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Ted Won't Take the Abuse

Remember the days when a professional sports team owner was just the guy in a suit who sat up in a skybox and ignored the little people? (Er, okay, maybe some owners still follow the old model.)

Ted Leonsis, in happier times.

These days, in the age of the Internet and social networking, some owners have made themselves infinitely more accessible. The man who does this best, no doubt, is Caps owner Ted Leonsis. He has a public email address, gives fan blogs the time of day, writes his own blog, and if that's not enough, feel free to friend him on Facebook.

I guess Leonsis might have taken this whole "I'm one of you" thing a bit too far, though, because the email situation has gotten out of hand and his inbox is consistently full.

Leonsis first tried to make the following topics off-limits: Kono trade; Bondra trade; Jagr trade; Gonchar trade; Witt trade; Grier trade; Halpern non-resigning; Olie to Tampa; Capitals Spirit Squad; Mike Gartner number retirement ceremony; and if you get banned from the message boards.

So that pretty much only leaves Mystics basketball and gourmet cheese up for discussion. Great for Steinberg, bad for inquisitive Caps fans.

The guidelines didn't seem to resonate, and neither did the follow-up post "asking folks to respect my time and my space."

No dice. I think he's serious this time:

The 3 to 0 deficit also brought out the worst of some folks' instincts and emails into my inbox so here is what I am thinking: I have made myself incredibly accessible to our fans and I mostly enjoy the interaction but it is becoming apparent that some fans abuse me and have gotten into the habit of just firing off hurtful missives about me personally or about our team; certain players on our team; or our fan base. To be direct, we don't deserve it and the abuse is probably the reason that most professional sports team owners don't open their mailbox to fans.
Without more restraint from some of you, I will be forced to shut down my email access. It is making the process of listening to our fan base too noisy and, frankly, it isn't much fun. Try to enjoy the ride; the team; and respect my time and space. Thank you.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  October 17, 2008; 3:39 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Ratcheting up the fan expectations to Stanley Cup levels sells a whole lot of seats, but he'd better expect some backlash when the team stumbles. The Caps clinched a playoff spot on the last day of the season, they had the easiest schedule in the NHL, they play in the weakest division, and they got bounced in the first round, but every Cap fan thinks they are going to be one of the premier teams. (Let's hope so, this city needs a championship team more than anyone,) Leonsis dished the hype, now he needs to learn to take the heat, and if he doesn't like Caps critics just wait until he owns the Wizards.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Who are these weirdos jumping the negativity bangwagon already? Oh right, Caps fans.

Posted by: Ben | October 17, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse


Well, it didn't say it was Caps fans sending him things when it was 3-0. Considering the statement was "some fans abuse me and have gotten into the habit of just firing off hurtful missives about me personally or about our team; certain players on our team; or our fan base" it makes me think it was fans of the opposing team in this case. Considering the opposing team was Pittsburgh, that doesn't surprise me.

Although the fact that Penguins fans knew how to use computers, THAT surprises me.

Posted by: TG | October 17, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I think this is less a statement about Ted than about the craziness of some fans these days. People were writing nasty messages because the Caps were losing to a Stanley Cup finalist on the road in the fourth game of an 82-game season (granted they were playing pretty poorly, at that point, but still..) People can't even wait for the game to end to complain--which the Caps ended up WINNING. And to Anonymous above--the team is 3-1, they're leading their division. I'd hardly call that a stumble.

Posted by: Fingerman | October 17, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Tell Ted that Ovie's still waiting for him to extract his bag of chips from the vending machine...

Posted by: Rob Iola | October 17, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

If Ted gets email from the people who sit in the section next to mine, who can blame him?

Posted by: 431 | October 17, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Fingerman: The Caps are looking good so far, they just need to stay healthy and hope their goalie can get his shít together.

My point wasn't about problems with the team, it was that Leonsis needs to stop whining like a little girl.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 17, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Tell em' Ted.

Nobody pushes around a man capable of bailing out the U.S. economy with the help of Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry.

Posted by: | October 17, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Ted is the man. It is unfortunate that some idiots feel the need to attack a guy that has gone way beyond the scope most owners would even dream of. I don't think any Caps fans were happy with falling behind 3-0 but to send the owner an e-mail right away is ridiculous. This is the first Caps team that I truly believed was still in the game and was glad to be proven right.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 18, 2008 12:22 AM | Report abuse

LOL! Thats hysterical. The Fat Man made the bed, now he's whining about it!

He better just SHUT UP! It might be a good idea to turn over some of his interview time to an actual member of the team. YES, he's an accessible owner, but he's doing media interviews more than any player and its just stupid.

Posted by: Caphcky | October 19, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

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