D'Backs President & CEO DERRICK HALL is the "primary reason" the franchise was "chosen the best sports organization to work for in the world by the United Nations and why the team has on several occasions been listed among the best employers in Arizona and beyond," according to a profile by Steve Henson of YAHOO SPORTS. Hall, who is "back to working 12-hour days" barely two months after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer, "exudes energy and vigor." The D'Backs last month held their Most Valuable Partner awards, and Henson noted the show was a "culmination of [Hall's] vision to make business and pleasure indistinguishable." Hall said that 15 sports organizations "contacted him ahead of the event, wanting to replicate it." Teams by nature are "highly competitive and reluctant to reveal anything that might give an opponent an edge, yet several league and team executives said Hall has a knack for breaking down those barriers." A's President MIKE CROWLEY said, "From a personality standpoint, people gravitate to Derrick." Hall keeps a box of D'Backs caps "in his car and if he sees somebody wearing an old purple and turquoise cap, he hands the person a new one." Hall’s "one-fan-at-a-time approach includes those struggling financially." He established a season-ticket "scholarship program that since 2008 has resulted in 57 families being given tickets worth more than $365,000." Henson wrote Hall "might whistle while he works, but there's no mistaking the competitive hiss in this Diamondback." Hall "wrestled control of the team from" former co-Owner JEFF MOORAD, who is currently trying to purchase the Padres. MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG said, "What I like about Derrick is that he is intimately involved in the Diamondbacks organization every day, not just four days a week, not just three weeks a month." Hall's approach "fosters the culture the United Nations recognized in giving the inaugural Positive Peace Award for a sports team" to the D'Backs. It is why MLB "has Hall on its short list of candidates to replace Selig when he retires." And it is why "several of the groups seeking to purchase the Dodgers have contacted Hall to become the CEO should their bid win" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/31).
People and Pop Culture
The Yankees named former Cubs VP & GM JIM HENDRY Special Assignment Scout. The team also promoted JEAN AFTERMAN to Senior VP & Assistant GM, BILLY EPPLER to Assistant GM and WILL KUNTZ to Pro Scouting Manager (Yankees). A source said that Hendry "agreed to a multiyear deal." Another source said that Hendry's duties will include "looking at minor league players, major league players and spending time with the major league team" (ESPNCHICAGO.com, 1/31).
EXECS: The Twins promoted LAURA DAY to Exec VP/Business Development, KIP ELLIOTT to Exec VP/Business Administration & CFO, MATT HOY to Senior VP/Operations, GARY GLAWE to Senior Dir of Ballpark Systems, DANA MINION to Ballpark Maintenance Manager, SHELLEY ANDREW to Business Systems Manager, BRENT HILDEBRANDT to Infrastructure Systems Administrator and JULIE OKLAND to Senior Manager of Promotions (THE DAILY)....The Mets have promoted MIKE LANDEEN to Senior VP/Venue Services & Operations. Landeen has been with the Mets since '04 in a variety of roles (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal)....Columbia Sportswear promoted ADRIENNE MOSER to VP/Global Apparel Merchandising and Design (OREGONLIVE.com, 1/31)....The WWE named Reveille Senior VP/Creative Affairs ERIC PANKOWSKI Senior VP/Creative & Development (VARIETY.com, 1/31)....Newly launched Engine Shop named BRIAN GORDON CEO, ED KIERNAN President, CHRIS HANDY COO and both NICK HINES and DAVID WILSON Exec VP & GM (THE DAILY)....The '13 Senior PGA Championship named BO SCHLEMMER Operations Manager and LANCE HALL Corporate Hospitality Sales Manager (THE DAILY)....The Big Ten Network promoted Senior Account Exec JEFF KATZ to Local Sales Manager (THE DAILY).
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In N.Y., Leonard Greene reports MADONNA during her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show will be "introducing her brand new single" called "Give Me All Your Luvin'." She will perform the song alongside NICKI MINAJ and M.I.A. Madonna's 12-minute set will also include hits "Ray of Light," "Vogue," "Music" and "Holiday" (N.Y. POST, 2/1).
OPEN THE SUITCASE: In L.A., Pringle & Lin II report for "at least five years, officials with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum passed bundles of cash totaling more than $1 million to a union representative, sometimes in a suitcase packed with $100 bills." The payments, "ranging from $1,400 to $187,700 each, were to cover the wages of stagehands on Coliseum events." Sources said that now criminal investigators with the U.S. Labor Department are looking into the payments" (L.A. TIMES, 2/1).
AWARDS SEASON: The CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" play-by-play announcer JIM HUGHSON will be inducted into the British Columbia Hockey HOF on July 27 (Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/1)....The Touchdown Club of New Orleans will honor former Chiefs President & GM CARL PETERSON, among others, at a banquet on March 12. The club will present Peterson with the 22nd annual Pete Rozelle Award, given each year to the person who has made outstanding contributions to pro football and the NFL (KANSASCITY.com, 1/31).
OFFSEASON APPEARANCE: Yankees GM BRIAN CASHMAN and Cubs President of Baseball Operations THEO EPSTEIN yesterday made an appearance at Sacred Heart Univ's Edgerton Center as part of the Student Affairs Lecture Series. The conversation, which included "a lot of fun stories," was moderated by ESPN's STEVE BERTHIAUME. Cashman and Epstein spoke for over an hour as they "shared stories and one-liners and generally spoke of their mutual respect for each other" (CTPOST.com, 1/1).
BASKING IN THE GLOW: Actors BRAD PITT and JONAH HILL appeared on NBC’s “Today” this morning to discuss their film, “MONEYBALL,” which is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Pitt said of the nominations, “It's really nice for the film. It's a nice feeling. This thing was an arduous undertaking. It almost didn't get made about three times and a lot of people put their jobs on the line to see it through. I'm happy it’s paid off.” Pitt said the nominations “means more films like this will have an easier chance of getting made” (“Today,” NBC, 2/1).
NAMES: ESPN baseball analyst CURT SCHILLING's video game company, 38 Studios of Providence, "finally launches its first release" next Tuesday. The new game, called "KINGDOMS OF AMALUR: RECKONING," will be published by Electronic Arts (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/1)....Falcons Owner ARTHUR BLANK, through the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, will donate $1M to The First Tee, in support of the youth development organization's goal of reaching 10 million new young people from '11-17. Blank will also become part of The First Tee's Trustee program (The First Tee)....A fire yesterday at Joe Gibbs Racing in Huntersville, N.C., required a handful of employees to seek treatment related to smoke inhalation. A team spokesperson said that a piece of equipment in the shop caught fire around 3:30pm ET but was "quickly contained and extinguished" (THATSRACIN.com, 1/31)....Giants WR VICTOR CRUZ has signed with IMG ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 1/31)....The LeBron James Skills Academy will no longer be held at the Univ. of Akron. The camp will be conducted in Las Vegas so Heat F LEBRON JAMES can participate while training with the U.S. Olympic team (SPORTINGNEWS.com 1/31)....A Gwinnett County (Ga.) judge on Monday granted Aydin & Company Jewelers access to free agent G ALLEN IVERSON's bank account in the jeweler's attempt to recoup $375,000 it says Iverson owes. Aydin's attorney JANICE SINGER said that Iverson "bought nearly $700,000 in jewelry from Aydin in 2008 and 2009 and paid more than $200,000 on his bill," but ultimately "stopped paying" (AJC.com, 1/31)....Penguin Press said that former NBA coach PHIL JACKSON is writing his memoir called "ELEVEN RINGS," tentatively scheduled for release next year (AP, 1/31).