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SBD/March 29, 2011/People and Pop CulturePrint All
MLB Giants Managing General Partner BILL NEUKOM is "at the top of his game now, and on top of the national pastime," according to a profile by Bruce Newman of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. With the Giants winning the World Series last season, Neukom at Spring Training "frequently was greeted like a rock star by fans as he made his way through the stands." Neukom, who "began buying blocks of the team's stock in 1995 with the millions he earned as Microsoft's general counsel, was determined to bring the same organizational clarity to baseball he had imposed while building a high-tech legal department of more than 650 people." Giants Senior VP & GM BRIAN SABEAN: "Bill believes in process. You don't have much second-guessing in an organization if everybody's in on the first guess." Newman noted his "lawyerly mien belies Neukom's intense dedication to any cause he supports, and devotion to the people at his side." One of the areas in which he has been "least complacent is asserting the Giants' territorial rights in Santa Clara County, which has prevented" the A's from moving to San Jose. In order to "counter the campaign A's Owner LEW WOLFF has waged in the South Bay to bring about that move, Neukom engaged a firm to offer background briefings on territorial rights issues to the press." Neukom: "My relationship with Lew is not very close." He "refuses to talk further about his position on the territorial rights dispute," saying only, "I think it's obvious what's gone on there" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/28).
HANDS-ON APPROACH: In Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty profiled Reds President & CEO BOB CASTELLINI, who is "Cincinnati to the core." He was "tired of seeing his hometown team underachieve and its fans become disillusioned" before joining the franchise in '06. Castellini "knows everything about this business," and he said he becomes "a better fan every day." Reds Senior VP/Business Operations KAREN FORGUS: "He trusts his people to know what to do. He focuses on the why." Reds Vice Chair & Treasurer TOM WILLIAMS called Castellini "tenacious," while Reds Community Fund Exec Dir CHARLEY FRANK said he is "demanding." Frank: "Tough, but fair. Bob challenged me to be great all the time." Castellini: "It doesn't take me long to let people know they're not cutting it. If someone is not doing a good job, I'm not bashful about letting them know." Daugherty notes Castellini "remains emotional, sometimes impatient and entirely hands-on." A Reds front-office employee noted if there is a rain delay at Spring Training, Castellini wants manager DUSTY BAKER to "tell him how that's going to affect the pitching rotation" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/28).
Sources said that Madison Square Garden Entertainment President JAY MARCIANO "has resigned from that position and will be named" CEO of AEG Europe. He will replace DAVID CAMPBELL, who left that position in February to become Managing Dir of Allsport Management, the arm of F1 that handles sponsorships, merchandise and hospitality. Marciano will relocate from N.Y. to London, where he "will run all of AEG's European operations, including the O2 Arena" (BILLBOARD.biz, 3/28)....MLS has hired Red Bulls Sporting Dir JEFF AGOOS as Technical Dir of Competition. Agoos played 10 seasons in the league as a defender (MLS)....Charlotte-based ad agency BooneOakley has hired GREG JOHNSON as CMO & SVP. Johnson previously has worked for Nike, Johnson & Johnson and Saatchi & Saatchi (BooneOakley)....Strategic named DAN CONTI Account Exec (Strategic).
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MLB and the MLBPA announced that they are joining together to contribute $500,000 to UNICEF toward earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan. The league and union also will organize in-ballpark fundraising drives, allowing fans to support the effort during Opening Week. The donations by MLB and the MLBPA are being made in a collaborative effort on behalf of the league, its 30 teams, players, MLB Network and MLB.com. Teams also will observe a moment of silence on Opening Day (MLB). Meanwhile, SI.com's Jon Wertheim noted tennis players at the Sony Ericsson Open last week "joined forces" to benefit Japan's disaster relief. They held a charity soccer game and a dinner, and players "went into the stands to solicit funds from fans." Wertheim: "For all the congenital screwiness of tennis, for all the marketing challenges, you see an exhibit like this and it's hard not to feel good about the sport" (SI.com, 3/28).
