Clueless In Sports ………What Does It Say About Those Who Run It ?

There has to be a staggering amount of stupidity shown by the various hierarchies that run or should one say have in some way ruined each of the four major high profiled sports ? Those being jointly, the NBA , NHL, MLB and the NFL . Over the last decade , in their eager pursuit of money and apparent image as far as their corporate sponsors are concerned . Each of these respective governing bodies has lost sight of perhaps their most important patron. And that is off-course the fans. They’re the ones who follow their teams earnestly throughout the season and cheer on their heroes.

It’s bad enough now that with these uncertain economic times their sense of urgency as to doing the right thing seems to be lost on the fact that they’d rather meander down the path of self destruction. One needs look no further than the utter stupidity that’s now being shown in the NHL by its hierarchy and the ongoing saga of the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes. The franchise which is now in Federal bankruptcy proceedings is at the center of a bitter battle between the NHL themselves and the only private bidder for the franchise , in billionaire entrepreneur, Jim Balsillie. The NHL it seems is not prepared to allow Balsillie should he tender the ‘ highest winning and acceptable outright bid’ the right to relocate the franchise back to Canada. The NHL on the other hand feels that they can still make the Coyotes a going concern as a franchise in the city of Phoenix . And when one considers that the franchise since its inception has failed to meet any of the criteria’s sought by the then owner- in terms of on-field success and that of sold out attendances for games. It begs the question ‘…. what the hell is the NHL thinking to begin with ‘ ?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman must feel that the NHL can do a much better job of running an NHL franchise than someone of Balsillie’s caliber , who clearly feels otherwise. And has made it clear from the outset that it was his wish to purchase the franchise and relocate it to Ontario, Canada.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press

Bankruptcy judge rejects both bids to buy Coyotes

By Bob Baum , AP Sports Writer

PHOENIX (AP)—The NHL could claim a partial victory on Wednesday after a U.S. bankruptcy judge rejected bids by the league and Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes.

Judge Redfield T. Baum rejected outright Balsillie’s offer to purchase the team and move it to Hamilton, Ontario, which the NHL had vehemently opposed. The judge upheld the league’s right to decide who owns its teams and where they play.

Although Baum also turned down the NHL offer, he left the door open for the league to go ahead and purchase the franchise if it amends its bid to treat Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes and ex-coach Wayne Gretzky more favorably.

“In hockey parlance, the court is passing the puck to the NHL who can decide to take another shot at the sale net or it can pass off the puck,” Baum wrote.

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The NBA not content with the very fact that year in and year out there continues to be controversy surrounding the officiating of its games. And the questioning of the quality and of its officials. It’d appear that they will seek to start the upcoming season and that of their preseason with replacement officials . They’ve chosen to lock out the qualified and seasoned officials because of their rancouring over labor issues concerning pay and expenses. That being said if the league were of a mindset to deal with many of the other issues with regard to the perception as to how their officials are viewed. I doubt that at present there would be immediate cause for concern. But on the brink of the preseason to lock out 62 officials . Merely because the two parties cannot come to an agreement , smacks of idiocy on the part of the NBA hierarchy and the the body said to represent the officials. Never-mind the impression that this now creates for the fans.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and Associated Press

With refs locked out , NBA confident in 62 backups

By Brian Mahoney AP Basketball Writer

With its regular referees locked out, the NBA is confident in its roster of replacements—even the two it previously fired.

The NBA begins preseason play Thursday night with 62 referees. The league said more than half have officiated in the NBA Development League, and all but five have worked the summer league.

It also said the two with league experience, Michael Henderson and Robbie Robinson, were some of the best replacements available.

Realizing the scrutiny the backups face, the league reminded teams Wednesday about its rules against publicly criticizing the officials. But senior vice president of referee operations Ron Johnson believes the teams won’t have much to complain about.

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The officials that Commissioner David Stern is prepared to use for not only preseason games but also the regular season, once it starts. They well in-fact come the NBA’s Developmental League.One can surmise that the NBA not only thinks it appropriate to give us something of a watered down product as well as Stern in his own words “…….. officials that I implicitly believe in with regards to their integrity”. He’s now prepared to now give us officials who in many cases have never officiated a regular season NBA game. And he’s also prepared to throw them into the fray. I suppose many of these officials have hopes of aspiring to be like Tim Donaghy , in part ? Well if not Donaghy , then definitely someone Stern , himself, can view as unimpeachable and above reproach ? With what little experience that they do have at the lower level in terms of their officiating. Are we expected to see that any glaring mistake that’s bound to be made by one of these officials can be overlooked because of their inexperience ? And what are the players , coaches and fans to think of this all ?

The biggest knock , I for one have always had against the NFL has been their treatment. Or should I say their mistreatment of retired players. Especially those veterans of the pre Superbowl era. Not much has gone right for many of these players who find themselves languishing on the outside looking in. Bereft of any of the financial rewards that is now being earned by their successors of today. What may well be even more distasteful and disdainful is the total lack of representation by their own union- the NFLPA . First by deceased union executive Gene Upshaw and now even more so by his successor DeMaurice Smith.

Courtesy of nfl.com and Associated Press

Ex NFL players report higher-related disease

NEW YORK — Retired professional football players might have a higher-than-normal rate of Alzheimer’s disease or other memory problems, suggests a preliminary study that provides more fuel for concerns about long-term risk of concussions.

