Feds watching ……………

Feds watching ……….

Well baseball`s season having been encompassed by an ongoing steroids` scandal that now even Bud Selig actually wants no part of , along with the executives who oversee the game, is now looking to wind down its regular season. After a schedule that began on the 31st March 2013 , we are now one hundred and twenty-nine games into the season , with a mere 33 games left before the schedule reaches its finality. Not all of the divisional races are completely known in terms of an outright winner , but it would appear that barring a major catastrophe the Atlanta Braves are likely to be the runaway winners of the NL East . Now not wanting to disparage the other contestants within the division but their challenge to the Braves this season , has bordered on being downright abysmal, if not insulting to the fans of the game.

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At 77-49 , the Atlanta Braves currently possess a fifteen game lead over their closest rival within the division , the Washington Nationals (62-62). With the Philadelphia Phillies having fired manager Charlie Manuel , who has subsequently been replaced by Ryne Sandberg as the ball-club`s interim manager until the end of the season. It remains to be seen, how the team will fare over the remainder of their schedule. Sandberg knows , that this well be the best chance to prove himself to GM Reuben Amaro and the ownership group , that he is a worthy successor to the deposed Manuel . As to the fact, that the team has performed so poorly, with a high-priced roster of overpaid stars , this off-season is likely to be a tumultuous one for this franchise and how they will seek to remedy the issues that have befallen the team. Certainly, Amaro will be looking to off-load a number of the free agents , who the staff will have deemed to be unproductive. In all likelihood , the front office will assess their farm system , promoting from within and pursue not so expensive free agent assignees.

The Phillies will face the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Ballpark, in Philadelphia on Thursday . That game itself, will pit Chad Bettis of the Rockies against the Phillies` Kyle Kendrick . For the Rockies this has been something of an unproductive season , where they are now languishing in third place within the NL West , behind the high-flying Los Angeles Dodgers , leaders of the division followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks .

Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves will take their talents on the road to face the St Louis Cardinals , who are in something of a dog-fight , as they seek to chase down the Pittsburgh Pirates within the NL Central , one of the surprise stories of this MLB season . . Taking the mound for the Braves will be Paul Maholm facing off against Joe Kelly of the Cardinals. This will be one of the more interesting pitching duels of the day within baseball . Atlanta faces something of a minor dilemma with the recent injury to Jason Heyward , with the player being struck on and suffering a broken jaw during a game against the New York Mets at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York. The cause for concern, beyond the player`s return to the team`s DL , was the very fact that in the lead-off spot for the Braves` offense. Heyward had been hitting .364 over his last eleven games for the team along with an on base percentage of .404 and a slugging percentage of .659 , with three home runs and five runs batted in. Yet, the player`s defensive ability was also one of the things that Fredi Gonzalez and his staff had come to rely on during that time-span. The Braves` manager is likely to platoon his playing staff to make up for the loss of Jason Heyward.

Beyond the itinerant stupidity, that we have already seen displayed by baseball`s hierarchy . Is it not enough that we now have to deal with the hypocrisy of the players themselves as it relates to issue steroid abuse within the game ? So much has been made of the recent incident during the game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees , where the Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster struck Yankees` third baseman Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. Yankees` manager Joe Girardi vented his anger, and was removed from the game by the officials . Dempster, was subsequently punished by the league drawing a fine and handed a five-game suspension . Call me naïve , but given the controversy surrounding Alex Rodriguez at present , baseball has just taken a step backwards in terms of its action against the pitcher . Albeit , that is being stated that Ryan Dempster has been at the forefront of players speaking out against the use of steroids within the game . To my mind, that has got to be the biggest crock of fecal matter within the game of baseball altogether , much like the idiocy of Matt Kemp`s rather childlike uttering , as it related to the now suspended Ryan Braun . The entire baseball fraternity of players, have remained silent for all too long , and only now are they voicing their displeasure , solely because of the fans` and public`s anger over the issue . As to Red Sox slugger, David Ortiz coming out in support of Rodriguez after Dempster`s actions during the game. Need we be reminded that Ortiz`s name was amongst the one-hundred and four players named in the now infamous `Mitchell Report` of players , who reportedly tested positive for a banned substance ? How soon we all forget , most notably David Ortiz, himself .

As the fourth placed New York Yankees of the AL East seeks to make inroads into the leads held by the Boston Red Sox , Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles ahead of them within the division. It is interesting to note, that beyond the off-field drama that concerns the team , and what is now said to be a lukewarm relationship between GM Brian Cashman and the team`s now unpopular third baseman , Alex Rodriguez . There have been few bright spots to the team`s season, and one of those occasions, came last night . Ichiro Suzuki would add to his already impressive resume` by record by claiming his 4,000 hit in baseball, and granted 1,278 of those hits were recorded playing in the Japanese League (JBL). Yet whichever way you look at it, it is still an astonishing feat by this MLB All Star . Twelve years into what has been one of the great careers in baseball by a Japanese born player , and for any player over the past decade. Ichiro has notched up some incredible feats. His 2722 hits, during his now storied MLB career, places him third amongst active players , only behind Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez , respectively. That figure also places him in fifty-ninth place among the career hits` leaders . Combined however, his 4,000 hits, would only be supplanted by Hall of Fame enshrined Ty Cobb and the . all-time career leader in that specific category , Pete Rose .

The game in which Ichiro Suzuki notched that historic 4,000 hit came against the struggling Toronto Blue Jays , with pitcher R A Dickey , being the player unlucky enough to be part of history . Alfonso Soriano broke open this showdown , but the night obviously belonged to Ichiro , as the team romped to a 4-2 victory over their slumping AL East rivals and further sending the Blue Jays` season into an abyss of sheer mediocrity , from which there now seems absolutely no escape .

New York, is now a mere ½ game behind the third placed Baltimore Orioles within the AL East, but their thoughts must now be firmly placed on the second placed Tampa Bay Rays , who hold a five game lead over the Bronx Bombers . A three game series between these two teams to be played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida, with the opening salvo taking place on Friday , is sure to be a raucous affair. This might be one of the few times this season where the Rays will actually have a sellout for all three days. And with all three scheduled games due to be televised nationally, this series does promise to be filled with fireworks, as well as undoubtedly , the Rays` fans looking to give Alex Rodriguez a less than salutary welcome at their venue. Taking the mound for the Rays on Friday will be their young pitcher Chris Archer who will face Yankees` starter Hiroki Kuroda . Pitching will be the key to this series , as well dependability from both offenses .

The season series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have been fairly close affairs this year, with Joe Maddon`s team holding a slight 7-6 edge in their meetings so far in 2013. There are three more scheduled contests between the two dueling divisional rivals that will take place take place during the final month of the regular season , from the 24th to 26th September at Yankee Stadium , in New York City , New York . There is no denying that Joe Girardi and his players know how important this series just happens to be , in spite of all of the off the field issues . Likewise , Joe Maddon , must feel that any kind of misstep that allows the New York Yankees to inch closer to the Rays in the divisional standings as well as the wildcard picture , places and even greater burden upon his team , whose recent record of late, has been a model of inconsistency .

For much of the Rays` season it has been James Loney leading the way , yet there have been some valued contributions from other players on the team . This off-season there is no doubt in my mind that once again for this troubled franchise , it will be a matter of cutting their expenditure to meet their needs . A patron of my site, who is an avid supporter of the Rays` organization points to the fact that the ball-club is a profitable entity. Yet what he continues to overlook is the very fact that the Tampa Bay Rays would not be a profitable concern, were it not for the fact the organization is continually reliant upon baseball`s hierarchy to provide them with an assist by way of the luxury tax. For GM Andrew Friedman , who as been able to work wonders on almost a shoestring budget in terms of the team payroll and being able to acquire players who have proven to be productive, gives credence to his acumen as one of the better general managers within Major League Baseball. I truly believe that both Friedman and manager Joe Maddon are the most valuable assets within the Rays` organization , bar none ! .

