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Volume 24 No. 156

Sunday, May 18, 2:30pm ET

Weekend Rap .... Latest News .... Off To The Races

California Chrome Wins Preakness, But Could Abandon Triple Crown Bid

With a win at yesterday's Preakness Stakes, California Chrome has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but trainer Art Sherman today suggested that the horse "might not run in the June 7 Belmont Stakes" if officials "won't let him wear the nasal strip he's worn" in six consecutive wins (, 5/18). Yesterday's race saw "a record announced crowd of 123,469," while Pimlico Race Course's full-day gambling handle of $83.8M "was the sixth largest in Preakness history" (Baltimore SUN, 5/18). The $58.6M handle for the Preakness Stakes was up 8.3% over last year (, 5/17).

Meanwhile, NBC earned a 6.3 overnight rating for the race segment of the Preakness Stakes telecast. That figure is the best for the Preakness since '10 and up 5% from a 6.0 last year. Baltimore led all markets with a 17.2 local rating, up from a 15.7 last year. Louisville's 16.6 was the next best local rating, up from a 15.0 in '13 (THE DAILY).

Sam's OWN Series Postponed Indefinitely After Rams Were "Blindsided"

The planned Oprah Winfrey Network docu-series on Rams DE Michael Sam "was postponed Friday, with no time frame in place as to when the project might resume." The team "was blindsided" when the series was announced on Wednesday, as Rams officials and coaches "were unaware of the project prior to the draft, and unhappy about it." Empire Athletes co-Founder Cameron Weiss, who reps Sam, met with the Rams Friday, when it "was decided to put the project on ice" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/17).

Mark Jackson Back At ESPN; Sticking With TV Instead Of Coaching?

Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson has reached a multiyear agreement to join ESPN, and is calling today's NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 on ABC alongside Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy (ESPN). The deal "came together quickly" after Jackson was fired by the Warriors, and he "isn't looking at his return to ESPN as a short-term gig" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/18).

The N.Y. DAILY NEWS reports Jackson's deal does not contain an out clause, while the N.Y. POST reports the deal has an out that allows him to "return to coaching at any time" and to "talk to teams."

D-Backs Bring On Tony La Russa To Oversee Baseball Operations

The D-Backs yesterday named former MLB manager Tony La Russa Chief Baseball Officer, overseeing the team's entire Baseball Operations department (D-Backs). The move comes with the team off to "one of the worst starts in franchise history," 17-28 as of this morning. La Russa "will report" to D-Backs President & CEO Derrick Hall, and work with GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson on "shaping the future" of the team (AP, 5/17). The team "made a stunning hire" in naming La Russa to the newly created position and "giving him free rein" over baseball operations (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 5/18).

Brazil Tests World Cup Stadiums With Opener Just Weeks Away

Brazil today "arrives at a crucial moment in its preparations for the World Cup as two of its most troubled stadiums stage major test events." Local organizers will "host Brazilian league matches at the Arena Pantanal in the western city of Cuiaba and at the Itaquerao, São Paulo’s much-delayed stadium where the World Cup opener will be played." Successful tests "could help alleviate concerns about the country’s readiness for the event" (AP, 5/17).

Jaguars See Record Crowd For Top Pick Bortles' First Minicamp

The Jaguars yesterday drew "a record crowd of 6,214 fans to the second day of rookie minicamp" at their practice facility outside of EverBank Field, which "required some creative maneuverability by team officials to accommodate everybody" (, 5/17). Another 2,054 fans "piled onto the practice fields" on Friday for the team's first day of camp, showing in part how Jags fans "have quickly embraced" first-round NFL Draft pick QB Blake Bortles (, 5/17). The crowd was the team's largest since '03 (, 5/17).

WWE To Discuss Business Outlook After Seeing Shares Plummet

After seeing its shares tumble 44% on Friday, WWE tomorrow "will host a conference call" to discuss its '14 and '15 business outlook (CABLEFAX DAILY, 5/19). The stock drop came after WWE Chair & CEO Vince McMahon "failed in a high-stakes effort to wring a huge increase in television fees it receives from Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal -- part of an effort to boost the company's stagnant revenues and declining profits" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/17). McMahon lost $350M "when the stock market closed Friday," knocking him "out of the ranks of the world's billionaires" (, 5/17).

Weekend Briefs....

AT&T and DirecTV planned to meet today "to approve a combination of the two companies," with AT&T paying "almost" $50B, according to sources. The deal was expected to be announced "as soon as Sunday afternoon" (, 5/18).

adidas Chair & CEO Herbert Hainer said that preparing the company "for a change at the top when his contract ends in 2017 will be among his biggest priorities" (REUTERS, 5/17).

Walt Disney Studios' "Millon Dollar Arm" opened this weekend and "failed to attract a broad audience," bringing in $10.5M at the U.S. box office (, 5/18).

The Twins today held a pregame ceremony to honor Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman. The team announced that a renovated north Minneapolis baseball field will be named in Hartman's honor (, 5/17).

Last night's Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado welterweight bout drew "a raucous pro-Marquez crowd of 12,090" to The Forum in Inglewood, Calf. It was the "first fight at the refurbished Forum, which had not hosted a boxing card since 2001" (, 5/18).

NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson yesterday "won the 35-39 age group at the Over The Mountain Triathlon" in Kings Mountain, N.C., prior to competing in the Sprint Cup All-Star Race last night. He "finished 11th overall out of 119" male participants (AP, 5/17).

Massachusetts elevator inspectors "were at Fenway Park Saturday, trying to determine how a 22-year-old woman fell two stories down an elevator shaft late Friday night" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/18).

