Horses for courses and bull#hit is for those, who simply love to wallow in it

Horses for courses and bull#hit is for those, who simply love to wallow in it

I can’t but wonder the bull#hit now being espoused by idiots not only in the world of politics but also within the world of sports. Former GOP Vice Presidential running mate Sarah Palin has taken it upon herself to defend the comments made by Curt Schilling , as the former baseball player took it upon himself to describe some Egyptians and Muslim extremists as ” Nazi ” sympathizers. Schilling has become a pitiful individual , bemoaning the fact he wasn’t among the list of final candidates of those inducted into the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class, while at the same time not being ready to answer for his own misdeeds as a former businessman. It is well-chronicled how the player and his business partners mismanaged their former gaming company , declaring bankruptcy , and then seeking to blame their state of Rhode Island for their incompetency, with the state having backed Curt Schilling and business partners with millions of dollars in financing , as well as a favorable tax breaks.

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As for Sarah Palin, her political career has become something of an ongoing joke , while she continues her stumping of GOP conservative candidates and ideology , also continuing to be paid five-figure sums for public speaking engagements nationwide. With the Presidential nomination cycle now said to be in full swing for both parties , it is easy to understand why those already said to be bored with the idiocy it all entails would rather seek solace elsewhere. Palin and Schilling both noted Republicans, might not typically be representative of what the party is said to be about , but it is clear they’re an embarrassment to what one might be an individual deemed to have some semblance of intelligence.

I doubt that Curt Schilling might feel his statements can be taken out of context, while he provided analysis for ESPN during the coverage of the Little League World Series . How this might have anything to do with a group of children participating in one of the nation’s great pastimes might prove to be more embarrassing for the player as well as the network itself.

ESPN has proven to be a bastion for a great deal of hypocrisy , sexism , misogyny and so much more ,while trying to uphold their own idea of journalistic integrity. The network over the past few years and in recent months, has become an environment of complete stupidity, with the outlandish behavior of several current and now former contributors to the broadcast outlet. From my own perspective , I find ESPN simply another bastion of what is said to be totally abhorrent with the media at present as well as being the microcosm of society enlarge !

If there’s said to be one team in baseball which most likely is under the greatest pressure to succeed, then I believe the ball-club in question would have to be the Los Angeles Dodgers . Take into account coming into this season , in 2013 and 2014 the Dodgers failed miserably in each of the postseasons in question. Don Mattingly , might well be under the biggest pressure to succeed most of all, beyond this multi-million dollar lineup on parade this season. This Dodgers’ team has been extremely impressive with the pitching staff being exemplary , led by Zack Greinke , who over his last eight starts has been extremely impressive. Greinke pitched a gem of a game, going seven scoreless innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers “ downed” the Cincinnati Reds on their way to a 1-0 victory over their NL rivals. Don Mattingly’s players will have as their guests at Dodgers Ballpark the Chicago Cubs for a three-day weekend schedule , beginning on Friday evening with Jason Hammel of the Cubs on the mound to face Clayton Kershaw in one of the day’s more exciting games.

Two of the most disappointing teams of this baseball season to my mind , have been the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners . It’s pretty much safe to say , both organizations are now looking towards 2016 , rather than seeking to glean anything from the remainder of this calendar year or the remaining schedule. The Phillies possess the worst record in the Majors , having posted a 50-78 mark as of 27th August and the managerial staff without a clue about how to get this team playing with any type of consistency . Peter Mackanin the interim manager has now seen several former stars on this ball-club leave for fields elsewhere as the front office has begun to gut the active roster . Chase Utley and Cole Hamels are no longer with the Phillies and there is now little semblance of the team that won the World Series in 2008 defeating the Tampa Bay Rays with utmost ease .

The Philadelphia Phillies are 4-6 in their last ten games , sitting 21 ½ games behind the first place New York Mets in the NL East and twenty-four games behind the combatants in the NL wildcard race. If that isn’t a clear indicator of how disastrous a season the Phillies have managed to put together , then their fans have to be equally embarrassed by the performances of the players. Players within the farm system are now likely to be given the chance to prove themselves worthy of being part of the starting lineup as the season begins to wind down for Philadelphia Phillies.

Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano might be about the only reason to watch the Seattle Mariners this season. Yet for all of the hype over Cano having signed with the Mariners, his bringing a great deal of productivity and leadership to this Seattle team . On the field, with the exception of the aforementioned players the ball-club has been bereft of competitiveness , while Lloyd McClendon and his managerial staff have simply strayed off the path of their planned strategy for success this season.

Seattle enters its weekend schedule with a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois beginning on Friday , 28th August, 2015. Taijuan Walker of the Mariners will be on the mound to face John Danks of the White Sox in this AL contest. With what can only be described as abject failure by the Mariners , GM Jack Zduriencik was fired by the Board of Directors where senior managing partner , Howard Lincoln had the full support of the senior-most executives within the Mariners’ hierarchy for the removal of Zduriencik. This was meant to be the year where the Seattle Mariners would be making a credible challenge within the AL West seeking challenge the recent dominance of the Oakland A’s , a team which this has been nowhere near as competitive as some thought they would be. The two teams remain as cellar dwellers in the division where they have been for much of the season .

A’s manager Bob Melvin is likely to be retained by GM Billy Beane heading into the 2016 season , but the real issues facing the organization has been the very fact senior managing Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley remain at loggerheads on how best to proceed concerning the rebuilding of this once proud franchise. It remains a constant financial struggle for the Oakland A’s to be on par with their peers within the game and the fact they will the miss the postseason for 2015 will only add to that struggle. Oakland will try to make this waning month of August and heading into September , something meaningful for the year. Sonny Gray will take the mound on Friday evening when the A’s face the Arizona Diamondbacks and their starting pitcher Chase Anderson .

The difference between 2012 and now with the Miami Marlins . is not a damn thing, as the ball-club still remains in complete disarray and Jeffrey Loria remains the worst owner in Major League Baseball . His commitment to mediocrity is only exceeded by his ongoing blatant stupidity and that of the ” entire” front office of the organization. Giancarlo Stanton’s thirteen- year $325 million contract might as well have been written a role of toilet paper , considering the play of the team over the course of this season. Mike Redmond was jettisoned as the manager early in the year and Dan Jennings has yet to show his competency in his role for this franchise. Michael Hill made a splash with the Stanton contract and the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki as a free agent , but beyond that the Marlins have simply been a comedic caricature , so representative of so many teams around MLB , no real plan of action other than continuing to show sheer audacity alongside ongoing stupidity .

Winning with consistency has been the farthest thing from the mind of Dan Jennings’ managerial staff as well as the team over the course of this year . Miami’s victory over what has been a very disappointing Washington Nationals team this season, might well provide a slight respite, but I believe Nationals’ manager Matt Williams believes his players are still capable of obtaining one of the two wildcard berths up for grabs within the NL. Nine games out of that final berth may well prove to be too big a task for the Nationals to overcome during the final month of the season , but the final two games of their three-game home set against the Miami Marlins could make something of a dent in the leads held by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs .

There can be no denying Nationals’ slugger Bryce Harper is having a sensational year for the team , as he leads the NL in batting average , home runs , on-base percentage , slugging percentage and total OPS .

Bryce Harper has to be seen as the leading candidate for NLMVP and the Nationals’ first MVP Award winner in the franchise’s history . From my own perspective, while I believe the Washington Nationals to be a good team, they are falling way short of expectations. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are meant to be the fulcrum of this roster ,with both players sharing the same agent, Scott Boras . As we know the sport’s agent has been among the astute and savvy of the MLB certified agents within baseball. When both Harper and Strasburg due to become free agents, it will be interesting to see what decisions are likely to be made by front office led by GM Mike Rizzo . In 2017 , both of these former number one draft picks by the Nationals will be eligible as free agents and it will be interesting to see if Mike Rizzo and lead managing partner , Ted Lerner will seek to keep both of these formidable All Stars , while paying them both ,what Scott Boras will believe to be fair for his clients.

The AL East divisional race has become something of a cat and mouse thriller, with the Toronto Blue Jays now holding a 1 ½ game lead over divisional rivals the New York Yankees . Hal Steinbrenner , has pretty much stated the division is the Yankees to lose and the team is not ready to give up the race for the divisional title until the very last game of the season has been played. As good as the Yankees seem to be , the division I believe no longer provides the excitement and notoriety fans have usually come to expect. The real issue and their Achilles’ Heel will remain the lack of depth to the team’s pitching rotation and that of the relievers in particular.

New York’s pounding of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia on Friday night , was the Yankees’ largest margin of victory this season and certainly their most productive outing from the team’s offense. A 15-4 victory was just what the doctor ordered for New York and Joe Girardi’s team of stars . Girardi and his players will round out their weekend road series against the Atlanta Braves with Saturday’s game which will have Luis Severino on the mound to face Matt Wisler and then on Sunday Nathan Evoldi will face off against Julio Teheran of the Braves in the final game of the trilogy. .

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The MLB regular season will end on the 5th October with the wildcard round of the postseason beginning on the 6th and 7th October respectively . For the teams prive’ baseball’s postseason foray , this will be the time when nothing else matters other than their zeal to win. What are you hoping to see in the lead-up to the MLB postseason and which teams from the respective leagues do you believe can win the AL and NL Pennant and ultimately the World Series ?

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Tophatal ….

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Nas …. “God’s Son ”

Take it for what it is …

Take it for what it is

Well, we’re now one quarter of the way through the MLB season and it would appear the furor over what was an exceptional start by the New York Mets has all but come to a grinding halt . Terry Collins’ team has not only hit the skids, but thoughts of the NL franchise being seen as a legitimate contender for the NL Pennant now seems to have been derailed by the exploits and stellar play of Bryce Harper and the ascent of the Washington Nationals , as they have taken hold of the NL East . Speaking of which, the never-ending descent of the Philadelphia Phillies continues at a rapid pace.

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From my own perspective, I believe the Phillies to be a team no longer competitive enough to be of relevance within the National League much less the rest of baseball ! Ryne Sandberg will be hard pressed to get this Phillies’ team playing with the resolve needed to even be in with a chance of winning their division, much less gain a wild-card berth.

The New York Mets for their part might well be good enough to gain a postseason berth this season, but a great deal of that will be predicated on the play of several players on the roster , most notably All Star player David Wright , teammates , Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda , Curtis Granderson and it now appears the ageless Bartolo Colon , who at the age of forty-two seems to be turning back the hands of time . While the Mets are only 5-5 in their last ten games and with a one-game win streak , these results are hardly likely to put the fear into an opponent, given the recent and asinine prognostications concerning the team. Coming off a 9-1 road loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates simply epitomizes how overrated the New York Mets just happen to be , while the excuses will now build up to a crescendo as to what currently ails the team are such an embarrassing defeat.

Next up for Mets will a will be another road game against the Pirates where Bartolo Colon will seek to . improve his record this season and certainly prove himself to be the team’s best starting pitcher on their rotation .

Bryce Harper is certainly looking to prove his doubters wrong. He is a player of prodigious talent , but the continued knock against him remains his lack of maturity , temperament and not being able to show leadership skills when called upon to do so. If the Washington Nationals are to succeed this season, then Matt Williams and his managerial staff will have to curb the over-exuberance of the player and get him to fully apply himself to the task at hand . With the money vested in Harper , now would be the time for him to show the qualities desired, rather than his under-achieving. Forty plus games into the season doesn’t make a career , and that is something fans should not begin to get themselves completely wrapped up in. With his arbitration season due in 2017 , all signs point to the fact the . front office will seek to sign the player to a long-term contract comparable to the deal signed by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. I do not believe Harper possesses the talent to be deemed as good as his Angeles’ counterpart , who to my mind has been the best player in Major League Baseball over the past three seasons .

A 2-1 victory over the hapless Philadelphia Phillies , has firmly placed the Washington Nationals in the driver’s seat in what is turning out to be a moderate NL East division this season . Nonetheless, the teams there will vie it out over the course of the season, as they seek divisional supremacy.

The ”will to win” , might well be what separates the contenders from the pretenders within the NL this season. Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers along with their bloated $200 million plus payroll are riding high within the NL West this season with the reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants in close pursuit . In a division that could become the most interesting of them all , if the San Diego Padres with their revamped roster can finally find some semblance of consistency. With the money spent assembling this lineup where the offensive talent is undeniable , it seems ridiculous Matt Kemp , Justin Upton , James Shields , Wil Myers , Will Middlebrooks , Josh Johnson and Craig Kimbrel are playing sub.500 (21-25) baseball under manager Bud Black .

A 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California was another blow to this Padres’ team as they continue to struggle. The Padres need to put together a win streak , fast, one that simply boosts team confidence as well as having the faith of their fans, rather than a situation, where simply cannot be sure what is going to happen from one moment to the next. Bud Back’s players will be back in the saddle once again, when they take on the Los Angles Angels on Tuesday evening , with Odrisamer Despaigne on the mound for the visitors against the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker . This contest should make for an interesting contrast of styles for the opposing teams and managerial staffs.

