The chickens can come home to roost , but it’s how you deal with the matter in the aftermath

The chickens can come home to roost , but it’s how you deal with the matter in the aftermath

As baseball’s(MLB) postseason continues , the biggest story of the playoffs continues with the astounding success of the Kansas City Royals, as they continue their swath through the AL. Five successive victories, with four extra innings’ win es along the way has pretty much summed up the play of this team , while epitomizing their season all year-long . Mike Moustakis , Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon have been the lynch pins behind the team’s ongoing success and it remains to be seen what decisions are likely to be made by managing partner and owner , David Glass and whether or not he seeks to keep this playing staff for the long-term. Team manager Ned Yost , likely to be named the AL Manager of the Year , as I believe him to be the front-runner for the award within the league. GM Dayton Moore has been one of the architects in the rebuilding of the on field personnel , which has paved the way for the Royals this season.

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Having won a decisive game three in the ALCS , Kansas City sits one game away from sweeping the Baltimore Orioles out of the postseason , while s winning the franchise’s first AL Pennant in over two decades. Game four promises to be a raucous affair , fan support likely to be vociferous with the fans in attendance at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri on Wednesday evening , 15th October ,2014. On the mound in this pivotal game will be Miguel Gonzalez of the Orioles facing the Royals’ Jason Vargas . A win for the Baltimore Orioles, means they live to fight another day and a loss , they go home with their tails hanging between their legs and with their heads bowed in shame.

If Ned Yost and his players should prevail, then they await the winners of the NLCS contest now ongoing between the St Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants . In three tight games , the Giants now have a slender 2-1 series’ lead over the Cardinals. This particular series resumes tonight with Shelby Miller of the Cardinals facing the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong in a must-win game for the St Louis Cardinals.

After years of indifference and indecision on the part of the organization , Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays has decided to leave the franchise to accept a much more high-profiled and visible role with the Los Angeles Dodgers , where he will become a SVP & Head of Baseball Operations . In what might be viewed as either a sideways move incumbent Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti now becomes an adviser to team President Stan Kasten. Friedman will be given full sway in deciding upon a successor to Colletti , but the move is being seen in some circles, in rewarding a young executive , with a keen eye in assessing and the drafting of talent . There is no doubt Andrew Friedman will be making many of the personnel decisions for the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as handling the team’s current roster of stars, many of whom are among the highest paid players in the game .

The Los Angeles Dodgers with a record-high $241 million payroll , highest in Major League Baseball fell by the wayside for a second successive season, when they succumbed to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS . In 2013, Don Mattingly and his team fell in the NLCS in a lopsided series’ loss with the team simply performing poorly . One year on and absolutely nothing has been learned by anyone on the team , much less by the managerial staff of the Dodgers.

The loss of Andrew Friedman by the Tampa Bay Rays is likely to have an adverse effect on the franchise and given the ball-club’s hardships in recent years having to pare down payroll repeatedly , and the trading away of major stars has simply left their fans somewhat bewildered and in angst . Say nothing of which , the continued rhetoric , pragmatism and at times the downright apathy of the fans sports’ media personalities within the area with their rather asinine notion of the building of a new venue will bring about a change in the fortunes of the Tampa Bay Rays. Team owner , Stuart Sternberg has been less than forthright in how he and his partners would go about raising the financing for a new stadium to replace the now archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida ., With a hardcore fan-base of an alleged 20,000 fans and the stadium barely sold out for home games , it is hard to comprehend how Sternberg , his partners and the media personalities in this market, believe this ball-club can be self-sustaining , especially in light of the fact the Rays are the beneficiaries of baseball’s luxury tax sharing revenue scheme , with it being one of the primary reasons the franchise can be profitable. Yet this is the type of sheer stupidity shown by the fans of the ball-club , suggesting and saying the Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium . Unfortunately , leading social and political dignitaries are goose-stepping behind the calls and they are all too willing to use public resources to fund such an attempt , while the city , county and state governmental agencies have their own fiscal budgetary woes .

Sports , specifically MLB and the NFL are only too willing prey on the public, much as in the same way the US Congress and this current Presidential administration has repeatedly done . It’s a shell game and the asinine sports’ fans remain too fucking dumb to see woods or the trees , seeking to only believe what they are continually force-fed .

There has been no indication as to who Andrew Friedman’s successor is likely to be , but in all probability Stuart Sternberg may not seek to promote from within but seek to find an experienced front office executive willing to take on the role of becoming the team’s new general manager. Joe Maddon has been saying all of the proper things throughout much of the season , but I cannot help but wonder with the trading away of All Star and AL Cy Young Award winning pitcher David Price, is this beginning of the end about how the Rays will continue to conduct business ? It is my belief , the most likely candidate to assume the role once held by Andrew Friedman will be Matt Silverman , as he is best suited to fill the position in question . Can he have the similar type of success of his predecessor ? That will be dependent on how he seeks to go about making what he believes are the necessary changes to make the ball club competitive .

During this off-season within baseball , there are likely to be several major shakeups within the game from a managerial and player personnel standpoint . Teams will have their pick of free agents, from starting pitchers, first basemen , powerful and productive hitters , and undoubtedly relief pitching . One of the things we do know however , payrolls will continue to escalate , as will the players’ salaries .

For the Tampa Bay Rays as they enter the 2015 season it will be interesting to see how they go about acquitting themselves on and off the field of play , which will be adjudged by what takes place within the organization as they enter a new phase in their existence.

As to the ongoing emphasis of the Rays getting a new stadium , consider the fact MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his heir-apparent Rob Manfred have seen fit not to aid franchise obtaining any broad-based support for a new ballpark. The Tampa Bay Rays while profitable, they have not got the resources or the goodwill among the public for the venue they seek, in spite of the support by the players and management. If anything , the executives have handled this episode haphazardly and rather childlike , without showing any real initiative on the matter.

Evan Longoria , long seen as the face and future of the Tampa Bay Rays , while a very good player , he has not necessarily shown the leadership qualities needed to take this ball club and place them among the elite teams within the game. Often , the only thing tend to be mentioned about the Rays , happens to be, they have great pitching , with several members of their staff often seen as among the best in the game. This season , clearly coming into their schedule , the pitching roster was looked upon as one of the best in AL and the game overall . Sadly, beyond the prevailing injuries , a lack of consistency and some rather inept offense led to the woes for the team .

This off-season , with impending free agents , there will be several members on the Rays’ roster which Matt Silverman will have to decide whether or not they are superfluous to the team’s needs . Matt Joyce , Sean Rodriguez , Drew Smyly , Desmond Jennings , Wil Myers , Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb are among the players where decisions will have to be made concerning whether or they are re-signed for the 2015 season.

With the Baltimore Orioles having swept to the AL East divisional title with considerable ease . However, in light their showing during the regular season , and then in the ALDS , it has been their shocking display against the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS , have many now wondering whether or not this team was as good as advertised ? Kansas City continued their astonishing postseason sojourn sweeping the Orioles in four straight games to make their first World Series appearance in almost three decades. Ned Yost and his players celebrated in style after their 2-1 victory in game four leaving nothing to chance with an emphatic and decisive win .

Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri proved to be a raucous venue with the home supporters in high vocal support of their team. In what has been the improbable advance to the World Series , has now become the biggest story of the baseball season and by far the most impressive display of a team playing with gusto , of all the participants during this postseason. The Royals now await the victors of the NLCS , where the San Francisco Giants currently hold a 3-1 lead over the St Louis Cardinals in the best of seven-game series. Thoughts of an instate battle between the Kansas City Royals and St Louis Cardinals now seem remote , given the predicament the Cardinals now find themselves in , being on the brink of elimination. Should the Giants prevail in the series , then Bruce Bochy will be seeking to win his third title with the franchise in the last six seasons as their manager.

For Buck Showalter , and the Baltimore Orioles this has simply been a season of missed opportunities in spite of the divisional win. How else can you explain a situation where the AL’s (American League) second best team by way of their record, stumbled and fell so awkwardly in the postseason ? Dan Duquette the Orioles’ SVP & Head of Baseball Operations will have to assess the overall makeup of this roster, then seek to add by way of free agency and perhaps through bringing up some of the more productive players within their farm system. In what should have been a year in which the Orioles had a great chance of winning the World Series this was a team, found wanting in almost every aspect of their game during the postseason . The Orioles’ production was anemic and menial to say the very least , and it led to their demise along with some rather knuckle headed plays.

Another season of hope, felled by indecision , complacency and a lack of leadership from the team and the managerial staff of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Clayton Kershaw this postseason was a mere shadow of the all too dominant pitcher witnessed during the regular season . The same could also be said of his teammates , who were far from impressive during the playoffs, with the team falling to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS .

Hard to justify the io $241 million payroll , which Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten believed was money well-spent this season . Somehow , after all of the big money splashes, by way of their free agent acquisitions over the past two seasons, the Dodgers have very little to show for it all , along with the ongoing apathy of their fans . Other than the Washington Nationals , whose own postseason foray ended abruptly , it was felt the Los Angeles Dodgers stood the best chance of the NL participants to win the NL Pennant this postseason. Clearly , the favoritism shown towards the Dodgers and Nationals was very much overestimated and I dare say it was simply done because the analysts and fans merely saw what they wanted to see and not what was plainly in front of their very eyes. The play overall within the game has either been average or downright mediocre. .

Where the Los Angeles Dodgers now go from here, will be dependent upon the latitude given to Andrew Friedman and those within the front office, who will now make the player personnel decisions moving forward . I do not believe many of the players now on the roster will be part of the team’s opening day lineup for their first game of the 2015 season !

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In what you have seen from the MLB Postseason , has it proven to be a major surprise ? With Andrew Friedman’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays , can the franchise maintain its current stance while trying to be competitive within its division and the AL moving forward ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe relevant are more than welcomed as a response

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) May 30, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals interim hitting coach George Brett (left), general manager Dayton Moore (center) and head coach Ned Yost (right) talk with the media during a press conference to announce Brett as the interim hitting coach before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Yost and Moore have seen their team make change in course from 2013 to 2014 where have now reached the World Series for the first time in twenty-nine years. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Alcides Escobar (2) of the Kansas City Royals scores on Eric Hosmer (35) of the Kansas City Royals grounder into fielder’s choice to first base against Miguel Gonzalez (50) of the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning to score Alcides Escobar(2) and Norichika Aoki(23) during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Ed Zurga …

(3) Andrew Friedman , general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. The front office executive has accepted a senior executive Angeles Dodgers , much to the surprise of several baseball analysts and executives within the game . AP Photo / Chris Marshall … (4) Joe Maddon manager of the Tampa Bay Rays is seen here withdrawing pitcher Drew Smyly from a regular season game . The Rays failed miserably in 2014 , with the ball-club having expectations of
making
the postseason , which they would ultimately fail to do . AP Photo / Mark Barron …

(5) From left to right , Matt Silverman , Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg of the Tampa Bay Rays . Friedman’s departure may well leave a void within the organization but is felt in some circles , Silverman is the right choice to succeed Andrew Friedman as the team’s general manager . Tyler Paul / Getty Images …

(6) Ned Colletti , left , is seen here with team President Stan Kasten . Over two years the Los Angeles Dodgers have spent over $485 million in payroll, with the team having little to show for their two years of missed opportunities. Getty Images/ Paul Thompson …

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Losers , winners and mere simpletons ..

