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Volume 24 No. 112


The Browns yesterday announced that the team's game against the Steelers marked Mike Holmgren's "last game as outgoing team president," according to Tom Reed of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER. Holmgren's "lame-duck status had been known for weeks, but a timetable for departure was unclear." He had "spoken of possibly finishing out the season in a advisory role." CBS' Kevin Harlan, who called yesterday's Steelers-Browns game, "mentioned Holmgren's imminent departure at the end of Sunday's telecast." Holmgren recently said that he "would consider a return to the sidelines" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 11/26). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio wrote Holmgren's time with the Browns "fairly should be regarded as a failure." The question "now becomes whether he'll cap his career with one more appearance as a coach" (, 11/25).

TOP DAWG: In Akron, Stephanie Storm writes Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam III prior to yesterday's game spoke with Steelers President Art Rooney II, but "it's clear where Haslam's loyalties now lie." It is "clear that Haslam gets his new adopted town." Browns CB Joe Haden said of Haslam, "He’s just so into it. He comes down here and we’re so happy to see that positive energy. (We) just like to be around the dude." Haslam after the game said, "The biggest thrill was to see who was leaving early -- the Steelers fans." Meanwhile, Haslam said he was “not involved” in the decision to cancel the team's white-flag promotion yesterday. Haslam: "To me, that’s much ado about nothing. The important thing is we won a very important game against one of our big-time rivals" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 11/26). In Pittsburgh, Mark Kaboly writes Haslam "took a page out of the Rooneys’ book when he greeted nearly every player in the locker room immediately following the game" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 11/26).

While the Lakers "made a very public mess of the family business recently," the Heat have shown "stability atop" their organization, according to Dan Le Batard of the MIAMI HERALD. Like the Lakers with Owner Jerry Buss and Exec VP/Player Personnel Jim Buss, the Heat "also is run by a father-son tandem" in Owner Mickey Arison and CEO Nick Arison. But there "have been no ego fights or public messiness here even as Nick Arison has climbed over the years from former Heat ball boy to Heat CEO." The Heat have "no such issues at least in part because the guy who is actually in charge doesn't need anyone to know it." Nick Arison "is not interested in the lights or the glory." Le Batard: "Like father, like son. They're in it for the winning, basketball as a bond." There has been "three-pronged agreement between [Heat President Pat] Riley and the Arisons on all the major basketball decisions since Nick came into power." Micky Arison "told Riley a long time ago, as Nick was coming up, doing the organizational grunt work, that Nick would one day be running the team." What Riley "didn't know is that it would be quite this soon." Nick Arison had "earned it by working in every part of the family business over the past decade." He had "internships in arena operations, community affairs, sales and marketing." It is a "tribute to how small his ego is that he is very quietly running the loudest sports show in town" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/25).

A survey of 400 South Florida MLB fans, with 90% of them “self-described Marlins fans,” found that the Marlins organization -- and Owner Jeffrey Loria “in particular -- antagonized and may have permanently alienated a majority of the fan base,” according to Michelle Kaufman of the MIAMI HERALD. Only 23 of the respondents (6%) had a "favorable" opinion of Loria, and “a third of those were people who said they personally know him.” The poll, conducted Nov. 18-20 by Bendixen and Amandi International, found 87% of Marlins fans feel "furious and betrayed" by the team's ownership. In addition, the poll found 83% of Marlins fans have an "unfavorable" opinion of Loria. The results showed that 61% of respondents “identifying themselves as season ticket holders would support a boycott next season if that would force Loria to sell the team.” The poll participants, selected “at random," were 55% Hispanic, 38% white Anglo, 5% Black and 2% "other." Eighty-five percent were “from Miami-Dade and 15 percent were from Broward.” The Marlins “declined to comment” on the poll (MIAMI HERALD, 11/25). In N.Y., Bill Madden named Loria No. 1 on his list of “baseball’s turkeys of 2012.” Loria “embarrassed commissioner Bud Selig by deceiving the political leaders, taxpayers and fans in Miami that he was going to spend what it took for a championship-caliber team in exchange for them funding a new stadium for him.” Now that Loria has “taken his payroll from $188 million back down to less than $30 million, he can look forward to collecting his revenue-sharing and national TV booty and making a tidy profit -- all while effectively killing baseball in south Florida” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/25).

