Take Nothing For Granted ……….

Take Nothing For Granted ……

I’m not so sure that Bill Belichick can take away anything positive from the New England Patriots’ loss at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon against conference rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers . Mike Tomlin’s team simply knew that to have any chance of overcoming the his opponents, was to literally shut down the passing game of Tom Brady and this Patriots’ offense .

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With an always stout and aggressive defense you simply knew that this would definitely be a stern test for Brady and his teammates. Dick LeBeau as the Steelers’ defensive coordinator might just be the premiere defensive strategist in the NFL today. This Hall of Fame cornerback made a name for himself in the NFL but his involvement now with the Pittsburgh Steelers speaks volumes as to the faith placed in him by head coach Mike Tomlin and the defensive players of this Steelers’ unit. This game not only became a test of wills between the two teams but also a test of the two celebrated quarterbacks on opposite sides. Between them , Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have won 5 Superbowls over this past decade . The two franchises are two of the most celebrated within the NFL and their legacies speaks volumes as to the respect that they’re given .

There is no denying that the real issue for the Patriots for much of this season has been the inconsistency of the defense and the very fact it seems to be a work in progress. If Bill Belichick and the coaching staff believes that the approach now being taken concerning the defense will be a wholesale remedy as the season progresses then from my point of view he’s sadly underestimated the merits of this defensive corp. They’re amongst the worst in the NFL in pass and run defense never mind the fact that although team has an offense that is clicking on all cylinders there has to be a resolve about the defensive side the Patriots’ game. If not, then there’s no chance in hell that this team can comfortably survive within the environment of the postseason.

Heinz Field proved to be the twelfth man in this duel between two divisional leaders within the AFC . In front of a raucous crowd of some 68,000 fans this game became a battle of two teams seeking to make their presence felt within the NFL in the early part of the season . And clearly after this 25-17 loss it certainly gives credence to the fact that the New England Patriots are not as good as advertized . As an avid fan of the team I think it only worthwhile to be critical of the organization when I firmly believe that they are not playing up to their potential . And that clearly has been the case with Patriots over the course of this season as it has unfolded. The real dagger in the heart for the New England Patriots was Steelers’ tight end Heath Miller who repeatedly got the secondary of the Patriots so rattled that they had no answer for the player. Time and time again Miller got the better of whomever was meant to be covering him. And Roethlisberger repeatedly took advantage of the mismatches as the game unfolded to place the offense in a far competitive position strategically for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the loss it will be interesting to see how the New England Patriots regroup from the defeat. Clearly Bill Belichick and the coaching staff will have to go back to the drawing board and reassess the flaws on this team . It is one thing to be conceited and arrogant as has always been the case with the Patriots’ coach. But now it is getting to a stage where even I as an ardent fan of the team now have to question the lackadaisical approach and complacency often shown by the coach !

With all of the hyperbole placed upon the NFC East and the teams within its midst , I continue to find it so asinine when I continue to hear the rather idiotic analysis provided by ESPN contributors such as Merill Hoge and Skip Bayless as to what they view to be the superiority of teams such as the New York Giants (5-2) , Dallas Cowboys (3-4), Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) and Washington Redskins (3-4) ! The teams within the division are a combined 14-14 and from a conference and divisional standpoint their respective records can be best described as mediocre . But somehow the ” buffoons “of the four letter network would simply have you believe that the best football to be found within the NFL comes from that division. I can only surmise that both Bayless and Hoge similarly admire the stench of fecal matter when it’s placed within their midst !

The Philadelphia Eagles played host to the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field , in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania on Sunday , in what could be best described as a game that could well determine fate of their respective seasons .

If we were led to believe that it is Andy Reid’s immediate future that was said to be in jeopardy then the play of his team simply didn’t reflect that . Instead the Eagles simply laid waste to a Cowboys’ team that was ill prepared for the Philadelphia Eagles’ onslaught. Reid’s opposite number Jason Garrett may have for the moment the full support of Jerry Jones and the entire front office of the Dallas Cowboys. The complete ineptitude shown by the team under Tony Romo’s presumed leadership abilities left a great deal to be desired . Offensively and defensively , the players lacked composure and their execution in several facets of the game left you wondering whether or not you might well have been watching a varsity high school team. And the continued belief that Romo is one of the better quarterbacks in the league certainly wasn’t reflected in this game. The player had a less than 50 % completion rate and an interception which added to the Cowboys’ woes over the course of the game.

Being as Jerry Jones has always been the consummate businessman I wonder if he will seek out another corporate endorsement ? Perhaps with the vitamin supplement beverage company Red Bull I would surmise ! They can then call the line of assorted drinks in question Bullshit , because that’s all that has been served up by the organization over the last decade ! If you want proof of that seek the evidence of Sunday’s game and the end result 34-7 victory for the Philadelphia Eagles. I wonder what the spread offered up by the guys in Vegas might have been prior to the game ?

For Michael Vick and his Eagles’ teammates , they’re not quite out of the woods yet because anything short of a postseason berth in the playoffs at the end of this season and there’s bound to be a great deal of anger directed not just at the coaching staff but also the entire front office as well as the Philadelphia Eagles’ players themselves. The clock is ticking on this presumed Dream Team and to my mind they’re liable to meet the same fate as another over-hyped and conceited group from the NBA known as the Miami Heat who simply showed that a yellow streak ran down their spine !

So for some reason the St Louis Rams felt it prudent not to be involved in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes which is bound to take place at the 2012 NFL Draft . By defeating the New Orleans Saints 31-21 the Rams left the ranks of the win-less teams within the NFL . And now for some reason the fans are now left to speculate which of the remaining franchises will tank their season in order to gain that prospective number one pick .

If I’m Sean Payton along with that entire Saints’ organization and the playing personnel I would be completely embarrassed by such an inept display ! Never mind the fact that the thought to be always dependable Drew Brees had a game that he would rather forget . Conceitedness, much like complacency has always been a bitch and it has a proverbial way of always coming back to bite you in the ass ! Clearly that was the case for the New Orleans Saints as they took their opponents far too lightly .

Having allowed the St Louis Rams (1-6) to get off the schneid with their first win of the season we’re now left with the Indianapolis Colts (0-8) and Miami Dolphins (0-7) as the only win-less teams left in the NFL . And it would be safe to say that we could be on the cusp of seeing a second team go 0-16 for only the second time since the league went to a 16 game regular season schedule. The last NFL team who gave us that dubious distinction were the Detroit Lions from the 2008 —- season . I’m not quite yet ready to place a bet as to whether or not it will be the Colts or Dolphins who will join that inept Lions’ team from three years ago ! But it will be interesting to see what unfolds over the remainder of the NFL season as it regards both franchises .

For Steve Spagnuolo as coach of the St Louis Rams this victory gives the team a renewed confidence over the remainder of their season and a chance to seek some respectability in terms of their overall record and standing within the always woefully abysmal NFC West .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the NFL schedule with regard to week 8 ? And do you feel this season we could very well see another franchise repeat the feat of the Detroit Lions in 2008 by going win-less ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, right, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady meet at mid-field after an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. Pittsburgh won 25-17 . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar …

(2) Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sacked and stripped by Andre Carter (93) of the New England Patriots during the game on October 30, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images …..

(3) Heath Miller (83) of the Pittsburgh Steelers dives over an attempted tackle by Patrick Chung (25) of the New England Patriots during the game on October 30, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images ……

(4) Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (24) reacts after his interception of a pass intended for Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett in the first half during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/The News Journal, Daniel Sato …

(5) Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Romo is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles’ Cullen Jenkins (97) and Trent Cole (58) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in Philadelphia. AP Photo/The News Journal, Daniel Sato …

(6) Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys questions a call with head linesman Wayne Mackie (106) as Laurent Robinson (81) of the Cowboys looks on during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7 . Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images …..

(7) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 30: Lance Kendricks (88) of the St. Louis Rams is tackled by Tracy Porter (22) of the New Orleans Saints at the Edward Jones Dome on October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Rams beat the Saints 31-21 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ….

(8) Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints is sacked by James Lariniatis (55) and Gary Gibson (71) of the St. Louis Rams on October 30, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images …

(9) St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson (39) celebrates his touchdown during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011, in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tom Gannam …..

(9) …

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NFL news

NFL results week 8

NFL standings by division

NFL team stats thru’ week 8

NFL player stats thru’ week 8

NFL injuries

NFL transactions

New England Patriots news

Pittsburgh Pirates news

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Actress Jaime Pressly

Lose Yourself ………

Lose Yourself …………

By tophatal ………

So baseball’s postseason finale has ended and the St Louis Cardinals reigns supreme over the baseball world . For manager Tony La Russa he joins a select band of managers to have won multiple World Series with one team and also having won in both the American and National Leagues . That asides it was a night for rejoicing within the city of St Louis and across the state of Missouri but most certainly for the ardent Cardinals’ fans who happened to have witnessed the team’s game seven triumph 6-2 over the Texas Rangers .

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The Rangers for their part throughout the series had their chances to take the championship when they had it within their grasp. It all came to no avail as Ron Washington’s team simply had trouble putting away with the St Louis Cardinals . The offense during game seven for the Rangers was non existent as Nelson Cruz , Josh Hamilton and Michael Young simply offered nothing by way of productivity when it mattered most . But it would also be prudent to add that the bullpen of the Texas Rangers also played its part in this loss. Two consecutive appearances in the World Series for the Rangers and on both occasions the same end result , a loss for the team. This has to be a tremendous disappointment for the coaching staff , in particular for team president Nolan Ryan , general manager Jon Daniels and the entire front office of the organization .

For David Freese of the St Louis Cardinals he finds himself on the list of Cardinals’ legends who have been named World Series MVP . Certainly the out-fielder as a hometown hero can now look to his future with this organization as being one , where he may well never have to buy a drink again while he remains a player with the St Louis Cardinals . And while the fans now await the decision by the front office and in particular that of general manager John Mozeliak and the De Witt family as the proprietary owners of the ball-club and their willingness to re-sign Albert Pujols who’s now an unrestricted free agent.

Pujols in his postgame interview was quick to point out that all he was concerned with , was relishing the aftermath of the team’s latest —- triumph and his wish to be part of future postseason victories at the highest level of the game. If Freese was seen as the hero of this series for the St Louis Cardinals then most certainly Chris Carpenter cannot have been that far behind . His pitching performances throughout this series almost certainly guaranteed the team making it as far as they reached. Never mind the heroics of the team during the last day of the regular season . And we can all attest to the fact the failings of both the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox still reverberates around the game , most notably so within the front office of the Red Sox . With the departure of their former general manager Theo Epstein to the Chicago Cubs , the promotion of Ben Cherington as his successor and the organization’s decision in not extending Terry Francona’s contract . One can allude to the fact that this is now a time of upheaval within that particular organization. It remains to be seen what now transpires concerning the free agents on this Red Sox roster and the decisions that will be made by the front office executives and coaching staff.

Now with the free agency period for baseball set to commence at midnight Monday 31st October it remains to be seen what moves will be made by the respective general managers and teams around the league as they seek to make themselves better for the upcoming season . We have already seen where the Philadelphia Phillies have chosen not to pick up the options on pitchers Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt . GM Reuben Amaro Jr. and the coaching staff will no doubt seek to bolster the roster through free agent acquisitions and quite possibly assessing their farm system and prospects .

Courtesy of MLB.com

La Russa announces his retirement as skipper

Steps down after three titles in 33 seasons, 16 with Cardinals

By Joey Nowak of MLB.com

Tony La Russa, the third-winningest manager in Major League history and most assuredly a future Hall of Famer, announced his retirement as a manager on Monday, fewer than three days after winning a World Series for the third time in his 33-year career, the past 16 of them with the Cardinals.

The surprising announcement was made during a Monday morning news conference at Busch Stadium.

“There isn’t one [factor] that dominates [my decision],” La Russa said. “They all just come together telling you your time is over.

“We went through the season and I felt that this just feels like it’s time to end it and I think it’s going to be great for the Cardinals to refresh what’s going on here.”

He said that he’d made his decision to retire in August, informing general manager John Mozeliak at that time. He said he told his coaching staff of his decision on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to what’s ahead,” La Russa said. “I’m ready to do something different.”

La Russa, 67, steps down with 2,728 managerial victories, ranking behind only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). Only Mack has managed in more ballgames. The Cardinals skipper is also the only manager in Major League Baseball history to win multiple pennants in both leagues and the second to win a World Series title in each, as well.

La Russa’s Oakland A’s won the World Series in 1989. Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson won World Series titles with Cincinnati and Detroit. The Cardinals’ championship was their second in the past six seasons.

La Russa said that he did not consider continuing in order to get the 36 wins he would have needed and pass McGraw on the all-time list.

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From my own perspective I cannot see how the St Louis Cardinals can be a success without Albert Pujols within their midst . It would be an economical and competitive suicide on the part of the of this organization. And anyone who believes that to be the contrary would either have to be a complete idiot or simply having come off a highly addictive opiate ! The player is not only the heart and soul of this team but also its vocal leader . The interpretations are there for all to see and as the player goes , so does the rest of this team . If one man is said to mean so much to an organization , then surely one man such as Pujols himself , knows what he means to the St Louis Cardinals ? . As a three time league MVP the player is now laying down a legacy for himself that will surely place in Cooperstown , New York as an enshrinee within the Hall of Fame .

Albert Pujols can now certainly lay claim that he might well be the most popular , if not the best Cardinals’ player to have donned their uniform. As the player lays claim not only to team records but also rewrites the records within the game itself it remains to be seen , what , if any decision will be made as to Pujols’ immediate future . It seems almost inconceivable to think that the player could very well be donning another uniform at the start of the 2012 season . But such are the vagaries of the game that until the league hierarchy , owners and union are all on the same page as to some sort financial constraints then we may well continue to see players simply departing from a team merely because the owners simply cannot meet a player’s financial demands .

As to the future of the Texas Rangers psychologically they may well recover but the indignity of suffering to consecutive World Series’ losses has me wondering how any organization can truly recover something like ! It has been done before but clearly this was not something that either Nolan Ryan or Jon Daniels could have envisaged . The Rangers’ team president was very gregarious with his pronouncement that the team would win the series in six game but never over the course of the World Series had his team simply shown that they had the upper hand over the St Louis Cardinals . And it certainly had to have occured players such as Josh Hamilton , Michael Young , Elvis Andrus , Colby Lewis and Derek Holland that if they were to prevail over their opponents then beating them at Busch Stadium had to be done , and be done with expediently and with malice. The biggest chink in the armor of the Texas Rangers over the course of the postseason but in particular this World Series has been the inconsistency of the bullpen . When it mattered most the players simply failed to deliver , therein now lies the story which sealed the fate of this team. The organization now goes into the offseason looking to shore up this team by whatever means necessary and given the financial resources now at Jon Daniels’ disposal I doubt that he will have any problems seeking the players he believes can make this organization a great deal more competitive ! The first order of business for the general manager has to be whether or not to re-sign Colby Lewis who becomes a free agent in the offseason.

Inasmuch as I have enjoyed this series I have to admit that while enthralling it has been nowhere as scintillating as the press would have us believe . Truth be known , the events as they have unfolded we were simply being led to believe that this would all be one big suspenseful event . Clearly that was not the case ! Game’s five and six may well have been the only games in this series that clearly had us all in awe , whereas the other five games were merely stocking fillers and not much beyond that !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What impressions do you have not only of the MLB postseason but also the regular season as a whole ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

tophatal ……………..

Picture and slide show details .
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(1) FILE – In this Oct. 25, 2011 file photo, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa smiles as he answers a question during a news conference, in St. Louis. Three days after winning the World Series, La Russa is retiring. The 67-year-old manager announced his retirement at a news conference Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(2) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 30: Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in a parade celebrating the team’s 11th World Series championship October 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images …….

(3) Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in the World Series victory parade for the franchise’s 11th championship on October 30th in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images ….

(4) ST. LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 30: of the St. Louis Cardinals participates in the World Series victory parade for the franchise’s 11th championship on October 30th in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images ……

(5) Third baseman David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals addresses the crowd inside Busch Stadium on October 30, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ed Szczepanski/Getty Images …..

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MLB news

MLB World Series & results

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St Louis Cardinals front office

St Louis Cardinals roster depth chart

St Louis Cardinals coaching staff

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MLB transactions post deadline 1st November 2011

Texas Rangers news

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Eminem …………..” Lose Yourself ” . Perhaps this song best represents what went wrong for the Texas Rangers over the course of the postseason ?

Take It For What It’s Worth It’s Simply A Game But In The End What’s At Stake ?

http://wp.me/poxLH-31t

Take It For What It’s Worth It’s Simply A Game But In The End What’s At Stake ?

By tophatal

So while the MLB postseason is now in full swing with the postponed game six being played tonight at Busch Stadium , in St Louis Missouri ,. The St Louis Cardinals find themselves down 3-2 in a pivotal game that could either end their postseason foray or prolong it dependent upon whether or not they can overcome that deficit to the Texas Rangers . Colby Lewis takes the mound : for the Rangers while Jaime Garcia of the St Louis Cardinals will be his adversary.

