Category: Sports Commentary

Hits or misses …


Hits and misses ….

MLB (baseball’s) Opening Day of the regular season schedule will begin with the St Louis Cardinals meeting the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago , Illinois on the 5th April , 2015. This will be the opening game of the schedule , unofficially starting the season . For both of these NL Central Division teams, this is a season where a great deal will be riding on the managerial skills of Mike Matheny of the Cardinals and Joe Maddon of the Cubs. St Louis ended the postseason of 2014 on something of a dour note having lost the NL Pennant to eventual World Series champions the San Francisco Giants.

=====================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

———————-
Slideshow.

This was the Giants’ third postseason triumph in the past five years, with all of the victories coming under manager Bruce Bochy. The Giants’ manager in conjunction with GM Brian Sabean have put together championship winning rosters with the guile and zeal not seen in several years within the game of baseball and , undoubtedly enhancing the reputation of this San Francisco Giants’ franchise to be considered a modern-day dynasty. Those words are rarely mentioned nowadays within the game , because it has become so difficult for a team to win multiple titles within a short time-span. Bochy has been able to achieve that feat , three times in the space of six years. With the last such team to win as many being the New York Yankees during their latter decade dominance of the late nineties and into the early 2000’s . Four titles under then manager Joe Torre with a further added in 2009, brought baseball’s most renowned franchiseto their tally of twenty-seven World Series’ titles.

(1)

Mike Matheny , left, manager of the St Louis Cardinals and Joe Maddon , his opposite number with the Chicago Cubs will have their teams open up the regular season schedule for the 2015 Major League Baseball season . Both teams will be looking to play a prominent role within the NL as well as seek to make appearance in the postseason. AP Photo/ David Foster

Joe Maddon takes over a Chicago Cubs’ franchise devoid of success and longing to make their way back to relevance with a divisional title win and with it a postseason appearance. It has been seven years since the Cubs’ last postseason appearance and twelve years since their appearance in the NLCS where they fell to the Florida Marlins(Miami Marlins) in the best of seven-game series. The pennant game in question, was memorable because of the antics of Cubs’ fan Steve Bartman whose stupidity may well have robbed the ball-club of making it to the World Series that year . Bartman became a “pariah” , receiving death threats from rabid and vocal fans , leaving the besieged individual to be led from the ballpark that night , and his being lauded for his sheer stupidity . That event shaped the downward spiral of the organization between 2004 and 2008.

(2)

Steve Bartman , a Chicago Cubs’ fan reaches in , depriving Moises Alou from making a defensive play during the 2003 NCLS game played between the Miami Marlins and Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field ,in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs would go on to lose the series , with many believing Bartman’s actions changed the team’s fate in the game as well as the entire series. The Marlins would go on to win the World Series that year . AP Photo / Michael Walsh

If the Chicago Cubs under the reins of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer cannot get this franchise heading in the right direction , then there is an bigger chance both front office executives will make another upheaval of the playing roster. Cubs’ outfielder Starling Castro is seen as the player who can lead the Chicago Cubs this season with his stealth in the outfield and offense at the the plate. Chicago will enter the season with a $115.5 million payroll , which is not considerably high among the teams entering the Opening Day of the regular season. The highest paid player on the team’s roster will be pitcher Jon Lester alongside Edwin Jackson and catcher Jesus Montero . Lester and Jackson will be asked to spearhead a pitching rotation that will have to prove itself against the rest of their NL and AL opponents over the course of this season.

(3)

San Francisco Giants’ GM Bruce Bochy is seen here with team manager Bruce Bochy as the two survey the ballpark . Sabean and Bochy have guided the franchise to three World Series’ titles in the past six seasons and will be looking to add a fourth in 2015. The Giants are highly favored within NL this season . having kept the core of their championship winning lineup from 2014 where they defeated the Kansas City Royals to win that third title. fourth title. Getty Images North America / Mary Watson

The disappointment of last season was not lost on Don Mattingly , manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. With the organization having spent in excess of $500 million in the last two seasons to simply have nothing to show for it all , has not lessened the impact and the pressure about to be placed on Mattingly this upcoming season. Andrew Friedman enters the fray having put in charge to head the Baseball Operations for the Dodgers , with senior executives , Stan Kasten , Todd S Boehly, Mark Walter , Magic Johnson and Peter Guber likely to see a vast improvement from a team entering this season again with the highest payroll in Major League Baseball.

If the Dodgers cannot overcome the San Francisco Giants within the NL Central as well as number of their NL opponents while seeking a postseason berth. Mattingly and the team fell apart during the postseason of 2014, with their NL MVP and NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw , proving all of the plaudits with astonishing exploits of his regular season , was all for nothing during his postseason foray. Over the past four years Kershaw has been one of the dynamic pitchers in the game and and by far the best regular season pitcher in the NL during the time-frame in question.

Don Mattingly and his team will begin the regular season with a series of games against the San Diego Padres at Dodgers Ballpark , in Los Angeles, California . In his first game against his old team Matt Kemp will be looking to lead the Padres to opening day win as the Padres look to get off to a positive start in 2015. James Shields will be the starter for the Padres against Clayton Kershaw in this divisional contest , as part of a slew of games on Monday afternoon.

A year removed from his departure , Robinson Cano made an impact providing the Seattle Mariners with the type of offense they were sorely missing as an AL franchise. Cano also provided the ball-club with the veteran leadership traits sought and they are likely to see again this season , as their sojourn begins. With a team which during the off-season saw a number of changes as the front office sought to fortify the Mariners’ lineup.

The Mariners’ gain was the New York Yankees’ loss and it easy to understand why the AL East struggled throughout much of last season in just about every facet of their game. While Robinson Cano has flourished in his new surroundings, while his former team , the Yankees , have struggled mightily . Injuries asides , last season they lacked leadership , even with the now retired Derek Jeter playing his last regular season for the franchise. There did not seem a lot that could be done by the players over the course of the season. Joe Girardi and his coaching staff could never really get things going through the first half of the season.

Alex Rodriguez’s return to the lineup where he is expected to play first-base for the Yankees, will place the player under the microscope after his league mandated suspension for the entire 2014 season. Despite all of the original denials, as to his use of a banned substance , Rodriguez’s continued mes-culpas are now a thing , likely to taint his career and any chance he may believe he has in gaining induction into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. His statistics place him in the upper echelons of the game’s elite .com/ players , but it cannot be denied , it has been his legacy off the field of play , which has become his Achilles’ Heal , leading to his ultimate downfall.

While this whole sordid affair was mishandled by a bumbling league hierarchy where there is still no common sense to be found , even with Rob Manfred having succeeded Bud Selig as the new incoming MLB Commissioner. The New York Yankees’ organization are as much to blame for this faux-pas and absolute incompetent handling , as the league hierarchy itself. Hank Steinbrenner , his sibling , Hal Steinbrenner , GM Brian Cashman and SVP Lonn A Trost bungled and goofed their way through their handling of the Alex Rodriguez “ affair “ , that it has become a template for what a baseball franchise ought not to do, when handling a situation of this magnitude .

The Yankees will begin their schedule with a home opener against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankees Stadium in New York City, New York , with Masahiro Tanaka taking the mound against an opponent yet to be named in this contest on Monday afternoon , with a start time of 1.00 PM for the first pitch.

(9)

Having signed a five-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays ,to become the ball-club’s manager , Kevin Cash , seen here , will have a tough task on his hands as the team seeks to get back into contention among their divisional rivals and the AL while seeking to win the World Series . A single appearance in the Fall Classic ended in defeat against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008 , in a lopsided series’ loss (4-1) . AP Photo / Paul Bell

Nothing suggests that more , than the continued idiocy of the fans and local political dignitaries, with their asinine belief the building of a new ballpark will be the savior and lead to the long-term viability of franchise. The Rays remain among the leastsupported baseball franchises in all of baseball and it has been an ongoing issue for a franchise, where the claims are , they have a fan-base of 20,000 hardcore fans , when the true figure in reality is actually closer to 15,000 at best . The Tampa Bay Rays rarely sellout for a regular season home game and the only time their home venue , anywhere near close to capacity , are their home games and series against divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees.

Kevin Cash assumes the reins as the successor to Joe Maddon and it will be interesting to see what this rookie manager will be able to achieve in first managerial position in Major League Baseball. This a team of limited ability , and that is with due to respect to the pitching staff and what has tended to be a rather inconsistent offense over the past few years. The Rays were simply lackluster in 2014 which was reflected in their poor showing within the AL East at the end of the year and a lackluster in the wild-card standings failing to garner a postseason berth and entry into the end of year showcase finale.

(10)

Tampa Bay Rays’ senior managing partner , Stuart Sternberg ,left , is seen here with GM Matt Silverman as the two have a discussion while attending a meeting with the board members of the Pinellas County Commission . This was a formal meeting with the dignitaries , as they seek to hammer out a proposal for a stadium financing initiative. For the past nine years the franchise has sought a new stadium, but to no avail at the state , municipal or county level , in getting a deal done to replace the now archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida ,. All signs seem to be pointing to the fact Sternberg may well seek to relocate the franchise elsewhere if he is unable to get a governmental agency backed deal for the financing done. At no point has the owner (Sternberg) himself , offered to put up any of his own personal funds as a measure of good faith, while seeking to get any type of proposal set in motion . Baseball’s hierarchy has provided little help to the AL East based franchise , during their endeavors, leading many to believe former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are not overly concerned about the Rays’ fate. AP Photo / Mark Powers

I believe the Tampa Bay Rays will struggle to eke out more than eighty-five wins , with ninety wins likely needed to be in with a chance of winning the division and at a minimum eighty-five wins for a wild-card berth. Chris Archer will be the opening day starter for the Rays when they face the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. Archer will be going up against Chris Tillman of the Orioles in what is likely to be a very good pitching match-up between these two young MLB staring pitchers . Chris Archer and his teammates will have something to prove this upcoming season when their schedule gets underway. Things will likely become very “testy “ over the first month of the season. This being purely speculative based upon on what we witnessed during April of 2014.

These two AL teams will certainly have something to prove this upcoming season, because their lack of recent postseason success has left a vacuum in their respective legacies. For both the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels should they fail to make a deep run into the postseason beyond winning their divisions . I believe both Dave Dombrowski and Jerry Dipoto as the respective general managers of both organizations will have to make some serious moves during the off-season . With that being said , in all likelihood we are likely see these type of transactions as has often been the case during the regular season , when teams seek to play themselves into contention after the All Star Game .

Brad Ausmus begins his second season in charge of the coaching staff and Tigers’ playing roster , which includes MVP’s and Cy Young Award winners , Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander . The two players will be be pivotal to the team’s success this upcoming season and as they go , the so do the Detroit Tigers. It has been some thirty-years since the Tigers tasted real success by way of a World Series’ victory. Alan Trammell was the hero of the moment , coming away with the World Series’ MVP as the Tigers got by the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series . Alan Trammell was the hero of the moment coming away with the World Series’ MVP as the Tigers got by the San Diego Padres in the 1984 World Series .

Appearances in the Fall Classic of 2006 and 2012 left the Detroit Tigers without anything to to show for it all. Being so close and yet so far has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the organization . Michael Ilitch as the Tigers’ owner in spite of his immense wealth would like nothing better than to see the ball-club be triumphant once again. Whether not this will be the season where they prevail , will have a great deal to do with how competitive they are within the AL Central as well as within AL and the rest of baseball in general. Detroit will begin their foray , when David Price takes to the mound for the Tigers as he faces Phil Hughes of the Minnesota Twins at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan on Monday, 6th April, 2015.

Mike Scioscia is likely on the “hot seat” with regard to his job security. He is now one of the longest tenured managers in baseball, but of late , his managerial resume’ has been littered with disaster , managing the Los Angeles Angels. Failure is no longer an option and I believe Jerry Dipoto’s and team owner, Arte Moreno’s faith in the manager has grown extremely thin ! When you have players of the caliber of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton , Jered Weaver and C J Wilson , you cannot continue to make excuses for the team’s woes. Hamilton seems to have returned to ways of old , with his sobriety coming into question as well his lack of candor and productivity for the Angles. With such a great deal of money invested in the outfielder . I simply cannot understand why he is being given a pass by the organization as well Major League Baseball , when he has once again contravened a ” cardinal rule ” of the game ! He may well have placed himself back into rehab . as he fights with alcohol and cocaine addiction , yet, it is not the first time he has fallen off this particular wagon.

Josh Hamilton should be facing a mandatory suspension from baseball’s hierarchy, rather than following their misguided logic of his placing himself in rehab, will be a cure to his ills.

Common sense , intelligence , honesty , purity and integrity has never been apart of this game which lacks authority and accountability at just about every level of its structure. Team owners simply seem to be happy with the billions reaped in revenues annually . The hierarchy repeatedly pats itself on the back , while offering up little of note, on or off the field , by way of its product. The players under the guidance of their union (MLBPA) fights to increase its power , while doing little to address some of the most acute issues to effect the game of baseball over the past two decades. Tony Clark , MLBPA Executive Director seems to be no different from his predecessors Michael Weiner and Donald Fehr .

———————–


———————–

Picture gallery . By clicking on individual frame you can view the picture along with narrative.

What are you hoping to see take place within Major League Baseball this season ? Also which players or teams do you believe will have or make the biggest impact on the game ? Your comments as usual are more than welcome . Simply offer up your thoughts as you see fit and thanks as always for the support of this site and others affiliated with Tophatal’s Blog !.

🙂

Tophatal

Social media platforms: Facebook.com Tophatal’s Blog

Twitter.com : Tophatal’s Blog

Pinterest.com : Tophatal’s Blog

Advisory notes:

—–

MLB news and press releases

MLB Opening Day Schedule

MLB probable starting pitchers

This week in MLB history

MLB projected team payrolls 2015

2014 MLB Postseason Schedule

Los Angeles Angels’ news

Chicago Cubs’ news

Detroit Tigers’ news

Los Angeles Dodgers’ news

New York Yankees’ news

St Louis Cardinals’ news

San Francisco Giants’ news

Seattle Mariners’ news

Tampa Bay Rays’ news

If You Say It Then You Had Better Have The Balls To Back That Sh#t Up !


If You Say It Then You Had Better Have The Balls To Back That Sh#t Up !

I’m always befuddled when I hear a player stand up and make bold statement even if it is meant to rally the troops as they say ! Well no sooner have we heard one statement made now we have the Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle Ndamokung Suh making the claim that the team is quite capable of going …… 16-0 this season . Unless I’m mistaken it wasn’t that long ago Lions went 0-16 ( 2008) to become the first NFL team in history to lose all of their regular season games since the league went to a 16 game schedule. Suh either believes that highly in this team or he is truly naive to think that a quarterback in Matt Stafford who at best is serviceable but has yet to play a full NFL season is actually capable of leading the team to an unbeaten season.

================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===============================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

The Lions finished last year with a 6-10 record within the NFC North and actually struggled to make their presence felt within the league as a whole . Statistically as a team the Lions struggled in all facets of the game and from a defensive and offensive standpoint the struggles of the Detroit Lions manifested itself in a multiple of ways . I am not so sure that Jim Schwartz and his coaching staff having gotten a spark of life from this team is now capable actually boldly leading them to aware Suh believes that they can be ! As I’ve alluded to before , Matt Stafford is injury prone and from week to week you simply can’t be sure that he can play a full four quarters without getting a hang nail much less turf toe. For all of the hype that surrounded the player upon his entry into the NFL , there has been nothing that he has achieved that would suggest to me that he now is actually capable of leading this Lions’ team past the current Superbowl champions the Green Bay Packers or the other occupants of the NFC North , namely the Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears for that matter ! Most notably the Bears and Packers were two of the teams that made the postseason last year .

