It’s not your grandfather or father’s game of baseball ……………….

It’s not your grandfather or father’s game of baseball

There now seems to be a quiet solemnity arising as baseball nears its Opening Day on Sunday, 31st March . And on Easter Sunday, representing one of the holiest days, within Christendom, it should be noted, that the game still has its difficulties , the most obvious being, that the league hierarchy has yet to find a way extricate itself from a mess of its own making, as it relates to the never-ending saga of illicit steroid use by its players . At the center of it all , will be whether not Bud Selig will use the full extent of the law and seek legal action against the South Florida medical establishment Biogenesis , in seeking obtain documentary evidence as to the list of players associated with Biogenesis’ clients, their manufacturing and sales of PED’s and anabolic steroids . Amongst the players named in these documents are Alex Rodriguez , Ryan Braun and Melky Cabrera .

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In the midst of this all, one of the game’s most revered and beloved players , will be celebrated on film when Hollywood will release the biopic “42 “ , starring Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford , in a film based upon the life of Hall of Fame inductee , Jackie Robinson and his introduction into and the desegregation of baseball.

Official trailer for the movie “42 ” released by Warner Bros Pictures Inc

Alas, from Robinson’s introduction and his vilification by fans and contemporaries alike , it would appear that the game of baseball is still bereft of intelligence , a great deal of bigotry and complete accountability and leadership among the game’s hierarchy and players remains, a reminder as to why it has fallen from its once historic heights. And while many will counter with the fact that Branch Rickey’s brave social maneuver changed the face of sports and the social fabric of the country . One could counter that as the biggest misnomer and the very fact that the race remained socially , economically and racially divided . Doubt my word ? Consider the fact that the US military was not “fully integrated” and then desegregated until eight years after the end of World War II . Cause for concern don’t you think , considering the rather banal and idiotic claims , repeatedly being made by sociologists and historians down the years ?

Courtesy of New York Daily News

Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and other players linked to Biogenesis will have to speak with Major League Baseball investigators
Baseball officials have been investigating players’ ties to Florida anti-aging clinics since last summer, when the Daily News first reported that Giants star Melky Cabrera had tried to avoid a 50-game suspension by claiming a dietary supplement sparked a positive drug test

By Michael O’Keefe and Christian Reed , New York Daily News

Alex Rodriguez and other players linked to Biogenesis will still have to speak to Major League Baseball investigators in the near future, even if they could be called as witnesses in the lawsuit MLB filed last week against Anthony Bosch’s now-defunct anti-aging clinic.
Baseball’s investigators will interview players tied to Biogenesis shortly after the season begins next week, sources told the Daily News.
“I don’t think the lawsuit will prevent the interviews from going forward,” one source familiar with MLB’s Biogenesis investigation said.
MLB filed a civil suit in Florida state court on Friday that accuses Bosch and several business associates of “tortious interference” in contracts between baseball and its players by supplying players with performance-enhancing drugs.
Baseball officials have been investigating players’ ties to Florida anti-aging clinics since last summer, when the Daily News first reported that Giants star Melky Cabrera had tried to avoid a 50-game suspension by claiming a dietary supplement sparked a positive drug test.
An associate of Cabrera’s, Juan Carlos Nunez, was banned from MLB clubhouses after he admitted that he created a fake website for the product. Nunez worked for Cabrera’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, whose Brooklyn-based ACES is among baseball’s most prominent agencies.

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From my own perspective , I have always felt that baseball’s hierarchy has been disingenuous , along with the players and its union (MLBPA) ! The so-called stars within the game have failed to speak publicly about their contemporaries’ misuse of steroids and the cheating scandal associated with the misuse of the illicit substances in question. To make matters worse , Bud Selig’s handling of this whole tragic episode has bordered on being completely comical and without scope or any common sense . It should be noted however, with Selig stepping down from his office in 2014 , it is hoped that his successor will bring about some much-needed changes within the games at various levels. Pardon me for saying this , but if the likes of Derek Jeter, Albert Pujols and Buster Posey will seek to remain silent while the union and league hierarchy simply continue with their charade , that they are cleaning up the image of the game of baseball, then they can kiss my ass ! Why continue to put up with their diatribe, when they cannot simply be honest with themselves ?

As the game continues to mire itself also with the façade that it remains financially solvent , we should remind ourselves of the fact that it still continues with their rather banal and “ asinine tax sharing “ revenue scheme which Bud Selig believes will level the competitive playing field. In actuality , nothing could be further from the truth , especially when it comes to the likes of the Kansas City Royals and Pittsburgh Pirates , who have not between a hair’s breadth of making the postseason in the past two decades . Yet somehow, their fans remain in hope, that thing will change in the foreseeable future . Well considering their play during last season and over the past two decades , the chances of either team being in with a chance of making the MLB postseason 2013 , seems even more remote than ever before .

