Stupid is as stupid does and no one does it better than the NFL now , with the exception of the Federal Government …

Stupid is as stupid does and no one does it better than the NFL now, with the exception of the Federal Government …

Take nothing away from the incompetency of the NFL but Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice ” affair” and the actions of the Baltimore Ravens’ front office has left a great deal to be desired , along with the lack of a response from the hierarchy of the NFLPA and many of their most senior members . It seems rather idiotic, certain team owners are coming to defense of the NFL Commissioner , one of whom is Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones , who finds himself as a defendant n a civil suit, in a complaint filed by a female, who claims she was sexually harassed by the high-profiled publicity seeking owner. Jones and his legal representatives deny the claims of the plaintiff, dismissing them as nothing more than a nuisance suit and annoyance from someone seeking monetary compensation in a frivolous claim. Of late, there have been far too many negative stories encapsulating the NFL concerning the misdeeds of players , league executives and owners. Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay in a plea deal with State Attorney General’s Office in Carmel , California, had his DUI case pled down to a misdemeanor , with his serving no jail time, simply paying a fine and accepting to do community service.

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The San Francisco Forty Niners are now having to deal with the negative publicity surrounding defensive player Ray McDonald , his attacking his pregnant fiancee’, and punching her in the face and head. McDonald has admitted his guilt, hitting his fiancée and with the case now under investigation, it seems staggering that Niners’ CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke believe that the legal path of the issue has precedence over many punishment the franchise might deem appropriate in leveling against the player. The public outcry against the Forty Niners has been widespread, with the print and television media pointing to the hypocrisy of the statements made by Baalke , York and head coach Jim Harbaugh concerning the matter. Needless to say, other than the few curt words by McDonald, it has been left to his legal representatives to plead the case for their client.

Over the past eighteen months Roger Goodell’s decisions have become as equally baffling, as has his tenure since succeeding Paul Tagliabue as the NFL Commissioner. Needless to say, the calls for his being asked to step down have been growing but he has the clear support of many of the NFL’s most high-profiled owners including Jerry Jones, Robert Kraft , Steve Bisciotti , Woody Johnson , Daniel Snyder , Steve Ross , Dean Spanos and Pat Bowlen . I can only surmise the owners feel Goodell in spite of his mistakes can and will learn something from this episode while seeking to be more communicative and providing more leadership as the league’s highest-ranking executive. Based on his current and past record , I do not believe we are likely to see a vast improvement in how the commissioner handles such issues and that includes the NFL’s ongoing legal issues with current and older veterans and the issue of head trauma cases and their continued action of seeking legal recourse.

The league and Players’ Union (NFLPA) behind a closed door deal with the plaintiffs’ attorneys , were not only audacious, but smacked of greed, with many of the plaintiffs not being made aware of the negotiations at the time when the case was being litigated in the US Federal Court . Yet, at the end of it all, there was Goodell suggesting the case and the settlement in question was a just one. Thankfully, a US Appellate Court Judge threw out the settlement , issuing a statement that the final compensation figure was in fact far too low , asking that the league furnish him with more details as to their financial records and detailing an in-depth breakdown of how the NFL’s revenues are derived .

As the Roger Goodell tries to explain his latest pratfall, with the league hierarchy rallying behind to show their support for the beleaguered league executive, one has to ask how much more can the NFL actually handle before Goodell’s own position comes under scrutiny? Another catastrophe on such a scale and quite possibly not only will the owners be questioning the commissioner’s stewardship but also many of the NFL’s corporate endorsers but also their broadcast partners as well. There may well the analogy of there being no such thing as bad publicity , but bear in mind , the league now has almost broad base of female supporters who are now showing their disgust and disdain in Roger Goodell’s handling of the Ray Rice affair , without the idiocy of the various league spokespersons suggesting the NFL does not condone domestic violence.

Repeatedly, over the last several years a litany of players have fallen afoul of the law concerning domestic abuse , with many being merely given a slap on the wrist by the league hierarchy or the justice system itself , has been an abject failure in treating such crimes , by meting out a fitting sentence for the defendants concerned , thereby leaving the victims to feel the system has further let them down and having not given them any legal recourse. It should be noted, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has remained remarkably silent on this issue of domestic violence, but has maintained , where he feels his members are being railroaded by the league , they will be rigorously defended. Somehow , I do not believe Smith fully comprehends the gravity of the situation and the outrage there happens to be concerning a social plague among his members, in terms of their behavior , of which the fans themselves are also showing their apathy concerning this matter. Then again, it seems to be nothing new and simply the norm when it comes such an issue , as it may well take the murder of a female victim , before the matter is actually taken seriously by the league , union or then fans .

Week one in the NFL did not really tell us a great deal , but I do believe there was an indication that the NFC East still remains highly overrated , and the results were clearly there for all to see . The Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants opened their season with inexplicable losses , with Tony Romo leading the way for the Cowboys with another mediocre performance in Dallas’ 28-17 home loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback’s NFC East counterpart with the New York Giants, Eli Manning did not fare much better in his team’s mauling at the hands of the Detroit Lions , succumbing the NFC North based franchise losing 35-14 . Jay Gruden’s inauspicious start as head coach of the Washington Redskins , was signaled in with a <a href=http://pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201409070htm#pbp_data::none> mediocre performance in his team’s loss , a 17-6 defeat to the Houston Texans. If this is a sign of things to come this season within the division, then fans of the teams in question will be in for a dire year. It may well be too early a call, but Robert Griffin III in spite of his performance for the Redskins was far from inspiring in terms of his leadership in the team’s loss to the Texans, but yet he remains Washington’s best chance of winning when a game is said to be on the line. Kirk Cousins may well be waiting in the wings but in this contest , Gruden’s and the team’s woes were typified by a secondary which was extraordinarily inept in just about every facet of the game .

I was never impressed with the NFC East even with the praise being heaped on the teams and the belief that Nick Foles , Robert Griffin III, Tony Romo and Eli Manning being thought as being among the elite of the league’s quarterbacks . Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and nothing as of yet suggests to me either of the quartet can be considered among the league’s best at the position. Manning has not been able to reproduce the form which guided the Giants to two Superbowl victories, in six years . Tony Romo as we all know, his postseason forays have not been a thing of beauty and his excuses for those poor performances are beginning to wear thin. Nick Foles was able catch everyone by surprise last season , but head coach Chip Kelly has yet to learn his defense has to be able to contribute to his team’s victories. The same can be said of the Washington Redskins and it remains to be seen whether or not Jay Gruden and his coaching staff can get the team to perform more stoutly on defense, but also be more competitive on offense.

Bill Belichick, forever the head coach everyone loves to hate and with just cause, cannot exorcise the demons of his egotistical behavior. It is either his way or the highway, even when failing to admit he might be in the wrong. A monumental mistake in allowing the departure of Wes Welker , caused some uproar among the fans , angered his franchise quarterback Tom Brady , but it has been his failure draft players who have been productive on the team’s defense over the past five seasons which has led to the Patriots’ failings in the postseason during the time-span in question. As if to start the year off with even more drama, Bill Belichick made the decision to trade Pro Bowl offensive guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to the start of the season . Again drawing the ire of Tom Brady, but with GM Nick Caserio and Belichick stating Mankins’ reluctance to take a pay cut was the primary reason for the team’s decision to make the trade . In 2013 , Brady made available an additional $12 million to the franchise to assist in keeping Wes Welker , only for the head coach and general manager to bungle the entire negotiation process , which saw Welker sign with the Denver Broncos , adding another lethal weapon to Peyton Manning’s arsenal for the season. . It begs the question, if Brady’s largesse was not good enough to broker a deal , then how was it this time around, they could fail so miserably in not being able to persuade the lineman to stay, knowing full well what he meant to the organization by way of his leadership and productivity ? The excuses proffered up, comes across as lame and without merit.

New England began its season with an away game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami , Florida. It was seen as very much as an easy win , if the team simply played at a competent level . It was definitely not the case, with Tom Brady being outshone by the opposing quarterback on the day , as Miami were allowed to stroll through this contest barely breaking sweat. The Patriots’ woes , once again was the secondary , with the offense itself, being equally abysmal . Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins played like a Pro Bowl caliber player ,while Brady was languid , seemingly disinterested in the outcome of the game.

This 33-20 loss by the New England Patriots was pretty much systematic and endemic of what this staff has been about , with Bill Belichick showing very little passion, Complacency sets in , with their being little signs of urgency from a number of the players on the team. Darelle Revis is proving at this stage of his career, his best years have passed him by and Rob Gronkowski is far from being game fit, much less being at his very best in spite of his claims.

In week two the New England Patriots will be the guests of the Minnesota Vikings(1-0) as the visiting team hopes to get back to winning ways. Minnesota for its part will be looking to prove their week one result was no mere fluke and finally the team might have a starting quarterback capable of actually getting the job done after the .inconsistency shown by the often injured and under-achieving Christian Ponder. Matt Cassel may well have the starting quarterback position , but he has become a journeyman and it will be only matter of time before Mike Zimmer makes the decision to insert Teddy Bridgewater in the starting role . Cassel has yet to show the level of consistency needed to make the Vikings a credible challenger within the NFC North , let alone within the NFC .

The Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints put on an exhibition this past Sunday that may well have had fans excited as the two NFC South teams went about trying to blow each other out of the water . Now while the NFL might believe this was the type of game the fans love to see, what was clearly apparent, was the fact, both teams were simply mediocre in terms of their respective defenses . With over one thousand yards of offense amassed during the game both defenses were simply nondescript if not mediocre throughout the entire contest.

Drew Brees and Matt Ryan in recent years may well have been two of the better quarterbacks in the NFL and their prowess while unquestioned to a degree , yet it begs the question , if the two players are going to be asked to air the ball the majority of the time of the time for the Saints and Falcons it is likely to lead to the teams having to play a great deal more cautiously in terms of the pass offense , because any mistake by the quarterbacks could prove to be costly . With Sean Payton and Mike Smith looking to take the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons to the postseason this upcoming year , the NFC South is likely to become one of the more competitive divisions within the the league this season.

