Be there or be square …

Be there or be square
We have already reached the half-way point of the MLB season and the league is about to stage the eighty-sixth edition of baseball’s mid-season event staged between teams from the AL and NL. At this point in 2014, the divisions offered no real pointers as to how the regular season would end or the outcome of the postseason for that matter. Granted, fans were excited to witness the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during the postseason, before faltering against the eventual champions the San Francisco Giants.

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The 2015 MLB All Star Game held at the Great American Ballpark , home to the Cincinnati Reds will provide the fans in attendance as well the television viewers the chance to see their favorite players perform in the mid-season classic. For the Kansas City Royals and their league-leading number of players chosen to be among the list of players representing the American League. This provides the franchise with the opportunity to still ride on the crest of the waves provided from last season’s success, albeit they came up short in the World Series. This season the Royals have been on a tear leading the AL Central , leaving the rest of the division in their wake.

I certainly believe the Detroit Tigers have misjudged the competitiveness of their divisional rivals and the zeal being shown by this Ned Yost managed team. Remarkable as things may well appear to be, given the fortunes of the Kansas City Royals prior to last season’s postseason appearance and then their letdown in the World Series . Things might well prove to be going well for the ball-club, but the struggles continue for a franchise that finds it hard to retain players given the financial shackles placed upon them by a front office and owner , David Glass , who has not been always willing to make a big splash of signing a marquee and productive free agent.

For years Glass was seen as something of a cheapskate, not always willing to pay or place a winning product on the field. Needless to say, claims of the Royals’ owner simply wanting to make use of the monies made available by way of the luxury tax, became one of the many reasons why allegations were made concerning the ball-club’s dismal record over the years. However, over the past five seasons the fruits of the organization’s labor has borne fruit with the development of several players from within their farm system. A number of those players were part of last season’s success for the Kansas City Royals and now they are again stepping up to the plate.

The Royals are a dismal 5-5 in their last ten games, their last victory coming with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. They will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday afternoon when they host their AL rivals at Kauffman Stadium , Kansas City , Missouri. Matt Moore will take the mound for the Rays against the Royals’ Chris Young . I believe the contest is likely to be a competitive one, with the Rays looking to make some inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees.

For two straight seasons the Oakland A’s were see as creme-de-la-creme within the AL West having won the division two years in succession and with it came all of the applause of making the postseason. Alas, the appearances in 2012 and 2013 were short-lived and fell short of the expectations of the A’s famed general manager Billy Beane. Countered by the fact the A’s are one of the least supported teams in all of baseball and their finances menial at best , the continued struggles for the franchise to compete has been a hard one for the organization and the ownership group headed by lead partner Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley . The A’s home venue , the O Coliseum is an archaic stadium, no longer seen as conducive to the team’s needs. Losing 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners has put something of an exclamation mark on what has become a dire season for the Oakland A’s , leading many to believe , Billy Beane and team manager Bob Melvin may begin a fire sale purging themselves of their impending free agents and their high-salaried players off the team’s roster.

Oakland has been looking to parlaying its success , building on their momentum to obtain a new venue with participation from the Oakland Alameda County Government . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization. If there isn’t winning product on the field of play, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to get the financial backing available to get such a proposition underway and actually becoming a reality. The Oakland A’s will be looking to get back to winning ways when they take on the New York Yankees in an away game when the two teams meet on Tuesday evening. Taking to the mound for the visiting team will be Sonny Gray as he faces the Yankees’ starting pitcher Nathan Evoldi .

No major fallout in the St Louis Cardinals’ hacking scandal, with the Cardinals announcing the termination of scouting director Chris Correa . While there seems to be no suggestion that Correa acted alone , I personally believe he was the sacrificial lamb in this whole debacle ! GM John Mozeliak has been less than forthright in seeking to explain the ball-club’s actions and the obtaining of sensitive information from the Houston Astros . For its part , the MLB hierarchy has issued no public statement concerning the matter and it seems unlikely that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will take any action against one of baseball’s most esteemed organizations . We can have fans up in arms about the issue of steroid cheats , the nonsensical and irrational behavior of players in the NFL as well as their misogynistic behavior towards women, blatant racism , homophobia, of which the same traits can also be found within the NBA. Yet God forbid , the fact we now have a baseball team now blatantly committing a criminal offense and not a fucking whimper is heard from the anal retentive sports’ fan, let alone their being any great measures being undertaken by the media to actually conduct any type of investigation behind the actions of the St Louis Cardinals.

