Now while there’s still a great deal to play for between now and the end of the 3rd October which happens to be the final day of the regular season schedule of baseball games . The thought has to be , are the Rays in their current guise , capable of erasing the five game lead currently maintained by the Yankees , and thereby secure , only the baseball-club’s third divisional title in its existence , and the first since 2010 . All of this accredited, and deserved success, has come courtesy of Joe Madden and his coaching staff. At the same time , without the ingenuity and fiscal constraint shown by GM Andrew Friedman , I seriously doubt that the organization would be so resilient and steadfast in their approach. The Rays’ general manager has pared down the payroll and has it within a manageable scope for the ball-club , and to the satisfaction of managing general partner and owner, Stuart Sternberg .
However, with the offense now stepping up to the plate , the pitching staff led by David Price , James Shields , Jeremy Hellickson , Matt Moore , Alex Cobb and closer , Fernando Rodney , have simply sought to prove that this team , will no longer lay down , and remain there . Long gone are those days, when the Rays’ teams of old were the doormats of the AL East , as well as the rest of baseball at large . In recent pitching performances it has been the likes of to the likes of Shields, Matt Moore and Price to keep the Rays within distance of the New York Yankees and the rest of the teams within the AL vying for a postseason berth . There’s no denying that with the AL being so contentious , there are an ever-increasing number of scenarios arising as the teams vying for the divisional leads and wildcard berths up for grabs play themselves into contention.
The Rays , today face the Seattle Mariners in the second of a three game set at Safeco Field , in Seattle , Washington , before embarking on another three game series with against the Los Angeles Angels in Los Angeles , California . Those trio of games against the AL West team will begin on begin on the 16th August , with the first of the scheduled three-set series at Angels Ballpark , this upcoming Thursday. >. First, and foremost , today’s game against the Mariners and the rubber game tomorrow have to be the priority for Joe Maddon’s players , if it is their intent to keep up the momentum and pressure on the New York Yankees .
On the mound today for the Rays will be Matt Moore (9-7, 3.73 ERA) against the seasoned veteran Kevin Millwood (4-10, 4.38 ERA) of the Mariners . Not wishing to be complacent but at this juncture , the Tampa Bay Rays can ill afford a slip-up against a team that has struggled for much of the season . If they can add to their recent tally of victories before embarking on the rest of their West Coast sojourn , then it bodes well for their upcoming series against the Los Angeles Angels . . And for Arte Moreno , owner of the Angels , his team is now locked in a close run battle for the AL West , with the Texas Rangers . The winner of the division , could quite possibly be considered as one of the perceived favorites for the World Series within the AL . These two teams have battled each other feverishly over the course of the season , and with both having that propensity for an explosive onslaught in terms of offensive productivity , you can be sure that when they next meet , we are bound to see a number of exhilarating games .
For the most ardent of Tampa Bay Rays’ fans , I have no doubt they are at present reliving memories during the final month of last season , when the team pulled off an improbable series of wins , with the final triumph coming by way of an 8-7 victory over the New York Yankees , that would ensure the ball-club , the wildcard berth in the postseason . And as short as that foray might have been , it simply exemplified why the Rays remained such a resilient team throughout 2011 . From my own perspective , I believe that the Rays’ players would rather avoid a repeat of that suspense , no matter how exciting have been for the fans in attendance in at Tropicana Field , for that memorable night . The events as they were revealed to the fans, were not only awe-inspiring but when it was revealed that the Boston Red Sox had succumbed to the Baltimore Orioles —- 4-3 , in a defeat that completely deflated the Red Sox fans and their ambitions for the postseason . The thunderous bellows of Rays’ fans being overjoyed and excited, was simply beyond belief. The rest as they say history , and for a Red Sox team that went 7-21 in the final month of their regular season schedule , while still expecting to make the postseason. Well , apart from the complacency and conceitedness shown , it is my belief , that this was a fitting way for Boston Red Sox’s season to end , with an implosion of unbelievable ineptitude exhibited by everyone associated with the organization !
The AL East as a division , is one that I firmly believe is within the grasp of the Tampa Bay Rays , that is if they have the hunger to overcome the obstacles placed within their way ! Those impediments would have to be specifically the Yankees within the division , and among the wildcard aspirants , the Baltimore Orioles , Oakland A’s , Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels . There is still a great deal to play for , as the final third of the regular season comes into play , and I have no doubt the Rays will seek to position themselves for that stretch run . Chances are , by no later than 1st October we may have an idea who will be within earshot winning the AL East . What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article ? By all means chime with a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb throws against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Seattle. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren ….
(2) Tampa Bay Rays’ Ryan Roberts , right, is tagged out by Seattle Mariners’ Brendan Ryan , left, after Roberts was caught stealing second base in the seventh inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Seattle. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren …
(3) Tampa Bay Rays’ B.J. Upton is greeted in the visitors dugout after he hit a two-run home run against the Seattle Mariners in the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 13, 2012, in Seattle. The Tampa Bay Rays would go on to defeat the Mariners 4-1 . AP Photo/Ted S. Warren ..
(4) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – AUGUST 9: Designated hitter Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the Toronto Blue Jays August 9, 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …
(5) Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price follows through on a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 in Minneapolis. Price picked up his 15th win as the Rays beat the Twins 4-2 . AP Photo/Jim Mone ……
(6) Pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with pitcher Matt Moore (55) and catcher Jose Lobaton (21) during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on August 3, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ..
p> (7) New York Yankees’ Nick Swisher , right, celebrates his grand slam with Mark Teixeira during the third inning of the baseball game against the Texas Rangers Monday, Aug. 13, 2012 at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Seth Wenig …
The Nationals for their part are on a five game losing streak stretching back to the latter part of April and the team has lost ( 4-6 ) of their last ten games . Get the feeling that those buying into the idiocy of the ascent of the Nationals is like that of a Phoenix rising out of the ashes ? If by late August the team is in the mix for the division then by all means , run with that premise but as of now let’s take a step back and simply watch the events unfurl .
In spite of the plaudits and what many felt would be the dawn of a ” new era” with regard to the Chicago Cubs . It has to be said that the hiring of the Theo Epstein to head the Baseball Operations and GM Jed Hoyer the Cubs’ organization , it would appear that not much has changed with regard to the anemic issues that have faced this ball-club in recent years . It is hard to see how Dale Sveum can guide this team in what appears to be the midst of another woefully inept season. At 8-15 the only other team in the NL baseball with a comparably anemic record are worse record in the NL just happens to the cellar dwelling Miami Marlins (9-14) and the San Diego Padres (9-17). It is hard to envisage how the Cubs can play themselves out of this slump when the team has been performing so poorly . Granted , it would be foolish to think Epstein would be able to change the fortunes of this team overnight . But with so many bad contracts and no apparent leadership from any of the seasoned veterans on the roster . The lone sign of life on the team might just be the play of Starling Castro from an offensive standpoint who’s batting a team leading .333 which would place him amongst the top five within the NL at present (batting average). .
Derek Jeter seems to have a new lease on life as his career is on the rebound , as he leads the AL with a .400 batting average . But their problems may well have significantly taken a turn for the worse with the reported loss of Mariano Rivera with a possible torn meniscus or ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right knee . The injury could very well threaten his career and a formidable one that it has been . Alternatives , as it relates to the Yankees’ bullpen gives Girardi the choice between David Robertson and Rafael Soriano . The all-time career saves’ leader , Rivera’s statistics in this particular category leaves that of his teammates , Robertson and Soriano trailing in the dust . Needless to say Joe Girardi has a decision to make and it will have the Yankees’ fans on edge.
Amongst the Tampa Bay Rays’ fans there’s no denying that this division has to be viewed as winnable and for the games at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg over the course of this season . All the support that this organization can muster for those games must be shown with the all-out support by their hard-core fans. The fans crave the success and what Joe Maddon has done during his tenure has been astonishing . The team’s exploits during the final month of the 2011 regular season speaks volumes as to the tenacity of the organization under their manager. Joe Maddon has been by far the most successful coach (manager) that the Rays have had during their entire existence and that most definitely includes those years of futility. The question now must be , will this be the year where the Tampa Bay Rays finally get over that last remaining obstacle on their way to their first World Series win ? Chances this question will be answered one way or another for this team.
Now while the season is still in its infancy , off the field the game still remains with seen its integrity and image further tarnished . The Shyam Das’ arbitration decision in overturning Ryan Braun’s 50 game mandatory suspension for what was an alleged abuse of the league’s steroid abuse mandate . Well the asinine outcry from the league hierarchy and the statements attributed to Bud Selig , seemingly shows how out of touch the commissioner just happens to be ! Selig and his subordinate Rob Manfred have shown about as much intelligence as one would expect from two individuals who earn a combined $40 million annually but simply have no damn idea as to how best deal with the financial imbalances that effects the vast majority of the teams within the game. Selig’s ire was drawn by the arbitrator’s decision but by no means did he question the very fact that the testing facility that handled Braun’s test specimens did not follow the proper protocols as laid out by the league , itself . And one wonders why the commissioner is often viewed as a complete buffoon and an ass ? Repeatedly, Bud Selig opens his mouth and continues to make the most asinine of statements , and he’s yet to explain his actions as it relates to the behind-the-scenes allegations as to his interference in the sale ($2.15 billion) of the Los Angeles Dodgers to a consortium led by Magic Johnson , Stan Kasten , Peter Guber and the senior partners of the venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners LLC . If ever there was a time for Selig to step down from his current position then now would be it _______ but unfortunately that is unlikely to be the case . God knows , a chimpanzee could probably perform this task a great deal better than the incumbent !