Losers , winners and mere simpletons ..

Repeated pratfalls by the NFL and it would seem some fans believe a less than forthright apology by Roger Goodell now rectified the idiotic decisions the commissioner made in light of the league’s handling of the Ray Rice “affair”. Escalating acts of misconduct by the NFL’s players over the years and it would seem that neither league hierarchy , the commissioner or many of the NFL’s apathetic and lame ass fans have learned a damn thing about the league, much less the fact the commissioner is so damn clueless. Theirs seems to be the belief as long as the NFL trudges along providing the fans with a banal on the field product , with a group of pompous and asinine on air prognosticators, the league can survive in its present guise.

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The players and their union (NFLPA) continue to hide behind privacy rights and the issue of due process , but at a time where the league has seen a rise in misconduct , the Players’ Union has done little to discuss the issue, much less player representatives or union Executive Director DeMaurice Smith have done little to rein in the misbehavior of their players or sought to discuss the issue publicly.

With news coming to light, where certain executives within the Baltimore Ravens organization might well have been privee’ to the taped incident of Ray Rice assaulting Jenay Parker , it begs the question, if the franchise was indeed in receipt of this information , then why was it not passed on to the league head office ? The NFL and the Ravens have been complicit in another unsavory cover-up and an episode which further suggest the ongoing incompetency of the league during Roger Goodell’s disastrous tenure. If to make matters worse, the commissioner is now of the belief in bringing in former FBI Directors Robert Mueller and Louis Freeh , it adds credibility in his seeking to rectify the problems he has long ignored concerning player misconduct. Nothing could be further from the truth , as we have seen in the lackadaisical way , with which the commissioner has failed to show consistency in how he metes out punishment to players guilty of misconduct.

Freeh and Mueller are essentially bureaucrats being brought in as the commissioner suggests in assisting the league to formulate a code of conduct and policy to be followed by all of the NFL’s thirty-two teams . If such a provision was never properly enacted or there was never a firm policy in place , then Roger Goodell is being a mere fool , if he now believes such a policy will be willingly accepted by the union and the players , when there has been a continued mistrust between the two parties all along.

Week three in the NFL offered the fans very little respite with the usual amount of anomalies one would now come to expect , with several teams giving the type of performances they and their fans would rather forget. This was highlighted by the inept display of the league’s worst team the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , who were on the wrong side of a lopsided loss , in their 56-14 defeat suffered at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Lovie Smith , his coaching staff are now coaching a roster with the worst record in the NFL , with the Buccaneers now 0-3 , having posted this record for the third time in the last six seasons in a start to a regular sixteen game NFL schedule. Where Tampa now goes from here is anyone’s question, with the team showing little signs of life , in terms of competitiveness or any real leadership from the players. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which will be a Sunday afternoon game for the two teams in question, part of the week four schedule for the NFL.

A 2-0 start to the season may well have had everyone believing the Buffalo Bills were off to very good start , but they were quickly brought back down to earth as they fell 22-10 to the San Diego Chargers at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York. For the Bills’ new owner , billionaire developer Terry Pegula , this was definitely not the way he wanted to start off his reign as the franchise’s and the NFL’s newest owner. The defeat , brings the Bills back to the pack as they share the lead in the AFC East with the New England Patriots , whose hard-fought victory over the Oakland Raiders was one of the less memorable games in the NFL over this past weekend . New England will look to follow-up with a second consecutive victory , when they face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium , in Kansas City, Missouri in week four.

It is still early days yet in the NFL season, but I believe not until after week five can we really have a real insight how good the teams are , and the likely direction they will be heading. Granted, one or two teams are already showing signs they are likely to be uncompetitive as witnessed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.Yet, there is every reason to believe the likes of the Buccaneers , Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders will likely struggle over the remainder of the season given their lack of competitive play at this point of their respective schedules.

Kirk Cousins is now providing something of a lovely headache for Jay Gruden and the Washington Redskins’ coaching staff. The Redskins’ backup quarterback is proving to be a more than adept substitute for the usual starter Robert Griffin III , whose first two years in the NFL have proven to be somewhat erratic. Griffin however, is seen as the face and future of the franchise without delving into the financial investment made in the player, who was taken as the number two overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , where he was drafted behind Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.

While Washington is rooted at the bottom of the always overrated NFC East , it has to be said other than the Philadelphia Eagles , who have found a way to distance themselves from the rest of the pack within the division, the other three inhabitants are pretty much the best of a rotten bunch of apples.

Jay Gruden will take the Washington Redskins will be at home in week four where they will meet up against divisional rivals the New York Giants who will be led by Eli Manning , as the Giants’ quarterback will be looking to resurrect what was a very disappointing season in 2013 for the player. If the New York Giants fail to gain a postseason berth this season , then there are likely to questions raised, concerning the long-term future of Tom Coughlin , his coaching staff and the ten-year veteran quarterback of the NFL.

With a week to go before the end of the MLB season , several of the divisional races have all been sewn up. The Washington Nationals have clinched the NL East over a very disappointing Atlanta Braves team which did not provide much of the competitive race or competition for the Nationals over the course of the season. Now there seem to be rumors surfacing that GM Frank Wren will be shown the door by Braves’ organization. My own beliefs are , he front office should also be assessing the failings of Fredi Gonzalez and his managerial staff , as well as certain members of the team who failed miserably . At the end of the season, a decision is likely to be made concerning Frank Wren , but it is not likely to be the only changes made concerning the internal makeup of the front office , managerial staff and playing roster going into next season .

Elsewhere, there has to be a great deal of adulation within the state of California , with the knowledge both baseball clubs in the greater Los Angeles area have made the postseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers swept through to an easy defense of their NL West title and now look to make up for last season’s failings in the MLB postseason. The Dodgers’ AL counterparts the Los Angeles Angels made light work within the AL West dethroning the two-time defending divisional titlists the Oakland Athletics , bringing the Angels their first divisional title in five years , their last coming in 2009.

With there now being talk of a possible all Californian World Series’ finale, with the Los Angeles Angels facing off against the Los Angeles Dodgers . I would dare say this would be the sort of showcase finale baseball requires and needs, in light of the failure of the New York Yankees not being part of baseball’s postseason fare. Derek Jeter bows out of baseball after two decades of a career, which can be best summed as being exemplary. By contrast, it has to be said the AL East new divisional champions the Baltimore Orioles come into the postseason , with several notable achievements for the team , but a major blemish to their image, with Chris Davis having been suspended for failing the league’s steroid policy , all of this , from a player who swore blindly he had never once used a banned substance. Personally, if Davis can afford to be tutored by Brady Anderson , whose career was always suspect, given one standout year in an otherwise under-achieving career. There isn’t much else that really needs to be said concerning the accomplishments of both players and the apathy of the Orioles’ fans who believe Chris Davis and Brady Anderson, can be considered genuinely great players for the franchise .

Buck Showalter will take the Baltimore Orioles on the road where they will be the guests of the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium in New York City, New York , on Monday evening. On the mound for the visiting team will be Bruce Chen as he faces off against Michael Pineda of the Yankees.

In the space of fifteen days the Kansas City Royals have gone from a sure thing, to a team intent on self-imploding as the final month of their season seems to be falling apart at the seams. The Royals are now 1 1/2 games behind of the Detroit Tigers within the AL Central , with only eight games left to salvage their year or otherwise , become part of the wildcard foray, where they are likely to face the Oakland Athletics in the wildcard round of the MLB postseason, In what is simply a one and done contest , such a game between the two teams is not likely to favor the Royals , who would have to face the A’s at the O Coliseum in Oakland, California , with the winners going on to the divisional round (ALDS) of baseball’s postseason fare. Kansas City may well be leading their season series in 2014 , having won five of their seven meetings , but it would take a real betting man to believe Bob Melvin and his staff will allow his players to let the Kansas City Royals run over them , given the A’s recent postseason experiences, for which the last visit for the visiting team their last such foray came two decades ago. Kansas City has been in meltdown mode and their last ten games (4-6) have been ample evidence of that very fact.

The Kansas City Royals will take on the Cleveland Indians as they look to make inroads into the lead of the Detroit Tigers . Brad Ausmus and the Tigers will be remain at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan where their guests will be the lowly Chicago White Sox . That particular match-up should prove to be a lopsided contest if their season series is anything to go by , with the game favoring the home team.

The Boston Red Sox as the reigning World Series’ champions were expected to contend this season not only within the AL East, but also in the American League (AL). Unfortunately. for John Farrell and his managerial staff this was to be a season of more lows than highs , with the team showing no signs of competitiveness or leadership from anyone on the roster. A far cry from last season, when the team swept through the postseason with the utmost of ease and they were barely challenged within the division of having out-gunnned their divisional rivals.

David Ortiz may well have been the World Series’ MVP last season and while his stats for this year have been far from impressive , but the real issue has been , why the falloff from a ball-club which was so competitive and decisive in 2013? One could possibly point to the issue of GM Ben Cherington choosing to assemble a roster which failed to live up to expectations . with several players nowhere near as good as was first thought. How and why AJ Pierzinski was ever thought to be a player with the ability to lead , much less provide the type of productivity sought has to be as bewildering as the acquisition itself by the ball-club. Boston has not only fallen out of contention, but will finish with its worst divisional placing in several years. With no game scheduled for Monday 22nd September, the Red Sox will resume their schedule on Tuesday 23rd September when they play host to the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts , in a contest between two AL East teams heading in the wrong direction . direction.

If the NFL is said to be rife with incompetence and utter stupidity, then NBA cannot be all that far behind ! It took the utter audacity and bigotry of Donald Sterling to in some ways show what is now going on behind the closed doors of this old boys’ fraternity made of up buffoons among the league’s hierarchy and owners , without delving further into the stewardship of former NBA Commissioner David Stern or his neophyte successor Adam Silver . Having to deal with the damage to its image, caused by the racial insensitivity of the tirade of Donald Sterling , which in some circles was simply being treated rather apathetically by fans ,as merely an owner having the right to freely express himself .

The NBA has since had to deal with the rather nonsensical uttering of two Atlanta Hawks’ executives further reiterating how bigoted and racially intolerant this league just happens to be. And for the idiots trying to suggest because of the makeup of the NBA is largely ethnic based, with a preponderance of the players being minority in their background. It simply cannot hide the fact, Bruce Levenson and Danny Ferry were showing a now obvious side to the league , which both Stern and his successor have failed to address over the years. If both Levenson and Ferry can be allowed to get away with such behavior and then one adds the depraved rants of Rich DeVos into the mix , while trying to negate DeVos’ idiocy with the fact, he might well have donated thousands of dollars to the transgendered and gay causes, it simply cannot detract from the statements made by the Orlando Magic owner concerning a specific demographic within society. This is not a not fictional drama being played out , but real life events , and in many ways , fools are now seeking to excuse such behavior as being acceptable within society , without ever mentioning the words , “ common decency and the respect of others “ .

