Who Knew Mark Shapiro Is Terrible At Running Things? Oh, That's Right: Everybody

When Dan Snyder bought the Redskins, he did two things: jack up prices for everything, and drive the team into the ground by spending his salary cap on players with big names who everyone knew were approaching uselessness. But at least the huge free-agent contracts he threw around went to players who were coming off something resembling success. ↵

↵The same can't be said for Snyder's hire of Mark Shapiro, the universally-maligned ESPN executive responsible for the worst things the network has ever aired—and I saw Magic: The Gathering on ESPN 2 once. The many lowlights of Shapiro's career at ESPN were entertainingly collected in Sports Media Watch's end of decade feature on the Worst Sports Shows of the Aughts. Any of the dozens of networks that broadcast sports in this country were eligible, but Shapiro's tenure at ESPN spawned a whopping eight. Shapiro singlehandedly bumped out I, Max! ↵

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↵Amongst his thoughts quoted by SMW: ↵

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  • Cold Pizza: a "mix of lifestyles, music, fashion, [and] Regis-and-Kelly-like banter/"
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  • On the hiring of Stephen A. Smith: ""There were 28 people in the room, and they were all vehement: ‘No way, never, never!’ I said, ‘We’ve gotta get this guy in here.'"
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  • On having Hank Aaron on the first episode of Mohr Sports: "Hank Aaron's not going to get you ratings. ... No one cares about that story anymore."
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↵SMW included ESPN Hollywood, Dream Job, I'd Do Anything, and two other Shapiro brain-like-substance children-type-things but didn't even get around to infamous missteps like the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. biopic 3 ("Daddy, I just want to race!") or the short lived poker drama Tilt. Quite frankly, Mark Shapiro is the clearest example of the Peter Principle that American business has ever produced. ↵

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↵Dan Snyder (pictured) hired the guy to run Six Flags. How's that going? ↵

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↵⇥Snyder was removed as chairman of the theme park chain's board of directors late last week as part of a settlement in Delaware bankruptcy court. Six Flags went Chapter 11 last June after about four years under Snyder. And if there's a fall guy in this red run, it's most definitely Snyder: The just-approved Six Flags reorganization plan calls for most of the chain's management to stay put. But Snyder's gone. ↵⇥

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↵Shapiro's part in the story is a successful attempt to get a local government to ban satellite parking lots after Six Flags tripled its parking fees. It worked until a local businessman took evidence of a similarly flimsy ploy to a court. The ban was overturned, and there were consequences: ↵

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↵⇥When Palazzi pointed out that there hadn't been a single safety problem related to the satellite lots in Agawam, the town council quickly repealed the ban by unanimous vote. Palazzi then went on to manage the political campaign of substitute teacher Susan Dawson, who used the Six Flags parking issue to unseat four-term incumbent Agawam Mayor Richard Cohen in November 2007. ↵⇥

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↵Mark Shapiro got a local mayor canned. And yet he has apparently escaped the axe at Six Flags. In four year's he'll be a Senator, and soon after, President. Get ready for "Dream Job: Secretary Of The Interior." ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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