The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the parishes located in the path of Hurricane Katrina beginning on August 26, 2005, and continuing.
The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the parishes of Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Caldwell, Claiborne, Catahoula, Concordia, De Soto, East Baton Rouge, East Carroll, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Pointe Coupee, Ouachita, Rapides, Red River, Richland, Sabine, St. Helena, St. Landry, Tensas, Union, Vernon, Webster, West Carroll, West Feliciana, and Winn.
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent Federal funding.
Representing FEMA, Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security, named William Lokey as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.
Union League Baseball announced today that former MLB Deputy Commissioner Steve Greenberg has accepted the role of Commissioner of Union League Baseball, effective immediately. Greenberg was highly praised by outgoing Commissioner Fay Vincent who is retiring due to health issues.
“I am excited to preside over the next decade of Union League Baseball, and hope I can ensure the continued commitment to excellence the league has established in it’s fist ten years.”
Greenberg will take over the duties of Commissioner from Fay Vincent immediately, and says he has already set three main goals for the rest of the decade.
“We need to build new stadiums, expand our presense in the media market, and work on establishing networks for our teams. Right now, only the New Orleans Gold Sox and Washington Generals have them, and to be honest, they could be better deals. Our TV Deal with ABC ends in two years. I believe we can double that amount.”
Steve Greenberg joined Allen & Company as a Managing Director in January 2002. At Allen & Company, he focused on the sports and media industries, as he has throughout his business career. Greenberg was the Co-founder and Chairman of Fusient Media Ventures, a New York-based sports and media company
Prior to starting Fusient, Mr. Greenberg and his business partner Brian Bedol co-founded Classic Sports Network in 1993. Backed initially by Allen & Company and other private investors, Classic Sports was one of the few successful independently owned new cable networks launched in the 1990’s.
Drawing on his love for baseball and his extensive legal and business experience, Mr. Greenberg previously served as the Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball under Commissioner Fay Vincent from 1990 until 1993. At MLB, Mr. Greenberg oversaw the day-to-day operations of the Commissioner’s office, including Broadcasting, Finance, Legal, Baseball Operations, Special Events and the League’s lucrative properties licensing operation.
Prior to MLB, Mr. Greenberg practiced law from 1977 through the end of 1989 with the Los Angeles firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips where he specialized in Sports and General Business Law and served as the firm’s managing partner in 1987 and 1988.
The son of baseball legend and Hall-of-Famer Hank Greenberg, Steve played first base and was captain of the baseball team during his undergraduate years at Yale University. After college, he was drafted by the Washington Senators and spent five years playing for minor league affiliates of the Senators (who later became the Texas Rangers). Subsequently, he enrolled at UCLA Law School where he earned his J.D. degree in 1977. Mr. Greenberg and his wife Myrna have two daughters and three grandchildren.
Saying that young people look up to professional athletes, members of a House committee investigating steroid use said today that Major League Baseball and Union League Baseball have failed in their responsibility to stop the use of performance enhancing drugs and was encouraging their use among young athletes.
“Kids aren’t just talking about their favorite teams’ chances in the pennant race,” said Representative Tom Davis, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the committee. “They are talking about which pro players are on the juice.”
In opening remarks for hearings that are scheduled to feature several stars and former stars of baseball, including Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Tom Brady, and Jose Canseco, several lawmakers talked about the spreading use of steroids among young people. Several pointed to a report by the Centers for Disease Control that said 500,000 American teens take steroids, partly in an effort emulate their sports heroes.
Henry Waxman, a Democrat and the ranking minority member of the committee, said baseball wasn’t doing enough to curtail their use.
“We’re long past the point where we can count on both leagues to fix its own problems,” he said.
“I find their use distasteful in the extreme.”
Catcher Tom Brady responded to questions from the commitee. “I have never used any illegal substances during my professional career. I never have, and never will.” he said. “I find their use distasteful in the extreme.”
Two other players ordered to testify, Rafael Palmeiro and Frank Thomas, both issued statements denying steroid use.
“I have never used steroids. Period,” Mr. Palmeiro said. “I dont know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”
Frank Thomas also issued a statement saying that he had not used steroids.
