Issues , Issues , Issues ……. Oh No ….

Issues , Issues , Issues , Oh No …

By tophatal

Difficult as it may now seem when a player under-achieves after one or two outstanding seasons . Questions questions arise as to how or why things go wrong . Two-time NL CY Young winner Tim Lincecum has been struggling this season , and this has become a worrisome problem for the San Francisco Giants and the managerial staff of Bruce Bochy . ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

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Lincecum’s statistics (2-8, 6.19 ERA, 83 K’s, 41BB’s) reads like a horror story and it easy to understand why . The pitcher’s confidence may well at an all-time low or his mechanics are not completely in n sync . Those issues can be tweaked but at what cost to the Tim Lincecum overall and his future performances ? Matt Cain after his recent ‘ no hitter’ may well be viewed as the ace on the team’s roster . Cain has benefited greatly from his teammate’s presence with the Giants , and that was clear for everyone to see when the ball-club claimed their most recent World Series in 2010 and their 4-1 series’ triumph over the Texas Rangers .

This season within the NL West the Giants have seen the Los Angeles Dodgers race out of the starting gates and surge to a lead within the division . And for the San Francisco Giants as the month of June comes to a close , it will be interesting to see how the team acquits itself . Bruce Bochy’s players in their next game are the guests of the Oakland A’s at the O Coliseum in Oakland , California . On the mound as the opposing pitchers will be Tim Lincecum of the Giants facing Jarrod Parker (3-3, 2.82 ERA) of the A’s.

At 38-32 the San Francisco Giants find themselves four games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers within the NL West . A defeat of the Oakland A’s would certainly bode well for the Giants and certainly closing out the series of interleague games against the A’s places the team in an enviable position . Don Mattingly and the Dodgers have their issues at present , with a team that has been losers of their last three games , and winners of only four of their last 10 . Mattingly also has to contend with the fact that he has several key players on the DL , most notably the team’s best player Matt Kemp . A fit and productive Kemp , assists the Dodgers a great deal as they look to open a new chapter in their illustrious history , having been acquired in a multi-billion deal . The new ownership group led by Mark Walter and Magic Johnson , seeks to make the franchise relevant once again .

For the San Francisco Giants we will now get to see what this team is actually made of as the first half of the season plays lf itself out for their fans . With the All Star Game scheduled to take place in the month of July with the festivities being staged at Kauffman Stadium , home to the Kansas City Royals , Kansas City , Missouri ,. It should prove to be interesting to see whether or not the Giants can play themselves into contention during the second half of the season . A great deal will be dependent on the team’s pitching as well as their offense but the greatest scrutiny will be placed upon Tim Lincecum and whether or not he can regain the form that made him a back-to-back Cy Young winner in 2008 and 2009 . Lincecum , along with Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong form a formidable trio starting pitchers for the Giants . Melky Cabrera , Buster Posey , Angel Pagan , Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Theriot have played their part this season , with the feeling that if the pitching isn’t able to provide a boost for the fans then most certainly the offense might be able to do so .

There is no denying that we have seen a number of outstanding pitching performances this season , with a perfect game and a number of no-hitters to wet the fans’ appetites . And while New York Mets’ pitcher R A Dickey ( 11-1, 2.00 ERA, 103 K’s, 3 CG & 14 GS ) has been sensational . It has to be said that the remainder of the season could prove to be just as intriguing if the pitchers of AL and NL are able to keep up the a momentum while trying to silence the bats of some of the most prolific hitters in the game from the respective leagues ( AL & NL ) . The game of baseball needs as much excitement as can be achieved without the ongoing controversy that simply engulfs the sport at present . Bud Selig appears to be bereft of intelligence with regard to so many issues as it relates to the game . While commanding a staggering $24 million in salary a year , there are so many teams struggling to remain viable , albeit that their values have escalated in recent years . Moreover , that has to be pleasing to the team owners and MLB hierarchy , alike . However , it does not address the graver issues that the “small market teams “ have , in terms of trying to compete with the likes of New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , Philadelphia Phillies , Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels in terms of team payrolls . In addition, for the commissioner who appears to so oblivious , as to the acute needs of so many teams within the game , he plays lip service , in order to create an environment of peaceful accord . Nothing could be further from the truth because as of late we have seen the idiocy whereby Bud Selig chooses to obfuscate his responsibilities , while also choosing to ignore the rule of law because a verdict is not to his liking (Braun’s 50 game suspension being overturned). ====================================================================================================================================

