It’s not a story until the events are told or written ………….

It’s not a story until the events are told or written

By Tophatal

Well the knockout punch was delivered to the New York Yankees’ postseason hopes , as the Detroit Tigers simply went about their task in defeating their opponents 8-1 , in a four-game sweep of the ALCS , and doing so with consummate ease. In the wake of that debacle , the bloodletting begins, and the questions will be asked , as to why the Yankees’ season came to such an abrupt end . Does anyone truly care at this juncture ? Needless to say, a number of excuses will be proffered up by various individuals within the New York Yankees’ organization , without their being any type of gesture to suggest that they were simply outplayed by a far better team , in the Detroit Tigers. Where this now leaves Brian Cashman and the front office executives as they move forward, having surveyed the damage done , remains to be seen.

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One glaring issue, is the lack of real productivity in the postseason from this Yankees’ offense. And specifically in the series against the Detroit Tigers , as the bats of Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira , normally seen as the players who spearhead the team’s offense , as witnessed throughout much of the regular season. However, in the series against the Tigers, those bats were dormant and extremely quiet. Collectively, the salaries of the aforementioned players , is in excess of $75 million . And considering the number of teams within the game, whose payrolls are short of that mark, it begs the question . Are the New York Yankees simply overpaying for the talent mustered together on this roster ?

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Losing , then leaving . Bryan Heyza loads the New York Yankees bags into a vehicle after the team lost Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. The Tigers, who won 8-1, move on to the World Series. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

With Derek Jeter having gone down injured earlier in this pennant championship series , and lost to the ball-club for the remainder of the postseason. Manager, Joe Girardi , must have been looking for one of his more seasoned veterans to step up to the plate and assume the mantle as the inspirational leader of this team. Girardi , himself, has been less than inspiring , and one could sense that a series’ defeat , though not a series’ sweep was something that he looked to avoid. Well for all of the manager’s words of wisdom, neither one of those scenarios have been avoided , as the franchise was inflicted its worst postseason series’ loss in almost two decades . If there is blame to be apportioned , then surely the majority of that blame has to be squarely placed upon the shoulders of Alex Rodriguez. And though the fingers can be pointed elsewhere , towards other members on this roster, it has to be at the third baseman , as he is the most seasoned and experienced player on the team. That being said , it should not be overlooked that he is also that team’s highest paid player. To my mind, Alex Rodriguez has never been a player , or the player to inspire or lead a team , as I don’t believe he possess the demeanor to assume that role. Yet , somehow , he is sometimes to referred to as a player , who can change the face of a game with one swing of the bat or with an outstanding defensive play. Well, that hasn’t been evident with Rodriguez in quite a while , and the $30 million annual salary that he is now being paid does appear to be an exorbitant waste of the Yankees’ resources.

In the off-season , after this embarrassing series’ sweep , it remains to be seen as to what decisions will be made concerning number of players on this Yankees’ roster , whose contracts are set to expire or those who it may well be felt are superfluous to the managerial staff’s needs. A great deal of speculation has been made that Brian Cashman will seek to trade Alex Rodriguez , but I seriously doubt that there will any “major players” or takers willing to assume the remaining $114 million left on his existing contract (not including bonuses). If anything, I firmly believe that Rodriguez will be forcibly challenged to assume more of a leadership role of this team. At best , both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera , have no more than one or two more years of play , left in them. Once their careers have come to a close with this franchise, a post Jeter , Rivera chapter , a new era will begin , and it will be left to Rodriguez to lead this new-look organization into the future as they seek further glory.

Now while the ALCS has come to a quick close, the NLCS continues, as the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants seek to earn the right , to play the Detroit Tigers in this season’s World Series. Bruce Bochy’s players now find themselves down 3-1 in this best of seven-game series . Tonight , his team will seek to erase that deficit, and square the series, when the two teams meet at Busch Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri,. On the mound will be Barry Zito of the Giants, facing the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn , in what will be a “must win game” for the San Francisco Giants. Failure to do so , would see Mike Matheny’s Cardinals team take what would appear to be a not an insurmountable lead , but quite possibly leaving the Giants with an uphill battle that would prove difficult to overcome.

