Don’t Be a Zero Be a Hero

Don’t Be a Zero Be a Hero ….

Well the world of sports is still turning and the stories are coming in thick and fast. Tiger Woods is back on the PGA Tour , confident enough , but still
far away from his peak form when he was in his prime . He came
within one shot of taking the Valspar Championship this past weekend , losing to eventual winner Paul Casey of England. Had Woods won the tournament, he would be an automatic qualifier for the first Grand Slam Major of the season, the Masters Tournament , April 5th to 8th held at the Augusta National CC in Augusta, Georgia. Woods as a previous winner of the tournament will be in the field and it will be interesting to see how he fares in the first Major of the season. Next up on the Tour schedule will be the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Bay Hill, a suburb of Orlando.


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The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of the most popular tournaments on the Florida swing of the PGA Tour schedule with official prize money of over $8,000,000 with the winner of the event taking home the first prize winner’s check of $1.7 million ($1,700,000). There are also 500 FedEx Cup points going to the winner of the tournament , with the points adding their accrued totals in FedEx Cup points’ standings ,which is currently being led by Justin Thomas with 1573 points , closely followed Patton Kizzire some 259 points drift of Thomas in the FedEx Cup standings.

Tiger Woods for his part , with all of the health issues and personal problems of the past three years , we do know he is not the player he once was. If anything he lacks confidence , while many of his younger contemporaries are playing with such confidence that they’re no longer intimidated by Woods’ once powerful game. As confident as the former world number one golfer might be , I now feel that Tiger Woods’ best days are now behind him and not ahead of him. I could very well be wrong with my assumptions as all it would take for him to get his complete confidence back. Yet given his psyche and lack of confidence in his game prior to and coming off his most recent injuries and personal issues, as I alluded to earlier , Woods remains a long way off from where he needs to be providing a great deal of confidence for the likes of Dustin Johnson , Rory McIlroy , Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

This PGA season should make for a very interesting year in the world of golf.

So Mommy didn’t kiss the boo-boo and you’re still bitching and whining ? Well ,that’s the way it now appears to be at this time of the year within the NFL as the players in free agency seek to get paid , while there are players with a no more than one or two years left on their respective contracts also looking for a larger piece of an ever increasing pie .

With the relationship between Commissioner Roger Goodell and Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones now at an all-time low. There appears to be a great deal of dissension now taking place within the league and the ruling hierarchy . Goodell has set another precedent in terms of his autocratic rule , stating that the Cowboys and in particular the owner (Jones) will be hit with a hefty multi-million fine , believed to be in excess of $2 million for conduct detrimental to the league . Much of this stems from Roger Goodell’s punishment of Dallas’ running back Ezekiel Elliot who had been hit with a multi-game suspension during the regular season for the Dallas Cowboys.

Another troubled player on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster happens to be their wide receiver Dez Bryant . The receiver wants to be paid
like a superstar , but injuries and lack of productivity suggests he is not worth the money he is looking for, in spite of his claims that he is far better than Mike Evans whose contract is up for negotiation with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers . Evans for his part has proven to be a consistent performer for a franchise which has failed to live up to expectations over the past two seasons at least . It has been almost a decade since the Buccaneers made an appearance in the postseason , with that appearance coming in 2007 with a loss to the New York Giants in the wildcard round within the NFC . . .Say what you will about the Buccaneers , but I don’t believe that they aim to please !!!

The Dallas Cowboys won’t be cash-strapped by the cap , but I certainly don’t believe that Jerry Jones will be willing to overpay for Dez Bryant when there are far better options for him by way of free agency or during the NFL Draft where there will be a glut of wide receivers.

Tyrann Mathieu is out with the Arizona Cardinals after the front office decided to release the defensive back rather than provide
him with a new contract . So too was the veteran running back and Mathieu’s teammate Adrian Peterson who was shown the door by the franchise. It’s pretty much safe to say, the Cardinals are turning over a new leaf , but I don’t believe they’re at all done with their in-house roster changes . I also believe that Carson Palmer’s days with Arizona are numbered . He has never been able to lead the franchise to a deep postseason run while with the Arizona Cardinals . His retirement did not come as a surprise, given the length of his career and what he was able to accomplish during that time, having been a Heisman Trophy winner . With a new coaching staff in place the franchise will be starting afresh with a slew of new faces and expectations.

So while the Seattle Seahawks couldn’t come to a concrete decision concerning corner-back Richard Sherman as to whether or not they would retain him. Somehow within the front office and probably much to the chagrin of Pete Carroll , it was decided he would be allowed to become a free agent. No sooner was that decision made , the San Francisco 49ers swooped in to sign the Pro Bowl player to a very lucrative contract . Immediately , San Francisco becomes better , with a player who’s likely to provide a great deal of leadership and maturity , while also proving to be a legitimate threat within the NFC West this upcoming season. Add in the fact the offense of the Forty Niners was one of the hottest teams in the league over the final five games of the regular season 2017 . There is every reason to believe not only will they become better , but Jimmy Garopollo might just be the best quarterback in the division and certainly one of the top-ten in the league based on that five-game stretch for the team.

It’s getting to that stage where not everything written will make a great deal of commonsense concerning the NBA . If the rumors are to be believed then LeBron James will have played his last season in Cleveland if the Cleveland Cavaliers were to make it to the NBA Playoffs. Such has been the almost near dissolution of his relationship with team owner Dan Gilbert , I am not so James’ personal friend , confidant and also a minority stake holder in the franchise , Usher (Usher Raymond IV) will be able to persuade James to remain with the franchise. The four-time League MVP is the biggest asset on a young roster , but the fourteen-year veteran is at a stage in his career , where it seems his wish to attain further glory at the team level is beyond his reach with the Cavaliers. is support at best can be described as adequate, but in all honesty against the top-five teams in the Western Conference , I seriously doubt this current roster would be able to hold their own in an NBA Finals’ series much less at this point during the regular season.

For the moment the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves in something of a tenuous position within the Central Division and clearly facing an obstacle within the Eastern Conference where they were favored to be dominant at the start of the season. These are now troubling times for the Cavaliers and specifically for the coaching staff as well as the front office . They face a dilemma with not only LeBron James , but also several of the players who are also impending free agents. LeBron can opt-out of the final year of his deal, then either choose to re-sign with Cleveland or opt for a more lucrative contract elsewhere. There would likely be at least eight to ten teams interested in signing the player to a five-year deal paying him on average $30 to $40 million a year.

Over their next ten games I expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to be truly tested as too will LeBron James as he seeks to press his claim for a fifth League MVP Award . Next up for the Cleveland Cavaliers will be a game against the Portland Traiblazers , where James will get to go up against Portland’s Damian Lillard in what should prove to be an intriguing contest.

Reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warrior are on pace to have a sixty-win season, but the loss of Klay Thompson could prove to be worrisome for the team and particular for Steve Kerr and his coaching staff . Thompson is expected to miss the remainder of the Warriors’ regular season schedule and quite possibly the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs. GM Bob Myers might feel it necessary not to risk further injury to their All Star and have him sit out the entire postseason. However, I feel it would be best to have Klay on the sidelines , especially in wake of the recent dominance shown by the Houston Rockets who have proven to be almost unstoppable of their last fifteen games. The Rockets will be back on court when they are due to face the Los Angeles Clippers .

Say what you will , but there will be some major disappointments this upcoming season within the world of baseball. Derek Jeter has already alienated the fans of the Miami Marlins with his imploding of the team’s roster. On Opening Day it will be hard to recognize several of the names donned in a Marlins’ uniform.

As a co-owner of the Miami Marlins Derek Jeter has gutted the roster to such an extent that its payroll barely seems acceptable much less plausible and while I understand the ball-club has been hemorrhaging red ink for the past three seasons. I do believe the sacrifices made are no guarantee of future success. A $70 million payroll in this day and age is not going to cut it when you’re going up against the big boys of Major League Baseball . . It will be interesting to see how the Marlins fare through their first twenty-five games of this upcoming season in baseball. Martin Prado will be asked to lead this Marlins’ team and as quite possibly the best player on the roster it will be down to him to lead by example. Manager Don Mattingly and his managerial staff will have their work cut out for them in 2018 as I don’t expect
the Miami Marlins to be that competitive in what will likely be a very good NL East division. Miami will open their regular season schedule on Opening Day with a game against the Chicago Cubs at Marlins Ballpark in Miami, Florida. .


 


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Which athletes do you believe in the coming year
will have to prove themselves more than anything else ?

Tophatal ….


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Ships that pass each other in the night tend to collide at some point on a journey , though not necessarily with something they haven’t seen

Ships that pass each other in the night tend to collide at some point on a journey , though not necessarily with something they haven’t seen

There is no disputing the fact, with the year-round cycle of perpetual NFL news you simply cannot get away from football , no matter how much one might try. With the ongoing fiasco of the Deflate-Gate saga now taking place within the legal system and a Federal Court judge Richard Berman now presiding over what will likely the final arbitrary judgment on the matte. I am now beginning to believe this league desires all of the negative publicity possible simply to remain in the limelight.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell no longer has any credibility and the fact that the team owners remain staunchly loyal to him remains not only incredulous but also unfathomable. Fans may well point to the fact the league is highly profitable, but what does it suggest when the NFL still can’t clean its own house or where its relationship with the NFLPA (union) remains adversarial and antagonistic? When asked about this , the commissioner remains nonplussed and comes across as a buffoon. As to the fans who continue to point to the popularity as one of the sole reasons to find football popular , then they might as well bend over and seek to kiss their own ass for all of the good it might do.

Week one of the NFL season went by without there being a standout performance by a team or player after the games played. Divisional standings asides, there wasn’t a great deal that could be taken away from the results seen other than the fact two Heisman Trophy winners are likely to struggle during this season should they be entrusted with leading their respective teams as that franchise’s starting quarterback.

Tim Tebow a recent free agent signing by the Philadelphia Eagles has become a reclamation project for team head coach Chip Kelly. All signs point to the fact the former New York Jets , Denver Broncos and New England Patriots’ player will likely be a bust. His performance in the Eagles’ season opener of the preseason was a disaster and there was nothing to suggest Tebow’s game has actually improved since he last played in the NFL during the 2012 season.

Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the team’s and the league’s number one overall pick from the 2015 NFL Draft fared no better in the Buccaneers’ preseason opener, as they fell to the Minnesota Vikings in a rather lopsided game. Pretty much safe to say this Buccaneers’ offense could very well end up being among the worst in the NFL this upcoming season with the defense not actually faring any better. Depth on this team roster can only be described as being mediocre at best.

Week two of the preseason will see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Florida on Monday , 24th August, 2015. Lovie Smith and his team will be seeking their first winof the preseason with Jameis Winston likely to once again get the start in preference over Mike Glennon.

Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles will face the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , In the second game of their preseason schedule. Tim Tebow will likely get some playing time in the contest. Yet I have no doubt in my mind the head coach knows , that his and the team’s best option to win lays in the hands of either Mark Sanchezand the much-criticized Sam Bradford whose years in the league have proven to be something of a major disappointment. The NFL to my mind has now become a league of insipid mediocrity , where the fans in general, simply remain apathetic, unbelievably asinine and naive.

The 2012 NFL Draft might well go down as one of the best in recent NFL history and perhaps one of the best in terms of quarterback talent since the hype was made concerning where Hall of Fame players Dan Marino and John Elway would be taken and which teams they would indeed be drafted by. Both quarterbacks went on to have legendary careers , with Elway leading the Denver Broncos to successive Superbowl victories and then riding off into Broncos’ folklore. John Elway is now Head of Football Operations for the franchise, where there is now another legendary quarterback looking to add a second Superbowl victory to his resume and adding a third such title for Denver Broncos.

There are many who now believe the window off opportunity has now closed for Peyton Manning , but yet I feel , as long as the four time League MVP has an effective arsenal to complement his immense skill-set then the Broncos remain with a chance of possibly winning , but that would also be prefaced by suggesting they would be able to get the better of an AFC opponent in the postseason before facing their NFC counterpart in the “Big Game”.

Denver got off to a winning start in the preseason , defeating the Seattle Seahawks on the road in a 22-20 victory against the 2013 Superbowl champions. The Broncos will be looking to add to their winning ways when they face the Houston Texans at Reliant Field/NRG Stadium in Houston Texas on the 22nd August, 2015.

2015 will mark the third year in the NFL for the Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III. The player has made one postseason appearance for the franchise which came to an abrupt end . His sophomore season was by far the best Griffin has had in the league. Granted, he has yet to show the intestinal fortitude of Andrew Luck the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback taken directly ahead of him as the number one overall pick in in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Jay Gruden as head coach of the Washington Redskins’ having not only to deal with the local media , now has to deal with a player whose own entourage seems to be one where they feel , Robert Griffin can and should be seen as the only reason this Redskins’ team exists. Griffin himself, has come out and suggested he remains the best quarterback on the roster and the provides the team with the best chance to win. Yet by any stretch of the imagination , other than his postseason foray in 2012, as a quarterback, he has yet provide the consistency sought for the Washington Redskins to be seen as a credible challenger within the NFC East much less withinthe NFC this upcoming season. Beyond Griffin’s claims of being the best quarterback on the Redskins’ roster, the player believes himself to be the best in the league. All well and good if you have the performances to back it up, but nothing could be further from the truth. It seems what Robert Griffin lacks in competitiveness he makes up for with hyperbole, a great of brevity , a false sense of self-importance and narcissism.

The Redskins’ quarterback is well-paid , perhaps far more than he is actually worth at this juncture, but for the moment, he remains with the franchise knowing this could very well be the last season to prove himself, before the decision is made to jettison him altogether. Robert Griffin III has certainly been more of a distraction for the franchise in his three years rather than an asset and when you consider postseason appearances for the Redskins have become something of a rarity over the last ten years. It is understandable why the front office and team owner Dan Snyder are now at their wits’ end. As valuable as the Washington Redskins remain with an ultra loyal fan-base, having nothing at all to show for during that time-span means absolutely nothing at all , even if organization remains extremely profitable. Making money in the NFL comes extremely easy when you charge exorbitant prices for admission and the television contract are simply extortionate, without mentioning the fact the consumer seems forever starved of a product that has now become extremely pallid.

A narrow three-point win over the Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener offered up nothing new as to what the aspirations might be for the Jay Gruden coached Washington Redskins. In week two the Detroit Lions led by Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford will be the guests of the Redskins at Fedex Field, in Landover, Maryland for an NFC conference match-up. It will be interesting to see how the two opposing front-line starting quarterbacks will fare in this contest. Not due to become a free agent until 2017 , a two-year window of opportunity for Robert Griffin is now fast approaching , whereby it’s now or never for the player, who feels he is the best quarterback in the NFL, when he is on his game. RGIII, as he likes to be known, still has a long way to go before he proves himself the equal of his peers , never mind the players and quarterbacks from the 2012 NFL Draft class.

Say what you will, but the Chicago Bears are now playing a rather stupid game of not only cat and mouse, but also who moved my cheese? Former Bears’ GM Phil Emery took it upon himself to sign Jay Cutler to a seven-year $126.7 million contract and what might be even more ludicrous was the insistence of Emery, this would provide the franchise with stability and secure Cutler’s long-term security. Since Jay Cutler was acquired by the Bears the franchise has made only one postseason appearance and the fact they failed so abysmally, a great deal of the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the quarterback. Prior to the start of the preseason there were rumbling heard the front office of the Chicago Bears might be willing to off-load the beleaguered quarterback.

Jay Cutler, I believe remains this generation’s Jeff George , another quarterback with a bullet of an arm , but whose technical prowess and leadership skill-set always came into question. It has been the very same questions , continually being raised about the Bears’ incumbent starting QB. John Fox now comes in looking to turn things around for the Chicago Bears in what is likely to be a combative NFC North division where the Green Bay Packers will be looking to remain the dominant force while also repeating as champions of the division. The regular season meetings between the two teams should prove to be very interesting. I certainly believe Aaron Rodgers and his teammates will get the better of the Bears in both scheduled contests , with Rodgers’ record against his divisional foes continuing. Chicago will face the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday , 22nd August , while Green Bay will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Heinz Field , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on Sunday , the 23rd August,2015 .

Postseason or should I say two Superbowl performances can define a person’s career and create a legacy which is likely to make you a candidate for the Hall of Fame . Such might be the case for New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning and a claim could be made that he might be better than his elder sibling Peyton Manning when it comes to being on the NFL’s grandest stage . Eli Manning hopes to negotiate a mega-contract as he closes out the final year of his six-year $97.5 million current deal , with all evidence pointing to the fact the player wishes to have or be offered a contract that would make him the highest paid quarterback in the league.

While I believe Eli Manning to be a very good quarterback his career beyond his postseason heroics have been somewhat sedate. Granted he does possess winning record during the regular season is credible, but his twelve years in the NFL and he only has six winning seasons indicates to me something average, and averaging a mere seven wins a year throughout his career in the NFL. The past two seasons for Eli Manning have proven to be mediocre, with the player showing little or no leadership qualities whatsoever , while seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for his failings . Manning, like head coach Tom Coughlin will be under a great deal of pressure this season and the likelihood appears to be, should the Giants fail, then both the head coach and player are likely to become no longer part of this franchise. Do I believe Eli Manning to be on the downside of his career ? Yes , in many ways I do feel his skill-set has declined , but the Manning name in the NFL does cast a giant shadow over this league and with the Deflate-Gate fiasco still within our midst, it has been the Manning brothers who if anything have defined his last decade and a half in this league more than any other player during the time-span in question.

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Do you believe this upcoming season in the NFL will prove to be exciting ? Or do feel the league will simply struggle to show any signs of real consistency among the teams ?

Tophatal ..

😀

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of Oz …

A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of Oz …

Tophatal ….

Baseball’s Winter Meetings have yet to take place, but already the big top has been blown off the tent. The meeting of the league’s top executives , ownersand members of the league hierarchy to discuss the vagaries of the game and then to negotiate deals that will see the movement of several players, many of them likely being rewarded with major contracts will be set into motion.

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Over the past five years there can be no denying the Miami Marlinshave been one of the worst performing teams in Major League Baseball (MLB). The very fact that the Marlins have at no time in their history has ever won a divisional title or place higher than second within the NL East should tell you a great deal about the organization, in spite of their having won two NL Pennants and two World Series titles . The last of those postseason series’ coming in 2003 . Since then, things have steadily rolled downhill for the franchise, along with a succession of managers and turnover in front office executives.

The big news’ story of the month within the game of baseball, was the audacious move by the Miami Marlins in signing Mike Stanton to a long-term deal. Stanton signed what is now believed to the largest contract in professional sports’ and quite clearly the biggest in baseball history. Stanton signed a thirteen-year $325 million contract, averaging $25 million a year . Though I do not expect the floodgates to be opened by this deal , it does now place a great deal of pressure on other teams in similar position, looking to sign one of their marquee players. Miami for a number of years has been on the lower end of the payroll scale, albeit in 2013 , they sought to remedy the situation when they splurged on signing some major free agents in an assault on trying to win the NL East that season as well as the World Series title . They failed miserably in both attempts , with then manager Ozzie Guillen providing more entertainment away from the field of play, than was provided by the team during the entire season .

MLB is definitely not known for its financial frugality among its big-market teams and when left idle to their own devices teams in the small-market tend to prove how incompetent they are. The Miami Marlins have become the epitome of that, along with their instate rivals the Tampa Bay Rays and that is with due respect shown to the acumen of former Rays’ general manager Andrew Friedman , whose departure from the franchise to take on the more high-profiled role as a SVP & Head of Baseball Operations with the Los Angeles Dodgers caught just about everyone off-guard including senior executives within the Rays’ organization. With the recent departure of Joe Maddon to become the manager of the Chicago Cubs , Tampa is now left in a quandary. Throw in the departure of their AL Rookie of the Year, pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and you could say it’s back to business as usual for the Rays. Their off-season annual ” fire sale “ is just about to begin.

Now while the Miami Marlins’ fans can only be pleased with the outcome , the signing of Mike Stanton to a long-term deal , the question has to be asked , what type commitment and sacrifices will have to be made by this ball-club? Financial resources for the Marlins are not enormous and we have seen repeatedly the actions of this franchise over the years during their triumphs and letdowns. Jeffrey Loria has proven to be no different from one his predecessors H D Wayne Huizenga, whose ownership the Florida Marlins were well-chronicled. Huizenga’s gutting of the team that won the franchise’s first World Series title left the fans in dismay and utter disgust, has since been repeated by Loria.

As the incumbent owner of the Miami Marlins , I have no real reason to believe Jeffrey Loria will remain a man of his word. Deceit , deception , lies and an un-willingess to show transparency concerning the inner workings of the Marlins along with the alleged brow-beating of the Miami City Council leading to their capitulating , in the ball-club’s wishes to have the city finance the building of Marlins Ballpark , where undue pressure was brought to bear by former commissioner Bud Selig, really does cast a light on how Loria and Major League Baseball likes to conduct its business. Unfortunately, those same character traits are not shared or instinctive with Tampa Bay Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg who continues to whine like a spoiled brat, because he cannot get his own way. Michael Hill and Mike Redmond will now seek to bolster the Marlins’ roster during this off-season , but they will also have to deal with trying to resign a number of their impending free agents as well players whose arbitration rights they might want to expedite quickly.

Mike Stanton had an excellent season in 2014 , where he was one of the most productive members on his team as well as in the NL and MLB overall. His second place finish to Clayton Kershaw in the NL MVP race was of no great surprise, considering the astonishing regular season by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher, who also added the NL Cy Young Award to his trophy case for the third time in his career. I believe their might be at least two more Cy Young Awards waiting in the wings for Kershaw, who has to be seen as the best pitcher in baseball without a doubt. Granted his postseason forays for the Dodgers left a great deal to be desired. The team’s malaise was nothing new and simply part of their DNA over the past two years. Don Mattingly’s players seem to be great during the regular season, but they become a deer caught in headlights once the postseason comes around , as witnessed in 2013 and then again during baseball’s end of season ritual. Let’s just say this Dodgers’ team cannot even hit or pitch their way out of trouble . even if they were being aided by the mishaps of their opponents during the postseason.

