He might be one of the most despised people in sports. But let’s hope NCAA president Mark Emmert has a sense of humor.
A minor league baseball team has decided to “honor” Emmert on July 2 in what basically is a spoof on the NCAA and its outmoded policies.
When he testified last week in the Ed O’Bannon vs. NCAA case, Emmert said: “To convert college sports into professional sports would be tantamount to converting it into minor league sports. And we know that in the U.S., minor league sports aren’t very successful either for fan support or for the fan experience.”
The Lake County Captains, the Single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, took offense to those remarks. So they’re holding “Mark Emmert Fan Appreciation Night.” Among the various promotions will be “credit” toward a future Captains’ home game for fans who stay beyond the third inning, a chance to upgrade their seats subject to a one-inning waiting period, “One-and-done” player cards, copies of basketball and football video games and “$100 handshakes” from the team to select fans who are wearing college gear.
Yes, Emmert has been invited, but it’s unlikely he’ll attend. Props to the Captains’ marketing department for coming up with such a fun night. One thing, though, will all beverages be served in a sterile NCAA cup?
■ HONORING GWYNN — In the wake of Tony Gwynn’s death, two of his former players from San Diego State have chosen to quit using smokeless tobacco.
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Addison Reed are stopping after Gwynn, 54, died June 16 of cancer. He was diagnosed with cancer of a salivary gland in 2010 and believed it was caused by his smokeless tobacco use.
“I think it’s a disgusting habit, looking back on it,” Strasburg said. “I was pretty naive when I started. Just doing it here and there, I didn’t think it was going to be such an addiction. … Bottom line is, I want to be around for my family. This is something that can affect people the rest of your life. (Chewing tobacco is) so prevalent in this game. It’s something we all kind of grew up doing.”
Strasburg said he picked up the habit long before arriving at San Diego State and that he didn’t know Gwynn had used smokeless tobacco during his playing days. Too bad it took the death of a legend for players to stop using the stuff.
■ UNWELCOME WAGON — When Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman recently decided to move, it was no big deal. Then the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s website let everyone know where he was living. Now, Sherman might have to move again.
Apparently, the news of Sherman’s relocation has resulted in fans coming by to ask for autographs, photos or to just hang out. The home, which previously belonged to the Los Angeles Clippers’ Jamal Crawford, is 9,435 square feet, is three stories tall, and has four bedrooms and 6¼ bathrooms. It sold for $2.31 million.
He’s none too happy about it and has cut off interviews with the Seattle media. Hopefully, Sherman will get the privacy he covets. One question — what is in a one-quarter bathroom?
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL