Did they just do that ?

Did did they just do that?

By Tophatal

Well we have seen the idiocy of the MLB season played out with a decision that simply makes no sense with the Washington Nationals deciding to shut down their starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg . To realize the gravity of the maneuver , you have to understand the very fact that the Nationals now sit on the cusp of making the postseason for the first time since 1981 when the franchise fell 3-2 in the NLCS to the Los Angeles Dodgers . At the time, the franchise were known as the Montreal Expos . In the subsequent years the ball-club has struggled to remain relevant , albeit that Bud Selig pretty much eased the way for the sale of the team to present owner Ted Lerner.

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To my mind , GM Mike Rizzo has made a rash decision that is pretty much a slap in the face Strasburg’s teammates and to the long-suffering Nationals’ fans. Anyone who believes that this decision was based upon the well-being of Stephen Strasburg, then they are clearly that naïve and gullible. Manager, Davey Johnson , has suggested that the reason behind to now shutdown the player, was based on the fact, that his performance, in his most recent outing was lackluster and not up to par. Would anyone actually be at all surprised , when for the past five weeks this has been the topic of conversation with Strasburg being continually asked what his thoughts would be , should the coaching staff make the decision to curtail his season? There is no damn common sense to be found within the Nationals’ front office after this utterly idiotic decision ! The game would result in a 9-7 loss to the Miami Marlins , in which the player pitched three anemic innings allowing six hits , 5 earned runs and three walks . What was abundantly clear from this game was the immense pressure Strasburg had been placed under , with this ongoing spectacle and the very fact that the Nationals’ coaching staff did little to downplay this all, instead they allowed this whole spectacle to played out , to the sheer and utter ridicule which has made this ball-club a damn laughing-stock.

Now while the Nationals currently maintain a 5 ½ game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the NL East , this whole scenario does not play out well, for the Davey Johnson’s team . They are certainly better with the fifteen game winner than they are without him . And with the Strasburg’s productivity in terms of the strikeouts amassed there is this growing that this will come back to bite the Washington Nationals in the proverbial ass.

The Nationals will finish their two-game series against the Miami Marlins today at Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington , DC. A loss to the Marlins though not catastrophic , it would certainly deflate the confidence of this team and undoubtedly lead to some soul-searching on the part of the players. As to the spin that will now to be placed on this scenario by the coaching staff, and the hierarchy of the organization .Well. those questions may well be answered, in terms of how the remainder of the Nationals’ season will end. While, I have no doubt that this team will undoubted make the postseason , I am not so sure that they can now go deep into the playoffs , taking the NL pennant and then the World Series , itself !

Next up for the Washington Nationals , will be a three-game set against the lowly New York Mets . It would be an understatement to suggest that the Mets have been pitiful this season , with the exception of R A Dickey , perhaps one of the presumptive favorites for the NL Cy Young Award in 2012.

Monday’s game will see the Mets playing host to the Nationals , with Gio Gonzalez (18-7, 2.98 ERA) taking the mound against Collin McHugh (0-1, 3.27 ERA). Tuesday , will see Jordan Zimmerman (10-8, 2.99 ERA) against R. A . Dickey (18-4 , 2.64 ERA) and as part of this trifecta of games, the final pairing will be John Lannan (2-0, 3.46 ERA) against the Mets’ Matt Harvey (3-4 , 3.04 ERA) . Needless to say, a series’ sweep or at least a 2-1 series’ win would be beneficial for the Washington Nationals , as they embark on the final thirty-plus games of their regular season schedule.

In 2011 the Milwaukee Brewers came away with the NL Central as the divisional champions as Ron Roenicke’s made their first postseason appearance since 2008 . In 2011 however, the Brewers’ foray would not be short-lived as they made it to the NLCS ,where they would succumb to the St Louis Cardinals losing the series 4-2 . This season within the division and it appears that NL Central will have a new champion , and it now seems beyond a doubt that the Cincinnati Reds will come away with their first divisional title since 2010 . Reds’ manager Dusty Baker would like nothing better than to get this team playing at a consistently —- high level as they enter the final stretch run of their season. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips , Ryan Ludwick , Jay Bruce , Johnny Cueto , Bronson Arroyo, Matt Latos, and closer Aroldis Chapman have spearheaded the Reds’ impressive season. I believe that the Reds are being overlooked as a credible contender for NL pennant . Sunday , and we saw the Reds inexplicably falling 5-1 to the Houston Astros , with Johnny Cueto (17-8) losing his eighth game of the season in that defeat. The Reds’ next three games pits them against the Pittsburgh Pirates , who it now seems have played themselves out of contention for the division (NL Central) as well as quite possibly the wildcard berth in the NL , having gone 3-7 in their last ten games. So much for the talk, of the Pirates having turned the corner , as it appears that like the cars of Sprint Cup Series within NASCAR , the cars only head in one direction ____________ “ always turning left” .

Making a case for complacency would be easy this season , especially in light of the New York Yankees and the way that they have allowed a ten game lead within the AL Easy simply erode to the point where as the 8th September they shared the lead within the division with this season’s surprise team the Baltimore Orioles. The troubling issue for the Yankees is that team captain Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi have tried to downplay everything that has transpired concerning the team’s abrupt meltdown over that past six weeks . Now with everything to play for and there being so much at stake , it has to be said should the Yankees fail to make the postseason, then there is a deal of blame to be apportioned all-round , from the front office on down to the coaching staff to this highly overpaid roster of players . Is there anyone who truly believes that Alex Rodriguez is worth $ 32 million a year , given his lack of productivity over the past five years and the player’s lack of leadership skills ? Yet, with even with the baggage that comes along with Rodriguez, he’s merely viewed as the primary selling point as the active home run leader as he looks to surpass the all-time home-run mark of 762 , currently held by Barry Bonds . The former Pirates and Giants’ slugger has been embroiled in a slew of controversy that has simply destroyed Bonds’ image as well as the game of baseball. Thankfully , with the player essentially retired , he does not have the ambition to make a bold return to the game . At the opposite end of the spectrum, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens , who simply craves the limelight, and is now attempting a return to baseball, having signed a contract with the Atlantic League’s —— Sugarland Skeeters . Independent League’s Sugarland Skeeters.

Far be it for me to suggest that Roger Clemens deserves the time of day , however, with the player having been acquitted in US Federal Court of perjury and obstruction of justice . The player has to viewed in a different light , as he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. From my owned perspective, the prosecution’s handling and presentation of the case by the US Justice Department’s attorneys , gives credence , that the federal government is being ran by a group of unintelligent buffoons ! With the country now in an election cycle and with both main political parties simply offering sound bites that amount to nothing more than the two main Presidential candidates dithering on so many of the most acute issues that affects this country . Then again , baseball needs a real kick in the ass considering the idiots who preside over the game at the highest level ! Baseball does not need Roger Clemens back in the arena of baseball but unfortunately, the hierarchy’s handling of a number of issues strictly related to the game has been so poorly handled that sport remains a complete laughing-stock among the vast majority of fans who choose to follow baseball .

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Picture gallery .

Considering the event leading up the Washington Nationals concerning their starting pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, do you believe that the decision made by the organization was a prudent choice ? Also with regard to the playoff picture and that of the divisional wildcard races , which teams do you believe are now in the drivers’ seat as these races proceeds towards their inevitability ? Do leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper , bottom, is out at second base as he gets tangled up with Miami Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano as Solano turns the double play during the first inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Washington. The Marlins would go on to defeat the Nationals 8-0 . AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(2) WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 09: Giancarlo Stanton (27) of the Miami Marlins celebrates with Jose Reyes (7) after an 8-0 victory against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ….

(3) WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 07: Stephen Strasburg(37) of the Washington Nationals sits in the dugout after leaving the game after the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on September 7, 2012 in Washington, DC. The player has seen his season come to an abrupt end with the decision made to shut him down for the remain of the Nationals’ 2012 schedule. Strasburg has voiced his displeasure but states he understands the organization’s concern but remains unhappy with that choice. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …..

(4) Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Cueto pitches against the Houston Astros in the first inning of their baseball game in Cincinnati, Sunday Sept. 9, 2012. AP Photo/Tom Uhlman ….

(5) Jimmy Paredes (38) of the Houston Astros hops back to first base in time as Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds takes the throw from pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 9, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images ….

(6) Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Zach Britton (53) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during the third inning of a baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Baltimore. The Yankees would go on to defeat the Orioles 13-3 . AP Photo/Nick Wass …

(7) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson, right, celebrates his home run with teammate Ichiro Suzuki (31) , of Japan, during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Baltimore. The Yankees won 13-3 . AP Photo/Nick Wass …..

(8) Third base coach Rob Thomson congratulates Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees after hitting a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the eighth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 8, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(9) Alex Rodriguez 13 of the New York Yankees flips his bat after lining out for the second out of the ninth inning during the Yankees 10-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 6, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …..

