Be there or be square …

Be there or be square
We have already reached the half-way point of the MLB season and the league is about to stage the eighty-sixth edition of baseball’s mid-season event staged between teams from the AL and NL. At this point in 2014, the divisions offered no real pointers as to how the regular season would end or the outcome of the postseason for that matter. Granted, fans were excited to witness the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during the postseason, before faltering against the eventual champions the San Francisco Giants.

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The 2015 MLB All Star Game held at the Great American Ballpark , home to the Cincinnati Reds will provide the fans in attendance as well the television viewers the chance to see their favorite players perform in the mid-season classic. For the Kansas City Royals and their league-leading number of players chosen to be among the list of players representing the American League. This provides the franchise with the opportunity to still ride on the crest of the waves provided from last season’s success, albeit they came up short in the World Series. This season the Royals have been on a tear leading the AL Central , leaving the rest of the division in their wake.

I certainly believe the Detroit Tigers have misjudged the competitiveness of their divisional rivals and the zeal being shown by this Ned Yost managed team. Remarkable as things may well appear to be, given the fortunes of the Kansas City Royals prior to last season’s postseason appearance and then their letdown in the World Series . Things might well prove to be going well for the ball-club, but the struggles continue for a franchise that finds it hard to retain players given the financial shackles placed upon them by a front office and owner , David Glass , who has not been always willing to make a big splash of signing a marquee and productive free agent.

For years Glass was seen as something of a cheapskate, not always willing to pay or place a winning product on the field. Needless to say, claims of the Royals’ owner simply wanting to make use of the monies made available by way of the luxury tax, became one of the many reasons why allegations were made concerning the ball-club’s dismal record over the years. However, over the past five seasons the fruits of the organization’s labor has borne fruit with the development of several players from within their farm system. A number of those players were part of last season’s success for the Kansas City Royals and now they are again stepping up to the plate.

The Royals are a dismal 5-5 in their last ten games, their last victory coming with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. They will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday afternoon when they host their AL rivals at Kauffman Stadium , Kansas City , Missouri. Matt Moore will take the mound for the Rays against the Royals’ Chris Young . I believe the contest is likely to be a competitive one, with the Rays looking to make some inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees.

For two straight seasons the Oakland A’s were see as creme-de-la-creme within the AL West having won the division two years in succession and with it came all of the applause of making the postseason. Alas, the appearances in 2012 and 2013 were short-lived and fell short of the expectations of the A’s famed general manager Billy Beane. Countered by the fact the A’s are one of the least supported teams in all of baseball and their finances menial at best , the continued struggles for the franchise to compete has been a hard one for the organization and the ownership group headed by lead partner Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley . The A’s home venue , the O Coliseum is an archaic stadium, no longer seen as conducive to the team’s needs. Losing 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners has put something of an exclamation mark on what has become a dire season for the Oakland A’s , leading many to believe , Billy Beane and team manager Bob Melvin may begin a fire sale purging themselves of their impending free agents and their high-salaried players off the team’s roster.

Oakland has been looking to parlaying its success , building on their momentum to obtain a new venue with participation from the Oakland Alameda County Government . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization. If there isn’t winning product on the field of play, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to get the financial backing available to get such a proposition underway and actually becoming a reality. The Oakland A’s will be looking to get back to winning ways when they take on the New York Yankees in an away game when the two teams meet on Tuesday evening. Taking to the mound for the visiting team will be Sonny Gray as he faces the Yankees’ starting pitcher Nathan Evoldi .

No major fallout in the St Louis Cardinals’ hacking scandal, with the Cardinals announcing the termination of scouting director Chris Correa . While there seems to be no suggestion that Correa acted alone , I personally believe he was the sacrificial lamb in this whole debacle ! GM John Mozeliak has been less than forthright in seeking to explain the ball-club’s actions and the obtaining of sensitive information from the Houston Astros . For its part , the MLB hierarchy has issued no public statement concerning the matter and it seems unlikely that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will take any action against one of baseball’s most esteemed organizations . We can have fans up in arms about the issue of steroid cheats , the nonsensical and irrational behavior of players in the NFL as well as their misogynistic behavior towards women, blatant racism , homophobia, of which the same traits can also be found within the NBA. Yet God forbid , the fact we now have a baseball team now blatantly committing a criminal offense and not a fucking whimper is heard from the anal retentive sports’ fan, let alone their being any great measures being undertaken by the media to actually conduct any type of investigation behind the actions of the St Louis Cardinals.

News’ cycles being what they are , I guess there’s now more interest in a bigot such as Donald Trump , his ambition to become the Republican Presidential candidate , or idiots within the South Carolina State Legislature suggesting the Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism. Last I looked , racism was still alive and well , long before Dylan Roof took it upon himself to slay nine African-Americans, as he sought to single-handed to begin a race war. Oh my God , not another fucked up suburban white kid , with the intelligence of a lump of shit, looking for attention. Was this mother-fucker still sucking on his Mom’s tit before he went on this rampage , having not been able to gain any attention from his buddies in high school ? Or was it the fact, the lure of the KKK was more alluring, than perhaps having his cherry popped or the claims as some have suggested , Roof was angered by the fact his ex-girlfriend had begun a relationship with an African-American male. Hence the saying, “ once you go black, you never go back “ . White boy , ain’t got no lead in his pencil.

The St Louis Cardinals are the runaway locomotives within the NL , leading with the NL Central by a comfortable margin and likely to have their division all sewn up before we reach the month of September . Mike Matheny and his team have been rarely troubled over the course of their season and it begs the question can the Cardinals be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant ? St Louis alongside , the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are far in a way the best teams within the National League at this point of the season, but as we all know the baseball schedule is one of two halves at the culmination of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule. Having demolished the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon the Cardinals will seek to follow up that victory by looking to inflict further pain upon their NL Central based rivals.

The events surrounding baseball’s mid-season spectacle might well be more entertaining and fan-friendly than can be found with the NBA All Star Game , the NHL All Star Game and that of the NFL’s Pro Bowl . Fans do get the chance to meet with their idols and the players tend to be more appreciative than their counterparts within football , basketball and hockey. Yet for all all the praise and reverence , baseball still finds itself with a dwindling television audience and a marketing strategy that might as well have been thought up by a bunch of drunken fools. The All Star Game itself carries with it, the winning league having home game advantage in the World Series , but even with that as an incentive there doesn’t really seem to be much else that the event really has going for it. Baseball’s Home Run Derby elicits about as much excitement as seeing an eighty-year old wrinkled female up on stage performing a striptease performance , with Vanilla Ice’s hit ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ playing in the background. The efforts of the contestants might well be admired , but in reality, what is it the fans are really getting to witness ? Efforts of real human endeavor ? If that’s meant to be the case with regard to the Home Run Derby , then I would rather watch paint dry or the mating ritual of a pair of elephants. At least there is a sense of realism with what’s being shown on screen , rather the implied implication the contest is something of real physical demand.

Baseball is now at a crossroads , with the career of its greatest ambassador of the last two decades having come to a close last season , there is no Derek Jeter for the fans to follow. The exploits of Mike Trout can provide a great deal of excitement , but he is now playing for a franchise which has consistently under-achieved over the past six seasons. Trout is not to blame, but clearly the Los Angeles Angels are in a state of disarray. In the NL , Bryce Harper is finally fulfilling the potential many of us felt he had , but his lack of maturity and the fact no one on the Washington Nationals’ roster or managerial staff was prepared to hold the player accountable, led to his slow development on all fronts.

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Are you a fan of the MLB All Star Game and if you could level one criticism of the event, what would it be ? Also , which team do you believe has been the biggest disappointment and which club do you feel has been the biggest surprise ?

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The Killer Elite ….

The Killer Elite

Well, baseball season (MLB) is almost upon us , with certain position players due to report to their respective teams within the next few days. For a number of franchises , this off-season has proven to be dramatic, suspenseful and dare one say, even exhilarating ? The MLB Postseasonprovided us with several stories and theplot-lines came thick and fast , so much so,that not even the script writers of Hollywood could have provided us with more drama. Who could’ve foreseen the Kansas City Royals blowing the frames off the doors, as they brushed aside their postseason opponents with a great deal of ease , only to succumb to the wily experience of Bruce Bochy, his managerial staff and the players of the San Francisco Giants , in dramatic fashion of an intense seven-game thriller of a World Series. A perfect ending to the 2014 MLB regular and postseason. Some might say, the Cinderella Story of the Royals would have been the perfect ending, but it was not to be, simply because the lack of postseason experience on the Royals’ roster of last season.

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With baseball’s Winter Meetings taking place in the aftermath of the Fall Classic, deals were being made with an alarming speed and regularity. Topping them all , was Giancarlo Stanton’s record- breaking deal with the Miami Marlins. Leaving many flabbergasted and surprised by the contract’s value and length , never-mind where the financial resources might be coming from, considering the Marlins’ menial attendance record for the Marlins’ Ballpark, in Miami , Florida and the fact, since its inception, it has been rarely filled to capacity. That asides, should Mike Redmond and his coaching staff not have this team not in a position to win the NL East or actually gain a postseason berth. The common thread of thought, appears to be the front office led by Michael Hill will be quick to pull the trigger on dealing Stanton elsewhere, rather than having to bear the brunt of a $25 million payout, in the first year of the deal.

From my own standpoint, I believe the Miami Marlins will be hard-pressed to make a serious enough challenge against what appears to be not only something of a revamped Washington Nationals’ lineup , but also on paper, what might be the ” deepest” roster in the entire National League (NL). It will be interesting to see how these two NL East teams are likely to fare over the course of their regular season series in 2015. If the Marlins are to have any semblance of success this season, then Giancarlo Stanton and his teammates will have to be playing their very best baseball right out of the starting gates on Opening Day of the regular season schedule. A one hundred and sixty-two game arduous slog, will prove to be a matter of attrition, stealth and a great deal tenacity on the part of the players and managerial staff, as things begin to play out.

Rob Manfred has succeeded Bud Selig as the MLB Commissioner and as the highest-ranking executive within the game. Whether or not Manfred can succeed where his predecessor repeatedly failed, will be dependent upon how he deals with the issues that have bedeviled baseball and the league hierarchy’s often contentious relationship with the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . The union’s recently elected Executive Director , Tony Clark is a former player whose career in the Majors could be deemed passable. Clark’s predecessor, Michael Weiner’s death cut short his tenure in an executive role, leaves the newly elected union leader as the players’ voice in the collective bargaining agreement for all issues involving the game, beyond the union’s own failure to deliver their concise formal statement on the matter of steroid abuse and the still prevalent deliberate misuse of performance enhancing drugs at the Major League Level and especially within the Minor League , where it now seems to rampant, but widely reported by the mainstream media, whose priority just seem to be the events as they unfold at the Major League Level. Yet, they would have the fans believe, their reporting of their so-called facts, has never been clouded or simply a white-wash, when it comes to the truth or their un-avowed bias of their reported stories .

Coming off his first win of the AL MVP, of which in the future I am sure there will be others, Mike Trout will be looking to cement his position as not only the best young player in baseball, but also the best player to have been drafted in the game since 2009 , the year he was taken by the Los Angeles Angels. Trout in his brief career in the Majors to date, has now become the best player on the Angels’ starting lineup, which has been devoid of leadership. Some might believe it to be an astonishing statement, when you consider the fact, there are experienced veterans on this team, where Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton and C J Wilson are the most recognizable names. The fact remains however, Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff have not put the Angels in a serious position win the World Series in spite of their most recent appearance in the 2014 postseason . The Angels’ missteps there were well-chronicled and something of a major disappointment to their fans after the team’s triumph in succeeding the Oakland Athletics as the AL West divisional champions.

This season might prove to be a horse for a different course as I expect the A’s to rebound back after a disappointing sojourn in 2014 ! If there is one thing I do know, it is not to underestimate a general manager such as Billy Beane , whose portrayal by Brad Pitt in the hit movie ” Moneyball” has just about everyone convinced they could become a great front office executive in Major League Baseball. Separating fact from fiction, we all know what Beane has been able construct and quite remarkably succeed in repeating, and that is to make the A’s competitive team in spite of a cash-starved ownership group and the very fact , Bud Selig has somehow refused to come to the organization’s aid in assisting them to obtain a new baseball stadium. Though somehow , the former commissioner was front and center when Citi-Field, Yankees’ Stadium and Marlins’ Ballpark took shape at the expense of the taxpayers within the cities of New York and Miami , where the final cost exceeded for all three venues exceeded $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000). Never let it be said, Selig doesn’t know how to maneuver his way around the corridors of power, while making so many political dignitaries at the municipal , state and federal level look like complete morons. Personally, I don’t believe it to be that difficult a task whether or not it’s a Democrat or Republican, whose largesse is being sought. Simply look at the idiocy of the political bickering now taking place at the national level and the continued partisan discord between both parties and then ask yourself, why you would be willing to trust a congressional member from either party , let alone someone at the municipal or state level ? Add in the fact, Bud Selig’s, greatest accomplishments as commissioner could be written on the back of a first class stamp and be posted to the North Pole , addressed to Santa Claus, for all of the use that would do. Yet I digress, as Claus based on a fable, has been far more successful in bringing joy to many , than anything accomplished by Selig during his tenure as the lead executive in Major League Baseball.

Mike Trout has more than repaid the Angels’ faith in him, which has resulted in a contract commensurate to his talents. Trout’s maturity is there to be seen and he has most definitely become the face, voice and undoubted leader of this team. As to whether or not his teammates are now willing to follow his lead can be best judged by your perception of their overall performances during the 2014 postseason, where Trout I believe, led by example, but there was no one else around willing to assist their teammate.

Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto has to be wondering , if not second-guessing himself as to whether or not it was prudent investing over $300 million of team owner Arte Moreno’s money into acquiring Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Moreno is known to be a shrewd businessman with a keen eye for detail and seeking out deals, which will more than maximize a return on that particular investment. Having made his name showing a keen eye for an investments specifically in the world of sports and broadcasting. One thing becoming abundantly clear at this juncture and it is, with each passing season where Mike Scioscia comes up short, he one step closer to becoming the next managerial casualty in the world of baseball. If Scioscia fails this season, then he is likely to become one the first casualty of an ongoing policy which has become the norm not just in baseball but in professional and collegiate sports. The dismissal of a coach or manager, as the case maybe.

The Angels will begin their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners , with the first of those games on 5th April, 2015 at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington,. However, before Los Angeles embarks upon their regular season schedule, they have their Spring Training Schedule and the chance for Mike Scioscia and his staff to assess their non roster invitees as well as their newly acquired players from this off-season. Chances are, several players will play their part in contributing to Angels’ endeavors over the course of their schedule.

For the third straight season the Los Angeles Dodgers will enter the year with the highest payroll in baseball. Several of the players on the roster are among the highest paid players in the game by way of their salaries and contractual compensation. With the franchise having failed miserably in the postseasons of 2013 and 2014 , each time falling to their nemesis the St Louis Cardinals, most notably in the NLDS last season.

