Something Else That The State of California Is Well Known For Accepting Mediocrity While Trying To Assuage Us With Their Greatness & Narcissism .

Something Else That The State of California Is Well Known For Accepting Mediocrity While Trying To Assuage Us With Their Greatness & Narcissism .

Well not unlike the state legislature of California that faces such acute financial problems we now have the Los Angeles Dodgers facing woes of its very own. Now it’s a fact that Los Angeles Dodgers will now officially file for bankruptcy . I was repeatedly told by patrons within this medium that bankruptcy would and could never happen . If that’s the case then explain to me how it is that in the last twenty four months the following teams in Major League Baseball each had to file for bankruptcy . In the cases of the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers Chapter 11 ( Bankruptcy Protection & Reorganization) was seemingly the only way out from financial mismanagement by their then owners . Now with that in mind it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that now two of the games most storied ballclubs are effectively in the same boat. And as acute as the situation now appears to be with the Los Angeles Dodgers , it could very well be far more grave for the New York Mets and their situation. The club is defendant in a civil suit alongside principal owners Saul Katz and Fred Wilpon as part of the fallout from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal . Much of what we know concerning the Dodgers has been the mismanagement and the very fact that MLB hierarchy simply suborned much of the absurdity that has taken place ever since Frank McCourt assumed control of this team with his purchase of the organization from Fox Inc whose parent company is News Corporation .

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From my own standpoint this should be a fucking wake up call for the idiots who carry on as if they’re in the know when it comes to the economics of the game but instead they’d rather talk about the shit like the future of the game and the young prospects there . That’s like trying to search for the leprechaun’s pot of gold in the hope that at the end of the day things will be great . Let’s get real here the owners as we know them to be are not that business minded in spite of their apparent wealth and alleged entrepreneurial acumen . And not to be left out of this all has to be those asinine general managers within the game . Baseball has and will always continue to shoot itself in both feet because its hierarchy simply isn’t bright or astute enough to either do or know what is actually appropriately the right thing to do !

Once MLB Commissioner Bud Selig saw fit to bring in former diplomat C Thomas Schieffer to oversee the day to day running of this team we all knew that the Dodgers and Frank McCourt had reached the point of no return . But if anyone with the slightest bit of common sense could see that the writing was on the wall and the sense of foreboding for the organization. And while this was all going on what might be even more contemptible was the fact that GM Ned Colletti , COO Geoff Wharton , CFO Peter Wilhelm , CRO Michael Young and Tommy Lasorda simply chose to remain silent . Which begs the question what is it with the damn stupidity that obviously had to be taking place within the front office of the Los Angeles Dodgers ? . From my own standpoint this is something that is long overdue and had to happen for baseball and the fans to finally sit up and take note ! Are some of the so called intellectual fans out there and those who claim to be insiders are simply that naive ? I’ve no doubt that the so called analysts at Fox and ESPN will now try to regale us with what they see as a painful episode , all the while these very same ingrates undoubtedly chose to ignore this story once it came to the public forefront .

Over the coming days and weeks I’ve no doubt that this all well be thoroughly discussed and written about all with a view to seeking a reason why this had to happen to one of the most storied teams in all of baseball . Well when you have a sport that shows no transparency on any level whatsoever what the fucking hell would you expect ? It’s not as if the league hierarchy itself during Selig’s tenure has ever been known to be completely open with regard to its business practices much less has a propensity for actually telling the truth on any level.

It is extremely sad to see a once great ballclub simply fall from grace and then think that Frank McCourt and the Dodgers’ hierarchy are solely to blame because much of what we know to have factually happen has been due to the inaction of the hierarchy of the game. It’s all too little too late for the organization , even with the Dodgers having now filed for bankruptcy protection . It will now be extremely difficult for the team’s creditors to actully recoup monies owed given the debt amassed by Frank McCourt which if we are to believe could very well exceed in excess of $600 million and that’s simply a conservative estimate as neither the ballclub or the league hierarchy have chosen to be completely transparent and the mere fact that Selig now wants to be seen as a knight riding into the rescue when nothing could actually be further from the truth . Instead this has more to do with the league wanting to give its image a raise in its already diminished and tarnished profile . And here was I thinking that the league handled the ” steroid issue” with about as much deftness as a blind man playing hopscotch in the midst of a minefield ! There has been more blowblack and utter cluster fucks dug up here than can actually be found in a whore’s closet !

Courtesy of The all St Journal

Baseball Blasts Dodgers Bankruptcy Loan

By Patrick Fitzgerald and Marie Beaudette

Major League Baseball on Tuesday moved to intervene in the Los Angeles Dodgers bankruptcy case, blasting owner Frank McCourt and claiming it has a “cheaper, no strings-attached solution” to the team’s financial woes.

The office of baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who has been sparring for months with embattled Dodgers owner Mr. McCourt, said in court papers filed Tuesday that acting in the best interests of baseball, the league will provide the Dodgers with a “less expensive and otherwise superior” bankruptcy loan.

Mr. McCourt placed the Dodgers into Chapter 11 protection on Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., in a last-ditch bid to avoid having the team seized by the league.

The league says Mr. McCourt has “siphoned off well over $100 million” of the Dodgers’ revenue and has driven the team to a “liquidity crisis so severe that, absent extraordinary measures, the club would be unable to make its payroll.”

The team turned to a hedge fund manager owned by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., which is providing a $150 million in so-called debtor-in-possession, or DIP, financing for what the league says is an “excessive” fee.

Major League Baseball blasted Mr. McCourt, saying he has placed his own financial interests over that of the club. While the Dodgers say they conducted an extensive search for financing, MLB says Mr. McCourt never approached the league, “an obvious source of a DIP loan,” according to court papers. A McCourt spokeswoman declined to comment.

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So what now for the Dodgers and how does the hierarchy deal with this all ? In seeing the Los Angeles declare bankrupcty it now leads to Frank McCourt will either sell the team or perhaps seek a cash infusion . Creditors will no doubt be very weary of the situation and given the fact that should MLB have to fully intervene then teams around the league will be on the hook as they hierarchy seeks to pay off many of the Dodgers’ creditors monies owed . Amongst those still owed monies by the ballclub are ex players Ted Lilly , Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones are said to be owed in excess of $24 million as well as broadcaster Vin Scully some $150,000 . This now begs the question, if McCourt is still able to meet payroll for the month of June then what of the ensuing months and where indeed will those funds actually be coming from ? We know that the $3 billlion deal that McCourt had been counting on as part of a negotiated tv contract deal with the local Fox affiliate left a great deal to be desired as much of those funds were due to pay down debt inucrred by McCourt and associated business interests .

Seemingly , when I’ve asked how it is that Frank McCourt was simply allowed to violate league rules in using the ballclub as collateral in multiple business deals repeatedly . But yet somehow the league hierarchy under Bud Selig has simply kept silent on this issue . If anything this all now leaves this ballclub in a complete mess and there’s no way in hell that any potential free agent would seek to even show an interest in the Dodgers . Given the financial uncertainty of this team, who the hell would want to be playing in the hellhole of Los Angeles with the current regime in place ? What might be even more worrying is where this now leaves the future of the coaching staff under Don Mattingly and the potential free agents with the Dodgers at present ? This once proud franchise has no one but to blame but itself but I would also say that due diligence was certainly not used by Bud Selig and the owners when they gave their approval in the sale of the Dodgers to Frank McCourt. The owner came into the organization with a great deal of baggage that if anything should have been a precursor of the mess that would become a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ current debacle . Multiple litigant problems many of which McCourt was a plaintiff and some where he was a defendant but if anything the league hierarchy should have been fully cognizant of those issues .

I’m not so sure what the rest of the season holds for the Los Angeles Dodgers and at the same time what are the poor and disenfranchised fans to think about this mess ? I’m sure as such that they are no doubt being very vocal and vehemently against Frank McCourt still being in control as the owner of this team . Furthermore , I can’t help but wonder what the future now holds for the players not only on the team but also for the prospects and farm system of the organization as a whole ! Baseball has simply been a mess not solely because of the financial ramifications that has befallen the teams in large part but also because of the idiocy shown by the league hierarchy and the intransigence of the MLBPA .

I’ve long maintained that Bud Selig has been a poor commissioner for baseball and about as out of touch as to the acute problems that the sport now faces ! It’s no use living in the past without having learned nothing from those events and herein lies another of the many problems that the game faces , it is that nothing at all has been learned by the owners the union (MLBPA ) or the league hierarchy itself as they merely seek to carry on business as usual . If there are any potential suitors for the Los Angeles Dodgers it will be very interesting to see what sort of value is placed on the organization and whether or not that suitor would indeed be willing to pay the price being asked as to the potential value of this team .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the plight of the Los Angeles Dodgers ? And where would you apportion blame for much of the fallout for this monumental financial disaster that has now encircled the ballclub ? Simply chime with a thought on this topic and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter broached in this piece .

Alan aka tophatal …….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

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(1) Los Angeles Dodgers’ Trent Oeltjen smiles at some Dodgers fans late in the baseball game against the Minnesota Twins Monday, June 27, 2011 in Minneapolis. Oeltien was 4-for-4 with two singles, a triple and a home run in the Dodgers’ 15-0 win. AP Photo/Jim Mone …..

(2) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 27: Tony Gwynn (10) of the Los Angeles Dodgers singles against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Dodgers defeated the Twins 15-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins is out at home as A.J. Ellis (17) of the Los Angeles Dodgers defends home plate in the sixth inning on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Dodgers defeated the Twins 15-0. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …………

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 27: Ned Colletti, General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches batting practice before the game against the Minnesota Twins on June 27, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ……

(5) LOS ANGELES, CA – FILE: Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks at a news conference at Dodger Stadium prior to a game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers on April 14, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. It was reported that the Dodgers have filed for bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court June 27, 2011. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images ……

(6) Bud Selig commissioner of MLB , whose tenure as the game’s highest ranking official has been steeped in a great deal of controversy . In the last twenty four months three major league teams have had to file for bankruptcy protection under the commissioner’s watch but he and the league hierarchy have done little to try and rein in the financial mismanagement that now seems rampant not just amongst the teams but also at MLB’s headquarters . AP Photo / Carl Nash …….

(7) Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly (L) and general manager Ned Colletti of the Los Angeles Dodgers attend a press conference announcing that Mattingly will manage the Dodgers in 2011 after Joe Torre retires at Dodger Stadium on September 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Getty Images North America / Lisa Blumenfeld ….
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The High Flying Tigers And Other Things Happening In The World Of Baseball

The High Flying Tigers And Other Things Happening In The World Of Baseball

If there’s a common consensus at present it could well be that Justin Verlander could very well the runaway winner for the AL Cy Young winner . The player has been on a tear as of late winning six consecutive games ,placing the Detroit Tigers in contention for the AL Central and to viewed seriously as a contender for the AL Pennant . If anything from what I’ve seen of the Tigers as a team this season they are on a mission and for the fans at Comerica Park as well both team owner Michael Ilitch and GM Dave Dombrowski this has to be have been a long time coming . So much was expected of the team last season and their free fall certainly didn’t help when it mattered most .

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I don’t know if at present there’s a pitcher in the league that is as dominant and foreboding as we’re now seeing from Justin Verlander. Now many may well feel that the Detroit Tigers simply haven’t shown where they’re capable of winning the AL Central and the mere fact that we’ve seen a resurgent Cleveland Indians may well have suggest that the division wouldn’t at all be up for grabs . But at present that has been the case with the top three teams simply not being able to truly separate themselves from the rest of those within the division . The Cleveland Indians leads the division with a 40-35 with the Chicago White Sox 3 1/2 games behind the second placed Tigers . Jim Leyland and his coaching staff know that they will have to lean heavily on their All Star pitching ace as well as the offense led by Miguel Cabrera , Magglio Ordonez , Victor Martinez , Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Inge .

With the All Star Game slowly approaching where it will be hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Ballpark in Arizona , Phoenix . That event should be very interesting given the ensuing political climate within the state at present after the state’s legislature’s passing of their immigration bill ( SB 1070 ). And as contentious as the bill’s passing may well have been the opposition from a number of civil liberties unions as well as the Hispanic community and Latino players within the MLB fraternity promises that this upcoming All Star Game could very well be remembered for the events off the field , as the opposition protesters look to making their voices heard .

I’m not about to suggest that the Houston Astros are having a bad season but the NL ball club seems to be on the cusp of having quite possibly having one of their worst seasons ever . With Drayton McClane having sold the team to Houston businessman Jim Crane , the feeling is that the entrepreneur will assess the whole organization from top to bottom before making a decision whether or not he will retain or bring in his own staff to run the Astros .

In the Astros most recent game against the Tampa Bay Rays it was clear for all to see the numerous problems that the Houston Astros as a team faces . The offense is simply dormant and the pitching simply lacks any real confidence . The Rays offense simpled teed off on Astros coming away with an emphatic 7-2 victory in an intra league game at the Astros ballpark in Houston , Texas.

It is strange to see players such as Hunter Pence , Carlos Lee and Jeff Keppinger are viewed as the present basis for the team but in reality the future of this organization lies in its prospects , draft picks and farm system if the truth be known . A great deal is now being asked of manager Brad Mills and his coaching staff in leading this team to some semblance of respectability within the National League .

The Houston Astros have struggled to make their presence felt within the NL Central in recent years and one it’s hard to view this organization being competitive given the financial difficulties of this organization during the tenure of Drayton McClane and the mere fact that the former owner has simply shown that he has never shown the propensity for winning. It has simply been about garnering the monies afforded it by the rather asinine tax sharing revenue scheme that the league hierarchy has simply sought to dispense to the small market teams around baseball with little thought for actually seeing that the teams in question bolster their rosters as they’re meant to . And one wonders why the game is in such mess from a financial standpoint ? The team owners , general managers around the league are simply far too stupid for their own good with the sports agents simply being way too beguiling for the team owners .

