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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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The Rays Are For Real But Who Knows That They’re There ?


The Rays Are For Real But Who Knows That They’re There ?

Did I miss something but since when did having a farm system that’s the envy of team owners and general managers was a guarantee of success ? I don’t care how good the talent may well be , what indicates how good the players or player might be comes about in the astuteness of the manager , his coaching staff are and whether or not they’re able to communicate with the players under their command.

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We’ve a litany of teams within baseball at present trying to justify and resurrect their legacies and show that they’re now competent to compete with the best of the best within the game. When abject mediocrity becomes the norm and the so called purists merely accept it as being the norm to my mind speaks of utter stupidity more than anything else ! Over the past few seasons I’ve seen the highs and lows within the Tampa Bay Rays’ and the fact that GM <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/tb/team/exec_bios/friedman_andrew.html””&gt; Andrew Friedman has done his very best to make this team and organization competitive . The Rays this season thus far have been simply exceptional away from home posting the best away record within the league . And with a bevy of young and exciting prospects over the past few years this is an organization that is not only looking to the future but also the immediacy of the here and now . Team manager Joe Maddon and his coaching staff certainly has this team playing at a high level with there being a distinct possibility that they could in fact be challenging for a wildcard berth at least should things fall their way. But in the game of baseball you simply don’t rely on luck but you make your own by playing and beating the teams on your schedule . And over the coming months the Rays will be severely tested by those teams not only within AL East but also across the whole baseball landscape.

Team owner Stuart Sternberg has had his litany of problems not only with the hierarchy of baseball but also with the Pinellas County Commission as well as the city of St Petersburg and the evolving issue of Tropicana Stadium and its immediate future and that of the team being domiciled there. Now while fans are petitioning for the team to remain within the local area I’ve heard little about how the governmental agencies will actually pay for the financing of a new venue for the team . Especially when one considers that both Hillsborough County and Pinellas County face budget deficits and the same can be said of the state government . Governor Rick Scott has yet to fully come out and commit to the financing of a new venue for the Tampa Bay Rays , albeit , that we do know that the state legislature had agreed that the financing for a new venue for the Florida Marlins would take place and that the new venue would be built on the site of the Orange Bowl in downtown Miami.

The Rays have been playing so well that it’s now resonating not just amongst their own fans but it appears that the rest of MLB is actually sitting up and taking note of this team. In spite of their missteps in the postseason last year and in 2008 the organization and team in large part has continued to make strides even if there have been a few missteps along the way.

The team now embarks on a three game series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan . And against a Tigers’ team that hasn’t seemed to have found a consistency to its game that I think that we could quite possibly see the Rays take two of three in the series . And on the mound the Rays will have their young phenom Jeremy Hellickson pitching against Phil Coke in what is liable to be a thoroughly entertaining game between two teams with postseason ambitions of their very own. It will be very interesting to see whether or not Evan Longoria can get out of his present slump and add some vital pop to the Rays’ offense . Within the league overall the Rays are a disappointing 23rd batting a .241 average but within the AL they are eleventh amongst the fourteen teams there. The AL leaders in terms team batting average are the Cleveland Indians batting at .25 points higher with a .266 average .

If anything what we do know about the Rays as a team is that Maddon and his staff impresses upon his players to be versatile in every aspect of their game . And from a defensive standpoint the Rays are sound and competent as ever . They rank second only behind the Atlanta Braves in fielding percentage and that if anyting gives you something of a true indication as to how competent in the field the Tampa Bay Rays are. That may well be the one asset that their front line pitchers can rely upon when the game is on the line and there isn’t that many runs on the board in support of their cause.

As a fan of the game and seeing the disdain shown to the organization by Bud Selig in particular , as there’s nothing more I’d like to see than the Rays actually making it to the World Series , winning the whole damn ‘shebang’ and then telling Selig to …… ” go f_ck himself and the horse he rode in on ” ! As the game’s highest ranking official the audacity and mendacity he’s shown in telling the ownership group of the Rays led by Stuart Sternberg that they are simply not fit enough to host an All Star Game because their stadium issue has yet to be resolved . But rather than acting as a conduit that could seemingly assist the Rays in their endeavors in dealing with both the city of St Petersburg , Pinellas County and Hillsborough County the commissioner has simply acted like the class bully belittling the efforts of the Rays , castigating and chiding the the municipal and country governments involved in the issue. And we wonder why the game is actually bereft of any common sense when it comes to there being any intelligence being shown by the game’s hierarchy ? So much so , that St Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster has stated that he found dealing with Selig more of a pain than actually dealing with a political foe or ally for that matter . I’ve never had that much implicit faith in anything that Selig has done with regard to the game , the blow-back from many of his decisions , has made him the laughing stock of the sports world .

