ESPN: This (David) Glass Is Empty

ESPN columnist Jason Whitlock offers this take on Wal-Mart board member David Glass, the current owner of the Kansas City Royals:

You don’t become the worst owner in professional sports overnight. It’s a process. For David Glass, the owner of the Kansas City Royals, that process began in the decade before he took official ownership of the club, and it culminated a week ago today when Glass cemented his Charles Montgomery Burns legacy by overreacting to contentious questions posed during a news conference to introduce the Royals’ new general manager/scapegoat, Dayton Moore.

Two Kansas City sports radio reporters—Rhonda Moss and Bob Fescoe, who have carved out niches baiting athletes, coaches and executives with condescending inquiries—peppered Glass with questions about his decision to fire Allard Baird, the old Kansas City general manager/scapegoat. Glass wanted the day to be a celebration of his ability to hoodwink Moore, a hot GM prospect off the John Schuerholz tree, into being Glass’ next pigeon.

Fescoe and Moss saw the press conference—Glass’ first public media gathering since he announced in the Kansas City Star a month earlier his intentions to scapegoat (aka fire) Baird—as an opportunity to publicly browbeat Glass for his reprehensible treatment of Baird. Rather than ask Moore meaningless questions about a management philosophy that Glass’ cheapness and incompetence will undermine, Moss and Fescoe took turns probing Glass (and Glass’ bumbling son/team president, Dan) about his cheapness and incompetence as it related to Baird.

Glass grew visibly shaken and chippy in his retorts. And finally, emboldened by Fescoe’s hypocritical radio boss’s Thursday afternoon monologue lambasting Fescoe and Moss and sucking up to Glass, the worst owner in professional sports returned to his Wal-Mart roots a day later. Glass instructed his media relations staff to strip Fescoe and Moss of their credentials for the rest of the year. No one who remembers Glass’ infamous 1992 performance on NBC’s “Dateline” is all that surprised by Glass’ petulant response.

Yes sir, the man who as chairman of the board of directors of the Royals for seven years negotiated a sweetheart, $96 million sales price of the club for himself—$24 million less than the other bidder—has a history of reacting poorly to difficult public questions. As CEO of Wal-Mart and after being given two months to prepare, Glass stormed out of a “Dateline” interview stormed out of a “Dateline” interview when he couldn’t find the proper words to explain Wal-Mart’s “Made in America” and “Bring it Home to the USA” marketing campaigns after the show aired footage of Bangladeshi children working in sweatshops and making Wal-Mart clothes.

David Glass is no overnight sensation. He’s been cutting corners and making untold millions for years and years. Forbes magazine estimated Glass’ yearly profits from the Royals at $20 million. Quite a handsome haul for a franchise that has averaged 97 losses and is well on its way to its fourth, 100-plus-loss season during David and Dan Glass’ seven-year reign of terrible. With new Kauffman Stadium taxpayer-financed renovations on the way, the franchise will soon be valued at more than twice what Glass paid for it in 2000…

David Glass just does weird things as the owner of a professional sports franchise. Fescoe and Moss should be glad they’re getting a break from witnessing, covering and detailing Glass’ incompetence up close.

  • Click here to read more about Glass in our 2006-07 Board of Director Profiles.