Can A Case Be Made ?

Can A Case Be Made ?

by tophatal

Well with baseball’s mid-season highlight event the a 2012 All Star Game is almost upon us . Moreover, we can look back at the first half of the season with one or two surprises . To my mind those unheralded teams that have put themselves in a position to make a surprising run in the second half of the game’s 162 game schedule . It would have to be the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central , and the Washington Nationals within the NL East . The Pirates guided by Clint Hurdle and his coaching staff certainly has this team playing with a great deal of confidence .

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The Pittsburgh Pirates led by their All Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen . The player has simply been outstanding , as his team has been the surprise of the NL Central over more likely candidates the Cincinnati Reds and the reigning ….. World Series’ champions the St Louis Cardinals . At this point last season the Pirates sat in third place within the NL Central with a record of 45-42 . This season with some very solid play from Clint Hurdle’s players , are showing that through their experiences of last year . They are now very much in the right frame of mind , with a view to perhaps winning the division outright and gaining their first postseason berth since 1992. Two decades of incompetence and changes in ownership has seen this once proud franchise slip deep into an abyss of mediocrity. Team owner , Bob Nutting and GM Neal Huntington , have sought to nurture the talent within their farm system , while seeking to be judicious with regard to the team’s payroll . In addition , the Pirates and their home venue of PNC Ballpark in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania , remains amongst baseball’s poorly supported teams with an average attendance of 24,474 per game .

Andrew McCutchen will be joined by teammate Joel Hanrahan as the Pirates’ sole representatives in the All Star Game which will be played at Kauffman Stadium , in Kansas City , Missouri, home to the Kansas City Royals . In stark contrast , the Texas Rangers leads all teams in the number of players chosen (eight) for the mid-season event , as Ron Washington has eight of his players on the AL roster .

If ever there was a time for the Washington Nationals and specifically GM Mike Rizzo to think ahead , rather than continuing to make asinine statements as to the role of his starting ace Stephen Strasburg . Then now would be it , as team seems on the brink of making a breakthrough competitively as a legitimate contender for the postseason. But much of that will be predicated on whether or Rizzo and the ownership group makes the case to reverse their decision on Stephen Strasburg not going over 160 innings pitched for the season . Currently , Strasburg (9-4, 2.82 ERA, 128K’s, 99.0 IP) leads the Nationals’ pitching staff in strikeouts but it has been Gio Gonzalez (11-3,3.01 ERA) who leads in terms of wins . The loss of Stephen Strasburg , were he to meet criteria being set by the general manager would be a disaster , albeit Rizzo sees this all as being in the best interests of the organization and their long-term investment in their pitching ace. If as projected , and Strasburg is pulled having pitched 160 inning then his final start of the season then by late July or early August will be the last time that the Nationals’ fans get to see the young “ phenom” pitch . I can only surmise that team manager Davey Johnson and principal managing partner Theodore “ Ted” Lerner are in complete agreement with the general manager’s decision but I do feel that this decision is a mistimed one ! Is there an ulterior motive and how else can this decision be full explained in light of team’s progress this season ? Granted , 2011 Strasburg was shutdown , having to undergo Tommy-John surgery on his right elbow . So perhaps , we can assume the organization is seeking to protect Stephen Strasburg , taken as the number one overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft . Strasburg’s agent Scott Boras may not be entirely happy with the situation but his client will remain “ the face of the franchise “ for the foreseeable future .

Alex Rodriguez , remains a polarizing figure in the game of baseball . Love him or hate him , there is no denying in spite of his achievements on the field of play. The player’s now infamous 2007 interview with Katie Couric will forever cast doubts as to Rodriguez’s honesty and integrity . Having lied to the reporter as to his use HGH and anabolic steroids , it would later be revealed he did in fact used prohibitive substances , as he looked to apportion blame elsewhere for his lack of honesty . A cause-celebre` , one has to ask how it is that this three-time AL MVP winner can be so despised in spite of his undoubted talents ? . Alex Rodriguez is the game’s highest paid player and unquestionably the highest salaried player on the New York Yankees’ roster . It can be justifiably argued that Rodriguez might not even be the best player on that prolific Yankees’ team ? That accolade if anything , belongs to Robinson Cano , and his exploits for the New York Yankees has shown how invaluable he has become to this team . Derek Jeter , long seen as the leader of the Yankees and currently their captain is now in the waning years of his distinguished career . With Rodriguez now enmeshed as part of the organization , it remains to be seen if will be used as one the primary selling points of this distinguished organization .

Drafted number one overall in the 1993 MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners . Alex Rodriguez seven-year foray with the organization would indicate his precocious talent , shown in the minors and paraded as his career has progressed in the Majors . With Scott Boras as his agent , Rodriguez was able to parlay his talents , that would see him depart from the Mariners and sign with the Texas Rangers for what was then the highest salaried contract in professional sport’s history . Ten years $252 million and a great deal of heartache for an organization , whose co-owners at the time Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette possessed about as much business acumen and integrity as a corrupt third world dictator. In the three years that Rodriguez spent with the Rangers , the team would finish no never finished higher than fourth within the AL West (from 2001-03). Subsequent years of mediocrity and the very fact that the Rangers would be an unprofitable organization that would subsequently be placed into bankruptcy proceedings by the completely inept stewardship of Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette .

With the Rangers not being able to compete within the AL , the ownership group sought to trade Alex Rodriguez. The New York Yankees agreed in principle to take the play off the Texas Rangers’ hands , sending Alfonso Soriano in the opposite direction but it would lead to an unprecedented arrangement that would see the Rangers still . having to pay 55% of the remaining seven years of the Alex Rodriguez’s $252 million contract . How this arrangement could suborned by the MLB hierarchy simply sheds further light as to what is wrong within the game of baseball from an economic standpoint . MLB Commissioner Bud Selig gave this deal his blessing without so much as a “bye your leave” or any real scrutiny from anyone within the league hierarchy.

Rodriguez is the active home runs’ leader with 642 home runs to his name as well leading the runs batted in (1,930) . Alex Rodriguez’s sole ambition beyond having won his sole World Series ring (2009) , has to be surpassing Barry Bonds’ all-time home run tally of 762 . The player’s postseason heroism during 2009 has been of the few occurrences where Rodriguez has been at his very best during the playoffs. . Is it possible where we could see the third baseman perhaps lead the New York Yankees back to the World Series and propel them to another victory ? Well that is something that awaits us once the regular season resumes this upcoming Friday , as the team seeks to main their dominance of the AL East .



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In light of the points raised within this piece do you believe that the right decision is being made by Mike Rizzo of the Nationals and his wish to shut down Stephen Strasburg once he has pitched 160 innings for the ball-club ? And as a fan of the game do how do you view the career of Alex Rodriguez as a player , given his missteps in terms of his avowed use of an illicit substance ? Can the case be made that Rodriquez is “still the best player in the game , albeit that he is the highest paid player in the game ? Simply, leave a comment as you see fit .


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(1) PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 2: Andrew McCutchen (22) of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates after scoring on an RBI double by Garrett Jones (46) (not pictured) in the fifth inning against the Houston Astros during the game on July 2, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images …

(2) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen (22) hits a pitch for a double with the bases loaded against the Minnesota Twins, driving in three runs in the second inning of the baseball game on Thursday, June 21, 2012, in Pittsburgh. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic ….

(3) Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg sits in the dugout during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Friday, July 6, 2012, in Washington. The Rockies defeated the Nationals 5-1 . AP Photo/Evan Vucci …

(4) Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo is seen with Stephen Strasburg . The general manager insists that the pitcher will not pitch beyond 160 innings for the season even if the team is still in contention for the NL East divisional crown. There has been a great deal of speculation that the front office may well reverse their position based upon the team’s standing. AP Photo / Mitchell Martin ….

(5) BOSTON, MA – JULY 7: Mike Aviles (3) of the Boston Red Sox tags out Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees after he was caught off of first base during the third inning of game one of a doubleheader at Fenway Park on July 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images …




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Mr Deeds Goes To Washington ……..

