The Last Olympics & the Last U.S. Election

The 2016 Olympics are to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August. They will be held up to the world as a beacon of peace & camaraderie, in of a backdrop of poverty & squalor. These should be considered the ‘Last Olympics’– and here is why.  Nothing in human civilization will ever be the same after this year. These obscene levels of social inequality will soon come to a head and violently burst onto everyone’s lives. It will appear on television screens broadcasting these Olympic games (and political conventions) which pretend that reality isn’t real, and that this grand charade can continue indefinitely.  It can’t and won’t, because it’s now too real and too in-your-face to ignore. The levels of corruption (which are killing all of us) are willfully ignored– so a tiny few can be billionaires & play god.  Capitalism is now a system which can no longer sustain itself.

Rio de Janeiro Favelas

The politicking involved in keeping Russian athletes out of international competition– through targeted doping testing, has reached a new level of corruption with the Maria Sharapova ‘provisional suspension’; which denies her (and other athletes like her) basic rights such as a fair & speedy trial. [1]  The institution of the Olympics is now entirely in question, from those who organize, run, and profit from the games; to all those who compete in them. From bribery & favoritism among its officials, to rampant PED use among its competitors (from all nations); the Olympic games now reek of dirty money, corruption and cheating– even to the most casual sports fan. [2]

IOC president Thomas Bach

Speaking of Russia, the first great socialist revolution in human history happened there in November 1917.  The infant U.S.S.R. was still a poor and backwards nation, bled white by a World War and then a cruel civil war. Its leadership died (Lenin), and then was purged (Trotsky); ossifying into Stalinism by the late 1920’s. This historical stillbirth existed for 74 years, until it collapsed back into capitalism (to the complete surprise of every bourgeois intellectual), in December of 1991. Trotsky (the last classical Marxist) had predicted & discussed this eventuality in 1936, in The Revolution Betrayed.


The next great socialist revolution will happen in our lifetimes. It will start in the U.S., and then spread globally in permanence. Capitalism will collapse with a sudden cardiac arrest of it’s leadership, as the working people (and the soldiers that make up all the military forces) will march en mass on the final bunkers of Langley, NORAD, the Pentagon & White House… They will seize Wall Street, the Fed, and all the banks & corporations… The media will be overrun and reprogrammed to tell the truth and expose the real class enemies of the working people, so they can be mercilessly hunted down and brought to justice in chains– if they don’t kill themselves first. This is the only endgame for humanity’s survival.


As this is the last U.S. election before a certain civil war (and possible world war), preparations must be made by the working people– in the form of education & militancy. A reliable revolutionary organization must be built. The Republican party will not stand idly by, if defeated on November 8. They will simply regather themselves and whip up their base in preparation for a military brass/ CIA-led right-wing coup. If the Republicans do manage to win (or steal) the November election, fascism becomes a near certainty.

Trotsky on Fascism

Any political party that unleashes Donald Trump on the people, then begs their electorate to save them from themselves, needs to be forever removed (by the working people) from the arena of political leadership.  Trump & his right-wing fascist base must be ruthlessly exposed and physically confronted when necessary, as they will never back down to reasonable words alone.

Donald Trump_Fascist

The greater challenge to revolutionary socialism in the U.S. will be the Democratic party, which still deceives too many who have some (but not nearly enough) brains. They are now the party of business-as-usual, represented by Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders is nothing more than a figment of limited imagination & ability. His purpose to the Democrats is to provide left-wing cover to a party that controls the workers through mafia-enforced unions & identity politics; both of which are thoroughly corrupt and beyond any reform.


When liberalism collapses, it collaborates with the jackboot of fascism for its own protection, forever remaining the historical class enemy of working people. History & human civilization won’t escape the writings of Karl Marx & Leon Trotsky; we will either socialize or annihilate ourselves.

Karl Marx 2


Extra credit reading on the subject– published 3-31-16 @

War: The great unmentionable in the 2016 US elections [3]

Republican Party crisis deepens as candidates renege on “loyalty” pledge [4]

The political economy of endless austerity [5]

Why Does Danica Patrick Wreck So Often in NASCAR?

Danica Patrick raced full-time IndyCar from 2005-11, and holds the all-time record for most consecutive finished races in that series.  Her mark of 50 consecutive finishes without a DNF, shattered the old IndyCar record of 32– and still stands.  She was long ago recognized at the highest levels of competitive auto racing as a safe, fair & competitive driver. [1]

Danica Patrick Wins IndyCar Japan 2008

In 2012, Danica began racing in NASCAR, and has run full-time in its Sprint Cup series since 2013. In her NASCAR career of 123 races (as of this writing), she has 17 DNF’s– for an alarming rate of 13.8%.  A check of the numbers in 2014, showed she was by far the most wrecked-DNF driver in NASCAR. [2]

Another NASCAR review in 2015 showed Patrick to have the 7th-highest crash rate, among all drivers with at least 15 starts. This study included all crashes, even those that did not produce DNF’s.  [3]

This leads to the questions– why does Danica Patrick crash so much, and who’s at fault?  Video analysis will be used to group Danica Patrick’s DNF-crashes into two categories: 1) her fault; 2) not her fault.  Furthermore, wrecks which weren’t her fault will be divided into two types: A) wrecked unintentionally, which is racing luck; or B) wrecked intentionally, which implies being repeatedly targeted.

Accidents that were Danica Patrick’s fault

This is Danica Patrick in Kansas in 2012, her rookie NASCAR season. The video title is fairly accurate, and #83 Landon Cassill does a phenomenal job not wrecking, while Patrick fails to use her brakes well enough to maintain control– and that’s how the announcers call it:

A year later at Kansas in 2013, Patrick ‘got loose’ in the middle of the track and crashed on the first lap. Needless to say this was probably the worst performance of her professional career:

At Pocono in 2013, Patrick got too loose and wrecked herself and a few others. For the record, she owned it in the interview afterwards:

At Michigan in 2014, Danica Patrick got loose, lost control & spun out, causing this accident. It was clearly her fault, and all of NASCAR enjoyed pointing it out:

At Martinsville in 2015 Danica Patrick, who had gotten run up the track by #38 David Gilliland earlier in the race, attempted to retaliate with the same move, but ended up wrecking herself.  What then ensued is best described as children acting badly in cars [4] :

At Darlington 2015, Patrick got too loose and wrecked herself. She owned it in the interview:

At the 2016 Daytona 500, Patrick tried too late to squeeze #16 Greg Biffle, who had the pass. She ended up wrecking herself instead. Patrick took responsibility:

That’s a total of seven wrecks that were clearly her fault, in 123 NASCAR starts, for a 5.7% rate– which is less than half of her 13.8% total crash rate.

