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Fenway Sports Management Promotes Frank Huckabone to Exec VP of Sales PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 27 April 2011 13:56

Fenway Sports Management (FSM), the global sales arm of Fenway Sports Group -- the parent company of Liverpool FC, the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network (NESN) and Roush Fenway Racing -- today announced that Frank Huckabone has been promoted to Executive Vice President, Sales.

Huckabone will direct FSM's integrated sponsorship sales across Fenway Sports Group's entire sports and entertainment portfolio, including the Boston Red Sox, Boston College Athletics, Liverpool FC, LeBron James, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, NESN, PGA TOUR Playoff event the Deutsche Bank Championship, and Roush Fenway Racing.

In his new role, Huckabone will report directly to FSM Co-Managing Director Billy Hogan, and oversee FSM's sales staff and develop new domestic and international strategic partnership opportunities. Huckabone joined FSM as Vice President in 2007 and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2009.

"Since the day he started, Huck has proven to be an indispensable part of the team and works 24/7 to drive revenue for our clients," said Hogan. "He repeatedly demonstrates his ability to develop winning strategies for our partners and is the best closer in the game."

Prior to joining FSM, Huckabone served as Director of Media and Sponsorship Sales for Van Wagner Sports Group, where he was responsible for selling rotational signage and creating integrated sponsorship packages that strategically enhanced sponsor investments for Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the NCAA.

Huckabone began his career in 1999 as an Account Executive at Madison Square Garden (MSG), where he was responsible for selling media and marketing partnerships for all MSG-owned and-operated properties. He spent more than eight years developing integrated programs that included TV, radio, signage, print, and promotional elements as well as arena and team-controlled assets. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Hartwick College in 1994. Huckabone and his wife Jennifer reside in Newton with their two children, Annie and Ryan.

"We're looking forward to an extremely bright future as we continue to drive revenue for Fenway Sports Group," said Huckabone. In a rare twist, he added, "In fact, if you're reading this and want to discuss a partnership, call me directly,” giving his direct line number in the FSM press release.


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MLB to See Second-Most Rainouts for April in the Last Decade PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 22 April 2011 22:55

Rain ball

When MLB says that they’re not concerned about reports detailing the early attendance drop this season, they likely look up and point to the sky. Case in point, with three rainouts on Friday, the league is now tied for the second-most rainouts for the month of April in the past decade, and there’s still over a week left in the month.

To date, there have been 15 rainouts in April, tying it with 2003. Last year, there was all of two rainouts in April. The record over the last decade seems likely to stay intact, but the number is not completely out of the realm of possibility. In 2007 there was a staggering 26 rainouts.

The Biz of Baseball looked at rainouts on Tues (see the article listing each rainout up till then for 2011) and afterwards, received data from Major League Baseball up to that point. We have updated that information to Friday. Below are rainout figures from 2002-2011 up to 4/22 and for the entire month, courtesy of MLB.

MLB Rainouts

Year

Through
4-22

All of
April

2011

15

??

2010

0

2

2009

10

12

2008

7

10

2007

22

26

2006

7

8

2005

2

11

2004

6

12

2003

12

15

2002

7

10

Source: Major League Baseball, Biz of Baseball research


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MLB, MLBPA Announce Expanded Pension, Benefits to Retired Players From 1947-1980 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 21 April 2011 13:51

This is breaking news...

While the NFL and NFLPA have battled over how best to address retired players, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have made news of their own today by offering pension and other benefits to players that retired before 1980.

At a press conference held today, MLB and the MLBPA offered expanded pension and other health benefits to players that played from 1947-1980 and were not fully vested in the pension plan and had less than 4 years of Major League service time.

Among those in attendance today in New York were Commissioner Selig; Michael Weiner, the Executive Director of the MLBPA; Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President for Labor Relations; Dan Foster, Chief Executive Officer of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association; and Eddie Robinson, the former All-Star Major League first baseman and the former general manager of the Atlanta Braves and the Texas Rangers.

Since the 1980 season, all Major League Players have vested as members of the benefit plan after just one day of service in the Major Leagues. Prior to 1980, Players secured a pension benefit only after completing at least four years of Major League Service. Under this new agreement, Players who retired between January 1, 1947 and January 1, 1980 with no retirement benefits for their Major League Service will receive an annual payment of up to $10,000, jointly funded by the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA. The collective bargaining parties have committed to these payments for an initial period of two years. Payments beyond the initial period will be discussed in collective bargaining.

Commissioner Selig said: “Very simply, we felt that this was the right thing to do for these former players, who contributed to our game’s unparalleled history. I am very pleased that we have partnered with the Players Association to take this step.”

Weiner said: "Today's players appreciate the contributions made by former players to the game's success and to the union's efforts. The MLBPA has worked for many years with the Alumni Association on this effort, and we're excited to announce this significant agreement with Major League Baseball."

