It’s the silly season and we’re having fun …

It’s the silly season and we’re having fun …

MLB’s off-season has proven to be a .folly of sorts, with teams now spending at will , capriciously on free agents who are likely to be overpaid for their alleged productivity. Many of these franchises will be looking to position themselves for the arrival of Spring Trainingand the regular season which begins on the 4th April , 2015. Reigning World Series’ champions the San Francisco Giants will enter the season having won their third title in the past five seasons, with both Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean back to lead this roster as they seek a fourth win of baseball’s most prestigious prize.

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San Francisco wasted no time in re-signing their World Series MVP pitcher Madison Bumgarner whose postseason exploits were simply scintillating and beyond the perception of the most ardent fans of the game. Bumgarner in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals was a one-man wrecking crew bewildering the Royals’ hitters, leaving them dismayed and completely perplexed .

Heading into 2015, San Francisco will be without another of their postseason heroes with 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval having been allowed to leave the team as unrestricted free agent . Sandoval signed a very lucrative contract joining the Boston Red Sox where he is likely to be hitting in the Red Sox batting order ahead of DH David Ortiz. GM Brian Sabean may have felt it prudent to eschew Sandoval’s financial desires , instead choosing to take his chances with a projected lineup of Buster Posey , Hunter Pence , Travis Ishikawa, Gregor Blanco, Brandon Crawford , Joaquin Arias and a number of players likely to be promoted from their minor league system as the club seeks to bolster an offense that wasproductive throughmuch of the regular and postseason.

There may well have been doubters of Sabean, who made the decision allowing the departure of Pablo Sandoval , but the mercurial general manager has been quick to make a number of moves likely to improve the lineup for the upcoming season. One would be hard pressed to question the moves of an executive, thought to be among the best general managersin all of baseball. Brian Sabaen’s record speaks for itself. San Francisco is likely to be a considerable favorite to win the NL West division in spite of the likely moves being made by the Los Angeles Dodgers under their new Head of Baseball Operations & SVP Andrew Friedman.

Friedman’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays caught off, just about everyone by surprise, including his former fellow executives , the fans and analysts around the game. Add in the fact, the team’s manager Joe Maddon also made an abrupt departure to take a similar position with the Chicago Cubs and one might suggest the franchise got hit with a ” double-whammy ” . Matthew Silverman has succeeded Andrew Friedman and the ball-club hired former hometown hero Kevin Cash to succeed Maddon as the team’s new manager. How this will all be viewed by the Rays’ fans will now be open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. Cash is a first time manager with no managerial experience, though he does have playing experience with an eight-year career in the Majors having played one season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005.

Having spent in excess of half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) by way of salary commitments over the past two seasons. It is understandable, that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ executives felt it necessary to take a fresh look at the direction this ball-club was taking. In explicably, they had the best pitcher in baseball, but Clayton Kershaw’s postseason productivity had to be considered a monumental disaster. The team may well have pinned their hopes on Kershaw this past postseason, but the player was nowhere to be seen with his ERA among the highest of the starting pitchers during the 2014 playoffs’ foray. It would be easy to suggest the Dodgers’ pitching was their Achilles’ Heel, but that would be the farthest thing from the truth their offense being almost anemic and pedantic during this Fall.

It is my belief Don Mattingly and his managerial staff did little to provide his players with any impetus or the desire to win, relying merely on the fact a jigsaw puzzle of ill-fitting pieces made up of highly overpaid stars would be enough to get the job done. It will be interesting to see whether not Andrew Friedman will be able to keep the team’s payroll for the upcoming season at a manageable level and by that I mean lower than the $200 million threshold , where baseball’s luxury tax kicks in ,with team, then having to pay a penalty for going above the aforementioned figure.

Money would be of no object, where the Dodgers’ is almost half that of the value of several teams within baseball and then you add in the fact , the organization has a two-decade $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) television deal , which reaps this organization $150 million annually. Not bad for a ball-club, whose lastWorld Series’ triumph came as far back as 1988. Magic Johnson, Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly , Peter Guber and several other partners are intent on making this franchise the most recognized within the game. Certainly , the Los Angels Dodgers’ name still resonates within the game of baseball , but that is all it has been able to do , because success remains hard to come by, with an uncompetitive brand on the field of play, especially with regard to their two most recent postseason appearances.

Bold moves might not be necessary, but there has to be a shakeup in the Dodgers’ roster, if they are to be seen as credible challengers this upcoming season. Dan Haren, Dee Gordon, and Hanley Ramirez have since departed from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster and there is the belief that several otherswill meet the same fate as those jettisoned this off-season. Pitcher Josh Beckett having pitched a “no-hitter” for the team during the regular season in a 6-0 thrashing of the Philadelphia Phillies achieved little of note in the aftermath of the achievement. A free agent in 2015 , it seems highly unlikely he will be making a return to the Dodgers unless it is at a reduced salary , bearing in mind he was paid $15.75 million in the final year of his original eight-year deal signed with the Boston Red Sox.

I’ve often been told how insightful the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are said to be, but to my mind, I find the fans of the this ball-club eternally optimistic. For whatever reason, year in and year out, repeatedly , I am told this franchise can survive on their meager pickings and a fan-base that in reality , is no more than an average of 15,000 hardcore fans and that is in spite of the reported attendance levels for the team’s home games at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,, In what can only be described as another down year for this organization. The Tampa Bay Rays finished a distant fourth behind the AL East division winners the Baltimore Orioles , nineteen games out of first place . If that wasn’t a sign of how deplorable the team’s season was said to be, then consider the fact, they missed gaining a wildcard berth within the AL by eleven games . Inasmuch, as Joe Maddon and his coaching staff tried to motivate the team, the talent or level of play simply was not good enough to make a sustainable challenge over the course of the season.

The Rays are never really going to be able to compete with the likes of the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees , Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers , Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs , much less teams considered to their market equivalent in terms of size. Furthermore , pointing to the fact the Rays are profitable without acknowledging the fact they are able to eke out such gains by way of an assist from the league hierarchy , indicates the complete lack of knowledge among this team’s fan-base. Yet, in spite of it all, the success attained by the Rays cannot be overlooked. Now comes the hard part, with the loss of such assets as Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon , how will this organization seek to rebound and reacquaint themselves to former heights of glory achieved ? Matthew Silverman comes in with a clean slate , but having to fill an extremely large pair of shoes left by his predecessor Andrew Friedman. Kevin Cash faces an even more daunting task , having to follow in the footsteps of the club’s most beloved and successful manager , Joe Maddon. This upcoming season might be the toughest this organization has had to face on record. Upheavals aside, the ball-club has reverted to ways of old , as they jettisoned players during and prior to the off-season, seeking to pare down the team’s payroll.

You can tell a great deal about an organization , when they are on the verge of losing their perhaps their best player. So, it was with the New York Yankees , as Derek Jeter’s career came to an uncompromising end. No postseason heroics or the raising of another World Series’ title, just a disappointing year for the player and the ball-club as Joe Girardi came up with a litany of excuses for a lackluster year-long performance by a team of undeserving players . Granted, the Yankees finished second in the AL East, yet, it was simply fitting the division’s champions, the Baltimore Orioles fell at the very first hurdle, when they succumbed to the Kansas City Royals in the championship series’ of the postseason, losing emphatically 4-0 in the ALCS. Emphasizing how poor the play just happened to be in the AL East, all season long.

A payroll of just over $200 million , much of it misspent , brought about lackluster returns, with Brian Cashman and members of the front office at a loss to explain what went wrong last season. An aging core of players who failed to deliver, with the likes of CC Sabathia , Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner , Alfonso Soriano , Brian McCann , Hiroki Kuroda, Shane Greene , Mark Teixeira and others were said to be a core unit, this ball-club could rely on, to bring back some semblance of success, Instead they performed like a damp squib, lit to celebrate an event , but they simply fail to light up that event and make it a success. In the aftermath of it all, Brian Cashman is now said to be counting on the return of disgraced Yankees’ star Alex Rodriguez to resurrect the fortunes of this franchise in 2015. I liken that premise, of trying to place a square peg into a round hole ! Nothing about Rodriguez’s return to the game, will be of benefit to the sport, much less to the benefit of the organization. Idiotically, Cashman , Hank and Hal Steinbrenner stood idly by, as the player lied repeatedly, about his wantoned use of steroids, but they failed to reprimand the Rodriguez , leaving it instead , to a bumbling and incompetent hierarchy, first led by Bud Selig , who has handed over the reins to the equally inept , Rob Manfred ,succeeding his predecessor as the new incoming Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

What has become abundantly clear, is the very fact, the Yankees’ managerial staff and Cashman have no implicit faith in their farm system and the talent said to be on display within the lower rungs of the organization. The franchise has now become overly reliant on buying its way out of trouble rather than seeking to groom the alleged talent within its ranks. This off-season , we are likely to see an influx of new faces and a completely new lineup when the team takes to the field in their first regular season game of 2015. That contest, will be their home season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City, New York on the 6th April , 2015,.

There is no denying , as a professional sports’ franchise owner and businessman Jerry Reinsdorf has tasted success at the highest levels. His ownership of the Chicago Bulls during the well-chronicled era of Michael Jorda’s dominance of the NBA and their six NBA titles highlighted one of the brightest eras of the NBA’s history. Yet, the forlorn years of his ownership of the Chicago White Sox has brought that particular baseball franchise one championship , coming in 2005, when the team defeated the Houston Astros with in an easy 4-0 sweep of the then National League franchise. In the subsequent years things have not been so beneficial for the White Sox or their long-suffering fans. Since that historic second World Series’ win, the Chicago White Sox have made only one other postseason appearance , where they made it to the ALDS in 2008, only to suffer a series’ defeat (3-1) at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The White Sox organization has seen some major upheavals by way of the player personnel staff, managers and general managers over the past decade and a half. Through the midst of it all , the one bright spot has been knowing they have succeeded, where the Chicago Cubs have failed so dramatically in achieving> and that is to win a world championship. One hundred years and counting, the “monkey” has yet to come off the neck or shoulders of the downtrodden Cubs’ franchise. 1908 was the year the Chicago Cubs were anointed champions of the baseball world and there still seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the Wrigley Field faithful.

The White Sox, this off-season have begun to spend lavishly , acquiring free agents as if they were an endangered species , with GM Rick Hahn now overseeing Baseball Operations for the ball-club. . Adam LaRoche , Zack Duke, Melky Cabrera and David Robertson have joined the staff of the Chicago White Sox. There is a clear thought process behind these maneuvers , and it may well be Hahn feels the window of opportunity for the Detroit Tigers is rapidly closing with their failure to make a spirited run to win a World Series’ title. The Tigers’ recent postseason failures have proven to be a bitter and ” hard pill to swallow for team owner Michael Ilitch and GM Dave Dombrowski, but the owner and executive continue to toil on.

With Dombrowski not being able to come to contractual terms with Max Scherzer , it would appear that the pitcher’s time with the Detroit Tigers could be coming to a close. Scherzer wants to be paid like a superstar based on his award winning 2013 season , but one of year stellar production is not the basis to be given a multi-year, multimillion dollar contract. Wisdom suggests calmer heads may well prevail, but yet in the world of baseball, logic tends to be thrown right out the damn window, as exhibited with the recent idiocy by the Miami Marlins and their signing Giancarlo Stanton to the most lucrative contract in baseball history and professional team sports’ history in North America.

Perhaps , only in the NBA and baseball, where the players’ contracts are guaranteed, do we tend to see this type of financial extravagance , while idiots try and suggest, both sports are being well-ran by their respective hierarchies and where financial expediency is actually being shown in both sports .

A meeting of the minds, has yet to happen, with the overwhelming presence of the NBPA and MLBPA sending the unions into conniptions, each time the words ” mandatory salary cap” are mentioned . I have always maintained, you can tell a great deal about a business or a sports’ enterprise simply based upon the trust between the two parties , the union, who represent the employees and governing bodies as the employers. If there is continued mistrust, then the likelihood , is that entity is in dire trouble, even when there is said to be millions of dollars being reaped , annually. Profits may well go a long way, but it clearly does not represent common sense or intelligence, being shown . Ask yourself this question, in spite of the popularity of the NFL, how is it, they repeatedly have so many pratfalls, many of which, are self-induced ? Have you been able to come up with an answer ?

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This upcoming season in baseball, which teams or players do you believe will provide the most excitement ? Also, do you believe the dominance of the San Francisco Giants can be quelled successfully by an NL opponent over the course of the year ? By all means, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it’s gratefully appreciated !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.
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(1) San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey left , is seen here with World Series’ MVP Madison Bumgarner , as the two celebrate the team’s Game 7 , 3-2 win , a victory over the Kansas City Royals , The series’ victory gave the Giants their third World Series’ triumph over the past five years and fifth overall . The Giants will enter 2015 without Pablo Sandoval , the ball-club’s 2012 Series’ MVP , who joined the Boston Red Sox during the off-season . AP Photo / Andy Addams …..

(2) Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates in the locker room after his team’s 3-2 Game 7 triumph over the Kansas City Royals. Bumgarner’s exploits this postseason placed him in the upper echelons of baseball’s postseason pitching history , with a number eye dazzling feats. The player was signed to a five-year contract extension by GM Brian Sabean securing their young star on very exceptional pitching rotation in 2015. quite possibly the best in the NL and MLB overall. AP Photo / Ezra Rodriguez ..

(3) Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington(left) is seen here with the team’s newest acquisition , slugger Pablo Sandoval . The Red Sox also acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Los Angeles Dodgers as an unrestricted free agent, signing both players to lucrative deals . Cherington hopes the duo will be able to provide the Red Sox offense with some additional firepower this upcoming season . Getty Images/ Alexander Hough …

(4) Chicago Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer ,left, is seen here with Joe Maddon as he is formerly being introduced to the convened press at the Cubs’ official press meeting, announcing Maddon has succeeded Dale Sveum as the club’s sixtieth manager in franchise history. The former Tampa Bay Rays’ manager left that organization after several successful years , taking the franchise from worst to one of the most competitive teams in baseball during his tenure. However, there seems to be some change of discord and the lack of leadership being shown within the front office , leading to Maddon’s abrupt departure along with the team’s former GM Andrew Friedman who joined the Los Angeles Dodgers to become their Head of Baseball Operations. Also pictured , Cubs’ President & SVP Theo Epstein. AP Photo / Michael Holmes …

(5) Los Angeles’ manager Don Mattingly looks on at his pitcher Clayton Kershaw as the pair , along with members of the coaching staff and trainers are in the dugout during a game played at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles, California ,. The team made it to the 2014 MLB Postseason where they swept aside in the NLDS with consummate ease by the St Louis Cardinals . It was the second year in succession where the club had fallen to their NL rivals . Kershaw performed miserably throughout the postseason along with his teammates. With Andrew Friedman being hired to take over all personnel decision making and the lateral promotion of Ned Colletti , lead managing partner Mark Walter was adamant , sweeping changes had to be made. Several players have since been released by the ball-club , including Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez . More moves are expected to me made in the coming weeks . The Los Angeles Dodgers have at least four players on their current roster who will be earning in excess of $20 million this upcoming season , among the highest tally of the league’s thirty teams . Getty Images/ Hugh Davidson ….

(6) Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn (2nd from the right) introduces Jeff Samardzija , David Robertson and Melky Cabrera on Tuesday , Dec. 16, 2014 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois,. Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

(7) Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski ,left, is seen here alongside Prince Fielder , center and team owner Michael Ilitch after the team formally introduced the player to the convened press at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan , on 26th January, 2012. The player was signed as a free agent by the team, after Fielder chose not to re-sign with the Milwaukee Brewers. Prince Fielder’s tenure with the Tigers was short-lived and he was traded to the Texas Rangers where the AL West based team will assume the remainder of his existing contract . AP Photo/ Xavier Harris …

(8) February 17th , 2009 , Alex Rodriguez followed by GM Brian Cashman and Derek Jeter on their way to the press conference where A-Rod admitted using Steroids. With the retirement of the Yankees’ short-stop at the end of the 2014 season , Cashman hopes the beleaguered and still despised Rodriguez will be able to provide the team with the impetus needed to have a successful season . During his league imposed ban, Alex Rodriguez has chosen not to offer any public interviews to discuss his suspension , choosing instead, to prepare himself mentally and physically for the long haul of a one and hundred and sixty-two game schedule of the regular season . The player’s cousin , Yuri Sucart was recently indicted in US Federal Court alongside Anthony ‘Tony’ Bosch , (founder of Biogenesis) for running an illegal drug ring , along with the transportation and selling of steroids and other illicit drug paraphernalia . Getty Images / Tate Reynolds ….

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I can feel the burn just as much as she does ! So , what’s not to like ?

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Audrey Bitoni reveals more than natural beauty, she’s got a nice rack ”
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Fallout , what fallout ?

Fallout, what fallout ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sell me on it , or whatever the hell else, is actually possible

In the end, it comes down to being an art form , how the game is played and the rules it is played by . At present it would appear that baseball and football is being played to a different set of rules without either hierarchy noticeably caring about the overall ramifications . MLB Commissioner Bud Selig in a passionate plea stated the case that he would not be rushed into a situation where he makes a decision into the possible suspension of many as twenty to forty Major League Baseball players . Thereby, quite possibly affecting the seasons of the teams were the players currently play. By contrast, team owners and general managers have yet to voice their concerns over the dilemma that is likely to be created . When as many as twenty players are likely to face a lengthy mandate suspension and without the team owners voicing their concerns , it simply shows the mindset within the game present , after more than two decades of calculated cheating taking place, wherein these owners shared lavishly in the spoils, by way of the tens of millions of dollars & that were reaped during that time span . If that were not enough , we also had the downright stupidity of fans , who came out with the rather ridiculous notion that the game of baseball should in essence, suborn cheating and the use of steroids within the game . Personally, I wonder if this would happen to be the very same idiots , who would condone the selling of hard narcotics (heroin & crack cocaine) to children by drug dealers outside school grounds ? The simple stupidity and complete lack of intelligence of the sports` fan nowadays is just beyond belief !

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In the aftermath of the MLB All Star Game , teams will now resume the second half of their seasons , now under not so much pressure , with Bud Selig revealing in part that , he has not yet come to a decision where suspensions will be imposed upon the players associated in the Biogenesis scandal . There now seems to a clear disconnect between reality and what is morally and ethically right, and how Selig now oversees Major League Baseball. In what appears to be the game`s highest ranking executive , caving into the whims of the owners and Players` Union (MLBPA) . Bud Selig is now seems to be showing that he does in fact have a yellow streak running down is spine . A man, who does not possess the courage, to carry out his own convictions, while appearing to create the perception, that he does have things under control. If anything, he believes that is legacy and tenure, is one that has kept the game intact , as he seeks to step down from his current role in 2014 . To my mind, his departure cannot come around soon enough ! If nothing else, tis decision further demeans the season and it also allows these players to further profit financially from their misdeeds . And it looks if baseball is once again out kick itself in the ass and still come out smiling as if noting has actually happened .

Courtesy of Bloomberg News

Bud Selig’s Dopey Pursuit of Baseball Juicers

By Johnathan Mahler , Bloomberg News

Major League Baseball has put off its plans to suspend players linked to the Biogenesis doping scandal. Instead of announcing the punishments right after the All-Star Game, as anticipated, suspensions are now expected to come sometime next month. By the time all of the appeals and arbitration hearings have taken place, we could be eating turkey and watching football.

Biogenesis is the South Florida anti-aging clinic run by the now infamous sketch-ball Tony Bosch. The news earlier this year that it allegedly provided human growth hormone and other banned substances to a number of major leaguers has brought Commissioner Bud Selig to the brink of handing down baseball’s largest collection of suspensions since the 1919 Black Sox scandal .

I suppose it’s a good thing that Selig has decided a little more due diligence is in order before he makes history on the back of a cooperating witness who makes Brian McNamee look like a stand-up guy. The problem is that baseball has already declared the players in question guilty. The investigation is not a quest for justice; it’s part of a protracted negotiation with the players union that’s almost certain to end with players being suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs without any positive test results or credible evidence of their guilt.

How could this happen? Because Selig desperately wants revenge on Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez; it’s as though their continuing freedom from punishment is personally mocking him. More generally, he wants desperately to avoid being remembered as the commissioner who not only allowed baseball’s steroid scandal to take place but also failed to bring it to heel. All of this desperate desire hasn’t just clouded Selig’s judgment; it has completely overtaken it.

The dubious manner in which baseball has handled its “investigation” — buying documents and filing suit against the aforementioned cooperator in order to enlist him into service — is bad. But the ramifications of actually following through with this farce may be worse.

I’ve never seen any opinion polls on this, but at this point I’d bet that most baseball fans are a lot less bothered by the possibility that particular players are using PEDs than they are by the commissioner’s obsession with ridding the game of them. The existence of performance-enhancing drugs in the game of baseball remains such a big deal partly because the game of baseball continues to insist on making them such a big deal. To the extent that baseball fans do care about players using PEDs, the Biogenesis case is, at bottom, an acknowledgement that the game’s drug-testing regime doesn’t work. Suspending players in the absence of positive tests doesn’t prove anything so much as the fact that baseball has failed to bring this whole steroid thing to heel.

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Insomuch, as the All Star Game was meant to have some meaning. In light of the fact that we had participants associated with the ongoing scandal. To my mind , the event was demeaned by their being allowed to play . Besides, the whole voting process just happens to be one big joke to begin, with it being noting more than a popularity contest .

Friday , sets the ball rolling, as to the resumption of the season, with a number of divisional races seemingly up for grabs . One of the early questions that could very well be answered will be whether or not the Pittsburgh Pirates can stay in close contact with the St Louis Cardinals and somehow deprive them from winning the NL Central . Clint Hurdle and his staff must now wrestle with the demons of the past, that has repeatedly seen the Pirates fall by the wayside , leaving their fans with a great deal of angst. With Pittsburgh resuming its schedule with an away game against the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati , Ohio, It will be interesting to see how prepared Hurdle`s players will be , as they take on a divisional rival .

For Mike Matheny and the St Louis Cardinals , they now seem to be the best team in the National League , which is reflected in their record (57-36) and their 7-3 run in their last ten games . Since assuming the role as manager from Tony La Russa . The young manager seems to have found his footing amongst his peers and he does seem to be getting a great deal of respect from some of the more experienced managers around the league. . I would certainly like to think that Matheny is in the running for NL Manager of The Year Award , but much of that I believe will be predicated upon the team finishes the season and quite possibly , whether or not they do end up winning their division . And one of the primary reasons behind the Cardinals` success this season , has been the all-round effort of the team in terms their pitching and offense , of which they rank amongst the top in National League as well as MLB overall. Leading the way for the team from an offensive standpoint are , Carlos Beltran , Allen Craig , Yadier Molina , Matt Holliday , Matt Carpenter and David Freese . As usual a dependable pitching staff also has a role to play. With seasoned veteran Adam Wainwright , Lance Lynn and Jake Westbrook , Jaime Garcia and Tyler Lyons leading what might just be one of the best starting lineups at present in the Big Leagues . It would be remiss also not to include the efforts of the team`s closer Edward Mujica and the terrific season that he is said to be having , with 26 saves .

