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Volume 25 No. 239

Franchises

Martin, fired about a month ago, indicated that she has hired an attorney and is seeking wrongful termination
Photo: MARINERS

The Mariners have "strongly denied all" allegations by former Mariners Dir of High Performance Lorena Martin, who yesterday "posted a string of heavy comments to her Instagram and Twitter accounts, leveling accusations of racism and discrimination and specifically naming" Exec VP & GM Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais and Dir of Player Development Andy McKay, according to T.J. Cotterill of the Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE. Martin in her posts said that she "witnessed their poor leadership and racism first hand, calling Latino players 'LAZY, DUMB, and STUPID, especially the DOMINICANS.'" Martin also said that Dipoto, in a meeting with Martin and McKay in January, called her a “cocky Latina.” In that same meeting, McKay is alleged to have said that Dominican players are “just plain stupid.” Martin said that she "reported these incidents in several meetings with the team’s human resources since spring training and to multiple Mariners staff members," adding that she felt she was fired just over a month ago in "retaliation for that." She also claimed that she was "discriminated against for being a woman." Martin said that she has "hired an attorney and is seeking wrongful termination." Mariners VP/Communications Tim Hevly: "These claims are not true. They are completely false and ludicrous. She is fabricating stories, including about her reports to human resources and the people named in this story." Martin "signed a three-year contract last offseason that made her responsible for all aspects of the Mariners’ physical and mental training approach to players and staff, including their minor league affiliates" (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 11/13).

CONTRACT LANGUAGE: In Seattle, Ryan Divish in a front-page piece cites MLB sources as saying that the Mariners are "trying to avoid paying the remaining two years on Martin’s three-year contract." That contract, "like with most higher-salary contracts in MLB," may have had a "binding arbitration clause, which means that neither party can sue the other in this situation." Instead, they "must meet with an independent arbitrator, who would determine a settlement" (SEATTLE TIMES, 11/13).

FC Cincinnati's new crest incorporates the city's German heritage and recognizable aspects of the club

FC Cincinnati's brand and crest were "confirmed and released to the public for the first time" yesterday ahead of the team's move to MLS, marking the reveal of the "most visible aspect of any soccer club," according to a front-page piece by Patrick Brennan of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. Yesterday also "saw the relaunch of FCCincinnati.com, and the appearance of an FC Cincinnati crest at the top of MLSSoccer.com." The new crest features "various subtle nods to the City of Cincinnati's German heritage and other recognizable aspects of the club." The team's former crest was "ubiquitous in the Cincinnati professional sports scene, but the club self-identified some issues with its branding." FC Cincinnati President & GM Jeff Berding said that those "issues were addressed and enhanced by the new crest." The club and partnered on the brand marks and designs with consulting firm Interbrand, and the crest design was "aided on the club side" by VP/Marketing & Consumer Products Amir Shemony. The team also "shed its former proper title 'Futbol Club Cincinnati' and took on the name 'Football Club Cincinnati.'" FC Cincinnati in a statement said that the "much speculated name Fussball Club Cincinnati -- or Fußball Club Cincinnati using the German character -- is the formal, legal name of the club and its business units." However, that name is "not to be used in any sporting reference to the team, or in any public discussion." The team's orange and blue color scheme will remain, though the colors are now "brighter and bolder" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 11/13).

NEW IDENTITY: Berding said that he and other team officials "wanted the city and team name to show up boldly in the logo." In Cincinnati, Steve Watkins notes other MLS logos "don't feature their city as prominently." Berding: "When you see a scroll on TV, they'll have to show FC Cincinnati." He said the club "wanted an MLS identity" and the re-branding "represents that we're not in the USL anymore." He also said that the new logo will "boost merchandise sales." Watkins noted FC Cincinnati merchandise sales "already ranked second among all North American soccer teams." The club "put items on sale" as soon as the branding event ended yesterday, with fans "lining up to snap up gear featuring the new crest" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/13).

Mobile passes will not include a seat, nor will they offer fans a view of the court
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The Warriors sent an email to fans "offering a monthly 'In The Building Pass,'" which "gets a fan into the team's Oracle Arena for every home game for $100 a month," according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. The mobile pass "does not include a seat, and with no access to the seating bowl, doesn't even include a view of the court itself." The team said that fans who "purchase the pass will have access to the arena's bars and restaurants and can watch on the televisions in the club areas." Fans will have a "chance to receive one of the Warriors giveaways if they are one of the first 10,000 people into the arena." Warriors Senior Dir of Corporate Communications Lisa Goodwin said that the team "plans to sell 200 passes each month, starting with November, and that the pass will automatically renew each month through April, as the offer is not being extended to the postseason." This is believed to be the "first time a team has offered fans a ticket merely to get into the building without viewing access" (ESPN.com, 11/12).

FEAR OF MISSING OUT: ESPN's Mike Golic said fans would get the new pass "basically to say, ‘I'm there. I'm part of it.’” ESPN’s Trey Wingo added, “It’s the last year at Oracle, they believe they have a three-peat coming, and a lot of people would want to say, ‘Yeah, I was in the club,’ for lack of a better term.” ESPN’s Mike Golic Jr.: “This current fan base around this arena knows they are about to move, so maybe if you are in the immediate vicinity there and it’s their last year there, it might be something that appeals to you” (“Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio, 11/13). WFAN's Gregg Giannotti said, “If they have enough people that want to do to it, then obviously it's a good business decision. But I can’t imagine the person that wants to do that.” WFAN's Boomer Esiason: “It's all about getting more people in the building ... and makes a lot of sense business-wise.” Giannotti: “It’s all about making more money” (“Boomer & Gio,” CBSSN, 11/13).

