Sparked by a grassroots movement "called Save Our Chiefs, fed-up fans ... were encouraged to wear black" during Sunday's game against the Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium, according to Tod Palmer of the K.C. STAR. Roughly 25,000 fans wore black to the game, which was "entirely appropriate attire for what turned out to be a lifeless 28-6 loss." The Chiefs "declined to comment as an organization, but the prevalence of protesting fans caught the attention of the players" (K.C. STAR, 11/19). In K.C., Sangeeta Shastry noted sales of Chiefs merchandise bearing the team's logo are "in a slump." Local businesses say fan frustration is "putting a strain on those who depend on the Chiefs brand." Overland Park-based merchandise and ticket store Ace Sports Owner Hal Wagner said, "It's never been this bad." Kansas-based merchandiser Rally House Marketing Dir Andrea Carroll said that sales which started out strong at the beginning of the season now are "weaker than they were last year." Palmer noted the Chiefs' business partners are also "feeling and hearing the frustration." Hy-Vee, which serves as the Chiefs' official grocery sponsor, "sells licensed merchandise under its agreement with the team, usually in a corner of the store that's packed with red and gold." Hy-Vee Assistant VP/Media Relations Ruth Comer said that stores have "seen a drop in sales this year, but it's too early to place the blame entirely on fan desolation." Comer added, "We're not sure what to attribute that to -- if it's to how the season is going or the economy or if it's a typical seasonal fluctuation." Regardless, the Chief's losing record is not "causing Hy-Vee to rethink its deal." Metcalf Bank Senior VP Joyce Stacer, whose company is the Chief's official bank, said, "We hear the disappointment, but there still is support here. We still think that it is a community-minded thing" (K.C. STAR, 11/17).
FAN FRUSTRATION: Also in K.C., Sam Mellinger writes if the Chiefs can "land like an anvil at the bottom of the NFL in year four of a process that was supposed to be competing for the division championship, then what, exactly, could it possibly take for major changes?" Arrowhead Stadium "used to be one of the toughest places in the NFL to play." Now, fans are "literally dressing for a funeral." Chiefs officials -- "most notably" Owner Clark Hunt -- have been "privately concerned about a growing fan resentment for some time now." Hunt "continues to meet with angry fans, partly to gather information to help diagnose the problem." Until now, team execs "held a stubborn belief that the loudest dissent came from a vocal minority, but in a season full of milestone losses, here comes one more: Arrowhead split between fans dressed in blacks, fans dressed in other colors and empty seats." If this does not "push Hunt to make major changes in the coming weeks, then it's fair to wonder what could." The Chiefs are "so bad it's turning one of the league's most loyal and passionate fan bases into its most angry and outwardly disrespectful" (K.C. STAR, 11/19).
NFL Jets Owner Woody Johnson “called in all the key members of his football operation Tuesday to discuss ways to turn the season around,” according to Bob Glauber of NEWSDAY. Johnson and team President Neil Glat “met for about 45 minutes” with several execs, including GM Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan, at the team's practice facility “in an effort to get the team headed in the right direction.” Jets Senior Dir of Media Relations Bruce Speight said that the “tone of the meeting was ‘calm and constructive.’” Glauber noted Johnson is “not believed to have issued any sort of ultimatum to anyone in the meeting” (NEWSDAY, 11/18).
O TANNENBAUM: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote, “It’s now clear that Tannenbaum should worry.” Glat’s presence at the meeting suggests he will be “involved in more than the business side of the business and that Glat has Johnson’s ear.” And there is “no one more dangerous to anyone in the football operation than a non-football person who is in position to influence the owner” (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 11/18). In N.Y., Seth Walder noted Tannenbaum “should have worn a helmet and cup for his radio spot” with WFAN-AM’s Mike Francesa on Friday. Francesa “roasted the beleaguered Jets GM for his team’s performance thus far and the mess it has become” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/17).
