Rarefied air and toxicity ….

Rarefied  air and toxicity
The sports’  world is all aghast and with good reason , we have seen the  New England Patriots reign supreme unmasking  the  Atlanta Falcons  as being something of a fraud, even if the   Superbowl  itself was an exciting game . What cannot be denied as evidenced with the coverage of this game,  was the very fact the Falcons  fell apart during the finals eight minutes of regulation play  before the contest went into overtime,  with New England prevailing for their    fifth win   of the Lombardi Trophy.

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The victory placed Patriots’ head coach  Bill Belichick    and the team’s quarterback    Tom Brady  in   rarefied air , as the only head coach and quarterback in NFL history with five  Superbowl rings to their names. The   NFL remains a year-round league in terms of the ongoing news’ stories to be found and it will be that way throughout much of the off-season as the league now has its free agency period, as well as the upcoming     NFL Draft . The New England Patriots will have the privilege of taking the   last pick     in the  first round    of the Draft, which is befitting the best team in the NFL. It will be interesting to see what comes out of this all Bill Belichick and his      coaching staff    seek to bolster the   current     roster     with a fresh crop of players to add to the Patriots’ arsenal. Break-out players for New England   during   the regular season were     James White  whose heroics in the Superbowl was there for everyone to see. As were the talents of White’s teammates ,who ably abetted Tom Brady as the quarterback would go on to win his fourth Superbowl MVP Award.

This off-season should prove to be interesting for the New England Patriots as well as the other teams around the NFL as they seek to bolster their respective rosters through, free agency , trades and the NFL Draft. It could all prove to be very fruitful for the Patriots based on their past experiences , especially over the last five seasons .

Kyle Shanahan has now become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers , succeeding Chip Kelly , whose firing along with that of GM Trent Baalke did not come as a great surprise to many. However, it was Baalke’s successor which might well have taken everyone off-guard, as team CEO Jed York made the formal announcement that Jon Lynch , former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ player would be hired for the position. Lynch has no NFL front office experience and with Shanahan now assembling his own staff, it will be extremely difficult to see how this franchise can be seen as being in a position to be competitive this upcoming season. This past season was one of sheer incompetence on the part of the coaching staff as well as the players , as the Forty Niners labored both on and off the field of play. Their record was reflective of that very fact with their being no signs of competitiveness at any point during the season. Colin Kaepernick was a mere shell of the player who guided the team to a Superbowl appearance less than five years ago. Kaepernick’s teammate Blaine Gabbert , whom Chip Kelly threw his weight behind as being the team’s starting quarterback at the start of 2016, was equally incompetent in the role. There is no doubt San Francisco will be looking to draft a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft or they will be seeking a free agent passer of proven ability .

Carson Palmer will be returning to the Arizona Cardinals for the 2017 regular season and during his five years with the franchise, Palmer’s leadership has come into question. Under Bruce Arians the Cardinals have become more resolute, but postseason success for this franchise has been lacking. One could seek to blame the veteran quarterback for this or place the blame elsewhere by placing it squarely on the shoulders of the front office , where GM Steve Keim leads the staff. Keim was a replacement to for Rod Graves , but whose tenure as the general manager for the Cardinals, saw highs and lows.

Having failed to make the postseason in 2016, the Arizona Cardinals will have to assess the roster and look at where the improvements will have to be made as to the makeup of this team. If there are deficiencies on the Cardinals then clearly, it starts with the secondary and the fact the defense showed how vulnerable it just happened to be. Larry Fitzgerald the veteran wide receiver on the playing staff, still seeks that elusive Superbowl ring and title as a player. Considered to be one of the best receivers in NFL history , it is hard to believe that during his career , Fitzgerald has never been able to play on the NFL’s biggest stage with an appearance in the “big game ” itself. It was rumored Larry Fitzgerald was considering retirement and were that to take place , then it would leave a considerable gap in the Cardinals’ lineup for next season. It is hard to envisage how the Arizona Cardinals would look without their veteran receiver on the roster, but with the league now being about the here and now , the window of opportunity for this team is now closing fast.

The Atlanta Falcons’ destruction of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game was as embarrassing for the team as it was for not only the NFL, but also for the fans watching. In spite of what Aaron Rodgers might now feel concerning the Packers, this team simply wasn’t prepared for the game. A great deal of the blame must lay squarely on the shoulders of Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff . Green Bay’s front office have already begun to take swift steps to shed players from the current roster , with the first casualties being veterans Sam Shields and James Stark . Yet , I do believe the pairing will not be the only ones to be let go during what is likely to be a turbulent off-season for the Packers !

Aaron Rodgers was among the NFL’s best quarterbacks during the regular season , but his performance and that of his teammates against the Atlanta Falcons left a great deal to be desired as the Green Bay Packers fell to the Falcons , losing by the score of 44-21 .

The fallout from the head coaching dismissals in the NFL was not much of a surprise , but I do believe many of the firings were warranted , as several of the head coaches in question, simply obfuscated their responsibilities , created a toxic atmosphere within their regimes, while also failing to acknowledge their own shortcomings.

Rex Ryan having been dismissed by the Buffalo Bills has continued to behave like a spoiled child whose pacifier was taken away from him , along with his rattle and assorted toys. The fact that he led the Bills into a deeper morass as the season progressed , simply showed that he was completely out of his depth and never capable of leading the players to any type of success envisaged by team owner Terry Pegula or the organization . Buffalo’s downward slide is likely to continue, as the team’s depth is sorely lacking at just about every position imaginable . Many of the players on the Buffalo Bills’ roster are likely to be gone during this off-season , as they seek to pare down their cap , creating enough cap space for some acquisitions beyond their likely draft choices.

Having seen a triumphant New England Patriots’ team win their fifth Superbowl , the fans of the Buffalo Bills can only admire their AFC East rivals from afar wondering what might have been.

Through unconfirmed sources, it is rumored Jeffrey Loria , erstwhile owner of the Miami Marlins reached an agreement to sell the South Florida based MLB franchise for $1.6 billion in what would prove to be the second largest sale of a ball-club in baseball history. Only the $2.156 billion paid by the consortium headed by Mark Walter , Todd Boehly and Earvin Magic Johnson , for the auction ( sale of then bankrupt) of the Los Angeles Dodgers , has there ever been a large sale or purchase of a professional baseball team. The purchasing consortium for the Marlins is made up several businessmen , but one name which comes up as part of the buying group is that of John Kushner , brother to Presidential adviser Jared Kushner , who just happens to be the son-in-law of Donald Trump . Now one can speculate as to whether or not there might well have some sort of White House influence concerning this impending sale remains to be seen, but given the ongoing incompetence shown the current Presidential administration and the idiocy of Trump’s own special adviser Kellyann Conway , it would be reasonable to assume , nothing as of now, would appear to be off-limits.

It should be noted there was no transparency seen when former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was seen consorting with several members of the Miami Dade County Government and the Miami City Council in the lead-up to both government entities taking a vote on whether or not Marlins Ballpark would be a publicly funded expenditure , when the stadium was built at the cost of over $600 million ,through a mixture of taxes , bond issues , which could end up costing both the city and county as much $3 billion , because of the structured financing of the project.

Only now have the chickens come home to roost , while Jeffrey Loria will walk away with a cool $1 billion in his pocket . There hasn’t been this sort of financial malevolence since Frank McCourt , former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers , who filed for bankruptcy protection of the ball-club in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from his wife. McCourt was said to have used the ball-club and several of its assets as part of several private business deals , all of which contravened the bye-laws of Major League Baseball , but not once did Bud Selig or any member of the league hierarchy seek to formally press charges or seek Frank McCourt’s removal as a franchise owner within baseball while this was all going on . It should be noted Selig and then MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner claimed that the Dodgers were a well-ran organization, with its finances meeting the league’s own stringent financial threshold . Clearly , without an audit having been conducted by MLB , this was all a big fat lie.

Jeffrey Loria presided over one of the two World Series’ triumphs by the Miami Marlins , but it has been several years since their last appearance in the MLB Postseason and during that time , little success has been evident for the organization. Managers have come and gone, as too have several famous players . Yet , some how in the midst of this all, Loria , David Samson and GM Michael Hill have pulled the wool over the eyes of the fans. Since the opening of the Marlins Ballpark and its inaugural game , the venue has never been filled to capacity for a home game. Subject to the MLB approval and the ratification by the owners , this proposed sale could be passed unanimously be the next meeting of the league hierarchy and team owners or with an emergency being called. This latest scenario could provide the MLBPA (Players’ Union) with all the ammunition they need to seek a major increase with regard to baseball’s next collective bargaining agreement (CBA) . Something I firmly believe the owners as well as the league hierarchy will want to negotiate from a position of power, rather than staring down the barrel of a sawn off shot-gun with the union firing their volley of shots across the bow of Major League Baseball.

For years as a team owner Jeffrey Loria plead poverty , but yet he in conjunction with Bud Selig, coerced local politicians to finance a deal so outlandish, it places both the city of Miami and Miami Dade County with a fiscal crisis , which many would determine was actually of their own making. Concessions will have to be sought from the new owners of the Miami Marlins that the team will not be relocated and that all agreements now in place will be adhered to. As to the competitiveness of the team in its present form , a great deal of this will be based on the managerial acumen shown by Don Mattingly and his managerial staff .

The death of Miami Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez shook this Marlins’ organization to its very roots, along with the fan-base of the ball-club. It will be hard to replace a player of Fernandez’s stature and popularity. His teammate , Giancarlo Stanton is expected to be the vocal leader of this team alongside seasoned veteran Ichiro Suzuki . While I believe the Miami Marlins to be a good team on paper , I do not expect them to be a legitimate contender within the NL East , much less a favorite for the NLCS Pennant or the World Series itself. There remains far too many flaws in this lineup and I believe Don Mattingly hasn’t proven himself to be a manager capable of winning the big games that really matter !

The Miami Marlins will begin their Spring Training Schedule with a game against the Houston Astros on March 1st at Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas , before embarking on their regular season schedule, where their Opening Day Game of the regular season will be against the Washington Nationals on the 3rd April , 2017.

There has to be something real troubling when a former player of an NBA franchise creates more excitement on a basketball court than the home team itself. This was the case when Charles Oakley was arrested and escorted away from his seat at a recent New York Knicks’ game in Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York . The Knicks were playing the Los Angeles Clippers in a home game against their Western Conference opponents . Oakley got into a verbal altercation with court-side staff and the former NBA star directly a profanity laced tirade against the employees. Knicks’ team owner James Dolan has since issued a statement , advising and informing Charles Oakley he is no longer welcomed to attend games at Madison Square Garden , with or without an apology from the former player.

Clearly, Charles Oakley’s behavior was unwarranted, but the banishment I believe was certainly an over reaction from the owner ! The employees were not physically assaulted by Charles Oakley and in the heat of the moment , his anger got the better of him as the situation got out of hand. Oakley’s reputation is well-known around the NBA and it has been chronicled thousands of times , as his play was a reflection of his image and persona , a bad boy, perhaps one of the toughest players in the league among his contemporaries. Just a pity that sort of grit and determination is not shown by the current crop of Knicks’ players. Their loss to the Clippers has been reflective of what is lacking in the team over the course of this season.

Next up for the New York Knicks will be a contest against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday afternoon and with New York having lost on Friday night in a game against the Denver Nuggets , I have to now ask myself are the Knicks one of the most incompetent teams in Eastern Conference other than Brooklyn Nets when it comes to facing opponents from the opposing conference ? I will continue to say this about Phil Jackson , he may well know how to win championships and to inspire championship caliber players , but when it comes to assembling a competitive roster , he simply knows nothing at all . It has been his ego all along , which has proven to be fallible and the entire reason why the New York Knicks will continue to be a rather mediocre team ! Jackson brings along his own toxic mess and utter stupidity , while his admirers look on from afar, lapping it all up as if it were perfection .

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What have been your most recent observations taking place within , the NFL , MLB and the NBA which have given you the cause for greatest concern ?


  Tophatal    …… 


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Feds watching ……………

Feds watching ……….

Well baseball`s season having been encompassed by an ongoing steroids` scandal that now even Bud Selig actually wants no part of , along with the executives who oversee the game, is now looking to wind down its regular season. After a schedule that began on the 31st March 2013 , we are now one hundred and twenty-nine games into the season , with a mere 33 games left before the schedule reaches its finality. Not all of the divisional races are completely known in terms of an outright winner , but it would appear that barring a major catastrophe the Atlanta Braves are likely to be the runaway winners of the NL East . Now not wanting to disparage the other contestants within the division but their challenge to the Braves this season , has bordered on being downright abysmal, if not insulting to the fans of the game.

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At 77-49 , the Atlanta Braves currently possess a fifteen game lead over their closest rival within the division , the Washington Nationals (62-62). With the Philadelphia Phillies having fired manager Charlie Manuel , who has subsequently been replaced by Ryne Sandberg as the ball-club`s interim manager until the end of the season. It remains to be seen, how the team will fare over the remainder of their schedule. Sandberg knows , that this well be the best chance to prove himself to GM Reuben Amaro and the ownership group , that he is a worthy successor to the deposed Manuel . As to the fact, that the team has performed so poorly, with a high-priced roster of overpaid stars , this off-season is likely to be a tumultuous one for this franchise and how they will seek to remedy the issues that have befallen the team. Certainly, Amaro will be looking to off-load a number of the free agents , who the staff will have deemed to be unproductive. In all likelihood , the front office will assess their farm system , promoting from within and pursue not so expensive free agent assignees.

The Phillies will face the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Ballpark, in Philadelphia on Thursday . That game itself, will pit Chad Bettis of the Rockies against the Phillies` Kyle Kendrick . For the Rockies this has been something of an unproductive season , where they are now languishing in third place within the NL West , behind the high-flying Los Angeles Dodgers , leaders of the division followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks .

Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves will take their talents on the road to face the St Louis Cardinals , who are in something of a dog-fight , as they seek to chase down the Pittsburgh Pirates within the NL Central , one of the surprise stories of this MLB season . . Taking the mound for the Braves will be Paul Maholm facing off against Joe Kelly of the Cardinals. This will be one of the more interesting pitching duels of the day within baseball . Atlanta faces something of a minor dilemma with the recent injury to Jason Heyward , with the player being struck on and suffering a broken jaw during a game against the New York Mets at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York. The cause for concern, beyond the player`s return to the team`s DL , was the very fact that in the lead-off spot for the Braves` offense. Heyward had been hitting .364 over his last eleven games for the team along with an on base percentage of .404 and a slugging percentage of .659 , with three home runs and five runs batted in. Yet, the player`s defensive ability was also one of the things that Fredi Gonzalez and his staff had come to rely on during that time-span. The Braves` manager is likely to platoon his playing staff to make up for the loss of Jason Heyward.

