Tag: New York Mets

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.

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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 !

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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 .

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(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 …….

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Shut Up Already This Isn’t American Idol ………..


Shut Up Already This Isn’t American Idol ………..

Ah the somber days of early Spring and all is meant to be well . At least across the sporting landscape it’s meant to be. The MLB season has started off in its usual indomitable fashion with teams rising to expectations while others have simply underperformed . That being said it’s still early days yet and the season is a long one of 162 arduous games over the course of six tenuous months before the postseason kicks in .

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As of now the divisions are looking rather interesting with the teams jockeying for position with regard to early season series . Now in the midst of finally making a decision as to where I’ll throw my hat in terms of supporting a team I’ve come to the decision that it’ll end up being a team within the NL . Well right off the bat let me say this without further ado it won’t be the Pittsburgh Pirates , Los Angeles Dodgers , Milwaukee Brewers , New York Mets or Florida Marlins . The latter for the reasons of which I’ve repeatedly stated because of the mismanagement of the team and organization as a whole by the ownership group ! The teams that seem to have my attention are the Colorado Rockes , Atlanta Braves and the St Louis Cardinals but I hate to say this as much as I like the Cardinals as a team I simply cannot stand their manager Tony La Russa ! He’s disingenous , an ingrate and someone whom I believe to be completely dishonest ! Suffice to say that to my mind he makes the fictional character Pinocchio seem like almost angelic nature !

So a choice has to be made and ultimately I choose the Atlanta Braves ! This has been a team and organization I’ve long admired because of their sheer longevity in terms of their success within the NL East and though they may only have that one World Series title to their name . It has to be said that period of consistency where they were repeating as divisional champions and making the playoffs had to be admired no matter where one’s allegiances may have laid . Now in their present guise this team is managed by Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff with a front office led by GM & EVP Frank Wren .

In terms of veteran presence the team is in that of the hands of Chipper Jones but his heir apparent to be sure is Jason Heyward , a player who has all the attributes desired to lead this ballclub long into the future and hopefully some real semblance of success. But there’ll also be contributions from teammates such as Dan Uggla , Brian McCann and Nate McClouth That being said with a pitching staff led by Tim Hudson , Jair Jurrjens , Derek Lowe , Tommy Hanson , George Sherrill and closer Craig Kimbrel , I’m fully hoping that this will undoubtedly be a season of success for the team and its fans who show up in attendance at Turner Field .

It’s long been felt that the Braves’ fans only came out in droves when they had perennial success or when the Hawks , Falcons or Thrashers were simply pedantic or downright mediocre . I’ll leave you all to be the judge of that because any and every team tends to have its ups and downs , no matter what their sporting endeavor might be . And the Braves are no different from no other professional sports franchise unless they happen to be the Los Angeles Clippers or Cleveland Browns for that matter !

The NL East the team will have to contend with the defending divisional champions the Philadelphia Phillies who look to be not only to be class of the division but the clear cut favorite to be the NL pennant winner this upcoming season . Whether or not that scenario actually pans out remains to be seen but I’m of the belief that the Atlanta Braves will do their utmost to deny the Phillies of that privilege ! . And I certainly believe that the Braves have as good a chance as any to make the postseason albeit that their division on the face of it isn’t an overly contentious one . I do believe that they will be challenged by the Florida Marlins and quite possibly by the Washington Nationals . And unless Terry Collins can in fact pull off the improbable , I certainly don’t see the New York Mets doing all that much this season within the division. Their situation is already tenuous at best from a financial standpoint and with both managing partner Fred Wilpon and team President Saul Katz under investigation by the Justice Department as well as there being a multi million civil lawsuit being lodged against the two as well as the organization their company Sterling Equities . I can’t help but wonder if the Mets can survive this season under its present ownership without Bud Selig , the league hierarchy and team owners intervening in some form or another to make sure that the team doesn’t fall into bankruptcy or be forced to cease operating should the Federal verdict go against the defendants Katz and Wilpon . At stake is in excess of $750 million and the very financial viability and existence of the New York Mets .

