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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(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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(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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People who live in glass houses

People who live in glass houses

People who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones . Well, I do not live in a glass house , but I am going to throw a rock at this issue . Major League Baseball and its hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig , have now drawn the ire of the fans, with many showing their disgust in the way that the commissioner has handled the latest controversy to sully the ongoing image of baseball . Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees remains an obstacle in how many now view the game and its legitimacy. Of the thirteen players named in baseball`s case, embroiling them in the Biogenesis ` scandal` . It is Rodriguez, who remains the lone holdout, in not wishing to accept a suspension for his alleged involvement violating the league`s performance enhancing drug policy. The player continues to plead his innocence, of all of the allegations made against him. Meanwhile, the Yankees` organization , obviously embarrassed, remain at a loss as how best to resolve the matter, while not seeking add to their financial burden concerning the now beleaguered third baseman .

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In the latest turn of events Alex Rodriguez has hired one of New York city`s most prominent criminal defense attorneys , Joe Tacopina , to be a part of his legal defense team to defend him in his upcoming appeal , which will be a tribunal appeal held in front of an independent arbitrator. Now while this is not a criminal trial , each side will be allowed to present their case to the arbitrator , whose decision will be final and binding . Rodriguez, is unlikely to take the stand in his defense, with his attorneys presenting their case, on behalf of their client. Tony Bosch, founder of Biogenesis will be the main witness on behalf of baseball (MLB) in the presentation of their case against the player.

Now dependent upon what you might read into the addition of Joe Tacopina to Rodriguez`s legal defense arsenal. The presumption of guilt, must be weighing heavily against the player , in which he has now added a criminal defense attorney to an already heavy-hitting legal team made up of several high-profiled litigators. . At stake, is not only Alex Rodriguez`s livelihood, but also, his very future within the game. If the league`s case is upheld , then in all likelihood Rodriguez`s career in baseball would most certainly come to an abrupt end . There is no way that any team within the game is likely to sign the player, were he made to sit out the entire 2014 baseball season, as well several games into 2015. Two hundred and eleven games, were meant to be the sum total of the player`s suspension, that would cost him in excess of $36.5 million in lost income, by way of his salary over the time frame in question . Sitting out an entire year and then seeking to make a return adds insult to injury given the fact that Frederic Horowitz , the adjudicator presiding over the case sees Alex Rodriguez`s act as one of premeditation as well , as his ongoing deceit.

As the game`s highest paid player , Alex Rodriguez has been lucky enough to have signed two multi-year deals, paying him on each occasion in excess of $250 million . The two teams involved in both of these transactions were the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers . This season, it must be said, that the Rangers do seem to be faring a great deal better than their AL East counterparts. And though as of late , with Alfonso Soriano is having exceptional two-game stretch , where he has been more productive for the New York Yankees , than he was, in his previous fifteen games for the Chicago Cubs , from whom he was acquired earlier on this month . Rodriguez is trying to up the ante , in terms of his value to the Yankees, as he seeks to resume what has been an extremely controversial and troubled career over the nine years .

In March of 2010 , Alex Rodriguez admitted his use of performance enhancing drugs, after years of denial to the press and MLB hierarchy alike. The fact that since that admission of guilt, the player`s name has been twice associated with the use of a prohibitive and banned substance , but not until 2013 , has Bud Selig seen fit to take direction action against the player , in spite of the mounting evidence and his continued denials over that time. What has also been very troubling during this whole comical saga mishandled by Major League Baseball, has been the very fact that the commissioner did not seek to expedite a speedy tribunal hearing. Instead, it has been Rodriguez seeking the input of the MLBPA (union) , who having filed the player`s appeal , will also assist him in his defense.

I get the feeling that the Players` Union, seems to be more concerned with their members, than it is for the purity of the game . In our midst at present, I do believe that we now have the most despised player within the game of baseball ! Rodriguez , may well seek to use whatever excuse, to placate himself from another calculated misstep , that has now seen him fall from grace for a second time within four years. Major League Baseball, for its part , allows the player continue with his career pending the appeal process. If the player is found guilty , then the question becomes, results obtained by the New York Yankees during the formal announcement of the player`s suspension up until the time of arbitrator`s verdict , will they be allowed to stand , if it has somehow cost a potential AL wildcard aspirant a chance of making the postseason ? Those opponents should have every right to feel aggrieved that Alex Rodriguez has been allowed to play.

A preliminary appeal date for Alex Rodriguez` hearing has been not been set , and all likelihood the appeal`s process is unlikely to begin until after the end of the regular season and quite possibly not until after this year`s World Series. Very much in line with what the player no doubt set out to achieve in getting a chance to play in the postseason and being able to contribute to the Yankees` endeavors ,should the team actually make it that far. The Yankees` third baseman , has tried to set himself apart from many of his peers. As a teammate , who is always willing to help the younger members of the team and assist them in any way possible. Yet, the facts do not seem to bear this out , and if the rumors are to believed , his relationships with a number of Yankees` players is said to be strained and often lukewarm. Clearly the relationship between Alex Rodriguez and general manager Brian Cashman must now be at an all-time low . The most recent dust-up between the two, led to an unsavory incident that made the sports` pages of every major newspaper in New York city , with the player being made the villain of the piece, and being castigated by many of the journalists and op-ed contributors, as well as by many of the sports` fans, who sought weigh in with their own opinion of the latest scandal to hit the New York Yankees` organization , further tarnishing its image.

Courtesy of CBS Sports.com

Weiner: A-Rod’s appeal won’t be done until season is over

By Dayn Perry, Baseball Writer

More A-Rod: A-Rod, 12 others suspended | Heyman: A-Rod to appeal | Impact on Yanks

As noted, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez intends to appeal his 211-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, and he’ll remain on the active roster and eligible to play until his appeal is heard and ruled upon.

And that brings us to this comment from MLBPA head Michael Weiner :

There’s a very clear implication here, and the implication is that A-Rod will play the entire remainder of the 2013 season. That’s significant, of course, because the Yankees are in the playoff race, and A-Rod, even at age 38 and with two surgically repaired hips, has the potential to give them a substantial upgrade at third base.

As CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman noted earlier on Monday, the time-frame of the appeals process is as follows:

The evidence is said to suggest Rodriguez bought or used steroids in 2010, ’11 and ’12. However, all of it will be heard at a hearing certainly within 20 days; the JDA actually calls for the “panel to convene a hearing as soon as practicable and, absent good cause show, no later than 10 days after grievance is filed.” With only one case presumably to be heard, perhaps the hearing could be expedited.

Baseball’s arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz, will then have 25 days to render a verdict.

And by the sounds of things, you can certainly expect A-Rod’s appeal to be a vigorous one. First, here’s A-Rod’s official statement:

“I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process. I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side through all this.”

And now here’s Weiner’s:

“We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously. We must revisit the JDA’s confidentiality provisions and consider implementing stricter rules for any breach.”

And finally, A-Rod’s attorney, David Cornwell :

“It is regrettable that the Commissioner’s office has taken this unprecedented action. Major League Baseball has gone well beyond the authority granted to its Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement. Consequently, we will appeal the discipline and pursue all legal remedies available to Alex.”

For the time being, get used to seeing A-Rod in the Yankee lineup.

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At 62-58 , currently lying fourth within the within the AL East , the New York Yankees are nine games behind division leaders the Boston Red Sox (72-50) and a . mere six games behind the two leading wildcard seeking candidates within the AL, who are the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A`s . Yet the ball-club would also have to leapfrog the other three teams also seeking one of the two available berths. And given the play of the Baltimore Orioles , Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals , this could prove to be too tall a task to ask of the New York Yankees. And that is in spite of the latest chain of events concerning the inspired play of Alfonso Soriano. . On Thursday, in the final game of their trilogy against the Los Angeles Angels , New York would become unglued , going down in an 8-4 loss , in a game marked by a lack of consistent pitching and the sudden silence of the Yankees` offense in terms run production ,albeit that the team collected fifteen hits in the defeat .

With a three game series , set to begin on Friday, against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park , in Boston, the New York Yankees will be looking to old rivalries , while seeking close the gap on the AL East divisional leaders. Taking the mound for the Yankees will be Andy Pettite (7-9,ERA 4.62) against Felix Doubront (8-5, ERA 3.66). The New York Yankees do need to win this series, if they are to have any hope of narrowing the margin between themselves and the teams ahead of them in the wildcard standings. I do not believe that the divisional title is within their grasp and with the Orioles and Rays seemingly with a tight grip on their places within the AL East . It now becomes game, of which team is now liable to crack under pressure , as we approach the final month of the regular season schedule .

With the career of Derek Jeter now winding down , the very public face of this Yankees` franchise will now become a vacuum . Certainly, Alex Rodriguez cannot fill that role , albeit that he was looked upon by team`s owners as being the individual to become the heir-apparent to Jeter in that role . Add in the fact that if Rodriguez while an active player on the roster were to break the all-time career home run record , of which he now leads all active players in that specific category . It would simply add one more feather in the cap of baseball`s most illustrious franchise . That now seems to be something of a remote possibility and if anything, a feat that would be looked upon rather dubiously , dubiously, given that the current holder of baseball`s most heralded record remains a pariah within the game.

Barry Bonds` departure from baseball was looked upon as a blessing and a curse , because a Pandora`s Box was opened up to a seedier side of the game , that not even Bud Selig can now close with any measure of success. Any thought that the game of baseball has been able to clean up its image in terms of two tainted decades of rampant cheating, can now firmly be placed alongside the Black Sox scandal as one of the most self-destructive periods and things to have happened in the game`s history. The remnants of the Biogenesis debacle will remain with baseball for years to come and will not be easily forgotten, because of the deceit , and depth of depravity shown by the players embroiled in this controversial chapter of baseball history . Revisionists will seek to rewrite this episode, as being something of a faded memory. Yet, records will show how rampant an epidemic, the use of performance enhancing drugs had become, along with the names associated with the scandal .

Robinson Cano remains a fan favorite amongst the New York Yankees` fans , and with very good reason . The player embodies what the franchise is said to be about, in terms of the players steeped in tradition long associated with the history of ball-club. However, with Cano set to become a free agent at the end of this season , there now seems to doubts setting in, as to whether or not he will remain with the only organization he has ever played for in the Big Leagues. The six-year , $57 million deal, signed by Robinson Cano in 2008, comes to an end this season. There now seems to be a growing reluctance by Brian Cashman to sign the player to a multi-year deal that would most certainly make him amongst a the highest paid players on the New York Yankees` roster. Now represented by RocNation Sports , a company founded by rapper and entrepreneur Jay-z in conjunction with CAA Sports . Cano is the highest profiled athlete signed to the artist`s fledgling sports management company, and now looking g to make inroads in all four of the major professional team sports, as well pursuing acquiring fighters within the UFC as well as boxing. The rapper also known as Sean Carter , would like nothing better than to have his client sign a deal that would not leave an imprint of his success in this new endeavor , but also garner further attention for RocNation Sports, with the hope of luring other dissatisfied athletes to his company .

The New York Yankees certainly do need Robinson Cano , with an injury riddled and an aging roster, no longer what it once was. Losing Cano to free agency would be a devastating blow for the organization. A career . 308 hitter , Robinson Cano and his representatives know that there would be a willing number of suitors looking to pay for his unique services. It would not be out of the realm of possibility that the player could sign with another team willing to acquire him at the right price . With the vast resources available to the New York Yankees , a decision will have to be made quickly, during the off-season . Because there is no doubt in mind, that Jay-Z will have begun to shop around his client`s services the moment he becomes an unrestricted free agent. A seven or ten-year contract, for no less an asking price of between $220 million to $245 million, does not seem out of the question or truly exorbitant, given the payrolls of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, respectively. Yet, it has been baseball`s unwillingness to deal with its financial imbalances , that now seems to be leading it even closer to a precipice , where in due course, it will undoubtedly take that foreseen plunge over the edge .

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In light of what you have read in this article, do you believe that any decision rendered by the arbitrator presiding over Alex Rodriguez`s appeal will be the right verdict ? Or are you of the opinion that baseball`s continued failure to be proactive and have more even more oversight in the monitoring and testing of the players for performance has been a monumental and miserable failure , even with the advent of this latest scandal ? Should the New York Yankees miss the postseason , who should bear the brunt of the responsibility for the team`s failure this season , Alex Rodriguez , Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman ? Finally, were Robinson Cano to leave the Yankees` organization as an unrestricted free agent, would it matter at all to you where he ultimately landed ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in New York.. In another turn of events , it is being claimed that the player or a member from his inner circle leaked information that implicated both Ryan Braun and his Yankees` teammate Francisco Cervelli in the Biogenesis scandal . The claims are made in a soon to be seen episode of the CBS news magazine program ` 60 Minutes ` but was first revealed in print by Yahoo Sports . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(2) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference following baseball meetings at the Otesaga Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. AP Photo/Mike Groll …

(3) New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart (19) congratulates left fielder Alfonso Soriano after the Yankees’ 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in a baseball game , Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, in New York. Soriano had seven RBIs in the game. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig checks his watch before a news conference following baseball meetings at the Otesaga Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz stands at right. With the league hierarchy and owners coming to an agreement that instant replay will now become more widely used within the game in 2014 , it now remains to be seen how and when the hierarchy, will also reach a compromise, as to a more stringent form of testing, for performance enhancing drugs with even more oversight. The commissioner at present, seems noncommittal on that lone issue , still insisting that baseball does have the most stringent testing protocols of the four major professional team sports . AP Photo/Mike Groll ….

(5) Defense attorney Joseph Tacopina shows a video as address the jurors during closing arguments in the fatal boat crash trial. Anthony DiGilio the boater accused of killing another boater and injuring two others in on trial in Toms River. DiGilio, a 33-year-old construction worker and electrician, is accused of speeding and then fleeing the scene of the accident. Charged with one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of death by vessel, DiGilio faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Friday April 19, 2013 . Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger ….

(6) Robinson Cano , left, of the New York Yankees is seen here signing an agreement with rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z , founder of RocNation Sports , The full consultancy and sports` management company now represents the player after he fired his former agent Scott Boras . In recent months the entrepreneur and businessman has been busy in building his stable of sports` clients, having added the WNBA`s Skylar Diggins , Geno Smith , quarterback for the New York Jets and Seth Jones of the NHL`s Nashville Predators . Getty Images / Aaron Curry ….
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Wendy Fiore . Always seeking to make your day feel a great deal better ..

The more things change , the more they remain the same

The more things change , the more they remain the same

By Tophatal

In what some might consider to be an exceptional season in baseball , in the space of 24 hours , it has been turned upside down , on its head . Seattle Mariners’ starting pitcher , Felix Hernandez pitched a perfect game on the way the a thrilling 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays . And for the Rays as a franchise this has been the third such time that the ball-club has been on the wrong side of such an event . This was the “third perfect game pitched of the season and the twenty-fourth in baseball history (MLB).

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In light of this all, it certainly doesn’t improve the situation of the Seattle Mariners and their present standing in the AL West , as that now appears to be a forlorn situation, in terms of their having any say in the determining, in the outcome within the division. For Joe Maddon and his coaching staff , it is now back to the drawing board to decide how and why things went so wrong . Coming into this game , the Rays had been winners of eight of their last ten games and with the pitching staff simply being exemplary . Now, it is the offense that has been found wanting , and for all of the talk of the welcomed return of Evan Longoria from the DL . If the team is to be solely reliant upon reliant upon to provide a “ much-needed “ spark when things go awry , then their chances over the remainder of the season will indeed become grim.

Courtesy of USA Today

Cabrera suspension latest chapter in baseball doping

By Jorge L. Ortiz , USA Today

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, who are battling for first place in the National League West, close out the season against each other in what could be a classic down-to-the-wire playoff chase.

