Take it for what it is …

Take it for what it is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Failure is not an option …

Failure is not an option

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

I came to warn Caesar, not to praise him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:)

Tophatal

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Editor’s notes :

 

First, do no harm …

First do no harm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

o_O

Tophatal

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UFC news

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Boxing and Boxing news

Upcoming fights

Preach , preacher __ preach

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

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

(1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Which recent events in the world of sports have highlighted what you believe to be either the more comedic or fascinating incidents to have taken place ?

:)

Tophatal

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Tophatal’s Blog : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/imagine-things-getting-really-bad-before-entering-the-2015-nfl-season-its-not-as-far-fetched-as-it-seems

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/bracketsjackets-and-tip-toeing-around-the-patently-obvious

Idiot’s Guide To Sports : https://topsplace.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/a-dog-with-fleas-will-always-remain-a-dog-with-fleas-you-cant-change-the-evidence/

That Man Al’s Blog : https://thatmanal.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/just-the-fact-mam-just-the-facts-thats-all-thats-required

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Tophatal’s Blog : https://abritishman.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/it-pays-to-take-one-step-at-a-time

Tophatal1’s Blog : https://tophatal1.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/hits-or-misses/

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The always curvacious and effervescent Denise Milani .

Imagine things getting really bad, before entering the 2015 NFL season, it’s not as far fetched as it seems


Imagine things getting really bad , before entering the 2015 NFL season , It’s not as far fetched as it seems

Over the last few days, I have been inundated with so much work, leading my group of research analysts within our section of a large department within the firm where I am currently employed . Trying to stay abreast of the news’ stories in the world of sports is not unlike sifting through a bucket full of fecal matter , looking for the feel-good story of the moment. In the world of golf , Tiger Woods is still trying to figure out if he can still play the game, much less compete at a high level. Well , based on his season , thus far and in 2014 .

I think we can all agree, Woods’ game has sank to an all-time low , without idiots still suggesting that he’s the ticker that still moves the needle within the sport. That was true at the height of his game , when he was winning tournaments at more than a thirty per-cent clip. That has not been the case in over four years , but you would be hard pressed to convince the idiots , who are still sipping from the porcelain pot that Woods continues to defecate and urinate in. . Such has been the apathy of the anal retentive sports’ fan who can be found in the country.

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In the NFL , the off-season has proven to be more of a surprise than any of us could have imagined. Needless to say , many may well be questioning the moves made by Chip Kelly as he has literally made the decision to tear apart his roster of last season, seeking to build a team more to his liking and built around what he believes will make the Eagles winners. Trading away one of the best performing quarterbacks in the NFL over the past two years, is not a convincing way of assuaging and trying retain the loyalty of a fan , especially a Philadelphia Eagles’ fan, who are known to be not only weary , but also lethal to players, whom they believe are not fit to wear an Eagles’ uniform. Nick Foles’ departure was not only a shock , but has many questioning, who is now running the show in terms of player personnel decisions. Is Kelly, as the head coach or is it GM Howie Roseman ?

In 2015, I am not so sure the Philadelphia Eagles will be a force to be reckoned with , not if Chip Kelly is relying on Sam Bradford to be the quarterback to lead this Eagles’ team ! In what I believe to be a puerile NFC East division , the likelihood of their being competitive football being played there this season , will be dependent upon the coaching acumen of Chip Kelly, Tom Coughlin , Jason Garrett and Jay Gruden . If they should fail, then things will be simply mediocre throughout much of the season .

If there is one thing we know to be true and it is the very fact , no matter how hard they try to rid themsleves of the label of being inept. The Oakland Raiders will not fail to confound us by simply making it a reality. The Raiders over the past six seasons have been the epitome of a franchise waywardly heading nowhere , while casting off head coaches like a quick change artist , changing from one outfit to another. The same can be said of the litany of players who have come and gone over that time-span. Jack Del Rio has been brought in by GM Reggie McKenzie and team owner Mark Davis , with a view to his being able to turn around the fortunes of one of the NFL’s most downtrodden franchises in recent years.

Consider the fact , Oakland has not won the AFC West or made the NFL postseason in over eight years , and only then can you comprehend how bad things have been for the organization. Then take into account , in recent years , profitability for the Raiders , has been hard to come by, in spite of their having some of the most loyal fans in the entire NFL . Yet , the franchise remains one of the most valuable in the NFL .

Oakland’s last appearance in the postseason came during the 2002 season when they won the AFC championship game , only to then fall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Superbowl , who were being coached a former Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden . In the subsequent years , abject failure has been the name of the game, while one or two players have made something of a name for themselves donning a Raiders’ uniform.

While I believe Jack Del Rio to be a good coach , I am not so sure if is the right coach or capable enough a being to lead, what in all likelihood will be at its core , a team filled with players who were cast-offs from elsewhere. Add in the fact, the team’s quarterback , Derek Carr will be asked to place the Raiders on his inexperienced shoulders , having had relatively little success in the NFL during his short career . It might be far too bold a suggestion to make , but in this upcoming NFL Draft the Oakland Raiders cannot afford to fail .

Jim Harbaugh’s departure from the San Francisco 49ers was a clear case of a front office dissatisfied with a head coach, who simply had lost control of a team , which lacked discipline and one where many of the players thought themselves above the law , while having inflated egos . The issues of Ray McDonald and Aldon Smith have been well-chronicled without delving further into the less than amicable relationship which had deteriorated during its final days between the Niners’ former head coach , GM Trent Baalke and team CEO Jed Yorke. Photo opportunities featuring Harbaugh and Baalke or Harbaugh and Yorke , had become a rarity. It has to be said, when the two senior executives are said to be distrustful of their head coach , they are in fact sending a clear message, that his tenure , is about to be cut short . No amount ill-conceived diplomacy and well-wishing, upon Harbaugh’s departure could hide the fact, Trent Baalke and Jed Yorke wanted Jim Harbaugh out of San Francisco , faster than a high-speed train.

San Francisco’s demise last season was as much of their own making as was the inconsistency shown by quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his teammates throughout much of the season . Kaepernick for his part having had initial success with a Superbowl appearance, making the postseason in each of his first two seasons in the NFL, fell back down to earth in 2014 , with uneven performances during the Niners’ schedule. While I believe the quarterback played a part in the team’s obvious inconsistencies , the majority of their problems came from the lack of discipline instilled into the team by Jim Harbaugh as the season began to spiral out of control.

Harbaugh is now in charge of the Michigan (Wolverines’) program , seeking to place that school’s footballing glories back upon a pedestal where their fans believe it belongs.

For the San Francisco 49ers, their upcoming season under the leadership of a new coaching staff led by Jim Tomsula could prove to be rather interesting for a number of reasons beyond the new head coach’s lack of experience. If the Forty Niners cannot overcome the continued and recent ascent of the Seattle Seahawks , their ongoing and growing confidence. Then , there is every belief , that it will be Pete Carroll and the Seahawks once again walking away with the NFC West divisional crown with effortless and consummate ease.

There is no denying, while in college Reggie Bush had a sensational career ,but unfortunately, a great deal of it, was built upon a web of deceit and lies , carried out with such bravado and countenanced by the atheletics department of USC (Trojans) while Mike Garrett was the Athletics Director of the program . Garrett played the role of the unassuming unknowing administrator , when in all probability , he was aware as to the machinations , all consuming , wheeling and dealings , which denoted academic fraud within the basketball and football programs , beyond Bush’s acceptance of money from known and unknown parties , while a student athlete at USC . The fact, Pete Carroll left the program, with such speed, all under the guise of accepting the millions of dollars thrown at him by Seahawks’ owner and billionaire entrepreneur Paul Allen can be read in a number of ways. None of which, has Carroll smelling like a bouquet roses and looking good at the time of his departure, with his refusal to provide any insight as to what he he might have known about the allegations at the time , surrounding Reggie Bush and number of other players under his tutelage as head coach of the football program.

With Garrett fired , Pat Haden was brought in to clean up the mess , with Lane Kiffin being hired to succeed Pete Carroll . Kiffin’s tenure at USC was riddled with inconsistency and a great deal of controversy , with the coach having repeatedly stretched the limits of what was deemed acceptable by the NCAA concerning a number of growing infractions , all of which Lane Kiffin claimed, he felt were within parameters set by not only the school, but also collegiate athletics’ governing body. Playing the fool , obviously came easy for Kiffin , and he still acts like a fool , while a member of the coaching staff of Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide of Alabama .

Reggie Bush’s first five seasons in the NFL were spent with the New Orleans Saints where his successes were fleeting and nondescript . Now with his fourth team of his nine-year career, having entered the NFL as a first round draft pick of the Saints in 2006 . Bush now hopes to resurrect his stalled career having 0532i signed one-year $2.5 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers during the off-season. I am not so sure what Bush can bring to Niners at this stage of his career and I certainly don’t believe him to be a better running back than Frank Gore , who San Francisco allowed to leave as an unrestricted free agent , with Gore joining the Indianapolis Colts. What that might suggest about the Forty Niners , might well have a bearing as one of the reasons why this team didn’t to get anything meaningful done during the course of last season. If the coaching staff believed Frank Gore was unproductive , then there has to be something seriously wrong with their mindset. Aging veteran or not, Gore was not one of the primary reasons San Francisco failed so miserably, ending their season with an 8-8 record .

Heading into this season Colts’ GM Ryan Grigson will have to deal with the issues of extending the contracts n of head coach Chuck Pagano and their perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck. You would think , the choice would be an extremely easy one to make . Yet, for some reason Grigson has found a way to bring about extreme tension between himself and Pagano as well the player, who has guided the franchise to playoff appearances in each of his first three seasons in the NFL. It might not take a rocket scientist to assist the general manager to make a quick decision, but if he is need of help , then there are several hundred of these engineers and scientists to found at Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) as well as on the campus of MIT . WTF !

