Fallout , what fallout ?

Fallout, what fallout ?

After one of the most eventful postseasons in recent baseball history MLB has anointed their World Series’ champion for the 2014 season , with the San Francisco Giantswinning their third title in the past five seasons,defeating the Kansas City Royals . For manager Bruce Bochy , his third title and a dynasty in the making , or should we subscribe to the fact the Giants have been the best team in baseball since 2010? When it has mattered most the ball club have shown their resiliency on the road and proven themselves to be one of the greatest franchises in recent postseason history. Where the Giants stand alongside such great and dominant teams of the past will likely ignite a debate of conjecture and a great deal of bias. Baseball has changed immensely over the past three decades and undoubtedly the managerial acumen and play must be taken into account when trying to assess the achievements of the San Francisco Giants.

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Brian Sabean has proven himself to be a general manager with a great deal of acumen assembling a roster which has been competitive all season long. While the Giants may well have failed to win the NL West division , you simply cannot deny they were by far a better team than divisional champion the Los Angeles Dodgers , who once again proved that a quarter billion dollar payroll($250,000,000) counts for absolutely nothing, when there happens to be no team leadership or managerial leadership to be found within the organization. ,

The Dodgers’ front office where there has been a recent upheaval with GM Ned Colletti being given a lateral move or deemed in some circles a demotion , with Andrew Friedman being brought in the franchise’s operations where he will in fact become Head of Baseball Operations . It begs the question , what now becomes of the hierarchical order , where there now seems to be more executives than there are actual real decision-makers among the managerial staff of this team ? Also, how much latitude will now be given to Friedman, if one his main duties will be to hire a new general manager , while given the full authority in making the decisions affecting all personnel moves concerning the playing staff?

First order of business for Andrew Friedman beyond the hire of a new general manager if thought to be necessary , will be the projected lineup of the Dodgers for next season . With several players having performed poorly , a number of them highly overpaid , the feeling has to be a number of the players in questionare likely to be traded. Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez are two of the players I believe will be placed on the trading block along with Carl Crawford. The trio are not the only team members likely to be jettisoned, but it may well be the place to start, as Andrew Friedman looks to pare down the team’s payroll and then assess the talent within the Dodgers’ farm system for players he believes can contribute to future of the Dodgers as they seek competitiveness and consistency.

This off-season will prove to be one , where a number of general managers around the game of baseball will be seeking to make the type of deals likely to make their teams competitive. While the Kansas City Royals proved themselves competitive during the postseason , my own feeling the reasons why they came up short against the San Francisco Giants , had more to do with their lack of postseason experience among the playing staff . All of the momentum shown during the wildcard game , ALDS , ALCS and the World Series could not hide the fact Ned Yost’s acumen could not make up for the lack of playoff experience and veteran leadership needed.

Lawrence Baer and his fellow partners who make up the ownership group of the San Francisco Giants will have been entirely happy with what they have witnessed this season from their team. A series’ victory , appreciation of the Giants’ value , profits and the likely rise in attendance levels going into next season . Brian Sabean will likely make one or two moves to bolster the team’s roster heading into the upcoming season but if he can keep his core group of players intact , there is no reason to believe why the San Francisco Giants cannot be seen as a presumptive favorite to quite possibly repeat as World Series’ champion. If there are said to be any issues for the Giants in their retention of several players , it may well come down to the fact they will have to deal with the contract negotiations of team members in arbitration seeking a substantial pay raise . World Series’ MVP , Madison Bumgarner , Gregor Blanco , Sergio Romo and Pablo Sandoval , I believe should be offered deals commensurate with their talent, but given the wiles of baseball and the economic imbalances that continue within the game, it is hard to envisage how Sabean is likely to retain all of the players in question .

Larry Baer might well seek to increase the team’s payroll in 2015 , seeking to fall in line with a number of their main competitors ,but I am inclined to believe the team owner and their partners will simply follow the template set by their celebrated general manager Brian Sabean. After-all, the executive’s success can be considered the modern-day blueprint as to how to get the best out of the resources at one’s disposal. The proof has been there for all to see in the last five years .

One of the biggest disappointments of the 2014 season was the failure of the Atlanta Braves to compete within the NL East and not making the postseason . The firing of Frank Wren as the Braves’ general manager was not a great surprise but the retention of Fredi Gonzalez might well have been the biggest surprise of all , as I felt Gonzalez was negligent in his managerial duties along with his managerial staff !Hard to believe , that other than the Washington Nationals whose win of the division was made to look extremely easy , with the Nationals being the only ball-club with a record over .500 within the NL East was simply exacerbated by the mediocrity of the within.

