November 2007


A~Rod’s dollars make sense for Yankees ~

1196230291.jpg Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Alex Rodriguez batted .314 and hit 54 home runs for the Yankees in 2007.

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Despite the posturing, bruised egos and serpentine route of the courtship, Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees are a money-making marriage unparalleled in professional sports.

We know the details of Rodriguez’s contract: $275 million for 10 years, plus another $30 million if he breaks Barry Bonds’ all time home run record, structured in a marketing arrangement to get around major league baseball’s restrictions on statistics based incentives.

It is the largest deal in professional sports history, and both A~Rod and the Yankees stand to get significantly richer because of it.

Combining Rodriguez’s value over the life of the contract and considering the economic effect of the new Yankee Stadium set to open in 2009, he is likely to generate approximately $450 million of “value” for the Yankees, according to my analysis of his impact. Assuming the Yankees exceed the luxury tax threshold in each of the 10 years and trigger the 40 percent luxury tax, the total cost for Rodriguez will come to $427 million.

The true economic value of A~Rod is based on the Yankees’ revenue growth and asset appreciation that we can attribute to him. Economists call this a player’s marginal revenue product, but I’ve expanded it beyond revenue to include the marginal value of the Yankees’ assets, their ownership stake in the YES Network and the value of the franchise.

Rodriguez has two sources of value: performance and marquee. Performance value is determined by the impact of his playing performance on the Yankees’ win total and the resulting financial gains from the team being more successful because of his contribution We derive marquee value from A~Rod’s persona, image and even the more tangible value of drawing fans to watch him chase future personal milestones.

By adding his performance and marquee values for each year, we can assess the full 10 year value of A~Rod to the Yankees and prove why the $275 million salary with the potential for $30 million more in incentives negotiated by Rodriguez made a lot more sense than the $350 million his agent, Scott Boras, originally postulated.

PERFORMANCE VALUE

When the Yankees make the playoffs, which they’ve done 12 consecutive seasons, it’s worth nearly $40 million. A World Series victory is worth $70 million, calculations that I explained in my previous story for Yahoo! Sports, World Series financial scoreboard. Winning in New York draws more money than anywhere else, so it’s no surprise the Yankees have carried baseball’s biggest payroll eight consecutive seasons and 11 out of 12.

Revenues respond to winning, and by combining statistical tools, including regression analysis, with attendance, ticket pricing and a host of other financial data, we can estimate the change in revenues that corresponds to each level of regular season wins. I detail this concept, the win-curve, for each MLB team in my book, “Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball.”

Each team’s win curve is as unique as a fingerprint, incorporating the size of the market, loyalty and expectations of the local fan base, plus the depth and breadth of a team’s revenue streams. Teams that own a stake in a regional sports network [RSN], such as the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets, have a leg up on their competition when it comes to generating value from winning. Through their ownership stake, they directly benefit from increased ad revenues and the appreciation in the value of the network that can result from being the flagship broadcast partner of a winning sports franchise.

And nothing defines winning like postseason success. Teams often see dramatic jumps in season tickets, merchandise sales and broadcast ratings in the year following a playoff run. As a result, the player or group of player, that boosts teams into the playoffs, or at least keeps them there, the last piece of the puzzle, can create significant financial value.

The perfect storm of player value comes when a player in a large market joins a team with highly developed revenue streams and makes the difference between reaching the postseason or spending October at home. A~Rod and the Yankees potentially fit this description as well as any player/team combination in baseball today.

In order to fairly assess A~Rod’s value, there are some quirks to account for in the Yankees’ win curve. The normally demanding Yankee fans may soon take a temporary break from their fixation on winning. With the last season at historic Yankee Stadium and the opening of an amenity filled new version in ’09, the Yankees should have near capacity crowds regardless of their wins and losses in 2008 and 2009.

The stadium trance has serious implications on A-Rod’s value. One key component of the Yankees’ revenue equation attendance will only be modestly affected by players’ on field contributions, at least in the short term.

