The Killer Elite ….

The Killer Elite

Well, baseball season (MLB) is almost upon us , with certain position players due to report to their respective teams within the next few days. For a number of franchises , this off-season has proven to be dramatic, suspenseful and dare one say, even exhilarating ? The MLB Postseasonprovided us with several stories and theplot-lines came thick and fast , so much so,that not even the script writers of Hollywood could have provided us with more drama. Who could’ve foreseen the Kansas City Royals blowing the frames off the doors, as they brushed aside their postseason opponents with a great deal of ease , only to succumb to the wily experience of Bruce Bochy, his managerial staff and the players of the San Francisco Giants , in dramatic fashion of an intense seven-game thriller of a World Series. A perfect ending to the 2014 MLB regular and postseason. Some might say, the Cinderella Story of the Royals would have been the perfect ending, but it was not to be, simply because the lack of postseason experience on the Royals’ roster of last season.

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With baseball’s Winter Meetings taking place in the aftermath of the Fall Classic, deals were being made with an alarming speed and regularity. Topping them all , was Giancarlo Stanton’s record- breaking deal with the Miami Marlins. Leaving many flabbergasted and surprised by the contract’s value and length , never-mind where the financial resources might be coming from, considering the Marlins’ menial attendance record for the Marlins’ Ballpark, in Miami , Florida and the fact, since its inception, it has been rarely filled to capacity. That asides, should Mike Redmond and his coaching staff not have this team not in a position to win the NL East or actually gain a postseason berth. The common thread of thought, appears to be the front office led by Michael Hill will be quick to pull the trigger on dealing Stanton elsewhere, rather than having to bear the brunt of a $25 million payout, in the first year of the deal.

From my own standpoint, I believe the Miami Marlins will be hard-pressed to make a serious enough challenge against what appears to be not only something of a revamped Washington Nationals’ lineup , but also on paper, what might be the ” deepest” roster in the entire National League (NL). It will be interesting to see how these two NL East teams are likely to fare over the course of their regular season series in 2015. If the Marlins are to have any semblance of success this season, then Giancarlo Stanton and his teammates will have to be playing their very best baseball right out of the starting gates on Opening Day of the regular season schedule. A one hundred and sixty-two game arduous slog, will prove to be a matter of attrition, stealth and a great deal tenacity on the part of the players and managerial staff, as things begin to play out.

Rob Manfred has succeeded Bud Selig as the MLB Commissioner and as the highest-ranking executive within the game. Whether or not Manfred can succeed where his predecessor repeatedly failed, will be dependent upon how he deals with the issues that have bedeviled baseball and the league hierarchy’s often contentious relationship with the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . The union’s recently elected Executive Director , Tony Clark is a former player whose career in the Majors could be deemed passable. Clark’s predecessor, Michael Weiner’s death cut short his tenure in an executive role, leaves the newly elected union leader as the players’ voice in the collective bargaining agreement for all issues involving the game, beyond the union’s own failure to deliver their concise formal statement on the matter of steroid abuse and the still prevalent deliberate misuse of performance enhancing drugs at the Major League Level and especially within the Minor League , where it now seems to rampant, but widely reported by the mainstream media, whose priority just seem to be the events as they unfold at the Major League Level. Yet, they would have the fans believe, their reporting of their so-called facts, has never been clouded or simply a white-wash, when it comes to the truth or their un-avowed bias of their reported stories .

Coming off his first win of the AL MVP, of which in the future I am sure there will be others, Mike Trout will be looking to cement his position as not only the best young player in baseball, but also the best player to have been drafted in the game since 2009 , the year he was taken by the Los Angeles Angels. Trout in his brief career in the Majors to date, has now become the best player on the Angels’ starting lineup, which has been devoid of leadership. Some might believe it to be an astonishing statement, when you consider the fact, there are experienced veterans on this team, where Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton and C J Wilson are the most recognizable names. The fact remains however, Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff have not put the Angels in a serious position win the World Series in spite of their most recent appearance in the 2014 postseason . The Angels’ missteps there were well-chronicled and something of a major disappointment to their fans after the team’s triumph in succeeding the Oakland Athletics as the AL West divisional champions.

This season might prove to be a horse for a different course as I expect the A’s to rebound back after a disappointing sojourn in 2014 ! If there is one thing I do know, it is not to underestimate a general manager such as Billy Beane , whose portrayal by Brad Pitt in the hit movie ” Moneyball” has just about everyone convinced they could become a great front office executive in Major League Baseball. Separating fact from fiction, we all know what Beane has been able construct and quite remarkably succeed in repeating, and that is to make the A’s competitive team in spite of a cash-starved ownership group and the very fact , Bud Selig has somehow refused to come to the organization’s aid in assisting them to obtain a new baseball stadium. Though somehow , the former commissioner was front and center when Citi-Field, Yankees’ Stadium and Marlins’ Ballpark took shape at the expense of the taxpayers within the cities of New York and Miami , where the final cost exceeded for all three venues exceeded $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000). Never let it be said, Selig doesn’t know how to maneuver his way around the corridors of power, while making so many political dignitaries at the municipal , state and federal level look like complete morons. Personally, I don’t believe it to be that difficult a task whether or not it’s a Democrat or Republican, whose largesse is being sought. Simply look at the idiocy of the political bickering now taking place at the national level and the continued partisan discord between both parties and then ask yourself, why you would be willing to trust a congressional member from either party , let alone someone at the municipal or state level ? Add in the fact, Bud Selig’s, greatest accomplishments as commissioner could be written on the back of a first class stamp and be posted to the North Pole , addressed to Santa Claus, for all of the use that would do. Yet I digress, as Claus based on a fable, has been far more successful in bringing joy to many , than anything accomplished by Selig during his tenure as the lead executive in Major League Baseball.

Mike Trout has more than repaid the Angels’ faith in him, which has resulted in a contract commensurate to his talents. Trout’s maturity is there to be seen and he has most definitely become the face, voice and undoubted leader of this team. As to whether or not his teammates are now willing to follow his lead can be best judged by your perception of their overall performances during the 2014 postseason, where Trout I believe, led by example, but there was no one else around willing to assist their teammate.

Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto has to be wondering , if not second-guessing himself as to whether or not it was prudent investing over $300 million of team owner Arte Moreno’s money into acquiring Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Moreno is known to be a shrewd businessman with a keen eye for detail and seeking out deals, which will more than maximize a return on that particular investment. Having made his name showing a keen eye for an investments specifically in the world of sports and broadcasting. One thing becoming abundantly clear at this juncture and it is, with each passing season where Mike Scioscia comes up short, he one step closer to becoming the next managerial casualty in the world of baseball. If Scioscia fails this season, then he is likely to become one the first casualty of an ongoing policy which has become the norm not just in baseball but in professional and collegiate sports. The dismissal of a coach or manager, as the case maybe.

The Angels will begin their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners , with the first of those games on 5th April, 2015 at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington,. However, before Los Angeles embarks upon their regular season schedule, they have their Spring Training Schedule and the chance for Mike Scioscia and his staff to assess their non roster invitees as well as their newly acquired players from this off-season. Chances are, several players will play their part in contributing to Angels’ endeavors over the course of their schedule.

For the third straight season the Los Angeles Dodgers will enter the year with the highest payroll in baseball. Several of the players on the roster are among the highest paid players in the game by way of their salaries and contractual compensation. With the franchise having failed miserably in the postseasons of 2013 and 2014 , each time falling to their nemesis the St Louis Cardinals, most notably in the NLDS last season.

Magic Johnson has been the front officeimage of the Dodgers’ organization, but now with Andrew Friedman having been brought in to oversee the franchise’s Baseball Operations, it does appear Johnson will have to take a back seat to to the new front office executive as he looks to create a resurgent and competitive on field product this upcoming season. That tall order has led to the departures of Matt Kemp , Josh Beckett and several other players during the off-season as Friedman looks to provide Don Mattingly and his staff with the tools needed for the Dodgers to win their first World Series title since 1988 .

While I believe the Dodgers to be a good team, they are far from being a great team and that is what is needed in the postseason if the franchise is to make it their ambition to win a world title. NL MVP and Cy Young winner in 2014 Clayton Kershaw , teammates Zack Greinke , Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig will have to show a great deal more than what was witnessed during 2014, especially during the postseason.

Don Mattingly and his team will begin their regular season with a home game at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles California against the San Diego Padres on the 6th April, 2015. For Matt Kemp, it provides the player with the chance to renew old acquaintances with former teammates, as he gets the chance to play at the stadium where some of the most famous exploits of his career took place. Padres’ GM A J Preller and team manager Bud Black will be looking to make this team worthy challengers to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants this season within the NL West , which I believe will be one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball this upcoming season.

Where would we be without some drama being provided by baseball’s most illustrious ball-club? This season will be the first time in over two decades , where the now retired Derek Jeter will not be part of the New York Yankees’ opening day lineup. Major changes have taken place within the organization , among the playing staff, with several players departing , while the Yankees seek to reshape the roster, which at its core, is still one, with several players at the twilight of their careers . It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice, in the midst of this all, Alex Rodriguez was welcomed back into the fold, but I feel that the player, while being closely scrutinized, he likely to make another misstep and as before, then look to apportion blame elsewhere for his own misdeeds, as so often been the case over the past eight and a half years. If nothing else, Rodriguez has been more consistent off the field with his repeated lies than he has been on the field for the Yankees during the time-span in question.

The New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has continually been afforded the means necessary to craft a team, he believes capable of winning a World Series, but last season’s disastrous showing had more to do with disjointed performances and an aging roster riddled with injuries throughout the year. Out the window it appears, has been the notion of paring down payroll to a manageable size , because clearly Cashman , Joe Girardi , the managerial staff and ownership place no faith in the organization’s farm system. Granted, a number of players made appearances at various points during last season, having been promoted up from AAA, but I believe, it had more to do with Cashman being at a loss, not willing to splurge and taking something of conservative approach. Now it all comes down to, which player on the roster can Joe Girardi look to , in providing the leadership necessary for the Yankees to be successful this upcoming season ?

The New York Yankees have a great deal of money tied up in players , such as Alex Rodriguez, C C Sabathia , Masahiro Tanaka , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran . Salary commitments for the New York Yankees in 2015 will top $210 million , which pales into comparison to the monies being paid out this year ($267 million) by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Inasmuch, as many try to point out there is parity within the game of baseball, there is nothing at all to really bear this out, because in essence, what it all does come down to more than anything else_______ talent on the field of play and extremely good managerial skills. Overlooking that premise and simply using the analogy of parity suggests pragmatism and laziness on the part of those watching the game. However, it should be noted, of the participants in last season’s postseason, several were among the top paying teams in all of baseball.

I certainly do not believe Alex Rodriguez can or will provide the leadership sought by Joe Girardi ! Among the players on the team, where the trait needed for team success to become a reality, the most likely candidate would appear to be Jacoby Ellsbury, a player ,whose career with the Boston Red Sox was well-chronicled, albeit, his last season and a-half with the franchise was more injury riddled, with a noted decline in his productivity . Last season , there were glimpses of Ellsbury back to almost his very best and providing the leadership sought which will surely be missed with the retirement of Derek Jeter ! The Yankees will kick off their regular season schedule with a three-game home series’ opener against divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays , beginning on the 6th April, 2015. The AL East , where both teams reside, will likely prove to be another competitive season, with the Baltimore Orioles looking to fend off the challenge of their their divisional foes in defense of the divisional title , while also seeking to steer away the rest of the AL and their NL opponents in 2015.

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Picture gallery .

What are you hoping to see come out of the first two months of the MLB season ? Also, at the half-way point of the schedule which teams and players do you believe will have made something of a statement as to their intent ? Merely leave a comment as you see fit on the questions raised and anything else you believe relevant to the article.

o_O

Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner , left, and manager Bruce Bochy stand by the trophies after their 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Bumgarner’s scintillating postseason displays were just one of the many reasons why the Giants prevailed in a drama driven and thrilled packed World Series . AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(2) Oct 29 , 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig (right) presents San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (left) , chief executive officer Larry Baer (middle) and general manager Brian Sabean with the Commissioners Trophy after game seven of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium . Charlie Neibergall/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

(3) Howie Kendrick (47) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Albert Pujols (5) after driving in the game winning run in the tenth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 28, 2014 in Anaheim, California. Far right , is Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. rtfied;a222) Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld

(4) Mike Trout (27) celebrates with Mike Scioscia (14) of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squire

(5) Giancarlo Stanton is seen here hitting a home run off Jonathan Pettibone during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies . The Marlins’ slugger signed a $325 million contract with the franchise, making it the most expensive deal in baseball history and the most expensive in any of the four major professional team sports in North America . AP Photo / Alison Fisher

(6) A pensive looking Alex Rodriguez looks up from the dugout to the scoreboard during a game . The New New York Yankees’ third baseman has not played in regular season game for the ball-club since the latter half of the 2013 season . Having sat out all of last year due to a league mandated suspension, Rodriguez will be returning to a team , missing two of its most popular players after the retirement of Derek Jeter and the departure of Ichiro Suzuki who during the off season signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins . It remains to be seen whether or not Alex Rodriguez can contribute to a team lacking leadership and a great deal of productivity in terms of overall offense. AP Photo / Keith Slocum

(7) New York Yankees’ teammates Derek Jeter , left and Jacoby Ellsbury leave the field after a game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . Jeter’s retirement after a two-decade long career with the organization , leaves a tremendous void and vacuum, with their now being viewed as what is likely no real on-field leadership. Ellsbury might be seen as the ideal replacement for such a role. but there doesn’t appear to any signs from management or the front office as to whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury will succeed Jeter as the captain of the New York Yankees . A role of stature which has only ever been held by five players during the franchise’s illustrious history during the past four decades. AP Photo / Keith Wallace
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Losers , winners and mere simpletons ..

Losers , winners and mere simpletons ..

Repeated pratfalls by the NFL and it would seem some fans believe a less than forthright apology by Roger Goodell now rectified the idiotic decisions the commissioner made in light of the league’s handling of the Ray Rice “affair”. Escalating acts of misconduct by the NFL’s players over the years and it would seem that neither league hierarchy , the commissioner or many of the NFL’s apathetic and lame ass fans have learned a damn thing about the league, much less the fact the commissioner is so damn clueless. Theirs seems to be the belief as long as the NFL trudges along providing the fans with a banal on the field product , with a group of pompous and asinine on air prognosticators, the league can survive in its present guise.

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The players and their union (NFLPA) continue to hide behind privacy rights and the issue of due process , but at a time where the league has seen a rise in misconduct , the Players’ Union has done little to discuss the issue, much less player representatives or union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have done little to rein in the misbehavior of their players or sought to discuss the issue publicly.

With news coming to light, where certain executives within the Baltimore Ravens organization might well have been privee’ to the taped incident of Ray Rice assaulting Jenay Parker , it begs the question, if the franchise was indeed in receipt of this information , then why was it not passed on to the league head office ? The NFL and the Ravens have been complicit in another unsavory cover-up and an episode which further suggest the ongoing incompetency of the league during Roger Goodell’s disastrous tenure. If to make matters worse, the commissioner is now of the belief in bringing in former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and Louis Freeh , it adds credibility in his seeking to rectify the problems he has long ignored concerning player misconduct. Nothing could be further from the truth , as we have seen in the lackadaisical way , with which the commissioner has failed to show consistency in how he metes out punishment to players guilty of misconduct.

