The Killer Elite ….

The Killer Elite

Well, baseball season (MLB) is almost upon us , with certain position players due to report to their respective teams within the next few days. For a number of franchises , this off-season has proven to be dramatic, suspenseful and dare one say, even exhilarating ? The MLB Postseasonprovided us with several stories and theplot-lines came thick and fast , so much so,that not even the script writers of Hollywood could have provided us with more drama. Who could’ve foreseen the Kansas City Royals blowing the frames off the doors, as they brushed aside their postseason opponents with a great deal of ease , only to succumb to the wily experience of Bruce Bochy, his managerial staff and the players of the San Francisco Giants , in dramatic fashion of an intense seven-game thriller of a World Series. A perfect ending to the 2014 MLB regular and postseason. Some might say, the Cinderella Story of the Royals would have been the perfect ending, but it was not to be, simply because the lack of postseason experience on the Royals’ roster of last season.

=========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=========================================

Slideshow.

With baseball’s Winter Meetings taking place in the aftermath of the Fall Classic, deals were being made with an alarming speed and regularity. Topping them all , was Giancarlo Stanton’s record- breaking deal with the Miami Marlins. Leaving many flabbergasted and surprised by the contract’s value and length , never-mind where the financial resources might be coming from, considering the Marlins’ menial attendance record for the Marlins’ Ballpark, in Miami , Florida and the fact, since its inception, it has been rarely filled to capacity. That asides, should Mike Redmond and his coaching staff not have this team not in a position to win the NL East or actually gain a postseason berth. The common thread of thought, appears to be the front office led by Michael Hill will be quick to pull the trigger on dealing Stanton elsewhere, rather than having to bear the brunt of a $25 million payout, in the first year of the deal.

From my own standpoint, I believe the Miami Marlins will be hard-pressed to make a serious enough challenge against what appears to be not only something of a revamped Washington Nationals’ lineup , but also on paper, what might be the ” deepest” roster in the entire National League (NL). It will be interesting to see how these two NL East teams are likely to fare over the course of their regular season series in 2015. If the Marlins are to have any semblance of success this season, then Giancarlo Stanton and his teammates will have to be playing their very best baseball right out of the starting gates on Opening Day of the regular season schedule. A one hundred and sixty-two game arduous slog, will prove to be a matter of attrition, stealth and a great deal tenacity on the part of the players and managerial staff, as things begin to play out.

Rob Manfred has succeeded Bud Selig as the MLB Commissioner and as the highest-ranking executive within the game. Whether or not Manfred can succeed where his predecessor repeatedly failed, will be dependent upon how he deals with the issues that have bedeviled baseball and the league hierarchy’s often contentious relationship with the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . The union’s recently elected Executive Director , Tony Clark is a former player whose career in the Majors could be deemed passable. Clark’s predecessor, Michael Weiner’s death cut short his tenure in an executive role, leaves the newly elected union leader as the players’ voice in the collective bargaining agreement for all issues involving the game, beyond the union’s own failure to deliver their concise formal statement on the matter of steroid abuse and the still prevalent deliberate misuse of performance enhancing drugs at the Major League Level and especially within the Minor League , where it now seems to rampant, but widely reported by the mainstream media, whose priority just seem to be the events as they unfold at the Major League Level. Yet, they would have the fans believe, their reporting of their so-called facts, has never been clouded or simply a white-wash, when it comes to the truth or their un-avowed bias of their reported stories .

Coming off his first win of the AL MVP, of which in the future I am sure there will be others, Mike Trout will be looking to cement his position as not only the best young player in baseball, but also the best player to have been drafted in the game since 2009 , the year he was taken by the Los Angeles Angels. Trout in his brief career in the Majors to date, has now become the best player on the Angels’ starting lineup, which has been devoid of leadership. Some might believe it to be an astonishing statement, when you consider the fact, there are experienced veterans on this team, where Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton and C J Wilson are the most recognizable names. The fact remains however, Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff have not put the Angels in a serious position win the World Series in spite of their most recent appearance in the 2014 postseason . The Angels’ missteps there were well-chronicled and something of a major disappointment to their fans after the team’s triumph in succeeding the Oakland Athletics as the AL West divisional champions.

