They haven’t got a pot to piss in , much less a window to throw it out of ….. ideas of grandeur , baseball style .

They haven’t got a pot to piss in , much less a window to throw it out of ….. ideas of grandeur , baseball style .

By Tophatal

Well the MLB off-season is proving to be just as thrilling as teams seek to shed payroll , while others seek to increase payroll , with the ultimate goal of glory , success , and all that it may entail . No need to guess , who the big winners are at this juncture before the season has even started . Both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels have sought to make their “big splash” , while north of the border , the Toronto Blue Jays have sought to revamp their roster and increase their payroll .

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The biggest acquisition made by the Blue Jays has been that of Cy Young Award winner R A Dickey, from the New York Mets , and given the franchise’s ongoing precarious financial position , of which their idiotic fans seem to fail to comprehend , it is my firm belief that the front office will continue on , with its own self-styled fire sale . Granted , the Toronto Blue Jays were made privy to the Miami Marlins’ fire sale , where the South Florida franchise has once again embarked upon divesting of the big-money contracts they were handing out out to those free agents like “ cotton candy”. A hellacious season of inept performances , the firing of a manager and the Marlins’ foray in 2012 can be best described as an almighty cluster fuck of “gargantuan proportions” .

In the midst of this mess , the “so-called in-depth investigation “ that Bud Selig has stated would take place , has actually failed to materialize , with no one having been empaneled by the commissioner to even remotely ascertain how and why team owner, Jeffrey Loria , and other Marlins’ front office executives, team President, Larry Beinfest , GM, Michael Hill and EVP ,Dave Sansom , have been allowed to simply wreak havoc upon this franchise, while at the same time giving the team’s fans false hope. It has been this sort of mismanagement that continues to take place around the game , under premise harsh economic times . Personally , I believe it to be “ one great big fucking lie” being suborned by the team owners and countenanced by the MLB hierarchy !

And lo and behold , it is this sort of apathy by the fans who buy into a franchise’s premise that because they have failed to meet certain goals , then they have to divest themselves the “ burdensome salaries” on their books. Unless I am mistaken, these self-styled executives and owners went into these negotiations with the players and their agents with their eyes wide open , did they not ? Furthermore , a close acquaintance patron of this site suggested to me that the Tampa Bay Rays , a franchise , who only in recent years has found a modicum of success has been profitable , due to the erstwhile financial expediency shown by GM Andrew Friedman . That might be the “biggest crock of shit “ within the Tampa Bay area , other than the continued stupidity being showed by the local politicians within the locale. The only reason the Tampa Bay Rays have been financially sound , has nothing at all to do with the accounting acumen of Friedman , because it has more to do with the fact that the franchise like several others , are the recipients of monies , made available to them by way of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme . In the last seven years alone , the Rays as a ball-club has benefited to the tune of some $146 million . Given the menial profits attained by the franchise , a $20 million off-balance sheet boost can make that final earnings’ mark quite alluring to any fan merely glancing over a pro-forma spread-sheet detailing the Rays’ finances .

Yesterday, another stalwart of the Rays’ franchise in recent years allowed to leave with first baseman , and former Gold Glove winner , Carlos Pena , who signed a one year deal to become the newly designated hitter (DH) for the Houston Astros in 2013 . Pena and his new team will be part of the new league realignment, that sees the Astros making the move from the NL Central to the AL West . Pardon me for saying this , but given Astros’ woes in 2012, I am not so sure that their league mandated move will truly be of benefit for the franchise . Once there , they will have to face off against Los Angeles Angels , Oakland A’s , Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers . And given the resurgence of the A’s and the likelihood that we will continue to see improvement in the play of the Angels and Rangers , there has to be a team within the division, that will end up being the “ whipping post” and “ bitch “ that everyone else gets to “ ravage” . So why not the moribund Astros ?

Astros’ owner , Jim Crane , with the then record amount of $775 million paid to purchase the franchise . He has to know, that he faces an uphill battle in getting this team in a competitive state to take on the likes of the aforementioned teams within the AL West , Manager , Bo Porter and his managerial staff will most certainly make the most of the off-season preparation schedule of Spring Training to get players ready as they embark upon their first season in the AL , in 2013. The Astros first regular season series of will begin a three-game set against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas , starting on 2nd April, 2013.

With a ready-made instate rivalry right off the bat against the Rangers , this should bode well for the Houston Astros , if they feel that they are up to the task. Add in the fact, that Nolan Ryan , current team President and part-owner of the Texas Rangers , was himself , once a player with the Astros , this certainly adds a great deal of intrigue to the panacea of the events that are likely to unfold between these two franchises.