Experts said the work wasn’t definitive but that it fit in with other studies suggesting a long-term risk from head injuries in sports.

In the new work, 1,063 former players were asked if they had ever been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other memory-related disease. About 2 percent of the former players ages 30 to 49 said yes. That’s 19 times the rate for the same age group in the general population.

For retirees over 50, the rate of about 6 percent was about five times higher.

The study, which hasn’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, was done for the National Football League by researchers at the University of Michigan.

The results show the topic is worth further study, but they don’t prove a link between playing football and later mental troubles, lead author David Weir said.

NFL Statement

“The survey found that playing in the NFL was a very positive experience for most retired players and that overall they are in very good physical and financial condition. Their history of physical fitness shows up in lower rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. On most other health problems they are similar to or healthier than the general population, the survey noted. We are carefully reviewing the information and sharing it with others to assist our work on behalf of retired players.

“Regarding the two graphs (page 32) on memory problems in this 37-page survey, its acknowledges significant limitations of the survey in this area. The survey did not diagnose dementia but relied on self-reporting or family proxy reporting on a retired player’s memory, and it also noted that diseases of memory are rare in both the general population and NFL retirees. Despite those facts, the study recommends further research based on the reported numbers (1.9 percent of NFL retirees ages 30-39 and 6.1 percent of NFL retirees 50 and above), and that already is underway. Memory disorders affect many men and women who never played football or other sports.

“We are trying to understand it as it relates to our retired players. The survey makes no link between concussions and memory disorders. Concussion as one of many potential factors in memory disorders is being studied throughout the medical community, including our own study on the long-term effects of concussions on retired players.

“Meanwhile, our focus is also on the proper prevention and treatment of concussions in today’s game. We do this through rules changes and enforcement; education of players, their families, coaches and team personnel; and ensuring that our players have the best medical care available. Our medical staffs take a cautious and conservative approach to managing concussions, including expanded use of neuropsychological testing and return-to-play guidelines.”

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Over the years many of these players have had to fight tooth and nail to even get their voices heard . Much less be afforded the right to obtain rightfully what is theirs by way of medical assistance and benefits. For a sport that says it cares about its very own. The NFL and its union counterpart has done little to suggest for to us to believe that to be a fact. If anything it’s the contrary. They’ve steadfastly refused to even recognize many of these players and their grievances and have hid behind the subterfuge that the players of today are far more important than their predecessors. What has become even more glaring is that the present NFL commissioner , Roger Goodell and his predecessor Paul Tagliabue did very little to address those very issues and others that have cropped up over those years concerning the players. But yet it takes a commissioned report by the NFL to make us aware of something the vast majority already knew. So unless the hierarchy of the game is really that naive , then they’ve just to be downright plain stupid ! Over the years the NFL and the NFLPA has stalled not only in this regard when dealing with this issue but several others concerning the assistance and payment of benefits due rightfully to retired veterans of the game.

The league commissioned a report looking into head trauma and concussions suffered by players and the cause and effect that it has on the recipients. Now pardon me for saying this but for those of who’ve ever been hit on the head during any sort of endeavor . It does tend to hurt , so one can imagine what a hit on the head has to do to an NFL player traveling at a high velocity of speed head on into an opposing player . And then imagine that being done repeatedly during a game . Now unless I’m mistaken, this sort of thing once it becomes repetitive , then it does have a tendency of having repercussions to a player’s health in the ensuing years. Not only over the course of their career but also upon their retirement. The AMA (American Medical Association) and others within the medical establishment have long held the view that repeated blows to the head , no matter how innocuous that they might appear to be at times. It does have a lasting effect on an individual. We’ve seen this with regard to other athletic endeavors. None more so than within the sport of boxing. Where there, the poster child for head trauma , albeit that he’s said to have Parkinson’s disease -is none other than Muhammad Ali .

Associated with this all now , is the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease amongst former players and other forms of dementia.And this has also led to the seemingly untimely deaths of a number of players. Autopsies carried out – evidence has shown amongst that there’s a preponderance of blunt force trauma caused by repeated blows received to the heads of these players. One can surmise that this may well have been caused during their careers or quite possibly merely from repeated falls. But that wouldn’t equate what we already know to be factual when it comes to this issue. However, it appears that the NFL and NFLPA seemingly wants us to believe that much of this happens outside their sphere of responsibility as it concerns their members. Something is very much awry here and it does appear that the NFL in collusion with the Players’ Union would rather not deal with this situation , quite possibly because of the inherent financial implications and what it might well mean for the league.

And while this isn’t primarily the only issue where the league and the union has fallen short on . When it comes to dealing with current as well as former players. It does create the illusion the NFL and its union counterpart has become nothing more than a self serving organization . Purely concerned in portraying an image that’s none too real when it comes to the veterans who once graced the game. As to the impression it’s prepared to create for us , the fans. Well I think it’s plain to see for all of us who care to witness it .

As the regular season for MLB (Major League Baseball ) winds down. We’re seeing the last grasps being made by two teams to attain a postseason berth for the ensuing playoffs. The Colorado Rockies (91-68) having claimed a berth , now fights to run down an pass the Los Angeles Dodgers (93-66) and win the NL West. The two teams meet this weekend in the three game series that will determine the outcome as to who wins the division. It wasn’t that long ago that the Dodgers’ lead within the division was deemed to be insurmountable. But what we knew then and what we know now are completely two different things.
The Dodgers’ offense has become silent and their pitching invariably has become somewhat inconsistent. Hardly what the team’s manager , Joe Torre had envisaged down the stretch for his team.

