Dimmer and dumber …….

Dimmer and dumber

Now we have it folks, the growing apathy of the North American sports` fan. Where , they are more concerned about player misconduct , cheating in various sports, than they are about the fact, that young military servicemen and women , being sent off to war , are returning home psychologically damaged , and being barely given any assistance at the state or federal level (VA – Veterans` Administration) upon their return. I forgot to point out, those not traumatically damaged, do end up coming home, in body bags. Now, is that not a shame ? When situations such as that come into play , it is either through apathy on the part of the fans or the fact that they just simply do not care . Patriotism, one minute , due apathy, the next . From my own standpoint, I believe it to be a great deal of both ! If you can suggest otherwise , then please feel free to do so succinctly .

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Major League Baseball(MLB) now finds itself at a crossroads for this season , as either Bud Selig now stands firm or he can choose to cave to the power of the players and their union (MLBPA) . I have never found baseball`s commissioner to be a highly intelligent individual to begin with! So any thought that he might now be on threshold of doing something simply amazing or unheard of, is simply nonsense . The fact of the matter is , Bud Selig marches to the beat of a drum that only he can hear . The fact that fans are now under the impression that he is finally getting something right. My question for them would be , point to at least three instances, where an edict by Bud Selig has actually been to the overall benefit of the game ?

The Biogenesis scandal actually broke , not because of an in-depth investigation by national daily paper , but from the sheer intense work done by a small municipal newspaper (Miami Times) based in South Florida. The fact that the national dailies and television media did not jump onto the story sooner , simply points to the fact that those particular interests are not always driven by the news itself , but simply , by profits alone . The more salacious and outrageous a story , the more likely it is, to become a part of the news` cycle and actually create the interest sought . I mean who really cares, that as many sixty-five baseball players (Bosch`s own figures) are in fact cheating, by using illicit substance to enhance their performances. Have we not heard this all before , and what was the final action taken by baseball`s hierarchy?

New York Yankees` third baseman Alex Rodriguez and his lawyers will now seek to fight and protect his already tarnished name , because the player feels that any prolonged suspension rendered by the league hierarchy will be unjust . Rodriguez maintains his innocence, in the allegations that he was supplied with illicit substances traced back to the company of Anthony Bosch , Biogenesis , which essentially has become the epicenter of the latest scandal that has now bedeviled and rocked the game of baseball .

Courtesy of USA Today

Nightengale: A-Rod’s early, ugly verdict in court of opinion

By Bob Nightengale, USA Today

CHICAGO – New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, speaking deliberately, and even emotionally at times, Monday called the past seven months a nightmare.

Judging by the reaction of the crowd that swarmed U.S. Cellular Field to see his first game of the season, Rodriguez’s nightmare is just beginning.

SUSPENDED: A-Rod and the dirty dozen

Rodriguez was vociferously booed by the fans when merely walking to home plate in his first plate appearance, and the boos remained incessant, growing even louder when he singled, with fans screaming and taunting him. It only worsened as the game continued.

“It was a hard day today, that’s for sure, a long day,” Rodriguez said. “It’s been crazy. …It was good for me to get the first one behind me.

“For me, personally, I just want to get back to playing baseball. I just hope there’s a happy ending somewhere in there.”

Such is life now for Rodriguez after being suspended earlier Monday for 211 games and then immediately appealing the largest penalty ever levied against a player for performance-enhancing drug use.

In all there were 13 players suspended in a day of sweeping and dramatic punishment meted out by Major League Baseball, eclipsing the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal for throwing the World Series as the most players suspended at once for off-field activities. Teams with World Series aspirations lost players for virtually the remainder of the season, including Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers and Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers who agreed to 50-game bans.

Yet, Rodriguez, the biggest star, with the biggest paycheck, who plays on the biggest stage, easily dwarfed the others.

Rodriguez, defiant to the end, is the only player who appealed his suspension. The decision is not expected to be rendered by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz until at least November, players union chief Michael Weiner says.

“I’m fighting for my life,” Rodriguez said. “I have to defend myself. If I don’t defend myself no one else will.”

The images of each of the suspended players will forever be tarnished, but no one will suffer more than Rodriguez, who like Lance Armstrong, Ryan Braun and many more before him appears set to deny accusations until all avenues are exhausted.

“I know what people are going to say,” Rodriguez told USA TODAY Sports in July. “They’re going to say, ‘This is a bad guy. This is an evil guy. He’s a prima donna. Look what he’s done.’

“Sometimes, you just want to say, ‘Uncle, already.'”

The boos and taunts were vicious at times during the game, with 3,200 tickets sold Monday to voice their opinion of Rodriguez, but he refused to listen, choosing instead to hear the cheers from the visiting Yankees’ fans.

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Arbitration in front of an impartial adjudicator is likely to bring about some of form of justice. Something, I believe may not be completely to everyone`s satisfaction . Rodriguez is unwilling to answer any questions concerning his possibly transgressing the league`s substance policy , as was clearly the case last night, when several questions were repeatedly posed by convened members of the press. Alex Rodriguez`s deflected responses , were , that this was not the time or place to be answering the questions concerning his use of an illicit substance . Once again , begging the question , if the player is still proclaiming his innocence , then why is he not willing to set the record straight by answering the questions posed ? Having already been caught in a lie, in his now infamous interview with former news` anchor Katie Couric on the CBS news` magazine program `Sixty Minutes`. I seriously doubt that Alex Rodriguez would once again subject himself to public ridicule by trying to plead his case by giving another bile inducing interview that simply served as to his continued dishonesty, lack of integrity , while seeking public empathy . Rodriguez says he has a great deal of respect for the game but is actions simply show that to be the complete opposite .

Personally , I believe that this Biogenesis` matter has been haphazardly handled by the league hierarchy and any belief that the US Justice Department headed by Barack Obama`s pet poodle , Eric Holder, that his agency would also being going after these players , having broken the law , now seems to be completely out of the question. Very much in the similar vein that Obama , himself , had promised that the agency would be going after many of the individuals who acted gregariously within the financial sector that caused an almost cataclysmic catastrophe within the financial sector , specifically the mortgage industry. To date, not one senior executive within that sector has been arraigned, indicted, or prosecuted on any major felony charge, coming out an investigation jointly by the Justice Department and FBI . In addition, here again , I do not expect the Justice Department to follow suit in going after an MLB player. Incompetency within Major League Baseball seems to be no different that we have now become accustomed to seeing within the Federal Government and most certainly by various agencies within the current administration of this sitting US President .

Rodriguez and his attorneys will seek place the emphasis on baseball going outside its parameters , while also seeking to state that they are not acting in accordance with the current collective bargaining agreement reached between the union (MLBPA) and MLB. A weak premise I believe , but certainly if used to their advantage, it could very well make Bud Selig and the hierarchy , come off looking like a bunch of buffoons . I certainly do believe that Alex Rodriguez would have been willing to accept a suspension similar in length to the one that sent Ryan Braun away for sixty-five games . Yet , herein lies the caveat and premise behind the league`s wish . They (MLB) failed to act back in 2010 , when the player first admitted his use of a banned substance . Furthermore, less than six months after his well-publicized admission, Alex Rodriguez`s name would then again be associated with steroids and the now jailed Orlando medical professional, Dr Anthony Galea . At that time, Rodriguez along with Tiger Woods and several other athletes, prominent within the NFL , NBA and baseball were mentioned in documents , in the possession of the US Justice Department, as having been treated by the aforementioned doctor . Woods willingly cooperated with law enforcement at the time , answering their questions without any fear of prosecution .

For Rodriguez , his stance remained that his name and association with Galea , was strictly professional and was nothing more than as a patient of the doctor. I rather at this juncture believe pigs are able to fly and that Paris Hilton does indeed have the intelligence to become a member of MENSA , than having to believe anything uttered out of the mouth of Alex Rodriguez, as it relates to his career and now dubious achievements !

Baseball`s season has been devalued any belief that the actions now being taken, will now bring back some sense of normalcy to the game , has to be viewed as being completely asinine.

On the field of play the New York Yankees have been woefully inept for much of the season . Injuries may well have played a part , but no more so than for other teams around the league . In the case of the Yankees however , their fans as always, believe that the team should be given pass , because of who they are and the very fact that as usual , the use of their vast resources , means that they are always in contention . Alex Rodriguez may well be back and now playing in the Minors , but if Alfonso Soriano can find a way to at least be productive . I certainly do believe that Joe Girardi at the insistence of GM Brian Cashman will have the team`s highest paid player remained benched, quite possibly for rest of the Yankees` regular season schedule . The testy relationship between the front office executive and the All Star player has been nowhere near as cordial as one believe Alex Rodriguez is trying to suggest . Yet , were it not for the stupidity shown by Cashman and the Steinbrenner family . At the insistence of Lonn A Trost , Chief Legal Counsel to the Yankees` franchise . This matter concerning Alex Rodriguez`s career with this ball-club could have been resolved long ago . When it first came to light of the player`s association with Biogenesis , Trost stated, that the organization, had it seen it to do so , they were in a position to void Rodriguez`s contract . The opposing view was taken by Brian Cashman and senior managing partner Hal Steinbrenner , with the player remaining a part of the playing staff , for now .

Having the best record in baseball does not necessarily mean that you are indeed the best team in the game . Alas , there are those who would suggest , because the Pittsburgh Pirates do appear to have that honor . Then they are to be lauded for that very fact and their play during that period and the resilience shown. Granted , the team has been fairly consistent for much of the season , seated atop or near the top of the NL Central , while facing a stiff challenge from the St Louis Cardinals . Yet to my mind, as of late , the best team has to be the Atlanta Braves , Boston Red Sox , closely followed by the always surprising Tampa Bay Rays .

The Pirates for their part will be looking to keep that momentum going and they are scheduled to face the Miami Marlins at PNC Park , in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , on Tuesday afternoon . A beleaguered Marlins` team that simply has nothing left to play for , but their pride and self-respect .

Atlanta as of late , has been on an extremely hot streak , having won their last ten consecutive games , the hottest current streak in either the AL or NL . The team`s play has been proven to be good enough to open up a 12 1/2 game lead in the NL East , the largest such divisional lead in the Majors at present . One can place that on being, the division has been extremely weak and the very fact that neither , the Philadelphia Phillies or Washington Nationals have really sought to challenge the Atlanta Braves over the course of this season .

The Braves will be the guests of the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark , in Washington , DC, on Monday afternoon . On the mound for Braves will be Mike Minor against the Nationals` ace Stephen Strasburg . This pitching match-up should prove to be one of the better games on the day`s schedule , between two of the National League`s best young pitchers .

I do not believe we will be able to see a concerted and sustainable effort from Clint Hurdle`s Pirates over the remainder of the season . If history tells us anything about this ball-club over the past decade and a half , it is that they easily disappoint , having always teased their fans into believing that they are able to make a concerted effort to make the post-season . Something that has not been achieved by the Pittsburgh Pirates in almost two decades and counting. Should the Pirates make it to their first post-season berth since 1992, it would eradicate one of the longest such streaks in baseball . Certainly, a wish that all of the ball-club`s fans would no doubt like to see come to fruition. The onus will now be placed squarely on the shoulders of Andrew McCutchen , Pedro Alvarez, Gerritt Cole , Russell Martin , Starling Marte , Francisco Liriano and Jason Grilli to pull this team through.

There is little to choose between the three worst teams in baseball, other than to say ` better luck next year ` . The Houston Astros (36-74) , Chicago White Sox (40-69) and the Miami Marlins (43-67) a , were all teams playing at a substandard level , which is clearly reflected in their records as of the 5th of August . For team owners , Jerry Reinsdorf , Jeffrey Loria and Jim Crane , this now becomes a matter of making decisions that could sweeping changes amongst team personnel and the managerial staffs , should tings now remain as they are at season`s end. For Bo Porter, Robin Ventura and Mike Redmond , this might a season that all three managers would simply rather forget . All three owners are self-made millionaires, each wealthy in their own right . Yet, along the way, they have made some major mistakes. I believe the biggest mistake of all , was actually made by Crane , himself, in bowing to the wishes of Bud Selig, by agreeing to change divisions for the Houston Astros ,

In moving from the NL Central to the AL West , simply placed the franchise a in far worst position than I believed anyone within the organization could have envisioned . However , the deal brokered by Selig in allowing Crane to purchase the franchise at a whopping $775 million price tag , when the league hierarchy , then added in a further $165 million to the franchise , to cover the cost of the relocation and to aid the ball-club for the next four years. These are the sort of deals that simply shows how out of touch with reality the game just happens to be , as it relates to its own financial prosperity . Frugality within some circles of the game, still remains taboo , while for some teams , the mere chance of being a recipient of almost $200 million would be like a gift from the Gods . Not that the luxury tax recipients do not see their good tidings as such, because without it, at least fifty percent of the teams would face a harsh and stark financial reality . The big market teams continue to prosper from a financial standpoint , while their much smaller counterparts are left to almost fight amongst themselves for the scraps left at the table .

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Picture and sideshow gallery details below .
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(1) An inured US soldier is given medical assistance by emergency personnel after an IED explodes causing the combatant to lose his lower leg . Hundreds of US military personnel have lost limbs or have been paralyzed or lost their lives to these improvised explosive devices during the length of both wars in Afghanistan and Iraq . Survivors having returned are usually treated at US governmental facilities , but far too often they become forgotten and tend to slip through the cracks of what has now , become an all too archaic and bureaucratic system > known > as the Veterans Administration (VA) . Yet that is in spite of a multi-billion dollar budget and what now appears to be an incompetent and uncaring governmental agency. Unfortunately , legislators within Congress far too often only pay these men and women lip service during an election cycle . AP/REUTERS/ Christian Patterson …

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Corpsman carry a wounded Marine to a Chinook 46, April 7, 2004, as the number of U.S. Marines killed in a five-hour house firefight in Ramadi on Tuesday . Such conflicts between coalition forces and the enemy does bring a a high toll on both sides of a battle and during war . David Swanson/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT

(3) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, right, talks during a news conference before the Yankees play the Chicago White Sox in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz , Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. AP Photo/Charles Cherney …

(4) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez gets a hit in his first at bat against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning in a baseball game at US Cellular Field in Chicago on Monday, Aug., 5, 2013. AP Photo/Charles Cherney …

(5) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, bottom center, signs autographs at U.S. Cellular Field before a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Chicago. Rodriguez was suspended through 2014 and All-Stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece Monday when Major League Baseball disciplined 13 players in a drug case, the most sweeping punishment since the Black Sox scandal nearly a century ago. AP Photo/Paul Beaty …

(6) From left to right are New Yankees’ team President Randy Levine , GM Brian Cashman , team manager Joe Girardi and Chief Legal Counsel Lonn A Trost. The four were gathered at the team’s stadium after the formal signing of reliever Rafael Soriano . Trost earlier in the season advised his fellow executives that the ball-club would be within their right to rescind the contract of Alex Rodriguez . However, Brian Cashman in conjunction with Hank and Hal Steinbrenner took an opposing view , with the player being retained by the franchise . AP Photo / Mike Gardner …

(7) Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) waves to fans after getting a 5-1 complete game win over the Colorado Rockies in a baseball game in Pittsburgh Sunday, Aug. 4, 2013. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …

(8) Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton (8) rounds the bases for a solo home run as Washington Nationals relief pitcher Tyler Clippard, second from right, walks around the mound during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Washington. The Braves won 3-2. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …

(9) Houston Astros` owner Jim Crane , left is seen here with the team`s general manager Jeff Luhnow . The Astros are on pace to finish with the worst record in baseball for the second consecutive season , but could avoid that fate if they are able to surpass both the Chicago White and Miami Marlins . Getty Images North America / Johnathan Prescott …
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Ten Questions For The MLB Commissioner ……………

Ten Questions For The MLB Commissioner ……………..

I have always maintained that Bud Selig merely serves only one master and that happens to be the MLB team owners rather than serving in the best interests of the game ! . In doing so he’s presided over the ” steroid era” , where he the league hierarchy , team owners and the MLBPA have simply chosen to look the other way until the government chose to intervene and force the league to clean up its damn act . Now with the financial instability of the teams around the league and his rather asinine tax sharing scheme little if anything has changed . But in large part we simply have the owners of many of the small market teams that this scheme was meant to have aided actually profiting from it all by pocketing those funds rather than bolstering the rosters of their respective teams.

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Inasmuch as the woes of the Los Angeles Dodgers are firmly being laid upon the shoulders of team owner Frank McCourt and certain board members within the front office much of this all could have been avoided had the league hierarchy used due diligence in allowing the sale of the team to McCourt in the first place. Having failed to acquire the Boston Red Sox when the league voted a resounding no ___ Frank McCourt would later return and be allowed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004 from Fox Inc and parent company News Corp . With a unanimous vote by the owners and league hierarchy would allow McCourt to become a part of their fraternity.

Courtesy of Fox Sports

Report: Dodgers seek to blame Selig

Attorneys for Dodgers owner Frank McCourt asked a judge Tuesday to order Major League Baseball to submit documents they claim will prove the league has treated the debt-ridden franchise more harshly than other teams.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the filing on behalf of the embattled owner, who filed for protection under Chapter 11, hopes to paint commissioner Bud Selig as someone who wanted the Dodgers to run out of money.

“Contrasting the treatment of the Dodgers to the velvet-glove treatment enjoyed by other teams with financial questions will help this court and the debtors to evaluate the full extent of MLB’s conflict and animus toward the Dodgers,” McCourt’s attorneys wrote in the filing.

The filing requested documents pertaining to the league’s handling of the New York Mets’ current financial woes, including the “contributions or loans from Bernard Madoff” and an explanation for “the commissioner’s decision not to appoint a monitor to oversee the club or conduct an investigation of the club.”

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The unfortunate thing here for the league was that there were already signs to show what Frank McCourt was really about as a businessman to begin with but somehow this was all overlooked by the league hierarchy and owners the second time around . The Dodgers’ owner had been involved in a number of business deals that fell through from lack of financing or where he and his partners at the time were either litigants in a case or defendants . I can’t help now but wonder how lucky the Red Sox fans and the actually ballclub are knowing that McCourt did not become the team’s owner ! Can you imagine what might have happened had he been allowed to run amok there as he now has done with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? Let’s just say that Fenway Park the team , NESN the cable broadcast outlet owned by the organization would have been plundered of its reserves by the now beleaguered owner .

With McCourt now having taken the Los Angeles Dodgers into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceedings it allows the organization time to reorganize itself financially knowing that the Federal Courts allows it ” a stay ” while they and their creditors seek an accord to resolve the team’s financial plight. Much of this could very well have been avoided were it not for the lackadaisical hands off approach taken by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy. The signs were already there for all to see but like a blind man in the dark without the aid of a walking stick the commissioner chose to ignore those facts as they laid themselves bare for all to see . Misappropriation of funds whereby McCourt used those monies for lavish expenses on numerous residences , automobiles and jewelry for his now ex wife Jamie McCourt . Never mind the fact that the ballclub was repeatedly used as collateral in several business deals all contravening and violating league rules . But somehow this all escaped Bud Selig’s notice ? I can’t help but wonder what it is that Bud Selig does during his down time ! Perhaps trying to bend over and lick his own ass or actually seeing if he can actually render himself unconscious by first smelling his own flatulence then inserting his head into his own rectum is how the commissioner may well choose to spend his time ?

For the life of me I can’t think of anything really positive that he has actually brought to the game since he began his tenure ! Oh , I know that there are a number of fans who’ll say that he brought us the wildcard system for baseball further elongating what already is an a long and arduous season . Now there’s even talk of league realignment because many feel that it will create a more balanced and competitive spirit within the game . What really needs to be done is for the game to rein its expenses and stop with the idiocy of offering up gargantuan contracts that are guaranteed over the course of their time . But that sort of progressive thinking doesn’t seem to be on the radar of the owners much less the league hierarchy or the general managers within the game. If anything they probably feel that the idea is rather redundant and would be of no benefit to the teams or the players . Purists always seems to talk about the legacy of the game from where it was to what it has now become . My question , what actual steps has baseball really taken wherein it still actually resonates with the fans as much as it may well have two or even four plus decades ago ?

The game has now become bereft of creativity from an executive standpoint and what heroes of the game over the last two decades will somehow will always be associated with an era of cheating and the use of PED’s (performance enhancing drugs ). Much of which has all happened under Bud Selig’s tenure and wherein there still remains a stench within the game when players such as Alex Rodriguez having admitted his use and then having given a less than contrite apology goes unpunished but still has his name cropping up repeatedly subject to a still ongoing federal investigation as to the illegal use and trafficking of steroids.

With Barry Bonds having been found guilty of felony perjury charges in his trial of which he now awaits sentencing we now have the commencement of the seven time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens and his trial within the Federal Court system. Clemens and his lawyer Rusty Hardin will do all that they can to paint the prosecution’s case as weak and without substance . And they may well be right , given the fact that the prosecution’s case rests with whether or not the jury will believe in the credibility of witness Brian McNamee . And given the witness’ demeanor during his subpoena testimony in front of Congress to the members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee I’m not so sure that all of what McNamee during his own testimony stated can be taken as fact . I know only a fool would seek to perjure themselves in front of a Federal body these things are known to have happen and will continue to happen even when those testifying are fully aware of the penalties involved . Meanwhile Clemens’ own veracity comes into play and the very fact that he saw fit to throw his wife and son under the bus on several occasions during his own testimony given to the committee up on Capitol Hill. One now simply must ask the question will this trial be actually about justice or simply another parade as to the complete stupidity of the Justice System and how it is that they have to act when game’s hierarchy actually refuses to do so .

Here are ten rather innocuous and simple questions I’d like to pose to Bud Selig in the hope that he’s liable to answer each with a great deal of honesty !

(1) Why did you undertake the position as commissioner to begin with even having served as interim commissioner for several years ?

(2) Would the league not have been better off had you chosen to step down and actually interviewed a list of applicants in terms of a successor to Faye Vincent ?

(3) At what point did it actually occur to you that something was awry in the game with the advent of the rumors surrounding the rampant and prolific use of steroids in baseball ?

(4) Did it never occur to speak with the owners and in particular former MLBPA Executive Director Donald Fehr about this all openly , with the public being made aware what was actually going on rather than being so damn secretive on this particular issue ?

(5) In allowing the union (MLBPA) so much power do you not feel that the league itself is now weak and merciless knowing that the union simply makes you cower like a child who’s afraid of the dark ?

(6) Given the fact that players have come out and made public apologies as to their use of illicit banned substances why no course of action on the part of the league or in fact by the team owners ?

(7) We know that you are still implicitly dead set against seeing Pete Rose be inducted into the Hall of Fame but should the player come and speak to you openly as to his actions, will you reinstate Rose thereby by making him eligible for the game’s biggest honor that it can bestow upon a player ?

(8) Will league realignment really help the game any when the real problems don’t actually relate to the competitiveness of the game but in large part it has to do with the overall financial imbalances that there are within the game amongst the teams ?

(9) Why after having refused Frank McCourt the opportunity to buy the Boston Red Sox would you allow that very same individual the opportunity to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers ? There was enough evidence to suggest that McCourt did have numerous problems in raising the financing to make that original bid never mind his legal issues at the time.

(10) In your honest opinion has the World Baseball Classic actually been a monumental success and also do you foresee in the future where the actual scheduling and the format of the event will change ?

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These are the ten questions that I would pose to Commissioner Bud Selig with regard to the state of the game and the issues that I have with his tenure ! What questions if any would you have posed to Selig and would like to see him answer succinctly ? Chime on in with a comment as you would deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) MLB Commissioner Bud Selig whose tenure as the game’s highest ranking official has led to a great deal of controversy . AP Photo / Richard Cross ……

(2) MLB commissioner Bud Selig at the memorial for Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew on May 26, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Harmon Killebrew passed away on May 17, 2011 after a battle with esophageal cancer. Hannah Foslien/ Getty Images North America ……

(3) Beleaguered Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt who took the team into Chapter I1 Bankruptcy Protection in order to reorganize the team’s solvency problems. The owner now is apportioning blame for the team’s woes squarely upon the shoulders of the MLB hierarchy whom he believes is treating the organization unfavorably. In this dispute McCourt’s lawyers have asked that the league to forwards any documents in their possession relating to their actions as it currently relates to the New York Mets and their situation. No word as of yet as to whether or not the league will acquiesce to the the lawyers’ wishes . A subpoena however from the presiding judge on behalf of the Dodgers could very well force the Bud Selig’s hand in this matter . AP Photo / Jeremy Marks …….

