They haven’t got a pot to piss in , much less a window to throw it out of ….. ideas of grandeur , baseball style .

They haven’t got a pot to piss in , much less a window to throw it out of ….. ideas of grandeur , baseball style .

By Tophatal

Well the MLB off-season is proving to be just as thrilling as teams seek to shed payroll , while others seek to increase payroll , with the ultimate goal of glory , success , and all that it may entail . No need to guess , who the big winners are at this juncture before the season has even started . Both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels have sought to make their “big splash” , while north of the border , the Toronto Blue Jays have sought to revamp their roster and increase their payroll .

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The biggest acquisition made by the Blue Jays has been that of Cy Young Award winner R A Dickey, from the New York Mets , and given the franchise’s ongoing precarious financial position , of which their idiotic fans seem to fail to comprehend , it is my firm belief that the front office will continue on , with its own self-styled fire sale . Granted , the Toronto Blue Jays were made privy to the Miami Marlins’ fire sale , where the South Florida franchise has once again embarked upon divesting of the big-money contracts they were handing out out to those free agents like “ cotton candy”. A hellacious season of inept performances , the firing of a manager and the Marlins’ foray in 2012 can be best described as an almighty cluster fuck of “gargantuan proportions” .

In the midst of this mess , the “so-called in-depth investigation “ that Bud Selig has stated would take place , has actually failed to materialize , with no one having been empaneled by the commissioner to even remotely ascertain how and why team owner, Jeffrey Loria , and other Marlins’ front office executives, team President, Larry Beinfest , GM, Michael Hill and EVP ,Dave Sansom , have been allowed to simply wreak havoc upon this franchise, while at the same time giving the team’s fans false hope. It has been this sort of mismanagement that continues to take place around the game , under premise harsh economic times . Personally , I believe it to be “ one great big fucking lie” being suborned by the team owners and countenanced by the MLB hierarchy !

And lo and behold , it is this sort of apathy by the fans who buy into a franchise’s premise that because they have failed to meet certain goals , then they have to divest themselves the “ burdensome salaries” on their books. Unless I am mistaken, these self-styled executives and owners went into these negotiations with the players and their agents with their eyes wide open , did they not ? Furthermore , a close acquaintance patron of this site suggested to me that the Tampa Bay Rays , a franchise , who only in recent years has found a modicum of success has been profitable , due to the erstwhile financial expediency shown by GM Andrew Friedman . That might be the “biggest crock of shit “ within the Tampa Bay area , other than the continued stupidity being showed by the local politicians within the locale. The only reason the Tampa Bay Rays have been financially sound , has nothing at all to do with the accounting acumen of Friedman , because it has more to do with the fact that the franchise like several others , are the recipients of monies , made available to them by way of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme . In the last seven years alone , the Rays as a ball-club has benefited to the tune of some $146 million . Given the menial profits attained by the franchise , a $20 million off-balance sheet boost can make that final earnings’ mark quite alluring to any fan merely glancing over a pro-forma spread-sheet detailing the Rays’ finances .

Yesterday, another stalwart of the Rays’ franchise in recent years allowed to leave with first baseman , and former Gold Glove winner , Carlos Pena , who signed a one year deal to become the newly designated hitter (DH) for the Houston Astros in 2013 . Pena and his new team will be part of the new league realignment, that sees the Astros making the move from the NL Central to the AL West . Pardon me for saying this , but given Astros’ woes in 2012, I am not so sure that their league mandated move will truly be of benefit for the franchise . Once there , they will have to face off against Los Angeles Angels , Oakland A’s , Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers . And given the resurgence of the A’s and the likelihood that we will continue to see improvement in the play of the Angels and Rangers , there has to be a team within the division, that will end up being the “ whipping post” and “ bitch “ that everyone else gets to “ ravage” . So why not the moribund Astros ?

Astros’ owner , Jim Crane , with the then record amount of $775 million paid to purchase the franchise . He has to know, that he faces an uphill battle in getting this team in a competitive state to take on the likes of the aforementioned teams within the AL West , Manager , Bo Porter and his managerial staff will most certainly make the most of the off-season preparation schedule of Spring Training to get players ready as they embark upon their first season in the AL , in 2013. The Astros first regular season series of will begin a three-game set against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas , starting on 2nd April, 2013.

With a ready-made instate rivalry right off the bat against the Rangers , this should bode well for the Houston Astros , if they feel that they are up to the task. Add in the fact, that Nolan Ryan , current team President and part-owner of the Texas Rangers , was himself , once a player with the Astros , this certainly adds a great deal of intrigue to the panacea of the events that are likely to unfold between these two franchises.

One of the more asinine insinuations being made and which I read in an article written within this forum , given the complete lack of knowledge of the individual , who seemingly only chose put the words on paper , rather than conducting any research whatsoever, This individual , along with the more anally retentive supporters of the Mets’ franchise , tried to suggest that the financially cash-strapped franchise remains a viable and financially solvent concern. Fuck it , when you lose in excess of $40 million , and are projected to lose another $60 million in the subsequent year , you are in no way on a sound financial footing , especially when one of your primary creditors no longer wishes to extend you any further credit facilities . This has been the idiocy , that is being countenanced by so many of the team owners , for which Bud Selig is not prepared to offer the public or the fans an answer. Instead, he chooses to blow smoke up everyone’s ass, as to his own importance , and the fact that baseball has sound business practices .

Funny , I don’t ever once recall , Selig ever delving into the reasons why the Los Angeles Dodgers were taken into bankruptcy proceedings (Chapter 11) when there was clear evidence that the former owner , Frank McCourt had been recklessly running the franchise into the ground , while repeatedly using the team and other assets as collateral for several of his own personal business deals . In the aftermath of the franchise’s multibillion dollar sale , McCourt was able to walk away with an estimated $435 million free and clear , as he was also said to be a creditor of the ball club he took into bankruptcy reorganization. How the fuck can that be allowed to happen ? Wherein an owner, knowingly flout one of the most sanctified rules of the game from an executive standpoint , but yet he escapes unpunished . Meanwhile, a player who violates the league’s substance abuse policy for a second time , faces a 100 game suspension and becomes a “pariah” within the game . Yes, this is the mendacity and goddamn stupidity that Bud Selig lovingly presides over, but yet no one within the game much less the media questions his authority or decision-making .

Having recently signed David Wright to a eight-year $147 million deal , the New York Mets were was unable to retain the services of R A Dickey. To my mind that one move, has pretty much epitomized why the New York Mets remains a fucking mess ! Sandy Alderson, J P Ricciardi and Paul DiPodesta may well have at one time graced the game with their alleged acumen , but they were brought in to right the wrongs wrought under Omar Minaya , while he was the general manager of the New York Mets . Instead , the same old fucking idiocy appears to be continuing within the ball-club, as they capriciously spend money on a player , who does not possess any leadership ability, and is simply looked upon as the “ poor man’s “ Derek Jeter . If ever there was more apt description, to describe David Wright , then those words, best sum up, how he is genuinely viewed within the game . Fans can now prognosticate and pontificate as to what awaits the team for this upcoming season as they begin their Spring Training schedule under Terry Collins and his coaching staff . While that takes place , you can be sure that the team’s primary owners, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon will continue to wreak havoc within this ball-club , without their being any oversight whatsoever coming from baseball’s hierarchy.

It was the end of an era , as one the best switch hitters ever to play the game simply stepped down , from being a player with the Atlanta Braves . Chipper Jones leaves the game as one of the most celebrated and beloved in Braves’ history , and most definitely a player who was respected by his peers past and present. With his departure, GM , Frank Wren sought to bring in a productive center-fielder , and thought to be someone capable of filling that void was former Rays’ outfielder B J Upton . With Upton’s introduction as the newest member of what is considered to be an already productive lineup within the NL , and it is hoped that the player can simply increase his career numbers while providing the solid defensive prowess he has come to be known for . Upton, will be richly rewarded witha 5 year $75 million contract , making him one of the highest paid players on the Braves’ roster.

One of the deficiencies that blighted the Fredi Gonzalez’s players last season , was the inconsistency of the pitching , and the lack of timely hitting at crucial points during a game. The team will begin their Spring Training Schedule in the month of March with a slew of games that should in fact get these players ready for the upcoming regular season schedule which begins on the 3rd April , with a three game set at home against the Philadelphia Phillies at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta , Georgia,. A long and arduous 162 game schedule now awaits the teams as they each to succeed the San Francisco Giants as the World Series champions in 2013.

During the course of this off-season , more than $1.4 billion in contract negotiations will have been dealt with by the general managers and with agents such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem , Casey Close , Dan Lozano , Larry Reynolds and John Courtright . There’s a reason why these individuals have now become the bane of the general managers around the game . To my mind , however, the owners are equally as responsible because they also have a responsibility , as they have a right not to acquiesce to the demands the players seeking these exorbitant salaries . But you would be hard pressed to convince a number of fans and purists alike who is actually in right or wrong as it relates to the “ escalating salaries “ within the game of baseball.. I am sure that Michael Weiner , Executive Director of the MLBPA (Players’ Union) would like to see the status quo remain as it is , with his members , as they see their salaries rise consistently in line with the demands they make of league’s owners and the respective teams . .

Courtesy of the New York Times

Baseball Ties Olympic Reinstatement Bid to Women’s Game

By Jere`Longman of the NY Times

Having whiffed on an attempt to link its Olympic future with women’s softball, baseball is now following another gender-equity route in an attempt to gain reinstatement to the Summer Games of 2016.

Baseball officials have aligned with the relatively seldom-played game of women’s baseball to burnish its chances of gaining re-entry into the Olympics after being dropped from the 2012 Summer Games in London.

It is too early to know whether such a move will prove shrewd or merely desperate by baseball, which was evicted from the Olympics for several reasons, including concerns over the lack of participation by major leaguers and widespread doping.

In October, the International Olympic Committee will award the 2016 Games to Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid or Rio de Janeiro. Two additional sports will be proposed for those Games, to be chosen among baseball, softball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby and squash.

In February, baseball was given the cold shoulder when it attempted to persuade softball to make a joint bid to regain their Olympic status. At the time, Don Porter, president of the International Softball Federation, said in a statement that softball would keep its bid separate, adding, “We have offered the I.O.C. a doping-free, universal team sport that reflects the values of Olympism all over the world.”

Translated, softball did not want to be aligned with a sport that is awash in drug scandals and offers competitions, like the World Series and the World Baseball Classic, that may be considered more prestigious than the Olympics.

By contrast, the Olympics represented the height of international softball competition for the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Games before the sport was eliminated, many believe, because of American dominance.

All of the world’s top softball players would be expected to participate in the 2016 Summer Games. Or as Porter said in another recent statement, in a thinly veiled reference to baseball, “The Olympic Games would not be just another competition in an overcrowded schedule for softball.”

Rebuffed by softball, baseball chose to pair its Olympic proposal with women’s baseball, which is rarely played in the United States but, officials say, is played in more than 30 countries by more than 100,000 participants. Still, it is much less visible than softball, which officials said is played in 127 nations by 8.5 million participants.

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Baseball has been caught between a “rock and a hard place “ by way of its endless greed , while not caring to truly look after its on-field product , and how it markets itself not just on the domestic front , but also as a global brand . The game’s situation has further hampered by the intransigence shown by the league hierarchy under Bud Selig . Were it not for his sheer and utter stupidity in caving in to the union , the sport itself would still be part of the Summer Olympics . Selig at the time while trying to portray the image that MLB wanted to remove the illicit use of PED’s within the game , simply acquiesced to the wishes of the MLBPA , in not wanting to fully adhere to the testing protocols of WADA , as followed by the IOC . Now , with their being a joint effort with the International Softball Federation (ISF) to get both sports reinstated by back into the fold, as part of the Summer Games , it will be interesting how both parties will represent their joint case to the International Olympic Committee(IOC). The ISF along with baseball’s international governing body , International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and Bud Selig will seek to present their case at the headquarters of the IOC , in Lausanne , Switzerland . It is not so much that baseball is unpopular as a global sport , which it is not , the real issue has always been Bud Selig’s lack of real authority of the sport he presides over in North America , as the highest ranking executive within the league’s hierarchy . It has been Selig’s penchant for saying great deal while in actuality not doing anything that has in essence made him look a blithering idiot in the eyes of the fans.

What is a precedent here, is the very fact the men’s game of baseball is in fact seeking to ride in on if not piggy-back in, on the coat-tails in the growing popularity of the women’s game of softball , as it seeks reentry back into the Summer Olympics . If that isn’t a first , then what is ? And even though the World Baseball Classic (WBC) has yet to truly take hold internationally , there is a growing belief , if Selig , simply lets the IBAF take the reins , rather than trying to be the dominant partner in the staging of the event , there would indeed be a greater interest in the quadrennial event , which is next due up in 2013 , with the qualifying rounds set to start in December , 2012, but the main tournament not due to begin until March , 2nd ,2013 with the group phase of the tournament . It now makes you wonder what the fuss has been about concerning the WBC , especially light of the fact that the television coverage and viewership of the event in North America , has been sparse indeed. Yet , on the international front , specifically in the Far East Asia , Latin America and the Caribbean , the fans cannot seem to get enough of the event . Which begs the question , is it not time for Bud Selig to immediately step down , rather than retiring in 2014, as he claims , will be his intent ? A fresh influx of new and progressive ideas are needed within the game , rather than , this ” doing it by the numbers approach” of “hits and misses” , by Selig and baseball’s hierarchy. The irony here will be , if Selig does step down , then joining him also , will be , NBA Commissioner , David Stern , who formally announced , that he will step down in his role , a position that he has held within the NBA hierarchy for almost twenty-five years . A term , slightly out doing his MLB counterpart , as the duo have battled all concerns , friends , foes , and their respective unions , repeatedly over the lengths of their service. Selig has not named or intimated, who his successor might be , but we have been made aware that Adam Silver , NBA Deputy Commissioner, will succeed , David Stern. I do believe that Bud Selig , will countenance the promotion from someone already within the hierarchy , with the support of the team owners . If anything , Selig , will simply seek out a like-minded individual to carry on his policies , while his persona will continue to leave an indelible and some might say a “stain ridden mark” upon the ” game “ .

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What, if anything , do you hope to see being achieved during the upcoming season within the game of baseball ? Also , are you of the opinion that the sport needs to adopt a “ hard salary cap” that would see the teams getting an equitable share of television and other ancillary revenues ? Do take time to leave a comment as you see fit on this , and anything else you believe relevant to the subject matter.

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(1) New Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Zack Greinke adjusts his cap during a baseball news conference announcing his $147 million, six-year contract, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have seen fit to make several deals this off-season , as GM , Ned Colletti has been given the go-ahead by the front office executives to pursue these transactions . At the commencement of the 2013 regular season , the Dodgers will by far have the biggest payroll in Major League Baseball , far exceeding $200 million. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes ….

