Lose Yourself ………

Lose Yourself …………

By tophatal ………

So baseball’s postseason finale has ended and the St Louis Cardinals reigns supreme over the baseball world . For manager Tony La Russa he joins a select band of managers to have won multiple World Series with one team and also having won in both the American and National Leagues . That asides it was a night for rejoicing within the city of St Louis and across the state of Missouri but most certainly for the ardent Cardinals’ fans who happened to have witnessed the team’s game seven triumph 6-2 over the Texas Rangers .

=================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

The Rangers for their part throughout the series had their chances to take the championship when they had it within their grasp. It all came to no avail as Ron Washington’s team simply had trouble putting away with the St Louis Cardinals . The offense during game seven for the Rangers was non existent as Nelson Cruz , Josh Hamilton and Michael Young simply offered nothing by way of productivity when it mattered most . But it would also be prudent to add that the bullpen of the Texas Rangers also played its part in this loss. Two consecutive appearances in the World Series for the Rangers and on both occasions the same end result , a loss for the team. This has to be a tremendous disappointment for the coaching staff , in particular for team president Nolan Ryan , general manager Jon Daniels and the entire front office of the organization .

For David Freese of the St Louis Cardinals he finds himself on the list of Cardinals’ legends who have been named World Series MVP . Certainly the out-fielder as a hometown hero can now look to his future with this organization as being one , where he may well never have to buy a drink again while he remains a player with the St Louis Cardinals . And while the fans now await the decision by the front office and in particular that of general manager John Mozeliak and the De Witt family as the proprietary owners of the ball-club and their willingness to re-sign Albert Pujols who’s now an unrestricted free agent.

Pujols in his postgame interview was quick to point out that all he was concerned with , was relishing the aftermath of the team’s latest —- triumph and his wish to be part of future postseason victories at the highest level of the game. If Freese was seen as the hero of this series for the St Louis Cardinals then most certainly Chris Carpenter cannot have been that far behind . His pitching performances throughout this series almost certainly guaranteed the team making it as far as they reached. Never mind the heroics of the team during the last day of the regular season . And we can all attest to the fact the failings of both the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox still reverberates around the game , most notably so within the front office of the Red Sox . With the departure of their former general manager Theo Epstein to the Chicago Cubs , the promotion of Ben Cherington as his successor and the organization’s decision in not extending Terry Francona’s contract . One can allude to the fact that this is now a time of upheaval within that particular organization. It remains to be seen what now transpires concerning the free agents on this Red Sox roster and the decisions that will be made by the front office executives and coaching staff.

Now with the free agency period for baseball set to commence at midnight Monday 31st October it remains to be seen what moves will be made by the respective general managers and teams around the league as they seek to make themselves better for the upcoming season . We have already seen where the Philadelphia Phillies have chosen not to pick up the options on pitchers Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt . GM Reuben Amaro Jr. and the coaching staff will no doubt seek to bolster the roster through free agent acquisitions and quite possibly assessing their farm system and prospects .

Courtesy of MLB.com

La Russa announces his retirement as skipper

Steps down after three titles in 33 seasons, 16 with Cardinals

By Joey Nowak of MLB.com

Tony La Russa, the third-winningest manager in Major League history and most assuredly a future Hall of Famer, announced his retirement as a manager on Monday, fewer than three days after winning a World Series for the third time in his 33-year career, the past 16 of them with the Cardinals.

The surprising announcement was made during a Monday morning news conference at Busch Stadium.

“There isn’t one [factor] that dominates [my decision],” La Russa said. “They all just come together telling you your time is over.

“We went through the season and I felt that this just feels like it’s time to end it and I think it’s going to be great for the Cardinals to refresh what’s going on here.”

He said that he’d made his decision to retire in August, informing general manager John Mozeliak at that time. He said he told his coaching staff of his decision on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to what’s ahead,” La Russa said. “I’m ready to do something different.”

La Russa, 67, steps down with 2,728 managerial victories, ranking behind only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). Only Mack has managed in more ballgames. The Cardinals skipper is also the only manager in Major League Baseball history to win multiple pennants in both leagues and the second to win a World Series title in each, as well.

La Russa’s Oakland A’s won the World Series in 1989. Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson won World Series titles with Cincinnati and Detroit. The Cardinals’ championship was their second in the past six seasons.

La Russa said that he did not consider continuing in order to get the 36 wins he would have needed and pass McGraw on the all-time list.

——————————————————————————————————————————–
Click on link shown to view .

===========================================================================================

From my own perspective I cannot see how the St Louis Cardinals can be a success without Albert Pujols within their midst . It would be an economical and competitive suicide on the part of the of this organization. And anyone who believes that to be the contrary would either have to be a complete idiot or simply having come off a highly addictive opiate ! The player is not only the heart and soul of this team but also its vocal leader . The interpretations are there for all to see and as the player goes , so does the rest of this team . If one man is said to mean so much to an organization , then surely one man such as Pujols himself , knows what he means to the St Louis Cardinals ? . As a three time league MVP the player is now laying down a legacy for himself that will surely place in Cooperstown , New York as an enshrinee within the Hall of Fame .

Albert Pujols can now certainly lay claim that he might well be the most popular , if not the best Cardinals’ player to have donned their uniform. As the player lays claim not only to team records but also rewrites the records within the game itself it remains to be seen , what , if any decision will be made as to Pujols’ immediate future . It seems almost inconceivable to think that the player could very well be donning another uniform at the start of the 2012 season . But such are the vagaries of the game that until the league hierarchy , owners and union are all on the same page as to some sort financial constraints then we may well continue to see players simply departing from a team merely because the owners simply cannot meet a player’s financial demands .

As to the future of the Texas Rangers psychologically they may well recover but the indignity of suffering to consecutive World Series’ losses has me wondering how any organization can truly recover something like ! It has been done before but clearly this was not something that either Nolan Ryan or Jon Daniels could have envisaged . The Rangers’ team president was very gregarious with his pronouncement that the team would win the series in six game but never over the course of the World Series had his team simply shown that they had the upper hand over the St Louis Cardinals . And it certainly had to have occured players such as Josh Hamilton , Michael Young , Elvis Andrus , Colby Lewis and Derek Holland that if they were to prevail over their opponents then beating them at Busch Stadium had to be done , and be done with expediently and with malice. The biggest chink in the armor of the Texas Rangers over the course of the postseason but in particular this World Series has been the inconsistency of the bullpen . When it mattered most the players simply failed to deliver , therein now lies the story which sealed the fate of this team. The organization now goes into the offseason looking to shore up this team by whatever means necessary and given the financial resources now at Jon Daniels’ disposal I doubt that he will have any problems seeking the players he believes can make this organization a great deal more competitive ! The first order of business for the general manager has to be whether or not to re-sign Colby Lewis who becomes a free agent in the offseason.

Inasmuch as I have enjoyed this series I have to admit that while enthralling it has been nowhere as scintillating as the press would have us believe . Truth be known , the events as they have unfolded we were simply being led to believe that this would all be one big suspenseful event . Clearly that was not the case ! Game’s five and six may well have been the only games in this series that clearly had us all in awe , whereas the other five games were merely stocking fillers and not much beyond that !

=============================================================================


=============================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

What impressions do you have not only of the MLB postseason but also the regular season as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

tophatal ……………..

Picture and slide show details .
===================================================================================================

(1) FILE – In this Oct. 25, 2011 file photo, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa smiles as he answers a question during a news conference, in St. Louis. Three days after winning the World Series, La Russa is retiring. The 67-year-old manager announced his retirement at a news conference Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(2) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 30: Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in a parade celebrating the team’s 11th World Series championship October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images …….

(3) Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in the World Series victory parade for the franchise’s 11th championship on October 30th in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images ….

(4) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 30: of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in the World Series victory parade for the franchise’s 11th championship on October 30th in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images ……

(5) Third baseman David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals addresses the crowd inside Busch Stadium on October 30, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images …..

=====================================================================================================

MLB news

MLB World Series & results

St Louis Cardinals news

St Louis Cardinals front office

St Louis Cardinals roster depth chart

St Louis Cardinals coaching staff

MLB transactions

MLB transactions post deadline 1st November 2011

Texas Rangers news

==================================================================================

Eminem …………..” Lose Yourself ” . Perhaps this song best represents what went wrong for the Texas Rangers over the course of the postseason ?

Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Thanks For The Memories …………. But No Thanks !

Can answer be found for the utter stupidity now being shown by both the NFL , the owners and that of the NFLPA . It now appears the line that couldn’t be crossed has been as Commissioner Roger Goodell , NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union’s executive committee seems to be now at a point where no one seems to be making any sense. Both sides claim that they want there to be a 2011-12 season but it’s becoming abundantly clear that scenario isn’t about to happen anytime soon. An NFL imposed lockout and labor stoppage will lead to a cataclysmic problem for the NFL from a financial standpoint and that of their major corporate sponsors. It has been estimated that each week of the regular season schedule of the NFL brings in an estimated $ 300 million in gross revenues for the league . And less we forget the postseason reaps an even bigger bonanza for all concerned .

========================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=======================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

What might now be a cause for concern will be the fate of the unrestricted free agents that will come to the market in the offseason. Any lockout leaves those players in limbo without an existing contract and as such without a team . And while we know that the NFL Draft will still take place the contention of the league is that process goes ahead without any hindrance. At what point does the idiocy stop with regard to the demeanor of the league’s hierarchy and the union itself. Both parties seem to be self serving and completely oblivious to the image created for the fans . Each side has seen fit to produce their own ads portraying their situation from their own standpoints but in reality the discerning NFL fan out there isn’t concerned with what they want or think. All the fans want to know is that there will be an NFL season to be played rather than a league imposed lockout. And while the House Oversight Committee watches from afar you simply get the feeling that they’d like to wade into this issue and leave their own mark on it all.

Courtesy of ESPN

Roger Goodell: Latest talks ‘beneficial’

ESPN.com news service

Dallas — Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Drew Brees were among the star players who attended a negotiating session between the NFL and players’ union Saturday, league sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

While it is not unusual for players to occasionally sit in on negotiations, the presence of Manning was a surprise and is an early indication that the union is successfully getting the support of its superstar quarterbacks. During the 1987 players strike and subsequent labor strife, several of the league’s star passers broke union ranks by signing licensing rights with the NFL which weakened the union revenue pool.

Manning was also joined at Saturday’s meeting by Brees, who has been an activist as the team’s player representative. Sources did not reveal if any players spoke during the negotiating session but their presence was considered symbolic, at the very least. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was named the NFL’s MVP on Sunday for the 2010 season, also has been an outspoken pro-union player rep.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the two-hour meeting with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” Goodell said.

“My focus is on the next three or four weeks,” Goodell said. “I’ve often said, our agreement expires on March 4th. We have to use that period of time to reach an agreement that’s fair for the players, fair for the clubs, and allows our great game to grow for our fans.”

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labor talks. Goodell also addressed the NFL’s labor issues on Sunday in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning”.

=======================================================
Click on link show to read this article in full.

======================================================

Given Smith’s background and the fact that he worked in DC with the litigation firm Patton Boggs LLC , I’d say that the union’s Executive Director’s circle of friends within Washington could very well be in his corner . The NFL not to be outdone have their own supporters up on Capitol Hill and the very fact that they’ve their body of lobbyists pleading their case there within Congress and the Senate has me believing that the NFL’s hierarchy is in this for the long haul even with the financial mayhem that’s bound to follow. Words fail me at this juncture as to how the two sides can’t seem to find their way to come to an amicable resolution when a $9 billion a year industry is at risk ?

The broadcast networks ABC/ESPN , Fox , CBS and NBC aren’t going to be entirely happy with this outcome should the two sides not be able to come to an amicable solution. From their standpoint they clearly won’t be happy to the fact of the loss tv viewership ad revenue . And let’s not forget the NFL stadiums around the league that will stay empty around the NFL should there be a lockout ? And what might be even more telling would be the loss in terms of the economic impact each week brings to the cities concerned when an NFL game takes place. This situation has become so acute that it’s hard not see there not being a fallout on such a seismic scale that it won’t undercut the economic impact on those communities.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft , Jerry Jones and Woody Johnson of the New York Jets had all provided the public with statements stating they believed that a compromise could be reached . But obviously the league had forgotten to make the owners aware that their private thoughts and their public stance weren’t in line with this triumvirate. In terms of open transparency the NFL is not unlike of that of MLB , NASCAR , the NBA , NHL and MLS in the fact that they never choose to open their finances up for public scrutiny. And with each of these having been given antitrust exemption courtesy of Congress it’s clear to see why the league would rather not let that happen.

