Mixed signals , smoke signals and all other type of idiotic signals … name it and you will genuinely find it in the world of sports

Mixed signals , smoke signals and all other type of idiotic signals … name it and you will genuinely find it in the world of sports


With just the Superbowl itself remaining to culminate the schedule , it has to be said that the NFL season could not have been more underscored , than with the utter failure of the league hierarchy to get done a piece of legislation that the NFL itself, stated would be in place . Roger Goodell has been , and remains the laughing-stock of the sport’s world with his lack of intelligence , intransigence and complete lack in fully understanding, the rule of law . What might be more apparent ,is his unwillingness to admit failure or to own up when he has purposefully sought to mislead the fans of the NFL .


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Slideshow .

Having agreed in principle to mandatory testing for HGH (human growth hormone) , both the league hierarchy and union , have placed this issue once again on the back-burner . In doing so , this simply suggests that the NFL does not care one iota about the widespread use of human growth hormones within football. Goodell tends to and for the vast majority of the time , he will indeed speak out of both sides of his mouth , and if his ass could speak , he would also have that orifice uttering words . I have never been , a great admirer of the NFL Commissioner ! Three year, s in the making and now countless promises broken , not that the dumb assholes who reside on the congressional Oversight & Government Reform Committee . And those morons have in essence become a sounding block for any half assed idea that has been placed within their midst .

One of the more annoying things about the NFL postseason , has been this constant belief that the NFL Pro Bowl game , has any merit to be on the schedule, in whatever form it might take . The games, are no longer noteworthy or competitive for that matter . And the fact that players merely see this as a chance of a paid excursion without having to really work at their craft , albeit that they will be financially rewarded for a meaningless event , only adds insult to injury for the fans , simply stupid enough to attend the event in Honolulu , Hawaii . Sunday’s event once again, was an absolute eyesore for those in attendance , and for the “ countless millions” watching the televised event at home . Suffice to say , what once was a privilege for the players has now become an unadulterated sham , perpetrated on the hard-working devotees of the NFL !

Far be it for me to suggest , but if the intent by the NFL hierarchy , was for Gregg Williams to be banished from football , after he and Saints’ head coach Sean Payton devised the now “ infamous” New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal . Then how is it, that the disgraced former defensive coordinator is now on the verge of making a tumultuous return. to the league , as the head coach’s assistant to Tennessee Titans’ head coach , Mike Munchak ? And Munchak for his part along with GM Ruston Webster, seem intent to bring in the defensive coordinator to bolster a defensive corps , that was amongst the worst performing units in the AFC as well as the entire NFL , as a whole .

The Titans’ woes this season , were well chronicled , and I seriously doubt that Williams’ acquisition alongside any decision made by the front office will have an advantageous effect on the morale of this staff ! The NFL has become a “paper tiger” during Roger Goodell’s tenure , wherein the league’s bark has to viewed as far more comedic as than its presumed bite . I am not about to suggest that Gregg Williams would seek to bring the Titans’ franchise into disrepute , but to my mind , what was meant to be a banishment from the NFL , has turned out to be nothing “ more than a slap on the wrist” for an individual who willfully sought to endanger an opponent for financial and competitive gain, while not eschewing sportsmanship .

Things , I feel could not get any worse for the Boston Celtics after the departure of Ray Allen to join the reigning world champions , the Miami Heat. Allen’s abrupt move , was seen as an act of betrayal by Celtics’ captain , Kevin Garnett , with the animus between the two future Hall of Famers , having now reached a boiling point . In a highly entertaining game played at the TD Banknorth Gardens , in Boston Massachusetts , Garnett , and his teammates came away with an impressive two-point victory over the star laden , and now some might say inconsistent Heat , who were led by their “Big Three” of LeBron James , Dywane Wade , Chris Bosh , and a coterie of bench-warmers and seasoned veterans .

The Boston Celtics have announced that their All Star , point guard , Rajon Rondo has been lost to the franchise for the remainder of the season. Rondo is amongst the most productive point guards in the league , and has been so over the past three seasons . Now one could roll off the names of players such as Chris Paul , Tony Parker, Deron Williams and Steve Nash , but to my mind none of the aforementioned players have been as productive , or who can simply change the momentum of a game , in the way that we have seen exhibited by the Celtics’ point guard. The player suffered a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) , an injury not too dissimilar , to the knee injury suffered by Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson. And as we know , the Peterson was able to make a successful return, after an eight month layoff , leading all rushers in the NFL in 2012, falling short by a mere eight yards , of breaking the single season rushing record held by Eric Dickerson .

It is imperative that GM Danny Ainge , having been in consultation with head coach Doc Rivers and team owner , managing partner Wyc Grousbeck , come to a swift decision , as to whether or not they seek to obtain a free agent point guard , who can best meet the team’s needs . The options for the Rivers are somewhat thin , as beyond seasoned veteran, Jason Terry , there is just Leandro Barbosa , Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee, albeit that Kevin Garnett , could be used as a stop-gap mainstay , but that could prove to be counter-productive for the team.

