A legacy … aspiring to be a legend in baseball

A legacy …… aspiring to be a legend in baseball

With the rash of trade maneuvers which have taken place during the off-season within baseball. One has to wonder how and where the teams in question are able facilitate the deals in terms of their finances . Granted , year in and year out were are repeatedly being told by the league’s hierarchy the game has nothing to worry about with regard to their finances. Yet it is difficult to try and justify how the Los Angeles Dodgers in the last two seasons have spent close to half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) in payroll to come up short in the postseason twice in sucession. OK, you could point to the fact the team’s owners are well backed financially, with their being owned outright by Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC , whose parent company just happens to be one of the nation’s largest venture capital firms with asssets exceeding $125 billion ($125,000,000,000). Guggenheim Partners Inc whose lead executives are Todd Boehly and Mark Walter , joined forces with Magic Johnson and Hollywood media mogul Peter Guber to purchase the Dodgers after the franchise was taken out of bankruptcy proceedings in US Federal Bankruptcy Court .

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Now while this whole chapter, may well have been beneficial for the game of baseball. The fact of the matter cannot be denied, the dealings which took place concerning this,was all clouded in a great deal of secrecy , with very little being made known to the public , in spite of the claims of former commissioner Bud Selig , everything was done above reproach. Having Bud Selig make those claims is tantamount to having a fox in a hen-house taking care of the occupants. Selig during his years has simply made sure this game has been presided over by buffoons , while he and the team owners take pride in the fact , apathy remains among the majority of the game’s fans , the print and television media as well as municipal and state agencies. The ongoing imbalances within the baseball beyond the very fact the game is still unable to rid themselves of steroid cheats , has been the fact Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are either afraid to address the issue or choose not to initiate a hard salary cap which is equitable for all thirty teams within the game .

The Dodgers’ meltdown during this past postseason was enough to suggest Don Mattingly and his managerial staff were ill-prepared, complacent and felt it preordained they would waltz their way through the postseason. Perhaps buoyed by the fact they possessed the best pitcher in baseball during the regular season. Clayton Kershaw was meant to lead the Dodgers through their playoff foray. Unfortunately , for the team , their opponents had other plans and the explanations behind the team’s postseason demise bordered upon being comical to downright ridicule of a group of players, who were simply overconfident and had little respect for their opponents .

Don Mattingly and his team will enter into 2015 with a payroll exceeding $260 million and not exactly in a position to try and justify anyone’s belief they can be considered one of the best teams in the National League this upcoming season. With Andrew Friedman coming to head up the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Baseball Operations , it was believed sweeping changes would be made among the player personnel. Friedman saw a need for the change after the abject failure seen during the past two postseason forays for the Dodgers. It would be foolish to believe the front office would accept these failings and not let their angst be known. Magic Johnson may well be the public face of the Dodgers’ organization from an executive standpoint, but Johnson should not be thought of only in the complexity of being one the NBA’s all-time greats, because he has now become an extremely successful businessman and philanthropist , whose corporation runs a gamut of business entities with revenues exceeding $1.8 billion annually. Profits and success are at the forefront of the Dodgers’ desire within this ownership group by just about any means necessary , but after the vast financial commitment made in 2013 and 2014, it became obvious something was missing from the template engineered by the management staff for the players.

Gone from last season’s roster are Josh Beckett , Matt Kemp, Brian Wilson , Dee Gordon and Dan Haren. The most notable acquisition for the team was short-stop Jimmy Rollins, whose presence could add some stability and leadership , which were sorely lacking and missing from those traits last season. I firmly believe , if Don Mattingly is unable to turn things around for the Dodgers this upcoming season , then the likelihood of his remaining would prove to be a disastrous . This season is likely to prove to be very competitive against baseball’s current World Series’ champions the San Francisco Giants . If the Giants are not seen as prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant in 2015 , then the dominance seen from this ball-club over the past six seasons can only be viewed as bewildering . Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy will be seeking to replicate the success witnessed last season as the franchise won its third World Series’ crown in the past six years.

