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.
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 With the Philadelphia Phillies having fired manager Charlie Manuel , who has subsequently been replaced by Ryne Sandberg as the ball-club`s interim manager until the end of the season.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 !
Picture gallery .
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Picture and slideshow details below .
(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 …..
This day in MLB history
2 Chainz … feat`g Pharrell ………. `Feds watching`