The committee also heard by noon today from parents of two young athletes who committed suicide after using steroids for several years. One father called the players “cowards” for being “afraid to step on the field without the aid of performance enhancing subtances.” Mr. Waxman said that if pro ball players are allowed to use steroids, it was no surprise that younger athletes want to use them too.
“There is an absolute correlation between the culture of steroids in high schools and the culture of steroids in major league clubhouses,” he said. “Kids get the message when it appears that it’s okay for professional athletes to use steroids. If the pros do it, college athletes will, too. And if it’s an edge in college, high school students will want the edge, too.
“There is a pyramid of steroid use in society and today our investigation starts where it should – with the owners and players at the top of that pyramid,” Mr. Waxman said.
As the spoke, Major League Baseball commissioner George W. Bush, who was to testify later, sat with his arms crossed and lips pursed.
Sitting near him was the Fay Vincent, Commissioner of Union League Baseball.
The hearing came a day after lawmakers chided Major League Baseball, Union League Baseball, and both players unions, accusing them of misleading Congress and the public about the new steroids testing policy. The members of Congress were reacting angrily to the disclosure of the policy’s details, which they contended were not as stringent or wide-ranging as baseball executives and union officials have said they were.
Mr. Davis and Mr. Waxman sent a 10-page letter to Mr. Selig and Mr. Vincent to express their disappointment and frustration with the new policy.
Both MLB and ULB instituted a steroids policy in 2002 and agreed last year to toughen it. The details of the new policy have not yet been finalized.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland and another member of the committee, said: “Baseball’s policy needs to be one of zero tolerance and it needs to have teeth.”Other players expected to be called to testify are Rafael Palmeiro, Curt Schilling and Frank Thomas.
Several aides to congressmen said that the call for hearings on steroid use came about partly because of the publication of Mr. Canseco’s book “Juiced,” in which he admitted using steroids and said Mr. McGwire and Mr. Palmeiro had also used them.
The players, who will appear in a panel format, will most likely be asked, under oath during the nationally televised hearings, whether they have used illegal steroids.
Immunity is not expected to be offered, and some of the players may invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Davis said the players will have “an opportunity today to either clear their name or take public responsibility for their action, and perhaps offer cautionary tales to our youth.”
The committee’s hearings will come in four different panel sessions. In the first one, they heard from United States Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, a major league player for 17 years and a member of Hall of Fame.
“Baseball needs to know we are watching,” he said. “They owe it to all of us to prove they are fixing this terrible problem. If not, we will have to do it for them.”
Like many of the other committee members who spoke, Mr. Bunning spoke of his love of the game, and of the place baseball has in American history and culture. Mr. Bunning talked about how steroid use had tainted the game for many people, and made them question the accomplishments of many great record-breaking plays.
“What is happening in baseball now is not natural and it is not right,” he said.
“The last thing I want for America’s pastime is to make it be the subject of a witch hunt,” he said. But, congress had to take action because the owners and players themselves were not, he said.
“It’s not their game,” he said. “It’s ours. They’re just enjoying the privilege of playing it for a short time. What I think many of the players do not understand is that many players came before them, and many will come after them. They all need to protect the integrity of the greatest game ever.”
The committee also heard from the parents of Rob Taylor, a baseball player from Southern California who used steroids and committed suicide.
“There’s no doubt in our minds that steriods killed our son,” Rob’s mother, Dr. Denise Garibaldi, told the committee. “In his mind he did what baseball heroes like Canseco had done.”
Dr. Garibaldi and her husband, Raymond Garibaldi, said that unbeknownst to them, their son had been encouraged to take drugs to bulk up by scouts and trainers and coaches since he was in high school. They noticed changes in his demeanor and his behavior, but he denied to them he used them, Dr. Garibaldi said.
“He told us, I don’t do drugs. I’m a ball player,” she said.
“Baseball is not life,” she said. “Baseball is a game.”
Another parent, Donald Hooton Sr., lashed out angrily at the players, saying that their use of steroids had been emulated by his son, Taylor, a high school football player who also committed suicide.
“You are role models.”
“You are cheaters, you are cowards,” he said. “You’re afraid to step on the field without the aid of performance enhancing subtances.”
He said the players who will testify “should be man enough to face the authorities, admit the truth and face the consequences,” instead of “hiding behind the skirts of your union.”
He also said, “I’m sick and tired of having you tell us you don’t want to be considered role models. You are role models.”
