SBD/November 14, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

In Vermont, Philip Tortora noted some of the "biggest names in baseball descended upon" Burlington Saturday to "raise money for the state's farmers who were devastated by the effects of Tropical Storm Irene two months ago." ESPN's BUSTER OLNEY co-hosted the Going to Bat for Vermont fundraiser and auction at Vermont Technical College. The cause had "already raised more than $125,000 prior to Saturday evening's auction of baseball memorabilia." Yankees GM BRIAN CASHMAN, Cubs President of Baseball Operations THEO EPSTEIN and Pirates GM NEAL HUNTINGTON took part in a 90-minute Q&A session. Olney said that he "initially expected to have 15 to 20 items of baseball memorabilia to auction off, but after reaching out to media relations contacts throughout Major League Baseball, he ended up with close to 160 items" (BURLINGTON FREE PRESS, 11/13).

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
: In N.Y., Harvey Araton profiles RICHARD LAPCHICK and notes in his "long battle against racial bias in sports, numbers have been his oral weapon of choice, reliable and irrefutable, though admittedly not the most effective means of commanding a room." About a decade ago, Lapchick and his wife, ANN PASNAK, "developed a master's degree program at the University of Central Florida in Orlando that combined business and sports management studies with a concentration on using sport to promote social change." The two-year program "accepts 30 students a year." Lapchick's work was "initially met with resistance and scorn." He said that he began "receiving more cooperation in the years after BUD SELIG and ROGER GOODELL became commissioners of MLB and the NFL" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/14).

GAME CHANGER: In the FINANCIAL TIMES’ Weekend section, Simon Kuper takes an extensive look at the relationship between A’s GM BILLY BEANE and “Moneyball” author MICHAEL LEWIS under the header, “Let’s Play Moneyball: It Started As A Conversation And Became The Book That Changed Baseball And Other Sports Forever.” Lewis: “The teams that wanted to do it were going to do it anyway, so no book was going to make any difference. My view is the only effect of the book was to give them [the A’s] the credit. If no book had been written, Theo [Epstein] would have been branded the man who reinvented baseball” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/12).

PATRIOT GAMES: Jets coach REX RYAN discussed his role in ADAM SANDLER's upcoming movie, “I HATE YOU DAD” with NBC's BOB COSTAS in a taped interview prior to last night's Patriots-Jets game. Costas noted Ryan plays a "crazy Patriot fan with a BILL BELICHICK bobblehead on his desk.” Ryan said, “I tried like crazy, studied my lines like crazy, just so they’re not having to retake something just because of me.” Costas asked, “How would you grade your acting?” Ryan: “Not very good. I’m no ROBERT DENIRO, that’s for sure” (“Football Night In America,” NBC, 11/13).

NAMES: Michigan State Univ. AD MARK HOLLIS said that Basketball HOFer MAGIC JOHNSON is "giving his alma mater $1 million to, 'do as they see fit.'" The donation "will go to the athletic department and is the first major donation Johnson has made to" MSU (DETROIT NEWS, 11/11)....First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA and Dr. JILL BIDEN will visit Homestead-Miami Speedway as it hosts the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale, the Ford 400, and join NASCAR in honoring America's troops and military families (THE DAILY)....JEFF GORDON has been named the "third quarter winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award, which is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/12)....The Rochester Institute of Technology’s fundraising efforts for a new hockey arena “received a multi-million dollar booster shot on Friday” when the Polisseni Foundation and former Sabres Owner TOM GOLISANO donated $4.5M. The name for the new arena “will honor the memory of EUGENE POLISSENI, a lifelong friend of Golisano” (DEMOCRATANDCHRONICLE.com, 11/12)….The Lions released a statement saying that Nickelback “will perform at the halftime of the Thanksgiving Day game -- despite an Internet petition with more than 50,000 signatures” (AP, 11/11)….Yankees manager JOE GIRARDI was on the field Saturday for the Rutgers-Army game at Yankee Stadium (NJ.com, 11/12)….Shape magazine Editor-in-Chief TARA KRAFT married NHL VP/Communications JAMEY HORAN on Saturday (N.Y. TIMES, 11/13).

IN MEMORY: Franklin Sports co-Founder IRVING FRANKLIN passed away Thursday at the age of 93. Franklin was the creator of the first official baseball batting glove. Services were held yesterday at the Temple Beth Emunah in Massachusetts (THE DAILY).
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