A legacy … aspiring to be a legend in baseball

A legacy …… aspiring to be a legend in baseball

With the rash of trade maneuvers which have taken place during the off-season within baseball. One has to wonder how and where the teams in question are able facilitate the deals in terms of their finances . Granted , year in and year out were are repeatedly being told by the league’s hierarchy the game has nothing to worry about with regard to their finances. Yet it is difficult to try and justify how the Los Angeles Dodgers in the last two seasons have spent close to half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) in payroll to come up short in the postseason twice in sucession. OK, you could point to the fact the team’s owners are well backed financially, with their being owned outright by Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC , whose parent company just happens to be one of the nation’s largest venture capital firms with asssets exceeding $125 billion ($125,000,000,000). Guggenheim Partners Inc whose lead executives are Todd Boehly and Mark Walter , joined forces with Magic Johnson and Hollywood media mogul Peter Guber to purchase the Dodgers after the franchise was taken out of bankruptcy proceedings in US Federal Bankruptcy Court .

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Now while this whole chapter, may well have been beneficial for the game of baseball. The fact of the matter cannot be denied, the dealings which took place concerning this,was all clouded in a great deal of secrecy , with very little being made known to the public , in spite of the claims of former commissioner Bud Selig , everything was done above reproach. Having Bud Selig make those claims is tantamount to having a fox in a hen-house taking care of the occupants. Selig during his years has simply made sure this game has been presided over by buffoons , while he and the team owners take pride in the fact , apathy remains among the majority of the game’s fans , the print and television media as well as municipal and state agencies. The ongoing imbalances within the baseball beyond the very fact the game is still unable to rid themselves of steroid cheats , has been the fact Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are either afraid to address the issue or choose not to initiate a hard salary cap which is equitable for all thirty teams within the game .

The Dodgers’ meltdown during this past postseason was enough to suggest Don Mattingly and his managerial staff were ill-prepared, complacent and felt it preordained they would waltz their way through the postseason. Perhaps buoyed by the fact they possessed the best pitcher in baseball during the regular season. Clayton Kershaw was meant to lead the Dodgers through their playoff foray. Unfortunately , for the team , their opponents had other plans and the explanations behind the team’s postseason demise bordered upon being comical to downright ridicule of a group of players, who were simply overconfident and had little respect for their opponents .

Don Mattingly and his team will enter into 2015 with a payroll exceeding $260 million and not exactly in a position to try and justify anyone’s belief they can be considered one of the best teams in the National League this upcoming season. With Andrew Friedman coming to head up the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Baseball Operations , it was believed sweeping changes would be made among the player personnel. Friedman saw a need for the change after the abject failure seen during the past two postseason forays for the Dodgers. It would be foolish to believe the front office would accept these failings and not let their angst be known. Magic Johnson may well be the public face of the Dodgers’ organization from an executive standpoint, but Johnson should not be thought of only in the complexity of being one the NBA’s all-time greats, because he has now become an extremely successful businessman and philanthropist , whose corporation runs a gamut of business entities with revenues exceeding $1.8 billion annually. Profits and success are at the forefront of the Dodgers’ desire within this ownership group by just about any means necessary , but after the vast financial commitment made in 2013 and 2014, it became obvious something was missing from the template engineered by the management staff for the players.

Gone from last season’s roster are Josh Beckett , Matt Kemp, Brian Wilson , Dee Gordon and Dan Haren. The most notable acquisition for the team was short-stop Jimmy Rollins, whose presence could add some stability and leadership , which were sorely lacking and missing from those traits last season. I firmly believe , if Don Mattingly is unable to turn things around for the Dodgers this upcoming season , then the likelihood of his remaining would prove to be a disastrous . This season is likely to prove to be very competitive against baseball’s current World Series’ champions the San Francisco Giants . If the Giants are not seen as prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant in 2015 , then the dominance seen from this ball-club over the past six seasons can only be viewed as bewildering . Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy will be seeking to replicate the success witnessed last season as the franchise won its third World Series’ crown in the past six years.

There is no denying a ball-club such as the Los Angeles Dodgers with a legacy of such famed stars and Hall of Fame players as as Jim Bunning , Gary Carter , Don Drysdale , Sandy Koufax , Pee Wee Reese , Don Sutton and Jackie Robinson to name but a few . The vestiges of those halcyon days are long-gone with the franchise having not made the World Series in over twenty-five years , it begs the question , if the Dodgers are not able make another serious run in the postseason, will they ever succeed winning another title ? What I believe to be sorely lacking on this current Dodgers’ roster is someone willing to assume the role of a vocal leader both on and off the field of play. If the addition of Jimmy Rollins can provide the trait sought then so be it , but it is astonishing to think with such veterans already on this team as Carl Crawford , Adrian Gonzalez , Juan Uribe , Darwin Barney and AJ Ellis . How is it , that a team with such highly paid stars can continue to fail so miserably ? Is it a lack of managerial acumen from Don Mattingly or quite possibly the simple fact, this ball-club was never that good to begin with ?

An undeniable talent, but either the Miami Marlins are over-stretching in their belief that paying slugger Giancarlo Stanton a whopping $325 million will be a cure for what ails the organization can either be viewed as outrageous or an act pure genius on the part of GM Michael Hill and his fellow front office executives . Stanton’s thirteen-year deal averages out at $25 million annually , but it would still not make him the highest paid player in the game . Yet this is somehow the trait so many front office executives believe they need to exhibit. It’s either pay up, or you are likely to miss the boat . In baseball , few players have been able to live up to those live up to or meet the expectations or even surpass them. Simply ask Alex Rodriguez if he feels ,that his accomplishments within the game have not been tarnished by wantoned misuse of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) ? I am sure New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman must now be ruing the day he re-signed Rodriguez to the second of his two multimillion dollar deals . Twice in a lifetime , two $250 million deals have been “inked” by Alex Rodriguez and not once was an eyelid raised over those contracts , even in the aftermath of the player’s admission of guilt for the use of a banned substance , which begs the question, why is baseball still filled with such apathy and hypocrisy , not just among the fans , but also within the game’s hierarchy ?

One of the decade’s best players found himself a new home during this off-season when Ichiro Suzuki joined the Miami Marlins signing a one-year deal with the hope his presence will prove to an adequate complement to the team’s roster . Ichiro is likely to maintain the productivity we have come to know over the years. The former AL Rookie of The Year and AL MVP is nearing a career milestone as he approaches the 3,000 career hits’ plateau . A first ballot future Hall of Fame inductee , it will be interesting to see how Ichiro will be feted upon surpassing the mark many hitters aspire to reach , but few are seen as legitimate legends of the game. Ichiro Suzkuki is definitely a legend within the Major Leagues and his career bears this out !

This upcoming season, I believe both the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees will live and die by the accomplishments of Giancarlo Stanton and Alex Rodriguez ! Stanton is lucky enough to still be in the infancy of his career, whereas , there is now nothing Rodriguez can now do to remove either the stain or stench associated with his past or his future . Two futile acts of contrition, cannot hide the fact he remains one of the most despised and hated athletes in all of major professional sports , bar none .

I believe it would be fair to suggest, both Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen offer the best hope for baseball, as the faces of the game and its likely saviors, if the sport is to truly prosper and for its long-term future ! Both have been recipients of the AL and NL MVP’s within their respective leagues. Though postseason heroics have been fleeting for Trout and McCutchen , there is no doubt in my mind at some point in their respective futures both are likely to be recipients of a World Series’ ring or a World Series’ MVP for their exploits. Granted , in the past three seasons neither the Los Angeles Angels or the Pittsburgh Pirates have met the expectations sought by their fans or prominent MLB analysts . Respective team owners Arte Moreno and Bob Nutting having willingly spent millions of dollars over the past few seasons painstakingly seeking a championship, but coming up short at various points of the postseason in recent years. This season, will hopefully promise a great deal and bring out the very best in the Angels and the Pirates. Certainly , that will be what respective managers Mike Scioscia and Clint Hurdle hope to obtain from the Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates as they enter the first month of the 2015 regular season schedule beginning on the 6th April .

A confident start could go a long way in determining how good or great their respective seasons are likely to be. If both Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen can reproduce the form shown during last season, then it could also aid their teams to the desired success of possibly winning a World Series’ crown. The Los Angeles Angels will begin their season with a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California , whereas , the Pirates will play the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati , Ohio , in the Reds’ home opener .

It is way too early to try and define the careers of Andrew McCutchen and Mike Trout ,but if either can remotely live up to a number of their predecessors with either the Pirates or Angels , then there is absolutely no reason not to believe why they cannot go on to have long and distinguished careers within Major League Baseball . In my honest opinion these two great young players are exactly what the game needs , fresh faced and talented individual players who simply excel, while showing a great deal of leadership skills and maturity !

Safe to say , with the ” stain ” associated with the careers of Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez , perhaps the best player in baseball over the past decade might well have been Albert Pujols whose list of career achievements have been well- chronicled . Since being acquired by the Los Angeles Angels his statistics have ebbed and flowed, but at his very best, there was no denying he was one of the most dominating , intimidating and best hitters in the game , while also showing his power as a home-runs’ hitter .

Many of Pujols’ current peers over past eight years have had their fair share misfortune either through their misdeeds or a decline in productivity. Pujols for his part remains an extremely popular player, with a large fan-base , while becoming a highly paid and lucrative marketing tool for a major corporate sponsors. The Angels’ slugger is one of a rare breed within baseball, whose image allows him such privileges in and outside of the game of baseball. Yet, I do not believe this is what defines Albert Pujols as a player or as a human being, because it has been his humanitarianism and philanthropy that has continued to stand out, throughout much of his decade-plus career. As he earnestly strives to win a third World Series’ title and his first World Series’ MVP Award , the sole individual award he has yet to win over the course of his astonishing career.

The common thought remains, if the Angels are to succeed in their goal to win their first World Series since 2002 when Troy Glaus was the hero of the series in their triumph against the San Francisco Giants. Then Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton , David Freese , Chris Iannetta , Erick Aybar , CJ Wilson , Jered Weaver and Huston Street will certainly have to play a great deal better , while following the lead of Mike Trout, now considered to be the real leader on this team.

This season might well prove to be the last for Mike Scioscia, if the Los Angeles Angels should fail to make the postseason. Inconsistencies over the years have led to gaps in the Angels’ postseason appearances in recent years. Prior to last season’s playoff foray the Angels’ last such appearance came as a participant in the 2009 ALCS where they would fall to the New York Yankees , who would go on to win the 2009 World Series . Heading into this season there are at least six AL teams teams likely to be considered contenders for this year’s ” Fall Classic ” . The Angels are one of those ball-clubs, I believe can make a credible challenge for the AL Pennant , along with the Oakland A’s , Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers , Seattle Mariners and last season’s ” Cinderella Story ” the Kansas City Royals if they can retain a number of last season’s stars and keep their momentum going in 2015.

The four inductees for the 2015 14 Hall of Fame Class were nominees deserving of the accolade. The careers of Craig Biggio , Randy Johnson , John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez not only warranted serious consideration but these four players at one time or another were dominant at certain points during their respective tenures in the game. While there were other eligible candidates for this year’s class , many of those eligible were closely associated with the “steroid era “ of baseball , something Major League Baseball will never entirely escape in spite of the statements attributed to Bud Selig and the very fact the continued misdeeds of the players at the Major League and Minor League Level still has not brought about an abatement of the players’ use of banned substances (PED’s, anabolic steroids , Stanazolol) and a lack of response and a clear line of unison between the league hierarchy and union (MLBPA) leads me to believe, both parties are only prepared to pay the issue mere ” lip service “ as they see fit , when there appears to be outrage on the part of the fans. Not there has been any type of outrage from within the media , covering the game, in particular by the always hypocritical BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) .

The years in which Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were laying siege to and obliterating the single season home run record , even when there was possible evidence to suggest, not everything was completely above board , the baseball writers were simply lauding the players’ efforts, as if were actually witnessing history in the making. Now we know Bonds’ 2001 mark was not only dubious but even the seven-time NL MVP still refuses to properly address and explain whether or not at any point during his career he knowingly used a banned substance. To my mind Roger Maris’ mark of sixty-one home runs (61) remains the legitimate record in the baseball annals , along with Hank Aaron’s career home runs’ tally of seven hundred and fifty-five (755). Correct me if I’m wrong , even during the era of segregation and the civil rights’ era , was the sport of baseball ever in such disarray , as it was known to be in this and the past decade ? Answers please ? Or should we continue down the merry road of apathy as constituted and led by Bud Selig and now his successor , Rob Manfred ?

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Picture gallery .

Spring Training is just around the corner , merely less then six weeks away and the plot-lines within the game of baseball are now being written. Like last season we are likely to see a fair share of controversy being played out both on and off the field of play. So what should the fans expect during the first few months of this upcoming season ? Which players and teams do you believe will be taking away the individual and team honors at the end of this regular and postseason (MLB) schedule ?

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Matt Kemp, center, , once considered a mainstay within the Los Angeles Dodgers’ franchise but during the off-season he was traded to fellow NL franchise the San Diego Padres . Kemp is seen here with Padres’ front office executives , left GM A J Preller and manager Bud Black. . AP Photo / Gregory Bull …

(2) Mark Walter lead managing partner in the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Getty Images / Mark Powers

(3) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins . During the off-season the player signed the largest contract in baseball history , a thirteen-year $325 million deal to remain with the franchise . He will be joined by former AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP Ichiro Suzuki , who signed a one-year deal with the NL East ball-club. AP Photo / Paul Ross

(4) Andrew McCutchen , left of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels . These two outfielders are considered to be the two best players in Major League Baseball . Few would consider to the contrary, given their list of accomplishments , since entering the Big Leagues . AP Photo / Mike Potter

(5) Ichiro Suzuki seen here in a New York Yankees’ uniform for whom he played last season , but will enter 2015 as a member of the Miami Marlins, with a view to aiding the team from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Getty Images / Mike Thomas

(6) ) Alex Rodriguez , picture inset , is seen here striking out during a game in 2013 for the New York Yankees . The third basemen sat out the 2014 season for the team , having to serve a league-mandated suspension for violation of the league’s steroid policy . Rodriguez hopes to make a successful return to the ball-club in 2015 with the organization in transition after retirement of Derek Jeter and departure of several players , notably Ichiro Suzuki who joins the Marlins in a one-year deal . Rodriguez’s return also will also place once again among the top-twenty earning players in terms of annual salary and a contract , bearing in mind, he is the only player in MLB history to have signed two deals paying in excess of $240 million for each contract . He is also the top-earning player in league history by way of life-time contract earnings. At this stage of his career , it is not hard to suggest how Alex Rodriguez’s career is likely to be remembered . A two-time league substance abuse offender , dubious career statistics , top career-earnings , the public’s disdain and dislike of him as a player. Getty Images / David Hughes

(7) From left to right , Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa and Mark McWire . For the decade covering the nineties and the early part of this past decade , the trio were part one of the most inglorious eras in baseball’s history , as they laid siege to the single-season home run record . The figure of sixty-one home runs first held by Roger Maris who hit 61 home runs for the New York Yankees during the 1961 season , is still looked upon and revered as the legitimate record in baseball history . though it was surpassed by Bonds in 2001 with seventy-three home runs. The mark is currently recognized by statisticians for MLB , the Hall of Fame , BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) and Elias Stats Bureau . Barry Bonds also holds the record for career home runs , (762) surpassing the total (755) of Hank Aaron , a Hall of Fame inductee in a game for the San Francisco Giants played against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver , Colorado on 5th September , 2007. . The pitcher who gave up the home run was Ubaldo Jiminez . AP Photo / Emmanuel Ortega

(8) ) Roger Maris who alongside teammate and close friend Mickey Mantle set the season alight in 1961 , where along the way Maris would break the single season home run record with a total of sixty-one home runs . In that same season the New York Yankees would go on to win the World Series defeating the Cincinnati Reds and where Whitey Ford would be named World Series’ MVP . UPI Archives

(9) Baseball legend Hank Aaron and his wife, Billye Aaron , smile as they listen to Hall of Famer Willie Mays reminisce during the dedication of the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum April 14, 2010 at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Ala. Aaron’s childhood home, originally built by his father, was moved to the stadium’s “Gaslight Park” and restored in November 2008. The celebration, which included a ribbon-cutting and private reception, was attended by a star-studded roster of Hall of Famers and baseball dignitaries, including Mays, Reggie Jackson , Ozzie Smith , Bob Feller , Rickey Henderson , and Bruce Setter , along with President of Minor League Baseball Pat O’Conner, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Jeff Idelson , MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , and Hall of Fame senior director of exhibitions Erik Strohl . Hank Aaron, in many circles, is still recognized as the all-time career home-runs’ king , having surpassed the mark achieved by Babe Ruth of seven-hundred and fourteen . Aaron’s tally (755) has since been superseded by Barry Bonds . The Braves’ icon , now successful businessman with a themed style restaurant chain and several auto dealerships in the greater Atlanta area , is now , one member of a consortium close to buying NBA franchise the Atlanta Hawks , currently the best team in the league , record-wise . Apex Media-wire photo by Carmen K. Sisson

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Former MLB Commissioner Allan ‘Bud’ Selig seen on the dais at National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York .

Fallout , what fallout ?

Fallout, what fallout ?

After one of the most eventful postseasons in recent baseball history MLB has anointed their World Series’ champion for the 2014 season , with the San Francisco Giantswinning their third title in the past five seasons,defeating the Kansas City Royals . For manager Bruce Bochy , his third title and a dynasty in the making , or should we subscribe to the fact the Giants have been the best team in baseball since 2010? When it has mattered most the ball club have shown their resiliency on the road and proven themselves to be one of the greatest franchises in recent postseason history. Where the Giants stand alongside such great and dominant teams of the past will likely ignite a debate of conjecture and a great deal of bias. Baseball has changed immensely over the past three decades and undoubtedly the managerial acumen and play must be taken into account when trying to assess the achievements of the San Francisco Giants.

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Brian Sabean has proven himself to be a general manager with a great deal of acumen assembling a roster which has been competitive all season long. While the Giants may well have failed to win the NL West division , you simply cannot deny they were by far a better team than divisional champion the Los Angeles Dodgers , who once again proved that a quarter billion dollar payroll($250,000,000) counts for absolutely nothing, when there happens to be no team leadership or managerial leadership to be found within the organization. ,

The Dodgers’ front office where there has been a recent upheaval with GM Ned Colletti being given a lateral move or deemed in some circles a demotion , with Andrew Friedman being brought in the franchise’s operations where he will in fact become Head of Baseball Operations . It begs the question , what now becomes of the hierarchical order , where there now seems to be more executives than there are actual real decision-makers among the managerial staff of this team ? Also, how much latitude will now be given to Friedman, if one his main duties will be to hire a new general manager , while given the full authority in making the decisions affecting all personnel moves concerning the playing staff?

First order of business for Andrew Friedman beyond the hire of a new general manager if thought to be necessary , will be the projected lineup of the Dodgers for next season . With several players having performed poorly , a number of them highly overpaid , the feeling has to be a number of the players in questionare likely to be traded. Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez are two of the players I believe will be placed on the trading block along with Carl Crawford. The trio are not the only team members likely to be jettisoned, but it may well be the place to start, as Andrew Friedman looks to pare down the team’s payroll and then assess the talent within the Dodgers’ farm system for players he believes can contribute to future of the Dodgers as they seek competitiveness and consistency.

This off-season will prove to be one , where a number of general managers around the game of baseball will be seeking to make the type of deals likely to make their teams competitive. While the Kansas City Royals proved themselves competitive during the postseason , my own feeling the reasons why they came up short against the San Francisco Giants , had more to do with their lack of postseason experience among the playing staff . All of the momentum shown during the wildcard game , ALDS , ALCS and the World Series could not hide the fact Ned Yost’s acumen could not make up for the lack of playoff experience and veteran leadership needed.

Lawrence Baer and his fellow partners who make up the ownership group of the San Francisco Giants will have been entirely happy with what they have witnessed this season from their team. A series’ victory , appreciation of the Giants’ value , profits and the likely rise in attendance levels going into next season . Brian Sabean will likely make one or two moves to bolster the team’s roster heading into the upcoming season but if he can keep his core group of players intact , there is no reason to believe why the San Francisco Giants cannot be seen as a presumptive favorite to quite possibly repeat as World Series’ champion. If there are said to be any issues for the Giants in their retention of several players , it may well come down to the fact they will have to deal with the contract negotiations of team members in arbitration seeking a substantial pay raise . World Series’ MVP , Madison Bumgarner , Gregor Blanco , Sergio Romo and Pablo Sandoval , I believe should be offered deals commensurate with their talent, but given the wiles of baseball and the economic imbalances that continue within the game, it is hard to envisage how Sabean is likely to retain all of the players in question .