In week two the New Orleans Saints will take their show on the road to face the Cleveland Browns , while the Atlanta Falcons will also be in the state of Ohio to meet the Browns’ instate , divisional and AFC rivals the Cincinnati Bengals in what is likely to be two of the day’s more intriguing games .

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Picture gallery.

In light of the issues now providing major problems for the NFL in terms of the commissioner’s haphazard handling of the Ray Rice affair , do you feel that Roger Goodell should step down from his current position and hand in his resignation to the league hierarchy ? Or you of the opinion his judgment at the time concerning the matter and the punishment rendered initially was correct? Also if there is any action to be taken against Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers with the player having admitted his actions publicly , then what do you feel ought to be the appropriate action to be taken by the league? Your thoughts on this and anything else you feel relevant to the subject matter is welcomed.

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Picture and slideshow details.

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(1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who is now facing mounting criticism to re-sign after the league’s poor handling of the Ray Rice affair. The Baltimore Ravens’ running back has since been banned indefinitely by the league , with Goodell suggesting there is a a possibility for the player to return to the NFL at some point in the future . To further compound the statement the commissioner went on to suggest that the league office was not in possession of the taped incident showing Rice assaulting his then fiancee’ Jenay Parker , whom he has since married . The tape in question was sent to the NFL by an unnamed source thought to be a member of law enforcement in Las Vegas , Nevada. However, it has been noted that the source had an in-depth conversation with a league employee who had seen the tape upon its arrival . The original airing of the incident was aired by entertainment news’ website TMZ.com . AP Photo/ Mick Charles …

(2) Indianapolis Colts’ team owner Jim Iray who recently ran afoul of the law for a DUI and the possession of a controlled substance This was not Irsay’s first legal entanglement for such an infraction and it has been repeated pattern of behavior with the team owner . Irsay has seen been suspended by the league with a six-game ban and $500,000 fine , with a warning of any further misdeed on his part will be met with a much sterner punishment and possible sanctions . Getty Images/ Chris Russell …

(3) Jerry Jones , owner of the Dallas Cowboys is seen here with his son , Stephen Jones , a senior front office executive with the franchise . The elder patriarch , a long time supporter of Roger Goodell now finds himself entangled in a rather unsavory legal wrangle where an exotic dancer is claiming sexual harassment by the team owner . The plaintiff is seeking a legal and financial recourse from Jones for his alleged actions which he and his legal representatives denied ever took place. AP Photo/ Paul Bishop

(4) From left to right San Francisco 49ers’ CEO Jed Yorke , team head coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke . The three individuals are now having to deal with issues of Ray McDonald and his actions in having attacked and beaten his pregnant fiancee’. The franchise believes the matter can be best dealt with by law enforcement before any action can be taken by the organization . McDonald has admitted his actions in an interview with the local press but it is not known what his plea might be when and there is said to be any legal action taken against the player. Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle ….

(5) DeMaurice Smith , executive director of the NFL Players Association, talks with the media after negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke down without an agreement on Friday, March 11, 2011 in Washington. Smith has remained somewhat passive when it comes to the issue of player misconduct concerning the players within the NFL and it has only been in light of the indefinite suspension of Ray Rice where has chosen to speak out publicly on the matter . AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(6) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots hands off to teammate Stevan Ridley (22) in the first quarter during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 7, 2014 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 33-20 in the contest. Getty Images North America / Mike Ehrmann …

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Is she (September Carrino) making you feel giddy all over ?

All in a good day’s work, September Carrino shows off some of her great attributes .

Just dip it low and let it go.


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Saying goodbye to an icon ……

Saying goodbye to an icon …

Well, as baseball continues to wind down its regular season schedule and play the biggest stories at the start of the season and still ongoing remains the winding down of Derek Jeters’ career with the New York Yankees . Jeter and his teammates have put up a solid front ,but it now appears he and the team are likely to miss the postseason for the first time since 2011, having not been part of baseball’s postseason fare in either 2012 or 2013.

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Though Joe Girardi and his managerial staff have guided the team to a respectable placing within the AL East , a second place finish to the likely divisional winners the Baltimore Orioles will be considered a major disappointment , as too will their failure to gain an AL wildcard berth where the team remains 4 ½ games out of the wildcard spot and where Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners are the two leading candidates. With twenty-one games yet to be played in the schedule before the end of the season, it will be interesting to see what the New York Yankees are capable of achieving between now and the culmination of the year. Inconsistencies all round, have been one of the things to plague this New York team along with a string of injuries throughout the season. It should also be noted the pitching staff have failed to live up to the preconceived notions many might well have had, in spite of the impressive debut of Masahiro Tanaka , their Japanese import signed to a major deal at the behest of Hank Steinbrenner . All well and good, until you realize , Steinbrenner’s alleged intent was to have the team’s payroll for this year to be considerably lower than the $200 million , for which Yankees now have the second highest payroll in all of baseball behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and their near $250 million in salary commitments.

Coming off a three-game series’ loss (2-1) to the Kansas City Royals the New York Yankees will now take on their perennial rivals the Tampa Bay Rays in a three game series to be played at Yankees Stadium in New York City , New York , beginning Tuesday , 9th September with the final game of the series on Thursday , 11th September.

Derek Jeter , continually the vocal leader of the New York Yankees, ever since he was made the captain of the team, for this season he has been his resolute self with his all-round play. To define the shortstop’s career , is hard to put into words , a five-time World Series’ champion , multiple All Star, Gold Glove winner , AL Rookie of the Year , but never a winner of the AL MVP. Try figuring that one out in terms of the decisions made about on the scale of the recipients of the award and the reasoning why he has never won the most recognized regular season award bestowed upon a player. I can only surmise the voters from the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) failed to recognize the name of Jeter on the ballot or they chose not to vote for the player for some reason ! Derek Jeter may not be leading the team in hits or batting average or runs batted in , but he has the respect of his teammates, managerial staff but more so the organization and what he has meant to the Yankees’ history and legacy.

Whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury will be seen as the heir-apparent to Derek Jeter in providing the New York Yankees with the type of leadership sought, but Ellsbury has provided the Yankees with the type of performances and play expected of the former Boston Red Sox player. The only question one might have concerning one of the Yankee’ high-priced free agent acquisitions , will be his resilience and health issues , in not being able to remain injury-free all season long during his career. If Ellsbury can continue to show the style of play exhibited this season, then the New York Yankees are likely to have some success in the future. For now, their season will be one, where they will have to play at a consistently high level while seeking end on a high note. With Alex Rodriguez not returning to the New York Yankees until the 2015 season , Brian Cashman might have to think long and hard about the future makeup of the roster .

The 1992 MLB Draft was quite lucky for the New York Yankees and the successes down the years in terms of the development of Andy Pettite, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada guaranteed a great deal of the success during the mid to late nineties , when the franchise had unprecedented success in terms of their AL East divisional titles , AL pennant successes , World Series’ appearance , with four championship titles coming during the reign of Joe Torre as the Yankees’ manager. .

Jeter’s retirement , with this being his last season of a two decade long career , when, he made his debut for the ball-club during the 1995 season, with his first game being against the Seattle Mariners in an 8-7 loss in the contest on 29th May , 1995 played at the Kingdome in Seattle, Washington . Jeter can consider the events there, placed him on the path in becoming one of the New York Yankees’ greatest players , where his lists of accomplishments now place him among the pantheons of the game as well as one of the most respected players in Yankees’ history.

It is hard not to be extremely critical of the Houston Astros as a baseball franchise and their record over the past four years . It has left great deal to be desired , while team owner , Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow remain in complete denial about the lack of competitiveness of the team as well their financial predicament . The firing of Bo Porter was of no great surprise, but this asinine belief that their young players would lift them out of their continued doldrums, can only be put down to the lack of insight shown by the protagonists of this baseball club and the incompetence shown by Porter and his managerial staff during his tenure .

Of late the Astros might be showing some resilience having gone 7-3 in their last ten games among the best in the Majors , but consider the fact they are 24 ½ games out of first place within the AL West and 15 ½ games out of the wildcard berth simply, is an indicator about how bad this team just happens to be. Houston’s recent defeat of the Oakland A’s at O Coliseum in Oakland , California ,on Sunday, would have provided a boost for the Astros and interim manager Tom Lawless , as he has been given the task of managing the team until the end of the season.

The Houston Astros will now go on the road to face the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field , where Robinson Cano will be further looking to enhance his status as a legitimate AL MVP candidate for this season , while the Mariners look to guarantee themselves a wildcard berth for the postseason . A three-game series between the two teams will begin as of Monday afternoon . The first game of the series, will pit Brad Peacock of the Astros against Felix Hernandez of the Mariners in what is likely to be to a very good pitchers’ duel. Houston will need to be at their very best over the remainder of their schedule simply to avoid another one-hundred loss season as their fans have been accustomed to, in three of the last four years .

As great a manager as Ron Washington has been for the Texas Rangers and the dour year for the team , his personal resignation, having come as a shock to the organization and fans of this franchise. Washington has not given a detailed pubic reason behind his abrupt resignation, other than to say it is for personal reasons. GM Jon Daniels reluctantly accepted the manager’s decision and thanked him for his contributions to the baseball franchise during his tenure.

However , in light of Ron Washington’s personal demons and his well-chronicled battle with regard to substance abuse and addiction to cocaine , one could speculate the manager has fallen back into a cycle of substance abuse, even after previously taking a leave of absence from the baseball franchise for a stint in rehab. Baseball’s hierarchy , somehow believe there is a need for mandatory drug testing of the players for banned substances , but they have failed to make their managers and coaching staffs of the teams part of the collective bargaining agreement that covers the players through the deal reached with the MLBPA . One has to ask why neither Bud Selig or his recently named successor Rob Manfred did not feel that the managers within baseball should be covered by such an edict ?Clearly , a case where the league hierarchy believe the managers can do no wrong, but the players have to be held to a much higher standard in terms of a code of conduct . That would not be so comical, given, Selig and the owners’ systemic failings in dealing with the now decade-plus era of steroid cheats and baseball’s lack of understanding and acting with some voracity in going after the players in question.

