We’ll start with the sublime and then move on to the ridiculous . Oh sorry we’re talking baseball , so it remains ridiculous

We’ll start with the sublime and then move on to the ridiculous . Oh sorry we’re talking baseball , so it remains ridiculous

By Tophatal , 2nd April , 2013

So yesterday , marked the official Opening Day as such , for the majority of teams within Major League Baseball . Many of those games just happened to be, noted rivalries between of many of baseball’s most heralded teams. At Yankees Stadium , the New York Yankees’ played host to their heated AL East rivals , the Boston Red Sox . And if the events are anything to go by , then the Yankees , are about to have a long an arduous season . We knew that the team’s pitching was likely to be suspect , but who could have imagined that the offense would be so anemic ?

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For the Yankees’ Opening Day starter , CC Sabathia , I suspect that this was a game , that the left handed pitcher would rather forget . Decidedly more so , given the meager run support , given to the player by his teammates during this game .

With the Yankees not set to play again until Wednesday , when they will resume their series against the Boston Red Sox. Tuesday becomes a rest day , during which Joe Girardi and his coaching staff can assess the damage done , as well as the psyche of his players. Granted , excuses can , and will be made, that the team has a litany of injured players on the DL . Yet in no way , should that really be an excuse for an organization , where losing is simply seen as unacceptable .

One thing that there can be no denying , and it is now, the false bravado of the New York Yankees , and the very fact that their window of opportunity to add the mantel pieces for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera , in terms of additional silverware by way of a sixth World Series title , is now becoming narrower by the year. This season , will be the last for Rivera , the all-time saves’ leader within baseball and one of the most prolific pitchers of any era in baseball history .

On the mound, on Wednesday for the Yankees , will be Hiroki Kuroda , facing off against Clay Buchholz . Should the New York Yankees start the season at 0-2 , there will be no need to start the alarm bells as of yet , but , should they lose four or five consecutive games open the start of their season , then look for Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi , seeking to make some not so drastic changes , if only stave off the criticism of the front office and their continued failure to develop talent from within their farm system over the past several years . Strangely enough at a time, when senior managing partner and team owner , Hal Steinbrenner sought to pare down the team’s payroll . The franchise simply resorted to what they do best, and that is to simply buy their way out of a bad situation. How else, can one explain the idiocy of acquiring an unproductive malcontent such as Vernon Wells ? Wells is still owed $42 million on the final two years of an extortionate and exorbitant seven-year $126 million deal , originally signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008 . . Chances are , Wells , will simply be counterproductive , or he may well surprise the naysayers by contributing greatly to the Yankees’ fortunes over the course of the season.

Call me naïve , but if you’re looked upon as the presumptive leader on a team , then should it not be incumbent on that player to act accordingly , rather than presenting themselves as something of an immature blowhole ? Evan Longoria has become a bona-fide star within baseball , but I am not so sure that he is simply capable enough handling any real adversity , let alone , leading the Tampa Bay Rays to any tangible success . However, comments attributed to the Rays’ third baseman , in which he came across as an imbecile , in being critical of his former teammates , BJ Upton and James Shields . Longoria tried to suggest that neither player was on board , with the Joe Maddon’s managerial style , or the fact that they knew how to handle the adversity of the team’s consistent misfortune of losing on a regular basis before the franchise’s recent run of success . Unless , I am mistaken , you win and lose as a team and not simply single out players whom you believe to be giving a less than convincing effort .

Evan Longoria is lucky enough to now be richly rewarded by the Rays, having signed a multiyear deal that gives him $105 million and the safety net of six years guaranteed income . Unfortunately, his former teammates were not so lucky , having to go elsewhere to seek their fortunes , because plainly put , the Rays are an organization that will continue penny-pinch in order to remain competitive as well as being financially viable . Something that the franchise has not been able to achieve without the advent of the baseball hierarchy’s archaic and asinine tax sharing revenue scheme , that penalizes teams with payrolls in excess of $150 million , by taxing them on a prorated basis as much as 25% of that nominal figure , which is then disbursed for the league’s small market teams , which is allegedly determined on their fan-base and the market in which they are domiciled , based upon the Nielsen’s ratings and their market research . Which begs the question why was it from 2004 through until 2011 , the Florida Marlins, soon to become the Miami Marlins were afforded this luxury ? When for those intervening years , team owner Jeffrey Loria and his sidekicks , David Sansom , Larry Beinfest and Michael Hills , plead poverty as to the franchise’s resources , only for the ball club to go out on an exorbitant cash spending spree in 2012 on acquiring high-priced free agents , that saw the team’s payroll become a bloated $125 million boondoggle that culminated with a sub . 500 record (69-93) within the NL East and a last place finish within the division that season . This season we will see the Marlins resort back to the ways old with a sparse payroll , which will be amongst the lowest in all of baseball , with a team salary of $44 million in salaried commitments based upon known records .

I don’t believe that this beleaguered Marlins’ franchise will have any tangible success within the NL East this season ! Rookie manager Mike Redmond and his staff will have a hard time to get this team contending with the division and against their heated divisional rivals domiciled there .

As to the Tampa Bay Rays and what the season has in store for Joe Maddon and his players , will rest primarily upon the effectiveness of the team’s pitching and their leadership shown by their 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner , David Price . If he, along with Jeremy Hellickson , Roberto Hernandez , Alex Cobb can spearhead what is said to be the best . pitching staff in the Majors , then there is no reason to believe why they cannot be a major force to be reckoned with . And in spite of the managerial ingenuity shown by Joe Maddon , unless Longoria can show that he has the leadership skills , the Rays could be in for a long an arduous season .

The team’s home opener on Tuesday afternoon , pitted the Rays against divisional rivals the Baltimore Orioles , who under their erstwhile manager , Buck Showalter , will be looking to get the team back to their excellent highs of last season . Joe Maddon’s players in front of a sellout crowd at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida would come away on the wrong side , of a rather lopsided 7-4 loss to the Orioles. However , the two teams are scheduled to meet again , twice more in games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday , at the team’s home venue , in St Petersburg.

It would be remiss, to suggest that Sandy Koufax is not one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history . The former Dodgers’ great statistics speaks volumes to a prolific career and the accolades won . Koufax was given the privilege of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ opening game of their schedule , played against the San Francisco Giants , played at Dodgers’ Ballpark , in Los Angeles California . On the mound for the Dodgers, in this match-up of two well-respected NL West franchises , we had Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain . Kershaw since his drafting by the Dodgers in the 2006 MLB Draft , his career has been on an upward spiral, from the minors on through ,

In recent seasons , Kershaw has been amongst the very best performing pitchers in the National League , but this oh so early comparison , to a legend , such as Sandy Koufax, is simply asinine , and in many respects, insulting to both players . If Kershaw can maintain the current pace as to the success attained , then there is no reason not to believe why he cannot become a future inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame , but for now , the comparison to the legendary left-handed pitcher becomes nonplussed, and not of any real significance .

Dodgers’ owners , Magic Johnson , Mark Walter , Todd Boehly , Peter Guber , and team President , Stan Kasten , will certainly look to assess the performance of this team over the course of the season . There is no denying , that coming after the failings in 2012 , a great deal more was expected of this high-priced assembly of stars . It’s one thing to accumulate a roster of players , reward them in some cases , with astronomical salaries , but if there’s no cohesion on the field of play , then surely, that will be equated with a lack of success .

For the Dodgers, in 2013 , it will be “do or die “ and according to Magic Johnson , “ no expense will be spared on or off the field of play as this ball club seeks to win a World Series’ title” . Take into account that it has been twenty-five years (1988) since the Los Angeles Dodgers won the last of their five World Series titles . To be a part of that particular equation in 2013 , the Los Angeles Dodgers will have to be a truly dominant team , led by their erstwhile manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff.

Not yet ready to throw out the baby with the bath water , but , if I hear one more damn prognostication about the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates , and the expectations for both ball clubs this season , I am likely to let loose with several bits of profanity ! Has there ever been two more misguided and lackluster baseball franchises , who continue have you salivating with excitement , one minute , only to disappoint the next ? With the exception of the ongoing woes and the misguided maneuvers of the Chicago Cubs , I truly believe that the Pirates and Royals, are now , the two most inept franchises in all of baseball ! simply, look at the records of the Pittsburgh Pirates and that of Kansas City Royals , as evidence of that over the past decade and a half . Not to be outdone mind you , in recent years , it could be said that the Seattle Mariners should be equated amongst these misguided and mismanaged baseball franchises ,

A strong could be made that David Glass , Bob Nutting and Howard Lincoln as the owners or senior managing partner in the aforementioned triumvirate of teams , have simply obfuscated their responsibilities , in seeking to make the Royals , Pirates and Mariners a resounding success financially , as well as competitively . That being made , much of this , all comes down to how the ball club seeks to go acquiring their talent , by way of the MLB Draft , free agency trades or simply promoting from within their respective farm systems . Yet when it is all said and done, it comes back down to money , and about those teams that have it and those that don’t . Are they willing to spend , or are they not willing to do so ? I will leave that for you all to be the judge of that, as it all in reality , comes down to a matter of conjecture and bear analysis by way of the teams’ actions.

In many respects I believe that this season , will be about the teams expected to succeed, being under more pressure to do so, more than ever before , along with their respective managers . Perhaps, the three managers, with the greatest need to succeed will be , Mike Sciocsia of Los Angeles Angels , Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies , and Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers . Sciocsia , along with team owner, Arte Moreno and GM , Jerry DiPoto , have once again gone off to the races , having acquired outfielder, Josh Hamilton to go alongside a highly explosive offense headlined by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and a pitching staff , with a proven ace , in , Jered Weaver. That being said , the Angels’ fall from grace last season within the AL West came as something of a shock , because of the inconsistency of the hitting and pitching at the most inopportune of moments. A repeat of that in 2013 , and their season could simply implode without having put up much of challenge against the rest of their divisional rivals and those primarily within the AL .