(2) Free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, right, and his wife, Katie , talk to the media during a news conference in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Hamilton, formerly of the Texas Rangers, joins the Los Angeles Angels MLB baseball team after signing a $125 million, five-year contract. The acquisition of Hamilton was prompted by Angles’ owner Arte Moreno not wanting to see the franchise left lagging behind the Dodgers in the free agents’ sweepstakes . Moreno instructed GM Jerry DiPoto do whatever it takes to land the “big league slugger” . AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

(3) FILE – This Sept. 27, 2012 file photo shows New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey reacting to fans as he celebrates his 20th victory of the season after the Mets 6-5 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game at Citi Field in New York. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that Dickey and the Blue Jays have agreed on a new contract , clearing the way for the New York Mets to trade the Cy Young winner to Toronto. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, because the trade was not yet complete. The 38-year-old knuckle-baller must pass a physical before he joins the Blue Jays. The Mets would get prized catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud as the centerpiece of the multi-player swap . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) New York Mets third baseman David Wright, center, walks from one interview to the next at baseball’s winter meetings on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Wright and the Mets finalized a $138 million, eight-year contract on Tuesday, the largest deal in the team’s history . AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(5) FILE – This Sept. 26, 2012 file photo shows Tampa Bay Rays’ Carlos Pena following through on a two-run home run as Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia watches in the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston. The Houston Astros have signed veteran Carlos Pena to be their designated hitter , addressing a key need as they prepare for their first season in the American League. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(6) Atlanta Braves newly signed center fielder B.J. Upton , right, and general manager Frank Wren pose with Upton’s jersey during a news conference introducing Upton, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, in Atlanta. Upton replaces free agent Michael Bourn in center field and should provide needed power from the right side. AP Photo/John Bazemore ….

(7) National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern (L) greets Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig before testifying with the heads of the NFL and the NHL to the US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection about the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports on Capitol Hill February 27, 2008 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee also heard testimony from officials from the US Olympic Committee , National Thoroughbred Racing and the US Anti-Doping Agency . Getty Images / Chip Somodovilla …

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Sports can be such a barbaric business ….. In baseball there are still lessons to be learned …

Sports can be such a barbaric business ….. In baseball there are still lessons are to be learned

by Tophatal

I’m not so appreciative of this nonsensical notion that we can continue to abide by the idiocy that the government knows best . I mean by 11.00PM EST , Tuesday night , we should know whether or not the incumbent , Barack Obama will have done enough to retain his position as the President of the United States. His erstwhile opponent , self- styled businessman Mitt Romney , whose claims as to his financial acumen are almost as robust as his apparent knowledge of the country’s foreign policy , which in truth has been non-existent for over four decades . I’m no great admirer of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney , and be truth be known I find that both main political parties to be just as disingenuous as the other ! The Democratic and Republican Party would rather “ browbeat” the electorate into believing their opponent just happens to be a monstrous demagogue . Make of it, what you will.

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OK, so the MLB season has ended , we have a new World Series champion , as the San Francisco Giants have won their second world title within the past five years. Heroics asides, the effort put forth by the Giants’ opponents , the Detroit Tigers , can be best described as being anemic . It is one thing to be swept, as the Tigers were , but for this team not to show up for any of the four games in question , simply adds insult to injury . Bud Selig , may well have felt happy with his new revised playoff format. In essence, by comparison the divisional and championship series were far more entertaining than baseball’s postseason finale, itself. Bruce Bochy , comes away with title number two, legacies were further added for the Giants’ franchise and now the Bay area of California becomes the epicenter of the baseball world. Sorry New York (Mets & Yankees), and that is even light of Superstorm Sandy , my condolences , all the same . Now the bloodletting begins as teams seek to offload many of those ridiculous contracts and unproductive players that slighted their ambitions. And for the general managers within the game , the question could be asked , have the majority of them truly earned their money ? Brian Sabean has excelled over the past few seasons , while acknowledging the franchise’s success would not have come about , without the largess of team owner , Bill Neukom , and his syndication of partners. Baseball franchises when ran , as a business enterprise, can indeed have an incredible amount of success , commercially , as well as competitively. More often than not, the team owners are simply running these franchise purely as a form of opulent pleasure , fully aware of the fact that their losses can be written off legally as a tax based incident against another business enterprise .

As an avid Atlanta Braves’ supporter, this was something of an emotional season for the team and franchise as a whole. Having made the postseason, their foray was short-lived as they were summarily dumped from the extravaganza. Chipper Jones bade farewell , with his usual aplomb , while being acknowledged by the fans of the game. Next stop, Cooperstown, New York, one would hope, at least . As much of a disappointment as it was to see the Braves bow out in the wildcard divisional round of the postseason, it was an even bigger disappointment to know that Jones’ postseason would come to such an abrupt end . I am sure that Chipper Jones will take his place alongside many of the Braves’ all-time greats , as it is an honor that is so “ richly “ deserved .

Frank Wren , general manager of the Atlanta Braves , along with team manager , Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff , must now spending this off-season assessing the needs of the team , as they seek to become a real competitive force in 2013. With the abundance of free agents having declared their status , it remains to be seen whether or not the Braves will seek to delve into that particular market , beyond re-signing the club’s own free agents they deem to be a necessity to the franchise’s ambitions and long-term future. And though this organization does not have to operate on a shoestring budget by way of the team’s payroll , the troubling issue facing the Braves, is that as salaries escalate to ridiculous highs , they are either forced to overpay for talent that isn’t significantly better than what they already have at their disposal.

Pitching is at a premium , and there are several marquee free agent pitchers that are there to be picked up for a nominal fee. With sports agents such as Scott Boras , hovering like vultures flying over the entrails of the dead carcass of an animal, this will be one of the many scenarios that will be played out during this baseball off-season. Amongst the Atlanta Braves’ free agents , upon which decisions will have to made , are the following players, Michael Bourn, Jeff Baker, Miguel Batista , JC Boscan , D J Carrasco , Chard Durban , Eric Hinske , Reed Johnson , Peter Moylan, Lyle Overbay, David Ross and Ben Sheets.

While I have felt that pitching was prevalent for the Braves to succeed , but the offense and specifically the hitting was something that I felt could be more beneficial for the team and organization as a whole . At times, the team struggled in close games and it factored into a number of the Braves’ losses during 2012. Freddie Freeman , Dan Uggla , Jason Heyward , Martin Prado , Michael Bourn and David Ross , were major contributors the franchise during the season.

The Braves’ salary commitments in 2012 , came to $97.5 million , but with their being a march to what Frank Wren states will be prudent financial responsibility on the part of the organization, that figure is liable to be pared down in the coming season, unless there is a necessity to go after a major free agent , without being forced to break “the bank”. Turner Field /Fulton County Stadium , in Atlanta , Georgia, remains one the bastions in terms of heralded ballparks in the game of baseball. It should come as no surprise the MLB hierarchy of baseball , is seemingly at a loss as why there is seems to be no restraint concerning the gratuitous spending by the teams. Bud Selig is clearly at a loss , but considering the fact as the game’s highest ranking executive, you would have to be angered by the fact that the commissioner earns in excess of $25 million a year , which would rank Selig’s salary amongst the ten highest paid players in the game of baseball. Personally , I would like pose the question to the commissioner and ask him “ when, and how will he seek to have baseball’s teams become financially responsible rather than capricious in their spending” ? what now, becomes of the game as we know it?

After a tumultuous season, during which the Tampa Bay Rays fell out of contention , for an AL wildcard berth . The real issue beyond failing to make baseball’s postseason fare was not only a big surprise, but once again, it heralded in the continued questions as what direction this franchise now happens to be heading in ? Care to proffer up your thoughts on the matter? Rays’ manager Joe Maddon, the consummate master of the understated, was able to do a miraculous job , as he has always done, since he succeeded Lou Piniella as the team’s manager.

Stuart Sternberg , team owner and GM, Andrew Friedman now have the unenviable task of making the decisions , as to which players they feel will be superfluous to their needs . Amongst the players currently on the Rays’ roster now declaring free agency are BJ Upton, Jeff Keppinger, Carlos Pena , Kyle Farnsworth , Joel Peralta , J P Howell , and Luke Scott.

We are constantly reminded that the Tampa Bay Rays are a small-market team, with limited resources, and a payroll , that is amongst the lowest in all of baseball. These are one of the many constant reminders that so many of the impoverished teams within the game, for which there does not appear to a clear answer. The fans may well feel slighted by what has taken place during this season, but what is becoming transparently clear, while the Rays struggle to be competitive. There is a great deal of false bravado amongst the approximately 15,000 hardcore fans of the franchise, and not the figures claimed by baseball’s hierarchy in terms of the team’s home games’ attendance in 2010 , 2011 and 2012 . In this past season the Tampa Bay Rays ranked fourteenth out fourteen of the AL teams within the game of baseball . Yet this constant idiocy remains , concerning the franchise “if we build it, they will come” . Well, how the hell can that be, when for the team’s home games there is barely anyone in attendance at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg, Florida,. ? Never-mind the fact that , it will the resources of a municipality’s resources that will be used to build the venue that the ownership desires without any financial commitment being forthcoming from Stuart Sternberg or his partners. But somehow the anally retentive fans within the community as well as the blithering idiots of the local sport’s media market will continue with their asinine suggestion that this is the best step forward for the franchise , with the building of a multimillion dollar state of the art venue for the Tampa Bay Rays. Somehow the issues that have befallen both the Miami Marlins and New York Mets are not lessons that the anyone seems to have learned from , as how not to conduct your business operations . The Marlins’ unquestionably, one of the biggest failures of 2012, now finds the city of Miami under investigation by the US Justice Department for how the financing was raised , and whether or not there was undue coercion by the franchise and MLB hierarchy , forcing the city council in passing their finance bill , that brought about the final seal of approval for the now, $575 million 34 ,000 seat venue , known as Marlins’ Ballpark , in downtown, Miami. As we know the Mets were another of baseball’s teams that failed to live up to expectations , with a high-priced payroll at the start of the season , and little to show for it all , by way of the team’s performances over the course of the season. Citfi-Field became an elephants’ graveyard, and the Mets’ home performances left a somewhat bitter taste in the mouth, if you just happened to be a fan of this ball-club . Bud Selig and Jeff Loria, owner, of the Miami Marlins have refrained from answering questions when approached concerning this matter , leaving it up to the public to speculate on what may well have taken place , as this whole episode was enacted .

