The Silly Season ……. Well It’s Baseball Isn’t It ?

The Silly Season ……. Well It’s Baseball Isn’t It ?

By tophatal ………

The MLB postseason and many fans were in awe of the St Louis Cardinals fifth World Series title as they defeated the two time defending ALCS champions , in the Texas Rangers . Now with that in mind the offseason now enters its silly phase as the plethora of MLB sports agents and general managers around the game seek to sign many of the high profile agents that will the prized possession of any team seeking to bolster their respective rosters .

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Both the St Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers have their issues to deal with concerning a number of impending free agents on their payrolls. Most notably for the Cardinals they will seek to retain their All Star first baseman Albert Pujols . For GM John Mozeliak , he and the front office must be at their wits’ end as to how best to maneuver themselves while not wanting to burst the bank or simply alienate the faithful Cardinals’ fans who passionately attend the games at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri . Pujols’ agent Dan Lozano we’re told is not intent on giving the organization a home team discount by way of the the long term contract being sought by his client .

It’s hard to determine what Pujols is said to be worth where stats simply dictate everything about the game rather than the intangibles that a player brings . We know that Alex Rodriguez is the highest paid player in the game but by way of postseason productivity the Yankees’ third baseman simply isn’t in the same class as the Cardinals’ three time MVP . And while both have resumes` that will undoubtedly see one , if not both enshrined in Baseball’s Hall of Fame . For for the moment it is all about the here and now . Granted, with Rodriguez’s admitted guilt , as to his use of anabolic steroids , I am not so sure that the BBWAA will still be kind to the player at the time of his meeting the Hall’s eligibility criteria.

Having now seen the team in consecutive seasons come up short in the game’s postseason finale it has to be hard on Texas Rangers’ team president Nolan Ryan as well as general manager Jon Daniels to have seen the team flounder in the way that it has . The bullpen of the Rangers came up short when it mattered most during the postseason I am quite sure that the coaching staff and general manager will do what’s best to bolster the ballclub’s rotation . Jon Daniels knows however that the team can ill afford to lose starting pitcher C J Wilson . And though the player is not amongst the most highly paid pitchers the game but his performances this season has undoubtedly been the envy of some the general managers and managers within the game , seeking to bolster their pitching rotations.

The Texas Rangers are not starved for cash but herein lies the caveat with regard to the team and the thought process that may well be involved . Do they reward a player simply based upon a year and a half of stellar productivity or do they allow C J Wilson to seek his future elsewhere ? There’s no doubt in my mind that the pitcher played his part in the team’s success this season from a pitching standpoint .

So many teams fell by the wayside not only during the regular season but also during the postseason . But such has been the waywardness of these teams and the proclivity of the team owners , managers and general managers to simply overpay for moderate talent , that it has me wondering when will baseball’s league hierarchy simply wake up to the fact that they cannot continue down this route while seemingly think that they’re in a good enough position to carry down this route . One simply has to look at the egregious behavior of Frank McCourt the team’s front office while running or should I put that more aptly ruining the Los Angeles Dodgers ? The beleaguered owner simply ran amok by plundering the coffers of the ballclub while apportioning blame elsewhere for his own malfeasance . And I hear assholes simply espouse the fact that through their own experience of having insight into the game they can tell you that the issues that a number of teams face is not that all severe . Have you ever heard any such fucking bullshit in your life ? Is it any wonder that the MLB hierarchy and the owners are simply looked upon as buffoons and simpletons ? If only Bud Selig had a fucking brain to begin with !

The Detroit Tigers who won the AL Central with limitless ease only see their postseason foray derailed in the ALCS by the Texas Rangers have now made the decision that they will not be bringing back seasoned veterans Magglio Ordonez and Ozzie Guillen . Tigers’ GM Dave Dombrowski alongside Jim Leyland made that bold choice to jettison both of these seasoned veterans in order to assess what they now have within the organization by way of their overall talent. The team also looks as if it will retain Delmon Young while looking to simply go younger while having Justin Verlander as the fulcrum of this organization.

We are all aware no doubt as to the seismic meltdown during the final month of the Boston Red Sox’s season as they went 7-20 during the month of September and thereby costing the organization the wildcard berth in AL . In the aftermath of that all Terry Francona did not have his contract extension taken up by the front office while general manager Theo Esptein seemingly resigned his position with the organization to accept an offer from Tom Ricketts to become the Head of Baseball of Operations for the Chicago Cubs. The Red Sox have since promoted Ben Cherington to succeed Epstein but the new incumbent will now have to assess the roster and look to get rid of the “dead weight” on this team . It would be a safe bet to suggest that John Lackey , Johnathan Papelbon , Erik Bedard and David Ortiz might well have played their last games of their careers for this organization . If anything the real issues behind the team’s downfall in the latter part of the season was the complete lack of leadership and activity from the players who were deemed to seasoned veterans . Josh Beckett who simply failed to deliver when it mattered most still finds himself being handsomely being handsomely rewarded by the Boston Red Sox . It remains to be seen what moves will be made by the front office during the offseason.

Epstein have engulfed himself in assessing the needs of the Chicago Cubs has already made several moves within the front office , having hired Jed Hoyer and to become the general manager and Jason McLeod as the assistant general manager of the ball club. Both individuals are former front office executives with the San Diego Padres . With those hires , Theo Epstein has assigned himself with a group of like minded executives whose beliefs are building from within , in terms of player personnel . Along with the hiring , Epstein has since fired the Chicago Cubs’ manager Mike Quade , a decision that in reality shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone , given the team’s dubious record (71-91) this past season within the NL Central .

During the winter months when the agents and general managers seemingly keep in contact with each other while seeking to make the moves that will best benefit their clients , agents such as Scott Boras , who if anything has become the bane of the managers , owners and general managers within the game. Suffice to say , that Boras will be able to dupe many of these executives and lure them into overpaying for a number of his clients.

The Philadelphia Phillies by their own estimation had a season that if anything completely show what complacency can do to a team . Now in the aftermath of Charlie Manuel’s players wilting like a shrinking violet in the NLDS to the St Louis Cardinals . It is back to the drawing board the manager and GM Rueben Amaro Jr as they once again seek to assess the flaws on this roster . The organization has seen fit not to extend the contracts of both Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt .

If C J Wilson is said to now be the most prized free agent pitcher on the market during the offseason , then the curiousity factor surrounding Japanese player Yu Darvish could really pique the interest teams such as the New York Yankees , Chicago Cubs , their crosstown rivals the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels could all very well be interested in both Wilson and the Japanese major league player.

I know that the intent of baseball is to seek a competitive balance and one could attest to the fact that the game now has that , but that clearly is not the case ! . There hasn’t ever really been parity within Major League Baseball because the league hierarchy in conjunction with the MLBPA (union) would rather not see that scenario arise . Instead , Bud Selig with his rather idiotic notion that divisional realignment would be the best way forward for the teams . If the commissioner simply can’t rein in the egregious behavior of owners such as Frank McCourt , Bob Nutting , Jeffrey Loria , David Glass , Lew Wolff and Fred Wilpon . Owners who have simply at the largess of the commissioner have acted like chickens running around the their coop without an idea as to what the hell they’re meant to be doing . This has now become the “silly season” as it relates to the offseason as we’re invited to observe the maneuvers of the teams after their season finale .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the offseason as the teams around baseball seek to make their moves in order to bolster their rosters ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

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(1) FILE – In this Dec. 13, 2000, file photo, then-Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette smiles during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston. A person familiar with the deal say Duquette has signed a three-year contract to become the Baltimore Orioles’ president of baseball operations . The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Orioles haven’t announced the deal, says Duquette signed the contract Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(2) FILE – In this Sept. 23, 2011, file photo, Cleveland Indians’ Jim Thome bats against the Minnesota Twins in a baseball game in Cleveland. Thome and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a $1.25 million, one-year contract. AP Photo/Mark Duncan ….

(3) Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers , left, shakes hands with manager Kirk Gibson during a news conference after Gibson was named permanent manager of the team Monday, Oct. 4, 2010, in Phoenix. Hired as the interim manager after a midseason shake-up, Gibson was given the permanent job Monday, signing a two-year deal with a team option for 2013. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin …..

(4) Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers in the first inning of Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 13, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Verlander has been named Player of the Year and American League Outstanding Pitcher during the 2011 Players Choice Awards by Major League baseball players on November 3, 2011. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(5) Baseball player Albert Pujols speaks during the dedication of a 10-foot, 1,100-pound bronze statue of the St. Louis Cardinals slugger Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011, in Maryland Heights, Mo. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(6) National League baseball players who won Gold Gloves for the 2011 season are shown during spring training in 2011, at various locations. In the top row from left are Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto, Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips and Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. In the bottom row from left are Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco, Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Gerardo Parra, Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp, and Los Angeles right fielder Andre Ethier. AP Photos ….

(7) Yu Darvish of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters is seen here pitching for the team. The player who’s now an unrestricted free agent is thought to be someone who will one of the more highly prized free agent pitchers this off-season . AFP/Getty Images/ Toshifumi Kitamura ….

(8) Texas Rangers’ starting pitcher C J Wilson , whom , the organization may well allow to test the free agency market rather than re-sign the player to a long term contract . AP Photo / Chris Blackwell ……

(9) General Manger Mike Rizzo , Bryce Harper (34) of the Washington Nationals and Scott Boras talk to the media during a press conference at Nationals Park on August 26, 2010 in Washington, DC. The young phenom was drafted by the organization in 2010 and signed to an extraordinary deal negotiated by his agent , Scott Boras . The uber-agent also happens to have Harper’s teammate Stephen Strasburg as a client . The pitcher like Harper was a number one overall pick by the Washington Nationals in 2009 Greg Fiume/ Getty Images North America …..
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Noreen_Teresa/

Hot chic pic of the day Teresa Noreen . If you’re running on empty then this is surely one way of filling yourself up with some vitality ! For more of Teresa simply click on the adjoining link shown . Just like J-Cole I simply can’t enough of this hot chic !

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Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall , Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and we now know why .

Lose Yourself ………

Lose Yourself …………

By tophatal ………

So baseball’s postseason finale has ended and the St Louis Cardinals reigns supreme over the baseball world . For manager Tony La Russa he joins a select band of managers to have won multiple World Series with one team and also having won in both the American and National Leagues . That asides it was a night for rejoicing within the city of St Louis and across the state of Missouri but most certainly for the ardent Cardinals’ fans who happened to have witnessed the team’s game seven triumph 6-2 over the Texas Rangers .

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The Rangers for their part throughout the series had their chances to take the championship when they had it within their grasp. It all came to no avail as Ron Washington’s team simply had trouble putting away with the St Louis Cardinals . The offense during game seven for the Rangers was non existent as Nelson Cruz , Josh Hamilton and Michael Young simply offered nothing by way of productivity when it mattered most . But it would also be prudent to add that the bullpen of the Texas Rangers also played its part in this loss. Two consecutive appearances in the World Series for the Rangers and on both occasions the same end result , a loss for the team. This has to be a tremendous disappointment for the coaching staff , in particular for team president Nolan Ryan , general manager Jon Daniels and the entire front office of the organization .

For David Freese of the St Louis Cardinals he finds himself on the list of Cardinals’ legends who have been named World Series MVP . Certainly the out-fielder as a hometown hero can now look to his future with this organization as being one , where he may well never have to buy a drink again while he remains a player with the St Louis Cardinals . And while the fans now await the decision by the front office and in particular that of general manager John Mozeliak and the De Witt family as the proprietary owners of the ball-club and their willingness to re-sign Albert Pujols who’s now an unrestricted free agent.

Pujols in his postgame interview was quick to point out that all he was concerned with , was relishing the aftermath of the team’s latest —- triumph and his wish to be part of future postseason victories at the highest level of the game. If Freese was seen as the hero of this series for the St Louis Cardinals then most certainly Chris Carpenter cannot have been that far behind . His pitching performances throughout this series almost certainly guaranteed the team making it as far as they reached. Never mind the heroics of the team during the last day of the regular season . And we can all attest to the fact the failings of both the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox still reverberates around the game , most notably so within the front office of the Red Sox . With the departure of their former general manager Theo Epstein to the Chicago Cubs , the promotion of Ben Cherington as his successor and the organization’s decision in not extending Terry Francona’s contract . One can allude to the fact that this is now a time of upheaval within that particular organization. It remains to be seen what now transpires concerning the free agents on this Red Sox roster and the decisions that will be made by the front office executives and coaching staff.

Now with the free agency period for baseball set to commence at midnight Monday 31st October it remains to be seen what moves will be made by the respective general managers and teams around the league as they seek to make themselves better for the upcoming season . We have already seen where the Philadelphia Phillies have chosen not to pick up the options on pitchers Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt . GM Reuben Amaro Jr. and the coaching staff will no doubt seek to bolster the roster through free agent acquisitions and quite possibly assessing their farm system and prospects .

Courtesy of MLB.com

La Russa announces his retirement as skipper

Steps down after three titles in 33 seasons, 16 with Cardinals

By Joey Nowak of MLB.com

Tony La Russa, the third-winningest manager in Major League history and most assuredly a future Hall of Famer, announced his retirement as a manager on Monday, fewer than three days after winning a World Series for the third time in his 33-year career, the past 16 of them with the Cardinals.

The surprising announcement was made during a Monday morning news conference at Busch Stadium.

“There isn’t one [factor] that dominates [my decision],” La Russa said. “They all just come together telling you your time is over.

“We went through the season and I felt that this just feels like it’s time to end it and I think it’s going to be great for the Cardinals to refresh what’s going on here.”

He said that he’d made his decision to retire in August, informing general manager John Mozeliak at that time. He said he told his coaching staff of his decision on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to what’s ahead,” La Russa said. “I’m ready to do something different.”

La Russa, 67, steps down with 2,728 managerial victories, ranking behind only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). Only Mack has managed in more ballgames. The Cardinals skipper is also the only manager in Major League Baseball history to win multiple pennants in both leagues and the second to win a World Series title in each, as well.

La Russa’s Oakland A’s won the World Series in 1989. Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson won World Series titles with Cincinnati and Detroit. The Cardinals’ championship was their second in the past six seasons.

La Russa said that he did not consider continuing in order to get the 36 wins he would have needed and pass McGraw on the all-time list.

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From my own perspective I cannot see how the St Louis Cardinals can be a success without Albert Pujols within their midst . It would be an economical and competitive suicide on the part of the of this organization. And anyone who believes that to be the contrary would either have to be a complete idiot or simply having come off a highly addictive opiate ! The player is not only the heart and soul of this team but also its vocal leader . The interpretations are there for all to see and as the player goes , so does the rest of this team . If one man is said to mean so much to an organization , then surely one man such as Pujols himself , knows what he means to the St Louis Cardinals ? . As a three time league MVP the player is now laying down a legacy for himself that will surely place in Cooperstown , New York as an enshrinee within the Hall of Fame .

Albert Pujols can now certainly lay claim that he might well be the most popular , if not the best Cardinals’ player to have donned their uniform. As the player lays claim not only to team records but also rewrites the records within the game itself it remains to be seen , what , if any decision will be made as to Pujols’ immediate future . It seems almost inconceivable to think that the player could very well be donning another uniform at the start of the 2012 season . But such are the vagaries of the game that until the league hierarchy , owners and union are all on the same page as to some sort financial constraints then we may well continue to see players simply departing from a team merely because the owners simply cannot meet a player’s financial demands .

As to the future of the Texas Rangers psychologically they may well recover but the indignity of suffering to consecutive World Series’ losses has me wondering how any organization can truly recover something like ! It has been done before but clearly this was not something that either Nolan Ryan or Jon Daniels could have envisaged . The Rangers’ team president was very gregarious with his pronouncement that the team would win the series in six game but never over the course of the World Series had his team simply shown that they had the upper hand over the St Louis Cardinals . And it certainly had to have occured players such as Josh Hamilton , Michael Young , Elvis Andrus , Colby Lewis and Derek Holland that if they were to prevail over their opponents then beating them at Busch Stadium had to be done , and be done with expediently and with malice. The biggest chink in the armor of the Texas Rangers over the course of the postseason but in particular this World Series has been the inconsistency of the bullpen . When it mattered most the players simply failed to deliver , therein now lies the story which sealed the fate of this team. The organization now goes into the offseason looking to shore up this team by whatever means necessary and given the financial resources now at Jon Daniels’ disposal I doubt that he will have any problems seeking the players he believes can make this organization a great deal more competitive ! The first order of business for the general manager has to be whether or not to re-sign Colby Lewis who becomes a free agent in the offseason.

