People who live in glass houses

People who live in glass houses

People who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones . Well, I do not live in a glass house , but I am going to throw a rock at this issue . Major League Baseball and its hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig , have now drawn the ire of the fans, with many showing their disgust in the way that the commissioner has handled the latest controversy to sully the ongoing image of baseball . Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees remains an obstacle in how many now view the game and its legitimacy. Of the thirteen players named in baseball`s case, embroiling them in the Biogenesis ` scandal` . It is Rodriguez, who remains the lone holdout, in not wishing to accept a suspension for his alleged involvement violating the league`s performance enhancing drug policy. The player continues to plead his innocence, of all of the allegations made against him. Meanwhile, the Yankees` organization , obviously embarrassed, remain at a loss as how best to resolve the matter, while not seeking add to their financial burden concerning the now beleaguered third baseman .

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In the latest turn of events Alex Rodriguez has hired one of New York city`s most prominent criminal defense attorneys , Joe Tacopina , to be a part of his legal defense team to defend him in his upcoming appeal , which will be a tribunal appeal held in front of an independent arbitrator. Now while this is not a criminal trial , each side will be allowed to present their case to the arbitrator , whose decision will be final and binding . Rodriguez, is unlikely to take the stand in his defense, with his attorneys presenting their case, on behalf of their client. Tony Bosch, founder of Biogenesis will be the main witness on behalf of baseball (MLB) in the presentation of their case against the player.

Now dependent upon what you might read into the addition of Joe Tacopina to Rodriguez`s legal defense arsenal. The presumption of guilt, must be weighing heavily against the player , in which he has now added a criminal defense attorney to an already heavy-hitting legal team made up of several high-profiled litigators. . At stake, is not only Alex Rodriguez`s livelihood, but also, his very future within the game. If the league`s case is upheld , then in all likelihood Rodriguez`s career in baseball would most certainly come to an abrupt end . There is no way that any team within the game is likely to sign the player, were he made to sit out the entire 2014 baseball season, as well several games into 2015. Two hundred and eleven games, were meant to be the sum total of the player`s suspension, that would cost him in excess of $36.5 million in lost income, by way of his salary over the time frame in question . Sitting out an entire year and then seeking to make a return adds insult to injury given the fact that Frederic Horowitz , the adjudicator presiding over the case sees Alex Rodriguez`s act as one of premeditation as well , as his ongoing deceit.

As the game`s highest paid player , Alex Rodriguez has been lucky enough to have signed two multi-year deals, paying him on each occasion in excess of $250 million . The two teams involved in both of these transactions were the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers . This season, it must be said, that the Rangers do seem to be faring a great deal better than their AL East counterparts. And though as of late , with Alfonso Soriano is having exceptional two-game stretch , where he has been more productive for the New York Yankees , than he was, in his previous fifteen games for the Chicago Cubs , from whom he was acquired earlier on this month . Rodriguez is trying to up the ante , in terms of his value to the Yankees, as he seeks to resume what has been an extremely controversial and troubled career over the nine years .

In March of 2010 , Alex Rodriguez admitted his use of performance enhancing drugs, after years of denial to the press and MLB hierarchy alike. The fact that since that admission of guilt, the player`s name has been twice associated with the use of a prohibitive and banned substance , but not until 2013 , has Bud Selig seen fit to take direction action against the player , in spite of the mounting evidence and his continued denials over that time. What has also been very troubling during this whole comical saga mishandled by Major League Baseball, has been the very fact that the commissioner did not seek to expedite a speedy tribunal hearing. Instead, it has been Rodriguez seeking the input of the MLBPA (union) , who having filed the player`s appeal , will also assist him in his defense.

I get the feeling that the Players` Union, seems to be more concerned with their members, than it is for the purity of the game . In our midst at present, I do believe that we now have the most despised player within the game of baseball ! Rodriguez , may well seek to use whatever excuse, to placate himself from another calculated misstep , that has now seen him fall from grace for a second time within four years. Major League Baseball, for its part , allows the player continue with his career pending the appeal process. If the player is found guilty , then the question becomes, results obtained by the New York Yankees during the formal announcement of the player`s suspension up until the time of arbitrator`s verdict , will they be allowed to stand , if it has somehow cost a potential AL wildcard aspirant a chance of making the postseason ? Those opponents should have every right to feel aggrieved that Alex Rodriguez has been allowed to play.

A preliminary appeal date for Alex Rodriguez` hearing has been not been set , and all likelihood the appeal`s process is unlikely to begin until after the end of the regular season and quite possibly not until after this year`s World Series. Very much in line with what the player no doubt set out to achieve in getting a chance to play in the postseason and being able to contribute to the Yankees` endeavors ,should the team actually make it that far. The Yankees` third baseman , has tried to set himself apart from many of his peers. As a teammate , who is always willing to help the younger members of the team and assist them in any way possible. Yet, the facts do not seem to bear this out , and if the rumors are to believed , his relationships with a number of Yankees` players is said to be strained and often lukewarm. Clearly the relationship between Alex Rodriguez and general manager Brian Cashman must now be at an all-time low . The most recent dust-up between the two, led to an unsavory incident that made the sports` pages of every major newspaper in New York city , with the player being made the villain of the piece, and being castigated by many of the journalists and op-ed contributors, as well as by many of the sports` fans, who sought weigh in with their own opinion of the latest scandal to hit the New York Yankees` organization , further tarnishing its image.

Courtesy of CBS Sports.com

Weiner: A-Rod’s appeal won’t be done until season is over

By Dayn Perry, Baseball Writer

More A-Rod: A-Rod, 12 others suspended | Heyman: A-Rod to appeal | Impact on Yanks

As noted, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez intends to appeal his 211-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, and he’ll remain on the active roster and eligible to play until his appeal is heard and ruled upon.

And that brings us to this comment from MLBPA head Michael Weiner :

There’s a very clear implication here, and the implication is that A-Rod will play the entire remainder of the 2013 season. That’s significant, of course, because the Yankees are in the playoff race, and A-Rod, even at age 38 and with two surgically repaired hips, has the potential to give them a substantial upgrade at third base.

As CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman noted earlier on Monday, the time-frame of the appeals process is as follows:

The evidence is said to suggest Rodriguez bought or used steroids in 2010, ’11 and ’12. However, all of it will be heard at a hearing certainly within 20 days; the JDA actually calls for the “panel to convene a hearing as soon as practicable and, absent good cause show, no later than 10 days after grievance is filed.” With only one case presumably to be heard, perhaps the hearing could be expedited.

Baseball’s arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz, will then have 25 days to render a verdict.

And by the sounds of things, you can certainly expect A-Rod’s appeal to be a vigorous one. First, here’s A-Rod’s official statement:

“I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process. I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side through all this.”

And now here’s Weiner’s:

“We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously. We must revisit the JDA’s confidentiality provisions and consider implementing stricter rules for any breach.”

And finally, A-Rod’s attorney, David Cornwell :

“It is regrettable that the Commissioner’s office has taken this unprecedented action. Major League Baseball has gone well beyond the authority granted to its Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement. Consequently, we will appeal the discipline and pursue all legal remedies available to Alex.”

For the time being, get used to seeing A-Rod in the Yankee lineup.

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At 62-58 , currently lying fourth within the within the AL East , the New York Yankees are nine games behind division leaders the Boston Red Sox (72-50) and a . mere six games behind the two leading wildcard seeking candidates within the AL, who are the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A`s . Yet the ball-club would also have to leapfrog the other three teams also seeking one of the two available berths. And given the play of the Baltimore Orioles , Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals , this could prove to be too tall a task to ask of the New York Yankees. And that is in spite of the latest chain of events concerning the inspired play of Alfonso Soriano. . On Thursday, in the final game of their trilogy against the Los Angeles Angels , New York would become unglued , going down in an 8-4 loss , in a game marked by a lack of consistent pitching and the sudden silence of the Yankees` offense in terms run production ,albeit that the team collected fifteen hits in the defeat .

With a three game series , set to begin on Friday, against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park , in Boston, the New York Yankees will be looking to old rivalries , while seeking close the gap on the AL East divisional leaders. Taking the mound for the Yankees will be Andy Pettite (7-9,ERA 4.62) against Felix Doubront (8-5, ERA 3.66). The New York Yankees do need to win this series, if they are to have any hope of narrowing the margin between themselves and the teams ahead of them in the wildcard standings. I do not believe that the divisional title is within their grasp and with the Orioles and Rays seemingly with a tight grip on their places within the AL East . It now becomes game, of which team is now liable to crack under pressure , as we approach the final month of the regular season schedule .

With the career of Derek Jeter now winding down , the very public face of this Yankees` franchise will now become a vacuum . Certainly, Alex Rodriguez cannot fill that role , albeit that he was looked upon by team`s owners as being the individual to become the heir-apparent to Jeter in that role . Add in the fact that if Rodriguez while an active player on the roster were to break the all-time career home run record , of which he now leads all active players in that specific category . It would simply add one more feather in the cap of baseball`s most illustrious franchise . That now seems to be something of a remote possibility and if anything, a feat that would be looked upon rather dubiously , dubiously, given that the current holder of baseball`s most heralded record remains a pariah within the game.

Barry Bonds` departure from baseball was looked upon as a blessing and a curse , because a Pandora`s Box was opened up to a seedier side of the game , that not even Bud Selig can now close with any measure of success. Any thought that the game of baseball has been able to clean up its image in terms of two tainted decades of rampant cheating, can now firmly be placed alongside the Black Sox scandal as one of the most self-destructive periods and things to have happened in the game`s history. The remnants of the Biogenesis debacle will remain with baseball for years to come and will not be easily forgotten, because of the deceit , and depth of depravity shown by the players embroiled in this controversial chapter of baseball history . Revisionists will seek to rewrite this episode, as being something of a faded memory. Yet, records will show how rampant an epidemic, the use of performance enhancing drugs had become, along with the names associated with the scandal .

