Horses for courses and bull#hit is for those, who simply love to wallow in it

Horses for courses and bull#hit is for those, who simply love to wallow in it

I can’t but wonder the bull#hit now being espoused by idiots not only in the world of politics but also within the world of sports. Former GOP Vice Presidential running mate Sarah Palin has taken it upon herself to defend the comments made by Curt Schilling , as the former baseball player took it upon himself to describe some Egyptians and Muslim extremists as ” Nazi ” sympathizers. Schilling has become a pitiful individual , bemoaning the fact he wasn’t among the list of final candidates of those inducted into the 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame class, while at the same time not being ready to answer for his own misdeeds as a former businessman. It is well-chronicled how the player and his business partners mismanaged their former gaming company , declaring bankruptcy , and then seeking to blame their state of Rhode Island for their incompetency, with the state having backed Curt Schilling and business partners with millions of dollars in financing , as well as a favorable tax breaks.

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As for Sarah Palin, her political career has become something of an ongoing joke , while she continues her stumping of GOP conservative candidates and ideology , also continuing to be paid five-figure sums for public speaking engagements nationwide. With the Presidential nomination cycle now said to be in full swing for both parties , it is easy to understand why those already said to be bored with the idiocy it all entails would rather seek solace elsewhere. Palin and Schilling both noted Republicans, might not typically be representative of what the party is said to be about , but it is clear they’re an embarrassment to what one might be an individual deemed to have some semblance of intelligence.

I doubt that Curt Schilling might feel his statements can be taken out of context, while he provided analysis for ESPN during the coverage of the Little League World Series . How this might have anything to do with a group of children participating in one of the nation’s great pastimes might prove to be more embarrassing for the player as well as the network itself.

ESPN has proven to be a bastion for a great deal of hypocrisy , sexism , misogyny and so much more ,while trying to uphold their own idea of journalistic integrity. The network over the past few years and in recent months, has become an environment of complete stupidity, with the outlandish behavior of several current and now former contributors to the broadcast outlet. From my own perspective , I find ESPN simply another bastion of what is said to be totally abhorrent with the media at present as well as being the microcosm of society enlarge !

If there’s said to be one team in baseball which most likely is under the greatest pressure to succeed, then I believe the ball-club in question would have to be the Los Angeles Dodgers . Take into account coming into this season , in 2013 and 2014 the Dodgers failed miserably in each of the postseasons in question. Don Mattingly , might well be under the biggest pressure to succeed most of all, beyond this multi-million dollar lineup on parade this season. This Dodgers’ team has been extremely impressive with the pitching staff being exemplary , led by Zack Greinke , who over his last eight starts has been extremely impressive. Greinke pitched a gem of a game, going seven scoreless innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers “ downed” the Cincinnati Reds on their way to a 1-0 victory over their NL rivals. Don Mattingly’s players will have as their guests at Dodgers Ballpark the Chicago Cubs for a three-day weekend schedule , beginning on Friday evening with Jason Hammel of the Cubs on the mound to face Clayton Kershaw in one of the day’s more exciting games.

Two of the most disappointing teams of this baseball season to my mind , have been the Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners . It’s pretty much safe to say , both organizations are now looking towards 2016 , rather than seeking to glean anything from the remainder of this calendar year or the remaining schedule. The Phillies possess the worst record in the Majors , having posted a 50-78 mark as of 27th August and the managerial staff without a clue about how to get this team playing with any type of consistency . Peter Mackanin the interim manager has now seen several former stars on this ball-club leave for fields elsewhere as the front office has begun to gut the active roster . Chase Utley and Cole Hamels are no longer with the Phillies and there is now little semblance of the team that won the World Series in 2008 defeating the Tampa Bay Rays with utmost ease .

The Philadelphia Phillies are 4-6 in their last ten games , sitting 21 ½ games behind the first place New York Mets in the NL East and twenty-four games behind the combatants in the NL wildcard race. If that isn’t a clear indicator of how disastrous a season the Phillies have managed to put together , then their fans have to be equally embarrassed by the performances of the players. Players within the farm system are now likely to be given the chance to prove themselves worthy of being part of the starting lineup as the season begins to wind down for Philadelphia Phillies.

Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano might be about the only reason to watch the Seattle Mariners this season. Yet for all of the hype over Cano having signed with the Mariners, his bringing a great deal of productivity and leadership to this Seattle team . On the field, with the exception of the aforementioned players the ball-club has been bereft of competitiveness , while Lloyd McClendon and his managerial staff have simply strayed off the path of their planned strategy for success this season.

Seattle enters its weekend schedule with a three-game set against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field in Chicago , Illinois beginning on Friday , 28th August, 2015. Taijuan Walker of the Mariners will be on the mound to face John Danks of the White Sox in this AL contest. With what can only be described as abject failure by the Mariners , GM Jack Zduriencik was fired by the Board of Directors where senior managing partner , Howard Lincoln had the full support of the senior-most executives within the Mariners’ hierarchy for the removal of Zduriencik. This was meant to be the year where the Seattle Mariners would be making a credible challenge within the AL West seeking challenge the recent dominance of the Oakland A’s , a team which this has been nowhere near as competitive as some thought they would be. The two teams remain as cellar dwellers in the division where they have been for much of the season .

A’s manager Bob Melvin is likely to be retained by GM Billy Beane heading into the 2016 season , but the real issues facing the organization has been the very fact senior managing Lew Wolff and Michael Crowley remain at loggerheads on how best to proceed concerning the rebuilding of this once proud franchise. It remains a constant financial struggle for the Oakland A’s to be on par with their peers within the game and the fact they will the miss the postseason for 2015 will only add to that struggle. Oakland will try to make this waning month of August and heading into September , something meaningful for the year. Sonny Gray will take the mound on Friday evening when the A’s face the Arizona Diamondbacks and their starting pitcher Chase Anderson .

