It Starts From The Top , On Down ………

It’s Starts From The Top , On Down ……………

I think that we can all assume that for any organization the success attained usually comes by way of ownership in terms of a professional sports’ franchise and the lead executives within that organization. Within the area of Major League Baseball (MLB) I think that we can surmise that there are some damn good owners as well some very bad ones amongst the bunch . The same can be said for the general managers and managers themselves . If there’s leadership from up above as well a high degree of intelligence then it usually bodes well for a team .

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In recent years and it would be fair to say that the Tampa Bay Rays have had a reasonable amount of success within the AL East and the postseason as an organization. Team owner Stuart Sternberg along with his managing partner , Matthew Silverman and general manager Andrew Friedman have been the mainstays of upswing in the fortunes of the franchise. But undoubtedly it has been the boldness Friedman and his personnel decisions that cannot be underestimated . The hiring of Joe Maddon as the team’s manager and his subsequent hirees as coaching assistants have simply genius in its strategy and simpleness . And one cannot say enough about the draft choices made by the general manager over the last five years . Suffice to say that those players who have made it to the majors are the envy of the teams around the league .

Undeniably the heroics of this team this regular season brought about a great deal of excitement for the fans within the Tampa Bay area and that loyal following in attendance at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg , Florida got the chance to cheer on their heroes during the postseason . Short-lived as that was anyone who would have suggest during mid August the Tampa Bay Rays would end up being the AL wildcard representative at the end of the regular season may well have been laughed at . The team’s postseason foray for 2011 ended up rather abruptly with the Tampa Bay Rays being summarily dismissed by the Texas Rangers (3-1) in the ALDS . With that loss the front office now looks to next season and what changes they may well deem prudent to become more competitive . What has and will always be the biggest concern for the organization are the financial constraints that they are placed under . When adjudged against other teams around the league the Rays’ situation is not necessarily viewed as an enviable one . But they have managed to survive and be competitive in a league that has now become more to do with spending for the large part rather than genuinely developing talent .

Fortunately for Joe Maddon and his coaching staff with the natural maturity and the progress shown in the development of players such as David Price , Evan Longoria , Alex Cobb , Jeremy Hellickson and B J Upton the organization has been extremely lucky . It has been this sort of development of talent this has made this ball club the envy of the league . The credit for this must undoubtedly go to Andrew Friedman , Joe Maddon and the coaching staff.

The issues that the Tampa Bay Rays face concerning their dire need for a new state of the art facility with Tropicana Field not being viewed as fan friendly have been well chronicled . The issue is treated as a hot potato by the league hierarchy and it has gotten to the stage where MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has berated the organization as well the politicians of both the cities of St Petersburg and Tampa as well Hillsborough and Pinellas County , as to their inaction, in getting a new ballpark for the team. Someone should remind Selig that just because New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg allowed the commissioner to ” fist “ his sphincter and it doesn’t mean that the politicians within both municipalities or for that matter the ownership group of the Rays will allow the same thing to happen to them ! Bloomberg under the subterfuge of seeing two multi million dollar ballparks ( Citi-Field & Yankee Stadium ) built within the city of New York suddenly feels that the municipality becomes the epicenter of the baseball world . That clearly is not the case but you would be hard pressed to convince a New York Mets or Yankees’ fan of that !

This off-season the Tampa Bay Rays will have to contend with the fact that they have yet to reach an agreement with their general manager concerning a contract extension. We know that the Chicago Cubs’ vacancy has now been filled with Theo Epstein accepting the offer from owner Tom Ricketts . Meanwhile , with Los Angeles Angels’ general manager Tony Reagins having resigned his position , it leads to a vacancy within that organization . The team’s multi dollar billionaire owner Arte Moreno is no slouch and will look for a high profiled and competent replacement for Reagins . Moreno , it has been reported , has met with Andrew Friedman twice within the last 48 hours to discuss the Angels’ vacancy with the Rays’ general manager , to gauge his interest . At the same time laying in wait observing this hall has been the ownership group of the Houston Astros . I somehow get the feeling that if Friedman is made an offer that he simply cannot refuse then he will undoubtedly leave this organization and make his way to the West Coast , into the more than welcoming arms of the Angels’ front office .

In spite of the friendship between Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg , the mutual respect between the two will remain. But it can’t have been easy for the Tampa Bay Rays general manager having to cut costs in terms of the player personnel simply to make this ball club not only competitive but also profitable from a financial standpoint. No such hindrances for the organization’s two biggest divisional foes the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees with their multi million dollar payrolls as well having at their disposal as a treasure chest their respective sports programming cable network providers NESN and the YES Network .

As I alluded to earlier the situation facing the Rays become more dire with each passing moment as to their future and that of a new venue. Entering now into the fray is the city of Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer offering up his own assessment of the baseball team’ future. The mayor has let it be known that he feels that the cities of St Petersburg and Tampa have ill served the organization . Either Dyer is a complete asshole or this is simply nothing more than a political ploy on his part . If he feels that luring away the team from Pinellas County to Orange County and the city of Orlando will serve his municipality city well , then so be it . But given the fact , that both the city and county are at this moment struggling to literally stay afloat due budgetary shortfalls speaks to the stupidity of the mayor . If he firmly believes that fawning over sports’ franchise owner and using taxpayer’s monies to fund stadiums as a means of initiating an upturn in the city’s infrastructure while teachers , city employees and first responders are either furloughed or “pink slipped” indicates to that he is simply another political crony willing to prostitute himself out to the highest bidder ! I can only surmise that Bill Foster of St Petersburg and his city of Tampa counterpart Mayor Bob Buckhorn will have a few choice and pointed responses for Dyer when they see fit respond to his comment publicly !

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Alan aka tophatal ………………

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(1) Rays’ manager Joe Maddon is seen here alongside GM Andrew Friedman during the 2008 MLB Playoffs . AP Photo / Chris Howard ….

(2) Arte Moreno (left) is seen here with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the Angels’ former general manager Tony Reagins (right). Moreno has met with Rays’ general manager Andrew Friedman to gauge the executive’s interest in joining the Los Angeles Angels in a similar position . @ copyrighted material all rights reserved MLB.com …..