One of the more asinine insinuations being made and which I read in an article written within this forum , given the complete lack of knowledge of the individual , who seemingly only chose put the words on paper , rather than conducting any research whatsoever, This individual , along with the more anally retentive supporters of the Mets’ franchise , tried to suggest that the financially cash-strapped franchise remains a viable and financially solvent concern. Fuck it , when you lose in excess of $40 million , and are projected to lose another $60 million in the subsequent year , you are in no way on a sound financial footing , especially when one of your primary creditors no longer wishes to extend you any further credit facilities . This has been the idiocy , that is being countenanced by so many of the team owners , for which Bud Selig is not prepared to offer the public or the fans an answer. Instead, he chooses to blow smoke up everyone’s ass, as to his own importance , and the fact that baseball has sound business practices .

Funny , I don’t ever once recall , Selig ever delving into the reasons why the Los Angeles Dodgers were taken into bankruptcy proceedings (Chapter 11) when there was clear evidence that the former owner , Frank McCourt had been recklessly running the franchise into the ground , while repeatedly using the team and other assets as collateral for several of his own personal business deals . In the aftermath of the franchise’s multibillion dollar sale , McCourt was able to walk away with an estimated $435 million free and clear , as he was also said to be a creditor of the ball club he took into bankruptcy reorganization. How the fuck can that be allowed to happen ? Wherein an owner, knowingly flout one of the most sanctified rules of the game from an executive standpoint , but yet he escapes unpunished . Meanwhile, a player who violates the league’s substance abuse policy for a second time , faces a 100 game suspension and becomes a “pariah” within the game . Yes, this is the mendacity and goddamn stupidity that Bud Selig lovingly presides over, but yet no one within the game much less the media questions his authority or decision-making .

Having recently signed David Wright to a eight-year $147 million deal , the New York Mets were was unable to retain the services of R A Dickey. To my mind that one move, has pretty much epitomized why the New York Mets remains a fucking mess ! Sandy Alderson, J P Ricciardi and Paul DiPodesta may well have at one time graced the game with their alleged acumen , but they were brought in to right the wrongs wrought under Omar Minaya , while he was the general manager of the New York Mets . Instead , the same old fucking idiocy appears to be continuing within the ball-club, as they capriciously spend money on a player , who does not possess any leadership ability, and is simply looked upon as the “ poor man’s “ Derek Jeter . If ever there was more apt description, to describe David Wright , then those words, best sum up, how he is genuinely viewed within the game . Fans can now prognosticate and pontificate as to what awaits the team for this upcoming season as they begin their Spring Training schedule under Terry Collins and his coaching staff . While that takes place , you can be sure that the team’s primary owners, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon will continue to wreak havoc within this ball-club , without their being any oversight whatsoever coming from baseball’s hierarchy.

It was the end of an era , as one the best switch hitters ever to play the game simply stepped down , from being a player with the Atlanta Braves . Chipper Jones leaves the game as one of the most celebrated and beloved in Braves’ history , and most definitely a player who was respected by his peers past and present. With his departure, GM , Frank Wren sought to bring in a productive center-fielder , and thought to be someone capable of filling that void was former Rays’ outfielder B J Upton . With Upton’s introduction as the newest member of what is considered to be an already productive lineup within the NL , and it is hoped that the player can simply increase his career numbers while providing the solid defensive prowess he has come to be known for . Upton, will be richly rewarded witha 5 year $75 million contract , making him one of the highest paid players on the Braves’ roster.

One of the deficiencies that blighted the Fredi Gonzalez’s players last season , was the inconsistency of the pitching , and the lack of timely hitting at crucial points during a game. The team will begin their Spring Training Schedule in the month of March with a slew of games that should in fact get these players ready for the upcoming regular season schedule which begins on the 3rd April , with a three game set at home against the Philadelphia Phillies at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta , Georgia,. A long and arduous 162 game schedule now awaits the teams as they each to succeed the San Francisco Giants as the World Series champions in 2013.

During the course of this off-season , more than $1.4 billion in contract negotiations will have been dealt with by the general managers and with agents such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem , Casey Close , Dan Lozano , Larry Reynolds and John Courtright . There’s a reason why these individuals have now become the bane of the general managers around the game . To my mind , however, the owners are equally as responsible because they also have a responsibility , as they have a right not to acquiesce to the demands the players seeking these exorbitant salaries . But you would be hard pressed to convince a number of fans and purists alike who is actually in right or wrong as it relates to the “ escalating salaries “ within the game of baseball.. I am sure that Michael Weiner , Executive Director of the MLBPA (Players’ Union) would like to see the status quo remain as it is , with his members , as they see their salaries rise consistently in line with the demands they make of league’s owners and the respective teams . .

