Thursday, September 15, 2011

First Among Worst

The BCs have been Mystics season ticketholders since the inaugural season of 1998. (Our names are inscribed on the Founding Fans wall in the Verizon Center.) In the 13 seasons preceding 2011, we thought we’d seen it all – all the coaching changes, all the front office changes, all the player drama, all the exciting and sometimes puzzling draft picks, and naturally all the ups and downs that have made up the gestalt of the Mystics experience.

Over the years, we’ve suffered through many a miserable season. But without a doubt, the recently concluded Mystics 2011 season was, for us, the very worst ever. Worse even than the 3-27 inaugural season? Yes. Having a women’s professional basketball team in our Nation’s capital was all new and exciting. There were large and enthusiastic crowds, and, most important, there was the promise of better things to come. We had fun. Worse even than the season of 2008, which we used to think of as the franchise’s low point? Yes. Because most of the misery and the failure of this season, unlike 2008, was the result of self-inflicted wounds. This season need never have happened this way, and should never have happened this way.

The October Massacre

The unmitigated failure of this season was brought on, first and foremost, by the October Massacre. In the history of professional sports, has there ever been another team that finished first in its conference, with a franchise-record number of wins, after years of mostly disappointing performances and multiple (mostly unsuccessful) coaches, which then turned around and effectively pushed the General Manager and Head Coach (who engineered the team’s turnaround) out the door? All because the team’s mega-wealthy owners decided to save a little money? If it’s happened before, the BCs have never heard of it. Maybe that’s why, nearly a year later, we still find it incomprehensible. And unforgiveable.

A Quick Hire

The stupidity and meanness of that October decision (let’s not forget, those were two very hardworking human beings who lost jobs that they loved that month) were then compounded by the quick hire of a cost-saving combo GM/HC. After Sheila & Co. reorganized the GM and HC jobs into a single position in order to save money, did they do a national search to find the best possible person for that redefined job? Not that they’ve ever said. Instead, they immediately promoted the previous season’s second assistant coach (you know, the one the WNBA didn't even allow to sit on the bench), Trudi Lacey, to the new job.

So what qualified Trudi for this new position? Well, as a matter of fact, Trudi had actually done the combo GM/HC job before. She served in that capacity with the Charlotte Sting beginning in 2003. Her tenure in that job went something like this: after Trudi inherited the Eastern Conference’s 2nd place team in 2003, Trudi’s team lost two more games than the team had lost the year before, but still managed to finish in 2nd place. The following season, 2004, saw GM/HC Trudi’s Sting finish with a losing record and drop to 5th (of 6 teams) in the East -- and miss the playoffs. And then the 2005 season arrived. That year’s Sting team opened the season with 3 wins . . . and 21 losses, under GM/HC Trudi’s leadership.

At that point, GM Trudi was left with no choice but to split the combo job, fire herself as HC and bring in another head coach, Muggsy Bogues, to finish out the season. (Muggsy’s record that summer was 3-7.) Not surprisingly, the Sting finished dead last in the East, with the worst record in the WNBA. One season later, with Trudi still at the helm as GM, and Muggsy still coaching, the Sting recorded a hardly spectacular record of 11-23, missing the playoffs again . . . and playing in a virtually empty arena. What followed was, literally, The End. After the 2006 season, the Charlotte Sting -- one of the 8 original WNBA teams – folded. Gone, defunct, dust in the wind.

That was the résumé -- and the legacy -- that Trudi brought to the Mystics’ GM/HC job this summer. Sheila & Co. were looking for a quick hire -- and for someone willing to do both jobs -- so Trudi got the nod. In the press teleconference that lives in infamy (Sheila: “Let me idiot proof this for you . . .”) following Trudi’s hiring, Sheila was asked whether Trudi had what it took. And Sheila famously replied, “everything is a crap shoot.”

