Alex Rodriguez, Allan 'Bud' Selig, Baseball, Milton Bradley, MLB, Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Sports, Sports & Social commentary, Sports Commentary

You’ve Got To Be Able To Walk Before You Can Run ……


You’ve Got To Be Able To Walk Before You Can Run

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There are certain things that we all tend to know will happen during the course of the MLB season . The Pittsburgh Pirates will either implode at some point during their schedule and that Milton Bradley is liable to go off into an inane rant and subsequently be cut from his team or be looking to lay allay his troubles elsewhere by blaming others for his own petulant and infantile behavior .

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Well it’s that time once again and the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to upset the apple cart . Low and behold but this team is actually playing a brand of baseball that seems to be exciting the fans at the home games played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania . It would appear with the Pirates making their presence felt within the NL Central things could very well be looking up for the organization. Without a winning season since 1992 the thought was that this season we’d see some sort of improvement of this team as part of the newly installed Clint Hurdle’s plan. As manager of this team along with his coaching staff it was felt that this young and inexperienced roster would take time to gel and become competitive . Certainly their draft for this last year and previous seasons is now coming to fruition with several players making some valuable contributions to the team’s start. And though it’s early days yet this season could provide to be something special if the Pirates are able to challenge the likes of the Cincinnati Reds and St Louis Cardinals within the NL Central .

With an 18-17 mark the Pittsburgh Pirates sits two games behind the division leading Cardinals and a mere one game adrift of the Reds . And over the next three days with a home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers we’ll certainly begin to know a great deal more about the Pirates and their actual mindset as to the direction that they’re going in as a team and as an organization . GM Neal Huntington , principal managing partner Bob Nutting and the rest of the front office over course of their tenure have painted this organization as one that has struggled to remain solvent financially but also as a competitive organization. And now even in spite of the league hierarchy’s wholly benevolent tax sharing revenue scheme the Pirates much like many of the other small market teams continue to plead poverty. Baseball’s hierarchy , the team owners and the self absorbed MLBPA continue to live beyond their means , with the rather outrageous salaries being paid to the players . The game is well on its way to the self destruct mode and sooner or later the fans can simply watch it implode because this is much is certain, it’s now to late to back this train up as it heads toward that collision into a wall.

It’s my own belief that the Pittsburgh Pirates still have a long way to go before they can be seen not only a credible contender within their own division but also as a legitimate contender for any type of postseason honor be it the NLCS much less the World Series itself ! But over the course of the remainder of this season we will no doubt see the competitive nature of this team and how far they can actually go as to their own aspirations .

It should come as no surprise that the Seattle Mariners continues to be a woefully inept ran organization and an even more disastrous team from a competitive standpoint. Eric Wedge and his coaching staff have struggled to get this team to even battle competitively anywhere near their true potential . And it certainly hasn’t helped that a veteran such as Milton Bradley whose performances this season have been woefully inept . So much so, that Wedge and the front office led by GM Jack Zduriencik made the decision to part ways with their much troubled and beleaguered veteran . The real problem has been the very fact that Mariners haven’t been a competitive organization since the days when Randy Johnson , Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr were part of this team that met the challenges placed in front of them. It seems to so asinine to think that this organization owned by one of the world’s most recognized electronic gaming companies Nintendo Corp .America as a subsidiary of its parent company Nintendo of Japan has let things slump to its present situation ! It’d appear that Nintendo has no interest in seeing the Mariners be a competitive concern much less a viable one from a financial standpoint .

My biggest concern is what I see as being so much of a microcosm of what’s going across the landscape of baseball. If that’s not prevalent with what we’re now seeing within organizations such as Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets then clearly there’s a problem that the league hierarchy hasn’t really addressed. Albeit, that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has sought to intervene in the day to day operations and we’re informed by MLB spokesman Rob Manfred states that the league is also closely monitoring the New York Mets and their mediation case being overseen by Federal Court appointed mediator for which the organization and its principal owners Fred Wilpon , Saul Katz as well as their company Sterling Equities ; and the Mets’ organization are the co-defendants in Picard et all vs New York Mets , Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon. This case could prove to be costly should a verdict go against the defendants as on the line could be as much as anywhere between $750 million and $1 billion in damages which the plaintiffs are seeking to recoup from the profits attained by the defendants, which were part of the enormous benefits reaped from the Madoff Ponzi scheme .

