News , Views & Other Tidbits …..

News , Views & Other Tidbits …..

If the rumors are to believed then whatever takes place over the ensuing days could very well determine the future of the Boston Red Sox . With manager Terry Francona’s future now seems in doubt , it is being speculated that the front office will not choose to exercise the option on his contract for 2012. Along with that there’s the growing belief that wunderkind GM Theo Epstein could very well be lured away from the organization by beleaguered Chicago Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts who has said that he wishes to sign a high profiled front office executive and give them free rein to bolster the ball club’s personnel . Given the unbelievable meltdown by the Red Sox on the final day of the regular season and there being talk that the duo of collapses are reminiscent of those from a bygone age within the game .

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Slide show for your perusal .

There’s no denying that with Terry Francona having succeeded Grady Little the turnaround in the ball-club’s wasn’t immediate but the very fact that the players began to buy into his management style was a sign that Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino were astute in their hire. Guiding the organization to their first World Series in 2004 a second title would follow in 2007 but what was clearly self evident was the mere fact that the Red Sox were still free wheeling spenders . Keeping up with the Joneses may well be OK given the financial treasure chest at the organization’s disposal . But herein lies the caveat when you’re simply acquiring players simply because they are allegedly big named free agents it simply means nothing if you are not getting value for the money spent. As of now in all likelihood senior managing partner John Henry along with co-owners Tom Werner , Theodore ” Ted” Alfond , Thomas R DiBenedetto and the other senior partners will have to take a serious look at the organization and how it goes about in handling the baseball operations from top to bottom .

The acquisitions made by Boston Red Sox simply did not pay the dividend presumed with perhaps that of Adrian Gonzalez . Perhaps the organization’s most productive player offensively for the team . The team’s payroll for the 2011 season was in excess of $166.8 million and there are those who are beginning to question whether or not the organization got value for money in terms of that payroll and the acquisition of Carl Crawford and John Lackey but it was the apparent meltdown of the bullpen led by Daniel Bard and Johnathan Papelbon . It certainly hasn’t helped that pitching ace Josh Beckett and the team were woefully inept going 7-20 over the final month of the season . It is so insidious to think that this team could have performed so ineptly and still believe that they worthy of being the AL wildcard representative .

Now while flagship radio station WEEI and their variety of on air analysts will continue to harangue and lambast the Boston Red Sox organization there is no doubt in my mind they will also make some very pointed references at Terry Francona’s handling of the roster as well as many of the now apparent bankrupt personnel decisions of Lucchino and Espten , jointly. The Boston Red Sox’s own broadcast outlet NESN has not openly issued a formal statement about either Theo Epstein’s future and that of their now beleaguered manager. The chances are that Francona may well not be retained by the ball-club with an even more remote possibility that the general manager could choose to live to pursue other professional opportunities within the game. Given the clarity of Tom Ricketts’ wish and the un-growing certainty as to the future of Ned Colletti with the Los Angeles Dodgers almost anything is possible . I certainly don’t believe that Epstein would have the slightest interest in an organization that is still in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings and with the league hierarchy now trying to force team owner Frank McCourt out . With that situation now becoming so comical that it no longer bears talking about anything that now befalls the organization that forces to cease to exist would be for the best !

With the baseball season now over there’s no denying the fallout from teams simply failing to show their competitiveness over the course of the year . The Los Angeles Angeles under Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff never seemed able to get this team over the hump when it mattered most . Team owner Arte Moreno saw the Angels fall by the wayside as the Texas Rangers were able to make a successful defense of their AL West divisional title . With that apparent failure team GM Tony Reagins has resigned from the front office of the organization and thereby leading to another unhappy executive forced out by the lack of recent success .

A lackluster season where a team under-performs tends to lead to a number of things could seemingly have gone awry. And clearly with the Angels it was simply one where this team with the talent in place never lived up the presumed expectations of the owner , that of the front office and their loyal fans . Should there be any blamed apportioned upon Tony Reagins for the team’s lack of success ? Well it’s hard to say but he along with the coaching staff and scouting department put this roster together in order to make a run at the division and the postseason . Clearly the efforts put forth just weren’t good enough as can be adjudged by the team’s standing and the lack of productivity from the pitching and offense .