Grade F on the 2011 Draft

The BCs don’t know how anyone could give GM Trudi’s 2011 draft anything other than a failing grade. Although Trudi had two first round draft picks, they were both for naught. First, as part of the Lindsey Harding trade, Trudi directed the Atlanta Dream to use their own first round pick to draft Ta’Shia Phillips and send her to the Mystics; Trudi then used the Mystics’ own pick to draft Victoria Dunlap. She used her second round pick to draft Karima Christmas. Trudi waived both Phillips and Christmas later in the season. Karima was picked up off waivers by Tulsa, and Ta’Shia by New York. Because the two players were waived, the Mystics got nothing in return for them. Meanwhile, Dunlap spent virtually her entire rookie season parked on the bench. We’re not really sure whether GM Trudi just isn’t very good at evaluating talent, or whether HC Trudi isn’t very good at using the talent she’s been given. In any event, the BCs rate GM Trudi’s 2011 draft an “F.”

What Strategic Plan?

Well before the WNBA’s free agent signing period began in January, and months before the college draft in April, the Mystics knew that Mo Currie was expected to be out for the entire season, recovering from her ACL injury. But what wasn’t known -- with certainty -- was how well Alana Beard would be able to play after returning from a potentially career-ending injury, having missed an entire year of basketball.

Meanwhile, early in the off-season – after the October Massacre – word spread in WNBA circles that Lindsey Harding no longer wanted to play for Washington. Katie Smith was a free agent and her return to the Mystics was also uncertain.

So in light of all these off-season developments, what was the Mystics’ strategic plan going into the 2011 season? GM/HC Trudi announced that she was rebuilding with youth. No veteran free agents; not a mix of young and old; the strategy was to focus on youth. Thus, Nakia Sanford was not offered a contract (she signed as a free agent with Phoenix) and Chasity Melvin was cut in training camp. GM Trudi stacked the team with rookies and traded her 2012 first round draft pick to Minnesota for Nicky Anosike, a player with 3 years of WNBA experience. GM Trudi executed her plan, assembling the pieces for the future of the franchise.

But then, right in the middle of the season, GM Trudi totally abandoned her plan. She cut two of her four rookies, including first rounder Ta’Shia Phillips. Then she replaced them with an 11-year veteran, DeMya Walker, and a 4th year player, Kerri Gardin, both of whom had been cut by the Connecticut Sun (Kerri before the season began, and DeMya after 10 games). Of the two remaining rookies, GM/HC Trudi then left one of them – Victoria Dunlap -- on the bench, while Crystal Langhorne finished in a virtual dead-heat for most minutes played per game in the WNBA (Sylvia Fowles edged her by 0.3 minutes). Lang continued to play 30-plus minutes per game even after the Mystics were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. And Vicky continued to sit on the bench.

Plan A, rebuilding with youth, obviously wasn’t working.

Management Failure

We’re hard pressed to find a credible argument for retaining the services of a coach who loses 28 games in a 34-game season. As Mechelle Voepel recently wrote of the Mystics, “the lion's share of the blame for this season's woes is not on the players.” That said, if Sheila & Co. fire Trudi, they’ll be scapegoating her in a way. Why? Because, quite frankly, with her track record, Trudi should never have been considered for the job in the first place. In the BCs’ opinion, the greatest failure of the recently concluded season is not Trudi’s. The greatest failure is the utter lack of good stewardship of the Mystics franchise by Mystics management.

When you are an owner who is fortunate enough to have two consummate professionals like former GM Angela Taylor and former HC Julie Plank on your team, who – by your own admission – produced positive results, and ahead of schedule (we were at the airport)-- then you MUST find a way to keep them on board. You do NOT allow what, to you (a person of incredible wealth), is for all intents and purposes an inconsequential amount of money, to undermine the stability of the prior two seasons and derail the strategic plan. Yet that’s exactly what Sheila & Co. did. They failed miserably as owners and managers. They failed the players. And they failed the fans.

