Saying goodbye to an icon ……

Saying goodbye to an icon …

Well, as baseball continues to wind down its regular season schedule and play the biggest stories at the start of the season and still ongoing remains the winding down of Derek Jeters’ career with the New York Yankees . Jeter and his teammates have put up a solid front ,but it now appears he and the team are likely to miss the postseason for the first time since 2011, having not been part of baseball’s postseason fare in either 2012 or 2013.

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Though Joe Girardi and his managerial staff have guided the team to a respectable placing within the AL East , a second place finish to the likely divisional winners the Baltimore Orioles will be considered a major disappointment , as too will their failure to gain an AL wildcard berth where the team remains 4 ½ games out of the wildcard spot and where Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners are the two leading candidates. With twenty-one games yet to be played in the schedule before the end of the season, it will be interesting to see what the New York Yankees are capable of achieving between now and the culmination of the year. Inconsistencies all round, have been one of the things to plague this New York team along with a string of injuries throughout the season. It should also be noted the pitching staff have failed to live up to the preconceived notions many might well have had, in spite of the impressive debut of Masahiro Tanaka , their Japanese import signed to a major deal at the behest of Hank Steinbrenner . All well and good, until you realize , Steinbrenner’s alleged intent was to have the team’s payroll for this year to be considerably lower than the $200 million , for which Yankees now have the second highest payroll in all of baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and their near $250 million in salary commitments.

Coming off a three-game series’ loss (2-1) to the Kansas City Royals the New York Yankees will now take on their perennial rivals the Tampa Bay Rays in a three game series to be played at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York , beginning Tuesday , 9th September with the final game of the series on Thursday , 11th September.

Derek Jeter , continually the vocal leader of the New York Yankees, ever since he was made the captain of the team, for this season he has been his resolute self with his all-round play. To define the shortstop’s career , is hard to put into words , a five-time World Series’ champion , multiple All Star, Gold Glove winner , AL Rookie of the Year , but never a winner of the AL MVP. Try figuring that one out in terms of the decisions made about on the scale of the recipients of the award and the reasoning why he has never won the most recognized regular season award bestowed upon a player. I can only surmise the voters from the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) failed to recognize the name of Jeter on the ballot or they chose not to vote for the player for some reason ! Derek Jeter may not be leading the team in hits or batting average or runs batted in , but he has the respect of his teammates, managerial staff but more so the organization and what he has meant to the Yankees’ history and legacy.

Whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury will be seen as the heir-apparent to Derek Jeter in providing the New York Yankees with the type of leadership sought, but Ellsbury has provided the Yankees with the type of performances and play expected of the former Boston Red Sox player. The only question one might have concerning one of the Yankee’ high-priced free agent acquisitions , will be his resilience and health issues , in not being able to remain injury-free all season long during his career. If Ellsbury can continue to show the style of play exhibited this season, then the New York Yankees are likely to have some success in the future. For now, their season will be one, where they will have to play at a consistently high level while seeking end on a high note. With Alex Rodriguez not returning to the New York Yankees until the 2015 season , Brian Cashman might have to think long and hard about the future makeup of the roster .

The 1992 MLB Draft was quite lucky for the New York Yankees and the successes down the years in terms of the development of Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada guaranteed a great deal of the success during the mid to late nineties , when the franchise had unprecedented success in terms of their AL East divisional titles , AL pennant successes , World Series’ appearance , with four championship titles coming during the reign of Joe Torre as the Yankees’ manager. .

Jeter’s retirement , with this being his last season of a two decade long career , when, he made his debut for the ball-club during the 1995 season, with his first game being against the Seattle Mariners in an 8-7 loss in the contest on 29th May , 1995 played at the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington . Jeter can consider the events there, placed him on the path in becoming one of the New York Yankees’ greatest players , where his lists of accomplishments now place him among the pantheons of the game as well as one of the most respected players in Yankees’ history.

It is hard not to be extremely critical of the Houston Astros as a baseball franchise and their record over the past four years . It has left great deal to be desired , while team owner , Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow remain in complete denial about the lack of competitiveness of the team as well their financial predicament . The firing of Bo Porter was of no great surprise, but this asinine belief that their young players would lift them out of their continued doldrums, can only be put down to the lack of insight shown by the protagonists of this baseball club and the incompetence shown by Porter and his managerial staff during his tenure .

Of late the Astros might be showing some resilience having gone 7-3 in their last ten games among the best in the Majors , but consider the fact they are 24 ½ games out of first place within the AL West and 15 ½ games out of the wildcard berth simply, is an indicator about how bad this team just happens to be. Houston’s recent defeat of the Oakland A’s at O Coliseum in Oakland , California ,on Sunday, would have provided a boost for the Astros and interim manager Tom Lawless , as he has been given the task of managing the team until the end of the season.

The Houston Astros will now go on the road to face the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field , where Robinson Cano will be further looking to enhance his status as a legitimate AL MVP candidate for this season , while the Mariners look to guarantee themselves a wildcard berth for the postseason . A three-game series between the two teams will begin as of Monday afternoon . The first game of the series, will pit Brad Peacock of the Astros against Felix Hernandez of the Mariners in what is likely to be to a very good pitchers’ duel. Houston will need to be at their very best over the remainder of their schedule simply to avoid another one-hundred loss season as their fans have been accustomed to, in three of the last four years .

As great a manager as Ron Washington has been for the Texas Rangers and the dour year for the team , his personal resignation, having come as a shock to the organization and fans of this franchise. Washington has not given a detailed pubic reason behind his abrupt resignation, other than to say it is for personal reasons. GM Jon Daniels reluctantly accepted the manager’s decision and thanked him for his contributions to the baseball franchise during his tenure.

However , in light of Ron Washington’s personal demons and his well-chronicled battle with regard to substance abuse and addiction to cocaine , one could speculate the manager has fallen back into a cycle of substance abuse, even after previously taking a leave of absence from the baseball franchise for a stint in rehab. Baseball’s hierarchy , somehow believe there is a need for mandatory drug testing of the players for banned substances , but they have failed to make their managers and coaching staffs of the teams part of the collective bargaining agreement that covers the players through the deal reached with the MLBPA . One has to ask why neither Bud Selig or his recently named successor Rob Manfred did not feel that the managers within baseball should be covered by such an edict ?Clearly , a case where the league hierarchy believe the managers can do no wrong, but the players have to be held to a much higher standard in terms of a code of conduct . That would not be so comical, given, Selig and the owners’ systemic failings in dealing with the now decade-plus era of steroid cheats and baseball’s lack of understanding and acting with some voracity in going after the players in question.

There may well be a great deal of respect for Rob Manfred and his deftness in dealing with the labor issues within baseball , but in terms of his being seen as a “new broom” called in to clean house , there is likely to be the still idiotic pratfalls seen with Manfred’s predecessor Bud Selig, as the incoming commissioner has been as Selig’s side for several years.

Out of the divisional race within the AL West and no hope of gaining a wildcard berth , all that is left for the Texas Rangers this season is nothing more than respectability and a sense of urgency. Having the worst record within the game of baseball , simply gives us all an indication to how bad this season has been for the Rangers without Ron Washington’s resignation being added to the storyline for this dire year . Texas’ quest is now to give their fans something to believe in , while leaving the ownership to make a decision in which direction their managerial search will now take in terms of finding successor for Ron Washington. Tim Bogar has been given the job of interim manager until the end of the season, but it is my own belief the Rangers’ front office will seek a more high profiled replacement for the recently departed manager! ! Bogar and the team will begin a three-game home stand against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday , and it is likely this series could prove decisive for the Angels as they seek to dethrone the reigning AL West champions the Oakland A’s and win their first divisional crown since 2009 when they made the postseason, only to fall to the New York Yankees in the ALCS in six games, losing the series 4-2 , with New York going on to win their twenty-seventh World Series’ title, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies .

Taking the mound for the Rangers in the first of the three-game series against the Angels will be Colby Lewis as he faces off against Hector Santiago in this all divisional contest which currently favors the Los Angeles Angels in the season series.

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Picture gallery .

With Derek Jeter’s career coming to a close , do you believe his accomplishments place him among the all-time greats in New York Yankees’ history or has the hype and persona which has surrounded the player made him a bigger personality ? Also, what do you believe the future of Houston Astros and Texas Rangers will be after such a disastrous year within Major League Baseball?

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) New York Yankees’ team captain Derek Jeter receives a standing ovation from the crowd prior to the game against the Kansas City Royals played at Yankees Stadium , in New York City, New York , on , on Sunday , 7th September ,2014 . The Royals blanked the Yankees 2-0 to keep a slender lead over the Detroit Tigers within the AL Central , providing MLB with the tightest divisional race in all of baseball. AP Photo /Kathy Willens …

(2) Kansas City Royals’ second baseman Omar Infante’s miscue allows Derek Jeter to reach second base on a hit by Martin Prado who reached first base on the error by Infante during the game played on Sunday afternoon at Yankees Stadium in New York City, New York . AP Photo / Kathy Willens …

(3) New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi ,left, is seen here with one of the team’s 2013 acquisitions ,catcher , Brian McCann and the team’s senior managing partner Hal Steinbrenner . McCann was signed to a five-year $85 million deal making him one of the highest paid players at the position in baseball. Getty Images North America / Maddie Meyer …

(4) Jacoby Ellsbury of the New York Yankees who was acquired by team as a free agent , after Ellsbury was not re-signed by his former team the Boston Red Sox . AP Photo/ Martin Dennis …

(5) HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 22: Houston Astros manager Bo Porter (16) , left and general manager Jeff Luhnow wait near the batting cage prior to the start of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on April 22 , 2013 in Houston, Texas. Luhnow fired the Astros’ manager this season (2014) after another disastrous year by the team with them showing no real signs of competitiveness on any level within the AL . Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

(6) Texas Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels is seen here with Prince Fielder (center) and former team manager Ron Washington . Washington offered his resignation to the franchise, offering little by way of an explanation other than to suggest the reasons for his decision were personal . Fielder has seen very little playing time and offering little by way of productivity for the Rangers, having spent a great deal of time on the DL this season . To further exacerbate the situation the Texas Rangers remain on the hook for the majority of Fielder’s remaining contract , which does not expire until 2021 . AP Photo / Philip Trent …

(7) New York Yankees’ legends , top row from left to right , Yogi Berra , Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth , Joe DiMaggio , Elston Howard, Micky Mantle , Thurman Munson , Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter . Upon his retirement there is likely to be a very contested debate about where Jeter will rank among the all-time Yankees’ greats. The one thing which cannot be denied is that Jeter has been among the most successful players of his era among the New York Yankees. Archives UPI /Getty Images …

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Bowing out in style, bowing out gracefully or simply bowing out, because the game has now become uninteresting?

Bowing out in style, bowing out gracefully or simply bowing out, because the game has now become uninteresting ?

In the lead-up to the start of the exhibition season in baseball , known to the most devout of fans as Spring Training . The biggest story of the early preseason has been the announcement by Derek Jeter that the 2014 baseball season will in fact be his last . He brings to an end a glorious two-decade long career that has seen the New York Yankees’ shortstop having won a slew of awards as being anointed as a five-time World Series champion as well as having a World Series MVP award . Certainly , Jeter would like nothing better than to win a sixth series’ ring in his final season, with the only franchise he has ever played for. Last season , he witnessed the retirements of two former teammates , in Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera who along with catcher , Jorge Posada , made up a core quartet , that were part of four World Series’ triumphs for the franchise during seven-year span , all under the watchful eye of then manager , Joe Torre , who this season was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York . Undoubtedly, Jeter along with Rivera and Pettite will be future bound Hall of Fame inductees having met the criteria needed.

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A great deal will be expected of this New York Yankees’ team after the usual flurry of acquisitions made by the franchise during the off-season , with the organization committing in excess of $400 million on the players acquired by general manager Brian Cashman to bolster the roster , managed by Joe Girardi and his staff .

New York is likely to enter this MLB season with the largest payroll of any team entering the official Opening Day schedule on the 31st March , 2014 . Consider the fact, that for the very first time in 2013, payroll commitment for baseball’s thirty teams topped $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) for the very first time in baseball history . As to what this might suggest , when it comes to teams showing financial expediency can be best summed up by the ongoing idiocy of baseball’s luxury tax sharing scheme which has not really served any real purpose , other than for the hierarchy to penalize the high spending salaried ball-clubs around the Major Leagues. From my own standpoint, I firmly believe that financial expediency will remain the last thing on the mind of baseball’s hierarchy, in spite of the official comments coming out of the league’s headquarters based in Manhattan , New York . The MLBPA is far too powerful a union to take on, with the owners simply cowering far too often in their wake. While the Players’ Union (MLBPA) itself , has a new successor to Michael Weiner as its Executive Director, there is no doubt in my mind, they will continue to always negotiate from a position of power ! Former player , Tony Clark now succeeds Weiner , who lost his battle with lymph node cancer , with his death coming as a shock to many around the word of baseball , with his tenure being such a short one.

The New York Yankees made a big splash in signing of Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka , making him amongst the highest paid starting pitchers in the game, with an astronomical seven-year $155 million contract , that also places him amongst the highest paid players on the Yankees’ payroll for this season . Were it not for the year-long suspension of Alex Rodriguez and his $29 million due for this season , Tanaka’s pay of $22 million still places him behind the annual salaries of both CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira . . With the team having missed the postseason , with a lackluster end to their season , falling way behind both the AL East divisional champions the Boston Red Sox and the second-placed Tampa Bay Rays . It will be extremely difficult to suggest that Tanaka’s acquisition along with that of Jacoby Ellsbury , Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran will be enough to see this team possibly leap-frog both of their divisional rivals , while also posing a serious enough threat to the rest of the AL this upcoming season . Last season, injuries alone , were not the sole excuse for the Yankees’ on field failures. Several of their games were lost due to their complacency and a lack of leadership coming from anyone on the field of play , while team captain , Derek Jeter spent a large part of the season on the team’s disabled list with two prolonged spells .

Pitching will have to consistent all season long for the New York Yankees , in a division , where the makeups for the rosters of the Baltimore Orioles , Toronto Blue Jays , Rays and Red Sox will have a dearth and considerable depth to the lineups of the aforementioned teams. CC Sabathia is likely to be the Opening Day starter for the Yankees, a role which fits the veteran nicely. Hiroki Kuroda , Masahiro Tanaka can presumably be, switched around as the number two or three starters in the rotation , to be followed by Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova , as the case maybe . The reliever’s role now becomes all the more trickier for Joe Girardi, as Yankees will no longer have Mariano Rivera to close out games , be it for the last 2 1/3 innings or slightly longer . Rivera’s retirement along with his record-breaking 652 regular season career saves and another forty-two in postseason play , makes him the most dominant pitcher in history in that specific role. A staple for the New York Yankees that they are now likely to miss more than Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild would care to willingly admit .

Robinson Cano’s departure from the New York Yankees to join the Seattle Mariners may well be questioned, as I believe that the player is likely to struggle within an organization that has not made the postseason in several years and whose last divisional title came in 2001 . It begs the question, has Cano simply become a mercenary , albeit that his agent , Jay-z of Roc Nation Sports, sought the best for client, in terms of what he believed was Robinson Cano’s worth ? The player himself , indicated that he felt disrespected by the New York Yankees , and the negotiation process led by Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner as they made a vain attempt to re-sign the player to a lucrative contract . The Yankees have and will move forward , while Cano, by mid-season, could very well be pondering if he made the right decision to leave the New York Yankees to join an organization , merely struggling to remain relevant within the AL West , as it has so often done over the past eight years .

If there is one thing that we do know about Derek Jeter and his persona , it is that he is a gritty and very determined player. Few players have been afforded the privilege, of becoming the captain of the New York Yankees during that proud franchise’s history . The last such player of note, to be given that role, was Don Mattingly , who currently manages the Los Angeles Dodgers . Mattingly’s , own career with the Yankees was filled with highs and lows , but he became a fan favorite with his heroics on the field of play , with his candor , when dealing with the press and the fans alike, away from the diamond. Jeter is likely to go down as one of the most celebrated players in recent Yankees’ <a href=http://m history and franchise history overall , while not necessarily being considered one of the top five or six players ever to have donned the Yankees’ Pinstripes. Yet , a debate is likely to begin amongst the fan-base of the Yankees and amongst the purists and MLB analysts everywhere as to where he ought to be ranked amongst the likes of Lou Gehrig , Joe DiMaggio , Mickey Mantle , Babe Ruth , Phil Rizutto and perhaps, Mattingly, himself. That may well be a debate, that is likely create arguments and counterarguments, concerning a very much heated topic among the protagonists and contraries .

While Derek Jeter claims that now is the right time for him to step away from the game, to devote more time to his charitable and philanthropic efforts , be with his family and by his own words, start a family . It has me wondering, Jeter’s wish may well be to leave on a high note, but I can’t help but wonder, if the player has simply not become disenchanted with the game of baseball and the never-ending controversies, that have come to encapsulate baseball in recent seasons , leaving a number of fans also disenchanted and simply distrustful of the league hierarchy led by Bud Selig . Jeter has never openly discussed the issue of steroids within the game , which is very much line with many of his peers , albeit , that the likes of Albert Pujols and David Ortiz have seen their names brought up as a topic of debate concerning the issue. Pujols has come out and suggested, that if the league wants to test him ‘ then they can’ , as he has never and would never use an illicit substance in order to assist his game . The slugger’s career in baseball since his entry in to Major League Baseball when drafted by the St Louis Cardinals in the 1999 MLB Draft . In the ensuing years he has become one of the most prolific players of this era .

Derek Jeter’s first exhibition game for the New York Yankees will likely see a major turnout , in terms of the legions of fans, wishing to bid him farewell . He has become one of a handful of role models that the game of baseball can actually point to and say “ he has done things the right way” . A case like that, cannot be made for Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa , Mark McGwire , Jose Canseco , Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Braun. Such has been the dismay within the sport and the very fact that Bud Selig remains clueless , on how best to address one the biggest continued stains on the game, since the “Black Sox “ scandal over nine decades ago. Granted, racism , segregation ran the gamut through baseball and while many lauded Branch Rickey and his “ social experiment “, with the introduction of Jackie Robinson unto an integrated team , it should be noted that Robinson was not the first person of color , ever to play in the Major Leagues. Moses Fleetwood “ Fleet” Walker would break the “color barrier” . be it ever so briefly , but therein lies how history seeks to rewrite the annals of the game , to paint the type of picture that appears to be more socially responsive .

Fleetwood    Walker

A historical account is given of Moses Fleetwood ” Fleet” Walker of his being the first player of color to have played in the Majors , some six decades head of Jackie Robinson’s first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 .

The regular season home opening series at Yankees Stadium will likely see a full house with the press in full attendance , print and television media alike , along with credentialed representatives from farther afield , as this story will be of international importance wherever baseball is known to be played and with the Yankees having legions of fans across the globe. That initial three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles starting on the 7th April will prove to be a historic event in the milestone of Derek Jeter’s career and that of the New York Yankees. Subsequently , the Boston Red Sox will come to town and the two teams’ season long series should prove to be eventful, much like their it annual meetings have proven to be over the past two decades . This is perhaps the greatest rivalry within baseball, with so many of these contests having additional meaning for the soon to be retired Yankees’ shortstop. In recent history , perhaps the most memorable contest between the two teams took place series and what is now known as perhaps one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history and also the biggest meltdown by a team leading a series , with their needing one game for victory and a berth in the World Series.. That classic 2004 ALCS contest between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees still has reverberations within both organizations , as it led to the Red Sox’s resurgence under Terry Francona , with two World Series in the span of five years and then with another in 2013 , under newly installed manager John Farrell .

As the season meanders towards its postseason finale , it will be interesting to see whether or not the New York Yankees will be in contention for a divisional title within the AL East or perhaps a wildcard berth as they chase down unprecedented forty-first AL Pennant and twenty-eighth World Series’ title . The month of September should prove to be climactic for all of the league’s thirty teams , but perhaps more so for the Yankees and all that this season is likely to mean for the franchise and the career of Derek Jeter.

How appropriate is it, that what is likely to be Jeter’s last regular season game will be played at Fenway Park in Boston on the final day of the season , when the New York Yankees will be the guests of their most famous rivals the Boston Red Sox ? Nineteen regular season meetings on annual basis , has a great deal going for it , and if the two teams should somehow also be contesting the AL East on the final day. Then look for the heroics to come from Jeter and his teammates, as they seek to send him out in style. That may not prove to be the case however , as it is my firm opinion that the Red Sox are likely to prevail once again this season and repeat as divisional champions. They proved to be far too dominant for their rivals within the AL East as their season long series against the Baltimore Orioles ( 8-11) , New York Yankees ( 13-6) , Tampa Bay Rays ( 12-7) and Toronto Blue Jays ( 11-8)would prove to be as evidence in those contests.

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Picture gallery .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this article and how do you view the career of Derek Jeter as a player with the New York Yankees ? Your comments are more than welcome, so chime in, with a thought as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) New York Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter speaks with Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindal , a managing partner within the New York Yankees’ organization . Jeter met with the convened press at the Yankees’ Spring Training facility at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa , Florida where he confirmed that this season would be his last in Major League Baseball , having played his entire two-decade long career with franchise . AP Photo / Chris O’Meara ….

(2) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter gestures during a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Jeter has announced he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(3) New York Yankees part owner and co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner listens as shortstop Derek Jeter speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Jeter has announced he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(4) New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman responds to a question about shortstop Derek Jeter after a news conference Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. Jeter has announced he will retire at the end of the 2014 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(5) TAMPA, FL – FEBRUARY 19: Joe Girardi, Manager of the New York Yankees speaks after Derek Jeter spoke at a media availability after announcing that the 2014 season will be his last before retiring at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 19, 2014 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images …

(6) Jacoby Ellsbury is seen here with New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi after the player was formally introduced to the convened having been acquired as a free agent . Ellsbury coming off a World Series’ win with the Boston Red Sox last season , hopes to be productive for his new team spearheading on offense that will also include Mark Teixeira , Carlos Beltran , Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki . AP Photo / Chris Evans …

(7) Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees poses for a photograph with, from left, general manager Brian Cashman, Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost , President Randy Levine , managing general partner and co-chairperson Hal Steinbrenner , Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman and manager Joe Girardi as he introduced to the media during a news conference on February 11, 2014 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Tanaka signed a seven-year $155 million contract that will see him be a part of the Yankees’ pitching rotation that will include CC Sabathia , Hiroki Kuroda , Ivan Nova and David Phelps . Jim McIsaac / Getty Images …..

