Tag: New York Yankees

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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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 !.

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

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It’s Their Time To Shine ………….. Who’s In It To Win It ?


It’s Their Time To Shine ………….. Who’s In It To Win It ?

So the MLB season has kicked off to inauspicious start and already there seems to be some clamor for some teams to have remained at home . Forbes columnist and contributor Mike Ozanian states that the Tampa Bay Rays should they not be able to lure more fans to Tropicana Field over the next two years then quite possibly league’s hierarchy should look to contracting the team along with several other leading candidates . Having not read Ozanian’s article I’m not exactly surprised by the columnist’s findings but then again this has been something that MLB has failed to address when broached on the subject. I certainly think that the owners aren’t entirely happy with the present scenario in particular where teams such as the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , Philadelphia Phillies , Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets have paid out in excess of $ 250 million over the past five years as part of Bud Selig’s rather idiotic tax sharing revenue scheme that is supposed to assist the small market teams around the league in order that they become more competitive . Given the fact that in large part there doesn’t really seem to be any real parity within the league but merely lulls in the competitiveness of the so called big market teams , as and when they show the presence of mind to be legitimate contenders with any real consistency.

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Courtesy of Forbes.com

Contraction Looming For The Tampa Bay Rays

By Mike Ozanian , Sports Money

Groundswell building in Major League Baseball to dump the Tampa Bay Rays. From what I am hearing, I doubt there will be any baseball at Tropicana Field after 2014 even though the team’s lease runs to 2027.

The harsh reality is the Rays still have no fan support despite winning the AL East two out of the past three seasons and making it to the 2008 World Series. Stuart Sternberg’s group has done a good job of turning the team around on the diamond and developing and trading for young players since taking control in 2004. But the Rays have averaged only 23,000 at the gate the past three seasons even though prices have been slashed and in 2010 the team had the second-lowest ticket prices in the AL ($19.75).

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When the owners themselves such Frank McCourt , Fred Wilpon , John Henry , David Montgomery and others can’t even agree upon whether or not it’s in their best interests to have a hard salary cap within the game , I found it really naive of them to even think that a tax sharing revenue scheme actually makes things better for the game as a whole ! In large part when you have owners such as Jeffrey Loria and Bob Nutting pleading poverty while pocketing countless millions that were meant to benefit their respective rosters , it becomes all the more asinine that either team (Florida Marlins Pittsburgh Pirates) can even be viewed as being competitive. The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t been competitive within MLB in almost two decades and it becomes all the more laughable to consider that there remains a place much less a purpose for this team to even exist within the game . The day the Pirates once again becomes competitive within the league it could well be the day that hell actually freezes over !

The Rise Of The Rays: All-Stars And Arbitrage

By Steve Schaefer , Forbes Magzine

Arbitrage, synergy and “buy low, sell high” are all terms that at one time made about as much sense on the diamond as a pair of spikes on a trading floor. That has changed drastically though, and nowhere more so than in Tampa Bay where a trio of Wall Street veterans have been trying to redefine how to build a winning baseball team.

To understand the rebirth of the Rays you need to go back to their first incarnation as the Devil Rays, says Jonah Keri, author of ‘The Extra 2%’, an account of how the club went from from league laughingstock to pennant contender.

Original owner Vince Naimoli came from the world of finance too, but his fortune was built as a turnaround specialist, taking over struggling companies, streamlining operations, stripping out costs and then cashing out at a tidy profit.

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Three games into the season and there really isn’t much to be really all that hyped up about given the fact that it may well be at two months before we really the teams start to gain some traction and play with a great deal of consistency . The Baltimore Orioles seems to have gotten off to a good start and it bodes well for Buck Showalter , his coaching staff and the team should they actually make their presence felt within the AL East . It’d be great to see a truly competitive race within the division but it appears as if it’ll about whether or not the Yankees can have a resurgent season while competing with the Red Sox . I’d preface this by saying as good as the Tampa Bay Rays have been over the last two seasons this year I don’t believe will be their year to compete.

Offensively the Rays have been struggling and now the team’s best player Evan Longoria will be sidelined for up to three weeks with an oblique injury to his right side. And this scenario couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the team as it seeks to be a contender for the World Series . A playoff berth for the Tampa Bay Rays would have to come from the team playing not only competitively but also looking to win a minimum of 85 games merely to be sure of gaining the wildcard berth within the AL . And that’s not something I’m sure that this team in its present guise is even capable of doing in spite of the optimism that’s being shown by their most erstwhile fans !