There is no denying that the public at large is now so tired with the members of Congress and the Senate that any talk of them doing something productive has to be treated with a sense of comedic value. Now comes word that the House Oversight & Reform Committee has called upon NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to address them over the now contentious of issue of HGH testing . Both executives are set to meet with the members of the committee within the next five to six days dependent on the scheduling of the hearings . In what was said to be an agreed upon within the collective bargaining agreement for game day testing of players now seems to have caused something of impasse between the league and union. The idiocy of this situation is that the executive committee signed unto this and Smith exalting the fact that the two sides’ views on the issue were one. This is all bullshit when it has now become even more apparent that neither side was truly happy with the accord agreed under the auspices of Federal Judge Arthur Boylan .

Courtesy of USA Today

Lawmakers want NFL, players union to solve HGH testing issue

By Jarrett Bell , USA Today

Although the federal budget is the most significant hot-button issue currently on Capitol Hill, the standoff between the NFL and the league’s players union over the implementation of human growth hormone (HGH) testing is drawing increasing attention from lawmakers.

Commissioner Roger Goodell could meet soon with the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

When the NFL and players ratified their new labor pact in August, they announced an agreement to test for HGH — with the aim to begin at the start of the regular season.

Yet details of the testing are unresolved.

In the letters, obtained by USA TODAY, Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ranking Minority Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote, “By making use of the latest technology, the NFL and its players appear poised to be leaders in the effort to ensure that competition is not tainted by banned substances.”

While short of calling for hearings as it did in 2005 to scrutinize Major League Baseball’s problems with steroids, the committee hopes the meetings are an impetus for a resolution. Issa and Cummings wrote that their concern for young athletes — and the message that can be sent that performance-enhancing drugs won’t be tolerated at the highest levels — fuels their action.

Travis Tygart, chief executive of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, was also invited to provide assistance and expertise. It is unknown when such a meeting will occur.

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If Congress now wants to be seen as being proactive and actually going about conducting the nation’s business then they stay hell out of how the NFL conducts its business . It is not as if they have been able to resolve the current budget and debt crisis that seems to be a never ending story . Perhaps it is just me but I would rather see the idiot owners their team executives and the league hierarchy continue to bicker like children . Because it would sure as hell beat anything that the House Oversight Committee would be able to offer up as advice or seemingly threaten the status of the NFL.

OK so it would appear that David Stern and the league hierarchy are no closer to resolving the NBA lockout . Billy Hunter , NBPA President Derek Fisher and VP Roger Mason Jr still remain steadfast in their resolve in not acquiescing to any of the demands from the league. Stern has offered very little by way of anything palpable for the union to even be merely amenable to accepting but it seems to be pissing contest between the two parties that continue to remain so far apart on the pertinent issues .

Guns don’t kill people it’s people who kill people , rather stupid people with guns who’ve actually nothing at at better to do . Detroit Pistons’ center Ben Wallace has become the latest NBA player to have fallen foul of the law . In what was a lawful traffic stop Wallace cited for DUI (driving under the influence) and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon. If convicted the player faces up to five years in prison on a felony gun charge and three months for the DUI misdemeanor . The player stated the law enforcement officer at the time he did not have a concealed weapons’ permit but traveled with the gun in his backpack as a way of protecting himself and his vehicle . The incident took place in the Broomfield Township , a suburb of Michigan , Detroit . Wallace at the time was traveling up from Virginia to visit friends in the area ___ having also undergone a field sobriety test , later a blood alcohol and breath test , Wallace’s blood alcohol level was 0.14% , almost twice the legal limit of .08. The Pistons’ center now has a court hearing scheduled for next Monday and that hearing could very well determine the player’s immediate future. Now pardon for me saying this but how stupid are some of the players within the NBA ? Clearly Wallace and the other idiot members of the gun toting fraternity haven’t learned a fucking thing !

Gilbert Arenas the ” poster child “ for errant gun play may well have ,mended his ways but let’s just say he has offered very little to the Orlando Magic since he was acquired by the organization . GM Otis Smith may well now look to off-load the ” dead weight” on this roster and when one bears in mind that the players he acquired to make this team a legitimate contender for an NBA title offered little to that legitimacy . Bob Vanderweide and team owner Rich De Vos clearly have some decisions to make about this team , paring down the salary . The front office’s and Otis Smith’s biggest decision will be in persuading Dwight Howard to remain with the and that the Magic as an organization is where his future lies .