Magic Johnson has been the front officeimage of the Dodgers’ organization, but now with Andrew Friedman having been brought in to oversee the franchise’s Baseball Operations, it does appear Johnson will have to take a back seat to to the new front office executive as he looks to create a resurgent and competitive on field product this upcoming season. That tall order has led to the departures of Matt Kemp , Josh Beckett and several other players during the off-season as Friedman looks to provide Don Mattingly and his staff with the tools needed for the Dodgers to win their first World Series title since 1988 .

While I believe the Dodgers to be a good team, they are far from being a great team and that is what is needed in the postseason if the franchise is to make it their ambition to win a world title. NL MVP and Cy Young winner in 2014 Clayton Kershaw , teammates Zack Greinke , Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig will have to show a great deal more than what was witnessed during 2014, especially during the postseason.

Don Mattingly and his team will begin their regular season with a home game at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles California against the San Diego Padres on the 6th April, 2015. For Matt Kemp, it provides the player with the chance to renew old acquaintances with former teammates, as he gets the chance to play at the stadium where some of the most famous exploits of his career took place. Padres’ GM A J Preller and team manager Bud Black will be looking to make this team worthy challengers to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants this season within the NL West , which I believe will be one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball this upcoming season.

Where would we be without some drama being provided by baseball’s most illustrious ball-club? This season will be the first time in over two decades , where the now retired Derek Jeter will not be part of the New York Yankees’ opening day lineup. Major changes have taken place within the organization , among the playing staff, with several players departing , while the Yankees seek to reshape the roster, which at its core, is still one, with several players at the twilight of their careers . It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice, in the midst of this all, Alex Rodriguez was welcomed back into the fold, but I feel that the player, while being closely scrutinized, he likely to make another misstep and as before, then look to apportion blame elsewhere for his own misdeeds, as so often been the case over the past eight and a half years. If nothing else, Rodriguez has been more consistent off the field with his repeated lies than he has been on the field for the Yankees during the time-span in question.

The New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has continually been afforded the means necessary to craft a team, he believes capable of winning a World Series, but last season’s disastrous showing had more to do with disjointed performances and an aging roster riddled with injuries throughout the year. Out the window it appears, has been the notion of paring down payroll to a manageable size , because clearly Cashman , Joe Girardi , the managerial staff and ownership place no faith in the organization’s farm system. Granted, a number of players made appearances at various points during last season, having been promoted up from AAA, but I believe, it had more to do with Cashman being at a loss, not willing to splurge and taking something of conservative approach. Now it all comes down to, which player on the roster can Joe Girardi look to , in providing the leadership necessary for the Yankees to be successful this upcoming season ?

The New York Yankees have a great deal of money tied up in players , such as Alex Rodriguez, C C Sabathia , Masahiro Tanaka , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran . Salary commitments for the New York Yankees in 2015 will top $210 million , which pales into comparison to the monies being paid out this year ($267 million) by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Inasmuch, as many try to point out there is parity within the game of baseball, there is nothing at all to really bear this out, because in essence, what it all does come down to more than anything else_______ talent on the field of play and extremely good managerial skills. Overlooking that premise and simply using the analogy of parity suggests pragmatism and laziness on the part of those watching the game. However, it should be noted, of the participants in last season’s postseason, several were among the top paying teams in all of baseball.

I certainly do not believe Alex Rodriguez can or will provide the leadership sought by Joe Girardi ! Among the players on the team, where the trait needed for team success to become a reality, the most likely candidate would appear to be Jacoby Ellsbury, a player ,whose career with the Boston Red Sox was well-chronicled, albeit, his last season and a-half with the franchise was more injury riddled, with a noted decline in his productivity . Last season , there were glimpses of Ellsbury back to almost his very best and providing the leadership sought which will surely be missed with the retirement of Derek Jeter ! The Yankees will kick off their regular season schedule with a three-game home series’ opener against divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays , beginning on the 6th April, 2015. The AL East , where both teams reside, will likely prove to be another competitive season, with the Baltimore Orioles looking to fend off the challenge of their their divisional foes in defense of the divisional title , while also seeking to steer away the rest of the AL and their NL opponents in 2015.

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What are you hoping to see come out of the first two months of the MLB season ? Also, at the half-way point of the schedule which teams and players do you believe will have made something of a statement as to their intent ? Merely leave a comment as you see fit on the questions raised and anything else you believe relevant to the article.

o_O

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(1) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner , left, and manager Bruce Bochy stand by the trophies after their 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Bumgarner’s scintillating postseason displays were just one of the many reasons why the Giants prevailed in a drama driven and thrilled packed World Series . AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(2) Oct 29 , 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig (right) presents San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (left) , chief executive officer Larry Baer (middle) and general manager Brian Sabean with the Commissioners Trophy after game seven of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium . Charlie Neibergall/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

(3) Howie Kendrick (47) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Albert Pujols (5) after driving in the game winning run in the tenth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 28, 2014 in Anaheim, California. Far right , is Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. rtfied;a222) Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld

(4) Mike Trout (27) celebrates with Mike Scioscia (14) of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squire

(5) Giancarlo Stanton is seen here hitting a home run off Jonathan Pettibone during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies . The Marlins’ slugger signed a $325 million contract with the franchise, making it the most expensive deal in baseball history and the most expensive in any of the four major professional team sports in North America . AP Photo / Alison Fisher

(6) A pensive looking Alex Rodriguez looks up from the dugout to the scoreboard during a game . The New New York Yankees’ third baseman has not played in regular season game for the ball-club since the latter half of the 2013 season . Having sat out all of last year due to a league mandated suspension, Rodriguez will be returning to a team , missing two of its most popular players after the retirement of Derek Jeter and the departure of Ichiro Suzuki who during the off season signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins . It remains to be seen whether or not Alex Rodriguez can contribute to a team lacking leadership and a great deal of productivity in terms of overall offense. AP Photo / Keith Slocum

(7) New York Yankees’ teammates Derek Jeter , left and Jacoby Ellsbury leave the field after a game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . Jeter’s retirement after a two-decade long career with the organization , leaves a tremendous void and vacuum, with their now being viewed as what is likely no real on-field leadership. Ellsbury might be seen as the ideal replacement for such a role. but there doesn’t appear to any signs from management or the front office as to whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury will succeed Jeter as the captain of the New York Yankees . A role of stature which has only ever been held by five players during the franchise’s illustrious history during the past four decades. AP Photo / Keith Wallace
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It’s the silly season and we’re having fun …

It’s the silly season and we’re having fun …

MLB’s off-season has proven to be a .folly of sorts, with teams now spending at will , capriciously on free agents who are likely to be overpaid for their alleged productivity. Many of these franchises will be looking to position themselves for the arrival of Spring Trainingand the regular season which begins on the 4th April , 2015. Reigning World Series’ champions the San Francisco Giants will enter the season having won their third title in the past five seasons, with both Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean back to lead this roster as they seek a fourth win of baseball’s most prestigious prize.

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San Francisco wasted no time in re-signing their World Series MVP pitcher Madison Bumgarner whose postseason exploits were simply scintillating and beyond the perception of the most ardent fans of the game. Bumgarner in the World Series against the Kansas City Royals was a one-man wrecking crew bewildering the Royals’ hitters, leaving them dismayed and completely perplexed .

Heading into 2015, San Francisco will be without another of their postseason heroes with 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval having been allowed to leave the team as unrestricted free agent . Sandoval signed a very lucrative contract joining the Boston Red Sox where he is likely to be hitting in the Red Sox batting order ahead of DH David Ortiz. GM Brian Sabean may have felt it prudent to eschew Sandoval’s financial desires , instead choosing to take his chances with a projected lineup of Buster Posey , Hunter Pence , Travis Ishikawa, Gregor Blanco, Brandon Crawford , Joaquin Arias and a number of players likely to be promoted from their minor league system as the club seeks to bolster an offense that wasproductive throughmuch of the regular and postseason.

There may well have been doubters of Sabean, who made the decision allowing the departure of Pablo Sandoval , but the mercurial general manager has been quick to make a number of moves likely to improve the lineup for the upcoming season. One would be hard pressed to question the moves of an executive, thought to be among the best general managersin all of baseball. Brian Sabaen’s record speaks for itself. San Francisco is likely to be a considerable favorite to win the NL West division in spite of the likely moves being made by the Los Angeles Dodgers under their new Head of Baseball Operations & SVP Andrew Friedman.

Friedman’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays caught off, just about everyone by surprise, including his former fellow executives , the fans and analysts around the game. Add in the fact, the team’s manager Joe Maddon also made an abrupt departure to take a similar position with the Chicago Cubs and one might suggest the franchise got hit with a ” double-whammy ” . Matthew Silverman has succeeded Andrew Friedman and the ball-club hired former hometown hero Kevin Cash to succeed Maddon as the team’s new manager. How this will all be viewed by the Rays’ fans will now be open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. Cash is a first time manager with no managerial experience, though he does have playing experience with an eight-year career in the Majors having played one season with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005.

Having spent in excess of half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) by way of salary commitments over the past two seasons. It is understandable, that the Los Angeles Dodgers’ executives felt it necessary to take a fresh look at the direction this ball-club was taking. In explicably, they had the best pitcher in baseball, but Clayton Kershaw’s postseason productivity had to be considered a monumental disaster. The team may well have pinned their hopes on Kershaw this past postseason, but the player was nowhere to be seen with his ERA among the highest of the starting pitchers during the 2014 playoffs’ foray. It would be easy to suggest the Dodgers’ pitching was their Achilles’ Heel, but that would be the farthest thing from the truth their offense being almost anemic and pedantic during this Fall.

It is my belief Don Mattingly and his managerial staff did little to provide his players with any impetus or the desire to win, relying merely on the fact a jigsaw puzzle of ill-fitting pieces made up of highly overpaid stars would be enough to get the job done. It will be interesting to see whether not Andrew Friedman will be able to keep the team’s payroll for the upcoming season at a manageable level and by that I mean lower than the $200 million threshold , where baseball’s luxury tax kicks in ,with team, then having to pay a penalty for going above the aforementioned figure.

Money would be of no object, where the Dodgers’ is almost half that of the value of several teams within baseball and then you add in the fact , the organization has a two-decade $3 billion ($3,000,000,000) television deal , which reaps this organization $150 million annually. Not bad for a ball-club, whose lastWorld Series’ triumph came as far back as 1988. Magic Johnson, Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly , Peter Guber and several other partners are intent on making this franchise the most recognized within the game. Certainly , the Los Angels Dodgers’ name still resonates within the game of baseball , but that is all it has been able to do , because success remains hard to come by, with an uncompetitive brand on the field of play, especially with regard to their two most recent postseason appearances.

Bold moves might not be necessary, but there has to be a shakeup in the Dodgers’ roster, if they are to be seen as credible challengers this upcoming season. Dan Haren, Dee Gordon, and Hanley Ramirez have since departed from the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster and there is the belief that several otherswill meet the same fate as those jettisoned this off-season. Pitcher Josh Beckett having pitched a “no-hitter” for the team during the regular season in a 6-0 thrashing of the Philadelphia Phillies achieved little of note in the aftermath of the achievement. A free agent in 2015 , it seems highly unlikely he will be making a return to the Dodgers unless it is at a reduced salary , bearing in mind he was paid $15.75 million in the final year of his original eight-year deal signed with the Boston Red Sox.

I’ve often been told how insightful the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are said to be, but to my mind, I find the fans of the this ball-club eternally optimistic. For whatever reason, year in and year out, repeatedly , I am told this franchise can survive on their meager pickings and a fan-base that in reality , is no more than an average of 15,000 hardcore fans and that is in spite of the reported attendance levels for the team’s home games at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,, In what can only be described as another down year for this organization. The Tampa Bay Rays finished a distant fourth behind the AL East division winners the Baltimore Orioles , nineteen games out of first place . If that wasn’t a sign of how deplorable the team’s season was said to be, then consider the fact, they missed gaining a wildcard berth within the AL by eleven games . Inasmuch, as Joe Maddon and his coaching staff tried to motivate the team, the talent or level of play simply was not good enough to make a sustainable challenge over the course of the season.

The Rays are never really going to be able to compete with the likes of the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees , Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers , Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs , much less teams considered to their market equivalent in terms of size. Furthermore , pointing to the fact the Rays are profitable without acknowledging the fact they are able to eke out such gains by way of an assist from the league hierarchy , indicates the complete lack of knowledge among this team’s fan-base. Yet, in spite of it all, the success attained by the Rays cannot be overlooked. Now comes the hard part, with the loss of such assets as Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon , how will this organization seek to rebound and reacquaint themselves to former heights of glory achieved ? Matthew Silverman comes in with a clean slate , but having to fill an extremely large pair of shoes left by his predecessor Andrew Friedman. Kevin Cash faces an even more daunting task , having to follow in the footsteps of the club’s most beloved and successful manager , Joe Maddon. This upcoming season might be the toughest this organization has had to face on record. Upheavals aside, the ball-club has reverted to ways of old , as they jettisoned players during and prior to the off-season, seeking to pare down the team’s payroll.

You can tell a great deal about an organization , when they are on the verge of losing their perhaps their best player. So, it was with the New York Yankees , as Derek Jeter’s career came to an uncompromising end. No postseason heroics or the raising of another World Series’ title, just a disappointing year for the player and the ball-club as Joe Girardi came up with a litany of excuses for a lackluster year-long performance by a team of undeserving players . Granted, the Yankees finished second in the AL East, yet, it was simply fitting the division’s champions, the Baltimore Orioles fell at the very first hurdle, when they succumbed to the Kansas City Royals in the championship series’ of the postseason, losing emphatically 4-0 in the ALCS. Emphasizing how poor the play just happened to be in the AL East, all season long.

A payroll of just over $200 million , much of it misspent , brought about lackluster returns, with Brian Cashman and members of the front office at a loss to explain what went wrong last season. An aging core of players who failed to deliver, with the likes of CC Sabathia , Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner , Alfonso Soriano , Brian McCann , Hiroki Kuroda, Shane Greene , Mark Teixeira and others were said to be a core unit, this ball-club could rely on, to bring back some semblance of success, Instead they performed like a damp squib, lit to celebrate an event , but they simply fail to light up that event and make it a success. In the aftermath of it all, Brian Cashman is now said to be counting on the return of disgraced Yankees’ star Alex Rodriguez to resurrect the fortunes of this franchise in 2015. I liken that premise, of trying to place a square peg into a round hole ! Nothing about Rodriguez’s return to the game, will be of benefit to the sport, much less to the benefit of the organization. Idiotically, Cashman , Hank and Hal Steinbrenner stood idly by, as the player lied repeatedly, about his wantoned use of steroids, but they failed to reprimand the Rodriguez , leaving it instead , to a bumbling and incompetent hierarchy, first led by Bud Selig , who has handed over the reins to the equally inept , Rob Manfred ,succeeding his predecessor as the new incoming Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

What has become abundantly clear, is the very fact, the Yankees’ managerial staff and Cashman have no implicit faith in their farm system and the talent said to be on display within the lower rungs of the organization. The franchise has now become overly reliant on buying its way out of trouble rather than seeking to groom the alleged talent within its ranks. This off-season , we are likely to see an influx of new faces and a completely new lineup when the team takes to the field in their first regular season game of 2015. That contest, will be their home season opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees Stadium , in the Bronx, New York City, New York on the 6th April , 2015,.