Next up for the St Louis Cardinals will be a home game against the lowly San Diego Padres to be played at Busch Park , in St Louis , Missouri. On the mound for the Cardinals will be Jake Westbrook , who will be facing the Padres` Jason Marquis . . The Padres will be looking to put the first half of their season in their rear view mirror , as they still remain deeply rooted at the bottom of the NL West with a 42-54 record . In a division, where four of the five occupants are no better than a .500 record . The Arizona Diamondbacks leads those occupants with a mid-season mark of 50-45 (.526) . All of this, is all the more bewildering because fans seem to be excited over the recent resurgence of the Los Angeles Dodgers(47-47) , who are still playing .500 ball in spite of the heroics of their rookie sensation Yasiel Puig . Am I actually missing something here concerning a ball-club with an almost $220 million payroll who were expected to contend for divisional supremacy and a great deal more ? As things now stand, if the Dodgers do fail to win the division or gain one of the two possible wildcard berths . Then in all probability, the entire managerial staff is likely to be shown the door by team President Stan Kasten , with GM Ned Colletti joining beleaguered manager , Don Mattingly .

For the Los Angeles Dodgers the second half of the season must begin anew , with several of their players who have been on the disabled list due to return to the lineup. The influx of that experience , along with the exuberance provided by Yasiel Puig, could go a long way in determining whether or not this team ultimately has what it takes to succeed . They will begin with a three-game series against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC , starting this Friday . Taking the mound for the Dodgers will be Ricky Nolasco against the Nationals` starting ace Stephen Strasburg , in what is sure to be a highly entertaining game .

Strasburg is now in the final year of a four-year $15.1 million deal and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season . The Nationals and in particular GM Mike Rizzo , and team owner , Ted Lerner , know that the organization can ill-afford to lose a player of Stephen Strasburg`s status , who along with Bryce Harper , are viewed to be the cornerstone of the Nationals` long and short-term future. Strasburg`s agent , Scott Boras is likely to drive a hard bargain , as he seeks to get the maximum deal possible for his young client , who is deemed one of the league`s brightest young pitching prospects .

In the AL , for much of the first-half of the season , the topic of discussion has been the play of the Baltimore Orioles` ….. Chris Davis and the fact that he leads the Majors in home runs (37) . Doubters , believe that a player , who for the first time in 2012 hit more than thirty home runs, is now projected to hit sixty-three for this season . My own belief, is that Davis will fall short of that target , while being in the running for the AL MVP . These doubters may have the inclination that Davis` own feats are mirroring that of former Orioles` player Brady Anderson, who in 1996 hit a career-high fifty home runs for the season. Prior to and subsequent to that year, Anderson had never reached that career peak in home runs. The common belief was that he may well have one of the common beneficiaries of steroid use . Albeit, that he never tested positive, once baseball`s steroid testing policy was introduced and then initiated. As to the testing protocols themselves, I still believe them to be archaic and still susceptible to cheating ! Chris Davis continues to profess his innocence, but the player as never once been critical of is players known to have cheated , or spoken publicly on the recent Biogenesis scandal and the spate of players now embroiled the game`s latest controversy .

Baltimore`s own ambitions this season, appear to be making the AL East division less of a two-horse race and more of a three-way suspenseful thriller, as they, the Tampa Bay and Boston Red Sox vie for divisional supremacy . The New York Yankees (51-44) , with the game`s biggest payroll , currently sits in fourth place within the division, just ahead of the last placed Toronto Blue Jays (45-49) . The Yankees` troubles notwithstanding , their constant belief that throwing money at a problem will be the best solution to an issue , seems to have cast doubts now on the prospective chances of the team actually gaining a post-season berth. They are already 6 ½ games out of first place, behind their heated rivals the Boston Red Sox . New York Yankees` manager Joe Girardi is under immense pressure to succeed , whereas , the team`s fans , ever more loyal , seemingly oblivious it would appear , as to the ball-club`s ongoing issues on an off the field of play .

Derek Jeter`s long-awaited return for his first start of the season was short-lived, as the player re-injured himself in his first game back . And beleaguered third baseman Alex Rodriguez , having come off in season surgery , is now toiling in the Minors , waiting for the call-up and thereby seeking to justify the $32 million salary he is due this season . Over the past three seasons there is nothing to remotely suggest Rodriguez`s contributions to the Yankees merits his outlandish contract or salary . Yet, this continues to be the all too asinine philosophy that baseball continues to live under with the owners and general managers believing that this type of business mantra serves it best .

New York will be the guests of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts over the next three days, starting on Friday. The two opposing pitchers will be Andy Pettite of the New York Yankees against Felix Doubront of the Red Sox. . And these series have always been highly entertaining, no matter what the environment might be for these two historic franchises .

Baseball continues to use creative accounting to hide many of its financial woes, which in essence, came about with escalating salaries and this constant need for general managers try to outdo one another in escalated bidding wars, for players who in recent years have failed to live up to the consistency expected . A clear case in point, can be made with the likes of, Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran , Johan Santana , Josh Hamilton, Vernon Wells , Alfonso Soriano , and Barry Zito . Yet, through his own short-sightedness Bud Selig continues to maintain , that in large part, baseball remains a viable concern for the majority of the league`s teams. If only that were true, and baseball`s financial records were opened up for close public scrutiny. Unfortunately, that will never be the case, as long as the owners have their way and they are afforded antitrust exempt status by the US Congress .

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In light of what you have witnessed during the first half of the season, what if anything are you most looking forward to ? Which teams or players do you believe will have the biggest impact during the second half of the MLB schedule ? Finally, are of you of the opinion that Bud Selig simply made the decision to postpone any suspensions until after the upcoming season , because pressure was brought to bear upon the hierarchy by the owners and players` union ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , whose indecision over suspending players involved in the Biogenesis scandal does seem to have demeaned the season and its remaining schedule . The MLB hierarchy , it is being reported has purchased documentation from parties of the now defunct South Florida supplements` company Biogenesis . In doing so , this does compromise the league`s ongoing investigation and its integrity. It must now be said that this sort incompetency should have been expected from baseball`s governing body and the lack of actual common sense and intelligence coming from anyone within baseball`s upper echelons . AFP/Thomson News Agency / Christian Asher ……

(2) National League’s Yadier Molina , right, of the St. Louis Cardinals, helps American League’s Robinson Cano , of the New York Yankees, off the field after he was hit on the knee by pitch from National League’s Matt Harvey, of the New York Mets, during the first inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game , on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(3) American League’s Mariano Rivera , of the New York Yankees, poses for photographers after the MLB All-Star baseball game, on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, in New York. Rivera was named the game’s MVP. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(4) American League’s Joe Nathan , right, of the Texas Rangers, is congratulated by American League’s Salvador Perez , of the Kansas City Royals, after the final out in the ninth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, in New York. The American League defeated the National League 3-0 . AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(5) Mike Matheny is seen here having just been formally introduced as the manager of te St Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium , in St Louis Missouri,. Matheny succeeded Tony La Russa and has guided the team to the top of the NL Central with the ball-club having the best record in the National League . The Cardinals` manager is seen in some circles as a potential NL Manager of The Year . Getty Images / Paul Pearson …

(6) Bryce Harper , left , is seen here alongside teammate Stephen Strasburg . Both players in their first four seasons with the Washington Nationals have become All Star selections , as well-being fan favorites around te league as well with the Nationals` organization . It remains to be seen whether or not te duo will be around together long enough to guide the Washington Nationals to their first World Series title . Harper and Strasburg are both clients of mega-agent Scott Boras , a man known to drive a hard bargain with executives around Major League Baseball . AP Photo /Clark Marshall ….

(7) New York Mets` pitcher Johan Santana is seen here with manager Terry Collins after the player threw a no-hitter against the St Louis Cardinals in the Mets` 8-0 victory over the NL Central team on the 1st June 2012 . In recent years, Sanatana`s career with Mets has proven to be something of a major disappointment with the player having spent more time on the DL (disabled list) than he has been on the playing field for the New York Mets` franchise . The pitcher is currently the highest paid player on the Mets` roster , further underscoring the current mentally of the front office and of former GM Omar Minaya who signed the player to what can best described as an utterly stupid and undeserved deal (six-year $137,500,000) . AP Photo/ Paul Davis ….

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You Play The Game To Win ………… Herm Edwards Has Never Won Anything

You Play The Game To Win ………… Herm Edwards Has Never Won Anything

By tophatal ….. 6/11/2012 …12:13:03 PM

The season within baseball is now beginning to find itself on a path. And teams are now positioning themselves before the All Star Game which this year will be hosted by the Kansas City Royals . MLB this weekend , provided us with a slew of inter-league games between the AL and NL teams. In addition , to there being a number of surprised performances it should come as no surprise that the Tampa Bay Rays are finding themselves in the midst of things . Joe Maddon and his coaching staff pretty much have the team playing at a high standard . The AL East has always been a very contentious and competitive division , with their being a number of changes in the standings over the past two weeks .

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The Rays currently have a ½ game lead over their closest rivals within the division , with the New York Yankees currently sitting in second place . In addition, as we know with the divergence in the payrolls of these two teams , it simply displays the problems that now besets the game of baseball. Complaints and the idiocy of the claims , there is now parity in sport is not on evidence by what we currently see on display . For those pointing to the different teams that have won the World Series , ask yourself how is it that the likes of the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates , San Diego Padres , Baltimore Orioles have not been a part of baseball baseball’s postseason fare in a number of years ? There are team owners that we know are ambitious to win , while there are others who would rather sit idly by in order to receive monies by way the league hierarchy’s tax sharing revenue scheme. If this is Bud Selig’s idea “of a joke” , then , it’s not working out well , or for the better but it is certainly making the commissioner the butt of jokes around baseball’s fan-base .

Maddon for his part has the team to make a spirited run as they seek their second AL East title . As I stated earlier there are a slew of inter-league games encompassing the league’s teams. The Tampa Bay Rays have been the guests of their state rivals the Miami Marlins . Ozzie Guillen ….. team is in a divisional dogfight against the Atlanta Braves , New York Mets and Washington Nationals within the NL East .

The Rays will look to sweep the series having defeated the 13-4 in-game two of the three game schedule. Sunday taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays will James Shields , as he faces off against Anibel Sanchez of the Marlins . Marlins Ballpark since its inauguration has been something of a surprise for the team’s fans as baseball’s newest venue , it is being viewed as one of the finer stadiums in all of baseball .

This third game should tell us a great deal about both and teams their ambitions . A win for the Tampa Bay Rays would increase their lead over the Yankees , who themselves will be hosting crosstown rivals the New York Mets at Yankees Stadium . Jonathan Niese and Andy Pettite will be the opposing starting pitchers in the game . As we know the “Subway Series” has been a rivalry that has long endured within the game bringing together both factions of fans for a rivalry that is almost unparalleled within baseball .

The Rays have been reliant on the pitching and specifically the roster led by James Shields , David Price , Jeremy Hellickson , Alex Cobb and Matt Moore . The team’s offense also has been impressive and this is borne out by their standing within the AL . Of the players that I believe to be the key to the Rays’ success this season , none to my mind will be more important than Ben Zobrist ! Evan Longoria , seen as the team’s best player has become injury prone and far too often it has been to the detriment of the Rays .

Tampa Bay Rays schedule over the remainder of June should prove to be very interesting , with several games where they will match wits with a number of teams seeking to improve their standing within their respective divisions . In large part I believe that GM Andrew Friedman and senior managing partner Stuart Steinberg have done a tremendous job in keeping the Rays competitive and a viable baseball enterprise . That is in spite of the organization having one of the smallest team payrolls in all of MLB (baseball) . Whether or not the Rays can reproduce the form that has seen the team make the postseason repeatedly in each of the last four years remains to be seen . All this in spite of being treated like the “ unwanted stepchild “ who is viewed as being unappreciative of all that has been offered it by the league hierarchy and the imbecilic commissioner Bud Selig ! This being the same commissioner who is said to be working hard to be the conduit for the team owners and general managers/front office executives but who has been extremely critical of the Rays’ ownership and what he believes has been their lack of effort getting a new ballpark. Given the apparent lack of intelligence of this commissioner , could he actually be the worst individual to have served the game in his current capacity ? Let know your thoughts on the question posed ?

