Baseball, Football, MLB, NBA, NFL, Sports

Stat of The Week ……………….

Stat of The Week

Well the hype of the moment still goes on the Miami Heat are winning , Brett Favre has thrown his 500th TD of his career and low and behold the Cincinnati Bengals are indeed a terrible team . In the case of the Heat the bravura that this team would be laying waste to the NBA seems to be complete joke . When you have someone such as Jeff Van Gundy making such asinine claims gives me the impression that as an analyst he ought to be showing sound judgment and not be making the most idiotic statements with nothing at all there to back it up. The Heat’s recently loss to the New Orleans Hornets who are unbeaten and would appear to be a rejuvenated organization under Monty Williams .


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Chris Paul is leading the Hornets with a great deal of aplomb and he’s being ably abetted by David West. Unbeaten and riding high within the Western Conference along with the Hornets are the reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers remain the only unbeaten teams within the NBA . Care to ask Van Gundy what he thinks about the Lakers and Hornets at this moment ? I guess he’ll pass on both questions and simply state they are both good teams !

Week 9 of the NFL and I’m now wondering how bad it can literally become for a number of teams within the league . It’s gotten to the stage where parity now becomes a misnomer for what appears to a diluted talent pool and coaching that borders on being insipid , completely agonizing and painful to watch . The Buffalo Bills remain win-less and I’m not so sure that by season’s end we might witness a second NFL team go win-less at 0-16 for the second time in five years. Chan Gailey and his coaching staff seem to be at a loss as to how best to get this team back on the right path. I’m not about to suggest that Gailey be fired but at this juncture there’s a distinct feeling that the fans and owners aren’t entirely happy with the situation as it now unfolds.

The AFC West has become an open race and it appears that the Kansas City Chiefs , Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are looking to make this race a thriller. The Raiders and coach Tom Cable have been a team on a mission . For those who’ve become aghast with the explosiveness of the Raiders’ play in recent weeks then think how their fans are said to be feeling ? For the first time in three years the Raiders have won back to back games and are looking to make it three straight. The Raiders’ offense has racked up 700 yards of offense and unheard of 92 points in two games . Darren McFadden, Darius Heyward-Bey and Michael Bush seem to be the three headed horse that has come about to slay the dragon. Cable now has a decision to make as to which quarterback he wants as a starter for this team . The choices are Jason Campbell and journeyman Bruce Gradkowski _________ care to guess what the choice will be ?

Ah the saga that is the Dallas Cowboys ……. “America’s team” ? Well folks the team appears to be now as popular as the poll ratings of the Congress and the Obama administration combined. With each passing week the woes of this team and its owner becomes cannon fodder for the press and for Jerry Jones the choices are , watch this team continue to implode while a lame duck coach in Wade Phillips continues to lead the team. Phillips for his part has no idea where this team is going and the reasons behind the “free fall” and how best to address the problems. Suffice to say while the intrigue continues there’ll be more to this story that unfolds.

The World Series ended with a thoroughly lopsided series win for the San Francisco Giants. Tim Lincecum , Cody Ross and series MVP winner Edgar Renteria have a number of reasons to be proud. Bruce Bochy wins the team their first title in over 5 decades and the fans are now looking to next season to defend their title. One choice already made by the organization is that the services of Renteria will not be retained and in all likelihood we’ll see the retirement of the two time winning World Series player. For the losing team the Texas Rangers and the ownership group led by Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg it must have been a bitter pill to swallow. Favored perhaps to win the series and with the apparent pitching of Cliff Lee it was believed that the team would be on their way to landing their first World Series championship.

A 4-1 series loss and now the fallout from this all is that Lee becomes a free agent and perhaps the most desired player on the market. ALCS losers the New York Yankees having been embarrassed by the Rangers in that series are now said to be actively pursuing Lee. And though Ryan and Greenberg have stated that is their intention to do their utmost to retain the player one gets the impression that the Yankees led by GM Brian Cashman will move heaven and earth to acquire the player whatever the cost. In all likelihood that will mean making him amongst one of the highest paid pitchers in baseball. That privilege currently belongs to Yankees’ ace C C Sabathia whose seven year $150 million contract now sits atop of the list. Lee who’s represented by Darek Braunecker is known to drive a hard bargain when it becomes common knowledge that one of his clients is the desired target of a team. And with the Yankees venerable financial resources we are now liable to see a bidding war start for Lee’s services between the Boston Red Sox , Los Angeles Angels , Rangers and New York Yankees. Lee has stated that he loves the camaraderie of his teammates and the friendliness of the Rangers’ fans but given the financial security that a $150 plus million contract will no doubt provide, do you get the feeling that this might be the one contest that no one really notices ? Braunecker for his part will seek to drive up the price as he’s often been known to do when it involves one of his more high profiled clients. And for the Yankees this once again goes to show how much disappointment there has been with the inconsistency of their pitching rotation in the postseason .