Jim Leyland has a great deal going for him as a veteran manager , beyond the respect of his peers and players he has managed over the course of his career. However , what cannot be denied , is the very fact that he and the Tigers have come up too short , more often than we could care to remember. Detroit being manhandled by the San Francisco Giants last season (4-0) in the World Series , was enough to have left us all somewhat squeamish . Pitching awful , offense , simply mediocre , and beyond that , there is not much else that needs to be said , after that sorry chapter .

At some point during this season, we will see the Phillies simply cave , and fall apart. This team is littered with All Stars , but what it appears to lack is a vocal and inspirational leader on the field of play. Clearly , Charlie Manuel cannot be seen as the voice of reason , much less a motivator , when needed . This, is a team, that either flies by the seat of its pants , blowing hot and cold. Injuries asides, they will either sink or swim by the merits of their deeds , on the field of play. With the amount of money sank into the pitching staff , and in particular for Cole Hamels . I would like to think that the Phillies’ front office is likely to get a sizable return on that investment at some point in the season, preferably deep into the postseason ! Squandered opportunities and a lone World Series’ triumph in 2008 , in essence , just happens to be all that the franchise , has to show for the recent success over the past six years . The clock is now ticking for Charlie Manuel and front office executive, Reuben Amaro Jr .

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Picture gallery .

With the first week baseball almost in the books , what if anything do you hope to see in the first five or six weeks of the baseball schedule ? Which teams, if anything , have you been most impressed this early in terms of the season’s infancy? Chime in, with your thoughts, as you see fit .

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Slideshow and picture gallery details below .

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(1) In this photo combo of file photos, Jay-Z, left, watches an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2013. New York Yankees’ Robinson Cano sits in the dugout during a spring training baseball game in Tampa, Fla., on March 28, 2013. Cano plans to switch agents from Scott Boras to a new company formed by musician Jay-Z’s , Roc Nation and CAA Sports . AP Photo/Reed Saxon, left, and Kathy Willens ….

(2) New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) greets Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) at an opening day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1 , 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(3) Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia gestures to the pitcher as New York Yankees’ Kevin Youkilis reacts after a seventh-inning strikeout stranding two runners in an opening day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia .. delivers in the first inning at an Opening Day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(5) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is on the disabled list, walks gingerly on the field after doing an interview before the Yankees’ spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, March 26, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(6) Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) throws out Baltimore Orioles’ Brian Roberts after making a diving stop during the fourth inning of an opening day baseball game Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays would go on to lose the game 7-4 with a rather poor offensive output coming from the Rays’ hitters and inadequate effort from the team’s middle relievers . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(7) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – APRIL 02: Outfielder Adam Jones (10) of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates his team’s 7-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays during the Opening Day game at Tropicana Field on April 2, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(8) Baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is seen here on Opening Day , having just thrown out the ceremonial first pitch to start the Dodgers’ season and their game against reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants on the 1st April , 2013 . The Dodgers would go on to defeat the Giants 4-0 , but their in their subsequent game , the roles would be reversed with the visitors exacting revenge at Dodgers’ Ballpark , in Los Angeles , California with a 3-0 victory . Getty Images / Chris Hughes ….

(9) Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw , left, rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of a season opening baseball game in Los Angeles, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong …

(10) A “near perfect game ” . Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish is greeted by his teammates as he leaves the game after surrendering a hit in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in Houston. Darvish pitched eight and two-thirds perfect innings before giving up a hit to Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez in the Rangers’ 7-0 win . AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool …

(11) Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (14) shakes hands with Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker at the start of a major league baseball game , Monday, April 1, 2013, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman ….

(12) Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel is seen here congratulating his starting pitcher Cole Hamels during a game . Hamels and the rest of the team’s high-priced pitching staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed after the team’s inconsistent showing in 2011 and 2012 . Manuel and GM Reuben Amaro will be under a great deal of pressure as well as certain members of the team for the ball club to succeed this season , as the front office seeks answers for the franchise’s woes as of late . AP Photo / Paul Harmon ………

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Selena  Star

Adult entertainer , Selena Star

Selena Star/

Selena could definitely be the ” teacher’s pet ” . Hey. I wonder if she takes ” dictation ” ? Answers please , if you dare ?

Stability , spelled , S T A B I #### , Oh hell no !

Stability , spelled , S T A B I #### , Oh hell no !

By Tophatal ….

It’s really been interesting to see the fallout politically, in the aftermath of the Presidential and Congressional elections . With over $2.5 billion spent on television ads , to serve up the usual diatribe , not a goddamn thing changed in terms of the makeup of the Congressional chambers or within with the White House . Yet , we now have the two main political parties haranguing one another, for their lack of inaction , in getting about , and conducting the nation’s business within both chambers . I will look at this way , Rep. John Boehner , as House Leader and his Democratic counterpart in the Senate , Harry Reid , are two self-indulgent and conceited bastards ! . With their bumbling and fudging on so many issues , one has to question why the fuck they’re now acting so concerned over the “fiscal cliff malaise” . The Democrats and Republicans , collectively , have never shown the slightest concern over this issue , until the stakes were raised concerning the expiration of the Bush tax cuts “ . Now that was a man , who knew how to fuck things up , and not be prepared to take responsibility for his actions ! His successor, Barack Obama, having inherited a mess , well, his idea was to surround himself with a bunch of plutocrats and intellectuals whose idea of the real world , has been, to wet their finger , stick it up in the air and use it as a kind of weather vane to test the political climate . Why, they simply didn’t insert their fingers into each others’ ass as a true measure , might well have proven to be more productive for all of the use that it would’ve done . Smells like it shit , but it can’t be shit, because taste is so appealing to these congressmen and women . Guess what ? Shit to a congressman might just be the ” elixir of life “, and their reason to exist and live !

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Adding insult to injury , was a recent interview granted jointly, by Boehner and Reid , to Scott Pelley , the CBS news’ anchor and also one the co-hosts and presenters on the broadcast outlet’s popular prime-time news’ magazine program “60 Minutes” . The two congressional law-makers , suggested that there was a great deal of bilateral unity and that the US Congress has been productive . WTF ! Perhaps , I might have missed the day that they passed the bill , that allowed a statute ,an allotted $2 billion in pork barrel spending for projects such as the beautification of privately owned land in states such as Pennsylvania , Michigan , Wisconsin , California and Montana on a wide variety of unproductive and meaningless studies and alleged workforce related projects . Getting ten guys to dig an even bigger hole than the one they have already dug , only then to fill it in at a later date , is actually counter-productive , unless that hole will be used to dump human waste matter , Well , if that’s the case , then why not corral all 535 Congressional members and simply dump their ass in that hole along , with rest of the human waste ? .

Speaking of things that have not changed , how asinine is the situation now surrounding the New York Mets ? Having signed David Wright , their All Star , third baseman to an exorbitant and extravagant six-year $147 million deal , the cash-strapped financial organization , which last season lost in excess of $40 million , and who were pleading with wealthy New Yorker’s to do their civic and well-meaning duty by purchasing a stake in the cash-starved ball-club, as a way of providing it with some liquidity . This bright idea was initiated by none other than Mets’ COO Jeff Wilpon , who along with his father , Fred Wilpon and the team’s senior managing partner, Saul Katz , have presided over this financial morass . Funny, the damn clueless Mets’ fan, overlook the ball-club’s financial woes , but would rather point to the fact that by retaining Wright , and signing him to such a contract , provides the organization with stability. Yes , this is the sort bold-faced idiocy, one should now expect from the fans of the New York Mets . Citi-Field is > now an elephant’s graveyard and will remain that way , as long as the Wilpon family and Saul Katz are allowed to preside and reign of that franchise . Anyone who believes to the contrary , clearly knows nothing , concerning the ongoing mess that has encompassed the ball-club. Ignorance is bliss, and amongst the Mets’ fans, it has also become a way of life ! LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

And while Wright now has that “guaranteed contract” to live up to , the Mets’ Cy Young Award winner , R A Dickey, is left to haggle with the organization over a contract extension . Stability , I ask once again ? Sandy Alderson , Paul Di Podesta and J P Ricciardi do not understand the meaning of the word “ stability”, and of they happened to trip over a sign mentioning that very same word . I would dare say, that their intent would be to ignore it ! All three were brought in to revamp the organization, with regard to its personnel, gauge their prospects and the organization’s farm system . Well, let’s just say eighteen months into their soiree , and the results have added insult to injury

. Uncompetitive , lackluster and genuinely devoid of leadership on and off the field of play , and it is understandable to see why this team has struggled in the way that it has during 2012 .

Next season may not bring much joy or success for the New York Mets , as they will undoubtedly seek room for improvement , as too will their divisional rivals , the Atlanta Braves , Miami Marlins , Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals . The chasm between the Mets , and the divisional winners , Davey Johnson’s Nationals , should prove to be enough an indicator , of how high a mountain , Terry Collins and his managerial staff will have to climb.

I’ll say this, for Magic Johnson and the syndicated partners who purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers for a staggering $2.156 billion , leaving no one in any doubt that the purchase price paid , was merely a sign of things to come . The changeover from the old brigade of Frank McCourt , and CFO Peter Wilhelm , was long overdue . But there have been some holdovers , with Tommy LaSorda and GM Ned Colletti remaining with the organization. LaSorda’s position , is a roving goodwill ambassador special consultant . In other words Tommy still gets to keep that corner office overlooking the parking lot , in order for him to take his mid-afternoon naps and stay the hell out-of-the-way of Don Mattingly and his managerial staff. Colletti, for his part, will have to show his acumen, as it relates to the personnel decisions that will have to be made. Stan Kasten , specifically brought in by Johnson and senior managing partner, Mark L Walters , will be directly over Ned Colletti , in the hierarchy structure of the newly revamped Dodgers organization. As to things begin to take shape , will be predicated upon the inevitable changes that will undoubtedly be ,made and the overall decision-making of the senior executives .

We were able to see for ourselves how gregarious Magic Johnson was said to be , when he initiated the initial overtures to the Boston Red Sox to acquire Nick Punto , Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez , while adding $176 million in future salary commitments for the team. In all four former Red Sox players were acquired in what was a ten-player two team trade . The addition of the aforementioned players was not enough to secure the Dodgers a playoff berth , as the franchise saw the San Francisco Giants not only take the NL West divisional crown , but also the NL pennant , and to top it all , the World Series, itself. The triumph of the San Francisco Giants
will have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Dodgers’ fans
, as well as the organization as a whole .