This season might prove to be a horse for a different course as I expect the A’s to rebound back after a disappointing sojourn in 2014 ! If there is one thing I do know, it is not to underestimate a general manager such as Billy Beane , whose portrayal by Brad Pitt in the hit movie ” Moneyball” has just about everyone convinced they could become a great front office executive in Major League Baseball. Separating fact from fiction, we all know what Beane has been able construct and quite remarkably succeed in repeating, and that is to make the A’s competitive team in spite of a cash-starved ownership group and the very fact , Bud Selig has somehow refused to come to the organization’s aid in assisting them to obtain a new baseball stadium. Though somehow , the former commissioner was front and center when Citi-Field, Yankees’ Stadium and Marlins’ Ballpark took shape at the expense of the taxpayers within the cities of New York and Miami , where the final cost exceeded for all three venues exceeded $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000). Never let it be said, Selig doesn’t know how to maneuver his way around the corridors of power, while making so many political dignitaries at the municipal , state and federal level look like complete morons. Personally, I don’t believe it to be that difficult a task whether or not it’s a Democrat or Republican, whose largesse is being sought. Simply look at the idiocy of the political bickering now taking place at the national level and the continued partisan discord between both parties and then ask yourself, why you would be willing to trust a congressional member from either party , let alone someone at the municipal or state level ? Add in the fact, Bud Selig’s, greatest accomplishments as commissioner could be written on the back of a first class stamp and be posted to the North Pole , addressed to Santa Claus, for all of the use that would do. Yet I digress, as Claus based on a fable, has been far more successful in bringing joy to many , than anything accomplished by Selig during his tenure as the lead executive in Major League Baseball.

Mike Trout has more than repaid the Angels’ faith in him, which has resulted in a contract commensurate to his talents. Trout’s maturity is there to be seen and he has most definitely become the face, voice and undoubted leader of this team. As to whether or not his teammates are now willing to follow his lead can be best judged by your perception of their overall performances during the 2014 postseason, where Trout I believe, led by example, but there was no one else around willing to assist their teammate.

Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto has to be wondering , if not second-guessing himself as to whether or not it was prudent investing over $300 million of team owner Arte Moreno’s money into acquiring Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Moreno is known to be a shrewd businessman with a keen eye for detail and seeking out deals, which will more than maximize a return on that particular investment. Having made his name showing a keen eye for an investments specifically in the world of sports and broadcasting. One thing becoming abundantly clear at this juncture and it is, with each passing season where Mike Scioscia comes up short, he one step closer to becoming the next managerial casualty in the world of baseball. If Scioscia fails this season, then he is likely to become one the first casualty of an ongoing policy which has become the norm not just in baseball but in professional and collegiate sports. The dismissal of a coach or manager, as the case maybe.

The Angels will begin their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners , with the first of those games on 5th April, 2015 at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington,. However, before Los Angeles embarks upon their regular season schedule, they have their Spring Training Schedule and the chance for Mike Scioscia and his staff to assess their non roster invitees as well as their newly acquired players from this off-season. Chances are, several players will play their part in contributing to Angels’ endeavors over the course of their schedule.

For the third straight season the Los Angeles Dodgers will enter the year with the highest payroll in baseball. Several of the players on the roster are among the highest paid players in the game by way of their salaries and contractual compensation. With the franchise having failed miserably in the postseasons of 2013 and 2014 , each time falling to their nemesis the St Louis Cardinals, most notably in the NLDS last season.

Magic Johnson has been the front officeimage of the Dodgers’ organization, but now with Andrew Friedman having been brought in to oversee the franchise’s Baseball Operations, it does appear Johnson will have to take a back seat to to the new front office executive as he looks to create a resurgent and competitive on field product this upcoming season. That tall order has led to the departures of Matt Kemp , Josh Beckett and several other players during the off-season as Friedman looks to provide Don Mattingly and his staff with the tools needed for the Dodgers to win their first World Series title since 1988 .

While I believe the Dodgers to be a good team, they are far from being a great team and that is what is needed in the postseason if the franchise is to make it their ambition to win a world title. NL MVP and Cy Young winner in 2014 Clayton Kershaw , teammates Zack Greinke , Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig will have to show a great deal more than what was witnessed during 2014, especially during the postseason.