Luck will be in the final year of his original four-year $22.5 million deal signed as a rookie in 2012. Don’t laugh , but by comparison, Jay Cutler last season earned almost as much as Luck has made in his first three seasons in the NFL . You have to pat on the back the decision-makers within the Chicago Bears’ front office for having the temerity of not only offering Cutler that outrageous seven-year $126 million deal , but also the asinine notion of current Bears’ head coach John Fox , whose opinion appears to be Cutler can still guide the Bears to a great deal of success at this stage of his career . Given a choice between Jay Cutler and Andrew Luck , even if I were blindfolded , I would still be able to pick Luck over Cutler, while smelling the stench which still can be tracked, by the fecal matter the Bears’ quarterback calls a career .

The obstacles now facing the Indianapolis Colts will be getting past the New England Patriots be it in the regular season or postseason . Clashes between the two franchises became synonymous with the careers of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning . There is no reason to believe the Colts will be seriously challenged within the AFC South this season . The Tennessee Titans are still struggling to find an identity , the same can be said of the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars , who were among the least competitive teams in the NFL last season .

A great deal is now being made of the NFL Draft and the choices to be made by the teams seeking become relevant within the league. Clearly, with so much conjecture and debate over what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will do as the team with the number one pick in this Draft. The possibility of the Buccaneers not choosing either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston , two players believed to be the consensus two top picks in this year’s draft could come as a shock. Yet , this might not be as big a surprise as pundits believe it will be. Personally, I simply do not put much into the machinations of the NFL calendar at this time of the year ! These college players will either prove to be good or extremely bad and by no means ____ is it a guarantee, a player taken as the top pick is a guarantee of success. The last player taken as the number one pick to have led his team to the Superbowl , was in fact Eli Manning taken in 2004 by the New York Giants . Two Superbowl victories coming from the arm of Manning sealed his legacy, but since that victory, the Giants’ quarterback has not been consistent or led the team another postseason appearance since 2007. Make of it what you will.

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Picture gallery . Narrative can be seen by clicking on an individual frame .

What do you believe will be the likely outcome of this NFL Draft by way of the player taken as the number one overall pick ? Based on the needs of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , do you believe it is imperative the franchise take a quarterback or a player of need at another position ? Chime in with your thoughts on this and anything else you believe to be of relevance to the subject matter.

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PGA Tour

PGA Tours news

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NFL

NFL news

NFL transactions (March 2015)

NFL Draft (2015)

NFL free agents 2015

Top salaried players in 2015

Top capped players 2015 (top-thirty players)

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

Brackets,jackets and tip-toeing around the patently obvious …

The seedings have been decided upon for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and quite rightly so. The Kentucky Wildcats having ended the season ranked number one in the nation, as well having an unbeaten season bearing a 34-0 record will enter the tournament as its prohibitive favorite, to win it all . John Calipari and his coaching staff head into the Tournament knowing, the first slip-up made, will essentially put to an end a season where a great deal more was expected.

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Players on this Wildcats’ team know a winning season and the NCAA Tournament title will certainly insure great deal of plaudits and the near- certainty of a high draft position in the upcoming NBA Draft this upcoming June . With three consensus first round draft picks among this roster of stars. The names of Karl Anthony Towns , Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson simply stand out, as players likely to be taken in the top-ten picks of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. If not, then there is something seriously wrong among the general managers and head coaches within the NBA at this juncture.

The four seeds in the regional tournament of the NCAA Championship are Kentucky, Villanova , Duke and Wisconsin . All four teams are in regional draws which will have their pot-holes along the way . where at least one or two upsets are likely to take place as the tournament progress. Opening salvos will be fired in the when the first four teams take to the court on the 17th and 18th March , 2015, as the NCAA Tournaments gets underway to decide the Men’s national champion.

Mike Krzyzewsk and the Duke Blue Devils will certainly have their work cut out for them in this tournament, as their path is unlikely to be easy. As the top seed in the South Regional phase of the Tournament where their biggest challengers could very well be other than their own complacency a , will be the other seeded challengers in the regional phase , with those topping the list said to be , Gonzaga , Georgetown (Hoyas) and Iowa State. As talented as the this Duke team might be considered to be , I do not believe this will be the year in which Mike Krzyzewski guide the program to their fifth national title , all coming under the coaching acumen of the renowned head coach.

With either Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah missing from the Chicago Bulls’ lineup at some point of the season, it easy to understand the reasons why the team has continued to struggle in the aftermath of having lost their League MVP point guard to another season-ending injury , likely curtailing Rose’s long-term future and the rest of his career. Add in the fact, the ongoing relationship between head coach Tom Thibodeau , GM Gar Forman and Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson , is now said to have reached an all-time low, and one wonders how the franchise can gain anything meaningful out of this all, should they fail to make the playoffs .

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Bulls’ forward Jimmy Butler is seen here with Tom Thibodeau . In the absence of either Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose . It has been left to Butler to provide the bulk of team’s offense over the course of the season. Thibodeau’s relationship with the organization has been tenuous at best often becoming heated between the coach and executives, John Paxson and Gar Forman . Courtesy of USA Today/ ..

Not only has the rancor between the head coach and the front office said to have reached an unacceptable level , but it is believed with Thibodeau unwilling to resign, there is no likelihood Paxson or Forman will make the decision to fire their beleaguered coach and their having to honor the remainder of his contract. With Derrick Rose sidelined, it has been left to his teammate Jimmy Butler to step up to the plate in the absence of his more heralded teammate to lead the team by example.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers now raced to the top of the Central Division of the Eastern Conference , the Bulls are now left having to wonder, what to make of their season , while also seeking to play catch-up within the conference. A nine-point road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder , a road defeat . Butler and his teammates’ next contest will be againstthe Indiana Pacers whom they host on Wednesday evening at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois ,.

In the contest between the Thunder and the Bulls, point guard Russell Westbrook continued his scintillating displays where he almost posted another triple-double . Easy to now understand why he become a consensus favorite for this season’s League MVP. Consider the fact also, Westbrook has been doing this all in the absence of his teammate , Kevin Durant.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks must be now salivating at the thought of Durant’s imminent return and the chance of his teaming up once again with Westbrook, to provide one of the most dominant and productive duos in the NBA. With only fifteen games left to be played in the remainder of the regular season, it will be interesting interesting to see how the teams acquit themselves as the season winds winds down .

All is fair in love and war . Granted, LeBron James has proven himself to be something of a warrior this season, as the Cleveland Cavaliers seek to justify themselves as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Their record suggests otherwise when compared to that of the high-flying Atlanta Hawks , who might just be the surprise team the regular season within the NBA . Hawks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer certainly has to be considered one of the leading favorites for this season’s Coach of The Year Award , as it would a complete travesty , were he not among the top vote-getters for the prestigious accolade.

(7)    Alonzo  Mourning   now a  senior   executive  within   the  Miami  Heat    organization   has   been  extremely  critical  of    former   Heat   player    LeBron  James   after  his   decision  to  leave  the  franchise  and    return  to  the   Cleveland   Cavaliers  .  Mourning ,   failed  to   suggest   why  Heat   failed  to  surround   James     with   players   complementary  to   his    skills    capable  of   actually   of  being   competitive   enough  to  have   won   last    season's   NBA  title  .   Getty   Images/  Paul  Miller

Alonzo Mourning now a senior executive within the Miami Heat organization has been extremely critical of former Heat player LeBron James after his decision to leave the franchise and return to the Cleveland Cavaliers . Mourning , failed to suggest why the Heat failed to surround James with players complementary to his skills capable of actually of being competitive enough to have won last season’s NBA title . Getty Images/ Paul Miller

At present, Atlanta and the Golden State Warriors are the only teams with fifty victories or more to their respective resumes`. A possible Finals’ meeting between the two seems a reality, but I believe it to be unlikely given the competitiveness of the Western Conference. Steph Curry and his Warriors’ teammates are having a terrific season , albeit, many would not have considered this to have been one of the teams to beat at the start of the year, with the transition of easing in a new head coach, and Steve Kerr assuming the reins after his predecessor, Mark Jackson’s idiotic decision to alienate himself by foistering his hypocritical beliefs outside the game , upon his players and then to some extent , denigrating the organization . Joint team-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber had no other choice but to dismiss Jackson, ” freedom of speech” rights or not . There is no longer any space for outright bigotry within the realms of sports , let alone the fact , the former head coach showed a great deal of disrespect for the franchise, with his inflammatory remarks .

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Former Golden State Warriors’ head coach Mark Jackson , foreground and his successor , Steve Kerr. This season the Warriors have not only the best record in the NBA , but the team also happens to be the league’s , most potent offense , leading the NBA in a number of offensive categories . Getty Images

If Mark Jackson wishes to make a point , then let him do so while not representing Warriors and most definitely, if he choosing to express his personal beliefs, it should not be done in such a venal way, with his wantoned disregard of others , his own ethnicity and historically what African Americans have gone through in this country, without then seeking denigrate others, because of their own sexuality. Obviously, Jackson’s own religious beliefs and his comprehension of Biblical teachings, indicates his lack of intelligence and compassion. This has nothing at all to do with “political correctness” having run amok, but more to do with simple bigotry . You don’t cry ” fire ” in a crowded theater , or show downright bigotry of others , without their being severe consequences , and those wishing to excuse such behavior are simply naive or just imbeciles.

In what turned out to be a surprise overtime win over the reigning NBA champions , the San Antonio Spurs . New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher suggested the team should be rewarded for the efforts in this victory. Unfortunately, victories for the Knicks have been few and far between.

