Be there or be square …

Be there or be square
We have already reached the half-way point of the MLB season and the league is about to stage the eighty-sixth edition of baseball’s mid-season event staged between teams from the AL and NL. At this point in 2014, the divisions offered no real pointers as to how the regular season would end or the outcome of the postseason for that matter. Granted, fans were excited to witness the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during the postseason, before faltering against the eventual champions the San Francisco Giants.

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The 2015 MLB All Star Game held at the Great American Ballpark , home to the Cincinnati Reds will provide the fans in attendance as well the television viewers the chance to see their favorite players perform in the mid-season classic. For the Kansas City Royals and their league-leading number of players chosen to be among the list of players representing the American League. This provides the franchise with the opportunity to still ride on the crest of the waves provided from last season’s success, albeit they came up short in the World Series. This season the Royals have been on a tear leading the AL Central , leaving the rest of the division in their wake.

I certainly believe the Detroit Tigers have misjudged the competitiveness of their divisional rivals and the zeal being shown by this Ned Yost managed team. Remarkable as things may well appear to be, given the fortunes of the Kansas City Royals prior to last season’s postseason appearance and then their letdown in the World Series . Things might well prove to be going well for the ball-club, but the struggles continue for a franchise that finds it hard to retain players given the financial shackles placed upon them by a front office and owner , David Glass , who has not been always willing to make a big splash of signing a marquee and productive free agent.

For years Glass was seen as something of a cheapskate, not always willing to pay or place a winning product on the field. Needless to say, claims of the Royals’ owner simply wanting to make use of the monies made available by way of the luxury tax, became one of the many reasons why allegations were made concerning the ball-club’s dismal record over the years. However, over the past five seasons the fruits of the organization’s labor has borne fruit with the development of several players from within their farm system. A number of those players were part of last season’s success for the Kansas City Royals and now they are again stepping up to the plate.

The Royals are a dismal 5-5 in their last ten games, their last victory coming with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. They will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday afternoon when they host their AL rivals at Kauffman Stadium , Kansas City , Missouri. Matt Moore will take the mound for the Rays against the Royals’ Chris Young . I believe the contest is likely to be a competitive one, with the Rays looking to make some inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees.

For two straight seasons the Oakland A’s were see as creme-de-la-creme within the AL West having won the division two years in succession and with it came all of the applause of making the postseason. Alas, the appearances in 2012 and 2013 were short-lived and fell short of the expectations of the A’s famed general manager Billy Beane. Countered by the fact the A’s are one of the least supported teams in all of baseball and their finances menial at best , the continued struggles for the franchise to compete has been a hard one for the organization and the ownership group headed by lead partner Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley . The A’s home venue , the O Coliseum is an archaic stadium, no longer seen as conducive to the team’s needs. Losing 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners has put something of an exclamation mark on what has become a dire season for the Oakland A’s , leading many to believe , Billy Beane and team manager Bob Melvin may begin a fire sale purging themselves of their impending free agents and their high-salaried players off the team’s roster.

Oakland has been looking to parlaying its success , building on their momentum to obtain a new venue with participation from the Oakland Alameda County Government . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization. If there isn’t winning product on the field of play, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to get the financial backing available to get such a proposition underway and actually becoming a reality. The Oakland A’s will be looking to get back to winning ways when they take on the New York Yankees in an away game when the two teams meet on Tuesday evening. Taking to the mound for the visiting team will be Sonny Gray as he faces the Yankees’ starting pitcher Nathan Evoldi .

No major fallout in the St Louis Cardinals’ hacking scandal, with the Cardinals announcing the termination of scouting director Chris Correa . While there seems to be no suggestion that Correa acted alone , I personally believe he was the sacrificial lamb in this whole debacle ! GM John Mozeliak has been less than forthright in seeking to explain the ball-club’s actions and the obtaining of sensitive information from the Houston Astros . For its part , the MLB hierarchy has issued no public statement concerning the matter and it seems unlikely that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will take any action against one of baseball’s most esteemed organizations . We can have fans up in arms about the issue of steroid cheats , the nonsensical and irrational behavior of players in the NFL as well as their misogynistic behavior towards women, blatant racism , homophobia, of which the same traits can also be found within the NBA. Yet God forbid , the fact we now have a baseball team now blatantly committing a criminal offense and not a fucking whimper is heard from the anal retentive sports’ fan, let alone their being any great measures being undertaken by the media to actually conduct any type of investigation behind the actions of the St Louis Cardinals.

News’ cycles being what they are , I guess there’s now more interest in a bigot such as Donald Trump , his ambition to become the Republican Presidential candidate , or idiots within the South Carolina State Legislature suggesting the Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism. Last I looked , racism was still alive and well , long before Dylan Roof took it upon himself to slay nine African-Americans, as he sought to single-handed to begin a race war. Oh my God , not another fucked up suburban white kid , with the intelligence of a lump of shit, looking for attention. Was this mother-fucker still sucking on his Mom’s tit before he went on this rampage , having not been able to gain any attention from his buddies in high school ? Or was it the fact, the lure of the KKK was more alluring, than perhaps having his cherry popped or the claims as some have suggested , Roof was angered by the fact his ex-girlfriend had begun a relationship with an African-American male. Hence the saying, “ once you go black, you never go back “ . White boy , ain’t got no lead in his pencil.

The St Louis Cardinals are the runaway locomotives within the NL , leading with the NL Central by a comfortable margin and likely to have their division all sewn up before we reach the month of September . Mike Matheny and his team have been rarely troubled over the course of their season and it begs the question can the Cardinals be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant ? St Louis alongside , the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are far in a way the best teams within the National League at this point of the season, but as we all know the baseball schedule is one of two halves at the culmination of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule. Having demolished the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon the Cardinals will seek to follow up that victory by looking to inflict further pain upon their NL Central based rivals.

The events surrounding baseball’s mid-season spectacle might well be more entertaining and fan-friendly than can be found with the NBA All Star Game , the NHL All Star Game and that of the NFL’s Pro Bowl . Fans do get the chance to meet with their idols and the players tend to be more appreciative than their counterparts within football , basketball and hockey. Yet for all all the praise and reverence , baseball still finds itself with a dwindling television audience and a marketing strategy that might as well have been thought up by a bunch of drunken fools. The All Star Game itself carries with it, the winning league having home game advantage in the World Series , but even with that as an incentive there doesn’t really seem to be much else that the event really has going for it. Baseball’s Home Run Derby elicits about as much excitement as seeing an eighty-year old wrinkled female up on stage performing a striptease performance , with Vanilla Ice’s hit ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ playing in the background. The efforts of the contestants might well be admired , but in reality, what is it the fans are really getting to witness ? Efforts of real human endeavor ? If that’s meant to be the case with regard to the Home Run Derby , then I would rather watch paint dry or the mating ritual of a pair of elephants. At least there is a sense of realism with what’s being shown on screen , rather the implied implication the contest is something of real physical demand.

Baseball is now at a crossroads , with the career of its greatest ambassador of the last two decades having come to a close last season , there is no Derek Jeter for the fans to follow. The exploits of Mike Trout can provide a great deal of excitement , but he is now playing for a franchise which has consistently under-achieved over the past six seasons. Trout is not to blame, but clearly the Los Angeles Angels are in a state of disarray. In the NL , Bryce Harper is finally fulfilling the potential many of us felt he had , but his lack of maturity and the fact no one on the Washington Nationals’ roster or managerial staff was prepared to hold the player accountable, led to his slow development on all fronts.

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Are you a fan of the MLB All Star Game and if you could level one criticism of the event, what would it be ? Also , which team do you believe has been the biggest disappointment and which club do you feel has been the biggest surprise ?

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The Killer Elite ….

The Killer Elite

Well, baseball season (MLB) is almost upon us , with certain position players due to report to their respective teams within the next few days. For a number of franchises , this off-season has proven to be dramatic, suspenseful and dare one say, even exhilarating ? The MLB Postseasonprovided us with several stories and theplot-lines came thick and fast , so much so,that not even the script writers of Hollywood could have provided us with more drama. Who could’ve foreseen the Kansas City Royals blowing the frames off the doors, as they brushed aside their postseason opponents with a great deal of ease , only to succumb to the wily experience of Bruce Bochy, his managerial staff and the players of the San Francisco Giants , in dramatic fashion of an intense seven-game thriller of a World Series. A perfect ending to the 2014 MLB regular and postseason. Some might say, the Cinderella Story of the Royals would have been the perfect ending, but it was not to be, simply because the lack of postseason experience on the Royals’ roster of last season.

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With baseball’s Winter Meetings taking place in the aftermath of the Fall Classic, deals were being made with an alarming speed and regularity. Topping them all , was Giancarlo Stanton’s record- breaking deal with the Miami Marlins. Leaving many flabbergasted and surprised by the contract’s value and length , never-mind where the financial resources might be coming from, considering the Marlins’ menial attendance record for the Marlins’ Ballpark, in Miami , Florida and the fact, since its inception, it has been rarely filled to capacity. That asides, should Mike Redmond and his coaching staff not have this team not in a position to win the NL East or actually gain a postseason berth. The common thread of thought, appears to be the front office led by Michael Hill will be quick to pull the trigger on dealing Stanton elsewhere, rather than having to bear the brunt of a $25 million payout, in the first year of the deal.

From my own standpoint, I believe the Miami Marlins will be hard-pressed to make a serious enough challenge against what appears to be not only something of a revamped Washington Nationals’ lineup , but also on paper, what might be the ” deepest” roster in the entire National League (NL). It will be interesting to see how these two NL East teams are likely to fare over the course of their regular season series in 2015. If the Marlins are to have any semblance of success this season, then Giancarlo Stanton and his teammates will have to be playing their very best baseball right out of the starting gates on Opening Day of the regular season schedule. A one hundred and sixty-two game arduous slog, will prove to be a matter of attrition, stealth and a great deal tenacity on the part of the players and managerial staff, as things begin to play out.

Rob Manfred has succeeded Bud Selig as the MLB Commissioner and as the highest-ranking executive within the game. Whether or not Manfred can succeed where his predecessor repeatedly failed, will be dependent upon how he deals with the issues that have bedeviled baseball and the league hierarchy’s often contentious relationship with the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . The union’s recently elected Executive Director , Tony Clark is a former player whose career in the Majors could be deemed passable. Clark’s predecessor, Michael Weiner’s death cut short his tenure in an executive role, leaves the newly elected union leader as the players’ voice in the collective bargaining agreement for all issues involving the game, beyond the union’s own failure to deliver their concise formal statement on the matter of steroid abuse and the still prevalent deliberate misuse of performance enhancing drugs at the Major League Level and especially within the Minor League , where it now seems to rampant, but widely reported by the mainstream media, whose priority just seem to be the events as they unfold at the Major League Level. Yet, they would have the fans believe, their reporting of their so-called facts, has never been clouded or simply a white-wash, when it comes to the truth or their un-avowed bias of their reported stories .

Coming off his first win of the AL MVP, of which in the future I am sure there will be others, Mike Trout will be looking to cement his position as not only the best young player in baseball, but also the best player to have been drafted in the game since 2009 , the year he was taken by the Los Angeles Angels. Trout in his brief career in the Majors to date, has now become the best player on the Angels’ starting lineup, which has been devoid of leadership. Some might believe it to be an astonishing statement, when you consider the fact, there are experienced veterans on this team, where Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton and C J Wilson are the most recognizable names. The fact remains however, Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff have not put the Angels in a serious position win the World Series in spite of their most recent appearance in the 2014 postseason . The Angels’ missteps there were well-chronicled and something of a major disappointment to their fans after the team’s triumph in succeeding the Oakland Athletics as the AL West divisional champions.

This season might prove to be a horse for a different course as I expect the A’s to rebound back after a disappointing sojourn in 2014 ! If there is one thing I do know, it is not to underestimate a general manager such as Billy Beane , whose portrayal by Brad Pitt in the hit movie ” Moneyball” has just about everyone convinced they could become a great front office executive in Major League Baseball. Separating fact from fiction, we all know what Beane has been able construct and quite remarkably succeed in repeating, and that is to make the A’s competitive team in spite of a cash-starved ownership group and the very fact , Bud Selig has somehow refused to come to the organization’s aid in assisting them to obtain a new baseball stadium. Though somehow , the former commissioner was front and center when Citi-Field, Yankees’ Stadium and Marlins’ Ballpark took shape at the expense of the taxpayers within the cities of New York and Miami , where the final cost exceeded for all three venues exceeded $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000). Never let it be said, Selig doesn’t know how to maneuver his way around the corridors of power, while making so many political dignitaries at the municipal , state and federal level look like complete morons. Personally, I don’t believe it to be that difficult a task whether or not it’s a Democrat or Republican, whose largesse is being sought. Simply look at the idiocy of the political bickering now taking place at the national level and the continued partisan discord between both parties and then ask yourself, why you would be willing to trust a congressional member from either party , let alone someone at the municipal or state level ? Add in the fact, Bud Selig’s, greatest accomplishments as commissioner could be written on the back of a first class stamp and be posted to the North Pole , addressed to Santa Claus, for all of the use that would do. Yet I digress, as Claus based on a fable, has been far more successful in bringing joy to many , than anything accomplished by Selig during his tenure as the lead executive in Major League Baseball.

