On the mound …..

On the mound …..

We are now two months into the MLB season and things are looking rather perilous for a number of teams within baseball , as their seasons are sitting perilously close to being viewed as disastrous. In the AL , both the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays sit at the bottom of their respective divisions. Tampa as of Sunday evening , stood 10 ½ games behind the division leading Toronto Blue Jays , who sat atop of the AL East . Somewhat surprising when you consider that in 2013 the Blue Jays with all of their acquisitions proved uncompetitive and barely challenged within the division or the AL for that matter. A year later and he we are looking at a team that appears to have all the confidence in the world , with pitcher Mark Buerhle leading the AL in a number of pitching categories beyond his own statistics this season.


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Far be it for me to suggest, but this continued belief that the small market teams are still able to compete even when their payrolls are said to be nowhere as competitive as the top teams within the league. Last season, the New York Yankees led the way with a team payroll well in excess of $200 million , and the Yankees failed to make the postseason. This year it is their NL West counterparts the Los Angeles Dodgers and their newly bloated commitment of over . $218 million that leads the way within MLB , paying out over $3 billion in salary commitments for the second consecutive year. . And we are to believe, Major League Baseball can remain solvent , with their teams not failing from an economic standpoint, when seven-figure salaries and contracts have now become like confetti (rice) being thrown to celebrate the nuptials of a newly wed couple , without their being any serious future ramifications for the game ?

The Tampa Bay Rays are losers of seven of their last ten games with seven consecutive losses being part of that tally , with their last victory coming against the Boston Red Sox on the 25th May. The struggles of the team beyond their injuries woes simply stem from the fact the Rays are not afforded a situation where they can go out and obtain the best players available , as they are severely restricted by fiscal constraints . It has been left to the ingenuity of GM Andrew Friedman and the managerial acumen of Joe Maddon in determining how the obtain the best players possible without having to pay above market prices , in acquiring the resources needed. Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Miami Marlins , was a further indication , as to where the Rays are now at and how far they have fallen , without delving further into the ambiguity and apathy now being shown by their lackluster fans, who barely come out in support of the team , when their games are played at Tropicana Field , in St Petersburg , Florida. Joe Maddon and his players will once again be the guests of the Miami Marlins when they are scheduled to meet at Marlins Ballpark in Miami , Florida, on Tuesday afternoon . On the mound for the Rays will be Chris Archer for the Rays against the Marlins’ Henderson Alvarez in what should be a very entertaining contest between two of the league’s best young pitchers playing today. As to an outcome , I believe that can be best summed up by simply looking at the between these two teams over the past five seasons to perhaps guessing the likely outcome.

It would be fair to suggest that over the past ten years the Kansas City Royals have perhaps been one of the most inept organizations in all of baseball over the last fifteen years. One simply has to look at their record during that time span and the very fact that the Royals have not made the MLB Postseason in over fifteen years, with their last appearance coming in 1985, when they made the World Series and faced the St Louis Cardinals , with Kansas prevailing in that series 4-3 . In the later years , after that triumph, the years have been lean and not exactly kind to this beleaguered AL Central franchise and their now well chronicled history.

It would also be fair to acknowledge, that team owner , David Glass has failed miserably , in steering this organization with any semblance of urgency or seeking to make the ball-club competitive . Instead, it has been this continual idiocy by their fans and media savants alike in suggesting that the development of their farm system will bring about their long-awaited return to success. This season, that has definitely not been the case and last year was just as demonstrative , in their lack of competitiveness within the division and around the AL overall. A 27-30 record has the Royals now sitting just above the last placed Minnesota Twins and having only won four of their last ten games , you simply have to wonder how likely it is that there would be any type of life seen from this team. Ned Yost and his managerial staff have steered through the calm and the storms of uncertainty during his managerial career with this franchise. Yet, is my belief the Royals will continue to be a ball-club not suited to challenging for a divisional title , pennant , or World Series’ title, while David Glass is unwilling to bolster the team’s payroll . For years, they have remained close to being at the bottom rung of teams by way payroll and that appears unlikely to change for the foreseeable future under Glass’ tenure.

A 6-0 triumph over the St Louis Cardinals in a game played at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri, might well have provided some respite for Yost’s players and that series will continue with a Tuesday afternoon contest that sees James Shields taking the mound for the Royals against Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals . A win for the Kansas City is a necessity rather, than dropping another game and then further endangering their season at this point of their schedule. If nothing else, it would be great to provide a certain amount of positivity for their fans , rather than the constant feeling that the effort shown is simply meaningless .

In 2013 the Texas Rangers’ starting pitcher Yu Darvish was simply spectacular and were it not for a late season injury , I firmly believe that he would have won the AL Cy Young Award , rather than the accolade going to the Detroit Tigers’ pitching ace Max Scherzer. The Tigers’ pitcher for his part, chose to turn down the offer from GM Dave Dombrowski , that would have seen the player be awarded a six-year $144 million contract . I get the feeling that Scherzer’s agent might well be cursing his client for not signing on the bottom line of a deal that would have made him one of the highest paid starting pitchers in the Majors . At the same time, you have to wonder whether Scherzer has made a tremendous mistake in turning down that deal. An injury at this point of the season and the likelihood of his value plummeting as a free agent, beyond his perhaps seeking a more lucrative deal.

Scott Boras , one of the premiere agents within the game of baseball , may well feel that he will be in a suitable position to drive a hard bargain in the off-season with the Tigers’ front office , should Max Scherzer remain healthy over the course of the season , while ending up with a winning record . Yet , we all know that the agent is also likely to start a bidding war for his client’s services , as has often been the case in his negotiating ploys with many of the general managers within the game of baseball. . For the moment Scherzer’s $15 million deal will have to be one where the player feels is justified as he seeks garner something more commensurate with a player of his stature .

