When the shit begins to hit the fan , does anyone really care ?

When the shit begins to hit the fan , does anyone really care ?

The second half of the baseball season has begun in earnest after the All Star Game and the events encapsulating the mid-season showcase. With the trade deadline due on 31st July and teams thought to be out of the hunt for a wild-card berth or divisional title seem to be abandoning hopes of any kind of competitive chase. The forlorn season of the Philadelphia Phillies has provided the fans within baseball a clear reason why complacency remains prevalent among the front office of an organization with no clear long-term goals. Ryne Sandberg’s departure had more to do with the former player’s disillusion with his players and their lack of a competitive spirit. GM Reuben Amaro for his part, is clearly out of his depth in his current role and now with the sinking fortunes of the ball-club, comes the quest to set about a fire sale of high-priced and under-achieving talent .

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Speculation seems to be mounting, former World Series MVP and starting pitcher Cole Hamels will be shopped around , with the likely destination said to be his joining the Los Angeles Dodgers. With their payroll close to $280 million and having to account for the remainder of Hamels’ salary for this season , I am not so sure Farhan Zahidi and Andrew Friedman front office executives within the Dodgers’ organization are totally committed to acquiring the player even in the short-term , much less as a long-term investment for the ball-club.

As good as the Dodgers appear to be , leading the NL West with a great deal of ease. Their real issue lies in the fact during the postseason over the last two years they have been unable to get the job done when it matters the most.

Elsewhere around the game, things are also looking bleak for the Detroit Tigers as their season appears to be imploding right in front of everyone’s eyes. GM Dave Dombrowski now has to make some rather serious decisions concerning several players on the team’s roster. Yoenis Cespedes , is now seen as superfluous to the club’s needs and he is unlikely to be the only player jettisoned by organization, should things continue as they are.

The rapid ascent of the Kansas City Royals along with the improved play of the Minnesota Twins this season, has left the Tigers on the outside looking in , as they find themselves sitting third within the AL Central and apparently out of contention for a wild-card berth within the AL. It should be noted also neither Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera are having very productive seasons when measured against their own lofty standards. Brad Ausmus and the managerial staff are not entirely to blame for the Tigers’ woes this season , but clearly an accusing finger has to be pointed at the manager for his lack of commitment sought from his players. If the rumors are to be believed,then David Price could also be on the move , with several teams likely to show interest in the AL Cy Young Award winner of 2012 . A 9-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners might not have been enough to provide the Detroit Tigers with any sort of respite, but for the moment it will do for the players and the managerial staff. Detroit will again play host to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park, in Detroit, Michigan. David Price will be on the mound for the Tigers, when he faces Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners.

As a fan of the Atlanta Braves , I continue to be disappointed with the play of the team and the lack decisiveness shown by Fredi Gonzalez as the team’s manager. Further exacerbating this all, was the decision made by GM John Hart and team President John Scheurholz to extend Gonzalez’s contract with the offer a three-year extension. A fellow Braves’ fans stated , it was his belief the Braves made this decision solely on the fact the organization has been happy with the manager’s efforts and the fact the ball-club would soon be moving to a new facility. Last I looked , the one thing usually bringing the fans to be the ballpark beyond the novelty of it being new , was one of seeing a winning product on the field of play. It would be true to suggest, a winning product has not been on the field of play with the Braves since Fredi Gonzalez became the team’s manager. The Braves’ sole appearance in the postseason during his tenure ended disastrously with the team being swept out of the postseason , in a wild-card round loss to the St Louis Cardinals during the 2012 MLB Postseason.

Playing sub.500 baseball (45-50 .474) as of 22nd July , it is difficult to understand why anyone would now believe the Braves are still capable of pulling off the surprise of gaining a postseason berth as a wild-card entrant. Currently sitting 6 ½ games out a berth within the NL , Atlanta has literally self imploded its season with an array of results which simply defy all logic. A 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon has been emblematic of the Braves all season . This team simply cannot win on the road with any degree of regularity , much less win at home .

Atlanta will be on the road to begin a three-game weekend series against the St Louis Cardinals starting on Friday, 24th July with the first of three games to be played at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri . Manny Banuelos of the Braves will face off against Tim Cooney of the Cardinals in this contest of left-handed starting pitchers within the NL.

Perhaps like in no other professional team sport, records within the game of baseball are revered . However, in recent years many of baseball’s most hallowed records have become tarnished . We all know who holds the record for regular season home runs and the all-time career home runs’ record. Seven-time NL MVP and former Major League player Barry Bonds can lay claim to both marks, but in the eyes of the public Bonds and both records held are tainted.