New York Mets’ team President , Sandy Alderson, J P Riccardi , SVP, co-owners, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon , seem to be at a loss for words , as to how best to rectify the numerous problems the Mets now face from a competitive and financial standpoint. The franchise barely escaped by the skin of their teeth in a legal suit wherein , claimants who lost billions of dollars in the “ Bernie Madoff” scandal , sought to recoup $1.6 billion from co-defendants Saul Katz, Fred Wilpon and the New York Mets’ franchise, who profited and received an estimated $1 billion , as part of that now infamous scheme. The defendants claimed that there was never any wrongdoing on their part, albeit, that there was enough evidence to suggest that there were certain executives within Katz and Wilpon’s investment vehicle , Sterling Equities , who knew otherwise and chose to hide those facts from the public as well as the claimants’ legal representatives. The matter was settled out of court with the defendants paying a reputed $ 175 million to fulfill the claims. That figure seems somewhat ludicrous as a final settlement , but it somehow has brought this baseball franchise even closer to a financial precipice , which the front office has now began to acknowledge. What this now tells us , as to how baseball from an economic standpoint conducts its business , can be seen as another lesson as to why this game fails so miserably as an entrepreneurial enterprise , when you simply peruse the financial statements of baseball’s thirty teams. Do bear in mind also, that for many of the teams in question, profitability comes by way of an assist from baseball’s hierarchy , by way of its asinine tax sharing revenue scheme, which is meant to aid the game’s small market teams.

As a keen observer of the Tampa Bay Rays, how the front office now deals with the off-season by way of the decisions to be made , will actually go a long way in not only determining this team’s future but also indicating whether or not they remain a viable competitive force within the game. From my own perspective, as long as Joe Maddon remains a part of this organization , it is an added advantage they have over their opponents . Yet , there is now some indication to suggest that not only is Maddon feeling somewhat frustrated , but so too are a number of the franchise’s so called diehard fans , because of the lack of real commitment that has been forthcoming from the ownership. A patron once suggested , that the Rays cannot simply go out and spend money , but more to the point the question I feel that ought to be asked , when have the Tampa Bay Rays truly made a big splash in acquiring a player , let alone paying the “big bucks” for one to begin with ? So that point, now becomes, mute in terms of that patron’s assertion.

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Picture gallery .

What if anything do you hope to see come out of the baseball off-season by way of undoubted trades that will take place ? And do you believe that baseball has done enough to get its financial house in order? Simply state your reasons as what you see as being currently beneficial within the sport economically and what you think has been a great error in judgment by the league hierarchy .

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(1) San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo holds up a flag during the baseball team’s World Series victory parade, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in San Francisco. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …

(2) San Francisco Giants players pose for photographs after a ceremony celebrating the baseball team’s World Series victory at City Hall in San Francisco, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. AP Photo/JeffChiu …

(3) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 31: San Francisco Giants Sergio Romo holds the World Series Trophy as singer Tony Bennett sings “I left my heart in San Francisco” during the Giants’ victory parade and celebration on October 31, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The Giants celebrated their 2012 World Series victory over the Detroit Tigers. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …

(4) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 31: The Mayor of San Francisco Edwin Lee (R) presents the key to the City to San Francisco Giants President and CEO Larry Baer (L) during the Giants’ victory parade and celebration on October 31, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The Giants celebrated their 2012 World Series victory over the Detroit Tigers. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

(5) A triumph for the ages, as teammates , Sergio Romo (left), and Buster Posey , realize that the San Francisco Giants have just won game four , and with it, the ball-club’s second World Series’ title in four years. San Francisco Giants celebrate after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers, 4-3 , in Game 4 of baseball’s World Series Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, in Detroit. The Giants won the World Series 4-0 . AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(6) Officials stand in the center of the field as fans throw trash during the eighth inning of the National League wild card playoff baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals, Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, in Atlanta. The Cardinals won baseball’s first wild-card playoff, taking advantage of a disputed infield fly call that led to a protest and fans littering the field with debris to defeat the Braves 6-3 . AP Photo/Todd Kirkland …

(7) (C) Chipper Jones (10) of the Atlanta Braves walks to the dugout before taking on the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card playoff game at Turner Field on October 5, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. ….

