No Doppelganger Here It’s Simply The World of Sports As Usual !
By tophatal …………
Somehow I must’ve missed something recently concerning the Kansas City Royals as I was recently told by two patrons that the team is good enough this season to compete and contend within the AL Central . Unless I’m mistaken the Royals haven’t been in contention within their division in years but I’m supposed to believe that Kaufmann Stadium Kansas City , Missouri the venue for the 2012 All Star Game may well house a postseason game ? The day that actually happens could very well be the day that Sarah Palin and a subordinate within the Tea Party is actually leading the nation and an incumbent from the party is actually housed at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue , in Washington , DC. Ain’t gonna happen not on this or any other watch that’s for sure ! Palin isn’t that bright and the Royals are not and never will be that good , not now and not in the imminent future !
Slide show for your perusal .
The MLB hierarchy is currently negotiating with the MLBPA and their Executive Director Michael Weiner to expand the playoff format from eight teams to 10 participants for the playoffs . If this playoff format is adopted for the 2012 season as is being envisaged by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig then the playoff would begin during the first week of October 2012 .
The Royals in terms of support maintains one of the smallest fan-base amongst the 30 teams within baseball . But that in of-itself doesn’t negate the fact that the team’s ownership group led by David Glass have ill-served the fans of the team .
Hal Steinbrenner since the death of George Steinbrenner the patriarch of the family that owns the New York Yankees have seen a great deal of success with this franchise over the years. But at the same time the younger Steinbrenner along with his siblings Hank and Jennifer Steinbrenner have been handed the reins to carry on their father’s work. That honor will be to see further success for the Yankees as well raising their profile globally . With partnerships already in place with English Premiership League soccer team Manchester United in Europe as well expanding the organization’s wholly owned cable programming outlet the YES Network to expand the grasp beyond the North American market place .
In what now appears to be a surprising about-face Hal Steinbrenner has indicated to the team’s general manager Brian Cashman that he would like to see a sizeable reduction in the payroll that is comparable to year to what it was said to be at least five or six years ago . Now to suggest that the Yankees’ intent is to now become frugal would be akin to suggesting that a chronic gambler shouldn’t be allowed to inside a big scale casino to lay one last wager . I’m not saying I am shocked but who would have thought such a premise could arise ? Let’s put it this way if Cashman is being asked to pare down the salary of the team it may well be a shot across the bow for the other big spending baseball franchises within MLB that is needed . It might not be the message that MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner and the members of the union (MLBPA) wish to hear but it could well be coming across loud and clear for all to hear. And do you think baseball uber-agent Scott Boras might just be a little miffed at that suggestion ? .
Scott Boras as one of the biggest agents in baseball has been responsible contracts that he has negotiated to the tune of $3.5 billion ($3,500,000,000) in the last fifteen years . Amongst his list current and former clients are well-known players such as Manny Ramirez , Alex Rodriguez , Mark Teixiera , Barry Zito , A J Burnett and Albert Belle . The players in question have at one time or another been amongst the highest paid players in the game . And of the fifteen highest paid players now in baseball Boras has negotiated the contracts for nine of those players are currently clients of the agent .
With the Yankees having sent former starting pitcher A J Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates and recently obtaining Michael Pineda from the Seattle Mariners . It is becoming abundantly clear that Hal Steinbrenner wants this team to be a success given the inadequacies of the pitching last season . In the deal that sends Burnett to the Pirates the Yankees will continue to pay 65% of the player’s salary over the remaining life of the existing contract . Ah the wonders of baseball’s finances and its economics and its idiocy therein but yet there are those who claim to be working within environment but yet they somehow can’t explain its intricacies succinctly . Surprised ? Me neither ! But then what do I know having worked within the world of investment banking for over a decade ?
It’s clear that offense has never been an issue with New York Yankees with the productivity seen from the team last season . Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixiera were at the forefront of that offense and its output .
