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The Padres named former Mets and Expos GM OMAR MINAYA Senior VP/Baseball Operations (MLB.com, 12/4). Minaya "will work closely" with Exec VP & GM JOSH BYRNES in evaluating talent. Minaya said that his discussions with the Padres "began more than year ago, but it wasn't until Brynes was installed" last month that the "pieces fell into place" (N.Y. POST, 12/3)....The Orioles named former Phillies GM LEE THOMAS Special Assistant and scout FRED FERREIRA Exec Dir of Int'l Scouting (Baltimore SUN, 12/5)....ESPN hired Bloomberg News sports business reporter MICHELE STEELE as an on-air talent (MEDIABISTRO.com, 12/4)....Texas Tech Senior Associate AD STEVE URYASZ will now oversee all external operations, including the Red Raider Club, marketing and promotions, communications and ticket operations. Also, the school promoted AMY MCBRIDE to Associate AD and JUDI HENRY to Senior Associate AD and Senior Woman Administrator (Texas Tech).
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In Chicago, Tim Novak reports Illinois Sports Facilities Authority Marketing Dir ERIC STEFANCIC, whose state agency owns U.S. Cellular Field, "gave the promoters of the Lollapalooza music festival free use of the state-owned skybox" for the Aug. 1 Yankees-White Sox game. In return, festival promoters C3 Presents gave Stefancic "'10-12' free, three-day passes to the sold-out music festival in Grant Park." The Illinois Sports Facilities Authority is "investigating Stefancic and the ticket swap" as scrutiny falls on how the agency "decides who gets to use its two skyboxes at U.S. Cellular -- one a 30-seat suite near home plate, the other a 60-seat suite near the right-field foul pole" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 12/5).
STEPPING DOWN: In London, Paul Kelso reported former FIFA President JOAO HAVELANGE has resigned from the IOC "to avoid being potentially censured for receiving bribes." Havelange was "due to hear on Thursday the outcome of an IOC ethics investigation into allegations that as head of FIFA he received kickbacks from the collapsed sports marketing agency ISL." Havelange, 95, served as FIFA president from '74-98 and "is understood to have written to the IOC saying that he is standing down from what has become a purely symbolic role for health reasons" (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 12/4).
DROPPING THE GLOVES: The N.Y. Times is running a special three-part report that examines the life and death of former NHLer DEREK BOOGAARD, “who rose to fame as one of the sport's most feared fighters before dying at age 28 on May 13.” The newspaper studied his life over six month, and part one “revisits Boogaard's childhood in the rugged youth and junior leagues of western Canada and his progression from physically awkward boy to renowned brawler on the ice.” Part two “explores the devastating toll -- physical and emotional -- of fighting on players who are celebrated for their toughness” (N.Y. TIMES, 12/5).
GAME BALL: Ravens coach JOHN HARBAUGH after yesterday's win over the Browns said that he was "giving the game ball" to WBAL-AM radio broadcaster RON SMITH, who "retired last week as he is battling pancreatic cancer" (Baltimore SUN, 12/5). Smith "is in home hospice after ending chemotherapy for" the Stage Four cancer. He said after the Ravens win, "For a moment, I feel better" (Baltimore SUN, 12/5).
CHARITY STRIPE: A "bevy of Bruins" joined ESPN broadcaster HANNAH STORM and other VIPs at last week's Champion for Children annual fundraiser for Children's Hospital Boston. Appearing at the event were U.S. gymnast ALICIA SACRAMONE, Celtics Managing Partner & CEO WYC GROUSBECK and wife, CORINNE, Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and sons, JONATHAN, DAN and JOSH (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/3)....The Bruins are "helping the U.S. Marine Corps make Christmas brighter for needy area kids by kicking off the leathernecks' annual 'Toys for Tots' drive" at Bruins games (BOSTON HERALD, 12/4).
NAMES: Yankees Senior VP & GM BRIAN CASHMAN last night "provided some entertainment by rappelling down a 22-story building" in Stamford, Conn., for the city's Heights and Lights festival. Dressed "as an elf and wearing a Yankees jacket, Cashman was the first of five individuals to rope down the building" (NYTIMES.com, 12/4)....Golfer RORY MCILROY's management team is "locked in a battle with Chinese customs officials to release the U.S. Open trophy the Northern Irishman won earlier this year so it can be taken to the season-ending Dubai World Championship" next week. Horizon Sports' CONOR RIDGE, whose company reps McIlroy, said that the firm "had been forced" to get the USGA "involved in an effort to get the trophy released" (REUTERS, 12/2)....Houghton College is set to "receive the second-largest gift in its 128-year history," through a $12M gift from alumna KIM PEGULA and her husband, Sabres Owner TERRY PEGULA. The college said that the donation will be used to build a multi-sport complex (ROCHESTER BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/3 issue)....Mavericks Owner MARK CUBAN participated in ABC show "Shark Tank" last week at Babson College. Cuban, along with FUBU clothing line creator DAYMOND JOHN, "evaluated two entrepreneurial ideas from Babson students" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/4)....Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will offer digital downloads of director BENNETT MILLER's "MONEYBALL" on Dec. 22, more than two weeks before the film, starring BRAD PITT, is available on DVD and Blu-ray on Jan. 10 (VARIETY.com, 12/2)....Free agent G MAURICE EVANS received his diploma during the Univ. of Texas commencement ceremony on Saturday (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/3)....JESSE BUSS was arrested Friday morning in Lexington, Ky., and charged with alcohol intoxication. Sources said that Buss "was demanding preferential treatment and told officers he was the son" of Lakers Owner JERRY BUSS (WDRB.com, 12/3).
IN MEMORY: Buffalo News sportswriter ALLEN WILSON, 49, died Saturday at Roswell Park Cancer Institute after a battle with leukemia. Wilson "worked for The News for the past 20 years and was a Buffalo Bills beat writer since 1999." He was "widely respected among journalists and by the teams he covered for his astute knowledge of sports and for his commitment to fairness and accuracy" (BUFFALO NEWS, 12/4).