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Volume 24 No. 132


The A's will charge "no admission fee" for their April 17 home game against the White Sox next season, which serves as the "50th anniversary of the first A’s game" at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, according to Susan Slusser of the S.F. CHRONICLE. This is the "first time in memory" that any MLB club has "provided free access to all patrons." Season-ticket holders will have "priority and are guaranteed admission, while online registration for the remaining tickets will begin in January." Parking will be free "unless there is a concurrent event at Oracle Arena" (, 9/12). The A's have been "stepping up their fan-friendly initiatives and building upon a new brand" -- titled "Rooted in Oakland" -- with the Raiders and Warriors both "moving from Oakland by the end of the decade." The free game, which is on a Tuesday night, is "certainly a step in that direction, generating goodwill among a jaded fan populace and, possibly, ingratiating themselves further to local officials as they seek a new ballpark in Oakland" (, 9/12).

The Maple Leafs will commemorate their 100th anniversary with an afternoon game on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and the team is "hoping to pack the Air Canada Centre with as many kids as possible" for the game against the Hurricanes, according to Kevin McGran of the TORONTO STAR. Toronto Mayor John Tory has deemed Dec. 19 as Toronto Maple Leafs Day. Season-ticket holders are being asked to "bring a child with them that game, or to donate the ticket back to the MLSE Foundation, which will give it to a school-aged fan." Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan said, "Our birthday comes on a Tuesday. It is a school night. So the decision was made to do it at two in the afternoon, get kids in the city incentivized a little bit to get the afternoon off school and come watch a hockey game and make the arena a very youthful place with our next generation of hockey fans.” McGran notes the cost of Maple Leafs tickets are "generally out of the range of many families," meaning it can be "difficult for a team, even one as popular as the Leafs, to connect with new fans" (TORONTO STAR, 9/13). In Toronto, Mike Zeisberger notes the game will be played "exactly 100 years to the day that the Toronto Arenas took to the ice for the first game in franchise history," and the Maple Leafs will wear special throwback uniforms to "mark the occasion." Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan said the wearing of the Arenas jersey will be "a one-time thing." However, he does "hope that the team will receive permission from the league to don Toronto St. Pats jerseys each St. Patrick's Day in future seasons to come" (TORONTO SUN, 9/13).

In Miami, Barry Jackson cited a source as saying that prospective Marlins co-Owners Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter have mentioned the "possibility of hiring" Excel Sports Management MLB agent Casey Close, Jeter’s "longtime friend and agent." Close "hasn’t said if he would be interested, and Jeter and Sherman have declined to comment." Jeter "intends to run the team’s baseball side but he and Sherman are looking for someone on the business side to take over" for President David Samson, who "isn’t expected to be retained" (, 9/12).

: Rays Owner Stuart Sternberg said he would "rather win and compete with the lowest payroll" in MLB and have 1 million fans show up annually at Tropicana Field than win 70 games with a $120M payroll and "having 2 million fans" show up. Sternberg: "A million more fans show up, it obviously puts a ton of money into the team’s resources and those resources go to pick up players." But he added, "It’s about winning baseball games, it’s not like that stuff goes into my pocket." Sternberg also noted there is a "larger drumbeat to do something" regarding a new ballpark. He said, "We have had the opportunity to look for a new stadium and have been doing that. We’re waiting on Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa to come forward with a proposal to be able to study it and see if it’s feasible” (“High Heat,” MLB Network, 9/11).

NATIONAL INSTITUTION: In DC, Barry Svrluga wrote the Nationals have established themselves as "one of the most reliable winners in their sport," as the team has won its fourth NL East division title in the past six seasons. The franchise is "entrenched" in the DC sports culture, as there are "kids in the stands at Nationals Park who aren’t jaded by a 33-year gap without baseball." People can "walk around the city and see Nats hats on heads and Nats flags on houses, and there wasn’t a lot of that" when the team moved to DC from Montreal in '05. Nationals 1B Ryan Zimmerman: "This fan base has kind of grown up with us, which has been fun" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/12).

In Atlanta, Doug Roberson noted Atlanta United has "yet to announce" tonight's game against the Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been sold out, which would "snap a string of 10 consecutive sellouts" for the club. A sellout at the stadium, with the "upper deck curtained off, is 42,500." Meanwhile, the club on Saturday will "try to set an MLS record for attendance" when it hosts Orlando City. The upper deck of the stadium will be open for that match. The current single-game attendance record is 69,255 for a Galaxy-MetroStars match at the Rose Bowl in '96 (, 9/12).

WINNING CURES ALL: In S.F., Eric Branch writes the biggest issue with Levi's Stadium "hasn't been the traffic, turf or temperature." Branch: "It has been the tenants." The 49ers are 9-16 at home "since moving there" in '14, and yesterday "marked the one-year anniversary of their last win at Levi's." This is "not to dismiss real problems." But winning "cures a lot, if not everything." And the "lack of success at Levi's has significantly amplified the complaining about its imperfections" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/13).

: Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson said he "could have owned other teams" and "turned down three jobs" before joining the Lakers. Johnson said, "My good friends, (Warriors co-Owners) Peter (Guber) and Joe (Lacob) they bought the Golden State Warriors, they came to me and said I want you to be an owner and partner with us. I said, 'No, I'm a Laker.'" Johnson also said Pistons Owner Tom Gores tried to persuade him to join the team since he is a "Michigan State guy." Johnson: "They said, 'Come on home, it'll be a great story.' I can't, I'm a Laker" ("First Take," ESPN, 9/12).