Take it for what it is …

Take it for what it is

Well, we’re now one quarter of the way through the MLB season and it would appear the furor over what was an exceptional start by the New York Mets has all but come to a grinding halt . Terry Collins’ team has not only hit the skids, but thoughts of the NL franchise being seen as a legitimate contender for the NL Pennant now seems to have been derailed by the exploits and stellar play of Bryce Harper and the ascent of the Washington Nationals , as they have taken hold of the NL East . Speaking of which, the never-ending descent of the Philadelphia Phillies continues at a rapid pace.

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From my own perspective, I believe the Phillies to be a team no longer competitive enough to be of relevance within the National League much less the rest of baseball ! Ryne Sandberg will be hard pressed to get this Phillies’ team playing with the resolve needed to even be in with a chance of winning their division, much less gain a wild-card berth.

The New York Mets for their part might well be good enough to gain a postseason berth this season, but a great deal of that will be predicated on the play of several players on the roster , most notably All Star player David Wright , teammates , Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda , Curtis Granderson and it now appears the ageless Bartolo Colon , who at the age of forty-two seems to be turning back the hands of time . While the Mets are only 5-5 in their last ten games and with a one-game win streak , these results are hardly likely to put the fear into an opponent, given the recent and asinine prognostications concerning the team. Coming off a 9-1 road loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates simply epitomizes how overrated the New York Mets just happen to be , while the excuses will now build up to a crescendo as to what currently ails the team are such an embarrassing defeat.

Next up for Mets will a will be another road game against the Pirates where Bartolo Colon will seek to . improve his record this season and certainly prove himself to be the team’s best starting pitcher on their rotation .

Bryce Harper is certainly looking to prove his doubters wrong. He is a player of prodigious talent , but the continued knock against him remains his lack of maturity , temperament and not being able to show leadership skills when called upon to do so. If the Washington Nationals are to succeed this season, then Matt Williams and his managerial staff will have to curb the over-exuberance of the player and get him to fully apply himself to the task at hand . With the money vested in Harper , now would be the time for him to show the qualities desired, rather than his under-achieving. Forty plus games into the season doesn’t make a career , and that is something fans should not begin to get themselves completely wrapped up in. With his arbitration season due in 2017 , all signs point to the fact the . front office will seek to sign the player to a long-term contract comparable to the deal signed by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. I do not believe Harper possesses the talent to be deemed as good as his Angeles’ counterpart , who to my mind has been the best player in Major League Baseball over the past three seasons .

A 2-1 victory over the hapless Philadelphia Phillies , has firmly placed the Washington Nationals in the driver’s seat in what is turning out to be a moderate NL East division this season . Nonetheless, the teams there will vie it out over the course of the season, as they seek divisional supremacy.

The ”will to win” , might well be what separates the contenders from the pretenders within the NL this season. Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers along with their bloated $200 million plus payroll are riding high within the NL West this season with the reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants in close pursuit . In a division that could become the most interesting of them all , if the San Diego Padres with their revamped roster can finally find some semblance of consistency. With the money spent assembling this lineup where the offensive talent is undeniable , it seems ridiculous Matt Kemp , Justin Upton , James Shields , Wil Myers , Will Middlebrooks , Josh Johnson and Craig Kimbrel are playing sub.500 (21-25) baseball under manager Bud Black .

A 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California was another blow to this Padres’ team as they continue to struggle. The Padres need to put together a win streak , fast, one that simply boosts team confidence as well as having the faith of their fans, rather than a situation, where simply cannot be sure what is going to happen from one moment to the next. Bud Back’s players will be back in the saddle once again, when they take on the Los Angles Angels on Tuesday evening , with Odrisamer Despaigne on the mound for the visitors against the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker . This contest should make for an interesting contrast of styles for the opposing teams and managerial staffs.

OK , so you’re going to try and convince me the Houston Astros are among the best teams in baseball , simply because of their position atop of the AL West ? Last I looked , in three of their last five seasons this organization has managed to notch up one hundred game-loss seasons , much to the dismay of their fans. If anyone believes 2015 will bring about another Cinderella Story with the Astros continuing where the Kansas City Royals failed , then they are sadly mistaken. The Royals for their part in spite of their solid start , are still not out of the woods as of yet , because having sneaked up on teams last season , this season many of their opponents are now aware of what they are capable of doing and have sought ways to negate Kansas’ strengths.

Houston are 6-4 in their last ten games and continue to maintain a healthy lead over their divisional rivals , but now comes the hard part for this team and that is to maintain the consistency they seem to have found. A J Hinch might be the early season candidate for AL Manager of The Year , but one ought to remember these awards are not handed out for what has been achieved over a month or two months but for the entire one hundred and sixty-two game regular season schedule.

Houston will be looking to further embarrass what has been an under-achieving season for the Baltimore Orioles, when the Orioles play host to the Astros at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland, where the opposing pitchers will be Scott Feldman taking on Chris Tillman. The Kansas City Royals will continue their series against the New York Yankees, with Jason Vargas of the Royals on the mound against Adam Warren of the Yankees.

Derek Jeter has retired after a twenty-year career with the New York Yankees and this season the team is not only looking for an on-field leader, but also for a ‘ soul’ . Manager Joe Girardi has never been that talented a coach , and has simply been put in a position. where Yankees’ resources have been placed at his disposal , with GM Brian Cashman signing the dotted line in terms of the paychecks for the team roster. Alex Rodriguez has returned from his league mandated suspension , with his intent being to earn the $21 million due to him this season. Granted the added incentives of surpassing several league and team records will not be finding their way into Rodriguez’s pockets, but I am sure the player will not feel hard done by , considering he still remains a pariah to the vast majority of fans within the game.

Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are two of the primary reasons the Yankees are still in play within a very weak AL East division . For the moment the Tampa Bay Rays and Kevin Cash are making hay while the sun shines , but I doubt the Rays’ being perched atop of the division, will be self-sustaining. The Rays are good but they are not great, as reflected in their record at this point of the season .

With two years left on his remaining contract with the New York Yankees, I doubt that Alex Rodriguez will be able to make a serious assault on surpassing the all-time career home runs’ record ! Granted , the most beloved statistic in all of baseball has remained tainted ever since Barry Bonds laid claim to the mark having passed what many fans still believes remains the legitimate record of Hank Aaron ___ seven hundred and fifty-five home runs.

Rodriguez’s career home run mark at present stands at six hundred and sixty-four, with the closest active player being Albert Pujols with five hundred and twenty-eight career home runs and he is likely to be the only player to pass the six hundred career home runs’ plateau within the next four years let alone another player surpassing the benchmark figure of 500 career home runs . Two-time AL MVP , Triple Crown King and Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera having hit four hundred career home runs would rather win a World Series’ title with the Tigers than chase after singular career achievements.

As I alluded to earlier, with the Kansas City Royals’ ascent , Detroit will now have to get themselves on track with Brad Ausmus and his coaching staff having to deal with the upstart Royals and their seeking divisional supremacy within the AL Central. Ausmus has seen his team play rather erratically , with his not yet getting the best out of mainline starting pitchers David Price and Justin Verlander . While Verlander remains on the team’s DL , with no timetable set for his return , it is now left to Price and the rest of the rotation to within close reach of the Kansas City Royals. Complacency led to the Tigers being blanked 4-0 by the Oakland A’s at the O.Coliseum on Monday afternoon. The two teams will meet again on Tuesday afternoon with Detroit looking to even the score.

Sooner rather than later you knew the actions of Ryan Braun would have a way of catching up with him and specifically the Milwaukee Brewers. The 2012 recipient of the NL MVP Award , his denials concerning use of a banned substance and being able to lie about it , while being handsomely rewarded by the Brewers and major corporate sponsors only further emphasizes how weak the league’s steroid policy remains without delving into the constant idiocy of fans longing to see Pete Rose inducted into the Hall of Fame. As far as I am concerned the institution is simply a relic of a bygone age and where an induction has now become meaningless. The list of eligible nominees for the next five years will have several players whose names are closely tied to the ‘ BALCO Scandal’ or where they have been implicated with steroid use, because of their own actions. Yet , here we are, one quarter of the way through the 2015 season and once again players are being given the mandatory suspension required , having contravened the league’s substance abuse policy. Things would not be so bad if the arbitrators presiding over the appeals’ process showed that they have an ounce of common sense.

Rob Manfred as baseball’s highest ranking league executive shows all of the intellect of an invertebrate , which is only marginally more than that of his predecessor Bud Selig. Manfred simply stood pat and did nothing , after Josh Hamilton freely admitted he took cocaine and drank alcohol during his most recent rehab stint. It took the courage of Angels’ owner Arte Moreno to send Hamilton packing , even after the player sought to blame those within the Angels’ hierarchy not giving him any support. Last I looked , Josh Hamilton was being given as much support as was needed having been paid a salary, while putting up mediocre figures for Los Angeles Angels without ever showing any signs of fu#king leadership and for that, he was expecting support from the organization ? It wouldn’t be so bad, were it not for the fact we had fans suggesting Hamilton’s issues were an addiction, rather than the player simply not wanting to be held accountable for his own actions. Come full circle and Josh Hamilton finds himself back with the Texas Rangers , not yet able to play while still being able to pull down a handsome salary.

Ryan Braun is continues to play for the Milwaukee Brewers, the team with the worst record in all of Major League Baseball . How appropriate is it , that these two former MVP’s should find themselves in such a fitting predicament ?

If the Brewers’ woes this season are imperiled then Oakland A’s are not faring much better. It is hard to explain how franchise over the past three season has been the doyenne of the AL West can be so bad at this stage of the season . If things continue to get much worse, I believe Bob Melvin could very well become the second managerial casualty after the Miami Marlins’ firing of Mike Redmond earlier this month. GM Billy Beane has long proven he is one of the best front office executives in all of baseball , but he can only do so much with the resources made available to him by team owner Lew Wolff . That asides, the Oakland A’s remain one of the least supported franchises in all of baseball with game day attendance for the home games at the O.Coliseum being among the lowest in the league. The A’s will need to get back in the saddle by getting a much-needed victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday evening .

Best pitcher in baseball at present ? If I were to tell you based on performances this season the player in question would be Michael Wacha of the St Louis Cardinals . Then it would no doubt come as a pleasant surprise to many , but not to the fans of the Cardinals who have seen Wacha at his best this season. Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny having lost starting ace Adam Wainwright for the season no one within the front office let alone the coaching staff , could have expected they would have a ready-made replacement with Michael Wacha , but fortunes seem to have smiled on this pitching staff and organization, as the pitcher has exceeded everyone’s expectations. If Wacha is able to maintain his current form then there would be no reason to see him as a viable candidate for the NL Cy Young Award . The player will make his next appearance on the mound for the Cardinals when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri , on the 30th May , 2015.

Picture gallery. Clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture alongside an accompanying narrative.

At this same point last season , there was little to suggest how the year would pan out in MLB, other than the fact no one knew the Kansas City Royals would mount an improbable run to the AL Pennant before falling short at the final obstacle when they fell the San Francisco Giants in the World Series . At this juncture I do not believe there is a clear favorite for the ‘ Fall Classic’ . So for now , we can only gauge the play of the teams , but in all certainty we will see the real contenders come into form during the final month of the regular season . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the play of the teams and players as the schedule has progressed ?


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Horses for courses ……..

Horses for courses …..

We have already reached the midpoint of the baseball season and there have been one or two surprises along the way. Some very good pitching performances, exclaimed by three no-hitters and the less than threatening offenses of a number of teams . Add in the fact, the same old stories seem to be repeating themselves by way of the Houston Astros and I am beginning to wonder if this season is likely to be anything special at all !