Atlanta and the New York Mets (79-83 [.488]) shared the same final mark with their second placed finish and it begs the question how bad the play within the division much less the rest of baseball over the course of last season ? Fredi Gonzalez was extremely lucky he was retained as the Braves’ manager , but I guess team President John Scheurholz and general manager John Hart believed the manager could not be faulted for the team’s failure and poor play during 2014 . The Braves’ $112.9 million payroll was somewhat middling in comparison to many of their National League rivals and the ongoing economic imbalances which still exist.

Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are said to be two of the players the Braves are seeking to “shop around” during the off-season and the Winter Meetings of the executives , is likely generate a great deal of interest in the duo , players who are seen as being very productive at their very best . Another player likely to be seen superfluous to the Braves’ needs could be BJ Upton whose year with the team was very much understated and less than impressive. Upton the elder sibling of Justin Upton has failed to live up to his five-year $72 million contract , since being acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Tampa Bay Rays.As an avowed fan of the Atlanta Braves if there is to be a player moved by the ball-club this off-season , I would prefer to see BJ Upton moved , as I believe it would be far more preferential to keep Jason Heyward and Justin Upton , simply because there is more of an upside to their respective careers , than a faltering veteran such as BJ Upton.

If there is one thing to be said about the New York Mets , it is, that their fans continue to make excuses for the team’s failings over the past six seasons . Team owners , Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , along with COO Jeff Wilpon have continued to show their lack of initiative and for the well-being of the franchise in spite of their financial burden having been lifted . If you consider being bailed out by a number of financial institutions meaningful , because the owners sought to hide behind their willful negligence in their handling of the team’s finances as being prudent. Then I can only imagine , there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of intelligence among the fan-base or within the inner workings of this organization ! Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi are still trying to figure out how to fit a square peg into a round hole, in terms of the make up of the team’s roster. Not so long ago praise was being heaped upon the shoulders of pitcher Matt Harvey , but with his falling back to earth, rather than the earlier promise being shown , the fans and media alike within the city are now throwing their weight behind their crop of young and upcoming players within their farm system .

Harvey spent the entire 2014 season on the sidelines , due to an injury and the pitching staff though passable did not do enough to ignite the team or make them competitive enough within the NL or baseball in general. The real issues with the Mets laid in the fact their offense was simply inept and downright pitiful.

Terry Collins as the manager of the New York Mets may well have been given a reprieve because of the team’s second place finish in a rather mediocre NL East division in 2014. With talks of Sandy Alderson , said to be pursuing a list of marquee free agents as well as possibly reacquiring Jose Reyes , it begs the question beyond also assessing the farm system, what else is the front office executive prepared to do to make this ball-club truly competitive? New York kicks off their regular season schedule with a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC in the Nationals’ home opener on the 6th April, 2015,.

Fool me once , shame on you , fool me twice , shame on me . A third time and I think we get the picture ! Alex Rodriguez will be allowed that privilege of doing so once again and likely the MLB hierarchy will only be too delighted in proving to be complete imbeciles, allowing the disgraced third baseman to fool the fans of the game once again . With the retirement of Derek Jeter after his two-decade career as a New York Yankees’ player. The game of baseball , specifically the Yankees’ organization are now looking to Rodriguez to pick up the pieces of a team which last season was flawed and in complete disarray. As a player , Alex Rodriguez has never provided the leadership sought on the field of play, let alone away from the field, carrying himself with any type of decorum. Instead, his persona has been one of a conceited individual , hiding behind deceit , lies and blaming others for his own misdeeds and then using his legal representatives to create the facade of his being racially targeted for his using of banned substances as prohibited by Major League Baseball (MLB). The fact that the press sought to ignore this , while Rodriguez’s own supporters and lawyers sought to use this a pretext in his now well-chronicled complaints , defending himself in his arbitration appeal of his suspension, points to his character or lack thereof and a weakened hierarchy and an all too powerful union (MLBPA) who assisted in providing the player with his legal representation.

Baseball under the leadership of Bud Selig has continued to shoot itself in the foot , in its own ass, as well as making complete fools of the fans, while trying to point what they deem to be improvements in the game. The use of modern technology to right the wrongs of umpires who either have no comprehension of the game or the fact they’re overweight , not athletic and archaic monoliths, only points to the fact baseball remains in a damn time-warp of its own choosing. While Bud Selig may well be stepping down in his role as commissioner. his successor Rob Manfred doesn’t exactly exude confidence or seems to be a prudent choice as successor of the now departed Selig. The team owners wanted an ” insider” and as usual, what they sought , they actually got.