(8) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon gestures as he answers a question during a season wrap-up news conference , Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays’ season ended Wednesday with a 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(9) Andrew Friedman , right, Tampa Bay Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, gestures as manager Joe Maddon looks on during a season wrap up news conference, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays’ season ended Wednesday with a 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(10) Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Wade Davis leaves the clubhouse after packing his belongings, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays’ season ended Wednesday night with a 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(11) Sept 28, 2011; Miami, FL, USA; Florida Marlins new manager Ozzie Guillen (left) and owner Jeffrey Loria (right) during a press conference before the game against the Washington Nationals at Sun Life Stadium. Guillen was fired after the Marlins’ disastrous season that saw the franchise miss the postseason , having finished with a sub.500 record and at the bottom of the NL East standings for 2012. Behind the scenes , Loria has come under increasing suspicion, as to his actions , intertwined with those of Commissioner Bud Selig into coercing the city of Miami , concerning how the votes were secured with regard to the bond issue which facilitated the building of the Miami Marlins Ballpark , in downtown Miami. The cost of the 34,000 seat facility , is a reputed $575 million , for which the residents of Miami are entirely on the hook for , should the city not be able to pay off the debt financing instrument , inclusive of principal and interest. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE ……

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NB: Baseball related links .

Deal done : Big Papi in Boston for next two years

Trout, Bourn, Braves top Wilson defensive awards

Can a rough October hinder payday for free agents?

Giants don’t plan on relaxing, eye repeat in 2013

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Baseball posts within this site : Tophatal’s baseball pieces

A tale of one city but two teams that now seem to be at a loss

Giving it one last try

Atlanta Braves’ related pieces

Tampa Bay Rays’ related pieces

Desperate measures call for desperate remedies , in desperate times

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MLB news

MLB transactions

MLB free agents

MLB team payrolls (2012)

MLB important dates

This week in baseball history

2012 MLB postseason schedule

2012 World Series

AL & NL pennant series

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Atlanta Braves news ….. & …. Braves’ press releases

Atlanta Braves head-to-head results (2012)

Atlanta Braves’ 2012 results overview

NL East final standings (2012)

Atlanta Braves revenues & profitability
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Tampa Bay Rays’ news

Tampa Bay Rays head-to-head results (2012)

Tampa Bay Rays’ 2012 results overview

AL East final standings

Tampa Bay Rays’ revenues & profitability

MLB team values

MLB team payrolls

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Hot chic pic of the day , actress, Jennifer Lawrence

Giving it one last try ……

Giving it one last try ……

By Tophatal

The divisional races in some cases are heating up , whereas in others, they are pretty much settled , as baseball enters final stretch of the regular season before it all culminates on the 3rd October . In what has been an eventful year that was filled with the usual plethora of drama , it should be noted that not much has changed in terms of the players’ continued fascination with the use of prohibitive substances (PED’s and anabolic steroids). The league hierarchy would have us believe that they have everything under control , but at the minor league level, the illicit use by the players is far more widespread than the league would care to acknowledge . In the past 18 months in the Minor Leagues , over seventy players have been caught , penalized with the mandatory suspensions , yet the feeling is that the concern amongst the fans is what actually happens at the MLB level , where many of the game’s high-priced stars exhibit their talents . This season we have had our answer with the summary mandatory suspensions of Melky Cabrera , a one-time leading candidate for the NL MVP , and also with the Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon . The latter, whose suspension may or may not have severely hampered the A’s hopes of making the postseason. As things now stand, it is looking like a four-horse race for the two AL wildcard berths.

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Slide show .

In what he says, will be his twentieth and final season in the Majors , the Atlanta Braves (90-65) utility player and outfielder, Chipper Jones will be looking to lead the team into the postseason for the first time since 2010, where they lost (3-1) in the NLDS to the San Francisco Giants . This season the Braves have been lucky enough to play themselves into contention for a postseason berth within the NL. As the leading contender for one of the two berths under the new playoff format instigated by Bud Selig , the ball-club seemingly has a comfortable 6 ½ game lead over their closest rivals the St Louis Cardinals , with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers closely following in hot pursuit.

The Braves, now have 7 games remaining on their schedule , starting with the final game of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins. Fredi Gonzalez’s players, then close out the month of September with two games against the New York Mets , and with their final three games, in a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Ballpark , in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania .

The NL East division appears to be of reach , albeit , that were the Washington Nationals (94-61) to lose five of their seven remaining games , then just about anything would be possible . For the moment however, I am just happy to witness a season, where the Braves had more than their fair share of success ! ! GM Frank Wren and team President John Scheurholz have emphasized a commitment to success, which has been passed on by Gonzalez’s coaching staff to the players on the entire roster. And it has been that renewed commitment that has brought about the change in fortune for the team over the course of the season. Michael Bourn , Chipper Jones , Jayson Heyward , Freddie Freeman , Dan Uggla and Martin Prado , have all contributed greatly to the team’s efforts in 2012 , in providing the offensive productivity needed to be viewed as a contender within the NL. While the pitching at times, has been exacerbating and inconsistent , here too, players such as Tim Hudson, Mike Minor , Brandon Beachy , Tommy Hanson , Paul Malholm and Craig Kimbrel , have more than justified their worth to the team.

