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Another Day Same Old Story …….


Another Day Same Old Story …….

Slowly but surely we’re being told that the NFL and NFLPA are inching towards an agreement concerning the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement . What I find completely unbelievable about this whole episode is the very fact that the league and union have said little about they will do to meet the needs of the retired veteran players around of NFL. At no time during these deliberations have I heard or has it been reported as to what the NFL’s intentions are concerning to meet that of the players in question. I will continue to maintain that the NFL much like the union which says they represent all of their members simply do not care about the players in question.

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Hall of Famer Carl Eller and a number of his peers have filed a civil suit in Federal Court challenging the NFL and concerning the ongoing negotiations and the mere fact that little if any input has been allowed to be interceded in what might well be a binding agreement as it relates to the collective bargaining agreement. Much of what has now transpired now seems like a comedy of errors that couldn’t have been scripted by a Hollywood writer had it been first brought up as a premise . Roger Goodell and his minions have been given a considerable dose of reality , as too have DeMaurice Smith and the executive members of the NFLPA .

I am no longer enthralled as to whether or not there will be a regular season as the NFL has lost my complete and utter respect ! The asinine behavior by all of the parties concerned has me now simply wondering what else is there left for the league to do to leave its image in tatters ?

Well now that the season has resumed after the All Star Game , an event which in all honesty was about as mesmerizing as a political debate between two candidates who are about as insightful on the issues as they allegedly believe themselves to be. The game itself , with what was said to be at stake and you have to wonder why it was that the effort from the AL was so lackluster ? I can only imagine that their reason for participating was merely obtain their roster incentives from their respective teams . After that mediocre display by the team it simply served notice that the players are not in the least bit concerned with what the fans may well have thought .

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Infielder Sean Rodriguez (1) of the Tampa Bay Rays tries to turn a double play as Brett Gardner (11) of the New York Yankees breaks it up during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

Now a number of patrons and contributors within this medium have suggested a number of ways to improve the event . And while many of the suggestions are valid I believe that what is actually needed is for there to be more of an input from the managers around the league and actually less from the fans in terms of the voting for the ballots of the All Star teams ! That being said after the low ratings for the televised broadcast on Fox I can’t help but wonder how Bud Selig and the league hierarchy now might view this rather disastrous event that is often seen as one of the major highlights of the MLB season. Rumor has it , that next season in staging the All Star Game at Kauffman Stadium , home to the Kansas City Royals rather than stage a game of the league’s current stars they will consider the staging of a soft ball game between the wives of the players who’ll be scantly clad . Perhaps that might incite and elicit even more viewers than the benign ratings obtained by Fox and the MLB Network .

Baseball has become bereft of creativity and ideas that now even with the team owners showing their stupidity and a union that has been enabled because of the sheer ineptitude of the league hierarchy. The game is losing is fans simply because the top executives within the game no longer considers what made baseball all the more appealing , instead they look to cater to one common denominator and that is to their corporate sponsors rather than to the fans .

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Infielder Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees gets out of the way of an inside pitch from the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

In what might be considered a series that very well defines their season the Tampa Bay Rays are hosting the New York Yankees . Given the tightness of the race within AL East where six games separate the top three teams within the division . It is imperative that the Rays get a win under their belt in the opener , in order to place further pressure on the Boston Red Sox and Yankees who sit ahead of them within AL East. For all sense and purpose most definitely the wildcard entrant the AL will come from within the division , so there is a great deal at stake for both teams as to the outcome of this series .

Joe Maddon as manager of this team along with his coaching staff know that they will have to be at their very best over the ensuing months . Much has been made concerning the team as of late and whether or not Andrew Friedman the team’s general manager will be a major player as the trade deadline approaches on the 31st July .

The are now rumors now resonating through the grapevine that would suggest that there’s something in the offing and that in all probability a player on the team’s current roster will be traded . All signs point to the fact that BJ Upton whose contract expires at the end of this season could very well be the player in question to be off-loaded . Now it goes without saying that the player is a desirable target for a number of teams seeking an offensive presence to add some potency to their lineups to their respective rosters. And as with any team now looking to off-load salary it now seems as if the dye has been cast by the front office as the financial constraints placed on the organization has been stifling the competitiveness of this team. I don’t know that the front office can continue in the apparent direction that it seems to be heading in much longer , merely because of the fact no matter how many steps forward they seem to be taking , they tend to take even more steps backwards . I certainly don’t believe that principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg actually believes that the team will be aided by the league hierarchy be providing any assistance to the organization as they seek a new venue. A great deal has been chronicled on this matter and it goes without saying that the longer this issue remains unresolved the more protracted it will somehow become .

Over a long an arduous season a great deal is expected of team over the course of the year . It will certainly be no different for the Tampa Bay Rays and many of the other teams seeking to make the postseason . Certainly the races around a number of the divisions are now heating up and though I have heard it said that a 5 or 8 game margin isn’t a great deal to overcome but it is something of a rarity to see such a deficit be erased over the closing months of the season .

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Designated hitter Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by pitchers James Shields (33) and David Price (14) after scoring a run against the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

From my own perspective as it concerns the Tampa Bay Rays , this is a team that is full of youthful vibrance looking to excel at the highest level and that is epitomized by players such as Evan Longoria , James Shields , David Price , Sam Fulds , Matt Joyce and others on this roster . They have an excellent manager in Joe Maddon whose coaching staff seems to excel in bringing out the best in young players and in getting seasoned veterans such as Johnny Damon to play as if their careers are on the rise once again. Damon if anything has been a leader of this team in more ways than one , willing to impart his considerable knowledge amongst his teammates in order to make them better. And much of that has been on display throughout the season as the Tampa Bay Rays have played with a great deal of zeal as they look to make themselves known within the division.

What is undeniable given the effort of this organization is that they will do their utmost to exhibit everything needed to fulfill the wishes of their fans . But slowly the inevitable does appear to be happening and it is that some of them now are willing to accept that this may well be the closing chapters of a saga that is coming to an end . The optimists out there simply believe that the best thing that can happen is for the team to simply move across the bay into the downtown area of Tampa and all will be OK. The reality however , suggests that in light of economic climate even such a proposed move is by no way a real guarantee of financial success for this organization. Also , bear in mind that the league hierarchy under Bud Selig has done little to aid the team in its efforts as they seek to resolve the ongoing issue of a new facility. As I alluded to earlier , the league is simply bereft of ideas on all fronts , from its image , to how best to aid its teams that are now said to be having numerous financial difficulties and to where the fans are beginning to have an immense distrust of the hierarchy and owners.

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Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays catches a fly ball against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on July 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

In what might have been a truly damning indictment as to the problems that the Tampa Bay Rays now face as to the plight of their situation , during last night’s game there was a prolonged stoppage. The game was halted due to the fact that there was a electrical problem that caused an outage where a number of the stadium lights went out at Tropicana Field . As archaic as the venue appears to be fans of the Rays simply feel that this is the team’s home and where they belong. However , the on air analysts covering the game for ESPN , John Kruk and Barry Larkin likened the venue to a gaping pothole that never ceases to cause problems . Both alluded to the fact that a number of players around the league simply dislike playing at the field and each throughout the course of their careers would simply wish they were playing elsewhere rather than being at Tropicana Field . Joe Maddon when questioned by Tim Kurkjian about the issue of the lights going out during at the game told the reporter that this was merely one of the things that they continue to put up with and that this was simply a way of life for this organization. At the game’s resumption you couldn’t help but wonder what other comedy of errors would now await the fans in attendance , never mind the national television audience watching.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

With the MLB season having resumed how do you see things panning out for the teams within the AL East ? And what thoughts if any do you have as to the future of the Tampa Bay Rays long and short terms , as it relates to their competitiveness and whether or not they remain within their current locale ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal …. http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Contact ……… rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – This April 14, 2011 file photo shows retired Minnesota Vikings Hall of Fame football player Carl Eller, who represents former players, arriving at the federal courthouse in Minneapolis. Eller and lawyers for retired NFL players joined labor talks with representatives of owners and current players, Tuesday, July 19, 2011 in New York, as signs mounted that the league’s lockout might almost be over. AP Photo/Jim Mone ….

(2) NFL Players Association spokesman George Atallah, right, pauses as he speaks to media in Washington, Monday, July 18, 2011, as talks to end the NFL lockout continued. Carl Francis also with the NFL Players Association is at left. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster ….

(3) NFL player Association executive director DeMaurice Smith along with NFL Payers Association president Kevin Mawae, left, speaks to reporters outside a law firm where contract talks ended, Friday, July 15, 2011, in New York. Significant progress on a major sticking point in the NFL labor impasse soaring rookie salaries during marathon talks Thursday raised hopes that a tentative agreement in principle could perhaps come within 24 hours, according to two people familiar with the negotiations. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano ….

(4) New York Yankees, from left in front, Robinson Cano, Eduardo Nunez, and Mark Teixeira celebrate the team’s 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game Monday, July 18, 2011, in St. Petersburg , Fla. AP Photo/Mike Carlson …

(5) New York Yankees’ Russell Martin reacts after taking a walk to force in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning of a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game Monday, July 18, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Mike Carlson …

(6) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 18: of the Tampa Bay Rays of the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(7) Infielder Sean Rodriguez (1) of the Tampa Bay Rays tries to turn a double play as Brett Gardner (11) of the New York Yankees breaks it up during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

(8) Infielder Casey Kotchman (11) of the Tampa Bay Rays takes the throw at first as Curtis Granderson (14) of the New York Yankees gets back safely during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …..

(9) Infielder Derek Jeter (2) of the New York Yankees gets out of the way of an inside pitch from the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …

(10) Designated hitter Johnny Damon (22) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated by pitchers James Shields (33) and David Price (14) after scoring a run against the New York Yankees during the game at Tropicana Field on July 18, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(11) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays catches a fly ball against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on July 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……
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Phew I’m Glad That’s Over …….. !


