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SBD/August 8, 2012/FranchisesPrint All
Golfer Phil Mickelson said his investment in the Padres as part of the O'Malley group will be "substantial," according to a front-page piece by Nick Canepa of the SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE. Mickelson "is not in it for chump change." He "will not play an everyday role in franchise operations but does expect to be involved." Mickelson said, "It feels awesome. I'm passionate about the Padres and Chargers. Growing up in San Diego I loved both teams. What's exciting is the O'Malley and Seidler partnership; they're as passionate about baseball as I am and they've been around the game for a long time." He added, "There were a lot of complexities to the sale, a lot of parts that had to be negotiated above the price of the team. I can’t answer anything involving this as eloquently as Peter Seidler, and I know they don’t want to say much until it’s a done deal. I haven’t been involved in negotiations" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/8). In San Diego, Bill Center writes that "swift approval would give the Padres' new owners seven weeks to contemplate changes before the season ends." While it is "highly unlikely the Padres will become players in the bidding for major free agents, decisions might be made more with the eye on the won-loss column than the bottom line." The Padres also "have to find some way to exert pressure on all sides to get their games on Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-Verse and maybe even Dish Network as well as Cox and Direct TV." The fan experience at Petco Park "can [be] improved both on the field and off." Center: "Announce a date when the new video board will be in place. And make a decision on the dimensions at Petco Park. The question has been studied for eight years. Time to act" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/8).
FATHER KNOWS BEST: In California, Jay Paris writes of the O'Malley group's purchase of the Padres, "Baseball will wrap its arms around a name that is synonymous with baseball." O'Malley's sons, Kevin and Brian, and his nephews, Peter and Tom, "will handle much of the day-to-day operations." Padres manager Bud Black said, "The players are conditioned strongly to play. Their job description is to play, but there are a number of them in tune with the broader perspective. This sets a tone moving forward. It's exciting going forward." Former MLBer Don Newcombe, who played for the O'Malley-owned Dodgers in the '50s, "predicts the O'Malley group will interact with Padres fans as they once did Dodgers patrons." Newcombe: "To make grand things happen, you have to take care of people. That was such a great legacy from Walter O'Malley, for Peter and (his sister) Terry Seidler. So now they get to carry it on with their sons" (NORTH COUNTY TIMES, 8/8).
TOO RICH FOR TIGER'S BLOOD? Golfer Tiger Woods said of his interest in investing in a pro sports franchise, "Absolutely. I just need a lot more money. My teams are the Lakers, the Dodgers and the Raiders, so I've got to play really well." In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. writes Woods' "buddy, Michael Jordan, might make a piece of the Charlotte Bobcats available." If rumors are true, Jordan "already has and Woods declined" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/8).
It is "clear" that Fenway Sports Group's involvement with EPL club Liverpool and Roush Fenway Racing, along with Heat F LeBron James, "are as important as the Red Sox,” according to Dan Shaughnessy of the BOSTON GLOBE. For FSG co-Chair and Red Sox Owner John Henry, the London Games “were more important than being here for the trading deadline.” That does not make him “a bad guy, but it indicates the Sox are not as important to the owner as they once were.” Henry said, “Our commitment to winning is unabated. That is our focus. We continue to have the 2nd highest payroll among the 30 clubs. We have been at this for more than 10 years in Boston, and winning is just as much our focus today as it was when we took over.” Shaughnessy wrote the Red Sox are in the top-three in MLB payroll, "because of bad decisions regarding pre-existing contracts. Henry on Monday issued a “vote of confidence for his beleaguered manager” Bobby Valentine. But his proclamation “did not stop with the backing of the manager.” Henry said, “The notion that we are not present and attending games is misleading to the public. [FSG co-Chair Tom Werner, Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino] and I seldom miss a telecast when on the road if we aren’t there.” Shaughnessy wrote it is “little comfort for Red Sox fans to be told that Boston’s ownership trio ‘seldom misses a telecast.’" Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs "always told us he watched the Bruins on TV when he was home in Buffalo" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/7).