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In light of the monumental gaffe made by Tony La Russa in game five for which he’s fully accepted the blame . Somehow the the micromanaging by the Cardinals’ manager and the miscommunication between he , his coaches and the bullpen could well cost the team this series . Now inasmuch as I have enjoyed the World Series I have to admit that I do find something missing from this extravaganza ! Perhaps although we have a fabled ball club in this event with the St Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers making their second consecutive appearance as the AL pennant winners in baseball’s showcase finale . There still seems to be something missing from the series , be it the drama , suspense, I can’t quite place my finger on it at all.

With the World Series now tied at three games apiece (3-3) in light of last night’s come from behind extra innings’ win (10-9) for the St Louis Cardinals , a great deal will rest on tonight’s series ending finale . On the mound for the Cardinals will be Chris Carpenter who will be facing Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers . All of the unnerving suspense built up as the series has unfolded will all now come to what one would hope to be a thrilling end . A fitting way to end what has been an improbable and exciting MLB season .

Whatever takes place tonight at Busch Stadium there is one thing to be sure , baseball is looking to make its play as they are witnessing the NBA simply shoot themselves in the foot with the idiotic stance of the league hierarchy and that of the NBPA . MLB will now look to make its play in being viewed as the alternative behind the NBA and all of its drama. Unless I’m mistaken either David Stern being the bombastic and self aggrandizing idiot that he is , and he now seems to be leading hierarchy and owners into antagonistic battle that they simply cannot win without harming the league irreparably. As if that hasn’t been done as it is already ! Opposing him representing the union are Executive Director Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher .

Repeated meetings between the league , union in front a mediator from the FMCS leads me to believe that the likelihood of either side reaching an accord is unlikely to happen. George Cohen presiding over these hearings must now be feeling like a kindergarten principal trying to get the pupils under their custodianship to be quiet and simply play nice . That hasn’t happened and things are unlikely to change unless calmer heads prevail .

So here we go again and all of the idiocy now happens to encircle the NFC matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . Both teams’ seasons are at stake because a loss for either , places them each into an abyss that they’re unlikely to extricate themselves from. Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo has had an uneven season even by Jerry Jones’ own lofty standards but at the same there idiots such as Skip Bayless suggesting that the player simply has nothing to prove because the travails and woes of the team have more to do with the decisions made by the team owner , rather than the displays of the players this season. If this is the sort of in depth analysis and insight that Bayless brings to ESPN then it clearly shows that the journalist wasn’t hired by the broadcast outlet for his intelligence or for that matter his journalistic credentials ! Skip Bayless is to sports’ journalism as …(insert words here ) ………… .

I have long maintained that this myth that the Dallas Cowboys are America’s Team is like one of the Brothers’ Grimm Fairy tales ! Fun to read but after a whole deal of repetition in reading , it is simply a bore and that is exactly what the Cowboys have become . Repetitive and completely unoriginal and that is even with what we’re led to be believe is an offensive minded coach in Jason Garrett . And as proficient as this team is said to be on offense the real issue I believe is the mere fact that the Dallas Cowboys through their complacency simply do not close out games when they have it within their will to do so. Whether or not that is down to Jason Garrett and that of his assistants led by Rob Ryan as the team’s defensive coordinator.

The talk at the start of this season was simply that with the acquisitions made by the Philadelphia Eagles along with their draft picks they would be viewed as the presumptive favorites within the NFC . Well, let’s just say with the Green Bay Packers at 7-0 within the conference and the woefully inept Eagles rooted at the bottom of the NFC East bearing a record of 2-4 are on diverging paths . All the talk of this Eagles’ team being legitimate contenders have now gone eerily awry. Much of the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of Andy Reid and the front office led by team president Joe Banner .

If the on field issues are a problem then the sudden outburst by Asante Samuels and his criticism of the organization and the fact that they simply have made his life a living nightmare might just be fueling a great deal of discontent within the locker room. With Pro Bowl caliber players such as Michael Vick , LeSean McCoy , Nnamdi Asomugha , DeSean Jackson , Jeremy Maclin , Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Riley Cooper . I would hasten to ask the question who the hell is now driving this bus ?

Anyone who is not of the belief that both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles do not have a lot riding on this game is clearly need in some form of medication ! This match-up dependent upon which team is one the losing end of a result will at some point begin to realize that in essence will have gone up in smoke .

If the Eagles and Cowboys’ event can or could be described as one of the premiere games within the NFC , then surely the meeting between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers within the AFC has to be considered the marquee game of the day within the NFL . The Steelers will play > hosts to the Patriots at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania , in front of what is sure to be tens of thousands of ravenous New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers’ fans.

Both the Patriots and Steelers are atop of their respective divisions , with the New England Patriots (5-1) leading the AFC East and the Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) leading the AFC North . For both teams this certainly give them a chance to gauge their progress against each other as legitimate contender for the postseason . Certainly given the form of both , over the course of the season thus far , this ought to be a really intriguing match-up between two highly respected franchises.

Coaches Mike Tomlinson and Bill Belichick are at the top of their games when these the two teams seem to meet in the regular season . And there’s a healthy respect by the teams for their adversary , as should be the case when they meet . Though we have all been enthralled with the play of Tom Brady this season , his counterpart Ben Roethlisberger now seems to be finding his customary rhythm after a somewhat tedious start to this season .

These two teams are making credible cases for them to be viewed as the presumptive favorites to meet in the AFC Championship game . But I would dare say that the likes of the Buffalo Bills , San Diego Chargers and New York Jets see themselves within the mix ! For now I think it would be pretty much safe to say that we can gauge Patriots and Steelers as a measure of the teams in AFC and how good they really are .

If the New England Patriots are to have any success against a determined Steelers’ team then the defense of Belichick’s team will have to play at an intensely high level . From an offensive standpoint there is not much to choose between the franchises when they are actually each in full swing .

As prolific as the New England Patriots’ offense is said to be you can’t help but feel that Dick LeBeau as the defensive coordinator of the Steelers will have something up his sleeve which his team will use to negate that combustible threat posed by the Patriots .

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Alan aka tophatal ….

Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) A fan of the St. Louis Cardinals holds up a sign reading “Weather Forecast in St. Louis Deep Freese” after Game Six of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images ….

(2) Teammates swarm St. Louis Cardinals’ David Freese at home after he hit a walk-off home run during the 11th inning of Game 6 of baseball’s World Series against the Texas Rangers Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won the game 10-9 to tie the series 3-3. AP Photo/Matt Slocum …

(3) David Freese (23) and the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate at home plate after hitting a walk off solo home run in the 11th inning to win Game Six of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals won 10-9 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(4) Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, left, throws a pass as Vince Young looks on during a practice at their NFL football training facility Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Philadelphia. AP Photo/Alex Brandon ….

(5) Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid speaks during a media availability at their NFL football training facility, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 in Philadelphia. The Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday night, Oct. 30. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …..

(6) Quarterback Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys passes to teammate Jason Witten (82) the St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images ….

(7) Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (90) of the Dallas Cowboys applies pressure to quarterback A.J. Feeley (4) of the St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys would go on to defeat the Rams 34-7 . Photo by Layne Murdoch/Getty Images …..

(8) Coach Bill Belichick chats with Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots during a review of a play against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)…

(9) FILE – In this Sept. 1, 2011 file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin gestures before an NFL preseason game against then Carolina Panthers, in Charlotte, N.C. AP Photo/Bob Leverone …..

(10) Wide receivers Hines Ward (86) and Mike Wallace (17) of the Pittsburgh Steelers run out onto the field before the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 32-20 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……

(11) Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a pass during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images …..

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Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles at LP Financial Field , Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , .

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New England Patriots vs Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field , Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania

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Hot chic pic’ of the day . Maliah Michel

Where’s The Beef ………. ?

Where’s The Beef ….. ?

By tophatal

Well it seems crazy that the self absorbed NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus seeks a home for perhaps his most high profiled client in Terrelle Owens while the accomplishments of one of the league’s most accomplished players seems to go unnoticed and un-praised . Atlanta Falcons’ tight end Tony Gonzalez joined a select band of players when he caught his 1,104th career reception. Only six other players in NFL history have caught in excess of 1,000 passes and all have had illustrious careers within the league. Jerry Rice the alltime career receptions and touchdowns leader has astonishing 1,549 receptions and 207 touchdowns and if that were not enough the Superbowl MVP , three time Superbowl winner is enshrined in the Hall of Fame , in Canton , Ohio. From that esteemed septuplet to have reached that millennium mark also are Cris Carter , Tim Brown , Isaac Bruce , Terrelle Owens and Marvin Harrison . Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Hines Ward at some point this season should become the eighth player to have reached that impressive mark of 1,000 career receptions in the NFL . Ward , currently has an impressive and gaudy 980 catches to go alongside 86 career touchdowns .

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I sometimes wonder many of these analysts and alleged journalists who cover the NFL how it is that they believe that they are representative of their craft when all the time all they are ever in search for is something controversial , rather than informative and insightful with their craft. Never mind the ass kissing that seems to be part and parcel within the broadcast outlets such as Fox , CBS , ABC/ESPN and NBC . Is there a chance that these pompous assholes can ever take their jobs seriously , rather than acting like prepubescent school boys who’ve seen their first nude photograph ? But that would be too a high a praise to heap upon these buffoons as they are probably flaccid and suffering from some sort of erectile dysfunction. There you go Mark Schlereth , Chris Mortensen , Merrill Hoge , Jon Gruden , Jason Whitlock and Skip Bayless !

Tony Gonzalez a first round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1997 the player has established himself as one of the premier players at the tight end position in the NFL. And most certainly one of the alltime greats who I would genuinely place along such luminaries as Shannon Sharpe , Kellen WinslowSr,. and Ozzie Newsome who have perhaps made that position their very own. In today’s league alongside the renowned tight end making a name for themselves we have Jermichael Finley of the Green Bay Packers , Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots , his teammate Rob Gronkowski , Jason Witten , Jimmy Graham and seasoned veteran Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers .

You can’t but admire Tony Gonzalez’s career from afar and the player has been the epitome of class even when it seemed that the Kansas City Chiefs ebbed and flowed under the coaching of Dick Vermeil . The former Chiefs’ coach as we now went on to considerable success with the St Louis Rams guiding them to their lone Superbowl win over that establishment’s history. And though Gonzalez’s career flourished and floundered with the franchise his amassing the greater part of his statistics with the team . He now now seems to be rejuvenated under Mike Smith , his coaching staff and a quarterback in Matt Ryan who’s yearning to win . When the player was acquired by the Falcons in 2009 I felt it would certainly make the Atlanta Falcons a legitimate contender for the Superbowl within the NFC . However, it has been Ryan’s inconsistency in the playoffs that has plagued the team since his arrival in the NFL . Now with the plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal it is hoped that he and the team can make a creditable push for postseason honors .

If Matt Ryan cannot succeed with players such as Roddy White , Michael Turner and Gonzalez , himself , then questions will have to asked of the young quarterback. There’s no denying that the player is capable of leading this team but whether or not he is the signal caller many believe him to be . Well it would appear that the jurors are still out on that subject before they render a decision .

The NFC South where the Atlanta Falcons reside alongside Carolina Panthers , New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers . That division is a highly competitive one and could surmise that they can lay the claim that they currently have the best quartet of teams in all eight divisions of the NFL .

It should come as no surprise that the high flying New Orleans Saints at 5-2 followed jointly by Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers each at 4-3 with the lowly Carolina Panthers 2-5 bringing up the rear . Now while Cam Newton has been setting the league alight with his exhilarating displays this Panthers’ team under coach Ron Rivera has struggled in terms of overall consistency . For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and coach Raheem Morris the issues facing his team is actually having enough active starters who are not injured . With the loss of LeGarrette Blount and Earnest Graham from an offensive standpoint this hampers the Buccaneers and their running attack and the opportunities for quarterback Josh Freeman .

The NFC South has now become a division , that each given week with the teams in play just about anything is liable to happen . And no doubt when each of the residents within meet up for that combustible divisional match up the fans are usually given a thrilling display. And for the Atlanta Falcons they know that their schedule proves to be no different especially in light of their divisional foes . Week 8 gives the team a bye before they then embark upon the rest of that daunting 2011 calendar schedule. However, in week 10 they face off against the New Orleans Saints , week 14 sees them taking on the Carolina Panthers , week 16 they are the guests of the Saints and the New Orleans Superdome , New Orleans , Louisiana , before ending their season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 17 at the Georgia Dome , in Atlanta , Georgia ,.

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Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) pulls in a reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ….

One could surmise that given the play of Drew Brees and his Saints’ teammates the race for the division is already over , albeit that we’re only seven weeks into the NFL season. Were it not for the injuries sustained by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers I would say that we would witnessing a three horse race within the division ! The New Orleans Saints on paper would appear to be the class of the NFC South , and you could give credence to that premise . But between now and until the end of the season just about anything could very well happen. A miscue consequential losses and things suddenly get turned upside down and on its ear . Thankfully , I can look at the NFC South and simply state that it has a great deal more going for it than the allegedly esteemed NFC East ! One simply has to look at the poor play and the inconsistency of the teams there to realize that , although the New York Giants seem to be playing with the resolve not seen from the team in quite a while . That if anything has more to do with the defensive presence of the team’s secondary and in particular the play of Osi Umenyiora . Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell should be the individual on the coaching staff upon which the praise ought to heaped upon alongside Tom Coughlin .

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Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) runs off the field after their 23-16 win over the Detroit Lions in an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …

The NFL much like its NBA counterpart has become driven by the characters rather than the teams themselves. But while the football’s season is one of a mere 16 game schedule and a postseason that in its immediacy ends with a one and done concept . That clearly is not the case with NBA . Furthermore , the players in the NBA can simply play with a lax attitude knowing full well the penchant of the NBA hierarchy and team owners have a tendency to shoot themselves in the as the power they ( union/players) have over that body is powerful enough to dictate policy . One could hardly say that would be the case within the NFL , not in light of the recent events that have taken place concerning their labor issues. A compromise had to be reach rather than the league hierarchy and NFLPA (union) sinking the league into a morass that they might never have successfully recovered from .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have as to the points raised within this piece and in particular with regard to the career of Tony Gonzalez ? And how do you view things panning out for the teams within the NFC South ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details .
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(1) DETROIT – OCTOBER 23: Roddy White (84) of the Atlanta Falcons catches an 18 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan (2) in the second quarter of the NFL game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Falcons would go on to defeat the Lions 23-16 Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(2) Michael Turner (33) of the Atlanta Falcons looks to get around the tackle of Amari Spievey (42) of the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Atlanta won the game 23-16. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images …

(3) Quarterbacks Matt Ryan (2) of the Atlanta Falcons and Matthew Stafford (9) of the Detroit Lions shake hands after the game at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The Falcons defeated the Lions 23-16. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images ….

(4) Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) is stopped by Detroit Lions outside linebacker Bobby Carpenter , rear, during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio …..

(5) Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) pulls in a reception during the second quarter of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski …..

(6) Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez (88) runs off the field after their 23-16 win over the Detroit Lions in an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio ….

(7) Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith celebrates a 23-16 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

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NFL news

NFL tight ends and their stats this season

Atlanta Falcons news

Atlanta Falcons 2011 regular season schedule

Head Coach Mike Smith

Falcons’ assistant coaching staff

Atlanta Falcons team roster

Atlanta Falcons depth chart

Falcons’ teams statistics 2011

Atlanta Falcons’ draft 2011

Atlanta Falcons draft history

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Tony Gonalez’s career stats

Tony Gonzalez’s bio

Players taken alongside Tony Gonzalez ( 13th overall pick in the 1st round) in the 1997 NFL Draft include Orlando Pace , Bryant Westbrook , Walter Jones , James Farrior , Jake Plummer , Marcellus Wiley , Corey Dillon and Sam Madison to name but a few .

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NFL all-time reception leaders

NFL all-time career touchdown leaders

NFL all time career receiving yards

You Pay You Get What You Deserve ……… !

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You Pay , You Get What You Deserve

By tophatal

Isn’t it funny how one momentarily blip and one patron believes that that game four of the World Series was a ratings’ bonanza for the Fox Network . In reality that may well have been true but bear in mind ratings for the game’s postseason finale has been on the decline for the last eight years. On Sunday night when Albert Pujols was putting on a show with his heroics with a magnificent performance . The player joined a select band of players in having hit three home runs in a game . That select band includes Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (twice) and Reggie Jackson .

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The Nielsens’ ratings have suggested that anything above a 12.5 share (14.2 million viewers) would create that anomaly that the series has been seen an upswing . MLB simply doesn’t know how to market its own damn brand but yet fans are that naive to think that because one game brings about some excitement , it necessitates everyone into believing that thinking that baseball is actually back. While the game was going on at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Texas , we had on NBC the New Orleans Saints laying a can of whup ass on the lowly Indianapolis Colts . The end result was a 62-7 was annihilation of Jim Caldwell’s players. Personally , at this juncture I would surmise that the Colts’ season for all sense and purpose has now ended and about the only thing that this team has to play for is their self respect and pride . Sadly , this all came about with the loss of Peyton Manning at the start of the season with a re-occurrence of his neck injury and with the player having to undergo a second invasive procedure the likelihood of a return this season now seems all the more improbable.

