For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

For Whom The Bells Toll ……….. It Tolls For Thee !

There’s not a great deal happening in the world of sports at present and with the Opening Day of baseball (MLB) set for this Thursday beyond that there isn’t a great deal to actually have the sport’s fan greatly enamored. The NBA regular season is slowly approaching the final straight and there too a number of teams are striving to gain some form of momentum in order to have themselves playoff ready for the postseason .

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Slide show for your perusal

With the NBA postseason set to commence in the second week or third week of April (April 16th), it’s easy to understand why these teams contending for a playoff berth would want to hit form of consistency that sets them on the right track as the playoffs approach . My own thoughts are that the teams looking to make a postseason berth are going to have to raise the level of their game as the playoffs approach.

A work colleague of mine brought up the subject of the NFL labor dispute and the lockout and made the statement that how is that all of a sudden the league now sets to paint the NFLPA in a dark light bearing in mind that they were the ones who sought instigate the lockout because the Executive Committee of the union were unwilling to acquiesce to a number of conditions that league proposed ? With Neil being a labor relation’s lawyer I found it somewhat surprising that he raised that point ! One of the sticking points now appears to be the league’s wish to have a comprehensive drug testing policy as it relates to PED’s and in particular HGH . For some reason I was under the impression that the league already had what they’d deemed to be a comprehensive drug testing policy but obviously it’s no better than the policy that MLB hierarchy has in place . Now if this is one of the real sticking points said to be many that the league and the union are said to be far apart on then it this lockout suddenly becomes not merely about money but a great deal more.

I know that the league (NFL) does test for certain prohibitive substances , namely marijuana , anabolic steroids and certain other illicit opiates but if they weren’t already testing for HGH then this is the question I’ve got to ask what the hell is going on within the NFL and their own credibility as it relates to the use of HGH ? Given the fact that we’ve all seen the dangers of abusing steroids and in particular a number of these opiates how is it that they’ve continued to not address the issue of HGH being used by the players . I know that it’s use has to be closely scrutinized by a medical professional. But herein lies the caveat if it’s only now that the league hierarchy under NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is prepared to address this issue then clearly there’s something that the NFL and owners weren’t prepared to make public unless they’re prepared to use it as leverage against the union. At the same time in the midst of this all Tennessee Titans’ owner Bud Adams issued a public statement saying that it is his belief that a 2011-12 season will commence on time . Unless Bud Adams is actually fully aware of some upcoming turn of events then clearly the league feels that they now hold the upper hand in any proposed return to the table concerning resolving the labor negotiations.. I’m not so sure that now appears to the case as I do believe that Goodell and the owners have been out-maneuvered by the NFLPA headed by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith .

Courtesy of NFL.com

NFL wants its players tested for human growth hormone

By Steve Wyche of NFL.com

The NFL believes now is the time to include human growth hormone testing in its banned substances policy and is pushing players to add it to a collective bargaining agreement — whenever one is reached.

The NFL and NFL Players Association discussed the policy before the union decertified March 11 and league owners imposed a lockout March 12, but no details were provided regarding where things stood.

News of the league’s insistence on HGH testing being part of the new CBA was first reported Thursday by FoxSports.com.

Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s vice president of law and labor policy, said Friday that the league has pushed for HGH testing since 2008, but with the opportunity to re-cast terms of a labor deal, it has become a priority. The NFLPA had resisted it in the past because of HGH testing methods and the reliability of results.

Blood testing remains the most reliable means to detect the presence of HGH, and that has been the sticking point — not both sides’ desire for fair play, Birch said.

“In terms of the policy, we’ve always been in lockstep with the players,” Birch said. “It’s an important tool in deterring — that’s maybe the most important part — and detecting those who are using (HGH). It helps the public understand what they are seeing is legitimate and that it’s not the result of artificial means. It’s equally important to players to know that someone hasn’t gained an artificial advantage over them.”

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Click on the link shown to read the article in its entirety.

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At this juncture the whole labor dispute nonsensical and personally with each passing day with the damage being done to the image of both parties , I now feel that the fans couldn’t give a sh_t how things turn out. It’s not as if the league or players have ever had the fans’ best interests at heart any time during their deliberations !

With the trial of Barry Bonds now hitting its stride it’s amazing to see to read or hear about the testimony now be given by the number of witnesses subpoenad to appear at the trial by the prosecution in this case the US Justice Department and the attorneys representing the People of the US. With Jason Giambi having testified that he was a recipient of steroids from Bonds’ former personal trainer Greg Anderson and Bonds’ former mistress Kimberly Bell testifying that in her time spent with the MLB slugger over the course of their relationship the player got considerably bigger. I can only surmise that apart from Bonds’ rigorous training regimen that she was trying to allude to the fact the player was using something illicit to spurt his growth or could it be that she was also taking about the size of his member ? And as absurd as this case has become I do believe that we’re going to hear a great deal more than goes from the sublime to the ridiculous !

The longer this charade goes on as to the money being spent on this case the more I continue to question the asinine stance of the MLB hierarchy under the tenure of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig , in particular the owners within the game , managers and the MLBPA under then Executive Director Donald Fehr who now holds a similar position with the NHLPA . If the NHL and the sport of hockey hasn’t gone through enouhh problems as it is ther Players’ Union hires Fehr to become their Executive Director ? Are they fu_king mad ? The game is still in a financially tenuous position and it’s not as if Gary Bettman as the NHL Commissioner has actually got them now heading in the right direction as of now is it ?

As it now stands the legacy of the game throughout the nineties and into the early part of this decade has been irrevocably damaged and harmed ! With the advent of the regular season about to start as of tomorrow I can’t help but wonder what the teams , owners , union , fans and the game’s hierarchy hope to see when in large part the fans are still being reminded of the inane stupidity of the league hierarchy’s lackadaisical approach to the steroid issue . Bud Selig and his then counterpart Donald Fehr and the union as a whole were complicit in perpetrating this fraud upon the public and wherein the teams and players had a financial windfall. Were this a white collar crime committed I can assure you that the FBI , Justice Department and dare I say it the idiots within both Congress and the Senate would be asking that there be indictments of all of the guilty parties concerned ! But instead those blowholes have remained mind numbingly silent , even with those odious and sleep inducing Congressional hearings that took place and was overseen by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the House Committee on Energy & Commerce . What was achieved by those hearings dependent upon one’ s views ranged somewhere between the idiotic with the grandstanding by those congressional committee members and the idiotic statements and testimony given by the league hierarchy and the players subpoenad to testify !

The one thing I for one question now is given what we may or may not know to be true is how the public view the records attained by players during the steroid era and how they ought to be viewed by the fans and public in general ? God knows the single season home run record as well as the home run record ought to have an asterisk placed at their side . I don’t state this as a damning indictment of Bonds alone . But I do feel if that he’s now to be viewed as the face of the steroid era along with Jose Canseco and several other players whom we all know to be associated with the illicit use of steroids amongst other substances banned by the game then we also ought to question silence maintained by players such as Derek Jeter , Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine who’ve often been viewed as what’s right within the game but with their avowed silence on the issue , has to have the fans thinking up to a point whether or not they condoned the actions by their fellow players ? I mean even the most menial and lowly of the low within the union (MLBPA) as well as the marquee names have profited greatly from the era having seen their salaries rise not merely based on potential alone but from the stats that were achieved during the era . And with the idiot general managers then willing to pay exorbitant salaries to players while being lassoed in by uber-agents such as Scott Boras , Arn Tellem and Leigh Steinberg making the players immeasurably wealthy beyond their wildest dreams . It now begs the question what credibility does the game of baseball really have as to its legitimacy in being viewed as the nation’s favorite pastime as well as the integrity of its players , managers and the league hierarchy itself ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As the NFL labor dispute continues to meander along whatever route it presumably takes how do you as such view the situation as a discerning fan of the game ? Do you also feel that the league’s stance with regard to them wanting to instigate a test for HGH via blood testing is the proactive thing to do by the NFL ? Or do you feel that a the federal laws in place as it relates to the use of steroids is enough of a deterrent to the players as a whole ? And what thoughts if any do you have with regard to the recently commenced federal trial of former San Francisco Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds ? Simply leave a comment on your thoughts as to the points raised within this piece and anything else you believe to be pertinent to the subject matter as you’d deem fit .

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award finalists Nnamdi Asomugha (R) of the Oakland Raiders and Israel Idonije (2ndR) of the Chicago Bears pose with the Peyton family, Connie Payton (2ndL), wife of former Chicago Bears great Walter Payton, and her children Brittney (3rdL), Jarrett (3rdR) and Adolpho Birch (L) during a press conference at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Green Bay Packers will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Getty Images North America Inc / Doug Pensinger ……..

(2) Birch (center) seen here with officials of the NFL and local dignitaries in Arlington , Texas prior to this past season’s Superbowl played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers . AP Photo Chris Morgan ………

(3) DeMaurice Smith (R), NFLPA executive director, arrives with NFL Players Association Spokesman George Atallah (L) and Kansas City Chiefs player Brian Waters (C) for an extra day of negotiations at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service building March 4, 2011 in Washington, DC. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL) and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners during a 24 hour extension in negotiations. Brian Smialowski / Getty Images North America …..

(4) Former TN. Govenor Phil Bredesen, Honoree/Owner NFL TN. Titans Bud Adams, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and current TN. Governor Bill Haslam present Bud Adams with the “Lifetime Humanitarian Award” at the 2011 T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala at the Hutton Hotel on March 28, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. Rick Diamond / Getty Images ……

(5) Former Major League Baseball player Barry Bonds leaves federal court at the end of the day on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images ……..

(6) Major League Baseball player Jason Giambi leaves federal court after testifying during Barry Bonds’ perjury trial on March 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Barry Bonds’ perjury trial accusing him of lying to a grand jury about his use of performance enhancing drugs when he played for the San Francisco Giants enters its second week. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images North America ….

(7) Kimberly Bell the former mistress of Giants’ slugger Barry Bonds is seen here leaving the US Federal Courthouse in San Francisco , California, having given her testimony in the player’s obstruction of Justice and perjury trial . AP Photo / Phil Montgomery …

(8) Former Major League All Star Jose Canseco known steroid user whose revelations of widespread steroid and PED use amongst his peers in the league led to widespread outrage along with the watered down Mitchell Report and MLB ‘s inane drug policy . AP/Reuters / Keith Pettigrew ……….