This season the Detroit Lions will have their hands full within the NFC and in particular over the course of their season as their schedule unfolds . It is incumbent on the Lions that they get off to good start in order to get some semblance of a rhythm going . The season could very well be shortened given the mere fact that the league hierarchy , team owners and NFLPA (union) are at an impasse in resolving the month long NFL lockout . And as cordial as some owners would like to have us believe that these negotiations are going there’s no real light at the end of the tunnel as of yet . NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell whose statements on the existing negotiation process has been minimal at best . New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft believes that only through continuous negotiations between the parties concerned can there be some sort of accord be reached. From my own perspective this has simply been nothing more than an image exercise of which neither party has executed or handled this situation well at all. The NFLPA and league hierarchy (NFL) have simply forgotten that they have alienated the fans but moreover the apparent greed that has set in both on sides has clouded their judgment .

If Suh’s prognostications are to come true then he and in particular his new defensive partner Nick Fairley will have to be fulcrum that holds this defensive line together . The Detroit Lions’ defense as the season progressed were able to shown signs of improvement but their lack of cohesion and inconsistently proved costly when it mattered most. On offense we saw what wide receiver Calvin Johnson was actually capable of alongside his teammate running back Kevin Smith . The two provided a lot of the offense that was produced by the Lions over the course of the season .

Now it goes without saying the Lions will live and die dependent upon the health of Matt Stafford and his overall productivity . And while I’ve no doubt that the player will have his moments t hose moments are liable to be few and far between . The Detroit Lions have remained a conundrum and an engima all rolled into one but the history of the organization and the fact that each Thanksgiving the fans have to endure Lions playing in this traditional seasonal game. And given that this season (week 12) the NFL in its infinite wisdom will make sure that tradition continues in that pairing of the Lions playing the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field , Detroit , with the Dallas Cowboys playing the Miami Dolphins at Texas Stadium , Arlington, Texas . Now don’t get me wrong I am all for tradition where it is warranted but with the apparent idiocy of the NFL hierarcy and their belief that the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions playing their respective opponents on Thanksgiving is the best possible form of entertainment that they could possibly serve up for the fans is akin to asking a vegetarian to become a carnivore because the taste of meat is far better than eating vegetables alone. And that’s with due respect to carnivores and vegetarians out there ! The relevancy of these two teams playing on Thanksgiving each year has lost all meaning for me as an NFL fan as I’d rather view two talented teams actually playing competitive football ! And when I last looked neither the Cowboys or Lions were actually capable of doing that on a consistent basis over the course of a season .

The Lions’ front office led by GM Martin Mayhew has formulated a plan that he and the ownership group led by Bill Ford Jr , as they seek to make this franchise relevant once again. It seems unfortunate to see the Detroit Lions fall so far in the aftermath of the excitement provided by their Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders . And for those of us who have witnessed those lofty days when the Lions actually roared , now if anything they’re like a kitten looking to be fed a plate of milk . Meow , meow !

At this juncture I’d like to say that I hope that Ndamokung Suh isn’t made to eat his words ! It’s one thing to make those bold statements but if you’re simply unable to back it up and the team then becomes an embarrassment on the field of play then once can only hope that the player is prepared to proffer up some form of apology to the fans . God knows, the Detroit Lions simply have done nothing right to indicate they are actually on the road to success , not with the inconsistency of Matt Stafford and a defense that seems to be unsure of itself at any given moment . Suffice to say it will be interesting to see whether or not Suh is made to eat those words .

And speaking of eating words can there be anything more galling than to keep on hearing that the Dallas Cowboys can be viewed as perennial contenders for the Superbowl ? One postseason win in the last decade and an owner in Jerry Jones who still feels that he’s a better general manager than his peers within the league . Chances are Jones on his best day has about as much acumen for spotting college talent bound for the NFL as a blind man could tell you the measurements of aspiring actress Denise Milani . And for those of who’ve viewed the stunning Milani will know that this beauty has the curves in all the right places .

