A Season of Hope Or Perhaps One of Desperation ……………
By tophatal …….. 4/10/2012 08:38:59 PM
Well we’re almost a week into the MLB season and though we’ve seen a number of teams playing with a great deal of resolve there’s nothing that we’ve yet learned about the teams in question. This time last year within the standings and the results in essence that this early in the season doesn’t necessarily equate what we will actually envision seeing at season’s end . Remarkably what we have seen is an increase in salary of some teams while a decrease for others from 2011 to 2012 . The New York Yankees still remains the team with the highest payroll in the game , absolutely nothing new there when you come think of it . And Alex Rodriguez remains the highest paid player within baseball with absolutely none of his peers coming close to his annual salary . It should come as no surprise that amongst the four major sports it Rodriguez’s annual $32 million pay , that comes out tops amongst those within the NBA , NHL and the NFL . And though by way of commercial endorsements Rodriguez cannot match that of his teammate Derek Jeter who just happens to be top earner within the game when one takes into account those endorsements and other residual earnings .
Slide show for your perusal .
Money asides , this MLB season will be about the competitiveness of the teams and with the apparent incoming new owners of the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers , it will be interesting to see how Jim Crane , Magic Johnson and his partners look to make their respective ball-clubs relevant . So far things do seem to be panning out for the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers respectively within the NL Central and AL West . Brad Mills and Don Mattingly as the managers of the Astros and Dodgers respectively must know that they each will come under a great deal of scrutiny as the season progresses. It remains to be seen however whether or Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten will seek to make any upheavals within the front office of the Dodgers . Former owner Frank McCourt still remains a “pariah ” and for those who see his tenure of as the owner of the organization as simply a businessman who made a number of bad business decisions , I can only surmise that you have never been at the center of a multi-million dollar business concern where your every decision has a rippling effect throughout the entire organization. The fact that McCourt simply used the Dodgers as his own personal ATM for his lavish lifestyle and as collateral for several business deals that had no relationship with the baseball operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers should really give you an outright indication as to the malevolence of his actions that when he was finally caught, in a bind a lie , he chose to apportion blame elsewhere. It certainly did not help the situation that while the league hierarchy was said to be closely monitoring the situation as Bud Selig would suggest . I found it somewhat asinine that the commissioner did not think it pertinent to call in a public accounting firm to audit the books of the Los Angeles Dodgers when it came clear that the ball-club had an acute financial crisis on its hand where they were hemorrhaging ” red ink “ to the tune of several hundred million dollars and with debts said to be in excess of $ 1 billion ($1,000,000,000) .
Finally , one owner that the game of baseball hopefully has seen the last of ! And I’d dare say that Magic Johnson will not be presumptuous enough to have Frank McCourt attend an upcoming game at Dodgers Ballpark ! Surely he couldn’t be that stupid having invited McCourt to attend the opening game of the season against the San Diego Padres ? But then again who knows !
Now during the off-season much of the hoopla surrounded the Miami Marlins and the lavish spending that took place as they literally threw money at any free agent willing to make Miami the next stop of their professional career . Along with those acquisitions came that rather rambunctious character Ozzie Guillen who succeeded Jack McKeon as the team’s manager . Having left the Chicago White Sox after a rather testy relationship with White Sox general manager Kenny William it was felt that mutually for the benefit all of the parties concerned if the manager left the organization which he guided to a World Series title in 2005 . Robin Ventura was hired as the new manager of the White Sox and he will be looked upon to guide this team as they seek to challenge the dominance of the Detroit Tigers within the AL Central .
With Ozzie Guillen brought in as a manager first but also to appeal to the Latino community within South Florida . It was felt that this over-riding factor would be much more of a lure for that specific demographic along with the makeup of this roster of young determined players . Team president David Sanson , Head of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest and GM Michael Hill felt that Guillen’s hire would prove to positive within the community. But knowing how vocal and outspoken this the manager was said to be it should not have come as a surprise that Ozzie Guillen has alienated himself amongst the Cuban-American population within the city of Miami after his admiration and vocal support of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul Castro . Surely , Guillen should have known that any remark be it private or in public, showing admiration for the dictator would draw the ire of the Cuban-Americans not just within Miami but also across the state of Florida . We should remember however , that this is Ozzie Guillen , whose anti-homophobic slurs are part of the manager’s usual spiel and ignorance . Even with his now infamous expletive led rants during post-game interviews should not come as a surprise from this manager or the very fact that he once described Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez as a man of dignity and integrity ! And as passionate as Guillen just happens to be of his native country one has to ask , at what point did his brain shut down and his mouth keep on going ?
