Charity begins at home , who wants a handout?

Charity begins at home , who wants a handout?

By Tophatal

Alas, what should have turned out to be a stupendous World Series , in essence became something of a non-starter as the San Francisco Giants simply ”bludgeoned “ the Detroit Tigers into submission. What should have been an exceptional series given the merits of both teams as their divisional as well as pennant winners . Baseball’s postseason finale ending up being, such a one-sided affair , that the only thing that can be taken away from the event, is that the Giants are head and shoulders above everyone else in the game. For the New York Yankees’ fans out there , there is a right way and a wrong way, in doing things when it comes to assembling a team and in terms of a team’s salary. I guess that over the past four years , GM Brian Cashman has not been hitting a home run out of the park on either account .

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Game four proved to be anticlimactic, as once the Giants’ pitching staff got into a flow and with the timely hitting by the team’s offense , you simply knew that Jim Leyland’s players had no answers for the situation that they found themselves in. It is one thing to be swept, but to be “swept” so unmercifully , had to be completely embarrassing for the Detroit Tigers’ organization. The MLB hierarchy had a few positives to take away from this all , with the new wildcard berth playoff format , but beyond that , there was nothing truly memorable about this World Series , that so thoroughly uncompetitive because of the overall lack of effort from the Detroit Tigers. World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval , has in essence made the Giants’ fans forget about the Melky Cabrera fiasco and the player having the miss the San Francisco Giants’ foray this postseason. It seems highly unlikely that the slugger will be back in 2013 , with GM Brian Sabean and the team’s ownership , unwilling to commit to the player long-term. Kudos to the San Francisco Giants and their fans on a fantastic season , as it was well deserved !

Week eight in the NFL offered up some real “dogs” in terms of several of the games played, and anyone who believes that this is simply the best that league has to offer , had better revise their thoughts on the issue. First off, New York Jets’ head coach , Rex Ryan really needs to climb down off his sanctimonious high horse and realize that his team is now in a whole world of trouble after their hideous display against the Miami Dolphins at home. How Ryan could stand there, on the dais during his postgame interview to suggest that there were a number of positives to come out of this game , after your team was soundly beaten 30-9 , is way beyond me ! And for those of you out there , who remain Tim Tebow apologists , please get a clue , one if not two ! Tebow has not shown that he has the capacity to play in this league, and that has been especially true this season . Thankfully the Jets will have some respite as Week 9 becomes a bye week for the franchise , but they will resume their schedule in week 10 , with a game against the Seattle Seahawks , at Q West Field , in Seattle , Washington. The loss, drops the New York Jets to a (3-5) mark, and places them firmly at the bottom of the AFC East . There you go Rex, how about those apples, then?

From a public relations’ standpoint , the New Orleans Saints will have their impassioned throng of fans but going beyond that point , one has to admit that 2012 has been an exceptionally bad season for this organization. Drew Brees may well have been lauded for surpassing Johnny Unitas’ mark of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Yet, in reality, this has been the only positive for the team throughout their schedule, to date.

Sunday afternoon, the Denver Broncos played hosts to the New Orleans Saints at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium , in a clash of two veteran quarterbacks. Peyton Manning was leading the Broncos , who seemed to have hit a groove , and were playing to the height of expectations. For the Saints coming into this game and specifically , the events of the past few weeks , as it relates to the unresolved issues concerning the bounty scandal , which still remains unresolved because of the buffoonery of NFL Commissioner , Roger Goodell.

