Stress Test Baseball And See Where That Takes You ?

Stress Test Baseball And See Where That Takes You ?

By tophatal ………

Well the idiocy of the government and in particular the Federal Reserve no longer surprises me ! Chairman Ben Bernanke and his counterpart within the Treasury Department overseen by Tim Geithner now have in place what happens to be a second set of “Stress Tests” which will supposedly test the 20 largest financial institutions in the nation , in order to gauge their preparedness should the US economy be once again be beset by a volatile economic environment . Pardon me for saying this , but weren’t Bernanke and Geithner the ones who in 2009 , stated that the travails and unevenness we were seeing within the economy was merely a minor hiccup that we shouldn’t at all be worried about ? Chairman Bernanke , would further go on to state that the housing meltdown should not be something to be at all overly concerned with . Given the fact that in 2011 the nation would witness in excess of 1.88 million home foreclosures adding to an already stagnant housing market it begs the question why the hell are the duo still in retention of their present positions within the government ? The nation is still very much pissed at the fact that so far of the $ 1.2 trillion dollars ($1,200,000,000,000) that has been spent to prop up the major financial institutions, automotive industry and a number of pet projects of President Barack Obama and a number Senate and House members on sides of the political aisle . It has me wondering , are the two sides of the political divide really that different from one another at all ? Ideology asides, the only thing that separates the two just happens to be a name because avarice has no boundaries and takes whatever shape that just happens to be placed in-front of it .

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Obama’s ratings are close to an all-time low, while the chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives might as well be occupied by 535 anally retentive individuals , for all of the good that it’d do ! Their poll ratings might make you feel somewhat more amenable towards the President dependent upon your political ideology. Oh sorry , many of us probably are already under the impression that is now the case ? ! So what the fu#k have we really to look forward to ? In all likelihood the candidate who happens to win the 2012 Republican candidacy seeking to challenge President Barack Obama in the November presidential elections won’t be that much different from the incumbent when it’s all said and done ! I’m no admirer of either of political party to begin with ! So make of it what you will .

I liken the idiocy of both Bernanke and Geithner , to the now damn near lunacy we have come to see from Bud Selig in the last eighteen months at least ! If the Ryan Braun episode wasn’t enough of an indication of that wherein the commissioner and one of his most senior subordinates Rob Manfred questioned the veracity of the ruling rendered by arbitrator Shyam Das , after it was discovered that the chain of custody had been broken by a senior laboratory technician when he saw fit to send samples of the players test specimens to his home rather than to the testing facility specifically used by the league because of a bureaucratic delay . If that wasn’t so bad , this was not relayed to anyone in authority at the laboratory or within the MLB hierarchy . Somehow , Bud Selig and Rob Manfred felt that Das’ decision was solely from his (arbitrator’s) lack of understanding of the protocols set in place by MLB (baseball) . It makes me now wonder what in God’s name were the owners thinking when they saw fit to extend Bud Selig’s contract for an additional four years , after Selig had in implied in late 2010 that he would step down in his role as the game’s highest ranking executive in 2012 ? Instead fans of the game of baseball will have to endure a further four years of Selig’s buffoonery and nonsense .

Under Selig’s watch in the past eighteen months we have seen Frank McCourt plunder the coffers of the Los Angeles Dodgers solely to keep himself and his then ex-wife (Jamie McCourt) in the lap of luxury to which they’d both become accustomed . And at no time did it occur to anyone within the Dodgers’ front office to question the owner’s actions , which contravened many of the rules of the game as it relates to an organization’s finances . But you’d have been hard pressed to tell that to some individuals who claim to have an insight as to the economics of the game of baseball . Well I say to those assholes who still stand in support of Selig , you now have what you deserve ! An ignoramus presiding over the game ! And if that wasn’t enough under the commissioner’s watch we now have the yet unfolding morass that just happens to be the New York Mets and their ongoing financial strife . I can guarantee you this , before the season’s end , this Mets’ team in its current guise will certainly change in its complete makeup !. We have already seen that with the front office’s willingness to let Jose Reyes depart , but that came about from financial concerns in terms of the payroll issues that a number of teams now face. Wouldn’t it be nice to see what is likely to happen were Selig to apply a so-called “stress test” now as to financial viability of the ball-clubs within baseball with there being an in-depth audit of all 30 franchises ? Care to answer the question as to who you’d feel would come out on top and who’d definitely be at the bottom of the list ?