The New York Yankees while not being part of the MLB postseason will seek to make a big splash during the off-season , looking to acquire players , while painstakingly eschewing the idea of an organization wanting to be financially prudent. New York was the first baseball franchise to exceed the $200 million barrier in terms of an annual payroll obligations, when they reached the mark for the very first time in 2008 . In the subsequent years the Yankees’ payroll has continued to increase until 2013 when the Los Angeles Dodgers overwhelmed everyone with their gargantuan and all too bloated salary commitments, far outstripping their closest rivals . Alex Rodriguez’s return to the game in 2015, will once again make him the highest paid player in baseball in terms of contract value and base salary , albeit , his almost year-long suspension , saw the player lose in excess of $23.5 million in salary . What Rodriguez is now able to offer the New York Yankees at this stage of his career will be predicated upon whether or not they and the fans believe, he is still capable of hitting of thirty-plus home runs in a season , while maintaining a batting average close to .300 or above . A tall order for a player who hasn’t reached that plateau in quite a while

This upcoming season, I believe the New York Yankees are likely to struggle , simply because at its core this will still remain an aging team , with several of the players now past their prime, with no upside to be seen. Injuries are likely to plague the roster , much as it had done in 2014 , and with their being very little suggest that any of their players at the AAA Level are yet ready to be productive at the Big League Level. It simply suggests the Yankees will revert to ways of old and simply spend their way to success , with GM Brian Cashman leading the charge .

There seems to be this apathy among fans when they try to suggest there are “classy organizations” in baseball. If that were the case , we would actually have the general managers and owners questioning the direction of the league hierarchy and the constant haranguing of baseball’s image because of the players’ misuse of banned substances. Instead , they have chose to remain all too docile, while the players themselves , specifically those are seen as face of baseball , remain all too silent. MLB now has a pathetic image , in spite of a terrific postseason and one of the best World Series in recent history. Unfortunately, those thrilling moments cannot hide the fact, the game is still plagued by steroid cheats ” , and with a union which would rather defend the rights of the players who have knowingly sought to subvert the image of baseball purely for financial gain and acclaim. The pretext offered by the likes of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro , Curt Schilling , Ryan Braun , Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens , Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez , has gone a long way in creating a forlorn image and perception for baseball’s fans , while the postseason can be thrilling , one mere suggestion of cheating, simply knocks the game back on its heels , leaving the fans in great dismay. As to what comes next , we will have to wait and see what the 2015 season has to offer.

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Picture gallery .

In the aftermath of a thrilling postseason in baseball, , what do you hope to see this upcoming year from within the game ? Do you also believe MLB can escape any major controversy over the course of the season concerning the conduct of the players ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) World Series MVP Madison Bumgerner of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after the team’s thrilling 3-2 victory in game seven of the World Series to clinch the Giants’ third title in the past five seasons under manager Bruce Bochy . AP Photo / Chris Elliot …

(2) Larry Baer , San Francisco Giants’ senior managing partner is seen here holding the World Series’ Trophy alongside Brian Sabean , right , after the team’s triumph in the 2014 World Series over the Kansas City Royals . Getty Images North America / Paul Mayhew …

(3) Andrew Friedman is seen here alongside Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten . Friedman, left the Tampa Bay Rays to accept the position as the Dodger’ Head of Baseball Operations where he will oversee all player personnel decisions, being directly answerable to Kasten and other senior executives within the Dodgers’ ownership group. AP Photo/ Matt Turner ….

(4) New York Mets’ manager Terry Collins may well have received a lucky reprieve after the team’s surprising second place finish in a very mediocre NL East division this past season . Division champions the Washington Nationals were the only team to finish with an above . 500 record . Yet they fell in the postseason in the NLDS without putting up much of a fight. AP Photo/ Sarah Miles ….

(5) Alex Rodriguez is seen here in the dugout alongside New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi ,left , as the two discuss team strategy. Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season having fought to be reinstated after being given a year-long suspension for a violation of baseball’s substance abuse program , a claim which Rodriguez denied. His return to baseball is seen as a the last chance for the player to resurrect his career and a possible chance of enhancing his prospects of being a future Hall of Fame inductee . .AP Photo/Andrew Matthews …

(6) New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Giardi will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed in 2015. The team has not won a World Series title since 2009 and failed to make the postseason in 2014 , finishing a disappointing and distant second in the AL East , twelve games behind division winners the Baltimore Orioles . This season the manager and front office executive will be looking to Alex Rodriguez to provide some semblance of leadership as well leading the offense which was among the weakest in the AL , as well as MLB overall . UPI / Mark Taylor … ….
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I don’t like Mondays …

I don’t like Mondays …..

Well it’s Monday and in the aftermath of an excellent sports’ weekend we can look back and assess the damage done by way of the results. Major League Baseball and the mystifying play of the teams was beyond bewildering. Two of the series were uncompetitive with the Baltimore Orioles sweeping the Detroit Tigers with immense ease. In the other ALDS contest, the Cinderella story continues with Ned Yost and the Kansas City Royals continuing their march through the postseason after downing the Los Angeles Angels. As to what this might say about a team whose payroll exceeds the Royals’ almost “two to one “ , has me now believing , it’s not about the pay alone , but the quality of the players and their commitment to pursuing the same goals .

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For Angels’ manager Mike Sciocsia , this might have been his last season in charge as the manager of Major League team. Executives , Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto are likely to make the decision relieve Sciocsia of his managerial duties , with several of the players on the current roster likely to be shown the door .

The two remaining series still ongoing, have now become the best of a three-game series, with the Los Angeles Dodgers and St Louis Cardinals’ squared at one game apiece (1-1), with the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants also squared one apiece . Game three for the four teams will take place on Monday 6th October , 2014 with the home teams in both cases seeking to take a 2-1 advantage in their respective series.

Say what you will about the College Football season with the now defunct BCS seeking re-image itself as a more concerned entity and its perceived image by the fans. With intelligence , it is said comes clarity and a sense of purpose, but for collegiate athletics as it relates to football, it is business as usual , with money being the preeminent reason for the game to exist . Where else can you witness such brazen greed among the major conference, with the programs themselves and conference commissioners playing an active role in how the tens of billions of dollars in revenue are disbursed ? I guess the word “shamateurism ” is well represented , with the NCAA playing their part in making sure the fraud continues , albeit the all too naive fans of the game and college athletics believes there still remains some endearing principles being upheld.

If nothing else, with a new playoff format now set to unfold the results one would hope, will play some part in how the empaneled body will seek come up with their premise upon which teams are likely to be playing for a national championship in College Football. Week six’s results were somewhat surprising , with Alabama falling to conference rivals Ole Miss in a very extraordinary result .

We all know how competitive the SEC will be this season , with several teams within the conference likely to be vying for one of the playoff berths. With Alabama’s loss , things have not only been shaken up within the conference , but also among the collegiate landscape and the national rankings . How five weeks into the schedule , Nick Saban’s team can still be ranked inside the top ten having suffered a conference loss while noted unbeaten teams are ranked lower, remains as mystifying as the play of the players during their game against the Rebels.

I am not about to suggest Nick Saban and the Tide’s hopes have been dashed after this defeat, but it is unlikely to be an aid to the team and their long-term goals. Next up for Alabama will be a game against Arkansas (Razorbacks) in a contest likely to be a competitive match-up between these two teams.

It seems rather idiotic the talk within certain circles happens to be the future of Florida Gators’ head coach Wil Muschamp after an indifferent season in 2013 and a rather tenuous start to 2014 . AD Jeremy Foley has stated Muschamp’s job is safe for now and there will be no changes made until the end of the season. Florida (3-1) are a good team , but they are not a great team and while the expectations are always high for a program known for the success gained with Urban Meyer as the head coach. It must be said, the Gators became very complacent after their two most recent national title championships. A great deal of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Meyer prior to his abrupt departure from the program.

The Gators’ defeat came in their week four loss to Alabama in what was to be a reflection of their season so far . If you thought things would get any easier, then consider the fact Florida struggled in their next game eking out a 10-9 win over Tennessee (Volunteers) in a terrifically bad exhibition of football by both teams on the day within the SEC .

Gators’ quarterback Matt Jones was the starter in the game against the Volunteers who struggled constantly as did his backup , Jeff Driskell , but the issues of the team are not just on the offensive side of ball but also defensively which suggest Wil Muschamp and his staff have a great deal of work do before their next game . That contest will be against another SEC behemoth , where Les Miles and the LSU Tigers will be the guests of Florida this upcoming Saturday , 11th October, 2014 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

Heisman Trophy winners often viewed as the best player in College Football for the year they won the trophy or simply for the body of their work during their college career. In recent seasons we have seen winners such as Cam Newton , Robert Griffin III and now Johnny Manziel take the step from the college ranks to the professional level. In 2014 , the front-runner for the award appears to be Marcus Mariota of Oregon (Ducks) , a program simply known for their offensive prowess while showing very little guile on defense . Such are the ways of the programs within the Pac-12 , that it remains easy to understand why those teams have continued to struggle in recent seasons to make inroads in winning a national title.