If the Saints felt that coming into this matchup they would be able to offload their frustrations and built up tensions , well nothing could have been further from the truth. This was not a trap game , nor was it a situation where you could have envisaged the team playing so badly. However, that was exactly what was on display , as evidenced by disastrous display , as the Saints were roughed up and repeatedly punched in the mouth , as they suffered one of their worst losses of the season in a humiliating 34-14 defeat. It is pretty much safe to say that at this point of the season , it now comes down to all or nothing for the New Orleans Saints , because other than the lowly Carolina Panthers (1-6) , Joe Vitt’s team would now be firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC South. The Saints can salvage some of their reputation and make an initial approach of giving their season some semblance of meaning, when they face the equally inept Philadelphia Eagles , on Monday night , 5th November at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, in New Orleans, Louisiana ,. A loss would do irreparable damage to the team , but bear in mind with the ongoing off the field fiasco now in play , I am not so sure that there is a real desire to see the New Orleans Saints succeed !

I’ll say this for Jerry Jones , the more he opens his mouth , the more I liken him to a politician who simply doesn’t know when to shut the hell up ! Instead , this proverbial pain the ass, continues to bitch and whine on just about everything concerning the woes of the Dallas Cowboys. The only thing, that now separates Jones from Donald Trump, is a bad coiffure, and an equally bad reality show. But then again, the Cowboys’ games are being televised on a weekly basis and likewise , as with Trump’s reality show ( The Apprentice) , the content is equally as abysmal !

Prior to Sunday’s game between the Cowboys and their arch-rivals the New York Giants, Jerry Jones had professed that his team was still capable of winning the Superbowl and NFC East. Inasmuch, as I admire Jones for his false sense of bravado , absolutely nothing the team has done this season has convinced me that they are amongst the elite within the NFC , much less the best team within the NFC East .

Looks can be misleading , as can be results , as in their first divisional meeting in 2012 , the Dallas Cowboys came away with a well-deserved victory over the Giants in a 24-17 win in Week one . Since that loss , Tom Coughlin’s team has been on a marauding rampage , carving up teams within their path, on their way to a 6-2 record within the NFC East , while sitting a game behind the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons(7-0) within the NFC for the best record in the conference. And while the New York Giants are on the ascent, it now looks as if the Cowboys are now plummeting out of the sky faster than a meteorite. No, it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane , but it’s the Dallas Cowboys and their bullsh#t, falling faster than the sound of a speeding bullet . “ The Cowboys , are who we thought them to be “ ——paraphrasing Dennis Green , and fortunately , I am not yet ready to crown their ass ! And for the Cowboys, money doesn’t necessarily talk by way of the team’s salary , but the bulls#it is now beginning to walk backwards towards being mediocre as usual !

Speaking of another franchise , that just happens to be stinking up the joint more than a herd of elephants in a pen at a municipal zoo. No other team, perhaps other than the Panthers , has been more inept than the Philadelphia Eagles . I know that Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid has been given a pass, because of his familial and emotional issues that have befallen the coach this season, the death of his son, Garrett Reid. Now at this juncture the Eagles’ front office has to stand tall and let Reid know , that they will no longer tolerate his ineptitude and that of the team’s , specifically that of the team’s quarterback , Michael Vick . Not long ago , fans and NFL analysts alike, were lauding Vick as perhaps the best “ pure athlete “ to enter the NFL and play the position. As of late, seeing Michael Vick going about his profession in the NFL , is akin to watching an aging male octogenarian struggle with his memory , while trying not soil himself. As his play this season has declined , so too have the fortunes of the Philadelphia Eagles, once thought to be amongst the favorites for the Superbowl this season. Sorry, Eagles’ fans, but this team simply isn’t good enough by any stretch of the imagination!

Lincoln Financial Field , home to the Philadelphia Eagles , was turned into an elephants’ graveyard, as this Michael Vick team defecated all over the stadium in front of their fans. For some reason , Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons were allowed to lay an almighty ass whooping on the Eagles, as they relentlessly pounded the NFC East franchise on their way to a lopsided 30-17 victory. Vick for all of his supposed poise , was a man whose confidence is now shot to hell , as evidenced in his postgame interview , as there are now mounting calls for the player to be benched. He is no longer the team’s best option to secure a victory, much less be viewed , as the team’s best player. As they say however, “ beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. And the Eagles have been far from a thing of beauty this season , and things are unlikely to change over the remainder of the season !