MLS Red Bulls GM Jerome de Bontin is “not a big fan" of one of MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s "favorite projects: a new stadium in Flushing, Queens" for the 20th team in the league, according to Jack Bell of the N.Y. TIMES. De Bontin said, “I don’t mean to be controversial, because I’ve just arrived. I know MLS well. I’ve been supportive but critical of MLS. At times it fails to learn from its mistakes and is maybe misguide. Competition is good. Over time. A second team in New York would be a good thing, but today it’s probably premature. I wonder if market is mature.” Bell wrote the “sound of those jaws dropping came from league HQ on Fifth Avenue.” When Red Bull “gained control of the MetroStars, MLS wrested from it the territorial rights that would have precluded a second team from within a specific radius, believed to be 75 miles.” de Bontin said, “For example, in L.A. clearly a second team didn’t work out. Rather than supporting the idea of a second team in New York tomorrow, I would question whether if the league would be better served looking at Florida, Atlanta, Minnesota. Many parts of the country have no team and we might find surprises like in Pacific Northwest rather than forcing something too soon” (NYTIMES.com, 11/17).
The MLB Cardinals for the first time in 80 years will "have a jersey with 'St. Louis' in script on the front and not 'Cardinals,'" according to Derrick Goold of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The Cardinals will "wear the third jersey for home games on Saturdays." The jersey "features red piping and the newly detailed birds on the bat." It "combines elements of the 1932 jersey with those from the 1950s." It also "features the modern logo." Team President Bill DeWitt III said, "We pulled from all those elements into this jersey." There "will be names on the back of the third jersey." The team will "wear red hats and red belts on the road, but the navy hats will not be retired." DeWitt said that the blue hats will "continue to be worn at times on the road." Dewitt also said that the "exact times for the navy hat have not been determined" (STLTODAY.com, 11/16). YAHOO SPORTS' David Brown noted the Cardinals are "reaching deep into their own past in order to update their look." The "trademark redbird twins still perch upon the famous yellow bat," but the birds have "eyes instead of dots, and the bat looks more like a bat." The base color of the jersey is "off-white, and a red yoke runs around the neck and down the chest -- similar to a uniform that [HOFer] Stan Musial wore." Brown noted not since '32 has "any Cardinals jersey" had the city name on the front rather than the team name. They are "pretty sweet." DeWitt said, "Yes, it's traditional. And if you ask me should we stay in that elite company of having home whites and road grays, I would say we should, but ... Look at this (third) jersey. I see it and think, 'We've got to wear that thing'" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/16).
RETRO RAMS: The TURF SHOW TIMES' Ryan Van Bibber noted Rams Exec VP/Football Operations & COO Kevin Demoff in an interview with WXOS-AM said that new uniforms are "on the agenda." Demoff said that the team is "leaning toward bringing back the old blue and white uniforms" from the '60s and early '70s. Demoff said that the Rams would "start by instituting those as throwbacks" in '14 and "transitioning after that season" (TURFSHOWTIMES, 11/16).
Ryan Sanders Baseball, which is promoting two exhibition games between the MLB Rangers and the Padres, has "collaborated with AstroTurf" to "build a 133,000 square-foot custom field for the Alamodome floor," according to Richard Durrett of ESPN DALLAS. The games will mark the "first time baseball has ever been played at the Alamodome." Other modifications "include custom fencing, walls, padding, netting, dugouts, bullpens, foul poles and more" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 11/16). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson noted the Rangers' affiliate Triple-A PCL Round Rock Express President & CEO Reid Ryan "came up with the idea as an effort to spread the Rangers' brand into San Antonio in conjunction with their games being shown all season" on FS Southwest. Ryan said, "It's going to be a great way to spread the Rangers' brand to the second largest city in Texas." The Rangers have to "purchase a new artificial field for the games, and the field will have unique outfield dimensions." More than half of the 52,295 tickets will be "priced at $15 or less" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 11/16). In San Antonio, John Whisler noted the series will be called "Big League Weekend." Rangers President Nolan Ryan said, "We've been trying to expand our fan base. We have a lot of fans in South Texas that come up to our ball games." Officials "announced the specially made AstroTurf field would include no synthetic turf cut outs." Only the pitcher's mound "will have dirt" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 11/16).