From my own perspective I would like to think that the Indianapolis Colts’ front office have been oblivious to the future of this franchise or GM Bill Polian may well have felt that he could ride Manning into the next decade. Unfortunately the team now sits at the bottom of the AFC South and there seems to be no clear indication as when they will be able to lift themselves out of their rut. There has been the suggestion that the Colts have played several of their opponents very close this season , and that has certainly been the case but when the franchise comes of on the wrong end of a result repeatedly , you simply get the feeling that there is now no confidence on this roster . It certainly isn’t happening amongst the veterans on this team , such as Robert Mathis , Jeff Saturday and Reggie Wayne . And the young up and coming stars such as Pierre Garcon and can only pray that Peyton Manning makes a quick return to the league but that now appears to be highly unlikely.

Now while this lopsided game was meant to be entertaining for the viewers on NBC as part of their Sunday night schedule , I have to ask myself what was it about this game that the broadcast outlet thought would be entertaining ? Surely given the fact that the Indianapolis Colts had yet to win a game and the very fact the play of Curtis Painter and Kerry Collins have shown that they are clearly not the answer for the team’s woes . From an defensive and offensive standpoint this team has struggled in every facet of its game . And although Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff have struggled strategically in getting the Colts playing at a high level of consistency .

The talk now is of the Indianapolis Colts being amongst the teams seeking to draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck . And the way that things are now going it is by no means a certainty that the Colts are likely to the the team having the privilege of taking what is said to be the consensus overall number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft . Also playing their way into ineptitude and mediocrity are the Miami Dolphins (0-6) , St Louis Rams (0-6) and the slew of one loss teams such as the Arizona Cardinals (1-5) , Minnesota Vikings (1-6) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5). As such we can now discount the Jaguars as the organization is now set on their starting incumbent Blaine Gabbert . Coach Jack Del Rio obviously hopes that Gabbert’s play over the course of this season can place a stay of execution on his status as a coach with the organization .

My own thoughts on Del Rio as a coach, are that his days are numbered but somehow either through the naivete or stupidity of GM Gene Smith and team owner Wayne Weaver they allowed Jack Del Rio to remain as the head coach of the team . It was somewhat unfortunate that last night to witness the Jaguars in an a game (12-7) against the Baltimore Ravens that can be best described as a monstrous spectacle that gives NFL a bad name ! Seven weeks into the schedule and a number of teams are playing as if their their season had just begun yesterday . I’ll preface this by saying, that this NFL work stoppage has to my mind made NFL calendar somewhat of a joke ! Injuries asides , there is no way in hell had the lockout been avoided I seriously doubt that the brand of football we have seen this thus far would be this awful ! Doubt my word ? Then simply look at the results over the the season so far and then look at the team and player statistics ?

If game five of the World Series was meant to be pivotal then with the Texas Rangers proving to be victorious in taking down the St Louis Cardinals 4-2 . Game’s six and seven , should one be needed will determine the outcome of this series but inasmuch as the Texas Rangers now appear to be in the driver’s seat having taken a 3-2 lead , it would be foolish to overlook the St Louis Cardinals .

Tony La Russa’s team will host the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium , in St Louis , Missouri ,. If Pujols was said to be the hero of game four then the Rangers’ Mike Napoli most certainly was the answer that the Ron Washington had been looking for in game five . The tide may well have turned but as I alluded to earlier you would be foolish to discount the chances of the Cardinals at this juncture . The St Louis Cardinals have been one of the very best teams at home over the course of the regular season . The Texas Rangers would be ill advised to simply think that their NL opponents will not fight until their very last breath to erase the deficit and come back to win this series outright. But for now it would appear that Ron Washington’s players are in the driving seat as they seek their first World Series title.

For Texas Rangers’ president Nolan Ryan , the team’s general manager Jon Daniels , Ryan’s partners , the coaching staff and the entire organization as a whole this has been a long an arduous journey . And while one has to acknowledge the contributions of former team executive Chuck Greenberg , prior to his departure , it has been the fervent will of Ryan and his belief in Ron Washington that has seemingly brought about much of the team’s success over the past few seasons .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

Whatever the events are, of tonight , I have to admit that I have found this World Series thrilling but would I say it has been suspenseful or awe inspiring ? Probably not ! As to the NFL schedule > this past weekend , well let’s just say that there were one or two games that I believe that the NFL Network and their broadcast partners wished that they had rather not televised . Monday night’s debacle (12-7) between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens left a great deal to be desired . And that Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks’ game (6-3) , how is it that there’s not some sort of formal apology from either franchise for serving up such bulls_it ? I know that the Indianapolis Colts are aching and they miss Peyton Manning sorely but when you simply lay down (62-7) like a whimpering dog that has been mistreated there’s no way in hell that I for one can feel any compassion for such a team ! My thoughts , simply my thoughts ! What are your feelings with regard to the plethora of games served up by the NFL over the weekend and also with regard to the series between the St Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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Picture and slide show details .

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(1) La Russa fu_cks up ! ET phone home . In this photo taken Monday, Oct. 24, 2011, the visiting team’s dugout phone to the bullpen is shown after Game 5 of baseball’s World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is taking full responsibility for the bullpen phone mix-up that dearly cost the Cardinals Monday night. The Rangers won 4-2 and took a 3-2 edge in the Series. AP Photo/Jamie Aron ….

(2 Texas Rangers starting pitcher Colby Lewis speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, in St. Louis. The Texas Rangers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of baseball’s World Series Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(3) Manager Tony La Russa talks to the media ahead of Game 6 of the 2011 MLB World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 25, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images…

(4) Neftali Feliz (80) of the Texas Rangers pitches in the ninth inning during Game Five of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 4-2 . AP Photo by Ronald Martin …

(5) Marcedes Lewis (89) of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts to run past Jameel McClain (53) of the Baltimore Ravens during the game at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images ….

(6) New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) celebrates his touchdown reception in front of Indianapolis Colts strong safety David Caldwell (30) during the third quarter of an NFL football game at the Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. The Saints would end up defeating the Colts 62-7 . AP Photo/Bill Feig ….

(7) Quarterback Colt McCoy (12) of the Cleveland Browns tries to scramble in the pocket before being sacked during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images …

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MLB news

2011 World Series schedule & includes results Texas Rangers leads the series 3-2 against the St Louis Cardinals

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Texas Rangers — @ — St Louis Cardinals , Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri ,.

Probable starters

Colby Lewis (Tex) vs Jaime Garcia (Cardinals)

Game 7 preview if needed

Probable starters game seven

Matt Harrison (Tex) vs TBD

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NFL week 7 results

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Hot chick pic of the day …………….. Mallory Dylan

It Happens For A Reason ….

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It Happens For A Reason ….

By Alan aka tophatal

So the MLB postseason is turning out to be something of a snooze-fest in terms of the offensive output from the two participants . And that comes as something of a surprise when one considers the teams’ productivity throughout much of the regular season . Both the St Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers as the two representatives from the National and American League are hoping to make MLB postseason finale a thrilling spectacle for the fans in attendance as well as the television viewing public on Fox Tv.

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With the series now tied at 1-1 the two teams head to Arlington Texas for the resumption of the World Series at Rangers Ballpark . Now while there has been a great deal of criticism of the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols for an error committed during game two which ensued in the Texas Rangers coming back to win the game 2-1 . Rangers’ manger Ron Washington must know that in winning game three in-front of a home crowd bodes well for a team . Especially in light of the fact that the winners of a game three in ten of the last eleven World Series have gone on to take baseball’s ultimate prize .

The Neielsens’ ratings at present don’t seem to be mirroring what the baseball hierarchy had hoped for and that is in spite of the rather naive mindset of the fans of the game . Let’s just say should there’s not much more that can be done to raise the profile of the game by MLB .

As to the events that have yet to unfold within the current series one can only hope that both teams can give the fans whatever it is that they simply yearn for !

NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus is sold on the fact that two of his more high profiled clients in Chad Ochcocinco and Terrelle Owens still have something to offer any team wishing to take a chance on them in order for them further enhance their somewhat checkered and controversial careers. The New England Patriots’ wide receiver Chad Ochocinco is under pressure to produce for the New England Patriots . Ochococinco had shown little by way of productivity for the Patriots this season . For all of the talk of the self aggrandizing and outspoken Ochocinco wanting to be a team player there has been little to suggest he has anything left in his gas tank ! Never mind the fact that his self style moniker “Future HOF ????” (Hall of Famer). I can tell you Chad Ochocinco’s credentials won’t be getting him into the Hall of Fame at any point in the future ! Now rumors are rife within the Patriots’ organization that the front office could very well cut the veteran wide receiver .

Courtesy of Miami Herald

Rosenhaus: Owens ready to go following knee surgery

Free agent wide receiver Terrell Owens is apparently ready to return from off-season knee surgery.

And his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is about to let the NFL know that the flamboyant wideout will be available to whichever team wants him.

“I just watched Terrell go through a full football workout and he looked awesome!” the 44-year-old said via his Twitter account on Wednesday evening. “He is 100% healthy and ready to play right now. I will be contacting the teams today to inform them that (he) is immediately available to visit and work out for then, He could play this Sunday!”

The 37-year-old Owens has yet to play this season due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury and subsequent surgery in April.

He appeared in 14 games a year ago with Cincinnati, racking up 72 catches for 983 yards and nine touchdowns in a memorable pairing alongside Chad Ochocinco.

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Terrell Owens coming off a productive season with the Cincinnati Bengals —— the player would suffer an injury that would curtail his embarking on the 2011 season. No longer the pre-eminent player at the position within the NFL , Owens has seen the ascendancy of Larry Fitzgerald , Marques Colston , Wes Welker and Calvin Johnson atop of the heap, as the most feared wide receivers within the game. And with the retirement of Randy Moss it gives credence to the fact that the 13 year veteran has now become something of a dinosaur.

Is Terrelle Owens a bonafide future Hall of Famer ? Certainly one could say that his credentials bear credibility but the knock against the player certainly has to be his ego and the fact that wherever he has been over the course of his career , he has been critical of his teammates and the organizations during his tenure. However , I firmly believe that Owens will be find himself on a team if he proves to a coach or general manager around the NFL that he still has something to offer. Rosenhaus has sent all thirty two teams in the NFL a fax concerning his wishes for them to attend his client’s workout schedule . And being the consummate showman that he is , Drew Rosenhaus has also made sure that the press will be on hand to pose questions both himself and Terrelle Owens. Is there anything that agent will not do to make himself the focus of attention but also his clients ?

Chad Ochocinco’s future now is by no means certain but he knows that Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick isn’t a patient man , so as of now he’s on the clock and has to produce or else !

Through six weeks of the NFL I have to admit that there has been god damn awful being played within the league . But yet somehow certain coaches still retain their jobs for one reason or another . Certainly either the general managers and team owners don’t yet feel they’re ready to pull the plug but sooner or later something most definitely will have to be done ! Amongst the coaches whom I feel are now being summarily scrutinized by their respective general managers the names which come to mind are that of Jack Del Rio , Tony Sparano and quite possibly Ken Whisenhunt of the Arizona Cardinals . Del Rio , Sparano, as coaches of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins have seen their respective teams play some atrocious football over the course of the regular season and their respective records bear this out.

A great deal was made of the Arizona Cardinals acquiring Kevin Kolb from the Philadelphia Eagles and then signing the player to a ridiculously asinine contract ! To date Kolb has done little to suggest that he’s worth the money much less give credence as to the reasons he was acquired by the organization .

By any stretch of the imagination Kevin Kolb cannot be considered to be a credible starting quarterback within the NFL but in reality analysts are too overly impressed by what they take as being superlatives , being nothing more than in actuality , complete mediocrity !

Poor play and mediocre coaching is simply the only way to describe what we are now seeing from the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins . I certainly don’t believe that anything Jack Del Rio or Tony Sparano can turn things around for their respective franchises ! Blaine Gabbert has had his baptism of fire and it is clear to see that the player has a great deal of learning to do as he embarks upon his NFL career. There’s been little to suggest that the Jaguars have what it take to be competitive within their own division in the AFC South much less the rest of the NFL as a whole .

With a further nine weeks left in the regular season before the embark upon the postseason schedule it should be interesting to how the franchises apply themselves to the task at hand as they vie for a playoff berth . As to the future of the aforementioned coaches within this piece and their ability to turn things around for their respective teams it remains to be seen how they will fare .

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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

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(1) St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina watches as Texas Rangers’ Mike Napoli crosses home after Napoli hit a three-run home run during the sixth inning of Game 4 of baseball’s World Series Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 4-0 to tie the series at 2-2 . AP Photo/Matt Slocum ….

(2) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals waits on deck during Game Four of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 23, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ….

(3) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals watches the ball after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning for his third home run of the night during Game Three of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Cardinals won 16-7 . Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …..

(4) The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Texas Rangers 16-7 in Game Three of the MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(5) Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football after a reception against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Steelers defeated the Cardinals 32-20 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..

(6) Kevin Kolb (4) of the Arizona Cardinals passes the ball over the arms of Lawrence Timmons (94) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during their game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images ….

(7) Chad Ochocinco (85) of the New England Patriots carries the ball in the second half against the San Diego Chargers on September 18, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …..

(8) FILE – In this Aug. 27, 2011 file photo, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith is shown before an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills, in Orchard Park, N.Y. When the Jaguars promoted Smith to general manager in 2009, a groundswell of support followed. Nearly three years later, that confidence has seemingly been shaken. AP Photo/David Duprey …..

(9) Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Jacksonville Jaguars tries to get a pass off over Ziggy Hood (96) of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 16, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 17-13. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images …..

(10) Head coach Jack Del Rio of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches his team play against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on October 16, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images …..

(11) Chad Ochocinco (85) and teammate Terrelle Owens (81) of the Cincinnati Bengals are seen here during the Hall of Fame game from last season. Owens is now a free agent looking to sign with an NFL team under the auspice of his agent Drew Rosenhaus . AP Photo / Clyde Marshall ….

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NB: The World Series is now tied at two games apiece (2-2) between the St Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers .

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You Break It Then Buy It …………

You Break It Then You Buy It ……

By tophatal ………

So we’re now told that the Tim Tebow era is about to begin in Denver with the Denver Broncos . The team under coach John Fox has a number of issues to deal with beyond the poor play of the players and in particular Kyle Orton . The AFC West is now up for grabs and if anything the Broncos it can be said , are playing for their very existence and livelihood. The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers appear to be the presumptive favorites for the divisional title and both teams look set to steer themselves further ahead of the lowly Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs .

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Now clearly the Denver Broncos and John Elway the team’s President and Head of Football Operations , this now becomes a situation rife with dangers as well improbable risks . The team has divest itself of perhaps their most potent offensive weapon in Brandon Lloyd , who they traded to the St Louis Rams where he reacquaints himself with Broncos’ former head coach Josh McDaniels who is now the offensive coordinator for the Rams.

From my own standpoint the controversy surrounding Tim Tebow’s play stems squarely from the fact that he was ill prepared by then Florida Gators’ coach Urban Meyer . No one seems to make mention of this rather they choose to harangue the player for what they believe he lacks as the quintessential and prototypical NFL quarterback. The player’s career at the collegiate level says a great deal about him as a leader and his will to win . There are those who would seek to simply apportion blame elsewhere rather than take in a number of factors rather than looking at what is plainly obvious for everyone to see . Meyer is by no means without blame for this but so too are I believe are the Broncos’ coaching staff and front office . Granted, Josh McDaniels drafted the player but isn’t it a fact that is up to the coaching staff to prepare the players for the rigors of the NFL and the overall expectations ? This is an all-round situation where there are a number of parties who ought to be looking themselves in the mirror at present . Personally , I feel that the youthful exuberance of Tebow has been misguided in thinking his sheer will to win would be enough to make him an NFL ready quarterback. But herein lies the caveat , with the ever present belief that win now and win at any costs the teams and the fans feel that fleeting or lack of success simply isn’t enough. And in the case of the Denver Broncos success in recent years has neither been fleeting or for that matter perennial .

The Denver Broncos (1-5) are guests of the lowly and win-less Miami Dolphins (0-5) at Sun Life Stadium , in Miami on Sunday afternoon. The two opposing teams within the AFC who are rudderless and seem to heading in the same direction . For the head coaches in this meeting , John Fox and Tony Sparano are two individuals on the edge and it is quite that a loss for either could have severe repercussions for their respective franchises.

There is little to take comfort in with regard to this Broncos’ team and their woefully inept form over the course of this season . It certainly isn’t as if they have been in with a chance of even playing with any sort of consistent rhythm throughout the course of their schedule. Over the remaining nine games of the season Tim Tebow will have to simply prove himself worthy as the starting quarterback of this Broncos’ team . The viable options beyond Brady Quinn and , Kyle Orton aren’t all that enviable . The issues on the teams are rife and it will be up to Elway and Fox to seek out those remedies and to fix them quickly , if the Denver Broncos are to have any chance of resurrecting their season somehow . If not then we shall see the this team’s fall from grace continue unabated . Never a good thing for an NFL franchise seeking to make its presence felt within the league !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Do you feel that there is blame to go around concerning not only the Broncos’ front office but also with regard to Tim Tebow’s career and that of Tebow’s tutelage under Urban Meyer ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised within this piece.

Alan aka tophatal ………….

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(1) MIAMI GARDENS, FL – OCTOBER 23: Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against Cameron Wake (91) of the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ………….

(2) Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos passes against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …….

(3) Former Head Coach of the University of Florida Gators Urban Meyer speaks during a ceremony honoring the 2008 NCAA Champions at halftime of the game between the Miami Dolphins and the Denver Broncos at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …………….

(4) MIAMI GARDENS, FL – OCTOBER 23: Head Coach Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins disputes a call during the game against the Denver Broncos at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) ……

(5) MIAMI GARDENS, FL – OCTOBER 23: Matt Prater (5) of the Denver Broncos kicks the game winning field goal in overtime against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Broncos overcame a 15-0 deficit to defeat the Dolphins 18-15 in overtime . Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ………..

(6) MIAMI GARDENS, FL – OCTOBER 23: Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos heads off the field after the game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …

(7) Quarterback Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos dives against the Miami Dolphins to end the game to overtime at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Denver defeated Miami 18-15 . Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images …….

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Denver Broncos’ draft history

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Denver Broncos’ front office

It’s Over When It’s Over But At Times It’s Not !

It’s Over When It’s Over But At Times It’s Not !

By Alan aka tophatal

OK I’ve had enough of the idiot Fighting Irish fans within this forum carrying on as if Brian Kelly’s — — Notre Dame football team is still relevant . What turned to be the highlight of their schedule simply showed the nation that this team simply is no longer worth talking about on the national stage ! . In their game against Laine Kiffin’s USC Trojans they came up short . And the thought of the Irish simply having to win a mere six games to qualify for a Bowl appearance makes a mockery of the system altogether of football at the collegiate level.

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Matt Barkley the starting quarterback for USC and his teammates laid the wood to Notre Dame and left no doubt in anyone’s mind that this Brian Kelly’s team simply isn’t what their fans believe them to be . They clearly are not good enough to be even worthy of a Bowl appearance much less being thought as being a member of BCS conference . USC not eligible for the postseason because of their NCAA imposed sanctions this in effect was the Trojans’ chance to shine and play spoiler , which indeed they did . Quarterback Dayne Crist and Notre Dame turned the ball over repeatedly ___ much like their play throughout much of the game the end result simply echoed what was apparent for all to see , this team isn’t as good some may well believe them to be . Lou Holtz can you hear me ? The Trojans came to play and make sure that any aspirations that the Fighting Irish may well have had simply went up in smoke . 31-17 being the end result in a game which essentially could have been of a much wider margin had Lane Kiffin’s players applied themselves more effectively.

Game three of the World Series was the coming out party for Albert Pujols this postseason , as the player simply added another milestone to his already historic career . The St Louis Cardinals as guests of the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington , Texas , that silenced a Rangers’ crowd expecting to see the AL pennant winners stamp their authority on this game . Well , that wasn’t to be , albeit that the fans and a national television audience were witness to an explosive offensive onslaught from both teams with 23 runs being scored as the Cardinals came away with a 16-7 victory. Kyle Lohse came away with the win for the St Louis Cardinals as Ron Washington’s team now has to make sure they even this series by taking game four if they are to have a remote chance remaining in this series , much less winning their first World Series .

Given what we were led to believe in terms of the Texas Rangers’ pitching rotation it was clear that on this night Pujols and his bat were not about to be denied as he put on a riveting display of power hitting, going 5 for 6, 3HR’s , 4 runs scored with 6 RBI’s . It is on a night like this why you can appreciate the reason many believe that Albert Pujols is by far the “best player “ in the game today. In amassing three home runs in World Series game Pujols joins a select band of players to have hit three home runs in a World Series game and those players are enshrined in Cooperstown , New York in the Baseball Hall of Fame . The players in question are Babe Ruth (twice) and Reggie Jackson , each of whom went on to lead their teams to a World Series title. There may well be questions about whether or not the Cardinals’ front office will be able to resign the player to a long term contract but I firmly believe that GM John Mozeliak and the ownership group led by Willam O DeWitt , William DeWitt Jr and Fred Hanser will be making a tremendous mistake in not retaining the player’s services .

If there was one thing that was telling in this game it was the very fact that the bullpen of the Texas Rangers couldn’t live up to the expectations expected of them by their fans. I certainly don’t believe that the St Louis Cardinals are complacent enough to let this series now slip away from them as they are now in the driver’s seat . Tony La Russa knows that should the momentum continue with his team then they are well on their way to another World Series title should they obtain a victory in game four . On the mound for the Texas Rangers for that scheduled game will be Derek Holland as he will be facing Edwin Jackson of the St Louis Cardinals .

This series now takes on something of a major thrill ride for the fans as the expectations are , can the Cardinals essentially dampen the hopes of the Texas Rangers ? And in doing so essentially ending any real hopes of the Ron Washington’s team fighting their way back into this series . Rarely does a team comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the World Series , and as a good as the Rangers are said to be there is a distinct feeling to my mind that we are about to see history repeat itself with this team losing once again losing to an NL team in the World Series. Who can forget Texas Rangers’ woes against a San Francisco Giants’ team that simply played sensationally throughout the 2010 World Series ?

Derek Holland will most definitely have to produce a solid pitching performance for Ron Washington and at the same time provide some sort of impetus for his teammates . Edwin Jackson for the St Louis Cardinals simply has to curtail what clearly is a very good Rangers’ offense when their bats are alight . It remains to be seen what events and stories are left to be told as this series plays itself out for the fans and the public’s consumption.

With Theo Epstein now having accepted Tom Ricketts’s proposal to become the defacto general manager of the Chicago Cubs , Epstein has been immediately been promoted to become team president and Head of Baseball Operations. And in what is said to be the executive’s choice his first hire has been that of Jed Hoyer as the general manager of the ballclub. It would be safe to say that for Epstein and Hoyer they have a great deal work ahead of them as they gauge this whole operation from the player personnel to the coaching staff . And while the belief for now is that the Cubs may well retain Mike Quade as the manager , I firmly believe that Epstein and Hoyer would like to bring in their own personal choice for the position ! This past season the team was a non factor
in the divisional race within the NL Central . The Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals were the sole representatives from the National League (NL) as the postseason representatives . The Cardinals as the NL pennant winners are now in embroiled in a fascinating World Series against the Texas Rangers.

PADRES: Departure of Hoyer, McLeod shouldn’t lead to major changes

By Dan Hayes

SAN DIEGO — Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and assistant general manager Jason McLeod may be headed to the Chicago Cubs, but the organization’s philosophy of cultivating its own impact players, key personnel in scouting and development and a streamlined information process are here to stay.

Jim Callis , Baseball America’s executive editor, said those secondary factors are far more important to the continued improvement of the Padres’ farm system than the departures of Hoyer and McLeod, which is expected to be announced this week.

“There’s no reason they can’t sustain what they started,” Callis said. “It’s more about getting the process in place. If you have a good process and are willing to invest, it’s definitely sustainable.

“They’ve got the process in place.”

Callis expects the Padres will rank sixth or higher among baseball’s 30 teams when Baseball America’s 2012 farm system rankings are released in December.

McLeod echoed those sentiments last week, saying the franchise has stockpiled more talent and athleticism than he could remember possessing at any time during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox.

In three years under Moorad, the Padres have spent $24.42 million in signing bonuses for amateur draft picks, including a club-record $11.020 million this season. The team also had another $5 million go unclaimed in 2010 when Karsten Whitson and A.J. Venegas chose college over the pros.

Callis expects the Padres will rank sixth or higher among baseball’s 30 teams when Baseball America’s 2012 farm system rankings are released in December.

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There’s a growing belief that the Chicago Cubs simply overpay for talent that hasn’t lived up to expectations . Carlos Zambrano bailed on his teammates and the organization and one could say that in terms of leadership there was none to be seen from anyone on the roster , much less from Quade and his coaching staff . Perhaps it’s me but when Alfonso Soriano as one of the highest paid players on the roster simply shows no leadership qualities and Aramis Ramirez has all but become as docile as a cat sipping milk when he’s up in the batter’s box , you can see the reasons why this organization hasn’t been relevant in the postseason for years !
And from a pitching standpoint the pitching rotation were inept over the course of the season .

At this point I am not so sure that Theo Epstein will be in a position to turn things around so quickly as many of the Cubs’ fans and the sports’ talk analysts within the city believe to think . Wrigley Field still remains a cathedral for the loyal Cubs’ fans with its history and legacy of Hall of Famers . Cubs’ owner Tom Ricketts has staked a great deal in placing his faith on the wunderkind of baseball and herein lies the dilemma for this organization . It could very well take anywhere between three to five years before Epstein and his staff are able to turn things around make this team truly competitive within the game. We now will be able to see how truly capable Theo Epstein may well be as a general manager .

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

In light of Saturday night’s event what if anything was the main highlight during the World Series ? Also from your own standpoint do you feel that Brian Kelly and his coaching staff are capable of turning things around within the Notre Dame program ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts on the points raised and anything pertinent you believe concerning pertinent to the subject matter .

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist looks to pass in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California in South Bend, Ind., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. AP Photo/Joe Raymond …..

(2) SOUTH BEND, IN – OCTOBER 22: Curtis McNeal (22) of the University of Southern California Trojans runs for yardage against the Notre Dame Fighting irish at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ….

(3) Andrew Hendrix (12) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is stopped short of the goal by defensive players from the University of Southern California Trojans including Nick Perry (8) at Notre Dame Stadium on October 22, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USC defeated Notre Dame 31-17 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..

(4) St. Louis Cardinals’ Albert Pujols answers questions during a news conference after Game 3 of baseball’s World Series against the Texas Rangers, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. Pujols hit three home runs to tie the World Series record in a 16-7 Cardinals’ victory. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ….

(5) Albert Pujols (5) of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning for his third home run of the night during Game Three of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images …

(6) FILE- This Dec.12, 2005, file photo, shows Boston Red Sox co-general manager Ben Cherington , left, and co-general manager Jed Hoyer , right, during their three month tenure as shared general manager during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston. Cherington is expected to be promoted on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011, when the Red Sox have scheduled a news conference to introduce Theo Epstein’s replacement. Epstein resigned from Boston to take over as president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs on Friday, and the teams said they would hold off on more announcements out of respect for the teams in the World Series; Tuesday is the next off-day. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia …..

(7) Theo Epstein of the Chicago Cubs having accepted the offer to reprise his role it would now appear he is now to become the Head of Baseball Operations for the team . Subject to a formal announcement Jed Hoyer would then become the general manager with Jason McCleod becoming the assistant general manager of the team. Hoyer and McCleod held similar roles within the San Diego Padres’ front office . AP Photo / Keith Metcalfe ….

(8) Tom Ricketts the principal managing partner of the Chicago Cubs . In the aftermath of Jim Hendry’s departure the owner has sought to bring in a influx of fresh front office executive talent with a view to improving the organization competitively both on and off the field of play . Getty Images/ Ron Jackson …..

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NCAA Football results week 8

MLB news

MLB World Series schedule & results .

St Louis Cardinals news

Texas Rangers news

Chicago Cubs news

It Is What It Is …. ! It’s The AFC West For God’s Sake Damn It !

It Is What It Is …. ! It’s The AFC West For God’s Sake Damn It !


By tophatal

OK so the fans of the Oakland Raiders were in awe with the organization’s acquistion of noted former USC quarterback and former Cincinnati Bengal’s starter Carson Palmer . Sunday was meant to be Palmer’s coming out party against the Raiders’ divisional rivals , the Kansas City Chiefs . And never let it be said that we should expect any thrilling displays of football from within the AFC West because this might just be the worst division in all of football .

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The four occupants of the AFC South , namely the Denver Broncos , Kansas City Chiefs , Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are four teams that have become mind numbingly inconsistent over the years . And this season it has been no different for the four teams , as their results have been borne out this year . The collective records of the quartet is a combined 13-12 . In conference the teams have struggled to show a modicum of consistency this season.

With Hue Jackson making it a game time decision as to who the starter would be against Todd Haley’s Chiefs . This game was seen as view of what the fans were hoping to see from the renowned Carson Palmer . The former Heisman Trophy winner had a stellar collegiate career at USC before before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals . The player’s career with the organization has seen its highs and lows but over the past two seasons the Palmer has become disgruntled with the organization , coaches and former teammates . Having joined the Oakland Raiders , Palmer finds himself surrounded with a plethora of offensive weapons and a running attack that is amongst the best in the NFL .

Unfortunately for the Raiders’ fans seated at the Oakland Coliseum and a national television audience watching they witnessed an offense that was so out of sync and a collective performance from starting quarterback Kyle Boller and then his replacement Carson Palmer that left a great deal to be desired . Each quarterback threw three interceptions apiece and to make things so comical in the team’s overall performance . The end result with a 28-0 blanking of the Raiders , brought about an inauspicious start for Palmer and his tenure with the Oakland Raiders.

While Hue Jackson had to have been disappointed with his team’s performance he has to know this loss though did nothing to enhance the Raiders’ aspirations with regard to divisional honors. Though still atop of the AFC West with a 4-2 record the had some consolation in knowing that the San Diego Chargers somehow managed to lose to the New York Jets 27-21 . Not one , really wanting to lambast Norv Turner at present but when is Chargers’ general manager A J. Smith going to realize that the coach hasn’t got the wherewithal to get this team going when they face real adversity ? When you have a quarterback the caliber of Philip Rivers and . On a day when wide receiver Plaxico Burress made the announcement that he’s back in the NFL , he seemingly made the Chargers defense seem so damn awful that it simply doesn’t bear thinking about . The player’s reception yards might not have been all that impressive but his three touchdown catches were , as Rex Ryan’s team got themselves back on track .

Two of the worse teams in the AFC got together for a conference match-up that left little to desired unless you just happen to be a Tim Tebow and a Denver Broncos’ fan. John Fox and his coaching staff are still assessing the qualities of their now incumbent quarterback while at the same time we can now state categorically that Kyle Orton by no means gives this team the best opportunity to win ! If that were the case , then the Broncos’ record not be a pedantic 2-4 . I sometimes have to wonder what it is that these moronic NFL tv analysts on ABC/ESPN , CBS Sports , Fox and NBC might just be watching when they make their rather asinine prognostication ! If Orton is an NFL caliber quarterback then quite possibly we ought to have Richard Simmons playing in the NFL !

Tim Tebow played his part in guiding the Denver Broncos to a win over the Miami Dolphins but in reality it wasn’t that the team played that great . Simply put , the Dolphins as the opponents of the Broncos are a mediocre team at best . Tony Sparano’s season and that of his entire coaching staff might now be hanging on by a single thread . Billionaire team owner Stephen Ross and GM Jeff Ireland might as well place a call to all to each of the other 31 teams within the NFL seeking permission to interview their respective assistant coaches . If they are not successful there , then quite possibly they may week a prospective replacement from amongst the collegiate ranks .

And now that the former Gators’ quarterback has firmly placed himself amongst the current conversation as a water cooler topic water cooler for a vast array of NFL fans and fantasy geeks out there . John Fox and the team’s Head of Football Operations John Elway for the present may well be happy with the fact that they have a quarterback who can actually make the Broncos competitive for the present. But it remains to be seen how capable this team might well be as the rest of their schedule will ultimately determine that factor and their season’s end record. In eking out their 18-15 victory the Denver Broncos have placed the Miami Dolphins in another precarious position with a 0-6 record firmly now placing them alongside the Indianapolis Colts (0-6) and St Louis Rams (0-6) for the privilege in taking Stanford Cardinals’ quarterback Andrew Luck as the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft .

Now while we can bemoan the quality of the football being played in the NFL . I think that we can agree that the criticism of the AFC South is justified but at the same it’s scary to think that the NFC West , another division that struggles with some semblance of consistency and the combined records of the quartet of teams are 8-16 . Not exactly something that on paper looks at all that impressive but one could either surmise that this is cyclical within the NFL . That may well be the case but in reality this seems to be how the league tends to ebb and flow in terms of the consistency of the teams.

For now the fans will have to endure this morass of mediocre play from the teams within the division mentioned while taking solace that this hasn’t become widespread across the NFL . Well at least I’d like to think so ! But who knows as of now ?

Alas , just when I thought that Jack Del Rio couldn’t pull off another “Houdini Act” , somehow his Jacksonville Jaguars managed to derail the ambitions of John Harbaugh’s —- Baltimore Ravens . Disturbing as this might seem this was a game by its result ( 12-7) alone explain should be able explain how monstrously mediocre this Monday night match-up was . If only ESPN could have put us all out of our misery by having a technical issue during this game rather than having the tv audience endure this mess ! Then perhaps we could have forgiven the network and the two teams involved but somehow I think that’s now impossible to do .

