An Ass By Any Other Name Is Still An Ass !
5th April, 2012
By tophatal ………
Well, Bud Selig having attended the Miami Marlins’ inaugural game at their new 37,000 seat venue , which in effect is baseball’s newest stadium since both Citi-Field and Yankee Stadium came into being . And while the commissioner while being interviewed by ESPN’s baseball analysts as to his thoughts upon the new venue ___ Bud Selig was quick to point out that the stadium while pristine will be able to serve the surrounding community of Miami in a number of social aspects . It was somewhat remiss of the commissioner to perhaps hide behind that charade , given the fact that city of Miami is now currently under investigation by the US Justice Department as to the financing for the Marlins’ ballpark . Mayor Tomas Regalado has been reluctant to answer any questions either privately or publicly concerning the issues pending the ongoing investigation . As if the game of baseball hasn’t already been tarnished enough recently , we now have to deal with ridiculous situation which may well bring into disrepute also the actions of the Miami Marlins’ ownership led by Jeffrey Loria and their undoubted communiques with the city . It begs the question , what if any actions were taken by the commissioner as the front office and city officials tried to hammer out a deal for the $575 million venue built at taxpayers’ expense ? Care to proffer up your thoughts on this ?
Slide show for your perusal .
Bud Selig was quick to also point out that he was entirely happy with the outcome of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sale to a consortium led by Magic Johnson , Stan Kasten and the senior partners of Guggenheim Partners LLC , one of the country’s largest venture capital firms (assets under management $125 billion [ $125,000,000,000] ). The sale of this storied franchise was for an unheard of $2 billion ($2,000,000,000) , making the ball-club the most expensive sale of a North American sports’ franchise in history . For departing former owner , Frank McCourt this brings to end an unsavory and rather sullied era during which , McCourt , his ex-wife Jamie McCourt and senior front office executives were simply negligent and need one say egregious in their actions , in the day-to-day running of the organization .
As to what now awaits the Los Angeles Dodgers and specifically the coaching staff and players is a matter of conjecture and speculation . From my own perspective , I am not so sure that the new owners can proceed ahead with many of the front office executives that are now in place within this ball-club ! GM Ned Colletti , CFO Peter Wilhelm will be extremely lucky if they are retained in their current positions . Stan Kasten , initially may well seek their input but in the long run both he , Magic Johnson , Mark Walter and Todd Boehly know that they need to start afresh in terms of a general manager and Chief Financial Officer .
For Don Mattingly as the manager of this renowned ball-club , having to endure the past months of uncertainty obviously had to have played a part in the team’s failings in 2011. To say that the Dodgers under-achieved last season would be an understatement to say the very least . The team finished a distant 11.5 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68) who went on to the postseason having won the NL West with some ease .
What the Los Angeles Dodgers now have in their favor is the very fact that having rid themselves of Frank McCourt , is the very fact that the new owners are intent bringing about change . Specifically , change in such a way it brings about renewed confidence in this organization amongst its staff. Most notably so , amongst the player personnel . It would be naive to think that the uncertainty over much of 2011 did not play a part in the failings of the players. And as admirably as Matt Kemp played in leading the team in a number of offensive categories there’s no denying that beyond Kemp and Clayton Kershaw , there simply was not a great deal to take away to suggest that anyone had actually witnessed anything truly positive . Kemp’s heroic efforts led to him being the runner-up in the NL MVP honors last season , with Ryan Braun having won that dubious and tainted honor . In the aftermath of that result and the subsequent allegations leveled the Milwaukee Brewers’ player. As we all know, that whole episode ended with Braun being able to overturn his mandated suspension at an arbitration hearing . His exoneration was greatly helped by the idiocy shown an employee of the laboratory , hired to test the player’s samples and the very fact that evidentiary protocols were not strictly adhered to.
The Los Angeles Dodgers begin their season with a series of three games against divisional rivals the San Diego Padres . Those games will be played at PETCO Park , in San Diego , California . However, Mattingly and the team’s home opener won’t be until the 10th April where they will face that Pittsburgh Pirates at Dodgers’ Stadium . That inaugural home start will officially serve note as to the new team ownership meeting the fans en-mass in what is surely to be a highly anticipated game , given the recent turn of events . And there’s no doubt in my mind that the Dodgers’ players will certainly be looking to please their fans by serving up a victory .
The strength of the Dodgers as team when measured against their NL counterparts would have to be the team pitching . And with the success of Clayton Kershaw last season where he led the pitching staff in wins , K’s , WHIP’s , IP and games started . Those accomplishments simply placed Kershaw head and shoulders above his NL counterparts when it came to being named the outright winner of the Cy Young Award in 2011 . If he and the leading members of the starting rotation , made up of Chad Billingsley , Aaron Harang , Chris Capuano and a healthy …. Ted Lilly can simply live up to the expectations when measured against that of last season then there’s no reason to believe why the Los Angeles Dodgers cannot be a major contender within the NL West.
With the opening of the Dodgers’ schedule against the San Diego Padres where Clayton Kershaw will take the mound against Edinson Volquez . Both teams are as such, are expected to be at full strength . And for Padres’ manager Bud Black , his coaching staff and in particular this team it is imperative that they get off to a solid start this season . The Padres’ struggles in 2011 were well chronicled with the team having amongst the worst records in all of baseball at the end of that rather unsuccessful season . For managing partner John Moores , GM Josh Byrnes and the senior executives within the organization , anything short of a playoff berth would be considered a major disappointment this season. With a new and lucrative television deal in place , it is felt that with the off-season moves made , the on-field product would be deemed good enough to contend . As this team goes through course of their schedule we may well see the direction that Black , Byrnes and Moores hope that they are going in .