Doc Rivers for the moment will now have to go with a point guard by commission , until a decision is made by Ainge , as to whether or not the trigger will be made on a potential trade . At 21-23 , the Boston Celtics currently sit in third place within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . Yet is the team’s standing within the conference , that would very well predicate, how their season is determined . Lying in the eighth and final spot , they find themselves 2 ½ games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers (18-25) and 3 ½ games behind the Milwaukee Bucks (23-19) who currently sit in the seventh position within the Eastern Conference. Next up for the team , will be a game against the laboring Sacramento Kings on Wednesday , 30th January , 2013. The Kings currently lead the season series 1-0, having won the first game of their season series’ meetings 118-96 , when the two teams met in late December , 2012 . In the franchises’ head to head meetings , the Celtics lead the Kings 175-113 in regular season match-ups, with the two teams having only met seventeen times during the playoffs , again with the Boston Celtics holding a slight 11-6 lead over their Western Conference rivals . So for the moment , we can only wait to see what will now materialize for Doc Rivers’ players , as they seek to make some sense of their season .

I don’t know that there is much more else that needs to be said at this juncture as it relates to the news that Alex Rodriguez , could quite possibly be lost to the New York Yankees , for the entire 2013 regular season . Certainly, we know that with the player having to undergo , some much-needed surgery to his right hip, he will miss the team’s entire Spring Training schedule . Recuperation and rehabilitation , from such a medical procedure , normally takes anywhere between eight to fourteen months from the outset , dependent upon the level of the surgical procedure to be undertaken . That being said , who amongst you is at all surprised that Rodriguez’s body is now breaking down on him , after all these years of wanton use of steroids ? The veracity of the player’s claims cannot be entirely believed , when one bears in mind , his statement , that he only used PED’s ( performance enhancing drugs) as nothing more than a minor experiment , for a period of eighteen months , prior to and after joining the Yankees , that saw him being traded from the Texas Rangers to the Bronx Bombers in February of 2004 .

Alex Rodriguez’s subsequent admission of guilt in a thoroughly orchestrated mess engineered by the Yankees’ organization , has clearly indicated that baseball’s hierarchy and team owners do not yet have a handle on the widespread use of illicit substances , that were and are still being used by the game’s big league players , as well as the near widespread use in the minors (MILB). Rodriguez’s web of deceit and deceit , essentially started off with his spiel to former CBS news’ anchor Katie Couric , in an interview that had as much dramatic depth and journalistic integrity to it , than an interview being conducted between Pinocchio and Torquemada of the Spanish Inquisition . Gut wrenching and completely unbelievable , as the player, was far from convincing with his web of deceit and lies, which were further enhanced by many of the rather idiotic questions asked by Katie Couric , herself . And there were idiots who sought to suggest that Lance Armstrong showed contrition with his admission of guilt on a staged environment sought to elicit emotions ? Are these fools, that naïve ? I guess that they are ! Ah , well , it’s in-bred apathy ! It should be noted that in light of Rodriguez’s admission , his name would once again come up in the subsequent indictment and trial of now incarcerated Orlando medical professional , Dr Anthony Galea . Now in another turn of events the player’s name has once again been linked to another BALCO like “scandal” , that could have some serious reverberations around the league as well as damaging the Yankees’ alleged ” pristine image ” .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Alex Rodriguez the biggest name in a new PED report that could grow into BALCO-like scandal

By Jeff Passan , Yahoo Sports

A man in south Florida supplied performance-enhancing drugs to more than half a dozen major league players, including Alex Rodriguez, according to a Miami New Times report that officials at Major League Baseball believe will grow into a doping scandal that could rival the BALCO case that tarnished Barry Bonds.

Alex Rodriguez is once again at the center of a possible PED scandal. The newspaper reported Tuesday morning that Anthony Bosch, a self-styled biochemist seen frequently in Latin American baseball circles, distributed large amounts of human growth hormone, synthetic testosterone and other cocktails of PEDs to players who previously had not been linked, such as Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz.

Some of the players could be subject to a 50-game suspension for a violation of the league’s PED policy, a league official told Yahoo! Sports. Three of Bosch’s alleged clients – outfielder Melky Cabrera, pitcher Bartolo Colon and catcher Yasmani Grandal – already have been caught and suspended by the league.

Following a relatively quiet period, PED busts spiked in baseball last season. From Ryan Braun’s positive test for testosterone – which got overturned because of alleged mishandling of evidence – to the suspensions of Cabrera, Colon, Grandal, Freddy Galvis, Marlon Byrd, Guillermo Mota and Carlos Ruiz, baseball is facing a renaissance of use, one it believes centered in south Florida.


Click on link to read this article in full.


Rodriguez’s production in 2012 was somewhat anemic for the third baseman , and his postseason foray spoke volumes as to why the team failed so miserably in the MLB playoffs . Anemic play all round and very fact that, Joe Girardi and his staff were simply out-managed , spelled doom and gloom for the New York Yankees. The franchise’s problems in the postseason did not simply start and finish with the team’s woefully inept offense but team’s pitching during the regular and postseason left a great deal to be desired .

The Yankees have sought to bolster their roster and the during off-season , as they made some moves , seeking to prepare themselves for the upcoming season . I firmly believe that first two months of the New York Yankees’ schedule will tell us a great deal about this team and how they might possibly fare ! Undoubtedly, Derek Jeter will seek to lead by example , as he has often done throughout the course of his illustrious career.

Well the College Basketball season has started off with a bang and it has only gotten better over the ensuing weeks , and it has certainly live up to the hyperbole . The rankings have been turned upside down and on its ear , with a new number one ranked team , with Michigan (Wolverines) 19-1 , now succeeding Duke (Blue Devils) 17-2 atop of the polls, with the Blue Devils now dropping to number five in the polls. As an avid Duke Blue Devils’ fan to see the team go through two rather indifferent losses , both of which came at the hands of ACC rivals , North Carolina State and the Miami Hurricanes . Mike Krzyzewski , may not be overly concerned with his team’s plight at present , but I am sure his most pressing issue will be to get his players ready for the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament . Now while many may well seek the answers to numerous questions , as the reasons behind these two defeats to lesser opponents within the ACC . A succinct answer would be “ better to be subject of those losses , at this point of the season , rather than losing the games at a later date , as teams prepare themselves for March Madness” .

