NBA.com's David Aldridge noted with NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver set to take over for Commissioner David Stern in February '14, the "question of who will replace him ... is an open one." Aldridge: "I don't know the league's internal politics and power bases, but Silver surely has made it clear who he wants working with him going forward." The restructuring of the league office, with Rod Thorn returning as Exec VP/Basketball Operations, "certainly signals bringing in people with whom Silver will be comfortable working." Aldridge asked, "Will Silver go outside the league office to bring in a marketing whiz/CEO type from the private sector, or a TV exec with whom he's done business, or maybe raid one of the other sports leagues for a top-shelf thinker/innovator?" (NBA.com, 10/7).
WHERE THE WILD CARDS ARE: In Detroit, Matt Pelc writes the MLB Wild Card round "should be a best-of-three series with the top wild card team serving as the host." MLB could have "easily organized a best-of-three series in both leagues to run concurrently Tuesday through Thursday and it would have delayed the playoffs by one or two days at most" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/8). But GAMMONSDAILY.com’s Peter Gammons wrote, "This is the way it should be. This is why the regular season counts, and why the new playoff system works." Many fans for years "complained that there was little disincentive to play out the final weeks of September preparing for the post-season, because there was little difference between finishing first or being the wild card" (GAMMONSDAILY.com, 10/6).
NO HARD FEELINGS: Tennis player Rafael Nadal today prior to the Shanghai Masters said that he "still believes too many tournaments are played" on hard courts, but he is "done trying to influence ATP policymakers." Nadal: "I am really out of politics, and I don't want to be involved in politics of the tennis anymore. I know even if you have strong ideas and even if you believe the changes are possible, I know there is always a wall there that is impossible to go over." The AP's Justin Bergman noted Nadal has "long advocated a shorter tournament schedule and more tournaments on clay courts to lessen the wear on players' bodies and prevent career-threatening injuries" (AP, 10/8).
DIVERSITY ON ICE: In DC, Katie Carrera noted Predators D Seth Jones in June's NHL Draft "became not only the highest-drafted African American player in NHL history as the fourth overall pick, but also the new face of diversity in the league." It is "not a position he asked for, but is one that he is ready to fill." Jones said, "Anything I can do to help the sport of hockey grow. Whether it's white people or black people, it doesn't matter. I'm happy to do it." The NHL last season "featured 22 black players, four of whom were American." More black players are "making a prominent mark in the NHL," including Canadiens D P.K. Subban, who won the '12 Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman (WASHINGTON POST, 10/8).