No word has been forthcoming on this matter from anyone within the MLB league hierarchy . Certainly no formal statement from Bud Selig or any of his subordinates such as EVP ,Administration & Chief Information Officer, John McHale Jr , EVP , Labor Relations & Human Resources Rob Manfred or EVP , Baseball Development Jimmie Lee Solomon . Kind of makes you wonder who’s in charge of the lunatic asylum otherwise known as Major League Baseball (MLB) ? With there now said to be a great deal of speculation that if Katz and Wilpon aren’t able to find a willing investor to purchase a stake in the team they could very well be forced to sell the team . A number of interested parties are said to have made private inquiries as to the duo’s willingness to sell at a stake in the team at a reasonable price .

This season within baseball could be one those that surpasses the events last season and the postseason by a long way . Granted the World Series itself ended up being something a one sided affair with the San Francisco Giants easily taking command of the series in defeating the Texas Rangers with a great deal of ease .

I’d certainly like to think that teams thought to be in contention won’t fail to deliver and at the same time I’d like to think that Commissioner Bud Selig and the owners are finally coming around to seeing that their game cannot continue to survive under its present financial structure . Especially where teams at the top of the pecking order in terms of payroll are now having to subsidize their small market peers . It simply hasn’t created that perceived level playing field that the owners and Selig had hoped for . And as far as the MBLPA is concerned, seeking any common sense from Executive Director Michael Weiner and his members is akin to trying obtain blood out of a stone . This being the very same union that had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twentieth century along with baseball’s hierarchy merely adopt a steroid policy that could be even remotely considered to be fair. It’s rather idiotic to think that Selig as commissioner can’t even be succinct even when it comes to explaining the game’s most acute problems it now faces. I’ve heard so called purists and fans try to explain how the game has made great strides from those infamous years during the nineties , wherein the illicit use of PED’s was at its most rampant .

I’ve read on a contributor’s site and a baseball fan who fan even tried to justified the fact that both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa can be considered appropriate candidates for Cooperstown and the Hall of Fame ! The fact that the two players in essence are cheats doesn’t seem to have bothered this individual or the mere fact that they each profited financially in terms of the fraud perpetrated upon the fans of the game . Guess what , the duo both broke not only the law but also one of the most inherent doctrines of the game. That patron in particular who tries to justify this hypocrisy is an out and out idiot in making a case where it was wrong for two consenting adults ,one of whom happened to be an athlete (basketball player) at a parochial establishment of higher education chose to have sex , within the hallowed halls of Brigham Young University . The player was suspended albeit that there’s an honor code involved at the establishment but given the fact that there have been far more serious incidents that have gone unreported of at the school . Unless I’m mistaken there’s been more hypocrisy going on within the Mormon Church and on the campus than most would even care to admit . But that’s what you tend to get with the hypocrisy of organized religion and the de facto piousness that it espouses and that concerns all forms religion , be it Islam , Judaism , Christianity , Catholicism or otherwise . It breeds intolerance and it purveys it even to this day, with the still rather asinine notion that theologians and preachers , priests or Imams are above reproach . They’re human and they have their fallibilities or hadn’t anyone noticed ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the season and as it slowly meanders along its arduous path ? And how do you see things panning out for the Atlanta Braves this season in terms of their fortunes within the NL and the league as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts and the points raised within this piece . .

Alan aka tophatal …………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) LOS ANGELES – APRIL 18: Jake Harris of the reality TV show Deadliest Catch throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images …….

(2) Left fielder Jerry Sands (47) of the Los Angeles Dodger, playing in his first major league game, chases down a fly ball ball against the Atlanta Braves on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 4-2 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……..

(3) Pinch hitter Brooks Conrad (7) of the Atlanta Braves reacts after striking out to end the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ………

(4) Alex Gonzalez (2) of the Atlanta Braves reacts as he strikes out during a ninth inning Braves rally which fell short against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dogers won 4-2. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……

(5) James Loney (7) of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two RBI single in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) ……

(6) Tim Hudson(15) of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 18, 2011 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ……..

(7) Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones (10) swings for a solo home run in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Florida Marlins on Wednesday, April 13, 2011, in Atlanta. The RBI was the 1,500th of his career. Only two other switch-hitters have reached the 1,500 milestone. AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

(8) Atlanta Braves’ Jason Heyward runs to first after connecting for a home run in the fourth inning of a baeball game against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 5-0 . AP Photo/John Bazemore …….

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Casualties of War Or Just Simple Stupidity ?


Casualties of War Or Just Simple Stupidity ?

