MLS on Thursday at the adidas America campus announced that Bundesliga club Bayern Munich "would be the opponent" for the '14 MLS All-Stars, according to Jamie Goldberg of the Portland OREGONIAN. The MLS ASG will be played at 6:30pm PT on Aug. 6 at Jeld-Wen Field, and Timbers coach Caleb Porter "will coach the MLS All-Stars." The game was "moved from July to August to avoid conflicts" with the '14 FIFA World Cup. Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson said of Bayern Munich, "We needed a big time name out here." Bayern will be "the first German club to play in the MLS All-Star game," and the contest will be part of Bayern’s '14 North American tour. The club has "agreed to play on the turf at Jeld-Wen Field, rather than ask the Timbers to put down grass over the artificial surface" (OREGONLIVE.com, 12/12).
PRODUCT PLACEMENT:In Portland, Allan Brettman notes adidas, "the uniforms outfitter" for MLS, is also a 9.1% owner of Bayern Munich. Bayern Exec Board member Joerg Wacker said that the club "has at least 10 million fans in the United States, selling about 1 million Adidas-brand jerseys annually." adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer, in addition to partial team ownership, serves on the Bayern BOD. adidas North America President Patrik Nilsson said that Bayern is "the only professional sports club with which Adidas holds an ownership stake." German automaker Audi also owns 9.1% of the club (Portland OREGONIAN, 12/13).
MLB's decision to ban collisions at home plate was a hot topic of discussion on the afternoon TV sports-talk shows Thursday, with columnist Kevin Blackistone saying, "The last thing baseball wants is to have a concussion issue like football does." He added MLB also does not want to be "without some of its star players because of these collisions." In recent years, several All Stars, including the Giants' Buster Posey and the Cardinals' Yadier Molina, have missed time due to home plate collisions ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 12/12). ESPN's Marcellus Wiley said, "Not only does baseball have to protect its players, it also has to protect its brand. And guess what, they see what the NFL is going through with these concussions and injuries. The last thing they want to do is have a play that's going to be easy evidence" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 12/12). Yahoo Sports’ Rand Getlin said, “From a liability perspective, obviously it’s the right call with all the concussion stuff that’s gone on with the NFL. But the other element of it, from a business standpoint, there is a reason why baseball contracts are guaranteed. These guys don’t get hurt very often. We’ve seen a lot of knees blown out. … That’s something that you want to minimize” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 12/12). Meanwhile, ESPN's Pablo Torre asked, "How often does baseball repudiate tradition in favor of reason and avoiding injury? How often does any sport do that? That's kind of incredible to me" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 12/12).
AHEAD OF THE CURVE: THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau wrote MLB's decision to ban home plate collisions "is to be applauded, toasted and hailed as an example of a professional sports league that holds tradition in its proper place: specifically, not as a shield to hide behind when time and circumstance cry out for significant change." This is "something to keep in mind the next time you hear an NHL player bemoan rules changes." Proteau: "I'm talking about league executives stepping up to make significant alterations to an aspect of the sport after pleas from medical professionals and suffering athletes, and the knee-jerk, myopic tendency to dismiss any argument simply by saying, 'Why don't we just let the players decide'" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 12/12).
QMI AGENCY's John Kryk reported NFL Officiating exec Jay Reid has "been in communication with the NHL for about a month, and spent the evening of Nov. 30 in the NHL’s 'Situation Room' in Toronto to see first-hand how the hockey league conducts video reviews from myriad, concurrent games using cutting-edge, real-time technology." NHL Senior VP/Hockey Operations Mike Murphy "raved about that technology, and said representatives not only from the NFL but the NBA and even the Australian rugby league have dropped by in recent weeks to see it in action." Murphy said, "Jay came in and actually sat with us for probably three hours and watched how the whole room functions. ... And he saw how we do it. He asked people questions" (QMI AGENCY, 12/12).
TAKE IT OUT OF THE GAME: In Ottawa, Mohammed Adam writes one day, sooner or later, an NHL player "is going to die from on-ice violence." This has been concluded "after watching replays of the latest act of hockey violence" involving Penguins D Brooks Orpik, who "was left unconscious on the ice" after Bruins LW Shawn Thornton hit him from behind. Judging from the Orpik incident "and others like it in the past, the real surprise is that an NHL player has not already died on the ice." The only reason this "hasn’t happened, given the violence on the ice day in, day out, is that the NHL has been lucky." That luck "will not last forever" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 12/13).
GROWING PAINS: The CP's Scott Edmonds noted the CFL "doesn't want to stop at nine teams" after Ottawa comes into the league in '14 and is looking for a 10th market, "perhaps Moncton or Halifax." The biggest hurdle to expansion right now "seems to be finding a large enough stadium to accommodate a CFL team." Moncton Stadium in New Brunswick "drew just over 15,000" in '13 for a regular-season game between the Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but its "regular capacity is only about 10,000" (CP, 12/12).