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The Astros, alongside the Philadelphia Phillies , now have to the two worst records in all of baseball and there has been little to suggest that the teams in question have the acumen to solve their on and off the field woes. Ryne Sandberg who succeeded Charlie Manuel to become the Phillies’ fifty-second manager in the franchise’s history , has inherited an aging roster of stars who now seem to be past their sell by date. To say the very least Philadelphia and the coaching staff have their work cut out for them over the remainder of their season. With several of the players on the team’s roster among the highest paid players in the league, it is hard to imagine where the organization will seek to go from here, but there now seems to an opinion, a long overdue “fire sale” is likely to place, with several of the players being jettisoned in order for some of the younger players being called up from within their farm system. Sandberg succeeded Charlie Manuel as the Phillies’ manager , but in the aftermath of the team’s failure in 2013 , it was clear that the front office and GM Reuben Amaro Jr had to make a change at the managerial level. A great deal of the blame does lie with Amaro and his failure in seeking to bolster the Phillies’ roster over the past five years.

Having won the World Series in 2008 with a lopsided series’ victory over the Tampa Bay Rays ,the Phillies’ fortunes in the later years can be best described as a ball-club repeatedly under-achieving. . Coming off a 6-2 drubbing from instate rivals the Pittsburgh Pirates , Ryne Sandberg will not take his players on the road as they face the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Ballpark , in Milwaukee , Wisconsin,. As losers of nine of their last ten games, it is easy to understand why the Philadelphia Phillies have been so woefully inept. The issues on this team covers just about every facet of their game , from top to bottom ., including the lack of leadership coming from the managerial staff , much less the seasoned veterans on the team.

We have often been told the NFC East remains the best division in the NFL and the same claims are continually being made about the AL East . That is not something as a baseball fan, I am ready to I subscribe to ! Granted, there are some very good teams within the division and the very fact Derek Jeter enters his final season with the New York Yankees makes the expectations within the division and for the Yankees that much greater.The Yankees for their part have been inconsistent with their being few bright spots on the team during the season, but what cannot be denied has been the outstanding performances of their rookie pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka during this season. . The pitcher has all but blown the hinges off the door leaving batters bewildered on his way to a league leading result in wins among rookie pitchers and starters in general. If that were not enough he just might be the best pitcher on the Yankees’ starting roster and that is with due deference to Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia , who now seem to spluttering through their schedule.

Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees are a mere 3 ½ games out of first place within the AL East, in a division led by what appears to be a steadfast Toronto Blue Jays’ team, the equally resilient Baltimore Orioles , to be followed by the third placed Yankees and rounding out the quintet of teams, are the Boston Red Sox and the last placed Tampa Bay Rays.. Jeter and the Yankees , coming off a hard-fought 9-7 victory over the Minnesota Twins , will have to remain consistent if they are to have any chance of winning the division much less guaranteeing themselves one of the two wildcard berths available within the AL.. . Monday , the Yankees will be pitted against the Cleveland Indians as they take to the field, with Shane Greene on the mound for New York against Cleveland’s Justin Masterson in a game to played at Progressive Field in Cleveland , Ohio,.

While many of us wish Derek Jeter all the best, as he winds down an astonishing career , it is my belief that he and the New York Yankees are unlikely to win the World Series , garnering him a sixth World Series’ ring. The Yankees are good but they lack the “killer instinct” of teams from the past and Joe Girardi , in spite of his managerial experience seem to be lacking the resolve in getting his players to buy into his managerial philosophy for this season..

Two-hundred million dollars can buy you many things , but in the world of baseball , it has been unable to garner the Los Angeles Dodgers a World Series title in either 2012 or 2013 . It is pretty much safe to say, managing partner , Magic Johnson might now be feeling a little peeved to see his team having squandered the chances offered them in the last two years. It seems like an eternity since the Dodgers made an appearance in the World Series ,but in 1988 , was the last time the ball-club tasted success in calling themselves world champions. This season is proving just as difficult for Don Mattingly and his team as they see the resurgence of the San Francisco Giants within the NL West , as the league’s highest payroll team struggles to find an identity and prove themselves to be one of the best teams in all of baseball.

A half game may well now separate the Dodgers and Giants at the top of the division with San Francisco having played two games less than their divisional rivals over the course of season , so far. Yet, based on what we have seen , is there anyone truly convinced that the Dodgers are indeed the equal of the recent two-time winning World Series’ champions? These two teams possess the pitching staffs to a great deal of damage within the NL as well as the rest of baseball, but consistency will be the key for both as they set to contend for the NL West divisional crown.

Los Angeles took care of the Colorado Rockies with relative ease in an 8-2 win in a game played at Coors Field on Sunday evening , while the Giants made light work of the San Diego Padres in their 5-3 victory in an away game on the same day . The Dodgers and in particular Don Mattingly and his managerial staff are under a great deal of pressure to succeed. Winning the World Series remains the priority of one baseball’s most revered organizations and the chase for that elusive crown. Two of this season’s three no-hitters were achieved by Dodgers’ pitchers Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw , two of the team’s best pitchers on a very impressive starting lineup.

Not really shocked, but there comes a time when you simply have to look at the work of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and ask the question how successful would he have been, were he afforded the luxury of having the resources of $200 million payroll ? Unfortunately , this remains a pipe-dream among the A’s and their fans because Lewis Wolff is not the type of owner to make such a lavish outlay while seeking success. At the same time, this gives us an eye on one of the many issues that still plagues the game of baseball and why neither, Bud Selig or MLB’s CFO Jonathan Mariner has any real idea how to create a level playing field, in terms of the financial fairness within the game and the teams’ payroll structure.

On Tuesday the Los Angeles Dodgers are the guests of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit ,Michigan , when Hyun Jin-Ryu of the Dodgers takes to the mound against Justin Verlander in a crucial contest for both teams.

Not really shocked, but there comes a time when you simply have to look at the work Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and ask the question how successful would he have been, were he afforded the luxury of having the resources of a $200 million payroll ? Unfortunately , this remains a pipe-dream among the A’s and their fans because Lewis Wolff is not the type of owner to make such a lavish outlay while seeking success. At the same time, this gives an eye on one of the many issues that still plagues the game of baseball and why neither, Bud Selig or MLB’s CFO Jonathan Mariner has any real idea how to create a level playing field , in terms of the financial fairness within the game and the teams’ payroll structure.

Having the best record in baseball does not always equate with success at the end of the season when it comes to baseball’s postseason . At present the Oakland A’s have the privilege of being viewed as the best team in the game with their league leading fifty-six wins (56-33) as of the 7th July,2014. Oakland has simply been laying waste to their opponents all season long and their 5-0 clubbing of the San Francisco Giants was further evidence of how good this team just happens to be. Never mind the issue of the Giants being one of the best teams in the NL and having seventh best record in baseball with only the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels having a better record over their last twenty games.

A’s coach Bob Melvin and his managerial staff have given the players the momentum needed but it remains to be seen if the team will be able to take the lead and deliver the victories needed as they seek to win their first World Series’ title since 1989 when they triumphed over when they defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-0 . They would reach baseball’s postseason finale again in 1990 ,only to fall to the Cincinnati Reds in the seven game series in a whitewash.

Baseball’s mid-season showcase event , the MLB All Star Game is not that far off on the horizon and already fans and media analysts alike, are questioning those who were snubbed and those who made it onto the rosters of the AL and NL teams. In my opinion, with the voting being no more than a popularity contest , very little credence can really be given to the veracity of the claims, as who is fitting to become an All Star and who is not. Does anyone really want to see players from the two worst teams in baseball, being given what . is something of a dubious honor ? Can playing on the last placed team within the AL or NL really be a cause, upon which one can say that is a mark of success ? Therein lies the idiocy of the claims by baseball writers, fans and members of the league hierarchy, that every team should be given the honor of having player be a part of All Star roster.

Mike Trout may well be the best all-round player in the game today and he is certainly the player who many believe will be the face of baseball for years to come, and deemed the player most likely to succeed Derek Jeter as being the face of this game for next decade or more. Baseball needs a fresh influx young stars able to attract the fans after two decades of constant betrayal of the fans , with the never-ending cheating , lies , deceit, hypocrisy of the league hierarchy , owners , general managers , MLBPA (Players’ Union) and the general apathy of the fans willing to excuse the behavior of the steroid cheats that have made baseball such a joke !

MLB has long sought to paint itself as America’s pastime but it has not been the case for several decades and it has been the incompetence of the league, in addressing the most serious of issues, leading to the constant ridicule and lack of leadership at all levels within the game. Ryan Braun was welcomed back with open arms after the 2011 NL MVP remained in denial while being complicit in a web of deceit and lies that any asshole with an ounce of common sense, could have seen through. But for the incompetency of the league’s own testing protocols and that of the sheer stupidity of the laboratory who presided over Braun’s results , the player’s suspension would have been far more serious, rather than the slap on the wrist received. With the Milwaukee Brewers once again competitive within the NL Central , it will be interesting to see what might be made should Braun and the Brewers make the postseason and quite possibly winning the World Series, itself. Scorn or not, such a premise would lead to the game being once again questioned as to its veracity.

Fifty home runs in a season is something of a rarity but during the steroid era , that feat was something of a regular occurrence , with the likes of Mark McGwire , Sammy Sosa , Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds making a complete mockery of that particular record. This year we are unlikely to see the fifty home run mark surpassed but the siege on that particular mark always seems to be an interesting topic of debate as well as something of a spectacle to watch. Nelson Cruz, Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion and Giancarlo Stanton lead the way in baseball’s home run race this season , having just passed the halfway mark of the baseball schedule. Barry Bonds may well hold the single season home run mark, but in many respects in the eyes of the purists within the game , the mark they feel deserves recognition is the legendary statistic of Roger Maris’ of sixty-one home runs . I do not believe that anything else needs to be said concerning the matter !

Baseball’s mid-season showcase event , the MLB All Star Game is not that far off the horizon and already fans and media analysts alike are questioning those who were snubbed and those who made it onto the rosters of the AL and NL teams. In my opinion with the voting being no more than a popularity contest , very little credence can really be given to the veracity of the claims as who is fitting to become an All Star and who is not. Does anyone really want to see players from the two worst teams in baseball being given what is something of a dubious honor ? Can playing on the last placed team within the AL or NL really be a cause upon which one can say that is a mark of success ? Therein lies the idiocy of the claims by baseball writers, fans and members of the league hierarchy, that every team should be given the honor of having player be a part of All Star roster. The contests between the AL and NL in recent years have proven to be very entertaining with their being so much at stake for the winning league . Interest will certainly be peaked with this being the last All Star contest where Derek Jeter is a participant . How he bows out will be one of the highlights of the season , no matter the result.



Picture gallery.

There remains a great deal to play for over the second half of the season, but for now, we have been intrigued to witness the stories that have unfolded at the midpoint of baseball’s schedule. What highlights have piqued your interest and which team or player has proven to be the most exciting to watch? On a final note, who do you believe will prove to be the biggest disappointment of the year among the ball-clubs and stars given their status at the start of the year? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support as always !


Picture and slideshow gallery below .