If Fisher is of the opinion his players ought to rewarded for those victories , then he sure as hell does not hold these very same players accountable, for the losses amassed over the course of the season. Fisher has shown as a rookie head coach, he still has a great deal to learn , and learning on the job when you have an inadequate group of players , and a front office which remains clueless, it becomes patently obvious to see why this franchise has been a complete mess and the ongoing butt of so many jokes around the NBA. Those subscribing to the fact Phil Jackson remains a basketball genius should really rethink that whole synopsis and realize it has been his ego and complete lack of knowledge in assessing talent which has also led to this debacle. Next up for the Knicks will be a road trip to visit the equally abysmal Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday evening.

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New York Knicks’ head coach Derek Fisher is seen here two of his assistant coaching staff Jim Cleamons and Kurt Rambis , as they discuss a pregame strategy in the lead-up to a game to be played the franchise’s home venue , Madison Square Garden , New York City , New York . On the road as well as at home the franchise has simply been pitiful , having been the first team this season to have lost in excess of fifty games , with a league-leading fifty-three defeats as of 17th March , 2015. AP Photo / Mark Warren .

With both the Knicks and Timberwolves likely to be part of the Lottery Pick for the right to the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft , it will be interesting to see which of the two teams in question or one of their other fellow banal franchises will be joining them as part of this ongoing facade created by the league to seek in the Draft process.

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Picture gallery . Narrative can be viewed by clicking unto the formatted picture shown.

The NCAA Tournament will likely create a great many thrills and spills, with one or two surprises along the way, in terms of the results. This tournament will ultimately provide us with another D1 collegiate champion in Men’s Basketball. Given the excitement created in last year’s tournament, with the 2015 NCAA championship now underway, let all of the excitement now begin. I may well be wrong , but I do not believe there is now an outright favorite for this year’s NBA title , and granted, there have been two or three teams over the course of this season who have proven themselves worthy favorites or perceived contenders. Yet, a caveat remains , buyer beware, beyond stating the obvious , the only conclusion and sure thing , has been the winner from each conference championship will have an equal chance of being named the NBA champion for the 2014-15 season.

Which programs do you believe will rise to the occasion and become this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champion ? With NBA regular season now winding down , which teams do you believe have been the biggest disappointment to the league and to the fans ? Also which franchises from the Eastern and Western conferences, will be the Finals’ contestants for this season?

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NCAA Men’s Basketball

2015 Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament

Opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

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NBA

NBA news and archived stories

NBA standings (division) and conference standings

NBA standings (Playoff Picture and with games remaining

NBA results 17th March and schedule 18th March

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War is coming ….

War is coming ………….

Well, baseball has began its season, by way of their exhibition games throughout the month of March before the regular season commences on the 5th April , 2015.

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If nothing else this season, will likely tell us a great deal about the teams who will seek to usurp the San Francisco Giants who are the reigning World Series’ champions. Bruce Bochy and his managerial staff will be looking to get his newly revamped team prepeared for the rigors of the 2015 regular season schedule.

The Giants with their World Series’ MVP and ace starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner will be looking to replicate the form shown during the postseason . Inasmuch, as the fairy tale of the Kansas City Royals may well have provided the fans of baseball something to be really excited about , at the end of the day, the Royals simply were not good enough to defeat the Giants in the “Fall Classic” .

With NL teams such as the Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers , San Diego Padres , Milwaukee Brewers , St Louis Cardinals , Atlanta Braves , Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals likely to prove to be formidable challengers to the San Francisco Giants this season, it certainly will be interesting to witness what unfolds over the courseof the schedule in 2015.

Bruce Bochy and Giants’ GM Brian Sabean have worked tirelessly to make the franchise one of the most competitive in all of baseball and that has certainly been the case over the past seven seasons with San Francisco having won three NL Pennants and three World Series’ titles during that time-frame. Dominance has been the name of the game, along with frugal spending and drafting of players and great acquisitions by the front office . Once the regular season gets underway for the Giants, it will be interesting to see how the team fares over the course of their schedule.

If there is one player that will have something to prove in 2015, then it would have to be the three-time AL MVP and New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez . A year-long league mandated suspension and Rodriguez will resume his already controversial and already tarnished baseball career under the microscope of the fans, print and television media alike. The player’s somewhat less than contrite apology, may well have fallen on deaf ears , but, it has been his temerity to challenge the Yankees’ organization in seeking to void certain incentives of his contract that may well leave many in bewilderment as to the size of Alex Rodriguez’s ego and the fact he still remains in denial, concerning his misdeeds.

Joe Girardi and his managerial staff get off to a 1-1 start to the exhibition season during the month of March. The team will begin a split series against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, then have games against the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals to round-out their weekend schedule series of contests. It might not prove to be enough of a gauge, to judge where players might need to be, as they enter into their regular season schedule, but Girardi knows if the Yankees are to fare well and improve on last season’s disastrous showing in the AL East , then the level of their play will have to be great deal better than seen in 2014. From my own perspective I believe Alex Rodriguez will be hard pressed this season to reproducethe form , that once made him one of the best players of his generation , with or without the stain of the steroids, he is known to have to used at various stages of his well now well-chronicled career.

With the San Diego Padres having made a big splash during the off-season with the acquisition of several players. It will be interesting to how the managerial staff of Bud Black will fare with an entirely new roster of players. The Padres’ biggest acquisition was that of former Los Angeles Dodgers’ slugger Matt Kemp who is expected to be the focal pointof an offense expected to contend within the NL as well the NL West this upcoming season.

While I believe Bud Black to be a very good manager , I certainly do not believe , because the Padres’ front office have gone out to make some very ambitious moves, it will ultimately lead to success by way of their possibly dethroning the San Francisco Giants as the NL Pennant winners ! It is going to take a great deal more than a $94 million payroll to bring about the ambitions sought by the organization. Granted, with the acquisitions of Matt Kemp and Justin Upton the franchise may well have appeared to have placed themselves in something of favorable position , but as I alluded to before it will take considerably more than brandishing a near $100 million commitment to make it all a reality in terms of a World Series’ title .

The San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants will be meeting on Saturday , 7th March in all NL clash at the Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona in a preseason Spring Training game as the two teams get to acclimatize themselves with baseball and something of a re-acquaintance of sorts among divisional rivals . On the mound will be James Shields of the Padres facing off against Madison Bumgarner. At this early a stage in Spring Training these type of games do not necessarily tell you a great deal about the teams as each seeks to find a rhythm with the view ahead, being the preparation for the regular season onslaught of a one hundred and sixty-two game grueling schedule, for all thirty teams within MLB.

No matter which way you seek to slice and dice it , the year-round fascination with the NFL continues unabated . Yet, this is the one time of the year , when you have to wonder , if there is any real sanity to the game . The litany of movements by way of trades to have taken place, now seem to be not only mind-boggling, but also appear to a case of desperation on the part of the teams coming to such a decision. I am still intrigued how Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly believes the team will be in a better position to win without, their Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy , having traded the player to the Buffalo Bills within the AFC East. The move will likely benefit the Bills, who are indeed in need of a great offensive force , after their rather lackluster season in 2012, where not only did the wheels fall off their wagon but the entire was simply nowhere to be seen on the field of play, as reflected in their year-end record .

For Rex Ryan the incoming head coach who succeeds Doug Marrone , fired by GM Dough Whaley , presumably with the view the new team owner, Terry Pegula wanted to start afresh, with an influx of new faces from the coaching staff on down to the player personnel roster . Given much Rex Ryan is known to have under-achieved with the New York Jets during the final two years of his tenure. I am not so sure there will be an immediate improvement in his record or that of the Bills’ fate this upcoming season.

The Seattle Seahawks’ failure in the waning moments of this past Superbowl provides with a story from two perspectives . It is that , of the losing team, having a chance at glory , taking the gambler’s route, failing , with the head coach , Pete Carroll falling on the sword, taking the blame for an utter ridiculous decision . The other was that of the winning team seeking to redeem itself after the allegations made , and yet to be founded, that there was any concrete evidence to suggest that orders came down from on high , head coach Bill Belichick or a member of his coaching staff ordered the tampering of the game or practice balls used in this most recent Superbowl. Granted, the stains of previous misdeeds have yet to truly dissipate , but I believe it to be more out of dislike of the Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick, rather than the team itself . On the other hand, the NFL cannot hold itself up , to be a game or brand that is above reproach , especially when one continues to look at the misdeeds of not only the players, teams and executives , but also the hapless and rather idiotic edicts and comments provided by Roger Goodell as the NFL Commissioner .

Anyone who truly believes Goodell has been good for this league , must be greatly in need of psychiatric help , if nothing else. If the only thing the commissioner can point to , are the ever increasing revenues within the game as his only evidence of any meaningful success , then there is something clearly wrong within the league , itself. The alleged popularity of the NFL is said to be at an all-time high , but I would beg to differ when it comes to the demographics of its female fan-base ! If any male fan, can legitimately point to the fact, that females fans have not been disgusted by what they have witnessed by way of the behavior of players such as Ray Rice , Greg Hardy , Ray McDonald and Adrian Peterson to name but a few, and still suggest, the league still has an even greater appeal among females. Then , there has to be a great deal of apathy if not stupidity on their part !

The NFL cannot get out of the way of its continued ineptitude by way of the league hierarchy , complete lack any type of accountability by its leadership but even more so by the lack of real leadership show among the union from its highest ranks on down to the off field conduct of the players and continued asinine apathy of many of the NFL’s so-called diehard fans .

Just when you thought there might have been some semblance of sanity within the NFL , leave it to the front office of the Chicago Bears prove us all wrong . With the firing of both Marc Trestman and former GM Phil Emery , you would have the impression that the Bears would be right back on track . No, that could never be, as they are intent on proving us all wrong . Wide receiver Brandon Marshall’s tenure with the franchise has now come to an end , with the organization having sent the player to the New York Jets . All of this, while they still have Jay Cutler and his $17 million salary on a their books , with his being a complete waste of space during his entire stay with the NFC North based team .