If nothing else , for the San Diego Padres to meet the expectations of their fans , then it will be incumbent upon the likes of Cameron Maybin , Orlando Hudson , Jesus Guzman , Nick Hundley and Chris Denorfia to produce if they are to have any real chances of measurable success . And it is also imperative that Corey Luebke , Dustin Moseley and Clayton Richards , who have been entrusted as the mainstays of the pitching staff to simply play at a heightened level alongside starting ace Edinson Volquez to give the team a real shot this year . Given the organization’s propensity to simply let their seasons simply slip from within their grasp , it seems only fitting that they now aspire to achieve something credible . The Padres have not been a part of baseball’s postseason since 2006 and have not played in a World Series since being swept by the New York Yankees in 1998 . And at this juncture , only can only hope with a change in the wildcard format which is being introduced this season , it can only add to the aspirations of the San Diego Padres and their long-suffering fans .
Now while Bud Selig basks in the glory and the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ I can’t help but wonder what role if any he played in the part of the whole process ! It was clear from the very outset when the rumor mill was rife with the malfeasance of Frank McCourt , the commissioner chose to remain at arm’s length rather than have the league hierarchy conduct an investigation into the improprieties and actions of not only the owner , his ex-wife Jamie McCourt but also why absolutely no senior executive within the front office of the Dodgers’ organization sought the input the league office (hierarchy) as scurrilous acts were taking place . Now Selig is taking it upon himself , to regale the incoming ownership group , while at the same time questions are being raised about sale of the organization and whether or not the commissioner showed specific preference for the triumphant consortium led by Magic Johnson , Stan Kasten and the senior executives of Guggenheim Partners . Less we forget , it was Selig , himself , who fast-tracked the sale of the Dodgers to Frank McCourt in 2005, when it was widely known that he (McCourt) struggled to raise the financing to purchase the team , while in litigation with plaintiffs in a civil suit , for which he was a defendant . As to what this would suggest about the background checks conducted by the league of potential suitors for any of their franchises . Well , I’ll let you be the judge of that ! At this juncture as the title of this piece would suggest , I am not convinced that the commissioner has served the best interests of the game all that well !
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What are your early impressions if any, concerning the start of the season and the results so far ? And do you feel that the league hierarchy in terms of its conduct has been upfront concerning the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers and specifically with regard to the actions of Bud Selig ? . It would appear that he is now choosing to ignore the questions being raised by not only by some owners but also by several front office executives of the teams as they feel that there has been some collusion on the part of the league hierarchy in the US Bankruptcy Court’s decision as to whose bid was deemed the most credible and noteworthy . Of the nine original suitors who entered the fray as potential bidders for the Dodgers’ franchise , it would appear that the process was dealt with expeditiously but likes of Mark Cuban and Joe Torre’s consortium who sought to be the potential owners , being quickly being dealt that ” death knell ” all too swiftly . The Dallas Mavericks’ owner made it known that he had no intention in overpaying for the franchise. In the case of Torre , it would appear that his bid did not prove to meet the criteria sought .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Magic Johnson (left) , part-owner in the syndicate that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen here with the former owner Fran McCourt (right) . Johnson , in partnership with venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners made an all successful cash bid of $2 billion for the ball-club . AP Photo Mark Curran …..
(2) Baseball fans stand near a dugout while posing for photos at Marlins Park before the Opening Day baseball game between the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….
(3) Baseball fans mill about an upper concourse before the Opening Day baseball game between the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals at Marlins Park, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …..
(4 ) St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse drops his bat after bunting in the sixth inning during the Opening Day baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Miami. Yadier Molina was forced out at third, and Lohse was safe at first. The Cardinals defeated the Marlins 4-1 . AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….
(5) Miami Marlins relief pitcher Randy Choate , left, tags out St. Louis Cardinals’ Daniel Descalso (33) on a ground ball during the eighth inning of the Opening Day baseball game, Wednesday, April 4, 2012, in Miami. The Cardinals defeated the Marlins 4-1 . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …..
(6) SAN DIEGO, CA – APRIL 5 : San Diego Padres players come onto the field before the home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park on April 5, 2012 in San Diego, California. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images ….
(7) SAN DIEGO, CA – APRIL 5 : Dee Gordon (9) of the Los Angeles Dodgers turns a double play over Orlando Hudson (1) of the San Diego Padres as Mark Ellis (14) of the Dodgers (L) looks on during the seventh inning in the home opener at Petco Park on April 5, 2012 in San Diego, California. The Dodgers won 5-3 . Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images ….
(8) Matt Kemp (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers is congratulated by teammate Andre Ethier (16) after hitting a home run during the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres in the home opener at Petco Park on April 5, 2012 in San Diego, California. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images …
(9) Magic Johnson (L) sits with Frank McCourt during the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres in the home opener at Petco Park on April 5, 2012 in San Diego, California. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images …..
(10) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp , center, crosses home plate while scoring from third on a bases-loaded walk as umpire Gary Darling , left, and San Diego Padres catcher Nick Hundley , right, look on in the fourth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, April 5, 2012, in San Diego. The Dodgers scored two runs on bases-loaded walks during the inning. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi …..