As we approach the final month of 2010, lists are certainly all the rage. The San Jose Mercury News put together one such list looking at the 25 Most Powerful Sports People in the Bay Area. It's not all that surprising that owners occupied six of the top seven spots:
1. Bill Neukom, Giants managing general partner and CEO
2. Jed York, 49ers president and owner
3. Ted Griggs, CSN Bay Area VP and GM
4. Al Davis, Raiders owner
5. Lew Wolff, Athletics and Earthquakes owner
6. Kevin Compton, Sharks owner
7. Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, Warriors owners
While I'm not stunned that the two new Warriors owners are on this list, it seems kind of arbitrary at this point to include them on the list. And if they're on the list, it seems like they should be down near the bottom for now. As the Mercury News says:
New guys on the block and not enough evidence to say what difference they will really make. But they have to be better than Chris Cohan. Last year: NR.
Owners of professional sports franchises are always going to be listed high up because they have the power when it comes to what they can do with their teams. Team executives have power, but they have to answer to the owner. College sports ADs have power, but nothing like the owners as they are basically along the lines of team executives. Players have some power, but really they have very little compared to owners.
Of the individuals on this list, it will be interesting to see who rises and who slides on this list. For example, Warriors GM Larry Riley is a hold-over from the previous ownership, which means he has to be on relatively thin ice I would think. Maybe he saves his job, but I would think the odds can't be great for him. He's currently ranked No. 17, but if anybody was going to fall off this list a year from now, I'd imagine it would be Riley. Of course, if he hangs onto his job into next season then he very well might rise considerably on this list.
Another guy who could fall off is Stanford booster John Arrillaga. If Jim Harbaugh leaves for NFL riches, Stanford football will likely settle back into a bit of a funk at least in the short term, particularly if Andrew Luck goes pro. Stanford basketball is a team on the rise so that could help keep Arrillaga on this list. But it's a tough call with college programs, particularly Stanford.
My favorite mention has to be competitive eating champion Joey Chestnut in the Honorable Mention category. The San Jose resident's power derives entirely from those powerful jaws!