It never ceases to amaze ………

It never ceases to amaze

Another political news’ cycle and the apathy and stupidity of the nation’s electorate, remains . As an expat Brit,now residing and working here in the US , I have to admit coming across of the posturing self-righteous group of inviduals is no longer a surprise . The political establishment of Democrats and Republicans, in reality, are no different from one another. But, for the levels of their depths and depravity , the singular thing which clearly defines the two parties, has been how much they can do to ” pull the wool “ over the eyes of the electorate without them catching unto their levels of greed. After the Democrats’ hammering in the midterm elections, where they lost control of the Senate along with several seats in the House and numerous gubernatorial races. They now seem to be lost for words as to the reasons why they suffered such horrendous defeats. Look no further than to the leadership of Barack Obama, who is proving to be just as un-inspirational in his second term as President as he was during his first. There are very few positives the President can point to during his administration’s tenure and his mishandling of so many foreign policy initiatives have become bewildering. Say nothing of which , his domestic policies s have proven to be either ‘hit ‘ or ‘ miss’ , dependent upon one’s views.

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With his recent announcement that he would use his ‘executive powers’ to bring about changes in the country’s immigration policy and certain reforms . The question must ask of those questioning the President’s actions has to be why all of the furor , when previous administrations and the Congress have failed repeatedly to enact any meaningful reform, never-mind this idiocy of upholding the laws of the land , when in many respects it is not just the illegal immigrants who are said to be breaking the laws, but the employers who see fit to hire them , without any real fear of punishment whatsoever. No one seems to be overly concerned specifically on the issue , yet I am suppose to believe the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants have become a burden upon this country ?

The US Congress has been more of a burden on the nation , than the individuals now being thrust into the news cycle because the Neanderthal idiot political hacks on both sides of the aisle have nothing better to disgust or seethe over in anger. You would certainly be hard pressed to find Conservative much less a Liberal actually acknowledge that fact , instead it has been the constant diatribe of name calling and finger pointing from both sides of the political aisle without the idiocy of the political hacks intent on their rancor . I guess once you have published a book , sat on the sidelines, while providing nonsensical analysis , makes one an expert without ever really experiencing the real world issues ? How the fu#k can the likes of Anne Coulter , Mark Levin , Bill Maher, Dennis Miller, James Carville , Joe Sarborough , David Axelrod and Chris Matthews actually relate with the public at large ?

On the sporting landscape it is not entirely different to what we have been witnessing on the political front. In the NBA , fans have become so distraught concerning the ills that currently effect affect the Los Angeles Lakers(3-10) , New York Knicks(4-10) and the Philadelphia 76ers (0-13). These three NBA franchises have gone 7-33 through their first fourteen games of the season . The very fact that all three teams have been playing badly belies the fact their fans continue to postulate and speculate what the real issues are said to be concerning all three franchises.

Byron Scott and the Los Angeles Lakers’ fans are going through the ignominy of seeing this team remain uncompetitive without delving into the fact we have yet to witness Kobe Bryant berate his teammates or the Lakers’ organization , led by team owner Jim Buss and general manager MitchKupchak . Injuries might well be plaguing the Lakers but this should not hide the fact the team has no real depth or character , without pointing to the coaching staff of the head and their not being able to show any coaching acumen. Los Angeles have lost seven of their last ten games and the team’s defense now seems to be in complete apoplexy showing very little by way any type of capability in stopping an opponent’s offensive prowess. In the Lakers’ 140-106 loss to the Dallas Mavericks was the team’s most humiliating defeat of the season, with no one member on the roster showing any type of resilience throughout this contest . These traits have certainly embodied the ongoing hypocrisy witnessed with the team and the lack real competitiveness shown by the Los Angeles Lakers . Yet, somehow the Lakers’ fans are trying to point to what they see as positives. Next up for the franchise will be a home game against the equally abysmal Denver Nuggets coached by former Lakers’ assistant head coach Brian Shaw .

As great a coach as Phil Jackson was said to be , his acumen as an assessor of NBA talent can be described as marginal at best . Jackson’s trait beyond the “Triangle Offense” has been his being able to motivate players to succeed , specifically when he has a complement of superstars to coach. Clearly the case , when you have such players as Michael Jordan , Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Jackson , now assuming the role as Head of Basketball Operations with the New York Knicks, is now being looked upon with a great deal of incredulity and in many circles for its comedic value, with the team now being so incompetent on the court.

The Knicks currently lie third within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference above the win-less Philadelphia 76ers. Derek Fisher as a rookie head coach along with his coaching staff have not only struggled but this idiocy where it will take some time instill the Triangle Offense as a successful strategy , has to be lost on a roster of players who basketball acumen and IQ would barely qualify for them for admittance into a DIII Level NCAA program much less MENSA . At 2-8 in their last ten games , consistency has not been the norm for the Knicks much less the belief Carmelo Anthony can lead the team all by himself without any able support from his “overrated “ teammates .The New York Knicks’ 91-83 victory over the 76ers has typified what has become so wrong with the Conference and why it has been continually seen as a conference lacking in stature in terms of the level of play.

New York and the 76ers will meet again during the course of this season and I seriously doubt Brett Brown and his Sixers’ playing staff will be ready for their next meeting never mind the previous thirteen contests which have made up their schedule at this point of the the season. The 76ers chose ” to tank” the latter half of their schedule in 2013 , seeking to obtain a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA Draft . Adam Silver as the NBA Commissioner might not have seen anything wrong in the organization’s actions, but clearly the fans are being sold a “bill of good” , if there’s said to be any ambition the part of team owner Josh Harris much less any from any of the executives within the front office.

There has been absolutely nothing to suggest the Philadelphia are capable of turning their season around based solely upon their play and the evidence of last season .Josh Harris has turned out to be a monumental fraud much as in the same way are his promises of establishing competitive franchise which the fans would be prepared to follow. Dwindling attendance this year and last season beyond the fact of a mediocre product on the court have played a part in what the fans are being forced to witness this season has led to the change in identity of this franchise. If a Sixers’ great such as Allen Iverson can now become critical of the 76ers , then it should tell you great deal, not only about this club’s fall from grace, but also their continued failure to be productive.

With the NBA still trying to find a rhythm to its season, we cannot escape the fact the league is still mired in controversy. The announcement of his retirement by Jason Collins has done nothing to stymie the fact that league still remains homophobic and racially divisive among the league hierarchy and a number of the team owners . With league stating Jeff Taylor of the Charlotte Bobcats would be suspended for domestic assault and that his punishment would be a twenty-four games suspension, it seems rather perplexing the NBPA (Players’ Union) and their new Executive Director Michele Roberts would go so far to state the league’s suspension was drastic and an overreach of its boundaries , while also contravening the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). One would have thought with all of the adverse publicity received by the NFL on this issue , the union league hierarchy would seek to be on the same on this most acute of issues. Somehow this seems to be the farthest thing on the mind of Roberts , the first female Executive Director the Players’ Union and now one of the most powerful women in all of professional sports.

At a time when sports’ fans in general are getting sick and tired of the bombastic and repeated lax actions of the athletes at the professional and collegiate level, there is a great cause for concern when a female executive, albeit , she believes as the NBPA’s Executive Director she is acting in the best interests of her members , it does beg the question would Roberts have taken the same stance had Taylor killed his victim? Michele Roberts with her statement has not only served her union poorly but it creates the perception is not all overly concerned with the issue of domestic violence of the misconduct of her members. Much as in the same way DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA seems intent to point the finger of blame at the NFL for his members ongoing stupidity . I have to wonder what is it , that both of these executives cannot understand about this issue and how it is actually viewed by the public in general ! Absolute stupidity on the part of both Michele Roberts and DeMaurice Smith remains a constant , as it has been within their respective sports and the unwillingness of both the NBA and NFL tackling a grave social issue head on .

An appeal of Taylor’s suspension is likely to take place , but at the same time clearly the Bobcats’ owner , Michael Jordan would rather see this matter dealt with expeditiously given his team’s innocuous start to the season in year where the Hornets are likely to struggle, even if though they were able to raise the hopes of their fans with a spirited finish to 2013, having made the NBA Playoffs where they would fall in the first round of the Eastern Conference postseason . It will be interesting too see if the Hornets can improve upon last season’s display.

Histrionics asides, the fact that the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling this early in the season should come as no surprise . Yet many were ready to anoint this LeBron James’ led team as the next coming of another NBA dynasty in the making . Pardon me for saying this, but how the fu#k is a rookie head coach , his staff and this team are going to create a symbiotic and synergistic relationship when James has never played with either Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love prior to this season ? The only player of on this Cavaliers’ team where LeBron is known to have played alongside and have any type of relationship with is the Brazilian center Anderson Varejao .

Cleveland Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert and his fellow executives were extremely delighted with the return of their Prodigal Son , and the fact James did everything to make the Cavaliers’ fans forget their anger after his departure in , 2010, with the franchise now seeing a tremendous spike in their home attendance as well as on the road means a great deal to Gilbert economically. Four straight losses has emphatically shown why the Cleveland Cavaliers remain a work in progress, along with the team’s rookie head coach David Blatt. Idiocy among fans and analysts alike, who tend to overlook what is plainly in front of their very eyes , but no one willingly wants to admit they can make a mistake . Posturing and lame ass machismo tends to be the norm among the dumb ass morons with no real insight or knowledge at all. Cleveland’s next game will be a home contest at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, against the Orlando Magic in a game which will tell us a great deal about both teams as they each seek to move forward .

If Cleveland should fail to make the NBA Playoff this season, I would not see it as a great surprise ! The fans yearn to see what they believe to be elite teams rise to the top , yet in reality there are but a few teams in the league that can now be considered great, much less among the elite. The defending champions the San Antonio Spurs are the yardstick against which every other NBA franchise ought to be measured against , but neither the league or the fans are prepared to pay the team their due respect , simply because they are not seen as glamorous or the fact their stars are not considered to be among the top players currently playing in the league. The hard sell for the NBA has always been their teams when the fans are just gravitating towards the marquee players .

The NBA has yet to actually capitulate to the NBPA , a union still trying to get to grips with their own internal issues and legal woes concerning their previous Executive Director Billy Hunter , who seeks to sue the his former employer for wrongful dismissal , defamation of character , slander and libel. Something I believe Michele Roberts should be more concerned with rather than her idiocy in believing Jeff Taylor should be treated with ” kid gloves” and not made an example of . Great just what the fans want to see from a league executive or a union leader . WTF!

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Picture gallery.

With the NBA season still in its infancy what do you believe has been the biggest surprise of the season ? Also which player or team has proved to be the biggest disappointment so far ? Your comments are more than welcome and thanks as always for the continued support !

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Picture and slideshow gallery details.
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(1) President Barack Obama addresses the nation on his wish to use executive privilege initiate immigration reform , something that has drawn the ire of members of his own party , the Democrats as well the Republican Party and majority of members within Congress. The members there have been ambivalent as to the reasons why they have themselves failed to formulate a comprehensive immigration policy and reform in general. AP Photo / Michael Carbonell ..

(2) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant sits on the floor after being fouled during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Warriors won 136-115 . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill … ….

(3) Nov 22, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire (1) shoots a free throw during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Madison Square Garden. New York Knicks won 91-83. Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports ….

(4) Joshua Harris owner of the Philadelphia 76ers. For two straight years , Harris has presided over a franchise which is not only bereft of talent but also leadership within its front office and on the court.. The Sixers are off to a thirteen game losing streak with a defense which ranks as the worst within the NBA in points allowed and points’ differential . Clearly head coach Brett Brown and his coaching staff have no idea how to right team’s issues on the court. Getty Images / Paul Wyatt ..

(5) Jeff Taylor of the Charlotte Hornets is seen here in a courtroom in East Lansing , Michigan, where he plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic abuse , property damage and an employee of the Marriott Hotel where the incident took place . The player has been given a twenty-four game suspension by the NBA . AP Photo/ Mark Jones …

(6) NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts is seen here with her NFL counterpart DeMaurice Smith as the two took part in a discussion concerning athlete misconduct and how their respective leagues can best deal with such issues. Getty Images/ Tony Moore ….

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Tophatal ….. 11/23/2014

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A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of Oz …

A funny thing happened on the way to the Land of Oz …

Tophatal ….

Baseball’s Winter Meetings have yet to take place, but already the big top has been blown off the tent. The meeting of the league’s top executives , ownersand members of the league hierarchy to discuss the vagaries of the game and then to negotiate deals that will see the movement of several players, many of them likely being rewarded with major contracts will be set into motion.

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Over the past five years there can be no denying the Miami Marlinshave been one of the worst performing teams in Major League Baseball (MLB). The very fact that the Marlins have at no time in their history has ever won a divisional title or place higher than second within the NL East should tell you a great deal about the organization, in spite of their having won two NL Pennants and two World Series titles . The last of those postseason series’ coming in 2003 . Since then, things have steadily rolled downhill for the franchise, along with a succession of managers and turnover in front office executives.

The big news’ story of the month within the game of baseball, was the audacious move by the Miami Marlins in signing Mike Stanton to a long-term deal. Stanton signed what is now believed to the largest contract in professional sports’ and quite clearly the biggest in baseball history. Stanton signed a thirteen-year $325 million contract, averaging $25 million a year . Though I do not expect the floodgates to be opened by this deal , it does now place a great deal of pressure on other teams in similar position, looking to sign one of their marquee players. Miami for a number of years has been on the lower end of the payroll scale, albeit in 2013 , they sought to remedy the situation when they splurged on signing some major free agents in an assault on trying to win the NL East that season as well as the World Series title . They failed miserably in both attempts , with then manager Ozzie Guillen providing more entertainment away from the field of play, than was provided by the team during the entire season .

MLB is definitely not known for its financial frugality among its big-market teams and when left idle to their own devices teams in the small-market tend to prove how incompetent they are. The Miami Marlins have become the epitome of that, along with their instate rivals the Tampa Bay Rays and that is with due respect shown to the acumen of former Rays’ general manager Andrew Friedman , whose departure from the franchise to take on the more high-profiled role as a SVP & Head of Baseball Operations with the Los Angeles Dodgers caught just about everyone off-guard including senior executives within the Rays’ organization. With the recent departure of Joe Maddon to become the manager of the Chicago Cubs , Tampa is now left in a quandary. Throw in the departure of their AL Rookie of the Year, pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and you could say it’s back to business as usual for the Rays. Their off-season annual ” fire sale “ is just about to begin.

Now while the Miami Marlins’ fans can only be pleased with the outcome , the signing of Mike Stanton to a long-term deal , the question has to be asked , what type commitment and sacrifices will have to be made by this ball-club? Financial resources for the Marlins are not enormous and we have seen repeatedly the actions of this franchise over the years during their triumphs and letdowns. Jeffrey Loria has proven to be no different from one his predecessors H D Wayne Huizenga, whose ownership the Florida Marlins were well-chronicled. Huizenga’s gutting of the team that won the franchise’s first World Series title left the fans in dismay and utter disgust, has since been repeated by Loria.

As the incumbent owner of the Miami Marlins , I have no real reason to believe Jeffrey Loria will remain a man of his word. Deceit , deception , lies and an un-willingess to show transparency concerning the inner workings of the Marlins along with the alleged brow-beating of the Miami City Council leading to their capitulating , in the ball-club’s wishes to have the city finance the building of Marlins Ballpark , where undue pressure was brought to bear by former commissioner Bud Selig, really does cast a light on how Loria and Major League Baseball likes to conduct its business. Unfortunately, those same character traits are not shared or instinctive with Tampa Bay Rays’ owner Stuart Sternberg who continues to whine like a spoiled brat, because he cannot get his own way. Michael Hill and Mike Redmond will now seek to bolster the Marlins’ roster during this off-season , but they will also have to deal with trying to resign a number of their impending free agents as well players whose arbitration rights they might want to expedite quickly.

Mike Stanton had an excellent season in 2014 , where he was one of the most productive members on his team as well as in the NL and MLB overall. His second place finish to Clayton Kershaw in the NL MVP race was of no great surprise, considering the astonishing regular season by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher, who also added the NL Cy Young Award to his trophy case for the third time in his career. I believe their might be at least two more Cy Young Awards waiting in the wings for Kershaw, who has to be seen as the best pitcher in baseball without a doubt. Granted his postseason forays for the Dodgers left a great deal to be desired. The team’s malaise was nothing new and simply part of their DNA over the past two years. Don Mattingly’s players seem to be great during the regular season, but they become a deer caught in headlights once the postseason comes around , as witnessed in 2013 and then again during baseball’s end of season ritual. Let’s just say this Dodgers’ team cannot even hit or pitch their way out of trouble . even if they were being aided by the mishaps of their opponents during the postseason.

As I alluded to earlier the floodgates may not necessarily open up with players being offered overly large contracts, but the Marlins have now set a precedent where it will prove hard for any team not be able to meet a free agents’ requests. With the likes of high-profiled sports’ agents such as Scott Boras , Sam and Seth Levinson of Aces Inc Baseball , Dan Lozano , corporate entities such as LSW Baseball , CAA , the upstart IMG and sports’ management agency Roc Nation Sports, all vying to make deals on behalf of their clients. It is easy to understand why general managers such as Brian Cashman, Brian Sabean , Dave Dombrowski , Billy Beane , Sandy Alderson , Michael Hill and Jerry Dipoto are never operating from a position of power. They will more often than not overpay for a player , rather than actually showing some real acumen.

Having won their third World Series title in the past five years the San Francisco Giants are now seated among the elite dynasties of the game. Make no mistake, this is a dynasty , albeit a quiet and unglamorous one. Brian Sabean might just be the best general manager in the game today. His guile and an eye for talent , his acumen in the free agency market, have not only made the Giants a success , but they have laid down a blueprint that a number of teams are now likely to follow. Furthermore , Sabean is not one to neglect his farm system and then seek to implode those affiliates , as he sees the lower rungs of the organization as a treasure trove of future talent. In the aftermath of their most recent success this franchise will now seek build upon their most recent achievement.

San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy and his entire managerial staff are likely to return for next season , but opportunities may well arise where one or two of his assistants will be offered the opportunity to interview a vacant managerial position. Beyond that, the question now becomes what are the integral pieces to kept on this roster and can the Giants afford to pay what is deemed to be “fair market value”? The fly in the ointment was the outrageous contract signed by Mike Stanton and offered by a team, that two years began shedding their high priced players like driftwood being cast away, because it was of no further use. Miami remains a small-market team, with grandiose schemes and big-market ambitions. They are a baseball team that rarely sell out their home games in a venue , which remains sparsely attended. The flip side of that coin are the San Francisco Giants and their ravenous fans and fan-base nationwide. They have the success and a legacy which has been quietly built upon over the years.

The Giants’ 2012 World Series MVP infielder Pablo Sandoval will be looking to get paid commensurate to his status and in line with the top active contracts active within the organization . As an impending and unrestricted free agent Sandoval knows he can go elsewhere and quite possibly obtain long-term contract making him financially secure. Yet, the thought remains with the player being such a part the team’s postseason success , it would seem idiotic for the Giants to let him go , knowing he is not only a clubhouse favorite but also a leader on and off the field. Beyond that , take into account his productivity and being able to come up with some clutch hitting , it places Brian Sabean in something of a dilemma .

If Sandoval does return to the Giants in 2015, along with the core elements of last season’s roster, then San Francisco have to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the NL Pennant this upcoming season. Granted, they are likely to face a stiff challenge from the St Louis Cardinals , Washington Nationals , Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates , Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds .

Alex Rodriguez’s return to New York Yankees and their lineup for 2015 cannot come around fast enough for many of the ball-club’s fans . The player’s last appearance in a Yankees’ uniform was uninspiring and simply confirmation that Rodriguez is now past his prime. The Yankees’ third baseman having spent the entire 2014 Yankees’ schedule under suspension will look to reinvent himself on and off the field of play. With the retirement of Derek Jeter after a two-decade long career with the franchise. One could surmise, Brian Cashman sees Rodriguez as the “face of the Yankees” moving forward. I firmly believe the organization erred in not tearing up Alex Rodriguez’s contractas they were quite within their right to do so. Incompetency, in their repeatedly mishandling of the players transgressions , breaking the league’s substance abuse policy, spoke volumes as to the numerous reasons why baseball’s policy has no real teeth to it and the complete lack of leadership from Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred. Rodriguez’s contract remains intact , albeit , he lost in excess of $23 million, having not played for the New York Yankees this past season .

Joe Girardi and his staff will certainly look to Rodriguez , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury , Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Brian Robertsand Brian McCann to give the Yankees’ more ‘pop’ to their offense where the team was found wanting last season. The Yankees’ pitching was left somewhere in between the depths of mediocrity and the ‘bowel’of Hades .

The Yankees’ free agents for this upcoming season include veteran Ichiro Suzuki , unlikely to return next season, with Dave Robertson , Hiroki Kuroda , Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, Heath Bell and Chase Headley are several of the players Brian Cashman will have to make decision upon their possible return to the New York Yankees. Cashman has shown very little faith in the organization’s farm system and he is unlikely to do so for years to come. With their failure to make the postseason and decidedly ignominious finish in the NL East the pressure will be on the front office to do something drastic to bring this franchise back to some semblance of respectability. Last season the acquisitions of Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Ichiro Suzuki were meant place the team at the forefront of the AL but their play nowhere near good enough to remotely place them in control of their own destiny.

With the 2014 payroll commitment of baseball’s thirty teams topping $3 billion ($3,000,000,000 for the second year in succession. The two teams at the top of the heap, were the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. At a time when the game’s financial disparities so glaring there has been little to suggest baseball has the wherewithal to get its own financial house in order. The team owners and hierarchy have failed miserably in reigning in team expenses and yet owners are either seething because they cannot their own way in trying to deceitfully have municipalities to finance their venues.

Billionaire and millionaire owners unwilling to go out and do what is necessary in showing their real business acumen, to obtain private financing, rather than repeatedly have the public funds being used to finance such endeavors. It will be interesting to see the moves made by teams during this off-season the guile used by agents, seeking to have their clients be rewarded with the best contract possible. The sheer lunacy of MLB and the antics of the players leave a great deal to be desired and it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.

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Picture gallery .

With the salaries and contracts now on the rise within the game of baseball and no clear sign from the league hierarchy they show any initiative in reining in team expenses or have any idea how to so. What direction do you believe the game is likely to take and can the executives who preside over the game really deal with the issues which adversely effect baseball ?

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is seen here with Mike Stanton . The Marlins’ player signed a thirteen-year $325 million deal which will pay him $25 million annually. The deal is the highest paid contract in North American sports’ history . Loria and Team President Michael Hill believed it incumbent the organization retain the Stanton for their viability and long term future. AP Photo/ Matt Holmes ..

