Tag Archives: Florida Marlins

The 15 Worst Sports Owners Not Named McCourt or Wilpon

Editor’s Note: This article is a collaborative effort between Dubsism and Ryan Meehan from First Order Historians. Ryan also has his own blog, East End Philadelphia, which is featured in our BlogRoll and it is well worth the read.

Lately, all the attention for bad ownership has been focused on that shithead who owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and the horse-thief who owns the New York Mets. But the fires created by these two douche-nozzles are sucking the oxygen out of a room full of bad owners; these are guys who really should not be slipping under anybody’s radar.

There’s really three main types of owners who are bad for sports. There’s the “only in it for the money” guy, there’s the “I’m the owner so I know everything about this sport” guy, and there’s the “Incompetent and/or Insane” guy. Peruse the following list and remember, some owners may represent more than one type.

15) Jeremy Jacobs, Boston Bruins

This pick may be hard to understand considering the Bruins just won the Stanley Cup, and a great deal of you don’t give a rat’s ass about hockey. However, that recent victory still doesn’t hide the fact that for most of his nearly 40 years of ownership, the Bruins have had one of the lowest payrolls in the league despite the fact Boston is a Top 10 market. This would be like buying the best strip club in town and filling it with chicks who look like Tim Tebow.

It also helps to remember that before 2009, the Bruins went for a decade without winning a playoff series, largely because even when Jacobs had stars like Ray Bourque or Cam Neely, he never put enough of a supporting cast around them to make the team a winner.  In other words, Jacobs is the first on this list of what will prove to be a long line of cheapskate assholes.

14) Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Fucking Jones…where do we start?  The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, and we’ve all had  that “America’s Team” bullshit rammed so far down our throats that little brown drops of it land in our shorts every time we sneeze.

We are convinced that at least half of all currently worshipped deities hate the Cowboys because the Gods keep fucking with them. You know they were sitting around in some big “God” club drinking whatever “God” type dudes drink laughing their collective “God” asses off when Tony Romo fumble-dicked that extra point hold against the Seahawks a few years back. The best part was that was a year where the NFC was weaker than no-alcohol beer as hell and the Cowboys were flying down the E-Z Pass lane toward the Super Bowl until Romo slammed the bus into the toll booth.

Even though they have tons of moments like that in their history, nobody ever seems to remember the Cowboys haven’t won shit in 15 years. That’s pretty much Jerry’s fault. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones has a long track record of making some of the stupidest decisions (Dave Campo, Chan Gailey, and Wade Phillips for openers…) because he IS the front office. Nobody ever seems to remember Jones is a megalomaniac who has a thirst for power rivaled only by Kim Kardashian’s thirst for B-grade jock spooge.

That amnesia on Jerry Jones completely escapes me since sports fans hate him more than groin kicks and flat beer combined. He’s the perfect guy for blue-collar America to hate because blue-collar America loves to blame all its problems on big money businessman, especially if they are obnoxious Texans who own sports teams.  Its like he’s a drunker, louder version of George W. Bush.

Bush gets blamed for everything from male pattern baldness to the terribly high lesbian ratio in the LPGA, yet Jones gets a free pass for screwing up the Super Bowl by selling tickets to seats that were not usable.  Plus, it’s a nuclear-powered level of hilarious that he worked his spotted, flabby ass off to get the Super Bowl in his very own building only to watch his team leave their season floating in the locker room shitter.  Hey, if they’re America’s Team, and America loves to hate, l then we’re just being patriotic.

13) Charles Wang, New York Islanders

It’s time to play a little game-show we like to call “Stereotype.”  You would think that an Asian guy who got rich building his own computer company would be good at math, right? Sorry, but if you were to assume that about Wang, you would be hearing a loud buzzer right about now and finding out about our lovely consolation prizes.

It takes a special kind of idiot to buy a sports franchise in an era of explosive growth and actually find a way to lower the value of the franchise, and Wang is that special kind of idiot.  Wang bought the Islanders in 2000, and since has found a way to wang himself out of millions through some seriously stupid decisions.

First, the fact he employed Mike Milbury speaks for itself. His nickname “Mad Mike” doesn’t really lend creedence to what a terrible general manager he was; were he in the NFL, he would have made Matt Millen look like a fucking genius. Hockey fans remember monstrous Milbury moves like inking an underachieving Alexei Yashin to a 10-year, $87.5 million deal, trading away star goaltender Roberto Luongo for a case of urinal cakes, and taking Rick DiPietro with the first pick in the 2000 NHL entry draft ahead of future stars Dany Heatley and Marian Gaborik.  To top it all off, it was Milbury’s idea to sign DiPietro to a franchise-risking 15-year, $67.5 million contract extension which at the time it was signed was the biggest sports contract in history.

Sadder still is the fact the atrocities committed by Milbury with Wang’s blessing aren’t even the worst.  My favorite Wang jerk-off move happens to be when he hired Neil Smith as general manager in 2006, only to fire him 40 days later and replace him with the backup goalie.

Things have gone so bad there is talk of this franchise leaving New York for Kansas Fucking City. Seriously, what could Kansas City offer over New York? More corn? Fatter chicks? A night life as exciting as spending an evening with your face buried in George Brett’s ass crack?

Not to mention, the NHL already failed in Kansas City. To find the old “Kansas City Scouts,” you have to look under “New Jersey Devils.”

12) Peter Angelos, Baltimore Orioles

Peter Angelos is Greek, and according to the Urban Dictionary, “greek” is a euphemism for anal sex. This is fitting, because nobody has butt-fucked Baltimore baseball more than Angelos has.

Before Angelos, the O’s were one of the most storied franchises in baseball; they had been to the World Series six times in the 25 years prior to Angelos. The O’s won three World Series Championships in that time.  Now in the nearly two decades of Angelos’ ownership, the Orioles have made only two post-season appearances.

The contract that exemplifies Angelos’ extreme dumb-assery was the deal he inked with Albert Belle. This gargantuan bank-buster made Belle the highest paid player in baseball. Despite the fact Belle’s career would be in the shitter two years later, due to the terms of the contract he had to remain on the Orioles’ roster for the final three years of the deal.

But the biggest “peter” Angelos has wedged into the collective anus of Balitmorians everywhere is the fact there are a ton of Hall-of-Famers who have no role within the Orioles’ organization simply because Angelos’ values his pride more than his franchise.

First off, I stand by the story. Every single word.

Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. have taken turns denying parts of my report from last Friday, the gist of which was that Angelos recently declined to hire Ripken to help his wonderful team.Both declined opportunities to comment before I went with the story, and that’s fine.

Both dispute that Angelos told Ripken he didn’t want Ripken to receive credit once the team returned to prominence — a detail confirmed by three sources — and that’s fine, too. But now that both are in such talking moods, I have a few more questions, mostly for Angelos.

  • Why isn’t Ripken already working for the Orioles?
  • Why isn’t Brooks Robinson involved with the team?
  • Why isn’t Frank Robinson?
  • Why is a franchise with such a glorious history not taking better advantage of someof the greatest natural resources the game has to offer?

Funny, I don’t think it’s because the Orioles have all the answers.

