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Red Sox Want to Sell Mixed Drinks All Over Fenway Park

Things could be getting a lot rowdier at Fenway Park in the Summer of 2011. Baseball fans all around the country love to complain about having to buy $9 beers at the ballpark, but that doesn’t stop them from pounding a dozen of them on a warm summer evening. Sometimes there’s nothing more refreshing than an ice cold beer on a 90-degree night — except maybe an ice cold Jack and Coke.

According to the Boston Globe, the Red Sox have moved to expand the sale of mixed alcoholic beverages throughout the ballpark by their home opener on April 8. Currently, hard liquor is only served to fans with upper-level premium seats.  Naturally, the mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino, is not enthused.

What do you think?  Is this a good idea or what?  On the one hand, these drinks will probably go for upwards of $10 a piece.  From a business standpoint it’s genius, but would it turn the ballpark into a 21-plus environment?  I can’t tell you how many news specials I’ve seen about Fenway Park and how the behavior of fans is getting out of hand.  One would have to assume this would make things worse.

That being said, I’m all for it.

Ralph Nader Wants to Do Away with College Scholarships

Ralph Nader is one of those politicians who has never been shy about voicing his opinions when it comes to sports.  A few years back, he was candid about changes he believed needed to be made in order to fix the problem the NBA has with corrupt officials.  Now, Nader has taken issue with the concept of NCAA athletic scholarships.

“As we near the exciting conclusion of ‘March Madness’ — which would more accurately be described as the 2011 NCAA Professional Basketball Championships — it’s time we step back and finally address the myth of amateurism surrounding big-time college football and basketball in this country,” Nader said in a proposal that the Associated Press obtained, via NESN.

“An entire industry has developed in the youth sports arena — club teams, personal trainers, etc. — to prey on families’ dreams of an athletic scholarship,” he continued. “The lure of the elusive athletic scholarship is the primary — sometimes the only — marketing tool these youth sports entrepreneurs use.”

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Nonito Donaire Leaves Bob Arum’s Top Rank for Golden Boy Promotions

A shock was sent through the business side of boxing Wednesday when it was announced that Nonito Donaire would be leaving promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank for Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. This is just the latest twist in an ongoing saga between the rival promotional groups, and there is little doubt it is a massive gain for Golden Boy.

Nonito Donaire is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and an emerging star in the sport of boxing. The 28-year-old has been moving up in weight class steadily and picking up fans along the way while posting a 26-1 record. The Filipino Flash’s most recent fight was an eye-opening second-round knockout of Fernando Montiel last month that rearranged his opponent’s face.

Donaire has speed, power, and size for a bantamweight. Whether or not he can become as big as Manny Pacquiao in terms of popularity remains to be seen, but we do know that Donaire is an emerging star.

That’s why his promotional sidestep is so significant for boxing.

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NFLPA Using Threat of Future Decertification to Keep Agents in Check

We’ve talked about what the lockout and decertification processes mean for the NFL and NFLPA, but one aspect of the sport that hasn’t been discussed much is the agents. Initially, when reports emerged suggesting the players union would decertify, there was concern that without regulation from the Players Association, agents could run wild.

People speculated that agents could theoretically steal each other’s clients, recruit on college campuses, and do things they normally wouldn’t be allowed to based on the rules outlined by the NFLPA. There was also concern that players wouldn’t have to pay their agents since they were no longer governed the NFLPA. Well fear not LBS Nuts, things won’t be as bad as you were worried they might be.

Larry Brown Sports spoke with agent JR Rickert who has numerous NFL, NBA, and MLB clients for answers to these questions. Rickert said the agents were advised about many of these issues during a seminar in Indianapolis. Most notably, Rickert explained that the NFLPA essentially is holding a threat over the agents to caution them against breaking the rules.

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What Decertification Means for the Players Union and NFL

On Friday evening, the NFLPA made the decision to decertify in a move that would block the lockout by the owners. I keep getting asked the question by readers and friends what decertification means, so I figured it was worth a post to explain things.

The NFL players initially bonded together and formed a union in an act they hoped would help generate more favorable rights. For instance, by forming a union, they could approach the owners with certain demands and the owners would have to negotiate or lose their players (and risk going with “replacement players” who are inferior in talent). The sides formed an agreement known as the Collective Bargaining Agreement that details how the league will be run. The CBA contains points such as when players can become free agents, whether teams will pay players who get injured, and how long the season is.

I’ve never read the NFL CBA, but several years ago I read the MLB CBA and let me tell you, every possible detail you could imagine is covered. We’re talking everything from meal money on road trips to the way arbitration hearings will go is spelled out.

Anyway, the NFL owners realized that the league was getting extremely popular and generating ridiculous amounts of revenue, and they wanted more of it for themselves. Two years ago they opted out of the CBA, just like A-Rod opted out of his contract with the Yankees to negotiate a more favorable deal.

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Drew Brees Feels Badly for Fans

The NFLPA has decided to decertify and sue the NFL for violation of anti-trust laws. LBS is firmly on the side of the players in this negotiation, feeling that the pot should be split 50-50 and that the players deserve lifetime health care for their injuries. It’s pretty simple: the players surrender their health every time they take the field and they should have many more rights than they do now. The owners owe the players much more decency than they currently provide them, and it’s sad to see their greediness result in the lockout that has been prevented by decertification.

It’s also sad that fans have to endure the labor battle between the two sides. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees recognizes this and expressed that sentiment on his twitter account Friday.

In various tweets, the former Super Bowl MVP wrote “To our fans – I give you my word that we as players are doing everything we can to negotiate with the NFL towards a fair deal … The NFL brought this fight to us – they want $1 billion back, we just want financial information to back up that request … I am very sorry that you as fans have to endure this. Football is more than just a game for all of us. We will keep fighting…always …Not once have the players asked for more money during this negotiation. That is a FACT. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for us”

Well guess what Drew, you’re right in not expecting people to feel sorry for the players, but you have someone here who sees beyond the owners and does feel badly for the players. And with compassionate sentiments such as this one, you make it much easier for us to root for the players to have success in gaining more rights and equality in their fight with the owners.

Was NFL Owners’ Idea for 18-Game Schedule Just a Negotiation Tool?

As the NFL players and owners continue to meet to try and agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, they have several items to negotiate. One of those points was the owners’ supposed desire to implement an 18-game regular season. Most players opposed it, fans weren’t elated for it, but the owners wanted it and spoke like it was an inevitability.

Regardless of their desires, NFLPA exec De Smith says the union will not discuss an 18-game season. The rigidity of Smith’s stance on the issue makes me wonder if the owners can use that for leverage in negotiations with another topic. It also makes me wonder if they ever wanted 18 games in the first place, or if they were pushing the idea solely for the purpose of leverage in negotiations.

The fans never pushed for the idea of 18 games. As LBS contributor Gene pointed out, and Jimmy Traina wrote on twitter, contrary to what Roger Goodell has said, the fans’ objection never was four preseason games, it was just having to pay for four preseason games in order to purchase season tickets. The two are not the same issue.

It’s quite possible Goodell and the owners knew the players would object to it, and by pushing for the longer season, they’d guarantee themselves leverage for another topic. Hey, they already had guaranteed themselves payments from TV networks in the case of a lockout, who’s to say they didn’t have this planned too?