Firings aren't always the answer
June, 23, 2008
It was the estimable Chicago columnist Bob Verdi who once wrote, "When a team is at the bottom, the problem is usually at the top." At the time, Verdi was referring to the 1970s Cubs, but his words ring more true today than ever. Living in Boston with six championships in this century, one sees it in distinct focus. When internal strife caused Theo Epstein to quit in November 2005, John Henry chaired a news conference and accepted responsibility, saying "Right now, I'm not sure I deserve to be the owner of this team." Bob Kraft has been the accountable face of a Patriots franchise that has won three Super Bowls and made gadzillions in profits, and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was more visible when the Celtics were losing 18 straight than he was when they beat the Lakers. Love them or hate them, the Steinbrenners have always been there, win or lose, as has Drayton McLane in Houston, albeit sometimes misguided. Some, like the Dolans in Cleveland, are smart enough to allow a Mark Shapiro to run their business and have no desire for the spotlight, and yet remain accountable.