Mike Trout has more than repaid the Angels’ faith in him, which has resulted in a contract commensurate to his talents. Trout’s maturity is there to be seen and he has most definitely become the face, voice and undoubted leader of this team. As to whether or not his teammates are now willing to follow his lead can be best judged by your perception of their overall performances during the 2014 postseason, where Trout I believe, led by example, but there was no one else around willing to assist their teammate.

Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto has to be wondering , if not second-guessing himself as to whether or not it was prudent investing over $300 million of team owner Arte Moreno’s money into acquiring Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Moreno is known to be a shrewd businessman with a keen eye for detail and seeking out deals, which will more than maximize a return on that particular investment. Having made his name showing a keen eye for an investments specifically in the world of sports and broadcasting. One thing becoming abundantly clear at this juncture and it is, with each passing season where Mike Scioscia comes up short, he one step closer to becoming the next managerial casualty in the world of baseball. If Scioscia fails this season, then he is likely to become one the first casualty of an ongoing policy which has become the norm not just in baseball but in professional and collegiate sports. The dismissal of a coach or manager, as the case maybe.

The Angels will begin their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners , with the first of those games on 5th April, 2015 at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington,. However, before Los Angeles embarks upon their regular season schedule, they have their Spring Training Schedule and the chance for Mike Scioscia and his staff to assess their non roster invitees as well as their newly acquired players from this off-season. Chances are, several players will play their part in contributing to Angels’ endeavors over the course of their schedule.

For the third straight season the Los Angeles Dodgers will enter the year with the highest payroll in baseball. Several of the players on the roster are among the highest paid players in the game by way of their salaries and contractual compensation. With the franchise having failed miserably in the postseasons of 2013 and 2014 , each time falling to their nemesis the St Louis Cardinals, most notably in the NLDS last season.

Magic Johnson has been the front officeimage of the Dodgers’ organization, but now with Andrew Friedman having been brought in to oversee the franchise’s Baseball Operations, it does appear Johnson will have to take a back seat to to the new front office executive as he looks to create a resurgent and competitive on field product this upcoming season. That tall order has led to the departures of Matt Kemp , Josh Beckett and several other players during the off-season as Friedman looks to provide Don Mattingly and his staff with the tools needed for the Dodgers to win their first World Series title since 1988 .

While I believe the Dodgers to be a good team, they are far from being a great team and that is what is needed in the postseason if the franchise is to make it their ambition to win a world title. NL MVP and Cy Young winner in 2014 Clayton Kershaw , teammates Zack Greinke , Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig will have to show a great deal more than what was witnessed during 2014, especially during the postseason.

Don Mattingly and his team will begin their regular season with a home game at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles California against the San Diego Padres on the 6th April, 2015. For Matt Kemp, it provides the player with the chance to renew old acquaintances with former teammates, as he gets the chance to play at the stadium where some of the most famous exploits of his career took place. Padres’ GM A J Preller and team manager Bud Black will be looking to make this team worthy challengers to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants this season within the NL West , which I believe will be one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball this upcoming season.

Where would we be without some drama being provided by baseball’s most illustrious ball-club? This season will be the first time in over two decades , where the now retired Derek Jeter will not be part of the New York Yankees’ opening day lineup. Major changes have taken place within the organization , among the playing staff, with several players departing , while the Yankees seek to reshape the roster, which at its core, is still one, with several players at the twilight of their careers . It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice, in the midst of this all, Alex Rodriguez was welcomed back into the fold, but I feel that the player, while being closely scrutinized, he likely to make another misstep and as before, then look to apportion blame elsewhere for his own misdeeds, as so often been the case over the past eight and a half years. If nothing else, Rodriguez has been more consistent off the field with his repeated lies than he has been on the field for the Yankees during the time-span in question.

The New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has continually been afforded the means necessary to craft a team, he believes capable of winning a World Series, but last season’s disastrous showing had more to do with disjointed performances and an aging roster riddled with injuries throughout the year. Out the window it appears, has been the notion of paring down payroll to a manageable size , because clearly Cashman , Joe Girardi , the managerial staff and ownership place no faith in the organization’s farm system. Granted, a number of players made appearances at various points during last season, having been promoted up from AAA, but I believe, it had more to do with Cashman being at a loss, not willing to splurge and taking something of conservative approach. Now it all comes down to, which player on the roster can Joe Girardi look to , in providing the leadership necessary for the Yankees to be successful this upcoming season ?

The New York Yankees have a great deal of money tied up in players , such as Alex Rodriguez, C C Sabathia , Masahiro Tanaka , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran . Salary commitments for the New York Yankees in 2015 will top $210 million , which pales into comparison to the monies being paid out this year ($267 million) by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Inasmuch, as many try to point out there is parity within the game of baseball, there is nothing at all to really bear this out, because in essence, what it all does come down to more than anything else_______ talent on the field of play and extremely good managerial skills. Overlooking that premise and simply using the analogy of parity suggests pragmatism and laziness on the part of those watching the game. However, it should be noted, of the participants in last season’s postseason, several were among the top paying teams in all of baseball.

I certainly do not believe Alex Rodriguez can or will provide the leadership sought by Joe Girardi ! Among the players on the team, where the trait needed for team success to become a reality, the most likely candidate would appear to be Jacoby Ellsbury, a player ,whose career with the Boston Red Sox was well-chronicled, albeit, his last season and a-half with the franchise was more injury riddled, with a noted decline in his productivity . Last season , there were glimpses of Ellsbury back to almost his very best and providing the leadership sought which will surely be missed with the retirement of Derek Jeter ! The Yankees will kick off their regular season schedule with a three-game home series’ opener against divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays , beginning on the 6th April, 2015. The AL East , where both teams reside, will likely prove to be another competitive season, with the Baltimore Orioles looking to fend off the challenge of their their divisional foes in defense of the divisional title , while also seeking to steer away the rest of the AL and their NL opponents in 2015.

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What are you hoping to see come out of the first two months of the MLB season ? Also, at the half-way point of the schedule which teams and players do you believe will have made something of a statement as to their intent ? Merely leave a comment as you see fit on the questions raised and anything else you believe relevant to the article.

o_O

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(1) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner , left, and manager Bruce Bochy stand by the trophies after their 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Bumgarner’s scintillating postseason displays were just one of the many reasons why the Giants prevailed in a drama driven and thrilled packed World Series . AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(2) Oct 29 , 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig (right) presents San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (left) , chief executive officer Larry Baer (middle) and general manager Brian Sabean with the Commissioners Trophy after game seven of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium . Charlie Neibergall/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

(3) Howie Kendrick (47) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Albert Pujols (5) after driving in the game winning run in the tenth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 28, 2014 in Anaheim, California. Far right , is Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. rtfied;a222) Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld

(4) Mike Trout (27) celebrates with Mike Scioscia (14) of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squire

(5) Giancarlo Stanton is seen here hitting a home run off Jonathan Pettibone during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies . The Marlins’ slugger signed a $325 million contract with the franchise, making it the most expensive deal in baseball history and the most expensive in any of the four major professional team sports in North America . AP Photo / Alison Fisher

(6) A pensive looking Alex Rodriguez looks up from the dugout to the scoreboard during a game . The New New York Yankees’ third baseman has not played in regular season game for the ball-club since the latter half of the 2013 season . Having sat out all of last year due to a league mandated suspension, Rodriguez will be returning to a team , missing two of its most popular players after the retirement of Derek Jeter and the departure of Ichiro Suzuki who during the off season signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins . It remains to be seen whether or not Alex Rodriguez can contribute to a team lacking leadership and a great deal of productivity in terms of overall offense. AP Photo / Keith Slocum

(7) New York Yankees’ teammates Derek Jeter , left and Jacoby Ellsbury leave the field after a game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . Jeter’s retirement after a two-decade long career with the organization , leaves a tremendous void and vacuum, with their now being viewed as what is likely no real on-field leadership. Ellsbury might be seen as the ideal replacement for such a role. but there doesn’t appear to any signs from management or the front office as to whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury will succeed Jeter as the captain of the New York Yankees . A role of stature which has only ever been held by five players during the franchise’s illustrious history during the past four decades. AP Photo / Keith Wallace
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It’s the silly season and we’re having fun …

It’s the silly season and we’re having fun …

MLB’s off-season has proven to be a .folly of sorts, with teams now spending at will , capriciously on free agents who are likely to be overpaid for their alleged productivity. Many of these franchises will be looking to position themselves for the arrival of Spring Trainingand the regular season which begins on the 4th April , 2015. Reigning World Series’ champions the San Francisco Giants will enter the season having won their third title in the past five seasons, with both Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean back to lead this roster as they seek a fourth win of baseball’s most prestigious prize.

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San Francisco wasted no time in re-signing their World Series MVP pitcher Madison Bumgarner whose postseason exploits were simply scintillating and beyond the perception of the most ardent fans of the game. Bumgarner in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals was a one-man wrecking crew bewildering the Royals’ hitters, leaving them dismayed and completely perplexed .

Heading into 2015, San Francisco will be without another of their postseason heroes with 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval having been allowed to leave the team as unrestricted free agent . Sandoval signed a very lucrative contract joining the Boston Red Sox where he is likely to be hitting in the Red Sox batting order ahead of DH David Ortiz. GM Brian Sabean may have felt it prudent to eschew Sandoval’s financial desires , instead choosing to take his chances with a projected lineup of Buster Posey , Hunter Pence , Travis Ishikawa, Gregor Blanco, Brandon Crawford , Joaquin Arias and a number of players likely to be promoted from their minor league system as the club seeks to bolster an offense that wasproductive throughmuch of the regular and postseason.

There may well have been doubters of Sabean, who made the decision allowing the departure of Pablo Sandoval , but the mercurial general manager has been quick to make a number of moves likely to improve the lineup for the upcoming season. One would be hard pressed to question the moves of an executive, thought to be among the best general managersin all of baseball. Brian Sabaen’s record speaks for itself. San Francisco is likely to be a considerable favorite to win the NL West division in spite of the likely moves being made by the Los Angeles Dodgers under their new Head of Baseball Operations & SVP Andrew Friedman.

Friedman’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays caught off, just about everyone by surprise, including his former fellow executives , the fans and analysts around the game. Add in the fact, the team’s manager Joe Maddon also made an abrupt departure to take a similar position with the Chicago Cubs and one might suggest the franchise got hit with a ” double-whammy ” . Matthew Silverman has succeeded Andrew Friedman and the ball-club hired former hometown hero Kevin Cash to succeed Maddon as the team’s new manager. How this will all be viewed by the Rays’ fans will now be open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. Cash is a first time manager with no managerial experience, though he does have playing experience with an eight-year career in the Majors having played one season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005.

Having spent in excess of half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) by way of salary commitments over the past two seasons. It is understandable, that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ executives felt it necessary to take a fresh look at the direction this ball-club was taking. In explicably, they had the best pitcher in baseball, but Clayton Kershaw’s postseason productivity had to be considered a monumental disaster. The team may well have pinned their hopes on Kershaw this past postseason, but the player was nowhere to be seen with his ERA among the highest of the starting pitchers during the 2014 playoffs’ foray. It would be easy to suggest the Dodgers’ pitching was their Achilles’ Heel, but that would be the farthest thing from the truth their offense being almost anemic and pedantic during this Fall.

It is my belief Don Mattingly and his managerial staff did little to provide his players with any impetus or the desire to win, relying merely on the fact a jigsaw puzzle of ill-fitting pieces made up of highly overpaid stars would be enough to get the job done. It will be interesting to see whether not Andrew Friedman will be able to keep the team’s payroll for the upcoming season at a manageable level and by that I mean lower than the $200 million threshold , where baseball’s luxury tax kicks in ,with team, then having to pay a penalty for going above the aforementioned figure.

Money would be of no object, where the Dodgers’ is almost half that of the value of several teams within baseball and then you add in the fact , the organization has a two-decade $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) television deal , which reaps this organization $150 million annually. Not bad for a ball-club, whose lastWorld Series’ triumph came as far back as 1988. Magic Johnson, Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly , Peter Guber and several other partners are intent on making this franchise the most recognized within the game. Certainly , the Los Angels Dodgers’ name still resonates within the game of baseball , but that is all it has been able to do , because success remains hard to come by, with an uncompetitive brand on the field of play, especially with regard to their two most recent postseason appearances.

Bold moves might not be necessary, but there has to be a shakeup in the Dodgers’ roster, if they are to be seen as credible challengers this upcoming season. Dan Haren, Dee Gordon, and Hanley Ramirez have since departed from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster and there is the belief that several otherswill meet the same fate as those jettisoned this off-season. Pitcher Josh Beckett having pitched a “no-hitter” for the team during the regular season in a 6-0 thrashing of the Philadelphia Phillies achieved little of note in the aftermath of the achievement. A free agent in 2015 , it seems highly unlikely he will be making a return to the Dodgers unless it is at a reduced salary , bearing in mind he was paid $15.75 million in the final year of his original eight-year deal signed with the Boston Red Sox.

I’ve often been told how insightful the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are said to be, but to my mind, I find the fans of the this ball-club eternally optimistic. For whatever reason, year in and year out, repeatedly , I am told this franchise can survive on their meager pickings and a fan-base that in reality , is no more than an average of 15,000 hardcore fans and that is in spite of the reported attendance levels for the team’s home games at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,, In what can only be described as another down year for this organization. The Tampa Bay Rays finished a distant fourth behind the AL East division winners the Baltimore Orioles , nineteen games out of first place . If that wasn’t a sign of how deplorable the team’s season was said to be, then consider the fact, they missed gaining a wildcard berth within the AL by eleven games . Inasmuch, as Joe Maddon and his coaching staff tried to motivate the team, the talent or level of play simply was not good enough to make a sustainable challenge over the course of the season.

The Rays are never really going to be able to compete with the likes of the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees , Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers , Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs , much less teams considered to their market equivalent in terms of size. Furthermore , pointing to the fact the Rays are profitable without acknowledging the fact they are able to eke out such gains by way of an assist from the league hierarchy , indicates the complete lack of knowledge among this team’s fan-base. Yet, in spite of it all, the success attained by the Rays cannot be overlooked. Now comes the hard part, with the loss of such assets as Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon , how will this organization seek to rebound and reacquaint themselves to former heights of glory achieved ? Matthew Silverman comes in with a clean slate , but having to fill an extremely large pair of shoes left by his predecessor Andrew Friedman. Kevin Cash faces an even more daunting task , having to follow in the footsteps of the club’s most beloved and successful manager , Joe Maddon. This upcoming season might be the toughest this organization has had to face on record. Upheavals aside, the ball-club has reverted to ways of old , as they jettisoned players during and prior to the off-season, seeking to pare down the team’s payroll.

You can tell a great deal about an organization , when they are on the verge of losing their perhaps their best player. So, it was with the New York Yankees , as Derek Jeter’s career came to an uncompromising end. No postseason heroics or the raising of another World Series’ title, just a disappointing year for the player and the ball-club as Joe Girardi came up with a litany of excuses for a lackluster year-long performance by a team of undeserving players . Granted, the Yankees finished second in the AL East, yet, it was simply fitting the division’s champions, the Baltimore Orioles fell at the very first hurdle, when they succumbed to the Kansas City Royals in the championship series’ of the postseason, losing emphatically 4-0 in the ALCS. Emphasizing how poor the play just happened to be in the AL East, all season long.

A payroll of just over $200 million , much of it misspent , brought about lackluster returns, with Brian Cashman and members of the front office at a loss to explain what went wrong last season. An aging core of players who failed to deliver, with the likes of CC Sabathia , Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner , Alfonso Soriano , Brian McCann , Hiroki Kuroda, Shane Greene , Mark Teixeira and others were said to be a core unit, this ball-club could rely on, to bring back some semblance of success, Instead they performed like a damp squib, lit to celebrate an event , but they simply fail to light up that event and make it a success. In the aftermath of it all, Brian Cashman is now said to be counting on the return of disgraced Yankees’ star Alex Rodriguez to resurrect the fortunes of this franchise in 2015. I liken that premise, of trying to place a square peg into a round hole ! Nothing about Rodriguez’s return to the game, will be of benefit to the sport, much less to the benefit of the organization. Idiotically, Cashman , Hank and Hal Steinbrenner stood idly by, as the player lied repeatedly, about his wantoned use of steroids, but they failed to reprimand the Rodriguez , leaving it instead , to a bumbling and incompetent hierarchy, first led by Bud Selig , who has handed over the reins to the equally inept , Rob Manfred ,succeeding his predecessor as the new incoming Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

What has become abundantly clear, is the very fact, the Yankees’ managerial staff and Cashman have no implicit faith in their farm system and the talent said to be on display within the lower rungs of the organization. The franchise has now become overly reliant on buying its way out of trouble rather than seeking to groom the alleged talent within its ranks. This off-season , we are likely to see an influx of new faces and a completely new lineup when the team takes to the field in their first regular season game of 2015. That contest, will be their home season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City, New York on the 6th April , 2015,.

There is no denying , as a professional sports’ franchise owner and businessman Jerry Reinsdorf has tasted success at the highest levels. His ownership of the Chicago Bulls during the well-chronicled era of Michael Jorda’s dominance of the NBA and their six NBA titles highlighted one of the brightest eras of the NBA’s history. Yet, the forlorn years of his ownership of the Chicago White Sox has brought that particular baseball franchise one championship , coming in 2005, when the team defeated the Houston Astros with in an easy 4-0 sweep of the then National League franchise. In the subsequent years things have not been so beneficial for the White Sox or their long-suffering fans. Since that historic second World Series’ win, the Chicago White Sox have made only one other postseason appearance , where they made it to the ALDS in 2008, only to suffer a series’ defeat (3-1) at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The White Sox organization has seen some major upheavals by way of the player personnel staff, managers and general managers over the past decade and a half. Through the midst of it all , the one bright spot has been knowing they have succeeded, where the Chicago Cubs have failed so dramatically in achieving> and that is to win a world championship. One hundred years and counting, the “monkey” has yet to come off the neck or shoulders of the downtrodden Cubs’ franchise. 1908 was the year the Chicago Cubs were anointed champions of the baseball world and there still seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the Wrigley Field faithful.

The White Sox, this off-season have begun to spend lavishly , acquiring free agents as if they were an endangered species , with GM Rick Hahn now overseeing Baseball Operations for the ball-club. . Adam LaRoche , Zack Duke, Melky Cabrera and David Robertson have joined the staff of the Chicago White Sox. There is a clear thought process behind these maneuvers , and it may well be Hahn feels the window of opportunity for the Detroit Tigers is rapidly closing with their failure to make a spirited run to win a World Series’ title. The Tigers’ recent postseason failures have proven to be a bitter and ” hard pill to swallow for team owner Michael Ilitch and GM Dave Dombrowski, but the owner and executive continue to toil on.

With Dombrowski not being able to come to contractual terms with Max Scherzer , it would appear that the pitcher’s time with the Detroit Tigers could be coming to a close. Scherzer wants to be paid like a superstar based on his award winning 2013 season , but one of year stellar production is not the basis to be given a multi-year, multimillion dollar contract. Wisdom suggests calmer heads may well prevail, but yet in the world of baseball, logic tends to be thrown right out the damn window, as exhibited with the recent idiocy by the Miami Marlins and their signing Giancarlo Stanton to the most lucrative contract in baseball history and professional team sports’ history in North America.

Perhaps , only in the NBA and baseball, where the players’ contracts are guaranteed, do we tend to see this type of financial extravagance , while idiots try and suggest, both sports are being well-ran by their respective hierarchies and where financial expediency is actually being shown in both sports .

A meeting of the minds, has yet to happen, with the overwhelming presence of the NBPA and MLBPA sending the unions into conniptions, each time the words ” mandatory salary cap” are mentioned . I have always maintained, you can tell a great deal about a business or a sports’ enterprise simply based upon the trust between the two parties , the union, who represent the employees and governing bodies as the employers. If there is continued mistrust, then the likelihood , is that entity is in dire trouble, even when there is said to be millions of dollars being reaped , annually. Profits may well go a long way, but it clearly does not represent common sense or intelligence, being shown . Ask yourself this question, in spite of the popularity of the NFL, how is it, they repeatedly have so many pratfalls, many of which, are self-induced ? Have you been able to come up with an answer ?

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This upcoming season in baseball, which teams or players do you believe will provide the most excitement ? Also, do you believe the dominance of the San Francisco Giants can be quelled successfully by an NL opponent over the course of the year ? By all means, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it’s gratefully appreciated !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.
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(1) San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey left , is seen here with World Series’ MVP Madison Bumgarner , as the two celebrate the team’s Game 7 , 3-2 win , a victory over the Kansas City Royals , The series’ victory gave the Giants their third World Series’ triumph over the past five years and fifth overall . The Giants will enter 2015 without Pablo Sandoval , the ball-club’s 2012 Series’ MVP , who joined the Boston Red Sox during the off-season . AP Photo / Andy Addams …..

(2) Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates in the locker room after his team’s 3-2 Game 7 triumph over the Kansas City Royals. Bumgarner’s exploits this postseason placed him in the upper echelons of baseball’s postseason pitching history , with a number eye dazzling feats. The player was signed to a five-year contract extension by GM Brian Sabean securing their young star on very exceptional pitching rotation in 2015. quite possibly the best in the NL and MLB overall. AP Photo / Ezra Rodriguez ..

(3) Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington(left) is seen here with the team’s newest acquisition , slugger Pablo Sandoval . The Red Sox also acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Los Angeles Dodgers as an unrestricted free agent, signing both players to lucrative deals . Cherington hopes the duo will be able to provide the Red Sox offense with some additional firepower this upcoming season . Getty Images/ Alexander Hough …

(4) Chicago Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer ,left, is seen here with Joe Maddon as he is formerly being introduced to the convened press at the Cubs’ official press meeting, announcing Maddon has succeeded Dale Sveum as the club’s sixtieth manager in franchise history. The former Tampa Bay Rays’ manager left that organization after several successful years , taking the franchise from worst to one of the most competitive teams in baseball during his tenure. However, there seems to be some change of discord and the lack of leadership being shown within the front office , leading to Maddon’s abrupt departure along with the team’s former GM Andrew Friedman who joined the Los Angeles Dodgers to become their Head of Baseball Operations. Also pictured , Cubs’ President & SVP Theo Epstein. AP Photo / Michael Holmes …

(5) Los Angeles’ manager Don Mattingly looks on at his pitcher Clayton Kershaw as the pair , along with members of the coaching staff and trainers are in the dugout during a game played at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles, California ,. The team made it to the 2014 MLB Postseason where they swept aside in the NLDS with consummate ease by the St Louis Cardinals . It was the second year in succession where the club had fallen to their NL rivals . Kershaw performed miserably throughout the postseason along with his teammates. With Andrew Friedman being hired to take over all personnel decision making and the lateral promotion of Ned Colletti , lead managing partner Mark Walter was adamant , sweeping changes had to be made. Several players have since been released by the ball-club , including Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez . More moves are expected to me made in the coming weeks . The Los Angeles Dodgers have at least four players on their current roster who will be earning in excess of $20 million this upcoming season , among the highest tally of the league’s thirty teams . Getty Images/ Hugh Davidson ….

(6) Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn (2nd from the right) introduces Jeff Samardzija , David Robertson and Melky Cabrera on Tuesday , Dec. 16, 2014 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois,. Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

(7) Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski ,left, is seen here alongside Prince Fielder , center and team owner Michael Ilitch after the team formally introduced the player to the convened press at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan , on 26th January, 2012. The player was signed as a free agent by the team, after Fielder chose not to re-sign with the Milwaukee Brewers. Prince Fielder’s tenure with the Tigers was short-lived and he was traded to the Texas Rangers where the AL West based team will assume the remainder of his existing contract . AP Photo/ Xavier Harris …

(8) February 17th , 2009 , Alex Rodriguez followed by GM Brian Cashman and Derek Jeter on their way to the press conference where A-Rod admitted using Steroids. With the retirement of the Yankees’ short-stop at the end of the 2014 season , Cashman hopes the beleaguered and still despised Rodriguez will be able to provide the team with the impetus needed to have a successful season . During his league imposed ban, Alex Rodriguez has chosen not to offer any public interviews to discuss his suspension , choosing instead, to prepare himself mentally and physically for the long haul of a one and hundred and sixty-two game schedule of the regular season . The player’s cousin , Yuri Sucart was recently indicted in US Federal Court alongside Anthony ‘Tony’ Bosch , (founder of Biogenesis) for running an illegal drug ring , along with the transportation and selling of steroids and other illicit drug paraphernalia . Getty Images / Tate Reynolds ….

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I can feel the burn just as much as she does ! So , what’s not to like ?

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Audrey Bitoni reveals more than natural beauty, she’s got a nice rack ”
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The chickens can come home to roost , but it’s how you deal with the matter in the aftermath

The chickens can come home to roost , but it’s how you deal with the matter in the aftermath

As baseball’s(MLB) postseason continues , the biggest story of the playoffs continues with the astounding success of the Kansas City Royals, as they continue their swath through the AL. Five successive victories, with four extra innings’ win es along the way has pretty much summed up the play of this team , while epitomizing their season all year-long . Mike Moustakis , Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon have been the lynch pins behind the team’s ongoing success and it remains to be seen what decisions are likely to be made by managing partner and owner , David Glass and whether or not he seeks to keep this playing staff for the long-term. Team manager Ned Yost , likely to be named the AL Manager of the Year , as I believe him to be the front-runner for the award within the league. GM Dayton Moore has been one of the architects in the rebuilding of the on field personnel , which has paved the way for the Royals this season.

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Having won a decisive game three in the ALCS , Kansas City sits one game away from sweeping the Baltimore Orioles out of the postseason , while s winning the franchise’s first AL Pennant in over two decades. Game four promises to be a raucous affair , fan support likely to be vociferous with the fans in attendance at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri on Wednesday evening , 15th October ,2014. On the mound in this pivotal game will be Miguel Gonzalez of the Orioles facing the Royals’ Jason Vargas . A win for the Baltimore Orioles, means they live to fight another day and a loss , they go home with their tails hanging between their legs and with their heads bowed in shame.

If Ned Yost and his players should prevail, then they await the winners of the NLCS contest now ongoing between the St Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants . In three tight games , the Giants now have a slender 2-1 series’ lead over the Cardinals. This particular series resumes tonight with Shelby Miller of the Cardinals facing the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong in a must-win game for the St Louis Cardinals.

After years of indifference and indecision on the part of the organization , Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays has decided to leave the franchise to accept a much more high-profiled and visible role with the Los Angeles Dodgers , where he will become a SVP & Head of Baseball Operations . In what might be viewed as either a sideways move incumbent Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti now becomes an adviser to team President Stan Kasten. Friedman will be given full sway in deciding upon a successor to Colletti , but the move is being seen in some circles, in rewarding a young executive , with a keen eye in assessing and the drafting of talent . There is no doubt Andrew Friedman will be making many of the personnel decisions for the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as handling the team’s current roster of stars, many of whom are among the highest paid players in the game .

The Los Angeles Dodgers with a record-high $241 million payroll , highest in Major League Baseball fell by the wayside for a second successive season, when they succumbed to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS . In 2013, Don Mattingly and his team fell in the NLCS in a lopsided series’ loss with the team simply performing poorly . One year on and absolutely nothing has been learned by anyone on the team , much less by the managerial staff of the Dodgers.

The loss of Andrew Friedman by the Tampa Bay Rays is likely to have an adverse effect on the franchise and given the ball-club’s hardships in recent years having to pare down payroll repeatedly , and the trading away of major stars has simply left their fans somewhat bewildered and in angst . Say nothing of which , the continued rhetoric , pragmatism and at times the downright apathy of the fans sports’ media personalities within the area with their rather asinine notion of the building of a new venue will bring about a change in the fortunes of the Tampa Bay Rays. Team owner , Stuart Sternberg has been less than forthright in how he and his partners would go about raising the financing for a new stadium to replace the now archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida ., With a hardcore fan-base of an alleged 20,000 fans and the stadium barely sold out for home games , it is hard to comprehend how Sternberg , his partners and the media personalities in this market, believe this ball-club can be self-sustaining , especially in light of the fact the Rays are the beneficiaries of baseball’s luxury tax sharing revenue scheme , with it being one of the primary reasons the franchise can be profitable. Yet this is the type of sheer stupidity shown by the fans of the ball-club , suggesting and saying the Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium . Unfortunately , leading social and political dignitaries are goose-stepping behind the calls and they are all too willing to use public resources to fund such an attempt , while the city , county and state governmental agencies have their own fiscal budgetary woes .

Sports , specifically MLB and the NFL are only too willing prey on the public, much as in the same way the US Congress and this current Presidential administration has repeatedly done . It’s a shell game and the asinine sports’ fans remain too fucking dumb to see woods or the trees , seeking to only believe what they are continually force-fed .

There has been no indication as to who Andrew Friedman’s successor is likely to be , but in all probability Stuart Sternberg may not seek to promote from within but seek to find an experienced front office executive willing to take on the role of becoming the team’s new general manager. Joe Maddon has been saying all of the proper things throughout much of the season , but I cannot help but wonder with the trading away of All Star and AL Cy Young Award winning pitcher David Price, is this beginning of the end about how the Rays will continue to conduct business ? It is my belief , the most likely candidate to assume the role once held by Andrew Friedman will be Matt Silverman , as he is best suited to fill the position in question . Can he have the similar type of success of his predecessor ? That will be dependent on how he seeks to go about making what he believes are the necessary changes to make the ball club competitive .

During this off-season within baseball , there are likely to be several major shakeups within the game from a managerial and player personnel standpoint . Teams will have their pick of free agents, from starting pitchers, first basemen , powerful and productive hitters , and undoubtedly relief pitching . One of the things we do know however , payrolls will continue to escalate , as will the players’ salaries .

For the Tampa Bay Rays as they enter the 2015 season it will be interesting to see how they go about acquitting themselves on and off the field of play , which will be adjudged by what takes place within the organization as they enter a new phase in their existence.

As to the ongoing emphasis of the Rays getting a new stadium , consider the fact MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his heir-apparent Rob Manfred have seen fit not to aid franchise obtaining any broad-based support for a new ballpark. The Tampa Bay Rays while profitable, they have not got the resources or the goodwill among the public for the venue they seek, in spite of the support by the players and management. If anything , the executives have handled this episode haphazardly and rather childlike , without showing any real initiative on the matter.

Evan Longoria , long seen as the face and future of the Tampa Bay Rays , while a very good player , he has not necessarily shown the leadership qualities needed to take this ball club and place them among the elite teams within the game. Often , the only thing tend to be mentioned about the Rays , happens to be, they have great pitching , with several members of their staff often seen as among the best in the game. This season , clearly coming into their schedule , the pitching roster was looked upon as one of the best in AL and the game overall . Sadly, beyond the prevailing injuries , a lack of consistency and some rather inept offense led to the woes for the team .

This off-season , with impending free agents , there will be several members on the Rays’ roster which Matt Silverman will have to decide whether or not they are superfluous to the team’s needs . Matt Joyce , Sean Rodriguez , Drew Smyly , Desmond Jennings , Wil Myers , Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb are among the players where decisions will have to be made concerning whether or they are re-signed for the 2015 season.

With the Baltimore Orioles having swept to the AL East divisional title with considerable ease . However, in light their showing during the regular season , and then in the ALDS , it has been their shocking display against the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS , have many now wondering whether or not this team was as good as advertised ? Kansas City continued their astonishing postseason sojourn sweeping the Orioles in four straight games to make their first World Series appearance in almost three decades. Ned Yost and his players celebrated in style after their 2-1 victory in game four leaving nothing to chance with an emphatic and decisive win .

Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri proved to be a raucous venue with the home supporters in high vocal support of their team. In what has been the improbable advance to the World Series , has now become the biggest story of the baseball season and by far the most impressive display of a team playing with gusto , of all the participants during this postseason. The Royals now await the victors of the NLCS , where the San Francisco Giants currently hold a 3-1 lead over the St Louis Cardinals in the best of seven-game series. Thoughts of an instate battle between the Kansas City Royals and St Louis Cardinals now seem remote , given the predicament the Cardinals now find themselves in , being on the brink of elimination. Should the Giants prevail in the series , then Bruce Bochy will be seeking to win his third title with the franchise in the last six seasons as their manager.

For Buck Showalter , and the Baltimore Orioles this has simply been a season of missed opportunities in spite of the divisional win. How else can you explain a situation where the AL’s (American League) second best team by way of their record, stumbled and fell so awkwardly in the postseason ? Dan Duquette the Orioles’ SVP & Head of Baseball Operations will have to assess the overall makeup of this roster, then seek to add by way of free agency and perhaps through bringing up some of the more productive players within their farm system. In what should have been a year in which the Orioles had a great chance of winning the World Series this was a team, found wanting in almost every aspect of their game during the postseason . The Orioles’ production was anemic and menial to say the very least , and it led to their demise along with some rather knuckle headed plays.

Another season of hope, felled by indecision , complacency and a lack of leadership from the team and the managerial staff of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Clayton Kershaw this postseason was a mere shadow of the all too dominant pitcher witnessed during the regular season . The same could also be said of his teammates , who were far from impressive during the playoffs, with the team falling to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS .

Hard to justify the io $241 million payroll , which Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten believed was money well-spent this season . Somehow , after all of the big money splashes, by way of their free agent acquisitions over the past two seasons, the Dodgers have very little to show for it all , along with the ongoing apathy of their fans . Other than the Washington Nationals , whose own postseason foray ended abruptly , it was felt the Los Angeles Dodgers stood the best chance of the NL participants to win the NL Pennant this postseason. Clearly , the favoritism shown towards the Dodgers and Nationals was very much overestimated and I dare say it was simply done because the analysts and fans merely saw what they wanted to see and not what was plainly in front of their very eyes. The play overall within the game has either been average or downright mediocre. .

Where the Los Angeles Dodgers now go from here, will be dependent upon the latitude given to Andrew Friedman and those within the front office, who will now make the player personnel decisions moving forward . I do not believe many of the players now on the roster will be part of the team’s opening day lineup for their first game of the 2015 season !

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In what you have seen from the MLB Postseason , has it proven to be a major surprise ? With Andrew Friedman’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays , can the franchise maintain its current stance while trying to be competitive within its division and the AL moving forward ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe relevant are more than welcomed as a response

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) May 30, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals interim hitting coach George Brett (left), general manager Dayton Moore (center) and head coach Ned Yost (right) talk with the media during a press conference to announce Brett as the interim hitting coach before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Yost and Moore have seen their team make change in course from 2013 to 2014 where have now reached the World Series for the first time in twenty-nine years. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Alcides Escobar (2) of the Kansas City Royals scores on Eric Hosmer (35) of the Kansas City Royals grounder into fielder’s choice to first base against Miguel Gonzalez (50) of the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning to score Alcides Escobar(2) and Norichika Aoki(23) during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Ed Zurga …

(3) Andrew Friedman , general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. The front office executive has accepted a senior executive Angeles Dodgers , much to the surprise of several baseball analysts and executives within the game . AP Photo / Chris Marshall … (4) Joe Maddon manager of the Tampa Bay Rays is seen here withdrawing pitcher Drew Smyly from a regular season game . The Rays failed miserably in 2014 , with the ball-club having expectations of
making
the postseason , which they would ultimately fail to do . AP Photo / Mark Barron …

(5) From left to right , Matt Silverman , Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg of the Tampa Bay Rays . Friedman’s departure may well leave a void within the organization but is felt in some circles , Silverman is the right choice to succeed Andrew Friedman as the team’s general manager . Tyler Paul / Getty Images …

(6) Ned Colletti , left , is seen here with team President Stan Kasten . Over two years the Los Angeles Dodgers have spent over $485 million in payroll, with the team having little to show for their two years of missed opportunities. Getty Images/ Paul Thompson …

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There’s something about October …

There’s something about October …

At this time of the MLB season , well specifically baseball’s postseason , teams will either flounder or rise to the occasion. . It has clearly been the case in the divisional round of the 2014 MLB postseason , where this year’s surprise team the Kansas City Royals pulled off a stunning come from behind victory to defeat the Oakland Athletics in their AL wildcard game. Within the NL the Pittsburgh Pirates were simply no match for the San Francisco Giants , who under manager Bruce Bochy are seeking their third World Series title in the past six seasons .

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The Kansas City Royals having their first postseason appearance in almost three decades, made sure they will be around for the long haul and they are now proving their defeat of the A’s was no mere fluke , as they now have the Los Angeles Angels on the brink of elimination, having jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the best of their five-game series in the ALDS contest between the two teams. As to what this suggests about the Angels , after their spectacular season within the AL West is now open to speculation , as too , the future of Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia , should his team lose this series, having captured the divisional crown as well as the second best record within the AL this season.

The failure of Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees’ to make the postseason as baseball bade farewell to the Yankees’ captain, will not provide the player with the fairy tale ending he might have sought inwinning a sixth World Series crown and ring. Simply put, Joe Girardi and his players were never in any real contention to make a bid for a postseason berth. This Yankees’ team began to age fast as their season wore on and there really no signs of them being competitive as their season came to a close.

Baseball’s most successful franchise might well have had a down year , but their closest rivals by way of popularity , the Los Angeles Dodgers were back in the mix once again with the team having made a successful defense of the NL West divisional crown. Along the way pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett enjoyed a rare feat of throwing no-hitters for the Dodgers during the season. As great as the team is said to be , this postseason the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown their flaws and their NLDS contest seems to be turning into a repeat of their NLCS clash with the St Louis Cardinals in 2013, which ended in a lopsided series’ win for the NL Central based Cardinals .

Too early to speak of the Dodgers’ demise ? Perhaps not , but with the inconsistency now being shown by team, I get the feeling Don Mattingly has become increasingly frustrated by the lack of determination shown by several players in the lineup. The Dodgers’ 10-9 loss to the Cardinals was as troubling to watch as it might have been for the fans in attendance at Dodgers Ballpark on Friday night , was deeply disturbing for a number of reasons. Dodgers’ starting ace Clayton Kershaw came up short in his duel with Adam Wainwright , who this season has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the NL .

When this series resumes on Saturday night, Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers will be seeking to place his team back on an even keel, squaring the series when he faces Lance Lynn in game two . An 0-2 deficit for the Los Angeles Dodgers would certainly be an uphill task for the team, as they seek to make a second consecutive appearance in the NLCS , with a view to making their first appearance in the World Series since 1988 when they faced the Oakland A’s, defeating them 4-1 .

It would be pretty much safe to say, the Baltimore Orioles have remained underneath the radar throughout much of the season. The expectations were, they would play a role in determining the destination of the AL East crown , but with the failure of the New York Yankees to compete , the Tampa Bay Rays’ customary swoon and the continued excuses offered up by their fans and management. It would appear the Orioles simply had to waltz their way to the title . Needless , to say , the defending champions, the Boston Red Sox’s fall from grace was baffling , but a great deal of their misfortune came down to the complacency of the players and some of the rather idiotic moves made by GM Ben Cherington during the off-season . As for the Toronto Blue Jays , this was a team that was never really in contention , played without passion and whose front office remains jaded and without a clue.

Buck Showalter and the Orioles have to be looked upon as the prohibitive favorites for not only the AL Pennant but also the World Series, itself. Even with a litany of injuries the manager and his staff have found ways for this team win and to win decisively . Chris Davis has come back down to earth after productive productive 2013 which now has to be looked upon dubiously ,after his being suspended for the use of a banned substance not prohibited under baseball’s drug policy. Makes you wonder, with all of the player’s prior denials on his part , after suspicions were raised about his home run total last season , why no protests concerning his suspension, refuting the evidence ? Clearly , a case of another “steroid cheat “ within the game and baseball’s all too lenient policy when it comes to reprimanding a player for deliberately breaking the rules.