Mr Deeds Goes To Washington ……..

tophatal ……… April 30, 2012 ….7:47:09 PM

I’ve read where a lot of patrons and contributors within this forum have been somewhat surprised but at the same time excited that the Washington Nationals (14-8) sat atop of the NL East . As recently as last Wednesday the team had one of best records in all of baseball. That being said the Nationals have faltered somewhat recently in their schedule having lost four straight . The Washington Nationals now find themselves tied within the division with the Atlanta Braves (14-8) and it has to be said and they have not done themselves any favors with their recent swoon . Much of the Nationals’ woes have come from the fact that the team’s offense is one of the most anemic within the NL .


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Team GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson have sought to assemble a team that would be able to contend within the NL as as the rest of baseball. Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are seen as the ” faces” and future of the franchise . Both are number one draft picks from the MLB Drafts of 2010 and 2009 . Bryce Harper and Strasburg are represented by uber-agent Scott Boras . Anyone who has seen Boras in action will know that he has become the one agent which the vast majority of owners and general managers seem to despise. From my own perspective , it’s as I have said all along you simply allow the agents to dictate the salary scale for the free agents and you simply get what you deserve . Just ask the Nationals’ front office how they now feel about Jayson Werth’s contract and the mere fact since signing along the dotted line for the deal he has been amongst the least productive players at the position.

For those who for some reason through sheer idiocy seem to be buying into the premise because of a mere 22 games played the Washington Nationals are potential contenders for the NL pennant as well as the World Series . I’d recommend you take a step back and simply watch this team as they try to play some semblance of consistent baseball. And the same can be said of the rather inane morons who continue to believe that the Kansas City Royals are a team on the rise . Simply wake the fu_k up and smell the coffee , as the Royals are no more a serious contender within AL than Newt Gingrich could be considered a legitimate contender for the Republican Party Presidential candidate for the upcoming national election this upcoming November . An asshole, like Gingrich had no set mandate or policy platform and __ stating that he was running on a Conservatism stance , seemingly ran up in excess of $6.5 million in campaign debt to simply prove what the vast majority of the public had to have known , Newt Gingrich is nothing more than a conceited and narcissistic bastard ! In this day and age what the f_ck is a Conservative platform ? Does it mean that those on the “right of the political aisle” are simply more f_cking corrupt and crooked than their counterparts on the Left ? And for the fans who are living in a vacuum as it relates to the Royals , simply look at the team’s record over the last eight years at least and then suggest to me what indications if any there are to imply that the Kansas City Royals can actually contend within AL Central ? At 6-15 the Royals are not going anywhere this season , even if their frigging lives depended on it ! Get a god damn clue people , it is what it is and that’s it !

The Washington Nationals’ next game pits them against the Arizona Diamondbacks (11-11) at Nationals Ballpark , in Washington , DC . And as good as Taking the mound for the Nationals will be Jordan Zimmerman (1-1, 1.33 ERA ) against Trevor Cahill …. (1-2 , 3.70 ERA) of Diamondbacks . The teams will play a three game series beginning today , ending on Thursday . And there , the players taking aim as the starting pitchers will be Ian Kennedy (3-0, 3.88 ERA) against Ross Detwiler (2-1, 1.64 ERA) . These series of games should tell us overall a great deal in terms of objectivity as to the directions of both teams and their intent as to postseason aspirations . Neither team can ill-afford to play sub-bar baseball as in the coming months knowing full well that during the finals months of the season the ” contenders” tend to begin to separate themselves from the ” pretenders ” . But also , one has to bear in mind that it wasn’t until the final day of the regular season schedule of 2011 that we would eventually know who the wildcard recipients would be within the AL and NL , respectively . Could that scenario possibly arise again this year , at the culmination of the regular season ? Your thoughts on the matter ?