(8) Derek Jeter is seen here during the 1996 World Series played against the Atlanta Braves . Coming off his Rookie of the Year Award in 1995 , in his second year as a Major League player he would be in the first of his four World Series’ triumphs with Joe Torre as the Yankees’ manager . Atlanta would succumb to the Yankees in a lopsided series’ loss to the AL Pennant winners of that season . AP Photo / Marcus Shaw …..

(9) A historical account is given of Moses Fleetwood ” Fleet” Walker of his being the first player of color to have played in the Majors , some six decades head of Jackie Robinson’s first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 .

(10) Roger Clemens ,(left) and Barry Bonds , two of the most celebrated players of their generation and long seen as the “faces” of the steroid era within baseball . Bonds a seven-time NL MVP remains the all-time career and season home runs’ leader . Clemens is himself a seven time Cy Young Award winner with over three hundred career wins and over 4000 strikeouts on his career resume’ . Both players were on the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot , but failed to gain the necessary votes for induction into Cooperstown . In 2015 their names will once again be up for submission , but it is highly unlikely that either will be voted in . UPI / Matt Simmons ……….

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If you can’t stand the heat, then stay the hell out of the kitchen .

If you can’t stand the heat, then stay the hell out of the kitchen .

As the NBA season still is still til in its infancy , we are already seeing the struggles of several notable teams thought to be legitimate contenders for the NBA title . Last season, we saw both the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks make somewhat spirited forays as part of the NBA Playoffs , only to subsequently fall in the first round and the conference semi-finals within the Eastern Conference. From my own standpoint , although their efforts were admirable , in no way could either team be seen as a real threat to derail the eventual champions , the Miami Heat , simply based on the performances of the Heat during the entire playoffs ! Unfortunately, for fans of the New York Knicks, as always, has been their want, theirs is a world built around their belief that sports’ world is encapsulated around everything that exists within the organization , the players , management and the coaching staff .

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Coming into this season, a great deal was expected of the New York Knicks and specifically , this team , led by Carmelo Anthony , Tyson Chandler , J R Smith , Metta World Peace , Amare` Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert . Head coach Mike Woodson , long seen as a very good coach of young players, has sought instill discipline into a roster that was simply lacking that trait in 2012 , and it would appear that the trait still remains , as the Knicks are off to an understated start , having posted a 3-7 record through their first ten games of the season . Good enough, to have them at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and amongst the lower rungs of the Eastern Conference .

Now losers of three straight , one could attest to the fact that the Knicks are still seeking a footing in terms of consistency , but the evidence would suggest otherwise , with erratic play both defensively and on offense . On Wednesday night , the team will play host to the Indiana Pacers (9-1) , the current pace setters within the Central Division , as well as the conference , in a game that will be played at Madison Square Garden , in New York City , New York , home to the New York Knicks. While I believe the Knicks to be merely a competent team , I simply do not believe that they have the depth or the mindset to be considered good enough to dethrone the Miami Heat in a seven-game playoff series . Granted , Knicks’ fans will always point to their defeat of the Heat during the regular season, but in essence that imply counts for nothing, when there is not a great deal at stake. It has always been the postseason , where legacies are made, and at this juncture, the New York fans have simply forgotten that very fact.

How the Knicks acquit themselves against the Pacers, could tell us a great deal about the team as they move forward. A loss , not while catastrophic, could start to raise questions about the makeup of this roster and whether not a number of roster moves might well need to be made at some point during the season . GM Steve Mills , might well need to take a look at his options, should he seek to improve the roster in order to strengthen the team’s chances of making the postseason

With the baseball season now over and a World Series’ champion having been crowned , with the Boston Red Sox claiming their title in the last ten years. One of the more unsavory aspects of this past season has now raised its ugly head, with the ongoing procedural hearing concerning Alex Rodriguez’s attempts to have his suspension overturned during arbitration , with special arbitrator Frederic Horowitz presiding over the entire appeal’s process. Ten days into this proceeding , the defendant , Rodriguez , has decided to show his disgust with this all, by leaving the MLB headquarters , showing his utter disdain for Horowitz, after the arbitrator made the decision not have MLB Commissioner Bud Selig take the stand to stand to fully explain the reasons for the league’s stance in taking their current action to have the New York Yankees’ third baseman for a record two-hundred and fourteen-game suspension.

The league’s position, has been that Rodriguez has been less than truthful in the testimony provided to the league’s investigators, as well as the evidence now in their possession , in some cases paid for , as part of their evidence gathering from the now defunct South Florida based supplements’ company Biogenesis . Company founder, Anthony “Tony” Bosch , now under federal indictment for a number of federal charges , concerning drug trafficking and the selling and distribution of prescription drugs , has agreed to testify on behalf of Major League Baseball. As to what bearing, this will have not only on this hearing, but also Bosch’s own liberty , as he awaits his federal trial , will most likely be dependent upon how damaging his testimony is likely to be against Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez and his high-priced legal team , headed by criminal attorneys David Cornwell and Joe Tacopina will have now have a hard time trying to disprove the case against their client , after his actions , and the alleged use of “foul language” by Alex Rodriguez , in describing the whole procedure as a ‘ ###king farce’ , as well as directing a great of his venom at the commissioner and the arbitrator. Were this a criminal case, I seriously doubt that the player’s actions would be so direct , and filled with such anger towards the aforementioned parties !

While I do believe in due process , it is very hard for me to now see how Rodriguez can see his action as being a positive ! His credibility has already come into question , with his repeated non refusal to address earlier claims that he had used performance enhancing drugs , prior to this latest allegation of ties to Biogenesis and the evidence of his having purchased a cache of different substances for his personal use , all in violation of the league’s policy. Bear in mind also , the player is also seeking legal recourse, with his own action against MLB as well as the lead medical physician of the New York Yankees , and what he feels has been a collusive act to have him driven out of baseball . As to why a team doctor would seek to work in conjunction with the league hierarchy to have a player thrown out of the game , simply defies logic , based on Rodriguez’s premise and that of the lawyers’ case in the civil suit filed in US District Court in Manhattan . Seeking punitive damages , emotional distress, loss of income, defamation and damage to his reputation ? Is Alex Rodriguez actually serious, with those claims ?

Rodriguez’s attempts to cast the league’s case as a witch-hunt I believe has more to do with the fact that he may well have felt that any suspension rendered against might well have been in line those meted out to the other twelve players named in the league’s investigative findings and then suspended . A maximum penalty of sixty-five games was handed down to the Brewers’ Ryan Braun , who has subsequently apologized for his actions , in lying not only to the fans the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization ,. but also to the league hierarchy for his misdeeds. A far cry, from his original denial in 2011, the year he won the NL MVP Award , while offering up a web of deceit and lies .

In March of 2010, Alex Rodriguez, himself, would apologize publicly for his steroid use, with the New York Yankees’ organization orchestrating much of the actual premise behind the player’s act of contrition. Yet less than eighteen months later , Rodriguez’s name would come up in association with that of Orlando medical professional , Dr Anthony Galea , who was said to be running a “pill mill” out of his offices in the Central Florida haven . Galea , now serving his time in a federal facility after a plea agreement with the U S Justice Department , was never questioned by the MLB’s investigators concerning links to Rodriguez and the player, himself when broached on the subject, simply deflected those questions with the usual baseball banter of wanting to see the team do well , and that he was not involved or did not know Galea , nor did he have any idea, how his name came to be associated with the now convicted felon. Come full circle, and it now appears, that Alex Rodriguez will seek to muddy with the waters, , with the actions taken , while also seeking to show that baseball’s hierarchy is in fact incompetent , disingenuous and cannot be trusted. The player may well be right , but at this juncture, who are you likely to give the benefit of the doubt to ? The player, or the MLB hierarchy in terms of their respective actions ?

The MLB hierarchy , as led by Bud Selig , along with the team owners and union, bear the brunt of the responsibility for this continued farce , even with Alex Rodriguez trying to dramatically play the victim , when his portrayal , if anything , has more to do with that of a villain with an amoral attitude. As to the player’s claim, that he has a deep respect for the game , his actions have shown that to be a falsehood in the past and now in the present after his less than civil behavior during an arbitration proceeding .

As the NFL enters the final five weeks of the regular season ,with the week twelve schedule giving us a taste of another Thursday night contest between NFC divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints (8-2) . I simply cannot help but wonder, how many of us would have thought that the Falcons’ season would have become so miserable and with their now being calls for the head of Mike Smith as well GM Thomas Dimitroff and a number of players on this roster ! There now seems to be nothing to play for, concerning the Falcons, other than pride and self-respect. Even that might not be enough to abate the wrath of their fans , who expected so much more out of the team this season , along with that of their Pro Bowl . quarterback Matt Ryan .

In a division where the Atlanta Falcons were expected to be challenging for divisional dominance over the New Orleans and a now resurgent ,a href=http://nfl.com/teams/profile?team=car> Carolina Panthers (7-3) . This Falcons’ team now finds itself firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South with a 2-8 record , which they jointly share with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) , a team that also this season , has been a major disappointment to their fans . There is a common belief that at the end of this season , both Mike Smith and his Buccaneers’ counterpart Greg Schiano are likely to get a reprieve from their respective front offices and are likely to retain their positions. Though, it would not surprise me, were either Thomas Dimitroff or Mark Dominik decided to ” pull the trigger” and simply fire both head coaches ! When all else fails and the players are not being held accountable, then the coach has to be fired. I mean, it’s the nature of the beast , kill or be killed.

Playing for pride and self-respect now appears to be the only thing left for the franchise, beyond their impending draft status. The Falcons’ draft classes in recent years , overall, have been unspectacular, with their being a lack of leadership coming from the “face of the franchise ” , in Matt Ryan. He may well be a very good player , but I have yet to hear anyone describe the player as someone with great leadership qualities . Instead, Ryan is a great regular season quarterback, but the doubts have begun to set in concerning his most recent postseason performances and the lack of recent postseason success by the franchise. . Going forward , it is unlikely that the front office is likely to do anything drastic concerning the quarterback, but there are likely to be several moves structured to improve the roster , in order to make it all the more competitive .

Matt Ryan, has the weight of a burdensome contract that he appears not to be able live up to. Unlike many of his peers at the top NFL “ quarterback food chain” , with the exception of , Sam Bradford , Philip Rivers and Tony Romo , all of the others have won a Superbowl . That if anything, has to be truly indicative of the pressure place upon a player who was drafted to replace the once beloved former Falcons’ icon Michael Vick , whose fall from grace while with the Atlanta Falcons has been well chronicled . As to what, now awaits the Atlanta Falcons over the remainder of their schedule will be predicated upon the effort given by a team , that this season , has been one of the major disappointments of this NFL calendar year. Matt Ryan has a great deal to prove, not only to himself, but also to the Falcons’ fans , as well as the NFL, in terms of his playing ability , and being able to lead the franchise to a Superbowl victory.

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(1) Carmelo Anthony goes up for the dunk during a game played between the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Wednesday night , 20th November , 2013 . Indiana would go on to defeat the Knicks in overtime 103-96 , with Paul George of the Pacers leading all scorers with 35 points during the game. AP Photo / Kathy Willens ….

(2) Paul George (24) of the Indiana Pacers attempts a shot over the outstretched arms of the New York Knicks’ Beno Udrih (18) . The Pacers with the victory pushed their record to 10-1 , which is the best in the Eastern Conference and the top mark in the NBA alongside the San Antonio Spurs (10-1) . AP Photo / Kathy Willens ….

(3) Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees is seen here leaving his limousine alongside his attorney Joseph ‘Joe’ Tacopina , as the two arrive at the MLB headquarters in New York City , where the player listened to the arbitration proceedings presided over by the league and union sanctioned arbitrator Frederic Horowitz . On the tenth day of the hearings, the player abruptly left the hearing in anger , slighting both the arbitrator and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for what he believes to be an unjust and flawed hearing . As to how Rodriguez’s action will impact any verdict rendered remains to be seen . For the moment, the player’s defense , in seeking the rescinding of his suspension will be plead by his two lead attorney Joe Tacopina and David Cornwell . Rodriguez also has a civil suit awaiting a trial date to be set in US Federal District Court in Lower Manhattan , New York . AP Photo / James Todd ……

(4) Matt Ryan (2) of the Atlanta Falcons attempts a pass during a game played against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a divisional contest at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida , this past Sunday . The Buccaneers would go on to defeat Atlanta 41-28 in what turned to be one the Falcons’ worst performances of the season . On Thursday night they will face another divisional foe , the New Orleans Saints , when the two teams meet at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Georgia ,. The Falcons’ quarterback has performed somewhat erratically through his team’s first ten games of the season , in leading them to a 2-8 record within the NFC South and NFC as a whole . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay ….

(5) Gerald McCoy (93) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sacks Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan during the this past Sunday played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida . Tampa would go on to defeat Atlanta 41-28 in a lopsided victory for the home team . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay …..

(6) Buccaneers’ running back Bobby Rainey (43) scampers into the end-zone , after a forty-three yard touchdown run , that highlighted the team’s victory over the Atlanta Falcons 41-28, this past Sunday . AP Photo / Rheinold Matay ……….

(6) From left to right , Atlanta Falcons’ team owner , Arthur Blank , GM Thomas Dimitroff , head coach Mike Smith and the team’s quarterback , Matt Ryan . The quarterback who recently signed a six-year $113.75 million contract in 2013 , of which $42 million is in guaranteed money , will now have to live up the deal . The expectations are high not only for the player and his long-term future but also for that of the Falcons’ franchise who are seeking to move into a new venue , to be built at an estimated cost of $1.205 billion , during which the Atlanta Falcons are hoping to be ready for the 2014-15 season. A great deal of controversy has surrounded the proposed venue with the Falcons said to only putting up $200 million towards the $1.2 billion cost of the proposed structure, with the rest coming from public funding . AP Photo / Garrett Lang ……

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“Alles , was du willst ” ? (See anything you like ? [German])

Pine tar, anyone ?

Pine tar, anyone ?

Just when you thought could not get any more asinine within the world of baseball and how the league hierarchy has dealt with the Biogenesis ” scandal” , word now comes that beleaguered baseball player Alex Rodriguez will seek to sue Major League Baseball for slander , collusion in trying to have his career derailed and put to an end with their wrongful pursuit of him with regard to baseball’s substance abuse policy . The plaintiff furthers goes on to suggest that the hierarchy’s vindictive pursuance of him also contravenes the union’s (MLBPA) collective bargaining agreement. The league as defendants deny this , stating that the agreement agreed to and ratified by the union , allows them the right, to pursue a player and punish them accordingly, where they find there is irrefutable evidence that is beyond reasonable doubt ,that he has violated a league rule .

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At a time when baseball should be celebrating their postseason , the attention is taken away from these events , by a player known to be self-absorbed and only concerned with his own image, rather than showing himself to be a loyal teammate . MLB Commissioner . Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will now have to press the veracity of their case, should it be presented for trial in front of judge . Yet it is becoming abundantly clear that the New York Yankees’ third baseman is not prepared to give up without a fight , while seeking to defend his already tarnished reputation. From my own perspective the longer this story remains within the public’s view , the more embarrassing it is for the sport of baseball , because the commissioner’s handling of this whole episode has been poorly handled , with Bud Selig truly showing a complete lack of leadership.

A date has yet to be set for Alex Rodriguez’s appeal’s hearing, concerning his two-hundred and eleven game suspension for violating baseball’s steroid policy , an allegation that Rodriguez continues to deny , in spite of the evidence said to be in the hierarchy’s possession. While this process remains at an impasse , the question that also needs to be asked , is why no action by the New York Yankees and in particular with no public statement forthcoming from either Brian Cashman , Hank or Hal Steinbrenner ? I can only surmise that the front office of the organization is as incompetent as the league hierarchy itself . Rodriguez’s contributions for the New Yankees this season have been mediocre , with the player now a mere shadow of himself , while remaining the highest paid player in the game . A poor return for the franchise, whose season simply imploded during the final month of the season with the team’s poor play . A great deal of uncertainty now clouds the immediate future of this ball-club with their being no clear intent that manager Joe Girardi will return in . 2014 . That situation will play itself out, with a decision being made by the Yankees’ front office after Girardi has met with general manager Brian Cashman to discuss his future with the organization .

The Cincinnati Reds after their , all too disappointing season , have seen fit to fire manager Dusty Baker , with a year left on his current contract . GM Walt Jocketty , President & CEO Robert H Castellini made the decision to change course after another under-achieving 2013 sojourn . Baker in his six seasons with the Reds, was able to guide the ball-club to the postseason in four of the six seasons he managed the franchise , winning the NL Central division twice in 2010 and 2012 . Yet for all of that success, it was deemed not enough to constitute his return next season , which in many respects, with the team missing the postseason in 2013 , having finished a distant third in the NL Central behind divisional champions the St Louis Cardinals (97-65) and the surprisingly resilient Pittsburgh Pirates (94-68) , with the Reds’ lackluster mark of 90-72 . In terms of successor to Dusty Baker, the franchise has not made it clear who they will seek to replace him with as club’s manager , but it is quite clear that they will seek an individual with the name recognition and the necessary experience to lead the Reds in the next phase of their history .

A surprisingly successful season for the Cleveland Indians came to an all too abrupt end with the Indians’ 4-0 loss in the wild-card round of the postseason to the Tampa Bay Rays . Fittingly, for manager , Terry Francona , his return to the Big Leagues was a successful one having spent almost two years on the sidelines, before being hired by GM Chris Antonetti in 2013. Under Francona , in managing this team , they were able to show a great deal of resilience by pushing the Detroit Tigers for much of the season within the AL Central . There were signs to suggest that in 2014 the Indians will be a force to be reckoned with , not just within their division but across the AL as whole . I certainly believe that with the Indians’ depth and their prospects within the farm system , they will be much closer to being a legitimate challenger for a an AL pennant in the coming seasons.

If the NL has taught us anything this season within baseball , it has been that the cream always rises to the top. It should have come as no surprise that the Atlanta Braves , St Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers were the three triumphant divisional winners , winning those divisions by comfortable margins and with a great deal of east. With that in mind , with the postseason having begun , we are now down to the divisional series , where within the NL , the Pittsburgh Pirates are pitted against the St Louis Cardinals , with the other series pitting the high spending Los Angeles Dodgers against the Atlanta Braves . The first games of those two series were lopsided affairs , with the Cardinal getting the better of the Pirates in a 9-1 victory and the Dodgers laying the lumber, in thrashing the Braves 6-1 at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta , Georgia. The Pirates were able to exercise the demons of that loss, by coming back to defeat the Cardinals in game two 7-1 in game two of their five-game series . Game two of the series, between the Braves and Dodgers will resume tonight , with Atlanta looking to level that contest at one game apiece . A loss at this juncture would all , but bring about the inevitability of the end to the Atlanta Braves’ season, were they to lose the second game of this five game series .

While it can be said that the New York Yankees had a disappointing season, their erstwhile divisional rivals have rebounded from a disastrous 2012 , to win the AL East , under manager John Farrell , with the same old faces contributing greatly to the success of the team along with an influx of seasoned veterans such as Shane Victorino , Mike Napoli , Ryan Dempster , Jake Peavy and Jonny Gomes all lending a hand in that success . A year after the Bobby Valentine chapter of mismanagement and shameless finger-pointing by Farrell’s predecessor , for his own incompetence , it is good to be witness one of baseball’s more venerable franchises back where they belong . In light of that however , the Red Sox will face a tough ALDS series against the Tampa Bay Rays . Game one of this contest will begin today at Fenway Park in , Boston , Massachusetts , in-front of a raucous crowd of rabid Red Sox fans. Undaunted by the task they face , the Rays will be anxious to prove to their doubters that they do belong in the postseason . To my mind, both Farrell and his Rays’ counterpart , Joe Maddon are legitimate candidates for the AL Manager of the Year , but as they say , ” beauty is in the eye of the beholder “ , and given the idiocy of , and shown by the adjudicators of the Baseball Writers Association of America , we are likely to see either right decision being made or the sort of lunacy that the BBWAA has now become more known for .

Billy Beane has been able to achieve the extraordinary , with menial resources by way of a team payroll , but his skilled acumen , shows why he is one of the best general managers in all of baseball. Just imagine what he might have been able to achieve with the Oakland A’s , were he afforded a player budget in excess of $150 million , instead of the paltry $70 million he is currently allowed to operate with ? The A’s won the AL West by playing at a consistently high level throughout the season . Within the division, teams such as the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers simply flamed out and offered little challenge to the Oakland based franchise .

With their second consecutive divisional title in the bag , the Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin and his team will play hosts to Jim Leyland , manager of the Detroit Tigers in a series (games one , two and five , if needed) , where an AL pennant berth will await the winner of what is bound to be a competitive series given the tightness of the season contests in 2013. Leyland and the Tigers will undoubtedly be looking to redeem themselves this postseason, after the horrors of 2012 and their lopsided World Series’ loss (4-0) the San Francisco Giants . In the blink of an eye, the Tigers’ potent offense of 2012 , were rendered useless by a Giants’ pitching staff that played with a sense of purpose. Jim Leyland and his managerial staff will hopefully have learned something from that painful experience.

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It all seems so asinine, that at a time when baseball should be celebrating the best that it has to offer by way of its postseason showcase . It is left to one the game’s most despised individuals in Alex Rodriguez to further sully its image and reputation . Not that the sport has not been assisted by the buffoonery of Bud Selig , Michael Weiner , Executive Director of the MLBPA , the players and the journalists who cover the cover the sport. Needless to say the not so attentive and anal retentive fans who simply point to the idiocy of the hierarchy’s adoption of instant replay as a positive within the sport when they are far more acute issues that need to be dealt with. None of which, the players , union or league hierarchy would care to address with any real urgency. As the title of this pieces alludes to ___ “ Pine tar anyone” ? Baseball will remain replete with far more than its oddities , self- aloof demeanor and ideas of a grandiose nature , way above anything meaningful that is said to have been achieved over the past three decades. For that, we ought to thank the players for their continued ignorance and shameless stupidity , lack of authority shown by the owners , whose only interests are greed and the making of a “quick buck ” . Needless to say, atop of the list , remains the gutless windbag Bud Selig , whose departure from the game cannot come around quick enough ! Chime in, with your thoughts on this article and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.

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(1) Merely a victim ? Or a shameless pariah looking to absolve himself of all responsibility for his actions ? Pictured inset , New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez seeks to sue MLB , in what he claims is a witch hunt sought by the league hierarchy to drive him out of the game of baseball . The player is the game’s active home runs’ leader and the leader in several other offensive categories . Rodriguez also will seek have his two hundred and eleven-game suspension overturned by an appeal’s tribunal presides over by arbitrator Fred Horowitz . A date for that hearing has yet to be set and it is likely that it will not take place until after the World Series . AP Photo / Alex Parsons ….