Larry Baer might well seek to increase the team’s payroll in 2015 , seeking to fall in line with a number of their main competitors ,but I am inclined to believe the team owner and their partners will simply follow the template set by their celebrated general manager Brian Sabean. After-all, the executive’s success can be considered the modern-day blueprint as to how to get the best out of the resources at one’s disposal. The proof has been there for all to see in the last five years .

One of the biggest disappointments of the 2014 season was the failure of the Atlanta Braves to compete within the NL East and not making the postseason . The firing of Frank Wren as the Braves’ general manager was not a great surprise but the retention of Fredi Gonzalez might well have been the biggest surprise of all , as I felt Gonzalez was negligent in his managerial duties along with his managerial staff !Hard to believe , that other than the Washington Nationals whose win of the division was made to look extremely easy , with the Nationals being the only ball-club with a record over .500 within the NL East was simply exacerbated by the mediocrity of the within.

Atlanta and the New York Mets (79-83 [.488]) shared the same final mark with their second placed finish and it begs the question how bad the play within the division much less the rest of baseball over the course of last season ? Fredi Gonzalez was extremely lucky he was retained as the Braves’ manager , but I guess team President John Scheurholz and general manager John Hart believed the manager could not be faulted for the team’s failure and poor play during 2014 . The Braves’ $112.9 million payroll was somewhat middling in comparison to many of their National League rivals and the ongoing economic imbalances which still exist.

Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are said to be two of the players the Braves are seeking to “shop around” during the off-season and the Winter Meetings of the executives , is likely generate a great deal of interest in the duo , players who are seen as being very productive at their very best . Another player likely to be seen superfluous to the Braves’ needs could be BJ Upton whose year with the team was very much understated and less than impressive. Upton the elder sibling of Justin Upton has failed to live up to his five-year $72 million contract , since being acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Tampa Bay Rays.As an avowed fan of the Atlanta Braves if there is to be a player moved by the ball-club this off-season , I would prefer to see BJ Upton moved , as I believe it would be far more preferential to keep Jason Heyward and Justin Upton , simply because there is more of an upside to their respective careers , than a faltering veteran such as BJ Upton.

If there is one thing to be said about the New York Mets , it is, that their fans continue to make excuses for the team’s failings over the past six seasons . Team owners , Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , along with COO Jeff Wilpon have continued to show their lack of initiative and for the well-being of the franchise in spite of their financial burden having been lifted . If you consider being bailed out by a number of financial institutions meaningful , because the owners sought to hide behind their willful negligence in their handling of the team’s finances as being prudent. Then I can only imagine , there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of intelligence among the fan-base or within the inner workings of this organization ! Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi are still trying to figure out how to fit a square peg into a round hole, in terms of the make up of the team’s roster. Not so long ago praise was being heaped upon the shoulders of pitcher Matt Harvey , but with his falling back to earth, rather than the earlier promise being shown , the fans and media alike within the city are now throwing their weight behind their crop of young and upcoming players within their farm system .

Harvey spent the entire 2014 season on the sidelines , due to an injury and the pitching staff though passable did not do enough to ignite the team or make them competitive enough within the NL or baseball in general. The real issues with the Mets laid in the fact their offense was simply inept and downright pitiful.

Terry Collins as the manager of the New York Mets may well have been given a reprieve because of the team’s second place finish in a rather mediocre NL East division in 2014. With talks of Sandy Alderson , said to be pursuing a list of marquee free agents as well as possibly reacquiring Jose Reyes , it begs the question beyond also assessing the farm system, what else is the front office executive prepared to do to make this ball-club truly competitive? New York kicks off their regular season schedule with a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC in the Nationals’ home opener on the 6th April, 2015,.

Fool me once , shame on you , fool me twice , shame on me . A third time and I think we get the picture ! Alex Rodriguez will be allowed that privilege of doing so once again and likely the MLB hierarchy will only be too delighted in proving to be complete imbeciles, allowing the disgraced third baseman to fool the fans of the game once again . With the retirement of Derek Jeter after his two-decade career as a New York Yankees’ player. The game of baseball , specifically the Yankees’ organization are now looking to Rodriguez to pick up the pieces of a team which last season was flawed and in complete disarray. As a player , Alex Rodriguez has never provided the leadership sought on the field of play, let alone away from the field, carrying himself with any type of decorum. Instead, his persona has been one of a conceited individual , hiding behind deceit , lies and blaming others for his own misdeeds and then using his legal representatives to create the facade of his being racially targeted for his using of banned substances as prohibited by Major League Baseball (MLB). The fact that the press sought to ignore this , while Rodriguez’s own supporters and lawyers sought to use this a pretext in his now well-chronicled complaints , defending himself in his arbitration appeal of his suspension, points to his character or lack thereof and a weakened hierarchy and an all too powerful union (MLBPA) who assisted in providing the player with his legal representation.

Baseball under the leadership of Bud Selig has continued to shoot itself in the foot , in its own ass, as well as making complete fools of the fans, while trying to point what they deem to be improvements in the game. The use of modern technology to right the wrongs of umpires who either have no comprehension of the game or the fact they’re overweight , not athletic and archaic monoliths, only points to the fact baseball remains in a damn time-warp of its own choosing. While Bud Selig may well be stepping down in his role as commissioner. his successor Rob Manfred doesn’t exactly exude confidence or seems to be a prudent choice as successor of the now departed Selig. The team owners wanted an ” insider” and as usual, what they sought , they actually got.

The New York Yankees while not being part of the MLB postseason will seek to make a big splash during the off-season , looking to acquire players , while painstakingly eschewing the idea of an organization wanting to be financially prudent. New York was the first baseball franchise to exceed the $200 million barrier in terms of an annual payroll obligations, when they reached the mark for the very first time in 2008 . In the subsequent years the Yankees’ payroll has continued to increase until 2013 when the Los Angeles Dodgers overwhelmed everyone with their gargantuan and all too bloated salary commitments, far outstripping their closest rivals . Alex Rodriguez’s return to the game in 2015, will once again make him the highest paid player in baseball in terms of contract value and base salary , albeit , his almost year-long suspension , saw the player lose in excess of $23.5 million in salary . What Rodriguez is now able to offer the New York Yankees at this stage of his career will be predicated upon whether or not they and the fans believe, he is still capable of hitting of thirty-plus home runs in a season , while maintaining a batting average close to .300 or above . A tall order for a player who hasn’t reached that plateau in quite a while

This upcoming season, I believe the New York Yankees are likely to struggle , simply because at its core this will still remain an aging team , with several of the players now past their prime, with no upside to be seen. Injuries are likely to plague the roster , much as it had done in 2014 , and with their being very little suggest that any of their players at the AAA Level are yet ready to be productive at the Big League Level. It simply suggests the Yankees will revert to ways of old and simply spend their way to success , with GM Brian Cashman leading the charge .

There seems to be this apathy among fans when they try to suggest there are “classy organizations” in baseball. If that were the case , we would actually have the general managers and owners questioning the direction of the league hierarchy and the constant haranguing of baseball’s image because of the players’ misuse of banned substances. Instead , they have chose to remain all too docile, while the players themselves , specifically those are seen as face of baseball , remain all too silent. MLB now has a pathetic image , in spite of a terrific postseason and one of the best World Series in recent history. Unfortunately, those thrilling moments cannot hide the fact, the game is still plagued by steroid cheats ” , and with a union which would rather defend the rights of the players who have knowingly sought to subvert the image of baseball purely for financial gain and acclaim. The pretext offered by the likes of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro , Curt Schilling , Ryan Braun , Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens , Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez , has gone a long way in creating a forlorn image and perception for baseball’s fans , while the postseason can be thrilling , one mere suggestion of cheating, simply knocks the game back on its heels , leaving the fans in great dismay. As to what comes next , we will have to wait and see what the 2015 season has to offer.

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Picture gallery .

In the aftermath of a thrilling postseason in baseball, , what do you hope to see this upcoming year from within the game ? Do you also believe MLB can escape any major controversy over the course of the season concerning the conduct of the players ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) World Series MVP Madison Bumgerner of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after the team’s thrilling 3-2 victory in game seven of the World Series to clinch the Giants’ third title in the past five seasons under manager Bruce Bochy . AP Photo / Chris Elliot …

(2) Larry Baer , San Francisco Giants’ senior managing partner is seen here holding the World Series’ Trophy alongside Brian Sabean , right , after the team’s triumph in the 2014 World Series over the Kansas City Royals . Getty Images North America / Paul Mayhew …

(3) Andrew Friedman is seen here alongside Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten . Friedman, left the Tampa Bay Rays to accept the position as the Dodger’ Head of Baseball Operations where he will oversee all player personnel decisions, being directly answerable to Kasten and other senior executives within the Dodgers’ ownership group. AP Photo/ Matt Turner ….

(4) New York Mets’ manager Terry Collins may well have received a lucky reprieve after the team’s surprising second place finish in a very mediocre NL East division this past season . Division champions the Washington Nationals were the only team to finish with an above . 500 record . Yet they fell in the postseason in the NLDS without putting up much of a fight. AP Photo/ Sarah Miles ….

(5) Alex Rodriguez is seen here in the dugout alongside New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi ,left , as the two discuss team strategy. Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season having fought to be reinstated after being given a year-long suspension for a violation of baseball’s substance abuse program , a claim which Rodriguez denied. His return to baseball is seen as a the last chance for the player to resurrect his career and a possible chance of enhancing his prospects of being a future Hall of Fame inductee . .AP Photo/Andrew Matthews …

(6) New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Giardi will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed in 2015. The team has not won a World Series title since 2009 and failed to make the postseason in 2014 , finishing a disappointing and distant second in the AL East , twelve games behind division winners the Baltimore Orioles . This season the manager and front office executive will be looking to Alex Rodriguez to provide some semblance of leadership as well leading the offense which was among the weakest in the AL , as well as MLB overall . UPI / Mark Taylor … ….
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If you can’t stand the heat, then stay the hell out of the kitchen .

If you can’t stand the heat, then stay the hell out of the kitchen .

As the NBA season still is still til in its infancy , we are already seeing the struggles of several notable teams thought to be legitimate contenders for the NBA title . Last season, we saw both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks make somewhat spirited forays as part of the NBA Playoffs , only to subsequently fall in the first round and the conference semi-finals within the Eastern Conference. From my own standpoint , although their efforts were admirable , in no way could either team be seen as a real threat to derail the eventual champions , the Miami Heat , simply based on the performances of the Heat during the entire playoffs ! Unfortunately, for fans of the New York Knicks, as always, has been their want, theirs is a world built around their belief that sports’ world is encapsulated around everything that exists within the organization , the players , management and the coaching staff .

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Coming into this season, a great deal was expected of the New York Knicks and specifically , this team , led by Carmelo Anthony , Tyson Chandler , J R Smith , Metta World Peace , Amare` Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert . Head coach Mike Woodson , long seen as a very good coach of young players, has sought instill discipline into a roster that was simply lacking that trait in 2012 , and it would appear that the trait still remains , as the Knicks are off to an understated start , having posted a 3-7 record through their first ten games of the season . Good enough, to have them at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and amongst the lower rungs of the Eastern Conference .

Now losers of three straight , one could attest to the fact that the Knicks are still seeking a footing in terms of consistency , but the evidence would suggest otherwise , with erratic play both defensively and on offense . On Wednesday night , the team will play host to the Indiana Pacers (9-1) , the current pace setters within the Central Division , as well as the conference , in a game that will be played at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York , home to the New York Knicks. While I believe the Knicks to be merely a competent team , I simply do not believe that they have the depth or the mindset to be considered good enough to dethrone the Miami Heat in a seven-game playoff series . Granted , Knicks’ fans will always point to their defeat of the Heat during the regular season, but in essence that imply counts for nothing, when there is not a great deal at stake. It has always been the postseason , where legacies are made, and at this juncture, the New York fans have simply forgotten that very fact.

How the Knicks acquit themselves against the Pacers, could tell us a great deal about the team as they move forward. A loss , not while catastrophic, could start to raise questions about the makeup of this roster and whether not a number of roster moves might well need to be made at some point during the season . GM Steve Mills , might well need to take a look at his options, should he seek to improve the roster in order to strengthen the team’s chances of making the postseason

With the baseball season now over and a World Series’ champion having been crowned , with the Boston Red Sox claiming their title in the last ten years. One of the more unsavory aspects of this past season has now raised its ugly head, with the ongoing procedural hearing concerning Alex Rodriguez’s attempts to have his suspension overturned during arbitration , with special arbitrator Frederic Horowitz presiding over the entire appeal’s process. Ten days into this proceeding , the defendant , Rodriguez , has decided to show his disgust with this all, by leaving the MLB headquarters , showing his utter disdain for Horowitz, after the arbitrator made the decision not have MLB Commissioner Bud Selig take the stand to stand to fully explain the reasons for the league’s stance in taking their current action to have the New York Yankees’ third baseman for a record two-hundred and fourteen-game suspension.

The league’s position, has been that Rodriguez has been less than truthful in the testimony provided to the league’s investigators, as well as the evidence now in their possession , in some cases paid for , as part of their evidence gathering from the now defunct South Florida based supplements’ company Biogenesis . Company founder, Anthony “Tony” Bosch , now under federal indictment for a number of federal charges , concerning drug trafficking and the selling and distribution of prescription drugs , has agreed to testify on behalf of Major League Baseball. As to what bearing, this will have not only on this hearing, but also Bosch’s own liberty , as he awaits his federal trial , will most likely be dependent upon how damaging his testimony is likely to be against Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez and his high-priced legal team , headed by criminal attorneys David Cornwell and Joe Tacopina will have now have a hard time trying to disprove the case against their client , after his actions , and the alleged use of “foul language” by Alex Rodriguez , in describing the whole procedure as a ‘ ###king farce’ , as well as directing a great of his venom at the commissioner and the arbitrator. Were this a criminal case, I seriously doubt that the player’s actions would be so direct , and filled with such anger towards the aforementioned parties !

While I do believe in due process , it is very hard for me to now see how Rodriguez can see his action as being a positive ! His credibility has already come into question , with his repeated non refusal to address earlier claims that he had used performance enhancing drugs , prior to this latest allegation of ties to Biogenesis and the evidence of his having purchased a cache of different substances for his personal use , all in violation of the league’s policy. Bear in mind also , the player is also seeking legal recourse, with his own action against MLB as well as the lead medical physician of the New York Yankees , and what he feels has been a collusive act to have him driven out of baseball . As to why a team doctor would seek to work in conjunction with the league hierarchy to have a player thrown out of the game , simply defies logic , based on Rodriguez’s premise and that of the lawyers’ case in the civil suit filed in US District Court in Manhattan . Seeking punitive damages , emotional distress, loss of income, defamation and damage to his reputation ? Is Alex Rodriguez actually serious, with those claims ?

Rodriguez’s attempts to cast the league’s case as a witch-hunt I believe has more to do with the fact that he may well have felt that any suspension rendered against might well have been in line those meted out to the other twelve players named in the league’s investigative findings and then suspended . A maximum penalty of sixty-five games was handed down to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun , who has subsequently apologized for his actions , in lying not only to the fans the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization ,. but also to the league hierarchy for his misdeeds. A far cry, from his original denial in 2011, the year he won the NL MVP Award , while offering up a web of deceit and lies .

In March of 2010, Alex Rodriguez, himself, would apologize publicly for his steroid use, with the New York Yankees’ organization orchestrating much of the actual premise behind the player’s act of contrition. Yet less than eighteen months later , Rodriguez’s name would come up in association with that of Orlando medical professional , Dr Anthony Galea , who was said to be running a “pill mill” out of his offices in the Central Florida haven . Galea , now serving his time in a federal facility after a plea agreement with the U S Justice Department , was never questioned by the MLB’s investigators concerning links to Rodriguez and the player, himself when broached on the subject, simply deflected those questions with the usual baseball banter of wanting to see the team do well , and that he was not involved or did not know Galea , nor did he have any idea, how his name came to be associated with the now convicted felon. Come full circle, and it now appears, that Alex Rodriguez will seek to muddy with the waters, , with the actions taken , while also seeking to show that baseball’s hierarchy is in fact incompetent , disingenuous and cannot be trusted. The player may well be right , but at this juncture, who are you likely to give the benefit of the doubt to ? The player, or the MLB hierarchy in terms of their respective actions ?

The MLB hierarchy , as led by Bud Selig , along with the team owners and union, bear the brunt of the responsibility for this continued farce , even with Alex Rodriguez trying to dramatically play the victim , when his portrayal , if anything , has more to do with that of a villain with an amoral attitude. As to the player’s claim, that he has a deep respect for the game , his actions have shown that to be a falsehood in the past and now in the present after his less than civil behavior during an arbitration proceeding .

As the NFL enters the final five weeks of the regular season ,with the week twelve schedule giving us a taste of another Thursday night contest between NFC divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints (8-2) . I simply cannot help but wonder, how many of us would have thought that the Falcons’ season would have become so miserable and with their now being calls for the head of Mike Smith as well GM Thomas Dimitroff and a number of players on this roster ! There now seems to be nothing to play for, concerning the Falcons, other than pride and self-respect. Even that might not be enough to abate the wrath of their fans , who expected so much more out of the team this season , along with that of their Pro Bowl . quarterback Matt Ryan .

In a division where the Atlanta Falcons were expected to be challenging for divisional dominance over the New Orleans and a now resurgent ,a href=http://nfl.com/teams/profile?team=car> Carolina Panthers (7-3) . This Falcons’ team now finds itself firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South with a 2-8 record , which they jointly share with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) , a team that also this season , has been a major disappointment to their fans . There is a common belief that at the end of this season , both Mike Smith and his Buccaneers’ counterpart Greg Schiano are likely to get a reprieve from their respective front offices and are likely to retain their positions. Though, it would not surprise me, were either Thomas Dimitroff or Mark Dominik decided to ” pull the trigger” and simply fire both head coaches ! When all else fails and the players are not being held accountable, then the coach has to be fired. I mean, it’s the nature of the beast , kill or be killed.

Playing for pride and self-respect now appears to be the only thing left for the franchise, beyond their impending draft status. The Falcons’ draft classes in recent years , overall, have been unspectacular, with their being a lack of leadership coming from the “face of the franchise ” , in Matt Ryan. He may well be a very good player , but I have yet to hear anyone describe the player as someone with great leadership qualities . Instead, Ryan is a great regular season quarterback, but the doubts have begun to set in concerning his most recent postseason performances and the lack of recent postseason success by the franchise. . Going forward , it is unlikely that the front office is likely to do anything drastic concerning the quarterback, but there are likely to be several moves structured to improve the roster , in order to make it all the more competitive .

Matt Ryan, has the weight of a burdensome contract that he appears not to be able live up to. Unlike many of his peers at the top NFL “ quarterback food chain” , with the exception of , Sam Bradford , Philip Rivers and Tony Romo , all of the others have won a Superbowl . That if anything, has to be truly indicative of the pressure place upon a player who was drafted to replace the once beloved former Falcons’ icon Michael Vick , whose fall from grace while with the Atlanta Falcons has been well chronicled . As to what, now awaits the Atlanta Falcons over the remainder of their schedule will be predicated upon the effort given by a team , that this season , has been one of the major disappointments of this NFL calendar year. Matt Ryan has a great deal to prove, not only to himself, but also to the Falcons’ fans , as well as the NFL, in terms of his playing ability , and being able to lead the franchise to a Superbowl victory.

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Picture gallery .

In light of the issues raised within this piece , what thoughts if any do you have concerning this article and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the topic ? Simply leave a comment on this and by all means, if you have any suggestions as to future content you would like to see within the site , your thoughts are more than welcomed !

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Carmelo Anthony goes up for the dunk during a game played between the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Wednesday night , 20th November , 2013 . Indiana would go on to defeat the Knicks in overtime 103-96 , with Paul George of the Pacers leading all scorers with 35 points during the game. AP Photo / Kathy Willens ….

(2) Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers attempts a shot over the outstretched arms of the New York Knicks’ Beno Udrih (18) . The Pacers with the victory pushed their record to 10-1 , which is the best in the Eastern Conference and the top mark in the NBA alongside the San Antonio Spurs (10-1) . AP Photo / Kathy Willens ….