I have always maintained , Jay Cutler was never that great a quarterback to begin with , in spite of the many great attributes claimants believed he had . If that were the case then surely the Bears’ quarterback would have led the franchise to at least moderate success. Instead , it has been Cutler simply falling short at just about every obstacle possible , and that is without taking into account Phil Emery’s ridiculous decision to make him among the highest paid players in the NFL not only by contract , salary , but also at his position . Not really all that difficult to understand why there are so many idiot front office executives within the NFL and why they have an IQ barely above that of the counterparts in Major League Baseball or perhaps a member of the Kardashian family. I would also place members member of Congress in among the idiot general managers of the NFL, but it is plain for everyone to see both legislative chambers of House and Senate , when left to their own devices , they are unique and have no need to be harangued any further because , we will always be able to gain even more mileage with their continued stupidity , no matter what the circumstance .

At the time of the NFL Draft in April , it will be interesting to see if Jay Cutler will remain a part of the Chicago Bears or dangled as trade bait as the franchise seeks to move on from his years of inconsistency and lack of positive results .

It’s nut-crunching time in the NBA as the teams begin to enter the home stretch of the season. If franchises are indeed looking to play themselves in the conference and divisional contention . Then now would be the time to let their intent be known . Now is not the time to be raising the ” White Flag of Surrender” , unless you happen to be the Denver Nuggets , Los Angeles Lakers , Minnesota Timberwolves , New York Knicks , Philadelphia 76ers , Orlando Magic , Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings .

The aforementioned teams , have not only been a drag on the league this season, but in reality, anyone trying to suggest that something meaningful can be taken out of their play and the NBA in general, has definitely been missing the fact, that the quality of the basketball overall, has been dire, particularly within the Eastern Conference , which continues to be a monstrous eyesore for anyone watching the games in that conference . Things are liable to get a great deal worse , before we are likely to view them as getting any better .

As the debate rages on , </aas to who this season ought to be named League MVP , there can be no denying that over the past fifteen games played by Russell Westbrook . The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard has been putting up astonishing numbers , a great deal of it being achieved in the absence of his teammate Kevin Durant .

Westbrook has not only willed his team to some astonishing victories , but he has led by example , being extremely unselfish in aiding the Thunder achieve their goals. GM Sam Presti and head coach Scott Brooks must feel privileged in the fact , knowing with the loss of Kevin Durant the franchise has a player who has not only assumed the mantel of leadership , but has willingly embraced with open arms and actually flourished in the role. Unfortunately , in today’s NBA, there might be less than a handful of players in the league capable of such a role. Yet, here we are as fans, now mulling over who should be the League MVP for this season ?

As the Oklahoma City Thunder continue to make their way up the Western Conference ladder. The Golden State Warriors led by point guard Steph Curry have basked in the limelight of being not only the best team in the conference but by far the best team in the NBA throughout much of the regular season , up to this point in time. Curry, alongside , James Harden , Russell Westbrook and LeBron James are considered the front-runners the league’s highest regular season individual award . It will be very interesting to see how things pan out , and how the voters go about making their decision , as to who this season’s winner of the League MVP will be .

Phil Jackson the Zen Master , has seen the New York Knicks’ season blow up in their faces and yet the continued idiotic excuses of Jackson, having a plan is not unlike, the current Congress’ views on the world and where this country stands , as the “moral beacon of light ” to the rest of the world . No substance and absolutely , no real , planned strategy of note . Unless, Jackson was of the opinion , he would be to able throw fecal matter ($hit) up against a wall, then working with what sticks. I truly believe, this has been the premise the famed head coach chose to go with ! How else can you explain the idiotic hire of Derek Fisher as the team’s head coach and then seeing the team simply make one big pratfall after the other, throughout the course of this season ?

Heading into the month of March , and still there are no signs of life with the Knicks . Granted , the loss of Carmelo Anthony due season-ending surgery , led to even further disasters, but in reality , so much burden had been placed on the shoulders of the player , there was no damn way in hell, he alone could have led this team to any semblance of success , but yet anal retentive fools, were still buying into this plan of Phil Jackson. He’s been a legendary coach , but that is all he has been. Jackson is not a great assessor of NBA talent and it is something that alleged fans, seem to be forgetting or simply have no damn idea what they trying to elicit, by way of making an argument for their premise. last victory for the New York Knicks came by way of a rather curt performance in a home win over the Toronto Raptors on the 28th February . Next up for Derek Fisher and his players will be a road contest against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center in Denver , Colorado on Monday evening. I would hazard guess and suggest is not likely to end favorably in the visiting team’s favor !

The New York Knicks may well have their eyes on the future , seeking to build by way of the NBA Draft and free agency . Generals go into battle , equipped with battle tested troops , armaments and a plan of action . Unfortunately, the Knicks entered this season, with nothing more than a a soup ladle, players not hungry or skilled enough to get the job done and coaching a staff , among the most incompetent in the entire NBA. How could anyone actually buy into the idiocy, Phil Jackson and his ego would be able to gain this franchise any semblance of success ?

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By clicking on an individual frame you can see that picture in a reformatted size along with its narrative.

As we come out of a Winter of sports’ stories, which in many ways covered the gamut of social and competitive issues. What are you most looking forward to seeing, during the coming months within the sports’ world ?

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(1) Players from the Kansas City Royals celebrate their victory over the Baltimore Orioles , which guaranteed their appearance in the 2014 World Series . It was not to be for the AL Pennant title holders , as they fell to the San Francisco Giants in a thrilling seven-game series . AP Photo / Mitch Cooper .

(2) San Francisco Giants’ GM Brian Sabean , left, is seen here alongside team manager Bruce Bochy , who looks admiringly at the NLCS Pennant Trophy , the third title won by the paring for the franchise in the last six years. Last season , the Giants would also go on to win their third World Series championship during the same time-span , leading to one of the richest eras in the Giants’ long and storied history. It remains to be seen how San Francisco will fare in 2015, but rest assured , the managerial staff will have the team prepared for each competitive adversity likely to be thrown their way. Getty Images / Danny Fisher

(3) Feb 26, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (13) sits in the dugout as he waits to hit in the batting cage during Thursday mornings workout at George M. Steinbrenner Field . This season Rodriguez and his teammates will have a great deal to prove after a disastrous year in 2014 and rather lackluster performances by the team leading to a poor finish and record in the AL East. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

(4) SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 19: Matt Kemp (27) meets with Manager Bud Black (20) of the San Diego Padres in the clubhouse after trying on his new uniform top after being traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park on December 19, 2014 in San Diego, California. Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

(5) Former Philadelphia Eagles’ running back LeSean McCoy who was recently traded by the franchise to the Buffalo Bills . Getty Images

(6) Rex Ryan who has replaced Doug Marrone as head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Ryan will be expected to lead a newly revamped roster , as they seek to stop the continued recent dominance of the New England Patriots within the AFC East. The Bills have not won the the divisional title in several seasons and their last postseason appearance came in 1999 . Getty Images / Chris Thomas

(7) Seattle Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch recently signed a four-year deal to remain with the Seahawks. Lynch sought a contract to make him at least one of the top five running backs in the NFL in terms of salary and contract value . A franchise tag was being bandied about by the Seahawks’ front office and in part by head coach Pete Carroll.

(8) Chicago Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler is seen here with his now former teammate Brandon Marshall . The wide receiver was recently traded by the Bears and the common consensus appears to be, the veteran quarterback will not be far behind , with his being shown the door. It is unclear however , if the front office will seek to use Cutler as trade bait for a team, in search of a veteran quarterback . Chicago for some inexplicable reason made the player one of the highest paid quarterbacks by salary and contract value . Cutler’s NFL career has been highlighted by a great deal of inconsistency and lack of postseason success . AP Photo / Mark Curry

(9) Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is a ” man on a mission ” and that quest would appear to the the NBA title . However , over his last fifteen games the point guard has put up astonishing figures , leading the league in scoring , while being one of the leading candidates for the League MVP . Getty Images / Paul Miller

(10) In this June 10, 2014, file photo, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson smiles during a news conference in Tarrytown, N.Y. Jackson hears the question every time he walks around New York: How are the Knicks going to do? The Knicks’ President answers this way: “We believe we’re going to be a playoff team, and then we don’t know how far we’ll be able to go.” AP Photo/Seth Wenig

(11) NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 13: Head coach Derek Fisher and associate head coach Kurt Rambis of the New York Knicks look on before a game against the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden on October 13 , 2014 in New York City, New York. Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

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Crunk the fu#k up ….. War ….. War is coming

My observations for what their worth …

My observations for what their worth … Flights of fancy being what they are this is the time of the year, which gives thoughts to what will happen next in the sporting world. I have still not engratiated myself with the goings on within NASCAR, as I believe it to be a second-tier sport, filled robotic characters and a lone female said to represent the best that the sport has to offer. Personally, I believe the best Danica Patrick has to offer, is less of her inside a car and more of her, without her fire retardant suit, naked lying on a Persian rug, suggesting something provocative she would like for her male partner to come up wit a sexual act showing a great deal of initiative in performing that said ” act “ . That’s my take and I will stick with it ! However, I can understand the selling point of NASCAR, but to my mind having the most prestigious race on your schedule , the Dayton 500 begin your year of racing makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, especially when the thrill and excitement of the race easily forgotten, to make up for a mundane series, building up to a pape- weight crescendo of the final event at Homestead , Florida, and that is without delving into the format that decides the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Champion .

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Baring all, for her art form or is she not as talented as many claim her to be ? NASCAR driver Danica Patrick.

This year within NASCAR their fans will get to witness the good , the bad and the downright ugly side of the sport and I believe it is the one thing that keeps them so engrossed in a sport now struggling to maintain its presence on the sporting landscape from a television viewership standpoint and struggle to go beyond its current demographics.