Courtesy of the New York Times

Baseball Ties Olympic Reinstatement Bid to Women’s Game

By Jere`Longman of the NY Times

Having whiffed on an attempt to link its Olympic future with women’s softball, baseball is now following another gender-equity route in an attempt to gain reinstatement to the Summer Games of 2016.

Baseball officials have aligned with the relatively seldom-played game of women’s baseball to burnish its chances of gaining re-entry into the Olympics after being dropped from the 2012 Summer Games in London.

It is too early to know whether such a move will prove shrewd or merely desperate by baseball, which was evicted from the Olympics for several reasons, including concerns over the lack of participation by major leaguers and widespread doping.

In October, the International Olympic Committee will award the 2016 Games to Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid or Rio de Janeiro. Two additional sports will be proposed for those Games, to be chosen among baseball, softball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby and squash.

In February, baseball was given the cold shoulder when it attempted to persuade softball to make a joint bid to regain their Olympic status. At the time, Don Porter, president of the International Softball Federation, said in a statement that softball would keep its bid separate, adding, “We have offered the I.O.C. a doping-free, universal team sport that reflects the values of Olympism all over the world.”

Translated, softball did not want to be aligned with a sport that is awash in drug scandals and offers competitions, like the World Series and the World Baseball Classic, that may be considered more prestigious than the Olympics.

By contrast, the Olympics represented the height of international softball competition for the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Games before the sport was eliminated, many believe, because of American dominance.

All of the world’s top softball players would be expected to participate in the 2016 Summer Games. Or as Porter said in another recent statement, in a thinly veiled reference to baseball, “The Olympic Games would not be just another competition in an overcrowded schedule for softball.”

Rebuffed by softball, baseball chose to pair its Olympic proposal with women’s baseball, which is rarely played in the United States but, officials say, is played in more than 30 countries by more than 100,000 participants. Still, it is much less visible than softball, which officials said is played in 127 nations by 8.5 million participants.

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Baseball has been caught between a “rock and a hard place “ by way of its endless greed , while not caring to truly look after its on-field product , and how it markets itself not just on the domestic front , but also as a global brand . The game’s situation has further hampered by the intransigence shown by the league hierarchy under Bud Selig . Were it not for his sheer and utter stupidity in caving in to the union , the sport itself would still be part of the Summer Olympics . Selig at the time while trying to portray the image that MLB wanted to remove the illicit use of PED’s within the game , simply acquiesced to the wishes of the MLBPA , in not wanting to fully adhere to the testing protocols of WADA , as followed by the IOC . Now , with their being a joint effort with the International Softball Federation (ISF) to get both sports reinstated by back into the fold, as part of the Summer Games , it will be interesting how both parties will represent their joint case to the International Olympic Committee(IOC). The ISF along with baseball’s international governing body , International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and Bud Selig will seek to present their case at the headquarters of the IOC , in Lausanne , Switzerland . It is not so much that baseball is unpopular as a global sport , which it is not , the real issue has always been Bud Selig’s lack of real authority of the sport he presides over in North America , as the highest ranking executive within the league’s hierarchy . It has been Selig’s penchant for saying great deal while in actuality not doing anything that has in essence made him look a blithering idiot in the eyes of the fans.

What is a precedent here, is the very fact the men’s game of baseball is in fact seeking to ride in on if not piggy-back in, on the coat-tails in the growing popularity of the women’s game of softball , as it seeks reentry back into the Summer Olympics . If that isn’t a first , then what is ? And even though the World Baseball Classic (WBC) has yet to truly take hold internationally , there is a growing belief , if Selig , simply lets the IBAF take the reins , rather than trying to be the dominant partner in the staging of the event , there would indeed be a greater interest in the quadrennial event , which is next due up in 2013 , with the qualifying rounds set to start in December , 2012, but the main tournament not due to begin until March , 2nd ,2013 with the group phase of the tournament . It now makes you wonder what the fuss has been about concerning the WBC , especially light of the fact that the television coverage and viewership of the event in North America , has been sparse indeed. Yet , on the international front , specifically in the Far East Asia , Latin America and the Caribbean , the fans cannot seem to get enough of the event . Which begs the question , is it not time for Bud Selig to immediately step down , rather than retiring in 2014, as he claims , will be his intent ? A fresh influx of new and progressive ideas are needed within the game , rather than , this ” doing it by the numbers approach” of “hits and misses” , by Selig and baseball’s hierarchy. The irony here will be , if Selig does step down , then joining him also , will be , NBA Commissioner , David Stern , who formally announced , that he will step down in his role , a position that he has held within the NBA hierarchy for almost twenty-five years . A term , slightly out doing his MLB counterpart , as the duo have battled all concerns , friends , foes , and their respective unions , repeatedly over the lengths of their service. Selig has not named or intimated, who his successor might be , but we have been made aware that Adam Silver , NBA Deputy Commissioner, will succeed , David Stern. I do believe that Bud Selig , will countenance the promotion from someone already within the hierarchy , with the support of the team owners . If anything , Selig , will simply seek out a like-minded individual to carry on his policies , while his persona will continue to leave an indelible and some might say a “stain ridden mark” upon the ” game “ .

