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

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

By tophatal …….

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

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Slide show for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MLB schedule … & …. results

MLB probable starting pitchers 26th March 2012

San Francisco Giants’ news

San Francisco Giants’ depth chart

San Francisco Giants’ coaching staff

San Francisco Giants’ schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery . By clicking on each frame you can view each picture in its original formatted size.

How do you view the remainder of the MLB postseason being played out and what thoughts if any do you have concerning the fact that viewership and to an extent attendance for some of the championship games are actually down ? Chime in with a comment as you’d deem fit.

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For the latest MLB news & views simply click unto the link provided.

MLB News & views …

Alan aka tophatal …………………………… 🙂

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'Karrine-Steffans

Eye candy video vixen Karrine ‘Superhead’ Steffans . I’ll let you decide as to the reason why she’s nicknamed ‘Superhead’.