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MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's office is "expected to suspend" Brewers LF Ryan Braun and Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez, "along with as many as 20 players sometime after next week's All-Star break, for their roles in the Biogenesis case," according to sources cited by Quinn & Fish of ESPN.com. Braun, who has "repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs, refused to answer questions during a recent meeting" with MLB about his alleged connection to the clinic. A source said that the meeting "took place June 29." The question now turns to the "length of the suspensions." Sources said that MLB was "considering 100-game bans for Braun and Rodriguez, the punishment for a second offense, even though neither player was previously suspended for violating MLB's drug policy." A source said that the argument would "be that they -- and possibly other players -- committed multiple offenses by receiving performance-enhancing drugs" from Biogenesis Founder Anthony Bosch and "by lying about it" (ESPN.com, 7/9). In N.Y., O'Keeffe, Madden, Vinton & Thompson report Rodriguez on Friday will be interviewed by MLB officials "about his links" to Bosch. The meeting is "likely to take place in Tampa and is expected to be one of the final steps before MLB suspends the fallen Yankee star." MLB has "already interviewed at least 10 players who have also invoked baseball’s version of the Fifth Amendment" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/10).
AWKWARD OUTCOME? FOXSPORTS.com's Jon Paul Morosi writes of the Biogenesis case, "Whatever the outcome, this could be one of the most awkward second halves in baseball history." Our national pastime has "remained remarkably resilient through this and other scandals over time." Legal- and PED-related stories in general have "minimal impacts on what actually matters to fans -- wins and losses." But the Biogenesis case "is different." Here we "have a quasi-legal proceeding, the details of which remain mysterious to many managers and players, potentially impacting key contributors on contending teams." A piece of Selig's "legacy is at stake, to say nothing of the reputations of players linked to the probe" (FOXSPORTS.com, 7/10). NBCSPORTS.com's Matthew Pouliot wrote, "With the appeals process to be played out, it’s just not very realistic to think that anyone is going to end up serving suspensions this year" (NBCSPORTS.com, 7/9).
Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles yesterday announced a new organizational structure at an all-staff meeting. The structure divides the company, which includes the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, into seven divisions. Miles said he still is searching for a president of Hulman Motorsports, who will oversee the “commercial aspects” of IndyCar and IMS. In an e-mail to staff, Miles added, “I hope to finalize this appointment soon.” Until he names someone to that position, Miles will oversee IMS and IndyCar sales, PR, marketing and business affairs. Under the new structure, former IMS President Jeff Belskus will continue as Hulman & Co. President and add the CFO role to his duties. He will be responsible for HR, IT, finance and the master plan for more than $100M in upgrades to IMS. Longtime IMS communications exec Doug Boles was named IMS President, a job that includes overseeing concessions, guest services, retail and ticketing. Derrick Walker is President of IndyCar Operations & Competition, Robby Greene is President of IMS Productions and General Counsel Gretchen Snelling will oversee the legal division. This comes after Hulman and its racing subsidiaries last restructured high-level exec positions in January (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).
UP TO THE CHALLENGE? SPEEDTV.com's Robin Miller reported Boles will be in charge of the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 and the MotoGP race "in addition to exploring other business opportunities within the IMS boundaries." Boles, one of the founders of Panther Racing in '97, said, "It seems like most of my life has been connected to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway" (SPEEDTV.com, 7/9). In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin notes Boles becomes the track’s "fourth president since 1990, following Tony George, Joie Chitwood and Jeff Belskus" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/10). Also in Indianapolis, Anthony Schoettle noted Boles faces a "number of big challenges, most notably saving the MotoGP race and bolstering the Brickyard 400." The MotoGP Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix and Brickyard 400 have "major attendance issues to overcome." Track officials have "considered discontinuing" the MotoGP if its "attendance cannot be improved" (IBJ.com, 7/9). The INDIANAPOLIS STAR's Cavin notes Tom Garfinkel resigned as Padres President & CEO yesterday, which could be an "interesting turn of events for IndyCar.” Miles has had Garfinkel “on the short list for president of the company’s commercial division." Garfinkel is a former exec for Chip Ganassi Racing (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/10).
TURBO-CHARGED: Meanwhile, the INDIANAPOLIS STAR's Cavin notes DreamWorks’ animated movie "Turbo" premiered last night in N.Y., with IndyCar drivers Tony Kanaan and Ryan Hunter-Reay joining actors Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Pena. An early screening of the film viewed by about 250 IMS employees was "well-received." Miles said, "It puts (IMS) in the most beautiful light." Cavin notes the movie’s "visual detailing is magnificent, particularly as it relates to motor sports." From the BorgWarner Trophy to the track’s "rough surface to the walkway that connects the pagoda and the media center to the Gasoline Alley garages, it’s as if the historic facility has come to life." The victory podium is "perfectly depicted, and the view from the pagoda suites overlooking the front straightaway is spot-on." Boles said, "It's how they captured things. I was mesmerized by that part of the story." Cavin writes, "Unlike many other sports movies, 'Turbo' went to great lengths to portray realistic action." Former Indy 500 winners Mario Andretti and Dario Franchitti assisted on the film. Chevrolet, HP, Sunoco, Firestone, Verizon and AAA are "among the IndyCar sponsors appearing in the movie" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/10).
UFC 165 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sept. 21 featuring Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson "needs a big victory at the box office," according to Morgan Campbell of the TORONTO STAR. The gate for the three UFC events in Toronto has declined from C$12M for the first event to C$3.9M for the second, with last year's event drawing C$1.9M. UFC Canada Operations Dir Tom Wright said UFC is "going to do our best to sell out this event … (and) whatever we end up with over here at the Air Canada Centre will be more than they get for a typical Toronto Maple Leafs game, so we're quite happy." Wright noted there were four Canadian UFC fighters on the card and "there'll be some more local talent for sure." Campbell added the "economic stakes are high here and not just for the UFC." When UFC "sold out the Rogers Centre" in April '11 for UFC 129, that event generated an estimated C$40M in "economic activity for downtown merchants" (THESTAR.com, 7/9). Meanwhile, Wright said that UFC will "make its debut in Halifax at some point in either" '14 or '15. Wright said, "I think the chances of the UFC going to Halifax are extremely good." He added, "I've had conversations with the people that run the Metro Convention Centre there. I've had discussions with all sorts of different people politically down in Halifax. I think Atlantic Canada is a great spot for our sport" (Halifax CHRONICLE HERALD, 7/10). Wright said in addition to Halifax there are "other cities across the country including places like Quebec City and Saskatoon ... Edmonton has been calling for us to take our athletes there. And there's a whole bunch of cities that want us to return" (CP, 7/9).