Tag: Nolan Ryan

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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Slide show for your perusal .

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

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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 .

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MLB News ……

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San Francisco Giants’ roster

Texas Rangers’ roster

Teams’ postseason stats for the 2010 World Series.

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Alan aka tophatal ……… 🙂

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Ophilia

Eye candy video vixen Ophilia