The Dodgers have been quick to pull the trigger this off-season quickly releasing players that they felt were superfluous to their needs . Once a mainstay on the Dodgers’ roster , James Loney . recently found himself a new home , signing one year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. That addition will undoubtedly help the Rays and their lackluster offense . As to the Dodgers’ own needs , well it has been one of pitching , and that was plain for all to see by way of the team’s statistics . With that mind , Don Mattingly made an outlandish offer to the 2009 NL Cy Young winner Zach Greinke as the starting pitcher was given a six-year $147 million deal , making Greinke the highest paid pitcher on the team’s staff . With money now being of no option to the Dodgers , with the backing of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners LLC , the primary owners of the baseball franchise through their sports’ holding unit Guggenheim Sports & Investments LLC . Guggenheim with assets of $180 billion , the company is headed by Mark L Walters and Todd S Boehly , with the venture capital firm having offices around the globe , most notably in some the major international financial capital markets . .

I’ve no doubt that the Los Angeles Dodgers will be competitive for the foreseeable future but the biggest obstacle to that will be the San Francisco Giants . Their meetings over the past five years have proven to be thrilling . It will be interesting to see how Greinke fits in with the existing rotation of the Dodgers, headed by Clayton Kershaw , Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang , Chad Billingsley, Ronnie Belisario and the relief pitching staff .

While the Los Angeles Dodgers look to “become “ the New York Yankees of the NL , the actual AL franchise is now troubled by injuries to key players and with an aging roster , questions are being asked , as to what players are being developed through their farm system , that might be ready for promotion up the ranks . Alex Rodriguez will be sidelined through to the month of June , as he undergoes hip surgery and the recuperation process. The loss of the third-baseman might not be as pressing as some might perceive, given the player’s lack of productivity during the regular and postseason for the team . The Yankees’ foray in the playoffs was short-lived , due to the lack of productivity by the players under Joe Girardi’s command. Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Nick Swisher , Brett Gardner and Rodriguez failed miserably as the team fell to the Detroit Tigers .

With Alex Rodriguez sidelined , the Yankees’ opened up their pocket-book and offered a one-year $12 million contract , to former Boston Red Sox , first baseman , Kevin Youkilis , acquiring the player as a free agent . Youkilis , if you remember , ran afoul of former Red Sox manager, Bobby Valentine , who engineered the player’s trade to the Chicago White Sox , during the season . If anything, that was a sign of things to come for franchise, as their season fell apart , with it, ultimately leading to Valentine’s dismissal , but not before , other major upheavals amongst the playing staff led to discord amongst the fans and the local media personalities , with their heated criticism of the then , beleaguered, Bobby Valentine, as well as the front office , with much of their heated venom directed at team President , Larry Lucchino and team owner, John Henry . With the firing of Bobby Valentine , GM Ben Cherington has hired , the candidate he originally sought for the managerial position , John Farrell . The newly installed manager , a former pitching coach with the ball-club , is certainly well-liked by a number of players on the roster , especially amongst the current pitching staff. Cherington, hopes that Farrell can engineer an immediate turnaround, that will see the team become a major challenger to the ever-present Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays , as well the reinvigorated Baltimore Orioles, and the middle of the road contender , the Toronto Blue Jays. Baseball’s need for the AL East to be competitive and exciting , year in , and year out , is paramount , if it is to attract the attention of the fans throughout the season.

I’m sorry, but being sent to “ baseball purgatory “ , is nothing to be proud of ! When the Tampa Bay Rays , made the announcement that they would be sending pitchers , Wade Davis and James Shields to the Kansas City Royals . Not only was I surprised , but I kept asking myself , did either of the two players do something to piss off management , much less the ownership group ? That might well be one explanation , but the fact that both now , Davis and Shields , are now said to be excited about playing for the Royals . Well, it leads me to believe , that they may well have been duped ! In return for the trade , Joe Maddon , gets budding prospect , Wil Myers and four other prospects from the Kansas City Royals. Long-term, this trade may well benefit the Rays , but with regard to the team’s needs and its immediacy , this was nothing more than a penny-pinching exercise by GM Andrew Friedman .

Joe Maddon and Friedman , will have a hard time trying to convince the most vocal of Rays’ supporters , of which they are not that many, that the loss of Shields in particular will not be felt . Beyond Shields and David Price , they were few pitchers in the Rays’ starting lineup , that could give the manager some “quality innings ” and starts during 2012 . And with the credible presence of Jeremy Hellickson , I firmly believe that the Rays will regress in terms of their overall pitching this upcoming season ! And predicated upon what we already know to be true, Friedman will not overpay for talent , because of the ball-club’s wish to be financially prudent .

Bearing in mind, that this month the Rays’ sought to make Evan Longoria the highest-paid player in the franchise’s history , by offering him a contract , worth $100 million over six years , effective, in 2016. Granted, Longoria is seen as the “ face of the franchise “, and perhaps , one the most popular players in Rays’ history.One man . on his own , cannot carry the load, that is being asked of Longoria by the organization, and it is incumbent upon Andrew Friedman to place the best roster around a player of Evan Longoria’s skill-set , in order for the Rays to succeed. As of now , I don’t believe the evidence is there to suggest the success sought will come about in a short matter of time. This ball-club has toiled for its success over the past fourteen seasons , but it has only been in the last six years , where the Rays’ peers and their fans have really stood , and taken note of the franchise’s success . True in part , one appearance in the World Series and a series’ defeat , has to be seen as minimal , but for the Rays’ fans who have had to endure those losing seasons , they would rather take that lone appearance , and the recent successes, over the years in the wilderness when this ball-club was being ridiculed every step of the way.

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What opinions if any, do you have that might be on appearance deemed capricious spending by the teams as they sign contracted players to long-term deals or in the case of Zack Greinke , a rather ludicrous and exorbitant contract , that simply makes no sense, given his lack of tangible success since 2009 ? And do you believe that either the New York Mets or Tampa Bay Rays can be truly competitive this upcoming season ? Chime in with your thoughts and anything else you believe warrants interest as it relates to the subject matter .

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(1) President Barack Obama and former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shake hands in the Oval Office after their lunch Thursday at the White House. The two met in hope of forming a bilateral approach , in tackling many of the nation’s underlying issues . The former Massachusetts’ governor has promised to aid the President in any way that he can. AP Photo / Mark Hanson …

(2) U.S. President Barack Obama (2R) shakes hands with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney as first lady Michelle Obama (L) and Ann Romney look on after the debate at the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center at Lynn University on October 22, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. The focus for the final presidential debate before Election Day on November 6 is foreign policy. Getty Images North America/ Joe Raedle …

(3) Speaker of the House , John Boehner , left , is seen here alongside President Barack Obama , center, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid . The three have routinely met in recent months , trying avert a “fiscal crisis ” , but in recent months in the lead-up to the automatic “kick in” of tax increases on January 1st , 2013, there have been more frequent meetings and telephone conversations tasking between the President and the Speaker, Boehner as they seek to avert this looming financial crisis . With Congress due to vacate Capitol Hill for their winter break by 20th December , there seems little doubt as to the urgency and delicateness of the matter , but because of the incessant bickering between the “two sides” no common ground has been found . AFP/REUTERS/ Anatoly Litvikov ….

(4) FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2012, file photo, New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey delivers against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning of a baseball game at Citi Field in New York. Dickey and Mets general manager Sandy Alderson can agree on one thing _ they would prefer to have closure before opening day. The Cy Young Award winner can become a free agent after the 2013 season and says he won’t negotiate once it starts, so the Mets probably have to sign him to an extension or trade him to get the best return. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(5) New Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke adjusts his cap during a baseball news conference announcing his $147 million, six-year contract, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers also closed a deal when signing South Korean pitcher, Ryu Hun-Jin , to a six-year $36 million contract . AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes …

(6) Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti , left, and co-owner, Magic Johnson, right, present pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin , center, of South Korea, during a baseball news conference announcing his $36 million, six-year contract, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in Los Angeles. Ryu becomes the first player to go directly from the Korea Baseball Organization to the United States big leagues. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes …

(7)Kansas City Royals pitcher James Shields, center, held up his new jersey, flanked by Royals general manager Dayton Moore, left, and Royals head coach Ned Yost , during a press conference at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. Shields and Wade Davis arrived in Kansas City to undergo physicals and check out the stadium from the home clubhouse for the first time. Shields and Davis became members of the Royals on Sunday in a blockbuster trade that sent top prospect Wil Myers and three other minor leaguers to Tampa Bay. AP Photo/The Kansas City Star, David Eulitt …

(8) Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria , smiles as he answers questions during a news conference after signing a six-year, $100 million, contract extension Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Longoria is signed with the Rays through the 2022 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..)

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US Jamaican native Vanessa Veasley .

It’s all a numbers’ game

It’s all a numbers’ game

By Tophatal

Well now that the US Presidential election is now over , the incumbent Barack Obama has won a second successive term in office, as President of the United States . Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney , the former governor of Massachusetts proved to a decisive loser , but if anything , also a brazen and immature petulant child . Romney , in directing his animus towards his own political party , the Republican Party . That anger and the mere fact that he the statements attributed to him , were that the hierarchy chose not to back him , as a mainstay candidate and true Conservative . Consider , the fact that, former White House Chief of Staff , Karl Rove , through his Super-Pac , American Crossroads , backed the GOP challenger , and numerous conservative Republican candidates to the tune of the $196 million in campaign ads . American Crossroads , is said to have raised in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars ($250,000,000) towards the ouster of Democrats at the state and federal level. But herein , lies the idiocy of Rove’s maneuvers , barely three percent of the candidates backed by his Super Pac were voted into office by the electorate at large . Indeed , such a high price to pay for such meager returns . If anything the donors in question , should now be confronting Rove , to ask for their monies , back. Yet there you have it , free speech , and all that it claims to be at work , and showing little in return for the Republicans at this juncture . The hierarchy of the Republican Party , should now be looking at themselves in the mirror, and asking ” how could we have fu#ked up this much , and still look such complete a#sholes in comparison to the Democrats “ ?