(1) Houston Astros’ Chris Carter , left, is congratulated by Carlos Corporan (22) following Carter’s solo home off of Texas Rangers relief pitcher Aaron Poreda in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. The Astros would defeat the Rangers 8-3 in a rout . AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(2) Houston Astros starting pitcher Brad Peacock and first baseman Jon Singleton talk with manager Bo Porter (16) as Peacock is pulled in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(3) Philadelphia Phillies’ general manager Reuben Amaro Jr is seen here with team manager Ryne Sandberg ,who in his first year as the team’s manager has seen the Phillies do so poorly while struggling to remain competitive within the NL East and the NL in general . An aging roster and several highly paid players are the primary reasons for the poor results witnessed this season . All signs are pointing to the fact , Amaro will seek to revamp the roster during this upcoming off-season and the likelihood will be , he will seek to trade several players superfluous to the team’s needs while promoting younger members from within their farm system. AP Photo/ Martin Davis …

(4) New York Yankees Derek Jeter, left, bumps fists with Masahiro Tanaka during introduction ceremonies before the baseball game against the Houston Astros on day Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Houston. Tanaka enters his first season with the Yankees as team captain Jeter enters his twentieth and final season with the franchise . AP Photo/Pat Sullivan ….

(5) From left to right , Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly , senior partner Magic Johnson , Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees and Dodgers’ CEO and senior managing partner Mark Walter are seen here at Dodgers’ Ballpark in Los Angeles California prior to a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees in 2013. Rivera who retired in 2013 as all-time saves’ leader and a five-time World Series’ winner had a historic career with the Yankees’ franchise. He is likely to be a Hall of Fame candidate in Cooperstown , New York having met the eligibility requirements. Getty Images North America/ Greg Parsons …. .

(6) Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin ,left is seen here with general manager Billy Beane as the two talk with the convened press at the O Coliseum in Oakland, California . The A’s are off to another impressive start to the season and lead with the AL West, while heading into the All Star mid-season break. Both the manager and executive are hoping that the team can have an equally successive start to the second half of the season with the ultimate goal being an appearance and the capturing of a World Series’ crown for the fifth time in A’s history . AP Photo / Dave Wilson …

(7) Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is often seen in some circles as the best player in the game and the face of baseball for next decade. The player now at the forefront of an Angels’ offense that seems to be in control . AP Photo/ Kelly Richardson …

(8) Alex Rodriguez , left , of the New York Yankees and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers . The two players have become the “face ” of the steroid era over the past eight years. Each has faced a league mandated suspension, with the Yankees’ third baseman now sitting out the entire 2014 season after baseball’s hierarchy enforced their ban of the player for the year. Braun and Rodriguez have won four League MVP Awards over the course of their respective careers and are among the highest paid players on their respective teams ( Brewers and Yankees) . AP Photo / Harry Patterson ….

(9) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins leads the NL in home runs this season but it remains to be seen whether or not he is likely to surpass the fifty home runs for the year . The Marlins are trying to supplant both the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals atop of the NL East. AP Photo / Chris Mendez …..


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Something cheerful about a female shaking her assets .

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 ,



Picture gallery

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 .


Picture and slideshow details below .

(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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Can’t Buy Me Love …………. And Money Can’t Buy You Happiness Either Especially In The World of Baseball ……….

Can’t Buy Me Love ……… And Money Can’t Buy You Happiness Either …. Especially In The World of Baseball

Well with the divisional rounds of the AL and NL divisional series now behind us the championship series are now set . In the AL the Texas Rangers will host the Detroit Tigers for the first two games in the best of seven games series format to decide the AL pennant and the representative for the World Series from that league. In the NL we have the Milwaukee Brewers hosting the St Louis Cardinals with the privilege of the pennant winner from that league taking on winners of the Rangers vs Tigers series.


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Slide show for your perusal .

Now while we were all enthralled by the final day finales within the league with both the St Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays garnering the wildcard berths for the postseason . It has to be said that in spite of the drama and excitement created by the improbable feats by both the Cardinals and Rays what has now happened in divisional series raises the bar to a new level. The Philadelphia Phillies , New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox has me wondering whether or not those who aspire to suggest that there is parity within the league , do they really believe that ?

The New York Yankees long considered the big money market team whose aspirations to spend big and win big has been the credo that they have simply lived by. The team with a $203 million payroll simply eschew largess and the type of opulence we are liable to see amongst the high rolling executives on Wall Street. In the ALDS the Yankees were up against a determined Detroit Tigers’ team with their ace in the hole with the starting pitcher Justin Verlander . In a series deciding game five hosted by the AL East champions at Yankees Stadium . The game in front of a soldout crowd was raucous and electric in terms of the excitement created .

In spite of the the team’s offense and the tremendous seasons had by Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira during the postseason the bats of the Yankees were bewilderingly silent . Alex Rodriguez the alleged big money player brought in by the organization presumably to be the face of the team once Derek Jeter steps down has been a clear sign of why Rodriguez is not the force that many presumably believe him to be. He may well rank up there amongst the all-time leaders in terms home run hitters . During the series against the Detroit Tigers the player’s demeanor and offense like the rest of the members of this Yankees’ roster was nowhere to be seen. I will continue to maintain that Alex Rodriguez does not know what it is to play on a team much less be a teammate who can lead by example !. He has yet to prove that and never will and that is even with the fact that he has a World Series ring to his credit.

New York Yankees’ team president Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman are already circling the wagons and looking to create the facade that their failings were due to the fact that the Tigers were simply the better team . And in that respect they are right but who could have envisaged that during the postseason this New York Yankees’ team would put up such an anemic effort ? And beyond the ineptitude shown by the Yankees’ offense one has to admit that coming into this postseason you also knew this pitching roster of the Yankees simply would not be up to the task . The only saving grace for the New York Yankees may well be the fact that beyond CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova this pitching rotation may well need to be gutted and revamped altogether .

Money may well be of no object to the New York Yankees , given the fact that they have unending resource by way of the YES Network and the thought that they can use the team owned broadcast outlet to simply use as a tax write for any losses accumulated by the baseball operations. But herein lies the caveat to this whole charade , it is that the New York Yankees are not necessarily prudent spenders when it comes acquiring talent by way of the free agency market or via trades . Consider players such as Carl Pavano , Randy Johnson and Hideki Irabu who have simply come and gone producing little if anything that one might consider tangible for the organization. But somehow & Brian Cashman and the entire front office seem to feel that this credo is still the template for success. That scenario usually works when the talent performs at an optimum level but would anyone seriously consider the season produced by AJ Burnett is worth $16,500,000 ?

The Philadelphia Phillies prior to the start of the season were seen as the prohibitive favorites to win the NL pennant and World Series . A pitching roster that has a quintet of All Stars and wealth of experience with a Cy Young award winner amongst those five. Roy Halladay , Cliff Lee , Cole Hamels , Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt . As imposing as that pitching roster may well appear to be who could have envisaged that it would be the offense of the Phillies that would lay a goose egg in their divisional series against the St Louis Cardinals ? Another big money market team whose expenditure on team salaries for 2011 exceeded $167 million .

In what would turn out to be a game five series decider played at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia the Phillies hosted the NL Central wildcard winners. Taking the mound for the Cardinals was their ace Chris Carpenter . And the ace did not fail to deliver , pitching a three hit shutout for a complete game and perhaps one of the greatest pitching performances in St Louis Cardinals’ postseason history .

Philadelphia Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr along with manager Charlie Manuel , the entire coaching staff and the front office will have to reassess the roster to view what changes will have to made . if the Phillies are to have any semblance of success in the upcoming season. For a team that was said to be experienced with such seasoned veterans as Chase Utley , Raul Ibanez , Shane Victorino to add alongside the highly productive Ryan Howard and you now have to ask where was the leadership on this team in their time of need ? This was a team built for the long haul with a view to making a run for the World Series and it was clear that no expense would be spared .

For a team with a payroll of $167 million it is hard to understand how the Philadelphia Phillies could have failed so miserably . Built to win but barely lasting the course because of sheer ineptitude and a complete lack of brevitas shown by these high priced players.

In the space of ten days from the end of the regular season schedule to the divisional series we have seen a fallout of seismic proportions that I feel may well force the general managers around the baseball landscape to believe that spending ostentatiously simply brings about success . And even though the effects of ” Sabermetrics” during the nineties created the euphoria and was used effectively by Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics under the tutelage of Paul DePodesta . That was then , this now and in the present the reality is that the big money teams still hold sway . However , we can either choose to believe that within the game of baseball there is now parity within the sport or the fact that it is actually about the survival of the fittest. At the end of the day I believe it simply comes down to the will to win and not much more beyond that !



Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the events of the waning days of the regular season and the divisional rounds of the playoffs what to your mind has been the main premise behind the downfall of these big money market teams ? Of the four remaining teams within the LCS which do you feel has the best chance of winning the World Series ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and anything else you feel pertinent with regard to the subject matter.

Alan aka tophatal …………




Picture and slide show details .


(1) Texas Rangers’ Neftali Feliz reacts after striking out Detroit Tigers’ Ryan Raburn for the final out of Game 1 at baseball’s American League championship series Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. Texas won, 3-2 . Texas catcher Mike Napoli and home plate umpire Tim Welke are at rear. AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(2) The Texas Rangers celebrate their 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game One of the American League Championship Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 8, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ….

(3) New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, left, and Derek Jeter leave the field after the top of the ninth inning of the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 of baseball’s American League division series Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(4) The Detroit Tigers run out from the dugout onto the field to celebrate with their teammates after they won 3-2 against the New York Yankees during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …….

(5) Rafael Soriano of the New York Yankees is presented his jersey and cap from (L-R) manager Joe Girardi, president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman and COO Lonn Trost during a press conference on January 19, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees signed Soriano to a three year contract. Getty Images / Jim McIsaac ……

(6) Manager Charlie Manuel looks on as general manager Ruben Amaro Jr of the Philadelphia Phillies holds the ALCS trophy as they celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 to advance to the World Series in Game Five of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 21, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(7) St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Daniel Descalso, left, starting pitcher Chris Carpenter, second baseman Nick Punto, catcher Yadier Molina, and first baseman Albert Pujols, react after their 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in baseball’s Game 5 of the National League division series Friday, Oct. 7, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(8) Ryan Howard (6) of the Philadelphia Phillies stumbles as he runs out of the box on his ground out for the final out of the game as they lost 1-0 against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Divisional Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images …..


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Pop The Corks …… All Is Well In Philly !

Pop The Corks …… All Is Well In Philly !

I’m not so sure that over the last 48 hours things could have gotten any better for the city of Philadelphia from a sporting standpoint . As baseball slowly approaches the trade deadline it was being widely reported that the Philadelphia Phillies under the direction of GM Reuben Amaro Jr had acquired Houston Astros’ outfielder Hunter Pense . The team’s needs were viewed that they needed some added offense beyond the arsenal within the organization at large .


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With the Philadelphia Phillies amongst one of the more high salaried teams within baseball and the organization on the cusp of the league mandated luxury tax thresh-hold . The fact that the team was able to acquire Pense without having to give up that much in return , while adding to payroll makes their ambition all too clear and that is to place themselves amongst the favorites for the World Series . The Philadelphia Phillies now have what appears to be an insurmountable lead within the NL East over their closest rivals the Atlanta Braves .
In what now appears to be a race that all but theirs for the taking it’s clear to see that Charlie Manuel and his assistants along with Amaro felt that it was in the team’s best interests to prepare themselves for the postseason in terms of a roster fully capable of acquitting themselves down the line.

And amongst the NL representatives for the NLCS one would be remiss to deny the fact that the Phillies shouldn’t be viewed as the presumptive favorites . The team does stand head and shoulders above their peers within the NL and although the defending champions the San Francisco Giants made their very own pursuit into the free agent waiver deadline market with their acquisition of Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets it has to be said that the build up between the vying contenders in the months leading up to the end of the regular season should prove to be very interesting .