Well the ongoing divorce battle between Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie McCourt concerning their dispersal of the matrimonial assets has left some wondering whether or not McCourt wouldn’t have been better off simply settling with his soon to be ex-wife. At the center of it all is the question as to whether or not an agreement signed by Jamie as to the couple’s ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers is valid . McCourt states that the prenuptial agreement signed in part does not allow her part ownership in the balllclub. And with regard to the dispersal of the matrimonial assets as she did not play a part in any of the business dealings with regard to the organization so she cannot be considered in any context an owner . Somehow I think that Frank McCourt might well have a valid point but the way in which he has surreptitiously tried to paint his wife as something of a gold digging and dispassionate female could work against him. But at the end of the day this all could very well come down what the presiding judge feels is fair and equitable between the two.

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Courtesy of USA Today

Report finds Dodgers $433 million in debt as of last year

By Stephen Borelli of USA Today

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers were $433 million in debt as of last year, which is $3 million more than what owner Frank McCourt paid for team in 2004.

McCourt, who is the middle of bitter divorce proceedings with his wife, Jamie, the former team CEO, is so leveraged that he has had trouble finding additional financing, the report found. The Times says Citibank, a Chinese investment group and Bill Guthy of Guthy-Ranker infomercial fame turned down the Dodgers’ financing requests last year.

The paper cites a deposition in which Dodgers Chief Financial officer Peter Wilhelm said Citibank “did not feel that the Dodger organization had the capacity to take on more debt.”

The Times and the HCVT accounting firm analyzed documents available in court files. The firm concluded that, if the Dodgers were sold today and the McCourts were to split the proceeds, the debt and tax burdens would be so great that each of the McCourts might walk away with about 10 cents on the dollar.

The Biz of Baseball website summarizes the findings.

The paper ran this statement from McCourt spokesman Steve Sugerman, whom it says it presented with the findings about the lack of available cash and the struggle to find new financing and asked how the Dodgers could continue to field a top-tier team:

“The Dodgers have consistently demonstrated a commitment to fielding a team worthy of fan support, and the four division championships in the last six years are indicative of that. There’s a commitment to winning, and that continues.”

The Dodgers opened the day at 68-66, seven games out in the National League West and 7 1/2 behind in the NL wild-card race.

Commissioner Bud Selig declined to comment on the report, according to the Times, saying through a spokesman that he would not discuss the finances of an individual club.

The Dodgers’ opening-day payroll was $104.9 million, 11th in the majors, according to USA TODAY figures.

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At risk is a great deal more than simply the assets here but also the very existence of the Dodgers as the team now stands. Granted they’ve had a rather miserable season and the fans there at Dodgers’ Stadium has seen the departure of Manny Ramirez to the Chicago White Sox after he was claimed by the team off waivers.

And for the now floundering NL West team this may well be a year that they’d rather forget in more ways than one. Manager Joe Torre and his coaching staff have tried to bring about some semblance of competitiveness to an otherwise lackluster bunch of individuals . What we’ve seen instead has been a team that has spluttered in fits and starts as it has tried to contend with the rather surprising play of the division leading San Diego Padres who look to garner themselves a postseason berth in baseball’s Fall extravaganza . As the team enters the final month of the season and nothing but being a spoiler for the aspirations of the teams looking to either play themselves into contention. Now some 9 games out of first place one could attest to the fact now would be the time for the Dodgers to take a look at the young faces on their roster and look towards rebuilding for next season . Disappointment from all around on the team and the fact that certain players haven’t played anywhere near their true potential must have the fans wondering apart from the off the field issues with the team the on the field issues are just as bad. And with players such as James Loney ,—- Matt Kemp and Andrew Ethier having at best subpar seasons one could suggest that the fans have been short changed in more ways than one.

GM Ned Colletti has got to be profoundly disappointed with a team whose payroll is amongst the highest in all of baseball. One hundred and five million ($105 ,000,000) dollars seemingly gets you crap nowadays it would appear but then again consider the plight of both the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets whose combined payroll for the season will exceed $275 million alone ? It kinds of make you wonder when these executives , team owners and in particular the MLB hierarchy will look to rein in their excesses in terms of the players’ salaries .