Zito will have to pitch the game of his life if the San Francisco Giants are to have any hope of evening this series . As the defending World Series’ champions , Mike Matheny , will seek to become and join a select group of individuals to have won a World Series in their first full season as a manager . The last person to do so was Bob Brenly, as the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks , when they won the title in 2001, defeating the New York Yankees , in five games (4-1). It has been a tremendous season for Matheny and the Cardinals , and the very fact that his team brushed aside the heavily favored Washington Nationals , while almost staring at an 0-2 deficit in their NLDS series , does indicate how resolute these Cardinals’ are . No Albert Pujols , no problem, merely insert David Freese , in his place , throw in , Carlos Beltran , Daniel Descalso , Matt Holliday , and Yadier Molina . And you would be hard pressed to prove that the team had skipped a heartbeat, in light of last season’s triumph.

The San Francisco Giants had a tremendous season in 2012 , and for Bruce Bochy , and this franchise whose victory in 2010 brought this famed ball-club their first title in over four decades. In defeating the Texas Rangers, it brought the Giants back to prominence, and placed an even greater spotlight on such young stars as Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum. Posey , it would appear, is one of the leading candidates for the NL MVP award in 2012. As to whether or not these two young players can lead their team back a second appearance in the World Series in two years , remains to be seen. ,

A potential Detroit Tigers’ match-up against either St Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants , given the fan-bases of both of these organizations within their locale and on a national basis. It would prove to be a ratings` bonanza for Foxsports Television , who will broadcast the entire World Series’ schedule during prime-time. For Jim Leyland , but in particular for, GM Dave Dombrowski and team owner, Michael Ilitch , their personnel moves made during this season , have borne fruit , and put the Tigers on their path to success this season , and that is with all of the heroic contributions of their 2012 Triple Crown champion, Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers’ fans have waited long and hard for the franchise to redeem themselves and gain their first World Series’ title since 1984. In the ensuing years since that triumph , the baseball god’s have not looked upon this baseball club favorably, and that is in spite of their history and attempts at making a return to the game’s biggest fare.

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Picture gallery.

Whatever the outcome of the NLCS , I think that we can all agree , that this season within the game of baseball has been truly a tremendous one . I would certainly like to believe that this postseason will prove to just as entertaining and as thrilling in terms of the suspense and performances provided in 2011 ! What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the 2012 postseason fare ? Your comments are most certainly welcomed , and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) The Detroit Tigers rush the field after the team won the American League championship series against the New York Yankees in Game 4, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. The Tigers, who won 8-1 , move on to the World Series. In “sweeping” 4-0 , the Tigers inflicted the New York Yankees one their most lopsided series’ defeats , in the franchise’s postseason history. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ..

(2) From left, Detroit Tigers’ Gerald Laird, Phil Coke and Jhonny Peralta celebrate after winning Game 4 of the American League championship series 8-1, against the New York Yankees, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. The Tigers move on to the World Series. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(3) Bryan Heyza loads the New York Yankees bags into a vehicle after the team lost Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. The Tigers, who won 8-1, move on to the World Series. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(4) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez watches as he flies out in the sixth inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(5) San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy scratches his head in the dugout during the seventh inning of Game 4 of baseball’s National League championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(6) The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after Game 4 of baseball’s National League championship series against the San Francisco Giants Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 8-3 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(7) San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez can’t handle the throw as St. Louis Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter scores from second on a single by Matt Holliday during the fifth inning of Game 4 of baseball’s National League championship series Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ..,.

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Tamika Curry . October’s flavor of the month .

Don’t look now but there’s trouble in paradise ….

Don’t look now but there’s trouble in paradise

By Tophatal

It’s not yet time to strip down the inner workings of the New York Yankees, but with the current furor now encircling this storied franchise and the fact that they are now on the cusp of being unceremoniously dumped out of the ALCS for this season. The one question, we may well choose to ask, is how could this all have happened so rapidly? Losing Mariano Rivera in the middle of their season obviously was a serious enough blow that the team never truly recovered from , and that is even with the installation of Rafael Soriano to take over the closer’s role for the franchise. And as great as Soriano has been , Rivera’s departure has dealt the New York Yankees a great blow.