Del Rio to my mind is merely treading water as he fights for his professional life ! GM Gene Smith and team owner Wayne Weaver by season’s end will have to make a decision concerning his beleaguered coach. My own thinking would be for Weaver to jettison not only his coach but the entire coaching staff as well as his general manager ! Smith and Del Rio combined have somehow managed to make this team something of a laughing stock , one way or another . Other than the drafting of Maurice Jones-Drew and Blaine Gabbert , the latter who appears to be a work in progress , I cannot think of one reason to retain the duo !

Though last night’s game was something of a mediocre effort offered up by both teams in no way was it the ” worst” NFL result to have taken place this past weekend . Anyone who had the dubious privilege of witnessing that monstrosity that took place between the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio , must’ve felt that they were being held prisoner and being tortured in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ! What the fu_k is going on with these two teams ? I’ve been told repeatedly that there’s no offense in soccer and that may well be the case with the MLS ! But I can guarantee you this , with the leagues in Europe ( EPL , Serie` A, La Liga ) and Latin America , at least the effort put fort there is far more exciting than the bulls_it exhibited by Pete Caroll’s and Pat Shurmur’s players . Good God almighty, the fans have to dole out their hard earned cash to watch this fecal matter but somehow Roger Goodell feels he can take pride in the NFL brand and product as a whole ? Well if a score of 6-3 is something that you can take pride in , no wonder the fans of the NFL are continued to be pissed and shat upon by the league hierarchy , franchise owners and NFLPA ! This is simply what the NFL has now become , owners , players and the league itself bilking the public , meanwhile they are laughing all the way to the bank and then some !

I am not one to normally disavow the NFL but please don’t insist that a number of the games we tend to witness repeatedly week in and week out can actually be described as the best that the NFL has to offer . That’s utter bullsh_t on the part of the apologists out there especially amongst the ranks of the NFL analysts and commentators , never mind some of the more anally retentive fans who might well subscribe to the analysis and give it credit !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have about the points raised within this piece ? Simply offer up a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ………………

https://tophatal.wordpress.com

Picture and slide show details below.

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(1) Oakland Raiders line up to defend against center Casey Wiegmann (62) of the Kansas City Chiefs in the third quarter on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0 . Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images …

(2) Starting quarterback Kyle Boller(7) of the Oakland Raiders stands on the sidelines after being pulled out of the game in the third quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won 28-0. Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images ….

(3) Carson Palmer(3) of the Oakland Raiders talks with Kyle Boller (7) against the Kansas City Chiefs at O.co Coliseum on October 23, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Chiefs won the game 28-0. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images…

(4) Fullback Leonard Pope (44) of the Kansas City Chiefs scores a touchdown as the ball pops loose against linebacker Aaron Curry (51) of the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter on October 23, 2011 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Chiefs lead 14-0 in the first half. However , they would end up blanking the Raiders 28-0 . Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images …..

(5) Tim Tebow (15) of the Denver Broncos carries the ball against Cameron Wake (91) of the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images ……

(6) Wide receiver Golden Tate (81) of the Seattle Seahawks is tackled by defensive back Buster Skrine (22) of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images …….

(7) Ray Lewis (52) and Terrell Suggs (55) of the Baltimore Ravens tackle Maurice Jones-Drew (32) of the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville Florida. The Jaguars would defeat the Ravens 12-7 . Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images …..

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NFL news

NFL standings by division

Week 7 results

NFL transactions

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Denver Broncos news

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AFC West final standings for the past 5 years

AFC West ( 2010 ) Champions : Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)

AFC West (2009) Champions : San Diego Chargers (13-3)

AFC West ( 2008) Champions : San Diego Chargers ( 8-8 )

AF West (2007) Champions : San Diego Chargers ( 11-5)

AFC West ( 2006) Champions : San Diego Chargers (14-2 )

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If at all interested do take time to participate in the above mentioned poll .

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Craig Mack ………………. ” Flava In Ya Ear “

It Starts From The Top , On Down ………

It’s Starts From The Top , On Down ……………

I think that we can all assume that for any organization the success attained usually comes by way of ownership in terms of a professional sports’ franchise and the lead executives within that organization. Within the area of Major League Baseball (MLB) I think that we can surmise that there are some damn good owners as well some very bad ones amongst the bunch . The same can be said for the general managers and managers themselves . If there’s leadership from up above as well a high degree of intelligence then it usually bodes well for a team .

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In recent years and it would be fair to say that the Tampa Bay Rays have had a reasonable amount of success within the AL East and the postseason as an organization. Team owner Stuart Sternberg along with his managing partner , Matthew Silverman and general manager Andrew Friedman have been the mainstays of upswing in the fortunes of the franchise. But undoubtedly it has been the boldness Friedman and his personnel decisions that cannot be underestimated . The hiring of Joe Maddon as the team’s manager and his subsequent hirees as coaching assistants have simply genius in its strategy and simpleness . And one cannot say enough about the draft choices made by the general manager over the last five years . Suffice to say that those players who have made it to the majors are the envy of the teams around the league .

Undeniably the heroics of this team this regular season brought about a great deal of excitement for the fans within the Tampa Bay area and that loyal following in attendance at Tropicana Field , St Petersburg , Florida got the chance to cheer on their heroes during the postseason . Short-lived as that was anyone who would have suggest during mid August the Tampa Bay Rays would end up being the AL wildcard representative at the end of the regular season may well have been laughed at . The team’s postseason foray for 2011 ended up rather abruptly with the Tampa Bay Rays being summarily dismissed by the Texas Rangers (3-1) in the ALDS . With that loss the front office now looks to next season and what changes they may well deem prudent to become more competitive . What has and will always be the biggest concern for the organization are the financial constraints that they are placed under . When adjudged against other teams around the league the Rays’ situation is not necessarily viewed as an enviable one . But they have managed to survive and be competitive in a league that has now become more to do with spending for the large part rather than genuinely developing talent .

Fortunately for Joe Maddon and his coaching staff with the natural maturity and the progress shown in the development of players such as David Price , Evan Longoria , Alex Cobb , Jeremy Hellickson and B J Upton the organization has been extremely lucky . It has been this sort of development of talent this has made this ball club the envy of the league . The credit for this must undoubtedly go to Andrew Friedman , Joe Maddon and the coaching staff.

The issues that the Tampa Bay Rays face concerning their dire need for a new state of the art facility with Tropicana Field not being viewed as fan friendly have been well chronicled . The issue is treated as a hot potato by the league hierarchy and it has gotten to the stage where MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has berated the organization as well the politicians of both the cities of St Petersburg and Tampa as well Hillsborough and Pinellas County , as to their inaction, in getting a new ballpark for the team. Someone should remind Selig that just because New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg allowed the commissioner to ” fist “ his sphincter and it doesn’t mean that the politicians within both municipalities or for that matter the ownership group of the Rays will allow the same thing to happen to them ! Bloomberg under the subterfuge of seeing two multi million dollar ballparks ( Citi-Field & Yankee Stadium ) built within the city of New York suddenly feels that the municipality becomes the epicenter of the baseball world . That clearly is not the case but you would be hard pressed to convince a New York Mets or Yankees’ fan of that !

This off-season the Tampa Bay Rays will have to contend with the fact that they have yet to reach an agreement with their general manager concerning a contract extension. We know that the Chicago Cubs’ vacancy has now been filled with Theo Epstein accepting the offer from owner Tom Ricketts . Meanwhile , with Los Angeles Angels’ general manager Tony Reagins having resigned his position , it leads to a vacancy within that organization . The team’s multi dollar billionaire owner Arte Moreno is no slouch and will look for a high profiled and competent replacement for Reagins . Moreno , it has been reported , has met with Andrew Friedman twice within the last 48 hours to discuss the Angels’ vacancy with the Rays’ general manager , to gauge his interest . At the same time laying in wait observing this hall has been the ownership group of the Houston Astros . I somehow get the feeling that if Friedman is made an offer that he simply cannot refuse then he will undoubtedly leave this organization and make his way to the West Coast , into the more than welcoming arms of the Angels’ front office .

In spite of the friendship between Andrew Friedman and Stuart Sternberg , the mutual respect between the two will remain. But it can’t have been easy for the Tampa Bay Rays general manager having to cut costs in terms of the player personnel simply to make this ball club not only competitive but also profitable from a financial standpoint. No such hindrances for the organization’s two biggest divisional foes the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees with their multi million dollar payrolls as well having at their disposal as a treasure chest their respective sports programming cable network providers NESN and the YES Network .

As I alluded to earlier the situation facing the Rays become more dire with each passing moment as to their future and that of a new venue. Entering now into the fray is the city of Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer offering up his own assessment of the baseball team’ future. The mayor has let it be known that he feels that the cities of St Petersburg and Tampa have ill served the organization . Either Dyer is a complete asshole or this is simply nothing more than a political ploy on his part . If he feels that luring away the team from Pinellas County to Orange County and the city of Orlando will serve his municipality city well , then so be it . But given the fact , that both the city and county are at this moment struggling to literally stay afloat due budgetary shortfalls speaks to the stupidity of the mayor . If he firmly believes that fawning over sports’ franchise owner and using taxpayer’s monies to fund stadiums as a means of initiating an upturn in the city’s infrastructure while teachers , city employees and first responders are either furloughed or “pink slipped” indicates to that he is simply another political crony willing to prostitute himself out to the highest bidder ! I can only surmise that Bill Foster of St Petersburg and his city of Tampa counterpart Mayor Bob Buckhorn will have a few choice and pointed responses for Dyer when they see fit respond to his comment publicly !

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit . Thanks as always for the continued support !

Alan aka tophatal ………………

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Rays’ manager Joe Maddon is seen here alongside GM Andrew Friedman during the 2008 MLB Playoffs . AP Photo / Chris Howard ….

(2) Arte Moreno (left) is seen here with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and the Angels’ former general manager Tony Reagins (right). Moreno has met with Rays’ general manager Andrew Friedman to gauge the executive’s interest in joining the Los Angeles Angels in a similar position . @ copyrighted material all rights reserved MLB.com …..

(3) Mayor Bill Foster (R) speaks to the media regarding the two St. Petersburg, Florida police officers killed during a shootout on January 24, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. A deputy U.S Marshal was also wounded. The suspect, 39-year-old Hydra Lacy, Jr., was later found dead in the home where the shootout took place. Getty Images / Tom Boyles …..

(4) Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn talks Tuesday about the teamwork of the many law enforcement agencies, many with representatives behind him, during the four-day hunt for Dontae Morris. Skip Rourke / St Petersburg Times ….

(5) City of Orlando Mayor,Buddy Dyer, looks out from his office unto the horizon of the downtown Orlando area. Dyer was one of the main facilitators in getting a new arena built for the NBA franchise, the Orlando Magic . picture appears courtesy of orlandosentinel/ Jason Arnot ………..

(6) Tropicana Field home to the Tampa Bay Ray since the team’s inception and now viewed an archaic edifice by a number of players and teams around the league . Bud Selig has been highly critical of the ownership group of the Rays . But the commissioner has done little to assist the organization and their ambition of getting a new facility. However , he was front and center in dealing with the Boston Red Sox ownership and the of the New York Yankees’ front office in making sure that there would be no problems in their dealings with the New York City Council (members) by holding countless private meetings with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. St Petersburg Times / Collin Walsh ….

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One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All …….. !

One Size Doesn’t Necessarily Fit All

Well it’s finally here as MLB’s showcase event for the 2011 season with the commencement of the World Series . The prospective seven game series will be televised nationally by Fox and their hope is that the games will be a major lure for the prospective audiences even they just happen to be a passing observer. The two rival teams are the AL pennant winner the Texas Rangers who will be the guests of the St Louis Cardinals who in defeating ( 4-2) the Milwaukee Brewers garnered their seventeenth NL pennant over the course of the franchise’s storied history .

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The Texas Rangers coming off their second consecutive ALCS pennant and return to the World Series hope that a return in light of their World Series disappointment of 2010 in losing to the San Francisco Giants will be one of redemption . With that loss the front office led by team president Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels looked to learn from the mistakes made and at the same time revamp the roster in order to make them more competitive this season . The Texas Rangers were the runaway winners of the AL West with there being little opposition in any coming their opponents within the division .

The opposition provided by their opponents during the ALDS and NLCS was futile for want of a better word . However, this match-up against the St Louis Cardinals could well prove to the test that the Rangers so desperately need . From my own standpoint I hope that this will one of the better postseason finales of recent years ! On the mound for the St Louis Cardinals will their starting ace Chris Carpenter who faces off against C J Wilson .

St Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony La Russa like his opposite number Ron Washington has been part of the postseason but unlike the Texas manager he has had the pleasure of winning a World Series title . In fact the Cardinals’ manager is one a select band of MLB managers to have won a world championship in both leagues. If anything the St Louis Cardinals may well be viewed as the underdogs in this series as the AL pennant winner seem to be the prohibitive favorites for the world championship. A win could very well play its part and perhaps be the determining factor as to whether or not the St Louis Cardinals will be able to retain their highly prized impending free agent Albert Pujols . GM John Mozeliak and principal managing partner William O DeWitt know that securing the player to a long term deal that isn’t exorbitant and beyond the means of the organization . There is no denying that both teams in MLB postseason are looking to make this series an exciting thrill packed event , as to whether or not it turns out that way remains to be seen.

As much I can understand the need for the NFL to expand the broad base and global of the sport of football , it is now becoming more ridiculous with the league hierarchy’s thinking that staging a regular season game now on annual basis is in the best interest of the game. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell along with the team franchise owners heightens the game to even more astonishing peaks . This upcoming Sunday the Chicago Bears are guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the two teams meet at Wembley Stadium , in London , England .

With the NFL now having offices in Canada , South America , Europe , Far East Asia and an office in the United Kingdom , with the UK itself being one of the NFL’s most prominent consumer markets outside of North America. Herein lies the caveat , with the global economy now unstable it seems somewhat out of the norm to believe that the league still feels that they can continue down this path . Granted , the NFL is a multi billion dollar industry and though they recently returned to the workplace after their league imposed stoppage. The signs are that the league hierarchy and team owners feel that the North American consumer market has peaked , reached its maturation and saturation point.

This NFC matchup brings together two teams vying for divisional supremacy , albeit that the Chigaco Bears (3-3) are looking up at the Detroit Lions (5-1) and Green Bay Packers (6-0) who sit atop of the NFC North . Coach Lovie Smith’s team have to be of the opinion that if they are to contest the division , then a win against the Buccaners would place them in good standing . Jay Cutler , Brian Urlacher , Julius Peppers and Matt Forte as the season veterans on this team they ill be looking to show the form that had the Bears on the cusp of making their way to the Superbowl last season , only to be upended in the NFC championship game by the Green Bay Packers , the eventual winners of the Lombardi Trophy.

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff having rebounded from their 48-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers , in week 6 they rebounded in taking down the New Orleans in a highly competitive divisional game (26-20) during which the Buccaneers prevailed .

Josh Freeman of the Buccaneers is proving to be a real leader and one of the young up and coming quarterbacks within the NFL . He’s proving to be a hero in more ways than one and his last minute come from behind heroics are at times reminiscent in some ways of John Elway at his very best . The player’s stats in this one particular category already bears this out , much to the delight of his teammates and in particular to Raheem Morris and the coaching staff . In many ways this will be a game that will give even more credence as to whether or not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can improve on last season’s showing and mount a legitimate pedigree wherein one could view them as viable contenders for the this postseason and beyond .

GM Mark Dominik in conjunction with Raheem Morris , the scouting department and coaching staff have been prudent in their draft picks in recent years , making the team far more athletic and with the players being held accountable . Something that one couldn’t actually subscribe to when it came to Morris’ predecessor Jon Gruden . And Raheem Morris’ predecessor was never one to be known as someone who’d actually developed talent over the course of NFL career . Now please don’t throw the name of Rich Gannon into the ring as some evidence of that as the player simply found himself in an environment where he could flourish with the Oakland Raiders at the time and it wasn’t as if he wasn’t already a known commodity to begin with ! But therein lies the myth concerning Gruden and his presumed prowess as a developer of NFL talent !

Both the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have stout defenses but as of late that hasn’t necessarily been the case with both having seen their secondaries exposed . That being said both teams have to get that facet of their game back on track as well as being more efficient from an offensive standpoint .

The Buccaneers will be seeking to get their offense off and running when they take centerstage at Wembley Stadium against their NFC opponent . As to what the fans in London should expect , remains to be seen . But clearly the NFL league hierarchy believe that this annual staging of a regular season game abroad will further broaden the brand’s (NFL) appeal on a global basis . Get the feeling that no matter how much money the league will have in its coffers it well never be enough ?

Well now that the NBA finds itself in the midst of league hierarchy mandated lockout ____ the league itself along with the NBPA (union) sought to go through mediation via the FMCS a federal government agency . The mediator just happens to be George Cohen , who initially presided over the initial hearings of the NFL during their prolonged labor stoppage . Commissioner David Stern and union his counterpart Billy Hunter are still at an impasse . To furthermore emphasize the diverging stances being taken the union’s executive committee led by their president Derek Fisher have unequivocally stated that they are not prepared to acquiesce to any of the league’s demands without there first being concessions from the NBA, itself .