Mariota and the team were off to an impressive start to their season before being recently upended by conference rivals Arizona (Wildcats) in a lively contest where the two opposing quarterbacks let loose with their array of talents . This was a game which told us a great deal about Mariota, but also likely may , well have forestalled his chances of winning the Heisman this season . I believe he remains the front-runner , where last year’s winner Jameis Winston because of his off-field antics will be overlooked as a repeat winner and where the other likely candidates may well have inched closer in closing the gap on the presumed leader . Todd Gurley , Amari Cooper , Ameer Abdullah , Kenny Hill , Dak Prescott , Everett Golson and Melvin Gordon are seen as the players still in with a chance of claiming college football’s most prestigious individual trophy.

Week seven will see Oregon led by head coach Mark Helfrich lead his team against the UCLA Bruins (4-1) in what is sure to be a lively contest.

You have to wonder how much longer fans of the NFL can endure the idiotic antics , rhetoric and pragmatism of New York Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan . At the start of the season Ryan was extolling the virtues of his team and in particular his quarterback Geno Smith. Five weeks into the NFL season and Smith remains one of the least productive quarterbacks in the league and his frailties and tendencies are still being exposed .

Coming off the wrong side of an embarrassing defeat, where no real explanation could be offered up by anyone on the Jets’ coaching staff or roster . It easy to now understand why everyone might want to hide their heads in shame . Not only did Philp Rivers and the San Diego enjoy exploiting the New York Jets’ secondary, but I got the impression had the Chargers not made a number mistakes the margin of victory certainly would have exceeded fifty points instead of the end result of 31-0 , in a rout of the Jets.

There are few alternatives for Rex Ryan with regard to demoting Geno Smith and then calling on a veteran such as Michael Vick . The former starter with both the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles is now on the downside of a less than stellar career . Things are unlikely to get any easier in six when the New York Jets host the Denver Broncos who are coming off the demolition of the Arizona Cardinals this past week . Needless to say , Peyton Manning is likely to revel in the task of shredding the Jets’ defense throughout this contest.

In week seven the Jets will lock horns with the New England Patriots in a game which will likely have a bearing determining the AFC East , where the play has been less than impressive from the teams within the division.

New England have been far from convincing through their first five games , A> with some now questioning the consistency of Tom Brady’s play and of the defense and offense in particular . A great deal of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of head coach Bill Belichick and his coaching staff who seem to be showing complacency in a number of areas. A case could be made that Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are failing in their respective duties without pointing blame at the Pro Bowl quarterback . And while the Patriots lead the AFC East , the division is by no means sewn up , albeit, it remains a poor division in terms of the overall play witnessed this season.

Policy or no policy , the idiocy of the league as well as their front office executives remains bewildering and rather self-absorbed . Who are the NFL trying to protect , if not themselves ? Clearly, neither Roger Goodell or the owners have the faintest idea about reality and the world they conduct business in, other than to make money at the cost of consumers , and the legions of female fans of the league. As for the insistence of the league, it remains conscious of their duties in fighting off all stereotypes of their image, concerning player misconduct, consider the negative stories which have engulfed the league recently and the response from the NFL , certain members of the hierarchy without the failure of the NFLPA (union) and its executive committee to step up and issue an official statement. Instead there has been a great deal of rhetoric , pragmatism but above all , a great deal of goddamn hypocrisy and apathy on the part the traditional male fans , who seem to be Neanderthal in their nature and thinking .

Colin Kaepernick and the Forty Niners have been indifferent in terms of their performances this season . Having landed a multi-year , multi-million dollar contract which makes the quarterback among the highest paid players in the NFL . It would be true to suggest through five games, Kaepernick seems a mere shadow of the player who took the franchise to their most recent playoff successes , albeit they failed in their ultimate goal of claiming a Superbowl victory.

Kapernick and the San Francisco 49ers(3-2) will be in for a tough battle with the Seattle Seahawks(3-1) as they each seek divisional supremacy within the NFC West this season . The divisional games between these two teams this season should tell us a great deal about both teams as well as the two opposing quarterbacks , Colin Kapernick and Russell Wilson . Wilson for his part almost single-handed took apart the woefully inept Washington Redskins(1-4) in the latest chapter of another bad Monday Night Game this
season
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With there being a great deal on unrest now said to be ongoing within the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room and the adversarial approach now taking place between head coach Jim Harbaugh and his players , it remains to be seen whether not the coach last the season or the possibility he might be fired by Trent Baalke .