While not wanting to lambast the Magic organization I do feel that Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy were exceptionally naive to think that Dwight Howard solely by himself could lead this team to the NBA Finals . He had little if any real assistance from his teammates throughout much of the regular season and the for Smith to laden this organization with the absurd salaries of Arenas , Hedo Turkoglu , and Quentin Richarson simply show that there was not much thought placed into the acquisition of the players in question much less the fact as to what this would do the franchise financially . The Orlando Magic for the upcoming year has a financial salary commitment of approximately $74.8 million and for the 2012-2013 season that figure rises to $75.66 million . Bear in mind that figure exceeds the soft salary cap of $57 million that the league hierarchy feels all of their franchises could work with but clearly it has meant nothing at all to this particular franchise and those others who simply eschewed the idea and went over that figure. The salary commitment for the Magic for the 2010-2011 season was approximately $92 million . This sort of innate stupidity by the front office executives has been mirrored across the NBA for the past few years and I sincerely doubt that it is likely to change even if there should be some kind of an accord reached between the NBA hierarchy and the NBPA .

With the ongoing impasse of the lockout I do feel that the league and union have nowhere to go but to try and resolve this situation as quickly as possible . Without doing so it clearly casts doubt on a preseason or for that matter a regular 2011-2012 schedule. A number of high profiled players were in attendance at the latest meeting between the union and league hierarchy . Amongst those attending were LeBron James , Dywane Wade , Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant . All of whom expressed solidarity with the union’s executive committee and their handling of the situation.

What may be so befuddling for the fans to understand is that the NBA and players cannot agree how best to split the $4.5 billion in revenues …. derived by the league at present . The split is now a 53/47 % ratio in favor of the players but the league hierarchy seeks something that is more equitable in its disbursement and a hard salary cap . It should come as no surprise that the soft salary cap of $57 million is ignored by a number of the basketball teams within the NBA . And with the sheer stupidity shown by the general managers with their capricious spending it is easy to understand why owners such as Dan Gilbert , Gavin Maloof and Commissioner David Stern have pled poverty with regard to the fortunes of a number of franchises around the league . They have foisted figures of projected losses of $350 million to $450 million but there has been little evidence to show that those figures do in fact have any veracity to them. The hierarchy’s books have never been opened to public scrutiny and it is very clear that David Stern would prefer it that way. Much like his MLB counterpart Bud Selig the duo have a great deal in common and it is ….. that their business acumen are vastly overrated !

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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 ? Do take time to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to pertinent in that regard . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated . Have a great weekend and do stay safe over the period . That way we can resume or discussions over the coming week !

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Boston Red Sox owner Tom Werner, left, and general manager Theo Epstein leave the podium after addressing the media during a news conference on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on manager Terry Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) Boston Red Sox owners Tom Werner, left, and Larry Lucchino, right, listen as general manager Theo Epstein, center, speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Terry Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye …..

(3) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona speaks during a news conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. In a joint statement released on Friday, the Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract for a ninth year in the wake of the team’s September collapse in which they blew a nine-game lead in the American League wild-card race. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ……

(4) Four years ago when he took over as general manager, Tony Reagins, right, had the backing of Angels owner Arte Moreno. After consecutive seasons of missing the playoffs, the two had a parting of ways. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times ……

(5) National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell gestures during the Beyond Sport Summit Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The summit brings together more than 80 domestic and international sports teams to address their role in triggering positive social change in the communities they serve. Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director are under request by ranking committee members of the House & Oversight Government Reform Committee Rep Darrell Issa (R-Ca,.) & Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md,.) to explain why there now seems to be an impasse between the union and the league as to HGH testing within the NFL . AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….. ……..

(6) In this booking mugshot released by the Bloomfield Township, Mich., Police Department, Detroit Pistons basketball player Ben Wallace is shown Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. Authorities in suburban Detroit say Wallace has been charged with drunken driving and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon after a traffic stop. Bloomfield Township police said Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011 that the 37-year-old Wallace was arrested about 3 a.m. Saturday after officers observed a Cadillac Escalade being driven erratically. Police said they found an unloaded pistol in a backpack. AP Photo/Bloomfield Township Police Department ……..

(7) Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Magic would go on to lose the series to the Hawks . Getty Images/ Kevin Cox ……

(8) Gilbert Arenas of the Orlando Magic who had one of his least productive seasons in the NBA while donning the Magic uniform . Courtesy of TSN.ca …… ….

(9) Dwight Howard is seen here with Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith . The player is holding the Honda NBA Defensive Player of the Year Trophy . Howard is a three time winner of the prestigious award having won it for the past three consecutive seasons . Courtesy of AP/Photo / Kenneth Parker ……..
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