PARTING WORDS: The AP’s Steven Wine noted P Mark Buehrle, who was recently traded from the Marlins to the Blue Jays, issued a “parting shot at Miami Marlins' management after his stay with the team lasted only one tumultuous season.” Buehrle, in a statement issued Wednesday through his agent Jeff Berry, wrote, “'I'm upset with how things turned out in Miami. Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions. But I'm putting it behind me and looking forward to moving on with my career.” Marlins President David Samson said that the Marlins “didn't lie to Buehrle, but instead were compelled to make drastic changes after a disastrous season that included a last-place finish and disappointing attendance in a new ballpark.” Berry said that he and Buehrle were “wary of signing with the Marlins because of their history of rapid roster turnover, and because of the team's longstanding policy against no-trade clauses” (AP, 11/21). In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde wrote Loria tops Univ. of Alabama coach and former Dolphins coach Nick Saban "as the biggest liar in South Florida history," and it is “not even close, really.” Loria has “lied to players he wanted to sign, players he had signed, agents, taxpayers, public officials, media.” Hyde: “Anyone he wouldn't lie to given the chance?” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/22).

OUT SHINED? In Miami, David Neal wrote the Marlins and the NHL Panthers “sit on the sidelines, literally for the moment and in the South Florida sports scene now, depreciating in interest (if not value).” The NHL lockout has “stalled the Panthers’ momentum.” This period, which “should be their adulthood, epitomizes the perpetual adolescence in which these franchises arrest themselves.” Neal: “To call either franchise ‘young’ or to say ‘It still feels weird for there to be Marlins/Panthers,’ brands you as middle-aged or old.” That means to those 20 and under, "here and everywhere, the Marlins and Panthers have existed for as much of their lives as Red Sox and Red Wings. ... This failure to launch stuff is tired” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/23).

In N.Y., Mike Vaccaro noted “the cheapest opening day ticket” for the April 1 Padres-Mets game at Citi Field will be $63. If that “sounds absurdly expensive, it should: Two days later, when those same teams play the second game of the season at Citi Field, those $63 ‘promenade reserved’ tickets can be had for $15.” The Mets “want to play the big-market bully whenever it benefits them.” That means “charging Broadway-level prices for Opening Day, for Yankees games, for high-profile games.” However, the Mets want to “squeeze themselves into a shell, camouflaging their own spending habits behind terms like ‘fiscally sound’ and ‘responsible.’” The Mets “want it both ways, and squeeze the last ligaments of their credibility to the very breaking point” (N.Y. POST, 11/25).

: In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote the Red Sox’ recent signings of C David Ross and OF Jonny Gomes “seem to be the ‘good value’ kind,” but the team needs “a splash.” Right now, the Red Sox “aren’t stirring up their Nation,” as it remains “a skeptical one, if unopposed” to the Ross and Gomes deals (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/25). Also in Boston, Michael Silverman wrote, “Do something, do almost anything. It’s safe to make a move now.” The signing of Gomes to a two-year, $10M deal “counts as something, but nobody’s kidding themselves that this is the game-changer that the Red Sox needed” (BOSTON HERALD, 11/25).

: The Pirates said they increased season-ticket renewals by 6% following their initial year of work with SAS Analytics. The club signed with SAS a year ago, and following various customer surveys and predictive modeling, was able to make the sales gains despite a record 20th consecutive losing season. Among the specific changes the Pirates made were to de-emphasize child-specific giveaways on Sundays and to more broadly integrate all-ages promotions. SAS also has worked with the 49ers, Magic, Jaguars and Hurricanes, among several other teams (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).