If the Dodgers are to prevail then they’re going to have to picks things up. Because any sign of continued inconsistency at this stage and their postseason ambitions are liable to go up in smoke.

In the AL Central the Detroit Tigers (85-74) aren’t out of the woods yet. As their plight , once seemingly in their own hands is now playing out like an unwanted nightmare. They’re also in a dogfight for the division with their adversary being the Minnesota Twins (83-76) . Albeit, that the Tigers need only win one of their final three games to be assured a share of the division. They do need to win their final three games to put the division beyond the reach of the Minnesota Twins. But their play as of late has been not up to the expectations of their manager Jim Leyland . And the calming influence of Leyland may well be all that’s needed for the team to make this all a reality.

Inasmuch , as many of us are now looking forward to the postseason. One can’t but help notice that the figures are down in terms of attendance for the ballgames across the league. Both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, having moved into the spacious environments of vastly expansive and ostentatious ballparks. Both teams have struggled to fill both venues to capacity. And though we can agree upon the fact that the current economic climate has made it somewhat more inconvenient for many when it comes to attending a ballgame. It has to be said that MLB has been somewhat myopic in its view of the overall economic climate and how it conducts its business by way of its template.

As salaries continue to escalate , it makes it all the more apparent that many of the small market teams will never be in with the chance of competing on the same level as many of their big market rivals. Teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays , Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and the Oakland A’s struggle to remain competitive amongst their big name rivals.

Though at times the illusion is there of a fairy tale being created . More often than not it becomes short lived. The triumphs of last season’s AL pennant winners , the Tampa Bay Rays (82-77) , all came falling back to earth this season with almighty thud. Within the highly competitive AL East they have to deal with vast financial resources of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. For whom it can be said spending anywhere between $15 million and $20 million for player’s services for a year isn’t much of a stretch. However , for the likes of the Rays , they would have to be lifting up the cushions of a sofa to find every plug nickel and cent available to them to spend that sort of money on a player , just to secure his services for a year.

Seemingly MLB and the players themselves through the MLBPA (Players’ Association) are under the impression that the game can withstand the onslaught of ever increasing salaries. While the brand and product becomes watered down. And this also paved the way for even unproven rookies via the game’s own draft to be receiving what one might deem to be a ludicrous amount in terms of a mere signing bonus. Much of this we can allude to the fact than agent acting on the behalf of his client will try and garner the price possible for that particular commodity. And unfortunately this is sometimes where the utter and sheer stupidity of a GM comes into play. As they’re of opinion that in order to achieve that price of success -one has to pay through the roof to attain it.

MLB would have us believe that the tax revenue sharing that it has in place to assist many of the smaller market teams overcome the hardships that they proclaim. But more often than not , when the money that’s doled out to those teams isn’t being used to strengthen their rosters. In order that a better product is placed unto the field of play. But it instead finds its way into the pockets of the owners. One has to ask the question what it is that in-fact that the fans are indeed getting out of this at the end of the day ? And it certainly hasn’t helped that a number of these teams have been able to cajole , manipulate municipal , county and state governments for tax incentives and then have them also use taxpayers’ monies to facilitate the building of ballparks. But yet their financial accounts are out of the eyes of public scrutiny when it comes to transparency and how they conduct their business.

The hierarchy of the game under the leadership of Bud Selig as its commissioner and Bob DuPuy as its President and Chief Operating Officer would have us all believe that the game is very much in a healthy financial state. Merely because their revenues are said to be increasing. But in effect that in of-itself doesn’t paint all that clear a picture to begin with. Because they’ve never clearly shown us at the end of the day the profit and loss for each of the major league franchises . That’s something that if anything would give us a much clearer indication as to the health of the game. Rather than the words of Bob Selig or Bob Dupuy being echoed as to what’s right with the game at present.

2009 MLB Payrolls for the Top 5 and bottom 5 teams

Top 5
New York Yankees $201,449,189
New York Mets $149,373,987
Chicago Cubs $134,809,000
Boston Red Sox $121,745,999
Detroit Tigers $115,085,145

Bottom 5
Oakland A’s $62,310,000
Washington Nationals $60,328,000
Pittsburgh Pirates $48,693,000
San Diego Padres $43,734,200
Florida Marlins $36,834,000

What are your thoughts on each of the topics raised within this piece ? And how best do you feel that each of the governing bodies can go about addressing the issues raised ?

Bud Selig Is Trying His Best Not To Look The Complete Clown But It Becomes Really Scary

Bud Selig Is Trying His Best Not To Look The Complete Clown But It Becomes Really Scary When You Hear Him  Speak It Reminds You Of The Tv Characters Krusty The Clown And Sidesho’ Bob In His Conversations …………

It can’t have escaped everyone’s notice that with the Major League Baseball season having started. A number of the teams have come to the fore and are playing well at this point of the season. 

MLB Commissioner  Allan 'Bud' Selig  and  President of Operations  Bob Dupuy (right).
MLB Commissioner Allan 'Bud' Selig and President of Operations Bob Dupuy (right) . picture appears courtesy ap/photo/Roger Scott ................

We’ve seen the Florida Marlins in the NL East get off to a rather quick start 11-4 start to the season. The thinking was that the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets would have the division all to themselves making it nothing more than a two horse race as the season progresses.