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The country yearned for change , but the status quo has remained the same, with the President being returned to office as well as several members of the House of Representatives and US Senate . The sad indictment of this election, and the asinine analysis by the pundits and electorate, is the damn fact that the vast majority of the electorate , just happens to be politically naïve and completely out of touch of reality , as to what the candidates actually stood for . Never mind the fact that the campaigns of both candidates were so light on specifics and as to the business acumen of Mitt Romney , if you buy into the fact that he’s a self-made millionaire because of his work with venture capital firm Bain & Co. LLC ,. Merely , look at the claims being made by Romney , as to his prowess an d the success as governor of Massachusetts . That state , in comparison to the state of California, which accounts for over 38% of the nation’s GDP of $13.6 trillion ($13,600,000,000,000) is like the wart on an elephant’s ass , in terms of Romney’s bold claims of handling an economy and being able to balance its budget . Many of the claims made , by former governor Romney , while valid, much of it, has to be taken with a pinch of salt , when one considers a great deal of creative accounting took place on the part of the Massachusetts’ administration under , the then governor. And we wonder why, Mitt Romney failed so miserably ? Here was a candidate , who simply could not identify with a clear policy goal , or simply explain himself with regard to the economy , foreign policy , much less , a slew of other social and political issues .

Consider the fact that over the course of this election cycle, in excess of $2.3 billion will have been spent on electoral ads, that simply portrayed falsehoods and misrepresentation of facts, that in the end served little purpose , other than to show how innately asinine the democratic process just happens to be here in the United States. Yet , this is the sort of democratic reform the people state that they want , when, in essence at the end of the day , nothing ever changes . And for those Tea Party advocates out there , how many of the candidates that you championed , found themselves elected into office , upon this asinine premise of continued lower taxes , and little else beyond that stance ? For the Democrats, don’t be fooled into thinking that because Barack Obama has been returned for a second term, things are likely to get any easier , because as the leader of the party , he has shown very little backbone if any, as a determined advocate , or as a disciplined leader. Platitudes, and being a great orator, can only get you so far , when you have little of substance going for you and your party . Especially when the likes of Senator Harry Reid (D Nv) , and House Minority Leader , Nancy Pelosi (D Ca) , remain as a yoke around the neck of the party , offering little of tangible substance , and with neither, seeking to be bipartisan , in order find a common ground, in how best to ail the country of its woes, foreign and domestic .

On patron of this site tried to suggest that Mitt Romney’s electoral platform , was clear , and succinct , on so many issues , but in no way was that clearly the case ! . Now, while not wanting to let Obama of the hook , on the same issue , this to my mind may well have been one the worst Presidential electoral campaigns , in recent history , given the credentials of both candidates ! In essence , the electorate , were the left with the choice , of choosing between “ the lesser of two evils” . As the saying goes, “ better the Devil you know , than the one you don’t “ .

Now let’s spend a little time delving into the world sports , and the world of baseball during this off-season , And lo, and behold, teams are on their various spending sprees. The Tampa Bay Rays have seen fit to resign Evan Longoria to a contract extension that will see the player earn $100 million over a six-year period , a deal set to commence in 2016. The Rays’ front office led by GM Andrew Friedman and senior managing partner, Stuart Sternberg , did not want to have to deal with a situation, wherein the Gold Glove winner and All Star would have to go through 2013 in the midst of negotiating a contract . This proposed deal , though yet to be ratified , may well lead to the departure of B J Upton , a player whose free agency status will certainly have risen , given his productivity for the Tampa Bay Rays in recent years . The fact that such a situation is likely to arise does leave the Rays’ middle order , in terms of its offense somewhat askew, when adjudged against their immediate counterparts within the AL East , as well as the rest of the AL , as a whole.

Joe Maddon and his coaching staff , have been extremely lucky in recent years to have attained the ongoing success , much of it attributed to the managerial acumen , of Maddon, himself . We can all attest to the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays have been one the small market teams that toils in the world of baseball , barely able to eke out a profit without the assist of the MLB hierarchy by way of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme. And boy , what a scheme it has been , especially in the case a moribund franchise such as the Kansas City Royals , who with each season, the asinine claims are being made that the ball-club is on the move and about to be a credible contender within the AL and baseball as a whole . Clearly, the idiots, making those prognostications haven’t looked at the Royals’ recent record over the past decade plus , and the fact that the team hasn’t had a winning season in well over a decade . And this past season , the Royals in the AL Central , proved to be as competitive in their foray , as Romney’s Presidential quest.

What might all the more disturbing concerning the Royals’ laughable situation , is that David Glass , senior managing partner and owner , was once the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of Wal-Mart , the world’s largest retailer , employer of approximately 2.3 million employees in the US and globally. It should not be forgotten that the retailer also happens to be one of the most profitable concerns in the world . Now if Glass, with his alleged cannot turn around a moribund ball club such as the Kansas City Royals , and turn it into a profitable and competitive concern , then what does that indicate to you about the organization and its hierarchy ? Chime in with your thoughts .

And for those out there who believe that MLB has a handle and the rampant use of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) and the continued idiotic claims by Bud Selig that baseball has the stiffest possible penalties in all professional sports . Well , that maybe true , but those penalties , simply have not been enough of a deterrent to stop players using illicit substances. Today, the Philadelphia Phillies’ catcher, Carlos Ruiz was suspended for the misuse of an illicit substance , which will see the player miss 25 games of the regular season . However , the catcher , will be allowed to participate during Spring Training . And this is the sort , of nonsense we ought to expect from the hierarchy of baseball , when it comes to coming down harshly on players for flouting the game’s rules ? And to think I was once told by a patron that baseball was simply doing that the best it could with regard to the actions of the players who transgress the one of the most sacred rules of the game . The rules now mandated in terms of the punishment meted out , simply do not go far enough , neither are they severe enough to be a deterrent . In the past eighteen months , at the MLB level as well at the minor league level , collectively over 187 players have been netted in baseball’s drug policy of prevention. Here’s simple evidence that the hierarchy under Commissioner Bud Selig , simply does not know what the fuck it is doing, and the claims attributed to the commissioner’s office with regard to the fact , that they have been able to clamp down , and stop the rampant use of banned substances is asinine and untruthful . Close to two hundred players have been ensnared , but it still hasn’t stop the use of PED’s within the game .

At the age of ninety-five , former MLBPA Executive Director , Marvin Miller , a former US government employee, as an economist , died . Mitchell , became the first ever leader of the players’ union , which was formed in 1954, but whose power and profile was not raised with any great significance , until 1966. It was at Miller’s insistence that collective bargaining and the free agency was brought into being , with players being afforded the right of refusal to negotiate their futures with regard to their long-term contracts and salaries that reflected their worth , or being able to decide a destination by way of a trade , and the premise under which they were compensated . Long thought of as a pariah by the owners, throughout much of the sixties and seventies Miller was happy with the fact that his members were no longer indentured slaves. The eighties and nineties, definitely raised the profile of the players’ union (MLBPA) and the gargantuan power at their disposal. So much so, that the league hierarchy would cease to be defiant and crumbled in the wake of any disruption caused . Bud Selig and his ascent to the position first as interim commissioner , merely ruled the league with utter disdain and incredulity while bringing about some necessary changes , while eschewing other issues that were already acute and of great concern to the new owners within the game and their front office executives. A s the escalation in revenues grew within the game , so too did the demands of the players by way of their salaries . And with that came the bloated spending by the teams and the incessant belief by the general managers , that no expense should be spared in gaining the best talent available . no matter what the cost .

The median salary in baseball has exploded to the extent where it is now $2.3 million , whereas in 1973 , the median salary within the game was approximately $36,500 . The highest paid player in the game today , is the New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez , as he has been now , for close to a decade . When it is all said and done . Rodriguez , in baseball salaried earnings alone , will have garnered in excess of $525 million , having signed two multi-million contracts , that each time exceeded $250 million . And with the New York Yankees , not without the financial resources to avail themselves of such means, with its cable broadcast outlet YES Network , as well as a massive sales and marketing department within the organization . It has to be said that there is very little that goes uncovered , while still remaining in the hands of the Steinbrenner family , as the control and ownership is dealt with by Hank and Hal Steinbrenner .

Speaking of the venerable New York Yankees , and their abysmal failure in 2012 . their playoffs hopes were dashed by the abysmal showing of the team’s offense and pitching in the postseason . And nowhere was this particularly more relevant than amongst the team’s starting pitching, with the exception of C C Sabathia. With the formal announcement being made , that Andy Pettite has been resigned , for a one-year $11 million inked deal , it simply lets you know that the Yankees will once again be reliant on an aging arm, and a player whose best years are now behind him , and most certainly not ahead of him. It is hard to conceive how the this revamped Yankees’ team can be deemed competitive enough , to deal with the likes of a resurgent Baltimore Orioles’ franchise , as well as the ever-present Tampa Bay Rays. It remains to be seen , whether or not the Boston Red Sox , under their new manager , John Farrell and a newly revamped coaching staff , will actually bring to the table , after the abysmal and abject failure of Bobby Valentine in 2012 .

As we know the Red Sox were able to rid themselves of $173 million in salary commitments, by sending Josh Beckett , Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers , an organization now seeking to become the New York Yankees of the Western seaboard , as well as the NL as a whole. With a new ownership group in place , headed by venture capitalist billionaires Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly, and former NBA great , Magic Johnson. It must be said that if the Dodgers are to be successful in 2013 , then a great deal of that success will come down to the acumen shown by GM Ned Colletti and team President & Head of Baseball Operations , Stan Kasten.

The Dodgers will certainly be looking to usurp the recent dominance of the San Francisco Giants and their recent successes in the postseason , as well as divisional champions within the NL West. And if recent history is anything to go by , when these two teams have met , then 2013 , could bring us a great deal of renewed interest in the rivalry , as well to the competitiveness of the division as a whole.

