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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ramble On...White House and AMKT

News Item: White Sox to Tour White House ...

Say what? Note to Self...
Remember when you are the PR guy of a team... Never allow publicity of a tour of the White House unless you are there to celebrate the winning of a league championship or an Olympic GOLD Medal.

CHICAGO -- The Chicago White Sox are heading to the White House.

A group of about 35 including players, team officials and family members, will tour the White House on Monday. But it isn't certain if they'll get to meet President Barack Obama.

Obama often dons a well-worn White Sox cap and the team has embraced Obama as "First Fan."

The White Sox are 7-5 and in a three-way tie for first place in the AL Central. They face the Orioles at Camden Yards on Tuesday night.

Obama was invited to the White Sox opener and general manager Ken Williams attended the inauguration ceremonies.

White Sox spokesman Scott Reifert tells The Associated Press that the group will get a private guided tour in the afternoon, which was set up by Obama senior adviser David Axelrod.

A message left Sunday for a White House spokeswoman wasn't immediately returned.

News item ... AMKT: You heard it here first...

Ace Marketing & Promotions Inc. (OTC BB:AMKT.OB - News) announced today that they have teamed with Hinder to deliver what has come to be known as Ace's flagship product, Rockzimity -- a dynamic Bluetooth & Wi-Fi multimedia content delivery system compatible with over 1200 mobile devices, including the iPhone.

All fans have to do is to turn their Bluetooth Visibility to "On" & Discoverable and upon entering key areas in and around The Washington Avenue Armory in Albany NY, for example, fans will be presented a message "Would You Like A Free Video From Hinder?" Upon accepting "YES," the video download immediately begins and then is stored in the consumer's media folder. Content can easily be shared with family and friends via email or Bluetooth. Wi-Fi enabled devices connect to the Rockzimity localized network that is created and then launch their browser with any address ending in dot com. (.com) Ace Marketing & Promotions Inc., a mobile marketing leader focused on the advancement of the artist-to-fan relationship, utilize Proximity Marketing to engage fans and touch them from many angles and access points at key locations in arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums. Most recently, Ace Marketing & Promotions Inc. and Nickelback successfully delivered content and downloads to thousands of consumers in their most recent campaign at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on April 8th.

"The results of this campaign were tremendous; bands like Hinder and Nickelback really understand the impact Rockzimity (Proximity Marketing) is having with audiences attending these events. The consistent campaign results of nearly 90 percent acceptance prove that consumers want to participate in these highly interactive Proximity Marketing campaigns," stated Jim Meckley Director of Proximity Marketing for Ace. Kevin "Chief" Zaruk from Hinder management went on to say, "In the ever changing music industry, we are always looking at new and exciting ways to promote and market to our fans! Rockzimity and Ace Marketing is exactly the kind of new technology to accomplish this. We appreciate our fans and want to give them something back!"

News Item: Isiah Thomas to Coach FIU: This will be very interesting and will be followed closely by the NYC media and maybe even the Boston Bloggers...

Isiah Thomas looks for chance to shine in sunny South Florida

He craved sunshine. In the worst way.

''The last two years in New York, I have had too many cold, cloudy, dark days. I need the sun shining on me. Vitamin D -- I need it,'' he said, breaking into his trademark grin Thursday in a nondescript office above the FIU gymnasium, where crowds of less than 700 showed up for games last season.

''Nobody has any idea the toll the past two years took on me and my family,'' he continued. ``It was an avalanche. It was a terrible, terrible time. Lowest I've ever been. Sank into depression. Made me sick to my stomach.''

Thomas, who has spent nearly 30 years guarding his feelings and privacy as tightly as he guarded opposing players, let his guard down for a lengthy interview Thursday. He opened up about his failure in New York, the sexual harassment lawsuit, his overdose of sleeping pills in October and his giddiness about his new job at FIU.

''When you reach the top of the game, and then you get fired and are labeled a failure, that is an awful feeling,'' he said. ``And that came on top of the trial. Headlines every day. Horrible things being said about you. Lies. It was a lot to deal with. It was very hard on my mom, Lynn [his wife], our kids. But we've always kept family things private, so we just hunkered down and took it.''

On the night of Oct. 23, Thomas was exhausted, emotionally spent, stressed. He was having trouble sleeping. He said he always has been a night owl, and like many basketball coaches and players, having a night job means it's often hard to quell the adrenaline rush and fall asleep. He turned to sleeping pills. But he took too many on that night and ended up unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

''I just wanted to go to sleep and stop thinking about everything that was happening,'' Thomas said. 'And I want to be careful how I say that because the word `suicide' will come up, and that was not the case. I just wanted to sleep and relax. Obviously, I took too much because next thing I know, I'm in the hospital.''

