It was the best of times and the worst of times ……

It was the best of times and the worst of times

With the final week of Spring Training now upon us, teams are looking to prepare themselves for Opening Day of the 2013 season. A number of ball-clubs teams will certainly be look to acquit themselves after something of a disappointing season. Cases could be made that two of the biggest disappointments from a competitive standpoint came by way of the Texas Rangers (93-69) and Philadelphia Phillies (81-81). And with both of these ball-clubs having among the highest payrolls of last season , it is easy to understand why both were considered a major disappointment to their fans and the analysts alike.


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For the Texas Rangers , major upheavals have taken place during the off-season , with the departure of outfielder and slugger, Josh Hamilton for the millions that Arte Moreno and the Los Angeles were offering the player , to add some potency for their offense . GM Jon Daniels and team President Nolan Ryan had a difference of opinion as to how best to deal with a number of player issues beyond meeting what was said to be Hamilton’s ludicrous contract demands. With that taken into account, Ryan was forced to step down by several of the team’s other syndicated partners. Daniels, is now solely responsible for all of the player personnel decisions in conjunction with Ron Washington and the coaching staff.

The fact that Josh Hamilton was allowed to leave may well prove to be fortuitous for the ball club, with the player’s criticism of the organization , when both he and his wife stated that they were made to feel un-welcomed by the team’s hierarchy . Something , I fail to understand , given the Rangers’ support of Hamilton during his sobriety and drug issues as recently as of 2012 , and the admission, that he was once again drinking. However, what had become clear , was that in spite of the vast financial resources now at the team’s disposal , they no longer felt that a long-term five or ten- year contract , rewarding Josh Hamilton in excess of $150 million , would be in their best interest.

With Nolan Ryan, now being forced to step aside , his position within the Rangers’ organization is now , not even in “name only “. President Emeritus, any input or decision-making, even of the slightest, would now have to go through Jon Daniels. Further emphasizing how little power, he now has within the organization. If anything, this is something of a payback , after the power struggle that is said to have taken place , that led former front office executive , Chuck Greenberg, being forced out by Nolan Ryan and his backed supporters. Much of the Rangers’ initial success in the aftermath of the ball-club being acquired by the Ryan led syndication group , can be placed with Chuck Greenberg, a successful corporate lawyer and former sports’ agent. It was at his insistence, and input , that led to major corporate coups, that gave the ball-club to a more stable financial situation of the Texas Rangers on a long-term basis. It should be noted ,that when the Rangers came out of bankruptcy proceedings after the disastrous era under the tenure of former owners, Tom Hicks and Ken Gillette .

Many felt, that this was one of the most disruptive and most incompetent chain of events that had taken place in the franchise’s history. Much of which, all came under the tenure, in which an ever docile MLB hierarchy , led by Bud Selig , stood idly by , while Hicks and Gillette , were simply left to run amok with the Rangers’ finances. Kind of reminds you of the idiocy , that Frank McCourt was allowed to get away with , while almost bringing the Los Angeles Dodgers , almost to ceasing their operations , with the hierarchy of baseball, for a number of months having to guarantee the team’s payroll , because of the ineptitude being shown by McCourt , GM Ned Colletti and former CFO , Peter Wilhelm . And there were idiots within and outside of the game, still trying to claim that the ball-club’s problems were simply minor issues ? How fucked up, was their thinking to begin with ? And what actual, business acumen, did they actually possess, to make such asinine pronunciations ?

Greenberg’s abrupt departure may well have paved the way for Nolan Ryan’s attempt at having a stranglehold on the reins of power within the Rangers’ hierarchy . I simply believe, that this did not sit well, with a board of directors led by Ray C Davis , Bob Simpson , Neil Leibman , Rick George and Courtney Krug , to name but a few of the several wealthy individuals , who ploughed much of their wealth into the acquiring of the franchise . It should be noted , that the Rangers , much as in the same way that the Dodgers have been able to negotiate a rather lucrative television contract , beyond the revenues derived via the MLB Network and baseball overall. With the Los Angeles Dodgers’ reputed deal , said to be worth approximately $7 billion over a two decade period , based on certain initiatives . It has to be said that the Rangers’ $ 3.2 billion dollar-deal , over a similar time-span does seem to have its advantages , as well as placing the franchise in a great position to pursue top-quality free agents almost at will. Which begs the question , if the large market teams can go out and be so aggressive . Then , why the continued belly aching by so many of the small market teams, who feel that they are being disenfranchised , while they simply have their municipal councils eating out of their hands , while they themselves have done a piss poor job at seeking out additional revenue streams for their respective organizations .

I am now , sick and tired of the goddamn excuses , of individuals such as Stuart Sternberg of the Tampa Bay Rays , David Glass of the Kansas City Royals and “ moronic buffoons “ such as , Sandy Alderson and his asinine decision-making as it relates to the woefully inept New York Mets , a franchise , still hemorrhaging red ink , like a female still on her menstrual cycle .

The Rangers for their part, coming off two AL pennant appearances in the past three years , were something of a major disappointment in 2012 . And nowhere was this more self-evident, than on the final day of the regular season of this past year. In a game , in which they needed a victory, to secure not only a playoff berth but also the outright AL West crown for a third consecutive season. Somehow , this team would find a way to simply shoot themselves in the foot , in succumbing to the Oakland A’s in that final game . What might be even more exacerbating, was the very fact that for all but eighteen days, of the entire 2012 schedule , of one hundred and eighty-two days , the Rangers led the division , only to then surrender the lead and their crown to the A’s on that fateful day, in October of 2012. That 4-3 defeat , may well have explained a great deal about the “lack of heart “ of the Texas Rangers , not only as a team, but also something that may well have mirrored the complacency shown by the organization , whose very presence, was seen at times in the conceitedness of Nolan Ryan. “ It’s my bauble, and I will do with it, as I please “ ! Could those sentiments, better represent Ryan , not only as an executive , but also as a player ?

That defeat , led to the Rangers having to meet the Baltimore Orioles in a one game-playoff with the wildcard round , of the newly formatted postseason . Suffice to say, that the dark clouds hovered over Arlington Ballpark, in Texas, as the Orioles dismantled the Rangers 5-1 . No third consecutive return to the World Series , and seeking to avenge losses in 2011 and 2010 . Heartache and tears might be the best way to describe the Rangers after those two gut wrenching series’ defeats.

The Rangers’ preseason apart, Ron Washington, may well be spending a great deal of time now assessing this new-look team , with its acquired free agents and none roster invitees , but you simply have to know , that another season of missed opportunities , are likely seal the fates of a number of members of the player personnel, and quite possibly the manager’s role within this organization. A diminish role for Nolan Ryan, doesn’t exactly sit well, with one of the most prolific pitchers in baseball history , as well as being an outspoken executives.

A Rangers’ team predicated on offense last season , where they were also effective with their pitching , yet at times when it mattered the most, it was nowhere to be seen. Yu Darvish , has been able to establish, that the stories reported as to his being a star, are indeed true. What 2013 holds for the pitcher and the organization remains to be seen. It will be incumbent upon Darvish , as well as the rest of the staff to be at their very best , if the Texas Rangers are to be in with a chance of winning the AL West and making return to the MLB postseason.

