Since the Paul DePodesta hiring in early January, Cleveland Browns fans have questioned how a baseball guy will turn around an organization ESPN's Mike Greenburg has called, "The worst organization in sports".
DePodesta has turned around franchises such as the Oakland A's, Los Angeles Dodgers and, most recently, the New York Mets as a General Manager and was a front office assistant for the Cleveland Indians during their success in the mid-1990s.
Analytics has been the job title given to DePodesta by the media. However. several Browns officials have said that strategy is the primary responsibility for the 43-year-old Harvard graduate.
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Either way you look at it, the "baseball guy in a football front office" idea seems straight out of Cleveland sports. Browns fans are shaking their heads and expecting the worst.
This is not the first time a baseball front office person has been inserted into the front office of a different sport, however.
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In 2007, the Chicago Blackhawks hired Cubs President, John McDonough. Three years removed from being crowned, "the worst organization in sports" by ESPN.
The Blackhawks had less followers that the AHL team in Chicago, the Wolves. Owner Bill Wirtz actually blacked out home games because he felt it unfair that people paid to come to the game while others watched for free.
Following his death in 2007, his son, Rocky Wirtz, took over. He put the Hawks back on TV and began undoing what his father had done to one of the NHL's Original Six.
Like Jimmy Haslam, Rocky Wirtz began searching for guidance to turn the franchise around. He didn't have to go past the North Side of Chicago to find John McDonough.
McDonough had spent 24 years with the Cubs where the Cubs had set attendance records year after year.
He was there for Sosa and Bartman and is credited with creating the guest singer of "Take Me out to the Ballgame" following Cubs announcer, Harry Carey's death in 1998.
Hired as the Blackhawks President in 2007, he revitalized the fan base and performed what Forbes magazine called, "The Greatest Sports-Business Turnaround Ever".
Under McDonough, the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups (2010,2013,2015), tripled their season ticket holders and have a sell-out streak of 340 games and counting. In 2011, he was promoted to President and CEO of the Blackhawks. A title he still holds.
Yes Cleveland, there is hope. DePodesta has a great resume but, Sashi Brown's quote defines what Haslam, DePodesta, Brown, Berry and Jackson are about, "Competitive as hell but humble enough to know I don't know it all."
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