Names In The News
MLSE Chair LARRY TANENBAUM was named the "most important" person in the Raptors' 25-year history by the TORONTO STAR's Doug Smith. The minority owner, NBA governor and "unwavering supporter" of the franchise emerged as the "single constant force in ownership since even before the formation" of MLSE in '98. He has "always been supportive, of coaches and players and general managers." Smith: "Not in any intrusive way, just by being there and unfailingly on the Raptors’ side." Almost anyone who has "come in contact with the 74-year-old in the NBA world" will offer "nothing but praise" (TORONTO STAR, 10/19).
ON SCREEN: The Middleburg Film Festival (Va.) "featured a screening of 'WILLIE,' a documentary about WILLIE O'REE," the first black player in the NHL. The film "drew emotional reactions from the Middleburg crowd, including multiple rounds of applause, before the panelists took the stage." NBC Sports' ANSON CARTER "moderated the discussion," which included Monumental Sports & Entertainment Chair & CEO TED LEONSIS, film producer BRYANT MCBRIDE, director LAURENCE MATHIEU-LEGER and O'Ree himself. For the film’s backers, the next step is "finding a buyer and distributing it." It will "next be showing at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival." O'Ree, 84, will "soon be retiring from his regular NHL job" as Dir of Youth Development and an ambassador for the NHL Diversity program, though he "still plans on making appearances at special events." He said that he "wants to travel and spend more time with his wife," DELJEET (WASHINGTON POST, 10/20).
BACK TO WORK: BARRY SANDERS was on the field with his son, BARRY J. SANDERS, "working as a Madden ratings performance adjuster for EA Sports" during Vikings-Lions yesterday. Sanders' son, a full-time employee with EA, said that Madden has been "incorporating legends into its rating adjusters program this season," as former NFLer CHAD JOHNSON "joined for two games." He said that "one of the hardest parts of the job is how many players there are on the field, and personally knowing some guys whose ratings you end up decreasing" (MLIVE.com, 10/20).
TRUE GRIT: Last night's episode of Fox’ “The Simpsons” featured their annual “Treehouse of Horror” series, with one story focusing on Homer Simpson choking on a hot dog and dying at a football game. Once arriving in heaven, it was determined it was not his time to die, so he was sent back. However, Homer must choose another body to go back to Earth as. One of the choices is Flyers mascot GRITTY, but he chooses the body of a ripped football player to return to Earth from heaven (“The Simpsons,” Fox, 10/20).
NAMES: MLB player agent MATT SOSNICK was arrested on Oct. 8 in California after a “domestic violence incident in which his wife claims he choked her and threw her across a room in front of their daughter.” Sosnick is a co-Founder of SCK Sports (N.Y. POST, 10/19)….Former Santa Anita Park Racing Dir RICK HAMMERLE is now a professor in Arizona State’s Race Track Industry Program, teaching classes on the "workings of a racing department and the business of racing" (L.A. TIMES, 10/20)….A Florida sports memorabilia collector on Friday sold RICKY WILLIAMS’ ’98 Heisman Trophy for a record $504,000 (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/18)….Actor and Bills fan CHRISTOPHER MCDONALD was spotted at New Era Field prior to yesterday’s Dolphins-Bills matchup talking with DAN MARINO and JIM KELLY (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 10/20).
IN MEMORY: LOU PALMER, ESPN’s original on-air commentator, died on Friday at age 83 after a battle with lung cancer. Palmer was hired by ESPN in ’78, a “year before the network officially launched,” and worked at the net until ’85. Palmer “served as an original anchor and reporter" for "SportsCenter" (ESPN.com, 10/20)….MLB umpire ERIC COOPER died Saturday at age 52 after “having a blood clot.” Cooper, who most recently worked the Yankees-Twins ALDS, had knee surgery earlier last week and was “recuperating at his father’s home in Iowa” (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/20).