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.

======================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

======================================

Slideshow .

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.

==================================


==================================

Picture gallery .

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 !

:)

Picture and slideshow details below .

============================================

(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 …..

============================================

:)

tophatal …………

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

:)

NFL pieces within this site , merely click unto the link provided

Basketball pieces within this site

——-

NFL news

NFL schedule week one regular season

Denver Broncos’ news

San Francisco 49ers’ news

NBA news

NBA transactions

—-

MLB news

—————

Always willing to show off her best assets .

Playboy model Regina Deutinger .

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Football, http://wp.me/poxLH-97U, MLB, NBA, New York Mets, NFL, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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.

===========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=============================================

Slideshow .

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.

=======================================


=========================================

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.

:)

Picture and slideshow details below .
=====================================

(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 …

======================================

:)

tophatal ………

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

:)

============

NFL news

NFL transactions July and all NFL transactions

NFL free agents

2014 NFL Draft

2014 NFL preseason

2014 NFL regular season

2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

On this date in NFL history

Other historical NFL events on this day

=========================================

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 , , , , , , , , , , | 21 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 .

====================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

====================================

Slideshow .

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.

========================================


========================================

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 ?

:)

Picture and slideshow details below .
============================================

(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 ….

============================================

—-

tophatal

MLB articles within this site .

Follow on Facebook.com Tophatal’s Blog

:)

MLB news and press releases

MLB transactions

MLB schedule important dates

MLB standings (divisional) and wildcard standings

MLB schedule

This week in MLB history

On this date (18th July) in MLB history

:)

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 , , , , , , | 18 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.

======================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


======================================

Slideshow.

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.

=====================================


======================================

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 !

;)

Picture gallery slideshow details below .
=============================================

(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 ……..

==============================================

:)

tophatal

Follow on Facebook.com Tophatal’s Blog

—————————

NBA news and archived stories

NBA transactions 2014-15 and concise NBA transactions

NBA free agents

NBA free agents 2015

NBA D League

NBA D League news

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

Posted in Basketball, http://wp.me/poxLH-95x, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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.

================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


=================================================

Slideshow .

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.

=======================================
Click on link to read in full.
========================================

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.

======================================


======================================

Picture gallery.

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 !

:)

Picture and slideshow details .

=================================================

(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 …
=================================================

:)

tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

For more continent within this site, click on the link provided .

——————–

NCAA

Latest news from within the NCAA

Posted in Collegiate Athletics, http://wp.me/poxLH-95x, Mark Emmert & Dr Myles Brand, NCAA, Sports Economics, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

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 !

===================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===================================

Slideshow .

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.

===================================


===================================

Picture gallery.

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 !

:)

Picture and slideshow gallery below .
==========================================

(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 …..

==========================================

tophatal …………

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

———–

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

————-

Something cheerful about a female shaking her assets .

Posted in Baseball, http://wp.me/poxLH-94n, Miami Marlins, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 38 Comments

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 .

=================================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

——————————————————————————–

Slideshow .

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.

================================================

===============================================

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.

:)

Picture and slideshow picture details below.
==========================================================

(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 ….

==========================================================

:)

tophatal ………….

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

:)

NBA news

NBA Draft and 2014 NBA Draft order

2014 NBA Free agents and transactions

This month in NBA history

On this day in NBA history

——————————————-

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

Posted in Basketball, http://wp.me/poxLH-93L, NBA, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The ugly side to sports is no different from its image in general , still goddamn ugly

The ugly side to sports is no different from its image in general , still goddamn ugly

For the past few weeks I have been intently assisting a friend get his newly established and relocated business off the ground. He and his family moved across the county to reestablish his Caribbean styled family restaurant here in the small rural town of Dundee, Florida . Like everything else that involves the reshaping of a business , along with it comes a great deal of bureaucracy, in dealing with a new municipality as well as with a state governmental agency . Top-heavy , with way too much bureaucracy and with their being no intelligence in sight . The same could be said for the state of play in the world of professional and collegiate sports, where leadership is definitely lacking but the sheer ineptitude and apathy of the fans would have you believe that there is some integrity and leadership within the hierarchies of the NFL, NBA , NCAA , MLB , NHL and FIFA . With the latter being a prime example of how the world’s most popular sport while not lacking appeal is still mired in controversy , along with ongoing corruption at the highest levels.

==============================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

==============================================

Slideshow.

My friend’s restaurant is off to a flying start but his issues remain, in dealing with the town and the state for varying reasons, as to the degree of difficulty. The sign that adorns the restaurant is not visible to the passing vehicular traffic, because of the trees that border the pedestrian sidewalk. The trees were planted by the town , with a grant provided by the state, but it remains the municipality’s duty to have those trees properly maintained. Yet, when having made a request to the town manager, we were informed because the shrubbery is along a state highway, the responsibility in seeking any changes would have to come with state approval. It would not be so asinine , were it not for the fact the town received the grant from the state for the beautification project, with the planting of the trees. Go figure, a municipality that defers to the state, because they cannot make pertinent decision that actually affects the town more than the state.

The NFL continues the hyping of its off-season, with the meaningless news of rookies who are told are now said to be setting their training camps alight with their understanding of the playbook and their acknowledgment of their more experienced peers. Far be it for me to suggest, but the preseason is nothing more than a parade , with the regular season being the true test of the rookies’ character and skills. Jadeveon Clowney of the Houston Texans will have a great deal to prove in his rookie season , along with the considerable hype that also followed Johnny Manziel , who was a first round pick of the Cleveland Browns . For the Browns this might be a season where the disasters of 2013 are likely to be revisited. Mike Pettine and his staff have a great deal to prove, as do the players under his tutelage.

Given the Browns’ on and off the field issues in recent seasons, I personally do not see the team making any inroads within their division or the AFC once the season gets underway . Cleveland will begin their season with an away game against divisional AFC North rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers in a contest to be played at Heinz Field , in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ,on the opening weekend of the 2014 week one regular season schedule . Pettine and his team are likely to have a season of ups and downs but nothing that would suggest they are likely to seen as a major contender within the AFC this season.

If the NFL cannot find a way to keep itself out of the spotlight, you can rest assured that it will be left to either Roger Goodell or one of the league’s team owners to make a complete ass of themselves. The NFL Commissioner continues to wax on lyrically as to the ever increasing profits of the NFL, but his continued failure to discuss the most acute issues that the NFL continues to face is another reason why the league continues to have ongoing problems. Goodell lacks leadership grit and the owners remain selfless self-serving bastards. It would be idiotic to try to suggest otherwise now.

Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins continue to be on the wrong side of an argument and debate that neither he or the franchise can win. No matter what type of magnanimous gesture is made by the Redskins’ owner , it will never be enough to appease the Native American Indians across the country. While I believe there to be a great deal of hypocrisy on both sides of the debate concerning, using the word ‘ Redskins’ as it relates to the franchise’s name. The fact that the United States Patent Office has seen fit not to renew the Redskins’ trademark of the name, smacks of government interference in a matter that should be either dealt with in the courts or through an amicable settlement between the parties concerned.

The US Trade & Patent Office stated that their why not renewing the Washington Redskins’ trademark agreement stemmed from the fact, they believed the term “ Redskins” was a derogatory use the word that denigrates the Native American Indians. Perhaps that governmental agency needs to take a look at what the Department of the Interior is presently doing as it relates to the tribes across the country to truly comprehend the meaning of the word ” denigrate ” and the meaning also of the word derogatory . Native American Indians may well be and their lands are deemed sovereign, but their treatment by the federal government remains reprehensible and often scandalous . Simply consider the lack of proper education in spite of the statistics continually spewed by the governmental agency in question , with their also being a prolific rise in drug use and crime but yet they feel the using of the word Redskins to be derogatory in this day age. If things were not so fucked up I would take less in delight in lambasting not only Department of the Interior , but also a Congress and Administration that remains clueless on so many fucking issues , that it should be viewed as criminal and extremely calculated .

Away from that specific issue for the Washington Redskins , they will embark on a new season with the new head coach and coaching staff in tow. Jay Gruden will now be given the task of turning things around for the team after a year of lackluster results and performances , with many questioning the leadership and playing ability of Robert Griffin III. Add in the fact, Griffin’s teammate Kirk Cousins sought to extricate himself from an organization that simply had lost a sense of direction. Snyder remained in the background while Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan ran amok , with team GM Bruce Allen showing no sense of urgency in seeking to calm the maelstrom within his sight. I have always felt that the four teams within the NFC East were overrated along just about every element of the teams’ play within the division. As to the season by Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles , does anyone really believe that he will be able to replicate those performances in 2014? Add in the fact the Eagles saw fit to rid themselves of their best offensive weapon last season when they allowed DeSean Jackson to leave as a free agent. Safe to say, that the Eagles’ loss will be the Washington Redskins’ gain.

This past NBA postseason showed once again why the NBA remains suckers’ game if you are always willing to bet on what you believe to be a sure thing. As to the idiocy of those, whose only explanation to favor the Miami Heat was because of the presence of LeBron James on the Heat’s roster . Last I looked James was yet to make the ascent where he can thought of as being on the same plateau as his idol Michael Jordan , whose postseason exploits have been well chronicled. Miami’s decisive 4-1 series loss was enough to suggest how overrated the Heat were said to be without having to witness LeBron James’ labor in these Finals without very little aid coming from his teammates. As to this asinine notion, that their Big Three should remain together , the real issue should be with an aging Dwyane Wade offering a mere measure of the player he was six years ago , the inconsistency of Chris Bosh and a bench whose only apparent virtue appears to be as a band of cheerleaders for their four-time League MVP winning teammate. Rashard Lewis has aged faster than an octogenarian with the early onset of Alzheimer’s and Ray Allen’s shooting can now be placed on the same level as Dick Cheney on a pheasant hunt, not likely to be the target he’s aiming for , but he is liable to hit something near.

James’ decision to opt out of his contract now creates a feeding frenzy within the NBA, with general managers around the NBA scurrying to make salary cap space available , as they seek to land one of the big fishes among the list of ” highly prized “ free agents currently on the market. Joining LeBron James , is his close confidante Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and the possibility seems remote that the pairing could now land on the same team making that franchise a legitimate title contender.

So now for the second time in six years, the fans will be placed in the midst of this drama, as James serves notice, that he believes himself bigger than the game. It would not be so bad, if the first merry-go-round of this circus were not staged , with ESPN journalist Jim Gray , all but licking James’ sphincter and testes, while asking some of the most asinine questions posed to an athlete concerning their future. As to James and his posse of clown advisers, stating that the player’s fee, for that now infamous diatribe and garbage went to a needy cause , of the Boys & Girls Club of America. For a player who was one of the league’s highest paid players and with a reputed $40 million annually in off-court earnings. I believe the $250,000 paid out by ESPN would have been a small price to pay, had James simply donated that money to the charity himself, rather than Gray making the statement and interview had a measure of journalistic integrity to it all. That would be suggesting that the plot-line for a thirty minute porn flick, does have a measure of artistic integrity in terms of the portrayals on-screen. Everyone knows how to fuck and I guess faking an orgasm does come easy (pardon the pun) when you have practiced the art several times over. James and Gray were not very versed and the interview itself, was simply one more reason why ESPN can no longer be taken seriously as sports’ programming network .

LeBron James will be seen as a very poor version of what the NBA seeks in the second coming of Michael Jordan. The league hierarchy , still yearns for someone to carry that mantle, but unfortunately since Jordan’s retirement the players seeking to fill those shoes have repeatedly come up short. The Miami Heat player can now toy with the emotions of the Miami Heat and in particular with the fans and Pat Riley . However, should he seek to bolt from a franchise for a second time , his legacy will not only be further tarnished, but I do believe the fans around the league will not be so forgiving the second time around.

Unless I am mistaken, the season in which baseball yearned to see some great play from some of the game’s best teams , has in essence provided us with something of a letdown. The defending World Series’ champions the Boston Red Sox have performed nothing like what you would come to expect of a ball-club seeking to make a successful defense of their title. It is becoming hard to explain why John Farrell’s players have performed so badly, as we come to closing out the first half of this baseball season. The always competitive AL East remains a two-horse race at present with the Toronto Blue Jays leading the Baltimore Orioles followed by the big spending coffers of the New York Yankees . Rounding out the division we have the Red Sox followed by the last placed Tampa Bay Rays .

The Rays have proven to be pitiful and no amount of idiotic excuses can be made for the poor play from the team . Winning a series for this franchise, has become about as customary as witnessing a solar eclipse of Halley’s Comet crossing the sky at high-speed. Far be it for me to suggest , but now might be the time for fans in the Tampa Bay area to look elsewhere for their excitement this Fall ,as this franchise is unlikely to be playing any part in the Fall Classic.