(4) New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez throws out Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Santana at first base in the sixth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, July 5, 2011, in Cleveland. AP Photo / Tony Dejak …..

(5) Roger Clemens arrived at Federal District Court in Washington on Wednesday, where he faces charges of making false statements to Congress about his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Courtesy of The New York Times / Doug Mills ……

(6) Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (R) and former Major League Baseball strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee testify about allegations of steroid use by professional ball players before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill February 13, 2008 in Washington, DC. The ‘Mitchell Report’ named several former and current major league baseball players, including Clemens, who are accused of using steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs. Chip Smodevilla / Getty Images North America ……..

(7) Pete Rose, at a book signing in 2004, was banished from baseball in 1989 for betting on games. Courtesy of The New York Times / Mark Lyons ……….

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Too Late To Apologize ………………

Too Late To Apologize ……

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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MLB News

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous And Beyond …….

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous And Beyond …………

Well it goes without saying that the coming week will bring us a great deal of news . First off the upcoming NFL Draft will begin this Thursday the 28th April being staged at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City , New York . The it factor as they say is that quarterbacks are at a premium and the furor over Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Blaine Gabbert and anyo other collegiate player playing the position , they’re considered to be prime pieces of real estate in a burgeoning market. Well friends , given the fact that commercial real estate and the whole real estate economy is now in the doldrums , when it comes to the quarterbacks that are on display here . I’m not so sure that any team opting to take a qb in the first dozen picks of the first round would be considered a prudent one .

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I’d say this the idiocy of not only carrying on with the draft but at the same there’s a league instigated lockout and is there a thought that the league hierarchy and owners are looking like more the buffoons we now believe them to be right from the outset ? Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith have become the NFL’s answer to that legendary comedic duo Laurel and Hardy with the intransigence that has been shown by between both , as presiding Judge Susan Nelson has mediated over this process . The two sides will not meet again publicly until early May , as Nelson has adjourned this process while she now assesses the presentations from both sides before rendering a binding arbitrary decision . I somehow get the feeling that verdict n will only be met cordially with any form of approval from the side that the verdict is rendered against .

The NFLPA having decertified itself to become a trade association in order to challenge the NFL’s antitrust status took a bold attempt with their decision and maneuver to go down this route . Goodell and the owners saw fit to try and paint the players and their union in a poor light and that effort seems to have failed in the eyes of the public . As to the decision rendered I hope that the two sides will have learned something from this all and that it prove fruitful in any further dealings between the two sides !

I understand that for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig finds that the postseason within baseball is the most exciting time of the calendar year within the game . But if the rumors are to be believed that the league hierarchy and owners are thinking about tinkering with the postseaon schedule by adding to wildcard system . Then I would have to say that the idea is something of an asinine one ! If adding teams to the system is what Selig seeks , then he will most certainly have to seek an agreement from MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner and the union . At the same time I would have thought that Selig , the league hierarchy , owners and the union have far more pressing issues such as , the financial stability and viability of a number of teams around the league . Is it not enough that Bud Selig has had to personally intervene by sending in an independent official to take over the day to day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers whose self absorbed owner Frank McCourt was well on the way to bankrupting the organization with his less than open business deals ?

If McCourt is of the opinion that borrowing some $30 million from the local Fox tv affiliate in order to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month of April when the season is barely one month old ___ alludes to the fact that the Dodgers isn’t an organization that is in serious financial trouble then it would suggest that he’s not the businessman he obviously thinks that he is . What I for one would like to know , is when Frank McCourt proposed buying the team from News Corp subsidiary Fox Inc in 2003 what sort of investigation had been conducted by the league hierarchy before agreeing to let the purchase go ahead ? Because had their investigations been absolutely thorough then the hierarchy would have found that McCourt had some serious concerns in light of certain business deals that had fallen through , and wherein certain business entities he’d been dealing with had sought legal recourse within the Federal Courts lodging several suits against the real estate tycoon . But I guess the color of money tends to cloud the judgment even of the most principled of people !

If the changes as proposed does come into being I can only assume that it’s being done in order to foster further interest from the fans of the teams who in large part were never really in with a chance of making the postseason to begin with . This maneuver merely creates an incentive and the illusion that somehow those teams are actually in with a chance. As to the proposal which haven’t yet been made public I would certainly like to know what major changes are about to take place , how and when should the approval be given ___ when will we sit it all come into being ?

Well the silly season has began as the NBA Playoffs creates the excitement we’ve all come to expect . Nonetheless it’s behind the scenes where I for one now find amusing ! . The Houston Rockets and their GM Daryl Morey have seen fit not to seek the return of coach Rick Adelman . But if anything the Rockets’ problems have been fomenting over the past two seasons . Having lost All Star center Yao Ming this past season to a recurring injury and the less than productive tenure of Tracy McGrady as part of the organization you can’t but question the mindset of Morey and that of team owner Leslie Alexander . At what point had it occurred to them that things simply hadn’t been working out with Adelman ?

Surely based on the play of the team not only this season but last season as well , the loss of Yao would play a significant part in how one would view the chances of the team succeeding . You simply can’t think that there’s an easy solution to replace Yao’s productivity and what he brings to a team as merely an aberration . But somehow I get the impression that Morey simply hadn’t planned for such a situation and neither had he taken the opportunity of bolstering the team’s roster in each of the last two seasons when the center was having his injury problems .

If the problems of Miami Dolphins’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall hasn’t been well chronicled enough as it has been already . This latest incident wherein his wife Michi Nogami-Marshall had been arrested and charged with attempted second degree assault in the stabbing of her husband in the abdomen . Though the injury isn’t said to be critical or life threatening , the player had to held overnight in a South Florida hospital . If that hasn’t been enough, given Marshall’s history both on and off the field as it relates to his temperament, that it has now come to this ? A question now has to be asked as to how the Dolphins’ management will view this situation. GM Jeff Ireland and team coach Tony Sparano will no doubt await the results of the police investigation before making any public statement but you can’t help but wonder what they might now be thinking given the team’s poor play and having underachieved last season . Another headache concerning a player whose candor and temperament that in no way represents the undoubted talents that the wide receiver is said to have . So what’s next for the Dolphins and Brandon Marshall at this juncture ?

Any form of violence resulting from any type of domestic abuse cannot be overlooked and here it appears that is the case between the two feuding individuals . Marshall’s wife states that she was protecting herself from an attack by her husband . The way that this now plays out with the law being what it is in within the state of Florida any incident stemming from domestic abuse wherein there’s an act of violence __ one , if not both parties can be placed under arrest dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the actual incident. Character issues come into play once again with the wide receiver but here one simply cannot view this as simply another isolated incident given the fact that while as a Broncos player the player had repeated run ins with local law enforcement there concerning accusations of domestic violence against a previous girlfriend . I view a situation such as this as an issue that the league hierarchy has failed to address concerning the players . Even more so the players’ own union the NFLPA hasn’t a policy in place , relating to giving assistance to their members concerning anger management issues . I understand that the nature of the game demands violence and a great deal of aggression but herein lies the caveat, away from the football these players at times are not able to curtail their aggression and temperament. So in the case of what at times may well be nothing more than innocuous argument can turn into something far more unsavory , as has been the case here between Marshal and his wife.

I’ve always been of the opinion the NFL and its fraternity as a whole would rather have that machismo image on display and anything that tends to blacken its image placed firmly in the background. We’ve had the idiocy of Ben Roethlisberger’s impromptu behavior and the player denying that he’d done nothing wrong in the alleged sexual assault of two women . The player having been given a league mandated initial four game suspension had to undergo treatment for sexual addiction and anger management issues. Having seen his character come under assault the player quietly revamped his image and led his team the Pittsburgh Steelers to a berth in the Superbowl where they end up losing to the Green Bay Packers . They say …….‘time heals all wounds’ but I’m not so sure this is a wound that can be healed as it relates to this incident as it relates to Brandon Marshall and his wife.

