He’s Got A Ticket To Ride …………..
Well it’s finally here and the MLB baseball season starts off today with six scheduled games as of today but the large part of the opening schedule for the opening week of the season will be on Friday the 1st of April for most teams in both the AL and NL . Now without a team to support this season as I'd completely abandoned the Florida Marlins after the revelations of the team's ownership group led by billionaire owner Jeffrey Loria lying to local politicians and the league hierarchy as to the organization’s financial plight. Since their existence and in large part after the instigation of the league’s tax sharing revenue scheme the Marlins have been one of the primary recipients of this rather dubious scheme thought of by Commissioner Bud Selig with the input of the hierarchy and the owners of the small market teams within MLB .
Slide show for your perusal .
Now a number of patrons within this medium have already tried to make their picks as to the teams that they each see contending within the divisions and leagues. To my mind it’s far too early to make any sort of real predictions as to how many of the teams will fare. I don’t really believe that the league and schedule really kicks into gear until about mid May early June and by then most teams will have hit some sort of rhythm and form as to their play.
And judging by the teams’ standings as of last season I do believe that this season we’re liable to see one or two surprises from teams that many may well have overlooked . But much of that will be predicated upon the health of front-line players on each of the teams said to be considered contenders for the divisional titles as well as the pennants and the World Series itself. It goes without saying the usual suspects have to be considered amongst the favorites in the categories specified . In the AL , it goes without saying that the Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Minnesota Twins , Chicago White Sox , Los Angeles Angels will be considered as the prohibitive favorites within that league. The NL undoubtedly , the Philadelphia Phillies , Atlanta Braves , Cincinnati Reds , St Louis Cardinals , San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies Diamondbacks might be considered to be amongst the favorites there.
Now it goes without saying that coming into each season the year isn’t without its controversies . The Barry Bonds’ perjury trial is now front and center along with another former All Star big leaguer Roger Clemens also to meet his fate within the Federal Court Judicial System , it has to be said that is the last sort of publicity that the game needs at this juncture . The stench of the steroid era still lingers and the records attained there though they’ve not really been subjected to any official scrutiny the fans of the game as well of the general public don’t fully believe that they ought to stand. That being said until the league’s hierarchy led by Commissioner Bud Selig makes a succinct public statement as to the veracity of those records they will be the cause of a great deal conjecture and debate as to their legitimacy . The single season as well as the home run records are undoubtedly the two statistics within the game that having stood the test of time though when broken while there was a great deal of fascination as to the way that they were broken . The fact of the matter is the claimant of the feats in question is now considered to be a cheat .
From my own perspective the season will be about the teams and in particular the marquee names within the league and how they will perform. Is Albert Pujols to be considered the best player in the game today ? . Can that Phillies’ pitching rotation in its current guise be considered to be the equal of the Braves’ rotation that had Glavine , Maddux , Smoltz and Steve Avery in their prime when they were dominant within the NL and won a World Series ? However it remains to be seen how this Phillies’ team this season lives up to the wealth of expectation not only from their pitching rotation but the stars of this team such as Roy Halladay , Cliff Lee , Roy Oswalt and Ryan Howard . can excel and lead them to what many believe will be another postseason berth and another win of the World Series . Certainly that’s what GM Reuben Amaro Jr , manager Charlie Manuel’s and coaching staff will be looking to achieve.
In spite of the praise now being heaped upon this Phillies’ team there’s still be about to be the ineptitude that’s tend to be shown the teams we’ve come to expect of showing innate signs of moribund mediocrity repeatedly over the last few years. How else can one explain the fact that the Pittsburgh Pirates hasn’t had a winning season in almost two decades ? And the fact that the team’s principal managing partner Bob Nutting each season continues to make the most asinine statements that the organization and team has turned the corner has me wondering what the hell has he been drinking ? What might be even incredible is the fact that manager Clint Hurdle shares the same enthusiasm as his erstwhile boss even with the advent of a team that continually struggles in every facet of the game . It remains to be see if the Pittsburgh can make any sort of mark on the game this season within the NL Central much less the rest of baseball.