One cannot ignore Roger Clemens and his antics as he looks to clear his name , while he and his lead defense attorney Rusty Hardin and Hardin’s associate Michael Attanasio , simply look to make a mockery of the judicial system . At the same time the inescapable fact has been that the US Justice Department has done little justify their avarice in chasing down Clemens for what they believe to be perjury after his sworn testimony under subpoena in-front of a Congressional Committee . Unless I’m mistaken , there are members of the US House and Senate who have done far more egregious acts than the former big league pitcher ! But somehow they are able to escape the grasp of the Attorney General Eric Holder and his office . Now the full wrath of that office and the money spent chases after Roger Clemens for lying under oath to the congressional committee , and we are told investigative members of the FBI . Oops !
Clemens’ case is currently in session and being presided over by Federal Court Judge Reggie Walton . And the player’s former teammate Andy Pettite’s testimony may well go a long way in either clearing the player or quite possibly proving to be the “nail in his coffin” as the government looks to make its case . The reliability and integrity Clemens’ former strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee by no means the biggest advantage in the government’s case could very well sink it altogether . As McNamee in his own testimony to the congressional committee was literally filled with so many misnomers half-truths . Lobbing claims of deceit and deception against one another , McNamee and Clemens are in essence the “poster children” as to what was rife within the baseball during the 90’s as the game was beset by the whole ” steroid abuse era” . Records were being shattered and the league hierarchy and the game’s most prominent analysts and journalists were simply nowhere to be seen or heard from on the matter ! Suffice to say , any statement now being made by the likes of Buster Olney , Tim Kurkjian , John Kruk , Rob Dibble , Skip Bayless , Orel Hershiser , Joe Buck and Joe Morgan has to be taken at face value ………. in effect they simply have nothing meaningful at all to say on the subject !
I’m not averse to the Justice Department going after criminals , hardened violent criminals or those white collar-criminals who in the last decade has cost this nation billions of dollars . Case in point , the executives who sit atop of such financial institutions as Goldman Sachs , AIG , Bank of America , Wells Fargo Inc and the now defunct Lehman Bros whose $300 billion ($300,000,000,000) bankruptcy was the largest in US corporate history . There is enough evidence to suggest that these executives misled the government and in particular the senior principals within the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) as well as that impish clown , Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner as to the financial irregularities and the fact that many of those financial institutions used surreptitious and illegal accounting practices to hide and transfer assets to off-shoots across the globe _____ to inflate , and then deflate their balance sheets . But to date , not one of those executives has yet to be arraigned or prosecuted to the full extent of the legal system , with impunity . Less we forget , the financial industry has been the recipient of over $275 billion ($275,000,000,000) in taxpayers’ monies as part of a government bailout but somehow Eric Holder’s office is intent on punishing Roger Clemens for lying ? How fu_ked up is that situation ? Should this not have been down the MLB hierarchy , to question and perhaps mete out some form of punishment to the player , as they deem fit ? Selig’s intellect has to come into question but those are merely my own thoughts on the matter ! What thoughts , if any , do you have on these set of circumstances ?
By clicking on a frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size.
Picture gallery for your perusal .
As the first month of the baseball season has passed what if anything has been the biggest surprise to you as an observer ? And what if anything do you feel will happen as it pertains to Clemens’ ongoing trial ? By all mean simply chime in with a comment as you see fit and once again thanks for the continued support of this site as it is and has always been greatly appreciated !
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) FILE – This Sept. 14, 2005 file photo shows Hall of Fame baseball player Stan Musial and his wife, Lillian , waving as they are taken around the field at a baseball game between the Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis. The Cardinals said Lillian Musial died on Thursday, May 3, 2012. She was 91. AP Photo/Tom Gannam ….
(3) Bryce Harper (34) and Rick Ankiel (24) of the Washington Nationals celebrate after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks at Nationals Park on May 3, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …
(4) Texas Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman reaches for a new ball as Toronto Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Wednesday May 2, 2012. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn …
(5) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – MAY 3: Infielder Alex Liddi (16) of Seattle Mariners bats against the Tampa Bay Rays May 3, 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …
(6) NEW YORK – FILE: Derek Jeter (2) , Mariano Rivera (42) and Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees celebrate with the trophy after their 7-3 win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Six of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on November 4, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. According to reports, Rivera suffered a tear to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee as well as a partially torn meniscus while shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice on May 3, 2012 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images …
(7) Former all-star baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (2nd L) and his attorney Rusty Hardin (L) leave the U.S. District Court after a day of hearing of his perjury and obstruction trial May 1, 2012 in Washington, DC. New York Yankees pitcher and longtime friend of Clemens, Andy Pettitte took the stand today, and said Clemens had told him that he had used human growth hormone. Getty Images North America / Alex Wong …..
Contrary to popular belief baseball’s hierarchy does not possess all of the answers to what ails the game . If anything Bud Selig , the league hierarchy , teams owners and the union have found a way to make the game itself somewhat of a laughing stock amongst the vast majority of the fans . Those who take the opposite view , simply see the game as being under the premise of the glass being half full .
If ever there was a cause for concern then it would have to be ongoing continued meltdown of the Boston Red Sox within the AL East as their wildcard lead over the Tampa Bay Rays seems to be melting like butter having touched a hot knife . Red Sox fans are either holding their breath with deep concern or they’re contemplating suicide . This team having lost three straight , including a rather haphazard and totally inexplicable 7-5 defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park is now beginning to look like a rudderless vessel at sea. If this were the Titanic then all of the hands on deck would have bailed on this bitch long ago ! At this juncture I don’t know which is more painful to endure , having to watch the Boston Red Sox at play or listen to their fans now bitch and whine on the flagship radio station WEEI . Anyone who knows how passionate the Red Sox fans are will also know that when things are getting tough they can also be some of the most obnoxious fans within the game of baseball , not unlike the fans of their bitter rivals the New York Yankees .
Baseball fans stand to leave Fenway Park as Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves , left, and designated hitter David Ortiz react as they linger in the dugout after they were defeated 6-4 by the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….
As the season moves into its final weeks this AL wildcard race is now heating up into a suspenseful thriller that now has all the makings of quite possibly becoming an epic battle. It would come as a complete surprise to me were the Tampa Bay Rays able to erase the two game deficit and somehow gain that wildcard berth spot ! I felt that earlier in the month the deficit would be too great a burden to overcome but little had I foreseen that the Boston Red Sox would be able to make such a damn mess of things . So much so , that should they actually derail the ambitions Terry Francona’s team , then I would be the first to offer a profound apology to one patron (SportsChump) who I doubted , when he stated ……. ” that the Rays weren’t about to go away at all ” . And that has clearly been the case here as the Tampa Bay Rays have hung around and caused mayhem amongst the Red Sox organization with their apparent will win to win and stubbornness in refusing to go away quietly .
As the postseason beckons I would like to think that the individual races amongst the players now becomes a major draw for our attention even more . Would it be intrusive to suggest that Justin Verlander has all but nailed the Cy Young award within the AL ? His closest challenger may well be CC Sabathia but unless the New York Yankees’ ace can do something spectacular then I seriously doubt that he will be able outshine Verlander’s sensational season ! As to the other individual awards those most certainly will play themselves out as the season winds down .
What can actually be said about the College Football Season that hasn’t already been said ? The polls have the usual suspects one might deem fit sitting atop of the tables in question . If anything however, it has been the ongoing divergence of communiques and views as to where certain football programs will end up with regard to a major football conference . So asinine has been the assertion of many of the conference commissioners to suggest that the invites for teams join them is purely being done to create a competitive balance ! The bottom line to this all is the simple one sheer avarice and greed . Never mind the fact that we have the rather gross litany of bowl games that clog up the college football postseason much like traffic simply congests the 405 within the state of California . What is ultimately gained from this all , is simply mutli million dollar payouts that in large part does nothing for the real benefit of the student athlete in spite of the public statements forthcoming from the NCAA and a number of college football coaches alike . When one considers how well these commissioners are compensated it begs the question who’s kidding whom here ?
WASHINGTON — Four of college football’s six powerhouse conferences paid their top executives $1 million or more, an Associated Press analysis of tax records shows, far eclipsing the compensation of most university presidents.
A review of 2009 IRS returns, the most recent available, shows that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany was the highest paid, receiving total compensation valued at $1.6 million, followed by Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford ($1.1 million), Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive ($1 million) and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe ($997,000). The other two commissioners each started in July 2009, so their compensation figures are only for the last six months of the year: PAC-10’s Larry Scott ($735,000), and Big East’s John Marinatto ($366,000).
Those figures include base salary and benefits such as health insurance, as well as other forms of pay such as retirement and deferred compensation. On an annual or prorated basis, only Marinatto made less than the median pay of presidents of the nation’s large research universities, which was $760,774 in 2008, according to a Chronicle of Higher Education survey published last fall.
The new data about commissioner salaries comes at a time when, driven by a series of controversies at major programs, there’s a growing chorus about the problems of enforcing amateurism in college football, saying it may be time to rethink the system as everyone but the athletes are making big money.
With both Pitt (Panthers) and Syracuse now seeking to make the leap from the Big East to the ACC we are seeing seismic shifts in the collegiate athletics landscape . And with each college program’s intent to move there’s no denying that the statements being made by these commissioners has no veracity at all to it . There are moves adrift to lure the Texas Longhorns , Texas A & M , Oklahoma and Oklahoma State but the likelihood of that happening could very well be countered by moves made by a number of tv broadcast networks with a vested interest in seeing thing remain as they are .
From my own perspective it is my belief that things started to go downhill when ESPN sought to align itself with the Texas Longhorns their co creation of a sports network that will provide the sports programmer with exclusive content . The deal between the broadcaster and the Longhorns will net the university $300 million over the next two decades . but that by comparison is a meager sum for a athletics program that derives approximately $70 to $75 million annually in revenues . Mack Brown and the school’s AD Deloss Dodds had no hesitation in negotiating this deal to the benefit of the University of Texas . This is a harbinger of things to come within the environment of collegiate athletics but at the same time this certainly will not abate the express intent of these schools to make the leap from one college conference to another .
If the NCAA under its president Mark Emmert seems to be at a loss to show some sort resonance on this issue albeit that it is the BCS conference commissioners and university presidents who are now dictating what takes place within the NCAA’s midst. Emmert for his part has addressed one sensitive issue that deals with the payment for the student athlete while their collegiate career is in place . The push back began immediately with a number of coaches opposing the president’s initiative for no other reason than they would prefer the status quo remain in tact . As crazy as it might seem if coaches such as Jim Calhoun , Lane Kiffin , Chip Kelly and the potential allegations now surrounding Steve Spurrier of South Carolina can somehow choose to circumvent rules and not be punished directly for those violations then what does that suggest to you about the charade that is now being created as these schools see fit to act in the way that they are doing ? Not all programs are said to be malevolent but then again not all of these programs are always willing to abide by the rules . Now within the world of collegiate sports , if you’re not making money and not winning , then you’re not trying .
Columbia, SC (WLTX) – USC Coach Steve Spurrier briefly commented Tuesday on the allegations made by the NCAA against USC athletics.
He made his remarks during his weekly address to the media Tuesday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Monday, USC President Harris Pastides received a letter outlining possible violations the NCAA believes the school made have made between 2009 and 2010. The allegations involved players staying at the Whitney Hotel in Columbia for reduced rent and the actions of the co-founders of a group called Student-Athlete Mentoring FoundationPrevious Coverage: USC Receives “Notice of Allegations” from the NCAA” .
“I hope we’re not in serious trouble,” Spurrier said. “I don’t think that we’re going to be.”
On the Whitney Hotel allegations, Spurrier said he had no knowledge this was occuring.
“Obviously, we wish we’d have known what was happening, but we didn’t,” Spurrier said.
The coach said the situation would have to play itself out over the next several months.
In 1990, when he was at Florida, Spurrier was called before the NCAA’s Infractions Committee because of the alleged actions of his predecessor, so he has been through this process before.
“I don’t think it’s embarrassing to get a letter,” Spurrier said. “I realize these kind of things can happen.”
When asked if the allegations would taint his reputation, Spurrier quickly pointed out that none of the allegations involve him.
Spurrier is now trying to distance himself from this latest faux-pas but here’s the thing the players in question were being housed in this hotel at a reduced rate and in some cases per gratis , which contravenes NCAA rules . Something of which I know the coach and his coaching staff must have been aware of and knew that this broke the rules but somehow the blame will be apportioned elsewhere by the coach and no doubt the faculty headed by university president Harris Pastides and school AD Eric Hyman . Somehow this atypical hypocrisy and idiocy will never cease to amaze me under any circumstance ! We have come to expect this as being part and parcel of everything that is contemptible within collegiate athletics , as no one is willing to be held accountable for their actions .
What thoughts if any do you have concerning what appears to disconcerting as to the Red Sox’s misfortunes ? Do you believe that they will be triumphant in obtaining the AL wildcard berth ? Also with the apparent intent of a number of collegiate programs seeking to move to another conference do you believe that the landscape of college basketball and football will be severely disrupted ? Also in light of the proposed moves do you believe that it will be of benefit to those respective sports ? Simply proffer up your thoughts on the topics raised within this article as you deem fit .
(1) Vladimir Guerrero (27) of the Baltimore Orioles knocks in Nick Markakis (21) of the Baltimore Orioles against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park September 21, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Jim Rogash …….
(2) Baseball fans stand to leave Fenway Park as Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Alfredo Aceves , left, and designated hitter David Ortiz react as they linger in the dugout after they were defeated 6-4 by the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….
(3) Josh Beckett (19) of the Boston Red Sox regroups as Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles rounds the bases after hitting a home run at Fenway Park September 21, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …….
(4) Nick Swisher (33) of the New York Yankees is safe at second base for an eighth inning pinch hit double ahead of the tag from Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays on September 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..
(5) Manager Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays walks to the mound to make a pitching change against the New York Yankees on September 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …….
(7) The big screen at Yankee Stadium congratulates New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera after he recorded his 602nd career save as the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4 in a baseball game on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ……
(8) New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin (55) congratulates New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera after the Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 in the first baseball game of a double header on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ………
(9) Jorge Posada (20) of the New York Yankees pushes his teammate Mariano Rivera (42) back towards the mound after Rivera broke the career saves record in a game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium on September 19, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Rivera recorded his 602 save . Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …….
(10) University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. , center, Women’s Athletics Director Chris Plonsky , left, and Men’s Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds, right, announce the athletics programs will continue competing in the Big 12 Conference June 15, 2010 in Austin, Texas. Getty Images North America / Eric Schlegel …..
(11) From left to right, Mack Brown, Lynn Swann , Joe Paterno and President William Powers Jr. at the May 16 dinner benefiting The Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved UT Photo / Matt Hempel ……
(12) FILE – In this Sept. 10, 2011, file photo South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier talks his players during the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Athens, Ga. Spurrier says he follows the rules and doesn’t believe South Carolina will face serious punishment as a result of the NCAA’s allegations regarding his program. The NCAA outlined three potentially major violations in its letter of allegations sent to South Carolina on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. AP Photo/John Amis ……..
(13) : Running back Marcus Lattimore (21) of the South Carolina Gamecocks celebrates a touchdown run against the Navy Midshipmen September 17, 2011 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks defeated the Midshipmen 24-21 . Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..
Granted , the New York Yankees it would appear has the AL East all but sown up I would like to think at this juncture there’s still a great deal to play for between these trio of teams . Certainly for the Tampa Bay Rays their task will not be made any easier , knowing that they will have to face both Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at least eleven more times over the remaining ir 16 games of the season in their exhausting schedule. And that particular scenario will not be lost on either of the Rays’ divisional foes. I would now be looking over my shoulder in constant fear were I Red Sox GM Theo Epstein or team President Larry Lucchino ! The thought that this team could simply place themselves now in such a position where they would have to be fighting for their very survival and having to play second fiddle to New York Yankees cannot be lost either of the two executives . And certainly for senior managing partner John Henry , he has to feel that this would be a tremendous disappointment were this organization to fail in making the playoffs.
From a financial standpoint the postseason is a tremendous bonus for the Boston Red Sox with their loyal rabid fans and the ever present fact that with the NESN as their one of their proprietary revenue streams in televising their games , it makes for a bountiful windfall for that subsidiary of the ball-club. What has plagued both the Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays in recent weeks , has been the overall lack of consistency from both teams . Much of this has been due to the fact that neither has been able to find the rythm needed winning games or series with any regularity. And it has been that imposition that has been a cause of concern for Terry Francona , his coaching assistants and also for Joe Maddon and his coaching staff as well for the Tampa Bay Rays.
There is a sense of urgency this season for the Rays as their year has hinged on a great degree of uncertainty as it relates to the financial well being of this team. Pared down salary of the roster and subsequent trades has all but left the cupboard bare but for the belief that the team’s prospects and farm system are bountiful by way of the talent on display there . Most certainly for team GM Andrew Friedman , senior managing partner and majority stake owner Stuart Sternberg this is now the best way forward for the organization.
As I alluded to earlier it is imperative for the Tampa Bay Rays to have a successful season competitively both on and off the field of play. Away from the field it come about by way of the profitability of the ball-club. And this is where the guile of GM Andrew Friedman comes into play with his financial acumen and art of making deals that are of benefit for the entire organization . Friedman along with managing partner Matt Silverman are seen as one the driving forces behind the Rays and the success attained by this team. But that success now could be short-lived as the general manager’s ties with the organization is now being debated on numerous levels . Andrew Friedman’s contract with the Rays’ organization expires at the end of the season and if the rumors are to be believed he is at the top of the list of a number teams who are in search of an experienced and successful front office executive . Friedman’s name would be out there alongside the likes of Brian Cashman and Billy Beane , all general managers whose contracts are set to expire at the end of this season.
If the Rays are said to be seeking that silver lining for their season then for the Boston Red Sox and its’ team of high priced stars it would suggest any form of failure would not be looked upon gracefully by the fans who attend Fenway Park with a religious like fervor in support of the Red Sox . To understand the support and passion derived by the fans in their support of the team is to comprehend how it was possible for them to endure the years in the wilderness before the organization was able to reel off two World Series wins in the space of of five years (2004 & 2007) .
At the start of the season with the usual aplomb the thought process would be that the Baltimore Orioles would be in the mix with Buck Showalter leading this young talented team . In reality however with an ownership group led by bespectacled owner Peter Angelos and GM Andy MacPhail it has to be said that this organization is simply devoid of competitive ambition on the part of its executives . And this sort of idiocy is simply mirrored around the game by a plethora of owners and general managers . There are purists and alleged insiders within the game who simply believe that the fans ought to endure ineptitude but simply bitch and fucking whine when they’re subjected to the ineptitude of the federal government ! If they can harangue those legislators for their ineptitude then why the hell don’t they harangue the owners and players when they simply fail to meet their expectations ? You know what …………. fuck it let it be and simply take it for what it is …….. the simple dumbing down of America !
What if anything has peeked your interest with regard to the closing month of baseball season ? And which teams of the prospective aspirants for the postseason do you believe will ultimately be triumphant ? Simply chime with a comment as to your own thoughts .
