Pop The Corks …… All Is Well In Philly !

Pop The Corks …… All Is Well In Philly !

I’m not so sure that over the last 48 hours things could have gotten any better for the city of Philadelphia from a sporting standpoint . As baseball slowly approaches the trade deadline it was being widely reported that the Philadelphia Phillies under the direction of GM Reuben Amaro Jr had acquired Houston Astros’ outfielder Hunter Pense . The team’s needs were viewed that they needed some added offense beyond the arsenal within the organization at large .

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With the Philadelphia Phillies amongst one of the more high salaried teams within baseball and the organization on the cusp of the league mandated luxury tax thresh-hold . The fact that the team was able to acquire Pense without having to give up that much in return , while adding to payroll makes their ambition all too clear and that is to place themselves amongst the favorites for the World Series . The Philadelphia Phillies now have what appears to be an insurmountable lead within the NL East over their closest rivals the Atlanta Braves .
In what now appears to be a race that all but theirs for the taking it’s clear to see that Charlie Manuel and his assistants along with Amaro felt that it was in the team’s best interests to prepare themselves for the postseason in terms of a roster fully capable of acquitting themselves down the line.

And amongst the NL representatives for the NLCS one would be remiss to deny the fact that the Phillies shouldn’t be viewed as the presumptive favorites . The team does stand head and shoulders above their peers within the NL and although the defending champions the San Francisco Giants made their very own pursuit into the free agent waiver deadline market with their acquisition of Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets it has to be said that the build up between the vying contenders in the months leading up to the end of the regular season should prove to be very interesting .

And while we can attest to the fact that the Philadelphia Phillies might just have the best pitching rotation in the game but that in of itself will not necessarily be the determining factor as to the fate of the team’s postseason ambitions. It is clear that Charlie Manuel and Reuben Amaro believe that if they are to be triumphant then this roster has to be one that is well balanced and with all of the prerequisites needed for success. I’ve no doubt that Hunter Pense will be a valuable asset to this team given his play and productivity and with the youthful zeal of the player one can only expect to see great things from him and this team.

Nnamdi Asomugha may well have been the most desirable free agent of the players in light of the NFL lockout and the league’s resumption of their operations. With the subsequent bloodletting and the mayhem we have all witnessed it was that the teams said to be gauging the interest in Asomugha ranged from the New York Jets , New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers but no one absolutely no one could have suspected that it would be the Philadelphia Eagles with Andy Reid , team President Joe Banner and GM Howie Roseman swooping down to acquire the player , signing him to a five year $60 million deal of which $25 million was guaranteed money . It had been thought that the Forty Niners may well have had the best hope of acquiring the player and keeping him in the Bay area given the fact that his career in the NFL had been with the Oakland Raiders .

Asomugha’s stellar credentials only adds to the luster of this Eagles’ team and it has to be said they now have to be seen as the favorites not just within the NFC East but also the entire conference . The Eagles depth and the fact that Andy Reid has a litany of offensive weapons at his disposal with the now resurgent Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson , Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy leading the charge has me believing they have to be considered amongst the favorites for the Superbowl .

The secondary of the Eagles with the cornerback tandem of Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel must rival if not surpass that of any duo in the league . And it is clear that Reid saw that the acquisition would immediately make this defense a great deal better from the get go.

There’s no denying that the Philadelphia Eagles as a team will flourish this upcoming season . From my own perspective I do believe that the likelihood of the New York Giants , Dallas Cowboys or Washington Redskins mounting a serious challenge within the division ( NFC East ) isn’t as great as one would presume. The Dallas Cowboys with Jason Garrett now firmly entrenched as the team’s coach now has to look over his shoulders each and every moment as Jerry Jones gauges his every move . With the fact that the team owner has seen fit to purge the roster of players such as Marion Barber and Roy Williams to name but a few the pressure still remains for the Dallas Cowboys to perform.