Contraction is somewhat a dirty word to be using within the game but in essence it’s something that MLB may well have to address if they can’t get their financial house in order . Here again though it’s all going to become subjective rather than objective because in reality can the league hierarchy be trusted to make the right decision much less the owners ? It’s bad that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty first century merely to adopt some form of a drug testing policy . And it certainly didn’t help that the MLBPA under their then Executive Director Donald Fehr hiding behind invasion of privacy, as to a reason why the union and didn’t want a comprehensive drug testing policy in place . Since when did a union’s wishes trump what happens to be the laws of the land ?

I don’t believe that in light of Mike Ozanian’s piece that the league or owners will actually contemplate contracting one or more teams unless they’re pressed into such a situation or it’s because of a team’s dire financial straits ! . That certainly had to have been the case surrounding Drayton McLane’s sale of the Houston Astros to Houston businessman Jim Crane . Apart from that the very fact that the Astros haven’t a competitive force within the NL Central for a number of years .

Over the ensuing months we’ll learn a great deal more about the teams and that of their competitiveness as the season unfolds . And it could well be that we’ll no doubt be surprised by some teams whereas with others we will not ! We can all subscribe as to the teams we feel will make a genuine run of least trying to make it to the Fall Classic and if anything those are the ones that’ll be worth watching . Others will most definitely fall by the wayside and that if anything is what makes the long and arduous baseball season of 162 games such an intriguing and suspenseful one. As to the players who’ll make the season itself all the more enjoyable to watch you can make case that players such as Albert Pujols , Alex Rodriguez , Josh Hamilton , Joey Votto , Dustin Pedroia , Miguel Cabrera , Roy Halladay , Joe Mauer , Tim Lincecum and Robinson Cano will all make a case as to why they’re worth watching and paying the price of admission merely to see them play. As to what the fans may well think of it all remains to be seen but one can be sure that the most ardent fans among us will be watching closely while cheering on our teams.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you feel about the possibility that the hierarchy of MLB could very well down the road consider contracting a number of teams, in order not only to curb costs but merely get rid off teams that as such aren’t viewed as being competitive or drag on the finances of the large market teams that seemingly come to the aid of the small market teams ? Do you feel that in the long run such a maneuver would be of benefit to the game or to its very detriment ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece as well as any other topic you might feel pertinent to the game of baseball and the prospects for the season. .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………

http://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Infielder Ben Zobrist (18) of the Tampa Bay Rays is late with the tag on Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

(2) Infielder Elliot Johnson(9) of the Tampa Bay Rays bunts against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

(3) Infielder Mark Reynolds (12) of the Baltimore Orioles is congratulated after scoring a run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Orioles would go on to defeat the Rays 5-1 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….

(4) Pitcher Wade Davis (40) of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………

(5) Infielder Evan Longoria (3) of the Tampa Bay Rays was placed on the 15 day disabled list just prior to the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

(6) Billionaire entrepreneur Drayton McLane the former owner of the Houston Astros having agreed to sell the team to native Houston businessman Jim Crane for an undisclosed sum . All that now awaits is a formal vote approving the sale by the game’s hierarchy and board of governors made up of owners and executives of the league’s hierarchy . AP Photo / Michael Parsons …………….

(7) From left to right socialites Kase & Eileen Lawal , Houston businessman Jim Crane and his wife Franci seen here at a charity gala event in Palm Beach , Palm Beach County , Florida . courtesy of the The Palm Beach Post …….. copyrighted material …. @ all rights reserved .

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By all means do take time to participate in the above listed poll placing a vote with regard to the question shown .

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Bone Crusher ……. feat’g …….. Killah Mike & …… TI …………………………… ” Never Scared ”

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King Tubby …………. ” Murderous Dub”
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The 1,000lb Gorilla In The Room Still Remains The Pittsburgh Pirates …..


The 1,000lb Gorilla In The Room Still Remains The Pittsburgh Pirates …..

I’m not about try and verify the mess that we now know as the Pittsburgh Pirates and their decline into sheer ineptitude . This is a baseball franchise that hasn’t had a postseason berth or winning season in almost two decades . If that’s not an indication of the ballclub that doesn’t know how to win then I don’t know what is . PNC Ballpark home to the Pirates has essentially become a graveyard of sheer ineptitude and the mere fact that this team still has a core of brave and loyal fans remains not only a mystery to myself but I’d dare say the vast majority of baseball fans out there ! I find it hard to believe that each season fans are of the belief that the Pittsburgh Pirates willingly begin the season as lambs to the slaughter . Were this team incarcerated I’d dare say that the apt description for them would be that they’re about to become someone’s prison’s bitch !

