The pride and the passion ..

The pride and the passion

With so much happening over the last few days within the sports’ world, fans have not had enough time to collect themselves and to digest all of the information and news emanating from each avenue. The NBA Draft came and went , with little of note beyond the New York Knicks and in particular Phil Jackson proving that he is simply no better or worse than Isiah Thomas as an NBA executive. Granted, Thomas was able to achieve a great deal of havoc within and outside of the organization without having much success on or off the court. In the case of Jackson , he set about presiding over one of the worst seasons ever witnessed in the history of the New York Knicks.

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Phil Jackson and the coaching staff , then set about making their picks in this draft , taking as the fourth overall pick from the first round, Serbian Kristaps Porzingis . To understand the decision, one would also to have to acknowledge the fact it was deemed bewildering by the franchise’s fans who yearned for a player would be able to have an immediate impact for the Knicks. Porzingus in most circles is considered a project and not much else beyond that.

If the New York Knicks are to succeed, then they are going to need players, who are ready to play in the league and not be developed over the course of the next two to three years .

Given the fact beyond Carmelo Anthony, there seems to be no one else on the current Knicks’ roster able to provide the team with anything meaningful by way of productivity , and it easy to understand the bewilderment of their fans and the lack of progress seen or otherwise throughout much of last season with the New York Knicks.

With the choice of Porzingis in the first round by New York, then to be followed by their trading of Tim Hardaway Jr to the Atlanta Hawks for Jerian Grant , acquiring Willy Hernangomez from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for two future second draft choice and money. Somehow, it is hard to explain what Phil Jackson and the front office hope to gain from the acquisitions much less the draft choices , given the poor coaching acumen shown by head coach Derek Fisher and his coaching staff. Fisher for his part has been unable to explain, why it was the team failed to meet his expectations and that of the fans. Granted, Carmelo Anthony missed a sizable chunk of the regular season schedule, managing to play in only forty games during this past regular season.

Anthony has never provided much leadership on the court, simply being nothing more than an offensive minded player . Yet, it is now being reported the former NBA scoring champion is disgruntled at the moves made by the organization. Is it really that much of a surprise to begin with ? Never-mind the fact Carmelo remained with the Knicks in the pursuit of money , rather than seeking to fulfill a goal of playing for a contender. Regrets , most definitely, but the idiots providing the player with their input, as well as the Knicks’ front office, have provided nothing but comedic value to the season , along with the player’s own asinine insistence he remained in New York to fulfill his ambition of winning an NBA title. Four decades and counting, the New York Knicks have barely sniffed or touched the Larry O’Brien Trophy , while being able to call it their very own and signifying themselves as champions.

Injuries asides , there should be no excuses made for the team’s lackluster performances and poor record, but it remains one of the main focal points of another pitiful season, one of no passion from the players, much less among the coaching staff or from within the front office. Team owner James Dolan remains an executive who seems disinterested, simply knowing the franchise remains the most valuable and profitable of the NBA’s thirty teams.

The NBA hierarchy tries to make more out this annual farce, with the NBA Draft barely drawing any notice among the viewing public by way of its broadcast with ESPN or the league’s own cable outlet , the NBA Network. Yet for all sense and purpose the NBA makes more of it than is utterly necessary. In the aftermath of witnessing a less than exhilarating NBA Finals , where the Golden State Warriors had the better of their opponents the Cleveland Cavaliers and the asinine apologies being made by the LeBron James’ supporters. It begs the question , where does the league now go from here ? Six NBA Finals’ appearances for the four-time NBA League MVP and two wins , has now left many wondering if the ten-year veteran will win another NBA title. Clearly , without a team to complement his skill-set, James cannot do it all by himself , in spite of the ongoing ridiculous comparisons being made with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. Apathy and clear stupidity seems to be the norm among the protagonists of that particular debate.

I have often been told athletes now compete for the glory , but in the world of professional sports , it now has become about the “ bling-bling” , selling an image , brand management , fame and fortune . In the world of the NBA , it has become paramount and one of the primary reasons the league has become stale and vapid . Current NBA Commissioner Adam Silver may well be pursuing ideas, seeking to realign the league’s image , but I believe his predecessor David Stern placed the league on its downward slide , with it all taking shape over the past two decades. There is no pride or passion within the NBA and it has become a soulless entity , without character and a real identity.

With Golden State having claimed their first title in four decades , the franchise will now set about the task of improving for next season . Two key pieces are already in place with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson seen as the keys to the Warriors’ long-term future. Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr has the backing of an organization ambitious to build upon this season’s success . Owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber , alongside consultant Jerry West have laid a formidable foundation from which to build upon and made the Warriors a desirable destination for a free agent to seek out winning an NBA title.

From my own perspective I believe the franchise will be a prohibitive favorite to win the title next season, even with the odds-makers in Las Vegas bearing down on the Cleveland Cavaliers , simply because of the LeBron James’ factor. Predicated upon what the Cavaliers’ front office is able to achieve , re-signing Kevin Love is most certainly a pressing need for the Eastern Conference champions, but it is nowhere near a forgone conclusion , Love wishes to remain in Cleveland. Cleveland’s needs are many and it remains to be seen what decisions are likely to be made by GM David Griffin and head coach David Blatt.

Warriors’ GM Bob Myers after his successful season at the helm of the organization had a very good draft class and it will be interesting to see how the new rookies acclimatize themselves to being members of an NBA championship team , even if they are likely to be losses from the team’s roster. The nucleus of the team will remain intact as Golden State looks to make a successful defense of their title this upcoming season.

A woefully inept season after the era of LeBron James and the success attained has left fans of the Miami Heat feeling bitter and sour. Now it appears the organization might well be willing to move on after what appears to be conflicting rumors concerning the long-term future of Dwyane Wade. The former Finals MVP has been nowhere near the player who brought the franchise their first NBA title and with it being the ” Pride of South Beach” . Wade might well have been part of Miami’s two later successes, but much of that can be put down to the exploits of his former teammate and close confidante LeBron James. And as close as the two players are said to be , I wonder if Wade was made aware of James’ intent to leave the Eastern based franchise at the end of the previous season after the disappointment of losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2014 NBA Finals.

During the off-season, Pat Riley and his closest advisers within the front office will have several meaningful decisions to make concerning Wade and several of the other Heat unrestricted free agents. Riley will have to consider the cap as well as whether or not it would be in the best interests of the Heat to retain a player who in recent years has become injury prone and less of a contributory factor , lacking leadership and a proven offensive weapon, beyond Luol Deng and the sporadic play of Chris Bosh , who like Dwyane Wade has his best years behind him , far behind him, that he can barely see it from the view of a rear-view mirror. In some respects the roster of the Heat might well have gotten younger , but several of these players have yet to show the ability that they are capable of playing in this league. Erik Spoelstra and his coaching staff will be back at the drawing board searching for answers once again after such a disappointing season.

It will be interesting to see if Dwyane Wade joins LeBron James in Cleveland or jumps to another contender, either in the East or Western Conference. Wade’s years of earning a top-notch salary have now passed and the thought appears to be he is likely to sign a minimal deal , one likely to be in line with a player of his experience and not much else beyond that.

As an avid San Antonio Spurs’ fan the disappointment of seeing the team bow out in the early stages of the NBA Playoffs was not only disappointing, but I felt the team lacked direction heading into the postseason. Granted , Kawhi Leonard coming off a sensational season and his Finals’ MVP run , a great deal more was expected from this Gregg Popopvich coached team.

The aging wonder , Tim Duncan is still able to play at a high level , even if he has lost a step or two. Teammates , Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli are still able to work their wizardry when called upon to do so. But now is the time for the young guns on the roster to step up and take the lead , if the success of the franchise is to continue.

Five-time championship winning head coach , Popovich has written his legacy in the record books and his achievements speak for themselves. Peter Holt and RC Buford have been no slouches with their wizardry and custodianship of the Spurs’ franchise. The two are indelibly linked with the head coach , the famed trio now on the roster alongside perhaps San Antonio’s best player in its history , The Admiral , David Robinson .

I certainly believe the San Antonio Spurs will be able to challenge for postseason honors this upcoming season given the consistency shown by the franchise over the last eighteen seasons. They are likely to be seen as one of the favorites within the Western Conference alongside the Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies , Los Angeles Clippers and the reigning champions , the Golden State Warriors. San Antonio simply went about their normal business during the draft , as they have often done over the past few years , managing to pick up players who are then able to the readiness of the team. Nikola Milutinov and Cady Lalanne have become the newest members of the Spurs and it will be interesting to see their development within the organization , with their being placed within the development structure of the franchise before making their professional debuts within the NBA during a regular season game.

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Do you believe the state of the NBA is one of the teams lacking passion and a great deal of pride ? Or has it more to do with the state of the game being one of sheer greed and a lack of insight , leadership within the union , hierarchy and the owners ?

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Tophatal

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The devil are all in the details

The devil are all in the details

So in the aftermath of the NBA Finals series’ loss, it would appear the apathetic fools within the press and fans’ apologists for LeBron James are making the excuses for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors. It would also appear that these so called journalists have overlooked the bare facts throughout the series and it simply was the fact Cleveland at no point during the series, were they good enough to defeat the Warriors and this was also borne out during the regular season meetings between the two teams.

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For the Cavaliers this off-season beyond the NBA Draft, it will actually be about how GM David Griffin seeks to bolster the team’s roster , with the likelihood of attrition through the loss of free agents and team acquisitions. Head coach David Blatt , Tyron Lue and the coaching staff may well have misjudged the Golden State Warriors but the biggest signs of complacency came by way of Dan Gilbert and his belief the team could survive around the skill-set of LeBron James with a complement of players who were never showed any signs of cohesion as a team in spite of a winning streak during the regular season which on appearance was impressive.

This aberration would not last during the NBA Playoffs and where the Cavaliers now go from here will be dependent upon the steps taken by the organization as they move forward. It will be interesting to see how things now pan out with the Draft and the moves made by the franchise as they seek to bolster the team’s roster.

The Miami Heat’s season not only ended abruptly, but for the franchise having lost LeBron James during the off-season , the organization simply believed it could proceed ahead behind the talents of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . For head coach Erik Spoelstra , the disappointment of the Heat’s lack of success , could be put down to the fact this team simply wasn’t good enough to get the job done along with the complacency and ego of Pat Riley as the lead front office executive for the Miami Heat. To state the Heat has real issues would be an understatement and in complete disarray ,beyond the fact Miami has to deal with its long and short-term future. With Dwyane Wade now contemplating his departure or the possibility of Pat Riley seeking to move on from the former Finals MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals , with the Heat’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks . In the ensuing years Wade has become a mere shadow of the player who was the Finals’ MVP against the Mavericks.

From my own perspective, I believe the Miami Heat will now be an Eastern Conference franchise likely to struggle during the upcoming season , where they are likely to be no better than a fifth or sixth seed within the conference.

What is it about the idiocy of the New York Knicks’ fans and their ongoing apathy , never-mind the ridiculous belief that Phil Jackson as the Head of Basketball Operations has the knowledge to turn around a franchise which over the past four seasons has simply been nothing more than absolute eyesore ? Jackson for some inexplicable reason pieced together a coaching staff led by Derek Fisher which had no real in-depth experience in terms of coaching , let alone a roster whose record this past season was among the worst in the entire conference as well as the league as a whole. Now in the aftermath of the first round of this NBA Draft , Knicks’ fans have shown their utter disgust with the franchise’s first round overall pick and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of things likely to be get any better as the draft continues .

Carmelo Anthony’s season was cut short due to injury and the team simply became lackluster and uncompetitive but yet , their fans continued to be of the belief , Jackson’s intent was to build for their long-term future. Well, if the picks taken are anything to go by, then the franchise will be one surely to be ridiculed during the upcoming season , even if they are able to land a big free agent acquisition during the off-season.

Kristap Porzingis was taken as the Knicks’ first round pick , fourth overall , behind Karl-Anthony Towns taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves , another franchise said to be in a rebuilding mode. as they seek a solution to their long-term future.

Hard to envisage how anyone can believe the New York Knicks will be able to convince their fans, Porzingis will indeed be able to contribute to a team where both defensively and offensively they offered little to appreciate to even the most discerning fans of the game. I for one , believe the Knicks will be no better off with or without Carmelo Anthony, as Fisher remains a very poor work in progress as an NBA coach !

Two Majors in and the PGA Tour season has simply been one where Jordan Spieth has taken the Tour and made it his own alongside world number one ranked golfer Rory McIlroy . Spieth has captured The Masters and US Open , joining a select few golfers to have won two of the four Grand Slam Majors in a season (calendar year). Half way to a Grand Slam , and Jordan Spieth can write his own legacy in golf’s folklore.

Tiger Woods was simply abysmal during the US Open failing on so many counts to show any type of consistency throughout this season , while having not won a Major since 2008. Excuses by the player simply cannot belie the fact he is no longer relevant on the PGA Tour and still a long way off from regaining the form that once made him so dominant. Hard to envisage how Woods can be viewed as a player capable of winning another Grand Slam Major adding to his career tally of fourteen wins , much less winning another PGA Tour title of any significance this season.

The next Grand Slam Major on the PGA Tour schedule will be The Open being staged at St Andrews Golf Club , Fife , Scotland from the 15th to July 19th, 2015 . With over $9.2 million in prize money and $1.6 million to the winner , it will be interesting to see if Jordan Spieth can make it three consecutive Majors , or will another top-ten player in the rankings, have their name placed on the Claret Jug signifying the winner of The Open . For now , as the struggles of Tiger Woods continue , the accolades for Spieth are now there for everyone to see.

I may well have missed something , but with all of the stupidity now encompassing the MLB season, it is hard to imagine if there has been anything at all special about the season , as it plays out. Granted , Washington Nationals’ starting pitcher Max Scherzer’s sixteen strikeout game closely followed by a no-hitter has many wondering whether or not this season , we will see more exemplary feats on the mound by the league’s top starting pitching aces. Scherzer and Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox have been amazing for their respective teams . Though it could be said, Sale has been the sole reason to watch the White Sox , given their team’s poor showing within the AL Central, it must be said if the team can find some real semblance of consistency , they might well be in with a chance of actually making inroads in the divisional lead of the Kansas City Royals .

An 8-7 victory over divisional rivals the Detroit Tigers on the road might well provide Robin Ventura and his staff with some relief for the moment and it will certainly be interesting to see how the White Sox deals with their weekend scheduled series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan culminating with the final game of the four-game series on Sunday June 28th June, where the starting pitchers will be Jeff Samardzija of the White Sox and David Price of the Tigers.

Elsewhere around the game of baseball, Alex Rodriguez continues to leave his own indelible mark upon baseball, having collected over six hundred and sixty-five home runs, while closing in on surpassing three thousand career hits. Rodriguez and the New York Yankees find themselves just a mere game adrift of the Tampa Bay Rays in a very uncompetitive AL East . While the top three teams within the division are playing above .500 baseball, the combatants within the AL are not proving to be among the best the league has to offer. New York’s 10-2 annihilation of the Philadelphia Phillies has given Philadelphia’s fans and the front office some real cause for concern . Joe Girardi’s players simply had their way with a team lacking leadership among the playing staff and even more so acumen by way of the managerial staff led by Ryne Sandberg.

Alex Rodriguez’s productivity alongside that of Mark Teixeira has been one of the primary reasons behind the Yankees’ success this season along with some solid if not overly spectacular pitching from their starting rotation and relievers.

Thursday evening will offer the fans the chance to see the New York Yankees take on one of the surprise teams of this still young MLB season when they face the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston Texas, with Adam Warren of the Yankees facing Dallas Keuchel of the Astros , in a game featuring two of the AL’s less experienced starting pitchers. Rodriguez for his part will be looking to inch his way up the statistical rankings even further , as he again passes another all-time great within baseball’s annals of singular achievements. Baseball remains tarnished, because of its own self-indulgence , lack of leadership among its hierarchy and the ongoing piousness of the MLBPA , where the union itself, has failed unrepentantly to rein in the misconduct of their players , while seeking to apportion blame among the owners and the upper echelons of the game’s ruling body.

Debating has almost become redundant as to the misdeeds of Alex Rodriguez , while others through their apathy, still seek to make excuses for the behavior of Pete Rose , a player whose character like Rodriguez has to come into question. Both ran afoul of the rules of the game, their lack of contrition and honesty cannot be overlooked , but yet the calls continue for Rose to be inducted into the Hall of Fame , solely because of his feasts as a player. Last I looked beyond Pete Rose’s achievements , one of the cardinals rules concerning this game . was that of upholding its integrity . None of which , either Rose or Alex Rodriguez has sought to do over the course of their collective careers. History may well seek to judge each , based on the merits of their contributions , but one thing cannot be denied and it has been. both have brought a great deal of disgrace to a sport still lacking in character and leadership both on and off the field of play. Somehow , this all seems to have been overlooked by those who claim to be real fans of the game of baseball.

The NFL remains a year-round soap opera of either ridicule or simply one , where if it isn’t the lack of competitive play on the field . Then fans are left wondering what further fiasco awaits them , either with the apathy shown by Roger Goodell or with the misconduct of a current or former NFL player. Hall of Fame inductee Warren Sapp whose career as it waned , was one of a player whose talents began to mirror his ongoing stupidity and being prone to some irrational behavior. Having recently been fired from his television duties as an NFL analyst, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders’ defensive defensive end now finds himself at the center of a battery and domestic abuse charge , which further heightens the issue for the NFL and their lack of dealing with a matter , which has shadowed the league over the past few years. Goodell remains incredulous concerning the issue of domestic violence, while the Players’ Union has been less than proactive in addressing the misconduct of their members.