Duke’s next game will be against Wake Forest this Wednesday when the two teams meet . Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry are the two leading scorers on the Blue Devils’ roster. And it will be incumbent upon the duo to lead by example over the remainder of the team’s schedule.

As if to further solidify, how goddamn damn out of touch Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy tends to be , on all things as it relates to the economy of baseball . Having successfully come out of bankruptcy proceedings , the Los Angeles Dodgers under the new ownership group led by Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly , NBA great , Magic Johnson and Hollywood mogul , Peter Guber . Under the astute financial leadership of Mark Walter and Boehly , whose company Guggenheim Partners LLC , a world-renowned venture capital firm , with over $125 billion , in assets and a further $700 million under management. The financial aptitude that will be brought to the franchise , will no longer make it a bastion of ridicule and self-indulgence that it had become under the stewardship of former owner Frank McCourt , while the hierarchy and baseball team owners around baseball simply stood back , and literally allowed McCourt bring the ball-club to financial ruin. And yet fans , and these lame assed MLB tv pundits feel that the game is safe hands , while Selig and idiots such as Fred Wilpon , Saul Katz , Bob Nutting and David Glass remains within its midst. Either these idiots are self-medicating or they’re completely happy , in smelling the bullshit that baseball continues to sell the fans by way of Bud Selig’s edicts .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & Associated Press

Dodgers secure $7B TV rights deal with TW Cable

By RYAN NAKASHIMA and RONALD BLUM (Associated Press)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers formally announced a deal with Time Warner Cable on Monday to create a new TV channel that people familiar with the situation say assures the team more than $7 billion over 25 years. That is double what Major League Baseball thought the local TV rights were worth when the team was sold out of bankruptcy just last year.

The gap will be the subject of discussions going forward as the league attempts to haggle over how much of that extra money will go into a revenue-sharing pool to help out baseball’s lower-revenue franchises.

MLB calculates that 34 percent of a team’s local revenue, after subtracting costs, is available for redistribution throughout the league. When the Dodgers were mired in bankruptcy last year, the league agreed to value the potential TV rights of any future deal at $84 million the first year, rising 4 percent every year thereafter. Over 25 years, that estimated TV rights revenue of $3.5 billion.

The actual TV rights contract represents a huge mark-up from that initial forecast. It could be a boon to the league, depending on how much of that revenue its internal rules committee says is subject to sharing. The contract is also a big win for the owners, including Guggenheim Partners and Magic Johnson, who bought the team out of bankruptcy last year for $2 billion from Frank McCourt.

The broad strokes of the deal terms were confirmed by three people who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about them publicly.

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney wouldn’t comment on the deal, but said the league would need to approve it. ”We are still awaiting further information,” he said.

If approved, fans in the Los Angeles area and Hawaii would have to switch from watching Dodgers games on Fox Sports’ regional sports channel Prime Ticket after the 2013 season.

The high price tag also means monthly TV bills are likely headed upward – in the Los Angeles market and elsewhere.


Click on link to read in full.

Walter , Boehly and team President Stan Kasten have been able to negotiate what is now a record broadcast rights’ deal between a professional sports’ franchise and a broadcast outlet. In what was believed to be at the time, a television deal , that was initially worth $4 billion has now ballooned to a reputed $7 billion deal over two decades , that will net the Dodgers $350 million annually , more than enough, to meet their now ballooning payroll , with a surplus no doubt , that will allow GM Ned Colletti to pursue desired players , almost at will. However, after the league hierarchy partakes of disbursing monies to the other teams within the league , the Dodgers as the recipients of the deal have allowed the rights to their regular season games and postseason schedule in part to Time Warner Cable Incorporated , parent company of cable broadcast outlets TBS and TNT . And though the deal will need league approval , there is no denying who the greatest beneficiary of this all will be the Los Angeles Dodgers, who win out in such a magnanimous way , but small market teams will be merely offered breadcrumbs by way of this deal as it relates to the tax sharing revenue scheme .

While I do not begrudge the Dodgers their new-found wealth , what I do find somewhat asinine is the continued excuses being made by fans and team owners alike, who state they can ill afford to go out and spend money . First off , how about having a business plan, that sees a franchise with set goals ? It has been these sort of excuses that have been continually used by the likes of the Pittsburgh Pirates , whose mismanagement continues to this day under present owner , Bob Nutting . Likewise , this remains true of David Glass of the Kansas City Royals , and here within the Tampa Bay area , with lead managing partner , Stuart Sternberg and the Tampa Bay Rays . Sternberg, for his part has seen limited success in recent years with the franchise . And with the paring down of the team’s salary from last season ($64 million) to an approximate figure of $55 million for 2013 . In the midst of this all , has been the ownership group’s wish for a new venue , rather than continuing to play in what has become an archaic , and now broken down structure , known as Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida .

Bud Selig , for his part, has provided the Rays with about as much assistance in their endeavors for a new venue , as one could imagine a religious Islamic zealot offering the hand of friendship to a Jew . It would not be repulsive to suggest, that the commissioner would rather piss on the dying embers of the Rays , rather than witness the franchise continue to be an embarrassment within the game from his own opinion. Somehow , during Selig’s tenure, we have seen his and the hierarchy’s continued incompetence be ongoing and showing no signs of abatement . The contempt that he bears for the Rays’ organization and that of the local and state politicians in Florida , is in fact limitless . Yet somehow he has presided over the construction of three multimillion dollar facilities (Citi-Field, Yankees Stadium & Marlins’ Ballpark) in the last five years , two of which barely has an attendance level worth mentioning . Simply put , why spend tens of millions to build an edifice , when you can find a gullible politician willing to oblige, while they’re getting nothing of any real intrinsic value in return ?



Picture gallery .

What signals, do you believe that have sent out within sports of as of late , are to your mind , either misleading or simply asinine ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit, on this , and anything else you think pertinent to the subject matter .


Picture and slideshow details below .


(1) San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53) speaks during media day for the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game , Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, in New Orleans. AP Photo/Pat Semansky ….

(2) Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice , left, stands with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell during NFL football practice at the team’s training facility in Owings Mills, Md., Friday, Jan. 25, 2013. The Ravens are scheduled to face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 3. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …

(3) In a Sunday Sept. 26, 2010 photo Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams stands on the sidelines during an NFL football game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. The Titans have talked with suspended defensive coordinator Williams and are interested in hiring him, said a person familiar with the situation Sunday Jan. 27, 2013. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert …

(4) Seen here , are Titans’ general manager Ruston Webster , seated left, alongside the team’s head coach Mike Munchak at the 2012 NFL Draft . The organization’s draft was not an outright success as mirrored in their standings this past NFL season. It is now being widely reported that Webster has agreed in principle to hire Gregg Williams , former defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. Williams , after his acknowledged involvement and initiating the Saints’ bounty scandal. The former coordinator , had been suspended indefinitely by the NFL hierarchy , but would now appear that with his imminent reinstatement , he will be allowed to make a return to the NFL and continue in his duties as a coach within the league . If his interview is proved to be a success , which appears to be a formality at this juncture , Gregg Williams would become the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach , for a franchise that struggled greatly in terms of their defensive prowess in 2012. AP Photo/ Mark Walsh …

(5) Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) knocks Chicago Bulls guard Nate Robinson , left, out-of-the-way as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …

(6) FILE – In this Oct. 18, 2012 file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez prepares to hit in the sixth inning during Game 4 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park , in Detroit. Major League Baseball says it is “extremely disappointed” about a new report that says records from an anti-aging clinic in the Miami area link Rodriguez and other players to the purchase of performance-enhancing drugs. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(7) Duke’s Seth Curry (30) drives to the basket against Maryland’s Shaquille Cleare (44) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. AP Photo/Gerry Mahoney …

(8) Robert L. Patton, Jr ., Stan Kasten, Mark Walter, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Peter Guber and Todd Boehly (l-r) make up The Guggenheim Baseball Management Team who now own the Dodgers. The group held a press conference Wednesday at Dodger Stadium . Andy Holzman/Daily News Staff Photographer ….



Contact : tophatalsblog@gmail.com


Kendrick Lamarr ” Drank” (Swimming Pools)

Alexis Amore`

We’re Getting There …… !

We’re Getting There ….

Well the ALCS and NLCS are in full swing and baseball’s hierarchy looks for some resonance by way of the broadcast by TNT and TBS before the World Series is scheduled to be televised by Fox Sports . With the viewership down by some 25% from last years’s NLCS and some 43% from the ALCS of 2009 between the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees .


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Slide show for your perusal .

Now one could contend that with the current series having very little drama at present it would be easy to conclude that the quartet of teams now involved in the ALCS and NLCS not having a fervent fan following . Perhaps of the four teams in question the greatest following might be with the supporters of the St Louis Cardinals . With a long established history , success and well respected Hall of Famers it has to be said that it should not come as any great surprise the organization has such a following. The Cardinals skippered by manager Tony La Russa the team now finds itself in a very competitive series against their divisional rivals the Milwaukee Brewers . There’s a great deal at stake for both teams given the fact there seems to be a cloud of controversy hanging over both organizations concerning two of the game’s biggest names and their long term future. The common thread and thought concerning Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols is that should their respective teams fail to make the World Series , then in all likelihood they each will have played their last seasons with Brewers and Cardinals , respectively.

Currently tied at one game apiece (1-1) the series between the two NL teams will resume on Wednesday with the St Louis Cardinals hosting the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri , . Scheduled to start for the Cardinals is Yovani Gallardo with Chris Carpenter starting for the Cardinals . Both teams have proven to be competitive over the course of the postseason. And it is clear that Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke would like nothing better than his team taking two of the three games to played in front of a Cardinals’ fan base to take an overwhelming advantage in this best of seven game series .

Carpenter coming off a stellar performance against the Philadelphia Phillies on his way to leading the Cardinals to the NLCS in an exhilarating game five win. That loss seems to sent the Phillies organization into a tailspin of unimaginable proportions . GM Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel will to have to assess the needs of this team and make the necessary changes during the off-season if the team is to have any chance of success this upcoming season.

Now while I am not willing to make any pronouncements as to which of the two NLCS teams I favor in this series , I do feel that the advantage will come by way of the advantage will now come astuteness of the managers . That undoubted experience belongs with La Russa given his tenure within the game. And given the proclivity of the manager’s team and their tenacity there is a clear chance that Pujols , Matt Holliday , Rafael Furcal and Lance Berkman will be looking to give clear indication that this series is far from over and that the players on the St Louis Cardinals team will be looking to upstage their divisional rivals .

