Harvey Schiller, president of the International Baseball Federation, is focused on getting the game reinstated as an Olympic sport. He discussed the chances with President Bush in Beijing. D-Backs managing partner Jeff Moorad, who with Leigh Steinberg once worked for Schiller at Assante, saw the TV clip. He sent Schiller a note: “Tell the president I’ll see him in D.C.” MLB owners were to meet the following week in the nation’s capital. Sure enough, after Moorad arrived, he called the White House. Staff there checked with the president and to Moorad’s surprise, he was given an appointment for the next day. “I met with the president in the Oval Office for 35 minutes,” Moorad said, “30 of them on baseball.” The president had unearthed a picture of the two at a 1993 news conference announcing the signing of Will Clark. Bush was the Rangers’ owner at the time and Moorad was Clark’s agent. The president pointed to the picture and asked Moorad, “Who are those two young guys?” Moorad said, “The president called in Condoleezza Rice and introduced us. And he asked about Harvey because everyone knows Harvey.”
Eric Baker has three passions: sports (particularly the Lakers), exotic travel and his bride, Nicole. The 35-year-old StubHub co-founder, who sold out to his partner Jeff Fluhr, has since started Viagogo in London, now Europe’s leading secondary ticketing service. Baker said, “I love it. I mix sports business with travel and my best friend is my traveling companion.” Both have Stanford on their résumés, Eric the Viagogo founder and CEO and Nicole the clinical psychologist, and they both love living in London. They went to Venice, Israel and Turkey on their honeymoon last May. In Istanbul, Baker felt the couple had found a remote corner of the world. But in a restaurant there, NBA players Hado Turkoglu and Bruce Bowen walked in. “What are the odds?” he said. “It must have been a good restaurant if Turkey’s NBA player ate there.” The coincidence wasn’t that he knew them (he only met them that night), but that he had just spent the week before “yelling at the TV” during the playoffs as the Spurs’ Bowen defended his idol Kobe Bryant. … Successful businessmen sell all the inventory they can get their hands on. Gerry Wilson and Hagos Mehreteab have created a way to sell inventory when they can’t. They built a futures market on their Yoonew.com site, offering tickets for games that may or may not happen. The high school chums from Piscataway, N.J., who both did undergraduate work at Princeton and graduate work at MIT, couldn’t afford to go to Red Sox games. Now they offer either real tickets on their site or fantasy tickets for games customers would like to see, New York and Boston in the 2009 ALCS for instance. The market changes continuously, “by the minute during popular events like the NCAA tournament,” Wilson said. Traders build portfolios. Wilson said, “Creating the site was like building the stock market from scratch.” With the commission from sales, they can now afford Sox tickets and they can choose their ideal games.
Jerry Steinberg won’t be back in the Bronx this fall as he has many times before as a field producer for Fox baseball. He grew up eight blocks from Yankee Stadium. “As a kid, I used to hustle tickets there.” As an adult, he was a freelance field producer, working in sports and often for Fox after Rupert Murdoch created the network. In 1995, Jerry Gepner, then senior vice president for field operations (who with CBS had worked with Steinberg at the Lillehammer Olympics) hired him full time to work out of Los Angeles. The timing coincided with the Yankees’ run of playoff appearances, so Steinberg returned to his apartment in Manhattan during most Octobers. He’s having a good autumn anyway. He said, “A cancerous spot was removed from my kidney” and he was given a clean bill of health. Weeks later, Fox promoted him to Gepner’s old job, senior vice president of technical operations. … Jason Holowaty, a manager in MLB’s London office, married Lauren Allwright in a 13th-century Cornwall fort overlooking the English Channel. The Brown grad is the son of three-time national champion coach Bill Holowaty. Jason plays competitive baseball on the British champion London Mets. His boss, Clive Russell, attended as did MLB’s Dan Bonanno. … Russell Adams, the Columbia J-school grad who got his start with SportsBusiness Journal, married Loren Burlando, an associate producer at NBC’s “Dateline.” Adams is now a reporter with the Wall Street Journal.
“These fans are tough,” said vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as Flyers PA announcer Lou Nolan made introductions at the Wachovia Center. “They even boo the coaches,” said the most famous hockey mom as she was set to drop the puck at a Flyers game. Ike Richman, the Comcast-Spectacor vice president and Palin’s host, said, “Governor, they’re not ‘booing,’ they’re ‘ruuuing,’ for assistant coach Craig Berube.” … Georgia State coach Bill Curry, who once met Gerald Ford at a prayer breakfast, is the recipient of the 2008 President Gerald R. Ford Legends Award. It’s for former centers who have made extraordinary contributions in football or elsewhere. … Princeton retired the numbers of former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley and Heisman winner Dick Kazmaier.
John Genzale can be reached at email@example.com.