Say what you will about the Philadelphia Phillies , but their recent track record in the NL East, up until last season, was quite impressive . However, take away from the years in question, from 2007 through until 2011, and you can see that the ball-club , essentially, fell on the leanest of times. Five years of highs and lows with Reuben Amaro , may well have brought about the franchise’s most recent by way of a series’ title in 2008 , with their defeat of the Tampa Bay Rays . Yet along the way , fans were able to witness the ball-club overpaying for paying for talent and where that still remains a part of the front office psyche. With the return of Pat Gillick in the primary role of a special consultant , advisor and de-facto SVP/General Manager. You would not be wrong to think that Gillick is simply there, to rein in the capricious mindset of Amaro. Take into account that manager , Charlie Manuel , has been repeatedly and heavily criticized for the team’s lack competitiveness in 2012. Injuries asides , a payroll of $174.5 million for last season , should have brought about a great deal more success, than a .500 record of 81-81 , good enough for a third place finish within the NL East , 17 games behind the newly minted divisional champions , the Washington Nationals.

As prolific as the team’s offense has been known to be , last season , with Ryan Howard being sidelined for much of the season due to injuries , and with Raul Ibanez , off to bolster the New York Yankees , and to complement what was already competitive laden offensive team. It must be said, that the Phillies suffered greatly from the loss of both players in 2012 , which was further exacerbated by the inconsistency of the pitching , primary from the relievers , who simply gave up whatever opportunities that were afforded them by the team’s starters . Given that those starters were , Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee , Roy Halladay , Kyle Hendricks , Antonio Bastardo , Vance Worley , Joe Blanton and Jonathan Papelbon , you simply have to question, not only the monetary investment in those players , but also the ineptitude of the performances in 2012.

A win in 2008 , of the World Series, gave the Phillies’ franchise their greatest triumph in recent history. Subsequent years, have seen highs and lows, more lows, I believe, than the rapturous and overwhelming cacophony of success! This season might be the last , in which Charlie Manuel will be afforded to get it right , and failure to do so , could very well lead to his dismissal from the organization , along with several members of his coaching staff . Not to be left out of that equation either, will be the players undoubtedly thought to be superfluous to the organization’s needs . And given the payroll commitment to the players on this roster . I get the feeling, that many of those high-priced individuals who fail to perform up to expectation , may well be customarily shown the door .

As far as I am concerned this asinine quadrennial event cannot disappear fast enough ! The World Baseball Classic , has been imbued upon the fans and public as another form of torture . God damn , and the baseball itself has simply been a frigging embarrassment to watch , in more ways than one ! Take nothing away , from the lesser lights who just happen to be willing participants in this god forsaken mess , but when Team USA waved the white flag of surrender in the double elimination round of the quarter-finals , it was simply time to call it quits ! Every other team , sought to get their best available players for what is said to be the most international team competition , outside of the IBAF sanctioned World Cup. Don’t forget now , baseball is no longer part of the Summer Olympics , as the erstwhile commissioner of the game in North America, sought fit to play both possum and chicken, with an institution singularly as frigging clueless as MLB , when Bud Selig challenged the authority of IOC President Jacques Rogge. If you are being repeatedly being asked as to why , “ you do not have in place a form of on-site and in depth set of testing protocols for illicit substances as well as PED’s “ ? And one of your many responses, is simply viewed as an excuse, when you simply state “ it is a privacy issue “ ! Then what sort of response would you have come to expect from Rogge , in the first place ?

Baseball has been kicked to the curb and it is unlikely to make a swift return to the Summer Games. The sport’s last representation came by way of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Much to the ire and angst of MLB , and the sport’s international governing body , IBAF . Now all that is left for the sport is a cooperative effort with the International Softball Federation , to make one last appeal to Jacques Rogge and the IOC Executive Committee for one final appeal of reinstatement. At the earliest , baseball’s quickest return would have to be at the 2020 Sochi Games , but even that is not a foregone conclusion at this juncture . So, what are we left with? The rather ludicrous and ill-conceived World Baseball Classic , an international team tournament, that has simply been, a sheer and utter mess ! Proponents of this competition have sung its’ praises highly , without realizing that as an organizational endeavor , from a logistical standpoint, it has been a nightmare . Never mind the fact the television ratings for the event and the staged games by way of the North American audiences , have been minuscule at best . I am now beginning to wonder, even if, ESPN as a co-sponsor and broadcaster, will be able to recoup its investment from in this eyesore! From an economic standpoint, with the MLB Network’s coverage , and the fact that we know that Bud Selig has the business IQ , might be marginally above that of Sarah Palin, this event has been simply an utter mess , from its inception.

I won’t go into the details of the 2013 event , other than to let you know that Team USA failed miserably , managing to be knocked out in a double elimination , in the quarter-finals of the competition . Tonight’s championship game will pit the Dominican Republic against Puerto Rico , which will be played at ATT&T/Pac-Bell Park in San Francisco , California . I am sure that there will not only be a large Latin contingent on hand to support both teams , but somehow , the commissioner may well be on hand to try to sell us once again, on what a tremendous tournament this has been . My response to Bud Selig , would be , “ please eat $hit and die “ !


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What thoughts if any, do you have concerning the points raised within this article ? Do take time to proffer up any commentary as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site , as, it is, greatly appreciated !


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(1) Philadelphia Phillies shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, right, gestures as he talks with New York Yankees outfielder Ben Francisco , back to camera, before a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla., Tuesday, March 19, 2013. AP Photo/Kathy Willens

(2) The ball sails over the the glove of a leaping Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard as New York Yankees Chris Stewart (19) reaches on a throwing error by Phillies third baseman Michael Young during a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla., Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The Phillies defeated the Yankees 4-1 . AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(3) Phillies manger Charlie Manuel, right, speaks during a news conference Thursday as senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr . looks on. The two individuals face a daunting task this season as the Phillies seek to rebound after a disastrous season in 2012 , in which the team finished third in the NL East with a .500 record of 81-81 . A major disappointment for a franchise with a $174.5 million payroll in 2012 , which was amongst the highest in all of Major League Baseball . Associated Press/ Carter Mitchell ..

(4) SURPRISE, AZ – FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Yu Darvish (1) 1 of the Texas Rangers poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Surprise Stadium on February 20, 2013 in Surprise, Arizona. Coming off a sensational season , his rookie season with the Rangers . The starting ace will seek to improve upon last season’s stats within the AL .Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ..

(5) Texas Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg (center), watches as team president Nolan Ryan gives the microphone to general manager Jon Daniels , after Ryan made the prediction that the Rangers would win the World Series in seven games at a Texas Rangers pep rally at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 1, 2010. It was not to be , for the Rangers in the postseason , particularly in the World Series , where they would come unglued in their series’ loss to the San Francisco Giants in a rather lopsided event 4-1 . In what was believed to be something of an internal power struggle , Greenberg was forced to step down , having been relieved of his duties ,with Nolan Ryan , summarily assuming control . However, this past off-season , Ryan, himself , was usurped with several members of the Rangers’ board of executives , said to be dissatisfied with the team President, and his autonomous role and lack of communication with his fellow executives . Now pushed aside, Nolan Ryan , finds himself on the outside looking in, without any real position of power within the Rangers’ hierarchy , as GM, Jon Daniels, now assumes the full control for all managerial and personnel decisions concerning the organization. Dallas Morning News/ Ricardo Echevarria ….