In light of that it can’t have escaped everyone’s notice however that after the euphoric start to the season. A number of teams however are now seeing empty seats within their stadiums for home games. One can merely put it down to the fact that these are tough economic times for not only the fans but also for the franchises themselves.

And as strange as it may seem Commissioner Bud Selig has basically carried on as if the health of the game is in a really great state. But if that were the case then why would he be overly concerned with the situation where he’s said to seeking engage in a conversation with the Wilpons and Steinbrenners as the respective owners of the two New York baseball franchises as to their ticket prices ?  

 

Both the New York Mets and New York Yankees have seen a downturn in attendances for home games. And nowhere is this more significant than with seats situated behind home plate at both stadiums. So much so that the prices sought by the two teams respectively hasn’t led to throngs of fans bidding to purchase these premium priced seats. For the New York Yankees they range in price from $500-00 to $ 2,625-00 for seats in the Legends Suites.

 

Mets' catcher  Ramon  Castro  congratulates  teammate  Francisco  Rodriguez  after the  team's  4-3 triumph over  the Washington  Nationals  at  Citi Field  in  New York City, NY. picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Julie  Jacobs ...............
Mets' catcher Ramon Castro congratulates Francisco Rodriguez after the team's triumph over the Washington Nationals 4-3 at Citi Field in New York City. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Julie Jacobs ................

  

 For the Mets with fewer premium seats within their particular edifice. The Delta Club Area behind the dugout . There the prices are a little less in terms of the overall charges which range from $175-00 up $495-00. It’d be remiss to to think at this moment in time it is only the Mets and Yankees who are in this predicament. But in reality it runs the gamut of the major league teams ut it has become more acute because of who these two teams are.

The Yankees average attendance is approximately 45,000 , whereas the New York Mets average 37,000 per home attendance for their season openers. However as the season progresses if we continue to see these figures prevail. It’ll be hard to see how these can be explained away by not only the commissioner but also by both the Yankees and Mets’ hierarchy. Strangely enough with Selig now visiting both franchises to discuss this situation . One has to wonder if he’d show the same sort of concern were this any other team within league ?

 

Kevin  Youkilis   is  congratulated  by  teammates  Manny Delcarmen and  Takaishi  Sato  .
Kevin Youkilis (center) is congratulated by teammates Manny Delcarmen (left) and Takaishi Sato after Youkilis' game winning home run in their 5-4 triumph over the New York Yankees at Fenway Park , Boston, Mass. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim Rogash .............

 

 
Could it that merely because it’s the New Mets and Yankees and their new facilities he’s showing this sort of concern ? He’s never shown any forthright concern over any other franchise with the attention he’s now said to be showing the two New Yor franchises. He’s stood idly by whilst over the last decade the Florida Marlins have toiled and haranged the local municipalities as well as county and state legislatures in order to get some sort of a response in attaining a state of the art facility. 

Animated   tv character  Krusty  The  Clown  from  the  Fox  animated series  'The Simpsons' .
Animated tv character Krusty The Clown from the Fox animated tv series " The Simpsons ". picture appears courtesy of Matt Groenig ...... @ copyrighted. all rights reserved

 More and more we’ve seen that Bud Selig picks and chooses his battles in order to attain the publicity needed to enhance his reputation and that he thinks will be of benefit to himself and Major League Baseball.Curiously enough to listen to Selig speak about the health and credibility of the game . Is to witness animated characters Krusty The Clown and Sidesho’ Bob from the Fox tv show ” The Simpsons”. Oblivious to what’s really happening around him. He’s of the opinion that his self worth is greater than those who are subordinates of his. Comedic in tone as always the sound bytes from Bud Selig are always welcomed. But now with his own credibility coming into question primarily from the fans. It’s hard to see what this sort of altruism being sought by Selig will amount to at the end of the day. It certainly won’t change the mindset of the fans overall. If anything it’ll do nothing more than prove that what many of already know about the game. And that’s financially it’s a complete mess .

Sidesho'  Bob
Sidesho' Bob from the Fox tv animated series "The Simpsons" . picture appears courtesy of Matt Groenig . @ copyrighted. all rights reserved. ..................

Fortunately all of the major parties concerned are too stupid to realize that fact. That ranges from the hierarchy on down to the owners and the Players’ Union. They’d rather carry on as if things are the same hearkening back to the days when the ballparks were filled with fans who couldn’t get enough of the game. Now the game yearns the fans but their own concerns are far more acute than anything that baseball has to offer the fans as a respite.

It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking , Ticking And Just Keeps On Givin, Otherwise Known As Basball’s Dirty Little Secret ………

It’s  The Gift  That  Keeps  On Ticking , Ticking  And  Just   Keeps  On  Giving  ,  Otherwise  Known  As  Baseball’s  Dirty  Little  Secret  .

 

 

 

 

Well   now  that  the   World   Baseball  Classic  has  past. And   it has  no  doubt  faded  off   long  into  the  memories  of    most.  Especially   considering   the   United  States’  team’s    ever  so   disastrous   efforts   in the   tournament.    Now  I’m   not   going  to  lament   on  what  went   wrong  there.  As  it’s   best   left  to the  likes  of   Tommy  LaSorda.    He  knows   better  than   most    how   ineffectual   the  team  actually  was. 