OK , so you’re going to try and convince me the Houston Astros are among the best teams in baseball , simply because of their position atop of the AL West ? Last I looked , in three of their last five seasons this organization has managed to notch up one hundred game-loss seasons , much to the dismay of their fans. If anyone believes 2015 will bring about another Cinderella Story with the Astros continuing where the Kansas City Royals failed , then they are sadly mistaken. The Royals for their part in spite of their solid start , are still not out of the woods as of yet , because having sneaked up on teams last season , this season many of their opponents are now aware of what they are capable of doing and have sought ways to negate Kansas’ strengths.

Houston are 6-4 in their last ten games and continue to maintain a healthy lead over their divisional rivals , but now comes the hard part for this team and that is to maintain the consistency they seem to have found. A J Hinch might be the early season candidate for AL Manager of The Year , but one ought to remember these awards are not handed out for what has been achieved over a month or two months but for the entire one hundred and sixty-two game regular season schedule.

Houston will be looking to further embarrass what has been an under-achieving season for the Baltimore Orioles, when the Orioles play host to the Astros at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland, where the opposing pitchers will be Scott Feldman taking on Chris Tillman. The Kansas City Royals will continue their series against the New York Yankees, with Jason Vargas of the Royals on the mound against Adam Warren of the Yankees.

Derek Jeter has retired after a twenty-year career with the New York Yankees and this season the team is not only looking for an on-field leader, but also for a ‘ soul’ . Manager Joe Girardi has never been that talented a coach , and has simply been put in a position. where Yankees’ resources have been placed at his disposal , with GM Brian Cashman signing the dotted line in terms of the paychecks for the team roster. Alex Rodriguez has returned from his league mandated suspension , with his intent being to earn the $21 million due to him this season. Granted the added incentives of surpassing several league and team records will not be finding their way into Rodriguez’s pockets, but I am sure the player will not feel hard done by , considering he still remains a pariah to the vast majority of fans within the game.

Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are two of the primary reasons the Yankees are still in play within a very weak AL East division . For the moment the Tampa Bay Rays and Kevin Cash are making hay while the sun shines , but I doubt the Rays’ being perched atop of the division, will be self-sustaining. The Rays are good but they are not great, as reflected in their record at this point of the season .

With two years left on his remaining contract with the New York Yankees, I doubt that Alex Rodriguez will be able to make a serious assault on surpassing the all-time career home runs’ record ! Granted , the most beloved statistic in all of baseball has remained tainted ever since Barry Bonds laid claim to the mark having passed what many fans still believes remains the legitimate record of Hank Aaron ___ seven hundred and fifty-five home runs.

Rodriguez’s career home run mark at present stands at six hundred and sixty-four, with the closest active player being Albert Pujols with five hundred and twenty-eight career home runs and he is likely to be the only player to pass the six hundred career home runs’ plateau within the next four years let alone another player surpassing the benchmark figure of 500 career home runs . Two-time AL MVP , Triple Crown King and Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera having hit four hundred career home runs would rather win a World Series’ title with the Tigers than chase after singular career achievements.

As I alluded to earlier, with the Kansas City Royals’ ascent , Detroit will now have to get themselves on track with Brad Ausmus and his coaching staff having to deal with the upstart Royals and their seeking divisional supremacy within the AL Central. Ausmus has seen his team play rather erratically , with his not yet getting the best out of mainline starting pitchers David Price and Justin Verlander . While Verlander remains on the team’s DL , with no timetable set for his return , it is now left to Price and the rest of the rotation to within close reach of the Kansas City Royals. Complacency led to the Tigers being blanked 4-0 by the Oakland A’s at the O.Coliseum on Monday afternoon. The two teams will meet again on Tuesday afternoon with Detroit looking to even the score.

Sooner rather than later you knew the actions of Ryan Braun would have a way of catching up with him and specifically the Milwaukee Brewers. The 2012 recipient of the NL MVP Award , his denials concerning use of a banned substance and being able to lie about it , while being handsomely rewarded by the Brewers and major corporate sponsors only further emphasizes how weak the league’s steroid policy remains without delving into the constant idiocy of fans longing to see Pete Rose inducted into the Hall of Fame. As far as I am concerned the institution is simply a relic of a bygone age and where an induction has now become meaningless. The list of eligible nominees for the next five years will have several players whose names are closely tied to the ‘ BALCO Scandal’ or where they have been implicated with steroid use, because of their own actions. Yet , here we are, one quarter of the way through the 2015 season and once again players are being given the mandatory suspension required , having contravened the league’s substance abuse policy. Things would not be so bad if the arbitrators presiding over the appeals’ process showed that they have an ounce of common sense.

Rob Manfred as baseball’s highest ranking league executive shows all of the intellect of an invertebrate , which is only marginally more than that of his predecessor Bud Selig. Manfred simply stood pat and did nothing , after Josh Hamilton freely admitted he took cocaine and drank alcohol during his most recent rehab stint. It took the courage of Angels’ owner Arte Moreno to send Hamilton packing , even after the player sought to blame those within the Angels’ hierarchy not giving him any support. Last I looked , Josh Hamilton was being given as much support as was needed having been paid a salary, while putting up mediocre figures for Los Angeles Angels without ever showing any signs of fu#king leadership and for that, he was expecting support from the organization ? It wouldn’t be so bad, were it not for the fact we had fans suggesting Hamilton’s issues were an addiction, rather than the player simply not wanting to be held accountable for his own actions. Come full circle and Josh Hamilton finds himself back with the Texas Rangers , not yet able to play while still being able to pull down a handsome salary.

Ryan Braun is continues to play for the Milwaukee Brewers, the team with the worst record in all of Major League Baseball . How appropriate is it , that these two former MVP’s should find themselves in such a fitting predicament ?

If the Brewers’ woes this season are imperiled then Oakland A’s are not faring much better. It is hard to explain how franchise over the past three season has been the doyenne of the AL West can be so bad at this stage of the season . If things continue to get much worse, I believe Bob Melvin could very well become the second managerial casualty after the Miami Marlins’ firing of Mike Redmond earlier this month. GM Billy Beane has long proven he is one of the best front office executives in all of baseball , but he can only do so much with the resources made available to him by team owner Lew Wolff . That asides, the Oakland A’s remain one of the least supported franchises in all of baseball with game day attendance for the home games at the O.Coliseum being among the lowest in the league. The A’s will need to get back in the saddle by getting a much-needed victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday evening .

Best pitcher in baseball at present ? If I were to tell you based on performances this season the player in question would be Michael Wacha of the St Louis Cardinals . Then it would no doubt come as a pleasant surprise to many , but not to the fans of the Cardinals who have seen Wacha at his best this season. Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny having lost starting ace Adam Wainwright for the season no one within the front office let alone the coaching staff , could have expected they would have a ready-made replacement with Michael Wacha , but fortunes seem to have smiled on this pitching staff and organization, as the pitcher has exceeded everyone’s expectations. If Wacha is able to maintain his current form then there would be no reason to see him as a viable candidate for the NL Cy Young Award . The player will make his next appearance on the mound for the Cardinals when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri , on the 30th May , 2015.

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At this same point last season , there was little to suggest how the year would pan out in MLB, other than the fact no one knew the Kansas City Royals would mount an improbable run to the AL Pennant before falling short at the final obstacle when they fell the San Francisco Giants in the World Series . At this juncture I do not believe there is a clear favorite for the ‘ Fall Classic’ . So for now , we can only gauge the play of the teams , but in all certainty we will see the real contenders come into form during the final month of the regular season . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the play of the teams and players as the schedule has progressed ?

o_O

Tophatal ….

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The fault lies in their play, but you could also say the stars …….

The fault lies in their play, but you could also say the stars …….

Inasmuch as I love the game of baseball , I have to admit this might be one of the worst seasons on record in recent history. The AL East is barely recognizable and the level of play in what is said to be the best division in baseball has been truly dire. Defending World Series’ champions, the Boston Red Sox have now become an afterthought as the season has progressed. Say nothing of which, a great deal is being made out of a rivalry between the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays , which resonates about as much as a rancid piece of cheese that has been left out for days on end, merely sticking up the joint. Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles merely have to play .550 baseball or better to have the division sewn up for themselves and thereby win their first AL East crown in over a decade.

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If the Baltimore Orioles were to falter, then the likely recipients of their fall, would likely be the Toronto Blue Jays , whose play this season has been moderate though not overly inspiring. John Gibbons and his managerial staff , have a team that appears to be on the cusp of achieving something special this season, but a great deal of the success they are seeking will be dependent on the play of many of their seasoned veterans on the team’s roster, as well as the coaching acumen shown by Gibbons and his staff. The Blue Jays will be the guests of the Seattle Mariners when the two teams meet on Monday afternoon, with Drew Hutchinson taking the mound for the visiting team against Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. The game itself could provide us with something of a precursor as to the ambitions of two teams wishing to remain in the midst of the wildcard hunt if not their respective divisional races .

Buck Showalter and his team , will play host to the New York Yankees at Camden Yards , in Baltimore , Maryland on Monday afternoon. For the Yankees, their season now seems to be fading fast , as too are the hopes of team captain Derek Jeter and the team making the MLB postseason. For Joe Girardi , this might well have been a season where injuries may well have played a part in his team’s faltering , but in large part it has come down to the lack of productivity from his pitching staff and the inconsistency of the offense of the players. Jeter in his twentieth and final season with the franchise , may well go down as of the Yankees’ greatest players and given the ball-club’s achievements and their captain’s own astonishing career , it must be said, his departure from the game of baseball will be seen as the end of an era.

Hope springs eternal, but year in and year out the Tampa Bay Rays have simply promised more than they can deliver for their forlorn fans. In spite of the idiocy of some among the Rays’ fan-base, who will continue to make excuses for a front office which now seems devoid of real creativity. The recent trade of All Star pitcher David Price put an end to any chance the Rays might have had for the postseason. Price, being traded to the Detroit Tigers gives the AL Central based team a leg up on their divisional rivals in their chase for the division, while the Rays themselves continue to languish at the mid to lower end of the wildcard contestants .

Six and a half games out of the wildcard placing and the Tampa Bay Rays remain a long shot for one of the two AL berths. Consistency remains the key , but this team has not remained consistent in terms of winning series much less winning games over the course of the season, when needed . All of the enduring optimism from Joe Maddon cannot make up for the fact this remains a very average team in spite of claims at to the depth of their pitching. As good as the rotation may well seem to be, you simply cannot discount how woefully inconsistent their offense tends to be. Whatever leadership is said to be on the team , no one can seem to point to a vocal leader, certainly not Joe Maddon with his ongoing whimsical anecdotes and the same can be said of their all too less than knowledgeable fans. Excuses are now the norm from almost every quarter when it comes to the organization, be it from the local media, the fans or from members of front office and their ongoing cries of either disillusionment, or the simple fact they have become defeatist. Whining from the likes of players such as Chris Archer simply amplifies one of the ongoing issues within the organization and the lack of a competitive spirit.

If there is one manager within baseball who is expected to succeed this season , then it would have to be Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels . With a team that is said to possess one of the strongest lineups in the AL from a batting standpoint, there should be no reason for the Angels to falter this season. Everything Scioscia and his staff have asked for, has been granted by team owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto , along with a six-figure payroll for a team which now has the best player in the game among its lineup. If there are doubters as to the talents of Mike Trout , then I would gladly like to hear the arguments from those who think to the contrary ! ! Albert Pujols may well command the respect of his peers within the game, but the Angels are now Trout’s team for him to lead and his teammates willingly follow his lead.

If the Los Angeles Angels are to have things their own way, then they will have to overcome what is proving to be a very competitive and resilient Oakland Athletics’ team , who are not yet ready to relinquish their dominance of the AL West , much less the defense of their divisional crown. The two teams this season have proven to be highly combative in their seasonal meetings with the A’s currently holding a lead in those contests (6-3) in 2014. The most recent contest between the two divisional rivals, ended with an emphatic 7-1 mauling of the Angels by the A’s at Anaheim Stadium , in Anaheim, California on the 11th June.

Three-and-a half games separate the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels within the AL West , but Mike Scioscia’s players seem to be in the driver’s seat in terms of the wildcard berth at present by virtue of a better record than their two closest rivals the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners . Tuesday pits the Angels against the disappointing Philadelphia Phillies , with CJ Wilson on the mound taking on Jerome Williams , when these two teams meet at Anaheim Stadium. The Tigers will face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates with the opposing pitchers being Robbie Ray against Edinson Volquez of the Pirates , in a game being played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,. Seattle will square off against the Toronto Blue Jays , with J A Happ looking to improve on his 8-6 record for the season , when he opposes Chris Young at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. All three contests should prove to be interesting and highly competitive given what is likely to be at stake , at this point of the season.

