In Miami, Barry Jackson writes none of the candidates who interviewed for the Dolphins GM position "has more experience scouting college players" than new GM Dennis Hickey. While Hickey has "never made the final call on draft day," he was "very much involved in the Buccaneers’ draft decisions, particularly over the past nine of his 18 years with the team." Former Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik said, "Dennis got me educated on players" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/28). Meanwhile, in West Palm Beach, Dave George writes Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross "needs to convince himself that the Dolphins are a bare-knuckled business priority and not just a down-time diversion." Ross "must be an every-day Dolphins boss" (PALM BEACH POST, 1/28).
EAT A PEACH FOR PEACE: ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure wrote the Falcons giving coach Mike Smith a one-year contract extension "is a vote of confidence from team owner Arthur Blank, although a longer extension would have been an expression of complete faith." Smith had "at least one year remaining on the three-year contract extension he signed" in February '11. He "deserved a pass" for the team's 4-12 record in '13. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, who also received a one-year extension, "probably should face the bulk of the scrutiny due to the personnel decisions that need to be made this offseason" (ESPN.com, 1/27).
ALBERT BELLE'S NOT WALKING THROUGH THAT DOOR: Indians President Mark Shapiro said there is not "one answer" for the team to improve attendance, but instead there are "a thousand little things." The Indians finished the '13 season 28th in average attendance in MLB, and Shapiro said, "We've made tremendous efforts to listen to our fans and pay attention, to try and do everything we can. But we can't afford to have any weakness in any aspect of our experience." He added, "We can't continue to look at this team and the attendance though the lens of the mid-'90s attendance" (CLEVELAND.com, 1/27).
MINNY MIRACLE? In St. Paul, Charley Walters reported the Twins' season-ticket sales "are projected to be about 17,000" in '14, with a renewal rate of 85%. Team President Dave St. Peter estimated that hosting the '14 All-Star Game kept sales "from dropping at least another couple of thousand." When the team "moved into Target Field five years ago, season-ticket sales were 25,000," but two years later they "dropped to 23,000, then 19,000" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/25).