Explain it to me again ?

Explain it to me again ?

So here we are , as the NFL is embroiled in another scandal leading into the opening weekend of the league’s preseason game being played at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio,. Now unless you have been in the midst of the Gobi Desert over the past fourth months then you couldn’t have missed the spiraling animus now brewing between the New England Patriots and the league hierarchy led by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended for the league mandated four games , for his involvement in the now infamous Deflate-Gate scandal. The quarterback has the solid backing of team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft , even in light of the evidence gathered by the league’s investigators headed by noted attorney Ted Wells.

Also emanating from the episode has non-cooperation of Tom Brady and his alleged actions of his deliberately damaging his cell phone , rather than turning it over to Wells and his assistant investigators . Were this a criminal case and had the player been subpoenaed to hand over the evidence requested , this whole saga would certainly have taken on a whole new face as to how things are viewed.

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It is becoming abundantly clear , Brady and the Patriots’ organization feel they have been hard done by with regard to how the NFL has conducted its investigation. Yet is also clear, Brady has been less than forthright concerning his actions with answers to the allegations being clearly orchestrated by his attorneys. Bob Kraft , as a once close ally of Roger Goodell , might now be close to reevaluating his relationship with the league’s highest ranking executive. One should bear in mind also . Kraft had been one of the staunchest supporters in Roger Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. The Patriots’ owner and his fellow franchisees made sure Goodell’s ascent to his current position was a smooth end run without any major opposition from any other NFL franchise owner.

As to how Bob Kraft is now viewed by the likes of Steve Bisciotti, Dan Snyder, Jed Yorke , Jerry Jones, Woody Johnson , Steve Ross , Tom Benson and Zygi Wilf is now open to a great deal of conjecture and debate. I am not about to suggest there now happens to be a “ them against us mentality” , that might now exist against within the NFL, but the New England Patriots’ actions in recent years and the allegations of cheating speaks volumes as to the franchise’s actions and the perceived views of the organization.

The Patriots might now be the most despised professional franchise in all of sports. Brady, has gone from being one of the most high-profiled and most admired sports’ personalities in the country has become persona non-grata across the sports’ landscape. Might I now suggest , that other than Lance Armstrong , Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez , the NFL player is now the most disliked athlete in the world of professional sports.

Hall of Fame weekend in the NFL will see the latest addition of players to the establishment’s edifice in Canton, with the inductions of Tim Brown , Jerome Bettis , Charles Haley , Will Shields , Mike Tingelhoff the late Junior Seau and former league executives Ron Wolf and Bill Polian .

Each of this year’s class of inductees are well deserving of the accolade. However, in light of their enshrinement next Saturday prior to the Hall of Fame game on Sunday between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings , some controversy has emanated with the Hall of Fame and NFL , seeking not have members of the Seau family speak on Junior Seau’s behalf when he is inducted in the Hall of Fame. To my mind, it is simply idiocy on the part of the league hierarchy and Hall to come to such a decision given the adverse publicity league has been the receiving over the past season and into off-season leading up to the present. A great deal of this falls squarely on the shoulders of Roger Goodell and the continued lack of leadership shown, along with the failure of the NFLPA leadership and that the union’s Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and his unwillingness to address the issue of player misconduct off the field of play. It would appear, the only concerns of the union as well as the league, is economic driven and the revenues derived as a commercial concern for the almost $8 billion reaped annually by the NFL.

If this is meant to be year of the rookie players in the NFL to make a name for themselves , the player likely to be under the greatest pressure could be the number one pick taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. It would be fair to suggest , Jameis Winston is under the greatest pressure to succeed, as he has been entrusted to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a new chapter for the beleaguered franchise. Last season , having finished with a 2-14 record , it is easy to understand why the team failed so miserably . Defensively and from an offensive standpoint, head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff could not get his players playing any great degree of commitment and the optimism now being shown is simply one of brevity, rather than reality.

The roster has changed , but I believe the mindset remains the same , along with the seeming apathy shown by Glazer family as the owners of the franchise. Their concern now seems to concentrated more on the fate of their other sporting concern , Manchester United who will enter this season under a great deal of optimism with head coach Louis Van-Gaal and a new multi-million dollar lineup of star players looking to win the Premiership title . I would suspect the English soccer giants face a much easier task of winning English soccer’s most valued domestic title than the Buccaneers stand of winning the NFC South, gaining an NFC postseason berth or the Superbowl itself.

Tampa will open their preseason schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings on the road at the Vikings’ Hubert Humphrey Metrodome Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota . With Minnesota’s new facility not due to open until June of 2018 for the NFC North based Minnesota Vikings. It will be interesting to see also the role given to Adrian Peterson as he gets to play in his first professional game back in the NFL after last year’s well chronicled suspension for his actions off the field. For the Buccaneers it provides Jameis Winston with his first opportunity to play against an NFL opponent and the chance for fans to get a sense of what he has to offer the franchise. With Lovie Smith having named Winston the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback , Mike Glennon is left out in the cold after his brief spell in the position provided little of note during his tenure in the role. If Winston should fail during the preseason , I believe the roles are likely to be reversed between Tampa’s two front-line quarterbacks with the team’s depth chart being so thin.

I believe that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hard pressed to compete in the NFC South this season , given their woes of 2014 in spite of the renewed optimism among the rookies , veterans , coaching staff as well as the fans. Tampa’s divisional games this season will likely prove to be tough against the Carolina Panthers , New Orleans and what now appears to be a declining Atlanta Falcons’ team led by Matt Ryan . A player now on borrowed time with the franchise , and whose contract with the organization has become a burden upon the player and a real hindrance for the Falcons.

Call me naive, but if Roger Goodell really wanted to persuade women around the country that he is intent on really changing the way they are perceived by the NFL’s players, then his statements and actions have done little to change the perception. Dealing with the National Organization of Women (NOW) has been nothing but a publicity stunt, as the league seeks to move forward after the actions of Greg Hardy, Ray Rice , Ray McDonald and several other players around the league over the past few years. Goodell has already proven himself to be an @ss with his actions concerning player misconduct and the issue of violence against women , without taking into account the lack of action by the team owners and the NFLPA(union), whose own lack of action has been inexcusable alongside DeMaurice Smith’s ongoing oblivious stance as to his members’ behavior.

In the midst of what appears to be a well orchestrated stunt the Arizona Cardinals have introduced Jen Welter , a coaching intern and linebackers’ coach with the franchise. Needless to say, there are likely to be numerous jokes made about Welter being around so many balls , deflated or otherwise, either in the Rams’ locker room , on the practice field as well as preseason and regular season games. Bruce Arians and the front office appear to have a great deal of faith in Welter and the positive approach she brings to her role. Cardinals’ players Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are likely to have been asked to take the lead in showing the franchise has a keen awareness of the role women have to play not just in their roles as a spouse, but also the positive image that can seen having Welter in her current role with the team.

Now my question would be for both of these seasoned veterans , if they are prepared to tow this line, then why have they remained so silent on the issue of domestic violence by many of their peers within the game ? The NFL would rather be perceived as being ahead of the curve on social issues , when in fact its hierarchy and players have simply been nothing more than the litmus test and fire behind what has been so wrong within today’s society in terms of a lack of decency, integrity, but most of all having a conscious to do what is right , rather than being reactive after the fact. Let it not be said, it is only the players who have behavioral issues , as Jim Irsay’s own personal demons continue to be a blight on his personal and professional reputation. If the NFL is said to be the acid test here , then they have erstwhile followers within the NBA where its hierarchy remains a continued joke and the same can be said of the old boys’ network that is purveyed by Rob Manfred and his cohorts within MLB .

