Savor The Moment ……….. Baseball Is Here

Savor The Moment Baseball Is Here

It could take time but there’s the distinct feeling that this baseball season could be one to savor given the uncertainty that now surrounds both the NFL and NBA . MLB Commissioner Bud Selig knows that with the advent of the NFL quite possibly shutting down for the upcoming season and the uncertainty of the NBA but no firm commitment shown by either the league hierarchy and that of the NBPA led by Executive Director Billy Hunter , its President Derek Fisher , its executive committee and player representatives . The NBA has indeed been working continuously with the union to avert any possibility of their own labor dispute .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The NBA itself no doubt wants remain relevant and if anything given the grave financial problems concerning a number of teams around the league the last thing they now need is a stoppage at this juncture.

Inasmuch I hate to say this, I do feel that the big market teams will once again prevail as the season progresses . The success achieved by the likes of the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , St Louis Cardinals , Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies has in part more to do with not only the talent assembled on the field of play but more to do with the financial resources at these teams’ disposal . Granted we’ve seen the Washington Nationals delve into the free agency market to acquire Jayson Werth but in reality the seven year $119 million contract signed by the player I believe had more to do with making a splash by the organization than that of them actually being able to contend within the NL East .

The Nationals haven’t been a force to be reckoned with in eons and I seriously doubt that this season things are liable to change albeit that they’ll have both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg there to lure the fans back to Nationals Ballpark . If the Washington Nationals are to prevail then they will have to contend with the likes of the Atlanta Braves , defending divisional champions the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the New York Mets and Florida Marlins . I’m not so sure that the Nationals are capable of making the jump from an also ran to a contender !

With no team to support and the mere fact that I no longer have any faith in the ownership group of the Florida Marlins I find myself merely now observing the game as a fan of the sport showing no real passion for any team in particular ! The local team within this locale are the Tampa Bay Rays and as the defending AL East champions I think that this will be a season of highs and lows for the team . We’re all no doubt aware of the of the upheaval within the organization as it relates to the departures of Carl Crawford , Rafael Soriano , Carlos Pena and , Matt Garza to name but a few as part of the cost cutting exercise by the front office led by GM Andrew Friedman . Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg apart from being in the midst of a financial expediency plan merely for the franchise to survive , now has to deal with the city of St Petersburg and the city’s intent to hold the Rays to their lease agreement at Tropicana Field .

The organization is looking for a new venue but they and the municipality can’t agree on how best to come to an amicable arrangement that would be mutually beneficial for all of the parties concerned.

A new facility would be no guarantee for a team that struggles to have an element of tangible following . Anyone who’s of the belief that a fanbase of 15,000 hardcore fans will legitimately guarantee competitive and financial success really needs to take a look at what’s happening within the game of baseball . Having won two divisional titles within the AL East , an appearance in the World Series the recent success of the Rays has been heartwarming for the loyal fans of the organization.

I do believe that they can compete but I believe their season will be predicated upon the coaching talents of the coaches and in particular manager Joe Maddon . As astute a manager as he is , his work this season will be his toughest yet as he now has to coach a young team albeit that he the additions of seasoned veterans Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on this roster I simply believe that they will struggle in large part to contend with the likes of Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays within their division.

While I’m under no illusion that the game itself is all about the consistency of the players and how they’ll fare over the course of the regular season . Whereas last season the team’s strengths were in its pitching and in particular their defense . And if they’re to replicate that success then they’ll have to replicate that success and play to their inherent strengths. If anything it will be these situations that will test the fortitude of the Rays and in particular that of Joe Maddon because this most definitely will be the sternest test that he’s faced over the course of professional managing career. Having won an AL pennant and an appearance in the World Series with the subsequent loss the Philadelphia Phillies , success this season for the Rays will be measured by posting a winning record during the season. Anything less than that I believe would be considered to be a failure !

As to the season itself what can we expect of the San Francisco Giants as they look to make a successful defense of their title ? Will they be able to regain that form can it through the regular season and into the postseason ? Or will we merely see a team that struggles in that endeavor to repeat ?