You have to hand it to Glenn Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves who continues to bitch and whine about having to trade All Star power forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Things would not have become so farcical for the Timberwolves had either Taylor or Flip Saunders sought to build a roster competitive enough which would have persuaded Love to remain with the franchise . Instead , both executives have continued to take parting shots at the now departed star. As if to further exacerbate the situation, the front office now has to deal with a disgruntled Ricky Rubio,perhaps the only valuable asset left on the roster. The Spaniard has let it be known he is not entirely happy with the direction the franchise is now heading in , with even head coach Flip Saunders seemingly unsure about what his best lineup is likely to be during the exhibition season as well as starting the Timberwolves’ regular season schedule which sees the team with an opening against the Memphis Grizzlies. Saunders as the de-facto GM and head coach will have to make a decision before the start of the season or seek persuade Ricky Rubio to remain with the team , while he seeks to bolster the roster. Easier said than done , as I believe Rubio no longer has any desire to be with the Timberwolves . It certainly will be interesting to see what transpires between now and the start of the season, as the Minnesota Timberwolves seek to placate another disgruntled star.

Rex Chapman come down and take a bow. Having earned over $22 million over the course of your professional career in the NBA , you took it upon yourself in retirement to prove you were nowhere as intelligent as many believed you be . As a former Kentucky Wildcat may well have achieved some semblance of collegiate success , but in the aftermath of that career and the nondescript years in the NBA , you have now brought some unwanted attention upon yourself , being accused and then being charged with nine counts of theft of $14,000 worth of items from an Apple Store and then seeking to pawn those very same items in a pawn shop in Scottsdale , Arizona. Pardon me for saying this , but , how much of an asshole is Rex Chapman and are certain collegiate alumni from Kentucky that frigging dumb ?

While Rex Chapman is no longer a part of the NBA fraternity, the ex-player’s behavior is somewhat typical of the ongoing idiocy one continues to see within the league and player misbehavior. If left to the general managers , owners and league hierarchy to deal with such issues , more often than not the NBA tends to treat the players with kid gloves” . As to those who prescribe to the fact the Justice System has a way with dealing the misdeeds . State Attorney Generals at the state level and then at the county level , tend to seek a plea deal from the offenders who are then offered rather lenient sentences in such instances or if a case should go trial, you tend to have a jury not often aware of the law, even when under the advice being given to them by a presiding judge. Justice for all ? No , justice tends to be given to those who can afford the privilege of being treated with leniency, while the victims have no real rights of recourse.

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Picture gallery.

In light of baseball’s season now almost reaching its culmination, what do you believe have been some of the major highlights of the season ? Secondly, the NFL season is becoming more known for the off-the field issues , rather than for the play on the field . Do you believe the league has been able to deal with these issues appropriately ? Finally , how do you see the NBA season panning out and do you believe Ricky Rubio will be a player for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the start of the season or will he be traded ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the topics raised in this article.

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) From left to right , Baltimore Ravens’ executives, team President Dick Cass , GM Ozzie Newsome and team owner Steve Bisciotti . Bisciotti has been critical of the claims being made by ESPN that the franchise had been receipt of the taped evidence showing Ray Rice assaulting his then fiancée Jenay Parker . The Ravens’ owner refutes the allegations but does state he wished he had approached the league earlier to decide whether not the franchise could take action against the player directly, rather than leaving the matter in the hands of the league hierarchy to deal with. AP Photo / Richard Walker …

(2) Tight end Levine Toilolo (80) of the Atlanta Falcons fumbles the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America/ Kevin C Cox …

(3) Running back Antone Smith(35) of the Atlanta Falcons gets tangled with corner-back Johnathan Banks (27) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a fumble during a game at the Georgia Dome on September 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …

(4) Buffalo Bills’ quarterback EJ Manuel looks to make a play in the game against the San Diego Chargers this past Sunday. San Diego would end up being the victors the in this contest defeating the Bills 22-10 . AP Photo / Paul McGee …. ….

(5) Oakland Raiders defensive end LaMarr Woodley (58) puts pressure on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass. AP Photo/Elise Amendola … ….

(6) Deposed GM Frank Wren who o summarily fired by the Atlanta Braves with a six games left in the regular season . Braves’ team President John Scheurholz made the decision in consultation with senior executives within the organization. John Hart will assume the role as interim-general manager until a permanent successor can be found. About the only real bright spot to the season has been the productivity of Braves’ outfielder Justin Upton who led the team in a number offensive categories in 2014 . AP Photo/ Gerry Parsons …

(7) Ricky Rubio (9) is seen here alongside his former teammate Kevin Love (42) . The pair led the Minnesota Timberwolves in a number of offensive categories last season but it was simply not enough for the team to get into the postseason. Love has since been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers leaving the Timberwolves without a proven scorer on the current roster. Rubio has voiced his displeasure in the trading of his former teammate and it is believed he too will seek a trade away from the franchise. Getty Images/ Adam Harris …

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Considered to be great for those who love to see the daily double .

The fault lies in their play, but you could also say the stars …….

The fault lies in their play, but you could also say the stars …….

Inasmuch as I love the game of baseball , I have to admit this might be one of the worst seasons on record in recent history. The AL East is barely recognizable and the level of play in what is said to be the best division in baseball has been truly dire. Defending World Series’ champions, the Boston Red Sox have now become an afterthought as the season has progressed. Say nothing of which, a great deal is being made out of a rivalry between the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays , which resonates about as much as a rancid piece of cheese that has been left out for days on end, merely sticking up the joint. Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles merely have to play .550 baseball or better to have the division sewn up for themselves and thereby win their first AL East crown in over a decade.

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Slideshow.

If the Baltimore Orioles were to falter, then the likely recipients of their fall, would likely be the Toronto Blue Jays , whose play this season has been moderate though not overly inspiring. John Gibbons and his managerial staff , have a team that appears to be on the cusp of achieving something special this season, but a great deal of the success they are seeking will be dependent on the play of many of their seasoned veterans on the team’s roster, as well as the coaching acumen shown by Gibbons and his staff. The Blue Jays will be the guests of the Seattle Mariners when the two teams meet on Monday afternoon, with Drew Hutchinson taking the mound for the visiting team against Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. The game itself could provide us with something of a precursor as to the ambitions of two teams wishing to remain in the midst of the wildcard hunt if not their respective divisional races .

Buck Showalter and his team , will play host to the New York Yankees at Camden Yards , in Baltimore , Maryland on Monday afternoon. For the Yankees, their season now seems to be fading fast , as too are the hopes of team captain Derek Jeter and the team making the MLB postseason. For Joe Girardi , this might well have been a season where injuries may well have played a part in his team’s faltering , but in large part it has come down to the lack of productivity from his pitching staff and the inconsistency of the offense of the players. Jeter in his twentieth and final season with the franchise , may well go down as of the Yankees’ greatest players and given the ball-club’s achievements and their captain’s own astonishing career , it must be said, his departure from the game of baseball will be seen as the end of an era.

Hope springs eternal, but year in and year out the Tampa Bay Rays have simply promised more than they can deliver for their forlorn fans. In spite of the idiocy of some among the Rays’ fan-base, who will continue to make excuses for a front office which now seems devoid of real creativity. The recent trade of All Star pitcher David Price put an end to any chance the Rays might have had for the postseason. Price, being traded to the Detroit Tigers gives the AL Central based team a leg up on their divisional rivals in their chase for the division, while the Rays themselves continue to languish at the mid to lower end of the wildcard contestants .

Six and a half games out of the wildcard placing and the Tampa Bay Rays remain a long shot for one of the two AL berths. Consistency remains the key , but this team has not remained consistent in terms of winning series much less winning games over the course of the season, when needed . All of the enduring optimism from Joe Maddon cannot make up for the fact this remains a very average team in spite of claims at to the depth of their pitching. As good as the rotation may well seem to be, you simply cannot discount how woefully inconsistent their offense tends to be. Whatever leadership is said to be on the team , no one can seem to point to a vocal leader, certainly not Joe Maddon with his ongoing whimsical anecdotes and the same can be said of their all too less than knowledgeable fans. Excuses are now the norm from almost every quarter when it comes to the organization, be it from the local media, the fans or from members of front office and their ongoing cries of either disillusionment, or the simple fact they have become defeatist. Whining from the likes of players such as Chris Archer simply amplifies one of the ongoing issues within the organization and the lack of a competitive spirit.

If there is one manager within baseball who is expected to succeed this season , then it would have to be Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels . With a team that is said to possess one of the strongest lineups in the AL from a batting standpoint, there should be no reason for the Angels to falter this season. Everything Scioscia and his staff have asked for, has been granted by team owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto , along with a six-figure payroll for a team which now has the best player in the game among its lineup. If there are doubters as to the talents of Mike Trout , then I would gladly like to hear the arguments from those who think to the contrary ! ! Albert Pujols may well command the respect of his peers within the game, but the Angels are now Trout’s team for him to lead and his teammates willingly follow his lead.

If the Los Angeles Angels are to have things their own way, then they will have to overcome what is proving to be a very competitive and resilient Oakland Athletics’ team , who are not yet ready to relinquish their dominance of the AL West , much less the defense of their divisional crown. The two teams this season have proven to be highly combative in their seasonal meetings with the A’s currently holding a lead in those contests (6-3) in 2014. The most recent contest between the two divisional rivals, ended with an emphatic 7-1 mauling of the Angels by the A’s at Anaheim Stadium , in Anaheim, California on the 11th June.

Three-and-a half games separate the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels within the AL West , but Mike Scioscia’s players seem to be in the driver’s seat in terms of the wildcard berth at present by virtue of a better record than their two closest rivals the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners . Tuesday pits the Angels against the disappointing Philadelphia Phillies , with CJ Wilson on the mound taking on Jerome Williams , when these two teams meet at Anaheim Stadium. The Tigers will face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates with the opposing pitchers being Robbie Ray against Edinson Volquez of the Pirates , in a game being played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,. Seattle will square off against the Toronto Blue Jays , with J A Happ looking to improve on his 8-6 record for the season , when he opposes Chris Young at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. All three contests should prove to be interesting and highly competitive given what is likely to be at stake , at this point of the season.

It doesn’t seem so long ago, where fans thought of the Texas Rangers as an organization likely to succeed at the highest levels of the game. Hall of Famer and Rangers’ great Nolan Ryan held sway as a senior executive within the organization , but then wheels on the Texas juggernaut became deflated and then suffered a large puncture. Ryan was made the scapegoat for the ball-club’s ills , but in many respects it was simply the arrogance of the franchise , starting with the front office , down through the managerial staff and several of the players , some of whom are no longer with the organization. GM Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington are now left holding the bag , as the team now wades through a season of sheer mediocrity. The Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies now share the worst records in the entire Major Leagues, a sad indictment of two teams showing little ambition this season.

In all likelihood, this will prove to be Ron Washington’s last season with the Texas Rangers , because it seems highly unlikely he will be asked to return for next season. The team has become listless , uncompetitive , totally lacking in leadership both and off the field of play. Having assumed the contract of Prince Fielder in a trade that simply made no sense whatsoever , the Rangers have now burdened themselves with an unproductive slugger whose prime came and went at least three or four years ago . As to what this indicates about the mindset of Jon Daniels and the ownership group of the Rangers is anyone’s guess , but clearly, this was a catastrophic blunder on the part of the organization in acquiring the player from the Detroit Tigers.