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Remarkably team manager Clint Hurdle and his coaching staff believe that this season the team can compete quite successively within the NL Central . If that’s not enough team owner Bob Nutting with each passing moment makes the most asinine of statements concerning the team’s immediate future and past. As we know the Pirates are one of the teams with one of the lowest payrolls in all of baseball but that in of-itself hasn’t been the main problem as to the team’s misfortunes over the last decade. GM Neal Huntington’s idea of assembling a roster is not unlike watching a blind man trying discern differing colors on a paint board through a sense of touch and smell. Given his lack of success thus far ; I’d say he’d better off relying on a soothsayer or psychic for that matter !

As much as I believe that the Pirates are essentially part of the game’s existing fabric I personally don’t believe that they’re good for the game. It’s all but certain that you can’t count on it as fact that the Pittsburgh Pirates are assured of losing in excess of 85 to 95 games a season without fail and end up posting a sub .500 record in baseball. I mean that’s simply been their mantra over the last decade and then some and it’s not about to change anytime soon. What I’d like to know is why repeatedly fans within the game have to be subjected to this monstrosity each season with the Pittsburgh Pirates ? It’s not as if this team knows how to play much less play with any great zeal or passion. I’d long to know what MLB Commissioner Bud Selig thinks when teams such as the Pittsburgh Pirates repeatedly show such ineptitude on the baseball diamond ? Perhaps the only other major professional sport’s franchise that has shown as much mediocrity in recent memory has been the NBA’s —- Los Angeles Clippers under the ownership of Donald Sterling .

As I alluded to earlier the Pirates will have to contend and compete within the NL Central and there they will have to face the St Louis Cardinals , Cincinnati Reds , Houston Astros , Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers . The division itself is competitive enough but it’s clear that the Pirates aren’t about to show that they’re anywhere competitive enough to even be in with a remote chance of competing with this division. And that has become the anathema of this mess within the game as we have owners who seemingly are only interested in being part of the fabric of baseball merely because of the financial inducements offered by the game in terms of its tax sharing revenue scheme which is primarily used to create the perception that there’s a balance between the small big market teams. In reality nothing could be further from the truth because there’s no way that the Pittsburgh Pirates can compete with the likes of the Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Texas Rangers , St Louis Cardinals or the Philadelphia Phillies . The teams mentioned are financial behemoths within the game of baseball which strangely enough not many people would as such believe that the Rangers would be considered such an organization.

Since the Texas Rangers were bought by a syndicate group led by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg who’ve made it their goal of not only building a competitive team but also a financially sound organization. The Texas Rangers in spite of them not being able to retain Cliff Lee in the offseason, both Ryan and Greenberg made it their option to build a financial base that would avail the organization of all it needed to be and remain competitive . Apart from having several multi billionaire members on its board the team was able to obtain a multi billion broadcast contract ($3 billion [$ 3,000,000,000]) that will secure its short and long term financial future.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the Pittsburgh Pirates under the tenure of Bob Nutting and his willingness to succeed. He’s been to this organization what the US Congress and Senate has been to the economy , as they’ve literally buried their heads in the sand while all around them has simply failed. As we now see the likes of John Boehner and Harry Reid have seen fit to lay blame for the country’s woes elsewhere instead of looking at themselves in the mirror. Not unlike the stance that has been repeatedly taken by Bob Nutting and his partners within the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization . Nutting essentially has no business acumen nor does he know what the hell he’s doing when it comes to running a successful professional sports franchise . Anyone who believes that Bob Nutting has been good for the game of baseball much less the Pittsburgh Pirates really needs to pull that stick from up their ass , wake up and simply look at the mess the organization still remains in !

There are many fans out there who believe that the state of the game of baseball is indeed a healthy one but there’s absolutely nothing there that ought to lead anyone to believe that. Attendances are essentially down in comparison to a decade ago but albeit that for some teams that’s not necessarily the case as we’ve come to see that the vast majority of the baseball teams within the league are struggling simply to survive from a financial standpoint. Bud Selig and the game’s hierarchy would simply like to point to the positives that there’s said to be within the game but in reality they are few and far between of what one might consider to be a success. It’s all being done with smoking mirrors and is liable to implode at some point in the future without there being much that Selig , himself will able to provide as an answer .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

The impending future for the Pittsburgh Pirates might not seem all that bright at this juncture and though the team’s fans hold out hope that they can be a success this upcoming season I can’t really see this team being able to turn things around with any great resolve . Bob Nutting simply has proven to me that he’s not capable of running a concern such as the Pirates without showing any idea as to what he and boardroom of executives are said to be or have been doing since he assumed control of this team.