Don Mattingly and his team will begin their regular season with a home game at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles California against the San Diego Padres on the 6th April, 2015. For Matt Kemp, it provides the player with the chance to renew old acquaintances with former teammates, as he gets the chance to play at the stadium where some of the most famous exploits of his career took place. Padres’ GM A J Preller and team manager Bud Black will be looking to make this team worthy challengers to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants this season within the NL West , which I believe will be one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball this upcoming season.

Where would we be without some drama being provided by baseball’s most illustrious ball-club? This season will be the first time in over two decades , where the now retired Derek Jeter will not be part of the New York Yankees’ opening day lineup. Major changes have taken place within the organization , among the playing staff, with several players departing , while the Yankees seek to reshape the roster, which at its core, is still one, with several players at the twilight of their careers . It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice, in the midst of this all, Alex Rodriguez was welcomed back into the fold, but I feel that the player, while being closely scrutinized, he likely to make another misstep and as before, then look to apportion blame elsewhere for his own misdeeds, as so often been the case over the past eight and a half years. If nothing else, Rodriguez has been more consistent off the field with his repeated lies than he has been on the field for the Yankees during the time-span in question.

The New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has continually been afforded the means necessary to craft a team, he believes capable of winning a World Series, but last season’s disastrous showing had more to do with disjointed performances and an aging roster riddled with injuries throughout the year. Out the window it appears, has been the notion of paring down payroll to a manageable size , because clearly Cashman , Joe Girardi , the managerial staff and ownership place no faith in the organization’s farm system. Granted, a number of players made appearances at various points during last season, having been promoted up from AAA, but I believe, it had more to do with Cashman being at a loss, not willing to splurge and taking something of conservative approach. Now it all comes down to, which player on the roster can Joe Girardi look to , in providing the leadership necessary for the Yankees to be successful this upcoming season ?

The New York Yankees have a great deal of money tied up in players , such as Alex Rodriguez, C C Sabathia , Masahiro Tanaka , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran . Salary commitments for the New York Yankees in 2015 will top $210 million , which pales into comparison to the monies being paid out this year ($267 million) by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Inasmuch, as many try to point out there is parity within the game of baseball, there is nothing at all to really bear this out, because in essence, what it all does come down to more than anything else_______ talent on the field of play and extremely good managerial skills. Overlooking that premise and simply using the analogy of parity suggests pragmatism and laziness on the part of those watching the game. However, it should be noted, of the participants in last season’s postseason, several were among the top paying teams in all of baseball.

I certainly do not believe Alex Rodriguez can or will provide the leadership sought by Joe Girardi ! Among the players on the team, where the trait needed for team success to become a reality, the most likely candidate would appear to be Jacoby Ellsbury, a player ,whose career with the Boston Red Sox was well-chronicled, albeit, his last season and a-half with the franchise was more injury riddled, with a noted decline in his productivity . Last season , there were glimpses of Ellsbury back to almost his very best and providing the leadership sought which will surely be missed with the retirement of Derek Jeter ! The Yankees will kick off their regular season schedule with a three-game home series’ opener against divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays , beginning on the 6th April, 2015. The AL East , where both teams reside, will likely prove to be another competitive season, with the Baltimore Orioles looking to fend off the challenge of their their divisional foes in defense of the divisional title , while also seeking to steer away the rest of the AL and their NL opponents in 2015.

============================================

=============================================

Picture gallery .

What are you hoping to see come out of the first two months of the MLB season ? Also, at the half-way point of the schedule which teams and players do you believe will have made something of a statement as to their intent ? Merely leave a comment as you see fit on the questions raised and anything else you believe relevant to the article.

o_O

Picture and slideshow details below.
================================================

(1) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner , left, and manager Bruce Bochy stand by the trophies after their 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Bumgarner’s scintillating postseason displays were just one of the many reasons why the Giants prevailed in a drama driven and thrilled packed World Series . AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(2) Oct 29 , 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig (right) presents San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (left) , chief executive officer Larry Baer (middle) and general manager Brian Sabean with the Commissioners Trophy after game seven of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium . Charlie Neibergall/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

(3) Howie Kendrick (47) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Albert Pujols (5) after driving in the game winning run in the tenth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 28, 2014 in Anaheim, California. Far right , is Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. rtfied;a222) Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld

(4) Mike Trout (27) celebrates with Mike Scioscia (14) of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squire

(5) Giancarlo Stanton is seen here hitting a home run off Jonathan Pettibone during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies . The Marlins’ slugger signed a $325 million contract with the franchise, making it the most expensive deal in baseball history and the most expensive in any of the four major professional team sports in North America . AP Photo / Alison Fisher

(6) A pensive looking Alex Rodriguez looks up from the dugout to the scoreboard during a game . The New New York Yankees’ third baseman has not played in regular season game for the ball-club since the latter half of the 2013 season . Having sat out all of last year due to a league mandated suspension, Rodriguez will be returning to a team , missing two of its most popular players after the retirement of Derek Jeter and the departure of Ichiro Suzuki who during the off season signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins . It remains to be seen whether or not Alex Rodriguez can contribute to a team lacking leadership and a great deal of productivity in terms of overall offense. AP Photo / Keith Slocum

(7) New York Yankees’ teammates Derek Jeter , left and Jacoby Ellsbury leave the field after a game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . Jeter’s retirement after a two-decade long career with the organization , leaves a tremendous void and vacuum, with their now being viewed as what is likely no real on-field leadership. Ellsbury might be seen as the ideal replacement for such a role. but there doesn’t appear to any signs from management or the front office as to whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury will succeed Jeter as the captain of the New York Yankees . A role of stature which has only ever been held by five players during the franchise’s illustrious history during the past four decades. AP Photo / Keith Wallace
================================================

🙂

Tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Tophatal’s Blog

http://wp.me/poxLH-aaU

Related article : Baseball’s billionaire owners

————-

MLB

MLB news and press releases

MLB transactions and for the month of January

MLB schedule important dates

MLB Spring Training

MLB Opening Day Schedule

This week in MLB history

MLB hierarchy (executives)

Rob Manfred , MLB Commissioner’s bio

Minor League Baseball (MILB)

MILB History

Minor League Baseball news

Minor League Baseball Important Dates (calendar)

MLB team payrolls

Top paid players (contract-value)

Highest salaried players (Top thirty)

================

Courtesy of MLB.com

More Bang For The Buck … Or Let’s Just Say Simply More Fizzle For The Money ………… !

More Bang For The Buck … Or Let’s Just Say Simply More Fizzle For The Money ………… !

It’s not strange to realize at this time of the baseball season fans are opining on how their teams are doing and where the letdowns appear to be if those ball clubs aren’t faring well. Much of that could very well be put down to the fact that certain players haven’t been playing up to par. And nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to the highly paid players who’ve essentially been a bust over the course of the season.

==========================================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=========================================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

Nothing could be more apparent at present than the premise prescribed when you have players such as Vernon Wells , Jayson Werth , Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Zambrano , Adam Dunn and Barry Zito simply coming up firing a blank . Having read an article in the sports’ pages of Tuesday’s edition of USA Today I thought it only appropriate to look at Bob Nightingale’s article more closely . Wells the the Los Angeles Angels’ slugger has had a monstrous and unproductive season for the team . At this juncture I’m not so sure if Arte Moreno as the team owner had it to do all over again the front office would have acquired the player from the Toronto Blue Jays by way of a trade .

Vernon Wells is owed $63 million through 2014 and it’s apparent that any takers for such a contract would have to be willing to undertake that commitment long term . How and why Mike Scoscia and GM Tony Reagins would have sought to add Wells to the roster under the premise that he would add some potency to the the team’s offense must now have the Angels’ fans in something of a quandary ! And though the ball-club now seems to be out of contention within the AL West in mounting a serious enough challenge to the Texas Rangers , it has to be said that trade has proven to be a monumental failure . Money can’t always by happiness but most certainly can buy great deal of damn misery as the Los Angeles Angels are now finding out .