Fielder has been limited to forty-two games this season, having been placed on the sixty-day disabled list(DL) , likely to miss the rest of the season and undergoing neck surgery. Injuries asides, which has plagued the Rangers for much of the year, it has been a lack of leadership all-round which has played its part in the team’s lousy play and record (46-71). If Texas are to now any real signs of life, then their current series against the Tampa Bay Rays which resumes today when the two teams meet at the newly renamed Global Life Park in Arlington , Texas. Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays will face opposing pitcher Nick Tepesch of the Rangers in what should prove to be a riveting pitchers’ duel.

If the Texas Rangers are to avert a disastrous season then series such as the one being played against the Tampa Bay Rays will have to be won decisively and the consistency has to be maintained over the remainder of their schedule. Ron Washington’s long-term future is now intertwined with his team’s play, and if failure is to play a part in the ongoing drama now unfolding, the manager is likely to become a managerial casualty during the off-season along with several other possible candidates around the game of baseball.

Call me naïve, but I believe the NL Manager of The Year is likely to be Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals . Williams seems to have managed to achieve the impossible, having his team play with a great deal of consistency while keeping at bay the Atlanta Braves , Miami Marlins and New York Mets out of contention for the divisional crown in the NL East. In his first season as the manager of the Nationals, it now looks as if the incumbent manager has been able to do what his predecessor Davey Johnson failed in doing and that is getting a team mixed veterans and youth to believe in themselves. A great of the credit has to go to Matt Williams and his managerial staff , the faith shown in the staff by the ownership group and GM Mike Rizzo . The Nationals’ billionaire owner Ted Lerner and his partners are certainly intent on bringing a World Series’ title to the ball-club and are ready to do whatever it takes to achieve the goal.

Matt Williams and the Nationals will be seeking to make their first postseason appearance since the 1981 MLB postseason and the team reaching the NLCS and their 3-2 series’ loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. With a four-game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the NL East and Fredi Gonzalez’ Braves looking nothing like reigning divisional champions, it has to be said Washington now has the division practically sewn up. The high-flying Nationals will take their show on the road, when they meet the New York Mets at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York, in the first game of their three-game series against their divisional rivals. Doug Fister of the Nationals takes the mound for the visitors against Rafael Montero in a pitching contest between two of the NL’s best young pitchers. It will be interesting to see how the season now pans out for the Washington Nationals where star players Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg will be seeking to make their mark over the remainder of the season for the team.

Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were first round draft picks by the Washington Nationals in 2009 and 2010 respectively, with both players now seen as major reasons why the team is now having some semblance of real success. Yet, until the ball-club itself has made a deep run in the postseason with the pair in question contributing to the success , what we have witnessed so far, are the players living up to the expectations first seen as collegiate players and then within the Nationals’ farm system before their debuts in the Big Leagues. MLB agent Scott Boras will no doubt be making sure both of his clients are likely to be handsomely rewarded when their existing contracts are due to expire. Boras has certainly made his presence known among the general managers around baseball , where he has proven to be a thorn in the side of these front office executives. His zealous representation of some of baseball’s most high profiled and highest paid players by way of their contracts and salaries , has been a major reason why their remains a financial imbalance among the haves and have-nots within baseball .

Some of the individual regular season awards will be hard to decide but I believe we could well see repeat winners for a number of the top prizes. Clayton Kershaw seems to be an odds on favorite to repeat as the NL Cy Young Award winner, and in the AL, the award is being fiercely contested by Chris Sale , Felix Hernandez , Rick Porcello and Jon Lester . League MVP in the AL is Mike Trout’s to lose, albeit, many believed he would have been a worthy winner of the award in 2013, only for the voters to go with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Though this season both Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano are staking valid claims as worthy candidates, but Trout’s all-round presence and contributions have greater weight than either of his competitors for the award.

NL honors for League MVP is not a foregone conclusion, but Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Morneau , Yasiel Puig , Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton are making solid claims why they should be atop of everyone’s list for the award. The rookies and their debuts within the AL and NL will simply be about the impressions made and how dynamic they happen to be. Hard to believe however, Derek Jeter during his playing career, having won the AL Rookie of the Year Award , was never afforded the prestige of winning the AL MVP. The AL Manager of The Year Award , I believe will come down to Buck Showalter of the Orioles, Bob Melvin , Ned Yost and John Gibbons, should he be able to pull off of the improbable and lead the Blue Jays to a divisional win in the AL East.

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Picture gallery.

As baseball enters the final third of its season what has impressed you the most in terms of the teams’ play or that of a player’s? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit, on this and anything else you believe to be of importance.

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell , left, is seen here with David Ortiz. This season the Red Sox have been abysmal , showing little competitive spirit within their division ,lying in fifth and last place within the AL East , often described as the toughest division in all of baseball . AP Photo/ Dave Walsh …

(2) A pensive Buck Showalter looks on from the dugout during a regular season game being played by the Baltimore Orioles . Getty Images North America / Steve Jones …

(3) Jays slugger Jose Bautista , right, is congratulated by manager John Gibbons after hitting a walk-off single in the 10th inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday 22nd May 2013 . After a slow start, Bautista is posting better numbers, but the Jays need him to start producing the way he has in the past . This year the Toronto Blue Jays are definitely looking like divisional contenders . within the AL East while seeking to make inroads on the Orioles’ lead within the division . REUTERS/ Mark Blinch ….

(4) Los Angeles Angles’ GM Jerry Dipoto ,left , is seen here with Mike Trout center and team manager Mike Sciocsia . Trout was the recipient of the Jackie Robinson Award as AL Rookie of The Year. Trout has been spectacular for the Angels over the past three seasons leading the team in a number offensive categories. AP Photo / Mark Daniels …

(5) Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington left is seen here with GM Jon Daniels . The team has failed miserably this season and with Prince Fielder limited to forty-two games , now on the sixty-day disabled list . The Rangers are mow mired in mediocrity , while having one of the worst records in all of baseball. A great deal of the failure has been attributed to Daniels’ capricious off-season moves via the free agency market and several other far-reaching trades, saddling the team with Fielder’s exorbitant contract . AP Photo/ Jack Marshall …

(6) Washington Nationals’ manager Matt Williams greet Bryce Harper at the end of the game , where the Nationals were victorious in a home contest played at Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington , DC . AP Photo/ Garry Mason …
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Ewa Sonnet who always provides us with pleasurable and pleasing images .

More of Ewa, will always be a pleasure .

The sound you hear, is but the brief glimpse of baseball showing and still sowing the seeds of doubt ….

The sound you hear, is but the brief glimpse of baseball showing and still sowing the seeds of doubt

With the recent suspension of the Milwaukee Brewers` …. Ryan Braun . A great many fans within the blogging world, seem to be rejoicing and are of the opinion that baseball seems to be finally coming to its senses, with Commissioner Bud Selig supposedly leading the way. If only that were true at this juncture, because in essence, this agreement, wherein, Braun serves a sixty-five game suspension., means absolutely nothing ,as there was no admittance of guilt for any wrongdoing on his part by way his admitting to the use of a banned substance . Though, we are lead to believe by the MLB hierarchy , that this was in fact the primary reason behind the suspension.

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Ryan Braun`s agent and legal representative, Nev Balelo , worked in close conjunction with the league`s investigators and legal counsel to draw up this agreement as to his client`s suspension. As to any impending suspensions of the other players, known to be associated company founder, Anthony Bosch of Biogenesis . For now, it appears that baseball is now playing with its cards being kept firmly pressed against its chest.

From the very beginning, this situation was poorly handled by baseball`s hierarchy, and we were being given the impression that everything was closely being monitored by Bud Selig`s office and a number general managers and MLB team owners could not be trusted to carry out any kind of working options, that would prove to the public and fans alike, that baseball was in fact getting its act together. Truth be told, baseball takes its lead, by repeatedly tripping over its own feet , as it continues to look for ways to repair over a decade`s worth of damage done to its image and integrity .

This season I believe , will go down as one of the most infamous in recent history , tainted , without any real merit , and that is in spite of the stellar play we have all witnessed from many of the game`s emerging young stars . If last season could be described as the year, that Mike Trout broke unto the scene. Then this year, well at last the second quarter of the first half has been about the exploits of the Los Angeles Dodgers` young rookie sensation Yasiel Puig . Not to be outdone in the American League, there is the Baltimore Orioles` young phenom Manny Machado , a player who seems to be instinctive , with a natural flair for the game . Machado and Puig are likely to be this season`s Rookies of the Year from the respective leagues .

At a time, when baseball is trying to hang unto what remaining nobility, it has, it does not seem strange, that the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) remains as pompous and as sanctimonious as ever. An institution bereft of intelligence and integrity . Yet, somehow from within the bastion of what is an outmoded and archaic organization. The fans and public alike are meant to believe that they are the arbiters of sound judgment when it comes to adjudicating the most celebrated regular season awards . This being the very same institution that during the height of steroid era, simply, either turned a blind eye to wanton cheating , that was taking place within the game. Or their reporting of the events were clouded by their undoubted biases and downright stupidity. It may well be an annual rite of passage for the players to be named the AL and NL MVP . But in light of Ryan Braun winning the award in 2011, when it was known by the league hierarchy that the player was alleged to have failed a drug test and subject of an ongoing investigation . MLB`s leaders felt it prudent not to let the BBWAA know of its findings, and therefore the Brewers` slugger was denoted as the NL MVP recipient for that year .

A full two years after of Braun being awarded the trophy. Second place finisher, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers has voiced his concerns and believes that the Brewers player`s name should be stricken from the records as the 2011 NL MVP. I am inclined to ask at this juncture , does Kemp now feel that he should now be named the recipient of the award ? If Kemp, can now voice his disapproval of Ryan Braun at this moment in time, then why no contempt or criticism of former teammate, and fellow slugger Manny Ramirez ? A two-time violator of the league`s steroid policy, Ramirez never served the mandatory one hundred game suspension mandated by MLB. In fact, upon being notified of the league`s findings at the time , the player immediately announced his retirement from the game . Only to return, first playing in the Far East , then recently signing a Minor League deal with an affiliate of the Texas Rangers . GM Jon Daniels of the Rangers believes the player to be a good fit for the organization and that he will be of benefit to the organization and their postseason ambitions.

For Ramirez, his sojourn in the Minors for the Rangers has been somewhat understated , as he no doubt seeks a call up by the coaching staff at some point in the Rangers` future schedule . When there is said to be this much hypocrisy within the game from some its most high-profiled players , how can anyone take them seriously , much less the game itself ? Never mind that we also have the continued apathy amongst many of the on air radio and television personalities who cover the game of baseball. Not to be left out of this, are the ever endearing anal retentive fans, who one minute call for changes to be made, but somehow cannot be succinct enough to explain the type of changes that they would like to see made within baseball as a whole .

Courtesy of ESPN & Associated Press

Kemp: Ryan Braun should lose MVP

TORONTO — Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, who finished runner-up to Ryan Braun in voting for the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award, thinks the suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger should be stripped of the honor.

Braun finished with 388 points and 20 first-place votes, to 332 and 10 for Kemp. Major League Baseball attempted to suspend Braun following a positive test that October for elevated testosterone, but the penalty was overturned by an arbitrator who ruled Braun’s urine sample was handled improperly.

