Lamar Hunt Jr. and the Missouri Mavericks

Lamar Hunt Jr watches over the Missouri MavericksLamar Hunt Jr. and the Missouri Mavericks:  On Friday, February 6, 2015, Loretto Sports Ventures, LLC, a company owned by Lamar Hunt, Jr., announced that it had purchased the Missouri Mavericks of the East Coast Hockey League and that Lamar had been approved for ownership status by the ECHL Board Of Directors.  The ECHL is considered the premier AA professional hockey league, and the Mavs play their home games at the Independence Events Center in Independence, Missouri.

At the press conference, Lamar said that “today is an exciting day for the Missouri Mavericks and our great fans.  Since 2009, the Mavericks have been an exemplary hockey franchise.  I have seen firsthand how the team and staff come together to create a competitive product on the ice, as well as an exhilarating game day experience at Independence Events Center. We are pleased to have the… Continue reading →

Branch Rickey and the African-American Athlete in Professional Baseball

When the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox squared off in the 2013 World Series, there was only one African-American player on either roster. When these two teams met in the 1946 World Series there wasn’t a single African-American player in either dugout. In between 1946 and 2013, the Cardinals and Red Sox played each other two other times in the World Series (1967 and 2004) and by the time they met two decades later, in 1967, the African-American presence in baseball was 13.6%. The peak presence of African-American players in baseball was reached in the 1980s when nearly 1 in 5 players was African-American. By 2004, when the Cardinals and Red Sox squared off again, there were only two notable African-American players in that World Series. This begs the question of where all the African-American baseball players have gone. Before we address that question, let’s recall the… Continue reading →

Branch Rickey, 42, and the Heritage You Leave Behind

Great music, wonderful acting, engaging writing, and beautiful art can all inspire. Less frequently, these days, can a movie do as much. Recently I saw the movie 42 about Jackie Robinson, the first Black American to play Major League Baseball. While the movie focused on the struggles and insults he endured to play the game, the movie was perhaps more about a man, Branch Rickey, who took the risk of identifying and mentoring Mr. Robinson to be what he knew he could be – not only a great baseball player but the very best version of himself that he could be.

Branch Rickey, played in the movie by Harrison Ford, was an innovator and unquestionably a man of faith. He is credited with establishing the first full-time spring training facility for baseball in Vero Beach, Florida and inventing the batting cage, pitching machines, and batting helmets.… Continue reading →

Bragging, the NFL Playoffs, and Back-up Quarterbacks

A recent article in Newsmax highlighted a Harvard study finding that almost half of our conversations are about ourselves. Athletes certainly lead the charge when it comes to bragging or “self-disclosure” – the Harvard study’s polite expression for bragging. According to the study, bragging makes people feel good about themselves but whatever happened to that distant time when individuals mostly let their accomplishments speak for themselves? Muhammad Ali’s catch-phrase, “I am the greatest,” was considered outrageous – yet this rant seems almost quaint compared to the bombast we see from athletes and celebrities who are nowhere near greatness.

Perhaps a significant contribution is being made by access to social media such as Facebook and Twitter where bragging is an American pastime. They have become the places where we say, “look at me”, according to behavior expert and author Dr. Sandy Brewer. Boasting is often a cover for people’s insecurities,… Continue reading →

General Motors and Manchester United: Really?

On Friday August 3, Manchester United disclosed, as part of a public stock offering, that it will receive $559 million under a seven-year jersey sponsorship agreement with the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. Chevrolet will take over the position from insurer Aon beginning with the 2014-2015 season. While it is understandable that a company is free to place its advertising dollars wherever it believes they will be the most helpful, this is very frustrating for those of us who are closely associated with Major League Soccer (MLS). This is approximately $79 million/year for a jersey sponsorship. Admittedly, Manchester United is a recognizable brand worldwide and the deal will likely benefit both parties. My question is simply this:  Would GM, a preeminent United States corporation, be willing to sit down and work with MLS for a similar deal for the entire league? Pretty please?