There may well be a great deal of respect for Rob Manfred and his deftness in dealing with the labor issues within baseball , but in terms of his being seen as a “new broom” called in to clean house , there is likely to be the still idiotic pratfalls seen with Manfred’s predecessor Bud Selig, as the incoming commissioner has been as Selig’s side for several years.

Out of the divisional race within the AL West and no hope of gaining a wildcard berth , all that is left for the Texas Rangers this season is nothing more than respectability and a sense of urgency. Having the worst record within the game of baseball , simply gives us all an indication to how bad this season has been for the Rangers without Ron Washington’s resignation being added to the storyline for this dire year . Texas’ quest is now to give their fans something to believe in , while leaving the ownership to make a decision in which direction their managerial search will now take in terms of finding successor for Ron Washington. Tim Bogar has been given the job of interim manager until the end of the season, but it is my own belief the Rangers’ front office will seek a more high profiled replacement for the recently departed manager! ! Bogar and the team will begin a three-game home stand against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday , and it is likely this series could prove decisive for the Angels as they seek to dethrone the reigning AL West champions the Oakland A’s and win their first divisional crown since 2009 when they made the postseason, only to fall to the New York Yankees in the ALCS in six games, losing the series 4-2 , with New York going on to win their twenty-seventh World Series’ title, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies .

Taking the mound for the Rangers in the first of the three-game series against the Angels will be Colby Lewis as he faces off against Hector Santiago in this all divisional contest which currently favors the Los Angeles Angels in the season series.

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Picture gallery .

With Derek Jeter’s career coming to a close , do you believe his accomplishments place him among the all-time greats in New York Yankees’ history or has the hype and persona which has surrounded the player made him a bigger personality ? Also, what do you believe the future of Houston Astros and Texas Rangers will be after such a disastrous year within Major League Baseball?

Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) New York Yankees’ team captain Derek Jeter receives a standing ovation from the crowd prior to the game against the Kansas City Royals played at Yankees Stadium , in New York City, New York , on , on Sunday , 7th September ,2014 . The Royals blanked the Yankees 2-0 to keep a slender lead over the Detroit Tigers within the AL Central , providing MLB with the tightest divisional race in all of baseball. AP Photo /Kathy Willens …

(2) Kansas City Royals’ second baseman Omar Infante’s miscue allows Derek Jeter to reach second base on a hit by Martin Prado who reached first base on the error by Infante during the game played on Sunday afternoon at Yankees Stadium in New York City, New York . AP Photo / Kathy Willens …

(3) New York Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi ,left, is seen here with one of the team’s 2013 acquisitions ,catcher , Brian McCann and the team’s senior managing partner Hal Steinbrenner . McCann was signed to a five-year $85 million deal making him one of the highest paid players at the position in baseball. Getty Images North America / Maddie Meyer …

(4) Jacoby Ellsbury of the New York Yankees who was acquired by team as a free agent , after Ellsbury was not re-signed by his former team the Boston Red Sox . AP Photo/ Martin Dennis …

(5) HOUSTON, TX – APRIL 22: Houston Astros manager Bo Porter (16) , left and general manager Jeff Luhnow wait near the batting cage prior to the start of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on April 22 , 2013 in Houston, Texas. Luhnow fired the Astros’ manager this season (2014) after another disastrous year by the team with them showing no real signs of competitiveness on any level within the AL . Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

(6) Texas Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels is seen here with Prince Fielder (center) and former team manager Ron Washington . Washington offered his resignation to the franchise, offering little by way of an explanation other than to suggest the reasons for his decision were personal . Fielder has seen very little playing time and offering little by way of productivity for the Rangers, having spent a great deal of time on the DL this season . To further exacerbate the situation the Texas Rangers remain on the hook for the majority of Fielder’s remaining contract , which does not expire until 2021 . AP Photo / Philip Trent …

(7) New York Yankees’ legends , top row from left to right , Yogi Berra , Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth , Joe DiMaggio , Elston Howard, Micky Mantle , Thurman Munson , Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter . Upon his retirement there is likely to be a very contested debate about where Jeter will rank among the all-time Yankees’ greats. The one thing which cannot be denied is that Jeter has been among the most successful players of his era among the New York Yankees. Archives UPI /Getty Images …

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To want, to “ be the man” , you have to “ play like a man” …

To want, to “ be the man” , you have to “ play like a man” …

There is a case to be made the two best quarterbacks the NFL have seen in the league over the past two years are Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts. Wilson guided the reigning Superbowl champions to the franchise’s first title in his second season in the NFL , having won more games as a starting quarterback than any other player at the position through their first two seasons in league history. Luck for his part as the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft had the weight of the world placed upon his young shoulders , in being asked to succeed Peyton Manning as the Colts’ quarterback. Other than Johnny Unitas , there has not been another player in the franchise’s history who has made such an impact on the Colts as an organization , other than these two famed quarterbacks. Andrew Luck is slowly writing his own legacy with the Indianapolis Colts , having led the team to a playoff berth in each of his first two seasons in the NFL.

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As the NFL season opens up its schedule this weekend with a full legacy of games , it will be interesting to see how both of these young players set about cementing their success for their respective teams. The Indianapolis Colts are likely to be the presumptive favorites within the AFC South , likely making a successful defense of their divisional title. Question however, is this a team , coached by Chuck Pagano , are they capable of beating out perennial stalwarts the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos , where Peyton Manning has now breathed fresh air into what had become a lifeless franchise? The former Stanford standout has already had his fair share of success against his predecessor and he has certainly shown himself to be the equal of both Manning and Tom Brady when it comes to playing under pressure and where a game is actually on the line .

The Seattle Seahawks will begin the defense of their title with a home game against the Green Bay Packers when Aaron Rodgers brings his teammates to Century Link Field , Seattle , Washington , looking to add a couple chinks in the armor of last season’s top defensive unit in the NFL . I am sure that Russell Wilson and his teammates will likely use this opportunity to show the rest of the NFL , last season’s accomplishments in the regular and postseason were no mere flukes. As we all know, it is extremely difficult to make a successful defense of a Superbowl title, with it being over a decade since the feat was last achieved by an NFL franchise . Superbowl XXXIX (SB39) was the last of the New England Patriots’ three triumphs with Tom Brady at the helm of a Patriots’ team. Two further visits to the NFL’s showcase finale proved to be fateful for the franchise with the Patriots being on the wrong side of two demoralizing losses , both to the New York Giants under the quarterback leadership of Eli Manning .

The Indianapolis Colts will take their show on the road when they visit the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field in Denver , Colorado , in the late evening televised game on Sunday evening . This game, will further provide Andrew Luck with the opportunity to gauge his progression against his predecessor , Peyton Manning and the Broncos, where he has had considerable success during the regular season

While I believe players need to be rewarded on merit for their productivity and success , it is hard to equate how the likes of Jay Cutler and Tony Romo can now find themselves almost at the top of the “ food chain “ in terms their quarterback contracts in terms of compensation. Granted , the prestige of being a starting quarterback in the NFL makes the position , the most prestigious in the league, it cannot explain the idiocy behind the decisions of Phil Emery and Jerry Jones to simply offer up the contracts now parlayed into a deal that hangs around the necks of Cutler and Romo like a millstone. Jay Cutler’s seven-year $126.7 million deal makes him one of the highest paid players in the NFL as well as one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league. Tony Romo’s deal , only slightly less than Cutler’s, is just a case of Jerry Jones being delusional and without a clue , as to his belief in Romo’s worth. These two NFC quarterbacks , might just be two of the most overrated players at the position along with the Atlanta Falcons’ passer Matt Ryan.

Tony Romo will lead the Dallas Cowboys in their season opener being played at Cowboys’ Stadium against the San Francisco 49ers , where Colin Kaepernick will be looking to take the focus off the team’s failings off the field and place them back on the field of play,, where no doubt their fans feel things belong . The lackadaisical attitude of the front office and head coach Jim Harbaugh concerning the troubles of Ray McDonald , does leave a lot to be desired, but the NFL still remains behind the times when it comes to dealing not just with many of their own inherent issues , but also social ills, concerning racism within the game , acts of domestic violence by the players and dare one suggest , the widespread use of marijuana , but also several banned substances prohibited by the league ? Both teams are need a of victory in this season opener as a morale booster , but the game itself, could come down to the coaching acumen shown by the respective coaching staffs , and the play of the opposing quarterbacks in question.

Jay Cutler and the under-achieving Chicago Bears begin their quest for another shot at regular and postseason glory , when they open up their home schedule facing the Buffalo Bills , another franchise in need of life support and extreme attention. Donald Trump’s ego and perhaps his unwillingness to pay in excess of $1 billion ($1,000,000,000) to buy the state of New York’s only NFL franchise may well play into the hands of the other alleged suitors of the team. An NFL without Trump being a franchise owner is a great deal better than having him within the NFL owners’ fraternity ! Imagine the owners’ meeting that would take place , while the egos of Donald Trump , Jerry Jones , Dan Snyder , Jimmy Haslam , Jim Irsay and Zygi Wilf were all in the same room ? What an almighty cluster-fu#k that would be, beyond the idiocy of Roger Goodell being a part of the scenario.

