Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: dcsportsbog and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Redskins and Sports  |  RSS
Posted at 12:09 PM ET, 02/ 3/2011

Leonsis answers questions about t-shirt cannons

By Dan Steinberg


On the same day that one local sports owner filed a suit seeking $2 million in damages from the local alternative weekly, another local sports owner spent 35 minutes answering fan questions on his team's Web site.

Because I like uplifting stories of hope and change, let's focus on the second story for the time be, shall we? Believe it or not, that second owner was Ted Leonsis, and among the more pressing fan questions he answered was the one complaining that the Wizards's t-shirt cannon only reaches 15 rows up the 100-level seats.

"I know this is gonna sound silly, but we really do care about an ecumenical spreading out of giveaways around the arena, and we actually have someone who sits and makes sure that the giveaways are being equally distributed," he said. "And yes, our cannon can reach very high in the arena. I will tell you that we don't aim the cannon really really high because of safety issues. We've had some issues around the league, and safety is really the number one priority and deliverable, and so we don't shoot the t-shirts up really really high. It's nothing personal, it's nothing about where you sit, it's purely because we don't want anyone falling and hurting themselves. That's a decision that we made, and that's why we don't shoot the t-shirts up all the way to the back of the arena."

There's a lot there, some more serious than t-shirt cannons, if you can believe that. I guess I probably shouldn't just transcribe 35 pure minutes of Leonsis chatter here. But I sort of liked the part where Dave Johnson asked the fan question about whether this team is on schedule.

"I don't know. I don't know if we're on schedule," Leonsis said. "I don't think anybody knows. I think we need to build this team over a two-to-three year period. It certainly can't be rebuilt in 90 days. I know many of our fans can rebuild a team in 90 days, but it's hard. There's 30 teams that are all competing, and there are some really elite teams. And we're not an elite team.

"And so we've been unabashed and honest in saying we're gonna rebuild. And it's really hard. I empathize and I know how painful it can be, but the team wasn't rebuilding the last two years. They had an unbelievably high payroll, one of the highest payrolls in the league, filled with veteran players and they finished in the lottery. So I just have to look critically and say, honestly, this is the path we have to follow....

"I'm not naive. We need more talent....You only have one draft a year. I can't draft more players right now....I do hope that you believe that once a strategy is laid out and there's commitment to the hard work and the spending of money and the investment, that you'll let us do it. And that it's really easy for bloggers and media and fans to, after a loss, say trade this guy, get rid of that guy. We're not gonna trade young players for older players right now. I don't think that's in the best interest of the team. We have to believe in the young players, and let them have experience, and then see what is it we have. And so we have a long way to go to be able to judge critically what kind of team we have."

When the issue trade deadline was raised, Leonsis said he would not be involved, unless Ernie Grunfeld in some way wanted to deviate from the team's long-term plan. The owner said that his role was to "set strategy and vision," and that his goal was to be good in the mid-term and long-term, and to pay the dues in the short-term. This issue of rebuilding was raised again and again throughout the session, and Leonsis would not back down.

"Staring at the water boiling won't make it go faster," he said. "My goal is to get to the point where every game that we go into, we think we can win. And we have a long way to go. But once you get there, I think it's a real good place."

Well, that's one way to approach things, I guess. Watch the rest here.

By Dan Steinberg  | February 3, 2011; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins, Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: On Dan Snyder and Dave McKenna
Next: Adam Archuleta calls his time in D.C. "an utter disaster"

Comments

"I know many of our fans can rebuild a team in 90 days."

Now THAT was funny.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | February 3, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"And we're not an elite team."

There is another owner in town who should learn how to say this, as it is blatantly the truth.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 3, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Ted got in all of his buzz words:

CARE, HONEST, HONESTLY, BELIEVE, EMPATHIZE, WIN

and top phrase I KNOW HOW PAINFUL

Not sure what ecumenical means? Is that a new buzz word Ted?

I come from Missouri so Ted, you are going to have to SHOW ME. Up until now and through all of your years of owning the Capitals it has been a lot of talk and "feel good" buzz words and we are expecting nothing short of WINning it all.

To me, Jack Kent Cooke was a great owner because he delivered Super Bowl Trophies! Pollin delived a Bullets World Championship and 1 Stanley Cup Finals appearance and so far all I get from Ted is higher prices, longer lines, and buzz words.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 3, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Can you trust someone who always has to say "honest"? Does it mean you were not telling the truth before?