The Tampa Bay Rays’ current home venue is the aging Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida . Bud Selig has criticized Andrew Friedman , Stuart Sternberg and the governmental agencies of Hillsborough County and Pinellas County and their lack of commitment in the building of a new stadium to house the franchise. I may well be naïve in my thought process but it has been Bud Selig who was quick to assist the New York Mets and New York Yankees in the building of their ostentatious venues to the tune of $2.355 billion , with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaiming that with both venues ( Citi-Field & Yankee Stadium) within his city , it now makes gives locale two world-class venues for the game and the epicenter for best two franchises within the game . Michael Bloomberg is a delirious and delusional asshole as can be evidenced by his political career in the city of New York ! As that city’s highest-ranking political executive , he has proven to be ill effective as the city tries to deal with a mounting budget deficit and his inane edicts.

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Are you a proponent of inter-league games ? What if anything has been the biggest surprise or disappointment you in the first quarter of the MLB schedule ? Chime in with a comment as you see fit .


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(1) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 10 : Pitcher James Shields (33) of the Tampa Bay Rays watches his team from the dugout against the Miami Marlins during the game at Marlins Park on June 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

(2) Outfielder Desmond Jennings (8) of the Tampa Bay Rays gets back safely to first as Gaby Sanchez (15) of the Miami Marlins takes the throw during the game at Marlins Park on June 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(3) Shortstop Jose Reyes (7) of the Miami Marlins turns a double play as Sean Rodriguez (1) of the Tampa Bay Rays tries to break it up during the inter-league game at Marlins Park on June 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(4) Outfielder Matt Joyce (20) of the Tampa Bay Rays cannot get to a fly ball during the inter-league game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on June 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(5) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 10: Infielder Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays cannot handle the throw at second as outfielder Logan Morrison (5) of the Miami Marlins gets back safely during the game at Marlins Park on June 10, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(6) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – APRIL 30: Shortstop Brendan Ryan (26) of the Seattle Mariners applies the tag to infielder Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays on a steal attempt during the game at Tropicana Field on April 30, 2012 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(7) Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman is seen here with the team’s Gold Glove award winner Evan Longoria (center) and team manager Joe Maddon . The player is currently on the team’s DL , out for a possible 4-6 weeks . AP Photo/ Carl Mason …

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We’re Getting There …… !

We’re Getting There ….

Well the ALCS and NLCS are in full swing and baseball’s hierarchy looks for some resonance by way of the broadcast by TNT and TBS before the World Series is scheduled to be televised by Fox Sports . With the viewership down by some 25% from last years’s NLCS and some 43% from the ALCS of 2009 between the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees .

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Now one could contend that with the current series having very little drama at present it would be easy to conclude that the quartet of teams now involved in the ALCS and NLCS not having a fervent fan following . Perhaps of the four teams in question the greatest following might be with the supporters of the St Louis Cardinals . With a long established history , success and well respected Hall of Famers it has to be said that it should not come as any great surprise the organization has such a following. The Cardinals skippered by manager Tony La Russa the team now finds itself in a very competitive series against their divisional rivals the Milwaukee Brewers . There’s a great deal at stake for both teams given the fact there seems to be a cloud of controversy hanging over both organizations concerning two of the game’s biggest names and their long term future. The common thread and thought concerning Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols is that should their respective teams fail to make the World Series , then in all likelihood they each will have played their last seasons with Brewers and Cardinals , respectively.

Currently tied at one game apiece (1-1) the series between the two NL teams will resume on Wednesday with the St Louis Cardinals hosting the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri , . Scheduled to start for the Cardinals is Yovani Gallardo with Chris Carpenter starting for the Cardinals . Both teams have proven to be competitive over the course of the postseason. And it is clear that Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke would like nothing better than his team taking two of the three games to played in front of a Cardinals’ fan base to take an overwhelming advantage in this best of seven game series .

Carpenter coming off a stellar performance against the Philadelphia Phillies on his way to leading the Cardinals to the NLCS in an exhilarating game five win. That loss seems to sent the Phillies organization into a tailspin of unimaginable proportions . GM Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel will to have to assess the needs of this team and make the necessary changes during the off-season if the team is to have any chance of success this upcoming season.

Now while I am not willing to make any pronouncements as to which of the two NLCS teams I favor in this series , I do feel that the advantage will come by way of the advantage will now come astuteness of the managers . That undoubted experience belongs with La Russa given his tenure within the game. And given the proclivity of the manager’s team and their tenacity there is a clear chance that Pujols , Matt Holliday , Rafael Furcal and Lance Berkman will be looking to give clear indication that this series is far from over and that the players on the St Louis Cardinals team will be looking to upstage their divisional rivals .

Big money teams with big ideas but that clearly wouldn’t be the case for describing the way that the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers . GM Dave Dombrowski and team owner Michael Ilitch who along with Jim Leyland assembled a team which if anything has proven to be one of the pleasant surprises of the season . The Detroit Tigers won the AL Central with a certain amount of ease then with a little more than breaking any sweat they also took care of the mighty New York Yankees in the ALDS .

The defeat left the Yankees reeling with there being excuses from the most unlikely of sources in team president Randy Levine . The executive not wanting to apportion the blame where it needs to be placed , has stated that the team simply will reassert itself and come back better than ever. Given the the poor displays from key members on this team it easy to understand why executives within the organization would seek not to be overly critical of some of the game’s highest paid players .

This off-season the New York Yankees will certainly have to reassess the team and if anything simply jettison the ” dead weight” on the roster . GM Brian Cashman and the coaching staff will painstakingly look to the free agency market rather than its farm system for the answers.

Ron Washington , Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers will have the benefit of knowing that last year’s postseason experience will stand them in good stead in their series against the Detroit Tigers . Though having lost to the San Francisco Giants in somewhat of an uneventful 2010 World Series , it has to be said that the team was more shell-shocked by their foray , rather than actually being overpowered by Bruce Bochy’s Giants’ team .

The Texas Rangers seem to be well on their way to making their way to a second consecutive World Series appearance having taken a 2-0 lead in their ALCS match-up. Game three at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan with Colby Lewis and Doug Fister taking the mound for the Rangers and Tigers, respectively.

If the Detroit Tigers are to have any chance resurrecting this series then we will have to see a great deal more consistency coming from Miguel Cabrebra , Ryan Raburn and their teammates . And though in reality I haven’t been completely drawn to any of the series from my own perspective is that with the draw of perhaps the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees the postseason becomes something of anathema to me . Try as Bud Selig and the team owners seek to prolong the postseason with an additional two teams per league to wildcard format , the real underlying issue is that the commissioner and general managers clearly do not understand this simply does nothing for the game other than to prolong the season itself. If Selig really had the business acumen as his supporters claim , then they would simply realize that what is needed is a fair an equitable way for the teams to share the revenues derived from their business operations , rather than it simply being everyman for himself and the survival of the fittest.

Though I won’t be taken aback by anything I am likely to witness over the remainder of the posteason , I do however feel that if the league hierarchy wants to induce more fan in response to year end finale . Then much of that will be dependent upon their scheduling of the games and a clear indication as to the needs of the fans. No amount of tinkering with the postseason format will change anything that Bud Selig desires to see within the game when he is simply to afraid to address the most acute of the issues that baseball now faces . Far too many of the purists in and outside of the prefer to give far too much credence as to his apparent insight rather than observing the inherent problems they currently face . His handling of the laughable situation concerning the Los Angeles Dodgers clearly shows that he and his conclave of buffoons are out of touch . If that were not bad enough , he has yet to offer up his own formal statement as to dire premise that the New York Mets and the ownership group now find themselves in . Beyond that , he has chosen to postpone the approval of the sale of the Houston Astros by current owner Drayton McClane to Houston businessman Jim Crane . Selig’s reason behind this all …… …. he is apparently unhappy with the prospective purchaser’s documentation concerning the the proposed bid ( $680 million ). Do bear in mind that the commissioner rushed through the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to now beleaguered owner Frank McCourt when the ball club was put up for sale by then owner Fox / News Corp International with there being very little if any due diligence was used by MLB. At the time it was common knowledge that McCourt had mounting financial and legal problems with several of his business partners who were seeking recourse through legal means. But yet somehow the league hierarchy and team owners somehow managed to approve that sale .

Courtesy of USA Today

Selig: No timetable for expanded postseason by 2012

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement have been very constructive, and he sees no reason to set a timetable for getting a deal done.

“I hope we’ll continue on that path,” Selig said of the positive talks Monday night before Game 2 of the NL Championship Series.

MLB’s agreement with the player’s union expires on Dec. 11.

Selig said the present discussions have been far different from labor battles in previous decades. The most recent labor peace began when the sides came to an agreement after the cancellation of the end of the 1994 season.

“The sport, I’ve often said, was stuck in neutral for 25 years. And that’s one of the reasons. It was brutal. It was really brutal. Every two or three years we went back to this,” Selig said. “The fans got tired of all that, got tired of hearing about it. And I don’t blame them. So, 16 years of labor peace has really, really helped us.”

Selig said he has told MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred and union head Michael Weiner not to set arbitrary time limits to try and finish a deal.

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Crane has produced all of the viable documents and much needed added information as required but this may well be some sort of image and face saving exercise on the part of Bud Selig , which in part could prove to be his undoing. Jim Crane is now said to be thinking of withdrawing the his current offer of $680 million and completely walk away from the deal altogether in light of Bud Selig postponement of the vote seeking league approval. Whether or not the actual approved measure seems to be in doubt , given the fact the postseason is now in full swing and the commissioner not stating when and if there will be schedule set for league approval of the sale. Any further delays even if it now takes place in the off season is unlikely to sit well with either of the parties concerned. Current owner Drayton McClane seeks to divest himself of the team and that now leaves the front office , coaching staff and players with something of an uncertain future as to their immediacy. Why do I now get the impression that there seems to be no common sense being shown by the league hierarchy concerning this matter ? Oh I know it is because that body’s highest ranking executive is a damn moron and a fu_king as_hole !

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Of the quartet of teams now left in the postseason which duo would like to face off in the World Series ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning the now apparent stand-off that is now taking place between the league hierarchy and Jim Crane concerning his purchase of the Houston Astros ? Chime in with a comment and on anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal …………….

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(1) St. Louis Cardinals’ Daniel Descalso, left, laughs with manager Tony La Russa during baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals are scheduled to play the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(2) St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter walks out to the field for baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in St. Louis. Carpenter is scheduled to start when the Cardinals play the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(3) Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 10, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Cardinals would go on to defeat the Brewers 12-3 .Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …..

(4) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals breaks his bat on a ground out in the top of the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 10, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

(5) Fans look at a weather radar on a phone as rain falls prior to Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers on October 12, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Michael Young (10) of the Texas Rangers catches a foul ball in Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(7) Jose Valverde (46) of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Rangers 5-2 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ……

(8) DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 11 : Colby Lewis (48) of the Texas Rangers stands on the mound as Victor Martinez (41) of the Detroit Tigers runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(9) Detroit Tigers’ Brandon Inge , right, hugs teammate Miguel Cabrera after their 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers in Game 3 of baseball’s American League championship series Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in Detroit. …….
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Milwaukee Brewers — ( Yovani Gallardo ) — @ St Louis Cardinals ( Chris Carpenter ) Busch Stadium St Louis , Missouri ,. 12th October 2011

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of The New York Times

Deal to Sell Piece of Mets to Einhorn Falls Apart

Richard Sandomir , The New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

Frank McCourt is offered $1.2 billion for Dodgers

By Bill Shaikin , Los Angeles Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(6) Matt Kemp (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a single against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on September 1, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images ……
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Movers And Shakers ……………….. It’s All In The Games People Play !