And while we can attest to the fact that the Philadelphia Phillies might just have the best pitching rotation in the game but that in of itself will not necessarily be the determining factor as to the fate of the team’s postseason ambitions. It is clear that Charlie Manuel and Reuben Amaro believe that if they are to be triumphant then this roster has to be one that is well balanced and with all of the prerequisites needed for success. I’ve no doubt that Hunter Pense will be a valuable asset to this team given his play and productivity and with the youthful zeal of the player one can only expect to see great things from him and this team.

Nnamdi Asomugha may well have been the most desirable free agent of the players in light of the NFL lockout and the league’s resumption of their operations. With the subsequent bloodletting and the mayhem we have all witnessed it was that the teams said to be gauging the interest in Asomugha ranged from the New York Jets , New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers but no one absolutely no one could have suspected that it would be the Philadelphia Eagles with Andy Reid , team President Joe Banner and GM Howie Roseman swooping down to acquire the player , signing him to a five year $60 million deal of which $25 million was guaranteed money . It had been thought that the Forty Niners may well have had the best hope of acquiring the player and keeping him in the Bay area given the fact that his career in the NFL had been with the Oakland Raiders .

Asomugha’s stellar credentials only adds to the luster of this Eagles’ team and it has to be said they now have to be seen as the favorites not just within the NFC East but also the entire conference . The Eagles depth and the fact that Andy Reid has a litany of offensive weapons at his disposal with the now resurgent Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson , Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy leading the charge has me believing they have to be considered amongst the favorites for the Superbowl .

The secondary of the Eagles with the cornerback tandem of Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel must rival if not surpass that of any duo in the league . And it is clear that Reid saw that the acquisition would immediately make this defense a great deal better from the get go.

There’s no denying that the Philadelphia Eagles as a team will flourish this upcoming season . From my own perspective I do believe that the likelihood of the New York Giants , Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins mounting a serious challenge within the division ( NFC East ) isn’t as great as one would presume. The Dallas Cowboys with Jason Garrett now firmly entrenched as the team’s coach now has to look over his shoulders each and every moment as Jerry Jones gauges his every move . With the fact that the team owner has seen fit to purge the roster of players such as Marion Barber and Roy Williams to name but a few the pressure still remains for the Dallas Cowboys to perform.

Now much has been made that Tony Romo is a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback but the issues for him has been that the Cowboys have never really surrounded him with the talent needed . Unless I’m mistaken but Jerry Jones has simply gone out and done whatever he felt necessary in bolstering the Cowboys , albeit that at times the players acquired simply have never measured up. Jones has finally admitted that mistakes were made last season but to my mind the one flaw in this remains and always has been the suspect play of Tony Romo. As good as many believe him to be there’s no denying that when placed under extreme pressure he tends to wilt when asked to go above and beyond what he’s been asked to do. For Jason Garrett and his coaching staff their task will be lead this team to some semblance of success and that has to viewed as the Dallas Cowboys making the postseason at a minimum.

The other residents within the NFC East ___ the New York Giants and Washington Redskins will vie for the task of trying to mount a serious challenge to the division’s prohibitive favorites the Philadelphia Eagles . It would be remiss to suggest that the Giants were not a monumental disappointment last season . The team simply underperformed and one has to now question the ability of the team’s quarterback Eli Manning . All this in the aftermath of having signed a bloated 6 year $96 million contract for which he’s failed to live up to even though he led the team to a Superbowl (SB XLII) victory.

The daggers were out for Giants’ coach Tom Coughlan last season and I found it somewhat surprising that the organization sought to retain the coach after the failures of last year. But such are the vagaries of the game that it’s always best to expect the unexpected even when it no longer really comes as a surprise .

For the life of me after the debacle of this past year I cannot see how Dan Snyder continues to think that overpaying for talent as well as coaches can be considered a measure of success by any means possible ! The Washington Redskins having hired Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle Shanahan have yet to show any measure of coaching pedigree much less that this team is on the way of achieving some semblance of success . We all witness the frailties of the players and in particular the woes of Donovan McNabb as the team fell from grace having been a complete embarrassment throughout much of last year .

Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s handling of McNabb led many to believe that the player’s days with the organization were numbered . And that was proven to be a fact when the quarterback was traded to the Minnesota Vikings where he will now become that team’s starting quarterback . Given the Vikings’ own woes last season with Brett Favre at the helm I am not so sure that McNabb at this stage of his career is that much of an upgrade over Favre ! But it is , what it is and we will simply have to wait and see what transpires both the player and the team over the course of the season .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the moves made by both the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies how do you see both teams faring this season ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning Donovan McNabb and his move to the Minnesota Vikings ? Do you believe that he will have a measure of success or simply flounder ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within the piece .

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

Picture and slide show details .


(1) Philadelphia Phillies Hunter Pence reacts after scoring on a double by Raul Ibanez in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. The Phillies won 4-3 in the tenth inning. AP Photo/Chris Schneider ….

(2) Huston Street (16) of the Colorado Rockies returns to the mound as John Mayberry Jr. (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies rounds he bases on his pinch hit two run home-run to tie the score 3-3 in the ninth inning at Coors Field on August 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Street was credited with a blown save as the Phillies defeated the Rockies 4-3. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(3) Shane Victorino (8) of the Philadelphia Phillies scores the game winning run in front of catcher Chris Iannetta (20) of the Colorado Rockies on his solo home-run off of Rex Brothers (49) of the Colorado Rockies in the 10th inning at Coors Field on August 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Phillies defeated the Rockies 4-3 in 10 innings. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(4) Manager Charlie Manuel (right) of the Philadelphia Phillies is seen here with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. as they celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 in game five of the NLCS MLB Playoffs to advance to the World Series . Getty Images North America / Jeff Zelevansky ……

(5) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) talks with head coach Andy Reid during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. on Monday, August 1, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Schultz …….

(6) Philadelphia Eagles’ Nnamdi Asomugha walks onto the practice field for the first time during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., on Sunday, July 31, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Schultz ……..

(7) Chased by Washington Redskins safety Chris Horton, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) scores a touchdown during the second quarter of the NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Monday in Landover, Md. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP …….

(8) Minnesota Vikings new quarterback Donovan McNabb, left, jokes around with first round draft pick, quarterback Christian Ponder , out of Florida State, during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Mankato, Minn. Under league rules, McNabb cannot practice until Thursday. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(9) Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, left, talks with Tony Romo (9) during NFL football training camp, Friday, July 29, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………


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What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

Well now that the MLB season is slowly progressing towards its halfway point and with the league’s midseason showcase event due in July with the All Star Game being hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona. It well be interesting to see how the teams come into the break in terms of their overall form .


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The standings at present reflect that Philadelphia Phillies seem to be intent on running away with the NL East . They currently hold a 5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the division and though it’s way too early to suggest that they will be playing for the NLCS during the postseason but it would appear that the only thing that can derail the Phillies’ season would be their own complacency . Within the NL Central and NL West it would appear the races there are too close to call between the top two teams within each division . Tight races tend to add a great deal more excitement to the season and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what the fans really yearn . And that is liable to be the case at present within both of the divisions in question .

Within the AL it’s business as usual within the AL East where the Boston Red Sox are now prepared to show that their recent form isn’t merely an aberration. On a two game winning streak and winners of nine of their last ten games the Red Sox now look as if they’re look distance themselves from the rest of the division. Their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field was certainly a hard fought win but that’s simply the mindset of what now is the most competitive division within baseball. This division to my mind will most certainly provide the wildcard entrant for AL without a doubt unless there’s a monumental meltdown by the runner up to the winner of the AL East.

As was the premise with the NL Central and NL West well once again here too the races may well be too close to call within the AL Central and AL West . What we can be certain of within both divisions is that the teams won’t be giving up until the divisions are mathematically out of their reach in terms of winning or possibly attaining that lone wildcard berth .

Now as much as I know that Commissioner Bud Selig the league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners have proposed expanding the playoffs’ format by adding two more teams within each league . I certainly believe that the hierarchy’s biggest issue is to deal with the financial problems now engulfing a number of teams within the league rather than adding to the playoffs and further elongating the season far more than it needs to be. I mean it’s not as if Selig has actually shown the propensity for being proactive on any issue unless he’s dragged kicking and screaming , then being forced to make a decision. Simply look at the morass created by Frank McCourt with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? If that’s not enough of an indication to show mind numbingly slow Selig was in acting , given the fact that it had been widely reported that the franchise was financially troubled . Then clearly Bud Selig along with the owners and league hierarchy were in fact so naive but perhaps even more so , too damn stupid for their own good .

I’m not about to try understand the fascination with Ricky Rubio and the fact that the player now says he’s ready to play in the NBA . Granted , having been drafted in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves , the player sought to forgo joining the organization and play an additional two years in Europe where the financial inducement there was far greater than the front office could have offered with a rookie contract. Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn now feel that the player having made the decision to join the team can provide them with the form and maturity that simply belies his age.

In the aftermath of a horrendous season the Timberwolves now have to deal with the disatisfaction of their incumbent coach Kurt Rambis and the mere fact that neither Glen Taylor or David Kahn have assured their beleaguered coach that he’ll be asked to return next season. With there not being a plethora of viable candidates out there to succeed Rambis should he be relieved of his duties . I would have thought that the the general manager and team owner would want to reassure the coach that his job is safe. Furthermore , with the NBA Draft due to take place on 23rd June I certainly would have thought that a coaching upheaval would be the last things that this franchise now needs . But herein lies the idiocy of how the Timberwolves have simply acted , as if in a vacuum and perhaps one of the reasons why they’ve simply had little success over the last five years. Beset by rather asinine personnel decisions made not only by Kahn but also his predecessor Kevin McHale this organization has never gained any traction in terms of success .

With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the number # 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft it will be interesting to see the decision made by the organization. As such there isn’t a genuine consensus number one pick but the thought is that the two most desirable players could well be Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams . From there , it’s anyone’s guess as to what format will be then taken in terms of the players taken in this Draft .

As the NFL work stoppage has already entered its ninetieth day I can’t help but wonder what the optimism amongst the team owners , league hierarchy and players appears to be about ! Hell, both sides have already alienated the vast majority of fans to begin with . And no amount of public statements coming from both sides concerning the progress now being made can simply hide the fact that what we have are two groups of greedy fucking bastards ! The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million per year with the median salary $770,000 and the average career span being approximately three and a half years . I understand that the players are entitled the highest possible salary available to them given the inherent risks of the game . But herein lies my question do they try and identify themselves with the fan out there ? I’ve heard a number of players during this stoppage state their issues are no different from that of any employee in the work place . Personally, I seriously doubt that the working fan who attends an NFL game can actually identify with the likes of Tom Brady , Peyton Manning or even Reggie Bush for that matter when their salaries run into the millions each season . Whereas as the average salary nationwide is approximately $44,000 per year , one can well understand that fan can hardly identify with a player who’s compensation package , endorsements notwithstanding can easily exceed $15 million a year.

From a fan’s standpoint , at this moment in time I couldn’t really care if the NFL starts on schedule as planned on the 8th September 2011 . Once this dispute came into being with a stoppage the NFL simply lost me and many others as long term fans . I’m of no doubt that they will however do their utmost to lure us all back with some form of inducement that we might too unbelievable to turn down . It has already began with a number of teams around the NFL in many cases offering deep discounts on for the purchase of season tickets and game day tickets in a number of instances .