In watching the Mariners simply spiral out of control it’s hard to believe that the this team can be viewed as being competitive within the AL West when they’re now mired with a 16-19 mark within the division are four games adrift of the division leading Los Angeles Angels . This team has been playing abysmally and if there’s view that the talents of Ichiro Suzuki and Felix Hernandez are being wasted on a team that simply hasn’t the proclivity to win . If nothing else the fans now entrenched at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington during home games are either seeking to endure this torture or the very fact that in terms of real entertainment there’s very little to be had in terms of using one’s discretionary income wisely . It is completely ridiculous to think Bradley’s departure remains the high point of the Seattle Mariner’s season so far rather than their accomplishments on the field of play. But in reality even there , there has been little to actually take any pride or joy in as with regard to the team’s rather anemic triumphs .

Pared down salaries simply hasn’t helped either organization , neither has the recent personnel decisions made by the Mariners or Pirates that has seen any real fruition for either team. Simply put there’s very little that I can see in terms of any real progress for either club at this juncture ! In time they may well become better but given their results in recent years and the fact that neither has had any impact on the postseason over the past decade it’s clear to see that they’re merely here to make up the numbers and little else !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

From your own perspective how do you view the Pittsburgh Pirates’ start to the season and do you feel that they’re capable of competing within their division or be viewed as a legitimate title contender. And what thoughts if any do youy have on the Seattle Mariners cutting ties with Milton Bradley , given his particular troubled past over the course of his Major League career ? Simply chime in with a comment as to anything you feel pertinent to this topic .

Alan aka tophatal …………………………..

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Milton Bradley (15) of the Seattle Mariners is restrained by manager Eric Wedge (22 ) after being ejected from the game against the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field on May 6, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Otto Greule Jr ……..

(2) Luis Rodriguez (1) of the Seattle Mariners hits a three run home run in the eigth inning and is congratulated by teammate Milton Bradley (15) during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 28, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Mariners defeated the Tigers 7-2 . Getty Images /Leon Halip …….

(3) Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage, center, talks with pitcher Chris Resop, right, as catcher Ryan Doumit walks to the mound during the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a baseball game in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. The Dodgers won 10-3 . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ……

(4) Neil Walker (18) of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with teammate Ryan Doumit (41) after scoring in the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game on May 9, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……

(5) Lyle Overbay (37) of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits an RBI double in the 8th inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game on May 9, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……..

(6) Matt Kempt (27) of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a catch in the outfield during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 9, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……

(7) Seattle Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki of Japan, bunts for a single during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles, Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in Baltimore. The Orioles won 7-6 in 13 innings. AP Photo/ Nick Wass ……

(8) Seattle Mariners right fielder Carlos Peguero runs under a fly ball by Baltimore Orioles’ Brian Roberts(notes) to make the catch for an out in foul territory during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, May 10, 2011, in Baltimore. AP Photo/Nick Wass ……..

(9) FILE – In this April 11, 2011 , photo, Seattle Mariners’ Milton Bradley(notes) watches from the dugout as he waits his turn to bat against the Toronto Blue Jays during a baseball game in Seattle. Bradley was cut by the Mariners on Monday, May 9, 2011, leaving the temperamental outfielder again looking for a new job. The Mariners designated Bradley for assignment, giving them 10 days to trade, release or send him to the minors. He was making $12 million this season. AP Photo / Elaine Thompson ………..

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Sorry I Can Smell What Selig Is Cookin’ And I Prefer To Stand Neither Upwind or Downwind From His Flatulence !


Sorry I Can Smell What Selig Is Cookin’ And I Prefer To Stand Neither Upwind or Downwind From His Flatulence !