Foster said: “Today is a day of celebration and appreciation. The payments to these former players not only acknowledge their role in the evolution of the game but also honor the men who developed the great American pastime. The MLBPAA is grateful to Major League Baseball and the Players Association for their dedication to support and assist this group of former Major Leaguers.”

Robinson said: “This decision is the culmination of 14 years of concerted effort by the Major League Alumni Services Board of Directors and the former Major Leaguers who have served on our pension committee over the years. The owners and current players have shown great willingness to come together and agree on important issues.”

Longtime Major Leaguer Craig Counsell, a member of the Milwaukee Brewers and an Association Representative for the MLBPA, said: “As a current player it is truly an honor to be able to take this step and help pre-1980 players.

Retirement benefits were the primary concern in 1966 when the players hired Marvin Miller and the modern-day Players Association was born. Over the ensuing 45 years every player experiences the same feeling of indebtedness to those who came before him. It is with that in mind that I personally thank everyone involved for their determination in making this happen.”

See Marvin Miller's comments on the pension plan and pre-1980 players from the 2004 Biz of Baseball interview


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MLB Releases 2011 First-Year Player Draft Selection Order PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 14 April 2011 14:09

2011 Draft LogoFor the third consecutive year, Major League Baseball will hold day one festivities of the First-Year Player Draft from Studio 42 at MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. The Draft will begin live on MLB Network and MLB.com on Monday, June 6th at 7:00 p.m. (ET). Prior to the start of the Draft, MLB Network will air a Draft preview show, also simulcast on MLB.com, at 6:00 p.m. (ET).

The selection order of the First-Year Player Draft is determined by the reverse order of finish at the close of the previous championship season. Compensation picks have been assigned to Clubs whose Type A or Type B free agents signed with other Clubs and/or to Clubs that did not sign a player who was chosen in the first three rounds of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. The Pittsburgh Pirates will have the first overall selection of the 2011 Draft, the third time in the Club’s history it has the top choice and the first time since 2002. The Tampa Bay Rays have the most first round selections with three (24th, 31st and 32nd overall) and possess 10 of the first 60 overall picks. The Arizona Diamondbacks (3rd and 7th), Washington Nationals (6th and 23rd), San Diego Padres (10th and 25th), Milwaukee Brewers (12th and 15th) and Boston Red Sox (19th and 26th) also hold multiple first round choices.

Last year’s first round choices included the Washington Nationals’ top overall selection Bryce Harper, who batted .343 with a home run and seven RBI in nine Arizona Fall League contests in 2010, and Chicago White Sox left-handed reliever Chris Sale, the 13th overall pick, who became the first player from the 2010 Draft class to reach the Majors with his debut on August 6, 2010.

The Draft will have 50 rounds and will conclude after all 30 teams have passed on a selection or after the final selection of the 50th round, whichever comes first.

Like each of the previous two years, the 2011 Draft will span three days. For day one on June 6th, MLB Network and MLB.com will provide live pick-by-pick coverage during the first round as well as the first compensation round. The intervals between selections will last five minutes during the first round and one minute during the compensation round. The Draft will resume at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on both Tuesday, June 7th and Wednesday, June 8th via conference call from MLB headquarters in New York City.

Continuing coverage at the start of day two, MLB.com will deliver exclusive live programming of the Draft’s final two days, including a live pick-by-pick stream, draft and scouting expert commentary and DraftCaster, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every draft-eligible player supplemented by statistics, scouting reports and video highlights. Once again, each of the 30 Major League Clubs will be represented at the Draft by one of its former players and/or a member of its front office. Last year’s representatives included Hall of Famers Tommy Lasorda and Frank Robinson, as well as 2011 Hall of Fame Inductee Roberto Alomar. The Club representatives who will attend the 2011 Draft will be announced in the weeks ahead.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE COMPLETE ORDER OF THE 2011 FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT

Read more...
 
MLB Revenues Grown From $1.4 Billion in 1995 to $7 Billion in 2010 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 14 April 2011 13:55

Based on financial information provided by Major League Baseball, gross revenues have grown from $1.4 billion in 1995 to $7 billion in 2010, or a 400% increase. When accounting for inflation, the league still sees phenomenal growth at a 254% increase.

Baseball has not seen a dip in revenues since 2002 when the league reported revenues of $3.6 billion, down from $3.7 billion the year prior. Since then, the league as seen steady growth with additional revenue streams (chiefly, the addition of MLB Advanced Media in 2000 that began to pay dividends in 2002), as well as robust increases in national, local and regional television deals.

Revenues, in a cold economy, saw growth of 1.5% from 2008 to 2009 but rebounded nicely in 2010 when revenues increased to $7 billion, up from $6.6 billion the year prior. That increase was tied to escalators in existing television agreements as well as extensions such as the case with the Texas Rangers.