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Picture gallery .

What, if anything , do you hope to see being achieved during the upcoming season within the game of baseball ? Also , are you of the opinion that the sport needs to adopt a “ hard salary cap” that would see the teams getting an equitable share of television and other ancillary revenues ? Do take time to leave a comment as you see fit on this , and anything else you believe relevant to the subject matter.

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(1) New Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Zack Greinke adjusts his cap during a baseball news conference announcing his $147 million, six-year contract, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have seen fit to make several deals this off-season , as GM , Ned Colletti has been given the go-ahead by the front office executives to pursue these transactions . At the commencement of the 2013 regular season , the Dodgers will by far have the biggest payroll in Major League Baseball , far exceeding $200 million. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes ….

(2) Free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, right, and his wife, Katie , talk to the media during a news conference in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Hamilton, formerly of the Texas Rangers, joins the Los Angeles Angels MLB baseball team after signing a $125 million, five-year contract. The acquisition of Hamilton was prompted by Angles’ owner Arte Moreno not wanting to see the franchise left lagging behind the Dodgers in the free agents’ sweepstakes . Moreno instructed GM Jerry DiPoto do whatever it takes to land the “big league slugger” . AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

(3) FILE – This Sept. 27, 2012 file photo shows New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey reacting to fans as he celebrates his 20th victory of the season after the Mets 6-5 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game at Citi Field in New York. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that Dickey and the Blue Jays have agreed on a new contract , clearing the way for the New York Mets to trade the Cy Young winner to Toronto. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, because the trade was not yet complete. The 38-year-old knuckle-baller must pass a physical before he joins the Blue Jays. The Mets would get prized catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud as the centerpiece of the multi-player swap . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) New York Mets third baseman David Wright, center, walks from one interview to the next at baseball’s winter meetings on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Wright and the Mets finalized a $138 million, eight-year contract on Tuesday, the largest deal in the team’s history . AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(5) FILE – This Sept. 26, 2012 file photo shows Tampa Bay Rays’ Carlos Pena following through on a two-run home run as Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia watches in the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston. The Houston Astros have signed veteran Carlos Pena to be their designated hitter , addressing a key need as they prepare for their first season in the American League. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(6) Atlanta Braves newly signed center fielder B.J. Upton , right, and general manager Frank Wren pose with Upton’s jersey during a news conference introducing Upton, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, in Atlanta. Upton replaces free agent Michael Bourn in center field and should provide needed power from the right side. AP Photo/John Bazemore ….

(7) National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern (L) greets Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig before testifying with the heads of the NFL and the NHL to the US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection about the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports on Capitol Hill February 27, 2008 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee also heard testimony from officials from the US Olympic Committee , National Thoroughbred Racing and the US Anti-Doping Agency . Getty Images / Chip Somodovilla …

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Bud Selig Puts The Emphasis On The Letter “D” In The Word “Dumb” …. !

Bud Selig Puts The Emphasis On The Letter “D” In The Word “Dumb” …….. !

I’m now trying to fathom how it is that the MLB hierarchy having agreed in principle to the sale of the Houston Astros by Drayton McLane to Houston businessman James Crane seems to have hit a snag . For some reason after a meeting of the team owners and league hierarchy having met at the Otesaga Hotel , in Cooperstown, New York , commissioner Bud Selig chose to postpone the vote for the approval in the sale ( $680 million) of the baseball club. Pardon me , for being out of the loop on this but what the hell are Bud Selig and his compatriots thinking , stalling this procedure ? Isn’t it bad enough that the fans have had to endure the utter stupidity of the league hierarchy in their handling of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the odious actions of Frank McCourt and the entire front office of the organization ? The formal statement issued from the commissioner’s office on the matter(sale of the Astros) is that the vote will be dealt with at a latter date .