Eventually, though, the financial stakes of winning will spike. The highest ticket prices in baseball. An abundance of only in New York expensive luxury suites. Expensive concessions and even more expensive merchandise. The Yankees’ win curve will become a steep, slippery slope.

Win and rake in the cash.

Lose and beg for a tourniquet to stop the financial hemorrhaging.

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Figure 1 shows two versions of the Yankees win-curve – the 2007 version in the current Yankee Stadium and the eventual post grand opening version in the new Yankee Stadium. Additional revenue from winning doesn’t typically begin until a team exceeds 70 victories.

Judging the fair value of a long term contract can often hinge on the assumptions made about the player’s performance, his rate of decline with age and his injury risk. Using conservative but realistic assumptions, over the next several years we can expect A~Rod to perform closer to his level of play in 2004, his first year as a Yankee, when he hit .290 with 35 home runs and 120 RBIs. Excellent year, no question, but nothing like his two MVP seasons in pinstripes. We’ll then assume a gradual and steady decline during the back half of his 10 year deal, ultimately finishing his career as a .270 batting, 20 homer hitting aging superstar.

The net result is a modest dollar valuation for his on field performance in the beginning and end of his new contract, with a dramatic, lucrative spike in the middle years, while he’s still in his prime and the new stadium effect is passé.

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Figure 2 shows estimates of A~Rod’s performance value, the incremental attendance, merchandise sales, corporate sponsorship dollars, and broadcast revenues and valuation at YES, due to A~Rod’s role in making the Yankees a winning machine. It hits a low of $17 million per year early in the contract and peaks at more than $50 million per season in the middle years. Rodriguez’s cumulative performance value over the 10 year contract is estimated to be approximately $305 million in revenue and asset appreciation.

MARQUEE VALUE

Some believe that marquee value or “iconic” value as Boras, calls it, is marketing fiction. The naysayers believe that fans root for the laundry, and as long as their team wins, fans couldn’t care less about the players. After studying focus groups, researching fans and analyzing other factors, however, I’m convinced that marquee value is real and adds to the financial value of players the caliber of Rodriguez.

Star players that are articulate, have a clean image and come off as likeable possess a value that carries over to the brand equity of the team. These players personalize the team brand and help build an enduring connection between the team and its fans that lasts long after they are gone. Though Rodriguez presents himself well, his appearance in the New York tabloids with a stripper and the perception of him as greedy for opting out of his original Yankees contract do raise questions.

My formula for measuring marquee value considers the value of the team brand and the player’s personal attributes. It allots a modest one third of the appreciation in franchise value to the mega stars on a team.

Beyond Rodriguez’s impact on franchise value is his impact on the value of the YES Network. Boras is doing his typical Pinocchio act when estimating it at $500 million or more, but it is reasonable to say the YES Network will be a more valuable asset, $50 to $100 million more over 10 years, because Rodriguez is a Yankee.

The lofty $3 billion valuation experts have placed on the YES network is largely based on the popularity and appeal of the Yankees and the resulting industry high subscriber fees paid by cable and satellite providers. Along with shortstop Derek Jeter, A~Rod is an important asset who adds star power to the network, in addition to contributing to the Yankees winning ways. The potential for celebrating his many milestones, retiring his number, wearing a Yankees cap into the Hall of Fame, and bringing the all time home run title back to New York can be centerpieces of YES programming for years to come and earn Rodriguez credit for a small piece of the network’s projected future growth.

A more tangible component of marquee value is as a drawing card from chasing personal milestones, becoming the youngest player to 600 and 700 home runs and chasing the career record in 2013 or so. If each of the five milestones referenced in his contract, Willie Mays’ 660 home runs, Babe Ruth’s 714, Hank Aaron’s 755, Barry Bonds’ final tally and setting the all-time mark…drew an extra 60,000 fans and netted a modest $1 million in merchandise sales, they would contribute $20 million to Yankee revenues.

Fans’ affinity for Rodriguez, however tepid it is now, should slowly build depending on how quickly he passes the other luminaries on his way toward Bonds. A~Rod’s marquee value also should increase as Jeter and other iconic Yankees such as Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada reach the end of their careers while his is still going strong.

Marquee value should net the Yankees about $145 million over the life of the contract, starting at about $10 million per year in the early years of the contract and peaking at over $20 million per year as he nears the record. For perspective, Jeter’s marquee value to the Yankees is about $2 million per year more than A~Rod’s. However, Jeter’s total value to the Yankees over the next 10 years is estimated to be approximately $6 million per year less than Rodriguez’s value because his performance value is considerably less.

The final necessary adjustment is to provide the Yankees with a return on their investment to compensate them for the risks associated with signing a star player to a 10 year deal. Our projected revenue stream only occurs if A~Rod stays healthy, keeps out of trouble, and his skills erode at a normal pace. Any less favorable scenario means A-Rod generates less value for the Yankees but still receives his full salary. What rate of return on their investment adequately compensates the Yankees for bearing these risks?

As an alternative to spending money on A-Rod, the Yankees could put their cash in a 10 year Treasury Bond and earn a risk free return of about 4.25 percent. The expected revenue stream from a 10 year player contract is at least as risky as a Triple~C rated junk bond, which currently yields 12.5 percent. By paying A~Rod a $275 million salary and bonus payments that could earn him $305 million, the Yankees can pay another $120 million in luxury taxes and still generate a fair return on their investment that compensates them for their risk.

Based on the timing of the cash flows, expected Yankee revenues and Rodriguez’s compensation, the investment yields a positive net present value for the Yankees, even using a 12.5 percent discount rate.

Figure 3 summarizes the calculation.

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The total revenue and asset value of A~Rod to the Yankees is at least $100 million greater than the value he could have generated for any other team. No other team has a comparable fan base and revenue model. Combining the industry leading YES Network with the highest priced tickets and New York sized demand for luxury suites means no team can move the financial needle like the Yankees.

Only the Cubs, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers and Angels might have justified a contract of this magnitude and only on the condition that they assembled a playoff bound team without exceeding the luxury tax threshold. Not only did A~Rod end up in the place where he could generate the most value, but the terms of the deal are a win~win for both A~Rod and the Yankees.

Despite what appeared to be a roundabout route back to New York by A~Rod, the case can be made that everything went according to script. Maybe he had to opt out to get the Yankees best offer on the table. Maybe the Yankees had to threaten to shut off negotiations after the opt out to restore their leverage. Maybe Boras had to excuse himself from the proceedings during the delicate period when his client and the Yankees reconnected.

Yet there are no maybes when it comes to a healthy Alex Rodriguez. He will be worth every penny the Yankees pay him and more.

Vince Gennaro is a consultant to several Major League Baseball teams and the author of “Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball,” an innovative look at the business of baseball. This followed a 20 year career at PepsiCo, where he was president of a billion dollar division. Gennaro teaches a graduate course on the business of baseball in the Sports Business Management program at Manhattanville College. Send Vince a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
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Thank you Vince Gennaro and Yahoo Sports…this was a great view forn the stadium…
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I LOVE BASEBALL…

I believe Baseball to still be Americans favorite sport…ask any kid! And I guess I am just a big kid!

My Mother loved Baseball and instilled the love for Baseball in me.

Given the oppertunity to see a baseball game or a football game…I would chose baseball every time…

I wait for the 7th inning strech and sad that it means that the game is almost over.

Good luck Yankees and A~Rod…I will be watching

But my teams…are St. Louie and Hot Atlanta!
~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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In LAS VEGAS, O.J. Simpson firmly pleaded “not guilty” Wednesday at his arraignment on charges of kidnapping and armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers.

Simpson stood and entered his plea before Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass, who will preside at his trial along with co~defendants Clarence “C.J.” Stewart and Charles “Charlie” Ehrlich.

Ehrlich and Stewart also entered pleas of not guilty.

A trial date was set for April 7, 2008.
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Thank you AP News
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What else would he plead…he is O.J.!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

NFL’s newest dark cloud

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For the NFL, 2007 has been a year of tragedy and scandal, ugliness and senselessness, each month seeming to bring worse stories of off-field trouble that stand in stark contrast with an on field product that is running on all cylinders.

The latest, and hopefully last, came Monday when the Washington Redskins’ Sean Taylor was gunned down during a home invasion. He died Tuesday.

It was brutal and sad, the snuffing out of a talented and promising life made even worse by the realization that he is the fourth active NFL player to die this year alone. Combine that with high profile legal issues, major injuries to current players and a bitter pension fight involving former ones and you have a year to forget.

Things are so bad, the depths so low, the pain so real, it’s overshadowed a season that, on the field at least, should be one to remember.

The Indianapolis Colts, featuring the popular Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy, finally won the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots have emerged as perhaps the greatest team of all time this season, chasing both a perfect team record and a book full of individual marks. Big fan base franchises such as the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers are having great years while a number of other franchises have been rejuvenated.

The league has not just an array of great young talent [Adrian Peterson, et al] but a rebirth of some older ones [Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss]. When the Colts and Patriots met earlier this month, it was the latest matchup of unbeaten teams since the 1970 merger. The game then actually lived up the hype.

So too, perhaps, will the rare late season matchup of one~loss teams, the Cowboys and Packers, Thursday.

That is, if anyone even remembers to watch.

The thing is: as great as the action has been, as great as the story lines have played out, as perfect as heroes and villains have taken their roles, ’07 has been a disaster in every other measurable way. One horrible tale replacing another.

Taylor’s murder this week was an all too familiar one.

The year started bad when, during the early morning hours of Jan. 1, the Denver Broncos’ Darrent Williams was shot and killed by a passing gunman while riding in a limo after an altercation at a local nightclub.

Less than two months later, Broncos running back Damien Nash collapsed and died after playing a charity basketball game in his hometown of St. Louis.

In March, the Patriots’ Marquise Hill accidentally drowned after falling off his jet ski in his native Louisiana.

All four men were just 24.

The offseason was also plagued with high profile legal trouble. It started with the Tennessee Titans cornerback Pacman Jones’ involvement in a gentlemen’s club shooting in Las Vegas that left a bouncer paralyzed.

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Then the Atlanta Falcons’ Michael Vick, the league’s highest paid and one of its highest profile players, was arrested in connection with a dog fighting ring on property he owned in rural Virginia. Vick pled guilty and is serving time in advance of his sentencing in early December.

Even O.J. Simpson is in trouble again.

Meanwhile, former NFL players continued to fight the league for improved pension and health benefits while spinning terrible tales of woe and making the NFLPA look like a heartless organization. It helped draw attention to the massive physical injuries, particularly concussions, which NFL players deal with after their playing days.

That hit home on the league’s opening weekend when the Buffalo Bills’ Kevin Everett suffered a severe spinal injury on a simple kickoff play. At least there is some bright light here. Everett is out of the hospital and doctors believe he may even walk again one day.

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You can’t blame the NFL for wondering what possibly could be next?

There is no simple conclusion to draw here. Each situation is different, each tragedy its own. But sometimes bad things seem to come in waves and the NFL is certainly dealing with that now.

If the league was just about football, then the worst thing to happen all year was the Patriots’ “Spygate” scandal, which, in truth, just helped create more interest and excitement for the product on the field.

That’s the kind of controversy that professional sports like.

Not endless funerals, court proceedings and Congressional hearings.

Not superstars behind bars. Not all these 24 year olds gone forever.

The people to remember in thoughts and prayers are the families and friends of those dealing with death and injury, with life altering moments that they had nothing to do with and almost certainly can’t make sense of.

Roger Goodell would be the first to tell you that, the first to tell you to think of those folks.

But here in 2007, in the new commissioner’s first full year on the job, it’s OK to acknowledge all that has been thrown at him and his NFL.

And then hope we never see another year like it.
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Thank you Dan Wetzel and Yahoo! Sports’
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Washington Redskin, Sean Taylor Dies in Miami

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From MIAMI, Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died early Tuesday from the gunshot wound he suffered a day earlier in his Miami home.

“He did not make it through the night,” said Taylor’s attorney, Richard Sharpstein, who called the incident “a ridiculous, unnecessary tragedy.”

Taylor, 24, a Pro Bowl safety whose rocky first years in the NFL had given way to what teammates called a newfound maturity, died at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he had been taken after being shot once in the leg early Monday morning. Police are investigating the incident as a possible home invasion.

Sharpstein said he was informed of the death by Taylor’s father, Pedro Taylor, who called him around 5 a.m. with the news. He told CNN that the elder Taylor “was overwrought with grief and called me to tell me that Sean was with God . . . They’re just overcome at this particular point with the loss of a son and father and friend and just an incredible person.”

The bullet severed Taylor’s femoral artery, causing massive blood loss. He underwent seven hours of surgery, and there were some initially optimistic signs after he emerged from the operation early Monday evening. Described at first as “unresponsive and unconscious,” Taylor had squeezed a doctor’s hand and made facial expressions, Redskins officials and a family friend said, providing some hope.

But the trauma proved too great. The bleeding “could not really be stopped, only curbed a bit,” Sharpstein said.

Taylor died “a couple of hours ago” surrounded by some family members, family friend Donald Walker said shortly after 6 a.m. “Things turned for the worse,” Walker said by phone from Taylor’s mother’s house. There “seemed like a lot of hope after he responded to the doctor’s command. But he lost a lot of blood.”

Redskins Park was mostly quiet Tuesday morning as grim-faced team officials trickled into work. A small bouquet of white flowers had been placed at the main entrance and flags were lowered to half staff. Fans, who had gathered Monday with candles, returned Tuesday morning to huddle near Taylor’s parking spot. The team posted a brief statement on its Web site saying only that Taylor’s family had notified the team “that Taylor passed away.”

Taylor confronted one or more intruders early Monday morning at the bedroom door of the house he shares with his fiancee and 18 month old daughter, and was shot in the upper thigh near the femoral artery, Sharpstein said. The fiancee and child were uninjured, but Taylor lost significant amounts of blood and received a number of transfusions, according to Sharpstein and a source at the hospital.

No further surgical procedures had been planned for Taylor. Doctors expressed concern that his brain could have been damaged from lack of oxygen, Sharpstein said. A Redskins team source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Taylor’s heart stopped beating twice during surgery.

“What they told us was to hope for a miracle,” said Redskins vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato, who flew to Miami with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, running back Clinton Portis and other team officials on Snyder’s private jet.

News of the shooting spread quickly through Redskins Park, the team’s training facility in Ashburn, on Monday. Normal team activities were suspended, and players were dismissed. Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs and team chaplain Brett Fuller addressed the club around noon, informing them that Taylor was fighting for his life.

“For all of us here, we’re obviously in shock,” a shaken Gibbs told reporters. “I know I can’t put it into words.”

Taylor, the Redskins’ top draft choice in 2004 who was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time last year, was having his best season as a professional before suffering a knee injury on Nov. 11 that forced him to miss the past two games.

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Miami~Dade police responded to a 911 call at about 1:40 a.m. Monday at his home in an upscale suburb known as Palmetto Bay, a police spokesman said. Taylor was airlifted to the hospital’s trauma unit.

No arrests were made. In a statement, Miami~Dade police said a preliminary investigation indicated that Taylor had been shot by an intruder, but that the investigation was not complete.

Taylor did not accompany the team to Tampa for Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers, which is customary for injured players who are undergoing medical treatment. Gibbs said he was unaware Taylor had returned to Miami, where he grew up and went to college at the University of Miami.

Just before Monday’s shooting, Taylor was awakened by a noise in his living room, Sharpstein said. As the shooter or shooters approached Taylor’s bedroom, he reached for a machete or other form of knife he keeps nearby in case of emergency, and two shots were fired, one striking his leg in the groin area.

Cerrato said Taylor’s fiancee tried to call police from the house line, only to discover that the line had been cut. She had to use her cellphone to call 911, which delayed the response time.

“This was a deliberate attack,” Cerrato said without elaborating.

About 30 of Taylor’s friends and family kept vigil in the trauma center waiting room into the night on Monday, praying together, wiping tear-reddened eyes and waiting for updates on his condition.

Things seemed bleak at various points. At about 3:30 p.m., a man who described himself as a friend of Taylor’s walked out of the trauma unit and kneeled in prayer in the parking lot. He was sobbing. After wiping away his tears, he returned to the waiting room.

Taylor’s younger brother “is looking very sad and his dad is looking sad,” said Marvin Riggens, 27, after stepping outside briefly to make cellphone calls. “From what I understand, it’s not looking very good right now.”

At 4:30 p.m., Snyder, Portis, Cerrato and two other team officials arrived at the hospital, emerging from a black Mercedes Benz sedan and a Cadillac Escalade.

Early Tuesday, the Miami Herald reported, family members and other loved ones were seen leaving the hospital in tears.

The shooting came eight days after another incident was reported at Taylor’s home. An intruder pried open a front window, went through drawers and a safe and left a kitchen knife on a bed, according to the police report of the Nov. 18 incident.

Despite the break in a week ago, there was no security system at Taylor’s house, according to Emory Williams, a cousin of Taylor’s.

A day after that first incident, Taylor called Gibbs from Miami and requested permission to remain in the city to deal with matters related to the attempted burglary, Gibbs said. Gibbs said he obliged, excusing Taylor from some team meetings. Snyder made brief remarks to reporters at Redskins Park before flying to Miami.”On behalf of the Redskins, the players and everyone here at the Redskins, our hearts and prayers go out to Sean and his family,” Snyder said.

Since the Redskins drafted Taylor, the safety has had several brushes with the law and National Football League rules. Taylor was charged with a felony count of aggravated assault with a firearm for allegedly brandishing a gun in a Miami neighborhood in 2005.

Taylor reached a plea agreement and avoided jail time, but was fined $71,764 by the NFL for violating the personal conduct clause of his contract.

The NFL also has fined Taylor for illegal hits, uniform violations and spitting on Tampa Bay running back Michael Pittman during a playoff game in January 2006. In 2004, Gibbs suspended Taylor for one game after he was arrested for driving under the influence; those charges were later dropped.

In the past two years, however, Taylor has earned praise from coaches and teammates for maturing and better work habits. Portis, a former University of Miami teammate, said Taylor had grown up considerably since the birth of his daughter, Jackie, in May 2006.

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“It’s hard to expect a man to grow up overnight,” Portis said before departing for Miami. “But ever since he had this child it was like a new Sean. And everybody around here knew it. He was always smiling, always happy, always talking about his child.”
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Thank you The Washington Post, Shipley reported from Miami, La Canfora from Ashburn. Staff writers Les Carpenter and Peter Whoriskey, in Miami, and researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.
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MY condolences go out top the fans,friends and family of this gifted young man.

Home invasions are becoming more prevalent in our society.

What ever happened to “your home is your castle” attitude?

And we were safe in our homes, at night, when we were asleep.

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Baby Grace has a name…and a face…

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Before dying, 2 year old Riley Ann Sawyers was beaten with belts, picked up by her hair, thrown across the room and held under water, according to an affidavit from the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.

Police believe 2 year old Riley Ann Sawyers is “Baby Grace.”

The affidavit says the girl’s mother, Kimberly Dawn Trenor, described to police how her daughter died and was put in a plastic storage box that Trenor and her husband, Royce Zeigler, later dumped into a Galveston waterway.

Trenor told police Zeigler tried to commit suicide the weekend before Thanksgiving, and wrote a note that said, “My wife is innocent of the sins that I committed.”

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The body of the then, unidentified toddler was found on October 29. A fisherman found Riley’s body stuffed inside a blue storage container that washed up on an uninhabited island in Galveston’s West Bay.

A medical examiner said the child’s skull was fractured, and a forensic dentist estimated her age at 2 to 3 years.

Police dubbed the child “Baby Grace.” A police artist’s sketch of her was widely circulated in the news media and prompted a call to Galveston police from Riley’s grandmother in Ohio, who had not seen the girl in months.

On Saturday, police arrested Trenor and Zeigler on charges of injuring a child and tampering with physical evidence, the sheriff’s department said. Their bonds were set at $350,000 each.

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The affidavit, obtained by CNN, says when police interviewed Trenor on November 23, she “gave a voluntary statement on video with her attorney present in which she describes her involvement, with Royce Zeigler, in the physical abuse, death and disposal of the remains of her daughter, Riley Ann Sawyers.”

Trenor’s statement said on July 24, she and Zeigler both beat the child with leather belts and held her head under water in the bathtub. She said Zeigler picked the girl up by her hair and also threw her across the room, slamming her head into the tile floor.

After her daughter died, Trenor’s statement said, she and Zeigler went to a Wal~Mart that night and bought the Sterilite container, a shovel, concrete mix, and other supplies.

The statement said the box containing the child’s body was hidden in a storage shed for “one to two months.” Then, Trenor said, she and Zeigler carried it to the Galveston Causeway and tossed it in, and she saw it drifting away.

Riley Ann’s father, Robert Sawyers, on Monday tearfully remembered her as a “fun loving girl … with a big imagination.” Riley was “very active, very hyper, but also very well behaved,” Sawyers told reporters in Mentor, Ohio.

She would play “with a water hose … spraying the whole patio soaking wet until she was done with it,” he said, as he sat behind two photographs of his daughter, a toddler with wispy blond curls.

Robert Sawyers’ mother, Sheryl Sawyers, said the family was “devastated” to learn that police believe Riley is dead.

“It’s hard to think that I’ll never see her again,” she said, clutching a red Elmo doll she had planned to give Riley for Christmas.

Maj. Ray Tuttoilmondo of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Department said Monday that authorities are “fairly confident” that the toddler whose body was found on October 29 is Riley Ann Sawyers.

DNA analysis is still in progress to confirm the identification. The results will be available in two to three weeks, Tuttoilmondo said.

Tuttoilmondo said Riley is originally from Mentor, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, and that “she and her mother came down to Texas earlier this year.”

The toddler was last seen in Texas “three or four months ago,” Tuttoilmondo said, although he did not know by whom.

Tuttoilmondo said police did investigate whether Child Protective Services had taken Riley away, something the mother had reportedly alleged. Of that report, Tuttoilmondo said, “What we believe is that is not what happened.”

The affidavit said Trenor admitted that after the body was found, Zeigler had her type up a fake letter from the Ohio Department of Children’s Services saying that Riley was to be taken away.

Trenor left Ohio in late May, after filing an allegation of domestic violence against Robert Sawyers and reaching a joint voluntary agreement that gave her custody of Riley and gave Robert Sawyers visitation rights, the Sawyers’ family lawyer said Monday.

“She disappeared,” Laura DePledge said Monday at the Ohio news conference with the Sawyers.

Sheryl Sawyers said Monday that she saw widely distributed police sketches of “Baby Grace” and contacted Galveston police in November. The girl in the police sketches strongly resembles photos of Riley.

“No, I never did think it would end up like this,” Sheryl Sawyers said Monday, eyes welling. “I guess knowing is better than not knowing.”

The girl’s family in Ohio has been “very helpful” in this case, Tuttoilmondo said, adding that the FBI and a Galveston County police officer visited the family in Ohio on Sunday.

DePledge said Riley was the product of a “teenage pregnancy.” Trenor and Robert Sawyers were together for two years as a result of the pregnancy, DePledge said, during which time they lived with Sheryl Sawyers.

DePledge said Monday that the family, whose grief she described as “simply overwhelming,” wants Riley’s body returned to Ohio for a memorial service. “What Riley needs is to be brought home,” she said. “I think this family needs some closure.”

Tuttoilmondo asked anyone who knew the child or her family to help detectives reconstruct the events of Riley’s short life.

The toddler’s case has touched even hardened police officers, he said. “Any way you look at it, we carry a piece of her with us, and we’ll always carry a little piece of her with us,” he said Monday.

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He held up a small, pink and white shoe identical to those the child was wearing when she was found. “That says it all. A little bitty shoe.”
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Thank you CNN NEWS
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I can’t imagine anyone doing this to a child…

I just can’t imagine it…I think there should be an eye for an eye in this case…

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

Scientists urge $2-3 billion study of ocean health

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In from OSLO, Marine scientists called on Sunday for a $2 to 3 billion study of threats such as overfishing and climate change to the oceans, saying they were as little understood as the Moon.

A better network of satellites, tsunami monitors, drifting robotic probes or electronic tags on fish within a decade could also help lessen the impact of natural disasters, pollution or damaging algal blooms, they said.

“This is not pie in the sky … it can be done,” said Tony Haymet, director of the U.S. Scripps Institution of Oceanography and chairman of the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans {POGO}.

He told Reuters that a further $2 to 3 billion would roughly match amounts already invested in ocean research, excluding more costly satellites. New technologies were cheaper and meant worldwide monitoring could now be possible.

“Silicon Valley has come to the oceans,” said Jesse Ausubel, a director of the Census of Marine Life that is trying to describe life in the seas.

“Lots of cheap disposable devices can now be distributed throughout the oceans, in some cases on animals, in some cases on the sea floor, others drifting about,” he told Reuters.

POGO wants the 72~nation Group on Earth Observations {GEO}, meeting in Cape Town from November 28-30, to consider its appeal for a $2 to 3 billion study of the oceans as part of a wider effort to improve understanding of the planet by 2015.

GEO is seeking to link up scientific observations of the planet to find benefits for society in areas including energy, climate, agriculture, biodiversity, water supplies and weather.

MOON

The ocean “has been relatively ignored” compared to land or the atmosphere, said Howard Roe, a director emeritus of the British National Oceanography Centre and former chairman of POGO.

“It’s a hoary phrase that we know more about the surface of the moon than the deep ocean. It’s true. The oceans are virtually unexplored,” he told Reuters.

Among ocean projects, POGO wants to raise the number of drifting robotic probes, know as “Argos” and which measure conditions driving climate change, to 30,000 from 3,000 now.

And the scientists said they wanted to expand a network of electronic tagging of fish to understand migrations and give clues to over-fishing.

“By my estimates for $50 to 60 million a year the world could have a global system, an ocean tracking network that could follow sharks from Cape Town to Perth or follow tuna from Miami to Southampton, Ausubel said.

And better monitoring of the oceans could give more advance warnings of storms, such as a November 15 cyclone that struck Bangladesh and killed 3,500 people. It could also send tsunami alerts, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed up to 230,000 people.

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“2012 will be the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic. I think Captain Smith would be disappointed by the continuing hesitation to firm up our ocean observing system,” Ausubel said.
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Thank you Reuters, Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent and editor Charles Dick
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WOW, do you think there really is GLOBIAL WARMING…DAH!
We all knew this in the 60’s, didn’t we Baby Boomers…almost 50 years ago…we could have made such a difference. Big commerce won out though!

~The Baby Boomer Queen~

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