Robinson Cano remains a fan favorite amongst the New York Yankees` fans , and with very good reason . The player embodies what the franchise is said to be about, in terms of the players steeped in tradition long associated with the history of ball-club. However, with Cano set to become a free agent at the end of this season , there now seems to doubts setting in, as to whether or not he will remain with the only organization he has ever played for in the Big Leagues. The six-year , $57 million deal, signed by Robinson Cano in 2008, comes to an end this season. There now seems to be a growing reluctance by Brian Cashman to sign the player to a multi-year deal that would most certainly make him amongst a the highest paid players on the New York Yankees` roster. Now represented by RocNation Sports , a company founded by rapper and entrepreneur Jay-z in conjunction with CAA Sports . Cano is the highest profiled athlete signed to the artist`s fledgling sports management company, and now looking g to make inroads in all four of the major professional team sports, as well pursuing acquiring fighters within the UFC as well as boxing. The rapper also known as Sean Carter , would like nothing better than to have his client sign a deal that would not leave an imprint of his success in this new endeavor , but also garner further attention for RocNation Sports, with the hope of luring other dissatisfied athletes to his company .

The New York Yankees certainly do need Robinson Cano , with an injury riddled and an aging roster, no longer what it once was. Losing Cano to free agency would be a devastating blow for the organization. A career . 308 hitter , Robinson Cano and his representatives know that there would be a willing number of suitors looking to pay for his unique services. It would not be out of the realm of possibility that the player could sign with another team willing to acquire him at the right price . With the vast resources available to the New York Yankees , a decision will have to be made quickly, during the off-season . Because there is no doubt in mind, that Jay-Z will have begun to shop around his client`s services the moment he becomes an unrestricted free agent. A seven or ten-year contract, for no less an asking price of between $220 million to $245 million, does not seem out of the question or truly exorbitant, given the payrolls of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, respectively. Yet, it has been baseball`s unwillingness to deal with its financial imbalances , that now seems to be leading it even closer to a precipice , where in due course, it will undoubtedly take that foreseen plunge over the edge .

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In light of what you have read in this article, do you believe that any decision rendered by the arbitrator presiding over Alex Rodriguez`s appeal will be the right verdict ? Or are you of the opinion that baseball`s continued failure to be proactive and have more even more oversight in the monitoring and testing of the players for performance has been a monumental and miserable failure , even with the advent of this latest scandal ? Should the New York Yankees miss the postseason , who should bear the brunt of the responsibility for the team`s failure this season , Alex Rodriguez , Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman ? Finally, were Robinson Cano to leave the Yankees` organization as an unrestricted free agent, would it matter at all to you where he ultimately landed ?

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(1) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in New York.. In another turn of events , it is being claimed that the player or a member from his inner circle leaked information that implicated both Ryan Braun and his Yankees` teammate Francisco Cervelli in the Biogenesis scandal . The claims are made in a soon to be seen episode of the CBS news magazine program ` 60 Minutes ` but was first revealed in print by Yahoo Sports . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(2) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference following baseball meetings at the Otesaga Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. AP Photo/Mike Groll …

(3) New York Yankees catcher Chris Stewart (19) congratulates left fielder Alfonso Soriano after the Yankees’ 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in a baseball game , Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, in New York. Soriano had seven RBIs in the game. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig checks his watch before a news conference following baseball meetings at the Otesaga Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz stands at right. With the league hierarchy and owners coming to an agreement that instant replay will now become more widely used within the game in 2014 , it now remains to be seen how and when the hierarchy, will also reach a compromise, as to a more stringent form of testing, for performance enhancing drugs with even more oversight. The commissioner at present, seems noncommittal on that lone issue , still insisting that baseball does have the most stringent testing protocols of the four major professional team sports . AP Photo/Mike Groll ….

(5) Defense attorney Joseph Tacopina shows a video as address the jurors during closing arguments in the fatal boat crash trial. Anthony DiGilio the boater accused of killing another boater and injuring two others in on trial in Toms River. DiGilio, a 33-year-old construction worker and electrician, is accused of speeding and then fleeing the scene of the accident. Charged with one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of death by vessel, DiGilio faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Friday April 19, 2013 . Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger ….

(6) Robinson Cano , left, of the New York Yankees is seen here signing an agreement with rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z , founder of RocNation Sports , The full consultancy and sports` management company now represents the player after he fired his former agent Scott Boras . In recent months the entrepreneur and businessman has been busy in building his stable of sports` clients, having added the WNBA`s Skylar Diggins , Geno Smith , quarterback for the New York Jets and Seth Jones of the NHL`s Nashville Predators . Getty Images / Aaron Curry ….
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Being, self-absorbed doesn’t offer dignity, it simply proves you are an ass

Being, self-absorbed doesn’t offer dignity, it simply proves you are an ass

By Tophatal

Well, after a rather meaningless gathering, the less than flattering body of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) more commonly known in my circle as the Baseball Writers Association of A$sholes , came to a decision that the 34 players on the 2013 the Hall of Fame ballot was not worthy of being inductees in this celebratory ceremony . Now as many of you may know, that among the list of candidates were, three of the most prominent players associated with the “steroid era “ of baseball.

Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa were part of that list of players , where the adjudicators would have to make the decision to vote those candidates in , by a margin of no less than 75% of the tallied votes .

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Not wanting to make light of this all , but celebrated columnist and journalist , Bob Nightengale of USA Today , wrote a <a href=”http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/01/07/barry-bonds-roger-clemens-hall-of-fame-fred-mcgriff-steroids-sammy-sosa/1812111/”&gt; column stating why he would in all likelihood vote for all three of the aforementioned players to be enshrined . Nightengale suggests that on pure stats alone , the triumvirate were worthy of that accolade . It should be noted , the writer is also a voting member of the aforementioned BBWAA , a body , which I believe, no longer has any credibility or integrity ! Much of that is based on the non-committed stance of that group when the subject of “rampant steroid use” was prevalent within the game , and the very fact that this journalistic body , essentially chose to obfuscate their responsibilities as journalists , only seeking to write salacious tales or what was at the time , essentially the “ tainted feats “ of Bonds , Sosa and Mark McGwire . Needless , to say , legal actions , subpoenaed testimony in front of a congressional committee has done nothing to lift the credibility of the players involved , or raised the integrity of the BBWAA , altogether .

The BBWAA does not seem to possess the journalistic aptitude to even seek out the stories within the game that resonate with the fans and public at large , never mind the odious and often at times banal pieces that can be found within this forum on the subject matter of the illicit use of PED’s and other prohibitive substances within the game of baseball. However, it is simply not just the print media that should also bear responsibility for this apathy, because the sports’ broadcast outlets and the major television media, have essentially remained quiet on an ever </awide ranging list of topics associated with the </aseamier side of the game. Usually, it is not until a story has started to gather a great deal of steam that we tend to see all parts of the news’ media outlets start to scurry and give their perspective , one that is skewered uninformed and at times poorly written and without any real focal points, to that piece at all ! .

Courtesy of USA Today , Bob Nightengale

Barry Bonds was the first name I checked on my Hall of Fame ballot.

Roger Clemens was the second name I checked.

Sammy Sosa was the third.

There was no hesitation. No moment of wavering. Didn’t even blink.

Bonds, a seven-time MVP, might have been the greatest baseball player since Babe Ruth. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, was one of the most dominant pitchers of the last 50 years. Sosa, the only man to hit 60 or more homers in three seasons, was one of the most prolific home run hitters we’ve ever seen.

Oh, the steroids debate?

None ever failed a drug test after Major League Baseball implemented testing in 2004. They were never suspended by MLB for steroids, human growth hormone, amphetamines or any other performance-enhancing drugs.

Clemens was exonerated on perjury charges for lying about steroid use in federal court. Bonds also beat perjury charges and was convicted only on an obstruction-of-justice charge that he’s appealing.

Do I still believe they cheated? Absolutely.

Do I have proof? No.

Do I have strong suspicions that Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell cheated after witnessing their colossal changes in body type and performance? Absolutely.

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Thankfully, Bob Nightengale and his cabal of idiots for once , may well have done the right thing , in not voting anyone in , from among the list of candidate on the 2013 list of prospective inductees. Craig Biggio came the closest , garnering 68.3% of the necessary 75 % of the votes needed for enshrinement into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. However, he may well face an stiffer task in 2014 , when the list of candidates will include among those notables , Greg Maddux , Tom Glavine, Edgar Martinez , Frank Thomas , Mike Mussina , Luis Gonzalez , Kenny Rogers , and Hideo Nomo , among in the category of eligible first time candidates due for induction. And one would be hard pressed to state that neither Greg Maddux or Tom Glavine are not worthy for induction into the Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown, New York .

One of more patronizing side of the BBWAA is that self-righteous belief that is espoused is as such , as knowledgeable historians of the game , their “printed word” is sacrosanct. In all honesty , given the institution to simply sidestep controversy , merely to stay in the good graces of baseball’s hierarchy . I am beginning to wonder , whether or not it would simply be more beneficial to have a body of current and retired players along with managers and front office executive to be arbiters for a players’ induction into the Hall of Fame . Can anyone say that there is any real credence in the way the baseball writers conduct their voting process ? Who better than the players , managers and general managers to make such a decision , rather than a bunch of doe-eyed word and often times gregarious idiots be left to make such a decision. The purists and traditionalists out there may well think otherwise . Yet more often than not those are the very same imbeciles , who will make a case for the argument that the actions of Bonds , Sosa , Clemens , McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro did not do irreparable harm to the game. If they have profited financially from their actions while defrauding the fans and public alike , then off course irreparable damage has been done to the image of baseball . Only, an anally retentive asshole , would seek to suggest otherwise !

Beyond the rhetoric proffered up by baseball’s writers within their own little sphere of influence , and who have never really delved with any great depth into the financial imbalances within the game , other than to report who just happens to be the highest paid player in the game , or to remind us that the New York Yankees still carries the highest team payroll in baseball . It has been the very fact that they feel it obligatory , simply to not fall afoul of Bud Selig and his subordinates. And for the commissioner for his part , with his mind numbingly low IQ , simply offers up such banality , that is now hard to take him seriously as the game’s highest ranking executive . At $25 million a year , as a salary , I would have to say that Selig has done an extremely piss poor job through the majority of his tenure ! His handling of the “ steroid era” notwithstanding , it has been his lack of foresight and insight shown , along with not fully comprehending the malfeasance of Frank McCourt, in almost bringing about the ruination of the Los Angeles Dodgers ,

Needless to say , while Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , fiddle , while the embers are still aglow around the New York Mets , Bud Selig will suggest to us, that there is due diligence and oversight being shown as to the franchise’s ongoing financial difficulties . Albeit , that a patron of my site has pointed out the fact , that the organization has been able to obtain financing from a number of financial institution, and that a glowing report has been written about the Mets’ “ alleged” improving financial status, by none other than Standard & Poors . Suffice to say , the once proud financial markets and investment research firm has about as much credibility as Lindsay Lohan’s acting career. These are the very same ,bumbling buffoons , who with their vast research resources were not able to spot the horrors on the horizon , short-term and long-term , when it came to the major financial institutions’ use of the derivatives’ ,markets to send not only banking sector into a downwards’ tailspin but also the vast majority of the residential mortgage industry as well. Yet because a patron points to a report , I should be assured that the Mets are heading in right direction from a financial standpoint ? This being the same baseball franchise that showed a $41 million loss , and is still projected to lose approximately $65 million for the upcoming fiscal year . But also , do bear in mind , Mets’ GM , Sandy Alderson , recently offered an exorbitant contract to David Wright , an eight-year deal worth approximately , $134 million .

Now I could go on to lambast Sandy Alderson for this apparent idiocy , but what good would it do ? I mean , given the Mets’ dreadful record last season , and their continued propensity for making such outlandish personnel moves , while considerably overpaying for moderate talent . .It is increasingly clear why the franchise has been such an incredible mess . COO & CFO , Jeff Wilpon , has taken to running and ruining the franchise , as if it were a child’s toy , that will soon outlive its’ usefulness !

The New York Mets may well have dodged a bullet when Irving H Picard , the plaintiffs’ lawyer, in a multibillion dollar lawsuit that sought the return of $1.225 billion in monies received by franchise and siphoned through another Wilpon family-controlled and owned business entity , Sterling Equities Inc . These funds were said to be the returns on the investments made, in the now infamous “Madoff Ponzi Scheme” over the past two decades , which saw in excess of 8,000 clients lose $57 billion , through the misdeeds of now incarcerated financier , Bernard “Bernie” Madoff . And for some inexplicable reason Irving Picard, would reach an out of court settlement the defendants , the New York Mets, that would see his clients receive a little over 16 cents on the dollar , netting the plaintiffs , slightly less than $100 million. Far be it , for me to suggest , but if I were one of the plaintiffs , and that agreement were reached , there would be no way in hell, that Irving Picard would still be alive today ! I would be on him “ like white on rice “ , beating his ass , to within an inch of his life ! Lawyers , just as disingenuous as a congressman , with perhaps, slightly less morals? I’ll leave it for you to be the judge of that !

If there were a team in baseball that needed to succeed , rather than being continually be looked upon as an “also ran” , then it would have to be the Los Angeles Angels . Team owner, Arte Moreno and GM , Jerry DiPoto made the “big splash” last season obtaining C J Wilson and Albert Pujols , while paying out the “big bucks” in terms of the contracts offered to both players . Yet , for all of that financial commitment , the “ best player “ on the Angels’ roster over the course of 2012 , was rookie sensation Mike Trout , who literally blew the “ door off its hinges “ , while seeking to keep pace with Miguel Cabrera as the most dominant offensive player in the AL during 2012.

And while from a competitive standpoint within AL West , the Angels simply were not up to scratch . Inconsistent pitching became just one of the many problems that Mike Scocsia and his staff had to face , as the team struggled to find their way throughout much of 2012 . A disappointing third place finish, behind the revelation of the season , the Oakland A’s , surprise winners of the division and a postseason entrant from the AL. This left Jerry DiPoto and Arte Moreno , asking , what else might be needed to bolster the team ? Money , off course was no object , given Moreno’s wealth and a financially viable franchise in the nation’s second largest ad market bodes well for the organization . Yet , having to play “ second fiddle” to the Texas Rangers for divisional supremacy over the last few years has proven to be arduous .

Adding into the frustration for the Angels, was seeing the sudden resurrection of the Los Angeles Dodgers , under the ownership of two financial “ big hitters “ and a Hollywood mogul . Throw in an NBA legend as part of ownership group that paid an astonishing $2.155 billion for beleaguered franchise , and with the ensuing talk by minority stakeholder and “ hype-man” , Magic Johnson “ that money would be of no object , in chasing after success” . And one could well understand why Moreno and company might feel like he is on the outside looking in , on a a party that he had been invited to , but somehow security will not relent , and allow him , to enter the party in question .

As I alluded to earlier , pitching was a problem for the Angels during 2012 , but it should also be noted , that a once potent offense suddenly started spluttering for all of the wrong reasons during the most untimely of situations , at times befuddling Mike Scocsia , drawing his ire. The decision was made to acquire free agent slugger , Josh Hamilton, whose final year with the Texas Rangers was filled with highs and lows through much of the season. Hamilton and his agent, Michael Moye, sought a long-term commitment from GM, Jon Daniels of the Rangers. But, team President, Nolan Ryan did not believe it prudent to acquiesce to the player and his agent’s demands, which is said to be a ten-year $275 million contract. Those demands , clearly, could only be met by a select few teams within baseball. DiPoto , at the behest of Arte Moreno swooped in , and a five-year $125 million offer was made to the slugger. Hamilton , will certainly add to the potency of this Angels’ offense, but the greatest concern , would have to be , Josh Hamilton’s health , but more importantly , his well- known sobriety problems. A recovering drug addict and alcoholic , Hamilton, has repeatedly “fallen off the wagon” , much to the angst of his family , but also drawing a certain level of criticism from the Rangers’ front office. I would certainly like to think that Josh Hamilton can keep his sobriety in check while contributing greatly to the aspirations of the Angels this upcoming season !

The Angels will open their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Oakland A’s , beginning 9th April, 2013 , at Angel Stadium , in Anaheim , California ,.

The AL West will have a new addition to its stable with the relocation of the Houston Astros from the NL Central to its counterpart within the AL. Somehow, I do believe that Astros will be in for a long and arduous season , and for manager , Bo Porters , 2013 , might just be a year he would rather forget. Simply based on the Astros’ record (55-107) in 2012, this is not a team , that I believe will be able to compete their fellow cohabitants within the AL West , much less the rest of baseball ! Sound off , with your thoughts on this particular point raised.

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In light of the decision made by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America to not have a 2013 candidate inducted in , for this year’s ceremony , do you believe it to be the right decision made ? Or are you of the opinion , that no matter who the nominee might happen to be , he should be voted in , based on the association’s criteria , whether or not they are tainted by the steroids era ? Chime in, with your thoughts on this and anything else you feel pertinent to this topic. Do you believe, that the Los Angeles Angels will be able to mountain substantive challenge within the AL West this season ? And finally, do you believe columnist Bob Nightengale’s article , gave you a much clearer picture as to the mindset of the other adjudicators within the BBWAA ?

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(1) USA Today columnist , Bob Nightengale, seen here being interviewed by veteran sports’ anchor Bob Costas of NBC Sports . Nightengale a featured with the national daily , is the paper’s featured writer on baseball along with Hal Bodley . Bob Nightengale’s most recent column for the paper, gives us his unique opinion , on why , he will vote for Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa to be enshrined from the class of 2013 into Baseball’s Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown , New York .

(2) From left to right , Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens . All three were part of the class of 2013 enlistees eligible for the adjudication process for Baseball’s Hall of Fame . The trio having been stained by “steroid era” within the game , failed to obtain the necessary warranted votes (75%) to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. AP Photo / Ellis Parsons ….

(3) MLB Commissioner , Bud Selig , left , is seen here , with now former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner , Frank McCourt . The beleaguered businessman was forced to take the famed ball-club into bankruptcy proceedings whilst in the midst of an acrimonious divorce from ex-wife, Jamie McCourt. Bud Selig presided over this , but it was widely known that McCourt had been contravening the bye-laws of the game by using the franchise as business collateral for several of his surreptitious business deals . The league hierarchy was forced to send in an outside authority (C Thomas Schiffer) to preside over the ball-club on a day-to-day basis , much to the dislike of the owner , who stated that he was being a scapegoat for baseball’s own deficiencies . The Dodgers were auctioned off in what was said to be a sealed “bidding process” for the sum of $2.156 billion . However , a number of team owners were dissatisfied with the process , especially after it was revealed that Bud Selig interjected himself in the midst of the deliberations , and is said to have favored the winning consortium’s bid , prior to the whole endeavor’s commencement . AP/ Getty Images / Paul M . Metcalf …

(4) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Andrew Burton …

(5) Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno joins free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, right, for photographs at a news conference, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in Anaheim, Calif. Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and l2010 AL MVP, joins the Angels MLB team after signing a $125 million, five-year contract . Clockwise from Moreno is his wife Carole, Hamilton’s wife Katie, holding daughter Stella, Hamilton; with daughters Sierra, Michaela, and Julie. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does …. Fu#k , It’s Baseball I’m Talking About …… !