It is the same old story , wunderkind who proves be impressive early in his career only to then fade when placed under a great deal more pressure and scrutiny than usual . In the case of the Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan , he is now looking to redeem himself while hoping to keep the dogs at bay , who seeking are the demise of not only Ryan , himself , but also head coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff. CEO & Team President Rich McKay , who now heads up the Business Operations for the Falcons as well as overseeing the new $1.55 billion stadium which will house the franchise for the 2016-17 NFL season, handed the keys to the Ferrari to Dimitroff , who simply drove it off the road causing untold damage to the vehicle . A 4-12 record last season, simply epitomized what the Falcons were all about . They were certainly among the worst teams in the entire NFL and it seems remarkable that Mike Smith was still able to hold onto his job after such a disaster. Failure this season and Smith is likely to be shown the door along with his entire coaching staff along with several members of the team . Matt Ryan’s position doesn’t yet seem to be in jeopardy , but I do believe Arthur Blank’s patience might well be growing thin with the six-year veteran of the league !

The Atlanta Falcons won’t have to wait that long to see how their season is likely pan out, as their first game of the season will be stern test and match of wills against divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints, in what could turn out to be an aerial contest or a full-blown thundering herd in terms a ground game for the majority of the contest. Drew Brees will not be afraid to air the ball out and it will likely prove lucky for the Saints, if there is a mix of a passing and rushing attack to take advantage of a Falcons’ secondary still learning its trade. The Georgia Dome will be packed as the home fans will be hoping to see the Falcons get off to a winning start

This is the year, we are meant to see the Oakland Raiders take flight. Personally, I believe the wings of the franchise have been clipped so often , taking flight would be as comedic as watching an episode of “The Big Bang Theory “ or having John Kerry explain the US’s foreign policy in the Middle East , now that ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have essentially began to run amok in Afghanistan , Iraq and Syria . Drone attacks have not only enraged the terrorists groups in question but it has now become a rallying cry for Muslims abroad to join an Intifada , seeking to bring down the West. As to the Raiders’ own position , well let’s just say their fans are just as perplexed by organization’s moves as the rest of the NFL world. GM Reggie McKenzie , team owner , Mark Davis and head coach Dennis Allen are not entirely sure which quarterback on the team’s roster guarantees them the best chance of winning . The choices of Derek Carr , Matt McGloin and veteran Matt Schaub are not glaringly obvious, but these are the choices in question. Schaub being the elder statesman and veteran of the trio , was brought in and seen as the presumptive starter , but his preseason showings were less than encouraging. Matt McGloin simply showed us that in the preseason against second and third stringers you can look really impressive when the opposing players on defense are missing their assignments . Carr a rookie and part of the Oakland Raiders’ 2014 draft class has outshone his more experienced teammates but yet, it would be foolish to think him being thrown into the lion’s den assures the team of instant success. While the rookie may well be able to call on the advice of an elder sibling, whose experience of the NFL was simply littered with more lows than highs . I seriously doubt, David Carr will be able to provide his younger brother with any constructive input, that would be of benefit to the rookie quarterback !

In a division where the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers proved to be so effective last season , it is hard to see how the Oakland Raiders mount a serious challenge against a trio teams, while looking to win the AFC West this season. Neither the Broncos or the Chiefs will be pushovers and a resurgent Chargers’ team will be chomping at the bit to take a bite out of Oakland as well as the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs . So where will that leave Oakland this season ? Will they once again, be holding up the rear of the division as they have so often done over the past eight season? Your guess is as good as mine , but I do not believe it will be an encouraging situation to watch unfold ! As good as the team is said to be , with a number of prognosticators giving the Raiders an outside chance of gaining a postseason berth. I simply do not believe the team is good enough , nor do they have the erstwhile leader ready to step up to the plate. Charles Woodson is on the downside of an illustrious career and Justin Tuck’s best years can now be seen in a year view mirror . Experienced and canny veterans as they are , Tuck and Woodson are likely to be used sparingly at times by the Raiders’ coaching staff and it remains to be seen how the Raiders are likely to deal with Geno Smith and the New York Jets when the two teams meet on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford , New Jersey.

Year in and year out, so much is made of the fact, the NFL will begin a new era of quarterbacks especially as it relates to the players who have won the Heisman Trophy while playing the position at the Collegiate Level . Carson Palmer a recipient of the award in 2002 , was one such player, having had a great deal of success while playing for the USC Trojans under the tutelage of Pete Carroll. Palmer’s career in the NFL however, has failed to ignite, much less live up to the expected hoopla some believe he would provide. If anything, his play has been nondescript and the now much traveled journeyman finds himself at the crossroads of his eleven-year career , having been a first round draft pick in the 2003 NFL Draft when he was taken as the number one overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. To suffice, all you need to know are, his two Pro Bowl appearances ( 2005 & 2006 ) have been meager returns for a less than moderate career. Palmer, now with the Arizona Cardinals , where he has led the team as their starting quarterback since 2013.

A 10-6 season last year in the NFC West, where the Arizona Cardinals narrowly missed gaining a postseason berth , has led to great deal of optimism this season. Add in the fact, Bruce Arians is on-board as the head coach , along with a very good draft class and some prudent acquisitions during the off-season and there is every reason to believe the Cardinals can contend this season in the NFL.

Arians will be reliant upon Carson Palmer to provide the leadership needed on a team looking to stake their claim in what is now a highly competitive division where both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks reside. An injury to the Sam Bradford of the St Louis Rams, may well negate the effectiveness of the Rams over the course of this season. Arizona will begin their quest in week one with a home game against the San Diego Chargers at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Tempe , Arizona. Philip Rivers and the Chargers will be hoping to blunt the appetite of the Cardinals in this particular contest and start off their season with a victory.

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Picture gallery .

As the NFL regular season gets underway , what are you hoping to see in the first week’s contests , which players and teams do you believe fans will have to place a great deal of scrutiny in watching ?

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Picture and slideshow details below .
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(1) Russell Wilson (3) and Andrew Luck (12) , two of the league’s brightest young stars in the NFL , with both quarterbacks having been drafted by their respective teams in the last two seasons. These two young quarterbacks enter week one f the NFL season hoping to replicate the form seen in week one of 2013 and then continue on with that consistency throughout this season . Courtesy of NFL Properties all rights reserved @ copyrighted material …

(2) A Philadelphia Eagles’ fans holds up a sign expressing his opinions on both Jay Cutler and Tony Romo . These two NFC quarterbacks will be looking to rebound from disappointing seasons in 2013. Getty Images ….

(3) Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) and Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler (6) meet on the field after an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas The Bears won 34-18 . Both players in 2014 will be seeking to prove they are still to be regarded as two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL . Considered to be very good during the regular season the postseason records of Cutler and Romo combined , are very much demonstrative of the fact , how overrated both players are , in spite of the praise heaped upon the pair. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(4) Matt Ryan quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons . Time could very well be running out for the player to truly justify his status with the franchise in spite of the six-figure contract invested in the starter by team owner Arthur Blank. The owner is said to be dismayed in the lack of progress by his franchise quarterback and also with the coaching acumen shown by Mike Smith over the past two seasons. A playoff berth is imperative for the team , or it is likely the roster will have to be gutted at the end of the season . AP Photo/ John Ames …

(5) Derek Carr , younger sibling to the former San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback David Carr . The rookie quarterback with the Oakland Raiders is said to be the best hope the franchise has of winning this season, but it would seem head coach Dennis Allen is likely to side with the experience of veteran, Matt Schaub when Oakland opens up its regular season schedule against the New York Jets . ESPN / Mike Albers … .

(6) Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians is seen here with Carson Palmer who was acquired by the franchise in trade with the Oakland Raiders in April of 2013 in exchange for a sixth round pick and a conditional pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Palmer joined an offense which was extremely potent in 2013 and likely to be so again, with Bruce Arians placing a greater emphasis on that facet of their game along with bolstering their defensive capabilities. AP Photo / Mark Rogers …
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“If you wanna be a secret agent man, you have to roll like a secret agent man. It’s code ” Quote from the Pierre Morel directed action thriller, ” From Paris With Love” . Movie produced by Luc Besson .

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Wake up everybody , it’s NFL and College Football time

Wake up everybody , it’s NFL and College Football time

Well , week one of the College Football season has past us by with the number one ranked Florida State Seminoles coming off a rather close victory over Oklahoma State in the first contest of their season schedule . Seminoles’ head coach Jimbo Fisher knows his team will be under a microscope, while quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston will have a great deal to live up to after an exhilarating season for the team in 2013. Within the ACC , I do believe Florida State will once again be the team to beat , with their being very few challengers within the conference about their dominance. In week two the Seminoles will face off against the Citadel in a game to be played at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida this upcoming Saturday when there will be a slew of games on the schedule.

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Elsewhere within the Collegiate Football landscape, erstwhile SEC powerhouses , Florida (Gators) , Alabama , Auburn and LSU (Tigers) will be looking to rebound while seeking to prove the ACC’s ascent will be nothing more than a passing fad. In six of the past seven seasons it has been an SEC program which has been anointed the national champion at the FBS Level in College Football. Nick Saban and his Crimson Tide team are seeking to put in the past a rather demonstrative 2013 season , where they fell apart at the seams in more ways than one. . That disappointment will have disappeared , with Saban coming into this season with a fresh crop of rookies , as well have holdovers in his sophomore , juniors and seniors, as the program seeks to add another illustrious chapter to their well-chronicled history.

Alabama’s pounding of West Virginia with a 33-23 romp was something of a cruise, but the team’s schedule is likely to become a great more difficult in the upcoming weeks. The second game of their season will see them host Florida Atlantic at the Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa , Alabama on the 6th September ,2014. However , their week five showdown against SEC rivals , Wil Muschamp’s Florida Gators will provide fans nationwide as well of the program with the chance to see how far the team will have progressed in their season.