For Giants’ manager , Bruce Bochy , and the front office headed by GM Brian Sabean and team managing general partner & principal owner , Larry Baer , as they are target , the marked bulls-eye that everyone will be aiming for , as those teams seek to dethrone the reigning World Series champion. Bochy’s Los Angeles’ counterpart Don Mattingly , will most certainly be looking to show that his team are credible and legitimate contenders for the divisional crown as well as the NL pennant and the World Series title. I would dare say that the San Francisco Giants , are not likely to give up either one of those titles without a fight , with the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as the Colorado Rockies , seeking to gate-crash the party of these two venerable and well-respected franchises.

In the immediate aftermath , of the wrath of the fans of the Miami Marlins’ fans, it should come as no surprise , that Bud Selig , being the venerable prick that he is , has seen fit to now question the actions of Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria , as he , and the front office continues with a “fire sale” , jettisoning many of the high-priced free agents that the organization brought in , prior to the start of the season. If Selig feels so interested in the actions of Loria and the staff, then why is it that when this very same exercise was undertaken in 2003 , when Loria having seen his franchise win the World Series that year , went about dismantling the roster , claiming that the franchise had lost millions of dollars , and that from a business standpoint , it was not economically viable to keep that team in place . Now unless , we are being misled by baseball’s hierarchy , a franchise that makes a deep postseason run during the baseball playoffs , can net several million dollars from such an endeavor , by way of sales , marketing and the ancillary rights’ fees that the teams obtain within their local market place , as well as the compendium of revenues derived from MLB’s other principal sources during such a run . The fact of the matter is , the team owners , and baseball’s hierarchy would rather keep their finances away from the prying eyes of the public , press and specifically the , municipal , state and federal governments alike. Is it any wonder there is such secrecy involved in many of the endeavors when a baseball team coerced and cajoles state , county and city municipalities into paying for in many cases cavernous venues that at times are rarely filled , with much of that money coming at the taxpayers’ expense. And yet we have these apathetic and moronic fans within the Tampa and Oakland markets yearning for their respective teams to have new facilities built for their use .

Consider the fact that, the financially cash-strapped New York Mets and their “ white elephant “ known as Citi-Field , built at the cost of $775 million , has yet have consecutive sellouts of regular season games over the past two years . Yet the city’s mayor , Michael Bloomberg , expresses his satisfaction that the edifice built , but having overran its original budget and construction time, was an effort well worth doing . Bloomberg, has now shone away from the fact, that the franchise remains a financial boondoggle as well as a flea-bitten piece of fecal matter in terms of the ball-club’s competitiveness since Citi Field was built. Only in New York , can a city with such ideas of grandeur , still try to come up smelling of roses, when it has been rolling around in shit !

The Miami Marlins on the other hand are unlikely to be severely punished by Selig’s office for their antics , simply because the commissioner hasn’t the stomach or the backbone to do so, considering his own involvement , having interjected himself in the negotiation of that franchise’s own ballpark , which has now embroiled the city of Miami in a federal investigation by the US Justice Department , as to the municipality’s actions , that led to its financing ($ 575 million) and specifically how they went about in approving the deal , which places the debt burden on the residents of Miami. The city’s mayor Tomas Regalado , has seen fit not to answer any questions publicly on the matter, referring all question to the city’s legal representative , while he , and the city’s commission , try to get a handle on their self-inflicted multi-million dollar deficit budget crisis. How fu#ked up is that situation , yet we have lame ass individuals bemoaning the fact that they’re being screwed over by the federal government when it comes to their taxes , but yet they are not in the slightest bit concerned when resources that is needed for their city’s infrastructure is being used to benefit billionaire and millionaire sports’ franchise owners . Apathy simply knows no boundaries when it comes to the sports’ fan in general . So make of it, what you will.

The dust has settled , the game’s individual awards have been bestowed upon the players, by whom the BBWAA felt were deserving in 2012. If there was a bone contention to be had, then it came voting for the AL MVP . The two leading candidates were, Mike Trout of the Los Angles Angels , and the Detroit Tigers’ hard-hitting first baseman , slugger Miguel Cabrera. Amongst the purists of the game, many favored Trout , as he was viewed as the better all-round player. Statistically, Cabrera , had the better season, and as the game’s first Triple Crown winner in just over a decade, many felt that the advantage laid with Miguel Cabrera .

Cabrera came away with the accolade and the Tigers’ second such win of the AL MVP , in the follow-up to Justin Verlander , in 2011 who won both the Cy Young as well as the game’s biggest individual honor.

While the New York Yankees , seeks to pare down salary by 2014 , it should be noted beyond resigning Pettite , GM Brian Cashman has sought to resign the game’s all-time saves’ leader Mariano Rivera. It would appear that the Yankees’ hierarchy seeks to be financially prudent , while many of their most heralded rivals are seeking to make deep inroads in terms of boosting payroll, specifically , the Los Angeles Dodgers , who at the end of 2012, have added in excess of $275 million in payroll . It remains to be seen whether or not the Yankees can remain competitive , and dominant within the AL East.

As I alluded to earlier , the Los Angeles Angels were a considerable disappointment over the course of 2012 , with team owner, Arte Moreno , and GM Jerry Dipoto having committed over $300 million in acquiring amongst others Albert Pujols and C J Wilson , to name but a few players added to the roster. The failure of the Angels during the season rested primarily with the lack of pitching from their frontline starters when needed . It would appear that widespread changes are about to be made concerning the current pitching roster , most notably with former Cy Young winner , Zack Greinke , being released by the team. The player was not able to show the form that won him the award , a couple of years ago, and it has been amazing to see his fall from grace in such a short period of time.

A “major player” in the Greinke sweepstakes, once again , would appear to be the “high spending” Dodgers , who will do whatever it takes , even if it means “breaking the bank” . I would like to think that the MLB hierarchy is closely watching the moves of these teams , as no expense is being spared to acquire players , while the small market ball-clubs struggle to survive and barely eke out a profit , without an assist , by way of baseball’s tax sharing revenue scheme . Financial expediency still has not caught on in baseball , in spite of the asinine claims of a number of individuals , who simply do not know what the hell they are talking about . When have you have ever heard the likes of well-respected baseball journalists , Buster Olney or Tim Kurkjian , much less MLB’s own CFO Jonathan Mariner , ever speak candidly about the financial situation of the game ? Leaving it to an asshole such as Bud Selig , in many respects, is akin to asking Sarah Palin to enlighten us with her views on world peace for that matter the vagaries of the US economy. In reality would you be prepared to listen , given the actual evidence right in front of your very own eyes ? I guess not ! We have already seen the commissioner’s haphazard handling of the Dodgers’ financial situation , and also that of the Cubs’ and Texas Rangers , and while his complete lack of oversight concerning the ongoing financial mess of the New York Mets , leaves a great deal to be desired . Should we really, in actuality , expect anything more , or any the-less from an ignorant oaf, such as Bud Selig? Need I remind you , of his own dubious rise to his current position, having been the former senior managing managing partner in the ownership group of the Milwaukee Brewers ? At a time when the commissioner has been calling for financial restraint from the MLBPA , Bud Selig , has been earning in excess of $20 million annually over the past five years ? How the fuck no one actually questions this , while apathetic fans call for stadiums to be built at the taxpayers’ expense should clearly indicate to us all how fucking stupid the vast majority of fans just happen to be ,

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Talking points , what if anything do you feel is likely to happen in terms of the major moves during this off-season . And what you feel can best done in order to rectify the clear financial imbalances that there are within the game of baseball ? Simply chime in with your comments and thoughts , on this and anything else pertinent on this subject matter .

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(1) Moderator Candy Crowley of CNN tries to bring Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama back on topic during a town hall-style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York. During the second of three presidential debates, the candidates fielded questions from audience members on a wide variety of issues. Getty Images North America / Spencer Platt ….

(2) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) and moderator Candy Crowley (C) listen during a town hall-style debate at Hofstra University October 16, 2012 in Hempstead, New York. During the second of three presidential debates, the candidates fielded questions from audience members on a wide variety of issues. Getty Images North America / Spencer Platt ….

(3) FILE – In this July 6, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays’ B.J. Upton hits an RBI-single off Cleveland Indians’ Nick Hagadone in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Cleveland. A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press Wednesday, Nov. 28, the Atlanta Braves have reached an agreement on a five-year deal $75.2 million deal with Upton. AP Photo/Tony Dejak ….

(4) Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria , right, smiles as he answers questions with Rays’ principal owner Stuart Sternberg during a news conference after Longoria signed a six-year , $100 million, contract extension Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Longoria is signed with the Rays through the 2022 season. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ……

(5) File-This is a 2008 file photo of Carlos Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team. Ruiz has been suspended for the first 25 games of next season following a positive test for an amphetamine in violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Ruiz’s suspension was announced Tuesday Nov. 27, 2012 by Major League Baseball. AP Photo/Keith Srakocic …. (6) MLBPA Executive Director Marvin Miller , is seen granting an interview with the convened press . Miller , the first director of the Players’ Union died at the age of ninety-five , due to ill-health and old age . Many of his contemporaries and team owners have offered their condolences , upon hearing the executive’s passing . Courtesy of CBS news @ copyrighted material all rights reserved

(7) Miguel Cabrera , right, of the Detroit Tigers , and his contemporary Mike Trout of the Anaheim /Los Angeles Angels . Both players were the leading vote-getters for the 2012 AL MVP , which was eventually won by the Triple Crown winner , Cabrera . A crowning achievement for the player after an exceptional 2012 season . AP Photo / Ryan Hall …

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Slow But Steady , Slow But Really Steady

Slow But Steady , Slow But Really Steady

It has been really interesting as of late to watch the way things have unraveled within the AL East . And as many prognosticators believe the division may well be the most competitive in all of baseball it goes without saying that the reasoning is very much justified . As an ardent admirer of the game I have a certain fascination with the team that is local to Central Florida. And that happens to be the Tampa Bay Rays who over the last two years , have been twice a winner of the division , an ALCS Pennat winner and made their sole appearance in the World Series in 2008 which ended in sadness with the team losing to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in the best of seven series . At the helm as the team’s manager has been Joe Maddon the organization’s most successful coach.