(1) BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 14: Mark Teahen (20) of the Toronto Blue Jays scores a run in the eighth inning as catcher Jason Varitek (33) of the Boston Red Sox cuts off the throw and pitcher Daniel Bard (51) of the Red Sox backs up the play at Fenway Park on September 14, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Blue Jays won 5-4 . Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images …
(2) The Toronto Blue Jays slap high fives after getting the final out against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 14, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Blue Jays won 5-4 . Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images ….
(3) Boston Red Sox starter John Lackey hands the ball to manager Terry Francona as he is taken out of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2011. The reeling Red Sox lost for the sixth time in seven games as the Blue Jays took a 5-4 win. At right is second baseman Dustin Pedroia. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …….
(4) The Baltimore Orioles bat against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 14, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles defeated the Rays 6-2 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….
(5) Manager Joe Maddon (70 [R]) of the Tampa Bay Rays removes pitcher Wade Davis (40) during the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 14, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles defeated the Rays 6-2. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……..
(6) Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, left, speaks with right fielder Nick Markakis after a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 6-2. Photo by Rob Carr/ Getty Images ……..
(7) Second baseman Robert Andino (11) of the Baltimore Orioles throws to first base to complete a double play after forcing out B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays at second base during the eighth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 14, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles defeated the Rays 6-2. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……….
(8) Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays waits to bat against the Baltimore Orioles during the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 14, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …..
(9) BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 14: Vladimir Guerrero (27) of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates in the dugout after scoring against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 14, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles defeated the Rays 6-2. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……..
(10) Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………
After four years of absolute futility it would appear that general manager Andy MacPhail will leave the Baltimore Orioles . MacPhail , whose father Lee MacPhail , a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame and who like his son held the position from 1958-1963. For team owner Peter Angelos these years of mediocrity and the lack of postseason play has made this organization a major laughing stock and the butt numerous jokes throughout the game. I simply laugh when I hear purists state that a team is building towards the future but one would beg the question didn’t Noah build an ark because he knew of the impending disaster of the floods ? Well , the floods have continued for the Baltimore Orioles relentlessly and they’re unlikely to abate anytime soon !
To view the on field play of the Orioles , with the thought that this team has a chance of actually being competitive is akin to watching paint dry . Manager Buck Showalter and his coaching assistants while gradually getting the best out of these players , it appears that this roster is still a long way off from where they really need to be. Granted , the Orioles do play in perhaps the toughest division (AL East) in all of baseball but that simply cannot excuse their poor play. Throughout the month of August , from the sublime to the ridiculous it has simply been a journey into inexplicable as the team’s fall from grace has magnified .
The Orioles host their divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays for a two game series at Camden Yards , Baltimore , Maryland. Camden Yards has played host the many of Cal Ripken’s most heralded moments over the course of illustrious career. But one now seriously doubts that the ball-club’s most beloved player having retired can continue sit idly by and witness the monstrosity that has taken place . Inasmuch , as Peter Angelos would love to see this ball-club have a modicum of success , he as the team’s owner has done little to suggest that they are actively striving for that mantel . If anything , the owner and the front office have simply benefited from the league hierarchy’s largesse by readily accepting the tax revenue money shared amongst small market teams and doing little to bolster the team’s roster by way of acquiring players that could contribute to the organization. I’m sorry but even with their drafting of players , routinely the Baltimore Orioles have come up short with their choices .
BALTIMORE – Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations, has reached a decision on his future with the Baltimore Orioles but plans to wait until season’s end before announcing his intentions.
“Let’s just get to the end of the year and see what unfolds,” MacPhail told USA TODAY. “We’ll see. We’ll see.”
MacPhail, according to two high-ranking Orioles officials, plans to leave the organization after his contract expires Oct. 31. He will not pursue an extension. The officials are not authorized to discuss the decision publicly because it is not official.
MacPhail, whose father, Hall of Fame executive Lee, was Orioles general manager from 1958 to 1965, has been with the Orioles since 2007 but could not turn them around. The Orioles are three losses from their 14th consecutive losing season.
“I know there’s a lot of speculation, but that comes with the territory,” MacPhail said.
Several GM candidates have been brought up internally, an Orioles official said, led by New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, whose contract expires after the season.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, expected to have an influential voice in the decision, said he’s not interested in the job.
“You hear all kinds of things,” Showalter says. “I just hope for the best for Andy. This is not one person’s fault. You can’t be this bad, for this long, without multiple reasons.”
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It would be easy to suggest that the Baltimore Orioles through their prospects and minor league farm system that things could necessarily be turned around with the right sort of precipitous moves . But we have seen that this ball club simply has stumbled through many of their own self created obstacles .
The departure of Andy MacPhail will probably now set into motion a number of moves within the game of baseball. Billy Beane , Andrew Friedman , Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein are amongst a number of general mangers whose contracts expire at the end of the season . In the case of Epstein , Cashman and Friedman can leave without any compensation being sought . And with the Chicago Cubs said to be also seeking a replacement for Jim Hendry after his firing by team owner Tom Ricketts . It has to be said that this offseason the real interest won’t necessarily be about the big money free agents who will land on the open market but more so I believe, where many of these front office executives may well end up !
Theo Epstein, the primary architect of the Boston Red Sox’s most recent triumphs in the World Series . It would appear however that Epstein’s days with the ball-club could very well be numbered as there now seems to be an impasse between he and club president Larry Lucchino . However , it would be simply idiotic for principal managing partner & team owner John Henry to allow the wunderkind to leave . To lose such a prize asset as Theo Epstein would be the worse thing that this ball-club could actually do beyond choosing to implode Fenway Park . I firmly expect that the organization will offer their general manager a long term contract , which would be clearly in their best interests.
Lew Wolff , — principal managing partner of the Oakland Athletics has publicly stated that he would not stand in the way of Billy Beane leaving the club at the end of his tenure . A somewhat magnanimous gesture given the fact that were it not for Beane , this organization might well be far worse off than it already is. Lew Wolff has hamstrung this ball-club with his Scrooge like behavior as it relates to bolstering the fortunes of this organization by spending to acquire on players. Instead the fans are being asked to be content in seeing a team simply fall from grace with little to show by way of being competitive. It seems a travesty that this fraud has been allowed to be perpetrated upon the loyal A’s fans ! But it appears that neither Lew Wolff or any of the senior executives are in fact overly concerned with their plight. If that were the case then you would actually see Wolff and those very same executives acting aggressively in making a real attempt to turn things around . Fans have somehow have begun to accept the fact that it could well be Lew Wolff’s intent to simply sit back and gladly take the handouts given to the organization by MLB . Recent success by way of a playoff berth is fast becoming a faded memory and the seasonal showings within the division (AL West) haven’t at all been that impressive .
Salary— constraints asides , there is some optimism amongst the A’s fans but in large part I do believe that comes out of their sheer devotion towards this organization and its storied history of the illustrious players associated with the team and that of their Hall of Famers .
For the teams who will seek to acquire a new general manager this offseason it is bound to be very intriguing to see which candidates are amongst those being interviewed for those vacant positions . I know that there’s bound to be great deal of money that will be offered to those players thought to be amongst the most prized free agents once the season has ended but as we know everything as such starts with the decision made by the team owner and that of a general manager who seeks assemble a ball-club that they believe will be competitive . Clearly that is all that is being sought by executives within the game but perhaps , some more than most .
Peter Angelos may well seek the insight of Buck Showalter as to who the next general manager will be for the Baltimore Orioles . As he should , given that manager’s acumen for molding a ball-club into a competitive being , as one simply has to take note of Showalter’s achievements in grooming the players that would essentially go on to win four World Series in the latter part of the nineties and early 2000’s . Joe Torre may well get the credit for taking those teams to those series and winning them but were it not for Buck Showalter , one doubts that the ball-club would have achieved those successes in that short a span . Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera , Jorge Posada and Andy Pettite are part of the quartet that went on to reach those illustrious heights , all groomed under the tutelage , first and foremost by the Orioles’ current manager .
Showalter , if anything will be looking for someone whom he can work alongside and at same be able to communicate with , without there being any real conflict or hidden agendas . And if Peter Angelos has any common sense he ought to heed well the advice given to him by his manager once he embarks upon a search for the successor to Andy MacPhail.
What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece and where do you any of these front office executives moving to , should that scenario actually arise ? By all means do leave comment as to your thoughts on the subject matter .
(1) Manager Buck Showalter (26) of the Baltimore Orioles walks to the dugout after a pitching change in the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Blue Jays would go on to defeat the Orioles 13-0 .Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images
(2) Edwin Encarnacion (10) of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Mike McCoy (18) after scoring in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Toronto won the game 13-0 . Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..
(3) Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles tosses his bat after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..
(4) GM Andy MacPhail (left) is seen here seated Buck Showalter after he manager was formally introduced to the convened press as the team’s new manager . MacPhail has since announced that he will be stepping down from the role within Baltimore Orioles’ front office . Team owner Peter Angelos has yet to make a formal statement as to what aspect the search will take for a successor to the general manager . AP Photo Brett Gibbons ….
(5) Peter Angelos (L), owner of the Baltimore Orioles Baseball team, watches testimony from Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (R) at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime. REUTERS/Jason Reed/ United States ……..
(6) CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 31: Relief pitcher Jerry Blevins (13) of the Oakland Athletics wipes his face after the tenth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 31, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images ….
(7) Oakland Athletic’s co-owner Lew Wolff makes a public presentation to the Fremont City Council regarding the ballpark and village proposal in Fremont, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. Wolff invoked visions of Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field as he outlined an ambitious development plan for a new baseball ballpark Tuesday. AP Photo/San Jose Mercury News, LiPo Ching ….
