Born to be bland or simply being bland ? ………

Born to be bland or simply being bland?

If there has been one thing I have learned in the past few weeks, it has been the sheer apathy, stupidity, gullibility and complete lack of understanding of the American public and sports’ fan in general. Case in point, remains the real outrage in the death of Missourian teenager Michael Brown . While the teen’s death was tragic and the outrage by residents valid, their behavior was less than beneficial for their community at large. In the case of the Ferguson Police Department and their lack of professionalism, could be seen in the fact, the changing stories concerning the suspect’s death as it emanated from the agency after Brown’s at the hands of a six—year veteran of the force.

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Now with the federal government interjecting themselves in the midst of this tragedy , it begs the question, if they and others are so angered by this, then why no outrage in the other two hundred and fifty-four deaths to have taken place over the past eighteen months nationwide at the hands of a member of law enforcement ? In many of these cases , the alleged suspects were unarmed , but somehow this is all overlooked by those seeking to point out law enforcement is often being placed in an impossible situation.

From my own perspective this also comes down to the experience of the police officer and his training . Placing these officers in a training incident is completely different from what actually takes place in life. Speaking as a ten-year veteran of the British Royal Marines, where I faced armed and unarmed suspects while on active duty, it all came down to specific training and the having the help of my fellow comrades around me at the time. While I valued them being at my side, I have no doubt Officer Darren Wilson regrets the death of Michael Brown but what may well now begin to incense those within the city of Ferguson is the $250,000 raised in support of the officer . One has to wonder, where and what will be the intent in the use of these funds? ? While this whole debacle plays out, consider , in the city of Ferguson where its demographic makeup of fifty-six percent African-American , the number of officers on the city’s Police Force with a minority background is less than two percent . of its real makeup. Race has played a part in this whole melee and those who view to the contrary are clearly without a clue . Incidents such as this are on in the increase not on the decline , if only one would care to see these incidents as and when they arise.

As baseball is on the cusp of entering the final two months of its regular season schedule , a number of teams are seeking to enter the divisional and wildcard races wanting to gain a berth in the postseason. In 2013 , we saw from the play of the Boston Red Sox and what a team is capable of doing when actually playing as a team. John Farrell, the Red Sox’s manager was able to catch their opponents off-guard as the postseason got underway in 2013, with the team then going on to win their third World Series title in the past eight years .

It has surprised me to see how far the fall from grace within the AL East the reigning World Series’ champion and their season has spiraled completely out of control. GM Ben Cherington now seeking to gut the team’s roster with the departure of several mainstays from last season’s championship winning team. You simply have to ask, how could things have gotten this dire without their being any sense such a dilemma could have been placed within our midst. Of the departing players, perhaps the biggest surprise was the decision to send Jon Lester to the Oakland Athletics , whose ambitions will have been strengthened with the addition of the pitcher.

Boston’s woes have been twofold this season but in reality , what has plagued the team has been the lack of leadership from anyone on the roster this season. Even a seasoned veteran such as David Ortiz has been rarely noticeable , with Ortiz having something of mundane season in comparison to his exploits in 2013 and during the postseason, where he would end up being the World Series’ MVP after his offensive onslaught against the St Louis Cardinals during the series. , At 56-74 , firmly rooted at the bottom of the AL East the Boston Red Sox are losers of nine of their last ten games, stemming back to their last victory over the Houston Astros, their equally inept AL counterpart , whose own season, is one mired in mediocrity .

The Boston Red Sox’s loss to the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts , on Sunday afternoon was simply one more indicator of what has been wrong with the team all season long. I fear they will get no respite when they take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday , when the two teams meet at the Rogers Center , Toronto , Ontario. On the mound for Boston will be Clay Buchholz when he faces off against J A Happ of the Blue Jays. In all likelihood , John Farrell and the coaching staff will use the remainder of the season to assess the team and their younger players hoping to make an ongoing contribution to the organization with a view of being given a full-time position on the starting roster in 2015.

Baseball has always been proud to boast its history and the very fact it was the very first professional team sport in North America to be integrated. The historic day on which Jackie Robinson took to the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers may well have changed history , in the aftermath of Branch Rickey’s social experiment . Yet here lies the hypocrisy and even less significance of the event , the game and its owners at the time, . still had no wish to have an African-American umpire officiate a Major League Baseball game . Acceptance of Robinson or not , baseball still remained in the dark ages even with Robinson’s feats during his rookie season with the Dodgers.

It would be an almost two decade long wait , before fans would actually witness an African-American official umpire officiate a Major League Baseball game , when Emmett Ashford would be afforded the honor and privilege of the historic milestone. On the 9th April 1966 Emmett Ashford made his official debut as an MLB umpire where he would remain an active official for five years before being asked by then Commissioner Bowie Kuhn to take an advisory role and take to official speaking engagements as a way of luring more African-American officials to the game. In the decades leading up to Ashford’s being made an umpire , the thought process was that Ashford and many of his peers were simply not equipped to officiate a baseball game. Common place thinking within the league hierarchy and with many of Kuhn’s predecessors and the Caucasian players at the time, felt African-American umpires lacked the intellect to officiate a game much less go through and meeting the qualifications needed. . Speaks volumes as to the ongoing hypocrisy within baseball and how historians have chosen to simply record the game’s history , simply leaving out the more distasteful events within baseball’s history at the time .

The NBA at this moment in time might have two of the biggest prima donna athletes within its realms, with Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers . Both players are coming off disappointing seasons , with Bryant being of little help to the Lakers and their season , which floundered and was submerged in the depths of mediocrity . For James his departure from the Miami Heat could not have been quick enough , after his and the team’s disappointment of being totally embarrassed by the San Antonio Spurs in a rather lopsided NBA Finals . The fact of the matter remains , the Miami Heat of this past season was simply a pale shadow of the team which successfully defended its 2013 NBA title . Exposed like the Emperor without new clothes , some of the more asinine prognosis from fans alike , were as if, those offering up their summations simply had their lips firmly pressed against the ass of LeBron James, without looking at the players he was surrounded by this past season and their lack of real productivity during the regular and postseason .

LeBron James having returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers will have a new supporting cast and coaching staff at his disposal. Make no bones about it , David Blatt may well be the rookie head coach , but in reality , he will merely be a conduit for James’ ongoing ambitions and little else beyond that. This is a major gamble on the part of the team owner Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers’ organization , as anything less than a playoff berth with the NBA title thrown in for good measure will be seen as a failure by analysts and fans alike. Having been made the prohibitive favorites by the odds-makers in Las Vegas as well as by the NBA pundits , there will be even more pressure being placed upon the shoulders of LeBron James this season than ever before. No doubt there will be some Miami Heat fans who would like to see him fail this season , whereas, others will be thankful for the success he brought to the franchise during his four-year stay . Yet, for all the success and publicity which came with James’ tenure, it now places the Miami based franchise right back at square one, with a team that is likely to be on the decline. Dwyane Wade is no longer able to play at a very high level , given his age and declining skill-set, but somehow he will be asked to lead what in essence will be a very average roster in spite of the coaching acumen of Erik Spoelstra .

Kobe Bryant is now in the waning years of what has been a magnificent Lakers’ career, albeit that he may well never be thought of as the greatest player in the franchise’s greatest players . He certainly has to be viewed as being among the top-ten players in Lakers’ history but where he might belong on that particular ladder will be a matter of debate for years to come. . Now while I believe an athlete should be paid what he or she believes they are worth, there comes a time where common sense has to prevail when it comes team payrolls and the outlandish salaries one now tends to find within the NBA and baseball in particular. Nowhere else can find athletes on this scale being rewarded for doing so little. Doubt my word, then simply look at the make-up of the payroll scales within baseball (MLB) and basketball at present. Bryant in a recent interview , stated he believed many of the marquee players within the NBA are undervalued in terms of their salaries. Last I looked, neither Joe Johnson or Amare’ Stoudemire could be considered elite players within the NBA , but the two remain among the highest paid players in the league and on the rosters of their respective teams, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks .

Bryant in a recent interview granted with members of the press, in a statement at the time which was overlooked remains under the impression players are greatly undervalued by the NBA and specifically their organizations . Forgive me for saying this but Bryant’s two-year $48.5 million deal signed with the Los Angeles Lakers might well feel a pittance to the player, but what he has failed to notice in a time of economic blight the majority of NBA fans would find his whining an absolute insult and very narcissistic. His annual salary currently tops all NBA players in the league and is five hundred times the median income of an employee in the US workforce. Take into account Bryant earns considerably more from his off the field activities by way of commercial endorsements and his annual income tops $45 million a year . Somehow, I hardly feel that members of the Bryant household are starving , without actually acknowledging the player’s estimated $250 million fortune . It is at times like this , one has to wonder if Bryant actually shows any common sense when making such a statement , without the reporter granting the interview coming up with the claim Kobe Bryant’s statement is representative of many of his peers .

Bryant is no longer the best player in the NBA , nor does he actually hold a great deal of sway among his peers . Granted , he has now become one of the league’s elder statesmen , but do you believe Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs would have the temerity to have made such a statement to a member of the convened press? I think not ! This is all about Kobe Bryant wanting to heard , because over the past season he was rarely seen on-court due to his injury laden season and even if he were on the court , I seriously doubt his presence would have improved the outcome of the Lakers’ season given the team’s poor play all-round over the course of their schedule.

Byron Scott succeeds Mike D’Antoni as the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach and while Scott has the blessing of former players Magic Johnson , James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar , their sentiments will mean very little as the Lakers embark upon this season . A revamped roster , totally different from last season’s lineup will be what Scott and his coaching staff will have to work with . A divisional title is definitely out of the question this season, given the strength and depth of talent on the Los Angeles Clippers , but there might well be a remote possibility of the Lakers contending for a playoff berth in the Western Conference if they can play with a great deal of consistency over the course of this upcoming season.

Twenty-four seven remains the NFL news’ cycle and the primary reason it has surpassed MLB, NBA and NHL as the most popular professional team sport in the country. The league feeds its fans even with the remotest of tidbits, merely to keep them insatiable and interested in the game even when things are at their most dire in the NFL. Granted , a number of the league’s ills have more to do with the incompetency of the hierarchy under Roger Goodell’s uninspired leadership . The boorish behavior of the players both on and off off the field of play without delving into the criminal antics of a number of the franchise owners around the NFL. I will continue to question the play within the NFL and their reasoning behind a preseason which means absolutely nothing and where the league feels it necessary to still charge full price for an exhibition season , where very little matters in the order of things. Hyperbole surrounds several of the rookies drafted this off-season and in particular the Cleveland Browns’ rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel is still proving he has yet to mature as an individual , while his play on the field has been far from scintillating. Nevertheless , the idiotic calls are already upon us for Manziel to be the team’s opening day quarterback in week one of the regular season .

Cleveland will have one of the easiest schedules in the entire NFL this season with their only having to face two playoff teams from last season , in the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints . As to those who believe Johnny Manziel is now ready for his professional debut and curtain call in a regularly scheduled NFL game. I would hasten to add, given the woes of the Browns in 2012 and 2013 with Brandon Weeden at the helm as the Browns’ quarterback , it would be in the fans’ best interest to have the rookie sit on the bench for the moment. Those within the media still yearning to see Manziel center-stage will be the first to rip him apart should he prove to be a monumental bust.. Very little has been made about the player’s lack of maturity and leadership skills since his entry into the NFL, but here we are , and boneheaded assholes are now calling for Johnny Manziel to be made a starting quarterback in the NFL .

Manziel will likely get his chance at some point during the season but it will be ultimately be predicated upon the play of Brian Hoyer and the thought process of Mike Pettine and the Browns’ coaching staff .

As if their drafting of Michael Sam was not about to bring a great deal of attention to the St Louis Rams , the knowledge their starting quarterback Sam Bradford will be lost to the team for the regular season, having torn his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) will be a big blow to the ambitions of Jeff Fisher and the organization. Bradford’s career in the NFL has seen its fair share of ups downs . More downs than ups and the likelihood of his NFL career now abruptly coming to an end without his achieving a great deal during his tenure.

With teams now having to make roster cuts bringing their rosters down to seventy-five players, before final cuts at the culmination of the preseason , where the final fifty-three man rosters will be set . It seems imperative Jeff Fisher will be looking to obtain a seasoned veteran quarterback or perhaps make a trade for a backup player at the position . The alternatives for Fisher in terms of the Rams’ current depth chart , provides very slim pickings , if it is your wish to have your choices being made from the following list of candidates , Shaun Hill , Garrett Gilbert and Austin Davis . Somehow , I do not believe they are likely to make an opposing defense quiver in fear as to explosiveness of the Rams’ offense be it on the ground or through the air . Fisher believes Shaun Hill has the experience to lead the team throughout the season , but I believe the player’s lack of in-depth experience and play in general makes it all but a certainty, the Rams will seek a trade for a quarterback with proven ability .

With rumors now percolating Jeff Fisher may well approach the Philadelphia Eagles as to the availability of Mark Sanchez , there seems to be no rival of questions and assumptions that can be made concerning the Rams’ present situation . It would be unlikely Chip Kelly or anyone from within the front office of the Eagles would seek to trade Sanchez , with his being the only experienced backup on the team’s roster to replace Nick Foles should the incumbent starting quarterback go down to a prolonged injury. St Louis will open its regular season schedule against the Minnesota Vikings at the Edward Jones Dome Stadium in St Louis , Missouri on the 7th September , 2014. This should prove to be an interesting contest between two teams seeking reset their goals in 2014.

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this article and do you believe baseball , basketball and the NFL are in the places they need to be , in light of the ongoing issues nationwide ?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Michael Brown Sr and Leslie McSpadden listen to a speech as they await the funeral of their slain son , Michael Brown , shot by a Ferguson City Police officer . Brown and McSpadden have asked that the protests be kept at a minimum also asking for quell to the violence that has taken place in the small suburb. AP Photo /Charlie Riedel …

(2) Officer Michael Brown of the Ferguson City Police Force , a six-year veteran , took the life of teenager Michael Brown, an alleged suspect in a theft from a convenience store in the city of Ferguson. Missouri . Brown’s death and the anguish caused has led to rioting and violence with the state governor , Jay Nixon and local civic leaders calling for peaceful demonstrations , rather than the lootiy=2014> d acts of theft being witnessed in the aftermath. AP Photo/ Michal Bennett …

(3) Michael Brown , was college bound, but somehow his death, has led to the nation once again being embroiled in the issue of race relations , crime and the lack of training among many of the nation’s police agencies . AP/REUTERS/ Thomas Charles ….

(4) Brock Holt tags out Seattle Mariners’ Kendrys Morales, left, at third base after Kyle Seager reached on an infield single in the first inning of a baseball game in Boston, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014. Boston Red Sox’s 8-6 loss led to the Mariners sweeping the series 3-0 , further adding to Boston’s embarrassingly inept season . AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

(5) David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox has been unable to lead the team with the same amount of dexterity shown in 2013 , leading many to believe if the player is still capable playing at a truly competitive level when facing real adversity on a team which is said to be floundering. AP Photo/ Paul Matthews …

(6) Emmett Ashford , first African-American umpire signed by the major leagues, confers with California Angels’ Manager Bill Rigney at Palm Springs, Calif., on March 13, 1966 as the Angels played the Chicago Cubs. Ashford was making his first appearance as a plate umpire between major league teams. He was signed from the Pacific Coast League at the close of last season. AP Photo/George Brich …..

(7) Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers in what is likely to be his last professional season in the NBA continues to make waves . Unfortunately, as one of the league’s elder statesmen , the player believes he can speak for many of his peers . AP Photo / Chris McIntyre …

(8) Sam Bradford is escorted from the field during a preseason game played against the Cleveland Browns . The quarterback is likely to be lost to the Rams for the remainder of the preseason and the entire regular season schedule . A severe blow to player whose career in the NFL seems to have been injury riddled in recent years . USA Today / Rick Osentoski ….

(9) St Louis Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford sits on the sidelines of a regular season game played against the Dallas Cowboys . The player’s career now seems to be threatened after suffering another tear of his anterior cruciate ligament , the second such injury suffered by Bradford to very same knee injured in 2013 . AP Photo/ Mark Miller …

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There comes a time when someone has to step up to the plate ….

There comes a time when someone has to step up to the plate

The NFL regular season has yet to get underway , but yet the speculation has begun about which teams and in particular their rookie quarterbacks will indeed be placed into the lion’s den during week one of the upcoming regular season. Far be it for me to suggest, but with instantaneous success being the insatiable wish of the fans as well as the organizations, a great deal of pressure is now being placed an incoming player to succeed right off the bat. Easier said than done, yet this situation is not only common place within the NFL , but also in the NBA . There the immediacy of success now is more ravenous than within MLB and the NHL.

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We are already witnessing a great deal of speculation on whether or not the play of Johnny Manziel this season has been good enough to beat out Brian Hoyer for the starting role for the Cleveland Browns’ as the team’s quarterback for this upcoming season. Head coach Mike Pettine has made it abundantly clear the role is up for grabs , but wishes to see competitiveness between the two players for the position. Given the woes of Brandon Weeden during his miserable tenure , it is easy to understand why there are likely to be some misgivings about who the starter should be.

The Browns now, are 0-1 in the preseason and face the Washington Redskins on Monday night, in what will be the last of the week two preseason games for the 2014 2014 preseason schedule. Both Hoyer and Manziel are likely to see some playing time during the game along with the starters , backups and players vying for a roster spot on the team. Cleveland’s draft class beyond Johnny Manziel was not overly impressive, but Pettine along with his coaching staff will be looking for a greatest amount of effort from his players.

Cleveland will begin its regular season schedule against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania ,. The AFC North divisional contest will provide one of several highlights at the opening of this regular season. . While Browns’ fans may well be long to see the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner , I believe Manziel will have to curb his yearning for the spotlight and simply get on with earning the respect of his teammates and those around the NFL in general , in spite of his well-chronicled talent.

Johnny Manziel might not have been the top quarterback taken in this most recent NFL Draft when many of the protagonists and NFL analysts categorically stated he was a consensus top-three or top-five pick of the current crop of players drafted . The fact he fell so far down in the pecking order might have well have had something to do with the player’s lack of maturity , image and the hype surrounding Manziel was not at all justified . At some point during the season, we are likely to see how he is likely to fare, should Brian Hoyer fail to ignite this Browns’ team.

Blake Bortles is being viewed as the player Gus Bradley needed all along to make the Jacksonville Jaguars’ pass offense more credible than it has been under Blaine Gabbert since his career began in the NFL with the AFC South based franchise. Years of ineptitude with Gabbert, cannot hide the fact what a complete waste his drafting by the Jaguars was said to be. The alternatives at the quarterback position last season were very poor indeed and was perhaps one of the main reasons why the team fared so badly in 2013. Gus Bradley can only hope that Bortles can improve on those menial figures during the regular season and bring about a resurrection in the team’s fortunes. Though the preseason is not meant to be a big deal for teams, the Jaguars have gotten off to an inauspicious start around a revamped roster, led by Blake Bortles , his rookie teammates and a new influx of free agents to the roster .

A preseason record of 1-1 has the Jacksonville Jaguars sitting comfortably within the league standings in the NFL. A narrow margin of defeat to the Chicago Bears , may not have proved to be conclusive . Though it seems to be enough of an indication as to where the teams stand, while pointing out also, both of these franchises do indeed have a long way to go, before either are seen as a credible threat within their respective divisions and conferences. If the Jaguars are to have any chance of success this season within the AFC South and bringing about the halt in the dominance of the Indianapolis Colts within the division , then Blake Bortles and his teammates will have to prove they are more than worthy challengers to Andrew Luck and the Colts. Luck since his ascent to the professional ranks. has shown why he is one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL , having posted an impressive playoff record so early in his NFL career.

As a number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft , Andrew Luck as the heir-apparent to Peyton Manning, has himself become the face of the Colts’ franchise and in some respects made the departure of Manning less painful for the fans. He has brought a great deal of leadership and maturity to the role as the team’s quarterback and is likely to have a distinguished career with the organization, barring any long-term injuries . With the Browns due to host the Indianapolis Colts in week fourteen of the regular season, in a game to be played at the newly renamed First Energy Stadium (formerly Paul Brown Stadium) , in Cleveland , Ohio, this contest should prove to be of great interest to the fans if the opposing quarterbacks are Andrew Luck and Johnny Manziel.

As optimistic as fans of the Houston Texans are likely to be with their drafting of Jadeveon Clowney where the player, seen as a lynch pin of the team’s defense alongside JJ Watt . A 2-14 season gave the Texans the worst record in the NFL in 2013 and it is highly unlikely we will see a major improvement in the Texans’ record and their standing within the AFC South this season . The Indianapolis Colts remains the team to beat within the division and will be considered the prohibitive favorites for the divisional crown in 2014. Head coach Bill O’Brien in succeeding Gary Kubiak , is being asked to re-energize a franchise who last season were far from being competitive, where their defense was among the worst in the NFL. Take into account the woes of Matt Schaub , whose departure from the Texans was expected, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can somehow turn around the continued misfortunes of an Oakland Raiders’ organization still searching for answers in just about every aspect of their game.

I believe both the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders are likely to struggle this upcoming season in spite of the expectations of their fans and the respective organizations. It will be asking a great deal of both Bill O’Brien and Dennis Allen to seemingly turn around teams, who last season were an anathema to NFL and within the AFC. The Oakland Raiders will begin their schedule against conference opponents the New York Jets, where Geno Smith will lead the team in what will be an interesting contest. On the sidelines for the Jets, will be backup quarterback and seasoned veteran Michael Vick, whose career is now on the downside of what can be best described as something of a major disappointment. Houston’s regular season opener, will a contest against the Washington Redskins at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas,.

With each passing season, the folly of the Dallas Cowboys continues with team owner Jerry Jones and his front office continually having high hopes for a franchise which over the past decade has failed to deliver. Tony Romo whose tenure as the team’s quarterback has been well-chronicled and criticized for the lack of success. A great deal of the blame cannot only placed upon the shoulders of Romo , but also the incessant stupidity shown by Jones in many of the Cowboys’ recent draft picks , free agency acquisitions , but overall, his willingness to overpay for small talent in the belief the compensation is justifiably due. The Dallas Cowboys may well be the most valuable and profitable NFL franchise, but what has been abundantly clear , is the lack of success and their not having been a playoff appearance for the franchise since 2009. An NFC championship appearance last came in 1995 , when they won the last of their five Superbowls . Since then, the meager showings for the Cowboys has shown the depths of mediocrity for this franchise , still viewed in some circles as “ America’s Team” .

The NFC East and the preseason standings there, will not be riveting as often the case, with the division being over-hyped by way of the alleged frenetic competitiveness. In reality, the four inhabitants have proven to be a complete monstrosity in terms of the results witnessed last season and the records of the four teams within the division. No longer can the NFC East be considered the best or most competitive division in the NFL, an accolade I now believe rightfully belongs within the NFC West , where all four teams must have to be considered among the very best the league has to offer , especially after 2012 and 2013 in terms of the standings for the seasons mentioned.

Two games into their four-game preseason schedule and I believe the Dallas Cowboys’ record of 2-2 is likely to be a true reflection of this Jason Garrett coached team ! There now seems to be more bodies among Garrett’s coaching staff , with their being little coaching acumen than there appears to playing talent on the Cowboys’ current roster. Needless to say , Jerry Jones and the staff have once again hyped up a draft class and their free agency acquisitions with all of the bravura , one would come to expect of an under-achieving NFL franchise over the past five seasons.

The two consecutive preseason losses in week’s one and two to the San Diego Chargers in lopsided defeat , 27-7, which was followed by a loss at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 37-30. Both scores do not bode well for the Dallas Cowboys, even if we are told the preseason is not something we ought to place a great deal of veracity in. Dallas’ two remaining preseason games will see them as the guests of the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium , in Miami in week three , to be then followed up by their final contest against the Denver Broncos at the newly renamed AT& T Stadium in Arlington , Texas. I am not about to suggest the Cowboys’ final record will be 0-4 or 1-3, but if that were to be the case , I would not at all be surprised! Jason Garrett remains somewhat a clueless head coach and his indecisiveness, along with Tony Romo’s lack of leadership ability will continue to be one of the prevailing factors behind the Cowboys’ continued mediocrity. Dallas and the San Francisco 49ers will kick off their regular season schedule in an all NFC contest , is likely to be one of the more entertaining games opening up the regular season.