Stupid Is As Stupid Does …. Fu#k , It’s Baseball I’m Talking About …… !

By tophatal ………….

It’s at times like this all of the purists out there have to step back and plainly take a look at the landscape of baseball and now specifically the tenure of Bud Selig and his custodianship of Major League Baseball . As the game’s highest ranking executive he has presided over the game for almost two decades , first as its interim commissioner only then to ascend to the position full-time in 1994. That being said, with the introduction of the wildcard system and the realignment of the divisions within the game , it has created a mild stir within baseball. But at the end of the day the questions have arisen as to the financial landscape and integrity of the sport altogether .

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In what might have been the biggest scandal to hit the game since the Barry Bonds’ saga , his indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice , in lying to federal law enforcement officers concerning his use of prohibitive substances banned within the game . With his indictment and now awaiting sentence within the Federal Court system , you simply had to wonder what shoe would be the next to fall. Granted , last season we had the fallout from the retirement of Manny Ramirez five games into the season with the Tampa Bay Rays after it made public that he had failed a mandatory test thereby signalling an automatic 50 game suspension as required by MLB for a first offense. Rather than serve the suspension, the player announced his retirement and walked away from the game . Now come full circle , Ramirez has asked to be reinstated and somehow defying all logic Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane has seen fit sign the player to a one year deal wherein he will be the DH for the team . So much for the inspirational “Moneyball” movie where the Michael Lewis’ book was adapted for the big screen and made to show the general manager as a savior of the game for the small market teams and the theory of “Sabermetrics”. Now someone please explain to me how the genius of Beane can be seen in a positive light after this move ?

Courtesy of The Washington Post in conjunction with the Associated Press

Ryan Braun’s 50-game suspension overturned by baseball arbitrator Shyam Das

NEW YORK — NL MVP Ryan Braun said all along that his 50-game suspension for a positive drug test would be overturned. He was right.

Arbitrator Shyam Das threw out Braun’s ban on Thursday, making the Milwaukee Brewers outfielder the first Major League Baseball player to successfully challenge a drug-related penalty in a grievance.

“It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation,” Braun said. “We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.”

Braun tested positive in October for elevated testosterone, which was revealed by ESPN in December. He reports Friday to spring training with the threat of suspension lifted.

“Since joining our organization in 2005, Ryan Braun has been a model citizen and a person of character and integrity. Knowing Ryan as I do, I always believed he would succeed in his appeal,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. “It is unfortunate that the confidentiality of the program was compromised, and we thank our fans and everyone who supported Ryan and did not rush to judgment.”

Braun’s sample was collected on Oct. 1, a Saturday and the day the Brewers opened the NL playoffs. The collector did not send the sample to the laboratory until Monday , thinking it would be more secure at home than at a Federal Express office during the weekend .

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Bud Selig made the asinine assertion to two Congressional Committees , House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection that MLB had the most stringent drug testing policy in all of professional sports . That was laughable given the fact that Selig has been in complete denial as to the prolific use of PED’s by a number of players within through much of the past two decades ! Never mind the fact that those within the print media who covered the sport seemed to side with the commissioner. But as I’ve always maintained , journalistic integrity has never been high on any journalist within the world of sports . Simply look at the so-called celebrated writers who are said to be at the forefront in covering the game ? Have they really brought anything that you would deem to insightful ? And in terms of the on air tv personalities why no affront from them concerning the era that has essentially sullied the image of baseball ? Buster Olney , Peter Gammons , Tim Kurkjian and Joe Buck are and simply have been the voice squawk boxes for a lost generation that simply are too dumb to realize what is actually going on within their midst as it relates to the game ! When anyone amongst that quartet ever spoken as to their disgust concerning what has happened during this era ? They’d simply rather kiss the asses of their paymasters within the game of baseball and beyond that , who the hell knows as they’re probably waiting to suck on the left testicle of the commissioner !

The saga of Ryan Braun …. last season’s NL MVP is a tale of their sheer utter stupidity on the part of the player and his complete lack of intelligence and to my mind it is also a damning indictment on the game of baseball ! The league hierarchy knowing that the player had undergone testing was fully aware of the results and the fact that Braun had tested positive for a stimulant . The tests showed that the player had four times what it is considered the normal levels for testosterone in his body and it could only have been provided by a synthetic hormonal drug. When these details were then made public , it has to be said that the seismic waves sent across the game only heightened the fact that baseball and the game as we know it still remains sullied and lacking in complete integrity . My question for Ryan Braun is, if you choose to put something into your body would you not first seek the advice of a medical professional as to whether or not supplements in question are legal with regard to the mandated standards of the league ? Clearly the player may not have sought out the advice of a doctor but then again whatever gave us the impression that today’s modern-day athlete has the intelligence to begin with ?

In what was an unprecedented verdict the arbitrator sided with Ryan Braun in case for the dismissal of the league mandated suspension . The player lodged his appeal that was presided over by Shyam Das through the usual process of going through the players’ union ( MLBPA) headed by Executive Director Michael Weiner . In handing down his decision Shyam Das stated that the league’s case and the protocols used in the handling of the player’s specimens for testing had been compromised . mishandled and the proper protocols had not been followed by facility used by the league (MLB). A spokesman for the league hierarchy has stated that they were dissatisfied with the decision rendered by Das , though an appeal now seems completely out of the question . If ever baseball has even more egg on its face from an image standpoint , then this whole episode would be it ! And the asinine morons who continue to stand behind this game as if it had some semblance of decency and integrity must now be wondering where the leadership , if any , is now coming from ! Clearly Selig and the league are completely out of their depth and what might be even more asinine, is that whomever is said to be providing the legal counsel to the league hierarchy has been providing Bud Selig and his executive a very poor service indeed ! If MLB actually believed that with the evidentiary procedure followed that a verdict in their favor would be rendered , then clearly the executives who preside over the game are not as insightful on the procedures as it relates to binding arbitration . Moreover , the league hierarchy if anything, should take umbrage at the fact that the laboratory used in the testing clearly made serious mistakes that made their presentation to the tribunal and arbitrator a complete none-factor . Now what ?

In light of the decision rendered Ryan Braun believes that he has been vindicated and that his actions were above reproach. The player is either naive or a complete idiot to think that this completely exonerated him and closes the chapter on this episode . The court of public opinion is still out , and no matter what the player now says , it creates an image problem for Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers . For manager Ron Roenicke and owner Mark Attanasio this is hardly the way that the organization wants to go into Spring Training especially in light of the team losing their All Star first baseman Prince Fielder to free agency , with the player signing a 9 year $214.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers .

The NL Central would appear to be up for grabs this season but it would appear though the division favored may well have favored the Brewers I believe that with the loss also of Albert Pujols from the St Louis Cardinals this could a very competitive season within the division. With Ryan Brauns’s productivity and that of Prince Fielder’s own stats it has to be said that last season it is easy to understand why the team was a success . Albeit that the team’s foray in the postseason was something of short-lived one . This year a lot will be riding on the shoulders of Ryan Braun and that of his teammates , in the hope that they can be seen as a serious contender within the NL .

Once the regular season begins the for the Milwaukee Brewers we know that Ryan Braun will face a barrage of abuse from the fans but undoubtedly once at home in the confines of Miller Park in Milwaukee , Wisconsin where I am sure that the player will have a legion of fans coming out in his support . From my own perspective , I am not so sure that Braun is solely to blame for his mess , as I firmly believe that baseball still has a long way to go to clear itself of its now tarnished image ! Clearly with the league hierarchy is simply unwilling to admit to the fact they have not only messed up in the presentation of this case but also their stance initially as it relates the issue of PED’s within the game was that it simply wasn’t high on their agenda . And also when one bears in mind that Selig’s stance is outmoded , shows him to be someone of little intelligence and credibility. Someone please explain to me how it is that the commissioner is compensated to the tune of $20-$25 million a year all at the behest of the team owners and in response his performance as the commissioner has done such a piss poor job in his position , that it now has me wondering how it is that the owners continue to feel that he’s said to be serving their best interests ! They’re making money ? You tell me ? Bob Nutting may well be making money but it has been by from anything achieved by the Pittsburgh Pirates over the last four or five years that’s for sure ! And the same can be said for Lew Wolff and the Oakland A’s . And the ever piss poor excuses of we’ve no stadium that is to our liking , or the fact that revenues are not in line with others around the league where we have parity . All of these are the statements I’ve come to hear from patrons of this site but not one has come up anything near a viable option . Instead the bitching and whining continues as Selig is compensated immeasurably , so much so that is his $25 million a year salary is comparable to the highest paid players in the game on an annual basis .

As to what now lies ahead for Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers remains to be seen but from my own perception as to this whole saga he remains a pariah and he will no doubt become the butt of the jokes for the vast majority of the fans ! Given the premise behind the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens’ sagas I am no longer surprised anything that arises in terms players using prohibitive substances because I now feel it now comes with the territory ! And it’s not about to change anytime soon and that is a god-damn fact ! Doubt my word then simply look at the fact that a plague like Manny Ramirez will return to the game having signed a one year deal with the Oakland A’s . And you wonder why the A’s have achieved little of consequence in recent years . And to think Billy Beane was being lauded for his accomplishments with the A’s by way of the movie “Moneyball” . This is one move that could come back to bite that organization in the proverbial ass in more ways than one given their meager financial resources concerning players’ salaries .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Given the timeline and the events that are said to have taken place concerning Ryan Braun , in your honest opinion upon whom do you believe the blame ought to be placed upon ? Should it be MLB and specifically its hierarchy or the player himself in what appears to be his lax judgment ?