(8) Oakland Athletics’ Jason Giambi , right, leans on the shoulder of general manager Billy Beane as he is introduced during a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. Giambi and the Athletics finalized a one-year contract with an option on Wednesday, bringing the free-agent designated hitter and first baseman back to the place he began his big league career. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ……
(9) Larry Lucchino (center) and Theo Epstein, (right) seen here with principal partner and owner John Henry of the Boston Red Sox. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Chris Argyle …………
Tick Tock , Tick Tock , Time Is Now Moving Fast In Baseball ……..
Well it’s that time of the year when the eyes of the sports’ world is now peering on baseball’s showcase event. The 2011 All Star Game is set for tonight with the AL taking on the NL with with it comes to the privilige of having homefield advantage throughout the World Series . And given the idiocy of the events that took place in 2002 with the game ending in a tie and Commissioner Bud Selig looking to explain that this was the best possible outcome from an extremely exhilarating game. Somehow I simply hope that that the commissioner has the temerity to show some common sense in determining a fair result . Perhaps the commissioner may well have the players from both rosters spoon each other until they reach that height of ecstasy . Given the stupidity of the many judgments rendered by him over the years I really do believe that it is now for him to hang it up and ride off into the sunset !
I’ve read a number of pieces questioning whether or not realignment of the divisions would be of benefit to the game , bringing in a much more competitive nature and rivalries within baseball. To me that’s simply dressing up a pig and then asserting that it now looks like a sow ! It’s simply a damn stupid idea that makes no sense at all. The problems within the game have more to do with the financial imbalances and the mere fact that the owners , league hierarchy and general managers haven’t got a God damn clue ! Rather than looking to solve the problem they are ignoring it , and carrying on as usual. And we are now seeing how that is working out for the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets ?
Seemingly it had to take Frank McCourt to create his own web of deceit , lies that would all but bring the Dodgers to the brink of financial disaster (in filing Chapter 11 [ financial reorganization]) before the league hierarchy under Bud Selig sought to act with any real action. It’s a pity that the team hasn’t gone under then perhaps the other idiot owners around the league would perhaps pull their heads out of their ass and begin to address the inherent problems that are now encircling the game beyond the financial strains that no doubt many of them are now facing ! And if anyone is under the impression that the dye has been cast concerning this episode then they are mistaken . One now simply has to preamble over to the mess that’s now unraveling within the New York Mets’ organization . And that is even with the advent of the $200 million cash infusion made by hedge fund manager David Einhorn into the ball-club in taking a minority stake in the team. I can only surmise that principal partners and co-owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon have assured the young Wall St phenom wunderkind that his money is indeed safe . At present the organization and both principal partners are the defendants in a civil suit that seeks to recoup in excess of $750 million as part of the monies received by the New York Mets and the owners’ associate company Sterling Equities Inc which we are told is from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon have plead their innocence stating that they ……… “are victims themselves having lost countless millions”. Though not inconceivable I find it somewhat ironic that two men who co-founded an investment company some three decades ago could have been so easily duped given their alleged financial experience and those the of the executives of Sterling Equities Inc ! But these are merely my own suspicions and thoughts on the matter ! Afterall we can only take them at their word can’t we ? But then again did you know that the Golden Gate Bridge is up for sale at a reasonable price ?
With several marquee players now taking their leave in not playing in the game due to injury we will still see the event with many of its stars on parade. The New York Yankees’ — Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez won’t be participating in the All Star Game with Jeter recusing himself and Rodriguez bowing out due to surgery to repair a torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. With that said it now remains to be seen how this will be viewed by the fans in general with two of the game’s biggest stars not appearing.
Now it goes without saying that we have seen considerable amount to be pleased about concerning the play of the teams during the season. Earlier on this year I had a rather contentious and often ridiculous interface with a patron who would suggest that the Kansas City Royals are in the midst of a turnaround in terms of their play . Suffice to say that turnaround has yet to come into being and when you consider that the team now resides at the foot of the AL Central with a sub .500 record (37-54) can someone explain to me what signs there are that would suggest that this team much less the organization is really in the midst of a resurgence ?
While I’m sincere in seeing all of the league’s teams do well in the game I have never been one to sugar coat what I see as something delusional when I’m being told that a team is on the rise . The game of baseball has become about the immediacy of here and now ………..“what have you done for me lately ” ? And it is certainly not what you’re about to do quite possibly do in thee , four or five years from now ! If that were the case then the game itself simply wouldn’t be a worthwhile endeavor for the fans to be a willing participant as an observer . The fans want to see their teams do well each season not simply struggle then to fall by the wayside . And then it all comes down to excuses as to what might have been or even perhaps injuries played a part in their demise . Does anyone remember where the team finished at season’s end in 2010 ?
There have been strong suggestions this season we are in the midst of seeing the rise of the pitcher and it has to be said the season being had by Jered Weaver , Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia would has me believing that the AL Cy Young Award won’t be that easy to pick an outright winner . All three are worthy candidates and one would simply be naive at this juncture to suggest that we know who the winner ought to be at this juncture .
PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 12: National League All-Star Brian Wilson(38) of the San Francisco Giants reacts with teammates catcher National League All-Star Miguel Montero (26) of the Arizona Diamondbacks and National League All-Star Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds after making the save to win the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The National League defeated the American League 5-1. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….
We are often told that stars are created because we need them to be there to bring about a sense of security and our passion for the game . And I guess that this indeed true of any individual or team sport ! This year however we have seen the ascent of Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista as their stars have risen into the stratosphere . The two players within the AL have all but a strangle-hold on the offensive categories within the AL . Suffice to say that without the duo in question their respective teams might not even be playing with any sort of the competitive juices to be had . And OK , each year for some reason the Blue Jays start fast right out of the gate only to stumble and fall before the halfway point in the season. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays , their fans and their front office they seem to have forgotten that the season is one of 162 arduous games and that you have to be in it for the long haul .
Both Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista could very well be battling it out at the end of the season for the AL MVP Award if there’s to be any justice within the game , as the duo have stood head and shoulders above their rivals within the American League .
National League’s Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers holds his MVP award following the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. The National League won 5-1 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …….
With the second half of the season resuming as of tomorrow it certainly will be interesting to see what transpires for the teams said to be in contention for their respective divisions as well as the wildcard berths within both leagues. And as a fan of the Atlanta Braves my greatest wish is to see the team make the postseason and simply acquit themselves as against any prospective opponent that they are likely to face . What happens thereafter all comes down to the breaks that they make for themselves rather than the opportunities offered them by an opponent .
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This season within baseball what thoughts if any do you have on the events that have taken place ? And how best do you feel that the league hierarchy can deal with some of the problems that they now face ? And what team or teams , player or players have actually surprised you with their performances so far ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .
(1) FILE – In this April 26, 2011, file photo former New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez throws a pitch during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The Milwaukee Brewers acquired former All-Star reliever Francisco Rodriguez and cash from the New York Mets on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in exchange for two players to be named. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta ….
(2) American League’s Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays is tagged out at home plate by National League’s Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves after trying to score on a hit by American League’s Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. The NL would go on to defeat the AL 5-1 . AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….
(3) PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 12: A general view of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….
(4) (L-R) National League All-Star Jair Jurrjens (49) of the Atlanta Braves, National League All-Star Starlin Castro (13) of the Chicago Cubs, National League All-Star Brandon Phillips (4) of the Cincinnati Reds, National League All-Star Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds and National League All-Star Jay Bruce (32) of the Cincinnati Reds stand before the start of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……
(5) (L-R) American League All-Star Josh Hamilton (32) of the Texas Rangers stands with American League All-Star Adrian Beltre (29) of the Texas Rangers and American League All-Star David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox before the start of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …..
(6) (L-R) Daniel Hernandez Jr. and Joe Garagiola Sr. throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Hernandez is credited with helping to save U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in January and Garagiola was a former MLB player and long time announcer. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ….
(7) American League All-Star Carlos Quentin (20) of the Chicago White Sox swings during an at bat in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….
(8) PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 12: National League All-Star Brian Wilson(38) of the San Francisco Giants reacts with teammates catcher National League All-Star Miguel Montero (26) of the Arizona Diamondbacks and National League All-Star Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds after making the save to win the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The National League defeated the American League 5-1. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….
(9) American League’s Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox hits a solo home run during the fourth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….
(10) National League’s Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers holds his MVP award following the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. The National League won 5-1 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …….
As much as I enjoy the game of baseball I can’t help but wonder when the game’s hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig will actually come to a decision regard the game’s most hallowed records. With the both the all-time home run and single season records having been broken by Barry Bonds and the player himself having been found guilty of perjury and obstruction of Justice by a Federal Court jury with a sentence still awaiting , it remains to be seen what stance will be taken by the league concerning the player’s sentencing and the very fact that those records remain in tact and are still recognized . The game has been tainted by a vast array of controversies over the years but certainly the stigma attached to the “steroid era” will be the one thing that defines this game for years to come . It has been bad enough that Selig showed as much tenacity in going after the players who broke the rules as a Klansman would have an aversion in speaking out against one of his own members . The idiocy of it all, is while icons of the game see their records be surpassed the league hierarchy , team owners and the MLBPA have made out quite handsomely from a financial standpoint while those records were obliterated .
Hank Aaron the former home run king and the late Roger Maris I feel have been done a great disservice but clearly until with no real action being taken those records now await a new player to come along and surpass those marks . Amongst the active players in terms of the home run tally it now lies in the hands of Alex Rodriguez to take aim at the 762 home runs set by Bonds . For the present it doesn’t appear that the single season home run mark is in imminent danger but it is becoming increasingly clear that once broken by a player , that feat will come under even more intense scrutiny . As time goes by history will judge the feats and the fans as of now can only either show their disdain or approval as the case maybe. The idiocy of it all is that for some players having retired their sole aim after that is to be an enshrinee in Baseaball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York joining the other illustrious Hall of Famers within that hallowed edifice.