Big money teams with big ideas but that clearly wouldn’t be the case for describing the way that the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers . GM Dave Dombrowski and team owner Michael Ilitch who along with Jim Leyland assembled a team which if anything has proven to be one of the pleasant surprises of the season . The Detroit Tigers won the AL Central with a certain amount of ease then with a little more than breaking any sweat they also took care of the mighty New York Yankees in the ALDS .

The defeat left the Yankees reeling with there being excuses from the most unlikely of sources in team president Randy Levine . The executive not wanting to apportion the blame where it needs to be placed , has stated that the team simply will reassert itself and come back better than ever. Given the the poor displays from key members on this team it easy to understand why executives within the organization would seek not to be overly critical of some of the game’s highest paid players .

This off-season the New York Yankees will certainly have to reassess the team and if anything simply jettison the ” dead weight” on the roster . GM Brian Cashman and the coaching staff will painstakingly look to the free agency market rather than its farm system for the answers.

Ron Washington , Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers will have the benefit of knowing that last year’s postseason experience will stand them in good stead in their series against the Detroit Tigers . Though having lost to the San Francisco Giants in somewhat of an uneventful 2010 World Series , it has to be said that the team was more shell-shocked by their foray , rather than actually being overpowered by Bruce Bochy’s Giants’ team .

The Texas Rangers seem to be well on their way to making their way to a second consecutive World Series appearance having taken a 2-0 lead in their ALCS match-up. Game three at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan with Colby Lewis and Doug Fister taking the mound for the Rangers and Tigers, respectively.

If the Detroit Tigers are to have any chance resurrecting this series then we will have to see a great deal more consistency coming from Miguel Cabrebra , Ryan Raburn and their teammates . And though in reality I haven’t been completely drawn to any of the series from my own perspective is that with the draw of perhaps the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees the postseason becomes something of anathema to me . Try as Bud Selig and the team owners seek to prolong the postseason with an additional two teams per league to wildcard format , the real underlying issue is that the commissioner and general managers clearly do not understand this simply does nothing for the game other than to prolong the season itself. If Selig really had the business acumen as his supporters claim , then they would simply realize that what is needed is a fair an equitable way for the teams to share the revenues derived from their business operations , rather than it simply being everyman for himself and the survival of the fittest.

Though I won’t be taken aback by anything I am likely to witness over the remainder of the posteason , I do however feel that if the league hierarchy wants to induce more fan in response to year end finale . Then much of that will be dependent upon their scheduling of the games and a clear indication as to the needs of the fans. No amount of tinkering with the postseason format will change anything that Bud Selig desires to see within the game when he is simply to afraid to address the most acute of the issues that baseball now faces . Far too many of the purists in and outside of the prefer to give far too much credence as to his apparent insight rather than observing the inherent problems they currently face . His handling of the laughable situation concerning the Los Angeles Dodgers clearly shows that he and his conclave of buffoons are out of touch . If that were not bad enough , he has yet to offer up his own formal statement as to dire premise that the New York Mets and the ownership group now find themselves in . Beyond that , he has chosen to postpone the approval of the sale of the Houston Astros by current owner Drayton McClane to Houston businessman Jim Crane . Selig’s reason behind this all …… …. he is apparently unhappy with the prospective purchaser’s documentation concerning the the proposed bid ( $680 million ). Do bear in mind that the commissioner rushed through the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to now beleaguered owner Frank McCourt when the ball club was put up for sale by then owner Fox / News Corp International with there being very little if any due diligence was used by MLB. At the time it was common knowledge that McCourt had mounting financial and legal problems with several of his business partners who were seeking recourse through legal means. But yet somehow the league hierarchy and team owners somehow managed to approve that sale .

Courtesy of USA Today

Selig: No timetable for expanded postseason by 2012

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement have been very constructive, and he sees no reason to set a timetable for getting a deal done.

“I hope we’ll continue on that path,” Selig said of the positive talks Monday night before Game 2 of the NL Championship Series.

MLB’s agreement with the player’s union expires on Dec. 11.

Selig said the present discussions have been far different from labor battles in previous decades. The most recent labor peace began when the sides came to an agreement after the cancellation of the end of the 1994 season.

“The sport, I’ve often said, was stuck in neutral for 25 years. And that’s one of the reasons. It was brutal. It was really brutal. Every two or three years we went back to this,” Selig said. “The fans got tired of all that, got tired of hearing about it. And I don’t blame them. So, 16 years of labor peace has really, really helped us.”

Selig said he has told MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred and union head Michael Weiner not to set arbitrary time limits to try and finish a deal.


Click to read article in its entirety .


Crane has produced all of the viable documents and much needed added information as required but this may well be some sort of image and face saving exercise on the part of Bud Selig , which in part could prove to be his undoing. Jim Crane is now said to be thinking of withdrawing the his current offer of $680 million and completely walk away from the deal altogether in light of Bud Selig postponement of the vote seeking league approval. Whether or not the actual approved measure seems to be in doubt , given the fact the postseason is now in full swing and the commissioner not stating when and if there will be schedule set for league approval of the sale. Any further delays even if it now takes place in the off season is unlikely to sit well with either of the parties concerned. Current owner Drayton McClane seeks to divest himself of the team and that now leaves the front office , coaching staff and players with something of an uncertain future as to their immediacy. Why do I now get the impression that there seems to be no common sense being shown by the league hierarchy concerning this matter ? Oh I know it is because that body’s highest ranking executive is a damn moron and a fu_king as_hole !