News’ cycles being what they are , I guess there’s now more interest in a bigot such as Donald Trump , his ambition to become the Republican Presidential candidate , or idiots within the South Carolina State Legislature suggesting the Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism. Last I looked , racism was still alive and well , long before Dylan Roof took it upon himself to slay nine African-Americans, as he sought to single-handed to begin a race war. Oh my God , not another fucked up suburban white kid , with the intelligence of a lump of shit, looking for attention. Was this mother-fucker still sucking on his Mom’s tit before he went on this rampage , having not been able to gain any attention from his buddies in high school ? Or was it the fact, the lure of the KKK was more alluring, than perhaps having his cherry popped or the claims as some have suggested , Roof was angered by the fact his ex-girlfriend had begun a relationship with an African-American male. Hence the saying, “ once you go black, you never go back “ . White boy , ain’t got no lead in his pencil.

The St Louis Cardinals are the runaway locomotives within the NL , leading with the NL Central by a comfortable margin and likely to have their division all sewn up before we reach the month of September . Mike Matheny and his team have been rarely troubled over the course of their season and it begs the question can the Cardinals be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant ? St Louis alongside , the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are far in a way the best teams within the National League at this point of the season, but as we all know the baseball schedule is one of two halves at the culmination of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule. Having demolished the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon the Cardinals will seek to follow up that victory by looking to inflict further pain upon their NL Central based rivals.

The events surrounding baseball’s mid-season spectacle might well be more entertaining and fan-friendly than can be found with the NBA All Star Game , the NHL All Star Game and that of the NFL’s Pro Bowl . Fans do get the chance to meet with their idols and the players tend to be more appreciative than their counterparts within football , basketball and hockey. Yet for all all the praise and reverence , baseball still finds itself with a dwindling television audience and a marketing strategy that might as well have been thought up by a bunch of drunken fools. The All Star Game itself carries with it, the winning league having home game advantage in the World Series , but even with that as an incentive there doesn’t really seem to be much else that the event really has going for it. Baseball’s Home Run Derby elicits about as much excitement as seeing an eighty-year old wrinkled female up on stage performing a striptease performance , with Vanilla Ice’s hit ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ playing in the background. The efforts of the contestants might well be admired , but in reality, what is it the fans are really getting to witness ? Efforts of real human endeavor ? If that’s meant to be the case with regard to the Home Run Derby , then I would rather watch paint dry or the mating ritual of a pair of elephants. At least there is a sense of realism with what’s being shown on screen , rather the implied implication the contest is something of real physical demand.

Baseball is now at a crossroads , with the career of its greatest ambassador of the last two decades having come to a close last season , there is no Derek Jeter for the fans to follow. The exploits of Mike Trout can provide a great deal of excitement , but he is now playing for a franchise which has consistently under-achieved over the past six seasons. Trout is not to blame, but clearly the Los Angeles Angels are in a state of disarray. In the NL , Bryce Harper is finally fulfilling the potential many of us felt he had , but his lack of maturity and the fact no one on the Washington Nationals’ roster or managerial staff was prepared to hold the player accountable, led to his slow development on all fronts.

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Are you a fan of the MLB All Star Game and if you could level one criticism of the event, what would it be ? Also , which team do you believe has been the biggest disappointment and which club do you feel has been the biggest surprise ?

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Tophatal …

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18 thoughts on “Be there or be square …

  1. As the season has progressed it is becoming increasingly clear the Atlanta Braves are and will remain uncompetitive. GM John Hart and team President John Scheurholz have managed to find a way to mess up this organization while showing their continued support for Fredi Gonzalez and the managerial staff.

    This Braves’ roster lacks leadership of any kind on or off the field of play. It is equally disturbing to understand why the front office has not taken measures to either demote or just fire Gonzalez , promoting someone from among his assistants or simply hire someone with more credibility than the incumbent.

    Over the their last twelve games the Braves have proven to be pitiful in just about every aspect of the game. With their victory over the Milwaukee Brewers by a score of 4-3 Atlanta got itself back to ,500 while still trailing within the NL East and for a wildcard berth in the National League (NL).

    At the end of the season Hart must make a decision concerning Gonzalez’s future as well as among several of the players on the roster in terms of their status and the financial commitment currently being made to a number of them who have simply underperformed all season long.