Eli Manning has two Superbowl winning appearances to his name , while being the younger sibling to his Hall of Fame bound elder brother , Peyton Manning. Granted, Eli’s two wins to Peyton’s sole victory and inexplicably last season’s lopsided defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks , has many wondering if the pair of brothers are now on something of a downward slide in terms of their respective careers. I believe Peyton Manning’s legacy is secure and he is likely to be viewed as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Eli, if he is to attain the status of being thought of as one the best players of his generation and most certainly one of the best in the game since his being drafted in 2004 . In what will be his eleventh year in the NFL this season , the New York Giants’ quarterback will have a great deal to prove to the Giants’ fans as well the fans in general of the NFL. Last season might well have been one of the worst on record for the player , not just in terms of his game but also for his team and their divisional record under head coach Tom Coughlin .

Questions are now surrounding Eli Manning’s ability as a leader of the New York Giants and the continued validation he believes his status decrees. From my own perspective, the Giants’ issues last season stem from the fact the front office made numerous mistakes in terms of their draft and their trades meant to bolster the roster. The 2014 draft class of Odell Beckham, Weston Richburg, Jay Bromley, Andre Williams, Nat Behre , Devon Kennard and Bennett Jackson will be asked to contribute immediately this upcoming season with Beckham likely showcasing his wide receiving skills to complement one of the areas where there was said to be a lack of productivity for the Giants last season.

While the New York Giants are unbeaten in the preseason, posting a 3-0 record at this point , their final contest of the schedule will be a game against the New England Patriots, where both teams are likely to be fielding their starters for the last game of their preseason schedule. I have no doubt Tom Coughlin would like to see the team’s unbeaten run remain intact , seeking to gain some semblance of consistency as they enter the regular season. For the New York Giants that particular test will come in the first Monday Night Football game of the regular season when they match wits with the Detroit Lions at Ford Field , in Detroit, Michigan,.

It would be fair to suggest the Minnesota Vikings have not had a quarterback of note in several years. Yes, there was the nondescript tenure of Brett Favre and the belief his presence would lead to the Vikings being able to land their very first Superbowl title. As we all witnessed, the player’s incessant belief he was a one-man band able to bring about the impossible brought about Minnesota’s demise in the 2009 postseason , where they would fall to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC championship game , in what many believed was one of Brett Favre’s worst playoff performances of his celebrated career. Errant plays by Favre were among the litany of mistakes made by team on the day, as Drew Brees and his teammates would prevail in the contest.

The era of Christian Ponder as a quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings came and went without anyone actually noticing a thing while he was on the field for the franchise. Injuries may well have plagued his tenure, but it would be correct to state Ponder never fully acquitted himself and he never fully gained the confidence of his teammates during the time-span in question. With the Vikings, having drafted Teddy Bridgewater, it is clear the front office see the rookie as their immediate and long-term future. Now comes the hard part for Bridgewater and it is to prove the faith being shown in him by the organization is more than justified. The belief is likely to be, the rookie will be lined up as third on the depth chart behind Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder , but in reality , Cassel is not that much of an upgrade over Ponder , and his own play for the Vikings has been questionable , when asked to lead the team with any semblance of consistency.

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the eight remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL, before the league enters week three of preseason schedule. Mike Zimmer will take his team into Arrowhead Stadium where they will play the Kansas City Chiefs , in Kansas City , Missouri,. ,. All three Vikings’ quarterbacks are likely to see some playing time over the remainder the team’s two remaining scheduled preseason games, but I believe the starting role for quarterback’s starting position will be whittled down to the final paring of Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Casssel. Christian Ponder will likely be the on the outside looking in, wondering what might have been.

As guests of the St Louis Rams , the Minnesota Vikings take flight as they open their regular season when the two teams meet at the Edward Jones Stadium in St Louis , Missouri on the 7th September , 2014. Jeff Fisher and the Rams will be looking for winning start to their season as Sam Bradford gets the chance to simply show fans of the franchise he is capable of leading this team in spite of the uneasy faith there appears to be in the player’s abilities. Bradford has been ill-served by a front office , which has done little to surround him with a team or a coaching staff capable of winning until the arrival of Fisher and his becoming the head coach of the franchise. .

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Picture gallery.

As the NFL preseason enters the final two weeks of its schedule , what do you believe has been the biggest storyline during the NFL’s exhibition season? Also for sixth and seventh round picks from this most recent NFL Draft , do you believe many of these players are likely to make and NFL roster as a regular season starter? Bear in bear in mind , there are widely growing reports , Michael Sam is struggling to make inroads , in gaining a roster spot even on the depth chart of the St Louis Rams’ playing staff? Your comments are more than welcomed , so by all means chime in with your thoughts.

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) From left to right, NFL rookie quarterbacks , Blake Bortles , Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater . The trio of players were all drafted in the first round of this past NFL Draft . Getty Images / Richard Morris ….

(2) Chuck Pagano head coach of the Indianapolis Colts , who in his first two seasons as franchise’s coach has led the Colts to two consecutive playoff berths. AP Photo/ Adam Roberts ….

(3) Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts the number one overall pick from the 2012 NFL Draft in a draft class rich in quarterback talent from that year. Luck in his first two seasons has led the Colts to two consecutive postseason berths under head coach Chuck Pagano . Getty Images / Matthew Ward

(4) Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants is met by Giants’ Head Coach Tom Coughlin after their 24-20 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 28th , 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This season both Manning and the head coach will be under a great deal of pressure to deliver . A divisional title and a playoff berth are said to be of the utmost priority for the franchise. Getty Images North America/ Alicia Witt …

(5) Mike Zimmer head coach of the Minnesota Vikings seen here addressing the convened press at the team’s headquarters. AP Photo / Ian Desmond …

(6) Christian Ponder (7) of the Minnesota Vikings who has only posted one winning season with the franchise as the team’s quarterback. AP Photo / Andrew Donovan …

(7) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys is seen here with team head coach Jason Garrett . The pair have yet to taste the postseason as a head coach and quarterback tandem , with Romo’s postseason record being simply mediocre in his starting role as the Cowboys’ quarterback . AP Photo/ Amy Frost ….

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Big

Shaking her moneymaker .

Posted in Football, http://wp.me/poxLH-9eh, NFL, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

No stigma attached here, it’s the NBA and how they continue to do things …

No stigma attached here, it’s the NBA and how they continue to do things …

The NBA finally has a new owner to join their ranks after the league hierarchy’s Board of Governors and owners approved the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft Chairman and billionaire , Steve Ballmer . Sold for the unprecedented sum of $2 billion , Ballmer now acquires a franchise in the need of an immediate makeover . If you thought the end of the league’s own problems concerning franchise stopped there concerning the Clippers and the ongoing litigation process being played out within the legal system. Adam Silver and the league hierarchy are now counter-suing Donald Sterling , former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sterling Family Trust for unspecified and punitive damages in causing irreparable damage and harm to the league’s image. Unless I am mistaken, the inaction of Silver’s predecessor , David Stern as the then commissioner and his continued failure in severely reprimanding Donald Sterling for his reprehensible behavior , has led the league to its present predicament.

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Slideshow.

Donald Sterling’s own pending litigation against the NBA will set out to show the league stepped outside their boundaries, in seeking to expel him from the NBA ownership fraternity and show their own actions were against their own bye laws and mandates. In the midst of this all, Adam Silver, the league hierarchy and the union itself, have shown a great deal of hypocrisy, with their pontificating about the misdeeds of Donald Sterling, while excusing the equally reprehensible behavior of other owners and in a number of respects, players themselves. Now we come full circle and the league seeks to place itself above-board and beyond reproach. Unfortunately, the league’s handling of this whole spectacle has been an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess . Speaks so highly of this league being , one said to be image conscious and one capable of dealing with damage control. I think not!

Steve Ballmer, as the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has promised to do everything possible within his power to provide the organization the means necessary to bring about success for the franchise . No doubt Clippers’ head coach and President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers will welcome the comments attributed to the team owner. Also, Ballmer, as a way of paying the assistance provided by Rochelle Sterling in the sale of the franchise , has awarded the former owner’s estranged wife with two titles , one said to honorary and the other likely being done for publicity purposes. She will be officially be made the Clippers’ number one fan , as well as holding the position as an Executive Emeritus . Somehow in light of Rochelle Sterling’s lack of action with her husband’s actions from the outset and that he now stands to benefit financially from the sale of the team ,profiting to the tune of $1 billion in Ballmer’s purchase of the franchise. This all might be looked on with a great deal of cynicism, while the league itself still has to look at the fact some remnants of the Clippers’ ownership will still remain with Rochelle Sterling’s association with the franchise.

This upcoming season within the NBA apart of the off-season tumult where the biggest story was LeBron James’ departure from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers , sent a seismic shift within the Eastern Conference, as well as perhaps now creating the perception the Cavaliers are now the best team in the conference. Pending the acquisition of Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the Cavaliers’ number one draft pick Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett . There might well be some validity to the claims, but I do believe the Chicago Bulls have a great deal more depth than Cleveland and I sincerely doubt that you can still discount the Miami Heat out of the equation. The conference itself continues to remain a boon for the NBA, with the level of play having been on the decline for several years in spite of the talent level on display.

For the Los Angeles Clippers having to play in the shadows of their more famous neighbors and inhabitant at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , might now be a thing of the past, with the all too abrupt decline of the Los Angeles Lakers. The only saving grace for the Lakers might well be the fact Kobe Bryant remains a member of the team, but even that may not be enough to stave off what may well another horrific year for the franchise. Doc Rivers for his part, will look to further emphasize the Clippers’ resurgence and add to the Lakers’ misfortunes. With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan providing the bulk of the Clippers’ offense this past season , the team for this upcoming season will be viewed as one of the better rosters within the Western Conference and competitive enough to be considered a likely contender within the conference.

The meetings between the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers this season should prove to be quite entertaining affairs, with the Pacific Division of the Western Conference being up for grabs , if the Lakers can find some semblance of competitiveness among their players . The first of their scheduled contests between the two teams will take place on the 31st October with the NBA having just entered the first week of its eighty-two game schedule . Kobe Bryant and new head coach Byron Scott along with a revamped roster , will undoubtedly be looking to place the franchise’s woes behind them. Scott having succeeded Mike D’Antoni will be under no illusion what is expected of he and his coaching staff this season. I believe if he can get the best out of his players they are quite capable of being just under a .500 team , winning at best, no more than thirty-five to forty games this season. A great deal of this will be predicated on the health and play of Kobe Bryant , but perhaps even more so when it comes to his teammates , even with a newly revamped roster to complement the All Star.

With all of the hoopla which surrounded LeBron James decision, it should be noted a great deal of the Miami Heat’s failure came from the fact , James was not ably assisted by his teammates during the NBA Finals in their thoroughly lopsided series’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Heat protagonists were so blinded by their own stupidity in not seeking to: look at the innumerable flaws on the team. Heat President Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra could not have seen the inevitable, but the signs were clearly there to be seen, by those who only had to look at the demeanor of LeBron James throughout much of the regular season but in particular during the series against the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat’s demise has led to questions being asked not only of the franchise and organization , but also of LeBron James and his intent. It is pretty much safe to suggest the very first meeting of the season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat will be filled with drama and intrigue, as many will be seeking to make something out of the contest.

Dan Gilbert as the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers will seek to bury the past and start afresh in terms of his relationship with LeBron James. Certainly, he seems to be going about this in the right way, having brought in a new coaching staff led by David Blatt and the wheeling and dealing in the acquisition of seasoned veterans to complement the current roster , much to the satisfaction of James and teammate Kyrie Irving . Whether or not this will lead to a divisional title , deep postseason run and ultimately an NBA title in his first season as the returning Prodigal Son remains to be seen. The excitement has already began to build within the city of Cleveland, as expectations are indeed high for this franchise over the course of the season. The Cavaliers’ regular season will begin with a home game at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland, Ohio, against the New York Knicks led by Carmelo Anthony .

I will say this for Phil Jackson , in spite of his ego , he still remains one hell of a coach, albeit, along the way, a great deal of his success can be attributed to the fact he was not asked to assemble the teams in question, where he won his record eleven NBA titles as a head coach. Having the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen already in place with the Chicago Bulls was a great deal of help while providing a certainty of success. Secondly, who can argue with the fact, while with the Los Angeles Lakers having Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal , perhaps among the top ten players in Lakers’ history was not once again further guarantee of multiple titles for the organization. Granted, the final pair of titles won by the Los Angeles Lakers, were won with a make shift team , lacking the renowned center. However, it should not in any way diminish his accomplishments as a head coach. Jackson’s return to the NBA as the Head of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks has more to do with James Dolan’s wish to no longer be seen as the NBA owner without a clue. The Knicks’ mediocre record of the past ten years , has more to do with Dolan’s lack of continuity within the front office of the organization and a penchant for acquiring head coaches simply lacking the acumen as a head coach. The proof has been there for all to see with the list of coaches to have held the position over the past decade.

Carmelo Anthony’s wish to remain with the New York Knicks and signing a record deal with the franchise secures his long-term financial future and provides the Knicks with sense of continuity. The hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson brings in someone who is likely to have the respect the players on the team . Fisher’s coaching staff headed by Kurt Rambis . With hindsight, the moves made by the Knicks during the off-season might well seem perplexing, but their acquiring Jose Calderon, Quincy Acy and Samuel Dalembert should prove to be more of a competitive lineup, than the team which made the NBA Playoffs in 2013 . The Knicks’ foray in the postseason would come to an abrupt and decisive end , in their conference semi-finals’ loss to the Indiana Pacers.

This season the Knicks will have to prove they are more than simply an offensive minded team, often seen last season terms of their play. Defensively, they were mindlessly inept , as seen in their results and final divisional standings. It will be interesting to see how the Knicks acclimate themselves through their first fifteen to twenty games under their new head coach Derek Fisher. New York’s first game of the regular season will be a true test of the mettle of this Knicks’ team against the Chicago Bulls, then to be followed by their visit to the Cleveland Cavaliers , where LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will get to test their wills . Strangely enough, the rumors were being circulated it was James’ wish to join up with Anthony as teammates, but alas, it was not to be. Cap issues , would certainly have burdened a team seeking to have the pairing lead their roster.

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder was a deserving winner of the NBA League MVP Award and perhaps one of the most popular winners of the accolade of the past decade. However , with his Durant’s singular success , the fact his team was unable to make another deep run in the NBA Playoffs of this past season, is another reminder why the NBA now has to have teams, with at least a pair or trio of superstars to > lead their rosters. No disrespect to Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook , but his play has to be more consequential and productive all round , if the Thunder are to have any chance of prevailing in the playoffs .

Durant’s recent comments, that his future in Oklahoma is by no means a certainty. will likely be a wake-up call for team GM Sam Presti and the ownership group if it is their wish to keep the franchise’s best and most popular player. His departure would likely lead to decline in the Thunder’s ambitions and play, but these are now the issues a lot of teams face in the NBA, as they seek to keep their stars, particularly those teams thought to be in a small or medium size market. Kevin Durant will become a free agent in 2016 , where he is likely to be the marquee player of free agent class on the market at the time. It is either up the ante and resign the player or simply allow them to go elsewhere as they seek a desired contract and success. Hard to question a player’s desire in such an instance, but at the same time one has to question what one might believe to be loyalty to a franchise.

Scott Brooks as head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder knows this is likely to be the last of the few opportunities, he has left to bring home an NBA title to a fan-base , who believe they are deserving of such an award. Fans of the Thunder are among the most knowledgeable and raucous in the NBA , making the Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, one of the most imposing environments in the NBA for an opposing team. If you doubt that fact, then simply look at the Thunder’s attendance record , home results (68-14) of the past two seasons to realize what an opponent has to face as an adversary of the Thunder.

Sam Presti’s off-season acquisitions and the NBA Draft should once again make this Oklahoma City Thunder team one of the prohibitive favorites within the Western Conference, but once again all roads are likely to lead through the San Antonio Spurs as they seek to make a successful defense of their NBA title. The intense rivalry between the two teams over the past four years, will be renewed, with the first of their series’ meetings taking place on Christmas Day at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas,. It may well be the case, where nation’s eyes are averted elsewhere, when the Miami Heat take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, as LeBron James will be making his first return to Miami since the decision was made to leave his former team. Will a warm welcome, await James or will it be sour grapes among the Miami Heat fans?

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Picture gallery .

During this NBA off-season which incident or storyline do you believe might well have had the most adverse effect on the league? Also, which team or player do you believe will be the most exciting to see over the course of the upcoming season?

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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(1) Steve Ballmer , left, former Chairman of Microsoft is seen here with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at a Los Angeles Clippers’ game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Ballmer’s $2 billion bid was approved by the NBA Board of Governors , after intense legal wrangling within the California Justice System between Rochelle Sterling , estranged wife of former team owner Donald Sterling . Both will share equally in the sale price proceeds of the deal , which is the largest in NBA history . AP Photo / Chris Miller …

(2) Los Angeles Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers is seen here with the team’s point guard Chris Paul . The pair hope to see the Clippers make a successful defense of their Pacific Division title as well as making a deep playoff run in the postseason. Rivers as the de-facto general manager and Head of Basketball Operations will be hoping the off-season acquisitions and draft class are good enough to make the team a real contender this season . Getty Images / Mary Carpenter …

(3) LeBron James seen here in Hong Kong on a promotional visit , will be hoping to become an immediate success with the Cleveland Cavaliers this upcoming season. Season tickets are being sold at a record-setting pace by the franchise and all signs are, the Cavaliers will be among the top supported teams in the NBA this upcoming season . Something which has not happened since the player’s last season with the franchise in 2009. AP Photo/ Ken Cheung …….

(4) New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher is seen here with Phil Jackson, a SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise. Fisher in what will be his first season as a head coach will be looking to emulate one his peers Jason Kidd who was able to lead the Brooklyn Nets to the NBA Playoffs in his first season as the head coach of the Brooklyn based NBA franchise. Kidd’s subsequent and untimely departure from the Nets , has led to his taking over as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks . AP Photo / Hank Moss …

(5) Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is seen here with the team’s head coach Scott Brooks . The pair are hoping to make even bigger inroads this upcoming season, where their eyes are on the prize , in the hope of winning the franchise’s first NBA title as the Thunder. Getty Images/ Amy Harper …

(6) Members of San Antonio Spurs celebrate at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas after their crushing game five and series’ deciding win over the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals , for the franchise’s fifth NBA title in the past eighteen years. Gregg Popovich has coached the Spurs to each of the titles in question, making him one of the most successful coaches in NBA history. AP Photo / Henry Cusack …. .

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Perky

Always revealing and then some .

Posted in Basketball, http://wp.me/poxLH-9d7, NBA, Sports, Sports Economics, Sports & Social Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The fault lies in their play, but you could also say the stars …….

The fault lies in their play, but you could also say the stars …….

Inasmuch as I love the game of baseball , I have to admit this might be one of the worst seasons on record in recent history. The AL East is barely recognizable and the level of play in what is said to be the best division in baseball has been truly dire. Defending World Series’ champions, the Boston Red Sox have now become an afterthought as the season has progressed. Say nothing of which, a great deal is being made out of a rivalry between the Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays , which resonates about as much as a rancid piece of cheese that has been left out for days on end, merely sticking up the joint. Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles merely have to play .550 baseball or better to have the division sewn up for themselves and thereby win their first AL East crown in over a decade.

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If the Baltimore Orioles were to falter, then the likely recipients of their fall, would likely be the Toronto Blue Jays , whose play this season has been moderate though not overly inspiring. John Gibbons and his managerial staff , have a team that appears to be on the cusp of achieving something special this season, but a great deal of the success they are seeking will be dependent on the play of many of their seasoned veterans on the team’s roster, as well as the coaching acumen shown by Gibbons and his staff. The Blue Jays will be the guests of the Seattle Mariners when the two teams meet on Monday afternoon, with Drew Hutchinson taking the mound for the visiting team against Felix Hernandez of the Mariners. The game itself could provide us with something of a precursor as to the ambitions of two teams wishing to remain in the midst of the wildcard hunt if not their respective divisional races .

Buck Showalter and his team , will play host to the New York Yankees at Camden Yards , in Baltimore , Maryland on Monday afternoon. For the Yankees, their season now seems to be fading fast , as too are the hopes of team captain Derek Jeter and the team making the MLB postseason. For Joe Girardi , this might well have been a season where injuries may well have played a part in his team’s faltering , but in large part it has come down to the lack of productivity from his pitching staff and the inconsistency of the offense of the players. Jeter in his twentieth and final season with the franchise , may well go down as of the Yankees’ greatest players and given the ball-club’s achievements and their captain’s own astonishing career , it must be said, his departure from the game of baseball will be seen as the end of an era.

Hope springs eternal, but year in and year out the Tampa Bay Rays have simply promised more than they can deliver for their forlorn fans. In spite of the idiocy of some among the Rays’ fan-base, who will continue to make excuses for a front office which now seems devoid of real creativity. The recent trade of All Star pitcher David Price put an end to any chance the Rays might have had for the postseason. Price, being traded to the Detroit Tigers gives the AL Central based team a leg up on their divisional rivals in their chase for the division, while the Rays themselves continue to languish at the mid to lower end of the wildcard contestants .

Six and a half games out of the wildcard placing and the Tampa Bay Rays remain a long shot for one of the two AL berths. Consistency remains the key , but this team has not remained consistent in terms of winning series much less winning games over the course of the season, when needed . All of the enduring optimism from Joe Maddon cannot make up for the fact this remains a very average team in spite of claims at to the depth of their pitching. As good as the rotation may well seem to be, you simply cannot discount how woefully inconsistent their offense tends to be. Whatever leadership is said to be on the team , no one can seem to point to a vocal leader, certainly not Joe Maddon with his ongoing whimsical anecdotes and the same can be said of their all too less than knowledgeable fans. Excuses are now the norm from almost every quarter when it comes to the organization, be it from the local media, the fans or from members of front office and their ongoing cries of either disillusionment, or the simple fact they have become defeatist. Whining from the likes of players such as Chris Archer simply amplifies one of the ongoing issues within the organization and the lack of a competitive spirit.

If there is one manager within baseball who is expected to succeed this season , then it would have to be Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels . With a team that is said to possess one of the strongest lineups in the AL from a batting standpoint, there should be no reason for the Angels to falter this season. Everything Scioscia and his staff have asked for, has been granted by team owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto , along with a six-figure payroll for a team which now has the best player in the game among its lineup. If there are doubters as to the talents of Mike Trout , then I would gladly like to hear the arguments from those who think to the contrary ! ! Albert Pujols may well command the respect of his peers within the game, but the Angels are now Trout’s team for him to lead and his teammates willingly follow his lead.

If the Los Angeles Angels are to have things their own way, then they will have to overcome what is proving to be a very competitive and resilient Oakland Athletics’ team , who are not yet ready to relinquish their dominance of the AL West , much less the defense of their divisional crown. The two teams this season have proven to be highly combative in their seasonal meetings with the A’s currently holding a lead in those contests (6-3) in 2014. The most recent contest between the two divisional rivals, ended with an emphatic 7-1 mauling of the Angels by the A’s at Anaheim Stadium , in Anaheim, California on the 11th June.

Three-and-a half games separate the Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels within the AL West , but Mike Scioscia’s players seem to be in the driver’s seat in terms of the wildcard berth at present by virtue of a better record than their two closest rivals the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners . Tuesday pits the Angels against the disappointing Philadelphia Phillies , with CJ Wilson on the mound taking on Jerome Williams , when these two teams meet at Anaheim Stadium. The Tigers will face off against the Pittsburgh Pirates with the opposing pitchers being Robbie Ray against Edinson Volquez of the Pirates , in a game being played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,. Seattle will square off against the Toronto Blue Jays , with J A Happ looking to improve on his 8-6 record for the season , when he opposes Chris Young at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. All three contests should prove to be interesting and highly competitive given what is likely to be at stake , at this point of the season.

It doesn’t seem so long ago, where fans thought of the Texas Rangers as an organization likely to succeed at the highest levels of the game. Hall of Famer and Rangers’ great Nolan Ryan held sway as a senior executive within the organization , but then wheels on the Texas juggernaut became deflated and then suffered a large puncture. Ryan was made the scapegoat for the ball-club’s ills , but in many respects it was simply the arrogance of the franchise , starting with the front office , down through the managerial staff and several of the players , some of whom are no longer with the organization. GM Jon Daniels and manager Ron Washington are now left holding the bag , as the team now wades through a season of sheer mediocrity. The Texas Rangers and Colorado Rockies now share the worst records in the entire Major Leagues, a sad indictment of two teams showing little ambition this season.

