Alcohol in MLB clubhouses is “being phased out of the game,” as only 12 of the 30 teams in baseball are “still providing beer to their players,” according to a survey cited by Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. Three of those 12 teams “limit access to beer and closely monitor the players.” For many teams, the “decades-old practice of allowing beer ended” in ‘07 when Cardinals P Josh Hancock was “killed in an alcohol-related traffic accident.” Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino on Thursday said that the team “examined its policies at that time and elected not to change them.” Lucchino added that “the current alcohol policy was in place before John Henry purchased the team before the 2002 season.” Former Red Sox manager Terry Francona earlier this month said that he “supported that policy.” Francona: “We’ve actually always allowed beer in the clubhouse because I thought they were men and I thought they deserved to be treated like it. ... I thought our guys didn’t deserve to be treated like high school kids” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/21). In Boston, Nick Cafardo notes MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was “concerned about the report of the Red Sox drinking in the clubhouse.” Selig on SiriusXM radio Thursday said, “I’m very concerned about our image. I do believe our players are role models. So when stories like that emerge you must understand I’m not very happy. I’m going to wait until all this other stuff is done and it’ll be up to the general manager and the new manager to solve that immediately” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/21).
Despite the continued market dominance of the neighboring Cowboys, Rangers President & CEO Nolan Ryan said Thursday his club's record-setting fan support is definitely sustainable. "The support, I think, was always sort of there, and they were just waiting for us to give them something to rally around," said Ryan, who met with reporters prior to Game Two of the World Series in St. Louis. "Provided we continue to stay competitive, I see no reason at all why this couldn't continue." The Rangers, playing their 40th season in Arlington this year, set a franchise record with a home attendance of 2.947 million fans. Local TV ratings on FS Southwest rose 11% to an average of 101,000 homes, the 9th largest audience among MLB teams (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).
READY FOR LAUNCH? In Houston, Steve Campbell cited a source as saying that MLB "seems very interested" in seeing the sale of the Astros to Jim Crane finalized. That would constitute a "significant shift from August, when MLB removed a scheduled vote to approve the sale from the owners’ meetings agenda." A source said that "concerns about past business practices of Crane’s companies remain a point in contention in approving the deal." Another source contended that MLB "has been using past EEOC complaints and settlements involving war profiteering as 'a bargaining chip' to leverage Crane into accepting a move to the AL as a pre-condition to taking over the team" (CHRON.com, 10/20).
BILL COMING DUE: Dewey & LeBoeuf LLC, lead counsel for the Dodgers in their ongoing bankruptcy case, Thursday filed a request for nearly $619,000 for legal work performed for the club during the month of September. The request brings the total legal fees in the case to date to more than $3.5M. The firm will continue to represent the Dodgers after MLB last week withdrew its bid to have it, along with co-counsel Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, disqualified on conflict-of-interest grounds. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig Thursday declined comment on the Dodgers case following the presentation of the league's Roberto Clemente Award to Red Sox DH David Ortiz. Selig is slated to testify along with Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt at a key evidentiary hearing in the bankruptcy case beginning Oct. 31 in Wilmington, Delaware (Fisher).
In Dallas, Mike Heika cited sources as saying that because Oct. 22 falls on a Saturday, competing bids to purchase the Stars "will probably be accepted until Monday." A 30-day deadline to submit bids was triggered on Sept. 22 when Vancouver businessman Tom Gaglardi entered his "stalking horse" bid. Heika noted once the deadline has passed, "we will then either have the next step in a complicated auction procedure, or nobody will enter a competing bid, and Stars fans will be able to welcome Gaglardi as the team’s new owner." Two groups "appear to be trying to decide if they want to do that." Former MLB Rangers Managing General Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg "has been attempting to assemble a group of mostly local businessmen to buy the team." The other group "is led by" CHL Allen Americans Owner Doug Miller, but there is "some question as to whether he can pull off a deal of this magnitude." Both groups "are working to make a bid, but we'll have to wait until Monday to see if either does" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/20).
DAWN OF A NEW ERA: In Philadelphia, Bob Cooney asked, "Is pro basketball really reaching relevancy in this city again, coming off a 14-win improvement from the season before and a return to the playoffs?" Perhaps Tuesday "was a step in that direction," with the introduction of the 76ers new ownership group, led by Managing Owner Joshua Harris. Cooney noted the NBA lockout "has not benefited many people, yet," but if "you were to make a list of those who have profited (non-monetarily) thus far, the new Sixers owners could be at the top of a very short list." The lockout has "given the group time to map out strategies" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 10/20). Meanwhile, ASIAONE.com reported Mahaka Media Founder & Owner Erick Thohir is part of Harris' ownership group, and he "holds the distinction of being the first ever Asian owner of an NBA team." Thohir is "well known in his home country of Indonesia but less known is his passion for basketball." He currently serves as President of South East Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) and has "expended continuous efforts to grow the sport in the region" (ASIAONE.com, 10/19).
COACHING CONSULT: CSNBAYAREA.com's Paul Gutierrez wondered following the death of late Raiders Owner Al Davis, "Who does coach Hue Jackson answer to now in regards to player personnel decisions?" Jackson said, "I talk to Mark (Davis), I talk to Amy (Trask). Those are my two people I spend a lot of time talking to because they've been here and they're people I know the most. ... Those people are very, very important to this process. I'm not doing anything without Mark Davis and I'm not doing anything without Amy Trask knowing" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 10/17).