The recalcitrant shown by senior managing partner , Stuart Sternberg is now beginning to grow thin along with his continued whining and the most ridiculous of statements that can be attributed to him directly , Beyond knowing that he will never have the full support of Bud Selig, in aiding the franchise to obtaining a new ballpark . Fans in recent weeks have listened to Sternberg readily admit, that teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees having large payrolls , is actually good for the business of baseball . Now unless Stuart Sternberg has not been taking note as of late, at least one-quarter of the teams within the game continue to struggle from a financial standpoint , with many in a similar position if having to rely on the good graces of league to provide them with an assist to actually stay afloat . All this, from an individual, who is said to have made is fortune in the field of the commodities` market as a managing partner of a brokerage firm ?

I firmly believe that the vast majority of the owners within baseball are not completely in touch with reality, very much in a similar vein as Bud Selig remains in the dark , as to real issues that have brought down the game of baseball, where it has now become a complete laughing-stock for all of the wrong reasons ! If the commissioner now believes that his latest edict of instant replay to be initiated in 2014, is the best that he can now offer, while the issue of steroids within baseball runs amok at not only the Major League Level, but also remains a troubling issue in the Minors , then clearly , it is now time baseball`s Board of Governors to start considering their options for a noteworthy successor to the incumbent commissioner . It would be in their best interest to look completely outside of the game for someone with fresh and progressive ideas, rather than someone who is simply willing to tow the line of a group of owners, whose only concerns seems to be greed and offering the fans a somewhat mediocre on-field product .

While Bud Selig continues at large to run around like a headless chicken , it also troubling to note that once again , it has been left to the US Justice Department to try and rid the game of individuals such as Doctor Anthony Galea , Victor Conte and Anthony Bosch. Unfortunately, even after their eventual demise, be it through their imprisonment or simply being exposed as a fraud. There is likely to be someone else to take their place, with the MLB hierarchy simply sowing no vigilance as to the impending and growing dangers within their midst . Baseball has now become so damn incompetent , mirroring what we continue to witness each day with the federal government and their own incompetency, there. Feds watching and not much is really being done at the end of the day !

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Picture gallery .

By all means leave a comment as to your thoughts on this article and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it greatly appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton , second from right, is congratulated by pitching coach Roger McDowell , left, and manager Fredi Gonzalez , second from left, as he is followed into the dugout by Paul Maholm , right, after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in St. Louis. The Cardinals would defeat the Braves 6-2 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(2) St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(3) Philadelphia Phillies’ Michael Young , left, is cheered by teammate Carlos Ruiz after making the game-winning run on a hit by Domonic Brown during the ninth inning of a baseball game to defeat the Colorado Rockies 5-4 , Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson ….

(4) The Philadelphia Phillies’ new manager, Ryne Sandberg, is greeted by Chase Utley, right, before the start of action against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Friday, August 16, 2013. RON CORTES, MCT ….

(5) New York Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki, of Japan, follows through on a single for his 4,000th career hit in Japan and the major leagues, during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(6) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez tosses his helmet after he was called out at first for the third out in the bottom of the fourth inning with two runners on-base in a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(7) FILE – In this Feb. 24, 2012 file photo, Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun speaks during a news conference at spring training baseball in Phoenix. Braun stood on a spring training field and proclaimed he was innocent of using banned testosterone. Braun has finally admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs during his NL MVP season of 2011 . The suspended Milwaukee slugger said in a statement released Thursday, Aug. 22, 2013, by the Brewers that he took a cream and a lozenge containing banned substances while rehabilitating an injury. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong …

(8) BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 21: Adam Jones (10) of the Baltimore Orioles is greeted in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 21, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Baltimore Orioles won, 4-2 . Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images …

(9) BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 21: Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) of the Tampa Bay Rays is relieved in the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 21, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images …