There has been little which has gone right for the Jacksonville Jaguars over the past eight years. As the rumors continue to percolate the franchise will be next to relocate beyond the obvious motives behind the likely moves of the San Diego Chargers and St Louis Rams . It is the Jaguars who have the most to gain, albeit , that why anyone would think relocating of the Chargers and Rams to the outskirts of Los Angeles will prove to be positive, even if both teams will be competing against each other economically for the largest slice of the pie which makes up the market in the nation’s second-most populated city as well the second largest ad-market.

Roger Goodell hankers to one-up his predecessor and add to his truly small list of successes as NFL Commissioner. Having either the Chargers or Rams in Los Angeles proves nothing , when there appears to be no real zeal for the NFL within the city by residents there. Studies can mean anything one might want it to say, but here is the facts as we know them to be , the city of Los Angeles over the past twelve years has continued to survive without an NFL franchise while the league’s revenues have continued to grow. Meanwhile, attendance levels have also increased, as have viewer ratings for the league’s broadcasts for regular season games , no matter when they are being played.

The systematic failures of the Jacksonville Jaguars have simply been brought on by lack of real coaching acumen seen over the last ten years . Jacksonville’s last winning season came in 2007 , along with a postseason appearance leading to a divisional loss suffered at the hands of the New England Patriots in a thrilling game. In the subsequent years ,one could suggest the Jaguars have plodded a path of sheer ineptitude. Shahid ‘Shad’ Khan , the team’s ubiquitous billionaire entrepreneurial owner has sought to change the mindset of the franchise as well as winning over new fans , while trying to show that beyond the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers there is a third NFL franchise within the state of Florida.

On and off the field the Jaguars continue to have problems , as they are one of the league’s least profitable teams and one of its worst supported over the last ten years. Throw in the fact the franchise’s home venue of Ever Bank Field has about as much appeal as a kick to both the groin and the head. One could ask what comes next for the Jaguars on its path to redemption ? Gus Bradley continues to struggle as a head coach and quarterback Blake Bortles has continued to struggle in his role while showing small incremental signs of improvement. Rookie or not , Bortles has been placed in an impossible situation when you consider what has been achieved by the likes of Andrew Luck , Russell Wilson and even Andy Dalton through their first your years in the NFL . Each of the quarterbacks in question have experienced postseason play with Wilson having led the Seattle Seahawks to back to back Superbowl appearances in 2013 and 2014, with Seattle’s triumph coming in their lopsided victory over the psychologically demoralized Denver Broncos and their veteran quarterback Peyton Manning.

I don’t believe the Jacksonville Jaguars will be able to achieve the heights reached by the Seattle Seahawks in the last two seasons and I certainly do not see the team challenging the Indianapolis Colts for divisional supremacy within the AFC South this upcoming season. At best Jacksonville is unlikely to win more than six games based on their current schedule even with the play of Allen Hurns , Denard Robinson and Johnathan Cyprien. Robinson having played quarterback in college, has now converted to running back and could become a dual threat as an imposing receiving and rushing combination for a team starved of talent on both sides of the ball.

The Jaguars will begin their preseason schedule with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Ever Bank Field , in Jacksonville , Florida. No doubt the Steelers will be looking to make the season opener for their opponents an inauspicious start to the preseason. As to what we ought to expect from the Jacksonville Jaguars this upcoming season will certainly be predicated on what Blake Bortles is capable of showing as he enters his sophomore year in the NFL.


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What do you believe will be one of the biggest stories to break during the preseason within the NFL ? Also , how do you see the top teams of last season performing this year in the league and do believe there will be a major fallout from this latest issue involving the New England Patriots and their quarterback Tom Brady ?

Tophatal ….

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Related articles : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/are-we-not-amused/

https://theoraclesays.wordpress.com/2015/07/26/it-pays-to-know/

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Are we not amused ?

Are we not amused ?

Well the sports’ world is now abuzz after it was revealed New England Patriots’ quarterback , four time Superbowl winner and three-time Superbowl MVP , Tom Brady was uncooperative and unwilling to aid the NFL inquiry into Deflate-Gate . Further exacerbating the matter was the fact Brady is said to have destroyed his cellphone , rather than turn it over to the league’s investigators . Personally, I believe Brady to be an ass in such an instance,because surely he must have understood the league would still have been able to access his texts sent to certain individuals said to have involved in this whole sordid affair. His pleading his innocence all along, has fallen on deaf ears , with only his faithful and loyal followers still thronging to his support.

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The Ted Wells’ Report into Brady’s actions covering the events of the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts was said to be very in-depth , leaving no stone unturned as to the player’s actions. There has yet to be a formal statement made by anyone concerning the player’s four-game suspension and his possibility of appealing the suspension either through a tribunal or through Federal District Court of Appeals . The likelihood of that now happening does seem remote, but yet Tom Brady and his legal representation might not be willing to go down without a fight. The evidence against him is not vague and he actually risks a great deal more than his legacy, should be lose in this legal process.

Brady’s own teammates may well still come out in support of the player, but we have yet to hear from the likes of Chandler Jones, Rob Gronkowski , Julian Edelman , Malcolm Butler , Rob Ninkovich , Devin McCourty and the array of other players from the Patriots’ Superbowl winning roster. Bill Belichick, GM Nick Caserio and team owner Robert ‘Bob’ Kraft will now seek to do some damage control, but it is hard to imagine how this organization can now seek to deflect any of the negative image done to the Patriots , as well as the NFL in general .

For his part, Roger Goodell, might well have come off as an executive finally exuding some intelligence and authority, but it has been his unwillingness to act proactively, which more often than not, has led to the continued negative image and view of the NFL by the fans as well among some of their major corporate sponsors. While the league does remain popular, the off and on the field antics of the players by way of their conduct continues to affect the brand and sport and adversely. Unfortunately, among the players and the leadership of the union (NFLPA), there has been no one willing to take a stance and address player misconduct and the lack of genuine sportsmanship among the fraternity of players. Inasmuch, as the fans continue to point to the popularity of the NFL and Roger Goodell’s insistence that the growing revenues of the league makes the brand more popular than ever , along with the ratings. One has to question the goals of the league and the direction it is said to be now heading in.

With the likelihood of Tom Brady missing the first four games of New England’s regular season schedule, it will be left to Jimmy Garoppolo to lead the team during the preseason and regular season as the second-year quarterback gets to prove his worth to the coaching staff of Bill Belichick. The head coach I believe has implicit faith in Brady’s understudy and it will be interesting to see how the player fares in his first professional in regular season game. His baptism of fire last season was relatively mild , and Garoppolo showed himself to be capable , though not spectacular. If he is unable to prove himself adept enough to lead the team , then problems will arise for the Patriots over the course of the preseason and regular season schedule. With only Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo on the quarterbacks’ depth chart, an injury to the understudy would prove to be alarming and a catastrophe for the team. There is the likelihood, Belichick will seek to secure himself a veteran free agent quarterback as insurance, should that premise arise.

The NFL kicks off the preseason with its annual Hall of Fame game and for 2015, the contestants will be the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Minnesota Vikings in a game to be played on 9th August, 2015 at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio,. Ensuing games for week one of the preseason schedule will take place on 13th , 14th , 15th and 16th August and 16th August, encapsulating sixteen contests during the first of four consecutive weeks of exhibition games. New England will open its preseason schedule with a contest against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium , Foxboro’, Massachusetts, in what will be Jimmy Garoppolo’s first preseason start of 2015, where his backup will be Matt Flynn , signed during the off-season by the Patriots. Other games on the schedule, will offer fans the chance to see the Detroit Lions playing host to the New York Jets , the Dallas Cowboys on the road against the San Diego Chargers , Washington Redskins facing the AFC’s Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium , in Cleveland Ohio.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees among the players , will be Jerome Bettis , Tim Brown , Charles Haley , Junior Seau, Will Shields and Mick Tingelhoff . Granted, with the death of Seau, this season’s recipients of one of the game’s highest accolades will be tinged with a great deal of sadness.