 

 

Former Senator  George  Mitchell  and  Major  League Baseball  Commissioner  Allan 'Bud'  Selig  seen  here   at the  announcement   that  the   announcement  the   reported   investigation   known as The Mitchell Report  has  reached  its  culmination.
Sen. George Mitchell (foreground) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan 'Bud' Selig seen here announcing that the conducted investigation into steroid use within the game known as The Mitchell Report had reached its culmination . The contents of which haven't been readily made for public consumption. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Patrick Rycroft ..............

 

 

 

It’s   now  coming    more  the   fore   as  to  how  much   of  a  conflict   and  corruption  there now   is  when   it  comes  to   recruiting    young   players   from the  Caribbean  and   the  South  American   continent   into the  major  leagues.  So   much   so   that   even   when  The Mitchell Report  touched   on the  matter  it  was  somewhat   ignored.   Those  of  who  were   interested as  to  the  content   of  the  report   were    primarily   concerned as  to  what  it  have   to  say  with  regard  to  the   players   involved   in  the   steroid  abuse   scandal. 

 

 

 

 

That   situation   in   of itself   continues   unabated  and   it  hasn’t   helped  that  the   game’s   biggest  star   Alex  Rodriguez   has   admitted   to  using   steroids.  And   whilst  the  player  has   offered   what   one  would   deem  a  contrite   apology   to  the   fans ,  public  ,  his   teammates  and  the    New York  Yankees  organization.   The   latest   rumors    surrounding  the   player   only  exacerbates  the   situation  even  further .  Added  to  the   fact  that  he’s   lost  to  the  team  before   the   regular  season  begins   due   injury  and   surgery.

 

 

Alex  Rodriguez (right)  along  with  Yankees' GM Brian  Cashman (center)  and  the  team's  manager Joe Girardi.
Alex Rodriguez (right) seen here alongside Yankees' GM Brian Cashman (center) and team manager Joe Girardi. All three are there at George Stennbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Where the player made his public statement announcing his use of steroids. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Al Messerschmidt .............

 

 

This   has   become   nothing   but  an    unmitigated  disaster    for  Major  League  Baseball.  Their   effort to   try   and   clean  up  the  game  has  been  about  as  effective   as   throwing   a   half   empty  kerosene  gas  can   into  fire   thinking  that   nothing   will  actually  happen.  And  with  evidence  now   swirling   around  that  young   players   in  particularly   from  the  Dominican  Republic   have   been   used  as   pawns   in    the  deceptive  practice   of  enticing   big  league    teams   to    pay  exorbitant   sums   of  money  in  terms   of a  signing   bonus  to  effectively   have  a  player   sign  with  them.    It   only  adds     further     to a  percolating    pot  of  misdeed  and    plain   ineptitude    within  the   upper  ranks   of  the game’s   hierarchy.     And  it   certainly   hasn’t    helped  that    officials    from  within   some   of  the  major    organizations   might   well   have  been   involved  are   infact  implicated  in  payoffs to  the  buscones /agents (facilitators)  who    offer  the  players   to  the   teams.

 

 

Esmailyn Gonzalez  as  he's  known  the  Washington Nationals  but  the  player's  actual  given  birth  name  is  Carlos Alvarez  Daniel  Lugo.  He's  seen  here  signed  as a  top prospect   with  then  coach  Frank  Robinson.
Esmailyn Gonzalez as he's known to the Washington Nationals. But whose given and birth name is actually Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo. The player seen here with then coach Frank Robinson was signed as a top prospect by the team. picture appears courtesy of ap/ Victor Matthews ..............

 

 

 

 

This   all   emanated  from  the  Esmailyn Gonzalez  scandal  that  exploded    with  the   player   having   signed   with  the  Washington  Nationals. Not   only  had   the   player’s   birth  certificate   been    falsified   with   regards   to   his   age.   But   a  large   amount   of   money  exchanged   hands   between  the   team   ,  the   player   in   terms   of  his   signing   bonus.  But   also    with   the   agent   getting   his   cut.  It’s   believed  that   also  several  of   the  Nationals’ own  staff    profited   from  this    by  way   of   a   cut   from   the  money   that  was    paid  to   the  player.  It’s   not    uncommon   for   this   to   happen  within  the  lower   echelons  of   organization   if  it’s   deemed  to  be  happening  amongst  a  team’s   scouting   staff.    But    what    makes  this  all   so   unpalatable   is   that  it   is  believed  that   in  the   case   of  Gonzalez  .  It   may  have   involved  the   team’s   general  manager  at the  time  Jim  Bowden  and   his special  assistant   Jose Rijo .   And  while   both    are   no    longer  with   the   team with   Rijo   having    been   fired  and  Bowden   re-signing    while   proclaiming   his  innocence  as   to   any   wrongdoing.   The   facts   speak   for  themselves     as   very    little   was   done   to   verify  the   player’s  records.  Much   less  they, themselves    conducting   their  own  internal investigation.

 

 

Nationals' principal  owner  Stan  Kasten .
Washington Nationals' principal owner Stan Kasten. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Thornton ..................