Now as good as Bryce Harper appears to be , I can’t help but wonder if placing this much attention on the young phenom at this stage of his career will be in the best interest of the player ! The Washington Nationals are under enough pressure as it is to succeed with Mike Rizzo , team owners Theordore “Ted Lerner and his managing partners are seeking to have some semblance of success with this franchise . Lerner also just happens to be the co-owner of the NHL’s …. Washington Capitals as well as the NBA’s Washington Wizards . And for the nation’s capitol , well it has been some considerable time since they have witnessed a major sporting event in which one of their professional sports’ franchises have been a part of a postseason spectacle .

If the Washington Nationals are to have any semblance of success then much of that will be predicated upon the performances of their pitching ace Stephen Strasburg . As the starting pitcher on this rotation , that also has Gio Gonzalez , Ross Detwiler and Jordan Zimmerman . And a great deal will be asked of the rotation as the season progresses for the Nationals . The team’s ERA though not extremely high I’ve no doubt that the coaching staff would like to see that figure a great deal lower !

The Washington Nationals are laboring under the belief that having brought up Bryce Harper from the minors it would provide the team with the much needed offensive spark . I see this as nothing more than an act of desperation on the part of the front office , simply because already they’re already at their wits’ end as to how best get this anemic offense rolling . Jayson Werth hasn’t provided the leadership sought and he has simply yet to live up to that rather exorbitant contract signed as a free agent after he left the Philadelphia Phillies . Werth , like his two younger teammates are also client of the lugubrious Scott Boras and as I alluded to earlier the agent has done more to show out of touch the team owners and general managers just happen to be , when it comes to the economic climate of the game as it relates to player and team salaries . Boras and his peers have worked steadfast with the MLBPA (union) to make sure that the players are financially well rewarded . Bear in mind ., with the recent sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers , questions have arisen as to the whole process and what interference may well have taken place with Bud Selig interjecting himself in the midst of the transaction with the new owners led by Hall of Famer …… Magic Johnson and his partners from Guggenheim Partners LLC , while the organization underwent bankruptcy protection and reorganization . Not much has been made of this by any of the so-called MLB tv analysts or journalists , who are said to have any sort of knowledge as they have sat idly by , like lap dogs , merely hanging unto Bud Selig’s every word like a mesmerized drug induced individual . And when that shit simply happens you simply know , that the likes of Kurkjian and Olney have no fu#king common sense or any god-damn intelligence whatsoever !

Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian for all of their apparent insight have been the type of commentators and historians of the game who’d rather embellish and gloss over certain facts , rather than report much of the malfeasance and sheer gross misconduct by many of the game’s highest ranking executives , owners and the players , themselves . Doubt my word ? Simply look over their stories as it relates to many of the reports that they have covered over the last decade and a half within the game of baseball and simply judge for yourself .

As I alluded to earlier , I really don’t believe that the Washington Nationals are amongst the best teams within the NL ! There are way too many flaws on this roster and even if should make the decision to acquire a top-line free agent at some point leading up to or after the trade deadline . I sincerely doubt that will be enough for them to challenge the likes of the St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Dodgers , San Francisco Giants , Philadelphia Phillies , Atlanta Braves or the Arizona Diamondbacks , for that matter .

In truth the nation’s capitol is in need of some real excitement beyond the hypocrisy of what now exists within the alleged ” Hallowed Chambers” of the US House of Representatives , the US Senate and that of the Presidential administration of Barack Obama . Granted, Washington Redskins’ fans believe that it is now a new dawn , with the ringing in of the RG III “era” and the draft choices made that will bolster the existing roster . But in all honesty does anyone truly believe that Robert Griffin III will be able to replicate the success achieved by Cam Newton as a rookie in his first season with the Carolina Panthers , as was attained in 2011 ? Newton , single-handed took that team upon his back and far exceeded expectations. I sincerely doubt that RG III will be able to do that under the coaching auspices of Mike Shanahan , and his son , Kyle Shanahan ! And it is these expectations that are now also being unduly placed upon the shoulders of both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg at this juncture . Failure will undoubtedly be a real cause for concern for each of the players in question but at the same time limited success as it exists will be fleeting . So in that respect the fans will simply have to make of it what they can until there is some semblance of something tangible arising out of this all .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

Do you believe that the Washington Nationals can rebound from last season’s poor showing to perhaps be a major factor within the National League this season ? Or do you see it as more of the same from an organization that simply has ideas of grandeur above their very own station and expectations ? Simply chime in with a thought on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

Picture and slide show details below.