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If the questions that abound concerning the Yankees, that have permeated throughout their season beyond the inconsistency of the team’s pitching woes . Then, it would have to include the poor performances of Alex Rodriguez throughout this season. That notwithstanding, having to fight all the way down the very last day of the regular season to barely hold on to the AL East, the ball-club found themselves in the postseason. The team dealt with the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS , having won the series 3-2. As I alluded to earlier, the New York Yankees now find themselves on the cusp of bowing out of the ALCS , as the Detroit Tigers have simply made a mockery of Joe Girardi’s players. One could point to the fact that with the loss of Derek Jeter in game one of the series against the Tigers against the Orioles , the team would face an uphill battle for the rest of the series. To compound it all, his loss for the entire postseason, has in essence, ripped the “heart and soul” out of this team. Where Jeter would lead by example , his teammates more often than not, would follow. Now there is simply no one on this roster that is prepared to assume the mantle of being the vocal leader amongst his peers. Alex Rodriguez, perhaps the team’s most naturally gifted player doesn’t wish to assume the role , nor can he be considered a team player , much less a good teammate . Yet somehow, in spite of his accomplishments , and the fact he remains not only the Yankees’ highest paid player. Rodriguez’s ten-year $275 million contract , has now become a boondoggle for the New York Yankees, from which they can never truly escape.

Game three of the ALCS, saw both Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher being demoted from the lineup in a pivotal series’ game. With both demoted players on the sidelines , the decision to include Brett Gardner and Eric Chavez , was meant to be a boost for the franchise. Unfortunately, someone forgot to mention that in the script to the opposing Tigers’ players , as the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander , seemingly pitched his team to victory . Now down 3-0 to the Detroit Tigers , can we all now admit, that this Yankees’ team simply hasn’t lived up to the perceived expectations ?

The fourth game in this best-of-seven series is unlikely to see the return of Alex Rodriguez or Nick Swisher to the Yankees’ starting lineup. Joe Girardi, simply hasn’t got that many options for a team that has simply been woefully inept in this series from a pitching and offensive standpoint. And simply looking at the team’s postseason stats in the ALCS and one could see why Joe Girardi has been perturbed by his players’ display, in terms of their hitting and pitching. Beyond C C Sabathia, during this postseason, there has been little that one could possibly describe as being positive about the Yankees’ pitching. As to the team’s offense, well, let’s just say now comes and can described as being anemic at best, mediocre at its very worst. Matt Scherzer of the Tigers will be looking to seal New York’s fate when he takes the mound against C C Sabathia, tonight at Comerica Park , in Detroit , Michigan.

In light of what is likely to be the demise of the New York Yankees during the postseason, the rumors have started that the front office will seek to offload Alex Rodriguez , by shopping the player to any interested party seeking acquire the player and assume the bulk of his remaining contract. The local Tampa Bay area CBS television affiliate WTSP Channel 10, through their sports’ anchor ,Dave Wirth, reported that GM Brian Cashman sought to gauge the interest of the Miami Marlins, and that the front office has spoken Marlins’ GM, Michael Hill. Both parties have categorically denied that there has been any maneuver made along those lines. It is believed that the Yankees’ organization are prepared to offer Alex Rodriguez in exchange for the Marlins’ relief pitcher Heath Bell. As to what this might suggest as to the possible desperate measures now being sought by Brian Cashman , speaks loudly to the fact that the team’s third baseman is now proving to be a disquieting cancer within the team’s locker room and having a deleterious effect upon the whole organization.

From my own perspective , I have always felt that Alex Rodriguez was a singular minded individual , who cared nothing for his teammates and whose sole emphasis when it came to the game of baseball was the financial gain and the acclaim ! Well he now has both , having been the only player in baseball history to sign two salary packages totaling in excess of $ 500 million (half-a-billion dollars) . Also bear in mind, he is now the active home runs’ leader in Major League Baseball (MLB) , as he focuses on, and looks to surpass Barry Bonds’ home runs’ career mark. Less we forget also, Rodriguez still has the scourge of his admitting to the use of steroids during his career , and for which some six months after his admitting that use , his named was linked to incarcerated Orlando medical professional, Dr. Anthony Galea, now serving time (5 years) for transporting illicit drugs across state and international borders, and then knowingly , prescribing and selling those very same products to the public as well as some very prominent professional athletes . Begs the question even light of his less than contrite apology 2010 , why did the New York Yankees still choose to support the player ? Greed , no less, as that can be the sole reason for their stance. A lesser player, would have been thrown to the wolves by the ball-club. Apathy and hypocrisy, knows no boundaries within the realm of sports , but more so within the game of baseball.