DeMauice Smith, current NFLPA Executive Director has offered little by way of a statement concerning conduct of his members and there seems to be little doubt the union hierarchy’s only concerns are that of the players being protected , even when there appears to damning evidence as to their misconduct. Clearly, the case , concerning the likes of Ray McDonald and Ray Rice.

The commissioner’s missteps in dealing with Ray Rice have been well-chronicled and it would be fair to suggest the league’s lack of action when first made aware of the allegations concerning Darren Sharper added insult to injury, as he was still retained by the NFL Network as an analyst even upon his arraignment and then indictment by the judicial system . It begs the question, what type of leadership is there to be seen within the NFL and how is it Roger Goodell still remains in his position as the league’s highest ranking executive ?

The league (NFL) may well remain popular, but a number of its fans and major corporate sponsors are growing increasingly indignant with Roger Goodell and his ongoing stupidity, without one having to delve further into the ongoing apathy of some of the male fans, with their rampant disregard concerning the conduct of the league’s players. It would appear for them . misogyny is acceptable. alongside the doses of racism and homophobia the NFL denies takes place within its fraternity, but the proof has been there for all to witness, alongside the laissez-faire entrenched attitude of the league hierarchy and the union.

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What are your thoughts concerning the points raised within this article ?

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Tophatal …

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Can I have some cheese with that whine ?

Can I have some cheese with that whine ?

In the aftermath of the fallout of the Cleveland Cavaliers having lost their encounter in the NBA Finals after their humiliating game six debacle to the Golden State Warriors. It would appear the LeBron James’ apologists are coming out in droves to the defense of the player and his having lost a second consecutive Finals’ series in light of the Miami Heat’s embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs . James’ legacy though not in tatters, is now becoming somewhat languid, even when idiots are still trying to make comparisons to basketball legends Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan.

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Five consecutive NBA Finals’ appearances with two wins and three rather embarrassing losses has to be needling for a player now yearning to be seen as the best player in the history of the NBA. Statistically , James ranks up there with some of the all-time greats and his Finals’ average for this ranks among the highest in NBA Finals’ history , but even that wasn’t enough of itself to stop the Warriors from marching on to their first NBA title in forty-one years.

With the triumph , Golden State’s head coach, Steve Kerr has joined a select few of coaches who have won an NBA title at their first attempt while having won a title as a player. As to what this outcome might suggest about the continued struggle of LeBron James and the fact he was unable to guarantee a title for the city of Cleveland and in particular for the Cavaliers’ fans, might have more to do with the complacency of the organization as well as the team and the player himself.

James faced an impossible task from the outset , with the loss of Kevin Love in the early rounds of the NBA Playoffs and then seeing teammate Kyrie Irving’s postseason come to an abrupt end. Fans and the media alike, seem to have forgotten also , Cleveland’s head coach David Blatt was still a rookie head coach, with no NBA coaching experience , but yet he was being asked to imbue his coaching acumen on a team, while going up a head coach with vast playoff experience as a player , with Kerr having won five NBA titles during his playing career with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.

For David Griffin and Dan Gilbert, this off-season will prove to be an extremely tough one for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ franchise , as they look to assess the team’s roster and its needs moving forward. Clearly , Griffin will have to aid David Blatt in seeking to improve the roster by adding players who complement the skill-set of LeBron James.

I have no doubt the four-time NBA League MVP is a great player and undoubtedly the best player of his generation , most certainly the best player to have entered the NBA since 2003. While we have seen the ascent of players such as Steph Curry and Kevin Durant , the issue which now plagues the NBA is that, there are no team rivalries of any merit and there is most certainly no player rivalry matching the combative rivalry seen between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics created the unprecedented intensity seen between two of the NBA’s most revered franchises. We are unlikely to see that type of rivalry or intensity again, between two teams during postseason play much less during the regular season. As to the view that LeBron James and the Cavaliers might now be the best team in the Eastern Conference. who can prove to be dominant for years to come . Well, that would be predicated upon how much longer James might well be willing to prolong his career. We seem to forget James has now been in the NBA for twelve years having been drafted during the 2003 season with perhaps the best NBA Draft class of the last fifteen years. He has been able to rewrite history with many personal feats, but as we know, the great players tend to be judged by the championships won as well as their singular accomplishments.

During the NBA off-season there will be a number of major moves made without taking into account what is likely to place during the upcoming NBA Draft . With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the first and overall number one pick in this draft, for everyone else , things should then begin to fall into place , unless a team makes a decision to trade up or down during the proceedings.

For this season’s NBA champions the Golden State Warriors they can now sit back and bask in their triumph if only momentarily and then proceed in the next step and that is to somehow make this team better. Undoubtedly, they were by far in a way the best team in the Western Conference without a doubt , their regular season record simply showed they were also the best team in the league during the regular season. It was then emphasized during the NBA Playoffs and then rubber stamped with their decisive slaying of the Cleveland Cavaliers to close out the postseason with their title triumph. Nothing else really needs to be said beyond congratulating Andre Iguodala on winning the Finals’ MVP Award and to reiterate why Jerry West is the best front office executive in the NBA , if not in the league’s history.

For team owners’ Joe Lacob and Peter Guber this has proven to be a triumphant two years, during which, since having acquired the team, this organization has simply been on the ascent and must now be considered the best NBA franchise in the state of California and they certainly have to be considered among the best ran teams in the entire league. The ignominy of not having won a title in four decades is now gone and their future now seems bright with Steph Curry , Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and veteran Andre Iguodala , hero of the series’ deciding game six of the NBA Finals. It will be interesting to what steps are likely to be taken to bolster the Warriors’ lineup during the off-season , with their likely to be some attrition , with some players leaving for elsewhere or likely traded.

For Steph Curry this has been the season where they player has now proven himself to be one of the league’s elite players and now a perennial All Star , while also now having the team seen as an early favorite for next season’s championship in spite of this idiotic insistence the Cleveland Cavaliers will remain the team to beat in the NBA . Cleveland plays in a mediocre division and conference , where their only threat appears to be their own complacency , if nothing else.

Best record in baseball and now all of a sudden the legacy of the St Louis Cardinals has now become all the more perplexing as the conversation now encompasses claims that a senior official within the organization may well have initiated the hacking and information being acquired from the Houston Astros . All the more salacious until you consider Jeff Luhnow , general manager of the Astros, was once a senior executive with the Cardinals. The FBI is still in the midst of an ongoing investigation and John Mozeliak has issued a formal statement insisting any wrongdoing by anyone found to be at the center of this allegation will be fired from the employment of the St Louis Cardinals. Hard to believe that one of baseball’s most revered organizations is now at the center of such a scandal , though not unimaginable when you consider absurdity of this all , with the federal government’s investigative arm has also been at the center of the current investigation concerning soccer’s international governing body FIFA.

Joseph ‘ Sepp’ Blatter’s resignation from the top executive position within the organization , not without merit, has me wondering if we are likely to see the same situation arise with the St Louis Cardinals.

John Mozeliak as the general manager of the NL Central based franchise has to be seen as being proactive in the midst of this all, while the reputation of the ball-club takes a hit . Yet, , in the midst of this all , my question has to be , why is anyone actually surprised by this at all ? It is not as if baseball has ever been a sport that has been above reproach , let alone at any time during its history had an ounce of integrity , much less leadership of any kind among its most senior ranks.

When it is all said and done, the sport (baseball) remains something of a farce, still wrapped in its own self-importance as to where its stands socially and for that matter , as America’s pastime and one of its most beloved sporting spectacles.

Will the wagons be circled around the St Louis Cardinals as baseball seeks to protect one of their own or will there be cooperation between the ball-club and the FBI as the agency completes its ongoing investigation ? Rob Manfred has yet to issue a public statement on the matter , but I suspect he will be monitoring the situation intensely , perhaps even more so than anything that his predecessor Bud Selig has known to have done when it came to any grave situation which has tarnished the reputation of the game. Yet , if for no other reason , why should we expect Manfred to take any type of proactive stance , given his unilateral backing of his predecessor repeatedly on a litany of actions. The commissioner’s biography suggests he was at the centerpiece of baseball’s collective bargaining agreement and the alleged suggestion, has been through his actions whereby baseball and the union have a very close relationship. This has to be the furthest thing from the truth given the ongoing tensions between the MLBPA and the league hierarchy.

For the moment I do not believe this latest baseball scandal will do anything to derail the Cardinals’ present dominance of the NL Central as they look to prove themselves worthy as a legitimate contender for this season’s World Series . It will also be interesting to see how this is all viewed by baseball’s fraternity and the players themselves who if anything have always remained reluctant to speak openly on a litany of issues affecting their sport, if only to gloss it all over as non-important. I guess the steroid era and all of its glow should also be deemed that way along with the media’s lack of due diligence in truly delving into the matter with any great degree.

Mustering together a band of stars and now for some reason the San Diego Padres have placed the blame for the team’s follies on their now fired manager Bud Black . Interim manager Pat Murphy takes over the reins while the front office assesses his progress over the remainder of the season. Padres GM A J Preller now has to deal with the fact San Diego has failed miserably this season , while the money vested in his players have simply brought about nothing tangible on or off the field of play. A 3-1 victory over the equally abysmal Oakland Athletics and you now have to ask , where to the Padres now go from here ? Well, next up, San Diego will match their wits against the Arizona Diamondbacks , who they meet at Chase Field , Phoenix Arizona .

In recent weeks pitcher Chris Sale has been putting up some astonishing numbers for the Chicago White Sox , but it has been of no avail for the last placed White Sox who sit at the bottom of the AL Central where the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins sit atop of the pile , with the Detroit Tigers 5 ½ games behind the division leading Royals. Robin Ventura and his managerial staff will be hard pressed to have this team playing with a great deal of resolve given their present predicament. The failure of the White Sox remains twofold as they have simply been unable to show any consistency throughout the season and it would appear the front office and the likelihood changes will have to be made at some point during the season , should the team not fail to show any type of renewed and competitive form.

Chris Sale might be considered the leading contender among the starting pitchers in the AL for this season’s AL Cy Young Award , but with still a great deal to play for I doubt by season’s end he will be among the front runners for the awards ! A seven-game losing streak has come to symbolize the dreariness and lack of commitment from the Chicago White Sox this season. When they take on the Texas Rangers at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois , on Friday , it will be interesting to see what these two teams will have in store for each other when they come face to face. This will one of a slew of games taking place as the weekend schedule begins in earnest on the 19th June.

Recent success has been fleeting for the Chicago White Sox with their last appearance in the postseason coming in 2008 , where they made it to the ALDS , losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in four games. World Series’ success came by way of their whitewash of the then NL Central based Houston Astros in 2005. A decade on and it would appear the memories of that particular triumph are already long forgotten.

With the second of golf’s Majors now underway, the US Open being staged at Chambers Bay Golf Club , University Place in Washington State. The topic of the moment has been the abysmal first round showing of former world number one ranked golfer Tiger Woods . His ten over-par eighty (80) has been his worst score in a Major and most certainly among the worst of his playing career in the PGA. As to what this might suggest about Woods and his play at present , has more to do with his mental state and physical play. He may well still be a major attraction on the Tour , but he is far from being the best player in the world much less among the top American player of the moment.

Tiger Woods is simply a major draw, in name only , and that might now be the only thing he has to his advantage. The expectations are no longer one, where he is likely to torch a course with a blistering round and an amazing array of stroke play. Instead , as witnessed during his play in the first round at Chambers Bay, mistimed shots and errant play , seemed to be in his bag of tricks on Thursday. The second round gets underway on Friday and Woods sits some fifteen strokes behind joint leaders , Henrik Stenson and Dustin Johnson , who lead the tournament with a five under-par 65.

(11)

Tiger Woods reacts to his tee shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Chambers Bay on Thursday, June 18, 2015 in University Place, Wash. At one point during his first round Woods’ triple bogeyed a hole leading to his 10 over par score of 80 in the US Open. AP Photo/Matt York

Tiger Woods has now become a mere shadow of his once dominant golf persona and his personal life is once again is in complete disarray , with the ending of his relationship Olympic skier and world champion Lindsey Vonn. It was revealed that Woods had a relationship with a therapist , while his so called relationship with Vonn was said to be ongoing. Back to his old ways , where golf now seems to be taking a back seat and where he has actually mastered his stroke play off the course , while his play on the course has now become an excuse and with his usual ongoing rhetoric and pragmatism for his recent follies . Whine on Tiger , just simply whine on and perhaps you would also like some cheese with that as well ?

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Do you believe it a necessity for athletes to make excuses for their errant or at times underwhelming play , when it leads to either individual or team failure ? Or is it now something that fans should now come accustomed to ?

Tophatal

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Bi#ch better have my money

Bi#ch better have my money

The sports’ weekend threw up no great surprises , other than the fact , UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velazquez was dethroned as the division’s champion by his Brazilian opponent Fabricio Werdum . For UFC President Dana White , he has seen two prominent champions he believed would become the face of his sport, come up short when it mattered most. Mixed Martial Arts now seems to be at a crossroads , simply bearing out a fact, as a sport there are too few major draws with the staying power now to remain dominant within the genre. Now , other than female protagonist Ronda Rousey , the UFC is chasing after its own tail , seeking to remain vibrant and posing a greater threat to the sport of boxing , which over the past decade and a half , has been a sport , waning in popularity , while having no major draw other than Floyd Mayweather , as its most recognizable fighter.

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In the coming months, it will be interesting to see what either sport has to offer their respective fans by way entertaining and competitive bouts likely to bring out a slew of fans to attend their scheduled fights.

Elsewhere , the NBA Finals , now seems to becoming more of a struggle for LeBron James and what looks to be his sole attempt to bring back a professional team title to the state of Ohio. James has put on a one man show , as the Cleveland Cavaliers seek to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the Finals. Golden State for their part took apart the Cavaliers to win a pivotal game five , taking a 3-2 lead in the best of seven-game NBA Finals’ series.

Steph Curry put on another solid display, as he led the Warriors to within one game of winning their first title in four decades. When this series resumes on Tuesday evening , fans will either witness the Cavaliers evening the series , which I now believe to be doubtful or the crowning of the Golden State Warriors as the NBA champions for this season. It would be a fitting season for the team , through their consistency have shown themselves to be the best in the NBA over the span of eighty-two games.

For LeBron James , if he and the Cavaliers fail in their endeavors , then there will be a great deal of criticism not just of James , but also of the entire organization and how the Cavaliers were assembled as a team to complement the skill-set of the NBA star. From my own perspective , James’ move back to Cleveland simply was one out of sheer frustration , after the debacle of last season in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs , the complacency shown by the Miami Heat and the front office led by team President Pat Riley. It was the front office executive’s unwillingness to bolster this roster ,which ultimately led to the Heat’s downfall in the series against the San Antonio Spurs , who proved to the far better team over the course of the series.

The expectations are high for the US Women’s National Team as the FIFA World Cup gets underway. With the ongoing farce now facing soccer’s international governing body and the idiocy of calls by the fans without a clue concerning the sport that the body should be folded . It begs the question if they feel FIFA has to be torn apart , then why not the same fate being met with the NCAA , MLB , NBA and NFL ? All four entities over the years , whose transparency by way of their business conduct leaves a great deal to be desired . It would appear that there is an abundance of stupidity to be found with the North American sports’ fan without there being much evidence to be shown in terms of their intelligence.

Team USA is considered to be among the favorites for this tournament behind the defending champions Japan, Germany , Sweden and Brazil and tournament hosts Canada are seen as the tournament favorites. US team manager Jill Ellis has a tough task ahead of her as she seeks to get the team into the next round beyond the group stages of this World Cup. A disappointing scoreless draw against Sweden still has Team USA leading Group D . The team’s final match in the group stages , pits them against Nigeria in a must win contest , that will go a long way in deciding where and who the US will play in the knockout stages of the competition. For players such as Abby Wambach , Alexis Morgan and Hope Solo , theirs becomes a situation where they have to prove the team worthy contenders in the tournament.

Hope Solo in recent weeks, has become the center of warranted attention and the fact, USA Soccer has deemed it appropriate to have the goalkeeper remain part of the US team roster in spite of the fact the player is at the center of a legal situation , wherein she has been accused , though yet to be charged with the aggravated assault of her younger siblings.

Solo , has refused to answer any questions concerning the issue , choosing instead to have her attorney address the matter , with her legal representative citing the investigation, is still pending . Bear in mind , the sports’ landscape within North America in recent months has seen a full spate of legal issues with athletes battering their spouses , partners and even their children. One has to pose the question , why it is , USA Soccer has chosen not to reprimand Hope Solo for her behavior , even though it has not been the first time , where the player has actually ran afoul of the law ? It would appear there remains a great deal of hypocrisy not just among the fans , but also within the hierarchy of the NFL and USA Soccer under the auspices of USA Soccer President Sunil Gulati .

It doesn’t seem all that long ago the Boston Red Sox were triumphant in winning the franchise’s third World Series within the space of five years, with the ball-club basking in the limelight of being crowned champions and atop of the baseball world. With John Farrell leading the team in that series’ victory over the St Louis Cardinals .