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers’ SVP & Head of Baseball Operations , Andrew Friedman is seen here alongside team President Stan Kasten . Friedman whose departure from the Tampa Bay Rays took just about everyone by surprise, has now moved to an organization where the resources of the baseball franchise far exceeds anything remotely close the Rays have at their disposal. With Friedman’s departure also came Joe Maddon leaving to join the Chicago Cubs as their new manager. Matt Silverman succeeded Andrew Friedman as the Rays’ general manager but the ball-club has to name a successor to Maddon . Getty Images North America / Paul Hughes … …

(3) ATLANTA, UNITED STATES : Florida Marlins manage Jim Leyland (L), general manager Dave Dombrowski (C), and team owner Wayne Huizenga with the National League Championship Series (NLCS) trophy after their 7-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves 14 October in game six of the NLCS at Turner Field in Atlanta, GA. The Marlins advanced to the World Series a with the win. AFP PHOTO/Robert SULLIVAN …

(4) Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout left , winner of the 2014 ALMVP and the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and NLMVP recipient Clayton Kershaw . Both players invariably made the postseason , but their teams failed miserably . Trout and the Angels fell to Kansas City Royals 3-0 in the ALDS . Kershaw and the Dodgers fared no better, losing to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLCS where his postseason performances were miserable with the posting an ERA in excess of 7.50 . AP Photo/ Tim Martin …

(5) Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays an AL Rookie of the Year for the franchise in 2011 was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. This seems to be a customary ploy with the ball-club on annual basis , further emphasizing the organization’s lack of resources and the emphasis of year-to-year cost cutting . AP Photo / Matthew Donald … …

(6) Scott Boras a prominent MLB sports agent, seen here in front of the facade of his company Scott Boras Corporation. Boras has negotiated contracts worth in excess of $4.7 billion in the last six years . Feared around the league as one of the most fearsome and ruthless agents in all professional sports. Boras puts the characteristic trait down to the fact he works hard for his clients and to their benefit.. AP Photo / Robin Thomas …

(7) CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 05: Alex Rodriguez (13) of the New York Yankees speaks to the media before the Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on August 5 , 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Rodriguez was forced to miss the entire 2014 season after league mandated suspension . Rodriguez will return to the Yankees’ lineup in 2015 hoping to make a solid contribution for the team. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …

(8) Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates who over the past two seasons has been one of the primary factors in the ascent of the Pirates and top-five finishes in each of the last two years of the NL MVP voting. McCutchen hopes to lead the ball-club to another postseason berth in 2015 and deep run in the postseason playoff schedule. as well as the winning of a second NL MVP Award with the Pirates. Getty Images/ Adrian Parker ….

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Tophatal 11/19/2014

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Shake it off , shake it up and down .

A few light touches makes the scenery all the more appealing don’t you think ?

Posted in Baseball, http://wp.me/poxLH-9He, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, Miami Marlins & Tampa Bay Rays, MLB, Sports, Sports Economics, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Learning Curve ….

By Tophatal

There seems to be a disconnect in the world of sports at present with so many stories now ongoing. The NFL provided fans with its usual litany of events which have blotted the horizon. Off the field, the saga of Adrian Peterson has taken center-stage.The league hierarchy has seen fit to pursue the Minnesota Vikings’ running back and his refusal to meet with the league to discuss their ongoing issues as to what they believe fitting a punishment. Adrian Peterson plead his case within the legal system in the state of Texas, where Peterson and the District Attorney’s Office agreed to a plea deal. The running back has already sat out nine of the Vikings’ ten games this season , leading to their miserable standing within the NFC Northand conference.

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Coming off a road loss to the Chicago Bears,dropped the Minnesota Vikings to a 4-6 recordwithin their division, with little to suggest Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff have any idea how to take theteam out of their present rut. The league’s handling of the Peterson saga has left many wondering how Roger Goodell’s inconsistency in dealing with player misconduct can be so incomprehensible. This whole saga along with the Ray Rice episode casts a dark image over the NFL and the league’s continuous misguidance and the statements now coming from their head office. Rice is in the midst of an arbitration hearing where he seeks his reinstatement back into the league may well be the last straw for the commissioner, as he seeks to resurrect his own standing among the fans. Goodell is still backed by the team owners, but one more misstep by the commissioner could lead to calls for his ouster by at least one senior franchise owner , if they feel the NFL’s image has been dragged further into the dust.

The Vikings’ fate now lies in their own hands with their being no sign of an imminent return of their Pro Bowl running back , well at least not by week twelve of the NFL season. In their upcoming game the Minnesota Vikings will play host to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers has been on a blistering pace this season as he and his teammates seek to sow up the NFC North with a number of the leading competitors suddenly falling by the wayside. Green Bay for its part , took care of the Philadelphia Eagles with a robust 53-20 victory , inflicting the Eagles with their biggest loss of the season. Somehow , I get the feeling Chip Kelly and his team have yet to learn the meaning of the word defense , let alone playing conservative football. The “gung-ho” attitude seems to be prevalent with the Eagles.

Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles will certainly get their chance to hop back into the saddle when they face a disappointing Tennessee Titans’ team in week twelve of a home game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 23rd November, 2014,. With Nick Foles currently sidelined due to injury Mark Sanchez will continue in the role as the team’s starting quarterback.

The Oakland Raiders’ (0-10) season continues to no avail with the team on a ten-game losing streak, showing no signs of life as the season has progressed. Raiders’ head coach Tony Sparano could very well in the throes of his last gasp of coaching the franchise, with team owner Mark Davis and GM Reggie McKenzie likely to make the decision to fire their head coach at the end of the season. The futility shown by the team has been comparable to the Detroit Lions’ season of 2008 when during their sixteen-game schedule, the Lions failed to win a game.If there is fault to be apportioned , concerning the ineptitude of the Raiders , then it rests squarely on the shoulders of both Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis , as they have repeatedly squandered the opportunities offered to make this franchise competitive. It is hard to believe the last time the Oakland Raiders won a divisional title , the AFC West or made the postseason came in 2002, the year in which they also won the AFC championship , only to then lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superbowl. In the aftermath of the postseason appearance, things have steadily gone downhill for the franchise, with their fans simply reliving the past of a bygone era of the Raiders.

It is difficult to suggest there are any bright spots to be found on this current Raiders’ roster. Quarterback Derek Carr has struggled to maintain a presence for the team. Defensively , the Oakland Raiders find themselves in a familiar position and with defensive coordinator Jason Tarver struggling to get this secondary going it has become abundantly clear to understand the many reasons why the Raiders have been so inept, without also pointing an accusing finger at Tony Sparano and offensive coordinator Greg Olson .

Darren McFadden , Maurice Jones-Drew, Andre Holmes , Denarius Moore , Sio Moore , Khalil Mack and the veteran Charles Woodson have floundered for the Raiders over the course of this season. When the Raiders play host to the Kansas City Chiefs at the O.Coliseum in a Thursday night game , there will be a great deal riding on the contest. Oakland will be seeking to gain their first win of the season, while Andy Reid and the Chiefs will be looking to get a leg up on the Denver Broncos , as these two teams fight it out for divisional supremacy within the AFC West. I would dare say, the San Diego Chargers (6-4) have no wish to be left out of the equation, as they remain a game behind both the Broncos and Chiefs for the divisional lead.

The Arizona Cardinals (9-1) keep on winning even with the sidelined Carson Palmer not being able to contribute a great deal to the team’s success this season. Head coach Bruce Arians, I believe is a justified front-runner to win the NFL Coach of the Year Award , but a great deal may well be predicated upon whether or not he can lead this team to their first divisional title(NFC West) since 2009 . You can either make the assumption the Cardinals are doing it all with “smoking mirrors” or state the San Francisco 49ers (6-4) and Seattle Seahawks(6-4) have been very inconsistent. The fact of the matter remains neither 49ers or the Seahawks have been able to match the consistency of the divisional rival , all season long.

Inasmuch, as the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks were dominant last season within the NFC West and the NFC as a whole, this season , both teams have played “second fiddle ” to the upstart Cardinals, who are a mere two gamesaway from clinching themselves a postseason berth within the conference. Peter Carroll and Jim Harbaugh can only hope Arizona slips up over the remainder of their schedule , allowing either of their teams an entrance into the postseason. Arizona will hope to inch closer to that goal when they play the Seattle Seahawks at Century Link Field on Sunday afternoon in one of the best games scheduled during week twelve of this season.

Nothing in life is ever deemed to be fair, unless you happen to be privileged, by way of social status and wealth. The same might be said of the NFL seedings as the postseason beckons. Unfortunately, the league hierarchy under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has never seen fit to revamp the system in order to allow teams with a better record than a divisional winner to be given a higher seeding. Looking at the prospect likely to unfold within the NFC South and we could very well see a team with a sub .500 record make their way into the postseason and at the same time deny another franchise a higher ranking (seeding) a berth. Granted, the wildcard entrants allows the the next four teams below the top two seeds within a conference , their chance of advancing further . I cannot help but wonder, how a number of these teams are likely to feel, should a 7-9 or 8-8 team from within the NFC South make it to the playoffs ! To say the the quality of football seen within the division where the Atlanta Falcons (4-6), Carolina Panthers (3-7), New Orleans Saints(4-6) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) reside gives credence to the fact the NFL is urgently in need of a dearth of talent as well as several really good head coaches would be an understatement. All four teams do not possess a winning record and for head coaches, Mike Smith , Ron Rivera , Sean Payton and Lovie Smith , this might be the worst season of their collective careers as a head coaches within the NFL .

The Buccaneers coming off their second win on the season , defeating the lowly Washington Redskins embodied the sheer ineptitude seen all season long within the NFC South. Perhaps, the lone bright spot on the Buccaneers’ season has been the play of their rookie wide receiverMike Evans who provided a scintillating display of speed and maturity beyond his years. How the Buccaneers go about resurrecting their season will be determined by the mindset instilled into the team by head coach Lovie Smith.

Smith will take the Buccaneers on the road to Soldier Field in Chicago , Illinois to face his former team the Chicago Bears whose season now seems to be spiraling out of control , with quarterback Jay Cutler being harangued from all quarters for his lack of leadership and dire performances this season. Marc Trestman might now be emerging as one of the leading candidates among the coaches whose heads are likely to be on the ” chopping block”. Trestman and GM Phil Emery could very well be on the outs once this season is over. Lovie Smith was fired in his last season with the Bears , having narrowly missed the postseason in 2012. A winning record (10-6) that year seemed to be lost on the Bears’ front office and the admirable effort made by Lovie Smith and his coaching staff that season. All signs now seem to be point to the fact the Chicago Bears may well seek to trade Jay Cutler rather than retain his services . His tenure with the Bears has seen more lows than highs and it must be said his contract with the team has not proven to be a prudent investment.

There is no denying Washington Redskins’ owner Daniel Synder has continued swinging for the fences , making audacious moves either via free agency or through the NFL Draft. Having acquired both Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in the now heralded quarterback class of 2012. Things now seem to have taken a turn for the worst with neither Griffin or Cousins being able to perform adequately for the team this season. Injuries asides, with both quarterbacks having been sidelined at some point during their schedule. Jay Gruden’s faith in third string quarterback Colt McCoy was short-lived in spite of the player leading the Redskins to two of their three victories on the season. Neither side of the Washington Redskins’ offense seems to be clicking . On the wrong side of a lopsided defeat suffered at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has embodied the Redskins’ season and justifiably shows why they remain at the bottom of the NFC East.

Washington will head West to face the San Francisco 49ers and Colin Kaepernick, as the host team looks to keep abreast with the Seattle Seahaws while still trailing the Arizona Cardinals by three games within the NFC West. This particular division was orginally viewed as a two-horse race between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks but this season along come the Cardinals to upset the applecart and turn everyone’s world upside down . There is a reality beginning to set in, either the Seahawks or Forty Niners could quite possibly miss the postseason if things continue as they are. In a recent discussion with an acquaintance , he made the statement that he felt San Francisco were still capable of notching double-digit wins and still make the postseason . Given the inconsistency shown by the team , their possible failure in missing the NFL’s end of season showcase spectacle, could come back to to haunt Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff.

Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seawhawks are the defending Superbowl champions and their quest to make a successful defense of their title doesn’t yet appear to be in jeopardy , but there has to be a cause for concern for a team which has been sporadic with their performances over the course of the season. Russell Wilson has continued with his progress and now seems to be on his way to joining the elite players at the position within the NFL . Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington will be the ” place to be” as the red hot ticket game of the day on Sunday when the Seahawks host the Arizona Cardinals and it will be interesting to see how opposing quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Drew Stanton will fare in this highly anticipated contest with their being so much at stake for both teams.

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Picture gallery.

With the NFL season almost three-quarters of the way through its schedule, what do you feel has been the most disappointing event to have taken place during the year ? Also , which teams are likely to make a spirited push to gain a postseason berth as the schedule now becomes more suspenseful for the fans and the franchises with so much at stake ? It has been a learning experience not only for the rookie head coaches in the NFL this season but also for the rookies and sophomore players seeking to make their presence felt in the league. Simply chime in with your comments on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been appreciated !

o_O

Picture and slideshow gallery below.
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(1) Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson pictured here , has been reportedly suspended without pay for the rest of the season as the league hierarchy continues with their own investigation and possible further disciplinary action against the player for conduct detrimental to the league. Peterson reached a plea agreement with the State Attorney’s Office in Texas, after his being charged with child abuse . It was not the first time the player had been investigated for such an action. However, this latest incident was the first , in which law enforcement and Texas Dept of Child Welfare saw fit to file charges against Peterson . The league’s handling of this matter has come in for a great deal of criticism , with much of it being leveled at Commissioner Roger Goodell . Getty Images / Hugh Parker …

(2) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears runs past Sharrif Floyd (73) of the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter on November 16, 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Bears defeated the Minnesota Vikings 21-13. Getty Images/ David Banks …

(3) Jay Cutler (6) of the Chicago Bears tries to score on a run but is stopped by Xavier Rhodes (29) of the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter on November 16, 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Speculation has began mounting the Bears will seek to trade the quarterback after a troubled season with the franchise. GM Phil Emery has not issued a public statement on the matter but there appears to be mounting speculation a trade is likely . Cutler is still owed $16.5 million of his original $126.7 million deal signed in 2012 of which $54 million was guaranteed . Getty Images /David Banks …

(4) In the foreground Oakland Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano and the team’s GM Reggie McKenzie . The Raiders are off to a dismal start this season , having gone win-less and they are now 0-10 , still seeking their first victory of the season . McKenzie and team owner , Mark Davis recently traveled to San Antonio to visit with local politicians , with a view to gauging their interest in having the franchise relocate to the city . No details were imparted by the franchise and the NFL have not made their thoughts known on the issue , where league approval would be sought before such a move could take place. AP Photo/ Philip Davis …

(5) Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback Drew Stanton (5) attempts a pass during a game against the St Louis Rams . With Carson Palmer still sidelined, Stanton has been inserted into the lineup stepping up from his backup role on the roster . The Cardinals have the best record (9-1) in the NFC and the league overall. Arizona seeks to upset the apple cart by dethroning the Seattle Seahawks the NFC West champions for this season . AP Photo / Matthew Osgood ….

(6) Washington Redskins’ quarterbacks Robert Griffin III(10) , Kirk Cousins (8) and Colt McCoy (16) . McCoy has accounted for two of the team’s three wins this season, but for some apparent reason Jay Gruden does not appear to have any implicit faith in the third-string quarterback . This off-season there is likely to be a major upheaval of the playing roster with a number of players being traded or simply waived . GM Bruce Allen and Gruden will be left to make the decisions but there is likely to be a great deal of input from team owner , Dan Snyder . Getty Images / Matthew Robbins .. .

(7) A.J. Green (18) of the Cincinnati Bengals catches a pass as Rafael Bush (25) of the New Orleans Saints defends during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Cincinnati defeated the Saints 27-10 in the contest . Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …

(8) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints calls an audible during the first quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox

(9) Wide receiver Mike Evans (13) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by corner-back Bashaud Breeland (26) of the Washington Redskins late in the third quarter at FedExField on November 16, 2014 in Landover, Maryland. The Buccaneers beat the Redskins 27-7 in a lopsided game . Getty Images / Patrick McDermott ….

(10) Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers meets his opposite number Russell Wilson (3) of the Seattle Seahawks center-field after a game between the two teams. This season both the Forty-Niners and Seahawks are having to play catch-up to the Arizona Cardinals who lead the NFC West by a three-game margin heading into week twelve of the NFL season. AP Photo / Mark Harris

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8-)

tophatal … 11/17/2014

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

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Week twelve schedule 2014

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Oakland Raiders’ news

Oakland Raiders’ draft history

Oakland Raiders’ transactions (February 2014)

8-)

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Where’s the soap ?

The 0-10 Raiders have been the butt of so many jokes this season , but here’s a butt and two boobs , I for one am not laughing at ! Round and juicy , and pleasing to the eye.

Posted in Football, http://wp.me/poxLH-9G9, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Act like you’ve got a pair , …balls that is

Act like you’ve got a pair , balls that is ……..
Strangely enough, hearing a sports’ fans continue to opine on the ills within the game, be it baseball, football, basketball or hockey. My take on it all, if your teams suck , don’t just look at the players , but also the coaches and owners in particular . How they act , will trend to give you a clear idea as to whether or not they know how to handle real adversity. The NBA season remains in its infancy , but we already witnessing several teams struggling to step away from their own ineptitude . There were high hopes for the New York Knicks after Phil Jackson was brought in , to lead their Basketball Operations where GM Steve Mills would be ultimately answerable to Jackson within the Knicks’ hierarchal organization . Owner James Dolan remains the one constant within the organization , whose decision-making continues to come into question. Granted , the franchise remains popular among its fan-base , profitable and still the most valuable team in the NBA.

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Nine games into the regular season and the New York Knicks are 2-7 , just above the win-less Philadelphia 76ers(0-7) within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference . For rookie head coach Derek Fisher it would be fair to suggest having seen his team get off to such a sluggish start should be cause for concern. The players themselves have been lackluster with only forward Carmelo Anthony actually showing signs of life .

In their two most recent games the New York Knicks suffered a six-point home loss to the Atlanta Hawks , then followed that up again with another defeat , where their guests, the Orlando Magic inflicted more pain upon what has become a troubling start to the Knicks’ season. Fans of the New Yorks, all too often, tend to point to the positives about their team , one , mainly from an offensive standpoint they can put up points on just about anyone , what they fail to indicate has been the very fact the team simply has no idea how to defend leading their ever increasing issues , which have yet to be addressed by Derek Fisher and his coaching staff

New York came into the season with one of the highest payrolls in the NBA , but nonetheless , Phil Jackson and Steve Mills felt they could live with just as long as the players lived up to expectations . Hard to believe this current roster is no better than the lineup from last season that failed to make the NBA Playoffs . As good as the New York Knicks believe themselves to be , this is not a team currently showing it can compete with the best that the NBA has to offer. Next up for Derek Fisher’s team will be a home game against the Utah Jazz , a contest which will likely tell us a great deal about the mindset of the host.

For two straight years the Chicago Bulls (6-2) have been heavily reliant on Derrick Rose being around for the long haul . In 2012 and again in 2013 , the Bulls’ point guard was felled by an injury . Come full circle and here we are , already wondering about the fitness of Rose after another injury scare. I doubt Tom Thiboadeau wants to head into the next three to six weeks of the Bulls’ schedule without their most prized asset .

In their two defeats the margin of victory for the Bulls’ opponents have been less than seven points in each case. This points to the fact Chicago remains a resilient defensive force , one of the best in conference as well as the entire NBA .

The departures of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer , two of the Bulls’ best scoring options from last season may well prove to hinder the team’s chances this season, but there is every reason to believe with the addistion of Paul Gasol and the ever-improving play of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson , Joakim Noah , Mike Dunleavy and Aaron Brooks , there is every reason to believe the Chicago Bulls can make a long and spirited run during the NBA Playoffs for this season . Chicago’s next scheduled game will be a match-up with the surprise of the team of the early part of the basketball season, the conference leading Toronto Raptors.

There will come a time when a price has to be paid for the alleged belief the NBA and its idiocy of a soft salary cap has been of benefit to the game. Not unlike the idiocy within baseball (MLB) , where Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred are still mired with their own hierarchical ineptitude . It begs the question, which idiotic fans of professional basketball actually has a clue as to what happened with regard to the economic vagaries of the NBA . Last season the Philadelphia Sixers’ willingly ” tanked “ the final quarter of their schedule , all with the hope gaining a lottery pick from the NBA Draft . Sixers’ owner Joshua Harris has given cart-blanche to ruin the franchise while fans think nothing of the destruction now taking place . Win-less and off to an 0-7 start , there seems to be clear evidence that this team cannot win a game no , matter who the opponent just happens to be .

Sixers’ head coach Brett Brown and his coaching staff have been far from inspiration for this team . Nerlens Noel , Luc MBah a Moute , Jason Richardson , Tony Wroten and Michael Carter-Williams are simply not enough to lure anyone to see the Sixers play . It is pretty much safe to say this season beyond being viewed as an eyesore is far from being desirable for the NBA . Yet , there you have it , with the league hierarchy unwilling to intervene when an organization shows an obvious unwillingness to compete . As to suggesting who the best player on the Sixers’ roster might be , well given what you might see as desirable , I would leave that choice in your hands ! Michael Carter-Williams having been a Rookie of the Year might just be the lone asset on this team .

Two consecutive losses for a combined eighty-five points defines mediocrity in the NBA. Philadelphia’s next game will be on the road when they face the Houston Rockets led by e James Harden and .Dwight Howard . The contest will be a decidedly lopsided affair favoring the home team.. Make no bones about it , the NBA remains a brand is in need of some real coaching talent beyond Gregg Popovich , Erik Spoelstra, Rick Carlisle and Doc Rivers .

Denver Nuggets’ (1-6) head coach Brian Shaw was overlooked when he sought to succeed Phil Jackson as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers . The Nuggets’ record this season reflects how bad this team just happen to be . In the Nuggets’ most recent game the team gave up eighty-four points in the first half of a contest against the Portland Trailblazers . Blazers’ players Damian Lillard , LaMarcus Aldridge and their teammates had a field-day in wiping the court with the Nuggets in their twenty-three point victory over their divisional rivals .

Beyond Kenneth Faried , Ty Lawson and JJ Hickson , there is absolutely nothing to suggest the Nuggets are capable of competing in the NBA . Team owner Stanley Kroenke and GM Tim Connelly have not shown the acumen to suggest they have the best interests of the fans let alone the league , but yet consumers are asked to tolerate this type of ineptitude not just from the Denver Nuggets, but with several teams around the league . Some fans are willing to show their apathy and ignorance by simply pointing to teams who are winning and not the dire consequences which . take place when the franchises are far from being competitive .

When the Nuggets face the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse , in Indianapolis , Indiana the meeting between these two teams should prove to be an caution as to the meaning of ineptitude based on the play of the two clubs this season.

Adam Silver the successor to David Stern as NBA Commissioner, seeks to spread his global brand and professional basketball remains the most popular sports’ brand North America has exported around the globe , far exceeding the reach of MLB , NFL and NHL . Silver has been engaging, while offering little to suggest he is the right person to be leading the NBA. As an executive he has been quick to point out that he believes the federal government should legalize gambling on all professional sports nationwide with their being tight restrictions , due diligence and oversight for the proposed statute. Given the lobbying presence of the hierarchy (NBA) up on Capitol Hill , is anyone actually surprised by Silver’s comments on the issue ? Sorry , but the commissioner is now creating a conflict of interest for his sport because , there are likely to be serious ramifications and misgivings should there be the slightest slightest impropriety within the game by a player coach or executive seeking to decide the outcome of a game by giving a less than forthright effort.

Granted, given the lax play at this point of the season , might I suggest , things might well have gotten off to the start neither Silver the league and the world of sports? College sports specifically football and basketball are aware of the problems encompassing their respective sports and it would be fair to suggest the monitoring by the NCAA under the leadership of Mark Emmert has been less than adequate. Yet , these are some of the issues likely to be faced by the NBA and Adam Silver , has not suggested if the league will seek to monitor the wagering , lines offered on the games and the final results. All well and good in the commissioner’s eyes , but once Pandora’s Box has been opened , the chances of it being closed will be remote .

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Picture gallery .

