Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem Solution. The most celebrated franchise in WNBA history, the Houston Comets, is in trouble. On the court? No. It's their business that's in trouble. Big Trouble. Since early this month, the franchise has been operated -- and is being shopped around -- by the WNBA front office. WNBA President Donna Orender met with Houston's Mayor and others in July to ask for help in finding new local ownership for the team.

Meanwhile, another WNBA franchise is also in trouble. Big Trouble. But trouble of a different kind. Sheila Johnson, owner of the most unstable (not to mention one of the least successful) franchises in WNBA history, held a conference call with reporters this afternoon in which, according to the AP, she said, "I think my fans are getting fed up . . . I'm getting fed up." Katie Carrera of the Washington Post reports that Sheila also said "The Mystics have been operating for too long without a long-term plan." In addition, Dr. J told the reporters that "the [Mystics] team hasn't 'moved one ounce' in its history and that she 'might as well shut down' the team if doesn't start winning."

Dr. J is right; the fans are certainly fed up. And we welcome a long-term plan, but we are a little confused as to why we haven't had one before now. And it's still unclear what that plan is.

So, we have two troubled franchises. What happens if new ownership for the Comets isn't found in Houston? The WNBA is left with only two obvious alternatives: 1) relocate the team, or 2) disband it. Option 1 would be very unfortunate for the local Houston fans, but Option 2 would be heartbreaking for WNBA fans everywhere. The most storied franchise in WNBA history, the team that set the standard in the early years of the new league, the team that was home to WNBA legends Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson . . . simply gone? It's almost unthinkable! And incredibly sad to contemplate.

What happens if the Mystics' new (but undefined) long-term plan for success doesn't work out? Well, as Dr. J says, shutting down is a distinct possibility. Not that there would be many fans left to notice. Also incredibly sad to contemplate.

So, hypothetically, if the November deadline the WNBA has set for finding new local ownership for the Comets passes, and the league strikes out on relocation of the Comets, is there anything else that can possibly be done to save the Houston franchise?

Actually, that might be the time to take a peek behind Door Number 3: Swap the Mystics for the Comets! Switch the players, the uniforms, the mascots (the works!) from one city to another. And then, if contraction is necessary, the WNBA can disband the Houston Mystics while the Capital Comets live to play another day.

Okay, we confess that this sounds pretty radical. But if the league has to lose yet another franchise, ask yourself this: which franchise would be missed the most? The Comets and all of their winning history, or the Mystics and all those years of disappointment? Think about it.


At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Stewart said...

Just when you think the season can't get any worse. Reading this blog literally made me sick. I'm frustrated, but I don't want to see the team disbanded.

At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can Dr. Sheila say the things she just said and then express confidence in Linda Hargrove, a woman who has had exactly ZERO success as a basketball manager?

Sure swap them.

Anybody going to Dave and Busters Saturday? Should be a high old time!

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Stewart said...

It's known as the "dreaded vote of confidence." The clock may be ticking on her.

Meantime, yes, I will be at D&B's. I'm going to make the best of it.

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's keep Crystal Langhorne here

At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - more chaos with a Washington professional franchise!! I tried to help one of my best friends survive the loss of her beloved Cleveland Rockers-it was wrenching. And she is no longer a WNBA fan like she was before.
So, I hope the Mystics stay! Yes, we're going on Saturday. Wonder how the current players feel!

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard back from the MFO about Saturday's event? We sent in our money, and have heard nada since then.

I wonder if Dr. J will be in attendance.

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got an email from Eboni yesterday. Call her -- 202-527-7518.

I find it interesting, btw, that Dr. Sheila thinks the actual team that plays the actual games is the "last little piece" of the puzzle. I know she is first and foremost a successful business woman, but please...

At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheila Johnson has slept on this team ["novelty" for her], and while asleep, left Linda in charge... there in lies the problem in my opinion. After 4 years at the helm-- NOW Sheila tells the mission, and will be held to a higher standard?! Linda didn't instinctively KNOW that before! And apparantly neither did Sheila?! I believe Sally Jenkins wrote an article about the Mystics inept management years ago- when does it end?!

ANd a little history lesson for Sheila- this franchise has had success- in 2002 we made the Eastern Conf. finals.
-- Monica


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