Unintentional wrecks of Danica Patrick

At the 2014 Daytona 500, #33 Brian Scott bumps #43 Aric Almirola, who hits the outside wall and then caroms back across the track into several cars including Patrick, who loses control and hits the outside wall very hard. No one should question Danica Patrick’s toughness after seeing this:

At Charlotte 2014, Patrick is caught up in the wash, and there’s nothing she can do. Her comments on the radio are illuminating:
Danica Patrick [at around 50 seconds in the video]: “Idiots! I mean really, who the hell did not see that coming?”
Her spotter: “A lot of them, about five people behind you.”

Speaking of stupid– blame for this massive and dangerous wreck at Talladega in 2013 was mostly on NASCAR, and the drivers let their fans know it in the post-race interviews. They clearly shouldn’t have been racing in such conditions, and drivers should NEVER try to go ‘4-wide’ when it’s dark & rainy.  Patrick didn’t appear to get clipped (as she claimed), but one can clearly see her trying to avoid a car (on fire) careening towards her.  Outside of that, her post-race summary (confirmed by others) was fair, for which the rednecks now hate her even more:

Hardcore NASCAR fans don’t even like to acknowledge this incident, which happened in Kentucky in 2015; when #88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rammed Danica Patrick from behind, wrecking her. NASCAR’s biggest hero later admitted he was “driving too hard with no brakes.”  This one was borderline, but Dale Jr. is a great champion– so he gets the benefit of the doubt here:

These four accidents are ‘racing luck wrecks’ which happen, and no one could reasonably expect Danica Patrick to avoid them.

Intentional wrecks of Danica Patrick

At the 2012 Gatorade Duel #1, the replay around 2:00 shows Aric Almirola in the #43 car (Richard Petty team) sliding down and wiping Danica Patrick off the track– on the final lap. This was a HARD crash, that could have caused serious injury or worse. Patrick shows elite driving skills by letting go of the steering wheel before impact with the inner wall, avoiding breaking her wrists:

I love the title of this next video, which was obviously posted by a Danica Patrick hater. At Charlotte 2014, #22 Joey Logano clearly has plenty of room to go below, but chooses to run her into the wall instead.  Classic NASCAR style:

As a bonus in 2015, Danica Patrick was wrecked in practice, qualifying for the Daytona 500– by #11 Denny Hamlin:

Shortly after, she was wrecked in the 2015 Budweiser Duel– by Denny Hamlin again.  The video around 30 seconds is definitive:

Update 4-16-16 @ Bristol    More Denny Hamlin stupidity…during practice! How are Danica Patrick and her SHR team supposed to set up a decent race car, when this keeps happening?  Note to #11 car: that’s not how you’re supposed to pass a much slower car.  Why didn’t Hamlin just duck under and blow her doors off, instead of crawling up on her ass? To ask the question is to answer it.

At Martinsville in 2014, #78 Martin Truex, Jr. slides up the track in the turn– wrecking Danica Patrick. Pretty cut & dried video:

Regan Smith crashes Danica Patrick at Bristol in 2012. Pay attention at around 50 seconds into the video, to see #78 Regan Smith slide up in the turn and clip Patrick’s left rear– sending her into the wall. “That’s unfortunate” is the color commentary:

Here’s Danica Patrick getting wrecked the year before in Bristol, by #99 Carl Edwards, who admits it’s his fault.  Danica Patrick’s radio man says to her, “just one of those things.”

Fontana 2016 is the most recent of her wrecks, and was clearly intentional– as # 5 Kasey Kahne dug into Patrick’s right rear quarter-panel, and sent her into the wall and then airborne, in this violent crash.  Kahne should have been black-flagged, and suspended for at least several races. Instead, the post-race chatter from NASCAR was whether Danica Patrick would be fined for going out onto the track– which is now prohibited [Update 3-25-16– she was fined $20,000 by NASCAR].  That wreck could have killed her, and you can hear it in her voice when she asks her spotter if it is safe for her to get out of the car– after it comes to rest:

That’s seven wrecks (plus another one in qualifying) where she was deliberately taken out by another driver. Furthermore, these intentional wrecks have been the most violent & dangerous of her crashes.

Final thoughts

Danica Patrick and her fans have been told over & over by NASCAR to “get over it.”  It is no secret that Danica Patrick has gotten jerked around by her Stewart-Haas Racing team. [5]

Daniel Knost & Danica Patrick

NASCAR has been too reckless for too long, and now it seems intent on pushing out its biggest icon. Surely, #88 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is the biggest name in NASCAR today, but #10 Danica Patrick is the superstar who (in many ways) transcends the sport– much to the disdain of its hardcore base.


There are plenty of good ‘ol boys who love to see her wrecked, and they can barely contain their glee when it happens.

danica-patrick-wrecked-by kasey-kahne

This flows all the way up to NASCAR’s biggest names, including Richard Petty and his son Kyle.

Kyle-Petty & Richard-Petty

Kyle Petty was a third-generation NASCAR driver who, despite having every advantage coming with his family name– had only 8 wins in 829 career starts, a win rate of <1%, which is comparable to Patrick’s career.  Both Petty’s have been her biggest critics, and below is a sample of Kyle’s blather; which ignores all evidence that Danica Patrick is too often being intentionally wrecked, making it impossible for her to fairly compete in NASCAR.

Many of Danica Patrick’s fans are very new to NASCAR, and therefore don’t understand how to respond to her critics. This confusion allows hateful drivers to wreck her at will, which could help explain why she never wins, and rarely gets a top-10 finish.

Danica Patrick NASCAR Stats

Danica Patrick will probably never win a NASCAR race.  She is now turning 34, and past her athletic prime.  Besides, racing is a team sport and Danica Patrick isn’t getting enough help from her team– or her fans. On top of all that, she being disrespected by too many other drivers, the powers-that-be & the culture of NASCAR.  Those are tough odds for anyone to beat.


It’s worthwhile to note that #24 Jeff Gordon and #48 Jimmie Johnson are the best drivers of this NASCAR era, and they have never tried to wreck #10 Danica Patrick.  Patrick’s fans would be well-advised to stop exhorting her for wins, and start paying more attention to her safety.


(3-25-16) Danica Patrick Horoscope: Birthdays comes once a year. Daily rebirth is a lifetime challenge in self-improvement. Rediscover your musicality by taking up the pan flute.