Of the teams that I believe will be amongst the contenders this season I look to the Philadelphia Phillies and that pitching rotation which on the face of it just might be the best there is the game of baseball . Clearly GM Rueben Amaro and Charlie Manuel felt that this was the best way possible for the team to make another successful run with a view to repeating their success of 2009 . The New York Yankees for their part with their payroll and talent that on appearance ought to be good enough to make the postseason may well have their problems because there’s serious question as it regards their pitching , as it remains their Achilles’ heel . If they can’t turn things around on that score then I can’t see this simply relying on their offense alone to see them through.

Amongst the other AL teams that I view as contenders unless the Texas Rangers are able to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke then it could well be one and done . There may well be others contenders within the AL but much of that will be predicated upon their wish to play with real determination. The Minnesota Twins have simply proven that once they get to the postseason they become like a deer caught in headlights and I don’t believe that I could put it anymore succinctly than that !

Now while Spring Training is now upon us and many fans will be pursuing to see their teams as they are at play in the Citrus and Grapefruit League. The preseason itself may well not be much of an indicator as to what we’re expect during the regular season but it should give us something of a way to gauge the teams and their quest to make the postseason . If nothing else it’ll be interesting to see how the players that’ve been acquired by new teams will fare and acclimatize in a new environment . How they fare may well also go a great way in telling us how their respective teams will ultimately do . This season within the game of baseball will certainly be one to savor and the expectations there will undoubtedly be high.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the MLB season and how do you view problems that many of the teams face ? Also in light of the fact that there appears to be lingering rumors that there could very well be team contraction within the game do you believe that it will be ultimately beneficial to the game as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topic raised and other thoughts that you might have on the upcoming MLB season.

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

Picture gallery and slide show details
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(1) Washington Nationals second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr., right, greets Washington Nationals Jeff Frazier (72) after Frazier hit a third inning solo home run off New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia in the Nationals 10-8 victory over the Yankees in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 5, 2011. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(2) Washington Nationals Bryce Harper is shown at the plate in the seventh inning of the Nationals 10-8 victory over the New York Yankees in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 5, 2011. Harper was one for two in the game. He had an eighth inning single. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ……

(3) Clearwater , Fl : of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

(4) Jimmy of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

<p (5) Pitcher Wade Davis (40) of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………..

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MLB News


Tampa Bays history

Tampa Bay Rays’ front office

Tampa Bay Rays’ coaching staff

Tampa Bay Rays roster …… active roster & depth chart

Rays’ team statistics

Tampa Bay Rays’ schedule

Transaction moves made by the Tamp Bay Rays —– transactions


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Eye candy …………………… Polish model Ewa Sonnet

An eyeful of Ewa is better than a handful of nuts don’t you think ?

Ewa

Titillating Ewa and her play things .

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Method Man feat’g ……. Mary J Blige ………….. “I’ll Be There For You /You’re All I Need ”
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The Winds Of Change Are Not About To Happen Anytime Soon ….. Count On It

The Winds Of Change Are Not About To Happen Anytime Soon ….. Count On It

If money is the root of all evil then how is that MLB just can’t deal with its problems which inherently comes down to the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners can’t come up with something that’s beneficial to all of the teams within the game ? I mean what idiot truly believes that the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme actually works ? The league in essence forces teams with a payroll in excess of $150 million to pay a luxury tax that’s deemed appropriate by the league hierarchy. The New York Yankees whose payroll for the 2010 season was in excess of $205 million and the tax levied by the league was in excess of $60 million which was shared amongst the small market teams around the league. As to the overall amounts paid by teams such as the St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Angels , Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies it doesn’t really go that far when one realizes that there isn’t any profit sharing by the MLB and monies derived by sales of league paraphernalia isn’t divided up amongst the teams equally. Calls for a hard and fast salary cap falls on deaf ears within the league hierarchy and team owners because they simply don’t want it and they’d rather the status quo remain the same.

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Slide show .