The difference between 2012 and now with the Miami Marlins . is not a damn thing, as the ball-club still remains in complete disarray and Jeffrey Loria remains the worst owner in Major League Baseball . His commitment to mediocrity is only exceeded by his ongoing blatant stupidity and that of the ” entire” front office of the organization. Giancarlo Stanton’s thirteen- year $325 million contract might as well have been written a role of toilet paper , considering the play of the team over the course of this season. Mike Redmond was jettisoned as the manager early in the year and Dan Jennings has yet to show his competency in his role for this franchise. Michael Hill made a splash with the Stanton contract and the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki as a free agent , but beyond that the Marlins have simply been a comedic caricature , so representative of so many teams around MLB , no real plan of action other than continuing to show sheer audacity alongside ongoing stupidity .

Winning with consistency has been the farthest thing from the mind of Dan Jennings’ managerial staff as well as the team over the course of this year . Miami’s victory over what has been a very disappointing Washington Nationals team this season, might well provide a slight respite, but I believe Nationals’ manager Matt Williams believes his players are still capable of obtaining one of the two wildcard berths up for grabs within the NL. Nine games out of that final berth may well prove to be too big a task for the Nationals to overcome during the final month of the season , but the final two games of their three-game home set against the Miami Marlins could make something of a dent in the leads held by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs .

There can be no denying Nationals’ slugger Bryce Harper is having a sensational year for the team , as he leads the NL in batting average , home runs , on-base percentage , slugging percentage and total OPS .

Bryce Harper has to be seen as the leading candidate for NLMVP and the Nationals’ first MVP Award winner in the franchise’s history . From my own perspective, while I believe the Washington Nationals to be a good team, they are falling way short of expectations. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are meant to be the fulcrum of this roster ,with both players sharing the same agent, Scott Boras . As we know the sport’s agent has been among the astute and savvy of the MLB certified agents within baseball. When both Harper and Strasburg due to become free agents, it will be interesting to see what decisions are likely to be made by front office led by GM Mike Rizzo . In 2017 , both of these former number one draft picks by the Nationals will be eligible as free agents and it will be interesting to see if Mike Rizzo and lead managing partner , Ted Lerner will seek to keep both of these formidable All Stars , while paying them both ,what Scott Boras will believe to be fair for his clients.

The AL East divisional race has become something of a cat and mouse thriller, with the Toronto Blue Jays now holding a 1 ½ game lead over divisional rivals the New York Yankees . Hal Steinbrenner , has pretty much stated the division is the Yankees to lose and the team is not ready to give up the race for the divisional title until the very last game of the season has been played. As good as the Yankees seem to be , the division I believe no longer provides the excitement and notoriety fans have usually come to expect. The real issue and their Achilles’ Heel will remain the lack of depth to the team’s pitching rotation and that of the relievers in particular.

New York’s pounding of the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia on Friday night , was the Yankees’ largest margin of victory this season and certainly their most productive outing from the team’s offense. A 15-4 victory was just what the doctor ordered for New York and Joe Girardi’s team of stars . Girardi and his players will round out their weekend road series against the Atlanta Braves with Saturday’s game which will have Luis Severino on the mound to face Matt Wisler and then on Sunday Nathan Evoldi will face off against Julio Teheran of the Braves in the final game of the trilogy. .

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The MLB regular season will end on the 5th October with the wildcard round of the postseason beginning on the 6th and 7th October respectively . For the teams prive’ baseball’s postseason foray , this will be the time when nothing else matters other than their zeal to win. What are you hoping to see in the lead-up to the MLB postseason and which teams from the respective leagues do you believe can win the AL and NL Pennant and ultimately the World Series ?

:)

Tophatal ….

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—–

Nas …. “God’s Son ”

I Got Game , What You Got ?

I Got Game , What You Got ?

In the world of sports where athletes are times more often than rewarded for their mediocrity , it remains confounding when many of these stars, then seek to gain even more notoriety for the off-court of field antics than anything they have yet to have achieved during their active playing careers. It would appear to be the case now with the Memphis Grizzlies’ veteran Matt Barnes, who but at one time played for both Los Angeles’ based NBA franchises the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Now something of a journeyman within the NBA , Barnes has never been the meaningful or an integral part of any team where he has played. Now seeking to emblazon himself in the minds of the masses, Matt Barnes is on a quest to let the world know about his private life and the fact he has dated pop sensation Rihanna. Last I looked the singer had notched up her own fair share of male suitors which have included current San Diego Padres’ slugger Matt Kemp , rapper , Drake and his erstwhile nemesis Chris Brown . No mean feat by the singer , until you realize, she actually garners more press than the aforementioned names combined and has been more successful from a talent and commercial standpoint. Which begs the question, is Matt Barnes really that much of an asshole ? Yes indeed, he is that much of an asshole and a great deal more .

With the upcoming season of the NBA not due to begin until the opening regular season tip-off , opening night 27th October 2015, much of the off-season and heading into the preseason has been about what various teams have sought to do to bolster their rosters. The Golden State Warriors rode on the crest of an emotion alongside great coaching to win their first NBA title in four decades. Unfortunately , rather than seeking to praise the franchise for the achievement , the press and in particular anal retentive fans, have sought to make excuses for the defeated NBA Finalists the Cleveland Cavaliers and their superstar guard LeBron James. James for his part in spite of his heroics was never seriously in with a chance of winning his third straight NBA title. There was way too much pressure on the Cavaliers to succeed and clearly the inexperience of head coach David Blatt played a part in their downfall beyond the loss of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love during the NBA Playoffs.

LeBron James has been lucky enough to know the front office of the Cavaliers are willing to do just about anything to facilitate the player’s whims , including seeking to acquire just about anyone willing to play a secondary role to the LeBron James traveling circus. Cleveland is likely to be among one of the top draws on the road as well as at home during the upcoming regular season and it is also clear they will be a major ratings’ draw when it comes to a television audience. The Christmas Day scheduling of the rematch between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena is a clear indication of how orchestrated and self-important the NBA now believes itself to be.

While I have no doubt the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will each have a role to play in this upcoming season , where both teams will likely be challenging for divisional honors within their respective conference. I do believe that the West will be the better of the two conferences on display , as has been the case over the last eight seasons.

With Marc Gasol choosing to remain with the Memphis Grizzlies , it will be interesting to see what this team has in store for their fans this upcoming season. Gasol will be the focus of the roster alongside Zach Randolph and Vince Carter , who after all of these years within the NBA still believes he has something to offer a team. There was a time when Carter was among the most explosive and dynamic players within the NBA , but over the last few years , his productivity has declined. Head coach David Joerger and his coaching staff will have a great deal to prove this season if they (Grizzlies) are to be considered among the top teams within the Western Conference throughout the year. Memphis will tip-off their regular season schedule with a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on the 28th October,2015 at the Fedex Forum , in Memphis , Tennessee,.

So much for the hype behind the return of Phil Jackson and what he might be able to offer the New York Knicks by way of his basketball acumen. This past season showed the Knicks to be as bad a team to be found in this league. Embarrassing and simply asinine, might not be enough to describe how bad the New York Knicks just happened to be. What might now be even more befuddling concerning the Knicks were the choices made by the front office during the most recent NBA Draft. Still trying to figure out who Kristaps Porzingis just happens to be? Try looking at his team bio with the Knicks and then ascertain why he was actually chosen as their number one pick in the first round . Someone needs to explain , how a front office led by Phil Jackson, general manager Steve Mills and the coaching staff of Derek Fisher believes Porzingis is a better choice . ahead of players such as Willie Cauley-Stein , Frank Kaminsky , Justice Winslow and several other players many believe to have greater talent than Kristaps Porzingis.

Consider the fact , Knicks’ fans in attendance of the NBA Draft immediately began to boo the choice of the Latvian star whose experience with the Spanish League giant Sevilla was said to one of the main reasons he was drafted by the Knicks. Given New York’s failure to draft anyone of note who has contributed to the franchise over the past five seasons, it easy to understand why the franchise remains such a mess. Phil Jackson’s legacy can solely be judged on his achievements as a head coach , but as a front office executive, he still has his training wheels firmly strapped to his feet . Very much the same can be said of Derek Fisher as a head coach along with his aimless staff of coaching assistants. There are jigsaw puzzles with over one thousand pieces, which could be better assembled than the mess put together by Phil Jackson. Knicks’ fans start kissing your own proverbial @sses , rather than coming up with the regurgitating excuses of Jackson having a plan of action.

Carmelo Anthony may well have chosen to remain in New York because of the money , but the past two years for the player have been wasted years in terms of his talent and the fact the front office has failed miserably in placing around him the talent necessary for the New York Knicks to win consistently , much less make their presence felt in the NBA Playoffs . I do not believe there is anything more which needs to be said about the New York Knicks , where we know their Achilles’ Heal will remain their lack of defense and the fact beyond Carmelo Anthony there remains little to this roster by way of the offense. The Knicks will begin their regular season sojourn with a game against the Milwaukee Bucks coached by their former point guard Jason Kidd when the two teams meet at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee , Wisconsin, on the 28th October, 2015.

Kobe Bryant will enter this season as the highest paid player in the league while on a Los Angeles Lakers’ team likely to be heading nowhere and not as competitive as their fans might believe them to be. Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss , as the senior owners of the franchise along with GM Mitch Kupchak have been culpable in presiding over what has been unmitigated disaster over the past four seasons for this once proud organization. The more Lakers’ fans tend to talk about past glories, rather than deal in the reality of here and now . It is more borne out by the fact , they have simply become delusional and unwilling point the finger at where the responsibilities lay for the Los Angeles Lakers’ fall from grace. Bryant is no longer the player who once reigned supreme over this league and flashes of momentary brilliance cannot hide the fact this aging veteran is now several years past his prime. Yet fans of the Los Angeles Lakers remain optimistic the player can win a sixth NBA title , matching that of his personal icon Michael Jordan .

After a horrendous season in 2014 , it is easy to understand why the Lakers’ fans and the team would like to place it in their rear-view mirror . The Los Angeles Lakers much like the New York Knicks have been feeble in their attempts in drafting players with a competitive zeal, clearly evident in 2014 , 2013 , 2012 and 2011. Granted, this year and their choices of D’Angelo Russell and Larry Nance Jr, in round one , to be followed by Anthony Brown have yet to bear fruit. The feeling however, appears to be , this will be a work in progress as Byron Scott and his coaching staff embark upon this regular season. I believe through their first twenty-five games of the season , will provide us with enough of a gauge to see how the Lakers are likely to fare during 2015.

Scott and the Lakers will open their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles California on the 28th October.

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Tophatal ………

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Ships that pass each other in the night tend to collide at some point on a journey , though not necessarily with something they haven’t seen

Ships that pass each other in the night tend to collide at some point on a journey , though not necessarily with something they haven’t seen

There is no disputing the fact, with the year-round cycle of perpetual NFL news you simply cannot get away from football , no matter how much one might try. With the ongoing fiasco of the Deflate-Gate saga now taking place within the legal system and a Federal Court judge Richard Berman now presiding over what will likely the final arbitrary judgment on the matte. I am now beginning to believe this league desires all of the negative publicity possible simply to remain in the limelight.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell no longer has any credibility and the fact that the team owners remain staunchly loyal to him remains not only incredulous but also unfathomable. Fans may well point to the fact the league is highly profitable, but what does it suggest when the NFL still can’t clean its own house or where its relationship with the NFLPA (union) remains adversarial and antagonistic? When asked about this , the commissioner remains nonplussed and comes across as a buffoon. As to the fans who continue to point to the popularity as one of the sole reasons to find football popular , then they might as well bend over and seek to kiss their own ass for all of the good it might do.

Week one of the NFL season went by without there being a standout performance by a team or player after the games played. Divisional standings asides, there wasn’t a great deal that could be taken away from the results seen other than the fact two Heisman Trophy winners are likely to struggle during this season should they be entrusted with leading their respective teams as that franchise’s starting quarterback.

Tim Tebow a recent free agent signing by the Philadelphia Eagles has become a reclamation project for team head coach Chip Kelly. All signs point to the fact the former New York Jets , Denver Broncos and New England Patriots’ player will likely be a bust. His performance in the Eagles’ season opener of the preseason was a disaster and there was nothing to suggest Tebow’s game has actually improved since he last played in the NFL during the 2012 season.

Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the team’s and the league’s number one overall pick from the 2015 NFL Draft fared no better in the Buccaneers’ preseason opener, as they fell to the Minnesota Vikings in a rather lopsided game. Pretty much safe to say this Buccaneers’ offense could very well end up being among the worst in the NFL this upcoming season with the defense not actually faring any better. Depth on this team roster can only be described as being mediocre at best.

Week two of the preseason will see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Cincinnati Bengals at Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa, Florida on Monday , 24th August, 2015. Lovie Smith and his team will be seeking their first winof the preseason with Jameis Winston likely to once again get the start in preference over Mike Glennon.

Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles will face the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , In the second game of their preseason schedule. Tim Tebow will likely get some playing time in the contest. Yet I have no doubt in my mind the head coach knows , that his and the team’s best option to win lays in the hands of either Mark Sanchezand the much-criticized Sam Bradford whose years in the league have proven to be something of a major disappointment. The NFL to my mind has now become a league of insipid mediocrity , where the fans in general, simply remain apathetic, unbelievably asinine and naive.

The 2012 NFL Draft might well go down as one of the best in recent NFL history and perhaps one of the best in terms of quarterback talent since the hype was made concerning where Hall of Fame players Dan Marino and John Elway would be taken and which teams they would indeed be drafted by. Both quarterbacks went on to have legendary careers , with Elway leading the Denver Broncos to successive Superbowl victories and then riding off into Broncos’ folklore. John Elway is now Head of Football Operations for the franchise, where there is now another legendary quarterback looking to add a second Superbowl victory to his resume and adding a third such title for Denver Broncos.

There are many who now believe the window off opportunity has now closed for Peyton Manning , but yet I feel , as long as the four time League MVP has an effective arsenal to complement his immense skill-set then the Broncos remain with a chance of possibly winning , but that would also be prefaced by suggesting they would be able to get the better of an AFC opponent in the postseason before facing their NFC counterpart in the “Big Game”.

Denver got off to a winning start in the preseason , defeating the Seattle Seahawks on the road in a 22-20 victory against the 2013 Superbowl champions. The Broncos will be looking to add to their winning ways when they face the Houston Texans at Reliant Field/NRG Stadium in Houston Texas on the 22nd August, 2015.

2015 will mark the third year in the NFL for the Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III. The player has made one postseason appearance for the franchise which came to an abrupt end . His sophomore season was by far the best Griffin has had in the league. Granted, he has yet to show the intestinal fortitude of Andrew Luck the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback taken directly ahead of him as the number one overall pick in in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Jay Gruden as head coach of the Washington Redskins’ having not only to deal with the local media , now has to deal with a player whose own entourage seems to be one where they feel , Robert Griffin can and should be seen as the only reason this Redskins’ team exists. Griffin himself, has come out and suggested he remains the best quarterback on the roster and the provides the team with the best chance to win. Yet by any stretch of the imagination , other than his postseason foray in 2012, as a quarterback, he has yet provide the consistency sought for the Washington Redskins to be seen as a credible challenger within the NFC East much less withinthe NFC this upcoming season. Beyond Griffin’s claims of being the best quarterback on the Redskins’ roster, the player believes himself to be the best in the league. All well and good if you have the performances to back it up, but nothing could be further from the truth. It seems what Robert Griffin lacks in competitiveness he makes up for with hyperbole, a great of brevity , a false sense of self-importance and narcissism.

The Redskins’ quarterback is well-paid , perhaps far more than he is actually worth at this juncture, but for the moment, he remains with the franchise knowing this could very well be the last season to prove himself, before the decision is made to jettison him altogether. Robert Griffin III has certainly been more of a distraction for the franchise in his three years rather than an asset and when you consider postseason appearances for the Redskins have become something of a rarity over the last ten years. It is understandable why the front office and team owner Dan Snyder are now at their wits’ end. As valuable as the Washington Redskins remain with an ultra loyal fan-base, having nothing at all to show for during that time-span means absolutely nothing at all , even if organization remains extremely profitable. Making money in the NFL comes extremely easy when you charge exorbitant prices for admission and the television contract are simply extortionate, without mentioning the fact the consumer seems forever starved of a product that has now become extremely pallid.

A narrow three-point win over the Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener offered up nothing new as to what the aspirations might be for the Jay Gruden coached Washington Redskins. In week two the Detroit Lions led by Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford will be the guests of the Redskins at Fedex Field, in Landover, Maryland for an NFC conference match-up. It will be interesting to see how the two opposing front-line starting quarterbacks will fare in this contest. Not due to become a free agent until 2017 , a two-year window of opportunity for Robert Griffin is now fast approaching , whereby it’s now or never for the player, who feels he is the best quarterback in the NFL, when he is on his game. RGIII, as he likes to be known, still has a long way to go before he proves himself the equal of his peers , never mind the players and quarterbacks from the 2012 NFL Draft class.

Say what you will, but the Chicago Bears are now playing a rather stupid game of not only cat and mouse, but also who moved my cheese? Former Bears’ GM Phil Emery took it upon himself to sign Jay Cutler to a seven-year $126.7 million contract and what might be even more ludicrous was the insistence of Emery, this would provide the franchise with stability and secure Cutler’s long-term security. Since Jay Cutler was acquired by the Bears the franchise has made only one postseason appearance and the fact they failed so abysmally, a great deal of the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the quarterback. Prior to the start of the preseason there were rumbling heard the front office of the Chicago Bears might be willing to off-load the beleaguered quarterback.

Jay Cutler, I believe remains this generation’s Jeff George , another quarterback with a bullet of an arm , but whose technical prowess and leadership skill-set always came into question. It has been the very same questions , continually being raised about the Bears’ incumbent starting QB. John Fox now comes in looking to turn things around for the Chicago Bears in what is likely to be a combative NFC North division where the Green Bay Packers will be looking to remain the dominant force while also repeating as champions of the division. The regular season meetings between the two teams should prove to be very interesting. I certainly believe Aaron Rodgers and his teammates will get the better of the Bears in both scheduled contests , with Rodgers’ record against his divisional foes continuing. Chicago will face the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday , 22nd August , while Green Bay will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Heinz Field , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania on Sunday , the 23rd August,2015 .

