In The Cold Light of Day You Can Always Figure Out The Truth …

In The Cold Light of Day You Can Always Figure Out The Truth …

Well, the Major League Baseball season came to an abrupt end and the Boston Red Sox claimed the best record in the league on their way to a one-hundred win season. The Red Sox were joined by the New York Yankees and Houston Astros as the only other ball-clubs to have achieved the feat during this long and arduous season. Among the players who excelled during the year , we have Blake Snell among the pitchers , who led all starters in the number of wins as well as having one of the lowest ERA’s among the starters. With regard to offense it was another very good season with several players living up to expectation , among them two-time AL MVP and Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout . It was another disappointing season for the Angels as they failed to make the postseason for 2018. It is widely known, that team manager Mike Sciocsia will not be returning to the ball-club in 2019 . Another big league manager also in the same position is John Gibbons of the Toronto Blue Jays , as the front office made it official, that his contract will not be extended.

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The Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals were among the major disappointments within the National League , with Miami having among the worst record of all the teams in the NL (National League) and their barely being competitive within the NL East , where they finished bottom of the division. The surprising winners there , were the Atlanta Braves who finished with a 90-72 record . The wildcard entrant within the NL will be the Los Angeles Dodgers tie-breaker with the Colorado Rockies and the losers of the tie-breaker between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers . That game is due to take place on Monday, 1st October , with the Cubs playing host to the Brewers at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. . It makes for a fascinating start to the MLB postseason in 2018 , with two tie-breaking series set to unfold . I’d dare say the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a very precarious situation , having to face divisional rival the Colorado Rockies.

Heavily favored, but yet somehow, a team largely made of PGA superstars and they failed miserably as the US Ryder Cup Team lost to their European counterparts in one of the most lopsided results in recent Ryder Cup history. The final score of 17 ½ to 10 ½ didn’t do the Europeans justice as Francesco Molinari led a tremendous team, with the Italian posting a 5-0 winning record , matching a feat only achieved by four other players in the format’s history. This biannual event is the biggest team competition in golf , bigger than the President’s Cup and the World Cup of Golf. In 2020 , when Europe seeks to defend their title , the Ryder Cup will be played on American soil at the Whistling Straits Golf Course , in Milwaukee , Wisconsin. It will be very interesting to see who will be the captain of the US Team will be and whether or not there will be a great deal of camaraderie among the players. Based on the results seen in France, there seems to be a great deal of animosity and among the Americans , with their also being a great deal of finger pointing and backbiting among those teammates.

Five games into the College Football season and it looks like Alabama intends to separate themselves from the rest of the programs at the top of D1 Football. With a 5-0 record there isn’t a great deal that the team has left to prove , other than for Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban to win another national title. Saban has cemented himself as among the greatest college coach in College Football history. On Saturday afternoon Alabama entertained or should I say played and toyed with Louisiana Lafayette on their way to a 56-14 lopsided victory. To say that Louisiana put up any type of resistance would be laughable , as the game was never really close at any time during its duration.

Alabama will like remain atop of the College Rankings , while also heavily positioning themselves to win out within the SEC (Southeastern Conference) once again. . In week six Nick Saban will take his players on the road as they face Arkansas (Razorbacks) on the road for a game to be played on the 6th October , 2018 at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas,. I doubt that this will be the game where Alabama will be upended .

The nearest team to Alabama by way of their play and athleticism based on record , being that there are still several unbeaten teams . might well be Clemson , whose championship winning run and their defeat of Alabama was a joy to behold. . In week six Clemson’s coaching staff headed by Dabo Swinney will prepare the team to face rival Wake Forest on the road . The Georgia Bulldogs might well be ranked as the number two team in the nation and they are very good , but I still believe the Clemson Tigers to be the better team ! Georgia for their part will have a very interesting upcoming game when they take on Vanderbilt .

Well , so much for that 3-0 start to their season by the Miami Dolphins and the claims that this might be the team to beat within the AFC East . That picture was quickly laid to rest as the Dolphins were manhandled and mauled by a New England Patriots’ team looking to make amends for a poor start to their season. Anyone who believed this Patriots’ roster had seen better days , well they were suddenly reawakened by the cacophony of a bang, as New England took it upon themselves to remind the rest of the NFL why this franchise is a five-time winning Superbowl champion. Tom Brady had his best outing of the season by far with both the defense and offense playing their part in this humiliating defeat of the Miami Dolphins. Adam Gase , a former protege’ of Patriots’ Head Coach Bill Belichick , now finds himself having been taught a real lesson by his Master. For Ryan Tannehill and all the talk of his being a leader or this Miami Dolphins’ team , it is becoming increasingly clear he still has a long way to go before he can be remotely considered to be an elite quarterback in the NFL .

Ryan Tannehill’s performance against the New England Patriots saw the player pass for a mere one hundred yards , while barely competing fifty percent of his pass attempts during the game. He would be replaced by backup quarterback Brock Osweiler , who fared no better than his teammate during the contest. With week five of the regular season just around the corner and the Dolphins not having their bye-week until week eleven where they’re joined by the Buffalo Bills , Cleveland Browns , New England Patriots , New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers as the teams with a bye for that week. Next up for Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins will be a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on the road in an AFC match-up . Meanwhile , Tom Brady and the Patriots will be preparing to take on the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium , in Foxboro’, Massachusetts,.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s world and that of the Tampa Buccaneers’ came crashing down to a loss , that was totally unexpected. In many respects , the writing had been on the wall , as the Buccaneers had begun to show frailties long expected and at some point we all knew would be exposed. Chicago Bears’ rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky passed for a franchise-game six passing touchdowns on the way to the team’s 48-10 victory over their conference rivals. The Buccaneers might well be 2-2 at present , but that record is very deceptive , because this is not a two and two one team . If anything, the Buccaneers are lucky to have that record and it begs the question what else can Dirk Koetter now do with a team which continually lets their fans down due to their complacency and inconsistency ?

If Ryan Fitzpatrick’s performance against the Chicago Bears was thought to be bad , then having Jameis Winston come on to replace Fitzpatrick, barely offered the Buccaneers any hope at all, as Winston simply showed us once again why his progress has been mediocre since becoming a first round draft pick for the franchise in 2015 . To suggest that there might be an upside to Winston’s game would be like trying to equate it with walking across the Grand Canyon without the use of a balancing pole to aid the walker on that journey. The hard part for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be to try and convince their doubters that they’re still a team capable of being viewed as a contender within the NFC and worthy of a postseason berth. Based on the four games played to date , I am far from convinced that the Buccaneers are even capable of having a winning season in 2018, let alone making it to the NFL postseason. It will be interesting to see how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seek to rebound from this loss the Chicago Bears when they face the Atlanta Falcons on the road in week six .

Patrick Mahomes might not have been the first quarterback taken in the 2018 NFL Draft , but he’s certainly playing like the top prospect the front office of the Kansas City Chiefs believed him to be. Too early to say as of yet if he’ll measure up to the accomplishments of Carson Wentz, which was seen last season , before Wentz went down due to injury , unable to participate in the Philadelphia Eagles triumphant postseason foray , where their ultimate triumph was the defeat of the New England Patriots in the Superbowl. I am not saying that Mahomes will lead the Chiefs to that sort of postseason experience , but it would certainly be interesting to see what could happen over the remainder of the team’s schedule. The rookie quarterback kept his composure in leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a well-deserved win over divisional rivals the Denver Broncos and thereby keeping their unbeaten record in tact.

Next up for the Kansas City Chiefs will be a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri .

The NBA preseason has begun in earnest and it will be interesting to see how the teams will fare , in the lead-up to the regular season schedule which tips off officially on the 16th October with two Opening Night Games. Current defending NBA champions , the Golden State Warriors will certainly be looking to improve upon last season’s record , albeit , that the team didn’t have the best regular season record. Yet , for Steve Kerr , his coaching staff and that of the front office led by Bob Myers . Their wish is to create another dynasty for the league to talk about. The Warriors’ roster led by Steph Curry and Kevin Durant , have to be seen as the prohibitive favorites to make a successful defense of their title. This team as it currently stands with the addition of DeMarucs Cousins might be even more formidable than last season’s championship roster .

The Golden State Warriors will begin the defense of their title with the customary preseason schedule before embarking upon their regular season beginning on the 16th October , when they face the Oklahoma City Thunder at home at the Oracle Arena in Oakland ,

Of the big off-season moves , no one was really surprised when LeBron James made the announcement that he would be moving West to the bright lights and big city of Los Angeles. Joining the Los Angeles Lakers signing a five-year max deal that pays him just over $150 million dollars was not a big expenditure when you take into account this remains the NBA’s most popular franchise and quite possibly it’s most valuable based on attendance levels and ratings.

Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton will be hard pressed to convince me this team has what it takes to take down the Golden State Warriors and the best that the Western Conference has to offer. LeBron James might well have won with less while with the Cleveland Cavalier, but he’s playing with the Big Boys of the West and not the daycare kindergarten kids of the East as was the case last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers . When the Lakers begin their preseason schedule of five games it will be interesting to see how the team will fare. The first of those contests will see them them tip off against the Denver Nuggets at home on Tuesday , 2nd October . . Their regular season schedule begins on the 18th October when they face conference rivals the Portland Trailblazers .

Eight straight NBA Finals’ appearances is an astonishing feat for any player , but even with all of the accomplishments of LeBron James. He will be hard pressed to make it to a ninth consecutive appearance with a team which is short by way of real experience .

OK, so the Los Angeles Lakers might well be the big story in the NBA and for much of this season, that is likely to be the case , but there will be other stories unfolding. The Brooklyn Nets for many years a franchise hemorrhaging more money than having success , is now in the midst of being sold by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov to to Canadian citizen Joseph Tsai , who is of Taiwanese ancestry. Tsai also happens to be the Vice Chairman of Chinese e-Commerce giant Ali-Baba . His net worth is believe to be just over $9 billion , making him certainly among Canada’s richest citizens as well as in China and Taiwan. Before the sale can be finalized , it must have the approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors , before the Joseph Tsai can assume control as the league’s newest NBA franchise owner .

It is not known how much Joseph Tsai paid in purchasing the Brooklyn Nets , but I don’t believe that Mikhail Prokhorov will completely recoup his original investment . The coaching staff of the franchise led by Kenny Atkinson will now have a short period of time to assess the possible wholesale changes likely to be made. Brooklyn’s roster is not overly impressive and not one that I believe will be capable of being very competitive this upcoming season. The first game of the Nets’ preseason will see them facing their in-state rivals the New York Knicks on Wednesday , 3rd October ,2018 . Their opening game of the regular season will see the Nets facing the Detroit Pistons on the road. Given the productivity seen from these two teams last season, it will be very interesting to see how this contest will end .

Another disgruntled star in the NBA and the regular season has yet to begin. The Minnesota Timberwolves now have Jimmy Butler pleading his case by making a request to be traded. No doubt there would be a plethora of teams interested in acquiring one of the league’s best guards. Butler has proven himself to be productive and a leader ; this was clearly the case when he played for the Chicago Bulls . Timberwolves’ Head Coach Tom Thibodeau who also happens to hold a high-ranking position within the organization , is reluctant to let the player go , but he might be willing to do so if he were able to make a trade he deemed fair.

Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves might not reach an agreement where he is likely to leave the franchise before the season starts. In all likelihood , I don’t believe Tom Thibodeau will be pressured into making an unwanted deal . The Timberwolves’ preseason opener will see the team face the Los Angeles Clippers
on the road before embarking on their regular season opener where they will tip-off against the San Antonio Spurs on the road .