Roger Maris’ single season mark of sixty-one home runs is seen as the single season home run mark by detractors of Barry Bonds and with good reason, when you consider that both Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire prior to Bonds made a mockery of the feat , with their complicit acts and then denials of using steroids. Barry Bonds still holds steadfast with his claims that he never knowingly took a banned substance, but yet, those claims are soundly refuted by Victor Conte , founder of BALCO (Bay Area Lab Co) , the supplier of the banned substances said to have been used by the former San Francisco Giants’ star.

Hank Aaron hit seven hundred and fifty five home runs over the course of his famed career , was denigrated and despised by fans for having surpassed the mark once held by Babe Ruth. When Barry Bonds rounded out his career with seven hundred and sixty-two home runs, exceeding Aaron’s tally by seven home runs , it was greeted with praise in some circles , but clearly neither baseball’s hierarchy or Elias Stats Bureau cared to question the achievement. Baseball’s records are no longer hallowed in the true sense of the word and one could lay claim , the game is simply deserving of its present fate in that regard.

Alex Rodriguez’s quest for redemption continues and with it has come his progression up certain career marks within the game. He is the active home runs, hits and RBI leader , and among the career marks for each of the categories in question , his name is firmly slotted among the top-ten .

From my own perspective Alex Rodriguez remains a self-absorbed individual who was never much of a teammate anywhere he played , let alone a leader or someone whom many of the younger players would aspire to be like. He may be a three-time AL MVP , multi-time All Star , Gold Glove winner and Silver Slugger Award winner , but his career will forever be tainted and question as to its merits . Consider also, at the start of this season the New York Yankees were questioning whether or not the incentives’ options within the player’s contract should be honored. To my mind it not only signals the stupidity within the Yankees’ organization in having taken so long to even question the issue , but it also has and will continue to show how bereft of intelligence the owners within baseball are and will continue to be.

Rob Manfred for his part, continues to steer the course of his predecessor ,while adding to Bud Selig’s decision, by indicating his predecessor just happens as much of an @ss as the incumbent commissioner. While Rob Manfred now seeks not only team expansion , but also an expansion of baseball’s postseason system . The question I would have to ask, what will the commissioner seek to do about the plight of such teams as the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays , franchises seeking a new stadium , while their home game attendances have been in steady decline over the past two years. One should also note, while idiotic claims are being made about the profitability of both teams , they are also recipients of funds which come via baseball’s luxury tax scheme , another nonsensical approach by baseball , which has failed miserably since its existence. It has not leveled the playing field as some have tried to claim, and the so-called small-market teams said to be competing with their large market adversaries , tend to fall back among the dregs once they become starved of cash and talent.

In 2012 the Miami Marlins sought to break the bank in order to chase after success . The fact that they failed so miserably should not have come as a surprise, even if they were playing in a new ballpark , A venue I might add, which seats a mere 35,000 fans and this venue has to yet to host a sell-out game since its inception. Far be it for me to suggest, but the city of Miami was sold a white elephant, when they chose to finance the building of the Marlins’ Ballpark , under pressure from the coercion of the MLB hierarchy and ownership group of the Miami Marlins. As an attraction the venue is nothing special, but somehow the civic dignitaries and local politicians felt there was a need for what they believe to be a world-class venue for sports and the hosting of various other events. I guess $500 million of taxpayers’ monies has to be considered well-spent . when it is of benefit to a billionaire franchise owner and of no real benefit to the community at large. Less we forget at the time of its construction the city of Miami faced a huge fiscal deficit, which almost five years later the municipality is still unable to fix.

The Marlins’ woes this season have been compounded by the fact they have an interim manager and a roster which has simply under-achieved all season long . Having invested a great deal of money in Giancarlo Stanton and signing Ichiro Suzuki to a one-year deal , the common feeling was this team would be good enough to make a strong enough challenge for the NL East crown but also the NL Pennant and World Series. Instead the Marlins have been atrocious with the managerial staff of Dan Jennings simply out of their depth. Team owner Jeffrey Loria , GM Michael Hill and the front office have shown a great deal of incompetence not just during this season but over the course of the last four years, as the team’s record has reflected a truly mediocre run during the time-span mentioned.

Coming off a 4-0 road victory over an equally disheveled San Diego Padres’ team , it is easy to understand why the Miami Marlins have been so good and also mediocre against poor opposition. Friday will see the continuation of the Marlins’ series against the Padres , when Dan Haren takes to the mound for the visitors against Andrew Cashner for the home team. If Miami chooses to be sellers at the trade deadline (31st July) , it will be interesting to see which players on the roster they will seek to jettison and then bring up from their farm system for the rest of the season.

Ichiro Suzuki continues his long and impressive career , nearing 3,000 career hits within MLB but with a combined career record that will soon surpass the mark of Pete Rose’s record of of 4,256 hits . One will understand how much of an accomplishment his getting his three-thousandth hit will mean for the Japanese star . He has been by far the best hitter of his generation within baseball and he is sure to be first ballot Hall of Fame inductee having met all of the requirements for induction. Ichiro is likely pass the 3,000 hits’ plateau at some point during the remainder of the season for the Miami Marlins and it will be one of the highlights of an otherwise mediocre season for the ball-club. From hereon-in, it will be interesting to see what happens for the Miami Marlins as they seek to climb out of the doldrums.

Picture gallery. Click on an individual frame to view that picture in a reformatted size alongside an accompanying narrative.

With second half of the baseball season already in underway , what are you most looking forward to seeing as the schedule comes to its inevitable climax ? Overall, have you been disappointed with the performances of certain players and teams ? If so, then simply leave a comment about your thoughts on the season.


Tophatal …

Editor’s advisory notes



MLB news

MLB standings

MLB wildcard standings

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results 22nd July

MLB free agents 2016


This week in MLB history

On this day in baseball history

MLB milestones

Milestones imminent this season home runs , hits , RBI’s , pitcher’s wins, strikeouts , saves and innings pitched


17 thoughts on “When the shit begins to hit the fan , does anyone really care ?

  1. The absurdity of this baseball season cannot be lost on the fans as several teams have already been sent packing while others are simply hanging on for dear life.

    The Atlanta Braves continue to stink up the joint as the idiots within the front office have given team manager Fredi Gonzalez a three-year contract extension .

    Gonalez’s (pictured) record since he took over the team as its manager has been abysmal .


    MLB news

    MLB results 23rd July

    MLB probable pitchers

    Tophatal ……

  2. Another team now bailing on the season are the Oakland A’s as they begin to rid themselves of players as the year continues to spiral out of control . Billy Beane has tried his best , but ” Moneyball “ just won’t cut it any longer and developing talent from within the farm system haven’t helped the A’s , It’s there for all to see this season .

    A’s GM Billy Beane

    Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie ” Moneyball ”

    Reality is far more convincing, than Hollywood based flights of fancy and a sugary fantasy .

    Based on a true story ? Really ? Which parts were in fact , fact and not fiction ? Hollywood , just like baseball can be a real load of bull$hit .

    Oakland A’s news

    Tophatal ………

  3. The Phillies need to clean house and start over. The bums history is not vey good. In reality the schmucks are bad to worse at best. KC is doing great. Oakland has good GM. Hollywierd makes up facts to fit the story. the truth? NOT. The Phillies have made two World Series from 1890’s until 1980. 1952 and 1980. The bums had a decent run in the 1990’s and early part of the 200o buts that’s about it.

      1. The baseball played is not really that good. Most of the players are not schooled in the fundamentals of the game.

  4. How quickly is the tide turning ? Not to so long ago the Houston Astros had multiple seasons of losing in excess of 100 games . Now they’re contending within the AL West and are seen as having an outside chance of winning the division or quite possibly gaining a wildcard berth within the AL .

    Scott Kazmir’s move to the Astros will aid the pitching staff , while the A’s will continue to slide down further into the depths of mediocrity this season .

    Oakland’s next few games are not ones where I believe they can put together a solid string of wins ! The team just hasn’t been playing consistent enough to put together a multiple game win streak ( six or eight-game win streak ) .

    A’s GM Billy Beane, right and team manager Bob Melvin .

    MLB transactions

  5. bobby gee

    You’re definitely right , the baseball being played within the leagues is certainly terrible . The stats within the AL and NL have borne this out all season long. The managers are simply overrated , with the exception of the success attained by Bruce Bochy and the San Francisco Giants in recent years.

    Brian Sabean as general manager of the Giants has simply been amazing in acquiring and developing talent from within their farm system .

    In the case of Billy Beane, his days of Sabermetrics are now long gone and it is time for the Oakland A’s to spend money , rather than being left in the wake of others.

    Giants’ GM Brian Sabean and team manager Bruce Bochy , right.

    Having won the AL West twice in quick succession over the last few years . This season Oakland has been found wanting and they have looked terrible all season long .

    Tophatal …………

  6. When will Stuart Sternberg get it into his thick skull the Tampa Bay Rays are no longer good enough to compete at the highest levels of the game ? This season no one has really stepped to the plate for the team and their victories have merely been fleeting with no real consistency in their performances.

    Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg (center) his daughter Ella , the team’s VP, Publications Manager Brian Auld .

    Evan Longoria continues to under-achieve, while being overpaid by the organization. Now it looks like they will have to be sellers in the lead-up to and after the trade deadline because they really have and stand no chance of making the postseason via a wildcard or as winners of the AL East.

    There is no real depth to the team and it has been reflected in the results witnessed this season . The Rays also sorely miss the managerial acumen of Joe Maddon , while under rookie manager Kevin Cash, what you see is exactly what you set , a sub . 500 ball-club that continues to play badly .

    Today and tomorrow the Rays will play hosts at Tropicana Field where their opponents will be the Baltimore Orioles.

    Rays’ manager Kevin Cash (left) and Evan Longoria .

    Tampa Bay Ray news

    Rays’ probable pitchers for the remainder of July

    Tophatal ……..

  7. Al…

    The Phillies and Royals are perfect examples of what’s currently wrong and right with baseball.

    It wasn’t all that long ago that the loaded, and high payroll, Phillies won the World Series. That was a damn good team. A few years later, they stink out loud and still manage a high payroll.


    The Royals really snuck up on people last year and did so with a mid-to-low range payroll. This year, they’re still kicking ass.

    Now eventually those players are gonna have to get paid but as of right now, none of those guys are really household names yet despite last year’s World Series appearance.

    I’m guessing that might change this year.

    1. Chris Humpherys

      It has been a long time coming for the Kansas City Royals , but I don’t believe they are capable of getting past what now appears to be a very good Los Angeles Angels’ team that boasts the best player in the game with Mike Trout .

      And as good as the Royals are known to be at present. They are like to face some real tough challenges as the season goes on . I believe they can win the AL Central as the Detroit Tigers continue to be a major disappointment this season .

      The Philadelphia Phillies remain a complete mess , because of the lack of foresight shown by GM Rueben Amaro alongside the idiots within the front office , In terms of their developing talent from within their farm system over the past three years , it has been one of abysmal failure for the franchise.

      The Tampa Bay Rays are looking extremely bad and they’re not even mounting any sort of challenge within the AL East. Their loss on Saturday night was a real embarrassment and simply emphasizes how mediocre this team just happens to be at the moment.


      MLB results 25th July

      Kansas City Royals news

      Philadelphia Phillies news


      Tophatal ………

  8. The Cincinnati Reds traded Johnny Cueto to the Kansas City Royals , bolstering the Royals’ pitching roster and adding to an already formidable lineup. This may well place Kansas in the drivers’ seat within the AL as well as the rest of the season to close out their schedule .

    Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies was able to pitch the fourteenth no-hitter in baseball history, while still remaining one of the most prized assets yet to be traded. Hamels’ feat while impressive , will only momentarily provide the Phillies with any type of relief .

    Cincinnati Reds news

    Kansas City Royals news

    Trade deadline transactions July 2015

    Trades effected July 2014

  9. In what appears to be a nonsensical trade the Colorado Rockies have decided to trade one of the club’s All Star players Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays for short-stop Jose Reyes . The deal itself is a multi-player trade leading to a money saving exercise for both teams, but not providing anything meaningful by way of competitiveness over the remainder of the season . Toronto are not competing within the AL East and the Rockies this season have simply proven to be abysmal .

    Elsewhere Coles Hamels having pitched a no-hitter the fourteenth in Major League Baseball history still remains a Philadelphia Phillies’ player for the moment . Both the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants are said to be interested in the 2008 World Series MVP , who if he were to be acquired by either the Giants or the Dodgers would be part of two formidable lineups on either team.

  10. The Milwaukee Brewers will never contend for a divisional title much less the NL Pennant or World Series . This franchise has long eschewed the idea of competing for anything and their long-starved fans have paid the price of the incompetency from the time Bud Selig has owned the organization until now . Their record over the last eight season have been atrocious , while the managerial and front office staff remain damn clueless.

    With the trade of Carlos Gomez , planning for the next season has already began , and that is not saying the staff in development from their affiliates will turn out to be any good to begin with . The Brewers have smacked of incompetency all along and it can be seen also with the attendance levels for this franchise.


    Carlos Gomez formerly of the Brewers but now with the Houston Astros

    At 44-59 the Brewers have won only three of their last ten games , leaving them in last place within the NL Central , thirteen games out of first place and 12 1/2 games out of the wildcard as of 30th July .

    Coming off a 5-2 loss to the equally atrocious Chicago Cubs who are reportedly shopping their All Star short-stop Starlin Castro after another disastrous season by the Cubs. . One has to wonder how much worse things can now get for either Cubs and Brewers. Neither team has been playing with any type of consistency over the course of this season. Milwaukee will host Chicago at Miller Park today as part of a four game home series .


    Starlin Castro of the Cubs

    MLB news

    Milwaukee Brewers news

    MLB results 30th July

    MLB schedule

    MLB probable pitchers

    MLB standings

    MLB wildcard standings

    Tophatal ……..

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