Ozzie Guillen has since apologized for his faux-pas but it hasn’t been enough to satisfy the fans within the locale and specifically Marlins’ front office . The decision was made to suspend the manager for five games starting immediately . That apology alone , may not be enough as this PR nightmare takes on a life of its own with fans already swearing off in their support of the manager and in some cases that Miami Marlins organization. Could things get any worse as of now for the Marlins ? OK , so the team was off to a welcoming start in their home opener having defeated the Philadelphia Phillies … 6-2 . Currently sitting third within the NL East behind the division leading unbeaten New York Mets (4-0) and the second placed Washington Nationals (2-2) . It has to be said that Guillen and his managerial staff may well have their work cut out for them upon his return to the team .
As the Miami Marlins go , will be dependent upon the play of Jose Reyes , Hanley Ramirez , Anibal Sanchez , Ricky Nolasco , Carlos Zambrano , Emilio Bonifacio , Mark Buerhle and Logan Morrison . And inasmuch as the Miami Marlins are favored to dethrone the Philadelphia Phillies as the divisional champions of the NL East . From my own perspective , I do believe that the division is the Phillies’ to lose but at the same time given inconsistency we have seen from this team during the regular and postseason leads me to belive that Charlie Manuel’s …. team could very well be upended over the course of the season .
From perceived greatness in their own eyes to what appears to be a ball-club seeking to redeem itself . I do believe that this season for both the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins , they will either sink or swim by their exploits on the field of play and the ingenuity shown by their managers ! Manny Acta and Ron Gardenhire given their respective roles for their teams it will be interesting to see if they can guide them some semblance of success rather than the ineptitude encountered in 2011 . And for the respective owners Lawrence J. Dolan and Jim Pohlad it has to be now or never with regard to both of the ball-clubs in question .
Given the history of the Baltimore Orioles I am not so sure that the fans of the team will be provided with a great deal of joy this season even with a rousing start which initially had the team seated atop of the division alongside the Tampa Bay Rays . And for Buck Showalter and his managerial staff if they can get these players with any modicum of aggression then it is quite possible that they could succeed but much of that will also be predicated upon the consistency of the play of the other teams within the AL East . Team owner ….. Peter Angelos and EVP & Head of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette have done little to encourage the long-suffering fans of the organization that this team is heading in the right direction . Certainly not through the decisions made via the draft or via free agency acquisitions but you would be hard pressed to realize that given the rather asinine statements that have been forthcoming from within this organization over the years.
It is unlikely that the Orioles will change their fate , in recent years this has been an organization that has been poorly served by its executives and players . The Baltimore Orioles haven’t had a winning season since 1997 when they posted a 98-64 record on their way to winning the AL East that season. The team would make it to the ALCS that year where they would end up losing the series 4-2 to the Cleveland Indians. However , the Orioles’ most recent triumph in the World Series came in 1983 in their 4-1 series’ victory over the Philadelphia Phillies . From thereon-in it has been a steep decline for the Baltimore Orioles as an organization with many of their most celebrated players merely now seen as something of an after thought . For the likes of Eddie Murray , Cal Ripken Jr , Frank Robinson , Brooks Robinson , Jim Palmer and Roberto Alomar are no doubt eager to see this team under the coaching talents of Buck Showalter do well. At this juncture I am not so sure even with the ingenuity of Showalter that the Orioles are simply good enough to succeed in their endeavor , much less have a winning foray over the course of this season ! It is simply not within this team even with the talents of Nick Markakis , Matt Wieters , Robert Andino and Wilson Betemit .
The Orioles’ next game will be part of a home series of which it will be played against the New York Yankees . The projected starters in this match-up are C C Sabathia (0-0, 7.50 ERA) and Jake Arrieta (1-0 , 0.00 ERA) in what is sure to be a thrilling duel between these two AL pitchers . Granted , the season has yet hit its stride but I do believe that we cannot gauge the teams thoroughly after just a mere week of the schedule but by mid June we should be able to tell a great deal about the expected track that they are said to be on . When gauged against the events of June 15th last year and the standings I believe it may well be something of an indicator as to how the season may well pan out . As to the aspirations of the Baltimore Orioles as they seek to enter the fray in challenging the might of the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays within the AL East . It would be fitting to think that they along with the Toronto Blue Jays could make the division all the more fitting in what could be described as being entertaining beyond the dominance in recent years with the Red Sox , Yankees and Rays having the division all to themselves .