(9) Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (L) is pictured alongside then Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Donald Fehr during testimony at a House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on the Mitchell Report into the use of steroids in baseball, on Capitol Hill in Washington January 15, 2008. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell told the U.S. Congress on Tuesday that Major League Baseball’s players and owners must come together “in a well-planned, well-executed and sustained effort” to remove steroids from the national pastime . Andy Krupp /Reuters ……

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Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

🙂

NBA News

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Bubba Sparxxx ………………………….”Ugly ” .

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Dre Dre ……. feat’g ……… Snoop Dogg …………………… ” Let Me Ride ”

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TI ………… feat’g ………. Christina Aguilera ……….” Castle Walls ”

Could this better describe the situation now facing both the MLB and NFL and their respective images as they each perceive it to be ?
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You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks ………….. But Can Someone Teach The Knicks How To Win ?

You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks ………….. But Can Someone Teach The Knicks How To Win ?

With the vast majority of the teams now within the NBA having but a mere 12 games left before the culmination of the regular season a number of the teams in question are looking to make that final push to place themselves within the playoff picture. That may well be all well and good but there are some teams thought to be certainties who are now turning their runs into something of an unmitigated disaster. I’ve simply looked at the New York Knicks since the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony and Lord knows as bad as this team was before the trade they’re simply appear to be getting worse by the very second . This team is now two games under .500 and in their last 10 games they’ve posted an abysmal 3-7 record . How anyone can believe that this Mike D’Antoni coached team can actually do something within the playoffs is beyond me.

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Slide show for your perusal .

I know the saying is ………..”God don’t like ugly ” but truth be known I think that God would want to bitch slap the Knicks back into last week if not further back that’s for sure ! Anthony as much as he’s said to have contributed to the team and the excitement at Madison Square Gardens I am now beginning to think that GM Donnie Walsh may not have made a blundering mistake but I do believe that he gave up way to much for a play whose game is so one dimensional . Apart from Anthony you now have a player in Amar’e Stoudemire whose early season performances may well have seen him viewed as a viable candidate for the league MVP this season . Unfortunately with the Knicks’ play having fallen off …… literally off side of a cliff I’m not so sure that the NBA writers around the league will still look upon his candidacy as a viable one.

Though I do believe that the New York Knicks will indeed make the playoffs that’s if the remainder of their season doesn’t implode I can’t see them being beyond a 5th or 6th seed within the Eastern Conference . They’ve simply not played consistently enough over their last dozen or more games to be even considered legitimate contenders within their division much less the conference. Ahead of them in the standings within the conference are Chicago Bulls , Boston Celtics , Miami Heat , Orlando Magic , Atlanta Hawks , Philadelphia 76ers with the Knicks , themselves holding down the seventh seed in the standings followed by the eighth seeded Indiana Pacers over whom the Knicks hold a 3 1/2 game lead.

That cushion should afford the New York Knicks to comfortably play themselves back into some semblance of consistency but the team’s inherent problems stems from the fact that defensively they just leave a great deal to be desired , it has and will always be their Achilles’ heel and lead to their inevitable downfall . And it is one of things that I continually find annoying about Mike DAntoni as a coach as he seemingly refuses to address the situation as to his team’s lack of defensive capability. He simply seems to remain under the impression that the team can outscore an opponent at will and that is clearly not the case given their 7-3 record over their last ten games.

The one great advantage perhaps that the team has is that in Anthony and Stoudemire they do have two prodigious scorers and with Stoudemire’s rebounding prowess on both ends of the floor it gives them somewhat an evenness and sense of fluidity. But herein lies the caveat to this team it doesn’t help if no one else is prepared to pick up the slack as and when needed. And while the fans seem to be in awe of the Knicks’ alleged relevance once again within the NBA , it could become something of a short-lived renaissance should they not even have a comfortable run in the playoffs. Doubt my word , wait watch and see if it doesn’t all pan out as I envisage it will ?

One of the more surprising stories of the season I feel within the Eastern Conference apart from the Chicago Bulls and the play in particular of Derrick Rose has been the mini resurgence of the Philadelphia 76ers ( 76Eers ) who are now coached Doug Collins . Who knew that there’d be an life after the abrupt retirement of Allen Iverson from the organization ? President & CEO Ed Snider along with GM Rod Thorn , his Exec VP Ed Stefanski and Manager Tony DiLeo seem to have lifted this team out of the rubble after its implosion last season when the team finished with a 27-55 record within the Eastern Conference . This season the Sixers will exceed that mark having already posted their thirty fourth win of season and they now sit at 2 games over .500 with a 37-34 mark within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference .

Much of the team’s improvement this season rests squarely with Doug Collins and is coaching staff where he’s ably assisted by lead assistant Michael Curry . But it has also been the veteran leadership now being shown by Elton Brand in leading this young roster and we’re now beginning to see Andre Iguodala finally flourish and actually show some of that potential that many have felt that he long had. But if anything it has been a collective effort by the team as a whole where they now sit in their present position of being the sixth seed in the East and where there’s a growing confidence amongst the younger players such as Jrue Holiday , Marreese Speights and their rookie first round draft pick Evan Turner who’s showing the promise first on view as a member of Thad Matta’s 2010 Ohio State Buckeyes team .

From my own perspective I can’t see the Sixers going deep into the playoffs should they still retain their seeding up until the culmination of the regular season . A potential first round match-up against the LeBron James led Miami Heat may well have the smell of an upset but unless the Heat come out ice cold then I can’t see the Sixers parlaying that first round series into an outright upset ! And even though I have my own doubts about the Miami Heat I for one can’t see James , or Erik Spoelstra , much less Heat team President Pat Riley letting that scenario rear its ugly head at the AA Arena at the beginning of that series. If that were to happen then the Heat would be booed out of the arena by their very own fans and they’d be ridiculed for such an inept display were they to lose the series.

Now as the regular season winds down it’s going to be interesting to see how the fates pan out for both the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers . One on appearance seems to have over achieved whereas the other seems to be unsure as to its immediate future in terms of its play , goals and expectations. This much is certain failure for the Knicks and they’re still going to be thought of as the NBA’s answer to the New York Mets ……….. just a bunch money laden wannabes ! Both organizations’ only real claim to success has been to boast about their history rather than anything that they’ve achieved in recent years . Can't really put it anymore succinctly than that !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thought if any do you have as to the postseason for either the Knicks and Sixers ? And what expectations do you have as to that of the other prospective teams vying for a playoff spot ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and any other topic as it relates to the NBA .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com ……….

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) New York Yankees’ Bernie Williams performs the national anthem before the New York Knicks play the Orlando Magic in an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …..

(2) Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard (12) loses control as he drives past New York Knicks’ Chauncey Billups (4) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in New York. Howard scored 33 points as the Magic won the game 111-99 . AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ………….

(3) New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, right, shoots over Orlando Magic’s Quentin Richardson (partially obscured) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in New York. AP Photo/Frank Franklin II ……….

(4) New York Knicks’ Amare Stoudemire (1) drives past Orlando Magic’s Ryan Anderson (33) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …………

(5) Philadelphia 76ers’ Thaddeus Young, right, reaches for a rebound against Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith in the half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 105-100 . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ………….

(6) Philadelphia 76ers’ Elton Brand, center, goes up for a rebound between Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith, left, and Zaza Pachulia, of Georgia, in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Philadelphia. Philadelphia won 105-100. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …….

(7) Philadelphia 76ers guard Evan Turner, right, drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings center Samuel Dalembert , left, during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Friday March 18, 2011. The 76ers won 102-80 . AP Photo ……………..

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NBA News

New York Knicks roster

Team stats

Team Splits

New York Knicks’ schedule


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Philadelphia 76ers’ roster

Team stats

Team Splits

Philadelphia 76ers’ schedule

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NBA stats Daily Leaders

Stats shown below also show avg’s per game

NBA Leading scorers

NBA Leading rebounder

NBA Leader in assists APG

NBA Leader in Double-Doubles

NBA Leader in Free Throw Pct

NBA Leader in Pts/Reb’s/ Asst’s

NBA Leader in steals

NBA Playoff Picture

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Santana ……………… “Samba Pa Ti”

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Busty English model … Lucy Pinder

Continue reading “You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks ………….. But Can Someone Teach The Knicks How To Win ?”

Pick Your Poison ? The Officials ……………. Or How To Interpret The Rules ?

Pick Your Poison ? The Officials ……………. Or How To Interpret The Rules ?

What if anything are you looking forward to in the upcoming NBA playoffs ? The seedings are pretty much set with regard to the upper echelons of the divisions and the respective conferences that are the East and Western Conference of the NBA . Twelve more regular season games are due to played over the next fourteen days before the postseason begins. And this avid basketball fan is most certainly looking forward to its commencement . That being said the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has hit full stride with the Sweet 16 now set to begin . At this time of the year is there as such , a better spectacle that can befall a basketball fan ? I think not !

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Slide show for your perusal .

A patron of my site who’s an avid college and NBA basketball fan is convinced that the NCAA has essentially made sure that a number of teams have been given somewhat of an easy passage through to the Sweet 16 and I’m not about to completely disagree with his outlook on the matter. I even question at times the whole process as to how collegiate athletics’ governing body chooses the participants for the national championship. Granted , conference champions , conference tournament champions are automatic qualifiers and so too are the respective conference divisional champions but herein lies the dilemma of those teams/programs who may well have come up short in the eyes of the NCAA . It’s then left to the competition committee to make those final arbitrary choices that can at times bring instant notoriety to a school or abject disappointment . Such are the vagaries of what we see fosters competition at the amateur level as prescribed by the NCAA.

The NBA for its part once its postseason starts , tends to be clouded with no less controversy but here it tends to be with the officiating and the complete inconsistency shown by the referees . And if you think that the performances during the regular season are grossly filled with mediocre decisions and suspect adjudication from not just the head referee and his assistants , simply look at what takes place over the course of the postseason ? I’ve always maintained that until NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league hierarchy begins to address these problems head on, we will continue to see gross errors in judgment and in the performances of the officials. Stern believes so implicitly in the officiating that any form of criticism of a referee is usually met with a hefty fine for anyone critical of an oncourt official , be it a player or a coach . And with Stern’s autocratic rule there tends to be no right of recourse even in light of when there’s found to be an error in judgment after the fact by an official . Can’t say you’re not forewarned as what to expect this postseason .