What thoughts if any do have concerning the Pirates and their immediate future and how do you view the 2011 season for the team from a competitive level ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter .

Picture and slide show details.
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(1) BRADENTON, FL Manager Clint Hurdle (13) of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 20, 2011 in Bradenton, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….

(2) Pittsburgh Pirates non-roster invitee Josh Fields takes hits during spring training baseball practice, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011, in Bradenton, Fla. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……..

(3) (3) Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen prepares to run bases during spring training baseball practice, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011, in Bradenton, Fla. AP Photo/Eric Gay ……..

(4) Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle talks with some of his players during spring training baseball practice, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, in Bradenton, Fla. AP Photo/Eric Gay …….

(5) Pirates’ senior partner Bob Nutting (left) is seen inset with team GM Neal Huntington (center) and manager Clint Hurdle just after the formal announcement of the manager’s hiring by the organization. AP Photo / Gene J . Puskar ………

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Pittsburgh Pirates’ front office

Pittsburgh Pirates active roster & depth chart

Pittsburgh Pirates’ coaching staff

PNC Ballpark

Pittsburgh Pirates’ 2011 schedule

Pittsburgh Pirates’ team statistics

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………………

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Eye candy …………. Playboy model Corrie Loftin

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It’s Not Always About The Money But Common Sense And Where The Heart Takes You


It’s Not Always About The Money But Common Sense And Where The Heart Takes You …..

I don’t know if I should feel nonplussed or bewildered by the naivete shown by some people be it from a lack of intelligence on their part or just sheer stupidity. It’d appear that several baseball fans many of whom are Texans and writers of a certain blog post are surprised that Cliff Lee has chosen rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies rather than opting for more money that had been offered by both the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers . The Yankees with their burgeoning pockets and vast financial resources in reality had met their match in the Texas Rangers who were backed financially by several noted Texas billionaires and the fact that team President Nolan Ryan and CEO Chuck Greenberg had recently negotiated a $3 billion television deal (20 year) with a prominent cable and broadcast outlet.

The Yankees who’d upped the ante in this ever increasing stake of ‘chicken’ went as far to offer the player an option of a six year $150 million deal which was something of a sticking point originally for Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman as he was reluctant to offer Lee’s agent Darrell Braunecker such a deal on behalf of his client, with an option for a seventh year.. The Rangers’ for their part may well have felt that they had the inside track given that the player and his family were happy being in Texas and with his home being relatively close in his native state of Arkansas . Ryan for his part along with manager Ron Washington and GM Jon Daniels had hoped that with Lee’s performances in the postseason and his camaraderie with his teammates that a decision would be something a formality. What many hadn’t realized was that the Phillies along with their GM Ruben Amaro Jr. had been in contact with the player and his agent gauging his interest in returning to the Philadelphia Phillies where he’d played for the team last year.

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Another determining factor in Lee’s decision to forgo the chance of playing for the Yankees was the treatment received by Lee’s wife and family at several of the games attended by them in the ALCS when the Rangers took on the Bronx Bombers for the AL Pennant at Yankees Stadium . Typically up to their somewhat obnoxious behavior for which an apology hasn’t been forthcoming from anyone within the Yankees’ hierarchy Lee’s family was subjected to a torrent of verbal abuse and profanity, some of which was directed to his children and in particular his son who happens to be a leukemia survivor but who still has some health related issues because of the illness. If that wasn’t a precursor to perhaps one of the reasons why he chose not to join the Yankees then I can’t think of another pertinent reason.

The Yankees as always are viewed as the presumptive favorites to win the World Series year in and year out . But given the fact that we’ve now begun to cracks in their armor many believe that the team is now on something of a downslide . Their pitching remains suspect beyond their ace CC Sabathia and with an aging Mariano Rivera one can never be sure what you’re now going to get. Beyond that there also seemed to be something of a cooling of the relationship between team captain Derek Jeter and Cashman while that player’s contract was being negotiated . Tensions rose and it appears that Cashman rather callously sought to offer Jeter an out if he didn’t feel amenable to the team’s offer . Calmer heads prevailed but you got the feeling that although denials have been forthcoming there was reason to believe that all wasn’t well within the …….’ house that Ruth built’. And beyond Sabathia and Rivera one has to also look at the Yankees’ pitching roster and realize that the effectiveness and resilience one had come to expect just is no longer there. Andy Pettite remains but a back spasm or shoulder injury away from having a prolonged stint on the disabled list and does anyone truly fear Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes for that matter ?

What we do know is that the Yankees’ offense remains prodigious in the regular season with the like of Robinson Cano , Nick Swisher , Alex Rodriguez and Jeter setting the trend. But things seems to have dropped alarmingly this past postseason wherein Rodriguez was non- existent and little or nothing was seen from Swisher or Curtis Granderson during the postseason albeit that they had their way with the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS . What we can be sure of however is that the Yankees will once again resort to whatever means necessary to strengthen their roster. And one can assume that managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner can’t have been too pleased seeing their divisional arch rivals the Boston Red Sox acquire both Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez this off-season . Suffice to say that things will be highly combustible and competitive in the AL East this upcoming season .

As I alluded to earlier the Texas Rangers with their now vast financial backing may well have felt that they were major players in the ‘Cliff Lee sweepstakes’ but clearly what they hadn’t counted on was a third party entering the fray and bidding for Lee’s services. And as resourceful and amenable as they were to the player it was becoming clear that he wasn’t necessarily happy with his tenure in Texas. So much was placed upon his shoulders as the mainstay and ace of the team and in terms of a reliable enough rotation to back him up beyond C J Wilson and closer Neftali Feliz there wasn’t a great deal there that was awe inspiring as can be witnessed from the rotation’s and team’s overall performances in their World Series’ loss to Bruce Bochy’s _____ San Francisco Giants . That too could have weighed heavily on Lee’s mind and the mere fact also that the Giants dealt with them with such ease . For Reuben Amaro Jr this is a coup-de-gras as the Phillies now possess quite possibly the most formidable pitching staff in all of baseball headed up by Roy Halladay , Roy Oswalt , Cole Hamels , Joe Blanton and now with the addition of Lee and less we forget the Phillies’ wily veteran Jamie Moyer who can still befuddle batters with his pitching after two decades plus in the game . Never mind taking to the account the bullpen and closer Brad Lidge . Does anyone now not believe that Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel , his coaching staff aren’t now licking their chops and can’t wait for Spring Training to come around ? The Phillies once again have to be viewed as the prohibitive favorites in the National League and that’s with due respect to the reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants .

For the Rangers’ fans or for that matter any baseball fan out there just because the money being bandied about is seen as grotesque it doesn’t always mean that the player is willing to pursue that treasure trove . Clearly this wasn’t simply a decision taken by Lee to be simply about the money because it all boiled down where he felt comfortable and perhaps where he felt the best opportunity to win actually lay. Merely because the Yankees have the cash doesn’t make them the perfect fit or the ‘perfect team’ for that matter ! If anything in spite of their success what they seem to have a problem with a great deal of the time is to truly function as a team when it really matters most. Unequivocal success or not the New York Yankees showed that this past postseason when placed under undue pressure they are not always able to rise to the occasion .

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Picture gallery for your perusal . By clicking on each frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size.

As to the immediate future of the Texas Rangers they will now have to rethink their whole strategy moving forward and how best to proceed. The Phillies for their part now have the prized free market acquisition of the off season and simply feel that a five year $120 million contract is money well spent on their part given the vagaries of the market and the ambiguity that has taken place this off-season concerning the ever escalating salaries now being paid. And for Cliff Lee can anyone truly fault him for the decision that he made given the opportunity that now arises ? Chime in with your own thoughts on the matter anything else concerning the baseball off-season that caught your attention .

NB: Click here for the latest MLB news

MLB Important Dates for the upcoming season .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………… 🙂

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Keyshia-Dior

Eye candy ………. Keyshia Dior

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It’s true good things do sometimes come in small packages and a package like Keyshia certainly doesn’t come any better ! Chime on in with a comment about her if you so wish .

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Honk If You’re Watching The World Series At Present ? Honk If You’d Rather Watch Paint Dry Or Have Sex Instead ?


Honk If You’re Watching The World Series At Present ? Honk If You’d Rather Watch Paint Dry Or Have Sex Instead ?

Well the ‘Fall Classic’ has started and baseball’s best two teams are left to fight it out in the best of seven game decider is now off to a rather pleasant start . The 2010 World Series presents us with pennant winners the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers . And already the series has presented us with a number of sub plotlines . Rangers’ catcher Bengie Molina has the chance to win a ring no matter the outcome of this series happens to be. Having started the season with the Giants the player was traded to the Rangers during the season . Rangers’ manager Ron Washington had something of a tumultuous season wherein it was a matter of faith as to whether or not the Rangers’ front office would stand by their manager after his admittance that he’d succumbed to substance abuse. Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels and team President Nolan Ryan chose to stand by their manager and there was wholehearted support for this stance by the entire Rangers’ team .

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Now perhaps the vast majority of fans might have preferred to have seen the New York Yankees make it to the World Series in their quest to win their 28th title . It has to be said that their fall from grace at the hands of the Rangers was not only a pleasant surprise but also a welcoming one as well. And when one considers that the Yankees’ team payroll as almost four times as much as their opponents in the ALCS it has to be said that frugality now seems to be the way in baseball (MLB) . The payrolls of both participants in this season’s World Series is a combined $155 million . Not overly exorbitant by any stretch of the imagination but had it been the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies as the participants here, then there would have been in almost $350 million worth of talent on display. That being said it’s not always about the talent on display but the desire and the will to win. And the usual bye product of it all one hopes is an exihilarating series .

With the National League (NL) having won home-field advantage throughout the series one could assume that this gives the Giants the advantage that Bruce Bochy and his team sought. Game one of the series proved to be prophetic as this Giants’ team would get off to a resounding start in defeating the Texas Rangers and their ace Cliff Lee ___ 11-7 . The match-up between Lee and the Giants’ Tim Lincecum was all that and more , way beyond what anyone could have imagined or have wished for.

Now it goes without saying that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the league hierarchy hopes that not only are both venues AT&T Park , San Francisco and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas are filled to capacity. But also nationwide the television audience will be one that makes the event a ratings’ bonanza for Fox Televsion and the for the league as a whole. Steady declines in ballpark attendance and in television veiwership has left the game to an extent somewhat bereft of appeal. And it certainly hasn’t helped that the NFL is now in full swing and the apparent start of the NBA ____ season as well. It’s almost as if baseball suddenly becomes the ‘ugly duckling’ that no one has an apparent interest in or lusts for. This seems to be the one time of the year that the game really does have a problem resonating with the fans at large.

A World Series that proves to be a thrilling and excting one would no doubt lure the viewing public and fans to watch the series. The San Francisco Giants are making their first apperance in the World Series since 2002 where they would eventually fall to the Los Angeles Angels losing the series 4-2 . For the Texas Rangers this is their first appearance in the ‘Fall Classic’ and having undergone a change in ownerhsip this has all been a pleasant surprise not only for their long suffering fans but the ownership group led by Nolan Ryan and Charles ‘Chuck’ Greenberg. And given the fate of the organization prior its purchase by this syndicate group one ought to consider the Rangers an extremely lucky organization altogether. Their plight certainly wasn’t helped by the laissez-faire attitude of Bud Selig and his office as the team lay within bankruptcy proceedings and the intransigence being shown by then owner Tom Hicks . Now with a new ownership group in tow and their ambitions not merely being set with this lone appearance but in becoming a perennial contender for years to come it remains to be seen what the future holds for the Rangers at this juncture.

If game one proved to be a disappointment for the Rangers’ fans and the team as whole then game two would prove to be just as disastrous . It would pit pitchers Matt Cain against the Rangers’ C J Wilson and the resultant onslaught would once again be piled on by the Giants as they would overwhelm the Rangers 9-0 . If you thought the hole dug after game one was deep then one only has to look at the situation now that the Rangers face. Down 0-2 and with their offense and pitching now in a tailspin it’s hard to envisage how the they can now find their out this by erasing this series’ deficit and staving off defeat as the momentum has shifted towards the Giants. Had they split the series in San Francisco then one could conceivably say that they’d still be in with a chance. But the mere fact that the Rangers’ offense has been inconsistent and their bullpen seemingly in tatters Ron Washington and his coaching staff have a great deal of work ahead for them as they and the team try to get back on track before the series resumes at Rangers Ballpark on Saturday evening.

As this series unfolds it’ll be interesting to see how the television ratings pan out and the statements forthcoming from the league office. Quietly they have to be thinking to themselves what else needs to be done by them in order to lure the fans to the spectacle of the game and the value it provides in terms of entertainment. While overtures are being made to shorten the regular season and expand the number of playoff teams in the postseason. It has to be said that before any of this is done both the league hierarchy , team owners and the MLBPA (union) led by Michael Weiner will have to address many of the game’s underlying issues concerning the economic viability of the teams and their immediate future.

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Picture gallery for your perusal. By clicking on each frame you can view that picture in its original formatted size .

What thoughts if any do you have concering baseball’s regular season and as such were there any major disappointments as far as you were concerned ? Also how do you view the World Series as it now stands and do you see the Texas Rangers playing themselves back into contention ? Or do you now seeing the San Francisco Giants winning their first title and erasing the nightmare of 2002 ? Chime in with a comment on your thoughts .

NB : Links provided for the latest MLB news and views . Merely click on links below.