The number of players in the NBA who will be earning over $25 million this season is now at an all-time high. It certainly is above the figure of last season. The figure has almost doubled from fourteen to now twenty five and it is clear that the NBA hierarchy led by Commissioner Adam Silver is not at all overly concerned. Not while the league’s revenues to go higher and the value of the teams steadily increase . This season in the NBA could be a very interesting one with just about everyone taking note of what the Los Angeles Lakers are liable to do .

Picture gallery along with accompanying narrative.

What if anything , do you now feel has been the biggest sports’ story to date or over the past week , month or at least the last six months ?

Tophatal ……….. 10/02/2018

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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.



Picture gallery .

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.


Picture and slideshow details below.

(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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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 .



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 .


Picture and slideshow details below .

(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 …




tophatal …. 2014/10/04

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Penny Mathis

The fault lies in their play, but you could also say the stars …….

The fault lies in their play, but you could also say the stars …….

Inasmuch as I love the game of baseball , I have to admit this might be one of the worst seasons on record in recent history. The AL East is barely recognizable and the level of play in what is said to be the best division in baseball has been truly dire. Defending World Series’ champions, the Boston Red Sox have now become an afterthought as the season has progressed. Say nothing of which, a great deal is being made out of a rivalry between the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays , which resonates about as much as a rancid piece of cheese that has been left out for days on end, merely sticking up the joint. Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles merely have to play .550 baseball or better to have the division sewn up for themselves and thereby win their first AL East crown in over a decade.


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If the Baltimore Orioles were to falter, then the likely recipients of their fall, would likely be the Toronto Blue Jays , whose play this season has been moderate though not overly inspiring. John Gibbons and his managerial staff , have a team that appears to be on the cusp of achieving something special this season, but a great deal of the success they are seeking will be dependent on the play of many of their seasoned veterans on the team’s roster, as well as the coaching acumen shown by Gibbons and his staff. The Blue Jays will be the guests of the Seattle Mariners when the two teams meet on Monday afternoon, with Drew Hutchinson taking the mound for the visiting team against Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. The game itself could provide us with something of a precursor as to the ambitions of two teams wishing to remain in the midst of the wildcard hunt if not their respective divisional races .

Buck Showalter and his team , will play host to the New York Yankees at Camden Yards , in Baltimore , Maryland on Monday afternoon. For the Yankees, their season now seems to be fading fast , as too are the hopes of team captain Derek Jeter and the team making the MLB postseason. For Joe Girardi , this might well have been a season where injuries may well have played a part in his team’s faltering , but in large part it has come down to the lack of productivity from his pitching staff and the inconsistency of the offense of the players. Jeter in his twentieth and final season with the franchise , may well go down as of the Yankees’ greatest players and given the ball-club’s achievements and their captain’s own astonishing career , it must be said, his departure from the game of baseball will be seen as the end of an era.

Hope springs eternal, but year in and year out the Tampa Bay Rays have simply promised more than they can deliver for their forlorn fans. In spite of the idiocy of some among the Rays’ fan-base, who will continue to make excuses for a front office which now seems devoid of real creativity. The recent trade of All Star pitcher David Price put an end to any chance the Rays might have had for the postseason. Price, being traded to the Detroit Tigers gives the AL Central based team a leg up on their divisional rivals in their chase for the division, while the Rays themselves continue to languish at the mid to lower end of the wildcard contestants .

Six and a half games out of the wildcard placing and the Tampa Bay Rays remain a long shot for one of the two AL berths. Consistency remains the key , but this team has not remained consistent in terms of winning series much less winning games over the course of the season, when needed . All of the enduring optimism from Joe Maddon cannot make up for the fact this remains a very average team in spite of claims at to the depth of their pitching. As good as the rotation may well seem to be, you simply cannot discount how woefully inconsistent their offense tends to be. Whatever leadership is said to be on the team , no one can seem to point to a vocal leader, certainly not Joe Maddon with his ongoing whimsical anecdotes and the same can be said of their all too less than knowledgeable fans. Excuses are now the norm from almost every quarter when it comes to the organization, be it from the local media, the fans or from members of front office and their ongoing cries of either disillusionment, or the simple fact they have become defeatist. Whining from the likes of players such as Chris Archer simply amplifies one of the ongoing issues within the organization and the lack of a competitive spirit.

If there is one manager within baseball who is expected to succeed this season , then it would have to be Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels . With a team that is said to possess one of the strongest lineups in the AL from a batting standpoint, there should be no reason for the Angels to falter this season. Everything Scioscia and his staff have asked for, has been granted by team owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto , along with a six-figure payroll for a team which now has the best player in the game among its lineup. If there are doubters as to the talents of Mike Trout , then I would gladly like to hear the arguments from those who think to the contrary ! ! Albert Pujols may well command the respect of his peers within the game, but the Angels are now Trout’s team for him to lead and his teammates willingly follow his lead.

If the Los Angeles Angels are to have things their own way, then they will have to overcome what is proving to be a very competitive and resilient Oakland Athletics’ team , who are not yet ready to relinquish their dominance of the AL West , much less the defense of their divisional crown. The two teams this season have proven to be highly combative in their seasonal meetings with the A’s currently holding a lead in those contests (6-3) in 2014. The most recent contest between the two divisional rivals, ended with an emphatic 7-1 mauling of the Angels by the A’s at Anaheim Stadium , in Anaheim, California on the 11th June.

Three-and-a half games separate the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels within the AL West , but Mike Scioscia’s players seem to be in the driver’s seat in terms of the wildcard berth at present by virtue of a better record than their two closest rivals the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners . Tuesday pits the Angels against the disappointing Philadelphia Phillies , with CJ Wilson on the mound taking on Jerome Williams , when these two teams meet at Anaheim Stadium. The Tigers will face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates with the opposing pitchers being Robbie Ray against Edinson Volquez of the Pirates , in a game being played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,. Seattle will square off against the Toronto Blue Jays , with J A Happ looking to improve on his 8-6 record for the season , when he opposes Chris Young at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. All three contests should prove to be interesting and highly competitive given what is likely to be at stake , at this point of the season.

It doesn’t seem so long ago, where fans thought of the Texas Rangers as an organization likely to succeed at the highest levels of the game. Hall of Famer and Rangers’ great Nolan Ryan held sway as a senior executive within the organization , but then wheels on the Texas juggernaut became deflated and then suffered a large puncture. Ryan was made the scapegoat for the ball-club’s ills , but in many respects it was simply the arrogance of the franchise , starting with the front office , down through the managerial staff and several of the players , some of whom are no longer with the organization. GM Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington are now left holding the bag , as the team now wades through a season of sheer mediocrity. The Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies now share the worst records in the entire Major Leagues, a sad indictment of two teams showing little ambition this season.

In all likelihood, this will prove to be Ron Washington’s last season with the Texas Rangers , because it seems highly unlikely he will be asked to return for next season. The team has become listless , uncompetitive , totally lacking in leadership both and off the field of play. Having assumed the contract of Prince Fielder in a trade that simply made no sense whatsoever , the Rangers have now burdened themselves with an unproductive slugger whose prime came and went at least three or four years ago . As to what this indicates about the mindset of Jon Daniels and the ownership group of the Rangers is anyone’s guess , but clearly, this was a catastrophic blunder on the part of the organization in acquiring the player from the Detroit Tigers.

Fielder has been limited to forty-two games this season, having been placed on the sixty-day disabled list(DL) , likely to miss the rest of the season and undergoing neck surgery. Injuries asides, which has plagued the Rangers for much of the year, it has been a lack of leadership all-round which has played its part in the team’s lousy play and record (46-71). If Texas are to now any real signs of life, then their current series against the Tampa Bay Rays which resumes today when the two teams meet at the newly renamed Global Life Park in Arlington , Texas. Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays will face opposing pitcher Nick Tepesch of the Rangers in what should prove to be a riveting pitchers’ duel.

If the Texas Rangers are to avert a disastrous season then series such as the one being played against the Tampa Bay Rays will have to be won decisively and the consistency has to be maintained over the remainder of their schedule. Ron Washington’s long-term future is now intertwined with his team’s play, and if failure is to play a part in the ongoing drama now unfolding, the manager is likely to become a managerial casualty during the off-season along with several other possible candidates around the game of baseball.

Call me naïve, but I believe the NL Manager of The Year is likely to be Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals . Williams seems to have managed to achieve the impossible, having his team play with a great deal of consistency while keeping at bay the Atlanta Braves , Miami Marlins and New York Mets out of contention for the divisional crown in the NL East. In his first season as the manager of the Nationals, it now looks as if the incumbent manager has been able to do what his predecessor Davey Johnson failed in doing and that is getting a team mixed veterans and youth to believe in themselves. A great of the credit has to go to Matt Williams and his managerial staff , the faith shown in the staff by the ownership group and GM Mike Rizzo . The Nationals’ billionaire owner Ted Lerner and his partners are certainly intent on bringing a World Series’ title to the ball-club and are ready to do whatever it takes to achieve the goal.

Matt Williams and the Nationals will be seeking to make their first postseason appearance since the 1981 MLB postseason and the team reaching the NLCS and their 3-2 series’ loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. With a four-game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the NL East and Fredi Gonzalez’ Braves looking nothing like reigning divisional champions, it has to be said Washington now has the division practically sewn up. The high-flying Nationals will take their show on the road, when they meet the New York Mets at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York, in the first game of their three-game series against their divisional rivals. Doug Fister of the Nationals takes the mound for the visitors against Rafael Montero in a pitching contest between two of the NL’s best young pitchers. It will be interesting to see how the season now pans out for the Washington Nationals where star players Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg will be seeking to make their mark over the remainder of the season for the team.

Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were first round draft picks by the Washington Nationals in 2009 and 2010 respectively, with both players now seen as major reasons why the team is now having some semblance of real success. Yet, until the ball-club itself has made a deep run in the postseason with the pair in question contributing to the success , what we have witnessed so far, are the players living up to the expectations first seen as collegiate players and then within the Nationals’ farm system before their debuts in the Big Leagues. MLB agent Scott Boras will no doubt be making sure both of his clients are likely to be handsomely rewarded when their existing contracts are due to expire. Boras has certainly made his presence known among the general managers around baseball , where he has proven to be a thorn in the side of these front office executives. His zealous representation of some of baseball’s most high profiled and highest paid players by way of their contracts and salaries , has been a major reason why their remains a financial imbalance among the haves and have-nots within baseball .

Some of the individual regular season awards will be hard to decide but I believe we could well see repeat winners for a number of the top prizes. Clayton Kershaw seems to be an odds on favorite to repeat as the NL Cy Young Award winner, and in the AL, the award is being fiercely contested by Chris Sale , Felix Hernandez , Rick Porcello and Jon Lester . League MVP in the AL is Mike Trout’s to lose, albeit, many believed he would have been a worthy winner of the award in 2013, only for the voters to go with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Though this season both Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano are staking valid claims as worthy candidates, but Trout’s all-round presence and contributions have greater weight than either of his competitors for the award.

NL honors for League MVP is not a foregone conclusion, but Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Morneau , Yasiel Puig , Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton are making solid claims why they should be atop of everyone’s list for the award. The rookies and their debuts within the AL and NL will simply be about the impressions made and how dynamic they happen to be. Hard to believe however, Derek Jeter during his playing career, having won the AL Rookie of the Year Award , was never afforded the prestige of winning the AL MVP. The AL Manager of The Year Award , I believe will come down to Buck Showalter of the Orioles, Bob Melvin , Ned Yost and John Gibbons, should he be able to pull off of the improbable and lead the Blue Jays to a divisional win in the AL East.



Picture gallery.

As baseball enters the final third of its season what has impressed you the most in terms of the teams’ play or that of a player’s? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit, on this and anything else you believe to be of importance.


Picture and slideshow details below .