It would not be remiss to suggest that Alex Rodriguez has greatly under-achieved this season when adjudged against other third basemen within the AL as well as the rest of baseball . Undoubtedly, he is still a very skilled player , but one simply gets the impression , if he could get by, giving the least effort necessary , he certainly would. And that if anything, has been one of the main criticisms of Rodriguez as a player. Clearly, that has been the case since he joined the New York Yankees via a trade from the Texas Rangers in 2004 . Eight years later , the Yankees have profited greatly from a financial and competitive standpoint to have Alex Rodriguez within their midst , but at the same time , while with the organization he has proven to be an even greater distraction rather than that ever reliable asset sought in the mold of his teammate , Derek Jeter. Brian Cashman , and to a lesser extent the Yankees’ players have sought to present the organization as a singular unified union , all seeking the same goals. This season they have simply fallen short of those goals, and one has to wonder what if anything has set about the chain of events that has seen this team simply fall apart , when in other seasons , we would never have witnessed such discord within this franchise . What thoughts if any, do you have on the matter?

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Picture gallery.

Do you now believe that it would be in the New York Yankees’ best interests to trade Alex Rodriguez ? And if so, which team would be the best fit for the player? Also what has been the biggest failure of this baseball team over the course of this season? Do take time to leave a comment on this article and on anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1)New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez watches Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(2) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts with Andruw Jones before Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(3)Detroit Tigers’ Delmon Young hits an RBI single in the first inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the New York Yankees Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(4) DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 18: Nick Swisher (33) of the New York Yankees reacts after he struck out in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during game four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …

(5) Alex Rodriguez (2) (2L) of the New York Yankees talks with Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman (R) before a game against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on July 2, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Nick Laham …

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The crack of maple, and then there was the crack heard around the world , Jeter’s ankle just gave out

The crack of maple, and then there was the crack heard around the world , Jeter’s ankle just gave out

By Tophatal

That tingling sensation at the back of your neck are the hairs standing up, and now comes the unthinkable, the New York Yankees’ postseason hopes now appears to be on the line with the injury sustained by Derek Jeter in the ALCS series against the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees’ captain ,Derek Jeter , sustained a season-ending injury, a broken left ankle , that will now see him miss entire postseason schedule . The loss was magnified by the fact that the team lost their series’ opener in a highly sensational game to the Tigers in extra innings.
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For the thousands in attendance at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York , and the millions more watching on broadcast television , the sight of the five-time World Series’ champion being assisted off the field sent a chilling feeling, as the captain left the game. Jeter’s teammates , to the man , showed their angst in their post-game interviews, stating that they were in complete shock to know that their trusted leader would no longer be part of this series or the remainder of postseason. The game itself, prior to the loss of Derek Jeter, ebbed and flowed over the nine innings before entering into suspense filled ending that went extra innings (twelve) . Tigers’ closer Jose Valverde blew the save opportunity when offered, and it became clear that the Yankees sought to take advantage of the chance to garner a 1-0 lead in this best of seven-game series.

As ALCS games go, this one might be one of the most eventful and thrilling in recent history. Joe Girardi now has to reshuffle his lineup, and with the poor postseason for Alex Rodriguez , somehow you get the feeling that the third baseman might not be the manager’s choice to replace Jeter at the short-stop position. In all likelihood , Girardi will seek to either platoon his available short-stops Jayson Nix or Eduardo Nunez to replace the team’s All Star short stop . Nunez has proven to be the better of two options with far better defensive and offensive skills than his teammate. A game-time decision will be made by Joe Girardi , when the two teams meet today in game two . On the mound for the Yankees , will be Hideki Kuroda (0-0,2.16 ERA) , as he faces off against Anibel Sanchez (0-1, 2.84). The team lineups will be will be announced later on today, prior to the game-time start. The New York Yankees can ill-afford to find themselves in an 0-2 deficit , in this best of seven game series, and going down would lead to a monumental mountain to climb in having to erase such a margin.

