Category Archives: Sports

The Search for Edno de Souza…

I’ve been in Brazil for about 10 days. It’s been great thus far. It took around 4 days to get over the jet lag from South Korea; it was no joke, i couldnt keep my eyes open at like 6pm and was literally falling asleep while standing up.  A weekend trip to the beach was the perfect de-compression and I’ve been lounging in Sao Paulo (my Dad lives in Sao Bernado do Campo, about 30 minutes away from the main city center, towards the coast). I’ve got a car and local cellphone at my disposal and it’s been key to hit up the city whenever I want.

Driving in Sao Paulo is always an adventure, especially since my Accord in SF is an automatic. Suffice it to say, I’ve been catching up on my stick shift skills. It’s raining cats and dogs here on the regular and i was basically thrown out there for the sharks with the car. It was either ‘remember how to drive a stick pretty damn quick, or you’re gonna crash.’ I laughed out loud to myself in the car a few times about how crazy the driving is out here and how close i was coming to running into shit…But i didn’t, ha!

I met my grandfather for lunch yesterday and to my surprise, my Uncle Alex and cousin Anna Luiza were there too. It made me super happy to see more family:

My grandfather (Nonno, in Italian) is my favorite person in the world. Nonno is 82 and as healthy as can be. I came to Brazil for his 80th birthday two years ago and not only did he celebrate his bday, but also his marriage to a lovely lady 20 years younger than him. (My grandmother passed away 32 years ago and we were all happy that Nonno found someone to spend the later years of his life with). Giuseppe Spinelli moved from Italy to Brazil when he was 17, met my grandmother and had 4 boys, who all built their own families thereafter in Sao Paulo (My Dad is the oldest of the four.)

At any rate, seeing my family was a huge part of why I wanted to come to Brazil after my trip to Korea. But I must admit, as I enter what I hope to be my final career transition and seeing as my Dad will be gone all of next week on business, I wanted to take this opportunity to network and meet people in the Brazilian sport industry. I wish I could experience the complete immersion in the industry that I went through in Korea, but that’s a longshot at best. What I’m left with is my own research, exisiting connections that could lead to others and people my family could point me to.

I’ve got a meeting setup with a sports writer for a major daily newspaper in Sao Paulo next Tuesday in hopes of learning more about the exisiting infrastructure in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and understanding more about the role that other countries (USA, for one) and their businesses are playing in Brazil right now. On Weds or Thurs, I’ll be heading to a city called Vinhedo where an old family friend, Harry Hull lives. I’ll be meeting with one of Harry’s close friends who has a lot of ties to International soccer here in Brazil.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking: Who the hell is Edno de Souza??? Through some research over the past few months, I’ve learned that the Tampa Bay Rays have plans to build a baseball academy in a small city in the state of Sao Paulo called Marilia. This would be the first time that a Major League Baseball team establishes a bonafide presence in Brazil. This is a really big deal for Brazil and my expectation is that over the years, Brazil could be exporting the kind of talent into baseball that countries like Columbia and Venezuela have. Edno de Souza, is Tampa’s number one guy on the ground in Brazil and all of South America. Nothing happens in the Marilia project without Edno overseeing it all. Here’s a great, albeit older piece on the Rays’ efforts to cultivate Brazilian baseball players through the academy in Marilia.

Here’s the catch (no pun): I can’t find contact information for Edno de Souza anywhere… there’s a LinkedIn account with 1 connection (clearly dormant), I’ve sent e-mails to the city of Marilia, the Marilia newspaper, the Tampa Bay Rays, etc… and I just can’t track this guy down. Heck, I’m starting to feel like Nicolas Cage’s Charlie Kaufmman, chasing down Meryl Streep’s Susan Orlean in ‘Adaptation’. I’m fascinated by the idea of a major league baseball team coming to Brazil. In researching, i’ve found that Brazil’s baseball scene is much bigger than I would’ve ever imagined. There are actual leagues operating here out of smaller cities, largely in the state of Sao Paulo and MLB International makes its presence felt via occassional clinics.

While finding de Souza might represent a sort of holy grail for me while i’m out here, the path i take in looking for him is inadvertently teaching me more about baseball in Brazil. (In fact, while grabbing links for this post, I’ve already found some new leads on Edno). My career goals are all over the map, literally. I love San Francisco, want to be there for a long time, but being based out of California and have the ability to travel to Brazil regularly for a sport organization is my dream. We’ll see what happens next week…..

Spinelli

Play List:

Seu Jorge – The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions – SJ’s covers of David Bowie tracks in Portuguese

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless – A timeless album. This is ‘Soon’

Zero 7 – Simple Things – The first and still their best album.

Criolo – No Na Orelha – New Brazilian artist i added to the arsenal. Check it: ‘Nao Existe Amor em SP’

Median – The Sender

Atlas Sound – Parallax

Atlas Sound – Logos

Givers –  In Light

LCD Sundsystem – LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

Ulrich Schnauss – A Strangely Isolated Place

Geographer – Animal Shapes – Coming to a Mike Torres bday party near you….

Gold Panda – Lucky Shiner – Another fine Ghostly International artist

No Age – Everything in Between

The Ultimate Goodie Bag

Well, i’m sitting on our bus on this last day of our Korea trip. I really love it here. Theres been no shortage of places to see, food to eat, bars to crawl to, etc… Easily the best part of this trip however, has been our daytime itinerary that Dr. Choi prepared for us. He’s called in sooo many favors from colleagues of his, as we visit 3-4 sport related sites a day. The formats are all pretty similar: we visit the facility/stadium/arena/office, they show us around and then give a presentation on their business and what they do, followed my q&a/discussion. We’ve met with everything from basketball teams and sport marketing firms to newspapers and the site of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeonchang. All awesome in their own regard.

