Rockies Owner Dick Monfort on Thursday during a radio interview "seemed to start assigning blame" to Senior VP/Major League Operations & Assistant GM Bill Geivett and Exec VP, Chief Baseball Officer & GM Dan O'Dowd for the team's 40-55 start to the season, according to Nick Groke of the DENVER POST. Monfort, appearing on Rockies flagship station KOA-AM, said, "I don't know how our record got to be where it is. ... People say, ‘Replace the GM.’ OK, that’s easily said. But you’ve got to have a person that in your mind will do you a better job." When asked who is responsible for the team's start to the season, Monfort responded, "You would have to say it’s Bill Geivett. He’s responsible for the major-league team. Now, the talent that gets into the Major League team, is the responsibility of scouting and development." He said of whether the team will make front-office changes before next season, "That's a decision we make later" (DENVERPOST.com, 7/17).
PATIENCE WEARS THIN: In Denver, Adrian Dater writes under the header, "Rockies Losing Support From Fed-Up Fans." Rockies partial season-ticket holder Thomas Wilson said, "We won't be buying tickets next season. If we do go, we'll buy from StubHub or maybe scalp cheap tickets or overpay for opening day. I want the Rockies to do well, but I can't justify the expense anymore." Dater notes for fans such as Wilson, Monfort's recentactions "were the final straw in withdrawing their financial support of the team." Wilson said of Monfort, "He takes advantage of what an awesome sports town Denver is. I thought it was very 'king in the tower' of him. 'I know what you want and you want a party deck and a club atmosphere at the ballpark, and if you don't like it, don't come.' Well, I might not stop going entirely; you've turned a guy who used to love going to games into someone who has given away most of his tickets to co-workers who honestly feel the same way. We all love the game of baseball too much to not go, but it doesn't mean I have to support this front office" (DENVER POST, 7/18).
The CFL is "back in Ottawa for a third incarnation" as the RedBlacks host the Argonauts on Friday in the team’s inaugural game at TD Place Stadium, the "first time CFL football has been played in Ottawa" since '05, according to Curtis Rush of the TORONTO STAR. The stadium, which was "still going through its finishing touches on Thursday, will host a sell-out crowd of 24,000 fans." In attendance will be Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is "among 17,000 season ticket holders." RedBlacks President Jeff Hunt said that his "biggest worry is transportation because there is limited parking at the stadium and in the neighbourhood." Fans have been "encouraged to take buses and shuttles positioned around the city, with free boarding if you produce a football ticket" (TORONTO STAR, 7/18). In Ottawa, Blair Crawford notes Friday's game "sold out a month ago." Tickets on StubHub "ranged from" $167-450 (all figures U.S.). Meanwhile, ticketstoget.com had "about a dozen tickets Thursday morning ranging from $125 to $336 each for a pair of 'Club' tickets in Section 109 on the south side" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 7/18). CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon said of Ottawa's return, "It's taken some time, but it's been well worth the wait." Asked if it was a necessary move, Cohon said, "The term I've been using is we had a hole in the heart of the CFL, but now we're back in the nation's capital. The skeptics would say, 'What about the fan base here?' The fact there's 17,000 season tickets says there's a strong base here. People always loved their football. We just had to do it in the right conditions -- with the right ownership, the right stadium, the right team and the right corporate support, the fans would come" (OTTAWA SUN, 7/18).
In Phoenix, Nick Piecoro cites a Fox Sports report as saying that the Padres are considering D-Backs GM Kevin Towers "for a senior adviser position in which he would work alongside" the team's yet-to-be-hired GM. The team is "several weeks into a search" to fill the GM vacancy and has "reportedly narrowed" the search to four finalists: Red Sox Assistant GM Mike Hazen, Rangers Assistant GM A.J. Preller, Yankees Assistant GM Billy Eppler and MLB Senior VP/Baseball Operations Kim Ng (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/18).
IMAGE IS EVERYTHING: The Brownsnamed former Giants VP/Communications Peter John-Baptiste to head their PR department, and FS1's Mike Garafolo noted the Browns "realized they've had some serious image problems over the last couple of years" and are "slowly ... starting to do the right thing here." The hiring of John-Baptiste "was made with image in mind."FS1's Peter Schrager noted John-Baptiste "has been offered several jobs over the last couple of years," but has "turned them down and stayed with the Giants." Schrager: "This is a guy who can come in and be the disciplinarian and also help them craft their message, which is all very important in today's NFL" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 7/17).
BARE FINS: A SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial notes the Sharks have "called down the wrath of social media and Internet petitioners" by creating an Ice Team to "clean up the ice during timeouts and interact with the crowd." The female uniform on the team's Web site includes "tight pants and a sort of abridged team jersey top that show some bare midriff." The editorial states, "You see raunchier outfits at the mall. Still, why tick off a big part of the fan base?" The "compromise here" is to "add a few inches to those teal tops so they cover up the midriff" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/18).
WIZARD WEAR: In DC, Dan Steinberg reported the Wizards will "have alternate uniforms" in '14-15, their first "since those horrible bronze/gold/black/whatever ones that they introduced" in '06 and retired in April '09. The team also will wear "Los Wizards" jerseys this season "as part of the league’s annual Hispanic heritage celebration" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/16).