SBD/August 18, 2017/Franchises

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  • David Samson Out With Marlins' Ownership Swap; Manfred Confirms Sale Financing

    Samson has one year left on his Marlins contract that reportedly will pay him $5M

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told owners that the Marlins "will have a new COO and David Samson is out as team president," according to ESPN's Dan Le Batard (TWITTER.com, 8/17). Manfred said Thursday that prospective Marlins Owner Bruce Sherman "informed him" Derek Jeter would "run day-to-day operations." In Miami, Spencer & Jackson note Samson became the "most visible of all Marlins executives over the years, more so than" Owner Jeffrey Loria. He was at the "forefront of the team’s successful bid to secure public financing for a new ballpark, which opened" in '12. Samson has "one year left on his contract that reportedly will pay him" $5M (MIAMI HERALD, 8/18). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde writes it "isn't a surprise" that Samson is being show the door, as new owners "almost universally bring in their own management." Sherman-Jeter ownership group is "doing exactly what it should," which is "starting clean." Hyde: "That's not a tough decision." Meanwhile, when Jeter takes over the baseball side, "don’t expect him to be GM." Jeter is "expected to take a role overseeing everyone." Hyde: "Expect him to bring in some Yankee officials he’s worked with" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/18). FS1's Frank Thomas said of Jeter, "He’s running everything. This isn’t, ‘Oh, Derek’s going to handle baseball, he’s not going to handle the rest.’ He’s handling everything. That means minor leagues, that means money, that means all the decisions he’s going to handle. The way I see Derek doing things, he’s going to build and he’s going to sustain” (“MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 8/17).

    MONEY AIN'T A THANG: Manfred said the proposed $1.2B sale of the Marlins to a group led by Sherman and Jeter indeed has the necessary financing in place. Manfred's comments, coming at the end of the quarterly owners meeting in Chicago, echoed those made Wednesday by Samson. The commissioner added the bidding group might still seek out additional partners. Manfred declined to handicap the chances of the Marlins’ bid ultimately receiving the necessary 75% owner vote for passage. He said there are “other issues in the approval process that need to be completed,” including elements around club operations, debt service compliance and background checks of each of the individual partners (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In Miami, Clark Spencer notes Manfred's comments "would indicate Sherman's plan contains enough cash equity to meet the league's debt-ratio requirements." Sherman has "reportedly put up" $400M of his own money to complete the deal. But Manfred said that "even though MLB is content with the financing proposal submitted by Sherman, it doesn’t preclude him from seeing other cash investors" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/18).

    PUBLIC WORKS: Also in Miami, Douglas Hanks notes the home run sculpture at Marlins Park "can’t be removed" by Jeter or "anyone else who might buy the team, according to its owner: Miami-Dade County." It was "commissioned as part of Miami-Dade’s Art in Public Places program, which requires construction of county buildings to include art as well." Jeter and partners "reportedly floated interest in removing the center-field sculpture." No one attached to Jeter’s group has "actually made a public statement about wanting the home-run sculpture gone, but the well-covered rumor has inspired the artwork’s many detractors to cheer the possible clean sweep" of both Loria and the ballpark’s signature feature (MIAMI HERALD, 8/18).

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  • Red Sox Owner John Henry Says He Wants To Change The Name Of Yawkey Way

    Yawkey Way is named after the Red Sox' former, and controversial, owner

    Red Sox Owner John Henry said that the team "welcomes renaming Yawkey Way," the Jersey Street extension outside Fenway Park, and that the they should "take the lead in the process," according to Michael Silverman of the BOSTON HERALD. Henry said that he is "still 'haunted' by the racist legacy" of late former Owner Tom Yawkey. Silverman writes Yawkey's legacy from '33-76, and then by his widow Jean Yawkey and the Yawkey Trust until Henry bought the team in '02, was "as complicated as it was lengthy." An "inescapable, significant and enduring part of the Yawkey legacy is a racist one." The Red Sox "watched every other team" in MLB integrate "before they became the last club to do so" in '59. But that does "not need to diminish the positive impact" of the Yawkey Trust. The name Yawkey Way is "different" though, because it is a "public street, funded by taxpayer dollars." The team is "not trying to erase its history." But Henry said that the "time is right for the change and the conversation about race that it will spark." Henry: "I discussed this a number of times with the previous mayoral administration and they did not want to open what they saw as a can of worms." If it were "up to Henry, he would rename the street 'David Ortiz Way' or 'Big Papi Way.'" The name-change process "needs to start with Henry and the one other Yawkey Way abutter petitioning the City of Boston for approval." Henry: "The Red Sox don’t control the naming or renaming of streets. But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can -- particularly in our African-American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/18).

    READY FOR ACTION
    : Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy said the team internally has had "ongoing discussion over the last several months" about the name change. Those talks date back to "at least early May" when Orioles CF Adam Jones was taunted at Fenway with racial slurs. He added that the team will "speak with Fenway’s neighbors over the possibility of changing the street name in the coming weeks" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/18). Kennedy: "What John did was send a very loud message about what he’s been saying since we arrived in 2002, which is we want Fenway to be open and inclusive and tolerant to everyone" (CSNNE.com, 8/17). ESPN’s Ryen Russillo said of changing the name of the street, "If you want to take it down because of Tom Yawkey's history, then go ahead and take down. But I always ask at what point do we get to that line of 'is this really solving any problems,' or are we just trying to find something else that we can change because we feel bad about something that happened in the '50s?” ESPN’s Max Kellerman: “If the status quo is such that it is offensive to people for good reason, then I think that’s the answer" ("First Take," ESPN, 8/18).

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Boston Red Sox
  • Franchise Notes

    In Chicago, Paul Sullivan notes the Cubs are "prohibited from playing Friday night games under a city ordinance, and it doesn't seem likely the city will change its mind any time soon." It "makes no sense to prohibit night games on Fridays when people are starting their weekends." It is an "archaic rule that's lasted three decades for no apparent reason." A source said that the ban on Friday night games has "more to do with local businesses who don't want to compete for customers than neighbors worried about parking or congestion" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/18).

    ROAD TRIP
    : In Atlanta, Chris Vivlamore cited a source as saying that the Hawks did "not request from the NBA that they start the season on the road with major renovations to Philips Arena well underway." The Hawks "open with a lengthy five-game road stretch." The Hawks’ home opener is Oct. 27. Expectations are that the first phase of renovations will be "completed in time for the NBA season" (AJC.com, 8/15).

    STAYING PUT
    : Steelers President Art Rooney II said that he "'would be surprised' if the Steelers don't spend 'some part of the summer'" in future seasons at St. Vincent College in Pittsburgh for training camp, even if the NFL "changes its preseason." Rooney: "This is a great setup for us. Our fans love it. Our players enjoy being here. It works" (TRIBLIVE.com, 8/16).

    I'LL FOLLOW THE SUN: In Connecticut, Mike DiMauro wondered if the WNBA Sun should have "drawn a few more" last Saturday as they clinched a playoff spot, "given their seven-game home win streak at the time, entertaining style, young, energetic players and offers of such future promise." A five-year playoff drought may have "turned off" some people "who would likely inhabit the upper bowl." It "appears the casual fans have yet to return, at least consistently" (New London DAY, 8/17).

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