With the NBA preseason having been postponed and the regular season schedule set to start in November it is now becoming abundantly clear that the entire regular season schedule is now in jeopardy . The league has estimated that losses accumulated will be in excess of $35-$40 million per month . That does not include losses to local authorities and the business closely tied into the local communities once the season begins in the NBA . There are those who suggest that those figures are vastly overstated but when you consider that the league itself has lost in excess of $450 million cumulatively over the past two seasons it is easy to understand the concerns of the league hierarchy and the team owners . However, to my mind these very same owners and the league itself , in pleading poverty have overlooked one thing , and that is that they have continued to spend capriciously over the past five years while not looking to rein in their costs. At the same time the avarice of the union seems to know no boundaries with some outrageous demands on their part .

So contentious have been the deliberations that you have also had high profiled players such as Dywane Wade , LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in no large part questioning the character of the commissioner . It is now becoming increasingly clear that the league and union are not only on a collision course but in the aftermath of this wreckage there could very well be one , if not two franchises that could end up biting the dust should this lockout be a prolonged over several months , if not longer .

The mayor of Sacramento , Kevin Johnson , himself a former NBA professional is seeking to retain the Sacramento Kings within his city . But with a burgeoning municipal deficit , as well his having to reduce the city’s workforce it seems something of a futile exercise on Johnson’s path to try and keep the franchise within the city , while supposedly seeking assistance from businesses within the local community. Those very same businesses are feeling an economic crunch just like the rest of the country and it the population en mass . And the thought of the mayor seeking to use public funds in conjunction with private financing smacks of incompetence , given the issues he faces already within his city !

Owners such as Dan Gilbert , Mikhail Prokhorov , James Dolan and Jerry Buss for now may well be showing their support for the commissioner but I can’t help but wonder what happens when the league itself , now sees the stoppage entering into its second , fifth or six month !

The Sacramento Kings as a franchise has been hemorrhaging red ink incessantly over the past three years , with there being no real signs of abatement. The team is owned by the Maloof family with Joe and Gavin Maloof primarily overseeing the franchise’s business in conjunction with general manager and team president Geoff Petrie . And with the Kings’ ownership group merely playing a waiting game for the present with the city of Sacramento , while seeking out the opportunity to relocate the club . I for one , now feel that not unlike the acrimonious split that took place between the city of Seattle and the Seattle Supersonics we could very well see history simply repeat itself. I mean , David Stern was duplicitous in that instance with his backing of Clay Bennett and his partners leaving the city with the franchise to relocate in the city of Oklahoma , forming the Oklahoma City Thunder . The city of Seattle may well have felt that they got the better end of the deal with a $25 million payoff but they now have a white elephant on their hands with the venue which housed the Sonics at present now vacant .

The NBA lockout now has surpassed 100 days in its length but with no real sign of an accord in sight . However the cities of Memphis and Oklahoma are said to seeking a legal recourse against the league in light of potential financial losses they may well suffer if this stoppage goes on much longer . Oklahoma is home to the Oklahoma City Thunder where they’re housed in a multi million dollar facility owned ( Chesapeake Energy Center ) by the municipality . The Memphis Grizzlies are housed in the Fedex Forum in Memphis , Tennessee .

If either municipality should proceed ahead with any legal action action against the NBA , then in all likelihood they may well seek outside legal counsel in any prospective proceeding . My only personal thought on this matter would be for the two municipalities to proceed with that the proposed legal action jointly in US Federal Court in the state of Delaware ,. Given the fact that amongst the thirty NBA teams they are several multi billionaires amongst the throng of franchise owners within the NBA with now a number of them pleading poverty with regard to their respective franchises . Adam Silver the deputy commissioner of the league , one the mainstays of the NBA’s committee working on behalf of the hierarchy along with David Stern and Peter Holt , the owner of the San Antonio Spurs. representing the sport’s governing body in these deliberations . I have always maintained that no matter what the sport happens to be at the professional level municipal and state governmental agencies should not be held hostage by leagues such as the MLB , NBA , NFL , NHL , NASCAR or for that matter MLS (soccer) in assisting those governing bodies building state of the art facilities when rarely do they get anything tangible back in return . Does anyone truly believe that the city of New York is in a healthy financial state given that its mayor Michael Bloomberg fast-tracked the deals that benefited both the New York Mets and New York Yankees in aiding them to build their respective stadiums ( Citi-Field & Yankee Stadium ) ? Built at a joint cost of $2.355 billion with much of the funding coming by way a bond issue , multi faceted loans from a number major financial institutions and certain increases service fees levied upon residents and business within the locale .

For the Steinbrenner and Wilpon family as the proprietary owners Yankees , Mets and New York City government — _____ to say that they have screwed over the residents within the Bronx and Flushing would be an understatement to say the very least ! But at the same much of this can be easily laid to rest squarely upon the shoulders of US Congress and Senate , with regard to the statute (antitrust exemption & special tax privileges) that gives the governing sports’ bodies such latitude as a sport’s franchise .

With the Tampa Bay Rays’ demise in the postseason falling to the Texas Rangers it looks as if the apparent fallout that a number of Rays’ fans would fear to see could come into being . The team’s general manager Andrew Friedman has met publicly and privately with Los Angeles Angels’ owner Arte Moreno . The Angels are without a general manager after the abrupt resignation of Tony Reagins at the culmination of the regular season after the team’s subpar year .

Andrew Friedman’s contract has expired and it doesn’t appear as yet that an agreement on a renewal had been reached between the Rays’ general manager and the ownership group led by Stuart Sternberg . If the senior managing partner knows what is good for not only himself and baseball club then it would be to sign the organization’s architect of the most heralded successes of the past five years . Not only was Friedman behind the hiring of Joe Maddon as the successor to Lou Piniella but also for some the Tampa Bay Rays’ astounding successes in their draft choices since he assumed the team’s lead front office executive in charge of personnel matters.

Amongst the ranks of the general managers within the game Andrew Friedman would have to rank up there alongside the likes of Brian Cashman , Theo Epstein , Jon Daniels , Kenny Williams , John Mozeliak , Frank Wren and Dave Dombrowski as being amongst the best of the best of the GM’s in MLB .

With the growing uncertainty as to the impending future of the ballclub this could very well be one of the first few nails in the coffin leading to the upheaval of the Tampa Bay Rays if they cannot continue the momentum attained under Andrew Friedman , should the premise arise of with him leaving the this organization. The fans may well applaud the plays of Evan Longoria , Desmond Jennings , David Price and James Shields but were it not for Friedman I seriously doubt that the fans in attendance at Tropicana Field would have seen this team come to fruition , much less there being a ball-club to support . If the Rays’ most loyal and fervent supporters want this organization to remain viable then they ought to make their voices heard , and let Stuart Sternberg know he would be ill advised to allow his young general manager to leave .

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In light of the points raised within this piece what thoughts do you have ? And are you of the opinion that sports’ franchise owners should not hold state and local city municipalities hostage when it concerns arena and stadium issues ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and once again thanks always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……………..

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Rafael Furcal(15) and Matt Holliday (7) of the St. Louis Cardinals go after the hit by Ian Kinsler (5) of the Texas Rangers in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers would go on to defeat the Cardinals 2-1 . Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images ….

(2) Michael Young (10) of the Texas Rangers celebrates in the dugout after hitting an RBI sacrifice fly ball to take a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Rangers won 2-1. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images ……

(3) Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith answers a question during a news conference at the Oval cricket ground, London, Friday Oct. 21, 2011. The Bears will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday. AP Photo / Tom Hevezi …..

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Kellen Winslow, left, shares a joke with coach Raheem Morris during a team training session, Bagshot, west of London, Thursday Oct. 20, 2011. The Buccaneers will face Chicago Bears at London’s Wembley stadium on Sunday. AP Photo/Tom Hevezi …..

(5) Peter Holt, the owner of San Antonio Spurs, speaks to members of the media after NBA labor negotiations at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on October 20, 2011 in New York City. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced that talks have broken down and no further meetings are scheduled. Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images …..

(6) Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman greets a fan at the front of the St Petersburg government center in downtonwn St Petersburg. Rumors are rife that the general manager could well leave the organization and accept the formal offer from the Los Angeles Angels’ team owner Arte Moreno to succeed Tony Reagins . St Petersburg Times / Ray Massey ….
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NB: This article was written on 20th October 2011 and published on the 10/21/2011 after game two had ended .

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It’s Not News Unless It’s Relevant ……………

It’s Not News Unless It’s Relevant

For God’s sake why can’t the Federal Court judge and the MLB hierarchy simply puts us all the fuck out of our misery concerning the ongoing idiocy of Frank McCourt and his wish to retain control of the Los Angeles Dodgers ? It now comes at a time when the beleaguered owner is seeking recourse though US Bankruptcy Courts in the state of Delaware to reach an accord with the team’s creditors. Amongst those who ae creditors of the organization are former players Manny Ramirez , Andruw Jones and at least six other players who are owed in excess of $55 million in salary and other compensation that was deferred by the front office at the time . Personally I’ve yet to meet a fan or anyone who claims they understand the business side of baseball , who seemingly understands the wherewithal and economics concerning the sport. Instead all I continue to hear is the game is pure , in its legacy and the fact that it still stirs the nation as a whole . What a crock of absolute bullshit ! Television viewership for the postseason has been declining steadily over the past decade and a half and this season has proven to be no different .

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Frank McCourt having had his divorce finalized from his ex spouse Jamie McCourt with the former co-owner receiving a $130 million settlement in terms of divesting herself of her interest (personal stake) in the ball-club. Bud Selig for his part and Thomas Schieffer brought in by the commissioner to oversee the day to day operation of the team have simply let things ebb and flow like the ripples on a stream . Personally , I’d rather see this team go belly up rather than continue to have Frank McCourt further run it into the ground ! At the same time McCourt’s fellow baseball team owners are buffoons who have simply shown very little acumen much less anything else one deem to be intelligence . or for that matter having the insight to speak openly on the fact they are at present in financial cataclysm of unimaginable proportions . Anyone who’s of the belief that the game can be self sustaining with its present business template must have their head buried under a rock ! The only reason why Bud Selig now seeks to have divisional realignment and a revised playoff format is to add to his already suspect legacy . Here is a commissioner who obfuscates responsibility and only seeks the photo opportunities that comes his way, merely keep a high profile. And the baseball fans are meant to believe that Bud Selig has been good for the game ?

At the insistence of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels somehow the St Louis Rams have acquired Brandon Lloyd from the Denver Broncos . And as poorly as both teams have been playing from an offensive standpoint I severely doubt that the acquisition of the former Broncos’ wide receiver will revive the fortunes of this Rams’ team ! Head coach Steve Spagnuolo and his coaching staff is under a great deal of pressure to succeed in light of the positive improvements of last season . and the fact that they missed the postseason by a mere whisker , albeit that winners of the NFC West was a substandard Seattle Seahawks team that this season has been a considerable bust by any stretch of the imagination .

If anything one of the real issues facing the St Louis Rams is to protect team quarterback Sam Bradford and that duty belongs to the offensive line which itself this season seems still to be a work in progress. Through the team’s first six games of their season they have had a litany of injuries which have played their part in derailing the St Louis Rams’ aspirations . As one of the bright young talents of the NFL , Bradford has seen his star rise the moment he was drafted by the Rams in 2010 . His ascendancy and command of the game makes him a natural leader and one of the primary reasons why his teammates and the front office have placed their faith in the former Oklahoma Sooners’ player.

Now don’t get me wrong but given the disparity and inconsistency of the NFC West as a division , it is not out of the realms of possibility that the St Louis Rams even with 0-5 record the team could very well pull off the impossible by playing their way into the postseason . The San Francisco 49ers (5-1) at present lead the division but who’s to say that if by week 9 or twelve we will not have seen this team fall back into their old ways with Alex Smith struggling to keep his poise ? If anything the former number one overall pick has been a revelation this season for Jim Harbaugh , the team and for the Niners’ fan in general . Alex Smith and that of the San Francisco 49ers have been one of the more pleasant surprises of this NFL season . As to whether or not they can maintain this momentum remains to be seen .

Repeatedly , year in , year out I am aghast when the front office of the Jacksonville Jaguars retains the services of Jack Del Rio and his coaching staff ! Either team owner Wayne Weaver is now suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease and is completely oblivious to the fact that for the last six years this organization hasn’t come within sniffing distance of making the postseason . At the same time the long suffering fans have had to endure those years of torture and systematic ineptitude. With the organization seeking to jettison David Garrard , first year quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been thrust into the spotlight as he embarks on his inaugural season in the NFL .

The AFC South is a now a division up for grabs and as we all know the win-less Indianapolis Colts may well vying for the privilege of being in the hunt of aspiring teams looking to draft Andrew Luck the consensus number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft . With Peyton Manning sidelined perhaps for the remainder of the Colts’ season it is reasonable to assume that their shot at repeating as divisional champions has been firmly laid to rest . Jim Caldwell and his coaching staff , as admirable as they have performed , it has become abundantly clear that without Manning this team become a mere caricature of itself . Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter are not the answer to the team’s woes . As this season goes and Colts embark on the remainder of their schedule I am beginning to believe that this will be one of a great deal of soul searching for the Indianapolis Colts’ front office led by Bill Polian and team owner Jim Irsay . Do they retain their four time league MVP and Superbowl MVP or look to the future in the form of Stanford Cardinals’ quarterback Andrew Luck.

As to the impending schedule of the Jacksonville Jaguars I firmly believe that Wayne Weaver has to make a decision as to the future of his coaching and that coaching staff ! Should the Jaguars fail to win when they host the high flying Baltimore Ravens at Everbank Field Stadium in Jacksonville , Florida when the game itself will be televised by ESPN on Monday 24th October 2011. Anything short of a victory for this team with an incredibly mediocre record of 1-5 and one has to consider that the front office will have to come to a decision concerning Jack Del Rio’s future .

OK so the West Coast is all in a fervent fever , as it was announced that the Oakland Raiders had acquired Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer . With the loss of incumbent signal caller Jason Campbell one could view this acquisition of as a dire need for the team . With the death of Al Davis at the age of 82 the organization enters an era where they will be without the man who made it all possible in terms of its history and resonance within the NFL . Campbell has performed admirably this season leading the Raiders to a 4-2 record within the AFC West sitting a mere one game behind divisional leaders the San Diego Chargers (4-1).

With the addition of Carson Palmer to this Raiders’ team they get a Pro Bowl quarterback and a player looking to regain the form he showed in 2007. From my own perspective I firmly believe that the Oakland Raiders were duped in this deal simply in giving up two first round draft picks (first round 2012 & again in 2013) for the Bengals’ quarterback ! Granted , such is the urgency facing the Raiders at this juncture that Hue Jackson and the front office felt it necessary to press ahead with this deal . The Cincinnati Bengals’ front office for their part divest themselves of a player who became disinterested with the organization , his former teammates and some might even say that Carson Palmer was acting like a petulant child who simply chose to deflect blame and show the leadership qualities one would come to expect of an elite quarterback within the NFL . Personally , I for one would like to see how he will perform for the team when he faces some real adversity while playing at the Oakland (Alameda County) Coliseum Oakland , California , in front of a packed crowd of rabid Raiders’ fans . As passionate as these fans are known to be at the first sign of any semblance of ineptitude on the player’s part these fans will make their voices heard with their criticism .

Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross may not have envisaged his team being so inept and lackluster but the real issue here is why does Tony Sparano remain the coach of this franchise ? He is clearly out of his depth and all of the sound bytes in the world proffered up by the coach and general manager Jeff Ireland cannot hide how bad this team really is . Acquisitions asides , the organization’s draft choices under the duo’s tenure are still a work in progress .

High profile players such as Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall have shown little if anything that would simply convince most fans that at 0-5 this team has the slightest chance of being competitive within the AFC East this season much less the conference as a whole . Perhaps even more to the point would be mediocre play of starting quarterback Chad Henne . Karl Dorrell as the team’s quarterbacks’ coach may well be trying to simplify the game for the player but clearly Henne is struggling to show his prowess on the field and with that , there is little confidence being in shown in the quarterback by his teammates .

With Chad Henne now sidelined at present due to an injury it was left to Matt Moore to helm the team this past Monday when they were the guests of their divisional rivals the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium , East Rutherford , New Jersey . Suffice to say there was little to be pleased about if you happened to be a Miami Dolphins’ fan as they were subjected to seeing the team suffer its most embarrassing loss of the season losing 24-6 to a Jets’ team that feasted on an inept defense that at no time gave you the impression that they could withstand whatever was being thrown at them by Rex Ryan’s players . For the New York Jets’ coach this may well have been just what the doctor ordered as his team simply “beat up “ on the Miami Dolphins like an unwanted stepchild .