I’m still trying to comprehend how it is that Alex Rodriguez while a player with the Texas Rangers having left that organization in a multi player trade to join the New York Yankees and still some three years after that trade his salary was still being paid for by the Texas Rangers . And as we know Rodriguez at the time had signed what was then the largest contract not only baseball history but also in sports in general , a ten year $250 million contract. Tell me how this all equates with a sound business practice that will actually equate with anything that happens in the real world unless the idiots within the game view themselves as high priced corporate Wall St executives and somehow that’s not how I view the players within MLB , much less the owners whose business acumen we’re suppose to believe in ! I guess that the likes of Frank McCourt , his subordinates within the Dodgers front office along with Fred Wilpon and the ingrates with the New York Mets are to be seen as beacons of corporate affability and sound business judgment ? Cry me a river those of you out there who still believe that the game is still in a healthy financial position !

At some point Bud Selig and his union counterpart MLPBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner seem so intent on merely seeing the status quo remain the same for whatever it’s meant to be worth with regard to the game . And at this juncture what does that actually mean to you ? Some fans are pointing to the fact that there’s said to be competitive parity within the game but let’s get real here , attendances are steadily declining for the vast majority of the teams , with more than half struggling to eke out a financial profit without an assist from the league hierarchy . How is it that the more adept fan out there never really wants to address that specific issue but would rather look at the game through rose colored glasses ?

Much of this season I’ve simply been impressed with the pitching I’ve seen this season and the Cy Young within both leagues is by no means a certainty at this juncture . ERA and wins asides I know that the choice for the adjudicators will be an extremely tough one ! CC Sabathia , Jered Weaver , Josh Beckett and James Shields all appear to be viable candidates within the AL . On the senior circuit there it would appear that Cole Hamels , Jair Jurrjens , Roy Halladay and Tommy Hanson could all be in with a shot if they are able to keep apace with their rivals within the NL .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What have been your impressions as to the first half of the MLB season and which teams do you believe will in the thick of things at season’s end competing not merely for the divisional titles but also for the wildcard berths ? Also as to the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) DETROIT – JUNE 25: Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers strikes out 14 for a career-high during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Comerica Park on June 25, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Diamondbacks 6-0 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

(2) Justin Verlander (35) of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by Manager Jim Leyland #10 after striking out 14 for a career-high during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Comerica Park on June 25, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Diamondbacks 6-0. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(3) Don Kelly (32) of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with his teammates after scoring on a Miguel Cabrera(24) single in the eight inning during the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Comerica Park on June 26, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Diamondbacks 8-3 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …

(4) Detroit Tigers’ owner Michael Ilitch (left) and team GM Dave Dombrowski are seen here taking questions from the press at Comerica Park , Detroit , Michigan , courtesy of Detroit Free Press ….

(5) Wade Davis (40) of the Tampa Bay Rays is called out by home plate umpire Tony Randazzo as catcher Carlos Corporan (22) of the Houston Astros looks up after the play at Minute Maid Park on June 26, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ….

(6) Houston Astros’ Hunter Pence reacts after being called out on strikes to end an interleague baseball game in the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sunday, June 26, 2011, in Houston. The Rays defeated the Astros 14-10 . AP Photo/David J. Phillip ……

(7) HOUSTON – JUNE 26: Carlos Lee (45) of the Houston Astros catches his breath after hitting a triple in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park on June 26, 2011 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ….

(8) ST. LOUIS – OCTOBER 19: Houston Astros Drayton McLane is seen during Game Six of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals October 19, 2005 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Astros won 5-1 to win the series 4-2 to advance to the World Series. Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images ………..

(9) Jim Crane the Houston business tycoon and new owner of the Houston Astros . courtesy of AP Photo ….
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Do I Hear A Bid of One Billion Dollars … ?

Do I Hear A Bid of One Billion Dollars … ?

Well we are all aware that David Einhorn the New York hedge fund manager and founder of Green Capital Investments has invested $200 million into the cash starved and financially strapped New York Mets . Now along the way we have all read about the problems of the organization and the fact that the team’s well the two most prominent owners team are now defendants in the ongoing case as the plaintiffs in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme scandal seek as much as $1 billion in punitive damages from Saul Katz , Fred Wilpon , the New York Mets and Wilpon’s investment company Sterling Equities Inc . With that in mind I’d like to think that Einhorn and his lawyers were given some sort of guarantee that his investment is in fact safe , given the fact that the case against the defendants would appear to very strong. The plaintiffs’ lead attorney Irving Picard remains steadfast in his belief that the defendants are guilty and knowingly hid these funds having been made aware that as recipients of the funds from Madoff , this all from a fraudulent and felonious act. I’m not so sure that when it’s all said and done the Mets as an organization will be the ball club in its present guise that will be around . There is a very strong possibility that should the judge presiding over this hearing rule in the defendants’ favor after all of the evidentiary facts , we could very well see the organization seeking bankruptcy protection.

I was once told by a patron that bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for a franchise . Somehow I don’t think that this individual knows what actually comes about in such a situation for the franchise given the fact that creditors aren’t always willing at first to renegotiate their debt for pennies on the dollar . For me however , I simply look at the Mets as an organization whose owners and front office over the last few years have become complacent , clueless and completely inept ! And although there has been an upheaval in the front office with Sandy Alderson , team President and EVP J P Ricciardi being brought in to oversee all personnel and roster moves in all aspects of the player personnel decisions. And given the overwhelming belief that this team has underperformed this season it is easy understand why the New York Mets are viewed a monumental laughing stock around MLB. Terry Collins was brought in as the Mets’ manager having succeeded Jerry Manuel whose managerial style bordered on sheer ineptitude .

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I’ve no doubt that at the end of the day this organization will either sink or swim by the decisions made of which much of it was brought on by their own actions . At 39-39 within the NL East and already some games behind the division leading Philadelphia Phillies I now feel that there’s no chance of the team actually competing within the division , much less winning it or possibly gaining a wildcard berth . And given the proclivity of this team to simply implode at the most inexplicable of moments it’s easy to understand why Wilpon was so vehemently critical of players such as Jose Reyes , Carlos Beltran and David Wright . A trio of overpaid, alleged superstars who between them have contributed little by way of success this season or seasons past . If nothing else given the fact that of the investment made by David Einhorn I am not so sure that he’ll get an entirely acceptable return on his investment.

Consider the idiocy however concerning not only of the Mets’ organization but the capricious nature of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the very fact that he cajoled the city commission in voting for a $2.355 billion bond issue that financed the building of Citi Fied (and Yankee Stadium ) an edifice that for much of this season has been half filled through much of the home games played at the venue . Built at a cost of over $755 million I can’t help but wonder what gave Bloomberg or the New York Mets the impression that building this monstrosity would equate with any future success for the organization Mets ! But this is merely a harbinger of the idiocy and corrupt practices that now takes place within the game all under the nose and suborned by Bud Selig , baseball’s hierarchy and the team owners within the game.

Here’s a question I would pose you now if you were a wealthy financier or entrepreneur and $ 1 billion at your disposal would you take it upon yourself to invest in a professional sports franchise and if so which particular sport would that investment be in ? Would it be within MLB , the NFL , NHL , MLS or NBA for that matter ?

Each of the four major sports face their own difficulties given the variables of economic climate but in large part the hierarchies of MLB, NBA , NFL and NHL along with the respective owners have never really shown enough foresight to actually plan expediently for the future. The NBA now faces a work stoppage that in large part can be avoided but given the fact that NBA Commissioner David Stern likes grandstanding and playing to the media , I think that the league and the hierarchy are in for a rough time ahead as they seek an accord before the expiry of the existing collective bargaining agreement on the 30th June , 2011 . The team owners along with the league hierarchy will steadfastly stand by the fact that they will seek concessions from the NBPA headed by Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher .

Should there be a stoppage within the NBA and it becomes as litigious as the impasse now in evidence between the NFL and NFLPA then any thought of the 2011-12 season starting on schedule in September could end up being wishful thinking on the part of the NBA fan. It is clear that neither side wants to be the first that backs down and I have no doubt that the executives of the teams will be working behind the scenes also to make sure that they can do their utmost in conjunction with the league to stave off any thought of a stoppage.

As for the NHL even with the fact that they just had an exhilarating Stanley Cup Finals between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins . The aftermath of the Bruins’ game seven victory and the city of Vancouver erupted into violence, with fans rioting , 150 injured victims and some 100 arrests. But what might be even more unbelievable were the multi million dollars’ worth of damage caused by the rioters. The city’s police Chief Jim Chu states that the cause of these riots weren’t due to the loss by the Canucks but simply due to the fact that these were individuals looking to take advantage of an event to loot and riot. Nonetheless, it will still be viewed as something of a black eye for the game and in particular the city of Vancouver and the team .

Hockey itself has come a long way from its own self inflicted wounds stemming from their lockout . Financial mismanagement and sheer ineptitude being shown by the league hierarchy led by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman still hasn’t brought the sport back to the visibility it once had. Viewership is still down but at the same time attendances are still up at a number of franchises around the league . Teams are now back to their old ways of conducting business , wherein we have seen being offered exorbitant contracts but yet somehow a number of owners simply wanted to have the best talent on offer and rewarding the players with such extraordinary offers that most teams could ill afford to pay. I won’t lambast a sport that I have little if any interest in because from a financial standpoint I believe that Bettman and the owners are still struggling to find a firm financial footing and given the proclivity there for simply tripping over their own bootlaces , the less now said about the NHL , the better !

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Alan aka tophatal …………… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

In terms of the points raised within this piece what thoughts if any do you have ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) New York Mets’ Jose Reyes, right, scores along with Mets’ Angel Pagan on a two-run RBI single by teammate Carlos Beltran in the second inning against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, June 26, 2011. AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Ron T. Ennis ……

(2) Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, right, yells at home plate umpire Andy Fletcher after being ejected from the game during a baseball game against the New York Mets in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, June 26, 2011. AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Ron T. Ennis ……

(3) ARLINGTON, TX – JUNE 26: A detail view of the field during the game between the against the Texas Rangers and the against the New York Mets at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images ….

(4) Daniel Murphy (28) of the New York Mets get tagged at second base by Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 26, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ian Kinsler;Daniel Murphy ……

(5) Fred Wilpon, General Manager Sandy Alderson, New York Mets new manager Terry Collins, Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz pose for pictures during a press conference at Citi Field on November 23, 2010 in New York, New York. Getty Images North America / Chris McGrath …..

(6) David Einhorn, part owner of the New York Mets, watches the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on May 28, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Chris Trotman/ Getty Images North America ……

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Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

Let The Fun And Games Begin ……….. When You’re Ready Please NFL ?

It’s been pretty much an offseason of discontent within the NFL with the owners , players and league hierarchy suddenly realizing that the start of the season is merely around the corner . Never mind the fact that teams haven’t really been able to conduct their OTA’s at their respective training facilities . In that respect the whole preseason and initial start of the regular season due to begin on the 8thd September could very well offer the fans a product that could be so bland and meaningless that it might have us wondering whether or not it wasn’t worth completely abandoning the season altogether . No one wants to see an on field product that by three or four three that could be so out of sync and mediocre that given the fact that the fans will be asked to pay a sizable sum to witness this all . And if as is being proposed we could very well see a preseason that will have to forgo two of the four scheduled games then any sort semblance of cohesiveness could very well be something that the fans are not liable to see at all .

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With that in mind of all the teams that I witnessed over the course of last season none more so than the Atlanta Falcons had me wondering how good could this team really be . Granted , their postseason foray ended somewhat abruptly but I put that down to more inexperience more than anything else . The team’s coach Mike Smith and his coaching staff seem to have found that semblance of cohesion and consistency that many teams yearn for in the league but so few are able to find it . Having won the NFC South rather comfortably, posting a 13-3 record within the league . Many felt that the team led my their Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan could very well have pulled off a major surprise during the postseason. This season if anything a great deal is expected from this team and in particular by their erstwhile fans . The era of Michael Vick is long gone and but a distant and quickly fading memory . Team owner Arthur Blank and the front office headed by GM Rich McKay know that they were fortuitous not only in the hiring of Mike Smith as the team coach but also in their drafting of Matt Ryan .

I’ve no doubt that this season could very well see this team prove to be dominant but that being said I also believe that the NFC South could very well be a highly competitive division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers , alongside the New Orleans Saints should prove to be formidable and with the Carolina Panthers no doubt looking to their overall number one pick from this year’s draft Cam Newton to simply show the Panthers’ fans what he’s made of . Who knows where the season could very well take us ?

Rich McKay and the scouting department made some prudent choices in the NFL Draft that will prove to be productive for the Falcons’ organization as a whole . And with those selections being strategically rendered with there being an assortment of offense and defense to bolster the needs of the team . The prize pick was wide receiver Julio Jones who will no doubt compliment what is already a formidable offensive presence alongside Michael Turner , Roddy White , Tony Gonzalez and Brian Finneran . And from a defensive standpoint this team can only get better as they being to gel more as a cohesive unit . But in retrospect it does all come down to have a balance on both sides of the ball and here too the Falcons aren’t necessarily lacking as the offense when having found its rhythm can be as good as any within the league .

Now would it be remiss to suggest that the Atlanta Falcons are not good enough to be considered amongst the NFC favorites for the Superbowl ? I think that perhaps not given that no one could really have foreseen the Green Bay Packers coming out of the NFC as conference champions much less wining the title itself . If anything all eyes were perhaps on the New Orleans Saint or Chicago Bears from last year as it related to the postseason. I read with interest where a fellow blogger within this medium suggested that the next young quarterback within the league who is on the cusp of leading a team and actually winning the Superbowl will be the Bears’ Jay Cutler . Yes the that Jay Cutler who essentially baulked and walked away from his team when they needed him most . For all of Brian Urlacher’s traits , facing reality doesn’t seem to be one of those , especially in light of the player coming to his quarterback’s defense by saying that ‘…..Cutler was a warrior and one of the hardest working players in the league as well as one of the best players at the position in the entire NFL’ . Obviously Urlacher hadn’t been taking much note of what happened in the Bears’ meltdown and their subsequent 21-14 loss to the Packers much of which could be squarely placed on Jay Culter’s shoulders for the team’s demise in the NFC title game .