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Do you believe that Tim Linceum will be able to regain the form that made him a repeat winner of the Cy Young Award in 2008 and 2009 ? Which of the leagues do you believe will be favored for the upcoming All Star Game ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit . 😛

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(1) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum throws against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of an inter-league baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, June 22, 2012. AP Photo/Eric Risberg …

(2) OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 22: Manager Bob Melvin (6) of the Oakland Athletics takes the ball from Jerry Blevins (13 ) taking him out of the game as catcher Kurt Suzuki (8) looks on in the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants at O.co Coliseum on June 22, 2012 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

(3) OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 22: Gregor Blanco (7) of the San Francisco Giants gets caught in a run-down between second and third chased by Cliff Pennington (2) of the Oakland Athletics in the six inning at O.co Coliseum on June 22, 2012 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ….

(4) OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 22: Manager Bruce Bochy (15) of the San Francisco Giants looks on from the dugout in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on June 22, 2012 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ….

(5) Manager Bruce Bochy (15) of the San Francisco Giants argues a call at home plate with umpire Larry Vanover (27) in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on June 22, 2012 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

(6) Tim Lincecum (55) of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on June 22, 2012 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …. =========================================== ===================================================================================

MLB news

MLB results 22nd June 2012

MLB schedule 23rd June 2012

M LB probable starting pitchers 23rd June 2012

MLB standings

MLB overall team statistics

MLB daily leaders pitching

MLB daily leaders batting 😛

San Francisco Giants news

NL West

San Francisco Giants’ front office

San Francisco Giants roster (depth chart)

San Francisco Giants coaching staff

San Francisco Giants team stats overall

San Francisco Giants’ team payroll 2012

San Francisco Giants 2012 scoring summary

San Francisco Giants (38-32) results & batting splits

San Francisco Giants overview of team pitching

Horses For Courses And A Great Deal More ……..

Horses For Courses And A Great Deal More ……..

I don’t know whether or not to laugh or simply groan now when I get sight of NBA Commissioner David Stern . It’s simply become so asinine to hear the game’s highest ranking official opine on what he believes to be the NBPA’s lack of good faith in the lockout deliberations . David Stern’s opposition to the union possibly de-certifying is the main reason for the league hierarchy filing suit in US Federal Court while at the same time seeking the intervention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to act as intermediaries in a government mandated mediation with a judge presiding over the whole deliberation process and then having the right to deliver a binding agreement on both parties. This is something from which neither side can view as a victory should such a scenario arise . David Stern may well be a good poker player but the cards he’s now holding simply do not favor the league or the team owners .

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Should the league vote de-certify which is not against the law it simply lessens the leverage that the NBA feels that they have other union in the negotiation process. It’s something that I’m sure that Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher saw worked out favorably for the NFLPA during their long drawn out lockout process . The commissioner’s bone of contention all along has been their stance that they now have to rein costs and above salary expenditure . Given the idiocy of that statement and the very fact that teams and the general managers have splurged ostentatiously in signing players to exorbitantly outrageous contracts . And pardon me for saying this but when you see Rashard Lewis as the second highest paid player in the NBA last season earning in excess of $22.5 million has me wondering in what god damn world is where you’re paid to not to get results and be productive ? Other than those mindless idiots within the House and Senate I can’t think of any perhaps more undeserving of that type of reward for the least amount of return ! Mind you as I say this , I should point out that much to my surprise I recently found out that the commissioner himself is handsomely rewarded in terms of his annual compensation package. If the rumors are to be believed then David Stern is earning in excess of $20 million not including incentives . That’s the sort of money one would expect to see a highly gifted athlete or a titan of corporate America to be compensated with. But somehow this portly sized former legal mind is now decrying the fact that the salaries of the players are now far too high . Am I missing something here ? And did hell suddenly freeze over ?

Though this NBA stoppage by comparison to the NFL’s 135 day holdout is meager in its length the closer this entrenchment remains unresolved the more discontent there’s bound to be between the two parties . Never mind the ever growing resentment of the brooding NBA fans. With the preseason team training camps due to commence at the beginning of September it remains to be seen who’s about acquiesce to the others’ will. With the prominent team owners such as Dr Jerry Buss , Mark Cuban , James Dolan , Peter Holt , Mikhail Prokhorov , Michael Jordan , Dan Gilbert and Wyc Grousbeck all for the moment standing firmly in support of David Stern , I fully expect that should the lockout be prolonged more than they envisage then the support could very well be
threatened .

Many of the most recent owners such as Dan Gilbert in making the purchase of the Cleveland Cavaliers was fully financed by way of multi faceted loan instruments. And one should consider that the issues facing the Cavaliers in particular after the departure of LeBron James meant less revenues at Quicken Loans Arena and meager attendances for the team’s home games .

I am not about to castigate the team owners or for that matter the league hierarchy of the NBA as well as the union . From my own perspective I do believe that all of the parties are equally to blame . Given that Derek Fisher , Billy Hunter and David Stern were all aware that their existing collective bargaining agreement was due to expire on the 30th June it’s somewhat asinine that the groups in question sought to start their deliberations once the agreement had expired. Clearly there seems to be little if any common sense being shown from the lead individuals concerned . Billy Hunter whose passion as a lawyer is encapsulated around his struggles during the civil rights’ era. But here it appears to not about what’s viewed as being right but simply a matter of greed and how best to split the revenues from a $4.5 billion piece of the pie . The revenue stream as it now stands favors the players on 53.5 % to 46.5% ratio that the league seeks to lessen that would be equitable in its disbursement . Something of which the union simply does not favor as they feel that the league hierarchy has been decidedly less than truthful in showing real transparency as to their finances.

It will be very interesting to see what transpires over the ensuing weeks as the two sides seek to reach some sort of a compromise . If anything I fully expect this lockout to go on for an extended period of time . Billy Hunter made that situation abundantly clear when he commented that he does not expect there to be fully scheduled season for 2011-12. If that’s not of an indication as to how steadfast the NBPA seeks to be then clearly David Stern has misjudged the resolve of the union and it members .

As the races now appear to be tightening up within NL West and NL Central I can’t help but wonder what might happen should both the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants fail to make the postseason. And for both Tony La Russa and Bruce Bochy this certainly test their managerial acumen as they seek to get their respective teams playing with a great deal of resolve over the final months of the season.

The respective divisional titles are up for grabs as it would appear that the wildcard berth will come from the NL East in the form of the Atlanta Braves possibly gaining that spot. If nothing else teams in the midst closely ran races with the Cardinals now duelling with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Giants now finding themselves in an allout brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks . One wonders if it would come as a surprise were either the St Louis Cardinals or San Francisco Giants to come up short after this ardous season. Certainly the moves made by the Giants was indication of their resolve in looking to successfully defend merely not only their divisional crown but also their NL pennant as well as looking for a return to the World Series and duplicating last year’s feat . The San Francisco Giants over the Texas Rangers was indeed a long time coming and something the Giants’ fans simply yearned for.

That taste of success now has the Giants simply wanting more and it will be very interesting to see whether or not between now and the end of the regular season the reigning champions will still be on that path to repeating last season’s triumph. With the addition of Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants roster . For Bruce Bochy and his assistants knowing that they’ve some added potency on the offense gives the organization something they felt that they needed. There’s no denying that the team’s biggest strengths have been their pitching led by two time NL Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum . But if anything the real surprise amongst the roster has been the play of seasoned journeyman Ryan Vogelsong . If nothing else this season has been an aspiring ascent into the big leagues for the pitcher .

The Arizona Diamondbacks for their part with the play of Justin Upton has this team playing with a great deal of resolve. Given the change of ownership the changes both on and off the field now seems to have been paying dividends not only for the organization but also for the fans in attendance at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona . There has been a gradual uptick in attendance and with the play > of the team has many thinking that the organization now in a resurgent mode could now be on the cusp of doing something special. GM Kevin Towers along with the managing partners now know with the resurgence of the organization they have something to build upon . It has been a long time coming for the Diamondbacks given that their greatest triumph came back in 2001 with their surprising defeat of the venerable New York Yankees .

If anything one also should commend the job being done by Kirk Gibson and his coaching staff in getting the Arizona Diamondbacks to play with such zeal. He could very well end up being the NL Manager of the Year when it’s all said and done .

Given the ordeals faced by the St Louis Cardinals over the past few days it’s hard to see how one can’t but have some empathy with the team. Granted with the five game suspension of Yadier Molina and the events surrounding Albert Pujols being hit by an errant pitch it has me wondering now whether or not we’ll see the best or worse of this team !

The Milwaukee Brewers for their part with a thriving Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun have many thinking that after last season’s surprising divisional triumph by the Cincinnati Reds there’s time for some fresh infusion of blood in terms of another NL Central divisional winner . If not the St Louis Cardinals then why not the Milwaukee Brewers under the leadership of their managing general partner Mark Attanasio ?

Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke , his assistants and GM Doug Melvin have assembled a roster that is intent on acquitting themselves with a great deal of vigor and bring the fans back to Miller Park , Wisconsin with a sense of purpose . This Milwaukee Brewers’ team is very much a credible one but it remains to be seen what sort of steely resolve they are prepared to show over the remainder of the season .

If the Brewers are to prevail then it will have to be a concerted all-round effort with both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder leading the way . There’s a great deal that is at stake and it goes without saying that given the vagaries of this game where one misstep can be the difference between success and failure I can’t help but feel that the players on this team may well feel ………. that now is their time .

In light of what you are now seeing happening with the divisional races at present in baseball which teams do you feel have been the biggest surprise over the course of this season ? And from within the NL Central and NL West which of the teams do you see actually triumphing in the end in terms those races ? Simply chime in with a comment as you would deem fit .

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

Contact tophatal …………….. rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) NBA commissioner David Stern speaks to reporters after a meeting with the players’ union, Thursday, June 30, 2011 in New York. Despite a three-hour meeting Thursday, the sides could not close the enormous gap that remained in their positions. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …..

(2) NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher, right, NBA union chief Billy Hunter, left, and LA Lakers’ Theo Ratliff arrive at a midtown hotel for a meeting with the NBA, Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 in New York. One month after the lockout began, and three months before the season is scheduled to start, representatives for the NBA owners and locked-out players return to the bargaining table. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer …….

(3) Wyc Grousbeck the senior managing partner of the ownership group for the Boston Celtics . Courtesy of Getty Images / Olin James …

(4) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 4: Hunter Pence (3) of the Philadelphia Phillies gets an RBI single against the San Francisco Giants in the ninth inning during a MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Phillies won the game 3-0 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(5) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 4: Jeff Keppinger (8) of the San Francisco Giants gets his throw off completing the double-play avoiding the slide of John Mayberry (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning during an MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 4, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Phillies won the game 3-0. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……..

(6) Jason Marquis (21) of the Arizona Diamondbacks is taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Kirk Gibson against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 3, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The D’backs would go on lose the game 8-1 against the San Francisco Giants . Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images ………

(7) Pablo Sandoval (48) of the San Francisco Giants slides in safe at home on a ball hit by Orlando Cabrera(notes) in the third inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 3, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images …….

(8) St. Louis Cardinals players Rafael Furcal, right, and Albert Pujois celebrate after they defeated the Florida Marlins 7-4 in a baseball game in Miami, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ….

(9) Matt Holliday(7) of the St. Louis Cardinals rounds third after hitting a three run home run off Clay Hensley(32) of the Florida Marlins during a game at Sun Life Stadium on August 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ………

(10) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 03: Casey McGehee (14) of the Milwaukee Brewers steps on home plate to score after hitting his second home run of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park on August 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Cardinals 10-5 . Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……..

(11) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 03: Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers has words with Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals at first base at Miller Park on August 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

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NBA news

MLB news

MLB Standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB schedule 3 days at a glance 5th August 2011

MLB Results 4th August 2011

MLB Probable starters 5th August

MLB DL teams’ disabled list

MLB Awards 2010

It’s Only Business That’s All ……….

It’s Only Business That’s All …………..

Well it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig deflated the balloon of Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt . Finally the commissioner shows some insight after he and the league hierarchy and the team owners made a gargantuan mistake in granting McCourt the right to buy the team originally from the Fox Corporation . Furthermore , the question I still would like to ask of Selig and the owners and hierarchy is given the fact that it was well known that McCourt had several legal problems prior to the purchase what type of due diligence was used if any by the league’s hierarchy ?

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In his findings Selig rightfully stated that even with the $ 3 billion 17 year deal in place much of the funds derived from the deal would have actually gone to paying down much of the personal debt of Frank McCourt and that of his associated business interests . Much of the time we were being told by McCourt that the Dodgers as business concern was financially viable but herein lies the caveat all along ,. McCourt in cahoots with Dodgers’ CFO Peter Wilhelm had repeatedly used the team as financial collateral in a number of business deals that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the game of baseball . Much of this McCourt would keep hidden not only from certain board members but most certainly from the MLB hierarchy , thereby contravening bye laws of the game concerning debt to asset ratio all teams in the conduct of their business practices .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

MLB rejects Dodgers’ television deal with Fox

By Tim Brown , Yahoo Sports

Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday rejected a proposed television rights package that would have given life to Frank McCourt’s ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After a two-month investigation, Selig concluded that too much of the 17-year, near-$3 billion package with Fox would be funneled away from the Dodgers, who are straining to stay relevant under McCourt’s financial bind.

“Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt,” Selig said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.”

So arrive what could be the final days of McCourt’s ownership of the Dodgers, seven years after he purchased the franchise from Fox.

McCourt, who Friday had reached a divorce settlement with ex-wife and former team president Jamie McCourt, was notified Monday afternoon of Selig’s decision, which effectively nullifies that settlement. A portion of the $385 million advance from Fox was earmarked for Frank McCourt’s personal debt and divorce payoff .

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The sticking point for Frank McCourt now comes in the fact that he now faces having to sell the team in order to doubt meet the obligations concerning his divorce settlement with his ex wife Jamie McCourt . Beyond this , until the courts in Los Angeles make a legal verdict of their own concerning the Dodgers being a communal asset we may well see the beleaguered owner seeking his own recourse in challenging Selig with a civil suit of his own in the Federal Courts . Good luck with that Frank because of now you’re still fighting an uphill battle !

At this time of the season within baseball teams will either sink or swim not only in terms of their play but also by the decisions made by the managers . But barring that all , what could be even more telling will be the disabled list of the teams around the league . It’s not a team yearns to have one of their star players on the DL but simply tends to happen through no fault of the player or anyone else for that matter . The standings at present a different picture of what many thought would be happening but then again the game of baseball will always be literally filed with surprises . Nothing is ever guaranteed in stone in any game of chance much less a competitive team endeavor .

If you’re a San Diego Padres’ fan how must you feel at present seeing the team languish at the bottom of NL West , having won only one of their last ten games and being on a 6 game losing streak ? It’s fair to say that not only the loss of Adrian Gonzalez has played a part in the team’s downward spiral from last season but the austerity measures now in place by the front office led by principal partner Jeff Moorad , Chairman John Moores and GM Jed Hoyer . Paring down salary is one thing but I’m not so sure that this alone will assist the organization in being competitive ! This past MLB Draft saw the Hoyer prudently make choices that he and manager Bud Black make the type of decisions that will quite possibly bare fruit and come to fruition in the coming years .

Manager Bud Black and his coaching staff have their work cut for them this season if this team is to show any respite much less the resolve in showing some sign of resurgence . Ryan Ludwick , Brad Hawpe , Cameron Maybin and Orlando Hudson have all got to show that from an offensive standpoint that they can lead this team . And granted in Aaron Harang , Matt Latos and Dustin Moseley the pitching has struggled throughout much of the season . One gets the feeling that an upsurge in confidence and a win streak of 5 or six games and a few series could very well change the mindset of not just the organization but also the team .

For all of the talk about building for the future which while good it simply doesn’t fill the ballpark with fans that are being starved of success . Prospects and a farm system filled with top notch talent is one thing but simply ask the vast majority of fans if they are prepared to wait around for years merely to see in large part the team quite possibly fail or more often than not simply let go of talent that goes on to flourish elsewhere ?

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

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment or comments as to your thoughts . And as always thanks for the continued support is it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig listens to a question during a news conference on Thursday, May 12, 2011 in New York. Selig gave Frank McCourt the face-to-face meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers owner wanted, but provided no timetable on approving a proposed $3 billion television deal with Fox that would keep the club from running out of cash at the end of the month. Selig and McCourt met Wednesday when owners began a two-day quarterly meeting at Major League Baseball’s office.AP Photo/ Bebeto Matthews ….

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks during a Dodger Stadium security news conference at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on April 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. It was announced that new security measures will be implemented at Dodger Stadium after San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was attacked in the parking lot after the season opener at Dodger Stadium. The beleaguered owner now having seen his lone remaining hope go up in smoke with Bud Selig revoking his deal Fox Tv now is left with nothing but to seek recourse through litigation . But herein lies the caveat should the courts not provide a verdict in his support he could very well lose the team altogether . Getty Images North America / Kevork Djansezian …………

(3) BOSTON, MA – JUNE 20: Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a 14-5 win over the San Diego Padres at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …

(4) Orlando Hudson (1) of the San Diego Padres kicks dirt between pitches during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …….

(5) Ryan Ludwick (47) of the San Diego Padres connects for a broken-bat single during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …………

(6) At Petco Park Jan. 12 to announce the retirement of Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman and his new position in the Padres’ front office (from left): Manager Bud Black, president and COO Tom Garfinkel , Hoffman, vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad, and GM Jed Hoyer. AP Photo / Phil Moyer ……..

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What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

Well now that the MLB season is slowly progressing towards its halfway point and with the league’s midseason showcase event due in July with the All Star Game being hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona. It well be interesting to see how the teams come into the break in terms of their overall form .

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The standings at present reflect that Philadelphia Phillies seem to be intent on running away with the NL East . They currently hold a 5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the division and though it’s way too early to suggest that they will be playing for the NLCS during the postseason but it would appear that the only thing that can derail the Phillies’ season would be their own complacency . Within the NL Central and NL West it would appear the races there are too close to call between the top two teams within each division . Tight races tend to add a great deal more excitement to the season and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what the fans really yearn . And that is liable to be the case at present within both of the divisions in question .

Within the AL it’s business as usual within the AL East where the Boston Red Sox are now prepared to show that their recent form isn’t merely an aberration. On a two game winning streak and winners of nine of their last ten games the Red Sox now look as if they’re look distance themselves from the rest of the division. Their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field was certainly a hard fought win but that’s simply the mindset of what now is the most competitive division within baseball. This division to my mind will most certainly provide the wildcard entrant for AL without a doubt unless there’s a monumental meltdown by the runner up to the winner of the AL East.

As was the premise with the NL Central and NL West well once again here too the races may well be too close to call within the AL Central and AL West . What we can be certain of within both divisions is that the teams won’t be giving up until the divisions are mathematically out of their reach in terms of winning or possibly attaining that lone wildcard berth .

Now as much as I know that Commissioner Bud Selig the league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners have proposed expanding the playoffs’ format by adding two more teams within each league . I certainly believe that the hierarchy’s biggest issue is to deal with the financial problems now engulfing a number of teams within the league rather than adding to the playoffs and further elongating the season far more than it needs to be. I mean it’s not as if Selig has actually shown the propensity for being proactive on any issue unless he’s dragged kicking and screaming , then being forced to make a decision. Simply look at the morass created by Frank McCourt with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? If that’s not enough of an indication to show mind numbingly slow Selig was in acting , given the fact that it had been widely reported that the franchise was financially troubled . Then clearly Bud Selig along with the owners and league hierarchy were in fact so naive but perhaps even more so , too damn stupid for their own good .

I’m not about to try understand the fascination with Ricky Rubio and the fact that the player now says he’s ready to play in the NBA . Granted , having been drafted in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves , the player sought to forgo joining the organization and play an additional two years in Europe where the financial inducement there was far greater than the front office could have offered with a rookie contract. Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn now feel that the player having made the decision to join the team can provide them with the form and maturity that simply belies his age.

In the aftermath of a horrendous season the Timberwolves now have to deal with the disatisfaction of their incumbent coach Kurt Rambis and the mere fact that neither Glen Taylor or David Kahn have assured their beleaguered coach that he’ll be asked to return next season. With there not being a plethora of viable candidates out there to succeed Rambis should he be relieved of his duties . I would have thought that the the general manager and team owner would want to reassure the coach that his job is safe. Furthermore , with the NBA Draft due to take place on 23rd June I certainly would have thought that a coaching upheaval would be the last things that this franchise now needs . But herein lies the idiocy of how the Timberwolves have simply acted , as if in a vacuum and perhaps one of the reasons why they’ve simply had little success over the last five years. Beset by rather asinine personnel decisions made not only by Kahn but also his predecessor Kevin McHale this organization has never gained any traction in terms of success .

With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the number # 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft it will be interesting to see the decision made by the organization. As such there isn’t a genuine consensus number one pick but the thought is that the two most desirable players could well be Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams . From there , it’s anyone’s guess as to what format will be then taken in terms of the players taken in this Draft .

As the NFL work stoppage has already entered its ninetieth day I can’t help but wonder what the optimism amongst the team owners , league hierarchy and players appears to be about ! Hell, both sides have already alienated the vast majority of fans to begin with . And no amount of public statements coming from both sides concerning the progress now being made can simply hide the fact that what we have are two groups of greedy fucking bastards ! The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million per year with the median salary $770,000 and the average career span being approximately three and a half years . I understand that the players are entitled the highest possible salary available to them given the inherent risks of the game . But herein lies my question do they try and identify themselves with the fan out there ? I’ve heard a number of players during this stoppage state their issues are no different from that of any employee in the work place . Personally, I seriously doubt that the working fan who attends an NFL game can actually identify with the likes of Tom Brady , Peyton Manning or even Reggie Bush for that matter when their salaries run into the millions each season . Whereas as the average salary nationwide is approximately $44,000 per year , one can well understand that fan can hardly identify with a player who’s compensation package , endorsements notwithstanding can easily exceed $15 million a year.