To comprehend Red Sox’s fall from grace since 2013 , has been as bewildering for their fans as their team’s record would suggest , from then until now . As losers of six straight and seven of their last ten games , it is easy to understand why the Boston Red Sox have been such a tremendous disappointment while having one of the largest payrolls in all of baseball. For the moment , it would appear the jobs of the managerial staff and GM Ben Cherington remains safe , but I cannot help but wonder how much longer will the managing partners remain tolerant and specifically will John W Henry remain patient , before coming to the conclusion the manager and quite possibly the general manager will have to go ! If neither John Farrell or Cherington can turn things around quickly , then there should be no other option but to fire the manager and the franchise’s general manager. The players acquired over the course of the off-season and leading into this year , have proven to be a monumental failure , without taking into account the veterans who have been part of the franchise since 2013.

A 13-5 shellacking suffered at the hands of AL East divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays in a home loss at Fenway Park in Boston , had the home fans booing the home team , after another embarrassing defeat. On Monday , Boston will play host to the Atlanta Braves as they seek to make inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays , who head the AL East respectively. Rick Porcello will be on the mound for the Red Sox when he faces off against Williams Perez of the Braves in this intra-league contest.

The issues of the Red Sox are three-fold , as this team is simply poor in just about every facet of the game , from their pitching to their offense and defense . Red Sox players , Dustin Pedroia , David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez have seen their best days , now in their rear view , and it is hard to envisage where the ball club now goes from here as , the perceived expectations and promise from their younger players on the current roster have yet to be fulfilled . Xander Bogaerts , considered to be a future All Star exudes a lot of confidence, but he remains a project still learning the various facets of the game .

As the world turns , so does the never ending soap opera and the idiotic chapters of the NFL as a league , filled with ineptitude at just about every level of the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell exudes about as much confidence with his leadership abilities as might be found among the leaders of the Afghan and Iraqi military leadership, for what that might be worth. In this midst of it all, he shows about as much acumen, when it comes impartiality as might be found within the Justice System of a third world country devoid of democracy. Goodell now believes, he will be acting in the best interests of the NFL , should there be an arbitration hearing in the appeal’s case of New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady and the likelihood of his appealing his four-game suspension.

Far be it for me to suggest, Brady is without any guilt whatsoever and his role in the odious Deflate-Gate scandal . With the rising odor of excrement , which continually befalls the NFL , there is clear indication under the commissioner’s leadership , not a damn thing has been achieved , whereby the players are not willing to cheat, knowing full well whatever punishment is meted out. It is likely to be watered down during the appeals’ process. Justice as evidenced with the NFL, is not seen nor is it ever truly representative of anything bordering on anything meaningful or substantial by any stretch of the imagination. Bear in mind , even with the absurdity of the fans out there, who believe in spite of the NFL’s popularity, they believe apathy and the money being made by the league will be enough to assure us all of its relevance on the sporting landscape.

At present. I still trying to figure out this imbued mentality and at times audacious rationale and stupidity of so many general managers within the NFL. That asides, you then have simple selfishness of many of the players with their ludicrous contracts and guaranteed money by way of those deals. Nowhere has this been more self evident than with the idiocy of the Dallas Cowboys and the loss of their record breaking running back DeMarco Murray to free agency. Jerry Jones , owner and de-factoZ general manager explains away the decision as the price of doing business. Unfortunately, that business was pretty much laid to rest with the ongoing postseason and abysmal play of veteran quarterback Tony Romo , his never ending excuses for his lackluster displays come playoff time. Bear in mind.

Romo was given in excess of $50 million by way of his now valueless deal. For those who still believe the quarterback has what it takes to lead the team to a Superbowl. Might I suggest, you simply look at Tony Romo’s postseason record and how abysmal it remains , never mind the fact , his lack of leadership ability. Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson have both amassed better playoff records than the Cowboys’ quarterback during his ten year plus career in the NFL . Food for thought don’t you think considering their tenures in the league ? At no point during the apparent negotiations between DeMarco Murray’s agent and the Cowboys’ front office was there deemed to be a willingness by Tony Romo to renegotiate his contract in order to provide some cap relief whereby the Dallas might well have sought to sign Murray to a one-year deal . Instead the running back was allowed to leave joining divisional rivals the Philadelphia Eagles . Get the feeling , revenge will be a meal best served cold , when these two teams meet during their regular season divisional sorties, specifically from Murray’s point of view?

Playing in what has become an overrated division, the NFL East has become a modicum of sheer idiocy where the Cowboys’ season led to their aberration during the postseason . Add in the fact that there appears to be a number @ss kissing morons, choosing to drink out of the pot Chip Kelly has chosen to urinate and defecate in and it is easy to understand why both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles have failed so miserably over the past two seasons with their respective postseason forays.

With the preseason being nothing more than a league inducement for fans to part with their money needlessly, witnessing some mediocre play. I personally do not believe those in attendance should really expect anything special at from the teams during this preseason. This season the one thing we know will be made abundantly clear will be the fact the NFL will have raised , their cap level significantly above last season’s figure .

There are one hundred and twenty seven million reasons why former Chicago Bears’ front office executive Phil Emery should be considered an a$s . They can be summed up in two words , Jay Cutler . This being the sum Emery thought fit would be appropriate to secure the services of the quarterback, who in his years with the franchise has simply become an absolute eyesore as a player, never mind the lack leadership skills necessary take the team to the winning of a Superbowl. Cutler remains his generation’s answer to Jeff George in more ways than one could ever have imagined . Now anyone seeking to take the player off the Bears’ hands had better be justified in making such a decision while somehow being able to make use of his mediocre talents.

John Fox has been entrusted to turn the Bears around, as well as seeking some semblance of consistency from Jay Cutler . Easier said than done, given the player’s lack of resolve and being able to raise the level of his play and have it remain there over a prolonged period of time. At $16.5 million for this season, Cutler will not be the highest paid player or quarterback in the league , but be might just be the most overrated and undeserving of those players making in excess of $15 million for this upcoming season.

Continued signs of failure but yet Bears’ quarterback was signed to a seven-year $126 million deal which will not expire until 2021. Any chance of the franchise now seeking to trade the player or simply seek to cut him would prove to be a monumental disaster with the size of the contract and the money still owed to the player under the terms of his deal , being a major hindrance . AP Photo / Garry Wadlow

It will be interesting to see how John Fox fares in his first season with the Chicago Bears, as they seek to make inroads within the NFC North over the course of the preseason and the regular season if the Bears are to fare well at all during their 2015 sojourn. As good as some might deem Chicago to be , I certainly do not believe they are good enough to be the best team in the division or usurping the dominance of the Green Bay Packers and their franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers .

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What thoughts if any do you have concerning the salient points raised in this article ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for your continued support of this site as it is greatly appreciated !

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It’s my legacy …

It’s my legacy

Well the sporting weekend provided fans with a great deal of spectacle and some great individuals efforts by athletes and teams alike. While in the world of thoroughbred racing American Pharaoh made history as the first Triple Crown winner in almost four decades, having won the Belmont Stakes in Pimlico, New York with effortless ease. It begs the question will the feat itself provide the world of horse racing with enough interest where the “Sport of Kings” is now taken more seriously ?

Thoroughbred racing remains in a rut , and it has not been helped by a litany of controversy and the illegal actions of a number of trainers in recent years with their drugging of the equines (horses) to facilitate their running in races while obviously injured. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association for their part have simply been negligent with their overseeing of the sport on a national basis.


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American Pharaoh’s trainer Bob Baffert now adds to a long list of achievements in his racing career while for jockey Victor Espinoza , he joins a select few of jockeys to have won the Triple Crown , compromising of the Kentucky Derby , Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. It is undeniable that horse racing in North America needed something to take it out of its doldrums and add to its history. Whether or not American Pharaoh now races again will be dependent upon owner Ahmed Zayat and Bob Baffert , but clearly the horse will be worth untold millions by being put to stud , and likely bringing vast sums in breeding fees for Zayat Stables .

The second of Tennis’ Grand Slam tournaments ended in a fizzle rather than a great deal of excitement. Serena Williams won her twentieth Grand Slam singles’ title with some ease (6-3,6-7,6-2) , defeating Lucie Safarova for her third French Open title. For Williams she remains atop of the WTA rankings and by far the best female tennis player of her generation and likely to be seen as one the all-time greats, once she decides to call it quits. There have been few female players as dominant as Williams at her very best. .

For Williams, having already won a career Grand Slam , Australian Open , French , Wimbledon and US Open . All that now remains for the US player , is the fact of winning at several more Grand Slam singles’ titles, while looking to supplant legends such as Martina Navratilova , Margaret Court , Steffi Graf and Billie Jean King as the greatest female player in the history of the game. She will head into Wimbledon as the clear and unequivocal favorite, while looking to win her sixth title at the All England Tennis Club (AETC) .

If Serena Williams was seen as the clear-cut favorite at the French Open, then Novak Djokovic on the Men’s side had to have been viewed in the same light. As the world number one in the Men’s rankings, Djokovic was seeking to win the Men’s Singles title and with it a career Grand Slam. Rod Laver , Andre Agassi , Roger Federer , Rafa Nadal , Roy Emerson , Fred Perry and Donald Budge are the only men to have achieved the feat of winning all four Majors. This event was not to be for the Serbian as he fell to Stanislaw ‘Stan’ Warwinka in the Men’s Singles Finals, in four thrilling sets. As to what this might suggest about Djokovic’s failure, may explain a great deal about the competitiveness of the Men’s game and the very fact many have questioned why there no longer appears to be a truly dominant male player in tennis.

Novak Djokovic has now come to the crossroads, where if he is to be considered one of the greats of the modern era , his adding the French title to his mantel of Slam successes will have to come sooner , rather than later. Granted , Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl , never achieved a career Grand Slam , but the longevity of their individual careers and the titles won has added to their respective legacies.

Baseball’s season is slowly meandering to its midway point and already we have seen the teams have their highs and lows. Players in particular are now looking to make a name for themselves this season, with Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals finally putting together the type of season and productivity , many thought he was capable of doing. Among pitchers, the Tampa Bay Rays’ starting pitcher Chris Archer became the first pitcher in history to have pitched three consecutive games with double-digit strikeouts in each of the contests in question. The Rays for their part are currently challenging the New York Yankees for divisional prominence in the AL East division. Rookie manager Kevin Cash and his managerial staff have seen the team play some inspired baseball over the course of their schedule thus far. .

Both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have won seven of their last ten games , with the Yankees currently on six-game winning streak. New York has a home game facing the Washington Nationals , whereas the Rays take on the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida in a slew of games taking place on Monday, 8th Juneand Tuesday, 9th , 2015. From my own perspective, while the season still in its infancy , I believe the New York Yankees , Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals still have a great deal to prove over the remainder of this season !

Alex Rodriguez may well be inching his way to baseball immortality or as some might suggest, infamy. I have to wonder how his career and legacy will be viewed by baseball historians once it comes to an end. . Rodriguez recently passed Hall of Fame great Willie Mays for fourth all-time on the home-runs’ career list and is slowly making inroads on the career RBI list. The seven hundred career home runs’ plateau may not be reached this season by Rodriguez , but two thousand runs batted in , will be the next milestone reached in his career . Something likely to be achieved in his next game for the Yankees as they look to solidify their position within the division.

Chris Archer has proven himself to be one of the better young pitchers on a Rays’ staff , which as an organization has been built upon their pitching rather than their offense. Archer and the Rays will have to play at a high level over the course of this season, if the ball-club is to have any chance of winning the AL East or actually gain a wildcard berth and the chance of making the postseason.

The NBA Finals are now proving to be something of a one-man show as LeBron James seeks to do his utmost to bring the state of Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers their first professional sports’ title in the last four decades. Cleveland evened their series , taking game two against the Golden State Warriors , in a thrilling contest marked by several intense performances , but perhaps none more so than James’ triple double performance . Steph Curry may well have been outshone by the performance , but he was no slouch in the contest as the second leading scorer for the Warriors in game two. Certainly Curry played well below par and the expectations sought by Steve Kerr , his coaching staff and undoubtedly the Golden State fans.

LeBron James has been inching his way towards postseason history and is now averaging one of the highest points per game averages in playoff and NBA Finals’ history. The fact he is now doing this all almost single handed, while looking to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA title makes his performances all the more astonishing . Bear in mind the team is without All Star players Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love , while rookie head coach David Blatt is being asked to out-coach his counterpart Steve Kerr, someone with vast playoff experience as a player, having won titles with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs . A pivotal game tonight in Cleveland, Ohio at the Quicken Loans Arena beckons, with LeBron James and the Cavaliers looking to take the upper hand in this series. This will be the third game in the best of seven-game series, where both teams will now be looking to reassert themselves in this series .

If LeBron is able to capture his third NBA title and quite possibly the Finals’ MVP Award , then the continued comparisons now being made with Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson , as to where he now ranks among the all-time greats to have played the game as well as creating a legacy in Playoff history will continue. Certainly, something achieved by both Hall of Fame inductees Jordan and Johnson with both having won multiple titles over the course of their respective careers.

With a reputed $150 million payday after his clinical dismantling of Manny Pacquaio , Floyd Mayweather has no real challenges left on the horizon in terms of his boxing career and legacy. Forty-eight bouts, 48 consecutive victories , with twenty six coming by way of a knockout . The only remaining mark the multi-titled fighter seems eager on pursuing , is to reach a career-goal of making it to 50-0 .

Over the past four years, Mayweather has not fought anyone of significance and while his opponents have been hand-picked , one has to admit an aging and waning Manny Pacquaio was simply a complete waste of time as an opponent . Even if this alleged mega-fight had taken place five or six years ago, when both fighters were deemed to be at their peak , Pacquiao would still have wounded up on the wrong side of a rather embarrassing defeat . The hype over the Filipino fighter simply acknowledged what many already knew , he is not that great a boxer and he simply cannot take a punch . His knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez showed the fighter to have a glass jaw and the very fact he chose to sidestep Marquez and a rematch, instead seeking to pursue a big money fight against Floyd Mayweather, indicates just one thing. Pacquiao was running scared and in need one last big payday as his career is now on the downside .

Floyd Mayweather for his part, will take some time away from the ring , though still craving the glare of the limelight though not always acting like the icon he believes himself to be. He cannot be seen as a role model, but as the best boxer of his generation , that fact is undoubted . As to his being the greatest of all-time, historians and fans can now begin to debate his legacy and list of achievements and estimations of his wealth and influence on the sport of boxing . His retirement will leave a vacuum within a sport which is all but dead and with no real challenger in sight , even if the likes of Amir Khan , Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin are being bandied about as future opponents. Mayweather’s only concern will not be the caliber of his opponent , but how much his next paycheck is likely to be. “ Show me the money mother-##cker or just get the ##ck out of my way “ !

I firmly believe it is hard to adjudge a player and their greatness until their careers have to come to an end ! Making claims or seeking place them among the ranks of the greats of a game is simply meaningless on so many levels, especially when you consider the eras when these athletes are said to have played. It is even more difficult to make such a judgment when seeking to evaluate an athlete in a team sport.

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What, do you believe, defines a dominant athlete during the modern athletic era? Is it their longevity within a sport or the level of consistency shown and the success attained ?

:)

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So what am I missing here ?

So what am I missing here ?

Well now that the dust has settled it would appear with the sudden resignation of FIFA’s four-term President Joseph ‘Sepp’ Blatter , and his seeking to salvage his now languid reputation. The future of soccer’s international governing body still appears to be limbo. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth as the institution will simply regroup, weather the storm and simply look to steer a new course . Nothing will actually change and there will not be any greater oversight than there was before.

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With the World Cups of 2018 and 2022 still ahead and the various associations not calling for there to any changes in the staging of those events in Russia and Qatar , respectively. The apparent idiocy shown by journalists, the none too informative and unintelligent sports’ fans in North America who believe themselves attuned to the sport, has simply indicated to me what I have always known all along. Stupidity simply comes in all shapes and sizes, with the country leading the world by an ever widening margin . which is beyond belief.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch is seen here in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee . Lynch succeeded Eric Holder to become the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement officer. It should be noted as the State Attorney General for the Manhattan District of New York , Lynch was somewhat lenient in her prosecution of international financial institution HSBC for their wrongdoing in assisting wealthy individuals in their avoidance of paying US federal income tax . Get the feeling might well be using the issue of FIFA to show that she’s capable of being tough ? Bill Clark/ CQ/ Rolling Stone

Blatter’s stepping down will not leave a great vacuum within the FIFA hierarchy and the executive committee will now seek to either hold a quick vote in search of a new successor , while also seeking to address the issue of the ongoing investigation by the Swiss authorities who are now said to be working in conjunction with the US Justice Department .

The federal agency’s leadership headed by Attorney General Loretta Lynch has gone on record,. stating , ” the actions of the executives behind a corruption scandal and their actions being so egregious . that it brought the game of soccer into disrepute”. I’m sorry, but soccer was already up to its neck in its own fecal matter , long before this latest scandal.

Far be it for me to suggest that the NFL , NBA and MLB have not had their own litany of skeletons within their vestibules over the past few years. If the likes of Frank McCourt can literally place a baseball franchise into bankruptcy , with acts , which under normal circumstances would be seen as criminal and still not be punished by baseball’s hierarchy . Then it begs the question, what the hell is the Justice Department meant to be doing in its role as the nation’s law enforcement arm ? It is not as if the agency has the greatest success in prosecuting white collar criminals , especially those who simply were behind the eruption of the US economy and specifically within the financial sector . Yet low and behold, rabid idiot fans without a clue are looking for the implosion of an international sports’ governing body? I don’t hear of any calls for the bringing down of the WBA , WBC , IBF or WBU , but somehow those four bodies who are the international governing arms for the sport of boxing, can go untouched, because there is the belief the sport of boxing remains above reproach ?

