Naturally, dozens of people contributed their valuable time and resources to ensure that our rough literary concept became a reality. While we will no doubt fail to recognize everyone that assisted along the way, the following (extremely patient) individuals deserve our deepest thanks.
A sincere debt of gratitude goes out to those industry pros who provided us with the endorsements and testimonials that enabled us to piggyback on their extraordinary industry success. We truly appreciate the unwavering willingness of the following who supported our work: Rick Alm, Tony Attanasio, Peter J. Barnett, Howard Bloom, Fred Claire, John Dempsey, Darryl Dunn, Rod Fort, Bob Graziano, Pat Haden, Ted Leonsis, Mark Levinstein, Bob Ley, Abraham Madkour, Todd McFarlane, Ciro Scotti, Jeff Shell, Kenneth L. Shropshire, Jon Spoelstra, and Bob Williams.
In addition to the sports business industry leaders who endorsed this book, we would like to recognize the noteworthy contributions from those at Financial Times Prentice Hall. We begin with Stephen H. Soucy, whose serendipitous email resulted in our working with the great professionals at FTPH, particularly our acquisitions editor, the insufferable Yankee fan, Tim Moore, whose stewardship was not only welcomed, but also required at virtually every turn. Others from FTPH who were crucial to the completion of this book were content editor Russ Hall, whose 24/7 commitment to this project was apparent from the hundreds (if not more) of emails sent out at all hours of the day and night, as well as Alan Bower, Laura Bulcher, Laura Burgess, Bryan Gambrel, Anthony Gemmellaro, Kate Hargett, Teresa Horton, Allyson Kloss, John Pierce, Nicholas Radhuber, and Gardi Wilks.
Those who reviewed the manuscript, namely Allen Sanderson, Fred Claire, and Louis Columbus, provided the invaluable insight required to improve it and have earned our profound respect along the way.
Our student researchers and graduate assistants Alexander Allper, Bernard Ford, and Charles Green were vitally important contributors, as were those that helped frame our initial concept, especially Howard Steinberg, Greg Dinkin, and Frank Scatoni.
Finally, there are a handful of family, friends, and associates that allowed us to carve out the time and energy necessary to complete On the Ball, particularly:
My wife Vickie, who not only didn't mind the early morning hours even on weekends but grew to encourage them. She continues to provide the support necessary for me to accomplish any and all things whether personal or professional.
The ESPN.com bosses John Skipper, John Marvel, and Neal Scarbrough for realizing how important this project was to my career and allowing me to follow through with it. And to Mike Lowe, Mark Gordon, and Lauren Lipson for proving that youth should never serve as an excuse to achieving excellence.
Finally, to Jack Gordon, a great sports fan who was an even better grandfather.