Friday, April 01, 2005

D-Backs change autograph policy 

The Diamondbacks on Wednesday announced changes to their autograph sessions prior to home games.
Signings will now be from 5:30 to 5:50 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with a group of 10 players and coaches dispersed to five different locations at Bank One Ballpark — four on the main concourse and one exclusive to suite holders on the Diamond Level.

"(These adjustments) will allow for longer accessibility in a much more convenient setting," public relations director Mike Swanson said. "This new policy eliminates the rush to the railing and gives players the opportunity to be more personable in a controlled environment on the concourse."

Previously, eight team members signed for 10 minutes before weeknight games, along the outfield lines.

Under the new policy, Saturday games will feature a "Kids Only" table of two players signing for younger fans.

The season-opening ninegame homestand will feature three autograph sessions — on Tuesday before Arizona’s game against the Chicago Cubs, on April 9 vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers and April 12 vs. Colorado.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lefty’s book offers more than golf 

Lefty’s book offers more than golf
By Bill Huffman, For the Tribune
Phil Mickelson will open defense of his Masters title on Monday in Augusta, Ga., with the most unusual of strategies — a book signing.
That’s right, Lefty will be at Borders Books in Augusta for a one-hour autograph session that will correspond with the release of "One Magical Sunday (But Winning Isn’t Everything).’’

Obviously, this is a big week for the former Arizona State All-American. On Tuesday night, he will be the host at the Champions Dinner, where he has promised to serve up his favorite cuisine — lobster ravioli, garlic bread and Caesar salad. Mix in a couple of practice rounds, and the real deal gets under way on Thursday.

The anticipation for the book launch is amazing stuff, considering it was only a year ago that everyone was asking the question: When will Phil Mickelson win his first major championship? Turns out, it was that one magical Sunday a little less than a year ago, in which Mickelson rolled in five birdies on the last seven holes of Augusta National’s infamous back nine to edge Ernie Els by a stroke.

That skid-busting performance — Mickelson was 0-for-46 in the majors going into that week — served as the impetus for the new book (Warner Books, $22.95 hard cover). That, and Phil’s childhood, his marriage and his three children.

Author Donald T. Phillips, who wrote the book "Lincoln on Leadership,’’ assisted Mickelson with this one, which has a rather repetitious format. Each of the 19 chapters represents a hole at Augusta National on that fateful Sunday, the 19th hole being the green jacket ceremony.

Here’s how it works: Phil describes the hole and what he’s thinking going into it, he hits his shot, the reader gets anecdotes from his life and times, and then he finishes the hole as the reader is given a leader board update.

Midway through his final round, there is a 16-page photo exposé featuring frames of Phil and his family and friends.

Actually, the collection of snapshots are one of the book’s most charming chapters. Among them: Phil the golfer at age 4; his wedding to wife, Amy; Phil in the cockpit of his jet; a practice round with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer; being dad to Amanda, Sophia and Evan; Phil the athlete, dunking off a trampoline at a Suns game and trying out with the Toledo Mudhens baseball team; the well-chronicled loss to Payne Stewart at the 1999 U.S. Open; and, of course, numerous photos from the Masters win, including the one where he tells Amanda: "Daddy won!"

While many of the anecdotes have been told before, such as Phil running away from home at age 3 because his dad wouldn’t take him golfing, there is some new stuff, like how Amy and Phil got together.

Apparently the courtship began in a roundabout way at a Guns N’ Roses concert, moves on to a meeting at the Phoenix Open when Amy was a Suns dancer, and takes flight at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic where Phil offers Amy his hotel key following the pro-am — as a joke — and she throws it back in his face.

Unlike some books being authored by — or about — superstar athletes these days, there are no steroids or mistresses in this one. In other words, there’s no controversy, allegations or dirty laundry to help sell it.

Still, I fully expect "One Magical Sunday" to make the New York Times’ Best Seller List. In fact, Warner Books is so certain that readers will devour this Grated stuff about raising Phil and learning about his family, it has printed a staggering 1 million copies. Which is saying a lot, because not even George W. Bush could generate such preprint numbers.

While a lot of the "One Magical Sunday’’ copy borders on toogood-to-be-true, apparently that is the way Phil "Leave it to Beaver’’ Mickelson sees his All-American life unfolding. No wonder he smiles so much, and why the Warner Book folks promote him as "America’s Most Beloved Golfer.’’ (And you thought it was Tiger Woods?)

Having known Mickelson since he was a 19-year-old freshman at ASU, I was not surprised the book takes such a positive spin. Phil is genuine, inquisitive and slightly naive. Some might even say he validates the old Huey Lewis line "hip to be square.’’ Why is it that so many who follow the game love Lefty, and why so many will buy his book just because it’s about Phil Mickelson? Perhaps this excerpt lifted from the book sums it up best:

"I’ve given a lot of thought as to why so many people reacted so enthusiastically to my win at the Masters. Part of the reason, I think, is that we all have something in common. We’re all trying to win our own personal major. Every day, we work hard to make a little progress, and every day we get beaten back a little bit.’’

Once again, Dr. Phil is right down the center of the fairway, which is why the subtitle — ("But Winning Isn’t Everything’’) — was added to "One Magical Sunday.’’

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fan suing Colts WR  

Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts and two other men are accused in a lawsuit of attacking three boys seeking the wide receiver's autograph a day before Pro Bowl in Honolulu.

The suit, made public Monday, seeks general, special and punitive damages to be determined at trial. It alleges Harrison "violently and physically attacked" the minors, including placing a "potentially deadly choke hold" on one of the boys.

Police interviewed Harrison while he was in Honolulu and forwarded their report to city prosecutors, who are considering whether to pursue charges.

Harrison was not arrested and no one has been charged.

The boys have incurred medical expenses and severe emotional distress as a result of the assault, the suit said.

Johnnie Reshard Jr., Ernest Simon Jr. and Eric Gilbert Jr., whose ages are not listed in the suit, and their parents were visiting from California to attend the Pro Bowl when the boys were assaulted at a hotel by the All-Pro player and two unidentified men, the suit said.

Harrison's agent could not be reached immediately for comment.

Senate approves bill banning fees for autographs for children 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The state Senate has approved a bill that would impose a $100 fine on professional athletes and entertainers who charge anyone under 16 for an autograph.

Senators unanimously approved the legislation Tuesday. It now goes to the House.

Bill sponsor, Sen. Roger Badeau, said he was appalled when Boston Red Sox players participated in an autograph signing event in Providence after their World Series win last fall, and parents had to shell out nearly $200 so their children could get an autograph.

He said the state needs to send a message that children's sports heroes and other idols shouldn't be charging them for signatures.

At least one company that conducts autograph-signing events has said either fees or corporate sponsorships are needed to underwrite the cost of the events. Richard Rotman, chief executive officer of the Worcester, Mass., based Paid, Inc., also suggested the law could deter promoters from making Rhode Island appearances.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?