Before the season comes into being , baseball has begun with an array of off-season moves , but more so the never-ending escalation in player salaries . The Detroit Tigers and their 2011 MVP and AL Cy Young winner , Justin Verlander , has been rewarded with a seven-year $189 million contract extension . Tigers GM , Dave Dombrowski and team owner, Michael Ilitch felt it beneficial and prudent extend the player’s contract , rather than losing him to free agency. Granted , with Ilitch’s vast financial resources , it should come as no surprise that the owner would seek to retain the team’s best and most valuable player. And if Verlander can reproduce the form shown over the past five seasons , then there is no reason why one shouldn’t assume that he and the Tigers can’t be a part of the postseason foray .

If there is a manager that will be under a great deal of problems , it most certainly will have to the Los Angeles’ Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly . A star laden roster, with many of those players being multiple time All Stars , undoubtedly well rewarded and amongst the best in the game financially. And that in of-itself might not be enough to satisfy long starved Dodgers’ fans , but moreover the executives of the ball-club who paid an astonishing $2.156 billion for the franchise, while it went through bankruptcy proceedings and reorganization . For lead managing partners , Magic Johnson , Todd S Boehly and Mark L Walter , Peter Guber , these are not wealthy entrepreneurs, who simply make a sizable investment merely for show , as they seek to make profit from their foray into professional sports’ franchise ownership . And with the continued rumors that the Dodgers’ ownership group through sports’ affiliated subsidiary may well seek to make an all-out $8.5 billion for AEG Worldwide Inc , the sports’ concession conglomerate owned by billionaire , Philip Anschutz , a member of Forbes ‘ 400 wealthiest Americans . If this unsolicited bid were to take place , it gives the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership group, properties such as a minority stake in the Los Angeles Lakers , Los Angeles Galaxy , the branded properties of the O 2 Arenas , globally , Nokia Theater , Ticketmaster , Walden Media , Staples Center , part ownership in several teams now competing in MLS soccer . If anything , the Dodgers’ owners intent , will be on the team and their wish in on taking > on the San Francisco Giants , their dominance within the NL West and stymie their chance of repeating again as divisional champions , as well winning the World Series for a third time in five years. And it’s pretty safe to suggest that Giants’ owner Larry Baer , GM Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy will be looking to prove that the success of last season isn’t something of a fleeting episode that should and will be easily forgotten.

If there is said to be a player, who has to be viewed as the leader of this Dodgers’ lineup , then that might well be Matt Kemp . Although, many would deem it that Adrian Gonzalez is more fitting in that role . There is no doubt that the team’s offense is among the most productive in the NL , and it will be interesting to see whether or not this roster can replicate the form shown in 2012.

With a solid pitching rotation , the Dodgers could be looked at as one of the better positioned ball clubs within the NL this season that could very well make a spirited run with a view to the postseason. And among the pitching staff , perhaps the player with the most to prove will be Zack Greinke , whose career if anything has been understated , albeit , that he was an All Star and Cy Young award winner in 2007 with the Kansas City Royals . In reality, Greinke’s career, can be best described as being sporadic and spotty to say the very least . Whether or not he can be at the forefront of a staff that also includes Clayton Kershaw , Josh Beckett , and Hyu Jin Ryu .

The Dodgers will start their regular season sojourn, with a three game home series against the San Francisco Giants at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles , California. Game one on Monday evening. And in what should be an entertaining series’ opener , this should have all the makings of an eventful year for both of these famed ball clubs.

In the AL and specifically the AL East , the consensus appears to be that the Toronto Blue Jays have to be seen as the presumptive favorites to at least win the division outright. I am not so sure that on the face of it , the team can be seen as legitimate contenders , merely because on appearance alone the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays are said to have taken a step back , primarily because off-season moves and injuries . The Baltimore Orioles , I believe will remain a force to be reckoned with , within the division, but the Rays will have the best balanced roster , of any of the teams within the AL East. What does stand out, with Joe Maddon’s roster of talented players , just happens to be the fact the their starting pitching will remain amongst the best not just within the AL but within MLB in general . What is apparent , with the loss of James Shields and Wade Davis , Maddon is still lucky enough to know that there is a great deal of depth to his staff and the team pitching , in general. If the Rays can come out of the gate fast , with series of confidence building wins and build on that momentum , then there is no reason not to believe why they cannot be part be part of the postseason spectacle, in what fans believe , is amongst the best in team sports .

