Sports briefs Feb. 16, 2011

Pujols involved in contract drama

Whether or not Albert Pujols signs a major contract extension before the baseball season starts is a major topic of discussion. Recently, Pujols has rejected long-term offers from the St. Louis Cardinals, and it is being reported he is looking for a 10-year deal. Now, his coach, Tony La Russa, is claiming that the Major League Baseball Players Association is pushing the star first baseman to sign a record-setting contract. “I’m not saying that if I was a union representative I would do it differently,” La Russa told “I’m just saying I think it diminishes the other factors that a player looks at. … I think each negotiation should be based on what’s the best decision — taking everything into account, not taking one thing into account.” According to the report, because Pujols is widely considered the best player in the league, the union is pushing him to sign an exorbitant deal, which would raise the bar for the next great player.

Mets ownership in state of flux

The New York Mets’ ownership has been in the midst of turmoil recently. Fred Wilpon, owner of the team, is trying to sell a portion of the team to fund a settlement that is reportedly $1 billion. (Wilpon was an integral member of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, so will ultimately be forced to a large sum of money to the victims.) It is now being reported that Wilpon approached Donald Trump to have a face-to-face meeting to discuss purchasing 20-25 percent of the team. According to an report, Trump will only likely be interested in purchasing a majority share, thus allowing his say in day-to-day operations of the team. “The Wilpons are friends of mine, and I really hope it works out great for them,” Trump said, according to ESPN. “But if anything doesn’t work out for them, I’d be interested in the team.”

Griffey returning to Mariners

Many life-long baseball fans were upset to learn that Ken Griffey Jr. would be hanging up his cleats last season. It seems he is now making a return, but this time as a consultant for the Mariners. The sure-fire Hall of Fame outfielder will likely be involved in other aspects of the organization, including marketing, broadcasting and community relations. “I’m looking forward to staying very involved with the Mariners, working with the players throughout the organization, staying involved with the community and assisting in other areas of the organization,” Griffey said in a statement from the club. “It’s an exciting time and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity.” Since retiring, Griffey has reportedly been adamant about returning to the team in some form, and will likely be a ubiquitous figure for the organization throughout the season.

Super Bowl seating fracas continues

The seating debacle at Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6 just won’t go away. Initially, the 400 fans that were removed from their seats were offered $2,400, which is three times the value of the actual tickets, and a ticket to next year’s Super Bowl. After that, the league offered a second option, stating the fans could acquire a ticket to any future Super Bowl, with airfare and hotel costs included. Now, according to an report, the NFL has e-mailed the fans to offer either $5,000 or reimbursement for “actual documented” Super Bowl expenses, whichever figure is higher. “As you may know, we have been reaching out directly to those fans who regrettably and inexcusably were unable to watch Super Bowl XLV from a seat in Cowboys Stadium,” said the email to fans. “In listening to your feedback, we have decided to offer a third option.”