One of the more positive things to come out of the season for the Atlanta Braves , has been to see that renewed interest in the team by the fans. Far too fickle , at times it was somewhat depressing to see Fulton County Stadium (Turner Field) in Atlanta , Georgia , barely filled to capacity for the Braves’ home games . This season having drawn over 2,242,046 in —- attendance for their scheduled games at Fulton County Stadium , the franchise ranks eighth of the National League’s sixteen teams averaging 29,117 per home game. Team payroll asides, Chairman & CEO Terry McGuirk along with the managing partners who make up the ownership group of the organization , would have to be happy with the 2012 season. . The ball-club has been fiscally prudent with team salaries , which this season is pegged at $83,309,942 , a far cry from the almost $200,000,000 that the New York Yankees have budgeted for their roster.

The playoff picture is still somewhat muddied , as the vagaries that make up this point of the season will be filled anomalies .In 2011, who would have thought that both the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox would have surrendered their wildcard berth leads to the St Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays , in what has been described as one of the best finishes to a season , in recent baseball history . As we all know, the Cardinals would go on to prevail in a thrilling triumph in the World Series over the Texas Rangers . The Atlanta Braves would like nothing more to be a participant in baseball’s showcase postseason event , but that would now all be predicated upon how the ensuing scenarios now in motion , would play out . There is no denying that the most significant moment in the Braves’ postseason history came in 1995 , when they prevailed in defeating the Cleveland Indians (4-2). Two other appearances in the “ Fall Classic” resulted in losses, in 1996 and 1999 , each time to the New York Yankees .

With the inauguration of a one game playoff format , the Braves would have to face the St Louis Cardinals for the privilege of appearing in the NLDS . In between 2008 and 2012 , the two teams have met thirty-three times , with the St Louis Cardinals holding a significant 19-14 lead. In 2012 , their meetings show a significant turnaround , with Atlanta having defeated the Cardinals five out of the six times ( 5-1) that they have met . It would be easy to surmise that this bodes well for the postseason, should such a scenario materialize! The last meeting between the two teams in 2012 , was a hard-fought competitive game , which resulted in a 10-7 victory for the NL East —- team. The advantage would appear to favor the Atlanta Braves , but in a one game playoff format , just about anything can happen .So we might as well let the chips fall where they may , in such an instance and just hope for the best .

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Picture gallery .

In light of the new playoff format for the postseason , which in all likelihood will be tinkered with by baseball’s hierarchy. Do you ultimately believe that this change will of benefit to the game? Or do you simply see it all as just another make-shift idea of Bud Selig to simply create the perception that everyone is in with a chance ? And of the NL teams that will be vying for the NL pennant as the NL’s representative in the World Series , which of the ball-clubs do you believe to be the best and will be triumphant ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below.
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(1) In this photo taken Sept. 25, 2012, Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones , right, celebrates after the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 in a baseball game in Atlanta, to clinch a playoff spot. With one last trip to the postseason assured, Jones is relishing the final days of his last season. Jones, who will be honored by the Braves before Friday night’s game against the Mets, says he is savoring the final days of his last regular season as he and his teammates look forward to the playoffs. AP Photo/David Goldman …..

(2) In this photo taken Sept. 25, 2012, Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones , right, celebrates with teammate Freddie Freeman after the Braves beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 in a baseball game in Atlanta, to clinch a playoff spot . With one last trip to the postseason assured, Jones is relishing the final days of his last season. Jones, who will be honored by the Braves before Friday night’s game against the Mets, says he is savoring the final days of his last regular season as he and his teammates look forward to the playoffs. AP Photo/David Goldman ……

(3) Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm (17) works against the Miami Marlins in the first inning of a baseball game in Atlanta, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. AP Photo/John Bazemore … (4) Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) works in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins in Atlanta, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. Kimbrel earned the save as Atlanta won 3-0. AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

(5) ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 26: A young fan shows off a sign in support of Chipper Jones (10) of the Atlanta Braves against the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on September 26, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ….

(6) Fredi Gonzalez tries on his Braves jersey as the team’s new manager. At the Wednesday press conference announcement, Gonzalez is flanked by (from L-R) team president John Schuerholz, general manager Frank Wren, and former manager Bobby Cox . Photo-Edgar Treiguts ….

(7) (L-R) Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz , Atlanta Braves Chairman Emeritus Bill Bartholomay , Atlanta Braves Chairman & CEO Terry McGuirk , and Major League Baseball Living Legend, Hammerin’ Hank Aaron . Philip Moss / Atlanta Journal Constitution ….

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MLB news & press releases

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MLB standings & wildcard standings

One year ago today : MLB standings (divisional) & wildcard ———- schedule for 27th September 2011 and the resulting scores

MLB results

MLB team injuries

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers

MLB important dates & MLB postseason schedule 2012

This week in baseball history & chronological dates of significance

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Atlanta Braves’ news

Atlanta Braves’ profile & depth chart

Atlanta Braves’ front office

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Forbes.com MLB team values and earnings