Beyond the itinerant stupidity, that we have already seen displayed by baseball`s hierarchy . Is it not enough that we now have to deal with the hypocrisy of the players themselves as it relates to issue steroid abuse within the game ? So much has been made of the recent incident during the game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees , where the Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster struck Yankees` third baseman Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. Yankees` manager Joe Girardi vented his anger, and was removed from the game by the officials . Dempster, was subsequently punished by the league drawing a fine and handed a five-game suspension . Call me naïve , but given the controversy surrounding Alex Rodriguez at present , baseball has just taken a step backwards in terms of its action against the pitcher . Albeit , that is being stated that Ryan Dempster has been at the forefront of players speaking out against the use of steroids within the game . To my mind, that has got to be the biggest crock of fecal matter within the game of baseball altogether , much like the idiocy of Matt Kemp`s rather childlike uttering , as it related to the now suspended Ryan Braun . The entire baseball fraternity of players, have remained silent for all too long , and only now are they voicing their displeasure , solely because of the fans` and public`s anger over the issue . As to Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz coming out in support of Rodriguez after Dempster`s actions during the game. Need we be reminded that Ortiz`s name was amongst the one-hundred and four players named in the now infamous `Mitchell Report` of players , who reportedly tested positive for a banned substance ? How soon we all forget , most notably David Ortiz, himself .

As the fourth placed New York Yankees of the AL East seeks to make inroads into the leads held by the Boston Red Sox , Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles ahead of them within the division. It is interesting to note, that beyond the off-field drama that concerns the team , and what is now said to be a lukewarm relationship between GM Brian Cashman and the team`s now unpopular third baseman , Alex Rodriguez . There have been few bright spots to the team`s season, and one of those occasions, came last night . Ichiro Suzuki would add to his already impressive resume` by record by claiming his 4,000 hit in baseball, and granted 1,278 of those hits were recorded playing in the Japanese League (JBL). Yet whichever way you look at it, it is still an astonishing feat by this MLB All Star . Twelve years into what has been one of the great careers in baseball by a Japanese born player , and for any player over the past decade. Ichiro has notched up some incredible feats. His 2722 hits, during his now storied MLB career, places him third amongst active players , only behind Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez , respectively. That figure also places him in fifty-ninth place among the career hits` leaders . Combined however, his 4,000 hits, would only be supplanted by Hall of Fame enshrined Ty Cobb and the . all-time career leader in that specific category , Pete Rose .

The game in which Ichiro Suzuki notched that historic 4,000 hit came against the struggling Toronto Blue Jays , with pitcher R A Dickey , being the player unlucky enough to be part of history . Alfonso Soriano broke open this showdown , but the night obviously belonged to Ichiro , as the team romped to a 4-2 victory over their slumping AL East rivals and further sending the Blue Jays` season into an abyss of sheer mediocrity , from which there now seems absolutely no escape .

New York, is now a mere ½ game behind the third placed Baltimore Orioles within the AL East, but their thoughts must now be firmly placed on the second placed Tampa Bay Rays , who hold a five game lead over the Bronx Bombers . A three game series between these two teams to be played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida, with the opening salvo taking place on Friday , is sure to be a raucous affair. This might be one of the few times this season where the Rays will actually have a sellout for all three days. And with all three scheduled games due to be televised nationally, this series does promise to be filled with fireworks, as well as undoubtedly , the Rays` fans looking to give Alex Rodriguez a less than salutary welcome at their venue. Taking the mound for the Rays on Friday will be their young pitcher Chris Archer who will face Yankees` starter Hiroki Kuroda . Pitching will be the key to this series , as well dependability from both offenses .

The season series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have been fairly close affairs this year, with Joe Maddon`s team holding a slight 7-6 edge in their meetings so far in 2013. There are three more scheduled contests between the two dueling divisional rivals that will take place take place during the final month of the regular season , from the 24th to 26th September at Yankee Stadium , in New York City , New York . There is no denying that Joe Girardi and his players know how important this series just happens to be , in spite of all of the off the field issues . Likewise , Joe Maddon , must feel that any kind of misstep that allows the New York Yankees to inch closer to the Rays in the divisional standings as well as the wildcard picture , places and even greater burden upon his team , whose recent record of late, has been a model of inconsistency .

For much of the Rays` season it has been James Loney leading the way , yet there have been some valued contributions from other players on the team . This off-season there is no doubt in my mind that once again for this troubled franchise , it will be a matter of cutting their expenditure to meet their needs . A patron of my site, who is an avid supporter of the Rays` organization points to the fact that the ball-club is a profitable entity. Yet what he continues to overlook is the very fact that the Tampa Bay Rays would not be a profitable concern, were it not for the fact the organization is continually reliant upon baseball`s hierarchy to provide them with an assist by way of the luxury tax. For GM Andrew Friedman , who as been able to work wonders on almost a shoestring budget in terms of the team payroll and being able to acquire players who have proven to be productive, gives credence to his acumen as one of the better general managers within Major League Baseball. I truly believe that both Friedman and manager Joe Maddon are the most valuable assets within the Rays` organization , bar none ! .

The recalcitrant shown by senior managing partner , Stuart Sternberg is now beginning to grow thin along with his continued whining and the most ridiculous of statements that can be attributed to him directly , Beyond knowing that he will never have the full support of Bud Selig, in aiding the franchise to obtaining a new ballpark . Fans in recent weeks have listened to Sternberg readily admit, that teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees having large payrolls , is actually good for the business of baseball . Now unless Stuart Sternberg has not been taking note as of late, at least one-quarter of the teams within the game continue to struggle from a financial standpoint , with many in a similar position if having to rely on the good graces of league to provide them with an assist to actually stay afloat . All this, from an individual, who is said to have made is fortune in the field of the commodities` market as a managing partner of a brokerage firm ?

I firmly believe that the vast majority of the owners within baseball are not completely in touch with reality, very much in a similar vein as Bud Selig remains in the dark , as to real issues that have brought down the game of baseball, where it has now become a complete laughing-stock for all of the wrong reasons ! If the commissioner now believes that his latest edict of instant replay to be initiated in 2014, is the best that he can now offer, while the issue of steroids within baseball runs amok at not only the Major League Level, but also remains a troubling issue in the Minors , then clearly , it is now time baseball`s Board of Governors to start considering their options for a noteworthy successor to the incumbent commissioner . It would be in their best interest to look completely outside of the game for someone with fresh and progressive ideas, rather than someone who is simply willing to tow the line of a group of owners, whose only concerns seems to be greed and offering the fans a somewhat mediocre on-field product .

While Bud Selig continues at large to run around like a headless chicken , it also troubling to note that once again , it has been left to the US Justice Department to try and rid the game of individuals such as Doctor Anthony Galea , Victor Conte and Anthony Bosch. Unfortunately, even after their eventual demise, be it through their imprisonment or simply being exposed as a fraud. There is likely to be someone else to take their place, with the MLB hierarchy simply sowing no vigilance as to the impending and growing dangers within their midst . Baseball has now become so damn incompetent , mirroring what we continue to witness each day with the federal government and their own incompetency, there. Feds watching and not much is really being done at the end of the day !

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(1) Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton , second from right, is congratulated by pitching coach Roger McDowell , left, and manager Fredi Gonzalez , second from left, as he is followed into the dugout by Paul Maholm , right, after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals would defeat the Braves 6-2 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(2) St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(3) Philadelphia Phillies’ Michael Young , left, is cheered by teammate Carlos Ruiz after making the game-winning run on a hit by Domonic Brown during the ninth inning of a baseball game to defeat the Colorado Rockies 5-4 , Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson ….

(4) The Philadelphia Phillies’ new manager, Ryne Sandberg, is greeted by Chase Utley, right, before the start of action against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Friday, August 16, 2013. RON CORTES, MCT ….

(5) New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki, of Japan, follows through on a single for his 4,000th career hit in Japan and the major leagues, during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(6) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez tosses his helmet after he was called out at first for the third out in the bottom of the fourth inning with two runners on-base in a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(7) FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2012 file photo, Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun speaks during a news conference at spring training baseball in Phoenix. Braun stood on a spring training field and proclaimed he was innocent of using banned testosterone. Braun has finally admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs during his NL MVP season of 2011 . The suspended Milwaukee slugger said in a statement released Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, by the Brewers that he took a cream and a lozenge containing banned substances while rehabilitating an injury. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong …

(8) BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 21: Adam Jones (10) of the Baltimore Orioles is greeted in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 21, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Orioles won, 4-2 . Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images …

(9) BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 21: Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) of the Tampa Bay Rays is relieved in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 21, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images …

(10) ST. PETERSBURG – AUGUST 13: Infielders (L – R) Yunel Escobar (11) and James Loney (21) of the Tampa Bay Rays relax during a pitching change against the Seattle Mariners during the game at Tropicana Field on August 13, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) From left to right, Tampa Bay Rays` managing partner Stuart Sternberg , Matthew Silverman , GM Andrew Friedman and the team`s manager Joe Maddon. The executives and manager were pictured at Tropicana Field in 2008, when the team won the AL pennant and were the league`s representatives in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies . They would subsequently lose the series in a lopsided fashion 4-1 . This off-season the managing partners will face some tough questions by way of the team`s payroll and whether or not to reduce or increase it, dependent upon the resources available . The organization still seeks help from Bud Selig`s office in seeking a new venue , and the commissioner has been reluctant to help the franchise. Further exacerbating the situation , has been Bud Selig`s repudiating remarks, calling the team`s owners unambitious and the local municipalities uncompromising . Courtesy of Tampa Bay Times/ Keith Connolly …..

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tophatal ………….. 08/22/2013

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2 Chainz … feat`g Pharrell ………. `Feds watching`

Dimmer and dumber …….

Dimmer and dumber

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of USA Today

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

By Bob Nightengale, USA Today

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

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

SUSPENDED: A-Rod and the dirty dozen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(2)
Corpsman carry a wounded Marine to a Chinook 46, April 7, 2004, as the number of U.S. Marines killed in a five-hour house firefight in Ramadi on Tuesday . Such conflicts between coalition forces and the enemy does bring a a high toll on both sides of a battle and during war . David Swanson/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT

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

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

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

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

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

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

(9) Houston Astros` owner Jim Crane , left is seen here with the team`s general manager Jeff Luhnow . The Astros are on pace to finish with the worst record in baseball for the second consecutive season , but could avoid that fate if they are able to surpass both the Chicago White and Miami Marlins . Getty Images North America / Johnathan Prescott …
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The sound you hear, is but the brief glimpse of baseball showing and still sowing the seeds of doubt ….

The sound you hear, is but the brief glimpse of baseball showing and still sowing the seeds of doubt

With the recent suspension of the Milwaukee Brewers` …. Ryan Braun . A great many fans within the blogging world, seem to be rejoicing and are of the opinion that baseball seems to be finally coming to its senses, with Commissioner Bud Selig supposedly leading the way. If only that were true at this juncture, because in essence, this agreement, wherein, Braun serves a sixty-five game suspension., means absolutely nothing ,as there was no admittance of guilt for any wrongdoing on his part by way his admitting to the use of a banned substance . Though, we are lead to believe by the MLB hierarchy , that this was in fact the primary reason behind the suspension.

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Ryan Braun`s agent and legal representative, Nev Balelo , worked in close conjunction with the league`s investigators and legal counsel to draw up this agreement as to his client`s suspension. As to any impending suspensions of the other players, known to be associated company founder, Anthony Bosch of Biogenesis . For now, it appears that baseball is now playing with its cards being kept firmly pressed against its chest.

From the very beginning, this situation was poorly handled by baseball`s hierarchy, and we were being given the impression that everything was closely being monitored by Bud Selig`s office and a number general managers and MLB team owners could not be trusted to carry out any kind of working options, that would prove to the public and fans alike, that baseball was in fact getting its act together. Truth be told, baseball takes its lead, by repeatedly tripping over its own feet , as it continues to look for ways to repair over a decade`s worth of damage done to its image and integrity .

This season I believe , will go down as one of the most infamous in recent history , tainted , without any real merit , and that is in spite of the stellar play we have all witnessed from many of the game`s emerging young stars . If last season could be described as the year, that Mike Trout broke unto the scene. Then this year, well at last the second quarter of the first half has been about the exploits of the Los Angeles Dodgers` young rookie sensation Yasiel Puig . Not to be outdone in the American League, there is the Baltimore Orioles` young phenom Manny Machado , a player who seems to be instinctive , with a natural flair for the game . Machado and Puig are likely to be this season`s Rookies of the Year from the respective leagues .

At a time, when baseball is trying to hang unto what remaining nobility, it has, it does not seem strange, that the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) remains as pompous and as sanctimonious as ever. An institution bereft of intelligence and integrity . Yet, somehow from within the bastion of what is an outmoded and archaic organization. The fans and public alike are meant to believe that they are the arbiters of sound judgment when it comes to adjudicating the most celebrated regular season awards . This being the very same institution that during the height of steroid era, simply, either turned a blind eye to wanton cheating , that was taking place within the game. Or their reporting of the events were clouded by their undoubted biases and downright stupidity. It may well be an annual rite of passage for the players to be named the AL and NL MVP . But in light of Ryan Braun winning the award in 2011, when it was known by the league hierarchy that the player was alleged to have failed a drug test and subject of an ongoing investigation . MLB`s leaders felt it prudent not to let the BBWAA know of its findings, and therefore the Brewers` slugger was denoted as the NL MVP recipient for that year .

A full two years after of Braun being awarded the trophy. Second place finisher, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers has voiced his concerns and believes that the Brewers player`s name should be stricken from the records as the 2011 NL MVP. I am inclined to ask at this juncture , does Kemp now feel that he should now be named the recipient of the award ? If Kemp, can now voice his disapproval of Ryan Braun at this moment in time, then why no contempt or criticism of former teammate, and fellow slugger Manny Ramirez ? A two-time violator of the league`s steroid policy, Ramirez never served the mandatory one hundred game suspension mandated by MLB. In fact, upon being notified of the league`s findings at the time , the player immediately announced his retirement from the game . Only to return, first playing in the Far East , then recently signing a Minor League deal with an affiliate of the Texas Rangers . GM Jon Daniels of the Rangers believes the player to be a good fit for the organization and that he will be of benefit to the organization and their postseason ambitions.

For Ramirez, his sojourn in the Minors for the Rangers has been somewhat understated , as he no doubt seeks a call up by the coaching staff at some point in the Rangers` future schedule . When there is said to be this much hypocrisy within the game from some its most high-profiled players , how can anyone take them seriously , much less the game itself ? Never mind that we also have the continued apathy amongst many of the on air radio and television personalities who cover the game of baseball. Not to be left out of this, are the ever endearing anal retentive fans, who one minute call for changes to be made, but somehow cannot be succinct enough to explain the type of changes that they would like to see made within baseball as a whole .

Courtesy of ESPN & Associated Press

Kemp: Ryan Braun should lose MVP

TORONTO — Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who finished runner-up to Ryan Braun in voting for the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award, thinks the suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger should be stripped of the honor.

Braun finished with 388 points and 20 first-place votes, to 332 and 10 for Kemp. Major League Baseball attempted to suspend Braun following a positive test that October for elevated testosterone, but the penalty was overturned by an arbitrator who ruled Braun’s urine sample was handled improperly.

