It was the best of times and the worst of times ……

It was the best of times and the worst of times

With the final week of Spring Training now upon us, teams are looking to prepare themselves for Opening Day of the 2013 season. A number of ball-clubs teams will certainly be look to acquit themselves after something of a disappointing season. Cases could be made that two of the biggest disappointments from a competitive standpoint came by way of the Texas Rangers (93-69) and Philadelphia Phillies (81-81). And with both of these ball-clubs having among the highest payrolls of last season , it is easy to understand why both were considered a major disappointment to their fans and the analysts alike.

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For the Texas Rangers , major upheavals have taken place during the off-season , with the departure of outfielder and slugger, Josh Hamilton for the millions that Arte Moreno and the Los Angeles were offering the player , to add some potency for their offense . GM Jon Daniels and team President Nolan Ryan had a difference of opinion as to how best to deal with a number of player issues beyond meeting what was said to be Hamilton’s ludicrous contract demands. With that taken into account, Ryan was forced to step down by several of the team’s other syndicated partners. Daniels, is now solely responsible for all of the player personnel decisions in conjunction with Ron Washington and the coaching staff.

The fact that Josh Hamilton was allowed to leave may well prove to be fortuitous for the ball club, with the player’s criticism of the organization , when both he and his wife stated that they were made to feel un-welcomed by the team’s hierarchy . Something , I fail to understand , given the Rangers’ support of Hamilton during his sobriety and drug issues as recently as of 2012 , and the admission, that he was once again drinking. However, what had become clear , was that in spite of the vast financial resources now at the team’s disposal , they no longer felt that a long-term five or ten- year contract , rewarding Josh Hamilton in excess of $150 million , would be in their best interest.

With Nolan Ryan, now being forced to step aside , his position within the Rangers’ organization is now , not even in “name only “. President Emeritus, any input or decision-making, even of the slightest, would now have to go through Jon Daniels. Further emphasizing how little power, he now has within the organization. If anything, this is something of a payback , after the power struggle that is said to have taken place , that led former front office executive , Chuck Greenberg, being forced out by Nolan Ryan and his backed supporters. Much of the Rangers’ initial success in the aftermath of the ball-club being acquired by the Ryan led syndication group , can be placed with Chuck Greenberg, a successful corporate lawyer and former sports’ agent. It was at his insistence, and input , that led to major corporate coups, that gave the ball-club to a more stable financial situation of the Texas Rangers on a long-term basis. It should be noted ,that when the Rangers came out of bankruptcy proceedings after the disastrous era under the tenure of former owners, Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette .

Many felt, that this was one of the most disruptive and most incompetent chain of events that had taken place in the franchise’s history. Much of which, all came under the tenure, in which an ever docile MLB hierarchy , led by Bud Selig , stood idly by , while Hicks and Gillette , were simply left to run amok with the Rangers’ finances. Kind of reminds you of the idiocy , that Frank McCourt was allowed to get away with , while almost bringing the Los Angeles Dodgers , almost to ceasing their operations , with the hierarchy of baseball, for a number of months having to guarantee the team’s payroll , because of the ineptitude being shown by McCourt , GM Ned Colletti and former CFO , Peter Wilhelm . And there were idiots within and outside of the game, still trying to claim that the ball-club’s problems were simply minor issues ? How fucked up, was their thinking to begin with ? And what actual, business acumen, did they actually possess, to make such asinine pronunciations ?

Greenberg’s abrupt departure may well have paved the way for Nolan Ryan’s attempt at having a stranglehold on the reins of power within the Rangers’ hierarchy . I simply believe, that this did not sit well, with a board of directors led by Ray C Davis , Bob Simpson , Neil Leibman , Rick George and Courtney Krug , to name but a few of the several wealthy individuals , who ploughed much of their wealth into the acquiring of the franchise . It should be noted , that the Rangers , much as in the same way that the Dodgers have been able to negotiate a rather lucrative television contract , beyond the revenues derived via the MLB Network and baseball overall. With the Los Angeles Dodgers’ reputed deal , said to be worth approximately $7 billion over a two decade period , based on certain initiatives . It has to be said that the Rangers’ $ 3.2 billion dollar-deal , over a similar time-span does seem to have its advantages , as well as placing the franchise in a great position to pursue top-quality free agents almost at will. Which begs the question , if the large market teams can go out and be so aggressive . Then , why the continued belly aching by so many of the small market teams, who feel that they are being disenfranchised , while they simply have their municipal councils eating out of their hands , while they themselves have done a piss poor job at seeking out additional revenue streams for their respective organizations .