Cabrera’s storybook season, highlighted by his MVP turn in the All-Star Game, ended abruptly Wednesday when Major League Baseball announced he had been suspended for 50 games after testing positive for testosterone, a performance-enhancing drug.
PHOTOS : Notable MLB suspensions for PED use

MORE: Column: Victor Conte says Cabrera far from alone

The ban, which would extend through the first five games of the postseason if the Giants get that far, removed a key contributor from the middle of a lineup that ranked eighth in the NL in runs.

For baseball, the suspension sent shock waves through a sport just getting over the bad taste left by the Ryan Braun case. The Milwaukee Brewers left fielder and reigning NL MVP tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in October but had his suspension overturned on appeal on a chain-of-custody issue.

“It’s bittersweet, but it sends a strong message to all athletes at every level that just because you’re the MVP of the All-Star Game doesn’t mean you’re above the rules,” said Travis Tygart, CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

That message probably wasn’t much consolation to Giants fans, who had embraced Cabrera in his first season with the club as he rose from career journeyman to stardom. Cabrera, 28, was leading the majors with 159 hits while batting .346 with 11 homers and 60 RBI, thrusting himself into the discussion of league MVP candidates.

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It remains a constant struggle for the Tampa Bay Rays to maintain a level of consistency , and it could well be the determining factor how they fare between now and the end of the regular season . The team now goes into a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels (61-55), whose season so far has been truly sensational. Any thoughts that Mike Trout would simply be a flash in the pan can now be quickly dispelled , as the young twenty-year old rookie sets the AL alight . The young rookie sensation along with the recent form of Albert Pujols , are one of the primary reasons why the Angels have been able to maintain a serious challenge to the division leading Texas Rangers (67-49). And that divisional race now seems all the more imperative with the Oakland A’s (61-55) now being added into the mix . The “Cardiac Kids” of Oakland , have found differing ways of eking out a victory when all seemed lost .

As the Tampa Bay Rays enter into their four-game series against the Angels , it should be noted that these two highly competitive teams have a common thread as the Rays’ manager , Joe Maddon , was once a bench coach under Mike Sciocsia , the current manager of the Los Angeles Angels. Furthermore , it was Sciocsia along with team owner , Arte Moreno , who gave the move their blessing, when Andrew Friedman , general manager of the Rays, came calling to assess Maddon’s interest in succeeding Lou Piniella . Maddon’s success with the Rays can be attributed to the years serving alongside Mike Sciocsia . The Rays’ manager may well micromanage this team to the nth degree but those little foibles and intricacies seem to work for the players . It is when they tend to stray from Joe Maddon’s doctrine that things start to go awry . The upcoming quartet of games against the Angels should tell us a great deal about the presumable direction that the team may well be heading in. On the mound today for the Rays will be David Price (15-8, 2.50 ERA) , as he takes on Dan Haren (8-9 , 4.68 ERA) . The season series’ match-up between the two teams , sees the Rays currently holding 5-l lead in the series , with these four games being the culmination of their year-long series. Filling out the rotation of Rays’ pitchers in the series will be James Shields (10-7,4.02 ERA) taking on Jered Weaver (15-2, 2.22 ERA ) , Alex Cobb (7-8,4.08 ERA) facing C J Wilson (9-9, 3.32 ERA ) and Matt Moore (9-7, 3..60 ERA) opposing Zack Greinke (1-1 , 5.54 ERA) .

If Joe Maddon’s players can come away with 3-1 , 2-2 series’ split , it would certainly be better than a series’ loss against the Angels . The team would then face the Kansas City Royals , in Kansas City, Missouri , for three games before meeting the Oakland A’s for another three-game set . The month of August would be rounded out with two series against the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays .

So baseball’s drug policy has nabbed another individual ? Well, this time around , the culprit just happens to be Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants . It’s not so much the surprise of another playing being caught , it is simply in this case , the profile of the individual in question . Cabrera , is one of the leading reasons why the Giants were able to supplant the Los Angeles Dodgers in NL West standings over the past week . Now with this latest “black eye” for the game the hierarchy can say “ we are catching the cheaters” ___ but we ought to bear in mind last season’s claims by Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy . If one recalls , Ryan Braun was found to have tested positive for a banned stimulant , for which the player believes he had an entirely feasible explanation . That asides , what segued into baseball’s countenance , that they were finally catching up to the steroid abusers , has now turned into an embarrassing tour-de-force for Major League Baseball. So much so , that any remote credibility or minutiae of integrity to be had , are now long gone !.

With the mandatory 50 game first-time suspension as warranted by the league of Melky Cabrera , will likely see a the Giants’ season be somewhat curtailed given the magnitude of the player’s contributions to the team this season . For the moment , it would appear unlikely that the player will be lodging a formal appeal through the MLBPA (Players’ Union) that would see the player’s reinstatement pending a formal hearing through an arbitrator. This might be one road down which MLB does not wish to go , given the absurdity of what took place as the evidence gathered by the league against Ryan Braun in 2011, was thrown out on a technicality because of a failure in following proper procedural protocols in the customary storing of Braun’s test samples . The Milwaukee Brewers’ All Star slugger felt vindicated by the decision of the arbitrator Shyam Das . What was then even more asinine, just happened to be infantile behavior of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred in challenging not only the decision of Das but their having the temerity to suggest that he did not follow the rule of law. Bud Selig and Rob Manfred cannot comprehend the technicalities of legal jurisprudence much less understand would not have stood , had the testing facility not made such a monumental mistake . Take it for what it is , the moment Selig renders a statement about anything his sphere of influence, then you know it is time for this asshole to shut the f##k up !

For Bruce Bochy and Cabrera’s teammates , this suspension could not have come at a worst time. The San Francisco Giants have surrendered back the lead of the NL West to the Los Angeles Dodgers and begs the question as to whether or not Giants are still capable of coming away with the divisional title with the loss of Melky Cabrera ? Certainly , while the player was deemed an integral part of the roster you give the team a chance against their divisional and instate rivals . Now , perhaps not but that would have to be solely predicated upon the San Francisco Giants being able to raise the level of their play. At this juncture, a betting man would likely favor the Dodgers under such a scenario.

If the San Francisco Giants are to now have any chance of now catching the Los Angeles Dodgers , then any subsequent games between these two teams will now mean a great deal more , given what it is at stake . With the highly competitive divisions of the NL and beyond division to be won , a second place within the NL West could still quite possibly garner a wildcard berth that would ultimately lead to the divisional rounds of the postseason . In the inaugural year of the new expanded format for the playoff , Major League Baseball seeks to make 2012 one of the more memorable years within the game’s history .

It would be easy to surmise Melky Cabrera might look to be reinstated but what would that seek to prove at this juncture ? The players know the rules but so often as we have come within sports in general , the athletes believe themselves to be not only above the rules of the game but also above the “rule of law” . There are two rules of thought here to be had , cheat and you don’t caught then it is fine. However , if you do get caught be prepared to accept your punishment , that is unless you can get an attorney who can simply run rings around baseball’s hierarchy .

Trust the front office of an organization to summarily give its manager “ the kiss of death” . Pretty much a given , as the Boston Red Sox have said that they will steadfastly stand by their beleaguered manager . Managing senior partner, John Henry , minority stakeholder Tom Werner , in conjunction with GM Ben Cherington and team President Larry Lucchino have all categorically stated that the team’s manager Bobby Valentine has their full backing . If the rumors are to be believed ,when a meeting took place in Manhattan , wherein , senior members of the playing staff met Lucchino , Cherington and Henry to voice their disapproval in the way with which Valentine has handled the roster this season. The Red Sox have been mind numbingly atrocious this season and when you factor in the team’s $173.2 million payroll there has to be cause for concern . Rightly or wrongly, you can question whether or not the players should be held accountable for the ball-club’s woes but at the same time the manager’s contributions have been negligible overall. So much so, that when you have seasoned veterans such as Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez questioning Valentine’s managerial approach there has to be some justification in their voicing their concerns.

Pedroia has since backed off some of the statements attributed to the him , however , I get the feeling that the former AL MVP player’s dissent is shared amongst his teammates ! Bobby Valentine has done himself no favors with his lackluster efforts in guiding the Red Sox to a 57-60 record within the AL East . That mark by the team sees them seated in third place within the always contentious division . Given the legacy of the Boston Red Sox , as one of the more famed franchises in all of baseball , anything short of making the postseason has to be looked upon as a failure for a ball-club of its size and fan-base. Fenway Park, as one of the more fabled ballparks within the game has witnessed the fans this season not just booing the owners but if anything their most heated attacks have been directed at the manager , himself .

For his part Bobby Valentine has been nondescript and it is my belief that he did not truly appreciate the pressure under which he would be placed when he accepted the managerial role and to serve in that capacity. If the adage is , you are only good as your last job and the success achieved there . Then my question for Ben Cherington would be ——- “why hire a manager who has been away from a managerial role for almost a decade “ ? Surely there must have been far more suitable candidates for the position ? Or was it, as it now appears to be , that this hire was done as an act of capriciousness , putting style over substance ? What thoughts if any do you on that premise ?

There is still a great deal to play for as the season meanders towards its regular finality on the 3rd October , but between now and then , let the chips fall where they may, and then after, we can assess how things have gone.

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Picture gallery.

Are you at all surprised by the recent turn of events within the game ? And as things now stand what if anything are you now most looking forward to as the regular season moves towards a finality ?

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Picture and slide show gallery details below.
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Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez is congratulated by teammate Justin Smoak, right, after throwing a perfect game to end the ninth inning of baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, in Seattle. The Mariners won 1-0 . AP Photo/Ted S. Warren …

(2) Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez is mobbed by teammates, including catcher John Jaso, after he threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, in a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, in Seattle. The Mariners won 1-0. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren …

(3) SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 15: Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners waves to the crowd after throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field on August 15, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images ….

(4) FILE – This June 5, 2012 file photo shows San Francisco Giants’ Melky Cabrera reacting after striking out during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego. Cabrera has been suspended for 50 games without pay after testing positive for testosterone. The commissioner’s office says the suspension is effective immediately. Major League Baseball said on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, that Cabrera tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance, which violates MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi ….

(5) BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 15: Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine argues with home plate umpire Mike Everitt after Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox was ejected in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles would defeat the Red Sox 5-3 . Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …

(6) BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 15: Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is thrown out of the game by home plate umpire Mike Everitt during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

(7) Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, right, talks with, from left, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and first base coach Alex Ochoa in the dugout before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in Baltimore. AP Photo/Nick Wass ….

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, right, talks with, from left, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and first base coach Alex Ochoa in the dugout before a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

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Where’s A Lawyer When You Need One ? Well , A Competent One At Least !

Where’s A Lawyer When You Need One ? Well , A Competent One At Least !

By tophatal ………… 06/18/2012

So after two needless trials , prosecuted by the US Justice Department , t; the taxpayer is left holding the bag for the millions of dollars wasted as the government’s case against seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens came crashing down around the attorneys’ ears . Needless to say , with Clemens being found not guilty his being acquitted on all thirteen counts that the federal government indicted the defendant on , it now leaves the public questioning the veracity of the cases that the attorneys seek to prosecute . Especially , where it concerns an athlete , specifically those within the world of baseball. We should remember that another of Clemens’ peers , the now disgraced Barry Bonds having been found guilty on the lesser of eight charges in his original eight-count indictment still awaits sentencing after his guilty verdict . Both Clemens , and Bonds were indicted primarily upon the premise of their testimony to law enforcement officers and the fact both were mentioned in the now “infamous” Mitchell Report ” .

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Clemens may now feel vindicated by this verdict and the very fact his legal counsel led by Rusty Hardin and Michael Attanasio were very tenacious in the representation of their client . They were able to poke gaping holes in the prosecution’s case and the very fact that the reliability of the testimony of Andy Pettite , former teammate of Clemens came into question . Pettite would claim that he may well have misunderstood a conversation that he had with his former Yankees’ teammate , in which Clemens stated he may or may not have used a banned substance . Either , their conversation gravitated towards the use of steroids or it did not . There are no in-between in terms of the discussion of using steroids . Yet , here we had have Pettite stating in essence , he may well have overstated his original conversation with Roger Clemens . Now , add in the circumstantial evidence and testimony of Clemens’ former strength trainer Brian McNamee and you had a case now sliding into an abyss in terms of its veracity . McNamee ‘s integrity repeatedly came into question , having been subpoenaed and testifying under oath to two congressional committees . The House Energy & Commerce Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee his sworn testimony was simply one filled falsehoods and half-truths . Brian McNamee lied to the congressional committee members as well as to investigators from the FBI , so I can only surmise that in lieu of the testimony the Justice Department , the witness had an agreement with the prosecuting attorneys that he would not be prosecuted by way self-incrimination.

Courtesy of Associated Press (AP) & Yahoo Sports

Clemens acquittal latest blow for sports cases

By Frederic J. Fromer , Joseph White and Pete Yost Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) Barry Bonds. Guilty on a technicality. At least that’s how much of the public sees it. It’s all that came out of a seven-year investigation into baseball’s home run king.

Lance Armstrong. Not even prosecuted. A two-year, multi-continent investigation brought to a close this year with no charges filed.

Now Roger Clemens. Acquitted on all counts. A five-year investigation ended with the top pitcher of his generation celebrating with family hugs inside the courtroom.

After three expensive failures, the government is done, it seems, with the business of pursuing high-profile cases of drugs-in-sports – with a track record not worth bragging about.

”It was a tremendous waste of federal resources,” said Stanley Brand, a long-time Washington defense attorney who was counsel to the House of Representatives from 1976 to 1983. ”The juries that acquitted these people weren’t persuaded by any of this. That’s the man on the street.”

With the government striking out yet again, the policing of drugs in sports now falls to other entities. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency filed formal accusations last week against Armstrong that could strip the cyclist of his seven Tour de France victories. Armstrong denies any doping.

Clemens, 49, was acquitted Monday on all six counts that he lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs. The government had been pursuing him since 2007, when he was first mentioned in the Mitchell Report on drug use in baseball, and he famously and vehemently disavowed any link to steroids and human growth hormone at a nationally televised hearing in 2008.

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As for the forensic technicians and pathologists, who would be providing succinct detailed information in order to assist the jury in their deliberations but specifically those working in conjunction with the prosecution . It may well have been the details provided were simply too flawed . Certainly, McNamee’s own testimony, as he gathered blooded syringes and gauzes that contained Clemens’ DNA . These specimens were stored in a used soda can, then placed in a refrigerator, and turned over to the federal prosecutors. . Now unless I am mistaken either the US District Attorneys presenting the government’s case are novices or they obtained law degrees from an offshore non-accredited educational establishment . How in God’s name , could the attorneys have felt that they present the premise of tainted blooded specimens , would be a veritable way of stating the state’s case was simply beyond me . This prosecution was a cluster-fuck from start to finish , and anyone who thinks otherwise has to be a complete frigging simpleton ! Rusty Harden stymied the prosecution’s attempt with regard to Brian McNamee’s testimony by calling McNamee’s ex-wife , retired schoolteacher Eileen McNamee , whose testimony painted her ex -husband as an individual who simply cannot be trusted to tell the truth under any circumstance . And McNamee under cross-examination , first by Rusty Hardin and then by Harden’s associate Mark Attanasio showed the prosecution’s chief witness to be fallible and unable to recollect certain actions that followed a chronological timeline that matched the chain of events he first gave under sworn testimony . If that was not a harbinger of things to come and why the Justice Department’s case went up in flames for a second time . Then, it shows how complacent the attorneys were , and how they grossly mishandled the judicious prosecution of this less than compelling case. Is there a ham sandwich that these assholes could possibly indict ?

