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Volume 24 No. 132


The Braves "took a step toward reclaiming normalcy" yesterday with the hiring of Alex Anthopoulos as the team’s new GM, according to Nubyjas Wilborn of the MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL. Anthopoulos "agreed to terms on a four-year contract" that will run through the '21 season and will "report directly" to Braves Chair & CEO Terry McGuirk. Braves President of Baseball Operations John Hart will "relinquish his position" and move into the role of Senior Advisor. McGuirk started yesterday's introduction with a "bit of a somber tone." It has been an "uncertain six weeks" since GM John Coppolella and Int'l Scouting Supervisor Gordon Blakeley resigned because of a MLB investigation into "potential rules violations." McGuirk: "I apologize to all the Braves fans and supporters. It is a tough time, but we will get through this." The Braves are still "waiting to find out the results of MLB’s investigation." Sources said that MLB will "look favorably upon Hart no longer being involved with the baseball operations" (MARIETTA DAILY JOURNAL, 11/14). McGuirk said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred yesterday "told me that the investigation has been completed for some time and that he will be back to us advising us of what penalties will be accorded to us in the near future." McGuirk: "We’re talking within two weeks." Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Tim Tucker notes Anthopoulos referred to his new position as "one of the premier jobs in all of sports" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 11/14). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes Anthopoulos had been the Dodgers' VP/Baseball Operations, a "position he held since he left the Blue Jays" after the '15 season. He said that the investigation "had no impact on his decision to join the Braves." Anthopoulos: "For me more than anything else, who are you going to work for and who are you going to work with?" (USA TODAY, 11/14).

SETTLING THINGS DOWN: In Atlanta, Mark Bradley wrote the hiring of Anthopoulos is a "splendid move." Two years ago, Anthopoulos was "considered one of the best young GMs." Bradley: "A lot of Braves fans will be disappointed that the team didn’t make prodigal son [Royals Senior VP/Baseball Operations & GM] Dayton Moore its poohbah." But the arrival of Moore "would have played into the Braves’ worst instincts -- namely, that the only way to build a franchise was the way [Braves Vice Chair] John Schuerholz and [Baseball HOFer] Bobby Cox built it a quarter-century ago." But that was "before sabermetrics had nosed its data points into front offices" (, 11/13). Bradley: "When your dirty linen has been held up to public embarrassment, the last thing you need is to get the band back together."  For what the Braves have become and where they need to go, Anthopoulos is the "better hire." Schuerholz was "not present" for yesterday’s session and neither was Hart. This was a "new day, and this team is in the hands of a new man" (, 11/13).'s Craig Calcaterra wrote under the header, "Alex Anthopoulos Is A Bold, Unexpected And Dang Good Hire For The Braves" (, 11/13).

GOOD & BAD:'s Tracy Ringolsby wrote in an era when teams have "seemed more focused on hiring young lieutenants with an analytics focus, Anthopoulos is an outlier." He is a previous GM who has a "background more similar to Schuerholz than the new breed." He "embraces analytics," but he also "values traditional scouting." In his five-year stint with the Blue Jays, he "built the organization's scouting staff to 54, the largest in MLB" (, 11/13). MLB Network's Dan O'Dowd said Anthopoulos "accumulated a ton of knowledge from a process orientation standpoint with the Dodgers, who ... are on the cutting edge with a lot of things that go on within the game." O'Dowd said Anthopoulos is a "high-energy guy, tremendous intelligence level, a very, very creative thinker and it's a wonderful opportunity" ("MLB Now," MLB Network, 11/13). In Atlanta, Jeff Schultz wrote under under the header, "Anthopoulos Might Be Fine But Braves Blew It With Best Choice." Anthopoulos "wasn’t the first choice." The first choice, Moore, a longtime former Braves exec, "isn’t coming back to Atlanta and the reason isn’t as simple as the Royals blocked his path, as some would have you believe." If Moore really "wanted to come back," he would be there. That Moore is "not a member of the Braves today means they blew their best chance for immediate credibility" (, 11/13). 

: In L.A., Andy McCullough notes Anthopoulos' departure from the Dodgers "creates another hole in the team’s front office." Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi "indicated the team may not pursue a direct replacement for Anthopoulos." Zaidi: "It’s a chance for us to reset and maybe reorient a couple of those leadership positions." Anthopoulos "aided the organization in a variety of ways." He helped "shape the big-league roster, scouted for the amateur draft and helped coordinate the pro scouting staff" (L.A. TIMES, 11/14). In Toronto, Bruce Arthur notes Anthopoulos was "happy in L.A., but then, he was happy in Toronto too" (TORONTO STAR, 11/14).

: Moore said he was "at peace" with how the Braves search had unfolded. Even after Royals Owner David Glass had "denied the Braves an interview in late October, leading to increased speculation." Moore: "If he wanted to grant permission, then that would signal to me that he didn’t want me here. If he denied permission, that would tell me he wants me here." In K.C., Rustin Dodd notes Moore remains under contract with the Royals for an "undisclosed length of time, ready to embark on another possible rebuilding job as the franchise’s core" of 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Mike Moustakas and CF Lorenzo Cain "navigates free agency for the first time." Moore said that he "felt emboldened to guide the organization through its next chapter." And he "praised the Glass family, extolling 'opportunities' and 'advantages' offered by ownership" (K.C. STAR, 11/14).