There is no denying , as a professional sports’ franchise owner and businessman Jerry Reinsdorf has tasted success at the highest levels. His ownership of the Chicago Bulls during the well-chronicled era of Michael Jorda’s dominance of the NBA and their six NBA titles highlighted one of the brightest eras of the NBA’s history. Yet, the forlorn years of his ownership of the Chicago White Sox has brought that particular baseball franchise one championship , coming in 2005, when the team defeated the Houston Astros with in an easy 4-0 sweep of the then National League franchise. In the subsequent years things have not been so beneficial for the White Sox or their long-suffering fans. Since that historic second World Series’ win, the Chicago White Sox have made only one other postseason appearance , where they made it to the ALDS in 2008, only to suffer a series’ defeat (3-1) at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The White Sox organization has seen some major upheavals by way of the player personnel staff, managers and general managers over the past decade and a half. Through the midst of it all , the one bright spot has been knowing they have succeeded, where the Chicago Cubs have failed so dramatically in achieving> and that is to win a world championship. One hundred years and counting, the “monkey” has yet to come off the neck or shoulders of the downtrodden Cubs’ franchise. 1908 was the year the Chicago Cubs were anointed champions of the baseball world and there still seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel for the Wrigley Field faithful.

The White Sox, this off-season have begun to spend lavishly , acquiring free agents as if they were an endangered species , with GM Rick Hahn now overseeing Baseball Operations for the ball-club. . Adam LaRoche , Zack Duke, Melky Cabrera and David Robertson have joined the staff of the Chicago White Sox. There is a clear thought process behind these maneuvers , and it may well be Hahn feels the window of opportunity for the Detroit Tigers is rapidly closing with their failure to make a spirited run to win a World Series’ title. The Tigers’ recent postseason failures have proven to be a bitter and ” hard pill to swallow for team owner Michael Ilitch and GM Dave Dombrowski, but the owner and executive continue to toil on.

With Dombrowski not being able to come to contractual terms with Max Scherzer , it would appear that the pitcher’s time with the Detroit Tigers could be coming to a close. Scherzer wants to be paid like a superstar based on his award winning 2013 season , but one of year stellar production is not the basis to be given a multi-year, multimillion dollar contract. Wisdom suggests calmer heads may well prevail, but yet in the world of baseball, logic tends to be thrown right out the damn window, as exhibited with the recent idiocy by the Miami Marlins and their signing Giancarlo Stanton to the most lucrative contract in baseball history and professional team sports’ history in North America.

Perhaps , only in the NBA and baseball, where the players’ contracts are guaranteed, do we tend to see this type of financial extravagance , while idiots try and suggest, both sports are being well-ran by their respective hierarchies and where financial expediency is actually being shown in both sports .

A meeting of the minds, has yet to happen, with the overwhelming presence of the NBPA and MLBPA sending the unions into conniptions, each time the words ” mandatory salary cap” are mentioned . I have always maintained, you can tell a great deal about a business or a sports’ enterprise simply based upon the trust between the two parties , the union, who represent the employees and governing bodies as the employers. If there is continued mistrust, then the likelihood , is that entity is in dire trouble, even when there is said to be millions of dollars being reaped , annually. Profits may well go a long way, but it clearly does not represent common sense or intelligence, being shown . Ask yourself this question, in spite of the popularity of the NFL, how is it, they repeatedly have so many pratfalls, many of which, are self-induced ? Have you been able to come up with an answer ?

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Picture gallery.

This upcoming season in baseball, which teams or players do you believe will provide the most excitement ? Also, do you believe the dominance of the San Francisco Giants can be quelled successfully by an NL opponent over the course of the year ? By all means, leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it’s gratefully appreciated !

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Picture gallery and slideshow details below.
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(1) San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey left , is seen here with World Series’ MVP Madison Bumgarner , as the two celebrate the team’s Game 7 , 3-2 win , a victory over the Kansas City Royals , The series’ victory gave the Giants their third World Series’ triumph over the past five years and fifth overall . The Giants will enter 2015 without Pablo Sandoval , the ball-club’s 2012 Series’ MVP , who joined the Boston Red Sox during the off-season . AP Photo / Andy Addams …..

(2) Giants’ pitcher Madison Bumgarner celebrates in the locker room after his team’s 3-2 Game 7 triumph over the Kansas City Royals. Bumgarner’s exploits this postseason placed him in the upper echelons of baseball’s postseason pitching history , with a number eye dazzling feats. The player was signed to a five-year contract extension by GM Brian Sabean securing their young star on very exceptional pitching rotation in 2015. quite possibly the best in the NL and MLB overall. AP Photo / Ezra Rodriguez ..

(3) Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington(left) is seen here with the team’s newest acquisition , slugger Pablo Sandoval . The Red Sox also acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Los Angeles Dodgers as an unrestricted free agent, signing both players to lucrative deals . Cherington hopes the duo will be able to provide the Red Sox offense with some additional firepower this upcoming season . Getty Images/ Alexander Hough …

(4) Chicago Cubs’ general manager Jed Hoyer ,left, is seen here with Joe Maddon as he is formerly being introduced to the convened press at the Cubs’ official press meeting, announcing Maddon has succeeded Dale Sveum as the club’s sixtieth manager in franchise history. The former Tampa Bay Rays’ manager left that organization after several successful years , taking the franchise from worst to one of the most competitive teams in baseball during his tenure. However, there seems to be some change of discord and the lack of leadership being shown within the front office , leading to Maddon’s abrupt departure along with the team’s former GM Andrew Friedman who joined the Los Angeles Dodgers to become their Head of Baseball Operations. Also pictured , Cubs’ President & SVP Theo Epstein. AP Photo / Michael Holmes …

(5) Los Angeles’ manager Don Mattingly looks on at his pitcher Clayton Kershaw as the pair , along with members of the coaching staff and trainers are in the dugout during a game played at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles, California ,. The team made it to the 2014 MLB Postseason where they swept aside in the NLDS with consummate ease by the St Louis Cardinals . It was the second year in succession where the club had fallen to their NL rivals . Kershaw performed miserably throughout the postseason along with his teammates. With Andrew Friedman being hired to take over all personnel decision making and the lateral promotion of Ned Colletti , lead managing partner Mark Walter was adamant , sweeping changes had to be made. Several players have since been released by the ball-club , including Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez . More moves are expected to me made in the coming weeks . The Los Angeles Dodgers have at least four players on their current roster who will be earning in excess of $20 million this upcoming season , among the highest tally of the league’s thirty teams . Getty Images/ Hugh Davidson ….

(6) Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn (2nd from the right) introduces Jeff Samardzija , David Robertson and Melky Cabrera on Tuesday , Dec. 16, 2014 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois,. Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

(7) Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski ,left, is seen here alongside Prince Fielder , center and team owner Michael Ilitch after the team formally introduced the player to the convened press at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan , on 26th January, 2012. The player was signed as a free agent by the team, after Fielder chose not to re-sign with the Milwaukee Brewers. Prince Fielder’s tenure with the Tigers was short-lived and he was traded to the Texas Rangers where the AL West based team will assume the remainder of his existing contract . AP Photo/ Xavier Harris …

(8) February 17th , 2009 , Alex Rodriguez followed by GM Brian Cashman and Derek Jeter on their way to the press conference where A-Rod admitted using Steroids. With the retirement of the Yankees’ short-stop at the end of the 2014 season , Cashman hopes the beleaguered and still despised Rodriguez will be able to provide the team with the impetus needed to have a successful season . During his league imposed ban, Alex Rodriguez has chosen not to offer any public interviews to discuss his suspension , choosing instead, to prepare himself mentally and physically for the long haul of a one and hundred and sixty-two game schedule of the regular season . The player’s cousin , Yuri Sucart was recently indicted in US Federal Court alongside Anthony ‘Tony’ Bosch , (founder of Biogenesis) for running an illegal drug ring , along with the transportation and selling of steroids and other illicit drug paraphernalia . Getty Images / Tate Reynolds ….

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The growing pains of a Major League Baseball team

The growing pains of a Major League Baseball team

With baseball’s off-season now in full swing and the San Francisco Giants rejoicing in their third triumph in the World Series in the past five years. The question now becomes can this franchise build upon the foundations of that success and win several more ? Bruce Bochy has proved himself to be the best manager in baseball and the best of this decade. No one else even remotely comes close to his achievements and the same can said of GM Brian Sabean .
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There was no denying the San Francisco Giants success has been built upon drafting well and making sound decisions when it came to the various trades by the organization over the past three years. It has been Sabean’s success in conjunction with the managerial staff , which has brought about the success by the franchise. This ball club has never been one , which made a big splash by overspending on a marquee free agent. The long-term commitments made to players such as catcher Buster Posey have been worth every penny and Posey has rewarded the Giants with his productivity and skill behind the plate.

Buster Posey and World Series’ MVP, pitcher Madison Bumgarner were not only the mainstays of the Giants during the regular season, but during the postseason, both players were front and center in San Francisco’s success as the postseason built up full steam, leading to their success of being triumphant triumphant over the Kansas City Royals . With a number of players now about to become free agents or in arbitration with the San Francisco Giants , Brian Sabean and the front office will have to use all of their guile in trying to re-sign several of those free agents by offering increased financial rewards or other meaningful incentives.

One of the players the Giants will look to re-sign , has to be their 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval who this postseason was timely with his hitting, but also offered up a great deal of leadership and intangibles for the Giants. His loss would be seen as part of doing business, when money seems to be driving force in the game. Sandoval and his agents at SPS Sports Group will be looking to negotiate a contract for their client commensurate to his standing and his worth to the team. Six years $140 million might prove to be too be expensive a deal for the Giants to undertake , but at the same time do they really want allow a player of Pablo Sandoval’s ability to leave , while he is still productive? Along with Sandoval among the Giants’ impending free agents are Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy, Sergio Romo , Mike Morse and Tony Abreu , with the feeling Brian Sabean will also look at the players in arbitration before making any major moves during this off-season as the wheeling and dealing begins during the Winter Meetings of the baseball executives.

A thrilling seven-game World Series which was among the most watched postseason series over the past decade, had the nation gripped as the suspense began to unfold. The upstart Kansas City Royals got close to pulling off the improbable, but their postseason inexperience was the only reason for their failure. Ned Yost and his managerial staff had the team playing with a great deal of zeal , but the Giants proved to be the better team in this Fall Classic . Royals’ owner David Glass has long spent his years shying away from spending money on the team . Granted, the Royals played great baseball this season , but consider the fact under the owner’s leadership, during his tenure the franchise failed miserably until this season.

Alex Gordon , Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have been the focal point of the Royals’ success, proving themselves specialists with the short ball and building the rapport that made them the all too appealing underdogs of the postseason . Dayton Moore the general manager will be asked to convince several of the core members of the Kansas City Royals that it is worth remaining with the ball-club rather than seeking to go elsewhere . Free agency has a way of turning the possible future of a team upside down and it has been the repeated case for this particular franchise over the past eight years.

James Shields , Josh Willingham , Luke Hochevar, Scott Downs and Billy Butler will be among the free agents looking to be paid a king’s ransom this upcoming season, while there will also be those players in arbitration with the Royals whose contracts are likely to be a bone of contention between Moore and the players’ agents.

It will be interesting to see how Dayton Moore seeks to make the Kansas City Royals competitive this upcoming season and whether or they will be keep up the momentum achieved in 2014.

If I’ve said it once I’ll say it again show me an idiot who believes the New York Mets are able to compete and I will show you fan devoid of intelligence ! Repeatedly over the past four seasons this franchise has failed their fans miserably and the excuses continue as where , when and how they are likely to win the NL East , NL Pennant and the World Series. Consider the fact the Mets have not won a pennant in almost decade and their last appearance in the Fall Classic was a forlorn affair in their loss (4-1) to the New York Yankees in 2000. The front office now led by Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi have continued to stumble their way meaningless trades d and draft classes that have not produced a player worth a damn and now there’s talk of a farm system that will likely produce a ready to make an assault on the NL and the rest of the baseball . Matt Harvey the pitcher who spent last season on the team’s disabled list will the player manager Terry Collins hopes can provide a real presence for Mets. This upcoming season is likely to Collins’ last in charge as the manager of the ball-club , because he has not really shown the acumen to lead the New York Mets .

Granted the NL East was a pitiful division in 2014, with the division winner the Washington Nationals being the only team with a record above .500 at the end of the regular season . If that is not an indictment of how bad the play within the division was said to be , then clearly those who believe the Mets have something to offer, are clearly delusional.

David Wright , long seen as the best player the New York Mets’ to have benn on their roster continues to be consistent but unable to lead the franchise to where the fans believe they ought to be. Team owners, Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz , and COO Jeff Wilpon have been negligent not only in their fiduciary duties but also in their executive roles for the organization. Financial institutions may well have come to the Mets’ aid to bail them out of their self-inflicted financial but woes but they are far from being out of danger. Unfortunately, the negligence of baseball’s hierarchy led by Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred have been negligent in their duties of monitoring the actions of the New York Mets after the Bernie Madoff ” fiasco” .

Free agents notwithstanding , the issue for the New York Mets will become how to deal with replenishing their roster for the upcoming season. It is widely believed they will seek reacquire Jose Reyes now with the Toronto Blue Jays but also jettison the players they believe superfluous to their needs.Addition by subtraction, might well be viewed in some circles as the best move forward, but I believe the biggest benefit to the Mets could be the hire of a new manager rather than retaining Terry Collins for another season.

I cannot say, I was surprised by the departure of Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays to join the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Head of Baseball Operations has simply shed a light on the continued problems within the game and its financial imbalances . Friedman’s jump to a bigger team was then followed by Joe Maddon as he joined the Chicago Cubs to become the franchise’s new manager. Now comes the hard part for Friedman , can he work in environment where there seems to be more money awash with the Dodgers , than there appears to be common sense within the organization ? A quarter of a billion dollar payroll has been a boondoggle for a baseball club that has failed miserably for the past two seasons, first in 2013 and then this past year. Don Mattingly appears to be in over his head , as he tries to massage the egos of several high-priced and overpaid stars on the Dodgers’ roster.

The best pitcher in baseball in 2013and again in 2014 has become anathema in the postseason. Clayton Kershaw can be mesmerizing during the regular season ,but this postseason showed him to have frailties no one might have envisaged as the Dodgers stumbled . Yet the real struggles for the Dodgers during the postseason wasn’t just the weak pitching but the lack of hitting , where fingers could be pointed up and down the roster. Where the Dodgers now go from here will ultimately be down to the decisions and direction Andrew Friedman makes .