At this point last season the NBA was still in its infancy but then too., there were signs the league would be in for long and arduous year of rather mediocre play . What if anything has been the most disappointing aspect of the league this year ? By all means simply leave a comment as you see fit on on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article.

o_O

Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) New York Knicks’ front office executives from left to right owner James Dolan, Phil Jackson SVP & Head of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Mills . The team is off to a bad start and hindering their chances within the division and Eastern Conference. Derek Fisher and his coaching staff struggled to find any form of consistency from the playing staff this season . AP Photo / Barry Gill …

(2) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has been limited in his play this season through eight games , having only appeared in four contests for the team at this point of the season. Head coach Tom Thibodeau may well seek lessen the minutes for the point guard over the next month as he seeks to regain full fitness . Bulls’ general John Paxson may add his input advising Thibodeau because of the franchise’s immediate and long-term investment in the player . Getty Images/NBAE/ Clark Jones …

(3) Head coach Brett Brown center is seen here with members of the Philadelphia 76ers’ coaching staff and players . The teams remain win-less and struggling to make leeway this season. Team owner Josh Harris has shown few signs that he seeks for the Sixers to be competitive over the course of this season, much to the dismay of their fans and several former players including Allen Iverson , who has been critical of the organization. AP Photo / Marcus Shaw ….

(4) Denver Nuggets’ head coach Brian Shaw and the team’s point guard Ty Lawson are seen here on the sidelines during a game . The Nuggets are far from being competitive this season and the fans are now voicing their displeasure with the team and play of the Nuggets. AP Photo / Bob Foster ..

(5) Josh Kroenke left , is seen here alongside his father Stanley Kroenke of the Denver Nuggets . The two are senior executives within organization . The elder Kroenke is also the owner the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche as well as Premierleague soccer team Arsenal . Getty Images / Tim Johnson …

(6) (6) Adam Silver commissioner of the NBA has issued the statement he would like to see legalized wagering for all professional sports, as well as at the collegiate level . Silver believes it would be of great benefit to the NBA but in his comments he made has stated little of how he believes the federal government can mandate a statute covering legalized gaming . The NBA has offered very little , by way their team owners, general managers or the players, . leading many to believe this whole scenario was not thoroughly well thought out . Clearly, Silver since being elected commissioner of the NBA , has sought to stamp his authority , identity on the league and creating the type of dialog that places him front and center of what is likely be a controversial debate . Getty Images / Harry How …

(7) Allen Iverson whose retirement from the NBA after a distinguished career winning a League MVP Award and multiple All Star appearances and litany of franchise records for the Sixers . Iverson has been extremely critical of his former team , management and the front office staff concerning their lack of competitive spirit. AP Photo / Matthew Miller … ….

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:)

tophatal 11/13/2014

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Related article : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/whining-gets-you-nowhere-when-you-want-to-feel-good-about-your-team-especially-when-you-realize-theyre-on-the-decline/

8-)

o_O

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Posted in Basketball, http://wp.me/pox/LH-9Fo, NBA, New York Knicks, Sports, Sports Economics, Sports & Social Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

Whining gets you nowhere when you want to feel good about your team, especially when you realize they’re on the decline

As the NBA season has yet to get into full swing there are now a number of situations beginning to unwind concerning the frailities of a number of teams. In something of a debate, but though a little contentious , a patron on a site suggested that the Dallas Mavericks, a perennial contender was perhaps one of the best franchises in the NBA. All true, as the Mavericks have indeed won an NBA Final where Dirk Nowitzki won the Finals’ MVP in leading the team in a surprising victory over what was then an overrated Miami Heat team led by LeBron James.

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Mark Cuban , the always none too shy, self publicity seeking owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as ever opinionated makes the statement he would like to see the Oklahoma City Thunder “tank” their season . With two of their most senior and best players sidelined by injuries , Oklahoma has made do without both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I get the feeling, Cuban sees this as the best opportunity for the Mavericks to gain a postseason berth because his team has very little chance of winning what has always been a very competitive Southwest Division within the Western Conference.

Off to a 4-3 start to the season Rick Carlisle and his coaching staff will certainly know this will almost certainly be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season in a Mavericks’ uniform. The center’s career with the franchise has indeed made him the face of the Mavericks during his tenure and a likely Hall of Fame inductee having met the eligibility requirements. Nowitzki leads the team in many of the relevant statistical categories which matter the most .

Coming off a 105-96 loss to the Miami Heat where Monta Ellis led the scoring drive for the Mavericks in this contest. Nowitzki had a solid all-round game but not one where you could state he made a difference with the result. The flaws on the Mavericks are there to be seen, with their being very little resilience from this team with regard to theirdefensive capabilities. Dallas may well be able to outscore their opponents, but clearly defensively , the team cannot defend when a game is on the line and it will continue to be the ‘Achilles’ Heel’ for the Dallas Mavericks.

Next up for Dallas will be the opportunity for the team to gauge themselves against DeMarcus Cousins and a good Sacramento Kings’ team looking to make a clear statement they are ready to compete with the very best the conference and NBA has to offer this season.

DeMarcus Cousins is now growing into his own as a player , albeit, his stature is not where it should be for a player with a great deal of talent and who has repeatedly failed to show the maturity sought by the Kings’ coaching staff and front office and team owner Vivek Ranadive .

You certainly don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize the New York Knicks are struggling in the NBA this season. Head of Basketball Operations & SVP Phil Jackson was induced to return to the franchise where he made a name for himself as a player and won an NBA title with the franchise . This season the Knicks have been anything but consistent as the team led by Carmelo Anthony seeks to get over their early struggles. A six-point loss , 91-85 to the Atlanta Hawks was the Knicks’ third consecutive defeat suffered by team as they fall to 2-6 within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference.

New York cajoled and plead with Carmelo Anthony to remain with the Knicks, on the premise they would build a competitive lineup to complement his talents as a player and the New York Knicks’ leading scorer this season. It is pretty much safe to say the Knicks are failing miserably and thought their year is somewhat of a microcosm of what was witnessed last year doesn’t provide the fans with a great deal of confidence. While attendance at Madison Square Garden in New York City , New York remains healthy , you have to wonder at what point these fans are likely voice their displeasure with the team and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher.

The Knicks if they are to succeed, in spite of the belief of their fans that this season could be the year where they are primed to make a deep playoff run in pursuit of their first NBA title in over four decades. Derek Fisher in his first season as a rookie head coach must be wondering if his mentor Phil Jackson ever had these type of struggles at any point during his career. Other than Carmelo Anthony there is not a bona-fide superstar on the Knicks’ roster. Amare’ Stoudemire is on the downside of a rather disappointing career , along with a thirty-seven year old Argentinian guard Pablo Prigioni , JR Smith, Andrea Bargnani and Samuel Dalembert are seen as the mainstays of this Knicks’ team. Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher know there are teething problems concerning the New York Knicks and their next five games will tell us a great deal about the franchise and the inner workings of the organization owned by James Dolan .

With a net worth of over $1.2 billion the New York Knicks remain the most valuable NBA franchise in spite of the exorbitant price of $2 billion paid by Steve Ballmer in his purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers . While Ballmer strives to make the Clippers a more recognized brand around the league, the Knicks have no such worries , with the franchise perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the NBA and one of the most revered sports’ franchises in North America . The Orlando Magic will be the guests of the New York Knicks on Wednesday when the two teams meet in the first of the scheduled meetings this season. Ballmer has seen the Clippers get off to an indifferent start with a 4-3 mark , seated fourth within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference 1 1/2 games behind division leaders the Golden State Warriors (5-1).

In their most recent game the Los Angeles Clippers’ fall to the San Antonio Spurs, where the reigning champions witnessed the trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker combine for their five hundredth victory together as teammates. A singular feat , likely to go down in history but not necessarily lauded by the print and television media where even the NBA Network have been slow to laud the feat , but the network’s constant obeisance and ass kissing of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have become bile inducing beyond anyone’s scope and comprehension. Doc Rivers has his own trio of stars with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan laying swath to their opponents this season, but the real issue, has to be , can the coach get his team playing defense with a great deal more resilience ?

In the aftermath of the Donald Sterling fiasco the Los Angeles Clippers have shown they are ready to move on and put that lamentable chapter behind them . Unfortunately, were it not for the incompetency of the hierarchy’s handling of the issue , this matter might not have been so prolonged and a complete embarrassment to the league. As the Clippers’ ascent continues the fast spiraling descent of the Los Angeles Lakers continues abound.To date , Kobe Bryant has yet to show his anger or direct his angst towards his teammates or front office executives Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak who in recent years have blundered with their acquisition of free agents and through a number of their recent draft classes .

Bryant as a multi- time time All Star has seen the Los Angeles Lakers’ season flounder with the loss of Steve Nash and rookie Julius Randle. Add in the fact head coach Byron Scott and the coaching staff are struggling to find their best lineup much get something from the roster in terms of depth . The Lakers got their first victory of the season with a 102-97 win over the Charlotte Hornets in game where Kobe Bryant and Jeremy Lin led all scorers for the Lakers in the contest and for the Hornets , Michael Kidd-Gilchrist leading the way for the for the visiting team. I am not so sure Bryant will be able to pull the Lakers out of their current abyss, not with a team that seems to lack a competitive edge and nature . Nonetheless , it will be interesting how they fare over remainder of the month and then throughout December as the NBA season gets into the heart of its schedule.

As the youngest League MVP in NBA history the Chicago Bulls’ (6-2) point guard Derrick Rose has seen his career take a meteoric trajectory . Rose at his very best happens to be one of the most electrifying players in the league and almost certainly among the top-five point guards playing the game today. The issue however, remains keeping Rose healthy where he can play an entire season for this team . Without him the Bulls tend to struggle as does provide the bulk of the team’s offense . Head coach Tom Thibodeau knows Rose remains the one asset , his team can do without and though over the past two postseasons the Bulls had admirable runs , those failures can point to the fact they were without their best player.

Chicago’s 6-2 mark is one of the best in the Eastern Conference and one of the best in the entire league . GM John Paxson was heavily criticized last season with the trading of Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers , but Deng now finds himself as the centerpiece of a revamped Miami Heat roster in the aftermath of the departure of LeBron James. The Bulls do not seemed to have missed a beat and their play this season has been scintillating at times , leading me to believe they might provide the biggest threat to the Cavaliers and James’ quest to bring an NBA title to Cleveland this season , which would be to the delight of team owner Dan Gilbert . James will be looking to add to his legacy and that of the Cleveland Cavaliers .

If there is one sport where the players feel theirs is a right to entitlement, the world of professional basketball would be it. Where else can the players be rewarded so highly , while leaving their peers within the NFL , and hockey its wake ? The demented lunacy that continues to exist within Major League Baseball (MLB) and the imbalances to be seen from a financial aspect , has me wondering how soon before that particular ” House of Cards” begins to fall ?

The NBA hides behind the idiocy of a “soft ” salary cap ($63.1 million) , while David Stern and his successor Adam Silver have repeatedly failed to rein in the expenses of the teams in terms of their payroll . Adam Silver as the NBA Commissioner , is not unlike Bud Selig , in his failing to address and admit his sport, has a major economic problem , even in spite of the countless, millions of dollars in annual revenues . Yes, while the burgeoning television contracts and team revenues continue to escalate , the NBA finds itself within its own personal Utopia . There still remains the question of trying to address declining viewership and in some cases the fall in attendance for teams around the league.

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Mikhail Prokorov and Paul Allen as the owners of the Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trailblazers had their teams entering this season with the highest payrolls in the NBA . Money is obviously of no issue for two of the wealthiest individuals in all of professional sports, with Prokhorov and Allen having a combined net worth exceeding $30 billion . Their teams are likely to become intertwined over the course of this season as both the Nets and Trailblazers seek to make their mark on the year. The first of their regular season meetings come on the 15th November when the Portland Trailblazers will play host to the Brooklyn Nets at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon,.

Portland will be looking to their combo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard to lead the way as they take on Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez of the Nets. Garnett the wily veteran of this Brooklyn team has long felt he can still be productive during the latter stages of his career. He has been as good as his word , giving given this roster some stability where it is needed and the coaching staff of Lionel Hollins have benefited from Kevin Garnett’s experience and leadership. Among active players, Garnett’s statstics weigh up favorably and it has been one of the defining points of his career with his durability and willingness to lead.

There is no denying , playing in a weak Eastern Conference does create the illusion great basketball is alive and well within the conference. In reality , nothing could be further from the truth with their being little to suggest the Eastern Conference is at all competitive . The hyperbole which surrounded the Miami Heat quickly brought a number of analysts and fans back down to earth, because they bought into the idiocy that LeBron James could carry the Heat though the postseason without really being assisted his supporting cast. When you consider the cast in question barely showed up during the NBA Finals , you have to wonder how anyone in their right mind favored the Heat , never mind the fact , they completely underestimated the San Antonio Spurs and their coach Gregg Popovich .

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Picture gallery .

With the NBA season still in its infancy , has there been an event or game which you feel is reflection of why the league remains pedantic ? Also which teams by your estimation are already in danger of seeing their season being flushed down the tubes ? Just leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it is gratefully appreciated !

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Picture and slideshow gallery below .

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(1) From left to right , 2011 Finals’ MVP Dirk Bowitzki is seen alongside teammates, Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion after the Dallas Mavericks’ triumph over the Miami Heat in the series to win their first championship in the franchise’s history.. Team owner Mark Cuban has not been afraid to spend money capriciously , but with Nowitzki likely to retire from the game, it will be interesting to see the lengths GM Donnie Nelson will go to , in rebuilding the team. AP Photo / Mike Carpenter …

(2) Mark Cuban left , owner of the Dallas Mavericks is seen here with the team’s head coach Rick Carlisle . The two will have a great deal of pondering to do at the end of this season , should the Dirk Nowitzki make the decision to retire from the game and the franchise where he has spent his entire NBA career . Getty Images North America / Moses Carter ..

(3) Reigning League MVP Kevin Durant shows a great deal of humility and humbleness, as he accepts his MVP Award. Durant is currently missing from the Oklahoma City Thunder lineup due to an injury that will keep him sidelined for at least two months, hampering the team’s chances of making a successful defense of their divisional crown . Head coach Scott Brooks hopes to see Durant back in a Thunder uniform by late December or early January , Also missing from the starting lineup is point guard Russell Westbrook . The duo are two of the league’s most potent offensive players accounting for over 63% of the team’s offense this past season . AP Photo/ Larry Mason …

(4) Phil Jackson now a senior executive within the New York Knicks’ front office has been entrusted with the decision making process for all personnel moves for the franchise. The former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach hired Derek Fisher to coach the team . Off to an inauspicious start Fisher and his coaching staff will have to make good on the wishes of their fans to make the postseason for the first time in three years . At their present rate the projected wins’ total for the Knicks seems to be no more than twenty-eight games . A record , unlikely get them a berth for the NBA Playoffs based on the last two years . AP Photo / Matt Turner …

(5) Former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer is seen here with Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul , (right) at a Los Angeles Kings’ game . Ballmer purchased the Clippers for a record $2 billion , and with that an appreciation in the value of the NBA’s other twenty-nine teams is likely to take place . Getty Images North America …

(6) From left to right , Manu Ginobli, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are seen here on the bench during a game. The combo were part of the team’s lineup during which they won their five-hundredth game together as a trio. Duncan has been part of all five team triumphs in the NBA Finals with his two teammates each winning four titles . The Spurs hope to make it a sixth this upcoming season and they are off to mild start to their schedule . Head coach Gregg Popovich seeks his six title as coach and third NBA Coach of the Year Award during his illustrious career . Peter Holt and GM RC Buford have presided over the franchise’s success over the past eighteen years. AP Photo / Paul Holland ..

(7) Four-time League MVP LeBron James whose return to the Cleveland Cavaliers have seen an increase in the Cavaliers’ attendance at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland , Ohio . James for his part leads the team in the most pertinent offensive categories this season . Cleveland is seen as the leading contender for the Eastern Conference title this season and James hopes to make that a reality for the franchise. Team owner Dan Gilbert was ecstatic at the return of the player who was drafted by team and as a rookie started his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers . AP Photo / Manny Velazquez …

(8) Brooklyn Nets owner , Mikhail Prokhorov is seen here with the team’s point guard Deron Williams . Beyond his ownership of the franchise , Prokhorov owns the a majority (85%) stake, which encompasses the Nets’ venue the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn , New York and real estate enterprise surrounding the arena. AP Photo / Barry Marshall …

(9) Chicago Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose is seen on the sidelines discussing a play with head coach Tom Thibodeau during a game. The player has missed a significant number of games over thelast two seasons due to injury and already this early into Bulls’ 2014 season, Rose has once again been sidelined due to injury . AP Photo / Anglela Hart …

(10) Luol Deng (9) of the Miami Heat , who in a recent outing for the team scored a season high thirty points against the Dallas Mavericks , which the Heat won with ease against a Mavericks’ team, who showed poor defensive qualities . Deng signed with Heat after being part of a mid-season trade in during the 2013 season which saw him being dealt by the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Signed as a free agent this off-season by the Heat , Deng has become a solid member and performer for the team this season , leading the Miami Heat to one of the best records in the Eastern Conference. Getty Images/ Matt Jones …

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The growing pains of a Major League Baseball team

The growing pains of a Major League Baseball team

With baseball’s off-season now in full swing and the San Francisco Giants rejoicing in their third triumph in the World Series in the past five years. The question now becomes can this franchise build upon the foundations of that success and win several more ? Bruce Bochy has proved himself to be the best manager in baseball and the best of this decade. No one else even remotely comes close to his achievements and the same can said of GM Brian Sabean .
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There was no denying the San Francisco Giants success has been built upon drafting well and making sound decisions when it came to the various trades by the organization over the past three years. It has been Sabean’s success in conjunction with the managerial staff , which has brought about the success by the franchise. This ball club has never been one , which made a big splash by overspending on a marquee free agent. The long-term commitments made to players such as catcher Buster Posey have been worth every penny and Posey has rewarded the Giants with his productivity and skill behind the plate.

Buster Posey and World Series’ MVP, pitcher Madison Bumgarner were not only the mainstays of the Giants during the regular season, but during the postseason, both players were front and center in San Francisco’s success as the postseason built up full steam, leading to their success of being triumphant triumphant over the Kansas City Royals . With a number of players now about to become free agents or in arbitration with the San Francisco Giants , Brian Sabean and the front office will have to use all of their guile in trying to re-sign several of those free agents by offering increased financial rewards or other meaningful incentives.

One of the players the Giants will look to re-sign , has to be their 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval who this postseason was timely with his hitting, but also offered up a great deal of leadership and intangibles for the Giants. His loss would be seen as part of doing business, when money seems to be driving force in the game. Sandoval and his agents at SPS Sports Group will be looking to negotiate a contract for their client commensurate to his standing and his worth to the team. Six years $140 million might prove to be too be expensive a deal for the Giants to undertake , but at the same time do they really want allow a player of Pablo Sandoval’s ability to leave , while he is still productive? Along with Sandoval among the Giants’ impending free agents are Ryan Vogelsong, Jake Peavy, Sergio Romo , Mike Morse and Tony Abreu , with the feeling Brian Sabean will also look at the players in arbitration before making any major moves during this off-season as the wheeling and dealing begins during the Winter Meetings of the baseball executives.

A thrilling seven-game World Series which was among the most watched postseason series over the past decade, had the nation gripped as the suspense began to unfold. The upstart Kansas City Royals got close to pulling off the improbable, but their postseason inexperience was the only reason for their failure. Ned Yost and his managerial staff had the team playing with a great deal of zeal , but the Giants proved to be the better team in this Fall Classic . Royals’ owner David Glass has long spent his years shying away from spending money on the team . Granted, the Royals played great baseball this season , but consider the fact under the owner’s leadership, during his tenure the franchise failed miserably until this season.

Alex Gordon , Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer have been the focal point of the Royals’ success, proving themselves specialists with the short ball and building the rapport that made them the all too appealing underdogs of the postseason . Dayton Moore the general manager will be asked to convince several of the core members of the Kansas City Royals that it is worth remaining with the ball-club rather than seeking to go elsewhere . Free agency has a way of turning the possible future of a team upside down and it has been the repeated case for this particular franchise over the past eight years.

James Shields , Josh Willingham , Luke Hochevar, Scott Downs and Billy Butler will be among the free agents looking to be paid a king’s ransom this upcoming season, while there will also be those players in arbitration with the Royals whose contracts are likely to be a bone of contention between Moore and the players’ agents.

It will be interesting to see how Dayton Moore seeks to make the Kansas City Royals competitive this upcoming season and whether or they will be keep up the momentum achieved in 2014.

If I’ve said it once I’ll say it again show me an idiot who believes the New York Mets are able to compete and I will show you fan devoid of intelligence ! Repeatedly over the past four seasons this franchise has failed their fans miserably and the excuses continue as where , when and how they are likely to win the NL East , NL Pennant and the World Series. Consider the fact the Mets have not won a pennant in almost decade and their last appearance in the Fall Classic was a forlorn affair in their loss (4-1) to the New York Yankees in 2000. The front office now led by Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi have continued to stumble their way meaningless trades d and draft classes that have not produced a player worth a damn and now there’s talk of a farm system that will likely produce a ready to make an assault on the NL and the rest of the baseball . Matt Harvey the pitcher who spent last season on the team’s disabled list will the player manager Terry Collins hopes can provide a real presence for Mets. This upcoming season is likely to Collins’ last in charge as the manager of the ball-club , because he has not really shown the acumen to lead the New York Mets .

Granted the NL East was a pitiful division in 2014, with the division winner the Washington Nationals being the only team with a record above .500 at the end of the regular season . If that is not an indictment of how bad the play within the division was said to be , then clearly those who believe the Mets have something to offer, are clearly delusional.

David Wright , long seen as the best player the New York Mets’ to have benn on their roster continues to be consistent but unable to lead the franchise to where the fans believe they ought to be. Team owners, Fred Wilpon, Saul Katz , and COO Jeff Wilpon have been negligent not only in their fiduciary duties but also in their executive roles for the organization. Financial institutions may well have come to the Mets’ aid to bail them out of their self-inflicted financial but woes but they are far from being out of danger. Unfortunately, the negligence of baseball’s hierarchy led by Bud Selig and his successor Rob Manfred have been negligent in their duties of monitoring the actions of the New York Mets after the Bernie Madoff ” fiasco” .

Free agents notwithstanding , the issue for the New York Mets will become how to deal with replenishing their roster for the upcoming season. It is widely believed they will seek reacquire Jose Reyes now with the Toronto Blue Jays but also jettison the players they believe superfluous to their needs.Addition by subtraction, might well be viewed in some circles as the best move forward, but I believe the biggest benefit to the Mets could be the hire of a new manager rather than retaining Terry Collins for another season.

I cannot say, I was surprised by the departure of Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays to join the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Head of Baseball Operations has simply shed a light on the continued problems within the game and its financial imbalances . Friedman’s jump to a bigger team was then followed by Joe Maddon as he joined the Chicago Cubs to become the franchise’s new manager. Now comes the hard part for Friedman , can he work in environment where there seems to be more money awash with the Dodgers , than there appears to be common sense within the organization ? A quarter of a billion dollar payroll has been a boondoggle for a baseball club that has failed miserably for the past two seasons, first in 2013 and then this past year. Don Mattingly appears to be in over his head , as he tries to massage the egos of several high-priced and overpaid stars on the Dodgers’ roster.