So the US Open golf tournament is underway and all of this without the game’s biggest draw in Tiger Woods . The stage is set at Congressional Golf Club in Bethseda , Maryland for any one of a number of players to step into Woods’ shoes and show the fans they can become the main draw for the event . From my own standpoint the moment made the announcement that he wouldn’t be participating in the second Major of the season I simply knew that the tournament could either become a monumental disaster from spectators yearning for excitement . As it now stands the leaderboard for the tournament midway through two rounds isn’t exactly awe inspiring . Rory McIlroy leads the event with an eight stroke lead at -11 (11 under par). And to think that a patron stated that the player’s meltdown in the year’s first Major The Masters was simply because he wasn’t good enough . I guess when your knowledge of the game borders on the level of Palin’s knowledge of jurisprudence and the number of members seated on the US Supreme Court I guess you simply have to take that for all it’s worth ? Sitting solely in second place is Y. E. Yang at -3 , in third place is Robert Garrigus at .-2.

There is still two more rounds to be played in this tournament but if McIlroy is able to keep his composure with the pressure bearing down on him then it is my belief that he can win this tournament and cement his credentials as one of the best young players on the PGA Tour . Having already established himself on the European Tour as well as a member of a winning European Ryder Cup team the future bodes well for the young Irishman . In an earlier article I had intimated that I firmly believe that the US Open could be won by a foreigner as I felt that the US born players have now simply become too disinterested in their national championship and in large , the Majors themselves . With there being vast sums at stake on the Tour schedule and total prize money in excess of $ 225 million it begs the question are they actually interested in winning or merely cashing a check for a top twenty finish ?



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show for your perusal .


(1) Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Florida Marlins in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 3-0 . AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(2) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: during the game against the at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 3-0. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images ….

(3) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second base as shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) of the Boston Red Sox is late with the tag during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(4) Pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with pitcher David Price (14) during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Red Sox would go on to defeat the Rays 4-2 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(5) Spanish basketball player Ricky Rubio gives a press conference on June 17, 2011, at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona, to announce that he was leaving the Catalan team to make his debut in the NBA next season at Minnesota Timberwolves.
AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO /Getty Images …

(6) Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images …

(7) T’wolves’ GM David Kahn (foreground) and the team’s owner Glen Taylor answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ……………….

(8) Tom Brady and Peyton Manning shake hands after an NFL game . The two celebrated quarterbacks are amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Getty Images/ Jim Rogash ……

(9) BETHESDA, MD – JUNE 17: The handwritten scores of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in the press room during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images ……

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland swings from the bunker on the ninth hole during the second round of the 111th US Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON ….

(11) Y. E. Yang, of South Korea, watches his drive from the fourth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..


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Savor The Moment ……….. Baseball Is Here

Savor The Moment Baseball Is Here

It could take time but there’s the distinct feeling that this baseball season could be one to savor given the uncertainty that now surrounds both the NFL and NBA . MLB Commissioner Bud Selig knows that with the advent of the NFL quite possibly shutting down for the upcoming season and the uncertainty of the NBA but no firm commitment shown by either the league hierarchy and that of the NBPA led by Executive Director Billy Hunter , its President Derek Fisher , its executive committee and player representatives . The NBA has indeed been working continuously with the union to avert any possibility of their own labor dispute .


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The NBA itself no doubt wants remain relevant and if anything given the grave financial problems concerning a number of teams around the league the last thing they now need is a stoppage at this juncture.

Inasmuch I hate to say this, I do feel that the big market teams will once again prevail as the season progresses . The success achieved by the likes of the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , St Louis Cardinals , Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies has in part more to do with not only the talent assembled on the field of play but more to do with the financial resources at these teams’ disposal . Granted we’ve seen the Washington Nationals delve into the free agency market to acquire Jayson Werth but in reality the seven year $119 million contract signed by the player I believe had more to do with making a splash by the organization than that of them actually being able to contend within the NL East .

The Nationals haven’t been a force to be reckoned with in eons and I seriously doubt that this season things are liable to change albeit that they’ll have both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg there to lure the fans back to Nationals Ballpark . If the Washington Nationals are to prevail then they will have to contend with the likes of the Atlanta Braves , defending divisional champions the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the New York Mets and Florida Marlins . I’m not so sure that the Nationals are capable of making the jump from an also ran to a contender !

With no team to support and the mere fact that I no longer have any faith in the ownership group of the Florida Marlins I find myself merely now observing the game as a fan of the sport showing no real passion for any team in particular ! The local team within this locale are the Tampa Bay Rays and as the defending AL East champions I think that this will be a season of highs and lows for the team . We’re all no doubt aware of the of the upheaval within the organization as it relates to the departures of Carl Crawford , Rafael Soriano , Carlos Pena and , Matt Garza to name but a few as part of the cost cutting exercise by the front office led by GM Andrew Friedman . Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg apart from being in the midst of a financial expediency plan merely for the franchise to survive , now has to deal with the city of St Petersburg and the city’s intent to hold the Rays to their lease agreement at Tropicana Field .

The organization is looking for a new venue but they and the municipality can’t agree on how best to come to an amicable arrangement that would be mutually beneficial for all of the parties concerned.

A new facility would be no guarantee for a team that struggles to have an element of tangible following . Anyone who’s of the belief that a fanbase of 15,000 hardcore fans will legitimately guarantee competitive and financial success really needs to take a look at what’s happening within the game of baseball . Having won two divisional titles within the AL East , an appearance in the World Series the recent success of the Rays has been heartwarming for the loyal fans of the organization.

I do believe that they can compete but I believe their season will be predicated upon the coaching talents of the coaches and in particular manager Joe Maddon . As astute a manager as he is , his work this season will be his toughest yet as he now has to coach a young team albeit that he the additions of seasoned veterans Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on this roster I simply believe that they will struggle in large part to contend with the likes of Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays within their division.

While I’m under no illusion that the game itself is all about the consistency of the players and how they’ll fare over the course of the regular season . Whereas last season the team’s strengths were in its pitching and in particular their defense . And if they’re to replicate that success then they’ll have to replicate that success and play to their inherent strengths. If anything it will be these situations that will test the fortitude of the Rays and in particular that of Joe Maddon because this most definitely will be the sternest test that he’s faced over the course of professional managing career. Having won an AL pennant and an appearance in the World Series with the subsequent loss the Philadelphia Phillies , success this season for the Rays will be measured by posting a winning record during the season. Anything less than that I believe would be considered to be a failure !

As to the season itself what can we expect of the San Francisco Giants as they look to make a successful defense of their title ? Will they be able to regain that form can it through the regular season and into the postseason ? Or will we merely see a team that struggles in that endeavor to repeat ?

Of the teams that I believe will be amongst the contenders this season I look to the Philadelphia Phillies and that pitching rotation which on the face of it just might be the best there is the game of baseball . Clearly GM Rueben Amaro and Charlie Manuel felt that this was the best way possible for the team to make another successful run with a view to repeating their success of 2009 . The New York Yankees for their part with their payroll and talent that on appearance ought to be good enough to make the postseason may well have their problems because there’s serious question as it regards their pitching , as it remains their Achilles’ heel . If they can’t turn things around on that score then I can’t see this simply relying on their offense alone to see them through.

Amongst the other AL teams that I view as contenders unless the Texas Rangers are able to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke then it could well be one and done . There may well be others contenders within the AL but much of that will be predicated upon their wish to play with real determination. The Minnesota Twins have simply proven that once they get to the postseason they become like a deer caught in headlights and I don’t believe that I could put it anymore succinctly than that !

Now while Spring Training is now upon us and many fans will be pursuing to see their teams as they are at play in the Citrus and Grapefruit League. The preseason itself may well not be much of an indicator as to what we’re expect during the regular season but it should give us something of a way to gauge the teams and their quest to make the postseason . If nothing else it’ll be interesting to see how the players that’ve been acquired by new teams will fare and acclimatize in a new environment . How they fare may well also go a great way in telling us how their respective teams will ultimately do . This season within the game of baseball will certainly be one to savor and the expectations there will undoubtedly be high.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the MLB season and how do you view problems that many of the teams face ? Also in light of the fact that there appears to be lingering rumors that there could very well be team contraction within the game do you believe that it will be ultimately beneficial to the game as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topic raised and other thoughts that you might have on the upcoming MLB season.

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

Picture gallery and slide show details

(1) Washington Nationals second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr., right, greets Washington Nationals Jeff Frazier (72) after Frazier hit a third inning solo home run off New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia in the Nationals 10-8 victory over the Yankees in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 5, 2011. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(2) Washington Nationals Bryce Harper is shown at the plate in the seventh inning of the Nationals 10-8 victory over the New York Yankees in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 5, 2011. Harper was one for two in the game. He had an eighth inning single. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ……

(3) Clearwater , Fl : of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

(4) Jimmy of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

<p (5) Pitcher Wade Davis (40) of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………..


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Eye candy …………………… Polish model Ewa Sonnet

An eyeful of Ewa is better than a handful of nuts don’t you think ?


Titillating Ewa and her play things .


Method Man feat’g ……. Mary J Blige ………….. “I’ll Be There For You /You’re All I Need ”

Hey Did You Know That The MLB Postseason Had Already Started ?

Hey Did You Know That The MLB Postseason Had Already Started ?

It seems no one got the message but the MLB postseason has started but there’s disturbing evidence to show that almost no one seems to be watching the games on broadcast or cable television. What might be even more disturbing is the mere fact that in the ALCS games staged at Yankees Stadium have not sold out and the in game five itself the upper decks of the venerable edifice one could see that those areas were actually deserted. Whether or not that is an indictment of the team or the mere fact that because of the economic climate such a situation was to be expected really does also cast doubt as to how the league hierarchy now markets the game nationally.


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The postseason for MLB is the highlight of a long and arduous season within league and if fans aren’t seemingly interested in watching the televised games but also unwilling to turn up and watch even the New York Yankees. Then that ought to tell not only the fans but also MLB Commissioner Bud Selig that there’s something wrong with the game from the fans’ perspective and how the brand itself is being marketed to the consumer.

Both the ALCS and NLCS match-ups have been every entertaining to watch and with the presumptive favorites in both series now trying to stave off elimination it remains to be seen whether or not the Philadelphia Phillies can erase a 3-1 deficit against the San Francisco Giants . Not to be outdone the New York Yankees seem to have dug a hole for themselves albeit that they were able to come back and show some resilience in game five with a decisive 7-2 defeat of the Texas Rangers at their home venue. The series resumes at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas __ with the team seeking to eliminate the Yankees by looking to take game 6 in what will have been a memorable series for this Ron Washington led squad. The series lead by the Rangers 3-2 is theirs for the taking should they now desire it enough and make the Yankees’ presence in this postseason come to an abrupt end .

It has to be said that both series has given us tremendous pitching performances with a plethora of All Star caliber players taking the mound. It has been surprising to see the Phillies rotation led by Roy Halliday seemingly being put in their place by a Giants’ rotation led by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain . Not only that but the lightly thought of offense of the team has suddenly come to light and made the Phillies much lauded offense seem somewhat pedantic. Cody Ross in particular seems to be a star in the making and I do believe that the Florida Marlins may now have some regrets having traded the player away to the San Francisco Giants. But in truth the Giants’ success in this series doesn’t solely rest with one player because it has been a collective effort all round from the team and it’s a credit to their manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff . They’ve felt no real undue pressure and have shown that they can play their game while outmatching their opponents .

Joe Girardi and the Yankees know that if they are to play themselves right back into contention then they will have to play aggressively throughout the remainder of the series no matter what. Now a great deal will be made of the fact that their bullpen has been very inconsistent and much of that can be laid squarely on the shoulders of the manager . That if anything has been the team’s Achilles’ Heel throughout much of the regular season and into the postseason itself. Furthermore with the loss of first baseman Mark Teixiera their situation has become somewhat more difficult albeit that Teixiera’s postseason stats aren’t what one would come to expect from the player. But defensively he’s still a player I’ve no doubt that Girardi would prefer to have on the team and that’s with due respect to Lance Berkman .