It doesn’t seem so long ago, where fans thought of the Texas Rangers as an organization likely to succeed at the highest levels of the game. Hall of Famer and Rangers’ great Nolan Ryan held sway as a senior executive within the organization , but then wheels on the Texas juggernaut became deflated and then suffered a large puncture. Ryan was made the scapegoat for the ball-club’s ills , but in many respects it was simply the arrogance of the franchise , starting with the front office , down through the managerial staff and several of the players , some of whom are no longer with the organization. GM Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington are now left holding the bag , as the team now wades through a season of sheer mediocrity. The Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies now share the worst records in the entire Major Leagues, a sad indictment of two teams showing little ambition this season.

In all likelihood, this will prove to be Ron Washington’s last season with the Texas Rangers , because it seems highly unlikely he will be asked to return for next season. The team has become listless , uncompetitive , totally lacking in leadership both and off the field of play. Having assumed the contract of Prince Fielder in a trade that simply made no sense whatsoever , the Rangers have now burdened themselves with an unproductive slugger whose prime came and went at least three or four years ago . As to what this indicates about the mindset of Jon Daniels and the ownership group of the Rangers is anyone’s guess , but clearly, this was a catastrophic blunder on the part of the organization in acquiring the player from the Detroit Tigers.

Fielder has been limited to forty-two games this season, having been placed on the sixty-day disabled list(DL) , likely to miss the rest of the season and undergoing neck surgery. Injuries asides, which has plagued the Rangers for much of the year, it has been a lack of leadership all-round which has played its part in the team’s lousy play and record (46-71). If Texas are to now any real signs of life, then their current series against the Tampa Bay Rays which resumes today when the two teams meet at the newly renamed Global Life Park in Arlington , Texas. Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays will face opposing pitcher Nick Tepesch of the Rangers in what should prove to be a riveting pitchers’ duel.

If the Texas Rangers are to avert a disastrous season then series such as the one being played against the Tampa Bay Rays will have to be won decisively and the consistency has to be maintained over the remainder of their schedule. Ron Washington’s long-term future is now intertwined with his team’s play, and if failure is to play a part in the ongoing drama now unfolding, the manager is likely to become a managerial casualty during the off-season along with several other possible candidates around the game of baseball.

Call me naïve, but I believe the NL Manager of The Year is likely to be Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals . Williams seems to have managed to achieve the impossible, having his team play with a great deal of consistency while keeping at bay the Atlanta Braves , Miami Marlins and New York Mets out of contention for the divisional crown in the NL East. In his first season as the manager of the Nationals, it now looks as if the incumbent manager has been able to do what his predecessor Davey Johnson failed in doing and that is getting a team mixed veterans and youth to believe in themselves. A great of the credit has to go to Matt Williams and his managerial staff , the faith shown in the staff by the ownership group and GM Mike Rizzo . The Nationals’ billionaire owner Ted Lerner and his partners are certainly intent on bringing a World Series’ title to the ball-club and are ready to do whatever it takes to achieve the goal.

Matt Williams and the Nationals will be seeking to make their first postseason appearance since the 1981 MLB postseason and the team reaching the NLCS and their 3-2 series’ loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. With a four-game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the NL East and Fredi Gonzalez’ Braves looking nothing like reigning divisional champions, it has to be said Washington now has the division practically sewn up. The high-flying Nationals will take their show on the road, when they meet the New York Mets at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York, in the first game of their three-game series against their divisional rivals. Doug Fister of the Nationals takes the mound for the visitors against Rafael Montero in a pitching contest between two of the NL’s best young pitchers. It will be interesting to see how the season now pans out for the Washington Nationals where star players Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg will be seeking to make their mark over the remainder of the season for the team.

Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were first round draft picks by the Washington Nationals in 2009 and 2010 respectively, with both players now seen as major reasons why the team is now having some semblance of real success. Yet, until the ball-club itself has made a deep run in the postseason with the pair in question contributing to the success , what we have witnessed so far, are the players living up to the expectations first seen as collegiate players and then within the Nationals’ farm system before their debuts in the Big Leagues. MLB agent Scott Boras will no doubt be making sure both of his clients are likely to be handsomely rewarded when their existing contracts are due to expire. Boras has certainly made his presence known among the general managers around baseball , where he has proven to be a thorn in the side of these front office executives. His zealous representation of some of baseball’s most high profiled and highest paid players by way of their contracts and salaries , has been a major reason why their remains a financial imbalance among the haves and have-nots within baseball .

Some of the individual regular season awards will be hard to decide but I believe we could well see repeat winners for a number of the top prizes. Clayton Kershaw seems to be an odds on favorite to repeat as the NL Cy Young Award winner, and in the AL, the award is being fiercely contested by Chris Sale , Felix Hernandez , Rick Porcello and Jon Lester . League MVP in the AL is Mike Trout’s to lose, albeit, many believed he would have been a worthy winner of the award in 2013, only for the voters to go with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Though this season both Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano are staking valid claims as worthy candidates, but Trout’s all-round presence and contributions have greater weight than either of his competitors for the award.

NL honors for League MVP is not a foregone conclusion, but Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Morneau , Yasiel Puig , Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton are making solid claims why they should be atop of everyone’s list for the award. The rookies and their debuts within the AL and NL will simply be about the impressions made and how dynamic they happen to be. Hard to believe however, Derek Jeter during his playing career, having won the AL Rookie of the Year Award , was never afforded the prestige of winning the AL MVP. The AL Manager of The Year Award , I believe will come down to Buck Showalter of the Orioles, Bob Melvin , Ned Yost and John Gibbons, should he be able to pull off of the improbable and lead the Blue Jays to a divisional win in the AL East.

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As baseball enters the final third of its season what has impressed you the most in terms of the teams’ play or that of a player’s? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit, on this and anything else you believe to be of importance.

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(1) Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell , left, is seen here with David Ortiz. This season the Red Sox have been abysmal , showing little competitive spirit within their division ,lying in fifth and last place within the AL East , often described as the toughest division in all of baseball . AP Photo/ Dave Walsh …

(2) A pensive Buck Showalter looks on from the dugout during a regular season game being played by the Baltimore Orioles . Getty Images North America / Steve Jones …

(3) Jays slugger Jose Bautista , right, is congratulated by manager John Gibbons after hitting a walk-off single in the 10th inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday 22nd May 2013 . After a slow start, Bautista is posting better numbers, but the Jays need him to start producing the way he has in the past . This year the Toronto Blue Jays are definitely looking like divisional contenders . within the AL East while seeking to make inroads on the Orioles’ lead within the division . REUTERS/ Mark Blinch ….

(4) Los Angeles Angles’ GM Jerry Dipoto ,left , is seen here with Mike Trout center and team manager Mike Sciocsia . Trout was the recipient of the Jackie Robinson Award as AL Rookie of The Year. Trout has been spectacular for the Angels over the past three seasons leading the team in a number offensive categories. AP Photo / Mark Daniels …

(5) Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington left is seen here with GM Jon Daniels . The team has failed miserably this season and with Prince Fielder limited to forty-two games , now on the sixty-day disabled list . The Rangers are mow mired in mediocrity , while having one of the worst records in all of baseball. A great deal of the failure has been attributed to Daniels’ capricious off-season moves via the free agency market and several other far-reaching trades, saddling the team with Fielder’s exorbitant contract . AP Photo/ Jack Marshall …

(6) Washington Nationals’ manager Matt Williams greet Bryce Harper at the end of the game , where the Nationals were victorious in a home contest played at Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington , DC . AP Photo/ Garry Mason …
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Did they just do that ?

Did did they just do that?

By Tophatal

Well we have seen the idiocy of the MLB season played out with a decision that simply makes no sense with the Washington Nationals deciding to shut down their starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg . To realize the gravity of the maneuver , you have to understand the very fact that the Nationals now sit on the cusp of making the postseason for the first time since 1981 when the franchise fell 3-2 in the NLCS to the Los Angeles Dodgers . At the time, the franchise were known as the Montreal Expos . In the subsequent years the ball-club has struggled to remain relevant , albeit that Bud Selig pretty much eased the way for the sale of the team to present owner Ted Lerner.

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To my mind , GM Mike Rizzo has made a rash decision that is pretty much a slap in the face Strasburg’s teammates and to the long-suffering Nationals’ fans. Anyone who believes that this decision was based upon the well-being of Stephen Strasburg, then they are clearly that naïve and gullible. Manager, Davey Johnson , has suggested that the reason behind to now shutdown the player, was based on the fact, that his performance, in his most recent outing was lackluster and not up to par. Would anyone actually be at all surprised , when for the past five weeks this has been the topic of conversation with Strasburg being continually asked what his thoughts would be , should the coaching staff make the decision to curtail his season? There is no damn common sense to be found within the Nationals’ front office after this utterly idiotic decision ! The game would result in a 9-7 loss to the Miami Marlins , in which the player pitched three anemic innings allowing six hits , 5 earned runs and three walks . What was abundantly clear from this game was the immense pressure Strasburg had been placed under , with this ongoing spectacle and the very fact that the Nationals’ coaching staff did little to downplay this all, instead they allowed this whole spectacle to played out , to the sheer and utter ridicule which has made this ball-club a damn laughing-stock.

Now while the Nationals currently maintain a 5 ½ game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the NL East , this whole scenario does not play out well, for the Davey Johnson’s team . They are certainly better with the fifteen game winner than they are without him . And with the Strasburg’s productivity in terms of the strikeouts amassed there is this growing that this will come back to bite the Washington Nationals in the proverbial ass.

The Nationals will finish their two-game series against the Miami Marlins today at Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington , DC. A loss to the Marlins though not catastrophic , it would certainly deflate the confidence of this team and undoubtedly lead to some soul-searching on the part of the players. As to the spin that will now to be placed on this scenario by the coaching staff, and the hierarchy of the organization .Well. those questions may well be answered, in terms of how the remainder of the Nationals’ season will end. While, I have no doubt that this team will undoubted make the postseason , I am not so sure that they can now go deep into the playoffs , taking the NL pennant and then the World Series , itself !

Next up for the Washington Nationals , will be a three-game set against the lowly New York Mets . It would be an understatement to suggest that the Mets have been pitiful this season , with the exception of R A Dickey , perhaps one of the presumptive favorites for the NL Cy Young Award in 2012.

Monday’s game will see the Mets playing host to the Nationals , with Gio Gonzalez (18-7, 2.98 ERA) taking the mound against Collin McHugh (0-1, 3.27 ERA). Tuesday , will see Jordan Zimmerman (10-8, 2.99 ERA) against R. A . Dickey (18-4 , 2.64 ERA) and as part of this trifecta of games, the final pairing will be John Lannan (2-0, 3.46 ERA) against the Mets’ Matt Harvey (3-4 , 3.04 ERA) . Needless to say, a series’ sweep or at least a 2-1 series’ win would be beneficial for the Washington Nationals , as they embark on the final thirty-plus games of their regular season schedule.

In 2011 the Milwaukee Brewers came away with the NL Central as the divisional champions as Ron Roenicke’s made their first postseason appearance since 2008 . In 2011 however, the Brewers’ foray would not be short-lived as they made it to the NLCS ,where they would succumb to the St Louis Cardinals losing the series 4-2 . This season within the division and it appears that NL Central will have a new champion , and it now seems beyond a doubt that the Cincinnati Reds will come away with their first divisional title since 2010 . Reds’ manager Dusty Baker would like nothing better than to get this team playing at a consistently —- high level as they enter the final stretch run of their season. Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips , Ryan Ludwick , Jay Bruce , Johnny Cueto , Bronson Arroyo, Matt Latos, and closer Aroldis Chapman have spearheaded the Reds’ impressive season. I believe that the Reds are being overlooked as a credible contender for NL pennant . Sunday , and we saw the Reds inexplicably falling 5-1 to the Houston Astros , with Johnny Cueto (17-8) losing his eighth game of the season in that defeat. The Reds’ next three games pits them against the Pittsburgh Pirates , who it now seems have played themselves out of contention for the division (NL Central) as well as quite possibly the wildcard berth in the NL , having gone 3-7 in their last ten games. So much for the talk, of the Pirates having turned the corner , as it appears that like the cars of Sprint Cup Series within NASCAR , the cars only head in one direction ____________ “ always turning left” .

Making a case for complacency would be easy this season , especially in light of the New York Yankees and the way that they have allowed a ten game lead within the AL Easy simply erode to the point where as the 8th September they shared the lead within the division with this season’s surprise team the Baltimore Orioles. The troubling issue for the Yankees is that team captain Derek Jeter and manager Joe Girardi have tried to downplay everything that has transpired concerning the team’s abrupt meltdown over that past six weeks . Now with everything to play for and there being so much at stake , it has to be said should the Yankees fail to make the postseason, then there is a deal of blame to be apportioned all-round , from the front office on down to the coaching staff to this highly overpaid roster of players . Is there anyone who truly believes that Alex Rodriguez is worth $ 32 million a year , given his lack of productivity over the past five years and the player’s lack of leadership skills ? Yet, with even with the baggage that comes along with Rodriguez, he’s merely viewed as the primary selling point as the active home run leader as he looks to surpass the all-time home-run mark of 762 , currently held by Barry Bonds . The former Pirates and Giants’ slugger has been embroiled in a slew of controversy that has simply destroyed Bonds’ image as well as the game of baseball. Thankfully , with the player essentially retired , he does not have the ambition to make a bold return to the game . At the opposite end of the spectrum, seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens , who simply craves the limelight, and is now attempting a return to baseball, having signed a contract with the Atlantic League’s —— Sugarland Skeeters . Independent League’s Sugarland Skeeters.

Far be it for me to suggest that Roger Clemens deserves the time of day , however, with the player having been acquitted in US Federal Court of perjury and obstruction of justice . The player has to viewed in a different light , as he was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. From my owned perspective, the prosecution’s handling and presentation of the case by the US Justice Department’s attorneys , gives credence , that the federal government is being ran by a group of unintelligent buffoons ! With the country now in an election cycle and with both main political parties simply offering sound bites that amount to nothing more than the two main Presidential candidates dithering on so many of the most acute issues that affects this country . Then again , baseball needs a real kick in the ass considering the idiots who preside over the game at the highest level ! Baseball does not need Roger Clemens back in the arena of baseball but unfortunately, the hierarchy’s handling of a number of issues strictly related to the game has been so poorly handled that sport remains a complete laughing-stock among the vast majority of fans who choose to follow baseball .

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Picture gallery .

Considering the event leading up the Washington Nationals concerning their starting pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, do you believe that the decision made by the organization was a prudent choice ? Also with regard to the playoff picture and that of the divisional wildcard races , which teams do you believe are now in the drivers’ seat as these races proceeds towards their inevitability ? Do leave a comment as you see fit .

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(1) Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper , bottom, is out at second base as he gets tangled up with Miami Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano as Solano turns the double play during the first inning of a baseball game at Nationals Park, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Washington. The Marlins would go on to defeat the Nationals 8-0 . AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(2) WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 09: Giancarlo Stanton (27) of the Miami Marlins celebrates with Jose Reyes (7) after an 8-0 victory against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images ….

(3) WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 07: Stephen Strasburg(37) of the Washington Nationals sits in the dugout after leaving the game after the third inning against the Miami Marlins at Nationals Park on September 7, 2012 in Washington, DC. The player has seen his season come to an abrupt end with the decision made to shut him down for the remain of the Nationals’ 2012 schedule. Strasburg has voiced his displeasure but states he understands the organization’s concern but remains unhappy with that choice. Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images …..

(4) Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Cueto pitches against the Houston Astros in the first inning of their baseball game in Cincinnati, Sunday Sept. 9, 2012. AP Photo/Tom Uhlman ….

(5) Jimmy Paredes (38) of the Houston Astros hops back to first base in time as Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds takes the throw from pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on September 9, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images ….

(6) Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Zach Britton (53) delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during the third inning of a baseball game on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Baltimore. The Yankees would go on to defeat the Orioles 13-3 . AP Photo/Nick Wass …

(7) New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson, right, celebrates his home run with teammate Ichiro Suzuki (31) , of Japan, during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, in Baltimore. The Yankees won 13-3 . AP Photo/Nick Wass …..

(8) Third base coach Rob Thomson congratulates Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees after hitting a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the eighth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 8, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(9) Alex Rodriguez 13 of the New York Yankees flips his bat after lining out for the second out of the ninth inning during the Yankees 10-6 loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 6, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images …..

(10) Roger Clemens 21 of the Sugar Land Skeeters throws in the second inning against the Long Island Ducks on September 7, 2012 in Sugar Land, Texas. . Getty Images North America/ Bob Levey …

(11) Roger Clemens (21) of the Sugar Land Skeeters talks with his catcher Koby Clemens (22) before playing the Long Island Ducks on September 7, 2012 in Sugar Land, Texas. . Bob Levey / Getty Images North America …..

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Times are a changing but not necessarily for the better …..

Times are a changing but not necessarily for the better

By Tophatal

Well as we now enter the final week of the 2012 NFL preseason , there is not a lot that the NFL fans have learned . The league hierarchy remains the idiotic mess we have come to expect during the tenure of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . There seems to be no real conciliatory effort on the path of the league sort out their differences with the NFLRA (Referees’ Union) . The league enforced lockout , reminiscent of their actions against the NFLPA (Players’ Union) simply indicates how out of touch with reality the hierarchy remains , whose backing by the franchise owners seems equally ridiculous . Continued blown calls by the replacement referees brought in from the D2 and D3 levels of Collegiate Football and the NFL expects the fans to be completely satisfied with this premise ? I think not !

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I will say this for the beleaguered New York Jets and the brave face that’s now being put on by starting quarterback Mark Sanchez , all the explanations in the world , simply cannot hide how woefully inept this team has been over the course of their preseason schedule to date. The much-hyped tandem of Sanchez and his backup Tim Tebow , between them the duo have yet to throw a touchdown pass in the preseason . Never mind the fact that the team’s offensive coordinator Tony Sparano continues to express his implicit and binding faith in the abilities of the duo. Personally, I would like to know what Sparano bases his premise on ! If there is said to be an NFL coach that will be more under the microscope other than Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan and perhaps Norv Turner of the San Diego Chargers , then I would be pleasantly surprised !

Given the results of the Jets this preseason their standing (0-3) within the AFC East and the very fact that both quarterbacks have performed poorly , I believe that Rex Ryan has a number of things to feel worried about . The 2012 NFL Draft and the selections made by the Jets’ management led by GM Mike Tannenbaum would suggest that they feel that this season , the organization is about to turn the corner . Quinton Coples , Stephen Hill, Demario Davis, Josh Bush , Terrance Ganaway , Robert T Griffin, Antonio Allen and Jordan White are the players sought to make a major contribution to the team this season . As the draftees taken in this draft by Jets , they each have a great deal to live up to , when based upon their predecessors from last season .

Coming off a lackluster performance in 17-12 loss to the Carolina Panthers , the Jets final preseason game has them meeting the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , this Thursday evening . With teams having to cut their rosters down to 73 players before having to whittle down to that mandated figure of 54 players , it will be interesting to see the choices that will no doubt be made by the New York Jets , as well as the other franchises around the league. This much is certain for players picked after the 5th round in the NFL Draft and the non-roster invitees left on the player personnel rosters , the final preseason games of 2012 will now mean more , than ever before .

Chris Cooley of the Washington Redskins may well have been one of the more understated players in the NFL but there was no doubt what he brought to the Redskins as a player. After eight years of service with the only professional franchise he has played for , the tight-end was cut by Redskins’ franchise on Tuesday afternoon. Drafted in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft , Cooley has been one of the corner-pieces in the franchise in his subsequent eight years with the Washington Redskins. I have no doubt that he will prove to be a valuable asset and pickup for any franchise in the NFL looking for a very good blocking tight-end and slot-receiver . With the departure of Cooley , the Redskins are left with just three tight-ends on their roster , who between them have a combined eleven years of experience in the NFL. The trio is led by Logan Paulsen , Richard Quinn and Fred Davis , and it remains to be seen which of the three will be one the main receiving targets for Redskins’ incumbent starting quarterback Robert Griffin III .

Wednesday night’s game at Fedex Field between the Washington Redskins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers , may well go a long way in telling us how the three aforementioned players might fare against a Bucs’ secondary that has yet to truly establish itself this preseason. For both of the young quarterbacks facing each other tonight , Josh Freeman and his counterpart Robert Griffin III. This will give both players that much-needed final tune-up before they each embark of on their respective 2012 forays into the regular season .

Oh the thought that once again baseball finds itself within the morass of more players being caught within the net cast of the league hierarchy’s drug testing policy. Heaven forbid , that Bud Selig still feels that the edicts in place have actually dampened the players’ ardor to cheat. In truth , it simply has not because at the minor league level , more players than ever before , are still being caught . A fifty game suspension while supposedly having to undergo a mandatory drug counseling program , proves to be , about as useful as handing a newborn baby a pacifier while not feeding that child for the next twenty fours . It’s not going to stop that child from crying and it certainly will not abate the cheating that has , and will continue to take place within the world of baseball. Anyone who believes that to be to the contrary has to be that naïve or not willing to accept the fact that the MLB hierarchy simply has no answer for the “monster “ that they created !

Pitch count , innings’ count , call it what you will but the jig is up, concerning the Washington Nationals and GM Mike Rizzo’s stance on the team’s starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg . This continued idiocy by the organization that it is their intent to shut-down the player for the season , once he has pitched anywhere between 160 to 180 innings for the year , sounds just as asinine today , as when it was first considered by Nationals’ front office and coaching staff ! With the team now in the midst of a tight divisional race within the NL East , one has to wonder what the mindset has to be with the Nationals’ general manager.

In continuing with this premise , this undoubtedly sends a disingenuous message to the Washington Nationals’ fans but also to Strasburg’s own teammates . Far be it for me to suggest that this maneuver indicates that the Nationals are bailing on the most successful year in the franchise’s history . I get the feeling that the feeling that Mike Rizzo has not put a great deal of thought into his proposed decision. Team manager , Davey Johnson continues to be diplomatic on the matter , simply reiterating much of the front office spiel concerning this issue .

In light of the Nationals’ recent record , if this move is countenanced and Strasburg is indeed shut-down . I would hate to see what bearing this might have on the team should they fail to make the MLB postseason . One thing is abundantly clear this is team is better off with Stephen Strasburg as part of their pitching lineup , than they are without him . Suffice to say, that if they throw away what appears to be a unique chance to make a legitimate run to the World Series , then the burden of blame for this blunder , will rest squarely upon the shoulders of Mike Rizzo and absolutely no one else ! Coming off what can be best described as something of an 9-0 drubbing at the hands of the Miami Marlins . Strasburg had one of the worst performances of his career .

Next up for the Washington Nationals is the second of a two-game set against the Miami Marlins at Marlins’ Ballpark , in Miami , Florida . On the mound for the Nationals will be Ross Detwiler (3-2, 3.25 ERA) who will face Jacob Turner (1-2, 6.87 ERA) of the Marlins . This game should be something of an indicator as to whether or not the Nationals have fully recovered from the previous night’s events . Awaiting the Nationals at the culmination of this series will be the reigning World Series champions , the St Louis Cardinals , who themselves are seeking to place themselves into playoff contention for an NL wildcard berth. The Washington Nationals will play host to Mike Matheny’s —– Cardinals in what is sure to be three pivotal games with a great deal of bearing on the divisional races , as well as the aforementioned wildcard standings .

With so much on the line for a number of teams at this juncture , it will be interesting to see which ball-clubs will be making the moves and which will fall by the wayside.

Now unless I am mistaken the blockbuster trade that essentially indicated to us all that the Boston Red Sox felt it necessary to jettison themselves of $275 million in payroll, merely to show that they sought to stand behind their beleaguered manager Bobby Valentine . Throughout the year, this Red Sox team has been lackluster , lacking in passion but above all there seems to be absolutely no leadership from anyone on the roster. There are those who may well have felt that the player dissent was justified but a great deal of the underlying issues to the Red Sox’s malaise does have a lot to do with the performance of Bobby Valentine and his staff . Uninspiring , unimaginative but above all , we are seeing a manager that in spite of his alleged experience , it does look as if the game has passed him by .

The departure of Carl Crawford , Nick Punto , Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers , now gives the NL West ball-club the added credibility they well have sought , as they seek to chase down the division leading San Francisco Giants . The Dodgers have not been part of the postseason since 2009 and a World Series appearance for this revered franchise last came in 1988 , which ended which ended with a 4-1 series victory over the Oakland A’s .

Undoubtedly, with the new ownership in tow led by Magic Johnson , Peter Guber , Mark Walter , Todd Boehly and Stan Kasten . At the heart of Johnson’s intent , is to see this venerable club back to where he believes they rightfully belong . And that is, as perennial contenders challenging a for a pennant and World Series annually , with a high-caliber team at the heart of it all.

In the aftermath of Frank McCourt’s mismanagement of the franchise, it has to be noted the sale of the team for an astounding $2.156 billion was seen as a breath of fresh air. The ringing approval from the fans notwithstanding , baseball’s handling of this entire episode should be used as a business management tutorial , as what not to do in the case of a crisis. Now with a multi-billion television contract in tow , the financial resources now at the front office’s disposal might be on par , with that of the New York Yankees . Guggenheim Baseball Partners , the holding company and proprietary owners of the franchise are the sports’ management arm of the venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners LLC . With assets exceeding $125 billion , it must be said the Dodgers’ current payroll of $ 169.8 million would be viewed a blip on their scale and it is here , where there now seems to be a diverging path between the haves and have not’s within the game of baseball . Beyond the idiocy baseball’s now apparent drug policy while netting its share of cheaters , in no way has it slowed the trend of the players seeking or using PED’s . The penalties that the league hierarchy now has in place , has not slowed the pace of the misuse and with the league now conducting an investigation into the actions of former clubhouse manager and fitness instructor Kirk Radomski . It has to be said why now , and not when allegations first came to light concerning this individual ? .