Since being acquired by the New York Yankees , their Japanese starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (8-1) has been among the best pitchers in the AL , certainly on the Yankees’ pitching staff this season . If nothing else, he could prove to be just as dynamic as his Japanese counterpart Yu Darvish of the Rangers. If there was said to be a weakness with the New York Yankees this season , many believed that it would be their pitching and what many believed to be a sub-par lineup, when measured against the rest of the AL and MLB overall . Tanaka’s seven-year $155 million deal now seems worthwhile, as the team remains in contention within the AL East. Now comes the hard part for the pitcher, can he and his teammates on the pitching rotation , to remain consistent over the course of this season. If they are able to do so, while their offense remains potent , this could all bode well for the New York Yankees as they seek to make a return the postseason and win their first World Series’ title since 2009. Yankees’ short-stop and team captain Derek Jeter would certainly like to end his career on a high note, winning a sixth World Series’ ring , joining distinguish group of players with more than five titles to their name.

The New York in their last game against the Seattle Mariners , in a contest played at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York , were on the wrong side side of a lopsided 10-2 loss at the hands of Mariners . Losing pitcher David Phelps performed poorly , but the team’s woes went far beyond their pitching , because this loss was a collective one , with the offense nowhere to be seen throughout this entire game. . Joe Girardi’s players can perhaps exorcise that loss, when they take on the Oakland A’s on Tuesday afternoon, with Hiroki Kuroda on the mound to face off against Scott Kazmir of the A’s .

One of the more intriguing pitching contests of the day, pits the Blue Jays’ Drew Hutchinson against Anibal Sanchez of the Tigers , in an AL duel of two of that league’s brightest stars. I would like to think that the Detroit Tigers this season can make up for some weak postseason appearances over the last few years . Certainly , in the aftermath of Jim Leyland’s retirement , the lasting impression I have of the Tigers , is that of their famed former manager placing his teams in a position to win a World Series , but each time , they failed miserably , with many questioning the acumen of Leyland, when in reality, the fault laid with the teams in question .

Brad Ausmus , has now been entrusted with the managerial role of guiding the Tigers to their first World Series’ win since 1984, with this season marking the thirtieth anniversary of that triumph. It will be very interesting to see how this team fares over the remainder of the season , with just about everything on the line including their trying to win the AL Central title , which of late has been the franchise’s personal bauble.

Rare feats within baseball, are things , which excite the fans and MLB analysts alike . A no-hitter , the perfect game , a four home run game , unassisted triple play and hitting for the cycle , are feats which we all enjoy and will continue to applaud , no matter era of the game. Josh Beckett’s, recent chase at perfection, ended with the pitcher capturing the first “no-hitter” of his career. The fact that he achieved that feat against the hapless Philadelphia Phillies should in no way be seen, as the diminishing of that accomplishment achieved at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , was a great day for the player and his Los Angeles Dodgers’ teammates.

Beckett’s later outing was not as relishing as his last , with his losing that particular game to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a narrow margin , with the Pirates eking out a 2-1 victory . The Dodgers’ starting pitcher, was unable to carry out another rarity, with back to back ” no hitters” . With the Dodgers having the biggest payroll in the game and several of their pitchers and players among the highest paid in the game, it is easy to understand why there will be added pressure on the team to succeed, as well as upon the shoulders of Don Mattingly and his managerial staff. The manager has now been given just about every tool at his disposal , with an All Star at almost every position possible ,as they seek to win their first World Series’ crown in over two decades. Say nothing of which , with the recent news of the pending sale of the Loss Angeles Clippers , this franchise is not the biggest news’ story in the City of Angeles now. And with the tailspin of the Los Angeles Lakers and their no longer death defining fall from grace , one has to wonder , who now takes up the slack of providing the biggest story in the world of sports within the city. Oh sorry , I almost forgot , the Los Angeles Kings have garnered themselves a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals , as the Western Conference representatives, where they will meet the New York Rangers , in what might be the most highly anticipated Finals in recent years , in a meeting of two of the NHL’s most popular teams . Anyone interested, in that particular morsel of information ?

Roughly a third of the way through the MLB schedule and there is not really much that we have really learned about the season, so far. We know , there are some very good teams , but also , several franchises that are under-achieving and a number of players who have yet to hit their stride by way of their productivity with the bat or off the mound . One could gauge this point of the season and then look at the same state of affairs in the month June of last year to see how things might well possibly pan out. In reality, that might be something of foolhardy exercise , as it simply cannot account for any number of variables that might possibly take place.



Picture gallery .

As baseball meanders towards the midpoint of its season , what if anything , do you feel has been missing from the game ? Also which rookie or major star will have the biggest impact on the season and quite possibly lead their team to a postseason berth ? Take the opportunity, to leave a comment on this topic and anything else you believe to be relevant .


Picture and slideshow details .


(1) Kansas City Royals Chairman & CEO David Glass is seen here with team GM Dayton Moore as the pair peruse the outfield at Kauffmann Field in Kansas City , Missouri. The Royal have remained uncompetitive over the past decade and have failed to meet the expectations of their fans. As to the organization itself, there appears to be a constant stream of rhetoric and little by way of action in terms of seeking to bolster the team’s roster or actually increase the payroll by a considerable amount . AP Photo / Ken Walker ….

(2) Miami Marlins starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez , right, shakes hands with catcher Jeff Mathis (6) after Alvarez pitched a complete game and the Marlins defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 in an inter-league baseball game , Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …

(3) Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria walks to the dugout after striking out in the fourth inning of an inter-league baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …..

(4) Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer throws during the first inning of an inter-league baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(5) Miami Marlins’ Christian Yelich , right, is out at second on a fielder’s choice as Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar , left, throws to first during the first inning of an inter-league baseball game, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Miami. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky ….

(6) New York Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, June 3 , 2014. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(7) Masahiro Tanaka (19) of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB action against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 4, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Japanese star is off to an impressive start this season leading the Yankees’ pitching staff in wins , while being among the top pitchers in the AL and a likely candidate for AL Rookie of the Year. Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images ….

(8) A jubilant Josh Beckett is seen here being hugged by teammates after he pitched a “no hitter” on the 25th May, as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in a lopsided 6-0 victory in a game played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania. This was the first no hitter pitched by Beckett of his career and the first in the Majors this season . AP Photo / Eric Temple …

(9) Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly left, speaks with players Yasiel Puig and Juan Uribe (right) in the dugout at Dodgers Ballpark , in Los Angeles , California during a game . Mattingly and his managerial staff are under a great deal of pressure to deliver that long-awaited first World Series since their last appearance in the Fall Classic some twenty-six years ago , when the franchise was triumphant in winning their fifth World Series’ title . AP Photo Hector Munoz ….




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Alive And Kicking In Kansas Or Not ………. But Dorothy And Toto Are Still Popular

Alive And Kicking In Kansas Or Not ………. But Dorothy And Toto Are Still Popular

There’s no reason to think that the mindset of an organization is about to change merely because the ownership makes certain pronouncements . The idiocy of this all is that nothing has changed with the Kansas City Royals . Merely because within the AL Central they sit mid table with an under .500 record (22-28) simply means nothing . Based on the team’s most recent form and the fact that this cannot simply find any consistency much less form in their play , consistency some observers feel that the team and organization simply aren’t warranted of any criticism. Well I say this, if abject futility is something that you feel a team is obliged to offer their fans then you simply can’t understand the premise of objectivity much less being subjective .


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In their most recent game played against the Texas Rangers played at Texas Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas . The Royals were simply out-matched and outplayed by a Rangers team that got the better of the Kansas City Royals and made this team look less than ordinary. I’ve no doubt that team owner David Glass wants the best for this team given the organization’s history but at this juncture I for one feel that this team is so far off from where they need to be that they won’t be challenging for any postseason honors anytime soon ! The Texas Rangers’ offense in this game simply was on fire hitting back to back to back to back home runs and the Royals starting pitcher Sean O’ Sullivan was made to look ordinary at best in the Royals’ 10-1 loss to the Texas Rangers .

At this juncture there’s not much more to say concerning the Royals other than to suggest that their time may well come but it certainly won’t this season or anytime soon . And that’s in spite of their minor league system , draft choices or their top 10 prospects that the organization obviously has a great deal of faith in. Now I might add that although baseball has seen a gamut of financial mismanagement from its hierarchy on down to the general managers and team owners . Please someone tell me how the hell that this travesty within the game can be allowed to continue ? But yet there are those who carry on as if baseball is in a healthy financial state ?

Is it me but the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista is making a mockery of the season in terms of having hit 20 home runs in a mere 50 games for the Blue Jays this season . If Bautista keeps up this pace then quite possibly the single season home run record could very well be in jeopardy . Granted , Barry Bonds’ 73 home runs is still looked upon as being tainted but herein lies the odyssey of this all MLB simply as well as Elias Sports Bureau recognizes this as being a legitimate statistic that’s duly recognized. Can’t say that I blame either organization because as things continue and the records are assailed they will still come under a great deal more suspicion !

In their last ten games the Boston Red Sox (28-22) are 7-3 and are a mere .03 of a percentage point behind the New York Yankees (27-21) within the AL East . The division itself now seems to be a three horse race with the Tampa Bays Rays also making their presence felt , that the AL East is liable to be so competitive and contentious that you’d be hard pressed to pick an outright favorite within the division at this juncture . Each of the three teams in question have been playing at a high level and the mere fact the teams also have their flaws makes the season within the division all the more suspenseful from the fans’ standpoint .

Adrian Gonzalez has had a terrific season thus far for the Red Sox and their initial start to the season now seems to be something of the past . Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has to pleased with what he’s now seeing from his team and in particular now with Carl Crawford having hit his stride as a Red Sox player. GM Theo Epstein may well have had his doubters when he acquired both Crawford and Gonzalez but the general manager knew that having the duo would make this team a great deal more formidable. All that’s now needed is for their pitching to be far more consistent over the course of the season .

As the first half of the season I’d like to think that the second half will provide us with a great deal of suspense as things play themselves out ! The upcoming All Star Game being played at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona could very much be surrounded in a great deal of controversy with the state legislature having passed into law the state’s immigration bill ( SB 1070) which provides law enforcement with the power to request a suspect provide identification as to their immigration status. Now one might take umbrage at that proposal but Gov Jan Brewer (R-Az) felt the need to address this issue knowing full well that the passing of that law would have its consequences amongst its detractors as well as its supporters . With certain provisions in the bill having been struck down by the Appellate Courts at the request of President Obama of which task had been undertaken by the Justice Department . This new bill still gives statewide law enforcement the right to question a suspect as to their immigration status . Something of which many believe should be an issue dealt with by the Department of Homeland Security through the Immigration & Natural Service .

This immigration bill obviously hasn’t sat well with the Hispanic players around the league and I would certainly like to think that the players would be willing participants in the All Star Game but at the same time I understand that they may not favor the enactment of this law within the state of Arizona . This much I do know furor surrounding this emotional issue isn’t about to die down anytime soon , as both sides feel that they have something to prove . The Obama administration may well feel that the state of Arizona has overstepped their boundaries but I do feel that successive Presidential administrations down the years have simply shied away from having a comprehensive immigration bill on the books as a statute. Make of it what you will but simply ask yourself who benefits from the idiocy we are now seeing on both sides of political aisle ?



Picture gallery for your perusal .

To the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have on those mentioned and how do you see the season panning out within Major League Baseball ? Simply chime in with a comment as you’d deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………

Picture and slide show details .


(1) Kansas City Royals’ Jeff Francoeur (21) tosses his bat after striking out against Texas Rangers relief pitcher Yoshinori Tateyama in the eighth inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington. Francoeur went 1-for-4 with no runs in the 10-1 Rangers win. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ….

(2) Texas Rangers’ Mike Napoli (25) is greeted at the dugout by Ian Kinsler, right, and the rest of the team following Napoli’s solo home run off Kansas City Royals’ Sean O’Sullivan in the second inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(3) Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Sean O’Sullivan (37) walks to the back of the mound as Texas Rangers’ Mitch Moreland, rear, rounds the bases following his solo home in the second inning of a baseball game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(4) Toronto Blue Jays Aaron Hill swings at a ball from Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Harrell as catcher Ramon Castro and home plate umpire David Rackley look on during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Toronto on Sunday May 29, 2011. The Blue Jays would defeat the White Sox 13_4 . AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young ….


(5) Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista watches his three-run home run hit during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Toronto. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese …..

(6) Detroit Tigers’ Andy Dirks, right, scores against Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek from first base on a double by Brennan Boesch in the first inning of game two of a baseball double-header Sunday, May 29, 2011 in Detroit. AP Photo/Duane Burleson……

(7) Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammate Carl Crawford (13) after Gonzalez scored in the fourth inning against the Chicago Cubs on May 22, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Before this series, the two teams haven’t played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series. Elsa Martinez / Getty Images North America …

(8) Digger Phelps throws the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the Chicago Cubs’ baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(9) Chicago Cubs starter Randy Wells wipes his face after Pittsburgh Pirates’ Ronny Cedeno’s three-run home run, during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Chicago. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ….


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NB: Can someone remind Digger Phelps that the Chicago Cubs play baseball and not college basketball ! His thoughts during his rendition of ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame ‘ and the thinking that Cubs could overcome a 10-0 deficit with three innings to go against the Pirates simply shows what an asshole this guy is at times ! The Cubs would actually be blanked 10-0 at Wrigley Field by the Pirates .

As of 28th May when this piece was originally written the MLB standings having changed .

It’s Time To Put Up Or Shut Up …………

It’s Time To Put Up Or Shut Up …………

It now becomes a battle and test of wills but somehow the Los Angeles Lakers as two time defending champions will have to prove that they’re worthy of the mantel of being champions . Now down 0-3 in series that most on paper would have the Lakers winning with ease the Lakers now find themselves caught between the Devil and the deep blue sea. The Dallas Mavericks have all but placed that last nail in the coffin of the Lakers during this less than suspenseful series . It’s hard to explain but the Lakers faltering at this juncture has more to do with the mindset and complacency that has beset not only this team but also the organization as a whole. The acquisitions made by the Lakers as an addition this team if anything hasn’t improved the Lakers albeit that they ended up with the second best record within the Western Conference .


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It seems inconceivable that Phil Jackson and the two time —— defending champions could find themselves in such a position . I don’t know about you but until the white flag of surrender has been raised I think that no there’s no way in hell that the Lakers will give up this series without a fight . That being said if Kobe Bryant is the only one prepared to step up to the plate then there’s really not much else to be said concerning the complete ineptitude shown by the Lakers shown throughout this series . Bryant may well be of the belief that there’s still a great deal to fight for but he ought to remind his teammates that they ought to get their fat asses off the sidelines and man the fu_k up !

I don’t know about you but I’ve long held the opinion that boxing is actually on its last legs . I find it ironic that a sport that once gripped the nation has now become nothing more than after thought amongst the vast majority of sports fans . The heavyweight division and the title itself was once deemed the most prestigious individual title in sports now that division as well as the title itself has become a parody and metaphor for that is actually wrong with the sport. Manny Pacquiao may well be viewed as the face of the sport at present but once he retires this sport may as well fold its tent and pack it all up. There are no longer any real legitimate stars that can be viewed as the future of the sport and those who are now coming to the fore in many respect they lack a personality and if anything they lack a great deal of skill. Promoters such as Don King , Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya have made the sport a complete laughing stock as the pre-eminent promoters within boxing . The welterweight title bout that took place this past weekend between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosely which was staged at the MGM Grand Casino & Resort in Las Vegas , Ne was if anything , something of a non- event. For twelve utterly boring rounds these two champions of the sport staged a fight that was simply so boring that I for one thought the fans would have been better off seeing two octogenarians in the ring trading blows . Mosely a three time three division champion fought a lackluster fight and and his Filipino opponent simply was unable to live up to the hype that many have now come to expect from the all action spectacles he’s given us the majority of his long and illustrious career.

Pacquiao won a unanimous twelve round decision and with it his legacy is still in tact as the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. At this juncture I do believe that it would be in Pacquiao’s best interest to retitre as there are no more challenges left for him to attain. A potential blockbuster bout against Floyd Mayweather seems to be a thing of the past and with Mayweather’s ongoing legal troubles I for one seriously doubt that fight will ever take place .

Two no hitters have been thrown within seventy two hours and the latest was attained by the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander in his team’s —– 9-0 shellacking of the Toronto Blue Jays . This has been the second time that Verlander has achieved this feat and if anything he’s proven why it is that he may well be one of the main contenders for the AL Cy Young Award this season. I don’t know about you but I’ve never considered the Blue Jays a team that could compete within the AL East much less the rest of baseball ! They’ve not been competitive in a decade and a half at least and while the feat of that no hitter can be considered an excellent feat . Come on now we’re talking the Blue Jays ! . Watching that team hit is like watching the likes of Mitt Romney , Joe Biden and Tim Geithner explain the inherent problems that plague the US economy. They’re simply too stupid to explain it even in laymen’s terms that anyone could actually comprehend and likewise with anyone who actually feels that the Blue Jays are a team that can be viewed as being competitive.

As to the Tigers’ own aspirations this season within the AL Central I do believe that once again they’ll simply underachieve as they have done over the past five seasons . This team has been way too inconsistent for my liking and I feel that Jim Leyland and his coaching staff I do believe are bereft real ideas as to how best to get the optimum out of this team . GM Dave Dombrowski will no doubt make the appropriate acquisitions at the trade deadline needed to make the Tigers competitive enough to be considered a legitimate contender for the World Series .



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this topic .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………..


Picture and slide show details below .

(1) The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant leaves the floor after the Lakers lost 122-86 to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks swept the series. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(2) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, right front, and business partner Todd R. Wagner embrace after the Mavericks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 122-86 in Game 4 of a second-round NBA playoff basketball series, Sunday, May 8, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks swept the series. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ………..

(3) Teammates rush out as Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander(notes), center right, and catcher Alex Avila(notes) celebrate Verlander’s no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays in a baseball game in Toronto on Saturday, May 7, 2011. The Tigers won 9-0. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darren Calabrese ……

(4) Shane Mosley of the US falls down after being punched by Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines (L) in their bout for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title at the Garden Arena in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 7, 2011. Pacquiao retained the WBO welterweight title by beating Mosley to extend his winning streak to 14 bouts. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS ……

(5) (L-R) Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines throws a right at Shane Mosley in the WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 7, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP/Photo Gabriel Bouys …….


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Obligations of Office ……………..

Obligations of Office ……………..

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


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

Courtesy of MLB.com

Newest Rays asked to lead and have fun ….

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

By Bill Chastain of MLB.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

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

Picture and slide show details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rays’ front office

Rays’ coaching staff

Rays 2011 roster ……..

Rays 2010 roster ………..

Rays’ team stats ….

Rays’ history ………

Rays’ team news

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

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

NB MLB News ……

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

Wednesday, January 26, 2011



Eye candy ………………. Tiara

Tiara 2

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

Continue reading “Obligations of Office ……………..”

When You’ve Got Nothing At All Constructive Or Good To Say About Something Or Someone It’s Best To Say Nothing At All Or Merely Just Proffer Up An Opinion ………….

When You’ve Got Nothing At All Constructive Or Good To Say About Something Or Someone It’s Best To Say Nothing At All Or Merely Just Proffer Up An Opinion ………….

Just like when I listen to many of our Federal legislators such as those from the House of Representative, congressmen and the members of the Senate. I’m simply amazed at times at how little if any knowledge that they allegedly have on a wide variety of subjects. I understand that theirs isn’t a job that requires a specific expertize in a wide variety of topics. But what does it suggest to you when almost 25 % of the federal legislators are in fact lawyers or come from the field of business but actually show no sign of understanding the rudimentaries of either subject ? The same can be said to an extent for the beat writers or columnists when they tend to opine on a particular sport’s topic.

Roy  Halladay  formerly  of  the  Blue  Jays   is seen  here  pitching   for  the  team  in  AL  game  against  the  Los Angels  of  Anaheim  at  Anaheim  Stadium  in  May of   2009.     photo  appears   courtesy  of  Getty  Images/  Stephen  Dunn ..................
Roy Halladay formerly of the Blue Jays is seen here pitching for the team in AL game against the Los Angels of Anaheim at Anaheim Stadium in May of 2009. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Stephen Dunn ..................

Over the last decade we’ve seen the Toronto Blue Jays as an organization, merely just stumble from one morass or quagmire to another. Why baseball is still being played in Canada is totally beyond me at this point ! It’s not as if the games being played in the Jays’ home venue of Rogers’ Center formerly known as the Skydome , would suggest that what little attendance the ‘team’ now gets , is at best just above the league average, if that. Isn’t ‘hockey’ still meant to be Canada’s sport ? But then again have you seen the now depleting attendance for NHL games around the league ? Which is the lesser of two evils at this juncture ? Attending a baseball game or an NHL game in Canada ?

In the AL East the Blue Jays have to co-exist in what can be described as the most competitive and contested division in all of baseball (MLB). And there you have the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. And were it not for the resurgence of the Rays, we would consider the division over the last two years merely a ‘two horse race’ between the ‘two most formidable teams’ in all of baseball, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The Orioles for their part have shown as much visibility and competitiveness within the division as Clay Aiken would be accustomed to being in a room full of hetero-sexual males. It’s not at all environment that either is completely happy in. And the same can be said of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Blue  Jays'  GM  and Senior  Vice  President  of   Baseball  Operations.  The   young  GM  is   seen  in a  similar  light  to  the  Boston  Red  Sox's  The  Epstein  .  And  the  organization  is  hoping  that   Anthopolous  can  attain  the  same   sort  of  success  that  was  achieved  by  his  couterpart  in  Boston .    photo  appears   courtesy  of   ap/  Paul   Crabtree  .....................
Blue Jays' GM and Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations. The young GM is seen in a similar light to the Boston Red Sox's The Epstein . And the organization is hoping that Anthopolous can attain the same sort of success that was achieved by his couterpart in Boston . photo appears courtesy of ap/ Paul Crabtree .....................

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Halladay trade was a strong first move

By Ben Passan , Yahoo Sports

2009 record: 75-87
Finish: Fourth place, AL East
2009 final payroll: $84.1 million
Estimated 2010 opening day payroll: $68 million


Oh, you know. Just a wee little trade.

It took a new general manager, two extra teams and a mighty deep swallow, but the Toronto Blue Jays finally did under Alex Anthopoulos what they wouldn’t under J.P. Ricciardi: trade Roy Halladay their ace, their franchise, their linchpin.

Painful though it was, the specter of Halladay’s impending free agency hanging over an entire season necessitated it, and Anthopoulos ably recognized that when he took over for Ricciardi in early October. Ten weeks later, Halladay was outfitted for a Phillies uniform and handed a $60 million extension, and Anthopoulos, 32, had executed a career-defining deal months into his job.

He will make dozens more moves over his career as Blue Jays general manager, big and small, and none will ever face the scrutiny of this one. His return, in the end, was pitcher Kyle Drabek, infielder Brett Wallace(notes) and catcher Travis D’Arnaud, and while they don’t need to succeed in triplicate, this had better not be a Blake Stein, Eric Ludwick, T.J. Mathews-type situation, either.

The Blue Jays lasted deep into the Aroldis Chapman negotiations, a sign that the team’s financial landscape isn’t barren. Which is good to see, considering outfielder Vernon Wells is owed – gulp – $107 million over the next five years.

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The Cito Gaston managed team has done the best that it can over the years . But at the height of the organization’s success when they repeated as ‘back to back’ World Series champions in 1992 and 1993. Since then it has been somewhat of a downward spiral for the organization. Gaston at the time was at the helm as the manager for both successes for the club. And he’s still viewed as something of a savior by the fans and the organization.

The club is owned by the Rogers’ family through a syndicated corporate partnership under which Rogers Communications has a large equity stake in the club, as well as owning the Rogers Center. However, to suggest that as patrons of the baseball franchise they’ve been good custodians , would be to suggest that Josef Mengele cared about the patients he exacted some of the most heinous acts of torture ever imagined that one could inflict upon another human being. The Rogers’ family despite their immense wealth are more concerned with other areas of their vast financial empire, than they are with the Toronto Blue Jays. The sole reason why they still own the team is merely to receive the monies afforded to them under Bud Selig’s asinine edict of the tax sharing revenues, that is shared amongst the mid and small market teams around MLB. Anyone who’s still of the belief that they want to build a ‘successful and competitive ‘team’ is in some serious need of psychiatric help.

With the departure of former GM J P Ricciardi . The position has now been entrusted to wunderkind Alex Anthopolous, who now becomes the General Manager as well Senior VP of Baseball Operations. A mouthful by any stretch of the imagination. But clearly he’s being viewed as the Blue Jays’ answer to the Boston Red Sox’s Theo Epstein. The ‘primary architect’ for much of the Red Sox’s success over the last few years. Larry Lucchino may well be Boston Red Sox’s Team President. But it’s essentially Epstein who ‘runs the show’ when it comes to the vast majority of the personnel decisions being made within the organization. There might not be a more astute mind in all of baseball when it comes to personnel maneuvers and decision making – ‘bar none’ ! As to whether or not Anthopolous can replicate the same sort of success attained by his Red Sox counterpart remains to be seen. But it’s being hoped by the fans and the organization as a whole that he will be able to do so.

With the team having traded away their ace pitcher in, Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for some minor league prospects and a starter . All of which was part of a ‘multi-player’ blockbuster trade that saw the Phillies’ Cliff Lee depart to the Seattle Mariners. The trade also constituted cash considerations as part of the deal.

To say that Anthopolous doesn’t have a tough task ahead of him would be to suggest that he’d find it a great deal easier to climb Mount Everest. But that may well be how difficult the task may well be to perceive. The organization is hampered by the ownership’s unwillingness to ‘spend money on the team’ and at the same time the budgetary restraints that’s placed on them by declining revenues from their baseball operations as a whole. And if that weren’t enough the fans aren’t that eager to come and watch a team that isn’t anywhere near as competitive as their ‘main triumvirate’ of rivals within the AL East, the Red Sox , Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. The Baltimore Orioles have now become the ‘bottom feeder’ within the division . A place that was exchanged between themselves and the Tampa Bay Rays over the last decade. But now it appears that they’ll have a new neighbor with regard to sharing that dubious distinction. The Rays for their part held the legacy of having not finished better than first , until they won the division in 2008 and then went on to win the AL Pennant, before making that unexpected trip to the World Series , where they would end up losing to the eventual winners, the Philadephia Phillies. They’ve now fallen back to the pack while the dominance of the New York Yankees seems to be on the rise once again.

And once again as World Series champions the New York Yankees now reign supreme over the baseball landscape. Don’t you think that the ‘Steinbrenner family’ as well as Brian Cashman are entirely happy at this juncture ? When your gross revenues outstrips that of the lowest dozen teams in MLB , then it can be said that you’ve got to be doing something right. Either that , or the imbalance between ‘the haves and have nots’ within the game, is far more than any of us could ever have realized. And that’s what an inspirational commissioner Bud Selig has become. No pun intended . Of course it was, who the hell am kidding ? As in large part, Bud Selig is entirely responsible for the imbalances that we now see within the game !

Former Blue Jays’ great, Joe Carter hits the winning home run that would give the team its second consecutive World Series title in 1993. The losing team on this occasion were the Philadelphia Phillies.

If the Blue Jays are to acquit themselves within the division as well as with the rest of the league. Then it will be down to the veterans such as Vernon Wells, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind , Jose Bautista, Lyle Overbay , Aaron Hill and a pitching rotation that will have to carry the load defensively for this team. That may well be the only way for the Blue Jays to contend as a team within the division. And given the fact that they’re also hampered by Wells’ lack of productivity and a bloated and exorbitant contract that had been agreed to by Anthopolous’ predecessor , J P Ricciardi. A contract that Wells has failed to live up to . You can now well understand why the has been mired in such mediocrity. Ricciardi went out of his way to spend money like a drunken idiot , merely because he felt it was necessary to spend it. Rather than acquiring talent for the organization that would prove to be fruitful. Never mind the fact that the ‘farm system’ is depleted of any real tangible talent. They’ve merely been living on a ‘wing and a prayer’ that they would be able to hit ‘pay dirt’ by uncovering a diamond in the rough within their system. As of now that has been very much a none factor.

As to this upcoming season , it will be very interesting to see how the Toronto Blue Jays fare and whether or not they prove to be competitive throughout the season. If not then once again they’ll just become a bye line for most of the baseball stories that will take place throughout the season.

Winter Wonderland And The Lunatic Fringe Of Major League Baseball …………………

Well, the winter meetings are underway and therein the MLB executives such as the general managers will gather together to discuss ‘their state of affairs’.And no doubt try to arrange several major deals amongst the desirable free agents that are liable to be on the market this winter.

Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, left, looks on as newly signed Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro displays a Red Sox uniform during a news conference at Fenway Park, in Boston, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. After cycling through seven shortstops since the middle of the 2004 season, the Red Sox announced on Friday that they have given Scutaro a two-year deal with a club option for 2012. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Steve Senne .......
Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, left, looks on as newly signed Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro displays a Red Sox uniform during a news conference at Fenway Park, in Boston, Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. After cycling through seven shortstops since the middle of the 2004 season, the Red Sox announced on Friday that they have given Scutaro a two-year deal with a club option for 2012. picture appears courtesy of AP/Photo/ Steve Senne .......

At a time when all four major high profiled sports are facing a major economic crisis. Only the buffoons within MLB would try and tell you the exact opposite to what’s happening out there. Simply put, Bud Selig and Bob DuPuy are about as cognizant as to what’s happening in the game of baseball, as Stevie Wonder would be, in a darkened room filled with several poisonous snakes. Suffice to say, that if they were bitten, they still wouldn’t get it and that’s how idiotic both of these individuals happen to be ! And along with them following suit ,are the owners in tow, along with the bumbling entity that calls itself the Major League Baseball Players’ Union, otherwise known as the MLBPA.

Baseball commissioner , Bud Selig , seated  left  and  MLB Chief  Executive  Officer  Bob  DuPuy.   Selig is  due to step   down   from  his  role  as baseball  commissioner   in 2012.  A  position  which  he has  held  first on  an interim  basis and  then  permanently  from 1993 to  the present day.  picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/ Roger  Scott  ................
Baseball commissioner , Bud Selig , seated left and MLB Chief Executive Officer Bob DuPuy. Selig is due to step down from his role as baseball commissioner in 2012. A position which he has held first on an interim basis and then permanently from 1993 to the present day. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Roger Scott ................

Courtesy of Associated Press and Yahoo Sports

Yankees finish organizational meetings

TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is ready to start making offseason moves.

The 2009 World Series champions set their 2010 budget parameters during the third day of organizational meetings on Friday.

“Now we’ll go out trying to execute some game plans,” Cashman said. “We have our priorities and we’ll starting working through the winter.”

New York signed free agent pitchers CC Sabathia(notes) and A.J. Burnett(notes), and first baseman Mark Teixeira(notes) during the 2008 offseason. Cashman said there are not as many glaring needs this year, but added the Yankees are “not the perfect beast, either.”

“Thankfully we have a lot of answers already on our roster, but there’s still areas of need that we need to address,” Cashman said.

Yankees left fielder Johnny Damon(notes) and 2009 World Series MVP, designated hitter Hideki Matsui(notes), are both free agents. Left-hander Andy Pettitte(notes) hasn’t announced whether he will return for next season.

“I’ll talk with all the agents involved, as well as the other agents on the rest of the free agent market and at the end on the trade market,” Cashman said.

Outside free agents like outfielder Matt Holliday(notes) and pitcher John Lackey(notes) could get some consideration during baseball’s winter meetings next week.

“We’ll meet with agents, meet with clubs,” Cashman said. “You never know what will materialize.”

The Yankees are also expected to monitor the trade status of Toronto ace Roy Halladay(notes).

Senior vice president of baseball operations Mark Newman, who oversees player development, spent an hour during the final day of meetings Friday with Cashman and other high-level team officials at the Yankees spring training complex.


Now if there was a warning sign for the game of baseball to heed , then it had to have been when on the cusp of the beginning of last season. When the New York Yankees once again entered the fray and spent over $423 million to secure the services of Mark Teixeira, A. J. Burnett and C.C. Sabathia on their way to securing their 27th World Series title, with a six game series’ win over the Philadelphia Phillies in their showcase event of ‘The Fall’. Hitherto, uber-agent,Scott Boras and several of his colleagues were extremely happy with the course of events that unfolded with regard to these signings. Now come full circle and players such as Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays ,Jason Bay of the Boston Red Sox and the St Louis Cardinals, Matt Holliday are amongst the most desirable players that are liable to be on the market this winter. Of the triumvirate mentioned, only Halladay isn’t a free agent. Although it’ll take a great deal to pry away the player from the Blue Jays, as they’re no doubt seeking the most desirable value possible in terms of replacing their ace pitcher.

It’d appear that the premium prices will once again abound this off-season if the comments by Boras are anything to go by. It is his belief, that the game is as healthy as it’s ever been. As to how he comes by this notion is anyone’s guess. But bear in mind, what Scott Boras wants, is nothing more than getting the best possible deal for his client or clients as the case maybe. That way his commission remains above the norm, in terms of services rendered on behalf of his client. Selig , as commissioner of baseball and Bob DuPy as the game’s Chief Executive Officer, merely sit and aside and watch things unravel infront of their very eyes. Never mind the fact that many of the mid and small market clubs are now struggling to make ends meet. Granted, MLB at present has what it calls a ‘luxury tax’ that in essence is nothing more than a way to penalize clubs such as the Yankees and the other large market teams, who are able to avail themselves of the best talent available by plundering the rosters of other teams within MLB, as they see fit. Be it through free agency or via a trade. Selig and his minions would have you believe that this is best and only way to keep the game on an even keel and as a viable healthy option. In many respects it’s no different from the somewhat asinine format the federal government took in bailing out the financial and automotive industries without any real guarantees in return. Selig, informs us that the recipients of this particular revenue streams, has to use the monies to bolster their rosters. But more often than not .that money is being used to do precisely the opposite. It actually finds its way into the pockets of the owners , who then offer no explanation to the fans, who have to endure the abject futility of those teams and their on the field performances.