For the Padres under the managerial astuteness of Bud Black and his coaching staff this has been a season full of surprises both on and off the field of play. Who’d have guessed that a team with amongst the league’s lowest payroll would be playing for the divisional crown within the NL West . At 76-56 the team seems to be making a complete mockery of those who felt that they’d be amongst the also rans within the NL . Though on appearance the the three game cushion lead that they have over the San Francisco Giants has shrank over the past few weeks. It has to be said that if anything all the Padres need to do at this juncture is to merely recompose themselves and play the type of ball that they’ve been playing for the vast majority of their season .

Managing partners John Moores , —- Jeff Moorad and GM Jed Hoyer have created an environment at PETCO Park that seems to be drawing crowds back to ballpark to see this team strive for success that has long evaded them in recent years. And though the think may well be that if the Padres were to make the postseason it would be seen as the foundation upon which to build for the future. Somehow I feel that the team and the organization are prepared to grasp this opportunity , run with it and see where it will ultimately take them this season. And why not as they’ve played themselves into contention , played as a team and seemingly have been able to overcome the obstacles placed in their way.

The team has been buoyed by the play of Adrian Gonzalez , —- Chase Headley ,—- Jerry Hairston Jr and Matt Latos . But if anything it has been the allround contribution of the players on the roster that has made the team extremely competitive . Should they make the postseaon and it is my belief that they will , I do believe that the San Diego Padres could very well continue surprise a number of teams and fans alike ! I mean who’d have thought that the 29th ranked team amongst the thirty teams within the league in terms of payroll size would be amongst the most competitive and successful teams this season ? Food for thought don’t you think ?

As for the fate of the Dodgers as it now stands it remains to be seen what will transpire not just within the courtroom but also amongst the hierarchy of MLB itself. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig remains guarded about offering a statement as to the impending plight of the team. But considering the acute financial instability of the Dodgers as well as of the outcome of the divorce trial of Frank McCourt. The implications for the game as well as the ownership of the Dodgers could have some far reaching implications that no one could have envisaged .

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Picture gallery for your perusal. By clicking on an individual picture you can view it in its original format .


What thoughts if any do you have on the Dodgers and their present predicament ? And how do you feel about what has been achieved by the San Diego Padres this season ? Do you believe that they have what it takes to go all the way and win the World Series ? If so , state your reasons why and how they will be able to do it ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………… 🙂

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Krisztina Sereny

Power lifter and Playboy playmate Krisztina Sereny

Krizstina

And a just a little bit more added spice here’s a rather suggestive picture of Krisztina .

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Snap ……………“I’ve Got The Power”

No Stone Will Be Left Unturned , No Idea Will Go Unheard , No Thought Process No Matter How Stupid It Appears To Be Will Be Listened To…………..Blah , Blah , Blah This Is Change That We Can Believe In


Well the winter season MLB meetings are over , baseball is doing its level best to remain in the mainstream. The ‘NFL is still King , baby’ and don’t you forget it ! And at this point of the season it is essentially all that they (MLB) can do. MLB itself , becomes about as interesting at this time of the year as a speech being given by a member of Congress on the country’s trade deficit. We all know its there and it hasn’t really improved at all on a month, to month basis. What little improvement that comes about incrementally, economists are gleaning over like ‘Cheshire cats’, trying to tell us that the economy is changing course and we’re gradually moving out of a recession. Any statistic can be read differently , to garner whatever information what you want put forth. Much like the asinine statements you tend to hear coming from Bud Selig on the financial health and state of the game.

Trades asides and the signing of free agents , all the fans can do at this stage, is to speculate what those maneuvers will mean for their teams.

Omar Minaya speaks here about the ‘Tony Bernazard firing’ and the fallout from it all. Clearly a person who when he’s stressed, doesn’t like the spotlight of the media upon him .

And speaking of health , how is that the New York Mets GM , Omar Minaya still remains in a position of power after all that he’s done to all but ruin the organization? Essentially as the General Manager and de-facto ear of the owner , he’s entrusted in making sure that the best talent available is placed on the field, at the behest of the manager, Jerry Manuel and the manager’s coaching staff. Never mind the fact that Fred Wilpon, the team’s owner , might not live to the current team win another World Series at this stage of life. The septuagenarian has seen a great deal over the course of famed career as a businessman and entrepreneur. But for the lone World Series’ triumph in 1986 over the Boston Red Sox, with that improbable ending. Fred Wilpon still yearns for another championship for his organization.

Mets' GM  Omar  Minaya (left) seen  here alongside  team  President  Jeff  Wilpon , son of team  owner  ,  Fred  Wilpon.    Minaya   recently acquired  free agent  slugger  Jason  Bay  , formerly  of   the  Boston  Red  Sox.  The  player   was signed  to  a   four  year   $65 million  contract.     There  are  those  who  are  questioning  the  deal   as the  rotation of  the  Mets'  pitching  is   deeply  lacking  a  reliable  starter  besides  Johan  Santana.  picture appears  courtesy  of nydn/   David  Pokress (freelance)  ......................
Mets' GM Omar Minaya (left) seen here alongside team President Jeff Wilpon , son of team owner , Fred Wilpon. Minaya recently acquired free agent slugger Jason Bay , formerly of the Boston Red Sox. The player was signed to a four year $65 million contract. There are those who are questioning the deal as the rotation of the Mets' pitching is deeply lacking a reliable starter besides Johan Santana. picture appears courtesy of nydn/ David Pokress (freelance) ......................

The Mets have been an abysmal organization over the past five years and much like a race horse with a great deal of speed and not much stamina, or shall we call it saying power ? Each year over the past five seasons they’ve fallen out of contention in the NL East divisional race. Much of the time through their own sheer ineptitude. Many also place this upon the injuries suffered by star players at inappropriate times during the regular season. But I consider this as a poor excuse for an organization with its vast financial resources and its so called ‘stocked farm system’. Obviously the so called farm system isn’t as burgeoned with talent as first thought.

Courtesy of New York Daily News

Omar Minaya, New York Mets get Jason Bay for four years, but strike out on pitchers

By John Harper , New York Daily News

The way the winter was going, it seemed inevitable that some other team would jump in and steal Jason Bay at the last minute. Only it didn’t happen, and so while Bay is hardly a cure-all for the Mets, landing him is at least reason for them to believe that the curse of 2009 won’t carry over into 2010.

GM Omar Minaya and Mets ownership still have plenty of work to do, but you have to give them credit for playing the Bay negotiations exactly right, as it turned out.

Considering the mounting pressure on them to make a big splash, the Mets had to seriously weigh the PR value of offering the fifth year that Bay’s agent was demanding, just to get the deal done. Still they were determined not to get suckered, not to bid against themselves when they were convinced no other team was seriously pursuing Bay.

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 Los Angeles Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar throws to the plate during the first inning of baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Anaheim, Calif. The New York Mets have signed Escobar to a one-year contract. The team announced the deal on Monday, Dec. 28. He was expected to get $1.25 million.
Los Angeles Angels pitcher Kelvim Escobar throws to the plate during the first inning of baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Anaheim, Calif. The New York Mets have signed Escobar to a one-year contract. The team announced the deal on Monday, Dec. 28. He was expected to get $1.25 million. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Mark J. Terrill .................

The unfortunate thing for the New York Mets in all of this , is that their crosstown neighbor and rival, the New York Yankees are now once again back atop of the ‘baseball world pecking order’, as World Series champions. And they too, like the Yankees have essentially spent their way to their present situations. In the case of the Yankees however, they’ve been able get the right stars at the premium prices and simply plug them into an organization that has been built for continued success over the years. Whereas, the Mets just continue to plug away with assorted pieces , that in some respects are like that of a jig saw puzzle . But what Minaya and the team’s manager Jerry Manuel and Manuel’s predecessor, Willie Randolph, had failed to realize, is that when the pieces are ill suited for the puzzle, there’s no way in hell that you can attain success. But yet they continue to repeat the process over and over again.

Stars have come and gone within the Mets’ organization and some have remained. And it has been the same also in terms of the managers of the organization. On average they’ve lasted no more than three years over the last three decades. The longest tenured manager over that period was and still is ,Davey Johnson (1984-90). Whose six year tenure with the team brought them their only World Series win.

 Yakult Swallows' Ryota Igarashi pitches against Orix BlueWave in Osaka, western Japan.  Hoping they've found their setup man on the other side of the globe, the New York Mets agreed to a $3 million, two-year contract with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009.
Yakult Swallows' Ryota Igarashi pitches against Orix BlueWave in Osaka, western Japan. Hoping they've found their setup man on the other side of the globe, the New York Mets agreed to a $3 million, two-year contract with Japanese reliever Ryota Igarashi on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Kyoto News Agency ...........