Courtesy of MLB.com

MLB explores agents’ alleged link to PED dealer

By Paul Hagen , MLB.com

Major League Baseball is investigating whether agents Sam and Seth Levinson acted as liaisons between former All-Star catcher Paul Lo Duca and admitted steroid distributor Kirk Radomski, MLB.com has confirmed.

The story first appeared in USA Today.

A well-placed source noted that, while both Major League Baseball and federal authorities are looking into the matter, this is an ongoing investigation and no conclusions have been reached at this point. The source also said this recent development stems from a story in the New York Daily News on Aug. 19 that said Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera, who had just been suspended for use of performance-enhancing substances, tried to escape punishment by creating a fake website advertising a non-existent product to indicate that he unknowingly took a banned substance.

Cabrera also is represented by the Levinson’s ACES Inc. Both agents have adamantly denied any involvement.

According to USA Today, Lo Duca alleges that he was introduced to Radomski by the Levinsons. When the Mitchell Report was released in December 2007, it documented copies of three checks to Radomski for $3,200 each. USA Today reported that it has a copy of one check from a joint account between Lo Duca and Sam Levinson imprinted with the address of the agent’s Brooklyn offices.

Radomski is a former Mets clubhouse attendant; Lo Duca played for the Mets in 2006 and ’07.

The Daily News reported that federal agents have been looking into Cabrera’s associates to try to determine the source of the synthetic testosterone that was detected in the urine sample of the 2012 All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player.

One Cabrera insider, Juan Nunez, allegedly paid $10,000 to set up the bogus website. Nunez has been described as a “paid consultant” of Aces Inc. He told the Daily News that the agents had absolutely no connection to the scheme.

USA Today further reported that MLB’s probe also is focusing on a former Venezuelan bodybuilder named Cesar Paublini, who is now Cabrera’s Miami-based trainer. Paublini told the paper that he had not been contacted by investigators at this point, but added that Cabrera had introduced him to Juan Nunez.

Finally, the paper said, MLB would like to question Lo Duca to determine whether he was a paid consultant for ACES Inc.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Baseball has continued to do the fans the greatest disservice possible and granted , Bud Selig’s most recent public statement has simply been to talk about further television contract extensions , while not addressing the most acute issues that the game now has within its midst as an adversarial object . It simply has been the commissioner’s way of dealing with problems, that he has simply been unable to solve or has any idea how to deal with succinctly . In all reality , should we have expected any less from perhaps the most imbecilic executive in all of professional sports ? Your thoughts on the matter please ?

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Picture gallery .

In light of the ongoing problems within the game of baseball , what do you feel are the game’s biggest issues ? As the NFL preseason meanders to its finality, is there a chance that the NFL hierarchy and the referees’ union will come to a satisfactory conclusion that will be amenable to both parties ? Or are we likely to see the replacement referees adjudication regular season games deep into the NFL calendar ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit .

Picture and slide show details below.
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New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) reacts as the Carolina Panthers defense celebrates a sack during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ….

(2) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) avoids a tackle by New York Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin (51) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(3) New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow throws a pass against the New York Giants during the second half of a preseason NFL football game on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Rich Schultz ……

(4) Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III dives for a first down during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012, in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Richard Lipski ….

(5) Chris Cooley (47) of the Washington Redskins watches a game against the New York Jets at FedExField on December 4, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The player was cut by the Redskins’ front office after eight years of service to the NFL franchise . Patrick McDermott/ Getty Images North America …

(6) MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 28: Pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) of the Washington Nationals against the Miami Marlins as catcher Kurt Suzuki and pitching Coach Steve McCatty walk off at Marlins Park on August 28, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images …

(7) DENVER, CO – AUGUST 29: Pitching coach Bo McLaughlin (40) of the Colorado Rockies visits the mound to talk with pitcher Will Harris (48) and the rest of the infield during the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field on August 29, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The strategy visit proved unhelpful as Harris gave up a grand slam to the next batter as the Dodgers went on to defeat the Rockies 10-8 to avoid the three game sweep . Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images ……

(8) Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Joe Blanton (56) challenges Colorado Rockies’ Josh Rutledge during the first inning of a baseball game , Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012, in Denver. AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez ….

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A Tribe Called Quest & Midnight Marauders —– “ Award Tour “

Mr Deeds Goes To Washington ……..

Mr Deeds Goes To Washington ……..

tophatal ……… April 30, 2012 ….7:47:09 PM

I’ve read where a lot of patrons and contributors within this forum have been somewhat surprised but at the same time excited that the Washington Nationals (14-8) sat atop of the NL East . As recently as last Wednesday the team had one of best records in all of baseball. That being said the Nationals have faltered somewhat recently in their schedule having lost four straight . The Washington Nationals now find themselves tied within the division with the Atlanta Braves (14-8) and it has to be said and they have not done themselves any favors with their recent swoon . Much of the Nationals’ woes have come from the fact that the team’s offense is one of the most anemic within the NL .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Team GM Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson have sought to assemble a team that would be able to contend within the NL as as the rest of baseball. Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper are seen as the ” faces” and future of the franchise . Both are number one draft picks from the MLB Drafts of 2010 and 2009 . Bryce Harper and Strasburg are represented by uber-agent Scott Boras . Anyone who has seen Boras in action will know that he has become the one agent which the vast majority of owners and general managers seem to despise. From my own perspective , it’s as I have said all along you simply allow the agents to dictate the salary scale for the free agents and you simply get what you deserve . Just ask the Nationals’ front office how they now feel about Jayson Werth’s contract and the mere fact since signing along the dotted line for the deal he has been amongst the least productive players at the position.

For those who for some reason through sheer idiocy seem to be buying into the premise because of a mere 22 games played the Washington Nationals are potential contenders for the NL pennant as well as the World Series . I’d recommend you take a step back and simply watch this team as they try to play some semblance of consistent baseball. And the same can be said of the rather inane morons who continue to believe that the Kansas City Royals are a team on the rise . Simply wake the fu_k up and smell the coffee , as the Royals are no more a serious contender within AL than Newt Gingrich could be considered a legitimate contender for the Republican Party Presidential candidate for the upcoming national election this upcoming November . An asshole, like Gingrich had no set mandate or policy platform and __ stating that he was running on a Conservatism stance , seemingly ran up in excess of $6.5 million in campaign debt to simply prove what the vast majority of the public had to have known , Newt Gingrich is nothing more than a conceited and narcissistic bastard ! In this day and age what the f_ck is a Conservative platform ? Does it mean that those on the “right of the political aisle” are simply more f_cking corrupt and crooked than their counterparts on the Left ? And for the fans who are living in a vacuum as it relates to the Royals , simply look at the team’s record over the last eight years at least and then suggest to me what indications if any there are to imply that the Kansas City Royals can actually contend within AL Central ? At 6-15 the Royals are not going anywhere this season , even if their frigging lives depended on it ! Get a god damn clue people , it is what it is and that’s it !

The Washington Nationals’ next game pits them against the Arizona Diamondbacks (11-11) at Nationals Ballpark , in Washington , DC . And as good as Taking the mound for the Nationals will be Jordan Zimmerman (1-1, 1.33 ERA ) against Trevor Cahill …. (1-2 , 3.70 ERA) of Diamondbacks . The teams will play a three game series beginning today , ending on Thursday . And there , the players taking aim as the starting pitchers will be Ian Kennedy (3-0, 3.88 ERA) against Ross Detwiler (2-1, 1.64 ERA) . These series of games should tell us overall a great deal in terms of objectivity as to the directions of both teams and their intent as to postseason aspirations . Neither team can ill-afford to play sub-bar baseball as in the coming months knowing full well that during the finals months of the season the ” contenders” tend to begin to separate themselves from the ” pretenders ” . But also , one has to bear in mind that it wasn’t until the final day of the regular season schedule of 2011 that we would eventually know who the wildcard recipients would be within the AL and NL , respectively . Could that scenario possibly arise again this year , at the culmination of the regular season ? Your thoughts on the matter ?

Now as good as Bryce Harper appears to be , I can’t help but wonder if placing this much attention on the young phenom at this stage of his career will be in the best interest of the player ! The Washington Nationals are under enough pressure as it is to succeed with Mike Rizzo , team owners Theordore “Ted Lerner and his managing partners are seeking to have some semblance of success with this franchise . Lerner also just happens to be the co-owner of the NHL’s …. Washington Capitals as well as the NBA’s Washington Wizards . And for the nation’s capitol , well it has been some considerable time since they have witnessed a major sporting event in which one of their professional sports’ franchises have been a part of a postseason spectacle .

If the Washington Nationals are to have any semblance of success then much of that will be predicated upon the performances of their pitching ace Stephen Strasburg . As the starting pitcher on this rotation , that also has Gio Gonzalez , Ross Detwiler and Jordan Zimmerman . And a great deal will be asked of the rotation as the season progresses for the Nationals . The team’s ERA though not extremely high I’ve no doubt that the coaching staff would like to see that figure a great deal lower !

The Washington Nationals are laboring under the belief that having brought up Bryce Harper from the minors it would provide the team with the much needed offensive spark . I see this as nothing more than an act of desperation on the part of the front office , simply because already they’re already at their wits’ end as to how best get this anemic offense rolling . Jayson Werth hasn’t provided the leadership sought and he has simply yet to live up to that rather exorbitant contract signed as a free agent after he left the Philadelphia Phillies . Werth , like his two younger teammates are also client of the lugubrious Scott Boras and as I alluded to earlier the agent has done more to show out of touch the team owners and general managers just happen to be , when it comes to the economic climate of the game as it relates to player and team salaries . Boras and his peers have worked steadfast with the MLBPA (union) to make sure that the players are financially well rewarded . Bear in mind ., with the recent sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers , questions have arisen as to the whole process and what interference may well have taken place with Bud Selig interjecting himself in the midst of the transaction with the new owners led by Hall of Famer …… Magic Johnson and his partners from Guggenheim Partners LLC , while the organization underwent bankruptcy protection and reorganization . Not much has been made of this by any of the so-called MLB tv analysts or journalists , who are said to have any sort of knowledge as they have sat idly by , like lap dogs , merely hanging unto Bud Selig’s every word like a mesmerized drug induced individual . And when that shit simply happens you simply know , that the likes of Kurkjian and Olney have no fu#king common sense or any god-damn intelligence whatsoever !

Buster Olney and Tim Kurkjian for all of their apparent insight have been the type of commentators and historians of the game who’d rather embellish and gloss over certain facts , rather than report much of the malfeasance and sheer gross misconduct by many of the game’s highest ranking executives , owners and the players , themselves . Doubt my word ? Simply look over their stories as it relates to many of the reports that they have covered over the last decade and a half within the game of baseball and simply judge for yourself .

As I alluded to earlier , I really don’t believe that the Washington Nationals are amongst the best teams within the NL ! There are way too many flaws on this roster and even if should make the decision to acquire a top-line free agent at some point leading up to or after the trade deadline . I sincerely doubt that will be enough for them to challenge the likes of the St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Dodgers , San Francisco Giants , Philadelphia Phillies , Atlanta Braves or the Arizona Diamondbacks , for that matter .

In truth the nation’s capitol is in need of some real excitement beyond the hypocrisy of what now exists within the alleged ” Hallowed Chambers” of the US House of Representatives , the US Senate and that of the Presidential administration of Barack Obama . Granted, Washington Redskins’ fans believe that it is now a new dawn , with the ringing in of the RG III “era” and the draft choices made that will bolster the existing roster . But in all honesty does anyone truly believe that Robert Griffin III will be able to replicate the success achieved by Cam Newton as a rookie in his first season with the Carolina Panthers , as was attained in 2011 ? Newton , single-handed took that team upon his back and far exceeded expectations. I sincerely doubt that RG III will be able to do that under the coaching auspices of Mike Shanahan , and his son , Kyle Shanahan ! And it is these expectations that are now also being unduly placed upon the shoulders of both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg at this juncture . Failure will undoubtedly be a real cause for concern for each of the players in question but at the same time limited success as it exists will be fleeting . So in that respect the fans will simply have to make of it what they can until there is some semblance of something tangible arising out of this all .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Do you believe that the Washington Nationals can rebound from last season’s poor showing to perhaps be a major factor within the National League this season ? Or do you see it as more of the same from an organization that simply has ideas of grandeur above their very own station and expectations ? Simply chime in with a thought on this and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter .

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(1) LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 29: Bryce Harper (34) of the Washington Nationals looks on before the game with the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 29, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(2) Left fielder Bryce Harper (34) of the Washington Nationals runs off the field after catching a fly ball for the third out of the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 29, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 2-0 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(3) Matt Kemp (27) and Justin Sellers (12) of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after the game against the Washington Nationals on April 29, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 2-0. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(4) Los Angeles Dodgers’ James Loney , right, watches his two-RBI single as Washington Nationals catcher Jesus Flores looks on during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Sunday, April 29, 2012. AP Photo/Chris Carlson …

(5) Starter Gio Gonzalez (47) of the Washington Nationals throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 29, 2012 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …..

(6) Stephen Strasburg (37) of the Washington Nationals pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 28, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(7) Manager Davey Johnson (5) and general manager Mike Rizzo, (left) ,of the Washington Nationals talk before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park on July 1, 2011 in Washington, DC. Getty Images /Greg Fiume ….

(8) Washington Redskins first round NFL football draft pick , Robert Griffin III, speaks at a press conference, Saturday, April 28, 2012, in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Nick Wass ….

(8) Washington Redskins first round NFL football draft pick, Robert Griffin III, poses with a Redskins jersey at a press conference, Saturday, April 28, 2012, in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Nick Wass ….

(9) Washington Redskins first round NFL football draft pick, Robert Griffin III, poses with a Redskins jersey at a press conference, Saturday, April 28, 2012, in Landover, Md. AP Photo/Nick Wass ….

(10) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 26: Robert Griffin III (R) from Baylor holds up a jersey as he stands on stage with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after Griffin was selected #2 overall by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City. Photo by Al Bello/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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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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You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !

You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !

I’m sorry but being an avid NBA fan I’ve always loved the spirit of competition and that goes through a whole litany of sports that I’ve either grown up participating in or watching from afar. At present but there’s no other way to explain it but there really are some god-damn awful teams in the league at present . And it’s clearly down to the lack of real quality coaches in the NBA and the very fact that in large part many of the players simply aren’t that good.

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At present the two worst teams in the league record wise are Minnesota Timberwolves (11-30) and the preposterously bad Cleveland Cavaliers (8-39). I’m sorry but not even Byron Scott can now coach this team out of the mess that they’re in. Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert may well have made the fans in Cleveland a promise that a NBA title banner would be raised inside the Quicken Loans Arena before LeBron James and the Miami Heat would be a led to title by the former Cavaliers’ player. And I know that as of late the Heat have had their problems in the league with a number of setbacks and the fact that their triumvirate of James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade have suddenly become injury prone and the very fact that the team’s —- productivity has been a little inconsistent . Well it won’t hide the fact that they’re still one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference .

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra I’ve no doubt is a capable coach and will right the ship and I can see them contending . The same however cannot be said of the Cavaliers as they descend into an abyss of mediocrity. There’s not been enough that can be said about this team as they have lost 20 consecutive games . And if you thought that statistic was bad then you’ve only got to simply look at the team’s statistics to see how bad things have really become for the organization as a whole. Even with a veteran such as Antawn Jamison on board the Cavaliers simply hasn’t had an answer for any of their opponents that they’ve met this season.

It goes without saying that the only hope that the Cleveland Cavaliers may now have is to go for broke and simply just “tank the season” in the hope that they can earn one of the top picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. And with there being such an abundance of talent in the college ranks namely Kemba Walker , Jared Sullinger , Darius Morris , Marcus Morris , Jimmer Fredette , and Kyle Singler amongst a litany young college players who’ll be looking to make their mark at the professional level. It may well on appearance not be such a bad thing were the Cavaliers to go down that particular path. At this juncture I’m wondering also how Dan Gilbert’s demeanor has to be doing . In an offseason where he berates LeBron James for abandoning the team , I find it mildly amusing that much of this could have been avoided had both parties involved acted with common courtesy rather than letting this idiotic play out in public for their own personal consumption !

Now while no one can deny that John Wall had a stellar collegiate career with the Kentucky Wildcats but his career thus far with the Washington Wizards (13-35) has been anything but average at best. And while praise has been heaped upon the player I can’t help but feel that they’re simply not good enough to be even competitive within the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. A number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft Wall was seen as the corner piece of this team with him perhaps working in part alongside Gilbert Arenas . But alas, that wasn’t to be as the seasoned veteran was shipped off to the Orlando Magic as part of a multi-player multi-team deal .

Say what you will but the Wizards’ fans in attendance at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC can’t have envisaged this all unfolding as a spectacle in front of their very eyes. Their season has been bad enough as it is with the inconsistency playing to all facets of the Wizards’ game . And with what has taken place with the Washington Redskins and their rather mundane season under the tenure of Mike Shanahan , Kyle Shanahan and that rather mediocre coaching staff , in truth one could have a great deal of sympathy for the fans in the nation’s capitol. It’s not as if the Washington Nationals were about to provide them with any solace whatsoever. Although the fans are holding out for a change in fortunes for the team this upcoming season at the Nationals Ballpark . I’d say at this moment in time they’d be better off praying for hell to freeze over first before they can see any of the three teams in question actually turn themselves into championship contenders.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

I’m not so sure as to what needs to be done in order for the Washington Wizards to be competitive. From a coaching standpoint this young roster needs to learn as much as they can as fast as they can if they’re to show any semblance of progress . And that’s the real task that Flip Saunders is now facing even with the assistance of his coaching staff led by Randy Wittman and former NBA player Sam Cassell . If this staff cannot get this Wizards’ team heading in the right direction then to my mind then the turnaround in fortunes that they seek won’t be happening anytime soon ! And that will be to the embarrassment of the Wizards’ front office , GM Ernie Grunfeld and that of principal managing partner Ted Leonsis .

Now when these two teams meet at the Verizon Center I’d certainly like to think that the NBA hierarchy won’t have the temerity to make this part of the national broadcast or through their cable broadcast on their own in-house provider NBA Tv . As poor as the two teams have been playing I certainly don’t think that the nation ought to have to endure such garbage ! Simply put , this will do absolutely nothing to enhance the brand of the NBA , certainly not the brand and product that has given us Jordan , Kareem , Malone , Ewing , Magic Johnson , the 95-96 Bulls’ team and a slew of other NBA greats !

As an avid fan of the game just like any other NBA fan I’d prefer to see competitive games with levels of dexterity and athleticism . Unfortunately when the Cavaliers and Wizards meet on Sunday 13 th February that’s unlikely to happen ! Somehow I think at this juncture I’m sure that David Stern is looking for options if not a chance perhaps to ask that both teams simply settle the result of the game by playing checkers rather than subjecting the nation to this particular form of mediocrity on an NBA basketball court .

What thoughts if any do you have on the NBA season and the woefully inept form of the teams lumbering at the bottom of their respective divisions ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and any other as it relates to the NBA .

Alan aka tophatal

Picture and slide show details immediately below .

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(1)Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph, right, knocks the ball away from Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Minneapolis. Randolph was charged with a foul on the play. AP Photo/Jim Mone ……….

(2) Minnesota Timberwolves’ Darko Milicic, center, of Serbia, crouches between Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, left, of Spain, and Sam Young in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(3) Danny Granger (33) of the Indiana Pacers shoots against Christian Eyenga (8) of the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on February 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images ……

(4)Fans hope for the end of the Cleveland Cavaliers losing streak, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers continued a disappointing season, losing 117-112 to the Pacers, as the streak reached 22 straight. I’d like to think that the Cavaliers’ fans have now become very much more appreciative of the team’s losing streak and their continued mediocre effort being shown on the court ? AP Photo/Mark Duncan …….

(5)Cleveland Cavaliers’ Manny Harris shoots against Indiana Pacers’ Mike Dunleavy, right, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Cleveland. The Pacers won 117-112 to hand the Cavaliers their 22nd straight loss. AP Photo/Mark Duncan …..

(6) Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott, center, is flanked by his coaching staff, from left, Paul Pressey, Chris Jent, Jamahl Mosley and Joe Prunty , Monday September 27th 2010 at the team’s training facility in Independence ,Ohio ,. Picture courtesy of Associated Press .

(7) Alonzo Gee (33) of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against the Indiana Pacers at The Quicken Loans Arena on February 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images ……

(8) Washington Wizards point guard John Wall walks onto the court at the end of a timeout in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. Wall shot two for 11 with four points in Washington’s 97-89 loss to New Orleans. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ………..

(9) Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders reacts to an official’s call in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. New Orleans defeated Washington 97-89. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ……

(10) Washington Wizards guard Nick Young, right, shoots over New Orleans Hornets forward Jason Smith during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. New Orleans defeated Washington 97-89, despite a game-high 30 points from Young. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky ……..

(11) LeBron James smiles as he’s introduced to the crowd at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School with owner Dan Gilbert, left, general manager Danny Ferry, second from the left, and coach Mike Brown, second from the right. In happier times the quartet saw untold success from a competitive and financial standpoint but the past offseason led to a tumultuous upheaval with Danny Ferry re-signing as general manager , Mike Brown being fired and as we all know James left the Cavaliers to ply his trade elsewhere with the Miami Heat. Gus Chan / The Plain Dealer ….

(12) Billionaire internet and media mogul Ted Leonsis the principal owner of the Washington Wizards as well as the NHL’s —- Washington Capitals . Leonsis and his partners bought the Wizards from the late Abe Pollin and his family . Courtesy of The Washington Post/ Getty Images/ Christian Hascher …………

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NB: Click on the links shown below to read the latest news and views around the NBA .

NBA News ……………

NBA Standings ………. Conference

Division

Daily Statistics

NBA Team Statistics

NBA scores & results

Tuesday results

Thursday’s scheduled games

Friday’s scheduled games

Saturday’s scheduled games

Sunday’s scheduled games

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Cavaliers’ news

Wizards’ news

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Junk-in-the-trunk

Eye candy ………………. Meet ‘Biscuits’ whose assets seem to be very well rounded wouldn’t you say ?

Continue reading “You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !”

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

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

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

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Slide show .

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

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

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

Alan aka tophatal ……………………… 🙂

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Nicole

Eye candy …………. Nicole Pankey .Don’t hate simply appreciate.

Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry considering the ludicrous events that’ve taken place over the past twenty four hours . First the bombshell within college football has Florida’s __ Urban Meyer announcing his stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team albeit that he’ll still coach the team in their Outback Bowl meeting against Joe Paterno’s __ Penn State football team . While I find this something of a shock I can also see the comical side of this all given the ongoing criticism that has taken shape within the local press here in the Central Florida area. What might be even more impalpable is the way with which Meyer chose to make this announcement and the circumstances brought up to validate his choice.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Urban Meyer had once before resigned from his post citing the fact that he’d undergone health issues, now he states that because of his familial issues in being away from his children for days on end he feels that he now owes it to them and that he needs to be at their side. Am I missing something here because there are a number of college coaches around the game of college football that are in a similar position being that they are also parents ? So what is it here that Meyer is now trying to have us believe at this moment in time ? A 7-5 season for the Gators wherein they fell short not only in their national title aspirations but also within the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where the Auburn Tigers led by their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Cam Newton would prevail over Steve Spurrier’s ___ South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC title game (56-17). Given that Newton was also once a member of the Gators’ football team before unceremoniously having to leave the campus over irregularities concerning a stolen laptop computer as well as allegations of cheating on a number of tests. What we now have within the local press are a number of journalists questioning Meyer’s choices as it regards game time decisions and his personnel. John Brantley , Tim Tebow’s successor has had something of an inconsistent season and although the coaching staff has used number schemes that didn’t prove effective it simply showed the frailties and weaknesses of this team and the play in particular of the Gators this season. So much for the pundits who lauded Meyer for having a top notch recruiting class this season as it now seems to have been to no avail.

Now while Meyer has stepped down the talk of his successor is now rife as to who many believe should be the next coach of the Florida Gators. Amongs those being named are Jon Gruden , Bobby Petrino , Bob Stoops , Jim Harbaugh , Chris Petersen and Dan Mullen to name but a few . Gruden and Stoops to my mind won’t be particularly interested in the position given the fact that both are well compensated in their present jobs . Gruden is on air analyst with ESPN/ABC while Stoops has one of the most lucrative contracts in all of college football along with very lucrative endorsement deals with several high profiled businesses within state of Oklahoma . Somehow I for one don’t believe that the Gators can match that sort of financial wherewithal ! Gruden while in the service of ABC/ESPN is still being paid the remainder of his contract after his abrupt firing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and if anything the former NFL coach probably covets any one of a number of vacancies that will arise once the season is over . So any talk of Gruden being interested coaching a college program seems to be out of the question and is simply just talk . As to who will ultimately succeed Meyer will rest in the interview process and the decision made by AD Jeremy Foley .

It’s funny but when I heard that the Washington Nationals had signed Jayson Werth to a lucrative seven year $126 million contract I thought that it was a mistake but then I realized who Werth’s agent happened to be and it was none other than uber-agent Scott Boras agent to the stars. This sports agent has been the main provocateur within the game that has seen salaries now escalate to unheard of heights. Need I remind you that he has been influential in making Alex Rodriguez the highest paid player in the game and will have amassed in excess of $500 million in earnings from the game as a salaried player without taking into account off field endorsements. As this idiocy now prevails within the game no one from the game’s hierarchy much less the MLBPA , __ general managers or team owners seem to question the direction that the game is taking in terms of its financial viability. I understand that the Nationals and in particular the team’s GM Mike Rizzo wants to make a big splash but given the fact that Nationals have struggled to be competitive over the past few seasons, I see nothing really changing in spite of the signing of Werth and the promise of Stephen Strasburg . And less we forget that the organization is also counting on former high school phenom Bryce Harper to provide an impact for the team and at the same lure the fans to the Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington, DC.