A patron of this site has repeatedly suggested fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are knowledgeable about the team and its flaws, but when pressed to answer questions such as why annually it has been about cost cutting as the Rays have pared down salary in each of the past five seasons. He has not been to succinctly come up with a reason why Stuart Sternberg has not seen fit spend money on the talent needed to make this ball club competitive. Instead , Sternberg has continued to whine as to not being given any assistance in the building of a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. Stuart Sternberg is no more an astute a businessman as Sarah Palin could be described as a ” voice of reason” when espousing the Conservative view of the world and the domestic issues affecting the country. The Rays’ owner has become conceited arrogant and a complete ass ________ and not far behind are the fans of the organization, who have no idea as to the real issues the ball-club continues to face. Maddon’s departure it is said , continued to circled around the lack of direction and the failure to obtain financing for a new stadium to replace Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,. The on field talent remains to be a topic of conversation, as the debate will arguably be about , which player the Rays can or cannot afford to retain at the end of this off-season . A definite increase in the Tampa Bay Rays’ payroll has to be sought beyond the fact the organization has yet to hire a new manager , although the interview process has began , with their being an alleged interest in Raul Ibanez , but it remains to be seen whether not Ibanez is keen on the idea of making the move from player to become baseball’s latest manager.

A five-year $25 million deal, has secured Joe Maddon’s financial future but his professional future with the Chicago Cubs under the reins of Cubs’ President of Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer could be less secure. In the four years since the duo became senior executives within the organization we have seen the club struggle relentlessly, as the ” curse of the goat continues. Dale Sveum’s firing could not have come about quick enough as the Cubs’ last place finish (73-89) within the NL Central was a more than a vague reminder why this club remains the laughing stock within Major League Baseball and around the world of sports. One hundred years of infamy , mediocrity and owners who have remained completely clueless. Tom Ricketts and his family are bereft of any intelligence since assuming control of the Cubs, even with the hiring of Theo Epstein. And Epstein might well have inherited a mess , but five years into his tenure there have been few signs of progress concerning the Chicago Cubs and that is a clear reflection of their record this past season .

Starlin Castro remains a tremendous and unbridled talent . In the right environment , he can definitely thrive , but I seriously doubt his remaining with the Chicago Cubs will ultimately lead to success unless , he is surrounded with the talent likely to bring out the best in the player. Castro remains the face of the Cubs’ franchise and in my opinion a multiple All Star for years to come ! He is by far , one of the most exciting young players in the game and one of the most electrifying short-stops in the NL and baseball. If the Cubs are to compete against the likes of the Cincinnati Reds , Milwaukee Brewers , Pittsburgh Pirates and St Louis Cardinals within the NL Central , then Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will have to work more than a few miracles beyond the thought Joe Maddon can best cure what ails the organization. More financial resources as seen with this ball club has been no guarantee of success as seen with their missteps in their trades in recent years and a number of their recent draft classes.

The return of Alex Rodriguez to the game of baseball and specifically to the New York Yankees after the retirement of Derek Jeter and his two-decade career. GM Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi are intent on welcoming Rodriguez back with open arms as the Yankees seek to reinvent themselves and enter a new chapter of their history. The infamous third baseman’s suspension and his well chronicled web of deceit and lies have left Alex Rodriguez’s legacy tarnish and his reputation in tatters. No matter how many philanthropic efforts he now becomes part of , it will never satisfy the wish of fans to have seen him banished from the game permanently . The weakness of the league hierarchy and the all too powerful MLBPA (union) backing a player who has repeatedly lied over the years concerning his use of a banned substance as prohibited by MLB. Last season proved to be a mediocre year for the New York Yankees with their pitching and offensebeing woefully inept. Joe Girardi could not get the best out of an aging and overrated pitching staff without delving into the fact Carlos Beltran , Ichiro Suzuki and CC Sabathia are now well past their prime. Unfortunately, when an organization has no faith in their scouting staff much less the farm system itself , it sends the right and wrong questions about the ball-club and the assumptions we have seen with the Yankees.

In his time with the New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez has achieved some success winning a World Series title in 2009 along with two AL MVP Awards , but one can’t help ask, was this all achieved without the assistance of a banned substance? Rodriguez has been quick to point an accusing fingers at others for his own missteps. Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half .Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half . Rodriguez will be returning to a ball club looking for some semblance of leadership and he somehow is expected to assume the mantel of Derek Jeter, but those will be a tough pair shoes to fill and footsteps to follow.

Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half . Rodriguez will be returning to a ball club looking for some semblance of leadership and he somehow is expected to assume the mantel of Derek Jeter but those will be a tough pair shoes to fill and footsteps to follow.

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Picture gallery .

In what way do you feel baseball was best served with the ascent of Kansas City Royals and how do think it will impact the game this upcoming season ? Which teams in your opinion will have the most to lose without making a bold move in order to be competitive ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) World Series MVP , pitcher Madison Bumgarner is seen here alongside San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy . The two appeared at the press conference after the team’s game seven victory over the Kansas City Royals in this season’s World Series . It was the third victory for Giants in the past five seasons of the Fall Classic . All three series’ victories were managed by Bochy , making him the most successful manager of the past decade and franchise’s most successful manager. AP Photo / Keith Davis …

(2) 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval who is eligible to become a free agent this off-season and likely to be one of the most sought after players during the off-season. The leading candidate to sign the player appears to be the Boston Red Sox , Sandoval and his agents are not able to renegotiate a new contract with the 2014 World Series’ champion . Getty Images/ Tony Charles …

(3) Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost , right, celebrates with Mike Moustakas after the Royals’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 11 innings during Game 1 of baseball’s AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Moustakas hit a home rum in the 11th inning. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi … ….

(4)Flushing, New York 9/30/13 Mets Manager Terry Collins talks to media at a press conference as GM Sandy Alderson looks on at Citi Field on Sept. 30, 2013 Paul J. Bereswill …

(5) Teammates , pitcher Matt Harvey and third baseman David Wright are seen here at Citi Field , in Flushing , New York . The two players are All Stars with the franchise , but have failed to lead the ball club into a deep postseason run . Getty Images / Harry How …

(6)Starlin Castro whose season with the Chicago Cubs has been sensational while being the best player on the team’s roster in 2014. AP Photo/ Chris Gordon …

(7) Tampa Bay Rays’ lead managing partner Stuart Sternberg is seen here with members of the press . Sternberg has seen the departure of manager Joe Maddon and general manager Andrew Friedman . Matt Silverman has since succeeded Friedman as general manager , but the organization has yet to hire a manager for the ball club. AP Photo /Chris James …

(8) New York Yankees’ Joe Girardi is seen here with the team’s third baseman Alex Rodriguez who will make his return to the team this upcoming season , where they hope to make a return to the postseason and win their twenty-eighth World Series’ title. AP Photo / Ron Carter …
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Same time next year , but this year appears to be no different from last season

Same time next year , but this year appears to be no different from last season

A month into the baseball season and fans are now exhilarated with the play of the teams and their impressive starts in several cases. With that in mind it should be noted , that there are a number of teams that have fallen short in failing to meet early expectations . Injuries have played their part but none more so than per usual . The New York Yankees have Derek Jeter , Alex Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson still sidelined , in various stages of recovery , but with no timetable actually set as of yet for their return . Consider the fact , that the five players in question , account for more than $83 million of the team’s annual $227 million payroll for 2013 , which currently are not on the playing field for a team that now has posted a 18-13 (.581) record , good enough for third place within the AL East .

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For the Yankees’ fans , I believe that they will continue to rally behind the team , in spite of their off the field issues , as it relates to their still ailing and troubled star Alex Rodriguez . The third baseman is once again embroiled in another sordid affair , in which his name and that of several other Major League players are in engulfed in a further story of illicit banned substances , that have been allegedly supplied to them by a South Florida supplements’ company , Biogenesis , owned by Floridian businessman , Anthony Bosch . The company is at present subject of joint investigation by the DEA , FBI and US Justice Department . Meanwhile, MLB Commissioner , Bud Selig is said to be closely monitoring the ongoing investigation from afar . I liken Selig’s interest in the matter , much as in the same way he monitored the financial misdeeds of Frank McCourt , as he financially ruined the Los Angeles Dodgers , Saul Katz’s and Fred Wilpon’s continued “ idiotic” stewardship of the still financially embarrassed and uncompetitive New York Mets . Need I remind you all, of the ongoing mess that remains the Miami Marlins and the very fact that team owner , Jeffrey Loria still seeks to apportion blame elsewhere for the team’s ineptitude in 2012 , while then seeking to conduct his own “ bargain basement sale “ , in terms of trading away many of the team’s high-priced acquisitions of last season ?

The Miami Marlins, losers of two straight and are 5-5 in their last ten games . It does beg the question , how much more will the fans of this impoverished team continue to tolerate , in spite of the claims by many analysts, that baseball , Major League Baseball , remains a viable option within the state of Florida . Granted , the state does remain a hotbed for excellent talent and the Spring Training (Grapefruit League) home for several teams around the league , as well as their Minor League affiliates . Yet beyond that , for Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays , there has been either a steady decline or sparse attendance for their home games , as well as what appears to be an anemic fan-base .

Having been a one-time supporter of the Miami Marlins , I long shied away in my continued support of the franchise , after the inherent lies perpetrated by the team’s ownership , that has been continually been suborned by Bud Selig and an “ absolutely clueless” hierarchy , that is seemingly supported by the also clueless on air radio and television analysts , and personalities who cover the sport . As to the print media and their idiocy , well let’s just say if those assholes cannot succinctly inform the public of anything worthwhile, as it relates the real underlying issues of baseball . Then under what circumstances, are we to believe that they would be able to explain to us in depth , the reasons behind the continued economic imbalances as well the continued cheating that still runs the gamut of Major League Baseball ?

This season if anything , we have seen a string of great performances from several pitchers within the AL and NL , that has given us a clear indication as to the reason behind the “rise of the pitcher” and less of an emphasis in terms of run productivity . . The Texas Rangers’ starting ace , Yu Darvish came within “ two outs” of pitching what would have been baseball’s twenty fourth “perfect game “ in baseball’s history earlier in this season , in an exemplary display of a controlled pitching performance that was simply scintillating to say the very least . On the receiving end of that 7-0 loss , were the woefully inept Houston Astros (9-24) , whose record this season , is the worst in the Majors , and it is looking increasingly like that this team could very well end up surpassing last season’s mark within MLB for the worst record (55-107) in the game.

Speaking of teams, that are, and will remain inept, beyond the Astros , Miami Marlins. There is a growing belief that the Chicago Cubs , New York Mets and San Diego Padres , simply show no wish to be competitive . The continued excuses , especially amongst the Mets’ fans has become mind numbingly stupid and beyond belief ! No amount of excuses can be made for the ineptitude shown by the front office staff , even after the dismissal of former general manager , Omar Minaya , with the influx of Sandy Alderson and J P Riccardi , to now assume control for all of the executive decisions made , with regard to the acquisition of player personnel , either through the draft or free agency . . The Mets are not even remotely competitive within the NL East this season , and in all likelihood , if Terry Collins and his managerial staff are unable to turn things around . Then, we are likely to see the dismissal of the manager, from his first managerial position within the game .

Wednesday afternoon , the New York Mets will play host to another struggling ball-club , when they take on the Chicago White Sox at Citi-Field , in Flushing , New York . A game , where I expect that the attendance is likely to be somewhat dour , if not anemic ! Taking the mound for the Mets will be Jeremy Hefner (0-3, 4.34 ERA) who faces Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.38 ERA) .. At 12-16 , the Mets are in need of victories , as well as series’ wins , if they are in anyway of having a chance , much less of keeping in close proximity of the division leading Atlanta Braves (19-12) , . who are closely followed by the Washington Nationals , Philadelphia Phillies , followed by the Mets and the barely recognizable Marlins at the foot of the division.

As I alluded to earlier , this season the pitching within the Majors seems to be significantly better than I expected it to be ! In the past few seasons there has been the propensity see a significant rise in home runs and , RBI’s , but one of the more startling statistics that has come to the fore, has been the fluctuation in the number of “walks” from season to season . Either the batters are simply not that good , or the pitching , however cyclical it might well be , is now back at a level where the likes of Yu Darvish , Matt Cain , Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez , Clay Buchholz , Clayton Kershaw and Jordan Zimmerman being dominant this season .

It has been a number of years since the game has seen a player reach one of the pinnacles within the game and that is forty home runs and 40 stolen bases in a season . Seven years in fact , a feat that has only been accomplished four times in the game’s history . Alfonso Soriano , then playing for the Washington Nationals was the last player to achieve that feat in 2006 , which now seems to have become something of a rarity within the game of baseball. Personally , I now find that feat somewhat more enthralling, far more than the single season home run record . Albeit , that the taint and stain now associated with the players that have surpassed Roger Maris’ mark over the past decade and a half , does make the game of baseball all the more tawdry and dare one say , meaningless in terms of Maris’ feat ? It must be said , the “era of steroids “, simply has been a blight , casting a giant shadow over the game today , while the league hierarchy still remains at a loss , how best to address the issue . Meanwhile, the game’s revenues increase exponentially , primarily from the re-negotiation of the television contracts and less from the profitability of the league’s thirty teams.

As to the aspirants , seeking to succeed the reigning World Series’ champions , the San Francisco Giants . It must be said that one of the prohibitive favorites before the season started , might well have been the cash-laden and definitely ambitious Los Angeles Dodgers . Lead managing partners , Mark Walter , Todd S Boehly and Magic Johnson , have simply let it be known “ no expense would be spared “, as the Dodgers seek to bring back a title to the city of Los Angeles and to a ball club simply starved of that success.

It will be a quarter of a century since the Los Angeles Dodgers were triumphant in baseball’s biggest postseason fare. As the 1988 team proved to be successful in defeating their fame instate , rivals the Oakland Athletics 4-1 in a best of seven series finale to the season of that historic finale series . World Series MVP , Orel Hershiser had an “ outstanding series” as mirrored in his stats for several of his electrifying performances for the Dodgers , who were managed by legendary franchise icon Tommy Lasorda .

The Los Angeles Dodgers managed by Don Mattingly is suddenly struggling to get an an injury riddled …. team competent to compete against divisional rivals within the NL West . It`s pretty much safe to say that if Mattingly isn`t able to at least guide the Dodgers deep into the postseason . Then there is the likelihood that GM Ned Colletti will have to consult the front office as to whether or not it would be in the franchise`s best interest to retain Don Mattingly`s services as the team`s manager .

A knock against the was the bravado sown by their fans and owners alike , was in thinking , that merely because of franchise`s monetary resources, backed by a multi-billion dollar television contract and the $125 billion in assets of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners Inc , parent company of Guggenheim Baseball Properties , owners of the Dodgers` ball-club. With a payroll now exceeding $233.1 million of which , there is now $68.9 million now committed to players on the team`s disabled list . It is easy understand, one of the numerous reasons behind the Dodgers problems this season , specifically as it relates to the team`s play . If there is one thing that we know about this team , it is that from a pitching and from an offensive standpoint the Dodgers are capable mounting a mid-season assault that could very well place them amongst the thick of things within the division as well as the NL overall . From an offensive and pitching standpoint the team does possess the weapons to get the job done , but much of that will be dependent upon the leadership shown by the likes of Matt Kemp , Clayton Kershaw , Adrian Gonzalez , Josh Beckett , Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford , whose combined salaries make up a large part of the financial commitment that the front office has made to the aforementioned players .

Mattingly will lead is players into a three-game series starting on Friday 10th May at home in Dodgers` Ballpark , in Los Angeles California, against the Miami Marlins , led by first-year manager Mike Redmond . This is a series that should tell us a great deal about the apparent directions that the teams are said to be heading in and their overall ambitions over the course of this season.