(1) LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 29: Bryce Harper (34) of the Washington Nationals looks on before the game with the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 29, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(2) Left fielder Bryce Harper (34) of the Washington Nationals runs off the field after catching a fly ball for the third out of the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 29, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 2-0 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(3) Matt Kemp (27) and Justin Sellers (12) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after the game against the Washington Nationals on April 29, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 2-0. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(4) Los Angeles Dodgers’ James Loney , right, watches his two-RBI single as Washington Nationals catcher Jesus Flores looks on during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, April 29, 2012. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

(5) Starter Gio Gonzalez (47) of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 29, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …..

(6) Stephen Strasburg (37) of the Washington Nationals pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(7) Manager Davey Johnson (5) and general manager Mike Rizzo, (left) ,of the Washington Nationals talk before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on July 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. Getty Images /Greg Fiume ….

(8) Washington Redskins first round NFL football draft pick , Robert Griffin III, speaks at a press conference, Saturday, April 28, 2012, in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Nick Wass ….

(8) Washington Redskins first round NFL football draft pick, Robert Griffin III, poses with a Redskins jersey at a press conference, Saturday, April 28, 2012, in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Nick Wass ….

(9) Washington Redskins first round NFL football draft pick, Robert Griffin III, poses with a Redskins jersey at a press conference, Saturday, April 28, 2012, in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Nick Wass ….

(10) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 26: Robert Griffin III (R) from Baylor holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Griffin was selected #2 overall by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images …..



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You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !

You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !

I’m sorry but being an avid NBA fan I’ve always loved the spirit of competition and that goes through a whole litany of sports that I’ve either grown up participating in or watching from afar. At present but there’s no other way to explain it but there really are some god-damn awful teams in the league at present . And it’s clearly down to the lack of real quality coaches in the NBA and the very fact that in large part many of the players simply aren’t that good.


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At present the two worst teams in the league record wise are Minnesota Timberwolves (11-30) and the preposterously bad Cleveland Cavaliers (8-39). I’m sorry but not even Byron Scott can now coach this team out of the mess that they’re in. Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert may well have made the fans in Cleveland a promise that a NBA title banner would be raised inside the Quicken Loans Arena before LeBron James and the Miami Heat would be a led to title by the former Cavaliers’ player. And I know that as of late the Heat have had their problems in the league with a number of setbacks and the fact that their triumvirate of James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have suddenly become injury prone and the very fact that the team’s —- productivity has been a little inconsistent . Well it won’t hide the fact that they’re still one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference .

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra I’ve no doubt is a capable coach and will right the ship and I can see them contending . The same however cannot be said of the Cavaliers as they descend into an abyss of mediocrity. There’s not been enough that can be said about this team as they have lost 20 consecutive games . And if you thought that statistic was bad then you’ve only got to simply look at the team’s statistics to see how bad things have really become for the organization as a whole. Even with a veteran such as Antawn Jamison on board the Cavaliers simply hasn’t had an answer for any of their opponents that they’ve met this season.

It goes without saying that the only hope that the Cleveland Cavaliers may now have is to go for broke and simply just “tank the season” in the hope that they can earn one of the top picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. And with there being such an abundance of talent in the college ranks namely Kemba Walker , Jared Sullinger , Darius Morris , Marcus Morris , Jimmer Fredette , and Kyle Singler amongst a litany young college players who’ll be looking to make their mark at the professional level. It may well on appearance not be such a bad thing were the Cavaliers to go down that particular path. At this juncture I’m wondering also how Dan Gilbert’s demeanor has to be doing . In an offseason where he berates LeBron James for abandoning the team , I find it mildly amusing that much of this could have been avoided had both parties involved acted with common courtesy rather than letting this idiotic play out in public for their own personal consumption !