I am now , sick and tired of the goddamn excuses , of individuals such as Stuart Sternberg of the Tampa Bay Rays , David Glass of the Kansas City Royals and “ moronic buffoons “ such as , Sandy Alderson and his asinine decision-making as it relates to the woefully inept New York Mets , a franchise , still hemorrhaging red ink , like a female still on her menstrual cycle .

The Rangers for their part, coming off two AL pennant appearances in the past three years , were something of a major disappointment in 2012 . And nowhere was this more self-evident, than on the final day of the regular season of this past year. In a game , in which they needed a victory, to secure not only a playoff berth but also the outright AL West crown for a third consecutive season. Somehow , this team would find a way to simply shoot themselves in the foot , in succumbing to the Oakland A’s in that final game . What might be even more exacerbating, was the very fact that for all but eighteen days, of the entire 2012 schedule , of one hundred and eighty-two days , the Rangers led the division , only to then surrender the lead and their crown to the A’s on that fateful day, in October of 2012. That 4-3 defeat , may well have explained a great deal about the “lack of heart “ of the Texas Rangers , not only as a team, but also something that may well have mirrored the complacency shown by the organization , whose very presence, was seen at times in the conceitedness of Nolan Ryan. “ It’s my bauble, and I will do with it, as I please “ ! Could those sentiments, better represent Ryan , not only as an executive , but also as a player ?

That defeat , led to the Rangers having to meet the Baltimore Orioles in a one game-playoff with the wildcard round , of the newly formatted postseason . Suffice to say, that the dark clouds hovered over Arlington Ballpark, in Texas, as the Orioles dismantled the Rangers 5-1 . No third consecutive return to the World Series , and seeking to avenge losses in 2011 and 2010 . Heartache and tears might be the best way to describe the Rangers after those two gut wrenching series’ defeats.

The Rangers’ preseason apart, Ron Washington, may well be spending a great deal of time now assessing this new-look team , with its acquired free agents and none roster invitees , but you simply have to know , that another season of missed opportunities , are likely seal the fates of a number of members of the player personnel, and quite possibly the manager’s role within this organization. A diminish role for Nolan Ryan, doesn’t exactly sit well, with one of the most prolific pitchers in baseball history , as well as being an outspoken executives.

A Rangers’ team predicated on offense last season , where they were also effective with their pitching , yet at times when it mattered the most, it was nowhere to be seen. Yu Darvish , has been able to establish, that the stories reported as to his being a star, are indeed true. What 2013 holds for the pitcher and the organization remains to be seen. It will be incumbent upon Darvish , as well as the rest of the staff to be at their very best , if the Texas Rangers are to be in with a chance of winning the AL West and making return to the MLB postseason.

Say what you will about the Philadelphia Phillies , but their recent track record in the NL East, up until last season, was quite impressive . However, take away from the years in question, from 2007 through until 2011, and you can see that the ball-club , essentially, fell on the leanest of times. Five years of highs and lows with Reuben Amaro , may well have brought about the franchise’s most recent by way of a series’ title in 2008 , with their defeat of the Tampa Bay Rays . Yet along the way , fans were able to witness the ball-club overpaying for paying for talent and where that still remains a part of the front office psyche. With the return of Pat Gillick in the primary role of a special consultant , advisor and de-facto SVP/General Manager. You would not be wrong to think that Gillick is simply there, to rein in the capricious mindset of Amaro. Take into account that manager , Charlie Manuel , has been repeatedly and heavily criticized for the team’s lack competitiveness in 2012. Injuries asides , a payroll of $174.5 million for last season , should have brought about a great deal more success, than a .500 record of 81-81 , good enough for a third place finish within the NL East , 17 games behind the newly minted divisional champions , the Washington Nationals.