Freeh and Mueller are essentially bureaucrats being brought in as the commissioner suggests in assisting the league to formulate a code of conduct and policy to be followed by all of the NFL’s thirty-two teams . If such a provision was never properly enacted or there was never a firm policy in place , then Roger Goodell is being a mere fool , if he now believes such a policy will be willingly accepted by the union and the players , when there has been a continued mistrust between the two parties all along.

Week three in the NFL offered the fans very little respite with the usual amount of anomalies one would now come to expect , with several teams giving the type of performances they and their fans would rather forget. This was highlighted by the inept display of the league’s worst team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , who were on the wrong side of a lopsided loss , in their 56-14 defeat suffered at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Lovie Smith , his coaching staff are now coaching a roster with the worst record in the NFL , with the Buccaneers now 0-3 , having posted this record for the third time in the last six seasons in a start to a regular sixteen game NFL schedule. Where Tampa now goes from here is anyone’s question, with the team showing little signs of life , in terms of competitiveness or any real leadership from the players. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which will be a Sunday afternoon game for the two teams in question, part of the week four schedule for the NFL.

A 2-0 start to the season may well have had everyone believing the Buffalo Bills were off to very good start , but they were quickly brought back down to earth as they fell 22-10 to the San Diego Chargers at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York. For the Bills’ new owner , billionaire developer Terry Pegula , this was definitely not the way he wanted to start off his reign as the franchise’s and the NFL’s newest owner. The defeat , brings the Bills back to the pack as they share the lead in the AFC East with the New England Patriots , whose hard-fought victory over the Oakland Raiders was one of the less memorable games in the NFL over this past weekend . New England will look to follow-up with a second consecutive victory , when they face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City, Missouri in week four.

It is still early days yet in the NFL season, but I believe not until after week five can we really have a real insight how good the teams are , and the likely direction they will be heading. Granted, one or two teams are already showing signs they are likely to be uncompetitive as witnessed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Yet, there is every reason to believe the likes of the Buccaneers , Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders will likely struggle over the remainder of the season given their lack of competitive play at this point of their respective schedules.

Kirk Cousins is now providing something of a lovely headache for Jay Gruden and the Washington Redskins’ coaching staff. The Redskins’ backup quarterback is proving to be a more than adept substitute for the usual starter Robert Griffin III , whose first two years in the NFL have proven to be somewhat erratic. Griffin however, is seen as the face and future of the franchise without delving into the financial investment made in the player, who was taken as the number two overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , where he was drafted behind Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.

While Washington is rooted at the bottom of the always overrated NFC East , it has to be said other than the Philadelphia Eagles , who have found a way to distance themselves from the rest of the pack within the division, the other three inhabitants are pretty much the best of a rotten bunch of apples.

Jay Gruden will take the Washington Redskins will be at home in week four where they will meet up against divisional rivals the New York Giants who will be led by Eli Manning , as the Giants’ quarterback will be looking to resurrect what was a very disappointing season in 2013 for the player. If the New York Giants fail to gain a postseason berth this season , then there are likely to questions raised, concerning the long-term future of Tom Coughlin , his coaching staff and the ten-year veteran quarterback of the NFL.

With a week to go before the end of the MLB season , several of the divisional races have all been sewn up. The Washington Nationals have clinched the NL East over a very disappointing Atlanta Braves team which did not provide much of the competitive race or competition for the Nationals over the course of the season. Now there seem to be rumors surfacing that GM Frank Wren will be shown the door by Braves’ organization. My own beliefs are , he front office should also be assessing the failings of Fredi Gonzalez and his managerial staff , as well as certain members of the team who failed miserably . At the end of the season, a decision is likely to be made concerning Frank Wren , but it is not likely to be the only changes made concerning the internal makeup of the front office , managerial staff and playing roster going into next season .

Elsewhere, there has to be a great deal of adulation within the state of California , with the knowledge both baseball clubs in the greater Los Angeles area have made the postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers swept through to an easy defense of their NL West title and now look to make up for last season’s failings in the MLB postseason. The Dodgers’ AL counterparts the Los Angeles Angels made light work within the AL West dethroning the two-time defending divisional titlists the Oakland Athletics , bringing the Angels their first divisional title in five years , their last coming in 2009.

With there now being talk of a possible all Californian World Series’ finale, with the Los Angeles Angels facing off against the Los Angeles Dodgers . I would dare say this would be the sort of showcase finale baseball requires and needs, in light of the failure of the New York Yankees not being part of baseball’s postseason fare. Derek Jeter bows out of baseball after two decades of a career, which can be best summed as being exemplary. By contrast, it has to be said the AL East new divisional champions the Baltimore Orioles come into the postseason , with several notable achievements for the team , but a major blemish to their image, with Chris Davis having been suspended for failing the league’s steroid policy , all of this , from a player who swore blindly he had never once used a banned substance. Personally, if Davis can afford to be tutored by Brady Anderson , whose career was always suspect, given one standout year in an otherwise under-achieving career. There isn’t much else that really needs to be said concerning the accomplishments of both players and the apathy of the Orioles’ fans who believe Chris Davis and Brady Anderson, can be considered genuinely great players for the franchise .

Buck Showalter will take the Baltimore Orioles on the road where they will be the guests of the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium in New York City, New York , on Monday evening. On the mound for the visiting team will be Bruce Chen as he faces off against Michael Pineda of the Yankees.

In the space of fifteen days the Kansas City Royals have gone from a sure thing, to a team intent on self-imploding as the final month of their season seems to be falling apart at the seams. The Royals are now 1 1/2 games behind of the Detroit Tigers within the AL Central , with only eight games left to salvage their year or otherwise , become part of the wildcard foray, where they are likely to face the Oakland Athletics in the wildcard round of the MLB postseason, In what is simply a one and done contest , such a game between the two teams is not likely to favor the Royals , who would have to face the A’s at the O Coliseum in Oakland, California , with the winners going on to the divisional round (ALDS) of baseball’s postseason fare. Kansas City may well be leading their season series in 2014 , having won five of their seven meetings , but it would take a real betting man to believe Bob Melvin and his staff will allow his players to let the Kansas City Royals run over them , given the A’s recent postseason experiences, for which the last visit for the visiting team their last such foray came two decades ago. Kansas City has been in meltdown mode and their last ten games (4-6) have been ample evidence of that very fact.

The Kansas City Royals will take on the Cleveland Indians as they look to make inroads into the lead of the Detroit Tigers . Brad Ausmus and the Tigers will be remain at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan where their guests will be the lowly Chicago White Sox . That particular match-up should prove to be a lopsided contest if their season series is anything to go by , with the game favoring the home team.

The Boston Red Sox as the reigning World Series’ champions were expected to contend this season not only within the AL East, but also in the American League (AL). Unfortunately. for John Farrell and his managerial staff this was to be a season of more lows than highs , with the team showing no signs of competitiveness or leadership from anyone on the roster. A far cry from last season, when the team swept through the postseason with the utmost of ease and they were barely challenged within the division of having out-gunnned their divisional rivals.

David Ortiz may well have been the World Series’ MVP last season and while his stats for this year have been far from impressive , but the real issue has been , why the falloff from a ball-club which was so competitive and decisive in 2013? One could possibly point to the issue of GM Ben Cherington choosing to assemble a roster which failed to live up to expectations . with several players nowhere near as good as was first thought. How and why AJ Pierzinski was ever thought to be a player with the ability to lead , much less provide the type of productivity sought has to be as bewildering as the acquisition itself by the ball-club. Boston has not only fallen out of contention, but will finish with its worst divisional placing in several years. With no game scheduled for Monday 22nd September, the Red Sox will resume their schedule on Tuesday 23rd September when they play host to the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts , in a contest between two AL East teams heading in the wrong direction . direction.

