Elmo sad, Jan. Melo sad, Jan.
Those could well be the lamentations of your favorite Sesame Street character, but they also happen to be anagrams for James Dolan, the infamous owner of the moribund New York Knicks. I’m sure many of you are wondering why I’m wasting time talking about a team owner from another sport though, so I’ll try to bring this back around.
Now that James Shields has ensconced himself in a whale’s va…er, San Diego, there’s little Cubs-related news to report. But basketball season is in full swing, and, despite being miles from respectability both on and off the court, the Knicks are still making waves.
Perhaps more than any other owner in professional sports, James Dolan has personified ineptitude. His personnel choices have lacked vision and his meddling in basketball operations has resulted in multiple mortgages on the team’s future. Remember when they traded half the roster for would-be free agent Carmelo Anthony a few years ago?
Or what about when he hired Isaiah Thomas, a man who single-handedly ran the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers into the ground, taking time to bankrupt the CBA in between? For more on Zeke’s time with the Knicks, check out this fantastic music video from 2006. Dolan has managed to take one of the NBA’s proudest franchises and turn it into an absolute laughingstock.
I bring this up because his latest stunt easily trumps any of the asinine shenanigans with which the man has become synonymous thus far. And this is coming from a Cubs fan, someone who has seen his fair share of ill-fated publicity stunts.
Sure, the Cake Boss fiasco, the Charles-Lindbergh-at-Comiskey-mural being plastered on Wrigley’s wall, the Santo dumpster, and the inexplicably poor launch of Clark the Cub were all pathetically tone-deaf. But were they mean-spirited? While they may have been insulting to fans, it was only in an unintentional manner.
Many have accused the Ricketts family, led by Tom, of trying to bilk fans out of their hard-earned dollars by fielding a sub-standard product. But as the overall vision of this Cubs franchise has come into focus, that tune is changing a little bit. If not completely gone, the chorus of boos has quieted substantially.
But now that the long-awaited Wrigley renovation is well underway, many of those mistakes of the past can be buried in the curing concrete. I’ve been critical of Tom Ricketts before, particularly for what I felt was his disingenuous approach in addressing the fans. While that may never change, at least he’s never been abusive or combative.
I’m sure that he’s had plenty of reason to be so though, that he’s received his share of unsavory feedback in the form of letters, emails, and goat heads. Even he were to be drawn into a standoff with fans, I imagine Tom Ricketts would at least use proper grammar and punctuation. Ah, but not so with the fabulous Mr. Dolan.
Thanks to the folks at Deadspin, we’ve got some great information about Dolan’s response to a fan’s critical letter to him.
Here’s the fan’s email:
Subject: I have been a knicks fan since 1952
At one stage I thought that you did a wonderful thing when you acquired EVERYTHING from your dad. However, since then it has been ALL DOWN HILL. Your working with Isaiah Thomas & everything else regarding the Knicks. Bringing on Phil Jackson was a positive beginning, but lowballing Steve Kerr was a DISGRACE to the knicks. The bottom line is that you merely continued to interfere with the franchise.
As a knicks fan for in excess of 60 years, I am utterly embarrassed by your dealings with the Knicks. Sell them so their fans can at least look forward to growing them in a positive direction Obviously, money IS NOT THE ONLY THING. You have done a lot of utterly STUPID business things with the franchise. Please NO MORE.
[Aaron Bierman’s dad]
And here, for your reading pleasure, is the email Dolan sent in return:
On Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 8:15 PM, James Dolan <JDOLAN@cablevision.com> wrote:
You are a sad person. Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am.just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice. I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the mean while start rooting.for the Nets because the Knicks dont want you.
So let me get this straight: he calls the guy out for writing a hateful letter, then unloads his own truckful of vitriol including calling the guy a mess, a negative force, and alcoholic. Admittedly, I’m not as big a follower of the NBA as I once was, but I’m not so sure that the Knicks can afford to lose loyal fans at this point.
But the best part of the letter is that, after completely degrading the subject of his note, Dolan ends it with “respectfully.” I think we can all rest assured that we’ve not heard the end of this incident, nor the sad, pathetic sage of Dolan’s ownership.
But let’s bring this back around to the Cubs. While they’re far from perfect, the Ricketts family has done a pretty good job of handling this franchise in the six years since they won the bid for it. They’ve set clear goals and they’ve brought in competent baseball people to run that part of the organization. We can’t really say the same for business operations, but c’est la vie.
Listen, I’m not going to start praising Tom Ricketts as some paragon of profession sports ownership, but stuff like this incident with Dolan makes me appreciate the fact that the Cubs can be a bit more milquetoast than manic. I’ll take a bland video over an inflammatory email any day.
Thank you, James Dolan. Because of you, I know that nothing I write will ever be the worst thing on the internet.
Now when does Spring Training start again?