Movers And Shakers ……………….. It’s All In The Games People Play !

Movers & Shakers …………. It’s All In The Games People Play …. !

As the baseball postseason beckons , the month of September is now here and there’s still a great deal to play for as divisional leaders seek to widen the distance between themselves and their closest rivals . Also at stake are the wildcard berths within both the AL and NL . But what might well more interesting could very well be the offseason managerial moves as well as those of the front office executives within the game .

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After four years of absolute futility it would appear that general manager Andy MacPhail will leave the Baltimore Orioles . MacPhail , whose father Lee MacPhail , a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame and who like his son held the position from 1958-1963. For team owner Peter Angelos these years of mediocrity and the lack of postseason play has made this organization a major laughing stock and the butt numerous jokes throughout the game. I simply laugh when I hear purists state that a team is building towards the future but one would beg the question didn’t Noah build an ark because he knew of the impending disaster of the floods ? Well , the floods have continued for the Baltimore Orioles relentlessly and they’re unlikely to abate anytime soon !

To view the on field play of the Orioles , with the thought that this team has a chance of actually being competitive is akin to watching paint dry . Manager Buck Showalter and his coaching assistants while gradually getting the best out of these players , it appears that this roster is still a long way off from where they really need to be. Granted , the Orioles do play in perhaps the toughest division (AL East) in all of baseball but that simply cannot excuse their poor play. Throughout the month of August , from the sublime to the ridiculous it has simply been a journey into inexplicable as the team’s fall from grace has magnified .

The Orioles host their divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays for a two game series at Camden Yards , Baltimore , Maryland. Camden Yards has played host the many of Cal Ripken’s most heralded moments over the course of illustrious career. But one now seriously doubts that the ball-club’s most beloved player having retired can continue sit idly by and witness the monstrosity that has taken place . Inasmuch , as Peter Angelos would love to see this ball-club have a modicum of success , he as the team’s owner has done little to suggest that they are actively striving for that mantel . If anything , the owner and the front office have simply benefited from the league hierarchy’s largesse by readily accepting the tax revenue money shared amongst small market teams and doing little to bolster the team’s roster by way of acquiring players that could contribute to the organization. I’m sorry but even with their drafting of players , routinely the Baltimore Orioles have come up short with their choices .

Courtesy of USA Today

Orioles’ MacPhail could start GM exodus with departure

By Bob Nightengale of USA Today

BALTIMORE – Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations, has reached a decision on his future with the Baltimore Orioles but plans to wait until season’s end before announcing his intentions.

“Let’s just get to the end of the year and see what unfolds,” MacPhail told USA TODAY. “We’ll see. We’ll see.”

MacPhail, according to two high-ranking Orioles officials, plans to leave the organization after his contract expires Oct. 31. He will not pursue an extension. The officials are not authorized to discuss the decision publicly because it is not official.

MORE: Jim Hendry’s time ran out with Cubs

MacPhail, whose father, Hall of Fame executive Lee, was Orioles general manager from 1958 to 1965, has been with the Orioles since 2007 but could not turn them around. The Orioles are three losses from their 14th consecutive losing season.

“I know there’s a lot of speculation, but that comes with the territory,” MacPhail said.

Several GM candidates have been brought up internally, an Orioles official said, led by New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, whose contract expires after the season.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter, expected to have an influential voice in the decision, said he’s not interested in the job.

“You hear all kinds of things,” Showalter says. “I just hope for the best for Andy. This is not one person’s fault. You can’t be this bad, for this long, without multiple reasons.”

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It is hard to suggest where the Orioles go from here even with the contributions of Vladimir Guerrero , Nick Markakis and the pitching staff seem to be bereft of real competitiveness when adjudged against the teams within the AL . It doesn’t get better overall when one takes into account all of ball-clubs in MLB .

It would be easy to suggest that the Baltimore Orioles through their prospects and minor league farm system that things could necessarily be turned around with the right sort of precipitous moves . But we have seen that this ball club simply has stumbled through many of their own self created obstacles .

The departure of Andy MacPhail will probably now set into motion a number of moves within the game of baseball. Billy Beane , Andrew Friedman , Brian Cashman and Theo Epstein are amongst a number of general mangers whose contracts expire at the end of the season . In the case of Epstein , Cashman and Friedman can leave without any compensation being sought . And with the Chicago Cubs said to be also seeking a replacement for Jim Hendry after his firing by team owner Tom Ricketts . It has to be said that this offseason the real interest won’t necessarily be about the big money free agents who will land on the open market but more so I believe, where many of these front office executives may well end up !

Theo Epstein, the primary architect of the Boston Red Sox’s most recent triumphs in the World Series . It would appear however that Epstein’s days with the ball-club could very well be numbered as there now seems to be an impasse between he and club president Larry Lucchino . However , it would be simply idiotic for principal managing partner & team owner John Henry to allow the wunderkind to leave . To lose such a prize asset as Theo Epstein would be the worse thing that this ball-club could actually do beyond choosing to implode Fenway Park . I firmly expect that the organization will offer their general manager a long term contract , which would be clearly in their best interests.

Lew Wolff , — principal managing partner of the Oakland Athletics has publicly stated that he would not stand in the way of Billy Beane leaving the club at the end of his tenure . A somewhat magnanimous gesture given the fact that were it not for Beane , this organization might well be far worse off than it already is. Lew Wolff has hamstrung this ball-club with his Scrooge like behavior as it relates to bolstering the fortunes of this organization by spending to acquire on players. Instead the fans are being asked to be content in seeing a team simply fall from grace with little to show by way of being competitive. It seems a travesty that this fraud has been allowed to be perpetrated upon the loyal A’s fans ! But it appears that neither Lew Wolff or any of the senior executives are in fact overly concerned with their plight. If that were the case then you would actually see Wolff and those very same executives acting aggressively in making a real attempt to turn things around . Fans have somehow have begun to accept the fact that it could well be Lew Wolff’s intent to simply sit back and gladly take the handouts given to the organization by MLB . Recent success by way of a playoff berth is fast becoming a faded memory and the seasonal showings within the division (AL West) haven’t at all been that impressive .

Salary constraints asides , there is some optimism amongst the A’s fans but in large part I do believe that comes out of their sheer devotion towards this organization and its storied history of the illustrious players associated with the team and that of their Hall of Famers .

For the teams who will seek to acquire a new general manager this offseason it is bound to be very intriguing to see which candidates are amongst those being interviewed for those vacant positions . I know that there’s bound to be great deal of money that will be offered to those players thought to be amongst the most prized free agents once the season has ended but as we know everything as such starts with the decision made by the team owner and that of a general manager who seeks assemble a ball-club that they believe will be competitive . Clearly that is all that is being sought by executives within the game but perhaps , some more than most .

Peter Angelos may well seek the insight of Buck Showalter as to who the next general manager will be for the Baltimore Orioles . As he should , given that manager’s acumen for molding a ball-club into a competitive being , as one simply has to take note of Showalter’s achievements in grooming the players that would essentially go on to win four World Series in the latter part of the nineties and early 2000’s . Joe Torre may well get the credit for taking those teams to those series and winning them but were it not for Buck Showalter , one doubts that the ball-club would have achieved those successes in that short a span . Derek Jeter , Mariano Rivera , Jorge Posada and Andy Pettite are part of the quartet that went on to reach those illustrious heights , all groomed under the tutelage , first and foremost by the Orioles’ current manager .

Showalter , if anything will be looking for someone whom he can work alongside and at same be able to communicate with , without there being any real conflict or hidden agendas . And if Peter Angelos has any common sense he ought to heed well the advice given to him by his manager once he embarks upon a search for the successor to Andy MacPhail.

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece and where do you any of these front office executives moving to , should that scenario actually arise ? By all means do leave comment as to your thoughts on the subject matter .