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I’ve long held the opinion that Bud Selig might just be the most gullible and naive executive in all of professional sports ! His tenure as the game’s highest ranking executive has been filled high and low points throughout this era . But it’d remiss to simply carry on chastising the commissioner without pointing to some of the good that he’s done for the game . But to hell with it , why should I ? From my own perspective I do believe that this sale will be approved , with Crane gaining outright control of the team after the free-fall of the organization during the tenure of McLane’s ownership in recent years . The lack of success postseason or otherwise over the years have been fleeting for Houston Astros .

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Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, left, listens as Jim Crane, right, speaks during a news conference to announce a group led by Crane is purchasing the baseball team from McLane, pending approval from Major League Baseball, Monday, May 16, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …….

This season has been one lowly expectations and derisory play by this Astros’ ballclub . If nothing else it leaves the fans with a sense of abject failure and nothing positive to take away from the experience while in attendance at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas. In the Astros’ most recent game played against the lowly Chicago Cubs , themselves fellow residents within the NL Central _____ a meeting of two of the worse teams in all of baseball. There’s a great deal of mediocre baseball being played at present but perhaps none more so than by both the Astros and Cubs.

Courtesy of Foxsports

What’s holding up Astros’ sale ?

By Ken Rosenthal & Jon Paul Morosi

When Jim Crane agreed to purchase the Houston Astros in mid-May, baseball officials estimated that the approval process would take two months.

The process is now at three months and counting.

Baseball announced Monday that a vote on Crane’s bid is not expected at this week’s owners meetings in Cooperstown, NY, stunning ownership representatives throughout the sport and raising questions about the sale’s viability.

As recently as Monday morning, Crane was under the impression that his purchase of the club for $680 million would become official this week, according to one source.

Two separate issues account for the delay, sources say.

• Baseball’s efforts to resolve the Dodgers’ ownership situation, which is diverting manpower from the vetting of Crane and his partners.

• Commissioner Bud Selig’s discomfort with one or more aspects of the Astros sale, which makes him unwilling to submit Crane for approval to the owners at this stage.

“The standard due diligence that must be completed before any transaction of this magnitude can close remains ongoing,” baseball said in a statement.

“Because that procedure is continuing, it is not expected that the proposed sale of the Astros will go to the approval process at this week’s owners’ meetings. Major League Baseball will continue to work as expeditiously as possible to complete the process.”

The next owners meetings are scheduled for November in Milwaukee. Baseball could conduct a phone vote on the Astros sale before then, and both Crane and the team’s current owner, Drayton McLane, might lobby for such an outcome. The team is on pace to lose 111 games, and the delay could complicate its offseason planning, sources said.

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For his part, I think that Jim Crane will be aggressive in trying to make this organization more competitive and most certainly looking to facilitate a much more consummate business approach altogether for this ballclub. Granted, over the years Drayton McClane has spent capriciously on free agents while seeking to win a World Series title . The draft choices of the organization have reaped some dividends for the Houston Astros but overall there had been the tendency to accept that when failure arose it was accepted and that would be it . With the ball-club having traded Hunter Pence their best player to the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline, this sent a sense of foreboding as to what the fans are to expect over the remainder of the season .

At this point last year the Houston Astros were striving to make their mark within the division and the league as a whole . Much of what we have come to expect of a team that struggles tends to come from poor play , compounded with multiple team injuries and in some cases poor a management style but in reality simply put , these are the things one would come to expect of a beleaguered organization . Jim Crane will have to assert himself and make demands of this organization if things are to change for the better . If not, then one could foresee that the changes made as determined by the owner that could very well be drastic indeed . At the end of this year , I do believe that those changes will be made one way or another !

Iriving Picard as the plaintiffs’ attorney in the lawsuit filed against the New York Mets’ organization as well as the ballclubs two primary owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon has won an initial ruling that would allow Picard to receive an initial sum of $300 million from the club as part of the approximately $750 million originally sought in damages. If one recalls , the case against the New York Mets and the two owners , were , that they knowingly profited from the monies derived from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme that defrauded thousands of clients to the tune of $59 billion ($59,000,000,000) . Reiterated by Irving Picard in the suit that bears the brunt of the plaintiffs’ claims are that the defendants knew that the monies received over the course of time had been derived fom an illegal act .

Courtesy of the New York Times

Madoff Trustee Gets a Green Light on Clawbacks

By Peter J. Henning

Irving H. Picard , the trustee overseeing the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff’s investment advisory firm, received good news from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Tuesday when it affirmed his position on how investor claims should be treated.

