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Volume 24 No. 134

People and Pop Culture

Nationals Principal Owner MARK LERNER on Thursday revealed he was diagnosed with cancer in his left leg earlier this year, and while he is "now cancer-free, complications following surgery and radiation treatment left doctors with little choice but to amputate the leg last week," according to Barry Svrluga of the WASHINGTON POST. Lerner in a letter noted he is "healing well, cancer-free, and looking forward to my eventual new prosthetic." Svrluga notes Lerner's absence this season from Nationals Park "was stark," as few owners are "as visible on a nightly basis." Fans in the park or watching on TV can "easily identify" Lerner seated nearest the Nationals’ dugout during home games. Lerner was "infrequently in that seat" as the season began, and the last game he attended was July 30. He had been "barely present in the months leading up to that." Lerner and his family, who have a "reputation for being intensely private, kept the information tightly under wraps." Senior Nationals execs were "informed only during a homestand that just concluded Wednesday." Nationals President of Baseball Operations & GM MIKE RIZZO "told the team Thursday night." Lerner said that he "underwent radiation, which was completed in March." Surgery in April "successfully removed the cancer," but there were "problems thereafter." Lerner said that he "expects to be able to return to a lifestyle similar to what he enjoyed before he lost the limb." The Nationals said that Lerner will "not be limited in his duties either with the club or the family’s real estate business." Details about his rehabilitation -- both a timeline and where it will take place -- "haven’t been worked out" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/18).

FACE OF THE FRANCHISE:'s Mark Zuckerman wrote although Nationals Managing Principal Owner TED LERNER has been the club’s "highest-ranking official since his family purchased the team" from MLB in '05, Mark Lerner has been the "public face of the Lerner family for the last decade-plus." Mark Lerner has been a "constant presence around the Nationals" and he was in West Palm Beach through most of his team’s first Spring Training in its new complex "even though it’s now known he was already receiving his cancer treatment by then" (, 8/17).

Former UFC co-Owner FRANK FERTITTA is the "secret buyer" of a $70M penthouse at 520 Park Ave. in N.Y. The six-bedroom duplex runs a "sprawling 9,138 square feet and comes with 279 square feet of exterior space" (, 8/16).

ON THE MARKET: Rangers P COLE HAMELS is listing his Branson, Mo., mansion, with the inside "completely unfinished," for $9.75M. Hamels began building the 32,000-square-foot home in '12 while he was with the Phillies, but has "decided to relocate to the Dallas area rather than Missouri, where his wife is from." Sitting on 104.7 acres of land with "more than 1,700 feet of shoreline," the home has 10 bedrooms with 13 full bathrooms and six half baths. There are four separate living areas and a "massive three-car barn/garage" (, 8/15)....Former NFLer JONATHAN VILMA is listing his "modern waterfront home" in Coral Gables, Fla., for $18.5M. The five-bedroom property "measures 8,000 square feet." The home "boasts 12-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, an elevator, a chef's kitchen, a home theater, and a three-car garage that can hold up to six cars if a lift is added" (, 8/16)....BMXer RYAN NYQUIST is listing his four-bedroom home in Santa Cruz, Calif., for $997,000. The "cozy 2,469-square-foot house is surrounded by a dense layer of trees." Skylights and vaulted wood ceilings "overlook an open floor plan with hardwood floors" (, 8/15).

PRICE OF PARADISE: MLB Giants P MATT CAIN has "upped the asking price" for his 11,021-square-foot home in Paradise Valley, Ariz., from $5.85M to $5.995M. The two-acre gated estate "belies its desert setting with mature greenery, rolling lawns, a koi pond and a running stream." Sculptures, a guesthouse turned media room, a putting green and a swimming pool "complete the grounds" (, 8/17).

SAYING GOODBYE: Warriors G STEPHEN CURRY "just sold his home" in Walnut Creek, Calif., for $2.94M. He had listed the 7,520-square-foot house last year. Built in '06, the Mediterranean-style house was "recently renovated and has a great room library and marble-lined chef's kitchen." High ceilings, wood and stone floors and picture windows are "among details of the 19-room floor plan" (, 8/16)....MLB free-agent OF COCO CRISP "just sold a home" in Rancho Mirage, Calif., for $1.65M. Built in '85, the updated house has "stone floors, wood-paneled ceilings and expanses of glass" within the 8,520 square feet of open-plan living space. The master suite has "two walk-in closets and a fireplace for a total of four bedrooms and seven bathrooms" (, 8/14)....Former NBAer KENYON MARTIN has sold his Woodland Hills, Calif., home for $1.5M. Built in '06, the more than half-acre Mediterranean estate "includes a main house, a guesthouse and a swimming pool." Among its features are "travertine floors, sliding glass doors and a family room with a wet bar." Including the two guest suites, there are "six bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in about 5,600 square feet" (, 8/10).

WTA Connecticut Open Tournament Dir ANNE WORCESTER is ready for her most important time of the year, as this weekend marks 20 years of New Haven hosting pro women’s tennis. Worcester, an ’11 SBJ Game Changer and former WTA CEO, is excited to welcome players to the Northeast, many of whom she has had long-standing relationships with throughout her career. Worcester: “I always tell our player services team that the minute a player steps onsite, we are already recruiting her for next year.”

TAKES A VILLAGE: It takes 51 weeks to prepare to put on this nine-day show. While there’s lots of advance planning, so much of it has to come together at the last minute. Our video boards just arrived earlier this week, and the small city that has been built here over the past two months comes to fruition just in these past few days. We’re making sure every detail has been thought out. We have plenty of off-court events going on as well, including a different promotional theme each day. That includes a Kids Day on Sunday. Monday we have an opening ceremony presented by Yale and Wednesday we have Autism Awareness. There’s been a heavy focus this week to make sure those go off seamlessly, and there’s a clear division of responsibility around every aspect of each event. Wild cards into the Connecticut Open are wildly popular and the main draw is very competitive.