As I alluded to earlier the floodgates may not necessarily open up with players being offered overly large contracts, but the Marlins have now set a precedent where it will prove hard for any team not be able to meet a free agents’ requests. With the likes of high-profiled sports’ agents such as Scott Boras , Sam and Seth Levinson of Aces Inc Baseball , Dan Lozano , corporate entities such as LSW Baseball , CAA , the upstart IMG and sports’ management agency Roc Nation Sports, all vying to make deals on behalf of their clients. It is easy to understand why general managers such as Brian Cashman, Brian Sabean , Dave Dombrowski , Billy Beane , Sandy Alderson , Michael Hill and Jerry Dipoto are never operating from a position of power. They will more often than not overpay for a player , rather than actually showing some real acumen.

Having won their third World Series title in the past five years the San Francisco Giants are now seated among the elite dynasties of the game. Make no mistake, this is a dynasty , albeit a quiet and unglamorous one. Brian Sabean might just be the best general manager in the game today. His guile and an eye for talent , his acumen in the free agency market, have not only made the Giants a success , but they have laid down a blueprint that a number of teams are now likely to follow. Furthermore , Sabean is not one to neglect his farm system and then seek to implode those affiliates , as he sees the lower rungs of the organization as a treasure trove of future talent. In the aftermath of their most recent success this franchise will now seek build upon their most recent achievement.

San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy and his entire managerial staff are likely to return for next season , but opportunities may well arise where one or two of his assistants will be offered the opportunity to interview a vacant managerial position. Beyond that, the question now becomes what are the integral pieces to kept on this roster and can the Giants afford to pay what is deemed to be “fair market value”? The fly in the ointment was the outrageous contract signed by Mike Stanton and offered by a team, that two years began shedding their high priced players like driftwood being cast away, because it was of no further use. Miami remains a small-market team, with grandiose schemes and big-market ambitions. They are a baseball team that rarely sell out their home games in a venue , which remains sparsely attended. The flip side of that coin are the San Francisco Giants and their ravenous fans and fan-base nationwide. They have the success and a legacy which has been quietly built upon over the years.

The Giants’ 2012 World Series MVP infielder Pablo Sandoval will be looking to get paid commensurate to his status and in line with the top active contracts active within the organization . As an impending and unrestricted free agent Sandoval knows he can go elsewhere and quite possibly obtain long-term contract making him financially secure. Yet, the thought remains with the player being such a part the team’s postseason success , it would seem idiotic for the Giants to let him go , knowing he is not only a clubhouse favorite but also a leader on and off the field. Beyond that , take into account his productivity and being able to come up with some clutch hitting , it places Brian Sabean in something of a dilemma .

If Sandoval does return to the Giants in 2015, along with the core elements of last season’s roster, then San Francisco have to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the NL Pennant this upcoming season. Granted, they are likely to face a stiff challenge from the St Louis Cardinals , Washington Nationals , Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates , Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds .

Alex Rodriguez’s return to New York Yankees and their lineup for 2015 cannot come around fast enough for many of the ball-club’s fans . The player’s last appearance in a Yankees’ uniform was uninspiring and simply confirmation that Rodriguez is now past his prime. The Yankees’ third baseman having spent the entire 2014 Yankees’ schedule under suspension will look to reinvent himself on and off the field of play. With the retirement of Derek Jeter after a two-decade long career with the franchise. One could surmise, Brian Cashman sees Rodriguez as the “face of the Yankees” moving forward. I firmly believe the organization erred in not tearing up Alex Rodriguez’s contractas they were quite within their right to do so. Incompetency, in their repeatedly mishandling of the players transgressions , breaking the league’s substance abuse policy, spoke volumes as to the numerous reasons why baseball’s policy has no real teeth to it and the complete lack of leadership from Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred. Rodriguez’s contract remains intact , albeit , he lost in excess of $23 million, having not played for the New York Yankees this past season .

Joe Girardi and his staff will certainly look to Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury , Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Brian Robertsand Brian McCann to give the Yankees’ more ‘pop’ to their offense where the team was found wanting last season. The Yankees’ pitching was left somewhere in between the depths of mediocrity and the ‘bowel’of Hades .

The Yankees’ free agents for this upcoming season include veteran Ichiro Suzuki , unlikely to return next season, with Dave Robertson , Hiroki Kuroda , Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, Heath Bell and Chase Headley are several of the players Brian Cashman will have to make decision upon their possible return to the New York Yankees. Cashman has shown very little faith in the organization’s farm system and he is unlikely to do so for years to come. With their failure to make the postseason and decidedly ignominious finish in the NL East the pressure will be on the front office to do something drastic to bring this franchise back to some semblance of respectability. Last season the acquisitions of Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Ichiro Suzuki were meant place the team at the forefront of the AL but their play nowhere near good enough to remotely place them in control of their own destiny.

With the 2014 payroll commitment of baseball’s thirty teams topping $3 billion ($3,000,000,000 for the second year in succession. The two teams at the top of the heap, were the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. At a time when the game’s financial disparities so glaring there has been little to suggest baseball has the wherewithal to get its own financial house in order. The team owners and hierarchy have failed miserably in reigning in team expenses and yet owners are either seething because they cannot their own way in trying to deceitfully have municipalities to finance their venues.

Billionaire and millionaire owners unwilling to go out and do what is necessary in showing their real business acumen, to obtain private financing, rather than repeatedly have the public funds being used to finance such endeavors. It will be interesting to see the moves made by teams during this off-season the guile used by agents, seeking to have their clients be rewarded with the best contract possible. The sheer lunacy of MLB and the antics of the players leave a great deal to be desired and it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.

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With the salaries and contracts now on the rise within the game of baseball and no clear sign from the league hierarchy they show any initiative in reining in team expenses or have any idea how to so. What direction do you believe the game is likely to take and can the executives who preside over the game really deal with the issues which adversely effect baseball ?

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(1) Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is seen here with Mike Stanton . The Marlins’ player signed a thirteen-year $325 million deal which will pay him $25 million annually. The deal is the highest paid contract in North American sports’ history . Loria and Team President Michael Hill believed it incumbent the organization retain the Stanton for their viability and long term future. AP Photo/ Matt Holmes ..

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ SVP & Head of Baseball Operations , Andrew Friedman is seen here alongside team President Stan Kasten . Friedman whose departure from the Tampa Bay Rays took just about everyone by surprise, has now moved to an organization where the resources of the baseball franchise far exceeds anything remotely close the Rays have at their disposal. With Friedman’s departure also came Joe Maddon leaving to join the Chicago Cubs as their new manager. Matt Silverman succeeded Andrew Friedman as the Rays’ general manager but the ball-club has to name a successor to Maddon . Getty Images North America / Paul Hughes … …

(3) ATLANTA, UNITED STATES : Florida Marlins manage Jim Leyland (L), general manager Dave Dombrowski (C), and team owner Wayne Huizenga with the National League Championship Series (NLCS) trophy after their 7-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves 14 October in game six of the NLCS at Turner Field in Atlanta, GA. The Marlins advanced to the World Series a with the win. AFP PHOTO/Robert SULLIVAN …

(4) Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout left , winner of the 2014 ALMVP and the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and NLMVP recipient Clayton Kershaw . Both players invariably made the postseason , but their teams failed miserably . Trout and the Angels fell to Kansas City Royals 3-0 in the ALDS . Kershaw and the Dodgers fared no better, losing to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLCS where his postseason performances were miserable with the posting an ERA in excess of 7.50 . AP Photo/ Tim Martin …

(5) Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays an AL Rookie of the Year for the franchise in 2011 was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. This seems to be a customary ploy with the ball-club on annual basis , further emphasizing the organization’s lack of resources and the emphasis of year-to-year cost cutting . AP Photo / Matthew Donald … …

(6) Scott Boras a prominent MLB sports agent, seen here in front of the facade of his company Scott Boras Corporation. Boras has negotiated contracts worth in excess of $4.7 billion in the last six years . Feared around the league as one of the most fearsome and ruthless agents in all professional sports. Boras puts the characteristic trait down to the fact he works hard for his clients and to their benefit.. AP Photo / Robin Thomas …

(7) CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 05: Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees speaks to the media before the Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 5 , 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Rodriguez was forced to miss the entire 2014 season after league mandated suspension . Rodriguez will return to the Yankees’ lineup in 2015 hoping to make a solid contribution for the team. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(8) Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates who over the past two seasons has been one of the primary factors in the ascent of the Pirates and top-five finishes in each of the last two years of the NL MVP voting. McCutchen hopes to lead the ball-club to another postseason berth in 2015 and deep run in the postseason playoff schedule. as well as the winning of a second NL MVP Award with the Pirates. Getty Images/ Adrian Parker ….

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Shake it off , shake it up and down .

A few light touches makes the scenery all the more appealing don’t you think ?

Perhaps there will come a time when executives realize bigger is not always better and that spending money capriciously doesn’t always solve a problem ..

Perhaps there will come a time when executives realize bigger is not always better and that spending money capriciously doesn’t always solve a problem ..

It seems strange with all of the fallout now encompassing automotive company GM , with their executives having been repeatedly less than economical with the truth . The federal government at the behest of Barack Obama bailed out the company to the tune of some $40 billion of taxpayers’ monies with the promise the investment would be recouped with a sizable profit and much like many of the President’s so called promises , the reality has been GM has failed miserably on both counts . Bear in mind also , the automobile manufacturer has now had over 650 recalls concerning various models in their production line, tallying some 4.5 million vehicles . With Neanderthal idiots within Congress calling on the Justice Department to go after and prosecute GM’s fellow competitor Toyota , for the gross dereliction in not recalling several of their vehicles , specifically the Camry and a number of their SUV’s lines for production defect that led to the death’s 40 victims . It seems naive to think that the legislators in question have not called on the same agency to seek out and take the very same action against GM. For the domestic manufacturer the incidents which have led to the deaths of at least twenty five victims and at injuries to hundreds of others cannot be underscored but somehow this has been lost only not only the executives within GM but also the members of Congress seeking to make this issue a ” political hot potato ” , while seeking to embarrass the industry in general and GM’s main rival globally , Toyota.

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Mary Barra , the first female to lead a major US car company in automotive history in the United States, has faced members of the House and Senate Transportation Committee , having to answer what some might deem less than tough questions as to the lax approach by GM in their handling of their problems and the very fact information was withheld from the DOT and NHTSA with their own research concerning the problems which led to the fatalities and the other recalls. It will be interesting to see moving forward how GM proceeds and at the same time whether or not Congress itself will seek to remove the cap which protects domestic automotive companies the damages which can be levied against them. Hypocrisy seems to know no boundaries within Congress and among the automotive business in general and the same can be said within the world of sports and how fans try to justify their views on an issue as it relates how a franchise seeks to spend money in attaining success.

The cataclysmic fallout from this MLB postseason cannot be overlooked , as both the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers fell by the wayside, having been found wanting when facing the Kansas City Royals and St Louis Cardinals in the respective divisional series . It has to be said with both teams winning their respective divisions with a great deal of ease , it should not really have provided us with a precursor of what was about to happen but in many respects there were signs of complacency from both the Angels and Dodgers.

For team managers Mike Scioscia and Don Mattingly to witness their seasons to come to such an abrupt end, cannot sit well with either of these two individuals. At the same time , their respective team owners have to be mulling over the futures of Scioscica and Mattingly. Combined , both the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers committed themselves to almost $400 million in salary obligations in 2014 , and consider the fact the figure was similar in size for 2013 and you have both teams forking out almost $800 million in two years.

Mike Scioscia I believe is likely to be the manager , forced to fall on his own sword , because team owner Arte Moreno is known to have grown impatient with the lack of progress made by the team . The talents of Mike Trout have been wasted this season and it is baffling to think how a team with the likes of Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton , Howie Kendrick and Jered Weaver could have failed so miserably this postseason.

Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto was reluctant to relieve Sciocsia of his duties last season , but the belief was , with the team having suffered numerous injuries and the absence of Pujols throughout much of 2013, it led to the Angels’ poor play and lack of competitiveness this past year .

Far be it for me to suggest , but with the Los Angeles Angels falling 3-1 to the Kansas City Royals in a series which should have been far more competitive , the question has to be, were the Royals really that good or the Angels simply that bad ?

Where the Angels now go from here will be dependent upon the decisions likely to be made jointly by Jerry Dipoto and Arte Moreno concerning the makeup of this team , its immediate and long-term future . Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton were the two highest-paid players on the Angels’ roster in 2014 and it hard justify their salaries when the returns on that investment were so mediocre . Yet the two players were seen as the lynch pins , who would be the face of the franchise for the future , but in reality the mantel in question, now belongs to Mike Trout , the player who I believe is likely to be named this year’s AL MVP ,if there is any justice to be seen from this game and among the voters !

When Magic Johnson his partners assumed control of the then Chapter 11 reorganized Los Angels Dodgers , it was not very difficult to understand why the franchise ravaged by its then owner Frank McCourt and his now divorced wife , Jamie McCourt. The ball-club was merely a bauble to McCourt and baseball’s hierarchy where Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred ran the entity as if it were a school for wayward delinquents , still do not fully comprehend the avarice , greed and contempt shown by McCourt. Jonathan Mariner , MLB’s CEO (Chief Financial Officer) has about as much knowledge of the game’s finances and economics as a child who finds a hand grenade and considers it a toy to be played with . As to the claims there is parity in baseball , nothing could be further from the truth , as it simply boils down to the acumen shown by the general managers and how the managers are best able to get the utmost available out of the talent made available to them . If there were parity within the game, then the likes of the Houston Astros , Cleveland Indians , San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Miami Marlins would be considered contenders for the World Series title , perennial contenders or not . Neither of the aforementioned teams played any part in the posteason and it has to be said they barely showed up within their divisional races or within their respective leagues . So much for that asinine notion on parity !

Johnson promised the world he would do whatever it took to bring a World Series’ championship back to the Los Angeles area , specifically for his $2 billion franchise . Instead over the last two seasons , the Dodgers have failed miserably , each time against the St Louis Cardinals in scenarios where it mattered most . Who can forget the 2013 NCLS where the team failed to take advantage of the opportunities given and the same scenario materialized again this season in the NLDS and it would appear nothing at all had been learned by the managerial staff or the players themselves .

Having swept through their season season with a great deal of ease winning the NL West going away from their nearest rivals within the division for the Los Angeles Dodgers . Players such as Adrian Gonzalez , Matt Kemp , Carl Crawford , Andre Ethier , Zack Greinke , Josh Beckett , Clayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig were thought to be the compeititors capable of leading the team this season . They were being handsomely rewarded for their endeavors which GM Ned Colletti and team President Stan Kasten felt were due . A $242 million payroll the highest in Major League Baseball (MLB) this season far outstripped any of the other participants in the playoffs this season .

In their best of five game NLDS contest the Los Angeles Dodgers were only able to eke out a measly win in game two played at Dodgers’ Ballpark in Los Angeles , California , on the 4th October, 2014. The team’s performance in that win was about the only memorable thing during the entire series, as the Cardinals simply laid waste to the aura of the Dodgers and what they were said to stand for this season .

When the ALCS begins on the 10th October , it will be interestng to see how the Kansas City Royals start the first game against the Baltimore Orioles . At the start of the season it would have been hard to envisage that these two teams would be the ones now playing for the AL Pennant . Yet, here we are and Orioles and Royals now have everything to play for , with the loser likely head home still proud of their achievements in 2014 , but it in reality , both seek to place themselves at the pinnacle of the game and to be called World Series’ champions. It is the highest team honor which baseball has and legacies are written during the postseason for the teams in question. A three-decade sojourn in the wilderness has now brought the Kansas City Royals almost back to the top of the heap , with the only mountain left to climb is to turn back the tide of the Orioles , which is no mean feat, given the all-round play of Buck Showalter’s spirited team .

Having won the World Series twice in the past six seasons , it would be fair to suggest the San Francisco Giants will have a distinct advantage in their NLCS contest against the St Louis Cardinals . The Giants will come into the series with several players on their roster with postseason experience as well having Bruce Bochy as the manager, himself having been the winning manager for both of the franchise’s most recent successes in baseball’s showcase finale. On the other side of the equation, the Cardinals have been one of baseball’s most preeminent teams in the game’s history with only the New York Yankees having won more titles in baseball’s history. Mike Matheny has simply been able to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Tony La Russa and in doing so he has added great deal of resilience to this team .

Matheny , if he can lead his team past the Giants , then against their AL opponent in the World Series , he will join select group of managers to have won title within their first four years as a Major League manager . The series between the two teams will begin on the 11th October when St Louis play hosts to the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri on Saturday evening .

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Baseball remains a game filled with anomalies where , statistics are predicate and the game itself has become a poor substitute of what it allegedly once represented , but yet when the Fall Classic comes around , fans remained enamored with events as they unfold . Clearly , baseball remains a draw , if only because of the long-held belief , it is a game that tugs at your emotions, non-theless , even when it is mired in controversy and hypocrisy all around. The hierarchy remains aloof, the union remains combative with the owners and the league itself , without taking into consideration how the fans might actually feel about baseball. As to the ever spiraling salaries and team payrolls , leave it to the present leadership and its minions to try and convince us all , they actually know what they’re doing . Much as in the same way this administration tried to convince the the taxpayer they would recoup their investment in GM . To date , the taxpayer is actually facing a $10.5 billion loss without any signs the investment will actually turn a profit , but we can take hope that the administration and Commander In Chief will have a few more promises up their sleeves , much as in the same way Bud Selig and Rob Manfred will try and convince us the game is heading in the right direction under their leadership. Make of it what you will . Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be relevant to the topic is more than welcomed . 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 gallery .
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(1) Mary Barra , CEO of GM and the first female to hold such a position, the Chief Executive Officer’s with a North American automotive company. Barra has also faced a great deal of criticism by Congress in the company’s handling of their recalls and the deaths arising from the incidents occurring from the exercise in question . A litany of lawsuits are ongoing within the Federal Courts , but with the Congress having capped the monies which can be paid out in liability and punitive damages . It looks as if the company will be let off for their negligence , complacency and in many respects their conceit. . Getty Images / Angel Herrera …

(2) Los Angels Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto , left , is seen here with team owner Arte Moreno as they survey the team at Angeles’ Ballpark in Anaheim , Calirfornia ,. After a disastrous postseason , there is a great deal of speculation concerning the future of team manager Mike Scioscia and his staff . Getty Images / Russell Drew …

(3) From left to right , Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly , Magic Johnson, New York Yankees’ reliever , Mariano Rivera and the Los Angels Dodgers’ lead managing partner , Mark Walter . The Dodgers’ loss to the St Louis Cardinals in this season’s NLDS was very much reminiscent of their loss to the very same team in a lopsided NLCS in 2013 . It would appear that the Los Angeles Dodgers are not the team everyone believed them to be . AP Photo / Ken Thomas ….

(4) Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred , who has the unenviable task of succeeding present MLB Commissioner Bud Selig . MLB.com … (5) MLB CFO Jonathan Mariner whose task it is , to oversee the finances of Major League Baseball , which has become a multi-billion entity but yet somehow the hierarchy and the owners are unable to rein in team expenses by way of an escalating payroll and players’ salaries . UPI / Greg Howe … (6) Baltimore Orioles’ EVP and GM Dan Duquette is seen here with the team’s manager Buck Showalter . This might be the year where the Orioles fulfill the potential the general manager believes his team has in winning the World Series title. Something last achieved by the franchise in 1983 . Baltimore Sun @ all rights reserved …

(7) Mike Matheny , manager of the St Louis Cardinals and his opposite number in the upcoming NLCS Bruce Bochy of the St Francisco Giants . AP Photo / Kevin Davis ..

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tophatal ………. 2014/10/09

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No news is good news , unless it is happening in the world of sports …..

No news, is good news , unless it is happening in the world of sports ….

With the recent firing of Philadelphia Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel by the front office of that organization , led by GM Reuben Amaro . It should now come as no surprise that the team is likely to be in a rebuilding mode . Lackluster performances throughout much of the season and a number of injuries did not quite render this year as meaningless . Yet the question has to be asked , how damn naïve was Amaro to begin with , in thinking that he could enter the season with a roster of overpaid stars and barely anyone performing at their best ? A team payroll exceeding $165 million and projected payroll for 2014 in the region of $114 million , the ball-club will have a little more wiggle room than anticipated .

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One of the more asinine assumptions I have read concerning the franchise , has been the fact that with their television contract due to expire in 2015 , with Comcast , the ball-club is likely to seek a more valuable deal , accordingly, something similar to the two-decade almost $8 billion deal that the Los Angeles Dodgers now has with Time Warner Cable Inc . Now the last time I looked, the city of Philadelphia may well have been in one of the nation’s largest ad-markets, but there is no way in hell that the franchise will be able to negotiate a deal with Comcast that is likely to net the Phillies remotely anywhere the financial reward they hope to gain .

The person offering his opinion on this all, has no idea as to the integral business template of a concern such as Comcast, who are still having to deal with the difficulties of their loss-making concerning NBC-Universal , the broadcast and film studios outlet bought from industrial giant GE . Consider the fact, that NBC is hemorrhaging red ink by the thankful, in terms of its bottom line . Only an idiot, would now believe that Comcast would be willing to shell out as much as $400 million annually over the next two decades to a ball-club, who this season has shown the competitive zeal of a baby seal , on the cusp of being clubbed to death .

With Ryne Sandberg’s installation as the interim-manager until the end of the season , it remains to be seen whether or not his audition will prove to be successful enough whereby he is offered the position on a full-time basis, and that of multi-year contract. From my own perspective , I do believe that team owner David Montgomery should have also sought the termination of Reuben Amaro’s contract as the team’s general manager . Those who witnessed the press conference announcing Charlie Manuel’s firing , while the former manager was seated alongside the general manager , obviously were able to see the dis-ingenuity of the executive, as he in part blamed the manager also on several issues , none of which , had to do with the fact that the team’s record of 64-77 , that had them languishing third , in the NL East and barely baseball that would prove to be entertaining enough for their fans to eagerly enjoy .

With two weeks to go before the regular season reaches its culmination, the Philadelphia Phillies still lie third within the division and their being of late some resilience being shown , having gone 6-4 in their last ten games. It would be safe to say that this off-season is likely to be a tumultuous one for the organization . The biggest off-season decision, possibly for the Phillies, is whether or to bring back to being back starting pitcher Roy Halladay and of closer Jonathan Papelbon . Both have said successful careers in their chosen roles, but if the truth be known, 2013 has provided us all with an insight into what can indeed go wrong when you have an overpaid star underachieve. While not the most expensive stars on the roster , they are the ones deemed superfluous to the team’s needs.

