Hey, Miami! We're no. 2 and 4! Wooooo...oh. It's not a good list.
Sports Illustrated released its rankings of the top 5 best and worst owners in sports this week, and guess who showed up on the list? None other than the Panthers' Alan Cohen (#2 in the NHL) and the Marlins' Jeffrey Loria (#4 in MLB).
No surprise there, really. If running a franchise into the ground were an Oscar category, Cohen [8 years, .443, 0 playoffs appearances, 0 championships] wouldn't even wait for the envelope to be opened before heading for the podium. SI says this about the Head Cat:
Thirteen years after their surprise run to the Stanley Cup finals as a third-year franchise, the Panthers' early success seems as much a fluke as hockey in South Florida. Pharmaceutical tycoon Cohen has been unable to find a way to connect with the fans. He made the wrong hire of Jacques Martin as head coach in 2004, then allowed him to be the team's GM as well after Mike Keenan left two years later. Then last April, as the Panthers were slumping to another lame finish in the Southeast, Cohen relieved Martin of his coaching duties but let him stay on as GM.
Surprise! A hockey team in South Florida located in Sunrise is having trouble "connecting." But whatever incriminating photos Martin has on his boss, we'll take three on ours, too. (It'll be interesting to see if Cohen gets bumped up a notch next year once SI finds out about the freshly-made scones at the City of Oz
cult compound development he's building out near Sunrise.)
Loria [7 years, .502, 1 playoffs appearance, 1 championship] fared a little better, perhaps on the strength of the Marlins' 11-1 start, which would have coincided with the writers' research:
The art dealer turned a nation of fans against him with his first team, the Expos, before forcing their move from Montreal and selling them back to Major League Baseball. He then took control of the Marlins and watched his exciting team shock the Yankees in the 2003 World Series and then became Miami fans' worst nightmare: the second coming of Wayne Huizenga. The Marlins slowly have been rebuilding themselves with more young talent, despite the lowest cash outlay provided by any owner, and could be turning a corner soon. That is, until Josh Johnson and Dan Uggla are shown the door like Josh Beckett, Derrek Lee and Miguel Cabrera.
Let's give credit to Loria where it's due, however. He's really, really good at that first part: turning a nation of fans against you is even more difficult when that nation is Canada, in possession of an almost awesome passivity as its national personality.
And in that case, both owners are at least true to their town. After all, this is Miami, and we prize style. So if you can't be good, it is at least admirable to be very, very bad. Imagine the shame of coming in at #5.