He is perfect for politics. A gladhander extraordinaire!

And I think ecumenical is when the church is united so not sure how that translate to tshirt cannons.

Posted by: PensRule | February 3, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, Snyder is easier to deal with than Leonsis. Snyder doesn't pretend to be anything other than slimy vermin. But Leonsis pretends to be everyone's buddy as he slits his fans throats..............

Posted by: poguesmahone | February 3, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Wizards fans, this is why I've called him "Cotton Candy Ted" for years -- all sugar, spin, hot air... and a little color but NO nutritional value. Spin, Teddy, Spin!

Posted by: capscapscaps2 | February 3, 2011 11:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the harsh criticism of Leonsis. He's been very consistent that he's trying to apply the lessons he's learned with the Caps and studying other NBA teams (Atlanta, OK). Yes, he's working on the margins--the fluffier PR/marketing side--but that's all he's got for now. I agree Grunfeld and Flip may need to go at some point--but given the (lack of) talent here now and the owner's commitment to the draft, there's not a huge need for Ted to eat those salaries and bring in a new GM and coach. We've been through the Chris Webber for Mitch Richmond moves. We're just going to have to gut it out for a couple of years.

Posted by: jweber1 | February 4, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand the harsh criticism of Leonsis. He's been very consistent that he's trying to apply the lessons he's learned with the Caps and studying other NBA teams (Atlanta, OK). Yes, he's working on the margins--the fluffier PR/marketing side--but that's all he's got for now. I agree Grunfeld and Flip may need to go at some point--but given the (lack of) talent here now and the owner's commitment to the draft, there's not a huge need for Ted to eat those salaries and bring in a new GM and coach. We've been through the Chris Webber for Mitch Richmond moves. We're just going to have to gut it out for a couple of years.

Posted by: jweber1 | February 4, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Criticizing Leonsis is far too much of a stretch to make given the current sports environment in DC. Have Caps ticket prices gone up? Yes, that's what happens when they're the ONLY winning team in town. While Leonsis isn't perfect (no owner is), he's willing publicly take responsibility for his organizations, a quality which is lacking in far too many owners.
It's clear the Wiz are on their way to rebuilding. Having only had official ownership since June, he's managed to clear cap room (getting rid of the enormous Gilbert contract- most thought that was impossible), focused on developing talent (especially Nick Young and John Wall), and is even shifting things as minor as the jersey color scheme. The fact that he's doing all of this while playing in a division with Miami, Atlanta, and Orlando (not to mention a strong Eastern Conference overall), means there's going to be growing pains. It's not fun to be blown out repeatedly on the road all season. But those are the knocks that have to be taken to improve.
As a DC fan, I'm sick of friends from Boston, New York, and Philly getting to laugh at how miserable our situation in every single sport is. We've got a great owner who's handling the Caps and Wizards well. The Caps have a great talent base for the next several years. Just a few years ago they were at the bottom of the league. I believe the Wizards can follow the same track and make us proud.
I guess Wale was right about DC- "Hate is the new love."

Posted by: Garyland | February 4, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Criticizing Leonsis is far too much of a stretch to make given the current sports environment in DC. Have Caps ticket prices gone up? Yes, that's what happens when they're the ONLY winning team in town. While Leonsis isn't perfect (no owner is), he's willing publicly take responsibility for his organizations, a quality which is lacking in far too many owners.
It's clear the Wiz are on their way to rebuilding. Having only had official ownership since June, he's managed to clear cap room (getting rid of the enormous Gilbert contract- most thought that was impossible), focused on developing talent (especially Nick Young and John Wall), and is even shifting things as minor as the jersey color scheme. The fact that he's doing all of this while playing in a division with Miami, Atlanta, and Orlando (not to mention a strong Eastern Conference overall), means there's going to be growing pains. It's not fun to be blown out repeatedly on the road all season. But those are the knocks that have to be taken to improve.
As a DC fan, I'm sick of friends from Boston, New York, and Philly getting to laugh at how miserable our situation in every single sport is. We've got a great owner who's handling the Caps and Wizards well. The Caps have a great talent base for the next several years. Just a few years ago they were at the bottom of the league. I believe the Wizards can follow the same track and make us proud.
I guess Wale was right about DC- "Hate is the new love."

Posted by: Garyland | February 4, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company