Now comes the hard part for the Yankees and that’s for them to show that they have the determination to claw their way back and win with a great deal of resolve. I know they tend to look to Derek Jeter to lead by example which is something that has been exemplified by the play throughout much of his career, especially during the postseason . But for this aging veteran now in the twilight of his career it has to be said that the passion once displayed doesn’t always seem to be there. It may well be that in a final year of his contract with the team we may well be seeing the final days of what has been one of the more storied Yankees’ playing careers in recent memory. Now in saying this, one might also ask does Alex Rodriguez have what it takes to step in Jeter’s shoes ? At this juncture the jury I think is still out as to whether or not A-Rod (Rodriguez) is even considered to be a true Yankee by their fans and the fans of the game itself in general. He may well be donned in a “pinstripe uniform” but that doesn’t make him a Yankees’ player where the legacy of donning the uniform essentially means life blood of the organization flows through your veins. His life seems to revolve around the fact that the notoriety and paparazzi catch him in the glare of the spotlight with a Hollywood starlet on his arm. I’d also preface this by saying that one good postseason with the team doesn’t allow you to become a venerable great in the eyes of many when it comes to the postseason and the Yankees’ fans in particular. His achievements will be judged by what he does more so on the field than anything that he’s been known to do off it and that also includes that mystifying suggestion by Rodriguez that he merely experimented with steroids. I think that we all know the answer to that particular question is ……….. which to my mind isn’t printable other than to suggest that the colloquial term for fecal excrement could be used here !

Now if both series as is perceived should play out as is being envisaged bearing in mind how each series now stands . Then we could see both the Rangers and Giants making it to the World Series. and I don’t think that there can be a cut case wherein one could make a definite decision that the Giants will be favored over the Rangers. I do believe that the teams are evenly matched on all fronts and it will come down to the intangibles and the experience shown by both managers and their respective staffs. There’d be something of a story book type ending to this season were either Bruce Bochy or Ron Washington to become the winning manager in the World Series . But as the whole scenario has yet to be played out we as fans will just have to wait and see what is left to absorb as things play themselves out in both series.

From the standpoint of a willing spectator of the MLB postseason I have to say that the league hasn’t exactly done a great job of marketing its showcase event. Overall I do believe that it has done a mediocre job throughout the years and that includes the years when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had us on the edge of our seats as their spectacle played itself out in the Maris home run chase. Now we know how much of a subterfuge that all was given the evidence that has since arisen concerning both players’ involvement in the use of steroids and HGH. Do you think that all parties concerned had and still does have something to hide ?

Baseball’s integral problems as it concerns its popularity and financial state isn’t one that cannot be solved but it would appear that under Bud Selig’s leadership their so called tried and tested formula seems to have met an obstacle that they have no idea how to overcome . If an NFL Monday night game between two marginally attractive teams can still outperform a game wherein baseball’s most storied and most supported team can barely crack a 4 percentile share on the Nielsens’ Ratings nationally then you know that there’s something wrong with the game. Never mind the fact that Yankees’ Stadium was filled to less than capacity for a postseason ALCS game . If that’s not indicative of a problem then can someone please explain to me what is ?



Picture gallery . By clicking on each frame you can view each picture in its original formatted size.

How do you view the remainder of the MLB postseason being played out and what thoughts if any do you have concerning the fact that viewership and to an extent attendance for some of the championship games are actually down ? Chime in with a comment as you’d deem fit.

😦 * 🙂

For the latest MLB news & views simply click unto the link provided.

MLB News & views …

Alan aka tophatal …………………………… 🙂



Eye candy video vixen Karrine ‘Superhead’ Steffans . I’ll let you decide as to the reason why she’s nicknamed ‘Superhead’.

A Year In Review , Hits And Misses In Sports Thus Far …………….

Well as 2009 comes to a close , I can’t say that I haven’t been surprised by a number of story and plot lines that’s taken place throughout the year. Put your hands up , if you’d envisaged Tiger Woods being part of some ‘sordid sexual’ intrigue ? Not with just one woman but a ‘baker’s dozen, as in thirteen ? Screw that, Tiger was ‘hittin’ more tail’ off the PGA Tour than he’d been hitting divots on the golf course, throughout much of the Tour’s regular season. Noted, he has been voted AP Athlete of The Decade. No pun intended there ! But he laid more cable than the usual installers for my local cable operated affiliate here in Polk County, Florida.

Chicago , Ill, December 28th, 2009. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Mark Anderson (#97) of the Chicago Bears as Phil Loadholt (#71) holds Anderson to the ground at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ....
Chicago , Ill, December 28th, 2009. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Mark Anderson (#97) of the Chicago Bears as Phil Loadholt (#71) holds Anderson to the ground at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ....

So are you still buying into the fact that Brett Favre can lead the Minnesota Vikings to the promised land of a Superbowl win ? Watching this team succumb to the lowly Chicago Bears last night, was enough to suggest to me that this has been more about hype than anything substantive to begin with. And less we forget, it has been those merry band of idiots within CBS Sports, ESPN and Foxsports that have been leading the charge about Favre. And no doubt those devoted Brett Favre fans have been buying into all of this, as they’ve succumbed to Brett’s wily charms ? Much like Rasputin, Favre is as evil , as he can sometimes look. And perhaps even more so, when he’s not getting his own way like some whining prissy little kid. He talks about being a teammate but I’ve yet to hear one of his former or present teammates actually come out and support the guy wholeheartedly. Am I wrong here , or not ?

In the NBA can we all finally agree , that it’s Kobe’s world and until LeBron James actually wins something of note , other than another endorsement contract. He will continue to play ‘second fiddle’ to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Now with Shaquille O’Neal at his side as a new-found teammate. We’ll see if once again LeBron can get to those lofty heights and actually win an NBA title. Who can forget his infantile and somewhat petulant behavior after the Cavaliers were swept out of the Eastern Conference semi-finals of last season , by the Orlando Magic. Now he equates it with being a momentary lapse and the fact that the team lost. Suck it up you wuss and act like an honorable sportsman but above all, like a man ! You say you want to be a role model to kids but this is how you act ? Is it me but why is that when an athlete falls foul of his own actions , they look to allay that act elsewhere by looking to apportion blame upon someone else ? If you can think of an answer why ,then all by all means leave a comment concerning that very matter.

The Los Angeles Lakers showcase their style in beating the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 of the NBA Final in 2009.

With the Lakers handily beating the Magic in the best of seven game series 4-1,thereby allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to lift their fifteenth NBA title and Phil Jackson his tenth, as a coach. We can all agree that last season was simply all about the Los Angeles Lakers . Every other NBA story had to be punctuated with a comma. It wasn’t that there weren’t other noteworthy stories throughout the season. But once it became clear that the Lakers would make the NBA Finals. It essentially became about whether or not Kobe would finally win a title without Shaq in tow. Now we know that he can and did, he’s out to prove to us that the team can defend its title successfully. And you’d be hard pressed at this juncture to think that they’re not capable of achieving that feat. Given the fact that they’re now playing as good as any time over the past eighteen months. And Bryant along with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum are as hungry as ever. The rest of the NBA is on notice, that until you take down the champion , it’s his courtyard that you’re playing in. So whoever is good enough to step up to the plate and do battle , step forward.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has showed us once again that even though the economy is being ravaged. It still lives in its own small little world of make belief. Commissioner Bud Selig tells us that the sky is blue when it in fact there is a thunderous rainstorm, then we’re meant to believe him. I mean he’s the ‘commish’ and what he says, goes. Selig and his former counterpart , Donald Fehr of the MLBPA (Players’ Union)have seen the game slip into the depths of an abyss and without there now being any integrity to the game. It still carries with it that tarnished image and the very fact that two of the game’s most high profiled stars were embroiled in a steroid abuse scandal , only goes to show that there’s still a tremendously long way before there’s some semblance of respectability is brought back to the game. Both Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez now joins the likes of Roger Clemens , Rafeal Palmeiro , Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as being looked upon as ‘cheaters’- never mind a ‘steroid abuser’. But the biggest domino yet to fall , is that of Barry Bonds, whose own saga is being played out within the justice system at the taxpayers’ expense.

But it’d be remiss to think that the ‘steroid issue’ is the only inherent problem that the game now faces. There is the financial stability of the game itself. And the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots of the game. And far be it for me to suggest to Bud Selig that he ought to take his thumb out of his ass and deal those two issues. But it has reached a point where not only is the game’s hierarchy content with this mess but so too, are the players and the owners. And we all know that in the end, it’ll be the fans who’ll end up having to pay for the mess to begin with. If they’re (MLB) not raising the prices of general admission and season tickets. You can bet that the price of the concessions ,parking and memorabilia will rise faster than the rate of inflation.

New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, left, Alex Rodriguez, second from left, Curtis Granderson, second from right, and manager Joe Girardi attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, where Granderson was introduced as the newest Yankees player.
New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, left, Alex Rodriguez, second from left, Curtis Granderson, second from right, and manager Joe Girardi attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, where Granderson was introduced as the newest Yankees player. picture appears courtewsy od ap/photo/ Seth Wenig ...............

And less we forget, the ever power hungry agents out there will be looking to do their part to make sure that the escalating salaries within the game continues. None more so than the man deemed to be the main culprit behind so much of the escalation in the salaries and that’s none other than Scott Boras. His mendacity and the maneuvers he’s been able to pull off with the complete gullibility of the owners and general managers, gives you the indication that they believe that they’re playing with ‘Monopoly money’ , rather than cold hard cash. And why not , like I said, it’ll be the fans who in the end will pay for those increases. It’s not as if the revenues attained within the game is being equally spread amongst the teams within major league baseball, to begin with. But for all of the image set forth I’ve yet to hear anyone really question the financial plight of the game. Not even such esteemed baseball writers such as Buster Olney or Peter Gammons. Another reason why you can’t take those individuals at their word when it comes to providing any real analysis concerning the health of the game. As they’d rather deal in platitudes and fairy tales.

The season itself was one of excellence wherein we saw once again that the best player the game doesn’t happen to wear the pinstripes of the New York Yankees and whose name happens to be Alex Rodriguez. The person in question, who for all sense and purpose has the fans of the game in awe, is none other than St Louis Cardinals ,first baseman, Albert Pujols. And for the third time in five seasons he was named the NL MVP (2005,2008,2009) . And deservedly so, considering that the dominance that he’s shown within the game. In the AL the recipient there was the Minnesota Twins’ catcher , Joe Mauer. Another model of consistency over the last five years.

The World Series itself, would pit the best in the AL, the New York Yankees against last season’s winners, the Philadelphia Phillies. Two contrasting teams that are only separated by their mindsets as it comes to the game. The Yankees known for their lavish spending in acquiring the best talent that money can buy. Often reviled by the fans solely on this one issue. The Phillies for their part are viewed as the dominant team in the National League. And they’ve been that model of consistency over the last four years. However, this was a series wherein the Yankees were seeking redemption and the chance place themselves back at the top of the baseball world. And for the likes of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. This was the chance to win their fifth World Series together as teammates. The triumvirate being the sole remnants left from that dominant dynasty of the mid to late nineties.