(2) Manager Dusty Baker (12) pulls Johnny Cueto (47) of the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the National League Wild Card game at PNC Park on October 1, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Getty Images / Jared Wickerham …..

(3) Danny Salazar (31) of the Cleveland Indians gets pulled by Terry Francona (17) of the Cleveland Indians in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during the American League Wild Card game at Progressive Field on October 2, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Rays would go on to defeat the Indians 4-0 . Getty Images / Jared Wickerham ….

(4) Boston Red Sox DH , David Ortiz watches his ground double as Rays’ catcher Jose Lobaton looks on during the game . The Red Sox would defeat the Rays 12-2 in game one of their ALDS contest played at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts . AP Photo/ Charles Krupa ….

(5) PITTSBURGH, PA – MAY 30: Manager Jim Leyland (10) of the Detroit Tigers looks on against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on May 30, 2013 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images …

Oakland A’s general manager whose stewardship of the front office has made the franchise one of the most admired in all of baseball . AP Photo / Keith Marshall ……

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I don’t want to break the bank ,simply just be able to deposit money in it

I don’t want to break the bank ,simply just be able to deposit money in it

With the NFL season about to reach the quarter mark of four games into a sixteen game schedule , the fans have already witnessed a cluster of games that one could define as being thoroughly entertaining or just extremely bad. As a fan of the NFL , I have to confess that I have not been completely surprised by what I have witnessed. There are some very good teams at present , but there now seems to be a preponderance of really bad teams and really bad coaching from the head coaches and their respective staffs. Nonetheless, this will be what the fans are asked to endure over the remainder of the season.

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There will be a Thursday night game that pits the San Francisco 49ers (1-2) against the St Louis Rams (1-2) in a conference and divisional match-up of self-styled offensive minded teams. Jim Harbaugh and his shell-shocked squad , I believe are out to avenge their week three shocking loss to the Indianapolis Colts . Bear in mind two successive losses to open their season , came as something of a shock to most analysts and fans alike, who expected this team to be atop of the NFC West and running away with the division , in spite of the rise in prominence of the Seattle Seahawks . For the moment, however, the season remains in its infancy with still a great deal to play for .

Speaking teams with real issues , it now looks as if the Josh Freeman era in Tampa , is now over, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Greg Schiano coming to the decision that the four-year starter is no longer the team’s best option to win as a quarterback. In demoting Freeman, the fans will see the introduction of Mike Glennon as the Buccaneers’ new starter at the quarterback position. As to how long this new experiment is likely to take place will be dependent upon how Glennon responds in his first NFL game as a starter in the NFL. The Buccaneers will play host to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon as this 0-3 team seeks to regain its composure and gain their first win of the season. How this all plays out will be dependent upon the mindset of the Buccaneers and the resolve shown during the game and whether or not this team can play with some semblance of cohesion .

Freeman has done himself no favors with his lackluster displays and a real lack of leadership on the field of play. Furthermore, his teammates have lost any real faith in the player , as well as the quarterback having lost his captain’s role on the team. Josh Freeman is now in a contract year , seeking to perhaps get that long-term contract that undoubtedly his agent Erik Burkhardt seeking that long-term deal . Should a trade, be a way for the Buccaneers to entertain the idea of ridding themselves of the now disgruntled Freeman, that premise could very well now be dependent upon the number of teams willing to enter into a deal with the NFC South division based franchise.

Despair , despondency , conceitedness and a great deal of drama engulfed the New York Yankees over the course of this season . The team is likely to miss the postseason , with the Boston Red Sox having sewn up the AL East as the division’s new champions and the Tampa Bay Rays , now likely to be one of the two AL wild-card representatives in the baseball’s end of season soiree . Needless to say, the Yankees’ fans may well be aggrieved that they will not be seeing the team embark attaining their twenty-eighth World Series title. Yet this off-season promises to be one filled with a great deal of melodrama and intrigue . With Robinson Cano set to become a free agent , the Yankees’ front office will have to quickly come to a decision, as to whether or not they intend to re-sign the player to long-term deal. Cano is currently represented by upstart agency RocNation Sports and their main proprietor , founder , rapper and entrepreneur Jay-z . If the rumors now swirling are to be believed, then the numbers now being bandied about would make Robinson Cano the highest paid player in the baseball , with the second baseman seeking a ten-year $305 million deal .

Courtesy of USA Today

Why Robinson Cano seeking $305 million only sounds crazy

Yankees second baseman is about to get paid.

By Ted Berg , USA Today

With the Yankees now officially out of contention, some have turned their attention toward the team’s negotiations with All-Star second baseman and pending free agent Robinson Cano.

That report produced a lot of snark, but it’s certainly true. Cano, who turns 31 in October, like almost all free-agent athletes, will seek as much money as he can get. Even if he’s personally and secretly dead-set on staying a Yankee for life, why shouldn’t he try to secure as much of that sweet Steinbrenner cash as he can in the coming decade? Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Cano did not reveal much about his plans.

“I want to take my time, go on vacation and relax,” he told the Journal News. “And then when the day gets closer, that’s when I want to sit down with my family and decide what we’re going to do. But don’t get me wrong, I love this team, you know?” The reported figure, $305 million, seems to be eliciting the most shock from baseball fans, but it also doesn’t seem terribly far off. Free agents of Cano’s caliber just don’t hit the open market at a reasonably young age very often anymore, since teams have trended toward locking up young stars to long-term contracts that buy out and add-on to their arbitration years.

After the 2011 season, a pair of slugging first basemen hit the market. Both Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols wound up with contracts worth more than $200 million. Both were coming off several successful seasons, but neither was more valuable to his team in 2011 than Cano was to the Yankees in 2013.
And since Cano’s Yankees and the big-spending Dodgers, among others, could both use a second baseman and he’s by far the best available talent, he could benefit from a bidding war.

As for those convinced Cano won’t see as much money because he’s Jay-Z’s first baseball client with Roc Nation Sports: C’mon. Jay-Z is an expert at making money, for one thing. For another, do you really think Jay-Z is going to just go in and sign whatever idiotic contract some team puts in front of him without running it by an army of advisers and lawyers? Cano plays every day at a premium defensive position and is one of the Top 10 or so best hitters in the game. He’s an extremely valuable player and he’s about to be an extremely rich one. Maybe he won’t get the full $305 million he’s reportedly seeking, but he’ll get paid.

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The New York Yankees will have some serious problems to contend with beyond the Cano issue , with the retirements of Andy Pettite and Mariano Rivera , it is plain to see that this is a team that is getting up there in age and the very fact that their farm system have not produced the players sought over the past few years that consistently made this organization a perennial contender . Going into 2014 , it is how hard to see or suggest how the Yankees how they can contend, even with the resources now at their disposal . The team’s lead managing partner and owner Hal Steinbrenner is likely pare down the team’s salary of $228.3 million , an all-time high to considerably below the $200 million threshold he sought at the beginning of 2013 .

At a time, when Bud Selig is selling the fans and public alike, that baseball’s financial well-being is as healthy as it has ever been. It begs the question , if that said to be the case , then why would the Yankees as powerful and as wealthy an organization as it happens to be , why would they of all the teams , now be the ones , seeking to reduce their payroll ? Granted , we are now finding out, that owners such as Hal Steinbrenner , David Montgomery , Mark Walter and Michael Ilitch believe that the luxury tax has served its purpose , but for the most part , it has been nothing more than a tool for the hierarchy to use , penalize the big spending teams. Baseball , and specifically Bud Selig continues to live in his own delusional world of make belief and sheer ignorance , with a number of fans willing to buy into a great deal of the idiocy that he continues to sell them , with his main protagonists being MLB’s broadcast partners , notably ESPN and Fox Sports . In reality, no one should really be surprised by that at all . I mean it is not as if the two outlets in question, ever sought to question the commissioner’s haphazard handling of the steroid issue or Frank McCourt’s questionable reign as the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Nonetheless, those buffoons will continue to be, at his beck and call, being a mouthpiece for his continued buffoonery .

Salaries have continued to escalate under Bud Selig’s watch , as too have the game’s revenues , yet in the midst of this all the commissioner fails to indicate that almost one-quarter of the league’s thirty teams continue to struggle to eke out a profit without an assist being provided by way of the luxury tax sharing scheme . Now in the midst of this all, the game of baseball could very well be on the cusp of seeing its very first $300 million player . The Yankees may not feel that they are being pressured to up the ante in the Robinson Cano sweepstakes, but one thing is clear , the organization can ill afford to lose a player who is a lifetime ,300 hitter and who has been amongst the most productive players his position in baseball as well over the past five seasons. Consider also , that Cano is now in the prime of his career , and with the likelihood of Derek Jeter’s departure from the franchise not that far off , this ball-club needs a figurehead that the fans can identify with . Alex Rodriguez’s stay in New York has provided the Yankees with nothing more than a great deal of ongoing embarrassment , that is likely to be further fueled , once his appeal’s process begins , concerning the alleged use of a banned substance . Rodriguez’s image has been tainted once again and the Yankees’ name has been dragged through the mud along with the reputation that George Steinbrenner simply considered only having players with character on the roster . The now deceased patriarch must be mortified and spinning in his grave with the incompetence now being shown by Hal , Hank Steinbrenner and Jennifer Steinbrenner-Swindahl . Let’s not leave out the poor showing of the team either out of this whole comedic mishap , along with the lack of leadership shown by Joe Girardi and his managerial assistants . Personally, this season for the Yankees has been in which all of the team’s detractors can enjoy , in spite of the retirement of Mariano Rivera. The game’s all-time saves’ leader , has been one of the few bright spots on an otherwise mediocre team .

The NBA season tips off on the 29th October ,2013 and all eyes will be on the Miami Heat , as they seek to repeat or Heat “three-peat” as NBA champions, as it will become to be known , should they pull off that feat during the 2013-14 season . Adding a few residual pieces to their core group of Ray Allen , Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade , has quite possibly made the roster more formidable than last season’s championship winning team . Pat Riley and team owner, Micky Arison are intent on adding to their respective legacies . Meanwhile, Riley’s young protégé head coach Erik Spoelstra will seek to not only make his mark, but also add to the legitimacy that he is perhaps the best coach in the NBA and that is with due respect to both Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich .

Now while, there remains a great deal of speculation that last season’s MVP and Finals’ MVP LeBron James , will seek to opt out of the final year of his contract in 2014. It must be said, that it would take a great deal of bravado and conceitedness by the player to subject the fans to another moment of self-adornment and narcissism on his part . In the aftermath, of the staged and rather insidious piece of journalism, promoted by ESPN and the player , in his naming Miami as his chosen destination , having left the Cleveland Cavaliers as an unrestricted free agent. A second installment of that idiocy, would certainly not be in LeBron James’ best interest. Besides, James knows that he can certainly earn a great deal more by simply remaining in Miami , never-mind the fact that his off-court earnings through endorsements , simply dwarf his current salary with the Miami Heat . Financial rewards, I do not believe will play a part in this decision , should it ever take place , as I believe what now drives the player is the chance of surpassing both Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson in terms of the NBA championships won as a player. Bill Russell may well have won eleven title as a player and coach with the Boston Celtics . No one, will ever come close to matching that feat as a player. So we can now start to adjudge James on what he ow has to achieve to be mentioned in the same breath or sentence as Johnson and Jordan , as two of the best to have ever played the game or to have graced a basketball court with their athleticism . Only time will tell and the feats achieved can best tell us reality how great LeBron James is likely to become , but for the moment incessant chatter will remain as many from varying fields of the diaspora will discuss and debate the issue.

Miami, will begin the defense of its crown with a home game at the AA Arena against the Chicago Bulls and hopefully a fully recovered and rejuvenated Derrick Rose . The former league MVP was sorely missed last season by his teammates and fans alike and his presence on NBA court is far more welcomed than seeing him on the sidelines merely cheering on his team . The fans themselves, having waited long and hard for this event, will most certainly be looking to see what the talented point guard will have to offer the fans after his long absence away from the court .

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From my own perspective, it will be interesting to see whether or not LeBron James and his teammates can join a select group of teams and players to have won three consecutive NBA titles . It is a feat, that is rarely accomplished in any of the four major team sports. Yet , when it does happen , it should a feat that should be acclaimed and lauded for its uniqueness , if nothing else , because these are the feats that separate the great athletes from many of their peers and gives credence to their greatness. As to those who feel to the contrary, then by all means , use this forum to state your reasons why . Thanks as always, for the continued support of this site and its broad-based content , as it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) Sep 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) hands off to running back Frank Gore (21) for a 34 yard touchdown during the first half against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome. San Francisco defeated St. Louis 35-11 . Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Rams’ tight end Jared Cook catches a pass that was tipped by Donte Whitner during the second quarter of a game played at the Edward Jones Stadium , in St Louis Missouri ,. The Niners would go on to win the game 35-11 , pushing their record to 2-2 , while the Rams’ record is pushed to 1-3 within the NFC West . AP Photo / Tom Gannam …

(3) Quarterback Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots talks to receivers Aaron Dobson (17), Kenbrell Thompkins , Julian Edelman (11) and Michael Hoomanawanui in the huddle during the second half of their 23-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images North America / Winslow Townson …

(4) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts after throwing an incomplete pass in the second half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Buccaneers’ starting quarterback is the only player at his position with a completion rate of below fifty per-cent (50 %) in the NFL with a completion percentage rate of 45.7 % and a QBR of 59.3 a which ranks the player at the bottom of the league (NFL) of the quarterbacks ranked through week three . Getty Images / Jim Rogash ….

(5) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws down-field against the New England Patriots during the first half at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Winslow Towson …..

(6) New York Yankees’ closer Mariano Rivera acknowledges the crowd at Yankee Stadium during the eighth inning of a game played against AL East divisional rivals the Tampa Bay Rays , played on Thursday evening the 26th September . This would be the closer’s final appearance as a player at Yankee Stadium as a player for the venerable organization . Tampa would come away with a 4-0 victory . AP Photo / Kathy Willens .

(7) Fans at Yankee Stadium hold up a sign to show their appreciation of Mariano Rivera and what he meant to them and their appreciation of his career. AP Photo / Kathy Willens ….

(8) Alex Rodriguez grimaces as he watches a play from the dugout during a game played against the New Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday evening at Yankee Stadium . Rodriguez faces a very uncertain off-season , as he now awaits a verdict in his appeal’s process in front of an independent arbitrator Ken Horowitz and the allegation of his use of a banned substance , a claim which Rodriguez denies . AP Photo / Kathy Willens …

(9) Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees drives in a run and slides safely into second base with a double as Kelly Johnson (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays is late with the tag during the first inning of their game on September 25, 2013 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees’ player seeks a new long-term contract , with the figures being suggested __ a ten-year $305 million . It is of utmost urgency that Cano be re-signed by a team whose aging core now seems past their prime . As to whether or not Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman are likely to meet the demands of Cano and his agent remains to be seen, as the team owner has suggested that he would like to reduce the team payroll below $ 200 million to avoid having to pay the luxury tax . A tax that a number of team owners now feel has outlived its use , while MLB Commissioner Bud Selig still believes serves a purpose. Al Bello / Getty Images ……

(10) LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat sits on the court and reacts in the second half while taking on the San Antonio Spurs during Game Six of the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 18, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images / Karl Powers …..

(11) Ray Allen (34), Dwyane Wade (3), LeBron James (6) and Mario Chalmers (15) of the Miami Heat celebrate from the bench in the fourth quarter while taking on the San Antonio Spurs during Game Two of the 2013 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 9, 2013 in Miami, Florida . Getty Images North America / Christian Petersen ….

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People who live in glass houses

People who live in glass houses

People who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones . Well, I do not live in a glass house , but I am going to throw a rock at this issue . Major League Baseball and its hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig , have now drawn the ire of the fans, with many showing their disgust in the way that the commissioner has handled the latest controversy to sully the ongoing image of baseball . Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees remains an obstacle in how many now view the game and its legitimacy. Of the thirteen players named in baseball`s case, embroiling them in the Biogenesis ` scandal` . It is Rodriguez, who remains the lone holdout, in not wishing to accept a suspension for his alleged involvement violating the league`s performance enhancing drug policy. The player continues to plead his innocence, of all of the allegations made against him. Meanwhile, the Yankees` organization , obviously embarrassed, remain at a loss as how best to resolve the matter, while not seeking add to their financial burden concerning the now beleaguered third baseman .

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In the latest turn of events Alex Rodriguez has hired one of New York city`s most prominent criminal defense attorneys , Joe Tacopina , to be a part of his legal defense team to defend him in his upcoming appeal , which will be a tribunal appeal held in front of an independent arbitrator. Now while this is not a criminal trial , each side will be allowed to present their case to the arbitrator , whose decision will be final and binding . Rodriguez, is unlikely to take the stand in his defense, with his attorneys presenting their case, on behalf of their client. Tony Bosch, founder of Biogenesis will be the main witness on behalf of baseball (MLB) in the presentation of their case against the player.

Now dependent upon what you might read into the addition of Joe Tacopina to Rodriguez`s legal defense arsenal. The presumption of guilt, must be weighing heavily against the player , in which he has now added a criminal defense attorney to an already heavy-hitting legal team made up of several high-profiled litigators. . At stake, is not only Alex Rodriguez`s livelihood, but also, his very future within the game. If the league`s case is upheld , then in all likelihood Rodriguez`s career in baseball would most certainly come to an abrupt end . There is no way that any team within the game is likely to sign the player, were he made to sit out the entire 2014 baseball season, as well several games into 2015. Two hundred and eleven games, were meant to be the sum total of the player`s suspension, that would cost him in excess of $36.5 million in lost income, by way of his salary over the time frame in question . Sitting out an entire year and then seeking to make a return adds insult to injury given the fact that Frederic Horowitz , the adjudicator presiding over the case sees Alex Rodriguez`s act as one of premeditation as well , as his ongoing deceit.

As the game`s highest paid player , Alex Rodriguez has been lucky enough to have signed two multi-year deals, paying him on each occasion in excess of $250 million . The two teams involved in both of these transactions were the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers . This season, it must be said, that the Rangers do seem to be faring a great deal better than their AL East counterparts. And though as of late , with Alfonso Soriano is having exceptional two-game stretch , where he has been more productive for the New York Yankees , than he was, in his previous fifteen games for the Chicago Cubs , from whom he was acquired earlier on this month . Rodriguez is trying to up the ante , in terms of his value to the Yankees, as he seeks to resume what has been an extremely controversial and troubled career over the nine years .

In March of 2010 , Alex Rodriguez admitted his use of performance enhancing drugs, after years of denial to the press and MLB hierarchy alike. The fact that since that admission of guilt, the player`s name has been twice associated with the use of a prohibitive and banned substance , but not until 2013 , has Bud Selig seen fit to take direction action against the player , in spite of the mounting evidence and his continued denials over that time. What has also been very troubling during this whole comical saga mishandled by Major League Baseball, has been the very fact that the commissioner did not seek to expedite a speedy tribunal hearing. Instead, it has been Rodriguez seeking the input of the MLBPA (union) , who having filed the player`s appeal , will also assist him in his defense.

I get the feeling that the Players` Union, seems to be more concerned with their members, than it is for the purity of the game . In our midst at present, I do believe that we now have the most despised player within the game of baseball ! Rodriguez , may well seek to use whatever excuse, to placate himself from another calculated misstep , that has now seen him fall from grace for a second time within four years. Major League Baseball, for its part , allows the player continue with his career pending the appeal process. If the player is found guilty , then the question becomes, results obtained by the New York Yankees during the formal announcement of the player`s suspension up until the time of arbitrator`s verdict , will they be allowed to stand , if it has somehow cost a potential AL wildcard aspirant a chance of making the postseason ? Those opponents should have every right to feel aggrieved that Alex Rodriguez has been allowed to play.

A preliminary appeal date for Alex Rodriguez` hearing has been not been set , and all likelihood the appeal`s process is unlikely to begin until after the end of the regular season and quite possibly not until after this year`s World Series. Very much in line with what the player no doubt set out to achieve in getting a chance to play in the postseason and being able to contribute to the Yankees` endeavors ,should the team actually make it that far. The Yankees` third baseman , has tried to set himself apart from many of his peers. As a teammate , who is always willing to help the younger members of the team and assist them in any way possible. Yet, the facts do not seem to bear this out , and if the rumors are to believed , his relationships with a number of Yankees` players is said to be strained and often lukewarm. Clearly the relationship between Alex Rodriguez and general manager Brian Cashman must now be at an all-time low . The most recent dust-up between the two, led to an unsavory incident that made the sports` pages of every major newspaper in New York city , with the player being made the villain of the piece, and being castigated by many of the journalists and op-ed contributors, as well as by many of the sports` fans, who sought weigh in with their own opinion of the latest scandal to hit the New York Yankees` organization , further tarnishing its image.

Courtesy of CBS Sports.com

Weiner: A-Rod’s appeal won’t be done until season is over

By Dayn Perry, Baseball Writer

More A-Rod: A-Rod, 12 others suspended | Heyman: A-Rod to appeal | Impact on Yanks

As noted, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez intends to appeal his 211-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, and he’ll remain on the active roster and eligible to play until his appeal is heard and ruled upon.

And that brings us to this comment from MLBPA head Michael Weiner :

There’s a very clear implication here, and the implication is that A-Rod will play the entire remainder of the 2013 season. That’s significant, of course, because the Yankees are in the playoff race, and A-Rod, even at age 38 and with two surgically repaired hips, has the potential to give them a substantial upgrade at third base.

As CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman noted earlier on Monday, the time-frame of the appeals process is as follows:

The evidence is said to suggest Rodriguez bought or used steroids in 2010, ’11 and ’12. However, all of it will be heard at a hearing certainly within 20 days; the JDA actually calls for the “panel to convene a hearing as soon as practicable and, absent good cause show, no later than 10 days after grievance is filed.” With only one case presumably to be heard, perhaps the hearing could be expedited.

Baseball’s arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz, will then have 25 days to render a verdict.

And by the sounds of things, you can certainly expect A-Rod’s appeal to be a vigorous one. First, here’s A-Rod’s official statement:

“I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process. I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side through all this.”

And now here’s Weiner’s:

“We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously. We must revisit the JDA’s confidentiality provisions and consider implementing stricter rules for any breach.”

And finally, A-Rod’s attorney, David Cornwell :

“It is regrettable that the Commissioner’s office has taken this unprecedented action. Major League Baseball has gone well beyond the authority granted to its Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement. Consequently, we will appeal the discipline and pursue all legal remedies available to Alex.”

