Money: A Look at Some of the Best Baseball Movies, Ever

It is time to debate baseball on the big screen boys and girls.

If I had to ask you what is your favorite baseball movie, what is the first one that comes to mind?

Would it be Major League, which starred (WINNING!) Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Rene Russo?

How about the 1984 hit, “The Natural“: starring Robert Redford and Robert Duvall or the 1992 classic “A League of their own.”

Did you think of “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta?

If it is not a dedicated movie about baseball, it somehow is referenced in many movie scripts. Hollywood writers somehow weave baseball into so many movies I find that I must point this put to my family, particularly to one member who hates the game, just to prove my point. Baseball is embedded in our culture. Baseball is America.

My favorite baseball movies have always been The Natural and a Field of Dreams. The Natural is a Classic and I wound up reading the book Field of Dreams during my 1987 cross country trek where I visited 23 baseball stadiums in six weeks. The movie, which came out later, reminded me of that great summer odyssey.

Now a new movie is coming out. I hope it can live up to the book. A few years ago I read the book Moneyball, and now, Brad Pitt stars as Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane in the movie. Here is the new Moneyball trailer, which was posted yesterday.

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Front & Center: Tim Mead, VP, Los Angeles Angels

Whenever Tim Mead’s name is mentioned, the same responses always comes up.   “A great guy, what a nice person.  Always takes the time to talk to me.”  Tim Mead is the vice president of Communications for the Los Angeles Angels.  As the 2009 Major League Baseball Season gets ready to begin, I thought it was a good time to feature our weekly 10 Topics with Tim.

Name: Tim Mead

Title:  Vice-President, Communications

Team/Organization:    Los Angeles Angels

Years with Organization:  30th season, 29th full-time

 

  1. Describe your position’s current responsibilities.

I am presently in charge of Media Relations, Broadcasting and Community Relations, as well as oversee the Publications Director.

  1. Tell us about your first job in sports.

The Angels were actually my first job in professional sports.  I joined the organization as an intern in 1980 after three attempts.  I was eventually ”hired” in June of 1980.  After concluding my internship, I was told there would not be an opportunity to return in 1981.  However, as the result of an opening in Stadium Operations in January, 1981, I was hired by the organization.  Two days later a secretary in PR resigned, I was transferred to that position and the rest, as they say, is history.

  1. What was best advice ever received?

Preston Gomez once told me to “Look, Learn and Observe.”  I continue to do that to this day.  I also heard Gene Mauch tell one of my bosses, “Don’t tell me it cannot get done.  Find a way to get it done.”  I have not forgotten that either.  He was not being mean-spirited, rather he was emphasizing the point hat certainly what he was asking was difficult at the outset, but it could be accomplished.

  1. What sports memory are you most fond of telling to others?

Obviously winning the World Series in 2002 and having to come back from a 3-2 deficit and winning Game Seven at home to do it was incredible.  But as much as I would like to say the games and performances are the biggest stories, I would say that the friendships with the players as individuals and how they have sustained through the years is perhaps as meaningful to me as anything.

  1. Describe the area(s) of opportunity for growth in your business.

Success on the field breeds countless opportunities for the organization in so many areas such as sponsorship, broadcasting, Community Relations endeavors, etc. I believe that during these tough economic times we simply need to get better at what we already do well!

  1. What are the biggest challenges that face your business today?

As is the case with most industries around the country, and perhaps even the world, economics is the most difficult.  We need to continue to be a very consistent and stable organization, something I think our owner has put us in the position of accomplishing.

  1. What is the best way to get a full time job in your sport?

I believe there is very little opportunities greater than an internship.  Practical application and experience opens countless doors and enhances one’s growing network.  Most of these jobs are rarely advertised, and difficult to attain.  The more exposure one can create within the organization, the better the opportunities.  Also, DO NOT give up your pursuit.

  1. How has this business changed in the last five years?

Two of the bigger changes involve the ever-changing media world and the reduction of newspapers, along with the increase of electronic press such as websites, bloggers, etc.  Traditional media is fading.  The other change that is impacting all of sports and entertainment is the involvement of the secondary ticket market and its impact on ticket pricing, purchasing and availability.

  1. What are the kinds of things do you look for in an employee?

Loyalty, work ethic, dedication, the ability to multi-task, personality and perhaps above all – passion!

  1. Finish this sentence. If I had to do it all over again, I would start by…..

hoping I had the opportunity to repeat what happened the first time around!

2009 IMG World Sports Congress

Miami anyone? One of the best sports conferences of the year, at least from a networking standpoint, is scheduled to kick off this week when the 2009 IMG World Congress of Sports begins a two day whirl-wind of speakers, events and networking at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Miami, Florida. I have attended this conference in the past and there’s no shortage of networking and deal making opportunities.