How the MLB hierarchy now views this as well as the writers of the BBWAA , who are the arbiters for the Baseball Hall of Fame and who have the final say on the player’s eligibility and enshrinement . It now has me now asking , is there a possibility Clemens gets his wish after-all in being enshrined in the Hall of Fame ? . Vindication or not , Roger Clemens to my mind faces an uphill battle as he seeks his enshrinement in the game’s most hallowed edifice . None of his philanthropic efforts and social deeds will change the public’s perception of Clemens. This whole episode has left a vast blemish on the game of baseball and certainly Bud Selig for all of his idiocy as the commissioner has stayed as far away from this drama as one would avoid a piece of fecal matter on the ground . The commissioner to my mind still remains the worst of all of the individuals to have held the game’s highest executive position ! There are those who still support Selig fully after his two decades in office as the commissioner of baseball . He still remains the consummate buffoon , and to comprehend that , one simply has look at his actions in the aftermath of the overturning of Ryan Braun’s 50 game suspension by an arbitrator (Shyam Das) . The player was said to have violated the league’s substance abuse policy but when details came to the fore , that the testing facility that handled Braun’s specimen did not follow the proper and stringent protocols as laid out by baseball’s hierarchy. We had Bud Selig and a subordinate Rob Manfred claiming that Shyam Das failed to follow the rule of law in rendering a verdict .

Unless I am mistaken , but Selig’s knowledge of the law , ranks somewhere alongside his business acumen and the fact that his dumb ass was oblivious to nefarious and egregious actions of Frank McCourt as the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Somehow , fans are all too quick to forget that in 2011 for two consecutive months , it happened to be the MLB hierarchy , with the owners’ approval , who had to “ foot the bill” and pay the salaries of the players as well as meet other discretionary monetary expenditures for the once beleaguered franchise . So much of this has been overlooked , with Dodgers having been sold to a consortium led by Magic Johnson , Stan Kasten , Peter Guber , Mark Walter and Todd S Boehly of asset management firm Guggenheim Partners LLC . That extortionate price of $2.15 billion may not be viewed as too steep a price to pay but the value of the teams within baseball having risen exponentially , faster than the rate of inflation . One can well understand why there might now be several team owners around the game who are licking their lips with a great deal of avarice . John Moores , as the senior managing partner of the San Diego Padres would like nothing better than to sell his majority stake in the franchise for a sizable profit .

With USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) now seeking to indict seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong , it now appears that Eric Holder’s office will now get one more bite of the apple in seeking to indict another renowned athlete . And that is dependent upon whether or not the USADA seeks to work in conjunction with the US Justice Department in the prosecution of this impending case . From my own perspective I find cycling to be one monotonous bore with its governing body UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) simply chasing their own tail for over a decade as they try to clean up their sport . Never mind the fact that the Summer’s two most important events as it relates to the sport are but a few months away with the 2012 Tour de France and Summer Olympics in London with the time trials and the prestigious road races for both the men and women at the Olympic Games . The stain of shame has yet to hit the women’s events . With former contestants in cycling’s most famous race , Alberto Contador , Floyd Landis and now Armstrong having to defend their honor . Well , let us just say , whether or not Lance Armstrong chooses to defend himself against the allegations now being leveled against him . It will be interesting to see the stance that will be taken by the seven-time champion. Armstrong has always fervently denied any wrongdoing on his part , and has always pointed to the fact that has never tested positive for any banned substance while in competition over the course of his professional career. In light of this there has been growing suspicion of the cyclist as well as his former team manager Johan Bruyneel , as well as a number of his former teammates . Landis , a former Armstrong teammate , himself, a former winner of the Tour de France , was stripped of the title after it was discovered that he used EPO (erythropoietin) and a number of illicit substances on his way to that “ now infamous “ and tarnished victory . Floyd Landis has maintained that Armstrong was part of a cabal of cyclists under the tutelage of Bruyneel that used steroids and other illicit substances to boost their endurance levels . In addition , to backing up Landis’ claims were those Tyler Hamilton , who in a sworn affidavit detailed his use of EPO and the fact that he and Armstrong shared a strict regimen in the use of steroids as well as the aforementioned blood thinner .

Hamilton has never been the subject of a defamation , slander or libel lawsuit brought about by Lance Armstrong , so it begs the question who should we believe in this instance ? If the multiple Tour de France winner is adamant as to his innocence , it seems somewhat disingenuous on his part that he has not sought to issue a lawsuit against his former teammate . I can only surmise that Armstong’s legal team may well have something to hide while they seek some avenue of tacit defense . As to the jurisprudence , and the very fact that millions of dollars have been wasted on two cases that has shown the US Justice Department to be filled with buffoons ! Eric Holder , the US Attorney General has shown himself to be as incompetent as several members of this President’s …. administration . Somehow , it is beyond the scope of Holder’s office to go after white-collar criminals on Wall St , who almost brought the nation to its’ knees during the financial crisis , and meltdown that has cost the taxpayers countless billions but yet his office has chased after the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens , with little tangible to show for it at all in the end . Barry Bonds who still awaits sentencing , is unlikely to be given a jail sentence but he may well be penalized with a possible sentence of “ house arrest “ along with multiple hours of community service . Is this really how inadequate and idiotic the US Justice System has become , with their being complete incompetency , being shown by attorneys representing the US government and as such the nation ? In doing so , they have made themselves look like complete assholes !

Not one senior financial executive has been indicted in the last four years , for the egregious wrongdoing that has taken place at Goldman Sachs , Citigroup Inc , JP Morgan Chase , AIG , Morgan Stanley Inc , Bank of America Inc and the now defunct Merrill Lynch . Care to take a guess when and if , Eric Holder’s office will ever set their sights on the high-rollers of Wall Street ? Here’s a clue that is not about to happen in the lead up to a prominent election cycle where both Presidential candidates ( Barack Obama & Mitt Romney ) will try to portray themselves as the guardians of the consumers’ interests , while surreptitiously taking the “ tens of millions dollars” that will be donated to their respective campaigns in the upcoming elections . Freedom of speech , my ass ! Money corrupts , and the ingrates on both sides of the political aisle will do whatever it takes to curry favor with demagogues of Wall Street .

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(1) Former all-star baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (C) and his legal team, including attorneys Rusty Hardin (2nd R) and Michael Attanasio (L), leave the Prettyman U.S. Court House after Clemens was found not guilty on 13 counts of perjury and obstruction June 18, 2012 in Washington, DC. The former Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees pitcher’s original trial in 2011 was declared a mistrial after the judge said the prosecution presented inadmissible testimony that prejudiced the jury. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs . Chip Smodevilla / Getty Images …

(2) Former all-star baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (C) and his legal team, including attorneys Rusty Hardin (R) and Michael Attanasio (L), leave the Prettyman U.S. Court House after Clemens was found not guilty on 13 counts of perjury and obstruction June 18, 2012 in Washington, DC. The former Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees pitcher’s original trial in 2011 was declared a mistrial after the judge said the prosecution presented inadmissible testimony that prejudiced the jury. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs. Getty Images North America / Chip Smodevilla

(3) Brian McNamee (L), former major league baseball pitcher Roger Clemens’ former strength coach, leaves after testifying in the perjury and obstruction trial of Clemens on May 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. McNamee says he injected the pitcher multiple times with steroids and HGH . Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images ….

(4) US Federal Court Judge Reggie Walton who presided over the Roger Clemens’ perjury trial often chided the prosecution throughout much of the trial , with regard to evidentiary presentations and also with regard to prosecutorial misconduct . AP Photo / Garth Hayes ….

(5) Lance Armstrong (left) the seven-time Tour de France champion (1998-04) is seen here with his then team manager Johan Bruyneel of the US Postal Cycling team . Bruyneel , himself a former competitive cyclist has always declared and maintained his innocence , in terms of any illicit wrongdoing concerning the teams he has managed and specifically his professional association with Lance Armstrong. Reuters/ AFP/ Gesellschaft Gmbh/ TAG: . ….

(6) From left to right , Tyler Hamilton , Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis . All three riders have come under the web of suspicion by UCI , the governing body of international cycling . But only the now disgraced Landis has been caught “cheating ” . The racer was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title . @ all rights reserved copyrighted material . Luis Barbosa ….

(7) U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (L) addresses an event to launch the U.S. International Strategy for Cyberspace with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (R) and Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building May 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. Foreign ambassadors, technology industry leaders, foreign policy experts, human rights and civil liberties advocates, and leadership from throughout the U.S. Government participated in the event. It has been at Holder’s authority in conjunction with the various heads within his agency who make the decisions to press ahead with a number of trials involving Barry Bonds , Roger Clemens , Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery in recent years. Of the quartet mentioned , only Jones and Montgomery have to date served any time in a federal penitentiary for their crimes . Getty Images North America / Chip Smodevilla ….

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A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

Perhaps no one should be surprised by this at all but NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens while recuperating from knee surgery has seen fit to proffer up some advice to Philadelphia Eagles’ player DeSean Jackson . The Eagles’ running back is in the midst of a contractual dispute with the organization but he has chosen not to become a holdout but herein lies the caveat with regard to the issue . Owens has stated that he believes the Eagles are demeaning Jackson by not meeting the player’s demands. For Terrell Owens , choosing to intercede in this matter simply stirs up emotions long held by the player who felt he was mistreated by the Philadelphia Eagles. If one recollects , the player had a short tenure with the team that made a Superbowl appearance eventually losing (SBXXXIX) to the New England Patriots in the league’s showcase event.

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Owens has always sought to be the center of attention and it certainly goes without saying even with his eponymous VH1 reality show entitled “The TO Show” . Now sorely missing that center stage and no doubt aggrieved that after last season the Cincinnati Bengals chose not to offer the retain the player for this season . The more Owens offers an opinion on any topic with regard to the NFL , the more of an ingrate he’s thought to be by the fans. And the player himself represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus , who still believes that a roster spot will open up for his client . Somehow , given the gravity of his injury , a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right and the time needed to recuperate , it remains a remote possibility that Owens would simply be healthy enough to given be available for an NFL team in the need of a productive veteran wide receiver . Owens’ best years are indeed behind him and at this point of his career even though he craves that final bid to obtain that elusive Superbowl ring , one can’t help but feel that his last shot has gone !

From my own perspective I do believe that Terrell Owens simply cannot stand to be left out in the cold , standing on the sidelines watching many of his peers being productive. No longer considered to amongst the elite at the wide receivers in the league , albeit that the hunger is still there does anyone truly now believe that he has anything else left to offer ? It’s now time for Owens to take his show off the road hang up the cleats and perhaps do something else that gets him the attention he craves ! As to what that might be ……… who the hell knows or simply cares ?

Before the NFL season has even started the biggest story of the year has to be the very fact that Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback Peyton Manning while recuperating from neck surgery may well have undergo a further operation that could very well put the player out for team’s lineup for at least three months . Hardly the situation envisaged by the coaching staff or front office of the Colts’ organization with the loss of the four time league MVP .

The Indianapolis Colts have signed Kerry Collins to be the team’s starting quarterback and with good reason as neither of presumed backups to Peyton Manning have proven to at all productive during the Colts’ preseason schedule . Curtis Painter if anything, has proven that he’s simply not yet ready for the rigors of the NFL or to be viewed as the heir apparent to Manning.

With the loss of Peyton Manning, this now throws the AFC South wide open as to the aspirations for the teams within that division. Certainly the Jacksonville Jaguars , Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans all now feel that they can vie for supremacy and usurp the Colts as the division’s new champion this upcoming season . A loss of this magnitude for the Indianapolis Colts cannot simply be quantified but if you really want to deem a player’s value to a team then look no further than what Manning has meant to this team since he entered the NFL . His record start of 227 consecutive games apart from being a four time league MVP and the active leader in TD’s thrown (399) and yardage amassed ( 54,828) and you can well understand his value to this organization. For team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian this has to be gut wrenching for both executives but no more so than what it must now mean to the
beleaguered Colts’ fans.

One could subscribe to the fact that with all the talk of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft there’s bound to be talk what we should expect from these players this upcoming season . We may well get to learn a great deal about the aspiration of Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Blaine Gabbert , Christian Ponder and Terrelle Pryor as they seek to make a name for themselves in the NFL .

I don’t know about you , but I feel that of all the federal government agencies within President Barack Obama’s administration have shown clear ineptitude but it has been the sheer idiocy shown by the Justice Department overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder that has me perturbed ! His office presented the government’s case against Barry Bonds that over its elongated time-frame swallowed up some $25 million of taxpayers’ money , countless hours of investigative man-hours all to prove that the player committed perjury and was found guilty in the obstruction of justice . Pardon for saying this , but when the government can burn through $25 million like it’s “Monopoly money” it begs the question ……. what type of idiots are there now seated within highest positions of power not just within this administration but also within the Senate and House of Representatives ?

Having been found guilty and then seeking a US Federal Appellate Court ruling to overturn to his verdict which was denied and Barry Bonds now awaits sentencing by the judge who presided over his case. That phase will take place early next year but it is felt that the player may not face any jail time but he could well be placed on probation .

At what point did Roger Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin deem it appropriate for one of his subordinates to confer with the jurors after the player’s trial , that ended with the judge declaring a mistrial ? It has come to our attention that although reasons behind the judge’s decision stemmed from a US Attorney discussing the case with a congress member on camera , we are now finding out that upon that judicial verdict a an defense attorney/ investigator , part of Hardin’s defense team saw fit to question a juror to discern their thoughts on whether or not they thought Clemens guilty of the charges he faced . Amongst the litany of charges faced by the seven time Cy Young winner faced were the obstruction of justice , perjury in lying to a congress member having been sworn under oath to be tell the truth.

The judicial facade of the Clemens’ case has rested upon the player’s staunch belief that he has done nothing wrong . But with the sworn testimony given to the House Oversight Committee by Roger Clemens as well his former teammate Andy Pettite and personal trainer Brian McNamee —— questions still abound as to the player’s veracity and his claims that both McNamee and Pettite have misconstrued his statements. Brian McNamee whose own integrity and character has come into question and his own claims that he supplied his then client as a personal trainer with steroids including HGH as well as numerous prohibitive substances. That asides , this idiotic episode seems to be far from over as countless thousand of dollars of taxpayers’ money will be wasted on a judicial procedure that has made a mockery of the system which has shown the public that ……… justice as we know it , is not equitable for all !

Though I have felt all along had the hierarchy of Major League Baseball (MLB) had the backbone to stand up to the MLBPA (union) we would not be at a point where we still question the integrity of the game itself and the ongoing accomplishments of the players. Instead we’re now having to listen to Commissioner Bud Selig talk about his initiative in seeking divisional realignment and adding to the premise of the playoff system with two extra teams per league for the wildcard berths . At this point , I would like to pose the question to the commissioner at what point will he pull his finger out of his own ass and address the real issues that the game faces in terms of the teams’ financial stability ? Somehow , I don’t believe that Bud Selig or any senior league executive within the MLB head office would be willing to provide us all with the answers we seek .

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(1) Terrell Owens (81) of the Cincinnati Bengals walks off of the field following the Bengals 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-17 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …….

(2) DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before playing against the Baltimore Ravens during their pre season game on August 11, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(3) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning (L) and Kerry Collins #5 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens put on his jacket as he arrives at the U.S. District Court, on August 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Clemens was charged with making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee on his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. Getty Images / Mark Wilson …..

(5) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens (R), walks with his attorney Rusty Hardin (L) as he arrives at the U.S. District Court for the start of his perjury trial July 12, 2011 in Washington, DC. Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Clemens is on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs. The proceedings itself would become null and void after the judge declared a mistrial . Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson …….

(6) Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (4th L) leaves the U.S. District Court after the judge declared a mistrial, on July 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The judge presiding over Clemens’ perjury trial declared a mistrial over statements introduced to the jury by the prosecutor that were not suppose to be heard. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs . Getty Images / Mark Wilson ……….
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MLB probable starters 9th September 2011

I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

Well week four is finally over and the NFL teams and their respective staffs have to deliberate which players will be cut in order for the rosters to have the league mandated 53 members per franchise. As this process takes place at the same time a number of players have been richly rewarded by their respective ball-clubs. Michael Vick has now become the latest member join the tier of those in the $100 million contract fraternity . Few players within the NFL are as athletic as the quarterback or as electrifying, and it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office feels justified in rewarding the player so handsomely , albeit that $40 million is said to be guaranteed money. That simply won’t matter because the residual effect will be for Vick and his agent to negotiate what’s hoped will be several multi-year multi million dollar endorsement contracts that will leave the Eagles’ player set for life .