(10) Roger Clemens 21 of the Sugar Land Skeeters throws in the second inning against the Long Island Ducks on September 7, 2012 in Sugar Land, Texas. . Getty Images North America/ Bob Levey …

(11) Roger Clemens (21) of the Sugar Land Skeeters talks with his catcher Koby Clemens (22) before playing the Long Island Ducks on September 7, 2012 in Sugar Land, Texas. . Bob Levey / Getty Images North America …..

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Hot chic pic of the day . Sheila Marie

Batter Up ……. Baseball Is Here ……………..

Batter Up ……. Baseball Is Here ……………..

The MLB —– season starts and there’s a great deal to be said as to the expectations that are prevaling. Can the San Francisco Giants become the first team in a decade and a half to successfully defend a World Series title ? And are the New York Yankees now under the tenure of Hank and Hal Steinbrenner capable of leading the organization to the unprecedented success of their late father George Steinbrenner was able to achieve ? These are but a few of the plot lines that await the fans as the season gets underway with Spring Training but before that pitchers and catchers start reporting for their preseason workouts .

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Well the postseason gave us a World Series that somewhat was a coming of age tail for the two participants. The San Francisco Giants were able to take down the Texas Rangers with a certain amount of ease as the Rangers never really played with any confidence throughout the series. There are fans who believe that this season we could very well see the rise of another team combative enough to be dominant within baseball but to my mind that would be predicated on that team being equal in its parts in all facets of the game. And that tends not to be the case more often than not with most teams in contention tending to hit a rich vein of form as the end of the regular season beckons.

In the American League everyone seems to be looking at the Boston Red Sox after the impressive signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford instigated by GM Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino . The New York Yankees under Brian Cashman as such weren’t part of any big money deals other than the signing of reliever Rafael Soriano and a number of players by Cashman who essentially are roster invitees looking to gain permanent roster spot on the Yankees’ team. Does anyone really believe that Eric Chavez at this stage of his career can be productive ? The Yankees will be hard pressed this season to keep up with the Boston Red Sox in the AL East unless the Red Sox choose to self implode . From my own perspective I do believe that as a team the Yankees will be under a great deal of pressure with the loss of Andy Pettite due to his retirement and an aging core of players whose best years are now behind them .

Now there’ll be the usual plethora of Yankees’ followers who’ll hark back to their glory years and their multiple World Series titles but at the end of it all we can all see that the Yankees are no longer the dominant team that the game once heralded . I’ve no doubt that they’ll be competitive throughout the season and they may well make the postseason but I certainly don’t believe that they’re capable of winning a World Series title. The team’s Achilles’ heel will be their pitching and it will most certainly let them down because beyond C C Sabathia and Phil Hughes there’s no real dept to the pitching roster at all. They may still have Mariano Rivera but can we say for a near certainty that he’s still going to be a guarantee to be the player that the team has relied upon ‘the most’ when it really matters ?

Around the AL I’m not so sure that we’re going to see one true dominant team rise and simply set the league alight . I may well be wrong and I’m willing to accept that but but in the AL Central I’ve not been overly impressed by what I’ve seen ! I mean the Minnesota Twins in the postseason simply become a deer caught in headlights once they become participants. The Detroit Tigers have become an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum and let’s just say that if Ozzie Guillen isn’t berating his team the Chicago White Sox you just can’t be sure what to expect .

The AL West could be a very interesting scene merely because a great deal will be expected of the current AL pennant holders the Texas Rangers. Ron Washington’s ——– team will certainly be looking to make amends after last season . And with the loss of Vladimir Guerrero as well as pitching ace Cliff Lee it has to be said that they’ll be hard pressed to repeat as the champions within the AL. The Rangers will no doubt be challenged by the likes of the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels within the division .

The National League could will be interesting to watch this season with the Washington Nationals looking to make their presence felt within the NL East . With their high priced acquisition of Jayson Werth to go alongside phenoms Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg it could well be that GM Mike Rizzo finally believes that they’ve turned a the corner. God knows given the Nationals’ history they’re in need of all the assistance that they can get. The Washington Nationals will be going up against the Philadelphia Phillies , Atlanta Braves , New York Mets and Florida Marlins .

There’s a great deal riding on this season for the Nationals and they’re out to prove to their fans in attendance at Nationals Ballpark that they are finally in a position and ready to contend ..