Rays’ manager Joe Maddon known for serving up a great deal of rhetoric, has rarely called out his players even when they have performed poorly. Leadership is certainly lacking among the Rays and with seasoned veterans on the roster such as David Price, James Loney, Jose Molina , Evan Longoria and Erik Bedard , it is becoming extremely difficult by the second to suggest that there are any signs of a positive note to be witnessed from this team. Coming off three consecutive losses to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, the Rays will now hope for more luck on the road when they are due to face the Baltimore Orioles in a four-game series to be played at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland. That series will tell us a great deal about the temperament of the Tampa Bay Rays and the direction that they are said to be heading in. The first of the quartet of games will begin on Friday 27th June ,2014 with Alex Colome taking to the mound for the Rays against a yet to be named opposing pitcher.

The longer Mark Emmert remains as the NCAA President the less credibility he continues to have. His change of tone, concerning the issue of collegiate athletes being paid is another reason why the NCAA cannot be taken seriously when it comes to addressing this matter. Whether or not, if he is being pressured by major conference commissioners or by the university presidents, it is becoming abundantly clear that Emmert’s lack of leadership and communicative skills will ultimately lead to his own undoing. Collegiate Athletics’ governing body now finds itself as a major defendant in a class action lawsuit in which one of the leading plaintiffs is former UCLA (Bruins) basketball star Ed O’Bannon . The Bruins’ star and his joint plaintiffs claim that their likeness was being used without their permission and whereby the NCAA and the colleges have profited greatly from using their images, in selling a wide assortment of sports’ paraphernalia. With the billions of dollars reaped and the claims made by the NCAA and the collegiate establishments that these funds are used for the benefit of the student athlete .That case is becoming hard to prove, when neither the NCAA or many top-tiered sports’ programs are willing to open up their books for public scrutiny. In spite of the outcry from the public , the NCAA has been able to harness their lobbying power to make sure that Congressional leaders and members are quick to avert their eyes and ears, in seeking to make changes in the antitrust exemption status granted to collegiate athletics’ governing body as well as the four major professional sports’ governing bodies.

The world’s most popular sport of soccer and the sport’s international governing body staging the World Cup in Brazil, in this quadrennial tournament being seen as a grand stage to raise the profile of South America’s most powerful economy. Staged at a cost of over $12 billion , the country is also facing a great deal internal strife ,with their being a great deal of opposition in the staging of the World Cup while there is a growing chasm between the rich and the poor within the country. Needless to say , the government states that those issues will be fully addressed once the tournament is over but for the moment soccer is now being played on the grandest of stages with the host nation being viewed as a consensus favorite.

FIFA President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , no stranger to controversy , having faced allegations of graft and corruption without his ever being indicted for any of the charges lodged against him. Others have somehow fallen on the sword, willing to take the blame for an executive who continues to point an accusing finger at the press for making the false accusations concerning his actions during his tenure as FIFA’s highest ranking executive.

This tournament has not been without controversy and the biggest of them all deals with the unsportsmanlike conduct of Uruguayan international Luis Suarez as he bit an Italian defender during a game between the two teams. With his team having qualified for the second round phase of the World Cup , fans now wait to see what punishment will be meted out against the player. This disgusting act was missed by the game’s officials but picked up by the cameras televising the game. Blatter and the FIFA Committee on Player Conduct will reexamine the incident, but it is s already becoming clear that the punishment levied against Luis Suarez is likely to be severe. The Uruguayan contingent have until Thursday midnight, to come up with an explanation as to the player’s behavior and the reasons behind his actions. Suarez has brushed aside this latest mea-culpa,but with his past behavior and having fined twice before for similar actions, FIFA can ill afford to have the player be let off the hook. Personally, I believe that Suarez should be suspended for the rest of the tournament, but I also find it rather bewildering that the Uruguayan delegation has not seen fit to offer a public apology for their player’s wanton misconduct.

Officiating at the World Cup has been very inconsistent with a number of on-field mistakes being made during the games , many of them proving to be costly for several of the teams on the wrong end of a decision. Reigning champions, Spain have fallen from grace and their exit in the first round stage has been a complete shock. Meanwhile, host country, Brazil , has found a consistent rhythm, after a somewhat indifferent start to the tournament. Their best player, Neymar Jr , is certainly justifying the raves reviews received, as he and the team go on their quest for a fifth World Cup title. Jose Felipe Scolari , as Brazil’s head coach is under a great deal of pressure to deliver a long-awaited title, but all roads will have to go through either Germany or the Netherlands , as both European teams have been among the most impressive of the participants playing in the tournament.

England’s failure comes as no great surprise with the team’s efforts having been ridiculed in the press back in the UK. Roy Hodgson’s tenure as the team’s head coach is likely to come to an abrupt end with his resignation being sought or being fired. Let’s just say the high expectations as one of the favorites is a thing of the past and will remain so for the foreseeable future as the country no longer produces the talent necessary to be seen as a legitimate World Cup contender.

For Jürgen Klinsmann and Team USA, the team’s pivotal final game in the first round on Thursday night is a make or break contest for both teams. Although a tie would benefit both teams , with each qualifying as the top two within their group standings. I believe it would be suicidal were both to rest on their laurels and simply play for the draw , as their opponent in the knockout stages is likely to be team that neither can afford to take lightly. As to this contest, it could very well be one where we get to see the best of this USA team , with Klinsmann missing one of the team’s best offensive players in Jozy Altidore. Whatever the outcome of the contest, it must be said that team has exceeded the expectations of their fans and I believe the majority of analysts in general covering the game for ESPN.

===============================================


===============================================

Picture gallery .

In light of the recent news’ stories what do you believe to be the most interesting thing that is now happening in the sports’ world ? With team USA’s upcoming match against Germany, are they likely to be triumphant? Last but not least, what are you views on LeBron James choosing to opt out of his contract and what part is it likely to make on the decisions to be made by the NBA’s general managers ?

:)

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

=======================================================

(1) Seen here are the Orville Mongol restaurant owner and Dundee town Mayor Sam Pennant . The recently opened restaurant has become a downtown attraction and the center for numerous activities among the residents in the town.

(2) Jamaican Style Grill & Lounge DBA Golden Tropical Bar & Grill . The restaurant offering Jamaican styled cuisine is located in the downtown center of Dundee, located in Eastern Polk County , Florida . Seen here, pictured from left to right , Chef Donovan, Mayor Sam Pennant , Town Commissioner Bertram ‘Bert’ Goddard, Dorothy Mongol, Commissioner Steve Glenn (background) and restaurant owner Orville Mongol . The restaurant offers of a variety of Jamaican dishes featuring delicacies known among the West Indian community . Also served are vegetarian meals for those who prefer a health conscious diet , but in general patrons can find something on the menu that will be to their liking .