(3) Mayor Bill Foster (R) speaks to the media regarding the two St. Petersburg, Florida police officers killed during a shootout on January 24, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. A deputy U.S Marshal was also wounded. The suspect, 39-year-old Hydra Lacy, Jr., was later found dead in the home where the shootout took place. Getty Images / Tom Boyles …..

(4) Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn talks Tuesday about the teamwork of the many law enforcement agencies, many with representatives behind him, during the four-day hunt for Dontae Morris. Skip Rourke / St Petersburg Times ….

(5) City of Orlando Mayor,Buddy Dyer, looks out from his office unto the horizon of the downtown Orlando area. Dyer was one of the main facilitators in getting a new arena built for the NBA franchise, the Orlando Magic . picture appears courtesy of orlandosentinel/ Jason Arnot ………..

(6) Tropicana Field home to the Tampa Bay Ray since the team’s inception and now viewed an archaic edifice by a number of players and teams around the league . Bud Selig has been highly critical of the ownership group of the Rays . But the commissioner has done little to assist the organization and their ambition of getting a new facility. However , he was front and center in dealing with the Boston Red Sox ownership and the of the New York Yankees’ front office in making sure that there would be no problems in their dealings with the New York City Council (members) by holding countless private meetings with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. St Petersburg Times / Collin Walsh ….

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I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

I Got The Memo But I Think That There’s Been A Misprint !

Well week four is finally over and the NFL teams and their respective staffs have to deliberate which players will be cut in order for the rosters to have the league mandated 53 members per franchise. As this process takes place at the same time a number of players have been richly rewarded by their respective ball-clubs. Michael Vick has now become the latest member join the tier of those in the $100 million contract fraternity . Few players within the NFL are as athletic as the quarterback or as electrifying, and it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles’ front office feels justified in rewarding the player so handsomely , albeit that $40 million is said to be guaranteed money. That simply won’t matter because the residual effect will be for Vick and his agent to negotiate what’s hoped will be several multi-year multi million dollar endorsement contracts that will leave the Eagles’ player set for life .

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Perhaps I was simply mistaken but the team owners of the NFL simply pled poverty as to their financial plight during the alleged labor stoppage that lasted some 145 days . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , chief legal counsel Jeff Pash and the hierarchy’s chief labor negotiator Adolphus Birch all led the way in the league’s negotiations with the NFLPA and its executive committee . The union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith stood firm but only acquiesced after the league gave up several concessions but perhaps the one concession that the fans did not expect was the very fact that during the regular season the league will be allowed to test the players for HGH ( human growth horomone) during regular season . Invasion privacy or not , the union knew that it had to fall into line and not be seen as the sport where their muscle bound specimens might misjudged for all of the wrong reasons . Granted , Major League Baseball still seems to be in denial as it relates to this issue and the fact that the MLBPA (union) has the game’s hierarchy cowering in a corner like a cat with its tail on fire . But in reality the less said about this topic within the realms of the sport it’s simply better abruptly end discussing the matter as neither the league or its players would clearly want to broach this topic.

If there was one thing that was clear Michael Vick simply proved himself last season for the Eagles and the team was simply better for it during the regular season . Now even with the additions made to the roster by way of the draft and off-season moves the Philadelphia Eagles may well be seen as the presumptive favorites within the NFC to make it to the Superbowl . That may well change over the course of the season for Andy Reid and his coaching staff as the team will almost certainly go through its version of highs and lows .

The next quarterback presumed to be joining the ranks of the $100 million club could very well be the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees . No one can deny that Brees at his very best should not be mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers . All Superbowl winning quarterbacks , Superbowl MVP’s and at some after the end of their careers , all may well headed on their way to the Hall of Fame in Canton , Ohio. .

Brees and the Saints’ owner Tom Benson are fully aware as to what each party means to the other. The player is seen as the face of the franchise and the quarterback is beloved by the fans in the Crescent City and that feeling is reciprocated by the player. Sean Payton knows that this will be a testing schedule for his players and that if they are to prevail in what is clearly a very competitive NFC South division , we could very well be in for some very entertaining football from all of the residents there.

Calmer heads prevailed , as Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson got what he wanted , which was an extended contract . Either Bud Adams is that much of an idiot by initially insisting that the player would have to honor his existing contract or he was of the opinion that Johnson would not somehow not make idile of his threat to sit out the entire Titans’ regular season schedule . It is clear that this was the resolution that all parties had hoped for Chris Johnson being handsomely rewarded with a four year contract extenstion worth $53 million of which $30 million is guaranteed . The NFL players’ salaries become all the more baffling as the players and their agents simply are laughing all the way to the bank. I am not so at this juncture it’s still plausible for the team owners or general managers or for that matter Roger Goodell to continue with their original stance ! Nothing says ……… we’re so full of it than to continue to plead poverty while teams are said to be ignorant of that first relayed facade.

With Chris Johnson having received his contract extension now comes the thought that Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson will seek an increase in salary . And as productive as he has been over the past five seasons for the Vikings who can fault the player with whatever demands he may well seek . Certainly the Minnesota Vikings’ front office led by team owner Zygi Wilf may well feel that for all of the pandering and statements forthcoming from the league office , nothing at all has actually changed prior to NFL lockout . The negotiations that took place may well have led to a rookie salary cap and other concessions from both parties but when you get right down to it , we’re back to square one _____ the players chasing after the almighty buck with the league hierarchy still decrying their current fate and looking to apportion blame elsewhere.

With Donovan McNabb newly acquired by the Vikings along with their draft picks it remains to be seen how this team will fare over the course of the upcoming season . In the aftermath of the Brett Favre era with the organization it has to be said has to got to prove that they are capable of being thought of a legitimate contender within the NFC North and the conference as a whole . The preseason for the Vikings has not given us much to go on but it appears that McNabb seems to finding a rhythm with his offense .
Head coach Leslie Frazier and the coaching staff know that the expectations will continue to be high and this season no less will be seen as a determining factor as to how this team will fare .

So next season the Florida Marlins will move into their new ballpark in downtown Miami the site of the old Old Orange Bowl . The team seated at the bottom of the NL East are barely averaging 18,000 fans per home at Land Shark /Sun Life Stadium also home to the Miami Dolphins . Team owner Jeffrey Loria and the entire front office sold the city of Miami a can of goods in leading the city commission to believe that a new purpose venue , capacity of approximately 40,000 would be to the organization’s benefit. The only thing of benefit that is pertinent here is to know that Jeffrey Loria has not had to dip into his multi million dollar fortune in facilitating the building of this new stadium but you’d be hard pressed to believe that when you here the owner gushing about the stadium and what has been the very fact Loria has been less than truthful in his dealings with the city of Miami and other governmental agencies .

The cost of the facility is upwards of $450 million and much of that will be at the taxpayers’ expense though you’d be hard pressed to believe otherwise when the Loria , team President David Sansom and general manager Michael Hill are trying to convince the public otherwise. The team owner like many of his peers within the game seem to be of the opinion that the public’s coffers are there for their expense. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the MLB hierarchy has lobbyists working on their behalf not only at the state level but also at the federal level . This is one of the underbelly’s within the game that even Bud Selig would not care to discuss , along with the league’s stance on the financial solvency of its ball clubs .

While baseball is a multi billion dollar enterprise of which the teams at the top rungs of the financial ladder are immensely profitable , the minnows at the foot of that apparatus are barely able to get by. The Florida Marlins having pared down team salary but it has been Loria’s blatant use of the press to forge ahead with his belief the ball club needs a new stadium while the team owner seeks to benefit from the public’s largesse. Miami city mayor Tomas P. Regalado even with his demeanor and the love of the limelight has seen fit to praise the Marlins during the negotiating process in developing and building the of the new venue. If this franchise can barely fill their present facility, it stands to reason it will be the curiosity value that first brings the fans out but after a while that novelty will surely wear off ! A bad economic climate or not baseball within the state of Florida has always been a hard sell , especially given the attendance woes of the Tampa Bay Rays .

Tropicana Field home to the AL team has struggled even with the advent of the team’s success in recent years , albeit in the first decade years of their existence , this organization was one of abject futility . Team owner Stuart Sternberg along with his partners are vying for state and local governments’ attention in bringing about their own wish for an all purpose venue to be built in either Hillsborough or Pinellas County , in central Florida. And once again the burden in terms of the cost will be placed firmly on the shoulders of the public , the governmental agencies in question will in large part have to finance the building of that facility. Be it through a bond issue at some point there always tend to be , some indirect cost that is added to the public’s expense in terms of the services that they are asked to pay either for their municipal services or increased state services.

It would be remiss to suggest that baseball and football are the only major sports where the fans are asked to bear the burden of up-keeping a sport’s venue but would it be too much to ask if the franchise owners would for once step up to the plate say……” I’m here to do the right thing “ ? Somehow , I seriously doubt that is liable to happen as the franchise owners seeks to keep as much money in their pockets , rather than give the impression that they are able to for once able to fend for themselves without preying on the fans ! Is that too much to ask ?

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(1) OAKLAND, CA – AUGUST 28: Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter during an NFL pre-season football game at the Oakland Coliseum August 28, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images …..

(2) Head coach of the New Orleans Saints Sean Payton (L) acknowledges the crowd as he and owner Tom Benson (R) wait for the beginning of a reception for the 2010 National Football League Super Bowl champions in the East Room of the White House August 9, 2010 in Washington, DC. The New Orleans Saints, lead by head coach Sean Payton, finished the 2009-2010 season with a winning record of 13-3 and defeated the Indianapolis Colts to take the championship . Getty Images/ Chris Rodgers ……

(3) FILE – In this file photo taken Sept. 20, 2009, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson runs for a 57-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans in an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. Johnson, a three-time Pro Bowl running back, signed his four-year contract extension worth $53 million and the $30 million guaranteed he wanted, Friday, Sept. 2, 2011. He agreed to the deal Thursday and flew into Nashville from his Orlando, Fla., home Friday. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey …. ……

(4) Owner Bud Adams (R) of the Tennessee Titans greets family members of quarterback Jake Locker (10) before a preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings at LP Field on August 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. …….

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 1: Head coach Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans and head coach Leslie Frazier of the Minnesota Vikings speak after the game on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0 . Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….. …..

(6) Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings throws his hat to fans after the win against the Houston Texans on September 1, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Texans 28-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(7) Jose Lopez (11) of the Florida Marlins is congratulated after hitting a solo home run by Emilio Bonifacio (1) during a game against the New York Mets at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Marlins would go on to defeat the Mets 9-3 . Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ……

(8) Emilio Bonifacio (1) of the Florida Marlins scores on a wild pitch avoiding Chris Capuano (38) and Josh Thole (30) of the New York Mets during a game at Sun Life Stadium on September 5, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …….

(9) Jack McKeon (25) of the Florida Marlins walks away from Fieldin Culbreth (25) , Crew Chief of the umpires, after losing an argument in the bottom of the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on August 29, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Getty Images /Chris Pasiateri ……

(10) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by Ben Zobrist (18) after his home run against the Texas Rangers during the game at Tropicana Field on September 5, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Rays would defeat the Rangers 5-1 . Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields , center, reacts with teammates Sam Fuld , left, and David Price (14) after pitching a complete baseball game against the Texas Rangers Monday, Sept. 5, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. the Rays won the game 5-1. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …….

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Slow But Steady , Slow But Really Steady

Slow But Steady , Slow But Really Steady

It has been really interesting as of late to watch the way things have unraveled within the AL East . And as many prognosticators believe the division may well be the most competitive in all of baseball it goes without saying that the reasoning is very much justified . As an ardent admirer of the game I have a certain fascination with the team that is local to Central Florida. And that happens to be the Tampa Bay Rays who over the last two years , have been twice a winner of the division , an ALCS Pennat winner and made their sole appearance in the World Series in 2008 which ended in sadness with the team losing to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in the best of seven series . At the helm as the team’s manager has been Joe Maddon the organization’s most successful coach.

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Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida , is home to this young organization that has had its fair share of highs and lows over the course of its history . For Maddon and his coaching staff , they have essentially been great tutors of which much of that tutelage has come to fruition in seeing the giant steps made in the progression of young stars on the roster . Perhaps none more so than Evan Longoria , Matt Joyce and the team’s two pitching All Stars David Price and James Shields . It’d be remiss however to suggest that the aforementioned trio are the sole cause for the team’s success this season but with the addition of Johnny Damon and reliever Kyle Farnsworth the Rays have proven to a formidable challenge to the likes of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees .

New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter returns to the dugout after being thrown out at first base to end a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Rays won 5-1. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

The Rays have been very lucky with the fact that their pitching has held up well and the mere fact that there now seems to be a great deal of confidence throughout their starting five as well as the relievers would suggest that they are quite capable of giving the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees a real run for their money down the closing stretch of the season . I firmly believe that if the team is within two games of the lead coming into the month of September then all bets are off as to the division being anything but a two horse race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees as it now appears to be !

With the All Star Game scheduled this upcoming week the Tampa Bay Rays’ schedule becomes ever so important. The team is a mere four and a half games behind the division leading New York Yankees (51-14) but only a 1 1/2 games behind the second placed Boston Red Sox (51-35). The Rays are coming off a resounding 12-5 shellacking of the Minnesota Twins. If the team can continue with that sort of the momentum then their upcoming series of games against their divisional rivals the Red Sox and Yankees should prove to be very interesting. The New York Yankees host the Rays at Yankees Stadium for home series of three games before the midseason break and the festivities surrounding the All Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona .

First up for the Tampa Bay Rays will be to rein in the New York Yankees , the winners of seven of their last ten games and riding on an offensive that has been very potent indeed . Leading the way for the Yankees has been first baseman Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson in the team’s onslaught. But need we remind ourselves that this team also has the likes of Robinson Cano , Nick Swisher and . Alex Rodriguez all of whom are capable of providing the New York Yankees with the much needed offensive weaponry that any team would enviable of having . .

Now while much of the focus has been the Derek Jeter watch as he makes his way to the 3,000 hits plateau as he is now but three hits away from reaching that milestone and become the organization’s all time hits leader . The fifteen year veteran now sits atop of the mountain and will now be instantaneously be immortalized by the Yankees’ fans . Jeter has already surpassed Yankees’ legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig but if anything this modern day icon and the face of the game to most and in particular the Yankees’ fans. One has to admit that the player is now winding down his illustrious career .

If the Rays can get to the pitching of the Yankees of which I believe is the team’s Achilles Heel then quite possibly they can win this series , cut the deficit that Bronx Bombers has over the other residents within the division. I think it’s pretty safe to say and that Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays are out of the running for the wildcard spot within the AL in terms of a postseason berth !

The contributions of Damon to the Rays this season cannot be underestimated as he’s provided a steadying presence to the team and the younger players I believe are thoroughly appreciative of that fact ! As for the Tampa Bay Rays’ fans their hometown hero has given them something to believe in with the advent of the ongoing financial woes of the organization. Say what you will but team owner Stuart Sternberg , GM Andrew Friedman and the associated partners have remained steadfast that for now the team will remain within this locale . But it appears that with each passing moment the likelihood of the Rays remaining within the area is unlikely as no common ground can be found between the two opposing factions.

Surprisingly enough the Tampa Bay Rays were once again winners in MLB Draft garnering a number of top collegiate prospects further enhancing the reputation of the scouting and coaches within the Rays’ organization of which the Baseball Operations is headed by Gerry Hunsicker . And it should come as no surprise as to the reasons why the Tampa Bay Rays have been so successful down the years with draft choices . Though this past season the team had to release fan favorites Carl Crawford , Rafael Soriano and Carlos Pena because of budgetary constraints it has to be said the organization hasn’t lost sight of what got them to where they are today.

The Tampa Bay Rays for their part have continued to surprise many but there’s a growing belief that what we’re now seeing are the waning moments of a ball-club that is in transition of moving out of the area , as the fans lament what they believe to be a double standard in terms of baseball’s hierarchy of merely leaning towards and assisting those who essentially are financially more well to do. From top to bottom the organization of the Tampa Bay Rays is a well ran operation with a farm system that’s the envy of many organizations around the league. The one stumbling block of the Rays has been the financial constraints because the ownership group is limited in its resources. I will always continue to maintain that a ball club cannot exist on a meager fan base of no more than 15,000 hardcore fans ! That seems to be bearing true as of today, with the Rays averaging no more than 19,000 fans per home game at Tropicana Field this season . In a number of cases the fanbase is simply outmatched with the arrival of either Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees and there we will see the attendance rise to as high as perhaps 25,000 to 30,000 in attendance . Hardly conducive when the away team is actually drawing far more supporters than the hosts of a scheduled home series but such are the vagaries of the game as it relates to the Tampa Bay Rays.

I certainly do believe that the Rays’ organization is now clutching at straws in the belief that an accord can be reached where they will remain in Central Florida ! It has now become abundantly clear with the financial worries of both Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties that neither county government can facilitate the financing needed to build a new venue for the team. Both county administrations are facing acute financial difficulties of their own having to furlough employees , slash budgets and a slew of sundry maneuvers has many questioning whether or not a multi million dollar facility is the right thing to do in order to facilitate the whims and wishes of a multi millionaire baseball team owner . It is not as if Stuart Sternberg or any of his senior partners have shown good faith by even suggesting that they are prepared to assist in the financing of a new venue. Any statement forthcoming , be it from Sternberg , Andrew Friedman or Matt Silverman for that matter , has essentially been about the need of a new venue rather than how best to cooperate in working together in making such a scenario happen.

As many of you know my disdain for MLB Commissioner Bud Selig knows no boundaries ! I find him to be obnoxious , a buffoon , an ignoramus and someone who is now completely out of touch as to the realities of the game and its numerous problems ! Rather than trying to be of assistance to the Tampa Bay Rays in attaining a new venue , he has seen fit to be critical of the organization’s endeavor even going as far to suggest that they will never stage an All Star Game until they have built a new venue that is to his liking and that of the league hierarchy’s . Suffice to say if the fans in the area haven’t seen that as the nail in the coffin to the organization’s efforts it has been heard loud and clear by the officials who sit on the boards of both county commissions in Hillsborough and Pinellas County . I don’t believe that Selig could have put the situation anymore succinctly than that , thereby laying to rest what now may well be a futile exercise on the part of the county governments of each ___ as well as the Tampa Bay Rays. The local sports talk radio hosts and print media may well hold out hope that things may well change but they are facing an uphill battle in their thinking that a venue can and will be built at this juncture .

It would indeed be sad to see the Tampa Bay Rays leave the area but facing a reality that the area cannot sustain a franchise that in essence hasn’t a long history or pedigree of success . Never mind the fact that this is simply a first or second generation of supporters who are now loyal to this franchise . The vast majority of the teams within the game have a long history of support that is steeped in the loyalty of its fans and with familial ties . But here with the Rays the success though only recent cannot hide the fact that there is a glaring and stark reality to this organization’s history. Its first decade under Vince Naimoli has more to do with it being a comedy of errors , with an owner who essentially saw this team as his own personal bauble and fiefdom for him to reign over like a king. Success never manifested itself to any degree and the organization came to be known as a laughing stock around the league .

Now even with its recent successes the Tampa Bay Rays still finds itself bedeviled by worries about its financial security more than anything else . With a payroll amongst the lowest in the league the coaches and front office will have to get by on a squad of good if not great players , their future prospects and as I alluded to earlier a farm system that is amongst the best in the league .

Should the organization in the ensuing years leave the vicinity of Central Florida then the death knell of the game at the major league level within this area will have clearly sounded. Spring Training is all that the area will then have to cling to and that in of itself may not be such a bad thing after all. The teams who make the area their home during the preseason bring with them a burgeoning legion of fans and snow birds into Central Florida all looking to give support to their teams and aid the area with their income and making creating something of a vibrant economy during their time here . Now in spite of that fact it doesn’t lessen the blow that a Major League team now finding success may well have to leave its locale merely because the league hierarchy in its infinite wisdom has been about as helpful in their cause to remain as one could consider Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might be in assisting in a peaceful settlement of the Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiations . Whereas Bud Selig was front and center in assisting the New York Mets and New York Yankees in the facilitating and building of their respective venues ( Citi Field & Yankee Stadium) he has been nowhere to be seen in assisting the Tampa Bay Rays in their endeavor to have a new venue built. But given the fact that as odious as the commissioner is , I can’t help but feel that the fans are now having the last laugh as things have gone to spiral out of control for himself and the league hierarchy as they now try to sort out the ongoing mess of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which will undoubtedly be followed by the web of intrigue and malfeasance that has taken place within the New York Mets organization . . Here’s to you Bud , you ingrate and piece of crap !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And how as such do you view the race now taking place within the AL East ? Simply chime on in with your comments as you deem fit .

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

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ….

(2) New York Yankees fans hold up the number of hits Derek Jeter has, during his at-bat in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. Jeter grounded out to end the game as Tampa Bay won 5-1 . AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek ……

(3) New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter returns to the dugout after being thrown out at first base to end a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Rays won 5-1. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …

(4) Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth is congratulated by catcher John Jaso at the end of the Rays’ 5-1 win over the New York Yankees in a baseball game Thursday, July 7, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(5) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 6: Johnny Damon (22) and Kelly Shoppach (10) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate a two-run home run by Shoppach against the Minnesota Twins in the second inning on July 6, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(6) Casey Kotchman (11) and B.J. Upton(2) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate after defeating the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 7, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ……..

(7) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JULY 6: Sean Rodriguez (1), Evan Longoria (3) and Casey Kotchman (11) of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate a two-run home run by Rodriguez against the Minnesota Twins in the eighth inning on July 6, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Rays defeated the Twins 12-5. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

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The Weekend In Sports And Other Select Observations …………

The Weekend In Sports ……… And Others Select Observations ………

Well the NBA season is all but over with merely two games left to played on the schedule for most teams . The Los Angeles Lakers are limping into the postseason as reigning champions having lost 5 straight and in reality this is a team that is in complete disarray . Anyone who believes different simply ought to look at the box-score in their lopsided ( 120-106 ) loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder .

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If the Lakers are to fare well in the postseason then the team will have to be on the same page of their coach Phil Jackson and his coaching staff led by Jim Cleamons and Brian Shaw . I know that the team’s perennial All Star Kobe Bryant has come out openly and stated that he’d like to see Shaw succeed Jackson as coach of the team should he indeed retire at the culmination of the postseason. But I’m not so sure that that’d still be the case should the Lakers bow out early in the postseason , which given their performance against the Thunder is a distinct possibility . But then again it’s remiss to merely to take one game as a gauge for a team’s overall strengths and weakness. But as I mentioned earlier the Lakers have lost straight games and at no time were you under the impression that they were ever in with a chance of winning anyone of those games. But for the play of Kobe Bryant , Paul Gasol and Lamar Odom coming off the bench I’d say that one could describe the Lakers season as something of a failure when adjudged by their own lofty standards.

With that being said I’m not yet prepared to count the Los Angeles Lakers as being down and out , not while they’ve still Phil Jackson in their corner as coach ! Should he and the Lakers make a successful defense of their title then to my mind this would be his most impressive victory over the course of his storied career. I mean who else within the annals of the game has achieved his success while at the same having been denigrated by many because he was only able to coach superstars as we’ve so often been told ? These last two Finals triumphs are a testament that he can not only coach a team that plays a team but and are also willing to defer as and when needed . If the Lakers can regain their resolve then I would still favor them to come out of the Western Conference and that is with due respect to my beloved San Antonio Spurs the team with the best record in the conference and the NBA as a whole .

Sunday’s results if anything painted a clear picture as to where a number of teams now stand . Suffice to say teams seated on the bottom rung of the conference ladders , such as the Cleveland Cavaliers , Minnesota Timberwolves , Sacramento Kings , Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors can now begin to mull over their draft decision as to whether or not they ought to take Kemba Walker as the consensus overall number one pick in the upcoming NBA Draft . But oh wait we have to wait for Commissioner David Stern pick that little ball out of that revolving drum to assure us who’ll have the privilege of having that first pick.

I’ve got to admit I’ve read some idiocy in my time going around this medium but never have I read something without so much insight than a contributor’s claim that Rory McIlroy is a wasted talent merely because his final round in The Masters imploded . I suppose when you’re still young naive and have about insight on the world of golf and you do little research before writing a piece you’re entitled to come up with such absurd notions ? But then again I for one simply don’t succumb to such a notion because I feel if you’re going to make any sort of a claim then you ought to have the disposition to show both sides of the argument . If that’s the case then this particular observer has about knowledge of the game as Hall of Famer Johnny Miller whose own absurd notion that the Europeans simply aren’t capable of winning a Grand Slam title . Has Miller not simply noticed the most recent results in the Grand Slam Majors over the course of the last eighteen months , much less the fact that the US had its ass handed it by the Europeans in the Ryder Cup in 2010 ?