Now while no one can deny that John Wall had a stellar collegiate career with the Kentucky Wildcats but his career thus far with the Washington Wizards (13-35) has been anything but average at best. And while praise has been heaped upon the player I can’t help but feel that they’re simply not good enough to be even competitive within the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. A number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft Wall was seen as the corner piece of this team with him perhaps working in part alongside Gilbert Arenas . But alas, that wasn’t to be as the seasoned veteran was shipped off to the Orlando Magic as part of a multi-player multi-team deal .

Say what you will but the Wizards’ fans in attendance at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC can’t have envisaged this all unfolding as a spectacle in front of their very eyes. Their season has been bad enough as it is with the inconsistency playing to all facets of the Wizards’ game . And with what has taken place with the Washington Redskins and their rather mundane season under the tenure of Mike Shanahan , Kyle Shanahan and that rather mediocre coaching staff , in truth one could have a great deal of sympathy for the fans in the nation’s capitol. It’s not as if the Washington Nationals were about to provide them with any solace whatsoever. Although the fans are holding out for a change in fortunes for the team this upcoming season at the Nationals Ballpark . I’d say at this moment in time they’d be better off praying for hell to freeze over first before they can see any of the three teams in question actually turn themselves into championship contenders.


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I’m not so sure as to what needs to be done in order for the Washington Wizards to be competitive. From a coaching standpoint this young roster needs to learn as much as they can as fast as they can if they’re to show any semblance of progress . And that’s the real task that Flip Saunders is now facing even with the assistance of his coaching staff led by Randy Wittman and former NBA player Sam Cassell . If this staff cannot get this Wizards’ team heading in the right direction then to my mind then the turnaround in fortunes that they seek won’t be happening anytime soon ! And that will be to the embarrassment of the Wizards’ front office , GM Ernie Grunfeld and that of principal managing partner Ted Leonsis .

Now when these two teams meet at the Verizon Center I’d certainly like to think that the NBA hierarchy won’t have the temerity to make this part of the national broadcast or through their cable broadcast on their own in-house provider NBA Tv . As poor as the two teams have been playing I certainly don’t think that the nation ought to have to endure such garbage ! Simply put , this will do absolutely nothing to enhance the brand of the NBA , certainly not the brand and product that has given us Jordan , Kareem , Malone , Ewing , Magic Johnson , the 95-96 Bulls’ team and a slew of other NBA greats !

As an avid fan of the game just like any other NBA fan I’d prefer to see competitive games with levels of dexterity and athleticism . Unfortunately when the Cavaliers and Wizards meet on Sunday 13 th February that’s unlikely to happen ! Somehow I think at this juncture I’m sure that David Stern is looking for options if not a chance perhaps to ask that both teams simply settle the result of the game by playing checkers rather than subjecting the nation to this particular form of mediocrity on an NBA basketball court .

What thoughts if any do you have on the NBA season and the woefully inept form of the teams lumbering at the bottom of their respective divisions ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and any other as it relates to the NBA .

Alan aka tophatal

Picture and slide show details immediately below .


(1)Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph, right, knocks the ball away from Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Minneapolis. Randolph was charged with a foul on the play. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……….

(2) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Darko Milicic, center, of Serbia, crouches between Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, left, of Spain, and Sam Young in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(3) Danny Granger (33) of the Indiana Pacers shoots against Christian Eyenga (8) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on February 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images ……

(4)Fans hope for the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers losing streak, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers continued a disappointing season, losing 117-112 to the Pacers, as the streak reached 22 straight. I’d like to think that the Cavaliers’ fans have now become very much more appreciative of the team’s losing streak and their continued mediocre effort being shown on the court ? AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(5)Cleveland Cavaliers’ Manny Harris shoots against Indiana Pacers’ Mike Dunleavy, right, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Cleveland. The Pacers won 117-112 to hand the Cavaliers their 22nd straight loss. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …..

(6) Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, center, is flanked by his coaching staff, from left, Paul Pressey, Chris Jent, Jamahl Mosley and Joe Prunty , Monday September 27th 2010 at the team’s training facility in Independence ,Ohio ,. Picture courtesy of Associated Press .