 

 

 

 

While  on  appearance  this  may   not   seem   a   serious   transgression.  Consider the  fact   once    money   was   pocketed   by   anyone   within  the  organization   who  wasn’t  entitled  to it.  It   then  becomes  a  federal  offense   and   as   such  is  indictable     by   law.   And  with   the  FBI   now   conducting   its  own  investigation    into   what  it   is   believed  to  now   be  a   widespread   practice   throughout   the   league.  One   has  to   ask  the   question.    What   is   going   on     behind   the  closed   doors   of   Major   League  Baseball  and   its   franchises   ?  If  there’s  now  that  much    widespread    corruption   from  the   top  down  then   surely   the   game’s  own   hierarchy    ought  to  be  looked  at  as  well  ? 

 

Continue reading “It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking , Ticking And Just Keeps On Givin, Otherwise Known As Basball’s Dirty Little Secret ………”

Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels …….Bang You’re Dead !

 
 

Lock  Stock And  Two  Smoking  Barrels ……. Bang  You’re  Dead  !

 

 

 

Not  wanting  to  assail  Major  League  Baseball (MLB)    for   wanting   a  good  thing.  But  I’d   now  like to  know what   was  the  whole   premise   behind   entering  a   team    into  the  World  Baseball   Classic   if  not  to  win  it  ? 

 

Derek  Jeter  far  right  seated   in  the  dugout  knowing  that the  inevitable  is  about to  happen.  The  US  team  would   go  on  to  lose  in the  semi  finals  of  the  World  Baseball  Classic  to  Japan  (9-4) .
Derek Jeter and teammates are seated on the bench in the dugout knowing that the inevitable is about to happen. The US team would go on to lose to Japan (9-4) in a lopsided game. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ................

 

 

 

 

To  suffer  the   slings and   arrows   of  outrageous  fortune  or   in  this case misfortune  is  one  thing.    But  in  this  case   the  showing   of  the  team   most   certainly   hasn’t   met  the  expectations  of  the  game’s  hierarchy   domestically.  It  doesn’t   matter  what   they  might   say   publicly.  In   reality   however   it’s   suddenly  beginning  to  sink  in  that   they’re  going  to  have  to   rethink  their    whole  preparation for  a   team  and  the  assembling   of a   roster   for   international  competition. The    event  will   no  doubt  make  a  significant   amount    of  money    for  the parties  concerned.   But  if  anything    it’ll  perpetuate  the  notion    that the  long  held   belief  that   US  baseball  at  the  international   level   if  anything isn’t   as  superior  as the  fans  or   players   may  well  believe.  

 

Japanese   pitcher  Yu  Darvish   celebrates  after  striking   out  Adam  Dunn  of  team  USA  in  the semi   finals   game  of  the  Worl  Baseball  Classic.
Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish celebrates after striking out Adam Dunn of team USA during their semi finals game. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Kevork Djansezian ........

 

 

 

 

If anything   has  been  indicative   of  this,  it   has  been  the   failure   of    team  USA  to  advance   to  the  Finals  of  the  competition.  In   2006  they  were an  abysmal    failure   falling   at the  quarter  finals’ stage.    And    now   in   2009  in  the  semi-finals   they  succumb   to  a   Japanese   team  that   was   very   much  their  superior   in  every facet   of  the  game   right  from the  start.  If  the  final  score  of   9-4  wasn’t  a   reflection  of  that.  Then   those   who  felt   the   opposite    may   well  have  been   watching   through   rose   colored   glasses.

 

 

Japan's   Ichiro  Suzuki   in the  dugout   prior  to the  semi  final   game played   against  the  USA.
Japan's Ichiro Suzuki in the dugout prior to the semi final game played against team USA at Chavez Ravine Stadium , Los Angeles , California . picture appearas courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn .................

 

 

 

All  the  excuses   in  the  world   cannot   make  up   for  this.  And that’s   most  likely  what  we’ll   hear  over  the  ensuing   days   if  not   weeks.  One   can  be  sure   that   not  all  of  the  game’s  fans    domestically   were   enamored   with  the  competition  to  begin  with.   If  anything   it  was   thought   of  as  an   intrusion   in   their    rite   of  passage  as   far  as   Spring   Training  was   concerned.    And  the   fact     that   they’d  be   denied  to  see   many  of  their   idols   play   for  their    professional   teams    at the  start  of  the  Grapefruit  and  Cactus   League’s  season  was   tantamount  to  all    but  abandoning  the  season  itself.  OK  so   they’d   get  to   see   some  of the  younger  players   from  a  team’s   Triple  A affiliate.   But   the  majority  of  the  time  that’s   not   what  the   fans  are  there  to  see.   But   that’s   what   tends  to  happen  when  the   whole   thought    process   and   timing  of  the  event    is  ill  conceived.    But   far  be  it   for  anyone  to   suggest that   the  MLB hierarchy  and     the  game’s   international   governing   body    doesn’t   indeed   know   what   it’s   doing . 

 

 

Evan  Longoria   strikes  out  in  the  ninth   inning  of  the  game  against  Japan  in the  semi  finals  of  the  World Baseball   Classic.
Evan Longoria of team USA having just struck out in the ninth inning of the semi final's game against Japan makes his way back to the dugout. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ..................