The series itself , would see the Yankees dominance rise to the occasion, with them winning the World Series in six games (4-2) over the Philadelphia Phillies. The heroics however, would be that of Yankees’ slugger and DH , Hideki Matsui, who was named series MVP. And for the New York Yankees’ fans this was a reason to rejoice , as they raised their twenty seventh World Series title. No doubt the fans in the ‘Red Sox Nation’ can’t wait to take a bite out of the ‘Evil Empire’ . And so too no doubt will the rest of major league baseball.

Vitali (left) and Wladimir  Klitschko   of the  Ukraine.   At  present   the  two  brothers   hold  three  of   the  four  major  recognized  heavyweight  title  belts  between  them.     picture appears  courtesy  of  theindependent.uk.co/ Ian  McGregor  ................
Vitali (left) and Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine. At present the two brothers hold three of the four major recognized heavyweight title belts between them. picture appears courtesy of theindependent.uk.co/ Ian McGregor ................

What haven’t I said about the state of professional boxing , that I’ve continued to state repeatedly ? It has become ‘a complete farce’ at the heavyweight level ! Wherein, the two best fighters in the category refuse to fight each other , because of a promise given to their mother. Well, that’s what we’ve been told by the respective holders of the recognized belts in , Wladimir Klitschko (IBF,IBO,WBO)and his brother , Vitali Klitschko (WBC). Granted, a promise given to one’s mother is better than no promise at all. But these two brothers were they to fight and create an undisputed champion within the division. Then it would bring back some credence to the sport as well as the division. Not only that but it’d actually create a certain degree of interest within the heavyweight division. Nowadays, watching two boxers within the division fight one another is akin to watching the Animal Planet and seeing a male and female rhinoceros contemplating the mating ritual. It begins to get somewhat hazardous and downright scary for you to watch. They’re looking somewhat cumbersome and at the same time you may well find the act itself, somewhat gross ? Not unlike the vast majority of the heavyweight boxers now with the aspirations of winning the heavyweight championship. And that would also include the various holders of the belts in question. There isn’t that much talent in the division to begin with. But yet the idiots such as Larry Merchant , Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas and Jim Lampley claim that there is. Who knew that idiots such as this were paid to offer such asinine comments ? Even Stevie Wonder can tell the difference between a tomato can and ‘a bum’. Whereas, these assholes couldn’t tell you the difference between sh_t and shinola ! Yeah, I said and I damn well mean it , ’cause it’s true.

A male and female rhinoceros mating. It somewhat resembles the farce of witnessing the heavyweight boxing scene at present, wouldn’t you say ?

And unfortunately at the lower levels within boxing , things are decidedly taking a nasty turn for the worse. The so called ‘superfight’ match-up envisaged between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao for the welterweight title, is now looking more like a distant dream, instead of becoming a reality. The acrimony between the Mayweather camp and Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, has become an all-out battle of words, insults and barbs being traded between the two sides. What this actually does for boxing and its image, is about as welcoming as seeing Rosie O’Donnell dressed in nothing but a thong and getting ready to engage in a sexual act. You don’t want to watch but at the same time you’re still enlightened as to what you’ll anticipate that you’re going to see happen ? Pardon me here guys, but Rosie engaging in a sexual act ain’t my cup of tea , nor should it be yours !

Floyd Mayweather Jr. smiles in the ring during his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision.   Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP (Photo credit should read Ethan Miller/AFP/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. smiles in the ring during his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision. picture appears courtesy of AFP/Getty Images/ Ethan Miller ..........

The other divisions within the sport have their aspirants but none whereby the public would immediately recognize them as being a household name. When one considers that the three dominant promoters within the sport here in the United States are all claiming to bring back respectability to the sport. You have to wonder what steps were being taken by Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions Inc., Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc, and Don King of Don King Promotions Inc.. Last I checked, not one of these guys could be viewed as pillars of the boxing community and bastions for upholding the integrity of the sport. But this indeed the price that one has to pay when the organizations that govern the sport internationally have become an alphabet soup group of bodies, who’ve no one’s best interests but their own when it comes to the custodianship of the sport. Never mind the fact, that they’re induced to carry on with this type of behavior by the very promoters who say that they want the sport to remain competitive and of interest to its most ardent of fans. Those words are beginning to ring ever so hollow at present !

And I’d have something to say about NASCAR and the NHL but the words that come to mind aren’t used to characterize the niceties of both sports. Suffice to say , that while there are fans of both sports out there. I am most definitely not one of them ! There isn’t anything at all that I find either alluring or engrossing about both of these sports. I’ll may well give them a passing glance but when it’s all said and done. It just doesn’t float my boat !

NB: All pictures appears courtesy of either AFP, AP/Photo and Getty Images, respectively

New Jack City , New Jack City …….. The Cash Money Crew ………

“Am I my brother’s keeper ? Yes I am ! “ A quote from the movie “New Jack City” (1991) made by the character Nino Brown – villain of the piece in the movie. Character played by the actor Wesley Snipes .

A nine minute scene from the movie ‘New Jack City’ .

No doubt by now the vast majority of you will have realized that the World Series has started and that game one, in the best of seven game series ended with the result of a (6-1) victory for the National League representative- the Philadelphia Phillies . They thoroughly dominated their opponents, the New York Yankees in arriving at this result. And for the vast majority of the fans in attendance , who just happen to be New York Yankees’ fans.This must’ve been a vast disappointment to see their team go down in such a fashion. The Phillies had their starting ace on the mound , in Cliff Lee . Who pitched a complete game ,giving up no runs ,striking out 10, for the win. It was a tremendous performance by the pitcher. For which, he was ably abetted by the offensive output by his teammates.

Phillies' ace  Cliff  Lee  pitches  in  the  ninth  inning  of game one  of the  World  Series .  Lee  pitched  a  complete   game   for  the  NL  Pennant  winners    against the  New  York  Yankees  at   Yankees  Stadium , in  the Bronx,  New  York City.,    The  Phillies  are   now  1-0    having  defeated  New  York  6-1  in the   best  of   7  game  series.     picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo /Julie   Jacobson   ........................

Phillies’ ace, Cliff Lee pitches in the ninth inning of game one of the World Series . Lee pitched a complete game for the NL Pennant winners against the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City., The Phillies are now 1-0 having defeated New York 6-1 in the best of 7 game series. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo /Julie Jacobson…………..

The New York Yankees for their part had pitched their hopes on their own starting ace, C. C. Sabathia. Ironically enough, the two starting aces on opposing teams, were once former teammates with the Cleveland Indians. A thought not lost on many who witnessed last night’s game at Yankees Stadium ,in the Bronx, New York City. That being said , the aftermath of this result puts undue additional pressure on the Yankees to rebound immediately from this loss with a win game two. As to how easy that may well be , will be dependent upon the mental attitude of the Yankees’ players and in particular that of their game two stater , A. J. Burnett. His opposing number in game two, will be former Yankees’ killer, Pedro Martinez. And that will be very much predicated upon how the Yankees set about dealing with the wily veteran pitcher. Martinez is essentially a player, who loves the big game events , where everything is set up for him to perform at his optimum level. The New York Yankees would be fools to underestimate him , thinking that his best days are behind him as a pitcher. There’s a reason , Martinez sought the desire to come back and pitch again in the ‘Big Leagues’. It was after all to win another World Series ring and add to his tally and illustrious legacy. Nothing wrong in that, is there ?

For Major League Baseball (MLB) what better stage is there for a World Series , with the Yankees there in the postseason as one of the two representatives ? It cries out for the series to be a thoroughly competitive one. And for the game in particular and its major corporate patrons, this will be a big financial bonanza. Say nothing of which , for the city of New York, it will create a vast economic impact , for an already troubled city, financially. Can’t say that the Yankees will be hurting for money with this appearance. As they’ve got this thing tied up in terms of the money that they’ll no doubt earn through their various revenue income streams. It’s expected that the New York Yankees could very well make in excess of $ 45 million from this World Series appearance alone. And who says crime doesn’t pay ? Not that one should equate what they are doing as a crime. But it certainly looks that way on paper when measured against of their competitors within the rest of Major League Baseball. It’s a matter of supply and demand , is it not ? The New York Yankees supply it and we as the fans in our never-ending quest demand it. And whatever it is , year in , year out , the thinking is, when the Yankees are there in the postseason . Then, there will always be a demand for their product. The proof will not only be in the attendance for these series of games but also in the tv coverage under the watchful eye of MLB, as the television broadcast will be carried by Fox . Ah , the sounds of cash flowing through the coffers of the Yankees and that of MLB must be bringing joy to ears of not only the Steinbrenner family and their patriarch, George Steinbrenner. But also, that of Commissioner , Bud Selig as well , who knows that this was perhaps the most desirable match-up that the fans could’ve wished for. The two best teams in either league , meeting face to face to decide baseball’s ultimate prize.


Cliff Lee and teammate ,catcher , Carlos Ruiz celebrate after the Phillies’ defeat of the New York Yankees in game one of the World Series at Yankees Stadium in New York. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Julie Jacobson ……….

Well if last night was any indication of what we’re to expect from the Phillies. Then for the rest of this series dependent upon how long it ultimately lasts. The Yankees will be in for a great deal of problems in more ways than one. The Yankees were held hit-less through eight innings by some extraordinary pitching from Cliff Lee. And he was helped with some stellar play defensively when it mattered by his teammates. And this from a Yankees’ offense that had overpowered many of their opponents throughout much of the regular season with the sheer weight power ? Never mind that during their postseason foray Alex Rodriguez– well for him the light switch came on and he began to hit like a madman possessed. Nothing appeared to be out of his reach. Not so last night, as he went back into that proverbial slump we’ve all become accustomed to seeing from him when the postseason comes around . And to think that some were already referring to him as ………”Mr October “? What the hell were they thinking ? As we all know there’ll only ever be one Mr October …. and that’s Yankees’ great , Reggie Jackson.

At present, A-Rod couldn’t even put on Reggie’s jockstrap for that matter ! But as they say, it’s not always size that matters, as it’s how one uses the tools of the trade that really counts. Can you hear that Kate Hudson ? One size doesn’t necessarily fit all. Rodriguez suffered the same fate as his teammates, as he was unable to decipher the pitching of Phillies’ ace Cliff Lee. It was left to Yankees’ captain,Derek Jeter to get the sole hit attained by the Yankees’ team on the night.How anemic was their offense last night ? Well consider this, the only reason that the Yankees actually scored a run was because of a throwing error by Phillies’ shortstop, Jimmy Rollins in the ninth inning. A run that was actually scored by none other than Jeter, himself. It’s pretty safe to say that a repeat of that tonight and Yankees’ coach, Joe Girardi had better start thinking what the future might hold for him. I’d dare that the post-game discussions that took place between he and General Manager, Brian Cashman glossed over the pleasantries of the game ? Whatever they might’ve been at the time, unless they were of the opinion that things didn’t go all that badly ? Which, it did !

Yankees' third  baseman  Alex  Rodriguez  looks  at the   scoreboard  having   just  struck  out  in the  ninth   inning of  game  one   of the  World  Series.     picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo /  David  J.  Phillip  ..............

Yankees’ 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez looks at the scoreboard having just struck out in the ninth inning of game one of the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ David J. Phillip ………….

For the Phillies, last night must have filled their fans and players with a great deal of hope. Coming into Yankees’ Stadium as the presumed underdog and essentially beating the Yankees like an unwanted stepchild in front of their home fans. Well it’d suggest that this series won’t be one where the Phillies will presumably lay down and accept their fate at will.

