Red Sox President & CEO Larry Lucchino appearing on WEEI-FM Thursday said, "We're not going to get into seven, eight-year deal as we have done before. What we have ruled out is the kind of long-term, gigantic commitment to players if at all possible" (ESPN.com, 11/29). Lucchino on Thursday also held a Q&A session with readers on BOSTON.com. Asked if the Red Sox had a salary figure in mind, Lucchino responded, "Yes we do, but it's not for public dissemination. You can be assured that we intend to write some big checks if it helps the team in the short and long-term." Lucchino said when asked if FSG was looking to sell the team, "Absolutely not. Next question." Also, Lucchino said of the team's current sell-out streak, "The fans started this sell-out streak in 2003 and will end it. This argument over definitions is a little silly in my opinion. No matter how you slice it, we've averaged over 37,000 fans per game over the last ten years" (BOSTONGLOBE.com 11/29).
CAJUN FLAVORS: Gayle Benson, wife of Hornets Owner Tom Benson, during a pregame TV interview Wednesday said that her "preference for new team colors would be navy blue, red and gold." An NBA spokesperson in a statement said, "The NBA has final say on Hornets colors and name change. That process has not yet taken shape. Red, navy and gold is a combination the Bensons prefer" (NOLA.com, 11/28).
BUCS STOP HERE? In Tampa, Tom Jones noted the Nov. 25 Falcons-Buccaneers game at Raymond James Stadium was "blacked out locally." The Bucs held a four-game winning streak leading into the contest, and "you can't help but wonder: If fans in Tampa Bay aren't going to go to that game, which games will they go to?" The Bucs through six home games are averaging 54,057 fans, the "fewest in the NFL." They are playing to 82.3% capacity, "second worst in the league, ahead of only" the Dolphins. The Bucs before the season reduced prices on 80% of their general admission tickets, and "introduced 12-month payment plans and half-season passes." They also offered "fan-friendly wrinkles such as free Wi-Fi and enhanced instant replays." Jones: "The excuses are plenty. The economy is bad. No one is from here. It's better to stay home and watch the games on big-screen HD televisions" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/29).