A number of former Orioles — including Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Eddie Murray —serve the club as paid broadcasters, but the O’s need to draw from their tradition inways that go beyond Boog Powell cooking ribs on Eutaw Street. It’s damning — and a direct reflection on Angelos’ tone-deaf ownership — that Hall ofFamers Ripken, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson are nowhere to be found at Camden Yards.

What else can you say? Angelos is that kind of guy as described by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket – “He’s the kind of person who would fuck somebody in the ass and not even have the common courtesy to give them a reach-around.”

11) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, Golden State Warriors

Granted, The Warriors have been a doormat of the NBA for two generations now, and granted, they just bought the team from Chris Cohan, a douchebag worthy of this list in his own right because under Cohan, they missed the playoffs every year from 1994 to 2007. That’s the longest drought in NBA history. The single shining moment of non-suckititude came in 2007 when they upset the #1 playoff seed Dallas Mavericks.

Lacob and Guber get on this list for being David Stern’s poster-children in his attempt to cut the balls off the NBA player’s union. Something stinks about the way these two fuckwads got into the ownership ranks. The “sale” was rigged; it included $150 million in league loans to get it done and the league forced multiple small percentage owners to raise the cash for the “sale” after the supposed bid was completed in July 2010. The whole reason these two exist are to be more of Stern’s stormtroopers against the union.

10) William Clay Ford, Detroit Lions

You’ll notice a theme developing here; one of a franchise having success until it was purchased by a hemmorhoid with a big wallet. Picture a time when the Lions weren’t a dingleberry on the anus of the NFL. You’ll have to set the Wayback Machine for the 1950′s, when Lions arguably were the most successful team in the league. They appeared in four NFL Championship Games, winning three.

Then, in 1964 William Clay Ford purchased the Lions and they have not been in a championship game since. In the 47 years Ford has owned the Lions, they have a single playoff win. Even the Bengals and Cardinals have more than that. That’s fucking pathetic.

Right now, the Lions fins themselves digging out of a hole dug by the steam-shovel of suck known as Matt Millen. Lets’ make one thing clear; we don’t have an issue with Millen as a broadcaster.  He was simply the prototypical shitty general manager.  He took a franchise that was already in the shitter and kept inventing ways to keep shitting on it. By the time he was done, the Lions’ franchise was like the Matterhorn of shit.

Watching Millen manage was like watching a retard masturbate. His eight-year jack-off-to-nowhere spree as head of the franchise led to the worst record in the history of the modern NFL (31-97 / .319), yet it took Ford until a month into the 2008 season to fire his ass.  Billboards were actually being erected in Detroit, some which simply said “Fire Millen.” Others had a picture of what the Lions’ Super Bowl ring would have looked like, captioned with  “Not this MILLENium.” Not like it mattered, English has been spoken only as third language in Detroit ever since they burned the city to the ground in the 60s.

Plus, the only time people read billboards is when they are on their way to work. Since nobody in Detroit has a goddamn job (because Ford also sucks at running a car company) the only people that noticed were the national media.

9) Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins

It’s no fucking wonder that a guy who is the chairman of the board and majority owner of a chain of amusement parks would make watching the Redskins a roller-coaster of nausea. Snyder purchased the Redskins in 1999, and since then its been far more down than up on the Redskin roller-coaster.

In fact, there’s been no up; 1999 was the best season the Redskins had since their last Super Bowl win in 1991.  It’s no accident 1999 also happens to be the best season they have had during Snyder’s tenure. Snyder loves to spend like the proverbial drunken sailor, but he also gets drunken results.  He’s replaced a Pro Bowl quarterback (Brad Johnson) with an aging head case (Jeff George).  He pumped a Potomac River of money into a washed-up Bruce Smith and a way past primetime Deion Sanders.  He thought Richie Pettibone, Norv Turner, Jim Zorn, and Steve “ol’ Ball Coach” Spurrier were NFL head coaches.

If you have any question as to how football-clueless Snyder is, just  look at the last eighteen months.  In that period, he signed Donovan McNabb (only to trade him to the Vikings for a ham sandwich, a move made much more hilarious by the fact Snyder is Jewish), made virtually no improvement in quite possibly the most active offseason free agency period in the history of the NFL.  Of course, there is no need to improve on a team that in a single game elevated Michael Vick’s status in white America from “degenerate dog killer” to “allowed to doggie-fuck my daughter.”

Now Washington should actually be a good team, not one that needs a minor miracle to beat a shitheap franchise like Detroit. The franchise has a prime location (there’s a lot of money in DC), they have a huge, new stadium, and they have a ton of history. Not even the liberal cry-babys who bitch about everything don’t give a fuck about this team, otherwise you’d be hearing their bitching about that “racist” nickname somewhere other than Rachel Maddow’s penis.

The really messed-up part is that Snyder has done incredibly well with the Redskins from a business standpoint; the Redskins are the second-most valuable franchise in the league. Of course that success doesn’t keep him off this list as he has stooped to such extreme ass-hattery like suing his very own season ticket holders to ensure that the Redskins remain profitable.

8 ) Al Davis, Oakland Raiders

For those of you under 30, you may not believe there was a time when Al Davis wasn’t a batshit crazy Cryptkeeper look-alike and the Raiders were not the laughing stock of the NFL.  In an 18-year span during the 70′s and 80′s, the Raiders won 13 division championships, made 15 playoff appearances, and took home three Lombardi trophies. This is the era when the Raiders were the winningest team in all of professional sports, and love him or hate him, Davis was a respected and visionary leader who helped build the AFL into a league so successful the NFL couldn’t beat it so they joined with it.

But somewhere along the line; somewhere right around 1992, it all went wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong.

Since 1992, the Raiders have had just five winning seasons. Their 2002 Super Bowl crushing at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers led to a stretch of seven straight season in which the Raiders never won more than 5 games, and they have yet to have a winning season since then.

How can this happen? Simple. Davis is destroying that which he built. You could call it “suicide by head coach and draft pick.”

Rather than list the rash of terrible draft picks the Raiders have made in the last decade, let’s focus on the most telling.

“JaMarcus Russell is a good quarterback” – Al Davis

Davis drafted JaMarcus Russell in 2007, and he got glowing reviews from a lot sports “experts” at the time, despite the fact there were some warning signs he would become “fat and lazy.”

JaMarcus Russell, moments before the fire department had to use the "jaws of life" to get Mylie Cyrus out of his throat.

Other NFL scouts literally shattered bones in their haste to jump off the Russell bandwagon once they heard him talk about how much he was going to “relax and eat” after the draft.

Not Al.

Other teams thought it was sheer insanity to pay roughly the gross domestic product of Australia to a completely unproven rookie.

Not Al.

Most other owners would have seen their big-money rookie fatting up like a Christmas goose, especially since that rookie holdout made him miss all of training camp and several weeks of the regular season.

Not Al.

Most other owners would realize that when his big-money rookie has cheeseburgered his way into being JaMarcus the Hutt, that’s nobody but the big-money rookie’s fault.

Not Al.

Most other owners would realize when the head coach says the big-money rookie sucks, he probably sucks.

Not Al.