(1) Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell , left, is seen here with David Ortiz. This season the Red Sox have been abysmal , showing little competitive spirit within their division ,lying in fifth and last place within the AL East , often described as the toughest division in all of baseball . AP Photo/ Dave Walsh …

(2) A pensive Buck Showalter looks on from the dugout during a regular season game being played by the Baltimore Orioles . Getty Images North America / Steve Jones …

(3) Jays slugger Jose Bautista , right, is congratulated by manager John Gibbons after hitting a walk-off single in the 10th inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday 22nd May 2013 . After a slow start, Bautista is posting better numbers, but the Jays need him to start producing the way he has in the past . This year the Toronto Blue Jays are definitely looking like divisional contenders . within the AL East while seeking to make inroads on the Orioles’ lead within the division . REUTERS/ Mark Blinch ….

(4) Los Angeles Angles’ GM Jerry Dipoto ,left , is seen here with Mike Trout center and team manager Mike Sciocsia . Trout was the recipient of the Jackie Robinson Award as AL Rookie of The Year. Trout has been spectacular for the Angels over the past three seasons leading the team in a number offensive categories. AP Photo / Mark Daniels …

(5) Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington left is seen here with GM Jon Daniels . The team has failed miserably this season and with Prince Fielder limited to forty-two games , now on the sixty-day disabled list . The Rangers are mow mired in mediocrity , while having one of the worst records in all of baseball. A great deal of the failure has been attributed to Daniels’ capricious off-season moves via the free agency market and several other far-reaching trades, saddling the team with Fielder’s exorbitant contract . AP Photo/ Jack Marshall …

(6) Washington Nationals’ manager Matt Williams greet Bryce Harper at the end of the game , where the Nationals were victorious in a home contest played at Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington , DC . AP Photo/ Garry Mason …


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Ewa Sonnet who always provides us with pleasurable and pleasing images .

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It ain’t easy being cheesy ….

It ain’t easy being cheesy …………..

Never too early to start to review the baseball season, but I think that until the official Opening Day of the 31st March , when the vast majority of teams get their schedules underway , there will not be a great deal to discuss . The exhibition Spring Training schedule merely provides the fans in general a chance to see the players up close and personal, as they get into rhythm for the commencement of the regular season and that arduous one and hundred and sixty-two game schedule .


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Slideshow .

Now while the off-season has been about the formal announcement by Derek Jeter , that 2014 will be his last season in the Major Leagues, brings about an end to the career of one of the best New York Yankees’ players of the past fifteen years . With Jeter’s announcement , we now see the last remnants of a core of five players , including Derek Jeter, that were part of one of the richest eras in recent New York Yankees’ history. Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada , Andy Pettite and the famed short-stop, made up that core managed by Joe Torre , that won four World Series titles in a seven-year span from 1996-2003 , with six appearances during that times-pan in the Fall Classic. New York’s most recent appearance in the World Series resulted with another win in 2009, with the team being managed by former player, Joe Girardi . The incumbent manager, will seek to resurrect the ball-club’s fortunes in 2014 after a somewhat understated season in 2013 .

Having missed the postseason and with a great deal of off-season drama provided by the ongoing issues of Alex Rodriguez , the New York Yankees will begin their season without the now suspended third baseman as they embark on a Spring Training schedule with something of a newly revamped roster . Major financial commitments were made to several new acquisitions, spearheaded by their signing of Japanese pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka , and that of former Boston Red Sox player Jacoby Ellsbury . How this all pans out for the AL East franchise will be dependent upon the mindset of these newly acquired players and whether or not they gel with their new teammates. From my own perspective , I believe the Yankees on balance to be no better than the third or fourth best team within the division , with the defending divisional champions the Boston Red Sox leading the way , followed by last season’s runner-up in the AL East the Tampa Bay Rays in second place, with the Baltimore Orioles edging the New York Yankees , who are then followed by the Toronto Blue Jays .

While the New York Yankees have a great deal to prove this season , perhaps no two teams, than the Los Angeles Dodgers and their AL counterparts the Los Angeles Angels are under the greatest pressure to succeed this year. The Dodgers’ failure was compounded by a lackluster effort, in the NLCS series against the St Louis Cardinals last season . Between these two teams, they have committed in excess of $360 million in salary obligations for their respective rosters. For Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia the writing could very well be on the wall if both the Dodgers and Angels fail to show some type of competitiveness over the course of the regular season schedule. For owners, Arte Moreno , Magic Johnson , Mark Walter and Peter Guber , the frustration has to be setting in, having seen their teams fall almost at the last obstacle. Or in the case of the Los Angeles Angels, simply failing to be even remotely competitive within the AL West , where the Oakland A’s are now proving to be a dominant force within the division.

Were it not for Mike Trout, perhaps the only real reason to watch the Angels play , I do not believe that there would be a great deal of interest in the team at all ! Josh Hamilton has become more of an enigma and Albert Pujols in many respects, has suffered through a litany of ailments that were not present in the early part of his career , but such was the willingness of Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno to sign the player, when he became a free agent , that they felt that advantages, far outweighed the disadvantages of the two-time NL MVP . This season has to be a bounce back year for both Hamilton and Pujols, considering the financial outlay made to both players this season. The Angels will begin their regular season with a three-game home series against the Seattle Mariners at Angels’ Ballpark , in Anaheim , California , where the Mariners will be parading their $240 million dollar man, in, Robinson Cano . A bold move, for a ball-club with hopes of an ambitious season, but whose last postseason appearance seems like eons ago, with little to show by way of tangible success in the subsequent years . The first game of that three-game set, will be on the 31 March, 2014.

Twelve years and counting, since the Seattle Mariners made the postseason, where a 4-1 series’ loss to the New York Yankees in the 2001 ALCS was the height of their season , beyond winning the AL West that year. How Lloyd McClendon and his staff handles this young team at its core, will be one of the determining factors as to how successful the Mariners will be and whether or not Robinson Cano can be the presumed leader of that group of players.

Jim Leyland has proven to be one of the most successful managers of his generation , by way of his accomplishments, in usually being able to field competitive teams , and mold young players and then turning them into All Stars and MVP caliber stars. A case can be made that he played an early part in the career of slugger Barry Bonds while both were with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Leyland as the well-respected and Bonds as the player, but perhaps, an even better example , was witnessing the rise in prominence and stature of Miguel Cabrera as a player with the Detroit Tigers where for eight years Leyland and Dave Dombrowski rebuilt that ball-club from the ground up and turned the Tigers into a perennial AL Central contender . Two AL Pennants , with World Series appearances in 2006 and 2012 , being the height of his accomplishments with the franchise. Yet, the 1997 World Series , where he took a lightly favored Florida Marlins’ team , that would prevail over the Cleveland Indians, represents the highlight of his managerial career .

While I believe that the Detroit Tigers will prove to be a formidable team within the AL this season , I am not so sure that they will be able to overcome the naiveté shown in recent seasons, when have entered the postseason ! Brad Ausmus may well have succeeded Leyland as the manager of the current team, which has a great deal of talent , headlined by Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander , but it will be interesting to see how they fare over the course of the season with a new manager in tow .

If there has been one particular franchise in Major League Baseball , who has not failed to deliver when it comes to showing levels of mediocrity , then it would have to be the Kansas City Royals . Granted, until last season , that claim could also be shared with the Pittsburgh Pirates , but with the NL Central franchise making the postseason , and having an NL MVP winner in Andrew McCutchen and thereby ending their drought of over two decades of mediocrity of non-postseason appearances. Fans of baseball are now left with the Royals and their twenty-eight seasons of ineptitude , where their last postseason appearance came in 1985 , which resulted in a loss to the St Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

With the team now owned by former Wal-Mart CFO David Glass , who has systematically shown himself to lacking a real trait as an alleged business minded individual as the ball-club , from year to year , has failed with ever-increasing regularity to meet even their own fans’ expectations of any tangible level of success . How they remain a viable concern as a baseball franchise, comes down solely to the fact that beyond being aided by the league’s luxury tax scheme, they have what can be best described as a moderately envious television broadcast contract within their local media market. How Glass succeeded at Wal-Mart , but somehow is unable to show his acumen with the baseball franchise, is something that can be discussed amongst the masses at a later date , with a great deal of objectivity and subjectivity. Suffice to say, in some circles , the Kansas City Royals as an organization might now be looked upon as “Ma and Pop “ business , in comparison to the likes of the Boston Red , Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees .

A third place finish in the AL Central with an 86-76 record still was not enough to be good enough to even come remotely close to obtaining a wildcard berth for the postseason . Once again, he Kansas City Royals would be left on the outside looking in, as another season came to an abrupt waste . Ned Yost and his managerial staff will certainly be looking to enter with this season with a positive attitude as will the team , headed by list of some very good young players , but unfortunately, no real veteran that could be looked upon, as a the presumptive leader of this core group . If the Royals are to succeed this season, then it will certainly have to be with the likes of the James Shields , Eric Hosmer , Omar Infante , Alex Gordon , Mike Moustakas , Jeremy Guthrie and a bullpen led by Luke Hochevar , playing at an optimum level , with their being something of a falloff in the play of fellow AL Central residents the Cleveland Indians , Detroit Tigers , Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox .

Kansas will begin its regular season schedule, with a game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. It will be part of a three-game home series’ opener for the Tigers, as they too embark upon their season schedule.

It does seems inconceivable that a team with the vast resources of the Toronto Blue Jays cannot field a competitive side that is a perennial contender within the AL East. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) , as the parent and holding company is one of the largest sports’ media conglomerates in the world. A number of its brands are well-recognized names within the North American sports’ market. Presiding over the conglomerate as the CEO & President Tim Leiweke , who is ably assisted by several top executives and a Board of Directors and that oversee various parts of the operations of this multi-billion dollar conglomerate.

The Blue Jays for their part, entered last season with high ambitions , having <a href=http://baseball assembled a group of high-priced free agents , were then signed to ludicrous contracts or wherein, having been acquired via a trade their existing contracts were honored. Amongst the players acquired , were Jose Reyes and RA Dickey with a view . of challenging the likes of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees within the AL East for divisional supremacy. The fact that the team failed miserably , beyond the issues of injuries sustained by a number of players, had more to do with the brashness and arrogance of an organization who felt that assembling a high-priced roster was some kind of guarantee of success without their being any sign of leader from anyone of the team roster much less the level of incompetency shown by John Gibbons and his staff . Inasmuch, as a player, being able to hit home runs to all parts of a field may well be exciting, the talents of Jose Bautista are simply being wasted on a team that simply has no chance in hell at present of winning the AL East in its current guise !

What the Toronto Blue Jays lack in leadership and talent, simply cannot be made up, for by splurging capriciously in assembling a group of players, that simply do not gel together as a team, playing in unison. John Gibbons is likely to be given the chance to prove that last season, was merely an aberration, but given the fact that the four other teams in the division are likely to have improved , it is likely that another fifth place finish within the AL East is not out of the realm of possibility for the team. Even more daunting and unbelievable, is the mere fact that other than the New York Yankees’ victories in the 1998 and 1999 World Series. The last back-to-back winners of the title, was in fact the Toronto Blue Jays , who accomplished that feat in 1992 and 1993 , which in fact was the very last time that the ball-club made an appearance in the postseason . When the Blue Jays embark upon their regular season sojourn , I believe that the team will be hard pressed to compete within their division, much less win in excess of eighty games ! They will being that schedule, with a road game series on the 31st March with a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,.