Averaging 61,201 fans per home game, the Redskins rank 26th in attendance across the NFL
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Redskins S D.J. Swearinger said that the team's home-field advantage at FedExField is "as nonexistent as any he’s seen," according to Matthew Paras of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Swearinger said, “I played on four different teams, never seen it that bad with other teams’ jerseys in the stands, with the boos.” Redskins CB Josh Norman said the fans “boo everything,” and added that they "sulk when things go wrong." He said that other fanbases "cheer for their team 'regardless of good or bad or indifferent.'" The Redskins' attendance and "energy level from fans have been debated for years, but it’s been particularly relevant this season with the team struggling to fill the stadium." The Redskins "rank 26th in attendance," averaging "61,201 per home game." The team is also "dead-last in terms of capacity" at 74.6% and had their "self-proclaimed 50-year sellout streak end." Swearinger said that he "would rather play on the road" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/13). In DC, Scott Allen wrote Norman and Swearinger "make valid criticisms" but there are "good reasons that more and more Redskins fans have decided to stay away." Redskins LB Mason Foster suggested that the fans "have provided a home-field advantage at times." Foster: “The fans play a big part in the way defenses can play and the atmosphere.” Norman and Swearinger "aren’t the first Redskins players to comment on the home crowds this season." After the team's loss to the Colts in the home opener, RB Chris Thompson said that he "wasn’t a fan of the boos he heard from the crowd" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/12).

NOT SO FAN-FRIENDLY: In DC, JP Finlay noted there are "always a lot of visiting fans" at FedExField. Some of that "might be that Washington is a transient city, but some of it is also because other fans have determined that it's easy to get tickets," in part because there is "not much sizzle" at FedExField. The area "doesn't have shopping or restaurants around it like many newer NFL stadiums," and the traffic is "awful." The stadium itself is "underwhelming; old and lacking character." The Redskins are "working hard to overhaul the game day experience," but "some fans have soured on the idea" of spending the day at FedExField, and that will take time to fix, "probably years" (NBCSPORTSWASHINGTON.com, 11/12).

The Clippers last night teamed up with a non-profit health center to "stage a blood drive on the suite level" of Staples Center to help address the "most pressing needs" of the local community following the Thousand Oaks shooting, according to Mirjam Swanson of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. The Clippers and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center staged the drive from 6:00pm PT through halftime of the game against the Warriors, and fans who gave blood "got a pair of tickets to see the Clippers take on either" the Kings, Hornets or Suns this season. To "raise money to support the families of those affected by the shooting, the Clippers on Sunday also started selling the 'ENOUGH' T-shirts" that they and the Bucks wore before their game on Saturday. The shirts are on sale for $19.99 at the Clippers' website, with the "entirety of the net proceeds being directed to the Ventura County Community Foundation." PA announcer Eric Smith said the Clippers are "using their collective voice right now to tell the world that gun violence is never OK.” Coach Doc Rivers said, "I was probably as proud of this franchise as I’ve been since I’ve been here. Because instead of doing a moment of silence and saying nothing, we said something. We wore something, and more importantly, we spoke about it." Warriors coach Steve Kerr "commended the Clippers -- and the NBA -- for supporting that stand" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 11/13).

Kings players wore helmets and held signs with the message "ENOUGH" after the Thousand Oaks shooting
Photo: NATHAN THOMPSON

TAKING A STAND: In L.A., Helene Elliott writes the NHL Kings having "ENOUGH" written on their helmets last Thursday "wasn't politically motivated." It was "visceral," born of the family of late team employee Chrissy Duarte's "anguish and of having been asked, as if it were normal, to provide trauma kits to South Bay schools for use in classroom shootings." Duarte, a former fan service associate, was killed in the Las Vegas shooting last year. Kings Senior VP/Marketing, Communications & Content Michael Altieri said, "It was a behavioral statement. It's behavior that we want to impact, and the behavior of someone choosing to take another person's life. These things can't be accepted." The Kings "won't let" the Thousand Oaks tragedy "be forgotten." Team staff yesterday met to discuss "follow-up efforts and they plan to exchange ideas with every other local team." Kings President Luc Robitaille "hopes fans will be swayed when they see athletes speak out against violence." He said, "I would rather try to do something than do nothing, than just have a moment of silence and move on" (L.A. TIMES, 11/13).

The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Tom Perrotta wrote the "frustration of having a generational talent" like Oilers C Connor McDavid on a "foundering team helps explain why there is no franchise in hockey facing more angst from their fans." McDavid signed an eight-year, $100M deal that started this season and is the "most lucrative per capita contract ever in the NHL." The Oilers have "shown few signs of winning championships anytime soon," but are off to a "solid start this season." Now, the pressure to win has "amped up." McDavid said, "I’ve always kind of wanted to be one of those guys that sticks with a team for his entire career. ... I’m committed to the city, I’m committed to the team" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/10).

ONE SMALL STEP: On Long Island, Tim Healey notes on July 27, the Mets will "give away a 'Mr. Met on the Moon' bobblehead to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing." In a coincidental Mets connection, this "promotion was in the works before" Brodie Van Wagenen was hired as GM. Van Wagenen's father-in-law was the late Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon (NEWSDAY, 11/13).

KEEPING WITH THE TIMES: In Dallas, Evan Grant noted the Rangers are "changing how they do baseball business" by opening up "more to areas like research and development, which includes the study and usage of more advanced analytics and probabilities." After a decade of being "one of MLB's model franchises, the one that other teams tried to run down, they find themselves now trying to poach ideas and personnel from a group that have become the industry leaders" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/10).