The Phillies’ issues beyond injuries and the inconsistent play, has been the fact, that there is said to be no vocal leader, with the likes seasoned veterans Jimmy Rollins , Cliff Lee and Chase Utley and Michael Young simply going about , business as usual . Whatever sense of urgency there was said to be, certainly wasn’t being shown under Charlie Manuel and in reality , although this recent ten-game stretch has shown that when this team is ready to play, they can do so. I do believe that it is all too little and far too late . The Philadelphia Phillies are now playing for their self-respect and pride , if nothing else . Sunday afternoon, will see the team face the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark , in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC . Monday, the Phillies will then host their fellow divisional rivals the Miami Marlins in a three-game series , of teams said to be heading in the wrong direction .

For the Philadelphia Phillies and the likelihood of their cash windfall in 2015 , let us get one thing clear , fans are not likely to tune in to see a ball club whose product in 2013 was horrendous , and in 2014 , there is no likelihood or guarantee that Reuben Amaro is likely to show the insight needed to get have the best possible product on the field of play . Amaro has gambled, failed miserably in 2012 and 2013, so should the fans actually expect any different in 2014 , even with stars such as Ryan Howard , Cole Hamels , Cliff Lee and perhaps a number of prospects from the team’s farm system on board ? The Nationals and Atlanta Braves are likely to get considerably better and so too might the New York Mets , if their front office can actually find a way of not aiming the gun at their own damn feet and aiming it instead at their chosen target

The hype certainly was not worth it, , as once again the sport of boxing perpetrated another massive fraud on the public . On Saturday night, pound-for-pound king , welterweight champion Floyd ‘Money ‘ Weather ‘ defended his titles against Mexican fighter Saul ‘Canilo’ Alvarez . The unbeaten challenger, it was said, would give the champion the toughest test, he was yet to have faced in his unbeaten career . Pardon me for saying this, , but since when was it feasible to produce this hyperbole over a challenger whose record is as soft as a newborn baby’s ass ? Much of the blame for this charade, lays with Alvarez’s promoters, Golden Boy Promotions and its proprietor Oscar de La Hoya . The fight’s main card and under-cards were jointly promoted by Golden Boy Promotion and Mayweather Promotions and Entertainment Inc , a company wholly owned by the fighter , that oversees his professional and business interests. Mayweather’s business partner and legal counsel Leonard Ellerbee runs the business side, with the fighter simply making sure that the revenues are simply deposited into his now sizable and growing bank account. This title fight was the second of a six-fight deal with cable outlet provider Showtime Inc (parent company Viacom) , that will net Floyd Mayweather in excess of $200 million over the next eighteen months .

The only fireworks produced in this bout was the explosiveness and rapid succession in which Mayweather was allowed to land his blows, with his challenger simply being able to land a punch of any consequence . If Saul Canilo Alvarez is said to represent what was said to be a new breed and wave of tough up and coming Mexican boxers , then I am sorry, but Alvarez should now be hanging his head in shame, because the tradition of the great Mexican fighters of years past of which this young man wishes to join , will not be happening anytime soon. For twelve rounds the challenger offered nothing of substance, as the champion came away with a majority verdict , something of a farce given the lopsidedness of the victory , that now pushes his record to 45-0 (26 KO’s) . In suffering his first loss , Alvarez will have to revisit the drawing board and assess where he went wrong in this bout. From my own perspective , he simply was not ready for a fight of this magnitude in spite of record which to my mind is nothing more than a damn paperweight ! There are octogenarians and double amputees, who have shown more life than Saul Alvarez was able to exhibit on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Casino Arena & Resort Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada. Sooner or later the Nevada State Athletic Commission will have to start vetting a great many more of these title fights, taking place within the state’s line , particular those involving Floyd Mayweather . They either need to make sure that the title holder is not fighting a cadaver and that the opponent is in fact licensed to fight not only within the state, but nationwide .

As to who Mayweather’s next big money opponent might be , after his clinical and surgical dismantling of his challenger on Saturday night . Well, let us just say, that for twelve rounds of work, the champion will take a home $41 million guaranteed before the anticipated ancillary figures are known , which could very well add a further $45 million to $55 million to his take home pay for this one bout . Premium ringside seats went for high as $25,000 , but that included one’s accommodation and a limousine for the duration of the attendee’s stay in Las Vegas . The PPV (pay per view) figures are expected to top 2.4 million buys, making it the largest in the sport’s history and then weigh in the fact, that to subscribe for the event itself, the consumer was being asked to fork over $59-95 , an extortionate fee . One can now understand why this sport is now not signaling its own death knell, but the very fact that Mayweather’s only regard beyond what he alleges will be his legacy , is simply to ” break the bank ” with each purse he now earns in terms of his fights . He has already surpassed the lifetime earnings of both Mike Tyson and Oscar de La Hoya , two of the biggest names in the sport of boxing over the last two decades and he could be well on the way to becoming the first boxer to earn in excess of half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) solely from ring earnings ( estimated career earnings $392 million ) .

Well so much for that high-powered offense exhibited last week by the Philadelphia Eagles in their victory over the Washington Redskins . The team’s week two schedule , a game against the Mike McCoy coached San Diego Chargers has quickly brought Chip Kelly and his players back to earth with a crashing thud . Fans and analysts alike seemed to be overly excited with what many inane idiots were trying to suggest , that this was a new era in the NFL . How quickly they seem to forget and perhaps never seem to learn . For that type of efficiency and consistency , you have a team that is said to be on the same page as the coaching staff . Sunday afternoon and the Philadelphia Eagles may well have proved to us all that reading is fundamental , because everything about Philadelphia in this game suggested that not many of the team learned the playbook . Playing against a Chargers’ team led by quarterback Philip Rivers , the Eagles were made to pay for their errors as they were upstaged at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania .

And as exciting as Chip Kelly’s play-calling may well be, someone should remind the former Oregon coach, that this is not the Pac-12 , where just about no one plays any defense . He is now playing in amongst the big boys of the NFL , where a game strategy is made up offense as well as defense . The Eagles’ veteran quarterback , Michael Vick had a career high day in his team’s defeat, but the Eagles’ defense , it appears may well remained in the locker room , because for a large part of this game they were simply nowhere to be seen .

For the moment the Philadelphia Eagles remain tied atop of the NFC East at 1-1 , but that is likely to end after week two’s results are indeed a matter of record .

For those, who might still have doubts as to how good Aaron Rodgers might just be . Consider the following, the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback through three-quarters of work in Sunday’s game threw for an astonishing 374 yards , but fell a mere twenty yards of having a 500 yards’ career passing day . The opposition in this case just happened to be the hapless Washington Redskins , who have now fallen to 0-2 , albeit that Robert Griffin III , their sophomore quarterback continues to show growth as a player and as a quarterback in the NFL . Unfortunately, for Mike Shanahan , it has been the defense that has let this team down. And the likelihood is , this continues to be the norm , then defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive lines’ coach Jacob Burney , will be abruptly shown the door.

This game may well have cemented the Packers as one of the teams to indeed watch within the NFC alongside both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks . I am sorry folks , but it is still far too early to be talking about the Dallas Cowboys as a viable contender in spite of the force-fed diatribe of Skip Bayless , Merril Hoge , Ron Jaworski and the team’s owner Jerry Jones .

Speaking of the Seahawks and 49ers , well those two teams put on a stellar display in an NFC match-up that could prove to be a precursor and dress rehearsal for the NFC championship game . If ever there was a time for San Francisco’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick to prove that last season was no fluke , then Sunday’s display by the quarterback may well have a been a real cause for concern for the player’s fans and an even greater argument for his detractors . Pete Carroll’s …. defense simply harried the Kaepernick into making errant plays , while their offense led by opposing quarterback Russell Wilson , simply shredded and picked apart the Niners’ much vaunted defense , in coming away with a clinical and lopsided 29-3 victory . Can the Seahawks now be considered the most balanced and perhaps the best team in the NFL at present ? I will let you be the judge of that , but most certainly, do offer up your own thoughts on that .

The “Manning Bowl “ this past Sunday , provided us with a chance to see a sibling rivalry, in which the elder of the two siblings , Peyton Manning has the upper hand over his younger brother Eli Manning . In Sunday’s third meeting between these two seasoned and celebrated quarterbacks to display their skills before a national audience of millions besides the over 63,000 in attendance at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Aerial display and a rushing offense, provided the fans with over 780 all-purpose offensive yards . Defense seemed to be at a minimum as the Broncos came away with their second victory of the season with a 41-23 victory to put the Broncos atop of the AFC West and Peyton Manning with a 3-0 lead in regular season games over his younger brother . As to Archie and Olivia Manning , they must have been pleased with the performances of their two sons. Whether or not, there was said to be any favoritism being shown by the parents to one son over the other, that is a question, that can be asked of the individuals themselves .

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As exciting as this sport’s weekend was said to be , there were still a great many stories that I could have touched on, but with a limited amount of time and a patronage that quite possibly would not be interested in things such as NASCAR and EPL (English Premiership) soccer , I will simply leave it to the topics covered . So by all means, do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated!

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(1) Phillies’ starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd seen here delivering a pitch during the first inning of a game played against the Washington Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC . The Nationals would go on to defeat the Phillies in a lopsided game 11-2 , with pitcher Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals 1 gaining his eighteenth victory of the season . AP Photo / Susan Walsh …..

(2) The Nationals’ Bryce Harper steals second, as he makes his way to third base during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC. Washington would go on to win the game 11-2 . AP Photo / Susan Walsh …

(3) Deposed manager Charlie Manuel, right, is seen here alongside GM Reuben Amaro Jr . Manuel the Philadelphia Phillies’ most successful manager, was fired earlier this month and replaced by Ryne Sandberg as the ball-club’s interim manager until the end of the season . Since his installment, Sandberg has not really fared that much better than his predecessor, having post a 16-13 record . Getty Images / Nick Walters ….

(4) Saul Alvarez, right , of Mexico is here in his WBC welterweight title fight against title holder Floyd Mayweather . The champion would win in dominating fashion with a unanimous verdict and pushing his unbeaten record to 45-0 . A forty-one million dollar payday was the reward for the champion, with the likelihood that his purse could be as high as $ 80 million after budgetary costs are taken into account for the staging of the title bout at the MGM Grand Casino Resort Hotel & Casino Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada . Getty Images North America / Rick Parsons ….

(5) (L-R) Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws a right at Canelo Alvarez during their WBC / WBA 154-pound title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather successfully defended his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine titles with a unanimous verdict over his challenger . Getty Images / Ethan Miller ……

(6) Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) hits Canelo Alvarez in the seventh round of their WBC/WBA 154-pound title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by a majority decision. Getty Images / Ethan Miller …..

(7) Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles attempts a pass to James Casey during the game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . The Eagles’ defense were woefully inept as they allowed Philip Rivers and the Chargers back into this contest , as the home team dropped to their first defeat of the season . AP Photo / Matt Rourke …..

(8) Eddie Royal of the Chargers makes it into the end-zone as he evades Nate Allen of the Eagles . AP Photo Matt Rourke ….

(9) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers attempts a pass during the game against the Washington Redskins played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin . Green Bay would defeat their NFC rivals 38-20 to improve their record 1-1 within the NFC North and dropping the win-less Redskins to 0-2 within the NFC East and at the bottom of the division. AP Photo Mike Roemer ….

(10) Peyton Manning (18) congratulates his younger brother Eli Manning after the game between their two the teams met in a scheduled regular season game ____ the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants , on Sunday afternoon . This was the third regular season meeting between the pair of siblings , with the elder Manning having won all three contests . The Broncos defeated the Giants 41-23 to improve their record to 2-0 in the AFC West , while the Giants sit at 0-2 within the NFC East . AP Photo / Frank Franklin II …

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tophatal …… 09/15/2013

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Think big , spend big and then end up broke ….

Think big , spend big and then end up broke ….

With the upcoming NBA Draft but a few days away and the NBA postseason soon to come to an end . It will be worthwhile assessing how some of these young college players will go about acclimatizing themselves to the role of a professional athlete in the NBA. Repeatedly, we are told that the life of an athlete is not necessarily a glamorous one , yet the NBA does seek to glamorize the lifestyle of its athletes and the game’s highest profiled star , LeBron James , who right now is a participant in this season’s NBA Finals , with the Miami Heat facing off against their Western Conference opponents the San Antonio Spurs .

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In his ten years in the NBA , LeBron James has been simply been more than a prodigious talent . He has in fact become the face of the NBA , a marketing phenom , and a face that corporate America now loves and simply cannot enough of . Other than , Kobe Bryant , Tiger Woods , Dale Earnhardt Jr , Peyton Manning and Tom Brady , there might not be a more marketable athlete in the North American market place . For the whining Tim Tebow apologists out there who believe the player to be a bankable and marketable asset? Simply try to assess the so-called high-profiled endorsement deals that he is said to have signed. Not one is with a Fortune 500 Company , and I grant you , because he may well have the highest selling jersey in the NFL , it simply does not equate to millions of dollars for the player , by way of annual residuals or for that matter , major revenue for the NFL franchise that he might actually be assigned .

In this day and age when we have a government that is so damn clueless on the economic woes of the country and wherein the electorate remains apathetic. It should come as no surprise that although financial frugality is preached by the federal government , they simply cannot and choose not to live within their own means . Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the recently appointed Treasury Secretary Jacob ‘Jack’ Lew can point to few positives within the economy as a whole . Likewise within the NBA hierarchy and the outsized ego of David Stern and his notion of a financially stable NBA , and its brand now reaching beyond the borders of North America .

The NBA commissioner still cannot stem the tide of stupidity being shown by the team owners , general managers or the players themselves . A four a half billion dollar a year industry is essentially now on the verge of overheating . Financial restraint is not something that the league can point to and with many of the games` players now earning well into seven figures with multi-year multimillion dollar contracts . I believe that we should be asking, what are the league and union now prepared to do , in order to stem the tide financial capriciousness on the part of the teams and their players ?

At the end of the daft process the rookie players and their agents will meet the general managers and team owners to essentially hammer out the details of their rookie contracts . The top pick in the NBA Draft will be guaranteed a three-year $`12 million contract , with a sliding scale being used to determine the subsequent contracts through the remaining rounds of the draft . Though the general managers and the teams’ legal counsel, can choose to add in certain incentives to such deals. Many of these young rookies are under the impression , are that once, they-put-pen to paper , having signed that deal , they are now set for life , and the subsequent years , in terms of any additional contracts that they may well sign . How this will all fits into their lifestyles can be seen by how they choose to spend their new-found wealth . You can choose to maintain one place of residence and drive one $400,000 sport’s car at a time . Yet somehow , that seems to be lost on a number of these young stars . And if you were of the opinion that the NBA is the only place where such trappings of wealth and opulence may well take place , then you would be sadly mistake , as the NFL and Major League Baseball (MLB) seemingly has players of their own who are of the very same mindset .

In a recent episode expose` documentary , as part of ESPN’s acclaimed series 30/30 , a segue was done on NFL players who have found themselves bankrupt and simply penniless , albeit that a number of them had several very successful years playing in the league . With the average life of an NFL player being no more than 6.8 years , their greatest earning period or span comes between the fifth to eighth years , dependent upon the position played . And clearly in the NFL where quarterbacks come at a premium , they are by far in a way the highest paid in the league on an annual basis and by way of the determining length of a contract.

In recent weeks and months we have seen reigning Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco parlay his spectacular postseason displays into an extraordinarily rewarding contract , that comes courtesy of Baltimore Ravens ` GM Ozzie Newsome and team owner , Steve Bisciotti . Flacco , himself , believes he can be even better this upcoming season , as the Ravens seek to make a successful defense of their Superbowl title . As to how the player will now seek to spend and invest is new-found wealth remains to be seen . Yet , I can only hope that the misfortunes that befell Bernie Kosar , do not become a part of Flacco`s personal and professional life .

From a stellar career in the NFL , upon retirement , Kosar went through a financial and personal maelstrom where his personal fortune , a reputed $ 50 million, simply went up in smoke , through bad business investments , a major divorce settlement , members of the family simply stealing from the player . Most of all , Kosar was simply negligent and all too trusting of a father , who acted as his agent , and was someone , who simply had no legal or financial experience to handle the player`s business affairs . Bernie Kosar today , is a broken man , both financially and from a health standpoint , as he now suffers from arthritic pains in both hands as well as his hips . Furthermore , the former Cleveland Browns ` .. quarterback spoke of the fact, that he also suffers from neurological issues , which he believes came from the multiple concussions suffered throughout much of his professional playing career.

Bernie Kosar joins a long list of professional athletes who down the years have simply been all too foolish with their earnings . It would appear that any business venture offered up as an investment that came their way . Many of these players would simply turn over countless thousands of dollars to their alleged business partners . Many of those schemes in some cases, would turn out to be a Ponzi Scheme or a multi-layered sales` gimmick , where the money was simply being siphoned off to an offshore bank account. Amongst the other NFL players, willing to speak on camera about their own experiences as part of this documentary program , were Andre Rison and Keith McCants . McCants` own story was very troubling , given his career and then his sinking into being a prolific drug user, petty criminal, who would also become homeless and panhandling on the streets of Atlanta , to aid in his chronic drug use . Now five years free, from narcotics and alcohol , Keith McCants spends much of his time speaking to and lecturing young children about the dangers of drugs , alcohol and their dangers as an athlete . McCants would also suggest that the NFL simply as not provided incoming rookies with enough education or information , in warning them of the dangers of suddenly coming into a great deal of money and the sharks who seek to make them their prey . Those signing bonuses as part of a player`s contract, are in fact the only thing that is guaranteed in a compensation package that an NFL player receives .

For Andre Rison , noting was ever too big , as a way of showing off is opulent lifestyle . As mercurial a talent as the wide receiver was said to . It was also his off the field activities and lifestyle that often brought the player to the fans and public`s attention alike . From wanting to be a musical impresario , Rison was known to have once backed a budding rap artist paying some $500,000 merely as an advance for the recording of that artist`s rap album . An album, which would go to sell less than 30,000 units nationally , and would end up being less than a shrewd investment for the player , who would also spend a further $1.5 million to build a state of the art recording studio in his home , in the hopes of budding a budding music star , having also bought a recording facility and created his own record label in downtown Atlanta . Sports` cars , $2,000-00 bottles of champagne merely to celebrate an Atlanta Falcons` win was nothing out of the ordinary for the 1989 NFL first round draft pick for the Indianapolis Colts , as a wide receiver .

Perhaps the most infamous incident we can all remember as it relates to the troubled wide receiver, was the now infamous event of is then companion , musician , Lisa Left-Eye` Lopez , who set fire to the 11,000 square foot , $5 million mansion that the couple shared in suburban Atlanta , Georgia . After the incident , Lopez would state ____ “ I just wanted it to burn and for it to hurt him “ . Andre Rison for his part , was remorseful over the incident , as he believed that he could have handled the situation a great deal better , rather than it turning initially into a physically violent altercation from the outset , before Lisa Lopez`s own actions . Rison does have regrets concerning many episodes concerning is colorful and all too dramatic life. Many of which he acknowledged , that if he had it all to do all over again , he would have been less exuberant and more trusting of those offering more trusting advice . Numerous legal issues in the ensuing years , forfeiture and seizure of property as well as owing state and federal authorities monies in back taxes , and a number of paternity suits have all but left the player bankrupt and penniless .

The NFL does now offer rookie symposiums for their players to attend , which are now mandatory for all rookie entrants to into the league . Those meeting constitute visits and lectures by certified financial planners , accountants , well-respected lawyers and agents . Yet somehow it does seem almost inconceivable that if the statistics are to be believed , as many as 63% of all players within five years of their retirement do undergo financial hardship , with many having to file for personal or corporate bankruptcy . All this ,while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to speak in volumes as to the growing revenues of the NFL , without ever once addressing the financial hardships that befall many current and former players .

Courtesy of ESPN

Broke and going nowhere

According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress. Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Keith McCants, Bernie Kosar and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature can carry them to victory on the field and ruin off it.

Director Billy Corben (The U, Cocaine Cowboys, Limelight) paints a complex picture of the many forces that drain athletes’ bank accounts, placing some of the blame on the culture at large while still holding these giants accountable for their own hubris. A story of the dark side of success, “Broke,” is an allegory for the financial woes haunting economies and individuals all over the world.

Director’s Take :

In June 2009, we interviewed quarterback Bernie Kosar for the ESPN 30 for 30, The U. Anyone who knows Bernie will tell you, he’s as kind and generous a guy you could ever meet. In fact, he was extremely generous with his time that morning; he talked with us for several hours and, afterwards, took pictures and signed autographs for the crew.

A few weeks later, Dan LeBatard broke the news: Following a series of bad investments and a costly divorce, Kosar had filed for bankruptcy. It was a shock. Beyond football, Kosar was renowned for his business savvy and known to have been even more financially successful after his decade-long NFL career than during it.

Personally, it broke my heart. Other than appearing tired at times, there was little or no indication during the hours Bernie spent with us that he was in the midst of this ordeal.

In the early part of the millennium, you’d occasionally hear about a high-profile athlete suffering financial difficulties, but Pablo Torre’s article, ‘How (and Why) Athletes Go Broke,’ in the March 2009 Sports Illustrated, cast a spotlight on what seemed to be an emerging epidemic in the wake of the 2008 economic meltdown.

These days, it seems there’s a new story every week and we felt these stories were worth exploring. Not everyone was so enthusiastic about it, though.

They say the most uncouth subjects for dinner conversation are politics and religion. I gotta add money to that list. Athletes, a famously proud group, were not particularly anxious to discuss the state of their finances, so getting interviews for this project, not surprisingly, proved to be a challenge. I really admire the people who agreed to speak with us because they sincerely felt like they have something to offer the next generation and hope that others will learn from their experience.

The way “Broke” is structured, it’s not about people, per se, but the problem, told by the people who experience(d) it. It’s essentially a step-by-step guide, How To Lose Millions of Dollars Without Breaking a Sweat.

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In the NBA , the figure is just startling concerning the financial hardship faced by a numbers players there in the immediacy of their retirements . Latrell Sprewell and Antoine Walker are two players , whose stories of financial hardship have been well chronicled , with both having to file bankruptcy , owing their creditors a combined $35 million , with assets of less than $2 million . It is that sort of insanity that tends to be overlooked , as we continue to heap praise upon many of these athletes , in many respects for no good purpose , other tan to laud their athletic feats . With 76% of their players seeking some sort of aid after retirement and considering that in the NBA , salaries are entirely guaranteed . It begs the question , what is it and why is that these players become so enamored with spending so capriciously without ever really thinking about their long-term future and post-game life ? Granted , the likes of Michael Jordan , Dave Bing and Magic Johnson have each become extremely successful entrepreneurs in their own right . Yet it speaks only to a very small percentage overall of the players who can successfully point to the fact , that they have been able to leave the game in a better financial and physical shape than when they first entered the NBA .

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Again , with the NBA also following in the same footsteps of the NFL in terms of also having their own rookie symposiums . One has to ask , are the leagues in question as well as that of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the NHL doing enough to avoid a major catastrophe , as it relates to the financial well-being of their players ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter at hand ? Chime in with a comment, as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Miami Heat small forward LeBron James smiles as he speaks during a news conference before NBA basketball practice, Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat host the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday . James as been at te forefront of te game ever since is entry into the NBA as the number one overall draft pick in the 2003 NBA Draft . In that time he has become the game`s best player as being deemed it`s most marketable star and ambassador , along the way amassing a fortune now an estimated at 130 million . AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee ….

(2) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (L), speaks while Treasury Secretary Jack Lew listens during an open session of the Financial Stability Oversight Council at the Treasury Department, April 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. The session was held to discuss the financial markets and emerging threats to financial stability and make relevant recommendations. Getty Images North America/Mark Wilson ….

(3) Superbowl MVP Joe Flacco is seen here with teammate Ray Lewis after the Baltimore Ravens` victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Superbowl (SB XVII) . Flacco in the aftermath of the team`s victory was able to parlay his postseason performances into a multi-year , multi-million dollar contract that makes the quarterback amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Sports Illustrated / Curtis Matthews ….

(4) Former NBA star Antoine Walker , whose storied career saw him win a college national championship as well as an NBA title , but also having earned in excess of $100 million in career earnings , the player filed for personal bankruptcy after some bad business investments and gambling habit that simply overtook his personal and professional life . Walker is now back in the league but playing in the NBA`s Development League , were his impact has been minimal . Antoine Walker still believes that he can still contribute to a legitimate title contender in the NBA at this juncture of his career . AP Photos REUTERS /Keith Marshall …

(5) Former NFL quarterback Bernie Kosar is seen here with neurosurgeon Dr Richard Sponaugle , as the player makes the public announcement that he is now suffering from a neurological disorder (CTE) that now affects his speech as well as his ambulatory movement . Kosar , one time successful entrepreneur now lives a life of simplicity , relying primarily on his NFL retirement benefits to aid him . Having seen large part of his personal fortune simply disappear through a number of fraudulent deals overseen by his father , and a divorce settlement the player did not challenge . It is extremely difficult to have any compassion or feel any empathy for an individual who simply was far too trusting , naive and who simply chose to ignore the warning signs in his presence at each juncture of his life . Hamilton News Media Outlet ……..

(6) Former NFL wide receiver Andre Rison is seen here with former companion , Lisa Left Eye` Lopez , a co-founder of te seminal best-selling female rap group TLC . The two individuals had a very tempestuous and volatile relationship that was often violent and spontaneous . Rison , no stranger to controversy, has become the public and private face of a gifted athlete who lived an excessive lifestyle and who somehow was able to throw away many of the opportunities tat came his way . Now with little left to his name the former player spends much of his time lecturing young individuals on the dangers that comes along in being an NFL player and not being financially responsible . Getty Images North America / Paul Engle ………

(7) Keith McCants , six-year NFL linebacker professional whose career was essentially cut short by injuries . McCants is seen here talking about his career on te ESPN magazine program 30/30 (Broke) and the fact he is now broke . The player became a chronic drug user addicted pain prescription medication . Unable to meet his demand for many of the narcotics he became addicted to , McCants would resort to and commit acts of petty crime , such as theft , and check cashing fraud to meet his addiction demand . Now drug and alcohol free, Keith McCants has been critical of the NFL and their unwillingness to provide retired veterans with aid for such addictions as well as the fact that at the time of his being drafted there was not a program in place to assist the players in learning financial responsibility , providing them with the proper assistance in terms of agents (now certified) by the NFL , and lawyers (offering legal advice on a wide variety of issues) . The latter scenario was put into place by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue in conjunction with the NFLPA and their , then , Executive Director Gene Upshaw . Courtesy of ESPN @ copyrighted material all rights reserved ……………..

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tophatal ……… 06/19/2013

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Hot chic pic of the day SI (Sports Illustrated) model Jessica White

Money ? We make it , we spend it , so what’s your beef ?

Money ? We make it , we spend it , so what’s your beef ?

By Tophatal

Well , with teams , now beginning to report for Spring Training and their schedules , it seems that baseball, and specifically the team owners and general managers will start as they mean to go on. With team payrolls being pared down in a number of cases , others have chosen to set themselves apart by seemingly agreeing to some of the most outrageous and ridiculous demands of the players and their agents. Nowhere, has this been highlighted more, than with the recent news of the signing of Felix Hernandez to a seven-year $175 million contract by the Seattle Mariners , that will make the Mariners’ starting pitcher , one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball , as well of the highest paid players in the game.

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The Seattle Mariners remain an enigma and a conundrum all rolled up into one , as they have been an omnipresent franchise , that seemingly wants to compete , but then shows no wish to do so , for one reason or another .

Mariners’ EVP & General ManagerJack Zduriencik , may well have felt that the franchise could not afford to have Hernandez test the free agent market , given the pitcher’s productivity over the past four years, but specifically, as he was one of the most productive starting pitchers in 2012 . What might be even more exacerbating, is the very fact with all of the resources at the Mariners’ disposal, it is now that they seek to offer Hernandez , such an exorbitant contract , while the team itself remains uncompetitive and ineffective .

While I believe Felix Hernandez to be one of the top line starting pitchers within the game today , I do believe that with the escalating salaries , the game is now at a point where the failure of the league hierarchy , and the failure of the team owners and general managers to rein in their costs, will bring about a financial catastrophe, that it will simply will never recover from. Bud Selig and his union counterpart , Michael Weiner of the MLBPA continue to dance their merry dance around this particular topic without achieving or suggesting how there can be a level playing field and economic competitiveness amongst the teams. The Mariners as a franchise , barely broke even , having earned profits of $2.2 million on revenues of $225 million. And for the franchise’s managing partner, Howard Lincoln and the front office executives who preside over this franchise , have done so ineffectually without having achieved anything of not over the past decade. All of the goodwill that could have been sustained within the community has been eschewed for incompetence and excuses from the executives, right down to the coaching staff of manager , Eric Wedge . Wedge’s managerial career is not overly impressive but , he seems to fit the model sought by Jack Zduriencik, and the Mariners ambitions to be viewed as a success. Somehow , I find it fitting that a franchise as unambitious as the Mariners should now find themselves in such a predicament !

The pitching staff , led by Hernandez , Hisashi Iwakuma , Blake Bevan , Erasmo Ramirez, Hector Noesi and a bullpen made up of relievers , Stephen Pryor ,Charlie Furbush, Oliver Perez , Lucas Luetge , Carter Capps , Josh Kinney and closer , Tom Wilhelmsen . Pitching was not a real forte of the Mariners in 2012, albeit , that Hernandez was the lone standout from a rather mediocre staff .

And while Eric Wedge could attest to the fact that he had a young team, to work with 2012 , what could not be hidden , was the mere fact that his players performed poorly, while never being contention within the AL West at any point of the season. From an offensive standpoint, with a team ERA of .234 , the Seattle Mariners , were at the bottom end of the baseball’s thirty teams . Behind , Dustin Ackley, John Jaso, Kyle Seager , Casper Wells , Jesus Montero and Michael Saunders , this team simply struggled throughout much of the season. It should come as no surprise, in light of this all ,Safeco Field , in Seattle , Washington , saw an average attendance of just over 21,000 per home game ,which was amongst the lowest in all of Major League Baseball (MLB) , in 2012.

As to what this season may well hold for the Seattle Mariners , could very well be determined by team’s showing , when they open their regular season schedule , which begins , with a four game series against the Oakland Athletics at the O Coliseum , in Oakland California , on the 1st April, 2013. In the franchise’s recent history , postseason appearances have been few and far between , with the Mariner’s last such appearance coming in the 2001 postseason , with Seattle reaching the ALCS , where they would fall in five games to the New York Yankees . It is highly debatable that the team can mount a formidable enough challenge within the AL West , given the strength of the Oakland A’s , Los Angeles Angels , Texas Rangers , and that is with due respect to the division’s newest member , which will be the Houston Astros .

In terms of the team’s off-season transactions , the franchise did nothing major , but history tells us they have prudent in a number of their trades while not seeking to overpay for the talent in question. Financially prudent , or simply a franchise being far too cheap , while making themselves available as a recipient of the league’s luxury tax sharing revenue scheme ? All of this while the Mariners are still in part , owned by the Japanese games’ manufacturer Nintendo . Beyond that , is there anything else that needs to be said ?

It seems somewhat ironic former Boston Red Sox pitcher, Curt Schilling would now come forward suggesting , that the team’s medical staff was encouraged by management , for he and other teammates to use illicit substances, specifically to aid him , in his recovery from injuries suffered while a player for the franchise . These claims, date back to 2008 , when Schilling was a starting pitcher , on the roster of the ball-club. Now, what might see somewhat exacerbating is the very fact that this is the first time we have heard these claims from the former pitcher and baseball television pundit , because earlier statements forthcoming from Schilling , would suggest that he has never witnessed or heard a player use any illicit substance , be it PED’s or any other prohibited substances that have been banned by baseball.

Courtesy of The Boston Globe

Curt Schilling says Sox medical staffer suggested he use HGH in 2008

By Peter Abraham , Boston Globe
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was standing in the clubhouse at Fenway Park early in the 2008 season when a member of the team’s medical staff suggested he try human growth hormone to help overcome a shoulder injury.

“There were a few people around and I was shocked,” Schilling said Thursday. “After this person left, I turned to a teammate and said, ‘Can you believe that?’ It came out of nowhere.”

Schilling reported the incident to Theo Epstein, then the team’s general manager. Epstein was required to inform Major League Baseball, and an investigation subsequently took place.

“Our office was notified,” said MLB vice president Pat Courtney. “We take any report like this seriously and there was an investigation.”

Courtney would not say what the results of that inquiry were because it was a personnel matter between a team and its employee.

Schilling said the person no longer works for the Red Sox, something that two baseball sources confirmed. The team has made a number of changes in its medical staff in recent years, but none apparently was a direct result of the 2008 investigation.

Schilling said “two or three” investigators from MLB came to Boston to speak to him.

“I don’t remember who they were,” said Schilling. “I was trying to downplay the whole thing because I wasn’t playing at the time and I didn’t want to cause any problems in the clubhouse.

“Had I known Theo was going to report it to MLB, I would have never said anything. I was kind of mad that he had to do that.”

Schilling did not identify the person who suggested HGH to him, telling the Globe only that it was not former medical director Thomas Gill, former head athletic trainer Paul Lessard, or former strength and conditioning coach Dave Page.

Schilling responded to a Twitter user who asked why he wouldn’t expose somebody who suggested he use a substance that is banned by Major League Baseball.

“Because outing the person would not do anything for anyone,” Schilling wrote. “It wasn’t anyone in uniform, nor the baseball ops group.”

Schilling said he was taken aback by the suggestion, and that it was not made in a joking manner.

“It was right out in the open, it was sort of a conversation between 1½ people,” he said. “There were people listening. It was the last thing I expected.”

Schilling initially spoke about the incident Thursday morning during an appearance on ESPN Radio. Shortly thereafter, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said he was surprised by the news.

“Certainly this is something to look into, but it came from out of left field, to use a baseball cliché,” Lucchino told reporters at a Jimmy Fund event in Boston.

Later in the day, Lucchino said he did recall the incident and that the investigation by MLB was conducted “in a timely manner.”

Schilling signed a one-year, $8 million contract before the 2008 season and passed a physical. But he never pitched because of a torn rotator cuff and a biceps injury.

There was a dispute at the time about what course of action to take with Schilling. Gill advised a course of rest and rehabilitation. Dr. Craig Morgan, who had twice operated on Schilling’s shoulder, suggested another surgery.

A third-party, Mets team physician David Altchek, agreed with Gill. Because Schilling was 41, the thought was that surgery would mean the end of his career.

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At this point I truly believe that Curt Schilling has a great credibility and integrity problem, with these latest claims. Five years after, he has retired , it is now, that he feels it appropriate to make these claims without providing any proof whatsoever to substantiate his statements . But herein, lies the conundrum for Schilling , he has been subject as to his own integrity , and the very fact that he and his former business partners in a games’ manufacturing venture filed for bankruptcy (debts incurred $165 million with assets of $15.6 million) , after his company 38 Studios Inc , which was clearly mismanaged by the partners , having received in excess of $100 million taxpayers’ monies from the state of Rhode Island , with their being little oversight coming from the state’s Department of the Treasury and Finance . Schilling has suggested that his creditors were overzealous in their actions seeking repayment , without ever wishing to work with his company’s executives in coming to an amicable solution in resolving the business’ financial woes . Financial mismanagement , and incompetence , is no excuse for repeatedly berating his creditors as well as the state of Rhode Island .

Curt Schilling, makes these allegations, as it relates to his career in 2008 , when he was a starting pitcher on the Red Sox’s roster , From my own standpoint has a credibility and integrity issue , as it relates to these claims , while at the same time the former pitcher and now tv analyst did suggest , that he at no time had ever witnessed a teammate or close personal friend use any illicit substance banned by MLB . Yet , he we are five years on from his retirement, and we now find Curt Schilling placing himself in the midst of another embarrassing episode for the game of baseball. As to a formal response from the Red Sox organization , I am pretty sure that the ball club’s legal counsel will have been consulted by team owner, John Henry and his partners as to any legal recourse that they can now seek to take against the former Red Sox player in the form of libel and slander . . It is at this point, I would like to know your opinions on Schilling’s statements and whether or not you are of the opinion they are valid and have any veracity to them at all ?

Well, with the New York Yankees’ third basemen , Alex Rodriguez quite possibly now being sidelined for the entire 2013 Yankees’ regular season schedule , the team’s senior managing partner Hal Steinbrenner is now voicing his concerns , over the player’s health and long-term future with the well-respected franchise. With Rodriguez’s name once again being associated in another steroid scandal , for which he maintains his complete innocence. One now has to wonder what the future now holds for the third baseman and his long-term aspirations .

Courtesy of NY Daily News

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner says Alex Rodriguez’s alleged ties to Miami lab ‘a concern’, says team will cooperate with MLB probe

Steinbrenner, who spoke to reporters outside the team’s minor-league complex Friday afternoon, also mentioned that the Yankees have had ‘one or two conversations’ with second baseman Robinson Cano about a contract extension.

By Anthony McCarron , New York Daily News

Hal Steinbrenner says there’s not much to say on A-Rod matter because ‘I know as much as you do.’

TAMPA — Alex Rodriguez’s link to the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic is “a concern” for the Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner admitted Friday.

But, the Yanks’ managing general partner added: “It’s out of our hands. We’ll cooperate with MLB in any way we can, any way we’re asked to. Other than that there’s not much to say. I know as much as you do.”

Rodriguez, who has admitted using PEDs from 2001-03 while with Texas, was listed among records at Anthony Bosch’s now-shuttered clinic in Miami, according to a report in the Miami New Times. As the Daily News reported Jan. 26, Major League Baseball and the Drug Enforcement Administration are investigating Bosch, an A-Rod associate, for allegedly supplying performance-enhancing drugs to players. Through a statement from his PR firm, Rodriguez denied being treated or advised by Bosch and claimed that the Biogenesis records are “not legitimate.”

However, Yankee teammate Francisco Cervelli’s admission via Twitter that he consulted with Biogenesis, along with Brewers slugger Ryan Braun’s confirmation in a statement that his name had indeed appeared on Bosch’s client list, would appear to undermine Rodriguez’s claim.

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It now seems mind-boggling and absolutely idiotic that Hal Steinbrenner insists on taking this stance in light of the ball club’s previous experience with the player and his admittance of guilt in his use of steroids , having previously denied any use on his part. With Rodriguez’s name now associated with failed Miami medical concern Biogenesis , along with that of Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers , Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez Yankees’ teammate,Francisco Cervelli. Either after the third baseman’s less than contrite public apology in February , 2009 , it were as if Hal Steinbrenner and the entire New York Yankees’ organization were satisfied with the apology and the actions or one should say lack of action taken by the ball club and league hierarchy.

It should be noted , that less than six months later, Rodriguez’s name would be linked with now incarcerated Orlando medical professional Dr. Anthony Galea , who treated several prominent athletes and celebrities ,but with the doctor’s incarceration , having been found guilty of distributing of narcotics , the sale a transportation of hallucinogens , steroids , Oxycontin , PED’s and other banned substances as constituted by the league hierarchy. Now comes this idiocy and the league and Yankees are now standing back seeking the wheels of the legal establishment to take its course before they deal with the player . However, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , as usual, has issued his latest statement which more often than not, has the commissioner simply making a complete ass of himself, as he has repeatedly done, more often than not , with such issues. Selig has stated that baseball will conduct their own in-depth investigation , but if it is anything like of the alleged investigation of the Miami Marlins and the “ fire sale” initiated by the ball club , has me wondering how competent is this hierarchy to begin with ? They are definitely not as meticulous or as prudent, as the commissioner would like to have us believe and boy , does Bud Selig like to blow smoke up everyone’s ass , more often than not !

For the past two seasons Alex Rodriguez’s contributions to the New York Yankees can be best described as being anemic , but his postseason foray of last season , clearly shows that the player’s skill-set has been steadily on the decline for several years . With the Yankees having to pay Alex Rodriguez in $28 million for this season, and with their being $114 million remaining on the player’s existing $275 million contract. The contract makes the third baseman the highest paid player in baseball. With resources to the New York Yankees and having baseball’s highest payroll , it has me wondering whether or not the franchise can still continue to squander their resources on a player whose best days are behind him and most certainly not ahead of him. With Rodriguez having to undergo hip surgery, and clearly the belief his use of steroids quite possibly playing into his health issues , something even beyond the naiveté of the Yankees has to be clearly amiss. As a replacement , the Yankees acquired free agent Kevin Youkilis , who should prove to be a more than worthy replacement for his sidelined colleague. And while it was wildly being speculated upon that Hal Steinbrenner might seek to void the Alex Rodriguez’s contract , any move initiated by ball club would be met with stern resistance by the players’ union headed by Executive Director Michael Weiner .

Legal recourse, could be sought even with their being a moral’s clause written into the third baseman’s contract , but such a protracted legal case would turn the game on its ear , especially given the current weakness of baseball’s hierarchy under its commissioner, Bud Selig. . It is here where there seems to be a real divergence in the claims being made by Major League Baseball , and what we now know are the real facts , and that is , for all of claims in terms of the league’s ongoing success in the continued clamping down of the illicit use of steroids , players are still finding ways of “ cheating the system” , and they are being aided either by unscrupulous agents or “pill clinics” across the country , but it would now appear to centrally located within the state of Florida . Meanwhile the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State Attorney General’s Office has yet to arraign , indict or prosecute anyone successfully in this regard , leaving it instead in the hands of the US Justice Department to go after such individuals . Which begs the question, what is it that State Attorney General , Pam Bondi and FDLE Commissioner , Gerald M Bailey hope to achieve, when they seek to do very little within state of Florida , has become the epicenter for “steroid” , illegal sales, and distribution of such narcotics and steroids , specifically.

One should note, that over the past thirty months in excess of 156 players have engulfed by baseball’s testing policy , with the vast majority of those players being caught at the Minor League Level . The high-profiled stars at the major league level are seen for what they are , “ cheaters” , who have been able to use the law or in so many cases the incompetence of the league hierarchy , to simply outsmart the game’s custodians . And you wonder why , Bud Selig , still comes across , looking like the complete and pompous ass , that he is ? > A case can be made that baseball’s incompetence has really played in the news and the idiocy we now see encompassing the game , yet no mention has been made of this by the television analysts , who currently cover the game . I have never been an admirer of anyone of the baseball analysts or on air commentators who spend more time pontificating and speaking of a once glorious past within the game that was a complete fraud to begin with ! Make of it what you will , but let’s call it for what is really is , just goddamn apathy and not much else beyond that !

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe that the Seattle Mariners can justify their offering Felix Hernandez such an exorbitant contract given the team’s lack of competitiveness in recent years ? And do you believe that Curt Schilling’s statement can be taken at face value given his proclivity for sensationalism ? Furthermore , with the likelihood of Alex Rodriguez missing the Yankees’ entire regular season schedule in 2013 , do you believe that franchise would be within their right to “ void his contract” , even if it meant having to defend their action in a civil litigation ? Chime on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) FILE – In this Aug. 15, 2012, file photo, Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez reacts after throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in Seattle. Hernandez and the Mariners are working on a $175 million , seven-year contract that would make him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball , according to a person with knowledge of the deal’s details. The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been completed. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren …..

(2) Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge reacts to a question from reporters, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, at the team’s annual media briefing prior to the start of baseball spring training . AP Photo/Ted S. Warren ….

(3) Seattle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik talks to reporters, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, at the team’s annual media briefing prior to the start of spring training baseball. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren …

(4) David Reed, 7, of East Helena, Mont., pumps his fist as he pulls a Seattle Mariners baseball from a gift bag presented to him by Mariners pitcher Charlie Furbush , left, and outfielder Casper Wells during the Seattle Mariners Caravan visit to Providence Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Spokane, Wash. Reed has been in the hospital battling T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia since October. AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Dan Pelle….

(5) FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2012 file photo, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona answers questions during a news conference at the baseball winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn. Owners of the Boston Red Sox thought the team wasn’t marketable after the season and needed to “sexy players”, former general manager Theo Epstein says in a new book co-written by former manager Terry Francona. “Francona: The Red Sox Years” is co-written by the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy and is scheduled for publication by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Jan. 22. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey ….

(6) Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (38) throws out the first pitch after being inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins during the game on August 3, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Schilling now claims that during the 2008 season he was encouraged by the team’s medical staff to used banned substances to aid him in his recuperative process having suffered a number of injuries during the season . The claims though unsubstantiated , have become something of water cooler subject of debate and conjecture . Getty Images North America / Jared Wickerham ….

(7) (L-R) Manager Joe Girardi , Mark Teixeira, Hal Steinbrenner and General Manager Brian Cashman pose for a photo during a press conference to announce Teixeira’s signing to the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on January 6, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images …

(8) FILE – In this Oct. 14, 2012, file photo, New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after striking out during the second inning of Game 2 of baseball’s American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers in New York. When the Yankees re-signed Rodriguez in December 2007 , they expected him to set home run records . Now some in the team’s management hope he never plays again, so much of the $114 million he’s still due can be covered by insurance. Not only is he injured, he’s at the center of performance-enhancing drug use allegations. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, …..

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They haven’t got a pot to piss in , much less a window to throw it out of ….. ideas of grandeur , baseball style .

They haven’t got a pot to piss in , much less a window to throw it out of ….. ideas of grandeur , baseball style .

By Tophatal

Well the MLB off-season is proving to be just as thrilling as teams seek to shed payroll , while others seek to increase payroll , with the ultimate goal of glory , success , and all that it may entail . No need to guess , who the big winners are at this juncture before the season has even started . Both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels have sought to make their “big splash” , while north of the border , the Toronto Blue Jays have sought to revamp their roster and increase their payroll .

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The biggest acquisition made by the Blue Jays has been that of Cy Young Award winner R A Dickey, from the New York Mets , and given the franchise’s ongoing precarious financial position , of which their idiotic fans seem to fail to comprehend , it is my firm belief that the front office will continue on , with its own self-styled fire sale . Granted , the Toronto Blue Jays were made privy to the Miami Marlins’ fire sale , where the South Florida franchise has once again embarked upon divesting of the big-money contracts they were handing out out to those free agents like “ cotton candy”. A hellacious season of inept performances , the firing of a manager and the Marlins’ foray in 2012 can be best described as an almighty cluster fuck of “gargantuan proportions” .

In the midst of this mess , the “so-called in-depth investigation “ that Bud Selig has stated would take place , has actually failed to materialize , with no one having been empaneled by the commissioner to even remotely ascertain how and why team owner, Jeffrey Loria , and other Marlins’ front office executives, team President, Larry Beinfest , GM, Michael Hill and EVP ,Dave Sansom , have been allowed to simply wreak havoc upon this franchise, while at the same time giving the team’s fans false hope. It has been this sort of mismanagement that continues to take place around the game , under premise harsh economic times . Personally , I believe it to be “ one great big fucking lie” being suborned by the team owners and countenanced by the MLB hierarchy !

And lo and behold , it is this sort of apathy by the fans who buy into a franchise’s premise that because they have failed to meet certain goals , then they have to divest themselves the “ burdensome salaries” on their books. Unless I am mistaken, these self-styled executives and owners went into these negotiations with the players and their agents with their eyes wide open , did they not ? Furthermore , a close acquaintance patron of this site suggested to me that the Tampa Bay Rays , a franchise , who only in recent years has found a modicum of success has been profitable , due to the erstwhile financial expediency shown by GM Andrew Friedman . That might be the “biggest crock of shit “ within the Tampa Bay area , other than the continued stupidity being showed by the local politicians within the locale. The only reason the Tampa Bay Rays have been financially sound , has nothing at all to do with the accounting acumen of Friedman , because it has more to do with the fact that the franchise like several others , are the recipients of monies , made available to them by way of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme . In the last seven years alone , the Rays as a ball-club has benefited to the tune of some $146 million . Given the menial profits attained by the franchise , a $20 million off-balance sheet boost can make that final earnings’ mark quite alluring to any fan merely glancing over a pro-forma spread-sheet detailing the Rays’ finances .

Yesterday, another stalwart of the Rays’ franchise in recent years allowed to leave with first baseman , and former Gold Glove winner , Carlos Pena , who signed a one year deal to become the newly designated hitter (DH) for the Houston Astros in 2013 . Pena and his new team will be part of the new league realignment, that sees the Astros making the move from the NL Central to the AL West . Pardon me for saying this , but given Astros’ woes in 2012, I am not so sure that their league mandated move will truly be of benefit for the franchise . Once there , they will have to face off against Los Angeles Angels , Oakland A’s , Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers . And given the resurgence of the A’s and the likelihood that we will continue to see improvement in the play of the Angels and Rangers , there has to be a team within the division, that will end up being the “ whipping post” and “ bitch “ that everyone else gets to “ ravage” . So why not the moribund Astros ?

Astros’ owner , Jim Crane , with the then record amount of $775 million paid to purchase the franchise . He has to know, that he faces an uphill battle in getting this team in a competitive state to take on the likes of the aforementioned teams within the AL West , Manager , Bo Porter and his managerial staff will most certainly make the most of the off-season preparation schedule of Spring Training to get players ready as they embark upon their first season in the AL , in 2013. The Astros first regular season series of will begin a three-game set against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas , starting on 2nd April, 2013.

With a ready-made instate rivalry right off the bat against the Rangers , this should bode well for the Houston Astros , if they feel that they are up to the task. Add in the fact, that Nolan Ryan , current team President and part-owner of the Texas Rangers , was himself , once a player with the Astros , this certainly adds a great deal of intrigue to the panacea of the events that are likely to unfold between these two franchises.

One of the more asinine insinuations being made and which I read in an article written within this forum , given the complete lack of knowledge of the individual , who seemingly only chose put the words on paper , rather than conducting any research whatsoever, This individual , along with the more anally retentive supporters of the Mets’ franchise , tried to suggest that the financially cash-strapped franchise remains a viable and financially solvent concern. Fuck it , when you lose in excess of $40 million , and are projected to lose another $60 million in the subsequent year , you are in no way on a sound financial footing , especially when one of your primary creditors no longer wishes to extend you any further credit facilities . This has been the idiocy , that is being countenanced by so many of the team owners , for which Bud Selig is not prepared to offer the public or the fans an answer. Instead, he chooses to blow smoke up everyone’s ass, as to his own importance , and the fact that baseball has sound business practices .

Funny , I don’t ever once recall , Selig ever delving into the reasons why the Los Angeles Dodgers were taken into bankruptcy proceedings (Chapter 11) when there was clear evidence that the former owner , Frank McCourt had been recklessly running the franchise into the ground , while repeatedly using the team and other assets as collateral for several of his own personal business deals . In the aftermath of the franchise’s multibillion dollar sale , McCourt was able to walk away with an estimated $435 million free and clear , as he was also said to be a creditor of the ball club he took into bankruptcy reorganization. How the fuck can that be allowed to happen ? Wherein an owner, knowingly flout one of the most sanctified rules of the game from an executive standpoint , but yet he escapes unpunished . Meanwhile, a player who violates the league’s substance abuse policy for a second time , faces a 100 game suspension and becomes a “pariah” within the game . Yes, this is the mendacity and goddamn stupidity that Bud Selig lovingly presides over, but yet no one within the game much less the media questions his authority or decision-making .

Having recently signed David Wright to a eight-year $147 million deal , the New York Mets were was unable to retain the services of R A Dickey. To my mind that one move, has pretty much epitomized why the New York Mets remains a fucking mess ! Sandy Alderson, J P Ricciardi and Paul DiPodesta may well have at one time graced the game with their alleged acumen , but they were brought in to right the wrongs wrought under Omar Minaya , while he was the general manager of the New York Mets . Instead , the same old fucking idiocy appears to be continuing within the ball-club, as they capriciously spend money on a player , who does not possess any leadership ability, and is simply looked upon as the “ poor man’s “ Derek Jeter . If ever there was more apt description, to describe David Wright , then those words, best sum up, how he is genuinely viewed within the game . Fans can now prognosticate and pontificate as to what awaits the team for this upcoming season as they begin their Spring Training schedule under Terry Collins and his coaching staff . While that takes place , you can be sure that the team’s primary owners, Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon will continue to wreak havoc within this ball-club , without their being any oversight whatsoever coming from baseball’s hierarchy.

It was the end of an era , as one the best switch hitters ever to play the game simply stepped down , from being a player with the Atlanta Braves . Chipper Jones leaves the game as one of the most celebrated and beloved in Braves’ history , and most definitely a player who was respected by his peers past and present. With his departure, GM , Frank Wren sought to bring in a productive center-fielder , and thought to be someone capable of filling that void was former Rays’ outfielder B J Upton . With Upton’s introduction as the newest member of what is considered to be an already productive lineup within the NL , and it is hoped that the player can simply increase his career numbers while providing the solid defensive prowess he has come to be known for . Upton, will be richly rewarded witha 5 year $75 million contract , making him one of the highest paid players on the Braves’ roster.

One of the deficiencies that blighted the Fredi Gonzalez’s players last season , was the inconsistency of the pitching , and the lack of timely hitting at crucial points during a game. The team will begin their Spring Training Schedule in the month of March with a slew of games that should in fact get these players ready for the upcoming regular season schedule which begins on the 3rd April , with a three game set at home against the Philadelphia Phillies at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta , Georgia,. A long and arduous 162 game schedule now awaits the teams as they each to succeed the San Francisco Giants as the World Series champions in 2013.

During the course of this off-season , more than $1.4 billion in contract negotiations will have been dealt with by the general managers and with agents such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem , Casey Close , Dan Lozano , Larry Reynolds and John Courtright . There’s a reason why these individuals have now become the bane of the general managers around the game . To my mind , however, the owners are equally as responsible because they also have a responsibility , as they have a right not to acquiesce to the demands the players seeking these exorbitant salaries . But you would be hard pressed to convince a number of fans and purists alike who is actually in right or wrong as it relates to the “ escalating salaries “ within the game of baseball.. I am sure that Michael Weiner , Executive Director of the MLBPA (Players’ Union) would like to see the status quo remain as it is , with his members , as they see their salaries rise consistently in line with the demands they make of league’s owners and the respective teams . .

Courtesy of the New York Times

Baseball Ties Olympic Reinstatement Bid to Women’s Game

By Jere`Longman of the NY Times

Having whiffed on an attempt to link its Olympic future with women’s softball, baseball is now following another gender-equity route in an attempt to gain reinstatement to the Summer Games of 2016.

Baseball officials have aligned with the relatively seldom-played game of women’s baseball to burnish its chances of gaining re-entry into the Olympics after being dropped from the 2012 Summer Games in London.

It is too early to know whether such a move will prove shrewd or merely desperate by baseball, which was evicted from the Olympics for several reasons, including concerns over the lack of participation by major leaguers and widespread doping.

In October, the International Olympic Committee will award the 2016 Games to Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid or Rio de Janeiro. Two additional sports will be proposed for those Games, to be chosen among baseball, softball, golf, karate, roller sports, rugby and squash.

In February, baseball was given the cold shoulder when it attempted to persuade softball to make a joint bid to regain their Olympic status. At the time, Don Porter, president of the International Softball Federation, said in a statement that softball would keep its bid separate, adding, “We have offered the I.O.C. a doping-free, universal team sport that reflects the values of Olympism all over the world.”

Translated, softball did not want to be aligned with a sport that is awash in drug scandals and offers competitions, like the World Series and the World Baseball Classic, that may be considered more prestigious than the Olympics.

By contrast, the Olympics represented the height of international softball competition for the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Games before the sport was eliminated, many believe, because of American dominance.

All of the world’s top softball players would be expected to participate in the 2016 Summer Games. Or as Porter said in another recent statement, in a thinly veiled reference to baseball, “The Olympic Games would not be just another competition in an overcrowded schedule for softball.”

Rebuffed by softball, baseball chose to pair its Olympic proposal with women’s baseball, which is rarely played in the United States but, officials say, is played in more than 30 countries by more than 100,000 participants. Still, it is much less visible than softball, which officials said is played in 127 nations by 8.5 million participants.

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Baseball has been caught between a “rock and a hard place “ by way of its endless greed , while not caring to truly look after its on-field product , and how it markets itself not just on the domestic front , but also as a global brand . The game’s situation has further hampered by the intransigence shown by the league hierarchy under Bud Selig . Were it not for his sheer and utter stupidity in caving in to the union , the sport itself would still be part of the Summer Olympics . Selig at the time while trying to portray the image that MLB wanted to remove the illicit use of PED’s within the game , simply acquiesced to the wishes of the MLBPA , in not wanting to fully adhere to the testing protocols of WADA , as followed by the IOC . Now , with their being a joint effort with the International Softball Federation (ISF) to get both sports reinstated by back into the fold, as part of the Summer Games , it will be interesting how both parties will represent their joint case to the International Olympic Committee(IOC). The ISF along with baseball’s international governing body , International Baseball Federation (IBAF) and Bud Selig will seek to present their case at the headquarters of the IOC , in Lausanne , Switzerland . It is not so much that baseball is unpopular as a global sport , which it is not , the real issue has always been Bud Selig’s lack of real authority of the sport he presides over in North America , as the highest ranking executive within the league’s hierarchy . It has been Selig’s penchant for saying great deal while in actuality not doing anything that has in essence made him look a blithering idiot in the eyes of the fans.

What is a precedent here, is the very fact the men’s game of baseball is in fact seeking to ride in on if not piggy-back in, on the coat-tails in the growing popularity of the women’s game of softball , as it seeks reentry back into the Summer Olympics . If that isn’t a first , then what is ? And even though the World Baseball Classic (WBC) has yet to truly take hold internationally , there is a growing belief , if Selig , simply lets the IBAF take the reins , rather than trying to be the dominant partner in the staging of the event , there would indeed be a greater interest in the quadrennial event , which is next due up in 2013 , with the qualifying rounds set to start in December , 2012, but the main tournament not due to begin until March , 2nd ,2013 with the group phase of the tournament . It now makes you wonder what the fuss has been about concerning the WBC , especially light of the fact that the television coverage and viewership of the event in North America , has been sparse indeed. Yet , on the international front , specifically in the Far East Asia , Latin America and the Caribbean , the fans cannot seem to get enough of the event . Which begs the question , is it not time for Bud Selig to immediately step down , rather than retiring in 2014, as he claims , will be his intent ? A fresh influx of new and progressive ideas are needed within the game , rather than , this ” doing it by the numbers approach” of “hits and misses” , by Selig and baseball’s hierarchy. The irony here will be , if Selig does step down , then joining him also , will be , NBA Commissioner , David Stern , who formally announced , that he will step down in his role , a position that he has held within the NBA hierarchy for almost twenty-five years . A term , slightly out doing his MLB counterpart , as the duo have battled all concerns , friends , foes , and their respective unions , repeatedly over the lengths of their service. Selig has not named or intimated, who his successor might be , but we have been made aware that Adam Silver , NBA Deputy Commissioner, will succeed , David Stern. I do believe that Bud Selig , will countenance the promotion from someone already within the hierarchy , with the support of the team owners . If anything , Selig , will simply seek out a like-minded individual to carry on his policies , while his persona will continue to leave an indelible and some might say a “stain ridden mark” upon the ” game “ .

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Picture gallery .

What, if anything , do you hope to see being achieved during the upcoming season within the game of baseball ? Also , are you of the opinion that the sport needs to adopt a “ hard salary cap” that would see the teams getting an equitable share of television and other ancillary revenues ? Do take time to leave a comment as you see fit on this , and anything else you believe relevant to the subject matter.

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(1) New Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Zack Greinke adjusts his cap during a baseball news conference announcing his $147 million, six-year contract, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have seen fit to make several deals this off-season , as GM , Ned Colletti has been given the go-ahead by the front office executives to pursue these transactions . At the commencement of the 2013 regular season , the Dodgers will by far have the biggest payroll in Major League Baseball , far exceeding $200 million. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes ….

(2) Free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, right, and his wife, Katie , talk to the media during a news conference in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. Hamilton, formerly of the Texas Rangers, joins the Los Angeles Angels MLB baseball team after signing a $125 million, five-year contract. The acquisition of Hamilton was prompted by Angles’ owner Arte Moreno not wanting to see the franchise left lagging behind the Dodgers in the free agents’ sweepstakes . Moreno instructed GM Jerry DiPoto do whatever it takes to land the “big league slugger” . AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

(3) FILE – This Sept. 27, 2012 file photo shows New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey reacting to fans as he celebrates his 20th victory of the season after the Mets 6-5 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a baseball game at Citi Field in New York. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that Dickey and the Blue Jays have agreed on a new contract , clearing the way for the New York Mets to trade the Cy Young winner to Toronto. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday, Dec. 17, 2012, because the trade was not yet complete. The 38-year-old knuckle-baller must pass a physical before he joins the Blue Jays. The Mets would get prized catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud as the centerpiece of the multi-player swap . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(4) New York Mets third baseman David Wright, center, walks from one interview to the next at baseball’s winter meetings on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. Wright and the Mets finalized a $138 million, eight-year contract on Tuesday, the largest deal in the team’s history . AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …

(5) FILE – This Sept. 26, 2012 file photo shows Tampa Bay Rays’ Carlos Pena following through on a two-run home run as Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia watches in the fifth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston. The Houston Astros have signed veteran Carlos Pena to be their designated hitter , addressing a key need as they prepare for their first season in the American League. AP Photo/Elise Amendola …

(6) Atlanta Braves newly signed center fielder B.J. Upton , right, and general manager Frank Wren pose with Upton’s jersey during a news conference introducing Upton, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, in Atlanta. Upton replaces free agent Michael Bourn in center field and should provide needed power from the right side. AP Photo/John Bazemore ….

(7) National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern (L) greets Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig before testifying with the heads of the NFL and the NHL to the US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection about the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports on Capitol Hill February 27, 2008 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee also heard testimony from officials from the US Olympic Committee , National Thoroughbred Racing and the US Anti-Doping Agency . Getty Images / Chip Somodovilla …

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What’s your take ?

By Tophatal

Well the MLB postseason is now in full flight, and we now have the two championship pennant series up and running. In the ALCS , the twenty-seven time World Series’ champions now find themselves in an 0-2 hole , with the team having lost their captain, Derek Jeter . Could anything else, go wrong for the franchise at this juncture ? Throw in the fact that Jeter will not be a participant in the remainder of the postseason , and the team offense is barely hitting above the Mendoza Line (.200) in the playoffs , and one could subscribe that to the fact that the New York Yankees have created their own recipe for an unmitigated disaster.

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Now if that was not enough to deter the most vociferous of Yankees’ fans , then they will most certainly have to be pessimistic, in knowing that the face will have to face reigning AL Cy and MVP winner ….. Justin Verlander in tonight’s pivotal game three match-up at Comerica Park , in Detroit, Michigan,. I would like to think that Joe Girardi’s players can dig themselves out of this self-created hole , but all signs now point to the fact that they are now way beyond being rescued . A high-priced cabal of players simply assembled together, and there seems to be no synergy at all with regard to this playoff roster. Granted, Jeter was the glue that held the team together , but now there appears to be no one that Joe Girardi can rely on to lead by example. Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano are having forgettable postseasons, in terms of their offensive statistics . And for three-time MVP , Rodriguez , I would dare say that there is a growing belief that he is being vastly overpaid , while offering so little tangible in return to the New York Yankees. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in pay by merit in terms of production , but what happens when a player who is the highest paid individual in the game offers up a measly return for an organization ?

Now some might say when your franchise is worth an estimated $2.5-$4 billion and you can simply write-off a $30 million salary against the ball-club’s operational expenditure over the course of the year, then there should not be a real cause for concern. But how many of baseball’s other teams can actually afford to be as capricious in their spending as the New York Yankees ? With the exception of the Philadelphia Phillies , Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers , Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers , I certainly do not believe that any of the other of the MLB ball-clubs can afford to be that generous by way of team salaries. Desperate times do call for desperate measures, and the decision of Joe Girardi not to have Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher in tonight’s starting lineup , with both players being replaced by Eric Chavez and Brett Gardner in the Yankees’ lineup. Starting pitcher, Phil Hughes will be New York’s hope of trying to slow down the Tigers’ offense in this game.

For manager, Jim Leyland and his coaching staff, a chance at redemption after 2011’s letdown would provide this veteran manager with a great deal of satisfaction. Tigers’ GM, Dave Dombrowski, went out on a limb to acquire Prince Fielder to bolster an already potent Tigers’ offense , that is spearheaded by 2012 Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera. Beyond the offense, the Detroit Tigers to solidify their position as best the best team in the AL this season, albeit that their record does not bear this out , but they were able to win the AL Central division with consummate ease.

Whatever the outcome of tonight’s game, one thing is sure , GM Brian Cashman, COO Lonn A Troost , and Managing General Partner, Hal Steinbrenner , will have some serious decisions to make , as it relates to the future makeup of this player roster . Acquiring high-priced free agents, has been far too often the norm concerning the organization’s mantra, and when it has borne fruit it has proven to be extremely successful for this ball-club. However, when it has proven to be fruitless , it has been something of a monumental failure , with the organization ending up with egg on its face. This Yankees’ franchise has a wealth of talent within its farm system and amongst their top twenty prospects, but it appears that urgency rather than prudence has been the driving force with regard to the organization , as they seek to win, meanwhile profiting quite comfortably from an economic standpoint .