Rapid-Fire Roundtable: Thought Leaders Examine the Headlines of the Day and an Industry in Flux 
one of the first sessions features these sports business leaders Gary Bettman, Commissioner, NHL; Brian France, Chairman & CEO, NASCAR; Tim Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG; Alonzo Mourning, Founder, Alonzo Mourning Charities; Kevin Plank, CEO & Founder, Under Armour; and George Pyne, President, IMG Sports and Entertainment.

An impressive roster.

Joe Gibbs, the three time Super Bowl winning coach of the Washington Redskins, will deliver a keynote address that reflects on his career in sports, examines his keys to success and provides his views on the future of sports business.

Here is a selection of a few other sports titans expected to participate in the two-day seminar, starting April 1. This is no April fool’s day joke.

Jim Bankoff, Chairman & CEO, SB Nation

David Berson, Executive VP, Program Planning & Strategy, ESPN

Michael Fanuele, Managing Director, Strategy, Euro RSCG

Peter Foss, President, Olympic Sponsorship & Corporate Sales, GE

Don Garber, Commissioner, MLS

Ross Greenburg, President, HBO Sports

Wyc Grousbeck, Managing Partner, Governor & CEO, Boston Celtics

Jeremy Jacobs, Owner, Boston Bruins; Chairman & CEO, Delaware North Cos.; Chairman, NHL Board of Governors

Ted Leonsis, Chairman & Majority Owner, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Lincoln Holdings

David Levy, President, Turner Sports

Mike Levy, Chairman & CEO, OPEN Sports

Jon Litner, President, Comcast Sports Group

Michael Lynch, Head of Global Sponsorship Management, Visa

Jamie McCourt, Vice Chairman & President, Los Angeles Dodgers

Peter Moore, President, EA Sports

Dave Panos, CEO & Co-Founder, Pluck

Beatriz Perez, Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing, N.A., Coca-Cola

George Pyne, President, IMG Sports and Entertainment

Tim Schoen, VP, Global Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Anheuser-Busch

Joe Steranka, CEO, The PGA of America

Remember, this is just a selection of names.

Credit IMG. This annual conference is not held at the same place every year. In fact, in 2008 IMG staged the two day event at the St. Regis resort in Southern California where some 500 executives showed up for the seventh installation of this annual event. Highlights included a one-on-one interview with DirecTV head Chase Carey and a keynote address from U.S. Olympic Committee chairman, former MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth.

Positives: You will never be around more heavy hitters in the sports business at one single event.

Negatives: The cost is a bit prohibitive. Cost to register for the event alone is $1,850, and if you are a paid subscriber to the Sports Business Journal, the price is reduced to $1,695. For two days in this economy, it is a bit steep.

Last: I love how the event is scheduled to end, Florida style. In keeping with the South Florida’s theme the final act will be a beach volleyball tournament hosted by AVP. The Pro-Am will take place on the beach at the host hotel immediately following lunch on April 2nd, and will feature AVP pros and special guests. Attendees are invited to not only enjoy the festivities while networking with their peers, but they’ll also have a chance to test their volleyball skills. What a great mixer for all and a nice touch to involve the AVP.

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Pickleball for One and All

If you cross a tennis court with a ping pong table and what do you get? A Pickleball court of course. I recently learned about this new racket sport and I feel obligated to share it with you. Let it be known, if there was ever an opportunity to become CEO of Pickleball USA, I would apply tomorrow. Where do I send my resume because I am ready to apply for the title I just made up. I am absolutely passionate about this sport. You know the saying about older people being wise? Listen up, because I think they’re on to something. Pickleball is a sport being found more and more across the United States. I discovered it while visiting an active retirement community. I do not know why every community park doesn’t convert one or two tennis courts to Pickleball courts. The best part about the game is that is allows people of all ages to play together, on an even field. I personally witnessed three generations from one family — from kids aged nine and 11 to retirees in their mid 60’s playing and laughing together. Where also can you actively do this with everyone at the same skill level AND get decent exercise at the same time?

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BRIEF HISTORY LESSON

Pickleball dates back to the 1960’s when, according to Pickleball Central, it was created during the summer of 1965 on Bainbridge Island, just outside of Seattle, Washington. The game actually was created by three men – U.S. Congressman Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum and the goal was to have a sport for the entire family. So why the funny name? One family owned a dog named Pickles and it would chase after the wiffle balls used in the game.

If anyone at the Orange County Great Park Corporation is listening and wants great ideas for the developing California park, hire me now to run Pickleball. I’m ready.

Here are a few things more you should know about Pickleball.

* The playing surface is the same you play as an outdoor tennis court.

* You can develop four Pickleball courts on one existing tennis court.

* While you do not run as far as you would playing tennis, I can personally attest you still get a great workout.

* A court is 20 feet wide by 44 feet long.

If you would like to see a new story about the emerging sport, Good Morning America ran this feature on it ABC Story on Pickleball

I have also included a few slides from a recent trek to play Pickleball. This shows you court size, as well as racket sizes.