Braun agreed Monday to a 65-game suspension for unspecified violations of baseball’s drug rules and labor contract.

Asked Tuesday whether the award should be taken away from Braun, Kemp responded: “I mean, yeah, I do,” pausing and adding, “I feel like it should be, but that’s not for me to decide, you know?”

Kemp said people feel “betrayed” by Braun.

“I’m disappointed,” Kemp said. “I talked to Braun before any of this happened, we had conversations and I considered him a friend. I don’t think anybody likes to be lied to and I feel like a lot of people have felt betrayed. That’s not just me, that’s the whole Brewers organization, a lot of his teammates. I think a lot of people feel that way.”

Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, said the award vote was final.

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Bud Selig for his part , has tip-toed around the issue of this latest fiasco and the apparent stupidity of his office in paying for documentation from the offices of Biogenesis , suggests to me, that he is taking advice of any kind from a litany of like-minded buffoons . It begs the question, can he in all good conscience, believe that a number of the cases he will present against suspected players , can proceed ahead with any real veracity , if in fact a player seeks to challenge the league`s authority and how they went about collecting a great deal of the information now said to be in their possession ?

From my own perspective, Matt Kemp may well believe that he is saying all of the right things , and that if anything , he feels it is something the fans and in general, as well as the public, are likely to agree with his sentiments. As I alluded to earlier, if his criticism of Ryan Bran can be so concise, then why no criticism of Manny Ramirez ? Baseball`s code of silence amongst its players, is no different from that of the Thin Blue Line line of law enforcement and their police officers . You do not `rat ` on your buddies , and you do not level acute criticism of them either . What comes next, after this saga and the apparent friendship between these two prolific players, remains to be seen .

If things cannot get any worse for the New York Yankees (54-48) , then what is now said to be taking place off the field of play for the AL East , fourth placed team , has all the makings of a bad dramatic episode now going hideously wrong . Derek Jeter remains sidelined and the team`s highest paid player , Alex Rodriguez , remains the scourge of the game as well their being a heated , and now some might deem it to be an irreparably damaged relationship between the player and team GM Brian Cashman .

Rodriguez , hoping to finally to come off the team DL , was placed back on that list after it was revealed that he had a slight quadriceps tear . Not so , says the third baseman , revealing that he was ready to play and to contribute in any way that he can to aid the team . Somehow , this might not be the what Rodriguez had envisaged for himself tis season . Yet in light of the fact that his name is the most recognized of those players associated with the Biogenesis scandal. Either Brian Cashman and his fellow executives are looking for either a graceful way to push the player out of the door , or they may well seek a legal recourse to actually send him packing, if Bud Selig is unable to summarily do so, with a long-term suspension . Over the past eighteen months Alex Rodriguez has proven to be more of a thorn in the side of the Yankees` organization than he has been of an asset to the ball-club .

With the Yankees having now acquired their former outfielder Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash for right-handed pitcher Corey Black . This could prove to be a harbinger of things to come as it relates to Alex Rodriguez`s immediate and long-term future. Soriano, keen to reassert himself as one of the game`s most prolific and hitters and productive players , had several enjoyable seasons with the Yankees` organization before being traded to the Texas Rangers in February , 2004 , in a trade that would send Alex Rodriguez New York bound . Now having come full circle, the two players will now reunite as teammates , but for how long ?

Earlier in the season Lonn A Trost , CEO & Chief Legal Counsel to the New York Yankees spoke with Brian Cashman as well as with senior members of the Steinbrenner family about the possibility of voiding the four remaining years left on Alex Rodriguez`s contract. The player is owed $104 million , and it was recently noted that he had in fact taken out an insurance policy to indemnify against himself against future loss, in terms of earnings. As to whether or not this constitutes and covers the possibility of his being suspended and how such a claim would be met , without any details being made public . It is hard to envisage how a claim would be honored by an underwriting insurance company. The decision was made to proceed ahead, with Rodriguez still under contract and a member of the Yankees` roster .

On the field of play, the Yankees have been struggling, losers of six of their last ten games and they are now 6 ½ games out of a seeding, for an AL wildcard berth. Too soon to count them out ? Well dependent upon who you might well be listening to . There are those , who believe that the AL East is still up for grabs . While the naysayers, are of the opinion that an aging roster , injuries and inconsistent pitching have been the main reasons for the New York Yankees` woes this season . I believe it is all of the above , along with this constant idiotic belief that they can simply spend their way out of trouble . I guess a burgeoning $235 million plus payroll can at times paint a rosy picture , no matter how dire a situation might be .

A three-game home series against the divisional rivals the red hot Tampa Bay Rays(60-42) , starting on Friday , will pit CC Sabathia against the Rays` Jeremy Hellickson , and could go a long way in telling us whether or not New York has the grit to tough it out and make a fight of the remainder of this season . Anything sort of a series` win against the Rays , and it could very well spell the beginning of the end for the ball-club for the season .

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From your own perspective, are you disappointed in the way tat the baseball hierarchy has dealt with this latest scandal (Biogenesis) ? And what are your opinions concerning Matt Kemp`s disapproval of Ryan Braun being allowed to keep is 2011 NL MVP Award ? Do bear in mind, that the Los Angeles` Dodgers` player did not voice is concerns with regard to Manny Ramirez . Finally, your thoughts on the latest drama concerning the always controversial Alex Rodriguez ? Chime in with your comments , as you see fit .

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(1) Matt Kemp , left , of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen here with Ryan Braun prior to a Spring Training during game against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday, March 30, 2012 at Camelback Ranch-Glendale in Phoenix, Arizona .Kemp has been critical of Ryan Braun and the fact that the 2011 NL MVP award winner remains recognized as the recipient of the award for which the Baseball Writers Association of America have stated that the result will stand . © Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers 2012 …

(2) Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen here signing autographs for the Dodgers` fans . The player has simply been sensational this season for the team , which has seen the ball club rise to second place within the NL West . Much of the credit goes to Puig and his offense as well as times, some sensational defensive plays . Getty Images /Mark Strong …

(3) Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles , has been one of the primary reasons that the third placed Orioles have been in contention within the AL East for much of the season ,albeit that teammate Chris Davis has received the bulk of the team`s headlines for much of the season . Machado is amongst the top offensive players in the AL leading , the league in doubles . AP Photo / Phil Kelly …………..

(4) New York Yankees` GM Brian Cashman , left, is seen here with Alex Rodriguez , as the player answers questions posed by the convened press at the Yankees` headquarters, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida . Rodriguez was answering questions concerning his then use of anabolic steroids dating back to his playing days between 2001- 04 _______ then playing for the Texas Rangers . A strained relationship between Cashman and the Yankees` third baseman has now cast a great deal of uncertainty over Rodriguez`s future with the New York Yankees` organization. NOAH K. MONROE / THE STAR-LEDGER @ copyrighted material all rights reserved .

(5) Former New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers` manager Joe Torre , now a SVP of MLB Operations, is widely considered to be one of the leading candidates alongside , Rob Manfred to succeed Bud Selig as the next MLB Commissioner . Selig is due to step down as commissioner , as early as February of 2014, when his current contract is due to expire . After a two-decade long career as baseball`s highest ranking executive , Selig`s sometimes confrontational and unconventional style of leadership , has as become the antithesis of what is now needed within the game , in its upper echelons of leadership and management . NY Times/ Jorge Vargas ……

(6) A sense of foreboding as words uttered concerning Ryan Braun by Bud Selig, came back to haunt him . Getty Images North America /Rick Carlson ….

(7) Bud Selig foreground, stands at the dais as he formally makes the announcement that the 2013 MLB All Star Game will be held at Citi-Field , home to the New York Mets , in Flushing, New York . Also pictured are second from the left New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mets` senior managing partner and co-owner Fred Wilpon . AP Photo / Rajiv Singh …..

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tophatal …………… 07/27/2013

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Struggling for the truth or what we perceive to be the truth. Are you not amused?

Struggling for the truth or what we perceive to be the truth .Are you not amused?

In spite of the latest outrage in baseball it is plain to see that the average baseball fan as simply been blasé` as it relates to the use of PEDs within sports . They take umbrage at that , show their disdain, but yet when twenty- four lives are tragically taken in an act of violence perpetrated by a cold-blooded monster . Instead of outrage , we have the idiocy of politicians stating that the government is seeking tread on the rights of the individual , as well as their Second Amendment Rights. What I would like to know is , since when where the rights of twenty-four children all aged under ten less pertinent than that of anyone , much less the damn idiot who seemingly gunned them down in a school classroom and in the hallway of an educational establishment in New-town, Connecticut ? Yet, this is the sort of apathy, that the nation is confronted with , as it repeatedly goes from one damn crisis to the next . And repeatedly those incidents are either self-inflicted or one where no due diligence has been used .

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Slideshow .

MLB`s hierarchy is now off on another idiotic attempt to go after a group of twenty or more players , after evidence purportedly shows that these players knowingly bought banned substances for their own personal use . My bone of contention as always, during Bud Selig`s farcical reign as commissioner , has been his wanton ignorance and stupidity . Placed in a position of power, simply as a lap dog for these idiotic MLB team owners , Selig has been richly rewarded to the tune of $25 million in annual compensation in 2012 , without having left a real indelible mark on the game, in terms of progress . And for the lame brained fans out there, who seek to use the introduction of the wildcard as a plausible instance , take note that its introduction was simply done as a way of adding an extra revenue pie slice , to what is now an already diminishing brand, by way of its falling viewership on television . With that in mind, all of the criticism now being leveled at Anthony Bosch and his company Biogenesis , while warranted . Let us not forget , those leveling much of that criticism, were the same damn idiots trying to paint Victor Conte and BALCO , as simply being a company meeting situation of supply and demand . How quickly, one seems to forget the BALCO Affair and the names associated and embroiled in that drama , as it unfolded.

Among the players now named in this latest edition of the “Spanish Inquisition“ , Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are the most prominent names mentioned , along with Melky Cabrera and New York Yankees` catcher Francisco Cervelli . The fact that the US Justice Department along with MLB are part of this ongoing investigation cannot be stressed enough, and wherein the league itself in spite of the insistence that it now has the toughest guidelines. as to its testing protocols. It has now become abundantly clear that Bud Selig and Major League Baseball are no closer to catching the cheaters and punishing them with impunity, than a child would be in grasping a rainbow . Consider the fact that in the last thirty months, in excess of 185 players within the game have tested positive at all levels within the game for a banned substance , with the majority of the players being caught , are playing at the Minor League Level . If it is now widespread at the lower levels within baseball, then one can now see that the malignancy of cheating within the game , is now more widespread than even baseball , the public and the odious members of the press would care to acknowledge .

Personally , I find the idiocy of Bud Selig and is own demeanor in all of this , as being one of the primary reasons baseball is now playing catch-up in this whole asinine spectacle ! And it has become abundantly clear that with no disapproving voice from any major team owner , much less a prominent player within the game , current or former . It begs the question why this outrage , after all of te damn apathy , when the fans were simply exalting the feats of Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire ? Are they that naive and that damn asinine ? Furthermore , asking for accountability from anyone within te game , most of from Bud Selig , is akin to asking Sarah Palin er preference on whom she would like to see as the current occupant , residing in the White House . Palin, herself , is simply devoid of intelligence as are the most prominent members of baseball`s hierarchy along with the vast majority of team owners !

The sport of baseball either cannot police itself or it simply chooses not to, unless there happens to be some sort of public outrage , which at best, is simply laughable, if not minimal . And let us not forget, that there has been the complete apathy of the fans and their ongoing damn stupidity. This country as it is has a fucking pandemic in terms of an ongoing drug problem, without idiots , professing the fact that they simply don`t care what the players are using or taking , just as long as they are entertained by their feats of allegedly gargantuan and Herculean efforts on a baseball diamond. Well if that is the case, then why stop dope dealers from pedaling their narcotics outside schools , because if the claims are to be believed . Wouldn’t those kids also profit from the use of meth-amphetamines as well crack cocaine or anabolic steroids? This once again shows the damn stupidity and naiveté of the public at large and their simple ongoing apathy.

Bud Selig and the members of the league hierarchy will now be left with number of far-reaching decisions by way of the length of any suspension to be rendered , the possible fallout from this all , and the very fact that the MLBPA (Players` Union) have already stressed that they will seek to protect the rights of their members and defer any penalties that they believe to be draconian , by taking legal recourse . So let`s get this straight , the players union, who fought tooth and nail against any type of testing , only to acquiesce to MLB , in order obtain financial concessions from the league hierarchy in their last collective bargaining agreement , will once again seek to returning to its ways of old ? So from a dick-head in their former leader , Donald Fehr , they have now turned over the reins of leadership to an even bigger fu#king dick- head in Michael Weiner ? Same old baseball, where things may look as if they have changed , when in fact , they have not ! Leading the charge as always, are the players , owners and Bud Selig, who if anything, are simply too fu#king stupid for their own good.

If the Justice Department is now being called upon to prosecute with impunity of this latest idiocy within baseball. Then I for one, would like to see how they will seek to go about, in presenting the public`s case against the defendants . Well, it is not as if Eric Holders` office has really shown a propensity to truly go after a criminal or criminals in the true sense of the word . Plea agreements , in order to insure the incarceration of a defendant in what the majority of the time tends to be something of farce, as the prosecution to pad their statistics with that long sought victory. The US Attorney General is now trying to fend off calls for is removal from office , as the nation`s highest-ranking law enforcement officer . Questions have arisen not only about Eric Holder`s conduct in office , but also the fact that he has lied to Congress repeatedly, while being questioned by a congressional committee . All of this, while he is being protected, by his bumbling and selfless Commander-In-Chief, Barack Obama . Truly , a delight and sight , in watching these two buffoons run rings around Congress , while trampling upon on the rights of the electorate as well trying redefine what the US Constitution and Bill of Rights is said to represent .

It has truly been a delight this season to watch the respective seasons of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets continue to spiral out of control. For managers Don Mattingly and Terry Collins , this may well be the very last chance they will be given to prove themselves in their current positions. . Collins` Mets are simply bereft of talent and real leadership from anyone on the team`s roster and that includes the much heralded David Wright , who to my mind is simply overrated , and an individual who is playing on a goddamn awful team . I was once told by a patron of this site that this team is just a few meaningful pieces from being a legitimate contender within the NL (National League) . Based upon what I have seen from the players this season , they are as far off from being a contender as it would be desirable to witness Rosie O`Donnell participating in a sex scene for a pornographic movie . I would preface this by saying , it is not very often that you see a Mets` fan trying to show a modicum of intelligence , if any at all ! Suffice to say , finding a New York Mets` fan with an IQ above 100 , is akin to suggesting that you have never heard a member of Congress utter something stupid on air a sound bite , during an interview .

Mattingly`s position with Los Angeles, remains just as dire , and in having a star-studded team , even if it , has been felled by a litany of injuries . No excuses can be made for the Dodgers` poor showing throughout much of the season . . It is hard to offer an explanation how the Los Angeles Dodgers might extricate themselves from such a mess . Especially in a case, w here GM Ned Colletti , under the auspices of team President Stan Kasten have gone about spending money on this current roster , very much in a way that a drunken sailor on furlough might go about spending money on hookers in the Red Light districts of Amsterdam , or Phuket , Thailand .

The New York Mets currently , sit seven games ahead of the equally abysmal , and last placed Miami Marlins (18-44) , whose front office must now be pondering if the mediocrity shown last season , is about to be revisited once again in 2013. The NL East is likely to become a two –horse race between the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals , with both the Marlins and Mets remaining on the outside looking in . And now for Terry Collins` players , now is truly the time for them to prove their worth after hapless start to the season , with the manager not having much faith in any of his front-line players . Coming off an 8-4 home game loss to the Marlins , New York now faces tough three game series against a very good St Louis Cardinals team . And I get the impression , as just like in their previous meetings , this series is likely to be another lopsided affair ! On the mound for Tuesday`s series opener will be Michael Wacha of the Cardinals against the Mets` Jeremy Hefner .

When your team`s payroll is said to be well into six-figures and simply adding to it another $19 million with a high-point of $26 million as part of a six-year deal to a temperamental pitcher , is seen by the ball-club`s owners as a necessity . Then you simply know that , there does not seem to be any rhyme or reasoning behind the Los Angeles Dodgers at present . Lead managing partner , Mark Walter , along with Todd S Boehly and Magic Johnson , have categorically stated, that their intent is to win at whatever the cost . From a financial standpoint , that will never be an obstruction to the owners` ambitions. But am I beginning to wonder in light of team`s on an off the field issues this season , is any of their apparent logic , all that sound ? For Zack Greinke , he must surely have believed that Christmas has come early in 2013 .

At 27-35 , firmly rooted at the bottom of the NL West standings , it would be fair to suggest that the Dodgers are present are far from being a team that could be looked upon as a cohesive unit . Their pitching has become atrocious and the offense could be, best described as being anemic . Mattingly and hitting coach , Mark McGwire have been unable to stem the tide of ineptitude shown by the Dodgers` bats , one through nine . All pleasantries asides , if the Dodgers are not able to mount any type of an assault on this season before the All Star Break , then they might as well curtail any thoughts they might have towards a playoff berth as an NL representative this postseason .

An upcoming three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks , starting today , should give us enough of an indicator as to whether or not this Dodgers` team has enough of what it takes to derail the ambitions of a divisional rival who has been one of the surprise teams among the National League this season .

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Picture gallery .

Of the salient points within this piece , what if anything do you agree with or disagree with ? State your reasons, and whatever else you believe is pertinent to the subject matter in question . Thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

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(1) New York Mets` manager , Terry Collins and his staff are having a disastrous sojourn during the 2013 season with no respite in sight . GM Sandy Alderson may well be forced to relieve Collins of is managerial duties by season`s end. AP Photo / Mark Gilchrist …

(2) Storm clouds ahead for bot Dodgers` manager Don Mattingly , left, and hitting instructor Mark McGwire , as the Dodgers find themselves in last place within the NL West and far off the pace in terms of an NL wildcard berth . Getty Images North America/ Paul Randall ……

(3) MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is seen here with baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson at an MLB game played at Yankees Stadium . The commissioner seems to be nonplussed by the fact tat another steroid scandal has once again caught the MLB hierarchy asleep at the wheel . NY Daily News /AP Photo/ Mark Puig ….

(4) Attorney General Eric Holder is questioned about the Justice Department secretly obtaining two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press, during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. In what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion,” the Justice Department monitored outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. There have been calls made by Democrats as well as Republicans for older to be removed from his position as the nation`s highest ranking law enforcement official . The Justice Department will also ave to come to a decision as whether or not to prosecute Antony Bosch , founder of the Miami based supplements` company Biogenesis . Bosch has been arraigned and indicted but as part of a plea agreement , he has supplied the Justice Department and the MLB hierarchy with a list of names of players he supplied with anabolic steroids as well as other banned substances . And though we are led to believe that only twenty four players are said to be involved in this latest scandal , Bosch insists that this all runs deeper and that there are at least dozens of other MLB stars embroiled in this scandal , many whose names have not been made public . AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite …..

(5) Pedro Gomez , left of ESPN is seen here conducting an interview with Anthony Bosch , founder of the Miami based supplements` company Biogenesis , center of the latest scandal that as embroiled the game of baseball and which has shown the league hierarchy to be completely incompetent and devoid of intelligence . Courtesy of ESPN all rights reserved copyrighted material …

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tophatal ……… 06/10/2013

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB team injuries

MLB transactions

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB results 9th June 2013

MLB schedule 10th June

MLB probable starting pitchers (Monday 10th June)

This week in MLB history

This day in MLB history

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Los Angeles Dodgers` news

New York Mets news

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Elisha Cuthbert and Mila Kunis (right)

All good things must come to an end, and they will, at some point !

All good things must come to an end, and they will, at some point !

This baseball season will have an inevitability about it , but perhaps none more so than when Mariano Rivera takes the mound for the final time of his illustrious career . Granted , there remains the common belief that the team in its current guise can make it to the World Series , while seeking to win that title for an unprecedented twenty-eighth time in the New York Yankees’ history . Team owners , Hank , Hal Steinbrenner and their younger female sibling , Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindahl have sworn to carry on their late father’s legacy , which was one of steady and unprecedented success , while seeing the economic growth of the ball club seemingly increase exponentially at an impressive rate .

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Brian Cashman as the general manager of the Yankees , remains under a great deal of pressure to succeed , as the heightened expectations have always been there , ever since he ascended to his current position within the franchise’s hierarchy . The late George Steinbrenner III , whose death saddened baseball’s fraternity , remains a constant reminder of his striving for success.

Joe Girardi and the team’s coaching staff have seen this team struggle while still remaining somewhat competitive within the AL East this season . With a mark of 15-10 , good enough for second place within the division , the ball-club sits three games behind the Boston Red Sox (18-7) . With their being a growing concern over the team’s pitching , it will be left to Mariano Rivera , CC Sabathia , Andy Pettite and Hideki Kuroda to spearhead the pitching staff , which remains one of the weakest within the AL and the league altogether . With that in mind , it should be noted with a litany of injuries , Joe Girardi knows that he can no longer afford to have any more shortfalls with regard to the health of his roster .

The New York Yankees are now severely challenged in terms of run productivity , albeit, that Robinson Cano remains the lone constant and the team’s best player . A more telling issue might well be the fact that the Yankees’ most recent game , which ended in a 9-1 loss to the Houston Astros played at Yankees Stadium , in New York City ,New York on Monday afternoon . If nothing else , it would suggest that this team remains far off from where it needs to be if it is to make a serious challenge in taking on the might of the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays .

The Yankees will host the Houston Astros and Bo Porter’s struggling team , two more times as part of a three-game series . It must be said , as the New York Yankees proceed over the course of their season , I do believe that they will continue struggle throughout their schedule . While Brian Cashman spares no expense in assembling a roster , it does seem ludicrous that in spite of the claims that Hal Steinbrenner sought to pare down the team’s payroll , instead it has increased back above $215 million for the 2013 season . And while this is nothing new for a franchise whose estimated value is estimated is in excess of $1.8 billion , with their being added resources available , via the team’s wholly owned cable sports’ programming outlet the YES Network Inc . It does beg the question, at what point will the ball club cease to be merely reliant upon the premise of being built upon , solely existing , because of their financial excesses , rather than building organically from within , in terms their competitive presence . It certainly has been a long time , during which one could point to the fact that the franchise could point to having produced a prominent and perennial All Star over the past decade.

If Mariano Rivera, is said to be, in the twilight of his career , it should be noted that Derek Jeter , the Yankees’ third baseman , who is still recuperating, while on the DL. Jeter yearns to be part of the present roster , but with the team’s orthopedic specialist noting that the player still has a cracked bone in his right foot , that still has yet to heal . There is no foreseeable situation, that indicates that Jeter’s return will be imminent, with the player making a contribution to the team.

With Jeter sidelined , questions also, still remain as to the well-being also of Alex Rodriguez, and his name now being associated company founder, Anthony Bosch and his South Florida based medical supplements’ company Biogenesis Inc . Bosch and where his company is at present, under investigation by the US Justice Department , after the revelations that Biogenesis supplied several prominent Major League players with PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) A denial, categorically and wholeheartedly denied by the company’s founder , Anthony Bosch. In his first public interview, with ESPN’s …. Pedro Gomez , Bosch was noncommittal in several answers concerning the claims and allegations , and with regard to the documents now said to be in the Justice Department’s possession , documenting the sale and distribution of the illicit substances in question .

Rodriguez , along with 2011 NL MVP , Ryan Braun have denied their association with Bosch’s company , albeit that Braun’s agent , Nez Balelo has issued a public statement on his client’s behalf, stating that Ryan Braun was merely a paid consultant for the company , in his role as an endorser of one of the company’s various supplement products. However, Anthony Bosch, when questioned by Pedro Gomez directly on the claims made by Balelo , they were immediately unanswered , with the company founder stating that Braun was not a paid endorser for any of his company’s products . It now begs the question, will Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy simply still sit around with his fingers stuck in their rectum, while the game of baseball is further tainted by the misdeed and ill-gotten gains of the steroid cheaters within the game ? It is not as if Selig has front and center in his handling with the whole steroid debacle to begin with ! Never mind the simple-minded idiocy and complete denial shown in the legitimate circles of journalism that was said to be covering the sport . It should also be noted, that for many of the ass rendering purists within the game, who still live in a bygone era , who believe that the game still has a purity and character, when nothing could be further from the truth !

If there is one thing that is a certainty with the season still in its infancy , it is that both the Miami Marlins and New York Mets remain a goddamn mess from a competitive and economic standpoint , and that is with due compliment to the genuine Mets’ fans out there , who are of the belief that because the ball club was a afforded financial backing from several prominent Wall Street financial institutions , that simply creates a “stay of execution” for a franchise that has been mismanaged thrown to the wolves by the team’s ownership group headed by Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz. Even with the alleged acumen of Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi , it is now becoming clear that the Mets remain a work in progress , and that is in the aftermath of the idiocy shown by Alderson in giving David Wright an exorbitant and outrageous contract that now places a stranglehold on the franchise’s growth. As productive as Wright is said to be , without their being any semblance of competitive spirit and play from anyone else on the roster beyond Lucas Duda , there is simply nothing at all that would suggest that the Mets have the wherewithal to compete with the likes of the Atlanta Braves or the Washington Nationals over the course of this season .

The Mets are currently playing .435 borne out with a 10-13 mark as of the 29th April , ranking the ball club in the lower half of the NL and MLB as a whole. Surely , something good can come out of this season for the franchise beyond the continued mediocrity we have witnessed over the past six seasons with this organization .

Mets’ manager Terry Collins and his coaching staff will have a great deal to prove, as I believe that Collins’ tenure could very well be short-lived if he is unable to guide this team to at least a winning season ! Anything short of that and the front office will have to act aggressively , by bringing in a manager with wholly different attitude and a background of proven success . I don’t believe that claim can be made with regard to Collins’ managerial experience and resume`.

If the New York Mets’ season in 2012 could be a described as unabated disaster , then the Miami Marlins’ year was simply a mess , with the front office , managerial staff led by Ozzie Guillen , simply clueless as to what was needed to create a winning formulae for success. Less we forget also , through a great deal of connivance by team owner Jeffrey Loria and with the intervention and collusion of Bud Selig , the city of Miami now finds itself the subject of federal investigation. And with that ongoing investigation being conducted by the Criminal Division of the US Justice Department , this could have some serious repercussions and ramifications for the city of Miami , and in particular for the game of baseball, and how the sport conducts its business and specifically the actions of the team owners .

The city of Miami remains under investigation by the federal government after the allegations were made that city commission members may well have been paid to change their vote , on the financing bill, that became the source the building of the 34,500 seated Miami Marlins Ballpark , built at the cost of an estimated $600 million , which is being completely funded with public financing . And with the Justice Department, having subpoenaed documents in the city’s possession, as evidence, that they believe will assist in the building of their case. From my own standpoint , I believe that far too often , city and state politicians would rather fall in line and side with sports’ hierarchies , rather than doing what is in the best interests of their constituents and residents . Bud Selig has been reluctant to speak openly on the matter of the Marlins’ Ballpark , and the ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile , Jeffrey Loria , and senior executives from the Marlins’ hierarchy have been reluctant to speak publicly on the matter , citing the ongoing actions of the US Justice Department . It begs the question , what and when will Bud Selig show that there is transparency to be found as to how the league conducts its everyday business ? Repeatedly , I read fans continually complaining about their being overtaxed, but I have yet to read of any complaints wherein , the fans are actually calling for Selig and the team owners being taken to task and that of cities where the teams reside , and the fact that there remains a gross misuse of public funds . Personally, I don’t believe the fans intelligent enough to fully comprehend what is going on within their midst ! And nowhere is that more evident than with the continued idiocy being shown by the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays , calling for the building of a new stadium to house the two decade old franchise .

When subjected to the questions as to where the funding for such an endeavor should come from the fans and media within the local area , clearly cannot give a definitive answer as to how the financing should be realized . With the cities of St Petersburg and Tampa , as well as the state having their ongoing budgetary woes , it is clear that the fans are at a loss to give succinct and logical explanation , as to how the financing would be in place for the building of a new venue.

Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg continually complains , giving numerous reasons as to why new stadium is needed for his ball club , but yet the owner has been completely noncommittal in stating , that he would in part fund such an endeavor from his own personal fortune . Yet the anal retentive fans of the Rays , and the local media show their complete stupidity and lack understanding of the underlying economic realities . That should really come as no surprise given the complete lack overall understanding of the fans , ingenuity and leadership at all levels within the state’s political hierarchy. The state of Florida remains locked in a fucking time warp , which is still embedded, in the era of the sixties and seventies . Doubt my word ? Then simply consider the actions of the state’s unpopular and much ridiculed governor , Republican Rick Scott , and it should be noted that the Democratic Party within the state , remains a complete oddity , and a mirror image that we continue to witness at the national level for both of the political parties in question. Both are aimlessly heading nowhere , without a sense of urgency or an understanding concerning the economic woes of the country . Likewise the same thing remains a constant within the game of baseball , which is mirrored by the financial woes of several teams around the league .

The AL Central once again , looks like a division that will be highly contested but I do believe that it remains the Detroit Tigers’ to lose ! Granted, we repeatedly here that the Kansas City Royals will be a team to be reckoned with , and will play their part in competitive season and divisional race. Yet consider the fact , that, this organization as been one of the most mismanaged and incompetent franchises in all of baseball over the last decade . One would have to be either increasingly optimistic in seeing this team currently ascend to the top of the AL , while remaining competitive enough to be seen as a legitimate contender for the World Series . Ned Yost and his staff have been given the reins to guide this team over the course of the season . And while Yost can relish in the fact that his pitching staff has been bolstered by the addition of James Shields and Wade Davis , it might not prove to be enough to get the franchise where they desire to be .The Kansas City Royals are in the midst of a series against Tampa Bay Rays , with the two teams meeting tonight at Kauffman Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri , for a night game .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Your thoughts at present on the state of play within baseball ? Also what opinions do you have on the league’s current situation as it relates to the South Florida based medical supplements’ company Biogenesis ? Do you believe that the league hierarchy should carry out their own investigation or simply leave it once again in the hands of the federal government to deal with the matter ? By all means do take time to chime in with a comment as you see fit .

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Tophatal ….. 04/30/2012

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Houston Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez (30) fields New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki’s fifth-inning infield single in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(2) New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera delivers in the ninth-inning of their 7-4 victory over the Houston Astros in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(3) ESPN’s Pedro Gomez , right, is seen here with Anthony Bosch , the founder of the South Florida based pharmaceutical and supplements’ company Biogenesis . The company at present is under investigation by the US Justice Department and FBI for what is believed to be a widespread case of Bosch’s company supplying several prominent Major League players with PED’s and other banned substances prohibited by baseball’s hierarchy. Bosch was very noncommittal with his answers when pressed on his association with several players mentioned in the confiscated documents now in the federal law enforcement’s possession . Courtesy of ESPN & AP Photo /Matt Cohen ….

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB transactions and transactions in the month of April

MLB standings 30th April 2013 and wildcard standings

MLB results 30th April and teams’ schedule 1st May 2013

MLB probable starting pitchers

MLB standings 1st May 2012

This week in MLB history

This day in baseball history 1st May

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Hot chic pic of the day Melanie Iglesias . One hot piece of Latina @ss ! Your thoughts on that ?

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

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

By Tophatal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of the New York Times

Baseball Ties Olympic Reinstatement Bid to Women’s Game

By Jere`Longman of the NY Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fu#k you Bud Selig , and the rest of the lying mother-f##king cronies of the Miami Marlins !

Fu#k you Bud Selig , and the rest of the lying mother-f##king cronies of the Miami Marlins !

Tophatal

It never ceases to amaze all of these pious idiots who try to suggest that the game of baseball has a redeeming quality about it ! Case in point , two prominent players (Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon) at the MLB level were given a mandatory 50 game suspension for deliberately running afoul of the league’s steroid policy. Yet at the minor league level of the game in the past thirty months , 186 players have been reprimanded by the league hierarchy in terms of the mandates that cover the policy in the illicit use of steroids and PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) .

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Slideshow for your perusal .

Fast forward today , and at a time when baseball should be applauding the achievements nominees for the season’s individual awards , and we are now surrounded by a moribund organization conducing their “own fire sale “ after a season of abject failure . I don’t believe that there can be any other way to explain away the abysmal showing of the Miami Marlins , after a year of high expectations , and of the monies spent on acquiring free agents by the truck load , as orchestrated by front office executives , GM Michael Hill , SVP David Sansom and team President , Larry Beinfest. Never-mind the fact that the hiring of Ozzie Guillen , was meant to send a message to the team’s fan-base that they were about to enter big-time once again. Need we also be reminded that the ball-club had opened their new state of the art 43,500 seated Marlins Ballpark , in downtown , Miami , built at the cost of some $575 million , at the taxpayers’ expense. Somehow , with a great deal of coercion by Bud Selig, and the Marlins’ front office , the city of Miami were dumb enough to fast-track the proposal , that would lead to a quickly expedited vote for the financing of the aforementioned venue. Clearly, not a great deal of thought was made when the city’s mayor Tomas Regalado and the city council thought that it would be appropriate to build the venue , with the view, that it would enrich the locale and also bring an economic boost to a blighted downtown area of Miami. If anything it has done the complete opposite, as this season the eighty-one home games of the Miami Marlins , were sparsely attended over the course of the team’s schedule.

A last place finish in the NL East with a record of 63-99, barely missing the mark of losing 100 games during 2012. This was the sort of ineptitude that the impoverished Marlins’ fans were asked to endure as Guillen spent more time making a complete ass of himself , both on and off the field of play, over the course of the season. Michael Hill, David Sansom and team owner, Jeffrey Loria , tried to maintain that degree of composure often seen in a con-man when under investigation by law enforcement , as they go about conducting an investigation into a fraudulent criminal act. . Mark my words , what was foisted upon the fans of the Miami Marlins this season , was a willful act of fraud , that it has been so egregious and unconscionable that no amount of excuses can now be made to appease the fans ,much less allow Loria and his fellow executives to obfuscate their responsibilities . As for this simplistic and damn well asinine belief, that baseball has parity . Those who believe it , are clearly delusional , and damn well don’t know any better !

Courtesy of MLB.com


Miami close to dealing JJ, Reyes, Buehrle to Toronto

Marlins would get at least seven players, nearly $160 million in payroll flexibility

By Joe Firsaro , MLB.com

MIAMI — When the Marlins hired Mike Redmond as manager last week, it opened a pipeline with the Blue Jays.

The two organizations didn’t waste much time tapping into each other’s resources.

On Tuesday night, Miami was reportedly working on a blockbuster trade with Toronto, sending off five established veterans, including Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes, while shedding nearly $160 million in payroll commitments.

Heading to Toronto would be Johnson, Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck. In return, the Marlins would receive shortstop Yunel Escobar, second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino and catcher Jeff Mathis.

Miami also would acquire outfield prospect Jake Marisnick, who played for Redmond at Dunedin, and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani. The trade was not officially announced as of Tuesday night, but players like Johnson were informed that they were being dealt.

“I enjoyed my time in Florida,” Johnson told MLB.com. “Thank you, fans, for everything. You always supported me, and I appreciate that.”

The blockbuster deal comes a year after the Marlins underwent a rebranding — with name and uniform changes — and made major roster additions. Bolstered by revenue generated from their retractable-roof ballpark, the Marlins were the talk of last year’s Winter Meetings, signing Reyes, Buehrle and Heath Bell for a combined $191 million.

Now, all three will be gone.

Bell was the first to be sent out, when the former three-time All-Star closer was traded to the D-backs on Oct. 20 for Minor League third baseman Yordy Cabrera.

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One could see that the Marlins would bail on their season , as the defeats kept mounting up through the greater part of the year , with their being little evidence shown that Ozzie Guillen and his staff could extricate themselves out of those problems, while leading the team back to some semblance of normalcy . I have never been a great admirer of Guillen as a manager , or as a matter of fact as a human being ! He is if anything , a person who is simply bellicose , verbose and disrespectful to others , while simply believing that his behavior is called for , whatever the environment just happens to be . The fact that this hire was simply looked upon as a matter of marketing the manager to the Latino community , which makes up a prominent demographic of the Marlins’ fan-base , and it shows that the front office’s only concern was to appeal to that part of the South Florida community. Now one could question the managerial acumen of Ozzie Guillen , albeit that he guided the Chicago White Sox to a World Series championship in 2005 , with a rather lopsided series’ victory over (4-0) the Houston Astros . In the aftermath of the White’s Sox triumph , the relationship between Guillen and the team’s general manager , Kenny Williams , and team owner, Jerry Reinsdorf , would sink to new depths of sheer animosity . In part , much of this was down to the fact Ozzie Guillen sought a new long-term contract, which at the time the White Sox’s front office were unwilling to acquiesce to . Guillen would be vocal with his indifference towards both Reinsdorf and Williams , often being derogatory of both front office executives.

The fact that Ozzie Guillen’s tenure in Miami came to such an abrupt end , with the decision being made to fire the manager after such a disastrous season , can only be slightly less embarrassing than Bobby Valentine’s equally inept tenure with the Boston Red Sox. And as we have now witnessed , Valentine would seek to apportion blame elsewhere for the team’s poor showing and his lack communication with the Red Sox players . If that is not a recipe for an unmitigated disaster , then what is ?

With the departure of Ozzie Guillen , a replacement was found in Mike Redmond a first-time manager and former player with the Marlins. Beyond the recent fire sale with the jettisoning of $165 million in salary commitments , with departure of Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck, in exchange for Yunel Escobar , and Yunel Escobar , second baseman Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Henderson Alvarez, left-hander Justin Nicolino and catcher Jeff Mathis.

Miami also would acquire outfield prospect Jake Marisnick , who played for Redmond at Dunedin, and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani . The trade was not officially announced as of Tuesday night, but players like Johnson were informed that they were being dealt. As to how this will now sit with the Marlins’ who expected to see Reyes be one of the lynch pins on the Marlins’ roster alongside Giancarlo Stanton , has a number of fans wondering what the hell is now going as the roster has been systematically shredded and decimated to the degree that there are those who feel that this franchise has taken a step backwards . From a public relations’ standpoint this situation now becomes a complete nightmare for the Miami Marlins’ organization. Jeffrey Loria will have a hard time trying to sell this scenario , that the organization is now heading in the right direction, after these proposed moves .

For this once proud franchise , this has been the third such instance where the ball-club has seen fit to jettison players as a face-saving exercise and with regard to paring down salary . H D Wayne Huizenga , the franchise’s very first owner , with the Marlins’ having won the first of their two World Series crowns , would seek to deplete the roster in aftermath of their historic win in 1997 . The backlash against the incumbent owner was widespread and undeniably venomous and seething with rage. Huizenga would subsequently sell the franchise , and bow out of owning the team altogether . To parallel those moves , Jeffrey Loria , followed the same path , claiming financial hardship for the ball-club and the claims that the Marlins were hemorrhaging red ink all over the balance . Many felt that Loria’s claims were disingenuous and totally filled with falsehoods . The Marlins’ triumph in 2003 over the heralded —- New York Yankees , brought pandemonium on the streets of South Florida , and a great deal of enjoyment amongst the ball-club’s supporters at the time. Yet once again, the bloodletting began , with the front office deciding to simply jettison themselves of players they felt were superfluous to their needs .

Many of you will know, that I was once a firm advocate and an avowed supporter of the Miami Marlins , and having witnessed this franchise through their highs and lows , I became disenchanted with the disingenuous-ness of the organization ! Deceitful acts of the management, of the ball-club, lies , deceptive practices, and their business dealings with their corporate sponsors , but above all with the fans general public alike , caused me to disavow my support of the ball-club. The memories which I have of the franchise are fond ones , but they were then to be outweighed by the acts of egregious malfeasance , which all seemed to be suborned by the MLB hierarchy , as well as by several owners within baseball’s fraternity . If there is no clear leadership or oversight being shown , then what hope is there for the game of baseball , when there is a complete lack of integrity being shown by the overseers of the game ? Answers please ?

Do you believe the actions of the Miami Marlins in this instance , are good for the game ? Or do you feel that this was simply the act of brazened opportunists who were simply looking to absolve themselves from a major mistake ? By all means , do leave a comment as you see fit on this , and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) This photo combo made from file photos shows Miami Marlins players, from left, pitcher Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes, and pitcher Josh Johnson . Miami traded the three players to the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the agreement said Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. The person confirmed the trade to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams weren’t officially commenting. The person said the trade sent several of the Blue Jays’ best young players to Miami. AP Photos ….

(2) Miami Marlins new manager Mike Redmond, center, shows off his new jersey as president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest , left, and vice president & general manager , Mike Hill assist during a baseball news conference in Miami, Friday, Nov 2, 2012. AP Photo/Jeffrey Boan …

(3) FILE – In this April 6, 2004, file photo, Florida Marlins catcher Mike Redmond celebrates his team’s 4-3 win over the Montreal Expos after a baseball game in Miami. The former major league catcher was hired as manager of the Miami Marlins on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, to replace Ozzie Guillen, who was fired last week after a last-place finish. He spent the past two years managing Class A teams in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system. AP Photo/David Adams ……

(4) FILE – This April 10, 2012 file photo shows Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen listening to a question during a news conference about comments he made about Fidel Castro , at the Marlins Stadium in Miami. Guillen has been fired after one year as manager of the last-place Marlins, whose promising season began to derail in April when his laudatory comments about Fidel Castro caused a backlash. The Marlins announced the firing Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(5) (L-R) Florida Marlins team President David Samsom , former City of Miami Mayor Manny Diaz , MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Florida Marlins baseball team’s new stadium on July 18, 2009 in Miami, Florida. The park is scheduled to open in 2012 and the team intends to change its name to the Miami Marlins prior to the completion of the ballpark. Getty Images North America /Marc Serota …….

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Pitchers and out-fielders , please report for the final moments of the regular season

Pitchers and out-fielders , please report for the final moments of the regular season

By Tophatal

As the baseball season enters its final slew of some eighteen or so games , the hopes of a number of teams now seem to be falling by the wayside , as they are either failing in making a push for a wildcard berth or divisional title . The stories have been well chronicled as to the Washington Nationals (89-57) shutting down their start pitching ace Stephen Strasburg for the remainder of the season. As to what sense that actually makes among the front office of the organization and that of their fans , I will leave that for you to judge ! To my mind it speaks volumes as to the ineptitude of GM Mike Rizzo and the fact that the ball-club truly lacks ambition and the will to win.

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The Nationals currently maintain a 5 game lead over their closest rivals within the division the Atlanta Braves (85-63). The NL East has pretty much been a two-horse race for the greater part of the year , with Davey Johnson’s team leading for the majority of that time. What has truly impressed me about the Nationals , in light of the decision made , has been the resiliency shown by their pitching staff. And for Gio Gonzalez , who I believe might just be the most credible of the candidates for the NL Cy Young Award this season ! That asides, the awards’ season could be very generous towards the organization with Davey Johnson could also be named the NL Manager of the Year. The NL Central is pretty much sewn up with the Cincinnati Reds (88-59) maintaining an eleven game lead over the second placed St Louis Cardinals , and with the Pittsburgh Pirates seemingly having another late season ; meltdown. I am not sure that they are still postseason worthy team in the NLDS !

I don’t know that with the splash made by the Los Angeles Dodgers in adding over $295 million salary commitments by way of trades engineered by the past month by the front office. As ambitious as we know the new ownership group to be , I believe that it all might to be too little, too late for the Dodgers to now make their own playoff push in gaining an NL wildcard berth ! Unless there just happens to be divine intervention from up on high with the San Francisco Giants (84-63) blowing their eight game lead over their NL West divisional rivals .

In the AL , all three divisions have now become very tight races and there does not appear to be a consensus as to who the outright winners will be . In the waning days of July , one could have subscribed to the fact that the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers would be romping away with the AL East and AL West by sizable margins. As of the 17th September , those two teams are closely looking over their shoulders as both the Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles look to erase those divisional leads of ½ game and 3 games , respectively .

