Mark Lerner calls ownership "a trusteeship for the city"
One of Ted Leonsis's hallmark moves is referring to the Caps as "a public trust," an organization that serves some slightly larger purpose than mere money-making. Leonsis has attributed the concept to Abe Pollin, writing on his blog earlier this year that it was from Pollin "that I learned owning a team is a public trust. I have learned that owners have a responsibility to do everything in their power to build a great team that can achieve immortality for their fans by striving to win championships."
If public trusteeship is linked to championships, then Pollin was perhaps not the best example, but Leonsis had stuck to this talking point.
"Mr. Pollin was kind of the archetype of teaching owners that teams are a public trust," he said a few weeks later on the LaVar and Dukes show.
Now, whether he actually believes that deep in his heart, who knows, but I'd rather have an owner who pays lip service to that idea than one who doesn't. Which brings us to Leonsis's friend and business partner Mark Lerner, who seems to have adopted the theme in his own discussions of the Nats.
"As I have said many times before, owning the Nationals is a public trust that our family takes very seriously," Lerner told MLB.com this fall.
Lerner -- who watched Game 7 of the Caps-Canadiens series from Leonsis's box -- was recently interviewed by Johnny Holliday and Ray Knight on the MASN set, and he used that trust language again.
"Honestly, not a day goes by that I don't pinch myself," Lerner said, when asked about ownership. "I watch people's faces on the fan days when they walk in the dugout, and I say I still get the same tingle when I walk in the dugout now. It's quite special. We're very honored to be able to have the Nationals, and it's a trusteeship for the city. And we're gonna win one day, no doubt about."
With Leonsis running the Capitals and Wizards and the Lerners in full-on trusteeship mode, that leaves Daniel Snyder. If he starts talking about how the Redskins are a public trust, go ahead and run for the hills.
In Lerner's MASN interview, which was conducted more than a week ago, he was also asked about the team's surprisingly competitive start.
"All the credit this year certainly goes to Mike Rizzo," he said. "Mike's done a superb job working with Stan, and we got just about everybody we had our sights on in the offseason, so we're very proud of that. And most of them are contributing, and a lot of them who aren't I'm sure will be soon.
"But as far as the future, I think we're right on the cusp. If you look at just the starting pitching next year if everything goes well, Stephen [Strasburg], Drew [Storen],Chien-Ming Wang, Jordan Zimmermann will be back healthy, John Lannan, [Luis] Atilano -- who knows, he could be a star, you never know. But it's all pitching pitching pitching, defense defense defense. All good things will come from that....So if we can get that starting pitching going on a regular steady basis, I think the sky's the limit for us."
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