I’ve no doubt in my mind that the commissioners of baseball (MLB) , NFL —- NBA and NHL have always considered themselves to be upstanding men and individuals. But as of now I’ve had enough of all four of the quartet. Much like I’m annoyed by anything being uttered from the mouths of the now apparent “King” and “Queen of Pop” music ! To hear the mind cringeing tones of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga is akin to having a hot poker shoved up one’s rectum and being told that you’ll find it all too soothing. And it’s now the same with Roger Goodell , — David Stern and in particular Allan “Bud” Selig the MLB Commissioner. To hear that triumvirate regale with us anything to do with their respective sports is very much like listening to the inane rants of Bieber and Gaga. Ah well I might as well lambast the oafs within both the US Congress and US Senate as well as we’ve yet to have had any semblance of intelligence from either chamber since Barack Obama was installed in office as President. Not that the President himself has done that much to impress me to begin with ! I guess he’s still waiting on someone’s ass to kick after the BP fiasco ?

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It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Pittsburgh Pirates are still mediocre and considering that it’s almost two decades since they last had a winning season within the league . Then to expect them to turn things around overnight could well be viewed as somewhat astonishing were they to have to right personnel in place within their front office . But alas, that’s not the case given the fact that their ownership group is led by none other than Bob Nutting . As the principal partner in the syndicate partnership that owns the team can we say that Nutting and his group are no better than his predecessors ? Nutting’s idea of success it would seem is to pocket the tens millions that he and his partners have chosen to deem fit that they’ve allegedly earned while doing very little to invest in an impoverished team and organization . The roster itself while on paper one might deem it to be interesting to look at , all of the sound bytes forthcoming from the front office and that of the coaching staff and in particular from Nutting , GM Neal Huntington and team manager John Russell have been the rather asinine sound bytes that they’re building towards the future. Shouldn’t the future for this ballclub be about the here and now ? Especially given the fact of its recent history and the almost two decades of sheer mediocrity that the fans have had to suffer ?

Courtesy of USA Today & Associated Press

Financial records show Pirates win while losing

By Alan Robinson , AP Sports Writer

PITTSBURGH — Don’t feel too sorry for the cellar-dwelling Pittsburgh Pirates . Losing has been profitable.
The Pirates made nearly $29.4 million in 2007 and 2008, according to team financial documents, years that were part of a streak of futility that has now reached 18 straight losing seasons. The team’s ownership also paid its partners $20.4 million in 2008.

The documents offer a rare peek inside a team that made money by getting slightly less than half its income (about $70 million) from MLB sources including revenue sharing, network TV, major league merchandise sales and MLB’s website. The team also held down costs, keeping player salaries near the bottom of the National League, shedding pricier talent and hoping that untested prospects would blossom.

The club’s earnings were included in nearly 40 pages of statements that the Pirates submitted to Major League Baseball and were recently obtained by The Associated Press. Team officials briefed local reporters on portions of the material Sunday. The AP wasn’t invited to the session, which owner Bob Nutting said was “aimed at the recent leak.”

“The numbers indicate why people are suspecting they’re taking money from baseball and keeping it they don’t spend it on the players,” said David Berri, president of the North American Association of Sports Economists and the author of two books detailing the relationship between finances and winning. “Teams have a choice. They can seek to maximize winning, what the Yankees do, or you can be the Pirates and make as much money as you can in your market. The Pirates aren’t trying to win.”
Club executives vehemently disagreed with that assessment. Yet the numbers show Pittsburgh hasn’t spent as much as its opponents and hasn’t won.

By 2010, the Pirates had baseball’s lowest opening-day payroll $34.9 million or just $2 million more than in 1992, the club’s last winning season. The Pirates run of consecutive losing seasons is now the worst in the history of major American pro sports teams. They lost their 83rd game of the year Saturday to the Mets.

Pirates officials say they are trying to field a competitive team, and that there is nothing nefarious in the team’s financial dealings. MLB backs them up, saying Pittsburgh has complied with the rules for revenue sharing, which are supposed to help less well off clubs compete with likes of the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Still, Pittsburgh fans have long complained that the club’s various owners have been more interested in profits than performance, and top sports economists who reviewed highlights of the team’s statements wondered if it now makes more money losing than it could by winning.