The league has sought concessions from the NFLPA requesting a give back initially of $1 billion annually from off the top of the gross revenues over the next seven years . But that’s just the topping for many of the other concessions sought by the owners and Goodell. And it’s easy to see why the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae have been averse to these and many of the other concessions sought by the NFL hierarchy. The league states one thing while the union has another idea as to what the NFL really wants and that’s specifically to add to their coffers while not acquiescing to any additional financial rewards sought by the players.

Courtesy of The Nation

DeMaurice Smith: On an NFL Lockout and Inspiration from Egypt

By Dave Zirin

There is no form of entertainment in this country more popular than football, and there is no one, save Barack Obama, being scrutinized more closely these days than DeMaurice Smith . Smith heads the National Football League’s Players Association—a union that’s being threatened with being locked out unless players give back substantial amounts in wages and agree to lengthen the season to 18 games. NFL players make large sums of money but risk a lifetime of physical debilitation and the average career lasts only 3.5 years. Owners are banking on the fact that players, with their short window to make money, will cave to every demand. Smith is banking on something bigger: a sense of history, sacrifice, and community that’s bigger than sports.

I spoke with Smith last Friday, the day after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell walked away from the table during negotiations. I asked Smith, on a scale of one to ten, whether he felt there would be a lockout. “On a scale of one to ten, it’s still 14,” he said. “We’re preparing our guys for the worst, we’re hoping for the best. I’m going to keep negotiating. We’ve got our guys on standby right now to be virtually anywhere in the country whenever they want to talk. That’s the way we’re going to roll. I’ve told them that we’re going to negotiate day and night until we get it done, but it takes two.”

Smith is negotiating with—or trying to negotiate with—some of the most powerful, politically connected corporate actors in the United States. Their reach truly inspires awe. When the NFLPA produced a television ad in an effort to garner fan support, the networks first agreed and then refused to air it, presumably after pressure exerted by the league. DeMaurice Smith deemed the censorship “stunning.”

You might think, faced with such power, this would make him pessimistic about the prospects for players, but Smith finds himself inspired by events far removed from the world of football.

=======================================================

Click on the link shown to read this article in its entirety.

=======================================================

If the NFL isn’t prepared to look at their own financial template on a regular basis then how will they be able to recognize the fact that along the way there has to adjustments made that can be dealt with by the interested parties in a manner befitting of each where they actually have trust in one another. And that’s clearly not the case here between the NFL and the NFLPA ! Neither side at this juncture have shown that they can either be trusted much less the fact that they can be openly honest with one another. Each side seeks the public’s empathy and I think that as of now the fans and general public aren’t overly interested in what either side has to say ….. other than perhaps them stating that there won’t be a lockout or labor stoppage .

==============================================================================

==============================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

Now as an avid fan of the NFL I’ll say this, a lockout would to my mind be a mistake that won’t be of any help to either side . The goodwill that the league and union felt that they had amongst the fans is now hanging tenuously by a single thread . Their mistake is that they’re of the fans believe that they really care ………… the fact of the matter is the vast majority of the fans simply no longer care ! The league and the unions continue shoot themselves in the foot and will continue to do so now for the foreseeable future. The March 4th deadline for both sides to get a deal done before the current collective bargaining expires is not that far off but at the same time both Goodell and Smith act as if they have all the time in the world at their disposal , but it could in reality time is of the essence given the fact that the two sides only met for the second time twice in the last three months trying to work out a deal.

Should there be a lockout within the NFL what thoughts if any do you have and how do you envision this whole scenario panning out ? Simply proffer up your thoughts on the matter .

Picture and slide show details below.

——————————————————————-

(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has until March 3 to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association and executive director DeMaurice Smith.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt …….

(2) NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks during the NFL Players Association press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 3, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Scott Halleran / Getty Images North America ……….

(3) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, Rob Manfred, executive vice president of labor and human resources in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball, NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, Michael Weiner, general counsel for the Major League Baseball Players Association, Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Gabriel Feldman, associate professor of law and director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and Jeffrey Standen, professor of law at the Willamette University College of Law (L-R), testify on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. The hearing focused on doping in professional sports. Getty Images North America / Brendan Hoffman ………..

——————————————————————-

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

————————————————————————————————-

Eye candy ……….. Rosa Acosta . Doesn’t she make a slice of watermelon look ever so enticing ?

Rosa Acosta 1

What’s not to like about this side of Rosa Acosta ?

=====================================================================

Bones Thugs-N-Harmony …………… “First of The Month”

================================================================

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Exuberance or just sheer stupidity on the part of the London Stock Exchange and that of the UK Takeover Panel. It could well be that they’ve not been made fully aware, as to the financial maneuvers of many of the prospective bidders for English Premiership League clubs ? And over the last five years there has been a swath of purchases made by prominent US businessman. Many of them viewed their purchases as a safe investment or just as a way of hiding taxable assets away from the prying eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff is seen here arriving at US Federal District Court in Manhattan. Madoff pled guilty and was duly sentenced to 150 years in prison for his Ponzi scheme which is said to have defrauded his clients to the tune of $50 billion ($50,000,000,000).

One hundred and fifty years seems too small a price to pay, considering the financial havoc reaped upon families and financial institutions across the globe. But then again, how is that the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) could be so unaware as to the extent of this massive financial fraud ? Especially when on numerous occasions it had been brought to their attention that something was indeed wrong with many of Madoff’s financial dealings in the markets. But it’s as I’ve always alluded to, when you have no one with any common sense or a comprehensive understanding of the financial market and its vagaries. Then the abuses and fraudulent acts will continue to be commissioned unabated !

Christopher Cox who at the time of the Madoff saga, as well as the Enron escapade , was the Chairman of the SEC.Cox seen here, addressing members of the Senate Banking Committee up on Capitol Hill,Washington D.C. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Martin Pressman ……..