Fay Vincent announced today that he would retire after the end of this season, ending his 9 year reign as Commissioner of Union League Baseball. While Vincent had one more year on his current 5 year term, he said that he felt it was the right time to step down. Vincent, 67, cited his age as his primary factor in deciding to retire.
“I’m not getting any younger. There’s apparently life after baseball, or so I am told. I’m going to sit at home and enjoy the silence for a while.”
The Hollywood Stars will have a new home come 2003. The City of Los Angeles has approved the building of a new home for the Stars in downtown Los Angeles. The new park, which will feature a retractable roof, will be built close to the Staples Center, home of the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers franchises, as well as the NHL’s Kings franchise.
The Park will feature ‘4,1781’ seats according to the press release, an allusion to the year in which Los Angeles was founded. Further development of the area is currently being planned as part of ‘LA Live’ which is being developed by the Anschutz Entertainment Group. Construction of the ballpark will be handled by HOK Sport, the firm behind the building of Camden Yards in Baltimore, US Cellular Field in Chicago, Minute Maid Field in Houston, AT&T Park in San Francisco, Trump Field in Jersey City, Colonials Ballpark in Boston and the addtion currently underway in San Juan to Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
The Stars will change their name to the Los Angeles Stars to reflect the move. They currently play in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but fans have long complained that the Coliseum is not an ideal place to watch a baseball game.
The ULB is currently recruiting Beat Writers for the league. You don’t have to be an owner in the league to join. You can set yourself up as a fictional version of a baseball writer, or just be yourself. I’ll also be using this as a stepping stone in case a team opens up in the future. You can cover the league as a whole, a region/division or a team. You’ll get set up with access to the league file, and access to the league’s main site. You can be as active as you like. Hopefully, team owners will embrace this as give you insider information on trades, free agency offers, etc etc. Owners, if you have someone you’d like to recruit, please let me know.
Union League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent and ULB Players Association Preisdent Josh Allenberg are meeting in Allenberg’s home town of Pittsburgh today. There is renewed hope that the current tabled deal between the two sides may be finalized before the end of the Week ahead of the ULB Draft and the start of Spring Training.
ULBPA President Josh Allenberg and the ULB Owners are in dispute over the new Labor Agreement that was recently put forth to ULB Owners for approval. Allenberg told reporters that he never OK’d the deal, while Fay Vincent and the ULB Owners say that if he never agreed to it, it should never have arrived on Vincent’s desk.
“We’ve had discussions for months, and all of a sudden, Allenberg claims the Players Association never agreed to it? Sounds fishy to me.” commented one Players League Ownership Representive who asked that he not be named because he was not authorized to comment.
If the ULB Owners and the ULBPA cannot come to a deal, the 2002 season may be in trouble.
“It’s late in the year, we’re just a few weeks from Pitchers and Catchers arriving at Spring Training. This is a big concern for all of us.”
Donald Trump said that he was glad that the ULBPA is now objecting to the new deal, saying that “It was a rotten deal anyway. I voted NO. Perhaps they should fire their President and then we can get a new deal done.”
Union League Baseball has signed a new Contract with New Era to produce caps for all 18 teams. Previously, Nike handled caps for the Portland Pioneers and Columbus Crickets. Under the new terms, the Pioneers and Crickets caps will now be produced by New Era. All 18 new caps will sport a ULB logo on the left side of the cap. Caps will now display a number on the back of the hat where the old ULB logo was.
“We had internal discussions about the new caps, and a switch from a logo on the back to the side was a big hit with the players. We think fans will enjoy the new caps, which feature new stitching and a better moisture control.”
All 18 teams showed off their new caps, while several teams unveiled new jerseys for the 2002 season at the event in Times Square, which also served as the Grand Opening of the ULB Team Store. The RedHawks unveiled a new look, uncluding new Caps and jerseys, while the Jersey City Giants unveiled a new cap that brings back the Red Brim they wore from 1997 to 1999. The Buffalo Blizzard unveiled new White Caps in keeping with their new “White Out” look. The Vancouver Canucks all unveiled a new look for the team, going with a more modern logo complete with a new jersey and cap.
“All 18 teams continue to revamp their looks and we’re confident that fans will be even more excited about our distinctive look once the 2002 season begins.”