Hit me with your best shot …….

Hit me with your best shot ……

By Tophatal

There is a precise moment I believe, where we all reach a “point of no return” . In the world of sports that has to be when you are down to that ‘final out’ and the team is reliant on that lone and decisive final play. Well in baseball , we are about to reach that point and for so many teams that were in the hunt for a divisional win and a wildcard berth a little over six weeks ago . It now looks as if those chances are now forlorn as we now enter what now appears to be the final month of the regular season schedule. Granted, the final day of the season on the 3rd October could still provide us with a number of suspenseful plot-lines but I believe those stories could very well be minuscule .


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In the NL, the never-ending story still encompasses whether or not the Washington Nationals will shut down starting pitcher , Stephen Strasburg for the remainder of the team’s schedule including the postseason should they make it there . GM Mike Rizzo has yet to make a final decision and team manager, Davey Johnson remains somewhat reticent , other than to suggest that they will simply judge the pitcher upon his performances and their original criteria of Strasburg not having to pitch more than 180 innings for the season.

Now given what is at stake for the team and the very fact that the alternatives beyond Stephen Strasburg , do not place the Nationals in an entirely healthy position. Now, while they do currently maintain a healthy lead within the NL East of 6 ½ games over the Atlanta Braves , it remains to be seen whether not they can continue to try and chip away at that lead in seeking to surpass the Nationals for the divisional lead. Simply from the mindset of it being a morale booster, I would have thought it best to have Strasburg on the roster for the rest of the Nationals’ schedule and on into the postseason ! At the same to lift the player from the roster , what sort of message would this send not only to the player’s teammates but also the long-suffering Nationals’ fans ? Clearly, as calculated as Mike Rizzo is intending to be , I do not believe that he has weighed up all of the options concerning this matter.

Coming off a thrilling 5-4 victory over the NL Central combatant , St Louis Cardinals at Nationals Ballpark , in Washington ,DC. It is pretty much clear that the Nationals, as the NL’s best team , by way of their 82-52 record , are now pretty much in the driver’s seat, and can simply dictate their own fate , if they simply choose not to be complacent. What this might say about the team’s opponents over the course of this season is open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. For the next three days the Washington Nationals will play hosts to the Chicago Cubs in a three game series , in what is sure to be a thrilled and sold-out crowd at the team’s ballpark in Washington , DC . On the mound for the first of those three games for the Nationals, will be Ross Detwiler (8-6, 3.32 ERA) who will face the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija(8-12,4.03 ERA) . With the Cubs having such a miserable season , anything that they can now gain by way of a victory has to be looked upon as an added bonus . The team’s front office led by Theo Epstein , Head of Baseball Operations and GM Jed Hoyer , having been entrusted in rebuilding this organization from the ground up , it is now beginning to look like a task that will be at least two or three years in the making . Oh well , what is another one hundred years between being woefully inept and remaining woefully inept ? Care to offer your thoughts on the matter ?

At this point of the season with roughly 133 games having been played and a mere 29 left on the regular season schedule, there is no denying while there is still a great to play and at stake . We can in essence count out a number of teams , which a number of us may well have felt would have been vying for a divisional title . In recent weeks the Baltimore Orioles have been making a full-court press , as they now have e New York Yankees tentatively looking over their shoulders within the AL East as Buck Showalter’s —— players now seem to be making a mockery of the division. And if that wasn’t enough the Orioles handed the “Bronx Bombers” what might have been their most embarrassing loss of the season at Yankees Stadium , in New York City , New York, in an 8-3 defeat of the divisional leaders. Far be it for me to suggest that Joe Girardi’s —- team has problems but his players are simply far too reliant on the “long ball” as a saving grace , it in essence suggests to be that beyond CC Sabathia , there simply is nothing to indicate that this pitching staff is capable of leading this roster deep into the playoffs .

The Yankees now possess a two-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles and the plight now doesn’t get any easier for the New York Yankees as they are about to open up a three-game series against a now hunger driven Tampa Bay Rays , who themselves are looking to ease their way back into the playoff picture and that of the wildcard standings . Joe Maddon’s players , have been inconsistent as of late, with the team’s offense seemingly being complacent and not giving enough run support to the pitching staff . And it is clearly something that needs to be addressed by the manager and his coaching staff , if this team is to have any degree of certainty in obtaining a postseason berth. With that to be taken into account this home series at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Tampa , now takes on a whole new meaning on its own. The Rays need a series’ sweep no less , or at least a 2-1 series’ victory, as anything less than that, will have to be looked upon as a complete failure .