In the NLCS, the two participants are the San Francisco Giants, and the St Louis Cardinals seeking to be the NL pennant representatives in the World Series . The season series between the two teams in 2012 proved to be eventful , with the Cardinals ad Giants having met six times (tied series 3-3) over the course of the year , with their last meeting coming on the 9th August , 2012 , ending in a 3-1 victory for the St Louis Cardinals. . Game one of the NLCS will pit Matt Cain (1-1,5.06 ERA) of the San Francisco Giants against the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse (0-0, 1.29 ERA). In this first best of seven-game series , it will be incumbent upon the Giants to come quick out of the gates in order to gain that initial game one advantage, and there is no denying that both managers, in Bruce Bochy and first year manager Mike Matheny, of the Cardinals , as they each seek to take their respective franchises to baseball’s biggest postseason fare. Bochy’s intent is to secure the San Francisco Giants’ their second World Series’ title in three years , with the team winning their most recent title in 2010. With the resurgence of the Bay area professional sports’ franchises , specifically the Giants and off course the San Francisco 49ers , it should be noted that this is a boom time for the awareness of these two franchises nationally. These two teams will be at full strength and I believe that the series will be a competitive one throughout! Whether or not the NLCS will go the full stretch of seven games will be dependent upon the play of players such as David Freese, Carlos Beltran, Adam Wainwright , Chris Carpenter and Jason Motte seeking to make the Cardinals repeat champions in 2012. Likewise, the Giants will be looking to Buster Posey, a likely candidate for the NL MVP candidate, along with teammates Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval , Marco Scutaro , Matt Cain, Madison Baumgartner , Tim Lincecum and Santiago Casilla will be chasing that dream to secure another world championship for this renowned franchise.

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Do you believe that the 2012 MLB postseason has lived up to your expectations when adjudged against that of 2011 ? By all means do leave a comment as you deem fit on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) New York Yankees’ David Phelps throws in the fourth inning during Game 3 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(2) Detroit Tigers’ Delmon Young is congratulated by teammates after hitting a home run in the fourth inning during Game 3 of the American League championship series against the New York Yankees Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(3) New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks to the media before Game 3 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(4) New York Yankees’ Robinson Cano blows a bubble as he waits to hit in the fourth inning during Game 3 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(5) New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez walks out of the batting cage following batting practice before the start of Game 3 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in Detroit. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …..

(6) St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. The Cardinals host the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 baseball’s National League championship series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(7) San Francisco Giants’ Angel Pagan sits in the dugout during baseball practice, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. The Giants are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(8) San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, in St. Louis. The Giants are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

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It’s Only Business That’s All ……….

It’s Only Business That’s All …………..

Well it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig deflated the balloon of Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt . Finally the commissioner shows some insight after he and the league hierarchy and the team owners made a gargantuan mistake in granting McCourt the right to buy the team originally from the Fox Corporation . Furthermore , the question I still would like to ask of Selig and the owners and hierarchy is given the fact that it was well known that McCourt had several legal problems prior to the purchase what type of due diligence was used if any by the league’s hierarchy ?

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In his findings Selig rightfully stated that even with the $ 3 billion 17 year deal in place much of the funds derived from the deal would have actually gone to paying down much of the personal debt of Frank McCourt and that of his associated business interests . Much of the time we were being told by McCourt that the Dodgers as business concern was financially viable but herein lies the caveat all along ,. McCourt in cahoots with Dodgers’ CFO Peter Wilhelm had repeatedly used the team as financial collateral in a number of business deals that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the game of baseball . Much of this McCourt would keep hidden not only from certain board members but most certainly from the MLB hierarchy , thereby contravening bye laws of the game concerning debt to asset ratio all teams in the conduct of their business practices .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

MLB rejects Dodgers’ television deal with Fox

By Tim Brown , Yahoo Sports

Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday rejected a proposed television rights package that would have given life to Frank McCourt’s ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After a two-month investigation, Selig concluded that too much of the 17-year, near-$3 billion package with Fox would be funneled away from the Dodgers, who are straining to stay relevant under McCourt’s financial bind.

“Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt,” Selig said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.”

So arrive what could be the final days of McCourt’s ownership of the Dodgers, seven years after he purchased the franchise from Fox.

McCourt, who Friday had reached a divorce settlement with ex-wife and former team president Jamie McCourt, was notified Monday afternoon of Selig’s decision, which effectively nullifies that settlement. A portion of the $385 million advance from Fox was earmarked for Frank McCourt’s personal debt and divorce payoff .

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The sticking point for Frank McCourt now comes in the fact that he now faces having to sell the team in order to doubt meet the obligations concerning his divorce settlement with his ex wife Jamie McCourt . Beyond this , until the courts in Los Angeles make a legal verdict of their own concerning the Dodgers being a communal asset we may well see the beleaguered owner seeking his own recourse in challenging Selig with a civil suit of his own in the Federal Courts . Good luck with that Frank because of now you’re still fighting an uphill battle !

At this time of the season within baseball teams will either sink or swim not only in terms of their play but also by the decisions made by the managers . But barring that all , what could be even more telling will be the disabled list of the teams around the league . It’s not a team yearns to have one of their star players on the DL but simply tends to happen through no fault of the player or anyone else for that matter . The standings at present a different picture of what many thought would be happening but then again the game of baseball will always be literally filed with surprises . Nothing is ever guaranteed in stone in any game of chance much less a competitive team endeavor .

If you’re a San Diego Padres’ fan how must you feel at present seeing the team languish at the bottom of NL West , having won only one of their last ten games and being on a 6 game losing streak ? It’s fair to say that not only the loss of Adrian Gonzalez has played a part in the team’s downward spiral from last season but the austerity measures now in place by the front office led by principal partner Jeff Moorad , Chairman John Moores and GM Jed Hoyer . Paring down salary is one thing but I’m not so sure that this alone will assist the organization in being competitive ! This past MLB Draft saw the Hoyer prudently make choices that he and manager Bud Black make the type of decisions that will quite possibly bare fruit and come to fruition in the coming years .

Manager Bud Black and his coaching staff have their work cut for them this season if this team is to show any respite much less the resolve in showing some sign of resurgence . Ryan Ludwick , Brad Hawpe , Cameron Maybin and Orlando Hudson have all got to show that from an offensive standpoint that they can lead this team . And granted in Aaron Harang , Matt Latos and Dustin Moseley the pitching has struggled throughout much of the season . One gets the feeling that an upsurge in confidence and a win streak of 5 or six games and a few series could very well change the mindset of not just the organization but also the team .

For all of the talk about building for the future which while good it simply doesn’t fill the ballpark with fans that are being starved of success . Prospects and a farm system filled with top notch talent is one thing but simply ask the vast majority of fans if they are prepared to wait around for years merely to see in large part the team quite possibly fail or more often than not simply let go of talent that goes on to flourish elsewhere ?

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

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment or comments as to your thoughts . And as always thanks for the continued support is it is greatly appreciated !

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(1) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig listens to a question during a news conference on Thursday, May 12, 2011 in New York. Selig gave Frank McCourt the face-to-face meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers owner wanted, but provided no timetable on approving a proposed $3 billion television deal with Fox that would keep the club from running out of cash at the end of the month. Selig and McCourt met Wednesday when owners began a two-day quarterly meeting at Major League Baseball’s office.AP Photo/ Bebeto Matthews ….

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks during a Dodger Stadium security news conference at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on April 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. It was announced that new security measures will be implemented at Dodger Stadium after San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was attacked in the parking lot after the season opener at Dodger Stadium. The beleaguered owner now having seen his lone remaining hope go up in smoke with Bud Selig revoking his deal Fox Tv now is left with nothing but to seek recourse through litigation . But herein lies the caveat should the courts not provide a verdict in his support he could very well lose the team altogether . Getty Images North America / Kevork Djansezian …………

(3) BOSTON, MA – JUNE 20: Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a 14-5 win over the San Diego Padres at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …

(4) Orlando Hudson (1) of the San Diego Padres kicks dirt between pitches during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …….

(5) Ryan Ludwick (47) of the San Diego Padres connects for a broken-bat single during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …………

(6) At Petco Park Jan. 12 to announce the retirement of Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman and his new position in the Padres’ front office (from left): Manager Bud Black, president and COO Tom Garfinkel , Hoffman, vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad, and GM Jed Hoyer. AP Photo / Phil Moyer ……..

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Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

Finally An Act of Rationale By MLB And In Particular Bud Selig Who Shows That He Might Indeed Have A Backbone

I’ve read with a great deal of glee where the MLB —- hierarchy has now chosen to intervene and take over the day to day running of the operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers and not a moment too soon ! Given the financial situation of the organization and wherein the league hierarchy under MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has sat idly by as Frank McCourt has brought the organization to the brink of bankruptcy . In the last eighteen months two major ballclubs have been placed within the bankruptcy in order that they may have a stay from their creditors while being able to reorganize themselves . First off were the Chicago Cubs whose previous owner billionaire commercial real estate developer Sam Zell placed the team into bankruptcy protection in order to stave off creditors of the Cubs’ parent company (The Tribune Group) at the time going after the team to make the debt payments due. And while this maneuver worked it did cause and cost the company financially a great deal of bad PR that it could have well done without. But what might be even more gave glaring, it gave further credence as to the fact how dire the financial situation was for a number of teams around Major League Baseball .

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Selig to Appoint a rep to oversee Dodgers

By Ken Gurnick , MLB.com

LOS ANGELES — Major League Baseball has taken over operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Commissioner Bud Selig announced Wednesday.

“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today that I will appoint a representative to oversee all aspects of the business and the day-to-day operations of the Club,” Selig said in a statement.

“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the Club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball. My office will continue its thorough investigation into the operations and finances of the Dodgers and related entities during the period of Mr. McCourt’s ownership. I will announce the name of my representative in the next several days.

“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports, and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future.”

McCourt issued a brief statement late Wednesday night that read: “Major League Baseball sets strict financial guidelines which all 30 teams must follow. The Dodgers are in compliance with these guidelines. On this basis, it is hard to understand the Commissioner’s action today.”

In an e-mail message sent to Dodgers employees on Wednesday, McCourt said, “In light of the Commissioner’s announcement today, I ask that you please continue to conduct business as usual with our complete dedication to the game and our loyal fans. Each of you has represented this organization with class, and while this is no doubt a challenging time for all of us, I truly appreciate your efforts.”

McCourt, owner and chairman of the Dodgers, bought the club from News Corp. on Jan. 29, 2004, and the club reached the postseason in four of his seven seasons as owner.

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If one of most renowned teams in baseball has to be forced into bankruptcy through the financial mismanagement of its parent company then what must that forebear for other organizations around the league at the time ? Given the Cubs’ history and perceived financial resources as it was believed to be , this was nothing more than a shot across the bow of the teams who faced much starker situations but who’ve yet to make it known to the public. I’ve heard it said that the hierarchy of the league wouldn’t be prepared to contract teams but that it is utter stupidity by anyone who believes that it can’t , or won’t happen. If it is the league’s wish then it will happen especially in the light of the economic uncertainty and the whole financial mismanagement of teams around the league at present. With the Cubs having been reorganized whilst in bankruptcy protection it was bought by Tom Ricketts and his family (founders of online stock trading company TD Ameritrade) for an unprecedented $ 850 million . Paring down costs to an extent while still trying to remain competitive has been of the highest order for the Ricketts as they seek to make the Chicago Cubs relevant again within the league .

The second such team , with which bankruptcy was forced upon them, were the Texas Rangers who at the time were jointly owned by Texas multi millionaires Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette . Their combined worth an estimated $2.5 billion but somehow they couldn’t make this organization a viable going concern , from a financial or competitive standpoint but yet somehow through their idiocy they managed to offer Alex Rodriguez what was at the time the richest contract in professional sports , a ten year $250 million contract . Rodriguez barely lasted three years with the organization although he managed to win AL MVP award with the Rangers . I can only surmise that Scott Boras as A Rod’s agent at the time , proved what most people may well have known , that in the state of Texas not only are the businessmen dumb but they lack real business acumen also ! Once again through financial mismanagement by an ownership group another team was brought to near extinction and each time MLB Commissioner Bud Selig sat idly by . Having been forced into bankruptcy for failing to meet their financial obligations the team was bought by consortium led by Nolan Ryan and former Rangers’ executive Chuck Greenbeg . A much needed change in fortune has taken place for the Rangers both financially and competitively on and off the field of play but it doesn’t change the fact that the game’s hierarchy and team owners have been less than truthful as to their overall financial plight .

It’s becoming increasingly clear for all who care to take notice that the game isn’t as financially sound as Selig makes it out to be , nor are the owners being financially prudent and fiscally responsible. It’s not just about the economics of the game or the fact of the now overall plight of the economy at but all but the lack of financial oversight and sound business practices that is taking place in almost every aspect of the game. The GM’s around the league have become opulent and ostentatious and it would appear that the owners alike choose not to pare down their expenses but if anything in number of cases pass on those costs to fans through higher priced tickets and in the prices that they pay for concessions and memorabilia . Well now that fans in large part are refusing to meet those demands , it is now becoming clear that the owners and in particular the league hierarchy have seen the light . Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case for Frank McCourt and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office who’ve amassed a debt now close to $1.3 billion collectively and who this past month borrowed in excess of $30 million from the local Fox tv station affiliate in Los Angeles to meet the team’s budgetary expenses for the month. Need one ask what would have happened had the MLB hierarchy chosen not to intervene and bring some sanity back within that organization ? Because clearly the likes of McCourt , GM Ned Colletti and Tommy LaSorda have lost their frigging minds if they think that they can continue to exist in such a way while trying to play down their financial plight !

And although it has been reported that McCourt will seek legal action in US Federal Court to stop the league from intervening and taking over the day to day running of the Los Angeles Dodgers I think that given his recent lack of success in the courtroom and the the financial maelstrom that he has brought within the organization , I find it hard to believe that any presiding judge hearing hearing this case would in fact choose to side with the plaintiff ! If anything the judge might be more likely to side with the defendant in the case given the severe financial problems that McCourt and his fellow executives have placed the organization in.

Now while all of this plays out as a comedic and public spectacle there are also calls for the O’Malley family to once again assume control of the Los Angeles Dodgers . As the previous owners of the ballclub I certainly don’t think that they would want to re-enter the fray of owning the organization once again, on any level, be it for the long term , or short term merely as a custodian ! If anything this situation is best left in the hands of Selig , the hierarchy under his authority . If anything it’d open up his eyes and that of the owners now knowing as such that they could be on the hook for the organization’s debt and mismanagement . One thing I do know, it’s highly unlikely that the Dodgers’ creditors would be liable to write off the vast majority of that cumulative debt as it presently stands as they too have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders and board members . Obviously that’s something that McCourt and his fellow executives didn’t take into account in terms of their own fiduciary responsibilities as it relates to their own consortium of partners in the Dodgers’ ownership. Living big and spending big doesn’t guarantee success if you simply don’t know what the hell you’re doing to begin with !

It’s certainly funny that given the Dodgers’ plight and that of the New York Mets who have their own vast problems from a financial and competitive standpoint but this might be one of the rare times that Bud Selig has chosen to show publicly that he indeed has a backbone ! God knows that this man has cowered his way under pressure and has acted oblivious to many of the problems that he has either created within the game through lax oversight or showing his complete naivete’ ! One only has to look at his handling of the steroid issue and the fact that he was absolutely powerless because he chose to be confrontational not only with the MLBPA but also with the Congress and in particular with two of its most powerful legislative bodies in the House Government & Oversight Reform Committee as Senate Judiciary Committee . You piss off the hand that feeds you in terms of providing you with your sole reason to exist throught antitrust exemption , you often in the end tend to make even more enemies than you actually want or need . Something that not even Selig would now care to openly admit to at this juncture .

Courtesy of The New York Times

Madoff Profits Fueled Mets’ Empire, Lawsuit Says

By Alison Leigh Cowan & Richard Sandomir

A lawsuit brought by the trustee for the victims of Bernard L. Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme contends that the owners of the Mets used the profits from their years of investing with Mr. Madoff to enhance their personal fortunes, enrich a number of family trusts and financially fuel their array of businesses — all in the face of repeated warnings that Mr. Madoff’s investment firm might have been a fraud.

The lawsuit, unsealed in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan on Friday, says the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , their families and their businesses “made so much easy money from Madoff for so long” that despite the many warnings — from within their own inner circle, and by other investors and financial institutions — they “chose to simply look the other way.”

“There are thousands of victims of Madoff’s massive fraud,” the lawsuit states. “But Saul Katz is not one of them. Neither is Fred Wilpon.”

Since Mr. Madoff’s arrest in December 2008, Mr. Wilpon has portrayed himself as a victim of the fraud, one he conceded was carried out by a man who had been his friend for many years. On Friday, in a personal statement and through their lawyers, Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz decried the trustee’s legal assault.

“The trustee’s lawsuit is an outrageous ‘strong arm’ effort to try to force a settlement by threatening to ruin our reputations and businesses, which we have built for over 50 years,” Mr. Wilpon and Mr. Katz said.

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If ever there was a cautionary tale to be learned as to the world of sports and how the excess of greed can turn a once beloved spectacle into a crevasse of bungling ineptitude then Major League Baseball would be it. From the cheating , lying and bungling ineptitude of the owners , players , union and the hierarchy itself and their overall unwillingness to act in a proactive manner whenever there is a real problem within their midst. Instead they each tend to act as if there’s nothing wrong at all , until it’s all too late and by then the damage done tend to be irreparable . And when I say damage done it’s not only to the game in terms of its competitiveness , financial stability but also to its very own image and the fact that the vast majority of the fans can and do no longer trust what the game says it stands for or the very people who are entrusted to oversee and maintain its very existence and livelihood .

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Do you feel that the intervention now undertaken by Bud Selig and the league hierarchy will ensure the Los Angeles Dodgers’ long term existence and livelihood. Or do you feel that the Dodgers ought to have been left to their own devices and let them sink or swim dependent upon what they chose to do in order to survive ? And do you believe that in the long term contraction within the game will become more likely in light of the financial problems that are now coming to light concerning a number of teams within the game of baseball ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and as usual thanks for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) MLB commissioner Bud Selig (left) watches the 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 13, 2010 in Anaheim, California. Getty Images North America / Michael Buckner ……

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt (R) greets Don Newcombe, former Brooklyn Dodgers teammate of Jackie Robinson, before the game with the St. Louis Cardinals as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day on April 15, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ……..

(3) Cubs GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here alongside team owner Tom Ricketts at the team’s headquarters at Wrigley Field , Chicago , Illinois , speaking to the convened press . AP Photo / Tom Scott ….

(4) Nolan Ryan team President & lead managing partner of the Texas Rangers is seen here with Chuck Greenberg a former executive with the Texas Rangers . Greenberg a respected sports attorney and agent abruptly left the Rangers’ organization earlier , this year. Dallas Morning News / Michael Ainsworth ……

(5) (L – R) Saul Katz, CEO of the Mets, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, GM Sandy Alderson and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the Mets pose for a photo during Alderson’s introduction as the general manager for the New York Mets on October 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images North America / Andrew Burton ……

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In Baseball ….If The Unthinkable Were To Happen ………..Which Franchise Could or Should Be Contracted ?

It hasn’t happened in a number of years but once again an ‘ugly word’ seems to be rearing and raising its head once again. And that’s the word ‘contraction’ as it regards the sport of baseball. MLB is most definitely in some serious trouble and with a number of franchises around the league under some serious financial constraints. It’s beginning to gather an unprecedented pitch within the environment of the sport, altogether. The troubling thing is , it is that reporters such as Buster Olney , Tim Kurkjian and Peter Gammons would rather not touch on this very topic , for the fear of alienating baseball’s hierarchy and in particular the ‘powerful owners’ . But then again since when did the writers within the sport possess any credibility ?

In Baseball ….If The Unthinkable Were To Happen ………..Which Franchise Could or Should Be Contracted ?

It hasn’t happened in a number of years but once again an ‘ugly word’ seems to be rearing and raising its head once again. And that’s the word ‘contraction’ as it regards the sport of baseball. MLB is most definitely in some serious trouble and with a number of franchises around the league under some serious financial constraints. It’s beginning to gather an unprecedented pitch within the environment of the sport, altogether. The troubling thing is , it is that reporters such as Buster Olney , Tim Kurkjian and Peter Gammons would rather not touch on this very topic , for the fear of alienating baseball’s hierarchy and in particular the ‘powerful owners’ . But then again since when did the writers within the sport possess any credibility ?

Rays'  third   baseman  , Evan  Longoria  at  the plate    for  team.   photo  appears  courtesy   of   Getty  Images/  Vic Hallam
Rays' third baseman , Evan Longoria at the plate for team. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Vic Hallam

Last night (Monday), while I was driving home from the office in Orlando to Dundee , in central Polk County. I was listening to one of the local sport’s talk show hosts discuss the continuous woes of the Tampa Bay Rays’ franchise. Unfortunately, the individual in question, whose show appears on 620WDAE in the local market , tends to be too much of an apologist for the professional sports franchises within the area. And that’s to be understood , considering that the radio station derives a great deal of money from its ongoing associations with each of the franchises in the area. My own view is then , that in no way can they appear to be impartial when discussing a number of sensitive subjects candidly. They’ve got to watch their p’s ans q’s at the program director’s behest , at the risk of not having the likes of the Bucs’ ownership, Lightning front office , or Rays’ ownership under the auspices of Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Siverman , draw their ire. The ad revenues run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars year round. And for a station of that size within its specific market, every penny counts.

As the show proceeded , the host was trying to explain to a caller that the Rays’ ownership could ill afford to pay certain players their presumed ‘market value’ , given the team’s budgetary constraints. But that asides simply doesn’t explain the whole situation and the dilemma that the franchises faces. Like the vast majority of clubs within baseball. There’s an indifference at present concerning the game. And it stems not just from the ongoing economic climate but essentially the game has a major PR problem and the fact the league’s hierarchy under Bud Selig has been slow in dealing with many of the game’s inherent problems. Instead of being proactive he the owners and players (MLBPA) have been retroactive in dealing with the game’s inherent problems.

The Rays , this year will be make one last ditch attempt at challenging the supremacy of the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees within the AL East division of baseball. By far in a way , ‘the most competitive division’ within baseball ! And that’s despite the attempt of others to make the suggestion that the AL West is ‘on par’ with the division ? Isn’t that like comparing Kobe beef to a rump roast ? There’s more of a competitive edge and play within the AL East than there is the rest of the American League combined. The teams there are far better in terms of their respective rosters and they quality of play is far superior. But that asides doesn’t address the problems faced by the Tampa Bay Rays. They are in a market where the team is poorly supported by the fans. And that’s mainly because most of the residents within the area have their allegiances tied elsewhere when it comes to the support of a major league franchise. Why in hell’s name it was thought that the are could support a team is beyond me in the first place, given the fact that MLB had to have been aware of this from the club’s inception. But then again, we are dealing with a commissioner whose business acumen rivals that of former executives of Enron.