(3) Pictured are Jadeveon Clowney (above) and Johnny Manziel . Both players were part of the 2014 NFL Draft class of this year . Clowney and Manziel are hoping to productive contributors for their respective teams this upcoming season . AP Photo/Gerry Mason …

(4) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III is seen here with team owner Dan Snyder on the sidelines during a game in 2013 played at FedEx Field in Landover Maryland . After an indifferent season last year the Redskins hope to bounce back with a new attitude and coaching staff led by Jay Gruden who succeeds fired former head coach Mike Shanahan . Dan Snyder faces mounting criticism from Native American Indians as well as the US Patent & Trademark Office , with the franchise’s refusal in changing the name of the team. The owner has routinely sought the input from Native Americans on the issue but a great deal of the negotiations between the two parties have become highly animated . Getty Images / Paul Ross …

(5) LeBron James is seen here with Miami Heat Team President and part owner , Pat Riley . With James opting out of his existing contract , it has led to a feeding frenzy among the NBA’s general managers as they seek to make available cap space , in quite possibly making a play to lure the Heat player. LeBron James , a four-time League MVP and two-time Finals MVP has yet to make a decision on his immediate future beyond the decision but most are of the opinion he will remain with the Miami Heat. Although were he to leave the franchise , there would be a great deal of disdain for a player, who now seems to make this type of a maneuver a routine occurrence when things are not to his satisfaction. AP Photo/ Mary-Ann Phillips ….

(6) Pitcher David Price (14) of the Tampa Bay Rays is taken off the mound by manager Joe Maddon (70)of the Tampa Bay Rays after walking J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles to load the bases during the seventh inning of a game on May 8, 2014 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. There now seems to be mounting speculation that the Rays will seek to trade the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner at or prior to the trade deadline , with the team at present floundering within the AL East . Getty Images North America/ Brian Blanco …

(7) Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon is seen here talking to the convened press to discuss his civil suit against the NCAA . O’Bannon whose brief career in the NBA was understated lodged his suit in US Federal Court seeking punitive and unspecified damages for what he says, was the unauthorized use of image to sell merchandize by the collegiate athletics’ governing body . The NCAA has reaped billions of dollars annually from merchandize sales but there seems to be no figures indicating how much is plowed back into the college programs nationally . NCAA President Mark Emmert who suggested that he believes that student athletes should be paid a monthly stipend has since shied away from that stance stating that the rules in place are satisfactory for the NCAA and the educational institutions.

(8) NATAL, BRAZIL – JUNE 23: Luis Suarez of Uruguay looks on during press conference at the Dunas Arena in Natal on June 23, 2014 in Natal, Brazil. It remains to be seen what form of punishment will be rendered against the player after an unsavory incident that took place between Uruguay and Italy during their group match . Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images …

(9) MANAUS, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Clint Dempsey of the United States walks out to the pitch prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in the Group G match between USA and Portugal at Arena Amazonia on June 22, 2014 in Manaus, Brazil. Photo by Stuart Franklin – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images ……

=======================================================

:)

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

—————–

MLB news

MLB standings divisional

MLB results

MLB schedule (three days at a glance)

MLB probable starters

:)

NFL news

NFL transactions (May)

NFL preseason schedule

NFL regular season schedule

:)

NBA news

NBA free agents

NBA Draft

:)

NHL and NHL news

:)

NCAA

:)

2014 FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup news

FIFA World Cup group standings

FIFA World Cup results

Matches scheduled 27th June

FIFA World Cup statistics covering players and teams

Posted in http://wp.me/poxLH-93b, News, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Not so newsworthy moments in the world of sports and then there are some, that are worth contemplating


Not so newsworthy moments in the world of sports and then there are some that are worth contemplating

Well, after a rather lackluster display by the Miami Heat , the consensus favorites for this season’s NBA title , were summarily given a lesson in humility , and Heat power forward Chris Bosh had to eat crow. As to the whining by fans who felt that the title was the Miami Heat’s by divine right, begs the question, are they really as dumb as they tend to sound and look ? During the off-season, Heat Team President Pat Riley and team owner , Micky Arison will be left to ponder whether not paying out the ” big bucks” actually amounts to anything, when the organization was counting on making history this past postseason. Four consecutive NBA Finals , two victories and two rather embarrassing losses in which the Heat were favored both times , now leaves the league deciding, what can they do next to sell the fans by way of an image. David Stern and his successor , Adam Silver, have never been the ones to champion the less glamorous teams within the NBA and most certainly it would seem, that the only people favoring the San Antonio Spurs to win the title, were the Spurs fans themselves and perhaps the uninitiated and first time observer of the NBA.

==========================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

=========================================

Slideshow .

A 4-1 series’ win and in many ways reminiscent of the Detroit Pistons annihilation of the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers , in that season’s NBA Finals . This series provided the fans of the NBA another lopsided contest , during which the game’s best player LeBron James , could not single handedly defy the odds stacked against him, while seeking pull his team out of a hole that they dug for themselves during the NBA Finals. Where the Miami Heat now goes from here is rather dependent upon the mindset of the front office led by team owner , Micky Arison and Team President Pat Riley . There is no doubt that the roster will have to be rebuilt from the ground up , with several of the players being jettisoned. One , if not two members from the Heat’s core of their Big Three are likely to be shed and the likelihood that Dwyane Wade could very well be the player seen as superfluous to the team’s needs.

The astonishing achievement of the San Antonio Spurs cannot be praised enough, with a fifth title to the franchise’s already impressive history, beyond the Spurs making the postseason for the sixteenth consecutive season. Something that has not been accomplished by another NBA franchise since Bill Russell was a member of those memorable Boston Celtics’ teams that won nine championships during an eleven-year span.

The NBA has never been truly appreciative of their teams, but the t hierarchy is now inclined to sell their superstars to the public along with the persona built up by a litany of agents, lawyers, advisers and image consultants. Unfortunately, what should be seen as a team sport has now become all about individualistic achievement , with the fans buying into the garbage being sold by the league. The San Antonio Spurs’ win of the title might not necessarily change the face of that premise but it might somehow change the landscape if only momentarily , with some fans actually getting to know what the meaning of team achievement is all about.