As prolific as the team’s offense has been known to be , last season , with Ryan Howard being sidelined for much of the season due to injuries , and with Raul Ibanez , off to bolster the New York Yankees , and to complement what was already competitive laden offensive team. It must be said, that the Phillies suffered greatly from the loss of both players in 2012 , which was further exacerbated by the inconsistency of the pitching , primary from the relievers , who simply gave up whatever opportunities that were afforded them by the team’s starters . Given that those starters were , Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee , Roy Halladay , Kyle Hendricks , Antonio Bastardo , Vance Worley , Joe Blanton and Jonathan Papelbon , you simply have to question, not only the monetary investment in those players , but also the ineptitude of the performances in 2012.

A win in 2008 , of the World Series, gave the Phillies’ franchise their greatest triumph in recent history. Subsequent years, have seen highs and lows, more lows, I believe, than the rapturous and overwhelming cacophony of success! This season might be the last , in which Charlie Manuel will be afforded to get it right , and failure to do so , could very well lead to his dismissal from the organization , along with several members of his coaching staff . Not to be left out of that equation either, will be the players undoubtedly thought to be superfluous to the organization’s needs . And given the payroll commitment to the players on this roster . I get the feeling, that many of those high-priced individuals who fail to perform up to expectation , may well be customarily shown the door .

As far as I am concerned this asinine quadrennial event cannot disappear fast enough ! The World Baseball Classic , has been imbued upon the fans and public as another form of torture . God damn , and the baseball itself has simply been a frigging embarrassment to watch , in more ways than one ! Take nothing away , from the lesser lights who just happen to be willing participants in this god forsaken mess , but when Team USA waved the white flag of surrender in the double elimination round of the quarter-finals , it was simply time to call it quits ! Every other team , sought to get their best available players for what is said to be the most international team competition , outside of the IBAF sanctioned World Cup. Don’t forget now , baseball is no longer part of the Summer Olympics , as the erstwhile commissioner of the game in North America, sought fit to play both possum and chicken, with an institution singularly as frigging clueless as MLB , when Bud Selig challenged the authority of IOC President Jacques Rogge. If you are being repeatedly being asked as to why , “ you do not have in place a form of on-site and in depth set of testing protocols for illicit substances as well as PED’s “ ? And one of your many responses, is simply viewed as an excuse, when you simply state “ it is a privacy issue “ ! Then what sort of response would you have come to expect from Rogge , in the first place ?

Baseball has been kicked to the curb and it is unlikely to make a swift return to the Summer Games. The sport’s last representation came by way of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Much to the ire and angst of MLB , and the sport’s international governing body , IBAF . Now all that is left for the sport is a cooperative effort with the International Softball Federation , to make one last appeal to Jacques Rogge and the IOC Executive Committee for one final appeal of reinstatement. At the earliest , baseball’s quickest return would have to be at the 2020 Sochi Games , but even that is not a foregone conclusion at this juncture . So, what are we left with? The rather ludicrous and ill-conceived World Baseball Classic , an international team tournament, that has simply been, a sheer and utter mess ! Proponents of this competition have sung its’ praises highly , without realizing that as an organizational endeavor , from a logistical standpoint, it has been a nightmare . Never mind the fact the television ratings for the event and the staged games by way of the North American audiences , have been minuscule at best . I am now beginning to wonder, even if, ESPN as a co-sponsor and broadcaster, will be able to recoup its investment from in this eyesore! From an economic standpoint, with the MLB Network’s coverage , and the fact that we know that Bud Selig has the business IQ , might be marginally above that of Sarah Palin, this event has been simply an utter mess , from its inception.

I won’t go into the details of the 2013 event , other than to let you know that Team USA failed miserably , managing to be knocked out in a double elimination , in the quarter-finals of the competition . Tonight’s championship game will pit the Dominican Republic against Puerto Rico , which will be played at ATT&T/Pac-Bell Park in San Francisco , California . I am sure that there will not only be a large Latin contingent on hand to support both teams , but somehow , the commissioner may well be on hand to try to sell us once again, on what a tremendous tournament this has been . My response to Bud Selig , would be , “ please eat $hit and die “ !

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What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Do take time to proffer up any commentary as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as, it is, greatly appreciated !

