SBD/October 3, 2012/Franchises

Remembering Dem Bums: Nets Trying To Get Former Brooklyn Dodgers To Home Opener

Nets officials are "reaching out to former members of the Brooklyn Dodgers to invite them to the Nets' season opener against the Knicks on Nov. 1 at Barclays Center,” according to Scott Cacciola of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Former Dodgers P Ralph Branca and C Joe Pignatano are among those to accept the Nets' offer. Branca said, "I have no idea what's planned. I think they'll probably just introduce us before the start of the game." Cacciola notes it would be a "symbolic gesture on the part of the Nets, who are filling the void as Brooklyn's first major-league sports team" since the Dodgers left for L.A. in '57. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Barclays Center last week, officials "made repeated references to the Dodgers as a sort of homage to Brooklyn's proud sports heritage" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/3).

CHANGING THE GAME: Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Barclays Center developer and Nets investor Bruce Ratner appeared Monday night on PBS’ “Charlie Rose” to discuss the opening of Barclays Center. Ratner said the arena is “the center in every kind of way” of Brooklyn. He said, “It’s going to be a major, major shift in the way people in Brooklyn spend their extra time.” Ratner noted there was “every single impediment” to the creation of the arena, from the “recession to 35 litigations to the difficulty of constructing in the city.” Ratner: “Without Mikhail coming in and buying 80% of the team and providing the economics to do that, I don’t think we could have (built Barclays Center).” Prokhorov said Ratner is “my best partner.” Ratner noted the current level of “strong opposition” towards the project “is relatively small.” Meanwhile, he talked about the impact Nets minority Owner Jay-Z has had on the team, saying, “He’s been terrific, everything from basketball in terms of helping get players to designing logos to marketing to business sense and so on. He’s got everything” (“Charlie Rose,” PBS, 10/1).

THAT DON'T IMPRESS ME MUCH: In N.Y., Kevin Baker wrote what “stands out most about the new home of the Nets is how little it stands out.” The arena’s latticework of "'preweathered' steel panels is supposed to evoke Brooklyn’s brownstone tradition," but it instead looks like "one more bricked-up urban bunker from the 1970s, when panicky municipal authorities thought they’d be fighting a race war." Baker: "It is almost weirdly provincial for New York, more like a college fieldhouse for a Division III school in Sheboygan" (NYOBSERVER.com, 10/2).
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