(3) Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is seen here leaving his limousine alongside his attorney Joseph ‘Joe’ Tacopina , as the two arrive at the MLB headquarters in New York City , where the player listened to the arbitration proceedings presided over by the league and union sanctioned arbitrator Frederic Horowitz . On the tenth day of the hearings, the player abruptly left the hearing in anger , slighting both the arbitrator and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for what he believes to be an unjust and flawed hearing . As to how Rodriguez’s action will impact any verdict rendered remains to be seen . For the moment, the player’s defense , in seeking the rescinding of his suspension will be plead by his two lead attorney Joe Tacopina and David Cornwell . Rodriguez also has a civil suit awaiting a trial date to be set in US Federal District Court in Lower Manhattan , New York . AP Photo / James Todd ……

(4) Matt Ryan (2) of the Atlanta Falcons attempts a pass during a game played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a divisional contest at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida , this past Sunday . The Buccaneers would go on to defeat Atlanta 41-28 in what turned to be one the Falcons’ worst performances of the season . On Thursday night they will face another divisional foe , the New Orleans Saints , when the two teams meet at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia ,. The Falcons’ quarterback has performed somewhat erratically through his team’s first ten games of the season , in leading them to a 2-8 record within the NFC South and NFC as a whole . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay ….

(5) Gerald McCoy (93) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sacks Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan during the this past Sunday played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida . Tampa would go on to defeat Atlanta 41-28 in a lopsided victory for the home team . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay …..

(6) Buccaneers’ running back Bobby Rainey (43) scampers into the end-zone , after a forty-three yard touchdown run , that highlighted the team’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons 41-28, this past Sunday . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay ……….

(6) From left to right , Atlanta Falcons’ team owner , Arthur Blank , GM Thomas Dimitroff , head coach Mike Smith and the team’s quarterback , Matt Ryan . The quarterback who recently signed a six-year $113.75 million contract in 2013 , of which $42 million is in guaranteed money , will now have to live up the deal . The expectations are high not only for the player and his long-term future but also for that of the Falcons’ franchise who are seeking to move into a new venue , to be built at an estimated cost of $1.205 billion , during which the Atlanta Falcons are hoping to be ready for the 2014-15 season. A great deal of controversy has surrounded the proposed venue with the Falcons said to only putting up $200 million towards the $1.2 billion cost of the proposed structure, with the rest coming from public funding . AP Photo / Garrett Lang ……

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Wet-n-wild .

It’s always good to hydrate .

“Alles , was du willst ” ? (See anything you like ? [German])

Pine tar, anyone ?

Pine tar, anyone ?

Just when you thought could not get any more asinine within the world of baseball and how the league hierarchy has dealt with the Biogenesis ” scandal” , word now comes that beleaguered baseball player Alex Rodriguez will seek to sue Major League Baseball for slander , collusion in trying to have his career derailed and put to an end with their wrongful pursuit of him with regard to baseball’s substance abuse policy . The plaintiff furthers goes on to suggest that the hierarchy’s vindictive pursuance of him also contravenes the union’s (MLBPA) collective bargaining agreement. The league as defendants deny this , stating that the agreement agreed to and ratified by the union , allows them the right, to pursue a player and punish them accordingly, where they find there is irrefutable evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt ,that he has violated a league rule .

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At a time when baseball should be celebrating their postseason , the attention is taken away from these events , by a player known to be self-absorbed and only concerned with his own image, rather than showing himself to be a loyal teammate . MLB Commissioner . Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will now have to press the veracity of their case, should it be presented for trial in front of judge . Yet it is becoming abundantly clear that the New York Yankees’ third baseman is not prepared to give up without a fight , while seeking to defend his already tarnished reputation. From my own perspective the longer this story remains within the public’s view , the more embarrassing it is for the sport of baseball , because the commissioner’s handling of this whole episode has been poorly handled , with Bud Selig truly showing a complete lack of leadership.

A date has yet to be set for Alex Rodriguez’s appeal’s hearing, concerning his two-hundred and eleven game suspension for violating baseball’s steroid policy , an allegation that Rodriguez continues to deny , in spite of the evidence said to be in the hierarchy’s possession. While this process remains at an impasse , the question that also needs to be asked , is why no action by the New York Yankees and in particular with no public statement forthcoming from either Brian Cashman , Hank or Hal Steinbrenner ? I can only surmise that the front office of the organization is as incompetent as the league hierarchy itself . Rodriguez’s contributions for the New Yankees this season have been mediocre , with the player now a mere shadow of himself , while remaining the highest paid player in the game . A poor return for the franchise, whose season simply imploded during the final month of the season with the team’s poor play . A great deal of uncertainty now clouds the immediate future of this ball-club with their being no clear intent that manager Joe Girardi will return in . 2014 . That situation will play itself out, with a decision being made by the Yankees’ front office after Girardi has met with general manager Brian Cashman to discuss his future with the organization .

The Cincinnati Reds after their , all too disappointing season , have seen fit to fire manager Dusty Baker , with a year left on his current contract . GM Walt Jocketty , President & CEO Robert H Castellini made the decision to change course after another under-achieving 2013 sojourn . Baker in his six seasons with the Reds, was able to guide the ball-club to the postseason in four of the six seasons he managed the franchise , winning the NL Central division twice in 2010 and 2012 . Yet for all of that success, it was deemed not enough to constitute his return next season , which in many respects, with the team missing the postseason in 2013 , having finished a distant third in the NL Central behind divisional champions the St Louis Cardinals (97-65) and the surprisingly resilient Pittsburgh Pirates (94-68) , with the Reds’ lackluster mark of 90-72 . In terms of successor to Dusty Baker, the franchise has not made it clear who they will seek to replace him with as club’s manager , but it is quite clear that they will seek an individual with the name recognition and the necessary experience to lead the Reds in the next phase of their history .

A surprisingly successful season for the Cleveland Indians came to an all too abrupt end with the Indians’ 4-0 loss in the wild-card round of the postseason to the Tampa Bay Rays . Fittingly, for manager , Terry Francona , his return to the Big Leagues was a successful one having spent almost two years on the sidelines, before being hired by GM Chris Antonetti in 2013. Under Francona , in managing this team , they were able to show a great deal of resilience by pushing the Detroit Tigers for much of the season within the AL Central . There were signs to suggest that in 2014 the Indians will be a force to be reckoned with , not just within their division but across the AL as whole . I certainly believe that with the Indians’ depth and their prospects within the farm system , they will be much closer to being a legitimate challenger for a an AL pennant in the coming seasons.

If the NL has taught us anything this season within baseball , it has been that the cream always rises to the top. It should have come as no surprise that the Atlanta Braves , St Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers were the three triumphant divisional winners , winning those divisions by comfortable margins and with a great deal of east. With that in mind , with the postseason having begun , we are now down to the divisional series , where within the NL , the Pittsburgh Pirates are pitted against the St Louis Cardinals , with the other series pitting the high spending Los Angeles Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves . The first games of those two series were lopsided affairs , with the Cardinal getting the better of the Pirates in a 9-1 victory and the Dodgers laying the lumber, in thrashing the Braves 6-1 at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta , Georgia. The Pirates were able to exercise the demons of that loss, by coming back to defeat the Cardinals in game two 7-1 in game two of their five-game series . Game two of the series, between the Braves and Dodgers will resume tonight , with Atlanta looking to level that contest at one game apiece . A loss at this juncture would all , but bring about the inevitability of the end to the Atlanta Braves’ season, were they to lose the second game of this five game series .

While it can be said that the New York Yankees had a disappointing season, their erstwhile divisional rivals have rebounded from a disastrous 2012 , to win the AL East , under manager John Farrell , with the same old faces contributing greatly to the success of the team along with an influx of seasoned veterans such as Shane Victorino , Mike Napoli , Ryan Dempster , Jake Peavy and Jonny Gomes all lending a hand in that success . A year after the Bobby Valentine chapter of mismanagement and shameless finger-pointing by Farrell’s predecessor , for his own incompetence , it is good to be witness one of baseball’s more venerable franchises back where they belong . In light of that however , the Red Sox will face a tough ALDS series against the Tampa Bay Rays . Game one of this contest will begin today at Fenway Park in , Boston , Massachusetts , in-front of a raucous crowd of rabid Red Sox fans. Undaunted by the task they face , the Rays will be anxious to prove to their doubters that they do belong in the postseason . To my mind, both Farrell and his Rays’ counterpart , Joe Maddon are legitimate candidates for the AL Manager of the Year , but as they say , ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder “ , and given the idiocy of , and shown by the adjudicators of the Baseball Writers Association of America , we are likely to see either right decision being made or the sort of lunacy that the BBWAA has now become more known for .

Billy Beane has been able to achieve the extraordinary , with menial resources by way of a team payroll , but his skilled acumen , shows why he is one of the best general managers in all of baseball. Just imagine what he might have been able to achieve with the Oakland A’s , were he afforded a player budget in excess of $150 million , instead of the paltry $70 million he is currently allowed to operate with ? The A’s won the AL West by playing at a consistently high level throughout the season . Within the division, teams such as the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers simply flamed out and offered little challenge to the Oakland based franchise .

With their second consecutive divisional title in the bag , the Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin and his team will play hosts to Jim Leyland , manager of the Detroit Tigers in a series (games one , two and five , if needed) , where an AL pennant berth will await the winner of what is bound to be a competitive series given the tightness of the season contests in 2013. Leyland and the Tigers will undoubtedly be looking to redeem themselves this postseason, after the horrors of 2012 and their lopsided World Series’ loss (4-0) the San Francisco Giants . In the blink of an eye, the Tigers’ potent offense of 2012 , were rendered useless by a Giants’ pitching staff that played with a sense of purpose. Jim Leyland and his managerial staff will hopefully have learned something from that painful experience.

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It all seems so asinine, that at a time when baseball should be celebrating the best that it has to offer by way of its postseason showcase . It is left to one the game’s most despised individuals in Alex Rodriguez to further sully its image and reputation . Not that the sport has not been assisted by the buffoonery of Bud Selig , Michael Weiner , Executive Director of the MLBPA , the players and the journalists who cover the cover the sport. Needless to say the not so attentive and anal retentive fans who simply point to the idiocy of the hierarchy’s adoption of instant replay as a positive within the sport when they are far more acute issues that need to be dealt with. None of which, the players , union or league hierarchy would care to address with any real urgency. As the title of this pieces alludes to ___ “ Pine tar anyone” ? Baseball will remain replete with far more than its oddities , self- aloof demeanor and ideas of a grandiose nature , way above anything meaningful that is said to have been achieved over the past three decades. For that, we ought to thank the players for their continued ignorance and shameless stupidity , lack of authority shown by the owners , whose only interests are greed and the making of a “quick buck ” . Needless to say, atop of the list , remains the gutless windbag Bud Selig , whose departure from the game cannot come around quick enough ! Chime in, with your thoughts on this article and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.

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(1) Merely a victim ? Or a shameless pariah looking to absolve himself of all responsibility for his actions ? Pictured inset , New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez seeks to sue MLB , in what he claims is a witch hunt sought by the league hierarchy to drive him out of the game of baseball . The player is the game’s active home runs’ leader and the leader in several other offensive categories . Rodriguez also will seek have his two hundred and eleven-game suspension overturned by an appeal’s tribunal presides over by arbitrator Fred Horowitz . A date for that hearing has yet to be set and it is likely that it will not take place until after the World Series . AP Photo / Alex Parsons ….

(2) Manager Dusty Baker (12) pulls Johnny Cueto (47) of the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park on October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Jared Wickerham …..

(3) Danny Salazar (31) of the Cleveland Indians gets pulled by Terry Francona (17) of the Cleveland Indians in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during the American League Wild Card game at Progressive Field on October 2, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rays would go on to defeat the Indians 4-0 . Getty Images / Jared Wickerham ….

(4) Boston Red Sox DH , David Ortiz watches his ground double as Rays’ catcher Jose Lobaton looks on during the game . The Red Sox would defeat the Rays 12-2 in game one of their ALDS contest played at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts . AP Photo/ Charles Krupa ….

(5) PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 30: Manager Jim Leyland (10) of the Detroit Tigers looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on May 30, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images …

Oakland A’s general manager whose stewardship of the front office has made the franchise one of the most admired in all of baseball . AP Photo / Keith Marshall ……

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When good men fail to act or take action , then evil will always prevail ….

When good men fail to act or take action, then evil will always prevail ….

It should come as no surprise that Alex Rodriguez has filed a grievance against the MLB hierarchy through the MLBPA (Players` Union) in seeking to have his suspension overturned, with his appeal going in front of an independent arbitrator . This matter further prolongs what has already been a painful episode for the game of baseball . Meanwhile, fans are offering either the most reasonable of solutions or making some of the most asinine statements possible . Even the most anal retentive within this domain are offering up solution, as why not simply let the players carry on using whatever illicit substances they want . And it is for this lone reason, why I believe this country should no longer get the respect, it simply feels it deserves from the outside world ! When you have that sort of unintelligent and asinine reasoning being made as an argument , it shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation and furthermore, it shows ignorance and stupidity . Hell , the country simply does not deserve anything, by way of respect from the outside world, given its present economic climate and some might rightfully agree , a government and an administration , simply devoid of intelligence and any real leadership .

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Rodriguez`s appeal will be presided over by an independent arbitrator, whose decision will be final . From my own perspective , I believe that the MLB hierarchy has handled this whole matter with the aptitude and incompetency of an impaired driver behind the wheel of a vehicle careening down a highway at a high rate of speed, that is about to plow into a group of innocent bystanders. With a pending appeal process, Alex Rodriguez will be allowed to play for the beleaguered New York Yankees , who now find themselves in fourth place within the AL East and falling further behind divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox , Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles . The third baseman`s stats , since his return this season from hip surgery , one could suggest, has been anemic . Not that any assistance provided by the player would not be welcomed,given the plight of this team under Joe Girardi and his staff this season .

The Yankees` next game will be a home series (three games) at Yankee Stadium , starting on Friday, against the Detroit Tigers of the AL Central . On the mound for the home team will be Ivan Nova , as he faces off against Rick Porcello of the Tigers. As to how the home team fans will show their approval of the beleaguered Rodriguez remains to be seen , but if it is anything like the cat-calls and boos received , in the somewhat hostile environment of US Cellular Field in Chicago against the Chicago White Sox , when the Yankees last played . Then, Alex Rodriguez could very well be in for a torrid time in-front of his hometown fans.

As simplistic as this might sound, with all of the criticism justifiably leveled at Bud Selig. My question remains , if the commissioner is due any criticism , then has none been aimed towards the team owners , players not participants in the steroid cheating , who have remained silent, but most of all the members of the mainstream press who now seek to make themselves out as saviors of the game ? MLB broadcast partner ESPN is perhaps, one of the most guilty members of the media, who have sought to remain all too silent , never once being critical of the league and the way that they have governed the game of baseball . Now as this story becomes part of the news` cycle of featured sports` stories . Here we have all of the major networks and cable sports` outlets relentlessly giving us their synopsis`s and diagnosis as to how this all may very well end.

Baseball`s history as been littered with controversy, infamy , and perhaps now, one of the most unsavory episodes in its entire existence . Alex Rodriguez proclaims his love of the game, which he has been a part of for almost two decades , while seeking also to become a role model for young kids. Yet, his continued lies and seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for problems of his own making, paints a picture of a self-absorbed narcissistic and amoral individual . The player remains a poor excuse for someone , who at one time was viewed as one of the best players of the late nineties and of the last decade. An all too sad an indictment of a wasted talent and a player , who has now become a pariah.

With the release of the movie `42` , starring Chad Bozeman and Harrison Ford. This film was meant to give us a realistic and true portrayal of the life of Jackie Robinson and his integration and introduction into the Major Leagues. Beautifully made, the acting and ensemble cast gave the audience something that could very much believe by way of Hollywood finally getting something right by way of a very realistic portrayal of one of the major and unsavory times within baseball , and one in which baseball historians tend to gloss over with alarming regularity . Each year, baseball rolls out its Jackie Robinson Day to commemorate that historic event of the Hall of Fame player`s first game in the Big Leagues .

In what can only be described as a depraved act of stupidity and racial animus , perpetrators daubed, defecated upon and vandalized statues of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese outside the stadium of the Brooklyn Cyclones , in Brooklyn, New York state . The outrage now seems to be widespread amongst the New York community, but particularly amongst the Brooklyn residents and those old enough , who fondly remember both Robinson and Reese ,as close teammates. Why this happened, is of no great surprise, given the depravity and how heinous the act just happened to be. What is of surprise, is the very fact that no one from within the MLB`s headquarters, has voiced their outrage or issued a public statement on the incident. Well, that should not really come as any great surprise, given the fact that baseball`s own failings in recent years, concerning their recent initiatives to bring back baseball within the inner cities and specifically amongst minorities.

Courtesy of the New York Daily News

Jackie Robinson statue defaced with racist slurs, swastikas outside Cyclones park, News offers reward

The Daily News is offering $10,000 for information leading to the coward that scrawled hate speech on the Jackie Robinson statue outside MCU Park in Coney Island.

By Thomas Tracy, Nicholas Wells and Richard Schapiro , New York Daily News

A despicable act of vandalism sparked a chorus of outrage Wednesday after swastikas and racist slurs were found scrawled on the iconic Jackie Robinson statue outside the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium.

A manager at MCU Park in Coney Island stumbled upon the defaced statue about 8:30 a.m., just hours before thousands of kids showed up at the ballpark for Camp Day.

Among the hate-filled messages written in black marker on the monument of Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese were: “Hile (sic) Hitler,” “Die N—-r” and “F–k Jackie Robinson and all N——s.”

In a bid to help cops catch the hate-filled coward, the Daily News is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Investigators were poring over surveillance video Wednesday night.

The desecration drew fiery denunciations from a slew of politicians and former baseball stars — including one of Robinson’s last living teammates, Ralph Branca.

“I have no idea why anyone would do that,” Branca, 87, told the Daily News. “The statue signified a great moment in American history.”

RELATED: LUPICA: HATEFUL DEFACING OF JACKIE ROBINSON STATUE A CRIME AGAINST ALL

Sen. Chuck Schumer, in a surprise visit to the site, lashed out at the perpetrator.

“I hope you’re punished for what you did because what [you] did put a dagger in the heart of what America is all about,” Schumer said.

“That there are still people who don’t understand what Jackie Robinson stood for in his grace, and his strength and the beautiful person he was and to try and deface him, defame him by defacing this statue is just an act of . . . it’s beyond words to me,” he added.

Photos of the defaced statue obtained by The News show an image of a swastika above a Hitler reference and the word “N—–s” scrawled twice on the base, just above the inscription detailing the monument’s significance.

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Bud Selig`s tenure can be best described as self-created pratfalls,with the man himself , looking to take credit for anything that remotely might show he and the game in a positive light. Over the past two decades , there has been very little that the commissioner can really point to, as a real positive. Now, in light of the Biogenesis scandal and the incident that took place in Brooklyn. It is extremely difficult to imagine,how anyone would now try to suggest that this season can in any way, be seen as a positive .

Racially motivated or a simple act of vandalism , this incident and how baseball, and law enforcement , now seek to address the matter, will go a long way , in how the public will view the game in the aftermath of the most recent events to have taken place. As to the perpetrators of this crime,it is hoped, that they will have the decency to at least show some contrition for their actions. Yet, that might now be too much to expect, given the fact , that there are idiots, who will also seek take advantage of this act, to further a rather insidious cause .

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Baseball is filled with a great deal of hypocrisy, with much of it coming from the players themselves and their own selfishness . Furthermore , a great deal of tat is actually countenanced by the lack of expediency shown by Michael Weiner as the executive director of the MLBPA , who himself, has been less tan forthright, as to the actions of his members, specifically those embroiled in this latest chapter of cheating. And there still remains the fans who are passionate about the game, but who are gullible enough to actually believe that the players actually give a damn, about whether or not their teammates or others are cheating. Case in point , Derek Jeter might just be the most respected player in the game along with teammate, Mariano Rivera . Yet, for all of the controversy that has beset the game and that still casts a giant over baseball.When have you ever heard either player, come out and be openly critical of the players known to have cheated or even voiced their concerns and how now dangerous a path that the game seems to be taking , in terms of the adverse image and bad publicity ? Answers please , if you can ?

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(1) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez leaves the dugout to take batting practice before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 in Chicago. AP Photo/David Banks …

(2) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez signs autographs before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Chicago. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(3) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter arrives at Petco Park for the Yankees inter-league baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi …

(4) In a scene from the hit movie `42` Branch Rickey portrayed by Harrison Ford pleads with Jackie Robinson (Chad Bozeman) to have patience and simply display his skills and vent his due anger into the game and not against those who are taunting him with derogatory racial epithets. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved

(5) A worker covers the base of the Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, where vile slurs written in marker could not be removed from the stone Wednesday. AP Photo / Neil Miller

(6) A portrait of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ infielder Jackie Robinson in uniform from about 1945. Hulton Archives / Getty Images …

(7) The Daily News is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible for the hateful graffiti scrawled on the Jackie Robinson statue (shown here before the despicable act). Associated Press …

(8) Racial slurs have scarred the Jackie Robinson statue outside MCU Park. So racially offensive were many of the remarks daubed on the effigy , that it took workers several hours to clean and restore the statue to its former being . Associated Press ….

(9) The Brooklyn Dodgers’ Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson chatting in dugout at Yankee Stadium in 1947. The two players and teammates ,became firm friends , and both are enshrined in baseball`s Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown , New York . New York Daily News / Ed Jackson ….

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Dimmer and dumber …….

Dimmer and dumber

Now we have it folks, the growing apathy of the North American sports` fan. Where , they are more concerned about player misconduct , cheating in various sports, than they are about the fact, that young military servicemen and women , being sent off to war , are returning home psychologically damaged , and being barely given any assistance at the state or federal level (VA – Veterans` Administration) upon their return. I forgot to point out, those not traumatically damaged, do end up coming home, in body bags. Now, is that not a shame ? When situations such as that come into play , it is either through apathy on the part of the fans or the fact that they just simply do not care . Patriotism, one minute , due apathy, the next . From my own standpoint, I believe it to be a great deal of both ! If you can suggest otherwise , then please feel free to do so succinctly .

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Major League Baseball(MLB) now finds itself at a crossroads for this season , as either Bud Selig now stands firm or he can choose to cave to the power of the players and their union (MLBPA) . I have never found baseball`s commissioner to be a highly intelligent individual to begin with! So any thought that he might now be on threshold of doing something simply amazing or unheard of, is simply nonsense . The fact of the matter is , Bud Selig marches to the beat of a drum that only he can hear . The fact that fans are now under the impression that he is finally getting something right. My question for them would be , point to at least three instances, where an edict by Bud Selig has actually been to the overall benefit of the game ?

The Biogenesis scandal actually broke , not because of an in-depth investigation by national daily paper , but from the sheer intense work done by a small municipal newspaper (Miami Times) based in South Florida. The fact that the national dailies and television media did not jump onto the story sooner , simply points to the fact that those particular interests are not always driven by the news itself , but simply , by profits alone . The more salacious and outrageous a story , the more likely it is, to become a part of the news` cycle and actually create the interest sought . I mean who really cares, that as many sixty-five baseball players (Bosch`s own figures) are in fact cheating, by using illicit substance to enhance their performances. Have we not heard this all before , and what was the final action taken by baseball`s hierarchy?

New York Yankees` third baseman Alex Rodriguez and his lawyers will now seek to fight and protect his already tarnished name , because the player feels that any prolonged suspension rendered by the league hierarchy will be unjust . Rodriguez maintains his innocence, in the allegations that he was supplied with illicit substances traced back to the company of Anthony Bosch , Biogenesis , which essentially has become the epicenter of the latest scandal that has now bedeviled and rocked the game of baseball .

Courtesy of USA Today

Nightengale: A-Rod’s early, ugly verdict in court of opinion

By Bob Nightengale, USA Today

CHICAGO – New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, speaking deliberately, and even emotionally at times, Monday called the past seven months a nightmare.

Judging by the reaction of the crowd that swarmed U.S. Cellular Field to see his first game of the season, Rodriguez’s nightmare is just beginning.

SUSPENDED: A-Rod and the dirty dozen

Rodriguez was vociferously booed by the fans when merely walking to home plate in his first plate appearance, and the boos remained incessant, growing even louder when he singled, with fans screaming and taunting him. It only worsened as the game continued.

“It was a hard day today, that’s for sure, a long day,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been crazy. …It was good for me to get the first one behind me.

“For me, personally, I just want to get back to playing baseball. I just hope there’s a happy ending somewhere in there.”

Such is life now for Rodriguez after being suspended earlier Monday for 211 games and then immediately appealing the largest penalty ever levied against a player for performance-enhancing drug use.

In all there were 13 players suspended in a day of sweeping and dramatic punishment meted out by Major League Baseball, eclipsing the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal for throwing the World Series as the most players suspended at once for off-field activities. Teams with World Series aspirations lost players for virtually the remainder of the season, including Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers and Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers who agreed to 50-game bans.

Yet, Rodriguez, the biggest star, with the biggest paycheck, who plays on the biggest stage, easily dwarfed the others.

Rodriguez, defiant to the end, is the only player who appealed his suspension. The decision is not expected to be rendered by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz until at least November, players union chief Michael Weiner says.

“I’m fighting for my life,” Rodriguez said. “I have to defend myself. If I don’t defend myself no one else will.”

The images of each of the suspended players will forever be tarnished, but no one will suffer more than Rodriguez, who like Lance Armstrong, Ryan Braun and many more before him appears set to deny accusations until all avenues are exhausted.

“I know what people are going to say,” Rodriguez told USA TODAY Sports in July. “They’re going to say, ‘This is a bad guy. This is an evil guy. He’s a prima donna. Look what he’s done.’

“Sometimes, you just want to say, ‘Uncle, already.'”

The boos and taunts were vicious at times during the game, with 3,200 tickets sold Monday to voice their opinion of Rodriguez, but he refused to listen, choosing instead to hear the cheers from the visiting Yankees’ fans.

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Arbitration in front of an impartial adjudicator is likely to bring about some of form of justice. Something, I believe may not be completely to everyone`s satisfaction . Rodriguez is unwilling to answer any questions concerning his possibly transgressing the league`s substance policy , as was clearly the case last night, when several questions were repeatedly posed by convened members of the press. Alex Rodriguez`s deflected responses , were , that this was not the time or place to be answering the questions concerning his use of an illicit substance . Once again , begging the question , if the player is still proclaiming his innocence , then why is he not willing to set the record straight by answering the questions posed ? Having already been caught in a lie, in his now infamous interview with former news` anchor Katie Couric on the CBS news` magazine program `Sixty Minutes`. I seriously doubt that Alex Rodriguez would once again subject himself to public ridicule by trying to plead his case by giving another bile inducing interview that simply served as to his continued dishonesty, lack of integrity , while seeking public empathy . Rodriguez says he has a great deal of respect for the game but is actions simply show that to be the complete opposite .

Personally , I believe that this Biogenesis` matter has been haphazardly handled by the league hierarchy and any belief that the US Justice Department headed by Barack Obama`s pet poodle , Eric Holder, that his agency would also being going after these players , having broken the law , now seems to be completely out of the question. Very much in the similar vein that Obama , himself , had promised that the agency would be going after many of the individuals who acted gregariously within the financial sector that caused an almost cataclysmic catastrophe within the financial sector , specifically the mortgage industry. To date, not one senior executive within that sector has been arraigned, indicted, or prosecuted on any major felony charge, coming out an investigation jointly by the Justice Department and FBI . In addition, here again , I do not expect the Justice Department to follow suit in going after an MLB player. Incompetency within Major League Baseball seems to be no different that we have now become accustomed to seeing within the Federal Government and most certainly by various agencies within the current administration of this sitting US President .

Rodriguez and his attorneys will seek place the emphasis on baseball going outside its parameters , while also seeking to state that they are not acting in accordance with the current collective bargaining agreement reached between the union (MLBPA) and MLB. A weak premise I believe , but certainly if used to their advantage, it could very well make Bud Selig and the hierarchy , come off looking like a bunch of buffoons . I certainly do believe that Alex Rodriguez would have been willing to accept a suspension similar in length to the one that sent Ryan Braun away for sixty-five games . Yet , herein lies the caveat and premise behind the league`s wish . They (MLB) failed to act back in 2010 , when the player first admitted his use of a banned substance . Furthermore, less than six months after his well-publicized admission, Alex Rodriguez`s name would then again be associated with steroids and the now jailed Orlando medical professional, Dr Anthony Galea . At that time, Rodriguez along with Tiger Woods and several other athletes, prominent within the NFL , NBA and baseball were mentioned in documents , in the possession of the US Justice Department, as having been treated by the aforementioned doctor . Woods willingly cooperated with law enforcement at the time , answering their questions without any fear of prosecution .

For Rodriguez , his stance remained that his name and association with Galea , was strictly professional and was nothing more than as a patient of the doctor. I rather at this juncture believe pigs are able to fly and that Paris Hilton does indeed have the intelligence to become a member of MENSA , than having to believe anything uttered out of the mouth of Alex Rodriguez, as it relates to his career and now dubious achievements !

Baseball`s season has been devalued any belief that the actions now being taken, will now bring back some sense of normalcy to the game , has to be viewed as being completely asinine.

On the field of play the New York Yankees have been woefully inept for much of the season . Injuries may well have played a part , but no more so than for other teams around the league . In the case of the Yankees however , their fans as always, believe that the team should be given pass , because of who they are and the very fact that as usual , the use of their vast resources , means that they are always in contention . Alex Rodriguez may well be back and now playing in the Minors , but if Alfonso Soriano can find a way to at least be productive . I certainly do believe that Joe Girardi at the insistence of GM Brian Cashman will have the team`s highest paid player remained benched, quite possibly for rest of the Yankees` regular season schedule . The testy relationship between the front office executive and the All Star player has been nowhere near as cordial as one believe Alex Rodriguez is trying to suggest . Yet , were it not for the stupidity shown by Cashman and the Steinbrenner family . At the insistence of Lonn A Trost , Chief Legal Counsel to the Yankees` franchise . This matter concerning Alex Rodriguez`s career with this ball-club could have been resolved long ago . When it first came to light of the player`s association with Biogenesis , Trost stated, that the organization, had it seen it to do so , they were in a position to void Rodriguez`s contract . The opposing view was taken by Brian Cashman and senior managing partner Hal Steinbrenner , with the player remaining a part of the playing staff , for now .

Having the best record in baseball does not necessarily mean that you are indeed the best team in the game . Alas , there are those who would suggest , because the Pittsburgh Pirates do appear to have that honor . Then they are to be lauded for that very fact and their play during that period and the resilience shown. Granted , the team has been fairly consistent for much of the season , seated atop or near the top of the NL Central , while facing a stiff challenge from the St Louis Cardinals . Yet to my mind, as of late , the best team has to be the Atlanta Braves , Boston Red Sox , closely followed by the always surprising Tampa Bay Rays .

The Pirates for their part will be looking to keep that momentum going and they are scheduled to face the Miami Marlins at PNC Park , in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , on Tuesday afternoon . A beleaguered Marlins` team that simply has nothing left to play for , but their pride and self-respect .

Atlanta as of late , has been on an extremely hot streak , having won their last ten consecutive games , the hottest current streak in either the AL or NL . The team`s play has been proven to be good enough to open up a 12 1/2 game lead in the NL East , the largest such divisional lead in the Majors at present . One can place that on being, the division has been extremely weak and the very fact that neither , the Philadelphia Phillies or Washington Nationals have really sought to challenge the Atlanta Braves over the course of this season .

The Braves will be the guests of the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark , in Washington , DC, on Monday afternoon . On the mound for Braves will be Mike Minor against the Nationals` ace Stephen Strasburg . This pitching match-up should prove to be one of the better games on the day`s schedule , between two of the National League`s best young pitchers .

I do not believe we will be able to see a concerted and sustainable effort from Clint Hurdle`s Pirates over the remainder of the season . If history tells us anything about this ball-club over the past decade and a half , it is that they easily disappoint , having always teased their fans into believing that they are able to make a concerted effort to make the post-season . Something that has not been achieved by the Pittsburgh Pirates in almost two decades and counting. Should the Pirates make it to their first post-season berth since 1992, it would eradicate one of the longest such streaks in baseball . Certainly, a wish that all of the ball-club`s fans would no doubt like to see come to fruition. The onus will now be placed squarely on the shoulders of Andrew McCutchen , Pedro Alvarez, Gerritt Cole , Russell Martin , Starling Marte , Francisco Liriano and Jason Grilli to pull this team through.

There is little to choose between the three worst teams in baseball, other than to say ` better luck next year ` . The Houston Astros (36-74) , Chicago White Sox (40-69) and the Miami Marlins (43-67) a , were all teams playing at a substandard level , which is clearly reflected in their records as of the 5th of August . For team owners , Jerry Reinsdorf , Jeffrey Loria and Jim Crane , this now becomes a matter of making decisions that could sweeping changes amongst team personnel and the managerial staffs , should tings now remain as they are at season`s end. For Bo Porter, Robin Ventura and Mike Redmond , this might a season that all three managers would simply rather forget . All three owners are self-made millionaires, each wealthy in their own right . Yet, along the way, they have made some major mistakes. I believe the biggest mistake of all , was actually made by Crane , himself, in bowing to the wishes of Bud Selig, by agreeing to change divisions for the Houston Astros ,

In moving from the NL Central to the AL West , simply placed the franchise a in far worst position than I believed anyone within the organization could have envisioned . However , the deal brokered by Selig in allowing Crane to purchase the franchise at a whopping $775 million price tag , when the league hierarchy , then added in a further $165 million to the franchise , to cover the cost of the relocation and to aid the ball-club for the next four years. These are the sort of deals that simply shows how out of touch with reality the game just happens to be , as it relates to its own financial prosperity . Frugality within some circles of the game, still remains taboo , while for some teams , the mere chance of being a recipient of almost $200 million would be like a gift from the Gods . Not that the luxury tax recipients do not see their good tidings as such, because without it, at least fifty percent of the teams would face a harsh and stark financial reality . The big market teams continue to prosper from a financial standpoint , while their much smaller counterparts are left to almost fight amongst themselves for the scraps left at the table .

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Picture and sideshow gallery details below .
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(1) An inured US soldier is given medical assistance by emergency personnel after an IED explodes causing the combatant to lose his lower leg . Hundreds of US military personnel have lost limbs or have been paralyzed or lost their lives to these improvised explosive devices during the length of both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq . Survivors having returned are usually treated at US governmental facilities , but far too often they become forgotten and tend to slip through the cracks of what has now , become an all too archaic and bureaucratic system > known > as the Veterans Administration (VA) . Yet that is in spite of a multi-billion dollar budget and what now appears to be an incompetent and uncaring governmental agency. Unfortunately , legislators within Congress far too often only pay these men and women lip service during an election cycle . AP/REUTERS/ Christian Patterson …

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Corpsman carry a wounded Marine to a Chinook 46, April 7, 2004, as the number of U.S. Marines killed in a five-hour house firefight in Ramadi on Tuesday . Such conflicts between coalition forces and the enemy does bring a a high toll on both sides of a battle and during war . David Swanson/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT

(3) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, right, talks during a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz , Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. AP Photo/Charles Cherney …

(4) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez gets a hit in his first at bat against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug., 5, 2013. AP Photo/Charles Cherney …

(5) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, bottom center, signs autographs at U.S. Cellular Field before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Chicago. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. AP Photo/Paul Beaty …

(6) From left to right are New Yankees’ team President Randy Levine , GM Brian Cashman , team manager Joe Girardi and Chief Legal Counsel Lonn A Trost. The four were gathered at the team’s stadium after the formal signing of reliever Rafael Soriano . Trost earlier in the season advised his fellow executives that the ball-club would be within their right to rescind the contract of Alex Rodriguez . However, Brian Cashman in conjunction with Hank and Hal Steinbrenner took an opposing view , with the player being retained by the franchise . AP Photo / Mike Gardner …

(7) Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) waves to fans after getting a 5-1 complete game win over the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game in Pittsburgh Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …

(8) Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton (8) rounds the bases for a solo home run as Washington Nationals relief pitcher Tyler Clippard, second from right, walks around the mound during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Washington. The Braves won 3-2. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …

(9) Houston Astros` owner Jim Crane , left is seen here with the team`s general manager Jeff Luhnow . The Astros are on pace to finish with the worst record in baseball for the second consecutive season , but could avoid that fate if they are able to surpass both the Chicago White and Miami Marlins . Getty Images North America / Johnathan Prescott …
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And then , there was one ………

And then there was one

By Tophatal

At a time when the world of sports is embroiled in the idiocy of steroids and the protocols for testing and specifically that of HGH , steroids and all manner of PED’s . Once again, baseball (MLB) finds itself in a mess, one of its own making. Three major stars of the game find their names linked to a story printed in a local Florida newspaper , Miami New Times, which has now gone national. The story in question, is that of the paper’s reporting that Alex Rodriguez , Nelson Cruz and Ryan Braun are all embroiled in the latest allegations of the three players being linked to a Coral Gables’ based medical concern , which produces synthetic supplements, such as steroids known to be banned by the four major professional team sports in North America . Biogenesis , a company, founded by Anthony Bosch , is at the center of this latest controversy that remains a constant within the game , and for which baseball’s hierarchy led by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig seems to have no answer for .

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The triumvirate of players have all denied their culpability and involvement , but herein lies the issue , both Braun and Rodriguez have been embroiled in their own episodes and the use of steroids . Alex Rodriguez’s own admittance of his use of anabolic steroids between 2001 and 2004 , when he was a player with the Texas Rangers before being traded to the New York Yankees , makes his recent denials , all the more improbable. And with Rodriguez’s performances for the franchise during that time can be best described as being erratic and lackluster . And 2012 most definitely has been a reminder of that , albeit , that the player can now claim that he has been part of a championship winning team in 2009. In the subsequent years, since that triumph, the postseason for the New York Yankees has been something of a complete anathema .

Courtesy of Miami New Times

A Miami Clinic Supplies Drugs to Sports’ Biggest Names ….

See also : The A-Rod files , Every mention of the Yankees’ slugger in Tony Bosch’s records

By Tim Elfrink , Miami New Times

Open the neat spreadsheet and scroll past the listing of local developers, prominent attorneys, and personal trainers. You’ll find a lengthy list of nicknames: Mostro, Al Capone, El Cacique, Samurai, Yukon, Mohammad, Felix Cat, and D.R.

Then check out the main column, where their real names flash like an all-star roster of professional athletes with Miami ties: San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland A’s hurler Bartolo Colón, pro tennis player Wayne Odesnik, budding Cuban superstar boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz. There’s even the New York Yankees’ $275 million man himself, Alex Rodriguez, who has sworn he stopped juicing a decade ago.

See also: “The A Rod Files: Every Mention of the Yankees Slugger in Tony Bosch’s Records”

“The Melky Files: All the Mentions of Melky Cabrera in Tony Bosch’s Records”

“The Tony Bosch Files: Nelson Cruz, Yasmani Grandal, Wayne Odesnik, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Yasmani Grandal, Jimmy Goins and Yuri Sucart’s Records”

Read further and you’ll find more than a dozen other baseball pros, from former University of Miami ace Cesar Carrillo to Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal to Washington Nationals star Gio Gonzalez. Notable coaches are there too, including UM baseball conditioning guru Jimmy Goins.

The names are all included in an extraordinary batch of records from Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic tucked into a two-story office building just a hard-line drive’s distance from the UM campus. They were given to New Times by an employee who worked at Biogenesis before it closed last month and its owner abruptly disappeared. The records are clear in describing the firm’s real business: selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids.

Interviews with six customers and two former employees corroborate the tale told by the patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by the clinic’s chief, 49-year-old Anthony Bosch.

Bosch’s history with steroids also adds credence to the paperwork. The son of a prominent Coral Gables physician named Pedro Publio Bosch , he was connected with banned substances when slugger Manny Ramirez was suspended for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy in 2009. At the time, MLB confirmed the Drug Enforcement Administration was probing the father and son for allegedly providing Ramirez with HCG, a compound often used at the tail end of steroid cycles.

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For Ryan Braun , with his legal counsel, now making a statement to indicate their client was simply a consultant for Biogenesis , with a view to endorsing a number of their supplemental products. Far be it for me to suggest , but Braun now suggesting that his involvement the company came purely from a commercial enterprise and as an endorser , does on the face of it seem asinine , but this might be simply be beyond belief . Now comes the hard part , can Ryan Braun’s career be taken at face value , and be seen as above reproach ? A former NL MVP , in 2011 , And while that season , Braun was very productive , 2012 was said to be far more productive for the t player .

Alex Rodriguez will be missing from the Yankees’ lineup for the greater part of the 2013 season , further making their offense not impervious to several weaknesses , as exhibited during the regular and postseason .

The New York Yankees this upcoming season will be hard pressed I believe, to deal with a number of their fellow inhabitants of the AL East . And much that is predicated upon the results of 2012 and their postseason results , which to my mind will be a strong reflection as to the mental makeup of this team for their 2013 schedule . Also when you add in the fact that the team’s short-stop , and on the field inspirational leader , Derek Jeter , will be returning after recuperation , from having suffered a broken right ankle, he during the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers of 2012 . One , could well understand why , this team will be placed under a great deal of pressure to succeed . With an aging core of players , Joe Girardi and his coaching staff , I believe , will not be too sure , as to what his best lineup will be ! Unsure of who is starting catcher will be , he also has to deal with the fact that beyond CC Sabathia , his pitching staff is extraordinarily thin , and one should also bear in mind that closer , Mariano River , as good as we have known him to be , his psyche may well still be up in the air, after last season’s horrendous injury that curtailed his season .

Rivera one of the Yankees’ mainstays during their success in the latter half of the nineties , has proven himself to be one of the truly great pitchers in the franchise’s history. This could very well be, Rivera’s last season in the famed Yankee’s pinstripes, and I am sure that baseball’s all-time saves’ King , simply would like nothing better than to ride out in a “ blaze of glory” , having won a sixth World Series title with the only franchise he has ever played for . Whether or not he and his teammates can recapture the form , that made them such a dominant force within the game , from 1995 through to the early 2000’s, remains to be seen. . I would like to think that throughout much of this season , the Yankees could possibly regain that form of old . Yet , when one bears in mind the collective age and experience of Jeter , Rivera , Hiroki Kuroda , Andy Pettite , Ichiro Suzuki Alex Rodriguez and Travis Hafner . You can’t help but get the feeling , that that this team is now in the last remnants of being truly competitive , while chasing after what appear to be an elusive title that to my mind will be beyond their grasp !

In light of the allegations arising out of the Miami Times’ article, as it relates to Nelson Cruz. No formal statement has been forthcoming from team President Nolan Ryan , GM Jon Daniels or from Ron Washington , who leads the Texas Rangers’ coaching staff. And with Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy not prepared to take tentative measures of their own to conduct any form of an investigation. It does lead me to believe, that the commissioner , is not prepared to issue a public statement, even with their being a preponderance of evidence to suggest that there is some veracity to the claims being laid out in the article .

There is a great deal of backpedaling on the part of the league hierarchy , more of than not, as to how they set about making a case that they are cleaning up the sport , when the questions are raised ____ ” as to why it is, we have seen a preponderance of players being ensnared over the last two seasons “ than were caught when the findings of the “ Mitchell Report” was leaked to the public , a number of seasons ago. Subsequently , it has been one ” mea-culpa ” after another, with the game and the league hierarchy made to look like complete imbeciles ! Personally , I find it all the more appealing when the game of baseball is brought further on its knees in subjugation , because it has never really truly sought to define itself, much less make any type of effort to clean up its act ! .

The social experiment that came about with Jackie Robinson becoming the first person of color , to be a participant as a player in Major League Baseball , while commendable . History , and baseball historians , tend to gloss over the fact that Robinson was often the subject of some vile racial epithets , not just from opposing players , managers and fans , but also in certain areas of the print media , under the pretense that his abilities were over exaggerated and that his color would be an impediment to his becoming a success in the game . Over time , the game would come to know Jackie Robinson as being extremely talented , a man of principle who served the game well as a great ambassador . And even though with his enshrinement into Baseball’s Hall of Fame , and with their being a day annually which commemorates his introduction as a player , it was still not enough to hide the fact that on the night (11th April, 1974) of Hank Aaron surpassing what was then Babe Ruth’s career and baseball’s home run record of 715 home runs . Aaron was made to feel “ like a man without a country “, as he was vilified and subjected to death threats for achieving such a feat by a number of ignorant buffoons ! Granted , in the immediate moments in which he had surpassed that mark , some fans who ran unto the diamond in Atlanta Stadium , Atlanta Georgia , swathed Hank Aaron in adulation , yet in various circles this feat was viewed as something of an atrocity , with the breaking of a sacrosanct , record which was held by a known bigot at the time .

For the first time in almost a decade, the New York Yankees , will not be the team entering the season with baseball’s highest payroll . That honor , if you view it as such , will belong to the free-wheeling and high spending Los Angeles Dodgers . They will have more than doubled the team’s payroll of last season which stood at , just over $95 million . On Opening Day , 31st March , 2013 , the Los Angeles Dodgers’ payroll will be a new MLB record of $213.245 million , far outstripping their closest rivals , the New York Yankees , by a clear $3 million . As to what this now says about the financial state and the overall economic health of baseball , I will let you be the judge of that ! Suffice to say , that the minnows at the bottom end of the food chain , will be left to fight for the scraps that will undoubtedly be left at the table . And to realize how great the disparity will be , the Oakland A’s will have the league’s smallest payroll at $60 million on Opening Day .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Dodgers’ $6B-$7B TV deal will widen chasm between MLB’s rich and poor

By Jeff Passan , Yahoo Sports

Everyone knew the number would be big. Major League Baseball hates involving the legal system, and it went to court for the number. A team sold for more than $2 billion because of the number. A management group went on a drunken-sailor payroll escapade anticipating the number.

Now we know the number. Big doesn’t begin to describe it.

Dangerous does.

The Dodgers’ ownership group will have even more reason to smile with their new TV deal. (AP)Over the next 25 years, Fox is going to pay the Los Angeles Dodgers somewhere between $6 billion and $7 billion to televise its regular-season games, barring a last-minute snafu in negotiations, according to Deadline.com. That’s twice the previous record for local TV rights. That’s at least a quarter-billion dollars a year for the Dodgers and Dodgers alone. That’s maxing out at $1.73 million a game for each of the 4,050 scheduled. That’s the final tummy tuck on a body’s worth of cosmetic surgery that could happen only in Los Angeles.

Most of all, that’s the siren that baseball’s new era has arrived, one in which the sport’s best revenue-sharing intentions cannot save it from the self-cannibalizing greed that drives these TV mega-contracts – and drives a wedge between the haves and have-nots harder to extract than sword from stone.

[Also: Royals willing to part with top prospect to land starting pitcher]

When the deal closes, the Dodgers will make more money from local TV alone than 26 franchises take in from all of their revenue streams. Only the Yankees, Red Sox and Cubs do better, according to Forbes’ annual franchise valuations, though they’ll soon be joined by the Angels, Rangers and Phillies. The first two have their own $3 billion TV deals; the Phillies are set to cash in on their own that will keep them in the sport’s top stratum.

This goes well beyond the surface concerns about such deals. The justifiable anger toward regional sports networks (RSNs) and leagues for forcing the average consumer to subsidize their absurdity. The way such deals force MLB, to keep its asinine local blackouts in place. (If MLB offers a-la-carte games or allows local broadcasts on the Extra Innings package, the incentive to pay stupid prices for cable channels would wane, and the size of these contracts would atrophy.) And even the possibility of that – of a revolution against cable and satellite, and of these RSNs’ bubble bursting, the prices too big and the consumers no longer willing to support them.

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For the first time in baseball history, team payrolls for Major League Baseball (MLB) , as a cumulative sum , the figure will top $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) for all thirty teams within the league . Financial disparities, or not, the game of baseball has now hit a plateau of unprecedented heights. As to how long his perennial madness will be allowed to go carry on , as teams continue to hemorrhage red ink remains to be seen , but is clear, that something has to be and must be done </b , sooner , rather than later ! If not , then we shall sure see the death knell in a team or several teams either being contracted or being forced to declare bankruptcy , and then ceasing to operate once and for all . Bud Selig can point to the fact that revenues have increased exponentially , but what he cannot point to , is that the game does operate on a level playing field for all , in terms of financial expediency . It should be noted, that teams who have barely eked out a profit , specifically those designated as small market teams, have done so at the largesse of the league hierarchy and that of its asinine tax sharing scheme rather than anything being achieved by way of the “alleged financial acumen” being shown by the general managers , CFO’s (Chief Financial Officers) , and team owners . Personally, I am now sick and tired of hearing idiotic fans point to the likes of , Bob Nutting , David Glass and Stuart Sternberg doing all that they can , to make their teams a real success , when it reality, all that owners like that have done , is to simply look for a handout , while trying to coerce city and state governments to allow them even greater tax breaks, in order that they can operate . Never mind the fact , that due to the complacency and idiocy of the politicians at those specific levels , through their damn naïveté` , they are then left carrying the bag , when their fiscal policies show a budgetary shortfall , and the lame ass fans out there , continue to bitch and whine about their taxes and lack of infrastructure resources within their midst . You simply deserve what you get , in such instances !

It will be interesting to witness how Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly and his staff , manage not only a talented team , but also one that is filled with laden prima donnas and miscreants . Don’t be fooled by the fact that because of the team’s new ownership group led by Magic Johnson , Mark Walter and Todd S Boehly , that everything will be smooth sailing , because over the course of this upcoming season , there is bound to be moments of discontent and blame being apportioned all over this organization. Big things are expected of this ball club once Opening Day comes around . With a $213 million payroll , would you expect any-less ?

The Dodgers’ Opening Day Schedule will see them , begin a three-game home series at Dodgers Ballpark , in Los Angeles , against reigning World Series champions , the San Francisco Giants on the 1st April , 2013, and it should provide the fans of both teams a chance to gauge the possible strengths and weaknesses of both of these ball clubs in the season’s infancy.

Inasmuch , as I love the game of baseball , my biggest concerns are , how will the game continue to address the issue of steroid abuse ? And also , with the league hierarchy, now fully behind the mandatory testing for HGH (human growth hormones) , how will they deal with very first instance of a player , having tested positive ? In reality, as harsh as the penalties appear to be , as designated Bud Selig, they have not in any way proven to be enough of a deterrent, to force players from and to stop cheating , by way of using an illicit substance . Selig can continue speak with a great deal of charm and rhetoric , but at $25 million , as he is being compensated annually. He has simply been a poor executive , whose idea of being innovative , has simply been to throw fecal matter up against a wall , and then go with what sticks , as an idea of innovation ! Should we expect any better from someone who has now held that position for almost two decades ?

What to make of the Chicago Cubs , as they seek to escape another year of infamy and sheer ineptitude ? One year in , and GM Theo Epstein , is still trying make sense of what he has, by way a team roster . Spring Training , with the none roster invitees , acquired free agent veterans and what is said to be a young team at its core with one or two overly priced players should give the front office executive , manager Dale Sveum and the coaching staff , a chance to gauge how good this ball club can be .

A fourth place finish last season in the NL Central with a record 61-101 , where they managed to beat out the Houston Astros (55-107) in not finishing last within the division , is clearly enough of an indicator to let you know how bad the Cubs continue to be . This is a team that is devoid of leadership on the field , and wherein the manager , Dale Sveum , seems to be either consulting a book entitled “ Managing Baseball Teams for Dummies “ revised edition . Or the manager is simply letting his players hold sway, in making decisions as to the team’s play. And with the Astros now making the move to the AL West, are we going to be in with a chance of seeing the Chicago Cubs this season , finish once again on the bottom rung of the NL Central ladder ? These are some of the more interesting stories that we could very well see unfold for the franchise over the course of the season .

One of the more interesting stories now coming out of Wrigley Field in Chicago , is that of owner , Tom Ricketts seeking increase the club’s television revenues . After six decades of their association with broadcast partners WGN , which is in part owned by the Cubs , with the majority stake held by cable giant Comcast. It would now seem that Ricketts will either seek to divest himself of the franchise’s minority stake in WGN , while seeking out new broadcast partners within the local market or quite possibly looking for a commercial tie-in with one of the nation’s larger television broadcast concerns . Given the hefty price that will be sought , I seriously doubt that a local affiliate will tie themselves in with the Cubs , in spite of their vast local following and the fact that the franchise resides in one of nation’s larger advertising markets. If a tentative deal cannot be worked out between the Chicago Cubs and WGN’s parent company , then quite possibly for the first time in sixty years , fans of the Cubs will not be able to view or listen to the teams games within the local market .

With money now being the determining factor, that can sustain the ambitions of a professional sports’ franchise , the Chicago Cubs because of their large following are but one of the few teams within baseball that can still turn a handsome profit ($28.1 million) , even within the midst of a severe economic downturn , without ever having to seek an assist from baseball’s hierarchy. It serves the franchise well, but definitely not well enough , if the franchise seeks to compete on an equal footing competitively and economically with the likes of the Philadelphia Phillies , Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers within the NL , much less the rest of baseball.

The months of April , May and June should give us an indication as to how the Chicago Cubs may well fare. By comparison, in 2012 , entering the first week of July , the team was playing sub. 500 baseball posting a mark of 32-52 (.381) , With a projected payroll of $102 million for this season , GM Theo Epstein may well seek to forgo the team’s financial expediency and acquire a number of free agents , if the team is in a divisional or a wildcard contention during the latter part of the season, will . seek to make some bold moves . If not then , the front office will seek to jettison players superfluous to their needs , while taking a look at their top prospects within their farm system .

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With players now reporting for Spring Training , and with Opening Day beckoning , in the first week of April, what do you hope to see from the teams this season within baseball ? And also do you believe that the hierarchy still remains in the best position possible, to handle any likely incident that may well occur, as it relates to a player testing positive , for a banned substance ? Chime on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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(1) New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter , right, and Eduardo Nunez laugh during batting practice at a workout at baseball spring training, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, in Tampa. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(2) New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi , left, and general manager Brian Cashman talk during a workout at baseball spring training, Monday, Feb. 18, 2013, in Tampa. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(3) FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out during the second inning of Game 2 of baseball’s American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers in New York. When the Yankees re-signed Rodriguez in December 2007 , they expected him to set home run records. Now some in the team’s management hope he never plays again, so much of the $114 million he’s still due can be covered by insurance. Not only is he injured, he’s at the center of performance-enhancing drug use allegations. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …..

(4) Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun waits to hit during baseball spring training Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, in Phoenix. The player’s name has been linked to documents suggesting that he may well have been a recipient of PED’s from the Coral Gables’ based medical concern Biogenesis , a company founded by Anthony “Tony” Bosch. Braun’s legal counsel and agent , Nez Balelo , has stated that Ryan Braun was merely paid up endorser of a number of supplements produced and marketed by Biogenesis and in no way was his client a recipient or known conduit for the production or distribution for any illicit substances banned by MLB and its hierarchy . AP Photo/Morry Gash …

(5) Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz , right, talks to pitcher Neftali Feliz (30) during a spring training baseball workout on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, in Surprise, Ariz. Cruz’s name has been linked with Coral Gables’ based medical company Biogenesis , producers of nutritional supplements and anabolic steroids . The player has denied any wrongdoing on his part . There has been no formal announcement from within the Rangers’ organization . However , it is being widely reported that GM Jon Daniels will be consulting with manager Ron Washington and team President Nolan Ryan , should there be anything that implicates the player in this latest controversy to hit Major League Baseball. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(6) Hall of Fame inductee Jackie Robinson is seen pictured here as a Brooklyn Dodger . On the 15th April , 1947 , Robinson became the first person of color , to play for a professional baseball team in Major League Baseball , and as a part of the then changing times within the social landscape of the country this solemn moment was seen as a “catalyst” for change . Albeit , that it was not universally looked upon in all areas of the social fabric of society. Each year , the date , 15th April ,1947 , is commemorated by MLB and has come to be known as ” Jackie Robinson Day” . The player’s number , #42, has been ” officially retired ” by the league hierarchy . And this year will mark the sixty-eighth anniversary of this now , historical landmark event within North American sports . AP /REUTTERS …. archives …

(7) Hank Aaron seen here as a Milwaukee Brave . Known as Hammerin’ Hank , over the course of his esteemed carer the Hall of Fame inductee , surpassed what was then the all time home runs’ career mark of 715 home runs held by Babe Ruth . Aaron would end his career with 755 home runs , 2997 rbi’s , career batting average of .305 , OBP .374, SLG .555 and an OPS of .929. . That figure would subsequently would be passed on 5th September , 2007 by Barry Bonds and the career home runs’ mark now stands at 762 home runs which is also acknowledged by statisticians the Elias Bureau , long seen as bastion of legitimacy for the game’s most hallowed feats . As to what this would now suggest about the bureau and the fact that the league hierarchy also recognizes this mark , does lead one to be believe that Elias, much like Bud Selig’s office, simply refuses to acknowledge that some of the game’s most hallowed marks are ” tainted” . And with Bonds’ career feats now coming into question, it would suggest that only not even the noblest of intentions cannot now refute , what fans clearly see as the game’s ridicule . MLB.com archives @ copyrighted material all rights reserved …

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager , Don Mattingly , left, is seen here with managing partner and co-owner , Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson . This season the Dodgers will have the highest Opening Day payroll in MLB history , with a figure of $213.455 million topping their closest rivals the New York Yankees by over $3 million . Cumulative salaries for the league’s 30 teams will exceed $3 billion for the very first time . Johnson has stated , that his mantra will be to …. “win at all costs , with money being of no object ” ! The regular season schedule for the Dodgers opens up with a three-day series against the San Francisco Giants , the reigning World Series champions . AP Photo / Tom Sharpe …

(9) Chicago Cubs’ general manager Theo Epstein , left is seen here with the team’s senior managing partner and owner , Tom Ricketts . The franchise now finds itself in an unenviable position, of having to renegotiate a television rights’ deal with WGN broadcast outlet , which has carried the team’s television broadcasts for six decades . As a minority owner in the outlet , Ricketts now has to deal with WGN’s parent company Comcast , who also just happen to be owners of national television broadcast and media conglomerate NBC Universal Media Inc . Getty Images North America / Philip Moore ….

(10) Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum, right, bumps fists with Matt Garza during a spring training baseball workout, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, in Mesa, Ariz. The Cubs will have a tough time this upcoming season , in trying to not be the “bottom feeder ” and cellar dweller within the NL Central , having just finished above the hapless Houston Astros (55-107) last season . AP Photo/Morry Gash ….

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If at all interested do take time to participate in the above poll .

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MLB news and MLB press releases

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MLB Spring Training Schedule begins 1st March , 2013

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MLB team values NB: * At the times of these figures it should be noted the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.156 billion ($2,156,000,000) had not been yet finalized . Team values in ascending order

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Don’t look now but there’s trouble in paradise ….

Don’t look now but there’s trouble in paradise

By Tophatal

It’s not yet time to strip down the inner workings of the New York Yankees, but with the current furor now encircling this storied franchise and the fact that they are now on the cusp of being unceremoniously dumped out of the ALCS for this season. The one question, we may well choose to ask, is how could this all have happened so rapidly? Losing Mariano Rivera in the middle of their season obviously was a serious enough blow that the team never truly recovered from , and that is even with the installation of Rafael Soriano to take over the closer’s role for the franchise. And as great as Soriano has been , Rivera’s departure has dealt the New York Yankees a great blow.

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If the questions that abound concerning the Yankees, that have permeated throughout their season beyond the inconsistency of the team’s pitching woes . Then, it would have to include the poor performances of Alex Rodriguez throughout this season. That notwithstanding, having to fight all the way down the very last day of the regular season to barely hold on to the AL East, the ball-club found themselves in the postseason. The team dealt with the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS , having won the series 3-2. As I alluded to earlier, the New York Yankees now find themselves on the cusp of bowing out of the ALCS , as the Detroit Tigers have simply made a mockery of Joe Girardi’s players. One could point to the fact that with the loss of Derek Jeter in game one of the series against the Tigers against the Orioles , the team would face an uphill battle for the rest of the series. To compound it all, his loss for the entire postseason, has in essence, ripped the “heart and soul” out of this team. Where Jeter would lead by example , his teammates more often than not, would follow. Now there is simply no one on this roster that is prepared to assume the mantle of being the vocal leader amongst his peers. Alex Rodriguez, perhaps the team’s most naturally gifted player doesn’t wish to assume the role , nor can he be considered a team player , much less a good teammate . Yet somehow, in spite of his accomplishments , and the fact he remains not only the Yankees’ highest paid player. Rodriguez’s ten-year $275 million contract , has now become a boondoggle for the New York Yankees, from which they can never truly escape.

Game three of the ALCS, saw both Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher being demoted from the lineup in a pivotal series’ game. With both demoted players on the sidelines , the decision to include Brett Gardner and Eric Chavez , was meant to be a boost for the franchise. Unfortunately, someone forgot to mention that in the script to the opposing Tigers’ players , as the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander , seemingly pitched his team to victory . Now down 3-0 to the Detroit Tigers , can we all now admit, that this Yankees’ team simply hasn’t lived up to the perceived expectations ?

The fourth game in this best-of-seven series is unlikely to see the return of Alex Rodriguez or Nick Swisher to the Yankees’ starting lineup. Joe Girardi, simply hasn’t got that many options for a team that has simply been woefully inept in this series from a pitching and offensive standpoint. And simply looking at the team’s postseason stats in the ALCS and one could see why Joe Girardi has been perturbed by his players’ display, in terms of their hitting and pitching. Beyond C C Sabathia, during this postseason, there has been little that one could possibly describe as being positive about the Yankees’ pitching. As to the team’s offense, well, let’s just say now comes and can described as being anemic at best, mediocre at its very worst. Matt Scherzer of the Tigers will be looking to seal New York’s fate when he takes the mound against C C Sabathia, tonight at Comerica Park , in Detroit , Michigan.

In light of what is likely to be the demise of the New York Yankees during the postseason, the rumors have started that the front office will seek to offload Alex Rodriguez , by shopping the player to any interested party seeking acquire the player and assume the bulk of his remaining contract. The local Tampa Bay area CBS television affiliate WTSP Channel 10, through their sports’ anchor ,Dave Wirth, reported that GM Brian Cashman sought to gauge the interest of the Miami Marlins, and that the front office has spoken Marlins’ GM, Michael Hill. Both parties have categorically denied that there has been any maneuver made along those lines. It is believed that the Yankees’ organization are prepared to offer Alex Rodriguez in exchange for the Marlins’ relief pitcher Heath Bell. As to what this might suggest as to the possible desperate measures now being sought by Brian Cashman , speaks loudly to the fact that the team’s third baseman is now proving to be a disquieting cancer within the team’s locker room and having a deleterious effect upon the whole organization.

From my own perspective , I have always felt that Alex Rodriguez was a singular minded individual , who cared nothing for his teammates and whose sole emphasis when it came to the game of baseball was the financial gain and the acclaim ! Well he now has both , having been the only player in baseball history to sign two salary packages totaling in excess of $ 500 million (half-a-billion dollars) . Also bear in mind, he is now the active home runs’ leader in Major League Baseball (MLB) , as he focuses on, and looks to surpass Barry Bonds’ home runs’ career mark. Less we forget also, Rodriguez still has the scourge of his admitting to the use of steroids during his career , and for which some six months after his admitting that use , his named was linked to incarcerated Orlando medical professional, Dr. Anthony Galea, now serving time (5 years) for transporting illicit drugs across state and international borders, and then knowingly , prescribing and selling those very same products to the public as well as some very prominent professional athletes . Begs the question even light of his less than contrite apology 2010 , why did the New York Yankees still choose to support the player ? Greed , no less, as that can be the sole reason for their stance. A lesser player, would have been thrown to the wolves by the ball-club. Apathy and hypocrisy, knows no boundaries within the realm of sports , but more so within the game of baseball.

It would not be remiss to suggest that Alex Rodriguez has greatly under-achieved this season when adjudged against other third basemen within the AL as well as the rest of baseball . Undoubtedly, he is still a very skilled player , but one simply gets the impression , if he could get by, giving the least effort necessary , he certainly would. And that if anything, has been one of the main criticisms of Rodriguez as a player. Clearly, that has been the case since he joined the New York Yankees via a trade from the Texas Rangers in 2004 . Eight years later , the Yankees have profited greatly from a financial and competitive standpoint to have Alex Rodriguez within their midst , but at the same time , while with the organization he has proven to be an even greater distraction rather than that ever reliable asset sought in the mold of his teammate , Derek Jeter. Brian Cashman , and to a lesser extent the Yankees’ players have sought to present the organization as a singular unified union , all seeking the same goals. This season they have simply fallen short of those goals, and one has to wonder what if anything has set about the chain of events that has seen this team simply fall apart , when in other seasons , we would never have witnessed such discord within this franchise . What thoughts if any, do you have on the matter?

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Do you now believe that it would be in the New York Yankees’ best interests to trade Alex Rodriguez ? And if so, which team would be the best fit for the player? Also what has been the biggest failure of this baseball team over the course of this season? Do take time to leave a comment on this article and on anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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(1)New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez watches Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(2) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts with Andruw Jones before Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(3)Detroit Tigers’ Delmon Young hits an RBI single in the first inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the New York Yankees Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(4) DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 18: Nick Swisher (33) of the New York Yankees reacts after he struck out in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during game four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …

(5) Alex Rodriguez (2) (2L) of the New York Yankees talks with Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman (R) before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on July 2, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Nick Laham …

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Can A Case Be Made ?

Can A Case Be Made ?

by tophatal

Well with baseball’s mid-season highlight event the a 2012 All Star Game is almost upon us . Moreover, we can look back at the first half of the season with one or two surprises . To my mind those unheralded teams that have put themselves in a position to make a surprising run in the second half of the game’s 162 game schedule . It would have to be the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central , and the Washington Nationals within the NL East . The Pirates guided by Clint Hurdle and his coaching staff certainly has this team playing with a great deal of confidence .

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The Pittsburgh Pirates led by their All Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen . The player has simply been outstanding , as his team has been the surprise of the NL Central over more likely candidates the Cincinnati Reds and the reigning ….. World Series’ champions the St Louis Cardinals . At this point last season the Pirates sat in third place within the NL Central with a record of 45-42 . This season with some very solid play from Clint Hurdle’s players , are showing that through their experiences of last year . They are now very much in the right frame of mind , with a view to perhaps winning the division outright and gaining their first postseason berth since 1992. Two decades of incompetence and changes in ownership has seen this once proud franchise slip deep into an abyss of mediocrity. Team owner , Bob Nutting and GM Neal Huntington , have sought to nurture the talent within their farm system , while seeking to be judicious with regard to the team’s payroll . In addition , the Pirates and their home venue of PNC Ballpark in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania , remains amongst baseball’s poorly supported teams with an average attendance of 24,474 per game .

Andrew McCutchen will be joined by teammate Joel Hanrahan as the Pirates’ sole representatives in the All Star Game which will be played at Kauffman Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri, home to the Kansas City Royals . In stark contrast , the Texas Rangers leads all teams in the number of players chosen (eight) for the mid-season event , as Ron Washington has eight of his players on the AL roster .

If ever there was a time for the Washington Nationals and specifically GM Mike Rizzo to think ahead , rather than continuing to make asinine statements as to the role of his starting ace Stephen Strasburg . Then now would be it , as team seems on the brink of making a breakthrough competitively as a legitimate contender for the postseason. But much of that will be predicated on whether or Rizzo and the ownership group makes the case to reverse their decision on Stephen Strasburg not going over 160 innings pitched for the season . Currently , Strasburg (9-4, 2.82 ERA, 128K’s, 99.0 IP) leads the Nationals’ pitching staff in strikeouts but it has been Gio Gonzalez (11-3,3.01 ERA) who leads in terms of wins . The loss of Stephen Strasburg , were he to meet criteria being set by the general manager would be a disaster , albeit Rizzo sees this all as being in the best interests of the organization and their long-term investment in their pitching ace. If as projected , and Strasburg is pulled having pitched 160 inning then his final start of the season then by late July or early August will be the last time that the Nationals’ fans get to see the young “ phenom” pitch . I can only surmise that team manager Davey Johnson and principal managing partner Theodore “ Ted” Lerner are in complete agreement with the general manager’s decision but I do feel that this decision is a mistimed one ! Is there an ulterior motive and how else can this decision be full explained in light of team’s progress this season ? Granted , 2011 Strasburg was shutdown , having to undergo Tommy-John surgery on his right elbow . So perhaps , we can assume the organization is seeking to protect Stephen Strasburg , taken as the number one overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft . Strasburg’s agent Scott Boras may not be entirely happy with the situation but his client will remain “ the face of the franchise “ for the foreseeable future .

Alex Rodriguez , remains a polarizing figure in the game of baseball . Love him or hate him , there is no denying in spite of his achievements on the field of play. The player’s now infamous 2007 interview with Katie Couric will forever cast doubts as to Rodriguez’s honesty and integrity . Having lied to the reporter as to his use HGH and anabolic steroids , it would later be revealed he did in fact used prohibitive substances , as he looked to apportion blame elsewhere for his lack of honesty . A cause-celebre` , one has to ask how it is that this three-time AL MVP winner can be so despised in spite of his undoubted talents ? . Alex Rodriguez is the game’s highest paid player and unquestionably the highest salaried player on the New York Yankees’ roster . It can be justifiably argued that Rodriguez might not even be the best player on that prolific Yankees’ team ? That accolade if anything , belongs to Robinson Cano , and his exploits for the New York Yankees has shown how invaluable he has become to this team . Derek Jeter , long seen as the leader of the Yankees and currently their captain is now in the waning years of his distinguished career . With Rodriguez now enmeshed as part of the organization , it remains to be seen if will be used as one the primary selling points of this distinguished organization .

Drafted number one overall in the 1993 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners . Alex Rodriguez seven-year foray with the organization would indicate his precocious talent , shown in the minors and paraded as his career has progressed in the Majors . With Scott Boras as his agent , Rodriguez was able to parlay his talents , that would see him depart from the Mariners and sign with the Texas Rangers for what was then the highest salaried contract in professional sport’s history . Ten years $252 million and a great deal of heartache for an organization , whose co-owners at the time Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette possessed about as much business acumen and integrity as a corrupt third world dictator. In the three years that Rodriguez spent with the Rangers , the team would finish no never finished higher than fourth within the AL West (from 2001-03). Subsequent years of mediocrity and the very fact that the Rangers would be an unprofitable organization that would subsequently be placed into bankruptcy proceedings by the completely inept stewardship of Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette .

With the Rangers not being able to compete within the AL , the ownership group sought to trade Alex Rodriguez. The New York Yankees agreed in principle to take the play off the Texas Rangers’ hands , sending Alfonso Soriano in the opposite direction but it would lead to an unprecedented arrangement that would see the Rangers still . having to pay 55% of the remaining seven years of the Alex Rodriguez’s $252 million contract . How this arrangement could suborned by the MLB hierarchy simply sheds further light as to what is wrong within the game of baseball from an economic standpoint . MLB Commissioner Bud Selig gave this deal his blessing without so much as a “bye your leave” or any real scrutiny from anyone within the league hierarchy.

Rodriguez is the active home runs’ leader with 642 home runs to his name as well leading the runs batted in (1,930) . Alex Rodriguez’s sole ambition beyond having won his sole World Series ring (2009) , has to be surpassing Barry Bonds’ all-time home run tally of 762 . The player’s postseason heroism during 2009 has been of the few occurrences where Rodriguez has been at his very best during the playoffs. . Is it possible where we could see the third baseman perhaps lead the New York Yankees back to the World Series and propel them to another victory ? Well that is something that awaits us once the regular season resumes this upcoming Friday , as the team seeks to main their dominance of the AL East .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece do you believe that the right decision is being made by Mike Rizzo of the Nationals and his wish to shut down Stephen Strasburg once he has pitched 160 innings for the ball-club ? And as a fan of the game do how do you view the career of Alex Rodriguez as a player , given his missteps in terms of his avowed use of an illicit substance ? Can the case be made that Rodriquez is “still the best player in the game , albeit that he is the highest paid player in the game ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1) PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 2: Andrew McCutchen (22) of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after scoring on an RBI double by Garrett Jones (46) (not pictured) in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros during the game on July 2, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images …

(2) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen (22) hits a pitch for a double with the bases loaded against the Minnesota Twins, driving in three runs in the second inning of the baseball game on Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ….

(3) Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg sits in the dugout during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Friday, July 6, 2012, in Washington. The Rockies defeated the Nationals 5-1 . AP Photo/Evan Vucci …

(4) Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo is seen with Stephen Strasburg . The general manager insists that the pitcher will not pitch beyond 160 innings for the season even if the team is still in contention for the NL East divisional crown. There has been a great deal of speculation that the front office may well reverse their position based upon the team’s standing. AP Photo / Mitchell Martin ….

(5) BOSTON, MA – JULY 7: Mike Aviles (3) of the Boston Red Sox tags out Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees after he was caught off of first base during the third inning of game one of a doubleheader at Fenway Park on July 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images …

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Enabled And An Embarrassment ……………….

Enabled And An Embarrassment ……………….

I’m sorry but I’ve always felt that the MLB hierarchy along with the team owners and MLBPA have been the main culprits and protagonists behind the facade of the whole steroid debacle that still blights the game . The argument now still harkens to the fact that certain players due for future eligibility for the Hall of Fame will unquestionably debated over by the BBWAA . One such player will undoubtedly be New York Yankees’ slugger and third baseman Alex Rodriguez .

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The player currently on the team’s DL looking to recuperate before returning to the active roster and contributing down the stretch run of the Yankees’ season . Alex Rodriguez has always courted controversy both on and off the field of play. And it should come as no surprise that he might well be one of the most despised players in the game of baseball currently playing. There may well be some sort of animus towards Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens . There’s no denying that the aforementioned duo in spite of their legal problems are as hated any player could possibly be over the last two decades.

Barry Bonds awaits sentencing having been found guilty in his Federal trial of committing perjury and obstruction of justice . Clemens for his part having seen the judge declare a mistrial in his proceedings due to the stupidity of the prosecuting attorneys with the judge declaring a mistrial should be under no illusion that the Justice Department will be allowed a second bite at the apple. The player’s lead defense attorney Rusty Hardin may well feel his client is being wrongly prosecuted , victimized and vilified . But Roger Clemens has done little to suggest that he has if anything been totally honest throughout this whole episode . The allegations notwithstanding , his testimony to Congress and the members of the House Oversight Committee led many to believe that all the player sought to do was to absolve himself of any perception of guilt by painting others as lacking integrity or simply attacking their credibility. And while one can’t certainly question that assertion of Brian McNamee , the player’s former personal trainer what cannot be denied was the testimony given by Clemens’ former teammate Andy Pettite which if anything was very succinct and considerably more believable than the whole assertions made by the seven time Cy Young award winner. .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Alex Rodriguez to Be Asked About Poker Games

By Michael S Schmidt ,

Once again, officials for Major League Baseball want to meet with Alex Rodriguez . This time, though, it is not about performance-enhancing drugs. In the coming weeks, baseball officials plan to question Rodriguez about reports of his participation in illegal poker games.

The officials announced Wednesday that they would ask for the meeting after Star Magazine reported that Rodriguez “played in an underground, illegal poker game where cocaine was openly used, and even organized his own high-stakes game, which ended with thugs threatening players.”

Under the rules that govern baseball players, Rodriguez will have to truthfully answer baseball’s questions. If he acknowledges that he played in underground games or if officials uncover evidence that he did so, he could face a suspension.

The report Wednesday came a month after Major League Baseball opened its own investigation into Rodriguez’s ties to gambling. The investigation was prompted by a Star Magazine report in June that said Rodriguez had participated in a high-stakes illegal poker game with the actors Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

“We take this very seriously and have been investigating this matter since the initial allegation,” said Pat Courtney, a spokesman for Major League Baseball. “As part of the investigation, the commissioner’s office will interview Mr. Rodriguez.”

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Alex Rodriguez is now said to be embroiled another controversy of his own making and circles around the player having been warned by Bud Selig and several members of the league’s hierarchy over his involvement in high stakes poker games as well as possibly gambling on various sports’ events . It is not known whether or not beyond Alex Rodriguez any of his Yankees’ teammates are involved in this latest incident . Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman it has been noted has spoken directly with the player repeatedly on this issue but it all appears to have gone unheeded. There’s no doubt in my mind that the New York Yankees’ hierarchy under Hank and Hal Steinbrenner cannot be too pleased with this latest controversy surrounding the player. It’s one thing that Rodriguez is the highest paid player in the game but his demeanor and lack of contrite action in lieu of his now public apology after his admission of steroid use , has left many wondering if Alex Rodriguez really gives a damn . In reality the player will do whatever it takes to paint himself in a positive light when all is said to be against him.

If one remembers during his very public apology at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa , Florida two years ago for his admitted steroid use , he looked to apportion blame elsewhere by blaming in part his cousin , Yuri Sucart . Now in light of his latest faux pas it remains to be seen what punishment if any will be levied against the player either by the league or for that matter by the New York Yankees , themselves. Certainly, if nothing is done by Bud Selig then one would expect Brian Cashman or the duo of Steinbrenner brothers to act. If Alex Rodriguez believes he can simply flout many of the game’s most sacred rules then it says a great deal about the disrespect that he has for the games’ very tenets . And his situation certainly hasn’t been helped that he has been enabled , coddled and allowed to be treated as an enfant-terrible much to the disdain of many purists of the game. Some may well delight in this fact as they believe that a superstar ought to be treated differently from his teammates ________ but baseball is not about any one individual it is in essence a team sport. While while Rodriguez’s career stats speaks for itself and the very hallowed marks that he hopes to surpass I can’t help but wonder what else the player will now do to further sully his reputation and that of the game !

Alex Rodriguez’s name has repeatedly come up in the Justice Departement’s investigation and subsequent indictment of Orlando medical professional Dr Anthony Galea but somehow the player has yet to be questioned by the governmental agency or anyone from the league hierarchy on the matter. Galea had been indicted on grand larceny , the sale and illegal transportation of PED’s across state lines , international borders , also of anabolic steroids and other prohibitive substances. The doctor also had amongst his clients at his Orlando medical facility a number of prominent sports’ stars amongst of which Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods were said to be clients of his . The golfer hasn’t confirmed that he has been approached by the Justice Department but issued a statement through his agent Mark Steinberg that he would willingly cooperate with any ongoing investigation by the department. Rodriguesz for his part has simply refused to answer any direct questions concerning his name being associated with Galea, instead seeing it as a none issue given his prior act of contrition in terms of the apology offered . But such has been the idiocy of the claims that MLB has cleaned up the image of the game and its association with the steroid era , in part when we know that Alex Rodriguez can continue to make a mockery of the image of baseball.

The talk is that steroids because there were embroiled and became a part of the game one shouldn’t at all see it as a detriment of baseball . I say bullshit, given the fact that not one person who views this all as a none issue even cares to discuss the health ramifications from the misuse and abuse of steroids and other PED’s . Renal failure , psychological issues are nothing to gloss over but somehow this is all ignored when this issue is discussed and I might say not with a great deal of clarity as to the real inherent dangers . Just as asinine might be the very fact that no one at first within the NFL was actually willing to admit to the cause and effect of chronic head trauma after repeated concussions during the games. Now all of a sudden the MLB hierarchy as well as the MLBPA are on board as to the dangers in the abuse of steroids within the game. It would appear that neither Bud Selig nor his minions or for that matter Michael Weiner as the executive director of the union would openly care to discuss this matter .

As a player I’ve always admired the abilities of Alex Rodriguez but his candor and lack of contrition as to his misdeeds has me wondering why the public and fans should continue to put up with his stupidity. Sooner or later Bud Selig and the other bumbling oafs of the league hierarchy and team owners ought to pull their heads out of each others’ ass and actually do something right ! If it has to take the government and in particular the Justice Department under tenure of AG Eric Holder to do what needs to be done by league itself . Then it simply shows how gutless the MLB hierarchy , team owners and MLBPA are said to be ! We may well admire these players from afar but who in this day simply condones cheating and feels that it’s actually appropriate within a game that purists believes to be so pure ?

Granted , this game his been tainted by issues that one would deem to be far more serious , such as racial bigotry during the segregation of baseball and the immediacy of its aftermath during the integration of the game when players such as Jackie Robinson , Larry Doby , Willie Mays and Hank Aaron carved out long lasting stellar carreers . And if one remembers when Aaron surpassed what was at the time Babe Ruth’s home run record the player was subjected to death threats , torrents of racial abuse prior to and after the event of achieving the feat. And there are historians who woud now choose to gloss over such events as something of a none issue and to be put to rest.

For a player of Alex Rodriguez’s alleged stature he had done little to suggest that he should be viewed as the heir apparent to Derek Jeter once his career comes to an end with the New York Yankees . Having become the team’s all-time hits’ leader Jeter’s career is now winding down. A multi All Star , Golden Glove winner and as we all know 5 World Series triumphs over the course of his career and what has been an exemplary example of how it ought to be done. There are players within the game of baseball they tend to exemplify something good about the sport . Derek Jeter , Albert Pujols , Ken Griffey Jr , Paul Molitor and Ozzie Smith who to my mind played the game of baseball with such effervescent zeal and infectiuos appeal. Watching those individuals play simply brings to my mind why it is about the sport can be so thrilling . Unfortunately when I now see Alex Rodriguez that becomes a none event as I simply despise everything that he’s said to stand for !

As I alluded to earlier the player (Rodriguez) has been coddled , emboldened and led to believe that he’s above the game , beyond reproach and that’s further indemnified by the lack of action by the game’s hierarchy ____ in particular by New York Yankees even in the aftermath of the player having been warned already by an official from the commissioner’s office about his gambling . It now begs the question if baseball simply cannot police itself appropriately then who if anyone can rein in and force the league and its players to act with some semblance of decency rather than further indulging the sport into a downward spiral of indignity .

For the New York Yankees’ immediate future and the contributions of Alex Rodriguez as the team strives towards the postseason . They currently sit one game behind the division leading Boston Red Sox within the AL East . If anything it is their lead amongst the wildcard aspirants that indicates the Yankees will ease their way in the postseason. While Rodriguez has had something of an indifferent season it has been the contributions of Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Bartolo Colon and CC Sabathia that if anything has typified the usual things we have somehow come to expect of the New York Yankees . Love them or hate them you simply cannot ignore them because in doing so it may well be to your disadvantage. Joe Girardi may well be overlooked as one of the better managers within the game and granted he has at his disposal the best that money can buy .It’s the New York Yankees’ way and that’s not likely to change this or or anytime soon !

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What action or actions if any do you feel appropriate should be taken against Alex Rodriguez if these allegations are proven to be true ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts if any on the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent .

Alan aka tophatal …. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Contact tophatal ……. rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 03: of the New York Yankees of the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Yankees defeated the White Sox 18-7 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(2) Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees ducks away from an inside pitch as A.J. Pierzynski (12) of the Chicago White Sox gloves the ball at U.S. Cellular Field on August 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….

(3) Mark Teixiera (25) of the New York Yankees greets teammates Russell Martin(55) and Brett Gardner (11) as they score runs in the 7th inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..

(4) Alex Rios (51) of the Chicago White Sox misplays a fly ball in center field as teammate Alexei Ramirez (10) runs out against the New York Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field on August 3, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..

(5) CLEVELAND, OH – FILE: Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees reacts after the end of the second inning of a game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on July 6, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. It was reported that Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez is to undergo knee surgery, and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. The player now subject of MLB inquiry resulting from his alleged involvement in several high stakes poker games . This has been the second such incident concerning the player this season and he’d been warned by an official from the league hierarchy to curtail his actions with regard to gambling . Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images …..

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It’s All In The Contract Read Between The Lines ….

It’s All In The Contract ….. Read Between The Lines

I read with a great deal of interest that New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman who is in the final year of his contract with the team and is said to be reluctant to discuss a contract extension with the organization until the end of the season. The team now in the hands of Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are are intent on carrying on their father’s legacy . But in reality the organization still remains a family business and it appears the brothers will rule with a rod of iron. To bear this out, the duo were in conflict with Cashman over the acquisition of reliever Rafael Soriano . They prevailed with the general manager having to back down over the issue and continue his duties under the premise of being a loyal subordinate .

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The bone of contention with Brian Cashman has always been would he have been able to accomplish the success attained by the organization over his tenure were it not for financial resources of the ball club . Five World Series titles and seven appearances in all over the last fifteen years ____ not much else needs to be said. And the same comparison was made about former Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson while he was the coach of the Chicago Bulls . Could Jackson win without a superstar and with another team ? Were it not for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen leading those Bulls’ teams to their unprecedented success it is believed that Jackson would never have succeeded to the extent that he did. The former coach would also lead the Lakers to a further six NBA titles over his tenure with the organization , proved a point that it’s not merely about the team but the environment you’re actually placed in.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Yankees GM Cashman done at season’s end ?

By Mark J Miller

The last time New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman signed a contract extension, George Steinbrenner was still alive. Now sons Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are running the show and Cashman may be out.

Cashman’s three-year, $6 million contract expires at season’s end and the New York Post suggests that the Steinbrenners may want to put their own stamp on the team and bring in someone else.

Cashman has been working for the Yanks since he was 19, the paper points out. Now 44, Cashman refuses to attempt to negotiate a new deal for himself in the middle of the season, the Post reports. After all, Cashman was the one who eight years ago “introduced a policy of not doing contract extensions in the middle of a season,” the Post notes.

“If I couldn’t do it with Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and [manager] Joe Girardi, how can I do it with myself,” Cashman said, according to the Post. “I can’t be a hypocrite. It will come up at the appropriate time.”

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Now it’d be remiss to think that the success achieved by Cashman was solely down to talent alone . But it’s clear to see that the Yankees’ general manager would not have achieved the success attained without the financial resources of the organization. With the burgeoning cash cow that are the New York Yankees and with the team being in the nation’s largest ad market how could Brian Cashman actually fail ? Never mind the fact that the ball club owns its very own cable sports broadcast provider the YES Network . With those financial resources at his disposal it is easy to understand the choices that can be made by the organization as it relates to acquiring free agents and then paying them handsomely.

Over the years we have seen the acquisitions made by the Yankees and clearly with the team having obtained such high profiled free agents in recent years as Mark Teixeira , Alex Rodriguez , CC Sabathia , A J Burnett and Curtis Granderson . The common denominator in many cases has been uber-agent Scott Boras . Anyone who knows how the agent has conducted his business over the years will know that he tends get teams to vastly overpay for talent even when they tend to be average at best.

Should Brian Cashman decline the offer of a contract extension which isn’t out of the realms of possibility then it would be reasonable to think that a number of teams around baseball might well be interested in hiring the general manager . But in my honest opinion, I feel that Cashman knows that his best and only opportunity is to remain within the Yankees’ organization ! The financial resources of the ball-club has been predominantly the reason behind the team’s success more than it having been to do with astute scouting and draft acquisitions by the organization in recent years . The fans of the team will continue to point to the success of the organization in their recent draft choices during which they obtained Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada . The trio remain the only remaining teammates that won multiple titles from 1996 through to 2007.

Now we could ask the question if Brian Cashman were not the general manager of the New York Yankees how would he contend with an organization not named the Yankees ? And while the team remains the 1,000lb gorilla in the room you can’t help repeating the question. Would Cashman be as successful were it not for the financial wherewithal of the organization and would he be a success as a general manager ? When one considers that in the last decade and a half, only three teams have ever won multiple World Series titles and two organizations in question happen to be two of the highest salaried teams in the game . It should come as no surprise that the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees sit atop of that pile with a cumulative salary total that is in excess of $360 million . And though I have read where patrons would suggest that there remains a competitive balance within the game because we have multiple teams over the last decade win the World Series . That may well be the case but consider the fact that in large part , repeatedly it tends to be the teams that are atop of the pay structure that are part of the postseason , champion series or the World Series itself.

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Rafael Soriano (C) of the New York Yankees poses for a photograph during his press conference with (L-R) assistant general manager Jean Afterman, manager Joe Girardi, agent Scott Boras, president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman, and COO Lonn Trost on January 19, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees signed Soriano to a three year contract.

Granted , last year we had the distinction of seeing the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers play the game’s biggest prize one simply cannot deny the fact that it all comes back down to the usual suspects repeatedly when it comes to the postseason. One simply cannot hide behind the fact that those teams will be there . But in what some deem to be a competitive balance when it just isn’t borne out by the very fact the fact the game from a financial standpoint is markedly imbalanced . And like some of the financial problems we have now seen disrupt the NBA and NFL we are seeing the same situation arise within baseball . Some fans are actually in denial about this as they would rather see the purity of the game rather than seeing the reality of it all . It’s pretty much safe to say that the problems of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets simply reflect what I am actually saying ! The league hierarchy’s belief that their tax sharing scheme has assisted the teams in being competitive doesn’t seem to bear out what their actual intent in giving all of the teams a possible shot at the brass ring .

In waiting to see what may well transpire between the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman I wonder how many of the other general managers around the league are envious of Yankees’ general manager’s position ? They say don’t knock it ’til you try it but I get the impression that the vast majority of executives in questions wouldn’t mind being in Brian Cashman’s position right about now !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Should Brian Cashman choose not to return to the New York Yankees is it your belief that he will be hired by another team within baseball in the same capacity ? Or do you believe that he remain with the organization and sign a long term contract ? Simply chime in with a comment on the points raised within this piece .

Alan aka tophatal ….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details

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(1) TORONTO, CANADA – JULY 16: Greg Golson (22) of the New York Yankees looks out from the dugout against the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB action at The Rogers Centre July 16, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images ….

(2) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees hits during MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays at The Rogers Centre July 16, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images ….

(3) Francisco Cervelli (17) celebrates the win with Mariano Rivera (42) of the New York Yankees during MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays at The Rogers Centre July 16, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images ….

(4) (L-R) Manager Joe Girardi, Mark Teixeira, Hal Steinbrenner and General Manager Brian Cashman pose for a photo during a press conference to announce Teixeira’s signing to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on January 6, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(5) Rafael Soriano (C) of the New York Yankees poses for a photograph during his press conference with (L-R) assistant general manager Jean Afterman, manager Joe Girardi, agent Scott Boras, president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman, and COO Lonn Trost on January 19, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees signed Soriano to a three year contract. Getty Images North America / Jim McIsaac ….
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Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Minnesota Timberwolves’ coach Kurt Rambis is said to be aggrieved as to the uncertainty concerning his impending future with the organization. Given his coaching record and the mere fact that the Timberwolves had another miserable season pretty much sums up what the front office’s thoughts may well be on the beleaguered coach . Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn surely know that with the upcoming NBA Draft due to take place on the 23rd June they can ill afford to any type of indecision on their part. They either retain the coach or relieve him of his duties and immediately start a search for his successor. Any indecsiveness on their part hurts the image of the franchise and shows complete ineptitude to the fans and across the NBA landscape in general .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Things are difficult as it as already for the Minnesota Timberwolves without now further opening up themselves to ridicule concerning their coach and his job status. But then again the mindset within this organization can be easily summed up in two words …” woefully inept “.

Now don’t get me wrong I was happy to see the New York Knicks make the NBA postseason but the mere fact that their sojourn there lasted about as long as Usain Bolt would take to run a 100m race , essentially told you all that you needed to know about this team and such the organization. Team owner James Dolan is looking to extend the contract of GM Donnie Walsh the seventy four year old senior executive within the Knicks’ organization . If the rumors are to be believed Dolan wanted offer Walsh a two year contract extension as they seek to rebuild the basketball team . Donnie Walsh in spite of his undoubted NBA knowledge knows that in many ways he’s not getting any younger and at the same time his job placed him under a great deal of pressure allowing him very little time to be with his family. The general manager has told the owner that he will not be returning to the organization next season , choosing instead to relinquish his duties with the New York Knicks .

I certainly would have thought that the New York Knicks would be better prepared in terms of having a long term plan as to successor by having someone within their front office be tutored by Walsh since his original hiring by the organization. But somehow given the plethora of executives that make up board of the New York Knicks you simply knew that sheer incompetency wouldn’t be far behind in terms of the decision making that the organization has come to be known for. If Hank Ratner or any other of his peers aren’t capable of assuming Walsh’s role , then I would hate to think that Knicks would be idiotic enough to rehire Isiah Thomas to a position he once held within the organization. There is no way in hell that the Knicks would consider rehiring their former VP & Head of Basketball Operations , albeit , that Thomas stated that he has no interest in rejoining the organization but then again we are talking about the New York Knicks .

Cyclist Lance Armstrong the seven time winner of the Tour de France continues to maintain his innocence concerning the latest admissions by Armstrong’s former teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie former teammates members on the Radio Shack team ran team manager by Johan Bruyneel . The ongoing cause-de-celebre concerning concerning Armstrong’s innocence , the fact both Hamilton’s and Hincapie’s evidence was sworn testimony under oath given to law officials of the Justice Department . It would be simply idiotic to think that either cyclist would choose to perjure themselves knowing well that a federal sentence would await them courtesy of the Bureau of Prisons within the federal penitentiary system. In the advent of this all Armstrong seeks an apology from CBS News and in particular from the producers of the broadcast outlets news magazine program ’60 Minutes’. Anyone who witnessed the in depth segment on Tyler Hamilton and in particular his allegations concerning his former teammate would be hard pressed not to believe that allegations made by Hamilton . If nothing else Armstrong who has been adding to defense with a legion of of defense attorneys in pursuant of the Justice Department’s decision to seek the indictment of Armstrong for the illegal use of use steroids in particular EPO and several other known illicit substances .

From my own perspective cycling may well be the most corrupt sport on the landscape and the mere fact that UCI the international governing body for cycling has been literally all too slow in seeking to clean up its sport. L’Equipe which oversees the Tour de France has been less reluctant to actually come forward and say that they have not done enough to make this sport more appealing and its image above reproach . Instead L’Equipe’s greatest wish has been simply to make millions of dollars through the event with the broadcast rights of the Tour across the globe. My own wish would be to see the IOC the governing body of the Summer Olympics to simply suspend the sport from the Olympics until UCI has a strict and comprehensive drug policy in place . It would not be too much to ask but the idiocy within the sport of cycling does leave a great deal to be desired ! It has been all talk and with two of the sport’s most visible faces having been embroiled in drug controversy only a complete idiot would take this sport seriously and think that it has something tangible to offer !

Clearly anyone who believes that the Chicago Cubs’ fortunes are about to change hasn’t been watching this team play at all. I’m not saying that the curse of the goat still looms over Wrigley Field but at this juncture if a tornado were to hit that storied edfice the aftermath in terms of the destruction brought it would be a hell of a lot better than what the Cubs’ fans have been asked to endure since the start of the season . The NL Central where the Cubs reside along with the division leading St Louis Cardinals (33-24) whereas the Chicago Cubs have simply been mediocre . This team is on a three game losing streak and has lost seven of their last ten games during which manager Mike Quade and his coaching staff have tried to to the players playing with a great deal more resolve. GM Jim Hendry along with the ownership group headed by the Ricketts’ family has simply tried to instill a sense of purpose of and an eagerness to win . The long terms of efforts can’t go unrecognized with regard to the refurbishment of Wrigley Field in order to make the venue fan friendly. But that in of itself won’t be enough as the organization seeks its World Series title in over a century . Simply put the years of mediocrity that the fans may well have thought long gone still seem to be alive and present. .

So the so called saga concerning Alex Rodriguez’s stance that he simply abused the league’s steroid policy through sheer naivete` and the fact that he and his cousin Yuri Sucart were simply looking to get an edge no longer seems to make any sense . In the aftermath of his admission and apology to the league hierarchy and the New York Yankees still hasn’t stopped the player from associating with his cousin after Rodriguez having been advised not to associate communicate with Sucart on the Yankees’ property or any baseball facility during the season . It would appear that the requests are lost on Alex Rodriguez with there now being evidence to suggest that the player and Sucart have been seen together at the St Regis Hotel in San Francisco prior to a recent game played against the Oakland Athletics at the A’s ballpark . What might be even more unpalatable is the very fact that Sucart has accompanied Rodriguez to several games this season with the player knowing full well that he has been advised by senior executives within the Yankees’ hierarchy not to associate with his cousin.

If one remembers Rodriguez’s apology suggested that he and Yuri Sucart were merely experimenting with the use of steroids and the regimen followed was he says… so ill disciplined that it’s hard to take the player at his word when it has come to light that his name has come up repeatedly , in conjunction with the indictment of Orlando medical professional Dr Anthony Galea . The doctor is now awaiting trial with regard to the sale and transportation of illicit narcotics and steroids across international borders . The Justice Department having arraigned and indicted Galea ____ they are now seeking assistance from the medical professional in seeking the indictment of other subjects to whom he supplied steroids and other illicit substances. Many of the individuals that Anthony Galea is said to have supplied are a professional athletes in MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL and college athletes . If that isn’t now a cause for concern given the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig is still of the belief that the game now has the strictest testing policy in all professional sports , one has to ask what they will now do in light of these latest allegations concerning Alex Rodriguez. And with the player being less than forthright when asked about his name being associated with Galea and his cousin Yuri Sucart can we really now expect anything form of action by the league ? Rob Manfred a senior league official and Head for VP of Player Relations has spoken directly within the New York Yankees concerning Rodriguez’s association with his cousin. If this is what the league believes to be the appropriate action I firmly believe that the league has no idea as to what it takes to stem the flow of the illicit use of PED’s within the game , with players now flouting clear instructions makes a mockery their edicts . Is it any wonder that Manny Ramirez having failed a second drug test was allowed to walk away without any form of punishment levied against him by the league ? That is the complete asinine stance that MLB has with regard to its stance when players flout the rules . As for MLBPA and their Executive Director Michael Weiner and his response to what is now an acute issue that even the league and union have failed to really address .

In the wake of the Jim Tressel fiasco we are now learning that the quarterback for the football team Terrelle Pryor had been driving on a suspended license . What is now coming to light concerning this also is the very fact that the player who drives a 2011 Nissan 350Z which we have been informed was purchased by his mother Thomasina Pryor as a trade in . In light of that however since Pryor’s entrance to Ohio State he has been driving around in a number of vehicles for which there is no substantive evidence that would suggest he owned the vehicles in question or that they were leased by the player. The longer this saga has gone on the more idiotic both university President E Gordon Gee and the AD Gene Smith appear to be in light of their actions and what we now know Tressel had suppressed from his superiors . As the investigation went on both Gee and Smith stood behind their actions of a mere suspension and monetary fine of the coach knowing full well that were other far more serious allegations that had already come to light. Now with Pryor now subject of the school’s own internal investigation we’re now finding out that the NCAA is prepared to conduct their own separate investigation into the player and these latest allegations. And one wonders how corrupt collegiate sports is now said to be ? Why not simply allow the players to be paid, gamble on their games and have done with it ? It is becoming abundantly clear that collegiate athletics no longer can be taken seriously on any level at all !

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Picture gallery for your approval. By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 13: Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves’ front office is said to be undecided as to whether or the coach will be retained for the upcoming season. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) David Kahn seated right alongside Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. Kahn recently assumed the mantel of being the team’s GM as well as Head of Basketball Operations. He’s also keep the title of President of the Timberwolves’ organizational structure. Besides having to deal with the Rubio situation Kahn also will be in search of a new coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Richard Clarke-Patterson ………

(3) GM Donnie Walsh (seated left) is seen here alongside Knicks’ team owner James Dolan . Walsh has declined the team’s offer for a two year contract extension deciding instead to be with his family , retiring from the NBA having been involved in the sport for over four decades. AP Photo/ Chris Young ….

(4) Lance Armstrong of the USA, riding for Team Astana, speaks with Astana team director Johan Bruyneel before the start of stage six of the 2009 Tour Down Under January 25, 2009 in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(5) Tyler Hamilton seen here during his interview with 60 Minutes’ correspondent Scott Pelley reiterates his position that former teammate Lance Armstrong knowingly took EPO amongst other illicit banned substances during competition. Courtesy of CBS News/Getty Images …

(6) Aramis Ramirez (16) of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-RBI double against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 5, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 3-2 in 10 innings. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry is seen here with Alfonso Soriano as the player is formally introduced to the convened press . AP Photo/ Tonny Todd ….

(8) Cubs’ manager Mike Quade all smiles for the moment but for how long ? His job isn’t yet imperiled but who knows should the <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp?c_id=chc&quot;. team continue to lose without any real effort on the part of the players ? Getty Images / Keith Stoddart …….

(9) Yuri Sucart , cousin of Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez and whose name has once again been associated with the player in spite of the warnings issued to the player and New York Yankees’ organization. Both Rodriguez and Yucart were seen together in public at the St Regis Hotel and then again at the A’s ballpark . It would appear that the player has failed to heed the requests of MLB as well as the New York Yankees in not associating with his relative . The player who in his admission to the use of steroids stated that he was supplied with the prohibited substances by Yuri Sucart . AP/Getty Images / Rafael T Aguillar ……

(10) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 5: the New York Yankees the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 5, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Yankees won 5-3 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(11) In this photo taken Monday, May 30, 2011, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives for a players only meeting at the Woody Hayes Complex in Columbus, Ohio. Pryor, the highest profile recruit of former coach Jim Tressel’s 25-year coaching career, is one of five Buckeyes who have already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for taking money and tattoos from local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …

(12) Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives in this Nissan 350Z, center, to a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ……..

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A-Rod An Image To Like Or Still A Creep ?

A-Rod An Image To Like Or Still A Creep ?

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 ..

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Slide show for your perusal .

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 .

On the face of it I still have my doubts about this team and the very fact that their pitching is still viewed as being suspect . Apart from CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes and closer Mariano Rivera you simply get the impression that the season could be a struggle for them . Within the AL East they still have to deal with their perennial rivals the Boston Red Sox a somewhat resurgent Baltimore Orioles , the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays .

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.

It’d be remiss to think that the Yankees are the prohibitive favorites for the World Series as a number of teams can lay claim to their own aspirations. In amongst the teams I believe who can lay a legitimate claim are the Philadelphia Phillies , Texas Rangers , Boston Red Sox , St Louis Cardinals , Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds . These teams will certainly lay down the gauntlet to the Yankees and look to usurp their ambitions for the season .

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 .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below
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(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 .

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So Tell Me Why It Is We’re Suppose To Listen To Anything That Scott Boras Has To Say ? Is It Pertinent ?

So Tell Me Why It Is We’re Suppose To Listen To Anything That Scott Boras Has To Say ? Is It Pertinent ?

It amuses me when I read how ‘uber-agent’ Scott Boras now deems it appropriate for MLB to set into motion where he thinks that the hierarchy ought to have a salary structure in place for rookies entering the draft. Am I missing something here ? This is the same Scott Boras who originally wanted a signing bonus of $25 million signing bonus for his then client Stephen Strasburg who would then sign with the Washington Nationals . But I digress , what we have here is bloviate who finally realizes that economy of the game is now stifling his earning potential and power.

Scott Boras, chided for bonus demands for amateur clients, says the Major League Baseball draft needs restructuring. "In this system, everybody thinks this is about money. No, this is about saving money. It allows for less mistakes," he says.

Scott Boras, chided for bonus demands for amateur clients, says the Major League Baseball draft needs restructuring. “In this system, everybody thinks this is about money. No, this is about saving money. It allows for less mistakes,” he says. photo appears courtesy of USA Today Jason M. Millstein ……….

More caustically , need I remind you that of the eight highest paid players in the game, 6 of those players’ contracts were negotiated by Boras, himself. Now far be it for me to suggest that Boras is solely to blame for the financial mess within the game. But in large part the idiocy of this all ‘falls squarely on the shoulders of the general managers’ and ‘owners’ who acquiesce and allow Scott Boras to dictate the price being paid. A statement that can be directly attributed to Boras was that “…….the market can bear whatever it can bear ” !. And this all is borne out by the fact that Boras feels that teams such as the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees , Los Angeles Angels , New York Mets , Philadelphia Phililies and St Louis Cardinals are able to afford the ‘multi million dollar contracts’. So needless to say , Alex Rodriguez’s ten year $275 million contract negotiated by the player on the advice of Boras , with the Yankees’ intermediary and GM Brian Cashman , was something that the agent felt proud of. Wouldn’t ‘you’ , if your commission is in the range of anywhere between 3-6 % of the contract’s worth ? Never mind what the player will be able to earn via the prospective commercial endorsement contracts that may well come their way.

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Courtesy of USA Today Thursday’s edition 03/11/2010

Panel Part IV: A less-costly process for draft

By Bob Nightengale , USA Today

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Agent Scott Boras is the man baseball loves to hate.

It’s not enough that he’s blamed for baseball’s escalating salary structure, but he’s considered in some quarters almost personally responsible for ruining Major League Baseball’s amateur draft with outrageous bonus demands for amateur clients.

The draft was designed to provide baseball’s greatest amateur talent to its worst teams, but often the best player is bypassed by cellar dwellers for financial reasons.

The Washington Nationals might have reveled in No. 1 pick Stephen Strasburg’s dazzling debut Tuesday, but seven months ago there was the daunting prospect they couldn’t afford him.

“If we had the same rules as the NBA and NFL,” Detroit Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen says, “the Washington Nationals could have either taken Strasburg or traded down. They could have gotten a couple of players who already are in the big leagues or prospects.

“But the way it’s set up now, they had no choice.”

Strasburg, represented by Boras, signed a four-year, $15.1 million contract, the richest in draft history, minutes before the Nationals lost the rights to negotiate with him.

And yet three months later Strasburg’s contract was dwarfed by a pitcher not subject to the draft. Cuban defector Ardolis Chapman signed a $30 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

“There’s no question,” Boras says, “the draft needs to be completely redone. It’s not working.”

Major League Baseball can’t agree more. But the $7 billion industry question is, how can it be changed? There has been talk of a hard slotting system similar to the NBA’s or an international draft.

TORII HUNTER: Candid comments cause stir

Key ideas

USA TODAY’s eight-person committee emerged from a four-hour roundtable discussion with imaginative solutions.

•The elite players in the draft, a consensus top 40 chosen by scouting directors, would be granted free agency, just like the international players. There would be no worldwide draft, but the disparity between American and foreign players would be greatly narrowed.

•The rest of the players would go into two eight-round drafts — one for collegiate players, one for high school players. The worst team would get the No. 1 collegian and the No. 1 high schooler. Players drafted would not receive a signing bonus but a three-year contract for $30,000 a season. If clubs want to retain the player after three years, they would pay $150,000 for the following season and $250,000 apiece for the next two years.

•The players who aren’t drafted can either go to college or enter a developmental league for 60 days, giving every team another chance to sign them. If not selected, the players would get the message that pro baseball might not be in their immediate future.

“This system allows us to make less mistakes,” Boras says. “It allows players the opportunity to get a qualified amount of money to play baseball and allows the elite players to be separated and treated the same as the international player.”

“It’s a whole different level of thinking,” Milwaukee Brewers pitcher LaTroy Hawkins says. “I love it.”

The idea is to ensure that only the truly elite players are drafted. There would be college scholarships awaiting those who don’t make it. And fewer kids would be deceived about their chances of being a big-leaguer.

“In this system, everybody thinks this is about money,” Boras says. “No, this is about saving money. It allows for less mistakes. It’s about not seeing kids get hurt.

“They’re drafting kids and taking them out of college. They’re saying, ‘You have a chance to play pro baseball,’ when truthfully they don’t. Right now, 98% of the kids that are signed are later released. Let’s stop sending false messages that players drafted in rounds nine through 50 are going to be in the major leagues.

“We’re spending 45% of our money on players drafted after the fifth round. Owners say our draft budget went from $5 million to $9 million because of you. I tell them, ‘No, the $5 million you spent (on one player) was right. The other $4 million you just wasted.’ ”

Improving scouts’ efficiency

The committee also says this system would increase the efficiency of the top amateur scouts.

“Given the system now,” Chicago Cubs special assistant Gary Hughes says, “I didn’t see all of our guys. Or even close. Maybe 10%. So you better have good scouts. There are guys that won’t draft a player unless they’ve seen them. And shame on them.”

Says Boras: “The problem with the draft is that the man who best knows the commodity is completely removed. When a guy with the experience of someone like Gary only sees 10% of the guys they sign, something is wrong. With this, you’ll have more eyes on fewer guys.”

Every player drafted will also be provided money for college costs. This provides a safety net for players who fail to reach the big leagues and benefits baseball in its efforts to persuade athletes to avoid other sports.

“I know if I hadn’t made it to the majors,” Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter says, “I’d be 28, 29, with no work experience. I’d be fortunate to make $30,000 a year because that’s the only thing I know.

“That’s why I really want my kids to go to college.”

The concept, the committee acknowledges, will need fine-tuning. But it wonders if the proposal will be taken seriously by owners, particularly considering it is largely Boras’ brainchild.

“You know what you need,” Hughes told Boras. “You need to sell that to (well-regarded baseball executive) Roland Hemond and have him believe in it too. Let him sell it, because you’ve got no chance.”

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This is part of a five part series of articles written over the course of this week delving into the game of baseball. Different journalists from the paper have contributed to each of the articles in question along with an empaneled group who discussed the game.

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It now makes me wonder, what it is that Boras is now aiming for ? Because before this , we’d never have heard the agent make this sort of announcement at all. The owners themselves, while on the outside looking in, may well feel happy. But at the same time I’ve got to wonder what Bud Selig and the league’s hierarchy must think of this all ? When it came to dealing with the financial aspect of the game MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has been as about insightful as the government is now seen to be , when dealing with the fallout of the US economy. He’ll give us a great many platitudes as to the overall health of the game. But needless to say the commissioner fails to let you know that in 2008 he was compensated rather handsomely . Handsomely, to the tune of $17.5 million as a matter of fact. Well, from Selig’s point of view , baseball has been very , very good to him. And no doubt in 2009 he had to have been paid immeasurably more. In 2010, who knows what the figure will be ? As to the likes of such teams, as the Kansas City Royals , Tampa Bay Rays , Minnesota Twins , Oakland Athletics , Pittsburgh Pirates , San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies are left to eke out whatever they can by way of the monies they receive concerning the tax revenue sharing scheme officiated by the league.

Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig and actress Sarah-Jessica Parker take part in an on field presentation during the 79th MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig and actress Sarah-Jessica Parker take part in an on field presentation during the 79th MLB All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images North America / Jim McIsaac ...............

Now comes the hard part, how amenable is baseball to changing the the salary structure for rookies ? And down the line are they willing to instigate a ‘hard and fast salary cap’ in the game ? This may well be the only way to stave of financial disaster for some clubs within the game. As amenable as Bud Selig continues to be , at the heart of it all he still remains a used car salesman. Even as the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers , the club was essentially being ran as if it were a used car sales’ lot. And even now is it any different under new ownership ? And much of Selig’s alleged business acumen is derived from his car dealerships within the Milwaukee city area. What’s the saying …….’if you’ve seen one used car salesman then you’ve seen them all’ ? Well not much has changed with Selig in that respect, as he’s now got much larger car lot to preside over. And it just happens to be the game of baseball and the consumers coming unto the lot happen to be the fans of the game who attend the ballparks up and down the country to derive whatever pleasure there is to be had. As to whether or not the fans are now getting value for money, that remains to be seen.

Scott Boras as an agent , has simply been a facilitator of the utter madness that has overtaken the game with regard to the inflated salaries and the game’s finances. And he above all people should realize that he’s played a part in what has almost caused the ruination of the sport. Instead he’s been acting as if he’s now a savior with an idea that could make the game better for us all. Somehow Boras comes across to me , more as a con-man more than anything else. But as I’ve alluded to earlier it has been the owners and general manager more than anything else that that have made the ridicule that it has now become. I mean Selig derives pleasure in what he states has been the healthy state of the sport and its stringent drug testing policy. But if he were broached on the subject of the finances of the game he’d be at a complete loss to really tell you how many clubs within the game are actually profitable at present. And this is a sport that has revenues in excess of $ 6.5 billion a year. If the vast majority of the 30 teams can’t even eke out a profit , then what hope is there for the game ? Never mind the fact that the GM’s act like an out of control corporate executives who believe they’re in control of AIG or GM . Thankfully, there’ll be no government bailout here, should things start to go ‘south’. But then again , who’s to say that Selig won’t have the temerity to come cap in hand seeking assistance from the Federal government ? Stranger things are known to have happen and will continue to happen within the game.

Funny thing is, Scott Boras has me wondering whether or not I should now be listening to anything that he has to say. It’s not as if he’s ever had the game’s best interests at heart. But then again which entity within the game , ever has ? The hierarchy of the game ? The ‘owners’ ? The players and their union ,the MLBPA ? You tell me ?


NB:
In order to read each of the articles covering the five day series just click on the link provided here. A Day To Day Look At The Game of Baseball . Click on the aforementioned link and then from there take your pick as to which of the series in question is of interest to you. Or you may choose to read all five in question.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

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‘Money Makes The World Go Around’ …….from the movie ‘Cabaret’ as sung by Joel Grey & Liza Minnelli . I wonder if this is what ‘both’ Boras and Selig have in mind as it concerns the game of baseball ? Given the fact that by their way of thinking there’s still a great deal of it within the game for all thirty major league teams. If only all of that were true ? What do you think ?


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English glamor model Danielle Loyd . Need I say anymore on the matter ? In order to view Danielle’s gallery in full just click on each picture individually. Oh my, Danielle what fine assets you have ? All the more for us all to view and play with.
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So This Was Meant To Be The House That Scott Boras Built ?

So This Was Meant To Be The House That Scott Boras Built ?

While, I can understand ‘uber-agent’ Scott Boras’ reasons for always wanting to do what’s best for his client. I fail to understand how in this day and age, he expects to get ‘premium dollars’ for an ‘aging star’ in, Johnny Damon . Granted, the now former A’s , Red Sox and now New York Yankees’ player still plays with ‘passion’. One has to admit that Damon’s best days are now far behind him. If anything the only tangible value, is that as a veteran, he can teach the younger players what it takes to win. Having experienced those scenarios as a player , firstly with the Boston Red Sox, then as a New York Yankees’ player, there is a still a great deal that Damon has to offer as a player. He may not be as quick in the outfield, as he once was. And his offensive prowess at he plate may no longer be there. But as a passionate student and player of the game, Johnny Damon still has something to offer.

New York Yankees' <strong>Johnny Damon</strong> follows through on his two-run RBI single during the fourth inning of Game 6 of the American League Championship baseball series in New York. A  person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that the Atlanta Braves have made an offer to free agent outfielder Johnny Damon. The person spoke Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010,  on condition of anonymity because no agreement has been reached. photo appears  courtesy of  Associated Press/ Elise Amendola ......
New York Yankees' Johnny Damon follows through on his two-run RBI single during the fourth inning of Game 6 of the American League Championship baseball series in New York. A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that the Atlanta Braves have made an offer to free agent outfielder Johnny Damon. The person spoke Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010, on condition of anonymity because no agreement has been reached. photo appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Elise Amendola ......

Now the inherent problem for Damon as a player is that his agent Scott Boras is one of the least admired men in sports. Albeit , that he’s one of the most successful and respected sport’s agents in the world of sports. To ascertain Boras’ power in the game, is to know how much he can seemingly control the fate of many of the league’s most aspiring teams. When it comes to dealing on behalf of his clients, Boras possesses and elicits the bravado shown by an all-out predator, looking to devour its prey. His take no prisoner’s mentality has made Scott Boras ‘the scourge of the league as well as many of the fans , coaches and general managers within MLB. The one constant with Boras, is that it’s all about the money and nothing else simply matters. That has been Boras’ mantra throughout the course of his career .


Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

AP source: Braves make offer to Johnny Damon

By Charles Odum , AP Sports Writer

Atlanta (AP)—The Atlanta Braves appear interested in adding Johnny Damon to the top of their lineup.

The Braves have made an offer to the free-agent outfielder, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no agreement had been reached.

Atlanta’s offer is believed to be for one year and include deferred money. Damon’s agent, Scott Boras, has said he is seeking at least a two-year deal.

The 36-year-old Damon hit .286 with 24 homers for the New York Yankees last season and likely would bat leadoff for the Braves.

Atlanta added another former Yankees outfielder in December when it acquired Melky Cabrera in a five-player deal that sent right-hander Javier Vazquez to the World Series champions.

Nate McLouth is set as Atlanta’s starter in center field, and is the probable leadoff hitter if the team does not add Damon or another outfielder. Matt Diaz is expected to get most of the playing time at one corner outfield spot.

Braves manager Bobby Cox said last week he envisions Cabrera playing all three outfield spots and possibly sharing a position with Diaz.

Cox said the team is prepared to give 20-year-old outfield prospect Jason Heyward a chance to win a starting job in right field. Heyward made only a brief appearance at Triple-A last season and has fewer than 200 at-bats above Class A.

“Well, there’s no reason not to give him a crack at making it,” Cox said. “If he is too young, that’s fine, too. He can spend some time in Triple-A. But if we think he’s ready and he can help us, then let’s go.”

Heyward (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) has the power potential the Braves need in their outfield. He was voted baseball’s top prospect by Baseball America after hitting .323 with 17 homers and 63 RBIs at three minor league stops in 2009.

“If he makes the team, he’s playing—lefties, righties, everybody,” Cox said.

The Braves’ willingness to give Heyward an opportunity could keep them from engaging in a bidding war for Damon. According to reports, Detroit and Tampa Bay also have interest.

Boras did not return a call to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Braves general manager Frank Wren had no comment on Damon.

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Scott Boras and his client Alex Rodriguez . The Yankee slugger may well be Boras' most high profiled and well known client. But Boras also represents Manny Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixiera , amongst others . And in each case the players in question are amongst the highest paid in the game. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Hugh MacIntosh ..................
Scott Boras (left) and his client Alex Rodriguez . The Yankee slugger may well be Boras' most high profiled and well known client. But Boras also represents Manny Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixiera , amongst others . And in each case the players in question are amongst the highest paid in the game. picture appears courtesy of Associated Press/ Hugh MacIntosh ..................

Power as they say, lies in the hands of the individual who knows how to use it, even when it’s not being used wisely. Boras’ biggest claim to fame, may well be his list of clients and the fact that he’s now twice laid the groundwork and negotiated for his client, Alex Rodriguez to be paid two separate contracts that will pay him gross, in excess of $ 500 million over the course of his career. Firstly , when Rodriguez was with the Seattle Mariners and then left the team as a free agent, to sign what was then the biggest and most lucrative contract in baseball and in all of sports in North America. Rodriguez was signed to a 10 year $252 million contract by the Texas Rangers. The ‘team’ at the time under the ownership of Tom Hicks , aspired to be one of the up and coming and one of the more ambitious organizations in baseball. The fact that Hicks made a ‘big splash’ with the signing of Rodriguez, just goes to show how ill fated the endeavor would turn out to be. ‘A-Rod’ wasn’t complemented by roster that was anywhere near competitive. And nor was the team even good enough to win its division (AL West), much less the AL pennant or World Series. The idiocy of Hicks, not only as an owner but also as a businessman , knew no bounds. His excesses and failures in sports have far outweighed the successes. And it still remains that way to this day.

Damon  and  his   wife   Michelle  at  a  formal   gathering  .  photo  appears  courtesy of  Associated  Press /  Matt Hollingsworth  ..........
Damon and his wife Michelle at a formal gathering . photo appears courtesy of Associated Press / Matt Hollingsworth ..........

The second time around that Boras was again able to deliver Rodriguez with another blockbuster contract , was when the player re-signed with the New York Yankees for another multi year contract that will pay him $275 million over ten years. Again, still the most lucrative contract in all of sports , in terms the salary paid to a player. The fact that when Rodriguez was traded away from the Rangers to sign with the Yankees after four years with the Rangers, alludes to the fact what a poor businessman Hicks was from the outset. He was bamboozled by little more than a slight of hand trick by Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras. The agent knew ‘a sucker when he saw one’ and Hicks and the Rangers’ organization took the bait , hook , line and sinker.

Over the course of his career as an agent , Scott Boras has negotiated on behalf his clients’ contracts to be estimated upwards, in excess of $ 2.8 billion. Clearly with that sort of business acumen, along with it comes a great deal of power and influence. And if anything, that has been how Boras has been able to become one of the pre-eminent agents in all of sports and most certainly the most powerful and influential in all of baseball . Consider this also, of the 8 highest paid players in the game , six of those players are in fact clients of Scott Boras ? I’m not suggesting that ‘he has a monopoly on the major stars’ within the game. But he’s now as close to it as one would’ve thought possible.

With Damon now a free agent and still with a desire to play , both player and agent are finding it all the more difficult to gauge the interest of teams who might desire the aging veteran. So much so, that Damon’s demand for a two year $16 to $20 million contract to return to the Yankees must’ve been met with derisions of laughter. If the Yankees were unwilling to re-sign their World Series MVP Hideki Matsui , to anything beyond a one year. Then how in the hell was it that Damon and Boras were expecting Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman to open up the checkbook for anything more ? And even after offering the player’s services for less, Boras was still turned down by the Yankees and Cashman. Clearly there was an impasse there , as to what both parties felt what the player was worth.

<strong> Michelle  Damon </strong>  seen  here in a  photo-shoot   for   Sports  Illustrated .   The  model  and  aspiring part-time  actress  obviously  has  the   ball  player wanting to  show  us  all  that he  can  catch   off  the   field  as  good   as  he's  able  to  do  so  on  the  field. <em> Pretty   good  eh  ? </em>   photo  appears courtesy  of  Sports  Illustrated .................<strong>Michelle Damon </strong> seen her doing an expose'  for   Sports Illustrated.  I can  only assume  that   Damon  is  in  need of  the  money  to   keep  his   wife   in  the  life  of  luxury  to which  she  has  now  become accustomed  to  ?   photo  appears  courtesy of  Sports Illustrated  ....
Michelle Damon seen her doing an expose' for Sports Illustrated. I can only assume that Damon is in need of the money to keep his wife in the life of luxury to which she has now become accustomed to ? photo appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated ....

Now as the list of prospective clients are beginning to thin out as to quite possibly where Johnny Damon may well end up playing this upcoming season. Boras has approached the NL East’s Atlanta Braves and AL Central’s Detroit Tigers to gauge both teams’ interest in his client. As of now , no final public statement has been forthcoming from Braves’ GM Frank Wren or Dave Dombrowski of the Tigers. If Damon isn’t signed by baseball’s start of the Spring Training, then there’s the belief that he may well miss the start of the regular season and then await the call of a team wanting a the veteran – to replace an injured player or to bolster an aspiring team’s roster in need of that veteran presence. There’s also a slight possibility that Damon could return to the team where he first made a name for himself in the majors. And that would be with a return to the Oakland A’s. As to whether or not the fans and the organization would welcome the return of a former ‘prodigal son’ , remains to be seen. But in all likelihood , that scenario remains nothing but a remote possibility. And given the fact that the A’s aren’t known as a team to spend lavishly on its roster, Damon’s asking price would have to come down considerably , if the team were prepared to sign him.

This may well have been the house that Scott Boras built but now even he has to admit that he can now no longer ‘brow beat’ and ‘bully teams’ and ‘their general mangers’ into signing his clients at the premium top dollar rates. Not in these uncertain economic times and that’s even with Boras’ now ill fated assignation that the market can continue to bear whatever the going rate is for top line talent on the open free agent market. It’s my belief, that Boras is as conceited and condescending as he looks, that even he would scare the likes of Rasputin and Sung Myung Moon ! But that may well be taking it too far, as the majority of general managers were already gullible enough to begin with – when they first began to deal with Scott Boras, as an agent. Need I say anything more on the matter ?