If a poll had been taken after last December’s MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville as to who the worst owner in baseball was, there is little doubt that Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria would have been the unanimous winner. Loria, if you recall, traded away a boat load of top tier players as a salary dump after promising Marlins fans that he would spare no expense to build a winning team to play in their brand new taxpayer-funded stadium. The move caused a major boycott by Marlins season ticket holders and led to a season where 10,000 fans was considered a huge crowd.
If that same poll were taken today, the undisputed winner would be Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, at least if the vote were taken within 500 miles of Los Angeles.
Last April during a televised game between the Dodgers and D-backs at Chase Field, a group of Dodgers fans sitting directly behind home plate proudly wearing their teams’ colors were ordered by Kendrick to either change out of their Dodger gear and into provided Diamondbacks shirts or seek seating elsewhere. The group was told that if they refused, they would be physically removed from the $3,500 luxury suite.
One of the Dodgers fans in the group, a lady identified only as Anna H, contacted Deadspin.com and gave her side of the story saying that Kendrick was verbally abusive not only towards her 20-member group, but also towards several Diamondbacks employees. She said that Kendrick confronted her and told her “The mistake you made was coming in here in those clothes,” and demanded that the entire group change into D-Backs gear or be removed by security.
Anna told Deadspin’s Timothy Burke that the encounter was the worst experience she has ever had at a sporting event and that it left her 7-year-old daughter “scared and confused.” Rather than forfeit their luxury seats, the group reluctantly agreed to wear the D-backs clothing for the remainder of the game.
To the best of my knowledge there are no other ballparks in all of baseball with such an unreasonable and blatantly discriminating policy – not even at Marlins Park.
But wait, There’s more!
During Tuesday night’s televised game between the Dodgers and D-backs, Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully said that the Diamondbacks organization (Ken Kendrick) have asked the Dodgers that if they clinch the division on Wednesday night or Thursday afternoon to contain their celebration to the clubhouse and not return to the field to celebrate with Dodger fans.
Are you kidding me?
With as many as 15,000 Dodger fans on hand at Chase Field this week to witness the Dodgers clinch the NL West title, Ken Kendrick is going to deny them the opportunity to share in the celebration with their beloved team?
This goes beyond being a shrewd businessman and gives every appearance of being a personal vendetta against Dodger fans. What other team in all of baseball would even think of imposing such a restriction? Not even Jeffry Loria would do this. Talk about being a sore loser.
Perhaps this type of thinking is why Kendrick’s club averaged less than 29,000 fans per game this season – even during the 66 days that his team was in first place.
Lucky for Ken Kendrick there isn’t really a Worst Owner in Baseball Award, because if there were, it’s safe to say that he would win by a landslide.