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(1) Ron Roenicke of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait during a photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 26, 2012 in Maryvale, Arizona. Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images ….

(2) MARYVALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 26: Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers poses for a portrait during a photo day at Maryvale Baseball Park on February 26, 2012 in Maryvale, Arizona. Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images …….

(3) Ryan Braun , left , of the Milwaukee Brewers is seen here with senior managing partner & co-owner of the team , Mark Attanasio at the Brewers’ headquarters Miller Park , Milwaukee , Wisconsin . @ all rights reserved Brewers.com ……

(4) Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, center, addresses members of the media concerning outfielder Ryan Braun prior to baseball spring training on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Paul Connors ……

(5) National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern (L) greets Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig before testifying with the heads of the NFL and the NHL to the US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection about the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports on Capitol Hill February 27, 2008 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee also heard testimony from officials from the US Olympic Committee, National Thoroughbred Racing and the US Anti-Doping Agency. Getty Images North America / Chip Smodovilla …..

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It’s All In The Contract Read Between The Lines ….

It’s All In The Contract ….. Read Between The Lines

I read with a great deal of interest that New York Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman who is in the final year of his contract with the team and is said to be reluctant to discuss a contract extension with the organization until the end of the season. The team now in the hands of Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are are intent on carrying on their father’s legacy . But in reality the organization still remains a family business and it appears the brothers will rule with a rod of iron. To bear this out, the duo were in conflict with Cashman over the acquisition of reliever Rafael Soriano . They prevailed with the general manager having to back down over the issue and continue his duties under the premise of being a loyal subordinate .

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The bone of contention with Brian Cashman has always been would he have been able to accomplish the success attained by the organization over his tenure were it not for financial resources of the ball club . Five World Series titles and seven appearances in all over the last fifteen years ____ not much else needs to be said. And the same comparison was made about former Los Angeles Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson while he was the coach of the Chicago Bulls . Could Jackson win without a superstar and with another team ? Were it not for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen leading those Bulls’ teams to their unprecedented success it is believed that Jackson would never have succeeded to the extent that he did. The former coach would also lead the Lakers to a further six NBA titles over his tenure with the organization , proved a point that it’s not merely about the team but the environment you’re actually placed in.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Yankees GM Cashman done at season’s end ?

By Mark J Miller

The last time New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman signed a contract extension, George Steinbrenner was still alive. Now sons Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are running the show and Cashman may be out.

Cashman’s three-year, $6 million contract expires at season’s end and the New York Post suggests that the Steinbrenners may want to put their own stamp on the team and bring in someone else.

Cashman has been working for the Yanks since he was 19, the paper points out. Now 44, Cashman refuses to attempt to negotiate a new deal for himself in the middle of the season, the Post reports. After all, Cashman was the one who eight years ago “introduced a policy of not doing contract extensions in the middle of a season,” the Post notes.

“If I couldn’t do it with Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and [manager] Joe Girardi, how can I do it with myself,” Cashman said, according to the Post. “I can’t be a hypocrite. It will come up at the appropriate time.”

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Now it’d be remiss to think that the success achieved by Cashman was solely down to talent alone . But it’s clear to see that the Yankees’ general manager would not have achieved the success attained without the financial resources of the organization. With the burgeoning cash cow that are the New York Yankees and with the team being in the nation’s largest ad market how could Brian Cashman actually fail ? Never mind the fact that the ball club owns its very own cable sports broadcast provider the YES Network . With those financial resources at his disposal it is easy to understand the choices that can be made by the organization as it relates to acquiring free agents and then paying them handsomely.

Over the years we have seen the acquisitions made by the Yankees and clearly with the team having obtained such high profiled free agents in recent years as Mark Teixeira , Alex Rodriguez , CC Sabathia , A J Burnett and Curtis Granderson . The common denominator in many cases has been uber-agent Scott Boras . Anyone who knows how the agent has conducted his business over the years will know that he tends get teams to vastly overpay for talent even when they tend to be average at best.

Should Brian Cashman decline the offer of a contract extension which isn’t out of the realms of possibility then it would be reasonable to think that a number of teams around baseball might well be interested in hiring the general manager . But in my honest opinion, I feel that Cashman knows that his best and only opportunity is to remain within the Yankees’ organization ! The financial resources of the ball-club has been predominantly the reason behind the team’s success more than it having been to do with astute scouting and draft acquisitions by the organization in recent years . The fans of the team will continue to point to the success of the organization in their recent draft choices during which they obtained Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada . The trio remain the only remaining teammates that won multiple titles from 1996 through to 2007.

Now we could ask the question if Brian Cashman were not the general manager of the New York Yankees how would he contend with an organization not named the Yankees ? And while the team remains the 1,000lb gorilla in the room you can’t help repeating the question. Would Cashman be as successful were it not for the financial wherewithal of the organization and would he be a success as a general manager ? When one considers that in the last decade and a half, only three teams have ever won multiple World Series titles and two organizations in question happen to be two of the highest salaried teams in the game . It should come as no surprise that the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees sit atop of that pile with a cumulative salary total that is in excess of $360 million . And though I have read where patrons would suggest that there remains a competitive balance within the game because we have multiple teams over the last decade win the World Series . That may well be the case but consider the fact that in large part , repeatedly it tends to be the teams that are atop of the pay structure that are part of the postseason , champion series or the World Series itself.

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Rafael Soriano (C) of the New York Yankees poses for a photograph during his press conference with (L-R) assistant general manager Jean Afterman, manager Joe Girardi, agent Scott Boras, president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman, and COO Lonn Trost on January 19, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees signed Soriano to a three year contract.

Granted , last year we had the distinction of seeing the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers play the game’s biggest prize one simply cannot deny the fact that it all comes back down to the usual suspects repeatedly when it comes to the postseason. One simply cannot hide behind the fact that those teams will be there . But in what some deem to be a competitive balance when it just isn’t borne out by the very fact the fact the game from a financial standpoint is markedly imbalanced . And like some of the financial problems we have now seen disrupt the NBA and NFL we are seeing the same situation arise within baseball . Some fans are actually in denial about this as they would rather see the purity of the game rather than seeing the reality of it all . It’s pretty much safe to say that the problems of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets simply reflect what I am actually saying ! The league hierarchy’s belief that their tax sharing scheme has assisted the teams in being competitive doesn’t seem to bear out what their actual intent in giving all of the teams a possible shot at the brass ring .

In waiting to see what may well transpire between the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman I wonder how many of the other general managers around the league are envious of Yankees’ general manager’s position ? They say don’t knock it ’til you try it but I get the impression that the vast majority of executives in questions wouldn’t mind being in Brian Cashman’s position right about now !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Should Brian Cashman choose not to return to the New York Yankees is it your belief that he will be hired by another team within baseball in the same capacity ? Or do you believe that he remain with the organization and sign a long term contract ? Simply chime in with a comment on the points raised within this piece .

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

Picture and slide show details

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(1) TORONTO, CANADA – JULY 16: Greg Golson (22) of the New York Yankees looks out from the dugout against the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB action at The Rogers Centre July 16, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images ….

(2) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees hits during MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays at The Rogers Centre July 16, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images ….

(3) Francisco Cervelli (17) celebrates the win with Mariano Rivera (42) of the New York Yankees during MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays at The Rogers Centre July 16, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images ….

(4) (L-R) Manager Joe Girardi, Mark Teixeira, Hal Steinbrenner and General Manager Brian Cashman pose for a photo during a press conference to announce Teixeira’s signing to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on January 6, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(5) Rafael Soriano (C) of the New York Yankees poses for a photograph during his press conference with (L-R) assistant general manager Jean Afterman, manager Joe Girardi, agent Scott Boras, president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman, and COO Lonn Trost on January 19, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees signed Soriano to a three year contract. Getty Images North America / Jim McIsaac ….
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Something Else That The State of California Is Well Known For Accepting Mediocrity While Trying To Assuage Us With Their Greatness & Narcissism .

Something Else That The State of California Is Well Known For Accepting Mediocrity While Trying To Assuage Us With Their Greatness & Narcissism .

Well not unlike the state legislature of California that faces such acute financial problems we now have the Los Angeles Dodgers facing woes of its very own. Now it’s a fact that Los Angeles Dodgers will now officially file for bankruptcy . I was repeatedly told by patrons within this medium that bankruptcy would and could never happen . If that’s the case then explain to me how it is that in the last twenty four months the following teams in Major League Baseball each had to file for bankruptcy . In the cases of the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers Chapter 11 ( Bankruptcy Protection & Reorganization) was seemingly the only way out from financial mismanagement by their then owners . Now with that in mind it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that now two of the games most storied ballclubs are effectively in the same boat. And as acute as the situation now appears to be with the Los Angeles Dodgers , it could very well be far more grave for the New York Mets and their situation. The club is defendant in a civil suit alongside principal owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon as part of the fallout from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal . Much of what we know concerning the Dodgers has been the mismanagement and the very fact that MLB hierarchy simply suborned much of the absurdity that has taken place ever since Frank McCourt assumed control of this team with his purchase of the organization from Fox Inc whose parent company is News Corporation .