Big and Biggest Losers

Of course, the players suffered a great deal: emotionally (losing night after night takes its toll), physically (playing league-leading minutes can wear a player down), and, financially (for the first time in 3 years, no playoff money in their paychecks). We count them among this season’s big losers . . . and we’re not referring to their win-loss record.

In our opinion, the biggest losers, though, were the fans. Mystics fans have been loyal to a fault. Mystics fans harbor a deep emotional attachment to their team. They are used to being disappointed, but they are not used to being blind-sided or betrayed. And that’s how the BCs felt (and still do) and how many other loyal fans felt (they’ve told us) about the bait-and-switch that Sheila & Co. pulled on all of us last October.

Then, to add insult to injury, Mystics fans had to suffer through watching their team lose a franchise-record number of games. And the in-game experience that used to be so much fun, this year was mostly depressing. Empty seats. Little to cheer about. Plenty of formerly die-hard fans just opting to stay home and watch online or on TV, or simply not watch at all. It just wasn’t fun anymore, so it wasn’t worth the time and expense to attend anymore either. Sheila & Co. stole something from all of us.

Where Do They Go From Here?

As sad as we feel to say this going into the 15th season, the franchise needs to start over. Sheila & Co. need to acknowledge the huge mistake they made last fall. They need to acknowledge it to the fans. Most important, they need to acknowledge it to Angela and Julie.

Then Mystics management need to do exactly what they did after the 2008 season, which resulted in Angela and Julie being hired. They need to do a careful and considered national search, and they need to find the best possible person to become the new GM, and that person needs to be given carte blanche to find and hire the best possible HC. (And, in this process, in our opinion, Angela and Julie deserve the right of first refusal.)

The franchise also needs to make a real and serious commitment to a long term plan. And, when it comes to basketball operations, that includes treating the GM of the Mystics the way the GM of the Wizards is treated. As Aretha would say, it’s all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That means the Mystics’ GM (whoever she or he may be) should NOT be reporting to the head of business operations (Greg Bibb). Ernie Grunfeld does not report to Greg. Why not? Because Ernie (like Angela) has spent his entire career immersed in The Game of basketball -- its players, its coaches, every nuance and every aspect of The Game. His job is to achieve on-court success. Running the business side of things is extremely important to a professional franchise, no question about it. But Ernie, for good reason, doesn’t answer to Business Operations, and neither should the Mystics’ next GM. The person with the most experience in basketball, the person making the player personnel decisions, should be reporting to the owners. If that’s how men’s basketball is run, that’s how women’s basketball should be run too. Anything less is disrespectful, and sexist.

It won’t be easy for Sheila & Co. to repair the damage this last season has done. It won’t be easy to regain the trust and support of the fans. But Mystics management are the only ones who have the power to start the rebuilding process. The BCs challenge them to swallow their pride and do whatever it takes to make this right.


At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen, BCs, Amen!

At 10:46 PM, Anonymous T-Gal said...

This reminds me of the movie Major League. Anyone ever seen it? I can just see sheila (she doesn't deserve a capital 'S') trying to get the team to last place so she can re-locate them to Miami...where she happens to own resorts. I will still renew my tix, because I'm a sucka? Well yes, but b/c I LOVE the game of bball and I love Mo and Lang. When you hit rock bottom there's no place to go but up, right? Hope to see yall next summer!

At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. Let's see the content of Ted's character.

At 1:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing what I have felt this whole year. sheila needs to apologize to Angela and Julie and bring them back here, whatever the cost. Only then will it be worth the money and fun to go to a Mystics game. Otherwise, she will be paying for that dirty deed for a very long time.

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for writing this. this echos my sentiments exactly. Hey Mystics management -- I'm a season ticket holder and I'm not renewing. Maybe if you get rid of Trudi and start anew I'll reconsider.

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully said. I recently read that Ted and Sheila will be mapping out a strategy for next year. Gee, ya think??