For many teams much of their revenue is either derived by ticket sales , concessions at home games and via fees charged within their local television market. As to Bud Selig and the game’s hierarchy that this is the most equitable way of formulating a system that is of benefit to the teams I’m under the impression that they’re taking their charge by seeing how the the Congress , Senate and the President’s Cabinet conducts its business. There money is spent like it’s being printed on a daily basis and truth be known it actually is and at the same time the government is borrowing so much money that they’ll never to pay down the national debt much less the ever increasing interest as its appreciates. Now we have this convoluted mess after this latest spending bill in which the House appropriated $1,000,000,000,000 ($1 trillion) in order that it can operate for the upcoming fiscal year. We’ve been told repeatedly that the government will eliminate ‘earmarks’ otherwise known as ‘pork barrel’ spending . And much of this latest bill signed into law by President Barack Obama is filled earmarked projects which he himself , House Majority Leader-designate John Boehner (R-Oh) , Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv) have categorically stated that they would rid the Congress of earmaks themselves and nothing at apparently has changed . by way of those statements .

Clearly much like the idiocy that now happens within the game of baseball when it comes to showing an alarming rate of stupidity there is no difference between Congress and that game’s hierarchy. Of this $ 1,000,000,000,000 there was $8 ,000,000,000 ($ 8 billion) earmarked for pet project of these congressional members . Sixty six hundred (6,600) projects all-told and you’d not be surprised to see how some of this money is spent and what it’s being spent on. Suffice to say that if you’ve an avowed interest in how bat fecal matter affects agriculture then there’ll be something of interest there for you. Or that there’ll be a museum built in the state of Iowa to commemorate the visit made there the late Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev . And here I was under the impression that there was about to be wind of change within Congress ? Not so fast as that’s not about to happen when the incoming designates for the Congress are seated in the next term. And for those of you out there who are of the belief that Tea Party backed designates who’ll assume their seats in the next session of Congress will change things, consider this not one of the candidates in question have come out openly and voiced their disapproval at this latest betrayal of the public’s faith in the current lawmakers seated in both congressional houses. Oh yeah they’ll be a party of change alright can we say more of the same in terms of changes that’ll take place ? Simply put, out with the old and in with a new clique of bloodsucking vampires and miscreants ! .

Baseball for all of its alleged virtues and competitive spirit is not unlike Congress and the federal government , as there too we see a great deal idiocy , wantoned waste of money and not much by way of intelligence or creativity when it comes to dealing with its own financial well being . How else can one explain where its own Commissioner Allan ‘Bud’ Selig has earned in excess of $ 45 million alone in the last three years but yet two teams, the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers were on the brink of bankruptcy and financial collapse because of the financial mismanagement of both teams. The Cubs were placed into bankruptcy filing by then owner Sam Zell merely to avoid having team’s parent company’s (The Tribune Co ) creditors go after the club for monies owed by The Tribune Company . In the case of the Rangers that was because then owner, Tom Hicks’ sporting interests again mishandled , mismanaged and wasn’t willing to acquiesce to the wishes of his creditors in making the payments for the financing agreed to under the terms of the original contracts. The debt amassed by Hicks’ sporting interests tallied into hundreds of millions of dollars . And when the financiers chose to appraise the assets in question with a view to selling them off, he felt aggrieved that they were under-priced and that he would be unable to either retain or in some way make a profit from their sales. I guess those people there in Texas who were of the belief that Hicks was a great businessman may well now have to rethink their position . The Dallas Stars , Texas Rangers and Liverpool FC of the English Premiership League are no longer baubles that he can parade around to friends and acquaintances as part of his once large sports’ empire.

The intransigence now being shown by Selig , MLB hierarchy , team owners and the MLBPA (Players’ Union) could very well lead to the game’s own death knell . As glorious as one feels that the triumphs are for the World Series champions each year, consider this , each off-season the upheavals that take place as teams vie for the free agents out there on the open market or via trades that tend to take place the more ludicrous the demands are . At the same time small market teams can merely watch as they see their big market counterparts and rivals simply feast at the table with an open checkbook and unabated appetite. Somehow the so called level playing field and parity that fans out there try and equate with baseball appears to simply be a misnomer. And those small market teams in the end merely tend to give up and do what they simply do best and that’s to groom their young talent and then in a few years after they’re salary arbitration eligible they will either trade them away for the most part or retain them short term in the hope that they might catch lightning in a bottle.