There is no denying a ball-club such as the Los Angeles Dodgers with a legacy of such famed stars and Hall of Fame players as as Jim Bunning , Gary Carter , Don Drysdale , Sandy Koufax , Pee Wee Reese , Don Sutton and Jackie Robinson to name but a few . The vestiges of those halcyon days are long-gone with the franchise having not made the World Series in over twenty-five years , it begs the question , if the Dodgers are not able make another serious run in the postseason, will they ever succeed winning another title ? What I believe to be sorely lacking on this current Dodgers’ roster is someone willing to assume the role of a vocal leader both on and off the field of play. If the addition of Jimmy Rollins can provide the trait sought then so be it , but it is astonishing to think with such veterans already on this team as Carl Crawford , Adrian Gonzalez , Juan Uribe , Darwin Barney and AJ Ellis . How is it , that a team with such highly paid stars can continue to fail so miserably ? Is it a lack of managerial acumen from Don Mattingly or quite possibly the simple fact, this ball-club was never that good to begin with ?

An undeniable talent, but either the Miami Marlins are over-stretching in their belief that paying slugger Giancarlo Stanton a whopping $325 million will be a cure for what ails the organization can either be viewed as outrageous or an act pure genius on the part of GM Michael Hill and his fellow front office executives . Stanton’s thirteen-year deal averages out at $25 million annually , but it would still not make him the highest paid player in the game . Yet this is somehow the trait so many front office executives believe they need to exhibit. It’s either pay up, or you are likely to miss the boat . In baseball , few players have been able to live up to those live up to or meet the expectations or even surpass them. Simply ask Alex Rodriguez if he feels ,that his accomplishments within the game have not been tarnished by wantoned misuse of performance enhancing drugs (PED’s) ? I am sure New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman must now be ruing the day he re-signed Rodriguez to the second of his two multimillion dollar deals . Twice in a lifetime , two $250 million deals have been “inked” by Alex Rodriguez and not once was an eyelid raised over those contracts , even in the aftermath of the player’s admission of guilt for the use of a banned substance , which begs the question, why is baseball still filled with such apathy and hypocrisy , not just among the fans , but also within the game’s hierarchy ?

One of the decade’s best players found himself a new home during this off-season when Ichiro Suzuki joined the Miami Marlins signing a one-year deal with the hope his presence will prove to an adequate complement to the team’s roster . Ichiro is likely to maintain the productivity we have come to know over the years. The former AL Rookie of The Year and AL MVP is nearing a career milestone as he approaches the 3,000 career hits’ plateau . A first ballot future Hall of Fame inductee , it will be interesting to see how Ichiro will be feted upon surpassing the mark many hitters aspire to reach , but few are seen as legitimate legends of the game. Ichiro Suzkuki is definitely a legend within the Major Leagues and his career bears this out !

This upcoming season, I believe both the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees will live and die by the accomplishments of Giancarlo Stanton and Alex Rodriguez ! Stanton is lucky enough to still be in the infancy of his career, whereas , there is now nothing Rodriguez can now do to remove either the stain or stench associated with his past or his future . Two futile acts of contrition, cannot hide the fact he remains one of the most despised and hated athletes in all of major professional sports , bar none .

I believe it would be fair to suggest, both Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen offer the best hope for baseball, as the faces of the game and its likely saviors, if the sport is to truly prosper and for its long-term future ! Both have been recipients of the AL and NL MVP’s within their respective leagues. Though postseason heroics have been fleeting for Trout and McCutchen , there is no doubt in my mind at some point in their respective futures both are likely to be recipients of a World Series’ ring or a World Series’ MVP for their exploits. Granted , in the past three seasons neither the Los Angeles Angels or the Pittsburgh Pirates have met the expectations sought by their fans or prominent MLB analysts . Respective team owners Arte Moreno and Bob Nutting having willingly spent millions of dollars over the past few seasons painstakingly seeking a championship, but coming up short at various points of the postseason in recent years. This season, will hopefully promise a great deal and bring out the very best in the Angels and the Pirates. Certainly , that will be what respective managers Mike Scioscia and Clint Hurdle hope to obtain from the Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates as they enter the first month of the 2015 regular season schedule beginning on the 6th April .

A confident start could go a long way in determining how good or great their respective seasons are likely to be. If both Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen can reproduce the form shown during last season, then it could also aid their teams to the desired success of possibly winning a World Series’ crown. The Los Angeles Angels will begin their season with a game against the Seattle Mariners at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California , whereas , the Pirates will play the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati , Ohio , in the Reds’ home opener .

It is way too early to try and define the careers of Andrew McCutchen and Mike Trout ,but if either can remotely live up to a number of their predecessors with either the Pirates or Angels , then there is absolutely no reason not to believe why they cannot go on to have long and distinguished careers within Major League Baseball . In my honest opinion these two great young players are exactly what the game needs , fresh faced and talented individual players who simply excel, while showing a great deal of leadership skills and maturity !

