Arizona Diamondbacks owner channels his inner mob boss for stadium cash

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It’s time to play “You Be The Billionaire Sports Mogul.”

Now here’s your situation.

You’ve just won the National League pennant and made it to the World Series.

Your fan base is motivated and hungry for the new season to begin.

Spring training is opening and it’s a glorious day of blue sky and Arizona sunshine.

QUESTION: What do you do next?

A) Talk about the great season that was.

B) Talk about the great season to come.

C) Muscle your fan base to fork over more money.

How a sports magnate asks for cash

Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick and President/CEO Derrick Hall (right) hold a news conference during spring training workouts at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick near Scottsdale on Feb. 19, 2024.
Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick and President/CEO Derrick Hall (right) hold a news conference during spring training workouts at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick near Scottsdale on Feb. 19, 2024.

Hard to decide?

Did we mention you’re the principal owner of a professional sports team, which is to say you’re running an extortion racket that demands taxpayers or some other poor saps pay for your office construction and renovations?

In this particular scenario you need something in the neighborhood of $400 million to $500 million — a good part of it footed with public dollars.

The correct answer is C. “Muscle your fan base.”

To help inform you, we turn to Ken Kendrick, managing partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who on Monday showed us how a real sports mogul makes these calls.

First, you dress the part.

When it’s time to go cosa nostra on the Arizona fans, Kendrick always goes imposing and intimidating. He dresses in black.

Next, you don’t futz around.

You flash your stiletto. So, to speak.

Kendrick suggests other cities are interested

Kendrick flashes his to the assembled media when he says Major League Baseball will soon expand to new cities that badly want baseball teams.

“They (those cities) would be happy with a brand new franchise, but they would certainly be very happy, you know, with, frankly, a successful, existing franchise.”

Note the emphasis: Not just “happy,” but “very happy.”

Nice touch.

When the media wonders if that’s some kind of a threat, you lay on the charm.

Heyyyyyy, we’re nice guyyyyys.

“We’re community people,” says Kendrick. “We’re a part of the fabric. Our franchise is part of the fabric of Arizona, and that’s where we want it to be for forever.”

Diamondbacks fans say buh-bye, Ken

Here’s how Diamondbacks fans reacted to Kendrick on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

  • “Blackmail season has started.”

  • “Welfare king asks for more money.”

  • “Better yet Ken, sell the team & then you relocate.” 

  • “What an absolute loser of an owner, do us all a favor and sell the team.” 

  • “(Mat Ishbia) would never talk to the Suns community this way.” 

  • “Holding the fans hostage? See you later then.”

  • “Get yourselves a better marketing advisor on the way out of town.”

OK, so that didn’t work. But you’re a big shot and fat cat. You get what you want.

Which brings us to our next question.

When they balk, bring more attack dogs

QUESTION: If you’re Ken Kendrick, how do you react to your own fans’ defiance?

A) You bury your head in shame and beg forgiveness.

B) You say you’re sorry, but you still need the money.

C)  You bring more muscle, more lawyers, more attack dogs.

The correct answer is C.

You will not be made a fool.

You will wipe the smug grins off those fans’ faces.

You will make them pay the next time they tell you to “take your team and leave the cannoli.”

Phil Boas is an editorial columnist for The Arizona Republic. Email him at phil.boas@arizonarepublic.com

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Diamondbacks owner shakes down fans, taxpayers for more cash