Baseball may be America’s Pastime, but it will always be BUD SELIG's "passion," as he left an "immense footprint on the game after serving 22 years" as MLB commissioner, according to a front-page piece by Brett Christopherson of the Appleton POST-CRESCENT. Selig's impact on MLB includes the "implementation of interleague play" and the "addition of the three-division format." He was behind playoff expansion and brought "revenue sharing and competitive balance." Selig saw the "stadium boom" and the "addition of replay." During his tenure there was "attendance and economic growth." He saw the implementation of a "comprehensive drug-testing program." He aided in the "globalization" of baseball with the World Baseball Classic. He was involved in the "creation and immense success" of MLBAM and the "reach of baseball’s interactive brand." Perhaps his "most impressive" feat was achieving "prolonged labor peace." Selig said, "I really knew what the game needed. What I didn’t always know is how difficult it would be, how painful it would be. But you learn to live with that, too." Selig currently serves as MLB's inaugural Commissioner Emeritus, and he said, "I was very honored when [current MLB Commissioner] ROB MANFRED came to me and said that they wanted to do it. The duties are almost what you make of it. And what Rob and I, who have a very close relationship. ... It allows me to do all the other things that I’ve been doing, like teaching and so on and so forth. But I’m glad to continue to have at least something to do with the sport that I love" (Appleton POST-CRESCENT, 7/17).
People and Pop Culture
Mets VP/Media Relations JAY HORWITZ for 39 years has been the "constant on a carousel of chaos and crisis and celebration" for the franchise, according to Howie Kussoy of the N.Y. POST. Horwitz, 72, is "right up there with the franchise’s most recognizable face" in 3B DAVID WRIGHT. Mets interim co-GM OMAR MINAYA said, "I don’t want to say he’s Mr. Met, but he’s as close to Mr. Met as possible.” Aside from "being sidelined with a broken ankle" in September '11, Horwitz has "been at every home game since arriving" in '80. While Horwitz is now likely to witness another losing season with the team, he said he does not let his job "be affected by the standings." Horwitz: "If you do that, you can’t exist. One good thing about being here so long ... is it runs in cycles. I think I have perspective of that." Longtime WFAN-AM reporter ED COLEMAN said, "A lot of PR guys are dedicated, but Jay is someone that lives and sleeps and eats it. I honestly don’t know how he’s done it this long. He’s one of a kind." Mets COO JEFF WILPON: "He does his job in such a great way, and has such a feel for it after doing it for all these years. We joke around, sometimes, and talk about what tomorrow’s headline is gonna be, and he’s usually right." Mets players "gave Horwitz a World Series share" in '00, former Mets 1B DAVE KINGMAN stayed at Horwitz' house while with the club in the '80's, and current Ps JACOB DEGROM and NOAH SYNDERGAARD "still ask him to join in fungo-hitting contests." Former player and current Mets broadcaster KEITH HERNANDEZ said, "Jay was part of the team. ... There was a separation between the front office and the players. With Jay, there was no separation. He was one of us" (N.Y. POST, 7/17).
Architecture firm HOK named HKS Business Development Specialist ROBERT BURNS Dir of Business Development for Sports, Recreation & Entertainment. Burns will be based in Dallas and help university clients with financing and fundraising on sports construction and renovation projects. HOK also named ANDREW ELMER Project Manager and Landscape Architect. Elmer most recently worked at architecture firm HNTB (Mike Sunnucks, Staff Writer).
EXECS: Austin Peay named Duke Senior Associate AD/Internal Affairs GERALD HARRISON AD (TWITTER.com, 7/16)....UMass Lowell AD DANA SKINNER will retire in September after 23 years on the job. Skinner will be replaced by UMass Deputy AD PETER CASEY (UMass Lowell)....The AAC named Baylor Associate Dir of Football Operations RYAN KELLY Dir of Football Operations (AAC)....The Southland Conference promoted THOMAS SAMUEL to Associate Commissioner/Compliance Services (THE DAILY)....The Lions named JEN MCCOLLUM to the newly created position of Senior Dir of Community Relations (CRAINSDETROIT.com, 7/16).
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Louisville AD VINCE TYRA said that his department will have to "decide later whether to accept more financial support" from Papa John's Founder JOHN SCHNATTER. Schnatter last week said that he had "spoken with Tyra about donating toward Louisville's baseball program." Tyra confirmed that he had those discussions but said that he "wasn't sure of Schnatter's interest at this point." He added that the goal is to "take down" all Papa John's signage from the football stadium "before the first home game Sept. 8" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 7/17).
WHY CAN'T WE BE FRIENDS? Tonight's MLB All-Star Game in DC highlights the role baseball and the Nationals "play in bridging the increasingly stark divides in Washington." Regulars at Nationals Park include former U.S. Rep. TOM DAVIS, former Federal Reserve Chair BEN BERNANKE, former White House Chief of Staff JOSH BOLTEN and former U.S. Sen. BOB DOLE, who "doesn't make many public appearances these days, but showed up at Nationals Park on the Fourth of July to greet the military." The late conservative columnist CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER was a Nationals "season-ticket holder," while former National Security Adviser SUSAN RICE is "a fan." On many nights, members of Congress from both parties "hold political fundraisers" in one of the ballpark's skyboxes (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/17).
HEADS UP FOOTBALL: The NFL announced the three winners of its HeadHealthTECH Challenge, part of the league’s broader $60M effort to “better understand the biomechanics of head injuries and help companies develop better equipment.” The winning companies were “chosen out of 85 applicants and awarded a total of $385,504 to further test and develop their various products.” Massachusetts-based Corsair Innovations received $168,504 to “develop its textile-based impact energy absorbing material” that could “replace the foam padding in current helmets.” Montreal-based FieldTurf received $195,000 to “develop technology for a new surface that could reduce head impacts and lower extremity injuries.” Mississippi-based Yobel Technologies received $20,000 to “support testing of its new facemask design, which is supposed to absorb more energy and can fit on existing helmets” (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/15)
NAMES: Charlotte-based nonprofit Foundation for the Carolinas said that it has been given $30M from former NFL Panthers limited partner DERICK SPRINGSTEEN CLOSE "donating some of his proceeds from the recent sale of the team" to DAVID TEPPER (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 7/17)....Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT went to "pay his respects" to the Weymouth, Mass., police department after news spread of officer MICHAEL CHESNA's "killing in the line of duty" (BOSTONHERALD.com, 7/16)....Cowboys QB DAK PRESCOTT, WRs MICHAEL GALLUP, DEONTE THOMPSON, LANCE LENOIR JR. and ALLEN HURNS went to Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando last week (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 7/17)....Clippers F SAM DEKKER and ESPN reporter OLIVIA HARLAN were married on Saturday in Door County, Wisc. (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/17)....Yankees RF GIANCARLO STANTON attended SI’s Swimsuit Fashion Show in Miami Sunday night, as well as an after-party at Wall nightclub (NYPOST.com, 7/16).
Professional sports training camps are no longer the sleepy practice sessions that attracted only the most dedicated fans. Today, teams attract thousands of spectators to open practice sessions, scrimmages, and autograph sessions hoping for a more close-up look at their favorite players. We look at how teams are building business around these training camp experiences.
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