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From my own standpoint this should be a fucking wake up call for the idiots who carry on as if they’re in the know when it comes to the economics of the game but instead they’d rather talk about the shit like the future of the game and the young prospects there . That’s like trying to search for the leprechaun’s pot of gold in the hope that at the end of the day things will be great . Let’s get real here the owners as we know them to be are not that business minded in spite of their apparent wealth and alleged entrepreneurial acumen . And not to be left out of this all has to be those asinine general managers within the game . Baseball has and will always continue to shoot itself in both feet because its hierarchy simply isn’t bright or astute enough to either do or know what is actually appropriately the right thing to do !

Once MLB Commissioner Bud Selig saw fit to bring in former diplomat C Thomas Schieffer to oversee the day to day running of this team we all knew that the Dodgers and Frank McCourt had reached the point of no return . But if anyone with the slightest bit of common sense could see that the writing was on the wall and the sense of foreboding for the organization. And while this was all going on what might be even more contemptible was the fact that GM Ned Colletti , COO Geoff Wharton , CFO Peter Wilhelm , CRO Michael Young and Tommy Lasorda simply chose to remain silent . Which begs the question what is it with the damn stupidity that obviously had to be taking place within the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers ? . From my own standpoint this is something that is long overdue and had to happen for baseball and the fans to finally sit up and take note ! Are some of the so called intellectual fans out there and those who claim to be insiders are simply that naive ? I’ve no doubt that the so called analysts at Fox and ESPN will now try to regale us with what they see as a painful episode , all the while these very same ingrates undoubtedly chose to ignore this story once it came to the public forefront .

Over the coming days and weeks I’ve no doubt that this all well be thoroughly discussed and written about all with a view to seeking a reason why this had to happen to one of the most storied teams in all of baseball . Well when you have a sport that shows no transparency on any level whatsoever what the fucking hell would you expect ? It’s not as if the league hierarchy itself during Selig’s tenure has ever been known to be completely open with regard to its business practices much less has a propensity for actually telling the truth on any level.

It is extremely sad to see a once great ballclub simply fall from grace and then think that Frank McCourt and the Dodgers’ hierarchy are solely to blame because much of what we know to have factually happen has been due to the inaction of the hierarchy of the game. It’s all too little too late for the organization , even with the Dodgers having now filed for bankruptcy protection . It will now be extremely difficult for the team’s creditors to actully recoup monies owed given the debt amassed by Frank McCourt which if we are to believe could very well exceed in excess of $600 million and that’s simply a conservative estimate as neither the ballclub or the league hierarchy have chosen to be completely transparent and the mere fact that Selig now wants to be seen as a knight riding into the rescue when nothing could actually be further from the truth . Instead this has more to do with the league wanting to give its image a raise in its already diminished and tarnished profile . And here was I thinking that the league handled the ” steroid issue” with about as much deftness as a blind man playing hopscotch in the midst of a minefield ! There has been more blowblack and utter cluster fucks dug up here than can actually be found in a whore’s closet !

Courtesy of The all St Journal

Baseball Blasts Dodgers Bankruptcy Loan

By Patrick Fitzgerald and Marie Beaudette

Major League Baseball on Tuesday moved to intervene in the Los Angeles Dodgers bankruptcy case, blasting owner Frank McCourt and claiming it has a “cheaper, no strings-attached solution” to the team’s financial woes.

The office of baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who has been sparring for months with embattled Dodgers owner Mr. McCourt, said in court papers filed Tuesday that acting in the best interests of baseball, the league will provide the Dodgers with a “less expensive and otherwise superior” bankruptcy loan.

Mr. McCourt placed the Dodgers into Chapter 11 protection on Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., in a last-ditch bid to avoid having the team seized by the league.

The league says Mr. McCourt has “siphoned off well over $100 million” of the Dodgers’ revenue and has driven the team to a “liquidity crisis so severe that, absent extraordinary measures, the club would be unable to make its payroll.”

The team turned to a hedge fund manager owned by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which is providing a $150 million in so-called debtor-in-possession, or DIP, financing for what the league says is an “excessive” fee.

Major League Baseball blasted Mr. McCourt, saying he has placed his own financial interests over that of the club. While the Dodgers say they conducted an extensive search for financing, MLB says Mr. McCourt never approached the league, “an obvious source of a DIP loan,” according to court papers. A McCourt spokeswoman declined to comment.

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So what now for the Dodgers and how does the hierarchy deal with this all ? In seeing the Los Angeles declare bankrupcty it now leads to Frank McCourt will either sell the team or perhaps seek a cash infusion . Creditors will no doubt be very weary of the situation and given the fact that should MLB have to fully intervene then teams around the league will be on the hook as they hierarchy seeks to pay off many of the Dodgers’ creditors monies owed . Amongst those still owed monies by the ballclub are ex players Ted Lilly , Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones are said to be owed in excess of $24 million as well as broadcaster Vin Scully some $150,000 . This now begs the question, if McCourt is still able to meet payroll for the month of June then what of the ensuing months and where indeed will those funds actually be coming from ? We know that the $3 billlion deal that McCourt had been counting on as part of a negotiated tv contract deal with the local Fox affiliate left a great deal to be desired as much of those funds were due to pay down debt inucrred by McCourt and associated business interests .

Seemingly , when I’ve asked how it is that Frank McCourt was simply allowed to violate league rules in using the ballclub as collateral in multiple business deals repeatedly . But yet somehow the league hierarchy under Bud Selig has simply kept silent on this issue . If anything this all now leaves this ballclub in a complete mess and there’s no way in hell that any potential free agent would seek to even show an interest in the Dodgers . Given the financial uncertainty of this team, who the hell would want to be playing in the hellhole of Los Angeles with the current regime in place ? What might be even more worrying is where this now leaves the future of the coaching staff under Don Mattingly and the potential free agents with the Dodgers at present ? This once proud franchise has no one but to blame but itself but I would also say that due diligence was certainly not used by Bud Selig and the owners when they gave their approval in the sale of the Dodgers to Frank McCourt. The owner came into the organization with a great deal of baggage that if anything should have been a precursor of the mess that would become a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ current debacle . Multiple litigant problems many of which McCourt was a plaintiff and some where he was a defendant but if anything the league hierarchy should have been fully cognizant of those issues .

I’m not so sure what the rest of the season holds for the Los Angeles Dodgers and at the same time what are the poor and disenfranchised fans to think about this mess ? I’m sure as such that they are no doubt being very vocal and vehemently against Frank McCourt still being in control as the owner of this team . Furthermore , I can’t help but wonder what the future now holds for the players not only on the team but also for the prospects and farm system of the organization as a whole ! Baseball has simply been a mess not solely because of the financial ramifications that has befallen the teams in large part but also because of the idiocy shown by the league hierarchy and the intransigence of the MLBPA .

I’ve long maintained that Bud Selig has been a poor commissioner for baseball and about as out of touch as to the acute problems that the sport now faces ! It’s no use living in the past without having learned nothing from those events and herein lies another of the many problems that the game faces , it is that nothing at all has been learned by the owners the union (MLBPA ) or the league hierarchy itself as they merely seek to carry on business as usual . If there are any potential suitors for the Los Angeles Dodgers it will be very interesting to see what sort of value is placed on the organization and whether or not that suitor would indeed be willing to pay the price being asked as to the potential value of this team .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the plight of the Los Angeles Dodgers ? And where would you apportion blame for much of the fallout for this monumental financial disaster that has now encircled the ballclub ? Simply chime with a thought on this topic and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter broached in this piece .

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

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

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(1) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Trent Oeltjen smiles at some Dodgers fans late in the baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Monday, June 27, 2011 in Minneapolis. Oeltien was 4-for-4 with two singles, a triple and a home run in the Dodgers’ 15-0 win. AP Photo/Jim Mone …..

(2) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 27: Tony Gwynn (10) of the Los Angeles Dodgers singles against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Dodgers defeated the Twins 15-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins is out at home as A.J. Ellis (17) of the Los Angeles Dodgers defends home plate in the sixth inning on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Dodgers defeated the Twins 15-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …………

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 27: Ned Colletti, General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches batting practice before the game against the Minnesota Twins on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ……

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – FILE: Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks at a news conference at Dodger Stadium prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers on April 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. It was reported that the Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court June 27, 2011. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Bud Selig commissioner of MLB , whose tenure as the game’s highest ranking official has been steeped in a great deal of controversy . In the last twenty four months three major league teams have had to file for bankruptcy protection under the commissioner’s watch but he and the league hierarchy have done little to try and rein in the financial mismanagement that now seems rampant not just amongst the teams but also at MLB’s headquarters . AP Photo / Carl Nash …….

(7) Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly (L) and general manager Ned Colletti of the Los Angeles Dodgers attend a press conference announcing that Mattingly will manage the Dodgers in 2011 after Joe Torre retires at Dodger Stadium on September 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld ….
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Who’s Minding The Store ………….. ?

Who’s Minding The Store ?

I really like to understand how it is that with the financial uncertainty that still swirls around the Los Angeles Dodgers that Newscorp through its Fox subsidiary would see fit to loan Fank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers $30 million to meet the organization’s expenses in terms of paying the team’s salary and that of the other anciliary employees . With the league hierarchy of baseball having brought in C Thomas Schieffer a former Texas Rangers executive as well as being the former US ambassador to Japan to oversee the day to day operations of the Dodgers I would be under the impression that given the Dodgers’ ongoing financial difficulties the league would want to make sure that McCourt would be able to guarantee the repayment of any loan taken out by him to meet the team’s expenses. Not only that but given the fact that Frank McCourt and his now ex wife Jamie McCourt between 2004 through to 2009 had borrowed in excess of $100 million from the team without there being any record to indicate that this sum had been repaid . Now should he be unable to meet the team’s payroll over the coming month there is an even greater chance in all likelihood that the league may well have no other option but to seek the sale of of the Los Angeles Dodgers but first they would have ask McCourt to completely relinquish control of the team.

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Clearly there’s something still amiss concerning the Dodgers , their finances and the mere fact that it has taken MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his associates within the league hierarchy to even intervene in this situation leads me to believe that their business acumen and what we’re told are sound business practices are complete and sheer utter stupidity . From business standpoint I sincerely doubt that the vast majority of the owners around the league as well as the general managers would know the actual difference between a baking sheet and a balance sheet !

As this ongoing saga continues the less faith I have in the game’s integrity and that of the league hierarchy ! Bud Selig has become a clown of inconceivable magnitude and the fact that given the idiocy of the actions of the executives within the Dodgers’ organization most notably GM Ned Colletti , CFO Peter Wilhelm and Frank McCourt , whose own actions have been so egregious and clearly premeditated I cannot understand how it is that there seems to be no punishment of the owner for his misdeeds other than the mere fact that the league has essentially taken control of the organization. There is a great deal that McCourt has chosen not to be made public and at the same time it would appear that the league wants to cover up many of its own ineptitude in the handling of this situation. Frank McCourt states that the league hierarchy all along has had within their possession a $3 billion television contract deal that would supply the beleaguered organization with all the revenues needed to meet its financial obligations . However , in light of that all the Dodgers prior to this all Frank McCourt had stated that the Los Angeles Dodgers were never in any financial danger but records simply do not bear that out with there being multiple loans taken out by Frank McCourt using the team as collateral .

The league has a mandate that no team can have a debt ratio of more than 10 ten times its earnings but clearly with the Dodgers have contravened the rules in this instance. Bud Selig for his part has yet to make it fully public as to full extent of the problems of the Los Angeles Dodgers but clearly given the wide and varying reports by from various news sources the severity of the problems were so extensive that McCourt was simply being economical with the truth. Now it remains to be seen how long Schieffer will be overseeing the Dodgers’ operations and whether or not the team will in fact end up being sold. Frank McCourt’s ex wife Jamie McCourt has made a request of the judge who presided over her divorce proceedings to seek the court to enforce the sale of the organization . The judge may well not proceed with such an adjudication given the situation at present wherein the league has taken control over the organization. But it would not surprise me that the league’s own legal counsel could well seek out potential buyers for the Los Angeles Dodgers. However , with McCourt stating that he would fight tooth and nail to retain control of the team even if it meant taking legal action against MLB this situation could become a great deal more contentious were the two factions to enter into litigation.

At some point during the season we are liable to see several teams’ fortunes wane in terms of their performances .
Races within the divisions are steadily heating up but it’s still far too early to state what the outcomes will be with regard to where the teams will be at the culmination of the regular season .

Now as we enter the month of June and with the All Star Game set for 12th July to be hosted at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona it will be interesting to see what manner the protests will undoubtedly take in terms of the response to that state’s newly enacted law to enforce the state’s unpopular enforcement of the legal right of police officers to request a suspect to prove that they are a legal resident and not an illegal alien. As popular as this law may well be in the eyes of many it certainly has become very unpopular amongst many Latin American players within MLB. And the very fact that the ACLU and La Raza have chosen to closely monitor the actions as the state legislature and Gov Jan Brewer seeks its strict enforcement . I’ve no doubt that this issue as volatile as it has become should be dealt with at the Federal level of the government but given the inactivity and the partisanship within the Senate , Congress and the mere fact that no Presidential administration has seen fit to tackle this matter head on. I am really beginning to think that the mind numbing idiocy shown by the all levels of the government are completely at a loss to actually explain fully what their policy is with regard to illegal immigration !

DHS Chief Janet Napolitano who oversees the INS has been ambiguous at best in explaining the administration’s policy . Insofar as I think that the laws of the land have to be strictly adhered to , there has to be some latitude given to how a state can deal with problems that they deem acute within its own borders. I certainly don’t believe that Bud Selig ought to be forced to take a stance because a number of players oppose this statute no matter what their ethnicity. And even light of Carlos Santana making his outrageous statements at a ball game at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia , clearly shows how volatile this issue has become. However, someone ought to remind Santana that the state of Georgia has seen its own fair share of what he deems to be racial injustice as during the Civil Rights’ era within the state and in particular the city of Atlanta were one of the major epicenters of African American defiance as to the racial injustice that swept the South and across the nation at the time.

Given the history of the game and presumed journey that it has taken over the course of its history there’s no denying that baseball as far as it has come socially and economically there are still a number of issues that remain to be resolved. Jackie Robinson’s entry into the MLB opened up the game for all minorities but bear this in mind the game at the time though inclusive when Hank Aaron broke the alltime home run record he was being vilified the torrents of racial abuse , racial epithets death threats directed at the Hall of Famer would give the impression that in surpassing Babe Ruth’s feat was seen as an abomination by those who felt it beneath them to see an African American break one of sport’s most hallowed records. Now in this modern day and age it is not about the intolerance but what there is to be learned by all parties concerned.

It would appear in the aftermath of the game collision between Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins and the San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey . Giants’ GM Brian Sabean had a few choice words for the Marlins’ utility player and the fact that he felt that Cousins’ actions were unsportsmanlike . Many would disagree with Sabean’s view of the incident but when one takes into account what this loss means for the San Francisico Giants and their season then you can understand the general manager’s ire . Having lost Posey for the year and the players productivity it lessens the possible chance of the Giants quite possibly making the postseason either as a division winner or the wildcard entrant within the NL.

The Giants on a three game win streak but have lost 6 of their last 10 games over that span . For manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff the loss of Posey has to be a tremendous disappointment for the team . And it goes without saying for the fans they cannot be pleased with the loss of a fan favorite . While the debate goes on as to whether or not the league hierarchy needs to do more to protect catcher when at home plate protecting his position from a base runner heading home . I for one believe that the catcher knows of the imminent dangers that are presented in such a scenario . It has become one the traits of the game and there is not much that can be done to avoid such instances as both the catcher defending the plate and the player heading for home know of the prevailing dangers .

Collisions within baseball are part of the game just as much as fighting has become a part of an NHL . From my own perspective it would simply make no sense in changing the rules to supposedly make the game safe for its participants . What might need to be done is the for officials in such instances prior to the game to advise both coaching staffs that there is a need for their players to be aware that no unsportsmanlike conduct will be tolerated on the field . Safety has to be a priority which of course the players and managers are obviously aware of but with hindsight there becomes the issue if what we know to be right from wrong . The collision between Cousins and Posey wasn’t a premeditated act as both players were simply doing what would be normally asked of them . It goes without saying however that the game’s hierarchy may well now begin to monitor such instances to see if there is a flagrant act on the path of a player when such an instance arises between the catcher and an opponent at home plate.

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

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Frank McCourt the beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers who could be close to losing control of the team either through its forced sale by the courts or from an unsolicited bid by a group of investors. courtesy of LA Dodgers . …

(2) Jamie McCourt arrives with her attorney, Dennis Wasser for a non-jury divorce trial at Los Angeles County Court August 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The trial, being presided over by Judge Scott M. Gordon in California Superior Court, is to decide whether Frank McCourt is the sole owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team or his estranged wife and former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt still has ownership stake in the team. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America ….

(3) Hall of Fame player Ernie Banks (left) is seen here with Carlos Santa (center) and Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia which commemorated the annual Civil Rights’ Game . The rocker would give a passionate but totally unwarranted speech that in part denigrated the state of Georgia with his insipid remarks calling the state and its occupants racists . AP Photo/ Chris Myles …

(4) Brian Sabean, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the San Francisco Giants, watches batting practice before Game Three of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs between the Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

(5) Catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, the National League?s rookie of the year in 2010, suffered a leg fracture and torn ligaments when Florida’s Scott Cousins barreled into him at home plate in the 12th inning of the Marlins-Giants game May 25, 2011. Courtesy of ABC News ……

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NB : It is being reported that former MLB players Orel Hershiser and Steve Carlton have formed to a consortium in conjunction with billionaire Ron Burkle to make a formal offer to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers should the league see fit to put the organization up for sale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………

Picture and slide show details .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Weekend In Sports And Other Select Observations …………

The Weekend In Sports ……… And Others Select Observations ………

Well the NBA season is all but over with merely two games left to played on the schedule for most teams . The Los Angeles Lakers are limping into the postseason as reigning champions having lost 5 straight and in reality this is a team that is in complete disarray . Anyone who believes different simply ought to look at the box-score in their lopsided ( 120-106 ) loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder .

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If the Lakers are to fare well in the postseason then the team will have to be on the same page of their coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff led by Jim Cleamons and Brian Shaw . I know that the team’s perennial All Star Kobe Bryant has come out openly and stated that he’d like to see Shaw succeed Jackson as coach of the team should he indeed retire at the culmination of the postseason. But I’m not so sure that that’d still be the case should the Lakers bow out early in the postseason , which given their performance against the Thunder is a distinct possibility . But then again it’s remiss to merely to take one game as a gauge for a team’s overall strengths and weakness. But as I mentioned earlier the Lakers have lost straight games and at no time were you under the impression that they were ever in with a chance of winning anyone of those games. But for the play of Kobe Bryant , Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom coming off the bench I’d say that one could describe the Lakers season as something of a failure when adjudged by their own lofty standards.