David Price has been the Tampa Bay Rays best pitcher all season , not just in terms of quality starts , wins , and strikeouts but it has to make the team’s starting pitcher a credible candidate for the AL Cy Young Award this season. His closest rivals for the award may well be Jered Weaver , Chris Sale , Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez . It is liable to be a close run thing in terms of the winner of this award but I believe it may well go to the player whose team does indeed have the best record at the end of regular season schedule . Of the players mentioned there is so little to choose between them all , as they each bring something exceptional , by way of their respective talents to the teams they represent.

Price will not be on the mound , when the Rays take on the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field, as that distinction will be left in the hands of James Shields when he faces CC Sabathia , today . Tuesday , we will have Freddy Garcia taking on Alex Cobb of the Rays . Wednesday’s game , the closeout of the series , will pit Hiroki Kuroda against Matt Moore . Each of those games should prove to be very competitive , and I am looking to the Rays’ pitching staff to prove themselves to be superior of their divisional rivals .

I was not at all surprised by the fact that Roger Clemens would seek to make a return to the game where he once distinguished himself , while at the same time brought a great deal of disgrace to ! The seven-time Cy Young Award winner well have been acquitted in US Federal Court of perjury and obstruction of justice , primarily because the prosecuting attorneys of the US Justice Department poorly presented their case at trial in front of the presiding Federal Court Judge and a jury of twelve of Clemens’ peers . Certainly, the case was hindered more so , when two of the prosecution’s allegedly, most credible witnesses , suddenly had selective memory or were simply dumb founded by the questions presented by Roger Clemens’ lawyer , Rusty Hardin . Pardon me for saying this , but Andy Pettite and Brian McNamee combined, might have the IQ of an anally retentive member of the US Congress ! Care to offer up an opinion on that morsel ?

As many of you now know, with his acquittal , Clemens now feels vindicated , albeit , that in the court of public opinion the player still has a loyal band of supporters as a number of detractors. Unfortunately , the game of baseball has already been sullied enough by the steroid era , that nothing that Bud Selig and the MLB league hierarchy can or will do stem the tide of the rampant use of illicit substances within the game . It still remains an epidemic within baseball but even more so, at the minor league level , where the commissioner repeatedly pointed to , as being the place where baseball has had its greatest successes in catching the numerous cheaters. What Selig failed to point out, is the very fact that since his policy was initiated, each year in succession , even more minor league players have been caught . Catching more players does not add any credibility , when initially, the league sought to look other way when this proliferation first came to the fore . Yet you have these idiotic purists, trying to suggest that this game still has a redeeming , moral and ethical quality to it . In what damn universe are they living in ?

Clemens’ return to the game has been manipulated by the player and his publicists and like everything else concerning the Cy Young Award winner has been to downplay this all, by saying that it is simply his wish to enjoy himself at this stage of his career in semi-retirement . Now let’s get something straight, Clemens did not officially retire from Major League Baseball , he simply had side-step glare of the paparazzi and press , once his name became associated with the Mitchell Report as well as the proliferation of allegations concerning Clemens’ alleged use of illicit substances . With Roger Clemens now returning to Class A Ball and Houston Astros’ affiliate the Sugarland Skeeters . It should have as no surprise to anyone that the beleaguered Astros sent several members of the coaching staff to see the pitcher make his return to the game.

Now inasmuch as Roger Clemens , still seeks to downplay everything about his return , it is clear for all to see, that he still craves the limelight and the glare of the cameras . Houston Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow obviously is a very desperate man given the team’s standing within the NL Central and with a declining fan-base and attendance levels for the team’s home games at Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas. The fact Luhnow is considering quite possibly signing the player , clearly indicates these are desperate times , calling for desperate measures .

At 42-93 , with the league’s worst record, there is nothing to suggest that the Astros are competitive or can become competitive enough in the near or long-term . Team owner Jim Crane , may well have spent $775 million in purchasing the ball-club but I feel that he has been a sold a “bill of goods” that literally isn’t worth what he paid for this commodity . What might be even more troubling , is the very fact that in 2013 , the team will make the move from the NL Central to the AL West. Is there anyone of the belief that the Astros in their present guise can compete with the likes of the Los Angeles Angels , Seattle Mariners , Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers ? I believe that on their best day the Astros would be hard pressed to beat a very good AAA affiliate in baseball , however , that is merely opinion on this matter ! .