With the revelation by the Hall of Fame and NFL jointly , whereby they will not allow or grant access to the members of Junior Seau’s family , permitting them to make an acceptance speech on the late player’s behalf, at his posthumous induction. It begs the question what it is that the league hierarchy and the Hall of Fame as an institution are seeking to do or hide? Seau’s death as tragic as the circumstances are known to be, it has been the league’s lack of being forthright in addressing the issue of chronic neurological injuries suffered from playing in the NFL , which has led to the ongoing controversy which surrounds the game. Add in the fact , Tony Dorsett, a Hall of Fame running back is now suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and one has to ask,what else is this league (NFL) still willing to hide from the fans at this juncture ?

Will Shields, third from right, and Mick Tingelhoff, second from right, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in August. Other inductees, from left, are running back Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown, defensive end and linebacker Charles Haley and executive Bill Polian . On the right is executive Ron Wolf . Also being inducted is the late Junior Seau, who was represented by son Tyler, center. A family member of Junior Seau will not be granted permission to speak at the late player’s induction into the Hall of Fame , in Canton, Ohio this weekend . Both representatives of the Hall and NFL , state this is policy and should not be viewed in anyway as a distraction or a rebuff of Seau’s family or his accomplishments as a player. Courtesy of the Associated Press .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , might well now suggest the league is doing more than ever before to address the issue chronic neurological injuries suffered by NFL players and pointing to the fact the league will be breaking ground on a retirement facility in Ocoee, Florida, which will provide and house retired NFL veterans in ailing health. This will be the first of several heath facilities to be built around the country over the next several years , which also have experienced medical staff on call to care for these retired players. These centers will also provide residence for a number of players in poor health and will all be funded by the NFL. As to the league’s appealing a judge’s verdict of their settlement with the plaintiffs (retired players) who sought damages against the NFL for brain injuries suffered during their careers. The $ 1 billion offer by the league , seems something of a mere pittance for a sports’ hierarchy whose revenues exceed $7.8 billion annually and has increased each year over the past decade .

When you’re good , you can be extremely good in the NFL , but if your front office continues to show poor judgment, then you can but only hope there is light at the end of the tunnel. Last season , both the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bays were simply atrocious all season long. With the teams finishing with regular season records of 2-14 , it begs the question how bad was the league this past season ? Suffice to say, the league hierarchy continues to sell the fans a bill of sale on goods and a brand , that from one season to the next swings back and forth like a pendulum. The hype remains utterly ridiculous, while the exploits of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham might well have been spectacular , the season for the New York Giants was simply a disaster. Eli Manning now appears to be on the downside of a career that seemed destined to be bound for the Hall of Fame.

Two Superbowl victories can add luster one’s career resume’ , but take away those two postseason victories in the big game and what are you actually left with concerning his regular season career ? Eli Manning and the Giants were a train wreck on and off the tracks in 2014. No leadership to be seen from the quarterback and even less from the coaching staff of Tom Coughlin . The off-season has seen some changes in the team’s roster alongside their influx of rookies and free agent acquisitions. Odell Beckham will likely remain a great part of the Giants’ offensive focus , as the sophomore wide receiver will be looking to improve upon last season’s performances. If that is to happen, then Eli Manning will have to be back at his very best if the New York Giants are to be seen as a prohibitive favorite for the NFC East divisional title. The difference remains something of a joke , with only the Dallas Cowboys showing z any real guts and resiliency during this past season.

Coming off a 6-10 season in 2014 it easy to understand why Giants’ fans might well still feel a sense of disappointment with a third place finish within the NFC East. The team lacked confidence , leadership and were simply woefully inept throughout much of last season. I am not so sure we are likely to see enough of an improvement to believe the team will be viewed as contenders within the division much less the conference or even the possibility of winning their fifth Superbowl title. Their preseason is unlikely to prove much of a pointer , as they enter into regular season when they open their schedule with a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium in Arlington, Texas on 13th September, 2015. Eli Manning’s record against Dallas since his entrance into the NFL with the exception of his postseason contests against his divisional rivals. I am not about to suggest this will be Manning’s last season with the Giants, but anything short of a postseason berth and the likelihood, will be the organization must seek to move in another direction without the franchise’s career passing yards’ leader .

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Hackensack, New Jersey 8/28/14 quarterback Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants watches the game from the sidelines after being removed from the game in the first quarter of a preseason football game as head coach Tom Coughlin coaches at MetLife Stadium on August 28 , 2014. Paul J. Bereswill

In light of the reported evidence found by the league’s investigators, do you feel the punishment meted out against Tom Brady is just or do you believe it has been something of a witch-hunt against the player and the New England Patriots because of prior bad acts ? Also what are your expectations for this upcoming season in the NFL ? Feel free to leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter.

:P

Tophatal …….

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A fool by any other name, is still a fool

A fool by any other name, is still a fool

It seems strange that barely six months ago the nation enjoyed the spectacle of the Superbowl . witnessing history being made as the New England Patriots triumphed in a thrilling game defeating the Seattle Seahawks , with the franchise winning their fourth Superbowl title. Superbowl MVP and quarterback Tom Brady added to his already growing legacy, but it has since been tarnished with the revelations that the player was embroiled in the Deflate-Gate scandal. As to what this now means for Brady, can be best judged by what his detractors and supporters have continue to say concerning the player’s actions. Further exacerbating the matter is the very fact, Roger Goodell believes he can be the sole arbiter in deciding the fate of Tom Brady. The player will likely challenge any punishment meted out by a hearing, by quite possibly seeking a challenge within the Judicial System , though as of now it would appear, that until a hearing date has been set by the league, this whole chapter will become one of sheer conjecture and speculation.

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For the New England Patriots, this NFL franchise might now be the most despised in the NFL if not in the entire world of professional sports , perhaps even more hated than either baseball’s New York Yankees and dare I say it , even the Dallas Cowboys, whose owner Jerry Jones might still be the most disliked owner in all of professional sports ?

During the off-season, Bill Belichick and Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft have not seen fit to make too many public statements concerning the allegations made against the franchise’s most popular player in its history.

Tom Brady’s resume’ speaks for itself , but history is now likely to judge him , not just barely on his Superbowl exploits, but also the allegations now encapsulating this latest chapter in New England Patriots’ history. With two such staggering chapters now on appearance viewed as sordid , I can’t help but wonder why the NFL itself continues to act as if the actions of the Patriots have only ever been committed by one franchise in the league’s history .

Sean Payton and Micky Loomis of the New Orleans Saints were in some respects the architects of Bounty-Gate , another sordid chapter of NFL history where Roger Goodell once again continued to show his incompetency. Another of the accomplices in the scandal Greg Williams now an assistant coach with the St Louis Rams , might well have been made a scapegoat in the whole sordid affair, but in reality , the league itself has continued to act as if it is without reproach and still has a great deal of integrity. The players continue to lack any type of character , much less their willingness to adhere to the league’s own rules concerning its drug or conduct policy.

Having won their fourth Superbowl title in the past fifteen years to go along with seven appearances in the NFL’s showcase event. Four victories and now the infamy of having the Patriots’ name now tarnished. Robert Kraft has continued to try and deflect attention away from the franchise but his greatest problem and advantage might well be Roger Goodell. Kraft was implemental in Goodell succeeding Paul Tagliabue as the current NFL Commissioner. For anyone, who believes the commissioner can be impartial in any type arbitrary procedure involving the NFL has to be viewed as a farce.

Tom Brady for his part, during this whole process will likely spend a great deal of his off-time getting in sync, albeit , we are not yet aware as to form of punishment is likely to be meted out against the player by the league. All signs seem to be pointing to the fact Brady will likely face a suspension of no more than four games , as there seems to be no precedent , where the hierarchy can actually suspend the Patriots’ quarterback for anything more than four games , comparative in nature for a first time offender for transgressing the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Should that be the case, I believe Brady will seek the turnover of the ruling either in Federal District Court or by way of a tribunal overseen by the league, with Brady likely to be represented by a high-profiled lawyer as part of his due process and representation.

New England will be looking to make a successful defense of not only their Superbowl title but also the AFC East division, which they won with a great deal of ease last season. Considered to be their biggest rival this season will be the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills , but there is the belief the New York Jets might be able to mount a serious challenge if Geno Smith can find some semblance of consistency to his all-round game. From my own standpoint, I believe Smith to be the worst quarterbacks drafted in the NFL over the past six years with the exception of Tim Tebow , Johnny Manziel and Brandon Weeden ! So make of it what you will at this juncture.

The personification of what has made the Patriots a constant success over the past twelve years has been franchise’s drafting of players , who over time have proven to be productive as well as perennial Pro Bowl mainstays. Granted, the organization has also profited from the acquisition of established players who have fit the mold of an amenable addition to the franchise. The likes of Wes Welker , Randy Moss and Corey Dillon immediately comes to mind and their success with the Patriots has been well-chronicled over the course of New England’s history in the NFL .

As they say , all good things must come to an end and inquiring minds have to be wondering , how long before Tom Brady decides to hang up his cleats ? Granted, there have been several players down the years on the Patriots’ roster who had the chance to supplant the incumbent quarterback in the starting role and Jimmy Garopolo would appear to be no different. He had his baptism of fire in the league with some mop up duty and during the preseason of the year he was drafted by the Patriots. This is unlikely to be the year where his role will be increased or his becoming the full-time starting quarterback for the team. Yet there is now the growing belief he is the heir-apparent to his mentor , Tom Brady. Quarterbacks’ coach and the team’s offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels certainly believes that to be the case and I believe during the preseason Garopolo will certainly see some playing time.

If Brady’s suspension comes into play at the beginning of the regular season with the appeal’s process not yet underway, then there is every reason to believe Jimmy Garopolo could very well start his first regular season game in the presumed role of an NFL starting quarterback.

Time waits for no man and in the NFL once it is believed you are no longer of use to a team, you’re normally sent packing . So it was for several members of the Patriots’ roster from last season with the departure of long-time defensive stalwart Vince Wilfork . The eleven-year veteran signed a two-year deal with the Houston Texans during the off-season and will likely bring some leadership to roster sorely lacking leadership , even with the presence of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney , said to be lynch pins on an underachieving secondary. It will be very interesting to see what role Wilfork will play on this Texans’ team and how they will fare over the course of the season.

In week fifteen Vince Wilfork will be provided with the opportunity to reacquaint himself with his former teammates when the Texans play host to the New England Patriots at NRG Stadium , in Houston, Texas. For Bill O’Brien it will also be a re-acquaintance of sorts as he was also once a member of the Patriots’ coaching staff under Bill Belichick .

While I believe the New England Patriots are capable of winning the AFC East with ease. A successful defense of the Lombardi Trophy will prove to be difficult and the chances of winning back-to-back Superbowls is extremely tough , with it having been achieved, becoming something of a rarity . Granted , the last such franchise to do so, were the Patriots, but the feat was accomplished over a decade ago. No one has come close to doing so , until the squandered chances of the Seattle Seahawks were seen last season, along with the heroics of Patriots’ defensive player Malcolm Butler , whose timely interception in the waning moments of the game sealed the Seahawks’ fate and led many of us to ask, what the hell was Pete Carroll thinking ?

I believe this upcoming season, the toughest challenges to be faced by the New England Patriots will not come from either of their schedules , but, it will be predicated upon the amount of complacency shown. Too much , with the disdain for an opponent, can and will lead to their demise. One expects there to be a little arrogance and swagger to be involved , after-all, they are the reigning Superbowl champions and with it comes detail of their being viewed as the target with a very large bulls’ eye on their back . with everyone seeing to take aim and hit the target dead center. How the Patriots intend to deal with it all , could mean the difference between success and failure.

Last season for the New England Patriots, I believe the six best players on the roster in no discerning order were , LeGarrett Blount, Julian Edelman , Rob Gronkowski , Devin McCourty, Chandler Jones and Tom Brady. And granted , it was a collective effort during the regular and postseason that ultimately led to their success along Bill Belichick’s coaching acumen. Yet there can be no denying , whatever the thoughts might be how the franchise achieved its place in history , the roller coaster ride the fans were led on was simply amazing.

One might continue with the allegations of “ cheating “ , but the Patriots are not the only team in the NFL willing to bend the rules for their own means. It is not as if the NFL itself has been built on a solid foundation of honesty and integrity to begin with. One simply has to look at the repeated examples of cheating . dishonesty and utter disdain shown for the fans , not just by the league hierarchy , but also by the owners and the NFLPA (union). So for all of the whining and moronic idiots who take issue with the New England Patriots , have the balls also to point an accusing finger at the entire NFL also , rather than showing yourself to be a complete as#hole time and time again .

Tom Brady still has his legion of fans, but in light of this latest scandal , there has been a groundswell of criticism for the former League MVP and Superbowl winner . His once pristine image is not necessary in tatters , but the chinks in his armor have seen large dents and rust begin to show. Helped on by his innocuous and orchestrated interview with Jim Gray, the player failed to answer any of the allegations against him , simply showing his arrogance and deflecting the whole subject matter of the AFC championship game and the events surrounding it as a non-issue. Is anyone really surprised by that at all ?

Among today’s active quarterbacks Tom Brady’s record is one of the best , regular season and postseason wins, percentage wise in both categories. He may no longer be held with the same esteem as his greatest adversary Peyton Manning , but there the comparisons must now end. Manning still has a glowing reputation , pristine image , loved by fans, consumers and major corporate sponsors alike. Both players have held sway in the NFL for over ten years apiece , each having won the highest awards the game has to offer. Now comes the question , how will history seek to treat the legacies of both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning ? I will leave it for you all to now decide , with the caveat being , controversy and there being a villain to hate , makes for a far more interesting drama and that is what the NFL has now actually become . Less about the competitive spectacle on the field of play , but now more to do with the players’ and hierarchy’s antics off it.


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What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this article ?

:)

Tophatal …..

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Champions are made not born .. Can’t knock the hustle

Champions are made not born … Can’t knock the hustle

As the weekend’s events took hold in the world of sports , we witnessed history being made with Novak Djokovic denying Roger Federer his eighth attempt to win a Wimbledon Men’s Singles title. The Swiss born , former world ranked number one tennis player has long reigned supreme atop of the rankings but over the past five years , it has been Djokovic’s rapid rise up the rankings and dominance we have witnessed The Serbian’s slaying of Federer was a clinical display of strong aggressive tennis, with his serve being among the arsenal on display as he would go on to triumph with his third Men’s title and his second in succession, having won the title second year, having defeated his Swiss rival in 2014. This was the fortieth meeting between these two rivals , with their having split their series at twenty wins apiece.

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In the Women’s Singles Finals, Serena Williams proved why she has been the best player of her generation and with her twenty-first Grand Slam singles’ victory she now stands equal to Steffi Graf for Slam victories in the Open Era , but three behind Australia’s Margaret Court. Williams’ victory over Garbine Murguruza in straights sets was as lopsided a victory in a recent Slam tournament. Serena Williams now becomes only the second female player in the modern era also to all four majors at the same time as the reigning champion and with a win in the US Open would look to become again only the third female to have won Grand Slam in the same calendar year, joining only Margaret Court and Steffi Graf to have accomplished the feat. It is hard to envisage where the opposition is likely to come for the American sensation as she seem to be playing her best tennis of the season after her triumph at the All England Club, Wimbledon.