Granted, unlike the idiotic bureaucratic bean-counters who presided over the tests of the financial industry that has now allowed the likes of Goldman Sachs , Morgan Stanley , Citigroup , Bank of America , GE Capital/ Financial to still re-enter the same audacious and riskiest financial and practices without there being any oversight and transparency as to their practices . That being said I’m not so sure that there’s anyone within baseball’s hierarchy with a clear insight as to the acute issues that the game faces. It’s not as if Selig , Manfred or anyone from within the commissioner’s office has ever addressed this matter but they’ve had the temerity to address two congressional committees ( House Energy &Commerce Committee House Govt’ Oversight & Reform Committee ) as to the fact that the game now has the strictest testing drug testing protocols of the four major sports . If only that were true ! If memory serves me correctly the reason why baseball and softball were thrown out of the Olympics came about primarily because of the MLB hierarchy’s unwillingness to adopt a strict drug testing policy in line with the criteria set by the IOC in conjunction with WADA . Bud Selig’s stance , was that it would be an invasion of the players’ privacy but truth be known , the commissioner had no stomach for a confrontation with the MLBPA or its Executive Director at the time Donald Fehr , who now holds a similar position with the NHLPA . I’d dare say that IOC Chairman Jacques Rogge laughed at the MLB commissioner , his antics and that of the senior executives of the game’s international governing body the IBAF who sought to plead the case for baseball remaining part of the Summer Olympics schedule . That became unlikely when the IOC Executive Committee voted overwhelmingly to exclude baseball and softball from the Summer Games . Unfortunately , in spite of the pleas of IBAF President Riccardo Fraccari the intransigence shown by Bud Selig shows him to be an individual whose self serving and simply interested in his self-preservation and that of his legacy . A legacy to my mind that is tarnished by his ambiguity and sheer stupidity !

Both Baseball and Softball are making a push for their respective sport’s reintroduction at the 2020 Summer Olympics . As to whether or not this will be a joint effort between the IBAF and that of the International Softball Federation remains to be seen . I would like to think that if the ISF had any common sense, then they would choose to plead their case alone, rather than jointly with the IBAF , especially with a pompous ass such as Bud Selig in tow with the US delegation led by Paul Seiler of USA Baseball ! That would be akin to trying bringing two incompetent lawyers to plead a clemency case for a defendant who after years of being incarcerated has yet to comprehend the complexities of their crime in light of the serious ramifications. Bud Selig clearly doesn’t understand the international landscape of international sports on a global scale . And that is even in spite of the introduction of the World Baseball Classic . Not quite the resounding success that he hoped it would be , but it still serves something of a purpose in the overall grand scale of things , it by no means has the exposure created , were the sport still part of the Summer Olympics. There’s a difference between 300 million people watching globally and 1.35 billion but you’d be hard pressed to convince the commissioner of that , I believe !

Now we can all opine as to the said imbalances “ within the game of baseball” from a financial standpoint . The h New York Yankees remain atop of the heap in terms of the payroll structure of the teams within the game. And then when one takes into account of the salaries of the highest paid players it begs the question when the front office executives and team owners will choose to address the situation , rather than completely ignoring it . It’s not as if anyone within the hierarchy of baseball has the intestinal fortitude to make a statement on the issue . Besides it would appear that the MLBPA (union) only has to “bark” and Bud Selig , and his subordinates simply cower in the corner like a child who has just been frightened by that sound ! Never mind the fact that there’s the unquenchable thirst of the major sports agents within the game such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem and ‘” Leigh Steinberg simply eviscerating general managers such as Brian Cashman , Sandy Alderson , Theo Epstein , Kenny Williams , Ned Colletti , Ben Cherington , Reuben Amaro Jr , Jerry Dipoto , John Mozeliak , Mike Rizzo , Larry Beinfest and Michael Hill . Thereby making these senior front office executives with years of experience in their chosen profession seem like novices when it comes to contract negotiations with the aforementioned agents .

Now in the aftermath of last season and final standings within the divisions and the wildcard entrants you’d be hard pressed to convince me that the likes of the Seattle Mariners , Minnesota Twins , Baltimore Orioles , Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals will improve to the extent where they’ll make in-roads within the AL ! And the same would go for the following teams within the NL , namely the Houston Astros , Washington Nationals , San Diego Padres , New York Mets , Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs . I’m not saying that the ball-clubs in question are completely bereft of talent but what has been abundantly clear to me , is that the front office executives of those teams are grossly incompetent by way of their dealings in terms of personnel decisions made during the past few seasons and also during this off-season . But then again what’s new ? It’s not as if the Nationals offering Jayson Werth a 7 yr $126 million contract proved to be intuitive or productive for the organization last season at all . And those under the impression that the IQ quotient gets slightly higher once you depart from steps of Capitol Hill , in Washington , DC to the inside of the front office of Washington Nationals , then you’d be sorely mistaken on that score .