Braun agreed Monday to a 65-game suspension for unspecified violations of baseball’s drug rules and labor contract.

Asked Tuesday whether the award should be taken away from Braun, Kemp responded: “I mean, yeah, I do,” pausing and adding, “I feel like it should be, but that’s not for me to decide, you know?”

Kemp said people feel “betrayed” by Braun.

“I’m disappointed,” Kemp said. “I talked to Braun before any of this happened, we had conversations and I considered him a friend. I don’t think anybody likes to be lied to and I feel like a lot of people have felt betrayed. That’s not just me, that’s the whole Brewers organization, a lot of his teammates. I think a lot of people feel that way.”

Jack O’Connell, secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, said the award vote was final.

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Bud Selig for his part , has tip-toed around the issue of this latest fiasco and the apparent stupidity of his office in paying for documentation from the offices of Biogenesis , suggests to me, that he is taking advice of any kind from a litany of like-minded buffoons . It begs the question, can he in all good conscience, believe that a number of the cases he will present against suspected players , can proceed ahead with any real veracity , if in fact a player seeks to challenge the league`s authority and how they went about collecting a great deal of the information now said to be in their possession ?

From my own perspective, Matt Kemp may well believe that he is saying all of the right things , and that if anything , he feels it is something the fans and in general, as well as the public, are likely to agree with his sentiments. As I alluded to earlier, if his criticism of Ryan Bran can be so concise, then why no criticism of Manny Ramirez ? Baseball`s code of silence amongst its players, is no different from that of the Thin Blue Line line of law enforcement and their police officers . You do not `rat ` on your buddies , and you do not level acute criticism of them either . What comes next, after this saga and the apparent friendship between these two prolific players, remains to be seen .

If things cannot get any worse for the New York Yankees (54-48) , then what is now said to be taking place off the field of play for the AL East , fourth placed team , has all the makings of a bad dramatic episode now going hideously wrong . Derek Jeter remains sidelined and the team`s highest paid player , Alex Rodriguez , remains the scourge of the game as well their being a heated , and now some might deem it to be an irreparably damaged relationship between the player and team GM Brian Cashman .

Rodriguez , hoping to finally to come off the team DL , was placed back on that list after it was revealed that he had a slight quadriceps tear . Not so , says the third baseman , revealing that he was ready to play and to contribute in any way that he can to aid the team . Somehow , this might not be the what Rodriguez had envisaged for himself tis season . Yet in light of the fact that his name is the most recognized of those players associated with the Biogenesis scandal. Either Brian Cashman and his fellow executives are looking for either a graceful way to push the player out of the door , or they may well seek a legal recourse to actually send him packing, if Bud Selig is unable to summarily do so, with a long-term suspension . Over the past eighteen months Alex Rodriguez has proven to be more of a thorn in the side of the Yankees` organization than he has been of an asset to the ball-club .

With the Yankees having now acquired their former outfielder Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for cash for right-handed pitcher Corey Black . This could prove to be a harbinger of things to come as it relates to Alex Rodriguez`s immediate and long-term future. Soriano, keen to reassert himself as one of the game`s most prolific and hitters and productive players , had several enjoyable seasons with the Yankees` organization before being traded to the Texas Rangers in February , 2004 , in a trade that would send Alex Rodriguez New York bound . Now having come full circle, the two players will now reunite as teammates , but for how long ?

Earlier in the season Lonn A Trost , CEO & Chief Legal Counsel to the New York Yankees spoke with Brian Cashman as well as with senior members of the Steinbrenner family about the possibility of voiding the four remaining years left on Alex Rodriguez`s contract. The player is owed $104 million , and it was recently noted that he had in fact taken out an insurance policy to indemnify against himself against future loss, in terms of earnings. As to whether or not this constitutes and covers the possibility of his being suspended and how such a claim would be met , without any details being made public . It is hard to envisage how a claim would be honored by an underwriting insurance company. The decision was made to proceed ahead, with Rodriguez still under contract and a member of the Yankees` roster .

On the field of play, the Yankees have been struggling, losers of six of their last ten games and they are now 6 ½ games out of a seeding, for an AL wildcard berth. Too soon to count them out ? Well dependent upon who you might well be listening to . There are those , who believe that the AL East is still up for grabs . While the naysayers, are of the opinion that an aging roster , injuries and inconsistent pitching have been the main reasons for the New York Yankees` woes this season . I believe it is all of the above , along with this constant idiotic belief that they can simply spend their way out of trouble . I guess a burgeoning $235 million plus payroll can at times paint a rosy picture , no matter how dire a situation might be .

A three-game home series against the divisional rivals the red hot Tampa Bay Rays(60-42) , starting on Friday , will pit CC Sabathia against the Rays` Jeremy Hellickson , and could go a long way in telling us whether or not New York has the grit to tough it out and make a fight of the remainder of this season . Anything sort of a series` win against the Rays , and it could very well spell the beginning of the end for the ball-club for the season .

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Picture gallery .

From your own perspective, are you disappointed in the way tat the baseball hierarchy has dealt with this latest scandal (Biogenesis) ? And what are your opinions concerning Matt Kemp`s disapproval of Ryan Braun being allowed to keep is 2011 NL MVP Award ? Do bear in mind, that the Los Angeles` Dodgers` player did not voice is concerns with regard to Manny Ramirez . Finally, your thoughts on the latest drama concerning the always controversial Alex Rodriguez ? Chime in with your comments , as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .
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(1) Matt Kemp , left , of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen here with Ryan Braun prior to a Spring Training during game against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday, March 30, 2012 at Camelback Ranch-Glendale in Phoenix, Arizona .Kemp has been critical of Ryan Braun and the fact that the 2011 NL MVP award winner remains recognized as the recipient of the award for which the Baseball Writers Association of America have stated that the result will stand . © Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers 2012 …

(2) Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers is seen here signing autographs for the Dodgers` fans . The player has simply been sensational this season for the team , which has seen the ball club rise to second place within the NL West . Much of the credit goes to Puig and his offense as well as times, some sensational defensive plays . Getty Images /Mark Strong …

(3) Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles , has been one of the primary reasons that the third placed Orioles have been in contention within the AL East for much of the season ,albeit that teammate Chris Davis has received the bulk of the team`s headlines for much of the season . Machado is amongst the top offensive players in the AL leading , the league in doubles . AP Photo / Phil Kelly …………..

(4) New York Yankees` GM Brian Cashman , left, is seen here with Alex Rodriguez , as the player answers questions posed by the convened press at the Yankees` headquarters, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida . Rodriguez was answering questions concerning his then use of anabolic steroids dating back to his playing days between 2001- 04 _______ then playing for the Texas Rangers . A strained relationship between Cashman and the Yankees` third baseman has now cast a great deal of uncertainty over Rodriguez`s future with the New York Yankees` organization. NOAH K. MONROE / THE STAR-LEDGER @ copyrighted material all rights reserved .

(5) Former New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers` manager Joe Torre , now a SVP of MLB Operations, is widely considered to be one of the leading candidates alongside , Rob Manfred to succeed Bud Selig as the next MLB Commissioner . Selig is due to step down as commissioner , as early as February of 2014, when his current contract is due to expire . After a two-decade long career as baseball`s highest ranking executive , Selig`s sometimes confrontational and unconventional style of leadership , has as become the antithesis of what is now needed within the game , in its upper echelons of leadership and management . NY Times/ Jorge Vargas ……

(6) A sense of foreboding as words uttered concerning Ryan Braun by Bud Selig, came back to haunt him . Getty Images North America /Rick Carlson ….

(7) Bud Selig foreground, stands at the dais as he formally makes the announcement that the 2013 MLB All Star Game will be held at Citi-Field , home to the New York Mets , in Flushing, New York . Also pictured are second from the left New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mets` senior managing partner and co-owner Fred Wilpon . AP Photo / Rajiv Singh …..

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tophatal …………… 07/27/2013

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Simple , they played the game to win …..others just wanted an invite to the dance

Simple , they played the game to win …..others just wanted an invite to the dance

By Tophatal

There were no hits or misses , as it related to the MLB season , there were simply teams who came prepared to play over the long and arduous 162 game schedule . And with today (Wednesday) being the final day of the regular season schedule , teams are now playing simply for pride , specifically those who have missed out on the postseason foray . The divisional champions have been pretty much settled within the three divisions, from each league. Albeit , that within the AL West , with both the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers (93-68) tied with the same mark within the division , their contest today , at that the O Coliseum , now has even greater meaning than any of their previous meetings this season , as a divisional title is now on the line. The Oakland A’s, leads that series 10-8 , in their eighteen meetings to date in 2012 .

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For A’s manager Bob Melvin and his coaching staff , this has been a truly exceptional season , as this team has simply risen to the occasion, and simply outshone many of their more high-profiled and high paid rivals. GM Billy Beane has been able to work miracles by being prudent in the team’s free agency acquisitions and draft decisions made over the past few seasons. In 2012, it has all borne fruit , with a number of unsung heroes stepping up to the plate and making this a year, where the A’s fans have something to be extremely proud about.

With the inaugural one-game format set to commence the 2012 postseason , these series of games, which will begin on the 5th October , with the Atlanta Braves playing host to the St Louis Cardinals in a single game elimination, winner takes all format. Suffice to say, as an avid Braves’ fan , I sincerely hope that Fredi Gonzalez and his players are triumphant in that meeting at Turner Field , in Atlanta, Georgia , this Friday ! Taking the mound for the Braves will be Kris Medlen, who will be facing Kyle Lohse , of the Cardinals. Mike Matheny, having succeeded Tony La Russa, has simply taken up from where his predecessor left off. The reigning World Series champions , may not be as dominant a team from last season , but there is enough experience on this roster to make have made a spirited return to the postseason , for an organization that has known unprecedented success. As enthralling as this addition to the playoff format is meant to be , in adding another layer to what is already an arduous postseason schedule. To my mind , all it really has going for it, is the additional lure for the viewing public by way of the television broadcast coverage. As meaningful as Bud Selig wishes to the postseason to be , this new change in essence does nothing to address the most acute issues that the game of baseball currently faces. The commissioner espouses the fact that the game has seen rise in revenues , but remains at a loss to explain why there’s a preponderance of teams who are so reliant on the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme to even eke out an operating profit . Yes, that’s baseball’s commissioner for you, full of nothing but a great deal of fecal matter and platitudes!

OK, so who would have thought that the New York Yankees(94-67) would be playing and clinging on for dear life, as they seek to avoid being in a single game elimination format ? In the past eight and half weeks the team has seen their double-digit lead within the AL East being erased to a mere one game over the fast chargingBaltimore Orioles (93-68). It is at this point that you have to wonder what the hell is going on inside of the Yankees’ clubhouse over the past two months ? However, tonight the Yankees should feel lucky enough that they will be facing the beleaguered Boston Red Sox (69-92) at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx Bombers’ final game of the regular season. In what has been a too tumultuous season for Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine , there now seems to be a sense of foreboding that this may well be his final game as the manager of a team, which he has mismanaged and sought to apportion blame elsewhere for all of the Red Sox’s woes over the course of their season. There is probably nothing that Valentine would clearly like than to seemingly pull the rug from out under the Yankees’ feet as they seek another berth in the postseason.

