If I’ve learned anything working in pro sports, it’s that there is a lot of turnover in front offices, probably more so than most other industries. Few teams consistently make money year in and year out and even fewer teams win championships. As a result, people are often shuffled around the organization and eventually out the door.
Although the unease of instability can be daunting, if there is one good takeaway, it’s that you get to know people who have worked for many different owners and thus you seem to have the inside scoop on everybody.
Time and time again you hear the same bullet points from those who have worked for a “good owner.” The points are pretty basic. “He stayed out of our way, he let us do our job, and he gave us the proper resources to succeed.”
If you think about just those basic concepts and apply them to how Jimmy Dolan has run the Rangers the last several years, it appears as if the tide is changing.
Jimmy allowed Glen Sather to bury Redden’s colossal contract in the minors, allowed Chris Drury to be bought out, and hasn’t blinked at re-upping any of our core RFA pieces (e.g. Cally, Dubi, Lundqvist, Staal, etc). These things would not happen in Buffalo in years past, Miami, New Jersey, hell even Toronto. In each instance where we could have a potential problem, Dolan is there with his wallet wide open, and that isn’t a bad thing at all.
Look at Daryl Katz of the Oilers, he has the money to build his franchise a new arena, but he’s refused to do so, and have opted to battle with his local government for public funds (aka taxes) instead of just dipping into his billion savings. MSG on the other hand will be completely renovated without taking a single cent from the taxpayer. No other owner in the Tri-State area can make that claim.
As far as micromanagement goes, by all accounts, Dolan lets Sather do his job. He doesn’t veto Glen’s plans the way Steinbrenner has with Cashman, or the way Wilpon has with every GM in their history, and he certainly doesn’t cheap out when it comes to free agents (something Verbeek is finally learning).
Now to be fair, Dolan has had a media policy that rivals 20th century communism and he’s done the fans no favors with outrageous price increases (though he mistakenly kept prices flat during our post-season drought). He also presided over a humiliating trial, destroyed the Jets Westside bid, and he has refused to sell MSG’s HD feed to Verizon Fios (which is interesting consider the Rangers have subpar TV ratings). Yet, none of the above really impacts the Rangers ability to put a competitive team on the ice.
Sure he’s no Rocky Wirtz or Ted Leonsis, and by no means am I saying he’s a great owner. But is he really all that terrible when dealing with just the Rangers?
Perhaps the answer isn’t as obvious as one might assume…