Picture gallery for your perusal .

Of the quartet of teams now left in the postseason which duo would like to face off in the World Series ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning the now apparent stand-off that is now taking place between the league hierarchy and Jim Crane concerning his purchase of the Houston Astros ? Chime in with a comment and on anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal …………….





Picture & slide show details below

(1) St. Louis Cardinals’ Daniel Descalso, left, laughs with manager Tony La Russa during baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals are scheduled to play the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(2) St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter walks out to the field for baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in St. Louis. Carpenter is scheduled to start when the Cardinals play the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(3) Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 10, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Cardinals would go on to defeat the Brewers 12-3 .Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …..

(4) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals breaks his bat on a ground out in the top of the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 10, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

(5) Fans look at a weather radar on a phone as rain falls prior to Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers on October 12, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Michael Young (10) of the Texas Rangers catches a foul ball in Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(7) Jose Valverde (46) of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Rangers 5-2 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ……

(8) DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 11 : Colby Lewis (48) of the Texas Rangers stands on the mound as Victor Martinez (41) of the Detroit Tigers runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(9) Detroit Tigers’ Brandon Inge , right, hugs teammate Miguel Cabrera after their 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers in Game 3 of baseball’s American League championship series Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in Detroit. …….

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MLB postseason schedule ALCS & NLCS

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Milwaukee Brewers — ( Yovani Gallardo ) — @ St Louis Cardinals ( Chris Carpenter ) Busch Stadium St Louis , Missouri ,. 12th October 2011

MLB teams’ postseason stats pitching ERA

MLB teams’ postseason stats BA

MLB postseason player stats

Batting average

Pitching ERA

Individual stats by league :

AL ……. Batting avg . …… Pitching …. ERA

NL …… Batting avg . ….. Pitching …. ERA

Can’t Buy Me Love …………. And Money Can’t Buy You Happiness Either Especially In The World of Baseball ……….

Can’t Buy Me Love ……… And Money Can’t Buy You Happiness Either …. Especially In The World of Baseball

Well with the divisional rounds of the AL and NL divisional series now behind us the championship series are now set . In the AL the Texas Rangers will host the Detroit Tigers for the first two games in the best of seven games series format to decide the AL pennant and the representative for the World Series from that league. In the NL we have the Milwaukee Brewers hosting the St Louis Cardinals with the privilege of the pennant winner from that league taking on winners of the Rangers vs Tigers series.


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Slide show for your perusal .

Now while we were all enthralled by the final day finales within the league with both the St Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays garnering the wildcard berths for the postseason . It has to be said that in spite of the drama and excitement created by the improbable feats by both the Cardinals and Rays what has now happened in divisional series raises the bar to a new level. The Philadelphia Phillies , New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox has me wondering whether or not those who aspire to suggest that there is parity within the league , do they really believe that ?

The New York Yankees long considered the big money market team whose aspirations to spend big and win big has been the credo that they have simply lived by. The team with a $203 million payroll simply eschew largess and the type of opulence we are liable to see amongst the high rolling executives on Wall Street. In the ALDS the Yankees were up against a determined Detroit Tigers’ team with their ace in the hole with the starting pitcher Justin Verlander . In a series deciding game five hosted by the AL East champions at Yankees Stadium . The game in front of a soldout crowd was raucous and electric in terms of the excitement created .

In spite of the the team’s offense and the tremendous seasons had by Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira during the postseason the bats of the Yankees were bewilderingly silent . Alex Rodriguez the alleged big money player brought in by the organization presumably to be the face of the team once Derek Jeter steps down has been a clear sign of why Rodriguez is not the force that many presumably believe him to be. He may well rank up there amongst the all-time leaders in terms home run hitters . During the series against the Detroit Tigers the player’s demeanor and offense like the rest of the members of this Yankees’ roster was nowhere to be seen. I will continue to maintain that Alex Rodriguez does not know what it is to play on a team much less be a teammate who can lead by example !. He has yet to prove that and never will and that is even with the fact that he has a World Series ring to his credit.

New York Yankees’ team president Randy Levine and GM Brian Cashman are already circling the wagons and looking to create the facade that their failings were due to the fact that the Tigers were simply the better team . And in that respect they are right but who could have envisaged that during the postseason this New York Yankees’ team would put up such an anemic effort ? And beyond the ineptitude shown by the Yankees’ offense one has to admit that coming into this postseason you also knew this pitching roster of the Yankees simply would not be up to the task . The only saving grace for the New York Yankees may well be the fact that beyond CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova this pitching rotation may well need to be gutted and revamped altogether .

Money may well be of no object to the New York Yankees , given the fact that they have unending resource by way of the YES Network and the thought that they can use the team owned broadcast outlet to simply use as a tax write for any losses accumulated by the baseball operations. But herein lies the caveat to this whole charade , it is that the New York Yankees are not necessarily prudent spenders when it comes acquiring talent by way of the free agency market or via trades . Consider players such as Carl Pavano , Randy Johnson and Hideki Irabu who have simply come and gone producing little if anything that one might consider tangible for the organization. But somehow & Brian Cashman and the entire front office seem to feel that this credo is still the template for success. That scenario usually works when the talent performs at an optimum level but would anyone seriously consider the season produced by AJ Burnett is worth $16,500,000 ?