As the NFL off-season is summarily about the chance for the rookies acclimatizing themselves with the rigors of playing football at the professional level. The league suffered a heart rendering loss with the passing of four-time winning Superbowl coach , with the death of Pittsburgh Steelers’ legend Chuck Noll . The eighty-two year old former head coach died this past weekend and will be sorely missed by the Steelers’ fans as well as the rest of the NFL. There might not have been a more revered coach in NFL history than Noll, perhaps with the exception of Vince Lombardi , whose name adorns the Superbowl Trophy. I am sure the league as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers will find a way to commemorate Noll during this upcoming season . Pittsburgh has always been appreciative of their heroes and Chuck Noll was certainly a great deal more than that, within the steel town. He lived and breathed the game and the success attained was symbolic of what the franchise was said to be about, during his reign as the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Last season would prove to be disappointing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, within Mike Tomlin’s players failing to make the postseason with the team performing poorly within the AFC North, AFC and the league .

The Steelers’ failure was more to don with GM Kevin Colbert not seeking to bolster the team’s roster after some significant departures of several seasoned veterans. Cost-cutting by the front office might well have seemed prudent , but it severely hampered the chances of the team to be competitive last season. This off-season proved to significant for the coaching staff , front office , with Tomlin and Colbert seeking to make what they feel were the necessary adjustments needed by way of the draft and free agent acquisitions. . I truly believe that the Steelers will only go as far as Ben Roethlisberger is capable of carrying the team and in recent years the Steelers’ quarterback knows that he has failed to do at the level leading many to believe that the two Superbowl victories were not a simple aberration. Troy Polamalu, a teammate of Roethlisberger over the past few years and member of the rosters in the franchise’s most recent victories in the Superbowl, is essentially in the twilight of his career. Injuries , have begun to plague the defensive player and this could very well be his last season with the team.

It will be interesting to see how the Pittsburgh Steelers fare during the regular season ,with their preseason merely being viewed as a dress rehearsal for the team’s sojourn in 2014. Pittsburgh will being their season with a week one divisional contest against the Cleveland Browns . Cleveland for their part will want to start a new chapter afresh, even with the advent of the hyperbole surrounding their drafting of Johnny Manziel . Whether or not Manziel can beat out the presumptive starting quarterback, Brian Hoyer , remains to be seen. Browns’ heads coach Mike Pettine believes Hoyer to have the edge over his rookie teammate. Yet, with the Cleveland fans likely to be clamoring to see the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, it will see interesting to see how this duel will pan out over the course of the Browns’ schedule.

I am not one to always start shouting, ” buyers beware” ,but with the career of Josh Freeman now in complete tailspin , it is hard to imagine how Jon Gruden will z be of any real aid to the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback . While the winning of a Superbowl can add some legitimacy to a coach’s resume’, in the case of Gruden after that victory, his career simply spiraled downwards, while his ego took on gigantic proportions. Now an NFL analyst for ESPN , the former head coach spends a great deal of his time now assessing the quarterbacks recently drafted in the NFL. As to his thoughts on Freeman, well those are not publicly known. I can only surmise, Jon Gruden still believes that Josh Freeman is capable of being a starting quarterback in the NFL or quite possibly a capable backup in the league. Having been let go by the Buccaneers in late 2013 ,Freeman was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings whose passing game was definitely challenged with Christian Ponder holding down theposition as the team’s starting quarterback. Ponders’ lack of leadership and with their being very little faith in his abilities , along with a the preponderance to be injury prone, has led to not only his likely demotion, but his career possibly coming to an end with the franchise.

Josh Freeman regaining any type of form , is unlikely to see his career resumption as a starter in the NFL. He was unable to command the respect of teammates while with the Buccaneers and his later playing time with the Vikings can be best described as being mediocre.

The passing of a legend in any sport has to be met with a moment of solitude and solemnity. Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn’s death at the age of fifty-four comes not only as complete shock, but as a complete surprise to those who knew him best. He might well be viewed as one of the greatest players in San Diego Padres’ history and to my mind the greatest pure hitter of his generation and one of the top-ten in baseball history. Gwynn’s accomplishment as a seven-time NL batting champion and the player who has come closest to hitting the .400 plateau in the modern era. A feat last matched by another Hall of Fame player who was as much beloved as Tony Gwynn by his peers and his successors. Ted Williams remains among the pantheon of baseball greats as does Tony Gwynn and it seems sacrosanct to think that a game where we once applauded the achievements of Gwynn and Williams are now overshadowed by the failings and deceit by players such as Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez .

Baseball’s failure under the leadership of Bud Selig , remains a microcosm of what only bedevils the sport, but sports in general and one simply has to look at the ongoing idiocy within the NBA., NFL and the lack of leadership being shown by Adam Silver and Roger Goodell . Gwynn’s passing and the difficulties now facing the San Diego Padres is another painstaking reminder of what can happen with the continued failings of a once proud baseball franchise . There is little to suggest that the Padres can be competitive within the NL West this season and while the San Francisco Giants now seem to be running away with the division. Two months into the MLB season and the Giants are not only the best team in the NL but they are by far in a way the best ball-club in baseball , based not just on their record, but also in terms of their all-round play. Bruce Bochy’s players are playing with a great deal of intensity and with their pitching staff being remarkably consistent along with an offense that seems to be getting some timely hitting when least expected.

Coming into today’s game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington , the Padres are the losers of eight of their last ten games, while on a two-game losing streak . For manager Bud Black , his coaching staff , and the team in particular , these are some trying times for ball club now sitting in third place within the NL West just above the Arizona Diamondbacks (30-43) who have a better overall record , but from a percentage standpoint they sit at the bottom of the divisional standings. On the mound for the Padres will be Eric Stults facing off against Roenis Elias of the Mariners in an inter-league game between the two ball-clubs.

How baseball now chooses to honor Tony Gwynn’s passing will say a great deal as to how much they revere their heroes . Certainly, the Padres’ player was one of the most beloved players of his era and most definitely his induction into the Hall of Fame was justified and a worthy bestowing upon Gwynn. There have been few players who carried themselves with such grace and poise on and off the field ,while being appreciated by the fans and his fellow peers alike.