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

Contact tophatal via these social media devices

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Manager Buck Showalter (26) of the Baltimore Orioles walks to the dugout after a pitching change in the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Blue Jays would go on to defeat the Orioles 13-0 .Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

(2) Edwin Encarnacion (10) of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with Mike McCoy (18) after scoring in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Toronto won the game 13-0 . Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

(3) Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles tosses his bat after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 31, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

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(4) GM Andy MacPhail (left) is seen here seated Buck Showalter after he manager was formally introduced to the convened press as the team’s new manager . MacPhail has since announced that he will be stepping down from the role within Baltimore Orioles’ front office . Team owner Peter Angelos has yet to make a formal statement as to what aspect the search will take for a successor to the general manager . AP Photo Brett Gibbons ….

(5) Peter Angelos (L), owner of the Baltimore Orioles Baseball team, watches testimony from Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (R) at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime. REUTERS/Jason Reed/ United States ……..

(6) CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 31: Relief pitcher Jerry Blevins (13) of the Oakland Athletics wipes his face after the tenth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 31, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images ….

(7) Oakland Athletic’s co-owner Lew Wolff makes a public presentation to the Fremont City Council regarding the ballpark and village proposal in Fremont, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. Wolff invoked visions of Boston’s Fenway Park and Chicago’s Wrigley Field as he outlined an ambitious development plan for a new baseball ballpark Tuesday. AP Photo/San Jose Mercury News, LiPo Ching ….

(8) Oakland Athletics’ Jason Giambi , right, leans on the shoulder of general manager Billy Beane as he is introduced during a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009. Giambi and the Athletics finalized a one-year contract with an option on Wednesday, bringing the free-agent designated hitter and first baseman back to the place he began his big league career. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ……

(9) Larry Lucchino (center) and Theo Epstein, (right) seen here with principal partner and owner John Henry of the Boston Red Sox. picture appears courtesy of AP/photo/ Chris Argyle …………
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Cry Me A River …….. Does Anyone Now Really Care ?

Cry Me A River …….. Does Anyone Now Really Care ?

I found it rather asinine that former (UNC) Tar Heels football coach Butch Davis prior to his firing by the university’s athletics’ director Dick Baddour . The coach saw fit to accept responsibility for the numerous violations that took place under his tenure as the head coach . In his four hectic year with the program Davis recorded a 30-21 mark but little to . show for the program’s development for the now tainted football program .

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Baddour by his own admission did not use due and proper oversight of monitoring the actions of the Davis and his coaching staff . The school no doubt acted appropriately in the firing of the coach and Dick Baddour has done the honorable thing in seeking to resign his position but he will now remain as the interim AD while the university starts the hiring process in seeking his successor . Once done , then new hire’s first course of action will be to undertake the search for a new head football coach. Many of the violations stem from the team’s association with an agent Gary Wichard which was in fact suborned by one of Davis’ own assistants John Blake who is now no longer with the program. Now much has been made about what was known or not known by the coach as to the actions of Blake , his interaction with the players and agent. What are now finding out is that there was a great deal of money changing hands as well as gifts but what might be even deplorable was the evidence of academic fraud on proportions unimaginable . It’s hard to understand how such a well established place of higher learning can now find itself embroiled in such a situation. But herein lies the caveat in such instances where a coach chooses to do whatever possible in order to achieve success.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the NCAA is a toothless governing body of collegiate athletics that simply metes out punishment but in doing so it chooses to show little common sense as to the penalties levied. While we all know what has become of former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel and his abrupt resignation the fact that Gene Smith retains his position as the school’s AD is almost beyond belief. Never mind the fact that university President Dr E Gordon Gee with his rather inane and mindless buffoonery acting as if the Buckeyes having turned the corner with the departure of Tressel after the litany of transgressions under his watch much of which came about the coach’s inaction in not reporting the violations in question.

In spite of the Jim Tresel’s departure even more stories are surfacing as to the egregious violations that took place with the coach himself actually suborning many of the actions that are said to have taken place . Now with the NCAA sanctions in place it remains to be seen how the program resurrects itself.