Now don’t get me wrong but to my mind anything that Bud Selig is now said to be doing , is simply a ruse to take the fans’ eyes off the real underlying issues that the game of baseball now faces . Financial imbalances that the teams now face and the very fact that neither the commissioner nor anyone within his hierarchy clearly wishes to address. I mean the commissioner is still under the belief that the present situation as it relates to the bankruptcy proceedings of the Los Angeles Dodgers just now happens to be a thing of the past . That’s akin to suggesting that pissing in a pot and then tossing it into the ocean will make a major ripple . The team’s former owner Frank McCourt has suggested that when a final sale is agreed upon MLB will be able to realize a sum in excess of $1.5 billion ($1,500,000,000) . That’s a highly inflated figure and wishful thinking on McCourt part as it would suggest that if that were a reality then their AL counterpart the New York Yankees would be worth in excess of $2 billion ( $2,000,000,000) and that would have to be a very conservative figure given the marketplace in which the Yankees reside .
So all is said to be fair in love and war , or so we’re led to believe . The ongoing love-fest between Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay and his famed quarterback Peyton Manning has hit some turbulence . But things could get a great deal more stormier should Manning and the owner come not out and reach some sort of compromise that sees the player end his illustrious career with the only franchise his professional reign has ever known . The player is due a roster bonus of $28 million on the 8th March , 2012 , and there continues to be ongoing speculation as to whether or not Manning will be re-signed by the organization , with his contract being simply being renegotiated to add cap space for the Colts .
Irsay and team GM Ryan Grigson in terms of PR have simply hurt their image and that the Colts with their constant asinine rhetorical statements as to the state of the ongoing process. And their position wasn’t helped in the way they went about in dealing with the dismissals of Bill and Chris Polian as well as Chuck Pagano’s predecessor Jim Caldwell . The Colts have several issues to deal with as it concerns the present roster and specifically as it relates to wide receiver Reggie Wayne .
The combination of Wayne and Manning over the course the duo’s reign , have worked in tandem to produce one of the most successful quarterback and receiver receiving combos in the franchise’s history . It’s safe to say that apart from Pierre Garcon , the four-time league MVP , Peyton Manning wouldn’t mind seeing Wayne down-field as part of the team’s receiving corp for the 2012 season , should he still be a member of this organization.
Tom Benson the owner of the New Orleans Saints whose penchant for the absurd and ridiculous seems to know boundaries . Prior to Hurricane Katrina the owner had been looking to relocate the franchise outside the state of Louisiana . But with the intervention of the federal government and specifically FEMA and the state legislature and Governor Bobby Jindahl the franchise remained within the city . The Superdome in the aftermath of the damage was fully renovated and the Saints have become a force to be reckoned with within the NFL .
The franchise’s best player Drew Brees is in the midst of contract negotiations but it appears that the player , his agent Tom Condon and the Saints are said to be at an impasse . Brees seeks a long-term contract with the organization that would keep him with the Saints until the end of his career but it appears that Tom Benson is reluctant to offer the player or his agent the terms he seeks . Tom Condon is said to be seeking a contract that is comparable to that of Tom Brady’s or in line with Peyton Manning . The duo are amongst the highest paid players at the position within the NFL .
Now given the fact that Brees guided the Saints to their lone Superbowl victory for which he was named the Superbowl MVP . But herein lies the mess as it relates to this whole dilemma , Tom Benson doesn’t feel that the quarterback is worth the sort of money being sought . Is it me but do you get the impression that the owner is something of a conniving and cheap bastard ? He has seen the value of his franchise rise exponentially over the last six years and much of that has been down the fact that the quarterback has become the face of the franchise and its most recognized and successful player. I have always and will continue to maintain that there has never been any loyalty within the NFL as it relates to the relationship between the players and the franchise owners . And that was surely placed within the public’s sight when the league hierarchy and union squabbled like bickering children as to who should get the biggest slice of a pie . Come full circle and it’s back to the same routine of partisanship and the appearance it being about them and us .
My own impression of this saga , is that it speaks loudly as to the stupidity of what’s actually wrong within the NFL ! Throughout much of the deliberations between the league hierarchy and owners during the league mandated stoppage , each side pled their case as to the inequities of the game , with the union having the greater slice of the revenues from this $7.5 billion a year industry . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , Robert Kraft and Jerry Reese presented the league’s case during arbitration but DeMaurice Smith and the members of the NFLPA Executive Committee simply out-witted the league and got exactly what they wanted and a great deal more .
