Today in sports: Tim Thomas decision not to go to the White House with his team yesterday isn't playing well with hockey fans on the left or the right, John Kerry and Scott Brown team up to make sure DirecTV customers in Boston will be able to watch the Super Bowl, and the first round of bidding for the Dodgers is complete.
There were "more than ten" non-binding bids entered yesterday to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, including ones from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen, and former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley. Various would-be ownership groups are expected to join forces to make their offers more attractive. According to The Wall Street Journal, there were "multiple bids in excess of $1 billion" submitted yesterday, which is good news for soon-to-be-former owner Frank McCourt, who turned down a $1.2 billion offer on the club back in the fall. [The Los Angeles Times]
According to CBS Sports baseball reporter Jon Heyman, the Detroit Tigers and free agent first baseman Prince Fielder have come to terms on a nine-year, $214 million contract. $214 million! When Sports Illustrated asked a panel of agents and front office executives back in July to predict what Fielder would end up signing for, nobody went higher than $175 million. [CBS]
Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas opted not to attend an event at the White House yesterday to commemorate the team's Stanley Cup win last season, because he thinks the federal government is too big. Thomas explained his decision in a Facebook that was levelheaded and almost apologetic in tone, but the Boston papers are still shredding him for it. Not because he snubbed the president, but because he wasn't a team player. Boston Globe hockey columnist Kevin Paul Dupont, who doesn't tend to take the scorched-earth approach on such things, eviscerated Thomas, calling his decision "Shabby. Immature. Unprofessional. Self-centered. Bush league." Even The National Review is saying he should have just been a good sport and attended the ceremonial event without raising a fuss, calling his decision to skip "a cheap shot.". [Boston Globe]
Nearly 200,000 DirecTV customers in Massachusetts have been without their local
Fox NBC affiliate since January 13, thanks to another one of those tedious stand-offs over carrier fees. Ordinarily, this would just mean missing the audition rounds of American Idol, which is disappointing, but not a catastrophe. The trouble is that in two weeks, Fox will be broadcasting the Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants. Pats fans should take comfort in the fact that John Kerry and Scott Brown have already started raising a ruckus on the subject, firing off letters to FEC chairman Julius Genachowski and the heads of DirecTV and Sunbeam Television Corp., which owns the station. [Nashua Telegraph]
This is fun: apparently Baltimore Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff was "distracted" and unresponsive on the sideline before missing a chip-shot field goal that would have sent the AFC championship game into overtime. Baltimore's coaches are said to have told Cundiff six times to get ready to run onto the field, but he ended up running out late and rushing his kick to avoid a delay of game penalty. An unnamed Raven says that while the coaches were all screaming at Cundiff after the miss, the players didn't say anything, "because he looked like he was ready to kill himself." [TMZ]
The days of big-budget Super Bowl commercials being kept under wraps until gameday are over, which only makes sense in the era of YouTube. Increasingly advertisers are building campaigns for their Super Bowl campaigns. That runs contrary to all instincts of showmanship, but the results have been hard to argue with: Volkswagen's teaser trailer for its Beetle Super Bowl spot received 1.6 million views in its first 24 hours on YouTube. That's more appealing than waiting until Super Bowl Sunday to capture "single day lightning" that doesn't help the brand before kickoff. [The New York Times]