As to the ongoing impasse between the league and NLFPA I would certainly like to be optimistic with regard to what I have been hearing via the various news sources . But given the fact that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has handled this situation with about as much precision as a one armed individual being asked to juggle an explosive device . I think that it’s pretty safe to say that this episode is far from over as it relates to the present work stoppage . For all of the pontificating , finger pointing and in the end so called accord that we are now seeing from all sides with Goodell and his union counterpart DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA issuing a joint statement focusing on the two sides close to reaching an accord , I for one won’t believe it until I hear that an agreement has been reached , a binding contract signed and we are told the league will indeed begin its regular season schedule on time . Anything short of that I will still deem to be a complete failure !

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Simply chime in with a comment as to your thoughts raised within this piece and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated .

Alan aka tophatal …………… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) FILE – This May 24, 2011, file photo shows Atlanta Falcons rookie receiver Julio Jones, left, greeting quarterback Matt Ryan before an informal football workout, in Buford, Ga. Ryan and Jones haven’t let the NFL lockout stop them from beginning a new friendship. AP Photo/David Goldman …..

(2) NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 28: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (L) poses for a photo with Julio Jones, #6 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ………

(3) Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton, rear, looks on as teammate Steve Smith, center, calls a play at his youth football camp in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, June 17, 2011. It was another bonding experience for what will be one of the most scrutinized quarterback-receiver combinations in the NFL _ if Smith stays in Carolina. AP Photo/Chuck Burton ……

(4) Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, right, talks with Jerry Richardson, owner of the Carolina Panthers, as they arrive for meetings in Rosemont, Ill., Tuesday, June 21, 2011. Owners gathered to discuss the status of negotiations with the players for a new collective bargaining agreement. AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh ……

(5) Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy shows off his Super Bowl ring Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis., after the NFL football team’s ring ceremony at Lambeau Field. AP Photo/Mike Roemer …..

(6) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with team owners and legal counsel for the league . Getty Images/ Hannah Foslien ……

(7) Sam Shields (37_ of the Green Bay Packers intercepts the game’s final pass and runs for 32-yards to seal the 21-14 victory for the Packers against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America ….

(8) Quarterback Jay Cutler (6 ) of the Chicago Bears celebrates his six-yard touchdown run with Devin Hester (23) against the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter of the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images …….

(9) After a failed coaching experiment four years ago, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, left, is thrilled with the job Mike Smith, right, has done with the team. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

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NFL News

NFL Schedule 2011 subject to change

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons team roster

Atlanta Falcons’ schedule 2011

Atlanta Falcons’ teams stats 2010

Mike Smith Head coach

Atlanta Falcons coaching staff

Atlanta Falcons News

Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Had Your Dose Of Sports Over The Weekend ?

Well for myself the sporting weekend transitioned itself around Rory McIlroy simply decimating a world class field at the US Open at Congressional Golf Club in Bethesda , Maryland . The margin of victory not withstanding a resounding 8 stroke victory by McIlroy over his closest rival Jason Day . Now the whole world will want to know what awaits McIlroy and how would he have fared had Tiger Woods been in the field ? From my own perspective given Woods’ recent run of form I doubt that the result would have been any different ! Suffice to say while Woods remains the yardstick against which the current contemporaries are to be adjudged , in reality the Tiger of old isn’t currently around .

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Things are now beginning to look rather bleak for the Florida Marlins . In the month of June this team has won only one of their last eighteen games and the fact that manager Edwin Rodriguez simply walked away from the organization and team having tendered his resignation simply indicates how dire things had become for the NL East franchise . Now with eighty year old Jack McKeon being asked by GM Larry Beinfest to assume control of this beleaguered team I am not so sure that things can be drastically turned around .

Former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress soon have his freedom having been incarcerated at the taxpayers’ expense . And for the player who now looks to resurrect his NFL career it will be interesting to see what teams if any take an open interest in the former Pro Bowl wideout . Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has made it his desire to have Burress become a teammate of his with the Eagles . But I doubt that either team coach Andy Reid or GM Joe Banner are seeking to make another reclamation project out of another troubled NFL player . Vick in spite of his successes last season still has a long way to go to prove to everyone that he’s actually back to his very best as a player but even more so as a leader .

There’s no doubt in my mind that Burress still has something to offer to a team but given the player’s predilection to self implode , if I were a general manager much less an NFL team owner his joining my organization would have to be based upon his demeanor and actual acknowledgement that he has now changed for the better as a human being . Beyond that not much else would really matter other than him being productive on the field of play .

There’s no doubt in my mind that the rules of the NFL are there for a reason especially where it involves the players concerning gambling. It is now being widely reported that as many twenty five NFL players are known to be investors in a gaming concern in Alabama . The owner of the casino Country Crossing —- Ron Gilley is under indictment by the Justice Department along with two lobbyists for offering state legislator millions of dollars in bribes in order to facilitate the approval and building of the casino in Dothan , Alabama .

The NFL’s rules are very clear on this matter wherein it states that current NFL players are barred from being involved in any type of gaming concern from a business standpoint . In doing so it creates the perception that in some way that there could be a conflict of interest and any type of impropriety that a player or players whilst on the field of play could effect the outcome of game . Well given the fact that the league as such welcomes to the actions of gamblers betting on their games I can’t see how they feel that an NFL player hasn’t been wagering on the games where they are already participants ! It would be naïve to think otherwise , albeit that no one has been caught but I think it is pretty safe to say that the players around the NFL have their own proclivities when it comes to games of chance . Tens of millions of dollars are wagered each year on the Superbowl and I am quite sure that there have been a number of players around the NFL that have profited directly or indirectly from placing a bet on the game . The NFL hierarchy if they do decide to conduct an investigation into this matter than the ramifications could well be very serious for the players involved at the center of this drama .

I’ve never been one to get completely enamored over the glare of the limelight or the very fact that some athletes tend to think of themselves as being bigger than the game. But in light of the recent meltdown of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and the mere fact that the team’s All Star LeBron James has began to chastise the fans for his and his team’s own shortcoming has me now believing more so than ever before that this is the monster that David Stern has created ! Instead of the NBA being a team sport it has now become a heartless ego driven endeavor where upon it is the stars/ marquee players that we are meant to be enthralled by rather than the teams themselves .

If James’ behavior and that of his teammate Dwyane Wade wasn’t enough of an indicator of that then I for one don’t know what is ! ! Self aggrandizement and the mocking of an opponent who at the time was said to be ill shows the lack of class in the two aforementioned players . But yet team President Pat Riley continued to bitch and whine when any criticism was being leveled at the team or his famous duo of stars . In the end nothing could have been much sweeter than seeing the Miami Heat juggernaut being derailed by the Dallas Mavericks and Finals’ MVP Dirk Nowitzki . When all said and done the better and far more deserving team proved to be victorious and laying to rest the myth that having a trio of superstars elicits a win of a title . Teams win titles , where the endeavor is meant to about showing cohesiveness and a genuine will to win and nothing resembling that was ever on display by the Miami Heat throughout the NBA Finals and their series loss to the Dallas Mavericks !

I was never enamored with the NHL and I don’t think I ever will be ! In light of the Boston Bruins having won the Stanley Cup in defeating the Vancouver Canucks . The display by Canucks’ fans in the aftermath of the team’s game seven loss was enough of an indicator that it simply doesn’t matter where the fans are from their baser instincts are always the same ! Act like a Neanderthal and you’ll viewed as such ! The fans went on a postgame riot , looting , burning cars and damaging businesses in the city of Vancouver that in the could run into several million dollars worth of damages . But what might be even more ludicrous may well have been the public statement issued by the city’s police chief , Jim Chu in stating that the incidents and acts of violence resulting in over 100 arrests and 150 people injured were merely the acts of the criminal element with nothing better to do . I wonder if Chu’s mindset would still have been the same had there been far more serious injuries resulting with someone’s death ? Isn’t it bad enough that his city was shown in a thoroughly bad light after these riots , never mind the fact that the game’s image has been tarnished by the events that took place ?

Granted, no sport is ever without its bad elements but the mere fact that Chu chooses to write this off as a criminal element choosing to take advantage of a sporting events smacks of sheer stupidity on his part . If anything it furthermore paints a poor picture of his city and the fact that those involved are nothing more than a marauding bunch of hooligans . That asides , if the hockey fan out there becomes this disgruntled because their team loses in the game’s showcase event then it simply shows another reason why the game continues to flounder in more ways than one from a commercial and professional endeavor .

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

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal …… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .
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(1) U.S. Open golf championship winner Rory McIlroy, or Northern Ireland, right, is handed his U.S. Open trophy by Francois-Henry Bennahmias, left, president and CEO of Audemars Piguet (North America) Inc., during an event at the Willowbend Country Club in Mashpee, Mass., Monday, June 20, 2011. AP Photo/The Cape Cod Times, Merrily Cassidy …

(2) Bethseda, Maryland: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and his father Gerry McIlroy pose with the trophy after his eight-stroke victory during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images …

(3) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland speaks with the media after his eight-stroke during the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images …

(4) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks onto the eightenth green before winning the 111th US Open by eight strokes over Jason Day with a record 268 at Congressional Country Club on June 19, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON …..

(5) Florida Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, left, talks to reporters as interim manager Jack McKeon looks on during a news conference in Miami, Monday, June 20, 2011. Beinfest announced McKeon’s second term as manager of the Marlins. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ……

(6) Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields , right, is congratulated by catcher Kelly Shoppach after throwing a four-hitter in the Rays’ 2-1 victory over the Florida Marlins in a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, June 19, 2011.

(7) Former New York Giants wide receiver, Plaxico Burress is seen holding onto a cup of coffee and wearing a Philadelphia Phillies hat while out in New York City. On June 6th, Burress was released from prison after nearly spending two years behind bars on gun charges. Courtesy of Pacific coast news.com ….

(8) Former NFL wide receiver Plaxico Burress attends a press conference at National Urban League on June 13, 2011 in New York City. Getty Images North America / Joe Corrigan ……

(9) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles takes the field before playing against the Green Bay Packers in the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images /Al Bello ….

(10) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles walks of the field after losing to the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFC wild card playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 9, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles would lose to the Packers 21-16 Getty Images / Al Bello ….

(11) FILE – This June 1, 2011 file photo shows Miami Heat President Pat Riley talking to reporters in Miami. Riley says he will not return to coaching, and says the team has a strong leader in Erik Spoelstra . Riley spoke Tuesday, June 21, 2011, at his annual end-of-season wrap-up and touched on several topics including the disappointment of Miami’s loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks. AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File …

(12) Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, of Germany, fights back tears as fans cheer following his introduction during a celebration following the team’s victory parade, Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Dallas. The Mavericks earned their first NBA basketball championship by defeating the Miami Heat. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(13) MIAMI, FL – JUNE 12: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat walks into the interview room to answer questions after the Heat were defeated 105-95 by the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

(14) Riot police walk in the street on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images …..

(15) Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron carries the Stanley Cup aloft as he walks through a crowd of onlookers from Tia’s Restaurant in Boston on Thursday, June 16, 2011, one day after the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals. AP Photo/Elise Amendola ….

(16) Police on horseback move down a street during a riot following the Vancouver Canucks being defeated by the Boston Bruins in the NHL Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Angry, drunken revelers ran wild Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canucks’ 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans ablaze, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz ….

(17) Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu seen here speaking with the convened press . copyrighted material @ All rights reserved Post Media News / Ethan Baron ……

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It’s Only Business That’s All ……….

It’s Only Business That’s All …………..

Well it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig deflated the balloon of Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt . Finally the commissioner shows some insight after he and the league hierarchy and the team owners made a gargantuan mistake in granting McCourt the right to buy the team originally from the Fox Corporation . Furthermore , the question I still would like to ask of Selig and the owners and hierarchy is given the fact that it was well known that McCourt had several legal problems prior to the purchase what type of due diligence was used if any by the league’s hierarchy ?

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In his findings Selig rightfully stated that even with the $ 3 billion 17 year deal in place much of the funds derived from the deal would have actually gone to paying down much of the personal debt of Frank McCourt and that of his associated business interests . Much of the time we were being told by McCourt that the Dodgers as business concern was financially viable but herein lies the caveat all along ,. McCourt in cahoots with Dodgers’ CFO Peter Wilhelm had repeatedly used the team as financial collateral in a number of business deals that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the game of baseball . Much of this McCourt would keep hidden not only from certain board members but most certainly from the MLB hierarchy , thereby contravening bye laws of the game concerning debt to asset ratio all teams in the conduct of their business practices .

Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

MLB rejects Dodgers’ television deal with Fox

By Tim Brown , Yahoo Sports

Commissioner Bud Selig on Monday rejected a proposed television rights package that would have given life to Frank McCourt’s ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After a two-month investigation, Selig concluded that too much of the 17-year, near-$3 billion package with Fox would be funneled away from the Dodgers, who are straining to stay relevant under McCourt’s financial bind.

“Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt,” Selig said in a statement. “Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.”

So arrive what could be the final days of McCourt’s ownership of the Dodgers, seven years after he purchased the franchise from Fox.

McCourt, who Friday had reached a divorce settlement with ex-wife and former team president Jamie McCourt, was notified Monday afternoon of Selig’s decision, which effectively nullifies that settlement. A portion of the $385 million advance from Fox was earmarked for Frank McCourt’s personal debt and divorce payoff .

