Aside from being one of the greatest comedians of our generation, Bill Murray is also the co-owner of the St. Paul Saints, an independent minor league baseball team in Minnesota. That’s something we were unaware of until very recently.
Like, as recently as Thursday night. Because that’s when Murray – who loves to engage with people whenever he can (even if no one will believe it really happened) – decided to show up at a Saints game and take tickets at the main gate like it was just another day on the job:
— Katie Schutrop (@kshoop) August 28, 2014
This inspired us to think back to several other times when owners of went above and beyond, engaging in random acts of kindness, craziness and, well, pettiness.
Mark Cuban, Dairy Queen Employee
The Dallas Mavericks owner has been critical of NBA referees since the beginning of time. But in 2002, he was so upset at NBA officials that he said in an interview he wouldn’t even trust head of officiating Ed Rush to manage a Dairy Queen.
Dairy Queen took umbrage, but everyone saw a promotional opportunity in it, so they reached out to Cuban and offered to have him come in and run a Dairy Queen for a day, an offer he accepted.
The stunt drew huge crowds and cemented Cubans status as the rare loud-talking owner also capable of putting his (considerable amount of) money where his mouth was. It wasn’t all fun and games, because Cuban got fined $500,000 for his comment about Rush, but hey, at least he got some free ice cream and could add “Dairy Queen Manager” to his LinkedIn profile. You win some, you lose some.
Mario Lemieux Will Let You Crash on His Couch
When Sidney Crosby entered the league in 2005, he was an 18-year-old phenom who grew up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia and played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Being in a new city, he needed to find a place to live while he started his hockey career. Mario Lemieux, Penguins legend and part owner of the team, solved Crosby’s problem by offering for him to stay at his place.
Apparently unaware of the concept of “Squatter’s Rights,” Crosby ended up staying there until 2010, when he finally decided to move out. Crosby explained that he was never in any rush to get off Lemieux’s couch, “There wasn’t a moment where I thought, ‘I need to move out. You wait for the right situation and the right place. Obviously, for me, privacy is important – and the area where I wanted to be. I didn’t want to rush into buying a place just to buy a place. I wanted to make sure it was the right place.”
Bill Murray, Again
Beside the St. Paul Saints, Murray is also a part owner of several other minor league baseball teams, including the Charleston RiverDogs, a Single-A affiliate with the New York Yankees. During his time as part owner, the RiverDogs have held two very innovative promotions for its fans.
The first one was “Silent Night” in 2003, when fans were asked to keep quiet during the whole game so the team could set the record for quietest game in baseball history. The team even replaced ushers with librarians.
This was only slightly less crazy than a promotion the team had the year before, when it held “Nobody Night”. The team didn’t let any fans into the game until it became official in the fifth inning, so it could set the record this time for lowest attendance in an official baseball game.
The fans were rewarded for showing up though, as the team had discounted food and beer outside in the parking lot while they waited, begging the question: Why is Bill Murray not the commissioner of all things sports?
Charlie and the Cheapskate Factory
Here’s what happens when you win a championship in sports: you stay up all night partying, you spend the entire summer basking in the glory of being a champion and when you return for the next season, the team’s owner has a nice shiny championship ring waiting for you.
Well, that’s what usually happens.
When the Oakland Athletics won the World Series in 1972, owner Charlie Finley gave everyone on the team full-karat diamond rings. The A’s would win the World Series again in ’73 and ’74, but this time players got green glass rings which came nowhere close to matching the luster of the original.
The reason for Finley skimping on the rings? He said the players didn’t appreciate him enough for his diamond rings in 1972, specifically stating that he only got three thank you notes from the players. File this one under #petty.
Kohl’s Gift Cards
We’ll end with a really heartfelt gesture from former Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl, who sold his team earlier this season.
Some of the Bucks employees had been with the organization for decades, and Kohl wanted to show his appreciation. At first, employees were getting $500 checks in the mail from the team. But Kohl didn’t stop there. According a report, long-time employees received sums ranging from $40,000 to $100,000 as a token of appreciation.
We’re not sure how you top that. Though we bet Bill Murray will try.