In light of that fact I’m not about to say that the teams will have to be wary of the officials but I do know this , there’s bound be a situation at some point in a game where a call will come into question during the NBA postseason . We’ve seen it happen far too often in seasons past and it has happened with an alarming regularity . And it will most definitely happen again during these playoffs , if anything it could very well prove to be the turning point in a closely competitive series between two teams that will in the end leave one on the outside looking in when it’s all said and done . And that to my mind is no way to decide a series when it comes down to human error by an official during a game ! OK , so one plays to the whistle rather than seeking a call but what happens when you know there to be an error and it’s falling on deaf ears with regard to lodging an appeal with the referee during the game ? Unfortunately the result will always stand even in the light of one being able to prove that the official may well have made a call that has cost a team a game or series.

During the NCAA Tournament itself , I’ve not as such seen any major errors by the officials but I have at times questioned one or two of their calls . I’m not about to suggest that these officials are inexperienced as many of them have a great many years of experience officiating at all levels of the amateur and collegiate ranks. And I’ve no doubt that they’re richly rewarded dependent upon their skill-set and experience. The same can also be said for the referees amongst the professional ranks and I’ve no doubt that there too they’re just as passionate about the game as their counterparts amongst the collegiate level. But at times not unlike any other NBA fan the officials will draw my ire with their mistakes that I’ve often said that even Stevie Wonder could’ve recognized were he officiating an NBA game ! The fact of the matter is , for now , this will be the best that there is to offer the fans by way of the officiating that we will all witness and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon . So as of now it’s pick your poison the officials or how to interpret the rules ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts do you have on the officiating that you’ve witnessed within the NCAA Tournament and what you’ve actually witnessed by the officials within the NBA over the course of the regular season ? Also are you in agreement with me on my conclusions that there has and always will be gross standards of officiating by the referees during the NBA’s own postseason , bearing mind also that those mistakes become more heightened now than they normally are during the regular season merely because of what is ultimately at stake for the participating teams ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and any other thoughts you might have with regard to the NCAA Tournament and that of the culmination of the regular season within the NBA and opening of its postseason schedule .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap (24) drives past New Orleans Hornets forward David West (30) for a shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Salt Lake City. The Hornets won 121-117. AP Photo/Jim Urquhart ………

(2) Utah Jazz guard Ronnie Price bottom and New Orleans Hornets center Aaron Gray dive for a loose ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Salt Lake City. The Hornets won 121-117. AP Photo/Jim Urquhart …….

(3) Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany shoots against Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Randolph (15) and Anthony Tolliver (44) during the second half of the NBA basketball game in Dallas, Thursday, March 24, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ………

(4) AUBURN HILLS, MI – MARCH 23: Dwyane Wade(3 of the Miami Heat gets fouled by Tracy McGrady(1) of the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 23, 2011 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Miami won the game 100-94 . Gregory Shamus / Getty Images …………..

(5) Xavier Henry stands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being drafted twelfth by the Memphis Grizzlies at Madison Square Garden on June 24, 2010 in New York City. Al Bello / Getty Images ………….

(6) Alex Tyus #23 of the Florida Gators and Noah Hartsock #34 of the Brigham Young Cougars tip off to start their game during the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……..

(7) Jimmer Fredette (32) of the Brigham Young Cougars reacts during their 74 to 83 loss to the Florida Gators in the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images ……

(8) Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger, left, laughs after head coach Thad Matta broke his concentration during a free throw during practice for an East regional semifinal game in the NCAA college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 24, 2011, in Newark, N.J. Ohio State will play Kentucky on Friday. AP Photo/Julio Cortez …..

(9) Solomon Hill (44) of the Arizona Wildcats drives to the basket against Miles Plumlee (21) and Kyle Singler (12) of the Duke Blue Devils during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California. Duke would fall to Arizona 93-77 in somewhat of a lopsided game . Harry How / Getty Images ………

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NBA News

NBA Playoff picture

NBA Standings by Conference

NBA Schedule

Thursday night 2 games results

Minnesota T’wolves vs Dallas Mavericks 104 -96

Utah Jazz vs New Orleans Hornets 121-117


Friday 25th March 2011 13 games

Saturday 26th March 6 games

Sunday 27th March 9 games

NCAA Basketball Tournament News

NCAA Brackets

Results & Scores

Scheduled games for Friday 25th March ,2011

Ohio St —- v —- Kentucky
Marquette —- v —- North Carolina
Kansas —- v —- Richmond
Florida St —- v —- Virginia Commonwealth (VCU)

Results 24th March 2011

Elite 8

Teams in to the Elite as of Thursday night

Arizona —- vs — U Conn

Butler —- v —- Florida

Games scheduled for Saturday 26th March , 2011

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Baje Fletcher

Eye candy …………………….. Baje Fletcher

Jasmine Jannay

Jasmine Jannay courtesy of King Magazine
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Phil Collins ………………. ” In The Air Tonight”

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Mystikal …..feat’g …….. Nivea ……………………. “Danger “(Been So Long)

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You Had Me At Hello ………. !

You Had Me At Hello !

In the Cameron Crowe directed and written movie ” Jerry Macguire” there’s a scene in the movie where Tom Cruise’s character Jerry Maguire ____ his wife in the film played by Oscar winner Renee Zellwegger says the words “you had me hello ” . Well here’s a case in point as I survey the world of sports and the news forthcoming within that arena . The NFL is still looking as if their problems now will be litigated within the US Federal Court system and in which an upcoming case will be heard in Minneapolis , Minnesota. What both the NFLPA ( union) and the NFL continue to show is that neither side is apparent in actually resolving this matter in which an amicable resolution is reached , albeit that owners Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft have stated that’s what they seek with the union led by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and its executive committee . Pardon me for saying this , but common sense went out the window concerning these deliberations the moment that the union sought to decertify in order that players could challenge the NFL’s antitrust exemption status and its legality within the judicial system.

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Slide show for your perusal .

What might be further illuminating and shows that intelligence on the part of the players is merely a preconception , is the fact that they state they’re now prepared to negotiate directly with the owners rather than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell . Less I’m mistaken wasn’t the action to instigate the lockout done at the behest of the owners and was enacted by Goodell as the NFL’s highest ranking official within the league’s hierarchy ? Well folks , there’s more to come from this soap opera’s saga and the outcome that most sorely await.

Can someone explain to me why it is that everyone is so sold on the New York Knicks even after the team’s acquisition of Carmelo Anthony instigated by GM Donnie Walsh and team owner James Dolan ? The problem is that in spite of Anthony’s acquisition along with that of Chauncey Billups the New Yorks Knicks have been a rather pedestrian 7-8 whereas the Denver Nuggets in exchange are an impressive 9-6 after Anthony’s departure under coach George Karl as the Nuggets try to make a play for a playoff spot in the Western Conference . Something that many may well have felt beyond the Nuggets after this trade was made by GM Masai Ujiri .

I’m not thoroughly convinced that this Knicks’ team even with the addition of Anthony and Billups are still good enough even with perennial All Star Amar’e Stoudemire leading this team and that’s with the advent of Mike D’Antoni’s coaching philosophy or lack of it thereof. Please don’t try and convince me that the Knicks are legit , when they can’t even play with any semblance of consistency be it on the road or at home . People were so in awe of this trade that they seem to have forgotten that neither Anthony or D’Antoni’s teams have never been known for their defensive capabilities and that clearly has been the case once again with the New York Knicks under D’Antoni’s tutelage. Madison Square Gardens may well play host to its litany New York celebrities such as Spike Lee and Chris Rock who may well be in awe of this team’s aspirations over the course of the season but the Knicks are going to in for a big surprise should they make the postseason and are still playing at the fame level inconsistency we’ve seen from the team .

Now as many of you know I’m an avowed boxing fan but as of late I’ve become disenchanted with the sport and just about anything that’s associated with the sport be it from a world title fight or the latest news involving Floyd Mayweather , Manny Pacquaio , two of the sport’s biggest stars. I’d recently written a piece that dealt with the fortieth anniversary of the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier . To my mind that first fight and the duo which followed after-wards to make up the trilogy of fights which has made up the greatest series of boxing matches ever to have been staged at any weight category over the sport’s history ! Well this past weekend were led to believe that once again the heavyweight division was once again relevant as Vitali Klitschko would be defending his WBC title against the mandatory number one challenger Odlanier Solis in what was meant to be a bout that the fans would long to see.

The fight itself lived up to the expectations one would come to expect when you have an over hyped challenger and a title holder whose record has been based on meeting opponents either well past their prime or who essentially have been asked to step by now what I largely believe are unscrupulous promoters who don’t necessarily are what the fans think just as long as they’re making money from these staged promotions . Solis a Cuban emigre essentially gave up after one round having been knocked out Klitschko with effortless ease. Solis’ record of having been undefeated merely showed me that the heavyweight division is genuinely devoid of any real talent in spite of what the boxing journalists out there are trying to sell the public. Beyond a disinterested Manny Pacquiao who now merely is fighting for the money and a way of satisfying the ego of his promoter Bob Arum , boxing has now become mundane and about as interesting as watching paint dry or a political debate between two intellectually challenged candidates. Does anyone remember the Vice Presidential debates between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin ? Need I say anymore on the matter ?

A number of my friends know that I’m a former military member who served in the Royal Marines for a 8 1/2 year period serving in various parts of Europe and North Africa . During that time I’d seen active service having been stationed in Northern Ireland , Ethiopia , Eritrea and further afield. And I have to admit those experiences have molded me into the person I am along with my upbringing and post military experience has given me a great deal more insight than I could ever have hoped for . I’ve long maintained that without the experience of having traveled or an education then your life can be something of a void . Luckily enough having brought up by a single mother and being the eldest of the three my mother drummed it into us that education is of the utmost if we’re to strive . Having graduated from high school my initial thought wasn’t to enter college as I’d no real idea as to what I wanted in terms of a vocation. So being rather capricious I entered the military much to the dismay of my mother , and my younger brother and sister. That being said after my stint in the military I was lucky enough to be hired by a bank working within corporate finance and my employer at the time paid for my education having enrolled at UCL and then LSE where I was able to obtain an MBA and degrees in International Finance and Economics .