MSG Co. announced today it will "'actively seek' buyers" for the WNBA Liberty, "putting in question whether Isiah Thomas will remain as team president and even leaving doubt as to whether the franchise remains" in N.Y., according to Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. The announcement "comes after another successful regular season resulted in a first-round exit in the playoffs, after which coach Bill Laimbeer bolted for the new franchise in Las Vegas last month." James Dolan is the "last original owner" of a WNBA franchise and has "regretted not being able to hang a championship banner after four trips to the WNBA Finals" (, 11/14). On Long Island, Mike Rose notes the Liberty are "one of just three franchises" from the inaugural WNBA season "still operating in its original city," along with the Phoenix Mercury and L.A. Sparks. The Liberty have also "been among the WNBA’s best teams over the past three seasons" (, 11/14). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Austen Hufford notes the Liberty announcement "comes one day after" MSG said David O’Connor "would step down" from his roles as President & CEO (, 11/14).

Bucks President Peter Feigin said when ownership took over in '14, they wanted to "re-engineer and build up a brand locally, regionally and nationally, and then internationally," but F Giannis Antetokounmpo has "flipped that on its side and our growth and awareness internationally has accelerated through the ceiling.” Appearing on "Moose & Maggie" on CBS Sports Radio, Feigin said, "We call it the ‘Giannis Effect’ from a business side and a marketing side. ... There were maybe little flashes of it a couple seasons ago when there were highlights of him moving (down) the court in two or three steps and they got 3-5 million views. The views were almost 75 percent out of the continental U.S. ... He's an international player, he’s so interesting to watch and so exciting." Meanwhile, Feigin said of finding a naming-rights partner for the team's new arena, "The interest has changed over the years and you’ll see it in sponsorship and entitlement in NBA teams and you’ve seen it with the (jersey) patches around the NBA. International companies, specifically in China and other Asian companies, are interested in it and it really changes the viewpoint of who you’re aligned with” (“Moose & Maggie,” CBS Sports Radio, 11/11).

COTA Chair Bobby Epstein said that his plans to bring the USL Austin Aztex to the track in '19 have been "significantly altered" by the Crew's possible move to Austin from Columbus, according to Andrew Erickson of the COLUMBUS DISPATCH. Epstein said that due to the "uncertainty surrounding the franchise" and a '19 start date, he and his staff have already "lost a key sponsor and are closing in on deadlines that would make it a challenge to have a soccer team up and running" for the '19 season. Adding to those challenges is what Epstein called a "lack of communication and response from Precourt Sports Ventures," which owns the Crew. Epstein: "They did not either take representative's calls or reach out to us." Epstein said that there is "'zero chance' USL and MLS franchises would be able to coexist in Austin." He said, "We were taking a risk as it was." He added that he and his staff will "reach out to the USL to see what the league would advise and what flexibility they will provide the team moving forward." Epstein hinted that he "might soon need to examine other cities for his USL franchise." Epstein: "I know Columbus, they don't want to look at it as a step down from MLS to USL, but I need a new home" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/14).

In N.Y., Mark Cannizzaro writes Giants President & CEO John Mara and Chair Steve Tisch yesterday released a statement "about the state of their embattled" coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese, though it was "not a universal vote of confidence." Mara and Tisch "made a mistake by not boldly pulling the trigger" after the lost to the previously winless 49ers on Sunday. The Giants "need to clean the house and start over." That means "finding replacements for both McAdoo and Reese" (N.Y. POST, 11/14). Also in N.Y., Paul Schwartz writes it was a "rare public statement" from the Giants' co-owners. Schwartz: "The floodgates have been closed, for now" (N.Y. POST, 11/14). On Long Island, Bob Glauber writes it is "impossible to overstate the significance of where the Giants are right now, as it is a "crossroads moment in club history" (NEWSDAY, 11/14).

: In Chicago, Rick Morrissey writes the Bears are 3-6 and faced with another season "going down the drain." It is "clear another coaching change will be necessary." It is time for Bears Chair George McCaskey to "stand up and tell his people: 'We’re done with hiring coordinators or drowsy people as our head coach. We’re done being cheap. Let’s go get Nick Saban. Or Jim Harbaugh. Or Jon Gruden. We have too much invested in Mitch Trubisky to blow this. It’s time to win.'" There is "something fundamentally wrong with this organization." Morrissey: "The Bears have only their ineptness to blame. Time for a different way. Time to think bigger" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/14).

: The Redskins host their first-ever home Thanksgiving game next week against the Giants, and in DC, Dan Steinberg notes there will be a "flag giveaway, a pregame parade, plus more than eight hours of potential tailgating, plus video boards to watch" the 12:30 and 4:30pm ET games. The organization will set up “seven large HD video boards throughout the parking lots” for fans to watch the two earlier games: Vikings-Lions, then Chargers-Cowboys. The team will host “an exclusive private party” for season-ticket holders inside the “Bud Light Party Pavilion.” The first 60,000 fans will "receive an 85th anniversary Redskins flag" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/14).