Movers & Shakers …………. It’s All In The Games People Play …. !

As the baseball postseason beckons , the month of September is now here and there’s still a great deal to play for as divisional leaders seek to widen the distance between themselves and their closest rivals . Also at stake are the wildcard berths within both the AL and NL . But what might well more interesting could very well be the offseason managerial moves as well as those of the front office executives within the game .

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After four years of absolute futility it would appear that general manager Andy MacPhail will leave the Baltimore Orioles . MacPhail , whose father Lee MacPhail , a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame and who like his son held the position from 1958-1963. For team owner Peter Angelos these years of mediocrity and the lack of postseason play has made this organization a major laughing stock and the butt numerous jokes throughout the game. I simply laugh when I hear purists state that a team is building towards the future but one would beg the question didn’t Noah build an ark because he knew of the impending disaster of the floods ? Well , the floods have continued for the Baltimore Orioles relentlessly and they’re unlikely to abate anytime soon !

To view the on field play of the Orioles , with the thought that this team has a chance of actually being competitive is akin to watching paint dry . Manager Buck Showalter and his coaching assistants while gradually getting the best out of these players , it appears that this roster is still a long way off from where they really need to be. Granted , the Orioles do play in perhaps the toughest division (AL East) in all of baseball but that simply cannot excuse their poor play. Throughout the month of August , from the sublime to the ridiculous it has simply been a journey into inexplicable as the team’s fall from grace has magnified .

The Orioles host their divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays for a two game series at Camden Yards , Baltimore , Maryland. Camden Yards has played host the many of Cal Ripken’s most heralded moments over the course of illustrious career. But one now seriously doubts that the ball-club’s most beloved player having retired can continue sit idly by and witness the monstrosity that has taken place . Inasmuch , as Peter Angelos would love to see this ball-club have a modicum of success , he as the team’s owner has done little to suggest that they are actively striving for that mantel . If anything , the owner and the front office have simply benefited from the league hierarchy’s largesse by readily accepting the tax revenue money shared amongst small market teams and doing little to bolster the team’s roster by way of acquiring players that could contribute to the organization. I’m sorry but even with their drafting of players , routinely the Baltimore Orioles have come up short with their choices .

Courtesy of USA Today

Orioles’ MacPhail could start GM exodus with departure

By Bob Nightengale of USA Today

BALTIMORE – Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations, has reached a decision on his future with the Baltimore Orioles but plans to wait until season’s end before announcing his intentions.

“Let’s just get to the end of the year and see what unfolds,” MacPhail told USA TODAY. “We’ll see. We’ll see.”

MacPhail, according to two high-ranking Orioles officials, plans to leave the organization after his contract expires Oct. 31. He will not pursue an extension. The officials are not authorized to discuss the decision publicly because it is not official.

MORE: Jim Hendry’s time ran out with Cubs

MacPhail, whose father, Hall of Fame executive Lee, was Orioles general manager from 1958 to 1965, has been with the Orioles since 2007 but could not turn them around. The Orioles are three losses from their 14th consecutive losing season.

“I know there’s a lot of speculation, but that comes with the territory,” MacPhail said.

Several GM candidates have been brought up internally, an Orioles official said, led by New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, whose contract expires after the season.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter, expected to have an influential voice in the decision, said he’s not interested in the job.

“You hear all kinds of things,” Showalter says. “I just hope for the best for Andy. This is not one person’s fault. You can’t be this bad, for this long, without multiple reasons.”

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It is hard to suggest where the Orioles go from here even with the contributions of Vladimir Guerrero , Nick Markakis and the pitching staff seem to be bereft of real competitiveness when adjudged against the teams within the AL . It doesn’t get better overall when one takes into account all of ball-clubs in MLB .

It would be easy to suggest that the Baltimore Orioles through their prospects and minor league farm system that things could necessarily be turned around with the right sort of precipitous moves . But we have seen that this ball club simply has stumbled through many of their own self created obstacles .

The departure of Andy MacPhail will probably now set into motion a number of moves within the game of baseball. Billy Beane , Andrew Friedman , Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein are amongst a number of general mangers whose contracts expire at the end of the season . In the case of Epstein , Cashman and Friedman can leave without any compensation being sought . And with the Chicago Cubs said to be also seeking a replacement for Jim Hendry after his firing by team owner Tom Ricketts . It has to be said that this offseason the real interest won’t necessarily be about the big money free agents who will land on the open market but more so I believe, where many of these front office executives may well end up !

Theo Epstein, the primary architect of the Boston Red Sox’s most recent triumphs in the World Series . It would appear however that Epstein’s days with the ball-club could very well be numbered as there now seems to be an impasse between he and club president Larry Lucchino . However , it would be simply idiotic for principal managing partner & team owner John Henry to allow the wunderkind to leave . To lose such a prize asset as Theo Epstein would be the worse thing that this ball-club could actually do beyond choosing to implode Fenway Park . I firmly expect that the organization will offer their general manager a long term contract , which would be clearly in their best interests.

Lew Wolff , — principal managing partner of the Oakland Athletics has publicly stated that he would not stand in the way of Billy Beane leaving the club at the end of his tenure . A somewhat magnanimous gesture given the fact that were it not for Beane , this organization might well be far worse off than it already is. Lew Wolff has hamstrung this ball-club with his Scrooge like behavior as it relates to bolstering the fortunes of this organization by spending to acquire on players. Instead the fans are being asked to be content in seeing a team simply fall from grace with little to show by way of being competitive. It seems a travesty that this fraud has been allowed to be perpetrated upon the loyal A’s fans ! But it appears that neither Lew Wolff or any of the senior executives are in fact overly concerned with their plight. If that were the case then you would actually see Wolff and those very same executives acting aggressively in making a real attempt to turn things around . Fans have somehow have begun to accept the fact that it could well be Lew Wolff’s intent to simply sit back and gladly take the handouts given to the organization by MLB . Recent success by way of a playoff berth is fast becoming a faded memory and the seasonal showings within the division (AL West) haven’t at all been that impressive .

Salary constraints asides , there is some optimism amongst the A’s fans but in large part I do believe that comes out of their sheer devotion towards this organization and its storied history of the illustrious players associated with the team and that of their Hall of Famers .

For the teams who will seek to acquire a new general manager this offseason it is bound to be very intriguing to see which candidates are amongst those being interviewed for those vacant positions . I know that there’s bound to be great deal of money that will be offered to those players thought to be amongst the most prized free agents once the season has ended but as we know everything as such starts with the decision made by the team owner and that of a general manager who seeks assemble a ball-club that they believe will be competitive . Clearly that is all that is being sought by executives within the game but perhaps , some more than most .

Peter Angelos may well seek the insight of Buck Showalter as to who the next general manager will be for the Baltimore Orioles . As he should , given that manager’s acumen for molding a ball-club into a competitive being , as one simply has to take note of Showalter’s achievements in grooming the players that would essentially go on to win four World Series in the latter part of the nineties and early 2000’s . Joe Torre may well get the credit for taking those teams to those series and winning them but were it not for Buck Showalter , one doubts that the ball-club would have achieved those successes in that short a span . Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera , Jorge Posada and Andy Pettite are part of the quartet that went on to reach those illustrious heights , all groomed under the tutelage , first and foremost by the Orioles’ current manager .

Showalter , if anything will be looking for someone whom he can work alongside and at same be able to communicate with , without there being any real conflict or hidden agendas . And if Peter Angelos has any common sense he ought to heed well the advice given to him by his manager once he embarks upon a search for the successor to Andy MacPhail.

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece and where do you any of these front office executives moving to , should that scenario actually arise ? By all means do leave comment as to your thoughts on the subject matter .

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

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(1) Manager Buck Showalter (26) of the Baltimore Orioles walks to the dugout after a pitching change in the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Blue Jays would go on to defeat the Orioles 13-0 .Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

(2) Edwin Encarnacion (10) of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Mike McCoy (18) after scoring in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Toronto won the game 13-0 . Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

(3) Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles tosses his bat after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

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(4) GM Andy MacPhail (left) is seen here seated Buck Showalter after he manager was formally introduced to the convened press as the team’s new manager . MacPhail has since announced that he will be stepping down from the role within Baltimore Orioles’ front office . Team owner Peter Angelos has yet to make a formal statement as to what aspect the search will take for a successor to the general manager . AP Photo Brett Gibbons ….

(5) Peter Angelos (L), owner of the Baltimore Orioles Baseball team, watches testimony from Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (R) at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime. REUTERS/Jason Reed/ United States ……..

(6) CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 31: Relief pitcher Jerry Blevins (13) of the Oakland Athletics wipes his face after the tenth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 31, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images ….

(7) Oakland Athletic’s co-owner Lew Wolff makes a public presentation to the Fremont City Council regarding the ballpark and village proposal in Fremont, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. Wolff invoked visions of Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field as he outlined an ambitious development plan for a new baseball ballpark Tuesday. AP Photo/San Jose Mercury News, LiPo Ching ….

(8) Oakland Athletics’ Jason Giambi , right, leans on the shoulder of general manager Billy Beane as he is introduced during a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. Giambi and the Athletics finalized a one-year contract with an option on Wednesday, bringing the free-agent designated hitter and first baseman back to the place he began his big league career. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ……

(9) Larry Lucchino (center) and Theo Epstein, (right) seen here with principal partner and owner John Henry of the Boston Red Sox. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Chris Argyle …………
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MLB Standings 31st August 2011

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MLB results 31st August 2011

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More Bang For The Buck … Or Let’s Just Say Simply More Fizzle For The Money ………… !

More Bang For The Buck … Or Let’s Just Say Simply More Fizzle For The Money ………… !

It’s not strange to realize at this time of the baseball season fans are opining on how their teams are doing and where the letdowns appear to be if those ball clubs aren’t faring well. Much of that could very well be put down to the fact that certain players haven’t been playing up to par. And nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to the highly paid players who’ve essentially been a bust over the course of the season.

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Nothing could be more apparent at present than the premise prescribed when you have players such as Vernon Wells , Jayson Werth , Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Zambrano , Adam Dunn and Barry Zito simply coming up firing a blank . Having read an article in the sports’ pages of Tuesday’s edition of USA Today I thought it only appropriate to look at Bob Nightingale’s article more closely . Wells the the Los Angeles Angels’ slugger has had a monstrous and unproductive season for the team . At this juncture I’m not so sure if Arte Moreno as the team owner had it to do all over again the front office would have acquired the player from the Toronto Blue Jays by way of a trade .

Vernon Wells is owed $63 million through 2014 and it’s apparent that any takers for such a contract would have to be willing to undertake that commitment long term . How and why Mike Scoscia and GM Tony Reagins would have sought to add Wells to the roster under the premise that he would add some potency to the the team’s offense must now have the Angels’ fans in something of a quandary ! And though the ball-club now seems to be out of contention within the AL West in mounting a serious enough challenge to the Texas Rangers , it has to be said that trade has proven to be a monumental failure . Money can’t always by happiness but most certainly can buy great deal of damn misery as the Los Angeles Angels are now finding out .

It’s pretty safe to say that the Chicago Cubs have pretty much underachieved this season as can be attested to in their standing within the NL Central . And if nothing else the fallout after Carlos Zambrano’s meltdown in the game against the Atlanta Braves where the player abruptly left the clubhouse bailing on his teammates and abruptly announcing his retirement . However, in lieu of that the player has since reneged on that announcement simply stating that he was angry. Team GM Jim Hendry has , however , suspended Zambrano without pay but a grievance has been filed by the player’s agent Barry Praver with the union (MLBPA) on the player’s behalf , which will be forwarded to the MLB hierarchy .

The failings of the Chicago Cubs have been well chronicled and given the ball-club’s lack of success in the postseason they can either be lamented or simpy chided for their complete mediocrity .