For the moment the Boston Red Sox (21-13) seem to be riding on the crest of a wave with the best record in the American League . A mark , which they currently share , with the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers , however , to my mind , the team that has been playing the best baseball over last ten games has to be the AL Central leading Detroit Tigers (19-12) , who over their last ten games , have gone an astonishing 9-1 , best in the Majors , and most certainly by far the best in the American League .

Yet , for all of grit and determination shown there is a common belief that the Tigers lack real leadership quality and the very fact that for all sense and purpose , the team`s manager, Jim Leyland appears to be too laid back a coach . I could very well be wrong in my summation of Leyland , but last season`s World Series` loss to the San Francisco Giants , I believe was a damning indictment of what was said to be wrong with the team and organization , from top to bottom . Add in the laissez-faire approach of the managerial staff and what could be further from the truth ?

The Tigers were brushed aside with the utmost of ease , in a rather embarrassing 4-0 series sweep , in what could only be described as one of the more embarrassing series’ defeat MLB postseason history . For Detroit Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski and owner Mike Ilitch , these are trying times for a franchise that has labored for years and who have not won a title since 1984 , when they defeated the San Diego Padres 4-1 for the last of the ball-club’s four titles that they have won over the course of their history. Bittersweet memories , when you consider also , that prior to last season’s appearance against the Giants , Jim Leyland and the Tigers would also come up short in 2006 , when the team fell to the St Louis Cardinals and the heroics of the diminutive David Eckstein , who was named World Series MVP after his heroic performances for the Cardinals .

In spite of their being three legitimate All Stars on the Tigers’ roster . I am inclined to believe that Miguel Cabrera , the game’s most recent Triple Crown winner , along with Cy Young and AL MVP winner , Justin Verlander and the always prolific Prince Fielder are likely to struggle should they make another return the postseason . Last season’s anemic postseason displays were simply endemic of what appears to be an ongoing problem for the franchise, as a whole . The Detroit Tigers appear to be gun-shy and all too afraid of even their own shadow being cast across a baseball diamond . Your thoughts , on my assumption concerning the Tigers?

The consensus coming into this season, was the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays might possess the best pitching staff in the Majors . Last season’s AL Cy Young winner David Price was said to be confident and the fact he was the recipient of a one-year $10.1 million contract was a boost in confidence for the player and presumed leader amongst the Rays’ pitchers . Instead for Price , his season has been one of indifference , and some shoddy pitching from a number of his teammates , thought to be able to provide Joe Maddon with the biggest weapon that the Rays have in their arsenal and bag of tricks .

Amongst the Rays’ pitching staff , it has been Matt Moore (6-0, 2.14 ERA ) off to a surprising 6-0 start that seems to have caught everyone by surprise and placed him among the best pitchers in the AL as well as the league (MLB) as a whole , with the season barely just over a month old .

Coming off a decisive 10-4 victory over a struggling Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup , the Rays will again play host to the team at Tropicana Field on Thursday evening . Taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays will be David Price against R A Dickey (2-5, 5.36 ERA) in what should a fascinating match-up the game’s most recent Cy Young Award winners from the AL and NL , respectively.

Given, the season that Dickey had in 2012 with the Mets , where he was the sole reason to watch that impoverished team play . Now the fortunes of the Blue Jays seem to have taken a turn for the worst and it would appear that even in light of their propensity to make a lavish splash in the off-season with a number of high-priced acquisitions . Someone, may well need to remind GM Alex Anthonopolous that a team cannot be made up from ill-fitting parts, that is completely lacking chemistry as well as leadership both on and off the field of play .

Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons and his staff will be thoroughly tested throughout the course of this season , and it should come as no surprise if once again , this franchise were to have another failed season .

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Picture gallery .

At this point of the MLB season , what if anything, has been the biggest surprise to you as a baseball fan ? And by the All Star Game , do you believe that a number of teams can be ” written off “ as lost causes , in terms of their perceived expectations ? Chime in with a thought on this , and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Juan Nicasio, front, reacts as New York Yankees’ Vernon Wells , rear, rounds the bases on his two-run home run in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. AP Photo/David Zalubowski …

(2) New York Yankees’ Vernon Wells , left, follows the flight of his two-run home run with Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario in the first inning of a baseball game in Denver on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. AP Photo/David Zalubowski …

(3) Injured Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees looks on from the dugout with teammate Jayson Nix (17) during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on May 4, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City. There does not seem to be a timetable set for the short-stop’s return after complications related to his recuperation , from his leg injury . Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …

(4) Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria and David Sansome seen here at the inaugural opening the 34,500 seat Marlins’ Ballpark in Miami , Florida built at taxpayers’ expense and now having become something of an elephants’ graveyard for the teams’ home games since its opening in April 2012 . Miami Herald / Hector Rodriguez ….

(5) Yu Darvish (11) is seen in a baseball game played against the Astros , in Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas , where he was on the cusp of becoming the twenty fifth player to have thrown a perfect game in baseball history . The Houston Astros were able to derail Darvish’s bid for baseball immortality . AP Photo / Sam Parish ……….

(6) Matt Kemp (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his three run homerun with manager , Don Mattingly(8) during the fifth inning to trail 5-4 to the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on September 21, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Mattingly’s contract with the Dodgers at the end of this season and it would appear that Stan Kasten , SVP of Baseball Operations appears to be noncommittal with regard to the manager’s future. After thirty-three games into the season and with a plethora of injuries to several All Stars on the team’s roster . The Dodgers are 13-20 , firmly placing them at the bottom of the NL West . Harry How / Getty Images …..

(7) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Moore has gotten off a fast start going 6-0 with a 2.14 ERA , which places Moore in the upper echelons of the AL pitchers in terms wins as well in MLB as a whole . AP Photo/Mike Carlson …..

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MLB related stories :

A’s-Indians tilt takes controversial turn in ninth

Goldy tags two more homers for D-backs sweep

Papi goes 0-for-5 as 27-game hitting streak ends

Moore gets 6th win, Rays beat Blue Jays 10-4

Hit by liner, Happ says ‘I feel really fortunate’

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MLB pieces within this site . Merely click unto the link provided below.

MLB archived articles

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Tophatal …….. 05/8/2013

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MLB news and news from around the league

MLB team injuries

MLB transactions

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule 8th May 2013

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results 7th May 2013

MLB team payrolls 2013

This week in MLB history

This day in MLB history (8th May) and 9th May

MLB World Series overview

World Series champions by franchises

MLB World Series appearances and titles by leagues : American League (AL) & by National League (NL)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of New York Daily News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Links to MLB articles within this site .

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MLB related sports’ stories :

MLB salaries: Yankees, A-Rod reign as cash changes hands

Teams paying for players no longer on roster

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MLB news

MLB news by teams

MLB Opening Day schedule

MLB results 31st March , 2013

MLB schedule 1st April

MLB Standings

This week in MLB history & This week in MLB history Month of April

Baseball history chronological information (31st March) and 1st April

Detroit Tigers’ news

Los Angeles Dodgers’ news

Tampa Bay Rays news

MLB Minor League Level news

Top paid players in MLB

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Issues , Issues , Issues ……. Oh No ….

Issues , Issues , Issues , Oh No …

By tophatal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MLB news

MLB results 22nd June 2012

MLB schedule 23rd June 2012

M LB probable starting pitchers 23rd June 2012

MLB standings

MLB overall team statistics

MLB daily leaders pitching

MLB daily leaders batting 😛

San Francisco Giants news

NL West

San Francisco Giants’ front office

San Francisco Giants roster (depth chart)

San Francisco Giants coaching staff

San Francisco Giants team stats overall

San Francisco Giants’ team payroll 2012

San Francisco Giants 2012 scoring summary

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

San Francisco Giants overview of team pitching

This Isn’t Your Mother’s Idea of Fun …… That’s Why It’s Baseball ……….

This Isn’t Your Mother’s Idea of Fun …… That’s Why It’s Baseball ……….

By tophatal …….

It’s never too early to talk baseball especially as the Spring Training schedule winds down and with it being a precursor to Opening Day on the 4th April 2012 . That being said , unofficially MLB does kick off its regular season with a game between Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners at the Tokyo Dome , Tokyo Japan on the 28th March , 2012.

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A number of publications I’ve read leading up to the start of the season seem to be making their own prognostications as to their final season standings and the teams they believe to be in the playoff hunt and for the World Series , itself . Sports Ilustrated and Baseball Today , both well-respected publications are there no doubt simply to inform while at the same time create an avenue for debate and conjecture amongst the fans . If nothing else it beats listening to the inane rants of Joe Buck , Joe Morgan and former ESPN analyst , now manager of the Boston Red Sox , Bobby Valentine . I’ve no doubt that each means well by way of their observations but let’s get real , does anyone really take them seriously ?

Valentine assumes his role as the manager of the Red Sox in th aftermath of last season’s debacle , with the team missing the postseason and there being talk of a lack commitment on the part of the players. No leadership , no accountability and the front office then led by Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino seeking to apportion blame squarely upon the shoulders of the organization’s former manager . Less we forget Terry Francona brought this organization two World Series titles in the space of 5 years ( 2004 & 2007 ) where before they actually went without the sniff of the series for over a century .

This season Valentine leads somewhat of a reconstructed team looking to make up for last season’s mind numbing failures in the final month of 2011. The Red Sox went 7-21 before imploding and missing the playoffs . The pitching as well as the team offense was an eyesore for those who witnessed the calamity and debacle first-hand . This season for the fans in attendance at Fenway Park they can only hope for something better , well at least from my perspective that’s what I think that they hope to witness !

Now the talk this season specifically within the NL may well be how good the San Francisco Giants will be . It’s my firm belief that alongside the Miami Marlins , Philadelphia Phillies this Giants’ team may well have one of the best starting rotations within the league . Brian Sabean , Bruce Bochy and the coaching staff knows that this team merely has to play solid baseball to perhaps have the AL West all to themselves . If there is to be a credible challenge coming from anyone within the division it might prove to be from the Arizona Diamondbacks or quite possibly the Los Angeles Dodgers . But given the uncertainty that faces the Dodgers and the very fact that a formal n announcement has yet to made as to who will take control of the team as its new owner . That sort of scenario I don’t believe plays out well for a team , the coaching staff , much less the fans of the organization ! At the same time I certainly don’t believe that Ned Colletti , Peter Wilhelm or anyone else within the front office of the Dodgers now has any damn credibility whatsoever . Not in light of these executives simply allowing Frank McCourt and his ex-wife , Jamie McCourt run amok while plundering the coffers of the organization . So much for the accountability of the owners within baseball as such , being held to a higher standard ! The actions of McCourt and those of Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz do leave a lot to be desired but then again simply look at the idiots upon whom the game has been entrusted to as custodians ? The day the game sees fit to rid themselves of Bud Selig , the better off they will be !

With the return of catcher Buster Posey the Giants gets instant offense as well as one of the best defensive catchers in the game. And Posey alongside teammates …. Pablo Sandoval , Aubrey Huff and Melky Cabrera should prove to be all that Bochy desires from the team over the course of the season . At the same time the two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum , Matt Cain , Madison Baumgartner , Ryan Vogelsong and Brian Wilson will make sure that the San Francisco Giants remain relevant throughout this season .

The Diamondbacks as good as they were last season the one thing reason why I believed they came up short was simply through inexperience . That being said with a manager like Kirk Gibson , whose tenacity knows no bounds and he is liable to have this team fighting all the way to the very end . If the pitching staff led by Ian Kennedy can produce anywhere near the sort of form shown last season then they will give their opponents a great deal more than they can actually handle in 2012 .

From an offensive standpoint Justin Upton has to be viewed the consummate leader of this team . Besides from his all-round ability as a player he brings with the type of maturity not often seen in a player this young . Both Upton and teammate Chris Young are the focus of the team’s offense and they will be relied up to lead Diamondbacks with their prowess if the Diamondbacks are to have a genuine chance of making the postseason .

With the wildcard format expanded for this year with an additional team from each league being part of the playoffs it will be interesting to see whether or not the ball-clubs who missed out on that opportunity from 2011 will be able to acquit themselves even better in 2012. Certainly seeing the likes of the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox fail so miserably in their endeavors it’s hard to see how they could do any worse this season . But then again who really knows at this juncture ?

While Barry Zito still remains part of the Giants’ pitching roster with his outlandish salary providing no respite for the organization . I have to ask myself and those of you out there what the hell was Brian Sabean thinking to begin with ? I can only surmise that Zito’s agent Scott Boras had some compromising pictures of the Giants’ general manager perhaps doing something inappropriate with a farm-yard animal . Because that has to be only explanation possible to make such an outlay for a player who failed to live up to that exorbitant contract ! Seven years $126 million and as of yet Zito has offered absolutely nothing at all to the organization . And as crazy as this might seem this isn’t the only Boras’ client who just happens to have been overpaid because of an idiotic general manager and owner simply being duped by an agent . And there are fans within this forum who are of the opinion that these owners and general managers are some of the most astute individuals within the game with the business acumen to match . In what frigging universe is that still proving to be true ? Your thoughts ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And are your expectations for the upcoming season ones which will far exceed those of 2011 ? By all means simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and anything you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

😉

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Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Colorado Rockies’ Jordan Pacheco (22) slides safely into home plate past the tag-attempt by San Francisco Giants catcher Hector Sanchez , left, on a ground ball by Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki . during the third inning of a spring training baseball game on Saturday, March 24, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….

(2) San Francisco Giants first baseman Buster Posey makes a play on a ground ball by Colorado Rockies’ Eric Young Jr. during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game Saturday, March 24, 2012 in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(3) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner throws to the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a spring training baseball game , Friday, March 23, 2012 in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez … ……

(4) SURPRISE, AZ – MARCH 12: Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 12, 2012 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images … ….

(5) SCOTTSDALE, AZ – MARCH 01: Pitcher Barry Zito (75) of the San Francisco Giants poses during spring training photo day on March 1, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

(6) San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey celebrates his solo home run with teammate Aubrey Huff, center, during the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …..
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MLB news

MLB schedule … & …. results

MLB probable starting pitchers 26th March 2012

San Francisco Giants’ news

San Francisco Giants’ depth chart

San Francisco Giants’ coaching staff

San Francisco Giants’ schedule

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Buju Banton & ……. Wayne Wonder ……. “Movie Star”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NBA news

MLB news

MLB Standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB schedule 3 days at a glance 5th August 2011

MLB Results 4th August 2011

MLB Probable starters 5th August

MLB DL teams’ disabled list

MLB Awards 2010

Who’s Minding The Store ………….. ?

Who’s Minding The Store ?

I really like to understand how it is that with the financial uncertainty that still swirls around the Los Angeles Dodgers that Newscorp through its Fox subsidiary would see fit to loan Fank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers $30 million to meet the organization’s expenses in terms of paying the team’s salary and that of the other anciliary employees . With the league hierarchy of baseball having brought in C Thomas Schieffer a former Texas Rangers executive as well as being the former US ambassador to Japan to oversee the day to day operations of the Dodgers I would be under the impression that given the Dodgers’ ongoing financial difficulties the league would want to make sure that McCourt would be able to guarantee the repayment of any loan taken out by him to meet the team’s expenses. Not only that but given the fact that Frank McCourt and his now ex wife Jamie McCourt between 2004 through to 2009 had borrowed in excess of $100 million from the team without there being any record to indicate that this sum had been repaid . Now should he be unable to meet the team’s payroll over the coming month there is an even greater chance in all likelihood that the league may well have no other option but to seek the sale of of the Los Angeles Dodgers but first they would have ask McCourt to completely relinquish control of the team.