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(1) Philadelphia Phillies shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, right, gestures as he talks with New York Yankees outfielder Ben Francisco , back to camera, before a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla., Tuesday, March 19, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

(2) The ball sails over the the glove of a leaping Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard as New York Yankees Chris Stewart (19) reaches on a throwing error by Phillies third baseman Michael Young during a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla., Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The Phillies defeated the Yankees 4-1 . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(3) Phillies manger Charlie Manuel, right, speaks during a news conference Thursday as senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr . looks on. The two individuals face a daunting task this season as the Phillies seek to rebound after a disastrous season in 2012 , in which the team finished third in the NL East with a .500 record of 81-81 . A major disappointment for a franchise with a $174.5 million payroll in 2012 , which was amongst the highest in all of Major League Baseball . Associated Press/ Carter Mitchell ..

(4) SURPRISE, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Yu Darvish (1) 1 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Surprise Stadium on February 20, 2013 in Surprise, Arizona. Coming off a sensational season , his rookie season with the Rangers . The starting ace will seek to improve upon last season’s stats within the AL .Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ..

(5) Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg (center), watches as team president Nolan Ryan gives the microphone to general manager Jon Daniels , after Ryan made the prediction that the Rangers would win the World Series in seven games at a Texas Rangers pep rally at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 1, 2010. It was not to be , for the Rangers in the postseason , particularly in the World Series , where they would come unglued in their series’ loss to the San Francisco Giants in a rather lopsided event 4-1 . In what was believed to be something of an internal power struggle , Greenberg was forced to step down , having been relieved of his duties ,with Nolan Ryan , summarily assuming control . However, this past off-season , Ryan, himself , was usurped with several members of the Rangers’ board of executives , said to be dissatisfied with the team President, and his autonomous role and lack of communication with his fellow executives . Now pushed aside, Nolan Ryan , finds himself on the outside looking in, without any real position of power within the Rangers’ hierarchy , as GM, Jon Daniels, now assumes the full control for all managerial and personnel decisions concerning the organization. Dallas Morning News/ Ricardo Echevarria ….

(6) Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton , left, and first baseman Albert Pujols joke around before the Angels faced the San Diego Padres in a spring training baseball game Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Peoria, Ariz. Pujools , Hamilton and rookie sensation , Mike Trout will be looked upon to provide the bulk of the team’s offense this upcoming season . A season in which , the expectations are extremely high for the team and in particular , for Mike Scocsia and his coaching staff . AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

I’ve read with a great deal of glee where the MLB —- hierarchy has now chosen to intervene and take over the day to day running of the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers and not a moment too soon ! Given the financial situation of the organization and wherein the league hierarchy under MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has sat idly by as Frank McCourt has brought the organization to the brink of bankruptcy . In the last eighteen months two major ballclubs have been placed within the bankruptcy in order that they may have a stay from their creditors while being able to reorganize themselves . First off were the Chicago Cubs whose previous owner billionaire commercial real estate developer Sam Zell placed the team into bankruptcy protection in order to stave off creditors of the Cubs’ parent company (The Tribune Group) at the time going after the team to make the debt payments due. And while this maneuver worked it did cause and cost the company financially a great deal of bad PR that it could have well done without. But what might be even more gave glaring, it gave further credence as to the fact how dire the financial situation was for a number of teams around Major League Baseball .

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Courtesy of MLB.com

Selig to Appoint a rep to oversee Dodgers

By Ken Gurnick , MLB.com

LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball has taken over operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday.

“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club,” Selig said in a statement.

“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

McCourt issued a brief statement late Wednesday night that read: “Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner’s action today.”

In an e-mail message sent to Dodgers employees on Wednesday, McCourt said, “In light of the Commissioner’s announcement today, I ask that you please continue to conduct business as usual with our complete dedication to the game and our loyal fans. Each of you has represented this organization with class, and while this is no doubt a challenging time for all of us, I truly appreciate your efforts.”

McCourt, owner and chairman of the Dodgers, bought the club from News Corp. on Jan. 29, 2004, and the club reached the postseason in four of his seven seasons as owner.