I certainly do not believe that Clemens as a fifty-year old is good enough a pitcher to be even worthy of starting role as pitcher for a Major League team . Roger Clemens at this stage of his career would like nothing better to make that now vaulted return to the game , even if he is suggesting that it is not ambition to make return to the game where he last pitched as a professional in 2007 for the New York Yankees in a game against the Boston Red Sox , which resulted in a 4-3 victory for the Yankees . The team would also make the postseason in 2007 where they would meet the >a href=”http://mlb.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=cle”> Cleveland Indians in the ALDS . Roger Clemens’ presence in the 2007 ALDS and specifically game three was minimal , which resulted in an 8-4 win for the Yankees but a 3-1 loss in the series to the Indians. Is it possible for Clemens to be back at his very best and to be able to contribute for a team , be it the Astros or any other ball-club who might possibly show an interest in the player ? As of now , the intrigue is certainly there and this is quite possibly what the player and his agents Randy and Alan Hendricks will certainly trade on that ,should the perceived interest arise .



Picture gallery, for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the salient points within this piece ? Also do you believe that Roger Clemens’ imminent return to the game of baseball at its highest level will be of benefit to baseball or more of an embarrassment ? Simply chime win with a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .


Picture and slide show details below .

(1) Washington Nationals’ Danny Espinosa fouls the ball off home plate and then off his helmet during their baseball game against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in Washington. AP Photo/Richard Lipski …

(2) WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 03: Tyler Clippard (36) of the Washington Nationals celebrates with Kurt Suzuki (24) after a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park on September 3, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ….

(3) Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg, left, talks with catcher Kurt Suzuki after pitching the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, in Washington. Strasburg was relieved after completing the sixth inning and the Nationals won 4-3 . AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(4) Pedro Strop (47) of the Baltimore Orioles delivers a pitch during an MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 3, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images …

(5) Second base umpire Bob Davidson , right, ejects Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon as he argues a close play on a stolen base attempt at second base during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays won 4-3 . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …

(6) Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Fernando Rodney reacts after retiring the New York Yankees during the ninth inning of a baseball game , Monday, Sept. 3, 2012, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays won the game 4-3 . AP Photo/Chris O’Meara) ….

(7) Roger Clemens pitches in a minor league game for the Sugar Land Skeeters . The player has indicated that he hasn’t indicated that he has any ambitions to pitch once again in the Majors . However, in this game pitched for the Skeeters , staffs from the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals were in place to see the 50 year-old Clemens pitch 2 1/3 innings for the Minor League organization . Tim Cowie /US Presswire ….

(8) Roger Clemens is seen here with his agent, Randall “Randy” Hendricks of Hendrick Sports Management LLP,. a sports management boutique and agency . Hendricks along with his brother Alan , have handled Clemens’ business affairs since the players entry into the majors in 1983 as the nineteenth pick in the first round , when he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. Over the course of his professional career in Major League Baseball , Roger Clemens has gross career earnings exceeding $150 million . Getty Images North America / Drake Potter ……

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A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

A Simple But Somehow Dangerous Mind …..

Perhaps no one should be surprised by this at all but NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens while recuperating from knee surgery has seen fit to proffer up some advice to Philadelphia Eagles’ player DeSean Jackson . The Eagles’ running back is in the midst of a contractual dispute with the organization but he has chosen not to become a holdout but herein lies the caveat with regard to the issue . Owens has stated that he believes the Eagles are demeaning Jackson by not meeting the player’s demands. For Terrell Owens , choosing to intercede in this matter simply stirs up emotions long held by the player who felt he was mistreated by the Philadelphia Eagles. If one recollects , the player had a short tenure with the team that made a Superbowl appearance eventually losing (SBXXXIX) to the New England Patriots in the league’s showcase event.


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Owens has always sought to be the center of attention and it certainly goes without saying even with his eponymous VH1 reality show entitled “The TO Show” . Now sorely missing that center stage and no doubt aggrieved that after last season the Cincinnati Bengals chose not to offer the retain the player for this season . The more Owens offers an opinion on any topic with regard to the NFL , the more of an ingrate he’s thought to be by the fans. And the player himself represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus , who still believes that a roster spot will open up for his client . Somehow , given the gravity of his injury , a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his right and the time needed to recuperate , it remains a remote possibility that Owens would simply be healthy enough to given be available for an NFL team in the need of a productive veteran wide receiver . Owens’ best years are indeed behind him and at this point of his career even though he craves that final bid to obtain that elusive Superbowl ring , one can’t help but feel that his last shot has gone !

