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Brewers Fans Lukewarm About Ownership

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The team is now rebuilding after a decade-long run of decent success since Mark Attanasio took over.

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Fangraphs recently conducted a community poll allowing readers to grade the ownership of their favorite team. The idea of the poll was to allow fans to express their opinions on the owners of their teams, since it's more difficult to accurately evaluate an owner than it is, say, a pitcher or position player. Voters could rate their owners using the following scale: Very Bad, Pretty Bad, Average, Pretty Good, and Very Good. These ratings were then given a numeric value of 1-5 (1 being the worst) and the votes were averaged together to create a composite ranking.

According to the results the best ownership group is in San Francisco with a score of 4.44, of course it's hard not to be happy when your team has won three World Series championships this decade. The Giants were closely followed by two NL Central rivals, the Cubs (4.39) and the Cardinals (4.29). Down at the bottom of the list were the Jeffrey Loria-owned Marlins (1.19) and the New York Mets (1.69), whose ownership didn't receive any additional fan support despite winning the NL Pennant in 2015.

Our own Milwaukee Brewers finished 14th overall with a score of 2.89, sandwiched between the Rays and Twins. 40% of voters thought the group led by Mark Attanasio was doing an "average" job, while 25% thought he was doing a "pretty bad" job and 18% thought he was doing a "pretty good" job. "Very bad" and "very good" both received less than 10% of the votes.

I also happened to vote in this poll, and I gave Mark Attanasio a "pretty good" rating as an owner. Before Attanasio bought the team in 2005, the club had endured 12 straight losing seasons, hadn't made the playoffs in 23 years, and the payroll had bottomed out at around $27 mil. Since he's taken over, the club has won 80 or more games seven times in 11 seasons, made two playoff appearances including a run to the NLCS, and has generally been in the upper two-thirds of payroll ranking according to Cot's Contracts despite playing in the MLB's smallest media market. I'd say that's a pretty marked improvement over where the team was under the ownership of the Seligs.

Attanasio isn't without his flaws, of course. He has had a history of getting a little too involved in making personnel decisions while Doug Melvin was General Manager, such as the signing of Kyle Lohse, the second Ryan Braun extension, and the re-signing of Francisco Rodriguez prior to 2015. He and Melvin also took a beating from the fans and local media after the Brewers' collapse at the end of 2014 that continued into the start of last season, prompting the beginning of the rebuild. With those pains still fresh in fans' minds, the recency bias almost certainly played a role in his depressed ranking as an owner despite delivering a consistently successful on-field product for the better part of the last decade.

You can question his methods all you want but at the heart of it, Mark Attanasio wants to bring winning baseball to Milwaukee. That's why he's increased the team's spending an payroll, made some higher profile (if ill-advised) free agent signings, and signed off on "go for it" trades like C.C. Sabathia and Zack Greinke. When it became clear that that method was no longer working, he changed course and made a terrific hire in young David Stearns to lead the Brewers to their next era of competitive baseball. It appears as though Mark's been "hands-off" since the hiring of his new GM and letting him work without restrictions. As a fan, I appreciate all those efforts and stick by my rating of "pretty good" for Mark A.