Fans of the Mets have seemingly remained patient and loyal, though some have also been very vocal in what they see as the lax attitude taken by the organization in showing a real determination to become competitive. They’ve gone out and spent money either on aging veterans who’ve passed their prime or in some cases on players who’ve struck lightning in a bottle in terms of their form over a short period of time and then hit ‘pay dirt’ when pursued and then signed to a monumentally exorbitant contract. See Carlos Beltran ! Prodigious and prolific for the Houston Astros , not so for the Mets and on it goes . And much of that is down to Minaya and his haste to always try and outdo the Yankees. It’s like giving the keys to a drunk driver and then asking him if he’s able to drive you home . You know no good is going to come of it and it is the same with the personnel moves of Omar Minaya.

Another situation that the fans will also find exacerbating about this Mets’ team , is that it doesn’t posses anyone who’s prepared to be a team leader on or off the field. It certainly hasn’t come from Carlos Delgado, for all of his heroics. And it most certainly hasn’t come from David Wright their so called ‘glamor boy’ and best player. And when they did rise to the occasion with the determination shown by their ace pitcher, Johan Santana, his teammates reciprocated by either performing poor defensively , or gave him no run support whatsoever. Minaya’s insight into sound judgement when it comes to personnel decisions for the Mets border on being asinine and is akin to the sort of ineptitude that was shown in later stages of George W Bush’s second term in office by his administration. The danger signs were there but there was never any sound decisions being made. Something of which, it appears his successor , President, Barack Obama seems to want to painstakingly follow on with, in some of his decision making. You can have, print or borrow all of the money in the world. But you’d better know how the hell to spend it judiciously and you’d better be able to explain yourself succinctly when you screw things up. And it appears to be something in common that this triumvirate has . As to either of them offering up a comprehensive and succinct answer. I’ll leave that up to you , to decide ! Make of it what you will.

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If the New York Met are to compete for the NL East division as well as the NL Pennant, then they’d better be ready to deal with the ever present Philadelphia Phillies, present division champion and NL Pennant holder. Also too, there are the Atlanta Braves, Florida Marlins and the lackluster Washington Nationals bringing up the rear. The bone of contention will be which teams amongst the triumvirate of the Braves , Marlins and Mets will step up to challenge the supremacy of the Phillies within the division ? This question and whole lot more will need to be answered most certainly by the Mets and the the duo of the Braves and Marlins.

And in what will be Braves’ manager , Bobby Cox’s final season. This Atlanta Braves’ team will be looking to send him off with one last big stab at winning a divisional title and perhaps another World Series. And as remote as those chances might appear to be. Look for the Braves to pursue this with a great deal of gusto. And as to the chances of the Florida Marlins ? Well that will be down to the progress that has been made by this young team under the direction of their manager, Fredi Gonzalez. And if they’re to fulfill the promise shown last year , then the likes of Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin and their All Star short-stop, Hanley Ramirez , will have to be extremely productive – the same can be said of their pitching.

The Phillies for their part coming off last season’s loss in the World Series to the Yankees will look to regroup and replenish their roster. And that’s something which they appear to have done with such urgency, that the swiftness in its execution was staggering. They traded Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners and in his place they acquired former Blue Jays’ ace, Roy Halladay. Talk about addition by subtraction ? Wow, this is just stupendous. They are the ‘clear favorites’ in the entire National League (NL) to make a third consecutive trip to the World Series. Perhaps the only thing that could deter them from that might just be ‘divine intervention’ from up above ? And if the baseball gods are listening and they love the New York Mets , then perhaps they could provide some assistance ? I’m no Mets’ fan but Omar Minaya certainly hasn’t been helping the organization’s cause with many of his personnel moves in recent years. Can I get an amen here ? Amen, amen , hallelujah !

With the Mets acquiring Jason Bay as a free agent and then signing him to a four year $65 million contract , this may or may not be the last singular personnel move made by Minaya. God knows the moves that he’s made haven’t exactly panned out. They’d be deemed a disaster in certain cases and in others, well the jury is still out. And as I much as I like to see teams strive in their drive for excellence. I can’t but now wonder how much more the Wilpon family can withstand in the depletion of their overall wealth. Especially as it has been rumored that the family may well have lost in excess of $ 500 million in the Bernie Madoff ‘Ponzi Scheme’.
Not the sort of money that any affluent billionaire can afford to lose in these uncertain economic times. A million here or a million here. But a half a billion dollars ? Holy shit ! I’m surprised that no one has put ‘a hit’ out on Madoff , as of yet ! But I’ve no doubt that he’s been well taken care of in the Federal Prison system. Well at least I’d like to think so , but in a certain type of way. Can I suggest that he’ll become a ‘pillow biter’ while a prison inmate has his way with Madoff in certain way,sexually ? Here’s hoping anyway !

