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Volume 24 No. 181


Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria "wasn't going to sell" his team to any "consortium that didn't consort" with Derek Jeter first, according to Dave George of the PALM BEACH POST. It is all part of the "Yankeefication of the Marlins, an ongoing Loria goal." Loria "loved the Yankees" growing in N.Y. and once had a stake in the team. Now, handing the Marlins' baseball and business operations to Jeter "isn’t just the natural move," it is the "only way this story could have ended for Loria." George: "So why am I still wary?" It could be because financier Bruce Sherman, who will "put up the largest chunk" of the $1.2B purchase price, is "so unknown to us." His first instinct "might be to move" RF Giancarlo Stanton’s "supernatural salary off the books." There is "no telling how much more money he is willing to spend on top of what already is being committed." It could also be that Jeter’s track record as a baseball exec is a "total blank." Michael Jordan, an investor with this group, "could tell Jeter about the difference between dominating a sport athletically and operating a franchise efficiently" (PALM BEACH POST, 8/15). ESPN's Bomani Jones said of Jeter's ability to run the Marlins, "I have no idea if Derek Jeter has any business doing that job" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 8/14). But's Joe Frisaro said of Jeter coming on, "It removes the cloud of uncertainty which has hung over this team" ("The Rundown," MLB Network, 8/14).

: Fox Business' Charlie Gasparino said of the sale, "This saga is not over, far from it. The owners' meeting is this week. ... There’s a good chance they don’t talk about it and here’s why. We understand that Major League Baseball itself has not received official details of the Marlins bid." Gasparino said of Sherman, "Does he really have a commitment for $300 million to put into this thing like a lot of people say he did? ... When I checked out Bruce Sherman’s net worth, he’s worth $500 million. ... My point is, is he willing to put in most than half of his net worth into this team?" ("Countdown to the Closing Bell," Fox Business, 8/14).

DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT? In Miami, Douglas Hanks notes if Jeter's group buys the Marlins, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has requested that he and Sherman "don’t ask team president David Samson to stick around." Samson has been a "vital deputy" to Loria dating back to the Expos in the early '00s. Samson, who has another year on his existing contract, also "served as a lightning rod for Marlins backlash second only to Loria during the team’s rocky relationship with both fans and politicians." Gimenez' comments come as the "long-simmering political feud between the Marlins and Miami-Dade may be heading for another flashpoint." The original '09 deal for Marlins Park requires Loria to pay 5% of the proceeds from a team sale to local governments if it occurs before '18. Gimenez has "already said he doubts Miami-Dade will get any money from the Marlins sale, predicting Loria would delay closing until the profit-sharing window closes" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/15).

ART DEPARTMENT: MLB Network's Kevin Millar said of Jeter's group considering removing the home run statue in center field at Marlins Park, "They don't have to change that. ... There are plenty of other things I would change about the franchise before I would change that" ("Intentional Talk," MLB Net, 8/14). MLB Net's Tom Verducci said, "I want it to stay. At first, I didn't like it, but it’s so Miami. It fits that park. The thing is worth like $1.2 million, it’s actually one of the higher paid 'players' on the team." MLB Net's Ted Berg added, "I’d say even build another one. ... Look at that thing! It’s fun, it's awesome, it's colorful" ("MLB Now," MLB Net, 8/14). SNY’s Sal Licata said the sculpture "fits down there." But SNY’s Jon Hein said the sculpture "looks like a bad carnival ride" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 8/14).

The Golden Knights yesterday opened up online single-game ticket sales for their inaugural season at T-Mobile Arena, and team VP/Ticketing & Suites Todd Pollock said that business was "brisk," according to Steve Carp of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. The team's home opener Oct. 10 against the Coyotes was a "very hot ticket," and by 4:00pm PT, "all that remained were the high-priced glass seats, the center ice seats and a limited number in the corner of the lower bowl." The team was also "selling standing room upstairs for $100 per ticket." At the close of business, tickets "remained available for all 41 home games as well as the three preseason games." However, some games "only had single seats available in the lower price range." Prices started at $60 for "selected games and those seats were in the corners at the very top of the building." The team also made seating available "near the glass and at center ice." Those tickets "went for as much as $2,000 per seat depending on the opponent." Pollock said that the premium pricing policy was "instituted because of supply and demand" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 8/15).

Patriots coach Bill Belichick believes the franchise buying its own charter planes "will benefit the team," as the "whole charter air travel is an issue." Belichick, appearing on WEEI-FM's "Dale & Holley" yesterday, said, "The fact that we have our own plane and we're not worried about somebody else's schedule ... (is) getting ahead of the problem." He added another benefit is that the team will not be "struggling from carrier to carrier every year and not having those kind of issues." Belichick: "Hopefully we aren't sitting on the runway for five hours like we did against Miami last year." He noted he has not been on board the plane yet and does not "know exactly how it's going to play out." However, he said the "concept of it is good" ("Dale & Holley," WEEI-FM, 8/14).

Gulf States Toyota Owner & CEO and Friedkin Group President & CEO Dan Friedkin in a statement said that he is "interested in buying" the Rockets. Houston-based KRIV-Fox' Mark Berman noted Friedkin’s Gulf States Toyota has the "exclusive rights to deliver Toyota vehicles in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi." Forbes "lists Friedkin’s net worth" at $3.1B (, 8/14). In Houston, Reid Laymance notes Friedkin Group "has interests in the luxury hospitality, golf and entertainment industries." Gulf States Toyota also "has a relationship with the Rockets through Toyota’s naming rights of the Rockets’ arena" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/15).

MOVERS & SHAKERS: In Ottawa, Garrioch & Willing report Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly on Friday met with Mayor Jim Watson to "provide an update on negotiations for the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats" for a possible new arena. It is "paramount that Melnyk and the Senators have the backing of the league to build the arena downtown and Melnyk has been bullish that this move is important for the future of the franchise." The Senators are "hoping to hold opening night at their new downtown arena" in October '21 if everything falls into place in negotiations with Ottawa's National Capital Commission, but there is "still a lot of work to be done for that to become reality" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 8/15).

RETURN TO MLK DAY: In Memphis, Ronald Tillery reports the Grizzlies in the '17-18 season will return to the NBA's Martin Luther King Jr. Day slate after "not playing on the holiday last season." The Grizzlies’ return to the MLK Day schedule is "significant because Memphis had played on that day" from '03 until last season. April 4 also "marks the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel, which houses the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis." The game is the Grizzlies’ "only appearance on TNT" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 8/15).