Safe to say , with the ” stain ” associated with the careers of Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez , perhaps the best player in baseball over the past decade might well have been Albert Pujols whose list of career achievements have been well- chronicled . Since being acquired by the Los Angeles Angels his statistics have ebbed and flowed, but at his very best, there was no denying he was one of the most dominating , intimidating and best hitters in the game , while also showing his power as a home-runs’ hitter .

Many of Pujols’ current peers over past eight years have had their fair share misfortune either through their misdeeds or a decline in productivity. Pujols for his part remains an extremely popular player, with a large fan-base , while becoming a highly paid and lucrative marketing tool for a major corporate sponsors. The Angels’ slugger is one of a rare breed within baseball, whose image allows him such privileges in and outside of the game of baseball. Yet, I do not believe this is what defines Albert Pujols as a player or as a human being, because it has been his humanitarianism and philanthropy that has continued to stand out, throughout much of his decade-plus career. As he earnestly strives to win a third World Series’ title and his first World Series’ MVP Award , the sole individual award he has yet to win over the course of his astonishing career.

The common thought remains, if the Angels are to succeed in their goal to win their first World Series since 2002 when Troy Glaus was the hero of the series in their triumph against the San Francisco Giants. Then Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton , David Freese , Chris Iannetta , Erick Aybar , CJ Wilson , Jered Weaver and Huston Street will certainly have to play a great deal better , while following the lead of Mike Trout, now considered to be the real leader on this team.

This season might well prove to be the last for Mike Scioscia, if the Los Angeles Angels should fail to make the postseason. Inconsistencies over the years have led to gaps in the Angels’ postseason appearances in recent years. Prior to last season’s playoff foray the Angels’ last such appearance came as a participant in the 2009 ALCS where they would fall to the New York Yankees , who would go on to win the 2009 World Series . Heading into this season there are at least six AL teams teams likely to be considered contenders for this year’s ” Fall Classic ” . The Angels are one of those ball-clubs, I believe can make a credible challenge for the AL Pennant , along with the Oakland A’s , Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers , Seattle Mariners and last season’s ” Cinderella Story ” the Kansas City Royals if they can retain a number of last season’s stars and keep their momentum going in 2015.

The four inductees for the 2015 14 Hall of Fame Class were nominees deserving of the accolade. The careers of Craig Biggio , Randy Johnson , John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez not only warranted serious consideration but these four players at one time or another were dominant at certain points during their respective tenures in the game. While there were other eligible candidates for this year’s class , many of those eligible were closely associated with the “steroid era “ of baseball , something Major League Baseball will never entirely escape in spite of the statements attributed to Bud Selig and the very fact the continued misdeeds of the players at the Major League and Minor League Level still has not brought about an abatement of the players’ use of banned substances (PED’s, anabolic steroids , Stanazolol) and a lack of response and a clear line of unison between the league hierarchy and union (MLBPA) leads me to believe, both parties are only prepared to pay the issue mere ” lip service “ as they see fit , when there appears to be outrage on the part of the fans. Not there has been any type of outrage from within the media , covering the game, in particular by the always hypocritical BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) .

The years in which Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were laying siege to and obliterating the single season home run record , even when there was possible evidence to suggest, not everything was completely above board , the baseball writers were simply lauding the players’ efforts, as if were actually witnessing history in the making. Now we know Bonds’ 2001 mark was not only dubious but even the seven-time NL MVP still refuses to properly address and explain whether or not at any point during his career he knowingly used a banned substance. To my mind Roger Maris’ mark of sixty-one home runs (61) remains the legitimate record in the baseball annals , along with Hank Aaron’s career home runs’ tally of seven hundred and fifty-five (755). Correct me if I’m wrong , even during the era of segregation and the civil rights’ era , was the sport of baseball ever in such disarray , as it was known to be in this and the past decade ? Answers please ? Or should we continue down the merry road of apathy as constituted and led by Bud Selig and now his successor , Rob Manfred ?

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Picture gallery .

Spring Training is just around the corner , merely less then six weeks away and the plot-lines within the game of baseball are now being written. Like last season we are likely to see a fair share of controversy being played out both on and off the field of play. So what should the fans expect during the first few months of this upcoming season ? Which players and teams do you believe will be taking away the individual and team honors at the end of this regular and postseason (MLB) schedule ?

