DR. CHARLES STEINBERG is returning to the Red Sox as a Senior Advisor to President & CEO LARRY LUCCHINO. Steinberg, who previously worked from the franchise from '02-07, has been a Senior Advisor to MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG since '10. Lucchino in a statement said, "The 100th Anniversary of Fenway Park marks an extraordinary time in the history of the Red Sox, and our ownership group was eager to have 'Dr. Charles' return to be an active and creative participant." Steinberg began with career with the Orioles in '77. He then worked for the Padres from '95-'02 and the Dodgers from '07-10 (Red Sox). Lucchino said Steinberg's role with the club will differ somewhat from his first stint in Boston, where he was Exec VP/Public Affairs, though the full scope of his duties has yet to be defined. Among his initial tasks is assisting with celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, as well as helping the franchise move on from its on-field collapse last September. "The first thing I need to do is come in with really big ears," Steinberg said. "There is a tremendous opportunity here to work with ownership and ensure the connections are healthy with our dynamic, international fan base. That's probably the thing I immediately look forward to doing -- helping the organization with its relationship with Red Sox Nation." Steinberg said it was Selig who initially broached with him the prospect of returning to Boston, following a meeting the commissioner had late last month with Red Sox ownership. "I loved working with the commissioner. It was an extraordinary experience," Steinberg said. "But he said this would be good for the game, and I'm very grateful for the chance to work again with this talented front office." Steinberg has worked for Lucchino off and on for most of the last 25 years (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Selig said, "It seems fitting that he will now be able to take part in planning the festivities for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park" (BOSTON.com, 2/17). In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy wrote Steinberg is the "man most responsible for the multilayered game-day experience at Fenway today. The Sox would do well to use his skill set on player presentation this week" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/19).
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Republican presidential candidate MITT ROMNEY made a "short but triumphant return Saturday for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Salt Lake City Olympics," according to Mike Gorrell of the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE. Romney made two public speeches, the first to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee team he led that put on the "highly acclaimed" '02 Winter Games, and the second to a crowd that "filled almost half of EnergySolutions Arena's seats for an ice show paying tribute to the Olympics." Both speeches "heaped praise on the group effort that produced the successful Games." Romney "avoided any claims that he had saved the Salt Lake City Olympics after the bribery scandal erupted late in 1998, taking out SLOC's top management" and 10 IOC members (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 2/19). In Utah, Lisa Riley Roche noted Romney "made sure to thank the crowd repeatedly for their contribution in making the scandal-scarred Games a resounding success." His comments "came as Democrats and even one of his Republican opponents are raising questions about whether he's overstated his role in turning around the troubled" '02 Games (DESERET NEWS, 2/19).
POLITICAL POWER: China VP XI JINPING concluded his visit to the U.S. on Friday night at Staples Center, where he watched the Lakers beat the Suns. Xi, who was attending his first NBA game, was the guest of L.A. Mayor ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, AEG President & CEO TIM LEIWEKE and AEG China President & CEO JOHN CAPPO (AEG)....Former President BILL CLINTON attended the Heat's home win against the Magic last night. Clinton "sat just to the right" of Heat Owner MICKY ARISON and the two were "chatting just about nonstop during play while sitting near midcourt at a table only inches from the sideline" (AP, 2/19).
WWE Senior VP/Consumer Products JIM CONNELLY is out as part of a "purge of senior licensing executives" at the company. Meanwhile, MillerCoors Dir of Sports & Entertainment Marketing RYAN LUCKEY is taking the title of Dir of Innovations & Sustainability. Also, Media Ventures named NBA VP/Global Marketing Partnerships GARY JACOBUS Exec VP & Head of Business Development. The Lakers named Premier Partnerships' ALLISON HOWARD to their corporate sponsorship sales team (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/20 issue)....USA TODAY Sports Media Group named ESPN Creative Dir DAVID MARSHALL JR. VP & Creative Dir (THE DAILY)....The Redskins named former NFLer PHILLIP DANIELS Dir of Player Development (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/17)....EPL club Sunderland Dir of Int'l Development NIALL QUINN has stepped down to "concentrate on his family and business interests outside" of soccer (BBC.co.uk, 2/20).