This tournament was as such merely heightened by the fact there was a Tiger Woods’ sighting and that he made a spirited attempt at winning the tournament which in the end would be in vain. However, the former world number one ranked golfer would end up tying for third in the first Major of the season . The eventual winner would Charl Schwartzel a staple on the European Tour and who after this win will rise up the world rankings from his present position of #11 to inside the top ten perhaps as high as number 5 . As to the contributor who should remain nameless I can only hope that he aspires to be productive in his chosen career because with regard to even have minuscule knowledge of the sport of golf even with the amount of information that there is to be gleaned this individual has merely shown that he’s completely out of his depth .

OK so what else can be said after the abrupt retirement of Manny Ramirez from the Tampa Rays’ organization ? Having tested positive for a second consecutive time for a banned substance and knowing that he’d have to face a mandatory 100 game suspension the slugger chose to retire instead. What to my mind is even more asinine is the very fact that a spokesman for the Rays’ front office states that they were completely taken aback by this and the fact that the player tested positive for a banned substance, albeit that this took place during the Rays’ Spring Training Schedule . Am I missing something here but is the coaching staff as well as the Rays’ ownership group led by senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman that dumb , stupid and naive ? Never mind the fact that the league hierarchy had to have made the Rays’ front office fully aware of the test results prior to it being made public .

In the wake of this all Ramirez says he’s happy with his legacy . I’d say he’s happy alright because he’ll simply be looked at as a cheat , albeit , that his career as such would suggest otherwise having won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox . In the aftermath of this all the Tampa Bay Rays are left to pick up the pieces as one part of their experiment has come to a quick and unsatisfactory end . I’ve got to feel sorry for some of those Rays’ fans who’d hoped that the Rays would prove to be competitive and wherein Tropicana Field would be an enjoyable place to be. There’s now more of a chance to see a UFO sighting at the Rays’ home venue than this team seeking to be competitive at this juncture .

Unfortunately for the Rays their season started off inauspiciously having lost their first two series before eking out a much needed win (9-7) against the Chicago White Sox . The team however finds itself languishing at the bottom of the always ultra competitive AL East
and that 1-8 record simply doesn’t look at all look that enviable even if we’ve yet to exit the first month of the regular season . And the team’s efforts won’t at all be now helped with their best player Evan Longoria now being on the disabled list (DL) for what we’re told could be as long as three weeks with a strained right oblique muscle .

Can things now get much worse for the Rays ? Yes it can as they now have to face the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a three game series where I fully expect the Red Sox’s offense will be looking to tee off on the Rays’ somewhat average pitching rotation . At the same time the Red Sox’s own pitching staff has been very susceptible this season . So it could be that the fans in attendance over the course of the next three days are liable to be thoroughly entertained .

So Football Spring Football has started and teams at the D1 level will be looking to get themselves ready for the upcoming season. From my own perspective given what took place over last season and the never ending controversy of teams , players and coaches contravening rules , I merely look at this upcoming season of one that’s about to be littered with controversy once again. I mean it’s not as if the NCAA in its sanctified much less than exalted position can do a damn thing to begin with ! I mean where have they been in the aftermath of the latest allegations concerning Auburn and the fact that several players on their teams from 2004-07 were recruited , induced through monetary gain, through having sex on campus with female co-eds as well as strippers ? And who can forget the debacle of Ohio State and in particular the actions of Buckeys’ football coach Jim Tressel ? Needless to say that Buckeye and Tigers’ fans will try and reassure us that this is merely regrettable and that they’re not the only ones doing this . And while I’m inclined to agree at the same time I’ll state this ………… it’s against the fu_king rules so why go down that route to begin with ?

In the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where they can boast national champions consecutively for the last six years . One can simply understand the reason why the SEC is deemed to be the powerhouse it is at the collegiate level in terms of BCS national title aspirations.

I read with a great deal of interest where South Carolina Gamecocks’ quarterback Stephen Garcia has one again ran afoul of his coaching staff as well as the school as a whole . To understand the problems of Garcia you simply have to know this , he simply attracts trouble like flies tend to hover around fecal matter because of the aroma and because they can feast off whatever there tends to be in the vicinity. With Garcia it’s no different !

The fact that he’s merely been suspended indefinitely , at first that wasn’t the case , though it has to be said at it still creates the impression that Steve Spurrier still believes that the player has something to offer the team . Whatever it is , I wouldn’t consider it to be his football talent or acumen in spite of how impressive his stats may well be. Why have a malcontent and disruptive influence on the team which usually in the long run leads to even more problems ? As has been the case here with Stephen Garcia , his never ending transgression of team rules and having ran afoul of the law enforcement on repeated occasions .

Courtesy of USA Today

Another suspension for South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia

By Erick Smith , USA Today

The future of South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is in doubt after the rising senior was suspended from the team indefinitely.

It’s the fifth time in Garcia’s career he has been suspended and the second time this spring. The school did not specify the reason for the decision. The Gamecocks play their annual spring game on Saturday.

“We have expectations for our student-athletes and we make them aware that there are consequences for their actions,” athletic director Eric Hyman said in a statement released by the school. “Stephen has exhibited behavior that is unacceptable for one of our student-athletes.”

The loss of Garcia, who threw for 3,059 yards and 20 touchdowns in 14 starts, would be a blow to South Carolina, which won the SEC East for the first time in 2010. He was expected to lead an offense that also features running back Marcus Lattimore and wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey.

That responsibility would likely fall to rising sophomore Connor Shaw, who was Garcia’s backup last fall.

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And with regard to the Gamecocks competing this upcoming season within the SEC I’m liable to think that they’ll struggle but at the same time eke out the wins they’re expected over the course of their regular season schedule . In place of Garcia , Spurrier will have at his disposal qb’s Dylan Thompson , Andrew Clifford , Connor Shaw and Seth Strickland . I’ve no doubt that the coach and his coaching staff will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each of the likely candidates before coming to a decision as to who’ll be the like starter in the Gamecocks’ first game of the season against East Carolina on the 3rd September , 2011. Garcia on the other hand will now have time reassess his future and determine whether or not it lies within being a student athlete or simply a thug , because of now he’s simply been a disappointment to those around him who expected a great deal more of him as a player as well a leader and human being .

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Picture galley for your perusal .

What sporting events or news if any over the past weekend piqued your interest and what if anything are you hoping to see during the NBA playoffs and the month of April as it relates to the baseball season ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Andrew Bynum (17) of the Los Angeles Lakers defends James Harden (13)3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 Getty Images / Jeff Gross …….

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks draws up a play for his team during a timeout in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106 . Getty Images/ Jeff Gross ……

(3) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers argues a foul call in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images …..

(4) Kevin Durant (35) of the Oklahoma City Thunder rebounds a ball over Kobe Bryant(24) of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half at Staples Center on April 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The Thunder defeated the Lakers 120-106. Jeff Gross / Getty Images ………

(5) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jeff Niemann , right, adjusts his cap as he listens to catcher Kelly Shoppach during the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo /Nam Y Yuh ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) tags out Chicago White Sox’s Juan Pierre during the second inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Sunday, April 10, 2011. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(7) The Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon shakes hands with Manny Ramirez (24) of the Tampa Bay Rays as Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during a press conference at Tropicana Field on February 1, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Ramirez announced his retirement over the weekend rather than face a league mandated 100 game suspension having tested positive for a illicit banned substance for the second consecutive time over the course of his career. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……….

(8) Charl Schwartzel of South Africa celebrates his two-stroke victory with his wife Rosalind behind the 18th green during the final round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP Photo/Getty Images/ Robyn Beck …..

(9) Last year’s champion Phil Mickelson (left) puts the Green Jacket on Charl Schwartzel from South Africa after Schwartzel wins the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia.
AFP Photo/ Getty Images /Robyn Beck …….

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks off the 18th hole green after finishing the final round with a final score of four under par at the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club April 10, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK

(11) South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw (14) looks for receivers during South Carolina’s Garnet and Black spring NCAA college football game Saturday, April 9, 2011, in Columbia, S.C. AP Photo/The State, Tracy Glantz ………..

(12) In this Dec. 29, 2010, file photo, South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia throws a pass during practice for the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game against Florida State in Atlanta. Garcia has been indefinitely suspended from the football program. Athletic Director Eric Hyman announced the suspension Wednesday, (6th April) but did not give a reason. AP Photo/David Goldman …….

(13) Head coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks walks to congratulate quarterback Stephen Garcia (5) for his passing touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. Getty Images North America / Kevin Cox …….

(14) Coach Steve Spurrier of the South Carolina Gamecocks lines up with players after play against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 9, 2010 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Getty Images/ Al Messerschmidt …….

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R Kelly ………………… “Ignition”

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Obligations of Office ……………..

Obligations of Office ……………..

Having witnessed the President’s State of the Union Address last night before both legislative Houses of Congress . It got me thinking as such, what obligations is that an owner has to the fans of a major professional sporting franchise ? One of my patrons (sportschump) and someone I’d like to think of as more than an acquaintance and patron of my site has as such stated that the Tampa Bay Rays’ signing of both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez will stand the franchise in good stead this upcoming season . From my own standpoint given the financial difficulties that the organization and team has faced since it came into being as a baseball franchise within MLB I think that it goes without saying that they’ve struggled to have a fan base that can truly support its existence. And while the success attained is commendable the truth of the matter is that the Tampa Bay Rays can barely exist in its present being . Cost cutting and penny pinching has now become the order of the day and it’s once again back to the old convoluted ways of their previous owner Vince Naimoli in part .

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Tropican Field has been home to the Tampa Bay Rays and the hardcore fanbase of no more 15,000 fans have remained loyal through the highs and lows of the organization. However at this moment in time it’s now becoming abundantly clear that owner Stuart Sternberg and his partners are making one calculated last stand that may well force their hand in the end. Having twice won the AL East in the last three seasons and with a lone appearance in the 2008 World Series the Rays have come up short in their aspirations. Now while success can be measured in a number of ways both on and off the field let’s just get one thing clear the Rays’ success has only been recent and when one considers that for the vast majority of its existence the team has been at the bottom of the food chain , it has only been since the ascent of Joe Maddon and his coaching staff to the tenure of the Rays that they’ve had a modicum of success. So let’s not kid ourselves that this team has the tradition of success and they’ve been steeped in it or actually have it behind them.

Courtesy of MLB.com

Newest Rays asked to lead and have fun ….

Pals in Boston, Damon and Ramirez reunite in a new clubhouse

By Bill Chastain of MLB.com

St. Petersburg James Shields got his first look at Johnny Damon on July 30, 2006, when the Rays right-hander pitched at Yankee Stadium for the first time in the 12th start of his rookie season.

Through 4 1/2 innings, the game stood tied at 2, and Shields was showing a great deal of moxie while facing the fierce lineup wearing pinstripes in front of a Sunday afternoon crowd of more than 54,000.

The Yankees had scratched two runs together in the third inning, but otherwise, Shields remained flawless. Damon then stepped to the plate with one out in the fifth. Shields came inside, and Damon re-routed the offering into the upper deck in right field.

Damon batted again with two outs in the seventh. Once again, he turned on a pitch by Shields, hitting yet another upper-deck shot and setting up a 4-2 Rays loss — the fifth of Shields’ career.

With memories like elephants, pitchers never forget. So Shields managed a chuckle when asked about the news that Damon would be his teammate in 2011.

“I’m definitely glad he’s on my team now,” Shields said. “He tends to get the head out on me a little bit, so I’d rather him hit upper-deck homers for us than against us.”

Damon, along with Manny Ramirez , will be joining Tampa Bay for the 2011 season, each having agreed to a one-year deal on Friday night. According to a Major League source, Damon will be paid $5.25 million with a $750,000 attendance bonus, while Ramirez will make $2 million.

The Rays have not confirmed the deal, nor have they commented on either player. However, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com that the deals are done, pending physicals.

Damon and Ramirez were teammates in Boston from 2002-05 and were key members of the club’s World Series championship in ’04. The years Damon and Ramirez spent together in Boston were magical ones for the Red Sox; the Rays are hoping to buy a sliver of that magic and put it to good use in ’11.