Under his approach, those who invested more than they received from Mr. Madoff’s huge Ponzi scheme , the net losers, can pursue claims for reimbursement, while those who took out more than they put in, the net winners, are subject to lawsuits to recoup their gains.

The Second Circuit found that Mr. Picard’s position for assessing investor claims, called the “net investment method,” was more consistent with the applicable legal standard “than any other method advocated by the parties or perceived by this court.”

The appellate ruling comes on the heels of a recent decision by Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Federal District Court in Manhattan rejecting the trustee’s authority to pursue claims against banks and others who were accused of helping to perpetuate Mr. Madoff’s scheme.

That decision throws into doubt some of Mr. Picard’s multibillion-dollar claims against deep-pocketed defendants like JPMorgan Chase , Bank Medici and UniCredit.

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Both Katz and Wilpon , as the two prominent defendants in the case have denied all culpability and any wrongdoing with regard to knowlingly profiting from Madoff’s scheme . However , much of their defense juxtaposes and hinges on the premise that the duo were also victims of Bernard Madoff’s malfeasance . It has been intimated that Katz and Wilpon’s investment company Sterling Equities Inc used their company to siphon off the monies they claimed to be profits from their original investments in the Ponzi Scheme __ moving those funds around various resources at their disposal including the New York Mets and other associated companies within Sterling Equities Inc . It is hard to actually quantify the misdeeds of Madoff but it is even harder to believe that both Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon would think that the public at large are susceptible to their claims that they did not know that the person, who they personally knew and trusted had been in fact been compliant and complicit in perpetrating a massive fraud and grand larceny. And the two defendants are said to be investment gurus , beloved by investors and financial institutions on Wall Street, alike .

Now far be it for me to suggest that Bud Selig’s handling of the Mets’ affair has been a classic case of a bungling executive who’s simply clueless as to how dire this situation has become . Now as we all know David Einhorn CEO of Green Light Capital Investments Inc. has plowed $250 million of his own money to purchase a stake in the New York Mets . I can only surmise that that Einhorn and his legal counsel were advised that this was a prudent investment by the business entrepreneur . Far be it for me to suggest this but it is my honest opinion that Selig sought Einhorn’s intervention in purchasing this stake as a way and means of avoiding any further misconception that he’s (Bud Selig) not fully aware of the ongoing saga and how best to deal with that situation . Public statements from the commissioner’s office have been minimal at best , other than to suggest that they are closely monitoring the matter . If that means , Selig’s scrutiny was along the lines of watching the Los Angeles Dodgers’ saga unfold to the point where owner Frank McCourt took the team and filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings , then it leads me to believe that the commissioner is an even bigger ass than I originally took him for ! He has simply watched as McCourt and his associates have maliciously caused irreparable damage to the image and reputation of the ball-club. And though the organization are the recipients of a $150 million loan from JP Morgan Chase until the end of the baseball season.

I’m no conspiracy theorist but JP Morgan Chase as a major financial institution was also one of the biggest recipients of taxpayers’ monies under the federal government’s TARP Program ( Troubled Assets Relief Program) which was overseen by the US Treasury Dept and its head Tim Geithner . If an institution the size of JP Morgan Chase can be the recipient of $45 billion ($45,000,000,000) of the public’s money and then simply have the brevitas to state that they are now lending more money to small and mid-sized businesses across the nation than ever before , then I would have to believe that Los Angeles Dodgers would now have to be considered a small to mid size business ! How do you feel about that as a perception in the grand scheme of things ?

Over the ensuing months I would like to think that the league hierarchy under Bud Selig’s tenure would now show some common sense in dealing not only with the Los Angeles Dodgers and now the New York Mets’ situation . But given the commissioner’s premise that under the watchful eye of C. Thomas Schieffer the league can closely assess the ongoing actions of Frank McCourt during these deliberations , it would be safe to think that the commissioner has the fortitude to do what is right . In the case of the New York Mets , well that is one saga that as it unfolds has become a soap opera that still has many episodes to played out for the public’s consumption.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Given the ongoing saga of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets how would do you now view the commissioner’s handling of both situations ? And do you feel that the decision by the league hierarchy will prove to be a hindrance in the sale of the Houston Astros at this juncture or merely the process being delayed until a time more fitting for league and owners to take a vote on the matter ? Last but not least , how do you believe that Jim Crane will fare as the owner of the Houston Astros and do you feel that he will ultimately be a success ? Do offer up your comments as to the points raised and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

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(1) Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane, left, listens as Jim Crane, right, speaks during a news conference to announce a group led by Crane is purchasing the baseball team from McLane, pending approval from Major League Baseball, Monday, May 16, 2011, in Houston. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …….