Granted, run production has always a been real issue with the Tampa Bay Rays ,but if James Loney , well as Evan Longoria , Yunel Escobar , Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist may need to show that they are capable of leading this ball club to the undoubted success sought by the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg , Matthew Silverman with the personnel experience of Andrew Friedman , who , I believe has been the brains behind the success of the franchise along with Joe Maddon’s managerial acumen . The less I hear Sternberg and Silverman bitching and whining about the Rays’ lack financial wherewithal and the lack of support from the municipality and county governments in coming to their aid with regard to a new venue . It becomes clearer to me that this ownership group simply has no goddamn idea what it takes to run a successful professional sports’ franchise. Sternberg’s alleged business acumen as a financier and commodities’ broker has become a fairy tale and a myth . Stuart Sternberg and Matt Silverman have indicated to me, that they are mere children in a room filled with men . The city of Tampa and St Petersburg have become renowned for having owners of their professional sports’ franchises who have become disengaged and so fucking clueless, as to what is needed to make their teams a real success and have a loyal fan-base ( average attendance , Rays, Lightning , Buccaneers) . And that has now become a reality for the Rays , Tampa Bay Lightning and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the continued idiocy shown by the respective ownership groups.

As the season progresses it will be interesting to see how the teams s acquit themselves over an arduous 162 game schedule . Given what we all witnessed in 2012 and the play of the teams over the course of the season. Whether or not we can have a revisit of many of the highlights we all witnessed , with games , where many of them were close victories. Undoubtedly many of us will also be looking forward whether or not the sensational rookies we witnessed such Mike Trout , Yoenis Cespedes , Bryce Harper and Yu Darvish . Of this year’s rookies , several are likely to make some solid contributions for their teams this season , and we are likely to see that come to fruition with several of these players , namely Wil Myers , Jurickson Profar , Gerritt Cole , Billy Hamilton , Carlos Correa and Shelby Miller .

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Given the issues in 2012 during which we saw the best and the very worst within the game , in terms of what now appears that never-ending saga of steroids rearing its ugly head . It now looks as if all of the claims being made by Bud Selig that the hierarchy is doing the very best to clean up its image is now nothing but a comical joust by the commissioner . Mandatory off-season testing has yet to become a reality and the prolific and rampant use of steroids and PED’s now seem to be more widespread than ever , especially at the minor league level . Something that Selig simply glosses over repeatedly . As if we should have expected anything else to begin with ?

What if anything do you hope to see come out of this baseball season and which team or teams do you believe will be a major surprise during the regular and postseason ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit , and once again thanks as always for your continued support of this site .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.
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(1) The tainted face and continued shame of baseball arises once again , with the names of Ryan Braun , Melky Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez . All three players’ are named in documents of the South Florida medical establishment Biogenesis as recipient of steroids sent to their homes as part of a paid consignment . In 2012 Cabrera sat out the mandatory 50 game suspension when he was in the hunt for the NL MVP race . Rodriguez is currently sidelined with an injury , having undergone off-season hip surgery . Ryan Braun through his agent , Nez Badelo has suggested , that his client is completely innocent of the charges currently being leveled against him , and that he was merely a paid up consultant and endorser of the supplements produced by the company . Miami Herald …….

(2) Right , actor , Chadwick “Chad ” Boseman in the role of Jackie Robinson is seen in conversation with Dodgers’ general manager Branch Rickey , the role played by veteran actor , Harrison Ford . The movie entitled “42” , a biopic of the Robinson story , is set for release on 12th April , nationally , in theaters across the country . AP Photo / Donald Hurley …

(3) San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey hits a single against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game , Friday, March 29, 2013 in San Francisco. AP Photo/George Nikitin ……

(4) Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, right, looks at team president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski during a news conference after a spring baseball exhibition game on Friday, March 29, 2013, in Lakeland, Fla., where Verlander talked about his new seven-year, $180 million contract . AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …..

(5) Los Angeles Dodgers starter Zack Greinke delivers a pitch in the first inning of an exhibition baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday, March 30, 2013. Greinke starts the season as one of the highest salaried and paid players on the Dodgers’ roster . It should be noted that the Opening Day payroll for MLB's thirty teams will for the first time exceed $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) , with the Yankees now leading the pack after their recent acquisition of Vernon Wells , supplanting the Dodgers’ $213.5 payroll for 2013. AP Photo/Christine Cotter …

(6) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon addresses the media before an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Sarasota, Fla. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ….

(7) Jurickson Profar (13) of the Texas Rangers signs autographs for fans before the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on February 22, 2013 in Surprise, Arizona. Getty Images North America /Christian Petersen …..
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By Tophatal

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