As to what the season now holds for the Tampa Bay Rays we can only observe from afar make our own prognostications , simply watch as the whole spectacle of the season simply plays itself out . It could be well be a great deal of fun watching things unfold for the team and the game as a whole . And what’s not to like about that at this juncture ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece and MLB as a whole ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

http://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below

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(1) Tampa Bay Rays’ Sean Rodriguez, right, steals second as Florida Marlins’ Omar Infante, left, waits on the throw during the eighth inning of an interleague baseball game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Sunday, May 22, 2011. AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan …..

(2) Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher James Shields, left, is greeted by catcher Kelly Shoppach after pitching a 4-0 shutout against the Florida Marlins during the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Sunday, May 22, 2011. AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan ……

(3) Tampa Bay Rays’ Casey Kotchman slides safely into third base after hitting an RBI triple, as Florida Marlins third baseman Gregg Dobbs (29) awaits the throw during the third inning of an interleague baseball game at Sun Life Stadium, Sunday, May 22, 2011, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan ……

(4) Florida Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez left, makes the tag as Tampa Bay Rays’ Elliot Johnson right, attempts to steal second base during the second inning of an interleague baseball game at Sun Life Stadium, Sunday, May 22, 2011, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan ……

(5) Tampa Bay Rays’ James Shields pitches against the Florida Marlins during the first inning of a baseball game at Sun Life Stadium, Sunday, May 22, 2011, in Miami. AP Photo/Jeffrey M. Boan ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria draws a walk to load the bases in the eighth inning during an interleague baseball game in Miami, Saturday, May 21, 2011. AP Photo/Lynne Sladky …..

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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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MLB News

New York Yankees’ news

MLB Scoreboard

MLB Results & scores 15th May 2011

MLB Standings


Probable starting pitchers 16th May 2011

NBA News

NBA Playoffs 2011

NHL Playoffs 2011

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Fabolous …… feat’g …….. Nate Dogg ……” I Can’t Deny It”

AL East, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, MLB, New York Yankees, Sports, Tampa Bay Rays

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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Slide show for your perusal.

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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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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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.

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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 …………………… 🙂

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Candace

Eye candy courtesy of XXL magazine ….. Candace

Baseball, Golf, MLB, MMA, PGA Tour, Sports, UFC

As The World Turns ……… Soap Opera In Sports


As The World Turns ……… Soap Opera In Sports

Is it me but it appears that the none sensical fans in the Tampa Bay area try to act as knowledgeable when it comes to sports as their the politicians not only in the state legislature but also the ones now said to be pursuing high office at present ? Over the weekend the Tampa Bay Rays came within a hair’s breath of being “no hit” for the third time within the space of a year. Never mind the fact that Rays’ manager Joe Maddon seems to have taken on the mindset of a whining child who’s lost its pacifier. But what might be even more preposterous was the insinuation by Rays’ pitcher James Shields that having been given an additional rest day before pitching in the team’s loss to the Toronto Blue Jays he wasn’t prepared. What the fu_ck is that all about ? And what the hell is Maddon and his coaching staff doing with these guys ? Are they professionals or are they not ?

Having swept in a three game series by the Blue Jays the Rays now finds themselves 2 1/2 games adrift of the New York Yankees in the AL East. Now I’m not about to suggest that the Rays are about to fold but this half assed belief that the division and the pennant was theirs for the taking was simply that …… half assed ! They’ve achieved nothing as of yet and have recently just learned how to win on a consistent basis . But the fans here within the locale have them as world beaters . Based on their play against the Blue Jays where they comprehensively outplayed . Any hopes that they might’ve had about sweeping through the postseason would be as meaningful as witnessing Sarah Palin assume the position of either Secretary of State or any political office within the federal government . Pretense is a wionderful thing but having the experience counts for something and at this juncture all that the Rays are giving their fans flashes of brilliance one moment and complete ineptness the next. Blue Jays’ pitcher Brandon Morrow was made to look like the second coming of Nolan Ryan as he struck out seventeen Rays’ batters in his team’s 1-0 victory . As he struck out the Rays’ batter it made you see how acute the frailties are on this Rays’ team. If the likes of Carlos Pena , B J Upton , Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria aren’t hitting and scoring runs then this team will find itself in a great deal of trouble against teams where offense is their forte’ and not a problem. And that’s inspite of the team’s strengths as a defensive presence.

