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We know McCourt and Wilpon are awful, but where does your team’s owner rank?

May 25, 2011, 5:40 PM EDT

Ted Turner manager

Over at ESPN.com, Jim Caple decided to rank Major League Baseball’s owners from 1-30 with a little explanatory blurb.  You won’t be shocked to find Frank McCourt at the bottom and Fred Wilpon in the 29th position.

But what about the others? And for that matter, what makes an owner good anyway?  Is it just winning? If so, why are the Steinbrenners fourth?  Is it about making commitments to star players and exciting the fan base? If so, why are the Rockies’ owners so far down the list?

Personally I think Caple reveals a fairly coherent and at least defensible system by the time he’s all said and done, but there is clearly a lot of subjectivity to it all, as any list ranking this kind of thing must have.

And of course there is nothing more subjective than a fan’s feeling about his or her own team’s owners.  For instance, here’s Caple’s blub on the Braves:

13. Liberty Media, Atlanta: CEO Terry McGuirk isn’t exactly Ted Turner. Not that there is anything wrong with that at all.

Says you, Jim.  Ted may be unhinged, but dad gummit, the Braves won a World Series when he was in the owner’s box. And broadcast their games all over the damn country, growing the fan base.  Even when they lost, the product was a lot of fun, both for intentional and unintentional reasons.  I’m assuming that, these days, Turner is walking around the half of Montana that he owns, thinking up crazy schemes that will never see the light of day, but I’d give my right arm for him to be running the Bravos at the moment.

See how that works?

  1. jamie54 - May 25, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Cool. BTW is this the same (yes) Craig Calcaterra who on occasion appears on SNR Overnight Takeover? Catch the very end when Harris, the host (really, really good, lots of enthusiasm and knows his stuff) thanks CC for appearing. I never catch your spot, any podcasts available?

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM

      That is me. I don’t do a podcast, though.

      • jamie54 - May 25, 2011 at 6:28 PM

        Nah just wondered if SNR podcasts your spots. Thanks Craig, you’re doing good work here.

  2. baseballstars - May 25, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    As bad as Daniel Snyder is, Wilpon and McCourt are worse. Sure, Snyder is incompetent, but at least he can meet payroll.

  3. The Rabbit - May 25, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    Re: Ted Turner and Braves ownership
    You know, Craig, I’m waiting for you to write something with which I disagree. I think that if Turner currently owned the Braves, he’d find a way to make the team exciting and the games more accessible to those of us who are “out of market”.
    If nothing else, I’d hope we’d have something better than Chip Caray.

  4. Old Gator - May 25, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    I see that Scrooge McLoria has ascended to 25th, which is reasonable in lieu of the disasters in Flushing and Chavez Ravine, the opening up of the wallet to Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and (jury out on the wisdom of this) John Buck. On the other hand, the stadium rankings are pretty silly. A stadium where you can get your brains beaten into geflte fish jelly in the parking lot at four, and the ugliest, most inconveniently situated dump in baseball at ten. Majestic, forlorn Joeprodolsharklife Stadium doesn’t even rate. Why? Because the clubhouse still smells of jock itch medication for months after football season ends?

    • jwbiii - May 25, 2011 at 7:30 PM

      I’ll guess that Caple rates one stadium per column and Joeprodolsharklife Stadium will be rated eventually. I’ll also guess that Juicebox East and SomeTechCo.com will stay at the bottom. Unless he is a rotund man and actually tries to sit in a seat in Fenway.

    • baseballstars - May 25, 2011 at 8:32 PM

      ESPN had a stadium ranking system years ago that was entertaining but VERY flawed. The price of a hot dog was on equal points as the price of a ticket, or parking, or aesthetic appeal… I’m almost positive Caple was part of the ranking system, in between his bashing of the Cleveland Indians for their team name/logo. He may have been using that ranking system.

  5. natstowngreg - May 25, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Don’t have a problem with the Lerners at #18, though I’d put an up arrow next to it.

    A couple of years ago, they would have ranked much lower, as they showed reluctance to spend bucks to improve the team.

    Now, they have a spiffy new ballpark (though the Lerners created ill will by refusing to pay the rent for a while) in a wealthy market, and they have shown willingness to give Mike Rizzo the resources — not only for players but for front office support — to improve the team.

    The payroll may be the same as in 2006, but I suspect it’s trending up, not down. And if you’re keeping to a budget, you don’t overpay Jayson Werth.

    BTW, it’s unfortunate there is no #31 for Peter Angelos.

    .

  6. ThatGuy - May 25, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Pohlads are to high, any owner that volunteers to be contracted should never be top 20. 10 years of owning a winning team don’t make of for that.

    • jwbiii - May 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

      That guy died two years ago. His sons run the team now.

      • vikesfansteve - May 25, 2011 at 11:22 PM

        You guys forgot all the people he foreclosed on to get all his $

  7. mrznyc - May 25, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Not only are the Wilpons at the bottom of the owners rankings – The Temple to all things Dodger he built in Queens is an affront to any true Met fan – This senile old fart lived out his teenage wet dream of bringing the Dodgers back to New York and did it on the tax payers dime – He’s an idiot and a crook and the sooner he’s gone the better.

    • simon94022 - May 25, 2011 at 9:45 PM

      I wonder what Joan Payson and Bill Shea would have thought about the weird Dodger focus at CitiField. They created the Mets mainly to replace their beloved NY Giants, and a partial nod to the Brooklyn tradition (blue in the uniforms) was basically an afterthought.

  8. roycethebaseballhack - May 25, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    Outstanding article by Caple. And he even makes a reference to the Early Letterman Show, featuring Killabrew. Talk about obscure references, but I recall watching that with my brother. It was completely awesome.

  9. micker716 - May 25, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    I’d rate Moorad even a little lower than 19th. I’m sure he’s good baseball guy, but being over-financed and under-capitalized is not a recipe for success.

  10. APBA Guy - May 26, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Having Wolfe/Fisher at 17 is obviously ridiculously high given Oakland’s descent under his stewardship, until you start looking at how bad the other owners are that float Wolfe above them.

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