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Worst Sports Owners Tournament: Quarterfinals


By Scott Henry (@4QuartersRadio)

We're down to the quarterfinals of the WSOT, where eight crazy owners duel to see who's the worst in each individual sport. In case you need to look back at where we've been, here are the links to the earlier rounds:

Monday, Week 1: Baseball Round 1
Tuesday, Week 1: Football Round 1
Thursday, Week 1: Basketball Round 1
Friday, Week 1: Hockey/Soccer Round 1

Monday, Week 2: Baseball/Hockey/Soccer Round 2
Thursday, Week 2: Football/Basketball Round 2

Monday, Week 3: Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Week 3: Semifinals
Friday, Week 3: Final

So, by the end of this week, you can decide who's the kookiest owner in the history of sport. Just throw some votes on it, whether in the comments here or on the Facebook pages of Athlon Sports or 4 Quarters Radio.

Without further ado, here we go with the finals of each sport's bracket, barreling headlong toward the final four.

Worst Baseball Owner Final:

(1) Frank and Jamie McCourt (Los Angeles Dodgers 2004-present)
(2) Jeffrey Loria (Montreal Expos 1999-2002, Florida Marlins 2002-present)

McCourts def. Wayne Huizenga, Arnold Johnson
Loria def. David Glass, Marge Schott

The McCourts were able to triumph over Arnold Johnson because, despite Johnson’s frequent deals with the Yankees, few of them gave the indication that Johnson didn’t care about his team succeeding. Many of the McCourts’ moves since taking over the Dodgers indicated that owning the team was more about making the owners celebrities than giving the fans a good experience. As for Loria’s win over Marge Schott, Marge may have been comically cheap and an inveterate bigot, but once again, she cared about her club and especially about her club’s fans. Loria brought the pain more toward his own fans, particularly in Montreal, than his teams have brought toward their opponents.

As seen from the inclusion of such otherwise talented and successful owners as George Steinbrenner and Al Davis in the WSOT, one of the worst things that an owner can do is create a sideshow that hinders the fan’s enjoyment of the team. At least in the cases of Skeletor and The Boss, there was winning going on at some time. Ever since the McCourts took over, it’s been nearly all sideshow. The insanity reached its comic zenith when Jeff Fuller made a visit to Taiwan in December 2009.

Now for the million-dollar question: who's Jeff Fuller?

As far as Taiwanese legislator Chou Shou-Xun knew, Fuller was a Dodger executive, making a diplomatic overture for the team to play exhibition games in Asia before the 2010 season. Everyone else knows Jeff Fuller as the driver who was accused of having an affair with Jamie McCourt, one that resulted in Frank McCourt firing his wife from her CEO position and launching the divorce proceedings that have brought the franchise to its knees. Fuller’s trip to Taiwan came three months after he was fired from his “director of protocol” position. At least he was well-qualified, since Middle America figures that it’s typical Hollywood protocol for everyone to be banging everyone else’s wives anyway.

Like Steinbrenner or Davis, Loria did some winning shortly after arriving in Florida. The Marlins took the 2003 World Series behind aggressive trading, then slumped back down the standings behind equally aggressive trading that brought in prospects instead of sending them out. It’s what Loria’s done since that has placed him on this list, and also the image that he and his employees have chosen to cultivate.

President David Samson is Jeff Loria’s stepson, and was also the president of the Expos, both of which go a long way toward explaining how he keeps his job despite being a lightning rod for South Florida’s disdain of the way the Marlins have plundered the city (see Round 1). Samson is the guy who did a weekly interview on Dan LeBatard’s radio show and was often known to make some off-the-wall jokes about the Marlins, many of which also involved pornography in some way. Whether it was suggesting the Marlins implement a Porn Night promotion, insinuating that he had sex toys in his office, or offering comments on which Marlin players looked like porn stars (mercifully, there was no discussion of the players’ shower qualifications, if you catch our drift), Samson’s radio diatribes would make most other owners facepalm him into unemployment. Loria keeps him on and continues to cut him in for those hefty “management fees” that enable both of them to suck tens of millions out of the club.

But hey, at least they won a World Series, right? Now, as long as the city of Miami wants to pony up the hundreds of millions that the Marlins just don’t want to spend for a new stadium, the team may think about trying to go win another one someday.

Worst Hockey/Soccer Owner Final:

(1) Tom Hicks (Liverpool Football Club, 2007-2010)
(3) Harold Ballard (Toronto Maple Leafs, 1961-90)

Hicks def. Charles Wang, Atlanta Spirit Group
Ballard def. Freddy Shepherd, Bill Wirtz