As I alluded to earlier the talk show host was trying to in his own way explain the problems that the club faces, from their limited financial resources to the apparent lack of support from the community at large. I find it something of a joke that baseball’s official figures shows that the team’s average gate attendance for home games at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg , is close to 23,000 per game. In reality it is barely two thirds of that ! Most games you’d be hard pressed to see more than 15,000 people in attendance for a game at the Rays’ home venue. But yet, we’re to believe that if a new venue is built , all of a sudden that will change the mindset of the fans in the community ? There will definitely be the curiosity factor but once that wears off. Then it’ll be back to minuscule gate attendances and more moaning from team ownership that the fans aren’t turning up to support the franchise. And though the host in all of his wisdom was trying to sell the caller the fact that the franchise now has a viable on the field product what he failed to realize was for all of his ‘hard sell’ the caller wasn’t willing to recognize the Tampa Bay Rays as a baseball brand that now resonates with the fans in general. With the exception of players such as, Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford and B. J. Upton . Most baseball fans across the game much less those within the community could actually name at least six other players on the entire Rays’ roster. And for all of the homely approach of Rays’ manager, Joe Maddon . Would anyone really know who this team were – were they not playing in the AL East and their recent successes ?

Carl Crawford's three-run home run in the sixth inning highlighted Tampa Bay's three-game sweep of the Angels. The Rays are five games over .500 for the first time in team history
Carl Crawford's three-run home run in the sixth inning highlighted Tampa Bay's three-game sweep of the Angels. The Rays are five games over .500 for the first time in team history. photo appears courtesy of the Associated Press/ Mike Carlson .............

This one last ditch attempt by the organization could spell one of two things for the impending future , in terms of its existence. If they cannot contend and compete with either the Red Sox or Yankees. Then there’s very little reason to believe that Stuart Sternberg won’t set about and start a ‘fire sale’ in terms of the roster. All Stars such as Crawford and Longoria , in all likelihood would be traded away, to obtain future prospects. And no doubt given the grave financial situation, GM Andrew Friedman faces. It wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility to suggest that he alongside Stuart Sternberg, would definitely be thinking about relocating the team altogether. I’d alluded to it earlier and also in previous pieces, that it would be by no means a guaranteed certainty that with a new stadium built, that would be enough to cure what ails the organization. But then again , relocation would be predicated on the league’s approval and of a city willing to have the Rays major professional sport’s franchise. However, if that were to happen then there would be the remote possibility that the franchise could be dissolved and then would cease to exist. The last time such an event took place within baseball ,were, when the Montreal Expos were contracted as organization and then were revamped as the ‘new look’ Washington Nationals of the NL East . That scenario may not be raising its head as of yet but don’t be for one minute be fooled into thinking that Bud Selig and ‘the owners’ wouldn’t contemplate putting that into motion , were things not to work out for the better in terms of the Tampa Bay Rays as a ‘viable concern’. It certainly wouldn’t at all hurt the present ownership who would sell the franchise to the league and in part recoup some of their original investment. From there the league’s hierarchy would look to roll whatever viable assets remained of the concern.
In the end it worked to the benefit of Jeffrey Loria , as then owner of the Expos and now the present owner of the Florida Marlins . And we can all remember ‘the back room shenanigans’ then went on, with regards to the deal-making that took place and facilitated Loria and his purchasing of the Marlins, with an assist of a markedly deceptive loan from MLB at preferential rates. Could there have been anything more disingenuous on the part of Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy at the time ?

Sad but true , alas, the problems that the game now faces and in particular a number of the league’s franchises. It just doesn’t alone come down to dollars and cents but also to the fact that the wholehearted support isn’t just there. Whether or not the on-field product is a competitive one, it’s clearly not helping the Rays at present. A sales and marketing push hasn’t even created a meaningful wave of interest. And with the team’s fan-fest due to take place this weekend. It’ll be fun to see the sort of widespread turnout that the team’s ownership has anticipated. A hardcore base of 11,000 fans , simply won’t cut it for this or any other organization within baseball (MLB). So how should the Rays or the league for that matter, go about dressing this issue ?

Alan Parkins aka tophatal

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Perhaps Bud Selig should consider making this song by Culture Club his very own ? It’s ‘Do You Really Want To Hurt Me’ ? Lyrics by John Moss & George O’Dowd (BoyGeorge).
‘Boy George’, actually, was a known associate within the club scene of the ‘East End’ of London during the eighties. I knew him personally as he and a number of high school chums of mine use to organize a ‘few raves’ within the locale during that time.

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Too much ‘much junk in the trunk’ for Serena Williams or simply just not enough that took,your flight of fantasy ? Click on each pic’ of Serena to view them up close and personal.

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Jodeci gives you ‘Feenin’

Not Wanting To Kick Someone While They’re Still Down But How Much Worse Can It Now Get For NBC …. ?

Not Wanting To Kick Someone While They’re Still Down But How Much Worse Can It Now Get For NBC …. ?

From the sublime to the ridiculous but it would appear that things are beginning to get markedly worse for the ‘peacock network’, NBC. What with the failed experiment of ‘The Jay Leno Show’ in an earlier primetime slot of 10.00pm(EST) . Now we’ve found out that in order to appease Jay Leno and the make haste the abrupt departure of Conan O’Brien . We now know that O’Brien will be paid $45 million (of which $12 million will go to his production staff of writers and ancillary workers as severance pay). Nice work if you can get it don’t you think ?

And after the hosting of the Vancouver Olympics, of NBC which is the sole distributor for its content here in the country and will serve as a feeder for nations across the globe. The month of February could become an elephant’s graveyard for the network entirely. NBC Sports President Dick Ebersole , who has overseen the division for close to two decades and has grown accustomed to seeing the vast expansiveness of the task that has to be undertaken to make sure that the coverage is the best possible that it can be. One now has to wonder though whether or not this is still a worthwhile endeavor on the part of the network to begin with ?

Brian Roberts (left) <strong>  Chairman & CEO of  Comcast Inc </strong> seen  here   with  his   father  , Ralph  Roberts  <strong>  President  and founder  of  the  company </strong>   that  has  become  the  nation's  largest  cable  provider  and   company.    Comcast  recently  bought  <strong> NBC Universal   from  GE (General  Electric )  for  $30 billion  </strong > of  which  the  deal  will be   finalized  later  on this   year.  The elder  Roberts  built the  company  up  from  a  small cable   provider  into a  <strong> multi-billion  dollar  company  whose projected   earnings are expected  top  <strong> $2.55 billion </strong> for  2009.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  <strong> Getty  Images/ Paul  Fowler  .........</strong>
Brian Roberts (left) Chairman & CEO of Comcast Inc seen here with his father , Ralph Roberts President and founder of the company that has become the nation's largest cable provider and company. Comcast recently bought NBC Universal from GE (General Electric ) for $30 billion of which the deal will be finalized later on this year. The elder Roberts built the company up from a small cable provider into a multi-billion dollar company whose projected earnings are expected top $2.55 billion for 2009. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Paul Fowler .........

Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

Comcast to buy control of NBC Universal in $30-billion transaction

The deal underscores how the high profit-margin business of cable TV has become the financial backbone of media conglomerates.

By Meg James

In a momentous shift in the balance of power of the entertainment industry, cable television giant Comcast Corp. on Thursday made it official by announcing that it was buying control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co.

The proposed $30-billion transaction is the culmination of the longtime ambition by Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, to transform his family-controlled Philadelphia company from a passel of distribution pipes into a leading producer of movies and TV shows and owner of prominent cable channels.

The deal underscores how the high profit-margin business of cable TV — not a broadcast network or a Hollywood movie studio — has become the financial backbone of media conglomerates.

“Cable channels are the best part of the media business today; they are really the crown jewels of any entertainment company,” Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke told analysts in a conference call.

Unlike over-the-air broadcast networks, cable channels have two streams of revenue: subscriber fees and advertising. Roberts said that 82% of the operating income of the new entity would come from cable channels. Five of NBC Universal’s cable networks — USA, Syfy, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC — generate $200 million a year or more each in operating income.

“We are creating a new company with an absolutely first-class set of cable channels,” Roberts said. “This is the logical evolution of our programming strategy.”

If federal regulators approve, a new joint venture would be created by pooling businesses from both companies. Comcast would provide nearly $14 billion in assets, including $6.5 billion in cash, for 51% ownership of the new entity. Comcast said its cable channels — including E, Versus, the Golf Channel and nine regional sports networks — were worth $7.25 billion. Comcast’s subscription cable TV systems would not be part of the new entity.

As part of the deal, GE would reduce its ownership in NBC Universal to 49% in exchange for $9.1 billion, which the new entity would assume as debt.

The Comcast deal marks the end of an era for NBC, which has been one of the brightest bulbs within GE for nearly a quarter-century. Under GE, NBC became a profit- and hit-making machine, inventing the slogan “must-see TV” and fielding such memorable programs as “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “Frasier” and “Law & Order.”

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In order to read Meg James’ article in its
entirety just click unto the link provided herein
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Dick Ebersol ,  <strong>  Chairman of  NBC Sports </strong> and whose  task it   will  be  to  oversee  the  network's   coverage  of  the  upcoming   Winter Olympics  taking place in  Vancouver, BC .   Ebersol   has been described  as  one of  the  100  Most  Influential   People  in  Sports.   photo  appears  courtesy  of  Asoociated Press/  Michael  Wright .............
Dick Ebersol , Chairman of NBC Sports and whose task it will be to oversee the network's coverage of the upcoming Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver, BC . Ebersol has been described as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Sports. photo appears courtesy of Asoociated Press/ Michael Wright .............

NBC Universal’s parent company , the vast conglomerate, GE has seen fit to divest itself of the network , its film making division, Universal Studios and its similarly named theme parks’ division, Universal Theme Parks. As to what this suggests as to the network and its now moribund state. Well , it’s clear for those who aren’t as such acutely aware business people , the fact of the matter was that GE could no longer to afford to sink large amounts of money into a seemingly bottomless pit and not see anything tangible in return. The buyer of these assets is none other than cable company, Comcast,the nation’s largest cable provider. And the price tag is believe to be $30 billion for the purchase of the media conglomerate.

For its part , Comcast sees the synergy that the purchase gives the company and that the same time not only does it provide the company with another revenue stream but also it can cross market its own content with that of NBC’s network programming but also the network’s own cable outlets such as the USA Network , Oxygen Channel, Syfy , CNBC , Bravo , MSNBC and Spanish language channel Telemundo. Comcast for its part has The Golf Channel, Tru Tv and E Entertainment ! (E Networks) , Style Network , Versus, as well its cable operations and a sports programming cable network that covers the greater Philadelphia area.

Courtesy of The Brownsville Herald Tribune and The Associated Press

International Capsules: Ebersol: NBC expects to lose money on Olympics

By David Bauder , The Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. — NBC Universal says it expects to lose money televising the Winter Olympics from Vancouver next month.

NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol said that while advertising sales were soft for much of last year, they have picked up as the Olympics drew near. The loss comes primarily due to the stiff rights fee NBC paid to broadcast the games, he said.

NBC paid $820 million for the rights to televise the Winter Games. That compares to the $613 million paid for the rights to televise the Olympics in Turin, Italy, in 2006.

Ebersol said it will be the first time NBC has lost money on the games since he began producing the telecasts from Barcelona in 1992.

The head of NBC’s parent company, General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt, told investors recently that he expected NBC would lose “a couple hundred million bucks” on the games.

NBC won’t cut back on its coverage plans due to the financial problems, the network said.

It remains unclear whether this financial reality will affect negotiations for the U.S. rights to televise the Olympics in 2014 and 2016. The International Olympics Committee is expected to award coverage rights sometime this year.

The bidding for those games has the potential to be a battle of media titans, including Fox’s News Corp. and Disney. Ebersol said he expected the games to be awarded before any federal regulatory approval of Comcast’s agreement to take over NBC Universal.

NBC Universal will televise some 835 hours of Olympics programming next month, starting Feb. 12, on the broadcast network and cable affiliates like CNBC, MSNBC and USA. Because the games are not overseas, NBC will have the advantage of many more prime-time events taking place live.

These Olympics also mark the return of Al Michaels to Olympics coverage. The veteran broadcaster, who called the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, joined NBC from ABC in 2006. Michaels will be a studio host.

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In order to read David Bauder’s article in its entirety
just click unto the link provided herein
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Comcast’s Chairman & CEO Brian L. Roberts may well make the decision to divest himself as what he sees as none core assets. So it may well be that he could well see fit to sell the theme parks’ division as a way of recouping part of his original investment. But for the moment will assay the situation and sees what best fits his company’s needs. However, Roberts as the owner in waiting , he can’t be entirely happy with what he has seen going on within the corporate headquarters of NBC and the fallout from this disaster concerning Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. This isn’t certainly the reason he saw fit to purchase this once venerable network. Over the past decade however it has to be said that NBC has its way, footing , hold and once maniacal grip on the network ratings. It is now longer the term they once used so successfully ‘ ………. the station for must see tv’ . If anything that statement is now mute and no longer merited. The network’s programming has become stale and completely devoid of creativity. But it still it harbors itself under the impression that it is still an important part of the television landscape. About the only place where it can perhaps make such a valid statement or claim is when it comes to the coverage of the evening news. There it remains the number one broadcast network for its coverage of the primetime evening news. And for that it should be thankful to its news’ division and the professionalism shown by news’ anchorman, Brian Williams and his presentation of NBC’s Nightly News.

As I alluded to earlier NBC as the sole provider and the very fact that it also holds the North American rights to the broadcasting not only the Summer Olympics but also the Winter Olympics. Its upcoming coverage of the Vancouver Games will be of a great deal of responsibility to the sports’ division of the network and to Dick Ebersole in particular. The network has a great deal riding on its success and also financially. But if the rumors now circulating are to believed then it has to be said that NBC has to rethink its whole focus and thought process as to whether or not such a large investment in manpower and financial resources is still worth it, if there are to be projected losses in the coverage of the games. It has been widely speculated that the network stands to lose in excess of $300 million in the coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Hardly what one would believe to be a sound investment. But this nonetheless has been the sort of complacency and lack of foresight shown that has led the network to its present predicament and where its said to be hemorrhaging money that is in many respects why GE felt it was no longer a safe bet as ‘a sure fire producer of profits’ that it could rely on ‘to bump up its bottom line’.

Now not only will NBC Universal have to prove that it’s a viable brand to have within Comcast’s umbrella but also that it’s a soundly managed well organized unit. Certainly when a company of this size and nature can afford to lose $200-$250 million almost at the drop off a hat and then try ‘to chalk it up’ it as just being part of ‘the nature of just doing business’ . Then there has to be something wrong with te mindset and the thinking within the boardroom and the management style of that company altogether. And that has nothing to do with the mere fact that this just happens to be company whose parent happens to laden with a multi billion dollar ‘cash war chest’. Seemingly they’re forgetting that they’re just a small unit of the vast conglomerate that makes GE (‘General Electric’).

Gretchen  Blieler   US  snowboarder and  an  Olympic medalist.  <strong> Will  you be  watching   if she's  dressed  likes  this  on  the slopes  ?  </strong>   photo  appears  courtesy of   FHM
Gretchen Blieler US snowboarder and an Olympic medalist. Will you be watching if she's dressed likes this on the slopes ? photo appears courtesy of FHM

The struggles of the company notwithstanding, another problem ahead for NBC appears to be with the downturn ‘ad dollars’, in terms of on air advertising and with an even acuter falloff in the network’s viewership. A question that has to be asked is “……..will anyone afford the time to actually take an interest in watching the ‘Winter Olympics’ ? . The network will be devoting almost 835 hours of coverage over a sixteen day period starting on the 12th February with the culmination of the closing ceremony on 28th February 2010. We know that events such figure skating, snowboarding ,alpine skiing , and hockey will no doubt garner a great deal of attention. But it appears that the network is pinning its hopes and its vast resources in the fact the nation will be taking an interest in the event itself. What little advertising that it has done to promote the event has been around such established stars as Apolo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety and whatever ice skating stars who happen to be most noted of the moment. Such is the dilemma of the station that it is hard to see how they can cultivate the excitement need to draw enough of an appeal in terms of a viewership response. Outside of the event itself the names of the individuals mentioned here aren’t that well known to the public on a national basis. And whatever hopes that they might have pinned on the homegrown talent of NHL professionals representing Team USA, might as well be pinned on the tail of a pinata and then struck countless times for all of the good that it might do ! Does anyone actually watch live NHL hockey on television anymore ?

As popular as the Olympics and its ideals appear to be . The Winter Olympics are often seen as mundane and uninteresting to begin with. They at times stir up about as much interest as a political debate between two mono-toned personality challenged candidates. So at this juncture all I have to is ‘………. will you be watching NBC’s coverage of the events and how much time if any will you devote watching an event’ ? With things being what they are now at NBC , you might as well be watching paint dry on a wall for all the interest that it would create !

Click here to see the list of US Winter Olympic team members.

Comcast Inc apart from being a cable provider in conjunction with Comcast/Spectacor they are also the co-owners or owners in full of the following professional sports franchises ….the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s Philadephia Flyers.

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NBC Universal’s problems are synonymous with this now famous O’Jays’ hit from the early seventies ‘For The Love of Money’. There’s nothing wrong in making it but it’s how you go about it and what the end results are, as to how you’ve derived of it that ought to count. Clearly, at NBC that hasn’t been their biggest concern as of late , as they were under the impression that ‘the tap’ wasn’t about to be turned off by GE .

No Good Can From It All …. When You Get Congress To Intervene In Sports With Regard To Labor Unrest …………..

No Good Can From It All …. When You Get Congress To Intervene In Sports With Regard To Labor Unrest …………..

Am I completely mistaken but isn’t the US Congress meant to intervene in labor disputes that are of national security or when it comes sensitive areas within the US economy ? Then why oh why is that we’re now seeing both sides of the NFL hierarchy under its Commissioner Roger Goodell, as well as the NFLPA (Union) convening with Congress up on Capitol Hill, in order to get them to mediate or at least in part be an arbitrator in their ongoing unrest with regard to the present ‘collective bargaining agreement ? Having Congress intervene in this is akin to witnessing the idiocy of the legislation passed with regard to the ‘stimulus bil’l. Which has so far cost the taxpayers $787 billion at last count. Never mind the fact that both GM and Chrysler had a piece of the ‘proverbial pie’. And the public in general has yet to see anything tangible from this all.

DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA is itching for a confrontation with his counterpart, Roger Goodell. And with the owners having opted out of the present collective bargaining agreement. It will now create a chasm whereby the 2010-11 season will become one , that is an uncapped season. Now what this does around the NFL, may well give the suggestion that both sides do indeed know exactly what they’re doing. But it is becoming increasingly clear that this has nothing to do with the agreement itself but more to do with who maintains the balance of power within the NFL. It is more to do with who controls the purse strings as to the $ 8.7 billion a year industry that the NFL is said to to represent globally in terms of the NFL’s business interests. A tidy sum to say the very least and with the greed of both sides said to be unabated . I’m guessing that this could very well lead to one of those confrontations up there on Capitol Hill that will have more to do with posturing by not only the NFL hierarchy and the unions. But also from the legislators who are empaneled on the House Judiciary Committee and who are hearing from both sides on the issue. With the meetings likely to be carried by C-Span , it should make for some very interesting viewing.

NFL  Commissioner   Roger  Goodell.  The  commissioner  this  week   went  to  Capitol Hill  to  address  members  of  the  House  Judiciary  Committee  who  were  empaneled  to  look  into  the  increasing  unrest  between  the  NFL  and   the  NFLPA  (union).  The  two  sides   are   looking  to  stave  off   an  envisaged  lockout.  Moreover ,  the  2010-11  season  will  be  an   uncapped  one  because  the  NFL  and   their  owners  opted  out   of  the  'collective  bargaining  agreement'   that  was  in  place.      photo appears  courtesy  of   ap/ Marc  Gilbert  ...................
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commissioner this week went to Capitol Hill to address members of the House Judiciary Committee who were empaneled to look into the increasing unrest between the NFL and the NFLPA (union). The two sides are looking to stave off an envisaged lockout. Moreover , the 2010-11 season will be an uncapped one because the NFL and their owners opted out of the 'collective bargaining agreement' that was in place. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Marc Gilbert ...................

Courtesy of The New York Times

Mara cites lack of progress in talks

By Judy Battista , The New York Times

The Giants co-owner John Mara said Tuesday he was resigned to an uncapped season in 2010 and thought the union and owners might be moving further apart in talks toward a new labor agreement.

Mara was one of the owners who took part in the 11th negotiating session with union leaders in Washington on Tuesday. He is the first owner to speak extensively since negotiations began.

An uncapped year would have no salary limits or floors for teams and would begin in March. It would also start the clock ticking toward a lockout starting in March 2011.

Mara said he still had hope that a lockout could be averted.

“I don’t think we’re making any progress,” Mara said in a telephone interview. “We made a proposal in early November. I don’t think we’ve received a meaningful counterproposal. The point that we try to make to them is that the costs and risks are much greater than they ever have been. Especially in this economy. I don’t think there has been enough of a recognition on their part of that concept.”

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To read Judy Battista’s article in its entirety just click on
the link provided
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NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting  with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo  appears  courtesy  of ap/ Alex Brandon   ........
NFL Players Association Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, right and Baltimore Ravens Domonique Foxworth, left, walk into a meeting with House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr., D-Mich., on Capitol Hill, Washington D.C. photo appears courtesy of ap/ Alex Brandon ........

There’s no doubt in my mind that the NFL as well as the union are looking to usurp each others’ powers as much as they can. It’s not as if either side has the fan’s best interests at heart to begin with. Goodell for his part wants to prove to the fans and public in general that he’s a strong and very determined commissioner. His sometime autocratic rule has chafed the rationale of Smith and it has to be said that DeMaurice Smith does have some reason to feel aggrieved with many of Goodell’s findings and edicts , as of late. How this all will play out also, may well have to do with who wields the ‘biggest stick’ at the end of the day. Both sides no doubt have their lobbyists up there on Capitol Hill, who are hard at work trying to lay out the case for their client. As to why ‘both’ the NFL and NFLPA should see fit to have lobbyists working on their behalf in Washington , merely suggests that this has more to do with being seen to have the power to get legislation passed that is of benefit to each of the respective parties in question. And for the NFL this amounts to their anti-trust exemption status.

