On their website, SI.com, Sports Illustrated has unveiled their view of the five best and five worst owners in each of the four major professional team sports, including Major League Baseball.
The only National League club represented on the “best” list is the St. Louis Cardinals. Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. (pictured) was singled out as the third-best owner in MLB, after John Henry/Tom Lerner/Larry Lucchino of the Boston Red Sox and Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The NL has two owners among the “worst” five, though neither is from the Central Division. They are Ted Lerner of the Washington Nationals at five and Jeffrey Loria of the Florida Marlins as fourth-worst.
The method used took into account both objective and subjective measures. Among the criteria:
- Willingness to spend money to improve the team
- Stability and capabilities of the front office and management
- Amenities at the team’s venue
- The club’s culture and interactivity with fans
- The team’s success or failure on the field
In recent years, several local media personalities and a vocal segment of Cardinals followers have hounded DeWitt for his alleged cheapness in matters of player payroll to the point of childish and unprofessional name-calling and worse.
They will be the last to accept the fact that team ownership is being recognized nationally as one of the best. Chances are the critics haven’t followed the club long enough to remember the Cardinals of the early 1990s, underfunded and non-competitive on the field.
Worse than that, how would they like to Cards to change owners with the cross-state Kansas City Royals, for example? (Hint: The Royals’ David Glass is number three on SI’s “worst” list.)
Some folks just don’t know when they have it good. Sadly by the time they realize it, it will be too late. The rest of us should continue to enjoy and appreciate the consistent competitive, winning baseball this ownership group has enabled over the last decade and a half.
In doing so, Cards fans do not have to stop yearning for improvement. I bet ownership would be the first to agree that they want the same. Yet expectations need to remain realistic, as in each season, 29 of 30 teams are destined to fall short.
Those who try to paint all Cardinals fans into one of two polarized corners – either “Kool-Aid drinkers” or “nay-sayers” – are as clueless as Baltimore’s Peter Angelos, baseball’s worst owner.