Now in light of ESPN’s most recent series of their 30 For 30 series of documentaries to commemorate the outlet’s thirtieth anniversary as a sports programming content provider . Their most recent edition was on Michigan’s Fab Five which was that hyped team led by Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose and Chris Webber which went to two straight Final Fours in the NCAA Tournament .

This specific episode though commissioned by the cable outlet provider was in fact produced by Rose’s own production company (Three Tier Entertainment) in conjunction with ESPN and the episode was one of the better made documentaries made shown by ESPN. In the aftermath of the episode’s showing Rose who is also an NBA analyst on TNT’s NBA show has been particularly vocal in the fact that he hates the Duke Blue Devils and the very fact that he’s felt that African Americans who’ve played for Mike Krzyzwewski have been Uncle Tom’s . Much of Rose’s anger in making that statement comes from the fact that he wasn’t recruited by by Duke when he became eligible as a college player. I can understand Rose’s statement but I do believe that the issues raised shows his ignorance and immaturity as a human being ! . Not only that given the fact that even if he’d come from a single parent home it doesn’t change the wholesale environment if what any recruit has to go through once given the chance as a student athlete at any educational establishment . The criteria that has to be met doesn’t necessarily change because of one’s socio-economic standing or ethnictiy , as Rose clearly believes that it does .

In the aftermath of this all , perhaps Duke’s greatest player Grant Hill took umbrage at the statements made by Rose and wrote a concise and illuminating op-ed piece in the Washington Post challenging Rose’s statements and preconceived ideas. If it’s not bad enough that in this day and age young African American males and female have very few role models to which they can look up to, we now have an idiot like Rose now looking to drag down African American males within his own race who just happen to role models that many of today’s youth can look up to , regardless of ethnicity and their sexual identity. What might be even more telling is that Rose hasn’t yet issued any type of formal apology or any further statement having made that original remark. It may well have been done as an effort to further publicize the Fab Five episode but if anything to my mind whatever damage done be it slight in some peoples eyes may well be something that can’t be recanted and looked at as merely a player feeling aggrieved over an issue. The fact of the matter is as great as Rose’s college career may well have been his professional career paled into insignificance where there was nothing exceptional that actually stood out !

Rose may well look back on the statement with some regret but for the moment it looks as if he’s prepared ride it for all that it’s worth while it provides the actual episode that little extra publicity it might not actually get from ESPN from any additional advertising on the cable network.

It’s extremely rare where you get a young athlete that simply takes a sport by storm and where now the expectations become so high after that individual does something that no one literally thought possible. At UFC 128 — Jon Jones the light heavyweight challenger for Mauricio Rua’s UFC title belt made such an emphatic statement that has sent a seismic shock wave across the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). In the space of three brutal and clinically decisive rounds Jones literally beat the formidable Rua and in doing so took the title holder’s belt with discriminate ease. What was scheduled to be a five round title fight where many felt that Jones would be tested by the vastly more experienced Rua simply didn’t come into being. If anything it was the young 23 year old fighter who took the fight to the champion , had him bloodied , bewildered and disheartened long before the fight came to an unlikely ending with a TKO in the third round of the five round title fight.

Now Jones will have to deal with other title aspirants within the division such as former title holders Rashad Evans , Lyoto Machida and the always dangerous and perennial title contender Ryan Bader .The speed and impressive way at which Jones (13-1) has moved up the ranks of the sport and in particular the light heavyweight division with so little allout experience in the UFC ranks speaks to how he has applied himself and the skills that he brings into the genre as a former All American collegiate wrestler. His jujitsu has improved greatly and it only adds to his all round weaponry within MMA . A prospective rematch with Rua seems unlikely given the nature of Jones’ victory over the Brazilian . And now what may well await him is a big money defense of his title against Evans the number one mandated contender for the title . Jones replaced Rashard Evans he’d suffered an injury in his preparations to fight Rua at UFC 128 , his replacement was Jones who took the fight on short notice although he’d been in training for an upcoming fight , seen as an eliminator for the light heavyweight title. Now with that belt now his own the newly anointed champion can now pick and choose his challengers while along the way gaining further notoriety , fame and wealth.

On the opposite side of the MMA genre we have the woefully inept and mediocre situation now arising within the sport of boxing . I’m sorry but I can no longer see the relevancy of the sport when the fights that the fans desire to see aren’t going to take place ! Over this past weekend Vitali Klitschko (42-2-0 ,39KO’s) defended his WBC heavyweight title against what we’re led to believe was a credible mandated number one contender by the WBC in Odlanier Solis . Well the fact that this bout took place in Cologne , Germany gives you all the credcence you need to know why the heavyweight division is no longer taken seriously . The boxing scene and in particular the the division no longer resonates with anyone within North America and the very fact that the division is now dominated by a group of lackluster and character devoid aspirants of fighters chasing greatness makes this all the comedic . There hasn’t been an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks for almost 7 years and it’s unlikely that there’ll be one anytime soon.

Solis came into this fight with a record (17-0 , 12 KO’s) that if anything that on paper seemed impressive but as they say what you see on paper doesn’t actually represent anything in terms of a legitimate resume’ . This fight was over before the initial bell rang for the opening round and for the fans in attendance at the Lanxess Arena , Cologne had to have been disappointed in seeing the challenger barely last three minutes into the first round having been knocked flat on his backside from a punch that on appearance didn’t seem to be all that devastating much less having any real power. But this is now what the sport of boxing has now become by way of many of the fights now being staged for the apparent appetites of the fight fans out there. I’m sorry but seeing an overweight bloated specimen being knocked flat on their ass much less lying prostrate on their back isn’t what I for one find anywhere near entertaining ! And that’s in spite of fans and boxing writers now talking as if Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir are now the faces of boxing as far as the heavyweight division is concerned . The two have refused to face each other in order unify the titles within the division and create an undisputed champion within the heavyweight ranks. And fight are suppose to take either seriously within the world of boxing ?

Now one can understand why the sport of boxing and in particular the division can’t be taken seriously as a legitimate concern . I can only surmise that’s why both Don King and Bob Arum as the sport’s pre-eminent promoters aren’t overly concerned with the division or promoting any of the top ranked contenders within the division who just happen to be Europeans ! In doing so they know for a fact that they’d be facing a losing endeavor in trying to gain anyone’s interest in a proposed bout on this side of the Atlantic which is and has always been the epicenter of the fight game.

I personally have lost all faith in the legitimacy in the sport of boxing as it has become devoid of talent , character and most certainly promoters who actually wish to give the fight fans what they want and that’s competitive and entertaining fights . That’s not really too much to ask at this juncture is it ?

Well it goes without saying the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is in full swing and there have already been one or two upsets that most hadn’t envisaged. Suffice to say if your brackets have already imploded because of an errant pick on your part take heart in the fact that you’re probably amongst millions who’ve seen their situation ripped asunder because of that pick . I for one am looking forward to the rest of the tournament as we’re now down to the ” Sweet 16 ” as from hereon in it’s now going to be about the contenders being separated from the pretenders .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the weekend’s sporting events what if anything has been your own most enjoyable moment ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the issues raised within this piece and any sporting topic you wish .

Alan aka tophatal …………….

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/

Picture and slide show details below
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(1) FILE – In this file photo taken Feb. 1, 2010, then Houston Texans guard Chester Pitts makes a point to members of the House Judiciary Committee during a forum in Houston. Football labor negotiations with the NFL involving a federal mediator broke off March 11, 2011, without an agreement. NFL players have been warned for years about the need to save and the importance of budgeting their money in case of a work stoppage. Well, the lockout is here. All the players have taken a bit of a financial hit already because of the lockout: NFL teams no longer are paying for their health insurance. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, ……..

(2) NEW ORLEANS, LA – MARCH 21: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones attends the NFL Annual Meetings at the Roosevelt Hotel on March 21, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite a NFL owners imposed lockout in effect since March 12 the league is conducting its annual owners meeting in New Orleans. Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images …….

(3) Three of the in famous Fab 5 of Michigan’s basketball team of the early nineties that had the five freshmen reach two consecutive NCAA Final Fours . From left to right Juwan Howard , Jalen Rose (center) and Chris Webber . AP /Reuters/ Chris Hill ……………

(4) New York Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni argues a call with referee Ken Mauer (41) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Bucks won 100-95 . AP Photo/Morry Gash ……….

(5) Milwaukee Bucks’ Andrew Bogut , right, has some words with New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 20, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Bucks won 100-95. AP Photo/Morry Gash ………..

(6) Pictured a badly beaten Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is somewhat dismayed after his loss to Jon “Bones” Jones. In losing to Jones at UFC 128 Rua lost his light heavyweight title in his very first defense to his younger opponent. MMA Fight Weeky .

(7) Jones (right) took the fight to Rua from the opening round here he’s seen unleashing a kick to the champion during their UFC light heavyweight title fight at UFC 128. Both fighters have been suspended by the UFC pending the outcome of their post-fight medical medical results . MMA Weekly.com Ken Pishna …

(8) Jones delivers a frontal kick to Rua’s midrift that he was able to avoid but only partially. Jones would use his athleticism and quickness to defeat the Brazlian jujitsu expert with considerable ease. MMA Weekly.com Ken Pishna ………..

(9) Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko celebrates with the winner’s belt after defeating Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis after their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images ………

(10) World boxing champion Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine, right, watches challenger Odlanier Solis of Cuba go ing down during the first round of the WBC heavyweight title bout at the arena in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, March 19, 2011. Solis lost in in the first round with an injured knee. Klitschko’s win was declared k.o. by the referee. AP Photo/Martin Meissner ………..

(11) Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis gets help as he leaves the ring after he lost the fight with Ukrainian heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko in their WBC heavyweight world championship boxing match in the western German city of Cologne on March 19, 2011. World heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko won the fight and defended his WBC heavyweight title with a shock first-round knock-out of Cuban challenger Odlanier Solis. AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ

(12) Ben Hansbrough (23) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish reacts on the bench in the second half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Florida State won 71-57 in regulation. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..