If the NFL is said to be rife with incompetence and utter stupidity, then NBA cannot be all that far behind ! It took the utter audacity and bigotry of Donald Sterling to in some ways show what is now going on behind the closed doors of this old boys’ fraternity made of up buffoons among the league’s hierarchy and owners , without delving further into the stewardship of former NBA Commissioner David Stern or his neophyte successor Adam Silver . Having to deal with the damage to its image, caused by the racial insensitivity of the tirade of Donald Sterling , which in some circles was simply being treated rather apathetically by fans ,as merely an owner having the right to freely express himself .

The NBA has since had to deal with the rather nonsensical uttering of two Atlanta Hawks’ executives further reiterating how bigoted and racially intolerant this league just happens to be. And for the idiots trying to suggest because of the makeup of the NBA is largely ethnic based, with a preponderance of the players being minority in their background. It simply cannot hide the fact, Bruce Levenson and Danny Ferry were showing a now obvious side to the league , which both Stern and his successor have failed to address over the years. If both Levenson and Ferry can be allowed to get away with such behavior and then one adds the depraved rants of Rich DeVos into the mix , while trying to negate DeVos’ idiocy with the fact, he might well have donated thousands of dollars to the transgendered and gay causes, it simply cannot detract from the statements made by the Orlando Magic owner concerning a specific demographic within society. This is not a not fictional drama being played out , but real life events , and in many ways , fools are now seeking to excuse such behavior as being acceptable within society , without ever mentioning the words , “ common decency and the respect of others “ .

You have to hand it to Glenn Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves who continues to bitch and whine about having to trade All Star power forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Things would not have become so farcical for the Timberwolves had either Taylor or Flip Saunders sought to build a roster competitive enough which would have persuaded Love to remain with the franchise . Instead , both executives have continued to take parting shots at the now departed star. As if to further exacerbate the situation, the front office now has to deal with a disgruntled Ricky Rubio,perhaps the only valuable asset left on the roster. The Spaniard has let it be known he is not entirely happy with the direction the franchise is now heading in , with even head coach Flip Saunders seemingly unsure about what his best lineup is likely to be during the exhibition season as well as starting the Timberwolves’ regular season schedule which sees the team with an opening against the Memphis Grizzlies. Saunders as the de-facto GM and head coach will have to make a decision before the start of the season or seek persuade Ricky Rubio to remain with the team , while he seeks to bolster the roster. Easier said than done , as I believe Rubio no longer has any desire to be with the Timberwolves . It certainly will be interesting to see what transpires between now and the start of the season, as the Minnesota Timberwolves seek to placate another disgruntled star.

Rex Chapman come down and take a bow. Having earned over $22 million over the course of your professional career in the NBA , you took it upon yourself in retirement to prove you were nowhere as intelligent as many believed you be . As a former Kentucky Wildcat may well have achieved some semblance of collegiate success , but in the aftermath of that career and the nondescript years in the NBA , you have now brought some unwanted attention upon yourself , being accused and then being charged with nine counts of theft of $14,000 worth of items from an Apple Store and then seeking to pawn those very same items in a pawn shop in Scottsdale , Arizona. Pardon me for saying this , but , how much of an asshole is Rex Chapman and are certain collegiate alumni from Kentucky that frigging dumb ?

While Rex Chapman is no longer a part of the NBA fraternity, the ex-player’s behavior is somewhat typical of the ongoing idiocy one continues to see within the league and player misbehavior. If left to the general managers , owners and league hierarchy to deal with such issues , more often than not the NBA tends to treat the players with kid gloves” . As to those who prescribe to the fact the Justice System has a way with dealing the misdeeds . State Attorney Generals at the state level and then at the county level , tend to seek a plea deal from the offenders who are then offered rather lenient sentences in such instances or if a case should go trial, you tend to have a jury not often aware of the law, even when under the advice being given to them by a presiding judge. Justice for all ? No , justice tends to be given to those who can afford the privilege of being treated with leniency, while the victims have no real rights of recourse.

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Picture gallery.

In light of baseball’s season now almost reaching its culmination, what do you believe have been some of the major highlights of the season ? Secondly, the NFL season is becoming more known for the off-the field issues , rather than for the play on the field . Do you believe the league has been able to deal with these issues appropriately ? Finally , how do you see the NBA season panning out and do you believe Ricky Rubio will be a player for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the start of the season or will he be traded ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the topics raised in this article.

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) From left to right , Baltimore Ravens’ executives, team President Dick Cass , GM Ozzie Newsome and team owner Steve Bisciotti . Bisciotti has been critical of the claims being made by ESPN that the franchise had been receipt of the taped evidence showing Ray Rice assaulting his then fiancée Jenay Parker . The Ravens’ owner refutes the allegations but does state he wished he had approached the league earlier to decide whether not the franchise could take action against the player directly, rather than leaving the matter in the hands of the league hierarchy to deal with. AP Photo / Richard Walker …

(2) Tight end Levine Toilolo (80) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America/ Kevin C Cox …

(3) Running back Antone Smith(35) of the Atlanta Falcons gets tangled with corner-back Johnathan Banks (27) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a fumble during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …

(4) Buffalo Bills’ quarterback EJ Manuel looks to make a play in the game against the San Diego Chargers this past Sunday. San Diego would end up being the victors the in this contest defeating the Bills 22-10 . AP Photo / Paul McGee …. ….

(5) Oakland Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley (58) puts pressure on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass. AP Photo/Elise Amendola … ….

(6) Deposed GM Frank Wren who o summarily fired by the Atlanta Braves with a six games left in the regular season . Braves’ team President John Scheurholz made the decision in consultation with senior executives within the organization. John Hart will assume the role as interim-general manager until a permanent successor can be found. About the only real bright spot to the season has been the productivity of Braves’ outfielder Justin Upton who led the team in a number offensive categories in 2014 . AP Photo/ Gerry Parsons …

(7) Ricky Rubio (9) is seen here alongside his former teammate Kevin Love (42) . The pair led the Minnesota Timberwolves in a number of offensive categories last season but it was simply not enough for the team to get into the postseason. Love has since been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers leaving the Timberwolves without a proven scorer on the current roster. Rubio has voiced his displeasure in the trading of his former teammate and it is believed he too will seek a trade away from the franchise. Getty Images/ Adam Harris …

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Torii Hunter Please Shut The F_ck Up …….. As With A Lot Of African American Professional Male Athletes In Sports You’re Coming Across As Uneducated And A Complete As_hole !

Torii Hunter Please Shut The F_ck Up …….. As With A Lot Of African American Professional Male Athletes In Sports You’re Coming Across As Uneducated And A Complete As_hole !

As a young child while I was raised in the Caribbean from the age of two until the age of ten. I always heeded the the words of my maternal grandmother. She said to me that if you have nothing at all nice to say about a person then it’s best to say nothing at all. But if you do have something to say then at least make sure that it’s something constructive and meaningful. I’m actually paraphrasing but hopefully you’ll get the gist of what I’m trying to say and alluding to.

2010-02-24 Los Angeles Angels Hideki Matsui (T) and Torii Hunter attend practice at the Angels' facility in Tempe, Arizona,
Los Angeles Angels Hideki Matsui (T) and Torii Hunter attend practice at the Angels' facility in Tempe, Arizona. photo appears courtesy of Reuters / Rick Scuteri .....................

I can only surmise that either Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter is aggrieved by something , for which his tirade and statements obviously show either a great deal of anger or just sheer downright stupidity. But then again, when I simply look at many of the African American male athletes involved in professional sports. I’m no longer surprised by their stupidity or lack of education as the case maybe. But yet time and time again we have sociologists and psychotherapists making excuses for the African American male. Please stop it with all this bullshit as it has no bearing when you hear the idiotic statement now attributed to the Hunter. I wonder what his former teammate Vladimir Guerrero must now be thinking about this all ? Never mind the fact of Hunter’s own teammates who are of an ethnic origin but also of African American descent. Obviously a guy such as Hunter who commands a great deal of respect as a player must now be wishing that he didn’t utter the words calling players from Latin America and the Caribbean but who are of African descent ……… calling them “frauds” and “impostors” . If they are as such frauds in his eyes , I’d dare to think how they now judge him not only as a person but also as a player !