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  2. In what is turning out to be a division of putrid unoriginality and lack of real competitiveness . The New York Yankees barely playing above , 500 baseball are looking bad , but then so too are the rest of the occupants within the AL East. Those subscribing to the claims the division remains a bastion of greatness with some great players , really need to take a look at the team stats of the occupants as well as the players there and then make comparisons against the rest of the Major League (baseball).

    Former Rays’ pitcher Scott Kazmir will be on the mound for the Oalkand A’s when he faces the Yankee’s veteran CC Sabathia in a game to be played at Yankees Stadium on Wednesday evening .

    Baseball’s hierarchy lacks leadership and common sense . It is wildly known the A’s have been in search of financing for a new stadium with Michael Crowley and Lew Wolff leading the charge for the organization . Incoming MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has not really made it one of his top priorities to aid the franchise with their endeavors , We also know the Oakland Alameda County Government is not amenable to funding the majority of the project, given their fiscal issues at present. Any type proposed bond issue would not be welcomed given the vagaries of the market and that of government agency’s problems at present. Manfred for his part , has merely paid the A’s ongoing issues lip service .

    Bud Selig for his part as commissioner was front and center in the cajoling , manipulating and extorting of state and municipal governments of New York City , state and also within the state of Florida as the Miami Marlins , New York Mets and New York Yankees were all able to obtain new venues within the last six years. This was all done at the cost of $2. 6 billion ( $2,600,000,000) of public funding .

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  3. One more reason why baseball fans who go overboard for the events encompassing the All Star Game need to get a life . If they are concerned with the fact with both Mike Trout and Bryce Harper declining the invitation to take part in the Home Run Derby , then it clearly indicates these fans haven’t got a clue .

    The aforementioned players who by their stats alone this season appear to be best players in the game at present , would rather concentrate on their respective team’s efforts to make their way to the MLB postseason by either winning their division or obtaining a wildcard berth , An injury suffered during the event would likely hinder the chances of both the Los Angeles Angeles and Washington Nationals .

    Last I looked, the All Star Game was of far more importance than the Home Run Derby itself .

    With their being so much at stake from the All Star Game it is easy to understand the reluctance of Trout and Harper to compete in a meaningless subplot of an event.

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  4. I’ve been watching my beloved Atlanta Braves play like there’s nothing of value to play for . The team itself lacks leadership on and off the field of play with Fredi Gonzalez and the managerial staff now in dire straits.

    I believe a great deal of the blame for the Braves’ malaise lies on the shoulders of the front office led by Team President John Scheurholz and GM John Hart who for several years held a similar role with the Cleveland Indians . Since taking over from Frank Wren , Hart has proven to be an abysmal failure as the Braves’ general manager.

    In their last ( 7-5) twelve games the Braves have proven to be pitiful , barely putting up much of a fight against divisional , league and non divisional opponents.

    Having lost to the Milwaukee Brewers the Braves will take on the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver , Colorado on Thursday evening .

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  5. The New York Mets are struggling to keep apace not just with the Washington Nationals but also with many of their divisional opponents within the NL East . After an initial great start the team has become inconsistent over their last fifteen games, while the fans now have become somewhat impatient. It’s becoming increasing hard to believe how the Mets can be considered among the front-runners for the NL Pennant much less the World Series.

    Terry Collins might not be with the organization much longer given the lack of success and competitiveness of the franchise during his managerial tenure . At the same time there has been little done by either JP Ricciardi or Sandy Alderson to prove the Mets are heading in the right direction.

    With a weekend home schedule against the Arizona Diamondbacks it will be interesting to see how the home fares while seeking to make inroads into the lead of the Washington Nationals in the NL East. Noah Syndergaard will be on the mound for the New York Mets against Chase Anderson of Diamondbacks.

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  6. Just about everywhere point guard Deron Williams has played, he has proven to be a monumental bust . Now things have come full circle with news breaking the Brooklyn Nets have parted ways with the player as they have bought out the remaining two years of his current contract . It looks all but certain , Williams will join the Dallas Mavericks where things there are now likely to change .

    A real bust , statuesque or otherwise in terms, Deron Williams

    Dallas has several point guards on the roster and the addition of Deron Williams means there will be someone superfluous to the team’s needs. Mark Cuban may well have had to bite the bullet in missing out on DeAndre Jordan , in order to get a player like Williams who is unlikely to provide the Mavericks with anything at all at this stage of his career.