From my own perspective I do believe that Terrell Owens simply cannot stand to be left out in the cold , standing on the sidelines watching many of his peers being productive. No longer considered to amongst the elite at the wide receivers in the league , albeit that the hunger is still there does anyone truly now believe that he has anything else left to offer ? It’s now time for Owens to take his show off the road hang up the cleats and perhaps do something else that gets him the attention he craves ! As to what that might be ……… who the hell knows or simply cares ?

Before the NFL season has even started the biggest story of the year has to be the very fact that Indianapolis Colts’ starting quarterback Peyton Manning while recuperating from neck surgery may well have undergo a further operation that could very well put the player out for team’s lineup for at least three months . Hardly the situation envisaged by the coaching staff or front office of the Colts’ organization with the loss of the four time league MVP .

The Indianapolis Colts have signed Kerry Collins to be the team’s starting quarterback and with good reason as neither of presumed backups to Peyton Manning have proven to at all productive during the Colts’ preseason schedule . Curtis Painter if anything, has proven that he’s simply not yet ready for the rigors of the NFL or to be viewed as the heir apparent to Manning.

With the loss of Peyton Manning, this now throws the AFC South wide open as to the aspirations for the teams within that division. Certainly the Jacksonville Jaguars , Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans all now feel that they can vie for supremacy and usurp the Colts as the division’s new champion this upcoming season . A loss of this magnitude for the Indianapolis Colts cannot simply be quantified but if you really want to deem a player’s value to a team then look no further than what Manning has meant to this team since he entered the NFL . His record start of 227 consecutive games apart from being a four time league MVP and the active leader in TD’s thrown (399) and yardage amassed ( 54,828) and you can well understand his value to this organization. For team owner Jim Irsay and GM Bill Polian this has to be gut wrenching for both executives but no more so than what it must now mean to the
beleaguered Colts’ fans.

One could subscribe to the fact that with all the talk of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the NFL Draft there’s bound to be talk what we should expect from these players this upcoming season . We may well get to learn a great deal about the aspiration of Cam Newton , Andy Dalton , Blaine Gabbert , Christian Ponder and Terrelle Pryor as they seek to make a name for themselves in the NFL .

I don’t know about you , but I feel that of all the federal government agencies within President Barack Obama’s administration have shown clear ineptitude but it has been the sheer idiocy shown by the Justice Department overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder that has me perturbed ! His office presented the government’s case against Barry Bonds that over its elongated time-frame swallowed up some $25 million of taxpayers’ money , countless hours of investigative man-hours all to prove that the player committed perjury and was found guilty in the obstruction of justice . Pardon for saying this , but when the government can burn through $25 million like it’s “Monopoly money” it begs the question ……. what type of idiots are there now seated within highest positions of power not just within this administration but also within the Senate and House of Representatives ?

Having been found guilty and then seeking a US Federal Appellate Court ruling to overturn to his verdict which was denied and Barry Bonds now awaits sentencing by the judge who presided over his case. That phase will take place early next year but it is felt that the player may not face any jail time but he could well be placed on probation .

At what point did Roger Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin deem it appropriate for one of his subordinates to confer with the jurors after the player’s trial , that ended with the judge declaring a mistrial ? It has come to our attention that although reasons behind the judge’s decision stemmed from a US Attorney discussing the case with a congress member on camera , we are now finding out that upon that judicial verdict a an defense attorney/ investigator , part of Hardin’s defense team saw fit to question a juror to discern their thoughts on whether or not they thought Clemens guilty of the charges he faced . Amongst the litany of charges faced by the seven time Cy Young winner faced were the obstruction of justice , perjury in lying to a congress member having been sworn under oath to be tell the truth.