Now much has been made that Tony Romo is a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback but the issues for him has been that the Cowboys have never really surrounded him with the talent needed . Unless I’m mistaken but Jerry Jones has simply gone out and done whatever he felt necessary in bolstering the Cowboys , albeit that at times the players acquired simply have never measured up. Jones has finally admitted that mistakes were made last season but to my mind the one flaw in this remains and always has been the suspect play of Tony Romo. As good as many believe him to be there’s no denying that when placed under extreme pressure he tends to wilt when asked to go above and beyond what he’s been asked to do. For Jason Garrett and his coaching staff their task will be lead this team to some semblance of success and that has to viewed as the Dallas Cowboys making the postseason at a minimum.

The other residents within the NFC East ___ the New York Giants and Washington Redskins will vie for the task of trying to mount a serious challenge to the division’s prohibitive favorites the Philadelphia Eagles . It would be remiss to suggest that the Giants were not a monumental disappointment last season . The team simply underperformed and one has to now question the ability of the team’s quarterback Eli Manning . All this in the aftermath of having signed a bloated 6 year $96 million contract for which he’s failed to live up to even though he led the team to a Superbowl (SB XLII) victory.

The daggers were out for Giants’ coach Tom Coughlan last season and I found it somewhat surprising that the organization sought to retain the coach after the failures of last year. But such are the vagaries of the game that it’s always best to expect the unexpected even when it no longer really comes as a surprise .

For the life of me after the debacle of this past year I cannot see how Dan Snyder continues to think that overpaying for talent as well as coaches can be considered a measure of success by any means possible ! The Washington Redskins having hired Mike Shanahan and his son Kyle Shanahan have yet to show any measure of coaching pedigree much less that this team is on the way of achieving some semblance of success . We all witness the frailties of the players and in particular the woes of Donovan McNabb as the team fell from grace having been a complete embarrassment throughout much of last year .

Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s handling of McNabb led many to believe that the player’s days with the organization were numbered . And that was proven to be a fact when the quarterback was traded to the Minnesota Vikings where he will now become that team’s starting quarterback . Given the Vikings’ own woes last season with Brett Favre at the helm I am not so sure that McNabb at this stage of his career is that much of an upgrade over Favre ! But it is , what it is and we will simply have to wait and see what transpires both the player and the team over the course of the season .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the moves made by both the Philadelphia Eagles and Philadelphia Phillies how do you see both teams faring this season ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning Donovan McNabb and his move to the Minnesota Vikings ? Do you believe that he will have a measure of success or simply flounder ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within the piece .

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

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Philadelphia Phillies Hunter Pence reacts after scoring on a double by Raul Ibanez in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011. The Phillies won 4-3 in the tenth inning. AP Photo/Chris Schneider ….

(2) Huston Street (16) of the Colorado Rockies returns to the mound as John Mayberry Jr. (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies rounds he bases on his pinch hit two run home-run to tie the score 3-3 in the ninth inning at Coors Field on August 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Street was credited with a blown save as the Phillies defeated the Rockies 4-3. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ……

(3) Shane Victorino (8) of the Philadelphia Phillies scores the game winning run in front of catcher Chris Iannetta (20) of the Colorado Rockies on his solo home-run off of Rex Brothers (49) of the Colorado Rockies in the 10th inning at Coors Field on August 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Phillies defeated the Rockies 4-3 in 10 innings. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …….

(4) Manager Charlie Manuel (right) of the Philadelphia Phillies is seen here with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. as they celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 in game five of the NLCS MLB Playoffs to advance to the World Series . Getty Images North America / Jeff Zelevansky ……

(5) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) talks with head coach Andy Reid during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. on Monday, August 1, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Schultz …….

(6) Philadelphia Eagles’ Nnamdi Asomugha walks onto the practice field for the first time during the morning session of NFL football training camp at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., on Sunday, July 31, 2011. AP Photo/Rich Schultz ……..

(7) Chased by Washington Redskins safety Chris Horton, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) scores a touchdown during the second quarter of the NFL football game against the Washington Redskins Monday in Landover, Md. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP …….

(8) Minnesota Vikings new quarterback Donovan McNabb, left, jokes around with first round draft pick, quarterback Christian Ponder , out of Florida State, during NFL football training camp Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, in Mankato, Minn. Under league rules, McNabb cannot practice until Thursday. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(9) Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, left, talks with Tony Romo (9) during NFL football training camp, Friday, July 29, 2011, in San Antonio. AP Photo/Eric Gay ………

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My How Times Fly And Things Change ……………….