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Week eight , what if anything was the most surprising to you in terms of the results ? And which teams do you now believe are under the most pressure to succeed ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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(1) San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval holds up his MVP trophy after Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won 4-3 to win the series. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(2) San Francisco Giants owner Bill Neukom , right to left, Pablo Sandoval , Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy holds the Commissioner’s Trophy after Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won 4-3 to win the series. AP Photo/Matt Slocum, Pool …

(3) New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Dolphins won the game 30-9 . AP Photo/John Minchillo …

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A hard rain is going to fall ………….

A hard rain is going to fall

By Tophatal

Two games into the 2012 World Series , and it already appears to be looking , that , only one team has chosen to turn up and participate in baseball’s biggest postseason fare. The San Francisco Giants have taken a 2-0 lead over over their AL opponents , the Detroit Tigers , and the game one heroics of Pablo Sandoval , still remains on everyone’s minds. Game two, and it was left to Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner to heap further embarrassment upon an anemic Tigers’ offense.

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If Jim Leyland’s players are to have any chance of resurrecting this series , then the team’s three games at Comerica Park , in Detroit, Michigan , starting Saturday night . Then , we will have to see a renewed and impassioned effort from the Detroit Tigers, as they go about seeking to erase a 2-0 deficit in the World Series. On the mound as the starting pitchers , will be Ryan Vogelsong of the Giants , facing Anibel Sanchez of the Tigers. What cannot be denied throughout this postseason , has been the very fact that the San Francisco Giants have been playing at an exceptionally high level. And if anything, this team seems to be excelling in such a way , that you simply get the impression that no matter what obstacle that is placed in front of these players , Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff would find a way of surmounting those odds . The Detroit Tigers , now look like a forlorn team, simply going through the motions, as they face what appears to be the inevitable . A series’ sweep at this juncture , wouldn’t as such be a bad , but I get the feeling that baseball’s hierarchy , is still hoping that the series can go the full length of seven games or at a bare minimum , six games at least . Anything short of that, and the major financial windfall hoped for by Major League Baseball (MLB) would appear to be for nothing. It remains to seen what will transpire over the next three days , beginning on Saturday night for the resumption of this series.

Not as good as advertised ? Well yes , that would be case after last night’s fiasco at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome/Mall of America Field , in Minneapolis, Minnesota , as the Minnesota Vikings played host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . To describe this game as a mismatch , would be an understatement , as it appeared that at no time during the contest did this Vikings’ team actually seem intent on playing. Head coach, Leslie Frazier , and his coaching staff could not have been entirely happy with his team’s effort . And I am sure that the coach was expecting a great deal more out his offense , which is led by Pro Bowl running back , Adrian Peterson . Vikings’ quarterback Christian Ponder may well have impressed in the early part of the season with his steady play and leadership skills , but in last night’s game , we witnessed an erratic performance from Ponder ,wherein he was harried and harassed by a hungry Bucs’ defense , simply intent on negating the Vikings’ passing game and rushing attack. Christian Ponder’s counterpart , Josh Freeman , may well have had his best game of the season , with the Buccaneers’ offense simply shredding Minnesota’s defense , on their way to an emphatic 36-17 victory over their NFC counterparts.

Buccaneers’ coach Greg Schiano , can now feel assured that the team may well have now found their footing, after something of a sporadic start to their season. The NFC South still remains the domain of the Atlanta Falcons (6-0) this season, but I believe that the Buccaneers at 3-4 , will be hard pressed to even mount a serious enough challenge to the Falcons , much less the rest of the NFC over the remainder of their season !

There is no denying that Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones remains of the NFL’s more lugubrious and outspoken owners. That being said, in recent weeks , Jones’ claims that his 3-3 franchise remains capable of winning the Superbowl has to be laughed at , even out of respect. But that is just , Jerry being Jerry , and not much else beyond that ! I mean , how else would anyone else take much notice of such a poor performing and overrated team ? Well, not unless the Cowboys’ cheerleaders come to a decision that the pregame and halftime entertainment for the team’s home games, will simply have them parading on-field completely naked . Can I get an Amen , on that ?