Nick Saban, as he seeks to re-energize Alabama’s standing within College Football and will have to no doubt relieve the memories of last season’s six-point 34-28 loss to Auburn, only to then further compound the lackluster effort with another defeat suffered at the hands of Oklahoma Sooners in the Allstate Sugar Bowl , one of the now meaningless end of season postseason games, which the NCAA and the BCS believes benefits College Football as well as the fans. Well , if adding tens of millions of dollars in revenues to the programs , with very little finding its way benefiting the student athlete , then I am sure College Football does indeed benefit from that type of largesse on a grand scale. The fact of the matter remains, the NCAA’S finances , that of the BCS and major programs are not always opened up for public scrutiny , in spite of claims to the contrary being made by proponents of the present system.

For Wil Muschamp and the Florida Gators, this will be a season where the coach and his staff will have to prove to their fans and the nation at large , the program remains among the elite within the college game. Last season however, was something of a nightmare on all fronts as the players failed to respond on the field , ending the season with a rather lackluster record (4-8) and a poor national ranking at year-end. . Florida will enter into week two , when they will square off against Eastern Michigan in a game that neither side can really afford to lose. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will be the venue for this contest which will be seen nationwide. Tyler Murphy and Mack Brown will be looking to provide the impetus for the Gators’ offense in this game as their opponents will have Reginald Bell , Bronson Hill and Tyreese Russell looking to get the Eagles up and running from an offensive standpoint , while their defense seeks to quell the offense of the Gators.

Perhaps it is me , but I have always felt once the truth became known about how callous, conniving and widespread the cheating had become within the USC Trojans’ program . The rats would begin to desert the vessel, like a sinking ship amidst a turbulent storm in the middle of the ocean . Pete Carroll’s feet barely touched the ground , as he left the football program , but that may well have had more to do with the five-year $35 million offer from the Seattle Seahawks , rather than his seeking to stick around to answer any questions from the NCAA and investigators from the Infractions Committee . Reggie Bush’s Heisman was more tainted than a Petri dish filled with bacterial microbes and former AD Mike Garrett seem to be always nonplussed when asked to explain what was going on within the program he presided over as the athletics director. Carroll’s successor , Lane Kiffin proved to be as effective a head coach as sponge would be in aiding a crew on a capsizing vessel at sea with his record at USC speaking volumes about why the football program almost sank without a trace.

Mike Garrett’s departure brought in Pat Haden to oversee the athletics’ program and to steer it back onto the right path , but it has to be said in the first few months of his tenure Haden allowed Kiffin to run amok in violating several of the NCAA’s rules , but there are some under the impression his reputation is one above reproach and makes him a great candidate to be now seated on the panel, which will bring about changes in College Football and a playoff format in deciding a national champion at the FBS Level . The system is likely to have initial teething problems just like anything else , but it will continue to have its detractors within and outside of the game , because anything which brings about change of this size leading to some programs and conferences getting even less of the revenue pie will ultimately lead to a revolt. Barack Obama in 2008, went behind of the mantra “ change is good” , yet six years later the changes he envisioned have not led to the betterment of the country overall. Can and will the same be said of the proposed changes for College Football?

USC in recent years have fallen upon lean times in terms of success and have not been part of the national championship picture in several years . Last season was an abysmal year all round with Lane Kiffin and his players falling short of the general expectations while the Pac-12 title and championship was never within their grasp. This season and it has been left to Steve Sarkisian to take over the reins as the head coach of the football team along with an experienced coaching staff to assist him in his endeavors . The USC Trojans kicked off their 2014 season schedule with a 52-13 trouncing of Fresno State in a contest that was hardly competitive for Sarkisian’s players. Their week contest will be against the eleventh ranked Stanford Cardinals coached by David Shaw , in a game likely to prove to be one of the highlights of the Pac 12 schedule for the day and the season .

Away from the spotlight of the Trojans’ season, have been the off the field issues concerning two members Steve Sarkisian’s roster , with the ugliness of lies , deception and claims of racial bias among the coaches. Josh Shaw , has been suspended indefinitely for lying about an injury sustained when he claims , he rescued a seven-year old relative from drowning . When pressed to provide further details of the rescue attempt and his alleged bravery , Shaw admitted he lied about the incident and the injuries to both of his ankles , which were sustained during a dare, when he jumped from a second story balcony into a pool below at a motel. As to Josh Shaw’s reasoning behind the subterfuge, I can only surmise the level of education being provided at USC is on the decline and being a member of the football team has nothing at all to do with honesty or intelligence ! Allegations of racism cannot be overlooked, but when it comes from a player, who levels those accusations against coaches as well as the educational establishment , one has to delve deeper to make sure there are no underlying issues or any veracity to those claims. Anthony Brown , one of a bevy of running backs on the USC Trojans’ team has leveled those allegations against the program. Brown’s claims are troubling and the coach has refuted the claims defending himself vehemently against the accusations of racism. Brown has left the program, but it does make you wonder what the hell must be going on at an educational establishment and renowned collegiate sports’ institution still trying erase the memories of their most recent scandals touching the basketball and football programs.

Hard to believe it has been a mere six months since the NFL season ended with the lopsided victory of the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos in the Superbowl . Peyton Manning’s season came to a crashing end, when he and his teammates fell apart at the seams in the NFL postseason finale. Jon Fox and the Broncos will be looking to put that mishap in their rear view mirror, but it will be hard to do so , as they will enter the regular season without the aid of Wes Welker through the first four games of the season. Welker’s four-game suspension for the use of a banned substance (MDMA), amphetamines comes as something of a shock , but his explanation about how he might well have ingested the substance is laughable to say the least. The wide receiver believes his drink was “spiked” , while attending a horse racing event with friends. Having failed the test, it should be noted Wes Welker suffered a concussion in a preseason game while playing for the Broncos. It was the third concussion the player has suffered over the past eighteen months and the tenth of his NFL career.

The Broncos’ will begin their season in what is likely to be a hard-fought game against the Indianapolis Colts, in a contest to be played at Sports Authority Field , in Denver, Colorado ,.

Officially , the 2014 regular season schedule opens up on Thursday night when the Superbowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks begin the defense of their title against the Green Bay Packers , led by Aaron Rodgers . The Packers’ quarterback will be the guests in the boisterous atmosphere of Century Link Field in Seattle, Washington, and this could be seen as a contest of two of the NFC’s heavyweight titans. If the off-season moves and the draft class of Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff are anything to go by, then the Packers are likely to be seen as one of the favorites within the conference and a possible Superbowl contender. Green Bay I believe are good enough to win the NFC North with considerable ease, because I do not believe any of their divisional rivals have the talent to challenge this Green Bay Packers’ team over the course of the season ! The defense and offense re likely to be considerably better than witnessed last season.

It would be fair to suggest the Atlanta Falcons have proven to be a major disappointment in 2012 and 2013 , with the franchise failing miserably in each of the seasons in question when it came to the postseason. Matt Ryan proved to be vulnerable and questions arose as to leadership skills and the money vested in one of the NFL’s highest paid players and quarterbacks in the league. Mike Smith and the coaching staff , will be hoping to rebound from the team’s 4-12 showing last season when the play of the Falcons was a monumental disaster. With a new stadium on the horizon, I seriously doubt team owner , Arthur Blank and the front office would like to see this team fall even further into the depths of mediocrity .

The woes of the Atlanta Falcons were on full display in 2013 and one can only hope their showing for 2014 will be a great deal better than last year. A fresh influx of free agents and a rookie draft class should provide Mike Smith with the tools needed , while Matt Ryan will certainly have to show he is not simply a good regular season quarterback who gets derailed during the postseason. Ryan will have to prove he is capable leading a team deep into the postseason and try to justify the claims he is one of the best quarterbacks to have been drafted in the NFL over the past seven years .

Atlanta will open their regular season schedule with an all divisional contest against the New Orleans Saints when Drew Brees and his teammates will be the guests at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta , Georgia ,. The Saints have not been the NFC South champions since 2011, a season in which the team would make it to the postseason , only to fall in the divisional playoffs. Since then , it has been the Saints as franchise , with one of the league’s most explosive teams in terms of offense. All four teams within the NFC South this season, are likely to be seen as viable candidates as a potential divisional champion, but I believe there will be three teams likely to make the division competitive in the NFL . Those three teams are the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints , Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a toss-up between the Atlanta Falcons and the Buccaneers as to which of the duo will be filling in the final position within the NFC South.

Week one of the regular season of the NFL will merely provide us an appetizer and entrée for the remainder of the season . I would like to think the fans will be satisfied with what is on view and we are thoroughly entertained, after-all it is what we have now come to expect of the NFL over the years .

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Picture gallery.

What if anything, are you hoping to see out of the College Football season and within the NFL? Your comments are welcomed, so by all means chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.

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Picture and slideshow gallery details.
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(1) Jameis Winston (5) of the Florida State Seminoles directs the offense against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Advocare Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America / Ronald Martinez

(2) Jameis Winston (5) of the Florida State Seminoles passes against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the Advocare Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images / Ronald Martinez …

(3) Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators signals to the team to head back to the locker rooms after it was announced that there has been a lightning strike near the stadium and players must return inside after the kickoff of the game against the Idaho Vandals on August 30, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida. The game was then terminated for weather and unsafe playing conditions. Getty Images / Rob Foldy ….

(4) Nick Saban, head coach of the University of Alabama football team . Saban will be looking to make the Crimson Tide once again one of the elite teams within the SEC , as well as back on the national stage, with a view to winning the national title . AP Photo/ Chris Murray …

(5) USC President C.L. Max Nikias (L) , Steve Sarkisian (C) , and USC Athletic Director Pat Haden pose for photos at a press conference introducing Sarkisian as the new USC head football coach at the John McKay Center at the University of Southern California on December 3, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Stephen Dunn / Getty Images …

(6) USC Trojans’ running back Anthony Brown , whose allegations of the team’s head coach Steve Sarkisian and members of his coaching staff has raised more than a few eyebrows concerning the program this season Sarkisian has refuted the player in essence calling them groundless . Brown has since left the football team of his own volition . LA Times / Hector Ramirez …

(7) Josh Shaw , pictured here was formerly a corner-back with the USC Trojans before being suspended indefinitely by Steve Sarkisian for lying about an injury sustained prior to the start of the team’s season . Courtesy of the LA Times…

(8) Wes Welker , wide receiver with the Denver Broncos and quite possibly the most high-profiled player to have been suspended by the NFL: over the past two seasons to have been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Welker tested positive for the use of MDMA (‘Molly’) an amphetamine based PED banned by the NFL, which the player claims was “spiked” into his drink taken, when visiting a sports’ event with friends. The Denver Broncos will be without the wide receiver for the first four games of their regular season schedule before he returns in week five for a game against the Arizona Cardinals . AP Photo / Matthew Hurd …

(9) Matt Ryan , right , quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons is seen here with teammate, wide receiver Julio Jones . If the duo are to provide an effective tandem, then it is imperative Jones stays healthy and Ryan performs consistently at a very high level this upcoming season . Getty Images / Paul Matthews …

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Pressed to report a story even when it has no merit , sports’ journalism is getting from bad to worse …

Pressed to report a story even when it has no merit , sports’ journalism is getting from bad to worse …

Well the big story in the NFL as the teams were mandated to cut their rosters by 4.00 PM Saturday afternoon, was the decision by the St Louis Rams to cut their much heralded seventh round draft pick defensive lineman Michael Sam . As the league’s first openly gay player, a great deal was made of the fact, leading to a rather unsavory story reported by cable sports’ broadcast and programming outlet ESPN as to Sam’s showering habits and his not being allowed to shower alongside his now former teammates . What this has to do with NFL football can only be addressed by what the outlet believes to be relevant to the game , but in reality , it simply points to the fact ESPN would rather create a furor, rather than reporting on stories that actually has their viewers enthralled. Simply call it, “gutter journalism” at its lowest , as espoused by the broadcast outlet. The fact of the matter is , ESPN remains unchallenged in an arena , which it has dominated for years and will continue to reign over , because their competitors are not much better and that includes the print media.

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With Sam being waived by the NFC West based franchise , it seems unlikely the player will be picked up by another franchise before the regular season begins. Teams in need of an offensive lineman will likely take a look at Michael Sam even if his productivity with the Rams during the preseason was said to be no more than adequate. A great deal may well have been made of the player being the first openly active gay player seeking to make his debut in a regular season game , but the constant microscopic view the lineman was placed under , may well have proved to be too much for the former Missouri player to bear.

One of the more surprising deals that took place prior to the roster cuts was the New England Patriots’ decision to trade Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , a team definitely in need of defensive line help. As unpalatable as this was said to be for Patriots’ fans , the excuses now being proffered up by Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio seem ridiculous and insulting to the fans and to the player who was caught off-guard by the trade. Tom Brady , quarterback for the team was said to be angered by this deal, but has not voiced a public statement on the matter. Bear in mind, Brady in 2012 made $12 million available to the Patriots for them to keep the services of wide receiver Wes Welker , only for Welker to then sign with the Denver Broncos , after the incompetency shown by the front office.

New England will be seeking to make a successful defense of their AFC East title, while also seeking to make another return to the postseason. For Brady , his old and teammates , this will prove to be a tough task , as undoubtedly they will be seen as a target with a bulls’ eye on their back. A great of that will come from their divisional rivals where the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets are viewed as to two teams likely to prove to be New England’s biggest challengers during the season and their regular season meetings. The first of New England’s regular season tests will come in week one when they face the Miami Dolphins to open their schedule at Sun Life Stadium in Miami ,Florida,.

Logan Mankins will begin his career anew with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and for Lovie Smith and the Buccaneers’ acquisition of the player can only be of benefit to the younger defensive players on the team’s roster . Mankins can provide the type of leadership so lacking on a franchise for several players , something I believe Buccaners’ fans have not always been intuitive enough to acknowledge, because of their real lack of understanding what the NFL is actually about , beyond their belief if it simply being about the best or highest paid player on the roster.

Lovie Smith in his first season as coach of the Buccaneers, will himself, face as a stern test as he leads his team into the season and a NFC South division where the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will be looking to prove themselves the best in the division. Tampa’s first game of the regular season will see them face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida,. Ron Rivera and Newton will try to prove the Panther’s season in 2013 was no mere fluke , with the quarterback having his best season in the NFL since being drafted by the franchise in the 2011 NFL Draft . I believe the Panthers can prove to be a success this season within the NFL , but a great deal of that will be predicated on their play, but even more so upon the growing maturity level shown by Cam Newton , as he has become the visible and vocal leader of the team.

OK, so we know the NFL to be a league bereft of any real intelligence among the players, union (NFLPA) under the leadership of DeMaurice Smith , the NFLPA’s Executive Committee , Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy in particular . With the league now taking what they believe to be a tougher stance on the issue of domestic violence involving the players. It begs the question, why has it taken so long for the NFL to act with such action without the statement forthcoming from Smith , stating due process has to be followed concerning players charged with domestic abuse and violence? Perhaps, I am mistaken but the Players’ Union has done little to discuss the issue over the years or since DeMaurice Smith succeeded the late Gene Upshaw to become the union’s highest ranked executive. As to Roger Goodell’s own mindset concerning this matter , it would be fair to suggest the commissioner’s own lack of communicative skills , beyond making himself look an imbecile , anything he now says concerning the issue , would seem to too little and far too late in spite of the league’s actions in dealing with Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice . The NFL remains homophobic, misogynistic ,racist in many respects, but with it most definitely being clouded in secrecy , something the league would strongly deny.

With the news now coming of the arrest of San Francisco 49ers’ player Ray McDonald , who was arrested at his home and has now been charged with domestic abuse and violence . The Niners as a franchise this off-season have faced several issues concerning the behavior of several players on their roster , of which the ongoing issues of Aldon Smith seem to be something which simply will not go away and which has been poorly handled by Jed Yorke , team CEO and GM Trent Baalke .

Smith will be lost to the 49ers for the first nine games of the regular season, after the punishment meted out by the NFL , but it remains to be seen how they will now treat the issue of Ray McDonald , pending the legal process being played out within the Californian Legal System.. The NFL has the right to suspend a player for conduct harmful to the league , something agreed to by the Players’ Union in their last collective bargaining agreement , but it would seem to be an issue the executive committee and the players’ representatives believe allows the commissioner far too much latitude , in dealing with punishing their members , concerning misconduct . It is my belief the players in the NFL, are simply looking to weaken a rule , while ignoring the misconduct of their members !

LeBron James made his surprise return to the Cleveland Cavaliers , leaving the Miami Heat in sheer turmoil , with a much weakened roster and Heat President Pat Riley in sheer apoplexy concerning the upcoming season . The Monster Riley created was never going to be a dynasty even with four appearances in the NBA Finals , eking out just two series’ victories . Poor price to pay for teams upon which, fans and analysts were heaping far too much praise without looking at the rosters of both teams at the times of their triumphs and defeats.

Away from the happenings of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the latest NBA star said to be dissatisfied with his current situation is the Boston Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo , who is said to have demanded a trade, formerly lodging a request with Celtics’ GM Danny Ainge . The general manager and lead managing partner , Wyc Grousbeck will have to look at and take Rondo’s demands seriously. A disgruntled player on a young roster seeking leadership is likely to prove disastrous for Brad Stevens and his coaching staff , if there said to be no sense of leadership coming from a seasoned veteran, without Stevens’ inexperience coming into question..

In a season of sheer mayhem , the Boston Celtics were simply abysmal on all fronts with Rajon Rondo having a poor season alongside his teammates , as they endured defeat after defeat, with their being rarely a series’ win for the young team. Stevens proved he is still learning on the job , while Danny Ainge has done little in seeking to bolster the roster this off-season , last season or even by way of this past NBA Draft .

The real signs of the Celtics’ struggles were long seen, prior to Doc Rivers’ departure , with neither Ainge or the head coach seeking to build for the future after the team’s last triumph in the NBA Finals. Instead, there was this idiotic belief the team then built around a core of Kevin Garnett , Paul Pierce , Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. They may well have won the highly contested finals , against a Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles Lakers’ team but , in reality , the series was over before it started, because Rivers out-coached his opposite number, Phil Jackson, was something of an uneventful chess match.

It will be tough season for the Boston Celtics with or without Rajon Rondo, because the team has no real depth or a proven scorer , with the team’s top scorer last season being , Jeff Green , while Rondo was sidelined for much of the year seeking to recover from an injury . Green’s 16.9 per game average would be meager when adjudged against the top scorers within the Eastern Conference let alone the rest of the NBA and from an offensive standpoint the Celtics’ productivity was menial to say the very least. To state how dire the Boston Celtics have been , you simply have to look at how the team performed defensively and their season record (25-57) which was simply a reflection of the team.

If Danny Ainge does agree to Rajon Rondo’s request , then there are likely to be a bevy of suitors for one of the league’s best point guards, of which the player is of a proven pedigree in terms of his productivity. Among the top of the list among the teams seeking to acquire the Celtic’ point guard would be the Houston Rockets as they seek to replace the recently departed Jeremy Lin . Not to be counted out of this scenario are the Sacramento Kings , Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers , Charlotte Bobcats , Memphis Grizzlies , Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks , Denver Nuggets . Dallas Mavericks and the Milwaukee Bucks . Rondo has made it known to the front office , were he traded to the Sacramento Kings , he would not sign or be part of any part of a sign and trade deal with the franchise, limiting the Celtics’ wishes on that front. Rondo is not due to become a free agent until 2015 , and his $12.9 million salary for this season does not seem to be that much of an impediment for any of the teams pursuing the point guard. Boston will begin its their schedule against the Brooklyn Nets when the two teams meet at the TD Banknorth Gardens Pavilion in Boston , Massachusetts, on the 29th October , 2014.

I will say this repeatedly , if you write a story and give it the teeth in terms of context , then you will have the world believing the article . Nowhere is this more representative than with regard to the coverage afforded to politics and the stories that emanate from the White House , House and the Senate. Before you know it , the nation buys into the bull#hit and the idiots who call themselves Conservatives and Liberals try to dissect and disseminate the fecal matter emanating from the government without the on air political hacks trying to make sense of it all. The same can be said of how MLB and the NCAA seeks to ingratiate themselves with the fans and media alike, with the stories from both sporting edifices . Baseball with their informing the fans and press alike that Rob Manfred in succeeding Bud Selig will bring about a new era within the game , is somewhat like suggesting we have seen bipartisanship within the Congress during the Presidential terms of Barack Obama . Baseball remains distrustful of the MLBPA , while its ongoing incompetency in dealing with a number of issues shows no signs of improving.

Meanwhile, the NCAA and the FBS programs within college football is seeking to persuade the public and fans they have finally got it right in terms of their proposed format for a playoff system to decide a national champion in football. The truth of the matter remains , unless the money is shared evenly among the college conferences rather than the majority of it going into the coffers of the major college conferences and institutions , then the fans of the game will continue to be defrauded with a system , that is simply a joke . As to this idiocy of an empaneled committee being the best arbiters of determining how a system can be used to decide a national champion. Perhaps, I might suggest those behind that folly simply watch an episode of American Idol or any one of the other litany of inane talent shows now deemed to be a reality show finding their way onto the nation’s broadcast outlets

Mark Emmert and the educational institutions presided over by the NCAA need to be doing more , concerning not only the widespread allegations of academic fraud on campus, but also the criminal and felonious behavior concerning the sexual misconduct and sexual assaults that take place on college campuses across the nation , on a daily basis , Somehow, this all gets overlooked because the only thing deemed important is whether or not the defending national champions Florida State (Seminoles) can possibly make a successful defense of their national title . One ought to bear in mind their Heisman winning quarterback from last season Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in a sexual assault, while the school itself is under investigation by the Department of Education and by US Justice Department and how they deal with their in-house investigation of such crimes. Dr Garnett S Stokes Ph.D, President of Florida State has not issued a public statement on the investigation by either of the federal agencies in question and it begs the question if he is unable do so , then why has there not been any type of statement by the school’s athletics department much less from the AD Stan Wilcox ? Yet sources close to the school have speculated on the fact , they will be taking some form of action against Jameis Winston and his not having upheld a code of conduct, as expected of student athlete of Florida State. So let me get this straight ,

Winston and his legal representatives , whose stories have changed far more often than a newborn baby’s diapers, concerning the alleged sexual assault , but somehow the athletics department , institution can see nothing wrong at all concerning the player’s conduct ? Never mind the fact of the incompetency shown by the Tallahassee Police Department in their original investigation of the incident and where there are said to have been allegations of collusion between the athletics department and the law enforcement agency . Something, which has been clear from the days when Bobby Bowden coached the football program and where many of the players under his tutelage ran afoul of the law, but were left untouched . Coincidence, in such an instance, where it concerns the police and the committal of a crime by a Seminoles’ athlete ? I think not !

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The stories remain for all to see and to bear witness to, but how many of us are really interested in getting at the truth or does it come down to the fact the attention span of most sports’ fans comes down what is the next big event to take place and the likely result ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe worthy to discuss concerning the article.

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Picture and slideshow gallery.

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(1) Michael Sam , a seventh round draft pick of the St Louis Rams . Sam was cut by the organization and can be resigned by the team as a member of their practice squad , but there has been no statement by head coach Jeff Fisher addressing the matter. AP Photo/ Rick Farrell …

(2) St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, left, and general manager Les Snead hold a pre-draft news conference at the team’s practice facility, Tuesday, May 6, 2014, in St. Louis. The Rams are scheduled to have two picks in the first-round of the NFL football draft on Thursday. Snead and Fisher made the decision jointly with the coaching staff to release their seventh round draft pick Michael Sam in the lead-up to the regular season . AP Photo/Jeff Roberson …

(3) Logan Mankins of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches from the sidelines as the Buccaneers take on the Washington Redskins during a preseason game this exhibition season . Mankins was traded by the New England Patriots in a surprise move in August . Getty Images/ Paul Fowler …

(4) DeMaurice Smith , often an outspoken critic of the NFL and in particular of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , who he believes acts outside the limits of his jurisdiction, in meting out punishment to players who contravene the league’s rules . Smith insists that the league’s new mandate concerning players involved in allegations of spousal abuse and domestic violence should be dealt with judiciously within the legal system . However in light of the growing issue , Smith and his members have done very little to discuss the matter head on . AP Photo / Hannah Mitchell …

(5) Boston Celtics’ general manager Danny Ainge ,left, is seen here with the team’s point guard Rajon Rondo . A member of the team which won the 2008 NBA title , Rondo has requested a trade from away from the Celtics and it remains to be seen how the matter will be dealt with by the franchise’s front office in granting the player’s request. AP Photo/ Michael Howard ..

(6) Aldon Smith (99) and Ray McDonald (91) of the San Francisco 49ers are two players on the team to have fallen afoul of the law in recent months . Smith has been suspended for the first nine games of the regular season for repeated violations of the league’s conduct policy . McDonald was arrested at his home on charges of domestic abuse and violence against his pregnant fiance’ . Neither the NFL or anyone within the Niners’ front office has issued a statement concerning Ray McDonald’s arrest. Team CEO Jed Yorke and GM Trent Baalke are being kept abreast of the legal ramifications through the team’s Chief Legal Counsel, Hannah Gordon and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department . Getty Images / Paul Hughes …

(7) NCAA President Mark Emmert who presides of collegiate athletics’ governing body seems to be more focused on increasing the NCAA’s revenues estimated to be in excess of $1.65 billion annually from licensing and marketing agreements which does not include television rights fees for the broadcast for the sports which fall under their umbrella. Emmert only recently has begun to discuss the issue of on campus sexual assaults of which 50 schools are now under investigation jointly by the Education Department and the US Justice Department concerning the lax investigating rules of many of the academic institutions. AP Photo / Hazel Groves …

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Keep it sweet but not necessarily stupid , because it’s baseball

Keep it sweet but not necessarily stupid , because it’s baseball

Baseball (MLB) enters its final month of the regular season in September , with a number of divisional races still undecided. Teams said to be in the drivers’ seat will have to play at the highest level possible until the end of the season if they are to win those divisions outright. Likewise, it will be the same for those ball-clubs seeking to gain a wildcard berth in what is now beginning to look like very tight race within each league , the AL and NL.

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Of the more surprising races, it is the AL Central where the Kansas City Royals might well be the most exciting team to watch since the All Star Break and their rise up the division to now lead the swooning Detroit Tigers . For the defending divisional champions this has been a season of missed opportunities in spite of certain injury issues and the retirement of former manager Jim Leyland , which should in no way detract from the work done by Brad Ausmus and his managerial staff in succeeding the well-respected manager. However, in light of that fact, it has to be said Ausmus’ inexperience might well be one of the reasons with the indifference seen in the Tigers’ play this season. Justin Verlander has not been totally dominant, Max Scherzer has not reproduced the form that led to his being named the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2013 . Certainly, the rest of the pitching staff , have failed to deliver as and when needed.

The Detroit Tigers’ offense led by two-time reigning AL League MVP and Triple Crown King , Miguel Cabrera while having his usual productive season might well be on the outside looking in, when it comes to the regular season individual awards as Mike Trout seems on the verge of succeeding the Tigers’ slugger as this year’s MVP. Statistically , there has been little to choose between the pair , but Trout’s all-round play and defensive capabilities have edged Cabrera this season. Besides, Mike Trout has led the Los Angeles Angels to what might be their best season in the AL West in a number of years , as they seek to replace the Oakland Athletics as this year’s AL West divisional champion. No mean task, considering the success of the A’s in 2012 and2013 within the division. If the Tigers are to have any chance of securing a place in the postseason their best bet, remains winning the division because the likelihood of a wildcard berth places them in a precarious situation because of the competitiveness of the teams vying for the two berths available in the American League.

Coming off a 5-2 victory over the New York Yankees at Comerica Park in Detroit Michigan , Brad Ausmus and his team will again face their opponent on Wednesday in a resumption of their series, as the Yankees seek to make ground on the Baltimore Orioles who lead the AL East. Mike Sciocsia will lead the Angels in a home game against the Miami Marlins at Angels’ Ballpark in Anaheim, California. A lopsided and thoroughly deserving victory on Tuesday afternoon gives credence to why Sciocsia’s team has been so dominant this season against their opponents from both leagues. Henderson Alvarez of the Marlins will seek to avert another loss by the visitors as he faces Hector Santiago of the Angels.

There is no denying the Chicago Cubs have remained in a never-ending slump that has become synonymous with sheer misery for their fans. A century of mediocrity cannot adequately explain the woes of the baseball franchise , even with their infamous NLCS series against the Florida Marlins in 2003 . While Steve Bartman’s name will forever live in infamy but the apportioning of blame on one idiotic Cubs’ fan was not the only reason for the team’s demise in the series. The Chicago Cubs repeatedly had chances to close out the series in game’s six and seven, but their ineptitude was there on show for their fans. Eleven years later, it were as if nothing has been learned by the organization, even with a change in ownership .One can seek to debunk a myth or myths, but in the case of the Cubs, what you see is what you get.

Tom Ricketts and his family have sought spend millions to bolster this ball-club’s roster over the years, all to no avail, while bringing in wunderkinds Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein to head the Cubs’ front office . This season for the franchise has nothing short of disastrous as they seek to dig themselves out trouble within the NL Central, where they currently find themselves firmly rooted at the bottom of the division while having one of the worst records within the National League as well as baseball in general. Rick Renteria and the managerial staff of the Chicago Cubs will be certainly looking to assess the members of the team as the season winds down, while also assessing the younger talent within their farm system. Inasmuch, as Theo Epstein was very much the architect of the Boston Red Sox’s success and their two World Series’ wins in 2004 and 2007, an immediate turnaround was never on the cards for Cubs after the years of mismanagement and neglect by a succession of front office executives . Epstein and Hoyer, now seems to be adding to the mess rather than trying to clean it up.