(10) ST. PETERSBURG – AUGUST 13: Infielders (L – R) Yunel Escobar (11) and James Loney (21) of the Tampa Bay Rays relax during a pitching change against the Seattle Mariners during the game at Tropicana Field on August 13, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) From left to right, Tampa Bay Rays` managing partner Stuart Sternberg , Matthew Silverman , GM Andrew Friedman and the team`s manager Joe Maddon. The executives and manager were pictured at Tropicana Field in 2008, when the team won the AL pennant and were the league`s representatives in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies . They would subsequently lose the series in a lopsided fashion 4-1 . This off-season the managing partners will face some tough questions by way of the team`s payroll and whether or not to reduce or increase it, dependent upon the resources available . The organization still seeks help from Bud Selig`s office in seeking a new venue , and the commissioner has been reluctant to help the franchise. Further exacerbating the situation , has been Bud Selig`s repudiating remarks, calling the team`s owners unambitious and the local municipalities uncompromising . Courtesy of Tampa Bay Times/ Keith Connolly …..

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tophatal ………….. 08/22/2013

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MLB news and news from around the league

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2 Chainz … feat`g Pharrell ………. `Feds watching`

We’ll start with the sublime and then move on to the ridiculous . Oh sorry we’re talking baseball , so it remains ridiculous

We’ll start with the sublime and then move on to the ridiculous . Oh sorry we’re talking baseball , so it remains ridiculous

By Tophatal , 2nd April , 2013

So yesterday , marked the official Opening Day as such , for the majority of teams within Major League Baseball . Many of those games just happened to be, noted rivalries between of many of baseball’s most heralded teams. At Yankees Stadium , the New York Yankees’ played host to their heated AL East rivals , the Boston Red Sox . And if the events are anything to go by , then the Yankees , are about to have a long an arduous season . We knew that the team’s pitching was likely to be suspect , but who could have imagined that the offense would be so anemic ?

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For the Yankees’ Opening Day starter , CC Sabathia , I suspect that this was a game , that the left handed pitcher would rather forget . Decidedly more so , given the meager run support , given to the player by his teammates during this game .

With the Yankees not set to play again until Wednesday , when they will resume their series against the Boston Red Sox. Tuesday becomes a rest day , during which Joe Girardi and his coaching staff can assess the damage done , as well as the psyche of his players. Granted , excuses can , and will be made, that the team has a litany of injured players on the DL . Yet in no way , should that really be an excuse for an organization , where losing is simply seen as unacceptable .

One thing that there can be no denying , and it is now, the false bravado of the New York Yankees , and the very fact that their window of opportunity to add the mantel pieces for Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera , in terms of additional silverware by way of a sixth World Series title , is now becoming narrower by the year. This season , will be the last for Rivera , the all-time saves’ leader within baseball and one of the most prolific pitchers of any era in baseball history .

On the mound, on Wednesday for the Yankees , will be Hiroki Kuroda , facing off against Clay Buchholz . Should the New York Yankees start the season at 0-2 , there will be no need to start the alarm bells as of yet , but , should they lose four or five consecutive games open the start of their season , then look for Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi , seeking to make some not so drastic changes , if only stave off the criticism of the front office and their continued failure to develop talent from within their farm system over the past several years . Strangely enough at a time, when senior managing partner and team owner , Hal Steinbrenner sought to pare down the team’s payroll . The franchise simply resorted to what they do best, and that is to simply buy their way out of a bad situation. How else, can one explain the idiocy of acquiring an unproductive malcontent such as Vernon Wells ? Wells is still owed $42 million on the final two years of an extortionate and exorbitant seven-year $126 million deal , originally signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008 . . Chances are , Wells , will simply be counterproductive , or he may well surprise the naysayers by contributing greatly to the Yankees’ fortunes over the course of the season.

Call me naïve , but if you’re looked upon as the presumptive leader on a team , then should it not be incumbent on that player to act accordingly , rather than presenting themselves as something of an immature blowhole ? Evan Longoria has become a bona-fide star within baseball , but I am not so sure that he is simply capable enough handling any real adversity , let alone , leading the Tampa Bay Rays to any tangible success . However, comments attributed to the Rays’ third baseman , in which he came across as an imbecile , in being critical of his former teammates , BJ Upton and James Shields . Longoria tried to suggest that neither player was on board , with the Joe Maddon’s managerial style , or the fact that they knew how to handle the adversity of the team’s consistent misfortune of losing on a regular basis before the franchise’s recent run of success . Unless , I am mistaken , you win and lose as a team and not simply single out players whom you believe to be giving a less than convincing effort .