The best pitcher in baseball in 2013and again in 2014 has become anathema in the postseason. Clayton Kershaw can be mesmerizing during the regular season ,but this postseason showed him to have frailties no one might have envisaged as the Dodgers stumbled . Yet the real struggles for the Dodgers during the postseason wasn’t just the weak pitching but the lack of hitting , where fingers could be pointed up and down the roster. Where the Dodgers now go from here will ultimately be down to the decisions and direction Andrew Friedman makes .

A patron of this site has repeatedly suggested fans of the Tampa Bay Rays are knowledgeable about the team and its flaws, but when pressed to answer questions such as why annually it has been about cost cutting as the Rays have pared down salary in each of the past five seasons. He has not been to succinctly come up with a reason why Stuart Sternberg has not seen fit spend money on the talent needed to make this ball club competitive. Instead , Sternberg has continued to whine as to not being given any assistance in the building of a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. Stuart Sternberg is no more an astute a businessman as Sarah Palin could be described as a ” voice of reason” when espousing the Conservative view of the world and the domestic issues affecting the country. The Rays’ owner has become conceited arrogant and a complete ass ________ and not far behind are the fans of the organization, who have no idea as to the real issues the ball-club continues to face. Maddon’s departure it is said , continued to circled around the lack of direction and the failure to obtain financing for a new stadium to replace Tropicana Field in St Petersburg , Florida,. The on field talent remains to be a topic of conversation, as the debate will arguably be about , which player the Rays can or cannot afford to retain at the end of this off-season . A definite increase in the Tampa Bay Rays’ payroll has to be sought beyond the fact the organization has yet to hire a new manager , although the interview process has began , with their being an alleged interest in Raul Ibanez , but it remains to be seen whether not Ibanez is keen on the idea of making the move from player to become baseball’s latest manager.

A five-year $25 million deal, has secured Joe Maddon’s financial future but his professional future with the Chicago Cubs under the reins of Cubs’ President of Operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer could be less secure. In the four years since the duo became senior executives within the organization we have seen the club struggle relentlessly, as the ” curse of the goat continues. Dale Sveum’s firing could not have come about quick enough as the Cubs’ last place finish (73-89) within the NL Central was a more than a vague reminder why this club remains the laughing stock within Major League Baseball and around the world of sports. One hundred years of infamy , mediocrity and owners who have remained completely clueless. Tom Ricketts and his family are bereft of any intelligence since assuming control of the Cubs, even with the hiring of Theo Epstein. And Epstein might well have inherited a mess , but five years into his tenure there have been few signs of progress concerning the Chicago Cubs and that is a clear reflection of their record this past season .

Starlin Castro remains a tremendous and unbridled talent . In the right environment , he can definitely thrive , but I seriously doubt his remaining with the Chicago Cubs will ultimately lead to success unless , he is surrounded with the talent likely to bring out the best in the player. Castro remains the face of the Cubs’ franchise and in my opinion a multiple All Star for years to come ! He is by far , one of the most exciting young players in the game and one of the most electrifying short-stops in the NL and baseball. If the Cubs are to compete against the likes of the Cincinnati Reds , Milwaukee Brewers , Pittsburgh Pirates and St Louis Cardinals within the NL Central , then Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer will have to work more than a few miracles beyond the thought Joe Maddon can best cure what ails the organization. More financial resources as seen with this ball club has been no guarantee of success as seen with their missteps in their trades in recent years and a number of their recent draft classes.

The return of Alex Rodriguez to the game of baseball and specifically to the New York Yankees after the retirement of Derek Jeter and his two-decade career. GM Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi are intent on welcoming Rodriguez back with open arms as the Yankees seek to reinvent themselves and enter a new chapter of their history. The infamous third baseman’s suspension and his well chronicled web of deceit and lies have left Alex Rodriguez’s legacy tarnish and his reputation in tatters. No matter how many philanthropic efforts he now becomes part of , it will never satisfy the wish of fans to have seen him banished from the game permanently . The weakness of the league hierarchy and the all too powerful MLBPA (union) backing a player who has repeatedly lied over the years concerning his use of a banned substance as prohibited by MLB. Last season proved to be a mediocre year for the New York Yankees with their pitching and offensebeing woefully inept. Joe Girardi could not get the best out of an aging and overrated pitching staff without delving into the fact Carlos Beltran , Ichiro Suzuki and CC Sabathia are now well past their prime. Unfortunately, when an organization has no faith in their scouting staff much less the farm system itself , it sends the right and wrong questions about the ball-club and the assumptions we have seen with the Yankees.

In his time with the New York Yankees Alex Rodriguez has achieved some success winning a World Series title in 2009 along with two AL MVP Awards , but one can’t help ask, was this all achieved without the assistance of a banned substance? Rodriguez has been quick to point an accusing fingers at others for his own missteps. Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half .Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half . Rodriguez will be returning to a ball club looking for some semblance of leadership and he somehow is expected to assume the mantel of Derek Jeter, but those will be a tough pair shoes to fill and footsteps to follow.

Personally, I believe Alex Rodriguez will be unable to regain the “form” which made him one of the most prolific players in baseball over the last decade and a half . Rodriguez will be returning to a ball club looking for some semblance of leadership and he somehow is expected to assume the mantel of Derek Jeter but those will be a tough pair shoes to fill and footsteps to follow.

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Picture gallery .

In what way do you feel baseball was best served with the ascent of Kansas City Royals and how do think it will impact the game this upcoming season ? Which teams in your opinion will have the most to lose without making a bold move in order to be competitive ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site !

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Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) World Series MVP , pitcher Madison Bumgarner is seen here alongside San Francisco Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy . The two appeared at the press conference after the team’s game seven victory over the Kansas City Royals in this season’s World Series . It was the third victory for Giants in the past five seasons of the Fall Classic . All three series’ victories were managed by Bochy , making him the most successful manager of the past decade and franchise’s most successful manager. AP Photo / Keith Davis …

(2) 2012 World Series’ MVP Pablo Sandoval who is eligible to become a free agent this off-season and likely to be one of the most sought after players during the off-season. The leading candidate to sign the player appears to be the Boston Red Sox , Sandoval and his agents are not able to renegotiate a new contract with the 2014 World Series’ champion . Getty Images/ Tony Charles …

(3) Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost , right, celebrates with Mike Moustakas after the Royals’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels in 11 innings during Game 1 of baseball’s AL Division Series in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Moustakas hit a home rum in the 11th inning. AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi … ….

(4)Flushing, New York 9/30/13 Mets Manager Terry Collins talks to media at a press conference as GM Sandy Alderson looks on at Citi Field on Sept. 30, 2013 Paul J. Bereswill …

(5) Teammates , pitcher Matt Harvey and third baseman David Wright are seen here at Citi Field , in Flushing , New York . The two players are All Stars with the franchise , but have failed to lead the ball club into a deep postseason run . Getty Images / Harry How …

(6)Starlin Castro whose season with the Chicago Cubs has been sensational while being the best player on the team’s roster in 2014. AP Photo/ Chris Gordon …

(7) Tampa Bay Rays’ lead managing partner Stuart Sternberg is seen here with members of the press . Sternberg has seen the departure of manager Joe Maddon and general manager Andrew Friedman . Matt Silverman has since succeeded Friedman as general manager , but the organization has yet to hire a manager for the ball club. AP Photo /Chris James …

(8) New York Yankees’ Joe Girardi is seen here with the team’s third baseman Alex Rodriguez who will make his return to the team this upcoming season , where they hope to make a return to the postseason and win their twenty-eighth World Series’ title. AP Photo / Ron Carter …
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They’ve got ninety-nine problems and it’s all about their quarterback …

They’ve got ninety-nine problems and it’s all about their quarterback …

It tells you a great deal about a franchise, when it just happens to be the team owner making many of the personnel decisions , rather than the coaching or front office staff of a team. We have all witnessed the machinations of Al Davis , former owner of the Oakland Raiders and how he continued to ruin the franchise during the latter years of his tenure. Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has still not seen his beloved team win a Superbowl in over a decade . Now, while having the customary setback after their loss to the Arizona Cardinals in week nine , with Tony Romo now on the team’s injury reserve list and their being mounting speculation as to if he will be suited up for the Cowboys’ game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars . If Romo is unable to play , a game time decision is likely to be made by head coach Jason Garrett but with a great deal of input coming from Jerry Jones. It remains to be seen whether the incumbent starter will be replaced by his backup Brandon Weeden.

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With their defeat the Dallas Cowboys lost their grip on the NFC East , with the Philadelphia Eagles now leading the division over their arch rival . For the Eagles their worries have now manifested with the loss of starting quarterback Nick Foles for as many as three weeks. Foles’ loss will likely provide the opportunity for Mark Sanchez to resurrect his career in the NFL . Sanchez will get the start when the Philadelphia Eagles play host to the Carolina Panthers at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, in the Monday night game on the 10th November ,2014.

Mark Sanchez will be asked to be conservative in his play, with the likely propensity for Chip Kelly to use the ground game against the Panthers in this all NFC contest . There is no denying the Eagles will need this win, if only maintain their lead over the Dallas Cowboys. These two NFC East adversaries still have to meet in their seasonal match-ups, which will take place during week twelve at AT&Stadium in Arlington, Texas and with the second of the two contests reverting to Philadelphia in week fifteen.

If Jerry Jones is said to have a high opinion of his own managerial acumen, then his peer, Daniel Snyder , owner of the Washington Redskins , who it is believed insisted Robert Griffin III , be given the start in week nine against the Minnesota Vikings. Griffin returning from an injury was less than stellar in the game where the Vikings came away with the victory. Ill-timed pass attempts and failure to connect with a number of his receivers played a part in the Redskins’ defeat and Robert Griffin’s poor play.

With their depth chart simply thin on experienced quarterbacks, Jay Gruden and his coaching staff have brought in Terrell Pryor with a view to assessing the player’s attributes and whether or not he would be a good fit for the Washington Redskins’ team. Pryor’s career in the NFL can be best described as lackluster and very much understated. This could be considered the desperate act of a head coach at his wit’s end , whose faith in the quarterbacks now on the roster, is are less than he expected to see , given the experience of Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and Robert Griffin III .

The Redskins are now in a dire position and great deal of the blame for their situation can be placed firmly on the shoulders of GM Bruce Allen, Gruden’s predecessor , Mike Shanahan , his former assistant , the team’s former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan . Shanahan and his son, were simply bereft of creativity and the relationship with Daniel Snyder was less then commendable , during the latter part of their tenure with the Washington Redskins.

Ben Roethlisbeger seems to be back at his very best, with the Pittsburgh Steelers now riding high within the AFC North and the two-time winning Superbowl quarterback now showing the poise and play with the performances, likely to put the Steelers back in the postseason for the first time in three years , when their last appearance came in 2011 as a wildcard entrant , where they fell to the Denver Broncos in a narrow six-point loss. The Steelers are winners of four of their last five regular season games, with their last defeat coming in a 31-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in week six. Roehtlisberger in those five contests, has simply been unbelievable , passing for over 1664 yards , fourteen touchdowns , one interception , with a 112.55 quarterback rating. Rarefied air , but nothing, coach Mike Tomlin hasn’t seen from the player since becoming the head coach.

Pittsburgh, with their lead in a very competitive AFC North, now down to a one-game margin, there remains a great deal to play for, with each of the four teams all in with a shot of claiming the divisional crown , barring any mishaps or major injuries . The Steelers’ passing game has always been based on the efficiency of their quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger has been resplendent in showing his prowess during the season , where he has been among the most successful quarterbacks in the the league up to this point of the NFL schedule. A week ten match-up against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey, will see the Pittsburgh Steelers take on their AFC East conference rivals . To describe the Jets’ seasonas dire would be an understatement , where there has been a convergence of ineptitude witnessed in the poor play of Geno Smith as well as the entire team under head coach Rex Ryan. Many are now wondering, if the head coach can survive the rest of the season or will he simply be allowed to coach the team until the end of their regular season schedule. Jets’ GM John Idzik has not been candid about the coach’s position , with criticism also being leveled at the front office executive for his decision making and handling of the organization.

An eight-game losing streak has seen the New York Jets’ pratfalls take on comical implications for the team and their fans in attendance for their home games. If there was decision to be made about “eating crow” or eating dog crap by the fans of the New York Jets, I get the feeling they would take delight in eating both , and then take aim at Geno Smith and Rex Ryan , showing their displeasure at the duo. If Smith’s backup Michael Vick is made the starter for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers , I am not so sure the veteran quarterback can lead the team to a victory. Vick still believes he can be productive for an NFL franchise at this stage of his career, but those grandiose ideas should now be placed on a back-burner for a player who has failed to live up to expectations. Geno Smith , Michael Vick and Rex Ryan’s career have now become intertwined and it is extremely difficult to see how the Jets as a franchise, can move forward, with all three still being a part of this organization.

Five straight games of passing for three-hundred yards or more , have placed the credentials of Andrew Luck under even more scrutiny as the top pick from the 2012 NFL Draft has seen his stature rise since he entered the NFL. There were doubts , as to whether or not he could succeed Peyton Manning and then lead the Indianapolis Colts to any semblance of success. Two consecutive postseason appearances have a way of bolstering a young player’s credentials and clearly that has been achieved by Andrew Luck. Now the question becomes, can he lead the franchise to a Superbowl victory ?

Though the Colts have not fallen short short in their last two games . In week eight they were on the wrong side of an entertaining and high-scoring contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, during which Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger combined for over eight-hundred yards of passing offense , nine touchdowns and a single interception . Chuck Pagano must like what he is now seeing from his young quarterback , with his only concern being the number of interceptions thrown by the player. Indiana’s victory over to the New York Giants was a timely booster , wasn’t perplexing , a great deal of which can be put down to the fact the Giants’ defense has performed inconsistently over the course of the season, rather than suggesting Eli Manning is now back at his very best . Manning , his teammates and the coaching staff are still trying figure out the conundrum that has become their season .

A bye-week in week ten, will Chuck Pagano’s players the chance to recuperate , study the playbook and then prepare for their week eleven contest agains the New England Patriots , their quarterback Tom Brady who once again is having an exceptional season.

Confounding critics, who may well have written them off , after their embarrassing loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Patriots are back on track and raring to go. The second half of the team’s schedule is a daunting one , with several difficult games on their agenda. Their week nine annihilation of the Denver Broncos was clinical , where the highlight , was meant to be the chance to witness another Tom Brady Peyton Manning match-up, didn’t quite live up to expectation, with the Broncos’ defense simply being in tatters after being shredded by Brady. If John Fox is said to have a concern , then it has to be the fact the Denver Broncos’ secondary even with the acquisitions made are no better than their lineup of last season. Struggled as they have, if the Denver Broncos are to rekindle their hopes of making the postseason and and completely eradicate the memories of the loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the Superbowl, then their defense will have to be far more efficient , than we have seen this season.

Peyton Manning remains one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history having broken several of league’s most revered records as he certainly goes on to become future inductee to the Hall of Fame. There is no denying the Denver Broncos are only as good as their quarterback is said to be on game-day , and granted, there are likely to be times where Manning will have an exceptional game , but the team will end up losing the contest , but more than not , it tends to be something of a rarity with this high-caliber player

Johnny Manziel might not have been the first quarterback taken in this most recent NFL Draft, even with their being proponents of the player to be taken higher, with many believing him to be a consensus top-five pick , if not the number one overall pick. The Cleveland Browns drafted the former Texas AM quarterback and he has become an integral part of the team , while being offered a number of opportunities to show his skill-set.

For the moment, Brian Hoyer has the starting role for the Browns and with the team being in contention for the AFC North , there can be no justification to have Manzel inserted into the lineup, as the starting quarterback , in spite of the clamor for him to be on the field. Mike Pettine knows there may well come a time at some point in the season where Johnny Manziel will be called on to take the reins , but for the time being I am inclined to believe he will will continue to ride on the ” hot hand ” of his current starting quarterback.

Cleveland’s defeat of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added to the Buccaneers’ woes and has sparked the belief with the Cleveland Browns’ fans , this could be the season, where they challenge the Pittsburgh Steelers , Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals for divisional supremacy and a postseason berth. The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals will meet in a Thursday night contest at Paul Brown Stadium, in Cincinnati , Ohio,.

A case could be made where the Jacksonville Jaguars’ faith in Blake Bortles might well have been over-reaching with the belief if made a starter , the rookie quarterback could ignite this fading franchise. Hard to believe the last quarterback of note for the organization was Mark Brunell. Considering Brunell’s last game for the Jaguars was during the 2003 NFL season and that his last professional game as a quarterback came in week fourteen of the regular season schedule in 2011 , when he played for the New York Jets as a veteran forty-one year old. The fact that the Jets were on the wrong side of a demoralizing loss suffered at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, should not come as a big surprise.

Gus Bradley and his coaching staff will now seek to guide Bortles through the landmines and trappings of being a rookie quarterback , the front office sought to be the future of the franchise. A 1-8 record is not at all inspiring and though Blake Bortles cannot be blamed for the team’s mediocre statistics , yet it does beg the question , if his baptism of fire can be so bad, what are the alternatives if any for the organization to take at this juncture ?

Jacksonsville will have the Dallas Cowboys as their guests this upcoming Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, England , where the Cowboys will be hoping for Tony Romo to make his return after being sidelined in week nine due to an injury. Both teams are in need of a victory , but the signs point to a road win for the visiting team , in what is likely to turn out to be a lopsided contest.

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In the age of the quarterback , where NFL has now become systematically about the passing game and defenses being asked to slow down and actually negate that facet of the game. There is no denying the passers in today’s game are seen as the on field generals, with their salaries and contracts being among the highest offered in the league. How do you see the NFL manifesting itself in terms of how the game is perceived and the appreciation of the quarterbacks ? By all means do leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you believe relevant to this article .

o_O

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) From left to right , Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett , defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and the team’s quarterback Tony Romo. The trio arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game to be played at Wembley Stadium . AP Photo / Eric Barton …

(2) Brandon Weeden (3) of the Dallas Cowboys passes against the San Diego Chargers during a preseason game at Qualcomm Stadium on August 7, 2014 in San Diego, California. If Tony Romo is declared unfit for the Cowboys’ game against the Jaguars then Weeden is likely to get the start. Getty Images / Stephen Dunn ….

(3) Mark Sanchez (3) of the Philadelphia Eagles is seen here during a game played against the St Louis Rams . With the unavailability of starting quarterback Nick Foles , Sanchez as the backup, will now be inserted into the starting role by head coach Chip Kelly. AP Photo / Howard Jones ..

(4) Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers is congratulated by Andrew Luck (12) of the Indianapolis Colts after Pittsburgh’s 51-34 win at Heinz Field on October 26, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The duo of AFC quarterbacks put on an exhilarating display in providing the fans of the NFL with the highest scoring game of the day during week eight . Getty Images / Stephen Dunn …

(5) Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) looks to make an offensive play on the ground in a game against the Minnesota Vikings . The Redskins lost the game and pretty much any chance of making a legitimate run to win their division or gain a postseason berth. AP Photo/ Michael Parsons

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots and Peyton Manning (18) of the Denver Broncos exchange post-game salutations . Brady and the Patriots defeated the Broncos in their AFC clash , which was somewhat , a lopsided affair , ending with New England’s victory over their arch rivals. Getty Images / Andreas Matsos ..

(7) Blake Bortles left , of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns , are two of this season’s NFL rookie quarterbacks looking to gain some playing experience in the NFL this year. The Cleveland Browns are looking to make a serious push to win the AFC North, where they currently sit in a Isecond place tie with the Cincinnati Bengals , one game behind division leaders the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) . AP Photo/ Tracey Atwater …..
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tophatal 2014/11/06

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Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way …


Long walk of shame or it just happened to be that way

Another NFL weekend has almost come to a close, with only the Monday Night Football game still to be played. Nevertheless, there were some rather surprising results along the way and others , which seemed to be foregone conclusion even prior to their start. If there was said to be a major surprise in terms of the results witnessed, then the San Diego Chargers’ embarrassing and lopsided 37-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins(5-3) proved to be the most surprising of them all. Philip Rivers’ season to date has been one of the most impressive of the NFL starting quarterbacks, going into week nine.

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Rivers and his teammates may well look back on the defeat and see it was a way to jar them out their complacency, yet at the same time, I cannot help but wonder if head coach Mike McCoy and his coaching staff had his team prepared for this contest . Whatever this result might suggest, the Chargers and their fans cannot be entirely happy with the performances on the day. With a bye week in week ten , McCoy and his staff will no doubt assess the team injuries as well as the psyche of his players before they head into week eleven where they will face divisional rivals the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium, in San Diego, California. Tony Sparano and the Raiders are still seeking their first win of the season and their 0-8 record now seems a precursor of things s to come , bringing back memories of the Detroit Lions’ win-less season in 2008, where the team was simply abysmal all year long .

Oakland for its part , put up a spirited attempt to defeat the Seattle Seahawks this past Sunday in their game played at Century Link Field in Seattle , Washington. Sparano for the moment remains the interim head coach, but sooner or later,GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis will have to make the decision as to whether or not the head coach is the right man to lead this team for the remainder of the season. The longer this prolonged agony continues , the less likely the Raiders are going to see any semblance of success , much less be reinvigorated with some new-found confidence.

After their victory over the San Diego Chargers I have no doubt head coach Joe Philbinand his staff might feel this was the team’s best performance of the season so far. Though there are still eight games left to the regular season, the AFC East division remains something of a tightly contested race. The New England Patriots after their lambasting of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, New England seem to be in the driver’s seat, leading the division with a 7-2 record, where their two-game lead over the Buffalo Bills(5-3) and Dolphins might well be enough for them to take the division with some ease. Given the way the Patriots dealt with Manning and the Broncos , the momentum for Tom Brady and his teammates has now swung their way.

With only the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets (1-8) having more consecutive losses over their last eight games, it is easy to understand why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) have struggled this season . Four consecutive defeats with the latest coming at the hands of the Cleveland Browns (5-3) has to be perplexing for the Buccaneers’ fans just as much as it has to for Lovie Smith and his coaching staff. Not one player on this Buccaneers’ roster can actually justify their salary , yet alone their contract , but somehow Smith suggests he has continued faith in his players , most notably , quarterback Mike Glennon. To try and put into words how abysmal Tampa has been can easily be summed up by sniffing the odor of a canine’s fecal matter or urine and then making a comparison with the Buccaneers’ performances this season. It’s safe to say, shit and urine definitely do stink , but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now in a ” class of their own” , when it comes to stinking up the joint .

Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play host to the equally forlorn Atlanta Falcons (2-6) in a divisional race, where mediocritywithin the NFC South seems to be the norm for this season . All four teams are no better than a .500 record with the New Orleans Saints leading the way with a 4-4 mark. For Saints’ head coach Sean Payton , he knows his team has been uncharacteristic in terms of their overall play . New Orleans’ 28-10 victory over the equally lamentable Carolina Panthers and you get to understand why the NFC South has become an instantaneous joke this season.

To carry on with the comical side of the NFL this season , at what point will the New York Jets’ front office figure out that Rex Ryan , Geno Smith and Michael Vick have a great deal in common ? GM John Idzik and Ryan have formulated a recipe for disaster this season and I doubt that Julia Childs in her kitchen at the peak of her culinary guile could or would have served up such a meal for a dinner guest , let alone what the Jets have served up for their fans this season ! If Geno Smith is said to be a work in progress , then the Jets’ front office should be negotiating with the quarterback’s agents at RocNation Sports for a return of at least 90% of their money back in terms of the player’s contract.

Drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft , Smith is in the process of making Mark Sanchez’s final season with the Jets seem like a masterpiece painted by none other than Pablo Picasso . In reality though, even Picasso at his very worst, with his artistic ingenuity never made his admirers simply want to throw rocks at his work. Sanchez now commonly known for the “butt-fumble fiasco and legacy can take delight, that his successor has become a complete laughing stock around the NFL, with the print and television media and in the tri-state area now continually criticizing Geno Smith for his poor play. Decision making asides , there is now no upside to Smith as a player , let alone the fans seeing Michael Vick on the field as his immediate backup as a starting quarterback. As if to emphasize this point further , I need only point to the Jets’ 24-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs .

The clock is now ticking on Rex Ryan’s tenure with the New York Jets and as their season meanders on, there seems to be no signs the coach and his staff can actually point to any signs of progress, let alone their being confidence among the members of the roster. Dire consequences await should the New York Jets fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in week ten, when they play host to one of the AFC North’s leading divisional contenders.

A 13-10 loss by the San Francisco 49ers to the St Louis Rams might not yet have created a scene of panic, but given the fact the Rams have not been truly competitive all season long, suggests to me , the Forty Niners were complacent and are extremely overrated this season. The team have begun to rest on their laurels , and Colin Kaepernick seems to be more concerned over his tattooed adorned arms , than he is with the team’s cumbersome play and their nondescript record in the NFC West. Needless to say, the idiocy of the Niners still being capable of winning ten games, seems further adrift than ever before. Should the Forty Niners fail in their quest for the divisional title and a postseason berth , the accusing fingers will certainly be pointed at not only the players , but certainly at head coach Jim Harbaugh .

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1).

We’re number one . Oops ! Sorry , we were number one and now the repercussions of the College Football season are now being felt , as the top contenders start to make their push to be part of the final-four playoff format which will be used to determine the next national champion at the FBS Level (D1). While Misssissippi State (Bulldogs) 8-0 still hangs unto the top spot , the belief appears to be they will not be around for the final round and seen as the last man standing. The Bulldogs took care of Arkansas in a competitive match-up that could have gone the Razorbacks’ way, , had they taken advantage of the opportunities offered at the time.

For Mississippi State , if they can simply win out then , they will be part of the inaugural playoff format. Granted, with the rapid rise up the rankings of Oregon , Auburn , TCU (Horned Frogs) and Nick Saban’s rampant Alabama (Crimson Tide) laying swath to their opponents , there is a suggestion the SEC’s presence in the final standings will be overwhelming. One program not part of the discussion is the rapidly falling esteem of the Florida Gators , where Wil Muschamp’s tenure appears to be at end with AD Jeremy Foley intent on prolonging the agony of every Gators’ fan nationwide . Alumni of the program are at the point, where they are calls for an effigy to be hung from the rafters of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida , and home to some of Florida’s greatest triumphs.

To understand the Gators’ plight this season , has been very much a chance to witness what it is like to self implode , while those around you remain calm. Two consecutive losses , before a beat-down of the Georgia Bulldogs and still the victory has not been enough to quell the calls for Wil Muschamp’s dismissal .

Florida’s next scheduled game will pit them against conference rivals Vanderbilt in a contest which could a long way in either resurrecting some respectability to their season or simply prolong the agony.

Kevin Durant , ” out” , Julius Randle and Steve Nash , both on the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster out, have their fans witnessing an impromptu and below par start to the NBA season. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without their League MVP for two months of their starting schedule , but Scott Brooks as optimistic as ever is hoping the player can make an earlier return to the team’s starting lineup . The fact Sebastian Telfair now finds himself on the Thunder’s roster after a less than solid career in the NBA , has me wondering what GM Sam Presti hopes to get out of the veteran guard .

Still early stages in the season . but already , you have to wonder what to make of the Los Angeles Lakers and their poor start to their schedule . Win-less , with Byron Scott now unsure as to what his best starting lineup ought to be . An 0-4 start for the Los Angeles Lakers and the excuses have begun from the lame Lakers’ fans, who are unwilling to admit the roster has no real depth or talent beyond Kobe Bryant. If anyone thinks an aging Carlos Boozer can add to or make this roster more productive, /then clearly , they, Mitch Kupchak , Jim Buss and their forlorn fans are sadly mistaken. . Defensively, the Lakers are an unmitigated disaster and a complete mess, with their being no real sign the coaching staff or the players know when and where their first win of the season is likely to happen . Giving up on 115 points per game and you can easily understand why the Lakers are simply limping and whimpering their way to perhaps another miserable season.

Kobe Bryant will lead his teammates in their next game on Tuesday night when they face the Phoenix Suns at the Staples Center in Los Angeles , California. If the contests between these two teams are anything to go by , then we are likely to see either A a high scoring contest , with their being no emphasis on defense or just a game , error prone in just about every facet imaginable. I am not so sure the Los Angeles Lakers are capable of winning their division (Pacific Division) much less able to garner a playoff berth . A year ago today , I doubt the Los Angeles Lakers would have envisaged a season where they would fall from grace even with the franchise having suffered injuries to several players on the roster throughout much of last season.

DeMarcus Cousins remains the troubled player at the professional level, just as much as he was a wayward, but mercurial and talented player at the collegiate level , with the Kentucky Wildcats where he played for one year with the program . Drafted by the Sacramento Kings, Cousins is now seen as the face of the franchiseand its immediate and long-term future. Now with the Kings seeking to make this season a competitive year for the coaching staff of Michael Malone. If the Kings are to succeed and at this stage of the season, where they appear to be the surprise team within the NBA , playing with a great deal of tenacity. Cousins and teammate Rudy Gay will have to be at the forefront of anything being sought by way of success for the Sacramento Kings.

Currently , with a 2-1 mark seated second in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. A surprising 98-92 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers might not have made everyone sit up and take note, until you realize the Clippers were one of the more consistent performers last season having made the NBA Playoffs . The Sacramento Kings were on the outside looking in, as Chris Paul , Blake Griffin and the rest of the Clippers fell short of their goal of winning an NBA title.

A Monday night contest between the Sacramento Kings and Denver Nuggets earned the visiting team a five-point 110-105 victory at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.

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The news in the sports’ world isn’t always refreshing, where the main agenda tends to be more about the unsavory sides to sports’ journalism even when the body of the story isn’t sports’ related. Baseball brought us a stirring World Series finale with the success of the San Francisco Giants . In the NFL the schedule has just moved beyond on its halfway point , with several teams now out of the divisional and conference races. No denying, the walk of shame will be an embarrassing one , no matter how it’s spun. The NBA is now seeking to take the gloss off its NFL counterpart and the press following now being garnered as the season is still in its infancy. No doubt the Lakers’ storyline will be one that is closely followed. Flawed or not , not everyone will be satisfied with formula being initiated. Your thoughts on the manner in which teams or athletes have been performing and where you see them at the end of their respective seasons? College Football in its inaugural year, where the new playoff format comes into being .

8-)

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) Quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) of the Miami Dolphins throws during pregame workouts before his team met the San Diego Chargers at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Getty Images / Chris Trotman …

(2) Running back Lamar Miller (26) of the Miami Dolphins scores a second quarter touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during a game at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Upended on the play is tackle Ja’Wuan James(70) of the Dolphins. Getty Images/ Chris Trotman

(3) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball during the third quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images /Steve Dykes …

(4) Running back Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with his teammates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of the game against the Oakland Raiders at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. Getty Images / Steve Dykes …

(5) Tyler Murphy (3) of the Florida Gators dives over Sheldon Dawson (2) of the Georgia Bulldogs for a touchdown during the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images /Sam Greenwood …

(6) Head coach Mike Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs (L) speaks with head coach Wil Muschamp of the Florida Gators before the game at EverBank Field on November 2, 2013 in Jacksonville, Florida. Getty Images / Sam Greenwood ….

(7) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Phoenix Suns at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Oklahoma City won 103-96 . Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman ..

(8) Teammates Julius Randle left and Kobe Bryant are seen here during the official team photo taken at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo , California ,. Randle drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft . AP Photo / Mason Porter …

(9) Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins (15) is seen here looking to make an offensive play as he is being defended by the Los Angeles’ Clipper DeAndre Jordan during a game between the two teams on the 2nd November , 2014. Cousins has been one of the primary reasons Kings are off to a great start this season , albeit , that the NBA schedule is still in its infancy . AP Photo / Mark Dennis … ….

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Fallout , what fallout ?

Fallout, what fallout ?

After one of the most eventful postseasons in recent baseball history MLB has anointed their World Series’ champion for the 2014 season , with the San Francisco Giantswinning their third title in the past five seasons,defeating the Kansas City Royals . For manager Bruce Bochy , his third title and a dynasty in the making , or should we subscribe to the fact the Giants have been the best team in baseball since 2010? When it has mattered most the ball club have shown their resiliency on the road and proven themselves to be one of the greatest franchises in recent postseason history. Where the Giants stand alongside such great and dominant teams of the past will likely ignite a debate of conjecture and a great deal of bias. Baseball has changed immensely over the past three decades and undoubtedly the managerial acumen and play must be taken into account when trying to assess the achievements of the San Francisco Giants.

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Brian Sabean has proven himself to be a general manager with a great deal of acumen assembling a roster which has been competitive all season long. While the Giants may well have failed to win the NL West division , you simply cannot deny they were by far a better team than divisional champion the Los Angeles Dodgers , who once again proved that a quarter billion dollar payroll($250,000,000) counts for absolutely nothing, when there happens to be no team leadership or managerial leadership to be found within the organization. ,

The Dodgers’ front office where there has been a recent upheaval with GM Ned Colletti being given a lateral move or deemed in some circles a demotion , with Andrew Friedman being brought in the franchise’s operations where he will in fact become Head of Baseball Operations . It begs the question , what now becomes of the hierarchical order , where there now seems to be more executives than there are actual real decision-makers among the managerial staff of this team ? Also, how much latitude will now be given to Friedman, if one his main duties will be to hire a new general manager , while given the full authority in making the decisions affecting all personnel moves concerning the playing staff?

First order of business for Andrew Friedman beyond the hire of a new general manager if thought to be necessary , will be the projected lineup of the Dodgers for next season . With several players having performed poorly , a number of them highly overpaid , the feeling has to be a number of the players in questionare likely to be traded. Josh Beckett and Hanley Ramirez are two of the players I believe will be placed on the trading block along with Carl Crawford. The trio are not the only team members likely to be jettisoned, but it may well be the place to start, as Andrew Friedman looks to pare down the team’s payroll and then assess the talent within the Dodgers’ farm system for players he believes can contribute to future of the Dodgers as they seek competitiveness and consistency.

This off-season will prove to be one , where a number of general managers around the game of baseball will be seeking to make the type of deals likely to make their teams competitive. While the Kansas City Royals proved themselves competitive during the postseason , my own feeling the reasons why they came up short against the San Francisco Giants , had more to do with their lack of postseason experience among the playing staff . All of the momentum shown during the wildcard game , ALDS , ALCS and the World Series could not hide the fact Ned Yost’s acumen could not make up for the lack of playoff experience and veteran leadership needed.

Lawrence Baer and his fellow partners who make up the ownership group of the San Francisco Giants will have been entirely happy with what they have witnessed this season from their team. A series’ victory , appreciation of the Giants’ value , profits and the likely rise in attendance levels going into next season . Brian Sabean will likely make one or two moves to bolster the team’s roster heading into the upcoming season but if he can keep his core group of players intact , there is no reason to believe why the San Francisco Giants cannot be seen as a presumptive favorite to quite possibly repeat as World Series’ champion. If there are said to be any issues for the Giants in their retention of several players , it may well come down to the fact they will have to deal with the contract negotiations of team members in arbitration seeking a substantial pay raise . World Series’ MVP , Madison Bumgarner , Gregor Blanco , Sergio Romo and Pablo Sandoval , I believe should be offered deals commensurate with their talent, but given the wiles of baseball and the economic imbalances that continue within the game, it is hard to envisage how Sabean is likely to retain all of the players in question .

Larry Baer might well seek to increase the team’s payroll in 2015 , seeking to fall in line with a number of their main competitors ,but I am inclined to believe the team owner and their partners will simply follow the template set by their celebrated general manager Brian Sabean. After-all, the executive’s success can be considered the modern-day blueprint as to how to get the best out of the resources at one’s disposal. The proof has been there for all to see in the last five years .

One of the biggest disappointments of the 2014 season was the failure of the Atlanta Braves to compete within the NL East and not making the postseason . The firing of Frank Wren as the Braves’ general manager was not a great surprise but the retention of Fredi Gonzalez might well have been the biggest surprise of all , as I felt Gonzalez was negligent in his managerial duties along with his managerial staff !Hard to believe , that other than the Washington Nationals whose win of the division was made to look extremely easy , with the Nationals being the only ball-club with a record over .500 within the NL East was simply exacerbated by the mediocrity of the within.

Atlanta and the New York Mets (79-83 [.488]) shared the same final mark with their second placed finish and it begs the question how bad the play within the division much less the rest of baseball over the course of last season ? Fredi Gonzalez was extremely lucky he was retained as the Braves’ manager , but I guess team President John Scheurholz and general manager John Hart believed the manager could not be faulted for the team’s failure and poor play during 2014 . The Braves’ $112.9 million payroll was somewhat middling in comparison to many of their National League rivals and the ongoing economic imbalances which still exist.

Jason Heyward and Justin Upton are said to be two of the players the Braves are seeking to “shop around” during the off-season and the Winter Meetings of the executives , is likely generate a great deal of interest in the duo , players who are seen as being very productive at their very best . Another player likely to be seen superfluous to the Braves’ needs could be BJ Upton whose year with the team was very much understated and less than impressive. Upton the elder sibling of Justin Upton has failed to live up to his five-year $72 million contract , since being acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Tampa Bay Rays.As an avowed fan of the Atlanta Braves if there is to be a player moved by the ball-club this off-season , I would prefer to see BJ Upton moved , as I believe it would be far more preferential to keep Jason Heyward and Justin Upton , simply because there is more of an upside to their respective careers , than a faltering veteran such as BJ Upton.

If there is one thing to be said about the New York Mets , it is, that their fans continue to make excuses for the team’s failings over the past six seasons . Team owners , Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz , along with COO Jeff Wilpon have continued to show their lack of initiative and for the well-being of the franchise in spite of their financial burden having been lifted . If you consider being bailed out by a number of financial institutions meaningful , because the owners sought to hide behind their willful negligence in their handling of the team’s finances as being prudent. Then I can only imagine , there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of intelligence among the fan-base or within the inner workings of this organization ! Sandy Alderson and JP Ricciardi are still trying to figure out how to fit a square peg into a round hole, in terms of the make up of the team’s roster. Not so long ago praise was being heaped upon the shoulders of pitcher Matt Harvey , but with his falling back to earth, rather than the earlier promise being shown , the fans and media alike within the city are now throwing their weight behind their crop of young and upcoming players within their farm system .

Harvey spent the entire 2014 season on the sidelines , due to an injury and the pitching staff though passable did not do enough to ignite the team or make them competitive enough within the NL or baseball in general. The real issues with the Mets laid in the fact their offense was simply inept and downright pitiful.

Terry Collins as the manager of the New York Mets may well have been given a reprieve because of the team’s second place finish in a rather mediocre NL East division in 2014. With talks of Sandy Alderson , said to be pursuing a list of marquee free agents as well as possibly reacquiring Jose Reyes , it begs the question beyond also assessing the farm system, what else is the front office executive prepared to do to make this ball-club truly competitive? New York kicks off their regular season schedule with a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC in the Nationals’ home opener on the 6th April, 2015,.

Fool me once , shame on you , fool me twice , shame on me . A third time and I think we get the picture ! Alex Rodriguez will be allowed that privilege of doing so once again and likely the MLB hierarchy will only be too delighted in proving to be complete imbeciles, allowing the disgraced third baseman to fool the fans of the game once again . With the retirement of Derek Jeter after his two-decade career as a New York Yankees’ player. The game of baseball , specifically the Yankees’ organization are now looking to Rodriguez to pick up the pieces of a team which last season was flawed and in complete disarray. As a player , Alex Rodriguez has never provided the leadership sought on the field of play, let alone away from the field, carrying himself with any type of decorum. Instead, his persona has been one of a conceited individual , hiding behind deceit , lies and blaming others for his own misdeeds and then using his legal representatives to create the facade of his being racially targeted for his using of banned substances as prohibited by Major League Baseball (MLB). The fact that the press sought to ignore this , while Rodriguez’s own supporters and lawyers sought to use this a pretext in his now well-chronicled complaints , defending himself in his arbitration appeal of his suspension, points to his character or lack thereof and a weakened hierarchy and an all too powerful union (MLBPA) who assisted in providing the player with his legal representation.

Baseball under the leadership of Bud Selig has continued to shoot itself in the foot , in its own ass, as well as making complete fools of the fans, while trying to point what they deem to be improvements in the game. The use of modern technology to right the wrongs of umpires who either have no comprehension of the game or the fact they’re overweight , not athletic and archaic monoliths, only points to the fact baseball remains in a damn time-warp of its own choosing. While Bud Selig may well be stepping down in his role as commissioner. his successor Rob Manfred doesn’t exactly exude confidence or seems to be a prudent choice as successor of the now departed Selig. The team owners wanted an ” insider” and as usual, what they sought , they actually got.

The New York Yankees while not being part of the MLB postseason will seek to make a big splash during the off-season , looking to acquire players , while painstakingly eschewing the idea of an organization wanting to be financially prudent. New York was the first baseball franchise to exceed the $200 million barrier in terms of an annual payroll obligations, when they reached the mark for the very first time in 2008 . In the subsequent years the Yankees’ payroll has continued to increase until 2013 when the Los Angeles Dodgers overwhelmed everyone with their gargantuan and all too bloated salary commitments, far outstripping their closest rivals . Alex Rodriguez’s return to the game in 2015, will once again make him the highest paid player in baseball in terms of contract value and base salary , albeit , his almost year-long suspension , saw the player lose in excess of $23.5 million in salary . What Rodriguez is now able to offer the New York Yankees at this stage of his career will be predicated upon whether or not they and the fans believe, he is still capable of hitting of thirty-plus home runs in a season , while maintaining a batting average close to .300 or above . A tall order for a player who hasn’t reached that plateau in quite a while

This upcoming season, I believe the New York Yankees are likely to struggle , simply because at its core this will still remain an aging team , with several of the players now past their prime, with no upside to be seen. Injuries are likely to plague the roster , much as it had done in 2014 , and with their being very little suggest that any of their players at the AAA Level are yet ready to be productive at the Big League Level. It simply suggests the Yankees will revert to ways of old and simply spend their way to success , with GM Brian Cashman leading the charge .

There seems to be this apathy among fans when they try to suggest there are “classy organizations” in baseball. If that were the case , we would actually have the general managers and owners questioning the direction of the league hierarchy and the constant haranguing of baseball’s image because of the players’ misuse of banned substances. Instead , they have chose to remain all too docile, while the players themselves , specifically those are seen as face of baseball , remain all too silent. MLB now has a pathetic image , in spite of a terrific postseason and one of the best World Series in recent history. Unfortunately, those thrilling moments cannot hide the fact, the game is still plagued by steroid cheats ” , and with a union which would rather defend the rights of the players who have knowingly sought to subvert the image of baseball purely for financial gain and acclaim. The pretext offered by the likes of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro , Curt Schilling , Ryan Braun , Manny Ramirez and Roger Clemens , Mark McGwire and Alex Rodriguez , has gone a long way in creating a forlorn image and perception for baseball’s fans , while the postseason can be thrilling , one mere suggestion of cheating, simply knocks the game back on its heels , leaving the fans in great dismay. As to what comes next , we will have to wait and see what the 2015 season has to offer.

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Picture gallery .

In the aftermath of a thrilling postseason in baseball, , what do you hope to see this upcoming year from within the game ? Do you also believe MLB can escape any major controversy over the course of the season concerning the conduct of the players ?

8-)

Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) World Series MVP Madison Bumgerner of the San Francisco Giants celebrates after the team’s thrilling 3-2 victory in game seven of the World Series to clinch the Giants’ third title in the past five seasons under manager Bruce Bochy . AP Photo / Chris Elliot …

(2) Larry Baer , San Francisco Giants’ senior managing partner is seen here holding the World Series’ Trophy alongside Brian Sabean , right , after the team’s triumph in the 2014 World Series over the Kansas City Royals . Getty Images North America / Paul Mayhew …

(3) Andrew Friedman is seen here alongside Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten . Friedman, left the Tampa Bay Rays to accept the position as the Dodger’ Head of Baseball Operations where he will oversee all player personnel decisions, being directly answerable to Kasten and other senior executives within the Dodgers’ ownership group. AP Photo/ Matt Turner ….

(4) New York Mets’ manager Terry Collins may well have received a lucky reprieve after the team’s surprising second place finish in a very mediocre NL East division this past season . Division champions the Washington Nationals were the only team to finish with an above . 500 record . Yet they fell in the postseason in the NLDS without putting up much of a fight. AP Photo/ Sarah Miles ….

(5) Alex Rodriguez is seen here in the dugout alongside New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi ,left , as the two discuss team strategy. Rodriguez missed the entire 2014 season having fought to be reinstated after being given a year-long suspension for a violation of baseball’s substance abuse program , a claim which Rodriguez denied. His return to baseball is seen as a the last chance for the player to resurrect his career and a possible chance of enhancing his prospects of being a future Hall of Fame inductee . .AP Photo/Andrew Matthews …

(6) New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Giardi will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed in 2015. The team has not won a World Series title since 2009 and failed to make the postseason in 2014 , finishing a disappointing and distant second in the AL East , twelve games behind division winners the Baltimore Orioles . This season the manager and front office executive will be looking to Alex Rodriguez to provide some semblance of leadership as well leading the offense which was among the weakest in the AL , as well as MLB overall . UPI / Mark Taylor … ….
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o_O

:D

tophatal …. 2014/11/01

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Posted in Alex Rodriguez, Atlanta Braves, Baseball, http://wp.me/poxLH-9Ac, Kansas City Royals, MLB, MLB general managers, New York Yankees & New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Clash of the Titans and then, we’re left with absolute crap as the case maybe …

Clash of the Titans and then, we’re left with absolute crap as the case maybe

Well, now that we have found out the Dallas Cowboys (6-2) remain what we always knew them to be, an absolute fraud. Let’s see how their docile fans will seek to explain a home loss against the woefully inept Washington Redskins who had third-stringquarterback Colt McCoy starting for the Redskins in this inexplicable loss for the Cowboys. All this from a team, who prior to week eight had been on a six-game winning streak before their Monday Night home defeat to their divisional rivals .

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Dallas remains the leader of the NFC East, but barelyahead of their closest rivals the Philadelphia Eagles (5-2) who they will meet in weeks’ thirteen and fifteen with the first contest taking place at AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas on the 27th November , 2014. Chip Kelly’s Eagles did themselves no favors in week eight , falling to the Arizona Cardinals. This division is likely to come down to which team shows the most consistency during the final six weeks of the regular season schedule. Last season, it was the Philadelphia Eagles running away with the division, winning it with remarkable ease and on their way to the postseason . Their short and abrupt fall came in the wildcard round as they were felled by the New Orleans Saints in a 26-24 loss in a tightly contested game.

The Dallas Cowboys’ fate still remains in their own hands , or should I say in the hands of Tony Romo ? As he goes, then so does this team , in spite of the remarkable season being put together by the team’s running back De Marco Murray who appears to be on his way to breaking the franchise’s single season rushing record and possibly passing the league’s single season record for yards from scrimmage and the single season rushing mark if he can remain healthy. In week nine Dallas will play host to the Arizona Cardinals in a clash of the top two teams in the NFC , with the winner likely to be viewed as a prohibitive favorite to make the postseason .