In all likelihood, this will prove to be Ron Washington’s last season with the Texas Rangers , because it seems highly unlikely he will be asked to return for next season. The team has become listless , uncompetitive , totally lacking in leadership both and off the field of play. Having assumed the contract of Prince Fielder in a trade that simply made no sense whatsoever , the Rangers have now burdened themselves with an unproductive slugger whose prime came and went at least three or four years ago . As to what this indicates about the mindset of Jon Daniels and the ownership group of the Rangers is anyone’s guess , but clearly, this was a catastrophic blunder on the part of the organization in acquiring the player from the Detroit Tigers.

Fielder has been limited to forty-two games this season, having been placed on the sixty-day disabled list(DL) , likely to miss the rest of the season and undergoing neck surgery. Injuries asides, which has plagued the Rangers for much of the year, it has been a lack of leadership all-round which has played its part in the team’s lousy play and record (46-71). If Texas are to now any real signs of life, then their current series against the Tampa Bay Rays which resumes today when the two teams meet at the newly renamed Global Life Park in Arlington , Texas. Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays will face opposing pitcher Nick Tepesch of the Rangers in what should prove to be a riveting pitchers’ duel.

If the Texas Rangers are to avert a disastrous season then series such as the one being played against the Tampa Bay Rays will have to be won decisively and the consistency has to be maintained over the remainder of their schedule. Ron Washington’s long-term future is now intertwined with his team’s play, and if failure is to play a part in the ongoing drama now unfolding, the manager is likely to become a managerial casualty during the off-season along with several other possible candidates around the game of baseball.

Call me naïve, but I believe the NL Manager of The Year is likely to be Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals . Williams seems to have managed to achieve the impossible, having his team play with a great deal of consistency while keeping at bay the Atlanta Braves , Miami Marlins and New York Mets out of contention for the divisional crown in the NL East. In his first season as the manager of the Nationals, it now looks as if the incumbent manager has been able to do what his predecessor Davey Johnson failed in doing and that is getting a team mixed veterans and youth to believe in themselves. A great of the credit has to go to Matt Williams and his managerial staff , the faith shown in the staff by the ownership group and GM Mike Rizzo . The Nationals’ billionaire owner Ted Lerner and his partners are certainly intent on bringing a World Series’ title to the ball-club and are ready to do whatever it takes to achieve the goal.

Matt Williams and the Nationals will be seeking to make their first postseason appearance since the 1981 MLB postseason and the team reaching the NLCS and their 3-2 series’ loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. With a four-game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the NL East and Fredi Gonzalez’ Braves looking nothing like reigning divisional champions, it has to be said Washington now has the division practically sewn up. The high-flying Nationals will take their show on the road, when they meet the New York Mets at Citi-Field in Flushing , New York, in the first game of their three-game series against their divisional rivals. Doug Fister of the Nationals takes the mound for the visitors against Rafael Montero in a pitching contest between two of the NL’s best young pitchers. It will be interesting to see how the season now pans out for the Washington Nationals where star players Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg will be seeking to make their mark over the remainder of the season for the team.

Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were first round draft picks by the Washington Nationals in 2009 and 2010 respectively, with both players now seen as major reasons why the team is now having some semblance of real success. Yet, until the ball-club itself has made a deep run in the postseason with the pair in question contributing to the success , what we have witnessed so far, are the players living up to the expectations first seen as collegiate players and then within the Nationals’ farm system before their debuts in the Big Leagues. MLB agent Scott Boras will no doubt be making sure both of his clients are likely to be handsomely rewarded when their existing contracts are due to expire. Boras has certainly made his presence known among the general managers around baseball , where he has proven to be a thorn in the side of these front office executives. His zealous representation of some of baseball’s most high profiled and highest paid players by way of their contracts and salaries , has been a major reason why their remains a financial imbalance among the haves and have-nots within baseball .

Some of the individual regular season awards will be hard to decide but I believe we could well see repeat winners for a number of the top prizes. Clayton Kershaw seems to be an odds on favorite to repeat as the NL Cy Young Award winner, and in the AL, the award is being fiercely contested by Chris Sale , Felix Hernandez , Rick Porcello and Jon Lester . League MVP in the AL is Mike Trout’s to lose, albeit, many believed he would have been a worthy winner of the award in 2013, only for the voters to go with Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Though this season both Jose Altuve and Robinson Cano are staking valid claims as worthy candidates, but Trout’s all-round presence and contributions have greater weight than either of his competitors for the award.

NL honors for League MVP is not a foregone conclusion, but Troy Tulowitzki, Justin Morneau , Yasiel Puig , Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton are making solid claims why they should be atop of everyone’s list for the award. The rookies and their debuts within the AL and NL will simply be about the impressions made and how dynamic they happen to be. Hard to believe however, Derek Jeter during his playing career, having won the AL Rookie of the Year Award , was never afforded the prestige of winning the AL MVP. The AL Manager of The Year Award , I believe will come down to Buck Showalter of the Orioles, Bob Melvin , Ned Yost and John Gibbons, should he be able to pull off of the improbable and lead the Blue Jays to a divisional win in the AL East.

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Picture gallery.

As baseball enters the final third of its season what has impressed you the most in terms of the teams’ play or that of a player’s? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit, on this and anything else you believe to be of importance.

;)

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell , left, is seen here with David Ortiz. This season the Red Sox have been abysmal , showing little competitive spirit within their division ,lying in fifth and last place within the AL East , often described as the toughest division in all of baseball . AP Photo/ Dave Walsh …

(2) A pensive Buck Showalter looks on from the dugout during a regular season game being played by the Baltimore Orioles . Getty Images North America / Steve Jones …

(3) Jays slugger Jose Bautista , right, is congratulated by manager John Gibbons after hitting a walk-off single in the 10th inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday 22nd May 2013 . After a slow start, Bautista is posting better numbers, but the Jays need him to start producing the way he has in the past . This year the Toronto Blue Jays are definitely looking like divisional contenders . within the AL East while seeking to make inroads on the Orioles’ lead within the division . REUTERS/ Mark Blinch ….

(4) Los Angeles Angles’ GM Jerry Dipoto ,left , is seen here with Mike Trout center and team manager Mike Sciocsia . Trout was the recipient of the Jackie Robinson Award as AL Rookie of The Year. Trout has been spectacular for the Angels over the past three seasons leading the team in a number offensive categories. AP Photo / Mark Daniels …

(5) Texas Rangers’ manager Ron Washington left is seen here with GM Jon Daniels . The team has failed miserably this season and with Prince Fielder limited to forty-two games , now on the sixty-day disabled list . The Rangers are mow mired in mediocrity , while having one of the worst records in all of baseball. A great deal of the failure has been attributed to Daniels’ capricious off-season moves via the free agency market and several other far-reaching trades, saddling the team with Fielder’s exorbitant contract . AP Photo/ Jack Marshall …

(6) Washington Nationals’ manager Matt Williams greet Bryce Harper at the end of the game , where the Nationals were victorious in a home contest played at Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington , DC . AP Photo/ Garry Mason …
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Ewa Sonnet who always provides us with pleasurable and pleasing images .

More of Ewa, will always be a pleasure .

Posted in Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, http://wp.me/poxLH-9bT, MLB, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Tampa Bay Rays, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Don’t bother with the platitudes just bring on a dose of reality …………

Don’t bother with the platitudes just bring on a dose of reality …………

Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour , now s have an image problem to deal with beyond the fact golf’s most high-profiled player is likely to be lost to the Tour for a several weeks. Tiger Woods’ career has been derailed in recent seasons by his own behavioral issues and by recurring injuries, most notably his back. This season, it has been injuries which have plagued the player’s year and his play , leaving many in doubt , whether he can reach the heights where he was once golf’s most dominant player and a certainty to break Jack Nicklaus’ record of eighteen Major Grand Slam wins. Nicklaus’ feat might now seem out of reach but the PGA all-time career wins on the Tour does seem attainable for Woods, if he can regain a degree of fitness and form.

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Slideshow.

As the PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, cannot be happy with the fact he has suspended Dustin Johnson for a six month banishment , while the player undergoes rehab for a substance abuse problem, which has been determined to be cocaine addiction. Now don’t get me wrong, but my question is , since when were golfers known to be the “bad boys “ of the sports’ world , never mind their partying like perverted rock stars? I guess after the sexual peccadilloes of Tiger Woods , Johnson’s actions had to be expected. If not Dustin Johnson, then who would be the next high-profiled Tour golfer to be caught in a web of lies , deceit and sexual intrigue?

Courtesy of Fox News

Dustin Johnson failed drug tests, fooled around with tour player’s wife, report says

Reports of drug use and sleeping with other tour players’ wives have followed in the wake of Thursday’s announcement by pro golfer Dustin Johnson that he is taking a leave of absence from the PGA Tour.

Golf.com cited an unnamed source who said Johnson failed three drug tests in the past five years, including a positive test for marijuana in 2009 and two positive tests for cocaine in 2012 and 2014.

The PGA is not required to make public any player suspensions that result from positive tests for recreational drugs.

The same report also said Johnson “had a sexual indiscretion with at least one wife of a PGA Tour player.”

A rep for the tour did not respond to Golf.com’s request for comment.

Following the report, Fox Sports reporter Robert Lusetich tweeted that Johnson was known to have slept with not one, but two tour players’ wives.

Not a huge secret either that #DustinJohnson had affairs with 2 wives of PGA Tour players. One broke up the marriage.

— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) August 1, 2014

Johnson became engaged to Paulina Gretzky, the daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, in August, 2013. He issued a statement Thursday that addressed his hiatus from the tour.

“I will use this time to seek professional help for personal challenges I have faced,” he said. “By committing the time and resources necessary to improve my mental health, physical well-being and emotional foundation, I am confident that I will be better equipped to fulfill my potential and become a consistent champion.”

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Now if the allegations concerning Johnson are indeed true, his philandering with the wives of many of the players on the PGA Tour does leave the player in an untenable position in terms of his relationships with his peers. As to what this also indicates concerning the behavior of a number of the Tour professionals does leave a great deal to be desired as well as the wholesome tradition Tim Finchem tries to sell to the public. With over $260 million in official prize money on the PGA Tour, as well as a further $60 million in unofficial prize money , by way of unofficial tournaments that remains in part, a bevy of the schedule, golf remains one of the most lucrative sports by way of the on course earnings afforded their professionals.

The PGA Tour much like the NFL , MLB and NBA , has created a charade of wholesomeness , that in no way could they have maintained , which their respective hierarchies tried to keep up the perception, while conning the fans and public alike their sports remained above reproach. Fact of the matter remains, golf has always been shrouded with some very dubious distinctions of which its greatest was and still remains racism , lack of diversity, and the ongoing bigoted and archaic values within Augusta National , home to The Masters . Only recently, have we seen the change in attitude of members of Augusta and even now, there still seems to be an aversion to real change within that bastion of male chauvinism and bigotry. Before Tiger Woods’ ascent to the top of the world rankings as well as winning fourteen Grand Slam Majors and seventy-four official PGA Tour wins. The last African-American golfers of note on the PGA Tour were Lee Elder and Calvin Peete. Perhaps, this was merely the PGA Tour’s lack of social response or the very fact they felt, the issue did not need to be addressed.

With Tiger Woods’ descent, the rise of Rory McIlroy might well have provided the PGA Tour with a real superstar the sport is now sorely missing. Phil Mickelson does not seem to be the player thought to be ready to lay down the gauntlet and in proving to be a real adversary for Tiger Woods. Bubba Watson appears to be all too robotic in his approach , character and the very fact he does not seem to be a real major draw on the Tour in spite of his career. Jordan Speith’s rise up the world rankings and Fedex Cup standings has simply afforded him a great deal of attention within the print media but until he notches that first real big win on the PGA Tour, he will be merely seen as another wunderkind, thought to be the heir-apparent.

Rory McIroy’s wire to wire-to-wire win of The Open at Hoylake and his most recent win of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational , simply emphasizes why he is now the best golfer on the planet . His world number one ranking , reinforces that fact and his dominance of the game comes at a time when golf is really in need of a genuine superstar and not a robotic character-less prototype thrown up on the PGA Tour , as the next American golfer that will dominate the game.

Dustin Johnson’s suspension and Tiger Wood’s recurrence of a back problem now leaves incoming USA Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson at a loss as to the possible replacements are likely to be , to fill out his twelve man roster for this biannual team competition featuring the US against the best Europe has to offer in terms of the European Tour players. With golf, having now become a global game , the two main tours are the PGA and the European Tour . Europe may well be made the presumptive favorites for the upcoming competition, set to begin on the 23rd September through to the 28th September at Gleneagles Golf Course , Gleneagles , Scotland. Paul McGinley as the European team captain will have a bevy of talent with a group of players made up of Major winners, regular competitors on the European Tour, as well as on the PGA Tour. . The bragging rights and unique distinction of this team competition, makes it one of the most anticipated and talked about sporting events in the world at the time of its scheduling. With Europe looking to take back the Ryder Cup trophy, this September, all eyes will be on Gleneagles , Scotland, once this competition gets underway.

Having won three of the four legs of the Majors which make up the career Grand Slam . Rory McIlroy would like nothing better than to join what is really a select list of golfers to have achieved that feat. Jack Nicklaus , Tiger Woods and Gary Player are three of the group of players to have achieved the feat, with Nicklaus’ eighteen Major wins heading the list of Grand Slam victories. It should be noted the tally would have been far greater for the Golden Bear , when you consider the number of runner-up finishes (second place) he tallied in the Majors over his illustrious career. The Green Jacket of The Masters is the one Major victory McIlroy now seeks to join the illustrious group in question, but this Thursday , with the start of the PGA Championship at the : Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Kentucky. The young Irishman will get the chance to win his fifth Major title and second in succession within a calendar year, should he prove victorious in taking the PGA crown. The odds might not favor McIlroy, but who is likely to really challenge him at this juncture, given his present form ?

Misery , sorrow , call it what you will, but the belly aching by the fans who saw the fall from grace of the Miami Heat was enough to make your stomach turn. You had the sheer idiocy of fans suggesting an ailing Dwyane Wade merely had to turn up for the postseason and barely lift an eyelid and the Heat would have swept their way to victory over the San Antonio Spurs . In reality, I know what makes the North American sports’ fan really tick, it is their inane stupidity and lack of real knowledge, only knowing to spurt real absurdities to make themselves sound knowledgeable. LeBron James was afforded as much aid by his teammates in this past NBA Finals as a gunshot wound victim would be given aid , had it been a Band Aid to cover a wound to the abdomen that was still bleeding profusely. Where was either Dwyane Wade or the ” overrated” Chris Bosh in these Finals ? I will tell you where , no fucking where to be seen , and yet the excuses as to the Heat’s demise were still forthcoming. Let’s put it this way , with the dumb ass lack of intelligence being shown by LeBron James’ apologists such as Stephen A Smith and Chris Broussard , I really wonder how the NBA has any real legitimacy with regard to the print media much less the lack of frigging intelligence shown by some fans !

With LeBron James now deciding to pull up sticks and make his way back to Cleveland and bringing a forgiving smile by rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers , all may well be right in the NBA world once again. Throw in for good measure , Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert seems to have had a change of heart about the player he once called self-centered, arrogant and disloyal. One might now ask , what must James now do to make the fans in Cleveland really happy ? An NBA title in the first year of his return will not be happening, even if based on the premise of the Cavaliers trading away their 2014 NBA number one draft pick , Andrew Wiggins to acquire power forward Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves .

Dan Gilbert, GM David Griffin and new head coach David Blatt , believe the acquisition of Kevin Love can best bolster the team roster, making them a legitimate contender within the Eastern Conference . While likely the case, I believe it too early to make such a presumption, not when you have a Chicago Bulls’ team led by Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah , reigning Defensive Player of the Year and the addition of a still productive veteran Pau Gasol. In the Bulls you have a team coached by the best coach in the NBA yet to win a title, by the name of Tom Thibodeau . Chicago can be considered a real threat and with Rose fit though not yet in real game shape , he is already proving to be his old self in terms of leadership skills, which have been on display while a member of the USA FIBA squad for the upcoming World Cup tournament. And with the injury suffered by Paul George of the Indiana Pacers during a team scrimmage, Rose’s place on the final team roster for the tournament seems assured. If he can merely find some of the form shown when he became one of the youngest players ever to win the NBA League MVP , then one has to look at the Chicago Bulls as a prohibitive favorite within the Eastern Conference this upcoming season. From a defensive standpoint the Bulls are one of the best teams within the conference and the league itself and might just be the most balanced team in the Eastern Conference with the addition of Pau Gasol.

The shakeup within the NBA caused by LeBron James’ defection to the Cleveland Cavaliers did not have desired effect one might have thought. Carmelo Anthony remained with the New York Knicks signing for more money , as if there was any real doubt , he would have left their offer on the table ? Phil Jackson will now seek to bolster what is still a very under-achieving team , with Amare’ Stoudemire still remaining a part of an equation , where his lack of productivity and bloated salary becomes more than an eyesore and afterthought. As to the reasons why Knicks’ fans seem so reassured , might have more to do with the choice of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the team’s head coach than it has to do with the Knicks’ 2014 draft class . Not exactly thrilling, but for the Knicks, anything which takes the spotlight off the organization’s incompetence has to be seen as a positive .

The Miami Heat’s loss of LeBron James has Pat Riley running to the hills , seeking to repair the damage done . During the season Riley essentially stood pat , not seeking to bolster a roster that was flawed in so many ways. Yet , there were fans and analysts alike enamored and in awe of a team playing in a weakened , mediocre division and conference . If any of them , simply took the time to look at what was happening in the Eastern Conference and its divisions, they would have noticed how dire the situation had become was simply ongoing from previous seasons . Instead, it was all about the greatness of LeBron and this team seeking to win back to back to back NBA titles. When you have a product which has become so putrid and bile inducing, as witnessed in the Eastern Conference, with fans are lauding over it as something spectacular , you simply have to wonder what might be going on inside their minds as well as that of the NBA hierarchy? Outgoing commissioner David Stern was lauded by owners and his peers as being a savior of the game, but his apparent willingness to overlook litany of behavioral issues of Donald Sterling and Rich DeVos , shows the former commissioner being an ass, as well as dubious and duplicitous in the league’s ongoing problems . Stern is to the NBA, what the Tea Party is now proving to be for the Republican Party, more of a burden, rather than a considerable boost .

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli , Kawhi Leonard and their teammates showed us what team work was all about during the finals and their clinical dismantling of their Eastern Conference opponents. Leonard showed us why Gregg Popovich had so much faith in the three-year starter in the league. He has matured into a dependable and solid player , likely to be the centerpiece of the Spurs’ future upon the retirement of the franchise’s Big Three of Duncan, Ginobli and Parker. Leonard’s winning of the Finals’ MVP Award was more than justified as he led the Spurs, showing signs of maturity beyond his years, as well as the fans witnessing his great all-round ability during the series. Could the same be said of anyone on the Miami Heat’s roster with the exception of LeBron James ?

In winning their fifth NBA title under Gregg Popovich , the San Antonio Spurs have proven themselves to be league’s most recent NBA dynasty. Something fans were quickly tying to anoint the Miami Heat with , after two titles and four appearances in the league’s showcase finale , during LeBron’s tenure with the franchise. Greatness, is normally afforded to teams and individuals who have achieved something special, but in the midst of the James’ saga, fans were seeking to anoint the player as the rightful successor to Michael Jordan . LeBron James while epitomizes determination , has become self-centered, less charismatic than the brand his handlers suggest him to be. Throw in the ongoing signs of immaturity, petulance and you have yourself an immature superstar, seeking to be in spotlight at all times , with the media there, simply to build him up into something he really is not.

Becky Hammon formerly of the San Antonio Stars of the WNBA and the Spurs’ affiliate within that particular league. In a notable first within the NBA, Hammon will become the first female to be a lead assistant coach in the NBA joining the coaching staff of Gregg Popovich. Also joining Popovich’s roster of coaches will be Ettore Messina whose vast experience and success in Europe cannot be discounted. The Italian brings with him an impressive resume’ in European club basketball. Hammon’s playing career in the WNBA makes her one of the game’s best players in the league’s history, where she is in the upper echelons of WNBA career statistics beyond the success achieved with the Stars. Whether or not her experience and career resume’ can equate with success , the Spurs and her gaining the respect of the male players remains to be seen over the course of this upcoming season. So far, she has the respect of the Spurs’ head coach and many of her counterparts on the Spurs’ coaching roster.

The NBA remains a bastion of male camaraderie , in spite of the league having the WNBA offshoot where women are afforded the chance to show off their skill-set within the game but unfortunately there too as well as within the league (NBA) itself there remains few opportunities for real advancement as a head coach much less as a league front executive.. So much for the hypocrisy of the motto of the NBA _______ the “ NBA Cares “ . This is a league so devoid of leadership and integrity, the only thing that seems to matter, is the amount of money annually pouring into their coffers.

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Picture gallery.

With the news of Dustin Johnson’s suspension by the PGA Tour and it being the most serious reprimand of a PGA Tour player , do you believe the Tour can survive its image taking such an adverse hit ? With the NBA preseason still a few months away but with the league itself still in a state of turmoil caused by ongoing litigation between Donald Sterling and the NBA, what do you feel will be the final outcome to this whole saga? Finally, what are your thoughts concerning how LeBron James left the Miami Heat after four seasons of substantial success ?

:)

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) PGA Tour Chairman Tim Finchem . The chairman has a great deal to worry about concerning the PGA Tour’s image after the suspension of Dustin Johnson after his having failed a drug test for the third time . Johnson tested positive for cocaine but further allegations have surfaced suggesting he had slept with the wives of a number players on the Tour . AP Photo / Barry Mitchell …

(2) PGA Tour player Dustin Johnson who has taken a prolong leave of absence from the Tour schedule to deal with what he says are personal medical issues. A spokesperson for the Tour issued a public statement , noting Johnson has been suspended for a third failed drug test , having tested positive for cocaine use. Further allegations , yet to be substantiated , suggest he has also slept with the wives of several players on the Tour . Getty Images / Gary McAdams ….

(3) US Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson is seen here alongside Tiger Woods . Woods hopes to make a full recovery in time to compete in the Ryder Cup for the USA . His standing among the ten players in the FedexCup standings would not make Tiger Woods an automatic choice . Only the top ten players are automatic choices , with the captain then having the discretion to fill out his twelve man roster with two more players to make up his team. Getty Images North America / Chris Woods ….

(4) Rory McIlroy seen here holding the Claret Jug having won the The Open at Hoylake , in Liverpool , England , this year . McIlroy led from wire to wire , never once being seriously challenged by any of his competitors in the tournament . He also recently won WGC Bridgestone Invitational in commanding style , placing himself back atop of the World Golf Rankings as the number one player in the world . Rory McIlroy now heads into Lexington , Kentucky and the Valhalla Golf Course , hoping to add the PGA Championship to his list of career achievements as well his Grand Slam tally in terms of victories . Getty Images / Harry How ….

(5) LeBron James meets young fans in the town of Akron , Ohio , recently having returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The return of the Prodigal Son to the franchise where he began his career in 2003 , will begin anew with a revamped roster , new head coach and coaching staff led by rookie head coach David Blatt . Getty Images / Hugh Davis …

(6) Becky Hammon formerly a player with the San Antonio Stars will now become a lead assistant on the coaching staff of the San Antonio Spurs . Hammon brings along a wealth of experience as a player in the WNBA , where she was a multiple WNBA All Star . AP Photo / Michael Proffitt ….

(7) Ettore Messina one of the most successful coaches in European club basketball history , having won four Euroleague titles . Messina and Becky Hammon will be joining the coaching staff of the San Antonio Spurs . Both assistants already have impressive starts to their careers with the franchise , bringing praises from head coach Gregg Popovich as well as from several players on the team’s roster. AP Photo/ Dean Jones ….

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tophatal …….

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

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Nikita Valentin . I just love what she does for this setting !

Nikita with some whipped cream and strawberries thrown in for good measure .

Posted in Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, Golf, http://wp.me/poxLH-9aX, Miami Heat, PGA Tour, San Antonio Spurs, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

For your consideration ………

For your consideration ….

