Houston, We Have a
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.