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Hunter says black Latino players are ‘impostors’

By Janie McCauley , AP Sports Writer

Phoenix ,(AP)—Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter called black Latino baseball players “impostors” when it comes to the appearance of the number of African-Americans in the major leagues.

Hunter’s comments were made two weeks ago in one of a series of USA Today roundtables about baseball and published in Wednesday’s editions.

“People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American,” Hunter said. “They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero ? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not black.’ …

“As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’ … I’m telling you, it’s sad,” he said.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a Venezuelan, scoffed at Hunter’s remarks before Wednesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics. Angels spokesman Eric Kay said Hunter will not further discuss the subject.

“I was laughing because when he said, ‘They go there and sign for potato chips,’ I said, ‘Well, we’ve got Chapman. They gave him $12 million. (Cincinnati actually agreed to a $30.25 million, six-year contract with pitcher Aroldis Chapman(notes).) We’ve got (prospect Dayan) Viciedo. They gave him $10 million. I remember in my time, one scout goes (to Venezuela and) 30 players show up. Now, 30 scouts go there and one player shows up. In our country, we play baseball. That’s no choice. Here you can play basketball, you can be another athlete, you can do so many things when you have the opportunity. And that’s why there’s not many (African-American) players out there.”

There has been some concern about the number of African-American baseball players. Many blacks are choosing to play other sports instead.

Black players accounted for 10.2 percent of major leaguers in 2008, the most since the 1995 season, according to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

“I keep saying a lot of times, in 10 more years American people are going to need a visa to play this game because we’re going to take over. We’re going to,” Guillen said.

AP freelance writers Jose Romero in Phoenix and Jim Richards in Tempe contributed to this report.

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I can only surmise that Hunter’s education and whatever tidbit he might’ve learned in school, may well have been taught to him sparingly. I’d hate to think that his parents or familial caregiver brought him up in such a way, where he comes across a racial bigot against his own kind ! But then again, he may well aspire to be the African American male equivalent of Archie Bunker , who in this case derives pleasure in denigrating his race ? But alas , this merely typifies the another reason why the African American male becomes the butt of so many jokes. Even the women at times now deride the males of their ethnicity because once they’ve landed it big more often than not they’ve got to have the ‘trophy mantel’ of a Caucasian female adorning their arm to give them what they might even deem that air of acceptability and perhaps authenticity ?

If Hunter’s real grievance is with the fact that there’s now a declining number of African American males entering the sport professionally. Then his statement shouldn’t be directed caustically at Latin American or Caribbean ballplayers. But he, himself , should be out there working in conjunction with MLB and its hierarchy in making the sport more amenable to young males no matter what their ethnicity ! But no doubt Hunter would be hard pressed to give you an answer why he’s not doing something like that . But I can only surmise the burden that is placed upon him as he’s weighed down by the $80 million dollar plus contract given to him by Angels’ owner Arte Moreno . Hunter is simply proving once again why it is that young males and many others are no longer simply interested in looking up to African American ballplayers. They simply now come across as being bereft of intelligence and their command of the English language borders on that of an immigrant having landed on these shores for the very first time ! There are no real role models there ! There’s no one there who epitomizes Ernie Banks , Hank Aaron or even even Robert Clemente for that matter. All they now have are idiots such as Torii Hunter and Milton Bradley ! Thank God, Barry Bonds hauled his fat ass off into oblivion ! Or there would still be the tri-fecta of damn goof balls still involved in the sport. Well , we could anoint them baseball’s very own version of ‘The Three Stooges’ !

In the big picture this may seem nothing more than sedentary at the end of the day. But is it now any wonder why there’s simply no reason for youngsters , especially African American males from the middle to high school level on up to take a keen interest in the sport. Not when you have an idiot such as Hunter spouting off at the mouth , the way that he has done. He’d be better off leading this Angels’ team and providing them with a backbone , rather than them coming off as the bitches that they are at present ! Because we all know , come the postseason in baseball they’ll be one down and heading home with their tails between their legs once again . And then we can all have a laugh at Torii Hunter and the Angels’ expense ! That moment can’t come soon enough as far I’m concerned ! It’s not as if Hunter has really done anything for the team since he landed in Anaheim anyway. He’s now living on the past glories of the contributions given to the Minnesota Twins. And this is undoubtedly why he was overpaid for the negligible contributions given to the organization thus far.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………..

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EMF ……….. ‘Unbelievable’ .

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An Empire State Of Mind ………….. In New York

There’s no denying it , the Los Angeles Angels are not prepared to go down without a fight , against the New York Yankees , in the ALCS .Seemingly, in an improbable position and 3-1 down in the best of the seven game series. The Angels were able to salvage their season somehow and came back to win last night’s game in defeating the Yankees 7-6 in game 5. It was a tremendous effort by both teams and in many it ways it has come to define this whole series. As neither team could really gain the upper hand and build on the momentum attained.

Yankees'    players   in  the  dugout   watch  as   teammate  Nick  Swisher  is  up  for  an  at  bat   in   the  ninth  inning  of   game   of the  ALCS  between the  New York  Yankees  and  Los  Angeles Angels .    The   Angels   would   go  on  to  defeat  the  Yankees  7-6   in   the  game  played  at  Anaheim  Stadium  ,  Anaheim , California.         picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/ Harry  How  ......................
Yankees' players in the dugout watch as teammate Nick Swisher is up for an at bat in the ninth inning of game of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . The Angels would go on to defeat the Yankees 7-6 in the game played at Anaheim Stadium , Anaheim , California. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Harry How ......................

Now the series will return to the ‘Big Apple’ where the Yankees will look to close out the series once and for all. They can ill afford to allow the Angels to believe that this series now becomes theirs for the taking. And though I don’t believe it is beyond them win this series outright. At this juncture I do still believe that this series is still New York’s for the taking. The question that the players on the team and Joe Girardi have to ask themselves – ” …..is do we really want this ” ? If not , then they might as well just fold up their tents, pack their bags and head on home to their palatial abodes. Never-mind the fact, as to what the New York fans and media might think, were they to allow the Angels back into the series and win it outright. They would become the scapegoats and the cannon fodder for the media in the city for the next few months , right up until the resumption of spring training ,next season. That’s the dilemma that would be facing the New York Yankees.

Angels'  teammates  Bobby  Abreu (left)  and  Reggie  Willits  (right)  celebrate   after the  team's   victory   in  game   5  of the  ALCS  over   the  New   York  Yankees  .       picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/  Harry  How  ......................
Angels' teammates Bobby Abreu (left) and Reggie Willits (right) celebrate after the team's victory in game 5 of the ALCS over the New York Yankees . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Harry How ......................

And for the Los Angeles Angels and their undoubted loyal throng of fans. They may well now see this as their chance to get that proverbial monkey off their back , with regard to the Yankees’ dominance over them in recent years . And that’s not just with regards to the postseason but also the regular season as well. A return to the World Series at the expense of the Yankees would be quite an achievement for this team , after what has taken place internally with the organization. The loss of pitcher, Nick Adenhart would’ve decimated the resolve of most teams and led them to seemingly regress as a playing unit.. But for this Angels’ team and their manager, Mike Sciocsia , that wasn’t to be the case. They regrouped and they have played some outstanding baseball after Adenhart’s untimely demise.

