Friday, June 19, 2009

How They Match Up

Earlier in the week, I looked at how Tropicana and Coors, the beverages, the businesses, and the ballparks, match up against each other in the first installment of this segment.

Today, in honor of the Tampa Bay Rays starting a series against the New York Mets, we will look at how one of the most hated men in the Tampa Bay area matches up against one of the most hated men in New York. In fact, these guys could be some of the most evil men since Ivan the Terrible, Adolf Hitler, or George W. Bush (too soon?). Today, we have a satanic edition of the tale of the tape, Vince Naimoli vs. Bernie Madoff.

Used to own:
Naimoli –Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Madoff – Madoff Securities
Advantage: Madoff – The Devil Rays won 70 games…once. Madoff Securities made almost 70 billion.

Why he is evil:
Naimoli – Stole the hearts of thousands by taking their millions of dollars in ticket money and putting it in his bank account instead of investing in baseball players
Madoff – Stole the hearts of thousands by taking their billions of dollars in stock money and putting it in his bank account instead of investing for them
Advantage: Madoff – Billions > Millions

Lame attempt to reinvest money:
Naimoli – The “Hit Show” – Fred McGriff, Jose Canseco, Greg Vaughn, and Vinny Castilla, a complete and utter failure
Madoff – Million dollar bonuses, given too early which caused the start to an investigation which got him caught
Advantage: Naimoli – At least he tried

First to:
Naimoli – Bring an MLB team to the Tampa Bay area
Madoff – Provide “legal kickbacks”
Advantage: Naimoli – We wouldn’t have this blog if it weren’t for him

Would have been better if he ran his company more like:
Naimoli – George Steinbrenner, actually investing in his team
Madoff – George Steinbrenner, actually investing in his clients
Advantage: Push – Authors note: I despise the Yankees, but Steinbrenner did anything he could for his team to win under the MLB rules and you have to respect that.

Attempted to hide from the public for years:
Naimoli – That he was the 2nd most profitable owner in Major League Baseball
Madoff – Ponzi Scheme
Advantage: Madoff – What Vince? You couldn’t find a way to beat out Steinbrenner? (Author’s note: this is the last time I mention Steinbrenner in this post, I promise).

Baseball stadium he owns a suite at:
Naimoli – Tropicana Field
Madoff – Citi Field
Advantage: Madoff – Both are empty, but Citi Field is newer and the suites are a lot more expensive, thus wasting even more of his fraudulent money

Has to hide in his suite at:
Naimoli – Tropicana Field
Madoff – Metropolitan Correctional Center
Advantage: Naimoli – A rabid group of season ticket holders would have nothing against a rabid group of former Madoff investors

Father was a:
Naimoli – New York Subway System worker who became an engineer
Madoff – A plumber who became a stock broker
Advantage: Push – Both started in the sewers and made something of themselves

Better college football team of the school he attended:
Naimoli – Notre Dame
Madoff – Hofstra
Advantage: Madoff – Notre Dame sucks

Donated money to:
Naimoli – Notre Dame athletic facilities
Madoff – Lymphoma research
Advantage: Madoff – His donations were actually useful for the good of humanity, and Notre Dame sucks

Strange Donations:
Naimoli – Jewish National Fund, Naimoli is Catholic
Madoff – Political Parties, donations split between Republican and Democratic Parties
Advantage: Naimoli – We thank you for your generous donations, sir

Named after a family member:
Naimoli – The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, named for his father Raymond
Madoff – The Madoff Family Foundation charity, named for himself
Advantage: Naimoli – At least he tried to sneak this past us and didn’t try to gloss himself.

Personal financial risk that made him all of his money:
Naimoli – Buying drowning company Anchor Glass
Madoff – Penny stock trading with $5000 made lifeguarding
Advantage: Naimoli – Provided jobs for others while saving a company which was in shambles, which is much more honorable than investing in yourself

The day the downfall started:
Naimoli – March 31, 1998. Tigers 11, Devil Rays 6
Madoff – December 11, 2008. The day he heard helicopters, sirens, and the music of “Bad Boys, Bad Boys, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?” outside one of his multi-million dollar homes.
Advantage: Madoff. Would have made for the best episode of “Cops” ever

Quote while pulled over/arrested:
Naimoli – “Don’t you know who I am?” (Author’s note: true story, he really said this when pulled over a few years back)
Madoff – Nothing, he knew he was done.
Advantage: Naimoli – Just because I would have loved to have been one of the police officers to laugh at him when he pulled out this gem

Destroyed their respective baseball team by:
Naimoli – Owning the Devil Rays
Madoff – Having the Wilpon family (owners of the New York Mets), as a client
Advantage: Naimoli – At one point he had good intentions

Terrible Colors Worn:
Naimoli – In the original Devil Rays logo
Madoff – Orange prison jumpsuit
Advantage: Push – Nobody wins with a rainbow baseball logo or bright orange

Hall of Famer you attempted to destroy:
Naimoli – Lou Piniella, this is one team even he couldn’t turn around
Madoff – Sandy Koufax, one of his clients
Advantage: Madoff – Koufax lost lots of money, but Piniella lost his reputation as a manager with the ability to win in any situation with any team.

You are the punch line of many jokes in:
Naimoli – The Tampa Bay area
Madoff – The world
Advantage: Madoff - Go to any comedy show or watch any late night talk show, I guarantee Madoff’s name gets mentioned

Sentenced to:
Naimoli – A life of shame as one of the worst owners in baseball history
Madoff – A life in prison
Advantage: Naimoli – They can take your dignity, but they can never take (or at least haven’t found a way to take) your freedom!

Final Standings:
Vince Naimoli - 9
Bernie Madoff – 9
Push – 3

Naimoli’s team, The Devil Rays, couldn’t win games. Madoff’s clients, investors of billions, couldn’t win any money. So it is fitting that when it comes to Vince Naimoli vs. Bernie Madoff, 2 of the most hated men in their respective communities, nobody wins. This is just the way I see it, it’s not like it’s rocket science.


  1. Naimoli=devil? Got the devil out, and look what happened. Looking forward to reading more from this fine blog. We Rays fans are lucky to have a Prof & a rocket scientist blogging.

  2. If this makes me seem like a hypocrite, so be it. I'm large enough to contain contradictions, believe me. Speaking of large men, I just remembered running into Naimoli while coming out of one of the playoff games last year. I'm pretty sure it was WS game 1, but don't quote me on that. Walking down the ramp with the rest of the peons, leaving the game. I did go up to him and thank him for what he did to bring baseball to the area, and I meant it. As far as his gaffes, and I realize these wouldn't fit into the scheme of your post, let's not forget his removing the SP Times stands from the Trop, the drum corps(e), and the Southwest section. I thought the Southwest thing was kinda cool at the time, but in retrospect, just damn cheesy.

  3. I agree with you Mike, we do owe Vinny boy a debt of gratitude for bringing Major League Baseball to Tampa Bay. However, he made it a joke for years. You know you are struggling as an owner when your name is mentioned in the same sentence often with Hugh Culverhouse.