BY GREG DOUGLAS
SCENE & HEARD: Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber took Bob Lenarduzzi aside Wednesday morning and said, for his ears only: "You guys have really hit a home run today. Congratulations."
It was only then that a flushed Lenarduzzi was able to breathe a long sigh of relief.
Nobody had gotten much sleep the night before. "People think I'm exaggerating," Lenarduzzi was saying Friday. "But until 6 p.m. Tuesday it was still touch and go whether we'd be going ahead with the press conference Wednesday morning."
Everything and everybody was on hold. Premier Gordon Campbell, Mayor Gregor Robertson and the Westin Bayshore staff were all on hold.
"When Jeff (co-owner Mallett) called me shortly after 6 o'clock and said 'hit the button' we went into action," Lenarduzzi says. "Everyone knew what to do. We were prepared to eat the costs if things went sideways. We knew we had one shot at the perfect launch and we were ready for it."
What amazes Lenarduzzi is the fact that his people, the Premier's and Mayor's staffs and the Bayshore group managed to keep things under wraps. "The media was scrambling and speculating but couldn't be real sure," he says. "Our 'home run' belonged to everyone. Nobody leaked a word about anything."
HERE 'N' THERE: Lenarduzzi booked off Friday afternoon to answer hundreds of emails from around the world that have flooded his computer since Wednesday's announcement ... Jeff Mallett represented the MLS Vancouver group at Thursday night's sold-out Seattle debut. Earlier in the day, he bought a piece of the Premier League Derby County FC.