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Advice to an insecure sports team owner

Plus: Dear Jon takes on Ask Marilyn.

by Dear Jon
July 5, 2001

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Advice to an insecure sports team owner_Dear Jon-Plus: Dear Jon takes on Ask Marilyn. ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:

Dear Jon,

In the June 30th, 2001 issue of Parade Magazine*, the syndicated column "Ask Marilyn" (the smartest person in the world)had a page of questions she could not answer. I thought Dear Jon might serve the public by answering them for us.

Rural Wisconsinite

Dear Wis,
Copyright constraints keep me from picking up this gauntlet. Most of the questions are public domain, but I will not be able to steal them from "Ask Marilyn." Instead, others in MY readership will have to ask me these questions on their own.

Whoever makes the claim that "Marilyn" is the "smartest person in the world," obviously has not met me or read my column. I will go head-to-head with any advice-columnist, trivial-fact-finder, movie-reviewer, relational therapist, political commentator, or AP sportswriter, any time. I will match wit for wit, word for word, advice for advice, with any one who writes anything for a newspaper that isn't news. Except Dave Barry. And the creators of crossword puzzles and those encrypted anagram puzzles, because they frighten me.

Bring it on!

*Parade Magazine is a publication of the Chicago Tribune Company. "Ask Marilyn" is a column written by Marilyn Vos Savant which is syndicated nationally.


Dear Jon,

I am the ownwer of a professional sports team in a large city. I'm constantly ridiculed and vilified for not bringing this city a winning team. The fans and the media just don't understand how difficult it is to run a team in the 2000's. I constantly get accused of not going after the "big stars," but let me tell you, they're nothing but a bunch of prima donnas, with their $50 million contracts! That's almost one tenth of what I make! How can I get people to understand that it's not my fault the team's not winning? If people would just fill my stadium every time the team played, paying the ridiculously high ticket prices and concession stand prices, I might be able to afford one of these overly priced "stars." What's so important about winning anyway? Doesn't everyone just want to have fun watching the game?

Sports Team Owner

Dear Owner,

I believe that you suffer from, what is called in Depth Psychology, "an inferiority complex." This inferiority complex stems from your upbringing in privilege which alienates you from common guys, coupled with your high media-profile role. Your inferiority complex also stems, no doubt, from the issue that your team plays in what is, frankly, an inferior complex. If you are the owner who built the new Comiskey Park, only to see it immediately outdated and outclassed by Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix and the new stadium in Milwaukee, you naturally suffer an inferiority complex. If you are the owner of the Arizona Cardinals who continues to lease Sun Devil Stadium, a field baked to concrete in the desert sun with few of the amenities of an NFL stadium, you naturally suffer an inferiority complex.

Symptoms include: 1) Moving the team in the middle of the night with no press conference, hoping that a new city with a new stadium will be better; 2) Moving a city away from its traditional home, only to return a few years later, only to threaten to leave again; 3) Leaving loyal Canadian fan bases for ostensibly more populous and therefore more lucrative markets for winter sports in tropical and equatorial cities. 4)Moving a team from one unhappy fan base to the next, fielding a perenniel loser with zero sell-out potential except homes games against the Dallas Cowboys, while asking each temporary city for a billion dollar tax-payer commitment to build a state-of-the-art stadium. 5) Declining poll numbers, with a ratio of negative to positive press covereage, in terms of minutes of air-time or column inches, of no better than 5 to 1.

If you are suffering from such an inferiority complex, I suggest the following drastic measures:

1) Sell the team. You're not having any fun and nobody likes you anyway, so sell the team! Retire to Monaco and have fun! Make friends in the jet set. Just because you failed at sports, doesn't make you a loser. You just walked away with half-a-billion in hush money, right? Sounds like one for the "win" column!

2. Purchase the newspaper and a t.v. superstation. Or sell a controlling interest to your local newspaper. For example, even after the all-star break, when the Cubs start to suck, the propoganda they get from the Tribune is never better. Ask Cubs fans whom they are supposed to hate? They have no answer. But they a contract for games with WGN until Armeggedon, same as Ted Turner with the Atlanta Braves on his station. You have to learn to make your money work FOR you!

3. Learn from the owners who spend to win. Some people, like Cubs and Twins fans, whine and moan that teams like the Yankees are unfair for paying their players, meaning they get all the best ones. They fuss about the Florida Marlons, and about how the Arizona Diamondbacks quickly rose to play-off caliber. But Cubs and Twins fans are dweebs. Pay your team, and the investment will come back to you in championships, a place in history, lucrative endorsements, packed stadiums, and demand for franchise merchandise.

Remember, a team that wins, will not have a fan-base that cares too much about the cost of nachos in your park. They will come to watch anyway. A losing team never has nachos cheap enough.

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