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Volume 22 No. 19

People and Pop Culture

Gibson propelled Los Angeles to a stunning five-game triumph over the powerful Oakland Athletics with his walk-off longball in Game 1 of the 1988 Fall Classic against future hall of famer Dennis Eckersley.
Photo: Getty Images

It’s easy to think of the Los Angeles Dodgers now as industry juggernauts. After all, the club has led Major League Baseball in attendance each of the last six seasons; it has won the NL West six straight years too, and reached at least the NL Championship Series four times in that span, including this year’s edition against the Milwaukee Brewers; and it is perennially among the game’s top spenders in payroll.

 

Despite that success, however, it has been 30 years since the Dodgers last won the World Series. That year’s Fall Classic against the Oakland A’s ended in five games but is remembered for just one swing: a two-out, two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning by a hobbled Kirk Gibson off future hall of famer Dennis Eckersley. 

 

It was the only plate appearance of the series for Gibson, but it provided one of the most unforgettable moments in baseball history. The inspired Dodgers, who had taken out the favored, 100-win Mets in the National League Championship Series, soon did the same to the vaunted 104-win A’s that featured “Bash Brothers” Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. 

 

Thirty years later, Gibson’s home run represents one of MLB’s most iconic and oft-repeated highlights, punctuated by his vigorous fist pumps as he rounded the bases on two injured legs, and the legendary Vin Scully’s call on NBC: “High fly ball into right field … she is … gone!” 

 

The Gibson homer and its movie-like sequence also represented the centerpiece of a recent MLB Network documentary on the 1988 Dodgers, “Only In Hollywood,” which premiered this past summer.

 

Since winning that title, the sixth in franchise history, the Dodgers have gone through three separate ownership groups and spent more than $3 billion in total player payroll fervently chasing another World Series crown. 

 

This year’s Dodgers team, with its star-studded roster and nine-figure payroll, in many ways bears little resemblance to the 1988 squad. But at least one longtime Dodgers employee can hear the echoes of 30 years ago.

 

“The thing I always remember about 1988 is that no matter what was happening in the game, I still had a feeling we were going to win,” said Sam Fernandez, Dodgers executive vice president, general counsel and a 35-year team employee. “Watching these guys now, I have a lot of the same feelings. It’s been a joy to watch.”


Photo: Getty Images

Buy

Building Cirque

Cirque du Soleil is producing a show on the life of soccer star Lionel Messi. No dates have been announced for the show, which is set to debut next year. Messi is the first sports star to be the focus of the famed acrobatic troupe.

 

Sell

No Relief

The NCAA rejected a proposal for the University of North Carolina to play South Carolina in a men’s basketball exhibition game to raise funds for Hurricane Florence relief reportedly because both teams already had two exhibition games on their schedules.

 

Photo: Getty Images

Hold

W Series

A new women’s international motorsports series, W Series, plans to begin next year. It will provide new opportunities, but IndyCar driver Pippa Mann said it will “segregate” female drivers instead.

Clippers Community Court

The Los Angeles Clippers and Mayor Eric Garcetti, joined by members of the Jr. Clippers, cut the ribbon on the first of nearly 350 Clippers Community Courts on Oct. 5 at Normandie Recreation Center. A donation to the Department of Recreation and Parks Foundation by the Clippers and Chairman Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, will fund the renovations. From left: Chuck the Condor, Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute, Jr. Clippers alum and coach Gio Dominguez, Garcetti, L.A. Recreation and Parks GM Mike Shull and City Councilmember Gil Cedillo.
Photo: Varon Panganiban / Los Angeles Clippers

 

Practice In The Park

With the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, D’Angelo Russell shoots a half-court shot during the Brooklyn Nets Open Practice in the Park on Oct. 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Fans gathered around two outdoor courts were given shirts and autographs and posed for photos with players and team officials.
Photo: Brad Penner

 

"Basketball: A Love Story"

Basketball hall of famers Charlie Scott, Nate “Tiny” Archibald, Sonny Hill and Lenny Wilkens attended the premiere of “Basketball: A Love Story” on Sept. 27 at the BAM Harvey Theater in Brooklyn. The 20-hour documentary is airing in prime time on Tuesdays on ESPN through October and early November.
Photo: ESPN Images

 

Sport At The Service Of Humanity

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (center) met with members of the Vatican’s Sport at the Service of Humanity initiative during the Olympism in Action Forum on Oct. 5 in Buenos Aires. Joining Bach are the BBC’s David Eades; the Vatican’s Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda; Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman; and Renata Simril, president and CEO of the LA84 Foundation.
Photo: MGM Eventos Productions

 

Are You Experienced?

