George Steinbrenner names new successor
Two years ago, George Steinbrenner announced that Steve Swindal, his son-in-law, would one day take over the Yankees. Steinbrenner obviously wants to keep the Yankees in the family because now, Steinbrenner has named a new successor because Swindal and his Steinbrenner’s daughter, Jennifer, have filed for divorce. Last week, it appeared that Steinbrenner had picked that new successor when he named his youngest son, Hal Steinbrenner, the chairman of Yankees Global Enterprises LLC. Yankees Global is the company that owns the Yankees and the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network. A spokesman for Steinbrenner wouldn’t comment on whether this means Hal is the man who eventually takes over the company or not after Steinbrenner steps down, but the spokesman did say that Swindal gave up his position in the organization as part of the settlement.
MLB sets attendance record
MLB drew well over 79 million fans (paid attendance) this season, blowing away the previous record set last season. It’s the fourth consecutive season that baseball has broken its attendance record. Eight teams broke attendance records and 10 teams drew more then three million fans, including the Detroit Tigers, who did it for the first time in franchise history. I usually devote a full column to breaking down the attendance figures, so be sure to check for that in next weeks column.
Chinese to play in Arizona Fall League
MLB announced last week that the Chinese National Team would be the first national team to play in the Arizona Fall League. Team China will play each of the six Arizona Fall League teams in late October and to get ready for the AFL, Team China will play 16 Instructional League games against teams comprised of minor league players. Former manager Jim Lefebvre and pitching coach Bruce Hurst will be in charge of the Chinese team.
Marlins make token front office moves
Four Florida Marlins executives received contract extensions last week and while each received a new title, it appeared that each person’s role will essentially be the same. Larry Beinfest takes over at the team’s president, while Michael Hill was given the title of general manager. Dan Jennings is the VP in charge of player personnel while Jim Fleming is the VP for player development.
With the promotions and contract extensions, the view is that they’re effectively taking these four men off of the market, as other teams will be looking for front office personnel now that the season is over. Both Hill and Jennings were prospects for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros general manager positions.
TBS finishes three decade run with Braves
With ratings on the decline and with advent of regional sports networks, MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings, television network TBS aired its last Braves game as part of a 30-year run that, in a lot of ways, revolutionized how baseball was watched on television. Braves games will still be shown locally, but the national programming on TBS will no longer include the Braves beginning next year.
As the linked column mentioned, it’s funny because back in the 1970s when Ted Turner first started showing Braves games on cable, many felt it was going to bring the sport to its knees. Instead, it was a trendsetter that not only put the Braves on the map, but showed other teams how they can leverage cable television to promote their team.
Minor League Baseball board of trustees choose Pat O’Conner as sole nominee for president
It looks like the race for the president of Minor League Baseball is turning into a formality as the league’s board of trustees announced that they were nominating just one person for the position. That person is Pat O’Conner, who is now the vice president for administration and chief operating officer, and served as former Minor League president Mike Moore’s right-hand man for several years. He was the closest to the job before Moore stepped down and it makes a lot of sense that he’d be the guy to get the nod.