COURT REPORT: In L.A., Lance Pugmire reports former Clippers VP/Basketball Operations ELGIN BAYLOR's "wrongful termination and age-discrimination civil lawsuit against the Clippers is expected to arrive in the hands of jurors" today in L.A. Superior Court. In closing statements yesterday, the team's attorney "blasted Baylor's claim and urged the panel to deprive him of any financial payoff." Baylor's attorneys stated that the "job loss thrust Baylor into a depression, including crying spells, and he required medication." Baylor's attorney, ALVIN PITTMAN, told the jurors that they "had the ability to award Baylor nearly" $2M (L.A. TIMES, 3/29)....In Dallas, Richard Abshire reports Cowboys WR DEZ BRYANT "has been named in two lawsuits claiming he owes more than a half-million dollars for custom jewelry and pro football and basketball tickets." N.Y.-based Rafaello & Co. Friday filed a suit claiming that Bryant "has not paid $240,000 for several pieces of jewelry he ordered on four invoices from January to May 2010." Also, new motions "were filed last week in a 2010 Tarrant County lawsuit that claims Bryant has not paid for $293,000 worth of jewelry and $12,350 worth of sporting event tickets he charged before the Cowboys drafted him" in April '10 (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/29).
SETTLE DOWN: Red Sox DH DAVID ORTIZ "has buried the hatchet with rapper JAY-Z in a dispute over the name of their dueling nightclubs." Jay-Z's attorney, PETER RAYMOND, said that the two "were set to square off" today in Manhattan Federal Court "over use of the name 40/40, but the conference was cancelled at the last minute." Raymond said the case "has been settled in principle." Jay-Z last April "sued the Red Sox star for $5 million, claiming he stole the name of his 40/40 Club sport bar." Ortiz "allegedly started his own 'Forty-Forty' club in his native Dominican Republic" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/29).
NAMES: Golfer BEN CRANE "has joined forces with Zurich Financial Services Group," title sponsor of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic, "to raise funds for the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization that rebuilds homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2006 and provides mental health and wellness care for residents impacted by the natural disaster as well as last summer's BP oil spill." Between now and the April 28-May 1 Zurich Classic, Crane "will raise $100 for the charity with every fairway he hits in a PGA Tour event" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/29)....TIME recently selected 140 Twitter feeds that are "shaping the conversation." Sports personalities on the list include ESPN's BILL SIMMONS, swimmer DARA TORRES, Giants P BRIAN WILSON, golfer RORY MCILROY, speedskater APOLO ANTON OHNO, Suns G STEVE NASH, Bengals WR CHAD OCHOCINCO, Celtics C SHAQUILLE O'NEAL and Manchester United D RIO FERDINAND (TIME.com, 3/28)....Titans Owner BUD ADAMS yesterday was awarded the T.J. Martell Foundation's Lifetime Humanitarian Award at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville. NFL Commissioner ROGER GOODELL presented the award (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 3/29)....New York Univ.'s Sports Business Society selected Goldklang Group VP/Marketing & Operations TYLER TUMMINIA as its Exec of the Year (Goldklang)....MSG Network's TINA CERVASIO, espnW’s AMANDA RYKOFF, former SportsNet N.Y. “Mets Weekly” host JULIE ALEXANDRIA, WFAN’s ANITA MARKS, Bloomberg’s MICHELLE STEELE and Yahoo’s SUMMER SANDERS will play in “The Fantasy Girls Baseball League” using Bloomberg Sports “Front Office.” The league “started with football and hoops last year and now will expand into baseball using the Bloomberg sports tools” (N.Y. POST, 3/27)....Patriots QB TOM BRADY recently sold his 3,000-square-foot Manhattan apartment “with views overlooking Central Park” for $17.5M to Vermont billionaire ROBERT STILLER. Brady paid $14M for the apartment in ’06 but “reportedly never lived in it” (“Power Lunch,” CNBC, 3/25).