When Lane Kiffin dared tell Al that JaMarcus Russell was as much an NFL quarterback as Jayne Russell, Al told Kiffin that Russell didn’t suck…he did.

“He is a great player. Get over it and coach this team on the field. That is what you were hired to do. We can win with this team.”

Then he did Kiffin the best favor he possibly could by firing him.

The beauty was that off-season proved to be a delicious one, Russell showed up at camp so fat he exerted his own gravitational pull. He was putting Shake N’ Bake in his Gatorade. When he wasn’t gasping for air or sweating bacon grease, he was showing his “commitment to excellence” by snoozing through team meetings, or just skipping them to go on a bling-gasm in Las Vegas.

Finally, even Al had to see his big-money rookie was just big.  Four sets of  “back-titties” big.  Before being released, rumors were that Russell was well over 300 pounds, far above the 255 he weighed in his prime just 3 years prior. It takes a lot of prime rib to get that far away from your prime in only 3 fucking years.

But the Kiffin thing takes us back to Al’s relationships with his head coaches in the past 20 years.

Al hired Bill Callahan, a head coach who inspired so much trust in his players they accused him of ” sabotaging the season.” To regain their trust, Callahan said the Raiders were “the dumbest team in America in terms of playing the game.” We must admit we really don’t understand that motivational technique, but it worked since Callahan was the last coach to post a winning record in Oakland and the last to lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl.

Then it starts to get scary. Let’s look at the lowlights…Al hired Norv Turner as coach; the Raiders went a combined 9-23 in his two seasons. Al hired Art Shell twice, the first time went OK;  the second brought a franchise-worst 2-14 record.

Then, Al hired Lane Kiffin, threatened to fire him on a weekly basis, and when he finally did, it was a great moment in “Crotchety Old Man” history; Al held a press conference during which he put his “Kiffin Bitch List” on an overhead projector! You read that right, it was the dawn of the 21st century, and in the shadow of Silicon Valley,  and Al is using the same technology as your Dad’s 5th-grade teacher.

Then, Al  hired Tom Cable, a man who most famously broke the jaw of his assistant coach with a sucker punch, then threatened to kill him.

The thing all of us can see that Al can’t is the Raiders have massive trust issues. Al doesn’t trust his coaches to make good draft selections, Al’s players don’t trust his coaches, the fans don’t trust Al’s “commitment to excellence” enough to purchase season tickets, and even those of us who don’t give a fuck about the Raiders don’t trust their franchise not to suck.

What this all comes down to is Al Davis is old and he’s lost it.  Nobody like hearing that because it reminds us all our time is coming; it’s disturbing to know someday we will all no longer be able to control when we do and do not shit ourselves.  Most people who are lucky enough to live that long don’t run their own professional sports team.  Even though Al Davis is now the kind of boss that walks into your office and gives you the choice of lancing a boil on his back or letting him drop his band-aid into your coffee (and you MUST drink it), he’s still just an old man who needs to retire so we don’t have to keep watching him shit his pants.

7) Tom Ricketts, Chicago Cubs

Tom Ricketts is the CEO of of Incapital LLC, a Chicago, an investment bank that packages corporate bonds for retail investors.  He’s also the son of the guy who founded Ameritrade, so if you the typical blue-collar American who gets off on o hating people who are born into money, this is a good place to start.

The Cubs suffer from a lack of real direction, and this is partially Ricketts’ fault.  He took over the Cubs in the beginning of 2009, inheriting the Alfonso Soriano contract, which might be considered a good deal if the entire planet’s economy ran off of how much money we could all light on fire all at once.  Since then, the Cubs have grown one of the highest payrolls in baseball, and have one of the worst records.  They’re in a market that is extremely critical of all of their sports teams, and radio is brutal even when your winning.  Just ask the last season’s Chicago Bears.

Since Meehan is a regular guest on a Chicago Cubs internet radio (insert shameless plug for ivyenvy.com here) you might expect him to have more of an opinion on Ricketts. But the truth is, unless the Cubs go on a five game winning streak, the guy’s a fucking ghost.  (Editor’s note:  The Cubs didn’t win five in a row this season until last week.)  To be quite honest with you, if Meehan’s producer hadn’t attended a press conference with Ricketts a few weeks back http://ivyenvy.com/?p=6034, he might fall into that same level of “does he exist” along with Sasquatch and Oprah Winfrey’s heterosexuality.

Let’s just put it this way, Ricketts and his family believed in 2009 the Cubs were worth 900 million dollars with a relic of a stadium that’s falling apart and countless personnel and financial issues, and he hasn’t done much to change it.

6) Mike Brown, Cincinnati Bengals

Sometimes taking over the family business isn’t as easy as it looks. But when you get handed the keys to an organization built by a legend and you fuck it up beyond belief…that’s how you end up one of the most hated owners in sports.

Welcome to the world of Mike Brown. When the legendary Paul Brown passed away in 1991, Mike Brown assumed control of the Bengals. Since then, the Bengals’ record is a cesspool-worthy 124-211-1, with a single playoff appearance.

If the cavalcade of losing wasn’t enough to make fans want to piss in his hollowed-out skull, Brown continues to give the Bengal faithful all the reason they would need to want to drag his lifeless corpse around Paul Brown Stadium.

For some reason ESPN has continued to report on the Cincinnati Bengals situation.  For the longest time, it was a complete fucking mystery why the World Wide Leader gives a tire-squished shit about the Queen City Kitties. But we finally figured it out.

ESPN is betting on curiosity…curiosity as to what will finally kill the Cats’ owner.

Will it be his ability to pinch a penny so hard he can make Abe Lincoln fart? Brown is notorious as cheapskate asshole. The Bungles have the most understaffed scouting departments in the league and he simply does not spend money on free-agents.

Perhaps, it will be his colossal stubborn streak. If there’s anything we’ve learned in the past, it’s that Mike Brown is one of the most stubborn owners in professional sports, and that also makes him exceptionally stupid. He steadfastly refuses to hire a general manager, which may explain this team’s terrible record.

He refused to grant Carson Palmer a trade, thus forcing Palmer to call Brown’s bluff and retire, thus forcing Brown to eat his value and not reap any of the benefits of such a trade.  Granted, Palmer is also a total dick; he made it no secret that he thought Ohio sports fans were weak and simple since Day One.  But when you consider all of the bullshit he had to put up with during his tenure with the Bengals, one can clearly see Brown is a dick of a higher order.

Not to mention Brown was the one who kept letting Chad Johnson act like a jackass, all the while believing that Chris Henry was going to turn his life around only to see him die by falling out of the back of a truck.

These issues are just the tip of the Brown-hating iceberg. Anyway you slice it, Bengals’ fans strive to ensure Brown knows they hate him, ranging from boycotts to erecting billboards to an anti-Brown website, fans in the Queen City have been nothing short of creative in their efforts.

What it comes down to is that Brown isn’t really a big dick; he’s actually a tiny, little dick who can’t get out from under the shadow of Daddy. Brown has been for years trying to prove to the sports media and the fans that on his watch the Bengals won’t take any shit from anybody and that you’d better do what he tells you if you know what’s good for you.

Typical pathetic little raisin-sac bullshit.