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If one of most renowned teams in baseball has to be forced into bankruptcy through the financial mismanagement of its parent company then what must that forebear for other organizations around the league at the time ? Given the Cubs’ history and perceived financial resources as it was believed to be , this was nothing more than a shot across the bow of the teams who faced much starker situations but who’ve yet to make it known to the public. I’ve heard it said that the hierarchy of the league wouldn’t be prepared to contract teams but that it is utter stupidity by anyone who believes that it can’t , or won’t happen. If it is the league’s wish then it will happen especially in the light of the economic uncertainty and the whole financial mismanagement of teams around the league at present. With the Cubs having been reorganized whilst in bankruptcy protection it was bought by Tom Ricketts and his family (founders of online stock trading company TD Ameritrade) for an unprecedented $ 850 million . Paring down costs to an extent while still trying to remain competitive has been of the highest order for the Ricketts as they seek to make the Chicago Cubs relevant again within the league .

The second such team , with which bankruptcy was forced upon them, were the Texas Rangers who at the time were jointly owned by Texas multi millionaires Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette . Their combined worth an estimated $2.5 billion but somehow they couldn’t make this organization a viable going concern , from a financial or competitive standpoint but yet somehow through their idiocy they managed to offer Alex Rodriguez what was at the time the richest contract in professional sports , a ten year $250 million contract . Rodriguez barely lasted three years with the organization although he managed to win AL MVP award with the Rangers . I can only surmise that Scott Boras as A Rod’s agent at the time , proved what most people may well have known , that in the state of Texas not only are the businessmen dumb but they lack real business acumen also ! Once again through financial mismanagement by an ownership group another team was brought to near extinction and each time MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sat idly by . Having been forced into bankruptcy for failing to meet their financial obligations the team was bought by consortium led by Nolan Ryan and former Rangers’ executive Chuck Greenbeg . A much needed change in fortune has taken place for the Rangers both financially and competitively on and off the field of play but it doesn’t change the fact that the game’s hierarchy and team owners have been less than truthful as to their overall financial plight .

It’s becoming increasingly clear for all who care to take notice that the game isn’t as financially sound as Selig makes it out to be , nor are the owners being financially prudent and fiscally responsible. It’s not just about the economics of the game or the fact of the now overall plight of the economy at but all but the lack of financial oversight and sound business practices that is taking place in almost every aspect of the game. The GM’s around the league have become opulent and ostentatious and it would appear that the owners alike choose not to pare down their expenses but if anything in number of cases pass on those costs to fans through higher priced tickets and in the prices that they pay for concessions and memorabilia . Well now that fans in large part are refusing to meet those demands , it is now becoming clear that the owners and in particular the league hierarchy have seen the light . Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case for Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office who’ve amassed a debt now close to $1.3 billion collectively and who this past month borrowed in excess of $30 million from the local Fox tv station affiliate in Los Angeles to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month. Need one ask what would have happened had the MLB hierarchy chosen not to intervene and bring some sanity back within that organization ? Because clearly the likes of McCourt , GM Ned Colletti and Tommy LaSorda have lost their frigging minds if they think that they can continue to exist in such a way while trying to play down their financial plight !

And although it has been reported that McCourt will seek legal action in US Federal Court to stop the league from intervening and taking over the day to day running of the Los Angeles Dodgers I think that given his recent lack of success in the courtroom and the the financial maelstrom that he has brought within the organization , I find it hard to believe that any presiding judge hearing hearing this case would in fact choose to side with the plaintiff ! If anything the judge might be more likely to side with the defendant in the case given the severe financial problems that McCourt and his fellow executives have placed the organization in.

Now while all of this plays out as a comedic and public spectacle there are also calls for the O’Malley family to once again assume control of the Los Angeles Dodgers . As the previous owners of the ballclub I certainly don’t think that they would want to re-enter the fray of owning the organization once again, on any level, be it for the long term , or short term merely as a custodian ! If anything this situation is best left in the hands of Selig , the hierarchy under his authority . If anything it’d open up his eyes and that of the owners now knowing as such that they could be on the hook for the organization’s debt and mismanagement . One thing I do know, it’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers’ creditors would be liable to write off the vast majority of that cumulative debt as it presently stands as they too have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders and board members . Obviously that’s something that McCourt and his fellow executives didn’t take into account in terms of their own fiduciary responsibilities as it relates to their own consortium of partners in the Dodgers’ ownership. Living big and spending big doesn’t guarantee success if you simply don’t know what the hell you’re doing to begin with !