The MLB season, as we know, is a long an arduous schedule, spread over 187 days spanning one hundred and sixty-two games. In the AL West , the Texas Rangers led that division for an astonishing 178 days. In what has been an astonishing turn of events, the Texas Rangers fell apart in unbelievable fashion, as they succumbed to the Oakland A’s 12-5 in a game that saw Bob Melvin’s team snatch the divisional crown from the forlorn Rangers. As to what this might suggest about the defending two-time AL pennant winners , and the very fact that also in successive years they have fallen in the World Series in 2010 and 2011. Well, it is enough to indicate that this team has no real stomach for any real type of adversity. The fact that the Rangers fell apart in such a catastrophic way , leaving the fans in attendance in sheer astonishment and disbelief.

Ron Washington and undoubtedly the Rangers’ front office led by team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels will have seen the events of today as a tremendous disappointment and one which now places this team in a precarious position. With the loss now, comes a one game playoff against either the Baltimore Orioles or New York Yankees, dependent upon the events that unfold over the remainder of today. With the payroll, and the high-priced acquisitions sought to bolster the Texas Rangers , it is astonishing to think that ball-club is now a mere nine innings away from being an afterthought , and not actually playing in the divisional round of the postseason.

Of the high-flying teams that made the biggest splashes during the off-season and then at the trade deadline , then one would have to say that the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers would have to be two of those teams. Angels’ owner Arte Moreno simply opened up his pocket-book to commit almost $300 million to acquire Albert Pujols and C J Wilson , but the spending did not stop, there with GM Jerry Depot also making his input known to Moreno. Unfortunately, for the franchise but for the efforts of rookie phenom and sensation Mike Trout , perhaps , we would have merely looked at the Angels throughout the season as an afterthought. It would not be remiss to suggest that the Angels far short of their fans’ expectations and that of the ownership group as well. At 89-72, the best that the Angels can now do is to seal their season with a final game victory over the Seattle Mariners. Beyond that, it has been a profoundly disappointing season for the Angels.

The hoopla was there as the circus came to town , with the immediacy of the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to a consortium led by Magic Johnson , Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly, Peter Guber and Stan Kasten . The famed ball-club purchased for $2.156 billion , after the organization had been taken into a forced bankruptcy by then owner, Frank McCourt. As the league hierarchy’s handling of this sorry episode, and the fact that Bud Selig sought to interject himself in the bidding process , suggests that this whole process was not without a great deal of subterfuge and the very fact that the commissioner favored one consortium over the six other interested parties at the time , even though this whole process was presided over by a federal bankruptcy court judge . Get the feeling that this was an episode that the commissioner simply wanted to disappear because of his office’s inept handling of this whole episode ?

Don Mattingly tried in vain to get his team playing with a great deal of zeal, but with the repeated injuries to key players at varying points of the season, it was clear that this would be all in vain. In their final game of the season, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated divisional rivals and this year’s NL West champions, the San Francisco Giants (94-68). Finishing eight games out of first place within the division and 1 ½ games out of the wildcard berth within the NL, the future of the Dodgers now lays in its future and that of the major free agency acquisitions made by ball-club. Adrian Gonzalez , Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett were never able to put together the productivity sought by front office . Next season an emphasis is likely to be placed on bolstering the Dodgers’ roster , as a clear emphasis will be made by this ball-club to succeed. Magic Johnson has clearly emphasized this, in his repeated public statements concerning his ambitions for the franchise, and that is to win multiple World Series’ titles. In their future , I am very sure that the Dodgers will be a contender for not only the division but also the NL pennant as well as a World Series but this year was never meant to be their year.

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As this final day of the season filtered through, it has been clear that so many teams faltered at the most unexpected of moments , while others rose to the occasion. The postseason now waits, and the expectations will be high. The fans of the game would like nothing better than to see thrills and spills exhibited in 2011, as part of excitement by the participants in the postseason fare. As a fan , what are your expectations this postseason , and which team do you believe to be the favorite to win this year’s World Series ? Simply leave a comment on this topic and anything else you deem pertinent to the subject matter.

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(1) Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Brandon McCarthy , left, douses a teammate with a beer as they celebrate in the clubhouse after their 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers in a baseball game , Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 in Oakland, Calif. The A’s clinched the AL West title with the win. AP Photo/Ben Margot ….

(2) Oakland Athletics players celebrate after clinching the American League West at the end of their 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers in a baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Oakland, Calif. AP Photo/Ben Margot …..

(3) Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Grant Balfour , left, and catcher Derek Norris celebrate after their 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers in a baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 in Oakland, Calif. The A’s clinch the AL West title with the win. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(4) Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones acknowledges fans as he heads for the clubhouse following a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the final baseball game of the regular season in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ….

(5) San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey , right, grounds out as Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Tim Federowicz watches during the fourth inning of their baseball game, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers won 5-1 . Posey became the first Giants player since Barry Bonds in 2004 and the first Giants catcher to win the National League batting title with a .336 average . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(6) Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (88) gets a hug from co-owner Mark Walter after the Dodgers’ baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers won 5-1. The Dodgers failed to make the postseason finishing a distant second to the Giants within the NL West . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …..

(7) LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 03: Juan Rivera (21) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his two-run home run with Elian Herrera (37) for a 5-1 lead over the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on October 3, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ……
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Movers And Shakers ……………….. It’s All In The Games People Play !

Movers & Shakers …………. It’s All In The Games People Play …. !

As the baseball postseason beckons , the month of September is now here and there’s still a great deal to play for as divisional leaders seek to widen the distance between themselves and their closest rivals . Also at stake are the wildcard berths within both the AL and NL . But what might well more interesting could very well be the offseason managerial moves as well as those of the front office executives within the game .

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After four years of absolute futility it would appear that general manager Andy MacPhail will leave the Baltimore Orioles . MacPhail , whose father Lee MacPhail , a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame and who like his son held the position from 1958-1963. For team owner Peter Angelos these years of mediocrity and the lack of postseason play has made this organization a major laughing stock and the butt numerous jokes throughout the game. I simply laugh when I hear purists state that a team is building towards the future but one would beg the question didn’t Noah build an ark because he knew of the impending disaster of the floods ? Well , the floods have continued for the Baltimore Orioles relentlessly and they’re unlikely to abate anytime soon !

To view the on field play of the Orioles , with the thought that this team has a chance of actually being competitive is akin to watching paint dry . Manager Buck Showalter and his coaching assistants while gradually getting the best out of these players , it appears that this roster is still a long way off from where they really need to be. Granted , the Orioles do play in perhaps the toughest division (AL East) in all of baseball but that simply cannot excuse their poor play. Throughout the month of August , from the sublime to the ridiculous it has simply been a journey into inexplicable as the team’s fall from grace has magnified .

The Orioles host their divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays for a two game series at Camden Yards , Baltimore , Maryland. Camden Yards has played host the many of Cal Ripken’s most heralded moments over the course of illustrious career. But one now seriously doubts that the ball-club’s most beloved player having retired can continue sit idly by and witness the monstrosity that has taken place . Inasmuch , as Peter Angelos would love to see this ball-club have a modicum of success , he as the team’s owner has done little to suggest that they are actively striving for that mantel . If anything , the owner and the front office have simply benefited from the league hierarchy’s largesse by readily accepting the tax revenue money shared amongst small market teams and doing little to bolster the team’s roster by way of acquiring players that could contribute to the organization. I’m sorry but even with their drafting of players , routinely the Baltimore Orioles have come up short with their choices .

Courtesy of USA Today

Orioles’ MacPhail could start GM exodus with departure

By Bob Nightengale of USA Today

BALTIMORE – Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations, has reached a decision on his future with the Baltimore Orioles but plans to wait until season’s end before announcing his intentions.

“Let’s just get to the end of the year and see what unfolds,” MacPhail told USA TODAY. “We’ll see. We’ll see.”

MacPhail, according to two high-ranking Orioles officials, plans to leave the organization after his contract expires Oct. 31. He will not pursue an extension. The officials are not authorized to discuss the decision publicly because it is not official.

MORE: Jim Hendry’s time ran out with Cubs

MacPhail, whose father, Hall of Fame executive Lee, was Orioles general manager from 1958 to 1965, has been with the Orioles since 2007 but could not turn them around. The Orioles are three losses from their 14th consecutive losing season.

“I know there’s a lot of speculation, but that comes with the territory,” MacPhail said.

Several GM candidates have been brought up internally, an Orioles official said, led by New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, whose contract expires after the season.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter, expected to have an influential voice in the decision, said he’s not interested in the job.

“You hear all kinds of things,” Showalter says. “I just hope for the best for Andy. This is not one person’s fault. You can’t be this bad, for this long, without multiple reasons.”

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It is hard to suggest where the Orioles go from here even with the contributions of Vladimir Guerrero , Nick Markakis and the pitching staff seem to be bereft of real competitiveness when adjudged against the teams within the AL . It doesn’t get better overall when one takes into account all of ball-clubs in MLB .

It would be easy to suggest that the Baltimore Orioles through their prospects and minor league farm system that things could necessarily be turned around with the right sort of precipitous moves . But we have seen that this ball club simply has stumbled through many of their own self created obstacles .

The departure of Andy MacPhail will probably now set into motion a number of moves within the game of baseball. Billy Beane , Andrew Friedman , Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein are amongst a number of general mangers whose contracts expire at the end of the season . In the case of Epstein , Cashman and Friedman can leave without any compensation being sought . And with the Chicago Cubs said to be also seeking a replacement for Jim Hendry after his firing by team owner Tom Ricketts . It has to be said that this offseason the real interest won’t necessarily be about the big money free agents who will land on the open market but more so I believe, where many of these front office executives may well end up !

Theo Epstein, the primary architect of the Boston Red Sox’s most recent triumphs in the World Series . It would appear however that Epstein’s days with the ball-club could very well be numbered as there now seems to be an impasse between he and club president Larry Lucchino . However , it would be simply idiotic for principal managing partner & team owner John Henry to allow the wunderkind to leave . To lose such a prize asset as Theo Epstein would be the worse thing that this ball-club could actually do beyond choosing to implode Fenway Park . I firmly expect that the organization will offer their general manager a long term contract , which would be clearly in their best interests.

Lew Wolff , — principal managing partner of the Oakland Athletics has publicly stated that he would not stand in the way of Billy Beane leaving the club at the end of his tenure . A somewhat magnanimous gesture given the fact that were it not for Beane , this organization might well be far worse off than it already is. Lew Wolff has hamstrung this ball-club with his Scrooge like behavior as it relates to bolstering the fortunes of this organization by spending to acquire on players. Instead the fans are being asked to be content in seeing a team simply fall from grace with little to show by way of being competitive. It seems a travesty that this fraud has been allowed to be perpetrated upon the loyal A’s fans ! But it appears that neither Lew Wolff or any of the senior executives are in fact overly concerned with their plight. If that were the case then you would actually see Wolff and those very same executives acting aggressively in making a real attempt to turn things around . Fans have somehow have begun to accept the fact that it could well be Lew Wolff’s intent to simply sit back and gladly take the handouts given to the organization by MLB . Recent success by way of a playoff berth is fast becoming a faded memory and the seasonal showings within the division (AL West) haven’t at all been that impressive .