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Perhaps I was simply mistaken but the team owners of the NFL simply pled poverty as to their financial plight during the alleged labor stoppage that lasted some 145 days . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , chief legal counsel Jeff Pash and the hierarchy’s chief labor negotiator Adolphus Birch all led the way in the league’s negotiations with the NFLPA and its executive committee . The union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith stood firm but only acquiesced after the league gave up several concessions but perhaps the one concession that the fans did not expect was the very fact that during the regular season the league will be allowed to test the players for HGH ( human growth horomone) during regular season . Invasion privacy or not , the union knew that it had to fall into line and not be seen as the sport where their muscle bound specimens might misjudged for all of the wrong reasons . Granted , Major League Baseball still seems to be in denial as it relates to this issue and the fact that the MLBPA (union) has the game’s hierarchy cowering in a corner like a cat with its tail on fire . But in reality the less said about this topic within the realms of the sport it’s simply better abruptly end discussing the matter as neither the league or its players would clearly want to broach this topic.

If there was one thing that was clear Michael Vick simply proved himself last season for the Eagles and the team was simply better for it during the regular season . Now even with the additions made to the roster by way of the draft and off-season moves the Philadelphia Eagles may well be seen as the presumptive favorites within the NFC to make it to the Superbowl . That may well change over the course of the season for Andy Reid and his coaching staff as the team will almost certainly go through its version of highs and lows .

The next quarterback presumed to be joining the ranks of the $100 million club could very well be the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees . No one can deny that Brees at his very best should not be mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers . All Superbowl winning quarterbacks , Superbowl MVP’s and at some after the end of their careers , all may well headed on their way to the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio. .

Brees and the Saints’ owner Tom Benson are fully aware as to what each party means to the other. The player is seen as the face of the franchise and the quarterback is beloved by the fans in the Crescent City and that feeling is reciprocated by the player. Sean Payton knows that this will be a testing schedule for his players and that if they are to prevail in what is clearly a very competitive NFC South division , we could very well be in for some very entertaining football from all of the residents there.

Calmer heads prevailed , as Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson got what he wanted , which was an extended contract . Either Bud Adams is that much of an idiot by initially insisting that the player would have to honor his existing contract or he was of the opinion that Johnson would not somehow not make idile of his threat to sit out the entire Titans’ regular season schedule . It is clear that this was the resolution that all parties had hoped for Chris Johnson being handsomely rewarded with a four year contract extenstion worth $53 million of which $30 million is guaranteed . The NFL players’ salaries become all the more baffling as the players and their agents simply are laughing all the way to the bank. I am not so at this juncture it’s still plausible for the team owners or general managers or for that matter Roger Goodell to continue with their original stance ! Nothing says ……… we’re so full of it than to continue to plead poverty while teams are said to be ignorant of that first relayed facade.

With Chris Johnson having received his contract extension now comes the thought that Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson will seek an increase in salary . And as productive as he has been over the past five seasons for the Vikings who can fault the player with whatever demands he may well seek . Certainly the Minnesota Vikings’ front office led by team owner Zygi Wilf may well feel that for all of the pandering and statements forthcoming from the league office , nothing at all has actually changed prior to NFL lockout . The negotiations that took place may well have led to a rookie salary cap and other concessions from both parties but when you get right down to it , we’re back to square one _____ the players chasing after the almighty buck with the league hierarchy still decrying their current fate and looking to apportion blame elsewhere.

With Donovan McNabb newly acquired by the Vikings along with their draft picks it remains to be seen how this team will fare over the course of the upcoming season . In the aftermath of the Brett Favre era with the organization it has to be said has to got to prove that they are capable of being thought of a legitimate contender within the NFC North and the conference as a whole . The preseason for the Vikings has not given us much to go on but it appears that McNabb seems to finding a rhythm with his offense .
Head coach Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff know that the expectations will continue to be high and this season no less will be seen as a determining factor as to how this team will fare .

So next season the Florida Marlins will move into their new ballpark in downtown Miami the site of the old Old Orange Bowl . The team seated at the bottom of the NL East are barely averaging 18,000 fans per home at Land Shark /Sun Life Stadium also home to the Miami Dolphins . Team owner Jeffrey Loria and the entire front office sold the city of Miami a can of goods in leading the city commission to believe that a new purpose venue , capacity of approximately 40,000 would be to the organization’s benefit. The only thing of benefit that is pertinent here is to know that Jeffrey Loria has not had to dip into his multi million dollar fortune in facilitating the building of this new stadium but you’d be hard pressed to believe that when you here the owner gushing about the stadium and what has been the very fact Loria has been less than truthful in his dealings with the city of Miami and other governmental agencies .

The cost of the facility is upwards of $450 million and much of that will be at the taxpayers’ expense though you’d be hard pressed to believe otherwise when the Loria , team President David Sansom and general manager Michael Hill are trying to convince the public otherwise. The team owner like many of his peers within the game seem to be of the opinion that the public’s coffers are there for their expense. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the MLB hierarchy has lobbyists working on their behalf not only at the state level but also at the federal level . This is one of the underbelly’s within the game that even Bud Selig would not care to discuss , along with the league’s stance on the financial solvency of its ball clubs .

While baseball is a multi billion dollar enterprise of which the teams at the top rungs of the financial ladder are immensely profitable , the minnows at the foot of that apparatus are barely able to get by. The Florida Marlins having pared down team salary but it has been Loria’s blatant use of the press to forge ahead with his belief the ball club needs a new stadium while the team owner seeks to benefit from the public’s largesse. Miami city mayor Tomas P. Regalado even with his demeanor and the love of the limelight has seen fit to praise the Marlins during the negotiating process in developing and building the of the new venue. If this franchise can barely fill their present facility, it stands to reason it will be the curiosity value that first brings the fans out but after a while that novelty will surely wear off ! A bad economic climate or not baseball within the state of Florida has always been a hard sell , especially given the attendance woes of the Tampa Bay Rays .

Tropicana Field home to the AL team has struggled even with the advent of the team’s success in recent years , albeit in the first decade years of their existence , this organization was one of abject futility . Team owner Stuart Sternberg along with his partners are vying for state and local governments’ attention in bringing about their own wish for an all purpose venue to be built in either Hillsborough or Pinellas County , in central Florida. And once again the burden in terms of the cost will be placed firmly on the shoulders of the public , the governmental agencies in question will in large part have to finance the building of that facility. Be it through a bond issue at some point there always tend to be , some indirect cost that is added to the public’s expense in terms of the services that they are asked to pay either for their municipal services or increased state services.

It would be remiss to suggest that baseball and football are the only major sports where the fans are asked to bear the burden of up-keeping a sport’s venue but would it be too much to ask if the franchise owners would for once step up to the plate say……” I’m here to do the right thing “ ? Somehow , I seriously doubt that is liable to happen as the franchise owners seeks to keep as much money in their pockets , rather than give the impression that they are able to for once able to fend for themselves without preying on the fans ! Is that too much to ask ?

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as to your opinion and anything else you believe to be pertinent as it relates to the subject matter .

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

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(1) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the Oakland Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

(2) Head coach of the New Orleans Saints Sean Payton (L) acknowledges the crowd as he and owner Tom Benson (R) wait for the beginning of a reception for the 2010 National Football League Super Bowl champions in the East Room of the White House August 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. The New Orleans Saints, lead by head coach Sean Payton, finished the 2009-2010 season with a winning record of 13-3 and defeated the Indianapolis Colts to take the championship . Getty Images/ Chris Rodgers ……

(3) FILE – In this file photo taken Sept. 20, 2009, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson runs for a 57-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans in an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. Johnson, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, signed his four-year contract extension worth $53 million and the $30 million guaranteed he wanted, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011. He agreed to the deal Thursday and flew into Nashville from his Orlando, Fla., home Friday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …. ……

(4) Owner Bud Adams (R) of the Tennessee Titans greets family members of quarterback Jake Locker (10) before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at LP Field on August 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. …….

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans and head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings speak after the game on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0 . Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….. …..

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings throws his hat to fans after the win against the Houston Texans on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(7) Jose Lopez (11) of the Florida Marlins is congratulated after hitting a solo home run by Emilio Bonifacio (1) during a game against the New York Mets at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Marlins would go on to defeat the Mets 9-3 . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(8) Emilio Bonifacio (1) of the Florida Marlins scores on a wild pitch avoiding Chris Capuano (38) and Josh Thole (30) of the New York Mets during a game at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….

(9) Jack McKeon (25) of the Florida Marlins walks away from Fieldin Culbreth (25) , Crew Chief of the umpires, after losing an argument in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 29, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images /Chris Pasiateri ……

(10) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by Ben Zobrist (18) after his home run against the Texas Rangers during the game at Tropicana Field on September 5, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays would defeat the Rangers 5-1 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields , center, reacts with teammates Sam Fuld , left, and David Price (14) after pitching a complete baseball game against the Texas Rangers Monday, Sept. 5, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. the Rays won the game 5-1. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …….

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And The Surveys Says ……….. David Einhorn Is An Ass ! But There’s More $1.2 Billion Can Possibly Buy A Piece of Crap !

And The Survey Says …….. David Einhorn Is An Ass ! But There’s More $1.2 Billion Can Possibly Buy A Piece of Crap !

Perhaps it was simply naive to think that hedge fund manager David Einhorn could be considered an astute businessman . Einhorn the founder and CEO of Greenlight Capital Investments Inc sought to invest $200 million into the beleaguered New York Mets . And as many of you must now be aware the organization as well as its two most senior executives Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon as well as the ballclub itself are co-defendants in a civil suit seeking in excess of $750 million received by Katz , Wilpon and their investment company Sterling Equities Inc . This civil suit comes about , having been derived of the Bernard Madoff “Ponzi Scheme scandal”.

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Madoff now incarcerated , is serving a 125 year sentence for his fraudulent acts and it has been estimated that a mere $2.6 billion has been recovered from the $59 billion ($59,000,000,000) lost by the victims of this scandal . Representing the plaintiffs as the receiver in the federal trial within the US Federal Court System is renowned attorney Irving Picard . And it would appear with the reluctance of both Katz and Wilpon to fully disclose all of the interaction that is said to have taken place with all of the vested parties who are the defendants in this case. Allegations that monies have been sent to offshore accounts and a lack of candor from anyone within the New York Mets’ organization with regard to this matter but somehow David Einhorn thought it prudent to invest $200 million to purchase a stake in the team. Pardon me for saying this , but this is simply another reason that indicates the complete stupidity that lies within the game amongst the team owners , front office executives and no less than the league hierarchy itself. I’ve no doubt that Einhorn may well be suitably qualified to run a hedge fund company but based on this one act alone I wouldn’t have this asshole invest my money in anything deemed to be a worthwhile investment based on his alleged knowledge .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Deal to Sell Piece of Mets to Einhorn Falls Apart

Richard Sandomir , The New York Times

In a surprising development, the Mets announced on Thursday that they had ended their protracted negotiations to sell a minority share of the team for $200 million to David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager.

In part, the deal broke down over Einhorn’s desire to be preapproved by Major League Baseball as the team’s majority owner in anticipation that he might be able to buy more than 50 percent of the team in coming years. He was also apparently seeking considerable input as a limited partner, which also may have factored in the talks’ breakdown.

That the issue of future majority ownership would help topple the negotiations was not surprising. There was always an inherent tension in the relationship between the Mets’ owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, who are in their 70s and want control of the team to remain in family hands, and Einhorn, 42, who clearly had his own aspirations about the club’s future.

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Click on the link provided to read this article in full .

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The New York Mets are a poorly ran organization, bereft of executives with any intelligence and the league hierarchy itself is no better than the crazed idiots who seem to think that the ball-club is simply worth saving . From my own standpoint I do believe that Einhorn was led to believe that the team was a worthwhile investment but given the idiocy of this decision from the outset , let me ask you this who in their right mind chooses to invest $200 million in a ball-club that itself is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy ? The team is carrying significant debt much of which hasn’t been fully disclosed and herein lies the biggest problem within baseball itself , it is the complete lack of candor , transparency of the teams who more often than not seek public financing for their stadiums at the expense of the taxpayers. And how quaint is it that in this time of economic strife no one seems to question the fact that multi millionaire team owners are granted these amenities while small businesses are left out in the cold when it comes to governmental aid at the state or federal level .

Whatever legal counsel and advice proffered up to the fund manager (Einhorn) has to been idiotic at best , but this is another reason to indicate why the game is in the current state that it is , in as it relates to the financial well being of the teams in baseball . At this point I’m wondering what else it must now take for Bud Selig to further to show some interest in the legal proceedings concerning the New York Mets and the actual dealings of the organization itself ! I know that both Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi have been brought in the oversee the front office and all personnel decisions concerning this ball-club.

The team itself has struggled over the course of this season . But if nothing else for manager Terry Collins and his coaching staff this has been a work in progress as they assess this roster . Far be it for me to suggest but the New York Mets are a long way off from where they need to be or would hope to be . And given their present financial predicament the likelihood of them being able to turn things around do not appear to be promising at present . What talent that’s said to be on the roster could very well be on the way out at some point in the immediate future and it is clear the Jose Reyes and David Wright are the most prized assets on this team . Although it can be said amongst their prospects , draft and their farm system could be considered where the future may well lay for the organization as it determines its very future .

Well it appears that the never-ending Los Angeles Dodgers’ saga isn’t at an end as it is being widely reported that Bill Burke , co-founder and former the director of the Los Angeles Marathon is heading a consortium to buy the beleaguered franchise. The ball-club now in bankruptcy proceedings (Chapter 11) with that effort having been sought by team owner Frank McCourt . Now it goes without saying , that this is a further case where the league hierarchy led by Bud Selig , simply dropped the ball , acting like a blind man playing hopscotch in a minefield . Each step taken and this ass has acted as if the actions of the executives within the Dodgers’ front office were simply unknown to him . What might be unconscionable is the very fact that Peter Wilhelm as the COO and general manager Ned Colletti have simply acted in like lap dogs while McCourt and his ex-spouse , Jamie McCourt have plundered the coffers of this ball-club. They have simply used the organization as their personal ATM , spending lavishly on luxury homes , vehicles , vacations to various parts of the globe and in some cases Frank McCourt used the organization as collateral in numerous business deals . Those business transactions are in direct contravention of the the bye laws of the game as set by the league hierarchy . How this can be overlooked by the Bud Selig simply beyond belief but it once again shows the stupidity of the commissioner and those said to countenance the well being of the game .

Bill Burke has formally lodged through the US District Bankruptcy Court , Wilmington , in the state of Delaware , as they are dealing with the bankruptcy proceedings concerning the Los Angeles Dodgers. Burke and the consortium have offered $1.2 billion ($1,200,000,000) for the team and that is believed to be the highest bid ever offered for the the potential purchase of a ball-club . The presiding judge would have to assess the merits of the bid but the approval would still have to come from the league hierarchy concerning this sale . $1.2 billion seems extraordinarily high but we have yet to verify all of the details of the consortium’s bid and whether or not they are assuming the debt of the organization as that situation has yet to be fully resolved. At this juncture , I am not so sure that there will be a satisfactory ending to this drama as Frank McCourt wants to retain total control of this team . Sadly , for the beleaguered fans of the ball club having McCourt as the owner has been one of those episodes one would rather forget because there has been nothing at all that could would stipulate as being satisfactory. The Los Angeles Dodgers’ recent record and that of their lack of real success in the postseason playoffs clearly indicates that this organization is without real direction. Certainly given their history , the famed players to have donned the uniform and the Hall of Famers

Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Frank McCourt is offered $1.2 billion for Dodgers

By Bill Shaikin , Los Angeles Times

In an international twist in the Dodgers’ ownership saga, Frank McCourt has been offered $1.2 billion to sell the team to a group indirectly financed by the government of China.