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Picture gallery .

In light of the topics raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have on these very same issues ? 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) Quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Missouri Tigers throws a pass during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona. The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.
Christian Petersen /Getty Images North America …..

(2) Blaine Gabbert looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Getty Images /Joe Robbins ……..

(3) Former Major League Baseball player Eddie Robinson (L) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (R) shakes hands while Major League Baseball Players Association Executive director Michael Weiner looks on prior to a news conference in New York, April 21, 2011. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced an agreement Thursday to make annual payments to players who retired before 1980 but did not have enough service time to qualify for a pension benefit via the MLB Players Benefit Plan. Reuters / Brendan McDermid ………….

(4)Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey . AP Photo/ Carl Breslin ….

(5) Rockets’ CEO & President Leslie Alexander . Both Alexander and GM Daryl Morey made the decision not to retain the services of Rick Adelman as coach of the team for next season . Getty Images / Mike Newell ….

(6) Brandon Marhsall seen here with his wife Michi Nogami-Marshall in a post wedding photograph from September 2010 . Courtesy of South Florida Sun Sentinel …….

(7) Rocky (L), the mascot of the Denver Nuggets interacts with Brandon Marshall (R), wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins and his then fiance Michi Nogami as they sit courtside as the Nuggets face the Dallas Mavericks during NBA action at the Pepsi Center on February 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Mavericks 121-120. Doug Pensinger /Getty Images ……

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NB: Although Judge Nelson has sided with the players rendering a verdict the NFL hierarchy and team owners have filed an appeal in the US Appellate Court requesting a stay of the verdict .

A-Rod An Image To Like Or Still A Creep ?

A-Rod An Image To Like Or Still A Creep ?

Despite all the accolades that Derek Jeter has reaped over the course of his career it has me wondering where as such that places Alex Rodriguez in terms of his career should be as we presume break the now existing all time home run record ? At present he’s the active leader in home runs and all signs point to the fact Rodriguez sees that as his redemption and the chance to prove himself worthy of consideration for the Hall of Fame . A three time winning league MVP and the heir apparent to Derek Jeter as the presumptive leader of the New York Yankees . I somehow think that the player with all of the controversy that has surrounded his career both on and off the field now has to prove he’s worthy of those claims ..

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Rodriguez for his part has said little in public to create any form of controversy in spite of the fact of the paparazzi surveying his every move as his relationship with actress Cameron Diaz seems to be taking on a life of its own . And as he and the team look to make their presence felt within the AL East and show everyone that they’re the team to beat when it’s all said and done. This team on paper is good but how good we’ll just have to wait and see as the course of the season unfolds .

On the face of it I still have my doubts about this team and the very fact that their pitching is still viewed as being suspect . Apart from CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes and closer Mariano Rivera you simply get the impression that the season could be a struggle for them . Within the AL East they still have to deal with their perennial rivals the Boston Red Sox a somewhat resurgent Baltimore Orioles , the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays .

Now we all know that the only thing matters to the Yankees’ organization is winning and their success is built upon that foundation of bringing AL pennants but in particular World Series titles to Yankee Stadium so that the players and organization’s ravenous fans can bask in the glory . There’s a reason why the now late George Steinbrenner bought the team and then slowly built it into a competitive and financial juggernaut . So much so , that the team is now the most valuable professional sports franchise in the world . Even outstripping its closest rival in the league by some $ 850 million . With an estimated value of $1.65 billion and now seated in the nation’s largest advertizing market it’s easy to understand the reason why they’re the most envied and perhaps at the same time most despised team in all of baseball.

As the season progresses there’ll be a lot to assess as it regards this team _______ can they make up for the disappoint of last year’s postseason ? Their failure was magnified all the more with the fact many of the players thought to be the leaders on the team simply underachieved there and during the regular season . If this team is to succeed then Rodriguez will have to step up to the plate front and center alongside Robinson Cano , Mark Teixiera and Curtis Granderson . We all know that the team’s offense won’t tail off but as I alluded to earlier it is their pitching that has become suspect . As Jeter inches closer to the plateau of reaching 3,000 hits and further adding to his legacy of becoming the Yankees’ all-time hits’ leader surpassing another legend of the organization Lou Gehrig . If anything , Jeter , we know will be a bonafide first ballot Hall of Famer further adding to his legacy as perhaps one the team’s beloved players over the course of this organization’s history.

It’d be remiss to think that the Yankees are the prohibitive favorites for the World Series as a number of teams can lay claim to their own aspirations. In amongst the teams I believe who can lay a legitimate claim are the Philadelphia Phillies , Texas Rangers , Boston Red Sox , St Louis Cardinals , Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds . These teams will certainly lay down the gauntlet to the Yankees and look to usurp their ambitions for the season .

Over the course of time it’s my belief that the players embroiled in the steroid era and saga will be judged by the public and press alike as either heroes or felons. They say …”time heals all wounds ” but I firmly believe that the players , their union (MLBPA) , the league hierarchy and the team owners have done the game an even greater disservice by hiding behind this idiotic facade as to a right of privacy ! Cheating in a game inherently built upon its virtue of having been above reproach and now it has become sullied by the sheer stupidity because the miscreants involved in this solely for personal financial gain. Anyone of the belief that the likes of , Rafael Palmeiro , Mark McGwire , Barry Bonds , Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez solely did this as a way excelling further at the game may well be either gullible or in reality enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the players rip these records to shreds further making those feats now seem all the more irrelevant . I’d hate to think that Hank Aaron has in actuality given his blessing in seeing Bonds surpass his all-time home run record ! Somehow I’d like to think that the man himself sees it as a disservice given what he had endure in achieving that feat .

As a fan of the game from my own perspective even with the league’s steroid policy in place I do feel that it’s all too little too late ! The damage had already been done because of the intransigence shown by Bud Selig as the commissioner and that rather inane stance taken by then union Executive Director Donald Fehr . The duo combined showed about as much common sense as could collectively be found inside the entire legislative chambers of the US House of Representatives and Senate ! Doubt my word then simply look at the idiocy we are now witnessing within both legislative chambers of Congress ?

Alex Rodriguez’s legacy is tainted but he obviously believes he can revamp his image and further add to that once bright future many believe that he had . It will be interesting to see the stats put up by the player over the course of this season and how it will have related to previous seasons before his admission that he had in fact used steroid over a period of his career he’d now rather forget . Chances are it will be in line with his usual productivity and thereby giving the New York Yankees a chance to pursue another World Series title .

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As a fan how do you see Alex Rodriguez’s legacy as a player ? Do you also believe that upon his retirement he stands a better than even chance of being an inductee into the Hall of Fame ? And overall how do you view the New York Yankees’ chances and their pursuit of another World Series title this season ? Merely leave a comment on the topics raised within this piece and anything else you feel pertinent to the baseball season . And as usual thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

* NB : As a bye-note I’d like to thank the Baltimore Orioles already flaming out this season and already putting their own season to rest . Their humiliating 15-3 loss to the Yankees where Rodriguez mutl-homered and hit his 22nd grand slam of his career placing him second in that category behind Lou Gehrig

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

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(1) New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter, left, and Robinson Cano celebrate their 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in 11 innings of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2011 in Baltimore. AP Photo/Gail Burton ….

(2) Baltimore Orioles’ Robert Andino, center, reacts after being called out at the plate by New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin (55) on a double by Brian Roberts during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2011, in Baltimore. Also pictured is Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones (10). AP Photo/Gail Burton …..

(3) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson follows through on a two run home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 24, 2011, in Baltimore. AP Photo/Gail Burton ……

(4) Mark Teixeira(25) and Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees wait in the on deck circle against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …….

(5) Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees (L) Derek Jeter (2) (center) and manager Joe Girardi (28) look out from the dugout during the eighth inning of their 15-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 23, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……..

(6) Lou Gehrig (left) is seen here with Vaudeville performer George M Cohan at Yankee Stadium . @ copyrighted material all rights reserved Chip Deffa Productions LLC . …..

(7) A statue of Hank Aaron sits outside of the stadium ahead of the Philadephia Phillies versus Atlanta Braves during their opening day game at Turner Field on April 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Streeter Lecka / Getty Images ……….