Daily Headlines Voters Might Want to Read

March 16, 2016 REUTERS

No hikes for now: What Yellen said  [1]

Janet Yellen

Obama picks centrist high court nominee; Republicans unmoved  [2]

Merrick Garland

Trump warns of riots, pulls plug on Republican presidential debate  [3]



March 17, 2016   World Socialist Web Site  (

US Federal Reserve aligns itself closer to market demands  [4]


Obama’s choice to replace Scalia on Supreme Court had won Republican praise  [5]


Trump threatens violence at Republican National Convention  [6]


Maria Sharapova, PEDs & International Politics

On March 7, 2016 Maria Sharapova hastily assembled a press conference in Los Angeles, announcing her failed drug test after the 2016 Australian Open.

Sharapova statement of admission: “For the past 10 years I have been given a medicine called mildronate by my family doctor and a few days ago after I received the ITF (International Tennis Federation) letter I found out that it also has another name of meldonium which I did not know. It is very important for you to understand that for 10 years this medicine was not on the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) banned list, and I had legally been taking the medicine for the past 10 years. But on 1 January the rules had changed, and meldonium became a prohibited substance which I had not known. I failed the test and I take full responsibility for it. I made a huge mistake.”

Speculation beforehand was that the 28-year old tennis superstar was announcing her retirement, after a series of injuries & disappointing tournament finishes. Sharapova responded, “If I was ever going to announce my retirement, it would probably not be in a downtown Los Angeles hotel with this fairly ugly carpet.”  For the record, it was ugly carpet at the hotel, as seen at the beginning of the press conference in the video above.


Sharapova says she did not look at the new banned substances list, linked in a WADA email she received. She claims she deleted it without clicking the link, and was thus unaware the prescription drug she had legally used for 10 years, was about to be banned.  WADA rules mandate a 2-year ban for ‘unintentional’ doping, and a 4-year ban for ‘intentional’ doping for first-time offenders.

Sharapova cited her meldonium use as necessary for “a deficiency in magnesium, irregular EKG results, and a family history of diabetes with one of the first signs of diabetes… and [meldonium] was one of the medications, along with others I received.”


Maria Sharapova is undoubtedly a rock star. As one can see by her Facebook post, she still has fans– over 112K ‘Likes’ in less than 8 hours.  Sharapova is stunningly beautiful, along with being smart enough to get ahead of the press & her fans. That’s how to handle them.

Sharapova Facebook 1

She’s now fighting to protect her brand, which is exactly what top athletes do in competition– in order to win at the highest levels of professional sports.

Sharapova Facebook 3

No one should be surprised by this anymore.  Professional athletes are all pushed, one way or another, into this taint.  Maria Sharapova is only the latest sports icon turned into scapegoat, in order to distract fans from the true sources of corruption.  Ironically, her announcement came the same day NFL quarterback Peyton Manning delivered his long-anticipated retirement speech, in which he broke down and cried repeatedly before finishing with a nauseating “God bless football.”

"God Bless Football"

If Manning can shake the HGH & sexual harassment allegations which still persist, many lucrative business opportunities await him. If not, he will become the next Lance Armstrong.  Carefully compare their simultaneous press conferences (and circumstances), and you’ll see that Peyton Manning doesn’t have Sharapova’s composure or brains– so anticipate the latter scenario.


Lance Armstrong on sports doping: “I don’t know what the number is, whether it’s 10 or 20 or 50%, I don’t know. That tells you that that system is broken, too. It’s probably the reason that Travis [Tygart] and the USADA [U.S.Anti-Doping Agency] needed something. They needed a case, they needed a story. I was that story, I was that case, it is what it is, and we’re here. But they needed something to show that they were effective. And they did, and it worked.” [1]

Greg LeMond 2013

Anti-doping advocate Greg LeMond: “When I speak out about doping people could translate it and think it was about the riders. Actually I feel like I am an advocate for the riders. I look at them as being treated like lab rats that are test vehicles for the doctors. The doctors, the management, the officials, they’re the ones that have corrupted riders. The riders are the only ones that pay the price.” [2]

WADA Headquarters, Montreal Canada

WADA was created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1999 to “promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.”  Its presidents Dick Pound (1999-2007), John Fahey (2008-13), and now Craig Reedie (below) have been continuously rocked by corruption & doping scandals. The closed systems used by all the official anti-doping agencies do not allow independent statistical validation of their tests.  IOC/WADA testing identifies <1% of all PED (performance-enhancing drug) users.

Craig Reedie

Taking a hard-line stance in high profile cases such as Maria Sharapova, obfuscates their overall ineffectiveness in the eyes of most sports fans.  Image is everything.  WADA president Craig Reedie has warned that it will step in if it believes that the ITF’s ban for Sharapova is too lenient: “We always have that right. In most cases we exercise that right when we think there is a really serious case to answer,” he said. “There will clearly be a great deal of interest after the last 48 hours in what the ITF do. My guess is we will watch this one very carefully.”

For comparison, men’s tennis star Marin Cilic (Croatia) was suspended for nine months in 2013-14, after testing positive for a banned stimulant, nikethamide.  After returning to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour, Cilic won the U.S. Open in 2014.

Marin Cilic

Maria Sharapova is the highest-paid female athlete in the world, according to Forbes magazine. [3]  She has/had endorsement deals with Nike, Avon, Evian, TAG Heuer, Canon, Cole Haan, Ericsson, Gatorade, Head, Land Rover, Motorola, Porsche, Prince, Samsung, Sony, Tiffany’s and Tropicana.  So far– Porsche, Nike & TAG Heuer have suspended ties with Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova with Panamera S E-Hybrid

WADA has focused on Russia ever since the German state news station ARD broadcast the documentary Secret Doping Dossier: How Russia Produces Its Winners, in December 2014.  WADA used the evidence in the film to target the widespread use of meldonium by Russian athletes. Numerous Russian athletes describe their experiences in state-sponsored programs, where over 99% of competitors are compelled by coaches & higher authorities to use PEDs.

Compulsion towards PED use in American sports begins with pharmaceutical & Madison Avenue bombardment, in the form of ceaseless commercials for new drugs.  The U.S. is the primary market for pharmaceutical companies, accounting for one-third of the global market.  Lack of regulation means there are few barriers in marketing & distribution, once FDA approval has been secured.


‘Selling sickness’ to a healthy population is now considered standard pharmaceutical industry practice in the U.S. [4]  The Affordable Care Act has made chemically refined prescription drugs more the form of treatment for physicians, while increasing their cost to consumers, with no controls over the prices that insurance & pharmaceutical corporations can charge under Obamacare. [5]  The side-effects portions of prescription drug commercials are often more than half their running length, with a professional voice-over mono-toning at breakneck speed.


Combined with skyrocketing salaries for top athletes, the current model for illicit PED use is private-sector chemists & physicians (with questionable ethics) developing new drugs for athletes, keeping them ahead of the testers. PEDs can only be detected if there is a test for that particular drug– or class of drugs.  Testing for every banned substance  is prohibitively expensive for most organizations, especially at the youth & high-school levels.

‘New’ PEDs are often previously developed pharmaceuticals, originally intended for medicinal uses in elderly & sickly populations.  For example, Sharapova’s meldonium (Mildronate) is an anti-ischemic drug developed in Latvia to treat angina and prevent heart attacks. In athletes it demonstrates increased endurance, improved rehabilitation after exercise, protection against stress, and enhanced activation of the central nervous system.  [6]

Telmisartan (Micardis) is a prescription drug for high blood pressure, manufactured by Roxane in Columbus, OH.  It is also frequently abused by top athletes, but it is accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and is not on the WADA banned substances list– nor is the class of drugs to which it belongs.


Cytomel (T3) is a thyroid hormone, developed, patented & manufactured by U.S pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, to treat hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is defined as a deficiency of thyroid hormones– which can disrupt heart rate, body temperature, and all aspects of metabolism. Hypothyroidism is most prevalent in older women. Treatment typically consists of thyroid hormone replacement.

Cytomel, has been popular among bodybuilders for decades for its ability to promote rapid fat & weight loss. It is used by wrestlers & boxers, to come in under weight.  One of the most important determinants of success in cycling is power to weight ratio, particularly in the mountains. Any substance which can help riders lose body fat provides a competitive advantage in cycling.


Track athletes have also used thyroid hormones for perceived performance-enhancing effects beyond those associated with weight loss. Victor Conte, the architect of the infamous BALCO steroid program, included T3 as an important drug in his recipe for success in his athletes back in the early 2000’s.  WADA has refused to include thyroid hormones on its 2016 Prohibited Substances List. [7]


For clean athletes, ethical doctors and real fans who actually care about sports itself; milodium and other Western-EU and North American PED equivalents must be banned, as their misuse crosses too many ethical & safety boundaries.  Banning only meldonium is a politically motivated act by the WADA (and the western political interests behind them), meant to discredit Russian athletes, while ignoring widespread doping throughout professional sports. [8]

Whistleblowers-Fled Russia-Living in Hiding

In 2015, a whistle-blower leaked International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) blood test records from major competitions. The IAAF is the oldest international sports governing institution, in existence since 1912.  Records revealed that between 2001 and 2012, athletes with suspicious drug test results won a third of the medals in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships— a total of 146 medals including 55 golds—but the IAAF caught none of them.  Adidas announced in January that it was ending its sponsorship deal with the IAAF four years early, costing them $33 million in revenue.  [9]


The Russian Athletics Federation (RusAF) new president is Dmitry Shlyakhtin, as of January 2016.  Russia has been banned from international competition by WADA, over a massive doping scandal that goes all the way up to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Mikhail Butov had been federation general secretary since 2008, occupying a senior post during the time when WADA alleges doping was rife. Butov remains general secretary “temporarily,” while the new management settles in.  Butov told Russia’s Tass agency he intended to stay until December.

Mikhail Butov

Shlyakhtin’s ‘anti-crisis’ presidency could last as little as eight months, since new elections are scheduled for September 2016, after the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dmitry Shlyakhtin succeeds Valentin Balakhnichev, who was banned for life by the IAAF  over the alleged extortion of 450,000 euros from suspended Russian marathon runner, Yulia Stepanov.


Balakhnichev had stepped down from his federation role in February 2015 following a doping scandal. [10]


These suits mentioned & pictured above are just a few of the people (you’ve likely never heard of), who are mostly responsible for professional sports doping.  A problem never gets solved without addressing its root causes.


[3-13-16] Notes:

Maria Sharapova has been witch-hunted, it’s that simple. She has been caught up in a Western political vendetta against Russian athletics, and is being used as a pawn. She maintains certain medical privacy rights, no matter what. Her fans know the truth (as much as they need to hear), and overwhelmingly support her– as her Facebook page speaks for itself.
Sharapova has handled this unfair situation brilliantly, so she will be hated even more by the media establishment & WADA.  Meldonium has been used widely in Russian athletics as a stimulant and is relatively safe & non-toxic; as compared to EPO, of which 100+ forms exist, and are untested for. The issue is– was Maria Sharapova fairly informed of the changes in the banned substances list?  Athletes under WADA jurisdiction are allowed to use any substances not on that list.

Maria Sharapova Serving

3-17-16 Notes:

Still no word on when or where the ITF hearing on her case will be held.  After two perfect smashes on Facebook, explaining her situation to her fans & the media, there has been no response from the ITF.  Here’s Sharapova’s 2nd serve on 3-11-16 on Facebook:

To My Fans:

I want to reach out to you to share some information, discuss the latest news, and let you know that there have been things that have been reported wrong in the media, and I am determined to fight back. You have shown me a tremendous outpouring of support, and I’m so grateful for it. But I have also been aware that some, not all, but some in the media distort, exaggerate and fail to accurately report the facts about what happened.

A report said that I had been warned five times about the upcoming ban on the medicine I was taking. That is not true and it never happened.

That’s a distortion of the actual “communications,” which were provided or simply posted onto a webpage.

I make no excuses for not knowing about the ban. I already told you about the December 22, 2015 email I received. Its subject line was “Main Changes to the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme for 2016.” I should have paid more attention to it.

But the other “communications?” They were buried in newsletters, websites, or handouts.

On December 18, I received an email with the subject line “Player News” on it. It contained a newsletter on a website that contained tons of information about travel, upcoming tournaments, rankings, statistics, bulletin board notices, happy birthday wishes, and yes, anti-doping information. On that email, if a player wanted to find the specific facts about medicine added to the anti-doping list, it was necessary to open the “Player News” email, read through about a dozen unrelated links, find the “Player Zone” link, enter a password, enter a username, read a home screen with more than three dozen different links covering multiple topics, find the “2016 Changes to Tennis Anti-Doping Program and Information” link, click on it and then read a page with approximately three dozen more links covering multiple anti-doping matters. Then you had to click the correct link, open it up, scroll down to page two and that’s where you would find a different name for the medication I was taking.

In other words, in order to be aware of this “warning,” you had to open an email with a subject line having nothing to do with anti-doping, click on a webpage, enter a password, enter a username, hunt, click, hunt, click, hunt, click, scroll and read. I guess some in the media can call that a warning. I think most people would call it too hard to find.