Ron Gardenhire may well be one of the more under-appreciated managers in baseball , but I now believe it is time for the Minnesota Twins’ manager to step down from his present role ! Success for Gardenhire if nothing else, has come close within his grasp , only to be clutched from him at the last moment. However , in recent years he has been ill-served by the general managers of the ball club and a number misfires in terms of the players drafted by the organization. Currently, serving the Twins in the role as GM is Terry Ryan and his tenure, has now come under closer scrutiny after the departure of fan favorite Justin Morneau , who was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in August of 2013 , by the Twins. Morneau and Joe Mauer were said to be the two figureheads, which the franchise were going to build around for their long-term future. Yet, that would never actually materialize into anything tangible, with both players suffering injuries and never playing more than a few games together, before one, if not both, were felled by an inexplicable malady. Add in the fact that owner , Jim Pohlad , felt it necessary to offer both players outrageously exorbitant contracts at a time when franchise was said to be undergoing some severe financial difficulties. Kind of makes me wonder, how in hell many of baseball’s current ball-clubs can actually exist , given the stupidity of either an owner or a general manager within an organization !

Over the past five seasons, the best finish for the Minnesota Twins has been in 2009 and 2010 , when the ball-club captured back-to-back AL Central divisional titles and made their way into the respective postseasons of both years . Their forays in either case, ended all too abruptly, with the team being outplayed by their opponents. . This season Joe Mauer is back, with a team built around youth , experience and a managerial staff again with Ron Garendhire in charge, hoping to make some inroads into a division has now become extremely competitive with the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians likely to be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the divisional title.

if one can be critical of Bud Selig , in his handling of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ bankruptcy procedure filings . Then we should be ” damning ” in his culpable actions, while both Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon placed the New York Mets in an equally precarious situation as the joint owners of the ball-club , surreptitiously used the franchise as vehicle to hide profits gained in the Bernard Madoff “ Ponzi Scheme” , by transferring ill-gotten gains from their investment company Sterling Equities Inc into the coffers of the Mets. Perhaps, I am mistaken , but when I hear the commissioner repeatedly regale us with his idiocy , as to the financial well-being of the game , while the actions of owners such as Frank McCourt , Fred Katz and Fred Wilpon have bordered on being criminal . To my mind, both Selig and the league’s CFO Jonathan Mariner , cannot step down soon enough from their present positions within the league hierarchy ! Bud Selig’s intent, is to formally step down as the commissioner of baseball in 2015, but who knows , at this juncture ?

As to the New York Mets , they will continue to be everything they see in the new York Yankees , but without the organization inwardly , having the guile or intelligence to do what is right, to make that franchise an actual success. Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi are being overpaid, while offering up nothing tangible of note since both ascended to their current positions within the franchise. The ball club remains in something of a precarious position as they had to subordinated a great deal of debt, while approaching several financial organizations for additional “cash” to remain financially solvent. Never really a good thing, when the on-field product is lackluster and the attendance levels at Citi-Field can be best described as moderately average . All this, for a ball-club, that is in the nation’s largest advertising market ?

David Wright remains the New York Mets’ player, but there remains really little around him to be truly impressed by, in term of depth of talent . Terry Collins and his staff will have their work cut for them over the course of the season, as they seek to bounce back from a third place finish within the NL East , twenty-two games behind division winners the Atlanta Braves (96-66) .



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The one thing we do tend to know about New York sports’ fans in general, is that they tend wax on lyrically about the past when their teams are not doing well, in the moment . A case can be made, concerning the Mets also , as it has been considerable period of time since that franchise made the postseason much less, won a World Series’ title, but if you were to listen some of the fans of the franchise , they would have you believe that those events were but, a few years ago. The ball-club’s last postseason appearance came by way of their run in the 2006 MLB Playoffs , before going down 4-3 to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLCS . The second of their two Word Series’ triumphs, came in 1986 , in their memorable series’ victory over the Boston Red Sox, but since 2006 the years since, have been lean and not at all too kind, to the organization at all, and deservedly so , considering the ongoing stupidity of joint-owners, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon. Two individuals, that the game of baseball could well do without , but somehow the league hierarchy would have you believe that the likes of Katz , Wilpon , McCourt and David Glass have been good for Major League Baseball . I beg to differ on so many counts, just as I believe, that Bud Selig’s tenure as commissioner , has been far too long and to the detriment of the game in general ! What thoughts, if any, do you have concerning the points raised in this article? Chime in, with a comment as you see fit.


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


(1) Carlos Beltran of the New York Yankees is seen here with his wife Jessica Beltran , as he is formally introduced to the convened press at Yankees Stadium in New York . An unrestricted free agent , Beltran was signed by the Yankees shore up their offense as well as providing what they believe are his defensive abilities in the outfield . The player has spent the past few seasons with the St Louis Cardinals where he was productive for NL Central based franchise and now also becomes one of a select group of players to have donned the uniform of both New York based MLB franchises as a player . AP Photo / Hector Rivas …….

(2) From left to right, Andy Pettite , Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada . This quartet of players have been together for some of New York Yankees ‘ biggest triumphs and disappointments over the past eighteen years . It now begs the question , will the franchise ever see that type of success again with regard to number of titles won between 1996 and 2004 , with the last of the ball club’s triumphs coming in 2009 with Joe Girardi as the manager ? The four titles won together as teammates prior to Girardi becoming the manager were all achieved under Joe Torre , now an executive within the MLB hierarchy . Getty Images / Richard Moss …..

(3) Mike Scioscia manager of the Los Angeles Angels and Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Both managers will be under a considerable amount of pressure this season to succeed , as a great is expected from within their divisions . AP Photo / Paul Walters …..

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 11: Manager Jim Leyland (10) of the Detroit Tigers gets between umpire Victor Carapazza (85) and Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers after Cabrera was ejected by Victor Carapazza during in the sixth inning of their game against the Minnesota Twins on May 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tigers defeated the Twins 9-7 . Leyland has been the biggest influence in the stature that has made Cabrera a two-time back to back AL MVP’s having first won the title in 2012 , when also he became a Triple Crown winner . Last season Miguel Cabrera defeated Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels for his second league MVP. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(5) Ned Yost manager of the Kansas City Royals is seen here with team Chairman and owner David Glass . Both will be seeking to make further inroads this upcoming season with a view to perhaps landing the AL Central divisional title or at best a wildcard berth for the postseason . Neither of which has been achieved in several years by the franchise in terms of the divisional title win or the postseason . Getty Images North America / Harper Greene …..

(6) Tim Leiweke CEO and of MLSE , the multi-billion dollar sports’ conglomerate that owns the Toronto Blue Jays as well as several other sports’ brands known to the public worldwide . Getty Images / Todd Richards …..

(7) Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire laughs after CEO Jim Pohlad (not pictured) teased, “We went with a 2-year deal because we’re pretty sure we can get Gardy his 1,000th win somewhere,” during a press conference announcing that the Twins and Ron Gardenhire agree to 2-year contract extension at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minn., on Monday, September 30, 2013. At right is General Manager Terry Ryan. Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin ….

(8) New York Mets’ short-stop David Wright is seen here with the team’s Head of Baseball Operations , Sandy Alderson . The executive believes that this season the team has within their sights a ninety -game winning season , which be believes will be enough to secure the NL East divisional title . The franchise has not won a divisional title in several years and it is hard to envisage them doing so given their record within the division over the past eight years and overall . AP Photo /. Billy Irving …… :


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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.

Click on link to read in full .

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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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 .

(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 ……..



tophatal ………………………….. 06/24/2013 .

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Striking out for glory , three strikes, you’ll never believe it ……

Striking out for glory , three strikes, you’ll never believe it

By Tophatal

Well, the MLB preseason has commenced and Opening Day saw a glut of games to start the season, preseason that is. And over the next seven weeks we’ll get to the league’s teams set about finding a rhythm while looking to get their free agent signees and none roster invitees acclimatized to playing something akin , to competitive baseball . The biggest talking point, may well be whether or not teams such as the Washington Nationals , New York Yankees, Oakland A’s , Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers can get over last season’s failings , as things played out during the regular and postseason .


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Slideshow .

While I have no wish to see the idiocy of 2012 paraded in front of me by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy, the conclusion has to be , the sooner the commissioner steps down , the better off the game of baseball will be. And quite reasonably , I believe that the majority of the game’s fans are of the belief, that Selig has performed poorly over the course of his almost two decade career. And the commissioner as always , has continued to sing the praises of the game and its economic strengths. Am I mistaken ? How can a franchise with a $ 60 million payroll expect to compete competitively with the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees , who between them will have a combined payroll of almost $410 million for the upcoming season. Somehow, I get the belief that the schleppers at the bottom rung of the payroll ladder will be feeding from the cast-offs left by their more resourceful peers .

Far be it for me to suggest, but with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers having won the AL MVP in conjunction with baseball’s first Triple Crown winner in four decades , after what was said to be a highly debatable vote . The question remains , can Cabrera rebound and prove in 2013 , that last season was not an aberration ? At the same time, AL MVP , runner-up , Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels can further excel, after leading the Angels in so many offensive and defensive categories in 2012. Now while I don’t begrudge Cabrera his win of the AL MVP , I did feel that so much of what Trout did for his team was simply brushed aside . That being said , the Angels , failed miserably , when so much more was expected of this ball-club from last season .

Angels’ owner , Arte Moreno and GM , Jerry Dipoto , did not stand pat during the off-season, as they sought to bolster the roster with the biggest free agent acquisition on the market , with Josh Hamilton signing a multiyear deal with the Los Angeles Angels’ organization in December of 2012. Say what you will , but Mike Sciocsia , the Angels’ manager will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed , as one of the longest tenured managers , active in baseball. The team’s last postseason forays have been and came in 2009 , when the franchise went to the ALCS and in a 4-2 series’ loss to the New York Yankees. However, the franchise’s most triumphant moment came in 2002 , with the Angels’ triumph over the San Francisco Giants in a thrilling 4-3 series’ victory over the NL pennant winners of that season. I get the feeling that Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno are getting extremely impatient , especially when you take into account that over the past three seasons the franchise has spent in excess of $500 million payroll commitments , to get a meager return in that time-frame .

Josh Hamilton for his part , after a tremendous start to the season with the Texas Rangers , simply cooled off offensively , causing many to believe that the outfielder simply didn’t have the temperament to lead. The player’s acquisition by the Angels , after what was something of a protracted negotiation process with Rangers’ team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels . At the end of the day, a long-term deal was never a consideration for the Rangers , who felt Hamilton , apart from being injury prone, the player , repeatedly had problems concerning his sobriety and drug dependency issues. And with his acquisition by the Los Angeles Angels, it did not take Hamilton all that long to alienate his former supporters by being overly critical of the Rangers’ fan-base and their lack of loyalty to that ball-club.

If the Angels are to succeed in 2013 , then , the team’s offense will certainly have to be far more productive than they were in 2012 , and the pitching and defense will have to be top caliber , if they are to have any semblance of success as a cohesive unit .

Considered to be among the favorites, this upcoming season within the AL for the pennant as well the World Series . I do believe for the Angels this season , all roads leading to the title will have to go through either the Texas Rangers or the Detroit Tigers . Those two teams given their balance , I believe could and should be contesting the AL pennant in 2013. And while there are proponents out there for the always competitive New York Yankees , I am not so sure that the famed franchise , given their aging core roster , will be fully equipped to take down the might of either of the aforementioned teams.

If the Angels are to succeed in 2013 , then , the team’s offense will certainly have to be far more productive than they were in 2012 , and the pitching and defense will have to be top caliber , if they are to have any semblance of success as a cohesive unit .

Considered to be among the favorites, this upcoming season within the AL for the pennant as well the World Series . I do believe for the Angels this season , all roads leading to the title will have to go through either the Texas Rangers or the Detroit Tigers . Those two teams given their balance , I believe could and should be contesting the AL pennant in 2013. And while there are proponents out there for the always competitive New York Yankees , I am not so sure that the famed franchise , given their aging core roster , will be fully equipped to take down the might of either of the aforementioned teams.