Rodriguez isn’t without controversy himself having first lied about his use of performance enhancing drugs only then to come clean in rather contrived interview process that left a lot to be desired and the player coming off as complete embarrassment to the New York Yankees’ — organization . And even in light of that contrived apology things are still unclear with his name also being linked to Orlando medical professional Anthony Galea who is under indictment for the illegal transportation and sale illicit substances including HGH , anabolic steroids , oxycodone to name but a few . The Justice Department’s ongoing investigation may well lead to other indictments but given the idiocy of prosecutors in charge of many of these cases I do believe that the taxpayers’ money is simply being wasted on these cases . The Bonds’ episode including the investigation of BALCO has cost an estimated $15-$20 million from start to finish in an investigation that has shown little tangible evidence that the indictments and guilty verdicts levied against Bonds , former track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery has effectively stopped the misuse of PED’s within the game or sports in general . Case in point , as wide as the net has now been cast by the Justice Department in its investigation there still seems to be the belief by some athletes that they’re indeed above the law.
Money if anything has been the cursory issue as the players here chase after what they deem to be baseball immortality and financial bounty. And as we know with the ever increasing salaries and the mere fact that the owners as well as general managers act as if they’re completely oblivious as to the financial vulnerability of the teams and stability of many of these organizations.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong the seven time winner of the “> Tour de France is now under investigation by the Justice Department and it appears that the tip of the iceberg as there appears to be an onslaught as they now Armstrong within their sights . The cyclist has always denied his use of performance enhancing drugs but with the latest statements attributed to former cycling teammates George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton in their testimony to authorities it appears that the cycling champion’s credibility could now become all the more questionable given the weight of evidence of the testimonies of both Hamilton and Hincapie , whereby they each state that they have seen Armstrong use PED’s. Sooner or later in spite of the denials Armstrong will have to face the facts and tell his own story verbatim to the authorities rather than merely issuing rather terse statements through his legal representatives.
At the start of the season it was felt that the Boston Red Sox would be hanging tough and perhaps walking away with the AL East . Having got off to an inauspicious start through their first eleven games left many wondering if this team would be good enough to be challenging the likes of the New York Yankees and others within the division . Terry Francona and his coaching staff came under a great deal of scrutiny as did GM Theo Epstein after the organization’s big off-season acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez . Things being what they are , the Boston Red Sox struggled as many questioned the travails of the team and the fact that they were problem areas manifesting itself all over this roster . Slowly but surely as their confidence grew the Red Sox played themselves back into contention .
Now as the month of June approaches it will be interesting to see if the Boston Red Sox can maintain their momentum . The month of May has been if anything a very benevolent one for the Red Sox , having won seven straight and 8 of their last 10 games the team now finds itself a 1/2 game behind the division leading Tampa Bay Rays (25-20). And based on Friday night’s evidence where the team summarily dispatched the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park in an emphatic 15-5 victory over the beleaguered Cubs .
The series between the Red Sox and Cubs resumes as Francona’s team looks to make that leap over the Tampa Bay Rays and take control of the division. The Rays in an inter-league game take on the Florida Marlins at Landshark Stadium , in Miami , Florida . If anything what has been remarkable about the Red Sox’s within the league has been the play of Adrian Gonzalez as he now leads the league in RBI’s . But this hasn’t been simply about it being a one man show as it has been a collective effort from all the members of this team in one form or another. The pitching is starting to pay dividends and Jonathan Papelbon seems to be back to his customary self . And that if anything has to be an added bonus for the Red Sox and their overly boisterous fans .
There’s still a great deal to play for this season and I’ve no doubt that the AL East as a division is still very much a competitive one . It will most certainly be a three horse race to my mind and in all likelihood the third placed team at the end of the season will be the one to miss out on a postseason playoff berth. The wildcard berth will most certainly come from within the division as there doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe that from within the AL Central or AL West there is contender playing anywhere good enough to be thought of as contender for that playoff spot.
As the months of June , July , August and September approach we will continue to learn a great deal more about the teams and their play . And for the likes of the Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays , they are about to make that AL East all the more enticing as a spectacle to be observed from afar as a discerning baseball fan. As to what the outcome will be is anyone’s guess at this juncture but I know that it will be all the more entertaining to find out over the coming months as we see how things actually pan out.
Inasmuch as I have asked the question within this piece ” Can Baseball Save Itself” I might also add …….. has the league done enough to even assure the game remains safe and a viable going concern ? It’s a question that I think we all seek an answer for but in reality the answer itself has to come from the league hierarchy and not from the fan ! We may well have our own idea on the matter and how we’d like to see things change for the better but as I’ve alluded to earlier it will be left in the hands Bud Selig and his subordinates to lead this game into the direction that needs to be taken.
(2) Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Pena (22) walks back to the dugout after grounding out against the Boston Red Sox in the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Friday, May 20, 2011. The Red Sox won 15-5 . AP Photo/Elise Amendola ………
(3) Kevin Youkilis (20) and David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox celebrate after they scored against the Chicago Cubs on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox have not played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images ……
(4) Kevin Youkilis (20) 20 of the Boston Red Sox hits a two run homer in the fourth inning as Koyie Hill (55) of the Chicago Cubs defends on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox have not played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …..
(5) BOSTON, MA – MAY 21: Carlos Marmol (49) of the Chicago Cubs celebrates the win with teammate Aramis Ramirez (16) on May 21, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Tonight the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox are wearing replica uniforms from 1918. Before this series, the two teams haven’t played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-3 . Photo by Elsa/Getty Images ……
(6) BOSTON, MA – MAY 21: David Ortiz (34) #34 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his two run homer in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs with teammate Kevin Youkilis (20) on May 21, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Tonight the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox are wearing replica uniforms from 1918. Before this series, the two teams haven’t played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …….
(7) Koyie Hill (55) of the Chicago Cubs holds David Ortiz(notes) at third base after tagging out Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox have not played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images ……..
Despite all the accolades that Derek Jeter has reaped over the course of his career it has me wondering where as such that places Alex Rodriguez in terms of his career should be as we presume break the now existing all time home run record ? At present he’s the active leader in home runs and all signs point to the fact Rodriguez sees that as his redemption and the chance to prove himself worthy of consideration for the Hall of Fame . A three time winning league MVP and the heir apparent to Derek Jeter as the presumptive leader of the New York Yankees . I somehow think that the player with all of the controversy that has surrounded his career both on and off the field now has to prove he’s worthy of those claims ..
Rodriguez for his part has said little in public to create any form of controversy in spite of the fact of the paparazzi surveying his every move as his relationship with actress Cameron Diaz seems to be taking on a life of its own . And as he and the team look to make their presence felt within the AL East and show everyone that they’re the team to beat when it’s all said and done. This team on paper is good but how good we’ll just have to wait and see as the course of the season unfolds .
Now we all know that the only thing matters to the Yankees’ organization is winning and their success is built upon that foundation of bringing AL pennants but in particular World Series titles to Yankee Stadium so that the players and organization’s ravenous fans can bask in the glory . There’s a reason why the now late George Steinbrenner bought the team and then slowly built it into a competitive and financial juggernaut . So much so , that the team is now the most valuable professional sports franchise in the world . Even outstripping its closest rival in the league by some $ 850 million . With an estimated value of $1.65 billion and now seated in the nation’s largest advertizing market it’s easy to understand the reason why they’re the most envied and perhaps at the same time most despised team in all of baseball.
As the season progresses there’ll be a lot to assess as it regards this team _______ can they make up for the disappoint of last year’s postseason ? Their failure was magnified all the more with the fact many of the players thought to be the leaders on the team simply underachieved there and during the regular season . If this team is to succeed then Rodriguez will have to step up to the plate front and center alongside Robinson Cano , Mark Teixiera and Curtis Granderson . We all know that the team’s offense won’t tail off but as I alluded to earlier it is their pitching that has become suspect . As Jeter inches closer to the plateau of reaching 3,000 hits and further adding to his legacy of becoming the Yankees’ all-time hits’ leader surpassing another legend of the organization Lou Gehrig . If anything , Jeter , we know will be a bonafide first ballot Hall of Famer further adding to his legacy as perhaps one the team’s beloved players over the course of this organization’s history.
Over the course of time it’s my belief that the players embroiled in the steroid era and saga will be judged by the public and press alike as either heroes or felons. They say …”time heals all wounds ” but I firmly believe that the players , their union (MLBPA) , the league hierarchy and the team owners have done the game an even greater disservice by hiding behind this idiotic facade as to a right of privacy ! Cheating in a game inherently built upon its virtue of having been above reproach and now it has become sullied by the sheer stupidity because the miscreants involved in this solely for personal financial gain. Anyone of the belief that the likes of , Rafael Palmeiro , Mark McGwire , Barry Bonds , Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez solely did this as a way excelling further at the game may well be either gullible or in reality enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the players rip these records to shreds further making those feats now seem all the more irrelevant . I’d hate to think that Hank Aaron has in actuality given his blessing in seeing Bonds surpass his all-time home run record ! Somehow I’d like to think that the man himself sees it as a disservice given what he had endure in achieving that feat .
As a fan of the game from my own perspective even with the league’s steroid policy in place I do feel that it’s all too little too late ! The damage had already been done because of the intransigence shown by Bud Selig as the commissioner and that rather inane stance taken by then union Executive Director Donald Fehr . The duo combined showed about as much common sense as could collectively be found inside the entire legislative chambers of the US House of Representatives and Senate ! Doubt my word then simply look at the idiocy we are now witnessing within both legislative chambers of Congress ?
Alex Rodriguez’s legacy is tainted but he obviously believes he can revamp his image and further add to that once bright future many believe that he had . It will be interesting to see the stats put up by the player over the course of this season and how it will have related to previous seasons before his admission that he had in fact used steroid over a period of his career he’d now rather forget . Chances are it will be in line with his usual productivity and thereby giving the New York Yankees a chance to pursue another World Series title .
As a fan how do you see Alex Rodriguez’s legacy as a player ? Do you also believe that upon his retirement he stands a better than even chance of being an inductee into the Hall of Fame ? And overall how do you view the New York Yankees’ chances and their pursuit of another World Series title this season ? Merely leave a comment on the topics raised within this piece and anything else you feel pertinent to the baseball season . And as usual thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !
* NB : As a bye-note I’d like to thank the Baltimore Orioles already flaming out this season and already putting their own season to rest . Their humiliating 15-3 loss to the Yankees where Rodriguez mutl-homered and hit his 22nd grand slam of his career placing him second in that category behind Lou Gehrig
Picture and slide show details below
(1) New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter, left, and Robinson Cano celebrate their 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in 11 innings of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2011 in Baltimore. AP Photo/Gail Burton ….
(2) Baltimore Orioles’ Robert Andino, center, reacts after being called out at the plate by New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin (55) on a double by Brian Roberts during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2011, in Baltimore. Also pictured is Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones (10). AP Photo/Gail Burton …..
(3) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson follows through on a two run home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2011, in Baltimore. AP Photo/Gail Burton ……
(4) Mark Teixeira(25) and Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees wait in the on deck circle against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….
(5) Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees (L) Derek Jeter (2) (center) and manager Joe Girardi (28) look out from the dugout during the eighth inning of their 15-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……..
(6) Lou Gehrig (left) is seen here with Vaudeville performer George M Cohan at Yankee Stadium . @ copyrighted material all rights reserved Chip Deffa Productions LLC . …..
(7) A statue of Hank Aaron sits outside of the stadium ahead of the Philadephia Phillies versus Atlanta Braves during their opening day game at Turner Field on April 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Streeter Lecka / Getty Images ……….
(8) Singer/actor/activist Harry Belafonte and baseball legend Hank Aaron attend the 2011 Trustees Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement dinner and presentation at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on February 25, 2011 in New York City. Stephen Lovekin /Getty Images North America ……
(9) Hank Aaron seen here hitting home run 755 which would become a historical feat in the annals of Major League Baseball . Courtesy of Topix Archives Inc .
Having witnessed the President’s State of the Union Address last night before both legislative Houses of Congress . It got me thinking as such, what obligations is that an owner has to the fans of a major professional sporting franchise ? One of my patrons (sportschump) and someone I’d like to think of as more than an acquaintance and patron of my site has as such stated that the Tampa Bay Rays’ signing of both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez will stand the franchise in good stead this upcoming season . From my own standpoint given the financial difficulties that the organization and team has faced since it came into being as a baseball franchise within MLB I think that it goes without saying that they’ve struggled to have a fan base that can truly support its existence. And while the success attained is commendable the truth of the matter is that the Tampa Bay Rays can barely exist in its present being . Cost cutting and penny pinching has now become the order of the day and it’s once again back to the old convoluted ways of their previous owner Vince Naimoli in part .
Tropican Field has been home to the Tampa Bay Rays and the hardcore fanbase of no more 15,000 fans have remained loyal through the highs and lows of the organization. However at this moment in time it’s now becoming abundantly clear that owner Stuart Sternberg and his partners are making one calculated last stand that may well force their hand in the end. Having twice won the AL East in the last three seasons and with a lone appearance in the 2008 World Series the Rays have come up short in their aspirations. Now while success can be measured in a number of ways both on and off the field let’s just get one thing clear the Rays’ success has only been recent and when one considers that for the vast majority of its existence the team has been at the bottom of the food chain , it has only been since the ascent of Joe Maddon and his coaching staff to the tenure of the Rays that they’ve had a modicum of success. So let’s not kid ourselves that this team has the tradition of success and they’ve been steeped in it or actually have it behind them.
Pals in Boston, Damon and Ramirez reunite in a new clubhouse
By Bill Chastain of MLB.com
St. Petersburg — James Shields got his first look at Johnny Damon on July 30, 2006, when the Rays right-hander pitched at Yankee Stadium for the first time in the 12th start of his rookie season.
Through 4 1/2 innings, the game stood tied at 2, and Shields was showing a great deal of moxie while facing the fierce lineup wearing pinstripes in front of a Sunday afternoon crowd of more than 54,000.
The Yankees had scratched two runs together in the third inning, but otherwise, Shields remained flawless. Damon then stepped to the plate with one out in the fifth. Shields came inside, and Damon re-routed the offering into the upper deck in right field.
Damon batted again with two outs in the seventh. Once again, he turned on a pitch by Shields, hitting yet another upper-deck shot and setting up a 4-2 Rays loss — the fifth of Shields’ career.
With memories like elephants, pitchers never forget. So Shields managed a chuckle when asked about the news that Damon would be his teammate in 2011.
“I’m definitely glad he’s on my team now,” Shields said. “He tends to get the head out on me a little bit, so I’d rather him hit upper-deck homers for us than against us.”
Damon, along with Manny Ramirez , will be joining Tampa Bay for the 2011 season, each having agreed to a one-year deal on Friday night. According to a Major League source, Damon will be paid $5.25 million with a $750,000 attendance bonus, while Ramirez will make $2 million.
The Rays have not confirmed the deal, nor have they commented on either player. However, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com that the deals are done, pending physicals.
Damon and Ramirez were teammates in Boston from 2002-05 and were key members of the club’s World Series championship in ’04. The years Damon and Ramirez spent together in Boston were magical ones for the Red Sox; the Rays are hoping to buy a sliver of that magic and put it to good use in ’11.
Financially the Rays struggle year in , year out and this is something that seems to be lost on sportschump and at the same time his thought process that an aging Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon will have an impact while justified , in part in no way does it guarantee success for the organization. While the large majority of teams within baseball have their own financial problems it does paint an acute picture as to how volatile the situation really is within the game. Now one could surmise that because of the ensuing economic climate , this was one of the most apparent problems that Sternberg faced with the fact that fans weren’t turning up in vast droves to attend the games. But in reality before this most recent downturn in the economy in 2007 the levels of attendance were still meager to begin with . Baseball within the locale isn’t at all self sustaining and that is in large part because a lot those in attendance for the games at Tropicana Field have their own allegiances elsewhere as team support goes. Something that my patron fails to acknowledge and something I for one feel that he has continued to overlook ! It’s asinine to even think that with public funding even if a new ballpark were to built that things would actually change, not when 15,000 people is all that this organization can show as a fan based asset. It’s certainly not financially feasible and only a complete idiot would believe that to be the case ! And even if a proposed 45,000 seat facility is built once the novelty has actually worn off it’s clear that things would return to where they use to be . Ten to fifteen thousand fans cheering on the team and nothing tangible at all to show for it at the end of the day.
League statistics from the commissioner’s office suggest that average attendance for the Rays’ games borders on 23,000 but even that figure can’t be taken seriously given what we all know to be true. Which begs the question what is that Commissioner Bud Selig and particular the Tampa Bay Rays are now trying to pitch and sell the fans in general ? I’ve always felt that in order to have success not only on the field there has to be viable and tangible success economically and real leadership being shown from the executives off the field as well. Teams that have been successful at the highest echelons of the game have actually shown this and it goes without saying that when it happens it breathes success across the whole organization. Trying to placate a situation by saying well look we made it to a World Series , won two divisional titles and a pennant means nothing if at the end of it all you’ve failed in your main objective and still from a financial standpoint you’re not even breaking even. And this is once again something that my learned friend has failed to acknowledge or even state. He has simply painted a broad picture of optimism and dealt in nothing but platitudes and that’s not how any real business principle works. Well at least not in the real world that is ! And therein lies the problem for some of the fans within this locale they simply don’t deal in reality .
What obligation does the owner of any major professional sports franchise have to the team’s fans ? Is it simply put a product on the field and eke out a profit or to put a winning product on the field of play and look to attain some success in whatever form it may take ? It’s not unlike an agenda that a President puts forward before Congress and the citizens in the hope that it leads to prosperity and success. Not that this current administration or its predecessor has had that much success on either front . This much we do know when there’s a genuine lack of creativity being shown there tends to be one big monumental mess that’s then being created and it has now began to bear itself out here with the Tampa Bay Rays. One only has to look at the upheaval that has taken place on the team’s roster from last season to now to see what has happened .
And while Sternberg has been somewhat restrained at times in his statements I do believe that he’s also proven to be a complete ass with some of his more public statements in denigrating the fans for not turning out to games. What might be even more asinine also have been the statements also made by team GM Andrew Friedman in suggesting that making one or two off season moves will still make them all the more competitive than in previous years . Is he frigging kidding me ? Has he forgotten that the team now plays in the most competitive division in all of baseball ? Not to mention the fact that the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles haven’t rested on their laurels after last season. If it’s the front office’s intention to blow smoke up everyone’s ass with their antics and statements then so be it but please don’t insult the fans and general public’s intention that you’re intent is to be competitive when clearly you’re now not really in a position to do so !