At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday's Post said Trudi hasn't decided whether she wants to bring Matee back. I suppose the more vets and strong players she keeps, the harder it is to use the same old excuses.
Speaking of which, I appreciate the BCs pointing out that Trudi made a point of getting a young team, yet she continues to blame having a young team for the poor season. Why does everyone see through this facade except Ted and Sheila?
And, don't they realize how much respect they would earn by admitting they made a mistake and making it right?

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Sue/Durham said...

Now THIS is a dirge worthy of the events that led to it! You nailed it on every single solitary point.

I still like my idea of Oprah (or Ellen) buying out the sheila and sending her to some island resort...or something.

Then the Mystics ownership group can blame the whole fiasco on the sheila and beg, bribe, promise the moon to Angela and Julie to again breathe life into this team.

I just don't see the sheila having the capability to do what is needed. Fall on your sword, sheila! Let this franchise live!

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monumental doesn't care about winning when it comes to the Mystics - although you can be sure Ted will take credit if they do win. Monumental cares sbout making money, or not losing too much money. Mystics reported attendance was up 11%. Sponsorships are up, including the jersey deal. I suspect the Mystics did not approach the salary cap this year, and I doubt they will next year. Double bottom line? I think Monumental thinks we should just be happy to have a team at all.

At 12:53 PM, Blogger dcsportsfan said...

I think the team needs a clear strategy, and I am not one of those fans who believe that we should just be happy to have a team at all. Not at this point.

Whoever the new GM is, I want that person to report to Ted himself, and Bibb reports to Ted anyway. End of story. Sheila can keep her titles as Mystics Managing Partner, but Ted is likely to be more involved in management in the future.

At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job Basketcases! I would not hold my breath waiting for Sheila or Ted to admit they made a mistake letting Angela and Julie walk away. And if I were any self-respecting basketball professional, I would not want to come to this franchise at all. Reading that Post article yesterday reinforced my belief that this VIP season ticket holder will never again spend $800 for such an inferior product; one that seems to have no plan to get better.

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should be an interesting off season. Lot's of question marks--Coleman and Ajavon are big ones to me. Of course the Trudi experience is a big one but my gut feeling is that she will stay. What a terrible thought that is.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger ms sassy said...

You hit it on the nail. I don't think Sheila and Co are going to do anything about this situation. They will never admit the mistake they made with Trudi Lacy. I feel Sheila did not give a dam# about the team. She never addresses the fans this year nor attends events for the fans. What does that tell you? I was so upset with the team; I did not attend the last 3 games. I email Greg Gibb about my unhappiness with the team management and the direction the team is going. (By the way, I notice he remove me from his facebook). I guess he did not like what I had to say about the Mystics management. If Greg is the one who hires Trudi, then he needs to be fired.

At 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN, I agree with all of the BC's insights. Well said!!! One point that needs discussed more is MR. Bibb's position. Let's get Greg to answer up to his mistakes. He should not be in charge of giving advice to anyone in management. What are his credentials for women;s basketball. My guess is that he probably was intimidated by A. Taylor and promoted her removal. Did he benefit financially this year? I bet he did.

I am also sorry to believe that Trudy will be back. Ted or Sheila will never admit to any mistakes. Although Trudy is a nice person she is not a coach/GM. We need to search for new people and I wish that Angela and Julie would be given first option to refuse. We will never get any free agent of any calliber to want to come to DC. We got Smith and Harding because of their respect for Coach Plank. Our whole team probably lacks in self respect for all that they went through this year.

At 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great idea. Fire Gregg Bibb and use his salary to bring back Angela Taylor and Julie Plank. I don't know what use Gregg has been to the Mystics except help them make bad decisions.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all for questioning the integrity of Gregg Bibb. He has given bad advice to the mystics owners and he should answer to the mystics fans. He should not be part of the women's organization

At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a joke. I just read the Mystics year review from their website. Do they expect us to believe the goals for next year and the summary of this year?????????

At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know, that was pretty funny. Give me a break. The Mystics are the laughing stock of the WNBA.

At 1:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to be really happy that, if they had to leave the Lynx, Taylor and Plank went to the Mystics because I have respect for Mystics fans. I still can't believe Taylor and Plank weren't rehired. And I REALLY can't believe how Mystics fans have been treated. Y'all deserve better.

At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What were Taylor's and Plank's roles with the Lynx?

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie was an assistant coach. Prior to that she was an assistant for several years with Indiana. Angela was VP for business ops. Previously, she worked for the W for several years in player personnel.

Both were also assistants at Stanford.

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh boy do some of us really miss those two! Amazing to see that after 11 months, people still have Angela and Julie in their thoughts. What an impact they have had. Not to mention great credentials that we can't even attribute to Ms. Lacey!

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those were two pretty amazing people and there are few others of that caliber. I think the Mystics will never find another team like that.

At 1:33 AM, Anonymous Section 100 said...

I mourn the absence of Angela and Julie as much as anyone, but Greg Bibb isn't the villain of this piece.

Greg was brought in to be the COO of the Mystics. He was the one who recruited Angela. I followed his blog after he got here, and it was clear how dedicated he was to the Mystics and how invested he was in securing a great GM, then how pleased he was when he landed Angela Taylor.

The following year he was made EVP of the Wizards as well as COO of the Mystics, so he didn't write as much about the Mystics. He had a huge job, and Angela was handling the Mystics brilliantly so he wasn't as involved as he had been.
But there's been great improvement in sales, marketing and sponsorships under his direction.

If Angela reported to Greg it was de facto. Sheila has always been the one running the show. And none of us knows what advice Greg gave Sheila about the October Massacre.

I'm no shill for the Mystics and I don't know Greg personally. I just followed his blog and really liked what he wrote. I can't imagine he thought it was right to lose Angela and Julie. He was so proud to have brought them on board.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Section 100:

Like you, we were not flies on the wall during the October Massacre, but there are some publicly known facts that, we believe, do not justify giving Greg Bibb a complete pass for what happened last fall.

First and foremost, at the time of the October Massacre, Greg was (as he still is) the Chief Operating Officer of the Mystics. Angela Taylor reported to him. There is no basis for believing this was some “de facto” hierarchy. To the contrary, when Greg was named Executive VP of Business Operations for the Wizards in the summer of 2010, he personally explained to us that the main difference between his roles with the two teams was that Ernie Grunfeld did not report to him, while Angela did (in his continuing role as Mystics COO).

Given that Greg was in charge of the Mystics’ entire operation -- including finances -- it is, in our opinion, completely illogical to think he had no hand in developing any money-saving analysis or plan.

We do credit Greg for having hired Angela in the first place. Indeed, it was the best thing the Sheila-owned Mystics have ever done. But things can change in two years.

Consider this. Greg came to the Mystics with an undergraduate degree from Marist College and a background in sports management operations with indoor soccer. No experience in basketball, men’s or women’s.

Angela came to the Mystics with an undergraduate degree from Stanford, an MBA from NYU (which she earned while holding down a full-time job in the WNBA front office), plus an entire career spent in women’s basketball at every level -- player (two NCAA national championships), coach, and management. (See her bio at the link below.) Her most immediate job prior to joining the Mystics was Vice President of Business Operations for the Lynx, where she oversaw “all business operations for the Lynx, including ticket sales, marketing, fan relations, public relations, community relations, interactive services, and corporate sponsorships.” In our opinion, Angela was not only qualified to be the Mystics’ GM, she was qualified to be the Mystics’ head of business operations. (Just a thought, but if Sheila was so keen on saving money, maybe she created the wrong combo job.)

Perhaps, after two seasons, Greg found all that a bit intimidating (or threatening). If so, it wouldn’t be the first time a male supervisor had reacted that way to a better-educated, more experienced female colleague.