So Tiger Woods is back to struggling on the PGA Tour ? And I was under the impression with his recent signing of a multi-year , multi-million dollar endorsement deal , things were back on track as this era’s once most dominant golfer had righted the ship and he was ready to make a spirited attempt to increase his tally (fourteen) of Grand Slam Majors’ wins , as he seeks to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ tally of eighteen career Grand Slam victories. The less consistency shown by Woods , the less likely it will be for him to pass his idol and add to his own legacy . That asides, it certainly doesn’t help that Woods has shown himself to be now , a mere mortal , rather than the most intimidating golfer on the PGA Tour . His ranking has taken a tumble while Irishman, Rory McIlroy has become the ” new wunderkind” on the PGA Tour as well as the number one ranked golfer in the world , a ranking that I believe will not be regaining anytime soon ! Such has been the dominance of McIlroy not just on the Tour, but also worldwide, where he is now challenging Woods in terms popularity, visibility and earnings on and away from the course , albeit , McIlroy still has a long way to go, before he can match Woods’ sexual avarice and wealth.. Do the two go hand in hand , might I ask ?

If there is nothing else to be said for Tiger Woods, it has been that he has kept us all constantly entertained throughout his almost two decades as a professional within the PGA ranks. Hard to believe in that time the headlines concerning the players has reached the highest of highs and then sank to the lowest of lows . Other than the indignities suffered by Mike Tyson , Lance Armstrong , Alex Rodriguez and O J Simpson , I can think of no other athlete whose own self inflicted wounds and utter stupidity has led to such a rapid decline with not only their character coming into question but also their ability to perform at the highest level possible. Simpson’s incarceration lets him off the hook to perform having already retired at the time of his alleged criminal offense , but I cannot help but wonder , how proficient was he in the kitchen with a paring or carving knife and what role did Al Cowling play in that infamous homicide ? The question was never really broached or answered by anyone much less come under the investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department , Homicide Division . I guess crime dramas on television do get it right some times, but in reality, the justice system becomes blind where the alleged assailant just happens to be a high-profiled athlete or celebrity. Simply go ahead and pick your poison.

The ” No Fun League ” , not sorry about the intended pun ! With the NFL having ended its regular and postseason in something of a spectacular fashion , that this league and sport continues unabashed , with the year-round volley of stories , covering all of the teams and the ensuing drama as it unfolds , then fed to the fans and public alike.

How will the new Superbowl champions fare during the off-season as the coaching staff of Bill Belichick and GM Nick Caserio assess the current roster deciding which players are likely to be kept and the players thought to be superfluous to their needs will simply be jettisoned .

This much we do know , as long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady continue as a coaching quarterback tandem, the England Patriots’ continued strive for ” Five “ will
continue
to be reality . You cannot deny those facts when placed in-front of you and that even after the stupidity of Spy-gate and now ” Deflate-Gate ” and the cries of foul. Does anyone truly believe the New England Patriots are the only NFL team to have practiced such antics in light of the claims being made ? Check all of the anger, acts of surprise at the door , show some damn intelligence and maturity of for once. There have been maneuvers in this league to get ahead and an edge, ever since this game came into being and only an idiot would try and contend otherwise .

This is certainly not the NFL so many of us grew up on anymore , as some have repeatedly stated , this league has become a business and it is in the business first and foremost to make money, , where winning affords those the privileges of wealth , notoriety , great deal of acclaim. Some of it will either be positive or a great deal of it negative. If you want the uncensored truth , then be prepared to handle it, welcoming or not , just don’t cry off , to bitch and whine continuously like a petulant child , perhaps out of jealousy, because things are not to your liking.

There are now so many plot-lines unfolding of which the biggest might be the decision likely to be made by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft as the franchise has the first pick in the first round of this draft. The consensus appears to be, the top two players in this NFL Draft are Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston , the last two recipients of the Heisman Trophy . Whether or not Buccaneers’ GM Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith concur on their choice in taking one of the two quarterbacks mentioned , will be now be a matter of great deal of conjecture and debate . Mariota might well have been the best quarterback in College Football this past season , but his showing in the national championship game belied those claims . Winston for his part, remains an individual lacking maturity , discipline and leadership , without delving into the issues of character , honesty and whether not the Seminoles’ quarterback (Winston) has the aptitude to play at the next level or lead a team with any degree of authority.

If there were any doubts in the minds of the fans of Peyton Manning this past season might well have been the last played by him in the NFL, then they were firmly put to rest with the four-time League MVP informing the front office of the Denver Broncos that he would be indeed back for his eighteenth season in the league. Longevity asides , Manning is a likely first ballot Hall of Fame player beyond all of his accomplishments on and off the field of play.

Manning’s return was of the utmost importance to the Broncos’ plans this off-season , as it would provide them with the guarantee they sought to proceed with any major plans to revamp their roster . Any thoughts that the quarterback might well have been willing to forgo his $2,500,000 million roster bonus , to walk off and simply retire , might well have been valid, but it appears pride amongst other things has been the driving force behind this decision. For two successive postseasons , Peyton Manning’s performances have been lackluster by even his own lofty standards. The loss to the Indianapolis Colts during this past postseason was not only stunning in its manner , but also by the margin of victory over the Broncos, as it further emphasized why the Colts’ fans are now extremely happy with Manning’s successor , Andrew Luck .

It will be strange entering into this off-season , watching how the Denver Broncos now proceed in going about things , as this franchise , within the space of two years, has literally fallen from being a contender , to a team now in transition with a new head coach , Gary Kubiak and a veteran quarterback in the twilight of his career , looking for that one last glimmer hope to add to his already astonishing career and legacy. John Elway as Head of Football Operations for the franchise will undoubtedly be mulling over a number of moves likely to be made. What we do know for sure , as the lead executive in charge of the franchise’s personnel operations . his reprieve was the return of Peyton Manning, as anything short of that would have been viewed as disastrous .

In the past eighteen months, we have witnessed the travesty of a sport having grown in popularity , now floundering in its own ineptitude , brought on by an executive who has become egotistical , self-absorbed in the belief the sport he presides over remains his brainchild for him brandish to the rest of the sports’ world . UFC President Dana White , who governs the sport of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) like an Emperor wielding a scepter waiting for everyone to do his bidding. Dictatorial in nature, would not even come close to describing White in recent months , with his criticism of fighters , opposing promotional entities and even the sport of boxing , which has been bedeviled by its own incompetence and lack clear direction for the past decade. With recent return to the octagon by former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva , the stage had been set for the return of MMA’s most honored and recognized champion . His two losses to current champion Chris Wiedman have been the only recent blemishes on an astonishing career. Silva’s clash with Nick Diaz at UFC 183 was something of a one-sided and uninteresting contest, between the braggadocios talent of Diaz against the wily veteran skills the Brazilian , Anderson Silva.

The former champion came away with the victory , but in the aftermath of it all, the victor tested positive for an illicit banned substance prohibited by UFC. Silva declared his innocence , stating he did not take any substance banned his sport , but his explanation seems to be a little condescending and hard to believe. White for his part, has not leveled any type of criticism this time around, after haranguing Anderson Silva once before, knowing that another slight could possibly lead to one of the biggest draws in the sport walking away for good .

With the UFC Welterweight Division awry and no charismatic athlete within the division there is now a void that is sorely missed with the long-term sabbatical of Georges St Pierre . Having vacated the title he once held, St-Pierre and fans of the sport have seen that title exchange hands in two successive and uninteresting bouts between Johnny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler , the current champion within the division. Add in the fact , White misjudged the backlash with his non-too believable excuse after Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine use , prior to his most recent title defense , for which the UFC President has yet to explain how and why the Light Heavyweight title bout was allowed to proceed , in light of the UFC having been made aware of the positive test, prior to Jones’ defense of his tile against Daniel Cormier at UFC 182.

Money may well have been the determining factor behind White’s decision to go ahead with the bout, as it was the marquee contest on the PPV broadcast, which had been a sellout reaping several million dollars for UFC ,as a major financial windfall. By all estimates, the overseas’ rights to UFC 182 , netted the sport’s governing body an estimated $45 million, though those figures are on the conservative side. UFC as the governing body , rarely discloses final sales’ figures for many of their scheduled events, unless they feel it is necessary to do so . Consider the fact however, the UFC brand is now a billion dollar ($1,000,000,000) behemoth , where its gross revenues for 2013, exceeded $1.45 billion worldwide . That figure is likely to be surpassed in 2015, if their projections are met, given the pace of their schedules and proposed fights being lined up by the UFC’s promotional arm, , affiliates and through their well oiled sales and associated business concerns.

Dana White has a great deal to answer for at present and none of it, can be said to be viewed, in a positive light.

As a fan of the Atlanta Braves, to suggest I was extremely disappointed with their lackluster showing during last season would be an understatement ! Team manager Fredi Gonzalez and his managerial staff were as complacent as the players they managed over the course of 2014. The fact that this team barely challenged the Washington Nationals for divisional supremacy within the NL East , leads me to believe there was a great deal more than complacency being exhibited by the players. Fredi Gonzalez’s approach was never to demand more from his team , instead being reliant on the fact they would be able play themselves out of trouble which clearly was never the case , as seen by a number of their results.

Missing the MLB Postseason was nothing short of disastrous and the fact Fredi Gonzalez managed retain his position, might well have been the biggest surprise of all , with the Braves entering the the start of the season as a legitimate favorite to win the NL East. Braves’ GM John Hart and team President John Scheurholz have set about revamping the roster , leading to the departures of Jason Heyward and Justin Upton . If this was meant to be a money-saving exercise or simply the front office looking to save face, then the fans might now be asking, what is likely to happen next ? It remains to be seen which player currently on the playing staff, will be seen to take up the slack after two of the more prominent and productive players on the Braves’ roster from last season have been traded elsewhere.

Members of the Braves’ managerial staff and the front office might well believe that the reashaping of the team , was the .best way to move forward , but my question would be at what cost to the long and short-term future of this franchise ? The loss of both Jason Heyward and Justin Upton could prove to be devastating in the long run, if players such as Freddie Freeman , Evan Gattis , Chris Johnson , Andrelton Simmons and BJ Upton are not able to produce this upcoming season .

