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Volume 24 No. 178

People and Pop Culture

BOB COSTAS was named this year's Ford Frick Award winner by the Baseball HOF for "superiority in broadcasting the sport," something he "calls his highest honor," according to Dan Caesar of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Costas said, "No disrespect of any other award that I’ve been lucky enough to receive, they all mean a great deal to me. This one means the most." Caesar notes Costas was an "integral part of NBC’s baseball coverage" during the '80s, and he later "called games for the now-defunct Baseball Network and again on NBC" in the '90s. Costas, who in recent years has been calling games for MLB Network, also is "known for his perspective and historical pieces." Costas said, "The work that I did on a baseball ‘Game of the Week’ on NBC in the ’80s and then in the ’90s with BOB UECKER and JOE MORGAN on NBC, that it was that history as much as anything else that led to me being lucky enough to being selected." He added baseball has "always been my favorite sport to broadcast." Costas was voted in during his first year of eligibility, and he will receive the Award on July 28 during HOF weekend in Cooperstown. Caesar notes Costas' candidacy "undoubtedly was bolstered by his vast knowledge and appreciation of the history of the game, which he uses to provide perspectives on current events -- and his outspoken, well-thought remarks on issues of the day" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/14). Costas said, "I can remember listening to ERNIE HARWELL on WJR in Detroit and BOB PRINCE on KDK in Pittsburgh. Fiddling with the car radio through the crackle and static trying to pick up JACK BUCK and HARRY CARAY. ... To think that, in a small way, even if I belonged on the bottom of that list, that I'm part of that fraternity, it gave me goosebumps when I got the call" ("MLB Now," MLB Network, 12/13). Costas "beat out" Morgan, JOE BUCK, BUDDY BLATTNER, DIZZY DEAN, DON DRYSDALE, AL MICHAELS and PEE WEE REESE for the award (Belleville NEWS-DEMOCRAT, 12/14).

WORTHY RECIPIENT: In Boston, Chad Finn writes the HOF honoring Costas is "long overdue." He and TONY KUBEK on NBC's Saturday Game of the Week broadcasts "were as good as it got for a young baseball fan in those days" (, 12/14).'s Joe Posnanski wrote Costas is "at his best, his truest self, when he's on the microphone at a baseball game." Posnanski: "Bob truly loves baseball. That's his sport. He loves the history of baseball, the numbers of baseball, the cadence and tempo and quirks of baseball. ... He can offer fiery thoughts on ways that baseball can improve, or recite obscure baseball statistics that just stick in his head, or just keep you spellbound as he recalls being a kid, sitting in his father's car on a drive on Long Island, turning the radio dial and listening to those voices, all those voices that he knew would help him find his calling" (, 12/13).

"Going Off The Grid" is a weekly survey of sports execs and personalities offering their thoughts on a handful of pressing (and trivial) issues in sports and pop culture. This week, panelists tell us their favorite college bowl game name and dish on recent NFL suspensions for in-game hits.

  • OVG Arena Alliance co-Chair and NHL Panthers Exec Chair Peter Luukko
    -- Is constantly trying to react to changes in pop culture in order to create great venues and live experiences.
  • IBM Program Dir of Sports & Entertainment Partnerships Elizabeth O'Brien
    -- Likes fidget spinners and thinks "Carpool Karaoke" never gets old.
  • Under Armour Senior VP/Global Brand Management Adrienne Lofton
    -- Is most interested in the culture of proximity.
  • Marketing Evaluations (Q Scores) Exec VP Henry Schafer
    -- Is intrigued by the ways technology is changing entertainment and sports for consumers.
Going Off The Grid
  Musician you want to be for a day? Favorite bowl game name? First Pet? Number of items on your Netflix queue? NFL suspensions for hits have been...

Jim Morrison. The Doors were visionary. I always loved the Rose Bowl. Beagle mix "Ray Donovan" and "Sons of Anarchy." Indicative of a changing culture in sports

Lin Manuel Miranda Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl A turtle that my brother liberated Who needs a queue? Spontaneity!
A long time coming

Beyoncé Celebration -- the HBCU bowl. Proud Howard alum. German Shepherd-Lab mix named Ebony


Warranted based on fear/data surrounding CTE

Carlos Santana Rose Bowl Beagle-Fox Terrier mix -- smartest dog ever!

Too many to count

Right on

Do you want to get your thoughts in the Grid? If so, shoot an e-mail to

Northern Arizona Univ. has named Washington State Univ. Deputy AD MIKE MARLOW as its new AD. Marlow had been at WSU since '10 (, 12/13). Marlow replaces LISA CAMPOS, who "accepted the AD position" at UTSA last month. Marlow is "credited with doubling the membership and contributions" to WSU's athletic fund (, 12/13).