HARD SELL? In Boston, Eric Wilbur wrote, “Time to sell. … It’s clear as Windex that the Red Sox are no longer John Henry’s priority." Wilbur: The disaster that the Red Sox have eventually become as a franchise, a brand growing more unlikeable by the day, is on Henry's hands. And it needs to end.” Wilbur wrote, “Sell the team, John. It will make you lots of cash. We know you care about that at least. It was nice when you could say the same about your baseball team” (BOSTON.com, 8/7).
Not only have the Marlins “been a bust on the field” with a 50-60 record through Tuesday, but attendance at Marlins Park has “fallen short of expectations, creating an uncertain future on and off the field,” according to Clark Spencer of the MIAMI HERALD. Marlins President David Samson “wouldn’t say” if the team will cut payroll next season. When asked “will heads roll, both in the front office and within the coaching staff,” Samson said that “nothing can be ruled out.” But one thing he “promised was that every mistake -- and there were plenty -- will be examined when team executives convene with owner Jeffrey Loria following the season.” Samson said, “I think it’s going to be an interesting October, a little different than the October we envisioned. Jeffrey’s going to look at everything. I mean, he’s angry, and he should be.” Spencer noted the Marlins had a “massive sell-off before the July 31 trading deadline.” Samson: “Not one trade that was done was payroll-motivated. It was chemistry-motivated. It was winning-motivated.” He added that he “hopes the fan base will look at the season as a fluke” (MIAMI HERALD, 8/7). Samson said, "We don't regret what we did. We'd do it again. What we're angry and disappointed about is it didn't work. So we don't regret doing it." He said Loria is "very involved in the team.” He added, “On the other hand, Jeffrey makes sure his people do their jobs” (MLB.com, 8/7).
SHINY NEW STADIUM: In Ft. Lauderdale, Juan Rodriguez wrote Samson can “point to one facet of the operation that surpassed expectations: Marlins Park.” Samson said, "Having it come in the way it did, on time, on budget and people loving it. To this day, half a season in, the emails and the comments are just tremendous. That has a much longer lasting legacy and it feels good we were able to accomplish that.” He added, "It is certainly tempered by the fact that this season we had completely different visions of how it would go.” Rodriguez wrote while the ballpark has “been a bright spot, the Marlins have not maximized it.” They are “averaging 28,406 fans, putting them on pace for about 2.3 million for the season.” That is “no doubt a robust figure compared to Sun Life Stadium turnouts, but the honeymoon period arguably ended before it ever really began because of the train-wreck season.” Still, Samson said, "The damage is mitigated by the experience people are having at the ballpark ... There's no doubt attendance is lower than we expected it to be this year, but I don't blame the fans at all.” Samson: "This was an all-in season. There's no doubt about that” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/7).
PLAYING THE BLAME GAME: Also in Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote, "Everyone can draw a list of why the Marlins season went splat. Every list should start here: Loria. Failed. Dreadfully." Loria is a “meddler of the highest order.” Hyde: “On some level, it's his team, his money and he can do whatever he pleases." But the "way he's running it the organization looks like a completed disorganization. … The meddling owner had the worst year of anyone” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/7).
Hornets officials yesterday confirmed that the team plans “to move their business operations from Poydras Plaza in the central business district at the end of this month and operate from three separate locations,” according to John Reid of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. As a result, some of the Hornets' business staff “will be moving to the nearby Benson Tower while others will work from a new downtown location that has not been disclosed yet.” In addition, some Hornets staff members “will be housed at the Saints' Complex on Airline Drive in Metairie.” The basketball operations staff “will remain at the Alario Center.” The Hornets are “exploring plans to build a practice facility at the Saints complex.” The Hornets' business operations staff for the past five years has “been housed on the 19th floor at the Poydras Plaza location" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 8/8).
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION: The Hornets on Monday announced that play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers, color analyst David Wesley and sideline reporter Jennifer Hale have signed on as the team's FS New Orleans broadcast crew starting with the ’12-13 season. Meyers served as TV play-by-play announcer for the Lakers from ’05-'11. The Hornets and Fox announced a long term TV rights agreement in June (Hornets). The TIMES-PICAYUNE’s Reid noted Wesley joins the broadcast team “after serving as an assistant coach” for the NBA D-League Texas Legends for the past two seasons. Hale has spent the last three years at WVUE-Fox and also "is a sideline reporter for the NFL on Fox” (NOLA.com, 8/6).