Former Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt having taken the franchise into bankruptcy proceedings as part of his divorce settlement , was still able to walk away with $1 billion cash , even after it was noted during the proceedings McCourt had leveraged the ball-club to finance private deals, contravening league rules as well as using funds derived from the club’s revenues for his own personal use , buying commercial and , residential real estate, a yacht and several sports’ cars. Somehow, neither MLB’s hierarchy or federal prosecutors saw fit to indict or prosecute Frank McCourt for any wrongdoing on his part. AP Photo / Barry Reed

Consider, the bribery and corruptible practices within the sport and somehow, the antics of such promoters as Bob Arum and Don King are still lauded in numerous circles. Give me a fucking break , with all of this asinine bull#hit as to what the Justice Department is now seeking to do , having unearthed evidence showing that a Miami based sports’ marketing firm was used to launder monies paid to several high-ranking FIFA executives.

The sole reason the federal agency entered the fray, came from the fact a US financial institution was also being used to launder the ill-gotten gains of these executives. I wonder if the US Justice Department would use such zeal, to go after a Wall Street executive much less a US Congressman, were they actually at the center of such a probe ? They failed miserably with an inept attempt to punish former Senator Ted Stevens and all of this was done at the taxpayers’ expense ? What the fuck !

Blatter walks away from an institution which he ran like his own personal fiefdom, where his serfs were equally as corrupt. At the end of the day however, just about everyone associated with the sport has to be apportioned a certain amount of blame. There may well be idiotic outcries from pious members of the press, but they too are not innocent in this spectacle either. I mean here in the US , the media willingly turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of the players in baseball during the steroid era under , which Bud Selig might as well have showed the mendacity to punish a guilty player of steroid use as Congress might seek to punish one of their own, for an unlawful act or bringing the institution into disrepute with their behavior. There has been as much competency shown by the members there, as might be found among some fans, being witnessed now with the utter stupidity , rhetoric , pragmatism and apathy.

Will they or won’t they ? It would appear with each passing day the front office of the Minnesota Vikings are unsure what their intent might be with their running back Adrian Peterson. The disgraced player having been reinstated by the NFL after his own self induced stupidity , has first claimed , he no longer wanted to be part of the franchise and he is now at the point, that his agent still cannot be consistent with regard to his client’s statements , with each passing day , the story seems to be changing. Personally, I don’t believe the Vikings have a good enough team to win NFC North or even make the playoffs within the NFC ! The team’s starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has yet to show the consistency sought and the alternatives on the roster do not appear to be any better than the freshman passer, which leads me to believe things are not ,likely to go at all well for Minnesota this upcoming season.

Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson having been reinstated by the NFL threatened the franchise with a trade request , for what he felt was the Vikings’ disrespect for him during his recent troubles. Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings have not yet fully come away from their impasse , even though all of the right things are now being said by certain forces within the front office . Peterson’s agent and the player are known to be dissatisfied with his current contract as he is said to be seeking a more lucrative deal with the maximum amount possible in guaranteed money. The running back is not due to become an unrestricted free agent until 2017. AP Photo/ Neal Hart

For Adrian Peterson , this might be the last season where the fans get to see him in a Vikings’ uniform. As good as he has been over the years for the franchise, age and time are no longer on his side , while the window of opportunity for the Minnesota Viking have not been truly kind. Their last appearance in the NFL postseason came in 2012 , where they lost in the NFC wild-card round coming unstuck in game played against the Green Bay Packers. Prior to that , another appearance in 2009 saw the Vikings come unglued to the New Orleans Saints in the conference championship game. Needless to say, Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed this season.

Minnesota will be moving into a new multi-billion dollar stadium at the start of the 2016 NFL season , providing the league with its newest state of the art venue. I doubt that comparisons will be made to the Dallas Cowboys’ lavish Texas Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, with its jumbotron and still underachieving team . Yet , there you have it , another franchise under the impression , “ if we build it , they will come “ . Someone forgot to tell these idiot owners and front office executives , you also need to have a winning on-field product the fans can take pride in , while showing their vocal support.

Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf understands the Minnesota Vikings’ long starved fans yearn the winning of a Superbowl title and with it the bragging rights of saying they are the best team in the NFL. A great deal will be dependent of whether or not that success can be achieved based on Adrian Peterson remaining with the franchise , while producing the form that has made him one of the best running backs in the NFL over the past eight years. At the same time the Vikings will have to prove to their fans and the rest of the NFL that they are credible contenders for the Superbowl.

The Minnesota Vikings will begin that journey in earnest, with their first regular season schedule game in week one against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi Strauss Stadium in Santa Clara , California , and what will the venue for this season’s Superbowl.

Adrian Peterson may well feel disgruntled as a player , having not had a great deal of success in the postseason with the Vikings , while at the same feeling he may well have dealt with harshly by the NFL hierarchy concerning his misconduct off the field of play. Yet like any other self-absorbed collegiate or professional athlete , it begs the question , are they actually capable of showing any real signs of maturity , while also taking responsibility for their actions ? Continued idiocy of fans making excuses for an athletes’ age, yet somehow they seem unconcerned by the fact we have young men and women barely out of high school who serve the country gallantly , while being placed in danger by the decision making of dumb @ss politicians. So I pose this question where should the concern really be, with a selfish athlete or with those serving the country with honor ?

Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers is about to become the next player and quarterback about to join the $100 million club . There are players now in the NFL barely earning a quarter of that sum as a contract , but they are not deemed their franchise’s leader. Newton over the past two years has showed signs of maturity and leadership. It is now felt in some circles with the declining power of both the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints , the Panthers are seen as the team to beat in the NFC South. Here’s the deal , the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ drafting of Jameis Winston will not turn things around overnight for the Buccaneers even if he was the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Was he in fact the best player among the top picks taken ? Well, that is still open to a great deal of conjecture and debate at this moment in time. It would be fair to suggest the Buccaneers will live and die by the expectations and performances seen from Winston during the regular season . The preseason I believe will tell us about his temperament and whether or not he is capable of adjusting to the rigors of the NFL.

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Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton is set to become the next $100 million player and quarterback in the NFL . How this now sits with the other quarterbacks around the league, as they look to cash in for next season will be predicated upon the deal negotiated by the player’s agent Lamell Morris of Perennial Sports & Entertainment Inc . AP Photo / Greg Richards

Last season another Heisman Trophy winner , Johnny Manziel simply imploded on the field of play for the Cleveland Browns while also showing himself to be a complete and utterly immature asshole off the field of play. Early comparisons between Manziel and Winston are already being made . The apt saying , “buyer beware “, seems to be appropriate considering the trajectory their paths have taken coming into the NFL and their troubles while in college.

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Jameis Winston , left and Johnny Manziel are two players seeking to make a name for themselves in the NFL . Both quarterbacks faced their litany of troubles while in college and will now be placed under an even bigger microscope and the glare of the NFL . Manziel’s first season in the league was viewed as an unmitigated disaster. It remains to be seen what lies ahead for the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and Buccaneers’ draftee Jameis Winston. For Manziel as he enters his sophomore season , it remains to be unseen whether or not he can unseat Brian Hoyer to become the Cleveland Browns’
regular starting quarterback . Getty Images / Brian Carson

Johnny Manziel is unlikely to be the starting quarterback for the Browns when they begin their preseason schedule and head coach Mike Pettine seems to be unsure what to now make of his now beleaguered quarterback , who now seems to be more known for his nightlife activities rather than for his accomplishments on the field . Excuses are still being made after his first season has entered an alcohol dependency program. WTF ! Manziel is no Rod Tidwell ____ ” show me the mother-fu#king money” ?

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are likely to be the prohibitive favorites to win the NFC South this season with their schedule to some extent an extremely favorable one. Their toughest tests are likely come in their games where they face conference stalwarts , the Dallas Cowboys , Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks and an out of conference match-up against the Indianapolis Colts . Carolina will begin their bid for regular season divisional supremacy when they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ever Bank Field in Jacksonville , Florida on the 13th September , 2015. This will be Newton’s second meeting against the Jaguars and it is likely to be a very competitive contest.

A 2-14 season last year simply summed up the ineptitude shown <a href=http://nfl.com/ by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Head coach Lovie Smith is said to be a defensive guru and a disciple of former mentor Tony Dungy . Instead what we witnessed from the team last season , was mediocrity all season long . The two victories , one deemed a quality win , was actually over an injury laden Pittsburgh Steelers’ team missing several of their front-line starters . So make of it what you will. Buccaneers’ players are in camp for mandatory OTA’s in preparation for their upcoming preseason and regular season schedule. As alluded to before , a lot will be riding on the wave of optimism as well as the talent of Jameis Winston. If he fails to ignite this team and lead them to some semblance of success this season , then it will be back to the drawing board once again for a franchise that has been so inconsistent over the last ten years.

It will be interesting to see how much playing time will be devoted to Jameis Winston during the preseason, as Lovie Smith and the coaching staff begin to assess their rookie quarterback as well as the other draftees taken in their most recent draft. GM Jason Licht has already stated that last season’s NFL Draft was the most important in the franchise’s history . I get the feeling Licht doesn’t really know enough about Buccaneers to be making such a claim.

The Buccaneers will open up their preseason schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis , Minnesota , likely giving Jameis Winston his first taste of an NFL atmosphere playing in a professional game. If there is a to be a regular season contest at hand for the former FSU starter , with his dethroning Mike Glennon , then Smith may feel it prudent to have him play in the Buccaneers’ first regular season game of their schedule against the the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida,.

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Do you believe that the US Justice Department will prove to be successful in their prosecution of the FIFA executives at the center of this latest scandal involving soccer’s international governing body ? Also , with Sepp Blatter stepping down as President of FIFA, do you believe he ought to be facing an indictment by either the US government or the Swiss authorities ? With the NFL season not yet in full swing, what impressions do you have with regard to the preseason stories now coming into focus ?

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Take it for what it is …

Take it for what it is

Well, we’re now one quarter of the way through the MLB season and it would appear the furor over what was an exceptional start by the New York Mets has all but come to a grinding halt . Terry Collins’ team has not only hit the skids, but thoughts of the NL franchise being seen as a legitimate contender for the NL Pennant now seems to have been derailed by the exploits and stellar play of Bryce Harper and the ascent of the Washington Nationals , as they have taken hold of the NL East . Speaking of which, the never-ending descent of the Philadelphia Phillies continues at a rapid pace.

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From my own perspective, I believe the Phillies to be a team no longer competitive enough to be of relevance within the National League much less the rest of baseball ! Ryne Sandberg will be hard pressed to get this Phillies’ team playing with the resolve needed to even be in with a chance of winning their division, much less gain a wild-card berth.

The New York Mets for their part might well be good enough to gain a postseason berth this season, but a great deal of that will be predicated on the play of several players on the roster , most notably All Star player David Wright , teammates , Daniel Murphy, Lucas Duda , Curtis Granderson and it now appears the ageless Bartolo Colon , who at the age of forty-two seems to be turning back the hands of time . While the Mets are only 5-5 in their last ten games and with a one-game win streak , these results are hardly likely to put the fear into an opponent, given the recent and asinine prognostications concerning the team. Coming off a 9-1 road loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates simply epitomizes how overrated the New York Mets just happen to be , while the excuses will now build up to a crescendo as to what currently ails the team are such an embarrassing defeat.

Next up for Mets will a will be another road game against the Pirates where Bartolo Colon will seek to . improve his record this season and certainly prove himself to be the team’s best starting pitcher on their rotation .

Bryce Harper is certainly looking to prove his doubters wrong. He is a player of prodigious talent , but the continued knock against him remains his lack of maturity , temperament and not being able to show leadership skills when called upon to do so. If the Washington Nationals are to succeed this season, then Matt Williams and his managerial staff will have to curb the over-exuberance of the player and get him to fully apply himself to the task at hand . With the money vested in Harper , now would be the time for him to show the qualities desired, rather than his under-achieving. Forty plus games into the season doesn’t make a career , and that is something fans should not begin to get themselves completely wrapped up in. With his arbitration season due in 2017 , all signs point to the fact the . front office will seek to sign the player to a long-term contract comparable to the deal signed by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. I do not believe Harper possesses the talent to be deemed as good as his Angeles’ counterpart , who to my mind has been the best player in Major League Baseball over the past three seasons .

A 2-1 victory over the hapless Philadelphia Phillies , has firmly placed the Washington Nationals in the driver’s seat in what is turning out to be a moderate NL East division this season . Nonetheless, the teams there will vie it out over the course of the season, as they seek divisional supremacy.

The ”will to win” , might well be what separates the contenders from the pretenders within the NL this season. Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers along with their bloated $200 million plus payroll are riding high within the NL West this season with the reigning World Series champions the San Francisco Giants in close pursuit . In a division that could become the most interesting of them all , if the San Diego Padres with their revamped roster can finally find some semblance of consistency. With the money spent assembling this lineup where the offensive talent is undeniable , it seems ridiculous Matt Kemp , Justin Upton , James Shields , Wil Myers , Will Middlebrooks , Josh Johnson and Craig Kimbrel are playing sub.500 (21-25) baseball under manager Bud Black .

A 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim , California was another blow to this Padres’ team as they continue to struggle. The Padres need to put together a win streak , fast, one that simply boosts team confidence as well as having the faith of their fans, rather than a situation, where simply cannot be sure what is going to happen from one moment to the next. Bud Back’s players will be back in the saddle once again, when they take on the Los Angles Angels on Tuesday evening , with Odrisamer Despaigne on the mound for the visitors against the Angels’ Matt Shoemaker . This contest should make for an interesting contrast of styles for the opposing teams and managerial staffs.

OK , so you’re going to try and convince me the Houston Astros are among the best teams in baseball , simply because of their position atop of the AL West ? Last I looked , in three of their last five seasons this organization has managed to notch up one hundred game-loss seasons , much to the dismay of their fans. If anyone believes 2015 will bring about another Cinderella Story with the Astros continuing where the Kansas City Royals failed , then they are sadly mistaken. The Royals for their part in spite of their solid start , are still not out of the woods as of yet , because having sneaked up on teams last season , this season many of their opponents are now aware of what they are capable of doing and have sought ways to negate Kansas’ strengths.

Houston are 6-4 in their last ten games and continue to maintain a healthy lead over their divisional rivals , but now comes the hard part for this team and that is to maintain the consistency they seem to have found. A J Hinch might be the early season candidate for AL Manager of The Year , but one ought to remember these awards are not handed out for what has been achieved over a month or two months but for the entire one hundred and sixty-two game regular season schedule.

Houston will be looking to further embarrass what has been an under-achieving season for the Baltimore Orioles, when the Orioles play host to the Astros at Camden Yards in Baltimore , Maryland, where the opposing pitchers will be Scott Feldman taking on Chris Tillman. The Kansas City Royals will continue their series against the New York Yankees, with Jason Vargas of the Royals on the mound against Adam Warren of the Yankees.

Derek Jeter has retired after a twenty-year career with the New York Yankees and this season the team is not only looking for an on-field leader, but also for a ‘ soul’ . Manager Joe Girardi has never been that talented a coach , and has simply been put in a position. where Yankees’ resources have been placed at his disposal , with GM Brian Cashman signing the dotted line in terms of the paychecks for the team roster. Alex Rodriguez has returned from his league mandated suspension , with his intent being to earn the $21 million due to him this season. Granted the added incentives of surpassing several league and team records will not be finding their way into Rodriguez’s pockets, but I am sure the player will not feel hard done by , considering he still remains a pariah to the vast majority of fans within the game.

Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira are two of the primary reasons the Yankees are still in play within a very weak AL East division . For the moment the Tampa Bay Rays and Kevin Cash are making hay while the sun shines , but I doubt the Rays’ being perched atop of the division, will be self-sustaining. The Rays are good but they are not great, as reflected in their record at this point of the season .

With two years left on his remaining contract with the New York Yankees, I doubt that Alex Rodriguez will be able to make a serious assault on surpassing the all-time career home runs’ record ! Granted , the most beloved statistic in all of baseball has remained tainted ever since Barry Bonds laid claim to the mark having passed what many fans still believes remains the legitimate record of Hank Aaron ___ seven hundred and fifty-five home runs.

Rodriguez’s career home run mark at present stands at six hundred and sixty-four, with the closest active player being Albert Pujols with five hundred and twenty-eight career home runs and he is likely to be the only player to pass the six hundred career home runs’ plateau within the next four years let alone another player surpassing the benchmark figure of 500 career home runs . Two-time AL MVP , Triple Crown King and Detroit Tigers’ slugger Miguel Cabrera having hit four hundred career home runs would rather win a World Series’ title with the Tigers than chase after singular career achievements.

As I alluded to earlier, with the Kansas City Royals’ ascent , Detroit will now have to get themselves on track with Brad Ausmus and his coaching staff having to deal with the upstart Royals and their seeking divisional supremacy within the AL Central. Ausmus has seen his team play rather erratically , with his not yet getting the best out of mainline starting pitchers David Price and Justin Verlander . While Verlander remains on the team’s DL , with no timetable set for his return , it is now left to Price and the rest of the rotation to within close reach of the Kansas City Royals. Complacency led to the Tigers being blanked 4-0 by the Oakland A’s at the O.Coliseum on Monday afternoon. The two teams will meet again on Tuesday afternoon with Detroit looking to even the score.