The owners within the game now might have the best chance in years to show some common sense given the fact that the image of the NFL is on the decline with their teams now in the midst of league mandated lockout . As to when , where , and how they will be able to come to an amicable resolution with regard to the issues that they and the union are far apart on. The existing labor agreement between MLB and the MLBPA seems on track and Bud Selig appears to be intent on dealing Executive Director Michael Weiner to make sure that there’s no divergence as to their paths and what’s in the best interests of the game and the fans. My only thought on that matter is the continued idiocy shown by the league hierarchy by and the owners in dealing with some of the most acute issues that faces the game today. As many of you know that I’ve never been enamored with the tenure of Bud Selig as the game’s commissioner. What he lacks in intelligence he more than makes up for with it , in his continued buffoonery and unwillingness to listen to many of his critics. It’s becoming abundantly clear that before long he , the owners and the general managers within the game will have to face the fact that the financial viability of the game will have to be looked .
The New York Mets faces a severe financial crisis and their very existence may now lay in the fate of a Federal Judge who’ll preside of the case of Irving Picard (Plaintiff) et all vs Saul Katz , Fred Wilpon and the New York Mets . Bud Selig remains incapable of offering a clear and concise statement on this issue as as well as the now strained and rather idiotic chasm now seems to be fomenting within the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers , the owner Frank McCourt and the executives there. After McCourt’s acrimonious divorce in which the judge’s ruling went against him and in the favor of his now ex wife Jamie McCourt , the erstwhile owner faces the unenviable situation where he may well have to sell the team outright or share the ownership of his most prized asset with his ex. And less we forget the team now has an amassed debt in excess of just over $1.1 billion since McCourt assumed control of the team . As to what aspirations the team now has with and in what direction they appear to be going in . I’d certainly like to think that Don Mattingly and his coaching staff has some idea as to where he’d like to see from the team and with them playing to their strengths . This season for the Dodgers could very well be one where they’ll either sink or swim by their very own exploits on the field , rather than by what’s now going on off it.
As I alluded to earlier the season and the expectations are high with regard to the Phillies and the expectations there. If the Phillies whom many believe will be the NL representative this postseason in the Fall Classic their opponents from the AL isn’t necessarily a clear cut thing. The Boston Red Sox have been bolstered by their acquisitions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford which immediately adds a great deal of potency to the the Red Sox’s offense . But if there’s a flaw to this team it may well be their pitching and the very fact that Josh Beckett seems to have declined in the form that made him one of the most feared starters in the game. Without Beckett at his very best this team could very well struggle throughout much of their season . It remains to be seen whether or not they’re able to prove the naysayers wrong.
By clicking on individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted
Picture gallery for your perusal .
What thoughts if any do you have as to the upcoming season in baseball ? And are you of the opinion that teams going in presumed as the favorites could very well struggle or will they be triumphant ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this MLB season .
* Irving Picard is the lawyer representing the plaintiffs who were investors defrauded by Bernie Madoff in his now infamous Ponzi scheme that accounted for in excess of $ 50 billion in losses.
Alan aka tophatal ………………
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela throws out the ceremonial first pitch as former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda looks on prior to the Dodgers playing the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……
(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt stands on the field prior to their Opening Day game against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images …..
(3) Juan Uribe (5) of the Los Angeles Dodgers swings during an at bat against the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……
(4) Russell Martin (55) of the New York Yankees celebrates after scoring with teammate Mark Teixeira (25) in the seventh inning against the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on March 31, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees won 6-3 in the ninth inning. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images ……
(5) Russell Martin(55) of the New York Yankees slides into home against Alex Avila(13) of the Detroit Tigers in the seventh inning on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium on March 31, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees won 6-3 in the ninth inning. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images ……
(6) ST. LOUIS, MO – MARCH 31: Members of the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres line up for the National Anthem on opening day at Busch Stadium on March 31, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……
(7) Matt Holliday (7) of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into third base against the San Diego Padres on opening day at Busch Stadium on March 31, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …………
(8) Chase Headley (7) of the San Diego Padres scores the game-winning run against Yadier Molina (4) of the St. Louis Cardinals as umpire Jeff Kellogg (8) on opening day at Busch Stadium on March 31, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …….
MLB Standings 2010
Games scheduled for 1st April 2011
Opening Day results for 31st March 2011
MLB’ Longest Standing — historical records
MVP Winners for both the AL & NL
Rookie of the Year winners for both the AL & NL
Manager of the Year for both the AL & …. NL
To view the following MLB historical statistical categories click on the links provided below .
The Beatles …………………….. “Ticket To Ride”
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony ………………..” 1st of The Month “