As an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves , with the retirement of future Hall of Famer , Chipper Jones , it will be interesting to see which of the players on the roster will now assume the role of the leader of this team . GM Frank Wren and team President John Scheurholz have seen fit to be prudent in their off-season acquisitions and that was most the case with organization acquiring BJ Upton and his younger sibling Justin Upton via a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks .

Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff will be looking to have his team prepared for the regular season , and most certainly they will be using their preseason schedule to assess the makeup of their roster , with that of their none roster invitees , and budding prospects they deem ready to be part of their everyday lineup. The ball club has gotten off to an inauspicious start having lost the first two games of their preseason schedule. Game one was 2-1 loss to the Tigers , with a subsequent 8-3 defeat at the hands of the Yankees. The team on Sunday , will play the Pittsburgh Pirates , in a game staged in Bradenton , Florida .

Going forward a great deal will be expected of this team , and most certainly from the Upton brothers , as they join a select group of siblings to have played in MLB at the same time , either as teammates or as opponents . That asides , the infancy of the season, should provide us with little to gauge the overall the competitiveness of the teams , at the start of their schedules.

If the baseball gods are watching over the game this season , then hopefully they will be watching the minnows within the game . As I alluded to earlier, they are the bottom feeders , who are simply left to either feast or famine , by way of the scraps left at the table . There are those who would suggest that baseball has real parity by way of the postseason and the participants there each season . From my own perspective , nothing could be further from the truth , because in essence , the majority of the entrants tend to be some of the high salaried teams we have grown accustomed to seeing .

The Atlanta Braves’ regular season schedule will begin on the 1st April , 2013 when the team will play host to the Philadelphia Phillies , in a two game series at Fulton County Stadium /Braves Ballpark in Atlanta , Georgia,.

I don’t believe that it is necessary to delve any further into problems of Alex Rodriguez and the fact that the team’s hierarchy seem completely devoid of any intelligence and how best to deal the third baseman’s continued off-field issues. Beyond that, an aging roster , a pitching staff where other than C C Sabathia , there is little to suggest that this pitching staff will be good enough to win AL East outright, and make it to the postseason . From an offensive standpoint , we know that the team will be good enough , and they will be led by Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter , the Yankees captain .

The Yankees’ stiffest opponents within the division could very well be provided by the Baltimore Orioles , rather than either the Tampa Bay Rays or Boston Red Sox. As the ball club seeks to reinvent itself from being a high-spending opulent franchise , the organization now seeks to be frugal. The franchise will have pared down their payroll of $197 million in 2012 , the franchise have in fact increased its payroll for 2013 to approximately $210 million for this season and roughly $3 million behind the free-wheeling Los Angeles Dodgers and their commitment of $213.455 million.

The fact that the Yankees have given up that title , in terms of team salaries , does come as a surprise , but it will not negate the fact that the franchise will this season pay in excess of $60 million in terms of baseball’s “ luxury tax”, which each season , several teams within the league pays as a surcharge , for exceeding $150 million threshold , that kicks in for the ball-clubs above the aforementioned figure. The accumulated figure is then split amongst the franchises deemed as being among the small market teams within the game. The fact that this is the sort of idiocy deemed necessary from an economic standpoint for Bud Selig to suggest that this is the best way to create a level playing field is somewhat akin to trying to make the claim the commissioner is fully cognizant as to irreparable harm caused by abusing steroids . The commissioner , continually remarks that the game has seen marked improvements in how it polices itself while seeking out the offenders within the game who continue to cheat by using banned substances to aid them in their on-field achievements . The mere fact that there are no signs of abatement and former Red Sox pitching ace Curt Schilling , states that he was asked by the then management staff , headed by Terry Francona , to use banned substances to aid him , in his recuperative measures, while injured . Well , it would further suggest that in part , that either front office executives and team owners simply didn’t give a damn . or the mere fact that the league hierarchy itself , would knowingly turn a blind eye to such an incident. Care to offer up your thoughts on this all ?

From my own perspective , I find Curt Schilling to be a self-serving conceited and absorbed asshole , who remains a publicity seeking whore of the highest order ! As to the player himself and the idiots who believe him to be a candidate worthy of being enshrined in the Hall of Fame , please get a goddamn clue ! Why further taint that already tarnished institution any further ? Beyond that , I have nothing else further to say !

With the latest realignment which now sees the move of Houston Astros from the NL Central to the AL West . I am not so sure that the AL’s newest franchise will fare any better than they did last season , when the team ended with a league worst 55-107 record in 2012. The move to the AL West was seen as a “sweetener “ for Astros’ owner Jim Crane who purchased the franchise for $775 million, from then owner , Drayton McClane . The fact that Bud Selig seeks to once again favors the owners who in part have played their role in ruining a game that generations have come to love . Much of his however, has been led by the sheer ineptitude shown by the commissioner , the league hierarchy and the self-absorbed union and its Executive Director Michael Weiner , who in his short time, in that position , has made the limited achievements of his predecessor, Donald Fehr seem like a landmark for labor issues within the realms of sports , which in reality , and anyone who has been able view Fehr’s legacy , will know, that he has done little for the sport , and as he has recently continued to do so , in a similar role , with the NHLPA (players’ union) and their recent three-month long labor stoppage within the NHL , which saw that body realize a loss of $800 million in revenues during its lockout . Beyond that , what else can anyone say ? The relevance of the NHL ranks up there alongside fecal matter on being placed upon a wall and deemed to be art . Fuck that piece of crap and fuck the NHL ! What a joke of a sport from top to bottom !

Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow , Bo Porter and his coaching staff , I firmly believe will be in for an arduous task to get this team prepared for the regular season ! Even with their preseason foray , I still believe that the Astros will struggle even within this environment , as a precursor to their regular season schedule . The chances of the Houston Astros even coming close to challenging any of the habitants within the AL West , given the all-round proficiency said to be on view , will be remote at best. The team’s best player J D Martinez , will have to go a long way reproducing the form exhibited in 2012 , but clearly the franchise believes that the player to be the face of the organization for years to come . Martinez and his teammates will have a great deal prove if they are to be taken seriously as a legitimate contender within the AL this season .



Picture gallery . (By clicking on a frame you can view that picture in new formatted size)

With baseball’s schedule now in its infancy by way of the Spring Training Schedule , these games cannot necessarily be seen as a precursor to regular season itself , but it may well provide us with one or two surprises by way of players one could expect to see as being dominant throughout much of 2013. Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe relevant on the subject matter ? Do chime in with your thoughts , and thanks as always for your continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slideshow details below.

(1)Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper waits to take batting practice during a spring training baseball workout in Viera, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. The young Nationals’ phenom hopes to reproduce the form shown for the team of last season , as they seek to fortify their position within the National League . AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack …

(2) New York Mets non-roster invitee outfielder Marlon Byrd (6) slides in with a run past Washington Nationals catcher Chris Snyder (7) on an RBI single by Jordany Valdespin during the fourth inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in a game played between the two NL East residents . AP Photo/Julio Cortez …

(3) Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly , left, and Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura talk before an exhibition spring training baseball game in Glendale, Ariz., Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. AP Photo/Paul Sancya …

(4) Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham , left, tags Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier out trying to steal second base in the second inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game in Glendale, Ariz., Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

(5) Detroit Tigers’ Prince Fielder , right, greets third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) after his home run during the third inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in Lakeland, Fla. AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall…

(6) Los Angeles Angels’ Mark Trumbo , left to right, Mike Trout , Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton pose for photographers during photo day before a spring training baseball workout Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. Angels’ manager Mike Sciocsia and GM Jerry DiPoto are hoping that the acquisition will provide more potency to the team’s lineup as well as their defensive capability as they hope to mount a more successful challenge within the AL West this season , which sees the arrival of the Houston Astros as the division’s newest arrival . AP Photo/Morry Gash …

(7) Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran throws during the first inning of a baseball spring training exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall …..

(8) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Clint Barmes , right, celebrates with Gaby Sanchez , left, after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball spring training exhibition game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. The Pirates would defeat the Braves 9-2 . AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall …

(9) Newly acquired Braves’ outfielder BJ Upton is seen here with the team’s GM Frank Wren . The player an unrestricted free agent , was signed to a five-year $72.5 million deal , that sees him joining his younger sibling Justin Upton , who was> acquired in a multi-player trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks during the off-season by the ambitious Atlanta Braves . The franchise might now posses one of the best outfields in all of Major League Baseball if you care to peruse the team’s depth chart and everyday lineup . AP Photo/ Chris Morrison …

(10) From left to right , Braves’ GM Frank Wren , Justin Upton , center , and the team’s manager , Fredi Gonzalez . With the pairing of the siblings , the Upton brothers will join a select fraternity of brothers to have either played as teammates or as opponents over the course of baseball history . Upton gifted athlete and prodigious talent , will undoubtedly make the Atlanta Braves a great deal better, as a defensive unit and his productivity , by way of his offense should prove to be an added bonus for the team this upcoming season . AP Photo Chris Morrison …..

(11) Houston Astros’ new manager Bo Porter , right, with owner Jim Crane , answers questions during a news conference, Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, in Houston. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan …



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Alchemist ……. ” Hold U Down ”

Too Late To Apologize ………………

Too Late To Apologize ……

As MLB celebrates the Civil Rights games scheduled over the weekend I found it quite fascinating to see the interview that took place between Hank Aaron and CNN’s Don Lemmon . The interview with baseball’s former home run King shed light on what is now a glaring disparity within the game of baseball and that is that the African American’s participation within the game , is now said to be at its lowest level in years. I know that the game’s hierarchy has done its utmost to honor Jackie Robinson and his contribution’s to the game but I feel that Aaron summed it up best when he said that …..” baseball simply doesn’t do enough to lure young African American fans to the game “ . If anything it has been how the game is now marketed and the mere fact that Commissioner Bud Selig has set his sights on the Latin America , the Caribbean basin as well South Asia to bring the game of baseball to a wider audience. And granted , the game has seen a growth in those areas but what cannot be denied is the waning interest in the game amongst young African Americans . So much so , that their participation in the game at the professional level is now at its lowest level in two decades.


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Slide show for your perusal .

It wasn’t that long ago that Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder Torii Hunter made the comment that ….” Latino males who are of African ancestry can’t be considered to be black “ ……unfortunately for Hunter even if that wasn’t his intent to generate the resentment that may well have brought up amongst the Latin players but after those comments if anything , it simply didn’t stir much of a response amongst prominent African American players in the league . I’d like the to think that the contributions of such players as Reggie Jackson , Willie Mays , Robinson and Aaron would actually mean something to young African American players at the youth level but the fact of the matter is now they are simply no real African American icons within the game today that they can simply identify with. They’ve seen the game brought to its knees by the antics of Barry Bonds the steroid allegations that have surround him and the game’s handling of that very issue amongst other things may well be one of the main reasons for their choosing to shy away from the game of baseball. Most certainly as Hank Aaron stated the league hierarchy has indeed done a poor job of actually bringing back the game at the grassroots level .

OK, it’s said that they have specific programs within the elementary schools , high school and inner cities within their recreation departments . But that in of-itself simply hasn’t been enough to actually heighten the interest sought by the game . And that if anything is really a sad indictment of the game and how much of a waning interest that there now is with the African American community. If anything the NBA and NFL have simply stepped up their branding and marketing of their respective sports and the financial opportunities there are far greater and the chance of immediate success would seem to be far greater given the right set of circumstances for a player seeking entry into the those sports .