Sooner rather than later you knew the actions of Ryan Braun would have a way of catching up with him and specifically the Milwaukee Brewers. The 2012 recipient of the NL MVP Award , his denials concerning use of a banned substance and being able to lie about it , while being handsomely rewarded by the Brewers and major corporate sponsors only further emphasizes how weak the league’s steroid policy remains without delving into the constant idiocy of fans longing to see Pete Rose inducted into the Hall of Fame. As far as I am concerned the institution is simply a relic of a bygone age and where an induction has now become meaningless. The list of eligible nominees for the next five years will have several players whose names are closely tied to the ‘ BALCO Scandal’ or where they have been implicated with steroid use, because of their own actions. Yet , here we are, one quarter of the way through the 2015 season and once again players are being given the mandatory suspension required , having contravened the league’s substance abuse policy. Things would not be so bad if the arbitrators presiding over the appeals’ process showed that they have an ounce of common sense.

Rob Manfred as baseball’s highest ranking league executive shows all of the intellect of an invertebrate , which is only marginally more than that of his predecessor Bud Selig. Manfred simply stood pat and did nothing , after Josh Hamilton freely admitted he took cocaine and drank alcohol during his most recent rehab stint. It took the courage of Angels’ owner Arte Moreno to send Hamilton packing , even after the player sought to blame those within the Angels’ hierarchy not giving him any support. Last I looked , Josh Hamilton was being given as much support as was needed having been paid a salary, while putting up mediocre figures for Los Angeles Angels without ever showing any signs of fu#king leadership and for that, he was expecting support from the organization ? It wouldn’t be so bad, were it not for the fact we had fans suggesting Hamilton’s issues were an addiction, rather than the player simply not wanting to be held accountable for his own actions. Come full circle and Josh Hamilton finds himself back with the Texas Rangers , not yet able to play while still being able to pull down a handsome salary.

Ryan Braun is continues to play for the Milwaukee Brewers, the team with the worst record in all of Major League Baseball . How appropriate is it , that these two former MVP’s should find themselves in such a fitting predicament ?

If the Brewers’ woes this season are imperiled then Oakland A’s are not faring much better. It is hard to explain how franchise over the past three season has been the doyenne of the AL West can be so bad at this stage of the season . If things continue to get much worse, I believe Bob Melvin could very well become the second managerial casualty after the Miami Marlins’ firing of Mike Redmond earlier this month. GM Billy Beane has long proven he is one of the best front office executives in all of baseball , but he can only do so much with the resources made available to him by team owner Lew Wolff . That asides, the Oakland A’s remain one of the least supported franchises in all of baseball with game day attendance for the home games at the O.Coliseum being among the lowest in the league. The A’s will need to get back in the saddle by getting a much-needed victory over the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday evening .

Best pitcher in baseball at present ? If I were to tell you based on performances this season the player in question would be Michael Wacha of the St Louis Cardinals . Then it would no doubt come as a pleasant surprise to many , but not to the fans of the Cardinals who have seen Wacha at his best this season. Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny having lost starting ace Adam Wainwright for the season no one within the front office let alone the coaching staff , could have expected they would have a ready-made replacement with Michael Wacha , but fortunes seem to have smiled on this pitching staff and organization, as the pitcher has exceeded everyone’s expectations. If Wacha is able to maintain his current form then there would be no reason to see him as a viable candidate for the NL Cy Young Award . The player will make his next appearance on the mound for the Cardinals when they face the Los Angeles Dodgers at Busch Stadium in St Louis , Missouri , on the 30th May , 2015.

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At this same point last season , there was little to suggest how the year would pan out in MLB, other than the fact no one knew the Kansas City Royals would mount an improbable run to the AL Pennant before falling short at the final obstacle when they fell the San Francisco Giants in the World Series . At this juncture I do not believe there is a clear favorite for the ‘ Fall Classic’ . So for now , we can only gauge the play of the teams , but in all certainty we will see the real contenders come into form during the final month of the regular season . What thoughts if any do you have concerning the play of the teams and players as the schedule has progressed ?

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Failure is not an option …

Failure is not an option

This weekend within the sports’ world, we witnessed the demise of the Los Angeles Clippers as they fell to the Houston Rockets in a thrilling game seven spectacle between these two teams in the Western Conference Semi-Finals . With the Rockets prevailing with a home victory, where they will now face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. For the Clippers this was an emotional wrought loss , with the Los Angeles’ point guard Chris Paul not only having an exceptional regular season but also an exemplary postseason . Unfortunately , Paul’s heroics, were not enough for the team to prevail in their series against the Rockets.

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Doc Rivers and his coaching staff cannot be entirely happy with what he witnessed from his players who squandered repeated chances to seal the series with a win in game seven. As to what this might suggest about this Clippers’ team and their failure , might well be also a pointer to the failings of the players adapt and show a defensive resolve beyond the complacency witnessed in game seven.

Los Angeles Clippers’ owner, Steve Ballmer , having spent $2.1 billion purchasing the franchise , has to be wondering what it is likely to take in order for the team to get over the obstacle and win their very first NBA title . Having bowed out of the NBA Playoffs, questions will likely be asked and will have to be answered concerning the makeup of this roster.

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Shirts are displayed on seats prior to Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2015 in Houston, Texas. ” Clutch “ just wasn’t apt on the day for the Los Angeles Clippers . Getty Images/ Scott Halleran

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will remain the focal point of the team, but clearly Doc Rivers in his dual capacity as head coach and general manager , will have to assess this team and the likely changes needed if the Clippers are to excel during the postseason. The disappointment of not having advanced further in the NBA Playoffs might well have come as a surprise to many . Both teams shared similar regular season record of 56-26 , with the Houston Rockets ending up with a higher seeding , having won their division and with a better conference record overall. Yet, there the similarities end, with both teams being equally adept on defense as well as offense.

What counted the most during this series , came down to consistency and the willingness to adapt. Kevin McHale and his coaching staff outwitted their counterparts throughout much of this series and it will be interesting to see what sort of strategy , he puts into place when the Houston Rockets face the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals . Game one of that series begins on 19th May at the Oracle Arena , in Oakland California ,.

Impending free agents for the Los Angeles Clippers are DeAndre Jordan , Glen Davis , Dahntay Jones , Austin Rivers and veteran swing-man Hedo Turkoglu. I firmly believe next season the only player likely to be re-signed will be will be DeAndre Jordan , because of the player’s offensive prowess as a rebounder and shot-blocker . However, there is the thinking Doc Rivers has to bolster this roster with more of a physical presence on defensive as well obtaining a fourth scoring option behind Blake Griffin , Chris Paul and Jordan. Doc Rivers will be under great deal of pressure to succeed , especially with the ambitions of Steve Ballmer being well-publicized and his wish for the franchise to be seen as best NBA organization in the state of California , after years of being in the shadow of the Los Angeles Lakers. From my own standpoint this has been a disastrous season for all of the California based franchises !

The Chicago Bulls bowed out of the NBA Playoffs , knowing very well they had Cleveland Cavaliers on the ropes , but lacked the killer instinct to get the job done . It is hard to explain how a team with their being given so many opportunities to win their series against the Cavaliers could have failed so abysmally. In the aftermath of this Eastern Conference Semifinals series loss , it looks as if the Chicago Bulls will cut ties with head coach Tom Thibodeau .

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Coach Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls talks to referee Marc Davis in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at United Center on May 14, 2015 in Chicago.

Bulls’ GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson might well have been at odds with their head coach but he cannot be solely to blame for the series’ loss to the the Cleveland Cavaliers. The contests between these two teams , though they stretched to six games , could have ended up with the Bulls having won the series in five games , had they taken the opportunities afforded them. Instead they allowed LeBron James to show why the four-time League MVP remains the most potent offensive player in the NBA this season and since he entered the league in 2003 .

James and the Cavaliers will meet the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals , with the added pressure being placed firmly on the shoulders of the visiting team when the series tips off on the 20th May ,2015 at the Philips Arena , in Atlanta , Georgia,.

For all of the niceties to explain the Chicago Bulls’ regular season and the very fact they were able garner a third seed within Eastern Conference having lost point guard Derrick Rose for much of their regular season schedule. One has to wonder how good the Bulls might have been were it not Rose’s injury. An injury I believe now casts serious doubts as to his long-term future in the NBA ! Derrick Rose has become frail , injury prone and a mere shadow of the player who won the League MVP Award in 2011 .

The Bulls’ front office should they seek to fire Tom Thibodeau , then among the likely front-runners to replace him will be Scott Brooks’ whose firing by the Oklahoma City Thunder still makes no sense . In all but one of his seasons with the franchise , was Brooks unable to lead them to the NBA Playoffs. Sam Presti and the Thunder ownership may well have felt that Brooks was to blame for their woeful season , but you simply cannot expect the team to play at a high level with the loss of Kevin Durant , even if Russell Westbrook lit up the scoreboard as if it were a fireworks’ display on the 4th July. Beyond Westbrook and the absentee of Durant , the Thunder had little by way of a productive offense . For the moment we will just have to wait and see if the Bulls take the steps to fire Tom Thibodeau as the front office has yet to issue a statement concerning the beleaguered head coach.

Two years on from having a disastrous season , with a last place finish in NL East and one of the worst records in baseball during 2012. The Miami Marlins fired then manager Ozzie Guillen and history seems to have again repeated itself , but were are merely six weeks into the season and the Marlins’ front office made Mike Redmond the first managerial casualty , of this still young MLB season.

During the off-season the ball-club made the news with their signing of Giancarlo Stanton to the biggest contract in baseball history , with Stanton signing along the dotted line for the now ludicrous sum of $325 million payable over thirteen years . Averaging $25 million a year , the contract made the player one highest paid athletes in the game as well as one of the highest paid in all of professional sports . One seriously , doubts the figure is likely upset Floyd Mayweather and the reputed $175 million he is said to have earned from his recent title fight against an aging and ‘overrated’ Manny Pacquiao . As to the fight being labeled the “Fight of The Century” , it was not evenly remotely close to being the Fight of The Decade , but such was the hyperbole surrounding the bout that the vast majority of boxing fans have to be disenchanted with a sport, which now has about as much relevance as piece of dried up fecal matter.

Marlins’ owner , Jeffrey Loria , having duped the city of Miami , while being ably aided by former Commissioner Bud Selig , still continues to fleece the fans of the team as well as the game in general . Currently playing sub. 500 baseball , lying in third place in the NL East , it is easy to understand why this team has been an absolute failure this season. And the fact they came within an inning of being no-hit by the Atlanta Braves after an astonishing display by Braves’ pitcher Shelby Miller , only further emphasizes how mediocre the Miami Marlins just happen to be .

The 6-0 drubbing suffered at the hands of the Braves makes the still downward spiral of the Marlins all the more pitiful and self-induced . Starting on Monday the team will begin a four-game home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks to be played at Marlins Ballpark in Miami, Florida , in what is sure to be a less than salutary crowd , likely to be under capacity for the 37,000 seat venue. On the mound for the Diamondbacks will be Rubby De La Rosa a as he faces off against veteran pitcher Dan Haren .

Miami Marlins’ Head of Baseball Operations Michael Hill has yet to name a successor to Mike Redmond. Yet is widely believed Hill will seek to promote from within and all signs seem to be pointing towards the person likely to succeed Redmond , will be Dan Jennings . As to what it suggests about the ball-club, whether it is an act of desperation or a stop-gap measure, can be speculated upon lightheartedly. From my own standpoint , I simply look upon the Marlins and the game of baseball itself, as simply being out touch with reality ! The game’s hierarchy is littered with buffoons , the general managers are simply idiots , and the players have always been self-absorbed and without any real credibility . Issues which continue to plague the game of baseball, are often either glossed over or a Band-Aid is being used to hide the ever festering wounds or scar tissue.

If someone were to tell you the Oakland Athletics at one fourth of the way through the season, would have the worst record in the game as of the 17th May , I doubt anyone would believe it to be true . Yet he we are and the A’s are firmly rooted to the bottom of the AL West . Granted , they have won seven of their last ten games , but even with that sort recent play , it cannot hide the fact there is something wrong, with the lack of urgency being shown by the team in what I view to be the most competitive division in all of baseball ! One could cite injuries as being a contributing factor behind the malaise , but one of the great strengths about the A’s has always been the depth of their roster and players stepping up to the plate and contributing.

While I don’t believe the A’s will flounder , there is the possibility , if they are unable to right this ship then GM Billy Beane will have to reassess this team and managerial staff at some point during the season.

The A’s will have their feet firmly planted on the ground when they face the Houston Astros at the Minute Maid Park in Houston , Texas , on Monday evening. Opposing pitchers will be Drew Pomeranz of the A’s against Lance McCullers of the Astros.

With the A’s seeking to get into thick of things within the AL West, one of the none too surprising story-lines of this MLB season, was the return of Josh Hamilton back to the Texas Rangers after Los Angeles Angels’ owner Arte Moreno made the decision he no longer wanted the former AL MVP on the Angels’ team . With very good reason considering Hamilton had once again faltered with his sobriety and then sought to blame Moreno and the organization for not standing by him in support. Pardon me for saying this , but this once again indicates the insipid stupidity to be found within professional sports where athletes feel they should be coddled like a child rather than being treated like an adult ,

For the idiots who also feel Hamilton’s addiction is simply a mental illness then they ought to see what a true malady is actually about. Being a self professed alcoholic and drug abuser , with a weak will even after being given support structure and then repeatedly seeking to lie about your having not abused a substance simply indicates to me , Hamilton has no respect for the game of baseball , much less the for his employer or the fans. His lack of contrition but also seeking to apportion blame elsewhere smacks of narcissism and a great deal of maturity.

Furthermore , with the idiocy MLB’s arbitrary process , I have to ask why it was the player’s suspension was quashed when he freely admitted while in rehab, he used not only alcohol but also cocaine? MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is clearly less enlightened than his predecessor Bud Selig. Which begs the question , are we likely to see the same sort of idiocy from this particular league executive , as exhibited by Selig, himself ?

For Josh Hamilton, his two unproductive years with the Angels were a complete waste of time , other than the fact he was able to sign a lucrative contract with the organization . With the remainder of the deal still to be honored by his former team , it is easy to understand why Hamilton from a financial standpoint remains unperturbed . And for Texas Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels , it is one less club problem for him to worry about , unless Josh Hamilton should seek to get back to his favorite off the field pastime.

At 16-22 , currently lying fourth in the AL West , f 8 ½ games behind the division leading Houston Astros (25-14). It could be said the Texas Rangers will have a lot of catching up to do, with their being no margin for a error at all for the divisional race. A second place finish certainly won’t guarantee a wild-card berth for the divisional round of the MLB postseason and for manager Jeff Banister in his rookie season , this might be the toughest task he’s faced of his managerial career to date. Texas will resume their schedule with a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park , in Boston ,Massachusetts. The first of those contests will be on Tuesday , 19th May, and it is uncertain as to whether or not Hamilton will make his debut for the team , with his still being on the DL (disabled list). The projected earliest return for the player, will likely take place by mid-June , as he looks to recover from shoulder surgery , which took place in February .

The issues of Josh Hamilton have been well chronicled as too have the woes of Alex Rodriguez. A player who like Hamilton has sought to blame everyone but himself for his decision making and repeated bad choices. After one-year league mandated suspension , Rodriguez has returned to the fold for theNew York Yankees , a team in need of productivity and defensive prowess . At this stage of his career , Alex Rodriguez might still be able to provide the Yankees with both. They sit atop the AL East with a slender lead over the Tampa Bay Rays , in a division which I believe has now lost a great deal of its shine and appeal . Granted , the Boston Red Sox and Yankees are still two of the most widely supported teams in all of baseball with their attendance levels being among the highest in the game. Yet , it pales into insignificance when you look at the play of the teams within the division with only New York and the Tampa Bay Rays with a winning record (above .500) within the division.

Rodriguez, in terms of all-round offensive productivity, has been by far the most effective player on the Yankees’ roster. However, the fact remains, it is their pitching which remains their Achilles’ Heel and with CC Sabathia no longer a pitcher able to give the team a solid seven innings a game , it is hard to see how the ball club will be able to get by , even with the depth of the pitching rotation being average at best .

As Alex Rodriguez inches towards some of baseball’s most hallowed and revered records . I cannot help but wonder if the league hierarchy and the Yankees’ organization would not be better off without the veteran , rather than having to be reminded of the shame and their own stupidity of allowing him within their midst ! The ties to his steroid use are not tenuous and Alex Rodriguez’s repeated acts of contrition have become laughable, but he’s still being rewarded for his accomplishments and yet, baseball remains no better off than it was before. MLB lacks authoritative leadership and the owners are simply nothing more than a bunch of greedy miscreants , whose sole purpose has been to make money at the expense of the fans and the integrity of the game. Not that there was ever integrity within baseball to begin with , given its less than reputable history.

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Alex Rodriguez , left , of the New York Yankees and Josh Hamilton , now of the Texas Rangers are two former AL MVP winners looking to make an impact on this season for their respective teams. Hamilton has yet to play a game for the Rangers , whereas Rodriguez has been the most productive offensive player on the Yankees’ roster this season , leading the team in several offensive categories. AP Photo / Adrian White

On Tuesday ,19th May , Nathan Evoldi will be on the mound when the Yankees take on the Washington Nationals at Nationals’ Ballpark in the nation’s capital. It will be interesting to see how productive Alex Rodriguez will be against the NL East based franchise as the New York Yankees seek to increase their lead over their divisional rivals.

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Picture gallery (By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a reformatted size along with a narrative) .

With the NBA Conference Finals now underway , which two teams do you believe will meet in the NBA Finals ? Baseball’s season is still in infancy, but are you at all surprised by the Miami Marlins’ firing of Mike Redmond and do you believe his firing will be one of several this season or simply a ball-club just dissatisfied with their season so far ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

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Legends and legacies are often made, you can choose to be one or both, if not , then , you’re often forgotten

Legends and legacies are often made, you can choose to be one or both, if not , then , you’re often forgotten

The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing with the conference semis now coming to a close. For the Cleveland Cavaliers and their four-time League MVP , All Star forward LeBron James , they have now punched their ticket to be one of the two remaining teams for the Eastern Conference Finals . For the ousted team in the series , the Chicago Bulls, they are now left to ponder what might have been .

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And for Bulls’ head coach Tom Thibodeau this might well have been the last time he coaches this team , with the likelihood now, GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson will come to the decision of not extending Thibodeau’s contract , seeking to go in another direction with a new head coach helming the team next season. It was widely known, Forman and Paxson had lost faith in the coach , believing he was simply no longer getting capable of getting the team to play with a sense of urgency. This series might now have justified the executives’ thoughts on the matter , altogether.

With the return of Derrick Rose during the playoffs and the play of Jimmy Butler , it was thought the Chicago Bulls would provide the Cleveland Cavaliers the sort of test sought , but when it mattered most , Chicago was simply lacking. Instead, it was left to LeBron James to put on another postseason display often associated with the player from his title winning ways with the Miami Heat.

For Derrick Rose and his teammates , the disappointment of this series’ loss will not be easily forgotten. With Chicago bowing out, the players are now left on the outside looking in , knowing they never really took advantage of the chances which came their way throughout the conference semi-finals.

LeBron James will now advance to his fifth consecutive Eastern Conference Finals’ contest , with Chauncey Billups being the only other player to have accomplished the same feat in recent NBA history. David Blatt and his coaching staff will now seek to get the team prepared for their opponents , the winner of the series between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards .

The Hawks have been far from convincing in this series with the Wizards belying their seeding , proving to be a more than adequate opponent for Mike Budenholzer’s overrated team . With Atlanta holding a tenuous lead (3-2) and the two teams set to meet tonight at the Verizon Center in Washington , DC. It will certainly be interesting to see how the visiting team acquits itself and whether or not DeMarre Carroll , Paul Millsap and Al Horford will be the players to provide Atlanta with the chance to make their first conference finals’ appearance in franchise history .

Steph Curry has more than justified his winning this season’s League MVP Award and with it , have come the plaudits for being the NBA’s best player this season . The Golden State Warriors for their part have been the league’s best team all season-long , with Steve Kerr claiming the NBA Coach of The Year Award for the Warriors’ regular season success.

Having swept aside their first round opponents with effortless ease , Golden State faced the daunting task of taking on the Memphis Grizzlies , a team capable of giving the Warriors real problems, as evidenced with their regular season series this season. Leading the series 3-2 and with a pivotal game six being played on Friday evening . I firmly believe Golden State would prefer to win tonight’s game rather than the momentum gained by a Grizzlies’ win and then having to play series’ decider at home with all of the pressure being placed upon their shoulders and the expectations of Steph Curry having to lead the way once again. The Warriors should win the series , but as we already know and have witnessed in the NBA Playoffs , nothing is ever a certainty.

Curry and his teammates will have a great deal to prove as the expectations are, Golden State will be one of the two combatants in the Western Conference Finals. Steve Kerr would like nothing better than to lead this franchise to an NBA title and proving the success this season was all about hard work , consistency and teamwork.

Houston you have a problem . And that problem might just be the best power forward in the league, Blake Griffin , whose all-round game has been exceptional this season . While there might well have been a great deal of praise being heaped on the shoulders of the New Orleans’ Pelicans’ phenom Anthony Davis . I truly believe Griffin has been equally invaluable to the Los Angeles Clippers , just as Davis has been for the Pelicans . Unfortunately, for the Pelicans , they ran into a juggernaut when they faced the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs and they were simply swatted away by the Warriors without their having to break sweat. Now the Houston Rockets will have to deal with a Clippers’ team intent on proving the city of Los Angeles has more than one noteworthy NBA franchise .

If the Rockets are to have any chance of bringing down the Clippers , then James Harden and Dwight Howard will have to be at their very best if Houston are to pull off the presumed upset . Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale and his counterpart in this series Doc Rivers are two former players with with playoff experience as well as being coaches with a great deal of acumen. The series itself. has now become something of a chess match , with the on-court Grand Masters being Chris Paul and Blake Griffin making moves against their opposite numbers James Harden and Dwight Howard .

Tied at three games apiece(3-3) , game seven on Sunday afternoon at the Toyota Center , in Houston , Texas , promises to be a real thriller . Game six if anything, showed us how vulnerable the Clippers might just be , because the home team seen at the Staples Center came unglued at the seams .

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Throughout the NBA Playoffs which team from either conference do you believe appears to be playing the best basketball? Also , given how an injury to a prominent player can play a major part in determining a series , with the loss of John Wall , are the Washington Wizards likely to bow out of the postseason ?

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I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

Well, the big story in the NFL at present is the league hierarchy’s apparent punishment of the New England Patriots and their Superbowl MVP winning quarterback Tom Brady . The player and the franchise were punished for their apparent actions during the AFC Championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts . As serious as the claims are said to be, with the league fining the Patriots $1 million , Brady being suspended for four games and having forfeit two future draft picks in the NFL Drafts of 2016 (first round) and 2017 (fourth round) . I am not so sure what this fine will or actually make a dent in the tens of millions of dollars in of revenues reaped annually by the New England Patriots ! If the findings in the Ted Wells’ report are anything to go by , then I believe the punishment should indeed fit the crime . Unfortunately, the scales of Justice within the NFL when meted out under the auspices of Roger Goodell , it often tends to be that of a parent merely scolding a child,by merely spanking them across their backside and then telling them not to do it again.

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Wells’ report finds that members of the Patriots’ staff were uncooperative and evasive during their investigation and in many instances are said to have refused any of the questions being asked of them by the league’s investigators. To my mind , the NFL now seeking to be arbiters of some form of justice, is somewhat like the investigations conducted by the Roman Catholic Church and the sexual abuse that rocked the church over the past ten years. Simply passing the buck, or obfuscating their own responsibility has become something of a widespread pattern of behavior and stupidity by the NFL.

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GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on the podium following Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24 . Kraft was a main supporter of Roger Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner . Roger Goodell has yet to issue a public statement on the findings from the Wells’ Report , leading many to believe he is seeking to distance himself , as a way of seeking to be impartial. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Don’t look now, but some fans still believe this league can overcome this type of bad publicity, while remaining popular. During this past season, the league has found even more ways of shooting itself in the foot , without the apparent aid of anyone else helping them along the way. Goodell , as NFL Commissioner , has even admitted he made mistakes. Well Roger they’re piling up and I seriously doubt we will be seeing the last of your now comic and epic mistakes ! If there were to be an Oscar awarded for the portrayal of stupidity , then the commissioner would have the inside track and be the leading contender for the award.

Tom Brady is likely to challenge his suspension (four-games) with the backing of the NFLPA (union) and the likelihood , he will mount a defense , stating the league’s investigation was not only biased , but lacked credibility . Team owner

From my own standpoint , I find this whole spectacle to be one big charade , with the league simply looking to save face among its fans while seen to be doing the right thing . The media for their part seem intent with the fanning of flames and also showing their ongoing stupidity. Yet, what else would be expect from the cabal of buffoons , who cover the sport in print , on the radio and on television ? There remains a great deal more to this ongoing spectacle as it is likely to played out in the coming weeks , if not months.

For the Indianapolis Colts, in the aftermath of their lopsided loss , there has been nothing of note coming from within the organization by way of public statement . GM Ryan Grigson and team owner Jim Irsay have remained silent . Something of a shock from the Colts’ owner , given his penchant for making rather asinine statements . But I believe Irsay’s silence has more to do with the fact he was one of the more prominent owners who supported the hiring of Roger Goodell to succeed Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. Best not to show opposition to the beleaguered executive and simply have others outside the game voice their indifference as the league stands behind their man , even as his repeated pratfalls continue to make a mockery of the NFL .

Mandatory rookie camps are not yet officially in session , but already the unthinkable has happened with Jacksonville Jaguars’ draftee and line backer Dante’ Fowler , with the player being lost to the team for entire preseason and regular season . Given the plight of the Jaguars last year, Fowler’s loss will be seen as a disaster. For head coach Gus Bradley and his coaching staff this now provides them with the opportunity to assess their options within the team’s secondary. LaRoy Reynolds will now have to prove himself worthy partner to seasoned veteran, Geno Hayes as the Jaguars seek to bolster a defense which stumbled throughout much of last season.

Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles, this will be the season where will either see the progress in the player’s ability or has often been the case with so many second-year starting passers their regression . Bortles is expected to lead this Jacksonville team with the expectation of their being able to compete in what is likely to be a fairly competitive AFC South division.

Gus Bradley and his players will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field in Jacksonville , Florida on the 14th August , 2015 . This will be the first of Jaguars’ quartet of contests making up their exhibition season. With the regular season getting underway on 10th August when the Jaguars will have as their guests the NFC South based Carolina Panthers led by Cam Newton . This game should tell us a great deal about both teams , especially with regard to the Panthers , their ascent , while there just happens to be the flagging fortunes of the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan is proving that his contract and game are more a of a hindrance , with his being unable to lead the Falcons to any type of meaningful win during the postseason. ” Father Time ” has begun to catch up with Drew Brees and his teammates , while Sean Payton looks like a desperatel man searching for answers.

I will say this for Trent Baalke and Jed Yorke , they are certainly putting on a brave face after the departure of Jim Harbaugh to the Michigan Wolverines . Mutual consent or not , the one thing we now realize was the very fact the San Francisco 49ers’ front office had lost all respect for their once revered head coach . A disastrous sojourn around the league in 2014, and the . inconsistency of not only Colin Kaepernick as well as the team , without delving into the off-field antics of several of the players. It led many to believe Harbaugh had lost sight of discipline and respect among the roster. A fractured relationship between the Niners’ head coach and the franchise’s lead front office executives was certainly the “ writing on the wall” and for the imminent departure of Jim Harbaugh . His successor, Jim Tomsula has a tough act to follow ,given his predecessor’s success with the Niners.

A rookie head coach , an organization in transition , upheavals and in recent years their biggest divisional rival has now ascended to become one of the biggest teams in not only the NFC but the entire league . So much of the 49ers’ perceived dominance in recent years with the quick rise of the Seattle Seahawks . Their divisional contests this season should prove to be thoroughly entertaining as Jim Tomsula seeks to match wits with his counterpart Pete Carroll. It will be interesting to see if Colin Kaepernick can rebound after a disastrous season in 2014. If not, then the Forty Niners will be in for a dire time this upcoming season among their rivals and the league enlarge.

San Francisco will kick-off their schedule with a Monday Night contest against the Minnesota Vikings at Levi Strauss Stadium in San Francisco , California , on 14th September , 2015.

If ever there was a franchise in the NFL whose constant scrutiny causes endless debates , then other than the Dallas Cowboys , the organization in question would have to be the Washington Redskins. With due deference to the Oakland Raiders and their lackluster performances over the last ten years. The Redskins have been embroiled in the sort of incompetence not often seen in the league , even with the bankroll of team owner Dan Snyder.

Political correctness asides , issues with the franchise’s logo and name , the question remains when will the Redskins have some semblance of success? . Robert Griffin III leading the team to a divisional title and a postseason appearance in 2012 , only to be followed up by two years of abysmal inconsistency and failure , speaks volumes as to how overrated this franchise remains. Jay Gruden is still trying to find his footing and also having to deal with the egos of Griffin and his immediate backup Kirk Cousins . If that wasn’t enough, throw in the fact Dan Snyder’s ego is as large as FedEx Field itself. In some respects. the Redskins’ owner models himself after Jerry Jones , but without having the responsibilities of being the general manage . A task currently undertaken by Scot McGloughan , whose first draft class with the Redskins is considered to be a success and perhaps the franchise’s best in the past six years.

The main issue facing Washington for the upcoming season, will be how to get the best out of Robert Griffin and an offense which sputtered , while also seeing a great deal of improvement from the team’s secondary, which seemed to give up point and yards at the drop of a hat throughout much of last season. Their regular season will prove to be a tough one , with all four teams within the NFC East looking to gain a competitive edge over a rival. Dallas , the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants will be looking to make point as to their ambitions for the season.

For Washington , if they and Robert Griffin are to have any semblance of success, then their first four games to start the season will have to be a resounding success with at least a minimum of three wins if they are to have any sort of momentum. Their first regular season contest will be against the Miami Dolphins at FedEx Field , Landover , Maryland, on 13th September , 2015. Match-ups between these two teams have proven to be entertaining and it would be the very first time that Robert Griffin has faced the Miami Dolphins in a regular season game . Likewise also , for his opposing number Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins as he looks to prove himself to be one of the better young quarterbacks in the AFC.

It is not difficult to explain the reasons why San Diego Chargers have failed to make a deep postseason run during the NFL Postseason . The franchise has been ill-served by the numerous bad decisions made by a succession of head coaches down the years . From Mike Riley to Marty Schottenheimer , to Norv Turner and down to Mike McCoy, this franchise has simply stumbled from one season to the next. San Diego’s last postseason appearance came in 2013 , ending with a divisional round loss to the Denver Broncos with a 24-17 defeat. For Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers this was another heartbreak in an otherwise stellar playing career in the NFL and with the organization. It is hard to say how history will judge the ten-year veteran who stands second all-time in franchise’s career passing yardage , but who leads Hall of Fame legend Dan Fouts in career wins for the franchise.

With Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco contemplating the trading of Philip Rivers prior to the NFL Draft and with apparently no takers for the veteran . The team will start off their season with Rivers at the helm for the offense, as they begin their preseason exhibition games. Alternatives at the quarterback position for the Chargers are not encouraging, should Rivers come down with an injury. Prospective free agents at the position are there, but I am not so sure they would fit the system Mike McCoy has in place concerning the Chargers’ passing offense. San Diego will have Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions as their guests at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego , California on the 13th September ,2015. Relocation or not the Spanos family may well see this as the last season where Phillip Rivers will be in a position to lead the Chargers to a Superbowl appearance.

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Picture gallery .By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in a reformatted size along with a narrative.

Based on the suggested evidence in the Ted Wells’ report do you believe the punishment mandated by the NFL hierarchy is appropriate or is not severe enough given the extent of the charges leveled against the New England Patriots ? Also, with the NFL Draft having taken place which teams benefited the most from the exercise and which teams failed to meet your expectations ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site and the associated content !

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Build your $hit upon a mound and let the stench take hold …

Build your $hit upon a mound and let the stench take hold …

The travesty of this sports’ weekend was highlighted by the biggest hyped sporting event in recent years . When it was all said and done the welterweight title fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao was an immense disappointment , with the Filipino fighter losing a unanimous decision to the Las Vegas based Mayweather . The two fighters would split a reputed $350 million purse , with Floyd Mayweather getting the larger slice of the payday . What this bout suggests about the state of boxing might well be summed by Pacquiao’s post-fight interview , when the states he suffered a shoulder injury prior to the fight and that it prohibited his movement and ability to throw effective punches. Perhaps I might have missed something here , but at what point did having an excuse make up for a mediocre performance coming from the Filipino fighter ? For all of the perceived hype, this fight fell so way short of expectations , it simple does not bode well for the future of the sport.

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As to where this now leaves the sport of boxing , is now open to a great deal of conjecture , speculation and to my mind a great deal of justified pessimism . Manny Pacquiao’s future remains uncertain and a rematch against Floyd Mayweather now seems highly unlikely . Mayweather’s record remains intact and it is my belief he seeks to reach a perfect record of 50-0 , with his now having forty-eight victories (48-0,26 KO’s) . The unbeaten fighter may well take some time off before announcing his next bout , likely to be against a contender for welterweight title and their chance to place a dent in his legacy.

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Floyd Mayweather , left looks to evade a punch from Manny Pacquiao in their welterweight title fight held at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada . The fight was a unanimous decision favoring Mayweather whose record remains intact. Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach are now making excuses for an extremely poor performance with the Filipino fighter claiming a shoulder injury prior to this fight. Getty Images Photo/

If there has been one thing the opening month baseball (Major League Baseball) has proven to me and that it is not worth basing an impressive start as a reason to believe a team will be contender at the end of the season . A case could be made too many people bought into the New York Mets way too soon , only to see the NL East based ball-club fall back to earth in their recent contests . A thirteen-game win streak has now become a boondoggle for the Terry Collins’ managed team , as the Mets’ players now look even more vulnerable than ever.

At 16-10 the New York Mets are 3-7 in their last ten games and it easy to understand why this team is nowhere as good as first advertised, but there you have it , hype up a team for long enough and sooner , rather than later they usually come crashing down back to earth . With no game to be played on Monday , the Mets will next take to the field when they face the Baltimore Oriolesat Citi-Field in Flushing, New York on Tuesday , with Bud Norris of the Orioles on the mound to face seasoned veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon.

There is no denying entering into this season , all eyes would be on New York Yankees’ slugger and perhaps baseball’s most despised player, , Alex Rodriguez, Having recently “clubbed” his six hundred and sixtieth home run the player recently surpassed Willie Mays , as he slowly moves up the game’s all-time career home runs’ list . With the Yankees recently announcing their decision not to fulfill their obligation to pay Rodriguez a $6 million bonus, you have to wonder if there remains any love lost between the player and the franchise. It’s pretty much safe to say, without the player’s performances this season the ball-club would not be leading the AL East , a division I believe to be no longer the most competitive in all of baseball ! Pitching remains a weakness for this team and there remains the likelihood Joe Girardi will seek to improve the pitching staff and roster overall at the trade deadline.

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New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez reacts after flying out to right field during sixth inning MLB baseball action against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto on Monday, May 4 , 2015. Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP

An 8-5 victory over their perennial divisional rivals the Boston Red Sox at this point of the season might not indicate a great deal, but many may well read into it , seeking to imply the Yankees are back to their best . Taking their game on the road, the New York Yankees will be the guests of the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday afternoon when these two teams meet at the Rogers Center in Toronto , Ontario,. A win for the visitors would merely provide them with a morale booster as they seek to reestablish themselves as an elite team within the game of baseball.

So the NFL Draft and all of the idiocy usually seen at this time of the year was once again there for all to witness. All of the suspense was really in essence, nothing more than the league and analysts trying to elicit suspense, when the inevitable was already known. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers never really left the fans in any doubt as they made Jameis Winston the number one overall pick as well as being the top quarterback taken in this draft. Things quickly played out once Winston and Marcus Mariota came off the big board , with the picks coming in rapid succession . Buccaneers’ head coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht were placed under a great deal of pressure and the need to get it right was utmost in their minds. .

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round draft pick Jameis Winston , center, holds his jersey as he stands with general manager Jason Licht , left, and head coach Lovie Smith , right, during a news conference Friday, May 1, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. Winston, a former Florida State quarterback, was the first overall pick. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

With fans and NFL analysts now seeking to assess which teams had the best and the worst draft classes , I firmly believe they are at a loss to come up with any type of succinct assessment of the teams’ choices and how successful they were said to . These players will either be able to play in the NFL or they won’t and should that be the case , then they will be quickly found out.

From my own standpoint , for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the only way is up , after a disastrous season where the team was a league worst 2-14 . This season, I believe they will be no better than 5-11 , 4-12 at their worst , and a case could be made if Winston’s baptism of fire does not tell us about the temperament of the player , then his chances of being a success will be greatly diminished. The failure of Johnny Manziel and his descent into rehab and simply idiocy told a great deal about the Heisman Trophy winner , but even more so about the sheer incompetence of the Cleveland Browns’ front office and their failure to use due diligence before taking Manziel in the NFL Draft of 2014 .

New York Jets’ head coach Todd Bowles must be wondering where he now goes from here. He takes over a team, which was an abomination throughout much of last season. Geno Smith remains an abomination and anyone who still believes he has the ability to play in the NFL they had better watch game film on the Jets’ quarterback. The fact New York Jets sought to take another quarterback in this draft, indicates Smith’s time with the franchise, may well be coming to an abrupt end. .

Bryce Petty was taken in the fourth round and the likelihood appears to be, if Petty beats out Geno Smith and others on the Jets’ depth chart , then the rookie will be the starting quarterback for the upcoming season.

Someone will need to explain to me the idiotic antics of Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly as during the off-season he made the decision to implode the team’s roster . Not content with trading away the starting quarterback from last season, in return he received player whose career has been injury riddled and filled with inept performances . Nick Foles becomes a St Louis Rams’ starter, with Sam Bradford landing in Philadelphia and likely to be as ineffective with the Eagles as he was with the Rams.

It is hard to explain, how Chip Kelly believes the machinations and maneuvers during the off-season will equate with success. Yet, there are supporters of the former Oregon Ducks’ head coach, who believe his coaching style best suits the NFL . My thoughts on it all, if the Eagles are so poor as a defensive unit , how in God’s name does anyone believe he can lead this franchise to a Superbowl victory? At no point during his coaching tenure with the Eagles, has Kelly been able to have the team finish as a top-five defense . As the old adage suggests , “ defense wins championships “ .

The goose that laid the golden egg and is now off to the races with no one really standing in their way. Steph Curry the newly crowned League MVP now have Western Conference NBA Playoffs all to themselves . Of the four remaining teams within the Conference Semi-Finals , this Steve Kerr coached team might just be the most balanced of the quartet. The Warriors could very well end up with a trifecta of NBA seasonal awards , with GM Bob Myers having been named NBA Executive of the Year , to go alongside Curry’s regular season accolade , with the only major award left , to be crowned this season’s NBA champions .

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OAKLAND , CA – MAY 04: Stephen Curry (30) of the Golden State Warriors accepts the Maurice Podoloff Trophy during the 2014-15 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Award ceremony at Oakland Convention Center on May 04, 2015 in Oakland, California . If last season’s recipient Kevin Durant’s acceptance speech was emotional then Curry’s acceptance was equally humbling , touching and as rewarding . To listen in its entirety , click unto <a the link shown .Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Golden State made easy work of their first round opponents the New Orleans Pelicans sweeping them aside 4-0 with utmost ease. In the first of the two conference semi-finals’ contests Golden State will square off against the Memphis Grizzlies . Having taken care of game one with a home victory , it would not be out of the realms of possibility to believe the Warriors will be looking to “ sweep” the Grizzlies out of the Playoffs as the conference number one seeds look to complete their second consecutive postseason sweep of the NBA Playoffs.

No denying, the pressure is now bearing down on LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers with a great deal expected of this team and their head coach David Blatt. Taking care of the Boston Celtics should have proven to be a morale booster , but the loss of Kevin Love might have well put a damper on those prospects. Now James and his teammates face a daunting second round task when they go up against the Chicago Bulls led by Jimmy Butler and a rejuvenated Derrick Rose .

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LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers before Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Chicago Bulls during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 4, 2015 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Nathaniel S Butler / Getty Images North America

Filled with a great deal of anticipation, game one of the series lived up to the expectations. but the outcome did not go the way of the hosts , with the Cavaliers falling to their guests, the Bulls at the Quicken Loans Arena , in Cleveland, Ohio,. If the unthinkable were to happen , with LeBron James having to relive another nightmare , were the Cavaliers to lose this series , questions would undoubtedly be raised and asked about the mentality of this Cleveland team, and of the four-time League MVP. . I would hate to think how the fans in Cleveland might treat the embarrassment of seeing the “ Prodigal Son” having returned to bestow upon them a promise ___winning a title, only for the team to fail against one of their most noted adversaries .

Coach of the Year for this year and Al Horford one of the league’s unsung heroes , there seems to be a perennial theme going on here , but in the case of the Atlanta Hawks it might be such a good thing. Based on their record, the Hawks were the best team in the Eastern Conference, yet they struggled in their first round series and they have carried on where they left off. If it is the Hawks’ intent to implode during their series against the Washington Wizards , then they are certainly going the right way about it , with their embarrassing home loss to John Wall and his teammates.

During the regular season there was a resiliency to the Atlanta Hawks, but in the NBA Playoffs there has been a vulnerability about the players, that you simply get the impression the dominoes are about to fall, with everything cascading down around their ears. These two teams will meet on Tuesday evening at the Philips Arena in Atlanta , Georgia with the Hawks looking to level the series at one game apiece (1-1), before heading to the nation’s capital for game three .

For Randy Wittman and the Washington Wizards , were they to pull off the upset of a Conference Semi-Finals series’ win , I do not believe it would as big a surprise for many fans. All season long, as good as the Atlanta Hawks were said to be , there was something not quite right concerning the mental toughness of this team. Granted, the Eastern Conference has always been a weak conference , with the play tending to be borderline mediocre and where the coaching is believed to be passable. Yet at the end of the day, there are but a few players within the conference who truly stand out as being game changers , let alone superstars .

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For the moment , fans are now left to ponder what might be , what has happened and how they can make any real sense of what the rest of the year’s sporting calendar is likely to present us. This past weekend , what if anything do you believe was the single least enjoyable event ? .

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Flo-Rida feat’g Sage the Gemini ….. “It’s goin’ down for real “ (GDFR)

Walking a mile in someone’s shoes, isn’t as easy as first thought

Walking a mile in someone’s shoes, isn’t as easy as first thought

With the NBA Playoffs still taking shape , several teams have now made it to the next round with the conference semi-finals set to begin as of Tuesday , 5th May. Yet, the biggest story of the Playoffs has nothing to do at all with the play of the teams, but the rather surprising decision was the firing of Scott Brooks by the Oklahoma City Thunder front office , led by GM Sam Presti. The decision had the blessing of the team’s best player Kevin Durant , who acknowledged Brooks’ contributions to the franchise’s success and his own growth and success as a player and as a draftee by the Thunder.

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Billy Donovan, having formally been introduced as the new head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder , answers questions from the convened press at the Chesapeake Energy Center , Oklahoma City , Oklahoma . Donovan has signed a lucrative five-year deal with the franchise, The main objective for the Thunder will be to secure the services of Kevin Durant signing him to a max contract , building the roster around the reigning League MVP and teammate Russell Westbrook . AP Photo/ Chris Wright

Scott Brooks should not be solely to blame for the team’s missing of the NBA Playoffs , with the loss of Kevin Durant due to a season-ending injury. A loss of this magnitude , would have a profound effect on any team, but somehow this all seems to have been overlooked by the front office as well as the senior partners who make up the ownership group of the Western Conference based franchise.

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Sam Presti has been quick to hire a successor to Scott Brooks, with the organization formally announcing the hire of Billy Donovan , the two-time NCAA National Tournament championship winning coach of the Florida Gators . If Donovan brings along with him the type of coaching acumen seen with the collegiate program , then the continued success of the Oklahoma City Thunder would seem assured. Kevin Durant for his part , I believe will remain with the franchise , rather than seeking to opt out of the final year of his contract with the franchise !

Of the first round series still in force, perhaps the most competitive and thrilling might happen to be the Western Conference series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs. The series has been encapsulated by the play of two seasoned veterans, point guard Chris Paul of the Clippers and power forward, Tim Duncan of the Spurs.

With their series tied at three games apiece (3-3) the series’ deciding seventh game will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on 2nd May, 2015 in front of a sellout crowd likely to be cheering on the home team. For Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers the emphasis will be about having his players prepared as they meet the onslaught likely to be thrown at them by Gregg Popovich and this Spurs’ team . These are two evenly matched teams , competitive at almost every position on the court , but it all now comes down to willpower and being able to meet adversity square on , without flinching. History indicates, the team winning game six of a Playoff series’ more often than not , takes with them the advantage going into the deciding contest and it would appear the advantage now lies with the Los Angeles Clippers. Yet, it would take a bold individual to believe the San Antonio Spurs can be counted out of this series altogether.

When Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls went down to what was believed to a season-ending injury , no one believed the former League MVP would be making a return to the team’s lineup during the NBA Playoffs. Rose has been instrumental in getting the Bulls into the position, where they have made it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals , having destroyed the Milwaukee Bucks in their series (4-2) , with an emphatic game-six win , where the margin of victory, was an astounding fifty-four points with the 120-54 destruction of the Bucks.

Old rivalries will be renewed when the Cleveland Cavaliers play host to the Chicago Bulls in game one of their Eastern Conference Semi-Finals’ Series . Nemesis’ LeBron James and Derrick Rose may well go head to head , but I believe the play of Jimmy Butler will be so pivotal in this series !

The Cavaliers will be without Kevin Love for this series, after the player’s injury, suffered during the series against the Boston Celtics in what appeared to be a provocative and deliberate attempt by the Celtic’ Kelly Olynyk to injure the Cavaliers’ power forward . Olynyk denies the claims, his intent was to injure the player, with the game officials failing to act and the league hierarchy failing to penalize Kelly Olynyk . The NBA Playoffs will once again be questioned, as to ongoing ineptitude of the officiating and the league’s failure to act.

I have never been enamored with the NBA’s referees, as I believe them to be far too willing to be part of the problem, rather than simply showing their acumen and knowledge of the game. Inconsistent officiating, with the ongoing stupidity, first shown by former NBA Commissioner David Stern, to repeatedly back the referees, has simply indicated the NBA remains behind the times and that Stern’s all too autocratic rule, has now led to the ruination of not only the NBA , but also the quality of the game itself.

I was once told, is was not David Stern’s fault for the lackluster quality of the play within the NBA , but almost at every juncture, with regard to the countless rule hanges made over the past fifteen years, Stern’s imprints have been there for everyone to see. Only a complete idiot, would believe the now retired league executive , was not to be faulted.

Fate may well deal someone a blow this season, with regard to a number of the regular season NBA Awards to be handed out . Mike Budenholzer won the NBA Coach of The Year Award . Andrew Wiggins was named NBA Rookie of The Year and Kawhi Leonard beat out Draymond Green for NBA Defensive Player of the Year , but the the league’s most important regular season individual award might well end up being a bone of contention, once the recipient has been announced for the League MVP. Leading contenders for this season’s award, are Steph Curry, James Harden , Russell Westbrook and the four-time League MVP winner, LeBron James .

For LeBron James , I believe this might well be his most crucial season yet in the NBA , where as the two-time Finals’ MVP and the perennial face of the NBA since 2003 , and the pressure will be on the All Star to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA title , in what would be the first in the franchise’s history. James’ legacy has been set, wealth accumulated and global icon status few North American born athletes have reached over the past decade , with the exception of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Floyd Mayweather and Kobe Bryant .

It would be remiss to believe that the Cavaliers are likely to have their way with the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals’ Series. With the loss of Kevin Love , I believe this tilts the scales slightly towards the Bulls and the fact, Tom Thibodeau is a vastly more experienced coach than his Cleveland counterpart David Blatt . Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving will be expected to raise the level of his play in this series if the Cleveland Cavaliers are to prevail.

If LeBron James and his teammates do fail, then the crescendo likely to heard will be deafening, and one of criticism not only of the player (James) , but also the fact the roster was essentially made up of mercenaries acquired to be at the beck and call of James’ self-absorbed ambitions, with his seeking redemption after last season’s NBA Finals’ comedic fiasco against the San Antonio Spurs.

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Picture gallery. Simply click unto a frame to see it formatted along with a narrative.

As the NBA Playoffs have progressed which player , players , team or teams, have impressed you the most ? Finally, which pairing in the NBA Finals, do you believe will offer a compelling and competitive series ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit.

:)

Tophatal

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Editor’s notes :

 

First, do no harm …

First do no harm

Apply the Hippocratic Oath to the sports of baseball and football is simply idiotic in this day and age, when the hierarchies of both sports remains rudderless and completely lacking in leadership.

Rob Manfred in assuming the position as the successor to Bud Selig has been adrift at sea, wading towards and for firm ground. Already we have seen the suspensions high-profiled players for their ongoing abuse of the game’s steroid policy. In the NFL . Roger Goodell remains the oaf , we already knew him to be without the fact with the upcoming NFL Draft , there are several players having declared their eligibility, will be among the crop of college athletes to be chosen from the process , set to begin on Thursday , 30th April, 2015. Perhaps the most visible among the players to be taken will be Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston , for whom excuses are still being made his legal representatives as well as fans and NFL analysts concerning the player’s well-chronicled issues. If Winston doesn’t possess the maturity level, but almost everyone seems to be impressed with his playing ability , it doesn’t equate with success or his being able to lead, whereby his teammates will follow his lead. Perhaps this all might be above the IQ of those Winston supporters ? Yet there you have it, all wrapped up in a box, waiting to be opened by an unsuspecting team. Pointers and clues have already been placed within our midst concerning players said to have a great deal of ability, only for them to have been a tremendous disappointment .

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Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is hoping to be the number one player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston leads a the current crop of quarterbacks seeking to make a name for themselves in the NFL . AP Photo/ Richard Hall

Does anyone remember the NFL careers of either Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell ? There are literally many more , but time is of the essence and this article and its writer has no wish to make this a lengthy ode to incompetence at the highest levels of the NFL.

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The first month of the baseball has season is almost in our rear view mirror and the New York Mets appear to be the early surprise to the start of regular season schedule. New York has a comfortable lead over their nearest rivals within the NL East, but are far from being the best team in baseball , in spite of their impressive record. For the moment Terry Collins doesn’t have to bother with looking over his shoulder to see if the daggers are out signaling his imminent departure as the manager of the New York Mets.

Across town, in the city of New York, the New York Yankees find themselves at the top of a very weak AL East division which has been personified by some mediocre pitching and hitting at this early stage of the season. Yankees’ sluggers Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are having very good starts to their respective seasons . With the money committed to both players this season. It easy to understand why there remains a fascination concerning their fates over the course of this baseball year. For Teixeira the concern will remain his health and for Rodriguez, it will be about his trying to stay clear of any type of controversy and suspicion of using a banned substance. Having recently hit his six hundred and sixtieth career home run , a mark which meant his supplanting Willie Mays among the all-time careerhome-run leaders. The question remains, how will history judge Alex Rodriguez’s career?

A recent home series’ slide to the New York Mets further emphasizes how weak the AL East has become, but also how ‘overrated’ all of the occupants within the division just happen to be. For managers , Joe Girardi, Buck Showalter , Kevin Cash , John Gibbons and John Farrell this will a season where their managerial acumen will be severely tested. Cash will be under a great deal of pressure to prove himself in his rookie season as a manager for the Tampa Bays, who during the off-season lost the franchise’s most valuable assets with the departures of Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman .

Mayhem and idiotic rhetoric has followed with the statements from GM Matt Silverman and team President Brian Auld. As to what this is meant to achieve , can be best summed up by the fact the Rays’ fans and the local media analysts of the ball-club, continue to point to the plight of the organization and the very fact they are still bemoaning the fact there has been no financing for a new ballpark for the franchise. Team owner Stuart Sternberg remains bereft of intelligence as well as any type of financial acumen. Yet you would be hard pressed to convince the naive and apathetic idiots within the area , who fall in line with the ongoing idiocy as to the ambitions of the Rays.