And it certainly hasn’t elicited the public’s trust when you continually hear the excuse behind the SEC’s mishandling of this all came down to the fact that they were under undue pressure just to look at small transactions to see if anything was awry. But what also is even more preposterous is the excuse that they were under staffed. We can spend billions sending rockets into space but we can’t hire several financial accountants and corporate tax attorneys to the benefit ot this one particular government agency to safeguard the public’s financial health and interests ? If that isn’t asinine, then pardon me for saying this,but the SEC is deserving of the ridicule and the attention that it received .

And while I’m for the free movement of capital and the creation of jobs in order to strengthen an economy. What I’m dead set against are the creation of tax shelters and financial maneuverings that take place in order to circumvent the sovereign laws of the land. Time and time again I here many out there complaining about the government raising their taxes. But I hear, not one complaint when the likes of Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, Bernie Ebbers or Andrew Fastow and Kenneth Lay. All have essentially wreaked just as much havoc, if not more on the lives of millions of people. All that bellyaching, as if the government are the only fu_king bunch of crooks out there ? When essentially,you’ve got major corporate boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies littered with ne’r do wells and fraudsters up and down the country doing more harm than any apparent good. And it would now appear that many of them are moving out of the boardrooms and unto the playing fields of nation and beyond.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA , NASCAR, MLS and indeed the English Premiership League (EPL) in Britain, have fairly rigorous financial criteria that has to be met before a prospective buyer can purchase a team. Thereafter, once they’ve met that criteria and the board of governors is in agreement with the prospective sale of the team. Then the purchaser essentially becomes the new owner of a sports franchise. And it now becomes in some respects, nothing more than a petty bauble that they’ll show off to their like minded wealthy colleagues and social acquaintances.

In the United Kingdom (UK) , many of the soccer clubs in the Premiership are actually publicly listed companies. And the directors of those clubs have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to safeguard and act in their best interests. Something that’s not always been done by several of the owners in recent memory. And in order for a team that’s publicly listed to be taken over. The prospective bidder for those shares of the team, has to be in compliance with the act of the Takeover Panel. Wherein,upon purchasing 30% of the shares of a club they have to make the panel and the LSE fully aware, as to their intentions.

I bring this particular topic to the foreground , in light of the fact that a number of teams across a widening array of sports now seem to have found themselves in a severe financial crisis. Much of it brought about by themselves and in some cases, it has merely come down to the fact that the world is in an economic downturn. Which will affect how one spends their discretionary disposable income. It has began to hit home for a number of team in all sectors of the sports world. The NBA and many of it franchises face a severe financial crisis. Albeit, that the league’s commissioner, David Stern would have you believe otherwise. And that the health of the game has never been better in terms of its brand and marketing. That may well be all well and good. But the bottom line for many of the franchises of the NBA isn’t as healthy as they once were. Declining revenues by away smaller attendances for game and less money being spent on concessions and memorabilia at their games. And you have something of a ‘perfect storm’ within your midst.

If you thought that the NBA was only the sport where this was happening, then think again. In the case of NASCAR, supposedly the most fan and media friendly sport in North America. Attendance is down across the board by over 8% and the viewership on a year to year basis, has declined in excess of 23 % over the last four years alone. The NBA has had to delve into the capital markets to the tune of $250 million in the last fiscal year in order to ensure the financial well being of several of their franchises. And the extent of the situation is becoming even more acute by the minute.

Uber-agent Scott Boras  , seated left and  perhaps  his most  high profiled   major league client ,  Alex Rodriguez.  Over  the  course  of  his  career  Boras  negotiated  contracts  said  to  be  worth  in  excess  of  $ 4.8 billion .  And  he was at the  center  of the  most  acquisitions made by  the  Yankees in that  of Mark Teixiera  and  A J Burnett ,  two  more of his  clients.   Of the  ten highest  paid  players  in the  game ,  six of those are   clients  of  Scott Boras.     picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Hugh MacIntosh  ..............................................

Uber-agent Scott Boras, seated left and perhaps his most high profiled major league client, Alex Rodriguez. Over the course of his career Boras negotiated contracts said to be worth in excess of $ 4.8 billion. And he was at the center of the most recent acquisitions made by the New York Yankees ,in that of Mark Teixiera and A. J. Burnett, two more of his clients. Of the ten highest paid players in the game , six of those are clients of Scott Boras. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Hugh MacIntosh ………

Bud Selig and Major League Baseball suffer from the misbelief that because the New York Yankees lifted this year’s World Series crown, then the game of baseball happens to be in a healthy state ? What Selig still fails to get , is that the teams in the mid to smaller markets have to scrimp and save every last red cent, merely to make ends meet. Much less survive the ordeal of having to play a 162 game regular season schedule. Hey Bud, So Zach Greinke wins the AL Cy Young Award ? What’s the bet, two years from now he’s gone from the Kansas City Royals ? If not sooner ? Simply put, because of your intransigence and that vulture, Scott Boras. The game of baseball is in a quagmire and in the true sense of the word until you and your hierarchy sits down with the players and resolve the issue concerning the escalating salaries. Then there’ll continue to be distrust amongst the two vested parties. Never mind the fact that the fans of the game can’t trust you or anyone within the MLBPA, to begin with. You keep on blowing smoke up some people’s ass and clearly you and Scott Boras are out of touch with the harsh economic realities of the present. But just you keep on going as you are and you’ll be in for a very rude awakening !

In the UK, where the pre-eminent sport played , is that of soccer. The clubs now are slowly waking up to stark a reality and that essentially applies clubs within the Premiership (EPL). Giants such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have suddenly began to realize that you can no longer buy way your way to success. Especially when your revenues are declining because of economic and inflationary fears. Teams are now having to be frugal with regard to their budgets.

Tom Hicks (right) and  to his  business partner George Gillett Jr , owners  of the  Premiership  soccer club  Liverpool FC. The  co-owners  are  now  said  to be  feeling  the  brunt  of the  anger  from  Liverpool's  fans  as they're  said  to  be  considering  selling  the  team's best  player , Fernando Torres.  Much  to  the  chagrin  of the  team's   coach, Rafael  Benitez.  The coach  has let it  be  known  that  should  the  team  sell  Torres.  Then  he  too  will   quit  the  club  immediately.   Much  of this problem  has  been  created  by  the  financial  maneuvering  of the  owners  as   they've  laden  the  club  with  an  excessive  amount  of   debt.     picture  appears  courtesy  of  dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty  ..................
Tom Hicks (right) and to his business partner George Gillett Jr , owners of the Premiership soccer club Liverpool FC. The co-owners are now said to be feeling the brunt of the anger from Liverpool's fans as they're said to be considering selling the team's best player , Fernando Torres. Much to the chagrin of the team's coach, Rafael Benitez. The coach has let it be known that should the team sell Torres. Then he too will quit the club immediately. Much of this problem has been created by the financial maneuvering of the owners as they've laden the club with an excessive amount of debt. picture appears courtesy of dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty ..................