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In Raleigh, J.P. Giglio noted during Saturday's Florida State-N.C. State men's basketball game, referee KARL HESS stopped the game and asked that former NBAers CHRIS CORCHIANI and TOM GUGLIOTTA be "removed from their front-row seats behind the scorers' table." About two hours after the game, Corchiani "was still looking for a reason why Hess stopped the game and asked him and Gugliotta to leave their seats." He said, "We were just fans, cheering and yelling like everybody else." After the game, Hess "declined to offer an explanation for his decision." N.C. State AD DEBBIE YOW "asked the ACC for an explanation and said she talked with" conference Commissioner JOHN SWOFFORD and Associate Commissioner KARL HICKS. The ACC on Saturday night issued a statement that said that Hess "followed the rule but not the protocol of the rule, which was to permit the game management, or an N.C. State official, to address Corchiani and Gugliotta before they were ejected." ACC Officiating Coordinator JOHN CLOUGHERTY said, "We will re-communicate this policy with all officials to ensure proper protocol is followed" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 2/19).
GROWING INTEREST: In N.Y., Klein & Hackel noted as part of USA Hockey's fifth annual Hockey Weekend Across America, more than 200 rinks Saturday "hosted free clinics, at which an estimated 4,000 youngsters played on the ice for the first time." That "reflects hockey's recent growth spurt among young Americans." Last season, USA Hockey reported 105,934 registered players 8 years old and under, a 10% "rise over the previous season and an" 18% increase since '07-08. What is "most remarkable is that the growth of the last five years has come when few new rinks have been built" in the U.S. (N.Y. TIMES, 2/19).
GIVING BACK: In Orlando, Kate Santich noted in the eight years since Magic C DWIGHT HOWARD signed with the Magic as the No. 1 draft pick, he has “emerged as the most charitable player in team history and certainly one of the most in the NBA itself.” Howard's D12 Foundation “celebrated its one-year anniversary this week with a party for 300 kids in downtown Orlando.” Howard on Friday said, "This is my way of showing God that I'm thankful for him blessing me with the gift to play basketball." For five years, including the “past four in a row, Howard has won the Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award, given to the player who has given back most to the community” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 2/18).
INVALUABLE LESSONS: N.Y.-based marketing company Translation CEO STEVE STOUTE was featured as part of the N.Y. Times' Corner Office column. He said of the lessons sports has taught him, “Sports force you to be transparent with yourself. You can’t avoid the fact that you missed a tackle or that you’re not as fast as the guy next to you. Either you decide that you’re going to practice to improve, or you are going to accept that you are not as good or talented as the person next to you. The clock doesn’t lie, and the competitive nature of a sport doesn’t lie” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/19).
QUITE THE GUEST LIST: The 16th annual "Power of Love," a tribute to former boxer MUHAMMAD ALI was held on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden. LARRY KING, JOHN LEGEND, SLASH, SIEGFRIED and ROY, JAMES GANDOLFINI, SAMUEL L. JACKSON, JIM BROWN, ANDRE AGASSI, STEFFI GRAF, KARL MALONE, MANNY PACQUIAO, SUGAR RAY LEONARD, THOMAS HEARNS and GEORGE FOREMAN were among those in attendance. The gala celebration will benefit the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, along with the Muhammad Ali Foundation. More than 2,000 people “paid a minimum of $1,500 and as much as $10,000 apiece” for the event (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 2/19).
NAMES: Facebook Founder MARK ZUCKERBURG was spotted in the stands at yesterday's Mavericks-Knicks game (N.Y. POST, 2/20). Also in attendance at yesterday's game were actor KEVIN COSTNER and singer SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY (N.Y. POST, 2/20).