MLB News ……

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San Francisco Giants’ roster

Texas Rangers’ roster

Teams’ postseason stats for the 2010 World Series.

😦 —- 🙂

Alan aka tophatal ……… 🙂

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Ophilia

Eye candy video vixen Ophilia

Fallout ….. Baseball Is It Really What It Should Be ?


Fallout    Baseball     Is  It   Really  What  It  Should  Be  ?

I’m    not  so   sure  that the AL   East  will  end  the  way  that  many  of  us   expected   and  with  there  being  a thrilling outcome  to what  has  been  an  exciting season  in  some  respects. The  New  York Yankees  have  literally played themselves  back  into  contention and   appear  to  be less  than  six  games  away  from  winning  another AL  East  title. For their  part the  Tampa Bay Rays  have given  all  that they   possess but   now seem to  falling   short  of what their fans expected.  Albeit that manager  Joe Maddon  has done his  utmost with this team their flaws have arisen at a time when so much had been expected.This was the year when the Tampa  Bay Rays had been expected to challenge the supremacy and   dominance  of the  New York Yankees. And from a  financial standpoint now more than  ever the  Rays need to  be seen as a perennial contender. Granted, their   precarious   situation   hasn’t  been helped   by the  backbiting and infantile  behavior of  the   local  politicians  and  that  of the Rays’   front  office .  Is  it  any  wonder  when   one  looks  across  the  spectrum  of  Major  League  Baseball (MLB) and  that  of  the owners  and  the  commissioner’s  office   you   get   a sense  that  the   game  is  being  ran  by  a  bunch  of imbeciles .  Where else  can you  get a   group  of  executives  and  owners   fawning  over  a  commissioner  who  has  been as  much   use   to  the  game  than   a  five  inch   gaping  whole  would  be at  the   bottom  of   a  bucket  filled  with  water.

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Slide-show for your perusal.
Commissioner Bud Selig has been the 1,000lb gorilla in the room bringing  mayhem to the the game. Now if there was a way with  which things could  change for the better then it’s knowing  that Bud Selig will be stepping  down in  his role as  commissioner. That if anything  has  to a  blessing  to the true  baseball  fans out  there. Unfortunately  however   amongst  the   archaic  presence of the   owners  and  than  their  belief that  having  a  commissioner  whose only  purpose  is  to   serve  them  then  it clearly shows  how out of touch   they have   been and  the   ever  changing   environment  of  the  baseball  landscape. From a  business standpoint  that baseball  is in a   severe  financial  mess. At  least three  quarters  of  the  league’s  thirty teams   are struggling  to  make ends  meet  from  a financial  standpoint.  And  were it  not  for the tax sharing  revenue scheme  instigated by   Selig’s  office  we’d  now   be  seeing  several  teams  around  the  league  fighting  to  stave off   bankruptcy.  Who amongst   you   knew  that  the   Chicago  Cubs  was   placed   into  bankruptcy   by   its  former  owner  billionaire  Sam  Zell  in  order to stave  off  financial   ruin  ?   And   now  that  the  team  has  been  sold  to  the   Ricketts’  family   we’re seeing  that the woes   that has  been the  Cubs’ mantra  still exists.    Lou  Piniella   is  no  longer  the  team  manager  and  the  players   do not  seem to  be  playing  with a  passion  much  less  with  any  pride.   And for  the   woeful  fans  who  for  each  home series attend  Wrigley Field  to watch  this  team  play  they   can’t  be   entirely  happy  witnessing  the   mess on  the   field   who’ve  got  to  watch  this  idiocy.

The Los  Angeles  Dodgers are   in  the  midst  of  an   acrimonious  ownership  struggle wherein  owners Frank  and  Jamie McCourt  are  laying  out their private lives on display for  all to  savor,  the mess  that  comes with a divorce that has all the  ingredients  of  a soap  opera.  Never mind  the fact that there  too  manager  Joe  Torre   has sought to   walk  away  from  the   organization  rather  than  deal  with a  team  that  has  no wish  to  play   with  a  zeal or  passion.  Tell  me  how in God’s  name this team  was going to  contend in  the  NL West  given  the  fact  that  the  players   have no  stomach for a fight ?  GM Ned Colletti is no  closer to  making  this   team a  competitor than  Mitt  Romney’s  chances were  in  winning  the GOP nomination  for the Presidency in  2004. Now  in  the  midst  of   a  downward  spiral  that   appears  to have no end in sight  and  the  fans   at   Chavez Revine (Dodgers’ Stadium)  must be  wondering  what  the  hell  is going  on ?    Personally  I  look  at  the  saga as  if  it  were  simply  just another   Hollywood   script  that the  writers  couldn’t  have   scripted  any  better themselves.  There  seems  to  be   everything  happening  with  the   Dodgers  as  a  team  other  than the  fact  that  they’re  not  winning. And  if  you’d  ask  anyone  to  try  and  explain  the  malaise  behind  the   team  I  doubt  that   one  would  be  able   to  get a  succinct   answer   from  any  baseball  analyst  or pundit  much  less the   fans  themselves.  The   Dodgers have  become  a  paradigm   of unending    ineptitude  both  on  and  off  the   field.