As I’d alluded to earlier a number of teams have seen their fortunes change for the better. While many others have not been as fortunate in that endeavor. Teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea , Manchester United and Liverpool to name but a few,have had a change in ownership over the past five years. They’ve either been bought outright , or used as an investment vehicle for their new owners. However, the financial maneuvers that led to a great many of those deal are now coming into question. And nowhere now is this more apparent now,than with what is transpiring in the hallways and boardrooms of both Liverpool and Manchester United.And the case of Liverpool it is now creating an impasse between the team’s coach, Rafael Benitez and the ownership group of Texas businessmen, George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Fernando Torres  and   Liverpool  coach  Rafael  Benitez (right)  seen  here  at   Anfield  ,  home   of Liverpool FC  .  picture  appears courtesy   dailymail.co.uk/  Ian  Hodgson  ..............
Fernando Torres and Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez (right) seen here at Anfield , home of Liverpool FC . picture appears courtesy dailymail.co.uk/ Ian Hodgson ..............

The relationship between coach and owner has become strained as there have been rumblings that the owners who are desperately in need of cash to meet financial obligations to their financiers (bankers) – are seeking to sell one team’s best players in,Fernando Torres. And this has come much to the dismay of Benitez as well as the loyal fans of the team. But what is also becoming more apparent is the financial stability and viability of the club. It has been laden with a great deal of debt and even though Gillett and Hicks bought the club for in excess $900 million. Much of that money was raised through leveraging the assets of the team with a minimal cash infusion by Gillett and Hicks. Payments on that debt has to be made on time and invariably the owners haven’t been forthcoming as to the balance sheet of the club and its present status.

There are no sobering thought processes here, as to the financial mismanagement of a sports franchise. But invariably,whenever there’s said to be a problem. The fans are always the last to know and the first to find out, how much it may well invariably end up costing them.And it is no different,with the situation facing the Manchester United and that of its owners the Glazer family, headed by their patriarch, Malcolm Glazer. The family also owns the NFL franchise, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though the legacy of success with the soccer club hasn’t abated. For the NFL franchise , success has been few and far between. At present they may well be the worse ran and possibly the worst team in the NFL. Their futility alone this year, has many reminiscing about the early years of the franchise when they were woefully inept. And mere mention of the Buccaneers’ name more often than not was greeted with laughter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers had seen a great deal of upheaval in the offseason, with the firing of former coach, Jon Gruden and General Manager, Bruce Allen. Installed to replace them were first year coach, Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik, as the new general manager. And the inexperience has shown with the duo Dominik and Morris, by way of the blunders made with the team’s roster , lack of experience,both on and off the field . And the mere fact that there’s no team leadership forthcoming from anyone on the team. And that includes such seasoned veterans as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow.

Patriarch  Malcolm  Glaze (center)  and   two of his  sons Joel  (right) and  Brian  , far  left  , seen here  attending   a  Premiership  league  game   at Old  Trafford ,   Manchester  United's  home   venue .   picture appears  courtesy  of    dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony  Hodgins  .................
Patriarch, Malcolm Glaze (center) and two of his sons Joel (right) and Brian , far left , seen here attending a Premiership league game at Old Trafford , Manchester United's home venue . picture appears courtesy of dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony Hodgins .................

When the family first bought the Premiership club , it was felt it would be of benefit to both organizations. The universal appeal of United , who are seen as the soccer world’s answer to the New York Yankees. As the success of both franchises is unrivaled and unparalleled . However , what has gone down within the inner workings of both franchise borders on either stupidity, or the mere fact that this is all being done with some sort of greater objective in mind. Manchester United having been bought for $1.5 billion dollars, though much of it was in the form of a leveraged buyout (LBO). It is still saddled with a debt of over $1.15 billion dollars, bearing in mind that there’s accruing interest and the slow amortization of the debt. The family has seen fit to act with a great deal of secrecy that when questioned on their financial situation. The answers have been either fleeting or mono-syllabic.

Things may very well change as UEFA,the governing body of soccer throughout Europe seeks to enact a strong set of rules governing the operational and financial viability of a team. But this will only pertain to teams participating or who in the future seek to participate in any of its club competitions. This may well change the face of soccer not only domestically in the UK but also across the continent of Europe.

As contrived as it might appear to be , I do feel that a number of franchise owners merely treat their teams as a bauble to be paraded as a way of showing off their wealth and ostentatiousness. Never mind the fact that if the franchises are part of a community, then its citizens ought not to feel shutout when they tend to show some interest in the team beyond the field of play. It’s as if some of these sports franchise owners are no different from many of the corporate wheelers and dealers that’ve brought the country to its knees. Almost as if it is crawling on all fours, begging like a homeless vagrant for a morsel of food.

Trust me I’m a doctor and the owners are merely all about the money and the chicks are just free !

Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’ also featuring Sting. Lyrics by Mark Knopfler.

Likes And Dislikes When It Comes To Sports …………….

Some sports I could watch to my heart’s content ! Whilst others , I just can’t stand in any shape or form . Much as I can’t stand the NHL ,as seemingly the action all gets caught up in the fact that the players in essence are either out there at times,trying to decapitate each other. Or they’re ready start a fight at the drop of a hat. Penalty minutes and all of the so called brouhaha that’s associated with the sport. I simply, just don’t get it !

Alexander  Ovechkin (#8) of the  Washington  Capitals  often  described  as  the  best player  in the  NHL battles  for  the  puck  against  the  Columbus Blue Jackets'  Jason Chimer  (#25) in  game   played the  Verizon  Center  in  Washington  DC.    picture  appears courtesy  of   getty images/ Greg  Fiume  ..............

Alexander Ovechkin (#8)of the Washington Capitals battles the Columbus Blue Jackets Jason Chimera (#25) for the puck in a game played at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Greg Fiume ……..