Fans around the game have to be perplexed by what they’re now seeing as teams now seek to make their best attempt to be viewed as viable contenders. Am I mistaken here but the usual suspects will always be around no matter how many of these teams look to be part of what’s turning out not to be a level playing field at all. Now as the Winter Meetings have ended amongst the team owners and general managers the most prized free agent still remains on the open market and two teams are left standing to battle it out with the prize being the signature and services of Cliff Lee are the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers . And while Lee remains coveted the Rangers and in particular team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels . And the team has offered the pitcher a six year contract that’s estimated to in the region of $120 million , it’s said that the Yankees are prepared to offer Lee a seven year contract paying between $130 to $145 million , with the seventh year being an option year for the player and team.

One tries to assimilate this and make some sense of it all but I for one no longer find it a complexity at all. It merely now boils down to the avarice of the owners , players and the game’s hierarchy itself. No one seems to question the fact that the teams are now spending money like it’s going out of fashion but then again given the mendacity with which the government has chosen to run up the federal deficit and national debt should we be at all surprised to see the idiocy now taking place within the game of baseball ? I know at the end of the day the decision to be made by Lee will be his alone but at the same time even if his wife still has her doubts over the behavior of the New York Yankees’ fans and the profanity laced taunts she faced while attending the ALCS games at Yankees’ Stadium . It goes without saying that the player may well err on the side of wanting the money over remaining in Texas with the team where his postseason performances prior to the World Series were very exhilarating .

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Picture gallery for your perusal

The future of the Gators may well be bright but we won’t actually know that until a new coach is hired by the AD and the identity that he wishes to bring to the team. As to how the Gators’ fans may well now view this all remains to be seen but as of now the well wishers are there for Meyer and for what he’s achieved for the program . But there also the detractors who no doubt feel somewhat betrayed by his actions . Make of it what you will . As to what’s now transpiring this off-season within the game of baseball let’s just say that even with Carl Crawford’s signing by the Boston Red Sox and their seven year offer of $140 million this won’t be the last time that we’ll see these type of maneuvers take place within the game. This off season Scott Boras made sure that the game of baseball remains where it is right in the doldrums and the fans of the game have remained bewildered by what has taken place . That my friends is how one saves face while not wanting to win friends and influence people !

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the Urban Meyer stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team and your own thinking as to the Washington Nationals signing of Jayson Werth ? By all means simply leave a comment on this topic and as always thanks for the continued support.

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………… 🙂 ___ 😦 __ 😛

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Tiara

Eye candy …. Tiara

Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

Discipline, The Concept of Business And Sports

In all honesty I can say that I thoroughly enjoy my work as a research analyst within the corporate affairs department of a noted law firm . Now having said that in the endeavor of working with a number corporate litigators with regard business incorporations for corporations not just here in the United States but also in their incorporation for overseas. That being said , I’ve always felt that we can learn a great deal about sports be it from an individualistic standpoint or through a team endeavor. By merely just adapting the solid business principles applicable if one adheres to those principles then it does make things a great deal easier. I do feel that we can understand greatly what’s needed to make not only a business successful but also sports organization be it a franchise or an individual in their own respective regimen.

Practice, dedication and applying one’s self to and adhering to that discipline. Over the weekend I wasn’t really able to get in a great deal of watching that much sports as a great deal of my time was spent collating a number of files for work. Having done that I was lucky enough to see a number of sporting events that took place. The World Cup has now reached the knockout stage and all of the bitching and whining isn’t going to hide the fact that the expectations of both England and the USA had failed to be met. In the round of 16, the US fell to a well-disciplined Ghanaian team . Never mind the fact that I’d read within this forum , a number bloggers who had this asinine notion that this Bob Bradley coached team would simply march through Ghana as if they were none existent. Much of the time, when I read such diatribe I can only surmise that much of this comes from the personification of xenophobia rather than anything that has been rationally or well thought out. But a lot of that came about from the fact that those who are actually writing about the subject might not actually know a great deal about the sport.

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Slide show for your perusal .

Sadly for the US team , their journey in the World Cup came to an abrupt end in their 2-1 loss to Ghana , who now proceed on to the quarter finals of the event. The US’s Group C fellow residents, England ,would fail also to make it through to last eight of the World Cup. The Fabio Capello coached team would fail miserably as they were thoroughly outclassed by their most fabled foe and nemesis Germany. Any thought of England reliving the 1966 World Cup Finals would be thoroughly dismissed as they were outclassed by a German team that simply was too much for an English team that lacked the will and creativity to be competitive and win !. What little that the English fans in attendance saw , could only have disappointed. With that being said, Capello had thought that the game hinged on a disallowed goal, was idiotic , from the very outset. Rather than pouncing on the real reasons why his team lacked an effort and it became all the more relevant that the team became completely deflated . As they would succumb to a German that team wanted to win with a great deal of passion and desire. And that was most definitely the case, as they came a away with a thoroughly convincing 4-1 victory over their English counterparts.

Well now that the backbone of the Tampa Bay Rays seems to have been broken about the only thing left was for there to be some discord shown amongst the players. Having seen only mere snippets of the Carlos Zambrano meltdown wherein he berated his teammate Derrick Lee of the Chicago Cubs. Not that I’ve ever been overly concerned with anything that’s allegedly pertinent about the Cubs as this is an organization who simply doesn’t know how to win much less being able to spell the word were you to spot the them the letters W and N ! This is a club whose manager Lou Pinellas’s best years as a manager are behind him. With Zambrano being indefinitely being suspended by GM Jim Hendry and Piniella, it remains to be seen how the Cubs will regroup and reemerge from this all.

Over the weekend we saw the Rays’ B J Upton show us all why he will forever remain an enigma for this organization. All “the talent in the world” but Upton appears to be either a “knuckle head” or someone who just doesn’t seem to care much about the game at times. This was very much evident in the inter-league game between the Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks . Rather than chasing down a ball hit in deep left center field ,Upton merely loll gagged as he jogged to the wall made the fielding play and then threw the ball back into the infield . He would later state that he’d misjudged the play and was under the impression that his teammate Jason Bartlett was within easy reach of the ball that would elicit a triple being attained by the Diamondbacks . For the fans who saw this , I can only surmise that for them it was either disgust or the mere fact that they’ve now become use to seeing Upton become lazy and make the most extraordinary of excuses for his lackadaisical play. What might have been more exacerbating was that Rays’ manager Joe Maddon tried to shrug this all off as if it were nothing important. But it was important enough for Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria to see fit to dress down his teammate for his poor play ,decision making and complete lack of effort shown by the out-fielder. And for the notion that this has now all blown over if this is an indication of the meltdown we’re now seeing from a team that can’t seem to put together a series of wins much less score runs. Then before it’s all said and done we could see this team’s season go completely up in smoke.

OK by now, you all know that I am no great admirer of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. Neither of these two high ranking officials have shown their wish to acknowledge what has now become more a rather acute topic. And that is the mere fact that players having suffered multiple concussions are now prone to multiple lapses in concentration , loss of memory and severe head pains. Now in the midst of this all with the recent autopsy and medical report concerning former Cincinnati Bengalis’ wide receiver Chris Henry . We’re now being made aware that the player had suffered several head concussions brought on from playing in the NFL . In addition, not only that but the player was said to be a sufferer of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). An abnormal bruising of the brain that can lead to mild forms of dementia, losing of one’s speech and in some cases lead to a person’s loss of their motor neuron skills. That being said, the player’s death should now be a great cause for concern, given what we now know from the findings in this medical report.

Courtesy of Associated Press & Yahoo Sports

WVU doctors: Chris Henry had chronic brain injury


By Vicki Smith Associated Press Writer

Morgantown, W.Va,. (AP) Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry suffered from a chronic brain injury that may have influenced his mental state and behavior before he died last winter, West Virginia University researchers said Monday.

The doctors had done a microscopic tissue analysis of Henry’s brain that showed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Neurosurgeon Julian Bailes and California medical examiner Bennet Omalu, co-directors of the Brain Injury Research Institute at WVU, announced their findings alongside Henry’s mother, Carolyn Henry Glaspy, who called it a “big shock” because she knew nothing about her 26-year-old son’s underlying condition or the disease.

Henry died in December, a day after he came out of the back of a pickup truck his fiancee was driving near their home in Charlotte, N.C. It’s unclear whether Henry jumped or fell. Toxicology tests found no alcohol in his system, and an autopsy concluded he died of numerous head injuries, including a fractured skull and brain hemorrhaging.

But Bailes, team doctor for the Mountaineers and a former Pittsburgh Steelers physician, said it’s easy to distinguish those acute traumatic injuries from the underlying condition he and Omalu found when staining tiny slices of Henry’s brain.

Bailes and fellow researchers believe chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is caused by multiple head impacts, regardless of whether those blows result in a concussion diagnosis. A number of studies, including one commissioned by the NFL , have found that retired professional football players may have a higher rate than normal of Alzheimer’s disease and other memory problems.

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It appears that for the likes of both Goodell and Smith, this issue is the least bit of importance to them at this very juncture. I have heard it said that Goodell has a great deal on his plate as commissioner of the NFL. From my standpoint the only thing at appears to concern Goodell and Smith….. is the sound of cash falling into the NFL’s coffers and how best the two parties can best disperse of their windfall ! Goodell and DeMaurice Smith haven’t brought it upon themselves to deal with this very issue head on . If anything they both would rather hide behind their ever increasing glib sound bytes on the matter in stating that they’re taking everything under advisement from the very best medical professionals out there. My question to both Goodell and Smith is how much longer will they both carry on with this charade that the NFL and NFLPA are actually doing something proactive about this very matter ? Try pissing in a lake to see how much of a ripple effect is made and there you’ll find your answer as it concerns both the NFL and NFLPA !

Is it me but is the collective IQ of the alleged NBA writers comparable to that of the IQ’s of Paris Hilton and Heidi Montag combined ? I’m not saying that these idiots are absolutely clueless but if their continued speculation is anything to go by then each has their own idea as to where LeBron James’ final destination will be. Let us just say that both Cavaliers’ principal partner Dan Gilbert and the team’s GM Chris Grant had better know how to assemble a team that will complement James prerequisite skills . Up until now, all that James has been given is bare meat and potatoes instead of filet-mignon. In addition, as well we know when it comes eating the main course meat and potatoes does not go down well with Baron de Rothschild 62 vintage champagne. Now there is a great deal of speculation as to where James will ultimately end up. From what we know is that there are at said to be at least six interested parties for James’ services. However, if anything until we ultimately know what the teams are actually prepared to do. We can only prognosticate and debate the MVP’s future and where his future may now lay.

Now the Stephen Strasburg effect is playing its part in bringing out the fans to witness the young phenom’s prowess. I have a word of advice for the Washington Nationals’ fans out there. Now that his arbitration clock is ticking and given the fact that his agent is Scott Boras . Well, three years from now Strasburg may well be no longer be a Washington Nationals’ player. Suffice to say, that the New York Yankees will swoop down to take Strasburg off the Nationals’ hands. I don’t care what you might think but the present Nationals’ team isn’t going anywhere at all. They are simply not good enough in either facets of the game of baseball. Other than Strasburg, there is simply nothing at all worthwhile to look at, on what can be best described as a rather mundane and mediocre team.If you doubt my word simply, look at the box score of the game between the Nationals and Atlanta Braves . Strasburg pitched an outstanding effort for six innings only to see the bullpen waste an opportunity . In the end the NL East division leading Braves would come away with a 5-0 victory from Turner Field , Fulton County, Atlanta , Georgia.

Nationals’ team President Stan Kasten simply knows how to make the customary sound byte but beyond that he has to realize that he’s now facing an uphill battle in hoping to make the young pitcher the centerpiece of their future. If the Nationals cannot place a team good enough to supplement his talents then they might as well give up hope of retaining his services in the future. We know that whatever the New York Yankees simply want, they usually get and without a doubt if they desire Strasburg, much like when a lion stalks its prey before swooping down for the kill .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As I alluded to earlier at the beginning of this piece one can always gauge not only the determination and success of a business entity or sports franchise by the discipline shown by the executives within an organization as it tends to give an indication as to what they aspire to become. A good business much like a good sports franchise has to be good from ground up and from the top down..

Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………………….

UB40 …………………” Higher Ground”

It’s My Party I’ll Cry If I Want To …Laugh If I Want To ………….. Oh To Be A Nationals’ Fan …….

It’s My Party I’ll Cry If I Want To …Laugh If I Want To ………….. Oh To Be A Nationals’ Fan …….

What can you say about a baseball team whose high point of their year has been the call-up of their young pitching phenom ? The furor that surrounded the call-up of Washington Nationals’ pitcher Stephen Strasburg was met with such hype and expectation that one would have believed that the Nationals were actually the reigning World Series champions , rather than the perennial cellar dweller rooted to the foot of the table in the NL East .