It’s pretty safe to say that the Chicago Cubs have pretty much underachieved this season as can be attested to in their standing within the NL Central . And if nothing else the fallout after Carlos Zambrano’s meltdown in the game against the Atlanta Braves where the player abruptly left the clubhouse bailing on his teammates and abruptly announcing his retirement . However, in lieu of that the player has since reneged on that announcement simply stating that he was angry. Team GM Jim Hendry has , however , suspended Zambrano without pay but a grievance has been filed by the player’s agent Barry Praver with the union (MLBPA) on the player’s behalf , which will be forwarded to the MLB hierarchy .

The failings of the Chicago Cubs have been well chronicled and given the ball-club’s lack of success in the postseason they can either be lamented or simpy chided for their complete mediocrity .

As prolific as Alfonso Soriano was said to be while with the New York Yankees it has to be said the player has been less of an asset and more of a liability with the Chicago Cubs . From one moment to the next one never simply knows what to expect from the player. And it’s not as if this season has proven to be any different for Soriano as we have seen the Cubs simply give up on the year . And for team owner Tom Ricketts and his family even with the multi million dollar refurbishment of Wrigley Field , the loyal fans still coming to the ballpark in droves it has to be said that the fans are still be short changed by the organization at large.

Can someone please explain to me how it is that Mike Rizzo can still remain the general manager of the Washington Nationals ? Isn’t it enough with the hooplah over the drafting of Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg the organization has nothing to show for it at all ? Building for the future is one thing but I doubt that the fans will want to become members of AARP before this team actually shows some semblance of being competitive .

Last season the hooplah was the furor was with the Nationals acquiring Jayson Werth from the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent. The player lauded by the front office as being a leader and someone who would tutor the younger players on the roster , it has to be said that Werth has been a complete disappointment. And at seven years $126 million ($18 million a year), can we all agree that agent Scott Boras has found a way to con another idiotic general manager in baseball.

I’ve heard fans opine on the fact that when a marquee free agent hits a slump then he ought to be viewed as crap but what about the general manager who signed that player how should they effectively be treated ? Shouldn’t they also be denigrated and chewed out for their stupidity ? It appears the fans are not always willing to go that far but I would simply pose this question ….. why the fu#ck not ?

Another of Boras’ high profiled clients is Barry Zito and his season can be best described as being caked in utter bullshit ! To see the San Francisco Giants’ fall from grace though not quite out contention in the NL West divisional hunt or the wildcard berth is to witness a team that simply seems to have ran out of steam at present. As defending World Series champions it’s hard to imagine a team could be viewed as being self destruct mode . Zito , himself has $46 million remaining on a contract that if anything will be a boon for Brian Sabean and the organization at large .

If there’s to be an absolute baseline in mediocrity this season simply in terms of productivity from a highly paid player in baseball then that mantel would clearly belong to Adam Dunn ! Suffice to say his season productivity in terms of his BA ( .162 ) isn’t even in line with his own body weight . I am not about to lambast the player much less the Chicago White Sox organization at large . GM Ken Williams along team owner Jerry Riensdorf and manager Ozzie Guillen must’ve undergone a strange transformation of sorts , wherein , they felt that Dunn was still a valuable asset to this team at large . Clearly this season that simply has not been the case as the White Sox have simply struggled to remain competitive within the AL Central . Barely above .500 within the division with a 61-60 mark it has to be said that the team will have to fight tooth and nail to pass both the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers who lay ahead of them within the AL Central .

One could be critical of the job that Ozzie Guillen has done this season but in reality the failings of this team are not simply Guillen’s alone . It has been a collective effort all round much of that blame has to laid squarely on the players who have simply not stepped up to the plate . Adam Dunn being the primary example of that with his meager productivity this season and that of his teammates . But that asides if Guillen’s only premise is to be verbose and simply use profanity as a way of instilling his wishes from his players then you can comprehend why it is that the team has as such failed to respond with resolve throughout much of the season.

It’s hard to try and explain the reasons behind the failures of the aforementioned players other than to suggest that they’re simply not as good as advertized or previously thought . One thing is definitely certain, any organization choosing to take any of players mentioned had better make sure to be diligent in the process , and know exactly what the hell it is that they’re doing . This much I do know , given the actions of the general managers of the teams in question who sought the services of these high priced free agents, it is obvious that they simply craved the idea of having what they thought was a productive asset but instead they’ve simply ended up with a dud !