The Philadelphia Phillies prior to the start of the season were seen as the prohibitive favorites to win the NL pennant and World Series . A pitching roster that has a quintet of All Stars and wealth of experience with a Cy Young award winner amongst those five. Roy Halladay , Cliff Lee , Cole Hamels , Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt . As imposing as that pitching roster may well appear to be who could have envisaged that it would be the offense of the Phillies that would lay a goose egg in their divisional series against the St Louis Cardinals ? Another big money market team whose expenditure on team salaries for 2011 exceeded $167 million .

In what would turn out to be a game five series decider played at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia the Phillies hosted the NL Central wildcard winners. Taking the mound for the Cardinals was their ace Chris Carpenter . And the ace did not fail to deliver , pitching a three hit shutout for a complete game and perhaps one of the greatest pitching performances in St Louis Cardinals’ postseason history .

Philadelphia Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr along with manager Charlie Manuel , the entire coaching staff and the front office will have to reassess the roster to view what changes will have to made . if the Phillies are to have any semblance of success in the upcoming season. For a team that was said to be experienced with such seasoned veterans as Chase Utley , Raul Ibanez , Shane Victorino to add alongside the highly productive Ryan Howard and you now have to ask where was the leadership on this team in their time of need ? This was a team built for the long haul with a view to making a run for the World Series and it was clear that no expense would be spared .

For a team with a payroll of $167 million it is hard to understand how the Philadelphia Phillies could have failed so miserably . Built to win but barely lasting the course because of sheer ineptitude and a complete lack of brevitas shown by these high priced players.

In the space of ten days from the end of the regular season schedule to the divisional series we have seen a fallout of seismic proportions that I feel may well force the general managers around the baseball landscape to believe that spending ostentatiously simply brings about success . And even though the effects of ” Sabermetrics” during the nineties created the euphoria and was used effectively by Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics under the tutelage of Paul DePodesta . That was then , this now and in the present the reality is that the big money teams still hold sway . However , we can either choose to believe that within the game of baseball there is now parity within the sport or the fact that it is actually about the survival of the fittest. At the end of the day I believe it simply comes down to the will to win and not much more beyond that !



Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the events of the waning days of the regular season and the divisional rounds of the playoffs what to your mind has been the main premise behind the downfall of these big money market teams ? Of the four remaining teams within the LCS which do you feel has the best chance of winning the World Series ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and anything else you feel pertinent with regard to the subject matter.

Alan aka tophatal …………




Picture and slide show details .


(1) Texas Rangers’ Neftali Feliz reacts after striking out Detroit Tigers’ Ryan Raburn for the final out of Game 1 at baseball’s American League championship series Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. Texas won, 3-2 . Texas catcher Mike Napoli and home plate umpire Tim Welke are at rear. AP Photo/Eric Gay …

(2) The Texas Rangers celebrate their 3-2 win over the Detroit Tigers in Game One of the American League Championship Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 8, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ….

(3) New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, left, and Derek Jeter leave the field after the top of the ninth inning of the Yankees’ 3-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Game 5 of baseball’s American League division series Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(4) The Detroit Tigers run out from the dugout onto the field to celebrate with their teammates after they won 3-2 against the New York Yankees during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …….

(5) Rafael Soriano of the New York Yankees is presented his jersey and cap from (L-R) manager Joe Girardi, president Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman and COO Lonn Trost during a press conference 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 / Jim McIsaac ……

(6) Manager Charlie Manuel looks on as general manager Ruben Amaro Jr of the Philadelphia Phillies holds the ALCS trophy as they celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 to advance to the World Series in Game Five of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 21, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(7) St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Daniel Descalso, left, starting pitcher Chris Carpenter, second baseman Nick Punto, catcher Yadier Molina, and first baseman Albert Pujols, react after their 1-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in baseball’s Game 5 of the National League division series Friday, Oct. 7, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(8) Ryan Howard (6) of the Philadelphia Phillies stumbles as he runs out of the box on his ground out for the final out of the game as they lost 1-0 against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Five of the National League Divisional Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images …..


MLB news

MLB results 9th October 2011

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St Louis Cardinals —- @ —- Milwaukee Brewers ……. Miller Ball Park , Milwaukee , Wisc ,..


Detroit Tigers —- @ —- Texas Rangers …… Rangers Ballpark , Arlington , Tx,.

MLB probable starters for 9th October 2011

Boston Red Sox news

New York Yankees’ news

Philadelphia Phillies’ news

MLB teams’ postseason stats pitching ERA

MLB teams’ postseason stats hitting BA

MLB team salaries 2011

Boston Red Sox team salaries 2011 *

Detroit Tigers team salaries 2011

New York Yankees team salaries 2011 *

Philadelphia Phillies team salaries 2011 *

St Louis Cardinals team salaries 2011

Texas Rangers team salaries 2011

NB: * Denotes teams knocked out in the divisional rounds of the playoffs

2011 MLB free agents

2012 MLB free agents pitchers

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All Good Things Must Come To And End …. !

All Good Things Must Come To An End !

Well the ALCS series is now set as the New York Yankees failed to deliver in front of their home crowd at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx , New York City , NY. Far be it for me to suggest their opponents the Detroit Tigers were beaten by far the better team throughout the series , albeit , that it went to a deciding fifth game . Now there are bound to be excuses as always from the rather obnoxious and truculent New York Yankees’ fans as to their team’s demise . But at the end of the day it’s all about putting up or simply shutting the hell up !


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Slide show for your perusal .

