SBD/Issue 165/Franchises

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  • Patriots' Jonathan Kraft Discusses Boston Herald's Apology

    Kraft Discusses Boston Herald's
    Apology On WEEI Radio Show
    Patriots President Jonathan Kraft appeared Thursday on WEEI-AM's "Dennis & Callahan" show to discuss the recent developments in the Spygate scandal, including the Boston Herald's apology for John Tomase's report that the team had videotaped the Rams' Super Bowl XXXVI walk-through. Kraft: "We very much appreciated what the Herald did (Wednesday). In our view, it was probably a little delayed." Kraft: "It should never have been published. Now that being said, it takes a lot for a major U.S. daily newspaper to run an apology." Kraft said the team would "move on with the Herald, and support that this town be a two-newspaper town." When asked if he could quantify the damage to the Patriots brand, Kraft said, "The damage is significant." He added that people around the country "would probably not align our team with an undefeated season or some of the other successes. They would say, 'They're a team that taped the Rams' Super Bowl,' or 'They're a team that broke the rules.'" Kraft said the Patriots have been "under serious scrutiny from major media outlets like the N.Y. Times and ESPN, who have had investigative reporters all over this, and literally, there has been nothing new that's come out other than we were taping opposing coaches' defensive signals." Kraft added there are "certain people at who have shown journalistic standards that are not up to snuff." Kraft: "I'll give the Times credit for one thing: they gave us a chance to comment. … You'd have to ask the reporters or the editors if there's a personal agenda there" (WEEI, 5/15).

    SPY-GONE: In DC, Tom Knott writes of U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) under the header, "Specter Needs To Set His Priorities Straight" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/16). In L.A., Sam Farmer writes under the header, "Arlen Specter Has Good Reason To Keep An Eye On NFL, Spygate: Senator Might Have An Agenda, But He Could Also Be Right." Farmer: "A greater degree of transparency is essential the next time a Spygate-type situation arises" (L.A. TIMES, 5/16). In N.Y., George Vecsey writes Specter "should not burn taxpayer money to get to the bottom of suspected skullduggery, particularly with other owners not making a public fuss over what [Patriots coach Bill] Belichick or other coaches might have done." Vecsey: "It's up to [NFL Commissioner Roger] Goodell to save us from a Senate hearing" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/16). In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell writes of Spygate, “Why does it still feel like this is being fast-tracked to a convenient conclusion without a truly categorical final chapter?” The Patriots “cheated for seven years, won three Super Bowls, created a dynasty and all it cost them was a $750,000 fine and the loss of one late first-round draft pick. Who says crime doesn’t pay?” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/16).

    MEA CULPA: The BOSTON HERALD's John Tomase this morning writes a mea culpa for his February 2 story about the Patriots taping the Rams' walk-through. Tomase: “I didn’t know what happened to the tape or if it ever found its way to the coaching staff, but I felt I had the basic story, and even though I didn’t feel great about going the anonymous source route, this one was ready for print. Turns out I could not have been more wrong." Tomase notes he intends to "continue covering the Patriots to the best of my abilities. … I have relationships to mend within the organization and with my readers. The process of regaining your trust will not be an easy one. … On Feb. 2, I let you all down. Today I hope to begin the long road back" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/16).'s Matt Mosley writes, "I'm wondering if the Herald runs this embarrassing apology if Patriots owner Robert Kraft is threatening to sue." Mosley added, "Does John Tomase deserve a second chance? I think he does. But the Herald's plan to keep him on the Patriots beat seems completely misguided" (, 5/16).

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  • Braun's Contract Latest In Trend Of Deals For Young MLB Stars

    Braun Signs Largest Contract In Brewers' History
    The Brewers Thursday signed LF Ryan Braun to a seven-year, $45M contract extension that is the "longest in term and biggest in money in club history," according to Tom Haudricourt of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The deal also is an "industry record" for a player with less than a full year in MLB and surpasses the seven-year, $31M deal the Rockies earlier this season gave SS Troy Tulowitzki. Nez Balelo, Braun's agent, said of signing the deal at this point in Braun's career as opposed to waiting a few seasons, "Would he make more money, year to year? No question about it. But you can't walk away from security, with where he's at right now" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/16). In Milwaukee, Michael Hunt writes Braun remains with the team "under reasonable terms," and "whether his contract has the desired ripple effect on the other young stars, the smart bet is on those not represented" by agent Scott Boras. The Brewers have been unable to agree to a long-term deal with 1B Prince Fielder, a Boras client (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/16). 