I can’t help but wonder if during this upcoming season should things not be going right for a team like the jsp?c_id=was”> Washington Nationals , will we see them off-load their big money signing Jayson Werth ? After-all who in their right mind signs a player to a seven year $126 million contract when there’s nothing to suggest that he’s at all the answer to the organization’s most dire needs ? As good as Werth is presumed to be does anyone believe that his acquisition alone will make the Nationals an immediate contender within the NL East right away ? GM Mike Rizzo , team owner Ted Lerner and his partners have spent voluminously to acquire Werth, young phenoms such as Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in the hope that change is in the offing . Get the feeling that the one constant in that division the Philadelphia Phillies are about to let that happen given their own recent outlay for Cliff Lee ? I didn’t think so !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

Many of the pieces I’ve read about baseball here within a number of sites are by fans who are openly enamored with the game on the field of play but when it comes to the off the field issues as it concerns the game’s viability rarely do I read any commentary whatsoever on those issues. I get the impression that they feel it is of no intrinsic value or that they simply don’t understand the business side of the sport and how it relates to the game overall and their own way of life . When baseball chooses not to deal with many of its issues it’s usually the fans who in the end will end up suffering . The only change that has ever really taken place within the game was the social change engineered at the time stave off racial stereotyping as to the game’s openly racist ardor. Since then there’s been very little to suggest that things have changed for the better in terms the hierarchy showing any common sense as it relates to its future and the financial viability of a number of its teams. Simply look around and tell me what you see that would suggest to you that things are about to change within the game from that particular aspect ? Chime on in with your own thoughts on this matter and any other concerning the game as you view it and its future .

NB: The tax levied by the league isn’t based at the threshold but as a percentage of the gross payroll salary paid by the team within that fiscal year.

Alan aka tophatal ……………………… 🙂

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Nicole

Eye candy …………. Nicole Pankey .Don’t hate simply appreciate.

Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry considering the ludicrous events that’ve taken place over the past twenty four hours . First the bombshell within college football has Florida’s __ Urban Meyer announcing his stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team albeit that he’ll still coach the team in their Outback Bowl meeting against Joe Paterno’s __ Penn State football team . While I find this something of a shock I can also see the comical side of this all given the ongoing criticism that has taken shape within the local press here in the Central Florida area. What might be even more impalpable is the way with which Meyer chose to make this announcement and the circumstances brought up to validate his choice.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Urban Meyer had once before resigned from his post citing the fact that he’d undergone health issues, now he states that because of his familial issues in being away from his children for days on end he feels that he now owes it to them and that he needs to be at their side. Am I missing something here because there are a number of college coaches around the game of college football that are in a similar position being that they are also parents ? So what is it here that Meyer is now trying to have us believe at this moment in time ? A 7-5 season for the Gators wherein they fell short not only in their national title aspirations but also within the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where the Auburn Tigers led by their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Cam Newton would prevail over Steve Spurrier’s ___ South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC title game (56-17). Given that Newton was also once a member of the Gators’ football team before unceremoniously having to leave the campus over irregularities concerning a stolen laptop computer as well as allegations of cheating on a number of tests. What we now have within the local press are a number of journalists questioning Meyer’s choices as it regards game time decisions and his personnel. John Brantley , Tim Tebow’s successor has had something of an inconsistent season and although the coaching staff has used number schemes that didn’t prove effective it simply showed the frailties and weaknesses of this team and the play in particular of the Gators this season. So much for the pundits who lauded Meyer for having a top notch recruiting class this season as it now seems to have been to no avail.