Oregon Ducks’ football coach Chip Kelly in a recent interview had stated that he was not prepared to discuss any further the problems of the school and what might appear to several NCAA violations by the program . Having lost the BCS national title game to Gene Chizik’s Auburn Tigers many felt that the Oregon Ducks moving forward would be in a welcoming position to defend their PAC 10 title .

Chip Kelly for his part is now reluctant to talk about anything concerning the allegations but has stated that the school has sought outside legal counsel to conduct an investigation on the school’s behalf into the numerous allegations . In this day and age it seems rather asinine to suggest or even make the assumption that a coach is now above reproach especially when many of them are hard pressed to show a modicum of honesty much less integrity. None more so than perhaps Kelly and his national championship adversary Gene Chizik. The Tigers’ football coach in a recent meeting with an NCAA committee official verbally attacked the individual in question when he had been advised by a reporter at a SEC function that the NCAA were still conducting their very own investigation into the school and their Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton .

Gene Chizik while under a great deal of pressure to prove that there has been no wrongdoing on the part of the school ____ the allegations are there as well as the actions purported to be of Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton who sought offer his son to the highest bidder . The school having conducted its own investigation suspended the player only to have that decision overturned by the NCAA who in this instance failed in using due diligence . But that in of-itself would suggest that esteemed body actually has its faculty’s about it , which if anything would be a naive thought. The NCAA can barely be trusted to act appropriately much less any degree of integrity or moralistic virtue. With so much power within its grasp and very little self regulatory action one wonders how the NCAA under their president Mark Emmmert can hold its head high with any degree of dignity.

Money has been the driving force and the underlying factor that has led to the mess that so many schools seem to repeatedly embroiled in year after year . It now seems crazy that each season we tend to hear of so many schools being caught in the midst of some underhanded seedy action that in some cases has been suborned by the actions of a coach his staff and the athletics director of the school involved . Rather than the schools themselves looking to augment a program of self awareness and in-house accountability so often all we tend to hear from the schools are numerous excuses and the odious commentary being put forth by analysts that it ought to be the student athlete who ought to be punished . It’d be remiss to think that college football where such a problem lies but nothing could be further from the truth . One only has to look at the actions of U Conn Huskies’ basketball coach Jim Calhoun and the quick jump to his aid and defense by none other than Dick Vitale of his colleague . Calhoun suborned numerous rule violations while taking little action if any to curtail the behavior of his players coaching staff . And when questioned on the matter by the school’s athletics director the coach offered little by way of an apology but somehow remained terse and and angry with reporters when asked about those allegations . Once again it seems that like many of his peers Jim Calhoun sees himself above that of the law and how one ought to conduct themselves while an employee of a renowned educational establishment .

When actions such as Calhoun’s are less than honest with allegations of lying to faculty members of the association of his players with agents as well as unsolicited contacts with known felons and the acceptance of monetary gifts , it begs the question what is it that Vitale still thinks is so honorable in the conduct Jim Calhoun ? Once again it is idiots such as Vitale that gives collegiate sport very little credibility apart from the inaction of the NCAA when it is actually called for !

So on Saturday the New York Yankees had the privilege of hosting the Baltimore Orioles and Buck Showalter a former Yankees’ manager . And inasmuch that team owner Peter Angelos can be considered an owner who seeks success for the organization, very little that he has sought to achieve has come to fruition . Andy MacPhail the team’s general manager has simply done little to suggest the fans are deserving of more when in attendance at Camden Yards / Orioles Ballpark . I simply don’t care what anyone says but ambition is not a top priority for this organization and it’s extremely sad to see this team flounder the way that it has !

Saturday’s events were typical of what the Baltimore Orioles have been going through for much of the season . The New York Yankees had a field day in this double header teeing of an woefully inept pitching performances from the Orioles’ Chris Tillman and Zach Britton pitchers that the coaches saw to field against the Yankees . If game one of this double header was anything to go by but the next second game was astounding to say the very least . Game one ended with 8-3 thrashing of the Orioles . However game two if anything left the fans in a disbelieving bewilderment as they were thoroughly entertained as the bats not only came alive but actually ignited an offensive onslaught.