From a fan’s standpoint , at this moment in time I couldn’t really care if the NFL starts on schedule as planned on the 8th September 2011 . Once this dispute came into being with a stoppage the NFL simply lost me and many others as long term fans . I’m of no doubt that they will however do their utmost to lure us all back with some form of inducement that we might too unbelievable to turn down . It has already began with a number of teams around the NFL in many cases offering deep discounts on for the purchase of season tickets and game day tickets in a number of instances .

So the US Open golf tournament is underway and all of this without the game’s biggest draw in Tiger Woods . The stage is set at Congressional Golf Club in Bethseda , Maryland for any one of a number of players to step into Woods’ shoes and show the fans they can become the main draw for the event . From my own standpoint the moment made the announcement that he wouldn’t be participating in the second Major of the season I simply knew that the tournament could either become a monumental disaster from spectators yearning for excitement . As it now stands the leaderboard for the tournament midway through two rounds isn’t exactly awe inspiring . Rory McIlroy leads the event with an eight stroke lead at -11 (11 under par). And to think that a patron stated that the player’s meltdown in the year’s first Major The Masters was simply because he wasn’t good enough . I guess when your knowledge of the game borders on the level of Palin’s knowledge of jurisprudence and the number of members seated on the US Supreme Court I guess you simply have to take that for all it’s worth ? Sitting solely in second place is Y. E. Yang at -3 , in third place is Robert Garrigus at .-2.

There is still two more rounds to be played in this tournament but if McIlroy is able to keep his composure with the pressure bearing down on him then it is my belief that he can win this tournament and cement his credentials as one of the best young players on the PGA Tour . Having already established himself on the European Tour as well as a member of a winning European Ryder Cup team the future bodes well for the young Irishman . In an earlier article I had intimated that I firmly believe that the US Open could be won by a foreigner as I felt that the US born players have now simply become too disinterested in their national championship and in large , the Majors themselves . With there being vast sums at stake on the Tour schedule and total prize money in excess of $ 225 million it begs the question are they actually interested in winning or merely cashing a check for a top twenty finish ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

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(1) Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Florida Marlins in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 3-0 . AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(2) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: during the game against the at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 3-0. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images ….

(3) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second base as shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) of the Boston Red Sox is late with the tag during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(4) Pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with pitcher David Price (14) during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Red Sox would go on to defeat the Rays 4-2 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(5) Spanish basketball player Ricky Rubio gives a press conference on June 17, 2011, at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona, to announce that he was leaving the Catalan team to make his debut in the NBA next season at Minnesota Timberwolves.
AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO /Getty Images …

(6) Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images …

(7) T’wolves’ GM David Kahn (foreground) and the team’s owner Glen Taylor answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ……………….

(8) Tom Brady and Peyton Manning shake hands after an NFL game . The two celebrated quarterbacks are amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Getty Images/ Jim Rogash ……

(9) BETHESDA, MD – JUNE 17: The handwritten scores of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in the press room during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images ……

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland swings from the bunker on the ninth hole during the second round of the 111th US Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON ….

(11) Y. E. Yang, of South Korea, watches his drive from the fourth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..

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What In The Wild World of Sports ?

What In The Wild World of Sports ?

It’s been such a misnomer to see the start of the college football season and the thinking in the first few games we’ll see the major programs that are part of the BCS simply come out and dominate. Considering that before they undertake their divisional schedules they’re essentially playing a number of powder puff teams merely to get of the curve in the rankings. Personally I find the whole college makeup a complete farce to begin with ! Essentially it comes down to the fact that the major BCS conferences and the criteria set by those who set the rules have made it nigh on impossible for none BCS schools to be considered for a shot of playing for the national championship.

And considering the asinine notion that this ultimately is the best step forward in determining a national champion is such a farce ! The only way to have a national champion, is to make the whole championship makeup all inclusive to BCS programs as well as none inclusive programs and the divisions thereof.