Jim Leyland , and Dave Dombrowski have assembled a team for what they believe , is for the long haul , and it should be noted that Miguel Cabrera , Prince Fielder and Justin Verlander , are intent on bringing a championship back to Comerica Park, and the always vociferous Tigers’ fans . In 2011, the Tigers were part of baseball’s postseason fare, where they would fall (4-2) to the Texas Rangers . The team would also be a participant in the 2006 World Series, where they would succumb to the St Louis Cardinals in a thoroughly lopsided series.

Michael Ilitch, the Tigers’ billionaire team owner yearns to see the franchise win a World Series , having had considerable success with the Detroit Red Wings and their multiple —- Stanley Cup titles . If ever the time was ripe for such a scenario , then now would be it , albeit that the ball-club’s sole triumph in the game’s biggest postseason fare came in 1984 , as Alan Trammell , Marty Castillo and Jack Morris , led the Tigers to their biggest postseason victory in the franchise’s history. The Detroit Tigers are celebrating , with Miguel Cabrera coming off a tremendous season , with the acclamation of being the first Triple Crown award claimant in forty-five years, having succeeded Carl Yastremski , in accomplishing that feat.

In the NLCS match-up the San Francisco Giants are playing host to the St Louis Cardinals in their series for the first two games . Game one, will pit Lance Lynn (1-1, 8.10 ERA) of the Cardinals against Madison Baumgartner (0-1, 8.31 ERA) in what is sure to be a highly competitive game.

The two participants in this season’s NLCS are the winners of the last two World Series titles in 2011 and 2010. Both franchises are steeped in tradition and success , and the emphasis in this series will undoubtedly be the pitching, albeit that neither team is said to be found wanting, in terms of their offensive prowess . Should either of the two series go their full distance , then we should be in for an eventful postseason foray , with thrills , spills and whatever else these games will have in store for us all .

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Picture gallery, for your perusal.

Which events of the MLB postseason have been the most surprising by your estimation? And which teams do you believe will be the two participants in the World Series? 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) Detroit Tigers pitcher Jose Valverde waits for the ball after giving up a two-run home run to New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki , rear, in Game 1 of the American League championship series Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in New York. Valverde and the Tigers would go on to defeat the Yankees 6-4 in twelve innings .AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(2) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter reacts after injuring himself in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers early Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ….

(3) Trainer Steve Donohue , left, and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi , right, help Yankees’ Derek Jeter off the field after he injured himself during Game 1 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …..

(4) Detroit Tigers’ Alex Avila attempts to catch a pop-up by New York Yankees’ Raul Ibanez in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the American League championship series Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. Umpire in background is Rob Drake . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(5) Fans seated in the upper deck at Yankee Stadium wait for the start of Game 2 of the American League championship series between the Yankees and Detroit Tigers Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in New York. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …..

(6) San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence , left, and Marco Scutaro work on some bats during a practice session for baseball’s National League championship series Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in San Francisco. The St. Louis Cardinals play the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(7) Cardinals closer Jason Motte (right) embraces catcher Tony Cruz as their teammates rush the field after Game 5 of the National League Division Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals on Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. AP Photo/Chris Lee, Post Dispatch ……

(8) Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson speaks at a news conference after Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. St. Louis 9-7 . AP Photo/Nick Wass ……

(9) St. Louis Cardinals’ Pete Kozma singles in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the Washington Nationals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. David Freese and Daniel Descalso scored on the play . AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ….

(10) Washington Nationals center fielder Bryce Harper stands by his locker after Game 5 of the National League division baseball series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday, Oct 13, 2012, in Washington. St. Louis won 9-7. There now seems to be a great deal of questioning of the decision made by GM Mike Rizzo to shutdown the team’s starting pitcher —– Stephen Strasburg , and thereby dashing the hopes of the ball-club’s chances of advancing deeper into the MLB postseason. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais ……..

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Veronica Vior