As prolific as Alfonso Soriano was said to be while with the New York Yankees it has to be said the player has been less of an asset and more of a liability with the Chicago Cubs . From one moment to the next one never simply knows what to expect from the player. And it’s not as if this season has proven to be any different for Soriano as we have seen the Cubs simply give up on the year . And for team owner Tom Ricketts and his family even with the multi million dollar refurbishment of Wrigley Field , the loyal fans still coming to the ballpark in droves it has to be said that the fans are still be short changed by the organization at large.

Can someone please explain to me how it is that Mike Rizzo can still remain the general manager of the Washington Nationals ? Isn’t it enough with the hooplah over the drafting of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg the organization has nothing to show for it at all ? Building for the future is one thing but I doubt that the fans will want to become members of AARP before this team actually shows some semblance of being competitive .

Last season the hooplah was the furor was with the Nationals acquiring Jayson Werth from the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent. The player lauded by the front office as being a leader and someone who would tutor the younger players on the roster , it has to be said that Werth has been a complete disappointment. And at seven years $126 million ($18 million a year), can we all agree that agent Scott Boras has found a way to con another idiotic general manager in baseball.

I’ve heard fans opine on the fact that when a marquee free agent hits a slump then he ought to be viewed as crap but what about the general manager who signed that player how should they effectively be treated ? Shouldn’t they also be denigrated and chewed out for their stupidity ? It appears the fans are not always willing to go that far but I would simply pose this question ….. why the fu#ck not ?

Another of Boras’ high profiled clients is Barry Zito and his season can be best described as being caked in utter bullshit ! To see the San Francisco Giants’ fall from grace though not quite out contention in the NL West divisional hunt or the wildcard berth is to witness a team that simply seems to have ran out of steam at present. As defending World Series champions it’s hard to imagine a team could be viewed as being self destruct mode . Zito , himself has $46 million remaining on a contract that if anything will be a boon for Brian Sabean and the organization at large .

If there’s to be an absolute baseline in mediocrity this season simply in terms of productivity from a highly paid player in baseball then that mantel would clearly belong to Adam Dunn ! Suffice to say his season productivity in terms of his BA ( .162 ) isn’t even in line with his own body weight . I am not about to lambast the player much less the Chicago White Sox organization at large . GM Ken Williams along team owner Jerry Riensdorf and manager Ozzie Guillen must’ve undergone a strange transformation of sorts , wherein , they felt that Dunn was still a valuable asset to this team at large . Clearly this season that simply has not been the case as the White Sox have simply struggled to remain competitive within the AL Central . Barely above .500 within the division with a 61-60 mark it has to be said that the team will have to fight tooth and nail to pass both the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers who lay ahead of them within the AL Central .

One could be critical of the job that Ozzie Guillen has done this season but in reality the failings of this team are not simply Guillen’s alone . It has been a collective effort all round much of that blame has to laid squarely on the players who have simply not stepped up to the plate . Adam Dunn being the primary example of that with his meager productivity this season and that of his teammates . But that asides if Guillen’s only premise is to be verbose and simply use profanity as a way of instilling his wishes from his players then you can comprehend why it is that the team has as such failed to respond with resolve throughout much of the season.

It’s hard to try and explain the reasons behind the failures of the aforementioned players other than to suggest that they’re simply not as good as advertized or previously thought . One thing is definitely certain, any organization choosing to take any of players mentioned had better make sure to be diligent in the process , and know exactly what the hell it is that they’re doing . This much I do know , given the actions of the general managers of the teams in question who sought the services of these high priced free agents, it is obvious that they simply craved the idea of having what they thought was a productive asset but instead they’ve simply ended up with a dud !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece and that of Bob Nightingale’s article do you feel that it is primarily a general manager’s responsibility or that of the player to actually prove their worth ? Do bear in mind however , the premise behind any deal is that the player is being rewarded based on his ability and the executive in this case is simply being rewarded for his professed astuteness in making a deal that’s said to be beneficial for both parties. Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

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

Contact tophatal @ rapptu@gmail.com or via these social media services

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Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Los Angeles Angels’ Vernon Wells, a former Toronto Blue Jays, evades a ball from Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero during the second inning of their baseball game in Toronto, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ….

(2) Vernon Wells (10) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs out a hit against the Toronto Blue Jays in a MLB game on August 13,2011 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images ……

(3) Jayson Werth (28) of the Washington Nationals walks to the dugout after striking out against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park on August 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …….

(4) Alfonso Soriano (12) of the Chicago Cubs makes an attempt on a line drive against the Washington Nationals on August 11, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Nationals 4-3 . Photo by David Banks/Getty Images ………..

(5) Pitcher Carlos Zambrano (38) of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The player would be ejected during the game subsequently announce his retirement but would soon renege on the comment . However he has since been suspended by the club without pay for 30 days. The suspension of which he’s now fighting having lodged an appeal through the union which will be reviewed by the MLB hierarchy . Mark Zarrilla / Getty Images North America ………

(6) Adam Dunn (32) of the Chicago White Sox argues with home plate umpire Bill Miller after striking out in the eighth inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 10, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

(7) Dave Righetti (19) the pitching coach of the San Francisco Giants talks with Barry Zito (75) and Eli Whiteside (22) during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 31, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio . Zito would then be immediately be place on the team’s DL with a sprained right foot . The player’s productivity this season can be best described as meager when one bears in mind he’s due $18.5 million this year . Getty Images North America / Mark Parrilla …………..

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MLB news

MLB Results 16th August 2011

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MLB Standings

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To read Bob Nightingale’s article in USA Today click on the link provided Zambrano contract among bad deals

Link provided … List of highest paid MLB players

Oh The Tom Foolery ………..

Oh The Tom Foolery ……..

In the aftermath of the All Star Game and the shambles that we all witnessed was in essence a clear indication that the league hierarchy couldn’t sell donuts to a room filled with cops , much less have the fans wanting for more. Much of the idiocy stems from the mere fact that the team owners and hierarchy are bereft of creativity and ideas . Can we have a show of common sense from anyone within the game for merely a brief minute ? I was once told by a patron that my ideas as it relates to talking about sports economics were way off base. But herein lies the fact this individual’s idea is to opine about the young players and that the teams are building for the future and they will somehow garner success .. He simply works on supposition, rather than the realities in the midst of the game at present . It may well work within his own mind but in the real world that’s simply not the case .

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There have been a number of suggestions to try and make the game more appealing to the fans , many of which are plausible but on the whole they would not necessarily cure what ails the game . Realignment of the divisions is simply placing a Band Aid on an open festering wound which in the end will do more harm than good . Not that I am not partial to a great deal of blood but that scenario simply creates false hope when there is none ! The one issue that the league hierarchy and owners refuse to get themselves involved in is that of the financial imbalances as it relates to the teams and the mere fact that they are unwilling to adopt a hard salary cap . They would rather simply continue to shoot themselves in the foot until they either end up crippled or paralyzed . And as we can see this is now being borne out by the ever growing problems for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets .

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New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson (14) is helped to first base by manager Joe Girardi after being hit by a pitch form Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price ) during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees won 4-0 . AP Photo / Joe Blanco …

New York Yankees’ out-fielder Curtis Granderson in a candid interview with the Ft Worth Star -Telegram stated that when he now looks up into the stands he finds it a rarity to see an African American face in attendance . The player then went on to suggest that with a dwindling of ethnic players from his own race leads him to believe that the league hierarchy is doing a poor job of luring the fans to the game . And that is in spite of baseball’s RBI (Reviving Baseball In The Inner Cities) initiative in the inner cities across the country . I wonder how that is actually working out , given the expense and working in conjunction with a number of organizations as well as various school systems ? According to the league hierarchy there are over 200,000 participants across the country involved in this (RBI) all but it is difficult to decipher what the findings have led to at the professional level. From my perspective this is simply another one of Bud Selig’s warped ideas that is akin to throwing up fecal matter against the wall and then going with what sticks ! The commissioner hasn’t had an insightful or succinct idea in two decades but if anything should their be an act of flatulence on his part you can’t be sure whether or not he’ll sneeze or his head might explode .

Courtesy of USA Today

Curtis Granderson: Where are all the black fans?

By Seth Livingstone USA Today

New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson isn’t telling Major League Baseball anything it doesn’t already know.

Baseball appears to lack appeal and access to some blacks , whether they are participants or fans. And Granderson wasn’t necessarily trying to stir the pot when he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “Count the number of African-American fans.”

On a recent trip to Texas, Granderson said it was difficult to push the count to double digits.

“At first, it starts off as a joke (with teammates),” Granderson said. “As the game moves on, you’ll get to 10, or maybe 15. Depends on where you are, too. Places like Chicago or New York, other places it’s easy. (In Texas), it’s hard. So after a while it becomes, ‘Told you so.

As it was reported in April , the percentage of black players dropped to 8.5% on opening day this year, down from 10% at the start of last season and its lowest level since 2007, according to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. More than 80% of NBA players are African-American and the percentage of black players in the NFL is more than 60%.

Possible reasons appear myriad for baseball’s drop in black players. The Star-Telegram cites costs for equipment and league participation as possible reasons for baseball’s lack of appeal, to say nothing of admission prices.

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Click on link to read this article in its entirety

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I’ve long held the contention that Branch Rickey’s social experiment to integrate the game by bringing Jackie Robinson and making him the first minority to play in MLB was simply done for business reasons and little else . Integrating the game was one thing but given the fact that those attending the games were separated along racial lines while at the same time the US military itself still had yet to be fully integrated shows that not only had the game along way to go socially but also the country as well . Robinson as a player was not only open to a torrent of racial abuse but also threats upon his life by racially intolerant fans as well as many of his fellow players and from the owners within the game .

Now I would like to think that the game of baseball has made enormous strides and it has in a number of areas but the game has yet to have an African American owner in the modern era . Though it can claim that it has had a select number of managers and executives holding the position of general manager of a ball-club. The game has yet to have an African American owner and at the highest level of the game where ownership of a team would be a sign of a real break through this has yet to happen. Baseball has a number of acute issues that it needs to address , their RBI initiative being one of them but I certainly don’t believe that Bud Selig is the man to be leading that charge ! What he lacks in outright candor he more than makes up for that with his asinine edicts and complete lack of intelligence ! That asides the team owners simply love the fact that his lips are placed so firmly on their sphincters as and when needed . At the same time Michael Weiner who succeeded Donald Fehr as the executive director of the MLBPA has shown little to suggest that his tenure will be any different from that of his predecessor . Suffice to say that the game of baseball is now being ran by a group of individuals who are akin to headless chickens running around in a chicken coop waiting to die as they bleed to death profusely.

Did I miss something ? The NBA hierarchy has seen fit to publicly release the 2011-12 NBA schedule while they are involved in the midst of what they claim to be a labor dispute . Last I looked this was simply about money and who was actually garnering the bigger slice of a multi billion dollar piece of the pie ! The NBPA guided by executive director Billy Hunter and their President Derek Fisher have all but said that they are not prepared to concede to any request or requests from the league unless they are prepared to make concessions themselves . This dispute has all the making of being a bitter contentious battle from which no side will come out of it unscathed . The union’s executive committee have kept their members abreast of the ongoing deliberations much of it behind closed doors with the press and public not really being informed of the meetings . But as usual we can rely on ESPN to inform us of the latest by their usual group of insiders.

David Stern may well have bitten off more than he can chew in seeking to institute a stoppage and no doubt his ego has taken a beating . The team owners may well be sticking behind him at this juncture but sooner or later the likes of Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Peter Holt , Mark Cuban and James Dolan will decide to voice their opinions as to the impasse between the two sides .

The NBA hierarchy and owners have been a law unto themselves showing their gullibility , naivete but above all sheer idiocy in thinking that they could spend money at will while seeing their revenues decline . The soft salary cap instituted by the league of $ 57 million but several teams have exceeded that figure as they chased winning an NBA title . The two finalists from this past season’s Finals between them had a combined salary exceeding $125 million , hardly a figure that David Stern would actually care to discuss .

I find it somewhat ironic while the teams are pleading poverty they’re spending money as if there’s no tomorrow . Leading the charge are the idiot general managers of the game who’ll do just about anything including selling their first born if it guarantees success . Perhaps a clear indication of such inanity were the trades made by the Orlando Magic and their GM Otis Smith as they sought a championship. One only has to look at the team’s roster and their salary implications to see that Smith simply encumbered the organization with so much dead weight that it was laughable to watch the team play .

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Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits after the Magic’s 84-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis ….

For Bob Vanderweide the COO & President of the Orlando Magic and the other senior executives this will be a trying time for the club. Not only do they have to deal with the financial implications of the team commitment in salaries but there’s also the growing belief that Dwight Howard may well seek to opt out of the final year of his contract and seek to ply his trade elsewhere . There’s no denying that a player of Howard’s caliber would be the envy of the teams around the league willing to acquire the player. But what would the Magic be seeking in return for the player if a deal were to be made ? Given the stakes as they stand and what this could very well mean for the organization it is hard to see anything advantageous for the team coming out of such a transaction ! Dwight Howard may well now feel that the Orlando Magic are not capable of winning a championship and the best opportunity for him as a player lays with another team. That team could very well be the Los Angeles Lakers if the rumors circulating are to be believed .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and Jerry Buss would pull the trigger on such a deal to land Dwight Howard and then for all essence and purpose the Lakers would have their own equivalent of the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” of Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade . The Lakers’ answer would be the teaming of Howard to play alongside Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant . And I’m sure for newly installed coach Mike Brown this would give him the added assurance that the teaming of the three along with the other players on the roster would be of benefit to the organization and fans . Whether or not such a scenario arises remains to be seen but there’s no denying that this would be an enticing situation for all of the parties involved should it start to foment within each of the front offices in question.

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NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, pictured with Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer Adam Silver , said in a news conference Thursday that the league is seeking to cut payroll and benefits for players by about a third. AP Photo/ Phil Reed …

As to David Stern’s own ego , it may well be plausible to make next season’s schedule public as a means of showing the fans the NBA ……. is still business as usual . But at present there is nothing at all to suggest that the league and the players are any closer to reaching a compromise much less the fact they are ready to actually get back to the courts . For a number of player who have sought to ply their trade overseas until the lockout ends they get the chance to hone their skills and take in some culture while pocketing a sizable amount in compensation. For others at the lower rungs of the food chain that are not so lucky there’s isn’t a great deal that they can do other than to sit , wait to be notified as to what is going on by their player representatives from the NBPA. Chances are that they too after a while will become fed up of the situation and voice their concerns but I’m guessing that’s a long way off if they now view the situation where they have both and Stern and the owners by the balls !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

As to the points raised within this piece do you feel that Curtis Granderson’s claims are to an extent valid ? And what recommendations would you make in order to lure not just more minorities to take an interest in the game but also to make baseball more appealing for the fans ? And where do you see the NBA now going from here in terms of the ongoing dispute ? Please leave a comment as you would deem fit and thanks for the continued support !

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

Contact ……… rapptu@ gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) A fan holds up a sign during the ninth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 20, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Angels defeated the Rangers 9-8 . Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ….

(2) Ryan Braun (8) of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with teammates in the dugout before umpires review instant reply on a possible home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the eighth inning of the Major League Baseball game at Chase Field on July 20, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The ball was called foul and the home run was taken back. The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks 5-2 in 10 innings . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …

(3) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson (14) is helped to first base by manager Joe Girardi after being hit by a pitch form Tampa Bay Rays’ David Price ) during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday, July 20, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Yankees won 4-0 . AP Photo / Joe Blanco …

(4) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 20: Outfielder Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees scores on a first-inning home run against the Tampa Bay Rays July 20, 2011 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….

(5) Branch Rickey (left) seen here with Jackie Robinson holding the plaque denoting his official enshrinement into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Also pictured is Robinson’s wife Rachel . Courtesy of White Archives …

(6) Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits after the Magic’s 84-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 6 of an NBA basketball Eastern Conference first-round playoff series, Thursday, April 28, 2011, in Atlanta. AP Photo/John Amis ….

(7) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, pictured with Deputy Commissioner and Chief Financial Officer Adam Silver , said in a news conference Thursday that the league is seeking to cut payroll and benefits for players by about a third. AP Photo/ Phil Reed …

(8) From left to right Orlando Magic executives Alex Martins , Bob Vanderweide and Otis Grant take questions from the convened press at the team’s headquarters the Amway Center in downtown Orlando , Florida . Orlando Sentinel/ Michael Halloran ….

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Yankees GM Cashman done at season’s end ?

By Mark J Miller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5

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

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

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

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

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

Picture and slide show details

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

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

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

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

(5) Rafael Soriano (C) of the New York Yankees poses for a photograph during his press conference with (L-R) assistant general manager Jean Afterman, manager Joe Girardi, agent Scott Boras, president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman, and COO Lonn Trost on January 19, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees signed Soriano to a three year contract. Getty Images North America / Jim McIsaac ….
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MLB results 16th July 2011

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MLB probable starting pitchers 18th July 2011

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Tick Tock , Tick Tock , Time Is Now Moving Fast In Baseball ……..

Tick Tock , Tick Tock , Time Is Now Moving Fast In Baseball ……..

Well it’s that time of the year when the eyes of the sports’ world is now peering on baseball’s showcase event. The 2011 All Star Game is set for tonight with the AL taking on the NL with with it comes to the privilige of having homefield advantage throughout the World Series . And given the idiocy of the events that took place in 2002 with the game ending in a tie and Commissioner Bud Selig looking to explain that this was the best possible outcome from an extremely exhilarating game. Somehow I simply hope that that the commissioner has the temerity to show some common sense in determining a fair result . Perhaps the commissioner may well have the players from both rosters spoon each other until they reach that height of ecstasy . Given the stupidity of the many judgments rendered by him over the years I really do believe that it is now for him to hang it up and ride off into the sunset !

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I’ve read a number of pieces questioning whether or not realignment of the divisions would be of benefit to the game , bringing in a much more competitive nature and rivalries within baseball. To me that’s simply dressing up a pig and then asserting that it now looks like a sow ! It’s simply a damn stupid idea that makes no sense at all. The problems within the game have more to do with the financial imbalances and the mere fact that the owners , league hierarchy and general managers haven’t got a God damn clue ! Rather than looking to solve the problem they are ignoring it , and carrying on as usual. And we are now seeing how that is working out for the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets ?

Seemingly it had to take Frank McCourt to create his own web of deceit , lies that would all but bring the Dodgers to the brink of financial disaster (in filing Chapter 11 [ financial reorganization]) before the league hierarchy under Bud Selig sought to act with any real action. It’s a pity that the team hasn’t gone under then perhaps the other idiot owners around the league would perhaps pull their heads out of their ass and begin to address the inherent problems that are now encircling the game beyond the financial strains that no doubt many of them are now facing ! And if anyone is under the impression that the dye has been cast concerning this episode then they are mistaken . One now simply has to preamble over to the mess that’s now unraveling within the New York Mets’ organization . And that is even with the advent of the $200 million cash infusion made by hedge fund manager David Einhorn into the ball-club in taking a minority stake in the team. I can only surmise that principal partners and co-owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon have assured the young Wall St phenom wunderkind that his money is indeed safe . At present the organization and both principal partners are the defendants in a civil suit that seeks to recoup in excess of $750 million as part of the monies received by the New York Mets and the owners’ associate company Sterling Equities Inc which we are told is from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme. Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon have plead their innocence stating that they ……… “are victims themselves having lost countless millions”. Though not inconceivable I find it somewhat ironic that two men who co-founded an investment company some three decades ago could have been so easily duped given their alleged financial experience and those the of the executives of Sterling Equities Inc ! But these are merely my own suspicions and thoughts on the matter ! Afterall we can only take them at their word can’t we ? But then again did you know that the Golden Gate Bridge is up for sale at a reasonable price ?

With several marquee players now taking their leave in not playing in the game due to injury we will still see the event with many of its stars on parade. The New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez won’t be participating in the All Star Game with Jeter recusing himself and Rodriguez bowing out due to surgery to repair a torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. With that said it now remains to be seen how this will be viewed by the fans in general with two of the game’s biggest stars not appearing.

Jeter having come off attaining his 3,000th hit as a player and along with the New York Yankees’ alltime hits’ lead . But for Jeter this simply isn’t about attaining feats but more to do with leading this team to another World Series title . The division within which the New York Yankees reside is now turning into a real barn burner and I’ve no doubt it will be long drawn out dog fight between all of the participants there ! The AL East has always been viewed as perhaps the most competitive of all divisions within baseball. This year I’ve no doubt that the race for the wildcard berth and division will all hinge on the play of the Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays down the final stretch run of the season . It’s pretty much safe to say that both the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles won’t be in the thick of things as far as this divisional race is concerned.

Now it goes without saying that we have seen considerable amount to be pleased about concerning the play of the teams during the season. Earlier on this year I had a rather contentious and often ridiculous interface with a patron who would suggest that the Kansas City Royals are in the midst of a turnaround in terms of their play . Suffice to say that turnaround has yet to come into being and when you consider that the team now resides at the foot of the AL Central with a sub .500 record (37-54) can someone explain to me what signs there are that would suggest that this team much less the organization is really in the midst of a resurgence ?

While I’m sincere in seeing all of the league’s teams do well in the game I have never been one to sugar coat what I see as something delusional when I’m being told that a team is on the rise . The game of baseball has become about the immediacy of here and now ………..“what have you done for me lately ” ? And it is certainly not what you’re about to do quite possibly do in thee , four or five years from now ! If that were the case then the game itself simply wouldn’t be a worthwhile endeavor for the fans to be a willing participant as an observer . The fans want to see their teams do well each season not simply struggle then to fall by the wayside . And then it all comes down to excuses as to what might have been or even perhaps injuries played a part in their demise . Does anyone remember where the team finished at season’s end in 2010 ?

There have been strong suggestions this season we are in the midst of seeing the rise of the pitcher and it has to be said the season being had by Jered Weaver , Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia would has me believing that the AL Cy Young Award won’t be that easy to pick an outright winner . All three are worthy candidates and one would simply be naive at this juncture to suggest that we know who the winner ought to be at this juncture .

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PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 12: National League All-Star Brian Wilson(38) of the San Francisco Giants reacts with teammates catcher National League All-Star Miguel Montero (26) of the Arizona Diamondbacks and National League All-Star Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds after making the save to win the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The National League defeated the American League 5-1. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

Speaking as a fan of the teams within the NL I am hoping that Jair Jurrjens with the season he’s having can rise above the fray and succeed and show that the fans it’s not simply about the Philadelphia Phillies’ pitching rotation this season . The Phillies’ trio of Roy Halladay , Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee have lit up the league with their stellar displays and perhaps unequivocally justifying why they’re viewed as the prohibitive favorites for the NLCS .

As I alluded to earlier if Jair Jurrjens can usurp the Phillies’ trio of aces then perhaps Atlanta Braves can make a go of it this season and make light of the thought that many do not believe that they are good enough to win the NL East . They are now proving that and a great deal more by being competitive not just within the division but across the entire league . Manager Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff now have this team playing with a great deal of passion and I’d like to think that he’s in with a chance of winning the NL Manager of The Year Award but it would appear with the current play of the Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle would appear to be if not the consensus winner then the clear cut favorite for the award.