(7) Alonzo Gee (33) of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against the Indiana Pacers at The Quicken Loans Arena on February 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images ……

(8) Washington Wizards point guard John Wall walks onto the court at the end of a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. Wall shot two for 11 with four points in Washington’s 97-89 loss to New Orleans. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ………..

(9) Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders reacts to an official’s call in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. New Orleans defeated Washington 97-89. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ……

(10) Washington Wizards guard Nick Young, right, shoots over New Orleans Hornets forward Jason Smith during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. New Orleans defeated Washington 97-89, despite a game-high 30 points from Young. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ……..

(11) LeBron James smiles as he’s introduced to the crowd at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School with owner Dan Gilbert, left, general manager Danny Ferry, second from the left, and coach Mike Brown, second from the right. In happier times the quartet saw untold success from a competitive and financial standpoint but the past offseason led to a tumultuous upheaval with Danny Ferry re-signing as general manager , Mike Brown being fired and as we all know James left the Cavaliers to ply his trade elsewhere with the Miami Heat. Gus Chan / The Plain Dealer ….

(12) Billionaire internet and media mogul Ted Leonsis the principal owner of the Washington Wizards as well as the NHL’s —- Washington Capitals . Leonsis and his partners bought the Wizards from the late Abe Pollin and his family . Courtesy of The Washington Post/ Getty Images/ Christian Hascher …………


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It’s My Party I’ll Cry If I Want To …Laugh If I Want To ………….. Oh To Be A Nationals’ Fan …….

It’s My Party I’ll Cry If I Want To …Laugh If I Want To ………….. Oh To Be A Nationals’ Fan …….

What can you say about a baseball team whose high point of their year has been the call-up of their young pitching phenom ? The furor that surrounded the call-up of Washington Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg was met with such hype and expectation that one would have believed that the Nationals were actually the reigning World Series champions , rather than the perennial cellar dweller rooted to the foot of the table in the NL East .


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Mr. Precedent! Strasburg fans 14 in debut

Nats edge Pirates in right-hander’s electrifying first start

By Bill Ladson

Washington — Making his Major League debut after 11 sensational Minor League starts, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched seven innings of two-run ball against the Pirates on Tuesday, earning the win and striking out 14 in the Nats’ 5-2 victory.

Delwyn Young’s two-run home run with two outs in the fourth was the only damage against Strasburg.

A sellout crowd of 40,315 saw Strasburg allow just four hits, and his 14 strikeouts established a club record. The 14 strikeouts by Strasburg in a Major League debut were one shy of the all-time mark of 15 set by Karl Spooner in 1954 and J.R. Richard in ’71. Even more amazing was that he struck out no more than nine batters in a game when pitching in the Minor Leagues.

Strasburg, who did the job without looking at scouting reports, threw 94 pitches, 65 for strikes, and didn’t walk a batter. The righty retired his final 10 batters, striking out his last seven.


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In front of an almost sellout crowd and with legions following the game on television , Strasburg proved to everyone who witnessed his performance that he’s as good as advertised. The pitcher’s performance at Nationals Park in the nation’s capital , was one to savor . And their 5-2 victory over the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates might just might be what brings some semblance of respectability to this team . In attendance were just over 40,000 fans cheering on Strasburg , as he pitched a “gem of a game” , striking out fourteen batters , allowing just four hits and two earned runs, in what can be best described as the pitcher’s introduction to the big leagues.

It’d be remiss to think that this one performance will be something that makes the team an immediate power to be reckoned with. But if this is any indication of what Strasburg will be bringing to the Nationals and the game of baseball in particular. Then the fans around in the league are going to be in for something special. As for the fans of the Washington Nationals the this augurs well for theirs and the team’s future. Of which has to be said that the fortunes of this team hasn’t been filled with pleasant memories or anything that borders on the team being successful. Team President , general partner Stan Kasten and majority stakeholder Ted Lerner knows in that
acquiring Strasburg as the overall pick from the 2009 MLB Draft . They knew that the player would be at least one part of the major building blocks needed to make the team all the more competitive and a force to be reckoned with. Strasburg as the overall number one pick of 2009, has risen up the ranks with a great deal of speed. Much of it some might say is undue pressure because of the team’s predicament and that the fans aren’t really coming to the ballpark in droves. The arrival of Strasburg to the league and in particular for the Nationals’ home games will now make that all the more of a reality. Beyond the Nationals , Capitals , Wizards and Redskins . By way of a fan based sporting endeavor there isn’t a great deal to be had on the professional level when it comes to sports entertainment and attending a game in the nation’s capital.