Evan Longoria is lucky enough to now be richly rewarded by the Rays, having signed a multiyear deal that gives him $105 million and the safety net of six years guaranteed income . Unfortunately, his former teammates were not so lucky , having to go elsewhere to seek their fortunes , because plainly put , the Rays are an organization that will continue penny-pinch in order to remain competitive as well as being financially viable . Something that the franchise has not been able to achieve without the advent of the baseball hierarchy’s archaic and asinine tax sharing revenue scheme , that penalizes teams with payrolls in excess of $150 million , by taxing them on a prorated basis as much as 25% of that nominal figure , which is then disbursed for the league’s small market teams , which is allegedly determined on their fan-base and the market in which they are domiciled , based upon the Nielsen’s ratings and their market research . Which begs the question why was it from 2004 through until 2011 , the Florida Marlins, soon to become the Miami Marlins were afforded this luxury ? When for those intervening years , team owner Jeffrey Loria and his sidekicks , David Sansom , Larry Beinfest and Michael Hills , plead poverty as to the franchise’s resources , only for the ball club to go out on an exorbitant cash spending spree in 2012 on acquiring high-priced free agents , that saw the team’s payroll become a bloated $125 million boondoggle that culminated with a sub . 500 record (69-93) within the NL East and a last place finish within the division that season . This season we will see the Marlins resort back to the ways old with a sparse payroll , which will be amongst the lowest in all of baseball , with a team salary of $44 million in salaried commitments based upon known records .

I don’t believe that this beleaguered Marlins’ franchise will have any tangible success within the NL East this season ! Rookie manager Mike Redmond and his staff will have a hard time to get this team contending with the division and against their heated divisional rivals domiciled there .

As to the Tampa Bay Rays and what the season has in store for Joe Maddon and his players , will rest primarily upon the effectiveness of the team’s pitching and their leadership shown by their 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner , David Price . If he, along with Jeremy Hellickson , Roberto Hernandez , Alex Cobb can spearhead what is said to be the best . pitching staff in the Majors , then there is no reason to believe why they cannot be a major force to be reckoned with . And in spite of the managerial ingenuity shown by Joe Maddon , unless Longoria can show that he has the leadership skills , the Rays could be in for a long an arduous season .

The team’s home opener on Tuesday afternoon , pitted the Rays against divisional rivals the Baltimore Orioles , who under their erstwhile manager , Buck Showalter , will be looking to get the team back to their excellent highs of last season . Joe Maddon’s players in front of a sellout crowd at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida would come away on the wrong side , of a rather lopsided 7-4 loss to the Orioles. However , the two teams are scheduled to meet again , twice more in games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday , at the team’s home venue , in St Petersburg.

It would be remiss, to suggest that Sandy Koufax is not one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history . The former Dodgers’ great statistics speaks volumes to a prolific career and the accolades won . Koufax was given the privilege of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ opening game of their schedule , played against the San Francisco Giants , played at Dodgers’ Ballpark , in Los Angeles California . On the mound for the Dodgers, in this match-up of two well-respected NL West franchises , we had Clayton Kershaw and Matt Cain . Kershaw since his drafting by the Dodgers in the 2006 MLB Draft , his career has been on an upward spiral, from the minors on through ,

In recent seasons , Kershaw has been amongst the very best performing pitchers in the National League , but this oh so early comparison , to a legend , such as Sandy Koufax, is simply asinine , and in many respects, insulting to both players . If Kershaw can maintain the current pace as to the success attained , then there is no reason not to believe why he cannot become a future inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame , but for now , the comparison to the legendary left-handed pitcher becomes nonplussed, and not of any real significance .