Inasmuch as I have enjoyed this series I have to admit that while enthralling it has been nowhere as scintillating as the press would have us believe . Truth be known , the events as they have unfolded we were simply being led to believe that this would all be one big suspenseful event . Clearly that was not the case ! Game’s five and six may well have been the only games in this series that clearly had us all in awe , whereas the other five games were merely stocking fillers and not much beyond that !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What impressions do you have not only of the MLB postseason but also the regular season as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

tophatal ……………..

Picture and slide show details .
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(1) FILE – In this Oct. 25, 2011 file photo, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa smiles as he answers a question during a news conference, in St. Louis. Three days after winning the World Series, La Russa is retiring. The 67-year-old manager announced his retirement at a news conference Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(2) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 30: Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in a parade celebrating the team’s 11th World Series championship October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images …….

(3) Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in the World Series victory parade for the franchise’s 11th championship on October 30th in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images ….

(4) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 30: of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in the World Series victory parade for the franchise’s 11th championship on October 30th in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images ……

(5) Third baseman David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals addresses the crowd inside Busch Stadium on October 30, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images …..

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Eminem …………..” Lose Yourself ” . Perhaps this song best represents what went wrong for the Texas Rangers over the course of the postseason ?

You Pay You Get What You Deserve ……… !

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You Pay , You Get What You Deserve

By tophatal

Isn’t it funny how one momentarily blip and one patron believes that that game four of the World Series was a ratings’ bonanza for the Fox Network . In reality that may well have been true but bear in mind ratings for the game’s postseason finale has been on the decline for the last eight years. On Sunday night when Albert Pujols was putting on a show with his heroics with a magnificent performance . The player joined a select band of players in having hit three home runs in a game . That select band includes Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (twice) and Reggie Jackson .

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The Nielsens’ ratings have suggested that anything above a 12.5 share (14.2 million viewers) would create that anomaly that the series has been seen an upswing . MLB simply doesn’t know how to market its own damn brand but yet fans are that naive to think that because one game brings about some excitement , it necessitates everyone into believing that thinking that baseball is actually back. While the game was going on at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Texas , we had on NBC the New Orleans Saints laying a can of whup ass on the lowly Indianapolis Colts . The end result was a 62-7 was annihilation of Jim Caldwell’s players. Personally , at this juncture I would surmise that the Colts’ season for all sense and purpose has now ended and about the only thing that this team has to play for is their self respect and pride . Sadly , this all came about with the loss of Peyton Manning at the start of the season with a re-occurrence of his neck injury and with the player having to undergo a second invasive procedure the likelihood of a return this season now seems all the more improbable.

From my own perspective I would like to think that the Indianapolis Colts’ front office have been oblivious to the future of this franchise or GM Bill Polian may well have felt that he could ride Manning into the next decade. Unfortunately the team now sits at the bottom of the AFC South and there seems to be no clear indication as when they will be able to lift themselves out of their rut. There has been the suggestion that the Colts have played several of their opponents very close this season , and that has certainly been the case but when the franchise comes of on the wrong end of a result repeatedly , you simply get the feeling that there is now no confidence on this roster . It certainly isn’t happening amongst the veterans on this team , such as Robert Mathis , Jeff Saturday and Reggie Wayne . And the young up and coming stars such as Pierre Garcon and can only pray that Peyton Manning makes a quick return to the league but that now appears to be highly unlikely.

Now while this lopsided game was meant to be entertaining for the viewers on NBC as part of their Sunday night schedule , I have to ask myself what was it about this game that the broadcast outlet thought would be entertaining ? Surely given the fact that the Indianapolis Colts had yet to win a game and the very fact the play of Curtis Painter and Kerry Collins have shown that they are clearly not the answer for the team’s woes . From an defensive and offensive standpoint this team has struggled in every facet of its game . And although Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff have struggled strategically in getting the Colts playing at a high level of consistency .

The talk now is of the Indianapolis Colts being amongst the teams seeking to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck . And the way that things are now going it is by no means a certainty that the Colts are likely to the the team having the privilege of taking what is said to be the consensus overall number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft . Also playing their way into ineptitude and mediocrity are the Miami Dolphins (0-6) , St Louis Rams (0-6) and the slew of one loss teams such as the Arizona Cardinals (1-5) , Minnesota Vikings (1-6) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5). As such we can now discount the Jaguars as the organization is now set on their starting incumbent Blaine Gabbert . Coach Jack Del Rio obviously hopes that Gabbert’s play over the course of this season can place a stay of execution on his status as a coach with the organization .

My own thoughts on Del Rio as a coach, are that his days are numbered but somehow either through the naivete or stupidity of GM Gene Smith and team owner Wayne Weaver they allowed Jack Del Rio to remain as the head coach of the team . It was somewhat unfortunate that last night to witness the Jaguars in an a game (12-7) against the Baltimore Ravens that can be best described as a monstrous spectacle that gives NFL a bad name ! Seven weeks into the schedule and a number of teams are playing as if their their season had just begun yesterday . I’ll preface this by saying, that this NFL work stoppage has to my mind made NFL calendar somewhat of a joke ! Injuries asides , there is no way in hell had the lockout been avoided I seriously doubt that the brand of football we have seen this thus far would be this awful ! Doubt my word ? Then simply look at the results over the the season so far and then look at the team and player statistics ?

If game five of the World Series was meant to be pivotal then with the Texas Rangers proving to be victorious in taking down the St Louis Cardinals 4-2 . Game’s six and seven , should one be needed will determine the outcome of this series but inasmuch as the Texas Rangers now appear to be in the driver’s seat having taken a 3-2 lead , it would be foolish to overlook the St Louis Cardinals .

Tony La Russa’s team will host the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri ,. If Pujols was said to be the hero of game four then the Rangers’ Mike Napoli most certainly was the answer that the Ron Washington had been looking for in game five . The tide may well have turned but as I alluded to earlier you would be foolish to discount the chances of the Cardinals at this juncture . The St Louis Cardinals have been one of the very best teams at home over the course of the regular season . The Texas Rangers would be ill advised to simply think that their NL opponents will not fight until their very last breath to erase the deficit and come back to win this series outright. But for now it would appear that Ron Washington’s players are in the driving seat as they seek their first World Series title.

For Texas Rangers’ president Nolan Ryan , the team’s general manager Jon Daniels , Ryan’s partners , the coaching staff and the entire organization as a whole this has been a long an arduous journey . And while one has to acknowledge the contributions of former team executive Chuck Greenberg , prior to his departure , it has been the fervent will of Ryan and his belief in Ron Washington that has seemingly brought about much of the team’s success over the past few seasons .

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Whatever the events are, of tonight , I have to admit that I have found this World Series thrilling but would I say it has been suspenseful or awe inspiring ? Probably not ! As to the NFL schedule > this past weekend , well let’s just say that there were one or two games that I believe that the NFL Network and their broadcast partners wished that they had rather not televised . Monday night’s debacle (12-7) between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens left a great deal to be desired . And that Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks’ game (6-3) , how is it that there’s not some sort of formal apology from either franchise for serving up such bulls_it ? I know that the Indianapolis Colts are aching and they miss Peyton Manning sorely but when you simply lay down (62-7) like a whimpering dog that has been mistreated there’s no way in hell that I for one can feel any compassion for such a team ! My thoughts , simply my thoughts ! What are your feelings with regard to the plethora of games served up by the NFL over the weekend and also with regard to the series between the St Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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Picture and slide show details .

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(1) La Russa fu_cks up ! ET phone home . In this photo taken Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, the visiting team’s dugout phone to the bullpen is shown after Game 5 of baseball’s World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is taking full responsibility for the bullpen phone mix-up that dearly cost the Cardinals Monday night. The Rangers won 4-2 and took a 3-2 edge in the Series. AP Photo/Jamie Aron ….

(2 Texas Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in St. Louis. The Texas Rangers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(3) Manager Tony La Russa talks to the media ahead of Game 6 of the 2011 MLB World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 25, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images…

(4) Neftali Feliz (80) of the Texas Rangers pitches in the ninth inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 4-2 . AP Photo by Ronald Martin …

(5) Marcedes Lewis (89) of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts to run past Jameel McClain (53) of the Baltimore Ravens during the game at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images ….

(6) New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) celebrates his touchdown reception in front of Indianapolis Colts strong safety David Caldwell (30) during the third quarter of an NFL football game at the Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. The Saints would end up defeating the Colts 62-7 . AP Photo/Bill Feig ….

(7) Quarterback Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns tries to scramble in the pocket before being sacked during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images …

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Hot chick pic of the day …………….. Mallory Dylan

It’s Over When It’s Over But At Times It’s Not !

It’s Over When It’s Over But At Times It’s Not !

By Alan aka tophatal

OK I’ve had enough of the idiot Fighting Irish fans within this forum carrying on as if Brian Kelly’s — — Notre Dame football team is still relevant . What turned to be the highlight of their schedule simply showed the nation that this team simply is no longer worth talking about on the national stage ! . In their game against Laine Kiffin’s USC Trojans they came up short . And the thought of the Irish simply having to win a mere six games to qualify for a Bowl appearance makes a mockery of the system altogether of football at the collegiate level.

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Matt Barkley the starting quarterback for USC and his teammates laid the wood to Notre Dame and left no doubt in anyone’s mind that this Brian Kelly’s team simply isn’t what their fans believe them to be . They clearly are not good enough to be even worthy of a Bowl appearance much less being thought as being a member of BCS conference . USC not eligible for the postseason because of their NCAA imposed sanctions this in effect was the Trojans’ chance to shine and play spoiler , which indeed they did . Quarterback Dayne Crist and Notre Dame turned the ball over repeatedly ___ much like their play throughout much of the game the end result simply echoed what was apparent for all to see , this team isn’t as good some may well believe them to be . Lou Holtz can you hear me ? The Trojans came to play and make sure that any aspirations that the Fighting Irish may well have had simply went up in smoke . 31-17 being the end result in a game which essentially could have been of a much wider margin had Lane Kiffin’s players applied themselves more effectively.

Game three of the World Series was the coming out party for Albert Pujols this postseason , as the player simply added another milestone to his already historic career . The St Louis Cardinals as guests of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas , that silenced a Rangers’ crowd expecting to see the AL pennant winners stamp their authority on this game . Well , that wasn’t to be , albeit that the fans and a national television audience were witness to an explosive offensive onslaught from both teams with 23 runs being scored as the Cardinals came away with a 16-7 victory. Kyle Lohse came away with the win for the St Louis Cardinals as Ron Washington’s team now has to make sure they even this series by taking game four if they are to have a remote chance remaining in this series , much less winning their first World Series .

Given what we were led to believe in terms of the Texas Rangers’ pitching rotation it was clear that on this night Pujols and his bat were not about to be denied as he put on a riveting display of power hitting, going 5 for 6, 3HR’s , 4 runs scored with 6 RBI’s . It is on a night like this why you can appreciate the reason many believe that Albert Pujols is by far the “best player “ in the game today. In amassing three home runs in World Series game Pujols joins a select band of players to have hit three home runs in a World Series game and those players are enshrined in Cooperstown , New York in the Baseball Hall of Fame . The players in question are Babe Ruth (twice) and Reggie Jackson , each of whom went on to lead their teams to a World Series title. There may well be questions about whether or not the Cardinals’ front office will be able to resign the player to a long term contract but I firmly believe that GM John Mozeliak and the ownership group led by Willam O DeWitt , William DeWitt Jr and Fred Hanser will be making a tremendous mistake in not retaining the player’s services .

If there was one thing that was telling in this game it was the very fact that the bullpen of the Texas Rangers couldn’t live up to the expectations expected of them by their fans. I certainly don’t believe that the St Louis Cardinals are complacent enough to let this series now slip away from them as they are now in the driver’s seat . Tony La Russa knows that should the momentum continue with his team then they are well on their way to another World Series title should they obtain a victory in game four . On the mound for the Texas Rangers for that scheduled game will be Derek Holland as he will be facing Edwin Jackson of the St Louis Cardinals .

This series now takes on something of a major thrill ride for the fans as the expectations are , can the Cardinals essentially dampen the hopes of the Texas Rangers ? And in doing so essentially ending any real hopes of the Ron Washington’s team fighting their way back into this series . Rarely does a team comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series , and as a good as the Rangers are said to be there is a distinct feeling to my mind that we are about to see history repeat itself with this team losing once again losing to an NL team in the World Series. Who can forget Texas Rangers’ woes against a San Francisco Giants’ team that simply played sensationally throughout the 2010 World Series ?

Derek Holland will most definitely have to produce a solid pitching performance for Ron Washington and at the same time provide some sort of impetus for his teammates . Edwin Jackson for the St Louis Cardinals simply has to curtail what clearly is a very good Rangers’ offense when their bats are alight . It remains to be seen what events and stories are left to be told as this series plays itself out for the fans and the public’s consumption.

With Theo Epstein now having accepted Tom Ricketts’s proposal to become the defacto general manager of the Chicago Cubs , Epstein has been immediately been promoted to become team president and Head of Baseball Operations. And in what is said to be the executive’s choice his first hire has been that of Jed Hoyer as the general manager of the ballclub. It would be safe to say that for Epstein and Hoyer they have a great deal work ahead of them as they gauge this whole operation from the player personnel to the coaching staff . And while the belief for now is that the Cubs may well retain Mike Quade as the manager , I firmly believe that Epstein and Hoyer would like to bring in their own personal choice for the position ! This past season the team was a non factor
in the divisional race within the NL Central . The Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals were the sole representatives from the National League (NL) as the postseason representatives . The Cardinals as the NL pennant winners are now in embroiled in a fascinating World Series against the Texas Rangers.

PADRES: Departure of Hoyer, McLeod shouldn’t lead to major changes

By Dan Hayes

SAN DIEGO — Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and assistant general manager Jason McLeod may be headed to the Chicago Cubs, but the organization’s philosophy of cultivating its own impact players, key personnel in scouting and development and a streamlined information process are here to stay.

Jim Callis , Baseball America’s executive editor, said those secondary factors are far more important to the continued improvement of the Padres’ farm system than the departures of Hoyer and McLeod, which is expected to be announced this week.

“There’s no reason they can’t sustain what they started,” Callis said. “It’s more about getting the process in place. If you have a good process and are willing to invest, it’s definitely sustainable.

“They’ve got the process in place.”

Callis expects the Padres will rank sixth or higher among baseball’s 30 teams when Baseball America’s 2012 farm system rankings are released in December.

McLeod echoed those sentiments last week, saying the franchise has stockpiled more talent and athleticism than he could remember possessing at any time during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

In three years under Moorad, the Padres have spent $24.42 million in signing bonuses for amateur draft picks, including a club-record $11.020 million this season. The team also had another $5 million go unclaimed in 2010 when Karsten Whitson and A.J. Venegas chose college over the pros.

Callis expects the Padres will rank sixth or higher among baseball’s 30 teams when Baseball America’s 2012 farm system rankings are released in December.

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There’s a growing belief that the Chicago Cubs simply overpay for talent that hasn’t lived up to expectations . Carlos Zambrano bailed on his teammates and the organization and one could say that in terms of leadership there was none to be seen from anyone on the roster , much less from Quade and his coaching staff . Perhaps it’s me but when Alfonso Soriano as one of the highest paid players on the roster simply shows no leadership qualities and Aramis Ramirez has all but become as docile as a cat sipping milk when he’s up in the batter’s box , you can see the reasons why this organization hasn’t been relevant in the postseason for years !
And from a pitching standpoint the pitching rotation were inept over the course of the season .