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The sticking point for Frank McCourt now comes in the fact that he now faces having to sell the team in order to doubt meet the obligations concerning his divorce settlement with his ex wife Jamie McCourt . Beyond this , until the courts in Los Angeles make a legal verdict of their own concerning the Dodgers being a communal asset we may well see the beleaguered owner seeking his own recourse in challenging Selig with a civil suit of his own in the Federal Courts . Good luck with that Frank because of now you’re still fighting an uphill battle !

At this time of the season within baseball teams will either sink or swim not only in terms of their play but also by the decisions made by the managers . But barring that all , what could be even more telling will be the disabled list of the teams around the league . It’s not a team yearns to have one of their star players on the DL but simply tends to happen through no fault of the player or anyone else for that matter . The standings at present a different picture of what many thought would be happening but then again the game of baseball will always be literally filed with surprises . Nothing is ever guaranteed in stone in any game of chance much less a competitive team endeavor .

If you’re a San Diego Padres’ fan how must you feel at present seeing the team languish at the bottom of NL West , having won only one of their last ten games and being on a 6 game losing streak ? It’s fair to say that not only the loss of Adrian Gonzalez has played a part in the team’s downward spiral from last season but the austerity measures now in place by the front office led by principal partner Jeff Moorad , Chairman John Moores and GM Jed Hoyer . Paring down salary is one thing but I’m not so sure that this alone will assist the organization in being competitive ! This past MLB Draft saw the Hoyer prudently make choices that he and manager Bud Black make the type of decisions that will quite possibly bare fruit and come to fruition in the coming years .

Manager Bud Black and his coaching staff have their work cut for them this season if this team is to show any respite much less the resolve in showing some sign of resurgence . Ryan Ludwick , Brad Hawpe , Cameron Maybin and Orlando Hudson have all got to show that from an offensive standpoint that they can lead this team . And granted in Aaron Harang , Matt Latos and Dustin Moseley the pitching has struggled throughout much of the season . One gets the feeling that an upsurge in confidence and a win streak of 5 or six games and a few series could very well change the mindset of not just the organization but also the team .

For all of the talk about building for the future which while good it simply doesn’t fill the ballpark with fans that are being starved of success . Prospects and a farm system filled with top notch talent is one thing but simply ask the vast majority of fans if they are prepared to wait around for years merely to see in large part the team quite possibly fail or more often than not simply let go of talent that goes on to flourish elsewhere ?

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Alan aka tophatal ………. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment or comments as to your thoughts . And as always thanks for the continued support is it is greatly appreciated !

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig listens to a question during a news conference on Thursday, May 12, 2011 in New York. Selig gave Frank McCourt the face-to-face meeting the Los Angeles Dodgers owner wanted, but provided no timetable on approving a proposed $3 billion television deal with Fox that would keep the club from running out of cash at the end of the month. Selig and McCourt met Wednesday when owners began a two-day quarterly meeting at Major League Baseball’s office.AP Photo/ Bebeto Matthews ….

(2) Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt speaks during a Dodger Stadium security news conference at Los Angeles Police Department headquarters on April 8, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. It was announced that new security measures will be implemented at Dodger Stadium after San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was attacked in the parking lot after the season opener at Dodger Stadium. The beleaguered owner now having seen his lone remaining hope go up in smoke with Bud Selig revoking his deal Fox Tv now is left with nothing but to seek recourse through litigation . But herein lies the caveat should the courts not provide a verdict in his support he could very well lose the team altogether . Getty Images North America / Kevork Djansezian …………

(3) BOSTON, MA – JUNE 20: Adrian Gonzalez (28) of the Boston Red Sox celebrates a 14-5 win over the San Diego Padres at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …

(4) Orlando Hudson (1) of the San Diego Padres kicks dirt between pitches during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …….

(5) Ryan Ludwick (47) of the San Diego Padres connects for a broken-bat single during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on June 20, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images …………

(6) At Petco Park Jan. 12 to announce the retirement of Padres pitcher Trevor Hoffman and his new position in the Padres’ front office (from left): Manager Bud Black, president and COO Tom Garfinkel , Hoffman, vice chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad, and GM Jed Hoyer. AP Photo / Phil Moyer ……..

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What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

What’s Happening In The World of Sports … ?

Well now that the MLB season is slowly progressing towards its halfway point and with the league’s midseason showcase event due in July with the All Star Game being hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field , in Phoenix , Arizona. It well be interesting to see how the teams come into the break in terms of their overall form .

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The standings at present reflect that Philadelphia Phillies seem to be intent on running away with the NL East . They currently hold a 5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves within the division and though it’s way too early to suggest that they will be playing for the NLCS during the postseason but it would appear that the only thing that can derail the Phillies’ season would be their own complacency . Within the NL Central and NL West it would appear the races there are too close to call between the top two teams within each division . Tight races tend to add a great deal more excitement to the season and there’s no doubt in my mind that’s what the fans really yearn . And that is liable to be the case at present within both of the divisions in question .

Within the AL it’s business as usual within the AL East where the Boston Red Sox are now prepared to show that their recent form isn’t merely an aberration. On a two game winning streak and winners of nine of their last ten games the Red Sox now look as if they’re look distance themselves from the rest of the division. Their 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field was certainly a hard fought win but that’s simply the mindset of what now is the most competitive division within baseball. This division to my mind will most certainly provide the wildcard entrant for AL without a doubt unless there’s a monumental meltdown by the runner up to the winner of the AL East.

As was the premise with the NL Central and NL West well once again here too the races may well be too close to call within the AL Central and AL West . What we can be certain of within both divisions is that the teams won’t be giving up until the divisions are mathematically out of their reach in terms of winning or possibly attaining that lone wildcard berth .

Now as much as I know that Commissioner Bud Selig the league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners have proposed expanding the playoffs’ format by adding two more teams within each league . I certainly believe that the hierarchy’s biggest issue is to deal with the financial problems now engulfing a number of teams within the league rather than adding to the playoffs and further elongating the season far more than it needs to be. I mean it’s not as if Selig has actually shown the propensity for being proactive on any issue unless he’s dragged kicking and screaming , then being forced to make a decision. Simply look at the morass created by Frank McCourt with the Los Angeles Dodgers ? If that’s not enough of an indication to show mind numbingly slow Selig was in acting , given the fact that it had been widely reported that the franchise was financially troubled . Then clearly Bud Selig along with the owners and league hierarchy were in fact so naive but perhaps even more so , too damn stupid for their own good .

I’m not about to try understand the fascination with Ricky Rubio and the fact that the player now says he’s ready to play in the NBA . Granted , having been drafted in 2009 by the Minnesota Timberwolves , the player sought to forgo joining the organization and play an additional two years in Europe where the financial inducement there was far greater than the front office could have offered with a rookie contract. Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn now feel that the player having made the decision to join the team can provide them with the form and maturity that simply belies his age.

In the aftermath of a horrendous season the Timberwolves now have to deal with the disatisfaction of their incumbent coach Kurt Rambis and the mere fact that neither Glen Taylor or David Kahn have assured their beleaguered coach that he’ll be asked to return next season. With there not being a plethora of viable candidates out there to succeed Rambis should he be relieved of his duties . I would have thought that the the general manager and team owner would want to reassure the coach that his job is safe. Furthermore , with the NBA Draft due to take place on 23rd June I certainly would have thought that a coaching upheaval would be the last things that this franchise now needs . But herein lies the idiocy of how the Timberwolves have simply acted , as if in a vacuum and perhaps one of the reasons why they’ve simply had little success over the last five years. Beset by rather asinine personnel decisions made not only by Kahn but also his predecessor Kevin McHale this organization has never gained any traction in terms of success .

With the Minnesota Timberwolves having the number # 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft it will be interesting to see the decision made by the organization. As such there isn’t a genuine consensus number one pick but the thought is that the two most desirable players could well be Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams . From there , it’s anyone’s guess as to what format will be then taken in terms of the players taken in this Draft .

As the NFL work stoppage has already entered its ninetieth day I can’t help but wonder what the optimism amongst the team owners , league hierarchy and players appears to be about ! Hell, both sides have already alienated the vast majority of fans to begin with . And no amount of public statements coming from both sides concerning the progress now being made can simply hide the fact that what we have are two groups of greedy fucking bastards ! The average salary of an NFL player is $1.9 million per year with the median salary $770,000 and the average career span being approximately three and a half years . I understand that the players are entitled the highest possible salary available to them given the inherent risks of the game . But herein lies my question do they try and identify themselves with the fan out there ? I’ve heard a number of players during this stoppage state their issues are no different from that of any employee in the work place . Personally, I seriously doubt that the working fan who attends an NFL game can actually identify with the likes of Tom Brady , Peyton Manning or even Reggie Bush for that matter when their salaries run into the millions each season . Whereas as the average salary nationwide is approximately $44,000 per year , one can well understand that fan can hardly identify with a player who’s compensation package , endorsements notwithstanding can easily exceed $15 million a year.

From a fan’s standpoint , at this moment in time I couldn’t really care if the NFL starts on schedule as planned on the 8th September 2011 . Once this dispute came into being with a stoppage the NFL simply lost me and many others as long term fans . I’m of no doubt that they will however do their utmost to lure us all back with some form of inducement that we might too unbelievable to turn down . It has already began with a number of teams around the NFL in many cases offering deep discounts on for the purchase of season tickets and game day tickets in a number of instances .

So the US Open golf tournament is underway and all of this without the game’s biggest draw in Tiger Woods . The stage is set at Congressional Golf Club in Bethseda , Maryland for any one of a number of players to step into Woods’ shoes and show the fans they can become the main draw for the event . From my own standpoint the moment made the announcement that he wouldn’t be participating in the second Major of the season I simply knew that the tournament could either become a monumental disaster from spectators yearning for excitement . As it now stands the leaderboard for the tournament midway through two rounds isn’t exactly awe inspiring . Rory McIlroy leads the event with an eight stroke lead at -11 (11 under par). And to think that a patron stated that the player’s meltdown in the year’s first Major The Masters was simply because he wasn’t good enough . I guess when your knowledge of the game borders on the level of Palin’s knowledge of jurisprudence and the number of members seated on the US Supreme Court I guess you simply have to take that for all it’s worth ? Sitting solely in second place is Y. E. Yang at -3 , in third place is Robert Garrigus at .-2.

There is still two more rounds to be played in this tournament but if McIlroy is able to keep his composure with the pressure bearing down on him then it is my belief that he can win this tournament and cement his credentials as one of the best young players on the PGA Tour . Having already established himself on the European Tour as well as a member of a winning European Ryder Cup team the future bodes well for the young Irishman . In an earlier article I had intimated that I firmly believe that the US Open could be won by a foreigner as I felt that the US born players have now simply become too disinterested in their national championship and in large , the Majors themselves . With there being vast sums at stake on the Tour schedule and total prize money in excess of $ 225 million it begs the question are they actually interested in winning or merely cashing a check for a top twenty finish ?

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show for your perusal .

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(1) Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Florida Marlins in the fifth inning of a baseball game on Thursday, June 16, 2011, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 3-0 . AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr ….

(2) PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: PHILADELPHIA, PA – JUNE 16: during the game against the at Citizens Bank Park on June 16, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 3-0. Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images ….

(3) Outfielder B.J. Upton (2) of the Tampa Bay Rays steals second base as shortstop Marco Scutaro (10) of the Boston Red Sox is late with the tag during the game at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(4) Pitching coach Jim Hickey (48) of the Tampa Bay Rays talks with pitcher David Price (14) during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on June 16, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Red Sox would go on to defeat the Rays 4-2 Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ….

(5) Spanish basketball player Ricky Rubio gives a press conference on June 17, 2011, at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona, to announce that he was leaving the Catalan team to make his debut in the NBA next season at Minnesota Timberwolves.
AFP PHOTO / JOSEP LAGO /Getty Images …

(6) Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images …

(7) T’wolves’ GM David Kahn (foreground) and the team’s owner Glen Taylor answer questions from the convened press at a team press conference. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ ap/photo/ Martin Geshell ……………….

(8) Tom Brady and Peyton Manning shake hands after an NFL game . The two celebrated quarterbacks are amongst the highest paid players in the NFL . Getty Images/ Jim Rogash ……

(9) BETHESDA, MD – JUNE 17: The handwritten scores of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in the press room during the second round of the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011 in Bethesda, Maryland. Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images ……

(10) Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland swings from the bunker on the ninth hole during the second round of the 111th US Open at Congressional Country Club on June 17, 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON ….

(11) Y. E. Yang, of South Korea, watches his drive from the fourth tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., Friday, June 17, 2011. AP Photo/Eric Gay …..

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Make It So ………………

Make It So …………..

In the aftermath of the Orlando Magic’s postseason foray the organization now faces a difficult task in trying to retain their All Star center Dwight Howard . The three time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has categorically stated that he wishes to become a free agent at the end of the 2011-12 season . With that in mind , the GM Otis Smith and President /CEO Bob Vander Weide will have to do their utmost in assuring Howard that they will do their best to improve the roster . Inasmuch as the player has what seems to be a very good relationship with his coach Stan Van Gundy and the coach’s assistants I can’t help but feel that the relationship and the coach’s tenure has ran its course .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Smith’s moves during the free agency period prove to be done more out of urgency rather than necessity . And in doing he saddled the organization with a number of burdensome contracts that were on the verge of expiring or that could well be bought out further leaving a somewhat financially strapped organization once again looking for a monetary handout from the NBA hierarchy . Encumbered with this mess , it is understandable why the player might well feel aggrieved knowing that while the team may well have finished with the fourth best record (52-30) in the Easter Conference it simply didn’t equate to much in the team’s postseason play and expectations. There was little to suggest that the acquisition of Jason Richardson , Quentin Richardson , Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu added much to the team . It was felt somehow that the Magic needed that offensive tenacity about them but in doing so they gave up something of a far more balanced team , for a team that in terms of defense was lacking and the overall cohesiveness was completely missing.