In any event, Greg did not respond to emails from longtime season ticketholders who wrote to him after the October Massacre to complain about what had happened, not even a “thank you for your concern, we appreciate your support.” Indeed, friends and readers of this blog have told us how upset they were about having been ignored.

It is certainly possible that Greg had nothing to do with the October Massacre. But, when we connect the dots, we think it is certainly possible (if not probable) that the opposite is true.

-- BC

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Section 120 said...

You're on to something there....the cost savings combo we needed was to fire Greg Bibb and give the job to combo GM Angela Taylor, then leave Julie as the coach. There's a win-win-win move.

Too late now...why would Angela or Julie come back to this mess. Just like a lot of our players we keep turning over, the two of them will go win championships with someone else while we sit here and slide backward down the ladder of success.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger fr mike said...

Thank you, BasketCases. Because the Mystics have fans like you, I embrace the hope that something good will happen for the MYstics and all their other fans.

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Section 100 said...

BC -

My view isn't that Greg Bibb should be held harmless. I just don't see any evidence that he was wholly responsible for the October Massacre.

If Bibb was threatened by Taylor's resume, he wouldn't have hired her in the first place. In fact, he needed someone with her experience to manage the Mystics because he had the far bigger job of running the business operations of the Wizards.

I too wrote to everyone in authority at Monumental Sports about Taylor's departure, and no one responded, including Bibb. That lack of response was one of the most infuriating things about the whole mess. But it was clearly the company line, and they all stuck by it.

Bibb discontinued his blog around the same time, which I took to mean he couldn't honestly comment on what had happened.

So we connect different dots and reach different conclusions. But nothing changes the stupidity of the decisions made last year.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger BasketCases said...

Dear Section 100:

1. Nothing in our post or our previous comment said that Greg was “wholly responsible” for the October Massacre.

2. Angela was hired as the Mystics' GM in October 2008. Monumental Sports did not take over the Wizards until nearly two years later in June 2010. Greg was not named EVP of the Wizards’ business ops until later that summer (2010). Given this timeline, obviously Angela was NOT hired to help Greg “manage” the Mystics while he ran business ops for the Wizards. Greg’s job with the Mystics – Chief Operating Officer – did not change after his promotion. Angela still reported to him. Greg himself told us this.

3. Your recollection that Greg “discontinued his blog around the same time” as the October Massacre, which you take to mean “he couldn’t honestly comment on what had happened,” is factually incorrect. Greg continued to blog all through last fall and winter, and on into the early part of this season (2011). His last blog entry was posted on June 26, 2011, about eight months after the Massacre, by which time the new WNBA season was underway, and the Mystics were already laying claim to the Eastern Conference cellar.

As has been famously said, everyone is entitled to her own opinion, but no one is entitled to her own facts. We may connect the dots differently than you, and we may reach different conclusions than you, but it’s important that we all start with the same dots.


At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, but based on her "let me idiot proof this for you" comment, I'd say she's too arrogant to do such a thing as actually apologize for anything. A new GM needs to be hired and Sheila needs to stay the hell out of the way.

At 12:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I know is that Gregg Bibb can't even look at me when he walks by.

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Section 100 said...

I stand corrected. Thanks, BC.

At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the SEASON in REVIEW on the Mystics website. What a JOKE. More next season - yeah right not if there are no changes made.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm happy for Nakia Sanford. Glad she will be able to experience a division championship game and possibly the WNBA finals. After all of those years with the Mystics, she deserves it.

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

Indeed. Check out the post-game video on the Mercury website. Nakia is home.

At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Ashley Hardwick said...

Just heard about your blog and I find it very worthwhile to read. The Mystics have been mismanged from the get go (how many coaches/GMs in how many years?) without any explantory reporting from the Post. At least, one can get some explanations here. My take is Ted does not care about the Mystics, and if Ms. Johnson want to move the team to Miami, he will let her.