Well alas, this piece must end though not on a somber note. The travails of the New York Mets have been well documented in recent years and I expect that to be continued for the foreseeable future. I mean, life in general when it comes to sports in the ‘Big Apple’ is tied primarily to the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Islanders, Rangers and the Buffalo Bills. And each of them in their own way will run the wrath and adulation in the print media as the case maybe. And things being what they are, it appears the Mets and Knicks are on the receiving end of it all in terms of their wrath at the moment. No need for me then to pile on them anymore . I think that the New York print media, sports talk show hosts and tv broadcasters are just doing fine all by themselves with regard to this matter.

Talk To Me Tell Me What It Is You Need ….It Can’t Be All About The Money


Talk  To  Me  Tell Me  What It  Is   You   Need………It  Can’t  Be All About  The Money……..

It seems  funny that  as  the  Major  League  Baseball  season  has  come  upon  us.  It  oughtn’t  to  surprise us  that  many  of the  teams  who’ve   made   a  big  splash  in the  free  agency  market  to  sign   in  some  cases  a marquee player. Those  players  in  particular  will  be  under  a    great  deal  of  pressure  to   justify  the   bounty  that they’re   being  paid.

A general  view  of  the festivities  before  the  game  between  the Philadelphia Phillies  and  Atlanta Braves  on Opening  Day if the  MLB  2009 season.
A general view of the festivities on Opening Day for the first game of the 2009 Major League Baseball season. The game in question was between the reigning World Series Champions the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. The home venue of Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia brought about the start of the season . picture appears courtesyn of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ...........

The Philadelphia  Phillies start   off  the  defense  of  their  World  Series  title  with  a  game   against  the Atlanta  Braves.  The   Phillies  for their  part   are  looking  to be  the  first  team since  the New  York  Yankees in   1998 and  1999  to  successfully  defend  their  title. The  Yankees  would actually  go  on  to  win   a  third  consecutive  title  in 2000.  As  to whether  or  not  they  the  Phillies  will  be  able  to   do this  can  only  be  assessed   by  their   performance  on the  field  this  season  .  Most   certainly  their   All  Star  short-stop Jimmy  Rollins seems to  think   that  they’re  capable  of   doing  so.

Brett Myers  throws out the  first pitch of the game  against the  Braves'  Kelly  Johnson.
Brett Myers of the Phillies throws out the first pitch of the game to the Braves' Kelly Johnson. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ...............

The New  York  Mets for their   part  with  the  additions  of J J Putz and Francisco Rodriguez and  now   veteran  stalwart Gary Sheffield make this  a  team  a  formidable   opponent.   On  both  sides  of the  ball  they’ve  got to be   considered  worthy of   being  mentioned  as  potential  contenders  for  the   World  Series.   However the   caveat   would   be  for  the   team  to overcome  their    near  end   season jitters  and  unraveling.   If they’re  able to  do  that  then  they   can   create  a rivalry  with the  Phillies   that’d  be  worthwhile  watching .

Braves'  starting  pitcher Derek Lowe on  Opening  Day  on the  mound  against  the  Philadelphia  Phillies.   picture appears  courtesy of  getty images/Ezra Shaw  ..............
Braves' starting pitcher Derek Lowe on te mound against the Philadelphia Phillies. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Ezra Shaw ...............

And  with  the  NL East  seemingly  up  for  grabs   it  makes  this  upcoming  season  seem   somewhat  special.   The  AL East  as  a  division   may   appear to  be  where the  action  and   stories  will come  from .  But  I’d   like  to  think that  the division that  also   possesses  the Florida  Marlins and  the Washington  Nationals as  well  as  the  Braves. One  could   argue  that  here   within the  division  you’ve  got  some  very good  teams.  And  those  teams   may  well  elicit  a  great   deal  of  entertainment   for  their   respective  fans.

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