There was also a “wallet card” distributed at various tournaments at the beginning of 2016, after the ban went into effect. This document had thousands of words on it, many of them technical, in small print. Should I have studied it? Yes. But if you saw this document (attached), you would know what I mean. Again, no excuses, but it’s wrong to say I was warned five times.

There was also a headline that said, “4-6 Weeks Normal Treatment for Drug in Maria Sharapova Case.” That headline has been repeated by many reporters who fail to tell their viewers and readers what the rest of the story says. The story quotes the manufacturer of my medicine as saying: “Treatment course can be repeated twice or thrice a year. Only physicians can follow and evaluate patient’s health condition and state whether the patient should use meldonium for a longer period of time.”

That’s exactly what I did. I didn’t take the medicine every day. I took it the way my doctor recommended I take it and I took it in the low doses recommended.

I’m proud of how I have played the game. I have been honest and upfront. I won’t pretend to be injured so I can hide the truth about my testing.

I look forward to the ITF hearing at which time they will receive my detailed medical records. I hope I will be allowed to play again. But no matter what, I want you, my fans, to know the truth and have the facts.

– Maria  [11]

First set to Miss Sharapova.  Speculation has her suspension pegged down from a mandatory maximum of 4 years– to 1 year.  This still seems all-too-unfair to too many, who are correct in their feelings, if not their understanding.  Her UN ambassadorship has been revoked, once again underscoring the political nature of this sordid affair. 

3-24-16 Update:  Dated March 7th, 2016  ITF press statement on their site:

Following the statement made by Maria Sharapova in a press conference today, the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) can confirm the following:

– On 26 January 2016, Ms Sharapova provided an anti-doping sample to the TADP in association with her participation in the 2016 Australian Open.

– That sample was analysed by a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory, which returned a positive for meldonium, which is a prohibited substance under the WADA Code and, therefore also the TADP.

– In accordance with Article 8.1.1 of the TADP, Ms Sharapova was charged on 2 March with an Anti-Doping Rule Violation.

– Ms Sharapova has accepted the finding of meldonium in her sample collected on 26 January.

– As meldonium is a non-specified substance under the WADA (and, therefore, TADP) list of Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods, Ms Sharapova will be provisionally suspended with effect from 12 March, pending determination of the case.  [12]

As of this update, there is still no update or mention of the upcoming Sharapova hearing on the ITF site or in the press.   On 3-12-16, the London Telegraph reported that Maria Sharapova would have an ITF hearing “later this month.”   [13]

Meanwhile, Grindex is the Latvian pharmaceutical company that manufactures meldonium, and they have strongly criticized WADA for adding it to their banned substances list.  Grindex representatives claim they gave WADA strong evidence proving meldonium has legitimate therapeutic uses in athletes, and isn’t performance enhancing; but WADA ignored it. [14]

4-3-16 Update:  The Russian Tennis Federation just announced that Sharapova’s hearing won’t be until “mid-June,” meaning she will miss the French Open (her best surface), and possibly Wimbledon– if she isn’t cleared by June 29.  Until then she is still “provisionally suspended.”  The hearing is expected to only take a few days, which begs the question: why such a long wait for her– when she’s ready now?  [15] 

Also now in question is her Summer Olympics eligibility. The 2016 games are being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  To say all this is political, is a massive over-simplification.  This whole case could have been handled in a week or two, but WADA & the ITF won’t allow it.  Therefore Maria Sharapova is punished, even if proven innocent.

The players on tour dislike her [16], and have shown it by not standing with her in her right to a timely hearing as an international workers-rights grievance.  This speaks more on their shame, than Sharapova’s; as any professional athlete is deserving of a timely & fair hearing in any PED suspension case.

It is obvious (with the political players involved) that backroom deals are being made left-and-right, and Sharapova’s career is the bargaining tool.  It would be helpful to Maria Sharapova’s cause if her fans started speaking up & pointing out all this hypocrisy.  She needs it because she is too big of a rock star, and thus has few real friends among her (jealous) peers. She has even less in the (hateful) media.


Does this look like a threat to the American ‘way of life?’


2016 San Diego Padres Opening Day Projections

Opening Day (OD) lineup projection: LF Jon Jay, 2B Cory Spangenberg, 1B Wil Myers, RF Matt Kemp, 3B Yangervis Solarte, CF BJ Upton, C Derek Norris, SS Alexei Ramirez, P Tyson Ross

tyson ross

Rotation is #1 Tyson Ross, #2 James Shields, #3 Andrew Cashner, with a trio of 25-year olds– LHP Robbie Erlin, and RHP’s Brandon Maurer (acquired by A.J. Preller for 33-year old Seth Smith to OAK) & Padres prospect Colin Rea, competing for the #4 & #5 spots. LHP Drew Pomeranz (acquired w/ Jabari Blash from OAK for Yonder Alonso & Marc Rzepczynski) is age 27, and profiles more as a set-up man, but he’s also in the rotation mix.

If the Padres are going to be any good in 2016, then Tyson Ross has to pitch like an ace. That’s why he’s been named the OD starter.  Recognizing & rewarding the best players is always a great organizational message. If Cashner steps up and becomes a real #2 (which Padres fans hope he can be), then they have a great rotation with Shields at #3. Success is going to be about scoring runs. Notice there are lots of ‘ifs’ including: if it doesn’t happen, they’re probably all getting traded.

Padres may go with 13 pitchers on Opening Day, due to the 3 RHP’s as Rule 5 selections, and other considerations. Preller isn’t handing anyone a job, but he didn’t clear his roster to cut these guys without giving them every chance to prove themselves– and that means being on the OD roster.

RHP Nick Vincent is age 29 and out-of-options, battling three younger Rule 5 guys, who must stay on the Padres 25-man roster all season, or else be offered back to their original team for $25K.  Vincent needs to impress this spring, or he probably won’t make the SD roster.  LOOGY (Left-handed one out guy) Christian Friedrich (COL), just signed on a minor-league contract. He is definitely a project for ace pitching coach Darren Balsley. RHP’s Kevin Quackenbush & Carlos Villaneuva may get optioned to the minors.  RHP Fernando Rodney is the Padres closer for now.

Keeping either IF Adam Rosales or Jemile Weeks means SS Alexi Amarista is traded or cut, as the Padres don’t need two utility infielders.  Amarista ‘hit’ .234 (15-for-64) in 17 games in Venezuela this winter, and likely has no trade value. This foolish early-A.J. Preller contract (on 1/16/15) to the ‘Little Ninja’ is costing the Padres $1.35M in 2016.

WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. Replacement level is roughly defined as AAA-level. Alexi Amarista is really a AAA player who is in the majors because the Padres couldn’t find a big-league SS. An average player at any position is around 2 wins above replacement level. A good player is 3-4 WAR. An all-star is 5-6 WAR. An MVP-level player is 7-8+ WAR. If you fielded an entire team with replacement level players, you would win around 48 games out of 162. To win in MLB, you must stay away from replacement level at all positions.

It is likely that at least 2 or 3 (if not all 4) of A.J. Preller’s Rule 5 picks will be on the opening day roster.  OF Jabari Blash has tons of upside. Younger RHP’s Luis Perdomo, Josh Martin, and Blake Smith (also 2015 Rule 5 picks) get every chance to make the roster– in competition with RHP’s Nick Vincent & Jon Edwards.  For reference, 11 out of 14 2014 Rule 5 picks, stayed with their teams in 2015.  There is more on the Padres Rule 5 Draft history below.


Barring injury or a breakout performance, it’s a Derek Norris/Christian Bethencourt catching tandem– with Austin Hedges sent down until he hits more.  The defensive spectrum runs C-SS-2B-CF-3B-RF-LF-1B-DH. Catchers (like shortstops) need to hit some, but the position is mostly about defense. Pitch-framing, game calling, saving PBs/WPs, controlling a running game, etc. are difficult to precisely quantify, but that’s why baseball now uses advanced metrics. Austin Hedges excels defensively, but hasn’t proven he can hit enough at the MLB level, and neither has Bethancourt. Hedges can still be optioned to the minors, and that’s likely where he’ll go after spring training. A good catching tandem is crucial to winning.

1B/3B Brett Wallace (former #1 pick [13th overall] of STL in 2008) is intriguing, and Preller will give him a long look, as many other teams have already.

For spring training and beyond, it’s up the the coaching staff & players. Observing with an objective eye is critical & difficult skill-set for most fans. With so many young players on this year’s roster, it’s about development. A lot of these guys are still trying to become big-leaguers. How players fail, and how they handle that failure is often the difference.

Brandon Morrow

RHP Brandon Morrow will likely never be healthy again. His shoulder issue is a career ender, with a poor prognosis for returning to full strength. Labrum tears typically never regain their former velocity. Padres Special Instructor Mark Prior is THE classic example, when he was abused (along with Kerry Wood) by Cubs manager Dusty Baker. In 2003, Prior (age 22 in his second MLB season), threw 211 innings, plus 23 more in the post-season.


His last 2003 appearance was in the NLCS against the Marlins, where he pitched into the 8th inning, throwing 119 pitches in a game they lost, due to poor bullpen management & bad defense, but was blamed on a fan trying to catch a foul ball. That (over)workload caused fatigue and mechanical breakdowns, which led to the labrum tear that ended his career. Many long-time baseball scouts will tell you he was the best pitching prospect ever, comparable to HoFers Greg Maddux & Roger Clemens.

Note:  Reds CF Billy Hamilton is still not able to throw, after jamming his shoulder last August. They’re DH-ing him in Cactus league, but he’s talking about “not wasting any throws” in 2016. Hamilton still isn’t really a MLB player (.242/.287/.330 in 3 seasons), but Reds’ management won’t DL him like they should.  That’s how you waste a prospect.

The same applies to pitching: if you’re hurt, you can’t pitch effectively– in relief or starting. Relief pitching isn’t absolutely safer than starting, in terms of injury risk. Injuries occur during fatigue, leading to mechanical breakdowns, which stress and tear ligaments, cartilage, muscle & tendons. This happens just as often in relievers who are used a lot, as it does in regular starters. Relievers throw harder, for shorter outings, with more appearances. Starters pitch longer, more-paced outings, followed by 4 days of rest.

Brandon Maurer is 25, and only threw 51 innings in relief last season. Can he stay healthy as a #4 starter for 120-150 IP?  That’s quite a jump.

Brandon Mauer

Padres fans like the fact that Preller listens to his players.  Brandon Maurer thinks he can start, and A.J. Preller is willing to give him that shot. If it doesn’t happen, Maurer accepts his role as a reliever and respects the organization for giving him an opportunity.


B.J. Upton’s 2016 salary is $15.45M and it’s $16.45M in 2017. He’s at least a 2-win CF, and remember that just one WAR cost around $8.5M in FA this off-season. If BJ is healthy, he will be appreciated, as long a fans don’t expect him to be Eric Davis (Reds). If Preller later decides to flip him, there are contending teams that would value his services. NYY CF Jacoby Ellsbury (2015: .257/.318/.345) at $21M for the next 5 seasons (with a $5M buyout) is a huge overpay in comparison.

Note:  Melvin Upton, Jr. happened when he signed with Atlanta. I learned that B.J. stood for Bossman Jr. when Dwyane Staats mentioned it once during a Devil Rays broadcast to partner Joe Magrane, who couldn’t believe it. B.J. had already been with the team for years. I never heard them mention it again, and I watched a ton of Devil Rays/Rays games, up until David Price was traded. Is it a player-contract issue? Everyone in Tampa thought B.J. was a birth name, not a handle. After I discovered that, he was always one of my favorite players. He can go get them in CF, just ask James Shields.

Padres 2016

One lesson that should be learned this off-season is that the value of free-agent talent, always goes up. Chris Davis 7/$161M, Justin Upton 6/$133M and Yoenis Cespedes 3/$75M (all w/ player opt-outs), make Matt Kemp at 4/$73M look much more attractive for AL teams that need to upgrade at DH.

There’s been some discussion concerning the Rockies trading Carlos Gonzalez. Cargo can still play outfield and he’s a year younger than Kemp, with 2/$37M left on his deal. Like all Rockies hitters, he has extreme home/road splits. Matt Kemp can’t play everyday outfield anymore, but he’s a better hitter if he can be kept healthy.

RF Matt Kemp needs to be given regular days off, where he’s available only to pinch hit; as well as being substituted for a defensive replacement late in games the Padres lead. He should also DH in all AL park games. That should keep him fresh, productive & focused in order to maximize his trade value.

Ian Desmond

Final MLB Off-Season Free Agent Thoughts:

No DH in the NL, fans need real baseball in at least one league. Double switches are interesting, and an important managerial skill. Pitchers coming to bat prevents them from throwing at hitters recklessly, a la AL Roger Clemens. You gotta face that music in the NL.