The Orioles will be looking to derail the Detroit Tigers’ title hopes and it would appear that Brad Ausmus and his team are quite quite willing to aid their opponents all too quickly with the task, as the Tigers once again show signs of a team too scared to compete in the postseason. With game three taking taking place place on Sunday, Detroit is in need of the win , to at least have a chance of making this series (ALDS) competitive, already down 0-2 and on the brink of elimination. Bud Norris of the Orioles will be looking to place his team one step closer to their goal, when he faces David Price at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan , on Sunday afternoon.

When Major League Baseball makes the announcement of this year’s nominees for their individual regular season awards it will be very interesting to see whether not Matt Williams , manager of the Washington Nationals is one of the contenders for the NL Manager of the Year. Williams has guided his team to the NL East title while the Nationals have posted one of the best records in the game and leading them to their first postseason appearance in several years . Team owner , Ted Lerner and GM Mike Rizzo have not only shown their implicit faith in their manager, but there now seems to be the belief, he is the candidate they had long sought to bring some semblance of competitiveness to the ball-club after years of struggling , since assuming their current persona as the Washington Nationals . Now stars such as Stephen Strasburg , Bryce Harper , Jordan Zimmerman , Denard Span , Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond will get the chance to appear centerstage in a postseason series for their team.

Facing off against the San Francisco Giants in what has proved to be an entertaining series (NLDS) , the two teams played the longest game in postseason series history , battling through eighteen innings , with an end result of the Giants pulling off a narrow and thrilling 2-1 victory . The season series between the two National League teams have been crisp , thoroughly entertaining and might actually play a part in how this postseason match-up ends.

This series will resume with the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals looking to continue their thrills . For the Nationals in particular, game three will prove to be a decider in whether or not they continue in the postseason or pack up their bags and return home. An 0-2 deficit is not the scenario I believe the Nationals might have envisaged , when they entered this series against the Giants and clearly their fans have to be somewhat devastated they are on the brink of being eliminated from the postseason. Doug Fister of the Washington Nationals will face off against Madison Bumgarner whose postseason heroics of a shut-out for the ball-club has Giants’ fans relishing this contest and perhaps seeing their team inch closer to another pennant and World Series’ title .

This postseason has provided the fans will a great deal of excitement and baseball’s hierarchy has to be enjoying their time in spotlight whereas their NFL counterparts are now self consciously struggling with their image and rather mediocre play through the first quarter of the season .

The Fall Classic is the one time the year baseball has every right to shine , with several players being on show seeking to make a name for themselves along with their teams. As this postseason has gotten off to such an exciting start, I am not so sure which team now deem to be favorite to win the World Series. In the AL it appears the Baltimore Orioles are in the driver’s seat and an appearance in the ALCS against the Kansas City Royals doesn’t quite pose the excitement sought, were they perhaps facing the Detroit Tigers or Los Angeles Angeles, but it could provide the fans with the series they dearly deserve. In the NL , Don Mattingly knows this might be his last chance to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to where many of the team’s senior executives believe the franchise rightfully belongs . In the almost two years of by Mark Walter , Todd Boehly and Magic Johnson , the franchise has spent almost a half billion dollars ($500,000,000) chasing the dream of winning a World Series title . The other nine participants during this postseason , combined, they do not have not the resources to match the financial clout of the Los Angeles’ based franchise.

Baseball’s Achilles’ Heel will remain the lack of leadership shown by Bud Selig , its hierarchy , team owners and his still inherent belief the game can continue along its idle path with, so many economic imbalances , players’ escalating salaries and that of the teams’ payrolls . Yet somehow, it all seems to be forgotten once the month of October comes into being and the postseason begins .

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Picture gallery.

How do you see baseball’s postseason panning out and which two teams do you believe will be making an appearance in this year’s World Series ? Take the time to comment on this and anything else you believe relevant to the topic .

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(1) Kansas City Royals’ Eric Hosmer , center, celebrates his two-run home run with Salvador Perez , left, in the 11th inning against the Los Angeles Angels in m Game 2 of baseball’s AL Division Series, in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. AP Photo/Gregory Bull …

(2) Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout waits in the dugout before Game 2 against the Kansas City Royals in baseball’s AL Division Series, in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Trout and his teammates have performed miserably in the series against the Royals and are now on the brink of elimination facing an uphill task of staving off their 0-2 deficit. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi ..

(3) Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura, left, checks on catcher Salvador Perez after Perez got hit by a pitch during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 2 of baseball’s AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. AP Photo/Gregory Bull …

(4) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp celebrates his home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's NL Division Series in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong …

(5) Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joakim Soria , center, watches as Baltimore Orioles celebrate after Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy , bottom left, scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of Game 2 in baseball’s AL Division Series in Baltimore, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Baltimore won 7-6 . AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(6) Baltimore Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph tags out Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera at home plate on Detroit Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez’s double in the eighth inning of Game 2 in baseball's AL Division Series in Baltimore, Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. Baltimore won 7-6. AP Photo/Nick Wass …

(7) San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt watches his solo home run in the 18th inning of Game 2 of baseball’s NL Division Series against the Washington Nationals in Nationals Park, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Washington. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(8) San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey signals to the umpire he’s safe after sliding into home in the ninth inning of Game 2 of baseball’s NL Division Series at Nationals Park, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, in Washington. The umpires ruled, after review, that Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, left, made the tag and Posey was out. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …

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Keep it sweet but not necessarily stupid , because it’s baseball

Keep it sweet but not necessarily stupid , because it’s baseball

Baseball (MLB) enters its final month of the regular season in September , with a number of divisional races still undecided. Teams said to be in the drivers’ seat will have to play at the highest level possible until the end of the season if they are to win those divisions outright. Likewise, it will be the same for those ball-clubs seeking to gain a wildcard berth in what is now beginning to look like very tight race within each league , the AL and NL.

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Of the more surprising races, it is the AL Central where the Kansas City Royals might well be the most exciting team to watch since the All Star Break and their rise up the division to now lead the swooning Detroit Tigers . For the defending divisional champions this has been a season of missed opportunities in spite of certain injury issues and the retirement of former manager Jim Leyland , which should in no way detract from the work done by Brad Ausmus and his managerial staff in succeeding the well-respected manager. However, in light of that fact, it has to be said Ausmus’ inexperience might well be one of the reasons with the indifference seen in the Tigers’ play this season. Justin Verlander has not been totally dominant, Max Scherzer has not reproduced the form that led to his being named the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2013 . Certainly, the rest of the pitching staff , have failed to deliver as and when needed.

The Detroit Tigers’ offense led by two-time reigning AL League MVP and Triple Crown King , Miguel Cabrera while having his usual productive season might well be on the outside looking in, when it comes to the regular season individual awards as Mike Trout seems on the verge of succeeding the Tigers’ slugger as this year’s MVP. Statistically , there has been little to choose between the pair , but Trout’s all-round play and defensive capabilities have edged Cabrera this season. Besides, Mike Trout has led the Los Angeles Angels to what might be their best season in the AL West in a number of years , as they seek to replace the Oakland Athletics as this year’s AL West divisional champion. No mean task, considering the success of the A’s in 2012 and2013 within the division. If the Tigers are to have any chance of securing a place in the postseason their best bet, remains winning the division because the likelihood of a wildcard berth places them in a precarious situation because of the competitiveness of the teams vying for the two berths available in the American League.

Coming off a 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan , Brad Ausmus and his team will again face their opponent on Wednesday in a resumption of their series, as the Yankees seek to make ground on the Baltimore Orioles who lead the AL East. Mike Sciocsia will lead the Angels in a home game against the Miami Marlins at Angels’ Ballpark in Anaheim, California. A lopsided and thoroughly deserving victory on Tuesday afternoon gives credence to why Sciocsia’s team has been so dominant this season against their opponents from both leagues. Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins will seek to avert another loss by the visitors as he faces Hector Santiago of the Angels.

There is no denying the Chicago Cubs have remained in a never-ending slump that has become synonymous with sheer misery for their fans. A century of mediocrity cannot adequately explain the woes of the baseball franchise , even with their infamous NLCS series against the Florida Marlins in 2003 . While Steve Bartman’s name will forever live in infamy but the apportioning of blame on one idiotic Cubs’ fan was not the only reason for the team’s demise in the series. The Chicago Cubs repeatedly had chances to close out the series in game’s six and seven, but their ineptitude was there on show for their fans. Eleven years later, it were as if nothing has been learned by the organization, even with a change in ownership .One can seek to debunk a myth or myths, but in the case of the Cubs, what you see is what you get.

Tom Ricketts and his family have sought spend millions to bolster this ball-club’s roster over the years, all to no avail, while bringing in wunderkinds Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein to head the Cubs’ front office . This season for the franchise has nothing short of disastrous as they seek to dig themselves out trouble within the NL Central, where they currently find themselves firmly rooted at the bottom of the division while having one of the worst records within the National League as well as baseball in general. Rick Renteria and the managerial staff of the Chicago Cubs will be certainly looking to assess the members of the team as the season winds down, while also assessing the younger talent within their farm system. Inasmuch, as Theo Epstein was very much the architect of the Boston Red Sox’s success and their two World Series’ wins in 2004 and 2007, an immediate turnaround was never on the cards for Cubs after the years of mismanagement and neglect by a succession of front office executives . Epstein and Hoyer, now seems to be adding to the mess rather than trying to clean it up.

The financial resources for the Chicago Cubs remains vast, beyond a loyal fan-base , sellout crowds for home games played at Wrigley Field , ownership of their own cable sports’ broadcast network and resources of Tom Ricketts and his family. Chicago may well be winners of seven of their last ten games with a four-game winning streak , but the fact of the matter remains this is not a team built for consistency and long-term success. The Cubs’ most recent victory over divisional rivals, the Cincinnati Reds another , team languishing and with no chance of challenging within the NL Central, will see them face the Reds on Wednesday afternoon , before closing out the series at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday afternoon. Wins are imperative for the Chicago Cubs in each of the contests in question and it will be interesting to see how Jacob Turner will fare when he faces Mat Latos of the Reds today , in one a series of games on the MLB schedule for the 27th August .

If there was a miscue then I must have missed it all, as the Philadelphia Phillies and their season spins completely out of control. Ryne Sandberg was brought in to bring a sense of semblance , consistency but above all real passion for the game. It was clearly lacking last season with Charlie Manuel , whose final year in charge was simply a body mess with the carnage of 2013 strewn all over Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania . A team that has failed to produce , while having a bloated payroll , is once again exhibiting the very same traits , even with something of a revamped roster . Sandberg has been unable to change the identity of this team, while several of the veterans on the roster have become all too complacent and nonchalant in their play .With almost $170 million committed this season in salary commitments , which ranks the Phillies with the fourth highest team payroll in all of baseball , with only the Los Angeles Dodgers , New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers with larger commitments. The question has to be, what is the mindset within the Phillies’ front office as led by GM Reuben Amaro Jr ?

The Philadelphia Phillies will play host to the Washington Nationals , who hold a comfortable lead in the NL East over their rivals within the division . For Sandberg’s last placed team remains on a precipice waiting to be nudged over and another defeat is likely to make the scenario a reality . On the mound for the home team will be Kyle Kendrick facing off against Doug Fister of the Nationals . A game which will likely tell us a great deal about the ambitions of the two teams right now . From my own standpoint, I believe Reuben Amaro will have to gut the team and simply start afresh jettisoning a number of the high-priced impending free agents rebuilding from the ground up abandoning what has been organization’s belief in paying an exorbitant salary merely to keep the services of a player. Ryan Howard , Cole Hamels , Cliff Lee , Jimmy Rollins and several others in this lineup, have not performed up to expectation, while being rewarded a ridiculously idiotic sum for their menial returns on the season.

Robinson Cano’s departure from the New York Yankees led many to believe the player would be doomed in seeking to make the Seattle Mariner his destination in 2014. Yet for all of the criticism leveled at Cano, his being used as a pawn in a rather idiotic game cat and mouse with the Yankees’ front office by his agent Jay-z , founder of the upstart sports’ management agency RocNation Sports ,may well have worked out for the best. It does seem as if Cano , RocNation and the Mariners are indeed happy. Robinson Cano wanting to be rewarded with a multi-year , six-figure deal rumored to be $300 million over ten years was somewhat impudent but in the end , his contract with the Mariners does seem to reflect the player’s worth to the team . He certainly has not disappointed over the course of this season while he remains in the upper echelons of the AL batting statistics and is likely to seen as a viable candidate for the AL MVP this season.

The Mariners remain in the playoff hunt and merely need to play consistent baseball over the remaining thirty-one games of their regular season schedule to tie up one of the two available spots in order to be an AL wildcard entrant . Though the team was on the wrong side of a 12-4 shelling at the hands of the Texas Rangers , Lloyd McClendon and his managerial staff realize they merely have to seek a collective effort from the players to get the job done. Robinson Cano, wasn’t simply brought in solely to provide an offensive bat, but also to lead the team as a seasoned veteran. With an off-day on Thursday , the Seattle Mariners will have as their guests at Safeco Field the Washington Nationals in the first of a three-game series beginning on Friday 29th August . Taking the mound for Seattle will be Felix Hernandez against Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals, in what is likely to be a highly competitive pitchers’ duel between the two starting aces.