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NCAA Men’s basketball results

Sweet 16 draw

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Continue reading “You Had Me At Hello ………. !”

My How Times Fly And Things Change ……………….

My How Times Fly And Things Change ……………….

Was he pushed or did really go of his own free will ? That’s the question that will now be asked as it relates to the upheaval in the front office of the Texas Rangers as managing partner a Chuck Greenberg chose to resign from the organization . One thing is certain Greenberg who along with Nolan Ryan did more instigate the successful purchase of the team beating out billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban and Houston businessman Jim Crane with their successful $593 million winning bid for the bankrupt organization. Having done so, the duo would with their partners seek a cash infusion into the Rangers which includes a two decade $3 billion tv deal that sets up the organization and its immediate future.

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Slide show for your perusal .

For the Rangers this past season m was something of an unexpected one filled with highs and lows but nothing more surprising than their AL pennant defeat of the New York Yankees (4-2) only then to succumb to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series with some ease 4-1 . The team then in the offseason would lose Cliff Lee through free agency as he would return to the Philadelphia Phillies .

Courtesy of AP Sports & Yahoo

Rangers CEO Greenberg leaving organization

By Stephen Hawkins , AP Sports Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—It didn’t take long for Chuck Greenberg to become a very visible figure for the Texas Rangers, buying the team in a dramatic bankruptcy court showdown and then taking on the role of CEO and managing partner before the team’s first-ever World Series.

On Friday, seven months after his investment group bought the team, the AL champion Rangers abruptly announced that Greenberg was leaving the organization. The move came three weeks before the season opener.

Growing differences between the charismatic CEO, team president Nolan Ryan and board co-chairmen Ray Davis and Bob Simpson had been an ongoing issue out of the public eye.

“In reality, management styles and chemistries sometimes don’t fit together. That was the situation with Chuck and the board and Nolan,” Davis said. “Chuck made a huge contribution and we wish him all the best success in the world in whatever he endeavors to do.”

The ownership group has already bought out Greenberg’s small financial stake in the team. Simpson said Greenberg turned down the opportunity for another position in the group, one “not in the full role that he was enjoying.”

Ryan will add the title of CEO and oversee baseball and business operations, reporting directly to the team’s board of directors. The Hall of Fame pitcher, who finished his 27-season playing career with the Rangers, became their team president in February 2008.

Davis and Simpson, the largest investors in the ownership group, wouldn’t get into specifics about the differences with Greenberg in what was their first formal news conference since taking over the team last year. Neither would Ryan.

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Click on link shown to read this article in its entirety.

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Though the loss of Chuck Greenberg isn’t seen as catastrophic it has to be said that will have taken the baseball world by surprise. GM Jon Daniels has said the loss of Greenberg though felt within the club things will very much go on as before in a positive direction and the success they’re all looking to achieve isn’t a target that is beyond their reach. However, there has to be continuing speculation as to why Chuck Greenberg would make such an abrupt departure from the ball-club. There may well have been some form of internal struggle within the front office as to a power struggle and the shaping of an identity to this team. Nolan and Chuck Greenberg were essentially seen as the faces of the franchise from an image and business standpoint with Ryan’s solid know how , his vast experience within the game and Greenberg’s business acumen and as former attorney with noted law firm Pepper Hamilton LLC and then as a noted sports agent. The two brought a wealth of experience to the team and were it not for them I do believe that the Rangers would now be in the hands of rival bidders at the time Mark Cuban and Jim Crane. And though some have questioned the bidding process overseen by a bankruptcy court judge there was a feeling also that the MLB hierarchy was heavily behind the bid of Ryan and his syndicate partners . As to what this says about the impartiality of the game’s hierarchy in such a process , well as such , it does smack self indulgence if anything ! I can only surmise that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was extremely happy with the outcome .

The task for the Rangers this season is to rebound from the loss in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants . Players such as Josh Hamilton , C J Wilson , Adrian Beltre and Michael Young along with the rest of this roster that they are capable of mounting a serious challenge within AL West in taking on the likes of Seattle Mariners , Oakland Athletics and the Anaheim Angels . The division itself I’ve never really thought of as being extremely competitive given the fact that the teams other than the Angels have tendered to waver as to their consistency . I do however believe that Ron Washington and his coaching staff will be able to get the best out of his team and be just as competitive as last year. If they’re able to do that then there’s the possibility that the Rangers can also be viewed as a serious challenger within the AL and a contender for the World Series itself .

As to Nolan Ryan with the departure of his once former associate it now gives him greater hands on powers with the regard to executive decisions to be made within the organization. And I’ve no doubt that he’ll work closely together with Jon Daniels as it relates to personnel and coaching matters. His relationship with Ron Washington is said to be a close and fruitful one and one should bear in mind that in the midst of last season when Washington’s future was said to be in doubt after the revelations of his cocaine addiction it was Ryan who steadfastly stood by his beleaguered manager. And the rest as they is history as with regard to rest of that memorable season for the Texas Rangers.

This season within the game promises to be a very entertaining one and I do believe that it might well be one of the best in recent years. I don’t believe that there’s a distinct clear cut favorite albeit that the Phillies with that intimidating starting rotation led by Cliff Lee , Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt will prove hard to beat . But as we saw with last year’s postseason you don’t need the mighty swing of an axe to chop down a a really large oak tree as you merely have to chip away at it before it suddenly falls . The proof was simply there for all to witness as the San Francisco Giants knocked down the Phillies’ tree in NL pennant title game . Could it happen again ? I don’t see any reason why not given the right set of circumstances but I’d dare say that Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel isn’t about to let his ; team forget that experience and they’ll no doubt be prepared than they were last year should the same scenario rise once again.

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

What thoughts if any do you have on the abrupt departure of Chuck Greenberg from the Texas Rangers ? Do you believe that he went of his own volition or that he may well have been forced out by forces beyond his control ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this and any other matter as it relates to the upcoming season within baseball .

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Yorvit Torrealba(8) of the Texas Rangers high fives manager Ron Washington after scoring against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of the spring training game at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …………..

(2) Josh Hamilton (32) of the Texas Rangers sits in the dugout during the spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(3) Joey Votto (19) of the Cincinnati Reds hits a double during the third inning of the spring training game against the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium on March 11, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ………

(4) Texas Rangers part-owner and new CEO Nolan Ryan arrives for a news conference in Arlington, Texas, Friday, March 11, 2011. Ryan has replaced Chuck Greenberg as team CEO. AP Photo/LM Otero ……….

(5) Managing Partner & CEO Chuck Greenberg of the Texas Rangers looks speaks with the media during batting practice against the New York Yankees in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. According to reports on March 11, 2011, Greenberg will be leaving the Rangers organization as their CEO and managing general partner, with Nolan Ryan expected to become the new CEO. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images …..

(6) Chuck Greenberg (left) is seen here with GM Jon Daniels (center) and Nolan Ryan celebrating after the Texas Rangers defeat of the New York Yankees to win the ALCS pennant in 2010 . The team would go on to lose the World Series to the San Francisco Giants . Sue Walters /AP/ Reuters ……..


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Alan aka tophatal

MLB News

Texas Rangers profile

Texas Rangers history

Texas Rangers news

Texas Rangers’ front office

Rangers’ coaching staff

Texas Rangers active roster

Rangers’ 40 man roster & …….. depth chart

Team injury updates

Team transactions

Minor League Affiliates

Rangers’ schedule Spring Training ———— Regular Season 2011

Spring Training Standings AL ——- Cactus League

Team Statistics

Teams Statistics 2010

Rangers Ballpark Arlington , Texas

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Jeny Romero

Selena Silk

Selena Silk

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2 Pac …… feat’g …….. Jodeci ………”How Do You Want It ”

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Savor The Moment ……….. Baseball Is Here

Savor The Moment Baseball Is Here

It could take time but there’s the distinct feeling that this baseball season could be one to savor given the uncertainty that now surrounds both the NFL and NBA . MLB Commissioner Bud Selig knows that with the advent of the NFL quite possibly shutting down for the upcoming season and the uncertainty of the NBA but no firm commitment shown by either the league hierarchy and that of the NBPA led by Executive Director Billy Hunter , its President Derek Fisher , its executive committee and player representatives . The NBA has indeed been working continuously with the union to avert any possibility of their own labor dispute .

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Slide show for your perusal .

The NBA itself no doubt wants remain relevant and if anything given the grave financial problems concerning a number of teams around the league the last thing they now need is a stoppage at this juncture.

Inasmuch I hate to say this, I do feel that the big market teams will once again prevail as the season progresses . The success achieved by the likes of the New York Yankees , Boston Red Sox , St Louis Cardinals , Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies has in part more to do with not only the talent assembled on the field of play but more to do with the financial resources at these teams’ disposal . Granted we’ve seen the Washington Nationals delve into the free agency market to acquire Jayson Werth but in reality the seven year $119 million contract signed by the player I believe had more to do with making a splash by the organization than that of them actually being able to contend within the NL East .

The Nationals haven’t been a force to be reckoned with in eons and I seriously doubt that this season things are liable to change albeit that they’ll have both Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg there to lure the fans back to Nationals Ballpark . If the Washington Nationals are to prevail then they will have to contend with the likes of the Atlanta Braves , defending divisional champions the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the New York Mets and Florida Marlins . I’m not so sure that the Nationals are capable of making the jump from an also ran to a contender !

With no team to support and the mere fact that I no longer have any faith in the ownership group of the Florida Marlins I find myself merely now observing the game as a fan of the sport showing no real passion for any team in particular ! The local team within this locale are the Tampa Bay Rays and as the defending AL East champions I think that this will be a season of highs and lows for the team . We’re all no doubt aware of the of the upheaval within the organization as it relates to the departures of Carl Crawford , Rafael Soriano , Carlos Pena and , Matt Garza to name but a few as part of the cost cutting exercise by the front office led by GM Andrew Friedman . Principal managing partner Stuart Sternberg apart from being in the midst of a financial expediency plan merely for the franchise to survive , now has to deal with the city of St Petersburg and the city’s intent to hold the Rays to their lease agreement at Tropicana Field .