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  7. KC is having a great season. The Royals are one of the best clubs in MLB. The other is St. Louis. My Phillies suck. The bums couldn’t hit their way out of a wet paper bag with a cannon.

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  8. bobby gee

    The Kansas City Royals are playing great baseball through the first half of the season, but divisions and titles are not won by what’s achieved in the first half , but what’s done over the course of one hundred and sixty-two games.

    So far the Royals have proved they are the best team in the AL Central and quite possibly the best team in the AL . From my own standpoint until they put the nightmare of this past postseason behind them . I still believe they are likely to falter when more is demanded of them in the postseason .

    Nothing good , seems to be happening in the city of Philadelphia . The Philadelphia Eagles are likely to be a real mess this season with Chip Kelly in charge. His teams are simply poor on defense and the off-season moves made still make no sense whatsoever. In the case of the Philadelphia Phillies , the front office remains as clueless and as apathetic as the players on the field of play.

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  9. Results from Saturday’s games has the teams now getting ready for the mid-season All Star Break coming up.

    The Kansas City Royals may well be the surprise team within the AL this season , but not far behind them are the Houston Astros , who have a healthy lead over their closest divisional rivals . Yet for all of the brouhaha concerning the Astros , I do not believe they can remain consistent enough to win AL West . However , I do believe with a wildcard berth they are likely to make to the ALDS and from there, the rest will be down to the zeal of this team against their league rivals.

    The Astros were on the wrong side of a rather embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in yesterday’s game between the two teams .

    Sunday’s contest between the Astros and Rays promises more excitement between these two AL franchises. Lance McCullers will be on the mound for Houston as he faces off against Matt Moore .

    Tophatal …

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  10. The New York Yankees lead a mediocre AL East where the three teams seated atop of the division are barely over . 500 in terms of their respective records.

    With no game on the schedule for Monday and with the mid-season break now taking places as players gather for the 2015 MLB Star Game to be played at the Great American Ballpark , Cincinnati , Ohio, baseball’s mid year schedule begin amidst some controversy with Pete Rose set to make an appearance at the ballpark , as he seeks to ingratiate himself among the fans as well the league hierarchy and owners , all while trying to restore his image, with the hope finally seeing his ban lifted by MLB .

    Hall of Fame induction to my mind still is a long way off , even if many are now calling for Rose’s reinstatement.

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  11. After this weekend’s results in baseball and what pointers should we be looking for as the season makes its customary progress to an inevitable end . In spite of the recent slate of trades , teams are not really gaining any real traction .

    There is a great deal of idiocy among some fans in particular among a blogger who believes the Toronto Blue Jays with their being one game above . ,500 will be good enough to win the AL East much less gain a wildcard berth . The Blue Jays are simply an average team in spite of their recent acquisitions .

    Toronto will face the Minnesota Twins at the Rogers Center in an AL match up between these two ball-clubs.

    There is also real idiocy when you have analysis being provided with the use of such analogy as the Blue Jays’ season being dynamic much less the playing staff being referred in such a role , when at no point during their season have been remotely been with a chance of being a front-runner within the AL East.

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  12. Is there internal angst within the Detroit Tigers’ front office with the departure of David Dombrowski and the promotion of Al Avila ? The Tigers have been exceptionally bad , complacent , but most all, they made several trades which have been of no benefit to the ball club at all .

    The statements from owner Michael Ilitch , indicates he and Dombrowski were at odds , but at the same time , Ilitch seemed to have given the former executive his backing to executive the moves made.

    Avila a protege of Dombrowski , worked alongside him when the two were also with the Miami Marlins when the organization triumphed to win their last of two World Series’ titles.

    The Tigers have lacked consistency all season long with the likes of Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera now having seasons they would rather forget . There appears to a growing possibility Detroit could very well miss the postseason as they see the Kansas City Royals succeed them as the AL Central divisional champions. Perhaps , indicative of this all has been the Royals’ record this season against Detroit, as well as overall .

    With Dave Dombrowski now on the market , there are likely to be several teams showing interest in one of the best front office executives in baseball over the past fifteen years.

    Another executive who chose to step down has been the Boston Red Sox team President Larry Lucchino . To say the Red Sox underachieved this season would not be unreasonable , but the blame for this all has to be extended to both John Farrell , his managerial staff and GM Ben Cherington , who collectively have done a lousy job to this point of the season with just over six weeks to ago until the schedule reaches its regular season finale .

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