Chances are , management will place enough faith in these players , along with the likely promotion of a number of youngsters from within their farm system to get the job done alongside a number of the veterans now part of the roster. The team’s Spring Training schedule could go a long way in determining how good the Braves are likely to be , before they begin their regular season slog of one hundred and sixty-two games , with their opener against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark, Miami Florida , as part of a three-game road trip beginning on the 6th April , 2015. All thirty teams within MLB (Major League Baseball) will have begun their regular season sojourn as of that date.

When the NBA resumes its schedule the two dominant teams from within the Eastern and Western Conference will be the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks . Few could have foreseen that either the Hawks or Warriors would be playing such great basketball, while fearing no one at home or on the road . Such has been the dominance of these two teams , there now seems to a great deal of talk as to the legitimacy of a potential NBA Finals’ match-up between the two franchises . Personally, I do not place a great deal of credibility in such a premise , not when there is the entire second-half of the season still be played, where injuries could factor into a teams’ final standings and overall play heading into the NBA Playoffs.

With a slew of games taking place on the 20th February , with the previous night’s opening soiree’ as a precursor , teams will have to up their game and presence with play having resumed. For James Harden and the Houston Rockets their season has been extremely good , with Harden now seen as a legitimate candidate for League MVP after a stellar first half to the season, where he has been the leading scorer in the NBA.

The Houston Rockets will get the chance to further legitimize their League MVP candidate’s credentials when they take on the take on their instate and conference rivals the Dallas Mavericks on Friday evening at the American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas,.

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Though 2015 is still in its infancy, what are you most looking forward to on the sporting calendar this year ? Also , which stories do you feel as a carry-over from last year, will still be ongoing throughout this sports’ season ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit on this and anything else you feel to be relevant to the subject matter.

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(1) Jeff Gordon celebrates after posting the fastest time to win the pole position during qualifying for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. Gordon a four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion will retire after the 2015 season , leaving one of the most impressive racing resumes` in the modern era of the sport. However, he will still be involved with NASCAR with the day-to-day operations of Hendrick Motorsports where he is a minority stakeholder in the racing outfit as well as the joint-owner o teammate’s Jimmie Johnson race vehicle. AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Stephen M. Dowell

(2) Carl Edwards , right, talks with Ricky Stenhouse Jr . before qualifying for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in Daytona Beach, Fla. AP Photo/Terry Renna

(3) Danica Patrick talks about how unpredictable the Daytona 500 will be and how she’s prepared for the 2015 season. Patrick has yet to win a race at the highest level of NASCAR’s elite racing series. AP Photo / Terry Renna

(4) Racing celebrity, Danica Patrick poses along a Florida beach for the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit 2008 issue. Courtesy of SI .

(5) LA JOLLA, CA – FEBRUARY 05 : Tiger Woods walks off the course after withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open due to injury at Torrey Pines Golf Course on February 5, 2015 in La Jolla, California. Wood issued a public statement , stating he would be taking a long leave of absence from the PGA Tour to recuperate from his latest bout of ill-health and to work on his golf game. i Donald Miralle/Getty Images/AFP

(6) Denver Broncos’ owner , Pat Bowlen (left), is seen here alongside the team’s quarterback Peyton Manning and Head of Football Operations , himself a former player with the Broncos, John Elway . Manning made the decision to return for an eighteenth season in the NFL, the last three with the AFC West based franchise . A disappointing postseason in 2014 played a part in the decision, but the loss in Superbowl 48 to the Seattle Sehawks left an indelible mark on Manning’s playoff legacy, where his one Superbowl victory with the Indianapolis Colts has been his lone success in the postseason. Getty Images North America / Martin Walker

(7) UFC President Dana White is seen here at the podium while he addresses the media as UFC Heavyweight Champion , Cain Velazquez seated, listens as the executive speaks concerning the upcoming bout between Velazquez and Junior Dos-Santos at UFC . Courtesy of MMA Inc .

(8) Atlanta Braves’ GM John Hart , left , team President John Scheurholz , former team manager and Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Cox . In an off-season of upheaval , several players have left the franchise via trades initiated by Hart and Schuerholz . Jason Heyward and Justin Upton were two of the most high-profiled and visible players who were traded during the off-season to the St Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres, respectively. AP Photo / Mark Shaw

(9) Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, left, looks to make the defensive play against point guard Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks . These two teams currently have the best two records in the entire NBA with Eastern based Hawks firmly seated atop of the Eastern Conference with Warriors holding the same position in the Western Conference. A potential NBA Finals series’ match-up is now being discussed in some circles, because of the dominance shown this season by both teams. Curry and Teague are just two of the primary reasons by behind their respective teams’ success this season . Getty Images / Paul Morris

(10) James Harden and his Houston Rockets’ teammate Dwight Howard are seen here during an NBA game in the first half of the season. Rockets’ head coach Kevin McHale has his team playing an up-tempo style, giving the Rockets one of the best records in the NBA . AP Photo / Chris Moore

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From left to right , Jon Jones , Anderson Silva and Georges ‘Rush’ St-Pierre .

The Killer Elite ….

The Killer Elite

Well, baseball season (MLB) is almost upon us , with certain position players due to report to their respective teams within the next few days. For a number of franchises , this off-season has proven to be dramatic, suspenseful and dare one say, even exhilarating ? The MLB Postseasonprovided us with several stories and theplot-lines came thick and fast , so much so,that not even the script writers of Hollywood could have provided us with more drama. Who could’ve foreseen the Kansas City Royals blowing the frames off the doors, as they brushed aside their postseason opponents with a great deal of ease , only to succumb to the wily experience of Bruce Bochy, his managerial staff and the players of the San Francisco Giants , in dramatic fashion of an intense seven-game thriller of a World Series. A perfect ending to the 2014 MLB regular and postseason. Some might say, the Cinderella Story of the Royals would have been the perfect ending, but it was not to be, simply because the lack of postseason experience on the Royals’ roster of last season.

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With baseball’s Winter Meetings taking place in the aftermath of the Fall Classic, deals were being made with an alarming speed and regularity. Topping them all , was Giancarlo Stanton’s record- breaking deal with the Miami Marlins. Leaving many flabbergasted and surprised by the contract’s value and length , never-mind where the financial resources might be coming from, considering the Marlins’ menial attendance record for the Marlins’ Ballpark, in Miami , Florida and the fact, since its inception, it has been rarely filled to capacity. That asides, should Mike Redmond and his coaching staff not have this team not in a position to win the NL East or actually gain a postseason berth. The common thread of thought, appears to be the front office led by Michael Hill will be quick to pull the trigger on dealing Stanton elsewhere, rather than having to bear the brunt of a $25 million payout, in the first year of the deal.

From my own standpoint, I believe the Miami Marlins will be hard-pressed to make a serious enough challenge against what appears to be not only something of a revamped Washington Nationals’ lineup , but also on paper, what might be the ” deepest” roster in the entire National League (NL). It will be interesting to see how these two NL East teams are likely to fare over the course of their regular season series in 2015. If the Marlins are to have any semblance of success this season, then Giancarlo Stanton and his teammates will have to be playing their very best baseball right out of the starting gates on Opening Day of the regular season schedule. A one hundred and sixty-two game arduous slog, will prove to be a matter of attrition, stealth and a great deal tenacity on the part of the players and managerial staff, as things begin to play out.

Rob Manfred has succeeded Bud Selig as the MLB Commissioner and as the highest-ranking executive within the game. Whether or not Manfred can succeed where his predecessor repeatedly failed, will be dependent upon how he deals with the issues that have bedeviled baseball and the league hierarchy’s often contentious relationship with the MLBPA (Players’ Union) . The union’s recently elected Executive Director , Tony Clark is a former player whose career in the Majors could be deemed passable. Clark’s predecessor, Michael Weiner’s death cut short his tenure in an executive role, leaves the newly elected union leader as the players’ voice in the collective bargaining agreement for all issues involving the game, beyond the union’s own failure to deliver their concise formal statement on the matter of steroid abuse and the still prevalent deliberate misuse of performance enhancing drugs at the Major League Level and especially within the Minor League , where it now seems to rampant, but widely reported by the mainstream media, whose priority just seem to be the events as they unfold at the Major League Level. Yet, they would have the fans believe, their reporting of their so-called facts, has never been clouded or simply a white-wash, when it comes to the truth or their un-avowed bias of their reported stories .

Coming off his first win of the AL MVP, of which in the future I am sure there will be others, Mike Trout will be looking to cement his position as not only the best young player in baseball, but also the best player to have been drafted in the game since 2009 , the year he was taken by the Los Angeles Angels. Trout in his brief career in the Majors to date, has now become the best player on the Angels’ starting lineup, which has been devoid of leadership. Some might believe it to be an astonishing statement, when you consider the fact, there are experienced veterans on this team, where Albert Pujols , Josh Hamilton and C J Wilson are the most recognizable names. The fact remains however, Mike Scioscia and his managerial staff have not put the Angels in a serious position win the World Series in spite of their most recent appearance in the 2014 postseason . The Angels’ missteps there were well-chronicled and something of a major disappointment to their fans after the team’s triumph in succeeding the Oakland Athletics as the AL West divisional champions.