Taken  from last year the  Mets' front office hierarchy  from  left  to right  , Senior VP Player Development  ,  Tony Bernard ,  team owner  , Fred  Wilpon and   General Manager, Omar Minaya.   Having   spent  in  excess  of  $450 million  dollars   alone  in  signing  free agents  over  the  last  three  and  half  years  .  The  New  York Mets  have  had  little   show in  return   for  the  vast   financial  outlay  made  to  acquire  those players.  Albeit that they're   now  charging  premium  prices   for their  monstrous  new  venue  Citi Field   in  New  York   City.  The  cost of  which  was  in  excess  of   $ 675  million  and  was  totally   financed  with  public  money   via  bonds and  the  introduction  of several  tax increases and  new  service  charges  initiated  by  incumbent  Mayor ,  Michael Bloomberg.    picture   appears   courtesy  of  New York Daily News/ News/  Terry  Simmons   ........................
Taken from last year the Mets' front office hierarchy from left to right , Senior VP Player Development , Tony Bernard , team owner , Fred Wilpon and General Manager, Omar Minaya. Having spent in excess of $450 million dollars alone in signing free agents over the last three and half years . The New York Mets have had little show in return for the vast financial outlay made to acquire those players. Albeit that they're now charging premium prices for their monstrous new venue Citi Field in New York City. The cost of which was in excess of $ 675 million and was totally financed with public money via bonds and the introduction of several tax increases and new service charges initiated by incumbent Mayor , Michael Bloomberg. picture appears courtesy of New York Daily News/ News/ Terry Simmons ........................

Funnily enough, an ardent Oakland Athletics’ fan has tried to suggest that his team is always and has always been competitive. Well, if one counts that having the management and ownership year in and year out, simply either trade away their best players or simply allow them to leave as being competitive. I’d hate to think what he’d define success as being ? Suffice to say that the A’s , much like the rest of the ‘bottom feeders’ within major league baseball are now part of what I’d like to call the haves and have nots. The A’s and other teams in the same tract aren’t liable to be able to compete with the financial behemoths of the game such as the Yankees, Red Sox , New York Mets ,Philadelphia Phillies, and the Los Angeles Angels. Who year in, year out, are part of the mix, when it comes to postseason aspirations. Albeit , that as of late the Mets and its ownership have been about worldly wise in terms of common sense . As was shown by Sarah Palin and her high profiled interviews with CBS news’ anchor person, Katie Couric. Let’s just say, the faux-pas made by both the Mets and Palin, has been of the highest comedic order, thought possible !

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated (SI)

Report: Selig tells owners he’ll step down as MLB commissioner in 2012

Chicago (SI.com) — Bud Selig plans to step down as commissioner of Major League Baseball when his current contract expires on Dec. 31, 2012, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

The 75-year-old Selig, who has been commissioner since 1998, declined a request from a group of five MLB owners to stay on beyond that time, the newspaper reported Saturday, citing unnamed sources. He reportedly told the owners he would step aside then because he had other things he wanted to do, such as teaching and writing a book.

If he stays on till 2012, Selig will have been baseball’s top boss for 20 years, including six years as interim commissioner from 1992 to 1998.

His time in office has included such events as the players’ strike in 1994, the introduction of the wild-card system and inter-league play, and investigations into steroid use. He received a three-year contract extension last year.

And the fans and press alike await with baited breath as to what will surface from these meetings. I can’t help but wonder who in reality the game of baseball really thinks it is now fooling ! Selig and the entire cabal within the game seem to be oblivious as to what’s now happening around them. And it will end in their own self inflicted wounds and implosion , if they’re not prepared to face the acute problems that have already begun to encapsulate the sport. From the ‘steroid issue’ to the distrust between the game’s hierarchy and the MLPA. To that, of the mere fact, that they refuse to address the severe financial plight of the vast majority of the teams within baseball.

Uber-sports agent Scott Boras,  seen here  with perhaps  his  most famous  client ,  Yankees'  All  Star  slugger  and 3rd baseman,  Alex  Rodriguez.    Boras   represents   several  other   high  profiled  clients  in the  world  of  baseball ,  including  Daisuke  Matsuzaka,  Johnny  Damon,  Manny  Ramirez,  Mark  Teixeira,   C.C. Sabathia  ,  Barry  Zito  and   a slew of  other players.   General  Managers  around the  league   have   stated  that  Boras  is  a  hard   task master  when  it  comes  to  negotiating  on  his  clients' behalf.    But  time  and  time again  they   continue  to 'cave in'  and  acquiesce  to  his  demands.        picture  appears   courtesy  of  ap/photo/Keith  Willens   ...................

Uber-sports agent, Scott Boras , seen here alongside perhaps his most recognizable client , that of Yankees’ All Star slugger and 3rd baseman, Alex Rodriguez. Boras also represents several major league stars in the game ,such as , Barry Zito, Manny Ramirez, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Johnny Damon, Mark Teixeira, C.C. Sabathia and Manny Ramirez , to name but a few. However, we repeatedly hear of general managers around the league complain that Boras and his negotiating tactics, have been underhanded and duplicitous in driving up the asking price of his clients during the negotiation process. But needless to say, repeatedly they’ll ‘cave’ in to his demands and finally acquiesce. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Keith Willens …….

Needless to say, it’s not only the lunatic fringe within the game but the erstwhile observers outside the game such as the baseball writers who march the goose step alongside Selig and his minions. And who in essence have refused to even report many of the problems that have been rife within the sport over the last decade, at least. The lunatic fringe and the lunatics are running the game of baseball. And no one within seems to be of the mindset to even care about its well being.