“If they won and were forced to increase their payroll from $34 million to $75 million or $80 million … how profitable would they be?” Berri said. “There’s a ceiling in terms of gate revenues.”

Economist Roger Noll, a Stanford University economist, said: “Probably the Pirates would be less profitable if they tried to improve the team substantially.”

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Click on the above link to read this article
in its entirety.
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The Pirates’ home venue of PNC Park has become an elephant’s graveyard in terms of attendance for home games scheduled at the ballpark . The silence can be utterly deafening when the team has something to cheer about which nowadays it seems to be something of a rarity. The die-hard fans may well just turn out for the sake of it as the ballpark is one of the newer venues with the league. And given the fact that teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s are said to be facing an uhill battle politically as well as economically just to get their respective new facilities built . One has to ask what the hierarchy of baseball is doing to assist the teams in their endeavors to make it a reality. Certainly Bud Selig hasn’t been of any help to the ownership groups of Lewis Wolf or Stuart Sternberg of the A’s or Tampa Bay Rays . Instead Selig has essentially established that if those two teams are stage the game’s midseason showcase the All Star Game ___ they essentially would have to have their stadiums built as quickly as possible in order to be considered for the staging of the event. In other words extort the money from the local communities but if you can’t , then to hell with you .

In the case of the Pirates there’s is a situatuion where like all other small market teams within the league they’re considered to be in need of assistance from the game in terms being able to obtain an additional windfall of monies by way of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme. Since its inception the organization has been in receipt of over $50 million to facilitate the organization investing in its roster. Unfortunately the Pirates and their fans have yet to reap the dividends of those rewards as that either has come through mismanagement or simply from the fact of rather naive personnel decisions and acquisitions. Huntingdon and Nutting would have the Pirates’ fans believe that they’re doing their utmost to stem the tide and turn things around. And though the Pirates have the lowest payroll in all of baseball ($34,943,00) of which ranks at the bottom of the thirty teams in MLB . One now has to ask the question how is it that the front office led by Bob Nutting can afford to pay themselves in excess of $20 million in 2008 while still suggesting that they’re investing in the team structure ? And while much of this has been ongoing Bud Selig and the hierarchy of the game have remained ominously silent while this has gone on. MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy and Selig as the game’s two most senior ranking executives would rather not answer any questions direcrtly relating to the matter. Instead they give us their rather bloviated opinions as to how healthy the financial state of the game is. Well, considering that there’s no transparency from the game of baseball when it comes to their finances and the very fact that at the largess of Congress they can hide behind their anti-trust exemption status it clearly gives credence to the fact that the owners and the game’s hierarchy will be allowed to continue to defraud the fans and ther’s not one thing that the fans can do about it. Especially given the fact that Congress has given MLB such wide latitude to conduct their business as they deem fit .

While I question what it Nutting and his partners are doing I question even further the motives of major league baseball and their larcenous ways of doing business . One would now think that this would be the appropriate time for Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to subpoaena the financial records of all thirty teams within MLB and that of the financial records of the game’s hierarchy itself ? But that’s unlikely to happen given the presence of a number of Congressmen who benefit financially by way of the political donations from the teams within the league and directly from MLB itself . What with Bud Selig said to have earned in excess of $18 million in 2008 and and exponentially more in 2009. I’d certainly like to think that if state governments , county and municipalities are giving the team’s tax breaks besides those given by the federal government would it not be right to know exactly where much of that money is going to begin with ? Surely after the fallout from steroid fiasco and baseball’s handling of that episode this too ought to be a subject that ought to be addressed once and for all ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

I can smell what Bud Selig is concocting and cooking and the odor emanating from his kitchen isn’t at all enticing . If anything the smell emanating is that of a dead fish or that of his own self indulgent flatulence and we all tend to know what that means don’t we ? What are your thoughts if any on that of the Pirates , in particular the actions of their front office and also that of Bud Selig and MLB hierarchy ? Chime on in with a comment on your thoughts on this and the state of baseball as a whole as you see it at this juncture .

Alan aka tophatal …………………. 🙂

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Emmanuelle-Chriqui

Actress Emmanuelle Chriqui