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Clearly there’s something still amiss concerning the Dodgers , their finances and the mere fact that it has taken MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his associates within the league hierarchy to even intervene in this situation leads me to believe that their business acumen and what we’re told are sound business practices are complete and sheer utter stupidity . From business standpoint I sincerely doubt that the vast majority of the owners around the league as well as the general managers would know the actual difference between a baking sheet and a balance sheet !

As this ongoing saga continues the less faith I have in the game’s integrity and that of the league hierarchy ! Bud Selig has become a clown of inconceivable magnitude and the fact that given the idiocy of the actions of the executives within the Dodgers’ organization most notably GM Ned Colletti , CFO Peter Wilhelm and Frank McCourt , whose own actions have been so egregious and clearly premeditated I cannot understand how it is that there seems to be no punishment of the owner for his misdeeds other than the mere fact that the league has essentially taken control of the organization. There is a great deal that McCourt has chosen not to be made public and at the same time it would appear that the league wants to cover up many of its own ineptitude in the handling of this situation. Frank McCourt states that the league hierarchy all along has had within their possession a $3 billion television contract deal that would supply the beleaguered organization with all the revenues needed to meet its financial obligations . However , in light of that all the Dodgers prior to this all Frank McCourt had stated that the Los Angeles Dodgers were never in any financial danger but records simply do not bear that out with there being multiple loans taken out by Frank McCourt using the team as collateral .

The league has a mandate that no team can have a debt ratio of more than 10 ten times its earnings but clearly with the Dodgers have contravened the rules in this instance. Bud Selig for his part has yet to make it fully public as to full extent of the problems of the Los Angeles Dodgers but clearly given the wide and varying reports by from various news sources the severity of the problems were so extensive that McCourt was simply being economical with the truth. Now it remains to be seen how long Schieffer will be overseeing the Dodgers’ operations and whether or not the team will in fact end up being sold. Frank McCourt’s ex wife Jamie McCourt has made a request of the judge who presided over her divorce proceedings to seek the court to enforce the sale of the organization . The judge may well not proceed with such an adjudication given the situation at present wherein the league has taken control over the organization. But it would not surprise me that the league’s own legal counsel could well seek out potential buyers for the Los Angeles Dodgers. However , with McCourt stating that he would fight tooth and nail to retain control of the team even if it meant taking legal action against MLB this situation could become a great deal more contentious were the two factions to enter into litigation.

At some point during the season we are liable to see several teams’ fortunes wane in terms of their performances .
Races within the divisions are steadily heating up but it’s still far too early to state what the outcomes will be with regard to where the teams will be at the culmination of the regular season .

Now as we enter the month of June and with the All Star Game set for 12th July to be hosted at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona it will be interesting to see what manner the protests will undoubtedly take in terms of the response to that state’s newly enacted law to enforce the state’s unpopular enforcement of the legal right of police officers to request a suspect to prove that they are a legal resident and not an illegal alien. As popular as this law may well be in the eyes of many it certainly has become very unpopular amongst many Latin American players within MLB. And the very fact that the ACLU and La Raza have chosen to closely monitor the actions as the state legislature and Gov Jan Brewer seeks its strict enforcement . I’ve no doubt that this issue as volatile as it has become should be dealt with at the Federal level of the government but given the inactivity and the partisanship within the Senate , Congress and the mere fact that no Presidential administration has seen fit to tackle this matter head on. I am really beginning to think that the mind numbing idiocy shown by the all levels of the government are completely at a loss to actually explain fully what their policy is with regard to illegal immigration !

DHS Chief Janet Napolitano who oversees the INS has been ambiguous at best in explaining the administration’s policy . Insofar as I think that the laws of the land have to be strictly adhered to , there has to be some latitude given to how a state can deal with problems that they deem acute within its own borders. I certainly don’t believe that Bud Selig ought to be forced to take a stance because a number of players oppose this statute no matter what their ethnicity. And even light of Carlos Santana making his outrageous statements at a ball game at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia , clearly shows how volatile this issue has become. However, someone ought to remind Santana that the state of Georgia has seen its own fair share of what he deems to be racial injustice as during the Civil Rights’ era within the state and in particular the city of Atlanta were one of the major epicenters of African American defiance as to the racial injustice that swept the South and across the nation at the time.

Given the history of the game and presumed journey that it has taken over the course of its history there’s no denying that baseball as far as it has come socially and economically there are still a number of issues that remain to be resolved. Jackie Robinson’s entry into the MLB opened up the game for all minorities but bear this in mind the game at the time though inclusive when Hank Aaron broke the alltime home run record he was being vilified the torrents of racial abuse , racial epithets death threats directed at the Hall of Famer would give the impression that in surpassing Babe Ruth’s feat was seen as an abomination by those who felt it beneath them to see an African American break one of sport’s most hallowed records. Now in this modern day and age it is not about the intolerance but what there is to be learned by all parties concerned.

It would appear in the aftermath of the game collision between Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins and the San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey . Giants’ GM Brian Sabean had a few choice words for the Marlins’ utility player and the fact that he felt that Cousins’ actions were unsportsmanlike . Many would disagree with Sabean’s view of the incident but when one takes into account what this loss means for the San Francisico Giants and their season then you can understand the general manager’s ire . Having lost Posey for the year and the players productivity it lessens the possible chance of the Giants quite possibly making the postseason either as a division winner or the wildcard entrant within the NL.

The Giants on a three game win streak but have lost 6 of their last 10 games over that span . For manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff the loss of Posey has to be a tremendous disappointment for the team . And it goes without saying for the fans they cannot be pleased with the loss of a fan favorite . While the debate goes on as to whether or not the league hierarchy needs to do more to protect catcher when at home plate protecting his position from a base runner heading home . I for one believe that the catcher knows of the imminent dangers that are presented in such a scenario . It has become one the traits of the game and there is not much that can be done to avoid such instances as both the catcher defending the plate and the player heading for home know of the prevailing dangers .

Collisions within baseball are part of the game just as much as fighting has become a part of an NHL . From my own perspective it would simply make no sense in changing the rules to supposedly make the game safe for its participants . What might need to be done is the for officials in such instances prior to the game to advise both coaching staffs that there is a need for their players to be aware that no unsportsmanlike conduct will be tolerated on the field . Safety has to be a priority which of course the players and managers are obviously aware of but with hindsight there becomes the issue if what we know to be right from wrong . The collision between Cousins and Posey wasn’t a premeditated act as both players were simply doing what would be normally asked of them . It goes without saying however that the game’s hierarchy may well now begin to monitor such instances to see if there is a flagrant act on the path of a player when such an instance arises between the catcher and an opponent at home plate.

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What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Frank McCourt the beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers who could be close to losing control of the team either through its forced sale by the courts or from an unsolicited bid by a group of investors. courtesy of LA Dodgers . …

(2) Jamie McCourt arrives with her attorney, Dennis Wasser for a non-jury divorce trial at Los Angeles County Court August 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The trial, being presided over by Judge Scott M. Gordon in California Superior Court, is to decide whether Frank McCourt is the sole owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team or his estranged wife and former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt still has ownership stake in the team. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America ….

(3) Hall of Fame player Ernie Banks (left) is seen here with Carlos Santa (center) and Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia which commemorated the annual Civil Rights’ Game . The rocker would give a passionate but totally unwarranted speech that in part denigrated the state of Georgia with his insipid remarks calling the state and its occupants racists . AP Photo/ Chris Myles …

(4) Brian Sabean, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the San Francisco Giants, watches batting practice before Game Three of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs between the Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

(5) Catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, the National League?s rookie of the year in 2010, suffered a leg fracture and torn ligaments when Florida’s Scott Cousins barreled into him at home plate in the 12th inning of the Marlins-Giants game May 25, 2011. Courtesy of ABC News ……

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NB : It is being reported that former MLB players Orel Hershiser and Steve Carlton have formed to a consortium in conjunction with billionaire Ron Burkle to make a formal offer to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers should the league see fit to put the organization up for sale.

Take Two …………. Say What ?

Take Two …………. Say What ?

Former NFL running back Robert Smith who’s now a college game day analyst for ESPN on the network’s show College Game Day was discussing the improprieties surrounding his alma-mater Ohio State . A running back for four years with the school the player excelled with the program before becoming a highly prized and productive player in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings .Now to my mind if there’s anyone who could provide the public with inner workings of that program then it would be Robert Smith . A highly intelligent individual who if he hadn’t become a player in the NFL I have no doubt that he would have become a medical professional , as the player studied medicine at Ohio State with a view to becoming a pediatrician specializing in neo natal medicine.

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Smith in his analysis suggested that as the NCAA is in effect powerless and has no legal powers to to negate the actions of the schools or players and that perhaps the best thing to do would be for the Federal government to be involved with the IRS being given additional powers to investigate any wrong doing where there is monetary gain that’s not reported as income by any students athletes at the collegiate level. He further suggested that state agencies as such could not be truly thought to be impartial in such an endeavor as there would most certainly be a conflict of interest were they placed in a position where they would have to conduct an investigation into a state ran university. Though I don’t fully agree with Smith’s premise I do fully understand that he too like many other fans of collegiate athletics are completely angered and dissatisfied with the malfeasance that is now rampant within collegiate athletics , seemingly at all levels. You have the ongoing situation with Ohio State itself , wherein the actions of Jim Tressel are merely written off as a mere child being caught with his hands in the cookie jar and the punishment exacted upon him by AD Gene Smith at the insistence of university President Dr E Gordon Gee comes across as nothing more than a slap on the wrist .

Another player on the 2010 team is wide receiver Ray Small who in a recent interview went so far as to suggest that a number of Buckeye players had been selling memorabilia and that the coaching staff were fully aware of their actions. However , Small would recant the statement saying that his statement had been in fact been misconstrued by the journalist conducting the interview. Small would state that he and no one else that he knew of had in fact sold their memorabilia for financial gain. I can well understand the change in the player’s statement after his statements had been reported in the college’s own in-house news publication , much to the annoyance of his former teammates . Smalls we would later be advised had failed a drug test and was thrown off the team in late 2010 causing him to make a none appearance in the Buckeyes’ postseason. Insomuch as this is nothing new, what we are finding out is the very fact that the actions of Small is very much widespread. The player himself stated that he knew his actions contravened NCAA rules but he simply didn’t care . And should anyone be surprised by the player’s claims at this juncture ?

My own view is that any form of intervention by the government never serves a real purpose merely because the government cannot be trusted to act with any expediency let alone with any real sign of competence. Be it the Justice Department , IRS or for that matter any a governmental committee which in this could be either the House Oversight Committee or Senate Judiciary Committee . The idiocy of this all however may well be a statement attributed to Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe who suggests that the NCAA and the schools can adequately police themselves but the real problems stems from the actions of sports agents , boosters and other outside influences. Unfortunately Beebe completely ignores the actions of Tressel and the lies he told not only to the faculty but also to journalists and members of the public. And for certain ESPN analysts to suggest that Jim Tressel is still a man of honesty and integrity is akin to suggesting that the late Osama bin Laden would somehow seek a peaceful resolution in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jim Tressel is no more a man of integrity or honesty as his most actions all along have belied those statements . Tressel’s less than contrite apology and the idiocy of both Smith and Gee in not firing the coach smacks of their own and innate stupidity ! If anything, their actions have been simply about greed and the very fact that because of the financial gain because of the countless million brought into the football program by Tressel because of his notoriety over the course of his tenure and the team’s success derived thereof.

The chances are that we will never see any of the suggestions made by Smith could ever come to fruition merely because both the NCAA , BCS and major college conferences would rather keep the status quo as is !

Am I mistaken here in thinking that the unfortunate injury suffered by San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey in a collision with the Florida Marlins Scott Cousins during the game in which the Marlins would defeat the Giants 7-6 . That in ofitself isn’t the real story but the real issue is now the number of fans who are now stating that they feel that baseball’s hierarchy should be doing more to protect its catchers . Well considering that MLB simply has never done enough to protect the players in lieu of the steroid era . I mean, who here is of the opinion that during that period in which Commissioner Bud Selig the MLBPA knew of the inherent dangers from the abuse of steroids and the health concerns in the aftermath of its abuse . Cardiac problems , neurological disorders and the obvious harm to the reproductive system but somehow this isn’t something that the league hierarchy , union or the team owners would actually care to address. And we now have idiotic fans wanting to protect a catcher because of the inherent dangers posed to him during a game ? Granted the injury to Posey , a broken leg and the fact that he will be lost the team for the rest of the Giants’ season . But there are far more grave dangers that the players face during a game beyond a home plate collision . Anyone yet within baseball’s hierarchy care to address those issues as of yet ? I guess not !

The San Francisco Giants are on a three game losing streak and are 5-5 in their last 10 games but lead the NL West by two games over the Arizona Diamondbacks (25-24). Now it goes without saying that the loss of Posey to the Giants will be a tremendous to this team as he provides a great deal of offense . Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff will most certainly be looking to boost the moral of the team with the loss of their All Star catcher . Curiously enough with the loss of Posey I do feel that the Giants are still capable of winning their division but at the same time it will come down to how prepared they are in terms of their mindset.

The likes of Aubrey Huff and Aaron Rowand as seasoned veterans on the Giants will now have to assume the mantel of being the leaders for this team if they are to really fare well over the course of the season. If they can show the leadership which I believe that they can , then they they can claim the division outright . I certainly don’t believe that the wildcard entrant will come from the NL West or NL Central for that matter ! That scenario more likely than not will arise from the competitiveness within the NL East . That division with teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies viewed as the presumptive winners of the NL pennant as well as the division will be in a tight race with the Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves is liable to become highly contested three horse race. At present a mere 3 1/2 games separate those three teams atop of the division with the Phillies (31-19) holding a one game lead over the Marlins with the Braves in third place .

The month of June could very tell determine how these teams will fare. It promises to be a very exciting nonetheless.

On much more somber note I found it heartwarming to read that former Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds has made a magnanimous gesture in stating that he’s prepared to meet all future expenses in the education of Giants’ fan Brian Stow’s children. If you remember Stow was the victim of a heinous assault by three assailants at Dodgers Stadium in a game earlier this season between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants . One assailant is now in custody and the LAPD through Police Chief Charlie Beck
has asked for the public’s assistance with any information that will lead to the apprehension of the remaining suspecrs in this ongoing investigation. The three remaining suspects , two men and a female are believed to be of Hispanic origin. The suspect in custody is a known felon to the LAPD who also happens to be a member of one of the most prominent Hispanic gangs within the city of Los Angeles . Giorgio Ramirez a convicted felon has a long and varied arrest record . I’ve no doubt that the city Los Angeles DA’s office will prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law given the viciousness and barbarity of this crime .