Joe Girardi has tried to downplay the considerable pressure that the New York Yankees are presently under , and he is quite within his right to do so. However, I am not so sure that sort of optimism is entirely shared by everyone within the front office ! The Orioles have made a mockery of the standings as they have gainfully competed against both the Tampa Bay Rays and Yankees this season , outsmarting them at almost every turn . Buck Showalter and his coaching staff , has this team playing with a great deal of pride and passion. It is something that has not been lost on the fans who have turned up in droves once again, to watch this team play at Orioles Ballpark/Camden Yards, in Baltimore, Maryland . And the Orioles’ players have not been disappointed, as Nick Markakis , Adam Jones , Matt Wieters , Wei Yin-Chen, Jim Johnson, Pedro Strop and Chris Tillman have led this team to being on the cusp of making their first postseason appearance since 1997 , when they lost (4-2) in the ALCS to the Cleveland Indians . In the subsequent years since, there has been little for the Baltimore Orioles or their fans to feel elated about.

While many of us have wondered whether or not Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos was a hands’ off owner e , as there is the belief that he devotes more time to his DC law firm (Angelos Law LLC) and their lobbying efforts up on Capitol Hill , leaving the day-to-day running of the team in the hands of EVP, Dan Duquette , and Special Assistant EVP, Brady Anderson . Given the play of the team this season , there is no reason to believe why the Orioles cannot pull off a major surprise, should they make the postseason and the way that the schedule has been setup. There does not seem to be that truly dominant team within the AL this year , although the team statistics are very deceptive. The Texas Rangers (87-59), at present have the best record within the AL but as of late, the team has been very inconsistent, with one game win streak , albeit that over their last ten games they are 6-4 .

If there has been one team to my mind that has proven to be a disappointment , then it would have to be the Tampa Bay Rays ! With each passing season their financial situation becomes even more precarious and there doesn’t appear to be a long-term solution on the horizon. Senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg seems unwilling to take on a financial partner with deep pockets , and who would be able to assist GM Andrew Friedman in retaining the talent , rather than jettisoning those players merely for financial frugality . The team is quickly falling out of playoff contention , much of it through their own poor play in recent games.

The Rays’ franchise is valued at $323 million but they are one of the most profitable teams ($26.2 million) in all of baseball because of the frugality shown by the front office . Frugality doesn’t always equate with success but such are the vagaries of the business landscape of the game that in part the financial imbalances within baseball leads to this mockery that there is a level playing field . Nothing, could be further from the truth but that truth has yet to set baseball’s hierarchy or the team owners ……. free !

Today, the Rays are the guests of the Boston Red Sox as they will send to the mound Felix Doubront(10-9, 5.11 ERA ) to face Tampa’s Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.22 ERA) . Game wins and series’ wins are now of the utmost importance to Joe Maddon’s …. team if they are to succeed in their attempt to make their fourth postseason appearance in franchise history , all of which have come in the past four years . With the likelihood of the Rays missing the postseason , I would hate to see the disruption that once again will beset this franchise !

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As we the regular season now winds down within baseball , what if anything has been the biggest disappointment for by way of a player or team performance during the regular season ? At the same time, which ball-club do you believe will be ultimately triumphant in the World Series ? Which player will be your choice for the World Series’ MVP? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones , right, celebrates with teammate Freddie Freeman after the Braves defeated the Washington Nationals 5-1 in a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Goldman ….

(2) Washington Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez lays down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Atlanta. Gonzalez was out at first. AP Photo/David Goldman ……

(3) Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher John Ely , right, covers his face as catcher A.J. Ellis looks on after Ely walked in a run in the 12th inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in Los Angeles. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(4) Tampa Bay Rays Matt Joyce , left, argues with home plate umpire Paul Emmel after striking out in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012. Emmel tossed Joyce from the game for arguing balls and strikes. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(5)NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 16: Rafael Soriano (29) of the New York Yankees shakes hands with teammates after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 16, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images …. (6) Baltimore Orioles outfielders Xavier Avery (70) , Endy Chavez (27) and Nate McLouth celebrate after defeating the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, in Seattle. Baltimore won 10-4 . AP Photo/Elaine Thompson …..

(7) Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter , right, heads to the mound with catcher Matt Wieters to pull relief pitcher Zach Phillips in the eight inning against the Seattle Mariners in a baseball game Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, in Seattle. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

(8) Baltimore Orioles EVP Dan Duquette ,left, is seen here with team manager Buck Showalter , as the duo take questions from the convened press at Orioles Ballpark, in Baltimore , Maryland ,. Courtesy of Baltimore Sun ….

(9) Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos testifies before the House Government Reform Committee about the ongoing dispute involving the Nationals’ and Orioles’ TV exposure on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 7, 2006. Major League Baseball and Orioles owner Peter Angelos control most of the Mid Atlantic Sports Network which owns the broadcast rights to Nationals games, but is not carried by some local cable companies. UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg ….

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

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

By tophatal ………… 06/18/2012

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

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

Courtesy of Associated Press (AP) & Yahoo Sports

Clemens acquittal latest blow for sports cases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the salient points raised within this article ? By all means , do leave a comment as you see fit , and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Absolutely Nothing Ever Good Happens After Midnight …… Look At Baseball ?


Absolutely Nothing Ever Good Happens After Midnight …… Look At Baseball ?

By tophatal 06/07/2012 ….. 08:25 PM (EST)

It seems inconceivable that with Johan Santana’s recent feat of pitching a “no hitter” for New York Mets . This was the first time that such an accomplishment had been reached by a pitcher within the organization ‘s history . When one considers the famed pitchers that have pitched for the ball club . Dwight Gooden , Nolan Ryan , Tom Seaver and Pedro Martinez . That quartet is quite astonishing when you seemingly look down the club’s historical statistics that covers the area of individual pitching feats .

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The New York Mets this > season have had their struggles and though the feeling within the front office was that they could contend . The response of Terry Collins’ players has been anything but that and now they have to contend with a resurgent Washington Nationals’ ….. team within the NL East .

Now while the Mets lie ay in third place within the division 2 games behind the Washington Nationals (31-25) , there is little to suggest that the team will be in the hunt during the latter part of the season . And though they have been winners of 6 of their last ten games the only real point of high praise has been the play of the team’s short-stop David Wright . Were it not for the play of Matt Kemp , Andre Ethier and Melky Cabrera , we might now be talking about Wright being a leading contender for the NL MVP .

Sandy Alderson and J P Riccardi have been entrusted by team owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon to rebuild this roster . Granted , the loss of Jose Reyes to free agency , as the player signed a lucrative 7 year deal with the Miami Marlins . Alderson ‘s comments concerning the player were very terse , in light of player seeking go elsewhere . But herein lies the caveat to this all , the New York Mets remain in a grave financial situation and the team’s payroll will undoubtedly have to be pared down . Team President Sandy Alderson and GM J P Riccardi will peruse the roster , make a decision as to what they believe are superfluous to the team’s needs .

The Mets in their most recent game , where they were on the wrong side of a 5-3 loss to the Washington Nationals , at their home venue , Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York . With the MLB schedule over the next two days being primarily Interleague games as the AL takes on the members of senior circuit (NL). On Friday the New York Mets will face their crosstown rivals when they meet the New York Yankees . And with the Yankees now vying for the lead within the AL East , I am not so sure that they are overly concerned in facing their NL rival . Before that series ensues the New York Mets have some unfinished business as the guests of the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark, in Washington , DC,. On the mound for the Mets will be R A Dickey (8-1, 2.89 ERA ) as he opposes Chien Ming Wang 1-1 , 6,43 ERA ) . The Mets’ knuckle-baller leads the NL in wins for the pitchers within the league where he’s followed by Cole Hamels (8-2, 2.81 ERA) .

Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies (28-29) have had their own woes over the course of the season . So much so, that GM Reuben Amaro is now under a great deal of pressure to make some drastic changes . Meanwhile , Charlie Manuel and his coaching staff , themselves , have seen no real cohesion from the players . It has been an abundance of mistimed and error filled performances , that has seen this team greatly underachieve . Amaro , has stated , that if the players are not in contention for divisional honors or at least the wildcard berth by the trade deadline . Then, he will seek to trade players , and seek to rebuild from within , while assessing the minor league system , and that of their draft .

The Philadelphia Phillies prior to their interleague schedule will play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers . Hamels will take to the mound against the Dodgers’ Aaron Harang (4-3, 3.90 ERA) . We can all attest to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ rebirth and the storylines over the recent weeks . A new high-profiled ownership group and it would now appea that they are on a far healthier financial footing after the years ineptitude during the tenure of Frank McCourt as the team’s owner. Former NBA great , Magic Johnson and Peter Guber bring along that “Hollywood glitz “ , while the baseball operation’s expertize will be provided by Stan Kasten . If nothing else Dodgers’ Ballpark much like the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California could now become the place to be seen amongst the Hollywood A-Listers “ . Come on down Jack Nicholson , Will Smith , Adam Sandler , David Beckham , Bruce Willis and Leonardo DiCaprio . All are welcome at this juncture as , this team now seeks to write the next chapter in this franchise’s history .

The Los Angeles Dodgers (35-21) are well on the way to become the first team notch 40 wins this season. Their Dodgers’ own interleague foray will be two game series against the lowly Seattle Mariners (25-33) , a franchise that continues to disappoint , while wasting the talents of Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez . . Why both of this duo All Stars continue endure apathy shown by the ownership group , even while being well rewarded is simply beyond me ! I am thoroughly convinced that both Ichiro and Felix Hernandez could ply their trade elsewhere with a legitimate contender , instead of putting up with the constant mediocrity and the recent lack of ambition shown by the club’s senior executives .

The AL West and the well-meaningful Texas Rangers now find themselves in somewhat of a dilemma . After the ferocious onslaught of the team’s offense in recent games things have suddenly calmed down Elvis Andrus , Ian Kinsler , Michael Young , Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre have suddenly cooled off and the same can be said the team’s pitching , and that is in spite of the Rangers’ talented young starting pitcher Yu Darvish . Team manager Ron Washington and his coaching staff knowing that they have a sizable lead over the second placed Los Angeles Angels , know that they can ill-afford to take their feet off the gas pedal .

Albert Pujols is hitting again and with his recent upswing in his productivity comes the Angels ascent within the AL West . Mike Sciocsia one of the longest tenured managers in the gam e has a team that now looks to have found a consistent rhythm .

Granted , given what we have witnessed with Josh Hamilton during the month of May . It has to be said that the division could very well be up for grabs should the Rangers’ decline continue . As a two-time defending divisional champion as well as the AL Pennant winner , the Texas Rangers sorely want to make a quick return to the World Series and make amends for the losses in 2010 and 2011 . Both team President Nolan Ryan , GM Jon Daniels and the front office having lavished a great deal of money on the player personnel and with countless millions more in resources at their disposal . It is easy to understand why there is urgency about the Rangers , their fans and those within the organization . Some are born to greatness while others have it simply thrust upon them . Many are now wondering which category would best describe the organization .

Now while over the next three days the league (MLB) will offer us a slew of interleague games. A number of purists of the game still hold to the stand that these scheduled meetings devalue baseball , and the match-up that really matters , should be that of the World Series, itself . I hold a completely different view as I believe this gives the fans an even greater opportunity to see teams they don’t often see over the course of the season as their favorites meet their customary opponents within their division and league . This might just be one of the few decisions that Bud Selig may well have got right , albeit that amongst his predecessors , he might well be thought of as the least popular of the commissioners to have presided over the game of baseball .

With the baseball season more than a quarter of the way through its schedule by comparison to this time last year and now , one can see a stark difference in how the teams have performed and their standings.

Over the ensuing three months now left until the end of the regular season it will be extremely interesting to see how not only teams perform but most notably the players also . The team owners , themselves can be entirely happy with their lot , knowing that league attendances are holding steady , while the team values have risen exponentially are said to be extremely overvalued . How else can you explain the extraordinary sum of $2.15 billion paid , in the purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers to a consortium led by the aforementioned Magic Johnson and his business partners . There was a lot to that deal that simply didn’t meet the eye , especially in light of what was said to be the continued interference in the ongoing sale process while the organization was in bankruptcy proceedings in US Federal Bankruptcy Court in the state of Delaware . People seem to forget also that the team’s former owner Frank McCourt pocketed what is said to be in excess of $550 million for his troubles . Do you get the feeling that he’s now smiling all the way to the bank , while baseball’s commissioner is still at a loss as to how and why he failed to act judiciously when things first came to ,light concerning the Dodgers’ problems . Never mind the fact that the journalists who cover the sport showed about as much aptitude in covering the story as they did in skirting the growing evidence in the n egregious misuse of prohibitive substances within the game of baseball . Ken Caminitti , Jose Canseco , Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are but a few of the players embroiled in the game’s most infamous chapter . And yet , little has changed almost two decades later , concerning the use of steroids within the game . Baseball’s hierarchy has more on its plate that it can actually deal with ” and it has been borne out with the recent firing of a senior league hierarchy executive , Jimmie Lee Solomon . Although there has been no formal announcement from the commissioner’s for the executive’s apparent departure of Solomon , and he has refused to offer a response on the matter . Needless to say , there is a great deal more to this story that the fans have yet to be made aware of given the lack any information being made public . Moreover, we wonder why the league remains so secretive ? What do you think ?

Courtesy of USA Today

Major League Baseball fires longtime exec Jimmie Lee Solomon

By Bob Nightengale , USA Today

Jimmie Lee Solomon, one of Major League Baseball’s top executives since 1991, has been fired, according a person familiar with the decision.

The person, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the decision, said that Solomon personally told him he was dismissed.

Solomon, an executive vice president, did not return a message for comment, and MLB officials have declined comment.

Solomon’s dismissal was first reported by Baseball America .

Solomon, who once oversaw all of Major League Baseball’s on-field operations, was reassigned two years ago when his job appeared tenuous. He replaced Sandy Alderson in 2005, but his work fell under greater scrutiny due to the quality of umpiring, which included Jim Joyce’s 2010 blown call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game.

Solomon’s responsibilities have been diminished since, while he has overseen the Urban Youth Academies and the Civil Rights Game. He also played a key role last year in a six-year extension of the professional baseball agreement between the minor leagues and MLB.

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As the second quarter of the baseball season has got underway what are you most looking forward to between now and the All Star Game ? And which teams do you now believe are under the biggest pressure to succeed and which of the teams now said to be in contention do you believe will fall back to earth with an almighty thud ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support of this site !

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(1) NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 02: Johan Santana (57) of the New York Mets waves to the crowd at Citi-Field on June 2, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. A video tribute was shown to acknowloge Santana’s no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals, the “first no-hitter ” in New York Mets history. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …

(2) New York Mets’ Johan Santana, bottom left, hugs catcher Josh Thole as teammates rush to congratulate him after pitching the first no-hitter in Mets’ history in a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, June 1, 2012 in New York. Helped by an umpire’s missed call and an outstanding catch in left field, the Mets defeated the Cardinals 8-0 . AP Photo/Mark Lennihan …

(3)New York Mets surround starting pitcher Johan Santana after he threw a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals in a baseball game on Friday, June 1, 2012, at Citi Field in New York. The Mets won 8-0 . AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …

(4) New York Mets fans and teammates applaud as Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dicke returns to the dugout after being relieved in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, on Thursday, June 7, 2012. The Mets won 3-1 , making Dickey the first pitcher in the majors to reach nine wins this season. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin …

(5) David Wright #5 of the New York Mets slides safely into third base on a triple in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 7, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images ..