For the time being, get used to seeing A-Rod in the Yankee lineup.

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At 62-58 , currently lying fourth within the within the AL East , the New York Yankees are nine games behind division leaders the Boston Red Sox (72-50) and a . mere six games behind the two leading wildcard seeking candidates within the AL, who are the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A`s . Yet the ball-club would also have to leapfrog the other three teams also seeking one of the two available berths. And given the play of the Baltimore Orioles , Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals , this could prove to be too tall a task to ask of the New York Yankees. And that is in spite of the latest chain of events concerning the inspired play of Alfonso Soriano. . On Thursday, in the final game of their trilogy against the Los Angeles Angels , New York would become unglued , going down in an 8-4 loss , in a game marked by a lack of consistent pitching and the sudden silence of the Yankees` offense in terms run production ,albeit that the team collected fifteen hits in the defeat .

With a three game series , set to begin on Friday, against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park , in Boston, the New York Yankees will be looking to old rivalries , while seeking close the gap on the AL East divisional leaders. Taking the mound for the Yankees will be Andy Pettite (7-9,ERA 4.62) against Felix Doubront (8-5, ERA 3.66). The New York Yankees do need to win this series, if they are to have any hope of narrowing the margin between themselves and the teams ahead of them in the wildcard standings. I do not believe that the divisional title is within their grasp and with the Orioles and Rays seemingly with a tight grip on their places within the AL East . It now becomes game, of which team is now liable to crack under pressure , as we approach the final month of the regular season schedule .

With the career of Derek Jeter now winding down , the very public face of this Yankees` franchise will now become a vacuum . Certainly, Alex Rodriguez cannot fill that role , albeit that he was looked upon by team`s owners as being the individual to become the heir-apparent to Jeter in that role . Add in the fact that if Rodriguez while an active player on the roster were to break the all-time career home run record , of which he now leads all active players in that specific category . It would simply add one more feather in the cap of baseball`s most illustrious franchise . That now seems to be something of a remote possibility and if anything, a feat that would be looked upon rather dubiously , dubiously, given that the current holder of baseball`s most heralded record remains a pariah within the game.

Barry Bonds` departure from baseball was looked upon as a blessing and a curse , because a Pandora`s Box was opened up to a seedier side of the game , that not even Bud Selig can now close with any measure of success. Any thought that the game of baseball has been able to clean up its image in terms of two tainted decades of rampant cheating, can now firmly be placed alongside the Black Sox scandal as one of the most self-destructive periods and things to have happened in the game`s history. The remnants of the Biogenesis debacle will remain with baseball for years to come and will not be easily forgotten, because of the deceit , and depth of depravity shown by the players embroiled in this controversial chapter of baseball history . Revisionists will seek to rewrite this episode, as being something of a faded memory. Yet, records will show how rampant an epidemic, the use of performance enhancing drugs had become, along with the names associated with the scandal .

Robinson Cano remains a fan favorite amongst the New York Yankees` fans , and with very good reason . The player embodies what the franchise is said to be about, in terms of the players steeped in tradition long associated with the history of ball-club. However, with Cano set to become a free agent at the end of this season , there now seems to doubts setting in, as to whether or not he will remain with the only organization he has ever played for in the Big Leagues. The six-year , $57 million deal, signed by Robinson Cano in 2008, comes to an end this season. There now seems to be a growing reluctance by Brian Cashman to sign the player to a multi-year deal that would most certainly make him amongst a the highest paid players on the New York Yankees` roster. Now represented by RocNation Sports , a company founded by rapper and entrepreneur Jay-z in conjunction with CAA Sports . Cano is the highest profiled athlete signed to the artist`s fledgling sports management company, and now looking g to make inroads in all four of the major professional team sports, as well pursuing acquiring fighters within the UFC as well as boxing. The rapper also known as Sean Carter , would like nothing better than to have his client sign a deal that would not leave an imprint of his success in this new endeavor , but also garner further attention for RocNation Sports, with the hope of luring other dissatisfied athletes to his company .

The New York Yankees certainly do need Robinson Cano , with an injury riddled and an aging roster, no longer what it once was. Losing Cano to free agency would be a devastating blow for the organization. A career . 308 hitter , Robinson Cano and his representatives know that there would be a willing number of suitors looking to pay for his unique services. It would not be out of the realm of possibility that the player could sign with another team willing to acquire him at the right price . With the vast resources available to the New York Yankees , a decision will have to be made quickly, during the off-season . Because there is no doubt in mind, that Jay-Z will have begun to shop around his client`s services the moment he becomes an unrestricted free agent. A seven or ten-year contract, for no less an asking price of between $220 million to $245 million, does not seem out of the question or truly exorbitant, given the payrolls of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, respectively. Yet, it has been baseball`s unwillingness to deal with its financial imbalances , that now seems to be leading it even closer to a precipice , where in due course, it will undoubtedly take that foreseen plunge over the edge .

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In light of what you have read in this article, do you believe that any decision rendered by the arbitrator presiding over Alex Rodriguez`s appeal will be the right verdict ? Or are you of the opinion that baseball`s continued failure to be proactive and have more even more oversight in the monitoring and testing of the players for performance has been a monumental and miserable failure , even with the advent of this latest scandal ? Should the New York Yankees miss the postseason , who should bear the brunt of the responsibility for the team`s failure this season , Alex Rodriguez , Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman ? Finally, were Robinson Cano to leave the Yankees` organization as an unrestricted free agent, would it matter at all to you where he ultimately landed ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in New York.. In another turn of events , it is being claimed that the player or a member from his inner circle leaked information that implicated both Ryan Braun and his Yankees` teammate Francisco Cervelli in the Biogenesis scandal . The claims are made in a soon to be seen episode of the CBS news magazine program ` 60 Minutes ` but was first revealed in print by Yahoo Sports . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(2) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference following baseball meetings at the Otesaga Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. AP Photo/Mike Groll …

(3) New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart (19) congratulates left fielder Alfonso Soriano after the Yankees’ 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in a baseball game , Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, in New York. Soriano had seven RBIs in the game. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig checks his watch before a news conference following baseball meetings at the Otesaga Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz stands at right. With the league hierarchy and owners coming to an agreement that instant replay will now become more widely used within the game in 2014 , it now remains to be seen how and when the hierarchy, will also reach a compromise, as to a more stringent form of testing, for performance enhancing drugs with even more oversight. The commissioner at present, seems noncommittal on that lone issue , still insisting that baseball does have the most stringent testing protocols of the four major professional team sports . AP Photo/Mike Groll ….

(5) Defense attorney Joseph Tacopina shows a video as address the jurors during closing arguments in the fatal boat crash trial. Anthony DiGilio the boater accused of killing another boater and injuring two others in on trial in Toms River. DiGilio, a 33-year-old construction worker and electrician, is accused of speeding and then fleeing the scene of the accident. Charged with one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of death by vessel, DiGilio faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Friday April 19, 2013 . Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger ….

(6) Robinson Cano , left, of the New York Yankees is seen here signing an agreement with rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z , founder of RocNation Sports , The full consultancy and sports` management company now represents the player after he fired his former agent Scott Boras . In recent months the entrepreneur and businessman has been busy in building his stable of sports` clients, having added the WNBA`s Skylar Diggins , Geno Smith , quarterback for the New York Jets and Seth Jones of the NHL`s Nashville Predators . Getty Images / Aaron Curry ….
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When good men fail to act or take action , then evil will always prevail ….

When good men fail to act or take action, then evil will always prevail ….

It should come as no surprise that Alex Rodriguez has filed a grievance against the MLB hierarchy through the MLBPA (Players` Union) in seeking to have his suspension overturned, with his appeal going in front of an independent arbitrator . This matter further prolongs what has already been a painful episode for the game of baseball . Meanwhile, fans are offering either the most reasonable of solutions or making some of the most asinine statements possible . Even the most anal retentive within this domain are offering up solution, as why not simply let the players carry on using whatever illicit substances they want . And it is for this lone reason, why I believe this country should no longer get the respect, it simply feels it deserves from the outside world ! When you have that sort of unintelligent and asinine reasoning being made as an argument , it shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation and furthermore, it shows ignorance and stupidity . Hell , the country simply does not deserve anything, by way of respect from the outside world, given its present economic climate and some might rightfully agree , a government and an administration , simply devoid of intelligence and any real leadership .

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Rodriguez`s appeal will be presided over by an independent arbitrator, whose decision will be final . From my own perspective , I believe that the MLB hierarchy has handled this whole matter with the aptitude and incompetency of an impaired driver behind the wheel of a vehicle careening down a highway at a high rate of speed, that is about to plow into a group of innocent bystanders. With a pending appeal process, Alex Rodriguez will be allowed to play for the beleaguered New York Yankees , who now find themselves in fourth place within the AL East and falling further behind divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox , Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles . The third baseman`s stats , since his return this season from hip surgery , one could suggest, has been anemic . Not that any assistance provided by the player would not be welcomed,given the plight of this team under Joe Girardi and his staff this season .

The Yankees` next game will be a home series (three games) at Yankee Stadium , starting on Friday, against the Detroit Tigers of the AL Central . On the mound for the home team will be Ivan Nova , as he faces off against Rick Porcello of the Tigers. As to how the home team fans will show their approval of the beleaguered Rodriguez remains to be seen , but if it is anything like the cat-calls and boos received , in the somewhat hostile environment of US Cellular Field in Chicago against the Chicago White Sox , when the Yankees last played . Then, Alex Rodriguez could very well be in for a torrid time in-front of his hometown fans.

As simplistic as this might sound, with all of the criticism justifiably leveled at Bud Selig. My question remains , if the commissioner is due any criticism , then has none been aimed towards the team owners , players not participants in the steroid cheating , who have remained silent, but most of all the members of the mainstream press who now seek to make themselves out as saviors of the game ? MLB broadcast partner ESPN is perhaps, one of the most guilty members of the media, who have sought to remain all too silent , never once being critical of the league and the way that they have governed the game of baseball . Now as this story becomes part of the news` cycle of featured sports` stories . Here we have all of the major networks and cable sports` outlets relentlessly giving us their synopsis`s and diagnosis as to how this all may very well end.

Baseball`s history as been littered with controversy, infamy , and perhaps now, one of the most unsavory episodes in its entire existence . Alex Rodriguez proclaims his love of the game, which he has been a part of for almost two decades , while seeking also to become a role model for young kids. Yet, his continued lies and seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for problems of his own making, paints a picture of a self-absorbed narcissistic and amoral individual . The player remains a poor excuse for someone , who at one time was viewed as one of the best players of the late nineties and of the last decade. An all too sad an indictment of a wasted talent and a player , who has now become a pariah.

With the release of the movie `42` , starring Chad Bozeman and Harrison Ford. This film was meant to give us a realistic and true portrayal of the life of Jackie Robinson and his integration and introduction into the Major Leagues. Beautifully made, the acting and ensemble cast gave the audience something that could very much believe by way of Hollywood finally getting something right by way of a very realistic portrayal of one of the major and unsavory times within baseball , and one in which baseball historians tend to gloss over with alarming regularity . Each year, baseball rolls out its Jackie Robinson Day to commemorate that historic event of the Hall of Fame player`s first game in the Big Leagues .

In what can only be described as a depraved act of stupidity and racial animus , perpetrators daubed, defecated upon and vandalized statues of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese outside the stadium of the Brooklyn Cyclones , in Brooklyn, New York state . The outrage now seems to be widespread amongst the New York community, but particularly amongst the Brooklyn residents and those old enough , who fondly remember both Robinson and Reese ,as close teammates. Why this happened, is of no great surprise, given the depravity and how heinous the act just happened to be. What is of surprise, is the very fact that no one from within the MLB`s headquarters, has voiced their outrage or issued a public statement on the incident. Well, that should not really come as any great surprise, given the fact that baseball`s own failings in recent years, concerning their recent initiatives to bring back baseball within the inner cities and specifically amongst minorities.

Courtesy of the New York Daily News

Jackie Robinson statue defaced with racist slurs, swastikas outside Cyclones park, News offers reward

The Daily News is offering $10,000 for information leading to the coward that scrawled hate speech on the Jackie Robinson statue outside MCU Park in Coney Island.

By Thomas Tracy, Nicholas Wells and Richard Schapiro , New York Daily News

A despicable act of vandalism sparked a chorus of outrage Wednesday after swastikas and racist slurs were found scrawled on the iconic Jackie Robinson statue outside the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium.

A manager at MCU Park in Coney Island stumbled upon the defaced statue about 8:30 a.m., just hours before thousands of kids showed up at the ballpark for Camp Day.

Among the hate-filled messages written in black marker on the monument of Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodgers teammate Pee Wee Reese were: “Hile (sic) Hitler,” “Die N—-r” and “F–k Jackie Robinson and all N——s.”

In a bid to help cops catch the hate-filled coward, the Daily News is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.

Investigators were poring over surveillance video Wednesday night.

The desecration drew fiery denunciations from a slew of politicians and former baseball stars — including one of Robinson’s last living teammates, Ralph Branca.

“I have no idea why anyone would do that,” Branca, 87, told the Daily News. “The statue signified a great moment in American history.”

RELATED: LUPICA: HATEFUL DEFACING OF JACKIE ROBINSON STATUE A CRIME AGAINST ALL

Sen. Chuck Schumer, in a surprise visit to the site, lashed out at the perpetrator.

“I hope you’re punished for what you did because what [you] did put a dagger in the heart of what America is all about,” Schumer said.

“That there are still people who don’t understand what Jackie Robinson stood for in his grace, and his strength and the beautiful person he was and to try and deface him, defame him by defacing this statue is just an act of . . . it’s beyond words to me,” he added.

Photos of the defaced statue obtained by The News show an image of a swastika above a Hitler reference and the word “N—–s” scrawled twice on the base, just above the inscription detailing the monument’s significance.

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Bud Selig`s tenure can be best described as self-created pratfalls,with the man himself , looking to take credit for anything that remotely might show he and the game in a positive light. Over the past two decades , there has been very little that the commissioner can really point to, as a real positive. Now, in light of the Biogenesis scandal and the incident that took place in Brooklyn. It is extremely difficult to imagine,how anyone would now try to suggest that this season can in any way, be seen as a positive .

Racially motivated or a simple act of vandalism , this incident and how baseball, and law enforcement , now seek to address the matter, will go a long way , in how the public will view the game in the aftermath of the most recent events to have taken place. As to the perpetrators of this crime,it is hoped, that they will have the decency to at least show some contrition for their actions. Yet, that might now be too much to expect, given the fact , that there are idiots, who will also seek take advantage of this act, to further a rather insidious cause .

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Picture gallery .

Baseball is filled with a great deal of hypocrisy, with much of it coming from the players themselves and their own selfishness . Furthermore , a great deal of tat is actually countenanced by the lack of expediency shown by Michael Weiner as the executive director of the MLBPA , who himself, has been less tan forthright, as to the actions of his members, specifically those embroiled in this latest chapter of cheating. And there still remains the fans who are passionate about the game, but who are gullible enough to actually believe that the players actually give a damn, about whether or not their teammates or others are cheating. Case in point , Derek Jeter might just be the most respected player in the game along with teammate, Mariano Rivera . Yet, for all of the controversy that has beset the game and that still casts a giant over baseball.When have you ever heard either player, come out and be openly critical of the players known to have cheated or even voiced their concerns and how now dangerous a path that the game seems to be taking , in terms of the adverse image and bad publicity ? Answers please , if you can ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez leaves the dugout to take batting practice before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 in Chicago. AP Photo/David Banks …

(2) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez signs autographs before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013, in Chicago. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …

(3) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter arrives at Petco Park for the Yankees inter-league baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi …

(4) In a scene from the hit movie `42` Branch Rickey portrayed by Harrison Ford pleads with Jackie Robinson (Chad Bozeman) to have patience and simply display his skills and vent his due anger into the game and not against those who are taunting him with derogatory racial epithets. @ copyrighted material all rights reserved

(5) A worker covers the base of the Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, where vile slurs written in marker could not be removed from the stone Wednesday. AP Photo / Neil Miller

(6) A portrait of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ infielder Jackie Robinson in uniform from about 1945. Hulton Archives / Getty Images …

(7) The Daily News is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible for the hateful graffiti scrawled on the Jackie Robinson statue (shown here before the despicable act). Associated Press …

(8) Racial slurs have scarred the Jackie Robinson statue outside MCU Park. So racially offensive were many of the remarks daubed on the effigy , that it took workers several hours to clean and restore the statue to its former being . Associated Press ….

(9) The Brooklyn Dodgers’ Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson chatting in dugout at Yankee Stadium in 1947. The two players and teammates ,became firm friends , and both are enshrined in baseball`s Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown , New York . New York Daily News / Ed Jackson ….

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tophatal …….

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Same time next year , but this year appears to be no different from last season

Same time next year , but this year appears to be no different from last season

A month into the baseball season and fans are now exhilarated with the play of the teams and their impressive starts in several cases. With that in mind it should be noted , that there are a number of teams that have fallen short in failing to meet early expectations . Injuries have played their part but none more so than per usual . The New York Yankees have Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson still sidelined , in various stages of recovery , but with no timetable actually set as of yet for their return . Consider the fact , that the five players in question , account for more than $83 million of the team’s annual $227 million payroll for 2013 , which currently are not on the playing field for a team that now has posted a 18-13 (.581) record , good enough for third place within the AL East .

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Slideshow .

For the Yankees’ fans , I believe that they will continue to rally behind the team , in spite of their off the field issues , as it relates to their still ailing and troubled star Alex Rodriguez . The third baseman is once again embroiled in another sordid affair , in which his name and that of several other Major League players are in engulfed in a further story of illicit banned substances , that have been allegedly supplied to them by a South Florida supplements’ company , Biogenesis , owned by Floridian businessman , Anthony Bosch . The company is at present subject of joint investigation by the DEA , FBI and US Justice Department . Meanwhile, MLB Commissioner , Bud Selig is said to be closely monitoring the ongoing investigation from afar . I liken Selig’s interest in the matter , much as in the same way he monitored the financial misdeeds of Frank McCourt , as he financially ruined the Los Angeles Dodgers , Saul Katz’s and Fred Wilpon’s continued “ idiotic” stewardship of the still financially embarrassed and uncompetitive New York Mets . Need I remind you all, of the ongoing mess that remains the Miami Marlins and the very fact that team owner , Jeffrey Loria still seeks to apportion blame elsewhere for the team’s ineptitude in 2012 , while then seeking to conduct his own “ bargain basement sale “ , in terms of trading away many of the team’s high-priced acquisitions of last season ?

The Miami Marlins, losers of two straight and are 5-5 in their last ten games . It does beg the question , how much more will the fans of this impoverished team continue to tolerate , in spite of the claims by many analysts, that baseball , Major League Baseball , remains a viable option within the state of Florida . Granted , the state does remain a hotbed for excellent talent and the Spring Training (Grapefruit League) home for several teams around the league , as well as their Minor League affiliates . Yet beyond that , for Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays , there has been either a steady decline or sparse attendance for their home games , as well as what appears to be an anemic fan-base .

Having been a one-time supporter of the Miami Marlins , I long shied away in my continued support of the franchise , after the inherent lies perpetrated by the team’s ownership , that has been continually been suborned by Bud Selig and an “ absolutely clueless” hierarchy , that is seemingly supported by the also clueless on air radio and television analysts , and personalities who cover the sport . As to the print media and their idiocy , well let’s just say if those assholes cannot succinctly inform the public of anything worthwhile, as it relates the real underlying issues of baseball . Then under what circumstances, are we to believe that they would be able to explain to us in depth , the reasons behind the continued economic imbalances as well the continued cheating that still runs the gamut of Major League Baseball ?

This season if anything , we have seen a string of great performances from several pitchers within the AL and NL , that has given us a clear indication as to the reason behind the “rise of the pitcher” and less of an emphasis in terms of run productivity . . The Texas Rangers’ starting ace , Yu Darvish came within “ two outs” of pitching what would have been baseball’s twenty fourth “perfect game “ in baseball’s history earlier in this season , in an exemplary display of a controlled pitching performance that was simply scintillating to say the very least . On the receiving end of that 7-0 loss , were the woefully inept Houston Astros (9-24) , whose record this season , is the worst in the Majors , and it is looking increasingly like that this team could very well end up surpassing last season’s mark within MLB for the worst record (55-107) in the game.

Speaking of teams, that are, and will remain inept, beyond the Astros , Miami Marlins. There is a growing belief that the Chicago Cubs , New York Mets and San Diego Padres , simply show no wish to be competitive . The continued excuses , especially amongst the Mets’ fans has become mind numbingly stupid and beyond belief ! No amount of excuses can be made for the ineptitude shown by the front office staff , even after the dismissal of former general manager , Omar Minaya , with the influx of Sandy Alderson and J P Riccardi , to now assume control for all of the executive decisions made , with regard to the acquisition of player personnel , either through the draft or free agency . . The Mets are not even remotely competitive within the NL East this season , and in all likelihood , if Terry Collins and his managerial staff are unable to turn things around . Then, we are likely to see the dismissal of the manager, from his first managerial position within the game .

Wednesday afternoon , the New York Mets will play host to another struggling ball-club , when they take on the Chicago White Sox at Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York . A game , where I expect that the attendance is likely to be somewhat dour , if not anemic ! Taking the mound for the Mets will be Jeremy Hefner (0-3, 4.34 ERA) who faces Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.38 ERA) .. At 12-16 , the Mets are in need of victories , as well as series’ wins , if they are in anyway of having a chance , much less of keeping in close proximity of the division leading Atlanta Braves (19-12) , . who are closely followed by the Washington Nationals , Philadelphia Phillies , followed by the Mets and the barely recognizable Marlins at the foot of the division.

As I alluded to earlier , this season the pitching within the Majors seems to be significantly better than I expected it to be ! In the past few seasons there has been the propensity see a significant rise in home runs and , RBI’s , but one of the more startling statistics that has come to the fore, has been the fluctuation in the number of “walks” from season to season . Either the batters are simply not that good , or the pitching , however cyclical it might well be , is now back at a level where the likes of Yu Darvish , Matt Cain , Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez , Clay Buchholz , Clayton Kershaw and Jordan Zimmerman being dominant this season .

It has been a number of years since the game has seen a player reach one of the pinnacles within the game and that is forty home runs and 40 stolen bases in a season . Seven years in fact , a feat that has only been accomplished four times in the game’s history . Alfonso Soriano , then playing for the Washington Nationals was the last player to achieve that feat in 2006 , which now seems to have become something of a rarity within the game of baseball. Personally , I now find that feat somewhat more enthralling, far more than the single season home run record . Albeit , that the taint and stain now associated with the players that have surpassed Roger Maris’ mark over the past decade and a half , does make the game of baseball all the more tawdry and dare one say , meaningless in terms of Maris’ feat ? It must be said , the “era of steroids “, simply has been a blight , casting a giant shadow over the game today , while the league hierarchy still remains at a loss , how best to address the issue . Meanwhile, the game’s revenues increase exponentially , primarily from the re-negotiation of the television contracts and less from the profitability of the league’s thirty teams.

As to the aspirants , seeking to succeed the reigning World Series’ champions , the San Francisco Giants . It must be said that one of the prohibitive favorites before the season started , might well have been the cash-laden and definitely ambitious Los Angeles Dodgers . Lead managing partners , Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly and Magic Johnson , have simply let it be known “ no expense would be spared “, as the Dodgers seek to bring back a title to the city of Los Angeles and to a ball club simply starved of that success.

It will be a quarter of a century since the Los Angeles Dodgers were triumphant in baseball’s biggest postseason fare. As the 1988 team proved to be successful in defeating their fame instate , rivals the Oakland Athletics 4-1 in a best of seven series finale to the season of that historic finale series . World Series MVP , Orel Hershiser had an “ outstanding series” as mirrored in his stats for several of his electrifying performances for the Dodgers , who were managed by legendary franchise icon Tommy Lasorda .

The Los Angeles Dodgers managed by Don Mattingly is suddenly struggling to get an an injury riddled …. team competent to compete against divisional rivals within the NL West . It`s pretty much safe to say that if Mattingly isn`t able to at least guide the Dodgers deep into the postseason . Then there is the likelihood that GM Ned Colletti will have to consult the front office as to whether or not it would be in the franchise`s best interest to retain Don Mattingly`s services as the team`s manager .

A knock against the was the bravado sown by their fans and owners alike , was in thinking , that merely because of franchise`s monetary resources, backed by a multi-billion dollar television contract and the $125 billion in assets of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners Inc , parent company of Guggenheim Baseball Properties , owners of the Dodgers` ball-club. With a payroll now exceeding $233.1 million of which , there is now $68.9 million now committed to players on the team`s disabled list . It is easy understand, one of the numerous reasons behind the Dodgers problems this season , specifically as it relates to the team`s play . If there is one thing that we know about this team , it is that from a pitching and from an offensive standpoint the Dodgers are capable mounting a mid-season assault that could very well place them amongst the thick of things within the division as well as the NL overall . From an offensive and pitching standpoint the team does possess the weapons to get the job done , but much of that will be dependent upon the leadership shown by the likes of Matt Kemp , Clayton Kershaw , Adrian Gonzalez , Josh Beckett , Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford , whose combined salaries make up a large part of the financial commitment that the front office has made to the aforementioned players .

Mattingly will lead is players into a three-game series starting on Friday 10th May at home in Dodgers` Ballpark , in Los Angeles California, against the Miami Marlins , led by first-year manager Mike Redmond . This is a series that should tell us a great deal about the apparent directions that the teams are said to be heading in and their overall ambitions over the course of this season.

For the moment the Boston Red Sox (21-13) seem to be riding on the crest of a wave with the best record in the American League . A mark , which they currently share , with the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers , however , to my mind , the team that has been playing the best baseball over last ten games has to be the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers (19-12) , who over their last ten games , have gone an astonishing 9-1 , best in the Majors , and most certainly by far the best in the American League .

Yet , for all of grit and determination shown there is a common belief that the Tigers lack real leadership quality and the very fact that for all sense and purpose , the team`s manager, Jim Leyland appears to be too laid back a coach . I could very well be wrong in my summation of Leyland , but last season`s World Series` loss to the San Francisco Giants , I believe was a damning indictment of what was said to be wrong with the team and organization , from top to bottom . Add in the laissez-faire approach of the managerial staff and what could be further from the truth ?

The Tigers were brushed aside with the utmost of ease , in a rather embarrassing 4-0 series sweep , in what could only be described as one of the more embarrassing series’ defeat MLB postseason history . For Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski and owner Mike Ilitch , these are trying times for a franchise that has labored for years and who have not won a title since 1984 , when they defeated the San Diego Padres 4-1 for the last of the ball-club’s four titles that they have won over the course of their history. Bittersweet memories , when you consider also , that prior to last season’s appearance against the Giants , Jim Leyland and the Tigers would also come up short in 2006 , when the team fell to the St Louis Cardinals and the heroics of the diminutive David Eckstein , who was named World Series MVP after his heroic performances for the Cardinals .

In spite of their being three legitimate All Stars on the Tigers’ roster . I am inclined to believe that Miguel Cabrera , the game’s most recent Triple Crown winner , along with Cy Young and AL MVP winner , Justin Verlander and the always prolific Prince Fielder are likely to struggle should they make another return the postseason . Last season’s anemic postseason displays were simply endemic of what appears to be an ongoing problem for the franchise, as a whole . The Detroit Tigers appear to be gun-shy and all too afraid of even their own shadow being cast across a baseball diamond . Your thoughts , on my assumption concerning the Tigers?

The consensus coming into this season, was the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays might possess the best pitching staff in the Majors . Last season’s AL Cy Young winner David Price was said to be confident and the fact he was the recipient of a one-year $10.1 million contract was a boost in confidence for the player and presumed leader amongst the Rays’ pitchers . Instead for Price , his season has been one of indifference , and some shoddy pitching from a number of his teammates , thought to be able to provide Joe Maddon with the biggest weapon that the Rays have in their arsenal and bag of tricks .

Amongst the Rays’ pitching staff , it has been Matt Moore (6-0, 2.14 ERA ) off to a surprising 6-0 start that seems to have caught everyone by surprise and placed him among the best pitchers in the AL as well as the league (MLB) as a whole , with the season barely just over a month old .

Coming off a decisive 10-4 victory over a struggling Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup , the Rays will again play host to the team at Tropicana Field on Thursday evening . Taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays will be David Price against R A Dickey (2-5, 5.36 ERA) in what should a fascinating match-up the game’s most recent Cy Young Award winners from the AL and NL , respectively.

Given, the season that Dickey had in 2012 with the Mets , where he was the sole reason to watch that impoverished team play . Now the fortunes of the Blue Jays seem to have taken a turn for the worst and it would appear that even in light of their propensity to make a lavish splash in the off-season with a number of high-priced acquisitions . Someone, may well need to remind GM Alex Anthonopolous that a team cannot be made up from ill-fitting parts, that is completely lacking chemistry as well as leadership both on and off the field of play .

Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons and his staff will be thoroughly tested throughout the course of this season , and it should come as no surprise if once again , this franchise were to have another failed season .

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Picture gallery .

At this point of the MLB season , what if anything, has been the biggest surprise to you as a baseball fan ? And by the All Star Game , do you believe that a number of teams can be ” written off “ as lost causes , in terms of their perceived expectations ? Chime in with a thought on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Juan Nicasio, front, reacts as New York Yankees’ Vernon Wells , rear, rounds the bases on his two-run home run in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. AP Photo/David Zalubowski …

(2) New York Yankees’ Vernon Wells , left, follows the flight of his two-run home run with Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. AP Photo/David Zalubowski …

(3) Injured Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees looks on from the dugout with teammate Jayson Nix (17) during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on May 4, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. There does not seem to be a timetable set for the short-stop’s return after complications related to his recuperation , from his leg injury . Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(4) Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria and David Sansome seen here at the inaugural opening the 34,500 seat Marlins’ Ballpark in Miami , Florida built at taxpayers’ expense and now having become something of an elephants’ graveyard for the teams’ home games since its opening in April 2012 . Miami Herald / Hector Rodriguez ….

(5) Yu Darvish (11) is seen in a baseball game played against the Astros , in Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas , where he was on the cusp of becoming the twenty fifth player to have thrown a perfect game in baseball history . The Houston Astros were able to derail Darvish’s bid for baseball immortality . AP Photo / Sam Parish ……….

(6) Matt Kemp (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his three run homerun with manager , Don Mattingly(8) during the fifth inning to trail 5-4 to the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Mattingly’s contract with the Dodgers at the end of this season and it would appear that Stan Kasten , SVP of Baseball Operations appears to be noncommittal with regard to the manager’s future. After thirty-three games into the season and with a plethora of injuries to several All Stars on the team’s roster . The Dodgers are 13-20 , firmly placing them at the bottom of the NL West . Harry How / Getty Images …..

(7) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Moore has gotten off a fast start going 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA , which places Moore in the upper echelons of the AL pitchers in terms wins as well in MLB as a whole . AP Photo/Mike Carlson …..

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Tophatal …….. 05/8/2013

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We’ll start with the sublime and then move on to the ridiculous . Oh sorry we’re talking baseball , so it remains ridiculous

We’ll start with the sublime and then move on to the ridiculous . Oh sorry we’re talking baseball , so it remains ridiculous

By Tophatal , 2nd April , 2013

So yesterday , marked the official Opening Day as such , for the majority of teams within Major League Baseball . Many of those games just happened to be, noted rivalries between of many of baseball’s most heralded teams. At Yankees Stadium , the New York Yankees’ played host to their heated AL East rivals , the Boston Red Sox . And if the events are anything to go by , then the Yankees , are about to have a long an arduous season . We knew that the team’s pitching was likely to be suspect , but who could have imagined that the offense would be so anemic ?

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Slideshow .

For the Yankees’ Opening Day starter , CC Sabathia , I suspect that this was a game , that the left handed pitcher would rather forget . Decidedly more so , given the meager run support , given to the player by his teammates during this game .

With the Yankees not set to play again until Wednesday , when they will resume their series against the Boston Red Sox. Tuesday becomes a rest day , during which Joe Girardi and his coaching staff can assess the damage done , as well as the psyche of his players. Granted , excuses can , and will be made, that the team has a litany of injured players on the DL . Yet in no way , should that really be an excuse for an organization , where losing is simply seen as unacceptable .

One thing that there can be no denying , and it is now, the false bravado of the New York Yankees , and the very fact that their window of opportunity to add the mantel pieces for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera , in terms of additional silverware by way of a sixth World Series title , is now becoming narrower by the year. This season , will be the last for Rivera , the all-time saves’ leader within baseball and one of the most prolific pitchers of any era in baseball history .

On the mound, on Wednesday for the Yankees , will be Hiroki Kuroda , facing off against Clay Buchholz . Should the New York Yankees start the season at 0-2 , there will be no need to start the alarm bells as of yet , but , should they lose four or five consecutive games open the start of their season , then look for Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi , seeking to make some not so drastic changes , if only stave off the criticism of the front office and their continued failure to develop talent from within their farm system over the past several years . Strangely enough at a time, when senior managing partner and team owner , Hal Steinbrenner sought to pare down the team’s payroll . The franchise simply resorted to what they do best, and that is to simply buy their way out of a bad situation. How else, can one explain the idiocy of acquiring an unproductive malcontent such as Vernon Wells ? Wells is still owed $42 million on the final two years of an extortionate and exorbitant seven-year $126 million deal , originally signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008 . . Chances are , Wells , will simply be counterproductive , or he may well surprise the naysayers by contributing greatly to the Yankees’ fortunes over the course of the season.

Call me naïve , but if you’re looked upon as the presumptive leader on a team , then should it not be incumbent on that player to act accordingly , rather than presenting themselves as something of an immature blowhole ? Evan Longoria has become a bona-fide star within baseball , but I am not so sure that he is simply capable enough handling any real adversity , let alone , leading the Tampa Bay Rays to any tangible success . However, comments attributed to the Rays’ third baseman , in which he came across as an imbecile , in being critical of his former teammates , BJ Upton and James Shields . Longoria tried to suggest that neither player was on board , with the Joe Maddon’s managerial style , or the fact that they knew how to handle the adversity of the team’s consistent misfortune of losing on a regular basis before the franchise’s recent run of success . Unless , I am mistaken , you win and lose as a team and not simply single out players whom you believe to be giving a less than convincing effort .

Evan Longoria is lucky enough to now be richly rewarded by the Rays, having signed a multiyear deal that gives him $105 million and the safety net of six years guaranteed income . Unfortunately, his former teammates were not so lucky , having to go elsewhere to seek their fortunes , because plainly put , the Rays are an organization that will continue penny-pinch in order to remain competitive as well as being financially viable . Something that the franchise has not been able to achieve without the advent of the baseball hierarchy’s archaic and asinine tax sharing revenue scheme , that penalizes teams with payrolls in excess of $150 million , by taxing them on a prorated basis as much as 25% of that nominal figure , which is then disbursed for the league’s small market teams , which is allegedly determined on their fan-base and the market in which they are domiciled , based upon the Nielsen’s ratings and their market research . Which begs the question why was it from 2004 through until 2011 , the Florida Marlins, soon to become the Miami Marlins were afforded this luxury ? When for those intervening years , team owner Jeffrey Loria and his sidekicks , David Sansom , Larry Beinfest and Michael Hills , plead poverty as to the franchise’s resources , only for the ball club to go out on an exorbitant cash spending spree in 2012 on acquiring high-priced free agents , that saw the team’s payroll become a bloated $125 million boondoggle that culminated with a sub . 500 record (69-93) within the NL East and a last place finish within the division that season . This season we will see the Marlins resort back to the ways old with a sparse payroll , which will be amongst the lowest in all of baseball , with a team salary of $44 million in salaried commitments based upon known records .

I don’t believe that this beleaguered Marlins’ franchise will have any tangible success within the NL East this season ! Rookie manager Mike Redmond and his staff will have a hard time to get this team contending with the division and against their heated divisional rivals domiciled there .

As to the Tampa Bay Rays and what the season has in store for Joe Maddon and his players , will rest primarily upon the effectiveness of the team’s pitching and their leadership shown by their 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner , David Price . If he, along with Jeremy Hellickson , Roberto Hernandez , Alex Cobb can spearhead what is said to be the best . pitching staff in the Majors , then there is no reason to believe why they cannot be a major force to be reckoned with . And in spite of the managerial ingenuity shown by Joe Maddon , unless Longoria can show that he has the leadership skills , the Rays could be in for a long an arduous season .

The team’s home opener on Tuesday afternoon , pitted the Rays against divisional rivals the Baltimore Orioles , who under their erstwhile manager , Buck Showalter , will be looking to get the team back to their excellent highs of last season . Joe Maddon’s players in front of a sellout crowd at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida would come away on the wrong side , of a rather lopsided 7-4 loss to the Orioles. However , the two teams are scheduled to meet again , twice more in games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday , at the team’s home venue , in St Petersburg.

It would be remiss, to suggest that Sandy Koufax is not one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history . The former Dodgers’ great statistics speaks volumes to a prolific career and the accolades won . Koufax was given the privilege of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ opening game of their schedule , played against the San Francisco Giants , played at Dodgers’ Ballpark , in Los Angeles California . On the mound for the Dodgers, in this match-up of two well-respected NL West franchises , we had Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain . Kershaw since his drafting by the Dodgers in the 2006 MLB Draft , his career has been on an upward spiral, from the minors on through ,

In recent seasons , Kershaw has been amongst the very best performing pitchers in the National League , but this oh so early comparison , to a legend , such as Sandy Koufax, is simply asinine , and in many respects, insulting to both players . If Kershaw can maintain the current pace as to the success attained , then there is no reason not to believe why he cannot become a future inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame , but for now , the comparison to the legendary left-handed pitcher becomes nonplussed, and not of any real significance .

Dodgers’ owners , Magic Johnson , Mark Walter , Todd Boehly , Peter Guber , and team President , Stan Kasten , will certainly look to assess the performance of this team over the course of the season . There is no denying , that coming after the failings in 2012 , a great deal more was expected of this high-priced assembly of stars . It’s one thing to accumulate a roster of players , reward them in some cases , with astronomical salaries , but if there’s no cohesion on the field of play , then surely, that will be equated with a lack of success .

For the Dodgers, in 2013 , it will be “do or die “ and according to Magic Johnson , “ no expense will be spared on or off the field of play as this ball club seeks to win a World Series’ title” . Take into account that it has been twenty-five years (1988) since the Los Angeles Dodgers won the last of their five World Series titles . To be a part of that particular equation in 2013 , the Los Angeles Dodgers will have to be a truly dominant team , led by their erstwhile manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff.

Not yet ready to throw out the baby with the bath water , but , if I hear one more damn prognostication about the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates , and the expectations for both ball clubs this season , I am likely to let loose with several bits of profanity ! Has there ever been two more misguided and lackluster baseball franchises , who continue have you salivating with excitement , one minute , only to disappoint the next ? With the exception of the ongoing woes and the misguided maneuvers of the Chicago Cubs , I truly believe that the Pirates and Royals, are now , the two most inept franchises in all of baseball ! simply, look at the records of the Pittsburgh Pirates and that of Kansas City Royals , as evidence of that over the past decade and a half . Not to be outdone mind you , in recent years , it could be said that the Seattle Mariners should be equated amongst these misguided and mismanaged baseball franchises ,

A strong could be made that David Glass , Bob Nutting and Howard Lincoln as the owners or senior managing partner in the aforementioned triumvirate of teams , have simply obfuscated their responsibilities , in seeking to make the Royals , Pirates and Mariners a resounding success financially , as well as competitively . That being made , much of this , all comes down to how the ball club seeks to go acquiring their talent , by way of the MLB Draft , free agency trades or simply promoting from within their respective farm systems . Yet when it is all said and done, it comes back down to money , and about those teams that have it and those that don’t . Are they willing to spend , or are they not willing to do so ? I will leave that for you all to be the judge of that, as it all in reality , comes down to a matter of conjecture and bear analysis by way of the teams’ actions.

In many respects I believe that this season , will be about the teams expected to succeed, being under more pressure to do so, more than ever before , along with their respective managers . Perhaps, the three managers, with the greatest need to succeed will be , Mike Sciocsia of Los Angeles Angels , Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies , and Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers . Sciocsia , along with team owner, Arte Moreno and GM , Jerry DiPoto , have once again gone off to the races , having acquired outfielder, Josh Hamilton to go alongside a highly explosive offense headlined by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and a pitching staff , with a proven ace , in , Jered Weaver. That being said , the Angels’ fall from grace last season within the AL West came as something of a shock , because of the inconsistency of the hitting and pitching at the most inopportune of moments. A repeat of that in 2013 , and their season could simply implode without having put up much of challenge against the rest of their divisional rivals and those primarily within the AL .

Jim Leyland has a great deal going for him as a veteran manager , beyond the respect of his peers and players he has managed over the course of his career. However , what cannot be denied , is the very fact that he and the Tigers have come up too short , more often than we could care to remember. Detroit being manhandled by the San Francisco Giants last season (4-0) in the World Series , was enough to have left us all somewhat squeamish . Pitching awful , offense , simply mediocre , and beyond that , there is not much else that needs to be said , after that sorry chapter .

At some point during this season, we will see the Phillies simply cave , and fall apart. This team is littered with All Stars , but what it appears to lack is a vocal and inspirational leader on the field of play. Clearly , Charlie Manuel cannot be seen as the voice of reason , much less a motivator , when needed . This, is a team, that either flies by the seat of its pants , blowing hot and cold. Injuries asides, they will either sink or swim by the merits of their deeds , on the field of play. With the amount of money sank into the pitching staff , and in particular for Cole Hamels . I would like to think that the Phillies’ front office is likely to get a sizable return on that investment at some point in the season, preferably deep into the postseason ! Squandered opportunities and a lone World Series’ triumph in 2008 , in essence , just happens to be all that the franchise , has to show for the recent success over the past six years . The clock is now ticking for Charlie Manuel and front office executive, Reuben Amaro Jr .

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Picture gallery .

With the first week baseball almost in the books , what if anything do you hope to see in the first five or six weeks of the baseball schedule ? Which teams, if anything , have you been most impressed this early in terms of the season’s infancy? Chime in, with your thoughts, as you see fit .

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Slideshow and picture gallery details below .

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(1) In this photo combo of file photos, Jay-Z, left, watches an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2013. New York Yankees’ Robinson Cano sits in the dugout during a spring training baseball game in Tampa, Fla., on March 28, 2013. Cano plans to switch agents from Scott Boras to a new company formed by musician Jay-Z’s , Roc Nation and CAA Sports . AP Photo/Reed Saxon, left, and Kathy Willens ….

(2) New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) greets Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) at an opening day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1 , 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(3) Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia gestures to the pitcher as New York Yankees’ Kevin Youkilis reacts after a seventh-inning strikeout stranding two runners in an opening day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia .. delivers in the first inning at an Opening Day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(5) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is on the disabled list, walks gingerly on the field after doing an interview before the Yankees’ spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, March 26, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(6) Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) throws out Baltimore Orioles’ Brian Roberts after making a diving stop during the fourth inning of an opening day baseball game Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays would go on to lose the game 7-4 with a rather poor offensive output coming from the Rays’ hitters and inadequate effort from the team’s middle relievers . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(7) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – APRIL 02: Outfielder Adam Jones (10) of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates his team’s 7-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays during the Opening Day game at Tropicana Field on April 2, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(8) Baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is seen here on Opening Day , having just thrown out the ceremonial first pitch to start the Dodgers’ season and their game against reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants on the 1st April , 2013 . The Dodgers would go on to defeat the Giants 4-0 , but their in their subsequent game , the roles would be reversed with the visitors exacting revenge at Dodgers’ Ballpark , in Los Angeles , California with a 3-0 victory . Getty Images / Chris Hughes ….

(9) Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw , left, rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of a season opening baseball game in Los Angeles, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong …

(10) A “near perfect game ” . Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish is greeted by his teammates as he leaves the game after surrendering a hit in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in Houston. Darvish pitched eight and two-thirds perfect innings before giving up a hit to Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez in the Rangers’ 7-0 win . AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool …

(11) Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (14) shakes hands with Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker at the start of a major league baseball game , Monday, April 1, 2013, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman ….

(12) Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel is seen here congratulating his starting pitcher Cole Hamels during a game . Hamels and the rest of the team’s high-priced pitching staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed after the team’s inconsistent showing in 2011 and 2012 . Manuel and GM Reuben Amaro will be under a great deal of pressure as well as certain members of the team for the ball club to succeed this season , as the front office seeks answers for the franchise’s woes as of late . AP Photo / Paul Harmon ………

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MLB news

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MLB schedule calendar of important dates 2013

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MLB results 1st April

MLB standings

MLB stats daily leaders

MLB team stats (overall)

MLB this week in baseball history

This day in baseball history 3rd April

MLB team payrolls 2013

MLB history rare feats

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Forty / forty club ( 40 / 40 )

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Selena  Star

Adult entertainer , Selena Star

Selena Star/

Selena could definitely be the ” teacher’s pet ” . Hey. I wonder if she takes ” dictation ” ? Answers please , if you dare ?