Joe Girardi as the Yankees’ manager along with his coaching assistants and the front office led by GM Brian Cashman can now in the aftermath of the team’s latest failure assess what went wrong for the team in the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers . Clearly for the manager he has to be now weary of the fact that his pitching rotation is not of the quality one would expect of an organization seeking to be perennial contenders each season for the World Series . Beyond CC Sabathia , Ivan Nova and a now aging Mariano Rivera there is nothing to suggest that any other team within the league should really be fearful of .

In light of this latest adversity the New York Yankees as an organization will not stand on ceremony by placing themselves in the mix for any major free agent player during this off season. Money has never never been the problem and I am sure that although Hank and Hal Steinbrenner as the primary owners of the team will be prudent with regard to their spending. But it has been the simple acquisition of players over the years that have failed to live up to the perceived expectations that has at times led to the issues of failure within the New York Yankees’ organization.

As productive as the team has been over the course of the season with its offense you simply knew that when it came down to it , the ” Achilles Heel” for roster would be the lack of forceful pitching from this rotation . In comparison to the rest of the AL in terms of team ERA it does place the team in good standing but overall when adjudged against the league as a whole therein lies the problem for the organization. Now while there’s still unwavering support for the New York Yankees from their legions of fans nationwide there is also a great deal of resentment towards the team and the fact that they are able to buy their way to success .

The New York Yankees can take pride in the fact that Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher bore the brunt of the production in terms of the team’s offense but beyond that there was little if anything to really state that the team has all of prerequisite facets to be viewed as an all-round team. If ever there was an indicator as to how this organization should now be viewed then consider the very fact that the New York Yankees’ highest paid player in Alex Rodriguez will be viewed as the face of this franchise’s latest failure . Unproductive throughout the team’s postseason foray this was borne out in last night’s performances ( 3-2 loss ) at the plate __ the player remains just as conceited as ever ! Not much beyond that can be said beyond that !

In light of the Detroit Tigers’ triumph over the New York Yankees I would like to think that the team’s manager Jim Leyland and Dave Dombrowski are seen in a new light ! Prior to the start of the season there were calls for Tigers’ owner Michael Ilitch to fire both the manager and general manager . Crazy as it might now seem this just goes to show how short lived the memories of the fans can be as they are now lauding both Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland for this season’s accomplishments . Having won the AL Central with apparent ease they now make another appearance in the postseason seeking to add to the organization’s last AL pennant in 2006 and World Series feature . Their last appearance in the postseason finale was in 2006 which ended in a series loss the St Louis Cardinals . The organization has been waiting since 1984 , scene of their last triumph in the World Series .


New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez walks off after striking out to end the game as Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila heads for the mound and umpire Ted Barrettt looks on, after Game 5 of baseball’s American League division series Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Tigers won 3-2 to win the series. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

The Detroit Tigers’ roster is filled with several All Stars of which perhaps the most celebrated this season are Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander . But it would be remiss to suggest that this team evolves solely around the duo .

Dave Dombrowski as the primary architect of this roster has made sure that is well balanced with a mix of youth and experience . But it has been the managerial style and guile shown by Leyland and his coaching staff that has brought out the best in the team. And it has clearly reaped dividends for the team on both fronts in terms of their offense and pitching .


NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 06: A general view of Jose Valverde (46) of the Detroit Tigers as he celebrates after he struck out Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees for the final out of the Tigers 3-2 win during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images ……

Now all that awaits the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS is a mighty opponent in the Texas Rangers who are looking to make a successful defense of their AL pennant and return appearance to the World Series . And while Ron Washington’s Rangers’ team are not about to take their opponents lightly , I would like to think that this series will be a thoroughly entertaining one from start to finish ! Game one of the ALDS will be hosted by the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas this Saturday , with games three and four to be played at Comerica Park , in Detroit , Michigan before returning back to Texas for a game five , should there be the need for a fifth finale.

At this juncture while the conjecture and speculation will begin as to what the New York Yankees may well consider to do , in light of the team’s fall from grace , there’s no real indication that there is about to be any seismic changes within the organization . This off-season for the team should prove to be a tenuous one in part as the front office and coaching staff seeks to resolves many of the personnel issues that has brought about their demise .



Picture gallery for your perusal.

Were you at all surprised by the New York Yankees’ loss in the divisional rounds of this year’s postseason ? Placing yourself in the position as the team’s general manager what changes if any would you seek to make in order to improve the team ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts and anything else you deem to be pertinent concerning the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support and patronage of the site as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……….




Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Jorge Posada (20) of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout with his head down after he grounded out in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ….

(2) Justin Verlander (35) , Andy Dirks (12) and Jose Valverde (46) (R) of the Detroit Tigers celebrate after the Tigers won 3-2 against the New York Yankees during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images …..

(3) NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 06: Robinson Cano (24) of the New York Yankees walks out of the dugout dejected towards the clubhouse after they lost 3-2 against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images …….

(4) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez walks off after striking out to end the game as Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila heads for the mound and umpire Ted Barrettt looks on, after Game 5 of baseball’s American League division series Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Tigers won 3-2 to win the series. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(5) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez strikes out with the bases loaded as Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila and umpire Ted Barrett look on in the seventh inning during Game 5 of baseball’s American League division series Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Tigers won 3-2. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……

(6) NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 06: A general view of Jose Valverde (46) of the Detroit Tigers as he celebrates after he struck out Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees for the final out of the Tigers 3-2 win during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images ……


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Arizona Diamondbacks —- @ —– Milwaukee Brewers

St Louis Cardinals —– @ —– Philadelphia Phillies