Phew I’m Glad That’s All Over !

Well the sporting weekend was filled with a litany of stories that may well have found its way into your time spent resting and taking anyone of a number of events on offer. Both the NBA and NHL playoffs are underway and as those episodes play themselves out the fans there I’ve no doubt will be thoroughly entertained. Now I’m not nor have I ever been that much of an enthusiast when it comes to the game of hockey and I doubt I ever will be ! Suffice to say that when it comes to being physical in such a way when the opposing players are throwing down and landing punches like effeminate school girls I’d rather throw my weight behind a good mix up in a martial arts dojo !

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In what is allegedly said to be baseball’s biggest rivalry the Boston Red Sox and their divisional arch rivals the New York Yankees met in a three game series which the Yankees hosted at Yankees Stadium . Having lost the the first two games 5-4 , 6-0 respectively the Yankees were looking to redeem themselves in Sunday’s game in front of a soldout crowd and a national cable broadcast on ESPN .

Much has been made concerning the New York Yankees this season and the frailties of this team in particular with their pitching rotation whom many believe to the team’s Achilles’ heel. If anything with both of the losses in question it simply wasn’t about the weakness of the pitching but also that the bats wents extremely cold for the Yankees . Last night’s game in light of the furore created by the team’s veteran catcher Jorge Posada has pretty much summed up how things could very well go for the Yankees this season .

Posada is having a brutal season batting a mediocre .165 , much to the dismay of the player and the coaching staff led by Joe Girardi and hitting coach Kevin Long . That being said it was somewhat inexplicable the way in which the player informed GM Brian Cashman that he wouldn’t be able to play in Saturday’s game. His excuse seemed to be contrived , with him suggesting that he was suffering from a back-ache and that his head wasn’t where it needed to be. Pardon me for saying this , but if you’re unwilling to suit up when it’s all on the line and your teammates are counting on you then you have no part being on that team ! Either Jorge Posada was genuinely hurt or he wasn’t but for him to take umbrage when Cashman made it public to the press before the game that he wouldn’t be playing , I find it rather naive on the part of Posada ! After-all it was his decision to withdraw from the team and not face their AL East rivals the Red Sox . Now in light of that , it now appears that there’s a great deal of friction and an apparent rift between the player and the upper levels of the executive heirarchy of the New York Yankees . This I believe is what tends to happen when things become contrived and the players who feel that they ought to be treated with deference from their peers within the locker room . Posada, if he’s to be seen as a veteran and an example to the younger players on this Yankees’ roster then he ought to act accordingly , and not like some infantile child who has had his pacifier taken away from him.

I’m not about to suggest that after this Sunday loss ( 7-5 ) which gave the Boston Red Sox a clean three game sweep in this series that the season for the New Yankees is now up in the air as that would be rather asinine ! The Yankees’ situation won’t be made any easier knowing that they now have to face a red hot Tampa Bay Rays’ —- team that has the best away record (13-5 ) in the league this season and whose confidence at a real high. Having lost that game to the Red Sox the Yankees saw their lead within the division erased with the Tampa Bay Rays now leading the AL East with a 23-17 mark with the Yankees two games behind and the Red Sox a mere 3 games behind the division leaders. Things are hotting up within that division and there’s a great deal to play for , nevertheless I do believe that it’s still too soon to write the Yankees off at this juncture but I do believe that the chasm that has now been created between Jorge Posada and the front office could well be irrevocably broken . With Cashman having stated that he’ll approach the commissioner’s office to see what , if any punishment can be levied against the player , you simply get the feeling that Posada could be on his way out with the Yankees unless there’s a contrite apololgy from the player to the organization. The chances of that happening might just be diminishing by the second given the demeanor shown by Posada and his own remarks in light of the series loss.

This two game series between the Yankees and Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida could go a long way in telling us about the direction that both teams are now presently heading in. The Rays need to win and win consistently if they’re even to be thought of as legitimate contenders within the division much less a wildcard entrant or for that matter to have a legitimate shot at the World Series Series . It’s a near on certainty that the wildcard entrant from AL will undoubtedly come from the AL East unless there’s a major surprise to come from within any of the other divisions . At this juncture with how the teams are now playing nothing can be taken off the table as of yet .

I don’t know about you but with all the talk of the Miami Heat strolling their way to the NBA title this season , I’m so glad they were given that proverbial wake up call ! Last night in their conference finals game opener against the Chicago Bulls played at the United Center in Chicago showed us why the Bulls should be written out of this series based on their so called inexperience . Complacency I believe has already has set in with the Heat especially amongst the role players on this team !

The Miami Heat showed why there are still many flaws on this team none more so than on defense as the Bulls laid an almighty can of whup ass on the self absorbed Heat . This game may well have started off as a sprint with the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ looking to stamp their identity on this game . But as good as LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are said to be , on the night Luol Deng , Derrick Rose , Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah and Ronnie Brewer simply better , as the Bulls took the Heat behind the woodshed and fuc_ed them proverbially in the ass ! Statistically the Bulls won this game by being aggressive and simply beating up on the Heat on the boards (45-33) on both ends of the floor .

Inexplicably the Heat were simply no match for the Bulls and the idiocy came about even further when the Heat had six players on the floor during this game but somehow the officials , Dan Crawford , Michael Smith and Ken Mauer as incompetent as we’ve known the referees to be didn’t call a technical against the Miami . Inasmuch , I had expected the Heat to win game one I certainly didn’t believe that they would be upended and embarrassed in the way that they were on the Bulls’ homecourt . But as I alluded to earlier , there’s a complacency about this team that I don’t believe that Erik Spoelstra or Pat Riley can deny . I think that there’s connivance and a belief about the Heat that having beaten the Boston Celtics with effortless ease they may well have felt that they would walk the Bulls like a hot knife through butter. Well it’s game on bitches and you’re now going to be in for a hard fought battle and one hell of a war .

The result a 21 point defeat ( 103-82) of the Miami Heat simply ought to remind us all that we ought to also take note that the Bulls did also sweep the Heat in their regular season meetings 3-0 . And though one could allude to the fact that the Heat as a team weren’t playing cohesively as a unit you simply cannot discount those results as being a one off at all ! The Heat were beaten and albeit that the regular season tends to mean nothing at all once the postseason comes around , you can’t deny that this would be the last thing that Miami Heat would have wanted at this juncture . And that’s to be in a battle where they’re expected to win soundly ____ but instead they’re now in the midst of what could turn out to be guerilla warfare and they’ve simply shown that based on last night’s display they simply haven’t the arsenal to compete against their younger foes.

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece and as such what sporting even over the weekend had your undivided attention ? Simply chime in with a comment and thanks as usual for the continued support .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) VANCOUVER, CANADA – MAY 15: Mason Raymond (21) of the Vancouver Canucks skates after the puck on the forecheck against Joe Pavelski (8) of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-2 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images …..

(2) Chris Higgins (20) of the Vancouver Canucks makes contact as he screens goaltender Antti Niemi (31) of the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on May 15, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Canucks defeated the Sharks 3-2 . Photo by Harry How/Getty Images ….

(3) Teammates, including catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia congratulate Boston Red Sox Kevin Youkilis, second from left, after he led the Red Sox to their 7-5 victory over the New York Yankees for a three-game sweep in their baseball series at Yankee Stadium Sunday, May 15, 2011, in New York. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, right, and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez join in the celebration. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ……

(4) New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez watches his seventh-inning RBI double in the Yankees baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, Sunday, May 15, 2011 in New York. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(5) David Ortiz (34) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a home run in the fifth inning as Russell Martin(notes) #55 of the New York Yankees looks on and J.D. Drew (7) of the Boston Red Sox gets ready to bat during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images …..

(6) Brett Gardner (11) of the New York Yankees is caught in a run down against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ……

(7) A woman holds up a sign supporting New York Yankees five-time All-Star and designated hitter Jorge Posada one day after Posada pulled himself out of the lineup in the Yankees baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium Sunday, May 15, 2011 in New York. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Posada apologized to him in a face-to-face conversation. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(8) Jorge Posada (20) of the New York Yankees cheers his team on from the bench against the Boston Red Sox during their game on May 15, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images ….

(9) From left to right Kurt Thomas (40), John Lucas III, Joakim Noah (13) and Derrick Rose (1) of the Chicago Bulls celebrate late in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls won 103-82 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(10) Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat reacts as he coaches against the Chicago Bulls in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Gregory Shamus ……..

(11) Chris Bosh (1) and Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat talk on court against the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Gregory Shamus/ Getty Images ……..

(12) Kyle Korver (26) of the Chicago Bulls reaches for a loose ball against LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat in Game One of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 15, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/ Johnathan Daniel ……..

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When Johnny Met Manny ……………….


When Johnny Met Manny ……………….

Well holy Moses the impossible has happened and the Tampa Bay Rays are now able to make lemonade out of rat’s pi_s . How else can you explain the idiocy of many of the statements coming from GM Andrew Friedman senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg Granted we know that the organization and team have been beset with financial problems ever since they came into existence and it has been that way ever since . Friedman and Sternberg have continued to berate the fans but have little willingness to spend money but at the same time they’re looking to have a new stadium built at the taxpayers’ expense . And at no time have they actually shown a commitment that they’re prepared to step up to the plate and contribute in part to the building of the supposed new venue. Some solace for the fans eh _____ from two rather conniving individuals who have continued to talk out of both sides of their mouths.

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Sternberg having made his fortune in the commodities’ market and on Wall St much like any other millionaire owner in the league has a bauble (Rays) that he can parade as his own personal jewel in his crown. And given the success that the organization has had in recent years having twice won the AL East divisional crown . Now having failed to make their presence felt in the MLB playoffs where they would succumb to the Texas Rangers the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason essentially had themselves a fire sale gutting the team in order to stave off financial ruin. To make matters worse their most storied and beloved player Carl Crawford was signed by the Boston Red Sox and several other players have followed in tow.