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE DATA AND GRAPHS OUTLINING MLB’S REVENUES FROM 1995 TO 2010

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Source: Rather Than Face 100-Game Suspension for PEDs, Manny Ramirez Retires PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 08 April 2011 15:31

Manny Ramierz

UPDATE: According to sources, Ramirez faced a 100 game suspension for being in violation of the MLB drug policy. Instead of facing that for a second violation after his 2009 suspension, he chose to retire.


THIS IS BREAKING NEWS...

Manny Ramirez, who signed in the off-season with the Tampa Bay Rays, has suddenly retired.

SEE THE ALL-TIME DRUG SUSPENSION LIST

According to a press release from Major League Baseball, the league was recently notified by Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Rather than continue with the process under the Program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the Drug Program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.

Ramirez tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in May of 2009. At the time, he was found to have hGC (human chorionic gonadotropin), a female fertility drug, in his system, He claimed at the time that his positive test is a result of medication received from a doctor for a personal medical issue. Ramirez was found to have elevated testosterone levels when tested during Spring Training. The elevated levels of testosterone leads to an investigation by the league which then discovered that Ramirez had been using hGC, a substance known to be used by serial steroid users to kick-start the body's natural testosterone products after a steroid cycle. The suspension was, therefore, a "non-analytical positive"; a suspension based upon evidence, not a failed drug test. While hGC is a banned substance due to its coupled use with anibolic steroids, players can request a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for hGC, something Ramirez did not do.

More details as they arrive


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234 Players on 2011 MLB Opening Day Rosters Foriegn-Born PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 01 April 2011 18:42

Opening Day 2011Two-hundred thirty-four (234) players on 2011 Opening Day rosters and disabled lists were born outside the 50 United States, it was announced today.

Overall, 27.7 percent of the 846 players (749 active 25-man roster players and 97 disabled or restricted Major League players) on March 31st rosters were born outside the 50 United States, representing 14 countries and territories. The alltime highs occurred in 2005, when 29.2 percent (242/829) of Opening Day players were foreignborn, and in 2007, when 246 players were born outside the U.S., totaling 29.0 percent of all players. Last season, 231 out of 833 players were foreign-born, also totaling 27.7 percent.

Once again, the Dominican Republic leads the Major Leagues with 86 players born outside the U.S. Venezuela ranks second with 62 players, its highest total ever on Opening Day rosters. Puerto Rico (20) has the next highest total, followed by Canada (16); Cuba (11); Japan (10); Mexico (8); Australia (5); Panama (4); Colombia (3); Curaçao (3); Taiwan (3); Nicaragua (2); and Korea (1). Since 1995, when MLB began to release annual Opening Day data, the 16 Canadian-born players rank second-highest (19 in 2007). Cuba matched its high of 11 set in 2002 and Australia matched its high of five set in 1998. In addition, Colombia, Taiwan and Nicaragua each matched their previous Opening Day bests.

The New York Yankees have the most foreign-born players with a total of 16, the first time the club has led the Majors since its 10 foreign-born players on Opening Day in 2000 shared the lead with three other clubs. Four Clubs – the Colorado Rockies, the Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Dodgers – feature 11 foreign-born players apiece, while the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds, the Houston Astros, the New York Mets and the Texas Rangers each have 10. The Dodgers have players from eight different countries and territories outside the United States: Canada, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Venezuela.

Select READ MORE for the complete list of foreign-born players on 2011 Opening Day rosters.

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MLB, MLBPA Announce New Concussion Policy PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 29 March 2011 15:29
Kuroda
MLB, and the MLBPA announced today new
protocols around concussions in MLB, that  will
change how players, such as Hiroki Kuroda
would be treated

Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) announced today that they have adopted a series of protocols under its new joint policy regarding concussions, which will be in effect from Opening Day forward. On behalf of MLB and the MLBPA, a committee of experts formulated a comprehensive policy that will govern the manner in which concussions are initially diagnosed and the determination of when one may return to the field, dictating the response to both player and umpire concussions at the Major League and Minor League levels.

The key components of the policy are:

  • Mandatory baseline neuropsychological testing requirements for players and umpires during Spring Training, or when a player joins a club during the season, formalizing a process that most individual Clubs follow;
  • Protocols for evaluating players and umpires for a possible concussion, including during incidents typically associated with a high risk, such as being hit in the head a by a pitched, batted or thrown ball or by a bat; being in a collision with a player, umpire or fixed object; or any time when the head or neck of a player or an umpire is forcibly rotated;
  • The establishment of a seven-day disabled list for concussions, which will aim to allow concussions to clear, prevent players from returning prematurely and give clubs a full complement of players in one’s absence; any player on the seven-day DL for more than 14 days will automatically and retroactively be transferred to the 15-day DL, effective with the first day of the initial placement, and with the prior 14 days applying to the initial 15-day maximum term; implemented on a trial basis for the 2011 season;
  • Protocols for clearing a concussed player or umpire to return to activity; prior to the time that a concussed player is permitted to play in any game (including Major League, Minor League or extended Spring Training games), the Club must submit a “Return to Play” form to MLB’s Medical Director; submission of the form is required irrespective of whether the player was placed on the Disabled List.