Is it me but are the members of the House Judiciary Committee such a dull and boring group of individuals ? Perhaps none more so than the committee chairman himself, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich) .This guy makes Pat Robertson seem like a lively, well versed intellectual and then some !. But then again, that’s not saying much about Robertson , given his ‘vile remarks’ aimed towards the Haitian people in the aftermath of the recent earthquake there. Hopefully there’s a f_cking hot place in hell waiting for his racially bigoted a_s !

All of the posturing in the world won’t help change anything if neither side is willing to acquiesce to the others’ wishes . As to what Congress, in this case can do to ramp down the rhetoric between the two sides and force an agreement that is equitable for both parties remains to be seen. I’d certainly like to think that there are far more important domestic issues that need to be addressed , rather than seeing the House Judiciary Committee meet with two sides who are more self absorbed about their own PR images than they are about getting things done. And at the same I’d certainly like to think that DeMaurice Smith can be proactive in addressing the issue as to the conduct of his members. Especially in the case of their off the field behavior. For the NFL and in particular the owners , theirs now is a thankless task as they seemingly don’t viewed as being greedy . But yet with this lone move in the rescinding of an agreement that they’ve failed to honor. How must it look to the fans and general public to begin with ? Surely the owners and the Goodell’s office had to have foreseen that there would be an economic downturn of sorts ? Never mind how acute it has now become. It’s all about planning and getting your ducks all lined up in a row. Instead they’ve feasted on the largess of the fans and the public over the years while growing extremely wealthy from all of their business dealings and maneuvers. The average value of an NFL franchise has increased exponentially over the last decade. In fact it has increased in excess of 25 % over that period. Pardon me for saying this but if they’re now claiming poverty then there’s something indeed wrong with the business template under which the NFL now works .

In November of last year, I wrote an article entitled ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free’ ! The piece in question, went on to suggest how I felt that many of the US owners who had made the foray into owning an English soccer club within the Premiership (EPL), were in fact no better than that of disgraced financiers Bernie Madoff and Allen Stanford. In each case it has led to the demise of their respective financial empires and the loss of untold billions of dollars for their prospective clients. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, while Stanford awaits trial through the US Federal Court System.

Malcolm Glazer far right seen here with sons Joel (left) and Bryan. The family's sporting business interests includes the ownership of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership League's Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Nugent .......
Malcolm Glazer far right seen here with sons Joel (left) and Bryan. The family's sporting business interests includes the ownership of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the English Premiership League's Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mike Nugent .......

It has been well chronicled that the Glazer family having bought Premiership side Manchester United had hoped to carry on the same undoubted success the team has come to be known for over the past quarter of a century. Their unparalleled success with manager, Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm has made the team ‘the most glamorous and most valuable sports franchise in the world’ .

Initially the purchase was met with a great deal of skepticism and the fact that the family used very little money of their own in the purchase, should’ve been enough of an indication that they were being capricious and overwhelmingly disingenuous as to their overall intentions concerning the team. They leveraged the team buy borrowing against its assets in order to facilitate the purchase . The price at the time was in excess of $1.255 billion including fees. Four years on into the ownership by the family , ticket prices have risen in excess of 45% and the team is laden with a debt in excess of $1.11 billion . As to what that would suggest as to the business acumen of the family , is that they’re nowhere competent enough to be running a sports franchise. With Malcolm Glazer, as the patriarch now handing over the reins of running the club to his sons, Byran , Joel and Avram Glazer. It was felt their custodianship of the club would be in safe hands. At this juncture that doesn’t appear to be the case at all.

United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson seen here in a CNN interview discussing his famed managerial career. Ferguson is the most successful soccer coach in Premiership history. Prior to his ascending to the position as manager on Manchester United , he also assembled a successful resume’ as coach of Scottish Premier League team Aberdeen FC.

Courtesy of The Guardian UK

Manchester United’s sales pitch is far from a premium bond

The Glazer family’s attempt to raise money to pay off massive debts paints a bleak picture of Manchester United’s future

By David Conn , The Guardian

When navigating the thunderously depressing proposal by the Glazer family to load Manchester United with £500m of debt for the third time since their takeover in May 2005, it helps to imagine where United might be had the Glazers never turned up in the first place, to buy the glory, glory club with all their borrowed millions.

Before engaging with Sir Alex Ferguson’s remarkable contention that United’s finances, laden with borrowings over £700m and £67m interest payable last year, are “of no concern at all”, recall what the United board itself said at the time. When Malcolm Glazer and his six children – who, we now know, have borrowed £10m from United – launched their takeover bid, the board, which included the current chief executive David Gill, expressed vehement opposition to it.

Echoing the concerns of the well-informed United fans’ campaign, the board warned that the Glazers’ business plan was “aggressive”, and that the proposed structure for the club “still contains more leverage [debt] than the board would consider prudent and that as a consequence there is likely to be significant financial strain on the business.”

Despite that, the Glazers bought the club for £810m, a fortune pocketed greedily by enough shareholders in what was then Manchester United plc. The Glazers paid £270m themselves, borrowing the other £540m from banks and hedge funds. In the four years up to the latest accounts to 30 June 2009, United became liable to pay more than £325m in interest alone, yet the interest they have not paid, plus fees, has increased the debt the Glazers loaded on to United to £700m.

United, and Ferguson, now argue it is all fine, the club are not constrained by that debt mountain and the board was therefore wrong in its warning back then. Ferguson said last week that the windfall from the £81m sale of Cristiano Ronaldo is there for him to spend, but he does not want to because the market is overpriced. That assertion has been rather undone by the prospectus, which sets out the plan to transfer £70m cash from United to one of the Glazers’ holding companies, partly to pay off the hedge funds which charge swingeing 14.25% interest.

Now imagine how United might look without the Glazer debt. True, as a plc – the Stock Market listing which football executives now agree was a failed experiment, despite defending it zealously at the time – United paid dividends to shareholders. Yet even allowing for the increase in turnover, from £171m to the most recent £278m, the 2004 dividend was £7m, nothing like the mountain of interest, £42m to banks, £25m to hedge funds, with which the Glazers have burdened United.

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With the team now ‘hemorrhaging red ink’ all over its balance sheet , it has to be said that the Glazers have been completely inept in their running of the team. On the field they still continue to have success but there mere thought that they’re now being brought to brink of bankruptcy is enough to send shivers down the spine of entire Premiership (EPL). Never mind the fact that the family’s other sporting interest, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is now undergoing a change in its persona as well as in terms of its executive and coaching structure. First time GM, Mark Dominik and coach Raheem Morris have been thrust into the deep end . With the firing of their predecessors Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden. The team underwent a less than stellar season in the NFL, posting a 3-13 record in the NFC South. And with the front office being reluctant to spend money in attracting talent to the team . It is understandable why the franchise is now in such a dire predicament. They aren’t in the slightest bit interested in being a serious contender within the NFL and both Morris and Dominik are merely paying lip service with their inane comments to begin with. They’re fully aware as to the financial dilemma and maelstrom that the organization is now in. The Glazers will do whatever they can to ‘pay the piper’ in order to try and stave off financial bankruptcy. They have been far too secretive as to their financial dealings and their present situation.

Raheem  Morris (second from the right)  is  seen here  alongside    Edward  and  Brian Glazer (center)  with   Joel  Glazer   far   right.    Left   is  Buccaneers'  GM,  Mark  Dominik .    photo  appears  courtesy  of   Getty  Images /  Paul  Mason  .....................
Raheem Morris (second from the right) is seen here alongside Edward and Brian Glazer (center) with Joel Glazer far right. Left is Buccaneers' GM, Mark Dominik . photo appears courtesy of Getty Images / Paul Mason .....................

The latest ploy by the Glazers initiated by Malcolm’s sons, is have a bond issue, in order to pay off some of the mounting debt and accruing interest that’s owed to their creditors. But herein lies the rub, the family is asking that United players participate in the exercise in order to show good faith, to try to elicit fans, as well as members of the public and public institutions into entering the endeavor. If they can’t be trusted to keep the club in a healthy financial state then why should it be incumbent on the players to participate in this maneuver ? If anything Bryan, Joel and Avram are looking to save their own asses as they to try not to embarrass the family any further with the sheer ineptitude shown by them when it comes to their financial dealings and business acumen, as it not only relates to the soccer club but also to their NFL franchise.

It is hoped that the NFL hierarchy as well its board of governors are keeping a watchful eye on the Glazer family and their dealing with both sport’s franchises within their custodianship . If one should fail then there’s no reason to believe why the other can’t be placed in a similar predicament.

In order to read ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor ……It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free’ ….click here.

The  always  delectable   Vida   Guerra  .  More  than  willing  to  aspire to  meeting  a  man's   many   needs  and  then  some  !
The always delectable Vida Guerra . More than willing to aspire to meeting a man's many needs and then some !

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Trust Me I’m A Doctor …………It’s Money For Nothing And The Chicks Are Free !

Exuberance or just sheer stupidity on the part of the London Stock Exchange and that of the UK Takeover Panel. It could well be that they’ve not been made fully aware, as to the financial maneuvers of many of the prospective bidders for English Premiership League clubs ? And over the last five years there has been a swath of purchases made by prominent US businessman. Many of them viewed their purchases as a safe investment or just as a way of hiding taxable assets away from the prying eyes of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff is seen here arriving at US Federal District Court in Manhattan. Madoff pled guilty and was duly sentenced to 150 years in prison for his Ponzi scheme which is said to have defrauded his clients to the tune of $50 billion ($50,000,000,000).

One hundred and fifty years seems too small a price to pay, considering the financial havoc reaped upon families and financial institutions across the globe. But then again, how is that the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) could be so unaware as to the extent of this massive financial fraud ? Especially when on numerous occasions it had been brought to their attention that something was indeed wrong with many of Madoff’s financial dealings in the markets. But it’s as I’ve always alluded to, when you have no one with any common sense or a comprehensive understanding of the financial market and its vagaries. Then the abuses and fraudulent acts will continue to be commissioned unabated !

Christopher Cox who at the time of the Madoff saga, as well as the Enron escapade , was the Chairman of the SEC.Cox seen here, addressing members of the Senate Banking Committee up on Capitol Hill,Washington D.C. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Martin Pressman ……..

And it certainly hasn’t elicited the public’s trust when you continually hear the excuse behind the SEC’s mishandling of this all came down to the fact that they were under undue pressure just to look at small transactions to see if anything was awry. But what also is even more preposterous is the excuse that they were under staffed. We can spend billions sending rockets into space but we can’t hire several financial accountants and corporate tax attorneys to the benefit ot this one particular government agency to safeguard the public’s financial health and interests ? If that isn’t asinine, then pardon me for saying this,but the SEC is deserving of the ridicule and the attention that it received .

And while I’m for the free movement of capital and the creation of jobs in order to strengthen an economy. What I’m dead set against are the creation of tax shelters and financial maneuverings that take place in order to circumvent the sovereign laws of the land. Time and time again I here many out there complaining about the government raising their taxes. But I hear, not one complaint when the likes of Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, Bernie Ebbers or Andrew Fastow and Kenneth Lay. All have essentially wreaked just as much havoc, if not more on the lives of millions of people. All that bellyaching, as if the government are the only fu_king bunch of crooks out there ? When essentially,you’ve got major corporate boardrooms of Fortune 500 companies littered with ne’r do wells and fraudsters up and down the country doing more harm than any apparent good. And it would now appear that many of them are moving out of the boardrooms and unto the playing fields of nation and beyond.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA , NASCAR, MLS and indeed the English Premiership League (EPL) in Britain, have fairly rigorous financial criteria that has to be met before a prospective buyer can purchase a team. Thereafter, once they’ve met that criteria and the board of governors is in agreement with the prospective sale of the team. Then the purchaser essentially becomes the new owner of a sports franchise. And it now becomes in some respects, nothing more than a petty bauble that they’ll show off to their like minded wealthy colleagues and social acquaintances.

In the United Kingdom (UK) , many of the soccer clubs in the Premiership are actually publicly listed companies. And the directors of those clubs have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to safeguard and act in their best interests. Something that’s not always been done by several of the owners in recent memory. And in order for a team that’s publicly listed to be taken over. The prospective bidder for those shares of the team, has to be in compliance with the act of the Takeover Panel. Wherein,upon purchasing 30% of the shares of a club they have to make the panel and the LSE fully aware, as to their intentions.

I bring this particular topic to the foreground , in light of the fact that a number of teams across a widening array of sports now seem to have found themselves in a severe financial crisis. Much of it brought about by themselves and in some cases, it has merely come down to the fact that the world is in an economic downturn. Which will affect how one spends their discretionary disposable income. It has began to hit home for a number of team in all sectors of the sports world. The NBA and many of it franchises face a severe financial crisis. Albeit, that the league’s commissioner, David Stern would have you believe otherwise. And that the health of the game has never been better in terms of its brand and marketing. That may well be all well and good. But the bottom line for many of the franchises of the NBA isn’t as healthy as they once were. Declining revenues by away smaller attendances for game and less money being spent on concessions and memorabilia at their games. And you have something of a ‘perfect storm’ within your midst.

If you thought that the NBA was only the sport where this was happening, then think again. In the case of NASCAR, supposedly the most fan and media friendly sport in North America. Attendance is down across the board by over 8% and the viewership on a year to year basis, has declined in excess of 23 % over the last four years alone. The NBA has had to delve into the capital markets to the tune of $250 million in the last fiscal year in order to ensure the financial well being of several of their franchises. And the extent of the situation is becoming even more acute by the minute.

Uber-agent Scott Boras  , seated left and  perhaps  his most  high profiled   major league client ,  Alex Rodriguez.  Over  the  course  of  his  career  Boras  negotiated  contracts  said  to  be  worth  in  excess  of  $ 4.8 billion .  And  he was at the  center  of the  most  acquisitions made by  the  Yankees in that  of Mark Teixiera  and  A J Burnett ,  two  more of his  clients.   Of the  ten highest  paid  players  in the  game ,  six of those are   clients  of  Scott Boras.     picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Hugh MacIntosh  ..............................................

Uber-agent Scott Boras, seated left and perhaps his most high profiled major league client, Alex Rodriguez. Over the course of his career Boras negotiated contracts said to be worth in excess of $ 4.8 billion. And he was at the center of the most recent acquisitions made by the New York Yankees ,in that of Mark Teixiera and A. J. Burnett, two more of his clients. Of the ten highest paid players in the game , six of those are clients of Scott Boras. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Hugh MacIntosh ………

Bud Selig and Major League Baseball suffer from the misbelief that because the New York Yankees lifted this year’s World Series crown, then the game of baseball happens to be in a healthy state ? What Selig still fails to get , is that the teams in the mid to smaller markets have to scrimp and save every last red cent, merely to make ends meet. Much less survive the ordeal of having to play a 162 game regular season schedule. Hey Bud, So Zach Greinke wins the AL Cy Young Award ? What’s the bet, two years from now he’s gone from the Kansas City Royals ? If not sooner ? Simply put, because of your intransigence and that vulture, Scott Boras. The game of baseball is in a quagmire and in the true sense of the word until you and your hierarchy sits down with the players and resolve the issue concerning the escalating salaries. Then there’ll continue to be distrust amongst the two vested parties. Never mind the fact that the fans of the game can’t trust you or anyone within the MLBPA, to begin with. You keep on blowing smoke up some people’s ass and clearly you and Scott Boras are out of touch with the harsh economic realities of the present. But just you keep on going as you are and you’ll be in for a very rude awakening !

In the UK, where the pre-eminent sport played , is that of soccer. The clubs now are slowly waking up to stark a reality and that essentially applies clubs within the Premiership (EPL). Giants such as Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have suddenly began to realize that you can no longer buy way your way to success. Especially when your revenues are declining because of economic and inflationary fears. Teams are now having to be frugal with regard to their budgets.

Tom Hicks (right) and  to his  business partner George Gillett Jr , owners  of the  Premiership  soccer club  Liverpool FC. The  co-owners  are  now  said  to be  feeling  the  brunt  of the  anger  from  Liverpool's  fans  as they're  said  to  be  considering  selling  the  team's best  player , Fernando Torres.  Much  to  the  chagrin  of the  team's   coach, Rafael  Benitez.  The coach  has let it  be  known  that  should  the  team  sell  Torres.  Then  he  too  will   quit  the  club  immediately.   Much  of this problem  has  been  created  by  the  financial  maneuvering  of the  owners  as   they've  laden  the  club  with  an  excessive  amount  of   debt.     picture  appears  courtesy  of  dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty  ..................
Tom Hicks (right) and to his business partner George Gillett Jr , owners of the Premiership soccer club Liverpool FC. The co-owners are now said to be feeling the brunt of the anger from Liverpool's fans as they're said to be considering selling the team's best player , Fernando Torres. Much to the chagrin of the team's coach, Rafael Benitez. The coach has let it be known that should the team sell Torres. Then he too will quit the club immediately. Much of this problem has been created by the financial maneuvering of the owners as they've laden the club with an excessive amount of debt. picture appears courtesy of dailymail.co.uk/ Andrew Fogarty ..................

As I’d alluded to earlier a number of teams have seen their fortunes change for the better. While many others have not been as fortunate in that endeavor. Teams such as Arsenal, Chelsea , Manchester United and Liverpool to name but a few,have had a change in ownership over the past five years. They’ve either been bought outright , or used as an investment vehicle for their new owners. However, the financial maneuvers that led to a great many of those deal are now coming into question. And nowhere now is this more apparent now,than with what is transpiring in the hallways and boardrooms of both Liverpool and Manchester United.And the case of Liverpool it is now creating an impasse between the team’s coach, Rafael Benitez and the ownership group of Texas businessmen, George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Fernando Torres  and   Liverpool  coach  Rafael  Benitez (right)  seen  here  at   Anfield  ,  home   of Liverpool FC  .  picture  appears courtesy   dailymail.co.uk/  Ian  Hodgson  ..............
Fernando Torres and Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez (right) seen here at Anfield , home of Liverpool FC . picture appears courtesy dailymail.co.uk/ Ian Hodgson ..............

The relationship between coach and owner has become strained as there have been rumblings that the owners who are desperately in need of cash to meet financial obligations to their financiers (bankers) – are seeking to sell one team’s best players in,Fernando Torres. And this has come much to the dismay of Benitez as well as the loyal fans of the team. But what is also becoming more apparent is the financial stability and viability of the club. It has been laden with a great deal of debt and even though Gillett and Hicks bought the club for in excess $900 million. Much of that money was raised through leveraging the assets of the team with a minimal cash infusion by Gillett and Hicks. Payments on that debt has to be made on time and invariably the owners haven’t been forthcoming as to the balance sheet of the club and its present status.

There are no sobering thought processes here, as to the financial mismanagement of a sports franchise. But invariably,whenever there’s said to be a problem. The fans are always the last to know and the first to find out, how much it may well invariably end up costing them.And it is no different,with the situation facing the Manchester United and that of its owners the Glazer family, headed by their patriarch, Malcolm Glazer. The family also owns the NFL franchise, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though the legacy of success with the soccer club hasn’t abated. For the NFL franchise , success has been few and far between. At present they may well be the worse ran and possibly the worst team in the NFL. Their futility alone this year, has many reminiscing about the early years of the franchise when they were woefully inept. And mere mention of the Buccaneers’ name more often than not was greeted with laughter.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik discuss the Buccaneers first round selection in the draft room at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday, April 25, 2009, in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Matt May/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers had seen a great deal of upheaval in the offseason, with the firing of former coach, Jon Gruden and General Manager, Bruce Allen. Installed to replace them were first year coach, Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik, as the new general manager. And the inexperience has shown with the duo Dominik and Morris, by way of the blunders made with the team’s roster , lack of experience,both on and off the field . And the mere fact that there’s no team leadership forthcoming from anyone on the team. And that includes such seasoned veterans as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow.

Patriarch  Malcolm  Glaze (center)  and   two of his  sons Joel  (right) and  Brian  , far  left  , seen here  attending   a  Premiership  league  game   at Old  Trafford ,   Manchester  United's  home   venue .   picture appears  courtesy  of    dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony  Hodgins  .................
Patriarch, Malcolm Glaze (center) and two of his sons Joel (right) and Brian , far left , seen here attending a Premiership league game at Old Trafford , Manchester United's home venue . picture appears courtesy of dailytelegraph.uk.co/ Anthony Hodgins .................

When the family first bought the Premiership club , it was felt it would be of benefit to both organizations. The universal appeal of United , who are seen as the soccer world’s answer to the New York Yankees. As the success of both franchises is unrivaled and unparalleled . However , what has gone down within the inner workings of both franchise borders on either stupidity, or the mere fact that this is all being done with some sort of greater objective in mind. Manchester United having been bought for $1.5 billion dollars, though much of it was in the form of a leveraged buyout (LBO). It is still saddled with a debt of over $1.15 billion dollars, bearing in mind that there’s accruing interest and the slow amortization of the debt. The family has seen fit to act with a great deal of secrecy that when questioned on their financial situation. The answers have been either fleeting or mono-syllabic.

Things may very well change as UEFA,the governing body of soccer throughout Europe seeks to enact a strong set of rules governing the operational and financial viability of a team. But this will only pertain to teams participating or who in the future seek to participate in any of its club competitions. This may well change the face of soccer not only domestically in the UK but also across the continent of Europe.

As contrived as it might appear to be , I do feel that a number of franchise owners merely treat their teams as a bauble to be paraded as a way of showing off their wealth and ostentatiousness. Never mind the fact that if the franchises are part of a community, then its citizens ought not to feel shutout when they tend to show some interest in the team beyond the field of play. It’s as if some of these sports franchise owners are no different from many of the corporate wheelers and dealers that’ve brought the country to its knees. Almost as if it is crawling on all fours, begging like a homeless vagrant for a morsel of food.

Trust me I’m a doctor and the owners are merely all about the money and the chicks are just free !

Dire Straits’ ‘Money For Nothing’ also featuring Sting. Lyrics by Mark Knopfler.