============================================================================================================

==========================================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece and that of Bob Nightingale’s article do you feel that it is primarily a general manager’s responsibility or that of the player to actually prove their worth ? Do bear in mind however , the premise behind any deal is that the player is being rewarded based on his ability and the executive in this case is simply being rewarded for his professed astuteness in making a deal that’s said to be beneficial for both parties. Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

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

Contact tophatal @ rapptu@gmail.com or via these social media services

Facebook http://facebook.com/tophata2

Twitter http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details below.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

(1) Los Angeles Angels’ Vernon Wells, a former Toronto Blue Jays, evades a ball from Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero during the second inning of their baseball game in Toronto, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ….

(2) Vernon Wells (10) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs out a hit against the Toronto Blue Jays in a MLB game on August 13,2011 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images ……

(3) Jayson Werth (28) of the Washington Nationals walks to the dugout after striking out against the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park on August 16, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …….

(4) Alfonso Soriano (12) of the Chicago Cubs makes an attempt on a line drive against the Washington Nationals on August 11, 2011 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Nationals 4-3 . Photo by David Banks/Getty Images ………..

(5) Pitcher Carlos Zambrano (38) of the Chicago Cubs throws a pitch during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on August 12, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The player would be ejected during the game subsequently announce his retirement but would soon renege on the comment . However he has since been suspended by the club without pay for 30 days. The suspension of which he’s now fighting having lodged an appeal through the union which will be reviewed by the MLB hierarchy . Mark Zarrilla / Getty Images North America ………

(6) Adam Dunn (32) of the Chicago White Sox argues with home plate umpire Bill Miller after striking out in the eighth inning of the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 10, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

(7) Dave Righetti (19) the pitching coach of the San Francisco Giants talks with Barry Zito (75) and Eli Whiteside (22) during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 31, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio . Zito would then be immediately be place on the team’s DL with a sprained right foot . The player’s productivity this season can be best described as meager when one bears in mind he’s due $18.5 million this year . Getty Images North America / Mark Parrilla …………..

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

MLB news

MLB Results 16th August 2011

MLB probable starters 17th August 2011

MLB Standings

MLB Standings wildcard

To read Bob Nightingale’s article in USA Today click on the link provided Zambrano contract among bad deals

Link provided … List of highest paid MLB players

Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

Chances Are ………. Things Could Get Worse Before They’ll Get A Great Deal Better

OK so the NFL and the NFLPA are about to have their set to and I’m thinking how is that a $ 9 billion a year industry cannot seem to deal within the parameters set by their template ? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in his state of the NFL address to the convened press at Cowboys Stadium , Arlington , Texas has reiterated his wish to hammer out a deal with the union’s Executive Committee led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and union President Kevin Mawae .

===========================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=========================================================================

Slide show for your perusal.

The league hierarchy and the owners opted out of the league’s collective bargaining agreement which was due to expire on March 3rd 2011. Both sides knew exactly the impasse that this would create and at the same time they’re now looking for the empathy of the NFL fans. Personally I do believe that the NFL and the players had completely underestimated the resolve and tenacity of the fans who in essence will abandon the NFL and their support of their teams . The players see the league as the villains of the piece whereas the league’s view of the union is that they’re self serving and unwilling to acquiesce and make the concessions being asked by Goodell and the owners . The league seeks a give back of $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) a year for the next seven years and on the face of it that might not seem a great deal but when you consider that the figure merely accounts just over 11% of the league’s annual revenues. But also what I’d like to ask of Goodell and the league is given that when the NFL’s next television broadcast agreement comes up for renewal what are they prepared to seek from the networks in question ? I’m sure that NBC , ABC/ESPN , Fox and CBS Sports are closely monitoring these negotiations very closely. As too no doubt are league’s corporate sponsors as they’ve a lot to lose should there be a labor stoppage and a prolonged lockout.

Courtesy of CBCSports.ca

Goodell says bargaining with players ‘beneficial’

Sunday session was first formal talk since November

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says this weekend’s bargaining session with the players’ union was “beneficial.”

