By now most readers know how I feel about Chris Wallace. You may even have read Geoff Calkins great article about how Andy Dolitch gave up his parking space to a fan who walked with a cane. Hopefully you know that Both Coach Iavaroni and Chris Wallace are doing weekly radio shows, the team is having the first Blue-White Scrimmage tomorrow and all of the other events the team is hosting to help kick start excitement about the team this year.
What you may not know is this sudden love of Memphis and the citizens doesn't end with publicity stunts.
Randy Stephens, the Senior Vice President of Broadcasting for the Grizzlies, was given a tough problem to deal with yesterday. In trying to program my TIVO box to tape the Grizzlies games in Spain I was surprised to see that the games weren't listed in the programming guide. I looked on NBATV.com and the games weren't mentioned there either. The Boston games were picked up on ESPN2 but no mention of the Grizzlies. I contacted Randy to verify that the games were in fact being broadcast locally.
He did more than just that.
Randy contact the NBA TV guys directly. The next thing I knew not only were the games up on the TV Programming Guide but the ticker tape at the bottom of the screen was promoting the upcoming broadcasts. For those interested the games are as follows:
At Unicaja Malaga Oct. 9 1:00 PM CT
At MMT Estudiantes Oct. 11 11:30 AM CT
That alone was pretty cool for Randy to do and if he had stopped there I would still be writing this blog to say thanks but he didn't stop there. Randy went the next step and emailed the local channels that will broadcast the game on satellite and cable
Comcast Digital 221 & 649
Dish Network 560
Unfortuantly there are no local channels broadcasting the game currently but give Randy a chance and who knows what the Grizzlies will do!
Some people may remember that the Grizzlies won an award this summer as the best organization in professional sports (that is all sports and not just basketball) with regards to their Charitable Contributions to the community. If Wallace and his team continues the way they are going they may just win an award for the best front office in professional sports.
I know they are already the envy of the league. Keep up the good work guys.
Side note: Mitch Lawrence is obviously too cheap to pick up a phone and call the Grizzlies to find the real story behind his comment about Memphis being cheap. Here is what Chris Wallace wrote me in an email when I asked him to comment on it:
As far as the blurb yesterday in Newsday, I would file it under "much ado about nothing."And that is the rest of the story to paraphrase Paul Harvey.
First of all, I would have appreciated the writer calling me to discuss his conclusion before he labeled me a cheapskape. Dontell Jefferson, whom we signed last week, played for Grizzlies' assistant coach Dave Joerger last season for the NBDL champion Dakota Wizards. In September a few local players and Dontell Jefferson came to the practice facility and participated in pickup games with some of our players.
Since coach Joerger and Dontell know each other well, he stayed at Joerger's house for awhile. At this point, Jefferson was not a consideration for a place on the training camp roster but as the pickup games progressed it was decided he would be a desireable player to invite to preseason camp. Once we decided to sign him, Jefferson was provided the option of moving into a hotel.
The only other player we signed, Kasib Powell, was housed in a hotel from his first day in Memphis.
The writer left the impression that the organization has a policy of intentionally placing free agent prospects at the homes of team personnel which is not accurate. One player, with a prior relationship with a staff member, stayed at the home of that individual at a time when he wasn't even a "free agent prospect" but rather simply an extra player for pickup games.
The use of the term "free agent prospects" and the word "homes" also insinuated that multiple players stayed at team personnel's homes which is also not accurate.
The writer also left the impression that the team housed potential free agents brought into Memphis on recruiting visits at the homes of team personnel which is inaccurate.
I can assure you that all free agent recruits as well as free agents signed recently and participating in our preseason training camp have been taken care of by the Grizzlies in a manner consistent with NBA standards.
Just another example of how great our front office is. Does anyone believe another GM would take the time to respond like that to a fan? Memphis is lucky to have the guys we have running this team.