He made a point to explain that when a reporter called his cellphone that night to ask if he was in the hospital, and if everything was OK, he responded that his 17-year-old daughter, Lauren, had been in the hospital that day (which she had, after feeling faint at school), and that everything was not OK. He said he did not mean to ''throw his daughter under the bus,'' as a police chief later said, but rather that it was a misunderstanding.

Asked why he didn't clear that up at the time, admit that he, too, had been hospitalized, he said: ``I was only concerned about my family at that time. I wasn't worried about what reporters would write.''


As for the lawsuit, Thomas maintains his innocence. He said his part of the harassment allegation stems from a single encounter in a hallway, in which he greeted Anucha Brown Sanders with a friendly hug and kiss on the cheek, she recoiled, and he said, ''What? No love today?'' The bulk of the suit, he said, did not involve him, and he was not ordered to pay personal damages.

''I have worked alongside women my whole career, reporters, front-office people, and there was never a problem,'' he said. ``I hired the only female NBA team physician. I don't act the way they said I acted.''

But that is all behind him now, and he is excited about ''a rebirth.'' Thomas accepted a five-year contract worth $1.1 million, and he will not take a salary the first season.

''I didn't want to be a financial burden on FIU,'' he said. ``This is not about the money. I just want to get back in the gym and start working with young players. I really feel I can have an impact. We have a great city to sell, and a hidden gem of a school. A lot of kids today want to go to college in big cities rather than college towns. If I get the right kind of kids, we can make something special.''

As it happened, Thomas' introduction as FIU's coach was Wednesday, the day the Pistons were in town to play the Heat. Joe Dumars, the Pistons' president and Thomas' former backcourt partner, has been text-messaging Thomas since he heard the news.

''I joked with him that he finally made it to my kind of conference,'' said Dumars, who played at McNeese State in Louisiana and is familiar with many of FIU's Sun Belt opponents.

``I am not surprised at all that he took this job. This is a guy who flat out loves the game, loves being in the gym. Yes, FIU is a major project. That justifies just how much Isiah wants to be back in the game. He's had his share of issues to deal with, but we live in a country that gives people second chances and forgives, and he deserves this chance to come back and start again.''

Dumars admitted he didn't know much about FIU, but that is about to change.


''I can tell you one thing for sure, FIU is on my scouting schedule next season, and some FIU games will wind up on ESPN,'' he said. ``Isiah will get some good players. He has a great personality. I can see him recruiting. Once he figures out the lay of the land, I think he'll do a good job. He'll have an impact.''

He already has. David Letterman did a bit on FIU and Thomas on his late-night show Thursday. News of his hiring made headlines on ESPN, CNN and in The New York Times. More than 100 reporters showed up for his news conference Wednesday.

''FIU has gotten more national publicity in the last 48 hours than it had in the past 30 years,'' said Pete Garcia, FIU's athletic director and a friend of Thomas' through NFL acquaintances. ``Isiah put us on the map.''

Thomas, a football junkie, is close friends with former San Francisco 49er Ronnie Lott and 49ers owner Eddie DeBartalo.

Through NFL connections, he met Garcia when Garcia was vice president of the Cleveland Browns. They kept in touch, and reconnected in January at Dolphin Stadium during the University of Florida's national championship victory over Oklahoma. It was one of a half-dozen college games Thomas attended last season.

In fact, Thomas sheepishly admitted that the only reason he had heard of FIU before this year was that he saw the brawl during the UM-FIU football game in 2006.

''Pete asked me how I thought FIU could get to the next level in basketball, asked if I'd thought about coaching college, and that's where the conversation began,'' Thomas said. ``I had picked a few cities I liked, where if anything came up, I'd explore, and Miami was one of them. Los Angeles and Atlanta, too. This was a good fit for me.''

Thomas' wife is hunting for a waterfront condominium. Thomas doesn't have time. An unopened Subway sandwich sat on his desk, and his luggage was piled on the office floor. Sitting on the table was a 424-page book of NCAA bylaws, which Thomas is studying in between meetings with FIU players, coaches, administrators, boosters and members of the media. Before he can recruit one player, he has to pass an NCAA rules test.

''There's a lot to learn, but I can handle it,'' Thomas said. ``I can't wait to get started.''

News Item: Check Out the Brand Jordan WebCast:

The shape of things to come. Get ready for a lot more sports web casting, broadbanding, streaming march madness on demand type stuff. It's coming... and It's coming hard.

News Item: Check Out Red & Me, My Coach, My lifetime friend... a book by Bill Russell with Alan Steinberg. The story of Bill Russell, the greatest of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of All-time, and his coach, Arnold "Red" Auerbach. The books will be out on May 5th and is published by Harper.

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