(2) MLB Commissioner Bud Selig seen here at the dais addressing the press and fans prior to the commencement of 2011 All Star Game staged at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona home to the Arizona Diamondbacks . In what was thought to be a straight-forward process in approving the vote in the sale of the Houston Astros the commissioner sought to postpone the vote in order to ratify what he believes to be are several anomalies that do not meet his approval . There is now some speculation that Jim Crane the Houston businessman whose consortium bid $680 million for the team may well withdraw that offer and walk away from the deal altogether. Courtesy of AFP/Photo/ Mark Templeton ……….

(3) Pitcher Bud Norris (20) of the Houston Astros talks with manager Brad Mills (2) at Minute Maid Park on August 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas. The Astros would go on to defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 . Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ……..

(4) Third baseman Jimmy Paredes (38) of the Houston Astros tags out Darwin Barney (15) of the Chicago Cubs who was caught in a rundown at Minute Maid Park on August 17, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 4-3. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …….

(5) David Einhorn, part owner of the New York Mets, watches the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on May 28, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Chris Trotman / Getty Images North America …….

(6) Irving Picard the court appointed trustee entrusted in seeking to recoup the losses of the plaintiffs in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme. Bloomberg News / Daniel Acker …….

(7) New York Mets team President Saul Katz (left) and principal partner and owner Fred Wilpon seen here at the team’s new venue Citi Field in Flushing , New York. The two as well as the Mets’ organization and their jointly owned investment company Sterling Equities Inc . are defendants in a civil suit filed by plaintiffs who are victims of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme. Getty Images / Andrew Burton …………

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The High Flying Tigers And Other Things Happening In The World Of Baseball

The High Flying Tigers And Other Things Happening In The World Of Baseball

If there’s a common consensus at present it could well be that Justin Verlander could very well the runaway winner for the AL Cy Young winner . The player has been on a tear as of late winning six consecutive games ,placing the Detroit Tigers in contention for the AL Central and to viewed seriously as a contender for the AL Pennant . If anything from what I’ve seen of the Tigers as a team this season they are on a mission and for the fans at Comerica Park as well both team owner Michael Ilitch and GM Dave Dombrowski this has to be have been a long time coming . So much was expected of the team last season and their free fall certainly didn’t help when it mattered most .

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Slideshow for your perusal .

I don’t know if at present there’s a pitcher in the league that is as dominant and foreboding as we’re now seeing from Justin Verlander. Now many may well feel that the Detroit Tigers simply haven’t shown where they’re capable of winning the AL Central and the mere fact that we’ve seen a resurgent Cleveland Indians may well have suggest that the division wouldn’t at all be up for grabs . But at present that has been the case with the top three teams simply not being able to truly separate themselves from the rest of those within the division . The Cleveland Indians leads the division with a 40-35 with the Chicago White Sox 3 1/2 games behind the second placed Tigers . Jim Leyland and his coaching staff know that they will have to lean heavily on their All Star pitching ace as well as the offense led by Miguel Cabrera , Magglio Ordonez , Victor Martinez , Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge .

With the All Star Game slowly approaching where it will be hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Ballpark in Arizona , Phoenix . That event should be very interesting given the ensuing political climate within the state at present after the state’s legislature’s passing of their immigration bill ( SB 1070 ). And as contentious as the bill’s passing may well have been the opposition from a number of civil liberties unions as well as the Hispanic community and Latino players within the MLB fraternity promises that this upcoming All Star Game could very well be remembered for the events off the field , as the opposition protesters look to making their voices heard .

I’m not about to suggest that the Houston Astros are having a bad season but the NL ball club seems to be on the cusp of having quite possibly having one of their worst seasons ever . With Drayton McClane having sold the team to Houston businessman Jim Crane , the feeling is that the entrepreneur will assess the whole organization from top to bottom before making a decision whether or not he will retain or bring in his own staff to run the Astros .

In the Astros most recent game against the Tampa Bay Rays it was clear for all to see the numerous problems that the Houston Astros as a team faces . The offense is simply dormant and the pitching simply lacks any real confidence . The Rays offense simpled teed off on Astros coming away with an emphatic 7-2 victory in an intra league game at the Astros ballpark in Houston , Texas.

It is strange to see players such as Hunter Pence , Carlos Lee and Jeff Keppinger are viewed as the present basis for the team but in reality the future of this organization lies in its prospects , draft picks and farm system if the truth be known . A great deal is now being asked of manager Brad Mills and his coaching staff in leading this team to some semblance of respectability within the National League .

The Houston Astros have struggled to make their presence felt within the NL Central in recent years and one it’s hard to view this organization being competitive given the financial difficulties of this organization during the tenure of Drayton McClane and the mere fact that the former owner has simply shown that he has never shown the propensity for winning. It has simply been about garnering the monies afforded it by the rather asinine tax sharing revenue scheme that the league hierarchy has simply sought to dispense to the small market teams around baseball with little thought for actually seeing that the teams in question bolster their rosters as they’re meant to . And one wonders why the game is in such mess from a financial standpoint ? The team owners , general managers around the league are simply far too stupid for their own good with the sports agents simply being way too beguiling for the team owners .

I’m still trying to comprehend how it is that Alex Rodriguez while a player with the Texas Rangers having left that organization in a multi player trade to join the New York Yankees and still some three years after that trade his salary was still being paid for by the Texas Rangers . And as we know Rodriguez at the time had signed what was then the largest contract not only baseball history but also in sports in general , a ten year $250 million contract. Tell me how this all equates with a sound business practice that will actually equate with anything that happens in the real world unless the idiots within the game view themselves as high priced corporate Wall St executives and somehow that’s not how I view the players within MLB , much less the owners whose business acumen we’re suppose to believe in ! I guess that the likes of Frank McCourt , his subordinates within the Dodgers front office along with Fred Wilpon and the ingrates with the New York Mets are to be seen as beacons of corporate affability and sound business judgment ? Cry me a river those of you out there who still believe that the game is still in a healthy financial position !

At some point Bud Selig and his union counterpart MLPBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner seem so intent on merely seeing the status quo remain the same for whatever it’s meant to be worth with regard to the game . And at this juncture what does that actually mean to you ? Some fans are pointing to the fact that there’s said to be competitive parity within the game but let’s get real here , attendances are steadily declining for the vast majority of the teams , with more than half struggling to eke out a financial profit without an assist from the league hierarchy . How is it that the more adept fan out there never really wants to address that specific issue but would rather look at the game through rose colored glasses ?

Much of this season I’ve simply been impressed with the pitching I’ve seen this season and the Cy Young within both leagues is by no means a certainty at this juncture . ERA and wins asides I know that the choice for the adjudicators will be an extremely tough one ! CC Sabathia , Jered Weaver , Josh Beckett and James Shields all appear to be viable candidates within the AL . On the senior circuit there it would appear that Cole Hamels , Jair Jurrjens , Roy Halladay and Tommy Hanson could all be in with a shot if they are able to keep apace with their rivals within the NL .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What have been your impressions as to the first half of the MLB season and which teams do you believe will in the thick of things at season’s end competing not merely for the divisional titles but also for the wildcard berths ? Also as to the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) DETROIT – JUNE 25: Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers strikes out 14 for a career-high during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Comerica Park on June 25, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Diamondbacks 6-0 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

(2) Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by Manager Jim Leyland #10 after striking out 14 for a career-high during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Comerica Park on June 25, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Diamondbacks 6-0. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(3) Don Kelly (32) of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with his teammates after scoring on a Miguel Cabrera(24) single in the eight inning during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Comerica Park on June 26, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Diamondbacks 8-3 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …

(4) Detroit Tigers’ owner Michael Ilitch (left) and team GM Dave Dombrowski are seen here taking questions from the press at Comerica Park , Detroit , Michigan , courtesy of Detroit Free Press ….

(5) Wade Davis (40) of the Tampa Bay Rays is called out by home plate umpire Tony Randazzo as catcher Carlos Corporan (22) of the Houston Astros looks up after the play at Minute Maid Park on June 26, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ….

(6) Houston Astros’ Hunter Pence reacts after being called out on strikes to end an interleague baseball game in the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sunday, June 26, 2011, in Houston. The Rays defeated the Astros 14-10 . AP Photo/David J. Phillip ……

(7) HOUSTON – JUNE 26: Carlos Lee (45) of the Houston Astros catches his breath after hitting a triple in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park on June 26, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ….

(8) ST. LOUIS – OCTOBER 19: Houston Astros Drayton McLane is seen during Game Six of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals October 19, 2005 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Astros won 5-1 to win the series 4-2 to advance to the World Series. Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images ………..

(9) Jim Crane the Houston business tycoon and new owner of the Houston Astros . courtesy of AP Photo ….
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