(6) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 7: Tony Gwynn (10) of the Los Angeles Dodgers congratulates teammate Elian Herrera (37) who scored on a single by James Loney in the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in a MLB baseball game on June 7, 2012 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Dodgers defeated the Phillies 8-3 . Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images …

(7) Josh Hamilton (32) of the Texas Rangers looks on walkiong back to the dugout after stiking out in the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on June 7, 2012 in Oakland, California. The Athletic won the game 7-1 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …

(8) Cliff Pennington (2) of the Oakland Athletics steals third base, beating the throw to Adrian Beltre (29) of the Texas Rangers in the six inning at O.co Coliseum on June 7, 2012 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images…

(9) Jimmie Lee Solomon, left, here with commissioner Bud Selig at the 2006 All-Star Game , was with Major League Baseball for 21 years. Solomon was recently fired by the commissioner , though no formal statement has been forthcoming as to the reasons behind Solomon’s firing . The former Head of Baseball’s Onfield Operations , Jimmy Lee Solomon presided over the MLB umpires , and his duties were making sure that the officials were properly qualified and had a sound fundamental understanding of the game and of their overall duties . H Darr Beiser / USA Today @ copyrighted material all rights reserved

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Let’s Face It Baseball And Its Hierarchy Haven’t A God Damn Clue …

Let’s Face It Baseball And Its Hierarchy Haven’t A God Damn Clue

By tophatal ………… 4/24/2012 – 10:13:12 PM

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reassigned within our banking and finance section ( workplace ) in aiding with bond issues for municipalities within the state of Florida . What has become apparent in recent years are the number of municipalities , state and county governments that are in bankruptcy proceeding or who intend to enter into that particular phase . Consider the situation of Jefferson County , Alabama who recently declared bankruptcy (Chapter 9) with debts in excess of $ 4.3 billion ($4,300,000,000) and the county government itself has sought to auction off buildings owned by that governmental agency . In light of the recent acknowledgement that former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt having taken the organization into bankruptcy in 2011. That Chapter 11 filing in the US Bankruptcy Court within the state of Delaware saw the ball-club with debts in excess of $1.45 billion and assets of a mere $455 million . . Not enough to satisfy with team’s creditors by any stretch of the imagination . The rudimentary issues faced by the organization which was recently bought by a consortium led by former NBA great Magic Johnson , former league front office executive Stan Kasten and the senior partners of buyout specialists and capital investment firm Guggenheim Partners LLC , whose CEO , Mark Walter , his partners in conjunction with Kasten and Johnson lodged a successful $2 billion ($2,000,000,000) all cash bid for the Dodgers.

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What might be even more exacerbating when now takes into the egregious actions of Frank McCourt , it has been revealed that the former owner will walk away $800 million after the sale of the ball-club. This may well not sit well with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ fans even with the advent of the sale to the new owners. At the same time , I have to wonder how it is that Bud Selig and the members of the league hierarchy can actually feel entirely happy with this outcome ! And while several team owners have questioned the whole bidding process and whether or not the commissioner surreptitiously favored the winning bid over that of the six other active purchasers taking part in the process . Granted , the presiding judge was aided in this endeavor by investment firm The Blackstone Group . Pardon me for saying this , but any idiot seeking to support Bud Selig as the MLB commissioner , either has to be anally retentive or simply without a god-damn ounce of common sense ! Never mind the fact that Selig’s annual salary $23 million would place him amongst the highest paid players within baseball . And to think that there are several teams within the game that continue struggle to even remain competitive much less be in a financial position to meet their payroll needs . At some point the fastidious morons out there will wake up and smell the coffee or simply continue to drink the Kool-Aid . Which is it to be for you at this juncture ? Rather than continue to act as if all is right within the world of baseball as we are said to know it .

Courtesy of USA Today

Dodgers sale isn’t win-win for MLB

By Bob Nightingale , USA Today

Major League Baseball plans to evict Frank McCourt from its exclusive club in a week, but the celebration is shrouded with caution.

Financial questions first arose when McCourt, who failed in an earlier bid to buy the Boston Red Sox , purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004 . And while his reign has left the proud franchise in financial ruins, there are fears that baseball’s rush to get rid of him could change the way teams are bought and sold.

The Guggenheim Baseball Management group , led by owners Mark Walter and Magic Johnson and President Stan Kasten, agreed to pay McCourt a record $2.15 billion for the Dodgers. The group hopes to close the deal Monday, but unlike every other baseball franchise, the Dodgers’ financial structure is not governed by Major League Baseball. A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has the sole right to make decisions on future disputes that could arise between the Dodgers and MLB, including revenue-sharing payments.

PHOTOS: Magic Johnson gallery

Once McCourt declared bankruptcy, baseball negotiated a deal with the owner and the court to allow him to sell the team to the highest bidder.

“Now every owner knows that the best way of maximizing your value is by going to bankruptcy court,” says Marc Ganis , president of Sportscorp Ltd. , which consults with MLB teams and other sports on stadium financing .

“Baseball just got taken to the cleaners in the agreement with McCourt. Baseball screwed up, and they know it.

“What they’ve done is create a league where rules apply for 29 teams, and rules apply for one team. Baseball knows it’s a problem. They tried to stop it. The judge wouldn’t let them. Now, they’ve got a recipe for disaster.”

Five MLB officials, including three owners who spoke on the condition of anonymity, privately confirm their concerns but say that many of their fears were eased in the past week. While the Guggenheim group is paying nearly three times the previous record for a baseball franchise (the Chicago Cubs were sold for $845 million in 2009), persons with knowledge of the situation, who don’t wish to be identified because of confidential issues regarding the sale, claim that only in the last few days did MLB receive detailed financial information about the purchase agreement. MLB attorneys and the Guggenheim group met several times last week with a court-appointed mediator to resolve lingering concerns.

Yet Tom Lauria, a lawyer representing MLB, said in court that baseball still was troubled that it did not know details of the revenue-sharing arrangement between the Guggenheim group and McCourt involving the Dodger Stadium parking lots, which they will share equally. There’s also a fear among owners that there are confidential provisions in the agreement that could permit the Dodgers to circumvent aspects of MLB’s revenue-sharing agreement with their regional sports network or new TV contract.

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The thought that Frank McCourt walks away from this debacle with almost $1 billion in his pocket ….. reeks of malfeasance of the highest order in which the Dodgers’ former owner and his actions were so egregious and premeditated . The fact that McCourt has rifled through the coffers of the ball-club and repeatedly used the team as business collateral , has me wondering how is it that when these actions first came to light the league hierarchy simply turned a blind eye ! Is Bud Selig that naive an individual or that much of an asshole to not recognize that an owner acted with reckless abandonment while contravening several mandated business rules , which all teams have to abide by ? Any thoughts on this at all ? McCourt’s new-found wealth has nothing at all to do with capitalism but simply a manipulation of an archaic process and system that simply rewards what on the face of it was in some ways a criminal act ! Were the teams in the game of baseball publicly listed companies then without a doubt the SEC (Securities & Exchange Commission) and Justice Department would have been all over the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization. But then again both if these governmental agencies in conjunction with the US Federal Reserve and US Treasury have been about as judicious and shown enough oversight of the financial sector , as a blind man playing hopscotch in a fu_king minefield ! Shit simply gets blown up repeatedly ! Let’s get one thing clear Tim Geithner may well have swallowed Webster’s Dictionary but this ass wipe shouldn’t be placed anywhere within the close proximity of a kids’ lemonade stand much less handle the financial accounts of the US government or the handling of taxpayers’ monies , through overseeing the IRS as part of his US cabinet duties .

The Treasury Department and the SEC’s Investigative Unit have been negligent in their duties . So much so , that both sat idly by while Lehman Bros Inc , formerly the world’s largest investment bank filed for bankruptcy and doing so laden itself with debts of $300 billion ($300,000,000,000) , the largest . corporate bankruptcy US history . Financial mismanagement and the very fact that pro-forma balance sheets were being declared as authentic in their detailing of the bank’s financial status were in fact being fraudulently stated as being above reproach . The bank’s former CEO Richard Fuld in his sworn testimony to first the Senate Banking Committee and then House Finance Committee stated that during 2009 and 2010 both the audit and investigatory panels of the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department were housed in the Manhattan headquarters of Lehman Bros , as the agencies were conducting their own investigations in to the day-to-day operations of the bank and investment house was at the center of their financial difficulties . Fuld , and other senior executives within the bank’s hierarchy have yet to explain how it is the bank simply ran into such financial difficulties . It is clear that Lehman Bros was reckless , in their business practices , dealing in the financial derivatives’ markets , subordinated debt and the mortgage back debt (MBS) instruments . The latter of which systematically brought about the near demise of multi financial insurance behemoth AIG Inc . And as we know the insurance giant has received in excess of $185 billion ($185,000,000,000) . of taxpayers’ funds for the “to big to fail “ behemoth . Those funds have yet to be repaid but we have been told by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden that the taxpayer will be in receipt of their funds in full. To date AIG still owes the US taxpayer in excess of $125 billion . The US government is top-heavy with bureaucracy and in large part both legislative chambers, namely the House and Senate have a group of individuals who show about as much insight in safeguarding the country’s well-being as an arsonist would before he sets fire to his victim of choice . In this case , it has been the US taxpayer and the electorate at large who are the victims of the legislative bodies’ stupidity . .

The MLB hierarchy not-unlike the US government and specifically the House and Senate seems to be completely devoid of almost any god-damn intelligence ! You’d be hard pressed to state one piece of legislative act that has been of much use to public that has become a statute in the past eighteen months . Conservatives and Liberals alike can continue to brow-beat each other with all the animus that they can muster but in large part few if anyone , truly understands what is exactly happening in-front of their very eyes. Baseball under Selig’s hierarchy has shown about as much intelligence as can be found in a lunatic asylum filled with individuals who have been “Brady” enacted . It is safe to say that MLB has done more harm to its image over the past decade than anything that could have been done by a lone bomber on a suicide mission.

Did I miss something in the past ten days ? Almost overnight Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers has become the most ” feared hitter “ in the game . The player’s productivity for the team has been one of the primary reasons for their fast start out of the gate and they’re being seated atop of the NL West with a 3 1/2 game lead over the closest rivals within the division. While Don Mattingly’s players knowing that there now will be some semblance of continuity with new a new ownership group in place , will now do their utmost to give the fans something to feel special about .

The Los Angeles Dodgers (12-4) followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks (8-8) , Colorado Rockies (8-7) , San Francisco Giants (8-7) , and the San Diego Padres (5-12) . This time last season the teams within the NL West were still looking to make themselves resonate within the game . Come full circle , and it’s very much the same thing once again. And for the slow starting Atlanta Braves (10-6) this year will be a historic one as it will be the last season for the team’s third baseman Chipper Jones . This lifetime .300 hitter is certainly a bona-fide Cooperstown , enshrinee for the Hall of Fame .

The Atlanta Braves are the guests of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers’ Ballpark /Chavez Revine for two games . The first of which is Tuesday night that sees Aaron Harang (1-1, 5.40 ERA) taking the mound against Mike Minor (2-1, 3.10 ERA ) . This game if anything should give us something of an indication as to the direction of both teams and their undoubted ambitions for this year. For Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez and his managerial staff as they now doubt seek to redeem themselves after last September’s inexplicable meltdown by the team . That implosion led to the Braves missing the wildcard berth for the NL , which deservedly went to the eventual World Series champions the St Louis Cardinals . Those events if anything cast a giant shadow over the Braves’ organization and if anything showed that the inexperience of a young team at its core simply was unprepared.

This season if anything , the Atlanta Braves if they are to fare well , will have to meet head-on and defeat teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers. Easier said than done , however it tests such as this that will provide this team with the mettle it will undoubtedly need to succeed in the long-term. As I alluded to earlier Matt Kemp is off to an astounding start in the Majors . As of Tuesday , the player led his team in a number of offensive categories , batting .450, 27 hits, 9HR’s and 27 RBI’s . It’s pretty much safe to say that were there any real justice in the world of baseball then it would have been Kemp being named the NL MVP for last season rather than the Milwaukee Brewers’ …. Ryan Braun . But as we all know : hindsight is 50/50 and a bitch by any other name is still a bitch !

Beyond the prolific output of Kemp this season , we also have the player being ably abetted by teammates Andre Ethier , A J Ellis , Juan River and James Loney . This may not be the best that we will see out of this team but it certainly is now wetting the appetites of the Dodgers’ fans at this juncture . And while the Los Angeles’ pitching should not be overlooked with Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw , being a part of that pitching staff . It has to be said the ball-club now seems to be clicking on all cylinders . Kershaw , alongside , Kenley Jansen , Aaron Harang , Ted Lilly and Jay Guerra , have all created something special , of which I have no doubt that the new ownership group are thoroughly pleased with !

On the mound today for the Dodgers will be Ted Lilly (2-0, 0.69 ERA) facing Brandon Beachy (2-1, 0.47 ERA) of the Atlanta Braves . This game should make for a very interesting test of teams , given last night’s result which ended with a 4-3 victory for the Atlanta Braves .

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In light of the latest turn of events concerning the Los Angeles Dodgers who do you believe has to bear the brunt of the obvious mistakes , concerning the handling of the situation ? And do you as such, believe that there is enough transparency within the game as it relates to the business dealings of the teams ? Bear in mind although they are such private business concerns but by the largess of the state and city municipalities in which they operate , all of the ball-clubs within the game receive favorable tax allowances merely for operating within that municipality . Never mind the fact that in large part , the governmental agencies also tend to finance the venues in which teams reside and play , much to the detriment of their own infrastructures . Small market teams make out like thieves in the night but rarely do you hear anything to the contrary by those who claim to be knowledgeable in such matters ! . Needless to say , the team owners and MLB league hierarchy would rather keep “this gravy train running ” at the expense of the fans and public alike . While the elected officials in question , continue to make complete asses of themselves _____ kissing the ass of the sports’ franchise owners and their respective hierarchies . Simply chime in with your thoughts on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to subject matter . And as always , thanks for the continued support of this site as it greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Geithner, Bernanke, And Fuld Testify At House Hearing On Lehman Bankruptcy Former Lehman Brothers Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Fuld (L) and Thomas Cruikshank , former member of the Board of Directors and chair of Lehman Brothers Audit Committee, testify before the House Financial Services Committee about the collapse of Lehman Brothers April 20, 2010 in Washington, DC. Court-appointed bankruptcy examiner Anton Valukas’ report, published in March, refers to a Lehman tactic that temporarily shuffled about $50 billion off the firm’s balance sheet for the two fiscal quarters before it collapsed , making the investment bank look less indebted than it really was . Getty Images North America /Chip Smodevilla ….