Postseason or should I say two Superbowl performances can define a person’s career and create a legacy which is likely to make you a candidate for the Hall of Fame . Such might be the case for New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning and a claim could be made that he might be better than his elder sibling Peyton Manning when it comes to being on the NFL’s grandest stage . Eli Manning hopes to negotiate a mega-contract as he closes out the final year of his six-year $97.5 million current deal , with all evidence pointing to the fact the player wishes to have or be offered a contract that would make him the highest paid quarterback in the league.

While I believe Eli Manning to be a very good quarterback his career beyond his postseason heroics have been somewhat sedate. Granted he does possess winning record during the regular season is credible, but his twelve years in the NFL and he only has six winning seasons indicates to me something average, and averaging a mere seven wins a year throughout his career in the NFL. The past two seasons for Eli Manning have proven to be mediocre, with the player showing little or no leadership qualities whatsoever , while seeking to apportion blame elsewhere for his failings . Manning, like head coach Tom Coughlin will be under a great deal of pressure this season and the likelihood appears to be, should the Giants fail, then both the head coach and player are likely to become no longer part of this franchise. Do I believe Eli Manning to be on the downside of his career ? Yes , in many ways I do feel his skill-set has declined , but the Manning name in the NFL does cast a giant shadow over this league and with the Deflate-Gate fiasco still within our midst, it has been the Manning brothers who if anything have defined his last decade and a half in this league more than any other player during the time-span in question.

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Do you believe this upcoming season in the NFL will prove to be exciting ? Or do feel the league will simply struggle to show any signs of real consistency among the teams ?

Tophatal ..

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Failure wasn’t an option , but it happens and not much can be done about it …


Failure wasn’t an option , but it happens and not much can be done about it …

We’re but a month away as the MLB season begins to wind down and already , several teams seem to have fallen from grace . The AL East’s one-time almost season-long leader the New York Yankees have slipped up allowing the John Gibbons’ managed Toronto Blue Jays to take a half-game lead within the division. Hal and Hank Steinbrenner the familial owners of baseball’s most successful franchise have been vociferous in their support of Joe Girardi and remain of the belief the division is still theirs to lose. From my own standpoint, I believe those statements from the siblings stems from the fact they’re now running scared , knowing there is a great possibility the team will fall way short of the organization’s expectations for the season and it is the winning of the Yankees’ twenty-eighth World Series title.

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New York’s last triumph in the Fall Classic came by way of their lopsided series’ victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. In the subsequent years baseball has not been necessarily kind to the New York Yankees by way of success or the fact they have repeatedly failed to acquire a player who has actually contributed in any great way for the franchise. The team’s payroll has lessened in recent years , while the operations of the ball-club still remains profitable by way of their baseball operations and the revenues derived from their wholly owned cable network , YES Network . Presiding over this all, are the children of the late George Steinbrenner III .

The patriarch might now be looking down on the team’s season and questioning the decision making of GM Brian Cashman and that of his children as he has witnessed the ball-club’s failings this season . A great deal was expected of this team, but inconsistency seems to be the norm , while there now appears to be no assumed leader on the roster since the retirement of Derek Jeter after his two-decade career with the franchise. What the Yankees wouldn’t give now to have someone Jeter’s caliber leading this team. Unfortunately , the traits needed are not going to be found among the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Jacoby Ellsbury or Mark Teixeira , much less from anyone else on the roster. There has been a great deal of talk about the players within the Yankees’ farm system and which ones are likely to be brought up as the team makes a final push to win another divisional title.

Coming off an 8-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians , the New York Yankees will begin a three- game weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays, with their being a great deal to play for as this series begins in earnest on Friday evening . The Blue Jays currently have a 7-2 lead in their seasonal series with Toronto winning their last encounter 2-0 in a game played at Yankees Stadium , in New York City, New York on the 9th August, 2015. On the mound in the first of this three-game series will be David Price of the Blue Jays, whose starts for his new team have proven to be beneficial for Toronto. Price will be facing Ivan Nova of the New York Yankees.

The most exciting divisional race now taking place might be the one within the AL West where the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels seems to be “duking it out” for divisional supremacy. Houston might just be the surprise team within the AL this season and likely to be viewed as this year’s rendition of the Kansas City Royals . Whether or not the Astros can match the accomplishments of the Royals of last season remains to be seen. For the moment , Mike Scioscia of the Angels faces a tough fight as he seeks to lead the Angels against his managerial counterpart A J Hinch of the Houston . Over their last ten games , both the Angels and Astros have posted pedantic records with their being nothing to suggest the two teams will have enough to truly separate themselves from one another. It might well just come down to which of the two ball-clubs actually wants to win the the division more.

The Houston Astros will be at home to take on the Detroit Tigers in what will likely become a make or break three-game series for the fading Tigers. Jered Weaver and the Angels will have a decidedly tougher weekend series at Kauffman Field as the Kansas City Royals will seek to distance themselves from their closest rivals within the AL Central.

Don’t hold your breath and please do not place a great deal of storage in the NFL preseason schedule . Football may well be back , but there is more drama to be found off the field than there is now said to be anything occurring on it. New York Jets’ presumed starting quarterback for the season , Geno Smith now finds himself sidelined having been cold-cocked , or some are now saying sucker-punched by former teammate Ik Enemkpali. Enemkpali was summarily cut by the Jets and his since found a new home with the Buffalo Bills , where former New York Jets’
head coach Rex Ryan is now the coach of the Bills, a fellow AFC East based franchise. As to what this all now alludes to, in the regular seasonal meetings between the two teams can be best adjudged by whether not the two players will looking across at each other during the contests in question. Bryce Petty , the Jets’ fourth round draft of 2015 will be offered the opportunity to prove his worth and even supplant a player (Smith), who has yet to acclimatize himself to the NFL after two years in his role as a starter on the team.

In their preseason opener the New York Jets were on the wrong side of a ham-fisted 23-3 loss to the Detroit Lions. Let’s just say whether or not Todd Bowles sought to assess his second string and third string players. There was nothing to suggest this Jets’ team will actually perform any better than their fans were privileged to witness last season. Defensively, New York seems to be apoplectic and the offense cannot be considered that much better.

Week two will see the Jets pit their wits against the Atlanta Falcons , a team that will certainly have a great deal to prove to not only themselves but also their long-suffering fans this upcoming season. Matt Ryan has long proven that while in the regular season he is viewed to be competent , where it matters most , the postseason has become an anathema to one more six-figure $100 million dollar quarterback who is overpaid and simply not worth the money . Ryan and his Chicago Bears’ counterpart Jay Cutler , to my mind are now the two most overrated passers currently playing in the NFL , by far.

You cannot put lipstick on a pig and expect to turn it into a sow and anyone who believes Jay Cutler is capable of leading the Chicago Bears to become a leading contender within the NFC this season, most likely is delusional. There is a new sheriff in town with John Fox heading a coaching staff looking to put the Bears back on the competitive map , with a newly revamped roster still built around Cutler as the centerpiece of the offense along with Matt Forte. Fox and the Bears got off to an auspicious start with a 27-10 victory in their preseason opener over the Miami Dolphins. Cutler got some playing time, but the majority of the snaps were taken by his backup Jimmy Claussen in this contest played at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

If Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears are to prove themselves this season, then they will have to show that they’re the equal if not better than divisional rivals the Green Bay Packers who still remain the class of the NFC North division. Having come off their victory over the Dolphins the Bears will prepare for their next preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts and their stellar quarterback Andrew Luck.

I believe we will not get to see the best of what the preseason has to offer until week three when the coaching staff will be giving more playing time to their front-line playing staff in preparation for the start of the regular season.

So it’s now official. The NBA will begin its regular season eighty-two game schedule on 27th October , 2015. With the New York Knicks failing miserably posting one of the worst records in the franchise’s history and their sheer apathy of some of the most inane NBA fans who continued to drink the Kool Aid and their thinking, that LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers would waltz their way through to the NBA title simply indicated how clueless and continually naive the North American sports’ fan just happens to be. I swear if you placed lipstick on a pig, these morons would actually believe it to be a goddamn fucking sow. Just another example of how damn apathetic, they just happen to be.

In the aftermath of David Blatt being out-coached by Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors . I have yet to hear anyone who was a detractor of the Warriors admit they actually got their prognosis wrong, in deliberating the outcome of the Finals . Instead , the excuses were rampant and widespread LeBron James’ apologists came out in their droves of the four-time League and two-time Finals’ MVP. Granted, James’ heroics in the series against Golden State was extraordinary , but clearly the Cavaliers’ roster did not have the depth of their Western Conference adversaries. If that escaped the knowledge of the fans , then clearly the inexperience was also overlooked by their dumb asses. LeBron James is not an on-court coach, but be might just be the best facilitator of his era, of which not much more can be said beyond that.

The Golden State Warriors will begin the defense of their title against the New Orleans Pelicans in an opening night home stand . Kerr’s roster of last season pretty much remains intact with the exception of one or two minor changes and the most recent draft choices . Reigning League MVP Steph Curry will be returning alongside his robust teammate Klay Thompson and the hero from the Warriors’ Finals success Andre Iguodala most certainly will be looking to prove his performances during the series against the Cleveland Cavaliers were no fluke.

I certainly believe Golden State will remain a prohibitive favorite within the Western Conference to make an immediate return to the NBA Playoffs. They are likely to be joined by five time champions the San Antonio Spurs who during the off-season were the main winners in the free agency sweepstakes , landing LaMarcus Aldridge and David West to fortify what already is a formidable lineup for this upcoming season . Gregg Popovich and GM R C Buford continue to amaze with the acumen shown, with Peter Holt showing why he is perhaps the best owner in the NBA. He delegates , allows his executives to make the decisions necessary while giving his wholehearted support to the members of the front office in their carrying out of their duties.

San Antonio also end up leading the charge with regard to social awareness and gender equality , as they currently are the only franchise within the NBA, where a female coaching assistant , Becky Hammon is the only female holding down such a role. Success with Hammon came by way of the franchise’s D League affiliate winning the Summer League title. The NBA failed to capitalize on this , showing why it still remains a bastion of testosterone driven idiocy , with archaic ideas and sexist behavior by not only the league hierarchy , but also among several of the team owners and notably among the players themselves, in spite of the union’s Executive Director , Michele A Roberts, being a female.

If there is one thing I do know, the NBA needs this upcoming season, if this league is to remain vital and a major success, then it has to be an immediate rebound for both the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks after their disastrous seasons in 2014.

For two of the most renowned teams to have fallen so far off the map was not only an embarrassment for the franchises themselves , but it also gives credence to the fact , Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson are being given a pass based solely on past reputation and not by anything intrinsic or tangible being shown as of late. All of the bravura and idiotic naivete’ of both executives having a long-term plan was idiotic and remains asinine.

Last season remains a clear indication of how bad both teams were and their recent draft choices over the past three seasons. once again has proven a point. Not one player chosen has yet to make an indelible mark on the league. Yet fans of both the Knicks and Lakers are meant to believe Jackson and Kupchak actually know what they are doing ? Byron Scott and Derek Fisher may well have had stellar playing careers , having won multiple titles as players , but their coaching acumen has been abysmal in terms of the undoubted failures seen from their teams.

The Los Angeles Lakers will begin their regular season with a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Staples Center , in Los Angeles , California . For the New York Knicks their year-long sojourn within the NBA starts off with a contest against the Milwaukee Bucks , coached by former Knicks’ point guard Jason Kidd .

From my own perspective the NBA will not find its rhythmic heartbeat until we enter the month of December and from thereon-in which team yearns it the most, as they seek to win an NBA title.

Picture gallery. Click on an image to view that frame in a reformatted size along with an accompanying narrative.

What are you hoping to see as the MLB season winds down and enters into its postseason spectacle ? Also, are you remotely interested in the NFL preseason as a way of gauging the teams’ play ? Finally, what are your thoughts on the NBA and which teams do you believe will be major contenders looking to dethrone the Golden State Warriors this upcoming season ?

:D

Tophatal ……

Contributor & editor’s advisory notes

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MLB

MLB press releases

MLB schedule 14th August

MLB results 13th August

MLB probable pitchers 14th August

MLB standings

MLB standings (wildcard)

This week in MLB history

On this day in baseball history

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NFL

NFL news from around the league

NFL preseason schedule

Week one preseason results

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NBA

NBA news

NBA schedule important dates

NBA Opening Night schedule

This month in NBA history

2015 NBA Draft

NBA team salary cap (2015)

And this is what we know …

And this is what we know ..

Over the past week I have not thought to delve back into the world blogging ,regaling readers with my impressions from the world of sports . In reality, I find this time of the year extremely boring , with their being nothing of note to be seen . The NFL remains in a quandary and it would appear that the once respectful relationship between Bob Kraft and Roger Goodell has now come to an unsavory end. NFL Commissioner Goodell , has seen fit to punish not only the New England Patriots’ star quarterback Tom Brady, but also the Patriots’ organization , owned by billionaire Kraft. As to where this now places the New England Patriots among the most hated professional sports’ franchises in the country , let alone history , I am prepared to let you all figure it out , as I believe it would actually make for a great debate among the sports fans’ fraternity.

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Slideshow.

With Brady having been suspended for four games and his appeal being unsuccessful , the next step is for the player and the commissioner to once again lock horns in a US Federal Court, where there is likely to be a finality to this idiocy. Personally, I believe both sides to be culpable in this mess , with the track record of the Patriots being there for all to see, while the league hierarchy under Goodell has always been weak, apathetic and without a clue. The Patriots are not the only team in the NFL bending the rules. It just happens to be that they are the only ones to have been caught more than once , albeit , we have seen the antics of the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton , Gregg Williams and general manager Micky Loomis. How easily one seems to forget the Bounty-gate Scandal .

Entering into the NFL preseason , I am not so sure I would be happy as a fan of the Buffalo Bills , knowing head coach Rex Ryan is unsure who is starting quarterback will likely be for the Bills’ preseason schedule , let alone the regular season. His choices are, veteran Matt Cassel , EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor ,as competing quarterbacks for the starting role. Based on last season’s performances and the statistics noted , it easy to suggest Ryan’s worries might are justified , but then I look at his own experiences with Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith during his last few years with the New York Jets. His failure there, alongside the poor play of the players mentioned, is not only a cause for concern, but it would hardly allay one’s fears as a fan of the Buffalo Bills let alone being a fan of the NFL.

Buffalo with a new owner in tow , billionaire Terry Pegula ,has promised to bring back the luster to a franchise long starved of success. Consider the fact , the last time the Bills won the AFC East was in 1995 and their last playoff appearance was in 1999 and you can well understand why success has been something of a non-factor in the franchise’s struggles over the last sixteen years. The preseason schedule almost in sight , Buffalo’s coaching staff will be looking to use this time to assess not only the quarterbacks on the staff, but also lesser players hoping to make the team’s final roster before embarking upon their regular season schedule.

With the possibility of Tom Brady still being out for the first four games of the regular season , unless the Justice System has a change of heart, then the other three teams within the AFC East must feel they are in with a chance to dethrone the current divisional champions. To my mind the task will not be that easy, as I believe the Patriots will still be a force to be reckoned with should Jimmy Garoppolo start in replacement of Tom Brady , while the three-time Superbowl MVP sits out the first four games of the Patriots’ regular season schedule.

It’s going to be fun watching as the teams embark upon this preseason schedule, when one bears in mind, in 2014, nothing from the preseason pointed us in the direction of how the regular season would finally pan out. Granted, the belief remained the Seattle Seahawks were seen as the class of the NFC , with the Green Bay Packers perhaps their biggest conference rival. What we found out in the end, Peter Carroll while being a very good head coach, needs to show more authority among his coaching staff and place responsibility where it lays when an assistant makes a bone head decision , as seen during the waning moments of last season’s Superbowl . Russell Wilson will never be able to distance himself from the play and I am sure Marshawn Lynch must be feeling a great deal of anger from the fact he was not allowed to make one final dash into the end-zone. Talk about nightmares, there are still thousands of Seahawks’ fans reliving the image of Malcolm Butler intercepting Wilson’s pass during the waning moments of the game.

The Hall of Fame game kicks off this season’s preseason schedule , with the Pittsburgh Steelers facing the Minnesota Vikings at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio on Sunday afternoon. Week one of the preseason actually kicks off on Thursday 13th August ,2015 when the Baltimore Ravens play hosts to the New Orleans Saints , with the two teams being viewed among the favorites for their respective divisional titles and possible contenders for this season’s Superbowl. Opposing head coaches Sean Payton and John Harbaugh will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season for their respective teams.

So if this baseball season has proved to us anything, it has been the fact being complacent is still prevalent within the game. Fallout, has not only been the managerial departures but also what appears to be dissatisfaction between an owner and a front office executive. Jerry Dipoto left the Los Angeles Angels , after what appears to be an internal power struggle , as to who had the ear of team owner Arte Moreno .

In Detroit , the abrupt stepping down of Dave Dombrowski as the general manager of the Detroit Tigers has shocked not only the fans of the ball-club , but the entire baseball community. Michael Ilitch has thanked the executive for his fourteen years of service and the success brought , but with the missing piece to the puzzle being a World Series title. It clearly wasn’t enough for the eighty-two year old owner and his long-held ambitions of a world championship. Al Avila, a protege of Dombrowski now ascends to the position of general manager for the franchise , hoping to turn things around for the team as they enter the stretch run of the season , looking to close the gap on the Kansas City Royals who lead the AL Central and are seen as one of the primary contenders for the AL Pennant this season.

Boston Red Sox team President Larry Lucchino has stepped down from his role within the organization as team owners John Henry and Tom Werner have to be wondering what went wrong this season, as John Farrell , his managerial and playing staff have been so lax with their play and performances this season. With no chance of mounting a sustainable challenge within the AL East the Red Sox aren’t even competitive enough to challenge for a wild-card berth as the schedule enters its final third of the season. Needless to say. GM Ben Cherington will have some major decisions to make once the team’s season comes to an end. Boston’s record since winning the World Series in 2013 have simply been an unmitigated disaster both on an off the field of play.

Mike Trout remains the best player of his generation and has now become the best player in the game, bar none. If you doubt that , then simply look at the player’s statistics since he entered baseball and now having won the AL Rookie of The Year as well as ALMVP . He now has his sights set on a World Series crown with the Los Angeles Angels , something last accomplished by this franchise in 2002 , under their current manager Mike Sciocsia .

Trout alongside teammate , Albert Pujols have led an offensive onslaught for the Angels this season, with the duo likely to finish with a projected combined home run total of ninety-five home runs. The last duo to accomplish the feat of one hundred home runs in a season were Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro as teammates with the Texas Rangers in 2002. The Rangers for their part , as competitive as they were , simply lacked the the stamina for the long haul and also failing to make the postseason. Both Palmeiro and Rodriguez’s careers have respectively taken unexpected turns due to their web of deceit and lies. These two players have become infamous , with their names now synonymous with the use of banned substances with their repeated denials in light of the mounting evidence which suggested to the contrary.

Mike Sciocsia and the Angels have what appears to be an insurmountable lead within the AL West and can be seen as one of the prohibitive favorites within the AL (American League) this season alongside the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. I certainly believe given their play , the Angels might just be the best team among the aforementioned trio , but the Royals appear to be on a mission of redemption after last season’s heroics during the postseason , ultimately ending with their series’ defeat in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

Trout and the Angels will be up against the Baltimore Orioles when they begin a weekend three-game home series at Angels Ballpark in Anaheim, California , starting on Friday, 7th August, 2015. On the mound for the opening game of the series will be Andrew Heaney of the Angels as he squares off against Kevin Gausman of the Orioles.

In recent months the term ” the most dominant athlete in sports” has been banded about like its the only acclaim which can best describe an athletes’ prowess in their chosen field. As to that might be of late , can be best summed by how one might view the accomplishments being lauded over. Serena Williams continues to dominate the WTA Tour like no other female tennis player of her generation , with the last such player to have matched Williams’ feats being the now retired Steffi Graf . There the comparisons can come to an end , because until Williams has actually achieved the Grand Slam of winning the four tennis Majors in the same calendar year, all of this apathetic stupidity can stop. I have always maintained that the North American sports’ fans and members of the media would rather deal in hyperbole, than the evidence actually in front of them. In the case of sports such as tennis , soccer , auto racing outside of NASCAR , the fans and media alike are simply oafs with little or no intelligence at all !

Now comes the case where the comparisons are actually being made among female and male athletes , as to who the most dominant just happens to be . So next up , I guess it will be left to idiots such as Christine Brennan , Stephen A Smith and Bill Simmons to enlighten us all and tell us that Floyd Mayweather just happens to be a better athlete than LeBron James , Ronda Rousey , Serena Williams , and Jimmy Johnson ? While each of the individuals are considered to be among the best in their chosen fields , all of the hype and conjecture simply makes for a great debate and not much else beyond that. Trying to adjudge the dominance of an athlete from differing sports’ endeavors is like trying to count the grains of sand on a one foot square area on a beach . It is impossible to do, especially when you are simply going by what’s said to be their achievements and then not looking at the level of competition.

Ronda Rousey destroyed her last opponent Bethe Correia inside of one round at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro , Brazil on 1st August , 2015. It would be fair to suggest Rousey has become the brightest face in UFC at the moment and perhaps its biggest star. With their being no real challengers within her bantamweight division of note and the UFC weight class for female fighters solely tied to the bantamweight and strawweight division . There seems to be little chance Ronda Rousey will be dethroned as the female bantamweight champion within the UFC. She has been by far the best female fighter within the UFC ever since her first appearance inside the octagon and now with growing and unrelenting calls for her to face Cristiana Chris Cyborg Santos , a fighter within the rival Strikeforce organization .

There seems to be growing optimism the fight could take place. However, Santos has ran afoul of Strikeforce having tested positive for a banned substance leading to her being suspended by the organization . Rousey for her part, has drawn this fact to everyone’s attention and the fact she believes Santos has devalued the sport with her suspension, having tested positive for a banned substance. Now as if to keep the feud going ,Cristiana Santos has sought to have her lawyers draw a defamation lawsuit against Ronda Rousey , stating the fighter has defamed her character with unsubstantiated allegations. Much ado about nothing I believe , as Santos is more in need of seeing her profile being raised. while also seeking a big payday for a proposed bout against Rousey.

As if to prove the state of disarray the sport of boxing just happens to be in . Floyd Mayweather has announced his next opponent as he defends his welterweight title belts will be against the lightly taken and exceedingly mediocre Andre Berto . Mayweather may well be seeking to equal and then best the 49-0 record of the late Rocky Marciano , but taking fights against lesser opponents now simply demeans a sport now dying on its feeble and last legs, .

The welterweight title holder (Mayweather) was barely tested in his last fight a unanimous decision over the past his prime Manny Pacquaio . The fact that both fighters split an estimated $225 million purse, only adds further injury to insults, one would still like to throw not only at both fighters, but the various international governing bodies of the sport of boxing. Needless to say , with promoters such as Don King , Bob Arum , Oscar de La Hoya and Mayweather himself , pulling the strings as marionettes , there is little that can be done by the likes of the WBA , WBC , IBF and WBO . Not that the governing bodies in question has ever had the sport’s best interests at heart. Consider the fact , there is not an undisputed champion in any of the weight categories in the sport of boxing and it easy to understand why there is now growing disinterest in the sport. With Mayweather’s likely retirement coming sooner, rather than later , boxing will lose its biggest draw and most acclaimed and gifted fighter of the last fifteen years. Vacuum in the sport ? I guess so !

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:)

Tophatal …

Editor’s advisory notes

:P

NFL

NFL news

NFL transactions

NFL preseason (2015)

NFL regular season schedule

NFL preseason results 2014

NFL preseason standings 2014(divisional)

The Wells’ Report

This month in NFL history

On this date in NFL history

MLB

MLB news

MLB results 5th August

MLB schedule 6th August

MLB probable pitchers

MLB standings (divisional)

MLB wildcard standings

Boxing and latest boxing news

UFC

UFC news

 

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

Editor’s advisory notes

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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

Editor’s advisory notes

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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.

(11)

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

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

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

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 !

:)

Tophatal

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