This weekend at Cowboys Stadium , in Arlington, Texas, when the team plays host to divisional rivals the New York Giants . Tom Coughlin’s team will be looking to cement their lead within the division , with a win over their arch-rivals. A Cowboys’ win at this stage of the season is of the utmost, if they are resurrect their season , and have some semblance of respectability. Tony Romo this season has been inconsistent , as too have the rest of the team , seemingly unable to gain any real traction over the course of their schedule.

The match-up between these two stalwarts should prove to be entertaining, as they always have been, in such meetings . Their last such meeting came in Giants’ home game at MetLife Stadium , in East Rutherford, New Jersey , when Dallas prevailed in a 24-17 victory over the New York Giants . Dallas’ head coach Jason Garrett would probably like nothing more than to win both divisional games over the Giants , and put something of a dent in their rivals’ divisional and postseason aspirations.

It is extremely hard to assess the Detroit Lions, as a team this season . Especially in light of the fact that last year , the franchise gained their first playoff berth in just over a decade. However, that foray was short-lived , when the team came up against a rampant New Orleans Saints’ team that culled the Lions into submission on their way to a 45-28 victory in the wildcard round of the playoffs. This season with the Lions, has more to do with , why Matt Stafford has been unable to find his wide receiver, Calvin Johnson in the end-zone . And inexplicably , one would have to ask , is this really a bad 4-2 team , that now sits at the bottom of the NFC North ? Head coach, Jim Schwartz , has to be perturbed that the team has been so inconsistent, with many questioning whether or not the Lions are actually capable of making the playoffs. It was felt with the growth of the franchise over the past two seasons and the maturation of the Matthew Stafford , this might be the season where we see these players take it to the next level and make a deep run into the playoffs. Now it looks as if they are about to be in a monumental battle just to stay within striking distance of the division leading Chicago Bears (5-1) .

Beyond the struggles of the offense this season , Schwartz also has to contend with a defense that just has not been playing up to their perceived potential . This Sunday however , the Detroit Lions might get the chance to rectify those problems , when they face the equally susceptible Seattle Seahawks (4-3) in a game to be played at Ford Field , in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions will get the chance to test themselves against the Seahawks’ rookie sensation Russell Wilson , as the young quarterback seeks to lead this team to the top of the NFC West , and a post a serious enough challenge to the San Francisco 49ers (5-2). Calvin Johnson is undoubtedly one of the best wide receivers currently playing in the NFL today , and quite possibly one of the best wide receivers to have come along in the draft over the past decade. Johnson , himself, has ambitions to surpass the single season receiving yards’ (,1848 yards), a record held by Niners’ great , Jerry Rice , a holder of innumerable NFL records , far too numerous to mention. The Lions’ receiver, also has ambitions to pass the single season receptions’ mark (143) of Marvin Harrison , a figure achieved by the former Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver in 2002. Calvin Johnson believes it is possible for him to surpass 2,000 receiving yards and 200 receptions in a single season. Astounding marks by any stretch of the imagination , but if the Lions’ passing game remains somewhat stagnant , the struggles for Johnson are liable to continue.

It has been well chronicled that this season the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) have had their issues beyond their injury woes . Todd Haley was brought in to succeed Bruce Arians as the team’s offensive coordinator, as the franchise seeks to reinvent itself . Ben Roethlisberger , known for his passing game has seen fit somewhat to readjust to Haley’s playbook, of which the player was initially critical. However, the real issues now concerning the Steelers , is that the core of this roster , is an aging one , with a number of players whose skillset appears to be on the decline. Mike Tomlin , and his coaching staff will certainly have to get this team up and running , if their season have semblance of respectability. The 2011 postseason proved to be something of a complete letdown , during which the Steelers were blown out of the water by Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos shot a t salvo across the broadside of the NFC North franchise , which sank their ambitions in the playoffs. The result proved to be enough a reminder that the front office really needed to address many team’s issues on both sides of the ball. The 2012 NFL Draft , as GM Kevin Colbert , in conjunction with Mike Tomlin went about rebuilding the roster , with their draft picks and free agency acquisitions.

