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CAN YOU TAKE ME HIGHER? In Toronto, Kevin McGran reports Balsillie's new $242.5M offer for the Coyotes -- an increase of $30M that includes $50M to Glendale if the city would "drop its opposition" to the sale -- was "met with silence from politicians worried about losing the team." Glendale spokesperson Gary Husk in an e-mail said the city is "deferring to the court and the NHL to determine the merits of this and the other bids." City officials added that "any deal could only be ratified in a public meeting." Meanwhile, Balsillie's reps want Bankruptcy Court Judge Redfield Baum to "throw out the league's demand that a relocation fee would be close" to $190M, charging that the NHL "'misled' when it argued providing relocation input to Balsillie's camp would bog down the proceedings" (TORONTO STAR, 9/9). Also in Toronto, Damien Cox wrote the "unsaid issue behind the scene has been Balsillie's deep pockets and the limit, if there is one, to how much he might be willing to pay for the Coyotes in an open auction." Cox: "This is Jim Balsillie's trump card. And a measure of how much he wants this to happen" (THESTAR.com, 9/8). In Hamilton, Milton & Peters wrote Balsillie upping his offer for the Coyotes "offered a hint of what might be yet to come," and that "has to send a chill down the collective spine" of the NHL (HAMILTON SPECTATOR, 9/8).
HINDSIGHT IS 20-20: The NATIONAL POST's Bruce Arthur notes had Balsillie "not chosen this team, the Coyotes probably would have been peddled" to Bulls and White Sox Chair Jerry Reinsdorf and "then quietly moved." Had the NHL "simply admitted that one of its franchises was a failure and attempted to rectify it in good faith, then perhaps the opening for Balsillie would have been closed." Arthur: "But the NHL, piece by piece, has driven itself to the brink of this most remarkable bout of jeopardy" (NATIONAL POST, 9/9).
Beckham Exploring The Possibility Of Buying
Montreal Impact At End Of His Playing Career
Ross Says Dolphins Looking To
Create A Better Fan Experience
FANNING THE FLAMES: Washington Univ. professor and author Michael MacCambridge said of the Dolphins' emphasis on fan experience, "I get the impression that it's perhaps the right thing for this team in this city. ... The idea that this is Showtime Southeast -- from T-Pain to Serena [Williams] to Jimmy Buffett to Gloria Estefan -- none of those things are bad things in today's celebrity-driven culture." MacCambridge said that last year's AFC East title "makes it less likely the celebs will be perceived as a substitute for winning." Meanwhile, the PALM BEACH POST's Habib wrote Ross has "little use for the most misleading statistic surrounding the franchise -- that it has sold out every regular-season home game since 1998." It is "no secret many sellouts were induced by TV stations buying thousands of tickets to avoid a blackout" (PALM BEACH POST, 9/6).
If Transportation Ban Remains In Place,
Upcoming NHL Season Could Be Disrupted
MOTOWN BLUES: In Toronto, Mark Zwolinski reported the dispute "already has forced a small change" for the Blue Jays' trip to Detroit on Miami Air tomorrow. Blue Jays Manager of Team Travel Mike Shaw said that Canadian officials "have nixed the team's plans to fly from Toronto to Windsor and then entering the U.S. from Windsor." The team "has since booked a flight directly into Detroit," and Shaw said that if Canadian officials "balk at that flight, the team will charter a bus to get to Detroit." Shaw added that if the dispute "carries on into next season, the Jays will likely bus to Buffalo and fly to their U.S. destinations from there" (TORONTO STAR, 9/6).
Red Sox Owner John Henry's new wife, Linda Pizzuti Henry, is "calling the shots when it comes to the team's development plans at Fenway Park," according to Thomas Grillo of the BOSTON HERALD. Sources indicated that Henry "benched" former Senior VP/Planning & Development Janet Marie Smith "just weeks after his June wedding." A source said, "Janet Marie was told to go because Linda’s taking over the whole damn place." Smith last week spoke of her departure, saying that the "bulk of the work to renovate the park has been completed and that she does not really know Pizzuti." Smith: "Eight years was long enough to work on a project, and it was time to go." But a source indicated that "conflict centered on factors that have been brewing within the Sox organization" since Henry bought the club in '01 and hired Smith. Some Red Sox employees, including President & CEO Larry Lucchino, "praised Smith for encouraging Henry to buy properties around the ballpark to keep developers from building apartments or offices that could tower over Fenway." However, other team staffers "wanted the Sox to maximize the property the team purchased under the name of New England Sports Ventures" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/8). Pizzuti Henry denied the story on her Twitter page, writing, "Ludicrous and sexist Boston Herald article about me by Grillo relying on unnamed sources that constructed a soap opera that never happened" (TWITTER.com, 9/8).
On Long Island, Jim Baumbach cites sources as saying that Yankees co-Chair & General Partner Hank Steinbrenner was "truly relevant to Yankees fans for only a very short time, and he has been irrelevant for well more than a year now." Steinbrenner "still reports to work" at the team's facilities in Tampa, and Yankees President Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman both said that he was an "active voice behind closed doors around the trade deadline." But the team's BOD appointed his brother, Hal, as Managing General Partner, and Hank is "no longer playing the act of George Junior" (NEWSDAY, 9/9).
MOOR IS LESS: Former Padres Majority Owner John Moores said that he has "stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the club and some of his commitments" to MLB. Moores is in the process of selling 90% of his share in the Padres over a five-year period to a group led by Vice Chair & CEO Jeff Moorad, and Moores "structured the deal so he could remain the club's control person at owners' meetings until the new group purchased a majority share." But Moores said that he is "also going to pass that baton to Moorad." Moores: "I don't want to overstay my welcome. Right now I'm going to keep as low visibility in baseball as I can" (MLB.com, 9/5).
SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE: Pirates President Frank Coonelly said that the team, set to record an MLB-record 17th straight losing season, will "keep season-ticket prices the same for 2010, marking an eighth consecutive year without an increase." Coonelly: "We understand that the economy remains tough, and we want to make sure we remain extremely affordable for families. We thought it was the right thing to do." Coonelly indicated the team might be "considering increases in other areas," however. Coonelly: "We are looking at other types of pricing. I'm not a fan of the premium-game concept, but we continue to look at it" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 9/5).