Ever Wonder Why Teams/Leagues Struggle?

I think it's because, for the most part, the people who own them are freakin' morons. I've jumped on Steinbrenner before - perhaps even unfairly singling him out. The latest entry in the growing list of moronic owners is the Minnesota Timberwolves' Glen Taylor. He gave an interview to Britt Robson of the Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages, brilliantly summarized by TrueHoop (so you can skip right to the extra dumb parts).

As I read Taylor's comments I'm struck by one thought . . . Oh. My. God. Shut the hell up! One often overlooked epidemic of modern day sports is that people seem to get into ownership because they are fans and they are attracted to the status and/or the idea of playing fantasy basketball/football/baseball on the highest level. It is increasingly rare to see ownership that is focused on the things a business person should be focused on - building an organization with value, finding better ways to serves your customers, and ultimately, increasing the bottom line (or at least the value of your operation). Some owners win. Some owners increase the bottom line. But the number who do it without mucking around in the personnel side of the business is staggering.

The examples are many and the results are frequently bad: The Atlanta Hawks ownership's civil war, Taylor's under-the-table agreement with Joe Smith, and of course, Steinbrenner (post your favorite George meddling job in the comments . . . Irabu? Contreras?). Daniel Snyder. Mark Cuban. Along with Steinbrenner, both have increased the value of their respective franchises exponentially but you could still argue that inserting themselves in personnel matters has cost their teams on their fields/courts of play.

If I were Kevin McHale, especially because I apparently didn't want this job in the first place and would prefer to drag my knuckles on the forest floor while hunting, I would quit over this. Who likes it when their boss questions - or maybe exposes - their work ethic? Or makes vague comments that could lead someone to believe that you molested male model and part time basketball player Wally Szczerbiak? Or read about how he sold a former employee (Flip Saunders in this case) down the river? Run Kevin! Run!

I'm rambling. All I'm trying to say is this . . . like any other business, if the owner/CEO can find the right people and let them do their jobs, they will be successful. Trying to do everyone else's job, as proven time and time again - in sports and in the rest of the business world - does not work. Period.

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