This Rays’ team will struggle at best to remain competitive within its division this season let alone win anywhere near the number of games needed even to gain a wildcard berth in the postseason. The only situation where that could arise would be for there to be prolonged injuries being sustained to every day players on both the Red Sox and Yankees’ teams and given those two organizations’ financial means does anyone believe that’s liable to happen when they can merely seek to buy their way out of trouble ?
What thoughts if any do you have with regard to this subject matter and how do you view the obligations of a team owner and what’s expected of them from the fans ? Simply chime in with a comments as to your thoughts and the game itself.
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Chris Humpherys aka ‘Sportschump’ hard at work making sure that his loyal readers are readily supplied with hard pertinent pieces from an open perspective. Either that or he’s about to download some porn . Either way he’s always worth the read ……….. you heard it here first !
(2) Tampa Bay Rays’ Rocco Baldelli hits a home run during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the baseball World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. The player will formally announce his retirement taking a coaching position within the organization . AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..
(3) Alex Rodriguez (13) and Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees have a laugh with former teammate Johnny Damon (18) of the Detroit Tigers prior to their game on August 16, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images/ Jim McIsaac …….
(4) Manny Ramirez (99) of the Chicago White Sox pinch hits in the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 5, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez ………
(5) Manny Ramirez (99) of the Chicago White Sox takes a swing against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on September 14, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ………
(6) In a picture from 2008 seen here are from left to right , coaches Jim Hickey and Dave Martinez and manager Joe Maddon watch the the team in AL game played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . Picture appears courtesy of St Petersburg Times / James Borchuck …………..
(7) Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg (left) is seen here holding aloft the ALCS trophy alongside Matthew Silverman and team manager Joe Maddon after the team’s triumphant series’ victory . AP Photo/ Chris Hendricks ……..
 Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………
When You’ve Got Nothing At All Constructive Or Good To Say About Something Or Someone It’s Best To Say Nothing At All Or Merely Just Proffer Up An Opinion ………….
Just like when I listen to many of our Federal legislators such as those from the House of Representative, congressmen and the members of the Senate. I’m simply amazed at times at how little if any knowledge that they allegedly have on a wide variety of subjects. I understand that theirs isn’t a job that requires a specific expertize in a wide variety of topics. But what does it suggest to you when almost 25 % of the federal legislators are in fact lawyers or come from the field of business but actually show no sign of understanding the rudimentaries of either subject ? The same can be said to an extent for the beat writers or columnists when they tend to opine on a particular sport’s topic.
Over the last decade we’ve seen the Toronto Blue Jays as an organization, merely just stumble from one morass or quagmire to another. Why baseball is still being played in Canada is totally beyond me at this point ! It’s not as if the games being played in the Jays’ home venue of Rogers’ Center formerly known as the Skydome , would suggest that what little attendance the ‘team’ now gets , is at best just above the league average, if that. Isn’t ‘hockey’ still meant to be Canada’s sport ? But then again have you seen the now depleting attendance for NHL games around the league ? Which is the lesser of two evils at this juncture ? Attending a baseball game or an NHL game in Canada ?
In the AL East the Blue Jays have to co-exist in what can be described as the most competitive and contested division in all of baseball (MLB). And there you have the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. And were it not for the resurgence of the Rays, we would consider the division over the last two years merely a ‘two horse race’ between the ‘two most formidable teams’ in all of baseball, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The Orioles for their part have shown as much visibility and competitiveness within the division as Clay Aiken would be accustomed to being in a room full of hetero-sexual males. It’s not at all environment that either is completely happy in. And the same can be said of the Toronto Blue Jays.
2009 record: 75-87
Finish: Fourth place, AL East
2009 final payroll: $84.1 million
Estimated 2010 opening day payroll: $68 million
Oh, you know. Just a wee little trade.
It took a new general manager, two extra teams and a mighty deep swallow, but the Toronto Blue Jays finally did under Alex Anthopoulos what they wouldn’t under J.P. Ricciardi: trade Roy Halladay their ace, their franchise, their linchpin.
Painful though it was, the specter of Halladay’s impending free agency hanging over an entire season necessitated it, and Anthopoulos ably recognized that when he took over for Ricciardi in early October. Ten weeks later, Halladay was outfitted for a Phillies uniform and handed a $60 million extension, and Anthopoulos, 32, had executed a career-defining deal months into his job.
He will make dozens more moves over his career as Blue Jays general manager, big and small, and none will ever face the scrutiny of this one. His return, in the end, was pitcher Kyle Drabek, infielder Brett Wallace(notes) and catcher Travis D’Arnaud, and while they don’t need to succeed in triplicate, this had better not be a Blake Stein, Eric Ludwick, T.J. Mathews-type situation, either.
The Blue Jays lasted deep into the Aroldis Chapman negotiations, a sign that the team’s financial landscape isn’t barren. Which is good to see, considering outfielder Vernon Wells is owed – gulp – $107 million over the next five years.
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The Cito Gaston managed team has done the best that it can over the years . But at the height of the organization’s success when they repeated as ‘back to back’ World Series champions in 1992 and 1993. Since then it has been somewhat of a downward spiral for the organization. Gaston at the time was at the helm as the manager for both successes for the club. And he’s still viewed as something of a savior by the fans and the organization.
The club is owned by the Rogers’ family through a syndicated corporate partnership under which Rogers Communications has a large equity stake in the club, as well as owning the Rogers Center. However, to suggest that as patrons of the baseball franchise they’ve been good custodians , would be to suggest that Josef Mengele cared about the patients he exacted some of the most heinous acts of torture ever imagined that one could inflict upon another human being. The Rogers’ family despite their immense wealth are more concerned with other areas of their vast financial empire, than they are with the Toronto Blue Jays. The sole reason why they still own the team is merely to receive the monies afforded to them under Bud Selig’s asinine edict of the tax sharing revenues, that is shared amongst the mid and small market teams around MLB. Anyone who’s still of the belief that they want to build a ‘successful and competitive ‘team’ is in some serious need of psychiatric help.
With the departure of former GM J P Ricciardi . The position has now been entrusted to wunderkind Alex Anthopolous, who now becomes the General Manager as well Senior VP of Baseball Operations. A mouthful by any stretch of the imagination. But clearly he’s being viewed as the Blue Jays’ answer to the Boston Red Sox’s Theo Epstein. The ‘primary architect’ for much of the Red Sox’s success over the last few years. Larry Lucchino may well be Boston Red Sox’s Team President. But it’s essentially Epstein who ‘runs the show’ when it comes to the vast majority of the personnel decisions being made within the organization. There might not be a more astute mind in all of baseball when it comes to personnel maneuvers and decision making – ‘bar none’ ! As to whether or not Anthopolous can replicate the same sort of success attained by his Red Sox counterpart remains to be seen. But it’s being hoped by the fans and the organization as a whole that he will be able to do so.
To say that Anthopolous doesn’t have a tough task ahead of him would be to suggest that he’d find it a great deal easier to climb Mount Everest. But that may well be how difficult the task may well be to perceive. The organization is hampered by the ownership’s unwillingness to ‘spend money on the team’ and at the same time the budgetary restraints that’s placed on them by declining revenues from their baseball operations as a whole. And if that weren’t enough the fans aren’t that eager to come and watch a team that isn’t anywhere near as competitive as their ‘main triumvirate’ of rivals within the AL East, the Red Sox , Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. The Baltimore Orioles have now become the ‘bottom feeder’ within the division . A place that was exchanged between themselves and the Tampa Bay Rays over the last decade. But now it appears that they’ll have a new neighbor with regard to sharing that dubious distinction. The Rays for their part held the legacy of having not finished better than first , until they won the division in 2008 and then went on to win the AL Pennant, before making that unexpected trip to the World Series , where they would end up losing to the eventual winners, the Philadephia Phillies. They’ve now fallen back to the pack while the dominance of the New York Yankees seems to be on the rise once again.
And once again as World Series champions the New York Yankees now reign supreme over the baseball landscape. Don’t you think that the ‘Steinbrenner family’ as well as Brian Cashman are entirely happy at this juncture ? When your gross revenues outstrips that of the lowest dozen teams in MLB , then it can be said that you’ve got to be doing something right. Either that , or the imbalance between ‘the haves and have nots’ within the game, is far more than any of us could ever have realized. And that’s what an inspirational commissioner Bud Selig has become. No pun intended . Of course it was, who the hell am kidding ? As in large part, Bud Selig is entirely responsible for the imbalances that we now see within the game !
Former Blue Jays’ great, Joe Carter hits the winning home run that would give the team its second consecutive World Series title in 1993. The losing team on this occasion were the Philadelphia Phillies.
If the Blue Jays are to acquit themselves within the division as well as with the rest of the league. Then it will be down to the veterans such as Vernon Wells, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind , Jose Bautista, Lyle Overbay , Aaron Hill and a pitching rotation that will have to carry the load defensively for this team. That may well be the only way for the Blue Jays to contend as a team within the division. And given the fact that they’re also hampered by Wells’ lack of productivity and a bloated and exorbitant contract that had been agreed to by Anthopolous’ predecessor , J P Ricciardi. A contract that Wells has failed to live up to . You can now well understand why the has been mired in such mediocrity. Ricciardi went out of his way to spend money like a drunken idiot , merely because he felt it was necessary to spend it. Rather than acquiring talent for the organization that would prove to be fruitful. Never mind the fact that the ‘farm system’ is depleted of any real tangible talent. They’ve merely been living on a ‘wing and a prayer’ that they would be able to hit ‘pay dirt’ by uncovering a diamond in the rough within their system. As of now that has been very much a none factor.
As to this upcoming season , it will be very interesting to see how the Toronto Blue Jays fare and whether or not they prove to be competitive throughout the season. If not then once again they’ll just become a bye line for most of the baseball stories that will take place throughout the season.