In an interview with Fox News Sunday that aired the morning of the Super Bowl, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labour talks.

Goodell said “a number of” individual players and owners participated in a two-hour meeting Saturday, the first formal bargaining session since November. The labour deal expires in March.

“It’s always a positive when both parties are talking,” he said.

Outlining major sticking points, Goodell talked about revenue division, rookie salaries and benefits for retired players, adding “We want to continue on with the integrity of the game, which is my No. 1 issue.”

He also spoke of “making sure we have the best drug program in sports.”

====================================================

As to the league’s showcase even this may well be the last chance the fans will get to see a Superbowl (SBXLV) for a while . Imagine there being no 2011-12 season and nothing but an uproar from the fans while the players themselves simply sit back and wait ? Blank television screens and stadiums across the league empty , never mind the economic impact the loss would create to the 32 league markets . These are the things that I believe that Goodell knows will hamper the league’s image and the brand itself. The last stoppage to affect the league was over decade and a half ago and the fans who witnessed this all left them aggrieved and angry at the NFL.

At this juncture I’m not so sure that this impasse will be quickly resolved as both sides are entrenched and don’t appear to want to budge from their current positions. Goodell in part and the owners are also looking to have an eighteen game schedule in place by either the 2011-12 or 2012-13 season . The NFLPA aren’t about accede to that request unless the league will make several concessions , one of which would be to decrease the number preseason games from four to two. Also as a bone of contention is that of the NFL rookies’ salary contract and the idiocy that simply goes on there. Agents such Drew Rosenhaus and Leigh Steinberg may not view this as acceptable but either way they should be thankful that their clients will still get paid.

I’ve read with interest that the Wilpon family will be looking to sell a minority stake in the New York Mets and this has come about because the family has a judgment against them seeking some $350 million that they were able to profit from in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal which defrauded several thousand clients to the tune of an estimated $59 billion ($59 ,000,000,000). This was as such the largest fraud perpetrated and whereby the SEC in conjunction with FBI and Justice Department were able to catch the felon , in the case Madoff and his co-conspirators. Madoff is now serving a 125 year jail sentence in in a Federal penitentiary
The Wilpon family it has been said also lost heavily which resulted in what is said to be losses of anywhere between $250 million to $ 500 million if the estimates are to be believed.

Amongst the interested parties is a syndicate of which Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s son Martin Luther King III will be part of the group seeking to become a minority stake owner in the team. Given the history and legacy of the game of baseball I find it rather ironic that it’s only now that we’ve actually seen a genuine attempt for there to be an African American owner in the sport. There’s only one other prominent minority owner in the sport and that is Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angeles . Albeit that the league can boast several general managers of ethnic persuasion there simply hasn’t been that ardent fervor you’d have come to expect from Commissioner Bud Selig and the baseball hierarchy for there to be a prominent African American owner within the game.

Martin Luther King III should he and his syndicate group to be successful this would most definitely be a first in MLB. It would also send a clear indication to the ethnic community at large that there is a place for them at the owner’s table should they seek to ascend to those levels. It certainly hasn’t hurt the image of the NBA where Michael Jordan still the face of the NBA is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats . And the franchise’s history has been well chronicled in its present guise and it’s hoped that Jordan during his tenure can lead this team some semblance of success.
This much we do know about the Mets in its present guise with the upheaval felt within the front office after the firings of Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya does portend that incoming Head of Baseball Operations Sandy Alderson and VP and Head of Scouting J P Ricciardi are the new brooms brought in by COO Jeff Wilpon to clean house and discard of the unwanted pieces in this underachieving team .

Courtesy of USA Today


Madoff lawsuit: Mets owners owe victims $300 million

New York — The owners of the New York Mets, along with their relatives and other businesses, were “collectively one of the largest beneficiaries” of Bernard Madoff’s massive Ponzi scheme, receiving approximately $300 million in phantom profits that financed the team and other ventures, a newly unsealed lawsuit charged Friday.

The business empire of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz had 483 Madoff accounts — including 16 for the Mets, from which $90 million of burned investors’ money helped pay the National League baseball franchise’s “day-to-day operations” — according to the lawsuit filed by Irving Picard. Picard is the court-appointed trustee seeking Madoff assets to repay the fraud’s thousands of victims.

The action alleges Wilpon and Katz ignored “gathering clouds” of repeated warnings from financial experts and others that Madoff’s investment operation was in reality a scam, because the owners had come to rely on the uncannily steady profits to substantially support their Sterling Equities Associates empire for a quarter of a century.

PICARD vs Mets : Read the complaint

The owners realized they “were simply in too deep,” the lawsuit says.

=======================================================

Click on link to read this article in its entirety .

=======================================================

The Mets’ history has been a storied one of ups and downs more downs given their recent history as they’ve seen their crosstown rivals the New York Yankees have unprecedented success over the last decade and a half. And if the Mets are to succeed then it will have to come down the coaching staff , the prudency shown by the front office and the performances of the players. If they can’t get it done this upcoming season then the New York Mets might as well throw in the towel once and for all.

I’m sorry but given the horrid season the Minnesota Timberwolves are now having and perhaps the only reason to be joyful, as they’ve seen the team’s lone All Star —– Kevin Love have a truly astonishing season with his play. A constant threat now to throw up 20 and 10 with amazing regularity the player is now being viewed as a must see around the NBA .Both Love and the Los Angeles Clippers’ —- Blake Griffin are simply just letting it rip.And they’ve quite rightly both been rewarded with roster spots on Western Conference All Star team for 2011.

Now while on appearance the Timberwolves’ season has literally spun out of control the team , Kurt Rambis’ and his coaching staff have done their utmost to put on a good face as they’ve struggled to maintain some sense of consistency . And the situation hasn’t helped that O J Mayo has had to serve an NBA mandated 10 game suspension for abusing the game’s substance abuse policy. The player himself however contends that the reason for his positive test stems from the fact that he’s used a supplement which had DHEA . That particular substance is viewed as a PED (performance enhancing drug) by the league’s hierarchy .

Whatever the outcome of this season will be for the Minnesota Timberwolves it’s clear that as of now the organization can only hope for things to get a great deal better. If not then the continued malaise will have the fans deserting the organization and looking elsewhere for to heap noteworthy praise on a team .

==================================================================================

By clicking on an individual frame you can view each in its original formatted
size.

================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the subjects raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment and I’ll do my utmost to respond expeditiously and clarity. Thanks as always for your continued support.

Picture and slide show details .

(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been front and center at the Super Bowl this week, dealing with questions about both this season and the possibly delayed one to come because of labor issues. David J. Phillip/Associated Press …..

(2) Center Kevin Mawae (68) of the Tennessee Titans and President of the NFL Player’s Association speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Inset also if NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . Doug Benc / Getty Images North America Inc ……….

(3) DeMaurice Smith, NFL Player’s Association Executive Director, speaks to members of the media during the NFL Player’s Association Press Conference held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center as part of media week for Super Bowl XLIV on February 4, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Getty Images / Doug Benc ……

(4) New York Mets COO Jeff Wilpon (left) and team owner Fred Wilpon patriarch of the family. The front office of the Mets has been completely revamped and so too has the coaching staff . The organization now finds itself in an intensive lawsuit that could have some adverse effects on the team’s long term financial stability and viability as the family has been ordered to pay the victims of the Madoff Ponzi scheme an estimated $350 million . AFP/ Reuters / Michael Findley ……..

(5) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love, left, and Denver Nuggets’ Chauncey Billups battle for a rebound in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011, in Minneapolis. The Nuggets won 113-100 . Billups scored 21 points and had 13 assists while Love scored 18 and had 19 rebounds for the Timberwolves. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……….

(6) Martin Luther King III (R) and his sister Bernice release a dove from the balcony where their father, Martin Luther King Jr., was shot to death at the conclusion of a vigil in King’s honor at the Lorraine Hotel April 4, 2008 in Memphis, Tennessee. King was killed by James Earl Ray 40 years ago today. Win McNamee / Getty Images ………

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……….

===============================================================

C Black

Eye candy ……………………. Courtney Black

Courtney 2

Eight ball corner pocket, my balls and pen_s are feeling great ! Thanks Courtney !

==============================================================

Ashanti ……….. ‘Rain On Me’

===============================================================