But in the end, it’s obvious nobody thinks Brown matters so nobody pays any attention to his false pride largely because nobody gave a fuck to begin with. After all, if you know you can’t finish higher than 3rd in your division for the next decade, then what the fuck difference does your pride make?

5) David Glass, Kansas City Royals

Glass may have been a great business executive, but he’s a shitty owner. In ten seasons as owner of the Royals, his team has finished and in that time – they have finished with a record above .500 just once, have lost 100 games or more four times, and have averaged nearly 95 losses for every season of the Glass regime.

Prior to his purchase of the Royals, Glass was the CEO of Wal-Mart. This is where he earned the reputation as one of the nation’s premier executives. In business, the Glass model was rather successful; reasonable products at dirt-cheap prices. That’s the same approach Glass has used with the Royals, and while the team’s revenue has increased every year, on the field performance and the player salaries have not.

This makes Glass the perfect representative of the parasitic effect silly things like “luxury taxes” in baseball have. They actually make it possible to be profitable and terrible at the same time, which is a cancer on the world of sport, not just baseball.

4) Jeffrey Loria, Florida Marlins

Very few people have shown the ability to drive a franchise over the brink, and this turdpipe has done it twice. Of course, what should we expect from a guy who made his money as an “art dealer?” I bet it isn’t even “real” art, I bet it is that “Elvis on black velvet” crap you see being sold at abandoned gas stations hanging on a chain-link fence.

There’s no coincidence in the fact that he owned two teams long rumored to be on the contraction block. His refusal to put any money in the Montreal Expos guaranteed their sale to MLB so they could be reborn as the Nationals and so he could buy the Marlins. His dismal leadership immediately placed the Marlins in a “build a new stadium or face the consequences” dilemma; and Miami knuckled under…the new ball park opens next season.

3) Bill Bidwill, Arizona Cardinals

The Bidwill family has owned the Cardinals for close to 50 years.  In that time, have one exactly four playoff games. Three of those came a few years back when the Cards made that miracle run to the Super Bowl.  Just the fact he is holding an NFC Championship trophy is proof a blind squirrel can occasional find a nut.

A common comparison is that the Cardinals are the Clippers of the NFL; it would be more accurate to say the Clippers who are the Cardinals of the NBA. The Cards have been the model were the model of dysfunctionality  in the sports when the Clippers franchise were still the Buffalo Braves. The comparison stems largely from the fact these are both franchises that have had to move twice because of horrid ownership decisions.

2) James Dolan, New York Knicks and New York Rangers

James Dolan’s reign as the owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers has been an exercise in following the Steinbrenner model with the Yankees of the 80s; money does not cure bad decisions.  Since 1999 when Dolan took control of both franchises, fans of both teams would be well within their rights to join the paper bag squad.

Dolan has pumped a river of money into the Rangers; they have the highest average salary  in the NHL, yet they have only made the playoffs four times and have not once been past the semifinals.  There’s a school of thought which believes the blame should fall on general manager Glen Sather, but the people who think that rode to that school on the short bus.

First of all, Dolan refuses to fire Sather despite his blatant incompetence. Second of all, Sather doesn’t control the Knicks, who have exactly the same problems, which makes Dolan the common thread.  Dolan has overseen the Knicks through nearly a decade full of seasons of fewer than 40 wins, to go along with just two playoff appearance, despite having one of the top payrolls in the NBA.

Then’s there whole Isiah Thomas fiasco. Insert your own rant on that mess here.

1) Donald Sterling, Los Angeles Clippers

Sterling is possibly the best example of a guy being both a genius businessman and a complete shit-stain in the Fruit of the Looms of the sports world.  There’s so many ways to look at the sporting idiocy that is Donald Sterling. There’s the numbers:

  • 31 – Number of seasons he has owned the Clippers
  • 2 – Number of seasons they have finished with a winning record
  • .341 – Team winning percentage in those seasons
The problem is that the Clippers and Sterling are like a really bad marriage of really bad people; they deserve each other. As mentioned earlier, this franchise began its trail of tears in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves. By 1981, the team had already failed in Buffalo and moved to San Diego where they were also failing. This is where Sterling comes along and buys the team for a pittance.
The Clippers spend the next two seasons in San Diego struggling to draw 4,500 fans.  In 1984, Sterling makes the one good decision he ever made with the Clippers; naturally, it was a business decision. He moves the team to Los Angeles, which is the sole move that allowed the value of the Clippers to rise from$12.5 million back in the summer of 1981 to an estimated $350 million today.

That is Donald Sterling’s sports resume in  nutshell; great for the bankbook, lousy for on-the-court performance. The team has been a  joke for over three decades, but Sterling keeps laughing all the way to the bank.   Sterling has faithfully followed the model of keeping the payroll at “paying in recyclable cans” levels of cheap to maximize profit while never once giving a damn about the won-loss column. The Clippers have finished in the Draft Lottery so many times they’ve seen more balls than an Ava Devine gang-bang.

What do porn stars and the Clippers have in common? They both dribble before they shoot.

I know it won’t come as a shock to read that a miser like Sterling might also be just a bad human being. What kind of guy heckles his own players?  We can’t imagine this would be productive under any circumstance, but of all of the sports where this would be a bad idea, basketball would have to be the worst.  To top it off, of the all players not to piss off,  you might think Baron Davis would be in the top five.   For that matter, how sweet would it have been if Rasheed Wallace had ever played for the Clippers?  He would have killed Sterling.  Just picture ‘Sheed “keeping it real” by yanking Donnie Boy’s bow-tied ass out of his seat and dribbling his head off the scorer’s table for about five minutes.

I’m not sure there is a more telling commentary of Sterling complete level of tone-deafness than this:

It is actually fitting to use Blake Griffin in this ad. He is only half black, and this attempt by Sterling to reach out to the black community was completely half-assed, if for no other reason that Black History Month is in February.

But of all the stories, allegations, accusations and observations, this is my favorite:

“While ignoring my suggestions and isolating me from decisions customarily reserved for general managers, the Clippers attempted to place the blame for the team’s failures on me,” Baylor said in the declaration. “During this same period, players Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to me that DONALD STERLING would bring women into the locker room after games, while the players were showering, and make comments such as, ‘Look at those beautiful black bodies.’ I brought this to Sterling’s attention, but he continued to bring women into the locker room.”

There you have it, fifteen owners who haven’t been getting the attention they deserve. Like we’ve said, just because the world is fixated on the antics of the Frank McCourts and Fred Wilpons of the world, these guys still need to have the light shone on them; there’s no better disinfectant than sunlight.

Stay tuned to Dubsism and East End Philadelphia for more up to the minute advice on how to be undeniably awesome.

-J-Dub and Meehan

The Baseball Trading Deadline – The Shark Week Edition

Whether it’s stocks, fantasy baseball, or the real thing, trading can be a dangerous proposition. There’s no guarantee that the deal will work; only time will tell whether your investment pays off or whether you get to sell you blood to make the rent this month.

