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Volume 24 No. 179

Franchises

The MLB Cardinals are being praised for trading RF Stephen Piscotty to the A's so he can be closer to his mother, who lives in the Bay Area and was diagnosed with ALS earlier this year. Chicago-based WGNU-AM's Dan Buffa wrote, "If you wonder why outsiders call the St. Louis Cardinals a first class organization, look no further than the Stephen Piscotty trade." NBC Sports Bay Area's Ahmed Fareed wrote the Cardinals are "looking out" for Piscotty by sending him home and called the move "first class." Baseball writer Mark Saxon wrote it was a "pretty cool" move by the Cardinals. The S.F. Chronicle's Susan Slusser wrote, "Cardinals fans have been so supportive of team sending Piscotty home to the Bay Area, where his ailing mother lives. Really restores some faith in humanity. Really well done by St. Louis." A's radio announcer Ken Korach: "A’s announce the Piscotty trade and hard to think of one they’ve made that resonates on so many fronts. They get a really good player and he’s coming home at such a meaningful time for his family. Great to see the Cards and A's working so well together on this" The ALS Association: "Hats off to @Cardinals and @Athletics for making this trade happen. These clubs have been great partners to us. Many thanks to them and @MLB" (TWITTER.com, 12/14). MLB Network's Kevin Millar said, "They did the right thing. Once again, the Cardinals are a great organization for doing the right thing." MLB Network's Chris Rose: "A classy move by that organization to get him back there so he can continue his career and still be close to home" (“Intentional Talk,” MLB Network, 12/14).

COMING BACK HOME: A's Exec VP/Baseball Operations Billy Beane said that he was "aware of Piscotty's family situation," though he "never broached the subject with the Cardinals during trade talks" out of respect. However, he "sensed that St. Louis was out to do the right thing" as talks increased. Beane: "That's what makes the Cardinals one of the classiest organizations in sports." In San Jose, Daniel Brown reported Beane "began making calls" to the Cardinals about Piscotty in August and would check back "every 10 days or so." The Cardinals' acquisition of LF Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins earlier this week began the "final push for the Piscotty deal" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 12/14). Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said, "You are never making a player trade simply for geographic or sentimental reasons. It had to be something that made sense for us. There were certainly some opportunities to move him elsewhere. When you are looking at how to break a tie, clearly that did play into it" (STLTODAY.com, 12/14).

MLB is "planning a season-opening series at the Tokyo Dome" in '19 following Japanese P/DH Shohei Ohtani's decision to join the Angels and baseball being included in the '20 Tokyo Games, with the A's "on the short list of teams under consideration for the trip," according to Susan Slusser of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The other team "assuredly would be the Angels." The A's "typically request to be considered for international trips because the front office and coaching staff believe the experience to be a good one for young players." The A's are also "one of the few teams that doesn't mind losing two home dates; the international trips typically are more lucrative than the first two games" at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/15).

TAKING ANOTHER HACK: A's manager Bob Melvin said that he is "not certain the A's have given up on the Laney College site for a ballpark, despite an end to the talks with the Peralta Community College district after a decision" by the Peralta BOT. Melvin said, "It obviously stunned everybody. I can't speak for the dialogue with Peralta, but (A's executives) definitely felt like they'd done enough, had enough conversations to feel like they were confident in the site." He added, "My guess is (the team is now) kind of sitting back and looking and see what the options are, and I'm not 100 percent sure that they're done with this site. Maybe you come back and take a look at it from another angle" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 12/14). In S.F., Ron Leuty wrote the A's will "move forward after a critical strikeout last week" by the Peralta board. A's VP/External Affairs Taj Tashombe said that the team is "committed to building a ballpark development in Oakland." Tashombe said, "We aren't giving up. We're going to be here in Oakland and we're going to make this happen" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 12/14).

The alliance of American Indian activists behind the "elaborate spoof that refueled" the Redskins’ name debate see their campaign as a "major success," according to Samantha Pell of the WASHINGTON POST. Rebecca Nagle, one of the activists behind the campaign, said that one of the "biggest surprises" was the statement released by the Redskins "denying the team would be renamed the Redhawks beginning next year." She said, "Our goal for the campaign was to prove that changing the name would be easy, popular and powerful. So I think that we as native activists have had to fight out this argument of why it should change, and I think we were able to efficiently flip the script." The organizers "see their actions as satire." But Nagle said that it was a "way to start a conversation that had gone dormant, despite other commonly used tactics like protests, petitions and rallies." Pell notes there will "be a rally put on by the activists Sunday just outside" FedExField starting at 10:00am ET before Cardinals-Redskins kicks off at 1:00. T-shirts with the Redhawks logo and mascot will be "handed out for free" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/15).

Circuit of the Americas Chair Bobby Epstein, who announced in August that he was launching a USL franchise in '19, said that his project is "not viable if an MLS team comes to Austin," according to Kevin Lyttle of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Epstein said, "We believe the Crew are coming to Austin and look forward to them bringing pro soccer to our city. ... If their plans change, we would be happy to re-energize our efforts, but at this stage, we are nearly too late for 2019." Epstein has "unveiled plans for a 5,000-seat stadium at the motorsports and entertainment complex in Southeast Austin." The Austin City Council on Thursday "moved all discussion and any action regarding a potential MLS stadium site to Feb. 15, 2018, a full eight weeks after it was originally scheduled to take place." This was the "second delay in a week, following one that initially pushed the date back to Feb. 1." Epstein "does not have an existing franchise -- with management, staff and a roster -- already in place" and is "starting from scratch." Epstein: "Construction and search processes are not overnight events. We were pursuing a very ambitious timeline and planned to already be through the infrastructure design and permitting phase, with a coach in place and season tickets on sale in less than 60 days. How do you market a team, search for corporate sponsors or sell season tickets if you’re not even sure you’ll be here?" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/15).