Yankees' catcher   Jorge  Posada (20)   tags   out the  Angels'  Kendry  Morales    (19)    in   game   five   of  the   ALCS   played  in  Anaheim  Stadium  ,  Anaheim  ,  California .     The   series  will   resume    this weekend  with  games   6  and 7  being  played    at   Yankees   Stadium  ,  in  the  Bronx,  New  York  City,  New  York.     The  Yankees   currently  lead  the  series   3-2  in  the  best  of   seven  game  series.    The  winners  of the  ALCS    are   due  to  meet   the    Philadelphia  Phillies   in  the  World  Series .    The  Phillies  are   the   current  defending    World  Series   champions.    picture  appears     courtesy   of    getty   images/   Stephen  Dunn   ......................
Yankees' catcher Jorge Posada (20) tags out the Angels' Kendry Morales (19) in game five of the ALCS played in Anaheim Stadium , Anaheim , California . The series will resume this weekend with games 6 and 7 being played at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City, New York. The Yankees currently lead the series 3-2 in the best of seven game series. The winners of the ALCS are due to meet the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series . The Phillies are the current defending World Series champions. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ......................

Now this series , really has become a series of note , with more than a great deal to play for. Two games to play and just a single win is all that is needed by the Yankees. The Angels will no doubt be determined to take game 6 and even the series at three games apiece. And then look to take game 7 decisively , resulting in knocking off the Yankees in postseason play and thereby ending their postseason ambitions. If the Los Angeles Angels were able to somehow achieve that feat , then the nightmare that was bestowed upon the Yankees by the Boston Red Sox in 2004 would be akin to not only being deja vu , in so many ways. But the mere thought of this Yankees’ team built in large part , from highly paid All Stars , would be deemed the worst nightmare scenario possible for the organization. To have it happen once , would be one thing. But twice ? Well suffice to say , the aftermath would speak for itself. The well versed fans in New York wouldn’t take so kindly to the team and in all probability they would be dumping on individual players. And I would not put it past them to question the birthright of several of those players and no doubt , Joe Girardi, himself. New York sports’ fans aren’t averse to being vocal at all and showing their displeasure against their teams, given the right set of circumstances. So it should prove to be no different for the players of the New York Yankees. And that is despite the organization’s unprecedented success over the years.

Joe Girardi  (center)  in  the  midst  of   his  players    on the   mound  to   discuss   a  strategy  to  be  used   during the  game    against the    Los  Angeles  Angels.    Also  in   picture   is  Yankees'  captain  Derek Jeter (2)  and    And  Alex  Rodriguez   amongst the  other  players.        picture   appears    courtesy   of  getty  images/   Stephen  Dunn   ............................
Joe Girardi (center) in the midst of his players on the mound to discuss a strategy to be used during the game against the Los Angeles Angels. Also in picture is Yankees' captain Derek Jeter (2) and And Alex Rodriguez amongst the other players. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ............................

Now we can all contend that the Yankees may well be favored to close out the series , once and for all. And I’m still of the belief that they can and will do it. But if I have any doubts now . It is merely because of the indecisiveness that’s now being shown by Yankees’ manager ,Joe Girardi. He, much like the St Louis CardinalsTony La Russa , can be a pain in the ass ! Now don’t get me wrong as both are undoubtedly talented managers. But there also comes a time when indecisiveness can be a detriment to a team. La Russa essentially through his own indecisiveness allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to essentially beat the crap out of the Cardinals in the NLDS. By not adjusting to the changes being made by his opposite number , Joe Torre . He played into the hands of the Dodgers , in allowing them to walk Albert Pujols almost ‘at will’ throughout much of the divisional series. Not once, was he inclined to change his strategy. And now this ‘buffoon’ is pondering whether or not to return to the team next year ? The complaint against Girardi , has been his micromanaging and tinkering around with his bullpen and starting pitchers for some inexplicable reason. Should he continue to do that , then it could very well lead to his team’s demise and with being booed out of town. Like I said , the fans in New York aren’t always that forgiving of their teams , managers and owners, as the case maybe. But then again, that’s the same within the realms of sports , the whole world over. And who’s about to deny that as being a fact ? Not you or I , one would hope ?

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and New York Daily News :

Manager Joe Girardi should be fired if the New York Yankees lose to Los Angeles Angels in ALCS

By Jessie Spector , NY Daily News Sports Writer

The Yankees will come home Saturday still leading the ALCS, 3-2, still one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2003, still with Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia lined up to pitch them there.

But let’s get this out of the way now, so it’s not a reactionary thing if the Yankees lose their sixth and seventh consecutive games with the American League pennant within their grasp: So this is not to say that the Yankees will lose this ALCS, but if they do, Joe Girardi should be fired.

It’s harsh, yes, and it’s not easy to fire a manager coming off a 103-win season, but the burden of a collapse in this series would fall squarely on Girardi, who has made decisions in both losses that are indefensible. In both Games 3 and 5 in Anaheim, Girardi’s management of the Yankees’ pitching staff left fans saying to themselves, “What the hell is he thinking?” And that was before Alfredo Aceves coughed up Game 3, and before A.J. Burnett let the tying runs get on base in Game 5. From the time that Aceves came in, and from the time that Burnett stayed in after a long top of the frame, Girardi’s decisions had “mistake” written all over them. Both proved catastrophic.

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Jeff  Mathis (5)   of  the   Angels   as   he   returns  to  the  dugout  having   just  scored  a  run  in  the  seventh   inning   of   game   5   of  the  ALCS    against  the  New  York  Yankees.        picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty   images/   Jacob  de  Golish      ...........................
Jeff Mathis (5) of the Angels as he returns to the dugout having just scored a run in the seventh inning of game 5 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jacob de Golish ...........................

Whilst this is all being played out , the Philadelphia Phillies as winners of the National League pennant , awaits the winner. And as defending World Series’ champions they’re out to prove that they’ve got what it takes to successfully defend their title.
Chances are , the hierarchy of MLB are hoping that it will be the New York Yankees. It’s what they’d no doubt like to see , merely because of the fact the sport of baseball needs the Yankees more than they’re willing to let on. A series without the ‘Evil Empire ‘ as participants and for almost everyone to root against. Well it’s like having a crime thriller without the villain of the piece to root against – with just the hero there , forever taking up the screen.

Truth be told, I want the Yankees in this World Series ! As to whether or not I’m rooting for them to win it all. Well , unfortunately I won’t be divulging that piece of information at this particular moment in time. Suffice to say, I’m no Yankees’ lover or hater. I just essentially love sports , that’s all ! So I’ll leave you with this thought , if the Yankees were to win the World Series . Would it be a ‘good’ or ‘bad thing’ for the sport of baseball ?

“Empire State of Mind……New York “ by Jay-z feat’g Alcia Keys .

Do I Hear Yankees vs ……….

I’m not counting my chickens as of yet but for all sense and purpose if the Los Angeles Angels can’t get it done tonight against the New York Yankees . Then they might as well close it down for the remainder of the ALCS . Already up 2-0 in the best of seven games series. It’s hard seeing this Yankees’ team relinquishing the lead and then quite possibly losing the series outright. The last time they did that, was when they melted like butter against a hot knife in succumbing to the Boston Red Sox, in 2004 -in seven games (4-3). And if memory serves me correct , the Yankees were never the same after that. And the Red Sox went on to bigger and better things.

Vladimir   Guerrero (27)  and  teammate Bobby   Abreu (53)   celebrate   after   the  hitting  of  a  two  run    home   run   in   the   sixth   inning   off   Yankees'   starter   Andy  Pettite   in  the  sixth   inning  of   game   3   of  the  ALCS  played   at  Angels  Stadium  in   Anaheim ,   California  .     picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images /Kevork   Djansezian  ......................
Vladimir Guerrero (27) and teammate Bobby Abreu (53) celebrate after the hitting of a two run home run in the sixth inning off Yankees' starter Andy Pettite in the sixth inning of game 3 of the ALCS played at Angels Stadium in Anaheim , California . picture appears courtesy of getty images /Kevork Djansezian ......................