At this point I am not so sure that Theo Epstein will be in a position to turn things around so quickly as many of the Cubs’ fans and the sports’ talk analysts within the city believe to think . Wrigley Field still remains a cathedral for the loyal Cubs’ fans with its history and legacy of Hall of Famers . Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts has staked a great deal in placing his faith on the wunderkind of baseball and herein lies the dilemma for this organization . It could very well take anywhere between three to five years before Epstein and his staff are able to turn things around make this team truly competitive within the game. We now will be able to see how truly capable Theo Epstein may well be as a general manager .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

In light of Saturday night’s event what if anything was the main highlight during the World Series ? Also from your own standpoint do you feel that Brian Kelly and his coaching staff are capable of turning things around within the Notre Dame program ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised and anything pertinent you believe concerning pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist looks to pass in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. AP Photo/Joe Raymond …..

(2) SOUTH BEND, IN – OCTOBER 22: Curtis McNeal (22) of the University of Southern California Trojans runs for yardage against the Notre Dame Fighting irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(3) Andrew Hendrix (12) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is stopped short of the goal by defensive players from the University of Southern California Trojans including Nick Perry (8) at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..

(4) St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols answers questions during a news conference after Game 3 of baseball’s World Series against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. Pujols hit three home runs to tie the World Series record in a 16-7 Cardinals’ victory. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ….

(5) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning for his third home run of the night during Game Three of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …

(6) FILE- This Dec.12, 2005, file photo, shows Boston Red Sox co-general manager Ben Cherington , left, and co-general manager Jed Hoyer , right, during their three month tenure as shared general manager during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston. Cherington is expected to be promoted on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, when the Red Sox have scheduled a news conference to introduce Theo Epstein’s replacement. Epstein resigned from Boston to take over as president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs on Friday, and the teams said they would hold off on more announcements out of respect for the teams in the World Series; Tuesday is the next off-day. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia …..

(7) Theo Epstein of the Chicago Cubs having accepted the offer to reprise his role it would now appear he is now to become the Head of Baseball Operations for the team . Subject to a formal announcement Jed Hoyer would then become the general manager with Jason McCleod becoming the assistant general manager of the team. Hoyer and McCleod held similar roles within the San Diego Padres’ front office . AP Photo / Keith Metcalfe ….

(8) Tom Ricketts the principal managing partner of the Chicago Cubs . In the aftermath of Jim Hendry’s departure the owner has sought to bring in a influx of fresh front office executive talent with a view to improving the organization competitively both on and off the field of play . Getty Images/ Ron Jackson …..

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NCAA Football results week 8

MLB news

MLB World Series schedule & results .

St Louis Cardinals news

Texas Rangers news

Chicago Cubs news

One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All …….. !

One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All

Well it’s finally here as MLB’s showcase event for the 2011 season with the commencement of the World Series . The prospective seven game series will be televised nationally by Fox and their hope is that the games will be a major lure for the prospective audiences even they just happen to be a passing observer. The two rival teams are the AL pennant winner the Texas Rangers who will be the guests of the St Louis Cardinals who in defeating ( 4-2) the Milwaukee Brewers garnered their seventeenth NL pennant over the course of the franchise’s storied history .

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The Texas Rangers coming off their second consecutive ALCS pennant and return to the World Series hope that a return in light of their World Series disappointment of 2010 in losing to the San Francisco Giants will be one of redemption . With that loss the front office led by team president Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels looked to learn from the mistakes made and at the same time revamp the roster in order to make them more competitive this season . The Texas Rangers were the runaway winners of the AL West with there being little opposition in any coming their opponents within the division .

The opposition provided by their opponents during the ALDS and NLCS was futile for want of a better word . However, this match-up against the St Louis Cardinals could well prove to the test that the Rangers so desperately need . From my own standpoint I hope that this will one of the better postseason finales of recent years ! On the mound for the St Louis Cardinals will their starting ace Chris Carpenter who faces off against C J Wilson .

St Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa like his opposite number Ron Washington has been part of the postseason but unlike the Texas manager he has had the pleasure of winning a World Series title . In fact the Cardinals’ manager is one a select band of MLB managers to have won a world championship in both leagues. If anything the St Louis Cardinals may well be viewed as the underdogs in this series as the AL pennant winner seem to be the prohibitive favorites for the world championship. A win could very well play its part and perhaps be the determining factor as to whether or not the St Louis Cardinals will be able to retain their highly prized impending free agent Albert Pujols . GM John Mozeliak and principal managing partner William O DeWitt know that securing the player to a long term deal that isn’t exorbitant and beyond the means of the organization . There is no denying that both teams in MLB postseason are looking to make this series an exciting thrill packed event , as to whether or not it turns out that way remains to be seen.

As much I can understand the need for the NFL to expand the broad base and global of the sport of football , it is now becoming more ridiculous with the league hierarchy’s thinking that staging a regular season game now on annual basis is in the best interest of the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with the team franchise owners heightens the game to even more astonishing peaks . This upcoming Sunday the Chicago Bears are guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the two teams meet at Wembley Stadium , in London , England .

With the NFL now having offices in Canada , South America , Europe , Far East Asia and an office in the United Kingdom , with the UK itself being one of the NFL’s most prominent consumer markets outside of North America. Herein lies the caveat , with the global economy now unstable it seems somewhat out of the norm to believe that the league still feels that they can continue down this path . Granted , the NFL is a multi billion dollar industry and though they recently returned to the workplace after their league imposed stoppage. The signs are that the league hierarchy and team owners feel that the North American consumer market has peaked , reached its maturation and saturation point.

This NFC matchup brings together two teams vying for divisional supremacy , albeit that the Chigaco Bears (3-3) are looking up at the Detroit Lions (5-1) and Green Bay Packers (6-0) who sit atop of the NFC North . Coach Lovie Smith’s team have to be of the opinion that if they are to contest the division , then a win against the Buccaners would place them in good standing . Jay Cutler , Brian Urlacher , Julius Peppers and Matt Forte as the season veterans on this team they ill be looking to show the form that had the Bears on the cusp of making their way to the Superbowl last season , only to be upended in the NFC championship game by the Green Bay Packers , the eventual winners of the Lombardi Trophy.

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff having rebounded from their 48-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers , in week 6 they rebounded in taking down the New Orleans in a highly competitive divisional game (26-20) during which the Buccaneers prevailed .

Josh Freeman of the Buccaneers is proving to be a real leader and one of the young up and coming quarterbacks within the NFL . He’s proving to be a hero in more ways than one and his last minute come from behind heroics are at times reminiscent in some ways of John Elway at his very best . The player’s stats in this one particular category already bears this out , much to the delight of his teammates and in particular to Raheem Morris and the coaching staff . In many ways this will be a game that will give even more credence as to whether or not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can improve on last season’s showing and mount a legitimate pedigree wherein one could view them as viable contenders for the this postseason and beyond .

GM Mark Dominik in conjunction with Raheem Morris , the scouting department and coaching staff have been prudent in their draft picks in recent years , making the team far more athletic and with the players being held accountable . Something that one couldn’t actually subscribe to when it came to Morris’ predecessor Jon Gruden . And Raheem Morris’ predecessor was never one to be known as someone who’d actually developed talent over the course of NFL career . Now please don’t throw the name of Rich Gannon into the ring as some evidence of that as the player simply found himself in an environment where he could flourish with the Oakland Raiders at the time and it wasn’t as if he wasn’t already a known commodity to begin with ! But therein lies the myth concerning Gruden and his presumed prowess as a developer of NFL talent !

Both the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stout defenses but as of late that hasn’t necessarily been the case with both having seen their secondaries exposed . That being said both teams have to get that facet of their game back on track as well as being more efficient from an offensive standpoint .

The Buccaneers will be seeking to get their offense off and running when they take centerstage at Wembley Stadium against their NFC opponent . As to what the fans in London should expect , remains to be seen . But clearly the NFL league hierarchy believe that this annual staging of a regular season game abroad will further broaden the brand’s (NFL) appeal on a global basis . Get the feeling that no matter how much money the league will have in its coffers it well never be enough ?

Well now that the NBA finds itself in the midst of league hierarchy mandated lockout ____ the league itself along with the NBPA (union) sought to go through mediation via the FMCS a federal government agency . The mediator just happens to be George Cohen , who initially presided over the initial hearings of the NFL during their prolonged labor stoppage . Commissioner David Stern and union his counterpart Billy Hunter are still at an impasse . To furthermore emphasize the diverging stances being taken the union’s executive committee led by their president Derek Fisher have unequivocally stated that they are not prepared to acquiesce to any of the league’s demands without there first being concessions from the NBA, itself .

With the NBA preseason having been postponed and the regular season schedule set to start in November it is now becoming abundantly clear that the entire regular season schedule is now in jeopardy . The league has estimated that losses accumulated will be in excess of $35-$40 million per month . That does not include losses to local authorities and the business closely tied into the local communities once the season begins in the NBA . There are those who suggest that those figures are vastly overstated but when you consider that the league itself has lost in excess of $450 million cumulatively over the past two seasons it is easy to understand the concerns of the league hierarchy and the team owners . However, to my mind these very same owners and the league itself , in pleading poverty have overlooked one thing , and that is that they have continued to spend capriciously over the past five years while not looking to rein in their costs. At the same time the avarice of the union seems to know no boundaries with some outrageous demands on their part .

So contentious have been the deliberations that you have also had high profiled players such as Dywane Wade , LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in no large part questioning the character of the commissioner . It is now becoming increasingly clear that the league and union are not only on a collision course but in the aftermath of this wreckage there could very well be one , if not two franchises that could end up biting the dust should this lockout be a prolonged over several months , if not longer .

The mayor of Sacramento , Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA professional is seeking to retain the Sacramento Kings within his city . But with a burgeoning municipal deficit , as well his having to reduce the city’s workforce it seems something of a futile exercise on Johnson’s path to try and keep the franchise within the city , while supposedly seeking assistance from businesses within the local community. Those very same businesses are feeling an economic crunch just like the rest of the country and it the population en mass . And the thought of the mayor seeking to use public funds in conjunction with private financing smacks of incompetence , given the issues he faces already within his city !

Owners such as Dan Gilbert , Mikhail Prokhorov , James Dolan and Jerry Buss for now may well be showing their support for the commissioner but I can’t help but wonder what happens when the league itself , now sees the stoppage entering into its second , fifth or six month !

The Sacramento Kings as a franchise has been hemorrhaging red ink incessantly over the past three years , with there being no real signs of abatement. The team is owned by the Maloof family with Joe and Gavin Maloof primarily overseeing the franchise’s business in conjunction with general manager and team president Geoff Petrie . And with the Kings’ ownership group merely playing a waiting game for the present with the city of Sacramento , while seeking out the opportunity to relocate the club . I for one , now feel that not unlike the acrimonious split that took place between the city of Seattle and the Seattle Supersonics we could very well see history simply repeat itself. I mean , David Stern was duplicitous in that instance with his backing of Clay Bennett and his partners leaving the city with the franchise to relocate in the city of Oklahoma , forming the Oklahoma City Thunder . The city of Seattle may well have felt that they got the better end of the deal with a $25 million payoff but they now have a white elephant on their hands with the venue which housed the Sonics at present now vacant .

The NBA lockout now has surpassed 100 days in its length but with no real sign of an accord in sight . However the cities of Memphis and Oklahoma are said to seeking a legal recourse against the league in light of potential financial losses they may well suffer if this stoppage goes on much longer . Oklahoma is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder where they’re housed in a multi million dollar facility owned ( Chesapeake Energy Center ) by the municipality . The Memphis Grizzlies are housed in the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee .

If either municipality should proceed ahead with any legal action action against the NBA , then in all likelihood they may well seek outside legal counsel in any prospective proceeding . My only personal thought on this matter would be for the two municipalities to proceed with that the proposed legal action jointly in US Federal Court in the state of Delaware ,. Given the fact that amongst the thirty NBA teams they are several multi billionaires amongst the throng of franchise owners within the NBA with now a number of them pleading poverty with regard to their respective franchises . Adam Silver the deputy commissioner of the league , one the mainstays of the NBA’s committee working on behalf of the hierarchy along with David Stern and Peter Holt , the owner of the San Antonio Spurs. representing the sport’s governing body in these deliberations . I have always maintained that no matter what the sport happens to be at the professional level municipal and state governmental agencies should not be held hostage by leagues such as the MLB , NBA , NFL , NHL , NASCAR or for that matter MLS (soccer) in assisting those governing bodies building state of the art facilities when rarely do they get anything tangible back in return . Does anyone truly believe that the city of New York is in a healthy financial state given that its mayor Michael Bloomberg fast-tracked the deals that benefited both the New York Mets and New York Yankees in aiding them to build their respective stadiums ( Citi-Field & Yankee Stadium ) ? Built at a joint cost of $2.355 billion with much of the funding coming by way a bond issue , multi faceted loans from a number major financial institutions and certain increases service fees levied upon residents and business within the locale .

For the Steinbrenner and Wilpon family as the proprietary owners Yankees , Mets and New York City government — _____ to say that they have screwed over the residents within the Bronx and Flushing would be an understatement to say the very least ! But at the same much of this can be easily laid to rest squarely upon the shoulders of US Congress and Senate , with regard to the statute (antitrust exemption & special tax privileges) that gives the governing sports’ bodies such latitude as a sport’s franchise .

With the Tampa Bay Rays’ demise in the postseason falling to the Texas Rangers it looks as if the apparent fallout that a number of Rays’ fans would fear to see could come into being . The team’s general manager Andrew Friedman has met publicly and privately with Los Angeles Angels’ owner Arte Moreno . The Angels are without a general manager after the abrupt resignation of Tony Reagins at the culmination of the regular season after the team’s subpar year .

Andrew Friedman’s contract has expired and it doesn’t appear as yet that an agreement on a renewal had been reached between the Rays’ general manager and the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg . If the senior managing partner knows what is good for not only himself and baseball club then it would be to sign the organization’s architect of the most heralded successes of the past five years . Not only was Friedman behind the hiring of Joe Maddon as the successor to Lou Piniella but also for some the Tampa Bay Rays’ astounding successes in their draft choices since he assumed the team’s lead front office executive in charge of personnel matters.

Amongst the ranks of the general managers within the game Andrew Friedman would have to rank up there alongside the likes of Brian Cashman , Theo Epstein , Jon Daniels , Kenny Williams , John Mozeliak , Frank Wren and Dave Dombrowski as being amongst the best of the best of the GM’s in MLB .

With the growing uncertainty as to the impending future of the ballclub this could very well be one of the first few nails in the coffin leading to the upheaval of the Tampa Bay Rays if they cannot continue the momentum attained under Andrew Friedman , should the premise arise of with him leaving the this organization. The fans may well applaud the plays of Evan Longoria , Desmond Jennings , David Price and James Shields but were it not for Friedman I seriously doubt that the fans in attendance at Tropicana Field would have seen this team come to fruition , much less there being a ball-club to support . If the Rays’ most loyal and fervent supporters want this organization to remain viable then they ought to make their voices heard , and let Stuart Sternberg know he would be ill advised to allow his young general manager to leave .

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In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts do you have ? And are you of the opinion that sports’ franchise owners should not hold state and local city municipalities hostage when it concerns arena and stadium issues ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and once again thanks always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………..

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Rafael Furcal(15) and Matt Holliday (7) of the St. Louis Cardinals go after the hit by Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers would go on to defeat the Cardinals 2-1 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(2) Michael Young (10) of the Texas Rangers celebrates in the dugout after hitting an RBI sacrifice fly ball to take a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers won 2-1. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(3) Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith answers a question during a news conference at the Oval cricket ground, London, Friday Oct. 21, 2011. The Bears will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday. AP Photo / Tom Hevezi …..

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Kellen Winslow, left, shares a joke with coach Raheem Morris during a team training session, Bagshot, west of London, Thursday Oct. 20, 2011. The Buccaneers will face Chicago Bears at London’s Wembley stadium on Sunday. AP Photo/Tom Hevezi …..

(5) Peter Holt, the owner of San Antonio Spurs, speaks to members of the media after NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on October 20, 2011 in New York City. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced that talks have broken down and no further meetings are scheduled. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …..