I’ve long felt that Stan Van Gundy while being a good regular season coach simply cannot get the best out of his players during the postseason. He becomes to animated , clearly can’t communicate with his players whereby he gets across his points succinctly . But what might be even more telling, is that as a coach I for one do not believe he truly knows how to assess talent at the college level and that’s even with the assistants at his disposal. If you’re trying to tell me that the likes of JJ Redick and Jameer Nelson are to be the future of this team along with Dwight Howard I would tell you this organization simply hasn’t a chance in hell of winning an NBA title !

The history of this franchise is well known and chronicled to such an extent that it’s great achievements are the two appearances made in the NBA Finals of of 1995 and 2009 . Both of which ended up being rather lopsided series’ losses for the Orlando Magic . And it would appear that if the organization is ambitious to make another appearance in the NBA’s showcase event then Otis Smith and Bob Vander Weide will seriously have to look at making a major overhaul of this roster. Unfortunately , through being too capricious and encumbering the team with a saddled beast in terms of salaried commitments totalling almost $75 million for the 2011-12 season it’s hard to see how the two executives will address this matter . Buyouts notwithstanding , the organization would still have to address the issues of trades and the NBA Draft . And if as to be expected Howard is unwilling to sign a two year contract extension then the organization will most certainly have to look to trade their All Star center.

And in the upcoming draft the situation for the Orlando Magic hasn’t been made any easier given the fact that the team does not have a pick in the first rounds . It is not until the second round and the 23rd pick (number 53 overall) that the Magic will have the benefit of making their first choice in the 2011 NBA Draft. And given that there isn’t a dearth of marquee talent in this draft beyond the first 10 to 15 picks that t I do believe that the organization will actually struggle to replenish the roster with the prerequisite requirements thought to be needed by the Orlando Magic .

With the Magic now housed in their new multi million state of the art venue the Amway Center housed in downtown Orlando at the taxpayers’ expense ___- to say that the organization isn’t now chasing after the proverbial pot of gold in terms of competitive success, contending for an NBA title is of the utmost desire for team owner Rich De Vos and his fellow executives . Coming off a 2010 —- season where success was short of expectations and once again where the team is expected post a loss for the fiscal year it has to be said the impending loss of Dwight Howard could be a forebearer of impending doom and gloom for the team and its fans. In 2009 the Orlando Magic and fifteen other NBA franchises were the recipients of $ 450 million by way of the league hierarchy secured in loans from various financial institutions. NBA Commissioner David Stern said at the time …… ” that these loans shouldn’t be viewed as a bailout of the teams in question but merely as a way of bolstering their financial security “. The very same edict and feat was repeated again this past season with a further $ 300 million again loaned to teams and it now begs the question if these franchises are said to have acute financial problems then what does that say about the league hierarchy itself ? Financial woes notwithstanding , I firmly believe that even with the ongoing issues at hand between the NBA and NBPA concerning the existing collective bargaining agreement (due to expire 30th June) it is quite obvious that the plight of the Orlando Magic will almost certainly be one where a prudent choice may well be the right decision that could end up being determining how the negotiations between the two parties are resolved and where Dwight Howard’s future will ultimately lay.

NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher know full well with the 53/47 split in terms of the league revenues totaling approximately $4.5 billion there has to be an accord reached between the league and the union. With the two sides meandering towards some type of agreement but no real sign that there’s a compromise it leaves the sports fan if we are about to see the same sort of stupidity shown by the NFL , NFLPA and the team owners . And at this moment in time that scenario looks as if it could also raise its head amongst the NBA team owners , league hierarchy and union .

The consequences of Dwight Howard possibly leaving the Magic from a competitive and financial standpoint would be a disaster in numerous ways . Having lost Shaquille O’Neal due to a lack of ambition on the part of the organization and quite possibly due to the fact that O’Neal felt that he was a minnow in a small pond . As we know the recently retired player went on to great success with the Los Angeles Lakers and thereon after. GM John Gabriel who has since left the organization and coach Brian Hill had a measured amount of success with the Magic but in the aftermath of it all that success has been fleeting with the organization . Upheavals within the front office and through the coaching carousel that tends to happen with such instances the turnaround started with the drafting of Dwight Howard and not long after the installation of Smith as general manager and acquiring at the time what the a group of players who would complement the player’s skill-set.

The decisions that are made within an organization can shape that entity either immediately or over the course of its future . This will be one decision that either way could have a long and lasting effect on what direction that this basketball franchise could very well be heading in . It remains to be seen what decision will be made by the Dwight Howard and whether or not he will be persuaded to stay with the team . The persuasiveness of Bob Vander Weide and Otis Smith has to be pronounced and with intent if they are to have any chance of proving to the player that they are capable of being prominent and perennial contenders within the NBA .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

As an NBA fan do you feel that it would be in the best interest of Dwight Howard to remain with the Orlando Magic or simply leave the organization as a free agent or would it be in the Magic’s best interest to seek a sign and trade deal for the player ? Your comments if any as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….. https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 28: Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic reacts after a missed basket during game six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …….

(2) A message for and to Dwight ? A fan holds up a neon green sign with the words “Kryptonite” written on it during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(3) Dwight Howard (12) of the Orlando Magic reacts after a turnover to the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images/ Kevin C Cox …..

(4) Gilbert Arenas (1) of the Orlando Magic drives to the basket against Josh Smith (5) and Al Horford (15) of the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images / Kevin C Cox …..

(5) Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy (C) yells at referees to play the game as forward Hedo Turkoglu (R) and CEO of the Magic Bob Vander Weide (L) look on as their team plays the Atlanta Hawks during second half of Game 2 of their NBA Eastern Conference first round playoff basket ball game in Orlando, Florida April 19, 2011.The Magic beat the Hawks 88 – 82 . REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski …..(UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

(6) Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith (right) received 3-year contract extensions from the NBA franchise. They are talking about it with the Orlando Media . courtesy of Orlando Sentinel ………

NBA commissioner David Stern, left, chats with Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos during the first half of Game 1 in a second-round of the NBA basketball playoff series between the Magic and the Atlanta Hawks in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Stern announced earlier Tuesday that the 2012 All-Star Game will be held in Orlando. AP Photo/John Raoux ……..

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NB: NBA salary cap is $57.75 million for the 2010-11 season

It’s The Results That Matter …………………

It’s The Results That Matter

Well the baseball season is slowly unfolding and as it to be expected the highs and low of the season are to be expected . The Minnesota Twins it appears is on its way to becoming synonymous with mediocrity within baseball for this season . It will be interesting to see if the team does indeed end up with the worst record in baseball at season’s end. And for Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire this can’t have been what he expected for his team and the very fact that their All Star catcher Joe Mauer was lost to the Twins for a prolonged period. The Minnesota Twins for their part have made Target Field in Minnesota something of an elephant’s graveyard with the mediocre play and lack of the real cohesion as a team .

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It would appear having got back to winning ways of sort in defeating the Texas Rangers —- 8-1 one would have thought that victory would enough to provide the Twins’ fans with some form of relief but nothing could be further from the truth. The Minnesota Twins are languishing at the bottom of the NL Central with a 25-39 record , some 10 games behind the division leading Cleveland Indians (34-28). Having won 8 of their last ten games the Twins continue to struggle and one would be hard pressed to believe that over the remainder of the season they could prove to be serious challengers not just for the division but also for a wildcard berth within the AL .

The month of June will tell us a great deal as to the directions that a number of teams will be taking . From a personal standpoint although I just can’t see the Twins making any sort of change that would have me believing that they can actually turn things around . This team appears to be lacking in confidence and I doubt that Gardenhire and his coaching staff can now coax this team to play with any level of consistency in spite of their last ten games. This has been a season thus far that I believe that the Twins’ fans and players would rather forget as they simply move systematically back and forth in terms of an uneven season .

The CONCACAF Gold Cup has started and no doubt Team USA under the management of coach Bob Bradley was hoping to see the team show some improvement as a sign that they are heading in the right direction in lieu of the FIFA —- World Cup (2014) in Brazil in 2012 . The team is off to an inauspicious start in Group C having played three games , winning one , a draw and a rather embarrassing 2-1 loss to Panama . If anything this result shows that Bradley faces a stiff challenging a team that will have the right traits not only to qualify for the World Cup but also have some semblance in winning the Gold Cup.

Viewed as a pre tournament contender and favorite alongside Mexico the team still stands a good chance of making out of the group qualifying rounds before the format of the tournament then becomes a knockout competition . Starved of an out and out attacker with formidable goal scoring talent this has simply been the Bradley’s biggest lament . In the tournament the team’s joint top scorers are Clint Dempsey are Clarence Goodson with one goal apiece . I have always maintained that the real problem with the game of soccer resonating amongst the large majority of the fans here comes from the very fact that it is merely viewed as a recreational pass-time . And even though MLS a divisional endeavor is up and running the league itself still struggles to create any form of a seismic rumble amongst fans . Granted with the number of international stars acquired to add some glamor to the league it really hasn’t helped given the fact that the likes of Thierry Henry , David Beckham and Maicon Santos are either players who were unable to establish themselves domestically in their respective countries or in the cases of Henry and Beckham their best is simply now a thing of the past.

This Gold Cup was obviously viewed as a precursor for the upcoming World Cup and with Bradley obviously wanting gain some semblance of consistency instead he now has a team that is bereft of creativity and ideas in light of this rather humiliating 2-1 loss to Panama a team that seven times out of ten they should beat handily .

The team now faces a stern test in their next game to be played with Group C against Guadeloupe on the 14 th June . A win is a necessity if they’re to not only qualify from the group but also gain a favorable match-up in the knockout phase of the competition . It remains to be seen whether or not Bradley will be able to regroup his players and have them ready in time for the match .

At the start of the NBA season it seemed that in large part the vast majority of fans were already prepared to anoint the Miami Heat as NBA champions even before the season had started . With the acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James to add alongside Dwyane Wade it appeared that all the Heat had to do was to simply waltz their way through their schedule and lay waste to the opposition during the postseason . Well as stories go this was a script that was still being written for the drama that would be played out in the NBA Finals .

The Dallas Mavericks may well be viewed as the underdogs coming into this series but if anything only a fool would actually have felt that way and there’s a reason why Vegas simply lured the suckers in with the odds favoring the Heat . Up 3-2 in the best of seven game series and with the final two games being on the Heat’s home-court of AAA Arena , Miami , Florida in order to close out the series . The Heat players in particular James and Wade knew exactly what was on the line for them not only in terms of the team players but the franchise as a whole . Team President Pat Riley and team owner Micky Arison’s master plan had been put into effect. An assortment of role players to surround their trio of superstars and all that had to be completed would be the defeat of the Mavericks to justify the whole experiment and season as a whole .
If only the Heat players and in particular James , Wade and Bosh had left their enormous egos at the door ! Instead we saw how complacent all three had become and the classness of their demeanor throughout much of the series . And for Erik Spoelstra one has to wonder whether or not some of the blame will be layed at his door beyond that of the players and in particular the triumvirate of superstars ?

Contempt and ignorance when it manifests itself in a team , then more often than not it tends to lead to disaster and it became a reality for the Miami Heat as their hold on what they believe to be rightfully theirs was taken right out of their presumed grasp by a Mavericks’ team that simply hungered for the title even more so than their opponent . Dirk Nowitzki along with Jason Terry and JJ Barea simply showed why at times it’s great to see the good guys actually win ! The trio led the team by example and outplayed the Heat when it mattered most and by securing the deciding game six victory 105-95 the Dallas Mavericks would secure the organization’s first NBA title . And for the victorious team owner Mark Cuban this had to be the most relishing moment in his tenure as the owner of the basketball club .
Perhaps the most heart warming moment after the Finals had ended was in knowing that seasoned veterans Jason Terry , Nowitzki and Jason Kidd could finally acknowledge that they can indeed now be looked upon as being champions .

Dirk Nowitzki justifiably so , was named Finals MVP with his stellar play throughout the postseason and the Finals itself . On the flip side of the case that will now be made ……….. was the hyperbole over the Heat simply worth it considering how lackluster this team’s performances were ? We had James and Wade mocking Nowitzki’s illness prior to game 6 and even if it were meant in jest it showed how lacking in class the duo were ! Pretty much sums up how best to describe a bunch of self absorbed athletes who simply believe that the entitlement mentality and adoration makes them the persons that they are ! From my own perspective I am thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of seeing the Heat being hoisted on their own petards in front of their home crowd . It makes that defeat all the more embarrassing not just for the fans but the whole organization as a whole . Perhaps after this James and Wade will have at least learned some civility rather than the odious behavior that they’d shown throughout much of the regular and postseason. The results matter but so too does the demeanor under which a team carries themselves during a sporting event and that simply wasn’t shown here with the Miami Heat. Decorum was never within their sphere as they simply strolled around without any deference to anyone at all !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ……………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Arthur Rhodes (53) of the Texas Rangers pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the eighth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …..

(2) Delmon Young (21) of the Minnesota Twins singles against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images …….

(3) Ben Revere (11) of the Minnesota Twins steals second base as shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) of the Texas Rangers catches the ball during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ………..

(4) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 11: Alexi Casilla (12) of the Minnesota Twins hits an RBI single while Mike Napoli (25) of the Texas Rangers defends home plate during the fourth inning of their game on June 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rangers 8-1. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images ….

(5) Clarence Goodson (21) of Team United States celebrates his goal against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images / J Meric ……..

(6) Jozy Altidore (17) of Team United States advances the ball against Team Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. J Meric / Getty Images North America ….

(7) Team Panama celebrates their victory over Team United States during the CONCACAF Gold Cup Match at Raymond James Stadium on June 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images North America ……

(8) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban carries the NBA Championship basketball trophy as he leads the team off the jet after their arrival at Love Field in Dallas, Monday, June 13, 2011. The Mavericks beat the Heat to win the championship. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(9) “I am not a pussy . ” LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat looks on dejected against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images …..

(10) Tyson Chandler (right) of the Dallas Mavericks attempts a shot against Miami Heat in the Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / POOL / David J. Phillip ……

(11) TOPSHOTS : Dirk Nowitzki(notes) (R) of the Dallas Mavericks shoots before Chris Bosh(notes) (L) of the Miami Heat during Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT ….

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Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid …………. But F#k It I’m Going To Say It !

Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid …………. But F#k It I’m Going To Say It !

Ah the latest tidbit in the sports world that seems to be norm at present PGA Tour professional Tiger Woods made the formal announcement that he will not be playing in the US Open at Congressional Country Club , Bethseda , Maryland . And once again the bell seem to be tolling as most prognosticate whether or not Woods’ reign at the top is about to implode . The player is now ranked outside the top ten (ranked 15th in the latest rankings) of the World Rankings for the first time in over a decade . From my own standpoint the player apart from recurring injuries, Woods is now gunshy and is completely lacking in confidence . Now sliding down the rankings faster than a cheetah at full speed , it is becoming abundantly clear that we’re now seeing a player whose determination to win is still there but the physical attributes that made him a once dominant player no longer remains . His peers on the PGA Tour no longer seem to be intimidated by their once great nemesis . And this being the national championship I’m not sure that the second major of the season will be won by a US born player , it could well be won by a foreign player and therein lies the situation with regard to the PGA Tour. US talent is now merely about the players here winning the mundane events on the PGA Tour rather than the Majors (The Masters, US Open , British Open and PGA Championship) .

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I have got to admit I will be pleasantly surprised if the winner of the US Open is an American because simply put the inconsistency of Phil Mickelson , Hunter Mahan , Steve Stricker simply doesn’t cut it amongst the real fans of the PGA Tour . It is Woods who drives the meters and the gossip on the Tour while lesser lights are simply the topic of the moment .

Can someone remind me why it is that I simply ought to be interested in the career of Floyd Mayweather as a boxer ? Undoubtedly talented , Mayweather is now more widely known more for his outside the ring run ins with the law , rather than for anything that he has achieved within the ring . A multiple weight divisional champion , the fighter now hopes to challenge Victor Ortiz for his WBC welterweight title this September (venue yet to be arranged) , as Maywether will be making a return to the ring for the first time in almost 18 months since he last fought and defeated Shane Mosley in a bout that was about as entertaining as the viewing of a head on collision between two high speed locomotives.

Ortiz , twelve years Mayweather’s junior knows that this will be a step up in class and at the same time he knows that should he pull off the impossible and defeat the former titlist , then the world becomes his oyster with limitless opportunies to establish himself amongst the top fighters in the world . The sport of boxing has become mundane and the mere fact that the desired fight between Manny Pacquiao no longer seems to be a priority amongst either fighter or the respective promoters. All the talk and hype in the world won’t change the fact that the proposed bout was never on the cards to begin with . They say money talks bullshit walks , well walk it did , as there was such a stench created by Bob Arum , Mayweather’s own camp and co promoter Oscar de La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions Inc.

When this bout actually takes place between Floyd Mayweather and Ortiz there may well be some passing interest there but I for one simply don’t believe that Mayweather is the draw that he once was ! His own failings as a father , a man and as an example to his children leaves a lot to be desired . And with the allegations of spousal abuse , verbal abuse of his children and the threatening of a witness with physical violence simply indicates that from a mental standpoint Mayweather’s faculties might not be all there . If Floyd Mayweather were to step away from boxing today he may well be sorely missed but from my own perspective the sooner he walks away the better off the sport will be !

Well the MLB Draft for 2011 (held in Seacaucus New Jersey) this past Monday , and before we knew it , it was over. Truth be known, it was something of a non-event given the fact that the highlights weren’t shown on either network television or on ABC/ESPN , Fox Sports or for that matter TBS . Instead the whole event was televised live by the MLB Network . There’s a reason why the MLB hierarchy cooperates with their broadcast partners but somehow this wasn’t a time they felt it necessary . Now don’t get me wrong but a from business standpoint I’m not so sure that the league itself much less its teams are on a sure footing financially. The ongoing saga with the Los Angeles Dodgers has become cannon fodder for the sports pages across the nation . And less we forget, the woefully inept the New York Mets in spite of the $200 million investment in the organization by hedge fund manager David Einhorn has me believing that the league has to intervene sooner rather than later.

The Pittsburgh Pirates were the beneficiaries of having the number one overall pick with the organization taking the UCLA Bruins’ Gerrit Cole as their choice. One can understand the reason why the MLB Draft plays second fiddle to the NBA , NFL in terms of their respective drafts and the mere fact of the visibility raised when the events are televised . Granted , there’s more of an interest in the NFL’s Draft and the mere fact that the draft geeks are front and center in assessing the merits of the decisions made by the respective general managers around the league. Inasmuch , as Bud Selig would like to sell us on the merits of the event I don’t really believe that the commissioner himself believes that other than the consumed fan who’s so into the draft there is a heightened interest in the decisions being made.

Well the madness has to stop , it is now or never but fu#k it , sanity has to enter the domain at this juncture. In the sports world where it’s about the immediacy of the here and now , in terms of what have you done for me lately ? In the NBA it appears that the vast majority of fans were already prepared to anoint the Miami Heat as the 2011 NBA champions. Having seen the San Antonio Spurs bow out in the first round of the postseason and as a fan that result was a profound disappointment to me ! The Dallas Mavericks simply made their way through the playoffs with consummate ease and then in the Western Conference Finals they simply manhandled the Los Angeles Lakers , the two time defending NBA champions .

The Finals’ match-up that many had been had desired didn’t materialize as we now have the workman like Mavericks teeing up against the star laden Miami Heat led by LeBron James , Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade . With the series now tied at two games apiece and the knives are out after a diabolical display on Tuesday night by James __ eight points though from a defensive standpoint the player stood his ground but offensively he was more of a detriment to his team . The knives will be out and directly aimed LeBron James. And this being the player who actually anointed himself ‘King James’ and then simply ran with it ? The two time league MVP had one of those games where nothing seem to have gone right but at the same time he rode into town announcing that this team would be good enough to win multiple titles __verbatim “not one , not two but three , four , five and why not six titles ” ? Hey LeBron let’s not get completely ahead of ourselves, you’ve already become an ingrate and are about as welcomed in the Cleveland area multiple doses of the ebola virus . Now you’re bringing your undoubted talents to South Beach but an ego that is large as the Grand Canyon will not make you all the more likeable at this juncture. I just hope for your sake at this moment in time should this team fail …….. you don’t choose to apportion blame elsewhere ?

The three point loss (83-86) told me a great deal about the Miami Heat and in particular about the ‘ Big Three’ on this team ! When placed under a great deal of adversity they are inclined to wilt under pressure and nowhere was this more self evident than last night . James was guilty of failing to deliver the goods and now the excuses will be made as to the reasons why and whether or not LeBron bears a great deal of that blame . While the protagonists out there were trying to make a case that James is now ready to wear the crown worn by Michael Jordan as the best player in the NBA . Here is simply another reason why those very same protagonists should simply shut the hell up and let history take its course , rather thrust upon LeBron James something that he has yet to deserve. It does a great disservice not only to the game but also to its image and Jordan’s legacy.

Lebron James may well yet become a truly great player and have a long and successful career in the league but as of now he’s yet to lead a team to a title and when last I looked , a runner up finish simply meant nothing to even the most ardent of fans !

On the flip side of the script Dirk Nowitzki simply showed why without him the Dallas Mavericks would simply be viewed as an also ran within the league . Now as they look to claim their first NBA title it will be interesting to see whether or not his teammates finally are beginning to believe that they are indeed capable of defeating the Miami Heat . It’s all well and good Jason Terry emblazoning a tattoo on his right bicep as an omen . But given the fact that Terry’s own displays during this series and the playoffs overall have been intermittent I’d say it’s time for him to get with the damn program !

There’s a great deal at stake for both teams in particular for the Miami Heat and their financial viability. Repeated losses over the last few years can’t hide the desperation of team President Pat Riley and Heat owner Micky Arison . The acquisition of Bosh and James wasn’t about merely a last ditch attempt to retain Dwyane Wade but also to shore up the financial coffers of the Miami Heat. Had they not been able to lure the two All Stars then in all likelihood Wade would have been playing elsewhere this season and with that the growing losses of the organization would be like a dead weight around the neck of the organization . Riley knows that a compelling series victory will bode well for the future of the Miami Heat and from a financial standpoint it would be greatly beneficial. As of now this series is far from over and the worrisome situation is that for LeBron James, his struggles continue in an NBA Final. Swept aside by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 in the Finals of that year when James was a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers . That sole appearance until this year has been something of a nightmare for the player that many have stated has become the new “King of the NBA “ . Doesn’t a King wear a crown and just to add mere substance to those claims shouldn’t he have at least won something that actually resonates with the fans as a whole ? Style over substance means fu#k all but there are those who actually believe otherwise . How naive !

Game five is scheduled for tonight hosted by the Dallas Mavericks in what will be no doubt a sold-out American Airlines Center in Dallas , Texas . Vociferous Mavericks’ fans are sure to get behind Rick Carlisle and his team , with those very same fans being of the belief if they can eke out a victory then they are but a win away from winning their first NBA title . Can you imagine what the fallout may well be should the Miami Heat fail to win what many believe had been preordained ? I for one believe nothing is merely given to you without you actually deserving it ! And nothing that the Miami Heat has achieved so far would suggest that they deserving of winning the NBA title , merely because they are now in the Finals . It has been this sort of complacency that has been clearly visible with many of the players on this Hear roster , including James , himself .

Should Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks triumph this may well be right way for him to bow out of the game with his legacy firmly entrenched within the annals of the game and perhaps the best European player to have played in the NBA ?

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Simply chime in with a comment on the topics raised within this piece as you see fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) This December 3, 2010 file photo shows Tiger Woods of USA as he puts his hat back on as he walks off the 18th green after finishing the second round, at the 2010 Chevron World Challenge at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the all-time record of 18 won by Jack Nicklaus, said June 7, 2011 that he will not play in next week’s US Open golf tournament. Left knee and tendon pain has bothered Woods for the past month. “Not playing in US Open. Very disappointed. Short-term frustration for long-term gain,” Woods posted on his Twitter microblogging website. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK /GETTY IMAGES ……

(2) In this June 25, 2008 photo, golfer Michael Whitehead, who is currently a senior at Rice, poses for a photograph in Houston. Whitehead, who was first alternate from the Dallas qualifier, will replace Tiger Woods in the U.S. Open after Woods withdrew due to lingering issues with his left leg. AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Karen Warren ….

(3) PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL – MAY 12: Tiger Woods addresses the media after withdrawing on the ninth hole during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2011 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Woods announced June 7, 2011 that he will not play in the U.S. Open because of an injury to his left leg. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(4) Phil Mickelson hits his tee shot on the par 4 10th hole during the third round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 4, 2011 in Dublin, Ohio. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

(5) FILE – In this April 30, 2010 file photo, Floyd Mayweather Jr. steps on the scale at a weigh-in ceremony before a WBA welterweight boxing title fight against Shane Mosley in Las Vegas. Mayweather, the undefeated six-time world champion, says on his Twitter feed Tuesday, June 7, 2011, he will end a 16-month hiatus from boxing when he faces WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz on September 17. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File ……

(6) Victor Ortiz (left) the challenger makes sure that Andre Berto’s (left) defense of his WBC welterweight title will be a brief one . Ortiz would defeat the former title holder in a unanimous decision in the bout held at the Foxwoods Resort , Mashantucket ,Connecticut ,. Getty Images / Chris Borbon ……

(7) Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison, right, talks to president Pat Riley during a basketball practice for the NBA finals, Wednesday, June 8, 2011, in Dallas. The Heat will face the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series that is tied 2-2, Thursday, June 9, 2011. Do they now have something to be extremely worried about ? AP Photo/David J. Phillip ………

(8) DALLAS, TX – JUNE 08: LeBron James of the Miami Heat attends NBA Finals Media Availability on June 8, 2011 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images ………

(9) Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle applauds while Dirk Nowitzki (L) walks off the court during game 4 of the NBA Finals on June 7, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 86-83. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK /GETTY IMAGES …………

(10) LeBron James (C) of the Miami Heat is guarded by Jason Kidd (L) and Tyson Chandler of the Dallas Mavericks during game 4 of the NBA Finals on June 7, 2011 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 86-83. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK / GETTY IMAGES ……..
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Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Sports Stories That Simply Aren’t Worth Reporting But Somehow They’re Out There

Minnesota Timberwolves’ coach Kurt Rambis is said to be aggrieved as to the uncertainty concerning his impending future with the organization. Given his coaching record and the mere fact that the Timberwolves had another miserable season pretty much sums up what the front office’s thoughts may well be on the beleaguered coach . Team owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn surely know that with the upcoming NBA Draft due to take place on the 23rd June they can ill afford to any type of indecision on their part. They either retain the coach or relieve him of his duties and immediately start a search for his successor. Any indecsiveness on their part hurts the image of the franchise and shows complete ineptitude to the fans and across the NBA landscape in general .

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Things are difficult as it as already for the Minnesota Timberwolves without now further opening up themselves to ridicule concerning their coach and his job status. But then again the mindset within this organization can be easily summed up in two words …” woefully inept “.

Now don’t get me wrong I was happy to see the New York Knicks make the NBA postseason but the mere fact that their sojourn there lasted about as long as Usain Bolt would take to run a 100m race , essentially told you all that you needed to know about this team and such the organization. Team owner James Dolan is looking to extend the contract of GM Donnie Walsh the seventy four year old senior executive within the Knicks’ organization . If the rumors are to be believed Dolan wanted offer Walsh a two year contract extension as they seek to rebuild the basketball team . Donnie Walsh in spite of his undoubted NBA knowledge knows that in many ways he’s not getting any younger and at the same time his job placed him under a great deal of pressure allowing him very little time to be with his family. The general manager has told the owner that he will not be returning to the organization next season , choosing instead to relinquish his duties with the New York Knicks .