Now while Meyer has stepped down the talk of his successor is now rife as to who many believe should be the next coach of the Florida Gators. Amongs those being named are Jon Gruden , Bobby Petrino , Bob Stoops , Jim Harbaugh , Chris Petersen and Dan Mullen to name but a few . Gruden and Stoops to my mind won’t be particularly interested in the position given the fact that both are well compensated in their present jobs . Gruden is on air analyst with ESPN/ABC while Stoops has one of the most lucrative contracts in all of college football along with very lucrative endorsement deals with several high profiled businesses within state of Oklahoma . Somehow I for one don’t believe that the Gators can match that sort of financial wherewithal ! Gruden while in the service of ABC/ESPN is still being paid the remainder of his contract after his abrupt firing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and if anything the former NFL coach probably covets any one of a number of vacancies that will arise once the season is over . So any talk of Gruden being interested coaching a college program seems to be out of the question and is simply just talk . As to who will ultimately succeed Meyer will rest in the interview process and the decision made by AD Jeremy Foley .

It’s funny but when I heard that the Washington Nationals had signed Jayson Werth to a lucrative seven year $126 million contract I thought that it was a mistake but then I realized who Werth’s agent happened to be and it was none other than uber-agent Scott Boras agent to the stars. This sports agent has been the main provocateur within the game that has seen salaries now escalate to unheard of heights. Need I remind you that he has been influential in making Alex Rodriguez the highest paid player in the game and will have amassed in excess of $500 million in earnings from the game as a salaried player without taking into account off field endorsements. As this idiocy now prevails within the game no one from the game’s hierarchy much less the MLBPA , __ general managers or team owners seem to question the direction that the game is taking in terms of its financial viability. I understand that the Nationals and in particular the team’s GM Mike Rizzo wants to make a big splash but given the fact that Nationals have struggled to be competitive over the past few seasons, I see nothing really changing in spite of the signing of Werth and the promise of Stephen Strasburg . And less we forget that the organization is also counting on former high school phenom Bryce Harper to provide an impact for the team and at the same lure the fans to the Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington, DC.

Fans around the game have to be perplexed by what they’re now seeing as teams now seek to make their best attempt to be viewed as viable contenders. Am I mistaken here but the usual suspects will always be around no matter how many of these teams look to be part of what’s turning out not to be a level playing field at all. Now as the Winter Meetings have ended amongst the team owners and general managers the most prized free agent still remains on the open market and two teams are left standing to battle it out with the prize being the signature and services of Cliff Lee are the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers . And while Lee remains coveted the Rangers and in particular team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels . And the team has offered the pitcher a six year contract that’s estimated to in the region of $120 million , it’s said that the Yankees are prepared to offer Lee a seven year contract paying between $130 to $145 million , with the seventh year being an option year for the player and team.

One tries to assimilate this and make some sense of it all but I for one no longer find it a complexity at all. It merely now boils down to the avarice of the owners , players and the game’s hierarchy itself. No one seems to question the fact that the teams are now spending money like it’s going out of fashion but then again given the mendacity with which the government has chosen to run up the federal deficit and national debt should we be at all surprised to see the idiocy now taking place within the game of baseball ? I know at the end of the day the decision to be made by Lee will be his alone but at the same time even if his wife still has her doubts over the behavior of the New York Yankees’ fans and the profanity laced taunts she faced while attending the ALCS games at Yankees’ Stadium . It goes without saying that the player may well err on the side of wanting the money over remaining in Texas with the team where his postseason performances prior to the World Series were very exhilarating .

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Picture gallery for your perusal

The future of the Gators may well be bright but we won’t actually know that until a new coach is hired by the AD and the identity that he wishes to bring to the team. As to how the Gators’ fans may well now view this all remains to be seen but as of now the well wishers are there for Meyer and for what he’s achieved for the program . But there also the detractors who no doubt feel somewhat betrayed by his actions . Make of it what you will . As to what’s now transpiring this off-season within the game of baseball let’s just say that even with Carl Crawford’s signing by the Boston Red Sox and their seven year offer of $140 million this won’t be the last time that we’ll see these type of maneuvers take place within the game. This off season Scott Boras made sure that the game of baseball remains where it is right in the doldrums and the fans of the game have remained bewildered by what has taken place . That my friends is how one saves face while not wanting to win friends and influence people !

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the Urban Meyer stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team and your own thinking as to the Washington Nationals signing of Jayson Werth ? By all means simply leave a comment on this topic and as always thanks for the continued support.

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………… 🙂 ___ 😦 __ 😛

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Tiara

Eye candy …. Tiara