Now we come full circle, and the Yankees are once again atop of the food chain waiting for someone to feast on , in the World Series. But as I alluded to earlier it will be predicated upon them getting rid of the pesky Angels. Thus far they’ve dealt with their AL West rivals with some ease. Albeit , that their win in game two came under extenuating circumstances with the team having to go thirteen innings. Thus far, this Joe Girardi managed team has performed with a great deal of professionalism . And their starting pitching and their bullpen have performed exceptionally well. And if that wasn’t a cause for concern for the Angels’ Mike Sciocsia , he’s then got to deal with the Yankees’ offense. Which if anything has been the bane of the Angels in the series , so far.

Game 3 is at present being played in Anaheim and it’s a make or break game for the Los Angeles Angels. A loss and they’ve placed themselves in a crevasse where they would have to have the mindset of a David Blaine to extricate themselves from such a bind. And in they would most have to definitely rely on the heart and leadership qualities shown by Torii Hunter . That is what he was brought to this team for , in order to gain them that semblance of order and resilience. They were no longer able to rely on their stalwart and aging veteran, Vladimir Guerrero to provide them with that kind of resolve. Passing years and no doubt recurring injuries have slowed him down over the course of time.

Yankees'  starting  pitcher   in   game   3,  Andy  Pettite   reacts   after     Vladimir  Guerrero of  the  Angels   hits   a  two   run  homer  of   him  in  the  sixth   inning.       picture appears  courtesy  of  getty  images  / Stephen   Dunn ....................
Yankees' starting pitcher in game 3, Andy Pettite reacts after Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels hits a two run homer of him in the sixth inning. picture appears courtesy of getty images / Stephen Dunn ....................

Of this we can be sure there’d be nothing more pleasing for the hierarchy of MLB, if the two teams in the World Series were the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. As it’s tap into the two largest ad markets in the United States. And it would more likely than not bring about a ratings’ bonanza for the network broadcasting the event. Which in this case, would be the Fox network. There would be a bi-coastal presence in terms of the viewership and even amongst the the non-baseball fan there would definitely be a passing interest to the event. As the Yankees are a very recognizable name to even the non sporting enthusiast. That being said , that’s not to say that the Philadelphia Phillies aren’t without support. But their appearance against the AL representatives wouldn’t create the sort of interest that a Dodgers Yankees’ World Series would generate. And that’s despite the fact the Phillies would be chasing a second consecutive World Series title. As they’re seeking to successfully defend their crown , having defeated the Tampa Bay Rays last year. In no way is that meant to disparage the team or its fans . But facts are facts and in essence it’s the most desirable finale the game’s hierarchy and perhaps the vast majority of fans would seek. But as they say ” ……be careful what you wish for , as you can’t always have it your own way .”

As of now, we can only await the outcome of both the ALCS and NLCS series of games. The Phillies and Dodgers are entertaining us with a thoroughly exciting series that has ebbed and flowed in either direction. But with the Phillies now up 2-1 in the series. They’ll be looking to take control by taking the fourth game , in order to attain a two game advantage. If nothing else as an avid baseball fans all we can ask for is an exciting series of games. And no matter what the outcome from hereon in. Let’s just hope that whoever ends up in the World Series , we’ll be privileged enough to see an exciting brand of baseball being played as well it being a thoroughly entertaining series !

NB The game is now in the ninth inning at the top of the frame with it being tied at 4-4 . Linked summary provided below.

Click here to view …………………….

Meltdown In NYC …………..

Meltdown In NYC

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Los Angeles Angels . Well it did and game one resulted in a 4-1 loss, with the Angels being their own worse enemy. For some reason they succumbed to the New York Yankees and their ace, C.C Sabathia . The Yankees’ ace pitched a tremendous game ( 8 innings) with an era of 1.125 . And for the Yankee we’ve come to love, hate or perhaps even despise , as in Alex Rodriguez . Well the Yankees’ third baseman revved up his production and prove that his exploits this postseason hasn’t been an aberration,

Yankees'   pitcher   C C  Sabathia  throws  to  first  base  for the  first  out  of the   game .    The  Yankees'  ace   would   go  on  to  pitch   8  stunning  innings   giving   up   just  one  earned  run  over the  course  of    his   spell.    Closer    Mariano   River   would  get  the    three   final  outs  of  the  game   on  the  way  to  the  Yankees  defeating   the  Angles   4-1  in  game 1 of  the  ALCS  .        picture  appears courtesy  of  getty  images/  Jim  McIsaac  ...................
Yankees' pitcher C C Sabathia throws to first base for the first out of the game . The Yankees' ace would go on to pitch 8 stunning innings giving up just one earned run over the course of his spell. Closer Mariano River would get the three final outs of the game on the way to the Yankees defeating the Angles 4-1 in game 1 of the ALCS . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim McIsaac ...................

Angels’ coach Mike Sciocscia wasn’t at a loss to explain the loss as he was succinct in his explanation. “ We just couldn’t hit and CC pitched a tremendous game” said Sciocsia. And then to top it all, the Yankees then throw in Mariano Rivera to close out the game. And as we know ‘The Sandman’ rarely fails to close out a game in the postseason. The Yankees with their fans in tow , now look to go 2-0 up with the second game of the ALCS set to be played at the News Yankees Stadium . If nothing else this postseason has taught us that the guys in pinstripes are back to where their fans feel they rightfully belong. And that’s back atop of the ’food chain of the baseball world’ .

Yankees'  releiver  Mariano  River   pitches  in  the  ninth  inning  of  game  1  on  the  ALCS  against  the   Los  Angeles  Angels   at  Yankees  Stadium  in  New York  City , New  York.    The  Yankees   would  go  on   to defeat  the  Angels   4-1,  to take  1-0   lead  in  the  best  of    seven  game  seriesd.    picture appears  courtesy  of   mlb/getty  images/   Rich  Pilling  .......................
Yankees' releiver Mariano River pitches in the ninth inning of game 1 on the ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York. The Yankees would go on to defeat the Angels 4-1, to take 1-0 lead in the best of seven game seriesd. picture appears courtesy of mlb/getty images/ Rich Pilling .......................

If there’s a certainty well it’s the fact that the game of baseball needs the Yankees almost just as much as we need air to breathe. Without the Yankees , MLB just can’t get enough of them. It’ll become a ratings’ bonanza should they make it to the World Series in pursuit of their twenty seventh championship. And nothing would be more exciting than a possible series’ matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers . But that would be predicated on the Dodgers overcoming the Philadelphia Phillies . The series between the two NL teams is tied at one game apiece. That particular series is now being tightly contested and the surprise there, is the quality of the pitching of both teams.

Angels' manager  Mike  Sciocscia  hands  the   ball to  relief  pitcher  Jason  Bulger  who  came  on  in   reilief of   starter  John  Lackey     in   the  sixth  inning   of  the  game.       picture  appears  courtesy/mlb/getty images/   Rich  Pilling  .....................
Angels' manager Mike Sciocscia hands the ball to relief pitcher Jason Bulger who came on in reilief of starter John Lackey in the sixth inning of the game. picture appears courtesy/mlb/getty images/ Rich Pilling .....................

The one thing I must say that I’ve began to witness about this Yankees’ team that I hadn’t witnessed prior since their runs of their heydays between the mind nineties through to the end of the millennium . It was the fact that this team had been playing with a great deal of camaraderie . I think that this comes primarily from the additions of Sabathia, Nick Swisher , A. J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. All of a sudden this team reminds me of the team camaraderie shown when the Yankees were were at the height of their success under then manager , Joe Torre . It was a time when Scott Brosius, Paul O’Neill , Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter led this team on a rallying cry of unprecedented success. The hard part for this present Yankees’ team is living up the success of teams past. And in particular the team of the late nineties through to 2001.