This season might prove to be a horse for a different course as I expect the A’s to rebound back after a disappointing sojourn in 2014 ! If there is one thing I do know, it is not to underestimate a general manager such as Billy Beane , whose portrayal by Brad Pitt in the hit movie ” Moneyball” has just about everyone convinced they could become a great front office executive in Major League Baseball. Separating fact from fiction, we all know what Beane has been able construct and quite remarkably succeed in repeating, and that is to make the A’s competitive team in spite of a cash-starved ownership group and the very fact , Bud Selig has somehow refused to come to the organization’s aid in assisting them to obtain a new baseball stadium. Though somehow , the former commissioner was front and center when Citi-Field, Yankees’ Stadium and Marlins’ Ballpark took shape at the expense of the taxpayers within the cities of New York and Miami , where the final cost exceeded for all three venues exceeded $2.3 billion ($2,300,000,000). Never let it be said, Selig doesn’t know how to maneuver his way around the corridors of power, while making so many political dignitaries at the municipal , state and federal level look like complete morons. Personally, I don’t believe it to be that difficult a task whether or not it’s a Democrat or Republican, whose largesse is being sought. Simply look at the idiocy of the political bickering now taking place at the national level and the continued partisan discord between both parties and then ask yourself, why you would be willing to trust a congressional member from either party , let alone someone at the municipal or state level ? Add in the fact, Bud Selig’s, greatest accomplishments as commissioner could be written on the back of a first class stamp and be posted to the North Pole , addressed to Santa Claus, for all of the use that would do. Yet I digress, as Claus based on a fable, has been far more successful in bringing joy to many , than anything accomplished by Selig during his tenure as the lead executive in Major League Baseball.

Mike Trout has more than repaid the Angels’ faith in him, which has resulted in a contract commensurate to his talents. Trout’s maturity is there to be seen and he has most definitely become the face, voice and undoubted leader of this team. As to whether or not his teammates are now willing to follow his lead can be best judged by your perception of their overall performances during the 2014 postseason, where Trout I believe, led by example, but there was no one else around willing to assist their teammate.

Angels’ GM Jerry Dipoto has to be wondering , if not second-guessing himself as to whether or not it was prudent investing over $300 million of team owner Arte Moreno’s money into acquiring Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Moreno is known to be a shrewd businessman with a keen eye for detail and seeking out deals, which will more than maximize a return on that particular investment. Having made his name showing a keen eye for an investments specifically in the world of sports and broadcasting. One thing becoming abundantly clear at this juncture and it is, with each passing season where Mike Scioscia comes up short, he one step closer to becoming the next managerial casualty in the world of baseball. If Scioscia fails this season, then he is likely to become one the first casualty of an ongoing policy which has become the norm not just in baseball but in professional and collegiate sports. The dismissal of a coach or manager, as the case maybe.

The Angels will begin their regular season schedule with a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners , with the first of those games on 5th April, 2015 at Safeco Field in Seattle , Washington,. However, before Los Angeles embarks upon their regular season schedule, they have their Spring Training Schedule and the chance for Mike Scioscia and his staff to assess their non roster invitees as well as their newly acquired players from this off-season. Chances are, several players will play their part in contributing to Angels’ endeavors over the course of their schedule.

For the third straight season the Los Angeles Dodgers will enter the year with the highest payroll in baseball. Several of the players on the roster are among the highest paid players in the game by way of their salaries and contractual compensation. With the franchise having failed miserably in the postseasons of 2013 and 2014 , each time falling to their nemesis the St Louis Cardinals, most notably in the NLDS last season.

Magic Johnson has been the front officeimage of the Dodgers’ organization, but now with Andrew Friedman having been brought in to oversee the franchise’s Baseball Operations, it does appear Johnson will have to take a back seat to to the new front office executive as he looks to create a resurgent and competitive on field product this upcoming season. That tall order has led to the departures of Matt Kemp , Josh Beckett and several other players during the off-season as Friedman looks to provide Don Mattingly and his staff with the tools needed for the Dodgers to win their first World Series title since 1988 .

While I believe the Dodgers to be a good team, they are far from being a great team and that is what is needed in the postseason if the franchise is to make it their ambition to win a world title. NL MVP and Cy Young winner in 2014 Clayton Kershaw , teammates Zack Greinke , Adrian Gonzalez and Yasiel Puig will have to show a great deal more than what was witnessed during 2014, especially during the postseason.

Don Mattingly and his team will begin their regular season with a home game at Dodgers Ballpark in Los Angeles California against the San Diego Padres on the 6th April, 2015. For Matt Kemp, it provides the player with the chance to renew old acquaintances with former teammates, as he gets the chance to play at the stadium where some of the most famous exploits of his career took place. Padres’ GM A J Preller and team manager Bud Black will be looking to make this team worthy challengers to the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants this season within the NL West , which I believe will be one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball this upcoming season.

Where would we be without some drama being provided by baseball’s most illustrious ball-club? This season will be the first time in over two decades , where the now retired Derek Jeter will not be part of the New York Yankees’ opening day lineup. Major changes have taken place within the organization , among the playing staff, with several players departing , while the Yankees seek to reshape the roster, which at its core, is still one, with several players at the twilight of their careers . It cannot have escaped anyone’s notice, in the midst of this all, Alex Rodriguez was welcomed back into the fold, but I feel that the player, while being closely scrutinized, he likely to make another misstep and as before, then look to apportion blame elsewhere for his own misdeeds, as so often been the case over the past eight and a half years. If nothing else, Rodriguez has been more consistent off the field with his repeated lies than he has been on the field for the Yankees during the time-span in question.

The New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman has continually been afforded the means necessary to craft a team, he believes capable of winning a World Series, but last season’s disastrous showing had more to do with disjointed performances and an aging roster riddled with injuries throughout the year. Out the window it appears, has been the notion of paring down payroll to a manageable size , because clearly Cashman , Joe Girardi , the managerial staff and ownership place no faith in the organization’s farm system. Granted, a number of players made appearances at various points during last season, having been promoted up from AAA, but I believe, it had more to do with Cashman being at a loss, not willing to splurge and taking something of conservative approach. Now it all comes down to, which player on the roster can Joe Girardi look to , in providing the leadership necessary for the Yankees to be successful this upcoming season ?

The New York Yankees have a great deal of money tied up in players , such as Alex Rodriguez, C C Sabathia , Masahiro Tanaka , Mark Teixeira , Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran . Salary commitments for the New York Yankees in 2015 will top $210 million , which pales into comparison to the monies being paid out this year ($267 million) by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Inasmuch, as many try to point out there is parity within the game of baseball, there is nothing at all to really bear this out, because in essence, what it all does come down to more than anything else_______ talent on the field of play and extremely good managerial skills. Overlooking that premise and simply using the analogy of parity suggests pragmatism and laziness on the part of those watching the game. However, it should be noted, of the participants in last season’s postseason, several were among the top paying teams in all of baseball.

I certainly do not believe Alex Rodriguez can or will provide the leadership sought by Joe Girardi ! Among the players on the team, where the trait needed for team success to become a reality, the most likely candidate would appear to be Jacoby Ellsbury, a player ,whose career with the Boston Red Sox was well-chronicled, albeit, his last season and a-half with the franchise was more injury riddled, with a noted decline in his productivity . Last season , there were glimpses of Ellsbury back to almost his very best and providing the leadership sought which will surely be missed with the retirement of Derek Jeter ! The Yankees will kick off their regular season schedule with a three-game home series’ opener against divisional rivals the Toronto Blue Jays , beginning on the 6th April, 2015. The AL East , where both teams reside, will likely prove to be another competitive season, with the Baltimore Orioles looking to fend off the challenge of their their divisional foes in defense of the divisional title , while also seeking to steer away the rest of the AL and their NL opponents in 2015.

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What are you hoping to see come out of the first two months of the MLB season ? Also, at the half-way point of the schedule which teams and players do you believe will have made something of a statement as to their intent ? Merely leave a comment as you see fit on the questions raised and anything else you believe relevant to the article.

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(1) San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner , left, and manager Bruce Bochy stand by the trophies after their 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. Bumgarner’s scintillating postseason displays were just one of the many reasons why the Giants prevailed in a drama driven and thrilled packed World Series . AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(2) Oct 29 , 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; MLB commissioner Bud Selig (right) presents San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (left) , chief executive officer Larry Baer (middle) and general manager Brian Sabean with the Commissioners Trophy after game seven of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium . Charlie Neibergall/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

(3) Howie Kendrick (47) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is congratulated by teammate Albert Pujols (5) after driving in the game winning run in the tenth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 4-3 at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 28, 2014 in Anaheim, California. Far right , is Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout. rtfied;a222) Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld

(4) Mike Trout (27) celebrates with Mike Scioscia (14) of the Los Angeles Angels after hitting a home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals during Game Three of the American League Division Series at Kauffman Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Getty Images / Jamie Squire

(5) Giancarlo Stanton is seen here hitting a home run off Jonathan Pettibone during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies . The Marlins’ slugger signed a $325 million contract with the franchise, making it the most expensive deal in baseball history and the most expensive in any of the four major professional team sports in North America . AP Photo / Alison Fisher

(6) A pensive looking Alex Rodriguez looks up from the dugout to the scoreboard during a game . The New New York Yankees’ third baseman has not played in regular season game for the ball-club since the latter half of the 2013 season . Having sat out all of last year due to a league mandated suspension, Rodriguez will be returning to a team , missing two of its most popular players after the retirement of Derek Jeter and the departure of Ichiro Suzuki who during the off season signed a one-year deal with the Miami Marlins . It remains to be seen whether or not Alex Rodriguez can contribute to a team lacking leadership and a great deal of productivity in terms of overall offense. AP Photo / Keith Slocum

(7) New York Yankees’ teammates Derek Jeter , left and Jacoby Ellsbury leave the field after a game between the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels . Jeter’s retirement after a two-decade long career with the organization , leaves a tremendous void and vacuum, with their now being viewed as what is likely no real on-field leadership. Ellsbury might be seen as the ideal replacement for such a role. but there doesn’t appear to any signs from management or the front office as to whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury will succeed Jeter as the captain of the New York Yankees . A role of stature which has only ever been held by five players during the franchise’s illustrious history during the past four decades. AP Photo / Keith Wallace
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Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …

Revenge is a dish, best served cold … Dominance, on the other hand, can take shape in different forms and guises, dependent upon one’s view …

Well the NFL season is now over and the fallout from an unbelievable end to the Superbowl (SBLVIX) still has not subsided five days after the event. Seattle Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll has staunchly defended offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and has suggested the decision in many respects, was Bevell’s alone and that he agreed with the coordinator’s take and final call. My question remains, if Marshawn Lynch throughout much of the game gave the New England Patriots a great deal more than they could handle, why would the Seahawks seek to change course at such a pivotal moment in the game ? Lynch, during this contest, scored a touchdown on a short yardage gain after a reception, yet this actually escaped both Carroll’s and Bevell’s notice ? Call me naive, but the head coach’s post-game explanation given during his interview, smacks of sheer stupidity and utter nonsense !

New England ascends back to the top of the NFL world, and simply cementing their dominance of this league, as a ” true dynasty, one of the most discussed, if not one of the most alienating also, in the world of professional team sports across the North American landscape over the past twenty-five years.

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Five months into the NBA season and the talk in recent weeks has been the unbelievable play of the Atlanta Hawks and their ongoing dominance within the NBA. In the month of January, Mike Budenholzer’s vastly improved team went a staggering 17-0 , unbeaten for the entire calendar month of their scheduled games. Consider the fact, the Chicago Bulls’ team of their championship winning season of 1995-96, where they went 72-10, setting an NBA franchise record for wins in a season. The team coached by Phil Jackson was never able to achieve that feat with a roster which boasted Michael Jordan , Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman among the starting lineup , which was also well-served by several role players who contributed greatly to the Bulls’ success of that season.

There is a great deal to be said, for the days of dominance once had by the Chicago Bulls, as for years the franchise was waylaid by the fact the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics held center-stage within the Eastern Conference, while the Los Angeles Lakers were simply extending the glare of the Showtime Lakers’ extravaganza. During that time, the Chicago Bulls grew to overcome their fears and went about beginning their historic run, which rang in a new era and perhaps the most popular reign in NBA history, most certainly from a fan and global standpoint. Michael Jordan reigned supreme, as the most dominant player in the NBA and one of most recognized athletes on the face of the planet . With it, came the wealth and acclaim, few athletes today can match. LeBron James , currently, the best player in the NBA and rightfully so, the latest NBA star, seen as the heir-apparent to Michael Jordan. Kobe Bryant’s era of supremacy is slowly winding down and with it, the Los Angeles Lakers’ most recent chapter of NBA dominance. .

As good as the Atlanta Hawks appear to be and what they have achieved has been fascinating . The true test for any NBA franchise can be judged by what they have been able to do during the NBA Playoffs. For Atlanta the type of success sought, has been fleeting for an organization still seeking acceptance as an elite franchise in the NBA. This might be the season, in which the Hawks can finally stake that claim , if they make the NBA Playoffs and then go on a prolonged run, all the way to the NBA Finals.

The Atlanta Hawks’ exceptional month of January has heightened expectations for the month of February, even with the upcoming All Star Game Weekend fast approaching. Between now and then, it will be interesting to see how this team fares as it is being led by Paul Millsap , Al Horford , Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll , Kyle Korver and John Jenkins . Needless to say this has been a collective effort from the Hawks’ players over the course of the season . They have been able to eke out their victories on the road as well as at home against divisional , conference and Western Conference opponents .

Having gone 9-1 in their last ten games the Atlanta Hawks are as sure a bet, as you can get, for them to make the NBA Playoffs, where if things were to remain as they are, their first round opponents would be the Miami Heat , last eat season’s losing NBA Finalists . It would be definitely be an enticing first-round contest to survey , with the Heat seen as an opponent , good enough to cause an upset.

I believe the Atlanta Hawks are good enough to make a solid run through to the end of the season , winning their division outright and making the NBA Playoffs. Where they then go from there, is anyone’s guess, because during the postseason, it then becomes about the teams and their players standing tall , excelling at critical points of a game. Recent signs show the Hawks are not yet at the standard required for them to be seen as a credible contender to win it all .

If ever there was a sign to indicate , Phil Jackson erred in the hiring of Derek Fisher to succeed Mike Woodson as the head coach of the New York Knicks. Then look no further than what has been achieved by Steve Ker, the successor to Mark Jackson as head coach of the Golden State Warriors . The Knicks continue on their season of sheer ineptitude while the Warriors have not only slain the dragon, but chopped off its head. Leading me to believe, Jackson’s ego has gotten the better of him at this stage of his career.

Golden State behind the solid play of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have led the team to the best record the Western Conference and along the way lead the Pacific Division by healthy 7 1/2 game margin over the Los Angeles Clippers. Coming off a fourteen-point victory over the Dallas Mavericks it is becoming hard to envisage any team within the Western Conference actually challenging the dominance of the Warriors over the remainder of this season.

To comprehend how the guile and tenacity shown by Golden State this season, has been such a success, you simply have to look at the margin of victory in their games where they overpower an opponent. Next up for the Warriors will be a cross-conference game against the Atlanta Hawks on the road, where the team has been very good. It’s pretty much safe to suggest, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be looking have their division and conference sewn up by no later than mid-March . It gives Kerr the opportunity needed, to rest a number of his front-line starters, while assessing what his bench players are able to do before the end of the season on the 15th April, 2015

Defending NBA champions the San Antonio Spurs have slowly plodded along while the elder statesmen on the team have sought to gain some semblance of consistency to their season. Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker have been the mainstays of the franchise’s successes and one of the reasons why they have been a perennial playoff team and contender for the NBA title. Seventeen straight NBA Playoff appearances and yet when fans, tend to talk about dynasties and dominance, rarely has the name of the San Antonio Spurs been mentioned in the same sentence as the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls or the Motown Bad Boys of Detroit under the coaching acumen of Chuck Daly, as he engineered the success of the Detroit Pistons. I suppose not playing in what is deemed to be a major-market, has a tendency of taking the gloss off a team’s achievements. While many, were surprised the Spurs were able to get past the highly favored Miami Heat in last season’s NBA Finals. It should not have come as any great surprise,if the suggestion was made, LeBron James and his teammates were simply complacent and went into the postseason foray, with the expectation of simply waltzing through through a seven-game series, merely based on having defeated San Antonio in the previous season’s Finals Series.

San Antonio now has a competent lineup beyond their Big Three of Duncan , Ginobli and Parker now joined by last season’s Finals’ MVP of Kawhi Leonard , it must be said the team does have have a formidable lineup , which I believe to be among the best in the NBA for a starting five, without delving into the contributions from the bench. It would also be remiss to not take into account the coaching staff of Gregg Popovich, a staff which includes the NBA’s only lead female assistant, former WNBA player Becky Hammon. As to whether or not this league will ever have its very first female head coach remains to be seen , but I am sure, it is something Hammon will seek to achieve !

With only the Cleveland Cavaliers , Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks over their last ten games having a better record, it indicates at present, how competitive the NBA happens to be. San Antonio’s thirteen-point victory at home over the Miami Heat was indicative of what we know to be the frailties of a weak Eastern Conference as another franchise drops a game to a Western Conference foe. The Spurs’ next game takes them North of the border to face the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. For both teams this should prove to be a fascinating contest as they seek to maintain their momentum in the run-up to the All Star Break .

A ninety million dollar ($90 million) payroll doesn’t appear to have aided the Brooklyn Nets this season as the team struggles to make sense of their failures at this point of the NBA schedule. It would be fair to suggest the Nets have been a major disappointment for their fans and the NBA alike. Personally, I believe the team to be lacking in leadership with Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams being overpaid and offering the franchise absolutely nothing on all levels at this stage of their respective careers.

For Nets’ head coach Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff at a loss for an explanation,while GM Billy King and team owner, Mikhail Prokhorov wondering if changes will have to be made before or at the trade deadline, if the franchise is to make some sense of their season. In their last ten games the Brooklyn Nets are a paltry 5-5 , simply mirroring what they represent as a team, to the NBA fans at large, being average and representing mediocrity !

Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets will take to the court to face conference rivals the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. This will be game, between two teams of similar ambitions, seeking to make their presence felt within the conference as well their respective divisions could very well make or break their seasons from hereon-in. The All Star festivities to be staged at the Barclays Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets will provide a timely respite for the teams as they take stock and then prepare for the second half of the season. This will be the point where executives and team owners look to make some major deals and naturally shed players for salary cap reasons.

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As the first half of this NBA season comes to a close, which team or teams have been the biggest surprise in your opinion ? During the second half of the schedule which franchise and players will play a decisive role of making a playoff push within each conference ? Also, of the teams in the league (NBA) over the past two decades, which do you believe is the most deserving to be thought of as a dynasty ? Simply leave a comment or comments as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site, as it has always been appreciated ! Thank you !

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(1) Marshawn Lynch (24) of the Seattle Seahawks completes a catch against Tyler Gaffney (31) of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Rob Carr

(2) Marshawn Lynch(24) of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Jamie Squire

(3) John Wall of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets during the game on February 7, 2015 at Verizon Center in Washington, DC. NBAE/Getty Images/ Ned Dishman

(4) David Lee of the Golden State Warriors goes to the basket against Travis Wear(6) of the New York Knicks on February 7, 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Getty Images / Nathaniel S Butler

(5) Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans on February 7, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Getty Images / Mike Hamilton

(6) Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks drives against Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors on February 6, 2015 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Scott Cunningham

(7) Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs shoots against the Miami Heat on February 6, 2015 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Getty Images North America / D. Clarke Evans

(8) Becky Hammon , left , is seen here with San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich . Hammon is the first full-time lead assistant head coach with any franchise in the NBA . The NBA might just be the most progressive of any of the four main professional team sports , with Michele Roberts also recently being named the Executive Director of the NBPA (Players’ Union) . Popovich believes Hammon due to her vast experience as a former WNBA player and now an assistant coach , could become the first female head coach in the NBA . AP Photo /Gary Ross
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