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NFL Jets Owner Woody Johnson on Thursday “opted not to offer a vote of confidence” for GM Mike Tannenbaum, coach Rex Ryan, QB Mark Sanchez or “pretty much anyone connected to what is being widely portrayed as a dysfunctional team,” according to Tom Pedulla of the N.Y. TIMES. Johnson “denounced those who have suggested that the arrival” of backup QB Tim Tebow was “designed, at least in part, to help the team sell personal seat licenses.” Johnson said, “There’s this phony story about me being more concerned with PSL’s or cash. My job, one, two and three, is to win games. That’s why I got into football. My job is to win games. That’s what my passion is. That’s what I want to do. It’s not to sell PSL’s or hot dogs.” He also “distanced himself from the Tebow trade, saying that Tannenbaum and Ryan had the final say on all player transactions” (NYTIMES.com, 11/15). Johnson said, "I didn't sign up for a 3-6 season. We haven't had one of these in a while" (NEWSDAY, 11/16). In Newark, Conor Orr notes Johnson spoke “just a day after another one of his quarterbacks was anonymously ripped by his own players.” Johnson: "Anybody that's anonymous has no credibility and anonymous people don't speak for the New York Jets, they really don't. I'm out here every day talking to players and coaches, meeting with the coaches and players, and so I think I'm a reasonably good judge" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/16). In N.Y., Brian Costello notes Johnson “expressed disappointment over his team’s record, optimism about its future and defiance about his motivation.” He spoke to reporters who “regularly cover the team for the first time since the season began” (N.Y. POST, 11/16).
WHO HAS THE REINS?: WFAN-AM’s Joe Benigno said the Jets “have become now the laughingstock of the NFL and everybody is weighing in somewhere or the other on this Jets circus.” N.Y. Daily News’ Andy Martino said of Johnson speaking to the media, “He looked like a petulant rich guy who was irritated by the questions; who thought that we didn’t even have the right to be talking about this” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 11/15). USA TODAY’s Mike Garafolo writes, “Who’s in control? It’s not owner Woody Johnson.” He is “more comfortable yukking it up with the stock-market guys at CNBC, who treat him like a celebrity, not a clueless owner of a mismanaged NFL organization” (USA TODAY, 11/16). In N.Y., Gary Myers writes, “I don’t think there is any way Johnson fires Ryan. GM Mike Tannenbaum, despite so many personnel mistakes, is probably safe as well” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/16). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS’ Bob Raissman writes the media’s “passion for, and fascination with, Tebow, is the only effective weapon the Jets have in their arsenal of pea shooters.” Tebow has “thrown six passes all season, yet he leads the National Football League in sucking more ink, air time and Internet space out of the ozone” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/16).
Marlins President David Samson took questions from callers Thursday on "The Dan Le Batard Show" on WAXY-AM in Miami in the wake of the team's trade with the Blue Jays earlier in the week. One caller told Samson, "It just seems you are out of touch with the common fans." Samson replied, "To our fans, all I want to say is I understand. I really do. And I want to earn that trust every day and I think the best way to earn it is by being honest about what we have and not be seduced necessarily by names but be an absolute slave to results. That’s what we are and that’s what I hope will show and I really hope these decisions were right. I hope the more right decisions we make, the more trust there is." Samson added, "I really hope that over time we’ll look back on these times and say this was a very painful time but that it worked out just like the ballpark debate which was very painful like it is in every city." Samson was "pressed for dodging questions on what the team's payroll will be" in '13. He said, "Last year our payroll was amongst the highest and we were amongst the worst. So if our payroll is amongst the lowest, we should be among the best?" ("The Dan Le Batard Show," WAXY-AM, 11/15).
STARTING OVER: In Miami, Clark Spencer cites one MLB agent who said that it "will be extremely difficult for the Marlins to attract free agents in the future." The agent said, "No one's ever going there again. They’re going to have to overpay by 25 percent to get guys to come there now. They basically took the no-trade clauses and stuck them up [SS Jose] Reyes’ and [P Mark] Buehrle’s (butt). There’s no integrity in anything that they do and anything that they’ve said." He added, "They’re the laughingstock of baseball. Miami is now baseball’s Siberia" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/16). In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda writes the Marlins will "look like an expansion team next season." That is what Owner Jeffrey Loria "will be asking fans to buy into." Stoda notes the expansion Marlins in '93 drew 3.1 million fans to Joe Robbie Stadium, "which might be double" the number the Marlins draw next season (PALM BEACH POST, 11/16). SPORTS ON EARTH's Joe Posnanski wrote under the header, "Why Would Anybody Go To A Single Marlins Game In 2013?" The most "ridiculous part about the most ridiculous trade in memory is how quickly the Marlins gave up on themselves, their fans, their players, their new stadium and their city." Maybe the Marlins are "just that strapped financially, even though they basically had a new stadium built for them" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 11/15).
FOOL ME TWICE... SPORTS ON EARTH's Jorge Arangure Jr. wrote the "biggest mistake one can make in assessing the dismantling of the Marlins is that Miami fans have been duped." To "imply they have been betrayed implies they were respected in the first place." Not when ownership has "lied to them time and time again." What fans have "learned is that you can’t buy yourself a championship from scratch -- which is a boost to every baseball man who strongly believes that scouting and development is the genuine approach to building a franchise." Loria could have "continued to throw cash at free agents, but it wouldn’t necessarily make the franchise any better" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 11/15).
FAN-NING THE FLAMES: In Toronto, Richard Griffin writes the Blue Jays and GM Alex Anthopoulos have chosen "to spend money, to spend money wisely, to try and compete with the big boys." What is "surprising, but was intuitively necessary for ownership, is that the attendance did not suggest this bump was coming." What management "understood was that a skeptical fan-base was ready to jump ship if Rogers showed it did not want to compete right now." Do not "underestimate the influence of the Jays' fans on this deal, a reflection of their support the first seven months of 2012" (TORONTO STAR, 11/16).
THANKS A LOT: In Tampa, Gary Shelton writes Loria "did as much damage to the Rays' future as he did to that of his team." In other words, "the Rays' quest for a new stadium just got a little harder." This time, the "backlash against Loria The Insufferable will be so great that it might affect a vote in Tampa Bay." This is the "disservice Loria has done his fellow owners, especially those in need of new stadiums" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/16).
In Dallas, Mike Heika noted Stars Owner Tom Gaglardi “confirmed the team is looking at changing team colors, but didn’t want to go beyond that.” Gaglardi said, “I’d like to wear our logo on our chest. That’s something that appeals to me. I think it’s the classic way to go, and I like classic things. We are one of the original 12 teams, and I do think that carries with it some history and weight, and that’s also something I believe we should consider when looking at a possible change.” He added, “I just want a jersey that’s a classic hockey jersey. I want a jersey that looks like it could have been worn for 40 years. That’s kind of how I see things.” Stars execs confirmed that a decision “will need to be made by the end of December if the team wants to wear new colors for the 2013-14 season” (DALLASNEWS.com, 11/14).
A CURSE ON THIS QUESTION: The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS notes MLB Commissioner Bud Selig “reacted with a profanity Thursday when asked for an update on the A's bid to build a ballpark in San Jose.” A reporter said that he was “obliged to ask about the A's ongoing battle with the Giants over territorial rights in the South Bay.” Selig “somewhat playfully” responded, "Yeah, I'd feel very badly if you didn't ask it. You aren't going to get a (expletive) answer." Selig “knows he can't answer the question, because the owners who will decide this issue one way or another haven't coalesced to provide him one.” The issue is “still no further along than it has been, and it won't be until the A's either put a shovel in the ground, the Giants threaten lawyers, or the other 28 owners decide this is an issue worthy of their care” (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/16).
KEEPING PACE: In Indianapolis, Anthony Schoettle wrote a “little of the momentum” for Pacers games with local fans “gained during last season’s playoff run has been lost.” Bankers Life Fieldhouse was “packed with 18,165 fans for the Saturday night home opener against Sacramento Nov. 3, but then only 12,036 fans showed for the second game against Washington a week later.” A Saturday night game with the Fieldhouse “a third empty has to concern Pacers executives.” Schoettle: “In fairness, the Pacers’ first three home opponents haven’t exactly been big draws with mega stars. But Pacers officials have to hope more fans will start coming” (IBJ.com, 11/15).
SUNDAY FUNDAY: In Chicago, Daryl Van Schouwen noted the White Sox announced a “Family Sundays” fan experience for next season “for all 13 Sunday home games featuring seats as low as $5 and parking for $10.” Bleacher, Outfield Reserved, Lower Corner and Premium Upper Box seats “will be available for $15, Upper Box and Upper Reserved Seats can be had for $10, and Upper Corner tickets will cost $5 on Sundays.” Parking at U.S. Cellular Field lots on Sundays “will be available for $10” (SUNTIMES.com, 11/15).