Salary constraints asides , there is some optimism amongst the A’s fans but in large part I do believe that comes out of their sheer devotion towards this organization and its storied history of the illustrious players associated with the team and that of their Hall of Famers .

For the teams who will seek to acquire a new general manager this offseason it is bound to be very intriguing to see which candidates are amongst those being interviewed for those vacant positions . I know that there’s bound to be great deal of money that will be offered to those players thought to be amongst the most prized free agents once the season has ended but as we know everything as such starts with the decision made by the team owner and that of a general manager who seeks assemble a ball-club that they believe will be competitive . Clearly that is all that is being sought by executives within the game but perhaps , some more than most .

Peter Angelos may well seek the insight of Buck Showalter as to who the next general manager will be for the Baltimore Orioles . As he should , given that manager’s acumen for molding a ball-club into a competitive being , as one simply has to take note of Showalter’s achievements in grooming the players that would essentially go on to win four World Series in the latter part of the nineties and early 2000’s . Joe Torre may well get the credit for taking those teams to those series and winning them but were it not for Buck Showalter , one doubts that the ball-club would have achieved those successes in that short a span . Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera , Jorge Posada and Andy Pettite are part of the quartet that went on to reach those illustrious heights , all groomed under the tutelage , first and foremost by the Orioles’ current manager .

Showalter , if anything will be looking for someone whom he can work alongside and at same be able to communicate with , without there being any real conflict or hidden agendas . And if Peter Angelos has any common sense he ought to heed well the advice given to him by his manager once he embarks upon a search for the successor to Andy MacPhail.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece and where do you any of these front office executives moving to , should that scenario actually arise ? By all means do leave comment as to your thoughts on the subject matter .

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

Contact tophatal via these social media devices

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Manager Buck Showalter (26) of the Baltimore Orioles walks to the dugout after a pitching change in the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Blue Jays would go on to defeat the Orioles 13-0 .Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

(2) Edwin Encarnacion (10) of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Mike McCoy (18) after scoring in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Toronto won the game 13-0 . Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

(3) Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles tosses his bat after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

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(4) GM Andy MacPhail (left) is seen here seated Buck Showalter after he manager was formally introduced to the convened press as the team’s new manager . MacPhail has since announced that he will be stepping down from the role within Baltimore Orioles’ front office . Team owner Peter Angelos has yet to make a formal statement as to what aspect the search will take for a successor to the general manager . AP Photo Brett Gibbons ….

(5) Peter Angelos (L), owner of the Baltimore Orioles Baseball team, watches testimony from Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (R) at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime. REUTERS/Jason Reed/ United States ……..

(6) CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 31: Relief pitcher Jerry Blevins (13) of the Oakland Athletics wipes his face after the tenth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 31, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images ….

(7) Oakland Athletic’s co-owner Lew Wolff makes a public presentation to the Fremont City Council regarding the ballpark and village proposal in Fremont, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. Wolff invoked visions of Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field as he outlined an ambitious development plan for a new baseball ballpark Tuesday. AP Photo/San Jose Mercury News, LiPo Ching ….

(8) Oakland Athletics’ Jason Giambi , right, leans on the shoulder of general manager Billy Beane as he is introduced during a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. Giambi and the Athletics finalized a one-year contract with an option on Wednesday, bringing the free-agent designated hitter and first baseman back to the place he began his big league career. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ……

(9) Larry Lucchino (center) and Theo Epstein, (right) seen here with principal partner and owner John Henry of the Boston Red Sox. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Chris Argyle …………
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Cry Me A River …….. Does Anyone Now Really Care ?

Cry Me A River …….. Does Anyone Now Really Care ?

I found it rather asinine that former (UNC) Tar Heels football coach Butch Davis prior to his firing by the university’s athletics’ director Dick Baddour . The coach saw fit to accept responsibility for the numerous violations that took place under his tenure as the head coach . In his four hectic year with the program Davis recorded a 30-21 mark but little to . show for the program’s development for the now tainted football program .

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Baddour by his own admission did not use due and proper oversight of monitoring the actions of the Davis and his coaching staff . The school no doubt acted appropriately in the firing of the coach and Dick Baddour has done the honorable thing in seeking to resign his position but he will now remain as the interim AD while the university starts the hiring process in seeking his successor . Once done , then new hire’s first course of action will be to undertake the search for a new head football coach. Many of the violations stem from the team’s association with an agent Gary Wichard which was in fact suborned by one of Davis’ own assistants John Blake who is now no longer with the program. Now much has been made about what was known or not known by the coach as to the actions of Blake , his interaction with the players and agent. What are now finding out is that there was a great deal of money changing hands as well as gifts but what might be even deplorable was the evidence of academic fraud on proportions unimaginable . It’s hard to understand how such a well established place of higher learning can now find itself embroiled in such a situation. But herein lies the caveat in such instances where a coach chooses to do whatever possible in order to achieve success.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the NCAA is a toothless governing body of collegiate athletics that simply metes out punishment but in doing so it chooses to show little common sense as to the penalties levied. While we all know what has become of former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel and his abrupt resignation the fact that Gene Smith retains his position as the school’s AD is almost beyond belief. Never mind the fact that university President Dr E Gordon Gee with his rather inane and mindless buffoonery acting as if the Buckeyes having turned the corner with the departure of Tressel after the litany of transgressions under his watch much of which came about the coach’s inaction in not reporting the violations in question.

In spite of the Jim Tresel’s departure even more stories are surfacing as to the egregious violations that took place with the coach himself actually suborning many of the actions that are said to have taken place . Now with the NCAA sanctions in place it remains to be seen how the program resurrects itself.

Oregon Ducks’ football coach Chip Kelly in a recent interview had stated that he was not prepared to discuss any further the problems of the school and what might appear to several NCAA violations by the program . Having lost the BCS national title game to Gene Chizik’s Auburn Tigers many felt that the Oregon Ducks moving forward would be in a welcoming position to defend their PAC 10 title .

Chip Kelly for his part is now reluctant to talk about anything concerning the allegations but has stated that the school has sought outside legal counsel to conduct an investigation on the school’s behalf into the numerous allegations . In this day and age it seems rather asinine to suggest or even make the assumption that a coach is now above reproach especially when many of them are hard pressed to show a modicum of honesty much less integrity. None more so than perhaps Kelly and his national championship adversary Gene Chizik. The Tigers’ football coach in a recent meeting with an NCAA committee official verbally attacked the individual in question when he had been advised by a reporter at a SEC function that the NCAA were still conducting their very own investigation into the school and their Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton .

Gene Chizik while under a great deal of pressure to prove that there has been no wrongdoing on the part of the school ____ the allegations are there as well as the actions purported to be of Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton who sought offer his son to the highest bidder . The school having conducted its own investigation suspended the player only to have that decision overturned by the NCAA who in this instance failed in using due diligence . But that in of-itself would suggest that esteemed body actually has its faculty’s about it , which if anything would be a naive thought. The NCAA can barely be trusted to act appropriately much less any degree of integrity or moralistic virtue. With so much power within its grasp and very little self regulatory action one wonders how the NCAA under their president Mark Emmmert can hold its head high with any degree of dignity.

Money has been the driving force and the underlying factor that has led to the mess that so many schools seem to repeatedly embroiled in year after year . It now seems crazy that each season we tend to hear of so many schools being caught in the midst of some underhanded seedy action that in some cases has been suborned by the actions of a coach his staff and the athletics director of the school involved . Rather than the schools themselves looking to augment a program of self awareness and in-house accountability so often all we tend to hear from the schools are numerous excuses and the odious commentary being put forth by analysts that it ought to be the student athlete who ought to be punished . It’d be remiss to think that college football where such a problem lies but nothing could be further from the truth . One only has to look at the actions of U Conn Huskies’ basketball coach Jim Calhoun and the quick jump to his aid and defense by none other than Dick Vitale of his colleague . Calhoun suborned numerous rule violations while taking little action if any to curtail the behavior of his players coaching staff . And when questioned on the matter by the school’s athletics director the coach offered little by way of an apology but somehow remained terse and and angry with reporters when asked about those allegations . Once again it seems that like many of his peers Jim Calhoun sees himself above that of the law and how one ought to conduct themselves while an employee of a renowned educational establishment .

When actions such as Calhoun’s are less than honest with allegations of lying to faculty members of the association of his players with agents as well as unsolicited contacts with known felons and the acceptance of monetary gifts , it begs the question what is it that Vitale still thinks is so honorable in the conduct Jim Calhoun ? Once again it is idiots such as Vitale that gives collegiate sport very little credibility apart from the inaction of the NCAA when it is actually called for !

So on Saturday the New York Yankees had the privilege of hosting the Baltimore Orioles and Buck Showalter a former Yankees’ manager . And inasmuch that team owner Peter Angelos can be considered an owner who seeks success for the organization, very little that he has sought to achieve has come to fruition . Andy MacPhail the team’s general manager has simply done little to suggest the fans are deserving of more when in attendance at Camden Yards / Orioles Ballpark . I simply don’t care what anyone says but ambition is not a top priority for this organization and it’s extremely sad to see this team flounder the way that it has !

Saturday’s events were typical of what the Baltimore Orioles have been going through for much of the season . The New York Yankees had a field day in this double header teeing of an woefully inept pitching performances from the Orioles’ Chris Tillman and Zach Britton pitchers that the coaches saw to field against the Yankees . If game one of this double header was anything to go by but the next second game was astounding to say the very least . Game one ended with 8-3 thrashing of the Orioles . However game two if anything left the fans in a disbelieving bewilderment as they were thoroughly entertained as the bats not only came alive but actually ignited an offensive onslaught.

The New York Yankees pounded out a season high 35 hits in the two games but in the night session of the double header was in essence where the fireworks really began. With Zach Britton on the mound the Yankees’ offense went to work pounding out 12 runs in the first inning and going on to win 17-3 and notching up their 63rd win of the season and closing the gap between themselves and the Boston Red Sox who sit atop of the AL East .

I’m not so sure that after these series of events the Baltimore Orioles can hold their heads high proudly and that is in spite of the statements made by Buck Showalter about the character of his team . Britton now has an of ERA 117.00 after his last two professional starts and one has to ask whether or not a stint in rehab within the Orioles’ minor league system will be enough for Zach Britton to actually regain his confidence .

The problems of the Baltimore Orioles have been well chronicled and it is difficult to say where the organization now goes from here . Certainly their farm system has talent and the prospects said to be on tap are the future of this organization . But herein lies the caveat for the Orioles with a dwindling attendance there’s little to suggest that the fans are feeling emotionally attached to this organization and its players . I know that the saying that one builds for the future but the foundations for the Baltimore Orioles may well have been laid well before Noah built the ark but over the last decade there has been little to suggest they are actually heading in the right direction. The Baltimore Orioles haven’t been relevant as an organization since the fans were raging on about Cal Ripken and his consecutive games playing streak but even then if that’s all that the fans can feel proud about then it clearly shows how far this organization has fallen off the map.

