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Volume 23 No. 17

People and Pop Culture

Correction: The New York Mets’ Jerry Seinfeld bobblehead giveaway is July 5, not June 5 as indicated.

Photos: Getty Images (2); courtesy of the New York Mets

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About time

Nike said it will update its contracts for female athletes to ensure they will be paid during pregnancies, just weeks after the company came under fire for having no such formal protections. Nike said it had adjusted the policy already but will now put it in writing.

 

Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images

Sell

Crashed out

McLaren Racing driver Fernando Alonso did not qualify for the Indianapolis 500, which was to mark the team’s return to the famous race. Alonso called the team’s performance “quite poor” and CEO Zak Brown said, “We defeated ourselves” through a series of missteps. Team President Bob Fernley was fired in the wake of the failure.


 

Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images
Photo: getty images

Hold

Draft move

Carter Stewart, 19, signed a six-year contract worth about $7 million with Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, bypassing the MLB draft, where he had been a first-round pick last year before choosing college instead. Stewart would be eligible for free agency by age 25, far sooner than he likely would be in North America, and other future draft picks could follow his lead.

On deck in Philly

NBC Sports President Pete Bevacqua checked out NBC Sports Philadelphia’s new studio on May 14, and chatted with baseball analyst and former Phillie Ricky Bottalico.
Photo: nbc sports philadelphia
NBC Sports President Pete Bevacqua checked out NBC Sports Philadelphia’s new studio on May 14, and chatted with baseball analyst and former Phillie Ricky Bottalico.
Photo: nbc sports philadelphia
NBC Sports President Pete Bevacqua checked out NBC Sports Philadelphia’s new studio on May 14, and chatted with baseball analyst and former Phillie Ricky Bottalico.
Photo: nbc sports philadelphia

 

Women of Influence

Hannah Gordon, San Francisco 49ers chief administrative officer/general counsel, and Neda Tabatabaie, San Jose Sharks VP of business intelligence, were honored at the Silicon Valley Business Journal Women of Influence Awards on May 16 at the Fairmont in San Jose. From left: Emily Lucas, 49ers senior manager, corporate communications; Gordon; Tabatabaie; Whitney Hallock, Sharks manager, creative services; Sammie Ferrera, Sharks ticket sales coordinator; Delaney Stryczek, Sharks group sales account executive; Megan Ebeck, Sharks arena marketing manager; Liz Malara, 49ers coordinator, community relations; Sofy Navarro, 49ers EDU senior manager; Peggy Bradley, 49ers Foundation accounting manager; and Katie Furey, 49ers suite sales consultant.
Photo: bob lange / san francisco 49ers
Hannah Gordon, San Francisco 49ers chief administrative officer/general counsel, and Neda Tabatabaie, San Jose Sharks VP of business intelligence, were honored at the Silicon Valley Business Journal Women of Influence Awards on May 16 at the Fairmont in San Jose. From left: Emily Lucas, 49ers senior manager, corporate communications; Gordon; Tabatabaie; Whitney Hallock, Sharks manager, creative services; Sammie Ferrera, Sharks ticket sales coordinator; Delaney Stryczek, Sharks group sales account executive; Megan Ebeck, Sharks arena marketing manager; Liz Malara, 49ers coordinator, community relations; Sofy Navarro, 49ers EDU senior manager; Peggy Bradley, 49ers Foundation accounting manager; and Katie Furey, 49ers suite sales consultant.
Photo: bob lange / san francisco 49ers
Hannah Gordon, San Francisco 49ers chief administrative officer/general counsel, and Neda Tabatabaie, San Jose Sharks VP of business intelligence, were honored at the Silicon Valley Business Journal Women of Influence Awards on May 16 at the Fairmont in San Jose. From left: Emily Lucas, 49ers senior manager, corporate communications; Gordon; Tabatabaie; Whitney Hallock, Sharks manager, creative services; Sammie Ferrera, Sharks ticket sales coordinator; Delaney Stryczek, Sharks group sales account executive; Megan Ebeck, Sharks arena marketing manager; Liz Malara, 49ers coordinator, community relations; Sofy Navarro, 49ers EDU senior manager; Peggy Bradley, 49ers Foundation accounting manager; and Katie Furey, 49ers suite sales consultant.
Photo: bob lange / san francisco 49ers

 

Bike to Work Day

Jeff Bellows, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts VP of corporate citizenship, and former Red Sox star Tim Wakefield celebrated Bike to Work Day at City Hall Plaza in Boston on May 17. Blue Cross, the title sponsor of Bluebikes, offered free rides to cyclists all day to commemorate Bike to Work Day and the one-year anniversary of its partnership with Bluebikes.
Photo: blue cross blue shield of massachusetts
Jeff Bellows, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts VP of corporate citizenship, and former Red Sox star Tim Wakefield celebrated Bike to Work Day at City Hall Plaza in Boston on May 17. Blue Cross, the title sponsor of Bluebikes, offered free rides to cyclists all day to commemorate Bike to Work Day and the one-year anniversary of its partnership with Bluebikes.
Photo: blue cross blue shield of massachusetts
Jeff Bellows, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts VP of corporate citizenship, and former Red Sox star Tim Wakefield celebrated Bike to Work Day at City Hall Plaza in Boston on May 17. Blue Cross, the title sponsor of Bluebikes, offered free rides to cyclists all day to commemorate Bike to Work Day and the one-year anniversary of its partnership with Bluebikes.
Photo: blue cross blue shield of massachusetts