Ian Desmond 1/8, Dexter Fowler 1/14, and Howie Kendrick 2/20 made bad player/agent choices, which cost them money. Mistakes were roughly equal on both sides, so the system is fair– in capitalist collective-bargaining terms.  Ian Desmond was punished for his arrogance & poor performance, which everyone liked. Many doubt that .233/.290/.384 (Nats) in 2015 at SS, gets it done in LF for TEX in 2016.  Expected LF Josh Hamilton, battling a cranky knee, may not be able to play.

SS Alexei Ramirez

A.J. Preller blew Desmond’s market when he signed SS Alexei Rameriz (1/$4M or team-option 2/$7M). Ramirez also didn’t cost the Padres a draft choice. To most teams, Ian Desmond (at any position) was not worth losing the draft pick, even at league minimum salary.  Can Texas make him a QO after 2016, and expect him to refuse?  Attentive fans, GM’s & agents will be following this closely.

Andrew Friedman & the Dodgers really got burned on LHP Brett Anderson’s qualifying offer (QO). It was announced a few days ago that he has a bulging disk in his back, and will likely miss 2016.


Houston has already gotten singed with LF Colby Rasmus accepting his $15.8M offer. Hypothetical GM question: If LF Rasmus puts up an identical line in 2016 as 2015’s .238/.314/.475, does HOU make him another QO?

Colby Rasmus Photo/Orlin Wagner

The Orioles got a fair deal with C Matt Wieters accepting, and it made sense with what they are doing.

Matt Wieters C

There are many important & misunderstood facets to this updated form of free-agent compensation. There should be no crying about a broken system, as Desmond & Fowler rejected a $15.9M QO’s from their former teams. That is called not understanding the market and playing your hand poorly, and when that happens you take a financial loss. Padres GM A.J. Preller is definitely ahead of the curve on this.

AJ Preller Padres GM

On “5 reasons why Marlins are MLB’s top sleeper team”   Published on 3-2-16

You could probably just as easily come up with a piece titled, “Five reasons why the Marlins will change course and dump their players & manager by July.”

1) Too many holes in the infield & CF, 2) Manager Don Mattingly, 3) Owner Jeffrey Loria, 4) Lagging attendance, 5) History– Agree, or no?


On “Kimbrel in a class with Rivera, Hoffman”   Published on 3-5-16

If you’re trying to win a WS, then you need a ace closer like Craig Kimbrel. This was a great baseball trade for the Red Sox & Padres– two teams with different needs.

LAD 2B Chase Utley’s suspension was overturned by MLB, due to the off-season rule change on sliding, so he’ll be in the OD lineup against the Padres.  It’s a good rule change to protect infielders.

Craig Kimbrel

GM A.J. Preller made an unprecedented four (4!) Rule 5 selections this past December. Fans were taken unaware, as here is the San Diego Padres Rule 5 draft history since 1997:

Yr/Pk# Pos Player By From– Notes

4 RHP Luis Perdomo Colorado Rockies St. Louis Cardinals– Immediately traded to SDP, for a PTBNL or cash considerations
6 OF Jabari Blash Oakland A’s Seattle Mariners– SDP acquire Blash and LHP Drew Pomeranz from OAK for 1B Yonder Alonso & LHP Marc Rzepczynski
7 RHP Josh Martin San Diego Padres Cleveland Indians
15 RHP Blake Smith San Diego Padres Chicago White Sox– Second round selection

Jabari Blash OF

1 LHP Patrick Schuster Houston Astros Arizona Diamondbacks– Sent to the Padres as PTBNL for RHP Anthony Bass, returned to the Diamondbacks- still in AA

14 1B Nate Freiman Houston Astros San Diego Padres– Claimed on waivers by the Oakland Athletics; 2 seasons, 116 G, .256/.309/.408

11 RHP George Kontos San Diego Padres New York Yankees– Returned to NYY, March 14, 2011. 4 seasons w/ SFG as a setup man: 2.99 ERA, 210 IP, 1.116 WHIP

Everth Cabrera SS

3 SS Everth Cabrera San Diego Padres Colorado Rockies– 7 seasons (6 w/ Padres), 510 G: .246/.315/.328
20 RHP Iván Nova San Diego Padres New York Yankees– Returned to Yankees on March 29, 2009; 6 seasons as SP w/ NYY: 46-33, 4.33 ERA, 631 IP


*12 RHP R. A. Dickey Seattle Mariners Minnesota Twins– Rights traded to Seattle in exchange for Jair Fernandez on March 29, 2008
14 RHP Michael Gardner San Diego Padres New York Yankees– Returned to New York on March 18, 2008, never made it past AA
17 INF Callix Crabbe San Diego Padres Milwaukee Brewers– MLB career (all w/ Padres): 39 PA, .176/.282/.206; returned to MIL on May 16, 2008


2 RHP Joakim Soria Kansas City Royals San Diego Padres– 8 seasons mostly w/ KCR: 2.57 ERA, 451 IP, 202 SV
*3 OF Josh Hamilton Chicago Cubs Tampa Bay Devil Rays– Traded by the Cubs to the Reds for cash, who traded him to TEX for RHP Edison Volquez
13 RHP Kevin Cameron San Diego Padres Minnesota Twins– 3 seasons mostly w/ Padres in relief: 86 IP, 3.02 ERA, WHIP 1.483

6 RHP Seth Etherton San Diego Padres Kansas City Royals– Failed starter; 4-season career: 9-7, 6.30 ERA, 115 IP
*8 2B Dan Uggla Florida Marlins Arizona Diamondbacks– 10 seasons at 2B (best years in FLA): .241/.336/.447

*7 OF Shane Victorino Philadelphia Phillies Los Angeles Dodgers– 12 seasons (best in PHI): .275/.340/.425, 3 Gold Gloves in CF

2 OF Rich Thompson San Diego Padres Pittsburgh Pirates– Later traded by the Padres to the Kansas City Royals for number 10 pick, Jason Szuminski
10 RHP Jason Szuminski Kansas City Royals Chicago Cubs– Later traded by the Royals to the San Diego Padres for number 2 pick, Rich Thompson
*6 OF José Bautista Baltimore Orioles Pittsburgh Pirates– Then to BAL, TBD, KCR, NYM, finally TOR; 12 seasons in RF: .257/.368/.497


3 RHP Buddy Hernandez San Diego Padres Atlanta Braves– Returned to ATL, manager Bobby Cox liked him, but he never got past AAA
19 OF Shane Victorino San Diego Padres Los Angeles Dodgers Padres GM Kevin Towers returned him to the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 28, 2003

9 RHP Ryan Baerlocher San Diego Padres Kansas City Royals– Returned to KCR by opening day, career minor-leaguer

7 SS Donaldo Méndez San Diego Padres Houston Astros– 2 seasons w/ Padres: 221 PA, .183/.245/.277

*2 LHP Johan Santana Florida Marlins Houston Astros– Later traded by the Marlins to the Minnesota Twins for Jared Camp
8 OF Kory DeHaan San Diego Padres Pittsburgh Pirates– 2 seasons w/ Padres: 121 PA, .193/.225/.307
14 LHP Dave Maurer San Francisco Giants San Diego Padres– 4 seasons in relief; 22 IP, 8.87 ERA, WHIP 2.250

*4 OF Ricky Williams Montreal Expos Philadelphia Phillies– Mike Ditka’s famous April 1999 draft as Saints GM, Williams opted for the NFL [1]

7 LHP Sean Runyan Detroit Tigers San Diego Padres– 3 seasons w/ DET in relief: 64 IP, 3.66 ERA, WHIP 1.422

* denotes significant non-Padre selections

Below are the most notable June amateur draft selections that San Diego was unable to sign, under Padres owner Tom Werner:

Tom Werner

Todd Helton 1B, 17 seasons w/ COL: .316/.414/.539
June 1, 1992: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 2nd round of the 1992 amateur draft, but did not sign. Went to Tennessee U.
June 1, 1995: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 1st round (8th pick) of the 1995 amateur draft. Player signed July 1, 1995.

Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Troy Glaus 3B, 13 seasons (best w/ ANA): .254/.358/.489
June 2, 1994: Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 2nd round of the 1994 amateur draft, but did not sign.
June 3, 1997: Drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 1st round (3rd pick) of the 1997 amateur draft. Player signed September 29, 1997.

Troy Glaus 3B

This is the culture GM A.J. Preller & new manager Andy Green are trying to change in San Diego. [2]  Here is the list of franchise owners:

Ray & Joan Kroc1

C. Arnholdt Smith
Ray Kroc
Joan Kroc
Tom Werner
John Moores [3]
Ron Fowler

Ron Fowler

Here is an awful list titled “Who are the Padres 5 best GMs of all time?”  [4]  Preller has already topped every ex-GM, except Randy Smith & Jed Hoyer– who left the Padres in 2011 to build the Cubs. Interestingly, Hoyer is not listed in their 5 best GMs.

Padres GM’s

Buzzie Bavasi 1969-1972
Eddie Leishman 1969–1972 [5]
Peter Bavasi 1972–1976
Bob Fontaine 1977–1980
Jack McKeon 1980–1990

Jack McKeon
Joe McIlvaine 1991–1993
Randy Smith 1993–1995  Under-appreciated [6]

Kevin Towers
Kevin Towers 1996–2009
Jed Hoyer 2009–2011

Jed Hoyer

Josh Byrnes 2012–2014  [7]

Josh Byrnes
A. J. Preller 2014–


The Padres are in good position with a $100M Opening-Day payroll in 2016, and room for more spending as needed, per Padres CEO Mike Dee & owner Ron Fowler.

With Ian Desmond (final qualifying-offer free-agent) signing with Texas, the draft order is set.  The Padres have the #8, #24, #25, #48, #71 & #85 picks in the June amateur draft. Furthermore, the 7/2 International Draft promises to be a scramble for low-cost young talent, with the Padres all-in.

Team’s International Signing Pools for 2016-17:

Phillies $5,610,800
Reds $5,163,400
Braves $4,766,000
Rockies $4,412,700
Brewers $4,098,500
Athletics $3,818,700
Marlins $3,569,600
Padres $3,347,600
Tigers $3,150,000
White Sox $2,973,500
Mariners $2,875,400
Red Sox $2,783,800
Diamondbacks $2,697,400
Rays $2,615,900
Orioles $2,539,600
Indians $2,467,400
Twins $2,399,100
Nationals $2,335,000
Giants $2,274,400
Angels $2,217,300
Astros $2,197,000
Yankees $2,177,100
Rangers $2,157,400
Mets $2,138,200
Dodgers $2,118,900
Blue Jays $2,100,200
Royals $2,081,200
Cubs $2,063,100
Pirates $2,044,800
Cardinals $2,027,300

There are 10 teams so far that are officially in the ‘penalty box’ for the 2016-17 signing period and will be unable to sign a player subject to the pools for more than $300,000. Those teams—the Angels, Blue Jays, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Rays, Red Sox, Royals and Yankees. They can still spend their entire pool allotment, they just can’t give more than $300,000 to any one player.

At least four teams—the Braves, Cardinals, Nationals and Padres— are planning to exceed their 2016-17 bonus pools, and others might also join them. Teams may exceed their bonus pool by as much as 50% of their original allotment. Going over allotment puts a team in the ‘penalty box’ for the next International signing period. [8]

Lazarito Armenteros

The San Diego Padres are a team with an uncertain 2016, which no one is picking after their 2015. They’re probably the team with the widest range of possibilities, and will be interesting for fans & other GM’s to keep an eye on. Play ball!!


Let’s Build a Wall

Asaad Al-Zoubi & George Sabra (pictured below) head the ‘Syrian opposition delegation,’ which represents the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in recent ‘peace talks‘ at the United Nations in Geneva.

February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The FSA is a CIA-organized coalition of spies, terrorists, defectors, al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra Front, and ISIS jihadist militants. Here is their Wikipedia page– [1]


The FSA has ravished Syria since 2011.

This is a large part of the current refugee crisis in Europe.

Syrian Refugee Camp_Turkey

The White House & Pentagon have been conducting airstrikes in FSA support for several years, despite the fact that al-Qaeda has been the official U.S. enemy (in its phony ‘war on terror‘) since 9/11.


The governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar & Turkey have lent financial & military support to the US-led war in Syria.

Obama meets with King Salman in Riyadh (Reuters)

In September 2015, the Russian government began airstrikes against the FSA, in defense of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, their political ally.

Bashar al-Assad_Syria

In U.S. ruling circles, nobody believes that Bashar al-Assad is any kind of threat to national security, but he is an ally of Russia and that’s enough for the warheads in Washington & Langley.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany and European Union whip, insists that all of Europe’s external borders must be ‘secured.’

‘Fortress Europe’ will cut off Syrian refugees in Turkey, Greece and the Aegean Sea.


€3 billion has been made available for the building of mass internment camps for refugees on the Turkey/Syria border.

Syrian Refugees Turkey

This is the foreign policy reality that is being ignored during ‘Election 2016.’

Bernie & Hillary 2016

This political madness which sets mankind  course for nuclear war, is Democratic White House policy.  A Republican oval office will only insist on further escalation with Russia & China.


Working people need their own candidates– as this garbage just won’t do.

Muppet Talking Head