The judicial facade of the Clemens’ case has rested upon the player’s staunch belief that he has done nothing wrong . But with the sworn testimony given to the House Oversight Committee by Roger Clemens as well his former teammate Andy Pettite and personal trainer Brian McNamee —— questions still abound as to the player’s veracity and his claims that both McNamee and Pettite have misconstrued his statements. Brian McNamee whose own integrity and character has come into question and his own claims that he supplied his then client as a personal trainer with steroids including HGH as well as numerous prohibitive substances. That asides , this idiotic episode seems to be far from over as countless thousand of dollars of taxpayers’ money will be wasted on a judicial procedure that has made a mockery of the system which has shown the public that ……… justice as we know it , is not equitable for all !

Though I have felt all along had the hierarchy of Major League Baseball (MLB) had the backbone to stand up to the MLBPA (union) we would not be at a point where we still question the integrity of the game itself and the ongoing accomplishments of the players. Instead we’re now having to listen to Commissioner Bud Selig talk about his initiative in seeking divisional realignment and adding to the premise of the playoff system with two extra teams per league for the wildcard berths . At this point , I would like to pose the question to the commissioner at what point will he pull his finger out of his own ass and address the real issues that the game faces in terms of the teams’ financial stability ? Somehow , I don’t believe that Bud Selig or any senior league executive within the MLB head office would be willing to provide us all with the answers we seek .



Picture gallery for your perusal.

Do you have any thoughts on the points raised within this piece ? By all means do take the time to leave a comment on these and any other that you may well are pertinent to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Terrell Owens (81) of the Cincinnati Bengals walks off of the field following the Bengals 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-17 . Getty Images North America / Andy Lyons …….

(2) DeSean Jackson (10) of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before playing against the Baltimore Ravens during their pre season game on August 11, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(3) INDIANAPOLIS, IN – AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning (L) and Kerry Collins #5 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images ……

(4) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens put on his jacket as he arrives at the U.S. District Court, on August 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Clemens was charged with making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee on his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs. Getty Images / Mark Wilson …..

(5) Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens (R), walks with his attorney Rusty Hardin (L) as he arrives at the U.S. District Court for the start of his perjury trial July 12, 2011 in Washington, DC. Seven-time Cy Young Award winner Clemens is on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified in a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs. The proceedings itself would become null and void after the judge declared a mistrial . Getty Images North America / Mark Wilson …….

(6) Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (4th L) leaves the U.S. District Court after the judge declared a mistrial, on July 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. The judge presiding over Clemens’ perjury trial declared a mistrial over statements introduced to the jury by the prosecutor that were not suppose to be heard. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner was on trial for making false statements, perjury and obstructing Congress when he testified about steroid use during a February 2008 inquiry by the House Oversight and Government Affairs . Getty Images / Mark Wilson ……….

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MLB probable starters 9th September 2011

Ten Questions For The MLB Commissioner ……………

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

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


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Slide show for your perusal .

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

Courtesy of Fox Sports

Report: Dodgers seek to blame Selig

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

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

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

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


Click on link to read this article in full .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By click on an individual frame you can view that picture in its formatted size .

Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show details below .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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It Should Never Have Happened But It Did ………..Breakin’ Up Is So Hard To Do

Well 2009 is about to come to a close and the decade as such , has been filled with a litany of sporting events and some heart warming stories. Others however, haven’t been so endearing or comforting to our psyche.

We’ve reveled at the exploits of many of our sporting heroes and at the same time we’ve been reviled by the actions of others. But such is the dichotomy of the sports panacea that we’ve got to take the good with the bad. We simply have no other choice.

As an avid reader of the one US national daily newspaper that I find gives me a great deal of insight on a broad based and a wide variety of topics. I’ve got to admit that I’m enamored with the USA Today and in particular its sports coverage. And today of all days one particular article stood out above all others . And that was an article written by Reid Cherner, entitled ‘Countdown to 10’: Top sports breakups since 2000. If ever there was an article to make you think and about a subject matter in depth. Then this was it. And his picks in some ways, do pack a punch, as the veracity for a case can be made for each. And those picks are wide and varied in terms of the gamut of sports wherein he suggests that the breakups were indeed bad.

Tiger Woods is  seen here  with  his  former coach  , Butch Harmon .  The two  split  in what was  said to be  at  the  time under somewhat  acrimonious  circumstances.  Something  now which  both parties  deny.   picture  appears courtesy of  ap/photo/  Eric  Richsberg .............
Tiger Woods is seen here with his former coach , Butch Harmon . The two split in what was said to be at the time under somewhat acrimonious circumstances. Something now which both parties deny. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Eric Richsberg .............