During the ATP and WTA calendar season, both Djokovic and Williams have reigned supreme atop of the rankings while also garnering titles at an astonishing rate. By year’s end I seriously doubt how either of the two will not end atop of the respective world rankings.

Jordan Spieth is having an astonishing season within the PGA and his rapid rise up the world rankings , has the American sitting at number two, with only Ireland’s Rory McIlroy ranked , number one, standing in his way , as he seeks to surpass the Irishman. McIlroy will miss the British Open scheduled to begin on 16th July at St Andrews Golf Club, St Andrews , Scotland. Spieth will likely be the presumptive favorite as he seeks to win his third Major , having already won The Masters and US Open at this stage of his career. The world number two has become only the second American to have won four titles heading into The Open , long seen as the toughest Grand Slam major to win on the PGA Tour schedule.

A promised showdown between Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth was the desired lure of The Open and the very fact Tiger Woods’ play this season has been so erratic , the thought of the former world number one having any type of effect on the tournament seems to be one sheer hope rather than a reality. Woods has been saying all of the right things, but his game has simply been far too inconsistent for him to be seen as a serious contender , much less a threat to Spieth in the tournament. I certainly believe Jordan Spieth’s confidence as well as his game, makes him a legitimate favorite and the possibility of winning the third Grand Slam Major of his young career.

The NBA for its part continues with its own form of the silly season , as free agents either stay put or seek to move on elsewhere . Biggest story to come out of this all , was the decision of DeAndre Jordan to renege on his promise to join the Dallas Mavericks , spurning their contract offer to remain with the Los Angeles Clippers. Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has remained somewhat mute on the issue, but I would guess with several players on the team’s roster have voiced their displeasure at Jordan and his final decision.

I for one feel the Clippers power forward’s decision was not necessarily about money, but more to do with the fact, I do not feel he would have been comfortable, being the second man in the pecking order on the roster of the Dallas Mavericks. He certainly knew his role with Los Angeles, where he was third in the pecking order behind Chris Paul and Blake Griffin , and even though there was said to be a lukewarm relationship and his Clippers’ teammate Paul was said to have been one of the main reasons Jordan sought to leave the Los Angeles based franchise. In the end calmer heads were said to have prevailed.

If there is now said to be a new-found resolve about the Los Angeles Clippers, then a great deal of that will likely come down to the coaching acumen of Doc Rivers and the sort of vitality shown by the players over the course of the upcoming season.

LeBron James in a recent interview stated, he had begun to have nightmares after the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. From my own mindset , I do not believe the result was ever in doubt, even if the Cavaliers had the services of both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during the series. The Warriors had more depth to their roster and they were better coached, with Steve Kerr proving he was far better than his counterpart David Blatt. James in spite of his heroics during the series, he was not able to pull off a series’ victory which would secured Cleveland their first NBA title.

The Cavaliers will likely be the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference for the upcoming season , where their biggest opponents will likely prove to be the Chicago Bulls under new head coach Fred Hoiberg. There is no denying the NBA Finals were an immense disappointment to the front office of the Cleveland Cavaliers, with GM David Griffin having engineered the building of the roster , luring LeBron James back to Cleveland, along with the signing of Kevin Love. The failure however, had more to do with the smugness of the entire franchise and the very fact , there was no clear planned strategy in place, other than the belief James would be Cleveland’s savior , beyond being viewed as the ‘Prodigal Son’. Another rebuilding process will now be underway and once again LeBron James will be key to the Cavaliers’ strategy, with the likelihood his approval will be sought on any move made.

It would be fair to suggest over the past four years, the gloss has faded on the achievements of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, with both franchises simply bereft of a dearth of talent. Both Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant are well into their respective careers, both players having a decade-long exposure in the league. Bryant having the most success from a personal and team standpoint. In the case of Carmelo, other than being seen as a prodigious offensive talent, his years with the Knicks have simply been wasted , with last season being of no exception.

Anyone who witnessed the play of the team under their rookie head coach Derek Fisher, either had to be disgusted or simply laughing at their exploits. Knicks’ fans themselves, were delusional, as they still are , hoping in 2016, Phil Jackson will still have a ‘ Master Plan ‘ to turn things around. No logical steps were taken by the front office executive and clearly the hiring of Fisher has proven to be an unmitigated disaster. Jackson has no eye for talent and the only reason behind his hiring by team owner James Dolan was to stop the embarrassment and ridicule of being called one of the NBA’s worst ran franchises. Nothing has really changed , with Jackson proving he is no better than one of his predecessors Isiah Thomas , who at one time had dual roles within the organization , as head coach and President of Basketball Operations.

To even remotely describe those years as being a success , would be akin to suggesting Thomas knew exactly what he was doing. Jackson’s ego and failure to admit his mistakes or weaknesses indicates how much of a struggle this past season has been for the New York Knicks and why they still have a long way to be go before being able to turn things around. Carmelo Anthony is not getting any younger and his best years are now behind him.

I have no real wish to go into depth, to explain why both these franchises , the Knicks and Lakers have remained failures over the past five seasons , as these debates have been well-chronicled and have become utterly boring. Fans of the teams in question have become obnoxious , delusional but above all, truly lacking any real intelligence to acknowledge the fact the owners of both organizations have not got a clue. Beyond that, nothing more needs to be said.

As baseball takes its customary mid-season break to engulf itself with the All Star Game and its surrounding events. It would be easy to suggest the first half of the season has been a resounding success. In some ways it has , but for the most part, teams have been struggling to shown any real semblance of consistency or competitiveness. The fairy tale story that was the Kansas City Royals has some additional chapters written , to add to the success of last season . Leading the AL Central , it would appear the Royals are now intent on making a second successive postseason appearance , something not achieved in several years by the franchise . Needless, to say the chances of the team now running away with the AL Pennant and World Series would be predicated upon one’s belief either in fairy tales , the impossible or just plain reality. Kansas’ success this season has been rewarded with several of their players being named to the AL All Star lineup , the most among AL based teams.

Tuesday night’s contest promises to be a grand gala of the game’s best players , with the showdown , being one with a great deal riding on it.

On the mound for the respective leagues when the game gets underway at the Great American Ballpark , Cincinnati , Ohio will be Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros against Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers . Over their last eight starts, both Keuchel and Greinke have been stellar for their respective teams. Zack Greinke closed out the first half of the season, with the best ERA among starting pitchers in baseball and could conceivably be seen as the clear favorite for this season’s NL Cy Young Award.

Away from the field of play, Pete Rose will be making an appearance at the venue where a great deal of the player’s most renowned achievements too place, , but yet, his yearning to be given that seal of approval with his reinstatement to the game seems a long way off , in spite of assurances by Rob Manfred concerning the issue of Rose’s banishment from baseball. If he is reinstated it by no means guarantees his automatic consideration for the Hall of Fame. Rose still has his enemies on the BBWAA and the Veteran’s Committee of the institution, who have long memories and who still believe Pete Rose’s actions remains a stain on the game of baseball. As hypocritical as the Baseball Writers’ Association just happens to be, they still believe, they have to stand for something, even when they have failed so miserably to address their own mes-culpa , addressing and reporting on the widespread use of steroids within the game of baseball . Anyone who believes there remains some form of journalistic integrity within the field of journalism, specifically sports’ journalism, is in need of a rectal inspection to be followed by a swift kick to the ass.

When the second half of the season gets underway, it will be interesting to see which teams come flying out of the starting gate hoping to make up for a poor start to the first half of their year.

The news’ cycle is and will always remain an around the clock three hundred and sixty-five days a year meat grind and slog to report any morsel of idiocy to be found in the NFL. In the off-season it becomes somewhat like a political campaign, similar to the current undertaking we are now witnessing as the Presidential candidates from both political parties make themselves known , even with their hypocrisy, jingoism and xenophobia is brought along for everyone to witness.

If Roger Goodell were running for the highest political office in the land, I would dare say he would find his fair share of anal retentive supporters. Goodell as the NFL Commissioner, is still wading through the fecal matter of his own making. Irritable bowel syndrome or not , the diarrhea constantly served up by this particular NFL executive has become too much to bear. Personally, I still cannot understand why he has not been asked to step down as the commissioner of the league. His lack of communicative skills , autocratic rule of law and ongoing incompetence are one of the numerous reasons why the NFL remains a complete laughing stock. For the most part , the owners are simply happy reap the financial rewards, as too are the union and the players themselves. Leaving the fans to wallow in the bullshit of a brand that tends to be so watered down , but yet many try attest it is in fact a competitive brand being placed on the field of play throughout the season. 2.

This upcoming season promises to be an arduous one for several teams who last season fell short of expectations. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will enter their season with renewed vigor ,with their number one overall pick Jameis Winston seeking to place all of the negative aspects of his college career in his rear view mirror. I am so sure Winston possesses the maturity to lead this franchise back to respectability , much less be competitive enough to win their division. The NFC South remains one of the NFL’s garbage canisters, where the carcasses of rotting elephants would find it a conducive place to be laid to rest.

Jameis Winston will be hoping to beat out Mike Glennon for the starting role as the Buccaneers’ quarterback in 2015 and it remains one of the primary areas where this is a cause for concern for the franchise .It is among a litany of woes Lovie Smith and the coaching staff will have to address for this upcoming season. At best , the Buccaneers can carve out a six or eight-game win season over the course of their schedule , where I believe the two teams likely to be the main challengers within the NFC South are likely to be the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints . Ron Rivera and Sean Payton are two very good coaches who will be have their respective teams ready to play once the season begins with their two regular season contests likely to be pivotal within the division.

When is an NFL team not actually a team ? Likely one , that is put together by Dallas Cowboys’ team owner Jerry Jones. Last season the Cowboys came apart at the seams in the postseason like Swiss cheese being shredded by a grater. For all of the pretentiousness of Jones and the Cowboys’ fans imbuing on us , the franchise’s greatness , one only has to look at the Cowboys’ failed attempts to make the postseason over the last seven years to see what a mess they have actually been. Rife with excuses after their loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the NFL postseason , once again indicated why Dallas remains a farce.

Entering into the season Cowboys will be without their record breaking running back DeMarco Murray , who Jerry Jones chose not to retain , because many believed wide receiver Dez Bryant was far more of a prized asset for the franchise. Bryant has always been a troubled and self-absorbed individual who flashes of brilliance are then countered by his immaturity and lack of leadership. Another trait he actually shares with his teammate and veteran quarterback Tony Romo. With news now emanating Dez Bryant is not willing to report for the Cowboys’ mandatory preseason OTA’s , unless he is guaranteed a long-term deal , one has to ask how could the franchise’s , front office not see this coming ? There remains a great deal of conceit and narcissism within this franchise and most certainly among many of their high-profiled players, of which their Pro Bowl wide receiver can be considered to fit into the that particular category.

If neither Jason Garrett or Jerry Jones can instill discipline on this team , then why would anyone be of the belief the Dallas Cowboys can win a Superbowl , when there is said to be complete lack of leadership and discipline within the organization ? Teams that tend to be successful and consistent are ones which are said to have leaders, role players and a great coaching staff. I seriously doubt that can actually be said of the Dallas Cowboys at this juncture or at any time over the past six seasons.

Jerry Jones may well be an astute businessman , but as an NFL front office executive , he remains something of an oaf, even if his winning what I felt to be a nonsensical award last season, with his being named NFL Executive of The Year . I hear, up next , Joe The Plumber will be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts ,also in recognition of his being an avowed Conservative and a detractor of all things Obama related. Sarah Palin, eat your heart out bit#h , because you can still see Russia while pulling down over $100,000 for a speaking engagement and having absolutely nothing new to offer by way of any type of political dialog.

Playing in a mediocre division has its merits for the Dallas Cowboys and I severely doubt they are likely to be challenged within the NFC South , where the defensively challenged Philadelphia Eagles remains a joke under Chip Kelly , where Jay Gruden will likely spend more time soothing the egos and massaging the penises of Kirk Cousins and Robert Griffin III . Last but not least , Eli Manning will still be wondering why having won two Superbowls, one more than his elder sibling Peyton Manning , he can’t get no love from anyone and that includes the growing cries of New York Giants’ fans who now feel he’s become more of a liability than an asset.

I certainly don’t believe Jerry Jones will offer Dez Bryant a six-year $90 million or $110 million contract , as these are the figures being banded about by close followers of the scenario now engulfing the Dallas Cowboys and where his agent Roc-Nation Sports , overseen and owned by rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z . The only hard knocks Dez Bryant will likely feeling right about now, won’t be coming from opposing defenders but to his ego, as he seeks to earn his piece of cheddar (American Dream) . A contract deal will likely be reached before the Dallas Cowboys embark on their preseason schedule, but if all else fails Dez Bryant will be in camp prior to the start of the regular season. Penalties levied against the wide receiver missing camp could prove costly and one doubts he wants to see a large chunk being taken out of his $12.8 million salary due to him this season. While I believe Bryant to be a very good player , I do not believe he can be considered one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers let alone a receiver who can be considered the leader of a team ambitious enough to win the Superbowl.

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What do you believe is the one trait needed by an athlete to become a champion ? Also of the weekend’s sporting events , which do you believe was the most exhilarating or special in terms of the feat or feats accomplished ?

:o

Tophatal …..

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….

Can’t knock the hustle’ …. Jay Z & Mary J Blige

Be there or be square …

Be there or be square
We have already reached the half-way point of the MLB season and the league is about to stage the eighty-sixth edition of baseball’s mid-season event staged between teams from the AL and NL. At this point in 2014, the divisions offered no real pointers as to how the regular season would end or the outcome of the postseason for that matter. Granted, fans were excited to witness the exploits of the Kansas City Royals during the postseason, before faltering against the eventual champions the San Francisco Giants.

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The 2015 MLB All Star Game held at the Great American Ballpark , home to the Cincinnati Reds will provide the fans in attendance as well the television viewers the chance to see their favorite players perform in the mid-season classic. For the Kansas City Royals and their league-leading number of players chosen to be among the list of players representing the American League. This provides the franchise with the opportunity to still ride on the crest of the waves provided from last season’s success, albeit they came up short in the World Series. This season the Royals have been on a tear leading the AL Central , leaving the rest of the division in their wake.

I certainly believe the Detroit Tigers have misjudged the competitiveness of their divisional rivals and the zeal being shown by this Ned Yost managed team. Remarkable as things may well appear to be, given the fortunes of the Kansas City Royals prior to last season’s postseason appearance and then their letdown in the World Series . Things might well prove to be going well for the ball-club, but the struggles continue for a franchise that finds it hard to retain players given the financial shackles placed upon them by a front office and owner , David Glass , who has not been always willing to make a big splash of signing a marquee and productive free agent.

For years Glass was seen as something of a cheapskate, not always willing to pay or place a winning product on the field. Needless to say, claims of the Royals’ owner simply wanting to make use of the monies made available by way of the luxury tax, became one of the many reasons why allegations were made concerning the ball-club’s dismal record over the years. However, over the past five seasons the fruits of the organization’s labor has borne fruit with the development of several players from within their farm system. A number of those players were part of last season’s success for the Kansas City Royals and now they are again stepping up to the plate.

The Royals are a dismal 5-5 in their last ten games, their last victory coming with a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins. They will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday afternoon when they host their AL rivals at Kauffman Stadium , Kansas City , Missouri. Matt Moore will take the mound for the Rays against the Royals’ Chris Young . I believe the contest is likely to be a competitive one, with the Rays looking to make some inroads into the divisional lead of the New York Yankees.

