SBD/Issue 91/Hot Reads

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    Tuesday, February 1, 2005


    Jaguars brought recognition to Jacksonville, but bottom line is hard to read.

    Columnist speculates on a possible trade conspiracy in the Sammy Sosa deal.

    The FLORIDA TIMES-UNION’s Zach Fridell writes of the Super Bowl XXXIX ticket, “The design team had to create a ticket that had ‘functionality, authenticity and collectability.’ … The tickets will also feature high-tech security measures to deter counterfeiters and ensure the ticket’s authenticity.  Around the UPC code there is a blue, heat-sensitive ink that disappears when it's rubbed but reappears later. In the past, tickets have featured holograms on both sides, but this year's ticket will only have one football-shaped, two-toned hologram on the back that will show the trophy and sun rays in gold and silver.  Another anti-counterfeiting measure is the thick, three-layered paper the ticket is printed on. … It's white on the outside but pink on the inside when the ticket is torn” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION).

    Freelance writer Steven Stark writes in a special to the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, “There is no doubt that the Super Bowl is the annual preeminent TV event in the United States with a domestic audience of well over 100 million.  But living abroad, it’s apparent that the Super Bowl is not really an international event – no matter what one reads about its ‘global’ status.  The Super Bowl as an international happening is another one of those American conceits – developed by a nation certain that everything it does is of manifest interest to everyone, everywhere” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER).

    ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell writes, “Some industry observers think that the Patriots run proves that the perception of balance in the NFL is often overstated; that teams don’t have as much of a chance to win it all as their fans think they do.  Aside from the [salary] cap, an unparalleled revenue-sharing plan ensures no team is in such dire straits that it can’t possibly compete.  Plus, like all major sports leagues, there’s a draft where the previous year’s champion picks last and, oh by the way, there’s a tougher schedule to boot. … Non-guaranteed contracts allow for teams to dump salaries relatively quickly, which enables good teams to rebuild with potentially little long-term penalty” (ESPN.com).

    In a N.Y. TIMES op-ed, Mets GM Omar Minaya writes, “There is buzz surrounding the Mets these days, and it's not just among fans. Players across the league and in the amateur ranks now see that the team is serious about building toward a championship, and are eager to be a part of the process. … The plan is to build a championship team based on pitching and defense, with youth, speed and athleticism, while re-emphasizing our scouting and player-development efforts. As for timing, we have a dual focus: on an immediate impact in 2005, but also on a sustained period of success. The plan involves not only changes on the field but also a change in the organization's overall mind-set and culture” (N.Y. TIMES).

    The ALBANY TIMES-UNION’s John Paul Morosi writes, “While the CBA has reassumed its place as an NBA supplier, its sound financial underpinning and favorable public image have been somewhat slower to return.  Player salaries are 40[%] of what they were in the mid-to-late 1990s. … Coaches’ salaries have dropped, as well. … CBA coaches made between $80,000 and $100,000 before the bankruptcy.  Salaries now are in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.”  The league “has a domestic competitor, the four-year-old [NBDL], armed with the NBA’s financial and marketing might.”  Cavaliers Dir of Player Personnel Mark Warkentein said the NBDL has created “two Double-A leagues, instead of one Triple-A league.”  More Warkentein: “Do you see the major-league player coming through Double-A? Sure.  But it’s a little diluted now” (ALBANY TIMES-UNION).

    The WASHINGTON POST’s Amy Shipley writes skeleton athlete Jim Shea Jr. over the weekend “excoriated the [USOC] for failing to provide him with a single dollar in funds since he collected his $25,000 bonus for winning an Olympic Gold Medal just under three years ago.  Shea said the USOC’s name was ‘mud’ among some athletes and that his anger over the funding cut drove him out of the sport last fall.” USOC Dir of Sports Partnerships Steve Roush said that Shea “essentially has fallen victim to the performance-based funding system that rewarded him heavily leading up to Salt Lake City. … The money stopped flowing, Roush said, when Shea stopped winning” (WASHINGTON POST).

    Super Bowl/NFL:

    • Super Bowl halftime show could be time to show respect to Armed Forces.
    • Super Bowl host cities are where bank accounts go to die.
    • Q&As with the five writers who have covered every Super Bowl:

    Jerry Green | Jerry Izenberg | Dave Klein | Bob Oates | Edwin Pope

    Also:

    • Little economic pressure is on NHL players’ shoulders to resolve lockout.
    • NHL will take a “fairly serious hit” upon return to hockey arenas.
    • New Asia Hockey League is a last-ditch effort to save the sport in East Asia.
    • John McEnroe, Chris Evert envision a broader reach of tennis with Roddick.
    • Profile of Brad Schrock, who is leading the design team for K.C. Sprint Center.
    • High-school athletes beginning to take out personal-risk insurance.
    • Bill France Jr. staying plugged in to NASCAR’s goings-ons.
    • Pro athletes using their personal Web sites to release statements more.

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