OK so the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres are having a meltdown that could end up being so cataclysmic that it could prove to be scary for their fans and for those who are now witnessing the fallout from this all. Both teams had sizable leads within their respective divisions. And it says a great deal that both Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants are now making the divisional races within NL East and NL West so exciting. Who’d have thought that we would be now seeing the two teams who have in essence have been two of the biggest surprises of the baseball season ? Should both the Braves and Padres fall out of contention for a postseason berth then we can say that much of his came about from their own inconsistencies down the stretch runs of their respective seasons.

And for Bobby Cox of the Braves and Bud Black of the Padres they can rest assured that with this season having been filled with surprises.It has to be said that for the raves and Padres should their season fall apart the window of opportunity will most certainly haven’t left either organization. Both teams seem to be building for the future and that has to be a refreshing theme for both ballclubs.

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Slide-show gallery for your perusal .


Before the NFL season has even began it’d appear that the silly season has started. Matt Leinart has been cut by the Arizona Cardinals. And for the former first round draft pick his fall from grace has been truly amazing. But then again for a player who’d set out to show his worth he’s been a failure in the NFL. Now Leinart having been cut he has signed a one year contract with the Houston Texans where he’ll be a backup to the incumbent number one quarterback Matt Schaub . And for Leinart this just might the last chance for the player to actually prove himself . And if you thought Leinart’s situation was bad well consider the situation concerning the Seattle Seahawks’ T J Houshmanzadeh ? The player having signed a five year $45 million contract contract with the team in 2008 Houshmanzadeh now finds himself without a team having been cut by Seattle’s coach Pete Carroll .

The Seahawks are now looking for a new direction as Carroll seeks to give this team an identity.And for a team that has seen its window of opportunity slowly close over the past few years from inconsistent play and the lack of a real coaching pedigree since the departure of Mike Holmgren from the organization. The departure of Houshmanzadeh from this team may not be the only thing that’s needed to resurrect its fortune as Carroll has certainly got to prove himself upon his return to the NFL where lack of success left him beaten and a lost soul within the NFL ranks. His sojourn within the collegiate ranks has proven to be cathartic and an unprecedented success with the USC Trojans . But now we’re finding out that the real truth as to what was taking place inside of the program and to an extent the part ultimately played in it all by Carroll. His departure from the program was akin to a thief fleeing in the night from the scene of his most recent crime. And for those Trojans’ fans still smarting out there and who’ve blinded by the successes , merely look at what has transpired under his regime and ask yourself has it all been worth it ? And one has to ask what was the part of the athletics department in all of this ? Surely a number of those there were aware as to what was going on ? Or are we to believe that this all was solely down to the behavior of the athletes involved in the subterfuge ? Somehow those within the athletics department and the faculty new about this but would rather turn a blind eye to it all essentially because of the money that there was to be made. And made money they did ……..millions if not tens of millions of dollars.

What to make of the constant whining within the NFL at present and the mere fact that both Commissioner Roger Goodell and his union representative counterpart DeMaurice Smith seem intent on wrecking any chance of coming to an agreement with regard to the ongoing collective bargaining agreement. Allegedly this has all become about who ought to have the biggest slice of the pie and how each side seems to be pleading poverty ? Nothing says bullshit than that of a bunch of multi-millionaire owners and players acting like a bunch of primadonas ! But to make things even appear all so much worse is the mere fact that neither side seems to be taking into account that goodwill that has now been lost with the fans. If both Goodell and Smith think that they can now win back the fans after all the idiocy that has been taking place between both parties. Then these two now make the partisanship between the Democrats and Republicans seem like the congregation of a church gathering where everyone seems to be enamored with everyone. In the case of both the NFL and NFLPA we’re seeing both parties act like the ongoing feuding between the Israelis and Palestinians. And as we now all know there’s been no love lost between the feuding groups over the decades. Similarly here, there has been little trust between the league (NFL) and the union(NFLPA). And while there has been no major labor unrest in over a decade this all could all very well change within the next few months should things not change and an impasse remain.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What if anything has you wondering about the situation within the NFL as well as that of the two races mention within the NL East and NL West as they now proceed down to the closing stretch of the season ? Chime on in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s appreciated !

NB: Having been cut T J Houshmanzadeh signed a one year $850,000 contract to play in Baltimore this upcoming season with the Baltimore Ravens .

🙂

Alan aka tophatal ………………… 🙂

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UB 40 …… “Rat In My Kitchen “

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Kelly Brook

Lingerie model Kelly Brook