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Courtesy of MLB.com

Mr. Precedent! Strasburg fans 14 in debut

Nats edge Pirates in right-hander’s electrifying first start

By Bill Ladson MLB.com

Washington — Making his Major League debut after 11 sensational Minor League starts, Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitched seven innings of two-run ball against the Pirates on Tuesday, earning the win and striking out 14 in the Nats’ 5-2 victory.

Delwyn Young’s two-run home run with two outs in the fourth was the only damage against Strasburg.

A sellout crowd of 40,315 saw Strasburg allow just four hits, and his 14 strikeouts established a club record. The 14 strikeouts by Strasburg in a Major League debut were one shy of the all-time mark of 15 set by Karl Spooner in 1954 and J.R. Richard in ’71. Even more amazing was that he struck out no more than nine batters in a game when pitching in the Minor Leagues.

Strasburg, who did the job without looking at scouting reports, threw 94 pitches, 65 for strikes, and didn’t walk a batter. The righty retired his final 10 batters, striking out his last seven.

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In front of an almost sellout crowd and with legions following the game on television , Strasburg proved to everyone who witnessed his performance that he’s as good as advertised. The pitcher’s performance at Nationals Park in the nation’s capital , was one to savor . And their 5-2 victory over the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates might just might be what brings some semblance of respectability to this team . In attendance were just over 40,000 fans cheering on Strasburg , as he pitched a “gem of a game” , striking out fourteen batters , allowing just four hits and two earned runs, in what can be best described as the pitcher’s introduction to the big leagues.

It’d be remiss to think that this one performance will be something that makes the team an immediate power to be reckoned with. But if this is any indication of what Strasburg will be bringing to the Nationals and the game of baseball in particular. Then the fans around in the league are going to be in for something special. As for the fans of the Washington Nationals the this augurs well for theirs and the team’s future. Of which has to be said that the fortunes of this team hasn’t been filled with pleasant memories or anything that borders on the team being successful. Team President , general partner Stan Kasten and majority stakeholder Ted Lerner knows in that
acquiring Strasburg as the overall pick from the 2009 MLB Draft . They knew that the player would be at least one part of the major building blocks needed to make the team all the more competitive and a force to be reckoned with. Strasburg as the overall number one pick of 2009, has risen up the ranks with a great deal of speed. Much of it some might say is undue pressure because of the team’s predicament and that the fans aren’t really coming to the ballpark in droves. The arrival of Strasburg to the league and in particular for the Nationals’ home games will now make that all the more of a reality. Beyond the Nationals , Capitals , Wizards and Redskins . By way of a fan based sporting endeavor there isn’t a great deal to be had on the professional level when it comes to sports entertainment and attending a game in the nation’s capital.

For the coaching staff of the Nationals led by team coach Jim Riggleman and the sending up of Strasburg from their AAA affiliate . This will augment what is a good pitching staff but not a great one. And statistically on both sides of their ball-game the Nationals have some real work to do. If they can show any sort of semblance wherein Strasburg’s appearance can jump start their season . However, they’ll need to work very hard on improving that rather mediocre mark of 28-31 record that has placed them some 6 1/2 games back of the division leading Atlanta Braves (34-25) in the NL East .

They say that when the sun starts to shine it tends to shine brightest on the meek and the most deserving. Of that I’m necessarily sure ! But if we can believe that to be true then God has made sure that the vestiges of his greatness shone brightly upon the Nationals’ organization. In this year’s MLB Draft __ once again the organization was able to pick up the best player in the draft , in high school sensation , Bryce Harper . GM Mike Rizzo was never in any doubt that Harper, an offensive minded catcher was the pick of the litter of a very good talent pool of collegiate and high school players. However, Rizzo has stated that he’d like to see the player converted to either a first baseman or a center fielder for the team’s outfield. Harper , College of Southern Nevada was taken number one overall ahead of pitcher James Taillon out of The Woodlands High School , Texas, chosen and taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates .

Now while we can all commend the Nationals on a job well done. I hearken back to when there was this much furor being supposedly made over another great pitching phenom. In fact there were two of them on the very same team. And “that team” too was an NL representative and much was expected from both Kerry Wood and Mark Prior of the Chicago Cubs . Suffice to say , the Cubs haven’t been the same since those lukewarm days shall we say ? In reality, even when Cubs’ fan Steve Bartman was amidst of the team’s most infamous incident , things still didn’t change for the better for the team or the organization . A leprechaun’s pot of gold, a four leaf clover and a cross bearing St Christopher’s name and the Chicago Cubs would still have been mired in the midst of mediocrity. That’s how bad things were and have become for the team.

Now I’m quite prepared to look at the glass empty or half full as the case maybe concerning the Nationals. But bear this in mind one stellar outing doesn’t a great pitcher or player make. We’ll no doubt get to see Strasburg real sense of character and determination when he has to face real adversity in pitching under pressure. A home game against the Pirates at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. for all sense and purpose he might as well have been pitching against a varsity team or a girls’ softball team. It’s not as if the Pirates are known for the competitive play or offensive presence to begin with ! Let’s see how Strasburg contends with such teams as the Braves, St Louis Cardinals , Los Angeles Dodgers Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres . Then we’ll see whether or not he’s got the mettle to withstand all of the rigors and nuances of major league baseball. I for one am not yet ready to anoint Strasburg as the “second coming” of Nolan Ryan . Give him four or five years and then we’ll see how those stats will compare. For the time being let those who choose to laud Stephen Strasburg continue to do so. I wonder if his career were to suddenly go south because he couldn’t get command of his pitches and find the strike zone. I’m inclined to believe that those who were calling him “great”, “magnificent” and “spectacular” , might just be willing to then call him a complete bust !

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Picture gallery for your perusal. Click on an individual frame in order to view the picture in
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What thoughts if any do you have on the rather impressive first outing of Strasburg in the majors ? And how do you see him performing in years to come ? What also , if any are your thoughts on Bryce Harper and what do you believe the game has in store for not only both of these players but also the impending future of Washington Nationals as a baseball team ? Do you believe that within five years they will be able to contend for a National League pennant or quite possibly a World Series title ? By all means chime on in with a comment on this and any other thoughts that you might have on the game at present . I’ll look forward to responding to your comments in due time . As always thank you for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan Parkins aka tophatal …………………….. 🙂

Nas ……………………Made You Look

It’s The Gift That Keeps On Ticking , Ticking And Just Keeps On Givin, Otherwise Known As Basball’s Dirty Little Secret ………

It’s  The Gift  That  Keeps  On Ticking , Ticking  And  Just   Keeps  On  Giving  ,  Otherwise  Known  As  Baseball’s  Dirty  Little  Secret  .

 

 

 

 

Well   now  that  the   World   Baseball  Classic  has  past. And   it has  no  doubt  faded  off   long  into  the  memories  of    most.  Especially   considering   the   United  States’  team’s    ever  so   disastrous   efforts   in the   tournament.    Now  I’m   not   going  to  lament   on  what  went   wrong  there.  As  it’s   best   left  to the  likes  of   Tommy  LaSorda.    He  knows   better  than   most    how   ineffectual   the  team  actually  was. 

 

 

Former Senator  George  Mitchell  and  Major  League Baseball  Commissioner  Allan 'Bud'  Selig  seen  here   at the  announcement   that  the   announcement  the   reported   investigation   known as The Mitchell Report  has  reached  its  culmination.
Sen. George Mitchell (foreground) and Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan 'Bud' Selig seen here announcing that the conducted investigation into steroid use within the game known as The Mitchell Report had reached its culmination . The contents of which haven't been readily made for public consumption. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Patrick Rycroft ..............

 

 

 

It’s   now  coming    more  the   fore   as  to  how  much   of  a  conflict   and  corruption  there now   is  when   it  comes  to   recruiting    young   players   from the  Caribbean  and   the  South  American   continent   into the  major  leagues.  So   much   so   that   even   when  The Mitchell Report  touched   on the  matter  it  was  somewhat   ignored.   Those  of  who  were   interested as  to  the  content   of  the  report   were    primarily   concerned as  to  what  it  have   to  say  with  regard  to  the   players   involved   in  the   steroid  abuse   scandal. 

 

 

 

 

That   situation   in   of itself   continues   unabated  and   it  hasn’t   helped  that  the   game’s   biggest  star   Alex  Rodriguez   has   admitted   to  using   steroids.  And   whilst  the  player  has   offered   what   one  would   deem  a  contrite   apology   to  the   fans ,  public  ,  his   teammates  and  the    New York  Yankees  organization.   The   latest   rumors    surrounding  the   player   only  exacerbates  the   situation  even  further .  Added  to  the   fact  that  he’s   lost  to  the  team  before   the   regular  season  begins   due   injury  and   surgery.

 

 

Alex  Rodriguez (right)  along  with  Yankees' GM Brian  Cashman (center)  and  the  team's  manager Joe Girardi.
Alex Rodriguez (right) seen here alongside Yankees' GM Brian Cashman (center) and team manager Joe Girardi. All three are there at George Stennbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Where the player made his public statement announcing his use of steroids. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Al Messerschmidt .............

 

 

This   has   become   nothing   but  an    unmitigated  disaster    for  Major  League  Baseball.  Their   effort to   try   and   clean  up  the  game  has  been  about  as  effective   as   throwing   a   half   empty  kerosene  gas  can   into  fire   thinking  that   nothing   will  actually  happen.  And  with  evidence  now   swirling   around  that  young   players   in  particularly   from  the  Dominican  Republic   have   been   used  as   pawns   in    the  deceptive  practice   of  enticing   big  league    teams   to    pay  exorbitant   sums   of  money  in  terms   of a  signing   bonus  to  effectively   have  a  player   sign  with  them.    It   only  adds     further     to a  percolating    pot  of  misdeed  and    plain   ineptitude    within  the   upper  ranks   of  the game’s   hierarchy.     And  it   certainly   hasn’t    helped  that    officials    from  within   some   of  the  major    organizations   might   well   have  been   involved  are   infact  implicated  in  payoffs to  the  buscones /agents (facilitators)  who    offer  the  players   to  the   teams.

 

 

Esmailyn Gonzalez  as  he's  known  the  Washington Nationals  but  the  player's  actual  given  birth  name  is  Carlos Alvarez  Daniel  Lugo.  He's  seen  here  signed  as a  top prospect   with  then  coach  Frank  Robinson.
Esmailyn Gonzalez as he's known to the Washington Nationals. But whose given and birth name is actually Carlos Daniel Alvarez Lugo. The player seen here with then coach Frank Robinson was signed as a top prospect by the team. picture appears courtesy of ap/ Victor Matthews ..............

 

 

 

 

This   all   emanated  from  the  Esmailyn Gonzalez  scandal  that  exploded    with  the   player   having   signed   with  the  Washington  Nationals. Not   only  had   the   player’s   birth  certificate   been    falsified   with   regards   to   his   age.   But   a  large   amount   of   money  exchanged   hands   between  the   team   ,  the   player   in   terms   of  his   signing   bonus.  But   also    with   the   agent   getting   his   cut.  It’s   believed  that   also  several  of   the  Nationals’ own  staff    profited   from  this    by  way   of   a   cut   from   the  money   that  was    paid  to   the  player.  It’s   not    uncommon   for   this   to   happen  within  the  lower   echelons  of   organization   if  it’s   deemed  to  be  happening  amongst  a  team’s   scouting   staff.    But    what    makes  this  all   so   unpalatable   is   that  it   is  believed  that   in  the   case   of  Gonzalez  .  It   may  have   involved  the   team’s   general  manager  at the  time  Jim  Bowden  and   his special  assistant   Jose Rijo .   And  while   both    are   no    longer  with   the   team with   Rijo   having    been   fired  and  Bowden   re-signing    while   proclaiming   his  innocence  as   to   any   wrongdoing.   The   facts   speak   for  themselves     as   very    little   was   done   to   verify  the   player’s  records.  Much   less  they, themselves    conducting   their  own  internal investigation.

 

 

Nationals' principal  owner  Stan  Kasten .
Washington Nationals' principal owner Stan Kasten. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Paul Thornton ..................

 

 

 

 

While  on  appearance  this  may   not   seem   a   serious   transgression.  Consider the  fact   once    money   was   pocketed   by   anyone   within  the  organization   who  wasn’t  entitled  to it.  It   then  becomes  a  federal  offense   and   as   such  is  indictable     by   law.   And  with   the  FBI   now   conducting   its  own  investigation    into   what  it   is   believed  to  now   be  a   widespread   practice   throughout   the   league.  One   has  to   ask  the   question.    What   is   going   on     behind   the  closed   doors   of   Major   League  Baseball  and   its   franchises   ?  If  there’s  now  that  much    widespread    corruption   from  the   top  down  then   surely   the   game’s  own   hierarchy    ought  to  be  looked  at  as  well  ? 

 

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