My How Times Fly And Things Change ……………….

Was he pushed or did really go of his own free will ? That’s the question that will now be asked as it relates to the upheaval in the front office of the Texas Rangers as managing partner a Chuck Greenberg chose to resign from the organization . One thing is certain Greenberg who along with Nolan Ryan did more instigate the successful purchase of the team beating out billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane with their successful $593 million winning bid for the bankrupt organization. Having done so, the duo would with their partners seek a cash infusion into the Rangers which includes a two decade $3 billion tv deal that sets up the organization and its immediate future.

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Slide show for your perusal .

For the Rangers this past season m was something of an unexpected one filled with highs and lows but nothing more surprising than their AL pennant defeat of the New York Yankees (4-2) only then to succumb to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series with some ease 4-1 . The team then in the offseason would lose Cliff Lee through free agency as he would return to the Philadelphia Phillies .

Courtesy of AP Sports & Yahoo

Rangers CEO Greenberg leaving organization

By Stephen Hawkins , AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—It didn’t take long for Chuck Greenberg to become a very visible figure for the Texas Rangers, buying the team in a dramatic bankruptcy court showdown and then taking on the role of CEO and managing partner before the team’s first-ever World Series.

On Friday, seven months after his investment group bought the team, the AL champion Rangers abruptly announced that Greenberg was leaving the organization. The move came three weeks before the season opener.

Growing differences between the charismatic CEO, team president Nolan Ryan and board co-chairmen Ray Davis and Bob Simpson had been an ongoing issue out of the public eye.

“In reality, management styles and chemistries sometimes don’t fit together. That was the situation with Chuck and the board and Nolan,” Davis said. “Chuck made a huge contribution and we wish him all the best success in the world in whatever he endeavors to do.”

The ownership group has already bought out Greenberg’s small financial stake in the team. Simpson said Greenberg turned down the opportunity for another position in the group, one “not in the full role that he was enjoying.”

Ryan will add the title of CEO and oversee baseball and business operations, reporting directly to the team’s board of directors. The Hall of Fame pitcher, who finished his 27-season playing career with the Rangers, became their team president in February 2008.

Davis and Simpson, the largest investors in the ownership group, wouldn’t get into specifics about the differences with Greenberg in what was their first formal news conference since taking over the team last year. Neither would Ryan.

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Though the loss of Chuck Greenberg isn’t seen as catastrophic it has to be said that will have taken the baseball world by surprise. GM Jon Daniels has said the loss of Greenberg though felt within the club things will very much go on as before in a positive direction and the success they’re all looking to achieve isn’t a target that is beyond their reach. However, there has to be continuing speculation as to why Chuck Greenberg would make such an abrupt departure from the ball-club. There may well have been some form of internal struggle within the front office as to a power struggle and the shaping of an identity to this team. Nolan and Chuck Greenberg were essentially seen as the faces of the franchise from an image and business standpoint with Ryan’s solid know how , his vast experience within the game and Greenberg’s business acumen and as former attorney with noted law firm Pepper Hamilton LLC and then as a noted sports agent. The two brought a wealth of experience to the team and were it not for them I do believe that the Rangers would now be in the hands of rival bidders at the time Mark Cuban and Jim Crane. And though some have questioned the bidding process overseen by a bankruptcy court judge there was a feeling also that the MLB hierarchy was heavily behind the bid of Ryan and his syndicate partners . As to what this says about the impartiality of the game’s hierarchy in such a process , well as such , it does smack self indulgence if anything ! I can only surmise that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was extremely happy with the outcome .

The task for the Rangers this season is to rebound from the loss in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants . Players such as Josh Hamilton , C J Wilson , Adrian Beltre and Michael Young along with the rest of this roster that they are capable of mounting a serious challenge within AL West in taking on the likes of Seattle Mariners , Oakland Athletics and the Anaheim Angels . The division itself I’ve never really thought of as being extremely competitive given the fact that the teams other than the Angels have tendered to waver as to their consistency . I do however believe that Ron Washington and his coaching staff will be able to get the best out of his team and be just as competitive as last year. If they’re able to do that then there’s the possibility that the Rangers can also be viewed as a serious challenger within the AL and a contender for the World Series itself .