Glib, Yes, they are ! In the world of sports and in entertainment , what else would you tend to expect ?

Glib, Yes, they are ! In the world of sports and in entertainment, what else, would you tend to expect ?

You either have to be that damn naïve to think that an industry that so often is do devoid of creativity can actually come up with something truly original . An industry such as the Hollywood film industry garnered record box office receipts, in 2012 of $10.8 billion ($10,800,000,000) . Here were are, in the first quarter of 2013 , and so far the industry receipts are approximately $1.724 billion. And need we be reminded how self-indulgent the entertainment world has become , albeit that their philanthropic efforts are well chronicled in so many areas that should make the government feel ashamed of their own alleged claims . After all of the back slapping and glad handing, after the Oscars , of which I felt , the biggest joke and the very fact , here we have an industry that claims to be one thing , but on the reverse side of that equation, they simply come across as fools . Best Picture, winner , “ Argo “ was nominated four major motion picture awards , yet somehow , the movie’s director , Ben Affleck , was somehow overlooked in the Best Director’s category . Clearly, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) , the body that presides over the event , and its Directors’ Guild , who are privy to the voting and who list the nominees are ______ , they are either that irrational in their choices , or simply did not feel that Affleck was deserving of a nomination . Bear in mind , that Affleck swept , all of the other major awards’ show throughout the year winning “Best Director” , in the lead-up to Hollywood’s biggest night , where the young actor / director was not nominated in the Best Director category , with Chinese director , Ang Lee , winning the award for his luxurious movie ” Life of Pi” .

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Slideshow .

I recently read a somewhat ludicrous article , by someone suggesting that Hollywood now serves the consumer what they actually want, by way of their seasonal fares and offering . Multimillion dollar action thrillers , comic book adaptations , adult oriented comedies and the usual glut of blood and gore , slash-fest, moronic horror flicks , which are in fact , the cheapest form and most profitable aspect of the Hollywood film industry . Yet in spite of it all, this individual was looking to sell his morsel , that fans can relish with a great deal of joy, the second installment of the current rehashed cycle of Spiderman , whose last outing with a rather wooden Andrew Garfield in the title role of Peter Parker , aka Spiderman gave a rather pedantic wooden portrayal . And though the movie, “ The Amazing Spiderman” was rather underwhelming at the North American box office , with a stoic $262 million , albeit , the movie was able to almost double those returns on the international market with a take of 490 million , for a worldwide receipt total of $752 million . Panned at the box office, by the majority of critics , the movie’s producer and distributors Sony / Columbia Pictures , were hoping for a much larger take on the domestic front. With a second installment , now drawing attention , and the recent announcement that actor and comedian, Jamie Foxx , was now signed to the upcoming project , it remains to be seen whether or not this time around the , this installment can surpass that of the first, with Garfield reprising his role .

Courtesy of aheadoftheherd.com

How To Benefit From The Fiscal Cliff Pork Barrels


By John Mauldin | January 17, 2013

I want you to have my basic rundown on what the fiscal cliff deal accomplished. It’s essential that you see both the good and the bad of the deal. Here’s a recap of the most important changes:

First, the reinstatement of the full Social Security payroll tax will affect everybody with earned (wage) income. The payroll tax had been cut two full percentage points, from 6.2% to 4.2% the past two years – but that tax holiday is now over. This tax is paid on the first $113,700 of income.

Second, if your household makes less than $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers), your taxes are not going up.

Graph – Average Federal Tax Rate by Cash Income Percentile

Those of you who make more than those thresholds will see your top income-tax rate rise from 35% to 39.6%.

Third, for investors, the big change is the taxation on capital gains and dividends…

Again, if you make less than $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers), there will be no hike in your capital gains and dividends taxes. However, if your income exceeds those thresholds, the tax on capital gains and dividends will rise from 15% to 20%.
It’s a mixed bag of good and bad.

On the one hand, everyone’s going to feel the impact of Social Security taxes going back up, and if you fall into the higher-income group, your income taxes will go up.

The definition of the higher-income group, thankfully, is also raised, from $200,000 per individual and $250,000 for a family to $400,000 and $450,000, respectively.

The bad news is that neither Congress nor the president dealt with the endgame…

And as a result, Washington’s out-of-control spending and our national debt will continue to balloon. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that our deficit will actually rise by an additional $3.9 trillion over the next decade because of the fiscal-cliff legislation. And since the total tax increases are about 1.5% of GDP, that is going to be a big drag on the economy in the first year as we adjust, making overall growth much slower in an already slow Muddle Through Economy World. But it gets worse from a philosophical point of view.

Once again Congress included all sorts of corporate pork worth billions of dollars for everything from NASCAR racetracks to Puerto Rican rum and other special-interest provisions.

LA Times Headline

According to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, the cost of these additional tax breaks will cost US taxpayers more than $63 billion just in 2013 alone. Here are the main pork beneficiaries:

Pork Barrel #1: Tax Breaks for Offshore Loans. Section 322 of the bill provides an “Extension of the Active Financing Exception to Subpart F.” “Active financing” is a fancy phrase that allows manufacturers and banks to defer taxes when they engage in special types of financial transactions. In short, it rewards firms to loan money to foreigners instead of American companies.

For example, the active-financing exception permits big banks like Morgan Stanley to avoid the 35% corporate tax rate on interest income from money lent overseas. Multinational companies with financing arms, such as Ford and General Electric, will benefit from this exception to lower their tax bills.

The exception is worth a mountain of money to a handful of corporations. It even has its own lobbying coalition – the Active Finance Working Group – which serves as a prime example of how important the 20 or so companies that benefit from the exception consider it.

Pork Barrel #2: Tax Breaks for Offshore Jobs. The fiscal-cliff deal gives huge tax breaks to American companies that sell their products through overseas affiliates.

Called a “pass-through” exemption, this loophole allows American companies to set up a new corporation in a tax haven, like the Cayman Islands, and to sell that new offshore company its valuable patents owned by the US parent company.

The royalties on overseas licensing of that patent that are earned would then be subject to no taxes.

Pork Barrel #3: Luxury Condos for Wall Street. Section 328 of the bill extends tax-exempt financing for the “Liberty Zone,” the area around the former World Trade Center, for another year. This tax break is supposed to help fund reconstruction after 9/11, but some have found that the bonds have mostly helped finance new luxury apartments, not to mention the construction of Goldman Sachs’ new headquarters.

Pork Barrel #4: Boxcars of Free Railroad Money. Section 306 of the fiscal-cliff bill gives a juicy tax credit to railroad companies to provide maintenance on their own lines. This credit costs about $165 million per year and will survive another year.

Pork Barrel #5: Thank you, Hollywood. The fiscal-cliff bill renews “special expensing rules for certain film and television” productions.

Movies and television studios can deduct up to $15 million of their costs if more than three-fourths of a project’s production takes place in the United States. The incentive will cost an estimated $266 million in 2013, and provide the industry overall , with $535 million .

Pork Barrel #6: Tax Breaks for Hedge funds and Private Equity. The mainstream media characterized Mitt Romney as an evil, job-killing private-equity pirate and loudly criticized the favorable tax treatment -called “carried interest” – that he enjoyed on his Bain Capital profits.

The bottom line is that hedge fund and private-equity moguls will continue to be taxed relatively lightly after the new fiscal cliff legislation.

The profits from investing other people’s money – AKA carried interest – will continue to be taxed as long-term capital gains for hedge fund and private-equity managers.

Pork Barrel #7: The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowing in the Wind. It is no secret that the Obama White House is very friendly toward the green-energy industry, so it should not surprise you to learn that there is a big tax credit for the wind power industry. The fiscal-cliff deal gives wind producers a 2.2-cent tax credit for every kilowatt-hour they generate in their first 10 years of operation. In broad terms, this credit is worth about $1 million for every large wind turbine.

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Click on link to read in full .
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Can someone remind me why once again , that our federal legislators , feel it , necessary to bail out the Hollywood film industry to the tune of $535 million , in a field , where in 2012 , they had record box office receipts of almost $11 billion ? Congress’ reasoning behind this asinine measure , it will create thousands of jobs , while assisting blossoming states with ambitious film industry initiatives to survive . That’s all we need , from a fucking goddamn clueless legislative branch of government that on a good day , had they pot to piss in , and a window to throw it out of , they would still find a way of spilling that residue all over themselves , and rightfully so , considering the ongoing incompetence of the US Congress and the present administration .

Away from the world of entertainment , MLB and IBAF are still trying to sell the public on the concept of their rather inane international team competition , the World Baseball Classic . The highlight of which , so far , has been the all-out brawl that took place between the players from Canada and Mexico , in a game that was far more entertaining and thrilling , with melee we evidenced , than the level of play, itself . Apart from being a monstrously boring concept , these games , especially those staged in North America , have been sparsely attended and poorly watched from an audience standpoint , even with ESPN and ESPN Deportes , throwing their full weight behind this quadrennial event . Last held , in 2009 , with the inaugural event being staged in 2006, it would appear that Bud Selig and his compatriot from IBAF , the game’s international governing body , Ricardo Fraccari , are still trying to work out the kinks in a poorly conceived concept , which it now appears , that even a number of the participating managers are unclear, as to the current rules for the event . Doubt, my word? Simply, listen to the explanation offered by Mexico’s manager Rick Ventura , as to the disposition of his players and why the brawl that took place between Canada and Mexico , that resulted in his country’s 10-3 loss to the Canadians.

Fraccari , and Selig have been at odds , as to how best get the game of baseball reinstated back into the Summer Olympics . At a time, when IOC President , Jacques Rogge, is looking to make the world’s biggest sporting spectacle more appealing to an ever more discerning and younger crowd , the two executives of baseball , on the domestic front here in the US and his counterpart on the international , simply just don’t get the fact, that they both have to be on the same page , concerning how the game is governed and marketed to a broad-based international market. Furthermore , Bud Selig has alienated the MLB hierarchy from the game’s international governing body , with his original and often asinine stance that he could do nothing about the rampant era of steroids within the game of baseball. Really? Bud Selig’s backbone, still carries a yellow streak, while he’s paid an estimated $25 million a year to preside over a game that he has single-handedly ruined over the past decade with his idiocy and asinine mandates ! Considering, the makeup of the MLB hierarchy , festooned with a bunch of over aged individuals, whose contributions to the game, could very well be written on the back of a first class , for all of their worth ! Now, at a time when baseball and softball , both seek to be reinstated to the Summer Games , they still can find no common ground , wherein , they will be able to convince the IOC Executive Committee that the game still has a place within that particular quadrennial showcase . With Rogge emphasizing and reiterating the fact that until baseball and specifically MLB adopts a more stringent drug policy , it remains highly unlikely that the game will be reinstated to the Olympic Summer fare .

With the formal announcement of his retirement , New York Yankees’ relief pitcher, Mariano Rivera , will end his career with the only franchise he has ever played for , after a two-decade long career. A five-time World Series’ champion , Rivera and Derek Jeter , are the only holdovers from a team that was one of the most ball clubs in baseball history . This is particularly true of the franchise , that dominated the game, from the mid-nineties, through until the early part of this last decade . Now, at a time, when questions arise about the age and health of several players on the current roster . It has to be said, that the timing of Mariano Rivera’s announcement should not really come as a surprise to anyone. The real issue however , will be, what could happen, should the game’s greatest closer break down from a recurrence from his most recent injure ?

I liken the present New York Yankees’ organization , as a franchise in transition , out with the old , and in with the new ! Unfortunately , for many of the players now being entrusted to lead the ball-club in the next stage of what has been an already historic chapters of achievements, titular accolades , professionally and economically . It would appear that a number of those players are simply not up to the task, and upon the departure of Derek Jeter , you would hard pressed to suggest who among the current roster , is fitting to assume the leadership role of this team . Suffice, to say , an ailing Alex Rodriguez , long despised by the vast majority of fans remains, more concerned with an attempt to reignite a tarnished image , rather than showing , that he is capable of leading a team by example . Whereas, Rivera has been able to carry himself with a great deal of class and integrity , the opposite can be said of the Yankees’ third baseman , who remains a pariah within baseball’s firmament after his lackluster act of contrition , concerning his use of steroids . An act of considerable deceit, that he continued to perpetrate upon the public , until his admission of guilt in 2010.

Rodriguez will be lost to the team, for the greater part of 2013 , as he undergoes surgery and the recuperation process of rehab , for what is stated as being an ailing right hip. Isn’t it amazing, what steroids can do, to detract from a player’s abilities ? Yet, he we are, with anal retentive fans of the game , suggesting , steroids simply do no harm when abused ! What the fuck, is that all about ?

Yeah baby ! The NBA is heating up, alright , and about the only thing that remains to now be answered , is which team in the Eastern Conference is likely to be the Miami Heat’s whipping post and “ bitch “ in the Eastern Conference Finals ? Can anyone, make a case for teams such as the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets , as being “ worthy adversaries “ for the South Beach based NBA franchise ? The Heat are now rolling off victories , faster than it takes Congress to make a decision on a worthwhile piece of legislation . Truth, be known , that branch of the government , couldn’t find its own rear end, with the aid of a flashlight, were they all locked in a darkened room !

Yeah baby ! The NBA is heating up alright , and about the only thing that remains to now be answered , is which team in the Eastern Conference is likely to be the Miami Heat’s whipping post and “ bitch “ in the Eastern Conference Finals ? Can anyone, make a case for teams such as the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets , as being “ worthy adversaries “ for the South Beach based NBA franchise ? The Heat are now rolling off victories , faster than it takes Congress to make a decision on a worthwhile piece of legislation . Truth, be known , that branch of the government , couldn’t find its own rear end, with the aid of a flashlight, were they all locked in a darkened room !

Would it now be remiss to suggest that this is now a “ one horse race “ within the conference and that the Miami Heat’s lead is now insurmountable ? That’s a big word __ insurmountable ! For Knicks’ and Nets’ fans, I will allow you some time, to find a Thesaurus or Webster’s Dictionary to look up the meaning of the word ! Got it? Good !

Boxer , Bernard Hopkins , once again found a way of redefining his career within the annals of the sport . On Saturday night, against the highly favored , younger and unbeaten , IBF light-heavyweight title holder , Tavoris Cloud . The elder statesman of the sport , at the age of forty-eight , turned back time and summarily taught the thirty-one year old, Cloud , a supreme boxing lesson . To say, that Cloud was demoralized, after suffering the first professional defeat of his career would be an understatement. I believe , it was one more of shock, as he allowed Hopkins to dictate the pace of the fight, while subjecting the title holder, was subjected to so much punishment in a thoroughly enlightening display of modern-day pugilism . These are the sort of ring heroics , that the sport now needs , and not the asinine antics of Floyd Mayweather , or the purported prowess of the Klitschko brothers , who currently dominate what is turning about to be a heavyweight division that “ is so devoid class and talent “ , that you are simply yearning for George Foreman , to come back out of retirement and clean up the “ goddamn division “ ! As to the claims of renowned boxing analyst Bert Sugar , that boxing still remains relevant . My suggestion to Sugar , would be to take a look at the boxing scene overall , then name the list of undisputed champions that currently reign supreme within the sport ? It is at times like this , I have to ask the question who in hell, just happens to be paying these assholes to proffer up anything in print , much less oratory in nature ?

Hopkins’ unanimous twelve round decision , makes him the oldest fighter to have held a world title , and a record he originally held, when he defeated , Canada’s , Jean Pascal , a few years ago . Personally , I would like to think that this was Bernard Hopkins’ last professional fight in the ring ! He has a burgeoning career as an executive, within Oscar de La Hoya’s , Golden Boy Promotions Inc , as the developer for East Coast talent , signing and providing the trainers for young aspiring fighters on the Eastern seaboard. The fact, that Hopkins is still fighting, as he approaches his fifth decade is astonishing , when one considers the brutally of the sport and that he feels there are still more challenges left for him within boxing . Kudos to Bernard Hopkins , on another excellent achievement , but at the same time , I preface my those congratulations , by asking the boxer , to now , simply , “call it quits “ !

Say it isn’t so ? The NFL teams are now seeking to divest themselves of players, they believe to be superfluous to their needs . Cap figure and financial frugality coming from the league , while they continue to hold municipalities where they are domiciled , hostage ? Yeah, please ! the Atlanta Falcons will be building a new stadium , for which the city of Atlanta will be putting up $200 million of the projected $1.15 billion cost for the new venue. The remaining $915 million will come from team owner , Arthur Blank and private financing being provided by several established financial institutions .

Remarkably , in recent years , this might be the first time wherein , a municipality , county or state governmental agency is not being asked to subsidize such a venture, as the NFL does have provisions to provide their franchises with such assistance, as and when needed . Yet, with the naiveté being shown by local politicians , at a time when, they have their own budgetary woes to deal with . It would appear that, they are willing become subservient to the whims and antics of the professional sports’ franchise owners . And the payback in all of this , an additional taxable source and revenues , while either owning that venue outright , as in the case recently , the city of Sacramento spent countless millions, refurbishing in part Sleep Train Arena , home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings . With the impending relocation of the franchise, at the end of this season , after the sale of the Kings , to Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and , venture capitalist Chris Hansen . I have to ask , in all of the dealings that Mayor Kevin Johnson , had with the King’ ownership , led by the Maloof family . What the hell was he thinking , when it became more routinely clear , while he was supposedly negotiating with Joe and Gavin Maloof in goodwill . How is it , with the Maloof’s repeated lies , he was unable to figure out , that he and the city’s residents were being duped and taken for a ride ? The entire city of Sacramento , just got way dumber, and that is not solely , because of their state legislators housed in state capitol ! Got it ? Good ! Fans will continue to show their absolute gullibility and stupidity , bitching and whining about their federal taxes , yet , they damn well sure as hell , don’t complain when they are being repeatedly screwed at the municipal , county or state level ? Why, is that?

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Picture and slideshow gallery below .

What thoughts if any , do have concerning any of the salient points within this article ? And of the weekend’s sporting events , were there any , which offered you some form of drama and entertainment ? Chime on in with a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Actor , director , Ben Affleck is seen here with cast members from his hit movie , political thriller ” Argo” . Also in picture , are two of the movie’s producing partners Grant Heslov , to Affleck’s immediate left and actor, George Clooney . Courtesy of MPAA & Oscars.com @ copyrighted material …. all rights reserved .

(2) Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield star in Columbia Pictures’ “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The hit movie collected $262 million at the domestic box office and a further $490 million worldwide , ensuring a sequel from Sony Tri-Star / Columbia Pictures Inc. @ Copyright Sony Entertainment / Columbia Pictures Inc all rights reserved …

(3) Players and coaches from Mexico and Canada come together in an on field altercation during the World Baseball Classic First Round Group D game at Chase Field on March 9, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Christian Petersen ….

(4) Yankees front office, coaches and teammates listen as New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera , far right, who holds baseball’s all-time saves record , announces his plans to retire at the end of the 2013 season during a news conference at Steinbrenner Field , Saturday, March 9, 2013 in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(5) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) dunks against the Indiana Pacers during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Sunday, March 10, 2013. AP Photo/Alan Diaz …

(6)Bernard Hopkins, right, avoids a punch by Tavoris Cloud, left, during the second round of an IBF Light Heavyweight championship boxing match at the Barclays Center Saturday, March 9, 2013, in New York. Hopkins won by unanimous decision . AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …..

(7) Bernard Hopkins,right, hits Tavoris Cloud, left, during the fifth round of an IBF Light Heavyweight championship boxing match against Tavoris Cloud at the Barclays Center Saturday, March 9, 2013, in New York. Frank Franklin II/ Associated Press …

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By Tophatal

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List of winners from the 85th Annual Oscars

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World Baseball Classic news

World Baseball Classic results

MLB news

MLB results 10th March 2013 and schedule for 11th March 2013

New York Yankees news and press releases

Mariano Rivera’s career bio , career stats and his postseason stats

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NBA news

NBA results 10th March 2013 and schedule for 11th March 2013

NBA standings by division and by conference

NBA potential playoff picture based on current conference standings

Miami Heat news

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NFL news

NFL team transactions

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Boxing news

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Helfer-Park

Hot chic pic of the day , Tricia Helfer and Grace Park .

Deep pockets , but barely comfortable with their lifestyle

Deep pockets , but barely comfortable with their lifestyle

Tophatal

Well we’re a little over four months away from Spring Training , but already, the baseball world is a abuzz with the trade moves and talks of other potential moves , and the news that the active home run king , Alex Rodriguez will have to undergo hip surgery and will likely miss the entire Yankees’ Spring Training schedule with the New York Yankees as well as the first two months of the regular season.

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Slideshow .

Given the fact that Rodriguez had a horrendous season in 2012 , of which his postseason might amongst the most historically low of his postseason career . As we know the Yankees bowed out of the postseason unceremoniously , without ever really showing any determination on the part of their players. Team owners , Hank and Hal Steinbrenner , have made the predetermination that the team’s salary will have to be pared down by 2014. Furthermore , with the team making the decision also to sell a minority stake (25 %) in their cable broadcast outlet YES Network to Fox Sports for a reputed $175 million . I would hate to think that this famed franchise has suddenly hit upon hard times financially . However, this unlikely to happen , as the ball-club has become one sports most profitable financial concerns . GM Brian Cashman , has seen fit to renegotiate the contracts of Andy Pettite signing the left-hander to a one year deal for $11 million , along with all-time saves’ leader , Mariano Rivera , to bolster an ailing and aging pitching roster that was headed by CC Sabathia.

Rumors are now rife that the New York Yankees are not prepared to stand pat, with regard to their roster lineup , with Brian Cashman still seeking to move a number of players he feels are superfluous to the team’s needs. And amongst the players who are now liable to be on the way out are Nick Swisher . Salary commitments for the team in 2013 will be approximately $168.3 million , with a quite possibly that figure moving lower , as the front office seeks to pare down the payroll , while promoting and bringing up players from within their farm(minor) league system , something I believe, that they will do , but not to the extent expected by a number of analysts and fans alike.