(6) Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman greets a fan at the front of the St Petersburg government center in downtonwn St Petersburg. Rumors are rife that the general manager could well leave the organization and accept the formal offer from the Los Angeles Angels’ team owner Arte Moreno to succeed Tony Reagins . St Petersburg Times / Ray Massey ….
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MLB news

MLB postseason schedule …. World Series

Texas Rangers @ —- St Louis Rangers

C J Wilson —– vs —– Chris Carpenter

NFL news

Week 7 schedule

Week 6 results

Chicago Bears news

Tampa Bay Buccaneers news

NB: This article was written on 20th October 2011 and published on the 10/21/2011 after game two had ended .

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What To Make of It All …………………

What To Make of It All …

Well the berths have been set for the 2011 World Series with the St Louis Cardinals representing the National League and last season’s AL pennant winners the Texas Rangers making their second consecutive appearance in MLB’s showcase event. From my own perspective this may well be the best possible scenario with which to end the postseason with the two best teams in the league playing in this series. It should come as no surprise to see that the Ron Washington’s team in the World Series as their play over the course of the season was of a consistently high level amongst their peers within the AL and most certainly in the league as a whole .

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The Texas Rangers made light work of defeating the Detroit Tigers 15-5 to win the ALCS outright 4-2 . For team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels their faith has been more than justified in keeping together a team that was bitterly disappointed after last season’s crushing defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in 2010 . And the asinine belief that Michael Young should have been jettisoned by the organization showed clearly that the fans who claim that the maneuever should have been made had no damn idea what the hell they were talking . Ron Washington and his coaching staff knew that the player alongside Josh Hamilton , Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz are the “heart and soul” of the team . It’s simply asinine to be making these type of statements without having anything to back it all up .

For Tony La Russa and this Cardinals’ team with their achievements from the regular season , it should have come as no surprise what they were able to achieve during with the postseason with their defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS . You simply knew that during the NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals once Ron Roenicke’s team failed to take advantage of the opportunities that came their way during the series there wasn’t much doubt that Albert Pujols and his teammates would find a way to make the Brewers pay for those mistakes.

Having won their most recent World Series in 2006 defeating the Detroit Tigers decisively 4-1 in that lopsided series . The St Louis Cardinals face perhaps an even more daunting task this time around when they open this year’s series at Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri on Wednesday in what is sure to be a raucous and staunch Cardinals’ following . On the mound for La Russa’s team will be their starting ace Chris Carpenter . A decision has yet to be made by Ron Washington and his coaching staff as to who the Texas Rangers’ starter is likely to be .

Say what you will the expectations may well be high for this series given what is at stake for both teams. The St Louis Cardinals will be seeking eleventh World Series title , while the Texas Rangers will be seeking their very first . The month of October during the postseason is littered with great feats of absolute amazement that make the game what it is and one of the major reasons why baseball still resonates with the fans . Unfortunately , however , the postseason television viewership for the series isn’t what it once was . And this year will certainly be no different in spite of the fact of the legacies of the two teams competing .

As the rapper Lupe Fiasco says in his hit song ” Words I Never Said “ would suggest Glen Beck is a ‘racist’ and Rush Limbaugh is a racist “. Well who am I to disagree ? But I never thought I would to live to see the day where I am now in almost complete agreement with the Conservative right winger Limbaugh as to the merits of Donovan McNabb as a player in the NFL ! McNabb’s struggles over the past two seasons have been well chronicled most notably with the Washington Redskins and this season with the Minnesota Vikings .

The Vikings this season are a team adrift in the midst of despair and without direction or leadership from anyone on this roster . And that is with due respect to Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson because neither at this point has shown that they possess any of the qualities mentioned . And it is now becoming abundantly clear that head coach Leslie Frazier , his coaching staff and the front office led by GM Rick Spielman made a monumental mistake in acquiring the veteran quarterback . His productivity this season ranks amongst the worst in the league at the position and especially with regard to the team’s offense in the red zone and on “third downs “.

Sunday’s game between two divisional (NFC North) foes in the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings , bore out everythin one has come to expect of a Vikings’ team completely lacking confidence and amongst the very worst within the NFC in total defense . The Vikings’ offensive line is abysmal and an aging McNabb is simply doing himself no favors by rushing around like a headless chicken unable to find anyone amongst his arsenal of offensive weapons . The only praise that can be placed upon this team is that Percy Harvin when given the chance can be electrifying to watch . Beyond that, there certainly isn’t enough lavish praise that can be heaped upon this team . Well not from my perspective I believe !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC . As to what the rest of the regular season holds now for the Minnesota Vikings I am not so sure that their long suffering fans are quite prepared to endure the maelstrom of uncertainty and continued ineptitude in terms of the team’s performances !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC .

Well one wheel has now dropped off the wagon that carried the hopes of the Detroit Lions this season . In what was an exciting game between the Jim Schwartz’s —- team and a surprisingly effective San Francisco 49ers led by a rejuvenated Alex Smith . Playing with a great deal of aplomb Jim Harbaugh’s players may well be the surprise of the NFC and no doubt the league this season .

In what was a highly entertaining game between the then unbeaten Detroit Lions would see the team suffer their first loss ( 25-19) of the season at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan , to the 49ers as Smith would rally his team and lead them back to what many may well have viewed as an improbable win . But the game would be remembered for its postgame antics with the apparent now unusual melee between the two opposing head coaches. I say let the two coaches decide their issues in the gladiator’s arena rather than Schwartz talking about a lack of class shown by Jim Harbaugh ! And at present if there’s a more under-rated running back in the league than Frank Gore , then can someone let me know who that might be ? With the ball in his hand and on the move , Gore is a devastating weapon to have on your team . .

10

(What could Schwartz be saying to Harbaugh at that moment in time ?) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

It has long been the contention that the NFC East should be viewed as the glamor division of the league . I now feel that the notion can no longer be justified in spite of the apparent legacies of such teams as the Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins . If anything the division that could well lay those claims to rest is that of the NFC South and the teams who reside there . Can there now be any doubt that the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are far more competitive than their rivals within the other divisions of the NFL ? Not only that but bear this in mind Matt Ryan , Cam Newton , Drew Brees and Josh Freeman are four of the most competitive and gifted quarterbacks within the NFC and league as a whole .

Granted , at 1-5 the Carolina Panthers are a work in progress under Ron Rivera and his coaching staff . But the competitive nature and athleticism brought by Cam Newton cannot be denied , albeit that they have lost some very close games this season . As this team gradually improves and their confidence grows there is no reason not to believe why they cannot be competitive not just merely within their own division but within the NFL as a whole . I am not so sure that beyond what we have witnessed from the team thus far we will see a team ready to compete for the upper echelons within the NFL.

OK, so we know what the New Orleans Saints are capable from an offensive standpoint and the prolific career of the team’s quarterback Drew Brees. But if there’s a knock against Sean Payton’s players it is the very the fact that on defense they become incredibly complacent and lackadaisical .

This past Sunday the New Orleans Saints were the guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . The game itself was one that pitted two aforementioned quarterbacks in Josh Freeman and Drew Brees . Freeman in his young career within the NFL is proving to be a very efficient quarterback in his own right , with many of his heroics coming late in the games . Josh Freeman has already amassed 8 come from behind wins for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he looks to lead Raheem Morris’ young team on their way to further glory .

This was a game of oddities where the Buccaneers’ much vaulted defense had to stand firm against Saints’ prolific offense . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would systematically deal with the New Orleans Saints in a game littered with multiple mistakes made by Sean Payton’s players . The resultant 26-20 win by the Buccaneers places them atop of the NFC South sharing the divisional lead with this past Sunday’s opponents.

As I alluded to earlier , the NFC South is a highly competitive division and with two teams placed firmly atop of the standings , each with a 4-2 record . Care to guess which team is liable to come out ahead within this division with the exception of the lowly Carolina Panthers ?

Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has been able to work wonders since he assumed the role of head coach from then disgraced Bobby Petrino , who departed from the franchise like a thief in the night . Arthur Blank , the team’s owner had seen the club sink to an all-time low with the subsequent derailing of Michael Vick’s career due to his own criminal misdeeds . Those lean years left the franchise without any direction and signs of any real leadership from within the organization or on the playing field ! With Matt Ryan’s drafting by the team in 2008 , the organization’s route seem to be directly on the path of gradual progression as some semblance of success was on its way. And in the subsequent years since, the coaching staff of the Atlanta Falcons under Smith’s guidance and that of general manager Rich McKay have assembled a roster that now seems intent on winning a Superbowl .

For three quarters on Sunday the Carolina Panthers held their own against the Atlanta Falcons . But as the game progressed it was clear that Cam Newton and his teammates had no answer for what the Saints were able to throw at Ron Rivera’s team . The Falcons at 3-3 face an arduous task over the remainder of their season if they seek to contend with their fellow cohabitants within the NFC South. The Falcons came away with a 31-17 victory over their beleaguered divisional rivals .

It should be interesting to see what transpires within the division (NFC South) over the course of this season and how each team will presumably fare .

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

Over the course this past weekend and the NFL schedule what thoughts if any do you have on the events that took place ? Do you also view the NFC South as perhaps the most competitive division at present within the NFL ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and any other salient points you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

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(1) A smiling Adrian Beltre walks out of the batting cage as the Texas Rangers practice on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play the opening game of baseball’s World Series on Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(2) Texas Rangers’ Elvis Andrus , left, and Michael Young, right, laugh as the joke with teammates during practice Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers will play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that begins Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(3) Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington responds to a question during a news conference Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball’s World Series starting Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(4) The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after Game 6 of baseball’s National League championship series against the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Cardinals won 12-6 to win the series and advance to the World Series. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(5) Manager Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after they won 12-6 against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..

(6) David Freese (23) of the St. Louis Cardinals scores against Jonathan Lucroy (20) #20 of the Milwaukee Brewers on a sacrifice fly hit by Adron Chambers (56) in the top of the fifth inning during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) …..

(7) Quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Amobi Okoye (91) of the Chicago Bears during the game on October 16, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(8) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb watches from the sidelines the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Chicago. The Bears won 39-10 . McNabb threw for 177 yards, completing 19 of 24 passes. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …..

(9) San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to reporters at a news conference at the NFL football team’s facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ….

(10) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) …..

(11) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, right, shout at each other after an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. The 49ers won 25-19. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ….

(12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tanard Jackson (36) runs with an interception by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) fires a pass as New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) pressures him during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers won 26-20. Freeman threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(14) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints directs play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers October 16, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(15) Quarterback Josh Freeman(5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just gets this pass off against the New Orleans Saints during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….

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MLB World Series schedule begins 19th October 2011

Texas Rangers @ —- St Louis Cardinals , Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri

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NFL players stats thru’ week 6

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J Cole …….. ” Can’t Enough ”

We’re Getting There …… !

We’re Getting There ….

Well the ALCS and NLCS are in full swing and baseball’s hierarchy looks for some resonance by way of the broadcast by TNT and TBS before the World Series is scheduled to be televised by Fox Sports . With the viewership down by some 25% from last years’s NLCS and some 43% from the ALCS of 2009 between the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees .

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Now one could contend that with the current series having very little drama at present it would be easy to conclude that the quartet of teams now involved in the ALCS and NLCS not having a fervent fan following . Perhaps of the four teams in question the greatest following might be with the supporters of the St Louis Cardinals . With a long established history , success and well respected Hall of Famers it has to be said that it should not come as any great surprise the organization has such a following. The Cardinals skippered by manager Tony La Russa the team now finds itself in a very competitive series against their divisional rivals the Milwaukee Brewers . There’s a great deal at stake for both teams given the fact there seems to be a cloud of controversy hanging over both organizations concerning two of the game’s biggest names and their long term future. The common thread and thought concerning Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols is that should their respective teams fail to make the World Series , then in all likelihood they each will have played their last seasons with Brewers and Cardinals , respectively.

Currently tied at one game apiece (1-1) the series between the two NL teams will resume on Wednesday with the St Louis Cardinals hosting the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri , . Scheduled to start for the Cardinals is Yovani Gallardo with Chris Carpenter starting for the Cardinals . Both teams have proven to be competitive over the course of the postseason. And it is clear that Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke would like nothing better than his team taking two of the three games to played in front of a Cardinals’ fan base to take an overwhelming advantage in this best of seven game series .

Carpenter coming off a stellar performance against the Philadelphia Phillies on his way to leading the Cardinals to the NLCS in an exhilarating game five win. That loss seems to sent the Phillies organization into a tailspin of unimaginable proportions . GM Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel will to have to assess the needs of this team and make the necessary changes during the off-season if the team is to have any chance of success this upcoming season.

Now while I am not willing to make any pronouncements as to which of the two NLCS teams I favor in this series , I do feel that the advantage will come by way of the advantage will now come astuteness of the managers . That undoubted experience belongs with La Russa given his tenure within the game. And given the proclivity of the manager’s team and their tenacity there is a clear chance that Pujols , Matt Holliday , Rafael Furcal and Lance Berkman will be looking to give clear indication that this series is far from over and that the players on the St Louis Cardinals team will be looking to upstage their divisional rivals .

Big money teams with big ideas but that clearly wouldn’t be the case for describing the way that the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers . GM Dave Dombrowski and team owner Michael Ilitch who along with Jim Leyland assembled a team which if anything has proven to be one of the pleasant surprises of the season . The Detroit Tigers won the AL Central with a certain amount of ease then with a little more than breaking any sweat they also took care of the mighty New York Yankees in the ALDS .

The defeat left the Yankees reeling with there being excuses from the most unlikely of sources in team president Randy Levine . The executive not wanting to apportion the blame where it needs to be placed , has stated that the team simply will reassert itself and come back better than ever. Given the the poor displays from key members on this team it easy to understand why executives within the organization would seek not to be overly critical of some of the game’s highest paid players .

This off-season the New York Yankees will certainly have to reassess the team and if anything simply jettison the ” dead weight” on the roster . GM Brian Cashman and the coaching staff will painstakingly look to the free agency market rather than its farm system for the answers.

Ron Washington , Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers will have the benefit of knowing that last year’s postseason experience will stand them in good stead in their series against the Detroit Tigers . Though having lost to the San Francisco Giants in somewhat of an uneventful 2010 World Series , it has to be said that the team was more shell-shocked by their foray , rather than actually being overpowered by Bruce Bochy’s Giants’ team .

The Texas Rangers seem to be well on their way to making their way to a second consecutive World Series appearance having taken a 2-0 lead in their ALCS match-up. Game three at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan with Colby Lewis and Doug Fister taking the mound for the Rangers and Tigers, respectively.

If the Detroit Tigers are to have any chance resurrecting this series then we will have to see a great deal more consistency coming from Miguel Cabrebra , Ryan Raburn and their teammates . And though in reality I haven’t been completely drawn to any of the series from my own perspective is that with the draw of perhaps the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees the postseason becomes something of anathema to me . Try as Bud Selig and the team owners seek to prolong the postseason with an additional two teams per league to wildcard format , the real underlying issue is that the commissioner and general managers clearly do not understand this simply does nothing for the game other than to prolong the season itself. If Selig really had the business acumen as his supporters claim , then they would simply realize that what is needed is a fair an equitable way for the teams to share the revenues derived from their business operations , rather than it simply being everyman for himself and the survival of the fittest.

Though I won’t be taken aback by anything I am likely to witness over the remainder of the posteason , I do however feel that if the league hierarchy wants to induce more fan in response to year end finale . Then much of that will be dependent upon their scheduling of the games and a clear indication as to the needs of the fans. No amount of tinkering with the postseason format will change anything that Bud Selig desires to see within the game when he is simply to afraid to address the most acute of the issues that baseball now faces . Far too many of the purists in and outside of the prefer to give far too much credence as to his apparent insight rather than observing the inherent problems they currently face . His handling of the laughable situation concerning the Los Angeles Dodgers clearly shows that he and his conclave of buffoons are out of touch . If that were not bad enough , he has yet to offer up his own formal statement as to dire premise that the New York Mets and the ownership group now find themselves in . Beyond that , he has chosen to postpone the approval of the sale of the Houston Astros by current owner Drayton McClane to Houston businessman Jim Crane . Selig’s reason behind this all …… …. he is apparently unhappy with the prospective purchaser’s documentation concerning the the proposed bid ( $680 million ). Do bear in mind that the commissioner rushed through the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to now beleaguered owner Frank McCourt when the ball club was put up for sale by then owner Fox / News Corp International with there being very little if any due diligence was used by MLB. At the time it was common knowledge that McCourt had mounting financial and legal problems with several of his business partners who were seeking recourse through legal means. But yet somehow the league hierarchy and team owners somehow managed to approve that sale .

Courtesy of USA Today

Selig: No timetable for expanded postseason by 2012

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said discussions on a new collective bargaining agreement have been very constructive, and he sees no reason to set a timetable for getting a deal done.

“I hope we’ll continue on that path,” Selig said of the positive talks Monday night before Game 2 of the NL Championship Series.

MLB’s agreement with the player’s union expires on Dec. 11.

Selig said the present discussions have been far different from labor battles in previous decades. The most recent labor peace began when the sides came to an agreement after the cancellation of the end of the 1994 season.

“The sport, I’ve often said, was stuck in neutral for 25 years. And that’s one of the reasons. It was brutal. It was really brutal. Every two or three years we went back to this,” Selig said. “The fans got tired of all that, got tired of hearing about it. And I don’t blame them. So, 16 years of labor peace has really, really helped us.”

Selig said he has told MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred and union head Michael Weiner not to set arbitrary time limits to try and finish a deal.

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Crane has produced all of the viable documents and much needed added information as required but this may well be some sort of image and face saving exercise on the part of Bud Selig , which in part could prove to be his undoing. Jim Crane is now said to be thinking of withdrawing the his current offer of $680 million and completely walk away from the deal altogether in light of Bud Selig postponement of the vote seeking league approval. Whether or not the actual approved measure seems to be in doubt , given the fact the postseason is now in full swing and the commissioner not stating when and if there will be schedule set for league approval of the sale. Any further delays even if it now takes place in the off season is unlikely to sit well with either of the parties concerned. Current owner Drayton McClane seeks to divest himself of the team and that now leaves the front office , coaching staff and players with something of an uncertain future as to their immediacy. Why do I now get the impression that there seems to be no common sense being shown by the league hierarchy concerning this matter ? Oh I know it is because that body’s highest ranking executive is a damn moron and a fu_king as_hole !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Of the quartet of teams now left in the postseason which duo would like to face off in the World Series ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning the now apparent stand-off that is now taking place between the league hierarchy and Jim Crane concerning his purchase of the Houston Astros ? Chime in with a comment and on anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal …………….

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(1) St. Louis Cardinals’ Daniel Descalso, left, laughs with manager Tony La Russa during baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals are scheduled to play the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(2) St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter walks out to the field for baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in St. Louis. Carpenter is scheduled to start when the Cardinals play the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 3 of baseball’s National League championship series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …..

(3) Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers hits a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 10, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Cardinals would go on to defeat the Brewers 12-3 .Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …..

(4) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals breaks his bat on a ground out in the top of the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 10, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……

(5) Fans look at a weather radar on a phone as rain falls prior to Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park between the Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers on October 12, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Michael Young (10) of the Texas Rangers catches a foul ball in Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(7) Jose Valverde (46) of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Three of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Rangers 5-2 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ……

(8) DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 11 : Colby Lewis (48) of the Texas Rangers stands on the mound as Victor Martinez (41) of the Detroit Tigers runs the bases after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning of Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on October 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …….

(9) Detroit Tigers’ Brandon Inge , right, hugs teammate Miguel Cabrera after their 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers in Game 3 of baseball’s American League championship series Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, in Detroit. …….
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MLB news

MLB postseason schedule ALCS & NLCS

MLB results 11th October 2011

Milwaukee Brewers — ( Yovani Gallardo ) — @ St Louis Cardinals ( Chris Carpenter ) Busch Stadium St Louis , Missouri ,. 12th October 2011

MLB teams’ postseason stats pitching ERA

MLB teams’ postseason stats BA

MLB postseason player stats

Batting average

Pitching ERA

Individual stats by league :

AL ……. Batting avg . …… Pitching …. ERA

NL …… Batting avg . ….. Pitching …. ERA

You Play The Game To Win …… But Are The Players Really Being Paid To Play ?

You Play The Game To Win …… But Are The Players Really Being Paid To Play ?

Well with the divisional rounds of the postseason of baseball now entering the closing stretch . The anxiety and of the teams left tends to be one angst. So much is now riding on the fate of the St Louis Cardinals , Milwaukee Brewers , Philadelphia Phillies , New York Yankees , Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers .

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The Texas Rangers came through their series against the Tampa Bay Rays virtually unscathed and with a great deal of ease . Something of a major disappointment for the thousands of the Rays’ who witnessed their team’s demise against the AL West champions at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg , Florida on Tuesday . Certainly for Ron Washington making a second consecutive visit with his team to the ALCS has to be a cause for great excitement not only for the coaches but also the fans and entire front office of the Texas Rangers. Certainly for team president Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels their faith in the manager has been more than justified. In the aftermath of last year’s loss to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series the team will certainly look to go one better .

The Texas Rangers currently await the winner of the series now in progress between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. Both teams were divisional champions of the AL East and AL Central ____ the contest between these titans of the game promises to be an entertaining series . Jim Leyland will seek to get the best out of his team which is led by All Star slugger Miguel Cabrera and odds the on certainty for the AL Cy Young award in Justin Verlander . Joe Girardi as Leyland’s opposing number knows that although his pitching staff might not be the equal of the Detroit Tigers’ rotation but he has to be pleased with the fact that the offense is certainly one of the most productive within the AL .

With series now tied at 2-2 after the New York Yankees’ taking game four to force a deciding game five with a berth in the ALCS at stake . That game will be played in-front of a soldout crowd at Yankees Stadium in New York City on Thursday night. As to the starting pitchers for that series’ finale it remains to be seen as to who those starters will be at this juncture .

We have already seen the implosion of the Boston Red Sox as their season simply erupted into sheer ridicule with much of the blame being apportioned upon now departed manager Terry Francona . Now in the aftermath of it all we are now hearing of locker room unrest disruptive influence of several players . But clearly the front office is doing as much as they can to distance themselves from this fray while the speculation and conjecture takes on a journey of its own . If there is any blame that ought to be apportioned then it should be placed squarely upon the shoulders of these overpaid and under-performing stars on this roster. $167 million can buy a hell of a lot of talent but when those players simply fold up like multiple pieces of wrinkled crinkled paper mache`. During the month of September (7-20) this team performed abysmally and nowhere was this more evident than with their pitching . Josh Beckett , Johnathan Papelbon , Daniel Bard and Jon Lester simply failed to deliver when it mattered most .

The Philadelphia Phillies are being severely tested by the St Louis Cardinals in their divisional series match-up. And with game four (5-3) being decisively taken by Tony La Russa’s team . There now may well be the thought that we are about to see another star laden and high priced team fall by the wayside . And clearly with the St Louis Cardinals forcing a decisive game five to be played at Citizens Bank Ballpark , in Philadelphia places the weight of expectation upon this Phillies’ team managed by Charlie Manuel .

The presumed favorites within the NL the Philadelphia Phillies it was thought would simply sleepwalk their through the season before making the expected postseason foray on their way to the World Series . At this juncture given the apparent complacency being shown by the team I am not so sure that the Phillies may well get through this series unscathed ! And given the pitching rotation of this Phillies’ team led by Cliff Lee , Roy Halladay , Roy Oswalt , Cole Hamels and Brad Lidge . One would feel that a loss this early in the divisional rounds would be considered a monumental upset of the highest order.

7

General view of action as Collin Cowgill (44) of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a two RBI single off starting pitcher Randy Wolf (43) of the Milwaukee Brewers during the third inning of Game Four of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Brewers 10-6 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …….

A series deciding game 5 now awaits at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , this Friday , where everything is on the line for Charlie Manuel and his team. I have no doubt that Albert Pujols , Lance Berkman , Rafael Furcal , Ryan Theriot , Matt Holliday and his teammates would like nothing better than to derail the hopes of the Philadelphia Phillies and their fans .
If that should happen then the repercussions felt within the front office of organization may well cost the Phillies more than they are actually willing to admit . I am sure that GM Reuben Amaro Jr along with the organization’s senior partners David Montgomery and Bill Giles will not be entirely happy knowing that in making an outlay of $167 million in salary commitments for this season alone this team could come up firing blanks when it’s all said done should they not make the NLCS at least . On the other side of the equation sits John Mozeliak as general manager of the St Louis Cardinals knowing that what has been an arduous season could very well end up being one of unexpected triumphs .

Of all the aspirants chasing postseason success and the ultimate prize of the World Series as that final triumph. Perhaps the biggest surprise has been the unexpected success of the Arizona Diamondbacks and their record of last to first this season in winning the NL West . This might not have been on the agenda of GM Kevin Towers or anyone within the front office but with Kirk Gibson’s drive and that of his coaching staff this team has simply played out of their skins in dethroning the San Francisco Giants as last season’s divisional champion .

Now having made their way into the postseason the Arizona Diamondbacks now stand on the thresh-hold of making another foray to the NLCS . In defeating the Milwaukee Brewers at Chase Ballpark in Phoenix , Arizona 10-6 there now must be a game 5 at Miller Park , Milwaukee , Wisconsin to determine the outright winner of this series . At this juncture Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke knows that he cannot longer take anything for granted . Certainly not the players on this team who may well have felt that their march to the NLCS was theirs by divine right. And for the likes of Ryan Braun , Prince Fielder , Mark Kotsay and Yovani Gallardo as well as the rest of members of the roster they know that they are now in for the fight of their lives.

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Ryan Roberts (14) of the Arizona Diamondbacks runs the bases after hitting a grand slam home run in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Four of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Brewers 10-6. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

With as much as there is riding on this series I fully expect there be a great deal of drama between the Brewers and Diamondbacks as both look to make their presence felt during this game. Given what we have all witnessed on the final day of the regular season schedule I would dare say that this postseason looks as if it is about to prolong much of the excitement seen on the day in question . As to which of these teams now makes it to the main finale itself , well that is now all dependent upon their drive shown over the remainder of the postseason itself .

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

As a baseball fan are you at all pleased with the events that have taken place so far ? And which team if any has been the major surprise to you as witness the events unfold ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and thanks as always for the ongoing support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://tophatal

E-mail rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Detroit Tigers pitcher Doug Fister speaks to the media during a news conference, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in New York. Fister is scheduled to start against the New York Yankees in Game 5 of baseball’s American League division series on Thursday. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …….

(2) Chris Dickerson (27) , Alex Rodriguez (13) , Robinson Cano (24) , Derek Jeter (2) and Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees celebrates a 10-1 win over the Detroit Tigers during Game Four of the American League Divison Series at Comerica Park on October 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

(3) Miguel Cabrera (24) of the Detroit Tigers reacts after striking out in the eighth inning in Game Four of the American League Division Series at Comerica Park on October 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images ….

(4) St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (5) fields on-the-hop a single hit by Philadelphia Phillies’ Chase Utley (26) during the eighth inning in Game 4 of baseball’s National League division series on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Charlie Riedel …..

(5) Philadelphia Phillies players watch from the dugout during the ninth inning in Game 4 of baseball’s National League division series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won the game 5-3 . AP Photo/Charlie Riedel ….

(6) Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts after a pop fly out against the Arizona Diamondbacks during Game Four of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Brewers 10-6 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..

(7) General view of action as Collin Cowgill (44) of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a two RBI single off starting pitcher Randy Wolf (43) of the Milwaukee Brewers during the third inning of Game Four of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Brewers 10-6. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …….

(8) Ryan Roberts (14) of the Arizona Diamondbacks runs the bases after hitting a grand slam home run in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Four of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 5, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Brewers 10-6. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……
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MLB news

Scheduled games 3 days at a glance

MLB postseason schedule dates

MLB results 5th October 2011

MLB results 4th October 2011

MLB probable starting pitchers 6th October 2011

MLB probable starting pitchers 7th October 2011

MLB team payrolls

Who’s To Blame And Who Not To Blame …. Better Yet What Do You Do After That ?

Who’s To Blame And Who Not To Blame …. Better Yet What Do You Do After That ?


I am delirious at present , having watched the excitement and suspense unfold last night in a number of games that closed out the baseball season. And as we are now all aware the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox …. folded like tents being blown away in a sandstorm . God knows , there are about to be some serious repercussions within the city of Boston . And I do believe that the fans will be lambasting not just the players on that Red Sox team but also the coaching staff and front office . There’s every reason to believe that quite possibly because of this Terry Francona could very well end up losing his job in the same manner as his predecessor Grady Little . The city’s flagship radio sport’s talk station WEEI’s switchboard has to be now lighting up with the fans now looking to apportion blame while some may well be seeking some sort of consolation and solace out of this all.

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With the season having ended and the standings reflecting what one might suggest was an unbelievable year . I am not so sure that this postseason can live up to the drama that we may have all witnessed in the last forty eight hours much less over the last month of arduous season. The biggest disappointment for myself was to see the Braves simply wilt under the pressure but at the same time with this young team having endured this sort of pain I can only hope it makes them stronger and more attentive as to what it takes to become champions. Certainly manager Fredi Gonzalez , his coaching staff and the entire front office can feel proud of their accomplishments this year but at the same you can only wonder as to what might have been had they managed to eke out one or two more wins over the course of their season.

Opportunities when they’re thrown your way cannot be wasted and I think that this happened to be the case here with both the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox ! In the case of the Braves it came down to their inexperience and that of the manager’s own intuitive experience and what to expect when placed under pressure and real adversity . The seasoned veterans on the team such as Chipper Jones , Derek Lowe , Tim Hudson and Alex Gonzalez were meant to the leaders for the young members of this team but it simply would not be enough with the advent of the pressure placed upon them . In losing out on the NL wildcard berth with that privilege going to the St Louis Cardinals the Atlanta Braves missed out on making another postseason appearance . Last season their divisional series loss to the eventual World Series champions the San Francisco Giants was enough to suggest that the organization was heading in the right direction under the tenure of Fredi Gonzalez and GM Frank Wren . Now it’s back to the drawing board and the travails of the offseason making deals , acquiring players and winter ball .

Congratulations to Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays for an improbable season and pulling off what has to be said must be one of the truly great finishes to a schedule for any franchise under astonishing circumstances . I certainly hadn’t envisioned this team coming from 7 plus games behind with less then a month to go in the season. But as they say ….” you never what to expect “ and certainly the players began to believe in themselves and what was possible. This was certainly epitomized in the play of the team and in particular by the young players who were thrown into the lion’s den by Maddon and his coaching staff . Clearly the likes of Jeremy Hellickson , Desmond Jennings , Sam Fuld , James Shields , Evan Longoria , B.J Upton and Ben Zobrist never felt under any undue pressure as they simply did all that was asked of them and a great deal more .

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Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate the Rays victory over the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on September 28, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

Now comes the hard part of the Tampa Bay Rays in their divisional series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas . And though things might favor the Rangers , given what we have seen from the Tampa Rays during the month of September I firmly believe that nothing is off the table by way of the unforeseen or the unexpected !

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Manager Joe Maddon (70) of the Tampa Bay Rays hugs Sean Rodriguez (1) after the Rays victory over the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on September 28, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

There is no denying that this last month of the season gave the fans more than they could ever have expected . As the scenarios began to unfold , who could have known that the final day of the season would have meant so much to the teams vying for those two final playoff berths . Now comes all of the hard questions …… with the fans and analysts within the genres of sports journalism looking for the answers . It simply won’t just be about the teams who missed out on those playoff berths but also about the ball clubs who simply failed to live up to expectations and to my mind there are many who can be categorized within that area. Big money teams asides and the salaries afforded for those organizations at the end of the day it all comes down to the competitiveness of the teams and their play on the field . But it would be remiss not to suggest the part played by the general managers and team owner who are simply chasing after the glory for their teams by simply looking to spend big with the chance of reaping the rewards that await .

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Picture and slide show for your perusal .