Billionaire Stephen Ross may well have felt in adding A list celebrities amongst the ownership throng of the organization would be a way of attracting more fans within South Florida locale . But at this juncture I am not so sure that the likes of Gloria & Emilio Stefan , Venus & Serena Williams , Mark Anthony and Jennifer Lopez can be entirely happy with the current return on their investment . Overall this game was not a satisfying one for the television viewing public or those in attendance at the stadium. Other than Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis a punt for a 102 yard touchdown there was little of anything to be satisfied about other than the result for the New York Jets and their coaching staff . After three successive losses this was something that Rex Ryan needed in order to steer the team back on track within the AFC East . Having seen the sudden rise of the Buffalo Bills (4-2) this season within the division and with the New England Patriots (5-1) apparently clicking on all cylinders from an offensive standpoint the Jets’ coach finds his team unwittingly seated in third place with a none too imposing 3-3 record .

As opinionated and self aggrandizing as Rex Ryan happens to be , he knows that if his team is make the postseason for a third consecutive year this franchise have to play with a great deal more consistency and less complacency being shown the players . Anything short of deep run into the playoffs and questions will be asked of not only of the coach but clearly of the players , such as Mark Sanchez , Santonio Holmes , Darrelle Revis , LaDanian Tomlinson and most certainly of Plaxico Burress in particular .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the points raised within this piece ? And from your perspective which results in the NFL this past weekend was of the biggest surprise to you ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit and thanks as always for the continued support as it is greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal …………………

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E-mail …… rapptu@gmail.com

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(1) Who got stiffed ? FILE – At left in a Nov. 19, 2010 file photo, Jamie McCourt arrives at court in Los Angeles. At right, in a Sept. 22, 2010 file photo, Frank McCourt arrives at court in Los Angeles. The McCourt’s have reached a divorce settlement that gives him control of the Los Angeles Dodgers and her about $130 million , making it one of California’s costliest divorces, according to a report published Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. AP Photo/Nick Miller …

(2) MLB Commissioner Bud Selig (left) is seen here with beleaguered Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt at Dodgers’ Stadium , Los Angeles , California . The league hierarchy are hoping with the present uncertainty as to the club’s impending future McCourt will relinquish control of the team and sell to a prospective bidder . LA Times / Reinaldo Martinez …..

(3) GREEN BAY, WI – OCTOBER 16: Head coach Steve Spagnuolo of the St. Louis Rams looks on from the sidelines against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers beat the Rams 24-3 . Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images ……

(4) FILE – This Aug. 1, 2011 file photo shows new St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, left, talking to quarterback Sam Bradford during NFL football training camp at the Rams’ training facility in St. Louis. The Rams promise a more unpredictable offense this season under McDaniels, with the first test coming in a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts this Saturday. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson ….

(5) Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio looks on from the sidelines during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 17-13 . (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar ….

(6) Blaine Gabbert (11) of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to throw a third quarter pass behind Ziggy Hood (96) of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 16, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 17-13. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images ….

(7) Quarterback Carson Palmer, left, smiles alongside Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson at the team’s NFL football headquarters in Alameda, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …..

(8) Quarterback Carson Palmer is introduced after signing with the Oakland Raiders at the team’s NFL football headquarters in Alameda, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez …

(9) Sean Smith (24) and Yeremiah Bell (37) of the Miami Dolphins knock the ball away from Plaxico Burress (17) of the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 17, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images …..

(10) Roberto Wallace (18) of the Miami Dolphins tumbles over Jim Leonhard (36) and Darrelle Revis (24) of the New York Jets during their game at Meadowlands / MetLife Stadium on October 17, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images ……

(11) Tony Sparano, head coach of the Miami Dolphins, reacts during the first quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 17, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images …..

(12) Billionaire real estate developer and Miami Dolphins’ team owner Stephen Ross is seen here with team president & GM Jeff Ireland . Since the departure of Bill Parcells as a front office executive the franchise has regressed greatly both on and off the field of play . Palm Beach Post / Greg Lovett …..

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Blackstar …. feat’g …… Common …….” Respiration ”

What To Make of It All …………………

What To Make of It All …

Well the berths have been set for the 2011 World Series with the St Louis Cardinals representing the National League and last season’s AL pennant winners the Texas Rangers making their second consecutive appearance in MLB’s showcase event. From my own perspective this may well be the best possible scenario with which to end the postseason with the two best teams in the league playing in this series. It should come as no surprise to see that the Ron Washington’s team in the World Series as their play over the course of the season was of a consistently high level amongst their peers within the AL and most certainly in the league as a whole .

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The Texas Rangers made light work of defeating the Detroit Tigers 15-5 to win the ALCS outright 4-2 . For team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels their faith has been more than justified in keeping together a team that was bitterly disappointed after last season’s crushing defeat at the hands of the San Francisco Giants in 2010 . And the asinine belief that Michael Young should have been jettisoned by the organization showed clearly that the fans who claim that the maneuever should have been made had no damn idea what the hell they were talking . Ron Washington and his coaching staff knew that the player alongside Josh Hamilton , Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz are the “heart and soul” of the team . It’s simply asinine to be making these type of statements without having anything to back it all up .

For Tony La Russa and this Cardinals’ team with their achievements from the regular season , it should have come as no surprise what they were able to achieve during with the postseason with their defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS . You simply knew that during the NLDS between the Milwaukee Brewers and St Louis Cardinals once Ron Roenicke’s team failed to take advantage of the opportunities that came their way during the series there wasn’t much doubt that Albert Pujols and his teammates would find a way to make the Brewers pay for those mistakes.

Having won their most recent World Series in 2006 defeating the Detroit Tigers decisively 4-1 in that lopsided series . The St Louis Cardinals face perhaps an even more daunting task this time around when they open this year’s series at Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri on Wednesday in what is sure to be a raucous and staunch Cardinals’ following . On the mound for La Russa’s team will be their starting ace Chris Carpenter . A decision has yet to be made by Ron Washington and his coaching staff as to who the Texas Rangers’ starter is likely to be .

Say what you will the expectations may well be high for this series given what is at stake for both teams. The St Louis Cardinals will be seeking eleventh World Series title , while the Texas Rangers will be seeking their very first . The month of October during the postseason is littered with great feats of absolute amazement that make the game what it is and one of the major reasons why baseball still resonates with the fans . Unfortunately , however , the postseason television viewership for the series isn’t what it once was . And this year will certainly be no different in spite of the fact of the legacies of the two teams competing .

As the rapper Lupe Fiasco says in his hit song ” Words I Never Said “ would suggest Glen Beck is a ‘racist’ and Rush Limbaugh is a racist “. Well who am I to disagree ? But I never thought I would to live to see the day where I am now in almost complete agreement with the Conservative right winger Limbaugh as to the merits of Donovan McNabb as a player in the NFL ! McNabb’s struggles over the past two seasons have been well chronicled most notably with the Washington Redskins and this season with the Minnesota Vikings .

The Vikings this season are a team adrift in the midst of despair and without direction or leadership from anyone on this roster . And that is with due respect to Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson because neither at this point has shown that they possess any of the qualities mentioned . And it is now becoming abundantly clear that head coach Leslie Frazier , his coaching staff and the front office led by GM Rick Spielman made a monumental mistake in acquiring the veteran quarterback . His productivity this season ranks amongst the worst in the league at the position and especially with regard to the team’s offense in the red zone and on “third downs “.

Sunday’s game between two divisional (NFC North) foes in the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings , bore out everythin one has come to expect of a Vikings’ team completely lacking confidence and amongst the very worst within the NFC in total defense . The Vikings’ offensive line is abysmal and an aging McNabb is simply doing himself no favors by rushing around like a headless chicken unable to find anyone amongst his arsenal of offensive weapons . The only praise that can be placed upon this team is that Percy Harvin when given the chance can be electrifying to watch . Beyond that, there certainly isn’t enough lavish praise that can be heaped upon this team . Well not from my perspective I believe !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC . As to what the rest of the regular season holds now for the Minnesota Vikings I am not so sure that their long suffering fans are quite prepared to endure the maelstrom of uncertainty and continued ineptitude in terms of the team’s performances !

If Sunday’s game is indicative of anything then it was these two teams are heading in opposite directions. The Chicago Bears for the present seem to have righted their ship under coach Lovie Smith . Whereas the Minnesota Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier and his coaching staff have more questions that need to be answered , far more than he could possibly have dreamed of prior to the start of this season . The resulting 39-10 loss by the Vikings to the Bears drops the team to 1-5 within the NFC North and roots them only above the Carolina Panthers (1-5) and the win-less St Louis Rams (0-5) within the NFC .

Well one wheel has now dropped off the wagon that carried the hopes of the Detroit Lions this season . In what was an exciting game between the Jim Schwartz’s —- team and a surprisingly effective San Francisco 49ers led by a rejuvenated Alex Smith . Playing with a great deal of aplomb Jim Harbaugh’s players may well be the surprise of the NFC and no doubt the league this season .

In what was a highly entertaining game between the then unbeaten Detroit Lions would see the team suffer their first loss ( 25-19) of the season at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan , to the 49ers as Smith would rally his team and lead them back to what many may well have viewed as an improbable win . But the game would be remembered for its postgame antics with the apparent now unusual melee between the two opposing head coaches. I say let the two coaches decide their issues in the gladiator’s arena rather than Schwartz talking about a lack of class shown by Jim Harbaugh ! And at present if there’s a more under-rated running back in the league than Frank Gore , then can someone let me know who that might be ? With the ball in his hand and on the move , Gore is a devastating weapon to have on your team . .

10

(What could Schwartz be saying to Harbaugh at that moment in time ?) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19 . Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images …..

It has long been the contention that the NFC East should be viewed as the glamor division of the league . I now feel that the notion can no longer be justified in spite of the apparent legacies of such teams as the Dallas Cowboys , New York Giants , Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins . If anything the division that could well lay those claims to rest is that of the NFC South and the teams who reside there . Can there now be any doubt that the Atlanta Falcons , Carolina Panthers New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are far more competitive than their rivals within the other divisions of the NFL ? Not only that but bear this in mind Matt Ryan , Cam Newton , Drew Brees and Josh Freeman are four of the most competitive and gifted quarterbacks within the NFC and league as a whole .

Granted , at 1-5 the Carolina Panthers are a work in progress under Ron Rivera and his coaching staff . But the competitive nature and athleticism brought by Cam Newton cannot be denied , albeit that they have lost some very close games this season . As this team gradually improves and their confidence grows there is no reason not to believe why they cannot be competitive not just merely within their own division but within the NFL as a whole . I am not so sure that beyond what we have witnessed from the team thus far we will see a team ready to compete for the upper echelons within the NFL.

OK, so we know what the New Orleans Saints are capable from an offensive standpoint and the prolific career of the team’s quarterback Drew Brees. But if there’s a knock against Sean Payton’s players it is the very the fact that on defense they become incredibly complacent and lackadaisical .

This past Sunday the New Orleans Saints were the guests of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . The game itself was one that pitted two aforementioned quarterbacks in Josh Freeman and Drew Brees . Freeman in his young career within the NFL is proving to be a very efficient quarterback in his own right , with many of his heroics coming late in the games . Josh Freeman has already amassed 8 come from behind wins for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he looks to lead Raheem Morris’ young team on their way to further glory .

This was a game of oddities where the Buccaneers’ much vaulted defense had to stand firm against Saints’ prolific offense . The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would systematically deal with the New Orleans Saints in a game littered with multiple mistakes made by Sean Payton’s players . The resultant 26-20 win by the Buccaneers places them atop of the NFC South sharing the divisional lead with this past Sunday’s opponents.

As I alluded to earlier , the NFC South is a highly competitive division and with two teams placed firmly atop of the standings , each with a 4-2 record . Care to guess which team is liable to come out ahead within this division with the exception of the lowly Carolina Panthers ?

Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has been able to work wonders since he assumed the role of head coach from then disgraced Bobby Petrino , who departed from the franchise like a thief in the night . Arthur Blank , the team’s owner had seen the club sink to an all-time low with the subsequent derailing of Michael Vick’s career due to his own criminal misdeeds . Those lean years left the franchise without any direction and signs of any real leadership from within the organization or on the playing field ! With Matt Ryan’s drafting by the team in 2008 , the organization’s route seem to be directly on the path of gradual progression as some semblance of success was on its way. And in the subsequent years since, the coaching staff of the Atlanta Falcons under Smith’s guidance and that of general manager Rich McKay have assembled a roster that now seems intent on winning a Superbowl .

For three quarters on Sunday the Carolina Panthers held their own against the Atlanta Falcons . But as the game progressed it was clear that Cam Newton and his teammates had no answer for what the Saints were able to throw at Ron Rivera’s team . The Falcons at 3-3 face an arduous task over the remainder of their season if they seek to contend with their fellow cohabitants within the NFC South. The Falcons came away with a 31-17 victory over their beleaguered divisional rivals .

It should be interesting to see what transpires within the division (NFC South) over the course of this season and how each team will presumably fare .

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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 .)

Over the course this past weekend and the NFL schedule what thoughts if any do you have on the events that took place ? Do you also view the NFC South as perhaps the most competitive division at present within the NFL ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on the points raised within this piece and any other salient points you believe to be pertinent on the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……………….

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(1) A smiling Adrian Beltre walks out of the batting cage as the Texas Rangers practice on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals are scheduled to play the opening game of baseball’s World Series on Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …

(2) Texas Rangers’ Elvis Andrus , left, and Michael Young, right, laugh as the joke with teammates during practice Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers will play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series that begins Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez …..

(3) Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington responds to a question during a news conference Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers are scheduled to play the St. Louis Cardinals in baseball’s World Series starting Wednesday in St. Louis. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez ……

(4) The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after Game 6 of baseball’s National League championship series against the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Milwaukee. The Cardinals won 12-6 to win the series and advance to the World Series. AP Photo/David J. Phillip ….

(5) Manager Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after they won 12-6 against the Milwaukee Brewers during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..

(6) David Freese (23) of the St. Louis Cardinals scores against Jonathan Lucroy (20) #20 of the Milwaukee Brewers on a sacrifice fly hit by Adron Chambers (56) in the top of the fifth inning during Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 16, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) …..

(7) Quarterback Donovan McNabb (5) of the Minnesota Vikings is sacked by Amobi Okoye (91) of the Chicago Bears during the game on October 16, 2011 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images …..

(8) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb watches from the sidelines the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Chicago. The Bears won 39-10 . McNabb threw for 177 yards, completing 19 of 24 passes. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …..

(9) San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks to reporters at a news conference at the NFL football team’s facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. AP Photo/Jeff Chiu ….

(10) Jim Harbaugh head coach of the San Francisco 49ers argues with Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) …..

(11) San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, left, and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, right, shout at each other after an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. The 49ers won 25-19. AP Photo/Rick Osentoski ….

(12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tanard Jackson (36) runs with an interception by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(13) Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) fires a pass as New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) pressures him during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers won 26-20. Freeman threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …..

(14) Quarterback Drew Brees (9) of the New Orleans Saints directs play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers October 16, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……

(15) Quarterback Josh Freeman(5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just gets this pass off against the New Orleans Saints during the game at Raymond James Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….

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MLB World Series schedule begins 19th October 2011

Texas Rangers @ —- St Louis Cardinals , Busch Stadium , St Louis , Missouri

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J Cole …….. ” Can’t Enough ”

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake ………. !

When Push Comes To Shove …… Let ’em Eat Cake …… !

So the fallout has began in the aftermath of the Boston Red Sox’ s abrupt ending to their season . With that now has come the animus , finger pointing of course the blame game . From the front office on down there is plenty of blame to go around from the executives through to the coaching staff and the gluttony of high priced players on this roster .

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Team President Larry Lucchino and the now departed general manager Theo Epstein had tried to apportion blame solely on former manager Terry Francona rather than the under achieving players such as Josh Beckett , John Lackey , Johnathan Papelbon and David Ortiz . Hints that Francona was going through marital problems , that he’d lost control of the team and the thought that Epstein and Lucchino had to sink to such levels merely to deflect the obvious that plainly put this whole mess was simply caused by their ostentatious spending in acquiring players who simply failed to deliver .

Principal partner John Henry , Tom Werner and their partners now have to deal with general manager search for a successor to Theo Epstein who accepted the offer fill the position vacated by former Chicago Cubs’ GM Jim Henry after he was fired team owner Tom Ricketts . The beleaguered organization having not won a World Series since 1908 and they haven’t won an NL pennant since 1945. That sort of ineptitude and lack of success has sorely embittered the long suffering Chicago Cubs’ fans .

This season was once again one filled with sheer ineptitude on the part of the team and Mike Quade and his coaching staff offered very little by way of their managerial acumen in stemming the tide of mediocrity shown on the field of play. Players such as Alfonso Soriano , Carlos Zambrano and Aramis Ramirez simply showed that they had nothing to offer the team . Therein lies the actual absurdity of the organization during Hendry’s tenure as they simply overpaid for the acquired talent .

If Theo Epstein is to prove to be the wunderkind that Tom Ricketts believes him to be then the organization can look forward to some semblance of success though not immediate by any stretch of the imagination . This is a roster that needs to be assessed by the general manager and I would dare say that the coaching staff will be summarily judged by him also ! I certainly don’t believe that Mike Quade has the wherewithal to make this team a serious and perennial contender for an NL pennant or for that matter the World Series ! The team’s prospects and farm system has what we are told is an abundance of talent but in debating as to whether or not patience amongst the fans will be further endured as Theo Epstein seeks to turn things around .

Wrigley Field may well be buzzing with excitement during the offseason as the fans , beat writers and local sports analysts debate and prognosticate what they expect to see in the future from the Chicago Cubs. From my own perspective I say let them do whatever it takes for them to feel at ease , after-all what’s another half a decade of ineptitude worth to this organization to begin with ? I mean it’s not as anyone truly believes that this time next season the Cubs could be part of baseball’s postseason showcase to begin with !

So after what we are now being told the NCAA and their exhaustive investigation of Auburn and their football program have found nothing untoward concerning the school’s recruitment of their Heisman Trophy award winning player Cam Newton . Auburn coach Gene Chizik no doubt relieved by those findings and the fact this season the coach and his staff will be looking to get this team up and going as they embark upon their schedule within the SEC .

I am not about to suggest that the NCAA simply whitewashed this investigation but clearly there seems to be something awry with this all . There’s a saying ………” where there’s smoke there is fire ” . And in the case of the Auburn Tigers as it relates to Cam Newton and the continued allegations as to how the player was seemingly recruited by the school has brought into question how a number of programs go about recruiting student athletes. Allegations being what they are when it has been widely reported that Newton’s father Cecil Newton sought to sell ….. his son’s talents to the highest bidder . The elder Newton , pastor of a church , was reticent in explaining the allegations when first raised, as to his actions concerning Cam Newton being shopped around like an illicit weapon on the “black market”.

Auburn’s AD Jay Jacobs after the NCAA’s findings states that he’s completely happy with there were no major transgressions by the program. As crazy as this may seem , if the athletics director believes that minor transgressions are good for the school then what should that indicate about Auburn as a place of academic and sporting excellence ?

If the school moves on from this episode then what I would like to know is how the NCAA handles the next such incident concerning the recruitment of a visibly high profiled athlete. Mark Emmert as the NCAA president has repeatedly seen the body he presided over severely criticized for their lack of authority , real transparency and even the credence to actually be impartial . I will continue to maintain the the institution is archaic , bureaucratically top heavy and seemingly at time out of touch with reality . If the Infractions Committee of the NCAA a de-facto agency of the institution can come up with this finding given the supposed facts and their own apparent in depth investigation I would like to know how it is this very same unit can be so out of touch with the events that are taking place across the entire collegiate athletics landscape . At some point in the future I am wondering what their findings will be concerning the University of Miami and the school’s football program . University president Donna Shalala and school AD Shawn Eichorst have continued to deflect their actions and association with now incarcerated felon Nev Shapiro and the very that the former Canes’ booster had simply flouted his association with the players and paying them surreptitiously . At this juncture should we now expect anything else from the NCAA concerning another charade about to be perpetrated by them ?

Image is everything and then it can mean absolutely but that clearly now seems to be the case for NBA Commissioner David Stern . The league hierarchy is now locked into a really contentious battle of wills with the NBPA (Players’ Association [union]). Stern and his union counterpart Billy Hunter the executive director of the union are at logger-heads in trying to reach an accord that would be beneficial to both parties .

Derek Fisher the union’s president and vice president Roger Mason Jr have been adamant that their union is not about to acquiesce to any of the demands from the league hierarchy and team owners for an equitable share in the league’s revenues . If neither party can come to a compromise then in all probability both sides will have to present their case to federal mediator . If that is to be the case and a court appointed mediator presides over a hearing , which now seems to be a certainty , then any sort of binding agreement could very well be to the detriment of both sides .

If NBA and NBPA seek jointly to present their case to the the FMCS (Federal Mediation & Conciliation Services ) before a mediator where the judgment would doesn’t necessarily have to be arbitrarily binding rather than going through litigation within the US Federal Courts then things could very well be to both parties’ liking . I am not so sure that anything at this juncture by way of any compromise will be truly vested in by either side. David Stern’s intransigence and the very fact that a number of franchise owners have not been entirely happy with his handling of these deliberations gives further credence that it may well be time for him to step down . With almost two decades plus as the league’s commissioner he seen the NBA’s revenues grow exponentially from being a minor blip on the sport’s landscape to where it now ranks second in revenues ($4.5 billion annually) attained of the four major professional sports.

The NBA would like to see an equitable share in revenues rather than the existing ratio of 53/47 in favor of the union . From the outset a case could be made that the owners wanted this all to be dealt with expeditiously but with the teams now said to be on course to lose approximately $ 30 million a month for each month that the league is inactive. Dan Gilbert , Rich DeVos , . Mikhail Prokhorov , Jerry Buss , Gavin_Maloof , Peter Holt , Mickey Arison and James Dolan over the course of time may well feel that the current situation as it now stands cannot go on in its present format . Clearly not when the very viability of the league and a number of franchises are clearly at risk . Some semblance of common sense and sanity now has to come into play at some point during this whole facade if there is to be a regular to season within the NBA .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

Of the points raised within this topic which do you believe to be the most pertinent ? And what thoughts if any do you feel about the NCAA’s findings concerning Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers ? Simply leave a comment as you deem fit .

Alan aka tophatal ………

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(1) Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona pauses as he speaks to the media during a press conference, Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Boston. The Red Sox announced they will not pick up the option on Francona’s contract in the wake of the team’s September collapse. AP Photo/Bizuayehu Tesfaye ….

(2) General manager Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox sits in the dugout before game two of the ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays during the at Tropicana Field on October 10, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to reports October 12, 2011, Epstein, who has one-year left on his contract with the Red Sox, has agreed with the Chicago Cubs to a five-year $15 million contract to join their front office, but compensation for the deal has not been reached between the two teams. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …..

(3) Theo Epstein is seen here alongside Terry Francona at Fenway Park , Boston , Massachusetts , home to the fabled ballclub . Getty Images / Matthew Sharpe …..

(4) Red Sox owners Tom Werner (left) and John Henry held up the 2007 World Series trophy for the fans who lined up outside Fenway Park . Boston Globe /Matthew J Lee ……

(5) Carlos Marmol (49) of the Chicago Cubs, right, is congratulated by Koyie Hill (55) after getting the final out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on September 27, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Cubs won 6-2 . Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images ……

(6) First baseman Carlos Pena (22) of the Chicago Cubs catches the ball as Jeremy Hermida (47) of the San Diego Padres dives back to the base during the game against at Petco Park on September 26, 2011 in San Diego, California. Photo by Kent C. Horner/Getty Images …..

(7) Cubs’ GM Jim Hendry (left) is seen here with the team’s manager Mike Quade (center) and club owner Tom Ricketts. Hendry was relieved of his position as general manager by Ricketts in what as seen as an upheaval within team’s front office . Chicago Tribune/ Mark Salter ….

(8) Auburn coach Gene Chizik walks the sidelines during the first half of the NCAA college football game with Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. Auburn would go on to lose the game to the Razorbacks 38-14 . AP Photo/Danny Johnston ……

(9) CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson (R) and head coach Gene Chizik look on as quarterback Cam Newton (2) of the Auburn Tigers accepts the MVP trophy after their 56-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Getty Images /Kevin C . Cox ……

(10) Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is seen here the school’s athletics director Jay Jacobs at Chizik’s formal introduction as the new head coach of the football team. An outspoken opponent of Gene Chizik’s hiring at the time was none other than Auburn alum Charles Barkley . AP Photo / Jamie Martin …….

(11) Derek Fisher , president of the NBA players union, talks with reporters, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. AP Photo/David Karp …….

(12) NBA Commissioner David Stern, right, and his Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver leave an NBA labor talk meeting, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Stern canceled the first two weeks of the basketball season after players and owners were unable to reach a new labor deal to end the lockout. Opening night was scheduled for Nov. 1. AP Photo/David Karp ……

(13) Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA players union, arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano ……

(14) San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt arrives for labor talks, Monday, Oct. 10, 2011, in New York. Facing a Monday deadline to reach a deal or have regular-season games canceled, NBA owners and players have resumed talks toward ending the lockout. AP Photo/Louis Lanzano …….

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MLB news

Boston Red Sox news

Chicago Cubs’ news

MLB postseason schedule

MLB results 13rd October 2011

Game 5 ALCS

Texas Rangers Tigers —- @ —- Detroit Tigers

Starting pitchers —- C J Wilson — & — Justin Verlander

Game 4 NLCS

Milwaukee Brewers —- @ —- St Louis Cardinals

Starting pitchers Randy Wolf — & — Kyle Lohse

Scheduled game 14th October 2011

Milwaukee Brewers —- @ —- St Louis Cardinals

Schedule starters

Zach Greinke —– & —– Jaime Garcia

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NBA news

NCAA Football schedule

Auburn Tigers’ football

Miami Hurricanes’ football

Care To Take A Bite Out Of This Apple …. ?

Care To Take A Bite Out of This Apple ?

No time to linger on week 5 of the NFL with week 6 comes teams positioning themselves for the long haul. With only two unbeaten teams both residing in the NFC North the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers could very well be the lone teams vying for the postseason from within the division. Matt Stafford and Aaron Rodgers are showing their mettle for the Lions and Packers respectively , in proving to be amongst the best quarterbacks not solely within the NFC but also the NFL as a whole.

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Slide show for your perusal .

When a team has aspirations to be better than they claim to I’d like to feel that the coach or manager can actually back up that claim. Last season (10-6) the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming off a great year , albeit that they narrowly failed to make the playoffs . Head coach Raheem Morris bitterly disappointed by the team’s free-fall made it his sole purpose to see an improvement from his team this year. He has seen his players flourish but I doubt that he could have envisaged this Bucs’ team would prove to such disappointment in their last regular schedule outing against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park , in San Francisco , California . Jim Harbaugh’s team simply laid waste to the Buccaneers’ defense on their way a lopsided 48-3 win .

Raheem Morris and his coaching staff now have to get this team amped up and prepared to meet divisional rivals the New Orleans Saints as they play hosts to Sean Payton’s team at Raymond James Stadium , Tampa , in front of what is sure to to be a raucous and vociferous home crowd . No slip ups here for the Buccaneers and in particular from their young quarterback Josh Freeman . His play if anything has to be clear and indicative of the team’s aspirations .

Forty Niners’ quarterback Alex Smith and the offense looked like the Niners’ offenses of old that simply were as efficient and as devastating as one could imagine. The San Francisco 49ers at 4-1 lead the NFC West and given their performances this season it would be fair to presume that they are now to be viewed as the presumptive favorites for the division and a playoff berth.

The Forty Niners are guests of the high flying Detroit Lions (5-0) at Ford Field , in Detroit , Michigan this upcoming Sunday. Matt Stafford , Calvin Johnson , Jahvid Best and Ndamokung Suh are the talk of the town at present as the rest of the NFL are now taking notice of Jim Schwartz’s young and confident team .

I am not so sure that if I were Steve Spagnuolo’s footsteps , that I would relish the thought of playing the Green Bay Packers in front of a raucous home crowd at Lambeau Field , Green Bay , Wisconsin. The St Louis Rams’ coach has a winless team , lacking in confidence and playing without any real passion . And season given the strengths of this Packers’ team I view this match-up as a train wreck waiting to happen because the Rams are on a collision course with a locomotive traveling at a very high rate of speed.

Two teams with supposedly taking diverging paths but somehow within the AFC East the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets at present seem to be having a multitude of problems . Both Tony Sparano and Rex Ryan are coaches desperately seeking solutions to the malaise of their teams. At 0-4 Sparano must now realize that his very future is on the line if he cannot begin to turn things around and the coach has a Dolphins’ team that simply hasn’t a competent quarterback on their roster. Chad Henne in what universe can this player be viewed as a leader , much less a competent enough starter at the position ?

The New York Jets for their part seem to have a problem with their offense most notably running the ball . And it hasn’t helped that there now seems to be off the field problems concerning one of their more experienced players on the roster with Derek Mason . Clearly things are not all a bed of roses within that Jets’ locker room and now Rex Ryan has to show that for all of the false bravado and sound bytes , he will now have to once again prove that he can become the toast of the ‘Big Apple’ along with his team . Monday night when these two teams collide at the New Meadowlands/ Met Life Stadium , in East Rutherford , New Jersey .

This contest between two teams within the AFC East with stark contrast as to the apparent directions that their respective seasons could be heading in , may well determine the fate of one coach and most certainly a number of players on his team. Rex Ryan , himself, is definitely not out of the woods , as he and this Jets’ team can ill afford to lose a conference and divisional game , only to fall further behind the Buffalo Bills (4-1) and New England Patriots (4-1) within the division.

Either Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Wayne Weaver loves to endure constant pain or he’s simply enamored with Jack Del Rio and the coaching staff . There has to be a reason why Weaver and the entire front office seem adamant on retaining their coach ? Personally , after the record of the team over the past five years , I cannot think of one ! Del Rio has been an absolute bust and the malaise of the team’s woes can be firmly laid to rest upon his shoulders . He’s simply wasting the talents of Maurice Jones-Drew and even with the organization jettisoning David Garrard they now have to thrust Blaine Gabbert —- given him his baptism of fire within the league .

The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) are the guests of the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-0) at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania , this upcoming Sunday. And while Mike Tomlinson’s team have had their issues this season this game could very well be viewed as a “gimme ” if they play up to their full potential . Overall defensively the Jaguars are struggling as a cohesive unit and it has been one of the telling signs as to why they have continued to struggle . As an effective offensive unit with Garrard as the signal caller you simply never knew what to expect of the team or the player and that may well have been the primary reason why the decision was made to jettison the veteran and his $9 million salary .

Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts should be the scene of some real fun and games this Sunday , as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots entertain the Dallas Cowboys . And for those aspirants who continue to make their continued claims as to the “greatness ” of Tony Romo can they please take him down off that damn pedestal ? The player has yet to lead or win a meaningful game in the postseason for the team but yet he’s being placed amongst the throng of great quarterbacks in Cowboys’ history . Isn’t that like saying the “hot chick” in high school gave ” good head “ even though her lips and mouth were covered in blisters ? Ouch ! You’ll either get momentary flashes of brilliance from the player but he simply cannot string together consecutive games where he has played at a consistently high level .

Now I would contend that for Jerry Jones and the entire front office of the Dallas Cowboys this has to be a make or break season for the organization and team . A number of players on this roster are playing for their very livelihood this season . Anyone who believes that to be the contrary had better wake up and smell the coffee at this juncture ! Jerry Jones has been known to tolerate a great deal and through his own sheer ignorance and stupidity the franchise has been something of a laughing stock over the last decade. The organization may well be one of the most profitable sports franchises in North America but when it comes to recent success , well let’s just say for the Dallas Cowboys there has been little to actually rejoice about much less hang one’s hat unto in terms tangible on-field success .

Tony Romo knows that the jury is now in session as to his abilities and leadership skills . He may well be statisically be one of the franchise’s most successful quarterbacks in terms of regular season wins but that simply counts for absolutely nothing if you can’t lead the team to the “Promised Land” . It’s a Superbowl win or bust because that’s how Romo’s legacy will be adjudged amongst his more successful predecessors within the Dallas Cowboys’ fraternity of quarterbacks . Nothing less will be acceptable for the fans or for that matter for those within the front office of the franchise . They may well not voice that opinion openly in public but there’s a reason they tied the player long term , to a very generous and lucrative contract .

As to the game itself between the Cowboys and Patriots it should be an event of contrasting styles . The New England Patriots’ defense ought to be able to contain and contend with whatever Jason Garrett and his coaching staff have prepared for Bill Belichick’s players . With that being said nothing can be taken for granted by the Patriots’ coach . Brady and the plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal should be able to show why it is that they are a high octane offense and amongst the very best in the NFL at present .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

The the NFL season is not yet at its halfway point what thoughts if any do you have on the schedule so far ? And which teams if any have been a major disappointment to you in general as a fan ? Of the coaches at present whose future appears to be in the greatest jeopardy and which one if any could very well be the first managerial casualty of the season ? Chime in with a comment as you deem fit on this and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter .

Alan aka tophatal ……….

http://facebook.com/tophata2

http://facebook.com/tophatal

http://twitter.com/tophatal

E-mail …. rapptu@gmail.com

Picture and slide show details .

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(1) Mike Williams (19) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets separated from the ball by Dashon Goldson(38) of the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter during an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3 . Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images ……

(2) Tim Hightower (25) of the Washington Redskins runs the ball against the St. Louis Rams October 2, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The Redskins defeated the Rams 17-10 . Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images …….

(3) Quarterback Chad Henne (7) of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16 . (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images ………

(4) Tom Brady (12) of the New England Patriots hands the ball off to teammate BenJarvius Green-Ellis (42) in the first half against the New York Jets on October 9, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images …….

(5) Tony Romo (9) of the Dallas Cowboys calls a play in the huddle against the Detroit Lions during the second half at Cowboys Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images ……

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NFL news

Week 6 schedule

Week 5 results

NFL standings by division

NFL standings by conference

NFL statistics :

NFL player stats thru’ week 5

NFL team stats thru’ week 5

Teams with byes : Arizona Cardinals , Denver Broncos , Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers , Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans

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Michelle McCurry …….. she definitely makes me feel like plucking her strings !

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Worth plucking her strings don’t you think ?