Bucks Diary

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Bucks aren't a product... and other thoughts

I don't rip the Senator often because, well, if he wasn't around the Bucks wouldn't be either. But some of the things I'm hearing bother me:

1. He constantly refers to the Bucks as a "product", and fans as "customers". He says the organizations number one goal is to "put on a good product." Does he get it?

The Bucks aren't like some circus act or broadway play. They aren't a "product". They are a competitive basketball team. Therefore, the number one goal of the organization should be winning championships. To me, the goal of simply putting on a good product means the organization is willing to settle for "okay" teams as long as people are attending games.

Also, it implies that Kohl is more concerned about the aesthetic appeal of the team than doing what it takes to win games. If that's true he should look into buying the Harlem Globetrotters and selling the Bucks. Which leads into my second point:

2. He CANNOT be making, suggesting, implying or otherwise concerning himself with strategic basketball decisions.

The thing that really frightened me yesterday was when I read Gary Woefel's piece from some time ago that suggested that Coach K came into the season wanting to run the triangle and the Senator said he couldn't.

Now I don't give a crap what offense the team runs, but that call must belong to the basketball folk.

What's next, the Senator is going to ban jump shots, because the "customers" prefer dunks? I mean, really. That is scary.

3. He can't be mistreating loyal employees the way he mistreated Harris

If reports are correct, the Senator just sort of let Larry Harris play make-believe GM all season. He was like Lyold Braun in Costanza's computer company... he looked busy but his phone was never plugged in.

Harris would effort trades, the Senator would nix them. I'm sure that made Harris look great in front of his colleagues and subordinates... his authority completely undermined. You just can't be embarrassing people like that. Especially people who have been with the team for 20 odd years.

It sounds like the move was made yesterday primarily because Harris had enough of the whole charade. Good for him.


At March 20, 2008 at 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't really blame the Senator for looking at the bottom line. Obviously competing for a championship is going to bring in more dough than the t-shirt toss and the relay races during timeouts, but since the team is nowhere near being competitive, even after all the high draft picks, Kohl is forced to look at alternate revenue sources.

I don't think the Bucks are awful through lack of effort - the payroll is respectable. Harris has just made one mistake after another, making moves like a small-market team desperate to hold onto the marginal talent they have. Or else making moves like a guy trying to save his job, which is almost as bad.

Unfortunately this season has wrecked the Bucks' reputation with the general public, something that will take years and years to repair (like the mid-nineties Brewers).

At March 20, 2008 at 5:56 PM, Blogger Glenn said...

You can blame the senator because if all he cares about is putting on a good show, then the Bucks will amount to shit. A team full of Desmond Masons might be fun, but they won't win a damn thing. I think that Harris' moves were not always in the best interest of the franchise, and the proposed Randolph trade was a joke, but Kohl and his advisers should never be allowed anywhere near places where basketball decisions are being made. Let your GM succeed or fail, but Kohl, stay the hell away.

At March 20, 2008 at 6:02 PM, Blogger Glenn said...

Oh, and Doug Collins? Doug Effing Collins?!? Why the hell would anyone want Doug Collins as their GM? Sometimes being a Bucks fan is like torture.

At March 20, 2008 at 6:22 PM, Blogger TCW said...


I get where your coming from.

Here's what I mean, though. The Senator says that "business" goal, as I will call it, is the driving force for the organization. It shouldn't be. Unless by "the best product" he means a championship team. But I don't think he does.

In fact I heard him on that Sports Law show say his aim is to "provide fans with an entertaining experience" when they come to Bucks games, and send them home happy as often as possible with wins. In my mind, that's misguided. If you are focused on that rather mediocre goal, you will never get to the mountaintop.

I'm not explaining myself very well, I'm sorry.

Let me put it to you this way... read my previous post about Ron Wolf and the attitude he brought to Green Bay -- we are going to win a championship.

Now imagine if in his initial speech his stated goal were to "put the best product on the field." Do you see how that is kind of "loser talk" and not nearly as compelling?

I'm writing in circles, here. Sorry. Its been a long day.

At March 20, 2008 at 6:26 PM, Blogger TCW said...



There was a time when the Bucks were the only team we had to be proud of in the state of Wisconsin.

Now they've been bypassed by every single other Wisconsin sports franchise.

It hurts just to contemplate "how far we done fell" as Bunk from The Wire once said.

At March 20, 2008 at 7:18 PM, Anonymous glenn said...

Touché. It's always like torture.

At March 21, 2008 at 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Senator's reputation for meddling is obvious if you look at the staff since Karl and Grunwald left. 2 rookie coaches, 1 near-rookie retread, and a rookie GM. This means one of two things:

Kohl cheaped out on the team leadership positions, or no experienced/respectable coach or GM is interested in working for him.

With only 30 teams in the association, each job should be highly coveted. It's obvious no one of quality will work for the Senator for one of the reasons above.

I liked Harris, and generally agreed with all the moves he made at the time he made them. Obviously hindsight is 20/20, and some of them didn't help the team in the long run. Who knows how many better moves were blocked by the Senator, and the moves that actually happened were plan B, C or D?

I'm not real optimistic that we'll get a good replacement for Harris. If it's not Babcock, it'll be some other ex-buck player/assistant with no experience who can't get a job anywhere else hired to be yet another Kohl puppet - while our team continues to suck.

I hope I'm wrong...

At March 22, 2008 at 1:32 AM, Blogger ruffian96 said...

Wow I don't really have much hope for the near future of the Bucks (except for dumb luck) after reading this post. But I had to say I agree with tcw in that I think the Sen.'s main problem is that he looks at the Bucks like his chain of department stores and not as his passion in life (like say Mark Cuban). It's almost like he looks at owning the Bucks as part of his civil service to Wisconsin like being a Senator. By the way I'm a first time commenter but have a link to you on my site. Nice to see another Wisconsin sports fan in the blogosphere.


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