Tom Benson knows that he can ill afford to lose Drew Brees to free agency but you’d now be hard pressed to believe that the owner actually wants to retain the player given his intransigence . If he’s unwilling to acquiesce to the player’s needs for a 5 year deal that pays him in total between $95 to $100 million , then it is clear that another franchise in need of Pro Bowl caliber and productive quarterback will be willing to make that sort of an outlay . The Saints may well franchise tag Drew Brees but it not bode well for the Saints’ future in seeking to retain the player long-term because Tom Condon may well seek to get the best possible offer available for his client elsewhere given the fact that Benson has been reticent in opening up his pocket-book .
It’s still a dirty business no matter which way you may look at it but it’d be true to suggest that there is no longer any loyalty whatsoever to be found within the NFL between the players and the owners . Case in point, it may well have been the decision made by the Pittsburgh Steelers’ …….. front office and that of GM Kevin Colbert to cut the team’s much heralded wide receiver Hines Ward after the player’s decade plus years of service with the organization.
Head coach Mike Tomlin who has long admired Ward knows that this move may well have been done out of the organization’s necessity to save money and specifically in seeking to re-sign their young wide Mike Wallace . And since the player’s ascent into the NFL with the Steelers he has proven to be one of the team’s most productive players . This was clearly borne out within the AFC North and league as a whole .
Now if a player of Hines Wards’ skillset can’t be treated at all with any dignity much less respect by the only franchise he’s ever known professionally throughout his career then why should anyone actually believe that at this juncture the Colts should themselves treat Peyton Manning any differently with regard to his situation. After-all we now know the NFL simply to be a business first persona with any bye product such as success merely being an added bonus . At the same time one has to remember without players such Manning and Ward the game in its present guise would not survive .
In a recent blog article by myself , entitled It Was Meant To Be The Year of the Quarterback And Then Again It Wasn’t . This print piece suggested that this past season as glorious as it was simply just wasn’t about the feats of the quarterbacks alone , no matter how astonishing their feats were . In reality with the ever-changing environment where the league has now become “pass friendly” and to the extent that players such as Brees , Eli Manning , Ben Roethlisberger , Matt Stafford and Tom Brady are now being protected more so now than ever before by the rule changes initiated by the NFL hierarchy at the behest of its Competition Committee . These changes in of-itself has simply increased the prospect where will now see even more offense than ever before and thereby negating any ” real type” of defensive prowess being displayed by the teams . The fact that this past season we saw a quartet of quarterbacks surpass 5,000 yards for the season simply proves the veracity of this case.
As the trade deadline (15th March, 2012) approaches within the NBA it is becoming clear that a number of teams are now in quandary as to their most inherent needs . The general managers , coaches and owners having met over the All Star Weekend , I have no doubt that tried to put together deals that would best meet the needs of their teams ! Chances are however , a numbers players we may well thought whom might be leaving their respective teams may well stay put . Free agency has a way of bringing out the best and worst within the game and that most certainly has to be the case concerning the NBA .
Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets can opt out of the final year of his contract with the organization and it appears that this is the dilemma now facing team general manager Billy King . With the Nets apparently going nowhere and not a chance in hell of gaining a postseason berth within the Eastern Conference it would b easy to say that King might seek to rebuild this roster with a view to the future . And clearly if the organization is to obtain anything for Williams should the player seek the opt-out clause in his contract then now would be the time trade the player.
Now while there has been a great deal of speculation as to the ultimate destination of Deron Williams it would not surprise me if either of the following scenarios were to arise , the player being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers or quite possibly a swapping of point guards that would see the Williams go to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Rajon Rondo and two players superfluous to the Celtics’ needs . Rumors have been constantly swirling in recent weeks that Doc Rivers’ relationship with his point guard has been very testy and at times considerably volatile . The coach and general manager Danny Ainge have categorically stated that is not their wish to trade Rondo but yet the rumors simply will not die down . Either there’s some veracity to it all or there isn’t .