 

 

 

 

For   Japan   they’ll   now   meet   their  Asian    counterparts  and   rivals    Korea   in  the  Finals.   And with   Korea   themselves    being   the reigning   Olympic    champions.   This   game   will   certainly   not   be   a  foregone   conclusion   in  terms   of   Japan   being   considered  an  overwhelming   favorite.    Korea    has  surprised    everyone   in  this  competition  with  the  level    of  their  play  and   sound   fundamentals.    They   do  almost   everything  with   effortless   ease.   And   if  anything  the   US  team    could  learn    something    from    how  the  Korean  players   apply  themselves  to   the  task  at  hand.    Suffice   to   say  it’s   easy  to    make  the  claim   that  the   players  on  the US  team   were  playing    with  a  great    deal   of  pride   but   the  reality    of  it  all  is  that    pride     wasn’t   borne   out    in  the  level   of  their   overall  play    throughout   the  competition.  If  anything  there   was   a  cockiness  and    over  confidence  that   spelt    disaster   at  some   point.    In  many   ways   it  was  somewhat   reminiscent   of  what   we’d   often  witnessed    from  their   counterparts  in the NBA .  If  anything  the   belief   was  all  that  they    had to   do  was   to  just   turn   and   an  opponent   would   quake   in   their   boots   and   surrender  to  their   will.   The  competition   has  proved   however  that    sum  of  the  parts    doesn’t   equal   the  whole   when   it  came   to   team   USA.    They  labored   under  the  assumption  that  a    roster   filled  with  All  Stars  and  they’d    prevail. 

 

 

 

Roy  Oswalt  the  starting   pitcher  for  team  USA  sits  in the  dugout  watching  the  game's  progression.  Oswalt   had  one  of those   games  that  even  he  would  no  doubt  rather  forget  .
Roy Oswalt the starting pitcher for team USA sits in the dugout and watches the game unfold. Oswalt had a game that even he would rather forget. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Kevork Djansezian ....................

 

 

Continue reading “Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels …….Bang You’re Dead !”

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.

 

 

 

Continue reading “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 ……..?”

We Spend A Lot of Money ‘Cause We Make A Lot of Money… And That’s The Way We Like It ……….!

  I’ve got to say that I wasn’t all surprised to find out that the New York Yankees  had further gone about with some lavishing spending prior to this Christmas. That being I can only conclude that either Santa Claus was indeed ready to fill the Yankees’ stocking this Christmas with some goodies.  Former Angels’ first baseman Mark Teixeiera has made it  clear that it’s his wish to become a  New York Yankee.
 
 
Mark Teixeira  former Braves and  Angels' first baseman ...........
 
Mark Teixeira formerly of the Atlanta Braves ,Angels and  now  a designated  New York Yankees’ player. picture appears courtesy  of ap/photo/  Mark Walsh…. 
 

 

 

             Today Angels’ first baseman Mark Teixeira agreed in principle to an eight year  $180m contract. With the signing of Texieras the Yankees have made presumably  themselves a  force to be reckoned  with.   And with free agent Manny  Ramirez still available it  doesn’t  necesssarily bode  well  for  those with aspirations of  signing  a big time  free agent. And if the  New York  Yankees were able  to  sign  Manny now that look really intense to all of the fans out there ? Having signed pitchers CC Sabbathia and  AJ Burnett  to a collective $243.5m combined. That being said with the influx of cash that the city of New York has benevolently given the franchise as of late.  One has to argue what the hell is going on within Major League Baseball ?   A stadium that was  originally meant to cost  $1.5bn  now is  now closer to $2bn and counting.  

 

 

Michael Bloomberg  addresses members of the press and  public as they convene for a press conference
Mayor Michael Bloomberg addresses members of the press and public alike for a press conference convened.

 

 Mayor    Mayor Michael  Bloomberg  addresses members  of  the  press and  public  in  attendance at  a press conference.  picture appears courtesy of  newsday.com/ Bill Wasserstein….  

 

 

 

Mayor Michael Bloomberg saw fit to be critical of Wall Street for bailing out the excess of Wall St. But at the same time has seen fit to further implement a bond issue to the tune of  $250m dollars that’ll be of benefit to the New York Yankees.  Never mind the fact that what was originally meant to be privately financed enterprise with the building of the Yankees’ new stadium.  We were originally led to believe that the edifice would be built with privately financed funds. But Bloomberg and the city of New York were only too eager to please and acquiesce to all of the demands of their famed resident.  Making sure that the land that the stadium was built on was unusually high in its assessment for tax purposes. But at the same time it was undervalued for the Yankees’ benefit.

 

Free agent  slugger  Manny  Ramirez  ...........
Free agent slugger Manny Ramirez bides his time at the plate. He's still one of the marquee players still left out there on the free agent market.

 

Free agent  slugger Manny Ramirez,sits ,waits and bides at the plate,knowing full well  that  in due time  someone is prepared to  pay his  asking price. But  the question on everyone’s lips is  who is prepared to pay  ?    picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Mark  Wasserstein……..

 

 

 

I’m not one to suggest that there’s been any collusion on the part of the organization or the mayor’s office. But make of it what you will.  As to the Yankees and their coffers it goes without saying that they’re a monumental cash cow of the highest order. The YES Network as their self owned cable outlet and their joint partnerships with several major corporate sponsors. It makes it all the more relevant as to what we’re seeing with regard to the game of the haves and have nots.   The Yankees themselves will have to pay in excess of  $32.5m in terms of the luxury tax that they’ve been assessed by the commissioner’s office of Major League baseball.  This is meant to be the tax for which league clubs that go in excess of the mandated level is charge on a team’s payroll roster.  And it’s meant to create some sort of equilibrium for the teams within the major markets and the mid-level to small markets of the league.