Quick Hits....

"These workers are treated like animals, and dying like flies. It's been estimated that before the first ball is kicked in 2022, more than 4,000 will die" – ESPN's Jeremy Schaap, on human rights issues surrounding Qatar's stadium construction for the '22 FIFA World Cup ("Sports Reporters," ESPN, 5/18).

"Churchill Downs needs to call Maryland to get a lesson in hospitality. Because these people right here, they've treated us like royalty" – California Chrome co-Owner Steve Coburn, on his experience at Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness Stakes (, 5/17).

"I don't think there's an element of weirdness" – Penguins President & CEO David Morehouse, on the public perception of the team's decision to fire GM Ray Shero and retain coach Dan Bylsma (, 5/16).

"He really won't weigh in on something like this. I'm not even sure that we'll talk to him prior to interviews" – Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, on whether G Kobe Bryant will influence the selection of the team's next head coach (, 5/16).

"If you're nervous, I understand. Seriously, there is no pressure here at all. If you drop it, it will not be on YouTube, I promise" – Broncos QB Peyton Manning, before throwing three passes to graduates while delivering the valedictory address at the Univ. of Virginia yesterday (Mult., 5/17).

"They're like, 'Hey, you're that union guy''' – Former Northwestern QB and undrafted NFL free agent Kain Colter, on being recognized by fellow rookies at Vikings minicamp (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/17).

A Lighter Buzz....

A Mets staffer on Friday "accidentally emailed to nearly the entire New York press corps the credit card info, including security code and expiration date" of GM Sandy Alderson. The message "had been intended for a Broadway connection capable of securing tickets for a weekend show" (, 5/16).

Channel Surf....

TWC SportsNet LA will debut "Connected With...Darryl Strawberry" on Sunday at 5:00pm PT

Weekend Hot Reads....

The INDIANAPOLIS STAR's Jill Phillips interviews NCAA President Mark Emmert for the paper's 5 Questions feature, in which Emmert shares his thoughts on how he defines leadership, the best advice he has received, his greatest achievement, the most pressing matter in college athletics and the organization's public perception.'s Jim Caple wrote this weekend's release of "Million Dollar Arm" raises the "possibility that we might be seeing a second golden era of baseball movies" after Hollywood "released five of the most popular baseball movies ever made" from '84-92. In a separate piece, Caple offers tips on how Hollywood can score "another big success with a baseball movie."


Twitter Me This....

Leverage Founder & CEO Ben Sturner Ben Sturner: "Longines received amazing product value from its sponsorship of the Triple Crown. Front page of NY Times Sports."

NASCAR driver Tony Stewart: "Ok so here it is. I'm doing my part to combat global warming because now that I'm officially tweeting, hell is freezing over!"

ESPN's Ed Werder: "I'm told the #Rams have no doubt about @MichaelSamNFL dedication and love of game despite issues regarding postponed OWN documentary."

Newsday's Neil Best: "So Mark Jackson will work Eastern finals for ESPN while his replacement with Warriors, Steve Kerr, works Western finals for TNT. Symmetry!"

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer: "Honored my man @tonygonzalez88 asked me to be his presenter at 2nites LA Sports Spectacular for Cedars Sinai, hospital that saved my life."

If you see a tweet we will not want to miss, send it to us at

Tweet Pic Of The Day....

Bleacher Report's Howard Beck posted this image of a feature in this week's N.Y. Times Magazine that pits NBA Commissioner Adam Silver against the Silver Surfer from the "Spiderman" movies.

Back Pages....

The Weekend Rap offers today's back page sports covers from some of the nation's major metropolitan tabloids:

   N.Y. Post  N.Y. Daily News Philadelphia Daily News  Boston Herald

Hit The Ground Running: The Week Ahead....

THE DAILY’s Week Ahead: May 19-25

• NFL spring meeting begins (Note: Decision on '18 Super Bowl host expected on Tuesday.) - Atlanta
• Learfield Sports Minority Academy begins - Dallas

• Sacramento City Council scheduled to vote on NBA Kings’ proposed new arena
• Corporate Ticket Impact Conference - N.Y.
• NCAA Regional Rules Seminar begins - Atlanta
• NBA Draft Lottery - N.Y.

• Super Bowl champion Seahawks visit the White House
• Sports Business Awards ceremony (SportsBusiness Daily/Global/Journal event) - N.Y.

• Announcement of the College Football Hall of Fame class of '14 inductees
• Sports PR Summit - N.Y.
• UEFA Women’s Champions League final: Tyresö vs. Wolfsburg - Lisbon, Portugal
• Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid begins - Benton Harbor, Mich.
• PGA Tour: Crowne Plaza Invitation at Colonial begins - Ft. Worth, Texas
• LPGA Tour: Airbus LPGA Classic presented by JTBC begins - Mobile, Ala.
• Tour: Rex Hospital Open begins - Raleigh

• NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championships: National semifinals/final begin - Towson, Md.
• NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: NHRA Kansas Nationals begin - Topeka, Kan.

• Baseball HOF Classic - Cooperstown, N.Y.
• UEFA Champions League final: Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid - Lisbon, Portugal
• NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championships: National semifinals/final begin - Baltimore
• NASCAR Nationwide Series: History 300 - Concord, N.C.
• UFC 173 - Las Vegas

• French Open begins - Paris
• F1: Monaco Grand Prix - Monte Carlo, Monaco
• Verizon IndyCar Series: Indianapolis 500 - Indianapolis
• NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Coca-Cola 600 - Concord, N.C.

Note: Events are subject to change. Information about upcoming events can be sent via email to