Seattle Seahawks legend Steve Largent greeted fans during the kickoff activation of the American Express Experience on Sept. 23 near CenturyLink Field in Seattle. The space at 165 South Jackson St. will be open before every Seahawks home game this season, with various special guest appearances along with contributions from featured local merchants and artists.
Photo: Getty Images for American Express

 

Walk The Walk

Gator IMG Sports Marketing executives Andrew Keown, Mike Dirmann, Christina Cilento, Jake Williams and Lee Douglas participate in Endeavor’s Walk the Walk, the company’s annual day of service on Sept. 27. The food was donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank in Orlando.
Photo: Endeavor

 

Women In Leadership

From the espnW: Women + Sports Summit on Oct. 1 at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, Calif.: Women in Leadership panelists Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association; Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman; Kraft Analytics Group CEO Jessica Gelman; Titi Cole, Wells Fargo executive vice president and head of operations.
Photo: Robby Klein / ESPN Images

 

At The Finish Line

Spartan Race CEO Joe De Sena (left) and Rakuten Marketing CEO Stuart Simmons unveiled the 2019 Spartan Finisher Kit after announcing Rakuten as Spartan’s exclusive global innovation partner at the Spartan World Championships at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, Calif., on Sept. 28.
Photo: Spartan Productions
 

Please submit photos for review of industry conferences, parties, product launches and openings showcasing the people and personalities at the event. Include the event date, location, names/titles of those featured along with credit information. The photo specifications are as follows: 300dpi, tiff, jpeg or eps color images. Submit digital photos for review at: photo@sportsbusinessjournal.com or send color prints to: Faces & Places, c/o Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202.

Baseball

The United Shore Professional Baseball League promoted JEREMIAH HERGOTT to vice president of client services.

 

The Class A Carolina League Myrtle Beach Pelicans promoted KRISTIN CALL to assistant general manager.

 

Basketball

The Heat Group named KIM STONE executive vice president of business development and JARRED DIAMOND general manager for AmericanAirlines Arena.

 

Colleges

Eastern Washington University hired SARAH ADAMS as senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator. Adams was associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at the University of Northern Colorado.

 

James Madison University hired KHALIL GARRIOTT as director of branded content and executive editor of Madison magazine. Garriott was managing editor for Red Bull Media House.

 

Marist College named JANE MCMANUS director for the Center for Sports Communication, effective Dec. 1.

 

The University of Maryland added the role of senior woman administrator to SUE SHERBURNE, senior associate athletic director for academics and student development, and hired SHAWN FLYNN as senior associate athletic director for internal operations and RESA LOVELACE as assistant athletic director for student-athlete development

 

The University of Miami hired KORTNE GOSHA as associate athletic director for athletic facilities. Gosha was associate athletic director for operations at Middle Tennessee State University.

 

North Carolina State University promoted NATE BROOKRESON to assistant athletic director for strength and conditioning of Olympic sports.

 

Facilities

SMG promoted LYNDSEY EDWARDS to marketing manager for Intrust Bank Arena.

 

Football

The Fiesta Bowl hired JOHN TORRIS as vice president of business development. Torris was senior director of business development for the Phoenix Suns.

 

Gaming

Activision Blizzard hired J. ALLEN BRACK as president of Blizzard Entertainment. Brack succeeds MIKE MORHAIME, who will remain a strategic adviser to the company. 

 

Hockey

The United States Hockey League hired KATIE GAUS as media and communications coordinator.

 

Marketing

Trine hired STEVE SKUBIC as chief executive officer. Skubic is the former president and chief executive officer for SportsMark Management Group.

 

Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment hired as part of its collegiate services division DAVID KAY as general manager at Valparaiso University, SAMANTHA BERIZZI as general manager at Loyola University Maryland, SYDNIE TELSON as an account executive at the University of San Francisco and LAMAR THORPE as marketing coordinator at Georgia State University.

 

Media

ESPN named LAURA GENTILE senior vice president of marketing.

 

Other

Turnkey Search promoted NICOLAS BERNAL to director of marketing and creative services, EVAN KASHAN to director of operations and integration and REBECCA OLIVER to director of strategic communications.

To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information and photos to Brandon McClung at 120 W. Morehead St., Suite 310, Charlotte, NC 28202, or email them to careers@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Electronic photos must be a jpg or tiff file for Macintosh, 2.25 inches wide at 300 dpi. Color only, please.