The organization is looking for a new venue but they and the municipality can’t agree on how best to come to an amicable arrangement that would be mutually beneficial for all of the parties concerned.

A new facility would be no guarantee for a team that struggles to have an element of tangible following . Anyone who’s of the belief that a fanbase of 15,000 hardcore fans will legitimately guarantee competitive and financial success really needs to take a look at what’s happening within the game of baseball . Having won two divisional titles within the AL East , an appearance in the World Series the recent success of the Rays has been heartwarming for the loyal fans of the organization.

I do believe that they can compete but I believe their season will be predicated upon the coaching talents of the coaches and in particular manager Joe Maddon . As astute a manager as he is , his work this season will be his toughest yet as he now has to coach a young team albeit that he the additions of seasoned veterans Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on this roster I simply believe that they will struggle in large part to contend with the likes of Boston Red Sox , New York Yankees , Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays within their division.

While I’m under no illusion that the game itself is all about the consistency of the players and how they’ll fare over the course of the regular season . Whereas last season the team’s strengths were in its pitching and in particular their defense . And if they’re to replicate that success then they’ll have to replicate that success and play to their inherent strengths. If anything it will be these situations that will test the fortitude of the Rays and in particular that of Joe Maddon because this most definitely will be the sternest test that he’s faced over the course of professional managing career. Having won an AL pennant and an appearance in the World Series with the subsequent loss the Philadelphia Phillies , success this season for the Rays will be measured by posting a winning record during the season. Anything less than that I believe would be considered to be a failure !

As to the season itself what can we expect of the San Francisco Giants as they look to make a successful defense of their title ? Will they be able to regain that form can it through the regular season and into the postseason ? Or will we merely see a team that struggles in that endeavor to repeat ?

Of the teams that I believe will be amongst the contenders this season I look to the Philadelphia Phillies and that pitching rotation which on the face of it just might be the best there is the game of baseball . Clearly GM Rueben Amaro and Charlie Manuel felt that this was the best way possible for the team to make another successful run with a view to repeating their success of 2009 . The New York Yankees for their part with their payroll and talent that on appearance ought to be good enough to make the postseason may well have their problems because there’s serious question as it regards their pitching , as it remains their Achilles’ heel . If they can’t turn things around on that score then I can’t see this simply relying on their offense alone to see them through.

Amongst the other AL teams that I view as contenders unless the Texas Rangers are able to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke then it could well be one and done . There may well be others contenders within the AL but much of that will be predicated upon their wish to play with real determination. The Minnesota Twins have simply proven that once they get to the postseason they become like a deer caught in headlights and I don’t believe that I could put it anymore succinctly than that !

Now while Spring Training is now upon us and many fans will be pursuing to see their teams as they are at play in the Citrus and Grapefruit League. The preseason itself may well not be much of an indicator as to what we’re expect during the regular season but it should give us something of a way to gauge the teams and their quest to make the postseason . If nothing else it’ll be interesting to see how the players that’ve been acquired by new teams will fare and acclimatize in a new environment . How they fare may well also go a great way in telling us how their respective teams will ultimately do . This season within the game of baseball will certainly be one to savor and the expectations there will undoubtedly be high.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the MLB season and how do you view problems that many of the teams face ? Also in light of the fact that there appears to be lingering rumors that there could very well be team contraction within the game do you believe that it will be ultimately beneficial to the game as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the topic raised and other thoughts that you might have on the upcoming MLB season.

Alan aka tophatal ………………..

Picture gallery and slide show details
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(1) Washington Nationals second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr., right, greets Washington Nationals Jeff Frazier (72) after Frazier hit a third inning solo home run off New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia in the Nationals 10-8 victory over the Yankees in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 5, 2011. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..

(2) Washington Nationals Bryce Harper is shown at the plate in the seventh inning of the Nationals 10-8 victory over the New York Yankees in their spring training baseball game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Saturday, March 5, 2011. Harper was one for two in the game. He had an eighth inning single. AP Photo/Kathy Willens ……

(3) Clearwater , Fl : of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……..

(4) Jimmy of the Philadelphia Phillies of the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……

<p (5) Pitcher Wade Davis (40) of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at Bright House Field on March 6, 2011 in Sarasota, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ………..

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MLB News


Tampa Bays history

Tampa Bay Rays’ front office

Tampa Bay Rays’ coaching staff

Tampa Bay Rays roster …… active roster & depth chart

Rays’ team statistics

Tampa Bay Rays’ schedule

Transaction moves made by the Tamp Bay Rays —– transactions


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Eye candy …………………… Polish model Ewa Sonnet

An eyeful of Ewa is better than a handful of nuts don’t you think ?

Ewa

Titillating Ewa and her play things .

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Method Man feat’g ……. Mary J Blige ………….. “I’ll Be There For You /You’re All I Need ”
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Records Are Made To Be Broken And Then There Are Some You Simply Want To Ignore

Records Are Made To Be Broken And Then There Are Some You Simply Want To Ignore

Well it goes without saying that the NBA — season while being an exhilarating one it has to be said it also one with some rather dubious distinctions. Not taking anything away from the Cleveland Cavaliers and their rather abhorrent record one can only imagine that team owner Dan Gilbert has to be completely embarrassed by his team’s display over the course of the season .

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Slide show details for your perusal.

At this juncture the less said about the Cavaliers and their season the better ! Which brings me to the Minnesota Timberwolves and their play this season and the very fact that perhaps the only reason to watch this Kurt Rambis coached team play is the current form of Kevin Love their All Star . Love while playing for the Timberwolves in the team’s game against the Washington Wizards notched what would turn out to be his 50th consecutive double-double of the season in the team’s loss to Wizards . In doing so he equaled the record of NBA Hall of Famer Moses Malone though he’s still short of the record in terms that particular tally for a regular season, which stands at 55.

Now while not wanting to take anything away from Love and his accomplishments having equaled Malone’s record his team’s defeat added nothing to the achievement. Had the Timberwolves won the game then perhaps one might have felt the achievement more noteworthy. But that in ofitself should not be the a reason to deny the fact that the player has had an outstanding season with an all round improvement in his play on both ends of the court . While all else around him simply has been mediocre Love has simply excelled with his prolific rebounding and a knack for scoring when the rest of the team has simply been lackadaisical .

Unfortunately for Kevin Love he’s playing on a team that simply hasn’t the knack for winning with any consistency. And for Kurt Rambis and his coaching staff their problem becomes even more magnified given the fact that they play in the highly competitive Western Conference . If anything the only reason to attend the Target Center in Minneapolis may well be to see Love play at this juncture because in reality it won’t be witness the Timberwolves starting to win , much less show any semblance of consistency , such has been the play of the team throughout the season.

And though the Timberwolves’ history has been steeped in tradition those days now seem to be long gone. The departure of Kevin Garnett , Sam Cassell and Latrell Sprewell has seen the Timberwolves fall on distinctly hard times. And from a personal standpoint I seriously doubt that things are about to change for the organization anytime soon ! The mindset to win simply hasn’t been there and I doubt that team owner Glen Taylor really has the mindset or the capacity to win ! He’s certainly shown that as an owner he simply doesn’t know what it takes to make this organization a success . He may well create the perception that he wants to win but during his tenure as the owner he’s done very little to suggest that he actually wants to win . And it seems to be inherent not just with this team but also across the landscape of professional sports wherein you tend to have team owners who’d simply rather just use their teams as a perpetual tax write off . Something that’s availed to them courtesy of the IRS and that of their antitrust exemption dutifully given to them by the House Ways & Means Committee and the Senate

The only direction is up for the Minnesota Timberwolves and their climb is about as steep as trying to make the ascent of Mt Everest . It’s not as if through the prudent assessment of talent , acquiring it and then having the coaching staff available to foster the traits of success is hard to come by . But I believe that in this case the front office of the Timberwolves have been complacent and the very fact that Rambis seems to be way in over his head. His tenure with the team has come under close scrutiny and while I don’t expect him to be fired by Glen Taylor there’s still a remote chance that could very well happen should the team’s season continue to spiral further out of control over the remainder of the season. Rambis was obviously the apparent ‘heir in waiting’ in Los Angeles while he had a brief stint as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers but there too his abilities came into question . It’s not that Rambis cannot coach but he needs to be in the right environment to prove his worth and one can categorically state the Timberwolves just isn’t that environment .

Were the Cleveland Cavaliers schedule simply set around playing the New York Knicks then perhaps their record wouldn’t be so damn awful ! Twice in succession the Cavaliers have been able to defeat the Knicks all within the space of time that the front office has assembled this revamped team that saw them acquire both Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Raymond Felton , Danilo Gallinari and a slew of other players that GM Donnie Walsh that obsolete to the team’s needs.

While I’m under no illusions that the Knicks aren’t capable of being able to contend but if they’re to be taken seriously then the New York Knicks have to beat the teams that need to be beaten . It’d help if the Knicks weren’t so complacent and at the same time any team that’s coached by Mike D’Antoni actually showed signs that they can play defense rather than giving the mere perception that they can actually and do that . Simply put if they can’t do that then their aspirations as it relates to the postseason will be a distinctly short one .

Amar’e Stoudemire finally has a duo of teammates that can ably assist him and the Knicks in the ambitions to bring a title back to Madison Square Garden and to the long starved New York natives who have supported the Knicks loyally over the years .

This second defeat at the hands of the Cavaliers though something of a surprise shows how complacent the Knicks are and the mere fact that they succumbed to the Cleveland Cavaliers in such a fashion leads me to believe that the New York Knicks at this juncture are at this juncture a work in progress but also to an extent greatly overrated . Fans may well feel that they are relevant again but they ought not to be too quick to jump to conclusions. This team may well be great at some time in the future but the premise behind these moves made by Walsh at the behest of team owner James Dolan was in part to see win an NBA title and at the same time not play second fiddle to the likes of the Boston Celtics and in particular the Miami Heat and their triumvirate of stars LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . That may well be the standard that the Knicks choose to measure themselves by because of the template set but if they truly wish to do that then they ought to be gauging themselves against a team in the true concept and definition of that word team and that would be against the Boston Celtics or Chicago Bulls . Those two teams actually play as a cohesive unit rather than a set of individuals placed together rather like an experiment in a Petri dish being conducted for research.