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Matt Kemp, center, , once considered a mainstay within the Los Angeles Dodgers’ franchise but during the off-season he was traded to fellow NL franchise the San Diego Padres . Kemp is seen here with Padres’ front office executives , left GM A J Preller and manager Bud Black. . AP Photo / Gregory Bull …

(2) Mark Walter lead managing partner in the ownership group of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Getty Images / Mark Powers

(3) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins . During the off-season the player signed the largest contract in baseball history , a thirteen-year $325 million deal to remain with the franchise . He will be joined by former AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP Ichiro Suzuki , who signed a one-year deal with the NL East ball-club. AP Photo / Paul Ross

(4) Andrew McCutchen , left of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels . These two outfielders are considered to be the two best players in Major League Baseball . Few would consider to the contrary, given their list of accomplishments , since entering the Big Leagues . AP Photo / Mike Potter

(5) Ichiro Suzuki seen here in a New York Yankees’ uniform for whom he played last season , but will enter 2015 as a member of the Miami Marlins, with a view to aiding the team from an offensive and defensive standpoint. Getty Images / Mike Thomas

(6) ) Alex Rodriguez , picture inset , is seen here striking out during a game in 2013 for the New York Yankees . The third basemen sat out the 2014 season for the team , having to serve a league-mandated suspension for violation of the league’s steroid policy . Rodriguez hopes to make a successful return to the ball-club in 2015 with the organization in transition after retirement of Derek Jeter and departure of several players , notably Ichiro Suzuki who joins the Marlins in a one-year deal . Rodriguez’s return also will also place once again among the top-twenty earning players in terms of annual salary and a contract , bearing in mind, he is the only player in MLB history to have signed two deals paying in excess of $240 million for each contract . He is also the top-earning player in league history by way of life-time contract earnings. At this stage of his career , it is not hard to suggest how Alex Rodriguez’s career is likely to be remembered . A two-time league substance abuse offender , dubious career statistics , top career-earnings , the public’s disdain and dislike of him as a player. Getty Images / David Hughes

(7) From left to right , Barry Bonds , Sammy Sosa and Mark McWire . For the decade covering the nineties and the early part of this past decade , the trio were part one of the most inglorious eras in baseball’s history , as they laid siege to the single-season home run record . The figure of sixty-one home runs first held by Roger Maris who hit 61 home runs for the New York Yankees during the 1961 season , is still looked upon and revered as the legitimate record in baseball history . though it was surpassed by Bonds in 2001 with seventy-three home runs. The mark is currently recognized by statisticians for MLB , the Hall of Fame , BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) and Elias Stats Bureau . Barry Bonds also holds the record for career home runs , (762) surpassing the total (755) of Hank Aaron , a Hall of Fame inductee in a game for the San Francisco Giants played against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver , Colorado on 5th September , 2007. . The pitcher who gave up the home run was Ubaldo Jiminez . AP Photo / Emmanuel Ortega

(8) ) Roger Maris who alongside teammate and close friend Mickey Mantle set the season alight in 1961 , where along the way Maris would break the single season home run record with a total of sixty-one home runs . In that same season the New York Yankees would go on to win the World Series defeating the Cincinnati Reds and where Whitey Ford would be named World Series’ MVP . UPI Archives

(9) Baseball legend Hank Aaron and his wife, Billye Aaron , smile as they listen to Hall of Famer Willie Mays reminisce during the dedication of the Hank Aaron Childhood Home and Museum April 14, 2010 at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Ala. Aaron’s childhood home, originally built by his father, was moved to the stadium’s “Gaslight Park” and restored in November 2008. The celebration, which included a ribbon-cutting and private reception, was attended by a star-studded roster of Hall of Famers and baseball dignitaries, including Mays, Reggie Jackson , Ozzie Smith , Bob Feller , Rickey Henderson , and Bruce Setter , along with President of Minor League Baseball Pat O’Conner, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Jeff Idelson , MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , and Hall of Fame senior director of exhibitions Erik Strohl . Hank Aaron, in many circles, is still recognized as the all-time career home-runs’ king , having surpassed the mark achieved by Babe Ruth of seven-hundred and fourteen . Aaron’s tally (755) has since been superseded by Barry Bonds . The Braves’ icon , now successful businessman with a themed style restaurant chain and several auto dealerships in the greater Atlanta area , is now , one member of a consortium close to buying NBA franchise the Atlanta Hawks , currently the best team in the league , record-wise . Apex Media-wire photo by Carmen K. Sisson

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Former MLB Commissioner Allan ‘Bud’ Selig seen on the dais at National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York .