The bid is headed by Los Angeles Marathon founder Bill Burke, according to a letter sent to McCourt on Tuesday. The letter was disclosed to The Times by two people familiar with its content but not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The proposed sale price would set a record for a Major League Baseball team. However, the bid was received with skepticism within MLB, where executives wondered whether the proposal might be used by McCourt to stir negotiations with other potential buyers or to persuade a Bankruptcy Court judge to keep McCourt in charge of the team.

“There are questions within the sports industry about whether this is a genuine offer,” said one industry consultant who works extensively with MLB and other professional sports leagues.

The offer was unsolicited, according to a person who had spoken with McCourt’s representatives but was not authorized to discuss the conversation.

It is uncertain whether the embattled Dodgers owner is receptive to the offer. McCourt has said that he had no interest in selling the Dodgers and that he intended to remain the owner after the team emerges from bankruptcy protection.

Steve Sugerman, a spokesman for McCourt, declined to comment on whether McCourt had received the letter and whether he would consider selling the team.

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Click on the link provided to read the article in full .

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The one bright spot quite possibly for Los Angeles Dodgers this season has been the play Matt Kemp and it bodes well for his possible candidacy for the NL MVP . And given the other potential candidates said to be in the running for the award . The fact that Kemp plays on a team with a losing record and they are completely out of the running not only for the NL West but also the wildcard berth within the National League leads me to believe that he has an outside chance to win the award . If anything the presumed favorites could are the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun and his teammate Prince Fielder . The coveted award adds to a player’s resume’ but places them alongside an illustrious number whose names adorns one of the game’s most prized and fabled accolades .

Don Mattingly and his assistant coaches have tried their best to make the transition from Joe Torre to his protege’ (Mattingly) seem smooth and without real friction . But it has been the drama off the field that if anything that has simply brought far too much focus and attention on the organization for all of the wrong reasons . Somehow , had there been an ounce of intelligence from within this organization amongst its executives , then perhaps , the Dodgers’ fall from grace would not be so dramatic and unbelievable in its magnitude , never mind the capricious acts of Frank McCourt and his ex-wife , Jamie McCourt .

At this juncture I am no longer surprised by the idiocy to be witnessed within the game of baseball . Far too many fans are simply about what is happening on the field , rather than what’s happening within the front offices of the teams . Needless to say , there’s a great deal more to be added to both of these stories as they play themselves out for the public’s consumption .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With David Einhorn now backing out of this deal to purchase a stake in the New York Mets what do you think would be the appropriate action that should be taken be it by the league hierarchy or the presiding judge in this legal matter ? And as such do you feel optimistic that Bill Burke’s potential bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers will be looked upon favorably by the league and the bankruptcy judge presiding over the organization’s filing ? Leave a comment as to the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent .

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) From left to right New York Mets Chief Executive Officer Fred Wilpon , Manager Terry Collins, prospective Mets owner David Einhorn and General Manager Sandy Alderson talk during batting practice before a Major League Baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field on August 6, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Getty Images North America / Paul Bereswill …..

(2) Saul Katz (standing) is seen here with Mets’ co-owner Fred Wilpon the executive suite at Citi-Field , Flushing , New York . AP Photo / Chris Beresford …….

(3) Dr William “Bill” Burke who leads a consortium backed by the Chinese government that has made a $1.2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team’s owner Frank McCourt has yet to release a formal statement concerning the unsolicited bid the group but it is believed that the beleaguered club executive may well reject the offer. Courtesy of CBS Los Angeles ………..

(4) Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti (left) and the team’s owner Frank McCourt . This was Colletti’s formal introduction to the public as the team’s new GM in November 2005. Icon SMI/ Larry Goren …….

(5) Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talks with pitcher Dana Eveland in the dugout after the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011. The Dodgers won 6-4 with Dana Eveland getting the win. AP Photo/Gene Puskar ….

(6) Matt Kemp (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a single against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 1, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images ……
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Slow But Steady , Slow But Really Steady

Slow But Steady , Slow But Really Steady

It has been really interesting as of late to watch the way things have unraveled within the AL East . And as many prognosticators believe the division may well be the most competitive in all of baseball it goes without saying that the reasoning is very much justified . As an ardent admirer of the game I have a certain fascination with the team that is local to Central Florida. And that happens to be the Tampa Bay Rays who over the last two years , have been twice a winner of the division , an ALCS Pennat winner and made their sole appearance in the World Series in 2008 which ended in sadness with the team losing to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in the best of seven series . At the helm as the team’s manager has been Joe Maddon the organization’s most successful coach.

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Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida , is home to this young organization that has had its fair share of highs and lows over the course of its history . For Maddon and his coaching staff , they have essentially been great tutors of which much of that tutelage has come to fruition in seeing the giant steps made in the progression of young stars on the roster . Perhaps none more so than Evan Longoria , Matt Joyce and the team’s two pitching All Stars David Price and James Shields . It’d be remiss however to suggest that the aforementioned trio are the sole cause for the team’s success this season but with the addition of Johnny Damon and reliever Kyle Farnsworth the Rays have proven to a formidable challenge to the likes of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees .

New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter returns to the dugout after being thrown out at first base to end a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Rays won 5-1. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

The Rays have been very lucky with the fact that their pitching has held up well and the mere fact that there now seems to be a great deal of confidence throughout their starting five as well as the relievers would suggest that they are quite capable of giving the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees a real run for their money down the closing stretch of the season . I firmly believe that if the team is within two games of the lead coming into the month of September then all bets are off as to the division being anything but a two horse race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees as it now appears to be !

With the All Star Game scheduled this upcoming week the Tampa Bay Rays’ schedule becomes ever so important. The team is a mere four and a half games behind the division leading New York Yankees (51-14) but only a 1 1/2 games behind the second placed Boston Red Sox (51-35). The Rays are coming off a resounding 12-5 shellacking of the Minnesota Twins. If the team can continue with that sort of the momentum then their upcoming series of games against their divisional rivals the Red Sox and Yankees should prove to be very interesting. The New York Yankees host the Rays at Yankees Stadium for home series of three games before the midseason break and the festivities surrounding the All Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona .

First up for the Tampa Bay Rays will be to rein in the New York Yankees , the winners of seven of their last ten games and riding on an offensive that has been very potent indeed . Leading the way for the Yankees has been first baseman Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson in the team’s onslaught. But need we remind ourselves that this team also has the likes of Robinson Cano , Nick Swisher and . Alex Rodriguez all of whom are capable of providing the New York Yankees with the much needed offensive weaponry that any team would enviable of having . .

Now while much of the focus has been the Derek Jeter watch as he makes his way to the 3,000 hits plateau as he is now but three hits away from reaching that milestone and become the organization’s all time hits leader . The fifteen year veteran now sits atop of the mountain and will now be instantaneously be immortalized by the Yankees’ fans . Jeter has already surpassed Yankees’ legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig but if anything this modern day icon and the face of the game to most and in particular the Yankees’ fans. One has to admit that the player is now winding down his illustrious career .

If the Rays can get to the pitching of the Yankees of which I believe is the team’s Achilles Heel then quite possibly they can win this series , cut the deficit that Bronx Bombers has over the other residents within the division. I think it’s pretty safe to say and that Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays are out of the running for the wildcard spot within the AL in terms of a postseason berth !

The contributions of Damon to the Rays this season cannot be underestimated as he’s provided a steadying presence to the team and the younger players I believe are thoroughly appreciative of that fact ! As for the Tampa Bay Rays’ fans their hometown hero has given them something to believe in with the advent of the ongoing financial woes of the organization. Say what you will but team owner Stuart Sternberg , GM Andrew Friedman and the associated partners have remained steadfast that for now the team will remain within this locale . But it appears that with each passing moment the likelihood of the Rays remaining within the area is unlikely as no common ground can be found between the two opposing factions.

Surprisingly enough the Tampa Bay Rays were once again winners in MLB Draft garnering a number of top collegiate prospects further enhancing the reputation of the scouting and coaches within the Rays’ organization of which the Baseball Operations is headed by Gerry Hunsicker . And it should come as no surprise as to the reasons why the Tampa Bay Rays have been so successful down the years with draft choices . Though this past season the team had to release fan favorites Carl Crawford , Rafael Soriano and Carlos Pena because of budgetary constraints it has to be said the organization hasn’t lost sight of what got them to where they are today.

The Tampa Bay Rays for their part have continued to surprise many but there’s a growing belief that what we’re now seeing are the waning moments of a ball-club that is in transition of moving out of the area , as the fans lament what they believe to be a double standard in terms of baseball’s hierarchy of merely leaning towards and assisting those who essentially are financially more well to do. From top to bottom the organization of the Tampa Bay Rays is a well ran operation with a farm system that’s the envy of many organizations around the league. The one stumbling block of the Rays has been the financial constraints because the ownership group is limited in its resources. I will always continue to maintain that a ball club cannot exist on a meager fan base of no more than 15,000 hardcore fans ! That seems to be bearing true as of today, with the Rays averaging no more than 19,000 fans per home game at Tropicana Field this season . In a number of cases the fanbase is simply outmatched with the arrival of either Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees and there we will see the attendance rise to as high as perhaps 25,000 to 30,000 in attendance . Hardly conducive when the away team is actually drawing far more supporters than the hosts of a scheduled home series but such are the vagaries of the game as it relates to the Tampa Bay Rays.

I certainly do believe that the Rays’ organization is now clutching at straws in the belief that an accord can be reached where they will remain in Central Florida ! It has now become abundantly clear with the financial worries of both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties that neither county government can facilitate the financing needed to build a new venue for the team. Both county administrations are facing acute financial difficulties of their own having to furlough employees , slash budgets and a slew of sundry maneuvers has many questioning whether or not a multi million dollar facility is the right thing to do in order to facilitate the whims and wishes of a multi millionaire baseball team owner . It is not as if Stuart Sternberg or any of his senior partners have shown good faith by even suggesting that they are prepared to assist in the financing of a new venue. Any statement forthcoming , be it from Sternberg , Andrew Friedman or Matt Silverman for that matter , has essentially been about the need of a new venue rather than how best to cooperate in working together in making such a scenario happen.

As many of you know my disdain for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig knows no boundaries ! I find him to be obnoxious , a buffoon , an ignoramus and someone who is now completely out of touch as to the realities of the game and its numerous problems ! Rather than trying to be of assistance to the Tampa Bay Rays in attaining a new venue , he has seen fit to be critical of the organization’s endeavor even going as far to suggest that they will never stage an All Star Game until they have built a new venue that is to his liking and that of the league hierarchy’s . Suffice to say if the fans in the area haven’t seen that as the nail in the coffin to the organization’s efforts it has been heard loud and clear by the officials who sit on the boards of both county commissions in Hillsborough and Pinellas County . I don’t believe that Selig could have put the situation anymore succinctly than that , thereby laying to rest what now may well be a futile exercise on the part of the county governments of each ___ as well as the Tampa Bay Rays. The local sports talk radio hosts and print media may well hold out hope that things may well change but they are facing an uphill battle in their thinking that a venue can and will be built at this juncture .

It would indeed be sad to see the Tampa Bay Rays leave the area but facing a reality that the area cannot sustain a franchise that in essence hasn’t a long history or pedigree of success . Never mind the fact that this is simply a first or second generation of supporters who are now loyal to this franchise . The vast majority of the teams within the game have a long history of support that is steeped in the loyalty of its fans and with familial ties . But here with the Rays the success though only recent cannot hide the fact that there is a glaring and stark reality to this organization’s history. Its first decade under Vince Naimoli has more to do with it being a comedy of errors , with an owner who essentially saw this team as his own personal bauble and fiefdom for him to reign over like a king. Success never manifested itself to any degree and the organization came to be known as a laughing stock around the league .

Now even with its recent successes the Tampa Bay Rays still finds itself bedeviled by worries about its financial security more than anything else . With a payroll amongst the lowest in the league the coaches and front office will have to get by on a squad of good if not great players , their future prospects and as I alluded to earlier a farm system that is amongst the best in the league .

Should the organization in the ensuing years leave the vicinity of Central Florida then the death knell of the game at the major league level within this area will have clearly sounded. Spring Training is all that the area will then have to cling to and that in of itself may not be such a bad thing after all. The teams who make the area their home during the preseason bring with them a burgeoning legion of fans and snow birds into Central Florida all looking to give support to their teams and aid the area with their income and making creating something of a vibrant economy during their time here . Now in spite of that fact it doesn’t lessen the blow that a Major League team now finding success may well have to leave its locale merely because the league hierarchy in its infinite wisdom has been about as helpful in their cause to remain as one could consider Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might be in assisting in a peaceful settlement of the Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations . Whereas Bud Selig was front and center in assisting the New York Mets and New York Yankees in the facilitating and building of their respective venues ( Citi Field & Yankee Stadium) he has been nowhere to be seen in assisting the Tampa Bay Rays in their endeavor to have a new venue built. But given the fact that as odious as the commissioner is , I can’t help but feel that the fans are now having the last laugh as things have gone to spiral out of control for himself and the league hierarchy as they now try to sort out the ongoing mess of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which will undoubtedly be followed by the web of intrigue and malfeasance that has taken place within the New York Mets organization . . Here’s to you Bud , you ingrate and piece of crap !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And how as such do you view the race now taking place within the AL East ? Simply chime on in with your comments as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ….

(2) New York Yankees fans hold up the number of hits Derek Jeter has, during his at-bat in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. Jeter grounded out to end the game as Tampa Bay won 5-1 . AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ……

(3) New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter returns to the dugout after being thrown out at first base to end a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Rays won 5-1. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(4) Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth is congratulated by catcher John Jaso at the end of the Rays’ 5-1 win over the New York Yankees in a baseball game Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 6: Johnny Damon (22) and Kelly Shoppach (10) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate a two-run home run by Shoppach against the Minnesota Twins in the second inning on July 6, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(6) Casey Kotchman (11) and B.J. Upton(2) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ……..

(7) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 6: Sean Rodriguez (1), Evan Longoria (3) and Casey Kotchman (11) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate a two-run home run by Rodriguez against the Minnesota Twins in the eighth inning on July 6, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Rays defeated the Twins 12-5. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

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Ten Questions For The MLB Commissioner ……………

Ten Questions For The MLB Commissioner ……………..

I have always maintained that Bud Selig merely serves only one master and that happens to be the MLB team owners rather than serving in the best interests of the game ! . In doing so he’s presided over the ” steroid era” , where he the league hierarchy , team owners and the MLBPA have simply chosen to look the other way until the government chose to intervene and force the league to clean up its damn act . Now with the financial instability of the teams around the league and his rather asinine tax sharing scheme little if anything has changed . But in large part we simply have the owners of many of the small market teams that this scheme was meant to have aided actually profiting from it all by pocketing those funds rather than bolstering the rosters of their respective teams.

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Inasmuch as the woes of the Los Angeles Dodgers are firmly being laid upon the shoulders of team owner Frank McCourt and certain board members within the front office much of this all could have been avoided had the league hierarchy used due diligence in allowing the sale of the team to McCourt in the first place. Having failed to acquire the Boston Red Sox when the league voted a resounding no ___ Frank McCourt would later return and be allowed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004 from Fox Inc and parent company News Corp . With a unanimous vote by the owners and league hierarchy would allow McCourt to become a part of their fraternity.

Courtesy of Fox Sports

Report: Dodgers seek to blame Selig

Attorneys for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt asked a judge Tuesday to order Major League Baseball to submit documents they claim will prove the league has treated the debt-ridden franchise more harshly than other teams.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the filing on behalf of the embattled owner, who filed for protection under Chapter 11, hopes to paint commissioner Bud Selig as someone who wanted the Dodgers to run out of money.