With Alex Rodriguez missing from the lineup , it will be incumbent upon the likes of Mark Teixiera , Curtis Granderson , Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter to be the mainstays of the Yankees’ offense for the upcoming season , as they were for a number of games during 2012. We have always known the New York to be an aggressive and active free agent player in recent years , but it remains to be seen the type of steps that will be taken by Hank and Hal Steinbrenner in conjunction with Brian Cashman. It has been a considerable time since the franchise has chosen to build their roster from within their farm system , as more often than not , in order to solve a problem they often sought to throw money at any issue that seems to have arisen.

Across town , the New York Yankees , have seen the New York Mets’ fall from grace and their season of sheer ineptitude in 2012. Granted , the team has seen the rise in the profile of their knuckle ball pitcher RA Dickey, their 2012 Cy Young award winner within the NL . Dickey’s astonishing season was capped with that win, and being the team’s best pitcher , as well as leading the NL in a number of pitching statistics . That if anything, had to be viewed as one of the few bright spots to the Mets’ 2012 foray.

Sandy Alderson , Paul DiPodesta and J P Ricciardi were brought in , in 2012 , to bring back some semblance of respectability to the New York Mets . And while one, has to accept the difficult predicament the franchise had been placed in , due to the complete mismanagement presided over by COO , Jeff Wilpon , team CEO Fred Wilpon , and SVP Saul Katz, it should be noted that no excuse should be sought as to the willful neglect , and heinous mismanagement that almost brought the baseball club to the brink of insolvency , and almost having to seek bankruptcy reorganization.

Having lost , $41 million last season and with the New York Mets projected to lose a great deal more in 2013 , it would appear that the front office of the organization has not learned from their mistakes of before . Within the past forty-eight hours the team has reached an agreement to offer a eight-year $138 million contract to third baseman , David Wright . Perhaps , I am mistaken , but what does this suggest from a baseball franchise that still has liquidity problems and who in April of 2012 were said to be seeking investors to buy a minority stake in the baseball team ? One such investor was billionaire venture capitalist David Einhorn , who initially wanted to purchase a 25% stake in the ball club for a reputed $250 million , with a view to increasing his stake at a later date , and also with a view , to seeking two seats on the board of directors of the franchise. Both Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon were said to have baulked at the idea, of having Einhorn , as a board member , because in essence all the Mets were said to be seeking at the time was a silent partner to provide the team with a cash-flow and clear their liquidity problems . Needless to say, Einhorn , none too pleased, having been rejected in part , bought a smaller stake in the franchise only to relinquish that stake several months later , when he could make no leeway in , increasing his investment. And I am to now believe that because Sandy Alderson and Paul DiPodesta have been brought in to provide the New York Mets with some stability , things are likely to get better ?

As I alluded to earlier , the team is an utter mess , and from a managerial standpoint , Terry Collins and managerial staff were, and are , still out of their depth . One patron , presumably a Mets’ fan suggested the way to lure fan interest would be to lower ticket , and concession prices for specific games, as well as for the vast majority of the games played at the now cavernous Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York, and the palatial home to the Mets. Built at a cost of $765 million , with the use of public funds , this massive edifice, which was referred to, as one of best baseball’s best venues, by New York City mayor , Michael Bloomberg. Now a year later after the franchise’s inaugural game , the New York Mets remain a hapless organization lacking financial and managerial leadership. Bloomberg, being the bumbling oaf he just happens to be , rarely visits the venue , even in the midst of the still questionable business dealings of Fred , and Jeff Wilpon , and business partner Saul Katz. In the midst of this all , Commissioner , Bud Selig , has remained extremely quiet about the apparent misdeeds of the Mets’ ownership group. Well , what else should we now expect , after Selig’s asinine handling of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ sale , and the rumors that suggested that the multi-billion bid lodged by the Magic Johnson syndicate group , was the only one favored , of the seven original offers , said to have been placed with US Federal Bankruptcy Courts, in the state of Delaware ? Connivance on the part of the MLB hierarchy , or simply the commissioner doing what was at the time said to be in the best interests of the game of baseball ? I’ll let you be the judge of that !

From my own standpoint , I certainly do not believe that David Wright is worth anywhere near the $140 million commitment that will be made by the New York Mets ! And while it could be said, that in the first half of 2012 , he was said to having a solid season , during the second half of the year , the player in essence was nowhere to be seen from a productivity standpoint .

To my mind the New York Mets seek to make David Wright, their answer to the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter . But herein lies the real issue as it relates to David Wright , he has never shown himself to be a leader , of the Mets as a vocal leader , much less , actually lead by example , much as in the same way , Jeter , is actually known be. The franchise is simply settling for a rather poor man’s version of the Yankees’ short-stop , in the hope of catching lightning in a bottle. The issues of the Mets also goes way beyond their financial vulnerability , and from what I have read by the patrons within this forum who have tried to parlay their knowledge of the team, in reality , few if any have chosen to look beyond the player personnel issues to really try to succinctly explain the team’s present predicament . At the center of this mess , is the fact that the core of his roster, is aging , and with an ailing and overpaid , Johan Santana, it easy to understand the idiocy of the situation surround this franchise . The left-handed starter, beyond his no-hitter , in 2012 , offered the Mets , little if anything , by way of productivity , and the fact that they are burdened by his exorbitant contract shows that not much thought was placed in terms of financial expediency by then general manager , Omar Minaya. And even in the aftermath of the former executive’s stupidity financial expediency still has not raised its head within the Mets’ organization. Much like the asinine stupidity now being shown by the Obama administration and the US Congress’ handling of the nation’s debt crisis , there is no fucking common sense to be found whatsoever !

I certainly don’t see the New York Mets competing with any real urgency this upcoming season , within the NL East , as I view the franchise not so much in transition , but still, in a state of turmoil. They are e at least two to three years away , from where they need to be , and Terry Collins has yet to show that he has the managerial acumen to lead that team deep into the postseason , much less to a World Series’ title .

As one door closes , another one opens , and therein now lies the opportunity for the Tampa Bay Rays to make good , after the departure of BJ Upton to the Atlanta Braves as a free agent. Once again the merry-go-round begins , concerning the franchise , as they seek to “ penny pinch “ , simply in order to field a competitive team for the 2013 season. At this juncture it is hard to say what the makeup of the Rays’ roster will be for the upcoming season. GM Andrew Friedman , principal managing partner , Stuart Sternberg and the team’s manager , Joe Maddon, will have to make several decisions as it relates to a number of players on the current roster and whether or they are superfluous to the franchise’s needs.

One maneuver that the management of the Rays have sought to do , has been to secure the long-term future of Evan Longoria , by signing the player to a 6 year $ 100 million deal that becomes effective in 2016. If one takes into account the Longoria’s current contract , he will net an astonishing $136 million in salary , which does not include endorsements , of which the player now makes a sizable sum, as negotiated by his agent and legal representative , Paul Cohen . Given this situation, it was easy to understand, why there was very little chance , that B J Upton would have been resigned by the ball club, as there was little room for anymore financial maneuvers ,in allowing the franchise to retain both players .

Now while the Tampa Bay Rays , have made no real major moves , they have been available to avail themselves of one or two players in recent days . James Loney , a cast-off from the Los Angeles Dodgers was signed to a one-year deal by the organization, and he no doubt brings with him , it is hoped , some much-needed offensive fire power , to add the Rays’ somewhat inconsistent arsenal of noteworthy hitters. And though during 2012 , it was said to be the inconsistency of the hitting , that is said to have let the team down , it was the pitching of the Rays was in essence , the ball club’s real strength throughout the vast majority of the season. Leading the way in that endeavor , was the team’s very first Cy Young Award winner , David Price . The gutsy left-hander , along with James Shields , Jeremy Hellickson , Joel Peralta , Alex Cobb , and Matt Moore , who led the way for the team, in terms of its pitching.

In recent weeks there have been rumors suggesting that the Rays would be quite willing to part with their young pitcher Jeremy Hellickson . Having established himself in 2011 , as a middle reliever , it was not until 2012 that Hellickson became a full-time starter , and giving Joe Maddon on of the best starting lineups in all of baseball, and with it the statistics to match. Shields is also said to be a prime target for a number of teams said to be in the market for a bonafide starting pitcher.

Now, while I understand that the Rays would like to see their payroll drop significantly to where it will be an estimated commitment of $54.2 million for 2013. By comparison the payroll for 2012 , was a nominal $64,173,500 for last year . I believe that Andrew Friedman would be willing to listen to several hard offers , if it meant, he would be able to obtain some relatively good prospects for the aforementioned players mentioned ! The likelihood that both Hellickson and Shield could be now prime departures , while creating a great deal of disappointment amongst the fans, it should be noted that given the organization’s limited resources and the lack of a real marketing plan by the front office. This whole scenario for the Tampa Bay Rays while repetitive , it is becoming more acute with each passing season. I have always felt that Stuart Sternberg and Matt Silverman , simply have not shown enough ingenuity in seeking out an outside partner or rich benefactor, to either become a silent partner or a majority stakeholder of the organization , thereby insuring the Rays’ long-term future . And year in and year out , the same old question is also raised as where will the Rays play? Will it be in the city of St Petersburg , at the somewhat archaic venue of Tropicana Field , or at a new locale across the Gandy Bridge, in the downtown area of Tampa ? The bone of contention between the municipalities of St Petersburg and Tampa , as to who would serve the needs of the Tampa Bay Rays , though the battle has not been drawn out into an open conflict . It is now slowly brewing into something that could prove to be unsavory. Never mind the fact , that the county governments have also been drawn to this debate .

Personally , I am of the opinion that until the governmental agencies in question, have addressed their own fiscal dilemmas. I do not believe that public funds should be used to satisfy the egos of millionaire or billionaire sports’ franchise owners ! There’s this asinine belief that such instances serves the public’s best interest , of which there has yet to be any factual proof that such instances, a community does really profit from such an endeavor. Simply look at the naïveté shown by the city of Miami, after they were cajoled and coerced into building a new stadium to house the Miami Marlins.

In the aftermath of that franchise’s woefully inept 2012 foray , the ball club has begun a “fire sale” , jettisoning themselves some of their high-priced free agents that they had acquired prior to the start of this past season , and during the trade deadline . The city of Miami , is now under federal investigation by the US Justice Department , as to their actions in the vote that took place concerning the financing for the Miami Marlins’ Ballpark . Marlins’ executives have remained mute concerning any questions directed towards them concerning this issue , and Commissioner , Bud Selig , has directed all questions concerning this episode , to be dealt with by the league’s legal counsel (attorneys ). And does anyone believe that either the cities of St Petersburg or Tampa , have learned anything from that episode ? I will let you be the judge of that !

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Picture gallery .

This off-season, we will see a lot of positive moves being made by a number of teams . Meanwhile, there will be one or two transactions that will have been suborned by team owners and their front office executives alike , that will actually have the fans completely befuddled, as to, what the hell , were they think by way that particular trade ? They sale that baseball’s off-season , just happens to be their “ silly season” , with the teams making rather asinine trades , purely as a way of chasing after success without there ever being truly any thought being put into a great many of these moves . In some cases , large financial commitment might well be made , which could in effect handicap a franchise long-term . Whereas, in other cases , it may well be that “one small deal” that simply opens up an opportunity that presents itself for a player , to truly show his worth , while being able to lead a franchise to tangible success. Over the past five years which particular trades , do you believe has been of true benefit to a team or a number of teams ? Simply chime in with a comment on this or anything other topic you believe pertinent to this article . And as always , thanks for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

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MLB related links : Nats in Haren to one year deal

Pagan, Napoli , kick off action in Nashville

Mets GM meets with “several” clubs about Dickey

A Rod, needs hip surgery , will be out until June

Angels’ list of targets doesn’t end with Greinke

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Picture and slide show gallery details below .
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(1) FILE – In this Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez throws out Detroit Tigers’ Andy Dirks in the second inning during Game 1 of the American League championship series in New York. The New York Yankees said Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, Rodriguez will have surgery on his left hip and will miss the start of the season and possibly the entire first half. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(2) New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman answers questions concerning third baseman Alex Rodriguez at the baseball winter meetings on Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Rodriguez will have surgery on his left hip and will miss the start of the season and possibly the entire first half, the Yankees said Monday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ….

(3) FILE – In this April 25, 2012 file photo, New York Mets’ David Wright is greeted by teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in New York. WFAN radio is reporting Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, that Wright and the New York Mets have agreed to a $138 million, eight-year contract that would be the richest in franchise history . AP Photo/Seth Wenig …

(4) National League Cy Young Award winner R. A. Dickey, of the New York Mets, answers questions before speaking at Lipscomb University on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. The 38-year-old Dickey is the first pitcher who relies predominantly on a knuckle-ball to win the Cy Young Award. The player, it is being reported , is now being “shopped around” by the Mets’ organization as they seek to lower their present payroll . AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(5) Outfielder, B.J. Upton (L) and infielder Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays watch their team against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Getty Images/ Andrew Marsh …

(6) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Andrew Burton / Getty Images North America ….

(7) Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………

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MLB news & news by teams

MLB schedule important dates

MLB transactions (December 2012) & November transactions

MLB team salaries (2012)

Top paid players in baseball

Top paid third basemen in baseball

Miami Marlins news

New York Mets’ news

Tampa Bay Rays news

This week in baseball history

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MLB standings divisional 2012

MLB standings wildcard

2012 MLB postseason

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Hot chic pic of the day , singer , Rihanna Fenty .

It’s all a numbers’ game

It’s all a numbers’ game

By Tophatal

Well now that the US Presidential election is now over , the incumbent Barack Obama has won a second successive term in office, as President of the United States . Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney , the former governor of Massachusetts proved to a decisive loser , but if anything , also a brazen and immature petulant child . Romney , in directing his animus towards his own political party , the Republican Party . That anger and the mere fact that he the statements attributed to him , were that the hierarchy chose not to back him , as a mainstay candidate and true Conservative . Consider , the fact that, former White House Chief of Staff , Karl Rove , through his Super-Pac , American Crossroads , backed the GOP challenger , and numerous conservative Republican candidates to the tune of the $196 million in campaign ads . American Crossroads , is said to have raised in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars ($250,000,000) towards the ouster of Democrats at the state and federal level. But herein , lies the idiocy of Rove’s maneuvers , barely three percent of the candidates backed by his Super Pac were voted into office by the electorate at large . Indeed , such a high price to pay for such meager returns . If anything the donors in question , should now be confronting Rove , to ask for their monies , back. Yet there you have it , free speech , and all that it claims to be at work , and showing little in return for the Republicans at this juncture . The hierarchy of the Republican Party , should now be looking at themselves in the mirror, and asking ” how could we have fu#ked up this much , and still look such complete a#sholes in comparison to the Democrats “ ?

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The country yearned for change , but the status quo has remained the same, with the President being returned to office as well as several members of the House of Representatives and US Senate . The sad indictment of this election, and the asinine analysis by the pundits and electorate, is the damn fact that the vast majority of the electorate , just happens to be politically naïve and completely out of touch of reality , as to what the candidates actually stood for . Never mind the fact that the campaigns of both candidates were so light on specifics and as to the business acumen of Mitt Romney , if you buy into the fact that he’s a self-made millionaire because of his work with venture capital firm Bain & Co. LLC ,. Merely , look at the claims being made by Romney , as to his prowess an d the success as governor of Massachusetts . That state , in comparison to the state of California, which accounts for over 38% of the nation’s GDP of $13.6 trillion ($13,600,000,000,000) is like the wart on an elephant’s ass , in terms of Romney’s bold claims of handling an economy and being able to balance its budget . Many of the claims made , by former governor Romney , while valid, much of it, has to be taken with a pinch of salt , when one considers a great deal of creative accounting took place on the part of the Massachusetts’ administration under , the then governor. And we wonder why, Mitt Romney failed so miserably ? Here was a candidate , who simply could not identify with a clear policy goal , or simply explain himself with regard to the economy , foreign policy , much less , a slew of other social and political issues .

Consider the fact that over the course of this election cycle, in excess of $2.3 billion will have been spent on electoral ads, that simply portrayed falsehoods and misrepresentation of facts, that in the end served little purpose , other than to show how innately asinine the democratic process just happens to be here in the United States. Yet , this is the sort of democratic reform the people state that they want , when, in essence at the end of the day , nothing ever changes . And for those Tea Party advocates out there , how many of the candidates that you championed , found themselves elected into office , upon this asinine premise of continued lower taxes , and little else beyond that stance ? For the Democrats, don’t be fooled into thinking that because Barack Obama has been returned for a second term, things are likely to get any easier , because as the leader of the party , he has shown very little backbone if any, as a determined advocate , or as a disciplined leader. Platitudes, and being a great orator, can only get you so far , when you have little of substance going for you and your party . Especially when the likes of Senator Harry Reid (D Nv) , and House Minority Leader , Nancy Pelosi (D Ca) , remain as a yoke around the neck of the party , offering little of tangible substance , and with neither, seeking to be bipartisan , in order find a common ground, in how best to ail the country of its woes, foreign and domestic .

On patron of this site tried to suggest that Mitt Romney’s electoral platform , was clear , and succinct , on so many issues , but in no way was that clearly the case ! . Now, while not wanting to let Obama of the hook , on the same issue , this to my mind may well have been one the worst Presidential electoral campaigns , in recent history , given the credentials of both candidates ! In essence , the electorate , were the left with the choice , of choosing between “ the lesser of two evils” . As the saying goes, “ better the Devil you know , than the one you don’t “ .

Now let’s spend a little time delving into the world sports , and the world of baseball during this off-season , And lo, and behold, teams are on their various spending sprees. The Tampa Bay Rays have seen fit to resign Evan Longoria to a contract extension that will see the player earn $100 million over a six-year period , a deal set to commence in 2016. The Rays’ front office led by GM Andrew Friedman and senior managing partner, Stuart Sternberg , did not want to have to deal with a situation, wherein the Gold Glove winner and All Star would have to go through 2013 in the midst of negotiating a contract . This proposed deal , though yet to be ratified , may well lead to the departure of B J Upton , a player whose free agency status will certainly have risen , given his productivity for the Tampa Bay Rays in recent years . The fact that such a situation is likely to arise does leave the Rays’ middle order , in terms of its offense somewhat askew, when adjudged against their immediate counterparts within the AL East , as well as the rest of the AL , as a whole.

Joe Maddon and his coaching staff , have been extremely lucky in recent years to have attained the ongoing success , much of it attributed to the managerial acumen , of Maddon, himself . We can all attest to the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays have been one the small market teams that toils in the world of baseball , barely able to eke out a profit without the assist of the MLB hierarchy by way of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme. And boy , what a scheme it has been , especially in the case a moribund franchise such as the Kansas City Royals , who with each season, the asinine claims are being made that the ball-club is on the move and about to be a credible contender within the AL and baseball as a whole . Clearly, the idiots, making those prognostications haven’t looked at the Royals’ recent record over the past decade plus , and the fact that the team hasn’t had a winning season in well over a decade . And this past season , the Royals in the AL Central , proved to be as competitive in their foray , as Romney’s Presidential quest.

What might all the more disturbing concerning the Royals’ laughable situation , is that David Glass , senior managing partner and owner , was once the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of Wal-Mart , the world’s largest retailer , employer of approximately 2.3 million employees in the US and globally. It should not be forgotten that the retailer also happens to be one of the most profitable concerns in the world . Now if Glass, with his alleged cannot turn around a moribund ball club such as the Kansas City Royals , and turn it into a profitable and competitive concern , then what does that indicate to you about the organization and its hierarchy ? Chime in with your thoughts .

And for those out there who believe that MLB has a handle and the rampant use of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) and the continued idiotic claims by Bud Selig that baseball has the stiffest possible penalties in all professional sports . Well , that maybe true , but those penalties , simply have not been enough of a deterrent to stop players using illicit substances. Today, the Philadelphia Phillies’ catcher, Carlos Ruiz was suspended for the misuse of an illicit substance , which will see the player miss 25 games of the regular season . However , the catcher , will be allowed to participate during Spring Training . And this is the sort , of nonsense we ought to expect from the hierarchy of baseball , when it comes to coming down harshly on players for flouting the game’s rules ? And to think I was once told by a patron that baseball was simply doing that the best it could with regard to the actions of the players who transgress the one of the most sacred rules of the game . The rules now mandated in terms of the punishment meted out , simply do not go far enough , neither are they severe enough to be a deterrent . In the past eighteen months , at the MLB level as well at the minor league level , collectively over 187 players have been netted in baseball’s drug policy of prevention. Here’s simple evidence that the hierarchy under Commissioner Bud Selig , simply does not know what the fuck it is doing, and the claims attributed to the commissioner’s office with regard to the fact , that they have been able to clamp down , and stop the rampant use of banned substances is asinine and untruthful . Close to two hundred players have been ensnared , but it still hasn’t stop the use of PED’s within the game .

At the age of ninety-five , former MLBPA Executive Director , Marvin Miller , a former US government employee, as an economist , died . Mitchell , became the first ever leader of the players’ union , which was formed in 1954, but whose power and profile was not raised with any great significance , until 1966. It was at Miller’s insistence that collective bargaining and the free agency was brought into being , with players being afforded the right of refusal to negotiate their futures with regard to their long-term contracts and salaries that reflected their worth , or being able to decide a destination by way of a trade , and the premise under which they were compensated . Long thought of as a pariah by the owners, throughout much of the sixties and seventies Miller was happy with the fact that his members were no longer indentured slaves. The eighties and nineties, definitely raised the profile of the players’ union (MLBPA) and the gargantuan power at their disposal. So much so, that the league hierarchy would cease to be defiant and crumbled in the wake of any disruption caused . Bud Selig and his ascent to the position first as interim commissioner , merely ruled the league with utter disdain and incredulity while bringing about some necessary changes , while eschewing other issues that were already acute and of great concern to the new owners within the game and their front office executives. A s the escalation in revenues grew within the game , so too did the demands of the players by way of their salaries . And with that came the bloated spending by the teams and the incessant belief by the general managers , that no expense should be spared in gaining the best talent available . no matter what the cost .

The median salary in baseball has exploded to the extent where it is now $2.3 million , whereas in 1973 , the median salary within the game was approximately $36,500 . The highest paid player in the game today , is the New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez , as he has been now , for close to a decade . When it is all said and done . Rodriguez , in baseball salaried earnings alone , will have garnered in excess of $525 million , having signed two multi-million contracts , that each time exceeded $250 million . And with the New York Yankees , not without the financial resources to avail themselves of such means, with its cable broadcast outlet YES Network , as well as a massive sales and marketing department within the organization . It has to be said that there is very little that goes uncovered , while still remaining in the hands of the Steinbrenner family , as the control and ownership is dealt with by Hank and Hal Steinbrenner .