If this is to be the year where Jason Garrett can lead the Dallas Cowboys to the postseason, then it will have been a long time coming for a coach, thrust into his position by the Cowboys’ larger than life owner , Jerry Jones , whose ego and largess knows no boundaries. As to what Jones makes of the loss to the Washington Redskins can only be assessed by the statement likely to made be made by the publicity seeking executive and franchise owner. Favorable or not , Jones will seek to put a ” positive spin ” on the result.

With the NFL season having reached the halfway mark , there is no reason to not believe the fates of John Idzik and Rex Ryan remain intertwined with the general manager of the New York Jets and the team’s head coach now on a precipice , where team owner Woody Johnson will have to make a decision about whether or not to retain both individuals. Idzik was a proponent in the drafting of Geno Smith and then promoting him to become the starting quarterback starter in his rookie season. That experiment has come to epitomize the absurdity and incompetence seen both on and off the field concerning the New York Jets this season.

John Idzik’s resume’ is quite impressive when you consider he was integral part and one of the architects who built the Seattle Seahawks’ Superbowl winning roster. He left the front office of the Seahawks to pursue the general manager vacancy with the New York Jets. I guess things haven’t worked out for either Idzik or the Jets at this juncture .

A 1-7 record and it is not difficult to understand the reasons why the Jets are in such a position, bereft of big game play-makers or leadership, without having to listen to the rather imbecilic post-game interviews which are mandatory for the head coaches. In having to listen to Rex Ryan explain away why his team lost seven straight games with neither Smith or any of his teammates being able to show any signs of competitiveness. And that lack of competitivity was on view in the Jets’ disastrous play and the team’s 43-23 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Now firmly rooted at the bottom of the AFC East this season for the New York Jets has now become a forlorn and an ongoing recipe of prolonged disaster. Self-inflicted wounds, the coaching staff and the team remain at a loss to explain their current situation with Woody Johnson yet to issue a public statement on his franchise’s misfortunes.

Rex Ryan and the New York Jets will get the chance to seek the team’s second win of the season when they travel to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Missouri, to face the Kansas City Chiefs an all AFC contest this upcoming Sunday.

Save the best until last ? Looking at the NFC South and this season ,it might just be the worst division in the entire NFL , given the play of the teams within the division . Not one team , including the NFC South division leaders the Carolina Panthers (3-4) has a winning record this season and it seems likely a sub.500 or just above .500 mark will be enough to secure the divisional crown. As to what this might suggest about the Panthers, New Orleans Saints (3-4), Atlanta Falcons (2-6) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-6) does not leave a great deal to the imagination, other than to suggest , all four teams are extremely bad .

The picture of ineptitude currently being painted in the NFC South, has been on display with the masterpiece put on canvass by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,coached by Lovie Smith , where he and his coaching staff along with GM Jason Licht have shown that they and the team are simply bereft of creativity and intellect both on and off the field of play. Smith has no idea as to who his starting quarterback ought to be from week to week . And he certainly has no idea who he can turn to , to provide leadership among his playing staff. Yet, all of the nonsensical debate by fans as to the real issues bedeviling the team and no one ever seems to talk about the role of veteran leadership. Reverence and stupidity among Buccaneers’ fans, who can and still point back to their championship winning season and the fact Jon Gruden coached the team to the victory in question. Truth be known, a blind man with the insight as to the tendencies of the Oakland Raiders could have coached the Buccaneers to the win . Yet , that seems to show the lack of real intelligence with the fan-base of the franchise and the fact they still rejoice in that year and not the very fact in its aftermath , neither Gruden or then general manager Bruce Allen sought to build for the future.

The front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , now under the guidance of the family of the late patriarch Malcom Glazer, seem non too concerned over the team’s travails and the fact the Buccaneers’ sole victory victory this season came in their week four triumph over a less than impressive Pittsburgh Steelers,who at the time ,were an injury riddled team . The Steelers since then, have taken an opposite trajectory to the Bucs and now find themselves in the thick of thingsin a very competitive AFC North division.

A home loss by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Minnesota Vikings in an overtime defeat, suggested even when putting up a gallant effort, this team is simply not good enough to deal with real adversity . I doubt things are likely to get any better for the Buccaneers in their next scheduled game when they face the Cleveland Browns (4-3) at Paul Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio,.

Give Drew Brees the tools to get the job done and he can pick apart just about any team in the NFL. With that being said, this season the New Orleans Saints have been far from being their explosive and overpowering self when meeting their opponents . If nothing else , Brees and his teammates are struggling to gain some traction within the NFC, much less the division . Sean Payton , meanwhile , remains the offense minded guru, playing to the strengths of his renowned quarterback .

The Saints still possess a reliable running game but if you can “stunt that”,then force Brees out of the pocket and hasten his decision making and he can become vulnerable, but he still possesses the mindset to carry his team when it is necessary. Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson have provided the ground game for the Saints with their receiving corps being equally adept , led by Brandin Cooks . Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston. From a defensive standpoint , this is where I believe the Saints have their Achilles’ Heel in not always being able to slow down an opponent . We are likely to see the Saints face such a dilemma, when they take on the Carolina Panthers in a Thursday night game we can only hope meet the expectations of the fans in attendance as well as the television audience watching as the events unfold at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte,North Carolina, as the week nine schedule begins.

It doesn’t seem that long ago Matt Ryan was being hailed as a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback and the face of the Atlanta Falcons’ franchise. Having signed a multi-year , multi-million dollar deal , making the player among the highest paid players in the NFL and among the highest paid quarterbacks , it has to be said Ryan has failed to deliver the goods while showing a lack of leadership for the Falcons. Now the cacophony of criticism being raised and aimed at the quarterback and head coach Mike Smith have reached unnerving proportions. Not only are there now cries for the dismissal Smith, but also for the jettisoning of Matt Ryan . I guess when the fans believe your ” number is up”, then they feel you have to go ?

Failure at all levels in terms of the Falcons’ play beyond the injury issues should not be seen as an excuse and understandably teams will tend to use such a premise . Yet the Atlanta Falcons came into this season with high hopes of winning their division and making a serious push for a postseason berth . Now this team is scrambling to save not only the season, but quite possibly not jepoardizing the future of Mike Smith and his job security. GM Thomas Dimitroff also has to be looking over his shoulder as team owner, Arthur Blank looks on at the continued mess his franchise is now engulfed in. It is pretty much safe to say, the noose is now tightening around the necks of several members of the playing staff as well as among the coaches . Blank has been known to show a great deal of patience and trust as exhibited with Michael Vick . Those days are now long gone and with a new stadium in the offing , there is no way in hell the owner wants an inept on field product with a coaching staff simply bereft of ideas. With millions of dollars at stake , this is the last scenario an NFL franchise owner would desire.

With a bye week , the Falcons can lick their wounds and prepare for their next opponent in week ten, when they look to inflict more pain pain into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ season in a divisional clash at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida, against their divisional rivals. A loss fot the Falcons and the cries are likely to get louder and angrier from the fans of the franchise.

Their careers have been intertwined for over a decade and their meetings in the NFL regular and postseason have become legendary. As future Hall of Fame players, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have reached the pinnacle of their respective careers. Brady with threeSuperbowl victories would like nothing better than to add a fourth to his already distinguised resume’ . Manning for his part is a four-time League MVP, with one Superbowl win to his name and the now infamous loss loss to the Seattle Seahawks’ in last season’s rather lopsided postseason finale . That defeat not only surprised a lot of NFL fans but certainly jolted the Denver Broncos (6-1) and their quarterback.

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet again in what is likely to be the game of the day , as these two titans of the NFL suit up for another great contest, when the New England Patriots (6-2) play host to the Denver Broncos at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough , Massachusetts,. The Patriots have shown their flaws this season as too have the Broncos and it would take a foolhardy individual to pick against either of these two dominant quarterbacks . The game itself could go a long way in telling us which of these two teams will be in the driver’s seat within the AFC , with the winner, surely being looked upon as the prohibitive favorite within the conference for the Superbowl .

As Tom Brady and Peyton Manning continue to rewrite the record books with Manning recently surpassing Brett Favre for the all-time career mark in touchdown passes , with the Patriots’ and Broncos’ quarterbacks among the active leaders with career passing touchdowns . The question now becomes which two young quarterbacks currently playing in the NFL will be the next to step up to the plate and provide the league with a player rivalry not seen in this league in a very long time ? Peyton Manning entered the NFL as the number one overall pick in the 998 NFL Draft and Tom Brady was overlooked by several teams in the first round and dropped to the sixth round before he was taken by the New England Patriots in the 2000 NFL Draft . As to what this might suggest about the front office executives , scouts and coaching staff that year, can be best left for another time and a very lengthy debate.

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Picture gallery.

A winning season clearly aids a franchise as well as their star players and it should be noted, both the Patriots and Broncos have stood firmly by habits which have served the two franchises very well. It will be very interesting to see where these two teams are , a year or two from now . I believe we are now seeing to of the greatest careers ever witnessed in the NFL over the past eighteen years and the accomplishments of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are unlikely to be surpassed, as the level of commitment and excellence is rarely seen among today’s NFL quarterbacks. Your thoughts if any, concerning the points raised within this article and anything else you believe worthy of a mention .

o_O

Picture gallery and slideshow details .
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(1) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys is sacked by Brandon Meriweather (31) of the Washington Redskins during the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. A late comeback led by the Redskins’ third string quarterback Colt McCoy gave the visiting team the victory in overtime . Getty Images / Tom Pennington. …

(2) Brandon Meriweather (31) of the Washington Redskins reacts after sacking quarterback Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images / Tom Pennington …

(3) Colt McCoy (16) of the Washington Redskins is chased from the pocket by Rolando McClain (55) of the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at AT&T Stadium on October 27, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images/ Tom Pennington …

(4) GM John Idzik of the New York Jets who has seen the team off to a 1-7 start to end the first half of the NFL season, placing the Jets at the bottom of the AFC East with only the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) and Oakland Raiders (0-7) with worst records within the conference and league. Idzik has taken the brunt of the blame for the team’s woes but the belief appears to be head coach Rex Ryan is likely to be fired at the end of the season with the general manager also , abruptly , being shown the door . AP Photo / Rachel Davis ..

(5) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints against the Green Bay Packers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 26, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images / Chris Graythen …

(6) Peyton Manning (18) and Tom Brady (12) share a few words after a game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots during week twelve of last season . The two quarterbacks have met thirteen times over the course of their respective careers in the regular and postseason . AP Photo / Lindsay Archer ….

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8-)

tophatal ….

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

Recommended reads within the blogging world : Sportschump.net , fantasyfurnace.com , The Wife Hates Sports , Bobby Gee , Blog Surface (blogsurface.com)

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I Love Myself “ ….. Kendrick Lamar

Pump it up bro !

Posted in Chip Kelly, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Cowboys & Tony Romo, Denver Broncos, Football, http://wp.me/poxLH-9zH, New England Patriots, NFC East, NFL, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Chicken soup for the soul isn’t always good for the masses ….

Chicken soup for the soul isn’t always good for the masses ….

The print and television media within the sports’ world tends to stoop lower than their counterparts within mainstream media , especially when it comes to the role of domestic politics. In recent days ESPN , the self-righteous and eponymous cable broadcast outlet continues to create the stories which they purport to be newsworthy. Nothing more can be putrid , than their prognostication of this season’s NBA standings and what can only be called a salacious diatribe of an interview between Los Angeles Lakers’ SVP Jeanie Buss and her views on the league’s recent free agents not choosing to sign with her team. In truth , the interview Colin Cowherd was simply looking to create another tidbit for his low-rated show on the ESPN’s radio network and cable outlet.

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If nothing else can be said about ESPN , it is while they represent what the network believes to be sports’ related content, their main being, is to simply push the envelope as far as possible on news’ content while cow-towing to their paymasters , the , MLB , NBA , NCAA , NFL and NHL . With billions of dollars in revenues , the sports’ broadcast outlet remains a cash cow and perhaps one of the most profitable units of the Walt Disney Company .

The broadcast outlets own reputation in recent years has come in for a great deal of criticism, with the behavior of many of their analysts, allegations of sexual harassment, in a number of cases proven to be true , leading to the firing or demotion of known personalities , yet the show must go on with ESPN.

The NBA for its part enters the final stretch of the preseason before the league begins its regular season schedule on the 28th October, 2014. The defending champions the San Antonio Spurs will seek to win their sixth title in the franchise’s history. The biggest story in the NBA beyond Jeanie Buss’ diatribe remains the ongoing ambitions of the Cleveland Cavaliers , with the acquisitions of LeBron James and Kevin Love , two of the biggest off-season acquisitions seen in the league .

James’ departure from the Miami Heat might well have the biggest surprise , but in reality , the Heat’s lack of competitiveness shown in the NBA Finals proved to be the final straw for the four-time League MVP , who was inadequately aided by his teammates in those now well chronicled Finals . Those favoring the Miami Heat clearly had no faith in the San Antonio Spurs simply based on the NBA Finals of 2013, with many of the Spurs’ critics coming from the less than reputable analysts of ESPN . I believe much of that , comes from their sipping from the cup LeBron James chooses to defecate and urinate in. With the less than knowledgeable NBA fans not too far behind with their at times idiotic , prognostication of the most recent finals.

Cavaliers’ head coach David Blatt and his coaching staff will lead a team that will be looked upon as the prohibitive favorites for the NBA title this upcoming season , with their likely challengers within the Eastern Conference coming from the New York Knicks , Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks , Brooklyn Nets and lost but not least the Miami Heat , if Erik Spolstra can get his revamped roster up and running , playing with a degree of consistency . In the West the challenge will likely come from the San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Clippers , Oklahoma City Thunder , Houston Rockets and Portland Trailblazers .

Jeanie Buss’ gripe, comes from the very fact she is unwilling to point an accusing finger at her brother Jim Buss , lead managing partner , co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, GM Mitch Kupchak and the poor job done by the duo over the past two seasons and the Lakers’ poor play during the time-frame in question . The coaching tenures of Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni were clearly coaches who simply did not fit in with the Lakers’ way of doing things. Buss’ criticisms of players while idiotic, was tepid in terms of the criticisms of Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak by former Lakers’ players Magic Johnson , James Worthy and Kareem Abdul Jabbar , players who have known considerable success with the franchise. If that wasn’t a clear sign of the missteps taken by the front office executives , then clearly the ownership group and their anal retentive and apathetically delusional fans have no real knowledge of how far the franchise’s descent has been . The failure of Dwight Howard to acclimatize himself as a player with the Lakers much less show any real signs of leadership was a clear pointer as to how self absorbed the franchise had become , without delving into the idiotic coaching process and strategies being shown by Mike D’Antoni.

The Lakers’ recent draft class though not overly impressive the team in its current guise will clearly have to follow in tow under the guidance of Kobe Bryant , the player whom Jeanie Buss seems to be placating, rather than seeking to be constructive in assessing the real issues within the franchise where she is a senior executive and co-owner. Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers will begin their schedule against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California. Last season’s series between these two franchises proved to be quite entertaining. Jeremy Lin , formerly with the Rockets in now a point guard with the Lakers and likely to be the team’s starting point guard for much of the season , with the now year-long departure of Steve Nash, who will have to undergo back surgery for a recurring and long-suffering malady.

If the Los Angeles Lakers are to fare well this season , then the likes of Nick Young , Julius Randle , Carlos Boozer , Jeremy Lin , Robert Sacre and Kobe Bryant will have to be at their very best and show a great deal more consistency than seen during last season’s schedule . Granted , Bryant was unable to contribute with his being sidelined due to an injury . For the fans and the NBA in general Kobe Bryant being the on the court is a great deal better than his being away from the spectacle of the game , even with the ever present criticism which has been associated with the player throughout much of his career.

Baseball’s World Series for this season is proving to be a thoroughly entertaining series , far more exhilarating and thrilling than than last season’s postseason spectacle between the Boston Red Sox and St Louis Cardinals . The Kansas City Royals , this season’s Cinderella Team and story are proving to be the ” real deal” as they seek to upend the San Francisco Giants and stop Bruce Bochy and his team from winning their third World Series’ title in the past five seasons.

In the era of the long ball, it is great to see two teams willing to play “small ball” , so creatively and efficiently as evidenced in last night’s game four thriller at AT&T Park in San Francisco , California , in front of a raucous and sold-out venue of rabid fans. With the series now even at two games apiece (2-2), with the Giants coming back with an emphatic game four win in defeating the Royals 11-4 , with sixteen hits in comparison to their opponent’s twelve hits with only one error committed in this game . This contest pointed to the stoutness and ability shown by these two teams and the managerial acumen of Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost . Hero of the night might well have been the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval who was the World Series’ MVP in the San Francisco Giants’ last triumph in the Fall Classic which took place in 2012.

In what will be a pivotal game five both Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants will be looking to their starting aces this Sunday evening when when James Shields of the Royals faces off against Madison Bumgarner of the Giants . Both pitchers have been heroes for their respective teams over the course of the postseason. A win for the Gaints places them in the driver’s seat , with the series then heading back to Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri for the final two games of the World Series. Should the Royals prevail , then heading home back to their home ballpark will have the players and their fans relishing the prospect of closing out the series on their way to the franchise’s second title , with the last coming in 1985.

Away from the spectacle of the World Series, baseball’s most successful franchise the New York Yankees are looking to rebuild their lineup as well saying a final goodbye to Derek Jeter who after a two-decade long career leaves the game as one of baseball’s most revered players of the last twenty years. Missing the postseason and never in contention for the AL East divisional crown .

Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman and lead managing partner , Hal Steinbrenner will now have to assess the current lineup and then seek to try and gauge whether or not this will be another year of a exceeding $200 million , without any guarantee of success as was the case this season with the team. The Yankees have not really shown any faith in their farm system over the past four years even with their being initial praise being heaped upoin the shoulders of players such as Joba Chamberlain , Phil Hughes, Austin Romin and Jesus Montero no longer with the franchise. Call it failure on the path of the front office or simply the fact Joe Girardi and his coaching staff have not really shown the managerial acumen thought, in spite of his lone triumph in the World Series of 2009 .

The talk seems to be in a number of circles , will the New York Yankees make a huge splash in the off-season by signing a major free agent or make a trade for a pitcher , big league bat or stand pat with their current lineup ? With Brian Cashman now said to be in discussion with Alex Rodriguez and his return in 2015 and the role he is likely to play for the team, leads me to believe the organization remains bereft of creativity, let alone their being a belief that a number of players waiting in the wings will be able to contribute for the ball-club this upcoming season . Alex Rodriguez , I do not believe is a player capable of leading a team and certainly no longer good enough to produce at a high level without their being doubts as to the legitimacy of his achievements . These are the things the New York Yankees are likely to encounter over the course of 2015 as the franchise enters a year of hope , while looking to make themselves be viewed as a contender for the World Series .

If last Thursday night’s game between the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos was anything to go by as the week eight opener of the NFL season . I would like to think Sunday’s games will provide a great deal more excitement than we have seen over the course of the year so far. Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning put on an exhilarating display of passing as the Broncos got the victory needed to place the team among the elite of the AFC franchises and the NFL .

Week eight of last season and the games were somewhat pedantic but yet they provided us with some insight about the players and the teams at that point of the year . On Sunday’s schedule of games, the best of the bunch might be the clash between the Arizona Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles as both teams seek to make some inroads into their divisional title challenges . Bruce Arians and the Cardinals have turned the NFC West upside down as both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks appear to be struggling . As to what this might suggest about both NFC West occupants can be predicated upon whether not you believe the Cardinals are good enough to win the division outright.

Call me naive, but I am not yet convinced I can jump on board the wagon carrying the hopes of either the Dallas Cowboys or the Detroit Lions ! Dallas has been playing great football this season with DeMarco Murray on course to shatter the league’s all-purpose yardage from scrimmage for a single season. And while Tony Romo seems to be back at his very best , can you really believe the quarterback can carry these displays seen into the postseason ? The Cowboys will entertain the woefully inept Washington Redskins in the Monday night game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Jim Caldwell and the Detroit Lions for their part have a one-game lead over the hard charging Green Bay Packers (5-2) led by Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers . The NFC North appears to be up for grabs and adds a little bit more excitement for the fans of those teams and the NFL . Caldwell and the Lions eked out a narrow one point victory over what now appears to be a soulless Atlanta Falcons’ team and it now certainly adds to the mounting speculation, whether not Mike Smith can last the remainder of the season?

As the season has progressed it has been interesting to witness the issues the New England Patriots have faced. Tom Brady appears to be not at his very best , based on own expectations. Yet at the same time , the usual offensive weaponry expected on field to bring out the best in the Patriots’ quarterback has not been there this season. Josh McDaniels for all of the belief of he is one of the most acute minded offensive coordinators in the game , simply plays second fiddle to head coach Bill Belichick and Brady, himself, when it comes to the team’s offensive play-calling and schemes.

New England took apart the Chicago Bears in a high scoring contest , thrashing the Bears 51-23 in a lopsided game. Perhaps the offensive onslaught we have come to expect from the Patriots is now back and rolling ?

If there were any doubts the New York Jets are having an abysmal season a then Sunday’s game was proof of the very fact. Rex Ryan’s days as the head coach of the team can sand should last much longer . He has the confidence of this team and anymore reasoning as professed to by Ryan , Geno Smith is still learning his position as a starting quarterback should now be put to rest, along with Smith’s career with the franchise. New York’s embarrassing 43-23 home loss to the Buffalo Bills put an end to the Jets’ hopes of a postseason berth. GM John Idzik cannot continue to allow Rex Ryan remain as the team’s head coach after this defeat, not with the fans’ anger now at an all-time high. No explanation from the head coach or the players can excuse excuse such a poor display by the Jets in this home defeat .

Where the New York Jets now go from here will be determined by what the front office feels, is now in the best interests of the franchise. Replacing Geno Smith with Michael Vick simply adds more fuel to the fire , given Vick’s lack of productivity first with the Philadelphia Eagles and now with the lowly Jets . It’s pretty much safe to suggest the New York Jets’ wounds this season have been self inflicted and one which is proving to be a complete embarrassment for the NFL franchise.

The NHL season has begun and though I have never been admirer of the game , much less the belief Gary Bettman and the NHL’s executive committee finally believe they are finally over their malaise in terms their labor disputes with the NHLPA (union) and franchise owners. Stanley Cup defending champions the Los Angeles Kings will be looking to make a successful defense of their and have begun to make that a reality . Off to a winning start the Kings under head coach Darryl Sutter and his coaching staff will seek to guide the franchise to their first Stanley Cup title since the 2012 season . Moving ahead , it will be interesting to see if the Kings can make it a third title in the last three seasons. An eighty-two game schedule tends to bring out the best and the worst in the teams as well as the players .

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Picture gallery .

What if anything, do you find the most annoying with the regard to the sports’ media market by way of the television broadcast or those within print media ? If the NBA is to have a great season which teams do you think will have to perform at their very best to make this season a great one ? As week eight in the NFL comes slowly to a close it would appear the league is no better off this season than it was at the same point last year . Finally , are you of the opinion this postseason in baseball has exceeded your own expectations and specifically the current World Series’ contests ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else believe pertinent to this article and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

:smile:

Picture gallery and slideshow details .

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(1) Jeanie Buss is seen here alongside her brother Jim Buss who along with a younger sibling are the co-owners of the Los Angeles Lakers . As a senior executive with the franchise Jeanie Buss has been extremely critical of the free agents during the off-season who chose not to sign with the Lakers , referring to them as ” losers ” . . Unfortunately , she failed to indicate the fact last season the Los Angeles failed miserably to make the NBA Playoffs. AP Photo / Michael Archer …

(2) Dwight Howard (12) is seen here with teammate James Harden (13) during an NBA game this past season. Both will be seeking to guide the Houston Rockets to a divisional title as well as a playoff berth within the Western Conference. Howard’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers was less than stellar . AP Photo / Matthew Charles …

(3) San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence scores during the sixth inning of Game 4 of baseball’s World Series against the Kansas City Royals Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, in San Francisco. AP Photo/David J. Phillip …

(4) From left, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman , Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner , Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman , and executive vice president Felix Lopez, listen as pitcher Mariano Rivera , who holds baseball’s all-time saves’ record , announces his plans to retire at the end of the 2013 season during a news conference at Steinbrenner Field Saturday , March 9, 2013 in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …

(5) Preston Brown (52) of the Buffalo Bills celebrates with teammate Marcell Dareus (99 ) after making an interception in the first quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 26, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images North America / Alex Goodlett …

(6) Quarterback Michael Vick (1) of the New York Jets looks to pass against Kyle Williams (95) of the Buffalo Bills in the first half of the game at MetLife Stadium on October 26, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Getty Images /Al Bello …

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You can’t tell me enough about what I already know .

You can’t tell me enough about what I already know .

Week seven of the NFL came and went in almost a blur and once again as in previous weeks the same level of mediocrity remains within the league . A number of the results were not too surprising with the San Francisco 49ers being on the wrong side of a lopsided result, but yet, some apathetic individuals still believe the Niners are a ten to eleven-game winning team at this stage of the season. The team has become ill-disciplined lacking in leadership but above all, the coaching staff and head coach Jim Harbaugh have lost the confidence and the connection between themselves and the players.

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Slideshow.

Though the Forty Niners were on the road in their visit Sports Authority Stadium to play the Denver Broncos in Denver , Colorado , were a complete embarrassment to the NFC West based franchise, who now find themselves behind the hard-charging Arizona Cardinals (5-1) who might just be the surprise team within the NFCthis season.

If the problems of the San Francisco 49ers are not transparent to those who doubt that they have issues , then clearly these individuals are nowhere as knowledgeable as they believe themselves to be. At 4-3 it is hard to envisage how the Forty Niners will win at least six of their remaining nine games, given the lethargy shown over their last five games (3-2), where they are currently on a one-game losing streak . With the team on a bye in week eight , their next game will not be until the 2nd November when they host divisional rivals the St Louis Rams . The game should see Colin Kaepernick and his teammates prevail , but a loss would surely put a dent in their season’s ambitions .

Dennis Allen might well have been the first coaching casualty of the NFL season it is my belief Rex Ryan is now hanging on by his fingernails as the New York Jets (1-6) have become mournfully inept and routinely inconsistent under the head coach’s tendencies during their season in 2014. Though they fought gamely against a less than impressive New England Patriots’ team in a Thursday night contest , the game can be best summed up by the lack of creativity shown by the Jets and the very fact that New England was not at its very best. If there is one thing which could also signify the Jets’ season, then it would have to be the playof Geno Smith , the team’s quarterback. Smith’s if anything in week seven, among AFC starting quarterbacks was one of the worst performing starters and when adjudged against the rest of the NFL , one could suggest the player was beyond woefully inept.

Jets’ GM John Idzik is likely to stick with Rex Ryan for the immediate future, rather than firing the beleaguered head coach. Ryan for his part has become somber and somehow unable to explain the reasons why his team has been performing so poorly. In 2013 and 2014 the New York Jets’ draft classes have been not only poor , but the players chosen have not lived up to expectations and now with the acquisition of Percy Harvin , I doubt whether or not the fortunes of this team is likely to change.

When the New York Jets host divisional rivals(AFC East) the Buffalo Bills in week eight, we are likely find out a great deal about the mindset of Rex Ryan’s players as they try to resurrect their season .

There has been little to suggest that the New York Jets were even capable of winning the AFC East and from a defensive or offensive standpoint, the team leaves a great deal to be desired . Rex Ryan’s future I now believe will be judged on a game-by-game basis , and loss to the Bills will seriously impact the decision that could be made by the front office as to his job security.

I do not believe there is or can be, a more inept division than the NFC South this season, with the play of the quartet of teams in question, being far from perfect . The Carolina Panthers (3-3), leaders> of the division have been less than impressive through the six games of their schedule . The Panthers coming off a rather embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers are not the dominant team seen in 2013 , where they won their division with consummate ease and then entered the postseason as one of the NFC’s best teams.

Rivera head coach of the Carolina Panthers has seen starting quarterback Cam Newton remain sidelined for much of the season due to a recurring injury which has led to the Panthers’ passing game to be rather indifferent .Newton’s performance in the game against the Packers was less than stellar but the real loss I believe was the organization to allow Steve Smith to leave the franchise and join the Baltimore Ravens in March of 2014 . Smith remains the Panthers’ all-time receiving yards and receptions’ leader , far surpassing his nearest rival in the category. Since joining the Ravens the veteran has simply been able to show that he can still be productive while aiding his team to very good start to their season within the AFC North .

John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens will be looking for build on their lead within the division when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati , Ohio , this upcoming Sunday. For the Bengals and Marvin Lewis this is a “must-win game” , if they are to have any real chance of making the postseason. Joe Flacco has the full complement of offensive weaponry to now make an assault another attempt at a deep playoff run. Something the franchise clearly needs this season , if it is to somehow rid itself of the less than welcomed image after their handling of the Ray Rice debacle .

Baseball’s ‘ Fall Classic now has the two final teams seeking to be this season’s World Series’ champions . Who would have guessed at the start of the season the last two teams standing would be the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants ? This has been the year where just about everything went right for the Royals after almost three decades of being in the wilderness . Opposing managers , Ned Yost of the Royals and Bruce Bochy of the Giants could very well be considered favored candidates as Managers of the Year within the AL and NL , given the success of their teams . If the postseason has taught us anything this year , it has been the divisional champions were simply paper tigers and the teams who won the AL and NL Pennants were deserving of their accolades.

When James Shields takes to the mound at Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri to face the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner , the long await for the Royals’ fans will have ended as the ball-club seeks to win their first title since 1985. I would like to think this will be series, likely to be one of the more memorable World Series’ contests of recent seasons ! Yet , I somehow get the feeling, this might be a contest or should I say a series of games , where one team is likely to perform admirably, while the other simply falls apart, because of the pressure . There can be no denying the Kansas City Royals’ postseason foray has been one of the great stories in recent MLB postseason history , as they remain unbeaten , outplaying their opponents, while not being placed under any great pressure.

As this World Series’ schedule unfolds , it will be interesting to see how the two opposing teams handle the pressure . What we already know and it is , the San Francisco Giants will be seeking to add their own piece of history to the game , seeking to win their third title in the past five seasons. Bruce Bochy has been front and center, managing the teams in question , showing the guile and managerial acumen not often seen by many of his contemporaries .

The College Football season has turned into a barnstormer and burner, with coaching reputations being torn asunder. The angst now seen and shown by fans of the Florida Gators cannot be underscored, as the team has another terrible season , with their being calls for not only the ouster of Wil Muschamp , but also his decapitation . Somehow, I wasn’t aware the ire of the fans were so wrought with anger . Needless to say, Muschamp’s tenure with the program is about to come to an abrupt end once the schedule comes to a close. There is no way AD Jeremy Foley can justify his being retained for another season , given the team’s poor showing in the SEC and their play over the course of this season .

If only to emphasize how bad the season has been for the Gators , consider their showing in their most recent game against the Mizzou (Missouri) Tigers , where just about everything one could imagine going wrong for Florida happened , as the events of game unfolded . I doubt the team has been this incompetent under a coaching Muschamp coaching staff in quite a while . Florida should consider itself considerably lucky the margin of defeat was simply twenty-nine points as the Mizzou Tigers could quite easily have scored fifty against a team, lost in its own ineptitude .

A bye-week for the Florida Gators will provide no respite as the speculation continues to grow concerning a likely successor for Wil Muschamp. Dan Mullen has let it be known , he has no interest in the position or leaving his current program the Mississippi State (Bulldogs) the number one ranked team in the country . Florida’s next scheduled game will pit them against Georgia Bulldogs (6-1) . Safe to say, a win will be utmost on the minds of the Gators’ players and the coachinfg staff , as their season and standing continues to spiral downwards.

The spiraling idiocy of the Florida State (Seminoles) and their handling of the ongoing issues concerning their Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston is a case of damage control handling by simply playing with a stick of dynamite or an unpinned hand grenade . At every juncture, the school’s handling has been a template of what not to do. AD Stan Wilcox remains indifferent and clearly out of touch with reality. Now Jimbo Fisher has suggested the latest allegations of Winston signing some 1000 pieces of memorabilia is unfounded and without foundation . The matter has been substantiated with the memorabilia company stating Winston’s signature was authentic . If the player is said to have financially profited from this exercise then clearly he has violated an NCAA edict , but it appears the head coach , Jimbo Fisher is jumping out on a limb coming to the player’s defense . Given the fact, there has been a pattern of behavior with Winston and his behavioral issue, with he and his lawyers are now willing to settle with a victim of a sexual assault and his being charged with theft from a state wide known grocery store chain , it does leave many wondering, what else can go wrong with the quarterback and that is also in light of his recent suspension.

For the Seminoles they remain unbeaten this season , but have now slipped down the rankings to number two in the nation. In their most recent game Florida State overcame a feisty Notre Dame team winning the contest 31-27 . The contest was one , which in many ways has indicated the struggles of the Seminoles this season. Jimbo Fisher’s players have become complacent albeit the coaching staff might suggest otherwise .

There is no denying Jameis Winston is an extremely talented player , but an NFL team isn’t likely to take a flier on him given his recent issues and it does not bode well for his standing for the NFL Draft of 2015 where he is likely to be seen as consensus top-ten first round pick . From my own standpoint, I believe he is likely to meet the same fate as his predecessor of Heisman winners, when Johnny Manziel slipped down the pecking order of quarterback candidates , as he was drafted by the Cleveland Browns . If anything , it was an emphatic slap in the face for the player and many of his protagonists , who felt he would be a top-five pick and the first quarterback taken in last season’s NFL Draft.

The fate of the Seminoles’ season will lay in what they are to achieve between now and the end of the regular season schedule . before the panelists go about making their decisions in the the new formatted playoff system to determine the national champions. Controversial as this may be , it still will not provide a satisfactory outcome for those who prefer the old flawed system or something widely different , with the preference still favoring programs of the major conferences , specifically those who made up the BCS system . Next up for the Seminoles will be a game on the 30th October , when they will face Louisville . From thereon-in, Florida State’s fate lays in their own hands. Are they good enough to make a successful defense of their national title ? That would be dependent upon the various views now part of the whole conversation concerning the topic.

We are now a week away before the opening night schedule of the NBA season with the defending champions the San Antonio Spurs looking to make a successful defense of the title they won with a great deal of ease “downing “ the overrated Miami Heat . With the core of their team back and their newly crowned Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard looking to make this season more emphatic than last year in which the Spurs were so dominant .

With San Antonio returning with a roster intact with a few additions , the real story in the NBA has been the departure of LeBron James from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers the franchise where James first made his name and where the legend began. The four-time League MVP will be joined also by Kevin Love in a newly revamped roster which will also have point guard Kyrie Irving also a part of the team’s lineup coached by rookie head coach David Blatt. Cleveland is now seen as the predetermined favorites within the Eastern Conference this season to make it to the NBA Finals . I believe the Cavaliers to be a very good team but I am not so sure they are actually good enough to win the conference title outright . Granted , when you have a player of LeBron James’ caliber , things are made a great deal easier , but other than Shawn Marion , Mike Miller and James Jones, there is no one else on the roster with postseason experience, without taking into account the postseason coaching experience of Blatt’s coaching staff .

The Cavaliers will begin their regular season schedule against the New York Knicks at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, on the 29th October, 2014. For LeBron it will him give a chance to renew an old rivalry against Carmelo Anthony as well as the Knicks . If their past regular season contests are anything to go by, then these two teams should put on quite a show for the fans in attendance that evening.

Gregg Popovich will lead the Spurs as they begin the defense of their title when they take on the Phoenix Suns , as the Suns seek to make a renewed attempt at resurrecting their fortunes . Suns’ head coach Jeff Hornacek and his coaching staff will use this contest as an initial gauge in their process of improving. Last season the Phoenix Suns were less than competitive within their division and the Western Conference . If Hornacek can instill the discipline he showed as a player with the Utah Jazz and he Phoenix Suns , then the Suns could be well on the way to having a meaningful season in the NBA, but I believe it will remain a work in progress for this team .

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Picture gallery .

During the past week what event do you believe highlighted as a news’ story has grabbed your attention and piqued your interest ? Also which story do you believe has been the most overblown in terms of reporting ? Chime in with your thoughts by way of a comment as you see fit .

:)

Picture and slideshow gallery.
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(1) Ned Yost(3) of the Kansas City Royals looks on during batting practice before Game One of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 21, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals would go on to lose game one 7-1 to the Giants in first of the seven-games series in the 2014 World Series . Getty Images / Elsa Martinez …

(2) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers walks in the tunnel with teammates as he prepares to face the Denver Broncos in a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19 , 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Kapernick on the Broncos would go on to losing the game to Denver 42-17 . Getty Images / Justin Edmonds …

(3) Quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) of the San Francisco 49ers is sacked in the third quarter by defensive end Malik Jackson (97) of the Denver Broncos as cornerback Bradley Roby (29) comes in at the end of the play at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 19, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Getty Images / Justin Edmonds …

(4) New York Jets’ GM John Idzik left is seen here with the team head coach Rex Ryan . The Jets are off to disastrous start to their season with a 1-6 mark , firmly rooting the team at the bottom of the AFC East without a chance of making the postseason . AP Photo / Mark Thomas ..

(5) Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk (7) scrambles out of the pocket as Florida defensive back Keanu Neal (42) moves in during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. AP Photo/John Raoux

(6) Missouri coach Gary Pinkel , left, and Florida head coach Wil Muschamp chat at midfield prior to the NCAA game between Missouri and Florida on the 18th October , 2014 ,. AP Photo / John Raoux ….

(7) Jameis Winston (5) , quarterback of Florida State is seen here on the sidelines with head coach Jimbo Fisher during a game . The embattled player is having a torrid time both on and off the field, as his reputation has taken a battering , as well as the program’s own problems with their handling of Winston’s behavioral issues . AP Photo / Carter Burris … ….

(8) Cleveland Cavaliers’ head coach David Blatt ,left , is seen here with the team’s general manager David Griffin at a formal press conference to introduce Blatt as the franchise’s new head coach . The Cavaliers embark on a new season with a revamped roster headed by their acquisitions of LeBron James , James Jones , Mike Miller and Kevin Love . Getty Images / Keith Jones .. ….

(9) Jeff Hornacek shows off his shot as he is introduced as he is introduced as the Phoenix Suns’ new head basketball coach during an NBA basketball news conference, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

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Paint me a picture of the NBA this season

Paint me a picture of the NBA this season

The NBA regular season will begin with its usual customary splash . The defending champions the San Antonio Spurs will begin their defense of their title with pretty much the same core group of players and Finals MVP and now the fourth cog in their wheel Kawhi Leonard being a focal point of the Spurs’ lineup. With head coach Gregg Popovich also returning with his full lineup of assistant coaches it should prove to be eventful in seeing how the Spurs go about in winning the franchise’s sixth NBA title. Few teams have achieved the type of success attained by this franchise over the past two decades.

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The teams have already began their ritual of preseason exhibition games , with many having new lineups. With the departure of LeBron James from the Miami Heat to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers , it has created a seismic shift within the Eastern Conference , with a number of analysts now making the Cavaliers the prohibitive favorites for this season’s NBA title. Undoubtedly, with the addition of Kevin Love to the roster , Cleveland will have to be looked upon more favorably as one of the better lineups within the conference but as to their being the best team in the NBA , is open to great deal of debate and speculation among prognosticators and supporters of the franchise.

David Blatt , the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers , while being a proven commodity , he is simply another rookie head coach within the NBA this season. Blatt will find his task a tough one albeit , he has league’s best player available to him __ LeBron James, along with a good point guard , Kryrie Irving and one of the game’s best power forwards in Kevin Love.

There is a distinct feeling, with both the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs having begun their preseason schedules , the question now becomes , what type of seasons are the two teams likely to have? Age and experience would suggest the Spurs are not likely to be complacent and it is certainly not the way Gregg Popovich is known to approach a season . Cleveland are unbeaten through their preseason schedule . The team in their most recent overcame a tough Indiana Pacers’ team looking to reassert themselves after lackluster and disappointing postseason , where they fell to the Miami Heat —- in the Eastern Conference Finals . That series told us a great deal about the Pacers, specifically how mentally and physically soft the team was said to be as seen throughout the series against the Heat.

The San Antonio Spurs having started their exhibition season with a 1-2 mark with Tim Duncan , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli playing sparingly during this preseason. Over an eighty-two game schedule, Gregg Popovich knows his players will be going through a rigorous season where fitness will of the utmost if they are to make a successful defense of their NBA title . San Antonio remains a team in its essence being able to play an uptempo game competing with the best in the league. In their most recent contest the Spurs were on the wrong side of a rather lopsided loss to the Phoenix Suns , albeit, that Popovich’s playing staff were under-manned with several players being sidelined for a number of reasons beyond the coach’s decision.

This upcoming season I expect the San Antonio Spurs to meet the challenges envisaged , that will likely come from the Los Angeles Clippers , Oklahoma City Thunder , Golden State Warriors , Portland Trailblazers and Houston Rockets . Of the aforementioned teams , I believe the Clippers , Thunder and Trailblazers are most likely to give he Spurs their toughest challenge over the course of their schedule ! With four games left on their preseason schedule , Gregg Popovich will hope to have his players in sync for their foray into the regular season , but first , a Saturday exhibition contest against their foes from the NBA Finals will be on the agenda , when they play hosts to the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center in San Antonio , Texas,.

The defending NBA champions will begin their season against the Dallas Mavericks in the first of several meetings between the two teams this season.

It has been astonishing to see the growth in Kevin Durant’s game since he entered the NBA , having been drafted by the Oklahoma City (Seattle Supersonics) . An NBA Finals’ appearance notwithstanding and the team’s demoralizing loss (4-1) to the Miami Heat has not quenched the player’s thirst for his first NBA title . Accolades asides , Durant quite possibly poses the only threat to LeBron James’ dominance of the NBA as the league’s best player . What could hamper the Thunder’s season is the loss of Kevin Durant for the first two months of the regular season , with the player being lost to the team , having suffered a broken right foot .

Scott Brooks and GM Sam Presti will now have to press forward in how the Oklahoma City Thunder will proceed without their All Star . If this team is to have any chance of succeeding this season then a great deal of responsibility will be placed upon the shoulders of Russell Westbrook , with the player likely to be asked to provide the leadership needed in the absence of his teammate.

If Westbrook can prove himself worthy of the role in leading the team it would go a long way in allaying the fears of Brooks and the coaching staff. As mercurial a player as Westbrook is known to be , he has yet to show the leadership abilities desired by the coach . However, Scott Brooks believes highly in the point guard in spite of the concerns raised by others , who believe his star something of a loose cannon. Russell Westbrook has proven to be a highly effective player in his role as a point guard. The combination of Durant and Westbrook when on court , they are one of the most productive tandems in all of basketball . It is that type of productivity which will be needed throughout the first two months of the season if the Thunder are to make some headway this season , while Kevin Durant is sidelined by his injury. Who steps up into the role to be the appropriate foil for Westbrook will be predicated on the desires of this team and the coaching strategies of the head coach.

Oklahoma will begin their regular season and opening night schedule with a game against the Portland Trailblazers on the 29th October, 2014. Contests between these two franchises have proven to be competitive and that was clearly the case last season with the Trailblazers surprising a number of analysts and fans alike with their resiliency and sense of purpose . Portland’s head coach Terry Stotts and his coaching staff know that last season’s exploits were no flash in the pan with the team coming away with a 54-28 record, good enough for a playoff berth , but their conference semi-finals’ loss to the San Antonio Spurs bore the hallmark of a team simply lacking recent postseason experience .

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are the two players who have led to the team’s ever improving play over the past two seasons . Of the teams I believe capable of making a legitimate run of winning not only their division but also with a chance gaining a playoff berth within the Western Conference this season, the Portland Trailblazers most definitely fit the bill ! This is a well-coached core group of players capable of playing at a high level on both ends of the floor .

A fifty-four win season in 2013 was definitely a sign of the Portland Trailblazers heading in the right direction. This season will be one , likely to prove to be a real test of wills for LaMarcus Aldridge , Damian Lillard , Chris Kaman , Dorell Wright , Robin Lopez , Steve Blake , Nicolas Batum and Will Barton .

The $2 billion sale price agreed to and paid by billionaire and former Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer , if anything signified how quickly the league hierarchy and owners wanted to rid themselves of Donald Sterling when the Los Angeles Clippers was purchased by Ballmer . The missteps of the NBA and sheer hypocrisy of the team owners was one of self-serving and complete embarrassment to the league. As to the apathy and idiocy of fans who tried to suggest while Sterling’s actions were inappropriate , it was not overly derogatory damaging to the NBA. Perhaps those very same idiots have not looked at the makeup of the league’s player personnel and the number of executives and members of the hierarchy who happen to be of an ethic background . The sheer incredulity and lack of action shown by David Stern and his successor Adam Silver after the repeated acts of Sterling , indicates their own naivete and willingness to show that the “old boys’ network “ is alive and well in the NBA along with its ongoing lack of real leadership and social awareness . Pragmatism and rhetoric cannot be used as an excuse for ignorance and the allowance of racial bigotry . Yet somehow , the NBA caught with their pants around their legs, with their dicks in their hands and idiots fans still cannot comprehend the magnitude of Donald Sterling’s inappropriate behavior .

Doc Rivers head coach , SVP & Head of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Clippers will be hoping , his team has an even bigger showing this season than witnessed in 2013 . Rivers has seen the growth in the Clippers , with the play of Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan , there is every belief this could be the year where the franchise makes an even bigger run in the NBA Playoffs and quite possibly to their first NBA title . Steve Ballmer for his part with an estimated $22 billion fortune has made it abundantly clear , no expense will be spared , as he seeks to bring a title to the franchise , while making the team the most competitive and star-laden in the NBA .

Ballmer’s willingness to make these bold statements, might well be his way re-imaging the franchise , while also seeking to upstage the Los Angeles Lakers whose misfortunes last season were well chronicled. As long as the Lakers are breathing as a franchise , the Los Angeles Clippers will always play second-fiddle to the city’s most beloved and renowned professional sports’ franchise. The Clippers may well struggle this season as they seek to become one of the Western Conference’s elite and more celebrated teams . The talent is certainly there , as to is the coaching , but it has been the complacency shown at the most inopportune of moments which have led to the team’s failures in recent seasons . This year Rivers will be looking to make even greater inroads in the playoffs than seen last year . The conference semi-finals’ loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder told us a great deal about the Clippers and the potential of the team during the NBA Playoffs .

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Chris Paul and his teammates will open up their regular season schedule with an opening night game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against their semi-finals’ nemesis from last season the Oklahoma City Thunder . If their previous regular season meetings are anything to go by, then the fans will be in for a great treat over the course of this season.

There is no doubt in my mind four teams in the Eastern Conference will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season ! The Miami Heat , Chicago Bulls , Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are the quartet of teams in question. Erik Spoelstra will lead a newly revamped roster into this season with team President Pat Riley eagerly looking on in anticipation . Riley’s missteps in part led to the Heat’s debacle the postseason , because of his reluctance to improve the lineup in order to assist LeBron James . As to this idiocy whereby , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade would come to James’ aid , only an idiot would actually subscribe to that notion given how poorly Bosh and Wade played during the playoffs . Sporadic and inconsistent, could best describe the play of both of these individuals during regular season , with their being little comfort in the fact Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were being handsomely rewarded for their endeavors and lack of real productivity .

I’ve no real wish to labor the issue of the Miami Heat being overrated during their regular season and the very fact , beyond LeBron James there was simply nothing about the team that would suggest they were capable of beating the San Antonio Spurs in this past season’s NBA Finals . Miami will begin its regular season sojourn knowing they are not likely to be the best team within the Eastern Conference

Derrick Rose considered to be back at full strength played his part in Team USA capturing gold at the FIBA World Cup in Barcelona, Spain. The Chicago Bulls will be hoping their All Star point guard will be able lead this team to another deep postseason run . Adding Pau Gasol gives them a veteran presence, but it must be noted Gasol is no longer the player capable of giving a team double-digit output , in terms of offense and rebounds . That much is clear after his final year with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He will provide a wily veteran’s presence for the Bulls , but in large part the team’s success will be dependent on the form of Derrick Rose. It begins and ends with the determination of the point guard and his wish to rejoin the elite players within the NBA.

The one thing you can say about the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks and it is , both franchises will find a way to hog the NBA headlines. With their payrolls being among the highest in the NBA . There remains no real signs of intelligence or life within their respective front offices. Phil Jackson is now trying to resurrect a Knicks’ franchise still looking for its first title in almost four decades. Carmelo Anthony still remains with the Knicks , but his supporting cast appears to be an ill-matched set of cogs put together without a thought for competitiveness. Add in the fact a rookie head coach, Derek Fisher has been brought in to coach this lineup and you either have a recipe for disaster or the possibility of the New York Knicks surprising a number of fans and analysts alike.

Jason Kidd’s abrupt departure from the Brooklyn Nets says a great deal about Mikhail Prokhorov and his unwillingness to accede to Kidd’s wishes to be given a greater role within the organization . The fact of the matter became the former head coach’s belief he had a right to demand and dictate the player personnel decisions was an affront to the owner and GM Billy King whose responsibility it is for such decision making . Kidd’s primary role was that of being the head coach , a job which in part, he did rather haphazardly and at times showing a great deal of unsportsmanlike conduct and lack of respect in his role .

With a new coach in tow , Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff will be asked to make this team more competitive and to achieve what Mikhail Prokhorov believes to be a realistic goal of winning an NBA title . I believe the task beyond the Nets’ reach because there is simply no real depth to the lineup even with players such as Andrei Kirilenko , Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez on the roster . The question still remains , who among the players will step up to the plate and assume the vocal role as the Nets’ leader ? Garnett is well past his sell-by-date and his productivity is not what it once was. Deron Williams when healthy, is an extremely talented player , but that is all he is and will remain, talented , never a winner . Joe Johnson over the past four seasons has simply been robbing the Nets blind , while rarely stepping up to the plate .

Brooklyn, if they are to succeed this upcoming season they will have to overcome divisional and conference adversaries Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks within the Atlantic Division and from within the Eastern Conference, usual stalwarts the Chicago Bulls , Miami Heat, Washington Wizards, Indiana Pacers and the likely resurgent Cleveland Cavaliers. The first game on the Nets’ regular season schedule will be against the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Gardens in Boston , Massachusetts,.

The NBA season itself should prove to be an exciting one , with the individual awards likely to be front and center , with Kevin Durant looking to defend his League MVP award. Elsewhere , among the rookies , Andrew Wiggins , Joel Embiid , Jabari Parker , Julius Randle , Aaron Gordon and Dante Exum will be looking to place their names on the Rookie of the Year Award . Michael Carter Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers won the award last season , where he was one of the main reasons why the Sixers had some semblance of success. Upheavals within the organization has seen Josh Harris become the managing partner , but the real problems still lies with the coaching staff and the overall makeup of the Sixers’ roster . A deliberate act or not , last season , during the later stages , it looked as Philadelphia was simply looking to “tank their season “ in order to avail themselves of a lottery pick . Unfortunately, the league hierarchy sees nothing wrong in the teams simply fraudulently taking the consumers for a ride, while selling a mediocre product to the fans and public alike being a major attraction.

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Picture gallery .

As the NBA season approaches which players are you most looking forward to seeing and which teams do you believe likely will be the main contenders for the NBA title ? Your comments as always are welcomed , appreciated and as always thank you for the continued support of this site !

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(1) LeBron James(6) of the Miami Heat is helped off the court after cramping up against the San Antonio Spurs during Game One of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 5, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images / Andy Lyons …

(2) LeBron James (6) and Dwyane Wade(3) of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann /Getty Images …

(3) Kawhi Leonard is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich court-side during a regular season game. AP Photo / Adam Shelton …

(4)LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 18: Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and new owner of the Clippers Steve Ballmer, right, address the media after Ballmer was introduced for the first time during Los Angeles Clippers Fan Festival at Staples Center on August 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images..

(5) Jason Kidd seen here court-side during a game between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York on the 27th November , 2013 . Getty Images/ Chris Powell …

(6) Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers is hoping to make an impact in his rookie season for the franchise . AP Photo / Miles Moore ..
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The Larry O’Brien Trophy

Posted in Basketball, Cleveland Cavaliers, http://wp.me/poxLH-9xk, Miami Heat & San Antonio Spurs, NBA, NBA title, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary, Sports News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The chickens can come home to roost , but it’s how you deal with the matter in the aftermath

The chickens can come home to roost , but it’s how you deal with the matter in the aftermath

As baseball’s(MLB) postseason continues , the biggest story of the playoffs continues with the astounding success of the Kansas City Royals, as they continue their swath through the AL. Five successive victories, with four extra innings’ win es along the way has pretty much summed up the play of this team , while epitomizing their season all year-long . Mike Moustakis , Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon have been the lynch pins behind the team’s ongoing success and it remains to be seen what decisions are likely to be made by managing partner and owner , David Glass and whether or not he seeks to keep this playing staff for the long-term. Team manager Ned Yost , likely to be named the AL Manager of the Year , as I believe him to be the front-runner for the award within the league. GM Dayton Moore has been one of the architects in the rebuilding of the on field personnel , which has paved the way for the Royals this season.

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Having won a decisive game three in the ALCS , Kansas City sits one game away from sweeping the Baltimore Orioles out of the postseason , while s winning the franchise’s first AL Pennant in over two decades. Game four promises to be a raucous affair , fan support likely to be vociferous with the fans in attendance at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri on Wednesday evening , 15th October ,2014. On the mound in this pivotal game will be Miguel Gonzalez of the Orioles facing the Royals’ Jason Vargas . A win for the Baltimore Orioles, means they live to fight another day and a loss , they go home with their tails hanging between their legs and with their heads bowed in shame.

If Ned Yost and his players should prevail, then they await the winners of the NLCS contest now ongoing between the St Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants . In three tight games , the Giants now have a slender 2-1 series’ lead over the Cardinals. This particular series resumes tonight with Shelby Miller of the Cardinals facing the Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong in a must-win game for the St Louis Cardinals.

After years of indifference and indecision on the part of the organization , Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays has decided to leave the franchise to accept a much more high-profiled and visible role with the Los Angeles Dodgers , where he will become a SVP & Head of Baseball Operations . In what might be viewed as either a sideways move incumbent Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti now becomes an adviser to team President Stan Kasten. Friedman will be given full sway in deciding upon a successor to Colletti , but the move is being seen in some circles, in rewarding a young executive , with a keen eye in assessing and the drafting of talent . There is no doubt Andrew Friedman will be making many of the personnel decisions for the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as handling the team’s current roster of stars, many of whom are among the highest paid players in the game .

The Los Angeles Dodgers with a record-high $241 million payroll , highest in Major League Baseball fell by the wayside for a second successive season, when they succumbed to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS . In 2013, Don Mattingly and his team fell in the NLCS in a lopsided series’ loss with the team simply performing poorly . One year on and absolutely nothing has been learned by anyone on the team , much less by the managerial staff of the Dodgers.

The loss of Andrew Friedman by the Tampa Bay Rays is likely to have an adverse effect on the franchise and given the ball-club’s hardships in recent years having to pare down payroll repeatedly , and the trading away of major stars has simply left their fans somewhat bewildered and in angst . Say nothing of which , the continued rhetoric , pragmatism and at times the downright apathy of the fans sports’ media personalities within the area with their rather asinine notion of the building of a new venue will bring about a change in the fortunes of the Tampa Bay Rays. Team owner , Stuart Sternberg has been less than forthright in how he and his partners would go about raising the financing for a new stadium to replace the now archaic Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida ., With a hardcore fan-base of an alleged 20,000 fans and the stadium barely sold out for home games , it is hard to comprehend how Sternberg , his partners and the media personalities in this market, believe this ball-club can be self-sustaining , especially in light of the fact the Rays are the beneficiaries of baseball’s luxury tax sharing revenue scheme , with it being one of the primary reasons the franchise can be profitable. Yet this is the type of sheer stupidity shown by the fans of the ball-club , suggesting and saying the Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium . Unfortunately , leading social and political dignitaries are goose-stepping behind the calls and they are all too willing to use public resources to fund such an attempt , while the city , county and state governmental agencies have their own fiscal budgetary woes .

Sports , specifically MLB and the NFL are only too willing prey on the public, much as in the same way the US Congress and this current Presidential administration has repeatedly done . It’s a shell game and the asinine sports’ fans remain too fucking dumb to see woods or the trees , seeking to only believe what they are continually force-fed .

There has been no indication as to who Andrew Friedman’s successor is likely to be , but in all probability Stuart Sternberg may not seek to promote from within but seek to find an experienced front office executive willing to take on the role of becoming the team’s new general manager. Joe Maddon has been saying all of the proper things throughout much of the season , but I cannot help but wonder with the trading away of All Star and AL Cy Young Award winning pitcher David Price, is this beginning of the end about how the Rays will continue to conduct business ? It is my belief , the most likely candidate to assume the role once held by Andrew Friedman will be Matt Silverman , as he is best suited to fill the position in question . Can he have the similar type of success of his predecessor ? That will be dependent on how he seeks to go about making what he believes are the necessary changes to make the ball club competitive .

During this off-season within baseball , there are likely to be several major shakeups within the game from a managerial and player personnel standpoint . Teams will have their pick of free agents, from starting pitchers, first basemen , powerful and productive hitters , and undoubtedly relief pitching . One of the things we do know however , payrolls will continue to escalate , as will the players’ salaries .

For the Tampa Bay Rays as they enter the 2015 season it will be interesting to see how they go about acquitting themselves on and off the field of play , which will be adjudged by what takes place within the organization as they enter a new phase in their existence.

As to the ongoing emphasis of the Rays getting a new stadium , consider the fact MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his heir-apparent Rob Manfred have seen fit not to aid franchise obtaining any broad-based support for a new ballpark. The Tampa Bay Rays while profitable, they have not got the resources or the goodwill among the public for the venue they seek, in spite of the support by the players and management. If anything , the executives have handled this episode haphazardly and rather childlike , without showing any real initiative on the matter.

Evan Longoria , long seen as the face and future of the Tampa Bay Rays , while a very good player , he has not necessarily shown the leadership qualities needed to take this ball club and place them among the elite teams within the game. Often , the only thing tend to be mentioned about the Rays , happens to be, they have great pitching , with several members of their staff often seen as among the best in the game. This season , clearly coming into their schedule , the pitching roster was looked upon as one of the best in AL and the game overall . Sadly, beyond the prevailing injuries , a lack of consistency and some rather inept offense led to the woes for the team .

This off-season , with impending free agents , there will be several members on the Rays’ roster which Matt Silverman will have to decide whether or not they are superfluous to the team’s needs . Matt Joyce , Sean Rodriguez , Drew Smyly , Desmond Jennings , Wil Myers , Jeremy Hellickson and Alex Cobb are among the players where decisions will have to be made concerning whether or they are re-signed for the 2015 season.

With the Baltimore Orioles having swept to the AL East divisional title with considerable ease . However, in light their showing during the regular season , and then in the ALDS , it has been their shocking display against the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS , have many now wondering whether or not this team was as good as advertised ? Kansas City continued their astonishing postseason sojourn sweeping the Orioles in four straight games to make their first World Series appearance in almost three decades. Ned Yost and his players celebrated in style after their 2-1 victory in game four leaving nothing to chance with an emphatic and decisive win .

Kauffmann Stadium in Kansas City , Missouri proved to be a raucous venue with the home supporters in high vocal support of their team. In what has been the improbable advance to the World Series , has now become the biggest story of the baseball season and by far the most impressive display of a team playing with gusto , of all the participants during this postseason. The Royals now await the victors of the NLCS , where the San Francisco Giants currently hold a 3-1 lead over the St Louis Cardinals in the best of seven-game series. Thoughts of an instate battle between the Kansas City Royals and St Louis Cardinals now seem remote , given the predicament the Cardinals now find themselves in , being on the brink of elimination. Should the Giants prevail in the series , then Bruce Bochy will be seeking to win his third title with the franchise in the last six seasons as their manager.

For Buck Showalter , and the Baltimore Orioles this has simply been a season of missed opportunities in spite of the divisional win. How else can you explain a situation where the AL’s (American League) second best team by way of their record, stumbled and fell so awkwardly in the postseason ? Dan Duquette the Orioles’ SVP & Head of Baseball Operations will have to assess the overall makeup of this roster, then seek to add by way of free agency and perhaps through bringing up some of the more productive players within their farm system. In what should have been a year in which the Orioles had a great chance of winning the World Series this was a team, found wanting in almost every aspect of their game during the postseason . The Orioles’ production was anemic and menial to say the very least , and it led to their demise along with some rather knuckle headed plays.

Another season of hope, felled by indecision , complacency and a lack of leadership from the team and the managerial staff of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Clayton Kershaw this postseason was a mere shadow of the all too dominant pitcher witnessed during the regular season . The same could also be said of his teammates , who were far from impressive during the playoffs, with the team falling to the St Louis Cardinals in the NLDS .

Hard to justify the io $241 million payroll , which Los Angeles Dodgers’ team President Stan Kasten believed was money well-spent this season . Somehow , after all of the big money splashes, by way of their free agent acquisitions over the past two seasons, the Dodgers have very little to show for it all , along with the ongoing apathy of their fans . Other than the Washington Nationals , whose own postseason foray ended abruptly , it was felt the Los Angeles Dodgers stood the best chance of the NL participants to win the NL Pennant this postseason. Clearly , the favoritism shown towards the Dodgers and Nationals was very much overestimated and I dare say it was simply done because the analysts and fans merely saw what they wanted to see and not what was plainly in front of their very eyes. The play overall within the game has either been average or downright mediocre. .

Where the Los Angeles Dodgers now go from here, will be dependent upon the latitude given to Andrew Friedman and those within the front office, who will now make the player personnel decisions moving forward . I do not believe many of the players now on the roster will be part of the team’s opening day lineup for their first game of the 2015 season !

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Picture gallery.

In what you have seen from the MLB Postseason , has it proven to be a major surprise ? With Andrew Friedman’s departure from the Tampa Bay Rays , can the franchise maintain its current stance while trying to be competitive within its division and the AL moving forward ? Your thoughts on this and anything else you believe relevant are more than welcomed as a response

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below.

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(1) May 30, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals interim hitting coach George Brett (left), general manager Dayton Moore (center) and head coach Ned Yost (right) talk with the media during a press conference to announce Brett as the interim hitting coach before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Yost and Moore have seen their team make change in course from 2013 to 2014 where have now reached the World Series for the first time in twenty-nine years. Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports …

(2) Alcides Escobar (2) of the Kansas City Royals scores on Eric Hosmer (35) of the Kansas City Royals grounder into fielder’s choice to first base against Miguel Gonzalez (50) of the Baltimore Orioles in the first inning to score Alcides Escobar(2) and Norichika Aoki(23) during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Ed Zurga …

(3) Andrew Friedman , general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. The front office executive has accepted a senior executive Angeles Dodgers , much to the surprise of several baseball analysts and executives within the game . AP Photo / Chris Marshall … (4) Joe Maddon manager of the Tampa Bay Rays is seen here withdrawing pitcher Drew Smyly from a regular season game . The Rays failed miserably in 2014 , with the ball-club having expectations of
making
the postseason , which they would ultimately fail to do . AP Photo / Mark Barron …

(5) From left to right , Matt Silverman , Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg of the Tampa Bay Rays . Friedman’s departure may well leave a void within the organization but is felt in some circles , Silverman is the right choice to succeed Andrew Friedman as the team’s general manager . Tyler Paul / Getty Images …

(6) Ned Colletti , left , is seen here with team President Stan Kasten . Over two years the Los Angeles Dodgers have spent over $485 million in payroll, with the team having little to show for their two years of missed opportunities. Getty Images/ Paul Thompson …

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It’s not over ’til it’s over or is it ?

It’s not over ’til it’s over or is it ?

Well, week six in the NFL gave the fans a reason to believe this league has indeed decidedly taken a turn for the worse in terms of the play of the teams. Dire consequences were seen in the losses suffered by the New York Giants, New York Jets , Miami Dolphins , Jacksonville Jaguars , Tampa Bay Buccaneers , Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers . As to what this might suggest about these teams can be best judged by their respective records within their division, conference and league.

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As troubling as these results are said to be, other than the firing of Dennis Allen, formerly of the Oakland Raiders , there has yet to be second dismissal of an NFL head coach this season.The Raiders remain win-less and it is hard to imagine where their first victory is likely to come from , given the continually poor play of the team . A narrow three-point loss to divisional rivals the San Diego Chargers dampened the hopes of Oakland getting off the and so now we have a situation, where, there once again seems to be, lack of leadership on the roster and coaching acumen from the coaching staff led by interim head coach Tony Sparano .

In week seven the Raiders will face a tough test when they take on their former quarterback Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals in a home game at the Oakland Alameda County Stadium (O Coliseum) in Oakland, California . If Oakland are to save their season much less redeem themselves, then a win is of the utmost priority for Tony Sparano and his team. This is not a game, which the Cardinals are likely to take lightly, even if they are seen to be the prohibitive favorites among NFL analysts and fans alike. I would dare say, the odds-makers in Las Vegas are licking their lips , savoring what they seem to be the outcome of a game that on paper would </aappear to be lopsided and favoring the visiting team.

I’ll say this for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , they are increasingly finding new ways to embarrass themselves as players, their fans and the franchise as a whole. Lovie Smith has inherited a mess , but it now appears , he and his coaching staff are now piling on even more ineptitude with each passing week. A week four victory over the injury riddled Pittsburgh Steelers has been the sole bright spot for the, team but it should be noted the win was then followed by two consecutive losses, with the Buccaneers being outscored 85-48 in those defeats. Sunday’s loss was as embarrassing as the score suggests (48-17) , with fans at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida already leaving the venue before the beginning of the second half of the game , in their totally lopsided defeat, suffered at the hands of Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens</a>.

<a href=”http://pro-football-reference.com/players/McCoJo01.htm”> Josh McCown has not fared all that well as a starter this season and with the insertion of Mike Glennon into the lineup, things have gone from bad to worse , with absolutely no one on the team showing any signs of life. So much for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being seen as a likely challenger within the NFC South this season. About the only thing the Buccaneers might be on the road to challenging, has to be , who is actually the worst team in the NFL , not just by record but also in terms of sheer incompetence ?

There are several players on this current Buccaneers’ roster who are overpaid and not worth the salaries being paid out . GM Jason Licht may well have some serious decisions to make by the trade deadline and at the end of the season. In the short-term the team can be thankful , week seven is a bye-week , where they can lick their wounds and recuperate before proceeding to take on their next opponent the Minnesota Vikingsin week eight, a home game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III are two players who are likely to becomean enigma for Washington Redskins’ head coach Jay Gruden as he seeks to coach and guide the team this season. With the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles now locked in a tight divisional race within the NFC East , I can only surmise the Redskins’ chances have all but disappeared , likewise also, for the New York Giants.

Daniel ‘Dan’ Snyder may well be one of the wealthiest owners in the NFL , but the acumen now being shown within the front office of the organization he owns, can be best described as imbecilic and impetuous. Redskins’ GM Bruce Allen and his decision making has to be a cause of real concern, beyond the all too obvious inexperience of Jay Gruden as an NFL head coach. The Washington Redskins (1-5) are now firmly rooted at the bottom of the division and coming off their 30-20 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the question has become , where does the team now go from here ? Up or down ? Taking their their play, I am inclined to believe the worst is yet to come !

Fedex Field, in Landover , Maryland, scene to some of the Washington Redskins’ greatest regular season triumphs will seek to add to that famed legacy when the team plays host to the Tennessee Titans this upcoming Sunday,19th October , 2014. With a great deal at stake , both teams will be seeking a much-needed victory. The contest could go either way but a great deal will be predicated upon the resolve shown by the opposing quarterbacks, likely to be Kirk Cousins and a fully recuperated Jake Locker , or whose backups on the Titans’ depth chart are Charlie Whitehurst and Zack Mettenberger.

Last season , Eli Manning made the statement , he believed , he remains one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. Granted, as a two-time winning Superbowl quarterback he has every right to believe it to be the case, Yet, his statistics do not bear that out in 2013 or this season as we enter week seven of the NFL schedule . The New York Giants (3-3) are laboring under a great of pressure and with the loss of wide receiver Victor Cruz the team’s issues are now further exacerbated by his season ending injury.

Tom Coughlin head coach of the Giants’ most recent Superbowl successes is likely to be under the microscope over the remainder of the season. The front office are acutely aware of the team’s issues and the likelihood the head coach could be fired , there is a thought GM Jerry Reese could make the decision to fire the head coach. Coughlin appears to have lost the confidence of the team beyond the fact of the team’s injury woes and lack of consistency shown this season, borne out by the Giants’ 3-3 record . What may well push the front office to take some action could be the lack of determination shown when the New York Giants lost their week six contest , a 27-0 blowout loss to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles . The game itself, was simply horrendous to watch from the standpoint of being a Giants’ fan as the team could do nothing right from the first snap of the ball until the final whistle was blown to end the match-up in the fourth quarter.

Eli Manning’s own future with the New York Giants could come into question, as there seems to be a belief the player lacks the drive and determination to lead this team. He has to my mind, simply rested on his laurels, because of the two Superbowl victories, rather than seeking to improve his play and set future goals and priorities . Not due to become a free agent until 2016 , Manning could become a sought after commodity should the Giants not seek to re-sign the player, but it appears highly unlikely he will be cut by the franchise, with the team having few alternatives as a backup to Eli Manning. The Giants will be the guests of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, in a divisional contest where the Cowboys will be seeking to increase their lead within the NFC East over their divisional rivals.

In the contest, it will be interesting to see whether or not Cowboys’ running back DeMarco Murray can make it seven straight games of rushing for 100 yards or more , something achieved only by Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown when he ran for seven consecutive games of over one hundred yards in