For the coaching staff of the Nationals led by team coach Jim Riggleman and the sending up of Strasburg from their AAA affiliate . This will augment what is a good pitching staff but not a great one. And statistically on both sides of their ball-game the Nationals have some real work to do. If they can show any sort of semblance wherein Strasburg’s appearance can jump start their season . However, they’ll need to work very hard on improving that rather mediocre mark of 28-31 record that has placed them some 6 1/2 games back of the division leading Atlanta Braves (34-25) in the NL East .

They say that when the sun starts to shine it tends to shine brightest on the meek and the most deserving. Of that I’m necessarily sure ! But if we can believe that to be true then God has made sure that the vestiges of his greatness shone brightly upon the Nationals’ organization. In this year’s MLB Draft __ once again the organization was able to pick up the best player in the draft , in high school sensation , Bryce Harper . GM Mike Rizzo was never in any doubt that Harper, an offensive minded catcher was the pick of the litter of a very good talent pool of collegiate and high school players. However, Rizzo has stated that he’d like to see the player converted to either a first baseman or a center fielder for the team’s outfield. Harper , College of Southern Nevada was taken number one overall ahead of pitcher James Taillon out of The Woodlands High School , Texas, chosen and taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates .

Now while we can all commend the Nationals on a job well done. I hearken back to when there was this much furor being supposedly made over another great pitching phenom. In fact there were two of them on the very same team. And “that team” too was an NL representative and much was expected from both Kerry Wood and Mark Prior of the Chicago Cubs . Suffice to say , the Cubs haven’t been the same since those lukewarm days shall we say ? In reality, even when Cubs’ fan Steve Bartman was amidst of the team’s most infamous incident , things still didn’t change for the better for the team or the organization . A leprechaun’s pot of gold, a four leaf clover and a cross bearing St Christopher’s name and the Chicago Cubs would still have been mired in the midst of mediocrity. That’s how bad things were and have become for the team.

Now I’m quite prepared to look at the glass empty or half full as the case maybe concerning the Nationals. But bear this in mind one stellar outing doesn’t a great pitcher or player make. We’ll no doubt get to see Strasburg real sense of character and determination when he has to face real adversity in pitching under pressure. A home game against the Pirates at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. for all sense and purpose he might as well have been pitching against a varsity team or a girls’ softball team. It’s not as if the Pirates are known for the competitive play or offensive presence to begin with ! Let’s see how Strasburg contends with such teams as the Braves, St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Dodgers Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres . Then we’ll see whether or not he’s got the mettle to withstand all of the rigors and nuances of major league baseball. I for one am not yet ready to anoint Strasburg as the “second coming” of Nolan Ryan . Give him four or five years and then we’ll see how those stats will compare. For the time being let those who choose to laud Stephen Strasburg continue to do so. I wonder if his career were to suddenly go south because he couldn’t get command of his pitches and find the strike zone. I’m inclined to believe that those who were calling him “great”, “magnificent” and “spectacular” , might just be willing to then call him a complete bust !



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What thoughts if any do you have on the rather impressive first outing of Strasburg in the majors ? And how do you see him performing in years to come ? What also , if any are your thoughts on Bryce Harper and what do you believe the game has in store for not only both of these players but also the impending future of Washington Nationals as a baseball team ? Do you believe that within five years they will be able to contend for a National League pennant or quite possibly a World Series title ? By all means chime on in with a comment on this and any other thoughts that you might have on the game at present . I’ll look forward to responding to your comments in due time . As always thank you for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………….. 🙂

Nas ……………………Made You Look