Speaking of the venerable New York Yankees , and their abysmal failure in 2012 . their playoffs hopes were dashed by the abysmal showing of the team’s offense and pitching in the postseason . And nowhere was this particularly more relevant than amongst the team’s starting pitching, with the exception of C C Sabathia. With the formal announcement being made , that Andy Pettite has been resigned , for a one-year $11 million inked deal , it simply lets you know that the Yankees will once again be reliant on an aging arm, and a player whose best years are now behind him , and most certainly not ahead of him. It is hard to conceive how the this revamped Yankees’ team can be deemed competitive enough , to deal with the likes of a resurgent Baltimore Orioles’ franchise , as well as the ever-present Tampa Bay Rays. It remains to be seen , whether or not the Boston Red Sox , under their new manager , John Farrell and a newly revamped coaching staff , will actually bring to the table , after the abysmal and abject failure of Bobby Valentine in 2012 .

As we know the Red Sox were able to rid themselves of $173 million in salary commitments, by sending Josh Beckett , Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers , an organization now seeking to become the New York Yankees of the Western seaboard , as well as the NL as a whole. With a new ownership group in place , headed by venture capitalist billionaires Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly, and former NBA great , Magic Johnson. It must be said that if the Dodgers are to be successful in 2013 , then a great deal of that success will come down to the acumen shown by GM Ned Colletti and team President & Head of Baseball Operations , Stan Kasten.

The Dodgers will certainly be looking to usurp the recent dominance of the San Francisco Giants and their recent successes in the postseason , as well as divisional champions within the NL West. And if recent history is anything to go by , when these two teams have met , then 2013 , could bring us a great deal of renewed interest in the rivalry , as well to the competitiveness of the division as a whole.

For Giants’ manager , Bruce Bochy , and the front office headed by GM Brian Sabean and team managing general partner & principal owner , Larry Baer , as they are target , the marked bulls-eye that everyone will be aiming for , as those teams seek to dethrone the reigning World Series champion. Bochy’s Los Angeles’ counterpart Don Mattingly , will most certainly be looking to show that his team are credible and legitimate contenders for the divisional crown as well as the NL pennant and the World Series title. I would dare say that the San Francisco Giants , are not likely to give up either one of those titles without a fight , with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as the Colorado Rockies , seeking to gate-crash the party of these two venerable and well-respected franchises.

In the immediate aftermath , of the wrath of the fans of the Miami Marlins’ fans, it should come as no surprise , that Bud Selig , being the venerable prick that he is , has seen fit to now question the actions of Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria , as he , and the front office continues with a “fire sale” , jettisoning many of the high-priced free agents that the organization brought in , prior to the start of the season. If Selig feels so interested in the actions of Loria and the staff, then why is it that when this very same exercise was undertaken in 2003 , when Loria having seen his franchise win the World Series that year , went about dismantling the roster , claiming that the franchise had lost millions of dollars , and that from a business standpoint , it was not economically viable to keep that team in place . Now unless , we are being misled by baseball’s hierarchy , a franchise that makes a deep postseason run during the baseball playoffs , can net several million dollars from such an endeavor , by way of sales , marketing and the ancillary rights’ fees that the teams obtain within their local market place , as well as the compendium of revenues derived from MLB’s other principal sources during such a run . The fact of the matter is , the team owners , and baseball’s hierarchy would rather keep their finances away from the prying eyes of the public , press and specifically the , municipal , state and federal governments alike. Is it any wonder there is such secrecy involved in many of the endeavors when a baseball team coerced and cajoles state , county and city municipalities into paying for in many cases cavernous venues that at times are rarely filled , with much of that money coming at the taxpayers’ expense. And yet we have these apathetic and moronic fans within the Tampa and Oakland markets yearning for their respective teams to have new facilities built for their use .

Consider the fact that, the financially cash-strapped New York Mets and their “ white elephant “ known as Citi-Field , built at the cost of $775 million , has yet have consecutive sellouts of regular season games over the past two years . Yet the city’s mayor , Michael Bloomberg , expresses his satisfaction that the edifice built , but having overran its original budget and construction time, was an effort well worth doing . Bloomberg, has now shone away from the fact, that the franchise remains a financial boondoggle as well as a flea-bitten piece of fecal matter in terms of the ball-club’s competitiveness since Citi Field was built. Only in New York , can a city with such ideas of grandeur , still try to come up smelling of roses, when it has been rolling around in shit !

The Miami Marlins on the other hand are unlikely to be severely punished by Selig’s office for their antics , simply because the commissioner hasn’t the stomach or the backbone to do so, considering his own involvement , having interjected himself in the negotiation of that franchise’s own ballpark , which has now embroiled the city of Miami in a federal investigation by the US Justice Department , as to the municipality’s actions , that led to its financing ($ 575 million) and specifically how they went about in approving the deal , which places the debt burden on the residents of Miami. The city’s mayor Tomas Regalado , has seen fit not to answer any questions publicly on the matter, referring all question to the city’s legal representative , while he , and the city’s commission , try to get a handle on their self-inflicted multi-million dollar deficit budget crisis. How fu#ked up is that situation , yet we have lame ass individuals bemoaning the fact that they’re being screwed over by the federal government when it comes to their taxes , but yet they are not in the slightest bit concerned when resources that is needed for their city’s infrastructure is being used to benefit billionaire and millionaire sports’ franchise owners . Apathy simply knows no boundaries when it comes to the sports’ fan in general . So make of it, what you will.

The dust has settled , the game’s individual awards have been bestowed upon the players, by whom the BBWAA felt were deserving in 2012. If there was a bone contention to be had, then it came voting for the AL MVP . The two leading candidates were, Mike Trout of the Los Angles Angels , and the Detroit Tigers’ hard-hitting first baseman , slugger Miguel Cabrera. Amongst the purists of the game, many favored Trout , as he was viewed as the better all-round player. Statistically, Cabrera , had the better season, and as the game’s first Triple Crown winner in just over a decade, many felt that the advantage laid with Miguel Cabrera .

Cabrera came away with the accolade and the Tigers’ second such win of the AL MVP , in the follow-up to Justin Verlander , in 2011 who won both the Cy Young as well as the game’s biggest individual honor.

While the New York Yankees , seeks to pare down salary by 2014 , it should be noted beyond resigning Pettite , GM Brian Cashman has sought to resign the game’s all-time saves’ leader Mariano Rivera. It would appear that the Yankees’ hierarchy seeks to be financially prudent , while many of their most heralded rivals are seeking to make deep inroads in terms of boosting payroll, specifically , the Los Angeles Dodgers , who at the end of 2012, have added in excess of $275 million in payroll . It remains to be seen whether or not the Yankees can remain competitive , and dominant within the AL East.

As I alluded to earlier , the Los Angeles Angels were a considerable disappointment over the course of 2012 , with team owner, Arte Moreno , and GM Jerry Dipoto having committed over $300 million in acquiring amongst others Albert Pujols and C J Wilson , to name but a few players added to the roster. The failure of the Angels during the season rested primarily with the lack of pitching from their frontline starters when needed . It would appear that widespread changes are about to be made concerning the current pitching roster , most notably with former Cy Young winner , Zack Greinke , being released by the team. The player was not able to show the form that won him the award , a couple of years ago, and it has been amazing to see his fall from grace in such a short period of time.

A “major player” in the Greinke sweepstakes, once again , would appear to be the “high spending” Dodgers , who will do whatever it takes , even if it means “breaking the bank” . I would like to think that the MLB hierarchy is closely watching the moves of these teams , as no expense is being spared to acquire players , while the small market ball-clubs struggle to survive and barely eke out a profit , without an assist , by way of baseball’s tax sharing revenue scheme . Financial expediency still has not caught on in baseball , in spite of the asinine claims of a number of individuals , who simply do not know what the hell they are talking about . When have you have ever heard the likes of well-respected baseball journalists , Buster Olney or Tim Kurkjian , much less MLB’s own CFO Jonathan Mariner , ever speak candidly about the financial situation of the game ? Leaving it to an asshole such as Bud Selig , in many respects, is akin to asking Sarah Palin to enlighten us with her views on world peace for that matter the vagaries of the US economy. In reality would you be prepared to listen , given the actual evidence right in front of your very own eyes ? I guess not ! We have already seen the commissioner’s haphazard handling of the Dodgers’ financial situation , and also that of the Cubs’ and Texas Rangers , and while his complete lack of oversight concerning the ongoing financial mess of the New York Mets , leaves a great deal to be desired . Should we really, in actuality , expect anything more , or any the-less from an ignorant oaf, such as Bud Selig? Need I remind you , of his own dubious rise to his current position, having been the former senior managing managing partner in the ownership group of the Milwaukee Brewers ? At a time when the commissioner has been calling for financial restraint from the MLBPA , Bud Selig , has been earning in excess of $20 million annually over the past five years ? How the fuck no one actually questions this , while apathetic fans call for stadiums to be built at the taxpayers’ expense should clearly indicate to us all how fucking stupid the vast majority of fans just happen to be ,

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Talking points , what if anything do you feel is likely to happen in terms of the major moves during this off-season . And what you feel can best done in order to rectify the clear financial imbalances that there are within the game of baseball ? Simply chime in with your comments and thoughts , on this and anything else pertinent on this subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Moderator Candy Crowley of CNN tries to bring Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama back on topic during a town hall-style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York. During the second of three presidential debates, the candidates fielded questions from audience members on a wide variety of issues. Getty Images North America / Spencer Platt ….

(2) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and moderator Candy Crowley (C) listen during a town hall-style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York. During the second of three presidential debates, the candidates fielded questions from audience members on a wide variety of issues. Getty Images North America / Spencer Platt ….

(3) FILE – In this July 6, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays’ B.J. Upton hits an RBI-single off Cleveland Indians’ Nick Hagadone in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland. A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press Wednesday, Nov. 28, the Atlanta Braves have reached an agreement on a five-year deal $75.2 million deal with Upton. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ….

(4) Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria , right, smiles as he answers questions with Rays’ principal owner Stuart Sternberg during a news conference after Longoria signed a six-year , $100 million, contract extension Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Longoria is signed with the Rays through the 2022 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ……

(5) File-This is a 2008 file photo of Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. Ruiz has been suspended for the first 25 games of next season following a positive test for an amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Ruiz’s suspension was announced Tuesday Nov. 27, 2012 by Major League Baseball. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …. (6) MLBPA Executive Director Marvin Miller , is seen granting an interview with the convened press . Miller , the first director of the Players’ Union died at the age of ninety-five , due to ill-health and old age . Many of his contemporaries and team owners have offered their condolences , upon hearing the executive’s passing . Courtesy of CBS news @ copyrighted material all rights reserved

(7) Miguel Cabrera , right, of the Detroit Tigers , and his contemporary Mike Trout of the Anaheim /Los Angeles Angels . Both players were the leading vote-getters for the 2012 AL MVP , which was eventually won by the Triple Crown winner , Cabrera . A crowning achievement for the player after an exceptional 2012 season . AP Photo / Ryan Hall …

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The crack of maple, and then there was the crack heard around the world , Jeter’s ankle just gave out

The crack of maple, and then there was the crack heard around the world , Jeter’s ankle just gave out

By Tophatal

That tingling sensation at the back of your neck are the hairs standing up, and now comes the unthinkable, the New York Yankees’ postseason hopes now appears to be on the line with the injury sustained by Derek Jeter in the ALCS series against the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees’ captain ,Derek Jeter , sustained a season-ending injury, a broken left ankle , that will now see him miss entire postseason schedule . The loss was magnified by the fact that the team lost their series’ opener in a highly sensational game to the Tigers in extra innings.
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For the thousands in attendance at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York , and the millions more watching on broadcast television , the sight of the five-time World Series’ champion being assisted off the field sent a chilling feeling, as the captain left the game. Jeter’s teammates , to the man , showed their angst in their post-game interviews, stating that they were in complete shock to know that their trusted leader would no longer be part of this series or the remainder of postseason. The game itself, prior to the loss of Derek Jeter, ebbed and flowed over the nine innings before entering into suspense filled ending that went extra innings (twelve) . Tigers’ closer Jose Valverde blew the save opportunity when offered, and it became clear that the Yankees sought to take advantage of the chance to garner a 1-0 lead in this best of seven-game series.

As ALCS games go, this one might be one of the most eventful and thrilling in recent history. Joe Girardi now has to reshuffle his lineup, and with the poor postseason for Alex Rodriguez , somehow you get the feeling that the third baseman might not be the manager’s choice to replace Jeter at the short-stop position. In all likelihood , Girardi will seek to either platoon his available short-stops Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez to replace the team’s All Star short stop . Nunez has proven to be the better of two options with far better defensive and offensive skills than his teammate. A game-time decision will be made by Joe Girardi , when the two teams meet today in game two . On the mound for the Yankees , will be Hideki Kuroda (0-0,2.16 ERA) , as he faces off against Anibel Sanchez (0-1, 2.84). The team lineups will be will be announced later on today, prior to the game-time start. The New York Yankees can ill-afford to find themselves in an 0-2 deficit , in this best of seven game series, and going down would lead to a monumental mountain to climb in having to erase such a margin.

Jim Leyland , and Dave Dombrowski have assembled a team for what they believe , is for the long haul , and it should be noted that Miguel Cabrera , Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander , are intent on bringing a championship back to Comerica Park, and the always vociferous Tigers’ fans . In 2011, the Tigers were part of baseball’s postseason fare, where they would fall (4-2) to the Texas Rangers . The team would also be a participant in the 2006 World Series, where they would succumb to the St Louis Cardinals in a thoroughly lopsided series.

Michael Ilitch, the Tigers’ billionaire team owner yearns to see the franchise win a World Series , having had considerable success with the Detroit Red Wings and their multiple —- Stanley Cup titles . If ever the time was ripe for such a scenario , then now would be it , albeit that the ball-club’s sole triumph in the game’s biggest postseason fare came in 1984 , as Alan Trammell , Marty Castillo and Jack Morris , led the Tigers to their biggest postseason victory in the franchise’s history. The Detroit Tigers are celebrating , with Miguel Cabrera coming off a tremendous season , with the acclamation of being the first Triple Crown award claimant in forty-five years, having succeeded Carl Yastremski , in accomplishing that feat.

In the NLCS match-up the San Francisco Giants are playing host to the St Louis Cardinals in their series for the first two games . Game one, will pit Lance Lynn (1-1, 8.10 ERA) of the Cardinals against Madison Baumgartner (0-1, 8.31 ERA) in what is sure to be a highly competitive game.

The two participants in this season’s NLCS are the winners of the last two World Series titles in 2011 and 2010. Both franchises are steeped in tradition and success , and the emphasis in this series will undoubtedly be the pitching, albeit that neither team is said to be found wanting, in terms of their offensive prowess . Should either of the two series go their full distance , then we should be in for an eventful postseason foray , with thrills , spills and whatever else these games will have in store for us all .

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Picture gallery, for your perusal.

Which events of the MLB postseason have been the most surprising by your estimation? And which teams do you believe will be the two participants in the World Series? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below.
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(1) Detroit Tigers pitcher Jose Valverde waits for the ball after giving up a two-run home run to New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki , rear, in Game 1 of the American League championship series Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in New York. Valverde and the Tigers would go on to defeat the Yankees 6-4 in twelve innings .AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(2) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter reacts after injuring himself in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers early Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(3) Trainer Steve Donohue , left, and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi , right, help Yankees’ Derek Jeter off the field after he injured himself during Game 1 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …..

(4) Detroit Tigers’ Alex Avila attempts to catch a pop-up by New York Yankees’ Raul Ibanez in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the American League championship series Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. Umpire in background is Rob Drake . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(5) Fans seated in the upper deck at Yankee Stadium wait for the start of Game 2 of the American League championship series between the Yankees and Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …..

(6) San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence , left, and Marco Scutaro work on some bats during a practice session for baseball’s National League championship series Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in San Francisco. The St. Louis Cardinals play the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(7) Cardinals closer Jason Motte (right) embraces catcher Tony Cruz as their teammates rush the field after Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. AP Photo/Chris Lee, Post Dispatch ……

(8) Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson speaks at a news conference after Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. St. Louis 9-7 . AP Photo/Nick Wass ……

(9) St. Louis Cardinals’ Pete Kozma singles in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the Washington Nationals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. David Freese and Daniel Descalso scored on the play . AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ….

(10) Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper stands by his locker after Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. St. Louis won 9-7. There now seems to be a great deal of questioning of the decision made by GM Mike Rizzo to shutdown the team’s starting pitcher —– Stephen Strasburg , and thereby dashing the hopes of the ball-club’s chances of advancing deeper into the MLB postseason. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ……..

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Veronica Vior

Don’t Go There …… !

Don’t Go There !

by tophatal

Well baseball’s midseason showcase even the 83rd edition of the 2012 All Star Game provided about as much excitement as a runoff debate between two Presidential election candidates . Their lips were moving but actually, nothing worthwhile was happening or being said . Tuesday’s game was very much in that vein , with the AL All Star roster simply turning up to fulfill their contractual obligations , and please don’t suggest this game was anywhere near being competitive . In essence the player of the NL team laid a can of whoop ass on their novice minded counterparts . The final result was an 8-0 thrashing of the AL team managed by the Texas Rangers’ …. Ron Washington . Probably felt like deja-vu for the respected manager given his franchise’s consecutive losses in the last two World Series .

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The NL (National League) having won this edition of the All Star Game now knows that their NL pennant representative will have home-field advantage for the entire World Series . That must seem like an even greater incentive for the Washington Nationals (49-34) , Pittsburgh Pirates (48-37) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (47-40) . These three teams have the best records within the NL as the 11th July , coming into the second half of the season . With a slew of games set on the schedule , beginning on the 13th July , it should prove to be very interesting to see how the teams re-acclimatize themselves with the resumption of baseball , as we progress to towards the culmination of a 162 game schedule for the teams .

The two most closely contested divisional races at present would appear to be within NL Central and NL West , where the margins are 0.5 and 1.0 , respectively . A surprising resurgent and competitive Pirates’ team seems to have a handle handle on their divisional rivals . The Los Angeles Dodgers for their part under a new ownership group and a fan-base that seems to be reinvigorated and intent on seeing this Don Mattingly led team make the postseason for the first time since 2009 . An NLCS loss (4-1) to the Philadelphia Phillies abruptly led to the end of their postseason foray .

Bruce Bochy and the San Francisco Giants who sit behind the Dodgers within the NL West would like nothing better than to get the upper-hand on their instate and league rival this season and make their way into baseball’s postseason . The Giants coming off a debilitating 13-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania . The sooner this team are back to their winning ways the better off they will be , and there is no denying that fact.

So it appears the New York Yankees now have a new-found trait that they can be proud of . It seems that they feel that they’re above reproach and certainly not open to criticism of any kind , even when it is coming from one of their very own. Hall of Fame player Reggie Jackson was very critical of the team’s …. third baseman …… Alex Rodriguez , which for some apparent reason the front office took umbrage with . Jackson , special consultant and adviser to the organization was apparently banished for his statements about the player and his surreptitious use of steroids , which embroiled the Yankees’ organization. For several years Rodriguez denied his culpability and the use of PED’s , in truth the player was living a monumental lie while trying to maintain that pristine image . Never mind the fact , that at the height of this whole charade the New York Yankees also had Andy Pettite and Roger Clemens either fending off questions as to their using banned substances or pointing to their legal representatives to supply the public with an answer . Pettite, as we know , would come clean with what many felt was a contrite apology . Clemens for his part , having been acquitted by a jury of his peers for perjury and obstruction of justice still has a dark cloud hanging over his legacy . The seven-time Cy Young award winner sees his acquittal as a vindication and his maintaining that he has never taken a banned substance to enhance his game . The court of public opinion believes otherwise , and it will take a totally contrite Roger Clemens to win those individuals back over to his side .

Reggie Jackson at the time of his making the statement did so in a capacity of appearing on a syndicated morning talk show. The handling of this issue comes across being petty-minded on the part of the New York Yankees . Furthermore, their handling of the original incident as it related to Alex Rodriguez left a great deal to be desired , as they circled the wagons and brought in a slew of lawyers and publication relation’s experts to deal with damage control . At no time did anyone within the front office seek to rebuke Alex Rodriguez or in fact issue a public statement , other than to suggest that they felt somewhat disappointed in the player’s admission. Did I miss something here ? Beyond Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez is the most widely recognizable face of this franchise, albeit , that he is not the team’s best player but he is their highest paid . Rodriguez is now in the fourth year of a ten-year $275 million deal that will see the player earn over the course of his career upon his retirement , in excess of half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) . If the New York Yankees , are simply seeking to protect their reputation, and that of their third baseman . Well , it is now too late for that ! As for their actions with regard to Reggie Jackson , it simply smacks of sheer stupidity and somewhat imbecilic and infantile . Never let it be said that the Steinbrenner’s won’t seek to take care of their own , even when it makes the organization out to be crass and dare one say completely asinine ?

From my own standpoint , I certainly do not fault Reggie Jackson with the statements directly attributed to him concerning Alex Rodriguez . It is a case in fact , that the player lied about his use of PED’s . And it has never been truly cleared up as to the fact that the player was also closely associated with Orlando medical professional Dr Anthony Galea , indicted , and successfully prosecuted by the US Justice Department . One of Galea’s more celebrated clients was PGA Tour golfer Tiger Woods . All of this was in the lead-up and subsequent to Rodriguez’s admission but somehow this has all been overlooked by the press , baseball’s hierarchy and most certainly internally by the Yankees’ front office . Hypocritical ? Or simply the “ ugly face “ of baseball as it continues to make itself look a complete ass !

Rodriguez , often considered by many to be one of the best all-round players in the game . One seriously doubts that those claims can still be justified today , albeit , that he remains the active home-runs’ leader and RBI’s leader in the game of baseball amongst his current peers. I suspect if anything , the sole reason he remains with the New York Yankees , is to be a selling point and lure as he looks to surpass the all-time home-runs’ mark (762) held by Barry Bonds . That dubious figure remains one of the “hallowed feats” in the game of baseball but to this day , and it is still looked upon with a great deal of disdain , solely because of Bonds’ association with the “steroids’ era” .

And as a player with the New York Yankees , Alex Rodriguez is slowly moving his way up the historical statistics that matter the most , in terms the team’s offensive categories . Rodriguez’s once pristine image , now tarnished irrevocably cannot be changed no matter what pretense or protection is given to the third baseman , be it by the team do publicists , his own legal representatives , or day one suggest his own fans ? At the same time Bud Selig’s own inaction as to his own views concerning the player’s admission might well lead many to believe that he has been forgiven as he what he might view as a minor indiscretion . Such as has been his own inept aptitude , that I still question his merits and intelligence among his predecessors !

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