 

 

Commissioner Allan 'Bud' Selig and players' representative  Donald Fehr share a few pleasantries up on Capitol Hill prior to addressing members of  Congress  ............
Commissioner Allan 'Bud' Selig and Player's rep Donald Fehr exchange a few words prior to addressing members of Congress up on Capitol Hill , Washington, DC,.

Commissioner Allan ‘Bud’ Selig and players’ representative Donald  Fehr  exchange a few quiet words before  addressing  members of  Congress.  picture appears courtesy of i.a.cnn/net/si/ Mark Roberts ………

 

 

 

So what the Yankees are now said to be paying this triumvirate of players will dwarf the payrolls annually of several teams across the league.  And to highlight this situation even further four  of the five highest salaried players annually within the league will now be on the New York Yankees’ roster.  They are namely Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, CC Sabbathia and Mark Texiera.  Now let it not be said that the Yankees will go the way of any small team when it comes to their want of success. Last year was the first time in over a decade that the team failed to make postseason in baseball.  And when one considers the streak it is truly monumental to say the least.   Seeing the  rise of  the  Tampa Bay Rays  within the AL East  and  their  success  in having  won the  division ,  the  AL Pennant  and  then making it to the World Series made it all the more  unpleasurable for the Yankees’ fans and the Steinbrenner family.  Who as owners  of  the team have  been used  to having  their way  and winning  pennants  and  World  Series.   This decade  they haven’t  won any  and it can be said that there’s a strong  possibility  that they may not win another  before  the  decade closes.

 

 

New  York Yankees'  GM Brian Cashman  , foreground  along with the team's manager Joe  Girardi  .................
New York Yankees' GM Brian Cashman alongside the team's manager Joe Girardi ...................

Joe Girardi , coach of  the New  York  Yankees and their erstwhile  GM Brian  Cashman in the  foreground. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Luis M Alvarez  …………………….

 

 

 

 

With the departure of  Joe Torre to  make way for newly appointed  skipper Joe Girardi. It was felt that the team would be carry on in a similar vein with  regard  to  the  success garnered under Girardi’s predecessor.  Well  last season  proved one thing to us all the  Yankees are getting old and  many of their high profile players failed  to live  up to  the perceived  expectations  as to  what they were  thought to be  capable of.  Out with the old and  in with the new as  they  say.  The franchise  has  seen fit to  revert to their  old ways  because  they  can no longer  trust  talent  wholeheartedly within  their  farm system.  Brian Cashman as the team’s general manager may not indicate that with his statements.  But it’s clear that  he  himself  knows what’s at  stake for the franchise.  Failure to win and  with  them moving into their new state of the art ballpark  next season. It makes it all the more  extreme for the  Yankees to go on this major spending spree.  And one can only summize  that Santa  came early  for the  Steinbrenners  and granted them all of their wishes.   Now if  they can also land  free agent Manny Ramirez  it may well be  one of those  Christmas’s  one can only dream of if  you happen to be a Yankees’ fan. As to the rest of major league baseball they can only wish to have the financial strength of the franchise.

 

 

George Steinbrenner foreground  and his son Hank aseat  in their executive suite  look on as the  the  team  plays ..........
George Steinbrenner foreground and his son Hank seated beside him look on the their team takes to the field ............

George and Hank Steinbrenner,father and son,principal owners  of the New  York Yankees.  In reality the  franchise  is  perhaps the  most recognized name in  all  of  sports  here  in North America  and  without  a  doubt  perhaps the most lucrative  and  profitable  sports franchise in the US in terms of  just sheer net worth.  picture  appears  courtesy  of ap/photo/Mark Shackleton ……….

 

 

 

 

 

These are the times  that you can only fathom  to think  as to the financial constraints  that  many of the  teams face.  But as of yet  they  don’t  seem to have affected  the likes of  the  New  York Yankees. Much to the malaise of others within the  game as  they now begin  to  face  some of  the  hardships  that’ll  now begin  to  face  not  only the  game of baseball but  sports  in general.  The harsh economic climate  and  all that it  now  entails will affect  many  professional sport’s franchises.  But the likes of  the Yankees at present seem to go unperturbed  by it all.

 

 

Former Yankee Bobby Abreu  with then teammates  Derek Jeter and  Alex  Rodriguez .............ner
Former New York Yankee Bobby Abreu(53) with then teammates Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez ...................

Abreu(53) back to picture along with then teammates Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.  The latter of  the trio  have  contributed little to  the  franchise’s lack of postseason success. Merely  turning  up and  being  overpaid  just doesn’t seem to  cut it  anymore.  But  it’s apparently  acceptable  to some in New  York. What accountability if any has  never come from the players  themsleves as  they’ve  been very  much  cuckholded  and  sheilded to an extent.  Moments out outspokeness  from the owner  has  been very tempered in its texture. The fault therein lies  within the franchise itself.   picture  appears courtesy  of ap/photo/Marcus  Walker  ……………………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

As former  Knicks’ player Patrick Ewing  once  said  when  giving  testimony  in a major Federal racketeering and grand larceny case.  ‘We make  a lot of money so we spend  a  lot  of  money’. And  the  fact that at the time  when giving this statement he was actually  talking  about  spending money in an adult entertainment  emporium.  We ought not  to  equate  that  the Yankees have  become akin to a stripper or hooker  working her Johns . In  this  case  their  fans  and  the citizens  of  New York. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tophatal ………………..