It’s still early days yet , but with a new owner in tow , Tom Benson of the New Orleans Pelicans has to be hoping the franchise he purchased will one of the teams likely to be very competitive this season . With Anthony Davis coming off a FIBA World Cup medal tournament win and the player being the centerpiece of head coach’s Monty Willams’ ambitions for this team . It will be interesting to see how the players fare once the regular season gets underway.

While I believe the Pelicans to be a good team , they are not yet a great team and they have no real pedigree or body of work to show they will be one of the better franchises within their division much less their conference this upcoming season. What we are aware of, is the very fact they have a young core group of players quite capable of excelling at the highest levels when coached by a very good staff . Dell Demps has assembled a roster he believes will be good enough to make a competitive challenge within the Southwestern Division and Western Conference this upcoming season .

Anthony Davis , a supporting cast of Jimmer Fredette , Tyreke Evans , Luke Babbitt , Eric Gordon , John Salmons and Austin Rivers are likely to provide Pelicans’ fans with a number of highlights this season. In the preseason the team has already had their way with an experienced Miami Heat team , that may well appear to be still shell-shocked after their rather shocking display in NBA Finals last season.

The Pelicans will open their regular season schedule against the Orlando Magic in a game where the home team will have a distinct advantage. Regular season meetings between the two teams over the past four years have been entertaining and wild, with the emphasis placed on offense over defense. Anthony Davis will be viewed as the focal point of the team, but I believe it will be Tyreke Evans who will prove to be one the primary mainstays for the Pelicans over the course of this season . Games against the San Antonio Spurs will be of particular interest , as it will be a way for the Pelicans to test the merits of the team .

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Picture gallery .

In the aftermath of this sports’ weekend , what do you feel was the biggest story to unfold and which event do you think was simply over-hyped and merely the media looking to make something out of nothing ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Nelson Cruz gestures after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning in Game 3 of baseball’s AL Division Series against the Detroit Tigers, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Detroit. Cruz was one of the primary reasons why the Orioles swept the Tigers in three games to make it to this season’s ALCS where they will face the Kansas City Royals with the winner representing the AL in this year’s World Series . AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …

(2) Baltimore Orioles’ Nick Markakis , right, and Nelson Cruz celebrate after Baltimore defeated the Detroit Tigers, 2-1, in Game 3 of baseball’s AL Division Series Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014, in Detroit. Baltimore won the series 3-0. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(3) Kansas City Royals’ Eric Hosmer , right, celebrates his two-run home run with Alex Gordon in the 11th inning against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 2 of baseball’s AL Division Series, in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. AP Photo/Gregory Bull …

(4) Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, right, celebrates with Mike Moustakas after the Royals’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 11 innings during Game 1 of baseball’s AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Moustakas hit a home rum in the 11th inning. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi …

(5) Trae Elston (7) of the Ole Miss Rebels celebrates after a kickoff against the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 4, 2014 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Getty Images/ Joe Murphy …

(6) Serdius Bryant (14) of the Ole Miss Rebels tackles T.J. Yeldon (4) of the Alabama Crimson Tide on OCTOBER 4, 2014 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi. Mississippi beat Alabama 23-17. Joe Murphy/ Getty Images ..

(7) Marcus Mariota quarterback of Oregon Ducks , seen as this year’s Heisman Trophy front-runner , but with the team suffering their first loss of the season against Arizona , the feeling is the player has now fallen in down the list of favored candidates for this season’s award. AP Photo / Michelle Ward ..

(8) Geno Smith of the New York Jets whose performance against the San Diego Chargers was among the worst of week five among the starting quarterbacks in the NFL on the day . The Jets would end up losing the game 31-0 , with head coach Rex Ryan having to insert Michael Vick in the early stages of the contest. It remains to be seen whether or not Smith will be the team’s starter for week six . Getty Images / Richard Parsons …

(9) Anthony Bennett(42) of the New Orleans Pelicans is seen here with Pelicans’ head coach Mont Williams during a team workout session for Team USA in their preparation for the FIBA World Cup Basketball Tournament held in Barcelona , Spain this year . The team took home the gold medal after a very tough and competitive competition. Getty Images / Phillipa Law …

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Make that ‘two ‘ to go , with a side order of tits and @ss .

There’s something about October …

There’s something about October …

At this time of the MLB season , well specifically baseball’s postseason , teams will either flounder or rise to the occasion. . It has clearly been the case in the divisional round of the 2014 MLB postseason , where this year’s surprise team the Kansas City Royals pulled off a stunning come from behind victory to defeat the Oakland Athletics in their AL wildcard game. Within the NL the Pittsburgh Pirates were simply no match for the San Francisco Giants , who under manager Bruce Bochy are seeking their third World Series title in the past six seasons .

