Slow But Steady , Slow But Really Steady

Slow But Steady , Slow But Really Steady

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

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

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

Picture and slide show details .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Savor The Moment ……….. Baseball Is Here

Savor The Moment Baseball Is Here

It could take time but there’s the distinct feeling that this baseball season could be one to savor given the uncertainty that now surrounds both the NFL and NBA . MLB Commissioner Bud Selig knows that with the advent of the NFL quite possibly shutting down for the upcoming season and the uncertainty of the NBA but no firm commitment shown by either the league hierarchy and that of the NBPA led by Executive Director Billy Hunter , its President Derek Fisher , its executive committee and player representatives . The NBA has indeed been working continuously with the union to avert any possibility of their own labor dispute .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The NBA itself no doubt wants remain relevant and if anything given the grave financial problems concerning a number of teams around the league the last thing they now need is a stoppage at this juncture.

Inasmuch I hate to say this, I do feel that the big market teams will once again prevail as the season progresses . The success achieved by the likes of the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , St Louis Cardinals , Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies has in part more to do with not only the talent assembled on the field of play but more to do with the financial resources at these teams’ disposal . Granted we’ve seen the Washington Nationals delve into the free agency market to acquire Jayson Werth but in reality the seven year $119 million contract signed by the player I believe had more to do with making a splash by the organization than that of them actually being able to contend within the NL East .

The Nationals haven’t been a force to be reckoned with in eons and I seriously doubt that this season things are liable to change albeit that they’ll have both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg there to lure the fans back to Nationals Ballpark . If the Washington Nationals are to prevail then they will have to contend with the likes of the Atlanta Braves , defending divisional champions the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the New York Mets and Florida Marlins . I’m not so sure that the Nationals are capable of making the jump from an also ran to a contender !

With no team to support and the mere fact that I no longer have any faith in the ownership group of the Florida Marlins I find myself merely now observing the game as a fan of the sport showing no real passion for any team in particular ! The local team within this locale are the Tampa Bay Rays and as the defending AL East champions I think that this will be a season of highs and lows for the team . We’re all no doubt aware of the of the upheaval within the organization as it relates to the departures of Carl Crawford , Rafael Soriano , Carlos Pena and , Matt Garza to name but a few as part of the cost cutting exercise by the front office led by GM Andrew Friedman . Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg apart from being in the midst of a financial expediency plan merely for the franchise to survive , now has to deal with the city of St Petersburg and the city’s intent to hold the Rays to their lease agreement at Tropicana Field .

The organization is looking for a new venue but they and the municipality can’t agree on how best to come to an amicable arrangement that would be mutually beneficial for all of the parties concerned.

A new facility would be no guarantee for a team that struggles to have an element of tangible following . Anyone who’s of the belief that a fanbase of 15,000 hardcore fans will legitimately guarantee competitive and financial success really needs to take a look at what’s happening within the game of baseball . Having won two divisional titles within the AL East , an appearance in the World Series the recent success of the Rays has been heartwarming for the loyal fans of the organization.

I do believe that they can compete but I believe their season will be predicated upon the coaching talents of the coaches and in particular manager Joe Maddon . As astute a manager as he is , his work this season will be his toughest yet as he now has to coach a young team albeit that he the additions of seasoned veterans Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on this roster I simply believe that they will struggle in large part to contend with the likes of Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays within their division.

While I’m under no illusion that the game itself is all about the consistency of the players and how they’ll fare over the course of the regular season . Whereas last season the team’s strengths were in its pitching and in particular their defense . And if they’re to replicate that success then they’ll have to replicate that success and play to their inherent strengths. If anything it will be these situations that will test the fortitude of the Rays and in particular that of Joe Maddon because this most definitely will be the sternest test that he’s faced over the course of professional managing career. Having won an AL pennant and an appearance in the World Series with the subsequent loss the Philadelphia Phillies , success this season for the Rays will be measured by posting a winning record during the season. Anything less than that I believe would be considered to be a failure !

As to the season itself what can we expect of the San Francisco Giants as they look to make a successful defense of their title ? Will they be able to regain that form can it through the regular season and into the postseason ? Or will we merely see a team that struggles in that endeavor to repeat ?

Of the teams that I believe will be amongst the contenders this season I look to the Philadelphia Phillies and that pitching rotation which on the face of it just might be the best there is the game of baseball . Clearly GM Rueben Amaro and Charlie Manuel felt that this was the best way possible for the team to make another successful run with a view to repeating their success of 2009 . The New York Yankees for their part with their payroll and talent that on appearance ought to be good enough to make the postseason may well have their problems because there’s serious question as it regards their pitching , as it remains their Achilles’ heel . If they can’t turn things around on that score then I can’t see this simply relying on their offense alone to see them through.

Amongst the other AL teams that I view as contenders unless the Texas Rangers are able to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke then it could well be one and done . There may well be others contenders within the AL but much of that will be predicated upon their wish to play with real determination. The Minnesota Twins have simply proven that once they get to the postseason they become like a deer caught in headlights and I don’t believe that I could put it anymore succinctly than that !

Now while Spring Training is now upon us and many fans will be pursuing to see their teams as they are at play in the Citrus and Grapefruit League. The preseason itself may well not be much of an indicator as to what we’re expect during the regular season but it should give us something of a way to gauge the teams and their quest to make the postseason . If nothing else it’ll be interesting to see how the players that’ve been acquired by new teams will fare and acclimatize in a new environment . How they fare may well also go a great way in telling us how their respective teams will ultimately do . This season within the game of baseball will certainly be one to savor and the expectations there will undoubtedly be high.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the MLB season and how do you view problems that many of the teams face ? Also in light of the fact that there appears to be lingering rumors that there could very well be team contraction within the game do you believe that it will be ultimately beneficial to the game as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topic raised and other thoughts that you might have on the upcoming MLB season.

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

Picture gallery and slide show details
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(1) Washington Nationals second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr., right, greets Washington Nationals Jeff Frazier (72) after Frazier hit a third inning solo home run off New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia in the Nationals 10-8 victory over the Yankees in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 5, 2011. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(2) Washington Nationals Bryce Harper is shown at the plate in the seventh inning of the Nationals 10-8 victory over the New York Yankees in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 5, 2011. Harper was one for two in the game. He had an eighth inning single. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ……

(3) Clearwater , Fl : of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

(4) Jimmy of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

<p (5) Pitcher Wade Davis (40) of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………..

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Eye candy …………………… Polish model Ewa Sonnet

An eyeful of Ewa is better than a handful of nuts don’t you think ?

Ewa

Titillating Ewa and her play things .

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Method Man feat’g ……. Mary J Blige ………….. “I’ll Be There For You /You’re All I Need ”
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Genie of the Lamp

Genie of the Lamp

I am not the genie of the lamp nor will I be providing any outright prognostications but will however say this concerning the reminder of the baseball season. Many things are expected of the Tampa Bay Rays and their dispassionate fans will be hoping that the team can really make it to their second World Series in three years and perhaps win their first title.

This Joe Maddon managed team is playing some great baseball and though the fans haven’t turned out in droves to support the team there’s still a hardcore base there that comes out to see the home team when they play at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. We can attest to the fact that this team is very good it cannot be hidden that the Rays are no longer team that is easily intimidated. What we do know however is , if the support isn’t forthcoming from the community at large then this may well be the last hoo-rah for baseball within the community and Tampa Bay area as a whole. The front office of the organization have tried as they might to make it a going concern within the area but it all now seems to be for nought. Furthermore , the political and economic uncertainty still doesn’t make it a foregone conclusion that a new ballpark will be built for the team at some time in the future. And most certainly no one at this juncture is prepared to state who will end up financing such an endeavor . All we’ve tended to hear have been the sound bytes and not much else.

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Courtesy of St Petersburg Times


New stadium talks will wait until after the season ends

By Micheal Van Sickler , Time Staff Writer

ST. Petersburg — The Tampa Bay Rays and St. Petersburg officials have scrapped negotiations for a new stadium until after the last pitch of the World Series, sometime in November.

From the way negotiations have unfolded so far, they don’t agree on much.

Mayor Bill Foster said Wednesday that his offer last week to permit the Rays to leave Tropicana Field for a stadium anywhere in St. Petersburg and the greater Gateway area “was my best and final.”

Yet on Tuesday, Rays president Matt Silverman rejected this offer and said the club needs to consider all sites in the region, including Hillsborough County — which Foster said is off-limits.

“We’re really in uncharted territory,” said Rick Eckstein, co-author of the 2003 book Public Dollars, Private Stadiums. “If there’s going to be a standoff, it would be unprecedented.”

When it comes to Major League Baseball, cities cave and let teams out of iron-clad leases all the time, Eckstein said.

“The politicians see teams as huge trophies,” said Eckstein, a Villanova University sociology professor. “They don’t want to be associated with losing one. So if (St. Petersburg) holds to this, it would be revolutionary.”

Foster and City Attorney John Wolfe are relying on the city’s contract with the Rays, signed in 1995, to settle the conflict. The contract keeps the Rays at Tropicana Field through the 2027 season . If the Rays leave early, the contract says the city would be compensated for the economic loss.

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Now as we come down to the trade deadline __ 31st Julythere’s no sign that the team will be involved in any trades and at the same time they’re financially constrained by a budget that is meager the to say the very least. So much of what the fans will expect will come about from the resilience shown by the team on the field of play. Here’s hoping the Tampa Bay Rays can attain some success in the postseason .

Perhaps we’re all under the impression that having both TO and Ochocinco on the same team is a bad idea ? Now pardon me for saying this but Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer are either in need of psychiatric help or they my well be unto something , with the combination of the two productive but lugubrious wide receivers. My guess and question would be , will there be enough balls on the field for two of the most bombastic and self promoting characters in the NFL ? Question who’s balls are actually bigger ? TO’s or Chad Ochocinco ?

To say that the Cincinnati Bengals have underperformed over the last few seasons certainly wouldn’t be stretching the truth. More to the point would be ,how it that Lewis is still an NFL coach is simply beyond me ! Let’s just say his idea of success when measured against the failures of his peers has me wondering what indeed is wrong the Bengalis’ hierarchy (front office) to begin with ? I can only surmise that team President Mike Brown woke from the midst of a nightmare and thought to himself what else can we as an organization can do to bring fans back to Paul Brown Stadium ? Hell if signing Owens was “his first” and “only option” then I’ve got several thousand acres of prime real estate in the Middle East that I’d like to sell to him …….. Kabul , Afghanistan to be more precise.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

T.O. misses flight to Bengals camp

By Joe Kay, AP Sports Writer

Georgetown, Ky. (AP)—Terrell Owens missed his flight but got his number.

When he finally makes it to town—a little late—he’ll be wearing his familiar 81.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ latest addition missed his overnight flight from the West Coast and had to take a later one on Thursday, delaying his debut at training camp.

The Bengals had planned on him arriving early in the day, taking his physical and signing his one-year contract while the rest of the team held its first workout. They scheduled an introductory news conference after the morning practice.

The news conference had to be rescheduled for after the evening session. Coach Marvin Lewis wasn’t sure whether the 36-year-old receiver would arrive in time to work out.

On his Twitter account, Owens posted a note Wednesday night saying he was headed to see a movie. He didn’t explain why he missed his flight on Thursday, but confirmed that his news conference had to be rescheduled.

“My Press conf about my “Decision” 2 take my talents 2 Cincy will b held 2nite after 7pm practice!!” he tweeted, playing off LeBron James’ one-hour television show announcing his decision to leave Cleveland.

Owens also misspelled Cincinnati in one of his tweets and was quickly corrected by a follower.

“Okayyyyyy I got it now, 2 n’s & 1 t! CINCINNATI!! LOL!” he tweeted.

He’ll have to make a donation to keep his favorite uniform number.

Receiver Antonio Bryant got No. 81 when the Bengals chose him over Owens in the offseason, giving him a four-year deal. Bryant said after the morning practice that he had already talked to Owens and agreed to give up his number.
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The upcoming season with regard to the Cincinnati Bengals should go a long way in telling us about the team and the mindset of its management. Failure at this juncture and both Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens’ days in the NFL could very well be numbered.

Having worked in the field of high finance within the city of London , the “Square Mile” often known as the financial heartbeat of the world, as there are more trades done there than any other financial center across the globe. Two trillion dollars ($2,000,000,000,000) a day wouldn’t be beyond the stretch of one’s imagination concerning the volumes of the trades being worked through each day. Specialists in those fields were highly sought after and their expertise was richly rewarded. There was a gentleman’s agreement that when seeking to hire from beyond one’s domain common courtesy was sought in approaching a perspective hire by first seeking the approval of that person’s employer for making an approach. The same such situation now applies to the NFL . But it’d appear that USC’s __ Lane Kiffin doesn’t believe that such rules apply to him when it comes to the hiring of his coaching staff .

Kiffin in hiring the Tennessee Titans former assistant running backs’ coach Kennedy Pola did so without first seeking the team’s permission with an approach to an initial interview . At the time of his hiring Pola was still in contract negotiations with the Titans. Now we could make a case for the argument that with Pola’s negotiations were not going to well with the organization and it led to his leaving the Tennessee Titans. But what might prove to be more unacceptable was that while Pola was still in negotiation with the Titans , he was talking through back channels with Kiffin and the Trojans. This doesn’t stretch the credibility of Kiffin’s stance that this was merely an unfortunate turn of events as it only muddy’s the waters in trying to ascertain the real truth as to what went on. And clearly at this juncture no one from within the Trojans’ athletic department is prepared to make a public statement on the matter. Most certainly Kiffin, himself, has now become somewhat docile in giving a taciturn response. Whereas, within the Titans’ front office and that of the team’s coach Jeff Fisher there is a great deal of anger and disgust by Lane Kiffin’s actions and that of Kennedy Pola. With there being no outright action that can be taken the NFL , the Titans have seen fit to seek their right of recourse through the legal system.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

USC’s Kiffin irks Titans’ Fisher with Pola hire

By Greg Beacham , AP Sports Writer

Los Angeles (AP)—Add Titans coach Jeff Fisher to the list of people Lane Kiffin had ticked off in Tennessee.

Kiffin hired Titans assistant coach Kennedy Pola on Saturday to be his offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Southern California, irking Fisher by failing to follow the usual protocol in courting another team’s assistant.

Fisher voiced his displeasure with his alma mater’s new head coach to the Tennessean newspaper, saying Kiffin hadn’t made the customary contact to tell the NFL team he was interested in Pola, a former USC player and assistant coach who joined the Titans after last season ended.

The move also left the Titans without a running backs coach one week before training camp opens.

“I am very disappointed in Lane Kiffin’s approach to this,” Fisher told the newspaper. “Typically speaking when coaches are interested in hiring or discussing potential employment from coaches on respective staffs there is a courtesy call made from the head coach or athletic director indicating there is an interest in talking to the assistant.

“So I am very disappointed in the lack of professionalism on behalf of Lane, to call me and leave me a voice mail after Kennedy had informed me he had taken the job. It is just a lack of professionalism.”

Kiffin attempted to rectify the damage later Saturday, finally reaching Fisher and discussing the abrupt move. Kiffin then issued a statement that didn’t exactly deny he had breached protocol, saying he first spoke to Pola on Friday, and then called Fisher on Saturday after Pola called him back, apparently to accept the job.

“I have spoken with Coach Fisher and he now has an accurate understanding of the timeline of events,” Kiffin said. “We realize the timing of this isn’t perfect for all parties, but this is a great opportunity and promotion for Kennedy.”

The state of Tennessee hardly needs another reason to dislike Kiffin, who infamously bolted from the Volunteers last January after just 14 months to take his self-described dream job at USC, leaving an angry mob in Knoxville.

Kiffin’s brief head coaching stints with the Oakland Raiders and Tennessee have been filled with minor missteps and conflicts, including an ugly feud with Raiders owner Al Davis and twice being reprimanded by the Southeastern Conference while he was with the Volunteers.

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Click on the above link to read in full.
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Monetary compensation may well be the only satisfactory compensation that the Titans may well find from this all should there be an adjudication in their favor. As for Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans , given the unwarranted publicity garnered from the sanctions brought down by the NCAA upon their heads. One would’ve thought that this would be last type of adverse publicity that they would want at this juncture. And Kiffin , given his predilection for being less than forthright when it comes to his honesty. I can only surmise that USC’s newly appointed athletics’ director Patrick Haden along with University President-elect C. L. Max Nikias will be looking to sit down with Kiffin for a somewhat prolonged tete-a-tete with the coach. Given the recent upheaval within the athletics department the last thing the university now needs is more egg on its face. But given the maneuvers of Lane Kiffin since his hiring by USC what other conclusions can one draw from this all at this juncture ? It’s not as Kiffin has gone out of his way to do everything by the book to begin with. He’s become more of a one man wrecking crew with his asinine remarks and his gung-ho attitude. And supposedly this is the guy the school actually sought out to succeed Pete Carroll ? Let’s just hope that he only brings along only half the controversy created by his predecessor for the university’s sake . If not then they could be in for a bumpy and unpleasant ride once again.


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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the various subject matters raised within this piece ? By all means chime on in with a comment and I’ll look forward to responding in due course. Once again thanks as usual for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………… 🙂