One of the points also raised by Hank Aaron also was that during lean economic times we tend to see it hit the African American community hard in terms of their attending games and taking an interest in recreational events . But I think that comparison can be made for the whole demographic of the community at large because if fans aren’t simply turning up for games then there’s also to be less of an interest in participating in that sport as a recreation. Certainly , I do believe also that when public schools are making budgetary cuts within physical education it makes the situation much more stark as to the gravity of the events that are now taking place. Even within the game itself where we now see that there’s also a glaring disparity with the haves and have nots amongst the large and small market teams I can’t help but wonder what might be the next step to be taken by Bud Selig , the team owners , in particular the MLBPA and what they might do to remedy the situation that facing them as they see a fall-off in the presence of African Americans within the sport at the professional level amongst the players. Certainly at the executive level amongst the general managers and managers there is a presence there with prominent African Americans . But I for one have yet to hear a public statement from any of the individuals in question concerning this issue much less a public statement on this issue from Bud Selig, himself. I think if anything Selig’s handling of this all has been like everything else that he at times deal with , it tends to be haphazard and rather laissez-faire attitude as he simply seeks to put a positive spin on any issue that tends to show the image of the game in a bad light . And nowhere was this more self evident than his handling with the whole steroid issue and the hearings that came with this all he gave his own testimony to the House Oversight Committee .

I don’t know that there’s a clear cut answer for this situation but I do feel that the league hierarchy has been lax in dealing with this and several other issues that now seems to have befallen the game of baseball. Even when I hear statements being made by Rob Manfred even addressing the financial disparities within the game I simply know that he’s not at all sincere much less does or any of his colleagues within baseball’s hierarchy have a real answer for the disparities and problems . It would appear problem solving isn’t even the highest priority within the game of baseball but merely keeping up this facade that they’re simply the ones who still carry this flag of social conscience as it relates to the issue of racial integration within team sports. If anything it’s simply now doing the game a disservice as it fails to really deal with a number of issues within its own parameters.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning this piece and are you at all in agreement with the statement made by Hank Aaron ? And what changes if any do you believe would be of benefit to the game concerning this specific issue ? Simply just chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron watches a tribute video showing him hitting his 715th career home run at the Major League Baseball Beacon Awards Banquet at the Omni Hotel on May 14, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Mark Zarrilli …….

(2) (From left to right) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, Billye Aaron and Beacon Award winner Ernie Banks gather after the Beacon Awards Banquet at the Omni Hotel on May 14, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images North America / Mark Zarrilli …….

(3) Baseball Hall of Famers wave to fans following ceremonies opening the Hank Aaron Museum at the Hank Aaron Stadium on April 14, 2010 in Mobile, Alabama. From left: Bob Feller , Ozzie Smith , Reggie Jackson, Hank Aaron and Rickey Henderson . Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images North America …….

(4) Robinson is seen here alongside his wife Rachel at his Hall of Fame Induction . Also pictured is Branch Rickey whose courageous act brought Robinson into the Majors . Post Archives Inc….


MLB News

Torii Hunter Please Shut The F_ck Up …….. As With A Lot Of African American Professional Male Athletes In Sports You’re Coming Across As Uneducated And A Complete As_hole !

Torii Hunter Please Shut The F_ck Up …….. As With A Lot Of African American Professional Male Athletes In Sports You’re Coming Across As Uneducated And A Complete As_hole !

As a young child while I was raised in the Caribbean from the age of two until the age of ten. I always heeded the the words of my maternal grandmother. She said to me that if you have nothing at all nice to say about a person then it’s best to say nothing at all. But if you do have something to say then at least make sure that it’s something constructive and meaningful. I’m actually paraphrasing but hopefully you’ll get the gist of what I’m trying to say and alluding to.

2010-02-24 Los Angeles Angels Hideki Matsui (T) and Torii Hunter attend practice at the Angels' facility in Tempe, Arizona,
Los Angeles Angels Hideki Matsui (T) and Torii Hunter attend practice at the Angels' facility in Tempe, Arizona. photo appears courtesy of Reuters / Rick Scuteri .....................

I can only surmise that either Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter is aggrieved by something , for which his tirade and statements obviously show either a great deal of anger or just sheer downright stupidity. But then again, when I simply look at many of the African American male athletes involved in professional sports. I’m no longer surprised by their stupidity or lack of education as the case maybe. But yet time and time again we have sociologists and psychotherapists making excuses for the African American male. Please stop it with all this bullshit as it has no bearing when you hear the idiotic statement now attributed to the Hunter. I wonder what his former teammate Vladimir Guerrero must now be thinking about this all ? Never mind the fact of Hunter’s own teammates who are of an ethnic origin but also of African American descent. Obviously a guy such as Hunter who commands a great deal of respect as a player must now be wishing that he didn’t utter the words calling players from Latin America and the Caribbean but who are of African descent ……… calling them “frauds” and “impostors” . If they are as such frauds in his eyes , I’d dare to think how they now judge him not only as a person but also as a player !

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

Hunter says black Latino players are ‘impostors’

By Janie McCauley , AP Sports Writer

Phoenix ,(AP)—Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter called black Latino baseball players “impostors” when it comes to the appearance of the number of African-Americans in the major leagues.

Hunter’s comments were made two weeks ago in one of a series of USA Today roundtables about baseball and published in Wednesday’s editions.

“People see dark faces out there, and the perception is that they’re African-American,” Hunter said. “They’re not us. They’re impostors. Even people I know come up and say: ‘Hey, what color is Vladimir Guerrero ? Is he a black player?’ I say, ‘Come on, he’s Dominican. He’s not black.’ …

“As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It’s like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It’s like, ‘Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?’ … I’m telling you, it’s sad,” he said.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, a Venezuelan, scoffed at Hunter’s remarks before Wednesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics. Angels spokesman Eric Kay said Hunter will not further discuss the subject.

“I was laughing because when he said, ‘They go there and sign for potato chips,’ I said, ‘Well, we’ve got Chapman. They gave him $12 million. (Cincinnati actually agreed to a $30.25 million, six-year contract with pitcher Aroldis Chapman(notes).) We’ve got (prospect Dayan) Viciedo. They gave him $10 million. I remember in my time, one scout goes (to Venezuela and) 30 players show up. Now, 30 scouts go there and one player shows up. In our country, we play baseball. That’s no choice. Here you can play basketball, you can be another athlete, you can do so many things when you have the opportunity. And that’s why there’s not many (African-American) players out there.”

There has been some concern about the number of African-American baseball players. Many blacks are choosing to play other sports instead.

Black players accounted for 10.2 percent of major leaguers in 2008, the most since the 1995 season, according to the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

“I keep saying a lot of times, in 10 more years American people are going to need a visa to play this game because we’re going to take over. We’re going to,” Guillen said.

AP freelance writers Jose Romero in Phoenix and Jim Richards in Tempe contributed to this report.


I can only surmise that Hunter’s education and whatever tidbit he might’ve learned in school, may well have been taught to him sparingly. I’d hate to think that his parents or familial caregiver brought him up in such a way, where he comes across a racial bigot against his own kind ! But then again, he may well aspire to be the African American male equivalent of Archie Bunker , who in this case derives pleasure in denigrating his race ? But alas , this merely typifies the another reason why the African American male becomes the butt of so many jokes. Even the women at times now deride the males of their ethnicity because once they’ve landed it big more often than not they’ve got to have the ‘trophy mantel’ of a Caucasian female adorning their arm to give them what they might even deem that air of acceptability and perhaps authenticity ?

If Hunter’s real grievance is with the fact that there’s now a declining number of African American males entering the sport professionally. Then his statement shouldn’t be directed caustically at Latin American or Caribbean ballplayers. But he, himself , should be out there working in conjunction with MLB and its hierarchy in making the sport more amenable to young males no matter what their ethnicity ! But no doubt Hunter would be hard pressed to give you an answer why he’s not doing something like that . But I can only surmise the burden that is placed upon him as he’s weighed down by the $80 million dollar plus contract given to him by Angels’ owner Arte Moreno . Hunter is simply proving once again why it is that young males and many others are no longer simply interested in looking up to African American ballplayers. They simply now come across as being bereft of intelligence and their command of the English language borders on that of an immigrant having landed on these shores for the very first time ! There are no real role models there ! There’s no one there who epitomizes Ernie Banks , Hank Aaron or even even Robert Clemente for that matter. All they now have are idiots such as Torii Hunter and Milton Bradley ! Thank God, Barry Bonds hauled his fat ass off into oblivion ! Or there would still be the tri-fecta of damn goof balls still involved in the sport. Well , we could anoint them baseball’s very own version of ‘The Three Stooges’ !

In the big picture this may seem nothing more than sedentary at the end of the day. But is it now any wonder why there’s simply no reason for youngsters , especially African American males from the middle to high school level on up to take a keen interest in the sport. Not when you have an idiot such as Hunter spouting off at the mouth , the way that he has done. He’d be better off leading this Angels’ team and providing them with a backbone , rather than them coming off as the bitches that they are at present ! Because we all know , come the postseason in baseball they’ll be one down and heading home with their tails between their legs once again . And then we can all have a laugh at Torii Hunter and the Angels’ expense ! That moment can’t come soon enough as far I’m concerned ! It’s not as if Hunter has really done anything for the team since he landed in Anaheim anyway. He’s now living on the past glories of the contributions given to the Minnesota Twins. And this is undoubtedly why he was overpaid for the negligible contributions given to the organization thus far.

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………..


EMF ……….. ‘Unbelievable’ .


An Empire State Of Mind ………….. In New York

There’s no denying it , the Los Angeles Angels are not prepared to go down without a fight , against the New York Yankees , in the ALCS .Seemingly, in an improbable position and 3-1 down in the best of the seven game series. The Angels were able to salvage their season somehow and came back to win last night’s game in defeating the Yankees 7-6 in game 5. It was a tremendous effort by both teams and in many it ways it has come to define this whole series. As neither team could really gain the upper hand and build on the momentum attained.

Yankees'    players   in  the  dugout   watch  as   teammate  Nick  Swisher  is  up  for  an  at  bat   in   the  ninth  inning  of   game   of the  ALCS  between the  New York  Yankees  and  Los  Angeles Angels .    The   Angels   would   go  on  to  defeat  the  Yankees  7-6   in   the  game  played  at  Anaheim  Stadium  ,  Anaheim , California.         picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/ Harry  How  ......................
Yankees' players in the dugout watch as teammate Nick Swisher is up for an at bat in the ninth inning of game of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . The Angels would go on to defeat the Yankees 7-6 in the game played at Anaheim Stadium , Anaheim , California. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Harry How ......................

Now the series will return to the ‘Big Apple’ where the Yankees will look to close out the series once and for all. They can ill afford to allow the Angels to believe that this series now becomes theirs for the taking. And though I don’t believe it is beyond them win this series outright. At this juncture I do still believe that this series is still New York’s for the taking. The question that the players on the team and Joe Girardi have to ask themselves – ” … do we really want this ” ? If not , then they might as well just fold up their tents, pack their bags and head on home to their palatial abodes. Never-mind the fact, as to what the New York fans and media might think, were they to allow the Angels back into the series and win it outright. They would become the scapegoats and the cannon fodder for the media in the city for the next few months , right up until the resumption of spring training ,next season. That’s the dilemma that would be facing the New York Yankees.

Angels'  teammates  Bobby  Abreu (left)  and  Reggie  Willits  (right)  celebrate   after the  team's   victory   in  game   5  of the  ALCS  over   the  New   York  Yankees  .       picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/  Harry  How  ......................
Angels' teammates Bobby Abreu (left) and Reggie Willits (right) celebrate after the team's victory in game 5 of the ALCS over the New York Yankees . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Harry How ......................

And for the Los Angeles Angels and their undoubted loyal throng of fans. They may well now see this as their chance to get that proverbial monkey off their back , with regard to the Yankees’ dominance over them in recent years . And that’s not just with regards to the postseason but also the regular season as well. A return to the World Series at the expense of the Yankees would be quite an achievement for this team , after what has taken place internally with the organization. The loss of pitcher, Nick Adenhart would’ve decimated the resolve of most teams and led them to seemingly regress as a playing unit.. But for this Angels’ team and their manager, Mike Sciocsia , that wasn’t to be the case. They regrouped and they have played some outstanding baseball after Adenhart’s untimely demise.