As I alluded to earlier within this piece I felt that the Minnesota Twins would face an uphill battle this season . And that seems to bearing out as the team remains win-less (0-4 ) and are the only team in the Majors in such a predicament . Given the woes of the team this and last season , and when you add in the fact that both Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau both had prolonged spells on the DL played a part in what turned out to be a disastrous year in 2011 for the Twins’ organization . It is hard to believe that during the early 2000’s this ball-club was a dominant force within the AL Central and a perennial contender therein . Now having hit on hard times and with a payroll
that simply is top-heavy with regard to their committment to their stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau . And that is as it should be but in terms a tangible return productivity wise this and last season as neither player seems to be fulfilling that obligation .
The fact that the Twins saw fit to let Michael Cuddyer go as an unrestricted free agent indicates to me that the front office of the organization is simply clueless ! Cuddyer was the most productive player for the Minnesota Twins in 2011 but somehow GM Terry Ryan chose not to resign the player to a deal commensurate with his standing . But it shouldn’t surprise anyone who is a fan of the game given the fact that more often than not the general managers and team owners within baseball are coerced by the sports’ agents to overpay for talent that is good , bad and indifferent . And yet there’s no denying that when they have been known to make a monumental error in judgment it just happens to be the manager who tends to lose his position .
For the Twins and their aspirations this season their game will be a match-up against the Los Angeles Angels led by Albert Pujols , C J Wilson , Torii Hunter and their teammates . The AL West will be division that will be highly contested with the Angels seeking to stop the recent dominance of the Texas Rangers . The Angels for their part will likely see this game as a something of a walkover against a less than stellar Twins’ team . On the mound as the opposing pitchers will be Jered Weaver of the Angels and Carl Pavano of the Twins . As to the outcome of the game it will be incumbent upon Ron Gardenhire’s players to show their intent to be a success this season . One can only hope that the Minnesota Twins meet those expectations and thereby satisfy their long-suffering fans .
With a new playoff format set to be introduced this season , this year could end up just as thrill packed as the final day of 2011 and the events during the postseason In 2013 with the perceived move from the NL Central to the AL West by the Houston Astros , is there anyone who’s truly of the opinion that this team in its present guise will fare any better than in its previous seasons ? Never mind the woefully inept showing by the Astros and their final standings within the division ! Jim Crane may well have paid a ” whopping ” $765 million for the organization , and with some financial inducements from Bud Selig and his paeans who see this prospective move to the AL West as being beneficial for the Houston Astros and the game in general . To my mind the Astros will become just another “bitch” that the likes of the Oakland A’s Seattle Mariners , Angels and Rangers will whip up on like a ” pimp” who’s displeased with the fact that one of his prostitutes (ho’s ) hasn’t been bringing in enough money by way of her ” Johns ” ! Whoop that bitch ! Whoop that trick > ! .
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What have been your impressions as the season has slowly unfolded and at what point do you believe that we shall see the contenders start to separate themselves from the pretenders within the game ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) ‘ Dumb asses ‘ come in all shapes and sizes , meet the “latest” , Ozzie Guillen ! Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen listens to a question during a news conference at Marlins Stadium in Miami, Tuesday April 10, 2012. Guillen has been suspended for five games because of his comments about Fidel Castro. He has again apologized and says he accepts the punishment. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ……. (2) Jay Hernandez of Miami protests outside the Marlins Stadium in Miami, Tuesday April 10, 2012. Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen has been suspended for five games effective immediately following favorable comments he made about Fidel Castro which infuriated many Cuban-Americans. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …
(3) MIAMI, FL – APRIL 10: Protesters rally outside a press conference held by Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen for comments made about Fidel Castro at Marlins Park on April 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins suspended Guillen for five games over his pro-Castro comments. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …
(4) MIAMI, FL – APRIL 10: Protesters rally outside as Miami Marlins Manager Ozzie Guillen seen on a screen speaks during a press conference about comments made about Fidel Castro at Marlins Park on April 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. The Marlins suspended Guillen for five games over his pro-Castro comments. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….
(5) Miami Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez prepares to throw to second for the out on Philadelphia Phillies’ John Mayberry Jr. during a baseball game Monday, April 9, 2012, in Philadelphia. The Marlins won 6-2 . AP Photo/The News-Journal, Daniel Sato ….
(6) LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 10: Javy Guerra (54) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his save and a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates with A.J. Ellis (17) in the ninth inning during opening day at Dodger Stadium on April 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …
(7) Minnesota Twins’ Joe Mauer , right, advances safely to second on a wild pitch as Los Angeles Angels’ Erick Aybar awaits the throw in the third inning of a major league baseball game Monday, April 9, 2012, in Minneapolis . AP Photo/ Jim Mone …
MLB news .
List the reasons why Stacey Dash is still worth looking at ? Now age 46 , she still looks real good don’t you think ?
Terrence Howard ……. “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp ” ( Soundtrack from the movie ” Hustle & Flow”)