The Steelers will face a stern test this Sunday, as they host the Washington Redskins , and their wunderkind quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Redskins’ top draft pick of 2012, is the NFL’s third rated passer, who has been putting together, a set of top-notch performances that could up netting the player , the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award . And if you are wondering how the other rookies taken in this year’s draft are in terms of their standings , are doing ? You should note the players in question have been contributing with a great deal of confidence for their respective teams this season. This highly anticipated match-up should prove to be interesting , if their previous meetings are anything to go by.

When the New England Patriots meet the St Louis Rams in a game to be played at Wembley Stadium , in London , England , this will be another of the NFL hierarchy’s broad based reach, in luring further attracting fans on a global basis. The league seems intent on making these games an annual tradition ,which in many instances , has drawn the ire of a number diehard fans. Roger Goodell has a litany of issues to deal , which from a public relations’ standpoint has been handled without as about as much aplomb , as would be expected of an executive , who is simply has no idea , as to what the hell they are doing. Still not out of the woods as of yet , Goodell now has the audacity of having recused himself in presiding over the hearing that deals with the reinstatement of the suspensions of the four players embroiled in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal. There is a growing suspicion that the commissioner’s handling of his whole episode has been poorly handled. And it will continue to be that way , even in light Goodell recusing himself , and then making a request of Paul Tagliabue to preside over those hearings. Having Tagliabue preside over this case, shows no impartiality , as sought by the NFLPA (players’ union) , whose lawyers are providing the legal representation for Jonathan Vilma , Scott Fujita, Will Smith , and Anthony Hargrove. Whatever the outcome of this hearing , I certainly do not believe that the interests of the NFL will be best served , simply because of the league’s poor handling of this whole episode !

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Picture gallery your perusal.

What thoughts or impressions do you have concerning the salient points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit.

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(1) San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval , right, and second baseman Marco Scutaro warm up during workout at Comerica Park in Detroit, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. The Giants are scheduled to play the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of baseball’s World Series on Saturday in Detroit. The Giants lead the best-of-seven games series 2-0 . AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ….

(2) San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy watches a baseball workout at Comerica Park in Detroit, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. The Giants are scheduled to play the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of baseball’s World Series on Saturday in Detroit. The Giants lead the best-of-seven games series 2-0. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …..

(3) Angel Pagan (16) of the San Francisco Giants successfully steals second base ahead of the tag attempt by Omar Infante (4) of the Detroit Tigers in the eighth inning during Game Two of the Major League Baseball World Series at AT&T Park on October 25, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images /Christian Peterson …

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) breaks a tackle by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Letroy Guion (98) during a 64-yard touchdown reception in the second half of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Andy King …

(5) Dallas Cowboys corner-back Morris Clairborne (24) picks off a pass from Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton a Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith , front left, makes the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Charlotte, N.C. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …

(6) Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) catches a pass under pressure from Chicago Bears corner-back Charles Tillman (33) in the second half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast ….

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Lose Yourself ………

Lose Yourself …………

By tophatal ………

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of MLB.com

La Russa announces his retirement as skipper

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

By Joey Nowak of MLB.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

tophatal ……………..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take It For What It’s Worth It’s Simply A Game But In The End What’s At Stake ?

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Take It For What It’s Worth It’s Simply A Game But In The End What’s At Stake ?

By tophatal

So while the MLB postseason is now in full swing with the postponed game six being played tonight at Busch Stadium , in St Louis Missouri ,. The St Louis Cardinals find themselves down 3-2 in a pivotal game that could either end their postseason foray or prolong it dependent upon whether or not they can overcome that deficit to the Texas Rangers . Colby Lewis takes the mound : for the Rangers while Jaime Garcia of the St Louis Cardinals will be his adversary.

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Slide show for your perusal .

In light of the monumental gaffe made by Tony La Russa in game five for which he’s fully accepted the blame . Somehow the the micromanaging by the Cardinals’ manager and the miscommunication between he , his coaches and the bullpen could well cost the team this series . Now inasmuch as I have enjoyed the World Series I have to admit that I do find something missing from this extravaganza ! Perhaps although we have a fabled ball club in this event with the St Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers making their second consecutive appearance as the AL pennant winners in baseball’s showcase finale . There still seems to be something missing from the series , be it the drama , suspense, I can’t quite place my finger on it at all.

With the World Series now tied at three games apiece (3-3) in light of last night’s come from behind extra innings’ win (10-9) for the St Louis Cardinals , a great deal will rest on tonight’s series ending finale . On the mound for the Cardinals will be Chris Carpenter who will be facing Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers . All of the unnerving suspense built up as the series has unfolded will all now come to what one would hope to be a thrilling end . A fitting way to end what has been an improbable and exciting MLB season .

Whatever takes place tonight at Busch Stadium there is one thing to be sure , baseball is looking to make its play as they are witnessing the NBA simply shoot themselves in the foot with the idiotic stance of the league hierarchy and that of the NBPA . MLB will now look to make its play in being viewed as the alternative behind the NBA and all of its drama. Unless I’m mistaken either David Stern being the bombastic and self aggrandizing idiot that he is , and he now seems to be leading hierarchy and owners into antagonistic battle that they simply cannot win without harming the league irreparably. As if that hasn’t been done as it is already ! Opposing him representing the union are Executive Director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher .

Repeated meetings between the league , union in front a mediator from the FMCS leads me to believe that the likelihood of either side reaching an accord is unlikely to happen. George Cohen presiding over these hearings must now be feeling like a kindergarten principal trying to get the pupils under their custodianship to be quiet and simply play nice . That hasn’t happened and things are unlikely to change unless calmer heads prevail .

So here we go again and all of the idiocy now happens to encircle the NFC matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . Both teams’ seasons are at stake because a loss for either , places them each into an abyss that they’re unlikely to extricate themselves from. Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo has had an uneven season even by Jerry Jones’ own lofty standards but at the same there idiots such as Skip Bayless suggesting that the player simply has nothing to prove because the travails and woes of the team have more to do with the decisions made by the team owner , rather than the displays of the players this season. If this is the sort of in depth analysis and insight that Bayless brings to ESPN then it clearly shows that the journalist wasn’t hired by the broadcast outlet for his intelligence or for that matter his journalistic credentials ! Skip Bayless is to sports’ journalism as …(insert words here ) ………… .

I have long maintained that this myth that the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team is like one of the Brothers’ Grimm Fairy tales ! Fun to read but after a whole deal of repetition in reading , it is simply a bore and that is exactly what the Cowboys have become . Repetitive and completely unoriginal and that is even with what we’re led to be believe is an offensive minded coach in Jason Garrett . And as proficient as this team is said to be on offense the real issue I believe is the mere fact that the Dallas Cowboys through their complacency simply do not close out games when they have it within their will to do so. Whether or not that is down to Jason Garrett and that of his assistants led by Rob Ryan as the team’s defensive coordinator.

The talk at the start of this season was simply that with the acquisitions made by the Philadelphia Eagles along with their draft picks they would be viewed as the presumptive favorites within the NFC . Well, let’s just say with the Green Bay Packers at 7-0 within the conference and the woefully inept Eagles rooted at the bottom of the NFC East bearing a record of 2-4 are on diverging paths . All the talk of this Eagles’ team being legitimate contenders have now gone eerily awry. Much of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Andy Reid and the front office led by team president Joe Banner .

If the on field issues are a problem then the sudden outburst by Asante Samuels and his criticism of the organization and the fact that they simply have made his life a living nightmare might just be fueling a great deal of discontent within the locker room. With Pro Bowl caliber players such as Michael Vick , LeSean McCoy , Nnamdi Asomugha , DeSean Jackson , Jeremy Maclin , Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Riley Cooper . I would hasten to ask the question who the hell is now driving this bus ?

Anyone who is not of the belief that both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles do not have a lot riding on this game is clearly need in some form of medication ! This match-up dependent upon which team is one the losing end of a result will at some point begin to realize that in essence will have gone up in smoke .

If the Eagles and Cowboys’ event can or could be described as one of the premiere games within the NFC , then surely the meeting between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers within the AFC has to be considered the marquee game of the day within the NFL . The Steelers will play > hosts to the Patriots at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , in front of what is sure to be tens of thousands of ravenous New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans.

Both the Patriots and Steelers are atop of their respective divisions , with the New England Patriots (5-1) leading the AFC East and the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) leading the AFC North . For both teams this certainly give them a chance to gauge their progress against each other as legitimate contender for the postseason . Certainly given the form of both , over the course of the season thus far , this ought to be a really intriguing match-up between two highly respected franchises.

Coaches Mike Tomlinson and Bill Belichick are at the top of their games when these the two teams seem to meet in the regular season . And there’s a healthy respect by the teams for their adversary , as should be the case when they meet . Though we have all been enthralled with the play of Tom Brady this season , his counterpart Ben Roethlisberger now seems to be finding his customary rhythm after a somewhat tedious start to this season .

These two teams are making credible cases for them to be viewed as the presumptive favorites to meet in the AFC Championship game . But I would dare say that the likes of the Buffalo Bills , San Diego Chargers and New York Jets see themselves within the mix ! For now I think it would be pretty much safe to say that we can gauge Patriots and Steelers as a measure of the teams in AFC and how good they really are .

If the New England Patriots are to have any success against a determined Steelers’ team then the defense of Belichick’s team will have to play at an intensely high level . From an offensive standpoint there is not much to choose between the franchises when they are actually each in full swing .

As prolific as the New England Patriots’ offense is said to be you can’t help but feel that Dick LeBeau as the defensive coordinator of the Steelers will have something up his sleeve which his team will use to negate that combustible threat posed by the Patriots .

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Alan aka tophatal ….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) A fan of the St. Louis Cardinals holds up a sign reading “Weather Forecast in St. Louis Deep Freese” after Game Six of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ….

(2) Teammates swarm St. Louis Cardinals’ David Freese at home after he hit a walk-off home run during the 11th inning of Game 6 of baseball’s World Series against the Texas Rangers Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won the game 10-9 to tie the series 3-3. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(3) David Freese (23) and the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate at home plate after hitting a walk off solo home run in the 11th inning to win Game Six of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals won 10-9 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(4) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, left, throws a pass as Vince Young looks on during a practice at their NFL football training facility Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(5) Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid speaks during a media availability at their NFL football training facility, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Philadelphia. The Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday night, Oct. 30. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …..

(6) Quarterback Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys passes to teammate Jason Witten (82) the St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images ….

(7) Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (90) of the Dallas Cowboys applies pressure to quarterback A.J. Feeley (4) of the St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys would go on to defeat the Rams 34-7 . Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images …..

(8) Coach Bill Belichick chats with Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during a review of a play against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)…

(9) FILE – In this Sept. 1, 2011 file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin gestures before an NFL preseason game against then Carolina Panthers, in Charlotte, N.C. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …..

(10) Wide receivers Hines Ward (86) and Mike Wallace (17) of the Pittsburgh Steelers run out onto the field before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 32-20 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(11) Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a pass during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images …..

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Hot chic pic’ of the day . Maliah Michel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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