Players of Rondo and Williams’ skill set don’t come along that often within the NBA . And it certainly would be interesting to see what either would be able to do for a contender within the NBA at present . With several teams in need of a productive point guard who’s able to provide them with the sort of productivity sought it should be interesting to see which those in question would be willing to pull the trigger and engineer such a deal !
To say that one of the league’s most renowned and respected franchises is said to be having ongoing issues both on and off the court would normally be considered some of an ongoing constant. The Los Angeles Lakers having seen the upheaval both on and off the court during off-season and during this early in the schedule . It has to be said with the recent tirade leveled at the team’s hierarchy , specifically at Mitch Kupchak and Mike Brown . The indignance of Kobe Bryant simply reveals the player’s frustrations with the two executives of the Lakers .
The team’s recent displays reveals an inconsistency that needs to be addressed if they are to be truly considered a legitimate contender in the postseason. And it has been these issues that have clearly given Kobe Bryant the will to air his grievances with such venom. Mike Brown for his part has been reluctant to make any public statement with regard to the player’s concerns and at the same time Mitch Kupchak in conjunction with Jim Buss , son of team owner Dr Jerry Buss have yet to give an inkling as to what moves if any will be made by the Lakers .
My own opinion of the whole dilemma concerning the Los Angeles Lakers has nothing to do with the idiocy of the episode surrounding the denial of the Chris Paul acquisition by the team ! There are those who claimed that it would have saved Paul’s former team the New Orleans Hornets money by way of the salary cap ($57.5 million) But herein lies the idiocy of that statement , for those who simply don’t understand the machinations of the NBA . It is that the teams themselves haven’t by abided their own mandate as it relates to salary cap in place . And one more thing for an organization like the Hornets who reside in one of the smallest markets as it relates to the NBA franchises . The viability of the New Orleans Hornets now comes into question, when one bears in mind it is also one of the least supported franchises in the NBA . It is this sort of apathy that I see repeated continuously by fans who claim to be knowledgeable about the NBA but in large part they show about as much insight as a blind man in the midst of a minefield ! One misstep and their ass would definitely be blown to hell . Consider also , that the New Orleans Hornets still remains in the hands of the league hierarchy as David Stern has yet to find a suitor willing to buy the franchise at what is said to be a realistic price being tag sought by the NBA hierarchy. Stern much like his MLB counterpart Bud Selig is everything that’s said to be now wrong with baseball NBA as avarice more than anything else has become his sole mantra in seeking global dominance for the NBA brand as it also has been with Major League Baseball !
In conclusion if the Lakers are to show any real zeal in chasing their 17th NBA title then Mitch Kupchak will have to show that he does indeed have the know how in getting a deal done instead of coming up with rhetorical statements concerning the team’s issues . Seeing Kupchak in a press conference can be embarrassingly tedious and it makes me wonder what if anything he actually learned from Jerry West who just happened to be Kupchak’s predecessor within the Lakers’ organization ! Clearly it wasn’t enough whereby he’s said to be eloquent enough to succinct in his responses to the press at large .
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What thoughts if any do you have with regard to salient points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Kansas City Royals’ Johnny Giavotella beats the tag by Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli to score on a fielding error by Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Surprise, Ariz. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …
(2) Kansas City Royals’ Billy Butler , right, celebrates with Johnny Giavotella (9) after Butler hit a two-run home run during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Texas Rangers Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Surprise, Ariz. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel … ….
(3) New York Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda throws in the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, March 5, 2012, in Clearwater, Fla. AP Photo/Matt Slocum
(4) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Philadelphia Phillies’ Roy Halladay in the first inning of a spring training baseball game , Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….
(5) Peyton Manning (18) of the Indianapolis Colts reacts after a play late in the fourth quarter with teammate Reggie Wayne (87) against the New Orleans Saints during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …
(6) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints sets to pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 30, 2008 in Tampa, Florida. Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images North America …
* NB: The “franchise tag ” indicates that the player at the position can earn the average salary of the top 5 players at the position within the NFL whilst still remaining in ongoing contract negotiations with his current team.
Highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL
In the case of Drew Brees for the 2012-13 season he will earn $14,755 million .
Brees’ current contract details as to his salary
New Jersey Nets news