Cleveland Indians ownership recently accepted a lifetime achievement award, so how do they stack up other local owners?
The topic of franchise ownership has been hotly debated after the Cleveland Indians’ owners, the Dolan family, received a lifetime achievement accolade at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.
The back and forth on this topic shows no signs of abating anytime soon, so we decided to compare and contrast Jimmy & Dee Haslam, Paul Dolan, and Dan Gilbert.
‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness’. Little did Charles Dickens know that his words would one day become a fitting metaphor for Cleveland’s pro sports franchise owners.
In recent weeks alone, the owner of the Cleveland Indians made a failed attempt to joke about the waning months or even weeks of Francisco Lindor‘s time with the team, Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy & Dee Haslam hit the reset button on the franchise’s football operations for the umpteenth time, and Cleveland Cavaliers fans awaited word of head coach John Beilein’s status after presumably misspeaking during a film session with his players. Some might suggest that ‘age of foolishness’ applies here.
While proving that he has no future in stand-up comedy, Paul Dolan stoked the ever-simmering flame of fan discontent at this year’s Greater Cleveland Sports Awards by reminding everyone that the Indians’ budgetary restrictions will prevent Lindor from being traded. With the ill-timed and poorly-executed attempt at humor, Dolan merely resurrected a narrative that’s existed since he bought the franchise in 2000, that he’s cheap and that he should sell the team.
Color us confused, but wasn’t Paul Dolan the owner when the Tribe played in the 2016 World Series? And haven’t the Indians won the American League Central Division title five times since he bought the team? Isn’t that sustained success best described as ‘the age of wisdom’?!
The Haslams, on the other hand, have been stewards of a Cleveland Browns franchise whose kryptonite has appeared to be a success. Since buying the team in 2012, Jimmy & Dee tweaked, tinkered, poked, and blown up their football operations ad nauseum, resulting in continued sustained underperformance lowlighted by 1-15 and 0-16 seasons in successive years. Dare we say that these have been ‘the worst of times’?!
Then there’s Dan Gilbert. While he’s taken his share of hits from fans and media alike, and despite a temptation to type this story in Comic Sans, he not only hasn’t shied away from investing in players, but he’s been a prodigious spender whose sole focus is winning championships. And in 2016, his Cleveland Cavaliers did exactly that. It was truly ‘the best of times’!
Who’d have thunk that Charles’ Dickens’ words would be so prescient, though unintended where they pertain to Cleveland’s pro sports owners?