Sunday, October 4, 2009

Time For Honesty and Winning

For those of you who don't read the newspaper anymore, Mike Wise had a great column in Saturday's WaPo on Ted Leonsis and the Caps rebuilding process.

The basic point of the article is that Leonsis wrote a brutally honest letter 4 years ago to fans stating that the Caps were going to rebuild and that the team was going to get worse before it got better. The result is that Leonsis has become the best-liked owner in DC pro sports.

I don't want to put words in Mike Wise's mouth, but the leap to compare Leonsis to Dan Snyder is a short one. The Redskins are not making the playoffs this year and need to rebuild, and Snyder is maybe the most hated man in DC.

That said, Leonsis' popularity is less because of that honest letter, and more because of the success of the Caps. Answer me this, if Alex Ovechkin didn't exist, would we still love Ted Leonsis? His personality is icing on the cake, but it's all about winning. Even though Snyder is distant, turns large profits at the expense of fans, and has celebrities on the sidelines, no one would care if the Skins were winning 10 games a season and/or had a title on his watch. Although they share the same goal, Snyder and Leonsis are on opposite ends of the fan opinion spectrum. The difference isn't in how they connect with fans, but rather that one team is achieving that goal because their owner understands how to build a winner.

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