The financial resources for the Chicago Cubs remains vast, beyond a loyal fan-base , sellout crowds for home games played at Wrigley Field , ownership of their own cable sports’ broadcast network and resources of Tom Ricketts and his family. Chicago may well be winners of seven of their last ten games with a four-game winning streak , but the fact of the matter remains this is not a team built for consistency and long-term success. The Cubs’ most recent victory over divisional rivals, the Cincinnati Reds another , team languishing and with no chance of challenging within the NL Central, will see them face the Reds on Wednesday afternoon , before closing out the series at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio on Thursday afternoon. Wins are imperative for the Chicago Cubs in each of the contests in question and it will be interesting to see how Jacob Turner will fare when he faces Mat Latos of the Reds today , in one a series of games on the MLB schedule for the 27th August .

If there was a miscue then I must have missed it all, as the Philadelphia Phillies and their season spins completely out of control. Ryne Sandberg was brought in to bring a sense of semblance , consistency but above all real passion for the game. It was clearly lacking last season with Charlie Manuel , whose final year in charge was simply a body mess with the carnage of 2013 strewn all over Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania . A team that has failed to produce , while having a bloated payroll , is once again exhibiting the very same traits , even with something of a revamped roster . Sandberg has been unable to change the identity of this team, while several of the veterans on the roster have become all too complacent and nonchalant in their play .With almost $170 million committed this season in salary commitments , which ranks the Phillies with the fourth highest team payroll in all of baseball , with only the Los Angeles Dodgers , New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers with larger commitments. The question has to be, what is the mindset within the Phillies’ front office as led by GM Reuben Amaro Jr ?

The Philadelphia Phillies will play host to the Washington Nationals , who hold a comfortable lead in the NL East over their rivals within the division . For Sandberg’s last placed team remains on a precipice waiting to be nudged over and another defeat is likely to make the scenario a reality . On the mound for the home team will be Kyle Kendrick facing off against Doug Fister of the Nationals . A game which will likely tell us a great deal about the ambitions of the two teams right now . From my own standpoint, I believe Reuben Amaro will have to gut the team and simply start afresh jettisoning a number of the high-priced impending free agents rebuilding from the ground up abandoning what has been organization’s belief in paying an exorbitant salary merely to keep the services of a player. Ryan Howard , Cole Hamels , Cliff Lee , Jimmy Rollins and several others in this lineup, have not performed up to expectation, while being rewarded a ridiculously idiotic sum for their menial returns on the season.

Robinson Cano’s departure from the New York Yankees led many to believe the player would be doomed in seeking to make the Seattle Mariner his destination in 2014. Yet for all of the criticism leveled at Cano, his being used as a pawn in a rather idiotic game cat and mouse with the Yankees’ front office by his agent Jay-z , founder of the upstart sports’ management agency RocNation Sports ,may well have worked out for the best. It does seem as if Cano , RocNation and the Mariners are indeed happy. Robinson Cano wanting to be rewarded with a multi-year , six-figure deal rumored to be $300 million over ten years was somewhat impudent but in the end , his contract with the Mariners does seem to reflect the player’s worth to the team . He certainly has not disappointed over the course of this season while he remains in the upper echelons of the AL batting statistics and is likely to seen as a viable candidate for the AL MVP this season.

The Mariners remain in the playoff hunt and merely need to play consistent baseball over the remaining thirty-one games of their regular season schedule to tie up one of the two available spots in order to be an AL wildcard entrant . Though the team was on the wrong side of a 12-4 shelling at the hands of the Texas Rangers , Lloyd McClendon and his managerial staff realize they merely have to seek a collective effort from the players to get the job done. Robinson Cano, wasn’t simply brought in solely to provide an offensive bat, but also to lead the team as a seasoned veteran. With an off-day on Thursday , the Seattle Mariners will have as their guests at Safeco Field the Washington Nationals in the first of a three-game series beginning on Friday 29th August . Taking the mound for Seattle will be Felix Hernandez against Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals, in what is likely to be a highly competitive pitchers’ duel between the two starting aces.

Twenty-game winners were common place in baseball and this season it seems that for the first time in several years MLB might be without a starting pitcher reaching a win total of twenty games or more at the end of the regular season. The last time a starting pitcher failed to reach the plateau in question was in 2009, when the Cy Young Award in the AL and NL went to Zack Greinke and Tim Linecum , respectively. This season the leaders in the respective leagues, Max Scherzer in the American League , while reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw leads the National League. Kershaw remains heads and shoulders above any other pitcher in baseball at present and has been for the past two years without a doubt. He has proven to be dominant enough and it is with good reason why the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office have seen fit to reward him with such a lucrative contract making him one of the highest paid players in baseball, in terms of salary and contract value . By contrast Justin Verlander might well be having something of a less productive season than we are accustomed to seeing from the Tigers’ starting pitcher, but he and Felix Hernandez remain among the best pitchers in the American League and have been for several years. However, this season, what we have seen in terms of the pitching in baseball , may well come down to lack of run support provided to the pitchers and the tendency of middle relief and closers to become more of a tool within the game, sometimes leading to lessening of the results for the starters.

There is a very good reason to believe Clayton Kershaw could very well be a back-to-back winner of the NL Cy Young Award , again with the Dodgers’ pitcher being the best player on the team’s pitching staff and best player on the team by far , without delving in into his salary . Kershaw will be looking to win the award for the third time in of his career , having won in 2011 and 2013 . The AL candidates from this season are likely to be taken from among these list of pitchers , Chris Sale , Felix Hernandez ,Max Scherzer , Rick Porcello, Scott Kazmir, David Price and Greg Holland .

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This weekend’s schedule within baseball will be highly interesting with games and series likely to be pivotal to the teams’ seasons . It was pretty much the same issue at this time last season within the game . Your thoughts on baseball and what are you hoping to see over the remainder of the season?

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(1) MLB’s thirty teams entered the start of this season with a view to be part of the playoff picture with their ultimate goal, being to win the World Series. Last year’s champions the Boston Red Sox have struggled in 2014 , currently lying at the bottom of the AL East division without a chance of making the postseason.

(2) Ned Yost manager of the Kansas City Royals has his team riding high within the AL Central having led for a greater part of this month having held unto the lead without a great deal of difficulty during August . Yost and the team will be looking to win a divisional title and make the playoffs for the first time in almost two decades. AP Photo/ Mark Watson …

(3) Detroit Tigers’ manager Brad Ausmus is seen here with Tigers’ assistant and infield coach Omar Vizquel have seen the team lose sight of their seasonal goal in winning the AL Central and gaining a postseason berth . The team is now fighting for a playoff berth among a list of very competitive AL wildcard candidates . Getty Images/ Chris Horner …

(4) Chicago Cubs’ Head of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein ,left, is seen here with the team’s owner Tom Ricketts . Once again the Cubs have struggled with their being little sign of competitiveness shown by the team this season . Chicago finds itself rooted at the bottom of the NL Central. AP Photo/ Cathy Hurst …

(5) Ryne Sandberg manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is seen here in the dugout speaking with team pitcher Cliff Lee , foreground. An inauspicious season , high payroll and diminishing returns has led to an inept year for the franchise . Matt Glover / UPI …

(6) Robinson Cano of the Seattle Mariners who spent the first seven years of his career with the New York Yankees , but left the team in December of 2013 to join the Mariners, signing a ten-year $240 million deal . This season Cano has been productive for the team , leading them in several offensive categories . AP Photo / Sean Williams …

(7) Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers is having another spectacular season for the team and leads the NL in ERA and wins . The player is seeking to win a third Cy Young Award , joining a select group of players with three or more wins of baseball’s top individual pitching honor . AP Photo / Mel Whittaker …

(8) Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox might just be the best thing about the ailing AL Central franchise this season . A possible candidate for the AL Cy Young Award , it is unlikely that he will win the award playing on a team with a losing record , while being uncompetitive throughout this season. Matt Hart/ UPI …

(9) Max Scherzer , left and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers are seen here at Comerica Park in Detroit , Michigan , during a regular season game . With the addition of David Price to their roster the Tigers now have three AL Cy Young Award winners in their lineup . Currently engaged in a series with the New York Yankees , the team does need to win the series to keep up the momentum, while leading the list of AL wildcard candidates. AP Photo/ Richie Curtis …

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

Born to be bland or simply being bland?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

Picture and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Big

Shaking her moneymaker .

Posted in Football, http://wp.me/poxLH-9eh, NFL, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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

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

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

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Slideshow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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Picture and slideshow gallery details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

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Perky

Always revealing and then some .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

More of Ewa, will always be a pleasure .

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

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

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

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

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Slideshow.

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

Courtesy of Fox News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) August 1, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

:)

Picture and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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tophatal …….

Tophatal’s Blog on Facebook.com

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

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

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

For your consideration ………

For your consideration ….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery.

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

:)

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

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

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

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

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

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NCAA Football

FBS rankings (AP)

Week one college football schedule

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NFL news

NFL transactions

NFL preseason schedule (week one)

NFL regular season schedule (week one)

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

Posted in College Football, Football, http://wp.me/poxLH-9ai, Mark Emmert, NCAA, NFL, Sports, Sports & Social Commentary, Sports Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

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

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

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

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Slideshow .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MLB news and press releases

MLB teams’ transactions

MLB team payrolls

MLB free agents

MLB standings and wildcard standings

MLB schedule three days at a glance

MLB probable pitchers

MLB results

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

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


Nor even my “kicks” ever looked this good !

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Slideshow .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Picture gallery .

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

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Playboy model Regina Deutinger .

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