Yankees' catcher   Jorge  Posada (20)   tags   out the  Angels'  Kendry  Morales    (19)    in   game   five   of  the   ALCS   played  in  Anaheim  Stadium  ,  Anaheim  ,  California .     The   series  will   resume    this weekend  with  games   6  and 7  being  played    at   Yankees   Stadium  ,  in  the  Bronx,  New  York  City,  New  York.     The  Yankees   currently  lead  the  series   3-2  in  the  best  of   seven  game  series.    The  winners  of the  ALCS    are   due  to  meet   the    Philadelphia  Phillies   in  the  World  Series .    The  Phillies  are   the   current  defending    World  Series   champions.    picture  appears     courtesy   of    getty   images/   Stephen  Dunn   ......................
Yankees' catcher Jorge Posada (20) tags out the Angels' Kendry Morales (19) in game five of the ALCS played in Anaheim Stadium , Anaheim , California . The series will resume this weekend with games 6 and 7 being played at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City, New York. The Yankees currently lead the series 3-2 in the best of seven game series. The winners of the ALCS are due to meet the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series . The Phillies are the current defending World Series champions. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ......................

Now this series , really has become a series of note , with more than a great deal to play for. Two games to play and just a single win is all that is needed by the Yankees. The Angels will no doubt be determined to take game 6 and even the series at three games apiece. And then look to take game 7 decisively , resulting in knocking off the Yankees in postseason play and thereby ending their postseason ambitions. If the Los Angeles Angels were able to somehow achieve that feat , then the nightmare that was bestowed upon the Yankees by the Boston Red Sox in 2004 would be akin to not only being deja vu , in so many ways. But the mere thought of this Yankees’ team built in large part , from highly paid All Stars , would be deemed the worst nightmare scenario possible for the organization. To have it happen once , would be one thing. But twice ? Well suffice to say , the aftermath would speak for itself. The well versed fans in New York wouldn’t take so kindly to the team and in all probability they would be dumping on individual players. And I would not put it past them to question the birthright of several of those players and no doubt , Joe Girardi, himself. New York sports’ fans aren’t averse to being vocal at all and showing their displeasure against their teams, given the right set of circumstances. So it should prove to be no different for the players of the New York Yankees. And that is despite the organization’s unprecedented success over the years.

Joe Girardi  (center)  in  the  midst  of   his  players    on the   mound  to   discuss   a  strategy  to  be  used   during the  game    against the    Los  Angeles  Angels.    Also  in   picture   is  Yankees'  captain  Derek Jeter (2)  and    And  Alex  Rodriguez   amongst the  other  players.        picture   appears    courtesy   of  getty  images/   Stephen  Dunn   ............................
Joe Girardi (center) in the midst of his players on the mound to discuss a strategy to be used during the game against the Los Angeles Angels. Also in picture is Yankees' captain Derek Jeter (2) and And Alex Rodriguez amongst the other players. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Stephen Dunn ............................

Now we can all contend that the Yankees may well be favored to close out the series , once and for all. And I’m still of the belief that they can and will do it. But if I have any doubts now . It is merely because of the indecisiveness that’s now being shown by Yankees’ manager ,Joe Girardi. He, much like the St Louis CardinalsTony La Russa , can be a pain in the ass ! Now don’t get me wrong as both are undoubtedly talented managers. But there also comes a time when indecisiveness can be a detriment to a team. La Russa essentially through his own indecisiveness allowed the Los Angeles Dodgers to essentially beat the crap out of the Cardinals in the NLDS. By not adjusting to the changes being made by his opposite number , Joe Torre . He played into the hands of the Dodgers , in allowing them to walk Albert Pujols almost ‘at will’ throughout much of the divisional series. Not once, was he inclined to change his strategy. And now this ‘buffoon’ is pondering whether or not to return to the team next year ? The complaint against Girardi , has been his micromanaging and tinkering around with his bullpen and starting pitchers for some inexplicable reason. Should he continue to do that , then it could very well lead to his team’s demise and with being booed out of town. Like I said , the fans in New York aren’t always that forgiving of their teams , managers and owners, as the case maybe. But then again, that’s the same within the realms of sports , the whole world over. And who’s about to deny that as being a fact ? Not you or I , one would hope ?

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports and New York Daily News :

Manager Joe Girardi should be fired if the New York Yankees lose to Los Angeles Angels in ALCS

By Jessie Spector , NY Daily News Sports Writer

The Yankees will come home Saturday still leading the ALCS, 3-2, still one win away from returning to the World Series for the first time since 2003, still with Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia lined up to pitch them there.

But let’s get this out of the way now, so it’s not a reactionary thing if the Yankees lose their sixth and seventh consecutive games with the American League pennant within their grasp: So this is not to say that the Yankees will lose this ALCS, but if they do, Joe Girardi should be fired.

It’s harsh, yes, and it’s not easy to fire a manager coming off a 103-win season, but the burden of a collapse in this series would fall squarely on Girardi, who has made decisions in both losses that are indefensible. In both Games 3 and 5 in Anaheim, Girardi’s management of the Yankees’ pitching staff left fans saying to themselves, “What the hell is he thinking?” And that was before Alfredo Aceves coughed up Game 3, and before A.J. Burnett let the tying runs get on base in Game 5. From the time that Aceves came in, and from the time that Burnett stayed in after a long top of the frame, Girardi’s decisions had “mistake” written all over them. Both proved catastrophic.

In order to read this article in its entirety just click on the link shown

Jeff  Mathis (5)   of  the   Angels   as   he   returns  to  the  dugout  having   just  scored  a  run  in  the  seventh   inning   of   game   5   of  the  ALCS    against  the  New  York  Yankees.        picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty   images/   Jacob  de  Golish      ...........................
Jeff Mathis (5) of the Angels as he returns to the dugout having just scored a run in the seventh inning of game 5 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jacob de Golish ...........................

Whilst this is all being played out , the Philadelphia Phillies as winners of the National League pennant , awaits the winner. And as defending World Series’ champions they’re out to prove that they’ve got what it takes to successfully defend their title.
Chances are , the hierarchy of MLB are hoping that it will be the New York Yankees. It’s what they’d no doubt like to see , merely because of the fact the sport of baseball needs the Yankees more than they’re willing to let on. A series without the ‘Evil Empire ‘ as participants and for almost everyone to root against. Well it’s like having a crime thriller without the villain of the piece to root against – with just the hero there , forever taking up the screen.

Truth be told, I want the Yankees in this World Series ! As to whether or not I’m rooting for them to win it all. Well , unfortunately I won’t be divulging that piece of information at this particular moment in time. Suffice to say, I’m no Yankees’ lover or hater. I just essentially love sports , that’s all ! So I’ll leave you with this thought , if the Yankees were to win the World Series . Would it be a ‘good’ or ‘bad thing’ for the sport of baseball ?

“Empire State of Mind……New York “ by Jay-z feat’g Alcia Keys .

Do I Hear Yankees vs ……….

I’m not counting my chickens as of yet but for all sense and purpose if the Los Angeles Angels can’t get it done tonight against the New York Yankees . Then they might as well close it down for the remainder of the ALCS . Already up 2-0 in the best of seven games series. It’s hard seeing this Yankees’ team relinquishing the lead and then quite possibly losing the series outright. The last time they did that, was when they melted like butter against a hot knife in succumbing to the Boston Red Sox, in 2004 -in seven games (4-3). And if memory serves me correct , the Yankees were never the same after that. And the Red Sox went on to bigger and better things.

Vladimir   Guerrero (27)  and  teammate Bobby   Abreu (53)   celebrate   after   the  hitting  of  a  two  run    home   run   in   the   sixth   inning   off   Yankees'   starter   Andy  Pettite   in  the  sixth   inning  of   game   3   of  the  ALCS  played   at  Angels  Stadium  in   Anaheim ,   California  .     picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images /Kevork   Djansezian  ......................
Vladimir Guerrero (27) and teammate Bobby Abreu (53) celebrate after the hitting of a two run home run in the sixth inning off Yankees' starter Andy Pettite in the sixth inning of game 3 of the ALCS played at Angels Stadium in Anaheim , California . picture appears courtesy of getty images /Kevork Djansezian ......................

Now we come full circle, and the Yankees are once again atop of the food chain waiting for someone to feast on , in the World Series. But as I alluded to earlier it will be predicated upon them getting rid of the pesky Angels. Thus far they’ve dealt with their AL West rivals with some ease. Albeit , that their win in game two came under extenuating circumstances with the team having to go thirteen innings. Thus far, this Joe Girardi managed team has performed with a great deal of professionalism . And their starting pitching and their bullpen have performed exceptionally well. And if that wasn’t a cause for concern for the Angels’ Mike Sciocsia , he’s then got to deal with the Yankees’ offense. Which if anything has been the bane of the Angels in the series , so far.

Game 3 is at present being played in Anaheim and it’s a make or break game for the Los Angeles Angels. A loss and they’ve placed themselves in a crevasse where they would have to have the mindset of a David Blaine to extricate themselves from such a bind. And in they would most have to definitely rely on the heart and leadership qualities shown by Torii Hunter . That is what he was brought to this team for , in order to gain them that semblance of order and resilience. They were no longer able to rely on their stalwart and aging veteran, Vladimir Guerrero to provide them with that kind of resolve. Passing years and no doubt recurring injuries have slowed him down over the course of time.

Yankees'  starting  pitcher   in   game   3,  Andy  Pettite   reacts   after     Vladimir  Guerrero of  the  Angels   hits   a  two   run  homer  of   him  in  the  sixth   inning.       picture appears  courtesy  of  getty  images  / Stephen   Dunn ....................
Yankees' starting pitcher in game 3, Andy Pettite reacts after Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels hits a two run homer of him in the sixth inning. picture appears courtesy of getty images / Stephen Dunn ....................

Of this we can be sure there’d be nothing more pleasing for the hierarchy of MLB, if the two teams in the World Series were the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. As it’s tap into the two largest ad markets in the United States. And it would more likely than not bring about a ratings’ bonanza for the network broadcasting the event. Which in this case, would be the Fox network. There would be a bi-coastal presence in terms of the viewership and even amongst the the non-baseball fan there would definitely be a passing interest to the event. As the Yankees are a very recognizable name to even the non sporting enthusiast. That being said , that’s not to say that the Philadelphia Phillies aren’t without support. But their appearance against the AL representatives wouldn’t create the sort of interest that a Dodgers Yankees’ World Series would generate. And that’s despite the fact the Phillies would be chasing a second consecutive World Series title. As they’re seeking to successfully defend their crown , having defeated the Tampa Bay Rays last year. In no way is that meant to disparage the team or its fans . But facts are facts and in essence it’s the most desirable finale the game’s hierarchy and perhaps the vast majority of fans would seek. But as they say ” ……be careful what you wish for , as you can’t always have it your own way .”

As of now, we can only await the outcome of both the ALCS and NLCS series of games. The Phillies and Dodgers are entertaining us with a thoroughly exciting series that has ebbed and flowed in either direction. But with the Phillies now up 2-1 in the series. They’ll be looking to take control by taking the fourth game , in order to attain a two game advantage. If nothing else as an avid baseball fans all we can ask for is an exciting series of games. And no matter what the outcome from hereon in. Let’s just hope that whoever ends up in the World Series , we’ll be privileged enough to see an exciting brand of baseball being played as well it being a thoroughly entertaining series !

NB The game is now in the ninth inning at the top of the frame with it being tied at 4-4 . Linked summary provided below.

Click here to view …………………….

Meltdown In NYC …………..