But also, is it me ? A game goes into overtime after both teams are tied at the end of the regulation period and both teams attain a point because of that ? What sort of incentive is that for a team anyway ? Nonetheless there are fans out there who eat ,breathe and live for the sport of hockey. Not I , said the fly ! As physical as the game is , I still believe that when compared the game of rugby , it fall short in terms of the real physical aggression and the imposing of your will on an opponent. And besides the guys playing wear nowhere near as much protection as the guys playing professional hockey. What’s more the rugby players are just as physically imposing as the hockey players of the NHL, if not more so.

The Lowes' Chevrolet (#48)  of  points'  leader  Jimmie Johnson  pits  during  the  NASCAR Sprint  Cup  event   Amp  Energy  500  from  Talladega  Superspeedway , in Alabama ,.     picture  appears  courtesy of getty images/ Chris  Graythern  .............

The Lowes’ Chevrolet (#48) points’ leader Jimmie Johnson pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup race , the AMP Energy 500 from Talladega Superspeedway , in Alabama. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Chris Graythern ………..

For all of the vagaries of the sport of NASCAR and the throngs of fans that are entirely devoted to watching these monstrous metallic beasts encircle an oval track repeatedly. Unless, I’m mistaken there’s something inherently awry with the sport. Granted , it’s a grand spectacle, if watching a race live at the venue , then it becomes a scintillating exercise to be a part of. Especially when these vehicles are traveling in excess of 200 mph down a straightway before having to make a right turn and brake hard with the precision of a locomotive having to come to an almost immediate stop. The adrenalin rush that it creates for the driver and the fans , can be quite exhilarating . Never mind the fact that it’s said to the crash that draws the fans to such an event. And for the super fast tracks such as, Daytona and Talladega Super Speedway . Well, these are the tracks where the most excitement can be obtained and in essence more bang for your buck . Pardon that , but there’s meant to be no pun intended.

I feel compelled to watch some of the races but honestly , I’m not a big devotee of the sport ! I can tell you the names of several of the drivers within the top ranks of the sport , which happens to be the Sprint Cup Series . And along with the very fact that for much of the time many of the races seem unendurably long and tedious. More often than not , that’s because for some needless reason there tends to be one pile up after another with ever increasing regularity. And when in essence it’s merely 43 high powered vehicles repeatedly making left turn , left turn , one after another. Let’s just say , that the momentum from the perceived excitement, just isn’t there. It’s simply akin to watching grains of sand fall through an hourglass. Tedious or what ?

Formula 1 World  Champion  Jenson Button  celebrates  his  third  place  finish    at the  Abu  Dhabi  Grand  Prix  as the  Yas  Marina  Circuit  in Abu  Dhabi     .       Button   is   a  first  time  winner  of  the  world championship   and  has become  the  second  consecutive  British   driver  to win  the  championship  in the  last  two  years.   He succeeds  Lewis   Hamilton  who  became  the  first  black  driver to  win  the   prestigious   title.       picture  appears   courtesy  of  reuters/  Steve  Crisp  .........

Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button celebrates his third place finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi,. Button is a first time winner of the championship and has become the second consecutive British driver to win the championship in the last two years. He succeeds Lewis Hamilton who became the first black driver to win the prestigious title in 2008. picture appears courtesy of reuters/ Steve Crisp ……..

For myself , the thrill of watching motorsports came from watching the races on the Formula 1 Grand Prix Circuit . And even though the races there are favored road course events. The prerequisite skills required by the drivers are very much in a similar vein to that of their counterparts within NASCAR. And with the sport’s governing body Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) being of the a disposition to make their events much more popular and internationally relevant. This is the primary reason why I tend to veer towards the races that take place within this genre of racing. It’s fast , it’s exciting and most of all the races aren’t always convoluted with the spectacle of repeated crashes or stoppages for cautions from pieces of debris falling from a race car. That’s something that tends to be the norm within the realms of NASCAR, more often than not.

Pele`  seen  here  as    member of    the  New  York  Cosmos   of the  NASL

Pele`seen here as a member of the New York Cosmos of the NASL. The league at its inception in 1968 lasted for 17 years. But then folded in 1985, with its last champions being the Chicago Sting in 1984. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/archive/soccer ….

>

Love it ,or hate it, soccer is the predominant sport played on the planet. That being said, I have to ask myself what is it that makes the vast number of US sports’ fans so oblivious to the sport of soccer ? I understand America’s proclivity for wanting to be competitive and be dominant in every international sporting event that it participates in. But given the fact , that its desires upon the sport stems from the fact that if they’re not dominant in it. Then, it bears no interest to them or to the social graces that comes with being an ardent fan of the sport. Perhaps , much of this stems from the very fact that at the height of the seventies , when a number of international soccer stars were lured stateside for vast amounts of money. Well , the game and what it represented , the U.S was place to be seen. And at the height of the euphoria surrounding the game here in North America. The venue to be seen at was at the home venue of the New York Cosmos , with its litany of world class international superstars. At that time, no star was more widely known than that, of Brazil’s Pele’ . In many people’s eyes, the greatest soccer player the world has ever seen, or will ever see.

The  New  York  Cosmos  line up  prior  to an  NASL  match  held at  Giants  Stadium  , East Rutherford ,  New  Jersey .   At  the  time  Pele'  was  one  14 international   players on  the  Cosmos  roster.   There  weren't   any  rules  in   place   limiting  the  number  of  international  players  a  team  could  have  at  its  disposal   for  a  game.    picture appears  courtesy  afp/  Paul  Wright  ...........

Pele’ seen here the sixth player from the left is lined up alongside his New York Cosmos teammates prior to an NASL match played at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey. picture appears courtesy of afp/Paul Wright …..

With the inception of the North American Soccer League (NASL) and the governing board’s proclivity for wanting the brightest and the best that the game had to offer by way of international talent. No stone was left unturned in terms of money to lure the likes of Pele` , Giorgio Chinaglia , Franz Beckenbauer , Johann Cryuff , Graeme Souness, Hugo Sanchez, Gerd Muller , Rodney Marsh , Marinho` and a slew of other world class , who all inked their name on the dotted line. And the financial rewards for the top stars ? Well it was immense .

