Grading the Washington/Baltimore Area Sports Ownerships
In recent years, the Washington/Baltimore area sports fans have been speaking out against the team ownerships in the area. Most notably, this has been outrage towards Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and Baltimore Orioles CEO Peter Angelos.
There has been plenty for fans in the Capital area to complain about. No team has won a world championship since the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, but most of the area teams have been way off of their former glories. Not to mention there have been bad free agent signings, questionable coach hires, and more 'Yes' men then Congress.
While the hatred against Angelos and Snyder is much deserved from the fans, not all of the owners are atrocious. Steve Bisciotti and the Lerners have been good owners for their respective franchises and are amongst some of the better ownerships in the area.
So here are my grades for each Washington/Baltimore area ownership group...
Baltimore Ravens: Steve Bisciotti
Steve Bisciotti became an owner of the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 and majority owner since 2004. Bisciotti is the complete opposite of his counterpart down Interstate 95 and has brought a calm and professional approach since taking over the Ravens.
Throughout his tenure, the Ravens have been one of the best teams in the NFL by winning the Super Bowl his first season in 2000 and making seven playoff appearances, three of those as division champions.
Steve Bisciotti, along with long time general manager Ozzie Newsome, has long been considered the best owner/GM duo in the NFL.
Washington Nationals: Lerner Enterprises
Ted Lerner and family purchased the Washington Nationals from Major League Baseball in 2006 after the franchise moved from Montreal. Known as fans of the game, the Lerners seem to have a hands-off approach, unlike the other fan/owner in town.
Since moving, the Washington club has not found much success. But with no success means good drafts. The Nationals have had those in recent years by drafting once-in-a-generation players in Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in consecutive drafts. But they have had a perplexing signing in Jayson Werth as well.
This season the Nationals have emerged as a potential contender in the National League East and should continue to contend in the future.
Washington Wizards & Washington Capitals: Ted Leonsis
The only man that owns two area teams is Washington Wizards/Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. Notorious for a hands on approach as an owner, has built a good team with the Capitals and has a lot of work to do with the Wizards.
After becoming a part owner of the Washington Wizards in the late 1990's, Leonsis did not have a lot to do with the team. After the death of primary owner Abe Polin in 2010, did Leonsis take full control of the team.
He has made some changes with returning the Wizards to their historic colors of red, white, and blue but as for putting a good team on the floor, that has been a different story. The Wizards have not been good in a long time and the future looks bleak even still.
He's been outspoken about NBA policies which to me is a good thing even though he was fined for his remarks against the salary cap structure.
However Leonsis' and staff did a good job in rebuilding the Capitals so I do see good with Ted now fully in charge of the Wizards.
When Leonsis became part owner of the Washington Wizards, he took full control of the Washington Capitals and his on-hand approach has been evident. He changed the logo and colors for the Caps and has spent the money to build playoff contender the last 5 years.
But even though Leonsis and management have build a winning club, they have not been past the second round since he took over.
There have been some skeptical acquisitions since the start beginning with the trade and major deal of Jaromir Jagr. This past season saw some missed opportunities in some veteran signings that did not pan out in a championship.
He's recently received the same criticism that fans give Peter Angelos for sitting on the money fans pump into the team. While most of the criticism is on George McPhee, some of it should be on Leonsis as well.
DC United: William Chang
The lost franchise of the major sports in Washington is DC United. Once the powerhouse of MLS, it has not seen quite the same quality over the past couple years. William Chang, one of the first Asian-American owners, currently holds the majority stake for the DC United. Since becoming part of the ownership in 2007 and majority owner in 2009, the United have not been very good.
In 2007, Chang's first year as an owner, the team finished first in the Eastern Conference and best in the league but was knocked out in the quarterfinals for the MLS Cup.
Since then, it has all gone downhill. The United have not qualified for a North American tournament since 2009 or have had a major tournament win since the 2008 US Open Cup.
The United also have not finished better than fourth in the eastern conference since, and they finished dead last in 2010.
Currently, the United sit in first place in the Eastern conference and seem to finally be rebounding. But for a team that has history since its inception in 1996 and four MLS Cups, two US Open's and a CONCACAF Champions Cup under their belts, they have not been the talk of the league since Chang took over.
Washington Redskins: Daniel Snyder
The one sports owner in the Washington DC area just about everyone loves to hate is Daniel Snyder. The sad part is that he has made it easy for every Washington Redskins fan to hate him.
Since buying the Redskins for $800 million in 1999, Snyder has done nothing to prove he has any sports business smarts. The Redskins only have three winning seasons in that time and have gone through seven different head coaches.
Not only that, but Snyder has overpaid plenty of free agents that have done poorly in Washington. Most notably of these signings are Deion Sanders, Dana Stubblefield, Albert Haynesworth and Adam Archuleta.
His managerial skill have come into question by fans and writers alike; he has surrounded himself with 'Yes' men in the front office.
There have been some bright spots, like when Joe Gibbs returned to the sidelines and Snyder was very quiet through those years. Currently, Snyder has been less present from the fans' standpoint with the current General Manager Bruce Allen and Head Coach Mike Shanahan.
So far, Daniel Snyder has kept out of the player personnel, but one misstep by either Allen or Shanahan, and we could be in for another Zorn debacle.
Baltimore Orioles: Peter Angelos
Probably one of the most hated owners in all of sports or at least Major League Baseball is Baltimore Orioles primary owner Peter Angelos. Many fans disdain for Angelos is due to his unwillingness to place a winner on the field and is more about the money then the franchise itself.
Considered the CEO of the Baltimore Orioles since 1993, Angelos has done nothing but destroy a once proud franchise. The Orioles have not made the playoffs since 1997 and have had losing seasons ever since.
In 2009, Sports Illustrated considered Angelos one of the worst owners in baseball.
Not only has Angelos had issues with fans, there have been different stories abound with his dealings with former players such as Cal Ripken, Jr. and Brady Anderson.
Presently, the Orioles look like the team from the mid-1990's as they are near the top of the American League Eastern Division, but even that does not dim the destruction Angelos has done as owner.
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