Now Friedman and Sternberg are trying to allay the fans’ fears that the team is heading in the right direction even with the moves that have been made. Simply put you can’t dress a sow up as a pig and call it a pig . Neither can you say that the Rays will be able to contend within the AL East especially when the likes of the Red Sox , New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays will have improved. It’s easy to understand the reason why the division has always been considered to be most competitive in all of baseball . It’s not liable to change at all this upcoming season and it remains to be seen whether or not the coaching staff of the Rays can still have this team playing competitively this upcoming season even with the changes made.

For the fans in attendance at Tropicana Field St Petersburg , Florida this could be a season where that venue will come to be even more so as an elephant’s graveyard where the attendance will if anything border on being bare to say the very least . Instead of that hardcore 15,000 that the organization has come to rely on we could very well see that figure drop below 10,000 . It gives even greater credence to the fact that baseball just doesn’t work in the city of Tampa and it never will. Spin it anyway you want but there comes a time when the fans and in particular Sternberg and Friedman will have to accept the fact that they’re fighting a losing battle. And it certainly hasn’t helped with the continued buffoonery being shown by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , his office and his idiotic impact of the stadium issue for the Tampa Bay Rays . Rather being of assistance to the organization’s plans Selig has been nothing but a hindrance with his nonsensical edicts and public statements on the issue. Telling the team that the only way that they can ever host an All Star Game is to have a purpose built new stadium is asinine, as it was to suggest that he was completely unaware of the whole steroid issue that has been simply rife within the game under his tenure as commissioner !

Now if to create something of a furor and perhaps lure fans into the belief that the good time are here again with them having signed both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez to one year contracts . As to whether not both of these players who are shall we say are past their prime can prove to be productive remains to be seen. But it’s clear that if anything in terms of character they’ll be bringing a great deal with them if not much in terms overall productivity to the Rays.

The two players had unprecedented success as players on the Boston Red Sox having won two World Series and then essentially were either ran out of town or left of their own volition from the organization. Since their departure let’s just say that the fortunes for the Red Sox where GM Theo Epstein and team President Larry Lucchino rule the roost at the behest of principal managing partner John Henry . Can both players contribute to the Rays and make them a competitor within the AL East and throughout baseball will be of interest to the vast majority of fans the print media and broadcast networks who cover the game.

From my own perspective this may well be nothing more than a face saving publicity gimmick but at the same time with both players set to earn in excess of $7.5 million for their effort we could very well see them showing us that they’re not completely past their prime. I do believe however that this team will struggle to be competitive merely because from the standpoint that a great deal will be asked of Evan Longoria and David Price as they try to keep in tact that the momentum that had been created under Joe Maddon’s coaching philosophy. I’ve heard it said that the youth movement on this team will bode well for the Tampa Bay Rays but really given what’s happened in terms of the roster upheavals does anyone truly believe that to be the case ? The Rays may well have been tested over the last few seasons as they saw their glare shine brightly in the public’s presence and perception . But this is a whole new ball of wax and if the truth be told this is liable to be a season where we will see the fortunes of the organization and the team simply falter once again not only from a competitive standpoint but also from a financial one as well.

This upcoming season the team will be on a thread bare budget in terms of salary and once again they will be back in the bottom half of the league in terms of that very aspect. Suffice to say this is one more symbolic point that’s a sad indictment of what’s completely wrong with the game of baseball from an economic and business standpoint as it continues to be about the haves and have nots !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez joining the Tampa Bay Rays ? And do you see the team being competitive this season not only within the AL East but across the entire baseball landscape ? Simply chime in with a comment on this topic and what you you envisage this season within baseball.

NB Picture and slide show details .

(1) This file photo taken Sept. 6, 2010, shows Chicago White Sox’s Manny Ramirez during a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit. A person familiar with negotiations tells The Associated Press that Ramirez and Detroit Tigers’ Johnny Damon have agreed to one-year contracts with the Tampa Bay Rays. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, because the agreements had not been announced. Getty Images / Drew Bishop ……….

(2) In this file photo taken Aug. 24, 2010, Detroit Tigers’ Johnny Damon watches from the dugout in the first inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Detroit. A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez have agreed to one-year contracts with the Tampa Bay Rays. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, because the agreements had not been announced. AP Photo/Paul Sancya ………..

(3) In this Oct. 9, 2010, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Rafael Soriano delivers the ball to the Texas Rangers during Game 3 of the American League Division Series baseball game in Arlington, Texas. A person familiar with negotiations tells The Associated Press that the New York Yankees have reached a three-year agreement with Soriano, last years AL saves leader. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……….

(4)Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon talks with pitcher Andy Sonnanstine (21) as catcher Gregg Zaub, left, third baseman Evan Longoria and first baseman Willy Aybar, right, look on during the third inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the New York Yankees on Monday, Sept. 7, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Yankees won 11-1. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun ……….

(5) Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays of the New York Yankees during the game on April 15, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………

(6) Seen here in a role as a relief pitcher David Price (14) of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch against the Boston Red Sox in game seven of the American League Championship Series during the 2008 MLB playoffs on October 19, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. The Rays defeated the Red Sox 3-1 to win the series 4-3 . Getty Images North America / Doug Pensinger ………….

(7) Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg, left, talks to left fielder Carl Crawford during baseball practice Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays host the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ………..

[8] Matthew Silverman, tram President (left), GM Andrew Friedman (center) and principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg (right) are overhauling the Devil Rays. photo appears courtesy of New York Times/ Phillip Diedrich ………………

Alan aka tophatal …………………………..

MLB News ………………….

Tampa Bay Rays’ 40 man roster . Active roster & depth chart

Rays’ roster 2010

Tampa Bay Rays news …….

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Jackie O

Eye candy …….. Jackie O courtesy of Smooth Magazine

More of Jackie O …… so what’s not to like ?

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Rick Ross ……. feat’g Styles P ……….. “BMF”

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AL East, Albert Pujols, Baseball, Major League Baseball, Sports, St Louis Cardinals, Tony La Russa

Money Makes The World Go Around …………… In MLB It’s Been The Sole Reason To Exist


Money Makes The World Go Around …………… In MLB It’s Been The Sole Reason To Exist

So the season has yet to begin but before MLB has even come into being it appears that the St Louis Cardinals have been given an ultimatum . Negotiate a contract that meets everyone’s needs of Albert Pujols will test the free agency market this offseason. John Mozeliak team GM for the Cardinals knows that in losing Pujols to anyone of a multitude of teams within the league it be disaster for the organization on all fronts. From a financial standpoint it would prove to sheer idiocy on the part of the Cardinals and in all probability it would send the fans in attendance Busch Ballpark in complete uproar.

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Slide show for your perusal.

Tony La Russa knows full well that without Pujols the Cardinals as a team can’t compete within the NL Central much less the rest of baseball. For the Cardinals as an organization this all comes down to whether or not they’re prepared to break the bank in terms of offering the player what many may well believe will have to be one of the most lucrative contracts in MLB history . That privilege at present belongs to the New York Yankees’ —- Alex Rodriguez with his 10 year $300 million deal . Over the course of his career it is estimated that the Yankees’ third baseman will have earned in excess of half a billion dollars ( $500,000,000) without the inclusion of endorsements from corporate endorsers.

All this comes about not only with the help of A-Rod’s abilities on the field but the sheer added advantage of having Scott Boras as his agent. Boras has been able to cloud the judgment of general managers around baseball for over a decade and the idiocy they’ve shown in merely not looking after the financial wherewithal of their respective organizations. Much of this has been suborned also by the stupidity shown by MLB Commmisioner Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy . And as we all know intelligence has never been Bud Selig’s biggest attribute ! He’s still under the impression that the game and everything it stands for is good as it has ever been . At the same time what little backbone he shows has never been really there as he still cowers under the might of the MLBPA and it still hasn’t ceased.

Now while I’m under no impression that Pujols isn’t worthy of being richly rewarded for his exploits on the field but also his philanthropic efforts of it. If anything Albert Pujols is considered to be the best player in the game and if anything the fans and many of his peers may well be in agreement with this . It’s certainly in most fans’ minds that the game is in need of a clear overhaul when it comes to its financial blue print. The tax sharing scheme which benefits the small market teams around the league by way of revenues that’s shared amongst them by the league’s own mandate. Now it remains to be seen what type of long term contract that Pujols may well seek but it goes without saying that the starting point for those negotiations will have to be a minimum of 7 years and quite possibly in excess of $175 million . Comparable to Rodriguez’s annual salary of $30 million it would suggest that Pujols is still vastly underpaid. But that being said the question one has to ask is when will the over exubrance of the teams and their owners be reined in ? Clearly there are still at a point where they believe it’s in their best interest to carry on as if they’re printing money at will. I understand that’s how the <a href="http://usa.gov/&quot; US government at present constitutes its business as it relates to the governance of the country and dealing with the stark economic issues facing the country but it’s become apparent that they’ve no idea to deal with this acute issue.

Do I believe that Albert Pujols should be the highest paid player in the game of baseball ? It’s a matter of opinion and a great deal of conjecture . Certainly over the course of his career he’s proven to be productive and having won three NL Player of the Year Awards . Pujols has been the consummate professional both on and off the field and he’s proven to be one of the main draws in the game ever since his entry into the major leagues. This has to be a decision that’s made by the front office , Mozelliak , the player’s agent and the player himself as to whether their most prized asset is worth the expense.

Amongst this upcoming season it’ll be interesting how to see how the likes of Jayson Werth performs for the Washington Nationals after their acquisition of the player. And amongst the teams having made their off season acquisitions are the Boston Red Sox having obtained both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford from the San Diego Padres and Tampa Bay Rays respectively. For the latter , the Tampa Rays they will be in for a tumultuous season because of the ” fire sale” that has been taking place within the organization and the public statements now being made concerning the team’s impending future. Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg and GM Andrew Friedman have been clear that what they are now doing is being done in order for the team to remain financially viable and self sustaining . This has been something of a death knell for the defending AL East division champions who are now seeing their fortunes now scurry down the drain.

And if one thinks that this is only MLB team within the league that where their financial fortunes now lay in waste then consider the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig and team owners would still have us believe that the financial health of the game is a viable one where all of the teams are making money. That’s certainly not the case for those teams are at the bottom of the food chain and are merely fighting for the scraps being thrown its way . How’s that working out for those teams at this juncture ? And although many will throw out the statement recent winners of the World Series have been been varied in large part that may well be true but the vast majority of that period it has been more about the have and have nots as the big market teams have simply had the success that the smally teams simply have not. Skewer it anyway that you want but simply look at the list of champions over the last fifteen years ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The game has come a long way from its stoic and social issues of the past but now it’s incumbent on Bud Selig , the game’s hierarchy , owners and players simply deal with the prevailing issues now hovering as a dark cloud over their sport. Have they actually done so ? I’ll let you all be the judge of that !

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to Albert Pujols’ request of the St Louis Cardinals to get a contract in place by season’s end or he’ll test the free agency market ? And in your honest opinion should he now become the highest paid player in the game today ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on this topic and and the impending season within the game .

Picture and slide show details …..

(1) St. Louis Cardinals fans wish Albert Pujols a happy birthday as he signs autographs for fans at the Cardinals Winter Warm-up, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tom Gannam ……

(2) St. Louis Cardinals Albert Pujols horses around with former teammate Steve Kline as he signs autographs for fans at the Cardinals Winter Warm-up, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011 in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tom Gannam …….

(3) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2009 in Jupiter, Florida. Getty Images /Doug Benc ………

(4) Manager Tony La Russa (10) and Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals stand in the duggout during a game against the Minnesota Twins at Roger Dean Stadium on March 29, 2010 in Jupiter, Florida. Getty Images / Marc Serota ……

(5) Uber-agent Scott Boras (left) seen here with former client Alex Rodriguez at the Yankees Spring Training facility Steinbrenner Field in Tampa , Florida. Boras negotiated in part contracts that will net the Yankees’ third baseman in excess of $500 million over the course of the player’s professional career and this doesn’t include off the field endorsement deals. Larry Goren SMI Inc ……..

NB MLB news

MLB schedule 2011

MLB Standings 2010

Alan aka tophatal ……………………..

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Jenna Jameson

Eye candy …………… Jenna Jameson retired porn star turned business entrepreneur.

Jenna 1

It’s what they call flippin’ the bird I think !

Baring it all for fans and foes alike . What else is new ?

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Outkast feat’g …… Killer Mike …. “The Whole World”

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AL East, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Mark Teixeira, MLB, New York Yankees, Sports, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays

Spend Big Live Big And You Too Can Be Successful …Well That’s The Credo Lived By In Baseball ………………..


 

This cannot be the time for fans of baseball to think that the game is back to where it ought to be. With the New York Yankees simply announcing that they’re able to go out and spend in excess of $420m on three players.  The world is of the belief that all is right within the game. Nothing now could be further from the truth. 

 

 

A J Burnett  and  newly acquired teammate    C C Sabathia of  the New  York Yankees ...................
A J Burnett and newly acquired teammate C C Sabathia smile for the press after the announcement is made by GM Brian Cashman as to their acquisition by the franchise .................

A J Burnett  and  newly acquired teammate   C C Sabathia  smile  for  the cameras  after  their  acquisition by the Yankees was announced to the press by Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman.  picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Matthew  C Cushman ………………………

 

 

Whilst no one can complain of  this latest development it has to be said that the teams within the AL East may well be looking at this with some trepidation.  Well perhaps not the Boston Red Sox.  But most certainly the Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles have to be  thinking to themselves what is it that they have to do in order to become competitive with the likes of high flying and big spending Yankees.  Neither of the teams in question possesses the sort of financial acumen that the likes of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox have within their means.

 

 

 

At some time in the foreseeable future  the commissioner’s office  will  have to contemplate whether or  not it is  feasible  to consider a salary  cap within the game.  Albeit that this will present a dilemma for a number of teams.  Especially those with  the financial  wherewithal  of the  Red Sox and Yankees. Big  market  teams  being what  they  are  can  afford  to  spend lavishly  on players  whom they  feel  with  be of  benefit to  their  teams.  Unfortunately this is  not  the  case  for  the  majority of  the  teams  within  major league  baseball.  And it is  something  that  Bud Selig  and  the  team owners  certainly  have to face, despite  their  passionate  belief  that  the  game  is  in  a healthy state.