PACKED SCHEDULE: I move into the official player hotel on Friday and I’m here for nine days. That day we have the first day of qualifying with gates opening at 9:00am ET. We still have all sorts of staff rolling in that day so a lot of it is greeting them and the players as they start to arrive as well. We have our official draw ceremony Friday at noon at our brand new Porsche Social Zone. All of our weeklong booths will also be moving in as the qualifying matches go all day long. At 4:00pm I’ll sit down with WTA Supervisor DONNA KELSO to go over Saturday’s schedule. Friday we’re also kicking off an Australia-U.S. Open playoff event. It’s eight players from Australia vying for a U.S. Open wildcard. I’ll also spend quite a bit of time doing print, radio and TV interviews as well as trouble shooting whatever is happening on site. 

ALL ABOUT THE PLAYERS: Saturday is a lot of player relations, finalizing double wildcards and welcoming more players from around the world. We do a site walk-through and make sure everything is in good order. Saturday is a great day to double back with staff for any last minute planning. Then because we don’t have evening matches Friday and Saturday, I’ll get to take some players out to dinner and bond with some folks we don’t get to see very often. Then Monday the opening ceremony will take on new meaning because of the 20-year anniversary of women’s tennis here in New Haven.

IN THE MEANTIME: I love to read, do yoga and spend downtime with my family and friends. I just started reading JAMES BLAKE’s “WAYS OF GRACE,” about his social activism following his false arrest in N.Y. two years ago.

Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment CFO CHARLIE MIERSWA will retire in June '18. Ad agency McCann CFO EU-GENE SUNG has been named as his replacement. BS&E also promoted Senior VP/HR CHRIS MAGEE to the newly created role of Chief Administrative Officer (BS&E)....Sac Soccer Holdings & Entertainment Holdings, which operates USL club Sacramento Republic FC, has hired the following: BEN GUMPERT as COO & Senior Adviser; KUNAL MERCHANT as Senior Adviser; MICHAEL THOMAS as Financial Officer & Senior Adivser; and JEFF KOEWLER as Chief Outside Counsel (, 8/16)....The Atlantic 10 named former college basketball coach MATT DOHERTY Associate Commissioner/Men's Basketball, replacing JAY DEFRUSCIO. The conference also promoted JILL REDMOND to Senior Associate Commissioner/Governance (A-10)....UConn named LSU Dir of Major Gifts and MICHAEL OBLINGER Senior Associate AD/Development (UConn).

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CAA has sued Arizona football coach RICH RODRIGUEZ to "collect unpaid fees." Rodriguez "allegedly owes the agency $230,250." CAA in the suit claims that it "negotiated Rodriguez’s initial contract" with Arizona in '11, as well as two renewal agreements. The agency also "negotiated a deal for Rodriguez to appear as an analyst on CBS Sports." Rodriguez "fired CAA" in the fall of '15 (, 8/17).

: U.S. District Chief Judge J. RANDALL HALL "granted a request Thursday that temporarily prevents the sale of three of Augusta National Golf Club’s iconic green jackets." Augusta National "filed suit Aug. 11 in federal court in Augusta seeking an immediate halt of an auction" begun Aug. 2 by Tampa-based Green Jacket Auctions. The auction, set to close Saturday, "lists three green jackets, silverware and a belt buckle all advertised as authenticated Augusta National and Masters Tournament memorabilia" (AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, 8/18).

HOME SWEET HOME: Warriors F KEVIN DURANT on Thursday "starred in an hour-long parade" Seat Pleasant, Md., as part of Prince George’s "first-ever 'Kevin Durant Day.'" The celebration was "supposed to include an afternoon festival featuring food and product vendors." The parade was scheduled to happen on Wednesday, but Seat Pleasant Dir of Public Engagement SHARRON LIPFORD said that officials "postponed the festival due to 'unforeseen circumstances and scheduling conflicts.'" Roughly 10,000 people had "reserved free tickets for the festival" (WASHINGTON POST, 8/18).

NAMES: A glove of Baseball HOFer BROOKS ROBINSON will be "displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, along with a trove of other artifacts" from the careers of WILLIE MAYS, TED WILLIAMS and other baseball icons (Baltimore SUN, 8/17)....Baseball HOFer PEDRO MARTINEZ participated Thursday in the 24th Abbot Financial Management Oldtime Baseball Game. The game raises "funds for the John Martin Fund and the ALS Therapy Development Institute." NESN cameraman JOHN MARTIN is "battling ALS" (BOSTON HERALD, 8/18)....Beach volleyball players JAKE GIBBCASEY PATTERSONEMILY DAY and BRITTANY HOCHEVAR on Thursday were honored with a Walk of Fame ceremony at Manhattan Beach Pier (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 8/18)....Miami-based WAXY-AM on Thursday announced that host ETHAN SKOLNICK is “no longer employed by the station, in the wake of his Aug. 10 arrest.” Skolnick was “charged with battering his 70-year-old father” in Boca Raton (MIAMI HERALD, 8/18)....Five Thirty Eight's NATE SILVER and ESPN’s LZ GRANDERSON were named to The Advocate’s list of “50 Most Influential LGBTs in Media” (, 8/16)....Country musician and Army veteran RYAN WEAVER will be the voice of PBR’s “Celebrate America” campaign, which “honors American heroes, including service members.” Weaver will “perform at the PBR world finals in November in Las Vegas” and also will “perform at other PBR tour stops and will sing the National Anthem at several PBR events” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 8/18).

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