Fast forward to today and with the demise of the NASL . We now have the MLS and its sundry of players , primarily native born . But amongst them also are a number of international stars and some nationalized citizens, who’ve made the US their home. But nowhere is there the dearth of world class stars that once graced soccer here, as of now. OK , so fan favorite David Beckham of the Los Angeles Galaxy was lured here to try and make the sport relevant amongst a certain type of male demographic. But as of yet that hasn’t really been parlayed into anything of significance. Granted , at first the curiosity factor was there. And inspite of it all , the Galaxy have still struggled to fully live up to expectations. As too has Beckham to some extent. But now with the team in the MLS playoffs, great things are expected of them.

The Los  Angeles  Galaxy  team  seen  here   prior  to the  MLS Western  Conference  Semi-finals  match  against  Chivas  USA  in  game   played at the  Home Depot  Center  in  Carson,   California,.   The  game  would  end  in a  2-2 tie  .   picture appears  courtesy  of  getty images/  Victor Decolongon  ..................

The Los Angeles Galaxy team seen here prior to their MLS Western Conference Semi-final match against Chivas USA in a game played The Home Depot Center in Carson, California . Also in picture is David Beckham in the back , first player on the left. In the front row is Landon Donovan, 2nd player from the left. The game would end in a 2-2 tie. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Victor Decolongon …..

For the sport to really make its presence felt . Much of that success will not only stem from the league’s chance to resonate with its fans. But also much of that success will also be predicated by the amount of success that can be attained by the men’s national squad. Inasmuch, as the women attained a great deal of success at the international level and then sought to follow that up with the creation of its own professional domestic league. The success there was only fleeting and much of that was derived from the fact that they took far too long in setting up a league in the first place.

For MLS and its hierarchy under the guidance of Commissioner Don Garber. . He’s entrusted with seeing that the game flourishes around the league through its franchises. And at the same he also seeks the maturation of such homegrown talent in Jozy Altidore , Landon Donovan , Marvell Wynne and a slew of up and coming players with the wherewithall to make their presence felt at the domestic level. And then all the way at the international level, if the game is to truly resonate with the fans here. And then, and only then, can the game consider to have been a success domestically as well as at the international level. Albeit, that the quality domestically doesn’t rival that of their European counterpart. The rise of US soccer has been incremental. And it is to the credit of template set by MLS and USA Soccer !

In parting , the thoughts made here within this piece are purely my own as to my likes and dislikes, when it comes to sports. If as such, there are certain sports that you consider to be mundane , either in part because they’re too monotonous to watch. Or perhaps in your eyes they just don’t elicit enough fervor and excitement . Then by all means, feel free to pass judgment by leaving a comment.

Have A Little Faith My Friend ……….

Well the UEFA Champions League is in full swing and low and behold the upsets have begun. Not that anyone should be surprised at all by any of this. This is the one soccer competition where anything that can happen, has been known to happen . And at the end of it all , it can sometimes end up with a coach losing his job. Merely because of his team’s lackluster performance.

Steven  Davis (17) of  Glasgow  Rangers  of  the  Scottish  Premier  League  misses a  golden   opportunity  to   score  against  Unirea  Uriceni .   Rangers   would   go  on  to  lose   4-1   in  the  divisional   group   game.       picture  appears   courtesy  of    getty  images/  Alastair   Higgins    .............................
Steven Davis (17) of Glasgow Rangers of the Scottish Premier League misses a golden opportunity to score against Unirea Uriceni . Rangers would go on to lose 4-1 in the divisional group game. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Alastair Higgins .............................

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Free Press;

Emotional Milan reunion for Real new boy Kaka

By Phil Seery

MADRID (AFP) – Real Madrid’s Brazilian superstar Kaka faces old club AC Milan for the first time on Wednesday when the two sides do battle at the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League Group C match.

Kaka was an icon at Milan after six successful years helping the club win the 2007 Champions League crown but left for Real this summer in a 65 million-euro move which he insisted was to help Milan with their financial problems.

The Spanish capital hosts a match-up between the two most successful clubs in European history with Real boasting a record nine European Cups to Milan’s seven.

Both sides can point to illustrious histories but at present they are looking to restore their reputations as European superpowers with Real failing to get past the quarter-finals of the competition since 2004 which was the year Milan last won their domestic title.

====================================================
In order to read this article in its entirety just click unto the link provided
====================================================

Maxim   Gonalons  heads  the  winning   goal   for   Lyon  in their  upset   victory    2-1   over   Liverpool  in  the  Champions  League   group  match  at  Anfield.     The  Merseysiders   now   face  a  tough  away  match  against   their   French  opponents    when  the  two  re-meet   in  Lyons,  France.      picture  appears   courtesy  of   ap/photo/  Mark  Nuttall   ........................
Maxim Gonalons heads the winning goal for Lyon in their upset victory 2-1 over Liverpool in the Champions League group match at Anfield. The Merseysiders now face a tough away match against their French opponents when the two re-meet in Lyons, France. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark Nuttall ........................

All of the mighty European club powers are now in the midst of seeking supremacy in the soccer’s greatest club competition. And at the end of it all , they’ve the right to announce to the world , that they’re the best in the world. But not only that but some highly priced and ridiculously paid soccer stars have their reputations on the line. As they go out there seeking to prove themselves on the soccer stage in the world’s most prestigious club competition.

Barcelona   players   in the   foreground  are   stunned  in  disbelief  after    FK  Rubin   score the   first   goal  of the  game.  The   Russian  side  would   go  on to  defeat  the  Spanish   giants   2-1   in the  divisional   group  game.    picture  appears   courtesy   of    getty  images/    Renato   Gabriel   ...............................
Barcelona players in the foreground are stunned in disbelief after FK Rubin score the first goal of the game. The Russian side would go on to defeat the Spanish giants 2-1 in the divisional group game. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Renato Gabriel ...............................

The competition is now in its group stages and the teams are pitted against one another within their respective groups. In this case there are eight groups of four teams each. Making 32 teams in all entered in the Champions League Club competition.

Adrian Mutu   (foreground)  displays  a  moment  of  grace  as   he   scores   a  goal  against  Debrecen   .   Fiorentina   would   go  on  to  defeat   Debrecen   4-3  .    picture  appears    courtesy  of  afp/getty  images/   Christian  Porter  ..................................
Adrian Mutu (foreground) displays a moment of grace as he scores a goal against Debrecen . Fiorentina would go on to defeat Debrecen 4-3 . picture appears courtesy of afp/getty images/ Christian Porter ..................................