I am not about to suggest that the Baltimore Orioles won’t be able to turn things around but are the fans still prepared to endure the mediocrity from a team that now barely plays .500 ball while struggling to be competitive within baseball altogether . Over the ensuing months we will get to learn a great deal about the Baltimore Orioles and the direction that they may well be heading in . If they can acquit themselves with any degree of certainty then it bodes well for this team , if not then one can expect another season of discontent and simple mediocrity once again.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And how if anything do you see the season panning out for Baltimore Orioles ? And as such how what feelings do you have on how the NCAA deals with the gross negligence and behavior of the coaches within collegiate sports ? Do you as such feel that they act appropriately or do you simply believe that for the most part they tend to punish a school with impunity rather than also dealing with the behavior of the coaches in question ?

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

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) North Carolina coach Everett Withers , left, speaks to the media in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday, July 29, 2011. Withers, formally the defensive coordinator, is now the interim football coach after the firing of Butch Davis. AP Photo/Gerry Broome ….

(2) University of North Carolina Athletic Director Dick Baddour, left, introduces North Carolina coach Everett Withers to the media in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday, July 29, 2011. Withers, formally the defensive coordinator, is now the interim football coach after the firing of Butch Davis. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …..

(3) In this photo taken Monday, July 25, 2011, North Carolina coach Butch Davis pauses during interviews at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C. University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp announced Wednesday, July 27, 2011, that Davis has been dismissed as head coach of the football program. AP Photo/Gerry Broome ……

(4) HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 04: Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ….

(5) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson hits a single off of Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Zach Britton in the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Granderson had four hits during the Yankees 17-3 win . AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ….

(6) Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, second from right, confers at the mound with players from left, J.J. Hardy (2), Josh Bell, Robert Andino and catcher Matt Wieters after Showalter removed starting pitcher Zach Britton from the game after the New York Yankees scored seven runs in the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(7) Zach Britton (53) of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after giving up a run in the first inning against the New York Yankees on July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(8) President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail (left) talks with manager Buck Showalter while looking at the team during batting practice . Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron ….

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Obligations of Office ……………..

Obligations of Office ……………..

Having witnessed the President’s State of the Union Address last night before both legislative Houses of Congress . It got me thinking as such, what obligations is that an owner has to the fans of a major professional sporting franchise ? One of my patrons (sportschump) and someone I’d like to think of as more than an acquaintance and patron of my site has as such stated that the Tampa Bay Rays’ signing of both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez will stand the franchise in good stead this upcoming season . From my own standpoint given the financial difficulties that the organization and team has faced since it came into being as a baseball franchise within MLB I think that it goes without saying that they’ve struggled to have a fan base that can truly support its existence. And while the success attained is commendable the truth of the matter is that the Tampa Bay Rays can barely exist in its present being . Cost cutting and penny pinching has now become the order of the day and it’s once again back to the old convoluted ways of their previous owner Vince Naimoli in part .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Tropican Field has been home to the Tampa Bay Rays and the hardcore fanbase of no more 15,000 fans have remained loyal through the highs and lows of the organization. However at this moment in time it’s now becoming abundantly clear that owner Stuart Sternberg and his partners are making one calculated last stand that may well force their hand in the end. Having twice won the AL East in the last three seasons and with a lone appearance in the 2008 World Series the Rays have come up short in their aspirations. Now while success can be measured in a number of ways both on and off the field let’s just get one thing clear the Rays’ success has only been recent and when one considers that for the vast majority of its existence the team has been at the bottom of the food chain , it has only been since the ascent of Joe Maddon and his coaching staff to the tenure of the Rays that they’ve had a modicum of success. So let’s not kid ourselves that this team has the tradition of success and they’ve been steeped in it or actually have it behind them.

Courtesy of MLB.com

Newest Rays asked to lead and have fun ….

Pals in Boston, Damon and Ramirez reunite in a new clubhouse

By Bill Chastain of MLB.com

St. Petersburg James Shields got his first look at Johnny Damon on July 30, 2006, when the Rays right-hander pitched at Yankee Stadium for the first time in the 12th start of his rookie season.

Through 4 1/2 innings, the game stood tied at 2, and Shields was showing a great deal of moxie while facing the fierce lineup wearing pinstripes in front of a Sunday afternoon crowd of more than 54,000.

The Yankees had scratched two runs together in the third inning, but otherwise, Shields remained flawless. Damon then stepped to the plate with one out in the fifth. Shields came inside, and Damon re-routed the offering into the upper deck in right field.

Damon batted again with two outs in the seventh. Once again, he turned on a pitch by Shields, hitting yet another upper-deck shot and setting up a 4-2 Rays loss — the fifth of Shields’ career.

With memories like elephants, pitchers never forget. So Shields managed a chuckle when asked about the news that Damon would be his teammate in 2011.

“I’m definitely glad he’s on my team now,” Shields said. “He tends to get the head out on me a little bit, so I’d rather him hit upper-deck homers for us than against us.”

Damon, along with Manny Ramirez , will be joining Tampa Bay for the 2011 season, each having agreed to a one-year deal on Friday night. According to a Major League source, Damon will be paid $5.25 million with a $750,000 attendance bonus, while Ramirez will make $2 million.

The Rays have not confirmed the deal, nor have they commented on either player. However, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com that the deals are done, pending physicals.

Damon and Ramirez were teammates in Boston from 2002-05 and were key members of the club’s World Series championship in ’04. The years Damon and Ramirez spent together in Boston were magical ones for the Red Sox; the Rays are hoping to buy a sliver of that magic and put it to good use in ’11.

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Click on the link shown to read this article in its entirety .

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Financially the Rays struggle year in , year out and this is something that seems to be lost on sportschump and at the same time his thought process that an aging Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon will have an impact while justified , in part in no way does it guarantee success for the organization. While the large majority of teams within baseball have their own financial problems it does paint an acute picture as to how volatile the situation really is within the game. Now one could surmise that because of the ensuing economic climate , this was one of the most apparent problems that Sternberg faced with the fact that fans weren’t turning up in vast droves to attend the games. But in reality before this most recent downturn in the economy in 2007 the levels of attendance were still meager to begin with . Baseball within the locale isn’t at all self sustaining and that is in large part because a lot those in attendance for the games at Tropicana Field have their own allegiances elsewhere as team support goes. Something that my patron fails to acknowledge and something I for one feel that he has continued to overlook ! It’s asinine to even think that with public funding even if a new ballpark were to built that things would actually change, not when 15,000 people is all that this organization can show as a fan based asset. It’s certainly not financially feasible and only a complete idiot would believe that to be the case ! And even if a proposed 45,000 seat facility is built once the novelty has actually worn off it’s clear that things would return to where they use to be . Ten to fifteen thousand fans cheering on the team and nothing tangible at all to show for it at the end of the day.

League statistics from the commissioner’s office suggest that average attendance for the Rays’ games borders on 23,000 but even that figure can’t be taken seriously given what we all know to be true. Which begs the question what is that Commissioner Bud Selig and particular the Tampa Bay Rays are now trying to pitch and sell the fans in general ? I’ve always felt that in order to have success not only on the field there has to be viable and tangible success economically and real leadership being shown from the executives off the field as well. Teams that have been successful at the highest echelons of the game have actually shown this and it goes without saying that when it happens it breathes success across the whole organization. Trying to placate a situation by saying well look we made it to a World Series , won two divisional titles and a pennant means nothing if at the end of it all you’ve failed in your main objective and still from a financial standpoint you’re not even breaking even. And this is once again something that my learned friend has failed to acknowledge or even state. He has simply painted a broad picture of optimism and dealt in nothing but platitudes and that’s not how any real business principle works. Well at least not in the real world that is ! And therein lies the problem for some of the fans within this locale they simply don’t deal in reality .

What obligation does the owner of any major professional sports franchise have to the team’s fans ? Is it simply put a product on the field and eke out a profit or to put a winning product on the field of play and look to attain some success in whatever form it may take ? It’s not unlike an agenda that a President puts forward before Congress and the citizens in the hope that it leads to prosperity and success. Not that this current administration or its predecessor has had that much success on either front . This much we do know when there’s a genuine lack of creativity being shown there tends to be one big monumental mess that’s then being created and it has now began to bear itself out here with the Tampa Bay Rays. One only has to look at the upheaval that has taken place on the team’s roster from last season to now to see what has happened .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

And while Sternberg has been somewhat restrained at times in his statements I do believe that he’s also proven to be a complete ass with some of his more public statements in denigrating the fans for not turning out to games. What might be even more asinine also have been the statements also made by team GM Andrew Friedman in suggesting that making one or two off season moves will still make them all the more competitive than in previous years . Is he frigging kidding me ? Has he forgotten that the team now plays in the most competitive division in all of baseball ? Not to mention the fact that the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles haven’t rested on their laurels after last season. If it’s the front office’s intention to blow smoke up everyone’s ass with their antics and statements then so be it but please don’t insult the fans and general public’s intention that you’re intent is to be competitive when clearly you’re now not really in a position to do so !

This Rays’ team will struggle at best to remain competitive within its division this season let alone win anywhere near the number of games needed even to gain a wildcard berth in the postseason. The only situation where that could arise would be for there to be prolonged injuries being sustained to every day players on both the Red Sox and Yankees’ teams and given those two organizations’ financial means does anyone believe that’s liable to happen when they can merely seek to buy their way out of trouble ?

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to this subject matter and how do you view the obligations of a team owner and what’s expected of them from the fans ? Simply chime in with a comments as to your thoughts and the game itself.

Picture and slide show details below .

(1) Chris Humpherys aka ‘Sportschump’ hard at work making sure that his loyal readers are readily supplied with hard pertinent pieces from an open perspective. Either that or he’s about to download some porn . Either way he’s always worth the read ……….. you heard it here first !


(2) Tampa Bay Rays’ Rocco Baldelli hits a home run during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the baseball World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. The player will formally announce his retirement taking a coaching position within the organization . AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..

(3) Alex Rodriguez (13) and Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees have a laugh with former teammate Johnny Damon (18) of the Detroit Tigers prior to their game on August 16, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images/ Jim McIsaac …….

(4) Manny Ramirez (99) of the Chicago White Sox pinch hits in the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 5, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez ………

(5) Manny Ramirez (99) of the Chicago White Sox takes a swing against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on September 14, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ………

(6) In a picture from 2008 seen here are from left to right , coaches Jim Hickey and Dave Martinez and manager Joe Maddon watch the the team in AL game played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . Picture appears courtesy of St Petersburg Times / James Borchuck …………..

(7) Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg (left) is seen here holding aloft the ALCS trophy alongside Matthew Silverman and team manager Joe Maddon after the team’s triumphant series’ victory . AP Photo/ Chris Hendricks ……..

[8] Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………

Rays’ front office

Rays’ coaching staff

Rays 2011 roster ……..

Rays 2010 roster ………..

Rays’ team stats ….

Rays’ history ………

Rays’ team news

See my previous post on the team’s signing of Damon and Ramirez entitled …. When Johnny Met Manny ….. . And you may also view sportschump’s own piece on the team’s signing of the duo Tampa Bay Rays make big splash in American League East pond: Sign Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon

Simply click on the links shown to read each piece in its entirety .

NB MLB News ……

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Tiara

Eye candy ………………. Tiara

Tiara 2

Hold ’em up honey so that we can all see ’em !

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