At 11-10, the Tampa Bay Rays sits third within the AL East and there has been little to suggest this team will have the ability necessary to make a consistent run, seeking to win the division or gain a wildcard berth enabling their appearance in the postseason.

A 4-2 loss suffered at the hands of the New York Yankees at Yankees Stadium by the Tampa Bay Rays, further emphasized the struggles the visiting team is likely to have over the remainder of the season . Next up for the Rays will be a game to be played on Wednesday when they visit the Yankees again to end their current series. Taking the mound for the Tampa Bay Rays will be Drew Smyly facing off against Michael Pineda of the Yankees.

If the self-inflicted problems of Alex Rodriguez have not received enough coverage, then the fact of his surpassing Willie Mays’ home run career tally , must now be something of a newsworthy issue. As the slugger seeks his own personal redemption, with each passing career feat, the player and his supporters will try to suggest he can now be seen in a positively new light. From my own standpoint , Rodriguez has disgraced the game and any act of contrition on his part, is far too late, well after the damage has been done. As for this continued idiocy of those calling for the ban to be lifted on Pete Rose , merely because of his apology and that his banishment has been far too severe a punishment. My question remains , if Rose is said to have merely been banned, solely on the basis of his gambling on games as a manager of the Cincinnati Reds, how do we know that as a player , his actions were not just as complicit ? The former Reds’ manager has never been forthright on this matter , merely admitting his guilt on the accusations of his being involved in gambling on games while a manager. Baseball , its hierarchy and owners have been complicit in many of the issues to have plagued the game over the past two-and-half decades, and even with the change at its uppermost levels, there seems to be no inclination that anything is likely to change under the stewardship of Rob Manfred.

Arte Moreno dropped the hammer and in one fail swoop he has been able to rid himself of the trouble plagued Josh Hamilton . Moreno has seen fit to rid the Los Angeles Angels of the former AL MVP Award winner after four unproductive years with the Angels . In his return to the Texas Rangers, the Los Angeles Angels will still remain on the hook for the remaining years left on Hamilton’s contract and the $68 million owed to the player.

Josh Hamilton for his part, other than his admitting the fact he fell foul of his rehabilitation program , though having an arbitrator then side with the player in seeking to have his suspension overturned by MLB , because the arbitrator did not feel the player had contravene any part of his program. This is how asinine the game of baseball has become, where an outside adjudicator shows about as much intelligence as can be found in the carcass of a dead rancid possum. Whether or not Josh Hamilton can regain the form that made him one of the most feared and productive players in the game remains to be seen. The departure of Josh Hamilton could not have come fast enough and without as much heightened publicity. Sadly, there seems to be too few owners willing to take a real stance when it comes to the misconduct of the players within the game.

The rapid ascent of Jon Jones to the top of the UFC ” food chain ” was nothing short of spectacular . Unfortunately , for all of the visibility , fame and fortune , lying beneath the facade, was that of an egotistical MMA fighter who simply believed himself above the law and beyond the reach who oversee his sport and that of law enforcement .

Jon Jones fell foul of UFC President Dana White when the results from Jones’ pre and post-fight drug test from his Light Heavyweight title defense showed a positive test for cocaine use . White , himself a hypocrite, allowed Jon Jones’ Light Heavyweight title defense against Daniel Cormier to go ahead . Now comes news, that Jones having fled the scene of a hit-and-run vehicular accident , has been stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely by the UFC hierarchy. If that was not enough , Dana White is acting perplexed by this all, not willing to acknowledge the fact Jones’ drug rehab stint was nothing more than window dressing, with the fighter signing himself out of the venue after less seventy-two hours’ stay at an unnamed facility. All of this frigging hypocrisy and incompetence by White, and you can now well understand why there seems to be a growing call for his removal as the UFC President.

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UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones was recently stripped of the title after it was announced the fighter fled the scene of traffic accident in which he was involved as a driver. Neither Jones or any of his representatives have issued a public statement on the matter with Jones merely stating on twitter.com that he is going through a difficult time at present. AP Photo / Chris Hardy

With the Light Heavyweight title now vacant, Dana White has ordered a title clash to take place between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, with the winner being deemed the successor Jon Jones as the newly crowned champion. An imminent return of Jones is a long way off and there is a likelihood with his latest legal issue there is a great deal at stake for the renowned fighter to lose.

This weekend when Floyd Mayweather meets Manny Pacquiao for their long-awaited welterweight title bout at MGM Grand Hotel Resort & Casino Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada, . The boxing match will likely be the most watched PPV bout in boxing history. With the closest ringside seats and tickets averaging $25,000 and a likelihood of a sell-out crowd , this fight will be the most lucrative in the sport’s history. Away from this all , one of the sordid aspects of this contest has been the fact Mayweather and his handlers try to portray him as a reformed character but it cannot and has hidden the fact the Las Vegas’ based fighter has a less than desirable past and trait outside the ring. The WBA (World Boxing Association) long viewed as the one boxing hierarchy which holds some sway within the United States, has been a poor conduit and regulator of the sport when dealing with the misconduct of fighters licensed under their authority.

The fight is now expected to gross in excess $550 million in gross revenues with each fighter having a major pay-day for their efforts . Mayweather, as a co-promoter of the bout will garner the lion’s share of the purse, where he is expected to earn by all estimates, in excess of $220 million, by far his biggest earning fight of his unbeaten career . Floyd Mayweather has tried to suggest the issues of his past are being used against him because of his popularity. There is nothing popular about being a convicted criminal where the charges of domestic violence , child and spousal abuse have been proven ____ and where you have also been sentenced also for threats of violence to witness in one of the cases, for which you charged and found guilty. Having been given something of a lenient sentence by the judge , Mayweather resumed his career unperturbed , earning tens of millions of dollars along the way . With both fighters closing in on the latter part of their respective careers , a win for either boxer seals their legacy and places them among the all-time greats to have graced the sport of boxing.

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Manny Pacquiao (left) will be meeting Floyd Mayweather in their WBA welterweight title fight on Saturday, 2nd May , 2015 at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas , Nevada ., The promoters already have a live sellout crowd for the event but will be hoping for in excess of 2.55 million PPV buys for the event. Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather’s pursuit of reaching the mark of 50-0 is well within his reach , but Manny Pacquiao will be seeking to add to his legacy as well and the defeat of the his opponent would certainly add to the Filipino fighter’s status. Saturday night will provide us with the chance to see what the outcome will be . Protests or not by a women’s rights advocates and groups, will have no bearing at all on Floyd Mayweather , nor will it change the environment of a social issue that sports’ world in general sees as a subject matter that is has no real wish to address. The buffoonery of Roger Goodell has been a clear indication of that league’s understanding of domestic violence and the horrors it brings into the lives of its victims and their immediate family members.

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture along with a narrative.

If the world of professional sports seeks to address social issues. Is is not best to have a leadership, which fully comprehends the issues and images being portrayed through acts of domestic violence , racial bigotry and sexism ? Or should it simply be left to the justice system to deal with and their penchant for subjugating victim far more than the original act perpetrated against them ? In the cases of both Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose , does the game of baseball really owe either of these individuals anything at all , solely based on their actions in seeking to redeem themselves ? Chime in with your thoughts as you see fit .

o_O

Tophatal

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Preach , preacher __ preach

The NBA postseason is underway and there is a great deal to be said of the expectations of the participants this postseason. Sixteen teams vying to be this season’s NBA champions and to succeed the San Antonio Spurs . The defending champions face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of their best of five-game series, with the Clippers holding a one-game lead as the two teams head into game two to be played on Wednesday night at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles, California. Chris Paul led the team to their convincing victory with a very commanding performance , leading all scorers with thirty-two points.

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This Western Conference Quarter Finals series is far from over , but I get the impression, should the Spurs falter in tonight’s game, then the Los Angeles Clippers would be placed firmly in the driver’s seat. Doc Rivers is not about to let his team become complacent and his opposing number , Gregg Popovich will ask his players to become more resolute on defense while playing to their strengths . The Spurs’ veteran trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker are battle-tested, having witnessed the triumphs and tribulation of postseason play for the franchise . Likelihood remains, the defending champions will square the series , by looking to stymie the productivity of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford .

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LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 22: Tim Duncan ( 21) of the San Antonio Spurs handles the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2015 NBA Playoffs on April 22, 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Duncan was among the leading scorers for the Spurs as they beat the Clippers in overtime , 110-107 in the second game of their Western Conference Quarter Finals’ Series. Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Mike Budenholzer was rewarded by being named NBA Coach of The Year having led the Atlanta Hawks to the best record in the Eastern Conference this season. While many might well have expected to see the Cleveland Cavaliers romp their way to the best record in the conference solely because of the return of LeBron James to the franchise where he began his career. This season, it has been the Hawks who proved themselves to be the “class of the East” .

Atlanta for its part as the number one seed, have yet to be tested in their series’ match-up this postseason as they take on the Brooklyn Nets. Game two on Wednesday evening will see the Hawks seek to further extend their lead over their conference rivals in a contest, that is pivotal to the Nets’ hope to prolong their stay in the playoffs. For the Brooklyn Nets and in particular team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov with the tens of millions vested in the franchise , beyond his being a majority stakeholder in the Barclays Center and its surrounding development . It is imperative for the Nets to advance deep into this NBA Playoffs’ season. The franchise beyond having moved from New Jersey back to New York and the city of Brooklyn , this organization has been hemorrhaging money at an alarming rate over the past four years. Prokhorov might well be among the wealthiest owners in the league , but one seriously doubts the Russian billionaire can continue to plow money into the franchise without seeing anything tangible in return.

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year, led to the Broncos

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year, led to the Broncos being brutalized against the New England Patriots and an indication that Tebow does not possess the skill-set to play in the NFL. The fact he was later acquired by the Patriots only to be subsequently shown the door, may well have been done out of pity, rather than anything else.

Tim Tebow’s lackluster years of unproductive play with the New York Jets emphasized what many knew all along, he is not good enough to play in the NFL. The fact he’s now being provided another chance by Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ organization , I believe now has more to do with Kelly’s ego and the fact the NFC East based franchise now under even more pressure to succeed might well have seen this type of publicity as a way of averting eyes away from the team’s deficiencies. If anything , it will now place the Eagles more under the microscope with Tebow and the Eagles’ head coach receiving the biggest scrutiny of all. GM Howie Roseman and team owner, Jeff Lurie could very well have blundered with this move as much as there now seems to be doubters of Kelly’s abilities as a head coach and his recent decision making with the player turnover and the departures of Nick Foles , LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson , among the players let go by the franchise.

The absurdity of the NFL off-season continues unabated, with the story-line now becoming one of comedic heights. Nowhere has this been more visible, than with the Philadelphia Eagles’ recent signing of Tim Tebow to the team’s roster. Tebow when last seen in the NFL , was inept at best , with their being little to his overall game, albeit, that idiots continue point to the fact the former Gators’ quarterback led the Denver Broncos to the postseason. His foray that year , led to the Broncos being brutalized by the New England Patriots and an indication that Tebow does not possess the skill-set to play in the NFL. The fact he was later acquired by the Patriots only to be subsequently shown the door, may well have been done out of pity, rather than anything else.

Tim Tebow’s lackluster years of unproductive play with the New York Jets emphasized what many knew all along, he is not good enough to play in the NFL. The fact he’s now being provided another chance by Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ organization , I believe now has more to do with Kelly’s ego and the fact the NFC East based franchise now under even more pressure to succeed, might well have seen this type of publicity as a way of averting eyes away from the team’s deficiencies. If anything , it will now place the Eagles more under the microscope with Tebow and the Eagles’ head coach receiving the biggest scrutiny of all. GM Howie Roseman and team owner, Jeff Lurie could very well have blundered with this move as much as there now seems to be doubters of Kelly’s abilities as a head coach and his recent decision making with the player turnover and the departures of Nick Foles , LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson , among the players let go by the franchise.

With Mark Sanchez and the recently acquired Sam Bradford as the only players on the Eagles’ roster with any real depth of playing experience, it is hard to suggest how Tim Tebow fits into any type of role on the team. Matt Barkley , as a fourth quarterback on the depth chart, I can only surmise , any type off or preseason competition for the starter’s role will have to be looked upon with a great deal of ridicule. Bradford with limited experience in a starting role has been ineffective , but beyond that issue , he is also injury prone.

Mark Sanchez for his part, at best, is no more than an average quarterback, whose two and a half years of initial success with the New York Jets was then followed up with what can be best described as mediocrity, heightened by the infamous ” butt-fumble” incident . However, the biggest issue for the Eagles will remain the fact, Chip Kelly has no propensity for his teams to play defense . It has been their Achilles’ Heel and is likely remain so during this upcoming season , even if defensive coordinator Bill Davis has an epiphany. The Eagles are sorely in need of defensive talent, based upon their lackluster play since Kelly assumed his role as their head coach. Last season made that abundantly clear also , where they were among the lower rung of the NFL’s franchises with an inadequate secondary. NFL Draft or not, I doubt things are likely to change this upcoming season !

An eight-game winning streak seems to have sent New York Mets’ fans into an extreme flight of fantasy. Yet considering the streak, the best thing which can be said about these recent turn of events for the NL East based franchise, might be well be the fact , it has been the only tangible success the ball-club might well have had in the past seasons . As good as the Mets appear to be , I do not believe this team is capable enough of sustaining their level of play over the course of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule !

Terry Collins and his managerial staff may well have gotten the Mets off to a fast start, but for Collins this is likely to be the season where he either sinks or swims with regard to his managerial acumen. The jury is still out on the manager and I dare say front office executives, Sandy Alderson and J P Ricciardi still remain under a great deal of pressure to steer the franchise back on the path of success. Whether or not Collins remains a part of their strategic plans is a matter of conjecture and debate, but this much we do know, failure by this team and the likelihood will be the manager is shown the door along with the managerial staff.

A 3-2 victory over divisional rivals the Atlanta Braves where the Mets simply outplayed the visiting team to Citi-Field in Flushing, New York . The two teams will meet again on Thursday with Julio Teheran on the mound for the Braves facing the veteran Bartolo Colon of the Mets. The match-up should prove to be highly entertaining between these two pitchers. .

An MLB team is said to be only as good as their current win streak might suggest. For the Philadelphia Phillies, having gone 2-8 in their last ten games, , only the Milwaukee Brewers’ current mark of ineptitude over a similar ten-game span (1-9) is deserving of even more ridicule. Phillies’ manager Ryne Sandberg is suddenly finding out his playing career by comparison is nowhere as difficult as his managerial career is now turning out to be. A 6-1 homeloss suffered at the hands of the Miami Marlins emphasized several of the issues that this Phillies’ team is having to face. Age, declining productivity from several players , who are overpaid , beyond a front office continually spinning their wheels, in search of answer to what ails this organization.

How and why Reuben Amaro still remains the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies is a question that many seem to have no answer for . Other than their 2008 success in the World Seriesand a subsequent appearance in the “Fall Classic” , pickings have remained stark for this franchise. Ryan Howard , once a productive player for the Phillies, has now become more of a liability, rather than an asset to this team. Howard’s teammate , Cole Hamels , a former World Series’ MVP winner has not shown the form that once made him one of the most feared pitchers in the NL, let alone the rest of baseball.

Hamels’ $25 million salary might well appear cheap in comparison to his peers within the game, but given today’s ambivalence and the preponderance of the ball-clubs to overpay for talent. Some might well believe the Phillies are getting a bargain with the services of Cole Hamels. Sandberg and his beleaguered Phillies will face the Miami Marlins once again at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia, with David Phelps of the Marlins facing off against Dustin McGowan of the Phillies.

Five years too late , but the press junket has already began, with world titlists , Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao . doing their nationwide appearances to conjure up enough excitement for their upcoming welterweight title fight on 2nd May, 2015 at the MGM Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Complex , in Las Vegas , Nevada. The fight is set to break all gate receipts and PPV records for a title and non-title bout. If the reported purse splits are anything to go by, the estimated take home pay for Mayweather will also be record-breaking , with the undefeated boxer receiving a gargantuan pay-day exceeding $125 million. Gross revenues are expected to top $300 million , with the possibility , the figure could very well exceed $450 million to $500 million u>, when taking into account residuals and the merchandizing revenues.(7)

Manny Pacquiao ,left, is seen here with Floyd Mayweather at an NBA game played at AA Arena in Miami , Florida , earlier this season. The two welterweight title holders will meet on the 2nd May, 2015 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas , Nevada , in what is likely to be the most lucrative fight in the sport’s history . Getty Images North America / Paul Evans

For Manny Pacquiao and his promoter Bob Arum , this offers the pairing a chance to prove Pacquiao’s recent losses over the past three years were simply an aberration. This might well be the bout which will either seal his legacy or hasten his retirement , leading him to fulfill his obligations as a Filipino Congressman.

Once an avid fan of the sport boxing , I now find it tedious , boring , lacking depth in terms of truly talented boxers and where fights more often than not have conjured far more controversy, than than expectations of a thrilling bout ! How else can you explain the sport’s rapid decline into mediocrity ? Inasmuch , as its supporters still believe boxing has something to offer their most avid fans, there is more excitement and competitiveness to be found in five rounds of Mixed Martial Arts’ bout.

The international governing bodies for this sport (IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC , WBO & WBU) are so far behind their combat counterparts, that the image from the MMA rear-view mirror has become a complete embarrassment. For those who seem to be under the belief , MMA has no place in the world of combative or professional sports , they should consider the fact , the IOC might well be considering to dropping the sport of boxing from the Summer Olympics due to its declining popularity on the global stage.

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