It is that time of year once again where pundits are out making their prognostications for the upcoming season within Collegiate Football as well as the NFL. Given the fact both institutions continue to fail their fans consistently, albeit , a number of idiots are clamoring for the latest piece of idiocy from the NCAA and BCS for an empaneled body to come up with a format in deciding a playoff system to decide a national champion at the FBS Level . Claims are continually being made format as now being described cannot work , but what really likes at the heart of this all is actually the disbursement of revenues as divided up between the major conferences making up the BCS system. If the fools who continue to bitch and whine cannot see it for themselves , then they are as dumb as they look.
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Slideshow.

NCAA President Mark Emmert remains in a position of power but his lack of understanding of so many issues within collegiate athletics, truly belies his lack of intelligence. Emmert and senior members of his institution, remain slow in enacting safety measures that protect female victims from on campus sexual assaults , without the colleges themselves actually being proactive in such measures. The statistics are there to bear this out and it has been a damning indictment of a number of major college campuses up and down the country , including Florida State , home to last season’s BCS national champion and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston , himself the subject of alleged rape incident , where he remains the only suspect. Winston’s legal representatives have repeatedly changed their story concerning their client’s guilt, without one having delve into the player’s other off the field issues, where he was charged in the theft of grocery items stolen from a prominent Florida grocery store chain. Jameis Winston’s apology wore thin, when you consider the player had the means to pay for items stolen but somehow this has been all overlooked by the press and Seminoles’ fans alike without the favoritism shown the player by the Tallahassee Police Department after this latest incident.

In the preseason polls , Florida State are ranked number one after their unbeaten season in 2013 and narrow victory in the national championship game. Quarterback Jameis Winston will be looking to fortify his status as a likely first round draft pick and being taken as the top passer in the draft. Unfortunately, this was not the case for the Seminoles’ Heisman Trophy predecessor Johnny Manziel when he was taken down in the depth charts of passers picked in the 2014 NFL Draft . Whether or not the decision came by way of the player’s attitude or simply because general managers around the league failed to be impressed by his Combine Workouts, has as much to do with the never-ending stories within the print and television media. Reporters and NFL analysts alike simply clamored for anything related to the Texas Aggies’ quarterback , even when the stories were innocuous and mundane.

Manziel will have to prove himself as he looks to impress staff of the Cleveland Browns as well as their fans and the press alike. Whether or not he can beat out Brian Hoyer for starting role during the preseason and enter the regular season as the starting quarterback on the team remains to be seen. The franchise has a great deal vested in Johnny Manziel , because his success will play a great part in the furtherance of their ambition of the franchise and owner , Jimmy Haslam who remains beset by his off-field ongoing legal problems . Mike Pettine head coach of the Cleveland Browns seems to be convinced his rookie quarterback shows all the signs of maturity since joining the franchise, but there will always continue remain doubts about Johnny Manziel’s maturity and leadership skills. While the player has admitted his mistakes as a college player, upon entering the ranks of the NFL and its bright lights , it would seem he has learned absolutely nothing from his collegiate experience and the problems which followed him there. Needless to say, with all of the negative publicity which has followed the NFL recently the league can ill afford more negativity to follow while the league hierarchy continues to make a complete ass of itself with their asinine statements. Never mind the fact we now have apathetic fans and professional pundits alike showing their own stupidity with their lame ass comments concerning these recent events.

From my own standpoint, in spite of their draft and off-season acquisitions , I do not believe the Cleveland Browns will prove to be a major contender within the AFC North or the conference this upcoming season. There are still too many issues on the roster which have not been fully addressed and Brian Hoyer is being asked to do way too much based on minimal experience of playing time in the NFL. How this is meant to equate with the team being viewed as legitimate divisional or playoff contender , does seem far-fetched. Cleveland will open their regular season with a divisional game at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania when they are the guests of the Pittsburgh Steelers . That contest should prove to be very interesting for two teams seeking to bounce back after a somewhat horrific season in 2013. A win is of utmost importance for both franchises, as they each seek to get 2014 off to a rousing start .

While the NFL tries to dig itself out of an ever-deepening hole, through their own sheer stupidity and by the encouragements of idiots such as ESPN’s on air analyst Stephen A Smith . One has to counter the impression being created by this league , it is indeed in touch with the fears of women, who are the victims of assault. Roger Goodell continues to show how out of touch with reality he remains , while Smith showed what a contemptible asshole he just happens to be. Furthermore, with some male fans using the analogy of being politically correct and freedom of speech to excuse the act of Ray Rice’s behavior , while ignoring the very fact this widespread behavior is now almost rampant within the NFL, with the league hierarchy itself , doing very little to punish the players themselves , who are guilty of acts such as spousal abuse or battery . Never mind the fact , the NFLPA (union) as led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has said very little publicly about the abusive behavior of his members, but yet we are led to believe this league values the support of female fans? Nothing remains further from the truth and it will continue to remain that way, as long as the NFL continues to ignore the repeated wake up calls by such incidents being repeated by its players.

The ACC this season will look to reaffirm its status as a top program in college football. While the BCS title win by Florida State may well support the claim, I believe the power within collegiate football rests in the SEC by way of the litany of top-flight programs within the conference. Nick Saban and Alabama will be looking to reaffirm its position within the conference, while the Florida Gators and Wil Muschamp will be looking to show his players will be playing with a great deal more consistency than shown in 2013. September 20th should prove to be a very interesting date on the collegiate football calendar when Florida meets Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium .

Week one of the college football season and programs within the FBS will begin their preamble to decide a national champion. With so much being at stake the Florida State Seminoles and Jimbo Fisher seeking to make a successful defense of their national title. I firmly believe the task will be beyond the team, because it is so difficult to win back to back titles within the game. The Seminoles will begin their defense against the number seventeen ranked Oklahoma State (Cowboys) in what may well prove to be game all about offense , with some defense thrown in for good measure. The SEC itself remains a formidable powerhouse in terms of the teams within the conference and the competitiveness there as witnessed over the past two seasons.

Will this season’s champion come from within the SEC? Well that remains to be seen, but all paths to another national championship are likely to pass through the conference.

Two national titles has a way of legitimizing a coach’s resume and credibility , but the cloud under which Urban Meyer left the Florida Gators , only to return to the coaching ranks of college football to head to the program at Ohio State (Buckeyes) has left an unpalatable taste in the mouths of Gators’ fans. Meyer in no uncertain term has been critical of his former employer, most notably suggesting he was not to blame for the behavior of a number of players who ran afoul of the law as well violating NCAA rules. What might be even more asinine when taking the former Gators’ head coach’s statement , is the very fact he was extremely lax in reprimanding many of the players, most notably Aaron Hernandez whose legal troubles in the NFL have been well chronicled. Meyer succeeded Jim Tressel whose career with the Buckeyes, while having brought about a great deal of success , the latter years proved to be extremely controversial and extremely distasteful, with their being a lack of honesty from Jim Tressel , his coaching staff at the time , and the culpability of AD Gene Smith and former university President Dr E Gordon Gee.

Urban Meyer and his team will have a great deal to prove this season and in Braxton Miller lies the hopes of the Buckeyes over the course of their schedule . Miller is likely to be among the top contenders for his year’s Heisman Trophy , if his play remains consistent and at an extremely high level . Ohio State will begin their season against Navy, in what is likely to a lopsided contest between the two teams. The Big Ten Conference and the Buckeyes’ schedule as usual, remains as soft as a baby’s ass, but Ohio State fans will seek to overlook the fact.

While I have never been truly enamored with college football , I am beginning to feel in watching the games, I am merely witnessing a somewhat mediocre version of the NFL in all of its alleged glory, with even greater pretentiousness within this environment. Like the NFL, college football above all else, is a money-making behemoth with their being little to show for it all at the end of the day , by way of the alleged benefits for the student athlete. The NCAA and conference commissioners continue to live in the “land of make belief” , with no one ever addressing the real issues now ravaging this sport and the collegiate athletics in general. Mark Emmert remains clueless, while carefully treading water, as he recently accomplished, when questioned by a congressional committee concerning the safety of women on college campuses who are the victims of sexual attacks. Emmert’s responses were in many respects, very much like the recent idiotic statements attributed to Roger Goodell and the NFL’s Assistant Chief Legal Counsel Adolpho Birch . Clearly, all three individuals, do not understand the debate as it now currently exists and the ongoing issue of violence against women by male athletes . The NCAA , NFL and those presiding over collegiate athletics , along with the universities have a long way to go before they can convince female fans much less sports’ fans in general. The issue of on campus violence against women , the issue of the player misconduct in the NFL, and the issue of spousal abuse remains a dire result of the inaction by the NFL and the hierarchies mentioned.

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Picture gallery.

In the lead-up to the NFL regular season what are you hoping to see from the teams during the preseason ? Do you also believe the college football season will be extremely competitive?

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) The BCS national championship trophy for which the 125 FBS programs will contest their competitiveness to be anointed national champions . UPI ….

(2) 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston is seen here with Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher as the two celebrate their national title victory over Auburn . AP Photo/ Michael Burton …..

(3) Cleveland Browns’ quarterbacks Brian Hoyer (6) and teammate Johnny Manziel (2) are seen here during the team’s preseason practice. Head coach Mike Pettine hopes to see a valid contest between the two players , who are hoping to succeed former starter and now Dallas Cowboys’ backup quarterback Brandon Weeden . AP Photo/ Michael Walsh…

(4) Ohio State Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer left is seen here alongside the team’s quarterback Braxton Miller (5) . Miller is being viewed as a likely candidate for the 2014 Heisman Trophy . Getty Images / Harry Howe …

(5) Bryce Petty of Baylor (Bears) will be hoping to lead the team to even greater success this season . Petty an impact player for the Bears in 2013 , seen as a consensus first round draft pick for the 2015 NFL Draft . Getty Images / David Moss …

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NCAA Football

FBS rankings (AP)

Week one college football schedule

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NFL news

NFL transactions

NFL preseason schedule (week one)

NFL regular season schedule (week one)

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And you think the view from up there is amazing ? Try being down here .

Posted in College Football, Football, http://wp.me/poxLH-9ai, Mark Emmert, NCAA, NFL, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

It’s about that time of year again, where stupidity is front and center, as MLB makes all of the right and wrong moves

It’s about that time of year again, where stupidity is front and center, as MLB makes all of the right and wrong moves

If there is one thing I have become accustomed to , it is knowing that baseball and their fans are a fickle bunch of individuals. If nothing else, the league itself as well as the hierarchy beyond their being a lack of leadership. MLB simply cannot get out of its own way when it comes to making repeated pratfalls, but as of late, the NBA and NFL, have somehow sought to show they are no fools when it comes to making complete assholes of themselves either. Your simply have to read the latest headlines to see what has recently taken place within the NBA and NFL for clarification of the very fact.

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Slideshow .

The divisional races within the AL and NL are heating up with many of the teams in contention now seeking to bolster their respective rosters. There will be some takers , some shakers, but most of all , a number of losers. The Philadelphia Phillies with their $160 million payroll have been one of the biggest disappointments of this entire season, with the managerial staff and the players themselves at a loss to explain their season’s woes. Philadelphia seem to be unwilling to even put up a fight within the NL East against their divisional opponents never mind the rest of baseball overall. As winners of four of their last ten games , it is hard to suggest how the Phillies can fight their way out of their quagmire, with Ryne Sandberg in first season as the Philadelphia Phillies’ manager struggling to make sense of the team’s troubles this season. A 6-0 drubbing of the equally dismal New York Mets may well have provided Sandberg and his managerial staff with some respite , but the front office cannot be entirely happy with what they have witnessed from the team over the course of this season.

Phillies’ joint general managers Reuben Amaro Jr and Pat Gillick are likely to make some drastic cost cutting moves, while seeking to pave the way for next season. Out of the postseason hunt as well as a divisional race, it only makes sense for the organization to simply implode the team and trade-off needless pieces. Certainly, the two executives are likely to listen to reasonable offers several players thought to be likely targets for teams in need of some pitching as well as a productive bat. At the top of the list might well be pitcher Cole Hamels along with his teammate Ryan Howard, albeit , I now feel no Phillies’ player is likely to off the table given the plight of the franchise and what they seek in return. The Phillies’ farm system is said to be a very good one , but I get the impression neither Gillick or Amaro are yet ready to anoint anyone there, ready to be called up to the Majors. Philadelphia will resume their series with the New York Mets on Wednesday afternoon at Citi-Field with Kyle Kendrick taking the mound for the visiting team against Zack Wheeler of the Mets in a National League contest .

As an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves, my biggest disappointment was to see the team falter under a great deal of expectation during the 2013 MLB postseason . Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves easily won the NL East with a least of effort and the belief was after years of false hope they were indeed ready to return to the wondrous heights of success achieved under former manager Bobby Cox . With Cox now inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame this past Saturday, alongside five other distinguished members , it would be fascinating to see Braves perhaps make a spirited effort to make another return to the postseason in honor of the franchise’s most distinguished manager.

This season the Braves have not lived up to or shown the form many had expected, with the Washington Nationals now perhaps seen as the presumptive favorites to take the NL East with first-year manager Matt Williams having a great deal of success with his team . Braves’ GM Frank Wren , if it his intent to have the team make the postseason, then there is the possibility he might well seek to bolster the lineup by making several changes by way of a trade or demoting a member of the starting lineup by bringing up someone from within their farm system. Consistency has been the thing lacking with the Atlanta Braves over the course of this season where their longest winning streak being nine games and a losing streak of seven games. If the team are to be viewed in any way, as a credible contender for the NL Pennant much less the World Series then Fredi Gonzalez will have to get his players playing with a great deal more zeal than has been shown through the first half of the season. BJ Upton , Aaron Harang, Mike Minor , Julio Teheran , Jason Heyward, Evan Gattis , Justin Upton and Ervin Santana will have to prove to the fans and public alike they can be viewed as one of the teams to beat within the NL during the second half of the season.

Atlanta will renew an old rivalry when they are the guests of the high-flying Los Angeles at Dodgers Ballpark over the next two days , with the first game taking place on Wednesday afternoon. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of the two contests will be, as the Dodgers are seeking to fend off the challenge of the San Francisco Giants, with the two teams contesting the divisional supremacy within the NL West . For Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly , this might well be the last chance he will be given to take this team deep into the postseason. With a payroll close to a quarter of a billion dollars , the common thought in most circles are that , managing partners Magic Johnson , Peter Guber and Mark Walter may well have given the manager their blessing , but one more misstep could lead to his ouster as the manager of this highly paid team. Players Matt Kemp , Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier are just three of the names being bandied about as the organization seeks to bolster the lineup . Kemp, Crawford and Ethier trade bait might have seem highly improbable a month ago, but such are the ambitions of the Dodgers , that nothing now seems off the table in terms of fulfilling those ambitions. I firmly believe the greatest pressure rests squarely upon the shoulders of Don Mattingly and his managerial staff to succeed, but as usual, the players are not seen as the last resort for failure, yet , it has always been the manager who is left to be seen as the culprit, when all else fails.

Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti may have initially been blessed with an enviable task of presiding over the task of assembling this team under the watchful eye of team President Stan Kasten , but I cannot help wonder, if either executive thought winning a World Series for this baseball club would prove to be so difficult. Last season’s failure in the NLCS was so embarrassing , but a twenty-five year absence from the showcase finale itself, has proven to be equally undermining for the organization as well. I have no doubt there will be some takers for the talents of Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, because this has simply been the way the game of baseball has tended to run.

It has been a long time since a current World Series’ champion has fared so badly in the defense of their title. Yet witnessing the fall from grace of the Boston Red Sox this season has proven to be so embarrassing and unexpected. This team has failed to show any life whatsoever and it is hard to point out one positive aspect to the Red Sox’s play over the course of this year. I am not about to suggest John Farrell is an extremely bad manager, but it would seem beyond the aspect of his having caught just about everyone off-guard during the postseason, 2014 has been littered with surprises by way of the lack of enthusiasm being shown by the Red Sox players. It were as if they are ready to rest on their laurels, with the evidence of 2013 being the measure of their success. David Ortiz seems to be a shadow of the player witnessed in the postseason , when he won the World Series’ MVP . Likewise the same can be said of many of his teammates from that roster who still remain current members of the Red Sox lineup.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has a great deal to think about concerning the immediate and long-term future of the franchise. Rumored to be on the trade block are pitchers Jon Lester , John Lackey , Burke Badenhop and a number of outfielders on the roster. Fire sale, might one ask ? The Boston Red now are not the Red Sox old ,who between 2004 through to 2010 were so dominant , but then came the era of Bobby Valentine before things got turned upside down. Valentine’s subsequent firing led to John Farrell’s introduction as the manager with a World Series’ title coming in his first season as the manager. The expectations for this season were high, but the reality has been one of abysmal mediocrity and little evidence to suggest the players are motivated to turn things around. I have no doubt in my mind this team will be imploded with several mainstays from last season being jettisoned , with John Farrell and the managerial staff looking to the farm system and acquisitions as the ball-club looks to the future.

It is also that time of year again and the fans of the Tampa Bay Rays wait with bated breath concerning the next episode concerning the franchise come the trade deadline. All Star and Cy Young Award winner David Price is once again the scene of a number of speculative rumors concerning his future. Joe Maddon has been saying the right things concerning the player and his wish to see him be retained, but in all probability with this franchise, simply not willing to pay the player his worth , it would be in their best interest to seek the best offer available for one of the AL’S best pitchers. Claims as to Price being a top-five pitcher in baseball are vastly exaggerated, but what would we come to expect of the Rays’ fans to begin with , much less fans who claim to be in the know concerning the game of baseball?

It would be fair to suggest the Tampa Bay Rays have failed to deliver on all counts this season their record is simply another indication of that reason. No more continuous excuses of the organization being paupers, because it is now time to put up or simply shut the hell up , once and for all. The continued apathy of the fan-base has played an even bigger part in this dilemma of the continued belief, the team has always been good enough to contend . An AL pennant and a sole appearance in the World Series and all of a sudden, the Tampa Bay Rays were considered “world beaters” . Well their fall back to earth has been quick and the organization has been exposed as one of aimlessly heading nowhere, where their sole assets are the acumen of Andrew Friedman and manager Joe Maddon. Beyond that, there has been very little to suggest the Rays can be considered perennial contenders, much less lacking real leadership among the playing staff . If anyone can point to their being a vocal leader on the roster, much less the player leading by example , then I would like to hear or see the name of the player in question be mentioned and the reasoning behind the choice in question?

Yet with the news revealed today (Thursday) at the trade deadline, a decision was made to trade David Price to the Detroit Tigers , this further emphasizes that the franchise has now given up on their season and are now looking ahead to their long-term future. It may not be too long, before they are likely to contemplate trading away Evan Longoria who in many respects has been nothing more than a figurehead for the baseball franchise and little else beyond that. When and if such a scenario should happen, it will be interesting to see how this is played out and viewed by Rays’ fans within the area as well as nationwide.

The Rays’ first game without their Cy Young Award winning pitcher will be a contest against the Los Angeles Angels in a match-up to be played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida. How the team performs in this game could tell us a great deal about the determination of the players over the second half of the season. A divisional title is out of their reach and only the implosion of several of the teams ahead of them in the wildcard standings would be of benefit to Joe Maddon’s players and their chances of making the postseason. Beyond that , I do not believe there is much more that needs to be said !

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Picture gallery .

In your honest opinion who do you believe benefits the most at this time of the year in terms of the trades made within baseball ? Is the teams giving up a major impact player on their roster or the recipients of the transactions in question? Simply leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe to be of importance with regard to the subject.

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Philadelphia Phillies’ GM Reuben Amaro Jr is seen here with team manager Ryne Sandberg as the tow watch members of the team in the outfield during warmups prior to a Spring Training game . This season for the Phillies has been an unmitigated disaster with the team barely competitive within the NL East or the NL wildcard standings . Some major decisions are likely to be made concerning the future makeup of the roster as it enters the second half of the season. AP Photo/ Paul Garnett …

(2) Tony Gwynn Jr of the Philadelphia Phillies was released by the franchise at the trade deadline in what was seen as the first of many moves likely to be taken by the organization between now and the end of the season. Gwynn’s father , Tony Gwynn Sr a seven-time NL batting champion and Hall of Fame inductee died earlier this year from cancer. AP Photo/ Sandra Potter ….

(3) Emilio Bonifacio of the Chicago Cubs was traded by the organization to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday afternoon. For the Cubs simply another milestone in another recent lackluster season for the ball-club. Getty Images North America/ Hugh Perez …

(4) Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly is seen here alongside the team’s batting instructor Mark McGwire as they look on from the dugout during a game played at Dodgers’ Ballpark in Los Angeles , California earlier this season. With a bloated $241 million payroll, high expectations await the franchise over the remainder of this season . Failure and some major decisions are likely to be made by team President Stan Kasten and GM Ned Colletti . AP Photo/ Ben Thompson ….

(5) Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester who was dealt by the team to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes . Boston appears to be unloading a players with a view to lowering their payroll while placing an emphasis on their farm system for the future and actively seeking out bargains by way of productive players who can aid them in their task ahead. AP Photo/ Chris Charles …

(6) BOSTON, MA – JULY 29: David Price (14) of the Tampa Bay Rays smiles after he gives up the second hit of the night, a home run , to rookie Brandon Snyder (23) of the Boston Red Sox in the 6th inning of a game played at Fenway Park on July 29, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts . Price was dealt by the Rays to the Detroit Tigers , in what has to be considered another sad chapter in the franchise’s history in their turnover of star players, dealt away . Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images ……

(7) Detroit Tigers’ owner Michael Ilitch left and team GM Dave Dombrowski are seen here addressing members of the press during a preseason meeting concerning their thoughts on the season. Dombrowski and Tampa Bay Rays’ counterpart Andrew Friedman engineered the trade that brought David Price to the AL Central contenders and may well have strengthened their position to keep that divisional title. Getty Images/ Kent Turner …

(8) Tampa Bay Rays’ player Evan Longoria is seen here with Rays’ senior executives , GM Andrew Friedman , Matthew Silverman and senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg . After a great deal of consultation between the trio and manager Joe Maddon the decision was made to send David Price to the Detroit Tigers. Fans will get their voice to show their approval or disapproval of this deal when the team plays host to Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels this Friday at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida . AP Photo / Dave Mason …

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MLB news and press releases

MLB teams’ transactions

MLB team payrolls

MLB free agents

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule three days at a glance

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results

This week in MLB history and on this day in baseball .

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And today’s double-header will be headed by Julie’s assets .


Nor even my “kicks” ever looked this good !

Posted in Baseball, Baseball Hall of Fame, http://wp.me/poxLH-99a, MLB, MLB trades (Trade deadline 2014), Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

You can only pile the shit up so high before considering having to move it ..


You can only pile the shit up so high before considering having to move it ..

If things were not bad enough in the world of sports I suppose we can be thankful the only arena where there might be continually more incompetence being shown remains within the federal government and the lack of productivity among the legislators up on Capitol Hill in Washington ,DC. President Barack Obama is calling for a cease-fire on the Gaza Strip as well as the West Bank of Israel, but neither this President or the Congress has any idea about underlying causes that are now rampant within the state of Israel. With that being said, I do not believe the US or Secretary of State John Kerry can negotiate a long-lasting peaceful solution to the troubles that bedevil the Middle Eastern nation. Neither the Knesset or Hamas are willing to make any type of concession, to end the turmoil in the country. Likewise, a similar situation is now occurring within the NFL, and the idiotic statements attributed to former head coach Tony Dungy and his thoughts on the drafting of Missouri Tigers’ player Michael Sam . Dungy , an avowed Christian , perhaps is missing one of the traits often espoused by Christians and it is one of tolerance , but yet his statement seems to permeate through what is and will remain a totally bigoted league (NFL) , where there remains a great deal of hypocrisy by its leadership and within the NFLPA (Players’ Union).

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Slideshow .

As if to further emphasize why the NFL remains out of touch, the two-game suspension of Ray Rice by Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to show why a league which has very little respect for women cannot be taken seriously under any circumstance. The actions of Rice , in the battery of his wife , Jenay Rice , was beyond contemptible, but many were seeking to excuse this act somehow, by suggesting the security film seen by the league was in some way a justification for the player’s actions. Any man seeking to lay his hand on a woman should be seen as a coward and insignificant piece of shit ! As if to add further insult to injury ESPN analyst and journalist Stephen A Smith suggests women tend to be far too often the cause of domestic violence because they simply do not understand the pressure a professional athlete is continually placed under. This idiotic statement shows Smith not only to be a damn fool but someone who clearly has no idea about what the hell he is actually talking about Not only has he embarrassed himself but also the broadcast outlet (ESPN) where he is employed as an analyst and co-host. Women are the primary victims of abuse in a family where the incidents of domestic abuse involved two adults . something it seems not to have been a reason with Stephen A Smith’s asinine statement and claims . Who the f#ck is this guy to begin with and what are his qualifications as an alleged journalist ?

Having recanted his statement, the broadcast host has now sought to lessen the impact of his words by issuing an apology over two media platforms in using both Twitter and the sports’ broadcast outlet, to issue what he says is a profound apology. I sometimes wonder if Stephen A Smith actually thinks before he makes a rather ridiculous statement? Or is that type of idiocy not only representative of the media in general and the view of most men within the area of journalism as well as the NFL Misogyny , now seems to be the norm and the Rice story was simply glossed over by the media as well as by the league itself. As for Tony Dungy’s views, well what should we actually expect of someone who in spite of his recent personal misfortunes tends to be so full of himself, in believing he represents what is so right about the NFL? I have yet to hear the former head coach, question the lack of leadership from within the NFL hierarchy and their handling of the mistreatment of veteran players, their lack of receiving benefit wrongfully denied them by the NFL. Dungy , like NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell simply represents what is wrong with the NFL from the grown up to its upper echelons, without having to deal with the continued stupidity of the union.

The NFL will continue to shoot itself in the foot with its lack of leadership , accountability among the players and where DeMaurice Smith holds sway over Roger Goodell , without the duo actually sharing any type of consensus about what are said to be in the best interests of the NFL. Long may the league, reign but in the long run its fall from grace, will be of its own making and conceitedness and lack of moral values.

Adolpho Birch , Assistant Chief Legal Counsel and SVP for the NFL Labor Policy Board, as if to show the ongoing stupidity permeating within the league. suggests the NFL in no way condones the abuse of women or the behavior of the players found guilty of such an act. Unless I am mistaken, Ray Rice was given a pass by the justice system with the only punishment rendered. The player would have to undergo an anger management class., as ordered by the district attorney prosecuting the case, which was upheld by the presiding judge and agreed to , as part of a plea agreement between the player’s attorney and those representing the state of Nevada.

Not to be outdone when it comes to showing sheer stupidity , the NBA remains in a quagmire of its very own filth and garbage. The probate trial , where Donald Sterling and his wife , Rochelle Stein-Sterling contest the ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers now seems to be winding down in the courts. The verdict and outcome will be in the hands of a jury who might well have been bored out of their minds as a billionaire franchise owner and his equally apathetic wife fight over their matrimonial assets of which the basketball franchise is a mere bauble in the estimated $ 3.5 multi-billion fortune of the octogenarian. The longer this battle lasts, the more odious this whole matter remains and a great deal of it came at the league’s own making , with them having failed to reprimand Donald Sterling , sternly and with the severity his actions deserved. Adam Silver and his predecessor David Stern on a good day , are barely able to show any fu#king intelligence , but anal retentive fans are quick to jump and point to one or two positives achieved within the league. In many respects . I liken those actions to an idiot who suggest that while slavery was a bad thing, there were so many positives in subjugating a race to despicable conditions for the greater good. Now today, we can see what the greater good actually means when race relations in the US still remains a fu#king joke , with apathy being shown by so many Caucasians living with the delusion, that great strides have been made. LOL, LOL, LOL! Does that mean Donald Sterling and Rich DeVos are the poster children for the advances made without this asinine believe charitable monetary donations to a specific group makes their behavior all the more acceptable? Are sports’ fans in this country, that fu#king docile and extremely stupid?

If Donald Sterling proves to be successful in overturning the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, then the damage done to the league will be irrevocable and could very well lead to Steve Ballmer dropping his $2 billion bid for the franchise altogether. Where this would leave the NBA as they rush to seek an alternative buyer for the Clippers would definitely cause a great deal of consternation among the NBA’s fraternity and the union (NPBA). Chris Paul as the President of the NBPA and the point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers has stated his willingness to sit out the entire regular season , were Donald Sterling successful in retaining control of the Clippers. The player has voiced his concerns with head coach and Team President Doc Rivers , who has himself repeatedly voiced his concerns with regard to this ongoing issue. From my own standpoint, this whole matter has been poorly handled by the league, where the questionable decisions made by both Adam Silver and David Stern, has repeatedly shown how out of touch this institution just happens to be. Stern’s ignorance in failing to severely reprimand Donald Sterling and other owners for their repeated egregious behavior sends the wrong message, albeit, Adam Silver’s own decision to ban Sterling was met with wide approval, one has to ask why did it take so long for the league to act? In the case where a players’ actions are said to have brought the game into disrepute, the NBA has been all too quick to give punishment they believe to be fitting, yet the likes of Rich DeVos and Donald Sterling were allowed a pass , while fans excused their behavior with apathetic niceties and idiotic excuses.

With a number of high profiled players now suggesting their wish to forestall the start of the regular season if Donald Sterling remains as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. It is not a scenario I believe will actually happen , not with their being so much on the line from a financial standpoint and the league itself as it would stand to lose tens of millions in revenues over a prolonged period of time. The NBPA itself, remains in a quagmire , with no Executive Director to take care of the union’s day to day administrative duties. Former Phoenix Suns’ point guard and current Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson is known to have shown an interest in succeeding Billy Hunter, who was fired from the position after a vote of “no confidence” in the former union executive. Financial irregularities asides and claims of grand larceny and fraud within the union hierarchy, with the allegations directly for Hunter ,it is clear the union and the league itself are in complete shambles. And simply because, we saw the fall from grace of the overrated Miami Heat this past season , it does mean not mean the regular and postseason were a resounding success for the NBA. In the aftermath of the NBA’s showcase finale, LeBron James has folded his tent, cried off and of his wanting to return home to where his professional NBA started , by returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Pat Riley and the Miami Heat are left to start afresh with a team that is likely to be lacking in leadership and in no shape or form are they likely to be viewed as a conference favorite this upcoming season in the league.

LeBron James’ decision might well have been surprising , at least, there was not a bile inducing interview granted , but once again, the story was simply about a player who seeks to be the focal point among his peers, while showing little respect for the game, albeit, that his supporters continue to treat him like a deity. LeBron’s reconnecting with Cleveland I believe had more to do with his dissatisfaction with the Miami Heat organization , the lackluster efforts of Pat Riley to bolster the roster during the run-up to the trade deadline, and their being very little help provided by way of teammates Ray Allen , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade .

The Cleveland Cavaliers with the return of LeBron James to play alongside Kyrie Irving provides a formidable one-two punch for the team as they also remain firm favorites to acquire Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love . Timberwolves’ owner Glen Taylor and Head of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders now have a serious decision to make related to the future of their franchise and Love’s long-term future. There is the growing belief that Love would rather join the Cleveland Cavaliers as it provides him with the best opportunity to win an NBA title now, rather than later. The Chicago Bulls and John Paxson , are likely to make just as desired a push to land the only remaining high-profiled marquee free agent currently on the market. Both teams can make a lucrative offer to the power forward , an offer which would most definitely make his financial future thoroughly secure.

Dan Gilbert and LeBron James may well have buried the hatchet, but the biggest problem could lie in the acumen shown by David Blatt , who as the team’s rookie head coach will be asked to coach the team, bringing along a completely new coaching staff and building a trusted relationship with the franchise’s greatest player in its history . Blatt may well be seen as an upgrade over Mike Brown , but I believe Gilbert and the front office not only erred in the firing of Mike Brown but it also showed how clueless the owner and the organization were said to be and still remain to this day. If James’ return falls short of expectations and an NBA title , then the blame will be squarely placed on the shoulders of the player , LeBron James and the Cavaliers’ owner. Both are extremely conceited, while one could state they are ambitious, yet there has nothing to suggest either cares about anything beyond the limits of the game. James has been packaged of his own choosing by agents and litany of supporters , with a view to reaping millions annually. Whereas , Dan Gilbert wants to be taken as a serious power broker and owner within the NBA, when in reality he is at the bottom of the totem pole seeking more visibility for himself and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As good as I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers are likely to be, they could very well face a tough task getting by the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers . This upcoming season will tell us a great deal about the mindset of a newly revamped Cavaliers’ team but also the direction of the NBA and the path it seeks to navigate under the leadership of Adam Silver. Leadership under David Stern was sporadic and very inconsistent , but repeatedly praise was heaped upon Silver’s predecessor for some of the most asinine of reasons, claiming his tenure was of great benefit to the NBA. The evidence is there to suggest to the contrary, but as usual in a world where money seems to “trump everything” , that was the sole purpose for many to come out in support of David Stern.

This past Saturday, Major League Baseball might well have surpassed itself with perhaps the best induction class over the past ten years, with the enshrinement of six luminaries of the game. The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York had the privilege of adding the names of Greg Maddux , Tom Glavine , Frank Thomas, Tony La Russa , Bobby Cox and Joe Torre to their list of baseball greats. We can only be thankful the likes of Barry Bonds ,Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, while eligible , are unlikely to be inducted unless the idiots within the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) should they have a change of heart, which is something this institution is quite capable of doing, given their lack of integrity to begin with.

Baseball still has a long way to go before it rids itself of the recurring nightmare of widespread steroid use within the game, where it has now reached epidemic proportions at the Minor League Level without being subjecting ourselves to the recent stories concerning both Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez . The departure of Derek Jeter from the game as he enters his last season within baseball, will initially leave a void, but it is hoped Mike Trout will be able to fill that void and succeed the New York Yankees’ captain in becoming the face of the game over the next ten to fifteen years. Trout’s and baseball success is dependent upon that, because no other player currently within the game is more well-liked or has the charisma to draw fans to baseball. Certainly not Evan Longoria , David Wright, Yasiel Puig , Miguel Cabrera , Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols , Clayton Kershaw , Justin Verlander or Bryce Harper for that matter. Baseball is now in dire need of a player to look up to , respect and actually drawn to. Trout now fits the bill , but it remains to be seen whether he is able to have success at the highest levels of the game by way of postseason appearances and winning a World Series’ title with the Los Angeles Angels. Bud Selig has to be wondering what he can do to make it all a reality, but to my mind the game of baseball would be best served if the commissioner were to now step down, with his successor being totally the opposite of the present incumbent .

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(1) Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy found himself at the center of a firestorm when he suggested he would not have drafted openly gay player Michael Sam in this year’s NFL Draft because of the adverse publicity it would cause his team . Dungy as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers seems to have forgotten the behavior of then Bucs’ defensive player Warren Sapp who on two separate occasions was charged with domestic violence , but was not reprimanded severely by Dungy or the league , only for Sapp to ordered to take an anger management class by the local authorities . Once again hypocrisy arises in the most expected of places within the NFL and among someone who is said to be a devout Christian. AP Photo / Paul Henderson ….

(2) Seen here in the Oval Office are President Barack Obama left , Secretary of State John Kerry and pictured in the background former NSA Adviser Susan Rice . Getty Images North America / Patrick Thomas ……

(3) ESPN NBA analyst and sports’ program host <u< Stephen A Smith who after a rather idiotic and insensitive remark issued a less than forthright and contrite apology concerning his remarks where he stated women often were the cause of spousal abuse by simply bring on such incidents upon themselves. Smith’s fellow on air host Michelle Beadle called out her fellow employee for being callous and lacking any type of understanding as to the violence endured by women after such an incident . Smith suggested his words were misconstrued and he could have better communicated his thoughts by being more concise . More often than not , Stephen A Smith has never been one, to be more thoughtful when it comes to expressing himself , while only seeking to make himself the centerpiece for a great deal of his often idiotic diatribe. ESPN @ all rights reserved ….

(4) Adolpho Birch , Assistant Chief Legal Counsel & SVP of the NFL’s Labor Policy Board has been the only NFL executive to publicly address the suspension of Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice . It begs the question why has Roger Goodell not seen fit to discuss the matter himself , rather than leaving it to a subordinate to make a statement on the NFL’s behalf ? AP Photo / Christina Mathis …

(5) Donald Sterling is seen here with his now estranged wife Rochelle ” Shelley ” Stein-Sterling. The two fought a contentious probate battle in a California District Court which saw the judge siding with the defendant Rochelle Sterling in her battle to regain control of the Los Angeles Clippers and thereby going ahead with the $ 2 billion sale of the franchise to former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer . Donald Sterling for his part has vowed to fight on , stating he will seek to have the verdict overturned in the Appellate Court in the State of California . The NBA hopes to complete the sale of the team by August 15th , with Ballmer taking over the franchise as the NBA’s newest owner . AP Photo / Vic Ford …

(6) The hatchet may well have been buried between Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner , Dan Gilbert left and LeBron James with the player having only signed a two-year $42.10 million contract with the franchise as they pursue an NBA title this upcoming season with new head coach David Blatt .UPI/ Tracey Miller ….

(7) Three of the six Hall of Fame inductees are seen here in Cooperstown New York, where the class of 2014 was headed by Tom Glavine , left, Greg Maddux , far right and Frank Thomas , center , Bobby Cox , Tony La Russa and Joe Torre . The class of 2015 will have several controversial names eligible for induction, but it remains to seen whether or not the BBWAA will stick to their resolve of not voting in a player associated with the steroid era of baseball. Courtesy of MLB Properties LLC …..

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Things you don’t do when trying to be taken seriously ….

Things you don’t do when trying to be taken seriously

In the past few days a great deal has happened in the world sports and in the NFL , the biggest story might be Pat Bowlem’s decision to relinquish control of the Denver Broncos , as he battles Alzheimer’s disease. The tragedy here , is the fact Bowlem might not see his team battle through the season , as they seek to put last year’s debacle behind them. On the wrong side of one of the worst defeats in Superbowl history, the Denver Broncos as led by the coaching staff of Jon Fox and play-making leadership of Peyton Manning . The team will this upcoming season be playing for a great deal more than pride as they seek to avenge a dismal postseason and a Superbowl loss.

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After being dismantled by the Seattle Seahawks so clinically in last season’s Superbowl, I am not so sure the Broncos still remain the best team in the AFC , in spite of last season’s record. They are likely to be seen as a prohibitive favorite to return to the postseason along with the always competitive New England Patriots as led by Tom Brady . For both Manning and Brady, the opportunities for them to add to their legacy, in terms of the postseason are quickly diminishing. The two quarterbacks over the last decade have been the face of the NFL, and as their careers approach the twilight years , it is hard to question their respective legacies and where they stand in the annals of NFL history .

With Joe Ellis now taking over the role as the Chief Executive Officer of the Denver Broncos with John Elway remaining the Head of Football Operations, it remains to be seen how focused this organization will remain , while the drama unfolds over the course of the season. The first four games of the Denver Broncos of their regular season schedule should tell us a great deal about the mindset of the team and the franchise in general. Week one will see the Broncos play host to the Indianapolis Colts in all AFC clash , where Peyton Manning will take another shot at his former team. Once again the Colts’ Andrew Luck will get to renew an old rivalry against his idol. Luck will also be looking to show that the faith placed in him by the front office of the Indianapolis Colts was more than justified when he was made the number one pick in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft .

Now don’t get me wrong, I am for athletes getting their due rewards when they are productive and have led by example but far too often we see hear and see at the professional level a player wanting to “opt out of a contract” or fail to turn up for a mandatory team activity. This is being done to force a point with management that they believe they deserve a raise. In the real world, this sort of behavior would not be tolerated by an employer let alone a branch of military service but yet sports’ analysts and fans alike continue to come up with this idiocy of, if they deserve it then they should be paid what the market can bear. What can the market really bear as according the NFL much less baseball, especially in the case of the latter where MLB’s finances and pay scales are so out of whack as it relates to the teams ? I have read several pieces by individuals who claim to have knowledge of finance, but if they were asked to explain succinctly a pro-forma invoice or balance sheet they would fall flat on their ass, in giving you exact details how either of the principles work concerning either of the financial documents in question.

The San Francisco 49ers’ tight end Vernon Davis has decided to sit out the Niners’ organized team activities (OTA’s) in the lead-up to the preseason , regular season and thereby costing himself in excess of $750,000 in fines and salary.. A small price to pay for the player who believes he is worth a great deal more than the Niners are willing to pay him now and where Davis believes he should be at or near the top of the pay scale for someone who plays the position .

Davis has been one of the more productive players for the San Francisco 49ers’ offense over the past two seasons and a primary reason why Colin Kaepernick has also been a success for the franchise since his ascent to the quarterback position for this team. As potent as the Niners’ offense is said to be, there remains, a question concerning the team’s secondary. While I believe Vernon Davis to be a very solid tight end it would be hard to suggest the player deserves to be rewarded as the highest paid player at the position within the NFL.GM Trent Baalke fully understands what has to take place concerning this matter, while Davis has seen his teammate Colin Kapernick being well rewarded for his productivity as a member of the franchise. Not really a perplexing dilemma, but certainly one worth observing over the upcoming months as we enter the preseason.

It will be interesting to see how the San Francisco 49ers maneuver through this season especially in terms of their divisional contests with the Seattle Seahawks over the course of the year. The rivalry between these two NFC West franchises might just be the best thing the NFL now has to offer their fans. For opposing quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, we will also get to see the furthering of the maturation process of both of these young players, as each takes the next step in the furthering of their young careers. Weeks’ thirteen and fifteen will signify what we could very well expect during this season as the contests between the two teams take place.

As LeBron James once again seeks to reinvent himself, I cannot help but wonder what the thought process might be inside the front office of the Miami Heat and James’ now former teammates. Team President Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison had to be been banking on retaining the services of the team’s best player during 2013. As to this idiocy that James was admirably aided by Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade can be best summed up by looking at the individual game stats for the two players in question and their performances during the postseason. The decision by the four-time League MVP to make a return to Cleveland and rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers was a blow to the fans of the Miami Heat and a boost for the fans of the Cavaliers, while there will be a boost in season ticket and memorabilia sales. Either way, James will profit, as will the Cavaliers as a franchise, while Miami can only imagine what is likely to be next. From my own perspective , I believe both teams will contest within the conference, but neither I believe , will be the conference representative for the NBA Finals during the 2014-15 season.

Pat Riley, in seeking to undo the damage done, with James’ departure, sought to revamp the roster by bringing in seasoned veterans Danny Granger and Luol Deng without addressing their obtaining Shabazz Napier during the NBA Draft. Clearly, Riley and the coaching staff misjudged LeBron James’ feelings and the very fact he was dissatisfied with his teammates and the lack of real ambition by the front office in general. In reality, this was the monster created by the executive, which James , Bosh and Wade gladly sold to the fans and public alike without looking at the future . LeBron James’ little ditty, in wanting to win multiple championships fell short of the five or six, he sought and two does something of a meager return after four straight appearances in the NBA Finals. Last season’s lopsided and totally embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs spelled out not only the complacency of the Heat but also the franchise .

For the second time in five years, LeBron James has thrust his now tired shtick into the spotlight , while the NBA becomes enraptured with the player, most notably, the analyst provocateurs with nothing better to do, than pile their slop on now what has become a tiresome chapter in James’ legacy. History may well go on to suggest that he was the best of his generation, but about where he might lie among the all-time greats remains to be seen. I believe him to be an incredible talent , but as with so many of today’s athletes , he has been packaged and sold like any consumer product that after time becomes of no use to anyone whatsoever.

As baseball meanders through the second half of its season we can already see which teams are unlikely to make a divisional run or obtain a wildcard berth for the two spots available within each league. One contributor within the blogging world in trying to shed light on the travails of the New York Mets opined on the issue of the baseball franchise building for the future and the likelihood of being credible contenders next season. Over the past six seasons the New Yorks Mets have simply an aberration barely worth talking about. The front office of the franchise is simply bereft of creativity and the team is managed by someone who is completely out of his depth . Yet, we are meant to think the Mets can amount to something with Terry Collins and his staff leading this baseball club when they are clearly struggling in just about every aspect of their game . The results and their record have borne this out over the course of this season, but shortsightedness comes along with the idiotic ranting of an alleged baseball fan, who clearly has no idea about what the hell he has watched concerning the New York Mets.

As of the 23rd July the New York Mets’ record of 48-53 (.475) had the team playing sub 500 baseball, which simply tells what the club has been about for much of this season. In 2013, it was pitcher Matt Harvey, who the fans seem to a think would bring the Mets out of their continued rut, but things were not to be as they fell by the wayside once again. Sitting in third place , within the NL East behind the Washington National and Atlanta Braves the Mets are out of the running for the divisional crown and granted their fans are likely to be looking to next season for the team to make credible challenge because of the talent gathered within their farm system over the past few seasons . It is my belief, if the team is still struggling now as they have been over the past four seasons , when there was said to be treasure trove of players being developed among their AA and AAA affiliates , without their being any major contributions having been promoted up to the Major League Level. Why would anyone now believe the New York Mets are ready to make a serious challenge within the NL?

Winners of six of their last ten games, where the New York Mets now go from here is solely dependent upon the leadership shown by the more experienced players on the roster. David Wright , while being an All Star , is merely the poor man’s version of Derek Jeter within the NL and with teammates such as Bartolo Colon , Curtis Granderson , Chris Young , Lucas Duda , Daniel Murphy and Bobby Abreu , it is hard to imagine how the team in its present guise could be seen as a credible challenger within their division, much less at some point in the future.

Front office executives Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi have yet to pull a rabbit from beyond their sleeves much less out of a hat , yet there was this continued thought, both executives would have a strategy in place to turn things around effectively for this franchise. The fans continue to wait , much like the rest of baseball as the New York Mets simply continue to swoon.

The Mets’ last postseason appearance came in 2006 , where they made it to the NLCS , only to fall to the St Louis Cardinals in seven games . Since then the years have not at all been kind to the poorer of the two New York based baseball franchises. Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon are still looked upon as pariahs and parasites around Major League Baseball and with very good reason , except in the eyes of a clown such as Bud Selig .

Amed Rosario, Noah Syndergaard , Brandon Nimmo , Kevin Plawecki and Cesar Puello may well make their mark within the game of baseball, but I seriously doubt that it will be for the New York Mets, not while this current management structure is in place. And where repeatedly, over the past six seasons the transactions of the organization have become something of a joke all-round. , along with a number of dubious draft choices during the time-frame in question.

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Of the points raised within this article , specifically, what do you believe might be the most pertinent? Of the unfolding stories now happening in the world of sports , which tidbit has your undivided attention ? Chime with your thoughts as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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(1) Joe Ellis of the Denver Broncos, who will now become the CEO for the NFL franchise with the departure of Pat Bowlem due to health issues . AP Photo / Garrett Holmes ….

(2) From left to right, Pat Bowlem , Peyton Manning and John Elway are seen here at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado , home to the AFC West based Denver Broncos. Getty Images North America / Harry Howe …

(3) Andrew Luck (12) if the Indianapolis Colts is proving to just as good as first thought, by many of the NFL analysts and prognosticators who analyzed the 2012 NFL Draft . AP Photo/ James Mackie ….

(4) San Francisco 49ers’ tight end , Vernon Davis who has chosen to miss a number of the team’s mandatory OTA’s as he seeks to negotiate a new contract that would make him among the highest paid players at the position within the NFL . Davis has already incurred several thousand dollars in fines , because of his stance and it remains to be seen what other actions might be taken by the franchise against their versatile player. AP Photo /Barry Hines …

(5) Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert call now afford to smile having negotiated the return of LeBron James to once again play for the Eastern Conference based franchise. Cavaliers’ fans are hoping James can regain the form seen at the start of his career with the team. AP Photo/ Gayle Cunningham …

(6) Curtis Granderson left is seen here with teammate David Wright of the New York Mets . AP Photo / Chris Jones ……..

(7) New York Mets’ minor league pitcher Noah Syndergaard , who was drafted in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays . AP Photo / Marc Harper …..

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Playboy model Regina Deutinger .

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You can fool the people some of the time but the anal retentive just deserve to be fooled and embarrassed all of the time ………..that is why the NFL exists .

You can fool the people some of the time but the anal retentive , just deserve to be fooled and embarrassed all of the time ………..that is why the NFL exists .

The NFL season is over two months away but the preseason begins in earnest in August with the Hall of Fame game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants to be played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park , New York. With that would come and then the induction of the latest batch of NFL greats and their eagerly awaited enshrinement in Canton, Ohio,. Meanwhile , we have NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft , still trying to sell the public on the merits of having a franchise in the city of Los Angeles. Also at some point in the immediate future, it is their wish to see a franchise in the United Kingdom , specifically in London , the financial heartbeat of the nation and one of the world’s financial centers.

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I have always found the NFL to be a behemoth, whose only concern has been to make money, where the owners are nothing more than parasites , the union (NFLPA-Players’ Union) lacking compassion and understanding. Roger Goodell remains a poor choice as the league’s highest ranking executive , but that in part was initiated with his being chosen as the heir-apparent to Paul Tagliabue , with Goodell’s predecessor, rubber-stamping the decision before a final vote was taken by the league hierarchy.

It would seem , neither Roger Goodell or Robert Kraft are concerned with the financial imperilment of the nation’s second largest city and where the officials within Los Angeles seem incapable of making a decision showing financial restraint. Perhaps, it is the main reason why the NFL would like the return of a franchise to the municipality under the ruse of the financial windfall to be claimed in the nation’s second largest advertising market. When broached on the subject, about who will actually finance the building of a venue to house this new or relocated franchise, neither NFL executive has been able to offer up a concise answer. I can only surmise, it is their wish to see the city offer up billions to make such a venue possible. Earlier endeavors to build a stadium venue in the greater Los Angeles area , have either failed , because of political infighting or because the proposers of such a deal did not have the financial backing or show the wherewithal to get the project off the ground.

One of the latest entrants in a bid to get the NFL back within the confines of the city of Los Angeles, just happens to be Magic Johnson , part owner in the Los Angeles Dodgers , whose primary owners, Guggenheim Baseball Properties LLC . The company is backed by the multi-billion dollar assets of venture capital firm Guggenheim Partners Inc , led by Todd S Boehly and Mark Walter. . The company is also reputed to be interested in making an unsolicited bid for AEG Worldwide , the entertainment and sports’ concessions company owns several pieces of prime real estate in the downtown Los Angeles area . Philip Anschutz , owner of AEG , is known to be interested in selling the company ,but not unless the proposed suitor is ready to meet a price believed to be in excess of $9 billion . I would rather see Johnson and his partners concentrate on bringing back a World Series’ title to Los Angeles than their seeking to reestablish the NFL back in the Los Angeles area. Besides professional sports within the city is almost at an all-time low with the NBA bedeviled by the ineptitude of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers’ ongoing incredulity , which has been handled with about as much foresight as a blind man playing with an explosive device. I would say the Los Angeles Kings has brought back a sense of pride to the city having won the Stanley Cup , but the NHL piques about as much interest today as a debate being conducted within the confines of the US Congress.

If the NFL is to return to the city of Los Angeles , then the matter will have to be dealt with as joint partnership between the league and the city. More often than not , such arrangements have been made with the NFL profiting from these type of arrangements , with them giving little in return to these municipalities nationwide . If you wish to see how acute the situation just happens to be , then simply look at the issues now being faced within the cities of Chicago and Detroit as a pointer about how dire things can become. Detroit remains in a state of financial disrepair , albeit, they are now seeking to resolve their financial woes though bankruptcy reorganization . Chicago is now bedeviled by a crime wave not seen since the days of Prohibition and Al Capone , with incumbent city mayor Rahm Emmanuel blaming the increasing gang violence on the perpetrators of the crimes in question , without acknowledging like a number of his recent predecessors , he has cut the budget of the city’s police force to try and solve Chicago’s budgetary woes.

I have read numerous pieces by patrons and contributors within the blogging world who claim the NFL is a for profit business without them actually failing to realize the league itself is set up as a not for profit entity , afforded antitrust status as well as tax exempt status in its dealings. What returns indicated to the IRS will clearly show miniscule profit if there is one to be shown , but their franchises are not afforded such luxuries. How little one knows , when only seeking to proffer up an opinion without ever taking time to do an ounce of research.The NFL leads and their fans will continually follow their lead , by eating up every morsel of garbage they are likely to serve up on a silver platter as an appetizing meal.

As the NFL has gained popularity abroad , you have to wonder why NFL Europe was such a bust . Millions of dollars were lost by the teams who sought to invest in the experiment with nothing tangible being gained in that very first sortie. The second time around through a media blitz and having regular season games scheduled in Europe, a small shift has occurred. Yet for all of the hopes and the dreams of not only Roger Goodell , Bob Kraft and even the rambunctious Jerry Jones , the league has not seen the traction they believed could be obtained . Seventy thousand fans packing Wembley Stadium in London might seem impressive, but consider the fact , the staging of such as game was not done to coincide with a Premierleague game scheduled within one of soccer’s elite leagues in Europe. You can always to try to turn a pig into a sow by dressing it up , but you cannot turn a sow into a pig . The NFL is seeking to do just that and is failing miserably on all counts. Having reached saturation point in terms of marketing the real issues that dogs Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy are the quality of the games, little real understanding of the markets where they are now seeking to reach , as well as the cultural differences they have to face in exposing the NFL to new markets and a new consumer.

Other than being remembered as the most popular NFL Draft in recent NFL history and exploits of sixth round draft pick Michael Sam , there would not have been anything memorable about the NFL’s staging of an event where the fans got to see the latest graduates to the world of professional football. Johnny Manziel had his dreams go up in smoke when he was not the first quarterback taken in this past draft. Perhaps, ” Johnny Football” can now join LeBron James in learning some humility, rather than always seeking to make themselves the centerpiece of a story. Sooner, rather than later, the fans tend to get sick and tired of it all.. I guess the city of Cleveland will now have something to look forward to , as both James and Manziel fight to be the top story on the sports’ pages of the newspapers within the city and state as well as nationwide ? That premise seems also likely as the television sports’ broadcast outlets, now begin to fawn over two, of perhaps the most polarizing figures in professional sports today.

The drafting of Johnny Manziel has provided the Cleveland Browns with some much-needed publicity, but yet team owner Jimmy Haslam remains the one NFL franchise owner whose custodianship of a team does not seem in jeopardy , in spite of the misdeeds of Haslam’s company and their being found guilty of defrauding many of their clients out of hundreds of millions of dollars . The slap on the wrist proffered up by the Justice System is another continued knock a legal system bereft of intelligence at the judiciary level. One should also take into account at the time of the legal undertakings against Haslam , he was in the midst of purchasing the Cleveland Browns and actually received the league’s blessing with their seal of approval. Whether or not the league itself sought a thorough investigation of Jimmy Haslam’s finances, character and acumen to own an NFL franchise is open to great deal of conjecture and debate.

The Browns will enter their season looking to put the era of Brandon Weeden in their rear view mirror. Cleveland’s loss is said to be Dallas Cowboys’ gain as they acquired the free agent quarterback during the off-season. I would like to once again thank Jerry Jones in fortifying my continued belief why he remains a blithering idiot ! Now head coach Jason Garrett can look across at his depth chart at the quarterback position , look to both Weeden and Tony Romo to lift the Cowboys out of their continued doldrums.

Johnny Manziel will have a great deal to prove as he seeks to make his mark in the NFL, but he is not likely to be the Cleveland Browns’ opening day starter in their first regular season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest to be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,. These two franchises have a great deal of history behind them , with their match-ups tending to be either eventful or a complete letdown. With the AFC North likely to be up for grabs this season it will be interesting to see how things play out for the teams within the division as the season unfolds.

Paying on potential or paying on merit, which is said to be the more prudent thing to do? To try and figure that out one might need to call on a senior member of MENSA because your sure as hell cannot rely on an NFL general manager or an owner to give a you a clear and concise to such a question. During the off-season the Chicago Bears in their infinite wisdom , saw fit to give their veteran quarterback a multi-year deal, that now makes Jay Cutler one of the highest paid players in the NFL in terms of annual salary and contract value ($126 million) . All this for quarterback whose postseason exploits seem envious when compared to those of Tony Romo’s but that is a discussion for another day .Now in light of Cutler’s reward there were those who questioned San Francisco 49ers’ general manager Trent Baalke offering the team’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick a comparable deal in a similar vein to salary pack of the Bears’ quarterback. Kaepernick has twice taken the team to the NFC championship game as well as a Superbowl appearance in his short time in the NFL. Having succeeded Alex Smith , the consensus appeared to be the player did not possess the level of maturity or skill-set needed to lead the Forty Niners. Colin Kaepernick has proved his doubters wrong , now the question remains , can he lead the franchise to their sixth Superbowl title ?

The Forty Niners and their fans would like nothing better than to drown out the ongoing memories of their loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Superbowl 47 , and most definitely overhaul their divisional rivals the Seattle Seahawks as the best team in the NFC West as well as the NFC . Encounters between these two teams over the past three seasons have now taken on epic proportions and with the Seahawks’ annihilation of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in last season’s Superbowl , the stakes have now been raised even higher between the two NFC West franchises.

Both the Forty Niners and Seahawks have made considerable moves to bolster their respective rosters, beyond utilizing the NFL Draft and the free agency market. What their regular season meetings and scheduled games may well come down to , is the determination of Jim Harbaugh and his opposite number Pete Carroll in guiding their teams. We all know how tough it just happens to be for a team to make a successful defense of their Superbowl title and it has been over a decade since the feat was last accomplished. . The meetings between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in weeks’ thirteen and fifteen , could very well provide us with a precursor concerning who the best team in the NFC and NFL might just be.

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Do you believe the upcoming season in the NFL can surpass the events of last season? Also is it necessary for the NFL to have a franchise in either Los Angeles or London to remain viable in the eyes of their fans? Your comments on this and anything else you believe pertinent to this article is most certainly welcomed.

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(1) New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, left, is seen here alongside Roger Goodell as the two answer questions from an array of NFL journalists, having just attended a safety clinic concerning NFL players . Both Goodell and Kraft are asking for a concerted effort to be made to reestablish an NFL franchise in Los Angeles. The NFL Commissioners has repeatedly stated that the city’s council members are amenable for the return of the NFL to the city , but he has failed to show who would bear the brunt of the financial obligation for a new stadium for the franchise. AP Photo / Greg Jones …

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ co-owners Mark Walter left and Magic Johnson , having spent $2 billion to buy the baseball franchise, now seem to be intent on either buying an NFL franchise or perhaps seeking to start a new NFL team within the confines of the greater Los Angeles area. a . The duo are also believed to be interested in buying AEG Worldwide and are willing to make an unsolicited bid for the concessions and entertainment company. UPI/ Getty Images / Chris Palmer …

(3) Cleveland Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine , far left, is seen here alongside Justin Gilbert , Johnny Manziel and the Browns’ general manager Ray Farmer . Gilbert and Manziel were part of this season’s draft class for the Browns. AP Photo/ Penny Wilson …

(4) Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears is seen here with his counterpart Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys at the end of game with Bears defeating the Cowboys 34-18 in an NFC contest in 2012. The two quarterbacks have yet to taste a Superbowl victory with only Cutler having appeared in the NFL’s postseason finale which resulted in a lopsided loss for the Bears . Getty Images North America / Rafael Henriques ….

(5) San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick , left, talks with head coach Jim Harbaugh during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in San Francisco, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. Having replaced Alex Smith as the starting quarterback Kaepernick cemented himself as the team’s starter and has accomplished a great deal since his first game in the NFL …

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Two delightful reasons to love Lela Star !

Posted in Football, http://wp.me/poxLH-97l, NFL, NFL UK, Sports, Sports Economics, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Bang the drum loudly …

Bang the drum loudly ……..

The second half of the MLB season will get underway with several teams now seeking to make inroads in terms of the divisional races , while at the same time wildcard berths will be up for grabs within the AL and NL . Through the first half of the season, there were no great surprises ,but the Oakland Athletics were proving why they remain one of the best regular season teams in baseball over the past four years. Unfortunately, the regular season is nothing more than the precursor to baseball’s Fall Classic , the World Series ,but also the postseason itself. It would be safe to say, the A’s have seen their share of ups and downs in recent postseason forays. Bob Melvin and his managerial staff will almost certainly be looking to make a better showing for this postseason as they continue to dominate the AL West , without being seriously challenged by any of their divisional rivals .

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Oakland will resume their schedule with a home game on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles, with Jeff Samadzija on the mound for the home team as he faces Chris Tillman of the Orioles. The O Coliseum is likely to be packed, as the game’s best team embarks on proving their legitimacy as the AL’s top-ranked ball-club at this point of the season. With Yoenis Cespedes coming off another exceptional performance in the MLB All Star Home Run Derby contest where he successfully defended his title. The A’s slugger is perhaps the team’s best offensive player and is certainly proving his worth for the ball-club this season , while being considered a likely candidate for the AL MVP .

Baseball’s mid-season showcase event, the MLB All Star Game played at Target Field in Minneapolis , Minnesota, where we witnessed the AL triumph over their NL counterparts to gain themselves home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels signified his status as the heir-apparent to Derek Jeter in becoming the face of baseball for the next decade. Anyone who might a doubt to the claim, might want review the player’s heroics during the All Star Game on Tuesday night.

Trout and the Los Angeles Angels are in the hunt within the AL West, sitting 1 ½ games behind the Oakland Athletics with the Seattle Mariners in third place, followed by the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers bringing up the rear within the division. . It would be fair to say, Angels’ manager Mike Sciocsia and his staff are under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season. An All Star cast in terms of three high-profiled players , led by Mike Trout , Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton have failed to ignite the expectations sought by team owner , Arte Moreno and the front office led by GM Jerry Dipoto . In fact, the Angels’ fans must be wondering if the money spent on Pujols and Hamilton can be justified when the returns have been so meager by way of their output over the last two seasons.

Coming into the All Stat break the Los Angeles Angles were 9-1 in their last ten games, a league leading best among the teams in baseball. The approach of the team and Sciocsia’s staff, has been to play hard, with an emphasis on both offense , pitching and defense . . While I believe Mike Sciocsia’s position as the manager of the Los Angeles Angels remains in jeopardy, the team’s ongoing miscues could lead to Jerry Dipoto making the decision to relieve him of his managerial duties. Trout and his teammates will resume their season with a weekend series starting on Friday, when the Angels play the Seattle Mariners at Angels’ Ballpark in Anaheim , California . Taking the mound for the Mariners will be Hisashi Iwakuma against Jered Weaver of the Angels. . A pitching match-up I believe will bring out the best in these two AL pitchers as both seek to strengthen the presence of their respective teams as the second half of the season begins.

Two decades of witnessing the very best that Derek Jeter has to offer the game of baseball does seem to be something of a privilege for fans of America’s pastime. For the New York Yankees’ captain, this final season has been something of a milestone as he does the rounds being applauded by his peers and fans alike. A five-time winning World Series champion, Jeter and his teammates would like nothing better than to add another title to his list of achievements as well to that of the fabled ball-club. .However, if he and the team are to achieve that goal, then they will most certainly have to raise the level of their play entering the second half of the season . One of two wildcard berths within the AL may well be the best that the Yankees can achieve but I believe they will have set their sights higher and make a bold attempt at winning the AL East division, because the American League has been very competitive this season. Several teams are vying for the two wildcard berths, while the division now appears to be a three-horse race between the Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.

The Yankees have fared well against their divisional rivals this season, but their issues remain ever-present and the loss of their best pitcher in 2014 has been felt by the starting rotation . Masahiro Tanaka remains on the fifteen day DL , along with a number of teammates familiar in their starting roles for the Yankees’ lineup this season. Yankees Stadium will be packed over the next three days as the team plays host to the Cincinnati Reds in a three-game series beginning on Friday , 18th July. David Phelps of the Yankees will square off against Mike Leake of the Reds in this pitching duel.

Hal Steinbrenner and GM Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman have come a long way since the death of George Steinbrenner , but the fact remains the ball-club’s wish to be seen as being financially expedient has fallen on deaf ears within the organization. Other than the Los Angeles Dodgers , the New York Yankees are the only other team in Major League Baseball with a payroll above $200 million for this season. Hal Steinbrenner promised and failed in the attempt to lower the figure in 2013 and it seems for this year even in falling behind the Dodgers in the payroll sweepstakes , financial expediency no longer seems to be a major concern for the front office.

While the New York Yankees will not have to worry about a financial commitment to now disgraced star Alex Rodriguez for this season , the issue remains theirs is one of bloated salaries where a number of their players are among the highest paid in all of baseball, with the scenario unlikely to change . There will come a point where Hal Steinbrenner will have to show financial restraint, rather than showing the pretext of saying one thing and doing the complete opposite.

A postseason match-up between the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers would be something that all of baseball would definitely relish. The two most storied franchises in the game meeting in World Series would be a considerable boost for MLB , given baseball’s inept handling of a litany of issues over the past decade. Unfortunately, such a scenario would allow Bud Selig to ride out on a psychological high with his taking credit for the creation of such a showcase . The Dodgers for their part having caught and now past the San Francisco Giants within the NL West are now proving why they are best team within the division and one of the best in the National League.

If ever there was a time for Don Mattingly to prove himself as a manager, then now would be it. Having won the NL West crown in 2013 with a great deal of ease the Dodgers being dismantled in the NLCS by the St Louis Cardinals showed why having a team of stars lacking in leadership was a sure way of being completely embarrassed. There was a great deal of complacency among the players , managerial staff as well as within the front office as senior partner Magic Johnson was simply making promises that his team would never keep. Disappointment and abject failure, pretty much summed up the NLCS series for the Dodgers against Mike Matheny’s Cardinals.

The maturation of Yasiel Puig remains a work in progress with the young player making a name for himself among his peers and the opposition faced this season. Puig like his teammates, are among the most explosive teams from an offensive standpoint within the game, but not to be left out of the equation, has to be the pitching of the Los Angeles Dodgers , with both Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett this season, having thrown no hitters for the team . The Los Angeles Dodgers have played with a great deal of presence and dominance against their opposition.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and St Louis Cardinals will renew their acquaintance when these two teams meet at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri in a three-game series , starting on Friday, through until Sunday . Dan Haren of the Dodgers, will be on the mound when he takes on Lance Lynn in what is sure to be a great game between these two teams. . I believe the Dodgers are capable of winning the NL Pennant for this season , but the issue to my mind remains , who can anyone point to as being the vocal leader on this team? There are seasoned veterans such as Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp , Carl Crawford , Dan Haren, Paul Malholm and Brian Wilson , but when it comes crunch time, are any of the players in question likely to step up to the plate? There was no evidence there to suggest they are capable doing so especially in light of the failures of last season in the NLCS series against the St Louis Cardinals. The Dodgers are simply a safe bet during the regular season but they have been ’ fool’s gold’ during the postseason in recent years.

If someone had suggested to me Oakland Athletics’ starting pitcher Scott Kazmir would be among the best pitchers in baseball this season while leading the A’s starting rotation in wins and ERA(earned run average), I would have stated they are out of their mind ! Yet lo and behold Kazmir seems to have resurrected his career and found the form that saw him once spearhead the Tampa Bay Rays . Scott Kazmir’s former team are having their own issues this season, much of it of their own making and the mistaken belief among the Rays’ fans baseball analysts alike , they would be among the favorites to win the AL East and AL Pennant this season. Nothing could be further from the truth at this juncture, in spite of the ongoing optimism of Joe Maddon who believes the division still remains a wide open race.

Oakland has a slight lead (1 1/2 games) over the Los Angeles Angels within the AL West, with both teams scheduled to resume their respective schedules today. Bob Melvin will lead his team against the Baltimore Orioles when they meet at the O Coliseum in Oakland, California. Chris Tillman will be on the mound for the Orioles as they take on the division leading A’s, with Jeff Samardzija being the opposing pitcher . Contests between these two teams tend not to be close affairs, but I believe with both ball-clubs now riding high and their being so much at stake we are likely to see a competitive game and series .

Mike Trout I believe to be the most dominant force in the game today as an offensive player and granted , many are likely to view the reigning two-time AL MVP Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera set about trying to prove which of the duo just happens to be the most dominant player. Within the NL I certainly do not believe there is a player the equal of either Cabrera or Trout in terms of productivity over the past two years . The singular awards for this season are up for grabs and I believe the races for those crowns will carry on until the end of the season. As to who those winners are likely to be, will be dependent upon the play of the presumptive frontrunners.

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Picture gallery .

Through the first half of the MLB season which teams or players do you believe have provided the best highlights ? As baseball resumes play, how do you see the rest of the schedule playing out and which ball-club is likely to be the most dominant and be seen as a firm favorite to win the World Series ?

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(1) Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin ,left, is seen here with the team’s general manager Billy Beane . The duo have seen the A’s become the leading frontrunners within the AL for the AL Pennant but their greatest wish has to be, bringing back a World Series’ title to the state of California and to their loyal fans . AP Photo / Mark Edmonds …

(2) Jeff Samardzija of the Oakland A’s has been one of the main reasons the team has been consistent within the AL West this season . Getty Images / Chris Jones …

(3) Jul 15, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; American League infielder Derek Jeter (second from right) of the New York Yankees greets all star teammates Robinson Cano (22) of the Seattle Mariners and Mike Trout (27) of the Los Angeles Angels before the 2014 MLB All Star Game at Target Field . Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports …

(4) Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly is seen here with All Star player Yasiel Puig ,left . Getty Images / Hector Gonzalez …

(5)The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp chats with Magic Johnson before Game 2 of the 2013 National League Division Series in Atlanta. With almost one-quarter of a billion dollars ($250,000,000) invested in the team’s payroll for the 2014 season, Johnson hopes the fortunes of the Dodgers will be far more fruitful than during the 2013 MLB postseason. Getty Images / Christina Martin ….

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That’s a slight of hand trick , I definitely like !

One more reason to love Scarlett Johansson

Posted in Baseball, MLB, News, News & Sports, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , | 20 Comments

There is no place like home and home is meant to be where the heart is ……….

There is no place like home and home is meant to be where the heart is ….

In the last few days we have seen an upheaval within the professional basketball world with the departure of LeBron James as he leaves the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers . From my own standpoint, I believe that LeBron simply grew tired of having to support a team where his supporting cast were anything but supportive. As to this idiocy, Dwyane Wade’s sporadic appearances and performances during this past postseason were of benefit to the Heat would be like suggesting that Greg Oden became a force to be reckoned with during the season.

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Pat Riley’s ambitious rebuilding of the roster this past season, was so misguided, it begs the question what was he thinking to begin with ? Michael Beasley was meant to add to something to this lineup beyond the menial productivity of Rashard Lewis ? Granted, this was the Miami Heat’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals was a great accomplishment, but the menial return of only two title wins, is a reminder of how overrated this team was said to be in their appearance against the San Antonio Spurs in this past NBA Finals.

LeBron James saw no reason to resign with the Miami Heat, knowing that the organization had shown little concern in rebuilding the roster with the talent needed to make the team more competitive. As to the talk of his wishing to be offered a max contract, one that would likely see him being offered a six-year $125 million deal, now seems more imaginary on the part of the media , in light of James signing with Cleveland in a two-year $42 million deal.It will be interesting to see the dynamics of the relationship LeBron James will have with his new head coach David Blatt , in comparison to that of his relationship with Erik Spoelstra .

The Miami Heat’s loss, will be the Cleveland Cavaliers’ gain as the Prodigal Son is welcomed home. A far cry from the events of just over five years ago when LeBron James left the Cavaliers under a cloud of controversy, with their being a great deal of controversy and antagonism between the player and Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert . The front office have to be pleased with themselves, in pulling off such a coup, in resigning the franchise’s best player James, along with point guard Kyrie Irving will be the focal point of this lineup in the upcoming season. Cleveland, almost overnight have gone from being outsiders for the NBA title to a presumptive favorites for this upcoming season’s championship.

Whether or not Gilbert and the front office will seek to pull off anymore deals during this off-season will obviously be predicated on the attractiveness of playing alongside the four-time League MVP . I certainly believe the Cleveland Cavaliers will make the upcoming postseason, simply because the NBA’s Eastern Conference remains extremely poor and will continue to be that way over the coming years. Cleveland are .likely to be seen as presumptive favorites alongside the Chicago Bulls and perhaps the Miami Heat, if the franchise is able to resign both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . The pairing of Bosh and Wade along with LeBron James were the primary reasons behind the franchise’s most recent success, but the failing of the coaching staff and the front office led by Pat Riley in addressing the Heat’s lack of depth must be seen as one of the many reasons for their failure during the NBA Playoffs .

Miami Heat owner Micky Arison has yet to issue a public statement on the departure of LeBron James, but there has to be some disappointment with the owner’s knowing that the player’s departure will likely lead to a possible decline in the Heat’s play. Acquiring seasoned veterans such as Danny Granger and Luol Deng might well have added some respite ,but the makeup of Miami’s roster as it now stands , no longer makes them a legitimate threat within their division much less the conference.

If the disappointment of the Miami Heat’s postseason was said to be a surprise then the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace has to be seen as one of the most embarrassing in recent NBA history . Lakers’ fans remain optimistic , that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss can turn things around with a great deal of urgency. Yet, with the franchise being unable to land a marquee free agent during the off-season leads me to believe the team is likely to have another woefully inept season. An aging Kobe Bryant can no longer single-handed lead this team without considerable aid from his teammates. Anyone believing the likes of Robert Sacre , Nick Young , Marshon Brooks, Xavier Henry , Jordan Hill , Wesley Johnson and Jeremy Lin can make the Lakers a force to be reckoned with within the Western Conference , has no idea as to the considerable mountain the team is being asked to climb. You simply have to look at their failure this past season under Mike D’Antoni to fully appreciate, how the head coach and his coaching staff were completely out of their depth ,without considering the loss of Bryant for a large part of the season .

The Lakers remain without a head coach, while Mitch Kupchak conducts what he says, remains an in-depth interviewing process of prospective candidates . I liken the statement, to one of a suitor, who is not so sure of his choices of a companion for an upcoming dance . Such has been the incompetency shown within the Lakers’ front office , that it is hard to have any faith in the leadership or acumen shown by either Kupchak or team owner Jim Buss. . Among the candidates that are known to have shown some interest in the vacant head coaching position are former Lakers’ players Kurt Rambis and Byron Scott . Both have varying degrees of success as former head coaches in the NBA. Yet, it appears Mitch Kupchak would rather prolong the situation’s process, in the hope of hiring the right d candidate as the successor to Mike D’Antoni. . Unless the Los Angeles Lakers can hire a coach with a proven track record, then the franchise is likely to struggle in the upcoming years , without ever being able to challenge for an NBA title . As optimistic as their fans continue to be , in reality, they have to know that the writing is on the wall. Kobe Bryant is now in the waning days of an undeniably successful career , but it would be foolish to think he will still be playing for the franchise three or four years from now .

While I believe the NBA has been a marketing phenomenon on the global stage , I believe its hierarchy , first under David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have been negligent in their handling of the Donald Sterling issue ! As the legal process now plays out within the legal system , with the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner and his estranged wife Rochelle Sterling now fighting over the ownership of the franchise as well as their matrimonial assets.It begs the question, how could things have spiraled out of control , after Sterling’s repeated egregious behavior ? As to this idiotic insistence , the former commissioner has been of great benefit to the NBA , well if you value the rising value of the NBA teams , then you would be correct , he has been of benefit to the league. In the case of his custodial responsibilities in upholding the integrity and image of the NBA, I would say he proven to be a disaster , with his lack of leadership and corralling the behavior of the players, that of the team owners and in some cases the front office executives . Excuses continue to be made for the lack of common decency with apathy being shown not only by the fans themselves but also the media, in the ways they have continued to cover the stories within the league concerning player misconduct and that of the owners. But I believe this is simply a reflection of the society we now live in , where a lack of respect no longer seems to be the norm !

The NBA off-season is said to be encompassed by hyperbole, then a great deal of it comes down to the issue of the free agency period. Where conjecture, rumors and speculation make up a great deal of the idiotic news we are continually being force-fed by the media , but specifically, the on air talent who cover the league in general. If they cannot create the suspense surrounding a story , then why not simply create the perception it is for real by sprinkling some falsehoods. Sports’ journalism is no different from that of real news being played out on the domestic front and the o global stage . The journalists themselves now believe they are as popular as the stars they cover, if not more so in some cases , furthering their own profile in the public eye. Buy into their garbage and you are likely to believe just about anything that they will say or write.

Other than LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony was the biggest free agent to hit the market during the off-season. Anthony’s willingness to resign with the New York Knicks now makes him among the highest paid players in the NBA, by way of his contract and annual salary. The player’s six-year $124 million deal slightly dwarfs Joe Johnson’s still ludicrous contract with the Brooklyn Nets . And there are those who suggest that the NBA in terms the contracts being offered reflects a player’s worth and what the market is ready to bear ? An instant recipe for disaster for franchises without any financial expediency and fans who do not understand the nuance of how a business works and that sports’ economics, especially as it relates to the NBA.

Anthony’s return to the New York Knicks and Phil Jackson’s persuasive powers would prove to be too alluring, but I cannot help wonder if the reason was not the fact, the player knew, once LeBron James chose to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers , the chances of the duo teaming up together remained simply an elusive gambit. Carmelo and LeBron James in New York would have been a persuasive image for fans of the NBA to watch the Knicks with a great deal more intensity. Now it comes down to, how the Anthony will readjust his mindset under rookie head coach Derek Fisher and being surrounded with a new supporting cast , which on paper looks a great deal better than what was on offer from the team last season .

Far be it for me to suggest, but Kevin Love’s last three seasons in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ organization have been a complete waste of the player’s talents. Glen Taylor , Flip Saunders and the front office have spurned the issue of seeking to make the team more competitive. This has worn thin one of the NBA’s most talented players as he seeks with a great deal of legitimacy the chase for that elusive first NBA title . Love, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant might be the best players currently in the NBA without an NBA title to their list of achievements.

Now with the Timberwolves quite ready to trade the power forward, with a great deal of interest being shown by the Golden State Warriors , it will be interesting to see what directions the now ongoing deliberations take between the two teams. Will the asking price be too high and are the Warriors ready to give up a bevy of players to make the deal a reality ?

The Warriors’ co-owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are known to very ambitious individuals who are well versed in their respective fields. Yet the thought of making their franchise , perhaps the best NBA team in the state of California is not something that can be overlooked. I certainly believe that the Golden State Warriors are the equal of the Los Angeles Clippers , certainly better than either the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings in almost every aspect of the game ! The continued knock against the Warriors , will be that until they make a deep playoff run with Steph Curry leading the team , they can only be looked upon as a franchise with a great deal of flair and offensive firepower .

The Golden State remains a work in progress and I believe the team in its current guise with the potential addition of Kevin Love are credible challengers to the San Antonio Spurs , Oklahoma City Thunder , Los Angeles Clippers for conference supremacy. As things now stand even with the Spurs having the same cast of characters with an addition or two they are still likely to remain the best team within the conference and the NBA in general. Their clinical dismantling of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, was simple proof of the fact, they remain a team be reckoned with, just as long as their Hall of Fame destined triumvirate are part of their arsenal. With Gregg Popovich also having signed a contract extension with the Spurs, team owner Peter Holt and the front office have reaffirmed their faith in the head and his coaching staff . Now comes the defense of their title ,where they are likely to caught in the cross-hairs of the NBA’s other combative teams.

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Picture gallery .

During this NBA off-season, which story or event do you believe to be the most important? By all means leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated !

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(1) In a scene from the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz “ , from left to right , Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion, Ray Bolger , Scarecrow, Judy Garland , as the heroine Dorothy Gale and Jack Haley as the Tin Man. The movie made in 1939 remains a timeless classic loved by generations . Courtesy of Warner Bros .

(2) A pensive LeBron James speaks to the convened press during this past season’s NBA Finals . James’ gallant effort was not enough to stave off the Miami Heat’s embarrassing 4-1 series’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals. His announcement that he is rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers took the NBA world by surprise including the front office of the Miami Heat . AP Photo/ Chris Charles …

(3) Luol Deng of the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed to a two-year $20 million deal with the Miami Heat as team President Pat Riley seeks to rebuild the roster after the departure of LeBron James who rejoined the Cleveland Cavaliers, signing a two-year deal with the franchise . AP Photo / Amy Morton ….

(4) Jeremy Lin who this off-season was traded by the Houston Rockets , joining the Los Angeles Lakers . Lin hopes to add some much-needed productivity to a team that languished at the position within the conference this past season . Getty Images / Christina Belcher …. ..

(5) Byron Scott is rumored to the frontrunner to succeed Mike D’Antoni as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . Scott is the only known candidate to have been interviewed twice by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss for the vacant head coaching position . AP Photo / Paul Matthews ….

(6) Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love . The Timberwolves are said to be interested in trading the player , with the main suitors in such a deal, being the Golden State Warriors . Team owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , a highly ambitious duo, are keen to make a big off-season splash and see the acquisition of Love as a big part of gaining a much higher profile for their franchise . AP Photo/ Morton Parker ……..

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If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

If it is greatness you’re looking for you won’t find it here, as something rotten smells in Denmark and within the NCAA

I have long-held the contention that the NCAA and just about everything it represents has been a charade and a farce! Furthermore , the apathy of the fans of collegiate sports might be just as asinine as the institution itself , without going into greater detail than suggesting that this charade now underway about a legitimate way of deciding a national champion at the FBS Level for football can be done with the empaneling of publicly respected individuals. It would not be so bad were it not for the fact the panel members sought are in some respects no more versed in collegiate athletics than perhaps a truck driver would be knowledgeable enough in providing you with his thoughts on molecular biology or Sarah Palin’s thoughts on the US economy and the country’s foreign policy.

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NCAA President Mark Emmert was summoned to appear at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC , where he was quizzed by members of the Senate Commerce Committee on the inner workings of the NCAA and the institution’s continued aversion to paying student athletes while in school.. One has to bear in mind, currently, Collegiate Athletics’ governing body is the main defendant in a class action lawsuit now underway in the US Federal Court , where a resulting loss could see the NCAA pay out tens of millions of dollars in damages for the use of the athletes’ likeness to market and sell college merchandize without their permission. This suit was brought by former UCLA and NBA player Ed O’Bannon , for what he says are purely for moral reasons and the fact collegiate athletics remains a complete sham without their being any clear transparency being shown by the NCAA and the major college conference and educational institutions in the way these monies are disbursed within collegiate athletics. I have read some of the most asinine claims and statements by conference commissioners and by fans, suggesting that the system itself is not broken , but the issues that continue to affect college sports, stems from the violations of the athletes themselves. Such a suggestion , is no more valid than making a claim, the NCAA can actually deal with their ongoing issues without any outside oversight. The NCAA failed the victims of the Penn State ‘ scandal ‘ miserably,without the university and the state’s governor Tom Corbett seeking to enact a cover-up, without the supporters of Joe Paterno trying to apportion blame elsewhere for Jerry Sandusky’s heinous actions and the lack foresight shown by the now deceased head football coach. The scandal, still permeates through the school’s campus and it can never be forgotten no matter how many changes are put into place by the Board of Trustees of Penn State.

Mark Emmert remains an enigma and a conundrum all rolled into one, having succeeded the late Myles Brand as the NCAA’s highest ranking official. During his tenure, Emmert has shown that his interpersonal and communicative skills leave a lot to be desired without having to delve into his past administrative history , which seems to be littered with a great deal of controversy and claims of incompetence , graft and corruption. Perhaps, those were the qualifications sought by the executive search firm hired by the NCAA as they sought a successor to Myles Brand ? There can be no other reason for the hire than Emmert’s past actions and therein lies one of the numerous reasons why this institutional body cannot be taken seriously.

Emmert’s appearance in front of the members of the Senate Commerce Committee proved to be embarrassing and equally distasteful with the fawning of the members fawned over not only the NCAA President but also several current and former college athletes who gave testimony to the convened members of the congressional panel. Senator Claire McCaskill in her questioning of Mark Emmert concerning the issue of on campus sexual assaults which has been on the increase over the past decade, of which over seventy-percent (70%) of all sexual campus crimes go unreported , a staggering figure when judged against the national average. Emmert would suggest the NCAA does take the sexual assaults seriously, especially where the majority of the victims are women. Victims of such crimes are always reluctant to come forward and report that they are victims of rapes or an assault because they are not likely to be believed or subjected to further degradation by either law enforcement or the educational institution itself.

The NCAA, an institution primarily presided over by men among its most senior ranks, simply has no idea how to deal with sexual crimes, much less Mark Emmert being able to provide the Senate Commerce Committee with a satisfactory explanation about how the institution now plans to discuss future incidents of campus sex crimes. It should be noted, current Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in a sexual assault claim made by a female victim. The player’s legal representatives first suggested that the claims were false, only to then claim that the sex between the two , was consensual. Tallahassee Police Department came under severe criticism by State Attorney General Pam Bondi for the lackluster and lack of professionalism in the conducting of the original and later investigation for the Florida State player, who has since fallen afoul of the law for his theft of groceries from a well-known grocery store chain within the state of Florida. Winston’s public apology rings hollow, very much like the university’s failure in reprimanding the athlete for his actions.

Winston while remaining in school , can now look forward to a year in which he will look to heighten his value to Florida State, as well as looking to enhance his value as a future first round draft pick in the NFL Draft . Short term memory remains the norm within the NFL, no matter when there is said to be a lack of character among the prospective players looking to make their mark in the NFL. A cautionary tale can be provided with the fall from grace of New England Patriots’ tight-end Aaron Hernandez and his continued legal issues without delving into what were already clearly troubling signs during his collegiate career at the University of Florida . The excuses made by his former head coach, Urban Meyer and by the Patriots’ organization was simply another sign, where the NFL and another collegiate educational establishment simply did not care about a troubled individual with a litany of psychological problems.

The convening of a Congressional Committee and its empaneling can be about as insightful as watching paint dry or watching flies congregate around an elephant’s ass, as it begins to defecate. Which begs the question, why are these committee members there to begin with and how productive are they once in Congress? Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) , a fellow member of the Senate Commerce Committee, spent more time regaling the press , convened members and Mark Emmert about his collegiate career at Stanford as a wide receiver on the school’s football team, than asking any meaningful questions of Mark Emmert about the direction of the institution he presides over and the increase of sexual assaults on college campuses across the country. If that were not enough, Booker would go on to suggest that his college years were difficult, because he and teammates spent far too much time reading play books than studying. .Am I missing something here, but getting a free ride as a student athlete is nowhere as arduous as the congressman was trying suggest ?

Academic fraud on a college campus where a respected coach presides over a college program believed to be among the best in the nation ? Legends were built under Dean Smith , as he cemented a legacy and where fans got to see a young Michael Jordan excel at the collegiate level , garnering a national championship at North Carolina (Tar Heels)before embarking on his now legendary NBA career. Roy Williams, who took over from Smith’s successor Matt Doherty in 2003, was already a well-respected coach before coming to coach the Tar Heels’ program. Williams is now at the center of a scandal that is likely to blow the roof off the program in Chapel Hill as well as the Dean Smith Center where this storied program play their home games. Far be it for me to suggest, but Williams, his assistants and the school’s AD Bubba Cunningham will have a great deal of explaining to do if the allegations are proven to be true. Allegations leveled are of the head coach turning a blind eye to current and former players failing to meet academic requirements and their being widespread cheating, encouraged by members of the coaching staff, is unlikely to sit well with everyone , especially among the diehard Tar Heels’ fans.

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports & AP (Associated Press)


Dean Smith’s former players backing Roy Williams in wake of North Carolina’s academic scandal

By Pat Forde , Yahoo Sports

Dean Smith is alive but absent, his remarkable mind ravaged by the effects of dementia. While that has caused deep mourning among those who know and love the legendary former North Carolina basketball coach, there is one small sliver of relief regarding his current condition.

He is unaware of the ongoing integrity crisis that has engulfed the program he built into a national model.

“I’m tired of it,” said former Smith-era player Richard Vinroot. “I want it fixed. I want it to end.”

The NCAA recently announced it has re-opened its investigation of an academic scandal at Carolina. That figures to follow the tracks of the school’s ongoing (and latest) investigation of itself. Those investigations follow the drip-drip-drip of allegations of classroom shortcuts – and other embarrassing headlines – at a school that once proudly considered itself the ultimate intersection of competitive excellence and off-court class.

“It pains me greatly,” Vinroot said. “I have such high regard for Coach Smith. I revere him.”

Vinroot is a former mayor of Charlotte and one-time Republican nominee for governor of North Carolina. Smith, a staunch and outspoken Democrat, cited player loyalty over party loyalty when supporting Vinroot’s gubernatorial bid in 2000.

That was Dean Smith, to those who played under him: a mentor and ally for life, extending well past the player/coach relationship. David Chadwick, senior pastor of Forest Hill Church in Charlotte and another former Tar Heel under Smith, wrote a book, “The 12 Leadership Principles of Dean Smith.” The first principle he cited: “The Reciprocal Law of Loyalty.”

“He had an unyielding loyalty to us,” Chadwick said. “That’s why we had that fierce commitment to him, because he had that commitment to us.”

Smith cultivated something of a Camelot aura in Chapel Hill – it was Duke before Duke, and before Duke had the taint of Corey Maggette and Lance Thomas to deal with. The UNC players and coaches were all part of something special, and forever bonded in the making of it. Which is why this disorienting journey from Camelot to crucible has the Carolina old guard dismayed.

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Farcical and downright stupidity can now be the only reason why many the Tar Heels’ former players are jumping to the defense of Roy Williams and the allegations being made. A scandal of this size came into being or compromised the integrity of the program under Dean Smith, but in many respects one should be at all surprised at the claims or allegations now being leveled at Roy Williams. He is simply one of many coaches within collegiate sports, who have conflicted with violating NCAA rules. Accountability and oversight was never the highest priority within collegiate sports and it will continue to be that way even with the NCAA flexing their muscles , but therein lies idiocy of that premise, as Emmert seeks to punish some programs with impunity while excusing others. Let us not forget also, the continued incompetency shown by the investigative arm of the NCAA, where the Infractions’ Committee, who having misplaced evidence in their investigation of the University of Miami program chose to make up and then proceed to lie in how they obtained the very same evidence.

University of Miami President Donna Shalala has requested an appeal of the decision of the NCAA’s probation and other sanctions placed on the Canes’ program , for which she has yet to receive a response from Mark Emmert or from a high-ranking subordinate within the NCAA. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body should have their antitrust and tax exempt status removed by the Congress, but with the lobbying power of the institution and the money spent to curry favor with the members of the House and Senate , the ongoing hypocrisy is likely to continue, while congress members play at the role of being tough legislators. In reality, they are nothing more than money hungry members, simply looking to prolong their stays within both Federal legislative chambers

Judge Claudia Wilken will preside over the case where Ed O’Bannon is the lead plaintiff in a multi-jurisdictional proceeding . While the NCAA will fight the case as a defendant with the legal power at their disposal, I cannot help wonder, if Mark Emmert’s own efforts forestall the obvious, is simply another way of appeasing conference commissioners such as John Swofford, Larry Scott , Mike Slive and many of their peers. They are seeking to ward off this case, while trying to keep the monies pouring into their treasure chests . Billions of dollars are at stake and the chances are even with a loss , the litigation process would be prolonged with an appeal being lodged in the Federal Appellate Court . A loss for the plaintiffs and this all can be put to rest , with the stain and stench of the NCAA still within our midst.

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Are you of the opinion the NCAA represents the best interests of the college athlete? Alternatively, do you feel the institution to be outmoded, with far too much beyond its scope concerning collegiate athletics? Leave comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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(1) Jameis Winston of Florida State is seen here with team head coach Jimbo Fisher as the pair celebrate becoming BCS National champions in 2013 . The Seminoles had a tremendous season outplaying their opponents and performing to the highest of standards ending the year ranked number one in the polls . AP Photo/ Matt Mason ..

(2) NCAA President Mark Emmert is seen here addressing members of the Senate Commerce Committee up on Capitol Hill , in Washington , DC . Emmert faced some tough questions from certain members of the committee , but in large part there was a great deal of posturing by the NCAA President and his inquisitors . Getty Images / Mark Hurst …

(3) Sen. Claire McCaskill , D-Mo., asks a question of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Barack Obama’s choice for defense secretary, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination. McCaskill relished the opportunity to quiz Hagel on the issue of Israel’s right to defend itself and brought similar determination in her quizzing of Mark Emmert as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee. AP Photo/Susan Walsh

(4) Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee members (L-R) Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) , Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) listen to testimony during a hearing about the future of unmanned aviation in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill January 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony about the Federal Aviation Administration’s policy on unmanned aviation systems and about the privacy and freedom issues surrounding their use. Getty Images North America / Chip Smodevilla

(5) Roy Williams head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels is now under siege with claims current and former players receiving monetary and unspecified gifts , as well as their being academic fraud within the basketball program , with certain members of Williams’ coaching being fully aware of the violations being perpetrated. Former Tar Heels’ player Rashad McCants has made a number of clams concerning the allegations without suggesting that he was in fact part of activities taking place . UPI / Chris Hendricks …
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Horses for courses ……..

Horses for courses …..

We have already reached the midpoint of the baseball season and there have been one or two surprises along the way. Some very good pitching performances, exclaimed by three no-hitters and the less than threatening offenses of a number of teams . Add in the fact, the same old stories seem to be repeating themselves by way of the Houston Astros and I am beginning to wonder if this season is likely to be anything special at all !

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The Astros, alongside the Philadelphia Phillies , now have to the two worst records in all of baseball and there has been little to suggest that the teams in question have the acumen to solve their on and off the field woes. Ryne Sandberg who succeeded Charlie Manuel to become the Phillies’ fifty-second manager in the franchise’s history , has inherited an aging roster of stars who now seem to be past their sell by date. To say the very least Philadelphia and the coaching staff have their work cut out for them over the remainder of their season. With several of the players on the team’s roster among the highest paid players in the league, it is hard to imagine where the organization will seek to go from here, but there now seems to an opinion, a long overdue “fire sale” is likely to place, with several of the players being jettisoned in order for some of the younger players being called up from within their farm system. Sandberg succeeded Charlie Manuel as the Phillies’ manager , but in the aftermath of the team’s failure in 2013 , it was clear that the front office and GM Reuben Amaro Jr had to make a change at the managerial level. A great deal of the blame does lie with Amaro and his failure in seeking to bolster the Phillies’ roster over the past five years.

Having won the World Series in 2008 with a lopsided series’ victory over the Tampa Bay Rays ,the Phillies’ fortunes in the later years can be best described as a ball-club repeatedly under-achieving. . Coming off a 6-2 drubbing from instate rivals the Pittsburgh Pirates , Ryne Sandberg will not take his players on the road as they face the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Ballpark , in Milwaukee , Wisconsin,. As losers of nine of their last ten games, it is easy to understand why the Philadelphia Phillies have been so woefully inept. The issues on this team covers just about every facet of their game , from top to bottom ., including the lack of leadership coming from the managerial staff , much less the seasoned veterans on the team.

We have often been told the NFC East remains the best division in the NFL and the same claims are continually being made about the AL East . That is not something as a baseball fan, I am ready to I subscribe to ! Granted, there are some very good teams within the division and the very fact Derek Jeter enters his final season with the New York Yankees makes the expectations within the division and for the Yankees that much greater.The Yankees for their part have been inconsistent with their being few bright spots on the team during the season, but what cannot be denied has been the outstanding performances of their rookie pitching ace Masahiro Tanaka during this season. . The pitcher has all but blown the hinges off the door leaving batters bewildered on his way to a league leading result in wins among rookie pitchers and starters in general. If that were not enough he just might be the best pitcher on the Yankees’ starting roster and that is with due deference to Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia , who now seem to spluttering through their schedule.

Joe Girardi and the New York Yankees are a mere 3 ½ games out of first place within the AL East, in a division led by what appears to be a steadfast Toronto Blue Jays’ team, the equally resilient Baltimore Orioles , to be followed by the third placed Yankees and rounding out the quintet of teams, are the Boston Red Sox and the last placed Tampa Bay Rays.. Jeter and the Yankees , coming off a hard-fought 9-7 victory over the Minnesota Twins , will have to remain consistent if they are to have any chance of winning the division much less guaranteeing themselves one of the two wildcard berths available within the AL.. . Monday , the Yankees will be pitted against the Cleveland Indians as they take to the field, with Shane Greene on the mound for New York against Cleveland’s Justin Masterson in a game to played at Progressive Field in Cleveland , Ohio,.

While many of us wish Derek Jeter all the best, as he winds down an astonishing career , it is my belief that he and the New York Yankees are unlikely to win the World Series , garnering him a sixth World Series’ ring. The Yankees are good but they lack the “killer instinct” of teams from the past and Joe Girardi , in spite of his managerial experience seem to be lacking the resolve in getting his players to buy into his managerial philosophy for this season..

Two-hundred million dollars can buy you many things , but in the world of baseball , it has been unable to garner the Los Angeles Dodgers a World Series title in either 2012 or 2013 . It is pretty much safe to say, managing partner , Magic Johnson might now be feeling a little peeved to see his team having squandered the chances offered them in the last two years. It seems like an eternity since the Dodgers made an appearance in the World Series ,but in 1988 , was the last time the ball-club tasted success in calling themselves world champions. This season is proving just as difficult for Don Mattingly and his team as they see the resurgence of the San Francisco Giants within the NL West , as the league’s highest payroll team struggles to find an identity and prove themselves to be one of the best teams in all of baseball.

A half game may well now separate the Dodgers and Giants at the top of the division with San Francisco having played two games less than their divisional rivals over the course of season , so far. Yet, based on what we have seen , is there anyone truly convinced that the Dodgers are indeed the equal of the recent two-time winning World Series’ champions? These two teams possess the pitching staffs to a great deal of damage within the NL as well as the rest of baseball, but consistency will be the key for both as they set to contend for the NL West divisional crown.

Los Angeles took care of the Colorado Rockies with relative ease in an 8-2 win in a game played at Coors Field on Sunday evening , while the Giants made light work of the San Diego Padres in their 5-3 victory in an away game on the same day . The Dodgers and in particular Don Mattingly and his managerial staff are under a great deal of pressure to succeed. Winning the World Series remains the priority of one baseball’s most revered organizations and the chase for that elusive crown. Two of this season’s three no-hitters were achieved by Dodgers’ pitchers Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw , two of the team’s best pitchers on a very impressive starting lineup.

Not really shocked, but there comes a time when you simply have to look at the work of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and ask the question how successful would he have been, were he afforded the luxury of having the resources of $200 million payroll ? Unfortunately , this remains a pipe-dream among the A’s and their fans because Lewis Wolff is not the type of owner to make such a lavish outlay while seeking success. At the same time, this gives us an eye on one of the many issues that still plagues the game of baseball and why neither, Bud Selig or MLB’s CFO Jonathan Mariner has any real idea how to create a level playing field, in terms of the financial fairness within the game and the teams’ payroll structure.

On Tuesday the Los Angeles Dodgers are the guests of the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit ,Michigan , when Hyun Jin-Ryu of the Dodgers takes to the mound against Justin Verlander in a crucial contest for both teams.

Not really shocked, but there comes a time when you simply have to look at the work Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and ask the question how successful would he have been, were he afforded the luxury of having the resources of a $200 million payroll ? Unfortunately , this remains a pipe-dream among the A’s and their fans because Lewis Wolff is not the type of owner to make such a lavish outlay while seeking success. At the same time, this gives an eye on one of the many issues that still plagues the game of baseball and why neither, Bud Selig or MLB’s CFO Jonathan Mariner has any real idea how to create a level playing field , in terms of the financial fairness within the game and the teams’ payroll structure.

Having the best record in baseball does not always equate with success at the end of the season when it comes to baseball’s postseason . At present the Oakland A’s have the privilege of being viewed as the best team in the game with their league leading fifty-six wins (56-33) as of the 7th July,2014. Oakland has simply been laying waste to their opponents all season long and their 5-0 clubbing of the San Francisco Giants was further evidence of how good this team just happens to be. Never mind the issue of the Giants being one of the best teams in the NL and having seventh best record in baseball with only the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels having a better record over their last twenty games.

A’s coach Bob Melvin and his managerial staff have given the players the momentum needed but it remains to be seen if the team will be able to take the lead and deliver the victories needed as they seek to win their first World Series’ title since 1989 when they triumphed over when they defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-0 . They would reach baseball’s postseason finale again in 1990 ,only to fall to the Cincinnati Reds in the seven game series in a whitewash.

Baseball’s mid-season showcase event , the MLB All Star Game is not that far off on the horizon and already fans and media analysts alike, are questioning those who were snubbed and those who made it onto the rosters of the AL and NL teams. In my opinion, with the voting being no more than a popularity contest , very little credence can really be given to the veracity of the claims, as who is fitting to become an All Star and who is not. Does anyone really want to see players from the two worst teams in baseball, being given what . is something of a dubious honor ? Can playing on the last placed team within the AL or NL really be a cause, upon which one can say that is a mark of success ? Therein lies the idiocy of the claims by baseball writers, fans and members of the league hierarchy, that every team should be given the honor of having player be a part of All Star roster.

Mike Trout may well be the best all-round player in the game today and he is certainly the player who many believe will be the face of baseball for years to come, and deemed the player most likely to succeed Derek Jeter as being the face of this game for next decade or more. Baseball needs a fresh influx young stars able to attract the fans after two decades of constant betrayal of the fans , with the never-ending cheating , lies , deceit, hypocrisy of the league hierarchy , owners , general managers , MLBPA (Players’ Union) and the general apathy of the fans willing to excuse the behavior of the steroid cheats that have made baseball such a joke !

MLB has long sought to paint itself as America’s pastime but it has not been the case for several decades and it has been the incompetence of the league, in addressing the most serious of issues, leading to the constant ridicule and lack of leadership at all levels within the game. Ryan Braun was welcomed back with open arms after the 2011 NL MVP remained in denial while being complicit in a web of deceit and lies that any asshole with an ounce of common sense, could have seen through. But for the incompetency of the league’s own testing protocols and that of the sheer stupidity of the laboratory who presided over Braun’s results , the player’s suspension would have been far more serious, rather than the slap on the wrist received. With the Milwaukee Brewers once again competitive within the NL Central , it will be interesting to see what might be made should Braun and the Brewers make the postseason and quite possibly winning the World Series, itself. Scorn or not, such a premise would lead to the game being once again questioned as to its veracity.

Fifty home runs in a season is something of a rarity but during the steroid era , that feat was something of a regular occurrence , with the likes of Mark McGwire , Sammy Sosa , Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds making a complete mockery of that particular record. This year we are unlikely to see the fifty home run mark surpassed but the siege on that particular mark always seems to be an interesting topic of debate as well as something of a spectacle to watch. Nelson Cruz, Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion and Giancarlo Stanton lead the way in baseball’s home run race this season , having just passed the halfway mark of the baseball schedule. Barry Bonds may well hold the single season home run mark, but in many respects in the eyes of the purists within the game , the mark they feel deserves recognition is the legendary statistic of Roger Maris’ of sixty-one home runs . I do not believe that anything else needs to be said concerning the matter !

Baseball’s mid-season showcase event , the MLB All Star Game is not that far off the horizon and already fans and media analysts alike are questioning those who were snubbed and those who made it onto the rosters of the AL and NL teams. In my opinion with the voting being no more than a popularity contest , very little credence can really be given to the veracity of the claims as who is fitting to become an All Star and who is not. Does anyone really want to see players from the two worst teams in baseball being given what is something of a dubious honor ? Can playing on the last placed team within the AL or NL really be a cause upon which one can say that is a mark of success ? Therein lies the idiocy of the claims by baseball writers, fans and members of the league hierarchy, that every team should be given the honor of having player be a part of All Star roster. The contests between the AL and NL in recent years have proven to be very entertaining with their being so much at stake for the winning league . Interest will certainly be peaked with this being the last All Star contest where Derek Jeter is a participant . How he bows out will be one of the highlights of the season , no matter the result.

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There remains a great deal to play for over the second half of the season, but for now, we have been intrigued to witness the stories that have unfolded at the midpoint of baseball’s schedule. What highlights have piqued your interest and which team or player has proven to be the most exciting to watch? On a final note, who do you believe will prove to be the biggest disappointment of the year among the ball-clubs and stars given their status at the start of the year? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks for the continued support as always !

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Picture and slideshow gallery below .
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(1) Houston Astros’ Chris Carter , left, is congratulated by Carlos Corporan (22) following Carter’s solo home off of Texas Rangers relief pitcher Aaron Poreda in the eighth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. The Astros would defeat the Rangers 8-3 in a rout . AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(2) Houston Astros starting pitcher Brad Peacock and first baseman Jon Singleton talk with manager Bo Porter (16) as Peacock is pulled in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(3) Philadelphia Phillies’ general manager Reuben Amaro Jr is seen here with team manager Ryne Sandberg ,who in his first year as the team’s manager has seen the Phillies do so poorly while struggling to remain competitive within the NL East and the NL in general . An aging roster and several highly paid players are the primary reasons for the poor results witnessed this season . All signs are pointing to the fact , Amaro will seek to revamp the roster during this upcoming off-season and the likelihood will be , he will seek to trade several players superfluous to the team’s needs while promoting younger members from within their farm system. AP Photo/ Martin Davis …

(4) New York Yankees Derek Jeter, left, bumps fists with Masahiro Tanaka during introduction ceremonies before the baseball game against the Houston Astros on day Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Houston. Tanaka enters his first season with the Yankees as team captain Jeter enters his twentieth and final season with the franchise . AP Photo/Pat Sullivan ….

(5) From left to right , Los Angeles Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly , senior partner Magic Johnson , Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees and Dodgers’ CEO and senior managing partner Mark Walter are seen here at Dodgers’ Ballpark in Los Angeles California prior to a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees in 2013. Rivera who retired in 2013 as all-time saves’ leader and a five-time World Series’ winner had a historic career with the Yankees’ franchise. He is likely to be a Hall of Fame candidate in Cooperstown , New York having met the eligibility requirements. Getty Images North America/ Greg Parsons …. .

(6) Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin ,left is seen here with general manager Billy Beane as the two talk with the convened press at the O Coliseum in Oakland, California . The A’s are off to another impressive start to the season and lead with the AL West, while heading into the All Star mid-season break. Both the manager and executive are hoping that the team can have an equally successive start to the second half of the season with the ultimate goal being an appearance and the capturing of a World Series’ crown for the fifth time in A’s history . AP Photo / Dave Wilson …

(7) Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is often seen in some circles as the best player in the game and the face of baseball for next decade. The player now at the forefront of an Angels’ offense that seems to be in control . AP Photo/ Kelly Richardson …

(8) Alex Rodriguez , left , of the New York Yankees and Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers . The two players have become the “face ” of the steroid era over the past eight years. Each has faced a league mandated suspension, with the Yankees’ third baseman now sitting out the entire 2014 season after baseball’s hierarchy enforced their ban of the player for the year. Braun and Rodriguez have won four League MVP Awards over the course of their respective careers and are among the highest paid players on their respective teams ( Brewers and Yankees) . AP Photo / Harry Patterson ….

(9) Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins leads the NL in home runs this season but it remains to be seen whether or not he is likely to surpass the fifty home runs for the year . The Marlins are trying to supplant both the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals atop of the NL East. AP Photo / Chris Mendez …..

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MLB news and MLB press releases

MLB transaction

MLB schedule

MLB probable pitchers 7th July ,2014

MLB results 6th July

MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

MLB standings (postseason probabilities)

2014 MLB standings overall

2014 MLB All Star Game

This week in MLB history

On this day in MLB history

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Something cheerful about a female shaking her assets .

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Put a ring on it ………….

Put a ring on it ……….

In the past few days, the interest in witnessing the mounting speculation after LeBron James chose to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat has been dramatic and somewhat idiotic. Joining James in the same attempt are teammates Udonis Harlem, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh . The angst caused to Heat team President Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison , as they now seek to resell all three core players and Haslem on the idea of taking less money for the betterment of the organization, seeking to move forward and be much more competitive. It was very clear that not only were the Miami Heat overrated but those who bought into the idiocy, that they were the best team in the NBA , simply had no damn idea what they were talking about, much less looking at. The way where the Heat were humiliated in the NBA Finals, was clearly indicative of why the NBA’s Eastern Conference is so damn mediocre without the ongoing asinine insinuation that neither the Heat or the league hierarchy are to blame for the league’s ongoing woes and lack of competitiveness within the conference and its divisions .

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LeBron James has now not only sought to alienate himself among the fans of the NBA, but there are now likely to be questions about the player’s legacy and where he stands among the all-time greats of the game. Selfishness and narcissism are now the words that come to mind when perhaps describing LeBron James. Yet in large part, the team’s woes of the postseason and specifically why the Miami Heat failed so miserably as a team and individually, with their being absolutely no leadership being shown on or by anyone on the roster during the NBA Finals. A lopsided 4-1 series’ loss , was about as clinical a defeat that a team has suffered in the NBA Finals’ series in recent postseason history. As to what this all suggests about the Miami Heat as an organization , can be best summed up by those who are now seeking to make excuses for the Heat’s loss, while not seeking to acknowledge any great deferment to their opponents, the San Antonio Spurs. This was simply because they are not glamorous enough an organization but yet this has been the garbage, sold to NBA fan-base by the league hierarchy and specifically by David Stern during his tenure and it looks as if that same passage will be taken by his successor Adam Silver .

Now pardon for me saying this, but this asinine notion, this past NBA Draft by comparison was on par with the famed 2003 NBA Draft class , which brought us LeBron James as the number one overall pick, and also included Carmelo Anthony , Dwayne Wade and several other notable aspirants from that year. The hype and melodrama that surrounds this idiotic circus continues to show us why the process tends to be one monotonous bore, not unlike the comedic spectacle of the drafts of MLB, NFL , NBA and NHL . Like a badly acted and played out Latin tele-novela soap opera , it is becoming increasingly more difficult to understand why this idiocy is televised annually. for each the four major professional team sports. The drama that is said to be warranted by this all , is no better than a political debate between two opponents with nothing to say, but who are also so dumb founded clueless, one has to be worried about the political climate and the direction that the nation is now heading in. The same things, equally can be said about the state of each, within professional basketball, football, ice hockey, baseball and baseball.

The drama that will now follow LeBron James, as he seeks to force the Miami Heat to offer him a max contract which is in no way in the organization’s best interest will, also hinder the process of them seeking to get better. As to the assumption that the drafting of Shabazz Napier gives Pat Riley even more credibility in luring James to remain with the franchise. Ask yourself the question ,how will the general manager and team President seek to bolster the franchise, when the top player of that team, shows his discontent with the franchise, merely, because he was unable to win a third consecutive NBA title? His supporting cast, was simply not good enough and he also was unable to show any ability as a team leader. James, is certainly a great player, but he cannot be placed on the same plateau as his idol, Michael Jordan .

From afar, I have admired Jason Kidd as a great player and perhaps among the top twenty-five point guards in NBA history. His ascent into NBA coaching though rushed, the success attained the Brooklyn Nets while impressive . One has to admit that were the Nets playing in the Western Conference I seriously doubt that their year-end record would have garnered them a postseason berth, in spite of the alleged talent on the roster . Having made the postseason their exit from postseason play was as swift as butter melting off a hot knife.Their loss to the Miami Heat was a lopsided affair with seasoned veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett almost nowhere to be seen in that series. How Joe Johnson , remains the NBA’s highest paid player in terms of contract value and among the top forty players in terms of annual salary , is as mystifying as the idiocy of Ted Cruz now being seen as a future Presidential candidate , among the GOP fraternity of mind bending loons. There are some things that one can prove in the world of sports and politics, but in the case of Johnson and Cruz, it remains a mystery as well as being comedic, in nature .

Jason Kidd having led the Nets to the postseason in his first year as the Brooklyn Nets’ head coach, sought to have more of a say in the day-to-day running of the team’s operations , leading to a clash with team GM Billy King and the Nets’ billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov . King has the ear and the implicit faith and trust of the owner, but it was the coach’s indifference in not being given a greater role as a reward, for his guiding the franchise to a conference semi-final berth, led to a parting of the ways. It would seem that Jason Kidd’s ego is as big as his opinions, in the belief that his rookie season is a reflection of what he believes makes him a great coach. Somehow, those opinions were not necessarily shared by those within the Nets’ front office , coaching staff or among the players themselves.

The fact that Kidd has seen fit to pursue a position with another NBA franchise whose coach was still in that position. not only reflects the lack of respect that the Nets’ head coach has for his peers, but it also reflects the duplicitous nature and double standards within the NBA. Larry Drew may well have known that his job was in jeopardy but the lack of respect shown him by Herb Kohl and the Milwaukee Bucks’ organization> shows that franchise to be just as conniving as Kidd himself. Drew was fired , not because of his failure as a head coach, but simply because Kohl sought to displace a coach he did not believe fits the mold of what he desired in a professional basketball coach. The Bucks’ as an organization, have failed miserably over the last seven years and the front office remains a prime example of what happens to an NBA franchise that has no one with the acumen to really make the right personnel decisions necessary. Their failure beyond being a reflection of a Bucks’ team heading nowhere , was also an even greater reflection Herb Kohl’s own failures as an owner. The rumors are now widespread that he will seek to sell the team to an owner willing to keep the Milwaukee Bucks in the greater Milwaukee area. Yet, that predicament will be solely based upon the willingness of the potential new owner not wishing to move the franchise.

Kidd may well come in riding on a white charger and be seen as some type of savior, but my own thoughts are, he has made a monumental mistake , while burning several bridges behind him ! The lack of action by the league hierarchy, in not fining Jason Kidd , for pursuing a coaching position that was not vacant, has been symptomatic of an organization which continually makes up the rules as it goes along, but also one that will condone some of the most repulsive behavior, while moronic assholes, who call themselves NBA fans, try to justify an idiot such as David Stern, of being a real benefit to the NBA. One could liken that to Hillary Clinton’s thoughts on what it is to being a pauper and what it is to being extremely wealthy. Clueless, as well as being extremely dumb.

The more things are said to change, the more they remain the same and the very fact, Donald Sterling has the NBA hierarchy, the team owners and his estranged wife , Rochelle Sterling within his cross-hairs, will prove to be a real embarrassment to the league. I read one patron’s comments on another side during which he stated that the league could enforce the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers from the now disgraced owner. That may well be true, but consider the fact, Sterling’s racial tirade was not unlawful , but simply the uttering of a racial bigot. Now consider , the NBA as a league , where misogyny among the players is considered a sign of masculinity and bravado, while the league’s intolerance of a player’s homosexuality is considered taboo and off-limits. All of this, from a league hierarchy, whose former commissioner sought to use racial stereotypes to sell his brand on the domestic and global market .Am I missing something here , but half a century on from the civil rights’ era and the alleged leaps and bounds that are claimed to have been made, are merely a charade and nothing more than a baby still learning to walk. Understandably, that child is likely to take repeated stumbles, but how many more can the NBA really afford to take at this juncture ? Where is the outrage and common decency among the fans, who fail to call out a league hierarchy and its union for being so inconsistent and incompetent on so many damn social and NBA related issues ?

The NBA (basketball) may well be a great sport to be a spectator of, but in reality what has it now become ? Billionaire team owners , narcissistic players and a brand that in no way is a true reflection of a sport that in its heyday, really had the fans speaking in glowing detail about their teams. It has now become about the “me mentality” , not just among the players , but also among the owners and front office executives as well .

Phil Jackson cannot walk on water, nor can he turn water into wine or feed a crowd of thousands with several basket of bread and fishes Yet , New York Knicks’ fans believe him to be the NBA’s answer to the Messiah. Eleven NBA championship rings can place you in rarefied air but Jackson is no miracle worker as of yet , when it comes to the New York Knicks. As to this asinine notion that Carmelo Anthony will remain in New York because his wife and son enjoy the lifestyle . Last I looked , it was Anthony who was the breadwinner in the household, while his wife, La-La Anthony remains a D-List celebrity and a BFF of reality show star Kim Kardashian.. If the player truly wants to pursue the furtherance of his NBA career, then he has to see that the “writing is on the wall” and a move elsewhere would be in his best interests. His pursuit of that elusive first NBA ring is now beginning to take on epic proportions by way of the Knicks’ incompetence as an organization , before and since Phil Jackson joined the front office to head up the team’s Basketball Operations.

. Jackson’s first personnel move was the acquisition of Lamar Odom and with the departures of Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton , I can only assume beyond cap room flexibility this will afford Jackson the chance to prove to Carmelo Anthony that he does mean business in seeking to improve the roster . If the move in the acquisition of Odom was meant to impress anyone it certainly did not impress Carmelo Anthony and only a fool would see the maneuver as a positive. Phil Jackson’s assessment of talent is questionable at best, but there is no denying his legacy as a head coach. Yet, I believe he has no wish to step back into the scorching cauldron of being a head coach in the NBA once again. The fans may yearn for his return but Jackson’s ongoing health issues and his wish to be around his family remains the primary reason he has chosen not to return to the league and redefine his legacy as perhaps the NBA’s best coach in the league’s history. ‘

The move that will either impress or intrigue Knicks’ fans, was the hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the new head coach of this franchise. The relationship between Jackson and Fisher is one of mutual respect, but I am not so sure that will be enough, as the pair set about rebuilding the team .It was clear last season the Knicks were a flawed team in several areas , with Carmelo Anthony being the sole bright spot on an otherwise moribund roster.

As the NBA’s off-season takes a path of uncertainty with the legal assailment of the veracity of Donald Sterling’s legal suit against his estranged wife Rochelle Stein-Sterling and her selling of the Clipper’s franchise. The buyer, billionaire former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer is likely to pull the plug on his $2 billion bid for the franchise , if this legal case becomes protracted. Sterling also has a two potentially damaging legal suits against the NBA and its commissioner Adam Silver that will likely embarrass the institution even more so than their apparent inaction in not dealing with Sterling’s egregious behavior. The league remains an archaic fraternity and institution where leadership is truly lacking, with the owners, simply acquiescing to just about every idiotic edict rung down by idiots such as Adam Silver and David Stern, throughout the years , simply because , financially it made them a great deal wealthier . There is little common sense to be found within the NBA among its upper echelons and within the front offices of the franchises there, without looking at the ongoing hypocrisy of the game’s leading players.

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Picture gallery .

As Andrew Wiggins , Jabari Parker , Joel Embiid and the other rookies are made welcome to the NBA, I wonder what story will be prescient a year from now in the league and which team will have been triumphant in the NBA Finals ? Simply leave a comment on this and anything else you believe to relevant to this article.

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Picture and slideshow picture details below.
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(1) Miami Heat President Pat Riley, left, and owner Micky Arison look at the NBA Championship trophy during a public celebration for the team in Miami, Monday,June 25, 2012. Having made four consecutive appearances to the NBA Finals from starting in 2011 , the Heat fell to the San Antonio Spurs in this past season’s NBA Finals in a lopsided 4-1 series’ loss. The front office will now embark on a rebuilding process while seeking to bring back their core of NBA All Stars in LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. AP Photo/J Pat Carter ..

(2) Jun 5 , 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) talks to San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) during the second quarter in game one of the 2014 NBA Finals at AT&T Center. Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

(3) Newly installed New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher , left , is seen here with the team’s Head of Basketball Operations Phil Jackson . Fisher signed a five-year $25 million deal to become the team’s head coach and the pairing will now seek to rebuild the roster while hoping to convince Carmelo Anthony to remain with the franchise. AP Photo / Rick Brown …

(4) Jun 13, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King (left) listens as head coach Jason Kidd speaks during a press conference to introduce Jason Kidd as the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York ,. Kidd has since departed from the franchise after a disagreement with the organization concerning his duties . The former NBA point guard has since succeeded Larry Drew as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Courtesy of USA Today Sports/ Brad Penner …

(5) Larry Drew , former head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks , whose ouster has many questioning the integrity of not only the NBA but also the Bucks’ front office and specifically the behavior of Jason Kidd , who sought the position before Drew’s firing by the franchise. Getty Images / David Mason ….

(6) Donald Sterling is seen here with his estranged wife Rochelle Sterling at a Los Angeles Clippers’ game played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California ,. The two are now involved in a bitter court battle, where Donald Sterling is now challenging the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers’ franchise to Steve Ballmer . The deal having received the approval of the NBA’s Board of Governors is being challenged in the US Federal Court , by the beleaguered owner. Sterling also has two legal suits against the league hierarchy and its commissioner seeking unspecified and punitive damages. A long and protracted legal battle would prove costly for the NBA and a loss of that case , could lead to a multi-billion dollar payout were the decision to go in Donald Sterling’s favor. Getty Images North America / Kelly Bishop …..

(7) Bill Self , left , head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks is seen here with the team’s center Joel Embiid who was taken as the third overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft . Embiid plagued by back and foot injuries is hoping to make a solid contribution to the Philadelphia 76ers this upcoming season. AP Photo / Nestor Gomez ….

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Beyoncé’ …………… ” Single ladies (Put a ring on it) “

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