As to the aspirations of the Cleveland Cavaliers I’d like to think that a team with the worse record in the NBA can somehow be of relevance but given their present predicament and the mere fact their schedule simply doesn’t allow them to play the Knicks 82 times throughout the regular season I think it’s safe to say that they and their fans are entirely happy with their lot at present ! Two wins over the Knicks …. and consecutive wins I might add has got to be far better than the losses that they have garnered over the course of the season so far.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have as to the achievement of Kevin Love and that of the Cavaliers in defeating the New York Knicks twice in succession ? Merely leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter and anything you deem fit as it relates to the NBA .

Picture and slide show details
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(1) Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders looks on from the sideline during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Verizon Center on March 5, 2011 in Washington. Rob Carr /Getty Images ………..

(2) Kevin Love (42) of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after missing a shot against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center on March 5, 2011 in Washington,. The Timberwolves would end up losing the game to the Wizards 103-96 . Getty Images/ Rob Carr ……….

(3) Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Kurt Rambis looks on from the bench during a game against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center on March 5, 2011 in Washington. At 15-49 for last place within the Western Conference the struggling Timberwolves are finding it hard to maintain any semblance of consistency on the road or at home this season . Rob Carr / Getty Images ……….

(4) Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love (42) takes a shot against Washington Wizards’ Cartier Martin , center, and Trevor Booker , right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 5, 2011, in Washington. The Wizards won 103-96. (AP Photo/Nick Wass ………..

(5) Glen Taylor (left) is seen here alongside newly hired coach Kurt Rambis (center) the team’s GM David Kahn (right) at a formal press announcement to confirming the former Lakers’ assistants hiring. AP Photo / Neal Porter …………….

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😛

Alan aka tophatal ………………….

———–
🙂

NBA News


Minnesota Timberwolves news

Minnesota Timberwolves front office

Minnsota Timberwolves roster & schedule and fifth place within the Northwest Division behind the division leading Oklahoma City Thunder (39-22)

T’wolves’ team stats

Team record 15-49 within the Western Conference

Head coach Kurt Rambis

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Eye candy …………………………………. Actress Jennifer Esposito

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Tupca Shakur …………. “Hail Mary”

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There’s No I In Team ………….. In Miami They’ve No Team But They’ve Got A Great Many Flaws !

There’s No I In Team ………….. In Miami They’ve No Team But They’ve Got A
Great Many Flaws !

Explain this to me the Miami Heat were meantt to be the team to beat and the conventional wisdom of thinking was that they would be the presumptive favorites within the Eastern Conference to win the NBA title . Pardon me for saying this but when you’re 1-7 against the five of the top teams within the league it shows that you’re simply overrated !

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Slide show gallery for your perusal .

Coming off giving up a 24 point lead in a loss to the Orlando Magic at the Amway Arena the Heat would fall flat in their blowout loss to the San Antonio Spurs . And as a statistic consider this the Spurs were able to hit seventeen 3 pointers in the game as the Heat and their big three were simply no match for the conference and division leading Spurs in their runaway win .

The “team” that Pat Riley built is more style over substance and it continues to show despite the rationale of Dwyane Wade , LeBron James and Chris Bosh talking about growing as a team shows that this Heat roster still has a long way to go. And it simply hasn’t helped that the bench play of this team has been awful throughout the season and defensively their inconsistency continues to be a cause of great concern.

Though the Miami Heat has the third best record within the Eastern Conference the thought is that now Eric Spoelstra and his coaching staff will now have to truly prove their worth over the remainder of the season. It’s all well and good when a team is winning but in reality when the expectations of the fans and the front office are so high that failure is not an option and by failure I mean winning this season’s NBA title. The Heat players may well tell you that this season is simply about playing with consistency but their most recent trials and tribulations have been anything but that .

From a coaching standpoint I certainly don’t believe that Spoelstra’s position is in danger as of yet but if things continue to get worse then I do believe that Pat Riley may well have to rethink that issue and be quite possibly willing to step down from his executive suite of the Heat’s front office and step back into the fray as an NBA coach. The mindset of this team is the belief that three players all with their own abilities makes a unit considerably better but then you don’t complement them with a core group of players that can play at both ends of the court then any aspirations that you might have won’t at all come to fruition. Players such as Zydrunas Ilgauskas , Eric Dampier are past their sell by date and please tell me that Carlos Arroyo has something to offer the Heat rather than simply just portraying a mannequin !

If there’s anything that the Heat can take away from this loss is the mere fact that they still lead Atlantic Division even in light of the Orlando Magic’s loss to the Chicago Bulls . Next up for Miami is a game against the Bulls at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois. And their situation won’t be made any easier with the fact that the next six of their eight games are against teams with records above .500 within the NBA .

For Gregg Popovich he had to have been pleased with what he saw from his team and in particular the play of Matt Bonner , Gary Neal and Tigao Splitter but simply put this was a collective effort in the team’s seemingly effortless 30 point victory (125-95) which was the Heat’s largest loss inflicted on the team this season .

The Spurs’ trio of Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker may well believe that this team is quite capable of winning their first title since 2007 . And most certainly bodes well for the rest of the regular season for the San Antonio Spurs as they look to put their own seal of approval on the year .

This NBA postseason promises to be one filled with a great deal of intrigue and it remains to see what will transpire from it all . As to the immediate fate of the Heat and how they might fare over the remainder of the season it all comes down to the fact this team has no heart when they steer real adversity in the face and that was plain for all to see in this rather humiliating loss . At no point did anyone step up to the plate and show any semblance of leadership in any regard . Certainly not from Wade , James or Bosh much less anyone else on the team and the postgame interviews of the triumvirate merely reiterated that fact with usual rhetorical response as to their disappointment. This Miami Heat has simply shown more style over substance and far too many people have bought into that hype rather than looking at the heart and soul of this team and that has been what has been missing all along. It’s all been style over substance and you simply no that style points get you nowhere when it comes to the postseason. And as to the asinine summaries from TNT analysts such as Chris Mullin and Mark Jackson as they really need to look at how the Heat play rather than simply being in awe of LeBron James !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the play of the Miami Heat and their season so far ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on this topic and anything else as it relates to the NBA ?

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Tony Parker (9) of the San Antonio Spurs takes a shot against the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images ……….

(2) Dejuan Blair of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas while the Heat’s Chris Bosh is unable to defend the play. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images …..

(3) Guard Dwyane Wade(3) of the Miami Heat takes a shot against Tim Duncan(21) of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on March 4, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images ……………

(4) Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra speaks with referee Michael Smith during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2011. The Spurs won 125-95. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …….

(5) San Antonio Spurs center Matt Bonner shoots a 3-pointer as players on the Miami Heat bench watch during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Friday, March 4, 2011. Bonner was 6-for-7 on 3-point attempts as the Spurs beat the Heat 125-95 . AP Photo/ Bahram Mark Sobhani ………

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Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com/


NBA News

NBA scores &

schedule

Saturday’s schedule

Sunday’s schedule

Conference Standings ……………………… Divisional Standings

Standings by streak & by games ahead

NBA scoring leaders

Statistics by Defense and Offense


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Eye candy ……………. Ajay Milan

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E-40 …………. ” Come Hard Or Go Home ”

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Twice In A Lifetime ………………..

Coming off a high having beaten the Miami Heat at the AT& T Center in San Antnio ,Texas the conference leading San Antonio Spurs now had to gauge themselves against the reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers hosting them
at their home venue.

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That display against the Heat so clinical , decisive in its execution that the 30 point margin of victory shocked many who witnessed the game in its entirety. They say you can tell a great deal about a team by the way they can handle adversity and after this debacle it was extremely clear that the Miami Heat players , coaching staff and front office weren’t at all happy with the outcome. Hoisted on their own petard (backside) the team was completely embarrassed by their Western Conference rivals . What might be even more improbable was seeing Matt Bonner shoot the lights out having hit 8 of the team’s seventeen three pointers on the way to the Spurs’ 125-95 defeat of the Miami Heat.

I’m not about to use this one game as a precursor to an envisioned NBA Final as there’s still a great deal left to be played for either team as we now hit not quite the closing stretch of the NBA season . But it does give us some insight as to where both teams are respectively as it relates to their respective seasons. On the one hand you have the Miami Heat who with the litany of All Stars and the adoring fans of South Beach and within the locale it has to be said that for Chris Bosh , LeBron James and Dwyane Wade the expectations are extremely high. All their protracted discussions that their reason for getting together is to win an NBA title , multiple titles in fact . Failure to win this season and there’s going to be a great many questions asked of the triumvirate as well both Pat Riley , team owner Micky Arison and the team’s coach Eric Spoelstra . It may well have been the fact that the Heat were being viewed as clear cut favorites to win this season’s NBA title but let’s simply anoint this team before they’ve actually done anything as of yet.

The same proclamation was made with regard to the Los Angeleles in 2004 when that team had future Hall of Famers Gary Payton , Karl Malone , Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Byrant . And as well know that this team was completely embarrassed by the Detroit Pistons in one of the most lopsided series in NBA history with the Pistons subduing and shellacking the Lakers 4-1 in the 2004 NBA Finals . That one series spoke highly as to what can be expected when a unit becomes complacent and simply believes that they can essentially sleep walk their way through a season as well as the postseason.

The Spurs after their exhilarating victory as I alluded to earlier had to deal with the Lakers and if anything these games tend to be highly competitive and a true test for both teams. A match of wits also between two highly respected coaches Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich who between them have won fifteen NBA titles over their illustrious coaching careers. Popovich seeks his fifth title as the Spurs’ coach , and all have been won during a fifteen year span with Gregg Popovich at the helm.

The game itself in front of a soldout crowd once again at the AT& T Center and a nationally televised audience it slipped out the Spurs’ hand right away as it appeared that Phil Jackson’s team simply wanted to be no part of another embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Spurs whereby it was a collective effort by team and where Matt Bonner stood out as “the hero” from Friday night’s victory with his long range sharp shooting. Kobe Bryant essentially made sure that any thought of a repeat victory in a similar vein. The perennial All Star and former league MVP who simply is perhaps the most single minded individual in terms of psyche and his willingness to sacrifice himself in order to win. That’s something that hasn’t been seen within the league since Michael Jordan was at the height of his fame with the Chicago Bulls and leading them to six world championships as well as having won multiple league and Finals MVP awards . Bryant is now seeking to emulate his idol by winning his sixth NBA title and further enhance his legacy as one of the all-time greats of the game.

By contrast the Spurs have their future Hall of Famer in Tim Duncan and although his stats are down somewhat this year he’s viewed as the heart and soul of this team . Along with Duncan you have also the able duo of Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker who’ve been able to allow Duncan to be more of a make shift player as Popovich has sought more productivity from the younger players on the roster as well as veterans such as Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess . Each have played their role this season in the Spurs’ exceptional display this year contributing in all aspects of the game . And Sunday afternoon wasn’t to be the Spurs’ day as the Lakers held San Antonio in check on their way to a 99-86 victory narrowing the Spurs’ lead within the Western Conference .

There’s a great deal that one could as such take away from this game in terms of the way it was played and the resultant victory but I’d preface this by saying it’s merely the regular season and what really will count is the inevitability of each team’s performance as the postseason commences . Then we’ll be able to ascertain for ourselves which of the two teams has the greater chance of ultimately making their way to the NBA Finals . The two could very well meet in the latter stages of the playoffs and that event could make for an exceptional and highly competitive series . So make of it what you will.

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What thoughts if any do you have as to the aspirations of both teams and which of them to your mind at this juncture do you view as the favorite to win the conference title and quite possibly the NBA championship itself predicated upon their play ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on the matter anything else you feel of relevance to the NBA .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich argues a call as the Spurs play the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani

(2) Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant gestures to teammates after making a basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. The Lakers defeated the Spurs 99-83 . AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …….

(3) San Antonio Spurs guard George Hill (3) drives past Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani ………….

(4) San Antonio Spurs players Manu Ginobili (20), of Argentina, and Tony Parker (9), of France, walk up court after a turnover against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani ……

San Antonio Spurs forward Tiago Splitter , left, of Brazil, is defended by the Los Angeles Lakers’ Matt Barnes (9) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. The Lakers defeated the Spurs, 99-83. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …………

(6)San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, center, of Argentina, passes the ball after driving between the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol , of Spain, and Andrew Bynum during the first half of an NBA basketball game at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Sunday, March 6, 2011. AP Photo/Bahram Mark Sobhani …………..

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Alan aka tophatal ………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com


NBA News

Los Angeles Lakers’ news

Lakers’ team stats

Lakers’ team splits

Lakers’ roster

Lakers’ schedule

San Antonio Spurs’ news

Spurs’ team stats

Spurs’ team splits

Spurs’ roster

Spurs’ schedule

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Eye candy ………………… Not everything out of Jamaica tends to be violent ….. aka Jamaican Coolie . Show her some love .

Oh my !
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Nelly Furtado ………………….. “Say It Right”
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News , Views And What’s In Vogue Or Might Not Be !

News , Views And What’s In Vogue Or Might Not Be !

Well now that the idiocy continues still within the NFL I’m still trying to figure out how it is that two sides who still remain so far apart still manage to act as if they’re completely out of touch with reality. FMCS mediator George Cohen is caught in the middle of this all taking all of the pertinent information submitted and then trying to make sense of it all before rendering a binding decision that more likely than not will be a disappointment to one side . The NFL represented by Commissioner Roger Goodell with the team owners in tow are looking to seek major rollbacks from the NFLPA . I don’t know about you but I’m already sick and tired of the two sides seeking to ruin what little legitimacy that they might still have with the fans. I’ve read one patron state that he’d like to see a major stoppage within the game but I doubt that he fully realizes the repercussions of his statements . A labor stoppage would cost the league tens of millions of dollars but in the cities where the league has a presence the economic impact amongst the the businesses there would be significant . That being said it remains to be seen what else the two sides can continue to agree to disagree on . Having decided to extend their deliberations by another 24 hours they’ve now contend it would be better to extend the agreement for another week and deliberate further.

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I contend that by the time this is all over we could see peace within the NFL or an all out war between the two sides. Away from the game and with the NFL Combine having taken place many NFL analysts and the press in attendance at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indianapolis , Indiana will have assessed the talent on display and made their decisions as to who’s up and who’s down. The upcoming NFL Draft may well belie what was on display at the combine or could very well prove to be fruitful for the coaches , general managers and agents who were in attendance . I certainly know that the likes of Drew Rosenhaus and Leigh Steinberg , Tom Condon and Eugene Parker won’t be completely disappointed if their clients suddenly being talked about as a can’t miss in the NFL Draft.

An army buddy of mine, Paul , who’d just returned from his deployment in Iraq was so about what’s been happening within the world of sports rather than simply wanting let off steam from his time serving his country. I’ve got to admit I wasn’t aghast by that given my own experiences after I’d completed my own stint within the military . There are some things you want to remember and then there are some you just simply want to forget ! Paul simply wanted to know what’d been happening even though he had his laptop there with him while on deployment . Granted , his family was happy to see his return and the fact that he was back safely on home turf made his return all the more pleasing to them as well his closest friends . And Paul who’s a keen Miami Dolphins’ fan really was at a loss as to how things could’ve gone so wrong for the Dolphins over the past two seasons . One of his major concerns was how Ricky Williams had performed and it certainly hadn’t come as a surprise to me or Paul for that matter how the team’s season had spiraled out of control. At no time did you ever get the impression that this team was ever in control of its destiny as the season progressed.

In the case of Ricky Williams it’s hard to believe that this Heisman Trophy winner has been in the league for almost a decade . And who cannot forget his entrance into the NFL ? The 1999 NFL Draft was something that simply was memorable for the audacious move by then New Orleans Saints’ coach Mike Ditka who flushed away the team’s chances by giving up several picks to acquire Williams in the first round (5th overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft out Texas . And as we know Williams’ career with the Longhorns was an extremely successful one . Probably based on that alone Ditka probably felt that the maneuver was simply worth the risk .

However Williams’ career in the NFL initially with the Saints wasn’t meant to be a memorable one and his two season’s with the team if anything, was a complete letdown and essentially ended Ditka’s reign as an NFL coach within the league . And that was in spite of Hall Fame coach’s promise to bring unprecedented success to the Saints’ fans in the Crescent City. Sadly it would be several years before that would all come to fruition before Sean Payton would lead the New Orleans to victory in Superbowl 44 (SBXLIV) .

From my own perspective I’m at a loss to explain the mindset of Ditka to the team and the very fact that he thought one player would have that much of an impact whereby they would be capable winning their division that season as well being a contender for the Superbowl . Either Mike Ditka had been in contact with Faust and made a deal with the Devil or he may well have seen something in his team that others had missed at the time. God knows, I personally didn’t believe that the New Orleans Saints would have achieved anything that season given how mediocre they were over its entirey. There are times when you know that you’re wrong but your ego fails to let you admit to the fact and that was clearly the case with the veteran coach. His success with the Chicago Bears having led that team to victory in Superbowl 20 (SBXX) was perhaps one of the great feats within the annals of NFL history given the dominance of the Bears that year .

If there was anything that you could take away from the disaster of this maneuver it was that Ditka and Williams did provide some comedic elements throughout that tenure of the duo in New Orleans . As to whether or not the fans in the Crescent City were enamored with the display , I really doubt that they were entirely happy with the team’s lack of success under Mike Ditka and the very fact that the team failed do deliver repeatedly over that time. Williams may well have had his social an anxiety disorders but let’s just any guy who’s prepared to don a wedding gown while his coach dresses in formal wear for a photo shoot for a prominent sport’s magazine cover, then any answers that you might well be looking for would be there for all to see in that particular picture and what it may well have been that the pair were trying to elicit from the fans.

Williams’ future with the Miami Dolphins now hinges on the coach Tony Sparano and his coaching staff and how they see the player as an asset to the team . Team GM Jeff Ireland knows that there are a great many flaws on this roster and it primarily starts with the inconsistency of the team’s starting quarterback Chad Henne . There’s no denying that with each passing failure of the player and the fact that he simply shows no leadership skills much less the ability to play with any semblance of confidence it leads me to believe that once again the team is need of a quarterback who can play and play with a great deal of heart !

The upcoming NFL Draft may well be an indicator as to the direction that Ireland and the coaching staff may well be prepared to go in if they’ve indeed lost faith in their quarterback but it may well the price that they’re willing to play in order to attain some success. But to think solely that it’s merely down to Henne would be remiss because on defense the Miami Dolphins are painfully mediocre ! They simply are a one trick pony and anyone who believes otherwise simply hasn’t watched this team play over the last two seasons.

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By clicking on an individual frame you can view that picture in its original formatted
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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the career of Ricky Williams within the NFL ? And what were your own impressions at the time when the New Orleans Saints under Mike Ditka made that audacious splash to acquire the player in the first round of the NFL Draft of 1999 ? Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts on the matter ? Thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) Running back Ricky Williams (34) of the Miami Dolphins breaks away from linebacker DeAndre Levy (54) of the Detroit Lions at Sun Life Stadium on December 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Lions defeated the Dolphins 34-27. Marc Serota / Getty Images ……….

(2) Running back Ricky Williams (34) of the Miami Dolphins is upended by cornerback Donte Whitner (20) of the Buffalo Bills during a game at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14. Marc Serota / Getty Images North America ………

(3) Syracuse quarterback Donovan McNabb poses with family and friends after being chosen by the Philadelphia Eagles as the team’s first pick, second overall, in the NFL draft in New York Saturday, April 17, 1999. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan ……

(4) Ricky Williams, left, and New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka, donning shoulder-length dreadlocks, meet with the media Sunday, April 18, 1999 at the Saints camp in Kenner, La. Williams was drafted by the Saints Saturday, April 17 when they traded all of their 1999 draft picks for the Heisman Trophy winner. AP Photo/Judi Bottoni ………….

(6) Fro better or worse ………… every picture tends to tell a story and this one essentially told us all that we needed to know concerning this debacle with regard to both Williams and Ditka’s tenure in New Orleans . It was a bad marriage between two partners who had nothing in common at all . courtesy of ESPN ……….

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NB : NFL Draft of 1999

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

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The Game feat’g 50 cent ……….. ” Hate Or Love It “
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Eye candy ………… Katie Price aka Jordan

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