As to Nolan Ryan with the departure of his once former associate it now gives him greater hands on powers with the regard to executive decisions to be made within the organization. And I’ve no doubt that he’ll work closely together with Jon Daniels as it relates to personnel and coaching matters. His relationship with Ron Washington is said to be a close and fruitful one and one should bear in mind that in the midst of last season when Washington’s future was said to be in doubt after the revelations of his cocaine addiction it was Ryan who steadfastly stood by his beleaguered manager. And the rest as they is history as with regard to rest of that memorable season for the Texas Rangers.

This season within the game promises to be a very entertaining one and I do believe that it might well be one of the best in recent years. I don’t believe that there’s a distinct clear cut favorite albeit that the Phillies with that intimidating starting rotation led by Cliff Lee , Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt will prove hard to beat . But as we saw with last year’s postseason you don’t need the mighty swing of an axe to chop down a a really large oak tree as you merely have to chip away at it before it suddenly falls . The proof was simply there for all to witness as the San Francisco Giants knocked down the Phillies’ tree in NL pennant title game . Could it happen again ? I don’t see any reason why not given the right set of circumstances but I’d dare say that Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel isn’t about to let his ; team forget that experience and they’ll no doubt be prepared than they were last year should the same scenario rise once again.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the abrupt departure of Chuck Greenberg from the Texas Rangers ? Do you believe that he went of his own volition or that he may well have been forced out by forces beyond his control ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and any other matter as it relates to the upcoming season within baseball .

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Yorvit Torrealba(8) of the Texas Rangers high fives manager Ron Washington after scoring against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …………..

(2) Josh Hamilton (32) of the Texas Rangers sits in the dugout during the spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(3) Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds hits a double during the third inning of the spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ………

(4) Texas Rangers part-owner and new CEO Nolan Ryan arrives for a news conference in Arlington, Texas, Friday, March 11, 2011. Ryan has replaced Chuck Greenberg as team CEO. AP Photo/LM Otero ……….

(5) Managing Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg of the Texas Rangers looks speaks with the media during batting practice against the New York Yankees in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. According to reports on March 11, 2011, Greenberg will be leaving the Rangers organization as their CEO and managing general partner, with Nolan Ryan expected to become the new CEO. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..

(6) Chuck Greenberg (left) is seen here with GM Jon Daniels (center) and Nolan Ryan celebrating after the Texas Rangers defeat of the New York Yankees to win the ALCS pennant in 2010 . The team would go on to lose the World Series to the San Francisco Giants . Sue Walters /AP/ Reuters ……..


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2 Pac …… feat’g …….. Jodeci ………”How Do You Want It ”

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

Well finally, here it is , Major League Baseball’s (MLB) showcase event is now about to commence. And the two participants , representatives of the American League and the National League are the very best that the game has to offer , this season alone. And for the New York Yankees (103-59) as winners of the AL Pennant, they’re now on the cusp of trying to attain their twenty seventh World Series‘ title. Their opponents, as the representatives from the National League will be the Philadelphia Phillies (93-69). Two diverse ball clubs that you’re as likely to wish for, in this showcase event. The big spendingYankees matched up against the team from Philadelphia, seeking to win only its third World Series title, in their one hundred and twenty six years of existence.

The  2009  World  Series  between the  New  York  Yankees  and  the  Philadelphia  Phillies.  Tonight's  starters  are   pictured  ,   Cliff Lee  of  the  Phillies ,  left and  the  Yankees'   C. C  Sabathia  ,  right.         picture appears  courtesy  of  getty  images  .....................................

The 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. Tonight’s starters at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx will be , C. C Sabathia for New York and Cliff Lee for the Phillies. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Mark Cromwell ……………

The battle of two teams with a great deal of legacy behind them. And then add into the fact, that the bylines in terms of the additional stories. You have an instant classic in the making , one would hope. Both teams have an excellent roster , with a litany of All Star players in a number of positions. The Yankees and their roster reads like a who’s who ,of major league talent . And the same too can be said of the Phillies and their roster. And both teams are lead by shortstops who just might be the best players at the position in either league , in terms of sheer determination and leadership qualities. And that’s not to detract from the players in either league who play the position. But in Jimmy Rollins , of the Phillies and Derek Jeter of the Yankees , you might have two of better players at the position, when all is said to be on the line.

