Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mark Cuban: Problem Owner?

Mark Cuban is nothing if not entertaining.
MLB should rethink its antipathy to letting him own a team.
So Fay Vincent, former baseball commissioner, decided the time was right to rain on Dallas Maverick's owner Mark Cuban's victory parade. Vincent said in an ESPN Radio interview that Cuban would be a problematic owner for Major League Baseball.

Apparently, the ex-commish finds Cuban doesn't meet a little known quality needed to own a team: being a gentleman. I guess taking to the airwaves and insulting a man two days after his team won the NBA championship is part of being a "gentleman."

It's funny how the owners who get closest to the fans are the ones who their colleagues can't stand. I've mentioned Bill Veeck before. He was the ultimate stand in for the average fan. Crippled (he preferred that description) in war, he wanted to make sure everyone had a good time, even if the teams he owned were at times awful.

But he had a soul, too. He didn't shy from hiring blacks after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947. Larry Doby was the first in the AL, for Veeck's Cleveland Indians. And he added Satchel Paige. And those Indians did make it to the World Series.

While Cuban hasn't done anything quite so notable, his greatest offense is, I suppose, tweaking authority. That puts him squarely on the side of the millions of people who would love to say what's on their minds, but feel constrained for various reasons like needing to make sure they don't get fired.

Cuban sometimes goes too far and pays a financial price in fines. But he's always colorful. And the Mavs have been a contender for years. Cuban clearly knows how to build a winner. But MLB has brushed off his attempts to buy the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs.

It's time for baseball to give him a chance. The fans will love it.

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