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The Kansas City Royals having their first postseason appearance in almost three decades, made sure they will be around for the long haul and they are now proving their defeat of the A’s was no mere fluke , as they now have the Los Angeles Angels on the brink of elimination, having jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the best of their five-game series in the ALDS contest between the two teams. As to what this suggests about the Angels , after their spectacular season within the AL West is now open to speculation , as too , the future of Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia , should his team lose this series, having captured the divisional crown as well as the second best record within the AL this season.

The failure of Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees’ to make the postseason as baseball bade farewell to the Yankees’ captain, will not provide the player with the fairy tale ending he might have sought inwinning a sixth World Series crown and ring. Simply put, Joe Girardi and his players were never in any real contention to make a bid for a postseason berth. This Yankees’ team began to age fast as their season wore on and there really no signs of them being competitive as their season came to a close.

Baseball’s most successful franchise might well have had a down year , but their closest rivals by way of popularity , the Los Angeles Dodgers were back in the mix once again with the team having made a successful defense of the NL West divisional crown. Along the way pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett enjoyed a rare feat of throwing no-hitters for the Dodgers during the season. As great as the team is said to be , this postseason the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown their flaws and their NLDS contest seems to be turning into a repeat of their NLCS clash with the St Louis Cardinals in 2013, which ended in a lopsided series’ win for the NL Central based Cardinals .

Too early to speak of the Dodgers’ demise ? Perhaps not , but with the inconsistency now being shown by team, I get the feeling Don Mattingly has become increasingly frustrated by the lack of determination shown by several players in the lineup. The Dodgers’ 10-9 loss to the Cardinals was as troubling to watch as it might have been for the fans in attendance at Dodgers Ballpark on Friday night , was deeply disturbing for a number of reasons. Dodgers’ starting ace Clayton Kershaw came up short in his duel with Adam Wainwright , who this season has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the NL .

When this series resumes on Saturday night, Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers will be seeking to place his team back on an even keel, squaring the series when he faces Lance Lynn in game two . An 0-2 deficit for the Los Angeles Dodgers would certainly be an uphill task for the team, as they seek to make a second consecutive appearance in the NLCS , with a view to making their first appearance in the World Series since 1988 when they faced the Oakland A’s, defeating them 4-1 .

It would be pretty much safe to say, the Baltimore Orioles have remained underneath the radar throughout much of the season. The expectations were, they would play a role in determining the destination of the AL East crown , but with the failure of the New York Yankees to compete , the Tampa Bay Rays’ customary swoon and the continued excuses offered up by their fans and management. It would appear the Orioles simply had to waltz their way to the title . Needless , to say , the defending champions, the Boston Red Sox’s fall from grace was baffling , but a great deal of their misfortune came down to the complacency of the players and some of the rather idiotic moves made by GM Ben Cherington during the off-season . As for the Toronto Blue Jays , this was a team that was never really in contention , played without passion and whose front office remains jaded and without a clue.

Buck Showalter and the Orioles have to be looked upon as the prohibitive favorites for not only the AL Pennant but also the World Series, itself. Even with a litany of injuries the manager and his staff have found ways for this team win and to win decisively . Chris Davis has come back down to earth after productive productive 2013 which now has to be looked upon dubiously ,after his being suspended for the use of a banned substance not prohibited under baseball’s drug policy. Makes you wonder, with all of the player’s prior denials on his part , after suspicions were raised about his home run total last season , why no protests concerning his suspension, refuting the evidence ? Clearly , a case of another “steroid cheat “ within the game and baseball’s all too lenient policy when it comes to reprimanding a player for deliberately breaking the rules.

The Orioles will be looking to derail the Detroit Tigers’ title hopes and it would appear that Brad Ausmus and his team are quite quite willing to aid their opponents all too quickly with the task, as the Tigers once again show signs of a team too scared to compete in the postseason. With game three taking taking place place on Sunday, Detroit is in need of the win , to at least have a chance of making this series (ALDS) competitive, already down 0-2 and on the brink of elimination. Bud Norris of the Orioles will be looking to place his team one step closer to their goal, when he faces David Price at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan , on Sunday afternoon.

When Major League Baseball makes the announcement of this year’s nominees for their individual regular season awards it will be very interesting to see whether not Matt Williams , manager of the Washington Nationals is one of the contenders for the NL Manager of the Year. Williams has guided his team to the NL East title while the Nationals have posted one of the best records in the game and leading them to their first postseason appearance in several years . Team owner , Ted Lerner and GM Mike Rizzo have not only shown their implicit faith in their manager, but there now seems to be the belief, he is the candidate they had long sought to bring some semblance of competitiveness to the ball-club after years of struggling , since assuming their current persona as the Washington Nationals . Now stars such as Stephen Strasburg , Bryce Harper , Jordan Zimmerman , Denard Span , Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond will get the chance to appear centerstage in a postseason series for their team.

Facing off against the San Francisco Giants in what has proved to be an entertaining series (NLDS) , the two teams played the longest game in postseason series history , battling through eighteen innings , with an end result of the Giants pulling off a narrow and thrilling 2-1 victory . The season series between the two National League teams have been crisp , thoroughly entertaining and might actually play a part in how this postseason match-up ends.

This series will resume with the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals looking to continue their thrills . For the Nationals in particular, game three will prove to be a decider in whether or not they continue in the postseason or pack up their bags and return home. An 0-2 deficit is not the scenario I believe the Nationals might have envisaged , when they entered this series against the Giants and clearly their fans have to be somewhat devastated they are on the brink of being eliminated from the postseason. Doug Fister of the Washington Nationals will face off against Madison Bumgarner whose postseason heroics of a shut-out for the ball-club has Giants’ fans relishing this contest and perhaps seeing their team inch closer to another pennant and World Series’ title .

This postseason has provided the fans will a great deal of excitement and baseball’s hierarchy has to be enjoying their time in spotlight whereas their NFL counterparts are now self consciously struggling with their image and rather mediocre play through the first quarter of the season .

The Fall Classic is the one time the year baseball has every right to shine , with several players being on show seeking to make a name for themselves along with their teams. As this postseason has gotten off to such an exciting start, I am not so sure which team now deem to be favorite to win the World Series. In the AL it appears the Baltimore Orioles are in the driver’s seat and an appearance in the ALCS against the Kansas City Royals doesn’t quite pose the excitement sought, were they perhaps facing the Detroit Tigers or Los Angeles Angeles, but it could provide the fans with the series they dearly deserve. In the NL , Don Mattingly knows this might be his last chance to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to where many of the team’s senior executives believe the franchise rightfully belongs . In the almost two years of by Mark Walter , Todd Boehly and Magic Johnson , the franchise has spent almost a half billion dollars ($500,000,000) chasing the dream of winning a World Series title . The other nine participants during this postseason , combined, they do not have not the resources to match the financial clout of the Los Angeles’ based franchise.

Baseball’s Achilles’ Heel will remain the lack of leadership shown by Bud Selig , its hierarchy , team owners and his still inherent belief the game can continue along its idle path with, so many economic imbalances , players’ escalating salaries and that of the teams’ payrolls . Yet somehow, it all seems to be forgotten once the month of October comes into being and the postseason begins .

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Picture gallery.

How do you see baseball’s postseason panning out and which two teams do you believe will be making an appearance in this year’s World Series ? Take the time to comment on this and anything else you believe relevant to the topic .

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Kansas City Royals’ Eric Hosmer , center, celebrates his two-run home run with Salvador Perez , left, in the 11th inning against the Los Angeles Angels in m Game 2 of baseball’s AL Division Series, in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. AP Photo/Gregory Bull …

(2) Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout waits in the dugout before Game 2 against the Kansas City Royals in baseball’s AL Division Series, in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Trout and his teammates have performed miserably in the series against the Royals and are now on the brink of elimination facing an uphill task of staving off their 0-2 deficit. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi ..

(3) Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura, left, checks on catcher Salvador Perez after Perez got hit by a pitch during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 2 of baseball’s AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. AP Photo/Gregory Bull …

(4) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp celebrates his home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's NL Division Series in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong …

(5) Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joakim Soria , center, watches as Baltimore Orioles celebrate after Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy , bottom left, scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of Game 2 in baseball’s AL Division Series in Baltimore, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Baltimore won 7-6 . AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(6) Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph tags out Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera at home plate on Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez’s double in the eighth inning of Game 2 in baseball's AL Division Series in Baltimore, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Baltimore won 7-6. AP Photo/Nick Wass …

(7) San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt watches his solo home run in the 18th inning of Game 2 of baseball’s NL Division Series against the Washington Nationals in Nationals Park, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Washington. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(8) San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey signals to the umpire he’s safe after sliding into home in the ninth inning of Game 2 of baseball’s NL Division Series at Nationals Park, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Washington. The umpires ruled, after review, that Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, left, made the tag and Posey was out. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …

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tophatal …. 2014/10/04

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