Twenty-game winners were common place in baseball and this season it seems that for the first time in several years MLB might be without a starting pitcher reaching a win total of twenty games or more at the end of the regular season. The last time a starting pitcher failed to reach the plateau in question was in 2009, when the Cy Young Award in the AL and NL went to Zack Greinke and Tim Linecum , respectively. This season the leaders in the respective leagues, Max Scherzer in the American League , while reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw leads the National League. Kershaw remains heads and shoulders above any other pitcher in baseball at present and has been for the past two years without a doubt. He has proven to be dominant enough and it is with good reason why the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office have seen fit to reward him with such a lucrative contract making him one of the highest paid players in baseball, in terms of salary and contract value . By contrast Justin Verlander might well be having something of a less productive season than we are accustomed to seeing from the Tigers’ starting pitcher, but he and Felix Hernandez remain among the best pitchers in the American League and have been for several years. However, this season, what we have seen in terms of the pitching in baseball , may well come down to lack of run support provided to the pitchers and the tendency of middle relief and closers to become more of a tool within the game, sometimes leading to lessening of the results for the starters.

There is a very good reason to believe Clayton Kershaw could very well be a back-to-back winner of the NL Cy Young Award , again with the Dodgers’ pitcher being the best player on the team’s pitching staff and best player on the team by far , without delving in into his salary . Kershaw will be looking to win the award for the third time in of his career , having won in 2011 and 2013 . The AL candidates from this season are likely to be taken from among these list of pitchers , Chris Sale , Felix Hernandez ,Max Scherzer , Rick Porcello, Scott Kazmir, David Price and Greg Holland .

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Picture gallery.

This weekend’s schedule within baseball will be highly interesting with games and series likely to be pivotal to the teams’ seasons . It was pretty much the same issue at this time last season within the game . Your thoughts on baseball and what are you hoping to see over the remainder of the season?

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) MLB’s thirty teams entered the start of this season with a view to be part of the playoff picture with their ultimate goal, being to win the World Series. Last year’s champions the Boston Red Sox have struggled in 2014 , currently lying at the bottom of the AL East division without a chance of making the postseason.

(2) Ned Yost manager of the Kansas City Royals has his team riding high within the AL Central having led for a greater part of this month having held unto the lead without a great deal of difficulty during August . Yost and the team will be looking to win a divisional title and make the playoffs for the first time in almost two decades. AP Photo/ Mark Watson …

(3) Detroit Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus is seen here with Tigers’ assistant and infield coach Omar Vizquel have seen the team lose sight of their seasonal goal in winning the AL Central and gaining a postseason berth . The team is now fighting for a playoff berth among a list of very competitive AL wildcard candidates . Getty Images/ Chris Horner …

(4) Chicago Cubs’ Head of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein ,left, is seen here with the team’s owner Tom Ricketts . Once again the Cubs have struggled with their being little sign of competitiveness shown by the team this season . Chicago finds itself rooted at the bottom of the NL Central. AP Photo/ Cathy Hurst …

(5) Ryne Sandberg manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is seen here in the dugout speaking with team pitcher Cliff Lee , foreground. An inauspicious season , high payroll and diminishing returns has led to an inept year for the franchise . Matt Glover / UPI …

(6) Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners who spent the first seven years of his career with the New York Yankees , but left the team in December of 2013 to join the Mariners, signing a ten-year $240 million deal . This season Cano has been productive for the team , leading them in several offensive categories . AP Photo / Sean Williams …

(7) Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is having another spectacular season for the team and leads the NL in ERA and wins . The player is seeking to win a third Cy Young Award , joining a select group of players with three or more wins of baseball’s top individual pitching honor . AP Photo / Mel Whittaker …

(8) Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox might just be the best thing about the ailing AL Central franchise this season . A possible candidate for the AL Cy Young Award , it is unlikely that he will win the award playing on a team with a losing record , while being uncompetitive throughout this season. Matt Hart/ UPI …

(9) Max Scherzer , left and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers are seen here at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan , during a regular season game . With the addition of David Price to their roster the Tigers now have three AL Cy Young Award winners in their lineup . Currently engaged in a series with the New York Yankees , the team does need to win the series to keep up the momentum, while leading the list of AL wildcard candidates. AP Photo/ Richie Curtis …

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On the mound …..

On the mound …..

We are now two months into the MLB season and things are looking rather perilous for a number of teams within baseball , as their seasons are sitting perilously close to being viewed as disastrous. In the AL , both the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays sit at the bottom of their respective divisions. Tampa as of Sunday evening , stood 10 ½ games behind the division leading Toronto Blue Jays , who sat atop of the AL East . Somewhat surprising when you consider that in 2013 the Blue Jays with all of their acquisitions proved uncompetitive and barely challenged within the division or the AL for that matter. A year later and he we are looking at a team that appears to have all the confidence in the world , with pitcher Mark Buerhle leading the AL in a number of pitching categories beyond his own statistics this season.

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Far be it for me to suggest, but this continued belief that the small market teams are still able to compete even when their payrolls are said to be nowhere as competitive as the top teams within the league. Last season, the New York Yankees led the way with a team payroll well in excess of $200 million , and the Yankees failed to make the postseason. This year it is their NL West counterparts the Los Angeles Dodgers and their newly bloated commitment of over . $218 million that leads the way within MLB , paying out over $3 billion in salary commitments for the second consecutive year. . And we are to believe, Major League Baseball can remain solvent , with their teams not failing from an economic standpoint, when seven-figure salaries and contracts have now become like confetti (rice) being thrown to celebrate the nuptials of a newly wed couple , without their being any serious future ramifications for the game ?

The Tampa Bay Rays are losers of seven of their last ten games with seven consecutive losses being part of that tally , with their last victory coming against the Boston Red Sox on the 25th May. The struggles of the team beyond their injuries woes simply stem from the fact the Rays are not afforded a situation where they can go out and obtain the best players available , as they are severely restricted by fiscal constraints . It has been left to the ingenuity of GM Andrew Friedman and the managerial acumen of Joe Maddon in determining how the obtain the best players possible without having to pay above market prices , in acquiring the resources needed. Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Miami Marlins , was a further indication , as to where the Rays are now at and how far they have fallen , without delving further into the ambiguity and apathy now being shown by their lackluster fans, who barely come out in support of the team , when their games are played at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida. Joe Maddon and his players will once again be the guests of the Miami Marlins when they are scheduled to meet at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida, on Tuesday afternoon . On the mound for the Rays will be Chris Archer for the Rays against the Marlins’ Henderson Alvarez in what should be a very entertaining contest between two of the league’s best young pitchers playing today. As to an outcome , I believe that can be best summed up by simply looking at the between these two teams over the past five seasons to perhaps guessing the likely outcome.

It would be fair to suggest that over the past ten years the Kansas City Royals have perhaps been one of the most inept organizations in all of baseball over the last fifteen years. One simply has to look at their record during that time span and the very fact that the Royals have not made the MLB Postseason in over fifteen years, with their last appearance coming in 1985, when they made the World Series and faced the St Louis Cardinals , with Kansas prevailing in that series 4-3 . In the later years , after that triumph, the years have been lean and not exactly kind to this beleaguered AL Central franchise and their now well chronicled history.

It would also be fair to acknowledge, that team owner , David Glass has failed miserably , in steering this organization with any semblance of urgency or seeking to make the ball-club competitive . Instead, it has been this continual idiocy by their fans and media savants alike in suggesting that the development of their farm system will bring about their long-awaited return to success. This season, that has definitely not been the case and last year was just as demonstrative , in their lack of competitiveness within the division and around the AL overall. A 27-30 record has the Royals now sitting just above the last placed Minnesota Twins and having only won four of their last ten games , you simply have to wonder how likely it is that there would be any type of life seen from this team. Ned Yost and his managerial staff have steered through the calm and the storms of uncertainty during his managerial career with this franchise. Yet, is my belief the Royals will continue to be a ball-club not suited to challenging for a divisional title , pennant , or World Series’ title, while David Glass is unwilling to bolster the team’s payroll . For years, they have remained close to being at the bottom rung of teams by way payroll and that appears unlikely to change for the foreseeable future under Glass’ tenure.

A 6-0 triumph over the St Louis Cardinals in a game played at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri, might well have provided some respite for Yost’s players and that series will continue with a Tuesday afternoon contest that sees James Shields taking the mound for the Royals against Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals . A win for the Kansas City is a necessity rather, than dropping another game and then further endangering their season at this point of their schedule. If nothing else, it would be great to provide a certain amount of positivity for their fans , rather than the constant feeling that the effort shown is simply meaningless .

In 2013 the Texas Rangers’ starting pitcher Yu Darvish was simply spectacular and were it not for a late season injury , I firmly believe that he would have won the AL Cy Young Award , rather than the accolade going to the Detroit Tigers’ pitching ace Max Scherzer. The Tigers’ pitcher for his part, chose to turn down the offer from GM Dave Dombrowski , that would have seen the player be awarded a six-year $144 million contract . I get the feeling that Scherzer’s agent might well be cursing his client for not signing on the bottom line of a deal that would have made him one of the highest paid starting pitchers in the Majors . At the same time, you have to wonder whether Scherzer has made a tremendous mistake in turning down that deal. An injury at this point of the season and the likelihood of his value plummeting as a free agent, beyond his perhaps seeking a more lucrative deal.

Scott Boras , one of the premiere agents within the game of baseball , may well feel that he will be in a suitable position to drive a hard bargain in the off-season with the Tigers’ front office , should Max Scherzer remain healthy over the course of the season , while ending up with a winning record . Yet , we all know that the agent is also likely to start a bidding war for his client’s services , as has often been the case in his negotiating ploys with many of the general managers within the game of baseball. . For the moment Scherzer’s $15 million deal will have to be one where the player feels is justified as he seeks garner something more commensurate with a player of his stature .

Since being acquired by the New York Yankees , their Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (8-1) has been among the best pitchers in the AL , certainly on the Yankees’ pitching staff this season . If nothing else, he could prove to be just as dynamic as his Japanese counterpart Yu Darvish of the Rangers. If there was said to be a weakness with the New York Yankees this season , many believed that it would be their pitching and what many believed to be a sub-par lineup, when measured against the rest of the AL and MLB overall . Tanaka’s seven-year $155 million deal now seems worthwhile, as the team remains in contention within the AL East. Now comes the hard part for the pitcher, can he and his teammates on the pitching rotation , to remain consistent over the course of this season. If they are able to do so, while their offense remains potent , this could all bode well for the New York Yankees as they seek to make a return the postseason and win their first World Series’ title since 2009. Yankees’ short-stop and team captain Derek Jeter would certainly like to end his career on a high note, winning a sixth World Series’ ring , joining distinguish group of players with more than five titles to their name.

The New York in their last game against the Seattle Mariners , in a contest played at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York , were on the wrong side side of a lopsided 10-2 loss at the hands of Mariners . Losing pitcher David Phelps performed poorly , but the team’s woes went far beyond their pitching , because this loss was a collective one , with the offense nowhere to be seen throughout this entire game. . Joe Girardi’s players can perhaps exorcise that loss, when they take on the Oakland A’s on Tuesday afternoon, with Hiroki Kuroda on the mound to face off against Scott Kazmir of the A’s .

One of the more intriguing pitching contests of the day, pits the Blue Jays’ Drew Hutchinson against Anibal Sanchez of the Tigers , in an AL duel of two of that league’s brightest stars. I would like to think that the Detroit Tigers this season can make up for some weak postseason appearances over the last few years . Certainly , in the aftermath of Jim Leyland’s retirement , the lasting impression I have of the Tigers , is that of their famed former manager placing his teams in a position to win a World Series , but each time , they failed miserably , with many questioning the acumen of Leyland, when in reality, the fault laid with the teams in question .

Brad Ausmus , has now been entrusted with the managerial role of guiding the Tigers to their first World Series’ win since 1984, with this season marking the thirtieth anniversary of that triumph. It will be very interesting to see how this team fares over the remainder of the season , with just about everything on the line including their trying to win the AL Central title , which of late has been the franchise’s personal bauble.

Rare feats within baseball, are things , which excite the fans and MLB analysts alike . A no-hitter , the perfect game , a four home run game , unassisted triple play and hitting for the cycle , are feats which we all enjoy and will continue to applaud , no matter era of the game. Josh Beckett’s, recent chase at perfection, ended with the pitcher capturing the first “no-hitter” of his career. The fact that he achieved that feat against the hapless Philadelphia Phillies should in no way be seen, as the diminishing of that accomplishment achieved at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , was a great day for the player and his Los Angeles Dodgers’ teammates.

Beckett’s later outing was not as relishing as his last , with his losing that particular game to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a narrow margin , with the Pirates eking out a 2-1 victory . The Dodgers’ starting pitcher, was unable to carry out another rarity, with back to back ” no hitters” . With the Dodgers having the biggest payroll in the game and several of their pitchers and players among the highest paid in the game, it is easy to understand why there will be added pressure on the team to succeed, as well as upon the shoulders of Don Mattingly and his managerial staff. The manager has now been given just about every tool at his disposal , with an All Star at almost every position possible ,as they seek to win their first World Series’ crown in over two decades. Say nothing of which , with the recent news of the pending sale of the Loss Angeles Clippers , this franchise is not the biggest news’ story in the City of Angeles now. And with the tailspin of the Los Angeles Lakers and their no longer death defining fall from grace , one has to wonder , who now takes up the slack of providing the biggest story in the world of sports within the city. Oh sorry , I almost forgot , the Los Angeles Kings have garnered themselves a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals , as the Western Conference representatives, where they will meet the New York Rangers , in what might be the most highly anticipated Finals in recent years , in a meeting of two of the NHL’s most popular teams . Anyone interested, in that particular morsel of information ?