(6) Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton , left, and first baseman Albert Pujols joke around before the Angels faced the San Diego Padres in a spring training baseball game Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in Peoria, Ariz. Pujools , Hamilton and rookie sensation , Mike Trout will be looked upon to provide the bulk of the team’s offense this upcoming season . A season in which , the expectations are extremely high for the team and in particular , for Mike Scocsia and his coaching staff . AP Photo/Gregory Bull)



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World Baseball Classic Finals

Teams participating in the Finals : Puerto Rico versus Dominican Republic in a game to be played at AT&T Park in San Francisco , California , on Tuesday 19th March, 2013 .



Hot chic pic of the day . Camila Alves , model and entrepreneur .

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

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

By Tophatal

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of the New York Times

Baseball Ties Olympic Reinstatement Bid to Women’s Game

By Jere`Longman of the NY Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


Picture and slideshow details below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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You Make Your Bed You Had Damn Well Be Sure You’re Prepared To Lay In It !

You Make Your Bed You Had Damn Well Be Sure You’re Prepared To Lay In It !

By tophatal ………..

I just don’t get it but the continued stupidity of today’s athletes and their off field problems are longer a surprise to me . But this latest episode concerning Texas Rangers out-fielder Josh Hamilton and his now apparent stupidity concerning his drug and alcohol problem . In the player’s latest transgression , has Hamilton for a third time compounding his sobriety by consuming alcohol while at a bar . The player a former AL MVP and one of the more resourceful players during the team’s most recent postseason heroics as two-time consecutive AL pennant winners as well consecutive World Series appearances . Now having apologized to his teammates , fans and to the organization headed by team President Nolan Ryan , Josh Hamilton sees his image taking another hit . If that’s not enough the player now has to get his personal life back together . Personally , when I see players offering up less than contrite apologies , having been a repeat offender it simply indicates to me that they lack will power and determination !


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Slide show for your perusal .

Hamilton does not indulge the public as to the reasons for his latest sobriety put he suggests that this latest mea-culpa on his part was simply a mistake . It’s never a mistake to fall off the wagon , it’s a personal choice and here the player is simply adding insult to injury by suggesting that his , was an error in judgment ! And though the player at the time after his even of drinking with a number of acquaintances stated that he called upon former teammate Ian Kinsler to drive him home , it would appear that this was the only sensible act by the player during this whole episode . However , what I would like to know is under what condition did the player arrive at the establishment in question and also had he driven to that locale would he have returned his vehicle and then driven ? It may or may not have crossed Hamilton’s mind but clearly the player is seeking to make excuses for another moment of weakness .

Josh Hamilton’s career within baseball is filled with highs and lows , of which the most prominent episode was his three years away from the game having been suspended by MLB for abuse of the league’s steroid and drug policy . Hamilton spent three years away from the game after a turbulent career with the Tampa Bay Rays where he was assisted by the organization in seeking the player drug counseling . The player’s failure lead to the Rays negating his contract and sending out of the game as something of a pariah .

With the Texas Rangers coming to the player’s rescue it would have appeared that he was back on track to resume his career and become one of the most feared hitters and productive players in the game. Now while I admire Josh Hamilton and all of his accomplishments as a player , it has been his need to seemingly make these now apparent errors in judgment as he sees it and then use an excuse that is simply insulting to the public for his actions. He should know his limits in terms of his issues as it relates to alcohol and dare one say his drug of choice , cocaine ? But it is becoming increasingly clear that Hamilton sees himself as impervious to those issues if he seeks alcohol as an outlet while in a social environment knowing full well that he has an ongoing drinking problem.

If the player can put himself in such a position not once , not twice but now a third time then what does Josh Hamilton’s actions now indicate to the public at large ? And bear in mind the actions of NFL player Donte Stallworth and the vehicular manslaughter charge in the death of a Miami resident four years ago , when the player bearing a BAC .014 and with marijuana in his system hit , and ran down that victim, then had the temerity to suggest that he tried to avoid hitting the victim in spite of his impaired state and his denial that marijuana was in his system . Unfortunately , justice served in this incident was the player agreeing to a plea agreement that saw him sentenced 24 days in jail , but he would later settle with the victim’s family in an out of court financial settlement . This plea agreement drew the ire of the public at large who viewed the sentence to the judicial process as a complete mockery of the system but Miami Dade District Attorney …. Katherine Fernandez-Rundle felt that this was the best possible outcome for all of the parties concerned . Do you ever get the feeling at times that the legal system doesn’t serve the public’s best interest and would serve the interests of the defendants rather than the victim ? Your thoughts on what is said to be the best judicial system in the world ?

One could deride this both incidents and plainly put it down to the stupidity of today’s professional athlete and their naiveté or the fact that they do somehow feel themselves above the law. Thankfully , in this case Josh Hamilton may well have had the foresight to not have drunk and drive but the decision was made by the player to simply return to his old ways and once again the question as to whether or not his sobriety has any real veracity to it . One momentary lapse possibly could be explained but this is now the third such incident by the player with him now falling afoul of alcohol. Who’s really at fault here ? The player or society for continuing to think that accepting the apologies of the athlete who has now repeatedly made a choice that indicates that his will isn’t that strong and that his judgment away from the field comes into doubt . If he can act in such a way then what would lead us to believe that Josh Hamilton might not let down the Rangers’ organization once again ? If you don’t feel that player’s actions has any consequences as it relates to the team’s image then think again and also what the actions might now concerning GM Jon Daniels , Nolan Ryan and the team’s coaching staff led by Ron Washington .



What thoughts if any do you have concerning the actions of Josh Hamilton and do you feel that this was simply an error in judgment , once again ? Or merely that of a player who simply sees himself as being privileged and above what is thought to be deemed as acceptable behavior in today’s society ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and anything else you believe to be pertinent on this matter .



Picture and slide show details below .


(1) ARLINGTON, TX – FEBRUARY 3: Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers holds a press conference at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on February 3, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. Hamilton admitted to drinking alcohol earlier in the week. Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images ……

(2) Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers holds a press conference at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on February 3, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. Hamilton admitted to drinking alcohol earlier in the week. Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images ……..

(3) Team president Nolan Ryan is seen here alongside Ron Washington and general manager Jon Daniels at a press conference answering questions concerning the Texas Rangers . The defending AL pennant winner will start off their 2012 regular season schedule with a three game series starting on 6th April at home against the Chicago White Sox . No formal statement from the front office has been made concerning the latest episode concerning the team’s All Star outfielder Josh Hamilton . Dallas Morning Star / Ricardo Alvarez …….

(4) Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth, center, makes his appearance today before Miami-Dade Judge Dennis J. Murphy after he turned himself in. Stallworth faced a charge of DUI manslaughter in connection with last month’s crash that killed a pedestrian on Miami Beach. The player was later escorted from the courtroom in handcuffs to the jail to be booked. AP Photo / Marice Cohan Brand ….