(8) Singer/actor/activist Harry Belafonte and baseball legend Hank Aaron attend the 2011 Trustees Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement dinner and presentation at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on February 25, 2011 in New York City. Stephen Lovekin /Getty Images North America ……

(9) Hank Aaron seen here hitting home run 755 which would become a historical feat in the annals of Major League Baseball . Courtesy of Topix Archives Inc .

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MLB News

MLB Standings Divisional

Team stats

Individual player stats ——— showing season leaders

MLB Scores Sunday 24th April

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New York Yankees —— Team schedule

New York Yankees news

New York Yankees history

New York Yankees’ front office

New York Yankees coaching staff

New York Yankees active roster ____ depth chart ___ 40 man roster

Team stats

Historical team records —-New York Yankees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………… 🙂

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Nicole

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

Simply Follow The Money Honey

Simply Follow The Money Honey

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

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Continue reading “Simply Follow The Money Honey”

A Year In Review , Hits And Misses In Sports Thus Far …………….

Well as 2009 comes to a close , I can’t say that I haven’t been surprised by a number of story and plot lines that’s taken place throughout the year. Put your hands up , if you’d envisaged Tiger Woods being part of some ‘sordid sexual’ intrigue ? Not with just one woman but a ‘baker’s dozen, as in thirteen ? Screw that, Tiger was ‘hittin’ more tail’ off the PGA Tour than he’d been hitting divots on the golf course, throughout much of the Tour’s regular season. Noted, he has been voted AP Athlete of The Decade. No pun intended there ! But he laid more cable than the usual installers for my local cable operated affiliate here in Polk County, Florida.

Chicago , Ill, December 28th, 2009. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Mark Anderson (#97) of the Chicago Bears as Phil Loadholt (#71) holds Anderson to the ground at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. picture appears  courtesy of  Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ....
Chicago , Ill, December 28th, 2009. Brett Favre (#4) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Mark Anderson (#97) of the Chicago Bears as Phil Loadholt (#71) holds Anderson to the ground at Soldier Field on December 28, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Vikings 36-30 in overtime. picture appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ....

So are you still buying into the fact that Brett Favre can lead the Minnesota Vikings to the promised land of a Superbowl win ? Watching this team succumb to the lowly Chicago Bears last night, was enough to suggest to me that this has been more about hype than anything substantive to begin with. And less we forget, it has been those merry band of idiots within CBS Sports, ESPN and Foxsports that have been leading the charge about Favre. And no doubt those devoted Brett Favre fans have been buying into all of this, as they’ve succumbed to Brett’s wily charms ? Much like Rasputin, Favre is as evil , as he can sometimes look. And perhaps even more so, when he’s not getting his own way like some whining prissy little kid. He talks about being a teammate but I’ve yet to hear one of his former or present teammates actually come out and support the guy wholeheartedly. Am I wrong here , or not ?

In the NBA can we all finally agree , that it’s Kobe’s world and until LeBron James actually wins something of note , other than another endorsement contract. He will continue to play ‘second fiddle’ to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. Now with Shaquille O’Neal at his side as a new-found teammate. We’ll see if once again LeBron can get to those lofty heights and actually win an NBA title. Who can forget his infantile and somewhat petulant behavior after the Cavaliers were swept out of the Eastern Conference semi-finals of last season , by the Orlando Magic. Now he equates it with being a momentary lapse and the fact that the team lost. Suck it up you wuss and act like an honorable sportsman but above all, like a man ! You say you want to be a role model to kids but this is how you act ? Is it me but why is that when an athlete falls foul of his own actions , they look to allay that act elsewhere by looking to apportion blame upon someone else ? If you can think of an answer why ,then all by all means leave a comment concerning that very matter.

The Los Angeles Lakers showcase their style in beating the Orlando Magic 99-86 in Game 5 of the NBA Final in 2009.

With the Lakers handily beating the Magic in the best of seven game series 4-1,thereby allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to lift their fifteenth NBA title and Phil Jackson his tenth, as a coach. We can all agree that last season was simply all about the Los Angeles Lakers . Every other NBA story had to be punctuated with a comma. It wasn’t that there weren’t other noteworthy stories throughout the season. But once it became clear that the Lakers would make the NBA Finals. It essentially became about whether or not Kobe would finally win a title without Shaq in tow. Now we know that he can and did, he’s out to prove to us that the team can defend its title successfully. And you’d be hard pressed at this juncture to think that they’re not capable of achieving that feat. Given the fact that they’re now playing as good as any time over the past eighteen months. And Bryant along with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum are as hungry as ever. The rest of the NBA is on notice, that until you take down the champion , it’s his courtyard that you’re playing in. So whoever is good enough to step up to the plate and do battle , step forward.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has showed us once again that even though the economy is being ravaged. It still lives in its own small little world of make belief. Commissioner Bud Selig tells us that the sky is blue when it in fact there is a thunderous rainstorm, then we’re meant to believe him. I mean he’s the ‘commish’ and what he says, goes. Selig and his former counterpart , Donald Fehr of the MLBPA (Players’ Union)have seen the game slip into the depths of an abyss and without there now being any integrity to the game. It still carries with it that tarnished image and the very fact that two of the game’s most high profiled stars were embroiled in a steroid abuse scandal , only goes to show that there’s still a tremendously long way before there’s some semblance of respectability is brought back to the game. Both Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez now joins the likes of Roger Clemens , Rafeal Palmeiro , Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as being looked upon as ‘cheaters’- never mind a ‘steroid abuser’. But the biggest domino yet to fall , is that of Barry Bonds, whose own saga is being played out within the justice system at the taxpayers’ expense.

But it’d be remiss to think that the ‘steroid issue’ is the only inherent problem that the game now faces. There is the financial stability of the game itself. And the ever widening gap between the haves and have nots of the game. And far be it for me to suggest to Bud Selig that he ought to take his thumb out of his ass and deal those two issues. But it has reached a point where not only is the game’s hierarchy content with this mess but so too, are the players and the owners. And we all know that in the end, it’ll be the fans who’ll end up having to pay for the mess to begin with. If they’re (MLB) not raising the prices of general admission and season tickets. You can bet that the price of the concessions ,parking and memorabilia will rise faster than the rate of inflation.

New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, left, Alex Rodriguez, second from left, Curtis Granderson, second from right, and manager Joe Girardi attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, where Granderson was introduced as the newest Yankees player.
New York Yankees C.C. Sabathia, left, Alex Rodriguez, second from left, Curtis Granderson, second from right, and manager Joe Girardi attend a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009, where Granderson was introduced as the newest Yankees player. picture appears courtewsy od ap/photo/ Seth Wenig ...............

And less we forget, the ever power hungry agents out there will be looking to do their part to make sure that the escalating salaries within the game continues. None more so than the man deemed to be the main culprit behind so much of the escalation in the salaries and that’s none other than Scott Boras. His mendacity and the maneuvers he’s been able to pull off with the complete gullibility of the owners and general managers, gives you the indication that they believe that they’re playing with ‘Monopoly money’ , rather than cold hard cash. And why not , like I said, it’ll be the fans who in the end will pay for those increases. It’s not as if the revenues attained within the game is being equally spread amongst the teams within major league baseball, to begin with. But for all of the image set forth I’ve yet to hear anyone really question the financial plight of the game. Not even such esteemed baseball writers such as Buster Olney or Peter Gammons. Another reason why you can’t take those individuals at their word when it comes to providing any real analysis concerning the health of the game. As they’d rather deal in platitudes and fairy tales.

The season itself was one of excellence wherein we saw once again that the best player the game doesn’t happen to wear the pinstripes of the New York Yankees and whose name happens to be Alex Rodriguez. The person in question, who for all sense and purpose has the fans of the game in awe, is none other than St Louis Cardinals ,first baseman, Albert Pujols. And for the third time in five seasons he was named the NL MVP (2005,2008,2009) . And deservedly so, considering that the dominance that he’s shown within the game. In the AL the recipient there was the Minnesota Twins’ catcher , Joe Mauer. Another model of consistency over the last five years.