And amongst the storylines where Reid made his picks there were the following. Tiger Woods’ split from his long time golf coach, Butch Harmon. Well, bearing in mind that Woods now has far more on his plate to handle as of late. I think that the split with Harmon might seem somewhat trivial to Tiger at this juncture. The fact of the matter is, despite the split, Woods would continue to win and steadily amass a fortune that now makes him one of the richest, if not one of the ‘richest athletes’ in the world. But I do expect Elin to have something to say about that ! ‘ I want half, Tiger ‘ ! Need one say anymore on the matter ?

Courtesy of USA Today

Countdown to ’10: Top sports breakups

By Reid Cherner, USA Today

‘Don’t take your love away from me

Don’t you leave my heart in misery

If you go then I’ll be blue

‘Cause breaking up his hard to do’ Neil Sedaka

If the past decade has proved anything, it is that sometimes love will not find a way. There were plenty of bromances started in after 1999. Not all of them made it to 2010. The top sports breakups since 2000:

Tiger Woods and Butch Harmon: It seems so quaint now. After all, no back windows were smashed and the Florida Highway Patrol was never called. The notion of being a great swinger was something we all wanted to emulate then. But when Woods fired Butch Harmon as his coach after 10 years, it broke up one of the most successful partnerships in golf history. The two won a hunk of hardware together. There is no question that Woods would be the world’s greatest golfer whether Harmon or Hank Haney was giving tips, but some of his best years came with Harmon. “I loved the 10 years I had with Tiger,” Harmon told reporters. But he also said he enjoyed “being away from that circus — the media, the cameramen, the people running after you, always asking questions.” Harmon had no idea how prophetic he would be.

Bobby Bowden and Florida State: No marriage is forever, no matter how happy you were in the salad days. When the Seminoles hired Bowden 34 years ago, it was with the hope that he would build a football program where none existed. Bowden brought his homespun wisdom and his sense of humor. Oh, and he brought a little bit of coaching and recruiting know how. He exits the stage with the two national championships and almost 400 lifetime victories. Bowden, who once said “I guess I’ll retire some day, if I live that long,” says he now plans to see the world with his wife Ann. Bowden wanted one more year but seemed resigned to his fate. He leaves Penn State’s Joe Paterno, who faced his own firing squad earlier in the decade, as the grand old man of college football.

Roy Williams and Kansas: When Williams turned down his alma mater to stay at Kansas he was a hero in the state. When he changed his mind a few years later and agreed to re-establish the program that Dean Smith had built, Williams became a public enemy. Even after the Jayhawks won the 2008 national championship, destroying Williams and his Tar Heels in the Final Four, there were many who grew nauseous at the mention of his name. This for a man who took the team to a couple of national championship games and won almost 80% of his games. Williams writes in his new book Hard Work that one of his closest friends told him “Whatever you do I’m going to be with you” didn’t speak to him for 1½ years after he made the decision. Williams tried to remain loyal, even wearing a Kansas sticker during the ’08 title game, but the Jayhawks didn’t want to remain friends. Some might think that Williams can keep himself warm on cold nights but watching the tape of his two national title teams at UNC.

Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers: Tom Hagen, the consigliere of the Corleone Family says in The Godfather “your father wouldn’t want to hear this, Sonny. This is business not personal.” The Packers thought Favre was in the late afternoon of his career and Aaron Rodgers was ready to become the bright new shiny penny at quarterback. This was a divorce between Packer management and one of its players. There are still Green Bay fans who proudly wear their No. 4 jersey and talk of the glory days when Favre took them to two Super Bowls. If any of these tales can have a happy ending this one may be it. Favre has new life with first the New York Jets and now the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers are among the league’s hottest teams. Will everyone ever vacation together? No. Will they be meeting in Minneapolis for the NFC title? Well, wouldn’t that be interesting?

Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee: Isn’t it always sad when drugs, or in this case the talk of drugs, comes between two people who seemed so right for each other. Clemens is one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history. McNamee is a trainer who helped Clemens keep his 40-year-old body in 20-year-old shape. Then came allegations of performance-enhancing drugs and blood encrusted gauze and syringes. Everyone can benefit from third-party consultation but when that third party is Congress nothing good is going to grow out of the shards of relationship that are left. The lawsuits between Clemens and McNamee may remain alive for decades but the marriage is nothing but shambles.