As if it wasn’t cool enough, about half of the places we visited gave us gifts to take home. The Korean people have been so gracious and i wanted to share some photos of what we’ve received:

The folks at Coca-cola Korea gave us a really nice notebook and branded pen:

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The NC Dinos expansion baseball team gave us an awesome ball cap and gorgeous moleskine planner/agenda:

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Sports Toto, a Korean online sports betting company gave us a classy wallet/money clip:

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The KT (Korea Telecomm) Sonicboom basketball team gave us a sweet t-shirt after the game we watched in Busan:

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We visited the largest newspaper in Korea, Chosanilbo, who printed us each the front page of their paper from the day we were born, a mockup front page with our class photo in front of their facility and a really snazzy doo-rag/beanie/headband:

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As you can see, we’re not talking chapstick and branded sunscreen spray here. This is some truly nice and thoughtful stuff, that we’re all gonna use. Not to mention the slew of lunches we’ve been treated to, etc…

We’re on our way to visit the SK Wyverns baseball stadium right now. Everyone’s flight but mine leaves at 5:40 pm (its 11:30 am here now). My flight to Brazil leaves at 11:55 pm and i’ve got an additional half day ahead of me tonight. After we drop my classmates at the airport, Dr. Choi and I are meeting with a sports reporter who wants to write a piece on our visit to Korea (everyone is very excited and interested that we’re here. The NC Dinos even issued a press release on our visit to their offices that was published later that day.) I’ll say goodbye to Dr. Choi at 6 and he arranged for me to then go to dinner with Sae Young Park, whom we visited yesterday at her company ‘Minus 1 Golf.’

Words can’t express how grateful I am that Dr. Choi has arranged the end of the day for me and for the entire trip in and of itself. This has been an unforgettable week and i’ve experieced more than i could’ve imagined. I’m ready for the next step in Brazil, but i already treasure the time i’ve had in Korea, the people that experienced it with me, an the people and organizations we were introduced to. What an amazing country filled with incredible people.

More than impressed,

Adrian Spinelli

Playlist:

Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
Little Brother – The Minstrel Show
Starfucker- Starfucker
Notorious B.I.G. – Ready to Die
Future Islands – In Evening Air
Robyn – Body Talk Part 1
Gang Starr – Hard to Earn
Hieroglyphics – 3rd Eye Vision
Feist – Open Season (remixes and b-sides)
Blind Pilot – 3 Rounds and a Sound
Spoon – Ga ga ga ga ga

The Set-Up

So a quick rundown of my class here in Korea. There’s 25 students, 16 from my cohort thats been together for almost 2 years, 4 from the cohort below us (all way cool and already an integral part of the crew) and 6 from a So Cal cohort. We’ve got 2 Korean sport mgmt students with us (Jin and Mihn Guk, they go to the “same university as chan ho park“; koreans are very proud of their national sports heroes) along with my professor dr. Choi. We ride around visiting korean sport related sites on this sexy whip:

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Our first day of class was awesome. We hit up Samsung Badminton center and played badminton with olympians…. Id never played before and i quickly learned that i really suck. While similar to tennis, the racket has a smaller surface area and the shuttlecock (thats wht they call the little feathered ball u hit) is tough to pinpoint. Nonetheless, it was a blast. I filmed a quick video of the badminton demo the olympians played for us and i’ll post it later. Here’s a pic of me with a former olympic gold medalist, whos now the mens team coach:

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The best part of the samsung visit was lunch. Holy shit was this good:

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The big rice bowl with veggies and mushrooms is ‘bibimbap’, theres korean bbq beef on the top left, halibut (so flaky and buttery) on the top right, beef brisket soup and kimchi (pickled cabbage, its the local specialty).

Our next stop was at KBS (the largest broadcasting company in S. Korea). We toured the facility and then met with Mr. Chung, who is a very well respected sports reporter ad documentarian. He’s like the Korean Ken Burns. We talked about everything from the mutually beneficial relationship of korean athletes with KBS to how Chan Ho Park becoming the first Korean to play in the MLB changed the face of sports media in Korea. We saw a rehearsal for the Korean SNL, ‘GAG’ and then visited an espn type show, where ex-white sox bullpen coach and korean legend Lee Man Soo was being interviewed. He was an awesome guy, took photos with us and chatted. Here he is (on the left) with dr. Choi:

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At coca-cola korea, we watched some presentations on marketing strategy and saw a video for their ‘Move to the Beat’ campaign at the 2012 London Olympics featuring Mark Ronson and Katy B. Not gonna lie, it was pretty sick. Definitely more focused towards a european audience, but i love me some Katy B.

This hardly felt like “class”. These visits are definitely making me think in new ways and pondering options of what to do with myself and my career when i get back to the States. The fact that i dont work for Comcast anymore hasn’t really set in yet… But my brain is starting to formulate ideas for the future, the future i’m trying to use this sport mgmt degree to create. I like where my head is at right now and this is only the beginning of the next step. Fuck… I havent even begun to tell you about last night…………..stay tuned.

Spinelli

Playlist:

Grieves – Together/Apart (fast becoming the album of the trip)
Katy B – Katy on A Mission
Kruder & Dorfmeister – Conversions
Memory Tapes – Seek Magic (Also on heavy rotation)
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

Words of Wisdom from Ichiro Suzuki…

“Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me,” he said. “I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out.”

The man’s got style…