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Simply Looking For A Few Good Men …………..

Simply Looking For A Few Good Men

By tophatal

Well now that the NFL regular season is out of the way we are now down to the conference championship games themselves . The AFC and NFC match-ups are both being staged and televised this weekend with the New England Patriots playing host to the Baltimore Ravens while the San Francisco 49ers have the privilege having the New York Giants as their guests at Candlestick Park , San Francisco , California.


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If anything these two games were not necessarily the match-ups that most fans had envisaged but such are the vagaries of the NFL this postseason that just about anything has happened and will continue to happen. For the coaches in question , Bill Belichick , John Harbaugh , Jim Harbaugh and Tom Coughlin this will add to their already successful careers within the NFL. Belichick and Coughlin between them have more than thirty years of coaching experience within league as well having 4 Superbowl triumphs between them . And when one considers the very real possibility that the siblings, John and Jim Harbaugh could very well face off against each other at the Superbowl (SBXLVI) should their respective teams prevail this weekend .

I’ve never been one to be a prognosticator but I do know that whatever the outcome we are liable to be thoroughly entertained by a quartet of teams whose seasons seems to have mirrored their play during the regular season and into the postseason . And for the quarterbacks now entrusted to lead their teams , let’s just say that Joe Flacco , Tom Brady , Alex Smith and Eli Manning have proven themselves this postseason . The offenses and defenses of the teams also have played their part in the teams’ success.

Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants have belied logic as their season progressed and though the awe inspired play of Eli Manning has been lauded to my mind it has been the team’s defense that has simply got the Giants to where they now are . For the 49ers it has been about the resurrection of Alex Smith , the reclamation of Vernon Davis as a player and to the bewilderment of us all the San Francisco 49ers are now relevant once again . Trent Baalke as the team’s general manager has certainly worked hard to rebuild the reputation and personnel by drafting prudently over the past few seasons .

The Baltimore Ravens have simply gotten over the hump by finally proving that they are capable of winning the big games when it mattered most . They simply made sure of that by winning their season series against the Pittsburgh Steelers within the AFC North . That along with what appears to be the improved play of Joe Flacco this season and the forceful presence of Ray Rice as an all-purpose running back has made the Ravens a force to be reckoned with not just on defense but also from an offensive standpoint as well . Maurice Jones-Drew may well have won the rushing title this season amassing 1606 yards but he was not able to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars anywhere that really mattered and the team’s poor play simply led to the firing of Jack Del Rio by general manager Gene Smith .

OK, so we know of the failings of the Patriots’ defense throughout much of the regular season . So porous has been the unit when it comes to defending the pass that it has me wondering whether or not Bill Belichick has truly been the coordinator or simply playing the role merely for the benefit of the camera ! Luckily enough for the Patriots’ secondary it has been the offense that has come to the rescue when it mattered most with the team’s pair of tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez laying waste to the opposition over the course of the season . It should be very interesting to see how the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens look to negate each others’ strengths and weaknesses when this game sets about in its process of determining a victor.

So it looks as if the Texas Rangers have made the big splash they wanted all along this off-season with the organization acquiring Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish from the Nippon Ham Fighters . General Manager Jon Daniels and team president Nolan Ryan had to pay a hefty price for the privilege of making the player an addition to this already potent Texas Rangers’ roster .

With team manager Ron Washington having been disappointed over the past two seasons in leading the team to the “Fall Classic” where they would each time suffer a series’ defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants (2010) and the St Louis Cardinals ….( 2011 ) , you simply have to wonder whether or not the team now has what it takes to actually win a World Series’ title . For the last two successive seasons as the AL pennant winners to have suffered the ignominy the defeats in such a fashion can’t be good for the Texas Rangers’ psyche or that of their fans. And given the fact that the front office with the financial resources at their disposal don’t seem to be afraid the money if the talent available will be of benefit to the team . Having spent a mere $51 million for the rights to simply negotiate with Yu Darvish and his team , the Rangers have now offered the player a five year $60 million deal . So in essence a $110 million commitment will be made to a player with as such no proven track record within MLB . But it is a mere pittance when one considers what is now being paid on an annual basis to the top starting pitchers within the game

There’s no denying that the Rangers have a potent offense led by Josh Hamilton , Michael Young and Elvis Andrus that stacks up pretty well against the rest of the respondents within the AL and all of baseball as a whole . However it was the pitching woes that simply derailed the Rangers’ ineffectiveness alongside that of their inconsistent hitting that simply derailed their hopes in 2010 and 2011 , as they sought to win their very first World Series’ title . As to what 2012 might have in store for the team will be predicated upon the performances of Yu Darvish and the rest of this Texas Rangers’ pitching roster which will have the Japanese star quite possibly as the number two starter in the rotation .

Now there’s no denying that with Arte Moreno and the Los Angeles Angels making that robust acquisition in signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year $254 million deal that simply made all other transactions this off-season all but mute . One has to ask how teams are expected to compete across the competitive and financial landscape of the game. game ? Team salaries in some cases are rising exponentially , albeit , that revenues are on the increase but with the league hierarchy giving very little information as to the financial stability of the teams within baseball one can only speculate as to their overall health. We do know this however , the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets have been hemorrhaging red ink across their balance sheets due to the financial mismanagement of those teams by their respective owners . My question remains , how many other teams are in, if not close to either bankruptcy or quite possibly are fighting for their very survival ? It is clear that this is something that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and team owners would rather keep under wraps , away from the prying eyes of the fans and the public and the press at large ! Given the fact that the journalists who cover the sport only seem keen to report the rather mundane , rather than the real issues at hand concerning the game is it any surprise that these are the very same idiots who missed the boat completely concerning the “steroid issue” and rampant misuse of illicit substances ?

With the Texas Rangers over the past two seasons having won the AL West it will be interesting to see what sort of challenges they will face from the other residents within the division. Most notably from the Los Angeles Angels , Seattle Mariners and , Oakland A’s . However; with it still being unclear as to when the Houston Astros will be entering the division with there being an agreement in principle for the team to be realigned and moved to the division . It is a safe bet to say that until it is actually finalized we will continue to see for now the AL West remain a four team division until officially notified . Astros’ owner James Crane had to receive a financial inducement from the league in order to agree to the move , having bought the organization from Drayton McClane for a reputed $756 million . Money not necessarily well spent given the fact that the Houston Astros in recent years have been one of the least successful and least supported teams in terms of attendance within the game .

Now I would like to think that with the addition of Yu Darvish to the Texas Rangers , with the team having lost former starting pitcher C J Wilson to free agency and the Los Angels Angels there may well be a chance for them to compete successfully this upcoming season . However, much of that will be predicated upon the mindset of the players on this staff and whether or not the remnants of 2010 and 2011 are things of the past . If it is , then they should be successful and quite possibly be seen as a viable candidate for the postseason but most certainly amongst the favorites within the AL not just for the pennant but also the World Series , itself. But if it is not , then look for the Texas Rangers to quite possibly struggle throughout much of their season and beyond .

San Francisco Giants’ starting pitcher Tim Lincecum , a two time Cy Young Award winner now in the process of arbitration with the organization is said to be looking for a salary increase that would see it rise from the present $11,500,000 , to a one year request of $21.5 million . Now don’t get me wrong , I believe Lincecum to be one of the very best pitchers in baseball and if anything perhaps the second best overall behind the Detroit Tigers’ ….. Justin Verlander .

Inasmuch I believe this system to be flawed it is the best that it would appear baseball’s hierarchy and the union (MLBPA) can come up with . But it would certainly help if the team owners would show some restraint from the very outset and there being some clear lines of demarcation in the process by the arbitrators . And as of late the owners simply haven’t shown that , while the blithering buffoons within the league hierarchy carry on as if nothing is awry !



Picture gallery for your perusal .

In anticipation of the upcoming NFL conference championship games this weekend what if anything are you most looking forward to ? And in the case of the Texas Rangers acquiring Yu Darvish how do you see the team’s season panning out ? By all means simply leave comment on the points raised within this piece and on anything else you believe to pertinent . Thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below.

(1) New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin encourages his players during an NFL football practice Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Giants travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers in the NFC championship game on Sunday, Jan. 22. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(2) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh addresses the media during a news conference as the George S. Halas Trophy given to the winner of the NFC championship, is displayed between helmets of the 49ers and the New York Giants, at the team’s NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. The 49ers host the Giants on Sunday, Jan. 22, in the NFC championship. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu …..

(3) San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis addresses the media during a news conference at the team’s NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. The 49ers host the New York Giants on Sunday, Jan. 22, in the NFC championship. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ….

(4) FILE – In this Nov. 24, 2011 file photo, San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, foreground, stands alongside his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, before an NFL football game in Baltimore. The Harbaughs, separated in age by all of 15 months, have taken different paths to find themselves one win from facing off in the Super Bowl. AP Photo/Nick Wass …..

(5) Japanese media members attend a press conference as the Texas Rangers announced the signing of Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. Japan’s best pitcher and the Texas Rangers agreed before Wednesday’s deadline to a $60 million, six-year contract. In addition to the salary, the Rangers will pay a posting fee of about $51.7 million to pay to the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League. AP Photo/Brandon Wade …..

(6) From left to right, Texas Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels, Yu Darvish representatives Arn Tellem and Don Nomura speak to reporters during a news conference to announce the signing of Japanese pitching sensation Darvish, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, in Arlington, Texas. The two-time defending AL champions signed a multi-year deal with Darvish before their 30-day negotiating window ended Wednesday at 4 p.m. CST. Texas last month bid a record $51.7 million under the posting system to win the right just to negotiate with the 25-year-old pitcher. AP Photo/Brandon Wade …….

(7) FILE – In this March 22, 2009 file photo, Japan relief pitcher Yu Darvish reacts after striking out United States’ Adam Dunn for the final out in a World Baseball Classic game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. For Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers, it’s deadline day. The AL champion Rangers are at the end of their 30-day negotiating window to agree to a contract with Japan’s top pitcher that they bid a record $51.7 million just to talk to player’s team , the Nippon Ham Tigers to start the negotiated rights for Darvish . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill ….

(8) FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2011, file photo, San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) delivers a pitch during a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Francisco. Lincecum has asked for $21.5 million in salary arbitration and been offered $17 million. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner’s request Tuesday, Jan. 17. 2012, neared the record amount sought in arbitration. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ….







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Victoria  Daineko/

Hot chic pic of the day Victoria Daineko & Jo Garcia (below) . .

Jo  Garcia/

Jo Garcia … who wouldn’t want to dip their hands into her fruit basket ?

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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Slide show for your perusal .

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 .



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 .



Picture and slide show details below .

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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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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 !


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

La Russa announces his retirement as skipper

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

By Joey Nowak of

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 !



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 .

(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 ?

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 .



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 .

Picture and slide show details below .


(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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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 .



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 ……………..!/tophatal1

Picture and slide show details below .


(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 ….

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 . .


(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 .



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 ……………….

Picture and slide show details below .


(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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NFL Standings by division

NFL week 7 schedule

Atlanta Falcons news

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers


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.


Click to read article in its entirety .


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 !



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 …………….

Picture & slide show details below

(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. …….

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

It’s All In The Bag ………. Or Is It ?

It’s All In The Bag ………. Or Is It ?

Coming off an improbable season ending to their regular schedule the Tampa Bay Rays now find themselves facing their biggest piece of adversity of the postseason. The team is now down 2-1 in the ALDS and are now in a ” must win ” situation” if they are to go further into the MLB playoffs. Standing in their way just happens to be AL West divisional champions the Texas Rangers .


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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Monday night’s game was a heart wrenching loss ( 4-3) for the Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida . On the mound for the team , manager Joe Maddon placed his faith in starting David Price . Countering for Ron Washington’s Texas Rangers they had Colby Lewis . Two young pitchers with contrasting styles but both eager to show the fans and their respective managers that the faith shown in them was certainly justified . Throughout the regular season both pitchers showed their sterling presence within the AL and league as a whole . But as we all know once the postseason everything starts afresh and it’s a new set of rules that everyone now plays by with regard to the pitching .

The crux of this game has to be predetermined by Joe Maddon’s team willingness to get their bats popping and not hold anything back. Get a lead , defend it steadfastly and let the chips fall where they may .

From my own perspective I felt that the Texas Rangers had a slight edge in terms of the respective pitching rosters but that by no means can always determine the outcome of a series . The postseason stats might bear this out but as all know anything can happen and usually does during the events that tend to unfold during the MLB playoffs.

Game four today will pit Jeremy Hellickson against David Murphy and clearly the players on this Rays’ roster knows what is being asked of them at this juncture . Win or go home .

Given the heroics of the team throughout much of the regular season and their improbable comeback I would hate to think that the Tampa Bay Rays could bow out of the postseason at this juncture ! They have given their fans a deserving uplift as well as the entire community within the area . Long forlorn and viewed as one the less bright spots on most teams’ regular season schedule this organization has given many of the small market teams around the league reason to hope and pursue success.

The crux of this game has to be predetermined by Joe Maddon’s team to get their bats popping and not hold anything back. Get a lead , defend it steadfastly and let the chips fall where they may .

For me the surprise team to make this postseason has to be the Arizona Diamondbacks and their very vocal manager Kirk Gibson and his experienced assistant staff . From worse to first within the space of one season the Diamondbacks were runaway winners of the NL West . In dethroning San Francisco Giants this young team played itself into contention for a postseason and berth where they now meet the NL Central divisional winners the Milwaukee Brewers led by their manager Ron Roenicke .

Kirk Gibson exemplified during his professional career as a player ….. playing tough and not giving any quarter to an opponent. It has been those instincts that he has instilled into his players that paid great dividends not just merely for the fans but the organization as whole under the ownership group led by senior managing partner Ken Kendrick with GM Kevin Towers taking of care of baseball operations and all personnel decisions.

Having lost game two in their series 9-4 to the Brewers the Arizona Diamondbacks now find themselves down 0-2 in the best of five game series against a Brewers team looking to make the most of their first appearance in the postseason since 2008 .

In a determining game three the Arizona Diamondbacks willl send to the mound Jay Collmenter to face Shawn Marcum of the Milwaukee Brewers . And while the Diamondbacks have struggled to score runs in the postseason this hasn’t been the case for the Milwaukee Brewers with their prolific offense led by Ryan Braun , Prince Fielder and Corey Hart .

It would be unfortunate to see Arizona Diamondbacks be swept out of the series against the Milwaukee Brewers without actually proving to be competitive during the postseason . As we know however , it is not simply what you are able to do during the regular season but how you acquit yourself during the postseason when you are placed under real adversity . And this now happens to the position that Kirk Gibson’s team now finds itself in .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the plight of both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays ? And do you believe that either of these teams will be able to erase the deficits they face and play themselves back into contention within their respective series ? Simply chime in a with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Closer Neftali Feliz (30) of the Texas Rangers celebrates with catcher Mike Napoli(notes) #25 after the Rangers defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….

(2) First baseman Mitch Moreland (18) dives to touch first base ahead of a sliding Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth inning of Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

(3) Infielder Sean Rodriguez (1) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated after scoring against the Texas Rangers during Game Four of the American League Division Series at Tropicana Field on October 4, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..


MLB News

MLB scheduled games 4th October 2011

MLB probable starting pitchers 4th October 2011

MLB results 3rd October 2011

MLB postseason individual player stats batting averages

MLB postseason individual player stats pitching ERA & wins

MLB postseason Team stats cumulative

NB : At the time of posting this article the result of the Rangers Rays’ game wasn’t yet made public .

Results of Note And Other Tidbits …………

Results of Note And Other Tidbits …….

Well week four of the NFL season now leaves us with two unbeaten teams within the NFL and it should come as no surprise that franchise is none other than the defending Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers who had their way with a listless Denver Broncos team . In a decisive 49-23 victory the Packers simply feasted on a defense that surely has to be one of the worst in the NFL. The other unbeaten franchise happens to be the early surprise of the season the Detroit Lions (4-0) .


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Slide show for your perusal.

Mike McCarthy’s team now has a comfortable lead within the NFC North and have been playing with a consistency not often seen from a franchise looking to make a successful defense of their title. At one time or another inconsistency tends to set in but for the coach and his coaching staff this has yet to be witnessed .

John Fox and his staff will have a hard time now persuading the beleaguered Broncos’ fans that they continue behind the role being played by quarterback Kyle Orton . The team as I have alluded to earlier has been listless and not all comfortable in their play . The cries are now for Tim Tebow to be truly given his baptism of fire and see whether or not he’s capable of being a good enough quarterback in this league . It is clear that this team needs some sort of therapeutic uplift because at this juncture it is becoming abundantly evident for all to see that Kyle Orton hasn’t the wherewithal to lead the ball club to where they need to be . Within the AFC West they are firmly rooted at the bottom of the division .

In a conference match-up the Oakland Raiders hosted the New England Patriots at the Oakland Coliseum in front of a soldout crowd of rabid fans cheering on their team . The AFC’s top rushing offense took on the conference’s worst defenses in what one had hoped would be a thoroughly riveting game . And for Tom Brady this was his chance to lead this Patriots’ team in light of their seismic implosion (34-31) against the Buffalo Bills in week three . Any thoughts that the Patriots would succumb to this Raiders’ team were quickly vanquished by Tom Brady and the play of his teammates .

Hu Jackson as coach of the Oakland Raiders would witness his players give their all in an entertaining game but he could not have been enthused by some errant plays by a number of players who were wayward and lacking in real enthusiasm . The Patriots were able in part to negate the run attack of the Raiders but that was not the only gauge with which to assess the success derived by Bill Belichick’s team in their 31-19 victory. Now with both the New England at 3-1 and the Oakland Raiders (2-2) recording these marks within their respective divisions week five will bring about something of a sterner test one would hope for both franchises.

Ah “The Dream Team” , the self prescribed moniker that a number of players have thought of themselves and much like the self absorbed players of the Miami Heat the Philadelphia Eagles are showing that they clearly cannot handle real adversity. Andy Reid’s team now finds themselves in something of a rut at 1-3 , injury ravaged and clearly not in a position to live up to the presumptive predictions that they are the worthwhile contenders for the Superbowl much less being one of the best teams within the NFC this season. In another surprising loss their second consecutive such miscue has many wondering where the real problems lay with this staff. Michael Vick coming off an apparent concussion and right hand contusion , wherein the player has been questioning the role of the referees now seems to playing well below the standards set last season.

If the Philadelphia Eagles are to have any chance of resurrecting their season then they will have to get out of this funk , regroup and start to play at a much higher caliber . The team is firmly rooted at the bottom of the NFC East looking up at their rivals the New York Giants , Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys . At present I am not so sure what to make of the Philadelphia Eagles , other than to suggest that they may well have thought that things would come to them far too easily but now in light of the fact that we are clearly seeing that this team simply isn’t as good as first thought it now remains to be seen what they now intend to make of their season .

Inexplicably the Philadelphia Eagles threw in a performance of absolute absurdity in losing 24-23 to the San Francisco 49ers . Don’t be fooled by the margin of victory as the 49ers led by Alex Smith who had a productive game simply outplayed the Eagles when it mattered most . Vick by no means at his best had a game that the player himself may well have been somewhat disappointed with. And for the Eagles’ fans in attendance watching wearily at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , they now have to be asking themselves what the hell is simply going on with this team ? Those questions will have to be answered but certainly not with the customary sound bytes that we have come to expect when an organization and coaching staff are simply at a loss for words . No more idiotic excuses , either man up or simply shut the hell up once and for all ………….. define yourself by what you do on the field of play rather than what you would like to envisage doing. It is as plain and simple as that !

I am continuously sick and tired as to the horse-shit that Tony Romo is a proven quarterback in the NFL ! As a player has yet win a game of any real consequence over the course of career . But yet there are fans and observers out there jumping on this damn bandwagon as if they’re curious to see the latest celebrity porn video doing the rounds on the ‘net . In all honesty I do believe that Romo is simply the analysts’ desire as the omnipresent being on an otherwise pretentious team with the exception of Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware .

In a game that was in a sense set to give us some perspective on the direction of this Cowboys’ team we were given a display by Jason Garrett’s players that simply belied belief. As good as we were led to believe that the Detroit Lions are said to be . The Dallas Cowboys simply set out to prove the whole world right with a performance that was mediocre at best and giving further credence to the fact that this Cowboys’ team are merely to be seen as pretenders rather than contenders .

If this 34-30 home loss by the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys’ Stadium in Arlington , Texas , isn’t a clear indication as to how vastly overrated the Cowboys are , then the analysts , pundits and fans who still prescribe to the fact that this team should be seen as contenders had better begin to wake up and get a dose of reality ! If nothing else you can either simply choose to believe or realize the fact that what you once felt possible is no longer really possible . Jason Garrett , his coaching staff along with GM & owner Jerry Jones and the team are in for a long and arduous season .

Well now that the divisional rounds have began with regard to the MLB postseason . Eight teams now are vying for the game’s greatest honor and that is the World Series . From the AL we have the Detroit Tigers , New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers . The NL has produced the Arizona Diamondbacks , Milwaukee Brewers , Philadelphia Phillies and St Louis Cardinals . Anyone who witnessed the last day exploits of the Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays will know that this had to have been the finest finishes to a regular season , perhaps in the last three decades to say the least within MLB . Thankfully , both teams’ exploits have been caught on film and will now have a place in the annals of history within the game.

The Tampa Bay Rays got off to a sensational start culling the Texas Rangers 9-0 at Rangers Ballpark , in Arlington , Texas . But with the Rangers coming back to take game two that series is now tied at one apiece and set to restart with the Joe Maddon’s team hosting game three at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg, Florida , in front of a sellout crowd of approximately 40,000 Rays’ rabid fans .

It will be incumbent upon the Rays to win tonight’s game three if they are to have any chance of winning this series as the divisional rounds of the playoffs are the best of five games’ format . It is extremely hard for any team to be asked to comeback from 2-1 deficit and win the final two games of such a format . Not that it cannot be done but it places such a team at a great disadvantage to begin with.

On the mound tonight for the Tampa Rays is David Price who squares off against Colby Lewis of the Texas Rangers . It is an intriguing contrast of styles with regard to these two pitchers . And certainly for Ron Washington as manager of the Rangers, he is no doubt hoping to see his his young pitcher produce the form that has made him one of the strengths of this pitching roster . Certainly the Tampa Bays are not to be outdone in that area either as their pitching roster has depth and has to be viewed as one the preeminent groupings in not only AL but in the league altogether .

But if Joe Maddon’s player are to prove themselves the equal of their AL rivals then their bats will have to come alive during this postseason and remain consistently so during the playoffs . And this is where if anything that the Texas Rangers have the upper hand as they were amongst the most prolific of offenses in the AL during the course of the regular season . And with the likes of Josh Hamilton , Ian Kinsler , Adrian Beltre , Mike Napoli , Michael Young and Nelson Cruz the Rays’ pitching staff will certainly have their hands full. If they can counter the effect of that Texas Rangers’ offense by some sound defensive and pitching then there’s no reason to believe why they cannot pull of the improbable and mount another upset. After all consider their plight within the AL East a month ago and what they were able to achieve in the year end finale that allowed them to gain the AL wildcard berth ? No one thought it possible at the time that the Tampa Bay Rays would mount that amazing run (19-8) that would see them erase a 7.5 game deficit and rally to derail the Boston Red Sox’s hopes .

Call me naive but I simply thought that the SEC — matchup between the Alabama (Crimson Tide) and Florida Gators would be something of a much more competitive game . Instead what the fans in attendance saw at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville , Florida as Nick Saban’s team manhandled Will Muschamp’s players on their way to a lopsided 38-10 defeat of the Gators . To say this game was close at anytime other than in the first quarter , would be to suggest the complete works of Pablo Picasso are a waste of time.

A marauding Trent Richardson solidified himself as a Heisman Trophy candidate as he plundered the Gators’ defense for a 208 all purpose yards and 2TD’s . AJ McCarron the Crimson Tide’s quarterback not to be outdone played with a great deal of aplomb. There was simply no answer coming from Will Muschamp’s players on their home field as this massacre unfolded in front of a stunned crowd and national television audience. There are times when you simply pity a team when they have no answer for an opponent’s stellar display and this most definitely was one of them.

The Gators’ cause wasn’t helped with the fact that John Brantley had something of an inconsistent game that was a mix of misplaced errors and his receivers not being in unison with the quarterback. That asides beyond the play of Andre Debose and Deonte Thompson there was little of anything that was of real consolation for this Gators’ team. With the likelihood of John Brantley now having to sit out the upcoming game against the number one ranked LSU Tigers due to a knee injury in the game against Alabama . It will be interesting to see how Will Muschamp will deal with this issue and whether or not he will call upon either Jacoby Brissett , Jeff Driskell , Chandler Carr or quite possibly see if Trey Burton would be willing to step into the fray and play the position given his aptitude and previous experience on the depth chart before becoming a wide receiver on the team.

At 4-1 overall but 2-1 within SEC (Eastern Division) this upcoming game (8th October ,2011 – Baton Rouge , La,.) against the LSU Tigers will prove to be a stern test Florida and how they are able to handle themselves after such an embarrassing defeat and display. Another loss to the nation’s top ranked team could curtail any ambitions that they may well have had for the SEC championship and the thought of the BCS national title .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the weekend’s sporting schedule and which results if any simply piqued your interests be it in the NFL , MLB or College Football ? Chime in with your thoughts as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …….


(1) Head coach John Fox of the Denver Broncos watches a replay on the scoreboard during the final minutes of a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images ….

(2) Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton (8) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. AP Photo/Mike Roemer ……

(3) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (1) talks to Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell (8) at the end of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011. New England won 31-19. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez ………

(4) Tom Brady(12) hands off to BenJarvus Green-Ellis (42) of the New England Patriots who ran in for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on October 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images …..

(5) Running back Frank Gore (21) of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (24) of the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL football game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 2, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 24-23 . Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images …….

(6) Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) celebrates his touchdown by bumping helmets with quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Jose Yau …….

(7) Tony Romo (49) of the Dallas Cowboys gets knocked to the turf against the Detroit Lions at Cowboys Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Detroit Lions beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-30 . Someone call me when Romo wins a meaningful game for the Cowboys ? Romo on his best day can’t clean the sh#t off his own cleats but there are idiots fans suggesting that he’s capable of leading the Cowboys to the Superbowl . What type of hallucinogens are these morons taking at present . Hopefully it’s nothing from the medicinal bag of Dr Conrad Murray ! Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images …..

(8) ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 01: (L-R) Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers celebrates with Nelson Cruz (17) , Elvis Andrus (1) , and Josh Hamilton (32) after the Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-6 in Game Two of the American League Division Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 1, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images …….

(9) Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Matt Joyce , left, watches second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) catch a fly ball by Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre during the seventh inning at Game 2 of baseball’s American League division series playoffs, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ………

(10) GAINESVILLE, FL – OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Jeff Driskel (16) of the Florida Gators sets to pass against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(11) Running back Trent Richardson (3) of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a touchdown run against Florida Gators October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) ……

(12) Linebacker Nico Johnson (35) of the Alabama Crimson Tide recovers a fumble by quarterback Jeff Driskel (16) of the Florida Gators October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. Alabama would go on to defeat Florida 38-10. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(13) : Trent Richardson (3) of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs for yardage during a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images ……..

(14) Brad Smelley (17) of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs past Josh Evans (24) of the Florida Gators during a game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images …..


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

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

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


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Courtesy of

Selig to Appoint a rep to oversee Dodgers

By Ken Gurnick ,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click on link shown to read this article in its entirety .


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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of The New York Times

Madoff Profits Fueled Mets’ Empire, Lawsuit Says

By Alison Leigh Cowan & Richard Sandomir

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

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

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

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

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


Click on link to read this article in its entirety .


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



Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

Picture and slide show details below .


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Courtesy of AP Sports & Yahoo

Rangers CEO Greenberg leaving organization

By Stephen Hawkins , AP Sports Writer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click on link shown to read this article in its entirety.


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

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

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

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



Picture gallery for your perusal.

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

Picture and slide show details below.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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The Winds Of Change Are Not About To Happen Anytime Soon ….. Count On It

The Winds Of Change Are Not About To Happen Anytime Soon ….. Count On It

If money is the root of all evil then how is that MLB just can’t deal with its problems which inherently comes down to the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners can’t come up with something that’s beneficial to all of the teams within the game ? I mean what idiot truly believes that the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme actually works ? The league in essence forces teams with a payroll in excess of $150 million to pay a luxury tax that’s deemed appropriate by the league hierarchy. The New York Yankees whose payroll for the 2010 season was in excess of $205 million and the tax levied by the league was in excess of $60 million which was shared amongst the small market teams around the league. As to the overall amounts paid by teams such as the St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Angels , Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies it doesn’t really go that far when one realizes that there isn’t any profit sharing by the MLB and monies derived by sales of league paraphernalia isn’t divided up amongst the teams equally. Calls for a hard and fast salary cap falls on deaf ears within the league hierarchy and team owners because they simply don’t want it and they’d rather the status quo remain the same.


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Slide show .

For many teams much of their revenue is either derived by ticket sales , concessions at home games and via fees charged within their local television market. As to Bud Selig and the game’s hierarchy that this is the most equitable way of formulating a system that is of benefit to the teams I’m under the impression that they’re taking their charge by seeing how the the Congress , Senate and the President’s Cabinet conducts its business. There money is spent like it’s being printed on a daily basis and truth be known it actually is and at the same time the government is borrowing so much money that they’ll never to pay down the national debt much less the ever increasing interest as its appreciates. Now we have this convoluted mess after this latest spending bill in which the House appropriated $1,000,000,000,000 ($1 trillion) in order that it can operate for the upcoming fiscal year. We’ve been told repeatedly that the government will eliminate ‘earmarks’ otherwise known as ‘pork barrel’ spending . And much of this latest bill signed into law by President Barack Obama is filled earmarked projects which he himself , House Majority Leader-designate John Boehner (R-Oh) , Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv) have categorically stated that they would rid the Congress of earmaks themselves and nothing at apparently has changed . by way of those statements .

Clearly much like the idiocy that now happens within the game of baseball when it comes to showing an alarming rate of stupidity there is no difference between Congress and that game’s hierarchy. Of this $ 1,000,000,000,000 there was $8 ,000,000,000 ($ 8 billion) earmarked for pet project of these congressional members . Sixty six hundred (6,600) projects all-told and you’d not be surprised to see how some of this money is spent and what it’s being spent on. Suffice to say that if you’ve an avowed interest in how bat fecal matter affects agriculture then there’ll be something of interest there for you. Or that there’ll be a museum built in the state of Iowa to commemorate the visit made there the late Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev . And here I was under the impression that there was about to be wind of change within Congress ? Not so fast as that’s not about to happen when the incoming designates for the Congress are seated in the next term. And for those of you out there who are of the belief that Tea Party backed designates who’ll assume their seats in the next session of Congress will change things, consider this not one of the candidates in question have come out openly and voiced their disapproval at this latest betrayal of the public’s faith in the current lawmakers seated in both congressional houses. Oh yeah they’ll be a party of change alright can we say more of the same in terms of changes that’ll take place ? Simply put, out with the old and in with a new clique of bloodsucking vampires and miscreants ! .

Baseball for all of its alleged virtues and competitive spirit is not unlike Congress and the federal government , as there too we see a great deal idiocy , wantoned waste of money and not much by way of intelligence or creativity when it comes to dealing with its own financial well being . How else can one explain where its own Commissioner Allan ‘Bud’ Selig has earned in excess of $ 45 million alone in the last three years but yet two teams, the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers were on the brink of bankruptcy and financial collapse because of the financial mismanagement of both teams. The Cubs were placed into bankruptcy filing by then owner Sam Zell merely to avoid having team’s parent company’s (The Tribune Co ) creditors go after the club for monies owed by The Tribune Company . In the case of the Rangers that was because then owner, Tom Hicks’ sporting interests again mishandled , mismanaged and wasn’t willing to acquiesce to the wishes of his creditors in making the payments for the financing agreed to under the terms of the original contracts. The debt amassed by Hicks’ sporting interests tallied into hundreds of millions of dollars . And when the financiers chose to appraise the assets in question with a view to selling them off, he felt aggrieved that they were under-priced and that he would be unable to either retain or in some way make a profit from their sales. I guess those people there in Texas who were of the belief that Hicks was a great businessman may well now have to rethink their position . The Dallas Stars , Texas Rangers and Liverpool FC of the English Premiership League are no longer baubles that he can parade around to friends and acquaintances as part of his once large sports’ empire.

The intransigence now being shown by Selig , MLB hierarchy , team owners and the MLBPA (Players’ Union) could very well lead to the game’s own death knell . As glorious as one feels that the triumphs are for the World Series champions each year, consider this , each off-season the upheavals that take place as teams vie for the free agents out there on the open market or via trades that tend to take place the more ludicrous the demands are . At the same time small market teams can merely watch as they see their big market counterparts and rivals simply feast at the table with an open checkbook and unabated appetite. Somehow the so called level playing field and parity that fans out there try and equate with baseball appears to simply be a misnomer. And those small market teams in the end merely tend to give up and do what they simply do best and that’s to groom their young talent and then in a few years after they’re salary arbitration eligible they will either trade them away for the most part or retain them short term in the hope that they might catch lightning in a bottle.

I can’t help but wonder if during this upcoming season should things not be going right for a team like the jsp?c_id=was”> Washington Nationals , will we see them off-load their big money signing Jayson Werth ? After-all who in their right mind signs a player to a seven year $126 million contract when there’s nothing to suggest that he’s at all the answer to the organization’s most dire needs ? As good as Werth is presumed to be does anyone believe that his acquisition alone will make the Nationals an immediate contender within the NL East right away ? GM Mike Rizzo , team owner Ted Lerner and his partners have spent voluminously to acquire Werth, young phenoms such as Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in the hope that change is in the offing . Get the feeling that the one constant in that division the Philadelphia Phillies are about to let that happen given their own recent outlay for Cliff Lee ? I didn’t think so !



Picture gallery for your perusal.

Many of the pieces I’ve read about baseball here within a number of sites are by fans who are openly enamored with the game on the field of play but when it comes to the off the field issues as it concerns the game’s viability rarely do I read any commentary whatsoever on those issues. I get the impression that they feel it is of no intrinsic value or that they simply don’t understand the business side of the sport and how it relates to the game overall and their own way of life . When baseball chooses not to deal with many of its issues it’s usually the fans who in the end will end up suffering . The only change that has ever really taken place within the game was the social change engineered at the time stave off racial stereotyping as to the game’s openly racist ardor. Since then there’s been very little to suggest that things have changed for the better in terms the hierarchy showing any common sense as it relates to its future and the financial viability of a number of its teams. Simply look around and tell me what you see that would suggest to you that things are about to change within the game from that particular aspect ? Chime on in with your own thoughts on this matter and any other concerning the game as you view it and its future .

NB: The tax levied by the league isn’t based at the threshold but as a percentage of the gross payroll salary paid by the team within that fiscal year.

Alan aka tophatal ……………………… 🙂



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