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We, too, are done. Not that we don't support the players and women's basketball, but there is no way that we will renew our season tickets. We'll spend the $1800 on travel to see other teams whose management is competent. We only attended TWO games the entire 2011 season and didn't bother to watch on television either. After 12 years as season ticket holders, we've had enough....

At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sad that you have been a season ticket holder for 12 years and had enough. I can't believe you stuck around for that long. I don't understand the Mystics organization. Don't you want to win? If you are Sheila Johnson, don't you want to win? Is her ego just that big that she can't see past it? It's mind boggling dumb to me, really. Wouldn't you be embarrassed? The Mystics could really have great crowds if they had a winning team. I truly believe they could. Look at last year when they played NY at the end of the year. Fantastic crowd which means people at your concession stands buying 5 dollars sodas, etc. I just can't understand this organization. It's mind boggling dumb.

At 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said it -Double Dumb Dirty Deed

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We did not renew this past year, and I am so glad we made that decision. Saw one game that they actually won. We have moved on and it wasn't that hard!

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Stewart said...

I have lost so much respect for Sheila Johnson over the last year. Last year, she was always walking around the floor and was VERY approachable. I don't think she addressed the fans once this past summer. I renewed, but only to support the league and see some of the world's best athletes play in person. If the Mystics ever wise up -- I'm not holding my breath -- it would just be icing on the cake. After the last two seasons, I never would have believed in a million years that we'd be at this point (AGAIN!).

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear Sheila and Trudi's names thrown around alot in this conversation but no mention of the person who controls the dollars - Ted Leonsis. Wasn't Sheila the one who brought Taylor and Plank to the Mystics? What changed? Ted Leonsis became the owner. Once that happened all the cuts started - no more fan giveways (when was the last time you saw a shirt thrown into the stands?), a season ticket holder packet that was nicely packaged now is just a book of tickets and a change in team structure to a combo GM/Coach. Its obvious they don't pay enough money and Lacey is the only one who would work for those peanuts. To get a new more qualified coach they have to pay the money and Ted isn't willing to do it. I don't like the statements Sheila made (it shows her ignorance about the game) or the way fans have been treated but Ted "Cheap" Leonsis is the one who decides on the budgets. If you want to rant at someone - direct it at him. Its a waste of time and energy to direct it at Lacey or Johnson.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger dcsportsfan said...

To Anonymous at 9:53 AM:

Ted was always the Mystics majority owner since 2005. Sheila Johnson was always the president and managing partner since then as well and she joined the partnership then because of the Mystics. That said, I don't think Ted dabbles much into the Mystics' affairs, and he doesn't dabble with the Capitals and Wizards either though he is more visible with them; he just lets his appointed hands do the dirty work unless it's necessary, and for the Mystics, Sheila is the top dog that does this for him. Therefore, it's up to her that she lets business people worry about business and basketball operations folks worry about putting out a good basketball team. If she really isn't doing that, then Ted should do something internally. He will not throw her under the bus publicly, that's for sure.

I personally believe that he will step in here one way or another. He knows every Mystics snafu may be pointed at Sheila, but it will also ultimately be his fault if he has a blind eye to them when they are allowed to happen unabated.

At 2:14 PM, Anonymous Sue/Durham said...

Nothing good will happen with the Mystics until The Sheila has moved on to a business she knows anything about. Ted won't acknowledge he made a mistake in handing her the reins. Sheila won't admit she totally effed up. Gregg won't acknowledge he was more interested in protecting his job than in putting a good product on the floor for the Mystics. And this bunch of idiots won't get a GM or Coach better than Trudi to sign up to work for them.

There really is only one thing that is necessary to turn this team around. Addition by subtraction: The Sheila must be gone.

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well then you better hope Teddy loosens the purse strings because if he is not willing to give more money I don't care what the Sheila wants to do; there will not be enough money to hire a quality GM/Coach. He controls the bucks. You get what you pay for.

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