Far be it for me to suggest, but witnessing the falling apart of the Tampa Bay Rays’ season from their own self- inflicted wounds , has been very much like a child who has been repeatedly told not to place their hands upon a hot stove. Coming into the this year , there were those lauding the Rays as the best team in the AL East and the favorites to in that highly competitive division outright. Instead, we have witnessed a team playing with little consistency , lacking leadership among the playing and coaching staff . As to the rather asinine rhetoric coming from manager Joe Maddon . You simply have to ask yourself is the best he can come up with, in spite of the claims he is one of the best managers in the game of baseball. Maddon may well have been able to achieve miracles over the years , with the organization paring down salary to compete with the very best, but there comes a point where you have to ask , how much longer can this go on and how much tolerant will the fans be? It should be noted also, the Rays play at Tropicana Field , where their fan-base is marginally above 15,000 in attendance , but there remains the constant cry that they are in need of a new venue. Clearly, the front office , their fans and baseball’s hierarchy are not in a position to understand the lack of feasibility of a ball club that is far from being self-sustaining from a business standpoint . Whenever I have posed the question to a die-hard Rays’ fan about the ball-club moving to a new venue. The response has often bordered on being absolutely idiotic and nonsensical , with their giving an answer , the money is there to make this all happen.

If the owners of the Tampa Bay Rays, can barely afford to have a payroll in excess of $65 million , while remaining uncompetitive. Then what would lead them to believe that fans or should I say, the city of St Petersburg, Pinellas or Hillsborough County would be willing to make that sort of financial outlay for a baseball stadium, that would be barely filled for an eighty-one game schedule? If the MLB hierarchy are unwilling to assist the Tampa Bay Rays , then clearly the issue at hand is not simply about baseball , but it does seem to have more to do with Bud Selig playing favorites , while looking down upon some teams and their owners. Anyone care to offer up another viewpoint on that particular issue, given the fact , Selig came to the aid of New York Mets , New York Yankees and Miami Marlins in the building of new stadiums for the three organizations in question ?

The world’s biggest sporting spectacle is now under way and with due respect to the Superbowl , that specific sporting event, cannot in any way measure up to the Summer Olympics or the FIFA World Cup now being staged in Brazil. The host country , in the opening game of the tournament came away with a lackluster 3-1 victory over Croatia and England’s chances may well have been severely hampered with a 2-1 defeat suffered at the hands of Italy , in their opening game. Jurgen Klinsmann , head coach of Team USA saw his players come through unscathed with a very good win over African powerhouse Ghana . Though Klinsmann , might now feel extremely worried with the injuries suffered by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey during what was a very physical contest. Reigning champions, Spain , may well have seen their hopes go up in flames when they fell to the Netherlands in a 5-1 thrashing , that was the largest margin of defeat suffered by a world champion during the World Cup tournament.

As this tournament proceeds , we are likely to see the boisterous passion of the fans be exhibited. Behind this all, lies a country where there exists a great deal of distrust of the government and where the allegations of bribery and corruption have been revealed with the Interior Ministry and FIFA making claims that the allegations are unfounded. Unfortunately, there exists a pattern of behavior by soccer’s governing body that has become endemic within the world of sports. Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter, FIFA’s President has been the subject of close scrutiny in recent years and his tenure as that body’s highest ranking executive has left him untouched by the scandals, even some of his closest allies and subordinates have been embroiled in a variety of misdeeds. Falling on the sword for your superior is one thing, but for him to also point the finger while also swinging the blade above your head , might be something different altogether . Explain that to me, if you can ?

Now Blatter has sunk the level of those, whom he believes have begun to make sport of soccer so vile , by suggesting that those who have been critical of the officiating during the tournament , are nothing more than avowed racists. That is now all we need to bring the game down to the gutter level now witnessed within the NFL and NBA. Thanks, but, no thanks !

The second golf major of the PGA season came and went without a great deal of excitement and with no home-grown player, from the US, being able to mount a credible challenge to Martin Kaymer of Germany, as he completely dominated the US Open at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst , North Carolina. Kaymer’s margin of victory had more to do with his exceptional play over four rounds of golf as his fellow competitors simply struggled . It was the German’s second major of his professional career , having won the 2010 PGA Championship , pushes Kaymer back up the world golf rankings , where , having moved seventeen places to sit in the eleventh spot of the rankings. Current world number one Adam Scott is followed by Henrik Stenson , Bubba Watson , Tiger Woods , Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy , rounding out the top five.

With Tiger Woods having missed the US Open , there remains mounting speculation as to whether or not he can or will make a successful return to the PGA Tour this season. Woods may well be saying the right things, while trying to remain positive ,but the issues with the player, have become his physical health and the state of his overall game .His performances this season have been lackluster and under-achieving by even his own lofty goals. With official tour prize money winnings in excess of $100 million , off-course earnings exceeding $65 million annually and estimated fortune of $600 million . I am beginning to wonder if Tiger Woods has now become tired of the drudgery of being full-time professional on PGA Tour! At the same time, his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ eighteen Grand Slam major victories , once seen as a certainty , now seems all the more distant with each passing misstep by the player, as he seeks to pass his idol.

====================================

===================================

Picture gallery .

At this point of his career Tiger Woods has proven himself to be the best player of his generation , but he will continue to be adjudged against the accomplishments of Jack Nicklaus. Unless Woods is able to surpass Nicklaus’ mark of Majors’ wins , then he will be always be thought as second best and not much else beyond that. Your thoughts on the points raised and what other sports’ stories have been of interest to you over the past ten days ?

:)

Picture and slideshow details below .

—————————————————————————-

(1) Members of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate their winning of the 2014 NBA Finals after their lopsided game five victory over the Miami Heat. Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs was named the Finals’ MVP , after an astonishing Finals’ series by the player. AP Photo / Garry Heard …

(2) Peter Holt , CEO & owner of the San Antonio Spurs is seen here taking receipt of the Larry O’Brien Trophy from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver , signifying the franchise being crowned the 2014 NBA champions . This was the Spurs’ fifth win of the title in their history with all five championships victories having been coached by Gregg Popovich . AP Photo / Amy Jones …..

(3) “The big three” of Manu Ginobili , Tony Parker and Tim Duncan have won four NBA championships together. Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images …

(4) Chuck Noll , a legendary coach who died at the age of eighty-two, having led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four of their six Superbowl victories. An inductee in the Hall of Fame , Knoll joins a hallowed group of individuals associated with the franchise. Courtesy of ESPN

(5) ESPN analyst and commentator Jon Gruden is seen here with Josh Freeman . Gruden has agreed to take the player under his wing while seeking to assist Freeman in resurrecting his game. The player a first round draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , with an uneven group of performances littering an otherwise understated career in the league . AP Photo / Rick Fowler ….

(6) .Hall of Fame player Tony Gwynn whose death from cancer has come as a shock to the baseball world . For the past few years he was rarely seen in public , with his health deteriorating from this particular form of oral cancer (parotid cancer of the salivary gland). A career .308 hitter , Gwynn’s career was littered with accolades , and his legacy with the San Diego Padres are well chronicled as are his noted feats of achievements . Getty Images North America / Ron Smith …

(7) Clint Dempsey (8) celebrates his goal after eleven seconds into the first half of Team USA’s game against group opponents Ghana . The win places the US team in a favorable position to advance to the next round , but their next two games will prove to be extremely difficult . REUTERS/UPI / Tony Harris …

(8) Jun 15, 2014; Pinehurst, NC, USA; Martin Kaymer poses with the trophy in front of the leader board during the final round of the 2014 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pinehurst Resort Country Club #2 Course. Kaymer won the event with considerable ease and was never seriously challenged < leading wire to wire throughout the tournament. Kevin Liles/ USA TODAY Sports ……..

===============================================

:)

tophatal

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

:)

NBA news

2014 NBA Finals

2014 NBA Playoff Brackets

2014 NBA postseason summary

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

—————–

NFL news

NFL preseason schedule

2014 NFL regular season schedule

NFL schedule week one

This month in NFL history

This date in NFL history

——–

MLB news

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule

MLB probable starting pitchers

MLB results 16th June

This week in MLB history

On this date in MLB history (17th June)

:)

2014 FIFA World Cup and World Cup news

FIFA World Cup matches and results

Scheduled matches 17th June , 2014

<p FIFA World Cup groups

:)

PGA Tour and news from the PGA Tour

PGA Tour schedule and results

PGA / Fedex Cup standings

Official World Golf rankings

Posted in Basketball, Miami Heat, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports News, Sports Recap, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Back on the plantation, that was never left, America’s poor history on race within sports, which was never addressed ….

Back on the plantation, that was never left, America’s poor history on race within sports, which was never addressed ….

Much to their own ongoing embarrassment Donald Sterling simply will not go away and the NBA are as much to blame for this latest mea-culpa by league hierarchy and this continued belief that Donald Sterling is solely to blame for the conduct we have seen in recent years. This has been emblematic and symptomatic behavior a league , that simply has no respect for common decency among the players , general managers and the owners themselves. And while Adam Silver seeks to placate this latest outrage by banning the Los Angeles Clippers’ owner for his ongoing behavior. Repeatedly, Sterling’s behavior has been ignored by the present NBA Commissioner and his predecessor David Stern, never-mind the asinine outrage now being shown by apathetic fans, who acted as if they were unaware of the bigoted acts of racism being espoused and practiced within the league.

====================================

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

===================================

Slideshow .

Sterling is not the only owner within the league to have shown such behavior and he definitely will not be the last , in spite of the punishment meted out by the league. Less we forget, for some reason the league has not seen fit to pursue the actions of Rich De Vos of the Orlando Magic , but the yet the press, the fans and the league itself continues to show their apathy and downright ignorance to an issue that is certainly on the way to becoming an epidemic . America believes it has overcome its past on race relations , when in fact, the so-called advances that have been claimed are no more than a child’s footsteps, as they first learn to walk. David Stern a self-absorbed executive who has simply shown himself to be an autocratic leader and not a great deal beyond that. As to the reasons why Stern refused to act with impunity when Donald Sterling’s behavior first became clear , is as befuddling as to his refusal to offer a public statement why he failed to act.

Donald Sterling before making his fortune as a commercial and residential real estate mogul, the beleaguered owner was a highly successful corporate and criminal litigator. As to the idiocy, that he would be forced to relinquish control of the team, now seems mute. ,Sterling’s estranged wife, of whom to two are in the midst of a rather nasty battle over the pairings’ matrimonial assets. As an owner in the NBA, Sterling is among the wealthiest owners with an estimated wealth of over $2.0 billion . With his hiring of a litany of private investigators as well a high-powered Los Angles’ law firm, the upcoming battle between the league and now disgraced owner could very well open up a Pandora’s Box that is unlikely to be closed once open. Certainly owners, such as Mark Cuban , Mikhail Prokhorov, James Dolan and Dan Gilbert will definitely not like their private lives be delved into concerning any misdeeds on their part, criminal, NBA dealings or by way of their own conduct as it relates to their business. Any action now taken by the league, through an injunction or that of any owner seeking to have Sterling’s investigation be rescinded, will likely be seen as the league and its owners having something to hide. And hid they have, with no owner seeking to speak publicly on another peer’s insidious and disgraceful behavior. I have yet to read any fans’ statement on why there has been no outrage concerning the lack of action by another owner being critical of Donald Sterling. Instead, it has been their ongoing apathy and stupidity in simply seeking to blame Sterling alone.

While LeBron James and the Miami Heat now find themselves in a hole, with the Heat now down 3-1 in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs . It has been James’ own incredulity and his statement that shows him to be devoid of intelligence and insight. His calls to his fellow players for them to go on strike during the NBA postseason , was something like a “call to arms “ , prior to when you are on the brink of defeat during a major battle. There was no way in hell that the NBA postseason would have been brought to a grinding halt at the high point of the Playoffs. Yet there are those who backed James’ call to arms and a stoppage.

The NBA is not the only sport that finds itself within a morass of widespread racism and misogyny within that particular fraternity Richie Incognito’s behavior and that of his teammate Mike Pouncey , was simply more of the widespread behavior that continues within the NFL and the can of worms opened, which Roger Goodell and the league would rather have not seen exposed to the public’s view. Ted Wells’ report commissioned by the NFL was a simple “whitewash” , with Wells finding no wrongdoing within the Miami Dolphins’ organization , other than that of three players’ misconduct. An assistant coaching staff member of Joe Philbin’s assistants was subject to the abuse first directed towards Jonathan Martin , yet the head coach, stated that he was completely unaware of the players’ behavior. Either, Philbin was in complete denial or he chose to ignore the behavior of the players in question , without ever seeking to reprimand them.

As the NBA Finals have progressed we have seen how flawed the Miami Heat have become without their being any signs of life from LeBron James’ teammates during this series, with questions now being pointed against Dwyane Wade and his inconsistency . Team game or not, it is now becoming abundantly clear that the Heat have no answer for the speed and athleticism being shown by the San Antonio Spurs ,who may well have found another budding postseason star with the performances and productivity shown by Kawhi Leonard .As to the doubters of San Antonio , they now seem to be singing another tune.

Game five on Sunday evening will be a pivotal contest and with the Miami Heat on the brink of elimination , thoughts of a “three-peat” will be out of the question. Erik Spoelstra’s players will have to be at the top of their game when the two teams meet at the AT& T Center in San Antonio , Texas. Defeat for the Miami Heat and all of this talk of a dynasty ,can be put to rest , once and for all. Tonight, we will either see the best of the Miami Heat or we shall see a team whose fall from grace will be astonishing, given the hyperbole surrounding a team that beyond their four three major stars, there was very little depth to their roster. Yet, fans begun to buy into the force-fed garbage being sold them to them by the print and television media alike. As to the fan, s with their idiocy not being willing to see beyond the bigger picture and the rationale that is it not Miami’s fault that their opposition within their conference has been so poor over the past five seasons., I would ask those fans how do they believe that Miami would fare , were they playing in the Western Conference in the NBA where the level of competition is a great deal tougher on a year-round basis. Never , have I heard anyone seek to discuss that issue , other than to suggest that the fans should simply be in awe of the Heat’s achievements and simply leave it at that.

While Phil Jackson seeks to make the overtures to Carmelo Anthony , it cannot help but fill the intrigue in New York , when it was recently announced that Pat Riley has sought the input of LeBron James and his thoughts as the Heat front office are seeking to acquire the Knicks’ forward. James and Anthony are known to have a very close relationship and this could very well prove to more than inducement should Carmelo Anthony make the decision to leave the New York Knicks. The Knicks’ player has all but hinted, that he will indeed opt out of them final year of his contract to be become an unrestricted free agent. Riley, with the blessing of Micky Arison, is likely to be given the go-ahead to pursue Carmelo Anthony and with the likelihood that the team’s main stars agreeing to take a sizable pay cut in terms of their annual salaries.. The likelihood of Anthony joining the Miami Heat is more of a reality , than the player joining either the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers , as has been previously reported. The Celtics and Lakers are long way from being considered legitimate NBA contenders for an NBA title and the issues of both franchise during this past season have been well chronicled.

Riley knows that the Miami Heat can ill afford can fall foul of the way of Los Angeles Lakers as they fell (4-1) to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. A star laden team filled with Gary Payton , Karl Malone , Kobe Bryant , Shaquille O’Neal , Derek Fisher , Rick Fox and coached by Phil Jackson. Falling to the Pistons in five games with Chauncey Billups being named the Finals’ MVP , after Billups’ performances were simply exemplary. That being said, the NBA seeks to create the perception that its league is about the teams but in reality , it has now become about their marquee stars and not much else beyond that. A series’ win by the San Antonio Spurs brings back semblance of normalcy to a league that in recent years has, become more about the antics of the players, general managers , owners and the league hierarchy during the tenure of David Stern.

I do believe that a win for the San Antonio Spurs will be the greatest benefit for the NBA ! Granted, for those who believe that the league demands that history be ongoing, consider the achievements of the Spurs this season and their qualifying for the postseason for the sixteenth consecutive season, but shamelessly, anal retentive fans seek to only acknowledge what they see happening within their midst, rather than acknowledging true greatness. A fifth NBA title awaits the San Antonio Spurs, whether or not that takes place tonight or in game six , or game seven, but now it is now clear the Miami Heat, while being a very good team, they are nowhere near being a truly great team or a dynasty for that matter .

==========================================

==========================================

Picture gallery .

:)

Picture gallery and slideshow details below .

======================================================

(1) Rich Cho , general manager of the Charlotte Hornets is seen here alongside Hornets’ player Cody Zeller . After a successful season which saw the Hornetst make the postseason the franchise will seek to bolster the roster while seeking to be more competitive within their division and conference this upcoming season. Cho and Jordan believe that Zeller can be a big part of that process. AP Photo / Adam Gonzalez ….

(2) Mikhail Porokhorov ,left, owner of the Brooklyn Nets is seen here along with Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban . The two NBA team owners are likely to have their personal and public lives delved into with Donald Sterling having hired a high-profiled Los Angeles private investigative firm to dig deep into the business practices of the NBA’s franchise owners and the league hierarchy. It seems unclear whether or not an injunction will be sought by the NBA or any of the team owners to stop Sterling’s actions. Getty Images North America / Christina Fox ….

(3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat is seen here speaking with the convened press after his team’s lopsided loss to the San Antonio Spurs in game four of the NBA Finals . The team now finds itself with a 3-1 deficit and a game five where a victory is imperative for the Miami Heat , if there are to have any chance of winning a third consecutive NBA title. James leads all scorers in the NBA Finals’ series , but his teammates have failed to be as consistent this postseason as the four-time League MVP Miami Herald / Richard Vasquez …

(4) Kawhi Leonard(2) of the San Antonio Spurs controls the ball as LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat defends during Game Two of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 8, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas . Getty Images North America/ Andy Lyons …

(5) A pensive Carmelo Anthony ,. sits on the sidelines during a game played at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York , this past season. With the New York Knicks failing to make the postseason , Anthony has become disgruntled with the progress made by the franchise and specifically with the front office , where Phil Jackson is now in charge as the Head of Basketball Operations. Jackson’s boldest move has been the acquisition of aging veteran Lamar Odom . As to the idiocy because Odom is aware o the Triangle Offense, this will somehow aid the Knicks. Less I am mistaken, Lamar Odom’s productivity has dropped to an all-time low , without having to deal with his well publicized off-court issues. How is that meant to impress Carmelo Anthony is almost as idiotic, as the claims that Phil Jackson’s return to coaching would give the New York Knicks instant legitimacy as a contender for the NBA title . The Knicks’ coaching vacancy for the moment remains unfilled . AP Photo/ Matthew Bishop ….

===================================================

With the failure of the NBA in corralling the antics of Donald Sterling and the print and television media, seeking to apportion blame solely with regard to the behavior of the Clippers’ owner , this situation further indicts the country as still being entrenched with racial bigotry within all areas of sports. America, has failed miserably over the past four decades, while pompously portraying itself as a leader with regard to moral ethics. If only the hierarchies actually showed that there was some semblance of intelligence and leadership within their midst , rather than the continued apathy and that of the fans showing their ongoing stupidity.

:)

:)

tophatal …………

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

:)

NBA news and archived NBA news

NBA Finals 2014

This month in NBA history

On this date in NBA history

NBA’s highest paid players contract value and by salary

NBA team payrolls

NBA teams in terms of value

————————

Just like the Miami Heat she’s feeling the burn and the real Heat of failing to produce .

She certainly handles her assignments better than Dwyane Wade this postseason ;

She feels the need for the “squeeze” .

Posted in Basketball, http://wp.me/poxLH-925, Miami Heat, NBA, San Antonio Spurs, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments