Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sacramento Horror Story

I have no idea whether David Stern's mother is still alive, but I have a feeling he spent at least part of his Mother's Day wondering what he ever did in his life to deserve the Maloof family.  I get that what Stern is doing in his efforts to keep the Kings in Sacramento is probably against most (if not all) of the precepts of business, but in my book he deserves credit for recognizing that franchise hopping destroys the soul of professional sports.  And yeah, maybe Sacramento didn't deserve its team either.  I don't remember shedding a lot of tears on behalf of Kansas City fans at the time the Kings moved out here. 

I have no idea what will happen in the next few days, and there's a small part of me that just wishes they'd leave and let Sacramento figure out some other way to redevelop the shameful stretch of K Street that would be transformed if a new arena was built downtown.  But damn it, if they do end up leaving, I hope every sports site and pundit across the country recognizes that what is happening here is wrong.  They won't write books about the Kings because we're not Brooklyn and have never had a group of players to match the boys of summer (but then again, no one ever has), but if we do lose the Kings it will be just as much an injustice as when the O'Malleys stabbed Brooklyn in the back and took their team to Chavez Ravine (not right away, but close enough).

And at least the O'Malley family knew how to run a business, turning the L.A. Dodgers into one of the most successful and lucrative franchises in the history of professional sports (strong enough to survive Frank McCourt, baseball's version of the Maloofs).  But the Maloofs?  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but based on the evidence at hand I'd have to say that the Maloof boys (and they are boys, never having matured into men) have run every golden egg they've ever been handed straight into the ground.  I'm not sure if "evil" fits, because to call someone evil makes an assumption that the subject at hand at least has some sense of what he/she is doing.  These guys are like the worst frat guys you could possibly imagine.  Living on mommy and daddy's money, partying like it was going out of style, flaunting their wealth in the most distasteful ways one could imagine.

What did Sacramento do to deserve this?  Oh, we supported a horrible team for years, leading the league in consecutive sellouts during an era when approaching .500 was considered a successful season.  The entire world (well, maybe not L.A.) fell in love with the great Kings team of the early aughts, and then the Maloofs embarked on their little family project to see how just how successful an enterprise they could turn into garbage.  And now that they've gouged the town and the fans for everything they had, they can't resist taking one last jab at the city, because to accept the bid would mean that...hey, get this...they might actually have to go out and work for a living.  You know, like the rest of us do, except we're not paid millions and we're actually held accountable for our performance.

If the NBA Board of Governors or whatever highfalutin name the billionaires who run the league call themselves agree to ship the team off to Seattle, then it will be a dark day for professional sports.  Because the almighty dollar is what it's all about, I'm prepared for the worst.  But I can't help but think that there's an owner or two out there thinking to themselves right now, "I get what these guys are trying to do, but let's face it - they're just a bunch of dicks, and we don't owe them a damn thing."

No comments: