Reciprocated loyalty must be a character trait the Phoenix Suns management team knows little about.
Or maybe they consider loyalty a character flaw.
Evidence allegiance wasn’t a priority turned up this week when Suns owner Robert Sarver, General Manager Lance Banks and other team bigwigs skipped over “Thunder Dan” Majerle in favor of Lindsey Hunter as interim coach to replace Alvin Gentry.
Majerle, who had been an assistant coach for five years, was one of the most popular Suns players ever, having been drafted by the team in 1988 and spending seven seasons with the team before being traded and then returning to the team until he retired.
He spent four seasons as a Phoenix broadcast assistant and was the head coach of four Suns NBA Summer League teams.
In the Valley, loyal fans flock to the chain of successful sports bars bearing his naming hoping to get an autograph or glimpse of the former hoop star.
During his first few seasons with the Suns, Majerle played on and sponsored a slow-pitch softball team that competed in Payson-hosted holiday tournaments.
In Payson, Majerle was gracious and affable signing almost every autograph asked of him.
Majerle is a member of Phoenix’s Ring of Honor, a prominent citizen in the Valley of the Sun and one of the most loyal players to ever don Suns uniform.
We don’t know the whole story of why Thunder Dan was passed over, but the decision to do so strikes at loyalty and will undoubtedly create a riff among Suns fans that might now have second thoughts about filling seats.
Little League sign-ups begin
The process of fielding a 2013 Payson Little League program began last week with two player registrations.
The next registrations will be 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16 at locations to be announced soon. Also, individual player tryouts will be held March 9 and games begin April 6 with the traditional opening day ceremonies.
On April 28 the Arizona Diamondbacks will host Payson Little League game day.
For it, Payson players will pre-sell game tickets as a benefit. Also, minutes before the game begins, the local Little Leaguers will be allowed to walk the Chase Field diamond.
On Jan. 27, Payson Little Leaguers are slated to attend a celebrity baseball game in Scottsdale.
Little League President Keeley Parker says attendance at the game can be a big moneymaker for the cash-strapped local program, “By having support of Payson Little League, our program is issued $300 with the chance to win up to $5,000.
“Anyone wanting free tickets to the game can pick them up at either Parker Excavating or Sexton Pest Control.”
On the national Little League scene, officials have this year adopted a new division known as the “Intermediate 50/70 League.”
It is a league for 11- to 13-year-old players who have the option of playing in it as well as on a Major or Junior Division team.
The 50/70 league will play under rules closer to high school and college baseball by allowing players to lead off base for steals and pickoff attempts by pitchers.
Games are also played on a full-sized field rather than the smaller ones used in the Minors and Major divisions.
Parker is adopting a wait and see attitude on incorporating the new league into the Payson program.
“It will be based on parent feedback and sign-ups for it during registration,” she said.