But, one thing that is certain; where there’s trading there’s bleeding, and nothing draws the sharks like blood in the water. Since we here at Dubsism are at the same time not willing to wait for two years to see who the bleeders are and stuck in the middle of the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” we’ve decided to give the rating of winners and losers a bit of a  Swim With The Sharks twist.

Great White Shark: The Texas Rangers

The Los Angeles Angels, pictured here as a seal, seem destined to give up their grip on the AL West.

Clearly, The Texas Rangers are going to need a bigger boat. Rangers’ General manager Jon Daniels played the role of Chief Brody to a tee. Not only did Daniels figure out he’s got a team ready to reel in winning now, he set sail to bag the fish he needed to make this team complete. The Rangers have been playing fur seal to the Angels’ Great White for nearly a decade now, but the additions of of ace Cliff Lee, catcher Bengie Molina, infielder Cristian Guzman, and slugger Jorge Cantu make a frankly scary roster when mixed with the likes of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Elvis Andrus and ironically enough Vladimir Guerrero, who was acquired in the off-season from the Angels.

Not only does this make the Ranges likely to seal up the American League West sometime in August, barring an unforeseen collapse, the Rangers become an honest-to-goodness World Series contender. If that weren’t good enough, the Rangers, who are awash in bankruptcy even managed to get the Nationals and the Marlins to toss in cash in their respective deals. Could this finally be the year where a good-looking Ranger team doesn’t get grilled into oblivion in the broiling Texas summer?

Tiger Shark: San Diego Padres

The Padres have spent eons being the bottom feeder of the NL West, so much so they gained a reputation for eating anything that would come their way; they were so desperate a few years ago they were the only team that showed interest in a clearly-finished Mark Prior. However, even a creature that eats everything occasionally gets a gourmet meal. Gaining the services of both  infielder Miguel Tejada and outfielder Ryan Ludwick while not giving away anything useful cement the Padres as a legitimate force come October.

Ludwick’s big bat finally provides some protection for Adrian Gonzalez, while his glove complements a stellar pitching staff. As long as they manage Tejada correctly, meaning they play him at shortstop as long as David Eckstein is on the disabled list. Once Eckstein returns, it will be necessary to platoon him with Jerry Hairston Jr. at shortstop. Otherwise, the Padres run the risk of seeing Tejada’s age and lack of range cost them in the long run.

Bull Shark: New York Yankees

Bull sharks are notorious for conducting the most attacks on humans; the Yankees commit the most atrocities against humanity. The Bronx Bombers were likely the best team in baseball before the trade deadline, however, that didn’t stop them from adding Lance Berkman to shore up the DH slot, Austin Kearns to make them even better against left-handed pitching, and (if he stays healthy) Kerry Wood to add the consistency to the setup role Joba Chamberlain seems completely incapable of doing.

Hammerhead Shark: Philadelphia Phillies

Just looking at a hammerhead, one gets the idea they are completely bereft of the ability to see either forward or backward. With some foresight, they might have seen the combination of Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay could’ve dominated National League lineups. Instead, they must give up a good bullpen guy to get Roy Oswalt.

With some hindsight, they might have seen that Greg Dobbs alone isn’t a good enough insurance policy against injury. In the absence of Ryan Howard, imagine how that line-up would look now had they dealt Jayson Werth for the obligatory bag of magic beans. In other words, they easily could be the bottom-feeder that didn’t find the good meal.

Nurse Shark: Los Angeles Dodgers

Much like a nurse shark is a large fearsome looking creature that actually has the aggression level of Mickey Mouse on valium, the Dodgers looked like a contender until the calendar read August.  Honestly (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), it really isn’t general manager Ned Colletti’s fault for once. Coletti is suffering the Malachi Crunch of being pinned in between the ugly divorce of owing junta Frank and Jamie McCourt and the over-priced, under-performing Manny Ramirez who is rapidly becoming the millstone around the neck of this franchise.

In other words, Colletti is trying to do his job, but he is in a swimming race in a shark tank with a bleeding side of beef chained around his neck. Somehow, he has manged to make deals for effective B-list players like Ted Lilly, Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot, and Octavio Dotel; the trouble is this team needed a couple of A-listers to make the difference.

Mako Shark: Minnesota Twins

This is a case of a shark that is the fastest in the sea, and a seriously feared predator. Just look at that thing; I shit my pants just uploading that picture. But the problem is the Mako wastes that fearsome nature chasing Charlie the Tuna. This is the perfect analogy for the Twins; a franchise that can grow some seriously scary talent, yet has no idea how to get full value on a trade.

It was no secret that even though the Twins uber-catching prospect Wilson Ramos was never going to do more at Target Field than sell hot dogs to the “ya, you betcha” Minnesota crowd as long as God in a Mask Joe Mauer is a Twin uniform. Sure it was obvious Ramos was the chum to catalyze any deal, but with high-quality bait you expect a high-quality catch.

To be blunt, Ramos should have got the Twins Miss Universe, but Matt Capps is Miss Iowa. Now don’t misunderstand us here, while Iowa may be an acronym for “Individuals Out Watering Animals,” Miss Iowa is a hottie in her own right. But unless she becomes Miss Universe, she’s a decked-out Cadillac Seville in a world of Rolls-Royce Silver Shadows.  In other words, Capps is a fully-loaded, brand new Cadillac for which the Twins paid $750,000.

Blacktip Reef Shark: Arizona Diamondbacks

Timid and skittish, the blacktip reef shark seldom poses a danger in the National League West. However, teams wading through Arizona do occassionally run the risk of having their legs mistakenly bitten.  However, this timid nature leads some to believe that this shark may be an endangered species when in fact they may have put a screwing to a couple of larger sharks in the Baseball ocean.

Frankly, I’m amazed to hear people who think the Diamondbacks got screwed in the Dan Haren trade. Keep in mind this is a franchise in need of swimming into a gill net and hoping for a better lot in the next life. Just in the deal with Angels alone, they unloaded $30 million in salary while getting four pitchers in return, including Joe Saunders, a not-that-long-ago former All-Star. When you add how they fleeced the White Sux for the perenially shaky Edwin Jackson, the D-backs now boast a farm system stocked with nine of the top 80 picks from last year’s draft.

Remora: San Francisco Giants

Yeah, we know a remora isn’t a shark, but you can’t watch Shark Week without seeing one. If you  aren’t familiar, a remora is one of those little fish that just hangs around, cleaning up whatever bits the big sharks leave behind. Lots of other sharks had a major feeding, and the Giants got a few nice bits in relievers Ramon Ramirez and Javier Lopez. Plus, the bit of “addition by subtraction” that happened by shipping Bengie Molina to Texas, thus opening the way Buster Posey to look like a right-handed coming of God In a Mask Joe Mauer could easily move the Giants up the food chain.

The Chum Bucket:

"Yeah, I'd like to see you come down here and spoon out some of this slop..."

Just as you would expect, this would a a mish-mash of the assorted pieces left over from those who really didn’t figure out what the trade game is all about. For example, the Los Angeles Angels did net a nice catch in Dan Haren, but this team really needed a big bat at a corner infield position/designated hitter position (Adam Dunn, anyone?). When you combine that with the price of the Haren deal, it’s pretty hard to say  the Halos helped themselves for the long term. Another team that needed offensive firepower and didn’t get it were the White Sux. Not only they not get Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman shot down the Sux with his no-trade clause. They still can make this worse by engineering one of those Kenny Williams “waiver wire” specials by grabbing Manny Ramirez. Plus, Ken Griffey, Jr. is still out there – oh wait, Williams has already made that mistake before.

Then there’s the teams who added nothing. The Cincinnati Reds find themselves in a neck-in-neck race with the Cardinals, but just couldn’t get that extra horse they need. Roy Oswalt cost too much, Dan Haren pulled out the no-trade clause, and they came up empty looking for bullpen help. In the end, they are pinning their hopes on a couple of senior citizens they have stashed in Triple-A Louisville, Russ Springer and Jason Isringhausen (yeah, I can’t believe they are still alive either!)  But at least the Cardinals’ swim in the shark tank came out as a net zero. Sure, Jake Westbrook helps the rotation, but giving up Ryan Ludwick when the Cards were already offensively challenged… this team better plan on winning a lot of 2-1 games. The Mets literally did nothing, Jarrod Saltalamacchia likely can’t replace the injured Kevin Youkilis (except as a Scrabble word) for the Red Sox, much like Jhonny Peralta won’t come close to replacing Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen for the increasingly toothless Tigers.

The Idiot Who Gets Bitten Because He’s an Idiot:

Again, this is something that no Shark Week would be complete without. You’ve all seen this guy, usually a fisherman who while trying to retrieve a 40-cent hook somehow forgets that even small sharks have mouths full of razor-sharp teeth that make an exceptionally efficient finger-removal tool.  Welcome to the world of the Houston Astros, a team that actually gave the Yankees, a.k.a. the richest team in baseball $4 million to put Lance Berkman in pinstripes.

But worry not sports and shark fans; while Shark Week is just a week, there still the waiver wire deals for which August is notorious. In fact, I hear Adam Dunn may still be available…

The 2010 Dubsism Major League Baseball Pre-Season Rankings

Rankings By Division:

American League:

AL East:

1) New York Yankees

Upside: The Bombers easily could have turned on the money-hose and flooded out free-agents like Jason Bay or Matt Holliday, or they could have wasted some serious dough by resigning an over-valued Johnny Damon. But, instead of having their usual explosive cash-gasm, they realized their in-house options are just fine. They finally seem to understand that you don’t necessarily need a 30-homer guy in the ninth spot in the batting order.  Rather, the Pinstripes traded away a bunch of Grade B prospects for the more budget-friendly likes of Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez. After all, what do you really need to do when you are the defending World Series champs yet another goddamn time…

Downside: Yankee Stadium is getting suspiciously close to looking like an assisted-living facility. The Yankees roster contains so many “seasoned veterans” that it’s a good bet there will be more than one pair of support hose under those pinstripes. Oh and somebody really needs to find a way to keep A.J. Burnett from having the “Hindenburg” inning that tends to flame out his starts.

2) Boston Red Sox

Upside: The Red Sox will field a very complete and deep squad, one that will be better than everybody except the one team they desperately want to beat. The Sawwwx offer three starters who would be aces on more rotations than not, their defense doesn’t have it’s usual Bahhh-ston Hahhh-bahhh sized hole in it, and despite what Sawwwx fans want to believe, the offense should be just fine. Of course, math doesn’t rank high in the skill sets of most Sawwwx fans, which explains why last year’s allegedly non-steroid-enhanced lineup accounted for a mere 10 homers less than allegedly juiced 2004 edition.

Downside: The astonishing lack of obvious holes on which their inevitable August slide can be attributed. Sure, the line-up still contains the light-bending sucking black hole known as the un-Ramirez-protected David Ortiz and nearly every pitching staff gets as shaky as Haitian construction techniques at the fifth spot in the rotation, which means we just have to wait to see what will bring this year’s “Bucky Dent” moment.

3) Tampa Bay Rays

Upside: They are the anti-Yankees, meaning they have a shitload of young talent and they have a payroll more suggestive migrant farm workers than the caviar-encrusted platinum jock straps of the Bronx Bombers. Whether or not the Rays sucker-punch their way past the Yanks or the Sawwwx for the promised land of October baseball, this team will give fits of apoplexy to veteran-fueled opponents with their raw athleticism. The odds of this increase significantly if the Rays next wave of prospects (particularly Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson) pan out as some “experts” expect.

Downside: If this team hits the trade deadline looking like it is out of reach to throw that October sucker-punch, the Rays could be parted out like a Chinese prisoner “volunteered” for organ donation. Case in point: the pending free agency of Carl Crawford who is already rumored to be on Yankee manager Joe Girardi’s line-up card for Opening Day 2011.

4) Baltimore Orioles

Upside: The O’s are another AL East squad resplendent with young talent, especially catcher Matt Wieters, who could prove to be a discount-store version of Joe Mauer at the plate (maybe not average wise, but Wieters does have 25 -homer potential). Plus, the trio of Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis may very well be the best young outfield in the league.

Downside: The youth of the pitching staff, which is stocked with a talented stable of potential, most notably Brian Matusz,  Chris Tillman, and Brad Bergesen. But with that youth comes inexperience and the ever-present threat they don’t develop.

5) Toronto Blue Jays

Upside: A well-spring of young arms; hill-wise all the Blue Jays need is for two of the cruise-ship full of pitchers they brought to camp to show the potential to toss 200 innings. Behind those young hurlers, the Blue Jays will field a defensively solid squad, with the glaring exception of third baseman Edwin “Hands of Stone” Encarnacion. This should allow those young moundsmen to put the pill over the plate with a reasonable expectation their ERA’s won’t rocket toward the stratosphere.

Downside: This team is at least a few years away from contention, and even then they likely will need the Red Sox to get back to their historic “shooting themselves in both feet” tendencies and for the Yankees to set the Wayback Machine to 1984.

AL Central:

1-Tie) Chicago White Sox

Upside: The quartet of Mark Buerhle, Jake “No, Really, I’m Pretty Sure I’m OK…this time” Peavy, John Danks, and Gavin Floyd forms the backbone of the best starting rotation in the division. The South Siders should be able to stay in front of the Twins if there is they can squeeze the last bit of toothpaste out of the tubes that are the careers of Paul Konerko, Andruw Jones, and A.J. Pierzynski. Forgive me now for saying I will believe that when I see it.

Downside: The amazing number of shitty hitters the Whiteys will field. Granted, Juan Pierre and Alex Rios should allow the White Sox to play in their usual Ozzie Guillen-influenced style; in other words, swinging wildly and generally running  amok, then wringing  just enough out of an aging bat or two. As a recipe, it is clearly riskier than a good, old-fashioned game of Russian Roulette, but don’t forget the White Sox managed somehow not to blow their brains out in 2005.

1-Tie) Minnesota Twins

Upside: Carl “Scrooge McDuck” Pohlad is dead, and along with the anticipated revenue from the new ball park, the Twins have managed to jam a crowbar into their change purse. With the expected signing of Joe Mauer to a hefty-yet-deserved contract extension and the signing bonus that likely will accompany it, the Twins just might finally hurdle the $100 million salary threshold. The Pohlad family still owns the team, but at least the new billionaire-in-charge seems willing to spend when needed.

Downside: The pitching staff, which was suspect before the loss of Joe Nathan, is now officially mediocre. Scott Baker may need to hire a stand-in if he is to convince anybody he is an ace and Carl Pavano is, well, Carl Pavano. Not to mention the Twins are drawing to an inside straight on whether Francisco Liriano can be effective after the “Tommy John” surgery and the loss of confidence he put on display last season.

3) Detroit Tigers

Upside: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Rick Porcello might be the most interesting trio from Michigan since Grand Funk Railroad.

Downside: The front office, which embarked on a cost-cutting exercise until they were reminded that they have a slough of veterans being hampered in their duties by their walkers. Their solution to this? Signing the 68-year old Johnny Damon. This means if you want to see elderly DH’s with more chins than a Shanghai phone book (Is Greg Luzinski still in the league?) chug home from second on one-hop singles, just wait for Damon in left field.

4) Kansas City Royals

Upside: Fuck everything else, to find something in print that says the Royals don’t finish last in this division may require an archealogical expedition. If for no other reason, the elevation from the cellar is due largely to the fact that no matter what else happens, Zach Grienke and Joakin Soria will pitch the Royals past the unbelievably fetid Indians.

Downside: The shockingly large number of at-bats that will be  twirled unproductively into the Twilight Zone at the hands of Scott Podsednik, Jason Kendall, Jose Guillen, Brayan Pena and Yuniesky Betancourt.

5) Cleveland Indians

Upside: As soon as we here at Dubsism find one, we’ll let you know. Wait, we’ve got one: Shin-Soo Choo hasn’t been inducted into the South Korean army…yet.

Downside: This is likely the first of many seasons to come with the Indians making reservations for the bottom of the standings.

AL West:

1) Seattle Mariners

Upside: How can you not love a one-two punch of Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee in front of a team that shits horseshoes? Seriously, this team personifies luck, as was demonstrated by the 2009 campaign that saw the M’s win 85 games even though they were outscored by 52 runs. Luck isn’t a strategy, but luckily it probably won’t take much to win this division.

Downside: The festival of mediocrity the starting rotation becomes after the aforementioned one-two punch. Plus, the wheel of karma spun by the baseball gods will not look favorably on lead-pipe cinch Hall-of-Famer, greatest player ever in the history of the franchise, and deliciously banned-substance-free Ken Griffey, Jr. being exiled from the lineup for the final time by ‘roid-rage expert and colossal asshole Milton Bradley.

2) Texas Rangers

Upside: Don’t look now, but for the first time in EVER, the Rangers have pitching depth…I’ll wait for a minute so you can let that sink in. Seriously, they’ve got eight legitimate contenders for the five rotation spots, which means they have eight more than than they’ve ever had before. It goes without saying this assumes Rich Harden doesn’t rack up seven bazillion more frequent-flyer miles on MRI Airlines.

Downside: And now for your Bizzaro world moment of the day: the Rangers can pitch and play defense, but they can’t hit! Again, I’ll wait for a minute so you can let that sink in. With suspects like Chris Davis, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and/or Elvis Andrus likely populating the bottom of the order, you can expect the Rangers’ team on-base percentage to hurtle over the cliff faster than Thelma and Louise. The wild-card in all of this: Josh Hamilton and his ever-present overcoming of his “obstacle du jour.” This time it is rumored to be hangnails and a persistent fear of sock puppets.

3) Los Angeles Angels

Upside: Even though he Dodger Blue during his playing days, and even though he looks more and more like Rush Limbaugh every day, you have to love Mike Scioscia. He is one of a rare breed of managers who understand tactics, strategy and how to develop and handle people.

Downside: Will the last one left in Anaheim please turn out the lights? The Halos wont miss Vladimir Guerrero, but the departures of John Lackey and Chone Figgins significantly downgrades the rotation and the lineup. This is really a concern for the pitching staff, which needs to prove itself more durable, especially Scott “Opening Soon at a Disabled List Near You” Kazmir.

Oakland A’s

Upside: The performance of A’s bullpen has historically fluctuated more than Oprah’s weight, but now they boast a rare mix of quantity and quality. Andrew Bailey, Brad Ziegler, Michael Wuertz, Joey Devine, Jerry Blevins, Craig Breslow and Brad Kilby together compose a solid group of young relievers who collectively will earn about $482 in 2010.

Downside: The $10 million pipe-dream known as Ben Sheets, and the crumbled Greek column once known as Eric Chavez’ spine. If Sheets actually manages to stay out of intensive care come the trade deadline, the A’s will likely deal him for yet another cavalcade of prospects.  More likely is that Sheets’ arm falls completely off and Oakland gets to watch $10 million swirl down the shitter. Plus, the A’s may be holding open tryouts in May to find anybody who can actually hit the damn ball.

National League:

NL East:

1) Philadelphia Phillies

Upside: Flash to the scene in “Bull Durham” is teaching Nuke Laloosh about the importance of clichés. The Phillies have no need of this lesson; they are a veritable textbook. They’re “gamers.” They “play ‘em one game at a time.” They’ve “been there before.” They “know how to finish.” Of course, the only way to get such a string of positive verbal fossils is to be the best team in baseball. Yes, you read that right, especially you Yankee fans whose blood-pressure just took a geyser-like upshot. In fact I will say it again: As of right now, the Philadelphia Phillies are the best team in baseball; fuck you, New York. Man, that felt good.

Downside: I’ll never understand what the rationale was behind the Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay swap meet. The Phillies revenue has sky-rocketed in the past five years, given their success and the resultant boost in attendance, TV ratings, jersey sales and everything else associated with the Phillies. Hell, even the Jamie Moyer Geritol is flying off the shelves. The point is the Phils easily have the dough to have kept both aces, then restocked the farm with the compensatory picks when Lee signed elsewhere this year. Speaking of pitchers, which version of Brad “Sybil” Lidge shows up this year? Is it the lights-out, shutdown closer or do we get another episode of “Meltdown Man?”

2) Atlanta Braves

Upside: While the Bravos may be lacking after dealing away its pitching depth for a prospect and a case of urinal cakes, they also don’t really show an Achilles heel. Not to mention, this is finally the last year of the Bobby Cox regime, and Jason Heyward might be the first guy to hit a home run that crosses and entire time zone.

Downside: All the bullshit we will have to live through on what will prove to be the Bobby Cox’s farewell tour. For one, I can’t wait for next year when Cox is getting kicked out of bingo games at the senior center. Here’s a little known fact: Did you know that “Jair Jurrjens” is actually an old Dutch term meaning “he who is destined to spend as much time in an MRI machine as Rich Harden?” That can’t be good.

3) Florida Marlins

Upside: The Players’ Union and how they forced world-class skinflint Jeffrey Loria to actually pony up some cash for a long-term deal for ace Josh Johnson and  getting second baseman Dan Uggla to return. Stop and think about what kind of an asshole you would have to be to make the gravy-sucking pigs from the Players’ Union look like a bastion of righteousness and moral certainty; Loria is every bit that cretin.

Downside: The aforementioned pinch-those-pennies-so-hard-Abe-Lincoln-bleeds-internally mentality of Loria. Follow that up with all the bullshit going on over the new-stadium,  the 40 inches of rain that comes from the heavens in ten minutes like God’s doped-up racehorse pissing on your head every afternoon at 4 p.m. sharp, and the scatter-shot approach to the bullpen, and it isn’t hard to see this franchise is literally 50 bucks away from being the Pirates.

4) New York Mets

Upside: Manager Jerry Manuel’s sense of humor will come in handy sometime right around Memorial Day when he will be joking about “having time to play some golf” the day before the press conference announcing his firing.

Downside: The Mets’ are like the rich family on a daytime soap opera. Their front office is furnished with, amongst other amenities, hot and cold running cash. But, if you are the Mets, with wealth comes a Dr. Phil level of dysfunction. In this past off-season, the Mets couldn’t seem to figure out if they actually had an operating budget; nobody in the organization seemed to know if anybody actually knew about the star center fielder’s knees (which are dissolving like an Alka-Seltzer as we speak) and nobody can say if the team futzed with Citi Field’s dimensions in response to the whining that the park suppresses offense. Want to know a secret, Mets fans? It ain’t the ball park…

5) Washington Nationals

Upside: How can you not have a man-crush on a heart of the order featuring Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, and Elijah Dukes? So what if the Nats’ occasionally misspell their own uniforms (the photo below is not the only example of the Gnats Nats need of “spell check. “? Don’t look know, but the Mets can easily see this team in their rear-view mirror, and if they aren’t careful, they may just start seeing the Nats’ tail-lights.

Downside: Is there something in the water in the greater Baltimore-Washington metroplex that makes sports franchise owners unconscionable assholes? An area that features Redskins’ owner and probable live-puppy eater Daniel Snyder and the Orioles’ Peter Angelos, who as a child must have wanted to be Snidely Whiplash form a vortex of ownership evil that threatens to suck in the Nats’ Theodore Lerner.

NL Central:

1) St. Louis Cardinals

Upside: Every other team in this division sucks. If the Redbirds can stay healthy, they should be on cruise control by mid-August. The cash-flooded Cubs and Astros have spent stupidly, and the Reds and Pirates can’t find anybody that still takes S&H Green Stamps, and the Brewers only have three players.

Downside: The supporting cast beneath their dwindling number of star players is dangerously thin. However, a lot of this can be cured if Colby Rasmus finally emerges.

2) Cincinnati Reds

Upside: Pure balls. What are the odds that a prospect who happens to be a left-handed pitcher toting a 100-mph fastball ends up in Cincinnati? Of course, this assumes Dusty Baker method of handling pitchers doesn’t have Aroldis Chapman’s elbow in pieces by August.

Downside: In five years, most of their roster won’t be in baseball. The cast of Scott Rolen, Orlando Cabrera, Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, Francisco Cordero are all in the sunset years of thier careers. Oh, and Dusty Baker is an idiot.

3) Milwaukee Brewers

Upside: They have Ryan Braun,  Prince Fielder, and Yovani Gallardo.

Downside: Ryan and Fielder can’t take all the at-bats, and Gallardo can’t pitch every inning.

4) Chicago Cubs

Upside: The inevitable Lou Pinella meltdown. It generally happens when Lou has heard enough questions about (insert reason du jour why the Cubs suck here). This usually happens around August 1st, and treats us all to a profanity-filled tirade as only Lou can do.

Downside: All the money the Cubs have tied up in flame-outs like Alfonso Soriano and pitcher-turned-planet Carlos Zambrano.

5) Houston Astros

Upside: They have a deeper roster than the Brewers.

Downside: That isn’t saying much. The Astros field three great players and the three other solid ones. The other 19 could barely impact a Triple-A Roster. Owner Drayton McLane gives all the signs of a billionaire preparing to back away from this investment by selling the team.

6) Pittsburgh Pirates

Upside: Steve Pearce certainly shows all the signs of being the real deal.

Downside: Even when they trade Pearce, they’ll get another bag of magic beans (I’m looking at you, Lastings Milledge). What does it says about you when you get screwed in a trade with the Natinals Nationals?  It says you are the kind of organization that can have neartly twenty years of top ten draft picks and nothing to show for it.

NL West:

1) Colorado Rockies

Upside: The Rockies are the only team in the West with decent depth.  With the everyday players including Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs, and Melvin Mora and a bullpen including Matt Daley, and Esmil Rogers.

Downside: The alarmingly high number of at-bats that will be sacrificed in the belief that Clint Barmes is anything more than a utility player.

2) Los Angeles Dodgers

Upside: Despite the facts that every left-handed pitcher in the world is issued a Certificate of Ownerhship at birth for Andre Ethier, and Manny Ramirez plays left field like he is in a bar-league softball tournament, the trio of Ethier, Ramirez and Matt Kemp are the best outfield in baseball.

Downside: The shaky, flaky nature of the pitching staff. Letting Randy Wolf leave means the Dodgers are dependent on the inconsistent Clayton Kershaw and a Chad Billingsley who spent the end of last season crying in the fetal position.

3) Arizona Diamondbacks

Upside: Justin Upton, who just makes you want to believe.

Downside: Trading Max Scherzer for another shot at Edwin Jackson, who is due for another good month any day now…after all, in his seven years in the league, he’s already had two of them.  Their next best pitcher is the post-aneurysm surgery slop artist Ian Kennedy has become.

4) San Francisco Giants

Upside: The starting rotation: Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, the catastrophe formerly known as Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez. Is there a better foursome out there?

Downside: The Giants hit like a T-ball team. This team was batting Bengie Molina (20 HR, 80 RBI .265 avg.) in the four-spot last year in an attempt to protect Pablo Sandoval, the only respectable bat they have. To improve on that, the Giants are turning to the suspiciously-close-to-finished Aubrey Huff (15 HR, 85 RBI, and .241 avg).

5) San Diego Padres

Upside: GM Kevin Towers always seems to find players whose skills play well in that airport spacious park they have.

Downside: Towers is lucky he has this ability, otherwise the trade deadline would be no fun for him. Look for Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell, and Jon Garland to all be on a plane by July 31st.

Overall Team-by-Team Ranking

  1. Philadelphia Phillies
  2. New York Yankees
  3. Boston Red Sox
  4. Tampa Bay Rays
  5. Colorado Rockies
  6. St. Louis Cardinals
  7. Seattle Mariners
  8. Atlanta Braves
  9. Chicago White Sox
  10. Minnesota Twins
  11. Texas Rangers
  12. Florida Marlins
  13. Los Angeles Dodgers
  14. Detroit Tigers
  15. Los Angeles Angels
  16. Arizona Diamondbacks
  17. San Francisco Giants
  18. Cincinnati Reds
  19. Baltimore Orioles
  20. Milwaukee Brewers
  21. Oakland A’s
  22. Chicago Cubs
  23. New York Mets
  24. Washington Nationals
  25. San Diego Padres
  26. Houston Astros
  27. Pittsburgh Pirates
  28. Toronto Blue Jays
  29. Kansas City Royals
  30. Cleveland Indians
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