“Contrasting the treatment of the Dodgers to the velvet-glove treatment enjoyed by other teams with financial questions will help this court and the debtors to evaluate the full extent of MLB’s conflict and animus toward the Dodgers,” McCourt’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

The filing requested documents pertaining to the league’s handling of the New York Mets’ current financial woes, including the “contributions or loans from Bernard Madoff” and an explanation for “the commissioner’s decision not to appoint a monitor to oversee the club or conduct an investigation of the club.”

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The unfortunate thing here for the league was that there were already signs to show what Frank McCourt was really about as a businessman to begin with but somehow this was all overlooked by the league hierarchy and owners the second time around . The Dodgers’ owner had been involved in a number of business deals that fell through from lack of financing or where he and his partners at the time were either litigants in a case or defendants . I can’t help now but wonder how lucky the Red Sox fans and the actually ballclub are knowing that McCourt did not become the team’s owner ! Can you imagine what might have happened had he been allowed to run amok there as he now has done with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? Let’s just say that Fenway Park the team , NESN the cable broadcast outlet owned by the organization would have been plundered of its reserves by the now beleaguered owner .

With McCourt now having taken the Los Angeles Dodgers into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings it allows the organization time to reorganize itself financially knowing that the Federal Courts allows it ” a stay ” while they and their creditors seek an accord to resolve the team’s financial plight. Much of this could very well have been avoided were it not for the lackadaisical hands off approach taken by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy. The signs were already there for all to see but like a blind man in the dark without the aid of a walking stick the commissioner chose to ignore those facts as they laid themselves bare for all to see . Misappropriation of funds whereby McCourt used those monies for lavish expenses on numerous residences , automobiles and jewelry for his now ex wife Jamie McCourt . Never mind the fact that the ballclub was repeatedly used as collateral in several business deals all contravening and violating league rules . But somehow this all escaped Bud Selig’s notice ? I can’t help but wonder what it is that Bud Selig does during his down time ! Perhaps trying to bend over and lick his own ass or actually seeing if he can actually render himself unconscious by first smelling his own flatulence then inserting his head into his own rectum is how the commissioner may well choose to spend his time ?

For the life of me I can’t think of anything really positive that he has actually brought to the game since he began his tenure ! Oh , I know that there are a number of fans who’ll say that he brought us the wildcard system for baseball further elongating what already is an a long and arduous season . Now there’s even talk of league realignment because many feel that it will create a more balanced and competitive spirit within the game . What really needs to be done is for the game to rein its expenses and stop with the idiocy of offering up gargantuan contracts that are guaranteed over the course of their time . But that sort of progressive thinking doesn’t seem to be on the radar of the owners much less the league hierarchy or the general managers within the game. If anything they probably feel that the idea is rather redundant and would be of no benefit to the teams or the players . Purists always seems to talk about the legacy of the game from where it was to what it has now become . My question , what actual steps has baseball really taken wherein it still actually resonates with the fans as much as it may well have two or even four plus decades ago ?

The game has now become bereft of creativity from an executive standpoint and what heroes of the game over the last two decades will somehow will always be associated with an era of cheating and the use of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs ). Much of which has all happened under Bud Selig’s tenure and wherein there still remains a stench within the game when players such as Alex Rodriguez having admitted his use and then having given a less than contrite apology goes unpunished but still has his name cropping up repeatedly subject to a still ongoing federal investigation as to the illegal use and trafficking of steroids.

With Barry Bonds having been found guilty of felony perjury charges in his trial of which he now awaits sentencing we now have the commencement of the seven time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens and his trial within the Federal Court system. Clemens and his lawyer Rusty Hardin will do all that they can to paint the prosecution’s case as weak and without substance . And they may well be right , given the fact that the prosecution’s case rests with whether or not the jury will believe in the credibility of witness Brian McNamee . And given the witness’ demeanor during his subpoena testimony in front of Congress to the members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee I’m not so sure that all of what McNamee during his own testimony stated can be taken as fact . I know only a fool would seek to perjure themselves in front of a Federal body these things are known to have happen and will continue to happen even when those testifying are fully aware of the penalties involved . Meanwhile Clemens’ own veracity comes into play and the very fact that he saw fit to throw his wife and son under the bus on several occasions during his own testimony given to the committee up on Capitol Hill. One now simply must ask the question will this trial be actually about justice or simply another parade as to the complete stupidity of the Justice System and how it is that they have to act when game’s hierarchy actually refuses to do so .

Here are ten rather innocuous and simple questions I’d like to pose to Bud Selig in the hope that he’s liable to answer each with a great deal of honesty !

(1) Why did you undertake the position as commissioner to begin with even having served as interim commissioner for several years ?

(2) Would the league not have been better off had you chosen to step down and actually interviewed a list of applicants in terms of a successor to Faye Vincent ?

(3) At what point did it actually occur to you that something was awry in the game with the advent of the rumors surrounding the rampant and prolific use of steroids in baseball ?

(4) Did it never occur to speak with the owners and in particular former MLBPA Executive Director Donald Fehr about this all openly , with the public being made aware what was actually going on rather than being so damn secretive on this particular issue ?

(5) In allowing the union (MLBPA) so much power do you not feel that the league itself is now weak and merciless knowing that the union simply makes you cower like a child who’s afraid of the dark ?

(6) Given the fact that players have come out and made public apologies as to their use of illicit banned substances why no course of action on the part of the league or in fact by the team owners ?

(7) We know that you are still implicitly dead set against seeing Pete Rose be inducted into the Hall of Fame but should the player come and speak to you openly as to his actions, will you reinstate Rose thereby by making him eligible for the game’s biggest honor that it can bestow upon a player ?

(8) Will league realignment really help the game any when the real problems don’t actually relate to the competitiveness of the game but in large part it has to do with the overall financial imbalances that there are within the game amongst the teams ?

(9) Why after having refused Frank McCourt the opportunity to buy the Boston Red Sox would you allow that very same individual the opportunity to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers ? There was enough evidence to suggest that McCourt did have numerous problems in raising the financing to make that original bid never mind his legal issues at the time.

(10) In your honest opinion has the World Baseball Classic actually been a monumental success and also do you foresee in the future where the actual scheduling and the format of the event will change ?

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These are the ten questions that I would pose to Commissioner Bud Selig with regard to the state of the game and the issues that I have with his tenure ! What questions if any would you have posed to Selig and would like to see him answer succinctly ? Chime on in with a comment as you would deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) MLB Commissioner Bud Selig whose tenure as the game’s highest ranking official has led to a great deal of controversy . AP Photo / Richard Cross ……

(2) MLB commissioner Bud Selig at the memorial for Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew on May 26, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Harmon Killebrew passed away on May 17, 2011 after a battle with esophageal cancer. Hannah Foslien/ Getty Images North America ……

(3) Beleaguered Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt who took the team into Chapter I1 Bankruptcy Protection in order to reorganize the team’s solvency problems. The owner now is apportioning blame for the team’s woes squarely upon the shoulders of the MLB hierarchy whom he believes is treating the organization unfavorably. In this dispute McCourt’s lawyers have asked that the league to forwards any documents in their possession relating to their actions as it currently relates to the New York Mets and their situation. No word as of yet as to whether or not the league will acquiesce to the the lawyers’ wishes . A subpoena however from the presiding judge on behalf of the Dodgers could very well force the Bud Selig’s hand in this matter . AP Photo / Jeremy Marks …….

(4) New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez throws out Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Santana at first base in the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 5, 2011, in Cleveland. AP Photo / Tony Dejak …..

(5) Roger Clemens arrived at Federal District Court in Washington on Wednesday, where he faces charges of making false statements to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Courtesy of The New York Times / Doug Mills ……

(6) Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (R) and former Major League Baseball strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee testify about allegations of steroid use by professional ball players before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill February 13, 2008 in Washington, DC. The ‘Mitchell Report’ named several former and current major league baseball players, including Clemens, who are accused of using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. Chip Smodevilla / Getty Images North America ……..

(7) Pete Rose, at a book signing in 2004, was banished from baseball in 1989 for betting on games. Courtesy of The New York Times / Mark Lyons ……….

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Something Else That The State of California Is Well Known For Accepting Mediocrity While Trying To Assuage Us With Their Greatness & Narcissism .

Something Else That The State of California Is Well Known For Accepting Mediocrity While Trying To Assuage Us With Their Greatness & Narcissism .

Well not unlike the state legislature of California that faces such acute financial problems we now have the Los Angeles Dodgers facing woes of its very own. Now it’s a fact that Los Angeles Dodgers will now officially file for bankruptcy . I was repeatedly told by patrons within this medium that bankruptcy would and could never happen . If that’s the case then explain to me how it is that in the last twenty four months the following teams in Major League Baseball each had to file for bankruptcy . In the cases of the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers Chapter 11 ( Bankruptcy Protection & Reorganization) was seemingly the only way out from financial mismanagement by their then owners . Now with that in mind it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that now two of the games most storied ballclubs are effectively in the same boat. And as acute as the situation now appears to be with the Los Angeles Dodgers , it could very well be far more grave for the New York Mets and their situation. The club is defendant in a civil suit alongside principal owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon as part of the fallout from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal . Much of what we know concerning the Dodgers has been the mismanagement and the very fact that MLB hierarchy simply suborned much of the absurdity that has taken place ever since Frank McCourt assumed control of this team with his purchase of the organization from Fox Inc whose parent company is News Corporation .

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From my own standpoint this should be a fucking wake up call for the idiots who carry on as if they’re in the know when it comes to the economics of the game but instead they’d rather talk about the shit like the future of the game and the young prospects there . That’s like trying to search for the leprechaun’s pot of gold in the hope that at the end of the day things will be great . Let’s get real here the owners as we know them to be are not that business minded in spite of their apparent wealth and alleged entrepreneurial acumen . And not to be left out of this all has to be those asinine general managers within the game . Baseball has and will always continue to shoot itself in both feet because its hierarchy simply isn’t bright or astute enough to either do or know what is actually appropriately the right thing to do !

Once MLB Commissioner Bud Selig saw fit to bring in former diplomat C Thomas Schieffer to oversee the day to day running of this team we all knew that the Dodgers and Frank McCourt had reached the point of no return . But if anyone with the slightest bit of common sense could see that the writing was on the wall and the sense of foreboding for the organization. And while this was all going on what might be even more contemptible was the fact that GM Ned Colletti , COO Geoff Wharton , CFO Peter Wilhelm , CRO Michael Young and Tommy Lasorda simply chose to remain silent . Which begs the question what is it with the damn stupidity that obviously had to be taking place within the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers ? . From my own standpoint this is something that is long overdue and had to happen for baseball and the fans to finally sit up and take note ! Are some of the so called intellectual fans out there and those who claim to be insiders are simply that naive ? I’ve no doubt that the so called analysts at Fox and ESPN will now try to regale us with what they see as a painful episode , all the while these very same ingrates undoubtedly chose to ignore this story once it came to the public forefront .

Over the coming days and weeks I’ve no doubt that this all well be thoroughly discussed and written about all with a view to seeking a reason why this had to happen to one of the most storied teams in all of baseball . Well when you have a sport that shows no transparency on any level whatsoever what the fucking hell would you expect ? It’s not as if the league hierarchy itself during Selig’s tenure has ever been known to be completely open with regard to its business practices much less has a propensity for actually telling the truth on any level.

It is extremely sad to see a once great ballclub simply fall from grace and then think that Frank McCourt and the Dodgers’ hierarchy are solely to blame because much of what we know to have factually happen has been due to the inaction of the hierarchy of the game. It’s all too little too late for the organization , even with the Dodgers having now filed for bankruptcy protection . It will now be extremely difficult for the team’s creditors to actully recoup monies owed given the debt amassed by Frank McCourt which if we are to believe could very well exceed in excess of $600 million and that’s simply a conservative estimate as neither the ballclub or the league hierarchy have chosen to be completely transparent and the mere fact that Selig now wants to be seen as a knight riding into the rescue when nothing could actually be further from the truth . Instead this has more to do with the league wanting to give its image a raise in its already diminished and tarnished profile . And here was I thinking that the league handled the ” steroid issue” with about as much deftness as a blind man playing hopscotch in the midst of a minefield ! There has been more blowblack and utter cluster fucks dug up here than can actually be found in a whore’s closet !

Courtesy of The all St Journal

Baseball Blasts Dodgers Bankruptcy Loan

By Patrick Fitzgerald and Marie Beaudette

Major League Baseball on Tuesday moved to intervene in the Los Angeles Dodgers bankruptcy case, blasting owner Frank McCourt and claiming it has a “cheaper, no strings-attached solution” to the team’s financial woes.

The office of baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who has been sparring for months with embattled Dodgers owner Mr. McCourt, said in court papers filed Tuesday that acting in the best interests of baseball, the league will provide the Dodgers with a “less expensive and otherwise superior” bankruptcy loan.

Mr. McCourt placed the Dodgers into Chapter 11 protection on Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., in a last-ditch bid to avoid having the team seized by the league.

The league says Mr. McCourt has “siphoned off well over $100 million” of the Dodgers’ revenue and has driven the team to a “liquidity crisis so severe that, absent extraordinary measures, the club would be unable to make its payroll.”

The team turned to a hedge fund manager owned by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which is providing a $150 million in so-called debtor-in-possession, or DIP, financing for what the league says is an “excessive” fee.

Major League Baseball blasted Mr. McCourt, saying he has placed his own financial interests over that of the club. While the Dodgers say they conducted an extensive search for financing, MLB says Mr. McCourt never approached the league, “an obvious source of a DIP loan,” according to court papers. A McCourt spokeswoman declined to comment.

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So what now for the Dodgers and how does the hierarchy deal with this all ? In seeing the Los Angeles declare bankrupcty it now leads to Frank McCourt will either sell the team or perhaps seek a cash infusion . Creditors will no doubt be very weary of the situation and given the fact that should MLB have to fully intervene then teams around the league will be on the hook as they hierarchy seeks to pay off many of the Dodgers’ creditors monies owed . Amongst those still owed monies by the ballclub are ex players Ted Lilly , Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones are said to be owed in excess of $24 million as well as broadcaster Vin Scully some $150,000 . This now begs the question, if McCourt is still able to meet payroll for the month of June then what of the ensuing months and where indeed will those funds actually be coming from ? We know that the $3 billlion deal that McCourt had been counting on as part of a negotiated tv contract deal with the local Fox affiliate left a great deal to be desired as much of those funds were due to pay down debt inucrred by McCourt and associated business interests .

Seemingly , when I’ve asked how it is that Frank McCourt was simply allowed to violate league rules in using the ballclub as collateral in multiple business deals repeatedly . But yet somehow the league hierarchy under Bud Selig has simply kept silent on this issue . If anything this all now leaves this ballclub in a complete mess and there’s no way in hell that any potential free agent would seek to even show an interest in the Dodgers . Given the financial uncertainty of this team, who the hell would want to be playing in the hellhole of Los Angeles with the current regime in place ? What might be even more worrying is where this now leaves the future of the coaching staff under Don Mattingly and the potential free agents with the Dodgers at present ? This once proud franchise has no one but to blame but itself but I would also say that due diligence was certainly not used by Bud Selig and the owners when they gave their approval in the sale of the Dodgers to Frank McCourt. The owner came into the organization with a great deal of baggage that if anything should have been a precursor of the mess that would become a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ current debacle . Multiple litigant problems many of which McCourt was a plaintiff and some where he was a defendant but if anything the league hierarchy should have been fully cognizant of those issues .

I’m not so sure what the rest of the season holds for the Los Angeles Dodgers and at the same time what are the poor and disenfranchised fans to think about this mess ? I’m sure as such that they are no doubt being very vocal and vehemently against Frank McCourt still being in control as the owner of this team . Furthermore , I can’t help but wonder what the future now holds for the players not only on the team but also for the prospects and farm system of the organization as a whole ! Baseball has simply been a mess not solely because of the financial ramifications that has befallen the teams in large part but also because of the idiocy shown by the league hierarchy and the intransigence of the MLBPA .