Yankees'  captrain   Derek  Jeter  and   his   teammates   celebrate   after their  4-1   victory  over  the  Los  Angeles  Angels   in  game 1  of  the  ALCS   played  at   Yankees   Stadium i   in the  borough  of  Brooklyn ,  New  York,.    picture appears   courtesy  of   getty images/ Jim McIsaac   ........................
Yankees' captrain Derek Jeter and his teammates celebrate after their 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in game 1 of the ALCS played at Yankees Stadium i in the borough of Brooklyn , New York,. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim McIsaac ........................

Now under the Joe Girardi regime, we’re now seeing this team trying to rise to the challenge of meeting those famed and fabled achievements. With the exception of baseball clubs such as the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies . The New York Yankees are expected to be viewed as perennial contenders. And though the Yankees are back in the playoffs as AL East champions . The only thing that has ever really mattered is the significance of winning the World Series . To the owners, George Steinbrenner and his family, are clearly averse to losing . Winning is of the essence and it resonates with their fans as well. So, it now bodes well at this juncture , for the team as they set out to win another championship.

Love them or hate them , the Yankees are now here to stay. Make of it what you will .

This Is For My Boy , Sportschump

This Is For My Boy , Sportschump

Sportschump   aka   Chris   .......perhaps  the  most   vociferous   Red   Sox   fan  there   is  within  the  state  of    Florida   ,  if   not  in    on  the   whole   Eastern   seaboard  .
Sportschump aka Chris .......perhaps the most vociferous Red Sox fan there is within the state of Florida , if not in on the whole Eastern seaboard .

Boy oh boy I don’t think that there’s more much that can be said . But the Boston Red Sox have seen better days. They were squarely bitch slapped like an unwanted stepchild .Terry Francona’s team played like a bunch of inexperienced players who were overwhelmed by the importance of the event and what was being asked of them. To say that this team underperformed would be an immense understatement. And cearly the team was outplayed in every facet of the game. Their surprising series sweep in the ALDS can only have left the Red Sox fans in a state of shock , and perhaps no one more so than my buddy Chris aka Sportschump. A long time avowed and die-hard Red Sox fan.

Gary  Matthews Jr (24) and   his teammates  of  the  Los  Angeles   Angeles   run   on  to the  field  to  celebrate  the  team's   7-6  victory  over  the   Boston  Red  Sox   at  Fenway   Park   in  Boston ,  Massachusetts .    The  Angels   swept  the  Red  Sox  3-0   in the  best   of   5  game   series   in  the  ALDS.  They   will  now   go  on  to  face  the  New York  Yankees   for  the  AL  Pennant  and  the  right  to   represent  the  AL  in  the  World  Series.        picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/  Jim  Rogash  .......................
Gary Matthews Jr (24) and his teammates of the Los Angeles Angeles run on to the field to celebrate the team's 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts . The Angels swept the Red Sox 3-0 in the best of 5 game series in the ALDS. They will now go on to face the New York Yankees for the AL Pennant and the right to represent the AL in the World Series. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim Rogash .......................

For the Los Angeles Angels they now await the winners of the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins‘ series. And with the Yankees now leading the best of 5 games series 2-0. They’re now heavily favored to defeat the Twins and close out the series with a 3-0 sweep of the AL Central champions. And for the New York Yankees they now chase their 27th World Series title and their first since 2000 . The Steinbrenner family have got to be extremely happy with the outcome and with the team having opened their ostentatious stadium. With their ever vapid fans and the thought of another World Series being on the cusp of being attained. It says a great deal as to what the franchise has been about since it was purchased by George Steinbrenner. No stone has been left unturned as they’ve sought to acquire the very best talent available . And if it meant breaking the bank – then that was what they indeed did. Money is of no object to baseball’s wealthiest franchise. And in many respects sports’ most famous , respected and widely recognized name.

  A  bewildered   Johnathan  Papelbon   ,  closer  for  the  Red  Sox  leaves  the   mound   in the   ninth   inning  of   game   3  in  the  ALDS  playoffs   against  the  Los  Angeles  Angels.   Also   seen  in   picture   is  the  Red  Sox  manager   Terry  Francona .               picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Elise  Amendola  ................
A bewildered Johnathan Papelbon , closer for the Red Sox leaves the mound in the ninth inning of game 3 in the ALDS playoffs against the Los Angeles Angels. Also seen in picture is the Red Sox manager Terry Francona . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Elise Amendola ................

What this series’ defeat says of the Red Sox and how they’re viewed not only by their fans but also fans of the game in general. Either they are indeed the Yankees’ most feared rivals or they’re now becoming merely another stop off spot for the Yankees as they seek reassert their dominance of the game. With Joe Girardi taking over the reins of this team and with the presence of Derek Jeter as the stabling influence on this team. The World Series is now theirs for the taking and there isn’t much of a thought being given for their next opponent in the ALCS, which will be the Los Angeles Angels. Whom , basically the Yankees have had their way with, over the last few years when it comes to the postseason.

Vladimir   Guerrero  of  the  Angels   hits  a  two  run  RBI   against  the  Red  Sox  in the  ninth  inning  of   game  3   in the  ALDS   game   .    picture  appears   courtesy of   getty  images/  Elsa  ................
Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels hits a two run RBI against the Red Sox in the ninth inning of game 3 in the ALDS game . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Elsa ................

There may well be no love lost between these two arch rivals but as of now there has to be a great deal envy undeniably between these two . Especially amongst their vociferous fans as they‘ve each as always , have sought to have the upper hand . As of now the upper hand reverts back to the New York Yankees. ‘The Evil Empire’ as they’ve come to be known have regained their mantel as the game’s most dominant team. It’s something baseball and in particular its hierarchy has always sought. Because without those hated Yankees , the game and essentially all that it represents becomes obsolete if they’re not amongst the upper echelons of the teams that are viewed as the top contenders to win it all. Need one say anymore ?

Bobby  Abreu (right) and  teammate  Kendry  Morales (left)  are   euphorical  after  scoring   to  put   the  Angels    in  the   lead  over  the    Boston  Red  Sox.     The  two   runs   batted  in   were   by  teammate   Vladimir   Guerrero   .        picture   appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/    Elsa   .....................
Bobby Abreu (right) and teammate Kendry Morales (left) are euphorical after scoring to put the Angels in the lead over the Boston Red Sox. The two runs batted in were by teammate Vladimir Guerrero . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Elsa .....................

For the hierarchy of the Boston Red Sox in the guise of Team President Larry Lucchino and GM Theo Epstein . Over the off-season they’ll have to take a serious look at the team’s roster and view the changes that they’ll no doubt feel will need to be made. Though their failings weren’t magnified in any great measure. It was clear for all to see that there was indeed something missing from the team . As to what that might be , that is for the Red Sox management to decide. But it’s very clear that both the GM and team President can’t have been too pleased with the outcome. And I’d dare say that principal partner and team owner , John Henry can’t have been all that pleased either. Not when one considers, that their much hated rivals , the New York Yankees are back to their dominant best. And looking to avail themselves of another AL Pennant as well as the World Series.

And as of now , members of the Red Sox Nation are on the outside looking in. One would think that they’re not entirely pleased at the fact that in terms of bragging rights they’ve now got to put up with the Yankees’ fans lambasting them and their untimely demise. If nothing else we all know that come Spring Training of 2010 , the Red Sox fans’ resolve will be one of – looking to make amends for the disappointment suffered.

If like me you’re an avid sports fanatic and you’re always in search of a good read. Then I highly recommend Chris’ site sportschump.net. I’ve provided a direct link to the site below. In order to view just click unto the text link shown.

Sportschump.net …… http://sportschump.net