For two straight seasons the Oakland A’s were see as creme-de-la-creme within the AL West having won the division two years in succession and with it came all of the applause of making the postseason. Alas, the appearances in 2012 and 2013 were short-lived and fell short of the expectations of the A’s famed general manager Billy Beane. Countered by the fact the A’s are one of the least supported teams in all of baseball and their finances menial at best , the continued struggles for the franchise to compete has been a hard one for the organization and the ownership group headed by lead partner Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley . The A’s home venue , the O Coliseum is an archaic stadium, no longer seen as conducive to the team’s needs. Losing 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners has put something of an exclamation mark on what has become a dire season for the Oakland A’s , leading many to believe , Billy Beane and team manager Bob Melvin may begin a fire sale purging themselves of their impending free agents and their high-salaried players off the team’s roster.

Oakland has been looking to parlaying its success , building on their momentum to obtain a new venue with participation from the Oakland Alameda County Government . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization . This has been an ongoing task for the franchise for the last eight years , with their being no concrete evidence that the scenario would ever take flight with a new stadium being built for the organization. If there isn’t winning product on the field of play, then it becomes exceedingly difficult to get the financial backing available to get such a proposition underway and actually becoming a reality. The Oakland A’s will be looking to get back to winning ways when they take on the New York Yankees in an away game when the two teams meet on Tuesday evening. Taking to the mound for the visiting team will be Sonny Gray as he faces the Yankees’ starting pitcher Nathan Evoldi .

No major fallout in the St Louis Cardinals’ hacking scandal, with the Cardinals announcing the termination of scouting director Chris Correa . While there seems to be no suggestion that Correa acted alone , I personally believe he was the sacrificial lamb in this whole debacle ! GM John Mozeliak has been less than forthright in seeking to explain the ball-club’s actions and the obtaining of sensitive information from the Houston Astros . For its part , the MLB hierarchy has issued no public statement concerning the matter and it seems unlikely that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will take any action against one of baseball’s most esteemed organizations . We can have fans up in arms about the issue of steroid cheats , the nonsensical and irrational behavior of players in the NFL as well as their misogynistic behavior towards women, blatant racism , homophobia, of which the same traits can also be found within the NBA. Yet God forbid , the fact we now have a baseball team now blatantly committing a criminal offense and not a fucking whimper is heard from the anal retentive sports’ fan, let alone their being any great measures being undertaken by the media to actually conduct any type of investigation behind the actions of the St Louis Cardinals.

News’ cycles being what they are , I guess there’s now more interest in a bigot such as Donald Trump , his ambition to become the Republican Presidential candidate , or idiots within the South Carolina State Legislature suggesting the Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism. Last I looked , racism was still alive and well , long before Dylan Roof took it upon himself to slay nine African-Americans, as he sought to single-handed to begin a race war. Oh my God , not another fucked up suburban white kid , with the intelligence of a lump of shit, looking for attention. Was this mother-fucker still sucking on his Mom’s tit before he went on this rampage , having not been able to gain any attention from his buddies in high school ? Or was it the fact, the lure of the KKK was more alluring, than perhaps having his cherry popped or the claims as some have suggested , Roof was angered by the fact his ex-girlfriend had begun a relationship with an African-American male. Hence the saying, “ once you go black, you never go back “ . White boy , ain’t got no lead in his pencil.

The St Louis Cardinals are the runaway locomotives within the NL , leading with the NL Central by a comfortable margin and likely to have their division all sewn up before we reach the month of September . Mike Matheny and his team have been rarely troubled over the course of their season and it begs the question can the Cardinals be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the NL Pennant ? St Louis alongside , the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers are far in a way the best teams within the National League at this point of the season, but as we all know the baseball schedule is one of two halves at the culmination of a one hundred and sixty-two game schedule. Having demolished the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon the Cardinals will seek to follow up that victory by looking to inflict further pain upon their NL Central based rivals.

The events surrounding baseball’s mid-season spectacle might well be more entertaining and fan-friendly than can be found with the NBA All Star Game , the NHL All Star Game and that of the NFL’s Pro Bowl . Fans do get the chance to meet with their idols and the players tend to be more appreciative than their counterparts within football , basketball and hockey. Yet for all all the praise and reverence , baseball still finds itself with a dwindling television audience and a marketing strategy that might as well have been thought up by a bunch of drunken fools. The All Star Game itself carries with it, the winning league having home game advantage in the World Series , but even with that as an incentive there doesn’t really seem to be much else that the event really has going for it. Baseball’s Home Run Derby elicits about as much excitement as seeing an eighty-year old wrinkled female up on stage performing a striptease performance , with Vanilla Ice’s hit ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ playing in the background. The efforts of the contestants might well be admired , but in reality, what is it the fans are really getting to witness ? Efforts of real human endeavor ? If that’s meant to be the case with regard to the Home Run Derby , then I would rather watch paint dry or the mating ritual of a pair of elephants. At least there is a sense of realism with what’s being shown on screen , rather the implied implication the contest is something of real physical demand.

Baseball is now at a crossroads , with the career of its greatest ambassador of the last two decades having come to a close last season , there is no Derek Jeter for the fans to follow. The exploits of Mike Trout can provide a great deal of excitement , but he is now playing for a franchise which has consistently under-achieved over the past six seasons. Trout is not to blame, but clearly the Los Angeles Angels are in a state of disarray. In the NL , Bryce Harper is finally fulfilling the potential many of us felt he had , but his lack of maturity and the fact no one on the Washington Nationals’ roster or managerial staff was prepared to hold the player accountable, led to his slow development on all fronts.

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Are you a fan of the MLB All Star Game and if you could level one criticism of the event, what would it be ? Also , which team do you believe has been the biggest disappointment and which club do you feel has been the biggest surprise ?

:)

Tophatal …

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This is the money train right ?

This is the money train right ?

Over the past forty-eight hours the world of the NBA has seen what can happen when teams fail miserably to accomplish anything of note during the free agency period. Much was made of the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks being able to do something of note. Granted, with the league’s revenue stream set to rise on average by thirty-five percent (35 %) in 2016 , teams are likely to have a field day acquiring the marquee free agents that will be up for grabs , knowing those players will be able to garner maximum contract deal paying way above the annual average now available. In the short-term however, for the Lakers and Knicks , this up coming season is likely to bring more of the same as witnessed by their collectively poor efforts of this past season.

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Already, bloggers are seeking to determine who were the winners and losers from the past forty-eight hours of free agency moves seen and which players are likely to make their new teams even better than last year. From my own perspective , it is way too early to be making that call , even if based on the thought of a player still remaining with his old team. Kevin Love it was thought would likely be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers , but instead the power forward signed a lucrative five-year , $110 million deal , making him one of the highest paid players in the league at his position . This will have come as great satisfaction to GM David Griffin as well as the rest of the Cavaliers’ front office .

Love was not the only player on the Cleveland roster to have benefited from the franchise’s largess, with Tristan Thompson also coming to terms and with a lucrative deal. Now all that awaits is the re-signing of a deal by LeBron James , with the team organization moving forward , with their newly revamped roster , rookies and the increasing awareness of David Blatt and his coaching staff as to what will be neededz to beat the best of what the Western Conference has to offer this upcoming season.

Could the Los Angeles Lakers have been any worse over the season than the one witnessed this past NBA year ? I would say yes in a number of ways , beyond the poor coaching job done by Byron Scott and his staff. Furthermore , with Kobe Bryant now in the waning years of his illustrious career and it is hard to suggest how anyone would now wish to take over the mantle of leading the team in its current guise. Beyond Bryant , there is no one currently on the playing staff capable of raising the level of their game and playing at a consistently high level. Kobe Bryant for his part, though the zeal remains , one has to admit, his being able to play anywhere near forty minutes a game over an eighty-two game schedule does now seem remote. Defensively, this past season the Lakers were extremely poor and in terms of offense the team still left a great deal to be desired.

Phil Jackson we know to be a great head coach as his resume’ would suggest, but as a front office executive Jackson has failed the New York Knicks miserably in the role. Yet ,there remains apologists for Phil Jackson’s failings of this past season, as well as the hiring of Derek Fisher as the Knicks’ head coach, along with a staff of assistants who have provided Fisher with little or no help at all in their respective roles. There is a reason why New York ended up with the second worst record in the NBA without making the excuse the loss of Carmelo Anthony for a large chunk of the regular season led to their woes. From the start the team was never really good enough to compete within their division , conference , let alone the league as a whole. Fisher continued to show his inexperience in his role , with team never being able to muster winning streak during the season of more than four games. Makes one wonder how anyone let alone a Knicks’ fan could remain loyal behind a team who played so badly.

Based on potential or simply on achievements the arena of professional sports seems to be one of the few places where the individuals can be guaranteed a reward , even when they are failing miserably. A case can also be made that the executives of a publicly traded company are accorded the same luxuries , but they are then answerable to the stockholders when the company fails to be profitable. Not necessarily the case in the NBA , NFL or even MLB (baseball) . There if the teams fails, then the manager or head coach is shown the door alongside the general manager.

In the past few days we have seen the resignation of Los Angeles Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto from his role within the organization . Team owner Arte Moreno earlier this season made the decision to have Josh Hamilton’s role with the Angels come to an end. With good reason as Hamilton’s off-season issues became more heightened . The Angels for their part have been somewhat lackluster this season as Mike Trout remains the sole reason to take an interest in the team . To further heighten the idiocy behind the Angels’ position they still remain liable for the remainder of Josh Hamilton’s contract with his return to the Texas Rangers . Hamilton has yet to be productive in a game this season for the Rangers as he looks to regain the form that made him a formidable offensive talent and former AL MVP.

If the rumors are to be believed of Jerry Dipoto and Mike Scioscia not being able to work together forming some semblance of cohesion between front office executive and the team manager . It would simply explain a great deal with there said to be some misgivings of by Scioscia wanting to retain the services of Josh Hamilton in spite of his off the field issues. Mike Scioscia and the Angels find themselves five games behind the AL West leading Houston Astros who might be considered the surprise team of this MLB season , while playing some inspired baseball not only within the AL but also right across baseball.

Coming off a 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees , it might be prudent to suggest the Los Angeles Angels cannot continue to lose games at such a frenetic pace , be it at home or on the road over the remainder of their season . The Angels will resume their season with a three-game road series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Stadium in Arlington , Texas with the first of the three games taking place on Friday, 3rd July, 2015. Taking the mound for the Rangers will be Garrett Richards against Chi Chi Gonzalez of the Rangers in what is sure to be an interesting contest between these two divisional rivals.

It is hard to explain the fallout between Mike Scioscia and Jerry Dipoto, but clearly for the sake of the organization the general manager felt the need to go , rather than knowing he failed to have the support of the owner much less the players. For the Angels how this team now fares will likely be predicated on the leadership shown by players such as Mike Trout and Albert Pujols as well as the managerial acumen of Scioscia .

As this season has progressed , it is not hard to understand how some teams will rise to the occasion while others will simply stumble and fall. In the case of the Tampa Bay Rays and their new manager Kevin Cash. It is becoming extremely hard to convince me how this team can be considered a contender for their division much less a wild-card berth in the AL this season . The AL East has become a moribund and overrated division and for the Rays, this is a team which is overrated and has no semblance of being good enough to play at a consistently high level .

Consider the fact, that in their last two games the Rays came close to being no hit twice in successive games . In a series against the Cleveland Indians the Rays were simply mediocre at best in terms of their offense. As to what this might suggest Cash’s team and the belief they can simply have success by way of their pitching , begs the question what happens when the starting rotation begins to struggle ? Who then steps up to the plate on this team to lead by example ? I have heard it repeatedly stated Evan Longoria remains the heart and soul of this team , but to my mind Longoria rarely shows the leadership traits needed to make the team a success much less lead by example. When these two teams resume this current series on Thursday the Rays will be hoping Matt Moore in his first regular season start will be able to take the team off the schneid against the Cleveland Indians in their game to be played at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida ,.

Say what you will , but Ryne Sandberg was never ever going to be able to get the Philadelphia Phillies playing with any great resolve this season. Entering into the year, the Phillies had an aging roster which was overpaid and with no one playing with any type of determination which would have you believe they could be considered to be among the favorites for the NL Pennant or World Series . Sanberg having stepped down as the team’s manager , can now sit back and watch this team continue to stumble while having the worst record in the NL East and within the National League. Losing seven of their last ten games as well being on a three-game losing streak , trying to explain how much worse things can get for the Phillies can be best summed up in two words, they stink . The trade deadline is not yet imminent, but there is now the common belief the front office will begin a fire-sale as they seek to off-load impending free agents as well as a number of high-salaried players thought to be no longer of any use to the organization.

Next up on the Phillies’ plate will be a home game at Citizens Bank Ballpark against the Milwaukee Brewers, where the opposing pitchers will be Matt Garza of the Brewers facing Chad Billingsley for the home team.

Things have to be truly pitiful in the NFL if the only stories to be had at present are an article which features Brett Favre’s thoughts on the league , whether or not he could make a successful return to the league and individuals supposedly jumping into the fray to show their support for Tim Tebow , in light of the recent Supreme Court decision which upheld the rights of same sex marriage and the fact of the criticism leveled at the NFL quarterback for keeping his beliefs to himself, rather than professing his beliefs as a Christian. To my mind, while Tebow was a success as a college player , he was never able prove himself in the league in his first go-around. This time in his second coming , Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly states Tebow and Sam Bradford will contest the starting role for as the team’s quarterback for this upcoming season. This will likely begin with the Eagles’ preseason schedule and their opening game in week one of the preseason schedule.

I am no great admirer of Chip Kelly as a head coach within the NFL, as his teams simply have an aversion to playing defense. He may well have succeeded at the college level , but the PAC-12 was never known as a bastion of defensive football and was simply a conference based on prodigious offensive talent and not much else beyond that. Last season , the Eagles simply proved when all else fails, fold up your tent and play dead , better yet , simply surrender by hoisting the “ White Flag” .

This season I believe the Eagles will be hard pressed to beat out the Dallas Cowboys within the NL East , in a division which has become putrid . It is hard to suggest how bad the the other trio of teams are now said to be , not that the Cowboys are that much better than their divisional rivals. The team that Jerry Jones built for last season was found wanting in more ways than one and was surely seen with their quick exit during the NFL postseason. If as Kelly suggests, the preseason will be a quarterback contest between Bradford Mark Sanchez and Tebow. Then , the likelihood appears to be the job is Sam Bradford’s to lose with Tim Tebow having everything to gain. From my own standpoint , I simply do believe either quarterback has what it takes to lead the franchise deep into the postseason much less win their division outright ! For both of these players, this may well be the last chance either has to prove themselves , even if the financial outlay being made is thought to be minimal at best.

Whether or not this can be seen as publicity gimmick by Kelly and the Eagles’ front office , this could all end up backfiring , should Tebow get the chance to start during the regular season only to falter and once again showing what many believe to be a sad but undeniable truth about the former Heisman Trophy winner and it is , he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a starting quarterback much less as a backup in the role.

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Do you believe the NBA off-season has proven to be an eventful one ? And what are your thoughts concerning thoughts there have been winners and losers during the signings which have taken place by the franchises during the free agency period ? Finally, what are your impressions concerning the woes of both the Eagles and Phillies as professional sports’ franchises ?

Sooner rather than later , Kelly is bound to figure it out isn’t he ?

Tophatal

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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 ?

—–

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 ?

:)

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.

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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 ?

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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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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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