I certainly would have thought that the New York Knicks would be better prepared in terms of having a long term plan as to successor by having someone within their front office be tutored by Walsh since his original hiring by the organization. But somehow given the plethora of executives that make up board of the New York Knicks you simply knew that sheer incompetency wouldn’t be far behind in terms of the decision making that the organization has come to be known for. If Hank Ratner or any other of his peers aren’t capable of assuming Walsh’s role , then I would hate to think that Knicks would be idiotic enough to rehire Isiah Thomas to a position he once held within the organization. There is no way in hell that the Knicks would consider rehiring their former VP & Head of Basketball Operations , albeit , that Thomas stated that he has no interest in rejoining the organization but then again we are talking about the New York Knicks .

Cyclist Lance Armstrong the seven time winner of the Tour de France continues to maintain his innocence concerning the latest admissions by Armstrong’s former teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie former teammates members on the Radio Shack team ran team manager by Johan Bruyneel . The ongoing cause-de-celebre concerning concerning Armstrong’s innocence , the fact both Hamilton’s and Hincapie’s evidence was sworn testimony under oath given to law officials of the Justice Department . It would be simply idiotic to think that either cyclist would choose to perjure themselves knowing well that a federal sentence would await them courtesy of the Bureau of Prisons within the federal penitentiary system. In the advent of this all Armstrong seeks an apology from CBS News and in particular from the producers of the broadcast outlets news magazine program ’60 Minutes’. Anyone who witnessed the in depth segment on Tyler Hamilton and in particular his allegations concerning his former teammate would be hard pressed not to believe that allegations made by Hamilton . If nothing else Armstrong who has been adding to defense with a legion of of defense attorneys in pursuant of the Justice Department’s decision to seek the indictment of Armstrong for the illegal use of use steroids in particular EPO and several other known illicit substances .

From my own perspective cycling may well be the most corrupt sport on the landscape and the mere fact that UCI the international governing body for cycling has been literally all too slow in seeking to clean up its sport. L’Equipe which oversees the Tour de France has been less reluctant to actually come forward and say that they have not done enough to make this sport more appealing and its image above reproach . Instead L’Equipe’s greatest wish has been simply to make millions of dollars through the event with the broadcast rights of the Tour across the globe. My own wish would be to see the IOC the governing body of the Summer Olympics to simply suspend the sport from the Olympics until UCI has a strict and comprehensive drug policy in place . It would not be too much to ask but the idiocy within the sport of cycling does leave a great deal to be desired ! It has been all talk and with two of the sport’s most visible faces having been embroiled in drug controversy only a complete idiot would take this sport seriously and think that it has something tangible to offer !

Clearly anyone who believes that the Chicago Cubs’ fortunes are about to change hasn’t been watching this team play at all. I’m not saying that the curse of the goat still looms over Wrigley Field but at this juncture if a tornado were to hit that storied edfice the aftermath in terms of the destruction brought it would be a hell of a lot better than what the Cubs’ fans have been asked to endure since the start of the season . The NL Central where the Cubs reside along with the division leading St Louis Cardinals (33-24) whereas the Chicago Cubs have simply been mediocre . This team is on a three game losing streak and has lost seven of their last ten games during which manager Mike Quade and his coaching staff have tried to to the players playing with a great deal more resolve. GM Jim Hendry along with the ownership group headed by the Ricketts’ family has simply tried to instill a sense of purpose of and an eagerness to win . The long terms of efforts can’t go unrecognized with regard to the refurbishment of Wrigley Field in order to make the venue fan friendly. But that in of itself won’t be enough as the organization seeks its World Series title in over a century . Simply put the years of mediocrity that the fans may well have thought long gone still seem to be alive and present. .

So the so called saga concerning Alex Rodriguez’s stance that he simply abused the league’s steroid policy through sheer naivete` and the fact that he and his cousin Yuri Sucart were simply looking to get an edge no longer seems to make any sense . In the aftermath of his admission and apology to the league hierarchy and the New York Yankees still hasn’t stopped the player from associating with his cousin after Rodriguez having been advised not to associate communicate with Sucart on the Yankees’ property or any baseball facility during the season . It would appear that the requests are lost on Alex Rodriguez with there now being evidence to suggest that the player and Sucart have been seen together at the St Regis Hotel in San Francisco prior to a recent game played against the Oakland Athletics at the A’s ballpark . What might be even more unpalatable is the very fact that Sucart has accompanied Rodriguez to several games this season with the player knowing full well that he has been advised by senior executives within the Yankees’ hierarchy not to associate with his cousin.

If one remembers Rodriguez’s apology suggested that he and Yuri Sucart were merely experimenting with the use of steroids and the regimen followed was he says… so ill disciplined that it’s hard to take the player at his word when it has come to light that his name has come up repeatedly , in conjunction with the indictment of Orlando medical professional Dr Anthony Galea . The doctor is now awaiting trial with regard to the sale and transportation of illicit narcotics and steroids across international borders . The Justice Department having arraigned and indicted Galea ____ they are now seeking assistance from the medical professional in seeking the indictment of other subjects to whom he supplied steroids and other illicit substances. Many of the individuals that Anthony Galea is said to have supplied are a professional athletes in MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL and college athletes . If that isn’t now a cause for concern given the fact that Commissioner Bud Selig is still of the belief that the game now has the strictest testing policy in all professional sports , one has to ask what they will now do in light of these latest allegations concerning Alex Rodriguez. And with the player being less than forthright when asked about his name being associated with Galea and his cousin Yuri Sucart can we really now expect anything form of action by the league ? Rob Manfred a senior league official and Head for VP of Player Relations has spoken directly within the New York Yankees concerning Rodriguez’s association with his cousin. If this is what the league believes to be the appropriate action I firmly believe that the league has no idea as to what it takes to stem the flow of the illicit use of PED’s within the game , with players now flouting clear instructions makes a mockery their edicts . Is it any wonder that Manny Ramirez having failed a second drug test was allowed to walk away without any form of punishment levied against him by the league ? That is the complete asinine stance that MLB has with regard to its stance when players flout the rules . As for MLBPA and their Executive Director Michael Weiner and his response to what is now an acute issue that even the league and union have failed to really address .

In the wake of the Jim Tressel fiasco we are now learning that the quarterback for the football team Terrelle Pryor had been driving on a suspended license . What is now coming to light concerning this also is the very fact that the player who drives a 2011 Nissan 350Z which we have been informed was purchased by his mother Thomasina Pryor as a trade in . In light of that however since Pryor’s entrance to Ohio State he has been driving around in a number of vehicles for which there is no substantive evidence that would suggest he owned the vehicles in question or that they were leased by the player. The longer this saga has gone on the more idiotic both university President E Gordon Gee and the AD Gene Smith appear to be in light of their actions and what we now know Tressel had suppressed from his superiors . As the investigation went on both Gee and Smith stood behind their actions of a mere suspension and monetary fine of the coach knowing full well that were other far more serious allegations that had already come to light. Now with Pryor now subject of the school’s own internal investigation we’re now finding out that the NCAA is prepared to conduct their own separate investigation into the player and these latest allegations. And one wonders how corrupt collegiate sports is now said to be ? Why not simply allow the players to be paid, gamble on their games and have done with it ? It is becoming abundantly clear that collegiate athletics no longer can be taken seriously on any level at all !

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What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support as it is gratefully appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………………………..

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) MINNEAPOLIS, MN – APRIL 13: Head coach Kurt Rambis of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play against the Houston Rockets during a game on April 13, 2011 at Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves’ front office is said to be undecided as to whether or the coach will be retained for the upcoming season. Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images ….

(2) David Kahn seated right alongside Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor. Kahn recently assumed the mantel of being the team’s GM as well as Head of Basketball Operations. He’s also keep the title of President of the Timberwolves’ organizational structure. Besides having to deal with the Rubio situation Kahn also will be in search of a new coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ Richard Clarke-Patterson ………

(3) GM Donnie Walsh (seated left) is seen here alongside Knicks’ team owner James Dolan . Walsh has declined the team’s offer for a two year contract extension deciding instead to be with his family , retiring from the NBA having been involved in the sport for over four decades. AP Photo/ Chris Young ….

(4) Lance Armstrong of the USA, riding for Team Astana, speaks with Astana team director Johan Bruyneel before the start of stage six of the 2009 Tour Down Under January 25, 2009 in Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ….

(5) Tyler Hamilton seen here during his interview with 60 Minutes’ correspondent Scott Pelley reiterates his position that former teammate Lance Armstrong knowingly took EPO amongst other illicit banned substances during competition. Courtesy of CBS News/Getty Images …

(6) Aramis Ramirez (16) of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-RBI double against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 5, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Cubs 3-2 in 10 innings. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry is seen here with Alfonso Soriano as the player is formally introduced to the convened press . AP Photo/ Tonny Todd ….

(8) Cubs’ manager Mike Quade all smiles for the moment but for how long ? His job isn’t yet imperiled but who knows should the <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp?c_id=chc&quot;. team continue to lose without any real effort on the part of the players ? Getty Images / Keith Stoddart …….

(9) Yuri Sucart , cousin of Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez and whose name has once again been associated with the player in spite of the warnings issued to the player and New York Yankees’ organization. Both Rodriguez and Yucart were seen together in public at the St Regis Hotel and then again at the A’s ballpark . It would appear that the player has failed to heed the requests of MLB as well as the New York Yankees in not associating with his relative . The player who in his admission to the use of steroids stated that he was supplied with the prohibited substances by Yuri Sucart . AP/Getty Images / Rafael T Aguillar ……

(10) ANAHEIM, CA – JUNE 5: the New York Yankees the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on June 5, 2011 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Yankees won 5-3 . Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ….

(11) In this photo taken Monday, May 30, 2011, Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives for a players only meeting at the Woody Hayes Complex in Columbus, Ohio. Pryor, the highest profile recruit of former coach Jim Tressel’s 25-year coaching career, is one of five Buckeyes who have already been suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for taking money and tattoos from local tattoo-parlor owner Edward Rife, who pleaded guilty last week to federal drug trafficking and money-laundering charges. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam …

(12) Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor arrives in this Nissan 350Z, center, to a players only meeting Monday, May 30, 2011, at the Woody Hayes Complex, in Columbus, Ohio. AP Photo/Terry Gilliam ……..

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Who’s Minding The Store ………….. ?

Who’s Minding The Store ?

I really like to understand how it is that with the financial uncertainty that still swirls around the Los Angeles Dodgers that Newscorp through its Fox subsidiary would see fit to loan Fank McCourt of the Los Angeles Dodgers $30 million to meet the organization’s expenses in terms of paying the team’s salary and that of the other anciliary employees . With the league hierarchy of baseball having brought in C Thomas Schieffer a former Texas Rangers executive as well as being the former US ambassador to Japan to oversee the day to day operations of the Dodgers I would be under the impression that given the Dodgers’ ongoing financial difficulties the league would want to make sure that McCourt would be able to guarantee the repayment of any loan taken out by him to meet the team’s expenses. Not only that but given the fact that Frank McCourt and his now ex wife Jamie McCourt between 2004 through to 2009 had borrowed in excess of $100 million from the team without there being any record to indicate that this sum had been repaid . Now should he be unable to meet the team’s payroll over the coming month there is an even greater chance in all likelihood that the league may well have no other option but to seek the sale of of the Los Angeles Dodgers but first they would have ask McCourt to completely relinquish control of the team.

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Clearly there’s something still amiss concerning the Dodgers , their finances and the mere fact that it has taken MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and his associates within the league hierarchy to even intervene in this situation leads me to believe that their business acumen and what we’re told are sound business practices are complete and sheer utter stupidity . From business standpoint I sincerely doubt that the vast majority of the owners around the league as well as the general managers would know the actual difference between a baking sheet and a balance sheet !

As this ongoing saga continues the less faith I have in the game’s integrity and that of the league hierarchy ! Bud Selig has become a clown of inconceivable magnitude and the fact that given the idiocy of the actions of the executives within the Dodgers’ organization most notably GM Ned Colletti , CFO Peter Wilhelm and Frank McCourt , whose own actions have been so egregious and clearly premeditated I cannot understand how it is that there seems to be no punishment of the owner for his misdeeds other than the mere fact that the league has essentially taken control of the organization. There is a great deal that McCourt has chosen not to be made public and at the same time it would appear that the league wants to cover up many of its own ineptitude in the handling of this situation. Frank McCourt states that the league hierarchy all along has had within their possession a $3 billion television contract deal that would supply the beleaguered organization with all the revenues needed to meet its financial obligations . However , in light of that all the Dodgers prior to this all Frank McCourt had stated that the Los Angeles Dodgers were never in any financial danger but records simply do not bear that out with there being multiple loans taken out by Frank McCourt using the team as collateral .

The league has a mandate that no team can have a debt ratio of more than 10 ten times its earnings but clearly with the Dodgers have contravened the rules in this instance. Bud Selig for his part has yet to make it fully public as to full extent of the problems of the Los Angeles Dodgers but clearly given the wide and varying reports by from various news sources the severity of the problems were so extensive that McCourt was simply being economical with the truth. Now it remains to be seen how long Schieffer will be overseeing the Dodgers’ operations and whether or not the team will in fact end up being sold. Frank McCourt’s ex wife Jamie McCourt has made a request of the judge who presided over her divorce proceedings to seek the court to enforce the sale of the organization . The judge may well not proceed with such an adjudication given the situation at present wherein the league has taken control over the organization. But it would not surprise me that the league’s own legal counsel could well seek out potential buyers for the Los Angeles Dodgers. However , with McCourt stating that he would fight tooth and nail to retain control of the team even if it meant taking legal action against MLB this situation could become a great deal more contentious were the two factions to enter into litigation.

