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Volume 24 No. 155

People and Pop Culture

Yankees Assistant GM JEAN AFTERMAN is profiled by Susan Slusser of the S.F. CHRONICLE, who writes Afterman's "ascension tracks a unique path, marrying her background in drama, a pioneering role in making baseball a more international sport and a negotiating style that only that journey could create." Afterman has been the only woman serving as an Assistant GM since MLB VP/Baseball Operations KIM NG left the Dodgers in '11, making Afterman "the top-ranking female front-office executive in the sport." Former MLBPA COO GENE ORZA said of Afterman, "She's obviously a woman of integrity and honesty, but it's hard for women in baseball -- it's not all fun and games. It's no secret that a lot of management people aren't well regarded by the union, but a number of them are -- and Jean is one of them. She's a straight shooter and honest, not calculating." Slusser notes Afterman "first won the approval" of the MLBPA in the '90s, when she and player agent DON NOMURA "began trying to help Japanese players leave that country's Nippon Professional Baseball league for the major leagues." Afterman and Nomura helped bring Cubs LF ALFONSO SORIANO to the Yankees in '99, and "those negotiating sessions with famed and feared" late Yankees Owner GEORGE STEINBRENNER "didn't just earn her clients Yankees contracts." They also led GM BRIAN CASHMAN "to offer her the assistant GM job" after the '01 season. Cashman: "She was as tough and smart and quick and as unafraid of George as anyone, an extremely good negotiator. I remember many sessions with Jean going at George and not backing off, jumping at his jugular. I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to have her on this side of the fence?'" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/12).

GMR Marketing named Live Nation VP PETER JOSEPH VP/Entertainment. The company also promoted BRYAN RASCH to Chief Digital Officer and JOE SUTTER to Chief Creative Officer (GMR)....Ray Cook Golf named Wilson Golf Territory Manager and Eastern Regional Sales Manager JOHN HOLST Dir of Sales (Ray Cook Golf)….Marketing firm Advantage Int’l named KRIS FILLON Associate Creative Dir of the company’s L.A. office (Advantage Int’l)....Univ. of Northern Colorado AD JAY HINRICHS “has resigned after nearly nine years” in the role. School President KAY NORTON will serve as interim AD (AP, 6/12).

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Former Syracuse Univ. men's basketball assistant coach BERNIE FINE's defamation lawsuit against ESPN "has been transferred" to U.S. District Court in Syracuse. Fine also has filed "additional notices discontinuing legal action against co-defendants named in the original summons," including Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., reporter MARK SCHWARZ and producer ARTHUR BERKO. ESPN will be the "sole defendant as the case progresses in federal court" (, 6/11).

SPANISH INQUISITION: La Liga club FC Barcelona F LIONEL MESSI yesterday was accused of "defrauding the Spanish government" of US$5.53M in "unpaid taxes on income from companies that used his image to promote themselves." The suit alleged Messi "later received the money through British and Swiss channels and failed to declare it as income." Under Spanish law, an investigative judge "must now decide whether to bring formal charges against the player" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/13).

YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT: TNT analyst and former NBAer SHAQUILLE O'NEAL said that he is "calling lawmakers in Albany to support passage" of legalizing MMA in New York. He said that he has been "making calls" from Orlando, but added he "isn't working for anybody." O'Neal said that he has called Assembly members CRYSTAL PEOPLES-STOKES, KEITH WRIGHT and CARL HEASTIE "so far, all of whom support the bill" (, 6/11).

ENTER SANDMAN: Yankees P MARIANO RIVERA "surprised a longtime A's employee before Wednesday's game, posing as a pizza delivery trainee to give JULIE VASCONCELLOS the shock of her life." The two spent "approximately 30 minutes talking." The visit was part of Rivera's "farewell tour, which has seen him meet with people during his final stop at each ballpark this season -- groups ranging from season-ticket holders to veteran team employees." Vasconcellos has worked for the A's since '89 (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/13).

NAMES: Former MLB Commissioner FAY VINCENT spoke at Tuesday night's installment of the Stamford, Conn., Civility in America lecture series. Sacred Heart Univ. AD BOBBY VALENTINE and former MLBer RALPH BRANCA attended the event (STAMFORD ADVOCATE, 6/12)....The NBA D-League named Texas Legends President BILL BOYCE its '13 Team Exec of the Year (NBA D-League)....The Patriots Charitable Foundation yesterday "presented $200,000 in grants to 26 different organizations from all six New England states" (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 6/13)....Eagles S PATRICK CHUNG this week presented a "$25,000 gift to the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center to launch the Summer Music Academy for Real Teens" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/13)....The Montoursville, Penn., school board on Tuesday “approved the hiring” of former MLBer MIKE MUSSINA as the new head varsity boys basketball coach at Montoursville Area High School. Mussina will be paid a stipend of $4,170. Since his retirement in ’08 he has “coached Little League Baseball and junior varsity basketball” (, 6/11)....Rays 3B EVAN LONGORIA yesterday visited Pinellas Park Library in Tampa to kick off “Reading with the Rays: Read Your Way to the Ballpark” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 6/13)....Teen Lifeline will present NFL Cardinals WR LARRY FITZGERALD with the Alfredo J. Molina Community Lifeline Award at its Connections of Hope event on Nov. 1 (Teen Lifeline)....U.K. boxer SCOTT QUIGG yesterday “signed with Matchroom Sport promoter EDDIE HEARN” (, 6/12).