Can Baseball Save Itself ?

Can Baseball Save Itself ?

As much as I enjoy the game of baseball I can’t help but wonder when the game’s hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig will actually come to a decision regard the game’s most hallowed records. With the both the all-time home run and single season records having been broken by Barry Bonds and the player himself having been found guilty of perjury and obstruction of Justice by a Federal Court jury with a sentence still awaiting , it remains to be seen what stance will be taken by the league concerning the player’s sentencing and the very fact that those records remain in tact and are still recognized . The game has been tainted by a vast array of controversies over the years but certainly the stigma attached to the “steroid era” will be the one thing that defines this game for years to come . It has been bad enough that Selig showed as much tenacity in going after the players who broke the rules as a Klansman would have an aversion in speaking out against one of his own members . The idiocy of it all, is while icons of the game see their records be surpassed the league hierarchy , team owners and the MLBPA have made out quite handsomely from a financial standpoint while those records were obliterated .

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Hank Aaron the former home run king and the late Roger Maris I feel have been done a great disservice but clearly until with no real action being taken those records now await a new player to come along and surpass those marks . Amongst the active players in terms of the home run tally it now lies in the hands of Alex Rodriguez to take aim at the 762 home runs set by Bonds . For the present it doesn’t appear that the single season home run mark is in imminent danger but it is becoming increasingly clear that once broken by a player , that feat will come under even more intense scrutiny . As time goes by history will judge the feats and the fans as of now can only either show their disdain or approval as the case maybe. The idiocy of it all is that for some players having retired their sole aim after that is to be an enshrinee in Baseaball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York joining the other illustrious Hall of Famers within that hallowed edifice.

Rodriguez isn’t without controversy himself having first lied about his use of performance enhancing drugs only then to come clean in rather contrived interview process that left a lot to be desired and the player coming off as complete embarrassment to the New York Yankees’ organization . And even in light of that contrived apology things are still unclear with his name also being linked to Orlando medical professional Anthony Galea who is under indictment for the illegal transportation and sale illicit substances including HGH , anabolic steroids , oxycodone to name but a few . The Justice Department’s ongoing investigation may well lead to other indictments but given the idiocy of prosecutors in charge of many of these cases I do believe that the taxpayers’ money is simply being wasted on these cases . The Bonds’ episode including the investigation of BALCO has cost an estimated $15-$20 million from start to finish in an investigation that has shown little tangible evidence that the indictments and guilty verdicts levied against Bonds , former track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery has effectively stopped the misuse of PED’s within the game or sports in general . Case in point , as wide as the net has now been cast by the Justice Department in its investigation there still seems to be the belief by some athletes that they’re indeed above the law.

Money if anything has been the cursory issue as the players here chase after what they deem to be baseball immortality and financial bounty. And as we know with the ever increasing salaries and the mere fact that the owners as well as general managers act as if they’re completely oblivious as to the financial vulnerability of the teams and stability of many of these organizations.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong the seven time winner of the “> Tour de France is now under investigation by the Justice Department and it appears that the tip of the iceberg as there appears to be an onslaught as they now Armstrong within their sights . The cyclist has always denied his use of performance enhancing drugs but with the latest statements attributed to former cycling teammates George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton in their testimony to authorities it appears that the cycling champion’s credibility could now become all the more questionable given the weight of evidence of the testimonies of both Hamilton and Hincapie , whereby they each state that they have seen Armstrong use PED’s. Sooner or later in spite of the denials Armstrong will have to face the facts and tell his own story verbatim to the authorities rather than merely issuing rather terse statements through his legal representatives.

At the start of the season it was felt that the Boston Red Sox would be hanging tough and perhaps walking away with the AL East . Having got off to an inauspicious start through their first eleven games left many wondering if this team would be good enough to be challenging the likes of the New York Yankees and others within the division . Terry Francona and his coaching staff came under a great deal of scrutiny as did GM Theo Epstein after the organization’s big off-season acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez . Things being what they are , the Boston Red Sox struggled as many questioned the travails of the team and the fact that they were problem areas manifesting itself all over this roster . Slowly but surely as their confidence grew the Red Sox played themselves back into contention .