(2) Lehman Brothers former Chairman and CEO Richard Fuld (L) talks with Harvey Miller , business finance and restructuring partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP , before the two men testify to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission about the roots and causes of the 2008 financial and banking meltdown in U.S. and worldwide markets on Capitol Hill September 1, 2010 in Washington, DC. The commission begins two days of questioning about how two specific financial companies, Wachovia and Lehman Brothers, failed and why some institutions were considered “too big to fail” while others were allowed to fail. Getty Images / Chip Smodevilla ……

(3) Magic Johnson ,left, and former MLB front office executive Stan Kasten are part of the consortium that purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers for a record $2.15 billion . Questions abound as to how the entire bidding process was actually dealt with by the presiding judge who as assisted by the investment advisory firm Blackstone Group. It is believed that Bud Selig may well have favored the ‘winning bid ‘ simply because of the price , rather than the others lodged with US Bankruptcy Courts in Delaware . There a still a number of questions that remained unanswered by Johnson and senior members of his syndicate which also includes Hollywood film producer Peter Guber and senior executives from Guggenheim Partners LLC . Rob Powell / AFP …..

(4) Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner , seen here speaking to members of the Senate Banking Committee up on Capitol Hill , Washington , DC , concerning the ailing banking industry . Geithner , was pointedly asked to explain why the likes of Lehman Bros and Wachovia Bank failed . His response was somewhat lackluster and plainly banal , much to the angst the empaneled members . Getty Images / Mark Wilson …..

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 25: Dee Gordon (9) of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after he couldn’t make a throw after making a diving stop on a ball that deflected off of pitcher Jay Guerra in the ninth inning against the Atlanta Braves on April 25, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Braves won 4-2. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …

(6) Closer Javy Guerra (54) of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts as Dan Uggla (26) of the Atlanta Braves comes in to score the Braves’ third run of the ninth inning on April 25, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Guerra was the losing pitcher as the Braves won 4-2. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …..

(7) Matt Kemp ( (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a solo home run in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves on April 25, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Braves won 4-2 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….=====================================================================================================================

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Maxwell …………… “Ascension ” from his seminal 1996 multi-platinum CD “Urban Hang Suite” . Music as it should be !

It Ain’t Baseball ’til There’s A Damn Screw Up …………

It Ain’t Baseball ’til There’s A Damn Screw Up …………

By tophatal ………

Well with the Spring Training Schedule within MLB off to its usual customary start it will be interesting to see how a number of teams acquit themselves during the month of March before baseball’s official opening day. Granted, we do know that the Seattle Mariners will be taking on the Oakland A’s in a two game series that will actually be played at the Tokyo Dome in , Tokyo Japan . This being an exercise viewed by Major League Baseball as part of its exercise in broadening the global appeal of the game especially within the Asian Pacific Basin . Bud Selig as the commissioner along with the league hierarchy and mlb team owners have long sought to broaden the game on the international landscape.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Baseball’s World Baseball Classic a tournament instigated by MLB in conjunction with the International Baseball Federation still seems to be a work in progress . And though it hasn’t helped that with the quadrennial tournament in full swing Team USA has had limited success in the international team competition . It now makes me wonder with the dominance of teams such as Cuba and Japan , it now appears that the long held thought that North America and its players were the dominant force on the international landscape . The World Series being what it is doesn’t translate across international borders that well , other than the fact that as a television event to the uninitiated , it gives those viewing the showcase event something of an idea as to how special baseball is amongst the fans domestically and within confines of Latin America .

I’m not one for prognostications at this point of the season to begin with , other than to suggest that the teams seeking to gain some semblance of consistency will use the preseason schedule of gaining confidence while assessing their new assignees ! With the number of free agents who were on the move this off-season and the increases and decreasing of team payrolls what else can now actually be said about the state of the game ? Not much I might hazard , as I seriously doubt that Bud Selig has ever gotten handle on the financial morass that the game continually faces . I mean who else but the commissioner could be in complete denial as to the mess that engulfed the Los Angeles Dodgers and now the New York Mets ? Even Stevie Wonder could have seen this fucking mess coming to the fore but somehow the league hierarchy were either in complete denial or felt that Frank McCourt , Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon had a complete handle on their respective ball-club’s problems .

If anything came as a surprise to the vast majority of fans during the final month of the season . Then it had to be the seismic meltdown by the Boston Red Sox and what that told you about the team and its complete lack of accountability and leadership. I mean how many half-assed Red Sox fans are there who actually felt that the Sox could go 7-21 in the month of September and still make to obtain the wildcard berth and get to the playoffs , much less win the AL East . Say nothing of which , the front office under the leadership of Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino then sought to make Terry Francona a scapegoat for the gutless overpaid players on the roster who simply underperformed when it mattered most .

With the departures of Epstein and Francona respectively , the Boston Red Sox starts afresh as they embark upon their 2012 preseason with a new manager and coaching staff in tow led by Bobby Valentine . And with Ben Cherington succeeding Theo Epstein as the general manager , personnel decisions will be entrusted to the young executive under the watchful eye of team President Larry Lucchino . Not all content with those upheaval the team roster was overhauled with some noted players being jettisoned by the organization . Most notably , there was Johnathan Papelbon who has found a new home with the Philadelphia Phillies with a richly rewarding four year contract . Some may think somewhat overly generous given the player’s failings for his former team last season .

This season for the Boston Red Sox certain players on the current roster will be closely scrutinized by the media and fans alike . Certainly Josh Beckett , David Ortiz , Jacoby Ellsbury , Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia have a great deal to prove . Most notably, the pitching staff whose woes were heightened during that final month of the regular season in 2011.

From an offensive standpoint the Red Sox should still be productive would be predicated upon the players being able to produce the form that they showed in the early part of last season . And amongst the teams within the AL East and baseball as a whole there’s a belief that the Red Sox will still have some issues that they haven’t clearly addressed during the off-season .

If the final month of 2011 proved anything , then it has to be that Joe Maddon is a damn genius ! What he was able to achieve with a staff highly motivated players who simply in terms of financial reward were of no match for the big market teams such as the Red Sox , New York Yankees , Philadelphia Phillies , Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels .

Tampa Bay Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg has made the decision to raise the team’s payroll from $42 million to $67 million this upcoming season . Team GM Andrew Friedman has used his time judiciously in assembling a roster that he believes to be competitive and enough of a challenge to the potential contenders within the AL East.

If there was one move that I felt that the Rays’ organization may well have made a mistake in , well that was in choosing to off-load veteran outfielder Johnny Damon . Not only losing the player’s productivity but the Rays not only also lost a vocal leader but also someone who commanded the respect of the young players on the roster .. And Damon was someone who led by example . If there’s something that I am looking forward to this season with regard to the Rays then it has to be that formidable starting rotation spearheaded by pitchers James Shields , David Price , Jeremy Hellickson and Wade Davis . If they can produce anywhere the productivity I believe them to be capable of then the AL East this season will be come real suspenseful in ways completely unimaginable .

I’ve not placed a great deal of faith in the Justice System as it relates to the ongoing issues concerning baseball ! We have had a dumb ass lab technician completely throw a monkey- wrench in the hierarchy’s case against NL MVP …. Ryan Braun . Only for an idiot like Bud Selig and his subordinate Rob Manfred would choose to question the veracity of the arbitrator’s (Shyam Das) ruling in favor of the player’s appeal of his 50 game mandated suspension in testing positive for a banned substance . . Never mind the fact that the US Justice Department has spent in excess of $20 million of taxpayers’ monies investigating the BALCO ” scandal” and then bringing about subsequent cases against Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens . Bonds having been found guilty on seven lesser counts still awaits sentencing . Clemens on the other hand , still awaits trial but has an ongoing case against his former personal trainer Brian McNamee for slander , defamation of character and libel . Good luck with that “Rocket” as you have thrown almost every member of your immediate family under the bus simply trying to prove your innocence . Andy Pettite sends “his love “ by the way .

Is there nothing that Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy can do right without shoveling themselves ever deeper into a ditch filled with fecal matter ? And please don’t have the temerity to suggest that the playoff expansion (10 team playoff format) will be good for the game when baseball refuses to deal with the most acute issue it faces ? If the financial imbalance of the teams as it relates to their finances and payroll doesn’t need addressing then it shows the complete stupidity of the hierarchy , team owners and the union (MLBPA) itself ! Ever increasing salaries and the mere fact that many of the top MLB agents in the sport have the owners and general managers and managers cowering like a virgin in a corner on prom-night knowing that her “cherry” is about to get “popped ” ! And the guy doing the “popping” just happens to be the eponymous sports’ agents . I don’t think that I can put it anymore succinctly than that !

It now looks as if the New York Mets are on the brink of being sunk without a damn trace . Yipee ! About damn time ! With a judgment now going against the organization it may force co-owners Saul Katz , Fred Wilpon and the Wilpon family in order to stave off financial ruin , as owners they may well now have to take baseball organization into bankruptcy proceedings (Chapter 11) within US Federal Bankruptcy Court . Federal Court Bankruptcy Judge Jed S. Rakoff has sided with the plaintiffs’ attorney Irving H Picard in a ruling that states the Mets owe $86 million of the initial $386 million sought after first rejecting the original …….. $1 billion claimed by Picard on the plaintiffs’ behalf that is believed to be ill-gotten gains received by the baseball organization over the past decade and a half from the billions of dollars (est. $57 billion [$57,000,000,000]) that are said to have been bilked from clients by former New York financier Bernard Madoff as part of his multi-billion dollar Ponzi Scheme .

Courtesy of The Mercury in conjunction with AP

Judge: N.Y. Mets owe up to $83M to Madoff trustee

By Larry Neumeister , Associated Press

NEW YORK — The New York Mets’ owners must pay up to $83 million to the trustee recovering money for Bernard Madoff investors, a judge said Monday, though he expressed doubt that the trustee will succeed in proving at a trial this month that he’s entitled to as much as $300 million more .

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff issued his four-page ruling to narrow the subject of a March 19 trial in Manhattan that results from Trustee Irving Picard’s effort to force the club’s owners to pay as much as $1 billion into a fund established to repay thousands of investors cheated of billions of dollars during Madoff’s decades-long fraud.

Last year, Rakoff had ruled that the team’s owners wouldn’t owe more than $386 million to other Madoff investors. He made it clear then that they would likely owe up to $83 million but said the trustee must prove that the Mets’ owners “willfully blinded” themselves to Madoff’s fraud to get more.
His ruling Monday determined that the exact amount up to $83 million won’t be left to the jury but will be decided by him in a future written decision, likely after he hears more from lawyers on both sides.
Rakoff rejected a request by lawyers for the Mets’ owners to say Picard wasn’t entitled to more money, a ruling that would have eliminated the need for the trial.
But he said he “remains skeptical that the trustee can ultimately rebut the defendants’ showing of good faith.”

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I’ve long held the position that Katz , Wlipon and the team’s COO Jeff Wilpon have been economical with the truth as it relates to this whole fiasco concerning the Mets and their dealings with Bernie Madoff ! Even when the rumblings as to the egregious actions of the financier were being laid bare , all three executives denied any culpability, even when there was evidence to the contrary . Now come full circle , and it appears that Radoff’s initial ruling as a precursor to the 19th March trial will go a long way in assisting Picard’s case as the trustee of the victims of Madoff’s fraudulent act . Never mind , suggesting the denials by Saul Katz , Fred Wilpon and Jeff Wilpon were built on falsehoods . In the midst of this all , Bud Selig has been nowhere to be found , simply insisting that he has been closely monitoring the situation in conjunction with baseball’s own in-house legal counsel . If that means he has been monitoring this all in the same he has held contention of his stewardship of the Dodgers’ fiasco while Frank McCourt was pillaging the coffers of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Then it would suggest that the commissioner has about as much common sense as someone juggling multiple incendiary devices , namely several grenades ! Well , Selig has always been a dumb ass to begin with so this would be something I could envisage him actually doing ! Kaboom ! Let the mother-##cker blow himself up and do us all a damn favor ! Word !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As a precursor to the official start of the regular season with Opening Day on the 4th April , are you making a keen observation of the Spring Training Schedule of your favorite team as a way of gauging their progress ? Also what do you hope to see from that ball-club ? With the ongoing issue of the New York Mets do you feel that the commissioner’s handling of the situation and that of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been dealt with , with due diligence ? By all means do take time to leave a comment as you see fit . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details for your perusal .
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(1) Oakland Athletics’ Jemile Weeks tosses out Los Angeles Angels’ Erick Aybar during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 5, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …

(2) Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia watches during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Monday, March 5, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Darron Cummings …..

(3) St. Louis Cardinals’ Shane Robinson , bottom, is out at second base as New York Mets shortstop Ronny Cedeno turns the double play during the first inning of a spring training baseball game , Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The Cardinals’ Skip Schumaker was out at first. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson … ….

(4) New York Mets introduce Sandy Alderson as the team’s new General Manager on Friday Oct. 29, 2010 in N.Y. Seated in the audience at the formal announcement are from left to right , Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon , Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon , senior managing partners who also happen to be co-owners of the baseball organization as well the investment firm also embroiled in a plaintiffs’ civil suit filed against the Mets and Sterling Equities Inc. AP Photo /Kathy Kmonicek …

(5) Boston Red Sox pitcher Clayton Mortensen , left, throws a strike to Baltimore Orioles’ Taylor Teagarden during the sixth inning of a spring training baseball game Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in Fort Myers, Fla. Boston won 5-4 . AP Photo/David Goldman …

(6) Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine , second from right, joins hands with team management during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday Dec. 1, 2011. From left to right are Red Sox President Larry Lucchino , General Manager Ben Cherington , Valentine, and majority owner John Henry . AP Photo/Charles Krupa ….

(7) Baltimore Orioles’ Xavier Avery , left, scores off a walk with bases loaded by Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb as Rays catcher Jose Molina , right, heads to the mound in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 5, 2012, in Port Charlotte, Fla. Baltimore won 3-1 . AP Photo/David Goldman …….

(8) Tampa Bay Rays’ Reid Brignac dives back to first base to beat the throw from Baltimore Orioles pitcher Brad Bergesen to Baltimore Orioles first baseman Wilson Betemit, left, during the third inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 5, 2012, in Port Charlotte, Fla. Baltimore won 3-1. AP Photo/David Goldman …….

(9) Manager Joe Maddon (70) of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at the Charlotte Sports Park on February 29, 2012 in Port Charlotte, Florida . Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images ……

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Kanye West ………… “Monster”

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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Slide show for your perusal .

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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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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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Picture & slide show details below
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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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MLB news

MLB postseason schedule ALCS & NLCS

MLB results 11th October 2011

Milwaukee Brewers — ( Yovani Gallardo ) — @ St Louis Cardinals ( Chris Carpenter ) Busch Stadium St Louis , Missouri ,. 12th October 2011

MLB teams’ postseason stats pitching ERA

MLB teams’ postseason stats BA

MLB postseason player stats

Batting average

Pitching ERA

Individual stats by league :

AL ……. Batting avg . …… Pitching …. ERA

NL …… Batting avg . ….. Pitching …. ERA