After Eli Jacobs said last week that he was considering selling the Orioles, we asked readers if they thought he had been a good or bad owner since taking over the franchise in 1988. We received 289 responses to the question, and 137 of you commented on his ownership. As in the "It's Your Call" vote, in which 58 percent of you thought he was a "bad" owner, the comments were also fairly divided.
HE'S A GOOD OWNER
I feel Eli Jacobs did the best he could in the position that he was in, by allowing the people below him, like Larry Lucchino and Roland Hemond, to handle things. He is not very knowledgeable at baseball, so he allowed them to do their jobs.
I think for the type of owner Eli Jacobs is, he's a good owner, because I don't believe he's too experienced in the baseball business, so he has let people around him like Larry Lucchino and Roland Hemond run the team for him.
In that sense, he could easily have let everything go to his head and do the things the way he would think would be best for the club. This way he knows he has good baseball people make the decisions for him.
Jacobs has been a good owner because he hasn't forced himself or been an overriding presence in the team, unlike someone like George Steinbrenner in the past. Jacobs has let the baseball people, Hemond and Lucchino and the people who know about baseball, take care of the Orioles. He has done the job of owning the team and sitting back and letting things go on. And now suddenly he is being called a bad owner, and last week, before he was talking about selling the team, no one was complaining about him.
I think when you compare Eli Jacobs with Robert Irsay you'll find there really is no comparison. I think he's going about the sale of the team in the proper way and therefore he's been a good owner. He really hasn't done much to hurt the team. Maybe he could have spent a little more money, but the times when he did go out and spend the money to try to demonstrate this, you end up with a player who's hurt.
HE'S A BAD OWNER
I think Jacobs is a very bad owner, because he wouldn't spend money on anyone. I think it would be a virtual salvation if a new owner bought the team. Hopefully the new owner will have a better cash flow and will spend more money.
Ellie Newberger *
I think Eli Jacobs has been a poor owner because he hasn't taken the interest in the team that would be necessary to make it a winner. He hasn't allowed himself to use the financial resources at his command to obtain the ballplayers and build the program and the farm system and beyond in terms of management and personnel to build a winning organization in Baltimore. Instead of continuing to fail, he's bailing out and leaving it on someone else to come in and start over. I think that's a sure sign of a loser.
Rich Moore *
I believe Eli Jacobs was a bad owner because of the fact that he was afraid to make a commitment. He never really wanted to put any good talent on the Orioles and he just wasn't really part of the Orioles.
HE'S A BUSINESSMAN
I feel that Eli Jacobs has, as much as anyone, proven that baseball is a business for baseball people and not business people. He has run it great as a business, but has failed to follow through on his baseball opportunities and responsibilities for making the franchise a winner. Hopefully we'll get someone who's more baseball-oriented to own the franchise and make Baltimore a winner again.
This preoccupation with what kind of owner somebody is really misses the question.
The real question is why are we so interested in that? The truth is this is big business and it's greedy big business because it is a very small monopoly and the common man is being hurt by baseball the way he was by big industry at the turn of the century.
Baseball as it exists today is all about exploiting the masses and they're doing a remarkably good job of it. From that point of view, Eli Jacobs was a great owner.
I think Mr. Jacobs has been exactly what he set out to be. He invested a sum of money in a product. He made money off that product. He's a businessman. From that point of view, he is a good owner. Whether or not he is good for the city or not, I don't think is the point. Jacobs made money on his product as any shrewd businessman would and should.
I feel like Eli Jacobs has been a foreign owner who doesn't really care about Baltimore, doesn't care about Baltimore baseball, doesn't care about the fans, and doesn't know what's going on. It was strictly a dollar investment and that's the way he played it.
I think Mr. Jacobs has not been much of an owner at all. I think the only reason he bought the team was to turn it around and sell it and make money and also as a prestige thing where he could take his friends and impress them with his new toy. I think his interests as far as the Baltimore Orioles being a championship team are secondary if he worries about it at all. I still think that his bottom line was the major reason he bought that club and I'm glad to see that he is going to sell it to someone who hopefully has an interest in good, competitive baseball in the great city of Baltimore.