Hopefully, this will be something of a wake up call to the league hierarchy , the team owners and in particular the fans . This sort of violence cannot be tolerated under any circumstance but that in ofitself might not be enough to deter a repeat action of this magnitude. The victim’s family has filed a lawsuit against the Dodgers’ organization seeking compensatory and punitive damages in light of the assault on Brian Stow. As to what course such a legal matter may well take remains to be seen given the present circumstances of the Dodgers and their financial well being. There are some fans in the game who feel that it would be in the team’s best interest to settle the matter out of court rather than there being a trial but as I alluded to earlier we can only speculate as to the outcome of this matter for now .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this matter as you would deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) ESPN College Football analyst Robert Smith seated right discusses the Big 12 with his co-host. ESPN/ABC …..copyrighted material all rights reserved ….

(2) University President E Gordon Gee, Jim Tressel (center) and AD Gene Smith (right) on the podium as they address and take questions from the convened press . It is now being reported that the once embattled coach has since resigned his position as coach of Buckeyes’ football team . AP Photo/Gene J Puskar ….

(3) Former Buckeyes’ wide receiver Ray Small discusses his own improprieties as a players with Ohio State . His interview with ESPN was conducted in conjunction with the network’s magazine program Outside The Lines . Small offered plenty of evidence of misdeeds but would not openly name names as to the cast of characters involved. However in light of an earlier interview given to a school campus journalist it’s hard to know what is in fact the truth and where the lies come into play. courtesy of ABC/ESPN …..

(4) Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe whose opinion it is that the NCAA and major conferences are quite capable of policing themselves without any outside intervention by the federal government or state governmental agency. Somehow Beebe has overlooked the actions Tressel and that of senior executives of the Fiesta Bowl . Political donations that have contravened state federal laws as well as in some cases payments made to a numerous escort agencies that were found to be the committee’s way of payment for the hiring of prostitutes allegedly for entertainment purposes. AP Photo/Chris Carlsson …..

(5) Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins, top, collides with San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) on a fly ball from Emilio Bonifacio during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins was safe for the go ahead run and Florida won 7-6. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ….

(6) San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey (28) is carried off the field after a collision with Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. Cousins scored the go-ahead run on the play as Florida won 7-6. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ……….

(7) Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks (23) leaps overt San Francisco Giants’ Pat Burrell (5) to turn a double play on a ball hit by Cody Ross during the eighth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Morry Gash …

(8) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Milwaukee. AP Photo/Morry Gash ….. ……….

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My How Times Fly And Things Change ……………….

My How Times Fly And Things Change ……………….

Was he pushed or did really go of his own free will ? That’s the question that will now be asked as it relates to the upheaval in the front office of the Texas Rangers as managing partner a Chuck Greenberg chose to resign from the organization . One thing is certain Greenberg who along with Nolan Ryan did more instigate the successful purchase of the team beating out billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane with their successful $593 million winning bid for the bankrupt organization. Having done so, the duo would with their partners seek a cash infusion into the Rangers which includes a two decade $3 billion tv deal that sets up the organization and its immediate future.

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For the Rangers this past season m was something of an unexpected one filled with highs and lows but nothing more surprising than their AL pennant defeat of the New York Yankees (4-2) only then to succumb to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series with some ease 4-1 . The team then in the offseason would lose Cliff Lee through free agency as he would return to the Philadelphia Phillies .

Courtesy of AP Sports & Yahoo

Rangers CEO Greenberg leaving organization

By Stephen Hawkins , AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—It didn’t take long for Chuck Greenberg to become a very visible figure for the Texas Rangers, buying the team in a dramatic bankruptcy court showdown and then taking on the role of CEO and managing partner before the team’s first-ever World Series.

On Friday, seven months after his investment group bought the team, the AL champion Rangers abruptly announced that Greenberg was leaving the organization. The move came three weeks before the season opener.

Growing differences between the charismatic CEO, team president Nolan Ryan and board co-chairmen Ray Davis and Bob Simpson had been an ongoing issue out of the public eye.

“In reality, management styles and chemistries sometimes don’t fit together. That was the situation with Chuck and the board and Nolan,” Davis said. “Chuck made a huge contribution and we wish him all the best success in the world in whatever he endeavors to do.”

The ownership group has already bought out Greenberg’s small financial stake in the team. Simpson said Greenberg turned down the opportunity for another position in the group, one “not in the full role that he was enjoying.”

Ryan will add the title of CEO and oversee baseball and business operations, reporting directly to the team’s board of directors. The Hall of Fame pitcher, who finished his 27-season playing career with the Rangers, became their team president in February 2008.

Davis and Simpson, the largest investors in the ownership group, wouldn’t get into specifics about the differences with Greenberg in what was their first formal news conference since taking over the team last year. Neither would Ryan.

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Though the loss of Chuck Greenberg isn’t seen as catastrophic it has to be said that will have taken the baseball world by surprise. GM Jon Daniels has said the loss of Greenberg though felt within the club things will very much go on as before in a positive direction and the success they’re all looking to achieve isn’t a target that is beyond their reach. However, there has to be continuing speculation as to why Chuck Greenberg would make such an abrupt departure from the ball-club. There may well have been some form of internal struggle within the front office as to a power struggle and the shaping of an identity to this team. Nolan and Chuck Greenberg were essentially seen as the faces of the franchise from an image and business standpoint with Ryan’s solid know how , his vast experience within the game and Greenberg’s business acumen and as former attorney with noted law firm Pepper Hamilton LLC and then as a noted sports agent. The two brought a wealth of experience to the team and were it not for them I do believe that the Rangers would now be in the hands of rival bidders at the time Mark Cuban and Jim Crane. And though some have questioned the bidding process overseen by a bankruptcy court judge there was a feeling also that the MLB hierarchy was heavily behind the bid of Ryan and his syndicate partners . As to what this says about the impartiality of the game’s hierarchy in such a process , well as such , it does smack self indulgence if anything ! I can only surmise that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was extremely happy with the outcome .

The task for the Rangers this season is to rebound from the loss in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants . Players such as Josh Hamilton , C J Wilson , Adrian Beltre and Michael Young along with the rest of this roster that they are capable of mounting a serious challenge within AL West in taking on the likes of Seattle Mariners , Oakland Athletics and the Anaheim Angels . The division itself I’ve never really thought of as being extremely competitive given the fact that the teams other than the Angels have tendered to waver as to their consistency . I do however believe that Ron Washington and his coaching staff will be able to get the best out of his team and be just as competitive as last year. If they’re able to do that then there’s the possibility that the Rangers can also be viewed as a serious challenger within the AL and a contender for the World Series itself .

As to Nolan Ryan with the departure of his once former associate it now gives him greater hands on powers with the regard to executive decisions to be made within the organization. And I’ve no doubt that he’ll work closely together with Jon Daniels as it relates to personnel and coaching matters. His relationship with Ron Washington is said to be a close and fruitful one and one should bear in mind that in the midst of last season when Washington’s future was said to be in doubt after the revelations of his cocaine addiction it was Ryan who steadfastly stood by his beleaguered manager. And the rest as they is history as with regard to rest of that memorable season for the Texas Rangers.

This season within the game promises to be a very entertaining one and I do believe that it might well be one of the best in recent years. I don’t believe that there’s a distinct clear cut favorite albeit that the Phillies with that intimidating starting rotation led by Cliff Lee , Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt will prove hard to beat . But as we saw with last year’s postseason you don’t need the mighty swing of an axe to chop down a a really large oak tree as you merely have to chip away at it before it suddenly falls . The proof was simply there for all to witness as the San Francisco Giants knocked down the Phillies’ tree in NL pennant title game . Could it happen again ? I don’t see any reason why not given the right set of circumstances but I’d dare say that Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel isn’t about to let his ; team forget that experience and they’ll no doubt be prepared than they were last year should the same scenario rise once again.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the abrupt departure of Chuck Greenberg from the Texas Rangers ? Do you believe that he went of his own volition or that he may well have been forced out by forces beyond his control ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and any other matter as it relates to the upcoming season within baseball .

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Yorvit Torrealba(8) of the Texas Rangers high fives manager Ron Washington after scoring against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …………..

(2) Josh Hamilton (32) of the Texas Rangers sits in the dugout during the spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(3) Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds hits a double during the third inning of the spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ………

(4) Texas Rangers part-owner and new CEO Nolan Ryan arrives for a news conference in Arlington, Texas, Friday, March 11, 2011. Ryan has replaced Chuck Greenberg as team CEO. AP Photo/LM Otero ……….

(5) Managing Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg of the Texas Rangers looks speaks with the media during batting practice against the New York Yankees in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. According to reports on March 11, 2011, Greenberg will be leaving the Rangers organization as their CEO and managing general partner, with Nolan Ryan expected to become the new CEO. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..

(6) Chuck Greenberg (left) is seen here with GM Jon Daniels (center) and Nolan Ryan celebrating after the Texas Rangers defeat of the New York Yankees to win the ALCS pennant in 2010 . The team would go on to lose the World Series to the San Francisco Giants . Sue Walters /AP/ Reuters ……..


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Jeny Romero

Selena Silk

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2 Pac …… feat’g …….. Jodeci ………”How Do You Want It ”

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Batter Up ……. Baseball Is Here ……………..

Batter Up ……. Baseball Is Here ……………..

The MLB —– season starts and there’s a great deal to be said as to the expectations that are prevaling. Can the San Francisco Giants become the first team in a decade and a half to successfully defend a World Series title ? And are the New York Yankees now under the tenure of Hank and Hal Steinbrenner capable of leading the organization to the unprecedented success of their late father George Steinbrenner was able to achieve ? These are but a few of the plot lines that await the fans as the season gets underway with Spring Training but before that pitchers and catchers start reporting for their preseason workouts .

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Well the postseason gave us a World Series that somewhat was a coming of age tail for the two participants. The San Francisco Giants were able to take down the Texas Rangers with a certain amount of ease as the Rangers never really played with any confidence throughout the series. There are fans who believe that this season we could very well see the rise of another team combative enough to be dominant within baseball but to my mind that would be predicated on that team being equal in its parts in all facets of the game. And that tends not to be the case more often than not with most teams in contention tending to hit a rich vein of form as the end of the regular season beckons.

In the American League everyone seems to be looking at the Boston Red Sox after the impressive signings of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford instigated by GM Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino . The New York Yankees under Brian Cashman as such weren’t part of any big money deals other than the signing of reliever Rafael Soriano and a number of players by Cashman who essentially are roster invitees looking to gain permanent roster spot on the Yankees’ team. Does anyone really believe that Eric Chavez at this stage of his career can be productive ? The Yankees will be hard pressed this season to keep up with the Boston Red Sox in the AL East unless the Red Sox choose to self implode . From my own perspective I do believe that as a team the Yankees will be under a great deal of pressure with the loss of Andy Pettite due to his retirement and an aging core of players whose best years are now behind them .

Now there’ll be the usual plethora of Yankees’ followers who’ll hark back to their glory years and their multiple World Series titles but at the end of it all we can all see that the Yankees are no longer the dominant team that the game once heralded . I’ve no doubt that they’ll be competitive throughout the season and they may well make the postseason but I certainly don’t believe that they’re capable of winning a World Series title. The team’s Achilles’ heel will be their pitching and it will most certainly let them down because beyond C C Sabathia and Phil Hughes there’s no real dept to the pitching roster at all. They may still have Mariano Rivera but can we say for a near certainty that he’s still going to be a guarantee to be the player that the team has relied upon ‘the most’ when it really matters ?

Around the AL I’m not so sure that we’re going to see one true dominant team rise and simply set the league alight . I may well be wrong and I’m willing to accept that but but in the AL Central I’ve not been overly impressed by what I’ve seen ! I mean the Minnesota Twins in the postseason simply become a deer caught in headlights once they become participants. The Detroit Tigers have become an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum and let’s just say that if Ozzie Guillen isn’t berating his team the Chicago White Sox you just can’t be sure what to expect .

The AL West could be a very interesting scene merely because a great deal will be expected of the current AL pennant holders the Texas Rangers. Ron Washington’s ——– team will certainly be looking to make amends after last season . And with the loss of Vladimir Guerrero as well as pitching ace Cliff Lee it has to be said that they’ll be hard pressed to repeat as the champions within the AL. The Rangers will no doubt be challenged by the likes of the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels within the division .

The National League could will be interesting to watch this season with the Washington Nationals looking to make their presence felt within the NL East . With their high priced acquisition of Jayson Werth to go alongside phenoms Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg it could well be that GM Mike Rizzo finally believes that they’ve turned a the corner. God knows given the Nationals’ history they’re in need of all the assistance that they can get. The Washington Nationals will be going up against the Philadelphia Phillies , Atlanta Braves , New York Mets and Florida Marlins .

There’s a great deal riding on this season for the Nationals and they’re out to prove to their fans in attendance at Nationals Ballpark that they are finally in a position and ready to contend ..

The NL Central has the Cincinnati Reds looking to successfully defend their divisional title but at the same time the St Louis Cardinals will most certainly look to rebound from last season. It seems ridiculous to think that the Chicago Cubs are still looking to win their first World Series title in over a century . The curse of the goat still exists and let’s just say that there’s Bartman’s efforts did little to lift the curse . NL MVP Joey Votto will be looking to lead the Reds back into the postseason. I certainly hope that they’re capable of making another run but the division has become a highly competitive one.

I’ve never been overly enamored with the NL West and the teams there even if they currently have the reigning World Series champions there. The San Francisco Giants may well have had a terrific postseason but I think that they’ll be hard pressed to repeat as champions. And within the division you have the Los Angeles Dodgers , Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks . Troubling as it may seem I for one don’t think that those teams truly know how be competitive ! Inconsistency has been the name of the game for the triumvirate in recent years and then we have the idiocy that has now become wherewithal within the Dodgers’ organization . Owner Frank McCourt amidst an acrimonious divorce now has the team laden with almost $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) but even after his divorce trial’s proceedings went against him he states that he’s under no obligation to sell the organization. The presiding judge in the case delivered a verdict where he decided that the Dodgers is communal property and under California law it is a joint asset between McCourt and his ex wife Jamie McCourt. And as all this unfolds we have MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the league hierarchy watching from afar.

If Selig could devote as much time to the problems that have befallen the game as he has to making sure that the lobbyists that MLB pays to secure their interests within Congress then quite possibly the game would be in a far healthier state. Instead he’s now become the butt of jokes amongst the fans while the archaic purists and owners mercilessly listen to his inane statements . And it certainly seems to be unfathomable how he can sit idly by while the mess that the New York Mets’ ownership has themselves embroiled in, as part of a civil suit wherein the plaintiffs are the victims of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Picard vs Katz , Wilpon et al seeks damages in excess of $350 million with punitive damages said to be in excess of $700 million .

Baseball may well be the game that the fans can identify with because of its history, social worth within the fabric of society and the impact it made . But as of now it has become a comedy of errors and a parody ! In all honesty the game may well have a legacy but its hierarchy under Selig has led it into an abyss of mediocrity with about as much business sense as is now being shown by the Federal Reserve , US Treasury and the US government combined !

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming MLB season and which teams will you be closely following ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter by leaving a comment .