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Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida , is home to this young organization that has had its fair share of highs and lows over the course of its history . For Maddon and his coaching staff , they have essentially been great tutors of which much of that tutelage has come to fruition in seeing the giant steps made in the progression of young stars on the roster . Perhaps none more so than Evan Longoria , Matt Joyce and the team’s two pitching All Stars David Price and James Shields . It’d be remiss however to suggest that the aforementioned trio are the sole cause for the team’s success this season but with the addition of Johnny Damon and reliever Kyle Farnsworth the Rays have proven to a formidable challenge to the likes of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees .

New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter returns to the dugout after being thrown out at first base to end a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Rays won 5-1. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

The Rays have been very lucky with the fact that their pitching has held up well and the mere fact that there now seems to be a great deal of confidence throughout their starting five as well as the relievers would suggest that they are quite capable of giving the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees a real run for their money down the closing stretch of the season . I firmly believe that if the team is within two games of the lead coming into the month of September then all bets are off as to the division being anything but a two horse race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees as it now appears to be !

With the All Star Game scheduled this upcoming week the Tampa Bay Rays’ schedule becomes ever so important. The team is a mere four and a half games behind the division leading New York Yankees (51-14) but only a 1 1/2 games behind the second placed Boston Red Sox (51-35). The Rays are coming off a resounding 12-5 shellacking of the Minnesota Twins. If the team can continue with that sort of the momentum then their upcoming series of games against their divisional rivals the Red Sox and Yankees should prove to be very interesting. The New York Yankees host the Rays at Yankees Stadium for home series of three games before the midseason break and the festivities surrounding the All Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona .

First up for the Tampa Bay Rays will be to rein in the New York Yankees , the winners of seven of their last ten games and riding on an offensive that has been very potent indeed . Leading the way for the Yankees has been first baseman Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson in the team’s onslaught. But need we remind ourselves that this team also has the likes of Robinson Cano , Nick Swisher and . Alex Rodriguez all of whom are capable of providing the New York Yankees with the much needed offensive weaponry that any team would enviable of having . .

Now while much of the focus has been the Derek Jeter watch as he makes his way to the 3,000 hits plateau as he is now but three hits away from reaching that milestone and become the organization’s all time hits leader . The fifteen year veteran now sits atop of the mountain and will now be instantaneously be immortalized by the Yankees’ fans . Jeter has already surpassed Yankees’ legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig but if anything this modern day icon and the face of the game to most and in particular the Yankees’ fans. One has to admit that the player is now winding down his illustrious career .

If the Rays can get to the pitching of the Yankees of which I believe is the team’s Achilles Heel then quite possibly they can win this series , cut the deficit that Bronx Bombers has over the other residents within the division. I think it’s pretty safe to say and that Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays are out of the running for the wildcard spot within the AL in terms of a postseason berth !

The contributions of Damon to the Rays this season cannot be underestimated as he’s provided a steadying presence to the team and the younger players I believe are thoroughly appreciative of that fact ! As for the Tampa Bay Rays’ fans their hometown hero has given them something to believe in with the advent of the ongoing financial woes of the organization. Say what you will but team owner Stuart Sternberg , GM Andrew Friedman and the associated partners have remained steadfast that for now the team will remain within this locale . But it appears that with each passing moment the likelihood of the Rays remaining within the area is unlikely as no common ground can be found between the two opposing factions.

Surprisingly enough the Tampa Bay Rays were once again winners in MLB Draft garnering a number of top collegiate prospects further enhancing the reputation of the scouting and coaches within the Rays’ organization of which the Baseball Operations is headed by Gerry Hunsicker . And it should come as no surprise as to the reasons why the Tampa Bay Rays have been so successful down the years with draft choices . Though this past season the team had to release fan favorites Carl Crawford , Rafael Soriano and Carlos Pena because of budgetary constraints it has to be said the organization hasn’t lost sight of what got them to where they are today.

The Tampa Bay Rays for their part have continued to surprise many but there’s a growing belief that what we’re now seeing are the waning moments of a ball-club that is in transition of moving out of the area , as the fans lament what they believe to be a double standard in terms of baseball’s hierarchy of merely leaning towards and assisting those who essentially are financially more well to do. From top to bottom the organization of the Tampa Bay Rays is a well ran operation with a farm system that’s the envy of many organizations around the league. The one stumbling block of the Rays has been the financial constraints because the ownership group is limited in its resources. I will always continue to maintain that a ball club cannot exist on a meager fan base of no more than 15,000 hardcore fans ! That seems to be bearing true as of today, with the Rays averaging no more than 19,000 fans per home game at Tropicana Field this season . In a number of cases the fanbase is simply outmatched with the arrival of either Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees and there we will see the attendance rise to as high as perhaps 25,000 to 30,000 in attendance . Hardly conducive when the away team is actually drawing far more supporters than the hosts of a scheduled home series but such are the vagaries of the game as it relates to the Tampa Bay Rays.

I certainly do believe that the Rays’ organization is now clutching at straws in the belief that an accord can be reached where they will remain in Central Florida ! It has now become abundantly clear with the financial worries of both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties that neither county government can facilitate the financing needed to build a new venue for the team. Both county administrations are facing acute financial difficulties of their own having to furlough employees , slash budgets and a slew of sundry maneuvers has many questioning whether or not a multi million dollar facility is the right thing to do in order to facilitate the whims and wishes of a multi millionaire baseball team owner . It is not as if Stuart Sternberg or any of his senior partners have shown good faith by even suggesting that they are prepared to assist in the financing of a new venue. Any statement forthcoming , be it from Sternberg , Andrew Friedman or Matt Silverman for that matter , has essentially been about the need of a new venue rather than how best to cooperate in working together in making such a scenario happen.

As many of you know my disdain for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig knows no boundaries ! I find him to be obnoxious , a buffoon , an ignoramus and someone who is now completely out of touch as to the realities of the game and its numerous problems ! Rather than trying to be of assistance to the Tampa Bay Rays in attaining a new venue , he has seen fit to be critical of the organization’s endeavor even going as far to suggest that they will never stage an All Star Game until they have built a new venue that is to his liking and that of the league hierarchy’s . Suffice to say if the fans in the area haven’t seen that as the nail in the coffin to the organization’s efforts it has been heard loud and clear by the officials who sit on the boards of both county commissions in Hillsborough and Pinellas County . I don’t believe that Selig could have put the situation anymore succinctly than that , thereby laying to rest what now may well be a futile exercise on the part of the county governments of each ___ as well as the Tampa Bay Rays. The local sports talk radio hosts and print media may well hold out hope that things may well change but they are facing an uphill battle in their thinking that a venue can and will be built at this juncture .

It would indeed be sad to see the Tampa Bay Rays leave the area but facing a reality that the area cannot sustain a franchise that in essence hasn’t a long history or pedigree of success . Never mind the fact that this is simply a first or second generation of supporters who are now loyal to this franchise . The vast majority of the teams within the game have a long history of support that is steeped in the loyalty of its fans and with familial ties . But here with the Rays the success though only recent cannot hide the fact that there is a glaring and stark reality to this organization’s history. Its first decade under Vince Naimoli has more to do with it being a comedy of errors , with an owner who essentially saw this team as his own personal bauble and fiefdom for him to reign over like a king. Success never manifested itself to any degree and the organization came to be known as a laughing stock around the league .

Now even with its recent successes the Tampa Bay Rays still finds itself bedeviled by worries about its financial security more than anything else . With a payroll amongst the lowest in the league the coaches and front office will have to get by on a squad of good if not great players , their future prospects and as I alluded to earlier a farm system that is amongst the best in the league .

Should the organization in the ensuing years leave the vicinity of Central Florida then the death knell of the game at the major league level within this area will have clearly sounded. Spring Training is all that the area will then have to cling to and that in of itself may not be such a bad thing after all. The teams who make the area their home during the preseason bring with them a burgeoning legion of fans and snow birds into Central Florida all looking to give support to their teams and aid the area with their income and making creating something of a vibrant economy during their time here . Now in spite of that fact it doesn’t lessen the blow that a Major League team now finding success may well have to leave its locale merely because the league hierarchy in its infinite wisdom has been about as helpful in their cause to remain as one could consider Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might be in assisting in a peaceful settlement of the Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations . Whereas Bud Selig was front and center in assisting the New York Mets and New York Yankees in the facilitating and building of their respective venues ( Citi Field & Yankee Stadium) he has been nowhere to be seen in assisting the Tampa Bay Rays in their endeavor to have a new venue built. But given the fact that as odious as the commissioner is , I can’t help but feel that the fans are now having the last laugh as things have gone to spiral out of control for himself and the league hierarchy as they now try to sort out the ongoing mess of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which will undoubtedly be followed by the web of intrigue and malfeasance that has taken place within the New York Mets organization . . Here’s to you Bud , you ingrate and piece of crap !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And how as such do you view the race now taking place within the AL East ? Simply chime on in with your comments as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ….

(2) New York Yankees fans hold up the number of hits Derek Jeter has, during his at-bat in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. Jeter grounded out to end the game as Tampa Bay won 5-1 . AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ……

(3) New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter returns to the dugout after being thrown out at first base to end a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Rays won 5-1. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(4) Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth is congratulated by catcher John Jaso at the end of the Rays’ 5-1 win over the New York Yankees in a baseball game Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 6: Johnny Damon (22) and Kelly Shoppach (10) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate a two-run home run by Shoppach against the Minnesota Twins in the second inning on July 6, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(6) Casey Kotchman (11) and B.J. Upton(2) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ……..

(7) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 6: Sean Rodriguez (1), Evan Longoria (3) and Casey Kotchman (11) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate a two-run home run by Rodriguez against the Minnesota Twins in the eighth inning on July 6, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Rays defeated the Twins 12-5. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

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The Weekend In Sports And Other Select Observations …………

The Weekend In Sports ……… And Others Select Observations ………

Well the NBA season is all but over with merely two games left to played on the schedule for most teams . The Los Angeles Lakers are limping into the postseason as reigning champions having lost 5 straight and in reality this is a team that is in complete disarray . Anyone who believes different simply ought to look at the box-score in their lopsided ( 120-106 ) loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder .

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Slide show for your perusal .

If the Lakers are to fare well in the postseason then the team will have to be on the same page of their coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff led by Jim Cleamons and Brian Shaw . I know that the team’s perennial All Star Kobe Bryant has come out openly and stated that he’d like to see Shaw succeed Jackson as coach of the team should he indeed retire at the culmination of the postseason. But I’m not so sure that that’d still be the case should the Lakers bow out early in the postseason , which given their performance against the Thunder is a distinct possibility . But then again it’s remiss to merely to take one game as a gauge for a team’s overall strengths and weakness. But as I mentioned earlier the Lakers have lost straight games and at no time were you under the impression that they were ever in with a chance of winning anyone of those games. But for the play of Kobe Bryant , Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom coming off the bench I’d say that one could describe the Lakers season as something of a failure when adjudged by their own lofty standards.

With that being said I’m not yet prepared to count the Los Angeles Lakers as being down and out , not while they’ve still Phil Jackson in their corner as coach ! Should he and the Lakers make a successful defense of their title then to my mind this would be his most impressive victory over the course of his storied career. I mean who else within the annals of the game has achieved his success while at the same having been denigrated by many because he was only able to coach superstars as we’ve so often been told ? These last two Finals triumphs are a testament that he can not only coach a team that plays a team but and are also willing to defer as and when needed . If the Lakers can regain their resolve then I would still favor them to come out of the Western Conference and that is with due respect to my beloved San Antonio Spurs the team with the best record in the conference and the NBA as a whole .

Sunday’s results if anything painted a clear picture as to where a number of teams now stand . Suffice to say teams seated on the bottom rung of the conference ladders , such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors can now begin to mull over their draft decision as to whether or not they ought to take Kemba Walker as the consensus overall number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft . But oh wait we have to wait for Commissioner David Stern pick that little ball out of that revolving drum to assure us who’ll have the privilege of having that first pick.

I’ve got to admit I’ve read some idiocy in my time going around this medium but never have I read something without so much insight than a contributor’s claim that Rory McIlroy is a wasted talent merely because his final round in The Masters imploded . I suppose when you’re still young naive and have about insight on the world of golf and you do little research before writing a piece you’re entitled to come up with such absurd notions ? But then again I for one simply don’t succumb to such a notion because I feel if you’re going to make any sort of a claim then you ought to have the disposition to show both sides of the argument . If that’s the case then this particular observer has about knowledge of the game as Hall of Famer Johnny Miller whose own absurd notion that the Europeans simply aren’t capable of winning a Grand Slam title . Has Miller not simply noticed the most recent results in the Grand Slam Majors over the course of the last eighteen months , much less the fact that the US had its ass handed it by the Europeans in the Ryder Cup in 2010 ?

This tournament was as such merely heightened by the fact there was a Tiger Woods’ sighting and that he made a spirited attempt at winning the tournament which in the end would be in vain. However, the former world number one ranked golfer would end up tying for third in the first Major of the season . The eventual winner would Charl Schwartzel a staple on the European Tour and who after this win will rise up the world rankings from his present position of #11 to inside the top ten perhaps as high as number 5 . As to the contributor who should remain nameless I can only hope that he aspires to be productive in his chosen career because with regard to even have minuscule knowledge of the sport of golf even with the amount of information that there is to be gleaned this individual has merely shown that he’s completely out of his depth .

OK so what else can be said after the abrupt retirement of Manny Ramirez from the Tampa Rays’ organization ? Having tested positive for a second consecutive time for a banned substance and knowing that he’d have to face a mandatory 100 game suspension the slugger chose to retire instead. What to my mind is even more asinine is the very fact that a spokesman for the Rays’ front office states that they were completely taken aback by this and the fact that the player tested positive for a banned substance, albeit that this took place during the Rays’ Spring Training Schedule . Am I missing something here but is the coaching staff as well as the Rays’ ownership group led by senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman that dumb , stupid and naive ? Never mind the fact that the league hierarchy had to have made the Rays’ front office fully aware of the test results prior to it being made public .

In the wake of this all Ramirez says he’s happy with his legacy . I’d say he’s happy alright because he’ll simply be looked at as a cheat , albeit , that his career as such would suggest otherwise having won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox . In the aftermath of this all the Tampa Bay Rays are left to pick up the pieces as one part of their experiment has come to a quick and unsatisfactory end . I’ve got to feel sorry for some of those Rays’ fans who’d hoped that the Rays would prove to be competitive and wherein Tropicana Field would be an enjoyable place to be. There’s now more of a chance to see a UFO sighting at the Rays’ home venue than this team seeking to be competitive at this juncture .

Unfortunately for the Rays their season started off inauspiciously having lost their first two series before eking out a much needed win (9-7) against the Chicago White Sox . The team however finds itself languishing at the bottom of the always ultra competitive AL East
and that 1-8 record simply doesn’t look at all look that enviable even if we’ve yet to exit the first month of the regular season . And the team’s efforts won’t at all be now helped with their best player Evan Longoria now being on the disabled list (DL) for what we’re told could be as long as three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle .

Can things now get much worse for the Rays ? Yes it can as they now have to face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a three game series where I fully expect the Red Sox’s offense will be looking to tee off on the Rays’ somewhat average pitching rotation . At the same time the Red Sox’s own pitching staff has been very susceptible this season . So it could be that the fans in attendance over the course of the next three days are liable to be thoroughly entertained .

So Football Spring Football has started and teams at the D1 level will be looking to get themselves ready for the upcoming season. From my own perspective given what took place over last season and the never ending controversy of teams , players and coaches contravening rules , I merely look at this upcoming season of one that’s about to be littered with controversy once again. I mean it’s not as if the NCAA in its sanctified much less than exalted position can do a damn thing to begin with ! I mean where have they been in the aftermath of the latest allegations concerning Auburn and the fact that several players on their teams from 2004-07 were recruited , induced through monetary gain, through having sex on campus with female co-eds as well as strippers ? And who can forget the debacle of Ohio State and in particular the actions of Buckeys’ football coach Jim Tressel ? Needless to say that Buckeye and Tigers’ fans will try and reassure us that this is merely regrettable and that they’re not the only ones doing this . And while I’m inclined to agree at the same time I’ll state this ………… it’s against the fu_king rules so why go down that route to begin with ?

In the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where they can boast national champions consecutively for the last six years . One can simply understand the reason why the SEC is deemed to be the powerhouse it is at the collegiate level in terms of BCS national title aspirations.

I read with a great deal of interest where South Carolina Gamecocks’ quarterback Stephen Garcia has one again ran afoul of his coaching staff as well as the school as a whole . To understand the problems of Garcia you simply have to know this , he simply attracts trouble like flies tend to hover around fecal matter because of the aroma and because they can feast off whatever there tends to be in the vicinity. With Garcia it’s no different !

The fact that he’s merely been suspended indefinitely , at first that wasn’t the case , though it has to be said at it still creates the impression that Steve Spurrier still believes that the player has something to offer the team . Whatever it is , I wouldn’t consider it to be his football talent or acumen in spite of how impressive his stats may well be. Why have a malcontent and disruptive influence on the team which usually in the long run leads to even more problems ? As has been the case here with Stephen Garcia , his never ending transgression of team rules and having ran afoul of the law enforcement on repeated occasions .

Courtesy of USA Today

Another suspension for South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia

By Erick Smith , USA Today

The future of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is in doubt after the rising senior was suspended from the team indefinitely.

It’s the fifth time in Garcia’s career he has been suspended and the second time this spring. The school did not specify the reason for the decision. The Gamecocks play their annual spring game on Saturday.

“We have expectations for our student-athletes and we make them aware that there are consequences for their actions,” athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement released by the school. “Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes.”

The loss of Garcia, who threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 starts, would be a blow to South Carolina, which won the SEC East for the first time in 2010. He was expected to lead an offense that also features running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

That responsibility would likely fall to rising sophomore Connor Shaw, who was Garcia’s backup last fall.

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And with regard to the Gamecocks competing this upcoming season within the SEC I’m liable to think that they’ll struggle but at the same time eke out the wins they’re expected over the course of their regular season schedule . In place of Garcia , Spurrier will have at his disposal qb’s Dylan Thompson , Andrew Clifford , Connor Shaw and Seth Strickland . I’ve no doubt that the coach and his coaching staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each of the likely candidates before coming to a decision as to who’ll be the like starter in the Gamecocks’ first game of the season against East Carolina on the 3rd September , 2011. Garcia on the other hand will now have time reassess his future and determine whether or not it lies within being a student athlete or simply a thug , because of now he’s simply been a disappointment to those around him who expected a great deal more of him as a player as well a leader and human being .

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Picture galley for your perusal .

What sporting events or news if any over the past weekend piqued your interest and what if anything are you hoping to see during the NBA playoffs and the month of April as it relates to the baseball season ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers defends James Harden (13)3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 Getty Images / Jeff Gross …….

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks draws up a play for his team during a timeout in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 . Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ……

(3) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers argues a foul call in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images …..

(4) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder rebounds a ball over Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images ………

(5) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann , right, adjusts his cap as he listens to catcher Kelly Shoppach during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo /Nam Y Yuh ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) tags out Chicago White Sox’s Juan Pierre during the second inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(7) The Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon shakes hands with Manny Ramirez (24) of the Tampa Bay Rays as Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ramirez announced his retirement over the weekend rather than face a league mandated 100 game suspension having tested positive for a illicit banned substance for the second consecutive time over the course of his career. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……….

(8) Charl Schwartzel of South Africa celebrates his two-stroke victory with his wife Rosalind behind the 18th green during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP Photo/Getty Images/ Robyn Beck …..

(9) Last year’s champion Phil Mickelson (left) puts the Green Jacket on Charl Schwartzel from South Africa after Schwartzel wins the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.
AFP Photo/ Getty Images /Robyn Beck …….