The World Series itself, would pit the best in the AL, the New York Yankees against last season’s winners, the Philadelphia Phillies. Two contrasting teams that are only separated by their mindsets as it comes to the game. The Yankees known for their lavish spending in acquiring the best talent that money can buy. Often reviled by the fans solely on this one issue. The Phillies for their part are viewed as the dominant team in the National League. And they’ve been that model of consistency over the last four years. However, this was a series wherein the Yankees were seeking redemption and the chance place themselves back at the top of the baseball world. And for the likes of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. This was the chance to win their fifth World Series together as teammates. The triumvirate being the sole remnants left from that dominant dynasty of the mid to late nineties.

The series itself , would see the Yankees dominance rise to the occasion, with them winning the World Series in six games (4-2) over the Philadelphia Phillies. The heroics however, would be that of Yankees’ slugger and DH , Hideki Matsui, who was named series MVP. And for the New York Yankees’ fans this was a reason to rejoice , as they raised their twenty seventh World Series title. No doubt the fans in the ‘Red Sox Nation’ can’t wait to take a bite out of the ‘Evil Empire’ . And so too no doubt will the rest of major league baseball.

Vitali (left) and Wladimir  Klitschko   of the  Ukraine.   At  present   the  two  brothers   hold  three  of   the  four  major  recognized  heavyweight  title  belts  between  them.     picture appears  courtesy  of  theindependent.uk.co/ Ian  McGregor  ................
Vitali (left) and Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine. At present the two brothers hold three of the four major recognized heavyweight title belts between them. picture appears courtesy of theindependent.uk.co/ Ian McGregor ................

What haven’t I said about the state of professional boxing , that I’ve continued to state repeatedly ? It has become ‘a complete farce’ at the heavyweight level ! Wherein, the two best fighters in the category refuse to fight each other , because of a promise given to their mother. Well, that’s what we’ve been told by the respective holders of the recognized belts in , Wladimir Klitschko (IBF,IBO,WBO)and his brother , Vitali Klitschko (WBC). Granted, a promise given to one’s mother is better than no promise at all. But these two brothers were they to fight and create an undisputed champion within the division. Then it would bring back some credence to the sport as well as the division. Not only that but it’d actually create a certain degree of interest within the heavyweight division. Nowadays, watching two boxers within the division fight one another is akin to watching the Animal Planet and seeing a male and female rhinoceros contemplating the mating ritual. It begins to get somewhat hazardous and downright scary for you to watch. They’re looking somewhat cumbersome and at the same time you may well find the act itself, somewhat gross ? Not unlike the vast majority of the heavyweight boxers now with the aspirations of winning the heavyweight championship. And that would also include the various holders of the belts in question. There isn’t that much talent in the division to begin with. But yet the idiots such as Larry Merchant , Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas and Jim Lampley claim that there is. Who knew that idiots such as this were paid to offer such asinine comments ? Even Stevie Wonder can tell the difference between a tomato can and ‘a bum’. Whereas, these assholes couldn’t tell you the difference between sh_t and shinola ! Yeah, I said and I damn well mean it , ’cause it’s true.

A male and female rhinoceros mating. It somewhat resembles the farce of witnessing the heavyweight boxing scene at present, wouldn’t you say ?

And unfortunately at the lower levels within boxing , things are decidedly taking a nasty turn for the worse. The so called ‘superfight’ match-up envisaged between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao for the welterweight title, is now looking more like a distant dream, instead of becoming a reality. The acrimony between the Mayweather camp and Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, has become an all-out battle of words, insults and barbs being traded between the two sides. What this actually does for boxing and its image, is about as welcoming as seeing Rosie O’Donnell dressed in nothing but a thong and getting ready to engage in a sexual act. You don’t want to watch but at the same time you’re still enlightened as to what you’ll anticipate that you’re going to see happen ? Pardon me here guys, but Rosie engaging in a sexual act ain’t my cup of tea , nor should it be yours !

Floyd Mayweather Jr. smiles in the ring during his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision.   Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP (Photo credit should read Ethan Miller/AFP/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. smiles in the ring during his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena September 19, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by unanimous decision. picture appears courtesy of AFP/Getty Images/ Ethan Miller ..........

The other divisions within the sport have their aspirants but none whereby the public would immediately recognize them as being a household name. When one considers that the three dominant promoters within the sport here in the United States are all claiming to bring back respectability to the sport. You have to wonder what steps were being taken by Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions Inc., Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc, and Don King of Don King Promotions Inc.. Last I checked, not one of these guys could be viewed as pillars of the boxing community and bastions for upholding the integrity of the sport. But this indeed the price that one has to pay when the organizations that govern the sport internationally have become an alphabet soup group of bodies, who’ve no one’s best interests but their own when it comes to the custodianship of the sport. Never mind the fact, that they’re induced to carry on with this type of behavior by the very promoters who say that they want the sport to remain competitive and of interest to its most ardent of fans. Those words are beginning to ring ever so hollow at present !

And I’d have something to say about NASCAR and the NHL but the words that come to mind aren’t used to characterize the niceties of both sports. Suffice to say , that while there are fans of both sports out there. I am most definitely not one of them ! There isn’t anything at all that I find either alluring or engrossing about both of these sports. I’ll may well give them a passing glance but when it’s all said and done. It just doesn’t float my boat !

NB: All pictures appears courtesy of either AFP, AP/Photo and Getty Images, respectively

Winter Wonderland And The Lunatic Fringe Of Major League Baseball …………………

Well, the winter meetings are underway and therein the MLB executives such as the general managers will gather together to discuss ‘their state of affairs’.And no doubt try to arrange several major deals amongst the desirable free agents that are liable to be on the market this winter.

Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, left, looks on as newly signed Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro displays a Red Sox uniform during a news conference at Fenway Park, in Boston, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. After cycling through seven shortstops since the middle of the 2004 season, the Red Sox announced on Friday that they have given Scutaro a two-year deal with a club option for 2012. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Steve Senne .......
Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, left, looks on as newly signed Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro displays a Red Sox uniform during a news conference at Fenway Park, in Boston, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. After cycling through seven shortstops since the middle of the 2004 season, the Red Sox announced on Friday that they have given Scutaro a two-year deal with a club option for 2012. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Steve Senne .......

At a time when all four major high profiled sports are facing a major economic crisis. Only the buffoons within MLB would try and tell you the exact opposite to what’s happening out there. Simply put, Bud Selig and Bob DuPuy are about as cognizant as to what’s happening in the game of baseball, as Stevie Wonder would be, in a darkened room filled with several poisonous snakes. Suffice to say, that if they were bitten, they still wouldn’t get it and that’s how idiotic both of these individuals happen to be ! And along with them following suit ,are the owners in tow, along with the bumbling entity that calls itself the Major League Baseball Players’ Union, otherwise known as the MLBPA.

Baseball commissioner , Bud Selig , seated  left  and  MLB Chief  Executive  Officer  Bob  DuPuy.   Selig is  due to step   down   from  his  role  as baseball  commissioner   in 2012.  A  position  which  he has  held  first on  an interim  basis and  then  permanently  from 1993 to  the present day.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Roger  Scott  ................
Baseball commissioner , Bud Selig , seated left and MLB Chief Executive Officer Bob DuPuy. Selig is due to step down from his role as baseball commissioner in 2012. A position which he has held first on an interim basis and then permanently from 1993 to the present day. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Roger Scott ................

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Yankees finish organizational meetings

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is ready to start making offseason moves.

The 2009 World Series champions set their 2010 budget parameters during the third day of organizational meetings on Friday.

“Now we’ll go out trying to execute some game plans,” Cashman said. “We have our priorities and we’ll starting working through the winter.”

New York signed free agent pitchers CC Sabathia(notes) and A.J. Burnett(notes), and first baseman Mark Teixeira(notes) during the 2008 offseason. Cashman said there are not as many glaring needs this year, but added the Yankees are “not the perfect beast, either.”

“Thankfully we have a lot of answers already on our roster, but there’s still areas of need that we need to address,” Cashman said.

Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon(notes) and 2009 World Series MVP, designated hitter Hideki Matsui(notes), are both free agents. Left-hander Andy Pettitte(notes) hasn’t announced whether he will return for next season.

“I’ll talk with all the agents involved, as well as the other agents on the rest of the free agent market and at the end on the trade market,” Cashman said.

Outside free agents like outfielder Matt Holliday(notes) and pitcher John Lackey(notes) could get some consideration during baseball’s winter meetings next week.

“We’ll meet with agents, meet with clubs,” Cashman said. “You never know what will materialize.”

The Yankees are also expected to monitor the trade status of Toronto ace Roy Halladay(notes).

Senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman, who oversees player development, spent an hour during the final day of meetings Friday with Cashman and other high-level team officials at the Yankees spring training complex.

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Now if there was a warning sign for the game of baseball to heed , then it had to have been when on the cusp of the beginning of last season. When the New York Yankees once again entered the fray and spent over $423 million to secure the services of Mark Teixeira, A. J. Burnett and C.C. Sabathia on their way to securing their 27th World Series title, with a six game series’ win over the Philadelphia Phillies in their showcase event of ‘The Fall’. Hitherto, uber-agent,Scott Boras and several of his colleagues were extremely happy with the course of events that unfolded with regard to these signings. Now come full circle and players such as Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays ,Jason Bay of the Boston Red Sox and the St Louis Cardinals, Matt Holliday are amongst the most desirable players that are liable to be on the market this winter. Of the triumvirate mentioned, only Halladay isn’t a free agent. Although it’ll take a great deal to pry away the player from the Blue Jays, as they’re no doubt seeking the most desirable value possible in terms of replacing their ace pitcher.

It’d appear that the premium prices will once again abound this off-season if the comments by Boras are anything to go by. It is his belief, that the game is as healthy as it’s ever been. As to how he comes by this notion is anyone’s guess. But bear in mind, what Scott Boras wants, is nothing more than getting the best possible deal for his client or clients as the case maybe. That way his commission remains above the norm, in terms of services rendered on behalf of his client. Selig , as commissioner of baseball and Bob DuPy as the game’s Chief Executive Officer, merely sit and aside and watch things unravel infront of their very eyes. Never mind the fact that many of the mid and small market clubs are now struggling to make ends meet. Granted, MLB at present has what it calls a ‘luxury tax’ that in essence is nothing more than a way to penalize clubs such as the Yankees and the other large market teams, who are able to avail themselves of the best talent available by plundering the rosters of other teams within MLB, as they see fit. Be it through free agency or via a trade. Selig and his minions would have you believe that this is best and only way to keep the game on an even keel and as a viable healthy option. In many respects it’s no different from the somewhat asinine format the federal government took in bailing out the financial and automotive industries without any real guarantees in return. Selig, informs us that the recipients of this particular revenue streams, has to use the monies to bolster their rosters. But more often than not .that money is being used to do precisely the opposite. It actually finds its way into the pockets of the owners , who then offer no explanation to the fans, who have to endure the abject futility of those teams and their on the field performances.

Taken  from last year the  Mets' front office hierarchy  from  left  to right  , Senior VP Player Development  ,  Tony Bernard ,  team owner  , Fred  Wilpon and   General Manager, Omar Minaya.   Having   spent  in  excess  of  $450 million  dollars   alone  in  signing  free agents  over  the  last  three  and  half  years  .  The  New  York Mets  have  had  little   show in  return   for  the  vast   financial  outlay  made  to  acquire  those players.  Albeit that they're   now  charging  premium  prices   for their  monstrous  new  venue  Citi Field   in  New  York   City.  The  cost of  which  was  in  excess  of   $ 675  million  and  was  totally   financed  with  public  money   via  bonds and  the  introduction  of several  tax increases and  new  service  charges  initiated  by  incumbent  Mayor ,  Michael Bloomberg.    picture   appears   courtesy  of  New York Daily News/ News/  Terry  Simmons   ........................
Taken from last year the Mets' front office hierarchy from left to right , Senior VP Player Development , Tony Bernard , team owner , Fred Wilpon and General Manager, Omar Minaya. Having spent in excess of $450 million dollars alone in signing free agents over the last three and half years . The New York Mets have had little show in return for the vast financial outlay made to acquire those players. Albeit that they're now charging premium prices for their monstrous new venue Citi Field in New York City. The cost of which was in excess of $ 675 million and was totally financed with public money via bonds and the introduction of several tax increases and new service charges initiated by incumbent Mayor , Michael Bloomberg. picture appears courtesy of New York Daily News/ News/ Terry Simmons ........................

Funnily enough, an ardent Oakland Athletics’ fan has tried to suggest that his team is always and has always been competitive. Well, if one counts that having the management and ownership year in and year out, simply either trade away their best players or simply allow them to leave as being competitive. I’d hate to think what he’d define success as being ? Suffice to say that the A’s , much like the rest of the ‘bottom feeders’ within major league baseball are now part of what I’d like to call the haves and have nots. The A’s and other teams in the same tract aren’t liable to be able to compete with the financial behemoths of the game such as the Yankees, Red Sox , New York Mets ,Philadelphia Phillies, and the Los Angeles Angels. Who year in, year out, are part of the mix, when it comes to postseason aspirations. Albeit , that as of late the Mets and its ownership have been about worldly wise in terms of common sense . As was shown by Sarah Palin and her high profiled interviews with CBS news’ anchor person, Katie Couric. Let’s just say, the faux-pas made by both the Mets and Palin, has been of the highest comedic order, thought possible !

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated (SI)

Report: Selig tells owners he’ll step down as MLB commissioner in 2012

Chicago (SI.com) — Bud Selig plans to step down as commissioner of Major League Baseball when his current contract expires on Dec. 31, 2012, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

The 75-year-old Selig, who has been commissioner since 1998, declined a request from a group of five MLB owners to stay on beyond that time, the newspaper reported Saturday, citing unnamed sources. He reportedly told the owners he would step aside then because he had other things he wanted to do, such as teaching and writing a book.

If he stays on till 2012, Selig will have been baseball’s top boss for 20 years, including six years as interim commissioner from 1992 to 1998.

His time in office has included such events as the players’ strike in 1994, the introduction of the wild-card system and inter-league play, and investigations into steroid use. He received a three-year contract extension last year.

And the fans and press alike await with baited breath as to what will surface from these meetings. I can’t help but wonder who in reality the game of baseball really thinks it is now fooling ! Selig and the entire cabal within the game seem to be oblivious as to what’s now happening around them. And it will end in their own self inflicted wounds and implosion , if they’re not prepared to face the acute problems that have already begun to encapsulate the sport. From the ‘steroid issue’ to the distrust between the game’s hierarchy and the MLPA. To that, of the mere fact, that they refuse to address the severe financial plight of the vast majority of the teams within baseball.

Uber-sports agent Scott Boras,  seen here  with perhaps  his  most famous  client ,  Yankees'  All  Star  slugger  and 3rd baseman,  Alex  Rodriguez.    Boras   represents   several  other   high  profiled  clients  in the  world  of  baseball ,  including  Daisuke  Matsuzaka,  Johnny  Damon,  Manny  Ramirez,  Mark  Teixeira,   C.C. Sabathia  ,  Barry  Zito  and   a slew of  other players.   General  Managers  around the  league   have   stated  that  Boras  is  a  hard   task master  when  it  comes  to  negotiating  on  his  clients' behalf.    But  time  and  time again  they   continue  to 'cave in'  and  acquiesce  to  his  demands.        picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/Keith  Willens   ...................

Uber-sports agent, Scott Boras , seen here alongside perhaps his most recognizable client , that of Yankees’ All Star slugger and 3rd baseman, Alex Rodriguez. Boras also represents several major league stars in the game ,such as , Barry Zito, Manny Ramirez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and Manny Ramirez , to name but a few. However, we repeatedly hear of general managers around the league complain that Boras and his negotiating tactics, have been underhanded and duplicitous in driving up the asking price of his clients during the negotiation process. But needless to say, repeatedly they’ll ‘cave’ in to his demands and finally acquiesce. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Keith Willens …….

Needless to say, it’s not only the lunatic fringe within the game but the erstwhile observers outside the game such as the baseball writers who march the goose step alongside Selig and his minions. And who in essence have refused to even report many of the problems that have been rife within the sport over the last decade, at least. The lunatic fringe and the lunatics are running the game of baseball. And no one within seems to be of the mindset to even care about its well being.