The heroes of the night for the Philadelphia Phillies were no doubt Cliff Lee and Chase Utley. But in essence, it was essentially an all-round effort by this Phillies’ team and its coaching staff in preparing their players for the pressure cooker atmosphere of Yankees Stadium and the Yankees’ fans in particular. Utley, on the night homered twice , as he silenced the New York fans and many others watching on television. It’s pretty safe to say that a repeat of last night’s heroics and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, will be like a cauldron of high expectation for game three in front of the home-front crowd. And it’d be also safe to say that Phillies’ manager, Charlie Manuel may well have a wry smile on his face after his team’s exploits. The chance that this series could take a such turn would leave quite a few people very surprised. Especially , the ‘Cash Money Crew’ otherwise known as the New York Yankees. As theirs is a brand that doesn’t look quite so hot at this present moment in time. Well, it doesn’t now , does it ? Who knew ?

Below is a link to an earlier article as a precursor to last night’s game. There you’ll have an insight as to my thoughts upon the events as I though they might unfold. In order to view just click on the text link shown.

” Batter , Batter , Batter, Batter Up” …….

Batter , Batter , Batter , Batter Up ………..

Well finally, here it is , Major League Baseball’s (MLB) showcase event is now about to commence. And the two participants , representatives of the American League and the National League are the very best that the game has to offer , this season alone. And for the New York Yankees (103-59) as winners of the AL Pennant, they’re now on the cusp of trying to attain their twenty seventh World Series‘ title. Their opponents, as the representatives from the National League will be the Philadelphia Phillies (93-69). Two diverse ball clubs that you’re as likely to wish for, in this showcase event. The big spendingYankees matched up against the team from Philadelphia, seeking to win only its third World Series title, in their one hundred and twenty six years of existence.

The  2009  World  Series  between the  New  York  Yankees  and  the  Philadelphia  Phillies.  Tonight's  starters  are   pictured  ,   Cliff Lee  of  the  Phillies ,  left and  the  Yankees'   C. C  Sabathia  ,  right.         picture appears  courtesy  of  getty  images  .....................................

The 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. Tonight’s starters at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx will be , C. C Sabathia for New York and Cliff Lee for the Phillies. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Mark Cromwell ……………

The battle of two teams with a great deal of legacy behind them. And then add into the fact, that the bylines in terms of the additional stories. You have an instant classic in the making , one would hope. Both teams have an excellent roster , with a litany of All Star players in a number of positions. The Yankees and their roster reads like a who’s who ,of major league talent . And the same too can be said of the Phillies and their roster. And both teams are lead by shortstops who just might be the best players at the position in either league , in terms of sheer determination and leadership qualities. And that’s not to detract from the players in either league who play the position. But in Jimmy Rollins , of the Phillies and Derek Jeter of the Yankees , you might have two of better players at the position, when all is said to be on the line.

Rollins and Jeter are seen as the respective figure heads of their team and are accorded as such, the roles of captain. But what may well prove to be focal point to my mind , will be the experience shown by both team managers. The Phillies as defending champions , have the veteran presence and experience of Charlie Manuel. Whereas, the Yankees will have Joe Girardi , who’ll be making his first appearance in a World Series as a manager.

The story lines will be amp’d up , merely because of the teams and in particular their respective fans. Bot ball clubs have very passionate and vocal fans. And in New York, well, they like to seen, heard and be just downright obnoxious when the case calls for them to be so. That’s not to say that the Phillies’ fan can’t reciprocate in the same manner. If they can boo Santa Claus , well who won’t they boo in terms of voicing their disapproval ? So, for the faint of heart , this won’t be your ordinary run of the mill World Series , in terms of fan presence and demeanor.

Televised coverage of the game will be carried by the Fox Network and the broadcast will also garner great deal of interest not only nationally , but also internationally. They’ll be looking to maximize the attention that they can muster, in the hopes of ratings’ bonanza. Something that Fox hopes will be played out by having both the first and the fourth largest tv markets in the nation being represented in the ‘Fall Spectacular’. And it’s hoped that this’ll be borne out by the viewership response . It they can garner anything of in excess of a 12.5 Nielsens ratings’ share for the series as a whole, will be considered to be a success not only for Fox but also for the denizens of corporate giants on Madison Ave. Because, at the end of the day it’s the viewership that drives the ad revenue rates, that in essence makes both Fox and MLB a great deal of money. And that’s not to say that the Yankees will be left out of the equation at all. They have their own cable tv broadcast outlet that carries their ball games in the local and surrounding media market. And therein , for the Steinbrenner family, as the team’s owners , lies their monumental cash cow , known as the YES Network. And one wonders why there’s said to be a major financial imbalance between the haves and have nots– when it comes to Major League Baseball (MLB) ? Look no further, than what the Yankees are said to be capable of doing almost at the drop of a hat, at will. For lesser teams around the league ,they can only wish that their harvest was as bountiful , in terms of the Yankees’ cash windfall each season.

Tonight’s pitching match up will have both team’s aces on the mound. For the Phillies it will be former Cy Young winner,Cliff Lee. And not to be outdone, the Yankees will throw out their former Cy Young winner as well , in C. C Sabathia. Both Lee and Sabathia were teammates in Cleveland, with the Cleveland Indians.
And this first match up may well dictate the pace , tempo and quite possibly the direction that this series could well take. The Yankees may well be seen as the prohibitive favorites. But being as they’ve not played in a World Series since 2003. I’d have to say , that if anything they’ll be under a fair amount of undue pressure in that presumed role. I, for one, feel that this will be a hard fought series and it will be dictated by which team can deal with any unforeseen adversity the best. There’s really not that much to separate the two teams in terms of overall talent. As they’re both equally adept in churning out runs with their how powered offense. Though pitching wise, the New York Yankees might hold a slight edge over the Philadelphia Phillies. The margin isn’t that great on the face of it. These two teams are evenly matched in more ways than one would care to presume. It’s just a matter of looking at the intangibles to see who might have that slight edge, overall. From that we might be able to determine who could eventually end up being the World Series’ victor.

Perhaps, the hardest part may well be determining who could end up being the MVP of the World Series. There’s a plethora of talent there on either side. And though it mightn’t be one of the more recognized stars who’ll step up to the plate. I’d like to think that one of the run of the mill behind the scene’s players could end being a noteworthy winner. But that’s merely my own wish for the accolade. And so there you have it as to my own thoughts on this World Series between two very worthwhile adversaries. Let the games begin and ultimately may the best team win. What else ,could an ardent baseball fan ask for ?

NB : The Yankees’ YES Network not only carries the Yankees’ ballgames but also a slew of other sports’ events ranging from the NFL , NBA ,College Football , College Basketball, NHL and other sports’ events that encapsulate the tri state area.

Well It’s The Only Thing Vocal You’ll Hear Out Of The Mouth Of A Mets’ Player Anything Else’d Be Considered Immature Don’t You Think ……..?

Well It’s   The  Only  Thing  Vocal  You’ll  Hear  Out  Of  The  Mouth Of  A

Mets’ Player  Anything Else’d  Be Considered  Immature  Don’t  You Think ?







Well  as  we  approach  the beginning of  Spring  Training  we’re  already  hearing  some  rather  encouraging   news  from   newly signed  Mets’ closer  Francisco Rodriguez.  Not  content  with  having  signed  with  the  team   the  player   has  already  to  cast  his  bread  amongst   the  waters  by  making  the  announcement   that  his  team is   the  team  to  beat  in the  NL  East and  as well  within  all  of baseball.  



Mets'  closer  Francisco Rodriguez  loosens up  for some work at spring  training at  the  team's facility in  Port St  Lucie, Fl ..................
Mets' closer Francisco Rodriguez loosens up prior to workouts at the team's spring training facility in Port St Lucie Fl. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Brian Tolston ...........................




One   would   laugh  were  it   not  for the  fact   that K-Rod  is actually   serious  with  his assertive  statement.   When  one  considers  how the  season  has  ended  for  the  New  York  Mets  over  the  last   two  years.  Anything  said  by  a  player  within  this  particular   organization   has  now   got to  be   taken  with a  grain  of  salt.  Idiocy  and  immaturity   seems  to   know  no   limits   when   it  comes  to  this  organization .  And   perhaps  it’s a reflection as  to  the  fact  that  they’re   viewed  as   the   poor  neighbors  of  their   more   sought  after  compatriot   within   the  city,  in the  form  of  the  New York  Yankees.  They’ve   no  leadership  or  backbone   and   much  of  that has  been  predicated  on the   fact  that   not   has  the  coaching   staff  been  completely  unable   to  control   the   downward  spiral  of  the  team.  But  what  has   become  even   more  apparent    is  that   for   all  of  the  money  spent   on   major   free  agents  over  the last  few  years.   This   team  has  regressed    rather  than   improve.




Oliver  Perez of  the Mets gets  some  action in during  a  pitching  session  at the  team's  training  facility.   picture appears  courtesy of ap/photo/ Jeff  Roberson ..................
Pitcher Oliver Perez gets some action in during spring training at the team's facility . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Jeff Roberson ................




If  it’s  one  thing   that   we   can  all   count  on   concerning  the  team  is  that   come  the  months  of  October   onwards. Is the   mere  fact  that   they   imploded  and   became   about   as  aggressive  in their   play  as  members  of  the   French  Army  would   be ,  were  they   on  the  field   of  battle.   Backbones  aren’t  a  part  of  the  arsenal   when   it  comes   to  neither   and   more   so  in  the   case  of   the  New  York  Mets.    In  Omar  Minaya    they  may  well  possess  one  of   the  worst   general  managers   in  all   of  baseball.  Though   there  may  well  be   some   out  there   whose  performance  may  well  have   been  the   equal  of  Minaya’s   if   not   worse.   I’ll  leave  that   for   you  all   to  decide.








Well  what  can   we  expect   from  within  the  division as  a  whole  ?  The  NL  East   does  possess  the  current   World  Series  champions  in  the  Philadelphia  Phillies.   And  then  we  also  have  the  Atlanta  Braves,  Florida Marlins  and  the  Washington  Nationals .   The   feeling  however  is  that  the  Phillies  will  be  the  team  that  most  feel  has  the  best   chance  to win  the  division  and  also  make the  playoffs.   They’re   very  much   a  cohesive  unit.   And  in Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins  ,  Chase  Utley   they   do  possess  one   of  the  more   explosive   offensive   triumvirates  within   all  of  baseball.   And   as  prodigious  a  talent   that  Howard   has  become   there  is  a  feeling  that  he’s   yet   to  reach  his   full   potential.    Rollins   though   understated   is   very  much   the  meat  and   bones   type  of  player.  He  lets  his   game   do  the   talking   for  him  on  the  field .   And   Utley   just   keeps  on  doing  what  he   does  best  .  And  that’s   to  produce   runs  and   home  runs   at  an   astonishing   pace   during  the  season.   




Mets' players  gather  at the  start  of  spring  training  baseball  practice at  the  team's  facility  in  Port  St Lucie , Fl.   picture  appears  courtesy of  ap/photo/Jeff  Roberson ......................
Mets' players gather at the team's training facility for the start of spring training in Port St Lucie , Fl. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Jeff Roberson ............................




That’s   not  to  say  that  their   pitching   is  to  be  ignored.   In  Cole   Hamels  they   may  well  have  one of     the  very   best  young   starting   pitchers   in  the  league.    And   on  the  closer’s   mound  a  rejuvenated  Brad  Lidge  who  was  a  castoff   from  the  Houston  Astros.   With  Lidge’s  no   nonsense attitude  and   the  fact  that  he’s  merely   just  striking  out  players  like   Britney   Spears  has  hit  singles  on  a  regular basis.  It  can  be  said  that   Lidge  is   very  much  an  asset to  this   team.




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