Now as the month of June approaches it will be interesting to see if the Boston Red Sox can maintain their momentum . The month of May has been if anything a very benevolent one for the Red Sox , having won seven straight and 8 of their last 10 games the team now finds itself a 1/2 game behind the division leading Tampa Bay Rays (25-20). And based on Friday night’s evidence where the team summarily dispatched the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park in an emphatic 15-5 victory over the beleaguered Cubs .

The series between the Red Sox and Cubs resumes as Francona’s team looks to make that leap over the Tampa Bay Rays and take control of the division. The Rays in an inter-league game take on the Florida Marlins at Landshark Stadium , in Miami , Florida . If anything what has been remarkable about the Red Sox’s within the league has been the play of Adrian Gonzalez as he now leads the league in RBI’s . But this hasn’t been simply about it being a one man show as it has been a collective effort from all the members of this team in one form or another. The pitching is starting to pay dividends and Jonathan Papelbon seems to be back to his customary self . And that if anything has to be an added bonus for the Red Sox and their overly boisterous fans .

There’s still a great deal to play for this season and I’ve no doubt that the AL East as a division is still very much a competitive one . It will most certainly be a three horse race to my mind and in all likelihood the third placed team at the end of the season will be the one to miss out on a postseason playoff berth. The wildcard berth will most certainly come from within the division as there doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe that from within the AL Central or AL West there is contender playing anywhere good enough to be thought of as contender for that playoff spot.

As the months of June , July , August and September approach we will continue to learn a great deal more about the teams and their play . And for the likes of the Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays , they are about to make that AL East all the more enticing as a spectacle to be observed from afar as a discerning baseball fan. As to what the outcome will be is anyone’s guess at this juncture but I know that it will be all the more entertaining to find out over the coming months as we see how things actually pan out.

Inasmuch as I have asked the question within this piece ” Can Baseball Save Itself” I might also add …….. has the league done enough to even assure the game remains safe and a viable going concern ? It’s a question that I think we all seek an answer for but in reality the answer itself has to come from the league hierarchy and not from the fan ! We may well have our own idea on the matter and how we’d like to see things change for the better but as I’ve alluded to earlier it will be left in the hands Bud Selig and his subordinates to lead this game into the direction that needs to be taken.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this topic ? Simply leave a comment or comments as you deem fit on anything you feel to be pertinent to this article .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Three giants of the game from left to right Roberto Clemente , Willie Mays and Hank Aaron . courtesy of ftl.pinecrest.edu …….

(2) Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Pena (22) walks back to the dugout after grounding out against the Boston Red Sox in the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Friday, May 20, 2011. The Red Sox won 15-5 . AP Photo/Elise Amendola ………

(3) Kevin Youkilis (20) and David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox celebrate after they scored against the Chicago Cubs on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox have not played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images ……

(4) Kevin Youkilis (20) 20 of the Boston Red Sox hits a two run homer in the fourth inning as Koyie Hill (55) of the Chicago Cubs defends on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox have not played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …..

(5) BOSTON, MA – MAY 21: Carlos Marmol (49) of the Chicago Cubs celebrates the win with teammate Aramis Ramirez (16) on May 21, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Tonight the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox are wearing replica uniforms from 1918. Before this series, the two teams haven’t played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-3 . Photo by Elsa/Getty Images ……

(6) BOSTON, MA – MAY 21: David Ortiz (34) #34 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates his two run homer in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs with teammate Kevin Youkilis (20) on May 21, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Tonight the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox are wearing replica uniforms from 1918. Before this series, the two teams haven’t played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …….

(7) Koyie Hill (55) of the Chicago Cubs holds David Ortiz(notes) at third base after tagging out Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.on May 20, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox have not played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images ……..

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Mirror Mirror On The Wall Who’s The Fairest of Them All ? Is That Really You Sammy Sosa ?

There’s nothing wrong with being a metro sexual guy in this day and age. I mean it’s expected that a man should keep himself in good shape, eat well and to an extent be of peak physical fitness. Hitting the gym once or twice a week helps. But not to overstate the fact , hitting a nail salon for a manicure and pedicure is taking it way too far. Well at least I thought so , until I saw a recent picture of former Texas Rangers and Cubs‘ player Sammy Sosa attending the Latin Grammy Awards.

Sammy before  and   Sammy  after    '
Sammy Sosa before and Sammy Sosa after ? And now we might know why Sammy's said to be interested in pursuing a solo singing career . I guess he wants to be seen as the Hispanic answer to the late Michael Jackson ?

Sammy Sosa before and Sammy Sosa after ? And now we might know why Sammy’s said to be interested in pursuing a solo music career. I guess he wants to be viewed as the Hispanic answer to the late Michael Jackson ? picture appears courtesy of Zabulowski/AP – Djansezian/Getty ……………

We all know that Sosa has come a long way from the rough streets of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. And that he honed his skills to become one the dominant players of his era. Alright, we know that from those halcyon days when he and Mark McGwire were laying waste to the single season home run record was one big unadulterated fraud perpetrated upon the public, with the MLB hierarchy acting like the three monkeys …..as in see no evil , speak to no evil and hear no evil ! And now it appears that the game’s commissioner,Bud Selig is of the opinion that the return of McGwire to the game as the hitting coach of the St Louis Cardinals is a good thing for the game ? Never-mind the fact that he’ll embraced with open arms by his former Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa. Whose own ideas on steroid abuse scandal in baseball lies somewhere in between don’t ask , don’t tell and who gives a f_ck policy ! And we’re to believe that there’s still some integrity in the game ? Not when the game’s highest ranking official is making such asinine statements !

The Summer of 1998 when it was thought all was right in the world of baseball and the fans were watching with a great deal of astonishment and surprise as McGwire and Sosa laid an onslaught in the single season home run record held at time by New York Yankees‘ great, Roger Maris. The record was broken by McGwire , only for it to be broken several years later by another steroid abuse suspect in that of San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds. He would hit a record breaking 73 home runs that year ,with the last coming on October 7th 2001. A record which still stands to this day. And one, which should it once again be broken,would come under immediate suspicion by the fans and laymen alike. Bonds , whose own fate still lies in the hands of the US Justice System (Dept. of Justice) at this very moment. It’s hard to believe that he could still return to the game and be off some effect to it. Not with having been away from the game for close on three years.

Effective communication as taught to Mark McGwire .Here he addresses House Members with his testimony concerning steroid use. As you can see McGwire was less than forthright with the House members. His fellow playing colleague Rafael Palmeiro would have his own mea culpa , as it came to be known.

Baseball may well be in a tide of euphoria, with the New York Yankees having won their 27th World Series title in defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games (4-2) in The Fall Classic. But with the impending return of Mark McGwire to the game and the thought that his crimes proven or not, are still thought of as nothing more than a misnomer by the game’s hierarchy. It sends something of an indirect message to the game’s youngest fans, that you too can be good at this game, just as long as you don’t get caught cheating.

This brief 6 second sound byte has all but placed the death knell , as to Rafael Palmeiro’s ambition for getting into baseball’s Hall of Fame. ” Let me start by telling you this I have never used steroids period “! If his finger waving to the House Members didn’t warrant a rebuke ,then certainly those words uttered by Palmeiro came back to haunt him in the most expected of ways. Less than four months later it was revealed that he tested positive for banned substance prohibited by law and the league. Karma is a bitch isn’t it ?

The Four Horsemen of  the Apocalypse  ?   From left to  right ,  Sammy  Sosa  ,  Mark McGwire ,   Rafael  Palmeiro and   Curt Schilling.   The  former  Phillies' ace   was more like  an  audition  for    position within  the  House  as  he  skirted  around  many  of the  questions  asked  of  him  at  the  time.         picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Scott McIntosh  ....................

The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse . From left to right, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire , Rafael Palmeiro and former Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies’ pitching ace Curt Schilling sit and listen attentively prior to giving testimony to members of the House in an open session. The former Phillies ace’s testimony was very much like an audition for one of the House Members’ positions.As he skirted around the questions asked of him at the time. Sosa for his part, became indecipherable as if almost overnight his command of the English language had completely vanished. And it was left to an interpreter to pose the questions to the former player and also reply on his behalf once he was made cognitive of what was being asked of him at the time. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Scott McIntosh ………..

And for Sosa while there’s no impending return for him to the game. One may well well have to ask what the future may well have in store for the one time legendary slugger ? A singing career perhaps ? Or as a performer in the adult movie industry ? These are the questions one could boldly ask of Sammy Sosa, if only his command of the English language was all that intelligible. But being that his interactions inside the clubhouse had never posed a problem for Sosa when he was interacting with his teammates, coaches and ancillary staff alike. I now have to ask myself this question who’s in fact looking like the biggest fool of them all ? And who’s said to be looking like the fairest of them all ? Have you an answer to the question being posed ?