A $200 million dollar payroll and but for Robinson Cano this team was a complete disappointment in the postseason. No leadership when it mattered most and a group of players where there was about as much synergy and cohesion that one come to expect from a bunch of highly overpaid athletes whose biggest concern it appears wasn’t actually to win but give the impression that they were overly concerned about the Yankees’ legacy. Effort being what it is how the hell can anyone believe that the New York Yankees could actually be favored when they acted with such complacency and a complete lack of competitiveness ? As good as the Rangers were in the ALCS was there any point during the series that gave you impression that there was a chance that the New York Yankees were in with a chance of winning the series ?



Picture gallery for your perusal.

Given what we now know it will be interesting to see how things pan out as both the Rangers and Yankees pit their wits against each other in trying to acquire the services of Cliff Lee. As to the NFL the stories there are ripe for discussion and a battle of opinions from the analysts and fans alike. And for the paeans within ESPN it simply gives them something to talk about and give us their own rather mundane opinions concerning the fortunes of a number of NFL players and teams. Chris Mortensen , Adam Shefter and Mark Schlereth will no doubt still have their lips firmly pressed against the sphincter of Brett Favre as they try to give us the latest on the player’s relationship with his coach and teammates. I guess that will continue to provide us with a great deal of comedic value ? And what of the Dallas Cowboys and their descent into mediocrity ? Is there really anything else that we really need to know at this juncture ? Simply chime in with a comment on this and any other sports related topic that proved to be of interest to you .


Alan aka tophatal …………………… ūüôā



A lil’ bit of eye candy for us all ….. Kimbella

Baseball, MLB, Sports

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Take Me Out To The Ballgame ………….

Well now that the AL East looks as it’ll go down to the wire between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays in terms of a winner of the division . It appears that whomever comes out as the victor could be the presumptive favorite within the AL for the World Series. Whomever finishes in second is guaranteed the wildcard berth for the postseason with the representatives from the AL Central being the Minnesota Twins and from the AL West there it will be Texas Rangers. And while I’m inclined to believe that the Yankees on paper look to have what it takes to win it all. Their play as of late and the fact that other CC Sabathia , Phil Hughes and closer Mariano Rivera there’s little to suggest that their pitching will be able to pull them through. The problem stems from the fact that manager Joe Girardi is unsure what he’s liable to get from his bullpen and number’s three and four starters. That’s uneasy feeling to have even if the team’s offense is clicking on all cylinders. And with merely a week to go in the regular season it remains to be seen whether or not Girardi can get this team focused and where they need to be.


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Now much has been made as to the situation concerning the Tampa Bay Rays’ financial viability and the stadium issue. But to my mind all of the posturing and the asinine notion that the building of a new facility is a guarantee that fans will come streaming to a new venue is ludicrous ! Never mind the fact that the local politicians and Rays’ ownership have yet to comment as to how the financing of the structure will come into being . Overt statements such as we can raise the funds needed via the state’s hotel room taxes, a bond issue and other ancillary taxes in order to fund the building of the structure. Now while this appears to be a sound decision I think of it as political suicide given the fact that the state of the economy within Florida and the notion that both Hillsborough and Pinellas County are using this matter as some sort of political hot potato. Meanwhile the Rays’ front office led by owner Stuart Sternberg has been less than forthcoming as to how he envisages the venue being built , its financing and even where it will be built. And once again given the fact that it comes down to taxpayers’ monies being used to facilitate the building of a venue for a professional sports franchise that’s owned by a multi millionaire. One has to wonder what the hell is going on ?