In order to read Reid Cherner’s article in its entirety just click on the text link shown

This Feb. 13, 2008 file photo shows former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, left, listening to the testimony of his former personal trainer Brian McNamee, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on drug use in baseball. Clemens broke his silence Tuesday, again denying that former personal trainer Brian McNamee injected him with performance-enhancing drugs in his first public comments in more than a year. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Susan Walsh ......
This Feb. 13, 2008 file photo shows former New York Yankees baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, left, listening to the testimony of his former personal trainer Brian McNamee, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on drug use in baseball. Clemens broke his silence Tuesday, again denying that former personal trainer Brian McNamee injected him with performance-enhancing drugs in his first public comments in more than a year. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Susan Walsh ......

Of all the splits mentioned by Cherner in his piece. For me, the standouts were Roger Clemens’ split from long time personal trainer, coach and close personal friend ,Brian McNamee. What that tells you about friendship and alleged betrayal, is all that you need to know. Never mind the fact there was and still has been a web of deceit and lies from both of these individuals. And the story and the acrimony between the two ,still hasn’t died down.

And Roger Clemens for his part , still maintains his innocence of any wrongdoing over the steroid abuse allegations made against him. And he somehow saw fit to throw his ‘wife under the bus’ when he gave testimony to the House Oversight Reform Committee up on Capitol Hill, Washington,D.C.Nothing says ‘coward’ when you choose a member of your family as a pawn in a game that has some very serious ramifications of all involved. Even though his name appears in the ‘Mitchell Report’. It’s just Roger being Roger. Yet another story that MLB could’ve done without. But there again just look who runs the hierarchy of the game ?

In happier times  former  San Francisco 49ers'  teammates  Jeff Garcia (5) and  Terrell  Owens .  picture appears courtesy  of Sports Illustrated  /Getty  Imagrd/  Doug Miralle .......
In happier times former San Francisco 49ers' teammates Jeff Garcia (5) and Terrell Owens . picture appears courtesy of Sports Illustrated /Getty Imagrd/ Doug Miralle .......

If Terrell Owens feels aggrieved about anything , should we at all, believe him ? Or is it that the player seeks our sympathy ? Here is a player who knows of more ways to outlive his welcome with an NFL franchise, quite simply more than porn star, Jenna Jameson knows how to disrobe and perform a plethora of sex acts right before your very eyes. Not that there’s anything wrong with Jenna Jameson performing a sex act. To each his own and whatever floats your boat.

McNabb  and  Owens seen  here  as  teammates  for  an  official  picture  of  the  duo  .  After of something  of  a short lived career in  a Philadelphia Eagles'  uniform   . The  player  still  part of the equation  with the  Eagles  and  they've sent  him  packing to  the  Dallas Cowboys.  picture  appears  courtesy of  Al  Tielmans   ...............................
McNabb and Owens seen here as teammates for an official picture of the duo . After of something of a short lived career in a Philadelphia Eagles' uniform . Thr player still part of the equation wwith the Eagles and they've sent him packing to the Dallas Cowboys. picture appears courtesy of Al Tielmans ...............................

Owens over his storied career has seemingly found ways to alienate teammates , self destruct and lay waste to any franchise where he has been professionally. From the San Francisco 49ers, to the Philadelphia Eagles to the Dallas Cowboys. In his path there has been left turmoil and disruption. If he’s not questioning a teammate’s sexuality, then he’s questioning their physical abilities and integrity. One wonders how he’s ever called himself a teammate to the likes of Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb, Tony Romo and Jason Witten ? But then again, the narcissist that is TO , will always be TO, no matter what ! That’s the way it is and always will be ! I’m just waiting around for the first tremors to be felt up in Buffalo , once the Buffalo Bills have decided that he’s no longer of any use to the team or the organization ?

Bret Michaels of Poison and the hit ‘Every Rose Has Its Thorns’ sums up the relationship of Owens and Romo, when they were teammates with the Dallas Cowboys.

These are but a few of the stories that I for one found somewhat interesting of the ten mentioned by Reid Cherner in his article. You’ll no doubt have your very own thoughts on a story that was ripe for this topic of discussion. So by all means feel free to offer it up for discussion within this forum.

A young Neil Sedaka sings his hit ‘Breakin’ Up Is Hard To Do’.

This is but a tidbit of the sports’ breakups that’ve taken place over the decade. So feel free to chime on in with one of your own. And by all means do leave a comment.