Roughly a third of the way through the MLB schedule and there is not really much that we have really learned about the season, so far. We know , there are some very good teams , but also , several franchises that are under-achieving and a number of players who have yet to hit their stride by way of their productivity with the bat or off the mound . One could gauge this point of the season and then look at the same state of affairs in the month June of last year to see how things might well possibly pan out. In reality, that might be something of foolhardy exercise , as it simply cannot account for any number of variables that might possibly take place.

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Picture gallery .

As baseball meanders towards the midpoint of its season , what if anything , do you feel has been missing from the game ? Also which rookie or major star will have the biggest impact on the season and quite possibly lead their team to a postseason berth ? Take the opportunity, to leave a comment on this topic and anything else you believe to be relevant .

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Picture and slideshow details .

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(1) Kansas City Royals Chairman & CEO David Glass is seen here with team GM Dayton Moore as the pair peruse the outfield at Kauffmann Field in Kansas City , Missouri. The Royal have remained uncompetitive over the past decade and have failed to meet the expectations of their fans. As to the organization itself, there appears to be a constant stream of rhetoric and little by way of action in terms of seeking to bolster the team’s roster or actually increase the payroll by a considerable amount . AP Photo / Ken Walker ….

(2) Miami Marlins starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez , right, shakes hands with catcher Jeff Mathis (6) after Alvarez pitched a complete game and the Marlins defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 in an inter-league baseball game , Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(3) Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria walks to the dugout after striking out in the fourth inning of an inter-league baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …..

(4) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer throws during the first inning of an inter-league baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(5) Miami Marlins’ Christian Yelich , right, is out at second on a fielder’s choice as Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar , left, throws to first during the first inning of an inter-league baseball game, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(6) New York Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, June 3 , 2014. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(7) Masahiro Tanaka (19) of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 4, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Japanese star is off to an impressive start this season leading the Yankees’ pitching staff in wins , while being among the top pitchers in the AL and a likely candidate for AL Rookie of the Year. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images ….

(8) A jubilant Josh Beckett is seen here being hugged by teammates after he pitched a “no hitter” on the 25th May, as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in a lopsided 6-0 victory in a game played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania. This was the first no hitter pitched by Beckett of his career and the first in the Majors this season . AP Photo / Eric Temple …

(9) Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly left, speaks with players Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe (right) in the dugout at Dodgers Ballpark , in Los Angeles , California during a game . Mattingly and his managerial staff are under a great deal of pressure to deliver that long-awaited first World Series since their last appearance in the Fall Classic some twenty-six years ago , when the franchise was triumphant in winning their fifth World Series’ title . AP Photo Hector Munoz ….

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News, views, and what the hell was that ?

News, views, and what the hell was that ?

Well the NBA season is over and done with , and now the fans will have the downtime of this off-season to assess how their teams will seek to strengthen their rosters, while seeking to usurp the Miami Heat and their dominant season . The NBA Draft will act as a precursor, as to what we can expect, as a number of struggling organizations will seek to better themselves . To my mind , it will not be so much about what these teams do , but what Pat Riley , Erik Spoelstra and team owner , Mickey Arison will seek to do , to improve this organization not just from a competitive standpoint but also economically as well .

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LeBron James pretty much etched himself into the NBA record books with a series of scintillating performances against the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals , that were almost Jordan-esque, in their nature and size . That being said, this seven game series , might just go down as one of the very best in recent NBA Finals` history . And while praise is being heaped upon James` broad shoulders, it would be remiss not to think that Erik Spoelstra has contributed as much to the team`s success this season, as he did in last season`s Finals also . The head coach of the Heat has pretty much written his own chapter in Miami Heat history , of which I am pretty sure , there is still a great deal to come from this Pat Riley protegé !

A great deal of speculation will begin as to whether or not this team will be broken up as the coaching staff seeks to bolster the roster . First of all, can we stop with this asinine notion and situation where LeBron James will seek to opt out of his present contract and ply his trade elsewhere ? James and his agent , Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Management , are unlikely to give up the opportunity of being in a major high-profiled market to go elsewhere , not while James is at the height of his earning power in the NBA and a marketing behemoth to the advertisers of Madison Avenue and their global clients . Somehow this all seems to be overlooked by many of the analysts and fans out there , who simply use stupidity as a guide for what they deem to be common sense, in suggesting that the player is likely to leave the confines of Miami . For the moment, the Miami Heat organization, will be allowed to enjoy the spoils of war, before preparing for the upcoming season .

In what now seems a catalyst for excessive stupidity this season and during the off-season . The NBA has simply gone awry, with the number of head coaches either being fired or simply not having their contracts extended . One of individuals who was said to be an unwilling participant in all of this , just happened to be Vinny Del Negro , who in having guided the Los Angeles Clippers to the postseason was summarily dismissed by the organization , headed by team owner , Donald Sterling and GM Gary Sacks . Now one could speculate, as to the reasons why Del Negro was not rewarded with an extension of his contract . Yet, his untimely dismissal, does smack of what now appears to be an underlying trend that now seems commonplace across the NBA, amongst the team owners and general managers alike. It seems that when all else fails , the best person to blame, has to be the head coach , rather than the players who under-achieve or a general manager who just doesn`t have a damn clue . It is clear that neither Gary Sacks or Donald Sterling have ever had a clue how to run or create a successful NBA franchise . A case in point can be made, that the evidence has been there all along , for all to see over the past decade or more, as it relates to the Los Angeles Clippers .

With the recent public announcement that Doc Rivers has been hired to succeed Vinny Del Negro , it will be extremely interesting to see the direction that will be taken by the organization under their new head coach. A number of decisions will have to be made during this off-season as to the makeup of the roster , the status of their impending free agents , as well as the upcoming NBA Draft .

For the Boston Celtics , after what appears to be years of none movement by way of simply improving the roster overall . GM Danny Ainge , lead managing partner and team owner , Wyc Grousbeck , are now left with having to pick up the pieces after the abrupt departure of Doc Rivers . As to how the situation will be viewed by the Celtics` unabashed die- hard fans, remains to be seen . Yet it is my belief, that a great deal of the blame for Rivers` departure , lies with the coach himself and the actions of Danny Ainge , who at times seemed averse to change , that would have helped the franchise’s long-term goals . . I have yet to hear a succinct reason why Rivers signed a three-year contract extension in 2012 , knowing full well that he remained unhappy with a number of decisions being made by the front office, even when his input was called for . From my own perspective, Doc Rivers is just as much to blame for Celtics` present predicament , as are the executives within the front office of the Boston Celtics` organization !

In what might amount to an admission of guilt , Hall of Fame bound former NFL head coach Bill Parcells says, he as a great deal of regret in leaving the New England Patriots in 1996 . Four absolute years of futility, by his successor , Pete Carroll , pretty much laid the foundation for the Bill Belichick years of unparalleled success . For Parcells to readily admit that fact and that he and team owner , Robert Kraft failed to see eye to eye on a number of issues while he coached the franchise , was not necessarily astounding , but it leads me to believe that the head coach was a man , who simply liked to do things his own way and was unwilling to accept criticism even when valid . Parcells` resume` we know to be unrivaled , with the coach having taken four separate teams to the postseason during his now famed coaching career . A Superbowl appearance came with the Patriots in , during his four years with the well-respected NFL franchise . In what amounted to be a lopsided to be a 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers , for which the season that turned out to be so full of promise ended up being something of a major letdown for the franchise , and brought about an abrupt end to Bill Parcells` reign with the Patriots .

Courtesy of USA Today

Bill Parcells laments decision to part ways with Patriots

By Jim Corbett , USA Today Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Bill Parcells has one haunting memory from a coaching career that will culminate with his Aug.3 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: his bitter post-Super Bowl XXXI divorce from the New England Patriots and owner Robert Kraft after the 1996 season.

“I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently … ” Parcells recently told USA TODAY Sports. “I had a good young team there. I hated to leave that team, because I knew what we could do.

“I was absolutely too headstrong. And he might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently.”

And the course of NFL history would have changed.

Parcells was succeeded in New England in 1997 by Pete Carroll, who coached the Patriots for three seasons before he was replaced by Bill Belichick in 2000.

The Patriots have won three Super Bowls and reached two others under Belichick, who, without the New England job available, might have remained head coach of the New York Jets for more than a day before resigning to move up the road to Foxborough, Mass.

Parcells and Kraft have made their peace, getting over a breakup caused by Parcells’ lack of final say on building the roster, which was decided by then-director of player personnel Bobby Grier. That power struggle led Parcells to taunt Kraft with the famous line: “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.”

Kraft recalled the truce, which happened about 10 years ago.

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Bill Parcells can be seen as one of the modern- day innovators within the NFL coaching fraternity . The measure of success can also be seen from the coaching tree that has been established by Parcells and the members of his coaching staff who went on to carve success for themselves in the NFL , in various capacities . If that is not enough to signify the greatness of this former head coach , beyond his obvious over-sized ego , then I certainly don`t know what will .

Now as an avid Patriots` fan , I have to admit that this story concerning Aaron Hernandez’s involvement in the death of a former close confidante bears all t the remnants of quite possibly a friendship gone sour . The victim, Odin Lloyd , is a one-time known md close associate of the Patriots` tight end . That being said, with Hernandez now having gone, from a person of interest in this homicide, to the number one suspect , it now has me questioning why Robert Kraft , GM Nick Caserio and Bill Belichick would still allow the player to turn up at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts , for the team`s off-season workouts , mandatory or not ? It has become enough of a circus and a distraction the nation`s press and television media encamped outside Patriots` headquarters, waiting for the next glimpse of the now besieged and troubled player .

Personally, I would like to see what the next step that will be taken by the Patriots` hierarchy or the NFL itself , should the player be arrested and be charged with Odin Lloyd`s murder ! If that wasn`t enough and given Aaron Hernandez’s unwillingness to cooperate with local law enforcement and his own actions , prior to being questioned , leads me to believe that he does have a great deal to hide beyond his possible involvement in a homicide ! The destruction of what law enforcement (Boston PD) believes to be pertinent (cell phone , cleaning up of his residence and that of his SUV ) points to that of serious felony having been committed . Yet mere supposition alone, cannot be enough to truly suggest a player` guilt . However, any good prosecuting attorney should be able to indict and arraign a possible defendant on less . I may well be mistaken , but at this juncture , I am not expecting an asshole such as Roger Goodell to make any public statement , much less deliver any sort edict stating the player should be suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation. Would that be too much to ask of the NFL`s buffoon of a commissioner , given his proclivity for supposedly wanting to protect the NFL`s image ?

It is becoming abundantly clear that the NFL has become archaic monolithic system that is simply devoid of intelligence and this ongoing fact that all Roger Goodell can actually point to, are increased revenues , yet little by way any concern over welfare of retired veterans, most notably the issue head trauma and concussions . For years, Goodell and his predecessor , Paul Tagliabue , ignored their own in-house studies as well that of studies conducted by world-renowned academic facilities, Stanford , UCLA Medical Facility Berkley, John Hopkins University , Sloane Kettering as well as studies conducted by the AMA , NIMH and the AAN (American Academy of Neurology) . In the midst of this all , remains the apathy of fans who say that the NFL continues to emasculate the league and the way football is officiated , interpreted and the rules adhered to by the referees. Somehow these are quite possibly the same idiots , who raise the national flag to show that they are patriots but simply couldn`t give a shit that there are now more than 750,000 homeless military veterans in living on the streets of Los Angeles , New York , San Francisco , Miami and Washington, DC ., all suffering chronic mental health and drug-related issues . Where is the compassion for those men and women said to be coming from ? Yet , these are the forgotten , who no one seems to care about at all , not even the VA (Veterans Administration) the federal government itself, in spite of the lip service coming from members of the House , Senate , as well as Barack Obama , himself .

I may well be mistaken, but this year is 2013 , is it not ? A little over two eighteen months ago, ago an individual and former patron of this site was simply critical of me , because I was overly critical of the Kansas City Royals(35-38) and that as an organization , they were not only bereft of talent but also devoid of intelligence, in terms the ownership and managerial staff . Far be it for me to suggest , but it has been several years since the Royals last made the postseason , let alone contest for their division during that time-frame. Furthermore , this season , the Royals are once again playing sub-par baseball and while not belying their status as an also ran within the AL as well as baseball as a whole .

Royals` manager Ned Yost and his staff have been entrusted to guide this team for the long-haul , but it is my belief that Yost is handicapped by ball-club that simply has no wish to spend money to bolster this team . Be it, adding a veteran leader or simply a talent, by way of a bonafide star who is productive as an offensive player or pitcher . The biggest issue facing the Kansas City Royals , are that their fans have always been under the impression that the team will contend , if not this year , then it will be next . God bless those Royal fans, and their ongoing optimism, in spite of the sheer ineptitude shown .

Year in and year out the MLB Draft has been an ongoing process of the Kansas City Royals and GM Dayton Moore going through the motions creating the perception of creating a competitive ball-club. David Glass , owner of the Royals , in spite of his alleged business acumen , and the propensity for simply sitting back and let the chips fall were they may. And as we know MLB simply takes care of its own , even when they just happen to be abhorrent mediocre and repeatedly so . The Royals will continue to live high on the hog , just as long as Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy avails teams such as the Royals with their asinine tax sharing revenue scheme , which since the day it was initiated, , it has barely created a level playing field . Others might well counter that with the argument that the World Series has been contested by several different teams . However, if one would merely look at the make-up up of postseason , specifically the divisional series and championship series , over the years that the perennial contenders are always there . As to the World Series itself , well what can one say , when the names more often than not tend to be the same ? Does anyone truly believe that the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates , Tampa Bay Rays , Houston Astros , New York Mets , will ever win a title , given their respective records in recent years ? Granted in 1969 , the Mets triumphed over the Baltimore Orioles , with a lopsided 4-1 series` victory . Since then , four decades plus of sheer purgatory , financial mismanagement and the absurdity of Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi are credible enough to turn things around for this moribund franchise . Terry Collins and his bedraggled team are simply back to their ways of old , with the same old excuses being put forth by their fans and the front office . I wonder why ? One merely has to look at the team`s season and standing in the NL East to realize what a mess the New York Mets continue to be .