Rollins and Jeter are seen as the respective figure heads of their team and are accorded as such, the roles of captain. But what may well prove to be focal point to my mind , will be the experience shown by both team managers. The Phillies as defending champions , have the veteran presence and experience of Charlie Manuel. Whereas, the Yankees will have Joe Girardi , who’ll be making his first appearance in a World Series as a manager.

The story lines will be amp’d up , merely because of the teams and in particular their respective fans. Bot ball clubs have very passionate and vocal fans. And in New York, well, they like to seen, heard and be just downright obnoxious when the case calls for them to be so. That’s not to say that the Phillies’ fan can’t reciprocate in the same manner. If they can boo Santa Claus , well who won’t they boo in terms of voicing their disapproval ? So, for the faint of heart , this won’t be your ordinary run of the mill World Series , in terms of fan presence and demeanor.

Televised coverage of the game will be carried by the Fox Network and the broadcast will also garner great deal of interest not only nationally , but also internationally. They’ll be looking to maximize the attention that they can muster, in the hopes of ratings’ bonanza. Something that Fox hopes will be played out by having both the first and the fourth largest tv markets in the nation being represented in the ‘Fall Spectacular’. And it’s hoped that this’ll be borne out by the viewership response . It they can garner anything of in excess of a 12.5 Nielsens ratings’ share for the series as a whole, will be considered to be a success not only for Fox but also for the denizens of corporate giants on Madison Ave. Because, at the end of the day it’s the viewership that drives the ad revenue rates, that in essence makes both Fox and MLB a great deal of money. And that’s not to say that the Yankees will be left out of the equation at all. They have their own cable tv broadcast outlet that carries their ball games in the local and surrounding media market. And therein , for the Steinbrenner family, as the team’s owners , lies their monumental cash cow , known as the YES Network. And one wonders why there’s said to be a major financial imbalance between the haves and have nots– when it comes to Major League Baseball (MLB) ? Look no further, than what the Yankees are said to be capable of doing almost at the drop of a hat, at will. For lesser teams around the league ,they can only wish that their harvest was as bountiful , in terms of the Yankees’ cash windfall each season.

Tonight’s pitching match up will have both team’s aces on the mound. For the Phillies it will be former Cy Young winner,Cliff Lee. And not to be outdone, the Yankees will throw out their former Cy Young winner as well , in C. C Sabathia. Both Lee and Sabathia were teammates in Cleveland, with the Cleveland Indians.
And this first match up may well dictate the pace , tempo and quite possibly the direction that this series could well take. The Yankees may well be seen as the prohibitive favorites. But being as they’ve not played in a World Series since 2003. I’d have to say , that if anything they’ll be under a fair amount of undue pressure in that presumed role. I, for one, feel that this will be a hard fought series and it will be dictated by which team can deal with any unforeseen adversity the best. There’s really not that much to separate the two teams in terms of overall talent. As they’re both equally adept in churning out runs with their how powered offense. Though pitching wise, the New York Yankees might hold a slight edge over the Philadelphia Phillies. The margin isn’t that great on the face of it. These two teams are evenly matched in more ways than one would care to presume. It’s just a matter of looking at the intangibles to see who might have that slight edge, overall. From that we might be able to determine who could eventually end up being the World Series’ victor.

Perhaps, the hardest part may well be determining who could end up being the MVP of the World Series. There’s a plethora of talent there on either side. And though it mightn’t be one of the more recognized stars who’ll step up to the plate. I’d like to think that one of the run of the mill behind the scene’s players could end being a noteworthy winner. But that’s merely my own wish for the accolade. And so there you have it as to my own thoughts on this World Series between two very worthwhile adversaries. Let the games begin and ultimately may the best team win. What else ,could an ardent baseball fan ask for ?

NB : The Yankees’ YES Network not only carries the Yankees’ ballgames but also a slew of other sports’ events ranging from the NFL , NBA ,College Football , College Basketball, NHL and other sports’ events that encapsulate the tri state area.