It’s certainly funny that given the Dodgers’ plight and that of the New York Mets who have their own vast problems from a financial and competitive standpoint but this might be one of the rare times that Bud Selig has chosen to show publicly that he indeed has a backbone ! God knows that this man has cowered his way under pressure and has acted oblivious to many of the problems that he has either created within the game through lax oversight or showing his complete naivete’ ! One only has to look at his handling of the steroid issue and the fact that he was absolutely powerless because he chose to be confrontational not only with the MLBPA but also with the Congress and in particular with two of its most powerful legislative bodies in the House Government & Oversight Reform Committee as Senate Judiciary Committee . You piss off the hand that feeds you in terms of providing you with your sole reason to exist throught antitrust exemption , you often in the end tend to make even more enemies than you actually want or need . Something that not even Selig would now care to openly admit to at this juncture .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Madoff Profits Fueled Mets’ Empire, Lawsuit Says

By Alison Leigh Cowan & Richard Sandomir

A lawsuit brought by the trustee for the victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme contends that the owners of the Mets used the profits from their years of investing with Mr. Madoff to enhance their personal fortunes, enrich a number of family trusts and financially fuel their array of businesses — all in the face of repeated warnings that Mr. Madoff’s investment firm might have been a fraud.

The lawsuit, unsealed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Friday, says the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , their families and their businesses “made so much easy money from Madoff for so long” that despite the many warnings — from within their own inner circle, and by other investors and financial institutions — they “chose to simply look the other way.”

“There are thousands of victims of Madoff’s massive fraud,” the lawsuit states. “But Saul Katz is not one of them. Neither is Fred Wilpon.”

Since Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008, Mr. Wilpon has portrayed himself as a victim of the fraud, one he conceded was carried out by a man who had been his friend for many years. On Friday, in a personal statement and through their lawyers, Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz decried the trustee’s legal assault.

“The trustee’s lawsuit is an outrageous ‘strong arm’ effort to try to force a settlement by threatening to ruin our reputations and businesses, which we have built for over 50 years,” Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz said.

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If ever there was a cautionary tale to be learned as to the world of sports and how the excess of greed can turn a once beloved spectacle into a crevasse of bungling ineptitude then Major League Baseball would be it. From the cheating , lying and bungling ineptitude of the owners , players , union and the hierarchy itself and their overall unwillingness to act in a proactive manner whenever there is a real problem within their midst. Instead they each tend to act as if there’s nothing wrong at all , until it’s all too late and by then the damage done tend to be irreparable . And when I say damage done it’s not only to the game in terms of its competitiveness , financial stability but also to its very own image and the fact that the vast majority of the fans can and do no longer trust what the game says it stands for or the very people who are entrusted to oversee and maintain its very existence and livelihood .

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Do you feel that the intervention now undertaken by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will ensure the Los Angeles Dodgers’ long term existence and livelihood. Or do you feel that the Dodgers ought to have been left to their own devices and let them sink or swim dependent upon what they chose to do in order to survive ? And do you believe that in the long term contraction within the game will become more likely in light of the financial problems that are now coming to light concerning a number of teams within the game of baseball ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and as usual thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

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(1) MLB commissioner Bud Selig (left) watches the 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 13, 2010 in Anaheim, California. Getty Images North America / Michael Buckner ……

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (R) greets Don Newcombe, former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate of Jackie Robinson, before the game with the St. Louis Cardinals as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ……..

(3) Cubs GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here alongside team owner Tom Ricketts at the team’s headquarters at Wrigley Field , Chicago , Illinois , speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Tom Scott ….