The Dallas Cowboys and Texas Stadium are gigantic as are the egos of half the players on the team . Tony Romo is viewed as a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback but if anything he possesses the spine of a gutless coward . I’ve always maintained that Romo was more a Hollywood ” wannabe” than a NFL player ! And until he applies himself and leads this team by example then the Cowboys will always be considered an also ran or average team at best . This season if anything we will either see Jason Garrett show his real strengths as a coach or we may well see the Cowboys flounder . The NFC East they say is up for grabs this season and if anything the Dallas Cowboys have a chance to prove their worth . Mile Austin , DeMarcus Ware , Jason Witten , Dez Bryant and Romo will certainly have to lay to rest once and for all that they are good enough not only to win the NFC East but also worthy of being viewed as a Superbowl contender . Year in and year out those moronic idiots who provide the NFL analysis at ESPN continue with the hyperbole about the greatness that seems to be the Dallas Cowboys . I sometimes wonder whether or not Jones actually has these as#holes on the Cowboys’ payroll ? Maybe that’s presumptuous of me but then again I may well be wrong !

================================================================================

================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

If there is an NFL season to be had how do you see both the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions faring ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

(1) Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, right, stands next to defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch during a break in practice drills at Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, Mich., Friday, June 10, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ……….

(2) Detroit Lions quarterbacks Matthew Stafford, left, and Shaun Hill, second from right, talk with team president Tom Lewand, right, during the team’s annual golf fundraiser, Tuesday, June 7, 2011, in Dearborn, Mich. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …..

(3) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Nick Fairley(1) 13th pick overall pick by the Detriot Lions, during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images …..

(4) Jim Schwartz, center, head coach of the Detroit Lions poses with General Manager Martin Mayhew, left, and Tom Lewand team president after a press conference to introduce him as the Lions new head coach on January 16, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Gregory Shamus / Getty North America ……..

(5) Denise Milani and her ample 38″ DD’s . What’s not to like about the curvacious form of this Czech American beauty ?

(6) Care for a peek of Milani’s assets ? There’s always something to like isn’t there ?

(7) Get the feeling that there’s more that Denise has to offer us all ?

(8) Tyron Smith, 9th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……..

(9) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 19: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) and NFL owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys arrive for court-ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on April 19, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners after labor talks between the two broke down last month. Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images …….

(10) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 2, 2011 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 14-13. Getty Images / Jim McIsaac …..

(11) Miles Austin (19) of the Dallas Cowboys scores a third quarter touchdown on a 3 yard pass from Jon Kitna (3) as DeAndre Levy (54) of the Detroit Lions defends during the game at Dallas Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Lions 35-19 . Getty Images /Leon Halip ………
————————————————————————————————————————————————

NFL News

NFL Draft 2011 round by round

Dallas Cowboys news

Dallas Cowboys draft history

Detroit Lions news

Detroit Lions’ draft history

NFL Standings 2010 by Division

NFL Standings by Conference and League

NFL team stats

Love ’em Or Hate ’em They’re Still Baseball’s MVP


Love ’em Or Hate ’em They’re Still Baseball’s MVP

They’re the team that everyone either loves or hates as there’s no in between when it comes to the New York Yankees . Having won an unprecedented 27 World Series titles this is an organization that simply doesn’t rest on its laurel as it strives for excellence , the way that a new born baby thirsts for knowledge having taken its very first steps. Well for the Yankees this season may well be one where they’ll have to take baby steps as they try and figure a way out to be battle their way through the AL East and the rest of the AL as a whole . Never mind the fact that in the postseason that AL pennant isn’t a sure thing as some would like to believe.

===================================================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==================================================================================

Slide show for your perusal .

So much is expected of the team by their erstwhile fans that any slight hiccup won’t be necessarily tolerated but then again when it comes to being a fan of this organization you’re either thought of as being obnoxious or simply devout in your belief that they are the best thing in the game bar none ! In the AL East boasting a 27-21 record they (lead) stand a mere 1/2 game ahead of their most hated rivals the Boston Red Sox with the Tampa Bay Rays 1 1/2 games behind in third place. And as we have come to expect this division as usual will become a highly contentious and competitive one throughout the course of the season . So much so that to my mind I do believe that the wildcard entrant for AL will most definitely come from within this division ! To some that might not be a foregone conclusion but it has become a rarity for the wildcard to come from outside the division. That being said anything is possible and the improbable has been known to happen within the game , so why not this season ?

Coming off a convincing 7-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium the team now has a three game series facing the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. That series promises to be a very interesting one with the Mariners looking for some objectivity to their season given the inconsistency of their play overall . It remains to be seen whether or not Eric Wedge and his coaching staff can turn things around with this team and make the competitive within the AL West . Parent company Nintendo through its US subsidiary Nintendo USA have made a mockery as owners of this ball-club . Ambition and the will to win it would appear are the furthest thing from their mind. And it’s a pity to see the talents of Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez being wasted by an organization that simply is bereft of creativity and intelligence within their front office . It may well be that I’m proven wrong but I sincerely doubt it at this juncture !

In the Yankees 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays , pitcher , Mariano Rivera made his 1,000th pitching appearance for the New York Yankees a team record for the most appearances by a pitcher in team history and with it came his 572nd save for the team , the most ever by a pitcher and the most ever for a single team. Add in the fact his teammate Derek Jeter also looks to add to his own valid legacy within the organization as he approaches the 3,000 hits plateau . He now stands at 2974 a club record . But that in of itself isn’t the primary reason that both of these dominant figures within the Yankees’ dynasty still play the game. This duo have epitomized what the game has been about in terms of integrity and the fact that they’re well respected by their peers as well as the vast majority of baseball fans across the game’s panacea. I doubt the same can be said of the most recent players to have donned the Yankees’ pinstripes over the last decade and a half !

As the season unfolds and with it approaching the month </a? of June it will be very interesting to see how the team handles itself and whether or their pitching which I believe to be their Achilles’ heel can still be a threat . Beyond CC Sabathia and closer Mariano Rivera , there is nothing that would lead me to believe that this picthing rotation is a scare to anyone within the league ! Granted , there’s plenty of offense within this lineup with the likes of Curtis Granderson , Mark Teixeira , Alex Rodriguez , Nick Swisher , Robinson Cano and even that wily veteran Andruw Jones who seems to have found a new lease of life with New York Yankees. And that’s even with Jones platooning the DH position with Jorge Posada who seems to be undergoing struggles of his own , not just mentally but also physcially as well.

The one thing we can be sure of concerning the Yankees with the advent of both Hank and Hal Steinbrenner having taken over the reins from their late father George Steinbrenner III , no stone will be left unturned as this organization chases glory , no matter what the expense is said to be. GM Brian Cashman even though he’s said to have become somewhat frugal in terms of the team’s payroll we all know when push comes to shove he’s been given the go ahead this organization usually goes after a target and they usually end getting what they want even if it means having to overspend or delve into their top 10 prospects or for that matter within their minor league farm system in order to acquire a prospective free agent or to implement a trade. Money is of no object with a cash cow such as the YES Network there to provide the organization with a monetary treasure chest and the very fact that the team is still the biggest draw in the game by far let’s you know why it is that the organization remains the financial behemoth that it is . One of the most recognized and most valuable professional sport’s franchises in the world the organization hasn’t let the financial imbalance within the game impede its relentless steady march away from their MLB competitors. So much so, that I for one cannot see how the MLB league hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig can actually come to a decision , wherein they will ever try to mandate a hard salary cap within the game of baseball. And it certainly isn’t as if the team owners within the game possess the common sense to actually realize that it may well be needed if they are to stave off financial ruin for some teams .

While the Yankees are in the midst of their usual perfunctory season their crosstown neighbors , the New York Mets continue to do their best impression of the Titanic. What that organization and team brings to the game in terms of competency bears about as much comparison to the genuine belief that either the Democrats or Republicans in Congress actually has any idea as to what ails the country at present . It’s now being widely reported that hedge fund manager David Einhorn has bought a $200 million stake in the team . Given the Mets’ financial situation and the very fact that cash liquidity is needed with the organization and its two most prominent owners being defendants in a civil suit that involves team President Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon and their involvement in the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme scandal . I’ve got to ask myself what assurances were given to Einhorn that his investment is indeed safe ? Two hundred million dollars is nothing to be sniffed at and with the plaintiffs in this case said to be seeking the return of somewhere between $700 million to $ 1 billion said to have been received by the duo through an associate company under their ownership and command __ Sterling Equities Inc . I can only believe that Katz and Wilpon have assured Einhorn that his investment will not be at risk. But herein lies the caveat as the mediation process unfolds Katz and Wilpon have been economical with the truth and they certainly haven’t been completely compliant with the requests of the plaintiffs’ attorney in this suit .

Irving Picard representing the plaintiffs has stood steadfast in suggesting in that the defendants ( Katz, Wilpon , Sterling Equities et New York Mets) were aware the profits received were part of Madoff’s scheme that has defrauded some 7,000 plus investors of some $59 billion . Do you get the feeling that this story and the case still has a long way to go before it all comes to a satisfactory conclusion ? It’s not as if anyone is actually concerned with the achievements of the Mets on the field of play at present . With Wilpon in his recent interview granted to Jeffrey Toobin of The New Yorker Magazine gives you every reason to believe that the beleaguered owner must be at his wit’s end if he is now criticizing several players on the team . But then you simply cannot buy the sort of stupidity shown by Wilpon and then GM Omar Minaya as well as former manager Jerry Manuel ! The actions of that trio during the team’s slide into mediocrity might well give hope to the likes of the Kansas City Royals , Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners . But would that be asking too much also of the teams mentioned ? I will let you be the judge of that !

=================================================================================

================================================================================

Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the points raised within this piece how do you see the New York Yankees’ season going and are you of the belief that they can make a serious challenge and quite possibly win the World Series ? And what thoughts if any do you have on the investment made by David Einhorn in the New York Mets ? Has he been duped into a false sense of security or will his investment in the team be a worthwhile one ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

———————————————————————————————————————————

(1) New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera delivers against the Toronto Blue Jays during the ninth inning of a baseball game in New York, Sunday, May 1, 2011. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(2) New York Yankees’ Andruw Jones hits a two run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at Yankee Stadium in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ………..

(3) New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada hits a double in the ninth inning off of Toronto Blue Jays closing pitcher Frank Francisco in the ninth inning of a baseball game that started a rally of runs to defeat Toronto 5-4 on Tuesday, May 24, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek …..

(4) Mark Teixeira (25) of the New York Yankees celebrates with his team after hitting a game winning RBI in the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ……

(5) Alex Rodriguez(13) of the New York Yankees looks after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images ……

(6) Derek Jeter (2) 2 of the New York Yankees hits a two run single in the seventh inning to tie the game a three against the New York Mets on May 22, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Yankees defeat the Mets 9-3 . Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images ……

(7) David Einhorn President, Greenlight Capital : The 39-year-old fund manager for the hedge fund Greenlight Capital has brought short selling into Wall Street’s lap with his public criticism of Lehman Brothers (LEH), the embattled Wall Street bank that has seen two top executives resign and its shares plunge roughly 50% since Einhorn made public his short position in April. His $6 billion fund has also waged a long-standing open battle against Washington-based small-business lender Allied Capital (ALD) since 2002; Allied’s share price has fallen by half since 2007. Getty Images / Paul Sprouse ……

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

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

MLB News

MLB Standings

MLB Scoreboard

MLB Scoreboard & results 25th May 2011

Probable starters 26th May 2011

MLB Schedule 3 days at a glance 26th May 28th May 2011

New York Yankees

New York Yankees history

New York Yankees active roster

New York Yankees front office

Yankees’ coaching staff

New York Yankees team stats

New York Yankees’ Top 10 Prospects 2011

New York Yankees minor league affiliates

Historical feats and stats New York Yankees

Rare feats

All time leaders

Single game records

Single season records

Hall of Famers

Retired numbers

Awards

All Stars

Historical player stats at bats , home runs , wins pitchers .

——————————————————————————————————————-

The Game …… feat’g ….. 50 cent …………. ” Hate Or Love It “

——————————————————————————————————————–