 

 

 

With revenues in excess  of  $6.5bn a year  it can be  said  that  the game  still isn’t  where  it ought  to be  when it  comes  to complete transparency  and  accountability  by  the  league  and  the  franchises themselves. And although  it is  a private entity  the hierarchy of the   game  itself  relies  heavily on the goodwill of  the public  and  the  communities within which it has a presence. But  if  this policy is to be  accepted  by all of  the  teams within  the  major leagues.  Then it has to be  done in such a way whereby it is  equitable  for  all.  It’s something  that  not  even  the  owners  can agree to  let  alone  the  commissioner’s  office.  For much of  his  tenure  Allan ‘Bud’ Selig  has  been  nothing more  than a  mouth piece  for  the  owners  and  when  needed  most  to be assertive.  He  was  almost  as docile  as  a  church  mouse.   So  why  would  we  expect him  now  to be  assertive  ?  He  had  to  be  dragged  kicking and  screaming  into  the  twenty  first  century  when  addressing  the  steroid  issue  as  he  himself  appeared  to be oblivious  as to  what was  happening  around him.  It  was patently  obvious  what  was  happening  but  he  and his  minions  chose  to  ignore it .   

 

 

 

 

Angels' first baseman Mark Teixeira fields a ball during the ALDS game between the Boston Red Sox and  Angels.  Teixeira  was recently  acquired by the New York  Yankees.  ........................
Angels' first baseman Mark Teixeira fields a ball during the ALDS game played between the Los Angeles Angels and the Boston Red Sox . Teixiera was recently acquired by the New York Yankees and was signed to an eight year $180m contract.

Angels’ first baseman Mark Teixeira fields a ball during  the  ALDS game  between  the  Los Angeles Angels and  Boston  Red Sox.  Teixeira was acquired by  the New York Yankees and signed to an eight years $180m  contract. With the acquisition the team now possesesses four of the 5 highest salaried players  in Major League Basbeball.  picture appears courtesy of  ap/photo/ Mark  Tannenbaum …………….

 

 

 

 

 

He may well  feel that  when a team like the New York Yankees  can  go  out openly  and  spend  a  quarter of a billion  dollars  much  like a family spends on an entertaining evening   out.  We  may  well  think of it  as an evening’s entertainment for the  family.   But  for  the Yankees  it’s merely  nothing  more  than a day at  the  office. With the sort  of  financial  acumen  that’s  within  the realms of  the  Yankees  and  Red  Sox  is now  placing an even greater obstacle on the majority of  the  teams  within the  game.  They  in no way  can match  these  teams for  their financial muscle  or success.  Between  the two  they’ve won  six of  the last eleven   World Series .  And  as much  as  many  will  say  that  there’s  a  balance within the  game  more so  than any of  the  other  major  team sports.  One   would  also  say  that  when  it comes  to  the  financial  viability  of  their   teams.  Those  within   the game  of baseball  are in even more of  precarious  position than  that  of  their  counterparts  in  basketball,  football and perhaps  hockey.  The  latter  we  know  are still  trying  to create  a sound  business  structure  under  which  they  can  operate  with  some semblance  of  normalcy and success. There’s something  that  baseball can  learn from the  pratfalls  made  by the

NHL.

 

 

 

 

With these  uncertain  economic  times  it’ll  now  be  very interesting  to  see how many of the  teams  operate.  A  number of the  game’s  major  corporate sponsors  are  already  cutting  back on their  expenditure  and  exposure  within the  game.  And it’s  going to  become all too  apparent  as  to how  it’ll  end  up affecting many  of  the  teams  within the  game.  And  with  that’ll  come  the  uncertainty  of  the  fans  themselves  and  how  they  choose to  spend  their  discretionary  dollars.  If it comes to choosing  to feeding  their  families  and going to a game ?.  Then  the  family  will  win  hands down  each  and  every  time. Again that  is something  that the  league  will  most definitely  have  to  think  about for  the  foreseeable future.

 

 

 

The  signing  of  CC Sabathia , AJ Burnett may  well  have  made  everyone sit up and  take note  as to  how serious the New York Yankees  are about reacquiring  their position at the top of  the  food chain.  But  it  also  sets  about a  dangerous  precedence  about  the haves and have-nots  within the game. Their  signing of  Mark  Texieira  sets  about an  even  bigger  indication  as  to the direction that some are  able to  afford themselves  whilst  others  are  not.  They  say “‘all is  fair  in love  and  war ………”   But  it’d  appear  that  when it comes to  the  game  of professional  baseball all  semblance  of  common sense on the  part  of  the owners  as  well  as the  league and  players  themselves are  falling  on deaf  ears.  What they perceive as sound economic sense  and a guarantee as to  the aspirations  of success  is merely nothing  more  than  a  bold  face  charade  to lure  the fans through  the turnstiles. In order that their coffers  are  filled  and at the same time the cycle  of  greed and avarice  on  both sides  continues amongst  the players  and  league alike.  Whilst  the  fans and  consumers  alike  are  thrown up a  diluted and often mediocre  product  on the  field of play.   

 

 

 

tophatal ……………………………………….