Now as the   closing  weeks  of  the  regular season   is   upon   us   many  of the  divisional  races  seem to be playing  themselves  out.  In   some  cases it’s  all  over  bar the  shouting  as  the   Cincinnati  Reds seem  to  be  well  on their  way  to   winning  that particular race (NL Central).   In  the  NL  East  it looks as  if the  Philadelphia  Phillies  will  make  a  successful   defense  their   divisional  title  albeit  at the  expense of  Bobby  Cox’s  farewell  parade after the  monumental   success  he achieved  with  the  Atlanta Braves.  Cox  led the  team  with a  great  deal of  pride  and  dignity as  he  sought  to make  this  his  last   season  within major  league  baseball.

Now  for  all of  the   furor  over the  AL  West  I’ve  got to  ask myself   what  must  Mike Sciocsia  and  the   Los  Angeles Angels __ front office   be  thinking  ?  Having   released   hard  hitting  outfielder  Vladimir  Guerrero  who would  then find  a  home  with  the  Texas Rangers.  And  the Rangers seem to be  on  the  cusp of winning the division and   making  it  something  of  an   inspiring season for the  new  ownership of  the  Rangers  led  by Chuck Greenberg  and former baseball great Nolan Ryan.  As  to  how the   Rangers   will  fare  in  the  postseason  remains to  be  seen.

Pardon   me   for  saying this  but  how is  it  that the Minnesota  Twins can consistently year  in  and  year  out   play  with  such  abandonment ,  remain  competitive   but  yet  do so   on  budget  that  most major  sports   franchises   would   struggle  to survive? .  Clearly  the  front office of  the Twins  in conjunction  with  manager Ron Gardenhire  have  managed to acquire talent nurture it and see it  all  come to fruition with  the   team  now   on  the cusp of winning  another divisional title and   playing  themselves into  contention this postseason.  Don’t  be surprised by  the fact  this  team  now  has  the second best record  within  the   league(MLB). They’ve   played  with confidence  and a  great  deal of  maturity. And although  within their division  that  opposition was  posed by the  Detroit Tigers  and Chicago White Sox  haven’t been anything  near what  many had  expected them to be about. And the  Minnestoa Twins  have  been  all that  and  a  great deal  more throughout  much  of  the season.


As the regular season winds  down I  just  hope  that  the  postseason  will  have  something  to  offer  us all   and that  there’ll  be  as  much  excitement  there   for the   fans  to  be   happy  in seeing  !  If  nothing  else  we  can  but   hope that will  be  the  case. And  as   far  choosing  an  outright winner  of the  World  Series ,well  as  much as  the  New  York Yankees  are perceived  as  the   favorites to  win  it  all  merely  because of  their storied  history  and  the  fact that  they’re  the  reigning champions.  To my  mind as good  as  the  team  appears  to be  on  paper their   weakness appears to  be  with  their   pitching .  Beyond C C Sabathia and   Phil Hughes their  team’s  pitching  isn’t  an   imposing  one.  So  that in  of-itself  should   give  their opponents in the   postseason some  hope .  But I’m liable  to  believe that  the  Yankees  will   make it  all  the  way to the playoffs  but as to  how far they  go,will in part  rest  with  their   pitching. If that’s  not  up  to  scratch  then we are  liable  to  see  them  fall from  grace  for  all  of the  wrong   reasons.   And  as  talented  as  this   team  is  they’re still   an  offensive  threat   but  beyond   Sabathia, to   my  mind  this   team  can  be  something of a   Jekyll  & Hyde  !

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Picture gallery . By clicking on an individual frame you can see the picture in its original format.

Your  thoughts   if  any as  to  how you  see  the   remainder of  the  postseason   playing  out and  that  of  the  postseason  also  ?    Which   team  do  you  believe  will  have  what  it takes  for  the   long  haul of  the   postseason  and   raise   the World  Series   trophy   in   November  ?

😦

Alan    aka   tophatal 🙂 * 🙂

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Model & actress Olga Kurylenko