership situation in baseball is clearly the Expos. The conflict
of interest is oozing out of the pores of this triple-A caliber club.
Despite hiring excellent baseball men (Omar Minaya as GM, and Frank Robinson
as manager), baseball has made a bad situation worse. Beginning with their
attempts to contract the Expos (not the worst idea ever), baseball has
done everything it possibly can to alienate the city of Montreal. I have
heard recently that MLB is making progress towards cobbling together an
ownership group for a return to Washington.
Detroit Tigers - Mike Illitch, Pizza man can't
run a ballclub worth a darn. He should sell to Papa John.
Milwaukee Brewers - Bud Selig, I don't like
him. His teams (uh, excuse me, his trust's teams) have been bad. He may
have lied about ballclub finances to get public funding for a stadium.
Heck, he is a used car dealer.
Florida Marlins - Jeffrey Loria. Began running
the Expos into the ground, and then traded for the Marlins. Despite winning
a World Series in his first year (probably more of a reflection on current
Red Sox owner John Henry), Loria has continued threatening to leave if
the state of Florida, and Miami won't publicly finance a new stadium.
San Francisco Giants - Peter McGowan. McGowan
built a fantastic ball park with private money. This speaks of an owner
with a long term interest in his ball club, however letting Dusty Baker
go, and running out of money which caused his near World Series champion
ball club to break up reflects poorly on his regime.
Mariners - The Nintendo guy. The Mariners have
reinvented themselves and turned one of the worst baseball markets into
one of the best. Thing is, I've heard this owner has never come to watch
his team play.
Minnesota Twins - Carl Pohlad. Evil jerk, tried
to let his team get contracted. On the flip side, Pohlad has done a good
job of hiring baseball people, and keeping them around even when struggling.
Streak of three straight playoff trips bumps him onto the Conflicted list
from the evil list.
Texas Rangers - Tom Hicks. Seems like he is
trying hard, but incompetence may simply be his fate. On the otherhand,
post A-Rod success for the Rangers may turn this situation around.
Too Little Time to tell:
Angels - Arte Moreno. Despite throwing millions
of dollars at his new franchise, Moreno's six months or so of ownership
are too soon to tell. Props to him for making the Angels more fan friendly.
Dodgers - Frank McCourt. Now in his third month
of ownership, McCourt didn't get control of the Dodgers early enough to
do anything more than change general managers. We will watch his development
with great interest.
Forbes Franchise Values (MLB)
|New York Yankees
|New York Mets
|Los Angeles Dodgers
|Boston Red Sox
|San Francisco Giants
|St. Louis Cardinals
||B. DeWitt/F. Hanser
||Bud Selig Trust
||B. Giles/D. Montgomery
|Chicago White Sox
|San Diego Padres
||Walt Disney Co.
|Toronto Blue Jays
||S. Schott/K. Hofman
|Kansas City Royals
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays
||Major League Baseball