I’ve long maintained that Bud Selig has been a poor commissioner for baseball and about as out of touch as to the acute problems that the sport now faces ! It’s no use living in the past without having learned nothing from those events and herein lies another of the many problems that the game faces , it is that nothing at all has been learned by the owners the union (MLBPA ) or the league hierarchy itself as they merely seek to carry on business as usual . If there are any potential suitors for the Los Angeles Dodgers it will be very interesting to see what sort of value is placed on the organization and whether or not that suitor would indeed be willing to pay the price being asked as to the potential value of this team .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the plight of the Los Angeles Dodgers ? And where would you apportion blame for much of the fallout for this monumental financial disaster that has now encircled the ballclub ? Simply chime with a thought on this topic and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter broached in this piece .

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

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

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(1) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Trent Oeltjen smiles at some Dodgers fans late in the baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Monday, June 27, 2011 in Minneapolis. Oeltien was 4-for-4 with two singles, a triple and a home run in the Dodgers’ 15-0 win. AP Photo/Jim Mone …..

(2) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 27: Tony Gwynn (10) of the Los Angeles Dodgers singles against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Dodgers defeated the Twins 15-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins is out at home as A.J. Ellis (17) of the Los Angeles Dodgers defends home plate in the sixth inning on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Dodgers defeated the Twins 15-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …………

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 27: Ned Colletti, General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches batting practice before the game against the Minnesota Twins on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ……

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – FILE: Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks at a news conference at Dodger Stadium prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers on April 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. It was reported that the Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court June 27, 2011. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Bud Selig commissioner of MLB , whose tenure as the game’s highest ranking official has been steeped in a great deal of controversy . In the last twenty four months three major league teams have had to file for bankruptcy protection under the commissioner’s watch but he and the league hierarchy have done little to try and rein in the financial mismanagement that now seems rampant not just amongst the teams but also at MLB’s headquarters . AP Photo / Carl Nash …….

(7) Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly (L) and general manager Ned Colletti of the Los Angeles Dodgers attend a press conference announcing that Mattingly will manage the Dodgers in 2011 after Joe Torre retires at Dodger Stadium on September 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld ….
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It’s Only Business That’s All ……….

It’s Only Business That’s All …………..

Well it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig deflated the balloon of Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt . Finally the commissioner shows some insight after he and the league hierarchy and the team owners made a gargantuan mistake in granting McCourt the right to buy the team originally from the Fox Corporation . Furthermore , the question I still would like to ask of Selig and the owners and hierarchy is given the fact that it was well known that McCourt had several legal problems prior to the purchase what type of due diligence was used if any by the league’s hierarchy ?

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In his findings Selig rightfully stated that even with the $ 3 billion 17 year deal in place much of the funds derived from the deal would have actually gone to paying down much of the personal debt of Frank McCourt and that of his associated business interests . Much of the time we were being told by McCourt that the Dodgers as business concern was financially viable but herein lies the caveat all along ,. McCourt in cahoots with Dodgers’ CFO Peter Wilhelm had repeatedly used the team as financial collateral in a number of business deals that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the game of baseball . Much of this McCourt would keep hidden not only from certain board members but most certainly from the MLB hierarchy , thereby contravening bye laws of the game concerning debt to asset ratio all teams in the conduct of their business practices .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

MLB rejects Dodgers’ television deal with Fox

By Tim Brown , Yahoo Sports

Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday rejected a proposed television rights package that would have given life to Frank McCourt’s ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After a two-month investigation, Selig concluded that too much of the 17-year, near-$3 billion package with Fox would be funneled away from the Dodgers, who are straining to stay relevant under McCourt’s financial bind.

“Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt,” Selig said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.”

So arrive what could be the final days of McCourt’s ownership of the Dodgers, seven years after he purchased the franchise from Fox.

McCourt, who Friday had reached a divorce settlement with ex-wife and former team president Jamie McCourt, was notified Monday afternoon of Selig’s decision, which effectively nullifies that settlement. A portion of the $385 million advance from Fox was earmarked for Frank McCourt’s personal debt and divorce payoff .

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The sticking point for Frank McCourt now comes in the fact that he now faces having to sell the team in order to doubt meet the obligations concerning his divorce settlement with his ex wife Jamie McCourt . Beyond this , until the courts in Los Angeles make a legal verdict of their own concerning the Dodgers being a communal asset we may well see the beleaguered owner seeking his own recourse in challenging Selig with a civil suit of his own in the Federal Courts . Good luck with that Frank because of now you’re still fighting an uphill battle !

At this time of the season within baseball teams will either sink or swim not only in terms of their play but also by the decisions made by the managers . But barring that all , what could be even more telling will be the disabled list of the teams around the league . It’s not a team yearns to have one of their star players on the DL but simply tends to happen through no fault of the player or anyone else for that matter . The standings at present a different picture of what many thought would be happening but then again the game of baseball will always be literally filed with surprises . Nothing is ever guaranteed in stone in any game of chance much less a competitive team endeavor .

If you’re a San Diego Padres’ fan how must you feel at present seeing the team languish at the bottom of NL West , having won only one of their last ten games and being on a 6 game losing streak ? It’s fair to say that not only the loss of Adrian Gonzalez has played a part in the team’s downward spiral from last season but the austerity measures now in place by the front office led by principal partner Jeff Moorad , Chairman John Moores and GM Jed Hoyer . Paring down salary is one thing but I’m not so sure that this alone will assist the organization in being competitive ! This past MLB Draft saw the Hoyer prudently make choices that he and manager Bud Black make the type of decisions that will quite possibly bare fruit and come to fruition in the coming years .

Manager Bud Black and his coaching staff have their work cut for them this season if this team is to show any respite much less the resolve in showing some sign of resurgence . Ryan Ludwick , Brad Hawpe , Cameron Maybin and Orlando Hudson have all got to show that from an offensive standpoint that they can lead this team . And granted in Aaron Harang , Matt Latos and Dustin Moseley the pitching has struggled throughout much of the season . One gets the feeling that an upsurge in confidence and a win streak of 5 or six games and a few series could very well change the mindset of not just the organization but also the team .

For all of the talk about building for the future which while good it simply doesn’t fill the ballpark with fans that are being starved of success . Prospects and a farm system filled with top notch talent is one thing but simply ask the vast majority of fans if they are prepared to wait around for years merely to see in large part the team quite possibly fail or more often than not simply let go of talent that goes on to flourish elsewhere ?

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

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment or comments as to your thoughts . And as always thanks for the continued support is it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig listens to a question during a news conference on Thursday, May 12, 2011 in New York. Selig gave Frank McCourt the face-to-face meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers owner wanted, but provided no timetable on approving a proposed $3 billion television deal with Fox that would keep the club from running out of cash at the end of the month. Selig and McCourt met Wednesday when owners began a two-day quarterly meeting at Major League Baseball’s office.AP Photo/ Bebeto Matthews ….

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks during a Dodger Stadium security news conference at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on April 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. It was announced that new security measures will be implemented at Dodger Stadium after San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was attacked in the parking lot after the season opener at Dodger Stadium. The beleaguered owner now having seen his lone remaining hope go up in smoke with Bud Selig revoking his deal Fox Tv now is left with nothing but to seek recourse through litigation . But herein lies the caveat should the courts not provide a verdict in his support he could very well lose the team altogether . Getty Images North America / Kevork Djansezian …………

(3) BOSTON, MA – JUNE 20: Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a 14-5 win over the San Diego Padres at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …

(4) Orlando Hudson (1) of the San Diego Padres kicks dirt between pitches during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …….

(5) Ryan Ludwick (47) of the San Diego Padres connects for a broken-bat single during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …………

(6) At Petco Park Jan. 12 to announce the retirement of Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman and his new position in the Padres’ front office (from left): Manager Bud Black, president and COO Tom Garfinkel , Hoffman, vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad, and GM Jed Hoyer. AP Photo / Phil Moyer ……..

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Who’s Minding The Store ………….. ?

Who’s Minding The Store ?

I really like to understand how it is that with the financial uncertainty that still swirls around the Los Angeles Dodgers that Newscorp through its Fox subsidiary would see fit to loan Fank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers $30 million to meet the organization’s expenses in terms of paying the team’s salary and that of the other anciliary employees . With the league hierarchy of baseball having brought in C Thomas Schieffer a former Texas Rangers executive as well as being the former US ambassador to Japan to oversee the day to day operations of the Dodgers I would be under the impression that given the Dodgers’ ongoing financial difficulties the league would want to make sure that McCourt would be able to guarantee the repayment of any loan taken out by him to meet the team’s expenses. Not only that but given the fact that Frank McCourt and his now ex wife Jamie McCourt between 2004 through to 2009 had borrowed in excess of $100 million from the team without there being any record to indicate that this sum had been repaid . Now should he be unable to meet the team’s payroll over the coming month there is an even greater chance in all likelihood that the league may well have no other option but to seek the sale of of the Los Angeles Dodgers but first they would have ask McCourt to completely relinquish control of the team.

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Clearly there’s something still amiss concerning the Dodgers , their finances and the mere fact that it has taken MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his associates within the league hierarchy to even intervene in this situation leads me to believe that their business acumen and what we’re told are sound business practices are complete and sheer utter stupidity . From business standpoint I sincerely doubt that the vast majority of the owners around the league as well as the general managers would know the actual difference between a baking sheet and a balance sheet !

As this ongoing saga continues the less faith I have in the game’s integrity and that of the league hierarchy ! Bud Selig has become a clown of inconceivable magnitude and the fact that given the idiocy of the actions of the executives within the Dodgers’ organization most notably GM Ned Colletti , CFO Peter Wilhelm and Frank McCourt , whose own actions have been so egregious and clearly premeditated I cannot understand how it is that there seems to be no punishment of the owner for his misdeeds other than the mere fact that the league has essentially taken control of the organization. There is a great deal that McCourt has chosen not to be made public and at the same time it would appear that the league wants to cover up many of its own ineptitude in the handling of this situation. Frank McCourt states that the league hierarchy all along has had within their possession a $3 billion television contract deal that would supply the beleaguered organization with all the revenues needed to meet its financial obligations . However , in light of that all the Dodgers prior to this all Frank McCourt had stated that the Los Angeles Dodgers were never in any financial danger but records simply do not bear that out with there being multiple loans taken out by Frank McCourt using the team as collateral .

The league has a mandate that no team can have a debt ratio of more than 10 ten times its earnings but clearly with the Dodgers have contravened the rules in this instance. Bud Selig for his part has yet to make it fully public as to full extent of the problems of the Los Angeles Dodgers but clearly given the wide and varying reports by from various news sources the severity of the problems were so extensive that McCourt was simply being economical with the truth. Now it remains to be seen how long Schieffer will be overseeing the Dodgers’ operations and whether or not the team will in fact end up being sold. Frank McCourt’s ex wife Jamie McCourt has made a request of the judge who presided over her divorce proceedings to seek the court to enforce the sale of the organization . The judge may well not proceed with such an adjudication given the situation at present wherein the league has taken control over the organization. But it would not surprise me that the league’s own legal counsel could well seek out potential buyers for the Los Angeles Dodgers. However , with McCourt stating that he would fight tooth and nail to retain control of the team even if it meant taking legal action against MLB this situation could become a great deal more contentious were the two factions to enter into litigation.

At some point during the season we are liable to see several teams’ fortunes wane in terms of their performances .
Races within the divisions are steadily heating up but it’s still far too early to state what the outcomes will be with regard to where the teams will be at the culmination of the regular season .

Now as we enter the month of June and with the All Star Game set for 12th July to be hosted at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona it will be interesting to see what manner the protests will undoubtedly take in terms of the response to that state’s newly enacted law to enforce the state’s unpopular enforcement of the legal right of police officers to request a suspect to prove that they are a legal resident and not an illegal alien. As popular as this law may well be in the eyes of many it certainly has become very unpopular amongst many Latin American players within MLB. And the very fact that the ACLU and La Raza have chosen to closely monitor the actions as the state legislature and Gov Jan Brewer seeks its strict enforcement . I’ve no doubt that this issue as volatile as it has become should be dealt with at the Federal level of the government but given the inactivity and the partisanship within the Senate , Congress and the mere fact that no Presidential administration has seen fit to tackle this matter head on. I am really beginning to think that the mind numbing idiocy shown by the all levels of the government are completely at a loss to actually explain fully what their policy is with regard to illegal immigration !

DHS Chief Janet Napolitano who oversees the INS has been ambiguous at best in explaining the administration’s policy . Insofar as I think that the laws of the land have to be strictly adhered to , there has to be some latitude given to how a state can deal with problems that they deem acute within its own borders. I certainly don’t believe that Bud Selig ought to be forced to take a stance because a number of players oppose this statute no matter what their ethnicity. And even light of Carlos Santana making his outrageous statements at a ball game at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia , clearly shows how volatile this issue has become. However, someone ought to remind Santana that the state of Georgia has seen its own fair share of what he deems to be racial injustice as during the Civil Rights’ era within the state and in particular the city of Atlanta were one of the major epicenters of African American defiance as to the racial injustice that swept the South and across the nation at the time.

Given the history of the game and presumed journey that it has taken over the course of its history there’s no denying that baseball as far as it has come socially and economically there are still a number of issues that remain to be resolved. Jackie Robinson’s entry into the MLB opened up the game for all minorities but bear this in mind the game at the time though inclusive when Hank Aaron broke the alltime home run record he was being vilified the torrents of racial abuse , racial epithets death threats directed at the Hall of Famer would give the impression that in surpassing Babe Ruth’s feat was seen as an abomination by those who felt it beneath them to see an African American break one of sport’s most hallowed records. Now in this modern day and age it is not about the intolerance but what there is to be learned by all parties concerned.

It would appear in the aftermath of the game collision between Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins and the San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey . Giants’ GM Brian Sabean had a few choice words for the Marlins’ utility player and the fact that he felt that Cousins’ actions were unsportsmanlike . Many would disagree with Sabean’s view of the incident but when one takes into account what this loss means for the San Francisico Giants and their season then you can understand the general manager’s ire . Having lost Posey for the year and the players productivity it lessens the possible chance of the Giants quite possibly making the postseason either as a division winner or the wildcard entrant within the NL.

The Giants on a three game win streak but have lost 6 of their last 10 games over that span . For manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff the loss of Posey has to be a tremendous disappointment for the team . And it goes without saying for the fans they cannot be pleased with the loss of a fan favorite . While the debate goes on as to whether or not the league hierarchy needs to do more to protect catcher when at home plate protecting his position from a base runner heading home . I for one believe that the catcher knows of the imminent dangers that are presented in such a scenario . It has become one the traits of the game and there is not much that can be done to avoid such instances as both the catcher defending the plate and the player heading for home know of the prevailing dangers .

Collisions within baseball are part of the game just as much as fighting has become a part of an NHL . From my own perspective it would simply make no sense in changing the rules to supposedly make the game safe for its participants . What might need to be done is the for officials in such instances prior to the game to advise both coaching staffs that there is a need for their players to be aware that no unsportsmanlike conduct will be tolerated on the field . Safety has to be a priority which of course the players and managers are obviously aware of but with hindsight there becomes the issue if what we know to be right from wrong . The collision between Cousins and Posey wasn’t a premeditated act as both players were simply doing what would be normally asked of them . It goes without saying however that the game’s hierarchy may well now begin to monitor such instances to see if there is a flagrant act on the path of a player when such an instance arises between the catcher and an opponent at home plate.

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

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Frank McCourt the beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers who could be close to losing control of the team either through its forced sale by the courts or from an unsolicited bid by a group of investors. courtesy of LA Dodgers . …

(2) Jamie McCourt arrives with her attorney, Dennis Wasser for a non-jury divorce trial at Los Angeles County Court August 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The trial, being presided over by Judge Scott M. Gordon in California Superior Court, is to decide whether Frank McCourt is the sole owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team or his estranged wife and former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt still has ownership stake in the team. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America ….