(4) Nolan Ryan team President & lead managing partner of the Texas Rangers is seen here with Chuck Greenberg a former executive with the Texas Rangers . Greenberg a respected sports attorney and agent abruptly left the Rangers’ organization earlier , this year. Dallas Morning News / Michael Ainsworth ……

(5) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Andrew Burton ……

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

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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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Alan aka tophatal

MLB News

Texas Rangers profile

Texas Rangers history

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Rangers’ 40 man roster & …….. depth chart

Team injury updates

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Minor League Affiliates

Rangers’ schedule Spring Training ———— Regular Season 2011

Spring Training Standings AL ——- Cactus League

Team Statistics

Teams Statistics 2010

Rangers Ballpark Arlington , Texas

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Jeny Romero

Selena Silk

Selena Silk

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

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We All Get Wasted ……….. It’s The Lifestyle of The Student Athlete

We All Get Wasted ……….. It’s The Lifestyle of The Student Athlete

There’s a very interesting song that was released off the well critiqued and received CD by rapper Gucci Mane called the ‘State vs Radrick Davis’ . One of the songs in question became a noted club anthem called ‘Wasted’ and it essentially chronicled the party life of the club goers and their rather excessive life styles. In saying that I’d associate it also with that of the life of the student athlete who if we’re to believe receive a college scholarship but in large part many of them end up failing to obtain their degrees and fulfilling their obligations to the schools. That being said these schools tend not to lose out because the tens of millions of dollars that comes their way each year by way of endorsements , the rights’ fees ,of course tv revenues courtesy of the NCAA and independently in some cases more than makes up for that loss.

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Slide show for your perusal.

Within the last couple of days Sports Illustrated printed an article that will be in their November issue, wherein they interviewed an agent by the name of Josh Luchs. In this interview Luchs detailed his involvement with college athletes who were primarily football players entering and about to leave the college stage to enter the NFL . As an inducement Luchs had been paying players to actually sign with him in order for representation at the next level. Some of the noted players in question whom he named were Ryan Leaf , Jonathan Ogden and Tony Banks . Now this may well be only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of the players that he’d represented or had been involved with at the time and in terms of the monies involved it’s not completely chronicled as to how much was involved . But one can be assured that the amounts had to have been substantial to say the least and that Luchs was adequately compensated in terms of his own fees at the end of the day.

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated in conjunction with Dan Patrick _ article posted by Andrew Perloff

Josh Luchs offers insight into world of agents and NFL players

NFL agent Josh Luchs joined the show to talk about the Sports Illustrated cover story on the underside of the business.

Luchs tried to explain why he paid players. “I loved the players and I wanted to help them,” Luchs said.

Luchs also talked about why he started. “I got sick of not being paid back,” Luchs said. “I got sick of being lied to.”

Luchs said that a lot of agents are doing this, but he said it’s hard to prove. “It’s very hard to keep track of … it’s not just the agents any more,” Luchs said, pointing to all the runners and marketing people.

Dan asked about the part of the story that claimed Mel Kiper had a relationship with his former boss, agent Gary Wichard. Dan asked Luchs if thinks Kiper overrates Wichard clients.

“There are plenty of other agents in this business that believe that he does,” Luchs said.

Luchs said he does believe Kiper may have overrated Jimmy Clausen. But it’s not that simple. “I think Gary can be very persuasive and he was able to persuade Mel,” Luchs said.

Luchs said it’s not easy to fix this problem, and college coaches can’t do anything about it. “I truly don’t believe that they’re capable of preventing that from happening,” Luchs said.

Luchs said states need to make tough laws against this and follow through and enforce them.

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Now one could decry Luchs for being a ‘tattle tale’ as he’s no longer an involved being a big time agent. But here to my mind is where the rubber hits the road if Luchs was involved with players at the time and he was knowingly giving them money and other gratuities then where the hell was the oversight from the collegiate establishments that these very same players were attending ? Furthermore if as it’s my belief much of what Luchs states in his interview has veracity to it then there’s the likelihood that the colleges knew of his interactions with the players an chose to ignore it. At the end of the day if it benefits the program by way of the success achieved on the field and the financial returns are more than equitable then everyone seated at the table wins. And that obviously included the NCAA , the governing body for collegiate athletics across the nation.