Meltdown In NYC

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Los Angeles Angels . Well it did and game one resulted in a 4-1 loss, with the Angels being their own worse enemy. For some reason they succumbed to the New York Yankees and their ace, C.C Sabathia . The Yankees’ ace pitched a tremendous game ( 8 innings) with an era of 1.125 . And for the Yankee we’ve come to love, hate or perhaps even despise , as in Alex Rodriguez . Well the Yankees’ third baseman revved up his production and prove that his exploits this postseason hasn’t been an aberration,

Yankees'   pitcher   C C  Sabathia  throws  to  first  base  for the  first  out  of the   game .    The  Yankees'  ace   would   go  on  to  pitch   8  stunning  innings   giving   up   just  one  earned  run  over the  course  of    his   spell.    Closer    Mariano   River   would  get  the    three   final  outs  of  the  game   on  the  way  to  the  Yankees  defeating   the  Angles   4-1  in  game 1 of  the  ALCS  .        picture  appears courtesy  of  getty  images/  Jim  McIsaac  ...................
Yankees' pitcher C C Sabathia throws to first base for the first out of the game . The Yankees' ace would go on to pitch 8 stunning innings giving up just one earned run over the course of his spell. Closer Mariano River would get the three final outs of the game on the way to the Yankees defeating the Angles 4-1 in game 1 of the ALCS . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim McIsaac ...................

Angels’ coach Mike Sciocscia wasn’t at a loss to explain the loss as he was succinct in his explanation. “ We just couldn’t hit and CC pitched a tremendous game” said Sciocsia. And then to top it all, the Yankees then throw in Mariano Rivera to close out the game. And as we know ‘The Sandman’ rarely fails to close out a game in the postseason. The Yankees with their fans in tow , now look to go 2-0 up with the second game of the ALCS set to be played at the News Yankees Stadium . If nothing else this postseason has taught us that the guys in pinstripes are back to where their fans feel they rightfully belong. And that’s back atop of the ’food chain of the baseball world’ .

Yankees'  releiver  Mariano  River   pitches  in  the  ninth  inning  of  game  1  on  the  ALCS  against  the   Los  Angeles  Angels   at  Yankees  Stadium  in  New York  City , New  York.    The  Yankees   would  go  on   to defeat  the  Angels   4-1,  to take  1-0   lead  in  the  best  of    seven  game  seriesd.    picture appears  courtesy  of   mlb/getty  images/   Rich  Pilling  .......................
Yankees' releiver Mariano River pitches in the ninth inning of game 1 on the ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York. The Yankees would go on to defeat the Angels 4-1, to take 1-0 lead in the best of seven game seriesd. picture appears courtesy of mlb/getty images/ Rich Pilling .......................

If there’s a certainty well it’s the fact that the game of baseball needs the Yankees almost just as much as we need air to breathe. Without the Yankees , MLB just can’t get enough of them. It’ll become a ratings’ bonanza should they make it to the World Series in pursuit of their twenty seventh championship. And nothing would be more exciting than a possible series’ matchup against the Los Angeles Dodgers . But that would be predicated on the Dodgers overcoming the Philadelphia Phillies . The series between the two NL teams is tied at one game apiece. That particular series is now being tightly contested and the surprise there, is the quality of the pitching of both teams.

Angels' manager  Mike  Sciocscia  hands  the   ball to  relief  pitcher  Jason  Bulger  who  came  on  in   reilief of   starter  John  Lackey     in   the  sixth  inning   of  the  game.       picture  appears  courtesy/mlb/getty images/   Rich  Pilling  .....................
Angels' manager Mike Sciocscia hands the ball to relief pitcher Jason Bulger who came on in reilief of starter John Lackey in the sixth inning of the game. picture appears courtesy/mlb/getty images/ Rich Pilling .....................

The one thing I must say that I’ve began to witness about this Yankees’ team that I hadn’t witnessed prior since their runs of their heydays between the mind nineties through to the end of the millennium . It was the fact that this team had been playing with a great deal of camaraderie . I think that this comes primarily from the additions of Sabathia, Nick Swisher , A. J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. All of a sudden this team reminds me of the team camaraderie shown when the Yankees were were at the height of their success under then manager , Joe Torre . It was a time when Scott Brosius, Paul O’Neill , Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter led this team on a rallying cry of unprecedented success. The hard part for this present Yankees’ team is living up the success of teams past. And in particular the team of the late nineties through to 2001.

Yankees'  captrain   Derek  Jeter  and   his   teammates   celebrate   after their  4-1   victory  over  the  Los  Angeles  Angels   in  game 1  of  the  ALCS   played  at   Yankees   Stadium i   in the  borough  of  Brooklyn ,  New  York,.    picture appears   courtesy  of   getty images/ Jim McIsaac   ........................
Yankees' captrain Derek Jeter and his teammates celebrate after their 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in game 1 of the ALCS played at Yankees Stadium i in the borough of Brooklyn , New York,. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim McIsaac ........................

Now under the Joe Girardi regime, we’re now seeing this team trying to rise to the challenge of meeting those famed and fabled achievements. With the exception of baseball clubs such as the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies . The New York Yankees are expected to be viewed as perennial contenders. And though the Yankees are back in the playoffs as AL East champions . The only thing that has ever really mattered is the significance of winning the World Series . To the owners, George Steinbrenner and his family, are clearly averse to losing . Winning is of the essence and it resonates with their fans as well. So, it now bodes well at this juncture , for the team as they set out to win another championship.

Love them or hate them , the Yankees are now here to stay. Make of it what you will .

This Is For My Boy , Sportschump

This Is For My Boy , Sportschump

Sportschump   aka   Chris   .......perhaps  the  most   vociferous   Red   Sox   fan  there   is  within  the  state  of    Florida   ,  if   not  in    on  the   whole   Eastern   seaboard  .
Sportschump aka Chris .......perhaps the most vociferous Red Sox fan there is within the state of Florida , if not in on the whole Eastern seaboard .

Boy oh boy I don’t think that there’s more much that can be said . But the Boston Red Sox have seen better days. They were squarely bitch slapped like an unwanted stepchild .Terry Francona’s team played like a bunch of inexperienced players who were overwhelmed by the importance of the event and what was being asked of them. To say that this team underperformed would be an immense understatement. And cearly the team was outplayed in every facet of the game. Their surprising series sweep in the ALDS can only have left the Red Sox fans in a state of shock , and perhaps no one more so than my buddy Chris aka Sportschump. A long time avowed and die-hard Red Sox fan.

Gary  Matthews Jr (24) and   his teammates  of  the  Los  Angeles   Angeles   run   on  to the  field  to  celebrate  the  team's   7-6  victory  over  the   Boston  Red  Sox   at  Fenway   Park   in  Boston ,  Massachusetts .    The  Angels   swept  the  Red  Sox  3-0   in the  best   of   5  game   series   in  the  ALDS.  They   will  now   go  on  to  face  the  New York  Yankees   for  the  AL  Pennant  and  the  right  to   represent  the  AL  in  the  World  Series.        picture  appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/  Jim  Rogash  .......................
Gary Matthews Jr (24) and his teammates of the Los Angeles Angeles run on to the field to celebrate the team's 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston , Massachusetts . The Angels swept the Red Sox 3-0 in the best of 5 game series in the ALDS. They will now go on to face the New York Yankees for the AL Pennant and the right to represent the AL in the World Series. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Jim Rogash .......................

For the Los Angeles Angels they now await the winners of the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins‘ series. And with the Yankees now leading the best of 5 games series 2-0. They’re now heavily favored to defeat the Twins and close out the series with a 3-0 sweep of the AL Central champions. And for the New York Yankees they now chase their 27th World Series title and their first since 2000 . The Steinbrenner family have got to be extremely happy with the outcome and with the team having opened their ostentatious stadium. With their ever vapid fans and the thought of another World Series being on the cusp of being attained. It says a great deal as to what the franchise has been about since it was purchased by George Steinbrenner. No stone has been left unturned as they’ve sought to acquire the very best talent available . And if it meant breaking the bank – then that was what they indeed did. Money is of no object to baseball’s wealthiest franchise. And in many respects sports’ most famous , respected and widely recognized name.

  A  bewildered   Johnathan  Papelbon   ,  closer  for  the  Red  Sox  leaves  the   mound   in the   ninth   inning  of   game   3  in  the  ALDS  playoffs   against  the  Los  Angeles  Angels.   Also   seen  in   picture   is  the  Red  Sox  manager   Terry  Francona .               picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Elise  Amendola  ................
A bewildered Johnathan Papelbon , closer for the Red Sox leaves the mound in the ninth inning of game 3 in the ALDS playoffs against the Los Angeles Angels. Also seen in picture is the Red Sox manager Terry Francona . picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Elise Amendola ................

What this series’ defeat says of the Red Sox and how they’re viewed not only by their fans but also fans of the game in general. Either they are indeed the Yankees’ most feared rivals or they’re now becoming merely another stop off spot for the Yankees as they seek reassert their dominance of the game. With Joe Girardi taking over the reins of this team and with the presence of Derek Jeter as the stabling influence on this team. The World Series is now theirs for the taking and there isn’t much of a thought being given for their next opponent in the ALCS, which will be the Los Angeles Angels. Whom , basically the Yankees have had their way with, over the last few years when it comes to the postseason.

Vladimir   Guerrero  of  the  Angels   hits  a  two  run  RBI   against  the  Red  Sox  in the  ninth  inning  of   game  3   in the  ALDS   game   .    picture  appears   courtesy of   getty  images/  Elsa  ................
Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels hits a two run RBI against the Red Sox in the ninth inning of game 3 in the ALDS game . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Elsa ................

There may well be no love lost between these two arch rivals but as of now there has to be a great deal envy undeniably between these two . Especially amongst their vociferous fans as they‘ve each as always , have sought to have the upper hand . As of now the upper hand reverts back to the New York Yankees. ‘The Evil Empire’ as they’ve come to be known have regained their mantel as the game’s most dominant team. It’s something baseball and in particular its hierarchy has always sought. Because without those hated Yankees , the game and essentially all that it represents becomes obsolete if they’re not amongst the upper echelons of the teams that are viewed as the top contenders to win it all. Need one say anymore ?

Bobby  Abreu (right) and  teammate  Kendry  Morales (left)  are   euphorical  after  scoring   to  put   the  Angels    in  the   lead  over  the    Boston  Red  Sox.     The  two   runs   batted  in   were   by  teammate   Vladimir   Guerrero   .        picture   appears   courtesy  of   getty  images/    Elsa   .....................
Bobby Abreu (right) and teammate Kendry Morales (left) are euphorical after scoring to put the Angels in the lead over the Boston Red Sox. The two runs batted in were by teammate Vladimir Guerrero . picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Elsa .....................

For the hierarchy of the Boston Red Sox in the guise of Team President Larry Lucchino and GM Theo Epstein . Over the off-season they’ll have to take a serious look at the team’s roster and view the changes that they’ll no doubt feel will need to be made. Though their failings weren’t magnified in any great measure. It was clear for all to see that there was indeed something missing from the team . As to what that might be , that is for the Red Sox management to decide. But it’s very clear that both the GM and team President can’t have been too pleased with the outcome. And I’d dare say that principal partner and team owner , John Henry can’t have been all that pleased either. Not when one considers, that their much hated rivals , the New York Yankees are back to their dominant best. And looking to avail themselves of another AL Pennant as well as the World Series.

And as of now , members of the Red Sox Nation are on the outside looking in. One would think that they’re not entirely pleased at the fact that in terms of bragging rights they’ve now got to put up with the Yankees’ fans lambasting them and their untimely demise. If nothing else we all know that come Spring Training of 2010 , the Red Sox fans’ resolve will be one of – looking to make amends for the disappointment suffered.

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