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the 18th hole green after finishing the final round with a final score of four under par at the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK

(11) South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) looks for receivers during South Carolina’s Garnet and Black spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 9, 2011, in Columbia, S.C. AP Photo/The State, Tracy Glantz ………..

(12) In this Dec. 29, 2010, file photo, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia throws a pass during practice for the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State in Atlanta. Garcia has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. Athletic Director Eric Hyman announced the suspension Wednesday, (6th April) but did not give a reason. AP Photo/David Goldman …….

(13) Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks walks to congratulate quarterback Stephen Garcia (5) for his passing touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin Cox …….

(14) Coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks lines up with players after play against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Getty Images/ Al Messerschmidt …….

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R Kelly ………………… “Ignition”

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Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

In all honesty I can say that I thoroughly enjoy my work as a research analyst within the corporate affairs department of a noted law firm . Now having said that in the endeavor of working with a number corporate litigators with regard business incorporations for corporations not just here in the United States but also in their incorporation for overseas. That being said , I’ve always felt that we can learn a great deal about sports be it from an individualistic standpoint or through a team endeavor. By merely just adapting the solid business principles applicable if one adheres to those principles then it does make things a great deal easier. I do feel that we can understand greatly what’s needed to make not only a business successful but also sports organization be it a franchise or an individual in their own respective regimen.

Practice, dedication and applying one’s self to and adhering to that discipline. Over the weekend I wasn’t really able to get in a great deal of watching that much sports as a great deal of my time was spent collating a number of files for work. Having done that I was lucky enough to see a number of sporting events that took place. The World Cup has now reached the knockout stage and all of the bitching and whining isn’t going to hide the fact that the expectations of both England and the USA had failed to be met. In the round of 16, the US fell to a well-disciplined Ghanaian team . Never mind the fact that I’d read within this forum , a number bloggers who had this asinine notion that this Bob Bradley coached team would simply march through Ghana as if they were none existent. Much of the time, when I read such diatribe I can only surmise that much of this comes from the personification of xenophobia rather than anything that has been rationally or well thought out. But a lot of that came about from the fact that those who are actually writing about the subject might not actually know a great deal about the sport.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Sadly for the US team , their journey in the World Cup came to an abrupt end in their 2-1 loss to Ghana , who now proceed on to the quarter finals of the event. The US’s Group C fellow residents, England ,would fail also to make it through to last eight of the World Cup. The Fabio Capello coached team would fail miserably as they were thoroughly outclassed by their most fabled foe and nemesis Germany. Any thought of England reliving the 1966 World Cup Finals would be thoroughly dismissed as they were outclassed by a German team that simply was too much for an English team that lacked the will and creativity to be competitive and win !. What little that the English fans in attendance saw , could only have disappointed. With that being said, Capello had thought that the game hinged on a disallowed goal, was idiotic , from the very outset. Rather than pouncing on the real reasons why his team lacked an effort and it became all the more relevant that the team became completely deflated . As they would succumb to a German that team wanted to win with a great deal of passion and desire. And that was most definitely the case, as they came a away with a thoroughly convincing 4-1 victory over their English counterparts.

Well now that the backbone of the Tampa Bay Rays seems to have been broken about the only thing left was for there to be some discord shown amongst the players. Having seen only mere snippets of the Carlos Zambrano meltdown wherein he berated his teammate Derrick Lee of the Chicago Cubs. Not that I’ve ever been overly concerned with anything that’s allegedly pertinent about the Cubs as this is an organization who simply doesn’t know how to win much less being able to spell the word were you to spot the them the letters W and N ! This is a club whose manager Lou Pinellas’s best years as a manager are behind him. With Zambrano being indefinitely being suspended by GM Jim Hendry and Piniella, it remains to be seen how the Cubs will regroup and reemerge from this all.

Over the weekend we saw the Rays’ B J Upton show us all why he will forever remain an enigma for this organization. All “the talent in the world” but Upton appears to be either a “knuckle head” or someone who just doesn’t seem to care much about the game at times. This was very much evident in the inter-league game between the Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks . Rather than chasing down a ball hit in deep left center field ,Upton merely loll gagged as he jogged to the wall made the fielding play and then threw the ball back into the infield . He would later state that he’d misjudged the play and was under the impression that his teammate Jason Bartlett was within easy reach of the ball that would elicit a triple being attained by the Diamondbacks . For the fans who saw this , I can only surmise that for them it was either disgust or the mere fact that they’ve now become use to seeing Upton become lazy and make the most extraordinary of excuses for his lackadaisical play. What might have been more exacerbating was that Rays’ manager Joe Maddon tried to shrug this all off as if it were nothing important. But it was important enough for Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria to see fit to dress down his teammate for his poor play ,decision making and complete lack of effort shown by the out-fielder. And for the notion that this has now all blown over if this is an indication of the meltdown we’re now seeing from a team that can’t seem to put together a series of wins much less score runs. Then before it’s all said and done we could see this team’s season go completely up in smoke.

OK by now, you all know that I am no great admirer of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Neither of these two high ranking officials have shown their wish to acknowledge what has now become more a rather acute topic. And that is the mere fact that players having suffered multiple concussions are now prone to multiple lapses in concentration , loss of memory and severe head pains. Now in the midst of this all with the recent autopsy and medical report concerning former Cincinnati Bengalis’ wide receiver Chris Henry . We’re now being made aware that the player had suffered several head concussions brought on from playing in the NFL . In addition, not only that but the player was said to be a sufferer of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). An abnormal bruising of the brain that can lead to mild forms of dementia, losing of one’s speech and in some cases lead to a person’s loss of their motor neuron skills. That being said, the player’s death should now be a great cause for concern, given what we now know from the findings in this medical report.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

WVU doctors: Chris Henry had chronic brain injury


By Vicki Smith Associated Press Writer

Morgantown, W.Va,. (AP) Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered from a chronic brain injury that may have influenced his mental state and behavior before he died last winter, West Virginia University researchers said Monday.

The doctors had done a microscopic tissue analysis of Henry’s brain that showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes and California medical examiner Bennet Omalu, co-directors of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, announced their findings alongside Henry’s mother, Carolyn Henry Glaspy, who called it a “big shock” because she knew nothing about her 26-year-old son’s underlying condition or the disease.

Henry died in December, a day after he came out of the back of a pickup truck his fiancee was driving near their home in Charlotte, N.C. It’s unclear whether Henry jumped or fell. Toxicology tests found no alcohol in his system, and an autopsy concluded he died of numerous head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging.

But Bailes, team doctor for the Mountaineers and a former Pittsburgh Steelers physician, said it’s easy to distinguish those acute traumatic injuries from the underlying condition he and Omalu found when staining tiny slices of Henry’s brain.

Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL , have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems.

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It appears that for the likes of both Goodell and Smith, this issue is the least bit of importance to them at this very juncture. I have heard it said that Goodell has a great deal on his plate as commissioner of the NFL. From my standpoint the only thing at appears to concern Goodell and Smith….. is the sound of cash falling into the NFL’s coffers and how best the two parties can best disperse of their windfall ! Goodell and DeMaurice Smith haven’t brought it upon themselves to deal with this very issue head on . If anything they both would rather hide behind their ever increasing glib sound bytes on the matter in stating that they’re taking everything under advisement from the very best medical professionals out there. My question to both Goodell and Smith is how much longer will they both carry on with this charade that the NFL and NFLPA are actually doing something proactive about this very matter ? Try pissing in a lake to see how much of a ripple effect is made and there you’ll find your answer as it concerns both the NFL and NFLPA !

Is it me but is the collective IQ of the alleged NBA writers comparable to that of the IQ’s of Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag combined ? I’m not saying that these idiots are absolutely clueless but if their continued speculation is anything to go by then each has their own idea as to where LeBron James’ final destination will be. Let us just say that both Cavaliers’ principal partner Dan Gilbert and the team’s GM Chris Grant had better know how to assemble a team that will complement James prerequisite skills . Up until now, all that James has been given is bare meat and potatoes instead of filet-mignon. In addition, as well we know when it comes eating the main course meat and potatoes does not go down well with Baron de Rothschild 62 vintage champagne. Now there is a great deal of speculation as to where James will ultimately end up. From what we know is that there are at said to be at least six interested parties for James’ services. However, if anything until we ultimately know what the teams are actually prepared to do. We can only prognosticate and debate the MVP’s future and where his future may now lay.

Now the Stephen Strasburg effect is playing its part in bringing out the fans to witness the young phenom’s prowess. I have a word of advice for the Washington Nationals’ fans out there. Now that his arbitration clock is ticking and given the fact that his agent is Scott Boras . Well, three years from now Strasburg may well be no longer be a Washington Nationals’ player. Suffice to say, that the New York Yankees will swoop down to take Strasburg off the Nationals’ hands. I don’t care what you might think but the present Nationals’ team isn’t going anywhere at all. They are simply not good enough in either facets of the game of baseball. Other than Strasburg, there is simply nothing at all worthwhile to look at, on what can be best described as a rather mundane and mediocre team.If you doubt my word simply, look at the box score of the game between the Nationals and Atlanta Braves . Strasburg pitched an outstanding effort for six innings only to see the bullpen waste an opportunity . In the end the NL East division leading Braves would come away with a 5-0 victory from Turner Field , Fulton County, Atlanta , Georgia.

Nationals’ team President Stan Kasten simply knows how to make the customary sound byte but beyond that he has to realize that he’s now facing an uphill battle in hoping to make the young pitcher the centerpiece of their future. If the Nationals cannot place a team good enough to supplement his talents then they might as well give up hope of retaining his services in the future. We know that whatever the New York Yankees simply want, they usually get and without a doubt if they desire Strasburg, much like when a lion stalks its prey before swooping down for the kill .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As I alluded to earlier at the beginning of this piece one can always gauge not only the determination and success of a business entity or sports franchise by the discipline shown by the executives within an organization as it tends to give an indication as to what they aspire to become. A good business much like a good sports franchise has to be good from ground up and from the top down..

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

UB40 …………………” Higher Ground”