Now in raising my next point which is to suggest that if Luchs was one of many agents out there conducting business and he’s now prepared to open up Pandora’s Box on this issue then quite possibly many of his peers at the time involved in the sports’ agent business were also conducting themselves in such a way . The likes of Drew Rosenhaus , Tom Condon , Chuck Greenberg , Scott Boras and Leigh Steinberg no doubt and would probably tell us that they’re above reproach and wouldn’t contend with enabling an athlete to contravene and then violate NCAA rules. Well if that’s the case then clearly there’s now something deeply amiss with the current situation at the collegiate athletics level. Because the very same practices to which Luchs prescribed are the very same themes that have come to the fore in the investigations of several athletics programs in the last few years bring about severe sanctions against those schools but yet no punishment against the agents who may or may not have been involved. Many of the agents in question will have a number intercedents act on their behalf in approaching the athlete indirectly to discuss being represented. The strange thing is , if this is in some cases being done openly on campuses then what are the AD’s (athletics directors , compliance officers and coaches doing about it ? Clearly nothing in the cases of schools such as USC , U Conn and the University of North Carolina to name but a few. And whilst we’re at it where is the NCAA in the midst of this all , other than their rather asinine notion that their investigations and then watered down punishments meted out tends to stop this all ? It hasn’t happened and has never been much of a deterrent to the schools or to the agents themselves. The whole system is corrupt from the NCAA on down and it’s a sad indictment of collegiate athletics as a whole.

NCAA President Mark Emmert who took over from his predecessor Dr Myles Brand a little under six months ago hasn’t really had time stamp his identity on the institution and at the same time one seriously doubts if the NCAA are at all serious in dealing with many of the ongoing issues that collegiate athletics faces. The body itself (NCAA) seems to be intent on spending more time on renewing multi-billion dollar television contracts and seeking out new corporate partners in terms of marketing the NCAA brand than they are prepared to do, than dealing with such instances as the interaction between an agent and athlete , while they are in school or about to enter college having just left high school. And if you think that these agent are merely using the college campuses as their stomping ground then think again ? Many of them are out there at high school games seeking out and looking for the next ‘big thing’ . And to be sure, many of the agents out there would be hard pressed to deny that isn’t the way they tend to conduct their business. I’m sure that agents such as Drew Rosenhaus have interacted with the parents of kids whilst they were in high school as well as the kids themselves and seeking them out surreptitiously merely to discuss their needs.

Now while no one is denying the fact that attending college on a student scholarship isn’t a noble thing, one has to ask this question if the student is there merely to hone their skills and allegedly gain an education. If the scholarship itself is of value then why not as part of the scholarship throw in a stipend for the athlete in order to negate the incidents that have arisen in the cases of athletes such as Reggie Bush and O J Mayo ? It may not deter what we know has happened but if in part a stipend were included in the scholarship with clear guidelines as to what is acceptable as a parameter then surely this would be of assistance to the athlete and actually be a way to avert any temptation there might be to accept money and representation from an agent while in college ? Clearly this is something that hasn’t arisen at any level for discussion or has been seriously looked at .

From my own perspective I view the NCAA as a broken down archaic system that simply doesn’t want to change as they are completely comfortable with their being . Concerns that they may well have, seem to be only their financial well being and in making sure that everyone on board the gravy train is well taken care of except the students themselves whose interests they are actually there to represent. Now if ever there was a clear definition of the word oxymoron then I’d nominate and place the NCAA atop of any list along with US House of Representatives and US Senate . Each of the three bodies in question to my mind on their best day have been about as much use a bucket being used to bail one’s self out of a capsizing boat. I mean what use are these bodies when even they themselves fail to act and do the right thing when the appropriate action needs to be taken ?

As to the athletes themselves they’re asked to be held accountable for their actions but clearly when temptation is placed in their way especially when it’s financial how can they deny any of it at all ? OK so the consequences can be grave but at the same time what of the actions of the individuals who have lured them into making that questionable decision ? No punishment there and until the NCAA and schools are prepared to address that particular then I say ………..’ let the party continue and let ’em all get wasted’ !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

With Luchs having now given this interview do you feel that anyone of note from the NCAA on down to the schools will show any interest in anything has said ? And what thoughts if any do you have on how the agents themselves are said to conduct their business in terms of interacting with these agents ? Furthermore do you feel that it’s time for commissioners of MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL to step in and act in conjunction with the NCAA to stop the actions of agents where they actually are getting the college athletes to break NCAA rules ? Chime in with a comments as to your own thoughts on the matter and as always thanks for the continued support .

NB:

Click on the link provided to read related articles concerning Josh Luchs’ claims.

Links to Josh Luchs ………..

Alan aka tophatal …………… 🙂

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Gucci Mane _____ “Wasted” feat’g …… Plies

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