I’m no longer amazed by the simple notion that this is what baseball has come to ! I mean when even MLB Commissioner Bud Selig continues to make the statement that baseball is a viable entity even when he has a number of teams struggling to eke out a profit. Now I’ve read where fans are calling for a shortening of the season and where there ought to be a restructuring of the divisions. Well that’s something that’s not about to happen given the fact that the league’s hierarchy won’t even address the issue as their only concerns are the game’s overall image and that of revenues…… and profits. Now whilst there would appear to be nothing wrong in that over the past six months we’ve seen the Chicago Cubs placed into bankruptcy proceedings and then brought back out of it merely to avert the organization become liable for the debt of its parent company the Tribune Group. Now with the team having been sold to the Ricketts family it remains to be seen whether or not the club will ascend to the lofty heights expected of the new ownership.

Beyond the problems of the Cubs , we’ve also seen the culpability shown by the ownership groups of the Florida Marlins , Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays as they’ve been less than forward with the veracity of the argument they’re making concerning their profitability. Now the Rays are on track to lose between $60- $ 80 million this season alone . And it goes without saying that the Rays have been beneficiaries of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme but the greatest problem this ball club has, is the fact that absolutely no one turns up to see the team play unless the opposition happens to be their division rivals the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees. Now the league would have us believe that the team’s average attendance for their home games is in excess of 23,000. Far be it for me to state the obvious but even with the renewed vigor of this team it’s rarely that there’s in excess 20,000 fans for a game at Tropicana Field . But as I’ve already stated that’s unless the Red Sox or Yankees are in town and then and only then do those figures bear out the stats stated. It hasn’t been uncommon to see less then 15,000 fans for a game between the Rays and an opponent whose legacy isn’t that of the Red Sox or Yankees. And most certainly if the claims being made by the press , fans and ownership that a new purpose built venue will see a spike in attendance. Well if it’s not happening when the Rays have a winning product on the field then what makes them think that it’ll happen with a new venue ? The idiocy of this ,is that feasibility studies done simply don’t address and the information being used to support the claims that a new stadium would ease the problems we’re now seeing with the organization. What we’re now witnessing is the political gob-speak that has become the excess of our county and state legislators. Now matter how much shitone tries to shovel into a hole before trying to cover it the stench will always remain.

The best step forward for the Rays at this juncture is to go out and do their best in trying to win the World Series . It’s clear that with all of the financial ramifications that are in the organization’s midst and the continued rumors that the team will be stripped to its bare bones in order to remain financially viable. Well it’s clear that the talk and the dire situation of the Rays is very much the same for a number of teams across the landscape of the game. And repeatedly we’re told by Selig that the game is in a healthy state but seriously most fans who claim that they know what the real problems that the game is facing have never really sat down and looked at the financial structure of the teams and how they operate on a day to day basis. If the commissioner’s office is disinterested in dealing with the acute issues that a number of teams are facing then be prepared to see a number of teams either go under or be sold to interested investors who may well have the financial wherewithal to steer those teams in the right direction.

This postseason has a great deal in store for the teams that will be in the midst of going after the World Series and while we the fans can appreciate the revelry of the series as they play themselves out. I for one hope that they’re entertaining from start to finish and that they actually live up to the hype . As to the ongoing problems of the Rays well let’s just say reality has yet to set in concerning the fans , the local community and the mere fact that the talk of the team remaining within the state of Florida. In all likelihood should the team remain within the state things are unlikely to change in terms of the meager attendance at a venue wherever it might be. Curiosity or not the fact of the matter is the Tampa Bay Rays even during its success still is unable to draw fans in vast droves. And any thought that a new venue would bring about a change in the team’s fortune is completely misplaced. No one is prepared to face facts on this very topic and it’s clear to see that Stuart Sternberg and his partners have a clear cut decision to make even with contractual agreement in place concerning the team’s location to remain within Pinellas County.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the upcoming postseason and also how do you foresee the ongoing situation concerning the Rays being dealt with ? Chime in with a comment as to your thoughts and as always thanks for the continued support.

Alan aka tophatal …………………… ūüôā



Eye candy courtesy of XXL magazine ….. Candace

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‚Äôt¬† 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‚Äôs something¬† that¬† not¬† even¬† the¬† owners¬† can agree to¬† let¬† alone¬† the¬† commissioner‚Äôs¬† 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






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 ‚Äú‚Äėall is¬† fair¬† in love¬† and¬† war ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ķ‚Ä̬†¬† But¬† it‚Äôd¬† 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 ……………………………………….