Dodgers’ owners , Magic Johnson , Mark Walter , Todd Boehly , Peter Guber , and team President , Stan Kasten , will certainly look to assess the performance of this team over the course of the season . There is no denying , that coming after the failings in 2012 , a great deal more was expected of this high-priced assembly of stars . It’s one thing to accumulate a roster of players , reward them in some cases , with astronomical salaries , but if there’s no cohesion on the field of play , then surely, that will be equated with a lack of success .

For the Dodgers, in 2013 , it will be “do or die “ and according to Magic Johnson , “ no expense will be spared on or off the field of play as this ball club seeks to win a World Series’ title” . Take into account that it has been twenty-five years (1988) since the Los Angeles Dodgers won the last of their five World Series titles . To be a part of that particular equation in 2013 , the Los Angeles Dodgers will have to be a truly dominant team , led by their erstwhile manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff.

Not yet ready to throw out the baby with the bath water , but , if I hear one more damn prognostication about the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates , and the expectations for both ball clubs this season , I am likely to let loose with several bits of profanity ! Has there ever been two more misguided and lackluster baseball franchises , who continue have you salivating with excitement , one minute , only to disappoint the next ? With the exception of the ongoing woes and the misguided maneuvers of the Chicago Cubs , I truly believe that the Pirates and Royals, are now , the two most inept franchises in all of baseball ! simply, look at the records of the Pittsburgh Pirates and that of Kansas City Royals , as evidence of that over the past decade and a half . Not to be outdone mind you , in recent years , it could be said that the Seattle Mariners should be equated amongst these misguided and mismanaged baseball franchises ,

A strong could be made that David Glass , Bob Nutting and Howard Lincoln as the owners or senior managing partner in the aforementioned triumvirate of teams , have simply obfuscated their responsibilities , in seeking to make the Royals , Pirates and Mariners a resounding success financially , as well as competitively . That being made , much of this , all comes down to how the ball club seeks to go acquiring their talent , by way of the MLB Draft , free agency trades or simply promoting from within their respective farm systems . Yet when it is all said and done, it comes back down to money , and about those teams that have it and those that don’t . Are they willing to spend , or are they not willing to do so ? I will leave that for you all to be the judge of that, as it all in reality , comes down to a matter of conjecture and bear analysis by way of the teams’ actions.

In many respects I believe that this season , will be about the teams expected to succeed, being under more pressure to do so, more than ever before , along with their respective managers . Perhaps, the three managers, with the greatest need to succeed will be , Mike Sciocsia of Los Angeles Angels , Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies , and Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers . Sciocsia , along with team owner, Arte Moreno and GM , Jerry DiPoto , have once again gone off to the races , having acquired outfielder, Josh Hamilton to go alongside a highly explosive offense headlined by Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and a pitching staff , with a proven ace , in , Jered Weaver. That being said , the Angels’ fall from grace last season within the AL West came as something of a shock , because of the inconsistency of the hitting and pitching at the most inopportune of moments. A repeat of that in 2013 , and their season could simply implode without having put up much of challenge against the rest of their divisional rivals and those primarily within the AL .

Jim Leyland has a great deal going for him as a veteran manager , beyond the respect of his peers and players he has managed over the course of his career. However , what cannot be denied , is the very fact that he and the Tigers have come up too short , more often than we could care to remember. Detroit being manhandled by the San Francisco Giants last season (4-0) in the World Series , was enough to have left us all somewhat squeamish . Pitching awful , offense , simply mediocre , and beyond that , there is not much else that needs to be said , after that sorry chapter .

At some point during this season, we will see the Phillies simply cave , and fall apart. This team is littered with All Stars , but what it appears to lack is a vocal and inspirational leader on the field of play. Clearly , Charlie Manuel cannot be seen as the voice of reason , much less a motivator , when needed . This, is a team, that either flies by the seat of its pants , blowing hot and cold. Injuries asides, they will either sink or swim by the merits of their deeds , on the field of play. With the amount of money sank into the pitching staff , and in particular for Cole Hamels . I would like to think that the Phillies’ front office is likely to get a sizable return on that investment at some point in the season, preferably deep into the postseason ! Squandered opportunities and a lone World Series’ triumph in 2008 , in essence , just happens to be all that the franchise , has to show for the recent success over the past six years . The clock is now ticking for Charlie Manuel and front office executive, Reuben Amaro Jr .