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Financially the Rays struggle year in , year out and this is something that seems to be lost on sportschump and at the same time his thought process that an aging Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon will have an impact while justified , in part in no way does it guarantee success for the organization. While the large majority of teams within baseball have their own financial problems it does paint an acute picture as to how volatile the situation really is within the game. Now one could surmise that because of the ensuing economic climate , this was one of the most apparent problems that Sternberg faced with the fact that fans weren’t turning up in vast droves to attend the games. But in reality before this most recent downturn in the economy in 2007 the levels of attendance were still meager to begin with . Baseball within the locale isn’t at all self sustaining and that is in large part because a lot those in attendance for the games at Tropicana Field have their own allegiances elsewhere as team support goes. Something that my patron fails to acknowledge and something I for one feel that he has continued to overlook ! It’s asinine to even think that with public funding even if a new ballpark were to built that things would actually change, not when 15,000 people is all that this organization can show as a fan based asset. It’s certainly not financially feasible and only a complete idiot would believe that to be the case ! And even if a proposed 45,000 seat facility is built once the novelty has actually worn off it’s clear that things would return to where they use to be . Ten to fifteen thousand fans cheering on the team and nothing tangible at all to show for it at the end of the day.

League statistics from the commissioner’s office suggest that average attendance for the Rays’ games borders on 23,000 but even that figure can’t be taken seriously given what we all know to be true. Which begs the question what is that Commissioner Bud Selig and particular the Tampa Bay Rays are now trying to pitch and sell the fans in general ? I’ve always felt that in order to have success not only on the field there has to be viable and tangible success economically and real leadership being shown from the executives off the field as well. Teams that have been successful at the highest echelons of the game have actually shown this and it goes without saying that when it happens it breathes success across the whole organization. Trying to placate a situation by saying well look we made it to a World Series , won two divisional titles and a pennant means nothing if at the end of it all you’ve failed in your main objective and still from a financial standpoint you’re not even breaking even. And this is once again something that my learned friend has failed to acknowledge or even state. He has simply painted a broad picture of optimism and dealt in nothing but platitudes and that’s not how any real business principle works. Well at least not in the real world that is ! And therein lies the problem for some of the fans within this locale they simply don’t deal in reality .

What obligation does the owner of any major professional sports franchise have to the team’s fans ? Is it simply put a product on the field and eke out a profit or to put a winning product on the field of play and look to attain some success in whatever form it may take ? It’s not unlike an agenda that a President puts forward before Congress and the citizens in the hope that it leads to prosperity and success. Not that this current administration or its predecessor has had that much success on either front . This much we do know when there’s a genuine lack of creativity being shown there tends to be one big monumental mess that’s then being created and it has now began to bear itself out here with the Tampa Bay Rays. One only has to look at the upheaval that has taken place on the team’s roster from last season to now to see what has happened .

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And while Sternberg has been somewhat restrained at times in his statements I do believe that he’s also proven to be a complete ass with some of his more public statements in denigrating the fans for not turning out to games. What might be even more asinine also have been the statements also made by team GM Andrew Friedman in suggesting that making one or two off season moves will still make them all the more competitive than in previous years . Is he frigging kidding me ? Has he forgotten that the team now plays in the most competitive division in all of baseball ? Not to mention the fact that the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles haven’t rested on their laurels after last season. If it’s the front office’s intention to blow smoke up everyone’s ass with their antics and statements then so be it but please don’t insult the fans and general public’s intention that you’re intent is to be competitive when clearly you’re now not really in a position to do so !

This Rays’ team will struggle at best to remain competitive within its division this season let alone win anywhere near the number of games needed even to gain a wildcard berth in the postseason. The only situation where that could arise would be for there to be prolonged injuries being sustained to every day players on both the Red Sox and Yankees’ teams and given those two organizations’ financial means does anyone believe that’s liable to happen when they can merely seek to buy their way out of trouble ?

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to this subject matter and how do you view the obligations of a team owner and what’s expected of them from the fans ? Simply chime in with a comments as to your thoughts and the game itself.

Picture and slide show details below .

(1) Chris Humpherys aka ‘Sportschump’ hard at work making sure that his loyal readers are readily supplied with hard pertinent pieces from an open perspective. Either that or he’s about to download some porn . Either way he’s always worth the read ……….. you heard it here first !


(2) Tampa Bay Rays’ Rocco Baldelli hits a home run during the seventh inning of Game 5 of the baseball World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008. The player will formally announce his retirement taking a coaching position within the organization . AP Photo/David J. Phillip …..

(3) Alex Rodriguez (13) and Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees have a laugh with former teammate Johnny Damon (18) of the Detroit Tigers prior to their game on August 16, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Getty Images/ Jim McIsaac …….

(4) Manny Ramirez (99) of the Chicago White Sox pinch hits in the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox on September 5, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Getty Images / Elsa Martinez ………

(5) Manny Ramirez (99) of the Chicago White Sox takes a swing against the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field on September 14, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ………

(6) In a picture from 2008 seen here are from left to right , coaches Jim Hickey and Dave Martinez and manager Joe Maddon watch the the team in AL game played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . Picture appears courtesy of St Petersburg Times / James Borchuck …………..

(7) Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg (left) is seen here holding aloft the ALCS trophy alongside Matthew Silverman and team manager Joe Maddon after the team’s triumphant series’ victory . AP Photo/ Chris Hendricks ……..

[8] Matthew Silverman, left, Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………

Rays’ front office

Rays’ coaching staff

Rays 2011 roster ……..

Rays 2010 roster ………..

Rays’ team stats ….

Rays’ history ………

Rays’ team news

See my previous post on the team’s signing of Damon and Ramirez entitled …. When Johnny Met Manny ….. . And you may also view sportschump’s own piece on the team’s signing of the duo Tampa Bay Rays make big splash in American League East pond: Sign Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon

Simply click on the links shown to read each piece in its entirety .

NB MLB News ……

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Tiara

Eye candy ………………. Tiara

Tiara 2

Hold ’em up honey so that we can all see ’em !

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Simply Follow The Money Honey

Simply Follow The Money Honey

Just as in the silly season with the PGA Tour where they have their non-sensical and end of season tournaments that’s merely another way for the Tour players to pad their already burgeoning bank accounts the same thing applies to MLB (baseball) as prospective restricted and free agents look to cement their bank accounts also. However whereas golf has a wealth of corporate sponsors eager to have their names associated with the sport although the game’s biggest draw _ Tiger Woods has fallen from grace somewhat ,the sport as such still resonates with the fans whenever he’s on the golf course wielding his clubs and not wielding it in the direction of some buxom nubile young female.

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Continue reading “Simply Follow The Money Honey”