    Marlins To Formally Announce Six-Year,
    $70M Contract Extension Over Weekend
    NEW BUSINESS: The Marlins Saturday plan to formally announce their six-year, $70M contract extension with SS Hanley Ramirez, and in Miami, Mike Phillips writes more MLB teams are "signing younger players to multiyear deals now than ever before." The approach "could save franchises millions while reshaping baseball's way of doing business." In addition to the deals Braun and Tulowitzki signed, the D'Backs in April signed CF Chris Young to a five-year, $28M contract and the Rays in April signed 3B Evan Longoria -- who at the time had played just six MLB games -- to a six-year, $17.5M deal. MLB players have "no rights during their first three seasons, before they are eligible for arbitration," which allows clubs to "pay potential superstars around the league minimum ($390,000) for the first three seasons." But Phillips notes if the players "emerge as superstars, teams actually can save money because they can avoid the big jump in salary that comes with free agency." Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio: "There have been a number of young players now who are getting signed, and I think what you see is there is a real economic incentive on both sides to do something." Indians Exec VP & GM Mark Shapiro said, "I think you are going to keep seeing more of these kind of deals more frequently" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/16). ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian said of MLB teams locking up their young talent with long-term contracts: “I think it makes an awful lot of sense for the teams to do this” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 5/15).

    ECONOMIC IMPACT: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig at the MLB Owners meetings Thursday said of the new trend of contracts for young players, "We talked a lot about that. It certainly depends on the player, but I'm sure teams will continue to seek out (these kinds of deals). It's certainly a function, in some ways, of our current economic situation" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Meanwhile, Fox' Ken Rosenthal said that Braun's deal was an "indication that revenue sharing in baseball is having an effect." Rosenthal: "If not for revenue sharing, the Brewers probably wouldn't have been able to lock up [Braun]. It's good for the game" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/16).

    NOT DEALING WITH THE DEVIL: The Rays Wednesday signed P Scott Kazmir to a three-year, $28.5M extension, and in St. Petersburg, Gary Shelton wrote it was a "terrific signing for the Rays." For a team that "isn't exactly swimming in payroll, they keep investing in their own products." The deal is "one more piece of evidence that this front office has a plan." The Rays are "certain enough of their blueprint, confident enough in their evaluations and committed enough to spend the money" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 5/15).

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  • Orioles Owner Angelos OK With Nats Promos In Baltimore

    Orioles Owner Peter Angelos said that he "had no problem with" the Nationals sending team officials to Baltimore's Inner Harbor to distribute team coolers and pocket schedules to fans, according to Jeff Barker of the Baltimore SUN. Angelos said, "It doesn't strike me in any particular way. They're welcome to do that. It's a free country." Angelos added Baltimore and DC are "one huge megalopolis, you know? It's about time we realize it." Barker reports the lunch-time event was jointly organized by the Nationals and Virginia-based Brotman-Winter-Fried Communications, and organizers "hoped to promote the Nationals and their series with Baltimore this weekend and in Washington on June 27-29." The Nationals' mascot Screech and the four Racing Presidents were among the team personnel involved with the promo (Baltimore SUN, 5/16).

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  • Franchise Notes

    Legal Woes Of Samueli (l) Could
    Scuttle Contract Talks With Burke
    NHL sources said that in the wake of Ducks Owner Henry Samueli being accused of securities fraud and facing possible criminal charges, it is possible that Ducks Exec VP & GM Brian Burke "might try to scuttle his recent contract extension talks" with the team. The NHL in a statement said Samueli's civil case, which saw him resign as Broadcom Corp. Chair & Chief Technology Officer, "has no impact on Henry's status as an NHL owner or on his ownership of the Ducks." But several NHL sources said that "downplaying controversy is the NHL's typical response" (TORONTO STAR, 5/16).

    SABRES: In Buffalo, John Vogl reports Sabres season-ticket prices for the '08-09 season are rising $3-6 per game, a per-seat increase of $123-246 for the team’s 41 home games. Fans in every section of HSBC Arena will pay 8-18% more than last season. Also, the average ticket price at HSBC Arena next season will be $48.75, down from $49.01 for the '02-03 season, when Owner Tom Golisano purchased the team. Sabres Managing Partner Larry Quinn said, “I think most people expect an increase like this. I think the important thing to understand about the increase is that our prices this year are still lower than the year we bought the team” (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/16).

    NOTES: The MLB Rangers have plans to build a sales office in downtown Ft. Worth, offering Rangers merchandise, as well as single-game ticket sales and season, group and suite packages (Rangers)....The Twins after 24 home games are averaging 24,677 fans per game at the Metrodome, which is down 9.3% from an average of 27,210 through May 15 of last season, which included 23 home games (THE DAILY).

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