The New York Yankees pounded out a season high 35 hits in the two games but in the night session of the double header was in essence where the fireworks really began. With Zach Britton on the mound the Yankees’ offense went to work pounding out 12 runs in the first inning and going on to win 17-3 and notching up their 63rd win of the season and closing the gap between themselves and the Boston Red Sox who sit atop of the AL East .

I’m not so sure that after these series of events the Baltimore Orioles can hold their heads high proudly and that is in spite of the statements made by Buck Showalter about the character of his team . Britton now has an of ERA 117.00 after his last two professional starts and one has to ask whether or not a stint in rehab within the Orioles’ minor league system will be enough for Zach Britton to actually regain his confidence .

The problems of the Baltimore Orioles have been well chronicled and it is difficult to say where the organization now goes from here . Certainly their farm system has talent and the prospects said to be on tap are the future of this organization . But herein lies the caveat for the Orioles with a dwindling attendance there’s little to suggest that the fans are feeling emotionally attached to this organization and its players . I know that the saying that one builds for the future but the foundations for the Baltimore Orioles may well have been laid well before Noah built the ark but over the last decade there has been little to suggest they are actually heading in the right direction. The Baltimore Orioles haven’t been relevant as an organization since the fans were raging on about Cal Ripken and his consecutive games playing streak but even then if that’s all that the fans can feel proud about then it clearly shows how far this organization has fallen off the map.

I am not about to suggest that the Baltimore Orioles won’t be able to turn things around but are the fans still prepared to endure the mediocrity from a team that now barely plays .500 ball while struggling to be competitive within baseball altogether . Over the ensuing months we will get to learn a great deal about the Baltimore Orioles and the direction that they may well be heading in . If they can acquit themselves with any degree of certainty then it bodes well for this team , if not then one can expect another season of discontent and simple mediocrity once again.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? And how if anything do you see the season panning out for Baltimore Orioles ? And as such how what feelings do you have on how the NCAA deals with the gross negligence and behavior of the coaches within collegiate sports ? Do you as such feel that they act appropriately or do you simply believe that for the most part they tend to punish a school with impunity rather than also dealing with the behavior of the coaches in question ?

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

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) North Carolina coach Everett Withers , left, speaks to the media in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday, July 29, 2011. Withers, formally the defensive coordinator, is now the interim football coach after the firing of Butch Davis. AP Photo/Gerry Broome ….

(2) University of North Carolina Athletic Director Dick Baddour, left, introduces North Carolina coach Everett Withers to the media in Chapel Hill, N.C., Friday, July 29, 2011. Withers, formally the defensive coordinator, is now the interim football coach after the firing of Butch Davis. AP Photo/Gerry Broome …..

(3) In this photo taken Monday, July 25, 2011, North Carolina coach Butch Davis pauses during interviews at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Pinehurst, N.C. University of North Carolina Chancellor Holden Thorp announced Wednesday, July 27, 2011, that Davis has been dismissed as head coach of the football program. AP Photo/Gerry Broome ……

(4) HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 04: Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies cuts down the net after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Reliant Stadium on April 4, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ….

(5) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson hits a single off of Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Zach Britton in the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Granderson had four hits during the Yankees 17-3 win . AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ….

(6) Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, second from right, confers at the mound with players from left, J.J. Hardy (2), Josh Bell, Robert Andino and catcher Matt Wieters after Showalter removed starting pitcher Zach Britton from the game after the New York Yankees scored seven runs in the first inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader on Saturday, July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(7) Zach Britton (53) of the Baltimore Orioles reacts after giving up a run in the first inning against the New York Yankees on July 30, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …..

(8) President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail (left) talks with manager Buck Showalter while looking at the team during batting practice . Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron ….

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