And last night’s scores alone did bring about surprises that in many ways none of us may have at all thought possible at first thought. But as I’d alluded to earlier , anything can happen and usually does. And it tends to come at the expense of the favored team in the match being played. When that happens an undue amount of pressure is brought to bear on the losing team in that leg , after the match. Questions are asked as to what went wrong and why ? And then as usual the customary finger pointing begins as blame is being sought and who it will be apportioned to. The manager or upon the star player or players on the team ? Never-mind the fact that the fans in attendance will make their own thoughts known on the matter !

Sebastian  Squillaci  heads  home   Seville's  opener   in their  3-1   win  over  VfB  Stuttgart    at  the  Mercedez  Benz  Arena   in  Stuttgart   , Germany.    picture  appears   courtesy   of  getty  images/   Christian   Reiner  ....................
Sebastian Squillaci heads home Seville's opener in their 3-1 win over VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedez Benz Arena in Stuttgart , Germany. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Christian Reiner ....................

Match results Tuesday 20th October 2009………

Status Home Score Away Stage Venue
FT Debrecen 3-4 Fiorentina Group E Stad’ Olan
FT Liverpool 1-2 Lyon Group E Anfield
FT Barcelona 1-2 FK Rubin Kazan Group F Est’ Nou Camp
FT Internazionale 2-2 Dynamo Kiev Group F Guisseppe Meaz’
FT Rangers 1-4 Unirea Urziceni Group G Ibrox Stad’
FT VfBStuttgart 1-3 Sevilla Group G Mercedez Benz Arena
FT AZ Alkmaar 1-1 Arsenal Group H Almaardehout
FT Olympiakos 2-1 Standard Liege H Karaiskaki Stad’

Cesc Fabregas  (4)  saves  Arsenal   with  a   goal  and  ignominy  of   defeat   against   AZ  Alkmaar    picture  appears  courtesy  of   getty   images  /  Richard   Shaw  ................................
Cesc Fabregas (4) saves Arsenal with a goal and ignominy of defeat against AZ Alkmaar picture appears courtesy of getty images / Richard Shaw ................................

And no matter how cliche’ this might sound , we’re all expecting to see the powerhouse teams prevail in the end. For the likes of AC Milan , Manchester United , Barcelona , Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Arsenal . These are the teams one would expect to be in the thick of it all in the latter rounds of the competition. But if only that were so ! We know that a number of these teams may not survive and make it into the latter stages of the competition. But the primary reason with regard to the Champions League for many of the teams is the vast amount of money that can be made from this competition. A run through to the final itself, can earn a team in excess of $ 50 million and upwards. So an early exit from the competition can prove to be costly.

As an earnest soccer fan , when it comes to the Champions League there’s nothing that I find more desirable than watching some of the world’s elite soccer talent take center stage. Players such as Lionel Messi, Steven Gerrard, Cristiano Ronaldo , Adrian Mutu , Kaka , Michael Essien , Didier Drogba and others too numerous to mention. For want of a better word ……. you’re not going to find this sort of ‘soccer talent’ within the MLS (Major League Soccer ) , much less any other part of the world when it comes to the game of soccer. No way , no how !

As the league gets into the heart of its schedule number of the teams may well feel fatigued. One also to place into consideration that they’ve also got to deal with their domestic schedule as well as concentrating on the rigors of European club competition. But it’s of paramount importance that these sides don’t for one minute take their eyes of the prize. And that is, the Champions League trophy . As that is the most important thing at the end of the day. OK, so there’s the thought at the back of the mind that if a team should fail in its ambition to that particular trophy . Then there’s always the chance of success in lifting some domestic silverware. But when measured in comparison to that of the Champions League , it just doesn’t equate at all for one minute ! It’s like making the comparison between a vintage bottle of wine and comparing it to vinegar. One has the odor of uniqueness, whilst the other …… well, you can guess for yourself , can’t you ?

So there you have it, my thoughts on the Champions League and what it’ll no doubt means to a number of fans watching. For myself , wherein my loyalties are equally divided between Chelsea and Manchester United. I just can’t help myself there ! I’m just hoping that one , if not both teams can once again make it to the Champions League Final. You can’t fault a guy for wanting that can you ?


Group stage standings

Groups

Group stage
Group A Pld Pts
Bayern 2 4
Bordeaux 2 4
Juventus 2 2
Maccabi Haifa 2 0
Group C Pld Pts
Real Madrid 2 6
Zürich 2 3
Milan 2 3
Marseille 2 0
Group E Pld Pts
Lyon 3 9
Fiorentina 3 6
Liverpool 3 3
Debrecen 3 0
Group G Pld Pts
Sevilla 3 9
Unirea Urziceni 3 4
Stuttgart 3 2
Rangers 3 1
Group B Pld Pts
Man. United 2 6
Wolfsburg 2 3
CSKA Moskva 2 3
Beşiktaş 2 0
Group D Pld Pts
Chelsea 2 6
Porto 2 3
APOEL 2 1
Atlético 2 1
Group F Pld Pts
Barcelona 3 4
Dynamo 3 4
Rubin 3 4
Internazionale 3 3
Group H Pld Pts
Arsenal 3 7
Olympiacos 3 6
AZ 3 2
Standard 3 1

Pld:
Matches played
Pts:
Points

UEFA Champions’ League Stats ;

Goals Player Team
4 Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid
3 Grafite Wolfsburg
2 Alan Dzagoev CSKA Moskva
2 Thomas Müller Bayern
2 Adrian Mutu Fiorentina
2 Alejandro Domínguez Rubin
2 Luis Fabiano Sevilla
2 Sébastien Squillaci Sevilla

————————————

Assists
3 Luis Fabiano Sevilla
2 Clarence Seedorf Milan
2 Miralem Pjanić Lyon
2 Cesc Fàbregas Arsenal
1 Graziano Pellè AZ
1 Brett Holman AZ
1 Abou Diaby Arsenal
1 Alex Song Arsenal

For additional stats just click on the link provided below .

Additional stats …………..

NB Stats appears courtesy of http://uefa.com ………..