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If the temperament and and psyche of the Rays can’t be put back in place where they’re playing to their strengths then Maddon and the Rays’ fans could very well see their season go up in flames .

OK so Tiger Woods does happen to be human aftter all ? His inept showing at the PGA Tour event the WGC Bridgestone Invitational from Firestone Country Club , Akron , Ohio. Woods belied his status as the world’s number one golfer by putting up such a poor display . That upon looking at the final leaderboard you’d have found it hard to believe that the player having finished in 78th place did in fact lose the tournament by thirty shots. Yes that’s not a misprint Woods finished in 78th place with an accumulative score of 298 __ 18 over par. It’d be remiss to say that Woods had a bad day at the office but part from his fourth place finishes at The Masters and US Open Woods’ presence and play on the Tour has been somewhat mediocre. And it’s pretty safe to say that should he not fare well in the final major of the season this week’s PGA Championship from Whistling Straits , Kohler Wisconsin then we may see Woods participate as part of the US team in the Ryder Cup . It mightn’t be out the realms of possibility to assume that Woods refuse an invitation were to have a poor performance at the PGA tournament . So erratic has been his play that you’d be hard pressed to believe that he’s the world number one and not some Sunday morning hacker had you witnessed his inept play at Firestone.

Off the course issues asides Woods’ mindset isn’t on his game despite his contention that it was’nt one of his better days . Were this a motor race he’d have been lapped by tournament winner Hunter Mahan at least twice , if not more . Mahan’s -12 under par 268 was enough to earn his second victory on the PGA Tour this season land him the $1,400,000 winner’s check . And any thought that one might have that Phil Mickelson was ready to take up the challenge of assuming the mantel of wrestling away the top spot from Woods atop of the Sony world rankings can be laid to rest. Mickelson’s appetite for that role is like that of an anorexic looking a for a morsel of food. They simply don’t want it nor do they have the desire or persistence to make it their wish. Mickelson merely lulls us all into the belief he wants the role but nothing could be further from the truth. And the world’s number two ranked player hardly made a dent in the lead that Woods has over him in those rankings. Needing to finish fourth or better in the tournament he tied with six other players for forty sixth place in this rarther lavish invitational field.

Those of you who know me from my days blooging within Fox’s blogging domain will know that I’m an avid martial art’s fan and boxing fan. Having served in the military I also taught self defense or in this case unarmed combat to members of the miliary whilst in the service. That being said with boxing now on the wane and some major marquee fighters unwilling face each other I’ve now become totally immersed in & MMA and the UFC . Over the weekend UFC held their showcase event UFC 117 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland , California . Topping the bill was the middleweight title fight between Chael Sonnen and the champion Anderson Silva . To my mind the Brazilian , Silva, along with welterweight titlist Georges St Pierre are by by far the two most well respected and well rounded fighters in the genre at present . And they might just be two of the most popular fighters that UFC President Dana White has within the organization .

I’ve always maintained that if it’s ever your intention to talk bad about an opponent in a contest of athletic skills then you’d better have the sh*t to back it up when it counts most. In teams sports at times you can get away with it. But when it comes to an individualistic endeavor then there’s no one there to hold your hand or wipe your nose when the going gets rough. So for the idiot NFL and NBA players who think of themselves as warriors and call out an opponents , just simply shut the hell up ! You’re no more a warrior than Clay Aiken would be considered a candidate for the US Marine Corps . Have the time far too many of you talk so much sh*t that you don’t posess the pedigree to back it up !

In what turned out to be rather arduous battle in the octagon wherein Sonnen came to do battle and relieve Silva of his title . The challenger fall of his spirited and at times somewhat asinine remark about his opponent was left to eat his words. Though gamely outmaneuvering Sliva for much of the bout with his wrestling prowess. The one thing that Sonnen and all of Silva’s previous opponents have failed to understand is that no fight is ever over until that last bell is sounded . Sonnen got far too confident for his own good and Silva much like an anaconda stalks its prey simply waited for the challenger to make a mistake. And Sonnen would gladly oblige by allowing Silva take get him in triangle choke hold that would force the challenger to tap out in submission during their title bout. Sonnen to his credit after the bout was magnanimous in defeat but it paled into comparison with all of his pre-fight hype and contention that he’d take the champion down with ease.

tophatal …………………. 🙂

Lucy Pearl ………….. “Dance Tonight”

busty  female