Tag: Pittsburgh Pirates

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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Slide show for your perusal .

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).


Click on link to read this article in its entirety.


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.


Click on link to read this article in its entirety .


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.



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 ……………………………


Picture and slide show details below .

(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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And This Is Meant To Do What ?

And This Is Meant To Do What ?

Now it cannot have escaped most of you that a statue was erected to honor MLB Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig and his contributions to the sport of baseball. Now while I find this mildly amusing I also find it to be an absolute insult to the fans of the game and about as meaningful as suggesting that an statue ought to be erected to honor the deeds of Benedict Arnold . But I digress only the idiot team owners within baseball and in particular those within the front office of the Milwaukee Brewers could have been stupid enough to deem this to be a worthwhile gesture to a man who has done about as much for the game as Arnold did in trying to get the British to still remain as rulers of the US colonies . The life size statue erected outside Miller Park in Milwuakee will be a constant reminder to the fans there of what Selig supposedly meant to them as an owner. I’d can only hope that any pigeons other avian species flying within close proximity of the statue make a deposit of fecal matter upon Selig’s likeness in order to show how the vast majority of fans feel about the commissioner !


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Slide-show for your perusal .

While no one denies that Selig has brought about changes in the game the truth of the matter is other than his rather asinine steroid policy and that of the intoduction of the wildcard playoff system Selig’s legacy will be remembered as one of controversy and the mere fact that he has presided over one of the most corrupt enterprises that there now is in the country. Anyone who believes otherwise really needs to wake up and smell the damn coffee ! MLB may well be a multi-billion dollar business industry with its tentacles now reaching far beyond these shores as it seeks mass market appeal abroad . But what Selig , the hierarchy of the game and his own personal “inner circle” has been able to achieve while remaining far more secretive than anyone can imagine would suggest that cartels such as the Colombian , Mexican drug empires and their leaders could learn a great deal from the commissioner and his subordinates.

While not wanting to state the obvious but none of this could have been done without the able assistance of both the House of Representatives and Senate who each in their own way have made this all possible with the anti-trust exemption and the overly generous tax exemptions that the teams can attain courtesy of the House Oversight Committee and of the House Ways And Means Committe ____ the latter who oversees and writes many of the tax laws which has in many ways created the tax loopholes that they now would decry because revenues to the IRS are said to be on the decline . Well who’d have thought that when these idiots were the ones who continuously find ways to rewrite and finagle the laws that now stretch to several thousand pages and which has as much legalese terms that would befuddle a tenured law professor ?

Now while accolades and honors are bestowed upon individuals for their deeds to a certain cause. I find it somewhat galling that Selig should have this honor bestowed upon him but yet Pittsburgh Pirates’ great Roberto Clemente cannot have his baseball number retired or even a statuette placed in his honor at PNC Park ! Somehow things seem to be skewered here given the sacrifices made by the former baseball great but I guess Selig and his loyal band followers feel that he’s far more deserving of this honor than anything that they would feel is more appropriate for Clemente ? Oh the sheer and simple idiocy of it all ! But this is what baseball has become about ! Backslapping and glad handing those who aren’t really deserving of an honor but it’s done because , it’s meant to show that all is right with the game and for the sheer sake of the fans it’s meant to draw them in further.

Now if anything Selig will deem it a privilege and honor that this has been bestowed upon him but as I alluded to earlier I sincerely hope that a number of avian species will find their mark with aeronautic precision when they choose to deposit some fecal matter from their lower extremities . Think of it as a dog using a fire hydrant as its calling hard while it urinates on that actual being ? I trust that the janitorial staff there at Miller Park will be gainfully employed and well compensated for their time when it comes to cleaning up that mess !

With recent leaked documents concerning the financial dealings of the Pirates —— Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays and the profits earned by of the ballclubs in question. We’ve yet to hear a public utterance from Selig or from anyone within commissioner’s office . It were as if they’d rather this all go away but as of now the shit has hit the proverbial fan and the fallout from this all that present seems to be minuscule . It could well lead to a number of questions being asked of the teams around Major League Baseball and how many of them truly derive of their profits . It is becoming increasingly clear that much of that isn’t from standard operational business practices but more out of creative accounting and the monies given to the so called small market teams whose goal it is to bolster their rosters as mandated by the commissioner’s office. If any of the belief that this has actually been happening then one simply has to look at what has transpired within the Marlins and Pirates’ organization and the backtracking that has taken place by the respective owners of those two teams. Both Robert Nutting and Jeffrey Loria have been recluctant to answer questions head that have been posed to them on . But what might be even more exacerbating has been the stance taken by Selig , himself. No sense of consternation or of him being actually peturbed by this all, as he has simply looked the other way and the other owners around the league have remained ominously silent about it all. One gets the impression that they actually couldn’t give a shit at all as they know that they have the pocket books of the fans to fall back on as a way and means of recouping that money. And that clearly will be the action taken by the big market teams who bear the burden of the tax that they’re assessed in order that the small market teams can survive.

The fact that Selig is being honored in such a way is rather asinine ! But one can simply view it as showing how really out of touch with reality that the game of baseball really is. Instead of dealing with the real issues within its sport , Selig , the owners and the players but perhaps even more so the MLBPA (union) led by Michael Weiner would rather portray themselves that the sport that the nation became so enamored with and where its history is littered with heroic feats by legends whose names have become synonymous not just with the sport but also with the fabric of society. And unfortunately for us this gesture is meaningless and simply shows once again the values espoused are cheap and trite . Under Selig’s tenure the game has become a joke wherein it is now the fans that are having to bear the brunt of the stupidity and the larcenous fraud that has been perpetrated upon us all. Anyone who believes otherwise either has their head buried in the sand and is utterly too naive and stupid to complain.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do have one Selig receiving the honor of having a statue placed outside Miller Park in his name ? Do you feel it is justified and warranted ? Bear in mind also that Selig has stated he doesn’t feel it necessary to retire Clemente’s number given the player’s philanthropy and the way in which he lost his life. If anyone is actually due such an honor in having a statue in his honor do you not believe that it should be Roberto Clemente ? Chime in with your thoughts on the matter and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !


Alan aka tophatal ……………………… 🙂


Eva Mendes

Actress Eva Mendes . Keep the faith simply play with “the boys ” while ogling Eva .

Truth In Advertising …………………..

Truth In Advertising

GM President & Chairman Ed Whitacre states that company has paid back their original loan from the government in full. Truth ? No not exactly as the company has only repaid in part the original investment . So far it has only repaid back $5 billion to the US Treasury Dept . However there is the matter of the other $56 billion that the US taxpayer is still owed . And that as of this moment in time the company is unable to say when that money will be repaid. What we do know at this moment in time is that US Canadian governments are the majority stakeholders in the automotive company . The two government’s combined holdings in the company amounts to 72 % of General Motors (GM) .

While President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner assures us that our investment in the company is safe . What they cannot tell us is when those monies will be returned to the taxpayer. Because the money owed , no one is absolutely sure when that sum will be repaid . Whitecre and the board of GM are looking to take the company public within the next two to five years and in that time the monies derived from the IPO (initial public offering ) will be used to “repay” the US Treasury . Do you get the feeling that the Obama administration , much like Whitacre and his board aren’t really sure in all likelihood when they will in fact will be able repay the monies owed ? The company through creative accounting still can’t turn an operating profit. And even now with a slight increase in volume sales there’s still no indication that the company is heading in the right direction and that it will indeed become profitable and going concern once again. It has been over a decade since the company turned an operating profit for a fiscal year.