As the postseason awaits I am not so sure that the thrilling suspense afforded the fans can actually be lived up to ! I mean that’s unless the teams involved give it their all with some thrilling displays of baseball that we could never have thought possible . What thoughts if any do you have about the regular season finales and of the postseason itself ? Chime in with your thoughts and expectations .

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

http://facebook.com/tophatal

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ATLANTA – SEPTEMBER 28: Jack Wilson (1) of the Atlanta Braves turns a double play against John Mayberry, Jr. (15) of the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on September 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves would go on to lose the game in extra innings 4-3 to the Phillies . Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …..

(2) ATLANTA – SEPTEMBER 28: Chipper Jones (10) of the Atlanta Braves paces the dugout after striking out in the 13th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on September 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ………

(3) HOUSTON – SEPTEMBER 28: Nick Punto (C) of the St. Louis Cardinals is showered with champagne by Chris Carpenter, right, as they celebrate winning the National League wildcard at Minute Maid Park on September 28, 2011 in Houston, Texas. The Cardinals would defeat the Astros 8-0 to clinch the NL wildcard and deprive the Atlanta Braves of the spot that they held for the last six weeks . Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …….

(4) Carl Crawford (13) of the Boston Red Sox walks in the dugout with first base coach Ron Johnson (50) after a 4-3 loss against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 28, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …………

(5) Manager Terry Francona (47) of the Boston Red Sox argues a call with first base umpire Scott Barry in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 28, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …….

(6) The Tampa Bay Rays celebrate their victory over the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on September 28, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the New York Yankees 8-7 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..

(7) Infielder Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays rounds the bases after his bottom of the twelfth inning walk off home run against the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on September 28, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..

(8) Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate the Rays victory over the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on September 28, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………….

(9) Manager Joe Maddon (70) of the Tampa Bay Rays hugs Sean Rodriguez (1) after the Rays victory over the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on September 28, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……
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MLB news

MLB results 28th September 2011

MLB final standings of 2011

MLB final wildcard standings of 2011

MLB postseason schedule

Divisional series games scheduled 30th September 2011

Probable starters 30th September 2011

Divisional series games schedule 1st October 2011

Probable starters 1st October 2011

Pick ’em At Your Peril ……………..

Pick ’em At Your Peril ………

Well with the baseball season now climaxing in a schedule of games that may well impact the playoff scenario it is extremely hard to believe that after a 162 game schedule it all now comes down to this . The divisional winners are set but we have a quartet of teams now vying for the wildcard berths within both leagues . Those teams are the Atlanta Braves , St Louis Cardinals within the National League with the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays within the American League . This all bodes well for the league hierarchy of baseball and in particular for both TBS and TNT who will broadcast the divisional and league championship series before Fox Sports takes over the tenure to televise the World Series , itself.

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At this point the questions now being asked and the reverberations caused , have to be about the meltdowns of both the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox who less than three weeks ago held sizeable leads over their respective wildcard rivals coming into the last day of the season . The troubling fact is that for the managers in question they now have to their teams playing with added vigor because of what’s said to be on the line for both of these ball clubs . For Fredi Gonzalez he knows it is imperative tonight that the team is victorious against the Phillies Phillies in a game to be played at Turner Field , Atlanta , Georgia. For Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa he knows that this is the last chance for his team to make something of what many believed to have been something of a disappointing season as they were favored to win the NL Central . That privilege went to Ron Roenicke and the Milwaukee Brewers and in doing so that could conclude with the manager being named NL Manager of the Year . But I do believe that he could well be challenged for that honor by Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks !

The St Louis Cardinals in their pivotal game face the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas . And there is no one on this Cardinals’ team who does not know the importance of this game and what it means to their season . Certainly for the St Louis Cardinals’ fans they are cheering on the players in the fervent hope that they can make the postseason . Add into this all the intrigue surrounding whether or not this could well be Albert Pujols’ last season with the organization and you can begin to feel the fervor and excitment arising out of this scenario as it plays itself out .

I have said repeatedly when teams such as the Boston Red Sox with their financial wherewithal simply act as if money is of no object as they chase down talent in the search of glory , sooner or later you’re bound be undone by your own avarice . The organization led by GM Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino have the league’s second highest payroll behind the venerable New York Yankees . And inasmuch as that might sour the taste for some fans one cannot be denied is the very fact that when spent wisely no one can argue with the success attained by that organization. For the Boston Red Sox front office the question now being asked is…. how could this all have spiraled out of control so quickly ?

With there now being rumors of discord between Francona and Theo Epstein there is a thought that the same fate that befell his predecessor Grady Little could now await Terry Francona should he and the team fail to deliver . From my own standpoint it has been the inconsistent pitching from the front end of the rotation led by Josh Beckett that has been the primary cause of the Red Sox’s woes . It will be left to Jon Lester pitching for the ball club tonight against the Baltimore Orioles ____ to acquit himself well and the team still into contention for that AL wildcard berth.

If there is one thing that Joe Maddon has going for himself and the Tampa Bay Rays at present then it would have to be the momentum and the hunger of this young team . And granted , there are some seasoned veterans at the heart of this roster but it has been the welcome play of the youngsters on this squad that has brought about this surprising turn of events . The likes of Desmond Jennings , Sam Fulds , Alex Cobb , Sean Rodriguez and Jeremy Hellickson have all contributed to the success of the organization this season . And for Joe Maddon and his managerial staff this has to be one of the most pleasing moments of his distinguished career .

As to what may transpire tonight no one can really say but I am sure that the events as they unfold will have all of us riveted to our screens and for those of us able to witness the events live at the venues in question . I can only surmise that you too will be enthralled by the games as they take place . Trying to determine a winner however might not be as easy as it looks and I for one can only hope that the intrigue will only add to the competitiveness of the games !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

Which teams do you favor or actually envisage attaining the resepective wildcard berths ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Atlanta Braves’ pitcher Derek Lowe walks off the field after giving up two runs to the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, in Atlanta. The Phillies would go on to defeat the Braves 7-1 . AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton …..

(2) ATLANTA – SEPTEMBER 27: Chase Utley (26) of the Philadelphia Phillies is congratulated by Ryan Howard (6) after hitting a home run against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on September 27, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(3) Allen Craig (21) of the St. Louis Cardinals receives congratulations from Yadier Molina (4) after hitting a three run home run in the eighth inning scoring Albert Pujols (5) and Lance Berkman (12) at Minute Maid Park on September 27, 2011 in Houston, Texas. The St Louis Cardinals would defeat the Astros 13-6 . Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ….

(4) St. Louis Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, left, slides safely into home plate to score as Houston Astros catcher Humberto Quintero (55) handles the throw during the seventh inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, in Houston. Molina and Allen Craig scored on a triple by Ryan Theriot. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ……

(5) Manager Terry Francona (47) of the Boston Red Sox walks back to the dugout during the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 27, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Red Sox defeated the Orioles 8-7 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……..

(6) Boston Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, from left, high-five teammates after a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2011, in Baltimore. Boston won 8-7. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky …..

(7) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – SEPTEMBER 27: Catcher Kelly Shoppach (10) and pitcher Kyle Farnsworth (43) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate their team’s victory over the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field on September 27, 2011 in St.Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

(8) First baseman Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees takes the throw at first as Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays gets back safely during the game at Tropicana Field on September 27, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays would defeat the New York Yankees 5-3 and now tie the Red Sox atop of the AL wildcard berth standings (90-71) Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……
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MLB news

MLB standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB schedule

MLB probable starters 28th September 2011

MLB results 27th September 2011

MLB Standings final day of 2010

MLB widcard standings final day of 2010

MLB results final regular season games of 2010

Never Too Late To Apologize It’s All In How You Say It ………..

Never Too Late To Apologize It’s All In How You Say It ………..

You can either choose to be part of the news or simply read about but in no way do you want to be seen to be creating worthless tidbits , simply to have to recant a statement . We tend to see it all the time when it comes to celebrities further looking to parlay their fifteen minutes of fame . Albeit , that now with Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay I am not so sure that he knew by tweeting that Peyton Manning is out for the season be it inadvertently or not this seems to have created a furor that neither Irsay , Bill Polian or Jim Caldwell would really care to address publicly and with any degree of certainty.

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The Indianapolis Colts’ season has now taken on turn for the worse as this team seems to have lost all confidence when it comes to its play on the field . One patron had suggested to me that I was being completely overzealous in my statement when made the claim that the Colts’ season was over before it had began but I think that this patron was simply too naive to think that Peyton Manning would be back and playing under any circumstance for the Indianapolis Colts. The four time league MVP is the heart and soul of this team and has been so since he was drafted by the organization in 1998 as the number 2 overall pick behind Ryan Leaf .

The Indianapolis Colts for their part having brought in Kerry Collins have suffered three successive defeats to their start of the season which now has them firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC South . Inasmuch as I would like to think that there is hope for the Colts for this season with the play that the team has offered simply isn’t enough to convince me that they are able of containing and steering their own destiny. Now it would remiss to suggest that Peyton Manning’s career with this organization is over but sooner or later the fans and the front office may well have to realize that this era could very well be coming to a close .

All of this talk about a resurgent Chicago Bears’ team came to a quick and abrupt close when they were ceremoniously dragged across the turf by the Green Bay Packers in a decisive 27-17 victory for the defending Superbowl champions. It is pretty safe to say that this Bears’ team still has flashbacks nightmares from their NFC championship game loss (21-14) to the Packers . This time around the Bears’ defense simply couldn’t cope with the passing game of Aaron Rodgers and the play of tight end Jermichael Finley who accounted for the first three touchdown game of his career in the team’s 27-17 win .

Jay Cutler as the quarterback of the Chicago Bears has a lot to be answerable for , especially when one bears in mind his performance during that NFC championship game . There are those who genuinely believe that the player was hurt and that was the reason for his leaving the game. But I would suggest to the contrary because when your team needs you the most that is when as a presumed leader you have to step up to the plate and lead by example.

And as good as we’re led to believe this Bears’ defense is said to be they were clearly exposed by a Packers’ offense simply chomping at the bit. Aaron Rodgers simply carried on from where he left from last season . And it is easy to understand the reason why the team made the player their first round draft choice in 2005 (24th pick first round) by the Packers’ front office and coach Mike McCarthy . With the way that the Green Bay Packers now seem to be performing amongst their divisional and conference rivals . All the talk may well be about the surprising start of the Detroit Lions but until this team led by Matthew Stafford has played full season unscathed and have a winning season then perhaps we may well get to learn something about this organization as a whole . In spite of the added history of the franchise and the apparent direction that they now seem to be taking with Jim Schwartz as the coach working in conjunction with the front office led by GM Martin Mayhew .

The turnaround in the fortunes of the Detroit Lions has coincided with the recent draft choices made by the organization . And clearly with the additions of Nick Fairley , Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson this is a team capable of contending but as I have repeatedly stated until Matthew Stafford is able to play an entire season and at the same be protected by his offensive line then I will continue hold my reservations about the competitiveness of the team .

It is hard to believe that a month ago the Boston Red Sox led the AL East and held a seven and a half game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays within the division . Now as of the 27th September that divisional lead is no longer there with the New York Yankees having won the division and secured a berth in the postseason , we now have an almighty dog fight brewing as the Tampa Bay Rays look to chase down the Red Sox to gain the wildcard berth as the AL entrant into the playoffs. Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona and his coaching staff have to be perturbed by what they are now seeing from his team that has lost eighteen of their last 22 games .

What might be even more distressing for the Boston Red Sox front office has been the very fact they have an outlay of an extortionate amount in salaries to pay for free agent acquisitions that in part have been productive but the overall expectations just wasn’t there . Clearly Theo Epstein , Larry Lucchino and the entire front office cannot be entirely happy with the thought that the team could once again miss the postseason . If ever there was a certainty as to why things started to spiral out of control for the Boston Red Sox then one would have place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the players and their lack of consistency .

As rabid as the Red Sox fans are said to be , I am not so sure that they are willing to tolerate the meltdown of their team especially when one bears in mind that their perpetual nemesis the New York Yankees has won the AL East and now await postseason play. It would certainly burn the fans even more also to know that the Tampa Bay Rays would once again be part of the playoffs.

The fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are all giddy with the very thought that they could be making a quick return to the playoffs when one considers their swift exit from the postseason last year . This time around I am sure that Joe Maddon would like to see his team perform to the best of their abilities with the advent of making the playoffs. The players have hit a rich vein of form that has seen them win five of their last 10 games but also on a two game win streak .

For the younger players on this roster such as Desmond Jennings , Sam Fulds , Alex Cobb , Matt Joyce and David Price this offers these teammates a further chance to show that this simply is not another aberration for the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans. Most certainly this may well have been the season that GM Andrew Friedman had envisaged alongside senior partners Stuart Sternberg and Matt Silverman .

It has been well chronicled as to the financial constraints that the Tampa Bay Rays now finds itself under and this is solely being done at the discretion of the front office as it is the only way for this organization to simply remain viable as a baseball franchise . And when adjudged against the rest of baseball one can see why it is that the ball club chooses take this route . Perhaps in light of the movie ” Moneyball” and the fact that the movie while now receiving critical acclaim it has to be said the box office (grossed slightly under $20 million opening weekend ) expectation doesn’t seem to have met with the expectations of the studio and one bears in mind that it placed second behind a fifteen year old animated classic “The Lion King” .

I am not so sure what to make of the Atlanta Braves’ meltdown within the NL East and the mere fact that they have allowed the St Louis Cardinals to simply erase their lead in the NL wildcard standings . Both Tony La Russa and Fredi Gonzalez are now vying to have their respective teams playing hard down the stretch as the waning days of the schedule winds down . With the St Louis Cardinals losing to the lowly Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves falling to the Philadelphia Phillies the margin between the two teams is now a mere half game as of Monday night. With two regular season games now left on the schedule it certainly will interesting and suspenseful to see how things play themselves out over the ensuing days .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Given what we are now witnessing within the NFL and MLB are there further surprises that you feel could very well occur ? And what thoughts if any do you have concerning the statements made by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay concerning Peyton Manning ? Simply leave a comment on the points raised within this piece and any other points you believe to be pertinent .

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

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Indianapolis Colts football head coach Jim Caldwell talks about the quarterback situation and the 0-3 start in Indianapolis, Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ….

(2) FILE – This Sept. 1, 2011 file photo shows Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning on the sidelines in the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, in Cincinnati. At rear right is quarterback Kerry Collins. Colts owner Jim Irsay says there is an “outside chance” Manning might return in December. Irsay used Twitter on Monday, Sept. 26, 2011, to update Colts fans on Manning’s status after remarks he made during a private breakfast with Super Bowl donors. AP Photo/Tony Tribble ….

(3) CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 25: Jermichael Finley (88) of the Green Bay Packers catches a touchdown pass in front of Craig Steltz (20) of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers defeated the Bears 27-17 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(4) Aaron Rodgers (12) of the Green Bay Packers talks with Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears after a game at Soldier Field on September 25, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Packers defeated the Bears 27-17. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 25: Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings and Keiland Williams (34) of the Detroit Lions talk after the overtime win by the Lions at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 25, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images ……..

(6) Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions is chased by Chad Greenway (52) of the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 25, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Adam Bettcher /Getty Images …….

(7) Carl Crawford (13) of the Boston Red Sox (L) and teammates Jacoby Ellsbury (2) (C) and Josh Reddick (16) [(R)] leave the dugout after losing to the Baltimore Orioles 6-3 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 26, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ……

(8) Infielder Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays congratulates Reid Brignac (15) after he scores against the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on September 26, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Tampa Bay Rays would defeat the Yankees 5-2 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(9) Matt Diaz (23) of the Atlanta Braves slides into second base safely under the tag of Jimmy Rollins (11) of the Philadelphia Phillies after hitting a double in the second inning at Turner Field on September 26, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Phillies would defeat the Braves 4-2 . Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …….

(10) Chris Carpenter , right, of the St. Louis Cardinals high fives Matt Holliday (7) and Albert Pujols (5) after they scored in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 26, 2011 in Houston, Texas. The Cardinals would go on to lose the game 5-4 to the Astros . Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images …….
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NFL news

NFL divisional standings

NFL week 3 results

NFL team stats

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NFL team injuries

Indianapolis Colts news

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Atlanta Braves news

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MLB schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB results 26th October 2011

MLB probable starters 27th September 2011

MLB Standings 26th October 2010

MLB wildcard standings 26th October 2010

MLB results 26th October 2010

So It All Comes Down To This …..

So It All Comes Down To This …..

Well as the MLB season enters its final week several of the divisional races seem to be all but sealed . Albeit , that the divisional wildcard races are still up for grabs the competition there seems to be very boisterous with the teams seeking the final berths within the the leagues are of the greatest importance to these ball-clubs. In the AL what seemed to be an insurmountable lead for the Boston Red Sox over the Tampa Bay Rays has been all but erased but for a mere two game margin between the two teams. The AL East has been sealed with the New York Yankees triumphant making the postseason for the forty ninth time over the course of their long distinguished history .

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For New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi this has been a season that pretty much was one that truly tested his resolve and that of his coaching assistants . And certainly when one takes into account all of the drama that has surrounded the season by the team you simply know that it’s back to business as usual for the organization. With GM Brian Cashman yet to sign a contract extension it would appear that this will be situation soon to resolved if if Hank and Hal Steinbrenner know what is best for the New York Yankees. The team itself has performed with the due distinction you would come to expect that has a litany of highly paid and praised All Stars .

Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Robinson Cano , CC Sabathia , Derek Jeter , Jesus Montero and the ever dependable Mariano Rivera have all contributed to the team’s success this season.

One of the more bewildering issues of the baseball year I do believe has been the disappointment in seeing a number of teams that have simply not lived up to expectations . Now you can spin it anyway that you want by saying injuries do play a part in ball-club’s season but at the same it is incumbent upon those teams , their respective managers and general managers to make sure that the parts in place for those teams to attain the success that they strive for. Instead , I hear repeatedly the excuses that continue to be used repeatedly by fans and purists alike who use that as a crux for their own comfort . I mean if a manager simply cannot get the best out of his players or those teammates simply cannot step up to the plate then it is a clear indication that the team just isn’t on the right track.

At this point of the season last year it would be safe to say that the fans of the game were simply satisfied with what they had seen with the expectations that the postseason would live up to the usual intrigue. The San Francisco Giants as defending World Series’ champions have seen their season virtually slip away due to the team’s inconsistency and the simple fact that the Arizona Diamondbacks came out of nowhere like a buzz saw felling everything in their way and leaving all in their wake. For Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy I am sure that he and GM Brian Sabean had hoped for a more productive season from the team . Most certainly for Kirk Gibson and his coaching staff the fact that the Arizona Diamondbacks seem to be on the cusp of another postseason appearance only adds to the allure and ongoing history of this ball-club. And for the Diamondbacks’ manager there is very reason to believe that he could very well end up being named the NL Manager of the Year .

This young Arizona Diamondbacks’ team bought into everything that Kirk Gibson was selling and their play was simply epitomized by the character shown by Gibson as a player . Certainly Dustin Upton has been everything that the front office had come to expect and a great deal more by way of his productivity this season. But it has been a collective effort on the part of this team that has put this organization back in the postseason. It gives hope to the small market teams around the league with the ambition to succeed where the brevitas is actually also shown by the team owners as well.

Now it goes without saying that although much of the season has eclipsed by the drama off the field of play with ongoing saga of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the fact that beleaguered owner Frank McCourt sought to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in US Federal Court in the state of Delaware. McCourt has remained steadfast in his resolve to retain control of the team albeit that time now appears to be running out . Having received financing in the form of a $150 million loan courtesy of Goldman Sachs which will aid in the funding of the organization’s expenditure until the end of the season. However, while this saga continues there seems to be no clear sign that Frank McCourt has been able to negotiate an amicable agreement with the team’s creditors , whilst in litigation. So much of this could have been avoided had MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the league hierarchy used due diligence in monitoring this situation from the beginning instead of absolving themselves of any responsibility and then choosing to intervene as a face saving image exercise . Now all the talk appears to be the expanding of the postseason with the addition of two teams from each league . If the commissioner really wants to address the real issues facing the game then he had better wake to the real problems that the game now finds itself in rather than creating the premise that this new format would actually be of benefit of the game.

Selig has shown as much insight for the business side of the game as a blind man would feel at ease playing hopscotch in a minefield . And while the ongoing saga continues with the Los Angeles Dodgers let us not forget the fact that the New York Mets now sits on a precipice which the owners simply cannot extricate themselves from at present . Having seen a prospective investor in Wall St hedge fund manager David Einhorn pull out of a deal to purchase a minority stake in the team with a view to then gaining a 51% stake at a later date Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon as the senior managing partners and co-owners of the team .

With the New York Mets and the two principal partners now defendants in a civil suit that seeks the return of $750 million determined as a small part of the monies received by Katz and Wilpon which they say are genuinely derived profits recouped by way of their investments in the Bernard Madoff ” Ponzi Scheme” . Representing the plaintiffs seeking the returns of the monies mentioned is renowned attorney Irving H Picard . The plaintiffs’ case from a prima facie viewpoint is very strong but in reality neither Katz, Wilpon or any other senior executive within the Mets’ organization has sought to openly willing to answer in depth any of the questions sought by Irving Picard. Clearly the longer this maelstrom continues the more acute the situation seems to be for the New York Mets because should the presiding judge in this civil case find for the plaintiffs in this hearing then it will not bode well for the ball-club . The team from a financial standpoint is losing money and that is even with the benefit of that $755 million all purpose built stadium at the taxpayers’ expense courtesy of the city of New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg who has made sure that this white elephant sits proudly in Flushing New York while the city commission furloughs municipal employees , city wide .

The New York Mets for their part have had a woefully inept season and that is even with the advent of having both Sandy Alderson and J. P. Ricciardi within the front office of the organization. Plagued by anemic pitching but an even more mediocre offense pretty much summed up the New York Mets’ year , albeit that the sole bright spot on the team has been the play of Jose Reyes , the presumptive favorite many believe for the NL MVP this season. Given the financial constraints that will now be placed upon the New York Mets I do believe that in part this team will be gutted with the organization seeking to complement this roster with many of their prospects and players from within their farm system. Certainly there’s a great deal that manager Terry Collins and his coaching staff can work with within this organization

The “crazy train” seems to have left the station as there appears that Albert Pujols , his agent Dan Lozano and the St Louis Cardinals are no closer to agreeing to a contract. The player prior to the start of the season intimated that once Cardinals began their regular season play he would not enter into negotiation with organization. GM John Mozeliak has to make the re-signing of the All Star slugger the team’s major priority entering this offseason. The team can ill afford to lose the player to free agency and signing any one quite possibly at five or six suitors prepared to pay the asking price for this productive first baseman . With the team having resigned Lance Berkman to a one year contract extension the organization has to be cognisant of the fact that the Chicago Cubs , Chicago White Sox , Los Angeles Angels and quite possibly the Texas Rangers could make a bold attempt to sign Albert Pujols. Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts in light of his team’s abysmal showing this season has made it abundantly clear that he’s willing to spend and spend big in bringing some semblance of success to Wrigley Field .

John Mozeliak knows that he’ll be hard pressed to outbid Tony Reagins , Kenny Williams and Jon Daniels should it come to an outright bidding war. Certainly the owners of the quartet of teams mentioned have the financial wherewithal to lure the Cardinals’ first baseman but at what price within the market place and precedence that could very well be set ? If the statements are to be believed then it could well amount to a contract that would certainly make Albert Pujols the highest paid player in baseball annually and quite possibly lead to largest contract signed by a player in professional sports . Pujols believes he is worth a contract commensurate with his talent and when one bears in mind that Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees will earn in excess of $30 million this year alone , then who can argue with the player’s stance ? Productivity wise , there is very little to choose between the two players and without a doubt both are future bound for Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame having met the criteria for enshrinement . Herein lies the caveat to this all , once the bar is raised that high with the exorbitant salaries that are now being paid then where does that leave the small market teams who simply cannot compete with that sort of financial resourcefulness ? Truth be known , baseball is now on a slippery road to a downward spiral into an abyss and now amount of tinkering with the playoff format can hide the real acute issues that the game of baseball faces . Bud Selig is merely trying to place a Band Aid unto open wound to the abdomen that has been hemorrhaging blood profusely !

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As to what the postseason now holds for the fans we can only wait and see but as an avid fan of the game I sincerely hope that we can be provided with the excitement we have come to expect with some truly competitive series throughout the divisional series , pennant championships and the World Series itself !

What have been the highlights for you as a fan of the game and what do you hope to see during the MLB playoffs ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into third base as Blake DeWitt (9) of the Chicago Cubs waits for the throw during the game played at Busch Stadium on September 24, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images …..

(2) Rafael Furcal (15) of the St. Louis Cardinals moves out of the way of a wild pitch by <a href="http://baseball-reference.com/players/gl.cgi?id=marmoca&t=p=&year=2011"&gt; Carlos Marmol (49) of the Chicago Cubs which allowed the game winning run to score in the ninth inning at Busch Stadium on September 24, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images ……

(3) Geovany Soto (18) of the Chicago Cubs walks off the field as the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate a walk off victory at Busch Stadium on September 24, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images …….

(4) Manager Kirk Gibson (23) , center, of the Arizona Diamondbacks and coach Alan Trammell (3) , left, congratulate players Alberto Castillo (33) and Henry Blanco (12) following their 15-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants during of a MLB game at Chase Field on September 24, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images ….

(5) The lights go out at Chase Field and also on the San Francisco Giants’ season . Manager Bruce Bochy (16) of the San Francisco Giants talks with umpire Gary Darling as their game with the Arizona Diamondbacks is interrupted by a twenty-minute power outage in the seventh inning of a MLB game at Chase Field on September 24, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images ….

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MLB News

MLB Standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB Standings @ 10/24/2010

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MLB results @ 09/24/2010

MLB schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB probable starting pitchers 09/24/2011

MLB Postseason schedule dates

It’s Not My World But It’s The One That I’m Enjoying At Present ….. !

It’s Not My World But It’s The One That I’m Enjoying At Present ….. !

Well due to the fact of Hurricane Irene depriving me of the chance to travel up to the nation’s capital for the formal unveiling and dedication of the MLK monument on the Mall in Washington , DC , my weekend was spent at home. With the girlfriend having traveled off to the West Coast for a family emergency , for myself it would be one where I would be left to my own devices . That meant scouring the sports pages to peruse what was happening in the world and how it all pans out in terms of the environments there .

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In baseball the divisional races seem to be taking on a life of their own , with some simply being up for grabs while other are all but over bar the shouting . Certainly the wildcard races haven’t really left us with a great deal of intrigue at all. Although there’s the idiocy within the local market here that the Tampa Bay Rays will somehow be able to overcome their six game deficit to the New York Yankees and gain that AL wildcard berth . One could attest to the fact that the teams are looking to play themselves into contention and in some cases out of contention .

With the recent moves made by teams concerning their postseason ambitions it’s clear that a number of teams that are of of the belief that they can make a run at their divisional foes . That now seems to be the case with the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers within the AL Central . With the respective managers Mike Sciocsia and Ron Washington leading the charge for both the Angels and Rangers .

If anything for the Los Angeles Angels the play of Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver have been stellar , as have been the rest of the team . It’d be remiss of me to suggest that the Rangers are good enough to run away with the division make a return to the World Series after last year’s escapades .

While Michael Young is viewed as a player who’s said to be in the declining years of a productive career , this season if anything , Young has proven to be the catalyst for this team not only by his presence but also his veteran leadership. And while Elvis Andrus , Adrian Beltre` and Josh Hamilton are seen as the star players on this Texas Rangers’ roster , were it not for Michael Young I seriously doubt that the team would be leading the AL West and playing with such command .

One of the major stories during this baseball season has been that of future free agents Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers and Albert Pujols of the St Louis Cardinals . Both players whose contracts expire at the end of the year are seen as the most desirable unrestricted agents coming to the market in 2012. The thirty one year old Pujols …” the face “ of the Cardinals and perhaps that organization’s second best player when one considers the Hall of Famers associated with the team over the years. Albert Pujols has made it abundantly clear to the front office and GM John Mozeliak that it is his wish to remain a life long St Louis Cardinals’ player. Pujols remains the one constant and draw on this team and while there’s no denying that many of the team’s active records and historical records could well be surpassed by the player . The off-season deliberations between Albert Pujols and the organization could be very interesting indeed. The All Star slugger wants to be compensated befitting a player of his worth and whether or not that is a seven year or ten multi million dollar deal remains to be seen. Many prognosticators are suggesting that the player may well be looking for a deal that is northwards of $200 million over eight years .

Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals scores a run against Michael McKenry (55) of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on August 25, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …….

Averaging out at $25 million a year one doubts that the St Louis Cardinals would seek to financially hamstring themselves to such a long term commitment . But then again the team salaries seem to be escalating for the big market teams while those mid to small market ball-clubs seem to be struggling to remain amongst the fray. If Pujols were unable to commit to an offer from the St Louis Cardinals then it would appear that there would be a number of teams vying for Albert Pujols’ services. Amongst those thought to show an interest would be their divisional rivals the Chicago Cubs who’ve long needed some star appeal and real offensive productivity within that ballclub. The team itself having seen the upheaval with the firing of GM Jim Hendry by team owner Tom Ricketts are now looking for a change of direction both on an off the field of play.

Prince Fielder five years younger than Pujols , is seen as a player whose best years are ahead of him, as the 27 year old first baseman on the Brewers’ team . The Milwaukee Brewers have seen their years of highs and lows within baseball with little postseason success in recent years . It has been a cautionary tale for this organization and the present ownership group after they assumed control from the Selig family.

This season we have seen the Brewers simply smash their way to success leaving all else in their wake , especially within the NL Central . They’ve distanced themselves from the St Louis Cardinals and now have an eye on the postseason, as they prepare for the divisional series. For Fielder , Ryan Braun , John Axford and the players on this roster who’ve made hay while the sun shines this has been much more than a fortuitous year for the ball-club. Team owner Mark Attanasio and GM Doug Melvin have a major decision on their hands as they seek to make an offer that doesn’t do irreparable financial harm to the organization.

The pay structure of the Milwaukee Brewers has to be held in check given the limited resources of the ball-club as a whole . Prince Fielder knows that he has a choice to make at the end of the year that will provide him with long term security no what the outcome of the choice made by the player or front office . What may well matter is the financial weight of the contract offered to the player in terms of its worth . Are the Milwaukee Brewers in a position to make Prince Fielder the highest paid player on the roster and what might be the seismic shot sent across the bow of the game ? How will that decision be viewed by the general managers and team owners around the league ?

I am not so sure that Prince Fielder can be deemed a person said to be worth in excess of $20-$25 million a year no matter what length the period of the contract offered to the player . But herein lies the idiocy of the game today , a player such as Vernon Wells this year will be paid in excess of $26.5 million for an unproductive and lackluster season with the Los Angeles Angels .

Having not taken much interest in the NFL preseason I have to admit that the latest results have not really come as a great surprise ! . Certainly if the teams are said to be seeking consistency during these preseason games then for the San Francisco 49ers their games if anything have been an indication of the sheer ineptitude in terms of the play offered by the quarterbacks on the team .

Team general manager Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh may well have hastily made the decision to announce that his regular season starter would be Alex Smith .

For those of us who have witnessed the productivity of Smith over the years , we can all attest to the fact that the player has had his moments but when it has mattered most he has struggled to show any real command or the trust of his teammates . In the preseason once again, it has been more of the same from the five year veteran and it is becoming extremely hard to understand how it is that the player was taken first overall in the 2005 NFL Draft .

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Alex Smith (11) of the San Francisco 49ers roles out to pass against the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

From my own perspective given the travails of the 49ers during the preseason I do believe that this team will struggle over the course of the regular season ! For Jim Harbaugh , his coaching staff and in particular quarterbacks’ coach Geep Chryst this will be a year during which their mental psyche will be tested by the play of Alex Smith. It has been the player’s inconsistency but more so the fact that during his time in the NFL at no point of his career has the coaching staff remained constant. The staff of the Forty Niners has been changed more often than that of a newborn baby’s diapers on a daily basis. If Geep Chryst can keep things simple not only for Smith but also his primary backup Josh McCown then there’s no reason to believe why the team cannot be competitive over the course of this season . But as of now that remains a big “if “ in the minds of not only the fans in general but quite possibly also the Forty Niners’ coaching staff , themselves.

With the off-season moves made by the 49ers and the draft choices it would be easy to suggest that the team is back on the road to being competitive within the NFC West . Although the division may well seem ripe for the taking , with teams such as the Arizona Cardinals , Seattle Seahawks and St Louis Rams all vying for overall supremacy. I do feel that NFC West has and always remain a division where there’s more uncertainty bound to happen than any fan could hope to wish for. It has been the inconsistency of the teams over the past few years that leads me to believe that trying to predict an outright winner of the division is akin to playing “three card Monty” !

Alex Smith will have to justify the faith shown in him by Jim Harbaugh this season , if not then I can see his NFL career coming to an abrupt end with him being jettisoned by the organization. Given the fact that he was so highly touted and taken as a number one overall pick , I am now beginning to wonder what it was that the front office saw in the player that originally that convinced them that he had the makings of NFL quarterback ? Anyone care to hazard a guess and provide us all with an answer ?

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support !

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

Contact tophatal via these social media services

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(1) TORONTO, CANADA – AUGUST 28: Desmond Jennings of the Toronto Blue Jays of the Tampa Bay Rays during MLB game action August 28, 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Rays would go on to defeat the Blue Jays 12-0 . Photo by Brad White/Getty Images …..

2 Home plate umpire Jeff Nelson looks on as Jose Bautista (19) of the Toronto Blue Jays walks off after striking out during MLB game action against the Tampa Bay Rays August 28, 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo by Brad White/Getty Images …….

(3) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 25: Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals flips the ball to first base at Busch Stadium on August 25, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 8-4 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(4) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals scores a run against Michael McKenry (55) of the Pittsburgh Pirates at Busch Stadium on August 25, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …….

(5) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 28: Corey Hart (1) of the Milwaukee Brewers is congratulated by Prince Fielder (28) after scoring a run during the game against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park on August 28, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers would go on to defeat the Cubs 3-2 Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …….

(6) MILWAUKEE, WI – AUGUST 28: Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers catches the baseball from Zack Grienke (13) as Starlin Castro (13) of the Chicago Cubs dives back to the base at Miller Park on August 28, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Brewers defeated the Cubs 3-2. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images ……..

(7) SAN FRANCISCO – AUGUST 27: Chris Culliver (29) of the San Francisco 49ers returning a kick off gets tackled by Shiloh Keo (31) of the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Texans won the game 30-7 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …….

(8) Coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers looks on against the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …….

(9) SAN FRANCISCO – AUGUST 27: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers roles out to pass against the Houston Texans during an NFL pre-season football game at Candlestick Park August 27, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..
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MLB news

Milwaukee Brewers’ news

St Louis Cardinals’ news

MLB Standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB results 28th August 2011

MLB probable starting pitchers 29th August 2011

MLB schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB team stats

NFL news

NFL Preseason standings by division

NFL Preseason standings by conference

NFL Preseason standings by league

NFL results preseason week 3

NFL Stats preseason

NFL player stats preseason

San Francisco 49ers news

San Francisco 49ers regular season schedule

San Francisco 49ers team roster

Forty Niners’ preseason stats

NB : In the Forty Niners most recent preseason game they suffered a decisive 30-7 loss to the Houston Texans .

Thrill , Spills And Whatever Else Befalls The Game of Baseball Down The Stretch ……

Thrill , Spills And Whatever Else Befalls The Game of Baseball Down The Stretch ……

It’s now extremely hard what to make of the baseball season and how things seem to playing out . There now seems to be only one divisional race of real intrigue or interest . And that would appear to be the AL East , although there’s still a great deal to be said about the intrigue and suspense taking place within the NL West where a mere two games separate the division leading Arizona Diamondbacks (70-59) from the San Francisco Giants (68-61).

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With the always competitive AL East we have come to expect seeing both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees fight for divisional supremacy. So much so , that it comes a surprise when neither team sits atop of the division at season’s end. At this point last season the races were somewhat different in terms of the teams vying for a divisional title as well as a wildcard berth and one would expect it to be the same for this year .

Within the NL Central it would appear that the St Louis Cardinals may well be out of the running for the division as they now sit some ten games behind the Milwaukee Brewers . And as with any ball-club around the league injuries and team inconsistency has played its part in the problems for Tony La Russa’s team . Certainly the manager and his coaching staff have tried to get the best out of this team but if anything it has been the dominant and overpowering play of the Milwaukee Brewers that has simply bewildered the Cardinals throughout the month of August . And with the Brewers now intent on making a postseason run it will be interesting to see what Ryan Braun , Prince Fielder and their teammates are able to achieve over the remainder of the season .

To say that I am surprised by the play of Arizona Diamondbacks this season would be an understatement ! If anything I felt that the NL West would be a division where the duel would be between the reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers . If anything there’s more drama to be had off the field concerning the Dodgers than there is to seen on the field in terms of their play . And even if Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are said to be having exemplary seasons for the team , it has been the odious behavior and idiocy of the organization’s front office executives that has shone more light on the Dodgers that is unfavorable than the ball club would prefer to have. Team owner Frank McCourt has hamstrung the Los Angeles Dodgers in such a way that it would seem impossible that anyone could look upon this organization favorably in terms of it being a viable takeover target . The ball-club’s situation hasn’t been helped by the complete ineptitude shown by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the league hierarchy . Selig’s own lack of real action has to come into question concerning this matter. If anything , it has been all too little , and all too late !

I am not so sure what to make of the Cleveland Indians this season , as they’ve simply lured their fans the public alike into thinking that this was a resurgent team once again. Nothing could be further from the truth as their play or should one lack of play , has led them to simply fall from grace within the AL Central . I’ve no doubt that Manny Acta and his coaching staff have to be disappointed with the effort put forth by this team but if anything I feel that a preponderance of the blame lies with the front office led by GM Chris Antonetti under the auspices of team owner Lawrence Dolan . The organization has sought to pare down salary but at the same time the moves made this season during the trade deadline haven’t at all panned out . The team’s biggest acquisition Ubaldo Jiminez has simply been average this season and in particular during his spell with the Cleveland Indians . But to suggest that it has simply been the pitching that has let the team down would be remiss because from an offensive standpoint , here too ball-club has been nondescript .

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Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (30) of the Cleveland Indians sits on the bench after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images ………….

Now as we approach the final month of the season with there still be a number of teams still vying for some semblance of consistency as their year winds down. Most definitely within the AL and NL we have seen the teams give the best of themselves by way of their play. But at the same time I am very sure that a great many fans have at times been disappointed with their respective ball-clubs and their lackluster effort .

There’s a great deal to be said also for the players in contention for the major individual awards this season. The usual suspects are front and center wherein we could well see one or two surprises amongst the claimants for the Cy Young Award , Rookie of The Year , MVP Awards within both divisions as well as the Manager of The Year . Last season those winners offered up a mirror image on the year as a whole in terms of the performances and that of the divisional winners .

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What are your impressions of the MLB season and how do you view things panning out given the fact the waiver deadline will soon be upon us ? Leave a comment as to your thoughts and always thanks for the continued support !

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

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(1) New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi , left, talks to starting pitcher CC Sabathia during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Athletics won 6-4 . AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ….

(2) Ryan Roberts (14) and Chris Young (24) of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate after a 4-2 victory against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on August 24, 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ……..

(3) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Juan Rivera , right, scores ahead of the tag from St. Louis Cardinals catcher Gerald Laird during the third inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011, in St. Louis. The Dodgers won 9-4 . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …….

(4) CLEVELAND, OH – AUGUST 24: Catcher Miguel Olivo (30) and closing pitcher Josh Lueke (31) of the Seattle Mariners celebrate after defeating the Cleveland Indians 9-2 to take the series 3-1 at Progressive Field on August 24, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images ……

(5) Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (30) of the Cleveland Indians sits on the bench after being taken out of the game during the fifth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images ………….

(6) From left to right , GM Chris Antonetti , alongside Cleveland Indians’ owner Larry Dolan and minority stake owner Mark Shapiro , far right . Shapiro remains with the ball-club serving in a role as its President . AP Photo/ Mark Sturridge ……

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MLB news

MLB Standings as of 24th August 2011

MLB Wildcard standings

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance

MLB results 23rd August 2011

MLB results 24th August 2011

MLB probable starters 25th August 2011

ML team stats : Overall

American League

National League

MLB Team salaries 2011

NB: Written as of 08/24/11 but set for publishing 08/25/11

Monte Carlo Or Bust For The St Louis Cardinals ………….

Monte Carlo Or Bust For The St Louis Cardinals ………….

As the St St Louis Cardinals face an uphill battle looking to slowly erase the lead held by the Milwaukee Brewers within the NL Central . I can’t help but wonder what needs to be done by this team in order for them to even have a remote chance of achieving that feat. Granted , in Tony La Russa the organization has one of the most respected managers in the game today and his resume speaks for itself. Along with his coaching staff , La Russa has made this team a formidable threat but unless they actually win this division outright then it will become increasingly clear that the St Louis Cardinals are likely to miss the postseason .

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Slide show for your perusal.

The team now sits four games behind the NL wildcard leading Atlanta Braves and it has to be said it would take a monumental collapse by the Braves that would allow the St Louis Cardinals to be even with a chance of claiming that berth. The team’s strength has been its pitching and offense . And leading the charge throughout much of the season has been Lance Berkman whose career has been resurrected playing for the Cardinals this year.

GM John Mozeliak know that at the end of this season the organization could very well lose their All Star first baseman Albert Pujols to free agency having not been able to get the player to sign a contract extension that met with both parties’ liking. It is not that the fact that the Cardinals are without the financial resources . Pujols, himself , did not want to go into the season having to negotiate a new deal knowing full well that he would somehow be unable to dedicate his efforts full time on the field of play. Various sources, none of which have been fully established make the claim that the player wishes to be compensated to a deal in accordance with his stature . If that means Albert Pujols seeks a long term contract of 6 years at a cumulative figure of between $120-140 million over that specific period , then it could well be a harbinger of why the negotiations were curtailed between the player’s agent and the Cardinals’ front office . Some may opine that Albert Pujols isn’t worth that sort of money at this stage of his career but I would suggest that the St Louis Cardinals without the player would not be competing at a high level within the NL Central or for that matter be considered a legitimate contender for postseason honors . His productivity alone speaks for itself and the mere fact that he’s the main draw for the fans , there at Busch Stadium adds to his value for the organization .

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ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 11: Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals heads to third base after a fielding error by the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on August 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Brewers 5-2 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

Over the remainder of the season it will be interesting to see how the St Louis Cardinals fare as they make a final push towards either winning the division or obtaining a wildcard berth and entry into the playoffs . Given the history of the franchise’s career in the playoffs you have to admire the success attained by the organization . Albert Pujols has played his part in that success with the organization’s most recent accolade in winning the 2006 World Series in defeating the Detroit Tigers Angels .

With Albert Pujols having been on the DL in recent weeks much of the heavy lifting has actually been by Lance Berkman who seems to have been rejuvenated and showing why he was such a productive player while with the Houston Astros . Berkman along with Matt Holliday , Yadier Molina , Ryan Theriot and Albert Pujols have tried to keep this team in contention with the Milwaukee Brewers from an offensive standpoint. And as productive as the team has been it has been their pitching that has also kept them in close proximity of the divisional leader. Chris Carpenter has been his usual workman life self over the course of this season but like any other pitcher in the league he has had his problems. That asides , he and the rest of the pitching rotation have held their own as needs be , over the course of the year thus far .

It will be interesting to see what changes are liable to be made should the St Louis Cardinals decide to bring up any of their top prospects from the minors . Certainly the organization has some very keen and good young players willing to show that they are ready to take the next step up at the major league level. And it bodes well for the organization at large in that respect and that decision no doubt remains in the hands of Tony La Russa and John Mozeliak . They may well think along those lines should it become more apparent that they are not likely to overtake the Milwaukee Brewers within the NL Central but one never knows as La Russa tends to march to the beat of his own drum in making such decisions. Certainly the St Louis Cardinals’ fans would like to see players such as brought up from the minors merely for them to get a taste of the majors at the big league level. It would be a boost in confidence for those players and most definitely something that they crave for and would appreciate all the more .

Certainly the likes of Zach Cox , Shelby Miller , Oscar Taveras , Joe Kelly and Matt Adams would love the opportunity to display their skills at the top level , and given the chance the organization would be ripe beneficiaries of that situation .

While the Cardinals are no doubt looking to gain ground on the Milwaukee Brewers , the team itself will see this season as one where they have to do something special if they are to have a inkling of a chance to retain the services of Prince Fielder . They have ridden the crest of the wave on the player’s shoulders over the course of the year and while Ryan Braun has contributed greatly to the Brewers’ efforts it has been Prince Fielder who has been the spur for the organization.

Brewers’ manager , team owner Mark Attanasio and general manager Doug Melvin know that that their All Star slugger while appreciative of the organization’s efforts wants to compensated for his efforts. It was felt that at the trade deadline quite possibly a number of teams might have pursued the player with regard to a possible trade. That scenario never materialized and the Milwaukee Brewers were the better for it , and it remains to be seen what efforts will be made by the front office will be made to retain the player at season’s end. Certainly with the sort of money that’s being rumored that the player’s agent is said to be seeking for his client _____ the thought of an seven or 8 year deal north of $175-$180 million does not seem out the realms of possibility. Not many teams within baseball are awash with that sort of money or who are likely to make that sort of long term commitment to player. But such are the vagaries of the game , where it is now the players and agents who can hold sway over the financial future of an organization , where the general managers and team owners are having to make decisions as to their long term viability and financial security in large part .

Ron Roenicke along with his coaching staff know that their biggest beyond winning the division is to have the team playing at a consitently high level down the stretch run of their season . And most certainly they will be looking for players such Braun , Fielder , Casey McGhee , Rickie Weeks , Yunieski Betancourt , alongside the pitching staff led by Zach Greinke , Shaun Marcum , Yovanni Gallardo and John Axford to shoulder the burden in hopes of securing a playoff berth for the organization.

Postseason success for the Milwaukee Brewers has been fleeting at best and the ball-club’s history simply has been littered with highs and lows . But it has been the players associated with this club over the years that if anything has fans feeling some empathy for organization . Whether or not the tide is about turn remains to be seen but I am sure that there are a number of fans out there that will be intrigued to see if the Brewers in their present reincarnation can actually do what has not done by the club in over two decades and that’s a return to the World Series —– then , winning it .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

Do you feel that the St Louis Cardinals will make the postseason or are you of the opinion that they will have their hopes dented by their divisional rivals , the Milwaukee Brewers who will deprive of them of winning the NL Central ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the subject matter or anything else you feel pertinent with regard to the events happening within the game of baseball at present .

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

Contact tophatal at ……… rapptu@gmail.com or via

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Picture and slide show details .

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(1) ST. LOUIS, MO – AUGUST 11: Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals heads to third base after a fielding error by the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on August 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Brewers 5-2 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(2) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a single his second of the night against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium on August 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Brewers 5-2. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ….

(3) Prince Fielder (28) of the Milwaukee Brewers returns to the dugout after striking out against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Brewers 5-2. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(4) Mark Kotsay (25) of the Milwaukee Brewers hits an RBI double against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ….

(5) Starter Yovani Gallardo (49) of the Milwaukee Brewers reacts to giving up a solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 11, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(6) St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, right, argues with first base umpire Greg Gibson, right, after Gibson threw La Russa out while arguing a call during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011, in St. Louis. Gibson called the Brewers’ Josh Wilson , who scored later in the inning, safe at first and the Brewers went on to win 5-1 . AP Photo/ Jeff Roberson …….

(7) Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, right, and general manager Doug Melvin watch batting practice during a spring training baseball workout at the team’s practice facility Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Morry Gash ……..

(8) St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, left, and general manager John Mozeliak talk during spring training baseball Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010, in Jupiter, Fla. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ……..

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