With that being said I’m not yet prepared to count the Los Angeles Lakers as being down and out , not while they’ve still Phil Jackson in their corner as coach ! Should he and the Lakers make a successful defense of their title then to my mind this would be his most impressive victory over the course of his storied career. I mean who else within the annals of the game has achieved his success while at the same having been denigrated by many because he was only able to coach superstars as we’ve so often been told ? These last two Finals triumphs are a testament that he can not only coach a team that plays a team but and are also willing to defer as and when needed . If the Lakers can regain their resolve then I would still favor them to come out of the Western Conference and that is with due respect to my beloved San Antonio Spurs the team with the best record in the conference and the NBA as a whole .

Sunday’s results if anything painted a clear picture as to where a number of teams now stand . Suffice to say teams seated on the bottom rung of the conference ladders , such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors can now begin to mull over their draft decision as to whether or not they ought to take Kemba Walker as the consensus overall number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft . But oh wait we have to wait for Commissioner David Stern pick that little ball out of that revolving drum to assure us who’ll have the privilege of having that first pick.

I’ve got to admit I’ve read some idiocy in my time going around this medium but never have I read something without so much insight than a contributor’s claim that Rory McIlroy is a wasted talent merely because his final round in The Masters imploded . I suppose when you’re still young naive and have about insight on the world of golf and you do little research before writing a piece you’re entitled to come up with such absurd notions ? But then again I for one simply don’t succumb to such a notion because I feel if you’re going to make any sort of a claim then you ought to have the disposition to show both sides of the argument . If that’s the case then this particular observer has about knowledge of the game as Hall of Famer Johnny Miller whose own absurd notion that the Europeans simply aren’t capable of winning a Grand Slam title . Has Miller not simply noticed the most recent results in the Grand Slam Majors over the course of the last eighteen months , much less the fact that the US had its ass handed it by the Europeans in the Ryder Cup in 2010 ?

This tournament was as such merely heightened by the fact there was a Tiger Woods’ sighting and that he made a spirited attempt at winning the tournament which in the end would be in vain. However, the former world number one ranked golfer would end up tying for third in the first Major of the season . The eventual winner would Charl Schwartzel a staple on the European Tour and who after this win will rise up the world rankings from his present position of #11 to inside the top ten perhaps as high as number 5 . As to the contributor who should remain nameless I can only hope that he aspires to be productive in his chosen career because with regard to even have minuscule knowledge of the sport of golf even with the amount of information that there is to be gleaned this individual has merely shown that he’s completely out of his depth .

OK so what else can be said after the abrupt retirement of Manny Ramirez from the Tampa Rays’ organization ? Having tested positive for a second consecutive time for a banned substance and knowing that he’d have to face a mandatory 100 game suspension the slugger chose to retire instead. What to my mind is even more asinine is the very fact that a spokesman for the Rays’ front office states that they were completely taken aback by this and the fact that the player tested positive for a banned substance, albeit that this took place during the Rays’ Spring Training Schedule . Am I missing something here but is the coaching staff as well as the Rays’ ownership group led by senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman that dumb , stupid and naive ? Never mind the fact that the league hierarchy had to have made the Rays’ front office fully aware of the test results prior to it being made public .

In the wake of this all Ramirez says he’s happy with his legacy . I’d say he’s happy alright because he’ll simply be looked at as a cheat , albeit , that his career as such would suggest otherwise having won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox . In the aftermath of this all the Tampa Bay Rays are left to pick up the pieces as one part of their experiment has come to a quick and unsatisfactory end . I’ve got to feel sorry for some of those Rays’ fans who’d hoped that the Rays would prove to be competitive and wherein Tropicana Field would be an enjoyable place to be. There’s now more of a chance to see a UFO sighting at the Rays’ home venue than this team seeking to be competitive at this juncture .

Unfortunately for the Rays their season started off inauspiciously having lost their first two series before eking out a much needed win (9-7) against the Chicago White Sox . The team however finds itself languishing at the bottom of the always ultra competitive AL East
and that 1-8 record simply doesn’t look at all look that enviable even if we’ve yet to exit the first month of the regular season . And the team’s efforts won’t at all be now helped with their best player Evan Longoria now being on the disabled list (DL) for what we’re told could be as long as three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle .

Can things now get much worse for the Rays ? Yes it can as they now have to face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a three game series where I fully expect the Red Sox’s offense will be looking to tee off on the Rays’ somewhat average pitching rotation . At the same time the Red Sox’s own pitching staff has been very susceptible this season . So it could be that the fans in attendance over the course of the next three days are liable to be thoroughly entertained .

So Football Spring Football has started and teams at the D1 level will be looking to get themselves ready for the upcoming season. From my own perspective given what took place over last season and the never ending controversy of teams , players and coaches contravening rules , I merely look at this upcoming season of one that’s about to be littered with controversy once again. I mean it’s not as if the NCAA in its sanctified much less than exalted position can do a damn thing to begin with ! I mean where have they been in the aftermath of the latest allegations concerning Auburn and the fact that several players on their teams from 2004-07 were recruited , induced through monetary gain, through having sex on campus with female co-eds as well as strippers ? And who can forget the debacle of Ohio State and in particular the actions of Buckeys’ football coach Jim Tressel ? Needless to say that Buckeye and Tigers’ fans will try and reassure us that this is merely regrettable and that they’re not the only ones doing this . And while I’m inclined to agree at the same time I’ll state this ………… it’s against the fu_king rules so why go down that route to begin with ?

In the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where they can boast national champions consecutively for the last six years . One can simply understand the reason why the SEC is deemed to be the powerhouse it is at the collegiate level in terms of BCS national title aspirations.

I read with a great deal of interest where South Carolina Gamecocks’ quarterback Stephen Garcia has one again ran afoul of his coaching staff as well as the school as a whole . To understand the problems of Garcia you simply have to know this , he simply attracts trouble like flies tend to hover around fecal matter because of the aroma and because they can feast off whatever there tends to be in the vicinity. With Garcia it’s no different !

The fact that he’s merely been suspended indefinitely , at first that wasn’t the case , though it has to be said at it still creates the impression that Steve Spurrier still believes that the player has something to offer the team . Whatever it is , I wouldn’t consider it to be his football talent or acumen in spite of how impressive his stats may well be. Why have a malcontent and disruptive influence on the team which usually in the long run leads to even more problems ? As has been the case here with Stephen Garcia , his never ending transgression of team rules and having ran afoul of the law enforcement on repeated occasions .

Courtesy of USA Today

Another suspension for South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia

By Erick Smith , USA Today

The future of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is in doubt after the rising senior was suspended from the team indefinitely.

It’s the fifth time in Garcia’s career he has been suspended and the second time this spring. The school did not specify the reason for the decision. The Gamecocks play their annual spring game on Saturday.

“We have expectations for our student-athletes and we make them aware that there are consequences for their actions,” athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement released by the school. “Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes.”

The loss of Garcia, who threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 starts, would be a blow to South Carolina, which won the SEC East for the first time in 2010. He was expected to lead an offense that also features running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

That responsibility would likely fall to rising sophomore Connor Shaw, who was Garcia’s backup last fall.

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Click on link shown to read this article in its entirety .

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And with regard to the Gamecocks competing this upcoming season within the SEC I’m liable to think that they’ll struggle but at the same time eke out the wins they’re expected over the course of their regular season schedule . In place of Garcia , Spurrier will have at his disposal qb’s Dylan Thompson , Andrew Clifford , Connor Shaw and Seth Strickland . I’ve no doubt that the coach and his coaching staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each of the likely candidates before coming to a decision as to who’ll be the like starter in the Gamecocks’ first game of the season against East Carolina on the 3rd September , 2011. Garcia on the other hand will now have time reassess his future and determine whether or not it lies within being a student athlete or simply a thug , because of now he’s simply been a disappointment to those around him who expected a great deal more of him as a player as well a leader and human being .

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Picture galley for your perusal .

What sporting events or news if any over the past weekend piqued your interest and what if anything are you hoping to see during the NBA playoffs and the month of April as it relates to the baseball season ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers defends James Harden (13)3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 Getty Images / Jeff Gross …….

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks draws up a play for his team during a timeout in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 . Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ……

(3) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers argues a foul call in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images …..

(4) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder rebounds a ball over Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images ………

(5) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann , right, adjusts his cap as he listens to catcher Kelly Shoppach during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo /Nam Y Yuh ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) tags out Chicago White Sox’s Juan Pierre during the second inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(7) The Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon shakes hands with Manny Ramirez (24) of the Tampa Bay Rays as Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ramirez announced his retirement over the weekend rather than face a league mandated 100 game suspension having tested positive for a illicit banned substance for the second consecutive time over the course of his career. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……….

(8) Charl Schwartzel of South Africa celebrates his two-stroke victory with his wife Rosalind behind the 18th green during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP Photo/Getty Images/ Robyn Beck …..

(9) Last year’s champion Phil Mickelson (left) puts the Green Jacket on Charl Schwartzel from South Africa after Schwartzel wins the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.
AFP Photo/ Getty Images /Robyn Beck …….

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the 18th hole green after finishing the final round with a final score of four under par at the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK

(11) South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) looks for receivers during South Carolina’s Garnet and Black spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 9, 2011, in Columbia, S.C. AP Photo/The State, Tracy Glantz ………..

(12) In this Dec. 29, 2010, file photo, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia throws a pass during practice for the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State in Atlanta. Garcia has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. Athletic Director Eric Hyman announced the suspension Wednesday, (6th April) but did not give a reason. AP Photo/David Goldman …….

(13) Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks walks to congratulate quarterback Stephen Garcia (5) for his passing touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin Cox …….

(14) Coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks lines up with players after play against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Getty Images/ Al Messerschmidt …….

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😛

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R Kelly ………………… “Ignition”

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