GM Mike Rizzo is like no other general manager I have come across recently within the game of baseball ! The team’s payroll though light in comparison to other major market teams light but when one considers the largess of Rizzo the in terms of the contracts offered to Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper . It does make you wonder common sense much intelligence is to be found within the game , much less from within this particular organization . By comparison another of Rizzo’s former peers was Jim Hendry . Anyone who has witnessed the woes of the Chicago Cubs in the past few seasons by way of their record , draft choices , trades and wayward spending will surely understand the premise of my statement .

Both the Cubs and Nationals face and arduous task in terms of competing within the NL Central and NL East respectively this season . The Chicago Cubs embark upon their regular season schedule in their home opener when they two teams face each other at Wrigley Field , Chicago , in what’s sure to be in-front of a sold-out crowd yearning to see Dale Sveum’s and his team get off to an impromptu seasonal opening victory . On th flip side of this coin , manager Davey Johnson , his coaching staff and players are no doubt hoping that this will be a season where they can no doubt make themselves be heard within the NL . There’s going to be a cacophony of differing sounds in within the National League this year but I seriously doubt that the loudest of the sounds in question will be coming from either the Chicago Cubs or Washington Nationals ! . But their long-suffering fans no doubt live in hope .

Now in spite of the buildup to this season and the off-season moves that took place , with a number of high profiled players changing teams and leagues . All of the hyperbole being created will not change what we have seen over the past seasons within the game . The status quo remains the same in terms of the financial balance amongst the teams . The minnows of baseball (small market teams) continue to remain where they always have been and that’s trying to swim upstream trying to catch up the bigger flow of fishes looking for new feeding grounds . Unfortunately , for Selig , his minions, owners and general managers they are simply doing a piss poor job of trying to curtail what is most certainly now on view in-front of them and that’s even with the now transparent events that have taken place . Needless to say , as with all views the various factions the commissioner will have his supporters and detractors. From my own perspective , it may well taking the demise of one of the teams within the game ( simply monitor the ongoing problems of the New York Mets to realize how precarious their situation still remains) before some proactive action is taken by the hierarchy simply for the well-being of the game .

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Picture gallery for your perusal . ( By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size. )

As a fan of baseball would you like to see more oversight from baseball’s hierarchy with demands be made at the end of the season , that all of the teams’ finances are closely scrutinized and audited either by the league’s own in-house financial operatives or by an independent outside source , with their findings being directed to the commissioner’s office and also for the public’s view ? Simply chime in with your own thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter in question and points raised within this piece .

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(1) From left to right Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner , President Barack Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke seen here at the White House speaking with the convened press concerning the issues facing the US economy . AP Photo/ Tom Richardson ….

(2) At the Women in Sports and Events Women of the Year luncheon June 8 at the Marriott Marquis in New York City (from left): Presenter Jonathan Mariner , MLB CFO and EVP, with honoree Wendy Lewis, MLB SVP of diversity and strategic alliances; Sue Rodin, WISE founder and national president; honoree Stacey Allaster , WTA chairman and CEO, with presenter Ari Fleischer , head of Ari Fleischer Sports Communications; and honoree Lisa Baird, USOC -CMO, with presenter Paul Tagliabue , former NFL commissioner. AFP/Getty Images / Mark Gillies ……….

(3) Rob Manfred (left) and Bud Selig are seen here being interviewed by the press prior to the MLB All Star Game in 2011 . Both senior executives were unhappy with the ruling rendered by Shyam Das during the arbitrator’s presiding over the Ryan Braun mediation case . Das sided with the player after it was shown that the testing facility hired by the league failed to follow the proper protocols in its chain of custody in handling Braun’s test samples . AP / Ian Shaw …….

(4) Seattle Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis talks to starting pitcher Felix Hernandez after Hernandez’s four-inning outing against the San Francisco Giants in a spring training baseball game , Sunday, March 11, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….

(5) Chicago Cubs’ Starlin Castro , right, celebrates his home run with Geovany Soto during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in Phoenix on Saturday, March 10, 2012. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …..

(6) Chicago Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair can’t get a glove on a ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers’ Logan Schafer as second baseman Darwin Barney looks on during the second inning of a MLB spring training baseball game in Phoenix, Saturday, March 10, 2012. AP Photo/Chris Carlson ….

(7) Bryce Harper (34) of the Washington Nationals poses during photo day at Space Coast Stadium on February 28, 2012 in Viera, Florida. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann …..

(8) Stephen Strasburg (L), the overall first pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft , arrives for a press conference where he was introduced at Nationals Park August 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Strasburg, a right-handed pitcher from San Diego State University, signed with the Nationals earlier this week with a record contract for an amateur player. Also pictured are Stan Kasten (C) Nationals Team President, and Strasburg’s agent Scott Boras . Getty Images / Win McNamee ……

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