The NL Central has the Cincinnati Reds looking to successfully defend their divisional title but at the same time the St Louis Cardinals will most certainly look to rebound from last season. It seems ridiculous to think that the Chicago Cubs are still looking to win their first World Series title in over a century . The curse of the goat still exists and let’s just say that there’s Bartman’s efforts did little to lift the curse . NL MVP Joey Votto will be looking to lead the Reds back into the postseason. I certainly hope that they’re capable of making another run but the division has become a highly competitive one.

I’ve never been overly enamored with the NL West and the teams there even if they currently have the reigning World Series champions there. The San Francisco Giants may well have had a terrific postseason but I think that they’ll be hard pressed to repeat as champions. And within the division you have the Los Angeles Dodgers , Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks . Troubling as it may seem I for one don’t think that those teams truly know how be competitive ! Inconsistency has been the name of the game for the triumvirate in recent years and then we have the idiocy that has now become wherewithal within the Dodgers’ organization . Owner Frank McCourt amidst an acrimonious divorce now has the team laden with almost $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) but even after his divorce trial’s proceedings went against him he states that he’s under no obligation to sell the organization. The presiding judge in the case delivered a verdict where he decided that the Dodgers is communal property and under California law it is a joint asset between McCourt and his ex wife Jamie McCourt. And as all this unfolds we have MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the league hierarchy watching from afar.

If Selig could devote as much time to the problems that have befallen the game as he has to making sure that the lobbyists that MLB pays to secure their interests within Congress then quite possibly the game would be in a far healthier state. Instead he’s now become the butt of jokes amongst the fans while the archaic purists and owners mercilessly listen to his inane statements . And it certainly seems to be unfathomable how he can sit idly by while the mess that the New York Mets’ ownership has themselves embroiled in, as part of a civil suit wherein the plaintiffs are the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Picard vs Katz , Wilpon et al seeks damages in excess of $350 million with punitive damages said to be in excess of $700 million .

Baseball may well be the game that the fans can identify with because of its history, social worth within the fabric of society and the impact it made . But as of now it has become a comedy of errors and a parody ! In all honesty the game may well have a legacy but its hierarchy under Selig has led it into an abyss of mediocrity with about as much business sense as is now being shown by the Federal Reserve , US Treasury and the US government combined !

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size.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming MLB season and which teams will you be closely following ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter by leaving a comment .

Picture and slide show details below.
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(1)Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona talks with reporters at the Boston Red Sox player development center in Fort Myers, Fla., Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. Pitchers and catchers reported Monday and will hold their first official spring training workout on Tuesday. AP Photo/Dave Martin …….

(2) Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima , of Japan, throws during a workout at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011. Spring training begins Monday for the Red Sox. AP Photo/Dave Martin ……

(3) Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez loosens up at the Red Sox training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011. Tomorrow is the first official spring training workout for the Red Sox. AP Photo/Dave Martin …..

(4) From left to right COO Lonn Trost , manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees attend the press conference to announce the retirement of Andy Pettitte (not pictured) on February 4, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ………..

(5) Jorge Posada , Mariano Rivera , Derek Jeter , and Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees pose on the pitchers mound after winning the last regular season game at Yankee Stadium 7-3 against the Baltimore Orioles on September 21, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City. According to reports on February 3, 2011, Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement at Yankee Stadium on February 4, 2011. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……….

(6) Philadelphia Phillies’ Cliff Lee fields a ball during spring training baseball workouts, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 in Clearwater, Fla. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……

(7) In this file photo from Oct. 29, 2010, New York Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon , left, club president Saul Katz and Mets owner Fred Wilpon , right, look on during a baseball news conference in New York. The owners of the Mets turned a blind eye to Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud, reaping $300 million in false profits and using a large chunk to run the team, according to a lawsuit unsealed Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The lawsuit claims the owners were so dependent on the disgraced financier’s too-good-to-be-true returns that it “faced a severe and immediate liquidity crisis” when Madoff’s crimes were revealed in 2009. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ……..

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NB The SNY Network is a wholly owned cable network operation of the New York Mets. One avenue for the organization should they seek a cash influx would be to sell the cable programmer which is estimated to be worth in excess of $700 million as a stand alone entity . Current estimated value of the Mets is approximately $600 million . In 2008 the team had an estimated worth of $850 million and with Citi Field costing $755 million built largely through public financing courtesy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and with minimal financial commitment coming from the Mets’ organization .

MLB news ………

To view the details behind the plaintiffs’ case against Mets’ senior partners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon simply click on the link provided …… JP Morgan Seeks to Move Madoff Fraud Suit …..

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Alan aka tophatal ………………

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