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Picture gallery .

With the first week baseball almost in the books , what if anything do you hope to see in the first five or six weeks of the baseball schedule ? Which teams, if anything , have you been most impressed this early in terms of the season’s infancy? Chime in, with your thoughts, as you see fit .

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Slideshow and picture gallery details below .

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(1) In this photo combo of file photos, Jay-Z, left, watches an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on Jan. 27, 2013. New York Yankees’ Robinson Cano sits in the dugout during a spring training baseball game in Tampa, Fla., on March 28, 2013. Cano plans to switch agents from Scott Boras to a new company formed by musician Jay-Z’s , Roc Nation and CAA Sports . AP Photo/Reed Saxon, left, and Kathy Willens ….

(2) New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) greets Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell (53) at an opening day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1 , 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ….

(3) Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia gestures to the pitcher as New York Yankees’ Kevin Youkilis reacts after a seventh-inning strikeout stranding two runners in an opening day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia .. delivers in the first inning at an Opening Day baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(5) New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who is on the disabled list, walks gingerly on the field after doing an interview before the Yankees’ spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, March 26, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(6) Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) throws out Baltimore Orioles’ Brian Roberts after making a diving stop during the fourth inning of an opening day baseball game Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays would go on to lose the game 7-4 with a rather poor offensive output coming from the Rays’ hitters and inadequate effort from the team’s middle relievers . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(7) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – APRIL 02: Outfielder Adam Jones (10) of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates his team’s 7-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays during the Opening Day game at Tropicana Field on April 2, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(8) Baseball Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is seen here on Opening Day , having just thrown out the ceremonial first pitch to start the Dodgers’ season and their game against reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants on the 1st April , 2013 . The Dodgers would go on to defeat the Giants 4-0 , but their in their subsequent game , the roles would be reversed with the visitors exacting revenge at Dodgers’ Ballpark , in Los Angeles , California with a 3-0 victory . Getty Images / Chris Hughes ….

(9) Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw , left, rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of a season opening baseball game in Los Angeles, Monday, April 1, 2013. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong …

(10) A “near perfect game ” . Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish is greeted by his teammates as he leaves the game after surrendering a hit in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, in Houston. Darvish pitched eight and two-thirds perfect innings before giving up a hit to Astros’ Marwin Gonzalez in the Rangers’ 7-0 win . AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Smiley N. Pool …

(11) Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia (14) shakes hands with Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker at the start of a major league baseball game , Monday, April 1, 2013, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Al Behrman ….

(12) Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel is seen here congratulating his starting pitcher Cole Hamels during a game . Hamels and the rest of the team’s high-priced pitching staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed after the team’s inconsistent showing in 2011 and 2012 . Manuel and GM Reuben Amaro will be under a great deal of pressure as well as certain members of the team for the ball club to succeed this season , as the front office seeks answers for the franchise’s woes as of late . AP Photo / Paul Harmon ………

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It was the best of times and the worst of times

Glib, Yes, they are ! In the world of sports and in entertainment, what else, would you tend to expect ?

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

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MLB news

MLB team news

MLB schedule calendar of important dates 2013

MLB transactions

MLB team DL

MLB schedule 2nd April

MLB probable starting pitchers 2nd April and for 3rd April

MLB results 1st April

MLB standings

MLB stats daily leaders

MLB team stats (overall)

MLB this week in baseball history

This day in baseball history 3rd April

MLB team payrolls 2013

MLB history rare feats

Perfect games in MLB history

No hitters in MLB history

Four homer game

Consecutive home runs

Hit for cycle

Unassisted triple play

Forty / forty club ( 40 / 40 )

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Selena  Star

Adult entertainer , Selena Star

Selena Star/

Selena could definitely be the ” teacher’s pet ” . Hey. I wonder if she takes ” dictation ” ? Answers please , if you dare ?