If I were a Royals` fan , am I supposed to be sold players such as Mike Moustakas , Alex Gordon , Eric Hosmer , Billy Butler , Lorenzo Cain and a team batting average of . 257 , which in essence, places the Royals in fifth in the AL ? Yet what might be of even more concern, is the fact that the team cannot manufacture runs (RBI`s) or even home runs . Wow ! And these are the type of statistics that will lure fans to Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri ? The one saving grace might well be, that in terms of pitching , the team does possess the best ERA in the AL with league low average of 3.52.

Next up for Kansas City will be a home game against the Atlanta Braves ,with Kris Medlen taking the mound for Atlanta against Ervin Santana of the Royals , in what is sure to be a lively pitchers` duel between these two players . Great games are normally expected when we have two highly competitive teams facing off against one another. At present , only one of these two ball-clubs actually fits that criteria of being even remotely competitive . Care to guess, which one ?

Los Angeles Angels` (33-43) owner, Arte Moreno , has become disgruntled and upset by the direction of this team . I cannot say that I would blame him , given the fact, that he now has over $450 million invested in three high-profiled players on this roster . Yet here are, almost at a crisis point, almost midway through the MLB season . A season , in which, the Angels have simply been mediocre , at best . It is not that hard to fathom how an organization can in fact be so naïve in its wish to seek out success , having to see their crosstown rivals be front and center, garnering much of the news when it comes to all things baseball in the city of Los Angeles . There is no denying that this season both the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers (33-42) are grabbing all of the headlines within the game but for all of the wrong reasons. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto and his Dodgers` counterpart Ned Colletti are struggling to make both teams relevant within their respective divisions . For managers, Mike Scioscia and Don Mattingly , for all sense and purpose , their jobs now appear to be on the line, with respective owners Arte Moreno and Magic Johnson undoubtedly rethinking the situation, as whether or not, it would be wise to extend the contracts of the two beleaguered managers . By season`s end I believe we will be given the answers in both cases !

As I alluded to earlier with over $450 million invested in Albert Pujols , C J Wilson and Josh Hamilton , it is extremely difficult to see how and where this team will be in a position to challenge for the AL West this season , when they are struggling just to be competitive within the AL as a whole .

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Picture gallery .

The Angels will be the guests of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park , in Detroit ,Michigan for a series of games . Jim Leyland brings in a team that will be seeking to tighten its grip on the AL Central , as they seek not only redefine themselves , but also seek redemption after last season`s lopsided World Series ` loss to the San Francisco Giants . As the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics contest the AL West , leading the Angels by ten and eleven games respectively, you kind of get the feeling that we could very well be witnessing the beginning of the end as it relates to the career of Mike Sciocsia with this ball-club. As one of the longest tenured managers in baseball , Sciocsia`s greatest achievement in came in 2002 as he led the organization to their lone triumph in baseball`s biggest showcase event .

Your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and how you see the second half of the season panning out for a number of teams within baseball ? Do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) NBA champion Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra , center, gestures to fans during a parade honoring the team in Miami, Monday, June 24, 2013. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….

(2) Fans take photos of the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy with their mobile phones and cameras as it rises from the from a box, Monday, June 24, 2013, during a celebration for season ticket holders at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 to win their second straight basketball championship. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(3) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 24: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat celebrates alongside teammate, Juwan Howard on the bus during the championship celebration parade through downtown Miami on June 24, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images …..

(4) LeBron James , left , is seen here with his childhood friend and business partner Rich Paul . Paul a former junior associate with mega-agency CAA Sports left to form Klutch Sports Inc , taking along with him the NBA star , who at the time , just happened to CAA`s biggest NBA client . James and Paul are also co-founders of LMR Enterprises which oversees all of James` business interests , covering endorsements , his charitable foundation as well as other outside interests of the player. Mathe` Enterprises Inc. copyrighted material …..

(5) FILE – In this file photo made Feb. 1, 2013, Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers gestures towards an official during an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic in Boston. A Celtics official told The Associated Press, Sunday, June 23, 2013, that a deal to allow Rivers to coach the Los Angeles Clippers has been agreed to. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal was contingent on NBA approval and negotiations between Rivers and the Clippers over a new contract. AP Photo/Charles Krupa ….

(6) CHICAGO, IL – MAY 17: Trey Burke (3) completes a lane agility test on Day 2 of the 2013 NBA Draft Combine on May 17, 2013 at Quest Multiplex in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Randy Belice/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(7) New England Patriots` owner Robert Kraft , left , is seen here with then team head coach Bill Parcells . The two individuals had what could be best described as a testy relationship , that would often become extremely combustible . Parcells would have four successful seasons with the franchise , before leaving abruptly at the end of the 1996 season . In a recent interview with USA Today , Bill Parcells voiced his regrets in leaving the Patriots under the circumstances that he had chosen to depart . Boston Globe / Frank Pietro ….

(8) Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas tags out Chicago White Sox’s Paul Konerko (14) on the way to third before throwing to first for the double play hit into by Dayan Viciedo during the fourth inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 22, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …

(9) Los Angeles Angels` owner Mike Sciocsia is seen here with team owner Arte Moreno . Sciocsia is under a great deal of pressure this season for the team to succeed . However , with players failing to live up to expectation and a seven-figure payroll that ranks among the top ten in all of baseball . It begs the question , can Mike Sciocsia and his staff survive the season or will Jerry Dipoto and the team owner relieve the manager of his managerial position at season`s end ? AP Photo Mark Rogers ……..

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Alive And Kicking In Kansas Or Not ………. But Dorothy And Toto Are Still Popular

Alive And Kicking In Kansas Or Not ………. But Dorothy And Toto Are Still Popular

There’s no reason to think that the mindset of an organization is about to change merely because the ownership makes certain pronouncements . The idiocy of this all is that nothing has changed with the Kansas City Royals . Merely because within the AL Central they sit mid table with an under .500 record (22-28) simply means nothing . Based on the team’s most recent form and the fact that this cannot simply find any consistency much less form in their play , consistency some observers feel that the team and organization simply aren’t warranted of any criticism. Well I say this, if abject futility is something that you feel a team is obliged to offer their fans then you simply can’t understand the premise of objectivity much less being subjective .

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In their most recent game played against the Texas Rangers played at Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas . The Royals were simply out-matched and outplayed by a Rangers team that got the better of the Kansas City Royals and made this team look less than ordinary. I’ve no doubt that team owner David Glass wants the best for this team given the organization’s history but at this juncture I for one feel that this team is so far off from where they need to be that they won’t be challenging for any postseason honors anytime soon ! The Texas Rangers’ offense in this game simply was on fire hitting back to back to back to back home runs and the Royals starting pitcher Sean O’ Sullivan was made to look ordinary at best in the Royals’ 10-1 loss to the Texas Rangers .

At this juncture there’s not much more to say concerning the Royals other than to suggest that their time may well come but it certainly won’t this season or anytime soon . And that’s in spite of their minor league system , draft choices or their top 10 prospects that the organization obviously has a great deal of faith in. Now I might add that although baseball has seen a gamut of financial mismanagement from its hierarchy on down to the general managers and team owners . Please someone tell me how the hell that this travesty within the game can be allowed to continue ? But yet there are those who carry on as if baseball is in a healthy financial state ?

Is it me but the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista is making a mockery of the season in terms of having hit 20 home runs in a mere 50 games for the Blue Jays this season . If Bautista keeps up this pace then quite possibly the single season home run record could very well be in jeopardy . Granted , Barry Bonds’ 73 home runs is still looked upon as being tainted but herein lies the odyssey of this all MLB simply as well as Elias Sports Bureau recognizes this as being a legitimate statistic that’s duly recognized. Can’t say that I blame either organization because as things continue and the records are assailed they will still come under a great deal more suspicion !

In their last ten games the Boston Red Sox (28-22) are 7-3 and are a mere .03 of a percentage point behind the New York Yankees (27-21) within the AL East . The division itself now seems to be a three horse race with the Tampa Bays Rays also making their presence felt , that the AL East is liable to be so competitive and contentious that you’d be hard pressed to pick an outright favorite within the division at this juncture . Each of the three teams in question have been playing at a high level and the mere fact the teams also have their flaws makes the season within the division all the more suspenseful from the fans’ standpoint .

Adrian Gonzalez has had a terrific season thus far for the Red Sox and their initial start to the season now seems to be something of the past . Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has to pleased with what he’s now seeing from his team and in particular now with Carl Crawford having hit his stride as a Red Sox player. GM Theo Epstein may well have had his doubters when he acquired both Crawford and Gonzalez but the general manager knew that having the duo would make this team a great deal more formidable. All that’s now needed is for their pitching to be far more consistent over the course of the season .

As the first half of the season I’d like to think that the second half will provide us with a great deal of suspense as things play themselves out ! The upcoming All Star Game being played at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona could very much be surrounded in a great deal of controversy with the state legislature having passed into law the state’s immigration bill ( SB 1070) which provides law enforcement with the power to request a suspect provide identification as to their immigration status. Now one might take umbrage at that proposal but Gov Jan Brewer (R-Az) felt the need to address this issue knowing full well that the passing of that law would have its consequences amongst its detractors as well as its supporters . With certain provisions in the bill having been struck down by the Appellate Courts at the request of President Obama of which task had been undertaken by the Justice Department . This new bill still gives statewide law enforcement the right to question a suspect as to their immigration status . Something of which many believe should be an issue dealt with by the Department of Homeland Security through the Immigration & Natural Service .

This immigration bill obviously hasn’t sat well with the Hispanic players around the league and I would certainly like to think that the players would be willing participants in the All Star Game but at the same time I understand that they may not favor the enactment of this law within the state of Arizona . This much I do know furor surrounding this emotional issue isn’t about to die down anytime soon , as both sides feel that they have something to prove . The Obama administration may well feel that the state of Arizona has overstepped their boundaries but I do feel that successive Presidential administrations down the years have simply shied away from having a comprehensive immigration bill on the books as a statute. Make of it what you will but simply ask yourself who benefits from the idiocy we are now seeing on both sides of political aisle ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

To the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have on those mentioned and how do you see the season panning out within Major League Baseball ? Simply chime in with a comment as you’d deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Kansas City Royals’ Jeff Francoeur (21) tosses his bat after striking out against Texas Rangers relief pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama in the eighth inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington. Francoeur went 1-for-4 with no runs in the 10-1 Rangers win. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ….

(2) Texas Rangers’ Mike Napoli (25) is greeted at the dugout by Ian Kinsler, right, and the rest of the team following Napoli’s solo home run off Kansas City Royals’ Sean O’Sullivan in the second inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(3) Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Sean O’Sullivan (37) walks to the back of the mound as Texas Rangers’ Mitch Moreland, rear, rounds the bases following his solo home in the second inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(4) Toronto Blue Jays Aaron Hill swings at a ball from Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Harrell as catcher Ramon Castro and home plate umpire David Rackley look on during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Sunday May 29, 2011. The Blue Jays would defeat the White Sox 13_4 . AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ….

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(5) Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista watches his three-run home run hit during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Toronto. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese …..

(6) Detroit Tigers’ Andy Dirks, right, scores against Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek from first base on a double by Brennan Boesch in the first inning of game two of a baseball double-header Sunday, May 29, 2011 in Detroit. AP Photo/Duane Burleson……

(7) Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammate Carl Crawford (13) after Gonzalez scored in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on May 22, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Before this series, the two teams haven’t played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Elsa Martinez / Getty Images North America …

(8) Digger Phelps throws the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the Chicago Cubs’ baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(9) Chicago Cubs starter Randy Wells wipes his face after Pittsburgh Pirates’ Ronny Cedeno’s three-run home run, during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….

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MLB Standings

MLB Scoreboard

MLB scores & results 29th May 2011

MLB Probable starters 29th May

Probable starters 30th May 2011

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB News

NB: Can someone remind Digger Phelps that the Chicago Cubs play baseball and not college basketball ! His thoughts during his rendition of ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame ‘ and the thinking that Cubs could overcome a 10-0 deficit with three innings to go against the Pirates simply shows what an asshole this guy is at times ! The Cubs would actually be blanked 10-0 at Wrigley Field by the Pirates .

As of 28th May when this piece was originally written the MLB standings having changed .

Simply Follow The Money Honey

Simply Follow The Money Honey

Just as in the silly season with the PGA Tour where they have their non-sensical and end of season tournaments that’s merely another way for the Tour players to pad their already burgeoning bank accounts the same thing applies to MLB (baseball) as prospective restricted and free agents look to cement their bank accounts also. However whereas golf has a wealth of corporate sponsors eager to have their names associated with the sport although the game’s biggest draw _ Tiger Woods has fallen from grace somewhat ,the sport as such still resonates with the fans whenever he’s on the golf course wielding his clubs and not wielding it in the direction of some buxom nubile young female.

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