(3) Hall of Fame player Ernie Banks (left) is seen here with Carlos Santa (center) and Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia which commemorated the annual Civil Rights’ Game . The rocker would give a passionate but totally unwarranted speech that in part denigrated the state of Georgia with his insipid remarks calling the state and its occupants racists . AP Photo/ Chris Myles …

(4) Brian Sabean, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the San Francisco Giants, watches batting practice before Game Three of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs between the Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

(5) Catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, the National League?s rookie of the year in 2010, suffered a leg fracture and torn ligaments when Florida’s Scott Cousins barreled into him at home plate in the 12th inning of the Marlins-Giants game May 25, 2011. Courtesy of ABC News ……

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NB : It is being reported that former MLB players Orel Hershiser and Steve Carlton have formed to a consortium in conjunction with billionaire Ron Burkle to make a formal offer to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers should the league see fit to put the organization up for sale.

Too Late To Apologize ………………

Too Late To Apologize ……

As MLB celebrates the Civil Rights games scheduled over the weekend I found it quite fascinating to see the interview that took place between Hank Aaron and CNN’s Don Lemmon . The interview with baseball’s former home run King shed light on what is now a glaring disparity within the game of baseball and that is that the African American’s participation within the game , is now said to be at its lowest level in years. I know that the game’s hierarchy has done its utmost to honor Jackie Robinson and his contribution’s to the game but I feel that Aaron summed it up best when he said that …..” baseball simply doesn’t do enough to lure young African American fans to the game “ . If anything it has been how the game is now marketed and the mere fact that Commissioner Bud Selig has set his sights on the Latin America , the Caribbean basin as well South Asia to bring the game of baseball to a wider audience. And granted , the game has seen a growth in those areas but what cannot be denied is the waning interest in the game amongst young African Americans . So much so , that their participation in the game at the professional level is now at its lowest level in two decades.

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It wasn’t that long ago that Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Torii Hunter made the comment that ….” Latino males who are of African ancestry can’t be considered to be black “ ……unfortunately for Hunter even if that wasn’t his intent to generate the resentment that may well have brought up amongst the Latin players but after those comments if anything , it simply didn’t stir much of a response amongst prominent African American players in the league . I’d like the to think that the contributions of such players as Reggie Jackson , Willie Mays , Robinson and Aaron would actually mean something to young African American players at the youth level but the fact of the matter is now they are simply no real African American icons within the game today that they can simply identify with. They’ve seen the game brought to its knees by the antics of Barry Bonds the steroid allegations that have surround him and the game’s handling of that very issue amongst other things may well be one of the main reasons for their choosing to shy away from the game of baseball. Most certainly as Hank Aaron stated the league hierarchy has indeed done a poor job of actually bringing back the game at the grassroots level .

OK, it’s said that they have specific programs within the elementary schools , high school and inner cities within their recreation departments . But that in of-itself simply hasn’t been enough to actually heighten the interest sought by the game . And that if anything is really a sad indictment of the game and how much of a waning interest that there now is with the African American community. If anything the NBA and NFL have simply stepped up their branding and marketing of their respective sports and the financial opportunities there are far greater and the chance of immediate success would seem to be far greater given the right set of circumstances for a player seeking entry into the those sports .

One of the points also raised by Hank Aaron also was that during lean economic times we tend to see it hit the African American community hard in terms of their attending games and taking an interest in recreational events . But I think that comparison can be made for the whole demographic of the community at large because if fans aren’t simply turning up for games then there’s also to be less of an interest in participating in that sport as a recreation. Certainly , I do believe also that when public schools are making budgetary cuts within physical education it makes the situation much more stark as to the gravity of the events that are now taking place. Even within the game itself where we now see that there’s also a glaring disparity with the haves and have nots amongst the large and small market teams I can’t help but wonder what might be the next step to be taken by Bud Selig , the team owners , in particular the MLBPA and what they might do to remedy the situation that facing them as they see a fall-off in the presence of African Americans within the sport at the professional level amongst the players. Certainly at the executive level amongst the general managers and managers there is a presence there with prominent African Americans . But I for one have yet to hear a public statement from any of the individuals in question concerning this issue much less a public statement on this issue from Bud Selig, himself. I think if anything Selig’s handling of this all has been like everything else that he at times deal with , it tends to be haphazard and rather laissez-faire attitude as he simply seeks to put a positive spin on any issue that tends to show the image of the game in a bad light . And nowhere was this more self evident than his handling with the whole steroid issue and the hearings that came with this all he gave his own testimony to the House Oversight Committee .

I don’t know that there’s a clear cut answer for this situation but I do feel that the league hierarchy has been lax in dealing with this and several other issues that now seems to have befallen the game of baseball. Even when I hear statements being made by Rob Manfred even addressing the financial disparities within the game I simply know that he’s not at all sincere much less does or any of his colleagues within baseball’s hierarchy have a real answer for the disparities and problems . It would appear problem solving isn’t even the highest priority within the game of baseball but merely keeping up this facade that they’re simply the ones who still carry this flag of social conscience as it relates to the issue of racial integration within team sports. If anything it’s simply now doing the game a disservice as it fails to really deal with a number of issues within its own parameters.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning this piece and are you at all in agreement with the statement made by Hank Aaron ? And what changes if any do you believe would be of benefit to the game concerning this specific issue ? Simply just chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron watches a tribute video showing him hitting his 715th career home run at the Major League Baseball Beacon Awards Banquet at the Omni Hotel on May 14, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Mark Zarrilli …….

(2) (From left to right) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Billye Aaron and Beacon Award winner Ernie Banks gather after the Beacon Awards Banquet at the Omni Hotel on May 14, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Mark Zarrilli …….

(3) Baseball Hall of Famers wave to fans following ceremonies opening the Hank Aaron Museum at the Hank Aaron Stadium on April 14, 2010 in Mobile, Alabama. From left: Bob Feller , Ozzie Smith , Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron and Rickey Henderson . Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images North America …….

(4) Robinson is seen here alongside his wife Rachel at his Hall of Fame Induction . Also pictured is Branch Rickey whose courageous act brought Robinson into the Majors . Post Archives Inc….

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MLB News

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

I’ve read with a great deal of glee where the MLB —- hierarchy has now chosen to intervene and take over the day to day running of the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers and not a moment too soon ! Given the financial situation of the organization and wherein the league hierarchy under MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has sat idly by as Frank McCourt has brought the organization to the brink of bankruptcy . In the last eighteen months two major ballclubs have been placed within the bankruptcy in order that they may have a stay from their creditors while being able to reorganize themselves . First off were the Chicago Cubs whose previous owner billionaire commercial real estate developer Sam Zell placed the team into bankruptcy protection in order to stave off creditors of the Cubs’ parent company (The Tribune Group) at the time going after the team to make the debt payments due. And while this maneuver worked it did cause and cost the company financially a great deal of bad PR that it could have well done without. But what might be even more gave glaring, it gave further credence as to the fact how dire the financial situation was for a number of teams around Major League Baseball .

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Courtesy of MLB.com

Selig to Appoint a rep to oversee Dodgers

By Ken Gurnick , MLB.com

LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball has taken over operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday.

“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club,” Selig said in a statement.

“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

McCourt issued a brief statement late Wednesday night that read: “Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner’s action today.”

In an e-mail message sent to Dodgers employees on Wednesday, McCourt said, “In light of the Commissioner’s announcement today, I ask that you please continue to conduct business as usual with our complete dedication to the game and our loyal fans. Each of you has represented this organization with class, and while this is no doubt a challenging time for all of us, I truly appreciate your efforts.”

McCourt, owner and chairman of the Dodgers, bought the club from News Corp. on Jan. 29, 2004, and the club reached the postseason in four of his seven seasons as owner.

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If one of most renowned teams in baseball has to be forced into bankruptcy through the financial mismanagement of its parent company then what must that forebear for other organizations around the league at the time ? Given the Cubs’ history and perceived financial resources as it was believed to be , this was nothing more than a shot across the bow of the teams who faced much starker situations but who’ve yet to make it known to the public. I’ve heard it said that the hierarchy of the league wouldn’t be prepared to contract teams but that it is utter stupidity by anyone who believes that it can’t , or won’t happen. If it is the league’s wish then it will happen especially in the light of the economic uncertainty and the whole financial mismanagement of teams around the league at present. With the Cubs having been reorganized whilst in bankruptcy protection it was bought by Tom Ricketts and his family (founders of online stock trading company TD Ameritrade) for an unprecedented $ 850 million . Paring down costs to an extent while still trying to remain competitive has been of the highest order for the Ricketts as they seek to make the Chicago Cubs relevant again within the league .

The second such team , with which bankruptcy was forced upon them, were the Texas Rangers who at the time were jointly owned by Texas multi millionaires Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette . Their combined worth an estimated $2.5 billion but somehow they couldn’t make this organization a viable going concern , from a financial or competitive standpoint but yet somehow through their idiocy they managed to offer Alex Rodriguez what was at the time the richest contract in professional sports , a ten year $250 million contract . Rodriguez barely lasted three years with the organization although he managed to win AL MVP award with the Rangers . I can only surmise that Scott Boras as A Rod’s agent at the time , proved what most people may well have known , that in the state of Texas not only are the businessmen dumb but they lack real business acumen also ! Once again through financial mismanagement by an ownership group another team was brought to near extinction and each time MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sat idly by . Having been forced into bankruptcy for failing to meet their financial obligations the team was bought by consortium led by Nolan Ryan and former Rangers’ executive Chuck Greenbeg . A much needed change in fortune has taken place for the Rangers both financially and competitively on and off the field of play but it doesn’t change the fact that the game’s hierarchy and team owners have been less than truthful as to their overall financial plight .

It’s becoming increasingly clear for all who care to take notice that the game isn’t as financially sound as Selig makes it out to be , nor are the owners being financially prudent and fiscally responsible. It’s not just about the economics of the game or the fact of the now overall plight of the economy at but all but the lack of financial oversight and sound business practices that is taking place in almost every aspect of the game. The GM’s around the league have become opulent and ostentatious and it would appear that the owners alike choose not to pare down their expenses but if anything in number of cases pass on those costs to fans through higher priced tickets and in the prices that they pay for concessions and memorabilia . Well now that fans in large part are refusing to meet those demands , it is now becoming clear that the owners and in particular the league hierarchy have seen the light . Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case for Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office who’ve amassed a debt now close to $1.3 billion collectively and who this past month borrowed in excess of $30 million from the local Fox tv station affiliate in Los Angeles to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month. Need one ask what would have happened had the MLB hierarchy chosen not to intervene and bring some sanity back within that organization ? Because clearly the likes of McCourt , GM Ned Colletti and Tommy LaSorda have lost their frigging minds if they think that they can continue to exist in such a way while trying to play down their financial plight !

And although it has been reported that McCourt will seek legal action in US Federal Court to stop the league from intervening and taking over the day to day running of the Los Angeles Dodgers I think that given his recent lack of success in the courtroom and the the financial maelstrom that he has brought within the organization , I find it hard to believe that any presiding judge hearing hearing this case would in fact choose to side with the plaintiff ! If anything the judge might be more likely to side with the defendant in the case given the severe financial problems that McCourt and his fellow executives have placed the organization in.

Now while all of this plays out as a comedic and public spectacle there are also calls for the O’Malley family to once again assume control of the Los Angeles Dodgers . As the previous owners of the ballclub I certainly don’t think that they would want to re-enter the fray of owning the organization once again, on any level, be it for the long term , or short term merely as a custodian ! If anything this situation is best left in the hands of Selig , the hierarchy under his authority . If anything it’d open up his eyes and that of the owners now knowing as such that they could be on the hook for the organization’s debt and mismanagement . One thing I do know, it’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers’ creditors would be liable to write off the vast majority of that cumulative debt as it presently stands as they too have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders and board members . Obviously that’s something that McCourt and his fellow executives didn’t take into account in terms of their own fiduciary responsibilities as it relates to their own consortium of partners in the Dodgers’ ownership. Living big and spending big doesn’t guarantee success if you simply don’t know what the hell you’re doing to begin with !

It’s certainly funny that given the Dodgers’ plight and that of the New York Mets who have their own vast problems from a financial and competitive standpoint but this might be one of the rare times that Bud Selig has chosen to show publicly that he indeed has a backbone ! God knows that this man has cowered his way under pressure and has acted oblivious to many of the problems that he has either created within the game through lax oversight or showing his complete naivete’ ! One only has to look at his handling of the steroid issue and the fact that he was absolutely powerless because he chose to be confrontational not only with the MLBPA but also with the Congress and in particular with two of its most powerful legislative bodies in the House Government & Oversight Reform Committee as Senate Judiciary Committee . You piss off the hand that feeds you in terms of providing you with your sole reason to exist throught antitrust exemption , you often in the end tend to make even more enemies than you actually want or need . Something that not even Selig would now care to openly admit to at this juncture .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Madoff Profits Fueled Mets’ Empire, Lawsuit Says

By Alison Leigh Cowan & Richard Sandomir

A lawsuit brought by the trustee for the victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme contends that the owners of the Mets used the profits from their years of investing with Mr. Madoff to enhance their personal fortunes, enrich a number of family trusts and financially fuel their array of businesses — all in the face of repeated warnings that Mr. Madoff’s investment firm might have been a fraud.

The lawsuit, unsealed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Friday, says the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , their families and their businesses “made so much easy money from Madoff for so long” that despite the many warnings — from within their own inner circle, and by other investors and financial institutions — they “chose to simply look the other way.”

“There are thousands of victims of Madoff’s massive fraud,” the lawsuit states. “But Saul Katz is not one of them. Neither is Fred Wilpon.”

Since Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008, Mr. Wilpon has portrayed himself as a victim of the fraud, one he conceded was carried out by a man who had been his friend for many years. On Friday, in a personal statement and through their lawyers, Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz decried the trustee’s legal assault.

“The trustee’s lawsuit is an outrageous ‘strong arm’ effort to try to force a settlement by threatening to ruin our reputations and businesses, which we have built for over 50 years,” Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz said.

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If ever there was a cautionary tale to be learned as to the world of sports and how the excess of greed can turn a once beloved spectacle into a crevasse of bungling ineptitude then Major League Baseball would be it. From the cheating , lying and bungling ineptitude of the owners , players , union and the hierarchy itself and their overall unwillingness to act in a proactive manner whenever there is a real problem within their midst. Instead they each tend to act as if there’s nothing wrong at all , until it’s all too late and by then the damage done tend to be irreparable . And when I say damage done it’s not only to the game in terms of its competitiveness , financial stability but also to its very own image and the fact that the vast majority of the fans can and do no longer trust what the game says it stands for or the very people who are entrusted to oversee and maintain its very existence and livelihood .

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Do you feel that the intervention now undertaken by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will ensure the Los Angeles Dodgers’ long term existence and livelihood. Or do you feel that the Dodgers ought to have been left to their own devices and let them sink or swim dependent upon what they chose to do in order to survive ? And do you believe that in the long term contraction within the game will become more likely in light of the financial problems that are now coming to light concerning a number of teams within the game of baseball ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and as usual thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) MLB commissioner Bud Selig (left) watches the 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 13, 2010 in Anaheim, California. Getty Images North America / Michael Buckner ……

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (R) greets Don Newcombe, former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate of Jackie Robinson, before the game with the St. Louis Cardinals as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ……..

(3) Cubs GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here alongside team owner Tom Ricketts at the team’s headquarters at Wrigley Field , Chicago , Illinois , speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Tom Scott ….

(4) Nolan Ryan team President & lead managing partner of the Texas Rangers is seen here with Chuck Greenberg a former executive with the Texas Rangers . Greenberg a respected sports attorney and agent abruptly left the Rangers’ organization earlier , this year. Dallas Morning News / Michael Ainsworth ……

(5) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Andrew Burton ……

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MLB News

Los Angeles Dodgers News

MLB Scoreboard 21 st April 2011

MLB Results 20 th April 2011

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