The Commissioner’s Office will conduct an orientation for Club medical staffs regarding the new protocols. In addition, each Club will be required to designate a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI) specialist in its home city to evaluate players or umpires when necessary.

The Committee was chaired by Alex Valadka, MD, FACS, who is MLB’s Consultant on MTBI, Chief of Adult Neurosciences and Neurosurgery at the Seton Brain and Spine Institute in Austin, Texas. Other experts on the Committee included Andy Jagoda, MD, FACEP, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York; James Kelly, MA, MD, FAAN, a Neurologist at the University of Colorado Neurosurgery, and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine; Thomas McAllister, MD, a Neuropsychiatrist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and Professor of Psychiatry & Neurology at Dartmouth Medical School; and John Golfinos, MD, Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at NYU Medical Center and a representative of the MLB Players Association.

The Committee members included:

  • ROGER CAPLINGER: Head Athletic Trainer of the Milwaukee Brewers
  • TONY CLARK: MLBPA Director of Player Relations
  • STEVEN ERICKSON, MD: MLB’s Medical Consultant to the Major League Umpires
  • GARY GREEN, MD: Medical Director of Major League Baseball
  • RICK MCWANE: Head Athletic Trainer of the Minnesota Twins
  • MARK SCHICKENDANTZ, MD: Team Physician of the Cleveland Indians and President of the MLB Team Physicians Association
  • ED SNELL, MD: Team Physician of the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • LONNIE SOLOFF: Head Athletic Trainer of the Cleveland Indians
  • JOEL SOLOMON, MD: Medical Consultant to the MLBPA
  • KATHY WEBER: Team Physician of the Chicago White Sox

“I believe that Major League Baseball is taking a major step forward on a vital shared goal with the MLB Players Association,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “This policy, which reflects the collective expertise of many of the foremost authorities in the field, will benefit players, umpires and clubs alike, and I am proud of the spirit of cooperation that has led us to this result.”

“The MLBPA is pleased to have worked with the Commissioner’s Office, members of Club training and medical staffs and some of today’s leading experts in neurology to develop new protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of concussions,” said MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner. “Player safety is a major concern of the collective bargaining parties, and these new protocols and procedures should enhance our ongoing efforts to protect the
health of players and umpires.”

Source: Major League Baseball, MLB Players Association


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Jeter, Mauer, Halladay, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers Most Popular MLB Jerseys PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 14:13
Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter ranked #1 in MLB  jersey
sales for 2010

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins and Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies top the list of MLB Most Popular Jerseys released jointly today by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, based on sales of official Majestic jerseys for the 2010 calendar year.

Players representing 11 different MLB Clubs make up the list of top 20 most popular jerseys – including seven of the eight 2010 playoff teams -- with seven different clubs in the top ten. In addition, 12 of the top 20 players are under the age of 30. The Phillies have the most players in the top 20 with four (Halladay, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee and Ryan Howard). Three rookies cracked the top 20 list, including Atlanta’s Jason Heyward, Washington’s Stephen Strasburg and San Francisco’s Buster Posey. The top 20 include ten infielders, four pitchers, four outfielders and two catchers. Of the top 20, 16 were All-Stars in 2010 and 15 played on teams that reached the Postseason.

MLB Most Popular Jerseys

Based on Majestic 2010 sales figures

1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

2. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

3. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies

4. Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies

5. *Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies

6. Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals

7. Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers

8. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox

9. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

10. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants

11. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees

12. Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves

13. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

14. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers

15. Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins

16. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox

17. Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers

18. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies

19. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants

20. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

*Lee played for the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers in 2010, before signing with Philadelphia in November. His ranking reflects sales of jerseys for all three teams.

Also, Major League Baseball announced that sales of officially licensed MLB merchandise reached an all-time high in 2010, with total licensing revenues up +6% over the previous year. Products featuring the marks of the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Phillies and Cubs were the hottest sellers in 2010 (top ten listed below).

MLB Licensing 2010 Club Rankings

Based on sales of all licensed products for the 2010 calendar year

1. New York Yankees

2. Boston Red Sox

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

4. Philadelphia Phillies

5. Chicago Cubs

6. St. Louis Cardinals

7. Chicago White Sox

8. Atlanta Braves

9. Minnesota Twins

10.Detroit Tigers

Source: MLB Properties


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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