EXECS: SMI promoted VP/Partnerships GEOFF ULRICH to Senior VP/Consumer Strategies, a role that sees him work with SMI’s eight speedways on fan outreach and marketing tactics. Ulrich, who has been with SMI since ’13, will report to SMI Chief Strategy Officer MIKE BURCH (Adam Stern, Staff Writer)....Pegula Sports & Entertainment named branded merch firm ADPRO Sports Founder & President RON RACCUIA VP/Licensing & Brand Merchandise. PSE also named Saints and Pelicans Dir of Premium Seating ROB MINTER VP/Business Operations for the AHL Rochester Americans (THE DAILY)....Duke Univ. promoted the following: ART CHASE to Associate AD/External Affairs; JOE MANHERTZ to Associate AD & Exec Dir for Iron Dukes Major Gifts; ROBERT WEISEMAN to Associate AD/Athletics Facilities, Game Operations & Championships; JACK WINTERS to Associate AD & Exec Dir of the Iron Dukes Annual Fund; and RACHEL CURTIS to Assistant AD/Athletic Facilities Branding and Dir of the Legacy Fund (Duke)....Gonzaga Univ. promoted JOSH COX to Dir of Development for Major Gifts and KELSEY CRAWFORD to Ticket Office Manager (Gonzaga)....SMG promoted the following at Wichita's Intrust Bank Arena: BEN FEEKES to Accounting Manager; JARED JOHNSON to Staff Accountant; and KATIE FOLDS to Concessions Manager (SMG)....The Oregon Sports Authority named live event/brand experience firm Etzel Agency Founder, CEO & Chair JIM ETZEL Exec Dir, effective Jan. 1. Etzel will step down from his role with his eponymous agency (Oregon Sports Authority).

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The FOO FIGHTERS on Monday played at Real Salt Lake's new training facility in Herriman, Utah. RSL G NICK RIMANDO, D CHRIS WINGERT and coach MIKE PETKE were "among the group of local soccer pros to take to the pitch" with the band. RSL "made a jersey" for lead singer/guitarist DAVE GROHL, who "didn't play Monday night" (, 12/12).

Canadiens players look to help raise awareness for cancer-stricken children
THE GOOD STUFF: Canadiens C ANDREW SHAW, RW ALES HEMSKY, LWs ARTTURI LEHKONEN and CHARLES HUDON and Ds JORDIE BENN, KARL ALZNER and JEFF PETRY "all went bald" as part of the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge, "raising $33,000 in the process for children battling cancer." The head-shaving is done to "raise awareness for Leucan and its commitment to helping cancer-stricken children and their families as well as a gesture of support for youngsters battling the disease who lose their hair during chemotherapy" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 12/14)....Pistons Owner TOM GORES once again "teamed up with the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation to provide thousands of Christmas gifts for Children in Flint and Detroit." One of the "two giveaways" was held yesterday at Genesee High School (, 12/13)....Michigan football coach JIM HARBAUGH and his wife "paid a visit to C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus" (, 12/13)....Saints QB DREW BREES and his wife on Tuesday "unveiled a new playground" at Audubon Park in New Orleans that "offers inclusive recreational opportunities for children and adults of all abilities" (, 12/13).

: The Univ. of Louisville Athletic Association is "countersuing" RICK PITINO for "damages allegedly caused by his role in recent scandals." The suit claims Pitino "damaged the men's basketball program's ability to make money and the university's ability to sell tickets and secure donations" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 12/14)....Former college football coach LOU HOLTZ sued The Daily Beast yesterday over an article that "claimed he called immigrants 'deadbeats' last year at the Republican National Convention" (, 12/13)....Kentucky AD MITCH BARNHART has been named SEC ADs Chair, replacing outgoing Auburn AD JAY JACOBS (, 12/13)....The U.S. Hockey HOF inducted its Class of ’17 last night, which includes KEVIN COLLINS, JACK PARKER, BEN SMITH, RON WILSON and SCOTT YOUNG (U.S. Hockey HOF)....Columbus-based Byers, Minton & Associates is “no longer lobbying on behalf” of the Crew. The firm, which resigned from the Crew last week, had been “working on the team’s behalf” since ’09 (, 12/13)....IMAGINE DRAGONS will perform at the Armory in Minneapolis “on the Thursday night” before Super Bowl LII (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/14).