We are often told that stars are created because we need them to be there to bring about a sense of security and our passion for the game . And I guess that this indeed true of any individual or team sport ! This year however we have seen the ascent of Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista as their stars have risen into the stratosphere . The two players within the AL have all but a strangle-hold on the offensive categories within the AL . Suffice to say that without the duo in question their respective teams might not even be playing with any sort of the competitive juices to be had . And OK , each year for some reason the Blue Jays start fast right out of the gate only to stumble and fall before the halfway point in the season. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays , their fans and their front office they seem to have forgotten that the season is one of 162 arduous games and that you have to be in it for the long haul .

Both Adrian Gonzalez and Jose Bautista could very well be battling it out at the end of the season for the AL MVP Award if there’s to be any justice within the game , as the duo have stood head and shoulders above their rivals within the American League .

National League’s Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers holds his MVP award following the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. The National League won 5-1 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …….

With the second half of the season resuming as of tomorrow it certainly will be interesting to see what transpires for the teams said to be in contention for their respective divisions as well as the wildcard berths within both leagues. And as a fan of the Atlanta Braves my greatest wish is to see the team make the postseason and simply acquit themselves as against any prospective opponent that they are likely to face . What happens thereafter all comes down to the breaks that they make for themselves rather than the opportunities offered them by an opponent .

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This season within baseball what thoughts if any do you have on the events that have taken place ? And how best do you feel that the league hierarchy can deal with some of the problems that they now face ? And what team or teams , player or players have actually surprised you with their performances so far ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Contact tophatal @ …….. rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – In this April 26, 2011, file photo former New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez throws a pitch during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The Milwaukee Brewers acquired former All-Star reliever Francisco Rodriguez and cash from the New York Mets on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in exchange for two players to be named. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta ….

(2) American League’s Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays is tagged out at home plate by National League’s Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves after trying to score on a hit by American League’s Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers during the fourth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. The NL would go on to defeat the AL 5-1 . AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(3) PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 12: A general view of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

(4) (L-R) National League All-Star Jair Jurrjens (49) of the Atlanta Braves, National League All-Star Starlin Castro (13) of the Chicago Cubs, National League All-Star Brandon Phillips (4) of the Cincinnati Reds, National League All-Star Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds and National League All-Star Jay Bruce (32) of the Cincinnati Reds stand before the start of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(5) (L-R) American League All-Star Josh Hamilton (32) of the Texas Rangers stands with American League All-Star Adrian Beltre (29) of the Texas Rangers and American League All-Star David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox before the start of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …..

(6) (L-R) Daniel Hernandez Jr. and Joe Garagiola Sr. throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Hernandez is credited with helping to save U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in January and Garagiola was a former MLB player and long time announcer. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images ….

(7) American League All-Star Carlos Quentin (20) of the Chicago White Sox swings during an at bat in the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

(8) PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 12: National League All-Star Brian Wilson(38) of the San Francisco Giants reacts with teammates catcher National League All-Star Miguel Montero (26) of the Arizona Diamondbacks and National League All-Star Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds after making the save to win the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The National League defeated the American League 5-1. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….

(9) American League’s Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox hits a solo home run during the fourth inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(10) National League’s Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers holds his MVP award following the MLB All-Star baseball game Tuesday, July 12, 2011, in Phoenix. The National League won 5-1 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …….
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MLB News

MLB Standings

MLB Wildcard standings

MLB Schedule 14th July 2011

MLB Probable starters 14th July 2011

MLB Stats

American League Category leaders alongside

Batting Avg —- Adrian Gonzalez

Hits —- Adrian Gonzalez

Home runs —-Jose Bautista

RBI’s —- Adrian Gonzalez

Pitching

Wins —- C C Sabathia

ERA —- Jered Weaver


National League
Category leaders alongside

Batting Avg.Jose Reyes

Hits —- Jose Reyes

Home runs —- Lance Berkman

RBI’s —- Prince Fielder

Pitching

Wins —- Jair Jurrjens

ERA —-
Jair Jurrjens

2010 MLB Awards

Ten Questions For The MLB Commissioner ……………

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

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

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

Courtesy of Fox Sports

Report: Dodgers seek to blame Selig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of The all St Journal

Baseball Blasts Dodgers Bankruptcy Loan

By Patrick Fitzgerald and Marie Beaudette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s The Results That Matter

Well the baseball season is slowly unfolding and as it to be expected the highs and low of the season are to be expected . The Minnesota Twins it appears is on its way to becoming synonymous with mediocrity within baseball for this season . It will be interesting to see if the team does indeed end up with the worst record in baseball at season’s end. And for Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire this can’t have been what he expected for his team and the very fact that their All Star catcher Joe Mauer was lost to the Twins for a prolonged period. The Minnesota Twins for their part have made Target Field in Minnesota something of an elephant’s graveyard with the mediocre play and lack of the real cohesion as a team .

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It would appear having got back to winning ways of sort in defeating the Texas Rangers —- 8-1 one would have thought that victory would enough to provide the Twins’ fans with some form of relief but nothing could be further from the truth. The Minnesota Twins are languishing at the bottom of the NL Central with a 25-39 record , some 10 games behind the division leading Cleveland Indians (34-28). Having won 8 of their last ten games the Twins continue to struggle and one would be hard pressed to believe that over the remainder of the season they could prove to be serious challengers not just for the division but also for a wildcard berth within the AL .

The month of June will tell us a great deal as to the directions that a number of teams will be taking . From a personal standpoint although I just can’t see the Twins making any sort of change that would have me believing that they can actually turn things around . This team appears to be lacking in confidence and I doubt that Gardenhire and his coaching staff can now coax this team to play with any level of consistency in spite of their last ten games. This has been a season thus far that I believe that the Twins’ fans and players would rather forget as they simply move systematically back and forth in terms of an uneven season .

The CONCACAF Gold Cup has started and no doubt Team USA under the management of coach Bob Bradley was hoping to see the team show some improvement as a sign that they are heading in the right direction in lieu of the FIFA —- World Cup (2014) in Brazil in 2012 . The team is off to an inauspicious start in Group C having played three games , winning one , a draw and a rather embarrassing 2-1 loss to Panama . If anything this result shows that Bradley faces a stiff challenging a team that will have the right traits not only to qualify for the World Cup but also have some semblance in winning the Gold Cup.

Viewed as a pre tournament contender and favorite alongside Mexico the team still stands a good chance of making out of the group qualifying rounds before the format of the tournament then becomes a knockout competition . Starved of an out and out attacker with formidable goal scoring talent this has simply been the Bradley’s biggest lament . In the tournament the team’s joint top scorers are Clint Dempsey are Clarence Goodson with one goal apiece . I have always maintained that the real problem with the game of soccer resonating amongst the large majority of the fans here comes from the very fact that it is merely viewed as a recreational pass-time . And even though MLS a divisional endeavor is up and running the league itself still struggles to create any form of a seismic rumble amongst fans . Granted with the number of international stars acquired to add some glamor to the league it really hasn’t helped given the fact that the likes of Thierry Henry , David Beckham and Maicon Santos are either players who were unable to establish themselves domestically in their respective countries or in the cases of Henry and Beckham their best is simply now a thing of the past.

This Gold Cup was obviously viewed as a precursor for the upcoming World Cup and with Bradley obviously wanting gain some semblance of consistency instead he now has a team that is bereft of creativity and ideas in light of this rather humiliating 2-1 loss to Panama a team that seven times out of ten they should beat handily .

The team now faces a stern test in their next game to be played with Group C against Guadeloupe on the 14 th June . A win is a necessity if they’re to not only qualify from the group but also gain a favorable match-up in the knockout phase of the competition . It remains to be seen whether or not Bradley will be able to regroup his players and have them ready in time for the match .

At the start of the NBA season it seemed that in large part the vast majority of fans were already prepared to anoint the Miami Heat as NBA champions even before the season had started . With the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to add alongside Dwyane Wade it appeared that all the Heat had to do was to simply waltz their way through their schedule and lay waste to the opposition during the postseason . Well as stories go this was a script that was still being written for the drama that would be played out in the NBA Finals .

The Dallas Mavericks may well be viewed as the underdogs coming into this series but if anything only a fool would actually have felt that way and there’s a reason why Vegas simply lured the suckers in with the odds favoring the Heat . Up 3-2 in the best of seven game series and with the final two games being on the Heat’s home-court of AAA Arena , Miami , Florida in order to close out the series . The Heat players in particular James and Wade knew exactly what was on the line for them not only in terms of the team players but the franchise as a whole . Team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison’s master plan had been put into effect. An assortment of role players to surround their trio of superstars and all that had to be completed would be the defeat of the Mavericks to justify the whole experiment and season as a whole .
If only the Heat players and in particular James , Wade and Bosh had left their enormous egos at the door ! Instead we saw how complacent all three had become and the classness of their demeanor throughout much of the series . And for Erik Spoelstra one has to wonder whether or not some of the blame will be layed at his door beyond that of the players and in particular the triumvirate of superstars ?

Contempt and ignorance when it manifests itself in a team , then more often than not it tends to lead to disaster and it became a reality for the Miami Heat as their hold on what they believe to be rightfully theirs was taken right out of their presumed grasp by a Mavericks’ team that simply hungered for the title even more so than their opponent . Dirk Nowitzki along with Jason Terry and JJ Barea simply showed why at times it’s great to see the good guys actually win ! The trio led the team by example and outplayed the Heat when it mattered most and by securing the deciding game six victory 105-95 the Dallas Mavericks would secure the organization’s first NBA title . And for the victorious team owner Mark Cuban this had to be the most relishing moment in his tenure as the owner of the basketball club .
Perhaps the most heart warming moment after the Finals had ended was in knowing that seasoned veterans Jason Terry , Nowitzki and Jason Kidd could finally acknowledge that they can indeed now be looked upon as being champions .

Dirk Nowitzki justifiably so , was named Finals MVP with his stellar play throughout the postseason and the Finals itself . On the flip side of the case that will now be made ……….. was the hyperbole over the Heat simply worth it considering how lackluster this team’s performances were ? We had James and Wade mocking Nowitzki’s illness prior to game 6 and even if it were meant in jest it showed how lacking in class the duo were ! Pretty much sums up how best to describe a bunch of self absorbed athletes who simply believe that the entitlement mentality and adoration makes them the persons that they are ! From my own perspective I am thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the Heat being hoisted on their own petards in front of their home crowd . It makes that defeat all the more embarrassing not just for the fans but the whole organization as a whole . Perhaps after this James and Wade will have at least learned some civility rather than the odious behavior that they’d shown throughout much of the regular and postseason. The results matter but so too does the demeanor under which a team carries themselves during a sporting event and that simply wasn’t shown here with the Miami Heat. Decorum was never within their sphere as they simply strolled around without any deference to anyone at all !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Arthur Rhodes (53) of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(2) Delmon Young (21) of the Minnesota Twins singles against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Ben Revere (11) of the Minnesota Twins steals second base as shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) of the Texas Rangers catches the ball during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ………..

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins hits an RBI single while Mike Napoli (25) of the Texas Rangers defends home plate during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(5) Clarence Goodson (21) of Team United States celebrates his goal against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / J Meric ……..

(6) Jozy Altidore (17) of Team United States advances the ball against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America ….

(7) Team Panama celebrates their victory over Team United States during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images North America ……

(8) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban carries the NBA Championship basketball trophy as he leads the team off the jet after their arrival at Love Field in Dallas, Monday, June 13, 2011. The Mavericks beat the Heat to win the championship. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(9) “I am not a pussy . ” LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on dejected against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

(10) Tyson Chandler (right) of the Dallas Mavericks attempts a shot against Miami Heat in the Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / POOL / David J. Phillip ……

(11) TOPSHOTS : Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (R) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots before Chris Bosh(notes) (L) of the Miami Heat during Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT ….

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Who’s Minding The Store ………….. ?

Who’s Minding The Store ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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