Picture and slide show details below.
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(1)Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona talks with reporters at the Boston Red Sox player development center in Fort Myers, Fla., Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. Pitchers and catchers reported Monday and will hold their first official spring training workout on Tuesday. AP Photo/Dave Martin …….

(2) Boston Red Sox pitcher Hideki Okajima , of Japan, throws during a workout at the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011. Spring training begins Monday for the Red Sox. AP Photo/Dave Martin ……

(3) Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez loosens up at the Red Sox training facility in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011. Tomorrow is the first official spring training workout for the Red Sox. AP Photo/Dave Martin …..

(4) From left to right COO Lonn Trost , manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees attend the press conference to announce the retirement of Andy Pettitte (not pictured) on February 4, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ………..

(5) Jorge Posada , Mariano Rivera , Derek Jeter , and Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees pose on the pitchers mound after winning the last regular season game at Yankee Stadium 7-3 against the Baltimore Orioles on September 21, 2008 in the Bronx borough of New York City. According to reports on February 3, 2011, Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement at Yankee Stadium on February 4, 2011. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……….

(6) Philadelphia Phillies’ Cliff Lee fields a ball during spring training baseball workouts, Monday, Feb. 14, 2011 in Clearwater, Fla. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……

(7) In this file photo from Oct. 29, 2010, New York Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon , left, club president Saul Katz and Mets owner Fred Wilpon , right, look on during a baseball news conference in New York. The owners of the Mets turned a blind eye to Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud, reaping $300 million in false profits and using a large chunk to run the team, according to a lawsuit unsealed Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. The lawsuit claims the owners were so dependent on the disgraced financier’s too-good-to-be-true returns that it “faced a severe and immediate liquidity crisis” when Madoff’s crimes were revealed in 2009. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ……..

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NB The SNY Network is a wholly owned cable network operation of the New York Mets. One avenue for the organization should they seek a cash influx would be to sell the cable programmer which is estimated to be worth in excess of $700 million as a stand alone entity . Current estimated value of the Mets is approximately $600 million . In 2008 the team had an estimated worth of $850 million and with Citi Field costing $755 million built largely through public financing courtesy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and with minimal financial commitment coming from the Mets’ organization .

MLB news ………

To view the details behind the plaintiffs’ case against Mets’ senior partners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon simply click on the link provided …… JP Morgan Seeks to Move Madoff Fraud Suit …..

😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………

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Eye candy ……………………. Rita G

More of Rita for the more discerning amongst you .

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Nicki Minaj ………. “Massive Attack” ….feat’g Sean Garrett

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The Sporting Weekend And All That It Entailed …………

The Sporting Weekend And All That It Entailed …………

Here’s a thought has the World Series been a complete a disappointment for you ? Are the teams within the NFC really that bad or as the NFL hierarchy would have us believe that parity is a good thing ? The NBA season has already began and all of the hyperbole concerning the Miami Heat has been tempered by the team’s loss to the Boston Celtics in their season opener .

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College Football is still trying to creat the intrigue and suspense by alluding to the fact that for the very first time we could end up with an apperance of a none BCS conference team playing in the national championship. I liken that particular premise to the fact that we’re no closer to finding the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden but US intelligence sources repeatedly tell us that we have Al Qaeda is on the run. The caveat here being that the words intelligence sources and US being used in the same sentence as it concerns an agency within the US government. Isn’t it bad enough that the nation at large has little or no faith in either political party much less the President and his Cabinet ? But these are the idiocies of the times we now live in , where we’re asked to follow like sheep and listen to the venerable diatribe of waste and see the incompetency of our elected officials. Come the November 2nd change may well be coming but not in the real shape or form that many might be seeking . It’ll be more of the same as usual , so simply be prepared to take more of the now prescribed medicine .

Week 8 in the NFL and we saw how bad namely the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings really are. And needless to say the two main focal points here are two individuals who simply don’t know how are willing to accept any responsibility for their actions. Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones offered an apology to the team’s fans for their failures this season and when one bears in mind that this was one the teams favored to make it to the Superbowl . Then one might begin to ask isn’t this now all …… too little too late , now coming from the team owner ?

Vikings’ quarterback Brett Favre has seen his and the team’s season simply spiral out of control. Statistically Favre’s ratings are on the lower rungs of the league’s list of quarterbacks . And for those who held out hope that the addition of Randy Moss would bring about some change in the team’s fortunes well they might as well have been looking for some semblance of intelligent thinking being put forth by Paris Hilton or one of the elder Kardashian sisters. Now all one awaits are the statements to be made by team coach Brad Childress and that of Favre , himself and the latest reason’s behind the team’s dismal failure. The Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings between them are a combined 3-11 within the NFC and it doesn’t augur well for their rest of either team’s season. Favre is now said to be suffering from his injury and it was there for all to see how much he labored in the Vikings’ loss 28-18 to the New England Patriots. And one could easily surmise by saying that the Vikings’ season has all but come to an an end. Any thought of them being in with a chance of the making the playoffs would be minute at best.

With the Texas Rangers now down 3-1 in the best of seven World Series I can’t help but wonder if this is what the MLB ___ hierarchy had in mind ? And one sincerely doubts this is what Fox Sports had in mind when they envisaged what they may well have felt what would be an evenly matched series between the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. In the four games played so far it now appears that the Rangers are bereft of the will to win and the series is about to become an unimitigated disaster for the broadcast network’s coverage. Ratings’ wise it has been none plus and the fact that Ron Washington’s _____ team’s showing has been none descript and must now have fans wondering why bother to carry on watching ? Giants’ know that with their team now having Rangers on the ropes all that is needed is the decisive knockout punch to make what would be the inevitable result a foregone conclusion .

So Oregon lives to fight another day and not a moment too soon as the number one ranked teams were falling off the top of the BCS rankings as if there’d been some sort of voodo ritual cast upon those teams. The Ducks’ annihilation of the USC Trojans ____ 53-32 was enough to justify to me that they are the best collegiate team in the nation bar none ! And I certainly don’t think that coach Chip Kelly is overly concerned what the rest of the nation thinks as he now knows that his team’s fate and destiny is theirs to decide. Win out and they will be playing for the national title …….’nough said !

For me the NBA season doesn’t truly start until after Christmas as by then most teams should be in a steady rhythm and finding their way. The NFL on the other hand will be close to winding down and there several teams will most certainly will know their immediate fates. But let’s all put our hands together and applaud the hapless Cowboys and Vikings for putting together such a hideous and mediocre season. All that allaged talent on the field and even less coaching talent off it. Zygi Wilf and Cowboys’ counterpart Jerry Jones might just be two of the biggest dickwads in professional franchise sports ownership today and that is with due with respect to the Pittsburgh Pirates’ ___ ownership group. And any hopes that Wilf and the Vikings front office had in perhaps conning the city of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota in financing a new stadium has essentially gone up in smoke after this disastrous season . And Favre is still guaranteed $20 million for this season ? WTF ?

Whatever ails us doesn’t neccessarily cure us but I’d certainly like to think that all of the hyperbole will now die down and we can forget about the Miami Heat marauding through the Eastern Conference and then plundering the rest of the NBA like the Norsemen ___ Vikings. This team after all is human in spite of the idiocy of the claims being made for NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy . Now here’s someone whose lone claim to fame to my mind was his idiotic action in trying to fell Alonzo Mourning by grabbing the center by his ankles and trying to separate him from a Knicks’ player during a multiple player altercation and melee’ that took place at Madision Square Gardens somes years ago . It was comical enough to have me in stitches and I’m sure that people who witnessed it live or via television may well found the scene laughable as well ! Van Gundy for his part seems to have backtracked on his claim that the Heat would surpass the 95-96 Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 win tally of that historic season. Now I know why it is that famed character actor Vincent Schiavelli may have spawned Jeff through some genetic mutation …… stupid is as stupid looks !

The season is still in its infancy and we’re not about to see anything truly spectacular about to happen as of yet but I’m sure that the NBA hierarchy led by Commissioner David Stern will still want us all to buy into the feeding frenzy created by the offseason circus and travails of his of superstars and a number of teams . The league in its infinite wisdom has made its brand more about the ego and marketing of its players rather than the teams themselves and it’s now coming back to bite it in the proverbial ass in more ways than Stern himself would care to admit. So let’s hope for Stern’s sake that the season is a truly competitive and successful one for his sake because if as he’s alluded to they’re on their way to losing in excess of 450 million this year alone then someone has to put a smile on his and the owners’ faces. So why not the long suffering fans who’ll be asked to part with much of their discretionary income for a a brand that has become so out of touch with reality , the marketplace and even its very own fans ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal. By clicking on indvidual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

What sporting event this past weekend has been or provided you with the most interest ? And as such with the San Francisco Giants being newly crowned as the 2010 World Series champions were you entirely happy with the outcome and baseball season as a whole ? Simply chime in with your comments as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support !

NB: Click on the links below to view the latest news , scores and views .

MLB news

MLB scoreboard

MLB 2010 World Series

NBA scores

NBA news

NBA Conference Standings …… Divisional

NFL news

NFL Week 8 scores

NFL Standings ….Divisional

NFL Standings Conference

NFL Standings by League

NFL Week 9 schedule

BCS Football rankings

NCAA Football scoreboard

NCAA Football news

Alan aka tophatal ……………… 🙂

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Angel-Lola-Luv

Eye candy Angel ‘Lola’ Luv

Hey Did You Know That The MLB Postseason Had Already Started ?

Hey Did You Know That The MLB Postseason Had Already Started ?

It seems no one got the message but the MLB postseason has started but there’s disturbing evidence to show that almost no one seems to be watching the games on broadcast or cable television. What might be even more disturbing is the mere fact that in the ALCS games staged at Yankees Stadium have not sold out and the in game five itself the upper decks of the venerable edifice one could see that those areas were actually deserted. Whether or not that is an indictment of the team or the mere fact that because of the economic climate such a situation was to be expected really does also cast doubt as to how the league hierarchy now markets the game nationally.

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The postseason for MLB is the highlight of a long and arduous season within league and if fans aren’t seemingly interested in watching the televised games but also unwilling to turn up and watch even the New York Yankees. Then that ought to tell not only the fans but also MLB Commissioner Bud Selig that there’s something wrong with the game from the fans’ perspective and how the brand itself is being marketed to the consumer.

Both the ALCS and NLCS match-ups have been every entertaining to watch and with the presumptive favorites in both series now trying to stave off elimination it remains to be seen whether or not the Philadelphia Phillies can erase a 3-1 deficit against the San Francisco Giants . Not to be outdone the New York Yankees seem to have dug a hole for themselves albeit that they were able to come back and show some resilience in game five with a decisive 7-2 defeat of the Texas Rangers at their home venue. The series resumes at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas __ with the team seeking to eliminate the Yankees by looking to take game 6 in what will have been a memorable series for this Ron Washington led squad. The series lead by the Rangers 3-2 is theirs for the taking should they now desire it enough and make the Yankees’ presence in this postseason come to an abrupt end .

It has to be said that both series has given us tremendous pitching performances with a plethora of All Star caliber players taking the mound. It has been surprising to see the Phillies rotation led by Roy Halliday seemingly being put in their place by a Giants’ rotation led by Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain . Not only that but the lightly thought of offense of the team has suddenly come to light and made the Phillies much lauded offense seem somewhat pedantic. Cody Ross in particular seems to be a star in the making and I do believe that the Florida Marlins may now have some regrets having traded the player away to the San Francisco Giants. But in truth the Giants’ success in this series doesn’t solely rest with one player because it has been a collective effort all round from the team and it’s a credit to their manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff . They’ve felt no real undue pressure and have shown that they can play their game while outmatching their opponents .

Joe Girardi and the Yankees know that if they are to play themselves right back into contention then they will have to play aggressively throughout the remainder of the series no matter what. Now a great deal will be made of the fact that their bullpen has been very inconsistent and much of that can be laid squarely on the shoulders of the manager . That if anything has been the team’s Achilles’ Heel throughout much of the regular season and into the postseason itself. Furthermore with the loss of first baseman Mark Teixiera their situation has become somewhat more difficult albeit that Teixiera’s postseason stats aren’t what one would come to expect from the player. But defensively he’s still a player I’ve no doubt that Girardi would prefer to have on the team and that’s with due respect to Lance Berkman .

Now comes the hard part for the Yankees and that’s for them to show that they have the determination to claw their way back and win with a great deal of resolve. I know they tend to look to Derek Jeter to lead by example which is something that has been exemplified by the play throughout much of his career, especially during the postseason . But for this aging veteran now in the twilight of his career it has to be said that the passion once displayed doesn’t always seem to be there. It may well be that in a final year of his contract with the team we may well be seeing the final days of what has been one of the more storied Yankees’ playing careers in recent memory. Now in saying this, one might also ask does Alex Rodriguez have what it takes to step in Jeter’s shoes ? At this juncture the jury I think is still out as to whether or not A-Rod (Rodriguez) is even considered to be a true Yankee by their fans and the fans of the game itself in general. He may well be donned in a “pinstripe uniform” but that doesn’t make him a Yankees’ player where the legacy of donning the uniform essentially means life blood of the organization flows through your veins. His life seems to revolve around the fact that the notoriety and paparazzi catch him in the glare of the spotlight with a Hollywood starlet on his arm. I’d also preface this by saying that one good postseason with the team doesn’t allow you to become a venerable great in the eyes of many when it comes to the postseason and the Yankees’ fans in particular. His achievements will be judged by what he does more so on the field than anything that he’s been known to do off it and that also includes that mystifying suggestion by Rodriguez that he merely experimented with steroids. I think that we all know the answer to that particular question is ……….. which to my mind isn’t printable other than to suggest that the colloquial term for fecal excrement could be used here !

Now if both series as is perceived should play out as is being envisaged bearing in mind how each series now stands . Then we could see both the Rangers and Giants making it to the World Series. and I don’t think that there can be a cut case wherein one could make a definite decision that the Giants will be favored over the Rangers. I do believe that the teams are evenly matched on all fronts and it will come down to the intangibles and the experience shown by both managers and their respective staffs. There’d be something of a story book type ending to this season were either Bruce Bochy or Ron Washington to become the winning manager in the World Series . But as the whole scenario has yet to be played out we as fans will just have to wait and see what is left to absorb as things play themselves out in both series.

From the standpoint of a willing spectator of the MLB postseason I have to say that the league hasn’t exactly done a great job of marketing its showcase event. Overall I do believe that it has done a mediocre job throughout the years and that includes the years when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had us on the edge of our seats as their spectacle played itself out in the Maris home run chase. Now we know how much of a subterfuge that all was given the evidence that has since arisen concerning both players’ involvement in the use of steroids and HGH. Do you think that all parties concerned had and still does have something to hide ?

Baseball’s integral problems as it concerns its popularity and financial state isn’t one that cannot be solved but it would appear that under Bud Selig’s leadership their so called tried and tested formula seems to have met an obstacle that they have no idea how to overcome . If an NFL Monday night game between two marginally attractive teams can still outperform a game wherein baseball’s most storied and most supported team can barely crack a 4 percentile share on the Nielsens’ Ratings nationally then you know that there’s something wrong with the game. Never mind the fact that Yankees’ Stadium was filled to less than capacity for a postseason ALCS game . If that’s not indicative of a problem then can someone please explain to me what is ?

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