 

Serving up softballs

Yankees star CC Sabathia hosted his second Celebrity Softball Game on May 16 at Yankee Stadium. The game saw celebrities and athletes alike play and cheer on their friends as Team Michael Strahan topped Team CC Sabathia in an 8-2 victory. All proceeds from the event benefited the PitCCh In Foundation and the New York Yankees Foundation.
Photo: michael eng
Yankees star CC Sabathia hosted his second Celebrity Softball Game on May 16 at Yankee Stadium. The game saw celebrities and athletes alike play and cheer on their friends as Team Michael Strahan topped Team CC Sabathia in an 8-2 victory. All proceeds from the event benefited the PitCCh In Foundation and the New York Yankees Foundation.
Photo: michael eng
Yankees star CC Sabathia hosted his second Celebrity Softball Game on May 16 at Yankee Stadium. The game saw celebrities and athletes alike play and cheer on their friends as Team Michael Strahan topped Team CC Sabathia in an 8-2 victory. All proceeds from the event benefited the PitCCh In Foundation and the New York Yankees Foundation.
Photo: michael eng

 

Rise of the Rest

Steve Case (left), AOL co-founder and current chairman and CEO of venture capital firm Revolution, joined Mike McCarley, president, golf, NBC Sports, for a putting contest on the indoor putting green of Golf Channel’s Orlando studios during a visit by Revolution’s Rise of the Rest tour across the U.S., searching for and showcasing innovative startups and companies.
Photo: golf channel
Steve Case (left), AOL co-founder and current chairman and CEO of venture capital firm Revolution, joined Mike McCarley, president, golf, NBC Sports, for a putting contest on the indoor putting green of Golf Channel’s Orlando studios during a visit by Revolution’s Rise of the Rest tour across the U.S., searching for and showcasing innovative startups and companies.
Photo: golf channel
Steve Case (left), AOL co-founder and current chairman and CEO of venture capital firm Revolution, joined Mike McCarley, president, golf, NBC Sports, for a putting contest on the indoor putting green of Golf Channel’s Orlando studios during a visit by Revolution’s Rise of the Rest tour across the U.S., searching for and showcasing innovative startups and companies.
Photo: golf channel
 

Talking baseball

From the Missouri Marketing Summit in St. Louis on April 25: Dan Farrell, St. Louis Cardinals SVP, sales and marketing, and Michael Bucek, Kansas City Royals VP, marketing and business development.
Photo: missouri marketing summit
From the Missouri Marketing Summit in St. Louis on April 25: Dan Farrell, St. Louis Cardinals SVP, sales and marketing, and Michael Bucek, Kansas City Royals VP, marketing and business development.
Photo: missouri marketing summit
From the Missouri Marketing Summit in St. Louis on April 25: Dan Farrell, St. Louis Cardinals SVP, sales and marketing, and Michael Bucek, Kansas City Royals VP, marketing and business development.
Photo: missouri marketing summit

 

Ambassador Award winner

Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission President Kathy Schloessman presented award-winning sports broadcaster Andrea Kremer with the LASEC Ambassador Award of Excellence at the 20th annual LASEC Golf Classic on May 13 at The Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades.
Photo: sarah mack photography
Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission President Kathy Schloessman presented award-winning sports broadcaster Andrea Kremer with the LASEC Ambassador Award of Excellence at the 20th annual LASEC Golf Classic on May 13 at The Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades.
Photo: sarah mack photography
Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission President Kathy Schloessman presented award-winning sports broadcaster Andrea Kremer with the LASEC Ambassador Award of Excellence at the 20th annual LASEC Golf Classic on May 13 at The Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades.
Photo: sarah mack photography

 

PGA Works Collegiate Championship

From the 33rd PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship at PGA Golf Club on May 9 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.: Scooter Clark, PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship manager, PGA of America; Phillis Meti, World Long Drive champion; Maurice Allen, World Long Drive champion; John Easterbrook, chief membership officer, PGA of America; Suzy Whaley, president, PGA of America; Golf Channel personality Jonathan Coachman; Yarmon Kennedy, VP, strategic planning and analysis, AIG; Sandy Cross, chief people officer, PGA of America; and PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
Photo: pga of america
From the 33rd PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship at PGA Golf Club on May 9 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.: Scooter Clark, PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship manager, PGA of America; Phillis Meti, World Long Drive champion; Maurice Allen, World Long Drive champion; John Easterbrook, chief membership officer, PGA of America; Suzy Whaley, president, PGA of America; Golf Channel personality Jonathan Coachman; Yarmon Kennedy, VP, strategic planning and analysis, AIG; Sandy Cross, chief people officer, PGA of America; and PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
Photo: pga of america
From the 33rd PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship at PGA Golf Club on May 9 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.: Scooter Clark, PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship manager, PGA of America; Phillis Meti, World Long Drive champion; Maurice Allen, World Long Drive champion; John Easterbrook, chief membership officer, PGA of America; Suzy Whaley, president, PGA of America; Golf Channel personality Jonathan Coachman; Yarmon Kennedy, VP, strategic planning and analysis, AIG; Sandy Cross, chief people officer, PGA of America; and PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh.
Photo: pga of america
 