At some point during the season we are liable to see several teams’ fortunes wane in terms of their performances .
Races within the divisions are steadily heating up but it’s still far too early to state what the outcomes will be with regard to where the teams will be at the culmination of the regular season .

Now as we enter the month of June and with the All Star Game set for 12th July to be hosted at Chase Field in Phoenix , Arizona it will be interesting to see what manner the protests will undoubtedly take in terms of the response to that state’s newly enacted law to enforce the state’s unpopular enforcement of the legal right of police officers to request a suspect to prove that they are a legal resident and not an illegal alien. As popular as this law may well be in the eyes of many it certainly has become very unpopular amongst many Latin American players within MLB. And the very fact that the ACLU and La Raza have chosen to closely monitor the actions as the state legislature and Gov Jan Brewer seeks its strict enforcement . I’ve no doubt that this issue as volatile as it has become should be dealt with at the Federal level of the government but given the inactivity and the partisanship within the Senate , Congress and the mere fact that no Presidential administration has seen fit to tackle this matter head on. I am really beginning to think that the mind numbing idiocy shown by the all levels of the government are completely at a loss to actually explain fully what their policy is with regard to illegal immigration !

DHS Chief Janet Napolitano who oversees the INS has been ambiguous at best in explaining the administration’s policy . Insofar as I think that the laws of the land have to be strictly adhered to , there has to be some latitude given to how a state can deal with problems that they deem acute within its own borders. I certainly don’t believe that Bud Selig ought to be forced to take a stance because a number of players oppose this statute no matter what their ethnicity. And even light of Carlos Santana making his outrageous statements at a ball game at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia , clearly shows how volatile this issue has become. However, someone ought to remind Santana that the state of Georgia has seen its own fair share of what he deems to be racial injustice as during the Civil Rights’ era within the state and in particular the city of Atlanta were one of the major epicenters of African American defiance as to the racial injustice that swept the South and across the nation at the time.

Given the history of the game and presumed journey that it has taken over the course of its history there’s no denying that baseball as far as it has come socially and economically there are still a number of issues that remain to be resolved. Jackie Robinson’s entry into the MLB opened up the game for all minorities but bear this in mind the game at the time though inclusive when Hank Aaron broke the alltime home run record he was being vilified the torrents of racial abuse , racial epithets death threats directed at the Hall of Famer would give the impression that in surpassing Babe Ruth’s feat was seen as an abomination by those who felt it beneath them to see an African American break one of sport’s most hallowed records. Now in this modern day and age it is not about the intolerance but what there is to be learned by all parties concerned.

It would appear in the aftermath of the game collision between Scott Cousins of the Florida Marlins and the San Francisco Giants’ catcher Buster Posey . Giants’ GM Brian Sabean had a few choice words for the Marlins’ utility player and the fact that he felt that Cousins’ actions were unsportsmanlike . Many would disagree with Sabean’s view of the incident but when one takes into account what this loss means for the San Francisico Giants and their season then you can understand the general manager’s ire . Having lost Posey for the year and the players productivity it lessens the possible chance of the Giants quite possibly making the postseason either as a division winner or the wildcard entrant within the NL.

The Giants on a three game win streak but have lost 6 of their last 10 games over that span . For manager Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff the loss of Posey has to be a tremendous disappointment for the team . And it goes without saying for the fans they cannot be pleased with the loss of a fan favorite . While the debate goes on as to whether or not the league hierarchy needs to do more to protect catcher when at home plate protecting his position from a base runner heading home . I for one believe that the catcher knows of the imminent dangers that are presented in such a scenario . It has become one the traits of the game and there is not much that can be done to avoid such instances as both the catcher defending the plate and the player heading for home know of the prevailing dangers .

Collisions within baseball are part of the game just as much as fighting has become a part of an NHL . From my own perspective it would simply make no sense in changing the rules to supposedly make the game safe for its participants . What might need to be done is the for officials in such instances prior to the game to advise both coaching staffs that there is a need for their players to be aware that no unsportsmanlike conduct will be tolerated on the field . Safety has to be a priority which of course the players and managers are obviously aware of but with hindsight there becomes the issue if what we know to be right from wrong . The collision between Cousins and Posey wasn’t a premeditated act as both players were simply doing what would be normally asked of them . It goes without saying however that the game’s hierarchy may well now begin to monitor such instances to see if there is a flagrant act on the path of a player when such an instance arises between the catcher and an opponent at home plate.

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

What thoughts if any do you have on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ………………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Frank McCourt the beleaguered owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers who could be close to losing control of the team either through its forced sale by the courts or from an unsolicited bid by a group of investors. courtesy of LA Dodgers . …

(2) Jamie McCourt arrives with her attorney, Dennis Wasser for a non-jury divorce trial at Los Angeles County Court August 30, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The trial, being presided over by Judge Scott M. Gordon in California Superior Court, is to decide whether Frank McCourt is the sole owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team or his estranged wife and former Dodger CEO Jamie McCourt still has ownership stake in the team. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America ….

(3) Hall of Fame player Ernie Banks (left) is seen here with Carlos Santa (center) and Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia which commemorated the annual Civil Rights’ Game . The rocker would give a passionate but totally unwarranted speech that in part denigrated the state of Georgia with his insipid remarks calling the state and its occupants racists . AP Photo/ Chris Myles …

(4) Brian Sabean, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the San Francisco Giants, watches batting practice before Game Three of the NLCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs between the Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park on October 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan ….

(5) Catcher Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants, the National League?s rookie of the year in 2010, suffered a leg fracture and torn ligaments when Florida’s Scott Cousins barreled into him at home plate in the 12th inning of the Marlins-Giants game May 25, 2011. Courtesy of ABC News ……

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NB : It is being reported that former MLB players Orel Hershiser and Steve Carlton have formed to a consortium in conjunction with billionaire Ron Burkle to make a formal offer to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers should the league see fit to put the organization up for sale.

The Greasy Wheel Is Being Oiled But Would You Would Be Surprised By Who’s Involved In It All ?

The Greasy Wheel Is Being Oiled But Would You Would Be Surprised By Who’s Involved In It All ?

If there’s one thing I know it is that once a sport becomes so corrupt at the highest levels possible it is certain that the executives involved in any wrong doing are likely to want this all covered up. In what appears to be the most egregious of acts two senior executives within FIFA have been suspended by its President Sepp Blatter . The two individuals in question Jack A. W Warner an executive (President) with CONCACAF and Mohammed Bin Hamman another senior executive within FIFA. Blatter for his part has stated that FIFA will become more openly transparent in light of the scandal which involved Hamman and Warner having accepted bribes in order to secure their votes related to the hosting of specific FIFA tournaments . Most notably the World Cup in 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar). Brazil will stage the event in 2014 and though there is nothing to suggest that the host country in South America is said to have been involved any impropriety concerning these latest allegations. There now seems to be a feeling that there may well have some form of impropriety to have taken place by one if not a number of high ranking officials within FIFA .

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Slide show for your perusal .

Thomas Warner and Mohammed Bin Hamman are two of Sepp Blatter’s most trusted allies and it would appear that Blatter while not being immediately embroiled in this latest scandal may well have known about the duo’s activities . The FIFA President was recently re-elected for a fourth consecutive term having succeeded his predecessor Jaoa Havelange in 1998. Since Blatter’s ascendancy to the position there have been a litany of allegations that have come to light not only about senior members of the FIFA Executive Committee having accepted bribes but also misappropriations of funds . Soccer has become a complete laughing stock in light of the allegations but what might be even more idiotic are the claims now being made by US Soccer’s President Sunil Gulati that having endorsed the re-election of Blatter , he sees it as a chance for FIFA to reassert itself in the eyes of the public and become more openly transparent . Blatter has shown little sign of that given the repeated allegations and misdeeds that have taken place over the course of his tenure. Sepp Blatter has become autocratic and brow beats those who oppose him , while at the same time making sure those who are supportive of his ideas benefit financially. If nothing else , Blatter has eschewed the idea of real reform within FIFA but he may well now be forced to do so if as is being claimed Interpol will seek to get involved by conducting their very own investigation .

Now while there have been rumblings that several affiliate organizations would like to see a re-vote take place but that would be very unlikely as Blatter was the only candidate who sought the position as FIFA President . My question is how in hell is this meant to be a democratic vote when there simply is only one candidate ___ Sepp Blatter who sought to become FIFA President ? This body from top to bottom has become the laughing stock of the sports’ world given the fact that the only other body which shows this sort of ineptitude on such a scale might just be UCI which governs the sport of cycling internationally. That particular body headquartered in Aigle , Switzerland has been so complicit and culpable in not making a serious attempt in stemming the prolific abuse and use of steroids and other illicit drugs within the sport. Two of the sport’s most high profiled and visible riders , Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador both Tour de France champions have been embroiled in allegations of having the banned substance EPO (Erythropoietin) as well other illicit substances . In light of WADA now working in conjunction with UCI to have a strict and comprehensive drug testing policy in place I simply cannot see this sport ever making a serious attempt to clean up its image or the very sport .

Armstrong is now the subject of an ongoing investigation that is being conducted by the US Justice Department . The cyclist has proclaimed his innocense , states that the allegations against him are groundless and are without any foundation. But herein lies the caveat to this madness, George Hincapie and Tyler Hamilton both former teammates of the seven time Tour de France champion have stated that they saw the cyclist use not only EPO but also several other substances banned by UCI . Hamilton in a recent interview granted to the CBS news magazine program 60 Minutes reiterated his claim that not only had he seen Armstrong inject himself but he also part-took in the subterfuge in the taking of various steroids. Radio Shack team manager Johan Bruyneel for which both Armstrong and Hamilton rode categorically denies the claims being made by Hamilton and he furthermore emphasizes that at no time was there any use of any banned substances being used by any member of the Radio Shack team over his tenure as its manager. While there’s no concrete evidence to suggest that Bruyneel’s claims are false , one has to ask the question are both Hamilton and Hincapie lying , given the fact that their subpoenad testimony to the Justice Department has to be taken with some credibility ? Only an idiot would think to lie to a federal law enforcement officer knowing the legal ramifications of such an act. Lance Armstrong for his part has brought together a powerhouse , in terms of a legal team. Such has been the rider’s staunch defense of his image and credibility that he knows that if indicted he would face a monumental task in trying to prove his innocence . Granted , the rider has never tested positive while in competition but the questions still remain as to the veracity of Armstrong’s innocence as see his image and accomplishments being tarnished in the public domain as well as in the print and television media.

I have long held the notion that once the claims of corruption or wrong doing by a governing body or athlete within a sport there is no denying that once the claims are out there it is indeed very hard to try and disprove them . Cycling much like soccer has become corrupt and it has manifested itself in not only the actions of the riders but also the sheer incompetency of UCI . Doubt my word then simply look at how that governing body has simply conducted their investigations and how little the sport has actually changed in terms of trying to abate the prolific use of illicit substances with cycling ?

FIFA President Sepp Blatter for all of his new found resolve and wish to see the body he governs become more transparent . Herein lies the idiocy of those claims , two of his most trusted allies were caught with their hands in the cookie jar . It begs the question as to how deep those went and what if anything Sepp Blatter is said to have known or suborned with his own actions ? Numerous times Blatter and FIFA have been embroiled multiple scandals while simply doing nothing but tarnish the game’s image .

Being an ardent and avid soccer fan I am now at my wit’s end to understand how damn naive and stupid the affiliate organizations are within the FIFA ! To not even have a challenger to Sepp Blatter in the voting for that body’s most senior executive position shows not only the lack of intelligence within the organization but also there isn’t any real democratic process in place . There was very little chance that there would have been abstention or a vote opposing Blatter’s re-election . This is now how perverse and corrupt FIFA has become and will remain . Sepp Blatter claims he seeks transparency but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

In light of the allegations that have come to the fore concerning FIFA and Lance Armstrong what thoughts if any do you have with regard to those claims ? Simply chime with a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ……………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below

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(1) Sepp Blatter President of Fifa speaks during the FIFA Ballon d’or Gala at the Zurich Kongresshaus on January 10, 2011 in Zurich, Switzerland. Getty Images Europe /Michael Steele ……

(2) Senior FIFA Executive Mohammed Bin Hamman who has since been suspended by the Executive Committee of FIFA for the improprieties concerning the accepting of a bribe and alleged vote rigging . Bin Hamman is a close and trusted ally of FIFA President Sepp Blatter . AFP/Reuters /Christoff Karlsson ……

(3) FIFA vice president Jack Warner, right, with Sepp Blatter, the president of the international soccer governing body. Warner also holds the position as being the President of CONCACAF which governs international soccer for the region covering North America , Central & South America and the Caribbean . Paul Chiasson/Associated Press ….

(4) Pat Quaid President of UCI is seen here with Johan Bruyneel . Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter Sirotti …. Copyrighted material all rights reserved …

(5) ADELAIDE, Australia, Jan 23, 2010 (AFP) – Lance Armstrong’s simmering row with Tour de France champion Alberto Contador (left) is “healthy” for cycling and better than the usual doping controversies, the sport’s chief said on Saturday. Both riders are still embroiled with allegations of doping within the sport of cycling. Contador recently had a suspension lifted by the CAS but it now remains to be seen how he will be viewed by his fellow competitors and the fans of cycling alike . AFP ……..

(6) US Soccer President Sunil Gulati felt it prudent in voting for the reelection of Sepp Blatter rather than voting in opposition or abstaining . The reason given by Gulati is that he felt that Blatter is sincere in changing the environment within FIFA after all the major controversies that have come to light within that esteemed body . This is the sort of idiocy now being shown that clearly the problems that have befallen FIFA are in fact also due to the gullibility of the affiliated organizations around the globe . AFP/Reuters / Paul Castle …………

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