The Padres yesterday honored MLB Commissioner Bud Selig with a "dedication ceremony of the Selig Hall of Fame Plaza at Petco Park," according to Corey Brock of MLB.com. The area will "serve as a home" to the Padres HOF and "eventually statues in the plaza to honor Padres greats as well as a plaque to honor Selig, not just for his overall achievements to baseball during his 22-year tenure as Commissioner but the specific accomplishment of helping to keep baseball afloat in San Diego." The plaza will be "open year-round to fans." Padres President & CEO Mike Dee said, "We wanted to do something to recognize his contributions here in San Diego because they are unique." San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts declared yesterday as "Bud Selig Day" (MLB.com, 8/26). But in San Diego, Matt Calkins writes under the header, "With Selig Dedication, Padres Whiff Badly." It is clear that the Padres "don't know the fans." One question "seemed to stand out" for many at the game. Padres fan Ben Montoya said of naming the plaza after Selig, "That baffles me." An online poll on the Union-Tribune website shows that 98% "felt the Padres had erred in naming the plaza after Selig." Calkins: "Perhaps it would make sense for his hometown to pay tribute in the most personal of ways. But here in San Diego, where you have two Hall of Famers (Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman) who passed away this calendar year?" Padres Exec Chair Ron Fowler defended the ceremony, saying that Selig was "instrumental in luring" former team Owners John Moores and Larry Lucchino to town and "revitalizing a flatlining franchise." But Calkins wonders if that warrants a HOF dedication in "a town that only sees him once every few years" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/27).
Brewers Owner Mark Attanasio said that he "spent about 20 hours" preparing for his presentation to the committee searching for the successor to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. Attanasio: "Not only looking at the macroeconomic drivers of baseball but a whole host of issues that concern the game. One of the things going into this interview did was give me an even greater appreciation for what Commissioner Selig has been able to achieve. You realize how broad based this job is and how many facets it touches. Not to mention being steward of the national pastime, which in itself is an enormous burden" (JSONLINE.com, 8/23).
CHOP 'TIL YOU DROP: Braves President Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk said of signing players to big contracts, "You just can't make a lot of mistakes. The big guys like the Red Sox, the Dodgers, the Angels, the Yankees, they can afford to make big mistakes. We don't have that luxury. [Former Braves 2B Dan Uggla] was one of my favorite guys on the team. It just killed me that whatever happened, but it just didn't work anymore. We took that hit" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/23). Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Jeff Schultz noted McGuirk is the "name at the top of the organizational chart." McGuirk "meets with the team's owner, Liberty Media, once a year and that's about the extent of the corporation's contact with the team" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/23).
SEATTLE SLEW: In Seattle, Ryan Divish noted the Mariners yesterday "announced a multi-year contract extension" for Exec VP & GM of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik. The announcement is "somewhat of a surprise since the Mariners refused to make public the one-year extension that Zduriencik had received before last season." But the Mariners are "in the midst of a playoff run, so that policy can obviously be amended" (SEATTLETIMES.com, 8/26). Mariners President Kevin Mather said that the logistics of Zduriencik's extension "came together" yesterday. Mather: "It was as simple as I had lunch scheduled with him, we were talking about 2015. It literally was that simple" (AP, 8/26).
RING MY LIBERTY BELL: In Philadelphia, Matt Gelb noted the Phillies entering last weekend "were averaging 3 hours and 11 minutes a game, the fourth-longest" in the NL. The average time between pitches this season "is 23 seconds." The time between pitches has "increased a full second" since '12. It does "not seem significant, but the math does not lie" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 8/24).
TEXAS BACK-STEP: In Dallas, Gerry Fraley noted the Rangers' average attendance through last weekend was down 4,009 from last season, the "second-largest decline in the majors" behind the Phillies at 7,846. At this rate, the Rangers "would finish with an attendance decrease of about 325,000," which translates into about $10M "less in revenue" (DALLASNEWS.com, 8/24).
In Atlanta, Doug Roberson noted Falcons Owner Arthur Blank has "challenged supporters" of his MLS expansion team to "pledge to purchase 29,000 season tickets by year’s end." Membership of the team's Founder's Club was "going to be capped at 5,000 when Blank introduced the franchise earlier this year." But because the "demand remains," Blank last week said that it will be "expanded to 10,000 and he wants the potential new members to pledge to buy 11,000 more tickets before the end of the year." The total of 29,000 "would sell out the lower bowl of the new stadium" (AJC.com, 8/25).
PRETTY BIRDS: ESPN.com's Darren Rovell noted Falcons season-ticket holders this year will be "eligible to get a cheerleader visit at their seat," as part of the team's "Memories Program." Fans can use "memory points," which are awarded "based on longevity of being a season-ticket holder, to stand on the field during the player intros, get a personal visit from the team mascot or receive an autograph from a Falcons player" (ESPN.com, 8/26).
DRONE EVEN TRY IT: In Charlotte, Mark Washburn reports Charlotte-Mecklenburg police yesterday said that a "camera-toting drone flew into Bank of America Stadium" during Thursday’s Chiefs-Panthers exhibition game. Its operator was "detained and, after questioning, the unidentified man was released and the information was forwarded" to the FAA. NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that he was "not aware of drones invading any other NFL venues" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/27).