National book tour

From the national book launch for “What to Do When Things Go Wrong,” author Frank Supovitz (center), president/CEO of Fast Traffic, met with the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Mark Prosise (left) and Chris Schilling on May 16 in Canton, Ohio.
Photo: pro football hall of fame
From the national book launch for “What to Do When Things Go Wrong,” author Frank Supovitz (center), president/CEO of Fast Traffic, met with the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Mark Prosise (left) and Chris Schilling on May 16 in Canton, Ohio.
Photo: pro football hall of fame
From the national book launch for “What to Do When Things Go Wrong,” author Frank Supovitz (center), president/CEO of Fast Traffic, met with the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Mark Prosise (left) and Chris Schilling on May 16 in Canton, Ohio.
Photo: pro football hall of fame

 

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 Oakland Athletics promoted SABRINA BLACKWELL to account executive of group sales and hospitality.

Basketball

The Golden State Warriors named MAGGIE VALERIO PARKER manager of venue partnerships, handling the team’s Chase Bank deal. She was most recently with the Charlotte Hornets.

The Women’s National Basketball Association named CATHY ENGELBERT commissioner. Engelbert, who will start July 17, is CEO of Deloitte.

Colleges

Florida State University named DAVID COBURN athletic director. Coburn had been interim athletic director since August 2018.

The College of the Holy Cross named MARCUS BLOSSOM as director of intercollegiate athletics. Blossom was the senior associate athletic director for business and finance at Boston College.

James Madison University promoted SCOTT MEASELL to director of event management.

The University of Kansas named MORGYN SEIGFRIED associate athletic director of creative services and communications. Seigfried was associate athletic director at Temple University.

Merrimack College gave Athletic Director JEREMY GIBSON a five-year contract extension.

Longwood University named MICHELLE MEADOWS athletic director. Meadows had been interim athletic director for eight months.

The University of Memphis named ALLIE PRESCOTT interim athletic director, following TOM BOWEN’s resignation. Prescott is the former president of the Class AAA Memphis Redbirds.

Hockey

Boston Holdings, parent company of the Boston Bruins, Sportservice and TD Garden, named KELLY CUNNINGHAM vice president of human resources.

The Los Angeles Kings named JOCELYN HERNANDEZ human resources coordinator.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed President BRENDAN SHANAHAN to a six-year contract extension through the 2024-25 season.

To have your personnel announcements included in the People section, please send information to careers@sportsbusinessjournal.com.
No one, not even his father, believed Michael Chang would win the 1989 French Open.
Photo: getty images
No one, not even his father, believed Michael Chang would win the 1989 French Open.
Photo: getty images
No one, not even his father, believed Michael Chang would win the 1989 French Open.
Photo: getty images

Thirty years ago, a 17-year-old Chinese American, Michael Chang, out of the blue won the French Open, serving underhanded at one point while severely cramping in knocking out world No. 1 Ivan Lendl in the fourth round along the way.

But it was the backdrop of his championship many forget, the crushing of the political uprising in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the victims of which Chang dedicated his victory while accepting the trophy on the picturesque red clay in Paris. It was a moment in time when an unexpected sports triumph intersected with a historic event. And Chang doesn’t believe it just happened that way but instead took divine intervention.

“I have often told people that I often feel in my heart that it was the tournament that I felt God wanted me to win, not necessarily for myself but just to put a smile upon Chinese people’s faces around the world during which there wasn’t a whole lot to smile about,” he said.

“I think it took their mind off of what was happening over there even if just for a moment. I don’t  think it was by coincidence that the French Open that year was won in the fashion and in the manner in which it was won. I just think it can’t be by coincidence that all those things happened in Beijing exactly during that period of time.”

The authoritarian response to the uprising began to unfold over the middle weekend of the tournament. When he wasn’t practicing or playing, Chang stayed in his room watching the news.

In that fourth-round encounter Chang actually started walking toward the chair umpire to default at 2-1 in the fifth set. And then, Chang recalled, “I had just an incredible conviction of heart; it was almost as if God stopped me in my tracks and said, ‘Michael, what are you doing?’”

Chang would famously serve underhand because his cramping was so bad, a tactic he said he never tried before or after.

His father did not witness the comeback. “My mom was kind of like, ‘Why are you going back now, you know he is going to play Lendl?’” Chang recounted. “He was just like, ‘Well, I need to get back to work; Michael is probably not going to win that match.’”

Chang is still involved in the game through coaching, tutoring Kei Nishikori, ranked No. 7 in the world. Has Nishikori ever tried the underhand serve? Chang laughed at the suggestion. “I don’t know if you have ever seen Kei do it in exhibitions,” he said, “but it hasn’t been a pretty sight.”